Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What I Read in January


After rediscovering my love of reading toward the end of 2015 (here were my favorites last year), I committed to reading 25 books in 2016... but then I read eight books in January alone, & so I upped my yearly goal to 30. I'm keeping track of them over on Goodreads, if you want to be friends over there!

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

This book came as a recommendation from fellow blogger Stephany, who thought I'd like it based on my enjoying Luckiest Girl Alive in December. She was right! This book, which tells the story of a woman who runs away from her life - including her family - to start fresh & bury a secret, was thoughtful, thrilling, emotional, well-written. ★★★★☆

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I'd long been wanting to read this cult- favorite book about tidying up, & it was just about as expected. I found the author's tone deeply annoying, some of which I chalked up to culture difference & stilted Japanese-to-English translations, but overall, I found a lot of her guidance & insight very helpful. I've been able to get rid of a lot of stuff using this method - even when I didn't think I had much left to toss! ★★★☆☆

Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer

I got the Kindle version of this book for free as part of the Kindle First program, free to Amazon Prime members. Harmony Black agent is both a witch & an FBI agent, which makes this book a combination of two of my favorite genres (supernatural & crime). It was an entertaining read, but I didn't feel there was quite enough character development to warrant a return to the series that follows. ★★☆☆☆

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Um, not like this book needs any introduction or explanation. Mike bought me the boxed set for my birthday back in August, & I've decided to reread the series this year. It was so wonderful to get back into this world - like reconnecting with old friends. ★★★★★

Violent Ends edited by Shaun David Hutchinson 

This was a fascinating collection of essays written by multiple authors, many of them well-known YA writers, to weave together multiple perspectives on one horrible event - a school shooting. Because each perspective is written by a different author, the it really feels like you're getting a peek into different people's minds, & yet their stories weave together seamlessly for a multi-faceted look at tragedy. ★★★★★

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

The author, a Yale student and writing prodigy, died in a car accident just days after her college graduation, leaving behind a massive collection of writing, both fiction & nonfiction. This book is a collection of a little bit of each, compiled by her grief-stricken friends & family. It's clear that Marina had an uncommon & powerful gift, but... well, I wanted to like this book more than I did. I found much of her fiction writing to be too flowery & pretentious, just too much. I can't help but feel that Marina would've benefited from time - a lifetime - to hone her craft, to embrace simplicity, & it devastated me all over again each time I remembered that her life was cut short far too soon. ★★☆☆☆

Young Widows Club by Alexandra Coutts

This was my least favorite book of the month, though it wasn't necessarily a bad read - just not really up my alley. It tells the story of 17-year-old Tamsen, who becomes a widow when her husband of just one month dies in his sleep. It was just... a little far-fetched for me. I found it difficult to relate to a teenage bride in the first place, & I wasn't down with the main character's developing relationship with a twentysomething widower. Basically, this book felt like a weird first draft. ★★☆☆☆

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I really like the Divergent series, but I didn't initially finish this final book. I decided I wanted to complete the trip before the next movie (ugh, another two-part finale) comes out, so I gave this one another shot. It turned out to be my favorite of the three, surprisingly, because it's such a bizarre, Truman Show-like story. I found the whole thing fascinating & horrifying & just really interesting, & even though the movie series sucks, I'm now looking forward to seeing how they handle the next installment. ★★★★☆

What are you reading? Anything I should add to my list? 

Please note that my "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but please also don't judge me too harshly for including them. 

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