Books I Read in February

 I was so lucky to read a lot of really great stories this month!  I feel like almost all the books I've picked up since 2022 has started have been exceptional (those I didn't really care for I have mentioned).  



1.  The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain-- Oh this was such a great book! I just could not put it down.  Though by the time the mystery was revealed I had pretty much figured it out.  I didn't mind though as that did not detract from the story. Told in two parts: Kayla (in 2010), who is moving into a new house after the loss of her husband, keeps finding mysterious things happening to her and around her home. She can't shake the feeling that the woods are haunted and she's not welcome.  Ellie (in 1965) is a wealthy white college student from North Carolina who joined the civil rights movement one summer to help register black voters over her summer break.  Canvassing near her hometown Ellie is met with lots of violence and comes face to face with prejudice within her own small social circle.  



2. To Have and To Kill by Mary Jane Clark-- I really enjoyed this cute little murder mystery book and I was thrilled to find it's part of a series.  I don't know what it is about murder and sweets like cupcakes, chocolates, and cake but they do seem to go so well together. When Piper is asked to help make a wedding cake for her former co-star she has no idea that getting wrapped back up in the world of her former soap opera could be so dangerous.


3. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe-- I got this as an audiobook (narrated by Rob Lowe!) and really enjoyed listening to Rob tell his own stories.  Many of them are just unbelievable and I can't help marvel over the fact that he made it into adulthood at all. I usually like memoirs anyway but found I wanted to drive longer just to keep listening to this one.


4. The Children's Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin-- I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel about the Children's Blizzard of 1888.  I had never heard of this freak storm that blasted the great plains out of nowhere that killed more than 200 people.  It was such a sad and moving story. 

5. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune-- I thought this was such a cute story!  Linus Baker is a quiet, unassuming worker for the government with a job of examining orphanages for children with magical and special abilities. When he is given a month long, secret assignment to check out the orphanage near the sea he finds that casework sometimes goes beyond the rule book  and beyond prejudice.  The characters are cute and quirky and there is an underlying theme of love and acceptance throughout that I just loved. 



6. Drowning with Others by Linda Keir-- I got sucked into this murder mystery right away!  Andi and Ian have been together since high school.  But when a body turns up in the lake near their old high school and their daughter is one of a team of students that starts investigating they both get sucked in.  The body turns out to be one of their teachers who disappeared mid-way through senior year.  Both are fearful of what this will mean for their family since they are both keeping secrets.  A large bulk of the story is told from inserts they wrote in their school journals that year. 


7. Under the Northern Lights by S. C. Stephens-- Mallory is a nature photographer and when her plane crashes one winter over the wilds of Alaska she's pretty sure she isn't going to make it. Determined not to give into the pain and the elements, Mallory struggles to stay alive. When she's rescued by Michael she can't believe her luck.  After learning that she won't be able to get back to civilization until spring, Mallory decides to make the best of it.  As Mallory heals and pitches in more and more her and Michael can not help but learn more and more about one another.  As close quarters lead them to bond Mallory finds herself falling in love but Michael is resistant to change and convinced he doesn't deserve love.  I thought this was a really well written love story with enough twists and turns to keep the story interesting. 


8. Along the Broken Bay by Flora J. Solomon-- Another historical fiction novel; I found that once the story got going I just could not put it down.  While this is a World War II novel this one was quite different from any others I have read.  Taking place on the Philippine Islands mainly around the capital city Manila the central story revolved around Gina.  Gina is a wealthy American living the good life in Manila when the Japanese army attack just days after Pearl Harbor.  With her husband working on a nearby island, Gina is on her own. The army quickly invades and takes over and Gina, her daughter, and her friends are forced to flee and hide or be taken into camps because they are American. Joining a team of resistance fighters, Gina is smuggled back into Manila under an assumed name and identity where she opens a nightclub to spy on the Japanese and raise funds for the guerilla armies.  



DNF:

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey-- I wasn't sure I wanted to listen to this book after reading a few rather scathing reviews about it but I figured I really enjoyed listening to Rob tell his life story and I've always liked McConaughey's works and voice so why not give it a try?  I could not make it past the first disk (there were 6 of them).  The memoir snippets were fine; though I found many of them to be quite disturbing but the drivel in-between where he tries to impart wisdom just grated on my nerves. Matthew often talks in circles and I often found myself wondering "WTF??"  (and I pretty much NEVER use the F word).  

Linking up with:










Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing as always! You are on a reading roll!

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  2. You read so many books last month Joanne. I will add these to my reading list.

