February 2020 Reading Recap


I am so ahead on reads and somehow feel behind. These last few months have been rough for me, but I am so glad that 2020 continues to deliver incredible reads which provide some kind of escape.

Read Cover-to-Cover in February


Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

  • Queer librarians find a stowaway who wants to take on the work of resisting an oppressive society in the wild west
  • Takeaway: Establish the rules of a world entirely through character interactions



Ink in the Blood (Book 1) by Kim Smejkal

  • Young adult dark fantasy using ink magic as a form of religious propaganda
  • Disaster bisexuals run off to join the circus
  • Takeaway: Crafting a queer norm world while still making a religion monstrous


Finna by Nino Cipri

  • Adult science fiction queer love story featuring wormholes in an IKEA
  • Author interviewed this month (read here)
  • Takeaway: Leave some room for tenderness between the strangeness


Conspiracy of Ravens (The Shadow #2) by Lila Bowen

  • Rhett Walker discovers himself and his role in a world of shifters and rogues in an alternate wild west
  • Takeaway: Weaving together various mythologies into a scary fun time


Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold

  • Young adult contemporary fantasy which loosely uses magic and fairy tales as a vehicle to talk about menstruation and feminine desire
  • Takeaway: Retellings don’t actually have to be that exact


The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

  • Young adult first contact science fiction novel in which aliens want to take over humans as vessels by stealing away their art
  • Takeaway: Using references to illustrate the power of stories and music


Daughter from the Dark by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko

  • Adult fantasy in which a radio DJ takes in a young girl with a demon bear
  • Unrelatably Russian
  • Takeaway: Using references to illustrate the power of stories and music



The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Howard

  • Multi-generational story which criticizes adventurers of old
  • Takeaway: Lean into the magic of stories to weave together an otherwise complicated tale


Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

  • Young adult science fiction about a young woman who can give folks metallic parts in a world banning such augmentations
  • Takeaway: Figure out the space stories need to prevent pacing issues, especially towards the end


The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle

  • Adult horror about a man trapped in a mental asylum with the literal devil
  • Takeaway: Use immediate fears to bring to light more thematic fears


The Hunger by Alma Katsu

  • Adult horror inspired by the tragedy of the Donner party
  • Terrifying and heart-breaking
  • Takeaway: Deep characterization and atmosphere brings forth horror


F*ck No!: How to Stop Saying Yes When You Can’t, You Shouldn’t, or You Just Don’t Want To by Sarah Knight

  • Another guide by Sarah Knight that’s expletive-ridden but full of truth
  • No isn’t the swear word we think it is
  • Takeaway: Really valuable information to be found here about setting boundaries to live your best life


Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

  • Next-level young adult Macbeth retelling about a girl getting violent revenge on her rapists
  • Cathartic af
  • Takeaway: An excellent case study how using retelling to tell uncomfortable truths


Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

  • Contemporary fiction unraveling the secrets surrounding the explosion of an HBOT subtank
  • Takeaway: Be wary when grafting moral grayness because it can veer into downright villainy

Until next time,

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