Reading in January

13 February 2021


There's a strange feeling of pressure when you start your reading journey for the new year. Especially after 2020, I think a lot of us have our hopes up for what this year will bring in every aspect of our lives. I'm really trying to keep myself grounded with realistic expectations for my reading this year, but even so, I found myself pushing myself to read more in an attempt to start the year off on a good foot.

I read 5 books this month, which as many of you may know is average for me. I didn't get ahead on my reading challenge, but I'm still on track which is good enough for me for the start of the year! I unfortunately didn't find any new favorites, however, I'm glad I was able to pick up the books I did and experience their stories.

*I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It was such a lovely and charming experience! I appreciated that it didn't try to tackle any of the complexities of WWII, and instead focused on the after affects and how Jane Austen and her works were a source of comfort for the characters as they searched for a sense of normalcy after the war. I loved the narrative style with a large cast of characters and shifting perspectives. It felt very cinematic, and I could totally see this adapted to be a mini series or a Downton Abbey-esque show. 
The whole book is a beautiful ode to Jane Austen, but more than that, it shows how literature is there for you when you're going through a hard time. As someone who is more indifferent toward Jane Austen, I did think it got a bit repetitive. After the author spent the first half of the book just setting up the characters' deep love of Austen's books, the second half with the plot and the building of the society felt a bit rushed. But overall, this was a more light hearted historical fiction, which can be hard to find sometimes, and I appreciated it. 
Rating: ★

I thought it would be fun to get into reading Star Wars books this year. The world of the Star Wars franchise is so massive and there's so much more to it than just the movies and TV shows, and I wanted to dig deeper to learn the lore and background of the universe it's based in. I picked up Lost Stars based on the recommendation of a reliable list of Star Wars books to read as a beginner. Unfortunately, this particular installment in the Star Wars universe was not for me. I thought the references and cameos from the original movie trilogy were fun, but I didn't care for the characters or the obstacles they faced. This is a young adult book that was extremely fast paced. For people who enjoy a young adult style of storytelling will like this, but for me it just didn't work. 
Rating: ★

Markus Zusak always amazes me with his beautiful writing and the unique way he weaves his stories and characters together. I know he is best known for The Book Thief, and most people don't care as much about his other works. But I have personally loved all his books. They hit just the right note with everything I look for in a good book. Bridge of Clay is a poignant book that explores the mending of a broken family relationship from multiple angles. It's so unique in setting, characters, and in the way it's structured. Zusak is so good at building up his books one piece at a time, guiding the reader through each character's mindset, and when the climax hits, it affects you so much. This was a reread for me this month, and I loved seeing the story unfold even more the second time. It's such an underrated book.
Rating: ★

I have a full review with detailed thoughts of the vague nature of the book and my issues with the execution that you can read if you want more. It started out so strong with a great concept about losing shadows and memories, amazing writing, and compelling characters. But it just got weird by the second half. I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to just go along with what was happening. It's definitely more of a magical realism dystopian story than a science fiction style, and there were some characters and scenes that were just unnecessary. Unfortunately, the only feelings I have about The Book of M since finishing it is disappointment.
Rating: ★

This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020, as it was for many readers. When I first heard that V. E. Schwab was writing this book it sounded like absolutely everything I've ever wanted in a book! A French girl in the 1700's selling her soul for eternal life, but who cannot be remembered by anyone she meets, a love story spanning 300 years, and a journey to find a way to break the curse. I didn't think there would be any way for me to hate this book. However, by the time I finished it, I had so many mixed feelings about it. I love Schwab's writing, and probably always will. She has such a consistent quality of writing that's so simple, yet affective. 
A lot of my problems with this book came from the execution and the characters. The only character I cared about was Addie, everyone else was very two dimensional and generic. I didn't even care for the love interests. I also felt like the main love story at the center of the story didn't feel believable. It seemed more like Stockholm Syndrome than a swoon worthy romance. And the other conflicting love interest was such an uninteresting character and I didn't care. I'm so sad this book didn't live up to the hype I had built up for it, but I'm glad so many other people have loved it!
Rating: ★

What did you read in January?

1 comment

  1. For some reason, I read “The Jane Austen Society” as “The Jane Austen Book Club” and I was all ready to tell you what a wonderful movie it is and so happy that the book is good too. But then, I realize “Ha ha ops. Different book.”
    I am excited to hear good things about Markus Zusak. The Book Theif has been on my list for ages now.

    Lovely post as always, Hannah.