January Reading Wrap-Up

2021 has been off to good start in only one way– I’ve read some really awesome books! When I can’t bear to catch up with current events (constantly) or personal stressors get to be too much (often) at least there’s the written word to get lost in.

So here are the books I’ve read and, mostly, loved this past month.

The Five-Star Reads:

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

I don’t know if I’m really ready to talk about Addie yet. I feel like I’m still absorbing all of it. What I can tell you is this: it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

The concept of a girl who just wants to live a fulfilling life being blessed with immortality and simultaneously cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets is terribly tragic. This is a very slow book with minimal “plot” so lovers of character driven narratives will appreciate the detail that went into Schwab’s crafting of Ms. LaRue’s inner monologue. The story ruminates on the following question: what is your life worth if you can’t leave a meaningful impression on the world? And for me, as someone who doesn’t have soaring aspirations and would be more than content to live a Hobbit-esque lifestyle, just being cozy finding happiness however I can, I think the message within Invisible Life is comforting and hopeful.

Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

What can I say, Alex and Henry are adorable. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary novels and U.S. politics have been nothing short of exhausting lately, but I didn’t find either of those aspects hindering here. I’m new to the steamy adult romance scene (I think my formal introduction was From Blood and Ash back in November 2020) and I was really pleased with how this one played out! The relationship is wholesome and steamy in the right moments and I think the ending was delightfully uplifting.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

If you like poignant writing and true crime documentaries, you should look no further than Sadie. This is a hard hitting novel about a murdered girl and her sister who goes missing shortly thereafter. I loved that we got to see how the community is affected by an event like this, and how people all have their own takes on how things went down.

World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

This was a collection of essays inspired by the author’s experience as an immigrant in America and the beauty of nature around us all. I read this book while spending an afternoon in the E.R. and it really helped me to put a positive spin on things. It’s very easy to focus on the ugly and painful parts of our world, but there is so much beauty to reach out and touch if only you choose to seek it out.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire

I covered my thoughts on the first 3 books of the Wayward Children series already. To me, this book was far and away the best.

The Four-Star Reads:

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (From Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I had my doubts about this one. The first 200 or so pages move like molasses. I stuck around because I do find the dynamics between Poppy, Casteel, and Kieran interesting but I was very glad when things finally got moving again. I can’t say much that won’t spoil anything but, well, I’m very excited for the third book’s release in April this year.

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

I have a lot of thoughts about this book that I will be putting into a proper review soon. In traditional Maas fashion, there are issues with the writing and some of the characterization. I wish there was more diversity in her writing. For someone with so many characters and romantic relationships she’s having us follow, there’s a lot of white heterosexual people. That being said, I can understand and respect this epic fantasy she is crafting. There are parts I find super impressive and I find myself engaged in what’s happening. Also, Manon Blackbeak is hands down, the best character she has ever created.

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

More witches! I really liked this one! My biggest gripe has to do with the lackluster writing style which is something I personally put a lot of stock into. Conceptually and character-wise, I think it was brilliantly done. You check out my full review of it here.

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire

Very sweet. Literally.

The Three-Star Reads:

Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

I don’t read a lot of middle grade unless it’s something particularly special and/or nostalgic. I never read the Warrior Cats books as a kid but I know how much hype there is around them. So no, as a 23 year old, I’m not blown away by it, but I can totally understand why so many kids have been.

Remina by Junji Ito

I’m still chasing the highs I got from Uzumaki, Tomie, and Fragments of Horror and at this point I’m just not sure it’s going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I still really love the Ito-ness of these last few books of his I’ve read. But it’s become very clear that his characters are not complex, and his plots go everywhere without feeling grounded in anything. Stuff just happens, so much, all the time. I’m still on board for the art style and the concepts but I’m really craving something punchy and concise like Amigara Fault, or effectively cosmic like Uzumaki.

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire

It’s not often that the first book in a series is the most lackluster one, but here we are. I give thanks for the fact that it got me into the sequels!

I hope you all have had a safe and happy start to 2021. I know there’s a lot going on in the world right now, but don’t forget to look inward once in a while and check on yourself. Be well! ❤

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