Thursday, February 2, 2023

Monthly Reads - January 2023

I hope you all enjoyed all the book reviews last year, since it's just another hobby of mine, it's not going anywhere! I loved doing the Monthly Wrap-up last year to share mini reviews on all the books I've read each month! 

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 Reads - January 2023
Bad Cree was sent to me as a digital e-arc - this post contains affiliate links

So, in January I read 10

 books - a mix of genres from a middle grade graphic to an adult horror. I love most genres, and I really want to keep my reads diversified this year - I think I have been doing a great job of that so far! Also, I've been trying to read a mix of old and new books (this month, I focused a little more on the newer books, but will work on a better mix in the future months!) I read 7 audio books, 2 physical books, and one e-book! 

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

Monthly Reads - January 2023

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern ~ ☆☆☆☆☆ - 5 stars. This is an adult fantasy book and it's one of the only books I will re-read (the other one is The Night Circus). I love to pick this one up during the Winter break because it's just magical and lovely. It's timeless, meandering and whimsical. So lovely - it's an ode to books with this gorgeous setting and books inside of books. I love it! 

Whiteout by Dhonielle ClaytonTiffany D. JacksonNic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult romance - it is the same group of authors that wrote Blackout. This is a set of people coming together in the middle of a snowstorm in Atlanta. I think I liked the story of this one a little bit more than Blackout. I thought the stories inter-connected a little more and I enjoyed the overlap! Of course, with a combination of authors, I did enjoy some stories more than others. I actually preferred a couple of the side stories as opposed to the main story line, but I love little love stories and I thought these were cute!

Saint by Adrienne Young ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult fantasy novel - it is the prequel to the Fable stories, following Fable's mom and dad, Saint and Isolde. I was certainly in the group that was rooting for this book to be written! And, I enjoyed this - I love the characters and their origin and love story. I thought this book was engaging and both their voices were well written in the book. This was a quick and easy read and I really liked their story!

Stargazing by Jen Wang ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a middle grade graphic novel and it was a delightful little surprise. I actually ended up in tears at the end. It's a middle grade graphic novel about friendship, being true to yourself, accepting who you are and this explores the themes of friendship, being different, jealousy, acceptance, family expectations, and illness. Heart-aching and heart-warming. I love a graphic novel for a little refresh. 

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult fantasy/sci-fi-sh book that is the start of a duology that is a spin-off following the These Violent Delights books. This book is a little hard to rate - it's a lot. It follows a side character after she was brought back from death and is now immortal. She is trying to redeem herself as an assassin when she is placed on a new mission as a spy, with a partner. This book is pretty convoluted - there are so many intertwined characters, double and triple agents, all different sides. So I found some of it hard to follow, but I enjoyed the spying and the plots and I love trying to guess who is who or which side everyone is really on. It dragged a little in some parts as it's long but overall, I enjoyed the story line!

The Circus Train by Amita Parikh ~ ☆ - 1 star DNF. This is an adult historical fiction set on a circus train during WW2. I was really excited for this book (circusy vibes, historical setting, disability rep and a girl discovering herself) but sadly I had to stop reading this at 40%. I really kept giving this a go and nothing kept happening in the story. This book was trying to do too many things and it all got convoluted without the storyline moving forward. I did read spoilers and it sounds like things happen eventually, but I kept pushing myself to listen and I'm not sure that the spoilers intrigued me enough to keep going. Personally, I felt disconnected from the story and felt no connection to what was happening or the characters.

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and Viviana Mazza ~ ☆☆☆ - 3 stars. This is a young adult historical fiction, but based on a true story and following interviews with families and survivors of Boko Haram kidnappings in Northern Nigeria. This book is written in a series of vignettes and it was a really unique experience. For me, I found it harder to connect with the characters and story overall. It is an important story to read - I actually preferred the non-fiction chapter at the end, and I got more out of that in terms of information. I think I would have preferred the story written like that myself.

Monthly Reads - January 2023

Bad Cree by Jessica Johns ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult horror novel - this book starts with a bang, our main character wakes up with a crow's head in her hand after dreaming of her deceased sister. We dive in to the character's dream past but also in the present with her finally travelling back to her family home and dealing with what is happening. While this is a horror story and it does get creepy, it also has some discussion on greed and family. It's about the family coming together not only to deal with the death of her sister as well as her kokum. It does take a little bit to get things moving as our main character is coming to terms with going home, but then you can't put it down! 

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune ~ ☆☆☆☆ ½ - 4.5 stars. This is a fantasy/magical realism book that defies ages - I would classify this as suitable for young adults and adults! This book is truly a delight and I can't believe a book about death and the afterlife is so full of love - I will post a full review of this soon. We encounter our main character as he is passing to the afterlife and meets a reaper and a ferrymen. The cast of characters is amazing and this is all about love and life lessons and person redemption. I cried for the last 20 minutes of this but loved it all. 

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult mystery thriller - it is set in a Villa in Italy and is set both in 1974 and present day. This is the second book I read by this author and her writing has me hooked; I flew through this! I liked the duel timelines and how they leaned in to each other. The back and forth with the storylines were great and added to the intensity. I do like the reveals as they came through. But, the whole theme of the story of women treated each other like shit just made it so I couldn't fully love this. Why do they have to do something bad to each other in order to band together.

Overall, January was a pretty good reading month - it was a good way to start the year with a great book and lots of good ones! 

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 Under The Whispering Door!

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