february reads: mini reviews

This month feels like it went by so quickly and that it should have lasted longer? I don’t know. But! I had a really good reading month, comparatively to last year in general. I tried to read in a theme for the month of February: romance and winter thrillers. I’m not sure if I’ll stick to a theme for the following months, but I do want to keep track of types of books I read.

Which reminds me, if y’all have not heard of The Story Graph, an alternative to Good Reads, here is my profile. I’m still figuring out how to use it, but I really like that you can DNF books and it records them. Also, create so many tags. But the BEST part is it tracks your reading stats! Also, you can create your own reading challenges or join others. I have a Reading Challenge to read 30 books this year and have joined a Translation Challenge in order to read more books from other countries.

Anyhoo. On to the reviews.

February Book Reviews

Along for the Ride by Mimi Grace
4/5

Ahhh, romance tropes in the best way! Forced proximity due to road trip, enemies to lovers. So well done. What I liked best about this is it’s not just a roadtrip romance, but the fallout/consequences and how Jolene and Jason interact after they get back and how their lives unfold. I really enjoyed this one a lot and will be reading more of this author’s books.

Anyone But You by Chelsea M. Cameron
3.5/5

Okay, so obviously I was in a romance enemies to lovers mood. I read this book right after Along For The Ride. Cameron’s books have been on my radar for years and I finally went ahead with this one. Because the GRUMPY ONE AND THE SUNSHINE ONE is one of my favorite tropes. There were some issues as the Grumpy One (Tuesday) is more of the Asshole One and it takes a long time to get any kind of redeemable quality. The Sunshine One (Sutton) is very Sunshiney and has a bit of a bastard streak, which I Love. I think the biggest issue I had was that when I read enemies to lovers fics, they are usually in dual POV so I can read BOTH characters internal dialogue and struggle (which is how Along for the Ride was!) are more known. Still enjoyed this and will be reading more of Cameron’s books.

Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula by Bram Stoker & Valdimar Asmunddson; Translated by Hans Corneel De Roos
3.5/5
Read for Most Horrific and Gothic Book Club

It has been ages since I’ve read the original Dracula, and it’s a lot longer than this one. But the best part of this version is the Forward, the foot notes, and really exploring the idea of kind of a darker Dracula. It’s kind of hard to explain, there are a handful of characters who were cut from the original that I LOVED in this one. Specifically one of the Bride’s is more present and has a motivation to be around Thomas Harker (aka Jonathan Harker). And there are a few servants who not present that give a bit more of a creepy castle vibe. I think next time I read this, I will read Part One from this book and read the rest of the original. Also, if you are a Icelandic fan, pick this one up!

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
3.5/5

Okay, I read this book purposely because Rachel (IG is Bookish Winter Witch) read it and she LOVED it up until the ending. And I had to know what that meant! So, I went into this knowing the ending wasn’t probably going to be the best. And yes, without being spoiler-y. This book is a perfect winter thriller. Creepy as fuck, complicated sibling dynamics, set in the Swiss Alps, the main character is dealing with heavy PTSD and is supposed to be on vacation. But then murder. The ending is…not well executed in terms of the Murderer and their Motivation. It just does NOT fit the rest of the book. Also, there is an epilogue that doesn’t fit either and sets up for a sequel. All the issues aside, I loved it up until I hated it.

February Top Ten Bookmarked Fan Fics

Total words for February: 2,788,806 words
Total Fics for February: 104
Shortest Fic: 1,900 words
Longest Fic: 236,410 words

I’m not going to put content warnings because if you click through the link, AO3 tagging system is brilliant and you can read those to see if this is a fic for you. More often than not, AO3 authors are heavy with the tags that way you know what you’re getting.

Smitten At First Fright by Oopsynini – Good Omens Human AU. Aziraphale is an agoraphobic, disabled tenant immediately smitten with the resident gardener, Crowley, who is equally as smitten. There is so. Much. Softness. Which feels almost equally balanced by very difficult and heartbreaking  situations as well. My heart broke and I cried the entirety of the last chapter and a half. Again, happy endings only! But fuck, what a journey. 

