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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Swindler

February Reading Recap

February was a month of audiobooks and thrillers. I read one of my favorite books of the year (I know it is February, but when you know, you know). Happy Reading!

Finding Me – Memoir, audiobook | 5/5

I am a sucker for a celebrity memoir, but this might be my new favorite. This compelling memoir is one that I will hold on to for a long time. Viola Davis is not just an incredible actress but a superb storyteller. Her story is inspiring and vulnerable. I highly recommend the audiobook as she narrates it. I did not want this book to end.

The Family Upstairs – Thriller | 4/5

This is a great slow burn. With three POVs, including one from the past, and short chapters (my favorite), this book is hard to put down. Perfect if you want a reliable (but not too scary) psychological thriller. This was my first Lisa Jewell read, and I am going to start looking at her backlist titles.

Sorrow and Bliss – Fiction | 4.5/5

This book covers such a heavy topic with such grace. Though it took me a while to understand Martha, her story was incredibly moving. On top of the complex main character, this book is beautifully written, and I found myself rereading paragraphs simply because of the writing. But don’t let the heavy topic fool you, this book is surprisingly witty.

If you are a fan of “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine,” “Writers and Lovers,” or Dolly Alderton, I think you would love this book.

The Writing Retreat – Thriller | 4/5

I could not put this book down. This is not my normal thriller read, but I love any book about writing books, so I picked it up! This book to me feels like a much bloodier version of “Nine Perfect Strangers” mixed with “A Strangers in the House”. Overall a solid thriller, great if you are looking for a quick read.

This also confirms that I will never own a cabin in the woods…

This book is a wild ride.

Adelaide – Fiction, audiobook | 2/5

I know my review is an outlier; believe me, I really wanted to love this book. The first fourth of the book was beautifully written and very compelling. I found Adelaide and her group of friends to be well-rounded characters. But, the writing quickly drew repetitive (so much one-sentence foreshadowing...I get it, Adelaide doesn't know what is coming...)

If you are looking for a book that deals with mental illness or toxic relationships, I would recommend "Sorrow and Bliss" or "Conversations With Friends."

Again, I know I am in the minority with this review – this book just wasn't for me!

Thank you to for my ALC!

This book is beautiful. I find Cain's insights like a warm hug from a close friend. They are tender and kind, and poignant. This book's theme differs from "Quiet," but her beautiful writing and insights remain.

Maame – Fiction | 5/5

"We all grieve in different ways…losing someone is universal, but I think that’s about it, really. The rest is our own thing."

I love books that are themed around grief, and this is one of my new favorites. The writing is beautiful, Maddie is such a multidimensional and realistic character, and the emotions of loss are so well described. I highly recommend this book.

This book was fascinating and made me wish that I had paid more attention in my college nutrition class. Honestly, a lot of the higher-level science went over my head, but I think this book deserves a read regardless. I hope that this book will continue the conversation about the brian-gut connection and gives me hope for the future of treating mental illness.

This book had been on my TBR for a long time, and I am so glad I picked it up. It is beautiful, honest, and hope-filled without cliché. I absolutely loved it.

I know that my review is an outlier for this book. Putting aside the problematic connection to the Canadian Residential Schools, I found this book hard to get into. The writing seemed to oscillate between YA and adult, and I found the dialogue oddly old-fashioned for a book that seemingly takes place in the future. The characters were the highlight of this book for me.

The House in the Pines – Thriller, audiobook | 3/5

Though I enjoyed this book, I have a hard time classifying it as a psychological thriller. The writing was good, but I didn’t connect with the plot or characters.

Thank for to for my audio copy. I do think listening to the audiobook enhanced my reading experience.


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