Wrap Ups & Hauls

February 2017 Wrap-Up + Book Haul


I knew after having a record month in January that I was setting myself up for failure in February.  I am going to blame the fact that I went on vacation AND it was a short month.  Yes, that’s it!  Despite all that, I still managed to complete 8 books.  It’s not the 11 books I read in January, but I’ll take it!

Let’s see which books I read and which ones I acquired in February shall we?


*Book titles link to Goodreads

What I read in February:

» A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron


5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings: Much like The Butterfly and the Violin, Kristy Cambron has a very refreshing take on WWII fiction in this book.   I love learning new aspects about WWII which was such horrific time in our world’s history.  Cambron has a way of finding the beauty (art) in the darkest of places.  I had no idea that thousands of pieces of art were created by children in the Terezin concentration camp.  These drawings, created with smuggled art supplies, were hidden and later retrieved.  This artwork can now be viewed at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.  Similar to my feelings of The Butterfly and the Violin, I was not a big fan of the story line that took place in present time, but really enjoyed the storyline that occurs in the past.  In my opinion, both books would have benefited without Sera’s story, but this book especially.

*Part of my SOKY Book Fest TBR

» State of Wonder by Ann Patchett


5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings: My first Ann Patchett book!  I really loved the premise of this book: a drug company is developing a top secret drug in the Amazon when a company representative dies under suspicious circumstances… I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book set in the Amazon, so I was very excited to pick this book up.  Now this book was very slow to get going, but once our main character reaches the Amazon, things really picked up.  The cast of characters in the book were not likeable, which added to the suspense of the book because you questioned everyone’s motives.  HOWEVER if you need to like or connect to characters to like a book, you may want to skip this one.  I really struggled with my rating for this one as I did have some issues with it, but on the other hand I did enjoy it.  I would probably say my rating is 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 🙂

State of Wonder would make for a fantastic film adaptation…

*Part of my SOKY Book Fest TBR

» When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin


5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings:  What a beautiful middle grade book filled with Chinese mythology and folklore!  I was fully immersed in this ode to storytelling.  I also adored the gorgeous illustrations included, and only wished there were more… I know, I’m greedy.

*You can read my review here → Kids’ Corner: Diverse Middle Grade Books in Review (Feb 2017) #DiverseKidLit

» The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis


5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings: This book was way outside my comfort zone, but I am so glad I gave it a go!  Despite the fact that this book made me very queasy at times (blood makes me faint), I am shocked at how addicting this book was.  How can I describe this book to you?  I would classify this one as a “post-apocalyptical psychological thriller wilderness survival story”… is that a genre?  As you can tell, this book doesn’t fit into a specific genre, but has elements of multiple genres.

*Review to come!

» Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

browngirldreaming5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings:  That’s right y’all.  I read a book in verse.  Surprised?  Me too.  You want to know something even more surprising?  I really enjoyed it!   I even put sticky notes into the passages I felt spoke the most to me.

*Review to come!

» The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim


Summary of feelings:  Set in medieval China, The Crystal Ribbon is the story of Jing who is sold into an arranged marriage to be the wife and nursemaid to a 3-year-old little boy.  Life with the Koh’s is not a happy existence, but things get even worse when the Koh’s sell Jing into an even worse situation in order to pay off some debts… Jing decides she must escape and find her way back to her family and the home she grew up in.  I absolutely adored this middle grade book, though I think this book would appeal more to a older middle grade – YA audience.  Since this book only just came out in January, and it is a debut novel, I have not seen anyone else talking about this book yet.  I’m going to need SOMEONE to pick this one up soon.  I would recommend this book to fans of Thanhha Lai and Grace Lin.

*Review to come!

» Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai


Summary of feelings:  My second Thanhha Lai book and I enjoyed this one just as much as Listen Slowly.  I really enjoyed reading a refugee experience, especially since Thanhha Lai went through this herself and states that she shared many of the same experiences that our main character Hà experienced as an immigrant to the U.S. during the Vietnam War.  This was my second book in verse that I read this month, the other one being Brown Girl Dreaming.

*Review to come!

» Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin


Summary of feelings:  I picked this one up hoping to learn what exactly what gender fluid meant.  You all know how much I sometimes struggle with the YA genre, but I am here to tell you that Symptoms of Being Human is YA done right!  Not only was I educated about all kinds of LGBTQIA+ issues and terminology that I didn’t previously understand, but I was also highly entertained while I was learning.  This book also goes into some deeper issues like suicide, hate crimes, bullying, etc etc, but also has some lighter moments with a touch of romance, friendships, and family relationships.

