January was certainly an eventful month. We went from deeply disturbing to inspiring, and now I’m hopeful we can settle into something that feels a little more like daily life. My parents are still waiting to receive vaccinations, but I’m hoping that happens soon.
It was a good month for reading, and I’ve gotten off to a good start this year at keeping the blog organized and actually writing posts regularly. One of my goals is to post at least three book reviews a month, and I got there this month. But then I also had to post about the year that was 2020 and my resolutions for 2021, so the other months will be easier.
Here’s what I read in January:
- Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri (audio)
- Wrapped Up in You by Talia Hibbert
- Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
- A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore (audio)
- Dear Miss Kopp by Amy Stewart
- One by One by Ruth Ware (audio)
- Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (audio)
- Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright
- The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi Laskar (audio)
- The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher
- In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (audio)
My favorite reads: I absolutely loved Kingfisher’s duology, The Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine. If anyone’s looking for fantasy that’s funny and has endearing characters and a good romance, I recommend these books (I also don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy novel where one of the characters suffers from allergies). And if you’re looking for good historical romance about the suffrage movement, Dunmore’s series is fantastic.
I also loved Wright’s Get Well Soon (thanks to Introverted Reader/Nonfiction November for this great recommendation). Get Well Soon is about the history of various infectious medical conditions with a focus on how society reacted to them and how they were cured (if they were cured). It’s obviously very timely. It’s also gruesome and seriously disturbing in places, but it’s written with humor and lightness that keeps the subject informative but not overwhelming. This book was published in 2017, but the chapter on influenza could be written today about COVID. Sadly.
My last read of the month, In the Dream House was beautifully written and haunting. It’s a memoir about Machado’s experience in an abusive relationship, and also a look at how abuse is too often ignored in LGBTQ relationships. It’s also one of the most unique books I’ve read, and the author’s narration was fantastic.
Disappointing reads: I had mixed feelings about Leave the World Behind, and I wasn’t as moved by The Atlas of Reds and Blues as much as I expected to. I feel like I might not have given that one my full concentration. One by One was another enjoyable read/listen by Ruth Ware, but I found it more predictable than her last two, and since I don’t ski, a lot of the details were lost on me.
Books for challenges:
- Beat the Backlist: Only Ever Yours, Realm of Ash, The Wonder Engine
- Nonfiction: Get Well Soon (disease)
- Modern Mrs. Darcy: Only Ever Yours (a backlist book by a new favorite author)
What I’m reading now: I just started an advanced reading copy of Imbolo Mbue’s How Beautiful We Were, and I was immediately drawn in. I loved Mbue’s debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, although this one feels very different.
What’s coming up: In addition to How Beautiful We Were, I have two other ARCs to read: The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert.
Added to my TBR: I added several books by this article in The Guardian about historical novels to read “to escape into another world” if you loved Bridgerton. I haven’t watched Bridgerton but I’m always interested in good historical fiction recommendations. I added Venetia and Frederica by Georgette Heyer, The Vizard Mask by Diana Norman, and The Visitors by Sally Beauman. Another recommendation on the list was Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore, which I recommend, so I’m looking for other books by Dunmore to add to my backlist TBR.
Things that made me happy this month: I finally got around to watching Schitt’s Creek, but it was worth the wait. Now it’s done. Sigh.
I hope your 2021 is off to a good start. Stay safe (and warm) out there.