I’m of two minds whether January was a really short month or at least a year. It’s over now though, and time to check in with my first reading update of the new year. I read 13 books this month, which is great. If I read 13 books every month, I’ll slingshot right past my goal this year. It’s pretty early to start making predictions like that though. I only finished 1 book off of my Educational reading challenge, but I’ve started a bunch and am making solid progress, so hopefully February will be a big check-off month.
The Books of January
- Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. I had tried so hard to finish this one before the New Year and it just didn’t happen with the travel we did. But it ended up being the first book I finished in 2020! This series is just fantastic. Unfortunately, the next book doesn’t come out until 2021, which just kills me :'(
- The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe. I read the first book in this series (The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane) a while ago and finally picked this book up. It was about as good as I remember the first book being. A little historical fiction, a little mystery, a little magic.
- Still Alice by Lisa Genova. This was definitely the most thought-provoking fictional read of January. I admire Genova’s ability to tackle tough medical issues in an approachable way. She really drives home a succinct ‘life is precious, be grateful for every day’ message. I expected this book to be unbearably sad–like “Flowers for Algernon” sad or “Me Before You” sad–but it was surprisingly hopeful. Definitely recommend.
- The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1) by Maryrose Wood. This was a read aloud we did for our family book club and it was perfectly delightful. Such an inventive, wonderful story. It fully fits the C. S. Lewis criteria of a good children’s book–I enjoyed it immensely 😉
- The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith. Set in the vineyards of France in the early 20th century, this book is full of magic and wine. It was an entertaining marriage of whimsy and history and made for a good weekend read.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I know this book has been around for ages but this was my first time reading it and it was so good for me. Definitely a good one to read or re-read as you tackle goals in a new year.
- What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. I picked this book up solely because it was set in Ireland, and that’s my new theme since we’re going in a few months. It was a fantastic read. Time travel, romance, and set in the tumultuous early twentieth century. I loved the Irish history, and the mind-bending nature of time travel is always a win in my book.
- The Dressmakers Gift by Fiona Valpy. Another World War II novel. I keep thinking this type of book is being overdone, and then I realize I’m perfectly happy to pick up every WWII novel I come across, so that can’t be true. The characters in this one were unique, even if the subject matter wasn’t particularly.
- Shadow Spell (#2 in The Cousins’ O’Dwyer Trilogy) by Nora Roberts. I read the first book in this series last year. Nora Roberts writes a humdinger, utterly magnetic story. Bonus: it’s magical and set in Ireland.
- Keto Friendly Recipes: Easy Keto for Busy People by Jennifer Marie Garza. We’re doing Keto now, so I’m always prowling for new recipes and ideas. This cookbook had so many! There is a wealth of keto information/recipes on the internet, but there is still something so appealing about having a cookbook to pull out and just find something specific without falling into the pinterest vortex.
- A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie. I did not take a year to read this. I should probably re-read it the way she meant for it to be read, but it was tremendously helpful anyways. It helped nudge me back into a consistent writing habit. I think it will be a regular re-read for me when I’m needing a little extra push again.
- Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan. John Bunyan is famous for writing Pilgrim’s Progress and The Holy War. This is his autobiography/memoir. It is an excellent, if very dense read. It’s not very long, but it is intensely wordy and so worth the effort to read. This was officially my first completed book in the Schole Sisters 5×5 reading challenge!
- Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh (Flame in the Mist, #2). I read the first book in this series a while ago and liked it a lot. This one just didn’t have the same catch to it. Since I read it on the heels of a couple great books, perhaps that’s an unfair judgment. The character choices didn’t make sense to me though, and I disliked the main character even though I thought she was a strong, unique character in the first book. The ending seemed contrived and basically nullified the rest of the book. I don’t know if there’s another book in the series–there probably is–but I doubt I’ll be reading it.
Best and Worst
Overall, best fiction was Oathbringer and Still Alice. Best nonfiction: Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners and 7 habits of Highly Effective People. Here’s to another great reading month! February’s short though, so we’re going to have to hustle, people!