Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Monthly Reads ~ January 2024

Time for a look at my January Monthly reads! Each month I share a quick look at the books that I've read with a little synopsis and my rating - anything that I love or is really intriguing, I will share a more in depth review on a different post! 
Monthly Reads ~ January 2024
I purchased all these books

So, in January I read 10 books, with a mix of genres from adult spicy romance to young adult mystery. I love most genres, and I really want to keep my reads diversified this year! Also, I've been trying to read a mix of old and new books, and this month I'm right down the middle which is perfect! 

I read 4 physical books and listened to 6 audiobooks. Here's a quick look at all the books I read in the past month: 

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 every year (the other one is The Night Circus by the same author). 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! 

A Holly Jolly Ever After by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone☆☆☆ - 3 stars. This is a spicy adult romance book - it's the second in the Christmas Notch series! Okay - this was a little mixed for me. These are smutty Christmas romance reads, so they are a little out of my comfort zone in general, but it's Julie Murphy so I have to read all her books. Now, this started out hot and heavy in the first half with pretty minimal story and the second half felt more like a romance book with a little spice (which I prefer). I don't love adult miscommunication, so not my favourite trope, but I did like the ending.

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult romance/ contemporary fiction and I am trying to make my way through all TJR's backlist books because I've just loved everything she has written. We meet our main characters when they are 10 years in to a relationship and the marriage may have reached it's potential breaking point. They decide to take a one year break with no contact to discover themselves and decide what they want. While I didn't always love their choices, I was compelled to see where this went and the writing was great! TJR has this way of writing flawed characters in a relatable way and her writing is just top notch! 

The Grimoire of Grave Fates by Hanna Alkaf and Margaret Owen ~ ☆☆☆ - 3 stars. This is a young adult fantasy murder mystery style book set in a travelling magic school. This was interesting - it's an anthology of diverse authors and it's a a murder mystery where a disliked teacher was found dead. So, there are 18 different authors/students and each overlap interconnect. The problem is that each student's chapter starts out with a new type of magic based on their background so they all have to be introduced, figure out who they are and just as you are getting in to their story, it ends. It just felt a little choppy so it didn't flow as well as I wanted it to. It was okay overall.

The Infinity Particle by Wendy Xu☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a sci-fi graphic novel set on Mars 500 years from now - it's an exploration of humanity through AI and ethics and what it means to be human. It was lovely and sweet and the art and colouring were fabulous!

Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree ~ ☆☆☆☆½ - 4.5 stars. This is a cozy fantasy novel that is a prequel to Legends & Lattes - we follow high fantasy characters in a cozy setting with low stakes and a quieter story line. We follow Viv in her early years after an injury where she has to take a few weeks rest in a town. She ends up helping revamp a bookshop and makes this group of friends (and potentially first love). She is also still protecting the town and her friends from a necromancer and I think it has more adventure than L&L, but it was so sweet and this group of friends was just so lovely. These are just a warm, cozy read. If you want to hear a little more, I have a full review post here

Elektra by Jennifer Saint ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. I am really enjoying Jennifer Saint's greek retellings - this one follows along the storyline of the Trojan War (but quite a bit before and after), but following 3 very different woman perspectives. First we follow Clytemnestra, Agamemnon's wife and sister to Helen (who the Trojan war was over). Then we follow Cassandra, princess of Troy and sister-in-law to Helen during the war, and lastly we follow Elektra, Agamemnon's youngest daughter who was 4 when he went off to war. I did think all of their perspectives were unique and liked how they overlapped and gave different sides to the same story. Overall, while a layered story - well told and I really enjoyed it!

Gods of Jade and Shadows by Silvia Moreno-Garcia☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a Mexican mythology retelling where our main character releases a trapped God of Death - she is whisked all over Mexico to collect some missing pieces to bring him back to full power and take back his kingdom from his brother. I did find the story to be quick, but is still somehow read a little slow. It picked up at the end and I liked that it got a little dark. I liked the tension and the God taking on some human characteristics, so overall I thought it was good.

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee☆☆☆ - 3 stars. This is a YA historical fiction. It does sort of surround the San Fransisco earthquake of 1906, but starts with our main character getting in to a girls school that Chinese girls are not normally allowed in and then this disaster happens. Despite the tragedy, our main character pulls everyone together. It was a little idyllic for a story about a tragedy and a little choppy - I didn't mind it because I get that it's YA and it needed to address some serious topics. There was a little bit of dated language so a fine story.

Lights by Brenna Thummler☆☆☆☆½ - 4.5 stars. This is a lovely graphic novel series, and the third is a follow up to Sheets and Delicates. These graphic novels deal with a lot of heavy topics in a really approachable way. They start with a young 13 year old going through grief as a family when she befriends Wendell, a ghost who lives in the family laundry business. Throughout all three books, we deal with friendships, bullying, coming together, and eventually helping a friend coming to terms with what's happening. This last book in the trilogy had me in tears at the end. The art and pastel colours were lovely too!

January was overall a pretty good reading month - mostly good reads for me this month, with a couple of misses but nothing terrible! 

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?! For me, it had to be Bookshops & Bonedust.

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