↠ I TOOK A HUGE VACATION! Or, staycation, basically. I took off the majority of February and seriously did nothing but stay inside where it was nice and warm and not snowing. Leah 1, World 0.
↠ Baylor is a Valentine’s Day baby and we celebrated her 2nd birthday! There’s a dog bakery that recently opened in town and Matt and I got her the cutest, peanut buttery cake and she loved it! On instagram I shared a photo of the family singing happy birthday. The slightly nauseous, slightly bewildered look on her face is priceless.
↠ I used to bake constantly but haven’t been doing much of it lately. One weekend I took a few overly ripe bananas and made some pretty magical banana bread. So, so delish.
↠ I binged on a few shows! If you know me, you know I never do this. Ever. But I was in the mood to watch something and once I started I couldn’t stop. I’m going to be blogging about them soon so keep an eye open!
↠ We went to see Deadpool and it was every bit as hilarious as I had been hearing! (and because of this I’ve been getting back into comics – yay!)
↠ I said goodbye to my hair. As much as I love having my hair long, every few years I chop it all off and start over again.
WILD WOOD BY POSIE GRAEME-EVANS is pitched as being for fans of Outlander and because of that I assumed there would be time travel. There’s not. But there are two story lines: one taking place during the hubbub of the wedding that made Diana a princess and the other taking place in 1300 Scotland. Wild Wood was a total surprise in that it was a random pick for me and it turned out to be great, definitely a novel to savor on a chilly day.
BLACK RABBIT HALL BY EVE CHASE is a top read of 2016! Gothic and gloomy and full of dark family secrets with a house – Black Rabbit Hall – that’s every bit as much of a character as the humans who dwell within it! Bonus points for having a character named Aunt Bay! If you love Daphne du Maurier and Kate Morton, you’re going to want to read this one – trust me!
I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS BY MICHELLE GABLE got lovelier with each page. Michelle’s novels fall under my favorite sub-genre of historical fiction: novels that feature real people. This one takes the bold and eccentric Duchess of Marlborough and introduced me to a woman I would definitely love to party with! #HistoricalFix chatters: Michelle will be our guest author next month!
THE WIDOW BY FIONA BARTON is an intense debut that I devoured in a single afternoon. I hate that it’s being compared to The Girl on the Train (which I hated) and Gone Girl (which EVERY book is similar to these days) but here, the hype is so, so deserved. There are two stories that weave together seamlessly and I legit GASPED multiple times throughout this book. Told through the eyes of THE WIDOW, THE DETECTIVE, THE REPORTER, and THE MOTHER, we slowly piece together what happened the day a little girl was plucked from her yard. SO GOOD.
THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES BY BONNIE-SUE HITCHCOCK was a really interested look at a group of teens living in Alaska in the 70s. While I enjoyed it I felt that the story suffered from being too short (less than 250 pages) with too many characters. Normally I’m all for tons of narrators, but with a novel this size, it was hard to really connect with them.
2 MINI REVIEWS: THE MADWOMAN UPSTAIRS + INTO THE DIM The Madwoman Upstairs is a Bronte-inspired novel with a rumored estate of letters and novels. I finished in a day and, while it wasn’t a bad read, it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. Into the Dim was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016 and it’s been getting some AWFUL reviews. I wasn’t as opposed to it as other early readers, but it definitely was a dud and I won’t be reading the sequel.
FEBRUARY’S UNREVIEWED ROUND-UP features a YA from the 50s, a Poe-inspired thriller, Lemony Snicket, Snow White folklore, and two DNFs from two of my favorite authors.
NOWHERE GIRL BY SUSAN STRECKER started out PHENOMENALLY – something horrific happens and one twins dies while her sister is struggling to move on – but by the halfway point I wasn’t feeling it anymore. The surviving twin grew up to be a best-selling author of murder mysteries, but there’s still one murder she needs to solve – what happened to her sister? I would have loved to read that story, but instead, the novel through in a bunch of other side stories that I didn’t care for and the ending was just plain bad. THAT SAID, I enjoyed the writing enough (and the excellent start) to still want to try Strecker’s debut, Night Blindness!
BACKLIST BUMP: 5 ADDITIONS TO MY TBR PILE I ♥ older, under the radar gems and in this post I featured 5 (technically 10!) titles I’ve recently come across that I need to read.
10 UPCOMING NOVELS I NEED TO GET MY HANDS ON! A few are now out (and I already grabbed one from my library!) but the rest – COME TO ME.