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Booksbooksbooks! February Lookback Edition

Welcome to Booksbooksbooks, my new monthly look back at awesome books I've read & loved in the previous month. 
 
In the interest of time and being spoiler-free, I'll be posting my reading highlights with brief commentary on why I loved the book. Where possible, I'll post link to the books on GoodReads so that you can easily mark the ones you haven't read & want to as Want to Read.
 
Here we go!
 
 
1) Six of Crows -- Leigh Bardugo
 
Slain. Slaaaaaain!!! I loved this book. I loved everything about it. A heist in a fantasy setting, cleverness and brutality and tenderness and characters who came alive immediately...and for me, I felt like the story was so rich, had so much depth, that I continually forgot I was reading a YA novel. If this is the trend for YA fantasy, I am 100% on board. A few times, I wondered if maybe this was published as YA because of Bardugo's other series being YA (which I admittedly haven't read), but really, who cares, because I got sucked in and chewed up and spit out and now it's all I can do to wait for the sequel. Love, love, love.
 
 
2) 5 to 1 -- Holly Bodger
 
Set only a few decades in the future, India's gender ratio of 5 boys to every 1 girl is a result of the gender selection that's gone on for so long. To solve this problem, a group of women formed their own, independent country and instituted a series of tests where boys compete to "win" a wife -- because women are rare, precious, and valuable. But being considered valuable doesn't mean the girls are truly free, and Sudasa doesn't want to be a wife. Kiran, who is forced to compete for her hand, doesn't want to be a husband. 

The story, and how they try to thwart each other throughout, is told in two ways from both viewpoints: Sudasa's POV is in verse, and Kiran's POV is in prose. It's lyrical, haunting, and incredibly beautiful to see the struggle through their eyes. This is one of those quick-read novels that left me feeling as though I had discovered a rare gem that needs to be shared with others, so they can appreciate its beauty, too.

 
 
 

3) The Blackthorn Key -- Kevin Sands
 
A strong, solid middle-grade debut from a Canadian author! I really enjoyed this one! It kept me awake until 2am when I read it and left me exhausted the next day. No regrets!

We have a main character learning to be an apothecary, a mysterious foe killing all the apothecaries in the city, and a secret message left behind for the main character to solve. The description of the story might sound a little generic when you read it, but it was actually very well written, fun, full of action and compelling characters, and overall a well-rounded middle-grade offering for a new author on the scene. I'll be keeping my eyes open for more from this author in the future.
 
 

4) Emerge -- Tobie Easton
 
I'm only going to post the cover for this one because I have an interview coming up with Tobie about her debut release on the Swanky Seventeens blog next month. I had the privilege of reading an ARC of Tobie's book and all I can say is...if you like mermaid stories or unique spins on "after the fairy tale" concepts, keep an eye out for this one!
 
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What incredible books did you read this month? 



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