January Book Wrap-Up

 

A January wrap-up posted at the end of February? I suppose it’s better late than never, right?

 

I read a total of 10 books in January- 8 novels and 2 Graphic novels. I’m not sure why reading graphic novels feel a bit like cheating on my Goodreads reading challenge, but it does. Even though I absolutely consider graphic novels to be valid, they are short reads so I do feel like I need to break down my book total into how many novels and graphic novels I read. January was definitely a good reading month, and I noticed in 2016 January was my best reading month as well. Is it the cold? Is it the ubiquitous aura of depression that hovers over January (Blue Monday and all that) that causes me, year after year, to retreat into books during this month? I have no idea; I just know that I read a lot this month, and am now 15% done with my goal of reading 75 books this year (why do I do this to myself?!)

These books are in order of when I read them. I did start “Black and Blue” by Anna Quindlen at the end of January and finished it on the 1st of February, so I will be including that in February’s wrap-up instead of January’s. If I happened to have taken a picture of my current read and posted it on social media, I will include that. If not, I am just using the Goodreads photo of the book.

PRINCE LESTAT AND THE REALMS OF ATLANTIS
ANNE RICE

When I first saw the title of the newest book in “The Vampire Chronicles”, I groaned out loud. Atlantis? What is this- some kind of silly adventure wherein my favorite literary anti-hero discovers an underwater kingdom? Considering “Prince Lestat” was quite disappointing (I loved the plot and the new characters. The writing itself felt really drawn out and honestly boring a good amount of the time), I did consider not picking this book up at all. As a life-long Anne Rice fan (I read “Interview with the Vampire” when I was 12), I HAD to read this, out of loyalty. I am so glad I did. My lovely boyfriend bought me this book for Christmas. I gobbled it up in about 4 days (if not for the holidays I would have read it much faster).

This novel is not silly. It delves deeply into the mythology of all of the books, mythology that is absolutely an integral part of “The Vampire Chronicles”. Many loose ends are tied up, a plethora of beloved characters make appearances, and a new-but-not-new-at-all character makes their “debut”, and what an amazing character! Anne Rice’s infamously (at times overly) descriptive style of writing has always made me feel as if I am watching a movie instead of reading a novel. I have so much more to say about this book but do not want to spoil it for anyone.

5 out of 5 stars

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK
ALVIN SCHWARTZ;STEPHEN GAMMELL (ILLUSTRATOR)

I remember reading this book as a child, my mother worked at the grade school I attended and I spent a lot of time hanging out in the library while she finished up at work. The book scared the hell out of me, at that time. Reading it as an adult was an interesting experience. I was baffled as to how and why it scared me so badly as a child. The only thing disturbing about this little book are the GORGEOUSLY creepy illustrations. They just scream, “TATTOO ME ON YOUR BODY, NOW!”.

These are not short stories, they are exactly what the title of the books suggests- stories, even with cues for when to pause or what noises and motions to make, that are meant to be read out loud to scare your friends or family.

In all, this was a fun read that you can easily knock out in about a half hour.

3 out of 5 stars

EVA LUNA
ISABELE ALLENDE

I feel that it is incredibly hard to put into words how any book by Allende made me feel. “Eva Luna” is so intensely evocative and beautiful. “Daughter of Fortune” is one of my favorite novels ever; and while “Eva Luna”, I feel, was not as well written and did not have as strong of a plot, it still was a lovely book that was a fantastic and much-needed escape.

I picked my copy up at my local used bookstore. I can not even express my excitement when I realized I had a genuine signed copy in my possession- for $4!

4 out of 5 stars

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES
SARAH J. MAAS

I am writing this after having read the second book in this series, “A Court of Mist and Fury”, which makes saying ANYTHING about either book so hard without completely spoiling it for everyone.

I beyond loved this book. This series has quickly become a full-on obsession for me. I love the characters. Feyre is a strong female character without falling back on the typical tropes. She knows she’s beautiful and strong, yet still flawed enough to be a sympathetic character. She flips the damsel in distress situation on its head. Oh, and have I mentioned Rhysand? No? NEW BOOK BOYFRIEND. I’m getting all flustered just thinking of him. Excuse me while I take a bath in ice.

