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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!
What incredible books did you read this month? 


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