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January felt like a pretty blah reading month. I think it was just a slump from the end of the year and I won’t lie, I’m still kind of feeling it. Mostly with physical books, I’ve been into my before bed books though. It’s weird and a little annoying
I DNF’d two books, had two five-star reads, and had more that were just OK. Not bad, but I just didn’t love them. Maybe they just felt too forced, I don’t know.
So far, February hasn’t been too much better, but I still have hope. It was an underwhelming reading month even if there is a lot on the list, but it happens.
- If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free. Get that Audible deal here.
- If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd! You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot. Sign up for Scribd here!
- Shop my collection of bookish goodies on Etsy! These aren’t my shop items, but other shops I’ve curated into a book-themed collection. Shop my Etsy bookish goodies here!
- If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
- Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Shop BookOutlet here!
- Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
- Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.
- Shopping internationally? Check out Book Depository!
Author: Hyeonseo Lee, David John
About the book: Growing up on the Chinese border, Hyeonseo Lee had an idea of what life was like outside of North Korea so at 17 she decided to escape and was reunited with her family 12 years later.
With word of her escape spreading, she couldn’t return to North Korea, but after twelve years and two lives adapting and surviving in China, she returns to the border to spirit her mother and brother away to South Korea on one of the most arduous, costly, and dangerous journeys around.
Final thoughts: This was really interesting! I read a different book about escaping North Korea a few years ago and this one was so different.
This didn’t feel super fast-paced but I was intrigued the whole time and it was just so interesting seeing how everything happened for her.
Author: Tess Sharpe
Genre: YA LGBT+ mystery
About the book: Sophie has been drug-free for nine months, two weeks, six days. Four months ago Mina, her best friend, was killed in a supposed drug deal gone wrong that Sophie set up.
Only Sophie knows she was deliberately murdered. She’s forced into rehab for an addiction she’s already beaten but once she’s out, she’s on the trail of the killer.
Final thoughts: I got this one in that mystery book box I always talk about and finally read it. I really enjoyed this one. It took me a bit to get into it (most have so far this year) but once I did, I really liked it.
Author: Bandi, Deborah Smith
Genre: Short stories
Rating: 2/5, DNF
About the book: This eye-opening work of fiction includes seven stories that give voice to the people living under this bizarre and horrifying dictatorship.
It is set during the leadership of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il and shares the perspective of a wide variety of backgrounds from the elite in Pyongyang to a former Communist war hero and a husband and father that sneaks onto a train to visit his critically ill mother. It’s an inspiring tale and testament that a rich internal life can continue in such inhumane conditions.
Final thoughts: From GoodReads: DNF. It’s not bad but I think I’m just in the wrong mood for it. I also don’t love short stories.
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Genre: YA contemporary
About the book: Every year before homecoming the list of prettiest and ugliest girls in each grade is posted all over the school. They then become the center of attention and each reacts entirely differently to the experience.
Final thoughts: From GoodReads: Maybe 2.5? This was easy to read and kept me entertained but it would have been way better with fewer POV and some actual closure at the end.
Author: Rose George
Genre: Non-fiction economics, I guess
About the book: Ninety Percent of Everything takes us into the world of international cargo shipping, investigating ships that threaten the well-being of endangered whales, patrolling with an anti-piracy task force, and joining seafaring chaplains on the open seas.
Final thoughts: From GoodReads: Interesting but also quite boring
Author: Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian
Genre: YA mystery
About the book: I’m not going to have a description because of spoilers, I don’t want to ruin anything major since it’s number two in the series.
Final thoughts: From GoodReads: I liked this a lot more than the first one (it’s still definitely not like, an all-time favorite at all) but I just don’t care for this Mary storyline in any way.
Author: Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian
Genre: YA mystery
About the book: I’m not going to have a description because of spoilers, I don’t want to ruin anything major since it’s the last in the series.
Final thoughts: From GoodReads: This was entertaining and I read it in one day but everything Mary made me want to gouge my eyes out. I hated that, it was so unnecessary. Also, the ending!? Half a page for Mary to realize what happened was her decision and three pages to wrap it all up, wrap YEARS up into an ugly bow.
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA sci-fi
About the book: It’s just another day on the Scrap until Eve finds the ruins of Ezekiel, an android boy, in the scrap pile she calls home. With her best friend, robot sidekick, and Ezikiel, they trek across the ruined deserts and megacities to save the ones she loves while learning the dark secrets of her past.
Final thoughts: I know, Jay Kristoff isn’t good, but I already had this so I wasn’t going to just not read it. I didn’t love it though.
It’s not bad but I didn’t like it enough to continue the series. It’s got the usual sass and number of twists from him. I still like Illuminae the most.
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA horror
About the book: Neena and Josie were outsiders in high school but they always had each other. Now, as college approaches, they’re going to lose that, too, as Neena gets ready to move away.
They have one last chance to spend time together and settle on a three-day backpacking trip in the Pisgah National Forest.
They take an off-trail detour to get back that turns into a living nightmare.
Final thoughts: First I want to say, I like the idea of this a lot. I like the first half a lot. Then I stopped liking it. Great idea, not so great execution. From GoodReads: **SPOILERS BELOW**
Where do I start? I am someone that shares Josie’s fear of bears and the woods and was reading this in the dark, I was a little creeped out on their first day but then it’s just couldn’t.
First of all, they have NO hiking or backpacking experience whatsoever and go on a three-day trip. Sure.
Then, we skip to where everything goes wrong. First of all, Josie doesn’t pass out when her foot basically falls off? Ok.am
Then, when the bad guy is over the hole, she throws her pee jar at him and hits him in the head on the first try? From 7-9 feet below him in a hole? Yeah.
Then her hand gets blasted off and she still doesn’t pass out? Sure.
Neena stumbles on the bad guys weird little camp thing, ok, but how do these guys operate out here and not one other person has stumbled on it with all the murders in the forest and thought man, this is pretty weird here maybe I should tell someone? Ok.
Then she stumbles on the other tent at their first campsite and finds a dead guy that stinks to high heaven and THEY DIDNT NOTICE THAT WHEN THEY WERE BY THE TENT THAT MORNING!? What!?
Then Josie somehow knocks the big guy into the hole and shoots him with one hand while practically blind then to make sure he’s not moving she throws her headlamp at him (correct me if I’m wrong) then when Neena finds her she has her headlamp again? What? How?
Then she just drags herself all over the woods without a foot and hand and is still practically blind like it’s NBD? Yeah. Makes sense.
I had high hopes for this in the beginning but it got not so believable pretty fast. I was entertained though and did read it pretty fast so 🤷🏻♀️
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Genre: YA dystopian sci-fi
Rating: 1/5, DNF
About the book: I don’t want to include spoilers for the first three so I won’t include a description but this is, well, basically an extra book in the Uglies series.
Final thoughts: DNF, just did not care
Author: Denise Grady
Genre: Science non-fiction
About the book: To get a better understanding of the deadly diseases plaguing the world (hah) Denise heads to Angola during the 2005 Marburg outbreak. She explores the reality of healthcare in developing countries and includes in-depth but enjoyable chapters about the origins and spread of other diseases.
Final thoughts: I liked this one a lot but I really like disease and pandemic books. It was a quick, easy listen that kept things easy and didn’t drag on.
Have you read any of these? Which ones? What did you read in January?