Monthly Book Blog Wrap-Up: February 2022

Hi and bye, February! I don’t know how I found the time, but I feel like I was as productive as ever in February. February was the month of the blog tour for me. I also managed to squeeze in a few pleasure reads for myself. (That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the blog tour books, which I did.) Here’s what I accomplished in February.

Book Reviews

For a short month, I surprised myself by posting six book reviews. I’ll happily take a pat on the back for that. From earliest to latest, here are my recent book reviews.

Book Memes and Other Posts

I posted four book memes.

Though not a book meme in the traditional sense, I also participated in the Support Book Bloggers Challenge. I chose the 10 new-to-me book bloggers prompt. Check it out for some potentially new-to-you book bloggers to follow.

I also posted a list of recommended and TBR books for Black history month.

And I can’t forget about my January monthly wrap-up.


I’m now a smidge over half way to my goal of 100 blog followers by the end of 2022. A big thank you to my new blog followers!

Since posting more frequently over the past several months, I’ve noticed an increase in monthly views and unique visitors. The numbers will be small to some, but it’s a steady trend upward nonetheless. Amazingly, more unique visitors checked out my blog in February than in January, which surprised me because February is a shorter month. February also had the highest number of views and unique visitors compared to previous months. This increasing trend makes me happy because it means (I hope) my reviews and my love of books are reaching more people. I think this is mainly a result of signing up from so many blog tours in February. That’s not sustainable for me, though, so I don’t anticipate hitting these numbers every month.

In February, my top five posts were:

  1. 2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge: 10 Book Bloggers
  2. Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian
  3. Blood of the Lost Kingdom by Kristin Ward
  4. The Broken Heart of Arelium by Alex Robins
  5. Castles in Their Bones by Laura Sebastian


Lisa at Owl Be Sat Reading started the hashtag #BeatTheBacklog to rally those who want to make a dent in their TBR list. I only read one book in my backlog in February, The North Wind by Alexandria Warwick, which was in my NetGalley queue. I definitely want to make more progress, but one book is certainly better than none! You can find my progress list here of all of my #BeatTheBacklog reads.

Other Book-ish Progress

I made a little progress on my NetGalley queue (The North Wind), though not as much as in January. As I mentioned earlier, most of my attention was on blog tours this month. I also read A Dance with the Fae Prince by Elise Kova, which was not a NG read.

In March, though, I plan on making more progress on my NG approvals. I was pleasantly surprised that publishers approved me for A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland; The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah; The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh; and Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel. I’m quite behind, but I’ll read everything eventually!

I also won a couple of book giveaways. Thanks to Jill at Myth and Magic Book Club for a copy of House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas. And thanks to Nick at Out of This World SFF for a copy of Rise of the Mages by Scott Drakeford.

Last, but certainly not least, I created a bookstagram. Please feel free to follow me on Instagram at alitescape!

WWW Wednesday: February 16, 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme revived and hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The idea is to answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses.

What are you currently reading?

What have you just finished reading?

What are you going to read next?

Currently Reading: I’m currently reading Culture Warlords by Talia Lavin. I first heard about it on NPR a couple of years ago and it’s been sitting on my TBR ever since. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy and I think it’s about time I switch it up for a different genre. This book covers a heavy topic (white supremacy), so it’s not an emotionally light read.

Recently Finished: I recently finished reading Octavia Bloom and the Missing Key by Estelle Grace Tudor. I read it as part of a BBNYA blog tour hosted by The Write Reads. Check out my review if you missed it!

Reading Next: I have one last The Write Reads blog tour coming up for Blood of the Lost Kingdom by Kristin Ward, which is the sequel to The Girl of Dorcha Wood. After that I’ll probably read The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, which is on its way to my library; and/or one of my many pending NetGalley reads.

BBNYA Blog Tour: Octavia Bloom and the Missing Key by Estelle Grace Tudor

Author: Estelle Grace Tudor
Publisher: Inlustris
Publish Date: July 20, 2020
Print Length: 228
Links: Amazon* and Goodreads*
BBNYA 2021: 8th place

*This is not an affiliate link and I do not make a commission from any purchase made using this link.

