My February Books – Simple and Honest Book Reviews: 5 Books

Hello there!

I hope everyone is doing well!

Today I’m posting my February book review. In February, I read five books.

One

Book Title: The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

Number of pages: 354

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Summary: By Goodreads

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.

Dates: January 30th to February 4th

My Rating: 3 Stars

My Review: I quite liked this book, especially because I love books where you can follow the characters over a long period of time. I fell in love with Shan’s character as a child and particularly liked how he was able to maintain his integrity and true self as an adult man.

Two

Book Title: The Little Book of Cottagecore: Traditional Skills for a Simpler Life by Emily Kent

Number of pages: 241

Genre: Non Fiction; Arts and Crafts;

Book Summary: (by Goodreads)

Unplug, relax, and return to the simpler life with these easy, step-by-step ideas for your favorite cottagecore activities including baking from scratch and easy container gardening.

Returning to the simpler life has never been easier. If you’re craving the aroma of freshly baked bread, spending more time in nature, or seeing the sunlight filtering through homemade curtains, then cottagecore is for you!

The Little Book of Cottagecore helps you make simple living a reality with delightful cottagecore activities you can enjoy no matter where you live. Whether you’re interested in baking pies from scratch, basic sewing and cross stitch, gardening, beekeeping, or making candles and soaps, this book is full of fun, hands-on activities that make it easy and enjoyable to unplug from modern life.

Full of step-by-step instructions and homegrown inspiration, you’ll find fun, practical ways to enjoy rustic and relaxing cottagecore activities in your everyday life.

Dates: February 5th to February 13th

My Rating: 3 Stars

My Review: This is a cute little book where you can learn many useful things.

I had absolutely no idea there was an actual science behind tea making and that some people actually take the time to choose the best water, to filter it, to measure temperature and so on.

I was tempted to try making some bread from scratch (I didn’t get suck into it during lockdown) but I still have the scar from the second degree burn I got while attempting to make bread back in 2015.

I love the idea of making candles and soap from scratch but decided I’m way to clumsy and prone to domestic accidents to be handling hot paraffin and lye.

Three

Book Title: Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

Number of pages: 570

Genre: Romance; Contemporary Romance;

Book Summary: (By Goodreads)

Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. Unless you count his basset hound, Waylon. Knox doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride.

Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia, a rough-around-the-edges town where disputes are settled the old-fashioned way…with fists and beer. Usually in that order.

Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with something unexpected. The niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old going on thirty to take care of.

There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications or high-maintenance women, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out of her jam. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life.

At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.

Dates: February 6th to February 16th

My Rating: 1 Star

My Review: BAD! RUN!

I simply cannot understand how this book is loved by so many and rated 4.49 on Goodreads.

The story is predictable and boring, full of cliches.

The writing is horrible.

These are actual quote from the book:

“He was too much. Too skilled. Expert-level. Professional ruiner of vaginas. And I didn’t know if I could keep up.”

“A thick, purple-headed leader in the world of erect penises. I got a little dizzy when Knox fisted it.”

Now, I’m no prude and I can appreciate a well written erotic novel or sex scene but this just sounds like cheap porn to me.

Plus, the book went on and on for 570 very long pages and I kept begging someone to put me out of my misery.

Four

Book Title: The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Number of Pages: 420

Genre: Fiction; Historical Fiction;

Book Summary:

A deeply moving and masterfully written story of human resilience and enduring love, The Plum Tree follows a young German woman through the chaos of World War II and its aftermath.”Bloom where you’re planted,” is the advice Christine Bölz receives from her beloved Oma. But seventeen-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village. It’s a world she’s begun to glimpse through music, books–and through Isaac Bauerman, the cultured son of the wealthy Jewish family she works for.
Yet the future she and Isaac dream of sharing faces greater challenges than their difference in stations. In the fall of 1938, Germany is changing rapidly under Hitler’s regime. Anti-Jewish posters are everywhere, dissenting talk is silenced, and a new law forbids Christine from returning to her job–and from having any relationship with Isaac. In the months and years that follow, Christine will confront the Gestapo’s wrath and the horrors of Dachau, desperate to be with the man she loves, to survive–and finally, to speak out.
Set against the backdrop of the German Homefront, this is an unforgettable novel of courage and resolve, of the inhumanity of war, and the heartbreak and hope left in its wake.

Dates: February 16th to February 22nd

My Rating: 5 Stars

My Review: My favorite book this month.

Gosh, this book left me a wreck. Christine’s life is not an easy one and you get to experience her fear, her hunger, her desperation, her grief. I felt this book deeply and loved every minute of it.

Five

Book Title: When Never Comes by Barbara Davis

Number of pages: 363

Genre: Fiction; Romance;

Book Summary: (by Goodreads)

Author Barbara Davis deftly explores an emotionally charged landscape of pain, loss, and despair—and the risk one woman will take in the hope of loving again.

As a teenage runaway and child of an addict, Christy-Lynn learned the hard way that no address was permanent, and no promise sacred. For a while, she found a safe haven in her marriage to bestselling crime novelist Stephen Ludlow—until his car skidded into Echo Bay. But Stephen’s wasn’t the only body pulled from the icy waters that night. When details about a mysterious violet-eyed blonde become public, a media circus ensues, and Christy-Lynn runs again.

