What I Read in February 2020

I hoped to read seven books in February. How did I do?

As it turns out, I read seven! And they were almost exactly the ones I planned to read, with one exception. My average rating this month was 4.1 stars. Added to January’s average of 4.4, this means my 2020 reading year has started off very well both in quantity and quality.

So, what did I read in February?

THE BOOK OF CANDLELIGHT
By Ellery Adams
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I received this as an ARC from Netgalley and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. For about the first third, I wasn’t sure, but after that I really enjoyed it. My review is here.


OCHRE DRAGON
By V.E. Patton
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the first book in The Opal Dreaming Chronicles, and I loved it. It’s completely different to any fantasy I’ve read before. The author calls it “a high fantasy, dystopian sci-fi, hopepunk mashup”, and that sounds about right! Full review to come, but highly recommended.


BOOKLIFE
By Jeff VanderMeer
Genre: Writing
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

I borrowed this from my library. The first half is “Public Booklife”, about strategies for writers out in the world – publishing, advertising, networking and so on, and the second half is “Private Booklife” about the actual writing process. This was a slight disappointment. There is a lot of useful information in the first half. But I wanted more from the second half, about the private life and practice of a writer. There wasn’t enough of Jeff VanderMeer’s own experience to be satisfying on that level (unlike Stephen King’s On Writing, for instance), but there also wasn’t enough substance for it to work for me as objective advice, either. All in all, 3 stars and I won’t be buying a copy for my own writing-craft shelf.


EXPLAINING THE TRINITY
By Jack Hayford
Genre: Christian theology
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a short handbook explaining the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, with references to appropriate Bible passages. It is split into 11 very short chapters, and I read one each morning. It was well-written, engaging and informative, and gave me food for thought, worship and meditation each day.


AS THE INK FLOWS
By various authors
Genre: Christian/Writing
Rating: None as yet, unfinished.

I did start this, but because it’s a devotional, designed to be read a few pages a day, and there are 90 separate pieces of writing, it will take me a few months to finish. So far, it’s fabulous, and everything I hoped for.


THE SINGLE LADIES OF JACARANDA RETIREMENT VILLAGE
By Joanna Nell
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A fond, funny, sometimes very moving, love letter to growing older well, valuing the elderly in our society, and the transforming power of friendship. Peggy is a wonderful central character, by turns delightful, sympathetic, embarrassing, frustrating, and ultimately, inspiring. And did I mention funny? From her malapropisms to her sometimes very frank inner thoughts, she had me giggling more than once.
Joanna Nell has written something special here, and I for one can’t wait to read more from her. 


EARLY RISER
By Jasper Fforde
Genre: Fantasy/Humour
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

After not reading anything by Jasper Fforde for a few years, I was keen to get to this one, and a bit afraid it wouldn’t be as good as I hoped. I needn’t have worried. Fforde is at the top of his game here, in another alternate Wales. This time, we have hibernating humans and a naive hero newly recruited to the Winter Consuls, officials who stay awake through the winter to look after the sleepers. Written by a different author, this could have been a cracking, serious dystopian satire. All the ingredients are there. But because it’s Fforde, we have the serious issues and the satire, but also a lot of fun, with zombies (sort of), an evil corporation (maybe), strange shared dreams (or are they?) and all manner of weird and wonderful characters and groups who spend the winter awake while most of society sleeps on in blissful ignorance. It’s funny, absurd, exciting, thought-provoking, and full of imagination. I absolutely loved every page.


I also read one book that wasn’t on the list, and I’m glad I did.

HEALTHY PLANET, HEALTHY PEOPLE, HEALTHY HOME
By Helen Edwards
Genre: Non-Fiction/ Sustainability/ Green Lifestyle
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was such a delight. Gorgeous photographs, useful information, and lots of inspiring examples of people who have made thoughtful, creative choices in building and decorating their homes and creating planet-nurturing lifestyles. There are even some craft projects I’m itching to try!

What did you read in February? Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

2 thoughts on “What I Read in February 2020

  1. Loved your review of Jasper Fforde’s Early Riser. It is indeed a very different type of book (although similar to Thursday Next) and I’ve fielded many questions about the gender of Charlie. The story can be read with Charlie as either a man or a woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. veronicastrachan

    Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed Ochre Dragon Lyn,
    And Jasper Fforde is always a fabulous read for me.
    I’ve added a couple to my TBR pile as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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