I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA) competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the The Write Reads Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased, and honest.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website or Twitter @bbnya_official.

The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!

Official Synopsis
One tiny discovery can have enormous consequences…

Almost 10-year-old Octavia Bloom is looking for adventure, but when it comes it’s in the shape of a tiny fairy door.

Dragging her reluctant sister and cousins into the mystery, Octavia discovers her family are hiding not ONE but TWO life-changing secrets.

Why is her mother searching for an elusive flower? And does she have what it takes to reunite her fractured family?

Octavia’s certain the answers lie behind the fairy door, if only she could just find the key…

Bravery, secrets & magic intertwine in this fantastical adventure

My Review
Thank you to The Write Reads and the author for providing me with an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. **I ended up reading this via Kindle Unlimited.**

I haven’t read a middle grade book since, well, probably when I was in the age range of 9-12. But as soon as I read the description in the blog tour call for bloggers, I couldn’t resist. As someone who reread Ella Enchanted often as a child, this book would have fit in perfectly with my reading preferences. Although, not much has changed for me as an adult; fantasy is still my preferred reading genre!

This was an absolute delight to read. The main character, Octavia Bloom, is a quintessential head-in-the-clouds, forever curious 9-year old. Nothing seems to phase her, even when faced with two life-changing secrets, one of which could devastate her family if they don’t find a cure. Octavia digs into her overflowing well of optimism and tenacity and keeps going.

The predominant theme of this book is the bond of sisterhood. Octavia has an older sister, Felicity, and older twin cousins, Martha and Beatrice. They squabble good-naturedly over following rules, but when things get serious, they have each others’ backs. I loved how Octavia recognized when Felicity had moments of growing into her own. Rather than stealing the spotlight, Octavia was happy to watch her sister learn and become more confident. Admittedly, as an adult the selflessness embodied in this story is idealized. (Though wouldn’t that be a nice world?) However, I think this sends a wonderful message to middle grade readers, especially girls. That is, it’s important to lift others up and encourage and support them, particularly since society is less forgiving to girls and women. This is a lesson everyone should learn, regardless of gender.

I also appreciated that this book is chock full of strong female characters. There are no damsels in distress. Octavia is unforgivingly bold and a natural leader. Does this mean she’s fearless and can do everything? Of course not. Like everything else in the world, she’s nuanced. Someone can be both brave and have fear, but remain a strong leader. Someone can be both capable, but know their limits and ask for help. Octavia Bloom and the Missing Key is an example to all girls (and boys and those who are non-binary) that they can achieve great things; that they can be amazing leaders and explorers. The dynamics of what girls can do versus boys isn’t really a theme addressed in the book; but I think it’s important to emphasize what young readers may internalize.

As far as world-building goes, in my mind it was so vibrant! Everything is vivid and creative; I was able to picture most scenes clearly in my head. I loved the creatures the Bloom girls meet in fairy land–from the reluctant talking frog, to the floral-patterned unicorns, to the queen bee, who was perhaps my favorite. But this whole world is contingent on belief. For fairy land to survive, the humans who hold the key to their world have to believe in it. And that very belief is threatened when Octavia learns of her parents’ secret, one that drains their happiness and hope.

My only critique is that I felt the pacing was a bit fast. Once Octavia enters fairy land, it’s action-packed. However, I don’t usually read middle grade books, so I don’t know if this pacing is to be expected. Regardless, I overwhelmingly enjoyed everything else about this book. And even if you’re not within the targeted age range, it’s an uplifting read for all. This book is also the first of a series, so the adventure doesn’t stop here!

Rating: 4.5/5
Content warnings: n/a
Reading format: Kindle e-book

About the Author
When not searching the backs of wardrobes for Narnia, the bottom of the garden for fairies or exploring yet another Castle, Estelle can be found with her nose in a book or a pen in her hand.

Having previously worked at Cardiff Castle, she now writes full time while looking after her four children.

She lives on the beautiful South Wales coast with her husband, children and crazy dog.