February was a pretty good reading month. I read two books that had been in my TBR pile for far too long and a few fun, highly anticipated books that were recently released! Reviews wise, this month was kind of a mixed bag – there were a few five star reads that I absolutely loved and a few that were pretty “ehhh.” Overall, I’m happy with the books I read and the amount of books I read! I think the constant rain and gloom in North Carolina helped contribute to those twelve books 😉 My favorite book this month was definitely The Alice Network. I love historical fiction and this book has been recommended to me constantly. It had been on my bookshelf for quite some time and I’m glad I finally picked it up and read it! As always, would love to hear what you’re reading or a few good book recs!
P.S. I love sharing what I’m reading with all of you! You can see all of my monthly reading lists HERE & you can keep up with what I’m reading in real time on my Amazon book page HERE!
DO THIS FOR ME BY ELIZA KELLY | Raney Moore is a ruthlessly ambitious attorney who is the envy of all in her firm. That is until all hell breaks loose. When Raney finds out that her beloved husband, Aaron, has slept with another woman, she wastes no time downshifting to hating the man, while unraveling in quite the spectacular fashion. But as time marches on, Raney realizes that she still loves Aaron and might want to find a way to repair the damage done, redefining in the process what she thinks of as a “happy marriage.” review: I had quite a few friends read this and love it, so I was excited to dive right into it. It’s definitely a light, easy read but it didn’t hold my interest as much as I wanted it to. The first half had promise, but as Raney’s antics went on it got a little predictable and far-fetched. I also didn’t relate to Raney at all (and found her to be highly unlikeable at times). rating: 3 out of 5 ⭐️
EDUCATED: A MEMOIR BY TARA WESTOVER | Tara Westover first stepped into a school at the age of 17, much to the dismay of her survivalist parents. Prior to that she never attended school – the knowledge she had was from books she occasionally read at home. College would be her first experience with formal education and her first experience to the world outside of small town Idaho. review: This was a great coming-of-age story that deals with family dynamics, how education shapes us, and what happens when you are free to learn and think for yourself. This book was hard to read at times, but it was almost impossible to put down. It was incredibly hard to fathom that this story takes place so recently and that these sort of stories and family practices aren’t as far and between as we think. I asked myself numerous times “how can this be true?”. After reading this I did a bit of research on the family (they’re very easy to find although the names are changed in the book) and was still in shock at the story and the subsequent statements from her parents saying most of it was made up. rating: 5 out of 5 ⭐️
TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET BY KAREN MCMANUS | Ellery and Ezra are twins in their senior year of high school. They have just moved to Echo Ridge with their grandmother after their mother, Sadie, is admitted to a rehab facility. Echo Ridge is known for disappearances of high school girls, one being Sadie’s twin sister Sarah who goes missing in Sadie’s senior year. The second girl, Lacey, is found dead years later after she is declared homecoming queen.The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, the threats start coming. Secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself. review: I read One of Us is Lying last year and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to the author’s newest book. Geared more towards young adults, this mystery is quite the page turner as you try to figure out everyone’s secrets within Echo Ridge. I didn’t like this book as much as One of Us is Lying, I think mainly because a lot of characters were introduced quickly and it was a bit hard to keep up with them all at times. I thought the premise was great though and liked how the story was told in alternating perspectives. rating: 3 out of 5 ⭐️
THE ALICE NETWORK BY KATE QUINN | The Alice Network follows the story of two women – a female spy, Eve, recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite, Charlie St. Clair, searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.Told in alternating points of view, you are drawn into WWI and present time as the two women’s stories unfold. The author did quite a bit of research on real women heroes (Louise de Bettignies & Leonie Van Houtte) when bringing this novel to life and I loved that these two powerful women inspired the book. review: As a historical-fiction junkie I am mad at myself for letting this book sit on my shelf for so long. This is one of the best historical fiction books I have read in a long time (it’s up there with The Nightingale and Lilac Girls!). The story is captivating, enthralling & the duo timelines and alternating perspectives made for a phenomenal, well told story. I really enjoyed all of the characters in this book and didn’t want it to end! I already have her newest book, The Huntress, on my bookshelf ready to read! rating: 5 out of 5 ⭐️
99 PERCENT MINE BY SALLY THORNE | Darcy Barrett has traveled the world since she was 18 years old, vowing to never stay in one place too long. Running away has always been her coping mechanism. When her beloved grandmother dies, she leaves Darcy, and her twin brother, Jamie, her cottage that is to be renovated and sold. They hire childhood friend, Tom to handle the renovation and Darcy decides to stay put in order to see the renovation through… and it’s only partly due to her major crush on Tom. Now, forced to work together on the renovation, Darcy and Tom have to fight their feelings. review: This was one of my most anticipated books of the year (you may remember it from this post). After reading The Hating Game I was excited to get my hand on Sally Thorne’s newest book. While I didn’t like it as much as her debut book, it was still a cute read. I didn’t particularly like Darcy, but I loved Tom and his development throughout the book! This is definitely a good friends to lovers trope romance book. rating: 3 out of 5 ⭐️
THE NIGHT OLIVIA FELL BY CHRISTINA MCDONALD | Abi’s world is shattered when she receives a call in the middle of the night that her teenage daughter, Olivia, has been in a terrible accident. Olivia now suffers from a brain injury and Abi is left with a lot of questions and a police squad that isn’t being helpful. Abi takes it upon herself to find out what actually happened to Olivia that night and who is responsible. As she investigates certain leads she learns a lot about her daughter and the devastating news that someone from her past may be behind this. review: I think my review may be a bit different than some, solely because I read Reconstructing Amelia and the two books have striking similarities… so much so that I found myself comparing the two the entire time I was reading it. However, if you haven’t read Reconstructing Amelia I think you will *love* this book. The book is a real page turner and as Abi starts learning more about Olivia, it’s almost impossible to put this book down. The mystery and twists within this book are surprising and totally believable. I loved the writing and thought the author did a great job of developing the characters throughout the story without revealing too much right off the bat. The ending totally wrecked me. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
