TBR | February 2021

2/01/2021


February is the shortest month of the year so am I keeping my TBR at a reasonable number? No. These are only a few of the books I'm hoping to get this month, yay for ambition. As it's Black History Month I'm aiming to get to the books by black authors that have been on my TBR for too long, as well as some of the newer releases that I'm excited for but am relying on my library for so to avoid my own disappointment, I'm not including them on this list. Enjoy!

 

Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters #3)
Talia Hibbert

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she's given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It's time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she's not entirely sure how... Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner's on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right. Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she's infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it's melting Jacob's frosty exterior.

I have an eARC of this waiting patiently on my Net Galley shelf and this is the month I'll read it! If you've been living under a book community rock and are unfamiliar with The Brown Sisters series, these are some extraordinarily cute yet smutty romance books that will make you ache in all the best ways. I wasn't smitten with Get A Life, Chloe Brown as I think my expectations for the Fibromyalgia rep was always going to let me down, however, Take A Hint, Dani Brown was perfection. I buddy read it with the gorgeous @m.is.reading and it was a whole heap of fun. Talia Hibbert does a great job at interweaving series topics such as chronic pain, depression, and anxiety within a romance book without making either take a backseat. I'm positive that the Autism rep in this will be no different, and I'll turn the last page with both more knowledge on the illness and a metaphorical tent. It's February, give me all the smut. 


Outlawed
Anna Todd

The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada's life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows. She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she's willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

It's no secret around here that I'm a sucker for a Reese's bookclub pick, I haven't had the best of luck as I tend to give them either a 3 or 4 stars, never in-between, but I can't seem to not be interested. Do I have the vaguest idea what this book is about? Nope! But that cover is glorious. And it seems like a feminist western..? Which, yes, please, always.


The Vanishing Half
Brit Bennett

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?

I've been on my library's waiting list for this for over 6 months now so I finally sucked it up and just got a digital copy. I read The Mothers by Britt Bennet last year and fell in love with her writing. I was a tad iffy on the commentary on abortions in The Mothers as it felt quite anti-choice, however, I'm interested in what else she has to say and this premise sounds too good to pass up. Here's hoping the hype is justified..?


The Cactus
Sarah Haywood

For Susan Green, messy emotions don't fit into the equation of her perfectly ordered life. She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic, and an "interpersonal arrangement" that provides cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. But suddenly confronted with the loss of her mother and the news that she is about to become a mother herself, Susan's greatest fear is realized. She is losing control. Enter Rob, the dubious but well-meaning friend of her indolent brother. As Susan's due date draws near and her dismantled world falls further into a tailspin, Susan finds an unlikely ally in Rob. She might have a chance at finding real love and learning to love herself, if only she can figure out how to let go.

I was reading this when my Grandma passed away, so naturally, I put this book very far away from me. However, I'm now feeling strong enough to give it another whirl. Again, this is a Reese pick but it's also on my 21 Books I Want To Read In 2021 list. Can we take a moment to appreciate the cover?


Sing, Unburied, Sing
Jesmyn Ward

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Do you have a book on your shelves that is incredibly daunting for no good reason? This is that book for me. I think it's partly because of how heavy the synopsis sounds, it makes me expect very dry writing with a slow burning plot. I do want to read this though as everyone I know who has read it, has loved it. I'm torn as to whether I want to physically read it or go with an audiobook. Do you have a recommendation? 


The Book That Matters Most
Ann Hood

Ava’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood—one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.

All us bibliophiles love a book about books and I'm hoping this is going to fit that bill perfectly. This cover is extremely boring so I always forget why I want to read it until I reread that premise, so February will be the month! Mother/daughter dynamics in books tend to etch themselves onto my heart, as do books that have a subplot of a group of strangers coming together as a support system.


Homegoing
Yaa Gyasi

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast's booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia's descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

This has been compared to Girl, Woman, Other so many times which partly hurts my soul as we shouldn't constantly just compare books that have a similar theme BUT this sounds incredible. And intense. I struggle with books that span across generations as remembering characters is quite the challenge for me, alas, I want to read this. I'm amazed at how much depth people say this book has given the under 350 page count. I'm scared, but my expectations are high.


Difficult Women
Roxane Gay

The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the marriage of one of them. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.

Hunger by Roxane Gay was one of the many memoirs I read last year and I was awed at her ability to write beautifully while still being brutally honest about her experience with body image. I do have Bad Feminist on my shelves, but there's just something about Difficult Women that's appealing to me more. This'll be my non-fiction pick for February. 



What's topping your TBR for February?

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