This February 2021 Novel Ideas features 19 quick lit reviews for some of the hottest new book releases. We’ve got reviews for tons of historical fiction, a few romances, some fantasy books (THE NEW SARAH J. MAAS) and more. So we invite you to take a look at the reviews and find your next great read.
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Kirsten’s February 2021 Novel Ideas Stack
WWII fiction felt a little been-there, done-that to me recently but this book has me back to loving the sub-genre. What makes this story different is the setting – The American Library in Paris. I loved hearing about the librarians and how they tried to help their Jewish subscribers. The story sucked me and had me thinking about the war in a new light. I need to add it to our best books about WW2 list for sure. 4.5 stars.
My first celebrity chef memoir was not at all what I was expecting and I loved it! I found myself thinking of Erin as a friend while reading this story. I rooted for her, cried with her, and had so many food cravings it bordered on ridiculous. How can you not want to eat the delicious concoctions described on the page.
I was not anticipating that this would be a story about redemption, finding inner strength, and perseverance, but that’s what it was. Erin clawed her way to the top of the restaurant game only to find herself at rock bottom. Then, she did it again. It’s a story of a mother’s love, a woman overcoming addiction, and a damn good cook who finds herself planting roots where she least expected it.
I hope someday that I will be able to eat in her famed kitchen if just to have wine recommended by her mom and see her surrounded by the love of her kitchen family.
As soon as I realized this was a retelling of Sense and Sensibility, I knew I had to read it!
This version is set in D.C. and the key characters are involved in politics. It feels very appropriate post-election. I loved seeing the connections back to Jane Austen’s original work. It’s probably one of my favorite retellings of this particular story.
This is an incredible novel about the women of Smith College who went to help French war victims on the war front. The band of 15 women in this novel is based on the 18 real-life heroes of Smith College.
These ladies started from scratch to help those ravaged by war only to have the war come back and destroy the lands around them again. But they never faltered in their quest to help the war-torn villages of women and children impacted by the war. The book gives a well-rounded feeling of what these women needed to do to save the lands and the people. 5 stars.
Thanks to Berkley for my review copy. All opinions are my own. I picked up The Ex-Talk because I wanted to read a romance by a Jewish author. I loved that this one featured a biracial, interfaith couple.
The concept was cute – two radio show hosts fake a relationship to try to get ratings. Except they are pretending they already dated and broke up… which eventually leads to them actually dating. It was a cute, easy read. 3 stars.
Little Beach Street Bakery #3
I read this book when the snow was coming down outside and I wanted a cozy little pick me up. Colgan’s Little Beach Street Bakery series is one of my favorites because it’s light and fluffy with characters I adore, and drama that isn’t as serious. This was no different as we see Polly trying to navigate the Christmas season and keep her darling friend’s big secret!
Sarah J. Maas does it again, which is saying something because I am not a Nesta fan and she was our main protagonist in this story. The book revolves around her love story with Cassian, but also around her overcoming her trauma from being cauldron-made. I can’t wait to see read the next story in this series, even if I have to wait another 2-3 years. Even though it was 800 pages, I flew through it in 3 days. 5 stars.
Have a book hangover after this series? Check out our post on other books like A Court of Thorns and Roses.
I read this book as part of our 2021 Reading Challenge. The prompt this month was books about addiction. It was a study on how a person could go from an elite athlete to a heroin addict. It was a heartbreaking, but thought-provoking read. It also induced so much anxiety in me as a parent thinking about the signs I need to be on alert for in my own children in the future. I’m glad I read this, even though it was difficult at times. 3.5 stars.
I finally got around to reading this YA royal romance! I’m a huge royal romance fan and this one is a great twist on the sub-genre.
What if George Washington had become America’s monarch instead of its president? How would his descendants be ruling the country today? I mean. What a fun plotline! This book was pure fun and honestly would make for a perfect beach read.
Jackie’s February 2021 Novel Ideas Stack
I read this book as my escape to Italy for our January Reading Challenge. It was a perfect read. In addition to offering a perfect description of all things food-related (yum), there was a sweet romance included. It was like a double scoop of happiness. There are two more books in the series and I think I would like to indulge in both!
Girls with Bright Futures was gifted to me by @bookmarked and it is a total page-turner! What happens when a group of entitles parents are all fighting to get their kids into the most prestigious universities? Backstabbing, jealousy, and doing anything to get their kids ahead.
I was shocked by what people were willing to do but not so shocked that every page of this book could not be true! However, this book is more than just a fast-paced race to the finish. It has heart, and emotion and had me rooting for the underdog. I couldn’t put it down! My favorite read of this year so far!
I loved this WWII novel that takes place on the French Riviera. I have never before read a book with this setting. Although it starts off with a shocking beginning and is a book about WWII, it is not as heartbreaking as other books that take place in that era. It is more of a book about strength and perseverance. I loved this book even more after we had a chance to speak with the amazing author who wrote it- we will post our interview within the coming months. 4 stars
This mystery/ thriller is one of the best that I have read in a long time. Thank you Libro.fm for my copy of the book. Kieran Elliot rarely returns home because the memories are too difficult. When a woman is found dead on the beach, he must confront his old demons and the accident that changed everyone’s life. I loved the slow build of this mystery and the web of secrets and lies that has haunted this community for years. 4 stars
I had this book on my TBR for so long and I am so happy that I finally had a chance to read it. This is the story of Shakespeare’s life, family, and extraordinary wife during the time of the plague. Shakespeare himself is never actually mentioned by name in this extraordinary and heartbreaking book that was so hard to put down. I know why it made so many lists of top books for 2020.
I started Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop and finished it in one day. I absolutely loved this book. I just could not out it down.
When Rosie’s husband declares their marriage over, she decides to leave her high pressure London job as a sous-chef in a Michelin starred restaurant and start a traveling tea shop.
Rosie is used to schedules and routine- can she adapt to a new way of living? This is book filled with food, books and smiles. I loved every minute. If you need a feel good book- that may make you a little hungry- you will love this. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan. Thank you NetGalley for my copy of this book. 4 stars
Is there a formula that can prove love exists? Madeleine Henry does such a great job of mixing love with a drop of science to create this love story that spans decades. Sophie Jones is a physics prodigy exploring time. During her first week at Yale she meets Jake Kristopher and the two immediately start a romance. But when the romance starts pulling Sophie from school, their relationship is tested.
Sophie throws herself into her work to prove what she has always known (I won’t spoil this adorable read). I wish the book was a little bit longer because I want to know more. Thank you Atria for my copy of this book. 3.5 stars
I read this book as my February Reading challenge book about addiction. Darian is a rich and successful doctor who can never have too many women in his life, despite the fact that he is married and loves his wife Shantae. When she proposes the idea of a marriage pass to celebrate their one year anniversary, he cannot pass up the chance to have his night with Shantae’s younger sister. The one night turns into a messy affair that will have Dorian grasping to get back the control he craves. Thank you Sparkpoint for my copy of this book.
I loved the first half of this book. The story is so intricate and interesting. But as the book continues, I felt like the story stopped moving forward. I listened to the book and felt like 16 hours of listening were wrapped up in the last 22 minutes of the book. The ending was very disappointing to me and left me feeling eh in a book that started off so strong. 2.5 stars
I keep waiting for something to happen in this series and it finally did at the end of this book. However, the stories themselves seem to drag on and after 5 books, I am not sure I want to keep going. I felt disappointed at the lack of movement of the plot in books that are not very well written to begin with. These are plot driven books. 2.5 stars.