Well folks, I don’t know what happened, but apparently January is already over? 😂 This month absolutely flew by for me, and I’m not really sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, every day that passes is one step closer to being out of lockdown, but on the other, time is moving too erratically for me to feel like I’ve accomplished anything in the last few months 🙉 On the plus side, I think I may finally have my reading mojo back!
I always fall into a bit of a reading slump towards the end of the year, and 2020 was no exception. But the start of a new year always gives me the feel of a fresh start and, for some reason, it tends to help pull me out of a slump. I managed to read a total of 11(!) books in January, and honestly, I’m blown away. Today I want to share my overall thoughts of each of them, so let’s get started on my January reading wrap-up! Grab a coffee and a snack, because this is going to be a long one 🙈
- In January, I read a total of 11 books.
- This equated to 4,750 pages.
- I read an average of 153 pages per day.
- My average rating for the month was 4.27 stars.
- I read 8 fantasy, 1 psychological fiction, 1 classic, and 1 science fiction.
- They consisted of 6 adult books, 4 young adult books, and 1 children’s book.
- I read 9 hardbacks, and 2 paperbacks.
even the darkest stars by heather fawcett – 4★
I didn’t have super high expectations going into this YA mountain-climbing fantasy, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying Even The Darkest Stars. This book follows a girl called Kamzin, the daughter of small village’s elder. She’s desperate to carve a name for herself as an explorer, and when an opportunity arises to help lead the Royal Explorer’s next expedition, she takes it. If you’re not a fan of journey plots, you may struggle with this book, but the atmospheric writing is just wonderful. I adored the romance, and River gave me some serious Herondale boy vibes 🤭 This is a fun YA fantasy, and a strong start to this duology.
WARBREAKER BY BRANDON SANDERSON – 5★
Brandon Sanderson never fails to disappoint. Warbreaker is probably the book of his that I hear the least about, and I honestly don’t know why. This was such a fantastic fantasy novel, and if we ever get a sequel, you can bet I’ll snap it up. It’s hard to summarise Sanderson’s work, but basically, this book is set in a world that’s on the brink of war. The only thing preventing it is a peace treaty created twenty years ago. However, even that may not be enough to stop Hallandren declaring war, and the Idrian princesses are used as unwitting pawns in this centuries old feud. The magic, the world, the politics… everything was just so intricately developed and utterly unique, and I loved every second of it.
my dark vanessa by kate elizabeth russell – 5★
I’m not going to lie, this was a hard book to read, but it’s also an important story that needed to be told. My Dark Vanessa is definitely well-written, there’s no denying that. It’s told in two timelines – Vanessa as a teenager, falling in love with her teacher, and Vanessa as an adult during the height of the #MeToo movement a few years ago. Even as an adult, Vanessa has convinced herself that her relationship with her former teacher was love, but now she’s being forced to confront the long-term repercussions of that relationship, and come to terms with the fact that her great love story was actually one of abuse. Kate Elizabeth Russell doesn’t shy away from very dark, very graphic scenes and descriptions, and I highly recommend fully investigating the trigger warnings for this book because there are a lot. The emotions I felt, the way it was written, the details of abuse that I could never have imagined… it was raw, and complex, and so unbelievably realistic to the very end.
THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE BY SARAH J. MAAS – 4★
So in case you somehow don’t know this about me, Throne Of Glass is my absolute favourite series in the world. I re-read these books a lot and yet they never fail to impress me. I decided to start my re-read this time with The Assassin’s Blade, a collection of prequel novellas that follow Celaena’s life in the year leading up to her enslavement. I’m not going to lie, I don’t like Celaena in these novellas. She’s a pretty arrogant character throughout the series, but boy does it really show in this installment 🙈 Nevertheless, I still love these novellas, and think they’re an extremely important part of the series – and also straight up necessary if you want the full effect of the story. I just can’t wait to finally start the series proper again 😍
the rage of dragons by evan winter – 4★
The Rage Of Dragons is a book that I don’t hear a ton of people talk about, but whenever someone does talk about it, the reviews are always extremely positive. And now I understand why. I didn’t really know what to expect going into this book, but what I got was an epic revenge plot that was written in such an amazing way. This book follows a young man named Tau who sees his father murdered by Nobles. His ultimate goal is to take revenge on these men who ripped his life apart, but to do that, he needs to become stronger, faster, and more cunning. Tau’s development throughout this book is incredible. Though his sole focus is revenge, the things he accomplishes and the relationships he builds are just wonderful. Not only that, but the magic and the worldbuilding were super interesting. I’m so glad I decided to pick this book up, and I can’t wait to dive into the sequel as soon as possible!
