February in Review

Thank goodness that February is over, friends. I don’t know about you all, but last month was garbage for me (and tbh 2019 is kind of a trash fire so far IRL). From never-ending work stress to a reading slump that just won’t quit, 2019 has been a weird year of just trying to make it work.

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Me in the mirror every morning.

Even though February was kind of meh, the bookish community always brings me so much joy! I am honestly so glad that I created my corner of the internet here, because it has proven to be the perfect outlet and distraction for me. But I kind of went a little overboard on book buying & pre-orders for retail therapy, so keep your eyeballs peeled for when I post my haul.


Reading

I read seven books in February, which is closer to my typical slow-month reading. I am surprised that I read that many books because I feel like I didn’t read for most of the month! I think the good thing about me being so damn slumpy this year is that I am really learning to not feel guilt for doing something else.

You may have noticed that I’ve done away with star ratings on my wrap-up (and maybe the astute follower caught on with my last few reviews). Star ratings are very subjective: for instance, I don’t think a 3 is bad but a lot of people do. I am careful to write my reviews in a way to highlight the aspects I like and don’t like, and if a book wasn’t for me I say who I think would enjoy it. I’ve decided to not list star ratings on my blog reviews anymore because I don’t feel it’s aligned with my approach to reviewing in general. I am instead listing who I would recommend read the book, and am leaving the stars for the necessary evil of Amazon/Goodreads/B&N reviews.

My Favorite Read of February

40778250To say that I loved this debut novel would be an understatement. I was a bit nervous to read it because of the glowing reviews that I read by Lily, Marie, and Vicky. A lot of times books I have seen highly praised by my friends get so built up in my head that I set my reading experience up for failure.

Not this time, friends. The Fever King is an incredible start to a new series that has not only the high stakes of a dystopian future and addresses the nuances of activism, but also has lovable characters that you want to protect with your ever being and an intricately thought out world with 100 years of backstory carefully laid out. I am so glad that Lily’s review encouraged me to pre-order the hardback, and when I saw it was a Kindle first Read title for February I jumped at the chance to read it early.

πŸ“– Read my full review

ARCs/copies from author or publisher are noted below by an asterisk *

  • * The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in this One by Amanda Lovelace: there are some books that seem to find you at the moment that you need them the most, and this poetry collection was kismet. Honestly, I requested this book because I saw on Twitter that it was Read Now on NetGalley and I like mermaids. I’d never read anything by the poet and it kind of sat in my TBR pile for weeks, but I picked it up and devoured it in one sitting and cathartic tears after Lauren and Isabelle mentioned it in a chat. It’s like a series of events that got me to read this book, and I feel like the universe was looking out for me. | πŸ“– Read my full ARC review
  • * Anna Undreaming by Thomas Welsh: the author and his publisher sent me a finished copy of this book like ten months ago, but I have this horrible habit of prioritizing upcoming releases, and being a mood reader this book went unread forΒ  long time.Β This was a mistake.Β I loved this fast-paced fantasy debut and have essentially been screaming about it since finishing it. I even gave away 3 Kindle copies to spread this book around. If you like the storytelling of YA fantasy but are looking for new adult aged characters, this is for you! | πŸ“– Read my full review
  • This Cruel Design (Mortal Coil #2) by Emily Suvada: one of my most anticipated releases of 2018 and victim of my own damn brain. The squad tried to buddy read this after our pre-ordered copies arrived but I just couldn’t get into it – my expectations were out of proportion so I set it aside. Twice. This time I buddy read it was Sam & Soph and thought it technically took us like a month to read, it was more of timing than anything. Once I got into the story and the first few chapters that were a little slower, I was sucked in and doomed. Loved the book and cannot wait for the final installment… I need to know how it ends! | πŸ“– Read my full review
  • [ARC Extract] The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: this extract was a mess to read, I am going to be honest. The formatting was horrible and made for the multiple Povs of this book to be even more confusing for me (and I don’t need help struggling with multiple POVs, thank you). The good news is that once I settled into the narrative, I was hooked! Standalone fantasy is hard to come by, and the extract actually encouraged me to pre-order the tome and I cannot wait to read the full book! | πŸ“– Read my extract review
  • The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) by Maureen Johnson: this book was full of so much filler, ugh. I swear that I could have done without the first 40% of the book! I actually re-readΒ Truly DeviousΒ right before diving into this one and reading these two back-to-back was as exercise in patience. I truly believe that this should have been a duology or standalone; however, I was pleased that at least we got some answers in this installment. I’ll read the final book when it’s released since I am invested and need to know, but I’m kind of meh.| πŸ“– Read my full review
  • * Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk: this was… a weird book. I finished it a week or so ago and still haven’t written my review because I can’t get past the “what the fuck did I just read?!” phase. I found the main character insufferable at the start to the point of almost DNFing the book, but I did appreciate the character growth he had as a result of… whatever the hell happened in this book. | πŸ“– Full ARC review to come