If you do want to read this, please please read the tags for this one. There are some very triggering things around hospitalization.

Fave Things – the slow reveal about Aziraphale’s trauma, Crowley’s refusal to wear a “proper fitting” shirt, Protective Sweet Crowley, all of the ridiculous pet names Crowley gives to Aziraphale. 

The Professor, Old Crush, and New Love by AccroV – Human AU. Aziraphale Fell gets introduced to his new colleague, only to find out it is ex-best friend and first love, Anthony Crowley. Let the pining begin!

Seriously though. So. Much. Pining. This fic alternates between present day and high school flashbacks where we get to see their first meet, relationship, and breakdown. It was so beautiful and emotional.

Fave Things – gender fluid Crowley, nice Gabriel (I KNOW!), and all the fluff and awkward flirting.

The Bookshop Around The Corner by mordelle – Human AU. Aziraphale’s godson, Adam, sent his drafted romance novel (in secret!) to AJ Crowley, renowned book critic who really seems to despise romance. A spin on “You’ve Got Mail”. There is so much more to Crowley than “grrr romance” and the background and reveal of everything is just kind of heartbreaking and leaves you rooting for him the whole time. 

Advice: do no read if you are in the midst of emotional hangover revolving around miscommunication. Because this whole thing is miscommunication, or rather lack of communication period. And agh! I cried so much. It was impossible for me to set aside, I binged it in one sitting. I really really enjoyed this one and will re-read it again. 

Fave Things – Harriet and Crowley’s sibling relationship, Adam and Warlock, Crowley trying just so damn hard. 

Work of Heart by WickedWriter – Human AU. Aziraphale is a grumpy librarian volunteer who is immediately drawn to and confused by Crowley, another volunteer who is flashy, cocky, and wears very inappropriate clothing to reading circle. Ugh, I loved this one. It was painful at times how completely oblivious Aziraphale is when it comes to Crowley trying so dang hard and being a soft little disaster. 

Fave Things – Crowley reading horror stories to kids and Aziraphale is not impressed, the Kilt, cooking class instructor Crowley.

Win A Date With Anthony J. Crowley by Caedmon – Human AU. Crowley is a world famous rock star, Aziraphale wins a Date with Crowley. The date goes exceedingly well and Crowley is utterly charmed by the fact that Aziraphale has no idea who he is.

This fic is precious. So much sweetness. So much fluff. There is a heavy thread of stalking and harassment, it is handled well and doesn’t take away from all the fluff! It definitely went a place that I didn’t think of and this is going to be a comfort fic for sure.

Fave Things – the flirting, Crowley being so damn sweet, HEALTHY COMMUNICATION.

Something That Happens To Other People by Caedmon – Human AU. Crowley is a hot shot political reporter who fucks up and is demoted to the society pages, forced to cover a wedding for an American heiress and her fiancé. (Anathama and Newt! So cute). In his first meeting, he is introduced and immediatley smitten with Aziraphale, the wedding planner known as the “angel of love”.

There is a lot of romance clichés and they work so well. I think my favorite part of this is the open communication (after the initial “there’s no way he likes me”). There is a large upset and lack of communication towards the end, but again, I only read happy endings!

Fave Things – Anathama shipping Crowley and Aziraphale all the damn time, the pining, Crowley courting and wooing Aziraphale in all the ways he deserves.

Silent As The Grave by miraworos – Human/Fantasy AU. Aziraphale Ange is a location scout and finds a perfect castle to impress his boss, but he just has to convince the recluse and charming Count Crowley. This fic has all the makings of a cozy Gothic romance.

Hauntings, mysteries upon mysteries, this story was just so good and I enjoyed the atmosphere of it so very much.

Fave Things – Gothic Romance, supernatural murder mystery, Crowley being mysterious and sexy as fuck, Aziraphale being smitten and protective of Crowley.

*************

Whew. Okay, I think I may change the formatting of my reviews for the fan fics. I’m having a hard time keeping up with them and I only wrote a few reviews, not including a handful of others that I forgot to take notes on. Hmmm. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to leave me suggestions.

What books or fics did you read last month?

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