February Wrap-Up | snow days, mapmaking, and (of course) reading

Logically, I know that February is the shortest month of the year, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when it ends sooner than I expect. But March sneaks up on me every time! How are we already in the third month of 2021??

So February was…a month. There were definitely some highlights, but there was also a point midway through the month when I basically hit a wall. For about a week, I couldn’t read or write or do anything except force myself to go to work. After almost a year of pandemic life, it was probably about time, but it was rough going for a bit. I’m doing better now, I think.

I already know that that this upcoming month, which marks a full year of COVID, is going to be hard. I can’t help but feel like I’ve lost an entire year of my life with nothing to show for it but the fact that I’ve survived, which should be enough, but doesn’t always feel like it. Things are obviously looking up with vaccine rollouts and the hope of normalcy on the horizon, but it’s hard not to feel like I’ve lost something I can never get back. Sorry for the pessimism. At least the weather is starting to warm up here!

I had a decent reading month in February, reading a total of six books with an average rating of 3.9 stars. Almost everything I read was from a Black author, in celebration of Black History Month. And speaking of history months, have you checked out the Women’s History Month Readathon, a reading challenge that I’m leading in the month of March? It’s not too late to join—all you have to do is read books written by women!

I also celebrated three years of blogging in early February, which is just wild to think about. Thanks to everyone who has supported me along this journey! 💖

Now, let’s talk about what I read in January, shall we?

Books I read

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Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This novella, following a pair of siblings with extraordinary abilities surviving in a world full of systemic racism, explored some fascinating ideas, but if I’m honest I had no idea what was happening most of the time. Much of that is definitely me being dumb because I seem to have lost all my braincells, and I definitely didn’t have a minor existential crisis over it. 🙃 Anyway, this book was smarter than I am so I don’t entirely know what to make of it. 

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

Mini review here. This Arthurian legend-inspired YA fantasy had some really cool worldbuilding and characters that I latched onto, even if I wish it had gone deeper on some of the concepts it touched on instead of focusing so much on the romance. 

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This middle grade book about a girl writing letters to her incarcerated father whom she’s never met was so sweet! I really loved Zoe as a character, and the discussions of complicated families and an unequal justice system were well handled, in my opinion. Plus, there were lots of delicious baked goods! 

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Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (Brown Sisters #3) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 

Mini review here. A beautiful conclusion to this romance trilogy, following the youngest sister, Eve! As usual, the romance was adorable, the banter was top-notch, and Talia Hibbert’s writing was an absolute delight to read. 

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

Mini review here. This book blew me away, and I still feel like I’m processing it. I don’t even know how to describe it—it’s weird and haunting and gorgeous in a slightly horrific way. That totally makes sense.

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (reread)

Well, I finished my audiobook reread of The Lord of the Rings, and, wow. I just really love these books, guys. This world and these characters genuinely mean so much to me. Even though, yes, the ending of this book takes forever, you’ll never find my complaining about it, since I love how much emphasis Tolkien puts on making sure everyone gets a proper conclusion. The passage where Frodo is sailing to the Undying Lands is genuinely one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. Also, I have so many feelings about the fact that Sam is the character we end with, essentially making him the central character at the very ending of the story. It’s just beautiful, through and through.

February highlights

To All The Boys: Always and Forever (2021) Drinking Game - Drink When

To All the Boys: Always and Forever came out on Netflix, bringing the To All the Boys series officially to a close. This last movie was a delight, even with all its cheesiness and the fact that I’m still Team John Ambrose. I may have also gotten incredibly jealous of all the traveling Lara Jean got to do, but that’s just my COVID weariness.

Julie And The Phantoms GIF - JulieAndThePhantoms - Discover & Share GIFs

I’m quite late to this bus, but I watched all of Julie and the Phantoms in a day and! It filled my heart with so much joy!! Yes, it was also cheesy, but it was sweet and bright and heartfelt too, and exactly what I needed at the time. I loved all the characters so much. I don’t know how long we’re going to have to wait for a second season, but I want it immediately!

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Back in January, I ventured into the world of mapmaking by recreating the map of Middle-Earth, and in February I continued that by drawing the map from The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. This one was easier than the Tolkien map (even if the ocean did take forever) and I’m quite happy with how it turned out. 

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I also made a bookstagram this month, finally! I’ve been trying to not put pressure on myself with bookstagram and to let it be just another way that I can talk and get excited about books, rather than an obligation that I have to put tons of time and effort into. So far, I’m enjoying it, even if I don’t spend lots of time there. If you’re on bookstagram and I haven’t already followed you, let me know so I can do that!

Some other things: I travelled outside my city for the first time in, uh, a year?? I was only gone for one night, but I went with my parents to the coast and went on lots of long walks along the beach and through the forest. I cannot emphasize enough to you how little I have gone anywhere in the past year, so even this short excursion was such a nice escape from the mundanity of every day.

We also got lots of snow! Luckily, it didn’t affect my life too drastically, like in other parts of the country, and the rain washed it away within a few days, but it was nice to have a bit of time off work, go sledding, and see my dog all excited.