DNF – Did Not Finish

  • None

Total Books Read in February: 7

Books by Release, Feb19

Total Books Read in 2019: 12
Goodreads Reading Goal:Β 52


Gaming

Another month of not starving was had for the most part, but I did impulse buy a Nintendo Switch and Zelda: Breath of the Wild last week after an especially bad day at work. It’s pretty much been the perfect way for me to unwind after work and has improved my mood drastically, so money well spent imho.

  • Don’t Starve Together: had a few more sessions with my friend Eva, but we kind of haven’t played since lightning struck and lit our entire farm on fire.
  • Don’t Starve: I’ve been playing the base game a LOT this past month, though! It’s a lot of fun and my current game I am currently at like 26 days and have been afraid to play it for a week.
  • Transistor: I nabbed this game during a sale because Melanie spoke very highly of it. This game is beautiful and so much fun!

Are you on Steam?Β Feel free to add me as a friend, I am kalventure on Steam! I am always down for a game of Town of Salem, DST, or Uno, so hit me up!


Awesome Community Posts

Here are some amazing posts that you have missed from the blogosphere this month!


Thank you

Thank you everyone so much for visiting, liking, commenting, and sharing your bookish thoughts with me last month! Tomorrow is my one year blogiversary, so expect a post gushing about how much I absolutely love being a part of the book blogging community (and a giveaway)! Thanks for helping to make a bad month a little brighter!

I hope that you had a fantastic February, let me know how your month went in the comments below!


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Hi! I’m Kaleena: book lover, runner, wanderer, and philanthropist. Life is an adventurous gift: through the outdoors and books. I run Reader Voracious Blog, where I post spoiler-free book reviews of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and mystery & thriller.

57 thoughts on “February in Review

  1. I know that feeling– I keep promising I am going to get my life together but it’s been like 8 years πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
    I really want to read the fever king– I have heard so many good things!! And lovable characters are the best!! I’m glad you enjoyed it!! 😊
    It’s true that we hardly ever get standalone fantasy books– I would love to see more. I need to get priory of the orange tree!!
    And it’s your blogiversary tomorrow– how exciting?!?! *dance party* Congratulations!! πŸ’›
    I hope you have a wonderful March!! πŸ’›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I swear I just keep getting so distracted on organizing everything! It is like one step forward and two steps back, and it is really annoying!
      The Fever King is so good, and I hope you fall in love with it, Noam, and Dara like I did when you do read it. Priory so far is incredible, and even though I could weightlift with it, the pacing is so good!

      Thank you so much, and happy March to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know– I never seem to have everything quite together in life!! πŸ˜‚
        Yes hopefully I will– I hope to get to it soon!! 😊
        Aww.. I am glad priory is good and the pacing. With a big book like that you need good pacing. And you could definitely do some damage with it πŸ˜‚
        Thank you very much πŸ’›

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy blogiversary! πŸ€—

    I played Transistor a while back and loved it. Such gorgeous art style and it was super fun.

    I’m currently reading the Fever King and so far i totes agree with all the great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I Ioved Transistor! All of SuperGiant Games, really. Their art direction and music are always beautiful. I should give Don’t Starve another try. I played it way early in Early Access and then never returned to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t played anything else by the developer, but if Transistor is any indicator… I should! Do you have any other recommendations? I actually had a similar experience with Don’t Starve; I played it very minimally in Early Access but got sucked back in after full release. It’s a lot of fun and always a challenge… I just wish there were achievements!

