Thursday, February 3, 2022

Monthly Reading Wrap-up - January 2022 Books

Hi everyone - a new little series here! Last year, I was doing quarterly reading wrap ups, but I had many books I couldn't write my thoughts on all of them! So, this year I thought I would be able to share a little more if I wrapped up my reads of each month as opposed to every three months. 

It could be a big range from 2 to 10 books depending on how much I read, but I figure I can share a little synopsis and quick thoughts on each book. I will still be doing more in depth reviews on books that really capture me! 

Monthly Reading Wrap-up - January 2022 Books
E copies of Anatomy & Circus of Wonders were provided as review copies - this post contains affiliate links

So, in January I read 10 books - a mix of genres from young adult fantasy to adult historical fiction. I love most genres, and I really want to keep my reads diversified this year! Also, what was great about this month was the mix of old and new books I read was about a 50/50 split! I also read these mostly via audiobook (7 of the 10, 1 in physical book and 2 in e-books on my phone). 

Here's a quick look at all the books I read in the past month:  

Monthly Reading Wrap-up - January 2022 Books

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz ~ ☆☆☆ - 3 stars. Anatomy may have one of the loveliest covers of the year! This is a young adult gothic historical romance fiction. It centers around a high society young lady who wants to be a surgeon and a resurrection man who digs up bodies once they are buried for sale. There is a little mystery trying to figure out why young men are going missing. I loved the pacing of this book and I was constantly picking it up to see what happened next, but I didn't feel the romance connection, nor was the ending my favourite, so it ended up being a good read, not a great read!

A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Roseanne A. Brown ~ ☆☆☆ - 3 stars. This is final book in a young adult fantasy duology, the first book being A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. This is a duology inspired by West African folklore and the first focuses on two main characters set on destroying each other (without the other one knowing). This book ended up having a lot going on and it got a bit convoluted at times. I enjoyed the connection with the main characters and I did like the plot, it just got a little long for me.  

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a Canadian historical fiction that is likely adult, but could easily be young adult as well. This is a story about a young indigenous boy who was taken away from his family and sent to a residential school - it focuses heavily on hockey and how he was able to get out of the schools, his life following them, and the impacts it had on his life. Heavy topic, but I think the backdrop of spots will help bring this topic to a much wider audience. I don't love sports books, so it was a little hockey heavy sometimes, but overall, good read.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult fiction book - it focuses around a women who decides not to live anymore (trigger warning), and she finds herself in a place between life and death. She can look through her regrets and lives multiple lives based on making different choices. I found this somewhat a self help style motivational book and part fictional read - I can see this not being for everyone, and despite not loving the parallel universe thing, I really enjoyed this - it dealt with some really heavy topics, but managed to stay hopeful and I found myself rooting for the main character! 

Monthly Reading Wrap-up - January 2022 Books

Broken Web by Lori M. Lee ~ ☆☆☆ - 3 stars. This is the second book in the young adult fantasy trilogy (Shamanborn - first book is Forest of Souls). I can't say much about the plot - the first one bases around shamans and magic and our main character Sirscha and her best friend Saengo. There is a magic, political turmoil and characters trying to figure out the best steps. This book was a lot of back and forth with the characters and a lot of build up - it has me excited to see what happens in the third book, but I was hoping for a little more plot with this one!

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw☆ - 4 stars. Oh, this is a young adult magical realism book and I really enjoyed this. It's set in the cursed town of Sparrow where three young girls were drowned and accused of being witches - for the next two centuries they return for three weeks in June and inhabit the body of young girls to drown young men in the harbour. It has brought tourists to the town every year, and when Bo catches Penny's eye, they try to find their own ways to stop the curse. I loved the author's writing - it was so atmospheric and the eerie vibes were great! I loved the characters and enjoyed the unexpected twists in there! 

Monster by Walter Dean Myers☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is a young adult contemporary fiction - a 16 year old boy is on trial for murder for his alleged involvement in a Robbery turned murder. He writes his trial and incarceration like it is a movie playing. It's a very approachable way to read a story with a heavy topic. This was written in 1999, so some of trial aspects and evidence would be a little different now, but still an accurate portrayal of the American Justice system. Quick, but good read. 

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. I've been wanting to do a re-read of this book for a while - I read it for the first time over 20 years ago and wanted to see if it still held up (these series, as messed up as they were got me in to reading and kept me in it!) Of course, all her books are fairly messed up and borderline that "horror" line but is still young adult - they always involve dying parents, abuse, incest - this one is about keeping children in an attic for 3 years and what they do. Messed up? Yes. Weirdly nostalgic? Also, yes. 

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult contemporary fiction - it focuses on a singular event and then presents two duel timelines following the outcome of if she said yes or no to the choice. I enjoyed the concept and love Taylor's writing style, it hooks you back and forth wanting to see what happens. While I liked all the relationships, what I really loved was the friendship between the main character and her best friend - they were funny and their dynamic really hooked me. I personally didn't love the big "decision" that the book revolved around at the start, but it was a cute, quick read! 

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth MacNeal ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is an adult historical fiction - it was one of my most anticipated reads. I love circus settings and this one is set in the late 1800's when there was plenty of circus full of "wonders" touring around. I loved the setting and loved all the female characters. The male characters were rather unlikeable, and there was a lot of flashbacks to the Crimean War (and I can see that is was used to establish the dynamic between the brothers), but it took away from the development of the present story!

I would call January a good reading month - everything ranged from a 3 to a 4 star, so nothing amazing, but nothing terrible either. Lots of good, enjoyable books! 

Here's a little refresh of my rating system:

5 Stars: Excellent/Fantastic/Amazing Read 
4.5 Stars: Really Great Read
4 Stars: Great Read 
3.5 Stars: Really Good Book
3 Stars: Good Book 
2.5 Stars: Eh, It was Okay Read
2 Stars: Finished it, but Didn't Enjoy It
1.5 Stars: Not Good at All
1 Star: DNF (Did Not Finish)

What was the best book you read this month?! My favourite of all of these was probably The Wicked Deep! 

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