February Reading Wrap-Up

Here we are a week into March and I’m still not sure what happened to February.

February was a weird month for me. As a result, I ended up primarily listening to romance audiobooks. I tend to fall back on romance when in a reading slump and audiobooks when in a weird headspace. And that’s exactly what happened in February.

February started out with me finishing two books off my shelf. The first was the sequel in a duology. I read the first book in January and didn’t like it. But I picked up the sequel because (1) I already owned it and (2) I had some weird optimistic hope that the sequel would be better. The first book was the author’s debut novel and sometimes writers do get better. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for this sequel. But I forced myself to finish it to get it off my shelf. Normally, I would have DFN’d it but for some reason, I pushed through and then ended up giving it 1 star.

But I slogged through that one and then I read Elsewhere, another book that had been sitting on my shelf for far too long. An ARC I won from BookishFirst, I found it melancholy and unsettling. And it left me with more questions than answers. I gave it 3 stars but even a month later, I’m still not sure what to think of it.

In between, I did read the new Kate Daniels novella, Magic Tides by Ilona Andrews. Like many fans, I’ve been dying to get back into the world of Kate Daniels, one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series. In particular, I would love to read the sequel to Hugh’s book, Iron and Magic (I need more Hugh d’Ambray) or the sequel to Blood Heir (seriously, what does Derek have planned for Julie?). So Magic Tides was a nice dip back into the world, although not nearly long enough to quench my need.

I also started a non-fiction book about ravens for a non-fiction nature book club I’m in. However, I only got about a fourth of the way through before I set it aside. I found myself having to push through it as I found it too dry and academic despite the interesting subject matter. So that didn’t help keep me out of a bit of a slump (and I’m finally throwing in the towel on this book, marking it DNF today, and returning it to the library in the morning).

So despite devouring Magic Tides, it wasn’t enough to counter finishing a book I disliked, then one that I didn’t hate but didn’t really enjoy either, and trying to push myself through a third book I wasn’t enjoying. The result, I was left with a bit of a sour taste for reading in February.

This is why I do DNF (do not finish) books. When I find myself having to push through, not enjoying a book, I DNF it. Because of the times I do push through an unenjoyable book, I find I take a break from reading.

And when I get into a slump, I tend to turn to romance. HEAs for everyone!

On top of back-to-back disappointing reads, I’ve been in a weird headspace. And when that happens, I turn to audiobooks because audiobooks keep my brain from spiraling. Since I’ve listened to my current library of audiobooks, most more than once, I needed some new ones.

So what did I do? I pretty much downloaded nearly every Carly Phillips book.

I listened to 38 of them.

That’s right, thirty-eight audiobooks in 16 days. Because I didn’t start the Carly Phillips’s audiobook craziness until February 12.

I discovered Carly Phillips last year. I stumbled across her box set of 4 books called the Billionaire Bad Boys. The set was on sale, they looked like a light, fun reads, and hey, who doesn’t love a bad boy. And I did enjoy the series. In fact, I relistened to this box set between February 9-11, and then thought, hey, these are fun, I wonder what else she’s written.

Saying you’re going to check out what else the author has written is like saying you’re only going to check IG or Pinterest for a minute. Three hours later you look up and realize you’ve wasted half the work day on social media. I was only going to find another book, maybe another one of her box sets.

What I found is that she’s written around 75 books. I now own at least 44 of them (a couple I got and started but wasn’t feeling them.)

Let me be honest right now. This is not good literature. It’s not even good romance. These books are more contemporary spicy romance, most of which feature male protagonists who are alpha males with a capital A. On top of that, the storylines are cliche, predictable, and not realistic. Let me stress right now, not realistic at all. So very unrealistic for a variety of reasons. These are not books that anyone should read and think, hey that’s how to fall in love. Nope. Not at all.

Now I’m not slamming this genre or the author. Heck, I just admitted to owning a lot of her books. But let’s be honest. These are spicy romance. Romance because there is a HEA where the two leads “fall in love and live happily ever after.” Spicy because you read to get ideas for fantasy role playing between two consenting adults in the bedroom. (Seriously, these should be mandatory reading for most men because every male protagonist in these books knows not only what to do with a woman in bed, but understands that her pleasure is important and should be first). And for my purposes, these are excellent audiobooks when one is trying to keep one’s brain from thinking about life, the universe, and everything else. These are fun, easy reads that don’t require too much brain power. Like reality TV, but better for your brain because they’re still books.

For that reason, these books did exactly what I needed them to do. Distract me from life and kept my brain from spiraling.

My reading total for February is 42 books:

  • 3 physical books
    • 2 from off-my-shelf
    • 1 pre-order (Magic Tides)
  • 39 audiobooks
    • one which was contemporary fiction (Remarkably Bright Creatures – I loved Michael Urie as the voice of Marcellus)
    • 38 contemporary spicy romance

Overall, I listened to 250 hours and 59 minutes of audiobooks in February. When I saw exactly how many I audiobooks I finished, I admit, I even impressed myself.

But what that also means is I’m a bit behind my off-the-shelf challenge. But I’m going to try to make up for it starting this week. I’ve already started another ARC I won from BookishFirst. It’s a middle grade book and I should be able to finish it quickly. And then back to the shelf. I’ve even sworn off going to the library until I’ve cleared more off my shelf. I’m also going to try to squeeze in at least 2 non-fiction books because I read ZERO nonfiction in February. (Although I could count the one I’m about to DNF since what I did read of it was technically in February.)

Now onward into March!

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