Desperate for answers, she’s shattered to learn that Stephen and his mistress had a child—a little girl named Iris, who now lives in poverty with her ailing great-grandmother. The thought of Iris abandoned to the foster care system—as Christy-Lynn once was—is unbearable. But she’s spent her whole life running—determined never to be hurt again. Will she finally stand still long enough to open herself up to forgiveness and love?

Dates: February 22nd to February 27th

My Rating: 3 Stars

My Review: To be very honest, I neither loved nor hated this book. It was pretty much just meh for me. I can feel for Christy-Lynn as a young girl, teenager and adult woman but was unable to fall in love with the character. I hated that there had to be a male savior and that she even needed a random guy to take care of her. I think she could have gone on her journey all by herself and do just fine. The ending was predictable too.

Conclusions

Favorite Book of February: The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman.

Main Mood: Emotional.

Main Genre: Both Historical and Contemporary Romance.

Total of Pages Read: 1,921

Average Rating: 3.0

March Reading List

The Lobotomist’s Wife by Samantha Greene Woodruff

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan

The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover

That’s it for February!

What have you been reading? What was your favorite book of the month?

Love,

Cheila

My 8 Reading Resolutions for 2020

Dear friends,

First of all, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

I know I’m late but I hope 2020 is wonderful for you and that we’re all entering our best decade yet.

I feel that I’ve never blogged that much about books which is rather strange since I spend a good portion of my time reading.

My goal for 2019 was 100 books. That was probably too ambitious as I was planning a whole church wedding and reception for 100 guests. I managed to read 71 books and I’m very proud of my literary accomplishments, even though I would have liked to meet my goal.

My second goal was to get out of my comfort zone of classics and historical novels. I wanted to explore different genres, and so I did. I read contemporary novels, fantasy and fell in love with thrillers, something I didn’t care for at all. I learned that a book doesn’t have to be the greatest piece of literature ever made for me to enjoy it. A silly romance is okay, and I can allow my literature major Cheila to like it.

All in all, it’s been my best reading year in a very long time. I was a former avid reader who didn’t read that much anymore and now I’m back to my bookworm ways. It feels like home.

I definitely want to keep it up in 2020 so I’ve come up with a list of reading goals:

1. I want to read some non-fiction. I find it mostly boring, to be honest, even if I’m interested in the subject. I understand that there are some great non-fiction books out there and I’d like to read a couple.

2. I’d like to finally finish the Grapes of Wrath. It’s my third attempt and I’m not loving it this time either. I don’t usually finish a book I don’t like (I don’t mind reading a few chapters and deciding it is not for me) but I’d like to finish this one for some reason. I think this is an old quarrel with a university professor I hated.

3. I wish I could finally stop being too lazy to write book reviews. I love following my reading on Goodreads but I never write any reviews, even when the book is perfect. I’m not sure I’ll ever become the kind of reader who writes reviews but I might as well put it out there.

4. Write a monthly reading list on the blog. I mean, I used to envy those bloggers who actually do this, simply because I was not reading enough to post a list myself. But now I am, so there’s nothing stopping me from posting my own monthly list. Maybe I can share great books with you guys and get great recommendations as well.

5. Highlight my favorite passages or quotes. It often happens that I read something that leaves me thinking “wow, this is beautifully written” or “this is definitely true”. Do I think to highlight this? No. Because I’m LAZY. I mean, it’s a Kindle. All I have to do is press and drag.

6. Read 5 classics. I absolutely love classics. There was a time it was all I would read. Then I decided I needed to be more adventurous and now I read just about anything. However, I seem to have forgotten how much I love a good classic. Which is a shame as there is so many I want to read. Sure, I do look at my copy of War and Peace and feel like crying because it is thicker than the Bible but I would like to devour the story at some point. I’d also like to eventually finish Vanity Fair and The Portrait of a Lady. I’ve recently taken them off my bookshelf and placed them on a side table, hoping I’ll look at them more often and remember I want to read them.

7. Read 5 paper books. Okay, please don’t murder me. If you’re one of those people who think a kindle is something from the devil and that I should be punished for using one, I used to be just like you. For a very long time I was personally offended by people who used this horrible devices to substitute a book. I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes all the way back every time I encountered one of these “readers”. Then, I personally met Kindle. And Kindle unlimited. And I read about 100 more books than I had in many years. Now I’m now longer a book snob and I’m fine with whatever, as long as people are reading. On the other hand, if you’re one of those “people” who don’t like to read, you should choke on your coffee. Joking. Maybe. Still, I still love real books above all and want to keep reading them. I’m aiming for 5 this year.

8. Read 100 books. This was my goal for 2019 but I ended up at 71. I do want to try for 100 again, now that I’m no longer planning a wedding. I want to be able to say “I read 100 books this year”. It sounds like the perfect number. Besides, reading makes me very happy. Is there a better reason?

Do you have any reading goals for 2020? How many books did you manage in 2019?

Do share!

Love,

Chey