Run, Read, Repeat

January – What I read this month

January – What I read this month

Hey bookworms!

I can’t believe January is almost over! It flew by with work stress and all the meal prep (and dishes!) involved in Whole30. I’m looking forward to February, which hopefully will be a bit more relaxing! I read 10 books in January. I’m currently reading 2 books but I won’t be finishing those by January 31st so those will go towards my book count for February. Hopefully I can keep this pace up (I’m sure I won’t), but, regardless, I read some great books in January.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling and Olivia Lomenech Gill (Illustrations). 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Illustrated Edition

I got this book around Christmas and spent the first few nights of the 2018 reading through all the fantastic beasts and loving the beautiful illustrations.

Rating – 4/ 5 – The illustrations were gorgeous, but some times I actually wanted a little more information about the beasts!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles By Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1)

This is the first book in the Hercule Poirot series, and I really enjoyed it! The mystery was great, and I never saw the ending coming. Obviously, becuase the book was written almost 100 years ago, the culture in the book and the style are incredibly different than what we read today. I know that’s really bothered some readers, but the mystery was just to fun to avoid because of that. I’m excited to pick up the next book.

Rating 3/ 5 – A great mystery even though some of the language was a bit hard to get through.

The English Wife by Lauren Willig

I really enjoyed this period mystery. When Janie’s brother is found dead and her sister-in-law missing on the night of their ball, Janie forms an alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth. This book was a little darker than some of the other historical mysteries I read, and I loved the reveal of who-done-it. Check out my full review of this one here.

Rating 5/ 5 – I got really into this historical mystery and loved all the twists and turns.

Heat & Light by Jennifer Haigh

I picked this book for my postal book club. I had heard a lot of discussion surrounding this book, and I thought it would be a great book club pick. Heat & Light follows the run-down town of Bakerton, PA, as a fracking company descends on the town, buying up landowners’ mineral rights. In the end, something about this book just didn’t click for me. I enjoyed the topic and pacing, but there were too many characters and I struggled to connect with–or even like–any of them.

Rating 3/ 5 – I enjoyed the pacing and the writing style of this book but I struggled with the characters.

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

With the TV adaptation coming out in January, I picked this one up and am so glad I did. The Alienist follows psychologist Dr. Kreizler as he and his group of friends try to solve a string of gruesome murders occurring in NYC in 1896. This was a dense book, but I loved the characters and with the pacing I never felt that the book was going on too long. Check out my full review of this one here.

Rating 5/ 5 – This book was a great historical mystery that not only had a unique serial killer, but also had dynamic characters, a great blend of action and witty dialogue, and a great look at how criminology and profiling (or the lack thereof) worked in the late 1890s.

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

This book has been getting a ton of attention recently. My Absolute Darling is the story of fourteen-year-old Turtle who lives with her survivalist father along the North California coast. When Turtle stumbles upon two high-schoolers, Jacob and Brett (who are lost in the woods), she learns that there is more to life than what her father makes her believe. When her father brings home another young girl, Turtle needs to use all the survival skills her father has taught her not only to save herself, but also those friends she’s finally learned to let in. This book has a lot of strong language and dark themes. While those things don’t normally bother me, the language seemed a little crude and didn’t really work for me. Check out my full review of this one here.

Rating 3/ 5 – This book was a roller coaster, both with the story and with how I felt about it. While I really enjoyed the middle of the book, the growth of Turtle, and the crafting of the characters, the book had a very slow start and in the end let me down. I think this book is worth giving a chance, but for me it fell a little short of the high expectations I had going in.

The City of Shifting Waters by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres (Illustrator)

After watching the move that came out based on this series of comic books (Valerian and the City of a Thousands Planets), I decided to pick up the first book in the series. I really enjoyed this story and it I can’t wait to pick up the next one!

Rating 4/ 5 – As one of my first comic series I really enjoyed it. The illustrations were great and the story was easy to follow. Valerian and Laureline are great characters, and I’m excited to see what happens next.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World By Cal Newport

I read this as part of a book club I’m in, and while I agree with several of the points made in the book, it was hard to get invested in this book, partly because I can’t really apply deep work (or “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task”) to my current job and partly because Newport came off as kinda a jerk. I may revisit this book if I switch to a job where deep work would be beneficial.

Rating 3/ 5 – This might be a case of reading a good book at the wrong time.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (Illustrator)

This book really surprised me. I picked it up on the recommendation of a friend and I found that I enjoyed it a lot (I haven’t loved other things by Neil Gaiman as much in the past). After the murder of his family, a small boy wanders into a graveyard where he is adopted by the inhabitants who agree to raise him as one of their own. The premise of the book was unique, and I loved all the characters.

Rating 4/ 5 – A wonderful fantasy YA that has something for every reader.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This was another book that was getting a lot of attention recently. When women develop an immense physical power that can cause pain and death, the nature and power structure of the world changes. This book really made me think. I loved the set up of this book and the development of the main characters. The play of power from some of the women, the scenes of women soldiers raiding camps, and the laws and actions that were put in place for men were terrifying to read.

Rating 4/ 5 – I really enjoyed this book. It was a unique plot that made me think. I enjoyed the changing point of views throughout the book, and loved that it was styled as an actual historical account.

I hope everyone got to read something great in January! What did you finish this month? Anything I need to add to my TBR list? 

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