January Wrap Up

I have talked about The Storygraph in the past, but the website keeps getting better and better! They have now included more monthly stats, so I thought it would be fun to start sharing those in my wrap ups. Let me know what you think!

I am surprised that seven of the 13 books I read in January were emotional! I am hoping to read a few more lighthearted and fun reads in February as I always like to read romance closer to Valentine’s Day.

I normally read more medium-paced books versus fast-paced, so I thought that the fact that I read five of both was interesting!

One of my goals is to read more books over 500 page, so I am happy that I got to two in January!

Another one of my goals is to read more nonfiction this year, so I got to two in February and I am in the middle of another one.

I read a lot of YA this month, and of many genres! I also didn’t read a lot of literary fiction in 2020, so reading three in a month makes me happy.

A range of ratings this month, but I didn’t dislike anything, which is always nice!

I am this fascination with Capote more as a person than as an author. I appreciate his novels, especially In Cold Blood, but his life is way more interesting to me. It took Gerald Clarkes thirteen years to write this biography and he formed a friendship with Capote during that time. Obviously, this leads to some biases and as Capote was published in the 80s some of the language hasn’t aged well, but I appreciated that the author had a personal connection with Capote and I think that lead to some insight we never would have gotten otherwise. While this book is over 600 pages, Capote lead such a unique life that it makes for a quick read. This is the book that inspired the movie by the same name starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I always like to start the year with a graphic novel and I have discovered that I love when classic novels are adapted into graphic novels. The Great Gatsby is one of my favourites, and I thought that this was a good adaptation. I loved the colour palette and the illustrations, but I did have a hard time telling all of the male characters apart! I am not sure if I would have enjoyed this one as much if I weren’t already familiar with the story, but that is probably true for most graphic novels like this one.

Exit Strategy is the fourth book in The Murderbot series. The sixth one comes out this year, so I need to catch up! What is so great about this series is that I know what to expect when I picked up one the these books. Murderbot is surprisingly relatable for an AI and it is from to see them slowly open up as the books go on. The next book, Network Effect, is the first full-length novel in the series and I cannot wait to read it and get more Murderbot in my life!

Legendborn was my first five star read of the year and I was so nervous going into it because it is so hyped. I am happy to report that I personally believe that is deserves all the hype and more! I didn’t think I would love an Arthurian retelling quite this much. There are a lot of nuanced conversations within the books, the magic system is interesting, and I loved so many of the characters. I also appreciated that Bree felt like a real teenager and I felt that so many of her thoughts and actions made sense to her character. The ending was genius and I cannot wait for the sequel, which is supposed to be released this year!

The Wife Upstairs is a Jane Eyre retelling, and I thought that Rachel Hawkins did some interesting things with the story. What I appreciated the most was how she made Jane less of a pawn in the story. As it is a Jane Eyre retelling, there is an element of predictability to the story and I have some mixed feelings about the ending. As far as domestic thriller go, this is one I would recommend, especially on audio.

I have been getting into food memoirs lately, and Eat a Peach by David Chang came highly recommended. I loved getting a behind-the-scenes look into the restaurant industry and I appreciate that Chang did a lot of reflecting in this book and owns up to a lot of the mistake that he has made. He talks about the changes he has made and what he is working on moving forward. I also read an article from a former employee who was affected by the negative work environment that Chang had created. I think it is important to try and read from all sides!

In an Absent Dream is the fourth book is the Wayward Children series, and is probably my favourite one so far! I have discovered that I much prefer the prequels in this series. I want to experience all the magical worlds that these characters entered before they arrived at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. This particular book was a retelling of The Goblin Market, which was so unique, and I related to Lundy more than any other character, which I think it probably true for many of us!

Happily Ever Afters was a really sweet contemporary YA romance, which isn’t my usual genres but this one called to me and I am really glad that I picked it up. I think that many teens will relate to Tessa, who felt like such an authentic teenage character. I often read YA and feel like the characters read much older than they are, but that was not the case hear. I have seen a few reviewers say they were frustrated with Tessa’s decisions, and though I understand where that is coming from, all of her choices made sense to me. I can’t say that I would have done anything different when I was her age, and she is face with much more pressure and stress than I experienced at that time. The character development was the highlight of Happily Ever Afters, which was Elise Bryant’s review and I cannot wait to read more from her!

