What I Read in February #WhatJanessaReads

What I Read in February #WhatJanessaReads

My Goodreads challenge for 2016 is 100 books. Looks like I’ll be ahead of myself for a long time, which makes things easier in case I’m in grad school in September and won’t have time to read for fun quite as much. Check out my January books post, follow along on #whatjanessareads, and look at which Canada Reads 2016 books you’re interested in reading!

This post is considerably longer than my January one, since I actually wrote about every single book, instead of picking certain ones to highlight. Hopefully you love it!

Top 3 Books of February:
“Station Eleven”
“Bad Feminist”
“Silent in the Grave”

What I Read in February #WhatJanessaReads

Birdie” Tracey Lindberg
One of the short list for Canada Reads 2016. It was an easier and faster read than I had expected, but I would recommend reading it on a hard copy, not an e-book. There are a bunch of footnotes explaining references and Cree words which I couldn’t flip back and forth to, so that was frustrating. The book is about Bernice/Birdie, a Cree-Metis woman, who grows up on a reserve in Alberta, and later migrates to Gibsons and Vancouver. Lindberg has a very dark sense of humour, which makes childhood sexual abuse scenes a little less (or more?) shocking. I enjoyed the book, but I got a little confused sometimes with the changes in timeline and narrator.

Foul Play at the Fair” Shelley Freydont
Liv moves from NYC to be the festival organizer for Celebration Bay, New York. The day of their fall festival, a man is discovered in the apple press. Turns out he is the long-lost brother of the owner of the farm, and he was a major troublemaker. Without spoiling the book, I was disappointed by the end.

A Hedonist’s Guide to Art” Laura K. Jones, ed. 
I purchased this book years ago at the National Art Gallery, and never got very far. I decided to start it this month, and read a few essays a day–it worked, I finally finished it! The book discusses modern art, collecting and selling art, and the process of creating it. Some of it was hilarious, other parts shocking (most of the pictures included were very phallic), but I found myself frustrated that it was obviously UK-centric. Most of the essayists were British, or had moved there, so I didn’t recognize most of the important names. Also, some of the people used big words I had never heard of.

To Brew or Not to Brew” Joyce Tremel
It’s about time that someone came out with a cozy murder mystery series to do with beer, with all the craft breweries everywhere now! Max (Maxine) is starting up her brewery when her assistant gets murdered, but no one believes her. There is also some opposition in her Pittsburgh neighbourhood about opening a brewhouse, so she has to convince the naysayers. Cute characters, and actually made me interested in drinking beer–I’m a strictly Corona on the dock beer-drinker.

Interview with the Vampire” Anne Rice
I thought I had watched the movie in grade 8 with my friend Anya, but it turns out we must’ve only watched the first half, because I got very confused and surprised. The book follows Louis, a plantation owner in Louisiana through his vampire life both in America and Europe. It was a little slow at times, so I interspersed it with other novels, but I did really enjoy it. Also, I’m apparently in a “vampire phase” if you look at what books I’ve liked to read!

Star Wars Lost Tribe of the Sith” (Secrets, Pandemonium, Purgatory, Savior, Paragon, Pantheon, Sentinel, Skyborn, Precipice) John Jackson Miller
This is the second set of books I’ve read in the Star Wars chronology, and it takes place 5000-3000 years before the destruction of the first death star. A ship of Sith and their humans crashland on a planet with little hope of finishing their mission or returning to space. The humans survive and implant themselves in the native theology, become their rulers, and encounter rebellions over the 2000 years. I read each of the novellas which can be found together in a very large compilation, or separately.

From Dead to Worse” Charlaine Harris
I was kind of surprised where this book started out after the crazy drama of the previous one. There are some werewolf battles, new vampires in town wanting to claim the kingdom, and Sookie gets to learn about her heritage.

Scent of Magic” Maria V. Snyder
This is the second in the Healer series. I hadn’t read the first book for a while, so it took me a few chapters to remember everything that had happened before. Avry is caught between warring kings and queens, and is also supposed to be dead. Avry infiltrates one of the armies, and is her usual badass self. The series involves re-animated corpses, which is a fun, fantasy take on zombies.

What I Read in February #WhatJanessaReads
Reading date at Box Car Social

Station Eleven” Emily St. John Mandel
This was absolutely one of the best books I’ve read in a while- no wonder it was on the Canada Reads 2016 long list! The book starts day one of a world-wide pandemic, and travels back and forth in time to explain how the characters are related and how they experience the pandemic. It’s very realistic, and makes you only a little freaked out for the future!

The Remains of the Dead” Wendy Roberts
This is the first in a new series about Sadie, who owns a crime scene cleaning company. Not only does she have a really gross job (wiping up blood splatters, picking up brain fragments) but she sees ghosts. In the book, Sadie is hired to clean a murder-suicide scene, but something is off, and she’s on the case!

Undead and Unwed” Mary Janice Davidson
For some reason I thought this was going to be a murder mystery. Nope. The series is probably more of a fantasy-romance, so that was surprising! Betsy gets fired on her birthday, then killed in a car accident, and wakes up as a vampire. Because she reveals herself to her family and friends, she gets caught between two vampire factions.

This is How you Lose Her” Junot Diaz
This collection of short stories was mentioned in “Bad Feminist,” and I immediately requested it from the library. I won’t say that I enjoyed it. The short stories follow Yunior, an immigrant from the Dominican, through various relationships, hookups, and his family life. I think what made me uncomfortable during the read was how raw some of the writing was, and I also missed out on a lot of the Spanish references.

Malice at the Palace” Rhys Bowen
Lady Georgiana Rannoch is 35th in line to the English throne, but is penniless in the twenties. She is hired by her relative, the Queen of England, to welcome Prince George’s bride, Princess Marina to England. George is a playboy, and one of his ex-lovers shows up dead outside the palace. Uhoh!

Silent in the Grave” Deanna Raybourn
Lady Julia’s husband dies at the beginning of the book, and a local detective tells her it is murder. Julia, who didn’t really love her husband much, dismisses it, until her year of mourning is over and she discovers a threatening letter in his desk. Julia and the detective have to navigate the rules of the Victorian period to solve the mystery.

All Together Dead” Charlaine Harris
Serious vampire summit- all the kings and queens of the States get together to solve legal issues. Unfortunately people get murdered and there are bombs planted. Shit goes down.

Bad Feminist” Roxane Gay
I bought this book of feminist essays last year and never got around to reading it. I’m glad that I finally did. Roxane talks about patriarchy, gender roles, homophobia, racism in pop culture, and everything else. I have tons of underlining in my book of the “WOAH” moments throughout the essays, and would definitely recommend this book to any people who like to think hard.

Death Wears a Mask” Ashley Weaver
I love this series: it follows a young woman in 1930s London, who has a sometimes-cheating husband, and she gets involved in murders. In this particular book, she is roped into solving jewellery thieving at a masked ball, but one of the guests gets murdered. The characters are a lot of fun, and the Dirty Thirties are such a fun period of time.

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