The Best Books I Read in February 2021
February started out as a stellar reading month for me. The first six books I finished were four or five stars. Then things took a turn and I read a few duds, but I finished the month strong with a four and a five.
Here’s a look at my top rated books for the month:
The Best Books I Read in February 2021
The Ex-Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Such a smart sexy book! The writing is strong and funny, the characters are diverse and realistic. This was a joyful reading experience and I was sad when it was over! I’ve learned that sometimes with romance novels (and other genres too) I have to suspend my disbelief fully to get the most out of the story and that was the case here. As a public radio listener, I truly enjoyed the setting of this novel. I appreciate that Shay and Dominic were both chasing their passions, and were committed to making a difference in people’s lives through their show. The chemistry between the two of them was hot and fun to watch as things developed between them. I highly recommend this one for readers of romance.
What Doesn’t Kill You by Tessa Miller
Advanced copy from NetGalley, publication date February 9, 2021 This is an important, powerful book, though it isn’t an easy read at times. It’s one of the most complete and honest illness memoirs I’ve read. It’s only part memoir, the other component is a guidebook for those living with a chronic illness. Tessa beautifully weaves her own narrative with anecdotes and facts about the health care system. Tessa’s writing is raw and honest, bordering on crude but in the most necessary way. She is transparent and vulnerable with her reader when it comes to sharing the intimate details of her life with Chron’s Disease and before. She addresses heavy topics with dark humor. She covers not only her physical health but mental health, romantic relationships, family dynamics, death and grief. I highly recommend it for readers of memoir and those looking for support and guidance in regard to chronic illness.
The Roommate by Rosie Danan
I haven’t encountered a romance novel quite like this one! I’m super impressed that a romance novel featuring porn stars is mainstream. It’s hilarious and super hot sexy, AND smart and sensitive. The characters are diverse and it was a joy to get to know them. The story tackles some serious issues and brings to light the flaws in the porn industry, as well as potential benefits. Women’s pleasure is front and center in the story, which reminded me how much it isn’t in other romance novels. I will say, the porn industry is glorified and the dangers that exist aren’t as clear as I’d like them to be. There’s a lot of explicit sexual content, and it’s presented in a positive, loving light. I HIGHLY recommend this one for readers of romance and erotica.
Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez
Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication April 6, 2021 This is the third book in my all time favorite romance series. It isn’t directly connected with the others and can be read as a stand alone, but those books are amazing so you should read them too! Abby weaves together joy and sadness in her novels unlike any other author I’ve read. This is a book about a young woman determined to live life on her own terms. Then family issues intrude on her plans and she has to decide if she’s willing to take a different path. This book made me laugh out loud and also had me near tears a few times. It’s a beautiful emotional rollercoaster. I highly recommend it for readers of romance.
Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson
Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication April 6, 2021 This isn’t my favorite of Jenny’s books (that would be Furiously Happy) but it has some parts that are as good as she gets. What I appreciate most about her writing is the was she addresses mental illness with blunt language and no apologies. There is also dark humor and moments of joy, which is a realistic representation of a human life. I highly recommend this one for Jenny’s fans as well as readers of personal essays and those who enjoy dark humor.
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
This was an eye opening read for me. I was expecting a juicy domestic drama. Instead, this is a heavy story that gives us a look into the lives of transgender people living in America. We get to know two transgender women during their years together as a couple, and after they split. The author explores motherhood and family in ways I’d never considered. I recommend this one for readers of literary fiction.
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour
Rarely does a novel leave me reeling like this one has. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Based on the synopsis and cover, I thought it would be a light, funny read. It absolutely is not. There is some dark humor that I appreciated but overall this is a story that will knock the wind out of you repeatedly. This is a story about race in America’s workforce. It’s about stereotypes and how they play out in real life. It’s also about identity and family, how to deal with societal expectations and stay true to oneself.
It gives the reader a look at startup companies in the US, and how good intentions can quickly go south when faced with the possibility of wealth. The writing is sharp and intelligent. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Zeno Robinson who brought emotion and intensity that I wouldn’t have experienced if I’d read a physical copy (lots of yelling!) I highly recommend this book (in any format) to readers of literary fiction.
Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
Available from Kindle Unlimited. Get ready to feel all the feels with this one! While it’s a romance novel, it’s about so much more than the central love story. This is a story of loss and grief, as well as what comes after. Beyah and Samson are two young people who have to grow up early. In order to survive, they’ve had to rely on themselves and therefore have not allowed themselves to ever get close to anyone else. In each other, they see their own sadness and it draws them together. This is also a story about what makes family, about how to be there for someone you love even if you don’t know them well. It’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I highly recommend it for readers of romance.
What was your favorite read in February?