Every Book I Read in January – Rated // 2018
At the start of January I set my reading goal for the year. While there is some fear that my eyes will fall out from sheer exhaustion, my plan is to read 10 books per month for a total of 120 books by the end of 2018. The first month of our new year has already come to a close and I’m glad to report that all has gone well for my goal planning so far and my eyes are still, somewhat, intact. In an effort to share all of my read books with you, good and bad, I’ll be posting a wrap up at the start of each month.
Here’s what you’ll find in this post:
I’ve categorized each of then ten books I read last month by final verdict: Buy It, Borrow It, or Skip It. Here’s a little breakdown for you:
- Buy It: Books I read last month that are totally worthy of being added to your shopping cart.
- Borrow It: Books I read last month that were good fun and worth a read, but maybe not worth your money.
- Skip It: Books you shouldn’t bother reading at all.
VERDICT: Buy It
The Other Side of Everything
Lauren Doyle Owens
This literary suspense novel was my first five-star read of the year. With elegant, heartfelt writing, Owens has crafted a literary masterpiece hiding under the guise of a mystery. In just 24 hours this book made it from my to-be-read stack to my to-be-reviewed stack. I was entirely entranced. The Other Side of Everything follows the populous of one well-established suburban neighborhood after a murder.
by Ken Greenhall
When January’s The Nocturnal Reader’s Box arrived at my doorstep I knew the contents would be good, but I had no idea it would surprise me so completely with the inclusion of this revived horror classic. In Hell Hound, a sociopathic dog is on the hunt for the perfect master, will he find one? And what will happen when he does?
The End We Start From
From the poignant grace of a poet comes this little novella about a new mother in a post-apocalyptic world. Biblical floods have devastated the continents, leaving citizens as refugees trying only to survive. It’s short and therefore loses a lot of detail. Instead, it offers gorgeous, lyrical writing that could serve as inspiration for any would-be author.
Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
I have made a list of classics that I vow to read in 2018. This one made the top of the list after my fiance spent the last year raving about it. Tarzan of the Apes was originally published in a 1912 magazine and it reads like a serial piece of the time: simple yet eloquent. An adventure story through and through, it might surprise you if you decide to give it the chance.
Verdict: Borrow It
The Philosopher’s Flight
If concept alone could carry a book, The Philosopher’s Flight would get a full 10/10 stars. While this re-imagining of the First World War, where women are the dominant sex and philosophy gives you the ability to fly, is beautifully captured, the story lacks a strong overall structure. As a result, the story, though fascinating in scope, lacked any driving force to make you want know what happens next. It would make for a fascinating read for your next book club as there are plenty of points for discussion, but don’t go in expecting a fast pace.
The Glass Forest
The Glass Forest is an enjoyable, atmospheric mystery novel with a vintage edge. In the 1960’s one newlywed housewife and mother discovers more about her charming husband than she’d ever expect. Best suited for those who enjoy character studies over a startling plot, I felt this book promised more than it delivered.
What Happened That Night
I was sent an extremely early copy of this book (it doesn’t release until June) because of my well documented obsession with anything Sandra Block writes. When I read her Zoe Goldman mystery/thriller series last year I found myself extremely satisfied and I have since harassed Sandra on twitter for more.
In a ploy to appease me, she sent me her latest work, What Happened That Night, a victim-turned-vigilante novel that witnesses one woman’s fight for revenge against those who wronged her so many years ago. It’s dark, obsessive, and full of the well-crafted characters that make me admire Sandra’s work so much. Though I didn’t enjoy the leading lady as much as Zoe Goldman and I found the ending of the story a tad unrealistic, I still think this is a worthy read for those of you who appreciate a good revenge story.
Storm Front: The Dresden Files Book 1
After a cry for help on twitter for what audiobook to listen to next, the internet responded in a way that restored my faith in humanity. It’s a good feeling to know there are that many book nerds out there who will give me, a stranger on the internet, their audiobook recommendations after just a quick tweet. After perusing through a large list of rec’s (you can browse the list by clicking the tweet below)…
I have exactly 10,986,376 @audible_com credits (okay, slight exaggeration) and I absolutely have no idea what book to listen to next. Send help. I beg you.
— Bex (@itsoutofthebex) January 23, 2018
… I noticed that one book in particular, Storm Front, was narrated by none other than James Marsters. Now, in case you’re not a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan (which you totally should be), James Marsters plays one of the most complex and well-crafted characters in television history: Spike. Of course, after noticing that wonderfully nerdy fact I couldn’t say no to this book.
It’s the fun, urban-fantasy concept that we could only really get away with in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. An attractive wizard-for-hire with a hero complex finds himself up against the odds and thrown into a battle against evil itself. Of course, he’s also surrounded by one drop-dead gorgeous woman after another. I had heard this read would be a bit juvenile, it was written by a college kid at the turn of the century after all, but I have also heard tell that the later books in this series are absolutely incredible. So, I took the chance. Will you?
VERDICT: Skip It
Look for Me
by Lisa Gardner
While Lisa Gardner has written one of my all-time-favorite thrillers in 2016’s Find Her, I couldn’t help but feel that the author fell short in her latest Detective Warren series. Gardner is an efficient writer, her words flow smoothly, and as a result the pages in her books generally turn pretty quickly. However, this time I found myself bored and eager to be done by page 150. At midway through I was ready to give three stars and call it fine enough. But as the pages went on the plot became more transparent and the chapters repetitive. This one wasn’t for me, and probably not for you either. If you do want to try a Lisa Gardner novel, don’t hesitate to grab a copy of her previous work: Find Her.
I also tried listening to Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities this month. However, after several hours of listening went by and I still found myself confused, I had to call it quits. This is one classic I won’t be checking off my list this year. I’ve marked this one as DNF (did not finish).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this January wrap up! What book did you most enjoy last month? Leave me a comment below!
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