the bone season by samantha shannon – 3★
I really wanted to love this book. I hear so many people rave about this series, and while I think there’s a lot of potential there, this first installment just didn’t blow me away like I expected. The Bone Season follows 19-year-old Paige Mahoney, a clairvoyant in a world where being a clairvoyant is illegal. One day, she’s finally caught, and her entire world is turned upside down when she’s taken to a hidden city controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. This definitely isn’t a bad book, but the way people talk about this series shot my expectations through the roof 🙈 I think my biggest complaint about this book was the way you’re just supposed to understand everything. None of the technical terms are explained well, and the worldbuilding definitely left something to be desired. I do think I’ll enjoy this series more as I progress further, but something about this first installment just left a bitter taste in my mouth. Saying that, the romance is definitely something I want more of, so hopefully the rest of the series delivers! 🤭
sorcery of thorns by margaret rogerson – 4★
One of my last books of 2020 was An Enchantment Of Ravens by this author, and I just wasn’t blown away. I had so many issues with that story, but I know a lot of people much prefer Sorcery Of Thorns, so I decided to give it a go. This book follows Elisabeth, an apprentice working at one of the Great Libraries. These libraries house magical grimoires that, when provoked, turn into monsters. Elisabeth’s goal is to become a warden and protect the world from their evil magic. But when one of the most dangerous grimoires is released, she must ally with Nathaniel Thorn – a sorcerer, and thus her sworn enemy – and his demon servant. This was a really fun YA fantasy romance, and the fact that it’s about books and magic was just a winner for me. The romance was cute, slow, and as much enemies-to-lovers as YA gets. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from perfect, and the writing felt a little off to me at times. But I still really enjoyed this book, and if you’re ever in the mood for a cute YA romance, you should definitely check it out 🤭
DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY BY AMANDA FOODY – 4★
After finishing Sorcery Of Thorns, I fancied reading another quick YA fantasy standalone, and since I loved Daughter Of The Burning City the first time I read it a couple years ago, I figured why not re-read it now 🤭 This book is about Sorina, an illusion-worker with the Gomorrah Festival, a city-sized travelling carnival. Sorina is the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years, and this rare ability has allowed her to create an entire family for herself out of illusions. But if they’re not actually real, how can they die? When her family starts being picked off one by one, Sorina needs to figure out how it’s possible and track down the culprit before she loses everyone she loves. There is something about the atmosphere of this book that I just love with all my heart. The story itself is interesting but kind of basic, and the worldbuilding and magic is definitely where this book shines. Again, this is a quick YA fantasy with a cute romance, but that atmosphere, man. I just can’t get enough 😍
ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND BY LEWIS CARROLL – 5★
I think everyone knows the story of Alice by now, but this was actually the first time I’ve ever read the original tales (unless I read them as a child and just can’t remember – seems likely, to be honest 😂). This is a bind-up of both Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, and Through The Looking-Glass, and it’s such a stunning edition. The illustrations are just beautiful, and I adored this book from start to finish. There really isn’t much I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said a hundred times over, but I’m a huge sucker for whimsical tales, and you can’t get much more whimsical than Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland 🤭
Assassin’s apprentice by robin hobb – 4★
I first read this book a few months ago, and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t carry on with the series for some reason 🤪 I also realised that I could remember absolutely nothing about this first installment, so I figured why not just re-read it 😂 This book follows the life of Fitz, a royal bastard who finds himself thrust into a world of politics and magic at a very young age. This book is written in a way that doesn’t usually mesh with me, in that it’s from the perspective of a character who is recalling memories. We don’t necessarily journey with Fitz, but rather we’re told about his life through his memories. A lot of authors get it wrong, giving us unnecessary information and dragging the story out. Robin Hobb got it so right. This isn’t an epic fantasy in the traditional sense, so don’t go into it expecting crazy magic and deadly battles. This first installment is simply an introduction to Fitz. We learn everything we need to know about this character’s history and we grow with him. This is a slow book – and I mean, real slow – but there was something about it that just enthralled me from the beginning, and I can’t wait to carry on with the rest of Hobb’s books!
THE NIGHT CIRCUS BY ERIN MORGENSTERN – 5★
I don’t think I can say I have a definitive favourite book, but if I absolutely had to choose, I think The Night Circus would be a strong contender. I’ve read this book 3 times now and I just fall in love with it more through each re-read. I think we’ve already established that I’m obsessed with incredible atmosphere, and let’s face it, that’s what Erin Morgenstern is known for. It’s difficult to summarise this book, especially as it’s set over the course of about 30 years, but essentially it follows a couple of illusionists trapped within a game that they don’t know the rules for. The circus was created as their gameboard and the book follows their lives as they hone their illusionary skills until the game is over, whenever that may be. It’s such a fascinating book and every single character has just captured my heart over and over again. The writing is just stunning and I honestly can’t praise this book enough. It means the absolute world to me 🤭
Phew, we made it. That was a long one 🙈 But there you have the 11 books I read in the first month of 2021! Hopefully I can keep this momentum going 🤭 Did I read any of your faves this month? What was your best read of January? Until next time, happy reading 😘