February was mostly masked by the winter blues, directly affecting my productivity for sure! As a result, I spent more time reading and reflecting instead of writing. I still managed to accumulate a humble 6,500 word count however. It was not the 20,000 I’d hoped for or the 15,000 achievment of January, but life required I reenergize and surrender control of my writing goals (for the sake of mental health and my family’s well-being).
As I worked through plot holes in my novel outline, I knew my mind needed the creative stimulation of great books. Below, I offer my opinions regarding the literary works I read in February and I hope you’ll consider these titles for your own enjoyment.
NOTE: If you’re wondering what all the “CAUTION’s” are for, I used to be an incredibly sensitive soul (I still am quite sensitive), and I used to wish books would have censorship ratings for readers just like movies do. I have therefore begun documenting whether or not a book includes sexual content, excessive violence or foul language. These cautions are not a reflection of opinion, but rather an informative tool for prospective book-buyers.
*Disclaimer: these reviews are my personal opinions and I receive no monetary compensation for their endorsement*
Fallen: Out of the Sex Industry & Into the Arms of the Savior
by Annie Lobert — ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
Annie Lobert’s poignant and heartbreaking testimony is powerful and will rally your inner activist! I got teary-eyed more than once and recommend this memoir to all of humanity. Sexual exploitation needs to be confronted, challenged and defeated. A must read!
CAUTION for the conservative reader: sexual references (hardly explicit)
She Regrets Nothing
by Andrea Dunlop — ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
The raving reviews for, “She Regrets Nothing,” come as no surprise. Andrea’s expansive vocabulary is delightful, weaving her colourful words with care. Each phrase is perfectly orchestrated setting Andrea Dunlop’s craft apart from the masses.
As an emerging author, I am beyond humbled by her talent and swooning with inspiration.
The calibre of Andrea’s writing style merits a five star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review, however, I settled on 4 stars for the following 3 reasons:
—Too many of the characters introduced have names beginning with “L.” It took me a good many pages of the novel to set everyone straight without needing to backtrack.
—Infidelity without true contrition (…Call me old-fashioned…haha)
—It’s a tragedy. Oh-so-brilliant but oh-so-sad.
All in all, “She Regrets Nothing,” was a page turner. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, the characters, the style, the stakes and Andrea’s immeasurable talent as a writer. There is no question about it, I’ve become a fan and will definitely be reading her other novels.
CAUTION for the conservative reader: although not overly-descriptive, there are sexually explicit scenes, brief but enough to be mentioned here: a fair warning.
The Night Olivia Fell
by Christina McDonald — ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
“The Night Olivia Fell” was an engaging story. The characters were expertly crafted, their relationships dynamic and their transformations endearing. An edge of sadness hangs over the plot from start to finish, sprinkled by sunny moments that warm the heart.
Christina McDonald’s writing is clear and her pacing is perfect. It was an easy and pleasurable read.
I feel the reviews and hype marketing this novel gave me higher expectations. It wasn’t the thriller I was expecting but still an enjoyable experience.
CAUTION for the conservative reader: some foul language to be expected and a few lines of sexuality (easy to skip if this is a deterrence). I’d wholeheartedly recommend giving this heartbreaking debut novel a chance.
Where the Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens — ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
Enraptured by author Delia Owens’ irresistibly captivating style, I confidently declare, “Where the Crawdads Sing,” the best and most beautifully written book I’ve ever read!
Similar in style to Harper Lee’s, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” Delia Owen’s debut is a literary masterpiece, meriting an easy 5 stars.
The language is rich, the prose laden with texture and symbolism—deeply romantic, poetic and tangible. As an emerging author I’m inspired while the reader in me is left yearning for more.
Dearest Delia Owens, I applaud you!
I cried three times and am still swooning with delight over this phenomenal work of art: a MUST read.
CAUTION to the conservative reader: brief sexuality but in good taste and easy to skip for the sensitive reader.
Making Love: The Chapman Guide to Making Sex an Act of Love
by Gary Chapman — ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
That concludes my February “Reads and Reviews”
On my list for March so far, I have, “Where the Forest Meets the Stars” by Glendy Vanderah and “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Erin McCole Cupp.