The start of 2020 has seen me in a mix of reading moods: Sci-fi, fantasy, a bit of contemporary, crime and thriller. I don’t usually move across the genres like that, but this month it seems to have worked and I’m reading the books I’ve had on my shelf for a while which is fabulous.
With a few false starts culminating in some DNFs, I’ve managed to read a total of seven books which is pretty good going for me. Four of which are also on my “20 books for 2020” spread in my book bullet journal! Yay.
However, let’s get onto the sadness of the DNFs first.
Technically I started Skyward in December but it was still on my bedside table when I got back from seeing Beth and Hannah at New Year, and I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up again. I do have a hit and miss relationship with Sci-Fi, but even with all the good things I’ve heard about Skyward, I couldn’t bring myself to care for Spensa or the story in the first few chapters I’d read.
Once and Future was the first book I picked up in January and I didn’t feel anything for the characters or the world. I really wanted to like it because it is so different to any retelling or reimagining I’ve read, but to me that uniqueness did not pay off. I was just lost and I didn’t care about trying to push past that. I’m disappointed but truthfully not terribly surprised I had this reaction to it.
Loch of the Dead is book 4 in the Frey and McGray series of books by Oscar de Muriel and I’m really annoyed by the fact I had to DNF it because I love this odd detective duo who often find a supernatural twist to their crimes. The previous three instalments (The Strings of Murder, Fever of the Blood, and A Mask of Shadows) are great, but this one just didn’t click enough with me to continue reading. I think I will just have to look up a summary because I want to read book 5, The Darker Arts, which is on my shelf and book 6 comes out later this year.
Wonder by RJ Palacio – I’m a little late to the mark with this and it is clearly not a crime or thriller but I wanted something nice and quick to read whilst ill in bed. It was perfect and although I vaguely knew what Wonder was about, I loved that it radiated all these messages of kindness, friendship and inner strength. It’s a book that doesn’t come around very often and there’s no wonder (pun intended) it is popular and loved by millions. ★★★★★
Snapped by Laura Griffin (Tracers #5) – I can’t tell you when I initially started this. It’s been an on and off again read for a while but I finally got around to finishing it and similarly to the previous books in the series, I really enjoyed it. It has a nice balance between the crimes, forensics and the various romances amongst all the characters. I’m definitely continuing on with this series, even though it is something like thirteen books long at the moment. ★★★★☆
The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen – I love Tess Gerritsen’s thrillers. They draw me in from the first page and have this way of making me question everything I believe about humanity. However, whilst it still possessed those elements, the main story in Shape of Night is not one I enjoyed as much. Looking back on it, I’m not too bothered as I know that will happen every once in a while but I still feel a little disappointed. ★★★☆☆1/2
Let Darkness Bury the Dead by Maureen Jennings – I’ve liked all the Murdoch Mysteries books and this one is no different. We’ve got crime, nitty-gritty Toronto life, and characters that always have something to hide. However, set in 1917 rather than at the turn of the 20th Century, it feels darker in both crime and emotion because it is dealing with the complexities of war and everyone wrapped up in it. I can’t even bring myself to rate it because the feelings I had reading it were so raw even though they are actually nothing compared to those of everyone else who lived through this pivotal era in our history.
One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M.McManus – I’d resisted reading this for a while, not really sure if it was the mystery for me. However, it came up in conversation with Beth and Sifa not long ago and because I was reading crime and thriller books, it stuck in my head. It’s still in my head now as I cannot get over the manipulation and control that is so intrinsic to the story. It’s scary. Just past the half way point I had a hunch about how everything was going to turn out and whilst that proved correct in the end, I was perfectly okay with it because I liked seeing all the pieces come together and the characters learning the truth about each other. ★★★★★
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling – There are never really any reasons why we read and re-read Harry Potter. It’s just something that we do because the Wizarding World is such a cultural phenomenon. I’ve not read it for a while but I’ve definitely been spurred to re-read it and the rest of the series as my sister has thrashed me twice in the HP Trivial Pursuits game we bought this month, and she’s surprised me with a trip to the Studio Tour for our joint birthday in April. It’s also nice, easy, and quick which is always what I want to kickstart a reading year. ★★★★☆
Beloved Poison by ES Thomson – Loch of the Dead refused to give me my second Victorian crime/mystery kick so this was read in its place, and it blew me away. It contains everything I need in a book that combines crime with historical fiction, especially if its main setting and the characters are primarily medical. There’s the commentary on the medical practices, the conflict that comes with the introduction of the ‘germ theory’, and the line between lawful and lawlessness. It is slow-paced but I was thankful for it because the detail was exquisite and the balance between historical accuracy and plot/character development never tipped. This world is one I see myself revisiting in February and I’m all for it! ★★★★★
I got five books, five books which should not have been bought because my main rule for this year is to not get any books unless it is at/for the Northern YA Lit Fest and YALC. However, a certain book I’ve already mentioned jumped out at me as soon as I walked into my local Tesco supermarket and I couldn’t not purchase it. Then I saw the others and thought “what the hell, let’s just do it.” Also, I’d had a really bad morning that day and I needed cheering up.
They don’t necessarily jump out to me as “cheering up” books but I have no qualms at all about any of them. They’ll get read soon anyway so they won’t be adding anything to the TBR pile.
And that, thankfully, is that. This has been a really long post and I thank you if you got through it as I did not intend for it to be that long. Oops.
What books have you read in January?
Are there any in particular that you have set aside to read this year?
Again, thank you for bearing with me for this wrap up and have a brazzle dazzle day!