My reading in January was really weird and moody. I read mostly graphic novels and YA, which is not typical for me, and also stuck mainly to library books, which is also not typical. I can’t really say that I was in a reading slump because I did finish twelve books, but it felt like it; I struggled to focus on any book that required a long attention span, and the majority of my reading took place during Bout of Books in the first week. That being said, I did enjoy a lot of what I read in January even if it wasn’t mind-blowing, and I did read one amazing book that turned out to be my first 5-star book of 2017.
So here are my stats:
# of books read: 12
#readmyowndamnbooks: 1 (eek!)
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge tasks completed: 1
Instead of ranking my reads by awesomeness and star ratings like I usually do, I sorted my January reads into categories so that I can talk about them more easily.
So I kicked off the month by finishing Alex + Ada, a graphic novel series that I did not actually realize was a trilogy until I got to the third and final volume. I…was OK about this as a trilogy. It seemed promising at first, and I tend to like anything that’s near-future science fiction, but the whole thing felt overly simplistic. The ethics of artificial intelligence is such a fascinating discussion, but I feel like Alex + Ada barely scratched the surface, plus I HATED the ending.
I also read the first two volumes of Giant Days, which is another graphic novel series that I’ve heard a lot about. I liked this one more than Alex + Ada; it’s about three girls who met at their first year of college and depend on each other to navigate all sorts of challenges and craziness. It’s cute and fun and I’ll definitely continue with the series, but I’m saving Volume 3 for the next readathon (probably Dewey’s, in April).
January was also the month that I got sucked into Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles series. This is a YA series that basically takes every single YA novel cliche and jams it into one story: there’s magic, an apocalyptic event, a love triangle, zombies, people magically being pretty and not smelly despite the lack of showers and the overabundance of dirt and dust in the post-apocalyptic landscape, references to Greek mythology, and a competition between teenagers to the death. I don’t love this series; I’ve given each book three stars out of enjoyability, but it’s not that they’re particularly well-written. They’re just addicting, despite the fact that all of the characters are basically terrible. Our story follows Evie, who has the magical powers of Poison Ivy plus the ability to shift between a blond and a redhead, and who is trying to survive the apocalypse and the competition between twenty or so teenagers who each represent cards of the Tarot deck (yep) while choosing between two love interests who both have serious issues. There’s Jack, who is basically Alcide from True Blood except much meaner and Cajun and not a werewolf (although I totally thought he was because that was the only YA trope missing form this story) and Death, who is basically Eric from True Blood mixed with Eric from True Blood during that one book where he lost his memories and acted super weirdly. I started these books thinking that they were a completed trilogy and then halfway through found out that it was an incomplete six-book series. Oops. So now I’m waiting on book 5, although I absolutely hate how book 4 ended and may end up abandoning the series if book 5 doesn’t do something big to make up for how terribly the plot is going.
Other things I finished:
Relish by Lucy Knisley (4 stars) – very enjoyable food memoir with cute illustrations. I’m planning on picking up her other graphic memoir, which focuses on wedding planning, for the next readathon.
Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews (4 stars) – finally got to this one! This was the 9th book in the Kate Daniels series and I’m incredibly sad that the next book will be the final one. It was definitely better than the previous few books and it looks like things are heading toward an epic conclusion for Kate. I just love these characters so much. Please, Ilona Andrews, don’t let any of them die in the last book.
Unmentionable by Therese O’Neill (2 stars) – Ugh. This was disappointing. I listened to this on audio; it’s an account of what life was like for women in the 1800s, and the premise is sort of like “what if you were the protagonist of a classic novel?” I feel like it just really failed in its execution; the information was given for way too broad of a time period, and all of the information was focused on what it was like for wealthy white women, mostly in America, and ignored everyone else. Things got really repetitive and the narration became SUPER annoying about halfway through. I know a lot of people have liked this one, but for me it was a definite letdown.
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (5 stars) – this was absolutely fantastic and should be required reading. Solnit’s prose is beautifully complex, and her essays are very purposeful and well-executed. She raises a lot of very important points and expresses herself perfectly; I kept pausing to think about what she was saying and to re-read really beautiful sentences. I actually brought this one with me when I went to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington, and I thought this was a really great pick in light of the current political climate. Highly recommend.
What did everyone else read this month? Let me know!