Reading Wrap-up | Books I Read in Feb 2020 | 7 Children’s Picture Books | 5 Novels | 2 Short Stories | 1 Novella

I had a gala time in February reading bright, colorful picture books with rhyming verse. I have a newfound respect for writers and illustrators of children’s books. I hadn’t realized that it isn’t easy to create a book that will appeal to children.

Children’s Picture Books

For instance, in Little Bit & Big Byte, A Day at the Beach [full review], I found that the illustrations were too busy–too many things happening in a single frame. My 4-year-old got frustrated trying to look for the hidden object in the picture and soon lost interest. The book is targeted at preschoolers, but the computer terms used were too advanced for my child to grasp. This book would be better aimed at older children, aged 7 years and above.

The book’s sequel, Go Green [full review], on the other hand, was the perfect mix of catchy verse and attractive illustrations. Children can also relate to the things mentioned in the pictures, such as turning the tap off while brushing one’s teeth and turning off the lights and fans when not in a room.

We All Have a Superpower [full review] and The Giants and the Smalls [review out on Mar 11] are inspirational books, meant to teach children to believe in their own potential and not hold back from following their heart. The Giants and the Smalls delivers its message through a story, whereas We All Have a Superpower directly talks to the reader.

I found Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat [full review] and When the Squirrel Sings [full review] to be perfect for very young children (2-5 years). They have big, bright pictures about animals and birds, pretty rhyming verse that can be read to children, and also teach readers about new words and phrases.

I was following the author on Twitter and I noticed the Amazon link to the book in her bio. I’ve often seen women/girls labeled “unlucky” or “panauti [Hindi]” in our society and mistreated, so I was interested to know why Chumki was considered unlucky and what happens afterward.

I will share a review soon! Amazon link: https://amzn.to/3a6rIUe

Full-length Novels

I had begun the year resolving to read at least 4 books a month (i.e. roughly 1 book a week).

I don’t know whether it is because of all the ARCs I have requested and the blog tours I have signed up for, but I seem to be reading 2 books a week. This is huge for me, and I hope I can keep the momentum going!

I sourced ARCs of Outrush, Letter from Galapagos, and A Bit Too Much from Reedsy Discovery.

Outrush is a paranormal romance with handsome and mysterious sirens. The author’s language is effusive and the romance is intense and all-encompassing. [full review]

Letter from Galapagos is a slow-paced adventure novel with planes, boats, and financial fraud. The story crawls at a leisurely pace and is filled with interesting details. [full review]

A Bit Too Much is about a high school graduate losing job after job to automation. It is a gritty look at the ground reality today. [review out on Mar 04]

I have signed up to be a part of two blog tours organized by Rachel’s Random Resources, and I got to read Fateful Coincidence and We Are Animals.

Fateful Coincidence [full review] is an NA romance–the third of a series–but can be read as a standalone novel because there’s enough backstory. It has plenty of drama, tears, makeups and breakups, weddings, pregnancies–just about everything! My stop on the blog tour was on February 28.

We Are Animals is an entirely different kind of book, which defies categorization. It is slotted as contemporary fiction and humor, but it is so much more. I chose the book because it is primarily set in Goa, India–my home country. My review will be posted on March 08.

Short Stories/Novellas

When I read a novel, I get invested in the characters and I find it hard to let go. I’ve found a solution to this problem. To help me attain detachment, I turn to short stories and novellas.

I’d read only foreign authors so far, so I decided the short stories and novellas would be by Indian authors. I had been following Sudesna Ghosh on Twitter for a while, and I found many of her books on Kindle Unlimited. I picked up a short story (It Started With a Cup of Coffee) and a novella (Second Chance at Love).

It Started With a Cup of Coffee: https://amzn.to/2VoTffE

Second Chance at Love: https://amzn.to/3a5hROn

I’m yet to write full reviews for these, but I can say that I simply loved Second Chance at Love. It hooks you from the first page and doesn’t let you go until the end. I read it in a single sitting and I came out of it refreshed and invigorated.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy It Started With a Cup of Coffee. It felt like the story was going nowhere and just when things got interesting, it comes to an abrupt stop. However, I’d insist that you read it yourself and decide how you feel about it because it is written well in simple and flowing language.

The Candle Stand is a must-read. I have read several of Debeshi Gooptu’s short stories and I enjoyed every single one. I realized many of her stories are on Juggernaut Books, so I’ve got to sign up for it soon. I have written about her short stories in a separate post, here.

Did not Finish

This is a painful section of the reading wrap-up, but I don’t want to skip it. I don’t like giving up on books because I feel the author has put in his/her sweat and blood into it. On the other hand, if I don’t enjoy a book, it is a chore to read it. I find myself putting away the book/Kindle and trying to find other things to do. That’s a clear sign that the story isn’t working for me.

This month, I did not finish Arnold Falls by Charlie Suisman. It was an ARC from Reedsy Discovery.

https://amzn.to/3a72Yva

I just could not get into this book, and I didn’t understand quite a lot of the cultural/popular references. It felt like reading a foreign language. Plus, it was really, really slow.

What I am Currently Reading

https://amzn.to/3a3kIYe

I’m on a blog tour for this book with Rachel’s Random Resources and my stop is on March 20. I’ve just begun, so I haven’t formed an opinion on the story yet.

What I Plan to Read Next

I had planned to read Mayhem at the Mission this month, which has gotten pushed to April because I signed up for blog tours for March.

I’m just going to leave the covers of the books that I plan to read in March because I’ll be talking about them over and over again in my reviews and reading recaps.

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