January 2022 Wrap Up

Here we are! My first wrap up of 2022. Now let me tell you!!!!! This has been the most productive month since I started my blog. The first month of the year is always when I read the most books as I feel the most pumped up to start my challenge. I like to read a lot in the first month so when I tackle the heavier books later down the line I don’t start lagging behind on my goal. But 12 books in one month! Amazing! Normally I would talk about my DNFs but I also read between 50% and 60% of those books which is still a good amount of pages! I highly doubt that I can keep this momentum going for the rest of 2022 but we shall see.

  • I read 12 books this month
  • I DNFd 2 books this month
  • Genre: 2 fantasy, 2 historical fiction, 2 mystery, 2 romance, 2 sci-fi, 1 contemporary and 1 sport.
  • Gender of authors: 8 women and 4 women
  • Race of authors: 7 white authors, 4 asian authors and 1 black author
  • Age range: 6 adult, 4 YA, 1 new adult and 1 middle grade
  • Format: 5 ebooks, 4 paperback, 2 audiobooks and 1 hardcover

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao (5 stars)

I actually to listened to this on audiobook and started it about halfway through December but didn’t get round to finishing it until Jan. This was a such a refreshing and exciting YA sci-fi novel. I have briefly mentioned before on this blog how sci-fi can be hit and miss for me with books, I tend to prefer to consume my sci-fi through TV or film, but this blew everything out of the water for me. It was exciting and enticing with one of the best female characters in YA ever! I loved the world, the characters, the politics and most of all the battle scenes. Never in my life would I say I liked battle scenes!

The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant (3 stars)

So, I read this as part of my bookstores Book of the Month campaign and I was excited to start getting back into middle grade fiction. Ever since I started my job I have been super intrigued by all the new publishing I missed once I got older and started reading more YA and adult books. I want to read everything I have missed. This book was super fun. I found the main character to be really sweet, determined and smart. I thought the magic included in this novel was fun and quirky, I loved learning about the different ingredients to make hats. But I did find the middle portion of the book to lull a bit.

The Key in the Lock by Beth Underdown (2.5 stars)

This book unfortunately fell flat for me. This book is half literary fiction, half mystery and I 1000% preferred the mystery. I felt that the mystery held up the novel as I was bored watching the MC talk about her sad life, her regrets and her relationships with people and while I appreciated her and her struggle; I found her to be quite annoying. A kind character but also quite boring. This made the more character-focused sections of the plot to be quite slow going and I craved more of the mystery. The mystery itself, when we got round to it, was good. A bit predictable for me but still enjoyable.

The Chosen Twelve by James Breakwell (DNF)

I got about 60% through this book before I decided to put it down for good and that was because not much really happened. Not much more to say. The premise was super exciting but it was just a lot of sitting around and talking or watching the same failed simulations. Also, it was marketed as being like The Hunger Games and I was just waiting to see that come to fruition but it never happened.

Empress and Aniya by Candice Carty-Williams (DNF)

I also listened to this via audiobook and I felt that the narrator, Mia Deacon, did a really good job! But personally, for me, I just wasn’t as engaged with the story. I understand due to it being a novella that you can only fit so much in a certain number of pages I wanted a bit more from the story. I felt that everything just needed that extra bit of detail. At certain points, I felt we were just scraping the surface of the characters, their friendships etc. I just needed a bit more of everything!

Attack on Titan: Volume 2 by Hajime Isayama (3 stars)

This was good. To be honest, I don’t have loads to say about this volume. I loved exploring Mikasa’s character more but I have seen the anime so this isn’t new to me. I am still not sure if I like the art style but I enjoyed this nonetheless.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas (3 stars)

Now, this was a book I was adamant a couple of years ago I was never going to read. This was when I was wholeheartedly against anything romance based and also I was trying to be a “serious fantasy reader” (excuse while I see my old self out) but I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would. I felt the wiring was super engaging, the main female character I liked and the romance was interesting and grabbed my attention. While I completely understand and get the criticisms and I agree with a lot of them. I still found myself enjoying this novel for what it is!