      Like

      1. I loved their first game, Bastion. Beautiful and colourful artstyle with a fantastic soundtrack. It really felt different when it was released. Hopefully still stands up.

        Pyre is also great, sort of a visual novel mixed with a sports game. Again, visuals and soundtrack are amazing, although it does get repetitive in the late game. I never actually finished it. Keep meaning to go back.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am sorry Kal! I am hopeful for you! I had a meh month too. But I feel March is going to have something really good for us all… Happy Blogiversary. Has it really been a year omgomg! I think it passed by so fast. I remember following you then. Ahhh! You are an amazing influenser and blogger. Love you and your work! I wish you all the best πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Justine, and I hope March is better for you too! So far my month is just as shitty as it was in February, but there’s plenty of time for it to improve! I can’t believe it has been a year, and thanks so much for staying with me for most of my time here. Love you so much and I am glad blogging brought us together!

      Like

  5. Oh you have a Switch!! I love my Switch, it’s the best. Mostly I’ve been playing Stardew Valley and Love in a Dangerous Space Time on it in the last two months. Hubs has been playing The Binding of Isaac on it – but mostly he plays Overwatch on the PC. Also, I’m totally adding you on Steam.
    I keep hearing amazing things about The Fever King. I think I need to get it… I was expecting it to be in a book box though…?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad I bought a Switch finally, omg! I picked up Stardew Valley even though I’ve played like 160+ hours on PC… it’s a rough game to play on console when I am used to playing it on PC but I hope i will adjust soon. I will have to check out Love in a Dangerous Space Time.

      The Fever King is SO GOOD! READ IT! And yea, it seems like a book that would do well in a book box but alas.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m really looking forward to your review of The Priory of the Orange Tree. I’m still on the fence about it, but maybe you can convince me to read such a long book😁

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Seriously hope your reading joy and your year improve! Reading slumps are the WORST. I went through one in like September/October, and while I actually read a fair amount those months, it felt like I wasn’t reading anything at all, probably because I wasn’t really enjoying the things I did read. I was so, so happy when that broke, as I’m sure you’ll be!

    I love your Awesome Community Posts section. I always learn new things and find new bloggers to follow, so thank you for providing this service! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh, thank you so much! I’m at the point now that I am just re-reading an old favorite and then skipping ahead on my ARC list for some mood reading, I think it’s the only way to go at this point. I am glad you were able to break through your slump though, that is always the best feeling!!!

      Like

  8. I hope things get better for you! I LOVE Breath of the Wild. I’m not a gamer (my husband is) but I can lose myself in BOTW for hours. And when you don’t want to fight things it’s just so beautiful. I’ve played most of it but I’m dragging it out because I don’t think there’s anything else like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. Breath of the Wild is such an amazing game, and I love that it appeals to casual and more hardcore gamers alike. It is so beautiful and well done! I know what you mean about dragging it out, I literally ran around for 4 hours before going to Kakoriko Village. Which means I played a lot without knowing how to block and do parray. That’s fine.

      Like

  9. Aw, I’m sad to hear that Feb was meh for you, but well, here’s to hoping March will be better!
    And wow, almost one year on this blog – that is amazing! You’ve come so far. Congrats.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I really like what you said about why you’re not using star ratings anymore! I totally get the whole three star thing, some people think it means the book wasn’t good, but to me it means the book was okay. I enjoyed it, but it’s not one of my favorites. I’ve seen a lot of things about The Priory of the Orange Tree, and I’m not sure I want to read it because I’m interested in it or because everyone keeps talking about it lol. I hope that March is a better month for you, and congrats on your one year anniversary!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me I really think doing away with the star ratings on here was the right move. Even when I don’t like a book and give it 2 stars, I always write my reviews in a way that talks about who the book could be for, and I felt like a lot of people weren’t noticing that? I know what you mean about PRIORY, I was nervous and on the fence about it because it’s a thicc baby! I think it’s worth the commitment for me, though. Thanks so much! πŸ’–