I also did some baking, as usual, and I have to include a photo of a cake that I made recently because it’s so pretty. ☺️

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February blog posts

In case you missed any of my posts from the month, here you go:

Women’s History Month Readathon 2021 Announcement 💖  Celebrating my three year blogiversary 💖  5 romance book recommendations based on sitcom couples 💖  Women’s History Month Readathon TBR 💖 Recently read books

I was able to somewhat get back into the habit of blog hopping in February (by which I mean I didn’t do it for a week or two and then on a day off spent hours catching up on what I’d missed). Here are some of the posts from this month that I loved:

💖 Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books talked about 5 easy ways to support book bloggers, which I think everyone should read! (I’m not biased or anything.)

💖 Sabrina @ Wordy and Whimsical recommended books based on popular aesthetics, which is such a creative way of thinking about books. I absolutely loved these recommendations!

💖 Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea guessed book synopses based on their book covers, basically proving that you can judge a book by its cover. This post was so fun to read. 

💖 Rae’s Reads and Reviews recommended romance books with BIPOC leads, including lots of books that I can’t wait to read myself!

💖 Charis @ Charis Rae talked about how to decide whether romance is essential in the book you’re writing. Since I’m very picky about romance in books, I loved reading this post!

💖 Lauren @ twenty-seven letters watched the Percy Jackson movies for the first time and gave us all her thoughts. I’m always a fan of roasting these movies at every opportunity, so this post was a delight. 

💖 Olivia @ Purely Olivia discussed why she falls in love with fictional characters all the time, which I relate to to an embarrassing degree. 

💖 Kayla @ The Book Loving Beaut listed all her favorite Black characters, including some of my own favorites! 

💖 Xandra @ Starry Sky Books talked about why she cut her Goodreads goal in half and how to deal with the pressure to read as many books as possible. 

💖 Birdie @ Birdie’s booktopia discussed crying in books, which is something I do constantly, so I related hard to this post. 

💖 Nyx @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books talked about whether YA books have too much romance, which, again, is something that I have a lot of opinions about. This post covered the subject so well!

March TBR

Well, I already posted about my TBR for the Women’s History Month Readathon, but once again, here are all the books I’m planning to read:

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  • Bruised by Tanya Boteju
  • Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard
  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • No More Heroes by Michelle Kan
  • This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
  • An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Wish me luck! And remember you can join in the Women’s History Month Readathon at any point during March! 😉

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What did you read in February? Did you find any new favorite books? What are you planning to read in March?

x Margaret

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23 thoughts on “February Wrap-Up | snow days, mapmaking, and (of course) reading

  1. Thank you for including my post!! I am also Team John Ambrose for life and nothing will ever change my mind!! Love and Always was still a great time and I loved this series with all my heart! OMG Julie and the Phantoms is one of the best shows ever. I listen to the playlist all the time especially Unsaid Emily (so emotional 😭). I can not wait until season 2 comes out because I can not get enough of those boys!!!
    I hope you have a great march!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. February was a strange one, and I’m already feeling weird about March. I totally get what you mean by feeling like all that was accomplished was surviving, and sometimes that doesn’t feel like enough–it is enough, especially because these are unprecedented times for us, but it can be hard to adjust to that when we’ve lived a certain way for so long. It’s important to try to step back and remind ourselves that our reactions are valid because what’s going on is just utter chaos, and we weren’t ready for that. (Not that we ever could be?)

    I think the full year of everything is really getting to me as March unravels, too, and I’ve been doing almost no writing so far this year, which is frustrating, but I just keep trying to tell myself to let it come as it comes. I hope both of us have a better month, though, and things start to look up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh yep, it’s just another strange spring overall, I think. Thanks for that reminder—sometimes just getting through has to be enough, especially during such chaotic times. I’m definitely struggling with writing too these days. I hope your March has been good so far, and also hope things continue to look up! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great wrap up, I completely agree that February always just seem to fly by and I’ve also been feeling it a but more this month when you look over the past year and feel that you have nothing to really show for it.
    The last To All the Boys I Loved Before movie being released was definitely the highlight of my month.
    Hope you have an amazing March 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow you had such a good reading month! I am finally getting round to reading my Arc of Act your age, eve brown and am so excited for it!
    I’m glad you finally watched Julie and the Phantoms and enjoyed it! It’s become one of my faves!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just read Fireheart Tiger, and while I didn’t like it a TON, I really liked the political intrigue, which is a trope I can’t get enough of! And Lord of the Rings is so GOOD, it’s unfair.

    I’m glad you liked so many of the books you read this month! Map-making is very cool, I’ve tried it a couple times and maybe wasn’t so good at it (I did NOT inherit the artistic gene in this family), but yours are amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just finished Fireheart Tiger the other day, and I feel much the same way! And yes, it’s really not fair how good LOTR is 😭

      Ahh thanks so much! I’m certainly not the most artistic myself, but mapmaking is fun because I can basically just copy someone else’s artistry 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG I loved Julie and the Phantoms. I rewatched it’s 6 times in the span of like a month and a half and I listen to the songs every single day. I’m going to be reading Always and Forever, Lara Jean this month so I can finally watch the movie. I followed you on Instagram!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ooh, I’d totally forgotten the last Lara Jean film was out, so thanks for the reminder! I love how soft and pastel those films are, they make my little colour-loving heart happy.

    That map!! Is stunning!! And the posts you’ve shared look so good, I’ll definitely be going through them all! I hope you have a better month in March, sending love always ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so, so much for sharing my post, so happy you enjoyed it! and I can’t believe I missed it, happy blogoversary! This is such a fantastic milestone and I’m so happy you’re part of this community ❤
    I hope that your month has been going well so far ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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