If you write a novel about faeries and include blood and sex, I am likely to love it. Speaking of which: in what world is this book YA!?

5 out of 5 stars

THE WALKING DEAD, VOL. 01: DAYS GONE BY
ROBERT KIRKMAN;TONY MOORE (ILLUSTRATOR)

I am a rabid fan of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (well, more a huge fan of the first four seasons and now a fan out of loyalty); but, I have barely read any of the comics. I have paged through a few issues friends have owned (unfortunately one of those issues had something to do with Glenn and Negan), and that is really the extent of my knowledge as far as the comics go. I decided, with the thought in mind that the show will more than likely be wrapping up soon (or at least it should be), that I would start delving into the comics. If volume one is any indicator, the comics are amazing. This volume is so well-written and the illustrations are intense and beyond belief. It is possible that the black and white illustrations make them even scarier because it leaves something to the imagination.

It was fun to compare and contrast the comic to the show. I will absolutely continue to pick up these volumes.

5 out of 5 stars

THE GUNSLINGER (THE DARK TOWER #1)
STEPHEN KING

I obviously do not know if this happens to every reader, but occasionally I can not process books because I have too much on my mind. This is what happened while I was reading “The Gunslinger”. I definitely will be continuing the series as I was interested in the plot, my brain was just somewhere else entirely and I often had to re-read lines over and over. This is not the book’s fault, for sure, and this is a tentative rating as I will be re-reading it.

3 out of 5 stars

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
RANSOM RIGGS

I read this novel in less than 24 hours, which is always a good indicator that I loved it. This book completely sucked me in from the very first page. I had expected it to be geared toward a much younger audience. I feel like this isn’t really a YA novel. The pictures scattered throughout the novel help guide the story. I found these so beautiful and completely fascinating; all the more because they are nearly all photographs found by the author. When I was younger, in my late teens and early 20’s, I frequented antique and thrift stores and was enthralled with the boxes of discarded photographs. They were glimpses into complete stranger’s every day lives, and some just begged to have their stories told. One of my favorites was a nude man with a giant grin on his face while hiking in the woods. I wish I still had this photo!

A school for children with paranormal abilities, to me, automatically implies that the novel is going to be a bit of a Harry Potter rip-off. I was very wrong in this case. The story is unique, touching, and all-around beautifully done. Sadly, I could only get about a half hour into the movie. Too much was changed from the novel and it felt silly. Really, the movie is what I had initially expected the book to be like.

This is a novel I will be pushing on everyone.

5 out of 5 stars

THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS
C.S. LEWIS

Strangely, I do not have much of anything to say about this novella. As a non-Christian, I have always been surprised by my love for Lewis. This was alternately a fun and very thought-provoking little book. I highly recommend reading it. It will not take you much time and will have you thinking for days on what it means to be a truly good person.

4 out of 5 stars

DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? (COMIC ADAPTATION) #1
PHILIP K. DICK

I love everything K. Dick ever wrote. I especially love “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and also adore the movie adaptation, “Blade Runner”. I picked this comic up on a whim, solely because of my love for this story. Bad idea, Lori. The illustrations in the comic are so flat and just plain ugly that it was a chore to read, and considering all the text is from Philip, that should show you just how awful it really is. I do not recommend this to anyone, not even fans of the novel, Philip K. Dick, or “Blade Runner”.

2 out of 5 stars

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY
SARAH J. MAAS

Yet again, it is extremely hard for me to say anything about this series without revealing key plot points. This book takes everything you thought you knew from the first book and completely flips the script! Oh, and Rhysand. Can we just take a moment to collectively swoon? I am so excited for the third book in May!

5 out of 5 stars

I hope you enjoyed this relatively long and extremely late wrap-up. Please leave comments below if you have read any of these books, or just about books in general!

Lori {X}

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