First Comes Like is the third book in the Modern Love series, though I have not read the first two books. I don’t think that you need to in order to appreciate First Comes Like! This book has so many tropes that I loved but telling you about them would be spoilers. At 432 pages, it is a bit long for a romance, but I was fine with it because it gave us a chance to learn more of both characters’ backstories. My favourite thing about First Comes Like was how respectful Dev was of Jia’s boundaries and how supportive he was of her career as a beauty influencer. It is what I would describe as a sweet romance!

Piranesi is one of the most beautifully weird books I have ever read. I cannot even begin to explain the plot to you and I think it is best to go into is knowing as little as possible. It took me a while to wrap my head around the concept, but once I did I was really invested. The story is told through Piranesi’s journals, which added another layer to the story. It was just so well done and now I need to read Susanna Clarke’s debut, Jonathan Strange and Dr. Norrell.

This will be no surprise, but I absolutely loved Concrete Rose. No one can break my heart in quite the same way as Angie Thomas can. I forgot just how great Maverick was as a character, so I loved that we got a prequel where we learn more of his backstory. I think it made me appreciate The Hate U Give that much more, which I didn’t think was possible. I read this physically, but I bet it is amazing on audio and I hope to reread it that way at some point.

Mindy McGinnis is one of my favourite YA authors, and I love just how dark all of her books are. I think The Initial Insult might be the darkest one yet. That said, it is not my favourite book by her but I think I would have taken more away from it had I known going in that it was the first in a duology and if I had more knowledge of the Poe story that it is inspired by!

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Bruised comes out March 23rd and I was sent an eARC thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada! There is so much to love about this book. It deals with grief is a such an incredible way and I always appreciate a book that talks about the benefits of therapy. I felt a connection to Daya, but it is the side characters who really shine in this and who help Daya through her grief even when she was resistant to it. The romance is also really sweet and the roller derby element was compelling. I loved that the author included a breakdown of the history of the sport at the end. I am excited for its release day and for everyone to read it, because I have a feeling it is going to get a lot of buzz! It is important to note that there is a content warning to self harm and it is a major theme of this novel, so I would avoid this book if that triggers you in any way.

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38 thoughts on “January Wrap Up

  1. Seems like you had a really great reading month! And I love seeing the charts/stats from Storygraph, thats very cool and something I’m going to have to consider~

  2. Being a mood reader, I love that it allows you to track the mood of books. And all those charts and graphs? And it allows you to import your Goodreads list? Thanks for sharing. I am a data junkie. I may have to start tracking on there as well. You read so many good books! I am looking forward to First Comes Like.

  3. I read Clarke’s biography of Capote back in the 80s when it came out and have been thinking of re-reading it. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Legendborn and Concrete Rose look interesting. Thanks for the wrap up.

  4. I didn’t know there was a 6th book coming out in the Murderbot Diaries series! What?! I’m happy it’s shorter because I wasn’t the biggest fan of Network Effect. It was just way too much for me. I love Murderbot though!
    This was such a great wrap up. I love looking at all of the graphs and stats. There’s nothing more satisfying.

  5. You read such excellent books this month! It seems like a great start to the year. Im planning on reading the Wayward Children series this year and I like that you are still enjoying it four books in. Sounds promising!

    I enjoy the way this is both a reading wrap-up and a Storygraph promo haha because it reminded me I need to check it out!

  6. I did start story graph in January and Iโ€™m using both GR and SG for this year. I donโ€™t see where to access the graphs.

  7. I didn’t love the Great Gatsby when I read it, but I am willing to give the Graphic Novel adaptation a try. I have yet to read Concrete Rose, but it’s Angie Thomas and she can do no wrong.

  8. I love the charts and graphs on Storygraph! It gives me a better idea of how I can better my reading choices. I’ve heard some good things about The Wife Upstairs so I’d love to give it a try at some point.

  9. Wow! What a great asset that Storygraph is. Canโ€™t wait to try it. Iโ€™m really wanting to read David Changโ€™s book, thanks for the reminder. And nice to find your blog!

  10. Ah Kristin I’m so happy you enjoyed Happily Ever Afters! It’s one of my most anticipated reads of this year and I can’t wait to get to it ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a lovely month!

  11. What a great month! The storygraph stats are always fun to see, I’ve started my account there at the beginning of the year and am having so much fun looking at the charts and graphs! I am also aiming to start reading Legendborn soon and am excited to see that you loved it so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

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