As I was writing my list of most anticipated March new releases I realized I completely forgot to publish the February edition! And considering the second month of the year is one of my favorites for new releases, I especially couldn’t let this post go to waste in the draft section. Coming at you a little bit late (but hopefully worth the wait) I bring you all the books I’m most excited for that hit shelves February 1-28. So without further ado…let’s cut to the new releases!
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza- February 7th
At this point Empress of a Thousand Skies holds a mediocre 3.52 rating on Goodreads, but enough of my favorite book blog people have given it rave reviews for me to place it on this list. Belleza’s debut reads like a unique mashup of The Lunar Chronicles and Carve the Mark, with a lot of interesting plot threads coming together. We have two main protagonists, Rhee and Alyosha, the former of whom is about to inherit an empire…and take revenge for her family’s murder. That is until a brutal attack nearly costs her life, and Aly (who struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices) is named as the prime suspect. The two are forced to go into hiding as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name, only to discover an evil that threatens to destroy their galaxy. I’ve never read a space opera before, which makes me super excited to see what all the hype is about. Empress seems about as hardcore as they come, and I can’t wait to see what the tagline of “vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy” is all about.
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro- February 14th
I wasn’t in love with A Study in Charlotte when I read it this past December. The characters failed to strike a chord with me, and I found the Sherlock Holmes lure lacking. That ending though was something I can’t stop thinking about, adding a whole new facet to Cavallaro’s reimagining- one I’m very excited to explore in this sequel. For those of you not in the know, Study follows Jamie and Charlotte; the modern day descendants of sleuths Watson and Holmes. After a string of murders on their boarding school campus, the two team up to catch the perpetrator and clear their names. Cavallaro left herself with a lot to work with this time around, and it’s my hope that The Last of August can carry the momentum forward. With a little added humor and more non stop action from start to finish, this one has lots of potential to be a new favorite of mine.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour- February 14th
We Are Okay is just about the teensiest YA book I’ve ever seen, punching in at a mere 234 pages. This makes me think Nina LaCour’s latest novel will read like a short story more than anything else, especially when I take into consideration the synopsis. It describes Marin, whose fled home permanently after a quarter life crisis type event, and is anticipating a visit from her former friend over Christmas break. That’s it. I anticipate a very reflective story with seemingly little happening, a lot of emotion, and a lot of character growth. All of these are things traditionally held in common by my ‘five star read’ shelf, so hopefully this one is right up my alley. Especially since I have to read one of LaCour’s many highly regarded works, so this one will set a precedent going forward. Has anyone read this one to tell me if it’s a good book by her to start off with? Or should I check out one of her better known books first?
American Street by Ibi Zoboi- February 14th
Magical realism is traditionally not my jam, however I’m giving American Street the benefit of the doubt and adding it to this list. A blend of multiple genres, Ibi Zoboi takes inspiration from her own immigrant story in telling the tale of Fabiola, a teenager from Haiti transplanted to Detroit. After her mother is detained coming into the US Fabiola must navigate a new home, a new family, and a new culture on her own. Just from that brief summary I can’t really see where the magical realism elements come into play, which I think might actually be a good thing. If it can be used as more of a symbolism type deal and less a focal point of the plot I think I’ll like it more, possibly even enjoying it??? Crazy, I know. I’m also very interested in the strong family dynamic Zoboi is already laying groundwork for in the synopsis, and am hopeful it plays a large role in the story. Of course, it also wouldn’t hurt if I ended up loving Fabiola as well. There’s a lot of potential here, so hopefully American Street ends up being a unique read I can recommend.
Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen- February 21st
I’ve heard a lot of really positive things about Susin Nielsen’s middle grade stories, namely We Are All Made of Molecules, leaving me far from pessimistic (ha ha, get it? 😉 ) about my odds of enjoying Optimists Die First. Protagonist Petula seems like exactly the kind of character I’m doomed to fall in love with; sweet, a little awkward, and crafty (always an added bonus). She’s recently experienced a family tragedy that’s left her fearful of life, and hesitant to break out of her comfort zone. Enter in Jacob, a fellow teen at her therapy group who Petula slowly forms a bond with. But as their pasts threaten to derail the present, the two will need to confront the source of their problems. This seems like a very traditional contemporary, perhaps on the younger side of the YA spectrum, that looks to put a new spin on age old themes. For this one to stand out to me I’ll need lots of humorous dialogue, a romance that isn’t cheesetastic, and added depth to the issue’s that’ll arise. I’m excited to see what Nielsen has in store!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas- February 28th
Easily on my list of top five “most anticipated” reads for the year, the hype for The Hate U Give is through the roof. And for very good reason too, considering the powerful message debut author Angie Thomas hopes to deliver. In this all too timely story of race relations, prejudice, and justice protagonist Starr feels like two separate people- the sole black student at a preppy private school, and a member of a poverty stricken neighborhood. The divide between these two worlds come to a head when Starr’s best friend is fatally shot at the hands of a police officer…and Starr is the only one living to tell the truth. Her decision to talk or remain silent will ripple out to impact the lives of everyone around her, and shape history in the process. I was let down by my last read based on the Black Lives Matter movement, All American Boys, so it’s my hope that Thomas can tell a more nuanced and dynamic story. Fingers crossed for my first five star read of the year.
What books are you most anticipating in February? Are any of these on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!