      Like

  11. I love the switch to recommendation rather than a quantitative rating; it feels very true to your “brand” πŸ’― and awww I’m so glad you found Mermaid’s Voice at such a perfect time! yay for no DNFs, and omg just look at the delightful right-angles on that pie graph πŸ₯§

    Anna Undreaming is sitting on my desk right now and it’s taking so much willpower to study instead of devouring it, but it’s also working really well as an incentive to get through the things I need to do! and thank you for the ping πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, and I definitely feel like the qualitative rating is more ME. It’s funny I watched an interesting video that analized Myers-Briggs a bit and I legit think this is because I am INTJ.

      I am so glad you were able to get a copy of Anna Undreaming, and I hope you can read it soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. haha, in my family we don’t believe in Myers-Briggs 😜 I’ve gotten a different result every time I take it, but I do still use it as a shorthand when I’m creating characters … but if the descriptions feel accurate, it’s always nice to know about yourself!

        and yup, I’m super excited to start Anna Undreaming! definitely by this weekend for sure πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Star ratings are rude. I also don’t view 3 stars as being bad it’s more like in the middle for me but I know a lot of people and the authors view 3 stars as bad. Wooo for reading 7 books though Kal, look at chu getting that reading done somehow in your slump mood.

    I may end up doing away with star ratings at some point *muses* but not for a while I don’t think, honestly I don’t even know at this point. Hopefully March goes better for you then Feb lovely ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still have no idea how I read 7 books last month? I swear I only read like 6 days total last month or something like that.
      Getting rid of star ratings worked for me (even though I have to use them on GR and Amazon); it’s just so subjective and not really a good indicator for me on whether or not *I would like a book* since no two people read the same one!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. First off, happy blogiversary, secondly, I am really hoping March is so much better for you. I know things will have to get better eventually and I hope they do so sooner than later. ❀ I love your getting rid of star ratings/ratings. I always hate when people get offended that I mark a book as 3 stars on good reads but every book's 3 star rating means something different to me and it's not usually a BAD thing, so you do you! And make it magnificent as always! You had some great posts that really helped me out this month and I can't wait to go back and read your latest reading around the globe post! Also, I'm about to hit the halfway point on Anna Undreaming and I LOVE IT (and can't wait to start Fever King…you know, eventually, probably after the DotC eARC)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Haley! πŸ’– I hope March improves for me as well, but even if it continues to be a dumpster fire at least I have my friends & blogging! I totally agree with you on star ratings, and I just don’t find them useful??? Like just because you like a book doesn’t mean I will, and a rating alone won’t help me make that determination. I am so glad you are enjoying ANNA, and yesss for Fever King! Excited to start Descendant tomorrow, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I agree with February being a sucky month! I finished playing Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 and found a puzzle game as well. I’ve seen the Fever King on Kindle Unlimited so I think I’ll try it out, the cover is stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Happy blog anniversary, one year is such a wonderful milestone. πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸ‘Œ

    And thanks for all of your awesome contribution into our lovely blogging community. Your posts supporting international bloggers as well as those templates you so generously create and share means a lot to me. Thanks!! ❀️

    I had a similar take on February. It was a kind of meh month. Here’s to an awesome first month of spring. Hope March brings you a lot of fun and joy. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I won’t say 7 books a month was less because that’s my usual number πŸ˜‚ You read some amazing books. I can’t wait to start The Fever King. Like you, I am also intrigued by the reviews of Vicky and Marie.
    I agree with your remark about not giving star rating. However, I can’t see myself not doing it πŸ™ˆ
    I hope March is better for you 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing wrong with 7 books, and it seems to be more my normal average I think! I was really lucky last month with awesome reads for the most part, which was great! Marie and Vicky were the reasons I nabbed it on Kindle early, but Lily definitely got me to preorder The Fever King. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

      Getting rid of star ratings definitely works for me and how my brain works, but it won’t be for everyone. I personally just need more than a rating to know if I want to read a book, since reader experiences vary so much.

      Liked by 1 person

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