January Wrap Up

Happy February everyone! Last month was actually a really great reading month for me, but before we get to that, let’s talk about something I haven’t had a chance to talk about here yet – my 2018 reading goals! Last year, my Goodreads reading challenge number was 50, small I know, but doable for me during my last semester of college. I ended up reading 55 books total in 2017, so for 2018 I’ve bumped that number up to 60. I also decided I want to branch out a little bit more in what kind of books I read. I read a lot of YA (Something I don’t think will change), but I like variety so I’m also looking to read some more Adult books, and overall more nonfiction. So if anyone has any nonfiction recs, make sure to let me know!

Another goal I’m trying to maintain is putting more actual reviews on my Goodreads account. I tend to just give a book a star rating and then leave it at that. But I also depend on reviews on Goodreads to help me decide if I’ll like a book I’m on the fence about, that’s why I’m going to try and add more of my thoughts, to help someone who might also be looking for a review to help make a decision. So make sure you’re following me on Goodreads for more day to day updates!

Okay, back to January. This month I read 6 books out of the 8 on my TBR. The last two just fell on the back burner because of time. I’m currently reading The Secret History, and because I’m not desperate to read it yet, I just put An Enchantment of Ravens on my shelf for another time. But, enough of the books I didn’t get to. Let’s get into what I did read. The first four reads of this month were continuations of series’ so to avoid spoilers I’m going to combine my reviews for them to be more about the series as a whole instead of individually.

The Raven King and The Kings Men by Nora Sakavic
Books 2 and 3 of The All For The Game Series

I was introduced to the All for the Game series last year, and the second I finished the books the first time I planned a re-read. One of my favorite things when it comes to literature is character based fiction and to me that’s what All for the Game is. The characters are who I love and find myself going back to the books for. While this series is set up around college sports, which I’m not the most interested in, I wanted to reread for the amazing cast of diverse characters and their development throughout the three books.

My Ratings: 5/5 ★

Lair of Dreams and Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
Books 2 and 3 of The Diviners Series
Read as Audiobooks

Okay so, The Diviners is quickly becoming one of my favorite book series’ ever.16060716 Full of diversity, a creative story and just so well written, I think everyone needs to read them.

A lot of the time, books with such a huge cast of main characters ignore some story lines for the sake of others, but in this book that isn’t the case. Each main character has their own chance in the spotlight, with some other side plots tossed in to probably foreshadow events in the next book. No one is a perfect person, either. Everyone has internal struggles as well as struggles with relationships and things they have to work on, on top of the problems in the 1920s US. Libba Bray doesn’t try and hide the fact that the 1920’s weren’t a constant party for everyone in America, and that makes all these characters even more compelling as you read about their struggles both paranormal and societal.

If I had to get extremely specific with my ratings, I’d give these books 4.75 ratings, and that only comes from the fact I feel like a lot of the groups internal problems – friendship drama, love triangles, etc – fell into the “everything could be solved if we just talked to each other, but for some reason we won’t”, trope. Which isn’t a big deal since it’s not really represented in the over arching (more important) plot of the book, it’s just sprinkled in with regular teenager drama, which is valid in all time periods.

Basically I cannot wait for the fourth book, and I implore everyone to read these books and come talk with me about them because I have a lot of feelings and things to say.

My Goodreads Ratings: 5/5 ★
My Actual Ratings: 4.75/5 ★

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
Book 3 of The Wayward Children Series

McGuire’s writing is always witty, interesting and informative. She does a great job of taking the vast differences of childhood creativity and celebrating them all. Each world she introduces is so different but they all have the same whimsical level of say Wonderland or Narnia. When you read about them, you can almost feel them, can almost see them in your mind and kind of wish that the door to those worlds would open to you too.

In terms of this book specifically, I loved the way she used the quest story structure to connect new and old characters and explain the way that these worlds function. I related to one of the newly introduced characters, Cora, in a way that I haven’t related to a character in fiction for a long time, I hope to see more of her. Overall I hope Seanan McGuire continues this series because I have so many questions and it seems like these characters have so many more stories to tell.

My Rating: 5/5 ★

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily Collins

32737127The first book towards my 2018 goal to read more non fiction, Lily Collins’ autobiography has been on my radar for a long time. Lily’s one of my favorite actresses, so I figured it would be a great way to start off my goal. Throughout this collection of essays she spoke about some very personal topics, but she also writes like she’s sitting across from the reader. It felt a lot like having a conversation with a friend over coffee, which I really enjoyed.

She talks about her background in journalism and that showed in the way her essays were set up. Each chapter seemed very structured and informative which (to me) is a very journalistic (is that a word? Eh it is now) way of writing, which isn’t always my cup of tea so sometimes it was hard to stay interested in the essays, but overall I think that she wrote a great book. Also something that I think is awesome: she offered resources at the end of the book for readers who may need them, since she shared stories about her struggles with addiction.

My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 ★
My Actual Rating: 3.5/5★

And that’s everything I read in January! What were your favorite reads of the new year? Let me know in the comments!

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