February was a very unusual month with lots of warm weather, highly unusual for the time of year. I did have a week off work and we went to Wales for a few days so I had the opportunity to read more, although in the end I finished 25 books in the month which is one fewer than January.
I read more romances than anything else. When I am away I like to read light books which are quickly finished so there were a couple of Regency romances and a few contemporary ones in the final total. Five of the books I read were fantasy novels which is quite a high percentage for me.
This month I finished my fiftieth book of the year which was an audiobook –To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. It is a tale set just before and after WW1 and is about longing and lack of purpose (well, that’s what I thought it was about although I expect that those who know their classics will have a different view). There isn’t a lot of plot and the characters are all considering their lives and the lives of others. I enjoyed it well enough but I have now read two books by this author recently and one by her in the past and I think I am going to leave it at that unless there is a burning reason to read more.
I did notice that quite a lot of my finished books were parts of series. I do like series books – serials as well as series. I think I prefer them to very long books – although the two are not mutually exclusive. I enjoy engaging with characters and events over a longer period of time, and seeing development and change. Here are a few that I finished this month that I think are worth looking at :
- Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Liani Taylor is the final instalment in her Daughter of Smoke and Bone fantasy Trilogy. I loved the first one, found the second one very dark, and was pleased with how she ended the overall story. It’s a fantasy set in our world but with creatures from an alternative dimension bringing their conflict into world history. It’s not the greatest trilogy I have ever read but I did enjoy it and I think the first book especially was excellent.
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake is another fantasy novel but set in another world where three sisters grow up but only one can be queen. I liked this more than I thought I would as the author wasn’t as predictable as I thought at first.
- Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose is the first in a series of crime novels with a romantic edge. She has written several series like this and characters from one do often appear in another (although because I haven’t read all her books for a while I do find that I cannot always remember who they are and how they connect). These are fast paced and well written stories and I really enjoy her books. This one I received free from the publisher via NetGalley but I have purchased others by her in the past.
- Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I’ve talked about this book before and it is true that I found it disappointing but the problem was that the author had included too much plot and ideas. It’s worth taking a look at and you might feel that you want to read further on in the series and see if you feel more enlightened about the various ways she represents magic. This was another free book from NetGalley.
- The Dreaming Suburb by RF Delderfield is a saga set among the people who live in one road over a period of time starting from the end of WW1. It’s well written and very gripping as the author has made all the characters very individual and it is easy to swap from one storyline to another. Although you know that he wants to use the book to give a message to the reader he doesn’t do it to excess – the story is important here. This is a duology.
- Dawnthief by James Barclay has also been mentioned before. It is a more epic fantasy than the others on this list and the series is a good one even though it stretches to seven books. This is very much a serial over several volumes as none can stand alone.
I do enjoy reading series books as you can see. Some of the romances I mentioned above are parts of series where the books are loosely linked. I have read books this month by Loretta Chase, Eloise James and Robyn Carr which have connections to other novels. Maybe one month I will look at reading only books which are completely standalone !
It was a good month’s reading with lots of excellent books. I am looking forward to March (although not to this deterioration in the weather).
Keep reading !