January 2020 Wrap-Up
Helloo again~ I’m back to my intermittent blogging schedule. If you haven’t yet seen my last post in which I rated my top 19 book of 2019, I recommend you check it out! Today I’ll be reviewing every book I read in January. Let me tell you, I had quite a good reading month--I finally got to the Six of Crows duology! For my thoughts and that and everything else, read on. As always, book are in order of when I read them, not how I would rank them.
1. Tellus by Tyffany Hackett
Genre: YA Fantasy
One sentence synopsis: Natylia sets out to find the scepters that will stop the Titans from waking and prove herself as the powerful Queen she is.
You may have heard me gush over book 1 in this series, the Thanatos trilogy by my friend Tyffany Hackett. This sequel is such a perfect addition to the series, and I am d y i n g to read book 3!! I read Tellus as a baby beta draft, so this was technically a reread for me. I was so glad to re-explore this story. Trust me when I say you NEED to read these books. I have full reviews of Imber here and Tellus here. But suffice to say I highly recommend this Tolkien-meets-SJM-esque fantasy!
2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
One sentence synopsis: Six cute lil gangbangers attempt to pull off the heist of the century and break a prominent Grisha (alchemist) out of a high-security prison.
Wow what can I say? I honestly put this book off for so long because I was worried it was over-hyped. I loved the Grisha trilogy and my own book, Arrowhead, gets compared to SoC a lot, but still I was hesitant. However, I can truly say this book surpassed my already very high expectations.
I can’t really say anything that hasn’t already been said about this book. Bardugo’s writing is masterful. Her characters are my babies. Her worldbuilding is flawless. The plot kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. It’s perfect. I highly recommend.
3. Heart & Seoul by Erin Kinsella
One sentence synopsis: A Canadian author goes on a vacation to Korea and somehow ends up in a ‘marriage of convenience’ with one of the world’s foremost K-Pop stars.
I posted on Twitter in December seeking a cute romantic indie book to read for #indiecember, and I’m so glad Erin commented on my tweet. She offered me an e-ARC of her novel Heart & Seoul (out now!) which I loved! It was just what I wanted. I wrote a more in-depth review here, so go check that out if you are interested in a really heartwarming and fun romance! Though it was slightly slow for me (which is why I didn’t end up finishing it before the end of #indiecember), I still really enjoyed it and appreciate a lot of the aspects of this book such as representation and attention to consensual romantic relationships. I go into more detail on my GoodReads so I recommend heading there before grabbing your copy of H&S.
4. Sarai by Sonica Ellis, JC Grande, and Jeff Lewis
Genre: Superhero comic
One sentence synopsis: After a radical extremist terrorist organization infiltrates her school, Sarai is blessed by a god with powers that will help her exact her revenge.
I had a great month for indies! Which means I also have a full review of this one up here. I picked this one up largely because I wasn’t sure I would make my goal of reading 4 books in the month of January, and I wanted a quick read to fill out my list. My brother had gotten me this comic for Christmas after seeing it online. I really liked this one! The art is beautiful and the story wraps up nicely while bringing attention to really important issues. It is pretty dark, so I’m going to leave some trigger warnings here for terrorism, sexual assault, and human trafficking. But if you can stomach those things and want to see a hero come out on top, I recommend this one!
5. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre: Nonfiction - Self Help
One sentence synopsis: The author of Eat, Pray, Love talks about living your best creative life.
I picked up this audiobook simply because it was available. I didn’t have high expectations--Eat, Pray, Love never interested me because the premise sounds vaguely problematic. But regardless, I figured it couldn’t hurt to listen to this lady talk about being creative. Little did I know this book was exactly what I needed right now.
Full disclosure: I’ve been feeling really down about my writing lately. After a really rough semester this past fall, I decided to cut my course load in half to hopefully have more free time (or like. . . any free time)--which for me, means more writing time. However, when I picked up my books again, I felt extremely unmotivated to work on any of them. I have been having trouble focusing on one story, and feeling like my writing is of any value, to me or others. But this book helped remind me why I do what I do. I especially love Gilbert’s philosophy to take your writing life seriously. . . but not too seriously. It’s supposed to be fun, after all. I do this because I love it, not to make a buck or be famous or even to touch others’ hearts. I write for me.
So, yeah, if you need a pep talk like that I recommend this one. The audiobook was pretty good, too.
6. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
One sentence synopsis: *Spoiler alert* but shit didn’t end perfectly in book 1, so the Dregs are back to pull off an even bigger heist and oof.
After Six of Crows I tore through the sequel, Crooked Kingdom. Somehow Bardugo managed to raise the stakes in this one and give even deeper pictures of the characters. I am so happy we get Wylan’s perspective in this book--he was so underappreciated in SoC! My only gripe with this book is the ending--if you’ve read it you know what I am referring to. It felt very out of place and contrived to me. But I also just. . . don’t care enough about that character for it to affect the story for me. So the book is still an enthusiastic five stars.
The only question left: who would win in a fight, Kaz Brekker or Locke Lamora??
And that sums up my January reads! As you can see, I had a lucky month full of new favorites. I am also happy that I got to read a lot of indies as well as other books that have been on my TBR for months (or even years. . . yikes). If you have read any of these, please let me know your thoughts! I am NOT done discussing Tellus or Six of Crows. I will forever gush over those books.