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February 2022 New Release Books

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I can’t believe we’re almost through the first month of the year already! How did that happen? It’s time to look forward to February new releases that I’m looking forward to reading (at some point). My TBR grows daily!

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Black Cake is a historical fiction novel about two siblings whose mother leaves behind a mysterious inheritance upon her death. Through a voice recording, their mother recounts a heartbreaking tale that forces the siblings to reconstruct their true history.

I’m expecting a book that offers a lot of life lessons, a dash of mystery, and a whole heap of self discovery.

Release date: February 1 2022


Catch Her When She Falls by Allison Buccola

I actually have an ARC request out for this book because I really need a good thriller in my life soon. In Catch Her When She Falls, Micah’s high school boyfriend kills her best friend. A decade later, Micah has moved on from the trauma and leads a busy life as a small business owner. That is, until reminders of the past start showing up and forces Micah to reexamine her memories of that deadly night.

I’m expecting a psychological thriller that leaves the reader feeling just as lost as our main character.

Release date: February 1 2022


New Rome: The Empire in the East by Paul Stephenson

I always have a nonfiction release on my radar and February is no different. New Rome is a science-based examination of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire with the goal of answering the question that has been plaguing many of us in recent years – will we fall like Rome?

I also have an ARC request out on this book because after everything we’ve experienced in the past 5 years, I’ve often wondered, what are the signs that a great empire is falling? How would we know that our nation is on the decline?

Release Date: February 8 2022


Group Therapy by B.B. Easton

If ever a romcom doesn’t appear on my anticipated new releases list, please check my temperature for I have fallen ill. I am hesitantly excited for this book. Hesitant because the premise is about an experienced therapist who falls for one of her patients and creates a group therapy program in order to “ethically” see him outside of their sessions.

This book could go one of two ways for me – if it’s a quirky, lighthearted ensemble of characters I think it could be wildly entertaining and fun. If it’s dismissive of actual mental health issues or veers into some kind of creepy power play between therapist and patient, it’s not going to be my ticket. So, we’ll see!

Release date: February 1 2022


Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

Fantasy isn’t always my cup of tea, but this one has piqued my interest. In Only a Monster, our main character Joan is spending the summer with her family in London. She’s living it up, working at a historic site with her charming crush, Nick. Everything is going well for Joan until she discovers a long hidden family secret – her family are monsters. Oh, and Nick? Yeah, he’s a monster slayer.

The summary for this book promises that Joan is no heroine and I am here for it. I’ll definitely give this one a shot.

Release date: February 22 2022

Are you looking forward to any new releases in February?

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Book Review: Boyfriend Material

  • Title: Boyfriend Material
  • Author: Alexis Hall
  • Genre: Queer romance fiction
  • Rating: ★★★★✩

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I love my characters queer and complicated. Alexis Hall is quickly becoming one of my favorite romance writers for his snarky and diverse characters who are anything but perfect and yet wildly relatable.

The Trope

Boyfriend Material is a little bit enemies to lovers, but primarily a fake dating trope premise. The plot goes like this: Lucien is the son of formerly famous rockstar parents. His aging father has spent the past couple decades burned out and cycling through rehab programs, but when the rockstar starts to make a comeback, Luc finds himself reluctantly thrust into the spotlight once more.

Unfortunately for Luc, he also has a tabloid-worthy history that makes him reluctant to let his guard down. Wanting to prove that he isn’t like his father, he and his supportive friend group devise a plot to get him on the front page in a good way – the perfect boyfriend.

Enter Oliver, a mature and morally ethical barrister who is a complete stranger to the limelight. Though their previous encounters with each other have left much to be desired on both sides, Oliver happens to also be looking to impress at an upcoming family event.

The Problem

Every good romance arc needs a good problem, right? Well, as with all fake dating tropes, the problem with fake dating is that it comes with all the problems of real dating. Luc and Oliver both have histories and familial trauma to overcome if they’re going to make things work for their respective needs.

