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Well y’all, spring seems to finally be peeking its head around the corner! I can’t wait. I need spring so bad, gimme gimme gimme!
I’m going to be honest with you, February was pretty rough. I felt underwater at work, I felt underwater with Alchemy, and I felt too guilty about being behind everywhere to read! I personally only managed to read three books in February… which is really bizarre for me.
Alice went the opposite direction and while she is also stressed out, she has LEANED IN to reading in 2021 as an escape… and her book numbers are climbing. Jane, as always, seems to be at a happy compromise and has kept up her usual reading pace despite her own work anxiety.
In February I found that a lot of my friends, family, and loved ones were struggling too. I don’t know if coming up on a year of a global pandemic finally did some damage, or what, but I had so many conversations around mental health and well being. I felt, and still do, feel extremely emotionally charged all month.
I wanted to take this time to just give everyone some grace to not be doing okay all the time. I’ve reached out to a therapist and I’m working on getting on their schedule, and a LOT of people I know have done the same. We don’t have to go it alone, and I for one can’t wait to speak to a professional to help with some coping habits for the things I am feeling at the moment. I feel that it’s so important to talk about mental health issues and move forward from the stigmas associated with counseling and therapy from the past.
In terms of the bookshop, we had a great January with lots of growth on the site. We seem to have tapered off a little in February, but we also all hit a bit of a wall so we’ve just been trying to stay above water.
We were super excited to collaborate with Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag and do a Behind the Bookstagram feature. If you ever wondered what goes into getting the perfect shot, we’ve pulled back the curtain… so to speak.
I know that’s not the most exciting update, but I have high hopes that March is going to be great. I’ve been listening to Atomic Habits by James Clear and I’m feeling exceptionally motivated.
Our main goal in March is excellence. We’d really like to focus on our content and photo’s and work to bring this community the highest quality of both!
On a personal note, I’ve been feeling a lot more motivated with the changing of the season. We are starting to have some nice days and I was able to have a picnic in my backyard for lunch one day.
The hens have realized the sun is staying in the sky longer and have begun to lay eggs again, it’s been such a joy to find a rainbow of eggs in the nesting boxes most days.
Between making a move to find a therapist, listening to Atomic Habits, and these sunny days I’m really feeling excited to tackle March.
Without further ado, let us talk books! While my book total was small in February, I read some great books and I know that Jane and Alice did too. Below, you’ll find our Feb Favs.
Holy moly, I adored everything about this book. Just when I think I have aged out of Young Adult Fiction, this book lands a 5 star read for me.
I am a UNC-Chapel Hill grad and nothing gives me more pleasure than to read a book that is completely located on the campus AND focuses on one of many secret societies that permeates the mythos of the school.
Fun Fact: We spent many nights hiding outside of the Gimghoul Castle trying to catch a glimpse of the Order of the Gimghoul ceremonies. We never did but my friend caught them in black robes before midnight on Halloween around the castle and was chased off the property. I’m still dying to know to this day what they were doing.
An incredible diverse urban fantasy focusing on Bree, a Black teenager, who recently lost her mother in a car accident. She enters the early college program at UNC-Chapel Hill and stumbles upon a secret society that may hold the secret to her mom’s death and her families’ magic.
This book isn’t afraid to discuss racial tensions in the south, the aggressions that Bree faces as a Black woman, and the racial history of the college itself which feels so groundbreaking to me in a YA Fantasy novel. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out!
This was a Netgalley eARC and will be releasing on 3/16/21. YA high fantasy novel with a refreshing magic system. The 2nd YA book this month that I just flew through.
Thank you to Netgalley & IBPA for this eARC in return for my honest thoughts!
Another 5 star read! I loved how intelligent and hilarious the book is. I was not expecting to laugh as much as I did at a space thriller. The author is able to explain the complex science involved to get this stranded astronaut home in a way that easy for the reader without a doctorate in physics to understand.
Syed M. Masood
You guys know how seriously I take my favorite genres, but every now and then I try other things (sort of like how Anne uses poetry as a palate cleanser). This story drew me in quickly- weaving between Anvar (who grew up in Pakistan) and Safwa (who grew up in Iraq) and their respective journeys to America.
As they grow older they come into each others’ orbit, each struggling with life in America and how their religion fits in with it. I loved how immersive the author was at describing their upbringing and how different their families were- showing that like everything else, religion is a spectrum.
It reminded me of my own childhood, where my family’s views on Christianity diverged from my own little by little- and then how our collective views (as a family) diverged from the churches we attended. I very much recommend this book, I was thinking about it long after I finished reading
This was a very in-depth view of President Obama’s first term in office- going through specific events and pieces of legislation that he worked for or on, and is fairly policy heavy. He is a dense writer, but I really got a better understanding of how certain policies came to be and why they came to be, as well as a decent understanding of the state of Washington D.C. during that time period.
How do I describe this book? It was categorized as suspense- but to me it was more of a character’s journey through their childhood trauma. Lex escaped from her father’s cult-like control as a young teen and was able to find help for her and her siblings.
Lex or Girl A (as she was referred to in the media), is having to address her horrifying past when she returns home years later to bury her mother. As she gets in contact with her siblings, they are all forced into addressing their lingering struggles with past trauma.
Ruth Emmie Lang
As I mentioned, I was really struggling with giving myself permission to read in February. It’s something I love to do and I’m so sad I was too overwhelmed to read as much as I normally do. However I finally sat down and read Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance and it was a five star read for sure. Ruth Emmie Lang walks you through Weylyn Grey’s life through the eyes of those that knew him and loved him.
Weylyn is no ordinary young boy. Raised by wolves, with a magical pet pig, he proves to be an enigma. A little bit magical, a little bit mysterious, a little bit emotional. This book takes you on a quiet journey that just burrows into your heart.
I saw this one all over instagram and one of my friends was gushing over it. It is WELL worth the read. All the characters were so lovable, including our main character who is a fussy middle aged man who sweats a lot. Very relatable TBH. This is the best book you’ll read about a very lovable anti-christ.
This book is pure escapism. An (admittedly) slightly spoiled twenty-something city girl goes to Alaska to try to mend her relationship with a father she barely knows. Along the way, she tries not to repeat history by falling in love with an Alaskan pilot, just like her mom did.
Well, that’s it! That’s our February! I’m really looking forward to March and I can’t wait to see what reading we have in store for us.
What was the best book you read in February?