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett (5 stars)

One of the best books I have ever read. Point blank period! I mean words cannot begin to describe how smart and exhilarating this book was! I cannot say too much as everything will teeter on spoiler territory but this was literally if The Famous Five was a spy thriller! If you are a fan of the podcast or book Rabbits you will love this book! The sense of character was so strong in this book. I loved how the main character flicked between his deep past, his past from hours ago and his present. It was structured very well. READ IT!

The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola (4 stars)

I enjoyed this historical mystery! I felt that this book did a great job of placing you firmly in 1700s Paris. The 3 female protagonists we follow are all intelligent women struggling to live in a patriarchal society from the bottom of the ladder all the way to King’s Palace. I enjoyed exploring what it was like to live in 1700s Paris and I felt the historical part of the novel was really strong. The mystery while I enjoyed it and I felt it came to a satisfying conclusion I just wish there was a bit more. There was not much investigating at all, I felt about the majority of the novel just had the MC Madeline walk around not really getting anywhere and the reveal at the end of the novel while satisfying in terms of identity I don’t feel anything was really earned it as a reader.

The Village of Eight Graves by Seishi Yokomizo (2 stars)

Unfortunately, with each book I am reading, I am getting more and more disappointed. I am not sure if I am going to continue with the rest of the series. One of the major draw ins from this series is I love Detective Kindaichi. Unfortunately, we don’t really see much of him at all. I would say he is in about 20% of this entire book and I felt that the book was missing his presence a lot. The main character of this novel, Tatsuya, works hard to try and fill his place but it just doesn’t feel the same. The mystery itself had a lot of promise, everything was set up nicely and I had a couple of theories going but ultimately I was left disappointed by the end. For me, the ending came out of nowhere.

Heartstopper: Volume 1 by Alice Oseman (4 stars)

I finally gave in to the hype and decided to read this contemporary romance. Two genres I don’t read that much of. Well, I loved the romance, the pacing was super quick without feeling rushed and I found the dialogue to be super realistic! I wasn’t a massive fan of the art style at times but that wasn’t a hindrance at all! I need the 2nd volume!

Haikyu!! Volume 1 by Haruichi Furudate (4 stars)

I tried to watch the anime last year but I found the pacing to be super slow so I ended up DNFing it. But I loved the story so I decided to give the manga ago and I prefer the manga so much more. The pacing issue I had with the show was non-existent here, everything was paced well. The characters I instantly loved, even the more annoying ones, and the passion and the drive that these characters have is super inspiring. You can’t help but root for them. I can’t wait to continue this series and watch this team’s journey!

Methods of Dyeing Review

In Ismyre, on the eve of his lecture, the renowned botanist and master dyer Professor Detlef is found dead in the university gardens. As the local constabulary begin their search for the culprit, a strange detective arrives from outside the city to help solve the crime. In a place where things are never as they seem, will Mary the university custodian be able to help the mysterious investigator uncover the truth?

PIGPEN Review

A relaxing getaway in paradise, or a death trap? A young man wakes up on a breathtaking beac, but he has no idea who he is or how he got there. Try as he might to piece it all together, untangling this mind-bending mystery won’t be easy when every clue leads to more maddening questions… and the family that welcomes his into their home is not what they seem.

City of Secrets Review

Ever Barnes is a shy orphan guarding a secret in an amazing puzzle box of a building. Most of the young women who work at the building’s Switchboard Operating Facility, which connects the whole city of Oskar, look the other way as Ever roams around in the shadows. But one of them, Lisa, keeps an eye on the boy. So does the head of the Switchboard, Madame Alexander . . . a rather sharp eye. Enter Hannah, the spunky daughter of the building’s owner. She thinks Ever needs a friend, even if he doesn’t know it yet. Good thing she does! Lisa and Madame Alexander are each clearly up to something. Ever is beset by a menacing band of rogues looking to unlock the secret he holds–at any cost. And whatever is hidden deep in the Switchboard building will determine all of their futures.