Luckily StoryGraph has your back if you want to check out content warnings before reading. Check them out here. To be clear, this book is very far from what would be referred to as “trauma porn” but there are a few themes that might be triggering for some readers so it’s always a good idea to check those out before diving in.

The Best Part?

One of my favorite things happened with this book. The book was recommended to me by one of my Twitter friends and I was loving the book so much I didn’t want it to end. I knew I would miss the characters, especially Luc, who I have such a soft spot for.

But then… I looked it up and there is a SEQUEL coming out in 2022. Trust me, when you finish the book you’ll see why a sequel is 100% necessary. I’m so excited to check it out later this summer. Thoughts and prayers that I can get an ARC!

Another thing I’ve noticed with Hall’s books is that each one has a collection of distinct side characters who are diverse, interesting, and fun. Boyfriend Material is no exception. I found myself loving Lucien’s mom, his best friend, even his coworker. All of the characters are quirky and unique, but also feel like people you might meet in real life. I appreciate the detail and effort Hall put into this cast of characters.

Final Thoughts

The only thing I hoped for when finishing this book was that we’d gotten to learn more about Oliver and his family earlier in the book. I was so relieved to see that there’s a sequel coming out because, for a romance book that’s over 400 pages long, I felt like there was a lot more to discover about Oliver and a lot more to explore with Luc and Oliver’s relationship. That’s why I’m so excite for the sequel.

Now, please join me in manifesting an ARC because I can’t wait until August!

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ARC Book Review- Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality

  • Title: Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality
  • Author: Dr. Julia Shaw
  • Rating: ★★★★1/2
  • Anticipated Release Date: June 28, 2022

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know already that Bi by Julia Shaw was one of my most anticipated reads of 2022. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of the book through NetGalley and I’ve spent some time with the book over the past couple weeks in anticipation of this review.

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Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality

Shaw’s book on all things bisexual aims to shine a light on what is one of the lesser spoken about sexual orientations. Starting with the history and etymology of sexuality as a whole, Shaw methodically and thoroughly breaks down what it is to be bisexual – both scientifically and culturally.

Weaving a web of well-researched history and science, Shaw tells the complete arc of bisexuality from inception to modern day. Drawing both on her original research and her personal life experiences, this book is clearly intended to be both an educational tool and a love letter to the community.

First of all, I found this book to be so validating. I can’t even begin to explain how many times my sexuality has been dismissed in both heterosexual communities and self-proclaimed lgbt+ communities. As a woman, when I’m with a man, I’m straight. And when I’m with a woman, I’m pretending to be interested in her with the hopes of attracting male attention (as if any woman needs more of that). *insert heavy eye roll*

It’s so clear to me from reading this book that Shaw just gets it. She’s done her homework twice over, compiled all of her scientific data points and historical facts, and written what is a concise, unbiased guide to understanding bisexuality. The fact that Shaw has personal experience is truly just a cherry on top of a wonderful sundae.

This book spares no details, starting with the etymology of the words we use and describe sexuality to tests of sexuality, like the Kinsey scale and the Klein grid. Each chapter ends with a list of references that are noted throughout the chapter, which I really appreciate because there were certain parts of the book that I wanted to learn more about and the references helped me delve a bit deeper.

I also appreciate how candid Dr. Shaw was in describing her own sexual awakening and experiences with the LGBTQ+ community. It was so validating to read her reflections on her experiences that parallel the experiences of so many others in the community. I think this book is important for bi visibility and it’s a good step toward bringing a close to bi erasure.

This book is very thorough and I can see where it might get to be a little too detailed for some people, but I view it as 50% memoir, 50% research study and 100% needed. I can only hope that the book gets into the hands of the people who need to read it the most. I know I’ll be promoting it to anyone who will listen when it comes out this summer!

