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. Without further ado, here is my January Reading Wrap Up!
Here’s what you’ll find in this post:
I’ve categorized each of the 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
By Karen Thompson Walker
Verdict: Buy It
A small college town is struck by an unknown sleeping sickness which escalates from a few small cases to a full town quarantine. Though this beautifully spun tale holds a plot of the apocalyptic genre, its themes of love and sacrifice are told in a much more contemporary style. THE DREAMERS sports an efficient yet heartfelt approach which craftily manages to say a lot with a little, reminiscent of author Celeste Ng.
The Butchering Art
by Lindsey Fitzharris
Verdict: Buy It
Part period piece and part biography, The Butchering Art tells the heroic story of one Joseph Lister, a surgeon in Victorian England whose intellect and ingenuity changed the world of medicine forever. This book has received high marks from many a reader due to it’s approachable candor and mesmerizing pacing. It is unputdownabale, rare for a nonfiction in this style, and highly recommendable.
No Traveller Returns
By Louis L’Amour and Beau L’Amour
Verdict: Buy It
Louis L’Amour’s lost first novel, completed by his son, a compelling tale of the lives and losses aboard a tanker in the late 1930’s. Like L’Amour’s many celebrated works, NO TRAVELLER RETURNS honors the heroism in everyday men turned extraordinary by circumstance. He once again gives the reader a captivating glimpse into a world long lost, a world of grit, of harsh chivalry, and undiscovered adventure.
Verdict: Borrow It
by Nate Blakeslee
A summary of the reintroduction of wolves as apex predators in Yellowstone Park, including the people who studied them, the personifications of the wolves themselves, and the sociopolitical debates which resulted from one of wildlife management’s most controversial experiments.
Louisa May Alcott, A Personal Biography
by Susan Cheever
Susan Cheever chronicles the life of famed author Louisa May Alcott in this thoughtful biography. The work expands beyond the scope of Alcott herself and includes commentary on the many unique individuals who surrounded her life with many passages on Bronson Alcott and other transcendentalists. Cheever perhaps presses too much of her own perspectives into the narrative she crafts and could have focused more on the life of Louisa herself.
The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A charming tale of magic and mystery about an orphaned girl sent to live with a reclusive relative on a sprawling estate. Burnett carved this children’s classic out of the rolling moors and charming characters of 1900’s England. While the pacing is slow and the plot somewhat repetitive, the thematic messages deliver one of the world’s most celebrated works in children’s literature.
The Happiness Advantage
by Shawn Achor
Achor shares enlightening details in the increasingly understood effects of positive psychology and extrapolates on how these methods serve to increase happiness. Most of the advice found in THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE is largely intuitive and, though interesting, lacks practicality. However, it does serve as a thoughtful reminder for those who seek to improve their outlook.
The Inbetween Days
by Eva Woods
Rosie is stuck in a coma after an accident involving a busy street and a bus, though how exactly the accident happened is unclear. That’s exactly what Rosie’s sister Daisy sets out to discover. Woods has a supremely enjoyable voice in her writing which manages to make you laugh while you cry, tackling difficult subjects with a heartfelt but humorous view. However, the basic structure of this novel requires the execution to be repetitive and tiring at times. The characters were also not as well-crafted as her previous work, SOMETHING LIKE HAPPY.
Alien: Out of the Shadows
by Tim Lebbon
Like many works of fiction crafted after the success of great films, this book acts as an expansion on the already well-defined Alien world. If you are not a fan of the Alien franchise then this book will likely not be of interest to you and I do not recommend it as a starting point. However, if you are already a fan and want to return to your favorite sci-fi world then this Audible Original production will likely be an enjoyable listen. It sports a full cast and sound effects, as enjoyable as any well-produced radio show.
VERDICT: Skip It
by Fiona Burton
Two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand and a circling maze of characters via the press and police come together to solve the case. The base mystery of this book is interesting and incites the reader just enough to draw them in. However, the story itself is lacking. The book is too long, many of the passages felt like unnecessary static. The perspective shifts between characters are overstrung. Finally, THE SUSPECT lacks character development, pacing, atmosphere, and is thematically weak.
by Sara Holland
This much anticipated sequel of EVERLESS failed to impress. Sara Holland seemed to dismiss much of what made her initial book successful, set in a world where time extracted from blood is currency. The plot in EVERMORE is erratic, its character actions questionable, and the villain of the story ineffective. If you choose to read Everless at all then do as I have done and pretend book two does not exist.
by Wendy Heard
Often when books as successful and seminal as YOU or Gone Girl are released, the publishing world spends a few years trying to scrape everything they can get out of one creator’s unique idea. You get a lot of copycats, a lot of imitations. That is exactly what you have in Hunting Annabelle. This book has tried to take what it can from some truly great books and made only a cheap attempt at an imprint of someone else’s genius. This book was an incredible disappointment in more ways than one. It started as a four-star read and quickly devolved into a one-star read, one I wish I had never chosen to add to my shelves. You can read my full review on GoodReads here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this January reading wrap up! What book did you most enjoy last month? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat about it!
Note: Almost every book on this list was gifted by their respective publishers in exchange for my honest review. As you tell, these gifts in no way affect my rating. All reviews are 100% honest.
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