If there’s something you need to know about me, it’s that I read a lot. I have only just started to do book reviews, but I have a lot of books on my shelf I’d love to recommend to others, so starting this month I’m recommending four books for each month. I’m also planning on recommending books from four different genres – the genres I mostly read that is.
So let’s begin with the books I’d recommend for February!
My Book Recommendations
Fantasy: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.
Why I Recommend:
I really loved reading this book, and the next in the series. The characters were well thought out, there was drama and adventure at every turn, and I loved the idea of The Library. A place where you can read any book you want as it has a copy of every book from every reality, and you never grow old. Sounds like heaven to me!
I enjoyed meeting the characters, and I really liked Kai as Irene’s assistant. You could tell from the get go there was something secretive about him, and this plays out nicely with some of the story, as well as into the second book of the series (no spoilers yet).
I also liked the idea of alternative worlds and how the Library sort of connects to them all, making sure they don’t affect each other. There’s loads of fantastical characters too, like fairies and vampires and dragons pulled into the mix. It can get a bit complicated sometimes!
Like I said, there was drama aplenty, and it was more a combination of a fantasy and sleuth novel, so if you like a bit of murder mystery you’d probably enjoy this book too.
It’s 4 out of 5 stars from me. [Read in 2018]
Young Adult: Serpent & Dove
Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.
Why I recommend
This was a really easy read, and one of the reasons I love Young Adult is the fact that it jumps right into the story. This particular book did not disappoint in that.
I really liked the character of Lou, she was feisty and clever to boot, but I did get vibes of other books I’ve read like Outlander and some of the books about the witch trials I’ve read over the years. The chemistry between the two characters was nicely played out, as it starts with them hating each other and slowly starting to see the other’s point of view and positive traits. The chapters were written in the eyes of both characters, so you could appreciate their individual thoughts of the events happening around them.
I quite liked the world building but to be honest I was put off by the language. They talked very modern in a world that wasn’t modern – certainly Lou did. I expected the world to be the 17th Century yet certainly Lou acted like she probably would in modern day. That didn’t deflect from my enjoyment of the book though.
The only thing about it was I expected a lot of what happened, so there weren’t many surprises along the way. However, there were parts to the end I did not expect and I’d be keen to read the next book because of that ending.
Overall, I recommend the book as a 3 ½ stars out of 5. It’s a good easy read, and got enough action to keep you intrigued.
Fiction: Going Out by Scarlett Thomas
Luke is twenty-five and allergic to the sun. He is stuck in his bedroom, where the world comes to him through TV, the internet and Julie’s visits. Julie, meanwhile, is brilliant, kind and could be changing the world. Unfortunately she is too terrified of aeroplane crashes, road accidents and potentially life-threatening bacteria to leave her hometown. When someone contacts Luke and claims that he can cure him, Luke and Julie have to deal with their fears and face the world outside. With four friends, wellies and a homemade space suit, they set off in a VW Camper van along Britain’s B-roads. It is a journey that might just change their lives.
Why I recommend
I absolutely loved this book. I’ve reviewed it before on my blog, so you can check out my full review. But as mentioned, I loved this. I read it back in July 2020, after the first lockdown, and there was probably no other perfect time for it.
The character and plot of Scarlett Thomas’ books are fantastically laid out. She pulls in so many different topics into her books, from yoga to ayurveda (referring to this book in that instance), and I just love that. The characters themselves feel so real, you could almost imagine meeting them down at your local pub. They’re very realistic, which makes the book realistic as well.
I would say that the main plot of the book took a little to get going. It was more about the characters than plot for much of the book, but that’s no bad thing in this instance as it sets up the characterisation very well.
I definitely recommend any of Scarlett Thomas’ books, but Going Out is February’s recommendation.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
Nonfiction – The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: hygge.
‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’
You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.
Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.
Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He is committed to finding out what makes people happy and has concluded that hygge is the magic ingredient that makes Danes the happiest nation in the world.
Why I recommend:
I’ve also written a full review of this book here, but I definitely recommend it again. It’s perfect for February, as we’re still in the wintry part of the year where Hygge is felt at its best, but the book itself also goes through ways to feel hyggelig during the Spring, Summer, and Autumn months.
The book itself is split into chapters on different ways to feel the hygge, as well as all about different aspects of life you can incorporate it into, whether at home or work, out and about, with family, or with friends.
I recommend it as a good book to dip in and out of on regular occasions. There’s a lot of information, which can sometimes disappear on us if read in one go. I still remember, however, that burning 7 candles is the best for optimum hygge.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
That’s all for this month! Happy reading, and be sure to share your reads for February too!