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  3. Ohh it's the best when you get on a good kick with reading. I have The Last House on the Street and need to restart it-- I read a few chapters, but wasn't sure I was in the mood for it at the time.

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    1. It was definitely a bit dark and twisty at times and so hard to read about so much hate.

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  4. I loved The Last House On The Street and The House In The Cerulean Sea. I don't usually enjoy celebrity memoirs. I like Rob Lowe on 9-1-1 though!

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    1. I found him to be very down to Earth. He fully admits his road to fame was crazy and that he was lucky to have found rehab and his wife at the times in the life he truly needed them.

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  5. Everyone seems to love House in the Cerulean Sea....I feel like I have to read it now! I love reading memoirs of any kind so I think I also have to add on Rob Lowe's to my list.

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    1. It was an adorable story about love and acceptance. I am finding I am really into memoirs right now and his was one of my favorites.

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  6. What a great selection of books. You have struck really lucky with what you have read. x

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  7. Green Lights was also a DNF for me. I wanted to love it since MM is a fellow Texan and graduate of my university, but I couldn't get past about 30 minutes of listening. And my hubby got the book for Christmas from a relative - ha, ha! I loved the Children's Blizzard.

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    1. Yeah, I was just like what am I listening to?! By 10 minutes in you should not still be saying "this book is about" by now I should just know because this book should have started. LOL. Thank goodness it was free from the library.

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  8. I would love to read Rob Lowe's autobiography. I had such a crush on him on West Wing!!

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    1. I've just started watching the West Wing based on a few stories he told about it. I had never watched it at all.

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  9. I read a children's book about the Blizzard of 1888 with my son a couple of years ago and we both enjoyed it. I'll have to add this one to my list!

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  10. I have yet to read any of these (and thanks for the honesty about the last one). The last house on the street sounds amazing, and I get that way too when it's hard to put it down!!
    XOOX
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. I have one I'm reading right now that is pretty much the same; I read 133 pages yesterday while also managing to get everything else on my "to do" list done.

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  11. I loved The House in the Cerulean Sea! The Last House on the Street is on my to read list. I enjoy Chamberlain's books but haven't read this one yet.

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  12. I thought I would like Greenlights more than I did. He does talk in circles LOL

    I have been considering the Rob Lowe book.

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    1. Yes, the talking in circles did drive me batty. I mean, I love his voice so it wasn't all bad but I just could not keep going. I really enjoyed Rob's book though.

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  13. You had a great month of books. I low-key (LOWE-key...see what I did there?!) love Rob Lowe, so I need to check that title out!

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  14. You had a great reading month! Adding some of these to my TBR list.

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  15. I've had The Last House on the Street on hold from the library for a while. I'm glad to hear that it was good even though you did figure it out before the end! I typically figure the plot of books out pretty early on, sometimes I'm okay with that and other times it annoys me! And Along the Broken Bay sounds really interesting!

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    1. I almost always figure out the plot of books pretty early on too and sometimes it's okay and sometimes I completely ruins the rest of the book.

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  16. You're on a roll - reading wise. Some great sounding titles there, but can I just say, that Rob Lowe cover? How did the man get through the exploits you've hinted at in his younger years and still manage to look like that? (Can I even say something like that?) Thanks for linking up.

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    1. LOL: of course you can. He's a major idol for a reason.

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  17. Hi, Joanne - Thank you for joining us at What's On Your Bookshelf. Your reading list for last month is very impressive. I wouldn't normally be interested in a Rob Lowe memoir -- but you've convinced me that maybe I just might! :D

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  18. What a great batch of books! I added Drowning With Others to my to-read list. It sounds wonderful.

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    1. I just added Drowning With Others to my Want to Read list too. I hadn't heard of it before and it sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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  19. Hi Joanne what a great collection of books! I love this link up because I find books that perhaps I would have missed reading. I do love a mystery/crime/thriller so your first two sound like something I would enjoy. I had not heard of the 1888 blizzard either. I also enjoy historical fiction. Thanks for joining in with our What's On Your Bookshelf? link party and I look forward to your post next month. Happy reading! x

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    1. I love book links like this too; I always find a few new ones to add to my list!

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  20. Hi Joanne, great to have you post in our link up for What's on your bookshelf. I enjoyed your reviews and isn't it funny when we want to keep driving just so we can listen to more of the book? I do that too!

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  21. I enjoy reading celebrity memoirs. I just read Sutton Foster's "Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life." Her rise to stardom is impressing and organic which was weirdly refreshing in a time when people find instant fame via social media.

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    1. Oh I bet I'd like that one; I really enjoyed her in Younger.

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