TELL ME LIES BY CAROLA LOVERING | Lucy Albright is far from her Long Island upbringing when she arrives on the campus of her small California college, and happy to be hundreds of miles from her mother and all those painful memories. Quickly grasping at her fresh start, Lucy embraces college life and all it has to offer—new friends, wild parties, stimulating classes. And then she meets Stephen DeMarco. Lucky knows immediately that he is no good for her, and yet she needs him, wants him and has to have him even if it means giving up part of herself and her morals to be with him. review: Just a fair warning, both Stephen and Lucy are highly unlikeable in this book, but I think that’s kind of the point. They are both incredibly toxic in their own ways – and if you were ever caught up in a bad relationship, you will be able to relate to this book in some way, shape, or form. There were definitely times that I rolled my eyes and wanted to shake the characters for being so naive or destructive, but overall I enjoyed the book. Sometimes it’s important to read a book where the characters are unlikeable and unreliable because you get a new perspective! rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
SHE LIES IN WAIT BY GYTHA LODGE | On a scorching July night in 1983, a group of teenagers goes camping in the forest. The evening starts like any other—they drink, they dance and fight. Some of them slip off into the woods in pairs, others are left jealous and heartbroken. But by morning, Aurora has disappeared. Her friends claim that she was safe the last time they saw her, right before she went to sleep. An exhaustive investigation is launched, but no trace of the teenager is ever found. The case is brought back into the spotlight when the body is discovered. review: Secrets, deception, lies, and the search for the truth made this debut mystery by Gytha Lodge a gripping mystery that I couldn’t put down! I really enjoyed this book – the premise was great! I loved the differing timelines from 1983 to present time – it really made for a great way for the story to unfold! rating: 3.5 out of 5 ⭐️
THE LIGHT OVER LONDON BY JULIA KELLY | In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her—she’ll wait at home in her village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning. Desperate for a larger life, Louise joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl. Fast forward to present day. When Cara Hargroves, an estate and antiques assistant, happens upon a journal from the 1940s she is immediately intrigued and curious as to whom the story belongs to and sets of on a mission to find the answers to her questions.Illuminating the story of these two women separated by generations and experience, Julia Kelly transports us to World War II London in this heartbreakingly beautiful novel through forgotten antique treasures, remembered triumphs, and fierce family ties. review: I was really looking forward to this book since I love historical fiction. I have read countless WWII fiction books, but not many that touched on London during the war. I loved the dual-timeline go this book and the appreciation of the time, coming from both Louise & Cara. I thought the story was incredibly compelling and I couldn’t put it down! My one criticism is that it felt more like a love story with bits of historical pieces mixed in than a true historical fiction novel, but I still REALLY enjoyed it! rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️
THE PERFECT LIAR BY THOMAS CHRISTOPHER GREENE | Susannah and Max are enjoying their new life in Vermont, having recently moved there from NYC. Their life is seemingly perfect, but little do they know that their relationship is based on a tangled web of lies. Everything is going well until one day Susannah returns from her run to find a note on her door that says, “I know who you are”. Those five words may change the course of their relationship and their life. Each is worried about the note for different reasons and this note threatens to expose the many secrets of their past and leads to more deception. review: This is the first book I have read by this author and his compelling writing had me from the start. I was so intrigued as to how the story would play out and I was not disappointed. I found myself being so invested in the characters and their lies. It’s definitely an addicting book that will keep you turning the page wanting more! rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
EVIDENCE OF THE AFFAIR BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID | Set in the 1970’s, Carrie Allsop discovers her husband is having an affair after finding the incriminating letters in his briefcase. Feeling devastated, she writes to the husband of his mistress. An unconventional friendship forms as the two bond over their marital misfortunes. Now, as their friendship forms they question when and how this cycle will end. review: This is a short story by Taylor Jenkins Reid. And if you have ever read anything by TJR, you know that it’s sort of an addiction and if she writes something, you read it. In this case, I listened to it. In the hour or so that it took me to the audiobook I was completely invested in the characters, the letters they wrote to one another, and once again, was not ready for it to end! I thought the format and idea was great – if you’re a TJR fan be sure to add this to your TBR list! rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️
I OWE YOU ONE BY SOPHIE KINSELLA | Fixie Farr is a people pleasing, family first type of gal. She is determined to leave her father’s legacy, a family run store, in good standing. Unable to say no, Fixie finds herself in a precarious situation after a stranger asks her to watch, and ultimately save, his laptop in a coffee shop disaster. Now, Fixie and Seb have an IOU exchange that begins to spiral their “acquaintanceship” into something more. But naturally, Fixie tends to go too far with fixing things and this time she may have just overstepped her boundaries. Will Fixie be able to finally stand up for herself and find love? review: Sophie Kinsella is an author that I have read for years and anytime she has a new book, I make sure to scoop it up! I really wanted to love this book, but it fell really short for me. I found all of the characters to be incredibly annoying and whiny. I didn’t think any of them had a redeeming quality about them. The book was a bit predictable and not what I was expecting, since I typically love the author! rating: 2.5 out of 5 ⭐️
shop my February reading list (just click the cover)