Reading Recap: The Books I Read In February

12 Mar 2021

What I read in February

 I’m a little late writing this because the first couple of weeks in March have been intense. Thank gawd for books always being there for me to escape into. Here’s what I read in February. 

Delayed Rays of a Star - Amanda Lee Koe

It starts with a real photograph of three women taken in Berlin in 1928; Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong and Leni Riefenstahl and then the story follows their lives against the backdrop of the war, cinema and beyond. Marlene will become a Hollywood icon, Anna May Hollywood’s first Chinese American star and Leni a famous filmmaker, Hitler’s favourite - a fact she will spend the rest of her life running from. I knew nothing of these three women before picking up this book but I have done a lot of googling since, and was surprised at how nearly all of the novel seems to be based on truth in one way or another. Sometimes it felt a little heavy, not one that the reader could easily race through, and I personally dislike the lack of speech marks in novels, but mostly the writing was richly detailed and the story a breathtaking portrayal of three fascinating women and other smaller, but perhaps more memorable, characters living through key events of the 20th century. 4/5

Dear Damsels Annual 2020

I only discovered Dear Damsels last year (talk about late to the party) and I felt like I had some catching up to do so I ordered their 2020 annual. This was a gorgeous collection of work by talented women writers on a variety of themes, accompanied by bold and colourful artwork. I was genuinely sad to reach the end. 5/5

Let Me Know When You’re Home - Dear Damsels

Dear Damsels first publication: 15 women explore female friendships in all its forms in this wonderful collection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I loved this honest & joyous celebration of the complex and beautiful nature of female friendships. 5/5

Girl A - Abigail Dean

I read this in just a couple of days because it sucks you in from page 1 and races along. After her mother dies, Lex has to contact her siblings to decide what to do with the House of Horrors where they grew up and were abused. She is Girl A – the one that escaped and raised the alarm. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the siblings and the trajectory of their lives in the years since. Whilst the subject matter is difficult, this isn’t torture-porn and so it’s not difficult to read – the opposite in fact. It’s hard to put down, almost as though you’re reading a thriller and I certainly didn’t see the devastating twist coming. 5/5

The Bone Houses - Emily Lloyd-Jones

This would be the perfect horror fairytale novel to read at Halloween. Since the death of her parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping by as low-paid gravediggers. But the problem with being gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren is that the dead don’t stay dead. The risen corpses are known as bone houses and when mysterious mapmaker Ellis arrives in town, they start to attack with a new ferocity, and so Ryn and Ellis embark on an adventure into the heart of the mountains to try and end the decades-old curse. This was pure escapism with folklore, adventure and a very gentle slow burning romance that doesn’t become the main focus (yes please to more strong women and soft-spoken, kind men as romantic leads). 3/5

The Panic Years - Nell Frizzell

This book was on my pre-order list for a long time and I would highly recommend it to all women in their twenties & thirties. Nell explores the decision we all must make at some point or other; whether or not to have a baby. I identified with this book a lot, finding myself nodding furiously or laughing out loud at Nell’s recount of her own panic years. The only thing I would note, because it is written from the author’s personal perspective, I would say it leans more towards women who choose to have children in the end rather than those who actively choose not to. Whilst I still think it’s relevant to all women, I would love to see a similar book written by a woman who makes the decision not to have children. Otherwise, I loved it. 4/5

Favourite quote: ‘A trillion light particles strike our skin at every second outside on a sunny day. Eight and a half minutes ago they left the surface of the sun, but they had first to wander blind and torrid for ten thousands years inside that massive star before they could escape to its exterior for emission.’ – Delayed Rays of a Star

Happy reading folks x