February 2020 Reading Wrap-up

Again, I keep thinking I won’t be able to read as much while being so busy with school, and yet I always have time to stuff my mind with books when I’m stressed. On one hand, I read a total of 17 books this month, which is a lot even for me. On the other hand, a lot of them were rather low rated. I haven’t had a one star in a few months, and this month I had two.

Anyway, I also tried to read some newly released books this year and that didn’t go super well. Also, I’m currently into my Spring Break Read-A-Thon and already finished three books. So let’s get straight into the reviews.

1 Star

  • The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenberg (released Jan. 21, 2020)
    • I really wanted to like this book, because I loved true crime and I’m always interesting to learn how murder cases are investigated and sometimes bungled. Saying that, this book was an extreme drag to get through. Eisenberg’s writing is filled not only with her own views of politics and society, but also with so many little pointless details that didn’t add to the case. The case itself was interesting, I will admit, but if you deleted all the pointless content in this book, I’m pretty sure you would be left with around 20 pages. This book was a definite fail for me and I regret not DNFing it in the beginning.
  • How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann (released Jan. 14, 2020)
    • This book had some potential, but it did pretty much everything wrong. Elisabeth is one of the most foolish and (as many characters point out through the book) stupid characters I have read in a long time. Much of the mystery makes no sense by the end, and feels as if the author just threw in things as he was writing instead of planning out the suspense well. The ending (without spoilers) was ridiculous. No closure to the biggest questions prompted in the beginning. I felt like I began and finished this novel knowing nothing but Elisabeth is an idiot and horrible mother and her sister may or may not be alive. That’s it. The suspense wasn’t interesting, the law enforcement seemed there just to aggravate Elisabeth’s stupidity, and the historical context is 90% of the time ignored. If you are looking for a fun thriller, keep looking.

2 Stars

  • Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo (released Oct. 2019)
  • Second Foundation (Foundation Publication Order #3, Chronological Order #5) by Isaac Asimov (released 1953)
    • This is the final book in the Foundation series, and I honestly think the worst one. It all comes down to one character: Arkady. She’s a fourteen-year-old girl, and one of the most annoying characters I’ve read in a long time. Even if I enjoy the plot of this book and the quest to find the second foundation, I just could not enjoy it with her in it. For me, it was a very unsatisfactory ending for this famous trilogy.
  • Marley by Jon Clinch (released Oct. 2019)
  • All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White (released Jan. 14, 2020)

3 Stars

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (released 1966)
    • This short play is certainly…unique. I’ll sum it up in two lines. Rosencrantz: “But what’s the point.” Guildenstern: “Don’t apply logic.” Never has a line summed up a book so perfectly. Pretty much this entire play is about Ros and Guil witnessing many of the scenes from Hamlet and commenting on them, usually in nonsensical and absurd notions. Perhaps this play might be described as witty stupidity…because it felt like that. On one hand, it was amusing, but the humor and messages were pretty much repeated over and over again, making the story more boring as Ros and Guil felt like they were repeating themselves. However, it does make for an amusing and quick read, and probably would be better on stage than just reading it.

4 Stars

  • Foundation and Empire (Foundation Publication Order #2, Chronological Order #4) by Isaac Asimov (released 1952)
    • This book follows Foundation and is the second book in the original Foundation trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed it, almost better than the first book, even if it was very similar to that one, following several different characters as Hari Seldon’s vision for a new foundation begins to take shape. It’s heavily science based, like it’s predecessors, but also examines the aspect of human variables.
  • How The Other Half Lives by Jacob A. Riis (released 1890)
  • Forward the Foundation (Foundation Publication Order #7, Chronological Order #2) by Isaac Asimov (released 1993)
    • This is the second book in chronological order and the third book I’ve read in this series (following Prelude to Foundation and Foundation). It follows up just after the end of Prelude to Foundation and concludes before the beginning of Foundation. I honestly felt it does a really good job both concluding the previous story and preparing for the next one. Like the previous book, it’s slow-moving, focusing more on the scientific theories than action (though there is a bit of that too). It covers about forty years or so, and still focuses on Hari Seldon. I didn’t like it quite as much as Prelude to Foundation, but it was still highly enjoyable and interesting to see how an empire slowly collapsed.
  • The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson (released 2008)
    • Similar to the first book of this trilogy, I found this book had a pretty slow middle. It’s rare that I like a middle book the best in series, but this series did that to me. There are so many things I could talk about that I did or did not like in this book, but I’ll be general to not give away any spoilers. The stakes were high, and I liked how a lot of the questions from the first two books were answered in this one. The ending was crazy, but also not entirely unexpected and, while I wasn’t completely happy with it, it didn’t feel like pointless plot twisting to me and more just a natural progression of the world and characters’ journey. Basically, I enjoyed this book about the same as the first book in the series, but I prefer the second book more.
  • The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) Rick Riordan (released 2009)
    • On one hand, I thought this book was a really great conclusion to the Percy Jackson series. Everything the series has been building up culminates in one massive, epic battle. On the other hand, this book is pretty much entirely preparing for the battle and the final battle. The buildup relies on the other books and if you know nothing of the previous books, you’ll probably hate this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it, since I did just read through the entire series. My one and only probably is the ending seemed too…chipper? Perfect? I just wanted some lose ends, some more darkness, and it felt too perfect. But that is completely my own tastes.
  • The Poppy Wife: A Novel of the Great War by Caroline Scott (released Oct. 2019)
    • If you are looking for a book with a quicker plot and more progression, this one is not for you. There’s very little plot, as two people try to pick up the pieces of their lives and happiness following WWI, as they try to find out what happened to their brother and husband. It’s a beautiful novel, and one which shows the trauma left behind after the fighting had ended. How people had to cope with the pain of lose and change. It’s a musing, meandering book, and one with a deep understanding humanity and how we cope with pain. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible by Robert J. Hutchinson (released 2007)
    • This book looks at the Bible from a historical and logical perspective, breaking down commonly misunderstood facts about it. On one hand, I really enjoyed it as it was both interesting and amusing. However, it also doesn’t convey much new information if you’ve studied the basics of the Bible and history.
  • Meg (Meg #1) by Steve Alten (released 1997)
    • I watched the movie and enjoyed it, even if it is pretty much another big shark action movie. Saying that, I was interested enough to try out this book, and I was surprised how good it was. The characters are still pretty generic and the fight scenes are expected, but I loved the science throughout the book. I’m currently taking a geology course in college, so Alten getting into ocean topography and plate tectonics among other more heavy science topics was really interesting. If you’re not interested in those topics, you might find this book pretty boring, but I really enjoyed reading it.

5 Stars

  • The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson (released 2007)
    • I have read many book series, and yet this one is perhaps the only one I’ve read where I liked the second book more than the first one. I found the middle of the first book to be pretty slow, and yet this one kept me interested from first to final page. There are a lot of characters and plot points to keep track of, but I never felt overwhelmed. I also didn’t care for the romance that much, but it also wasn’t that prominent. I can easily admit I want to read the third book and finish the series as soon as possible.
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan (released 2008)
    • This book is so far my favorite of the Percy Jackson series. The first book was great, but the second two felt a little bit like filler. This one, however, focuses on resolving a lot of questions raised in the first book, as well as leading up to the final book. I’m trying to talk about it without giving away any spoilers. I loved the labyrinth, and all the conflict that happened inside. There was also progress made in certain relationships (both romantic and otherwise). And I cannot wait to read the last and final book of the series!

That was surprisingly long…sorry about that.

Well, there is my list of books I read last month. What did you read last month? Have you read any of these books? Do any of the them look interesting to you? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

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