*You can read my review here → Diverse Young Adult Books in Review: Aristotle and Dante & Symptoms of Being Human


Book Reviews:


Book Review: The Girls by Emma Cline


Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult


Kids’ Corner: Why You Should Read George by Alex Gino with Your Kids


Kids’ Corner: Buy, Borrow, or Pass – Children’s Picture Books (February 2017)


Kids’ Corner: Diverse Middle Grade Books in Review (Feb 2017) #DiverseKidLit


Diverse Young Adult Books in Review: Aristotle and Dante & Symptoms of Being Human

Other Posts:


January 2017 Wrap-Up + Book Haul


February 2017 TBR


Book Event: Brit Bennett, Author of The Mothers


Challenge Updates:

 » Goodreads ChallengeGRChall.jpg

» Diversity Bingo 2017

Aviary Photo_131326342959921593.png

» I was able to knock out another 5 squares on #DiversityBingo2017!  That is a total of 10 squares.  This month I completed…

• Immigrant or Refugee MC → Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai #OwnVoices

• Black MC (Own Voices) → Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson #OwnVoices

• MC of Color in SFF → When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin #OwnVoices

• Own Voices → The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim #OwnVoices

• Free Choice → Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (Gender Fluid MC)

» Last month (January) I completed..

• MC w/ chronic pain → Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo #OwnVoices

• MC w/ an under-represented body → 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

• Diverse non-fiction → Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

• POC on the cover → Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

• Non-western (real world) setting → Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai #OwnVoices

*Not sure if this challenge is like traditional BINGO where you only need to get a line to “win,” but I’m going for a cover-all 🙂


February 2017 Book Haul:


» A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

» A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab


» The Mothers by Brit Bennett *Signed Copy


» Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman *Signed Copy


*Yes that ugly circular spot on my book is STICKER GLUE!  WHY?!?! Anyone want to let me in on the secret to remove this from my book?!

» The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas *Pre-Ordered


» Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris


So about that 2017 book buying ban… I failed miserably this month, HOWEVER in my defense my ban does not apply to book/author events, which three of these books technically qualify for.   I attended an author even for Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers, so obviously I bought a copy to get signed.  You can read about my experience here → Book Event: Brit Bennett, Author of The Mothers.  I am also attending the V.E. Schwab’s book tour for A Conjuring of Light, so I HAD to purchase the first two books (hardback of course) for her to sign along with A Conjuring of Light… Then we have Norse Mythology.  When I was in the bookstore for the Brit Bennett event, it just so happened to be release day for Norse Mythology.  It was a signed copy ok?  Who would walk away from a signed Neil Gaiman book?!  It was out of my hands!


Which books did you read in February?

Did you buy any books? Which ones?

Comment below and let me know 🙂

23 thoughts on “February 2017 Wrap-Up + Book Haul”

  1. Amanda! you can’t see me but I am silently applauding you my fren’! you went on vaca & it IS a short month but you still killed it!!!! which is more than I can say for myself after moving apartments I kinda just went into hibernation from the blogosphere lol. I’m coming back out now though & I’m so excited to see you picked up The Hate U Give & Norse Mythology! a signed copy you say? well no, no I don’t blame you for that one cuz I would jump @ the opportunity to have Uncle Gaiman’s Hacock on my book! You’re also seriously tempting me to go read AGOS just so that I can get to ACOL already smh *covers eyes* *must stay on course* Great to see you back Amanda & it looks like I have some catching up to do on your blog, you’ll see me around 😉


    1. In your defense, moving your entire life from one place to the next does take up a tiny bit more effort than it does to go on vacation lol
      I knew you would appreciate the signed Gaiman book. I wasn’t going to let that opportunity pass me by! I would really like to see him in person though… maybe someday.
      I pre-ordered The Hate U Give after our conversation about your review. Did you pick up a copy for your husband? Has he started it yet?


  2. Signed books do not count while on a book buying ban! nor do books you buy while on vacation!! You had a way more productive February than I did, I’m not even sure if I finished two books I was in a huge slump. I plan to come out of it this month though!! In like a lion and all that 😀 I did read Wolf Road and really enjoyed it also, I didn’t think I would but was pleasantly surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wolf Road was an instant favorite for me! I was blown away with Lewis’ ability to completely immerse me and felt that she nailed the dialect! State of Wonder has been on my TBR forever. I need to just go for it!


  4. WOW! You had an amazingly productive February! I am super impressed. Not only did you manage to go to Disney with your family, but you also read 8 books and posted 8 blog posts?! I couldn’t be more amazed. That’s quite a feat! But, I should expect no less from you. 🙂

    Your book haul is awesome. I feel like signed books shouldn’t count. After all, they are more like an investment, right? Right. PARTICULARLY that signed Gaiman! Be still my beating heart.

    I can’t wait to read the reviews you have lined up for the future. I hope your momentum keeps up! Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your haul is amazing *heart eyes* I’ve restricted my buying too but I couldn’t resist getting The Hate U Give I can’t wait to read it, hope you love it! Also it looks like you had an awesome month The Crystal Ribbon’s cover is beautiful and the story sounds cool as well think I’m going to check it out 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m gonna have to buy The Hate U Give. Heard a glowing review of it on Pop Culture Happy Hour recently.
    I’m amazed you read and posted so much during a month when you took a vacation! Awesome! Thanks for the diversity focus- giving me lots of good ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I could say that I had it all planned out and scheduled but I totally didn’t. One of my biggest struggles as a blogger is that I am still a “post as I go blogger.” I lucked out big time that I was able to get so many up. I am really enjoying focusing more on diverse reads within children’s picture books, middle grade, and YA. They have definitely become some of my favorite posts to create and share 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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