Books of January

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I started the year off strong with fourteen books! So let’s jump right into them.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
This book was a great choice for my first read of the year. We’re dropped right in the middle of Alex’s crisis and it revealed the details at a perfect pace.
The mystical underworld of Yale was very intriguing. The societies and everything behind them made me wish I was there (and it was real.) The information given as lessons and chapter intros made it simple to follow along.
Alex’s life story was traumatic and gave her real depth. And it helped us understand her choices. But she grew throughout the book and I can’t wait to see her develop even more when the sequel comes out.

The Bat by Jo Nesbo
The pacing of this book had me a little confused when the end revealed the character responsible for the murders. The clues I missed in the initial read would probably be more obvious if I read it a second time, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
I like Harry and his way with people. I like how he describes a woman in a way you already know they’ll sleep together later on.
Having already read a book in this series, I knew about Harry’s vices and it wasn’t shocking when he relapsed into his drinking.
He’s a realistic Sherlock Holmes. He picks up on little clues and puts complicated stories together – but he also makes mistakes and the guilt he experiences makes him that much more relatable.

Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo
Harry brings himself out of his relapse to focus on another case. He tries to put his grief over what happened in Sydney behind him, but he fears the past will repeat itself.
I really like how he doesn’t let the government cover up the larger crime just to save face. He digs all the dirt, no matter the cost. And he becomes a stronger person because of it.
The reveal of the murderer was another shock like the last one. Maybe I need to pay closer attention, haha.

The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison
A beautifully rich world of goblins and elves and ghosts and ghouls.
This book had many subplots, but they all ended up intertwined with each other in a way I couldn’t have predicted.
The witness for the dead puts up with a lot of grief and opposition, but he keeps his cool and gets his job done no matter the cost. I enjoyed this side novel in the world of The Goblin Emperor.

Strife by Cate Tiernan
I was irritated by most of this one. Erin is supposed to be there to help, but I feel like all these adults are clueless. The way they treated Morgan was so frustrating. Yes, she’s still immature and needs to realign her priorities, but damn. They need to quit treating her like a toddler at least. I don’t know, this series is getting a little stale.

Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney
I thought this story was fascinating even before the big reveal.
The characters had so much depth and intrigue. The changing POV was very effective at giving just a bit of the pertinent information at a time. I kept turning the page, needing to know why they were so mad at each other.
And the setting was so vivid, I felt cold along with them. After Texas’ snow disaster last year, I can relate needing to huddle for warmth.

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
This was a little hard to keep up with on audio, so I borrowed the e-book as well to reread some of the bits I didn’t catch the first time.
Overall enjoyable and entertaining. Not all of it made sense, like the ending to Cassandra? But I enjoy his writing style and pushed through all the stories.
I don’t feel like short form is his strong suit – not enough space for world building and total immersion. But it was still good.

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
Overall, I like this book. The magic, the evil witches, and the taking down of the bad priest/prophet guy. A great story.
But I didn’t care much for Immanuel. She was a little whiny and not that bright. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t explain to her grandmother what she needed to do and saved all the shooting/chase nonsense.
But the world building was beautiful and creepy, and the ending was satisfying.

Success Habits by Napoleon Hill
Some of the information is obviously outdated and skewed (all the side comments about wives, for example) but I appreciated the overall purpose of theses speeches. I believe our lives are what we make of them and it inspired me to be more positive.
It could do with an updated rewrite and maybe a few of the repeated stories could be edited out, but still a good read.

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo
The beginning scenes were a little stilted. I feel like the accidental shooting could have been told in flashbacks. It didn’t really fit in line. Some of the other plot points seemed to be there just for shock factor – like Raquel and the boss’s interactions.
But I enjoyed the mystery and Harry’s mad dash to save the day. I like these characters and can’t wait to see what trouble they get into next.

Grit by Angela Duckworth
I found this book incredibly motivating and supporting. I feel like I would score well on her grit scale. I don’t like to give up on something, especially if I know the reward is worth the effort.
I am especially intrigued by how she used her work with her children to show them discipline and hold them accountable. A lot to think about.

Cray Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
A reread for my new book club. A lot of the same opinions from before. I felt I understood more of the family dynamics in this go through and caught on to more of the subplots. Still an enjoyable read.

Recursion by Black Crouch *Favorite of the month*
This book was amazing and a total mind fuck. The imagination of this man has made me green with envy.
So many twists I never saw coming, and the end was so heartbreaking.
THe first half didn’t pull me in right away, but as soon as shit hit the fan, I couldn’t put it down.
I loved Barry’s growth throughout it all and fell in love with him a little at the end. Great book.

Writing in the Dark by Tim Waggoner
*Craft book for the month*
This book had a lot of great tips on writing horror and gave me a fresh perspective and appreciation for the process. I’m working though the writing prompts in the book and I feel like they will really help expand my expertise.

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Wow. I’m impressed with myself. Haha. Next month’s book club read is Gone Girl. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions you think work in a book club setting.

What have you been reading so far this year?

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