Everything I Read in February

Sunday, March 1, 2020


While February might be the shortest month of the year I was still able to squeeze in some good reading! It also helped we had one extra day this year as it is a leap year! 

Here are my reviews of everything I finished in February 2020. If you want to see more of my ratings, reviews, and what I've read check out my Goodreads profile here and my Instagram here where I try and update throughout the month and also have discussions with followers on the books I'm reading!

1// Reputation by Sara Shepard 

This novel, by the same author who wrote the Pretty Little Liars series, takes place in the days following an email hack at the prestigious (fictional) Aldrich University in Pittsburgh, PA. The hack reveals rumors, affairs, and lots of dirt on the Aldrich community, but especially Kit Manning-Strasser and her husband, Dr. Greg Strasser. 

Things really heat up when Greg is found murdered in their home the night following a fancy black-tie gala to raise funds for the university, the same week as the email hack. Was the murder due to personal details divulged in the leak? Or did Greg have more secrets than his email revealed.

The novel follows several of the characters at the center of the drama, including: Kit, Raina, a student at Aldrich who is not everything she seems, Willa, Kit's sister and an investigative journalist who comes to town right after the murder, Lynn, a co-worker of Kit's who will do whatever it takes to be the best, and Laura, a nurse who worked with Dr. Greg Strasser. The novel is a mix of mystery, drama, and scandal. 

I found many of the characters in this novel to be unlikeable which made it difficult for me to enjoy the novel. I did find the story easy to get into, but overall I wasn't too invested in the story as I didn't really like the characters! Overall, if you're looking for a dramatic brain candy read you can grab this, but it was not my favorite. 

My rating: B-

2// Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuistion

Fans of romance novels, especially with royal themes, will enjoy this book. When the FSOTUS, Alex Claremont-Diaz attends the royal wedding of Prince Henry's older brother sparks fly - but not in a good way. Now Alex must do a PR trip to prove to the world he doesn't really hate the Prince (even though he does). After the trip Alex's feelings towards Henry begin to change and he thinks of the Prince as a friend. Then, when Henry comes to the USA for a NYE party at the White House his feelings towards Henry really begin to change, and things will never be the same for him.
I enjoyed most of the characters in this book, enjoyed watching the story unfold, and I love most things with a British Royal twist.

Some things I didn’t like: some of the political storylines seemed contrived and not very realistic. Overall, I was left smiling in the end and enjoyed the book. It’s a warm hearted, fun read for anyone who enjoys the romance genre. It’s also my first LBGTQ+ romance book in a long time (the last one that comes to mind is reading Oranges Are Not the only Fruit years ago) and I’m glad it’s so widely accepted in the mainstream (that I’ve seen).

My rating: B

3// Long Bright River by Liz Moore

I talk more about this novel in my blog post on the best books set in Philadelphia. This is the story of two sisters growing up in a Philadelphia neighborhood which has been ravaged by the opioid crisis. Told from the perspective of older, responsible sister, Mickey, and alternating between present day and the past. In the present, Mickey is a single mother who works as a patrol officer in the 24th district of Philadelphia, the impoverished Kensington neighborhood. She likes her job as it allows her to keep an eye on her little sister, Kacey, who has been battling with addiction since her teen years. Mickey and Kacey used to be close while growing up, but recent events have caused distance between them. However, when women are found murdered in Kensington and Kacey goes missing Mickey works to try and find her sister while also uncovering clues about the case.

This book gives a gritty, dark look at the parts of Philadelphia which aren't the prettiest. The opioid crisis is a real issue in Philadelphia, and the United States, and this book showcases that.

I really enjoyed this book, and recognized almost all of the local references which made reading it more enjoyable. This book is heavy but I enjoyed it thoroughly. It also has twists and turns I did not see coming leaving me just wanting to discuss everything with someone when I finished.

My Rating: A-

For fans of Christina Lauren, and especially their newer novel “Unhoneymooners”, this rom-com style novel will be a hit.

Hazel has thought of Josh Im as the “blueprint for Perfect” since they met in college. Years later their paths cross again. Hazel is eccentric as ever, working as an elementary school teacher and co-workers/best friends with Josh’s little sister, Emily. Josh has grown into a responsible adult working as a physical therapist, although he has a not-so-great relationship. Hazel takes this opportunity to embed herself in Josh’s life and become his best PLATONIC friend.

When Josh’s relationship crumbles and they both find themselves single they begin a string of bad double dates, all the while developing feelings for each other. But, will Hazel’s manic energy and eccentricities be too much for Josh? Could they ever work as a couple?

With a few twists along the way, this book is light-hearted and enjoyable. While the ending may be a little predictable I still enjoyed reading it. As a character, Hazel was a little much for me in the beginning, but she grew on me and I really liked her by the end of the novel. Overall, a solid rom-com read and I give it a B rating. I look forward to reading more from this author duo, including the "Honey Don't List" which comes out this month!

My Rating: B

5// Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Have you ever felt in a creative rut? Or maybe you feel an urge to create or make yourself vulnerable with your art and expression, but you are letting fear stand in the way of expressing yourself. Well, this is the book for you.

Elizabeth Gilbert, best known for her novel "Eat, Pray, Love" talks about unlocking your creativity and moving past your fear to realize your dreams. She gives anecdotes, advice, and speaks from her personal experiences of being afraid to fail but wanting something so bad you must try anyway. While I am generally not a huge fan of the "self help" genre, I really enjoyed this book and the anecdotes within its pages resonated with me.

I was feeling stuck creatively and wanted some inspiration, I had heard others say great things about this book so I decided to check it out. What I really love here is that Gilbert addresses so many of my personal fears and qualms that have gotten in my own way. She talks about being creative beyond pretentiousness, allowing yourself to create because you love it, and embracing your passion. It really lit a fire in me and taught me to give myself permission to try and permission to fail. Would recommend to anyone looking to unlock their own potential and needs a little nudge to get out of their own way.

NOTE: I listened to this book on audio and I think hearing Gilbert narrate added something to the experience for me.

My Rating: B+

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially reading it during an election year where times are politically charged. Charlotte Walsh is a successful business tycoon living in Silicon Valley with her husband, Max, and three daughters. She is the quintessential Silicon Valley success story: she came from nothing in a small Pennsylvania town, worked hard and went to an Ivy League college, and made it in California.

After implementing some great changes at her company people begin to ask Charlotte if she will run for office. She decides to attempt to be the first woman elected to the US Senate from Pennsylvania and moves her family back to her childhood room in a poor town in Northeastern PA to make that happen. However, life on the campaign trail is tough, and Charlotte and Max’s marriage is not as perfect as they’d like people to think. Will their family survive intact the grueling campaign life? Will their deepest secrets become exposed? Will Charlotte stay in the race, and if she does will she win?

I really enjoyed the book and in some ways could relate to Charlotte. I am from PA (although I am from the Philly suburbs) and have met people from the towns in this book. I am interested in politics and found it interesting to read from a candidates perspective 

what it’s like to promise people things you can’t promise. I think this was a great read and would recommend, especially to women interested in politics. 

My Rating: A-

What did you read this month? What is next on your to-be-read pile? Did you read any of these books, and if so what did you think?

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