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Book Reviews

Book Review: The Song of Achilles

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Welp, I’ve done it. I’ve finished my first book of 2022! I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or an unfortunate circumstance that I’ve started my year off on such a beautifully written book. I’m not sure how future books can live up to the prose and my emotional investment in this story.

As with many other readers, I’ve been completely gutted by this book. And honestly confused as to why because I’ve read the Iliad and I knew this entire story before I even began reading. Perhaps that is why it was so devastating to read, watching Patroclus fall in love while knowing the end result. It gets even more difficult to bear when Patroclus learns of the foretold prophecy and must live on that way.

Miller’s writing is accessible and concise. I could see the world she was building with little effort. I was highlighting lines left and right because the prose was so beautiful, they could have easily been plucked from the pages and dropped into the middle of a poem without raising questions.

Patroclus feels like such a relatable character – someone who is self-aware and willing to humble themselves who simultaneously doesn’t back down from what they believe in. From his flee to Phthia to his time with Chiron and later in Troy, all through the development of his relationship with Achilles, Patroclus carries such a strong sense of empathy and moral value.

If you know the Greek mythology of the Trojan War and all the characters, you’ll certainly notice a fair amount of changes – but it is a retelling after all. The changes made help build the characters into multidimensional and believable people, with flaws and all. The book is written in such a way that impresses upon you a realistic manner of speech and of ritual, but is also approachable for those who don’t know anything about the mythology.

All of this being said, I truly struggled to finish this book. It took me twenty days to read this, and yes, I was typically reading at least one chapter a day. I was just getting increasingly sad knowing that all of this was going to sleep between Patroclus’ fingers. It honestly made me feel a little bit nauseous at times, and I’m the type of person who reads seriously dark books with every trigger warning possible.

There was absolutely something so emotional in this book and in the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. The way their love is written, so fierce that it skirts the line of obsessiveness, but not in a toxic way like these kinds of relationships are written in so many contemporary books. I 100% need a palate cleanser to recover from this one.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5 stars and let’s hope that 2022 brings many more beautifully written books into my life!

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General Book Posts

February Book Club Picks + Reading Update

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Phew, been a while since a bookish update and I told have a reasonable explanation for why! But first, my 25+ book club discord has picked its group reads for February! We’re only a couple weeks into existence at this point and the community there is already so wholesome and supportive, I love the energy.

February will be our first month of group reading. We all nominated books from our TBR lists and then voted on which we wanted to read. The top two winning books were Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi and Hold Still by Nina LaCour.

I’ve never read either of them and Before the Coffee Gets Cold has been on my TBR for a little while now so I’m excited. Hold Still sounds very intense, but I can’t wait to discuss it with the group.

If you’re 25+ (or turning 25 this year) you can join us for our group reads at https://discord.gg/mERkYRyVhd

Now, onto my personal reading update. Well… I haven’t finished a book in 2022 yet, which is not what I was expected when January started! The problem I’m having is that I’m reading The Song of Achilles, and the book is great, but I’m reading it incredibly slowly.

I know the mythology behind the Trojan War so I’ve already known how this retelling was going to end since before I even started reading it. Before Thetis’ prophecy was told in the book and all of that.

What I didn’t expect was to be so emotionally involved in Patroclus and his relationship with Achilles in the book. I’ll write a whole review once I finish with the book (I’m around 65% complete at this point), but I’m already pre-sad about everything that’s happening and everything that’s going to happen.

This is actually very strange for me because I don’t often become emotionally entangled in book characters the way a lot of readers do. I mean, I do get invested while I’m reading, but not to the extent that it’s difficult for me to read it. I have a few other books I’ve been reading in the meantime in between chapters of TSoA. I know that once I finish it, I’ll probably finish the other books quickly right behind it.

So my goal this week is to push through the last 35% of TSoA before Saturday and then spend the weekend finishing the other books that I’m 50-75% done with at this point. But let me tell you, reading this book has been a whole entire experience for me. Can’t wait to review it!

What about all of you? How are your 2022 reading goals coming along so far?