Reads of January

books on brown wooden shelf

Starting the year off strong with a fantastic fifteen reads. And even better, an impressive diversity of formats; six audiobooks, four ebooks, and five paper or hardbacks. I’ve been reading with my breakfast and coffee every morning instead of diving right into work and I think it’s made all the difference. And I really want to get through my physical TBR this year. I think this is a great sign for the great year to come. Let’s get into the books.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
“How lost do you have to be to let the devil lead you home? This lost, I decide. Precisely this lost.”
The imagination and planning it took to make this book happen is truly impressive A very complicated plot with so many hints and teases. And I did enjoy it for the most part.
The ending was close to perfect. The actual murder – wow. Did not see it coming at all. And I loved the character interactions and Adrian’s growth was great.
But… I’m not sure if the *SPOILER* prison thing really sold me. And her background that he’s ignoring to save her… I dunno. That part lost me.
Good book though and great writing.

*I decided to read this book a second time on audio to see what details I might of missed*
I enjoyed it more the second time through. I picked up on a lot of extra details that made it amazing. The reveal still feels a little off, but I liked it better this time. Definitely read this book.

The Resting Place Camilla Sten
Very good book. Wasn’t sure how it was going to end until the final turn. Wonderfully written.
The face blindness thing was a great tactic. The perfect crime – and she would have gotten away with it too…
The dark secrets of the house were well thought-out and probably my favorite part. One of the twists here, I guess and felt pretty proud of myself. Haha.
I felt like or two threads didn’t quite get tied up, but nothing major. A great read.

The Whisper Man by Alex North
Oof. This one gave me the creeps. In a good way, of course. But ugh. The idea of someone whispering to my kid through his window, no thanks.
Reminded me a little of the Harry Hole series. Had great detective work and very vivid characters and emotional turmoil. Had a bittersweet ending. But I really liked it.

The Woman in Me by Britney Spears
Wow. So much I never knew. And even the parts I thought I knew, a whole new perspective. I am so happy for her to finally be free.
And when I tell you I wanted to ugly cry the entire time. ugh. So sad and gut wrenching. I wish only the best for her.

Dead Lake by Darcey Coates
Fantastic and creepy book. The setting was so perfect and the descriptions were wonderful. I was terrified to turn the page at times. And yet I had to know what came next.
Only thing I didn’t quite understand was the painting thing. Like… why did the dead guy make her paint the murderer and his house and all the other stuff?
And how come her uncle never dealt with him?
And why did she have to fall for the park ranger guy at the end?
Besides the last bit, I loved this book.

Launch Pat by Emma Dhesi et. al.
A very useful book. Might have killed for this book a couple of years ago, but I still find value in it now. (The google tips!)
I highlighted several places to reference later and will probably keep this book handy at all times.

Productivity for Writers by Kristina Adams
There were a lot of great tips in this one. Really taking a hard look at the time you do have and what you do with it is the most valuable way to look at things.
And I could relate to the new space, new work mode attitude that she had about her new apartment. I seem to get a lot more done in our new house compared to the old one.
Will keep a lot of these tips in mind for the future.

The Only One Left by Riley Sager
A fantastic book. I really had no idea where this one was going to end up. The twists kept coming all the way to the epilogue.
A lot of creepy, a lot of tension and a lot of mystery. Not too mention the emotions around everything going on. Several times I was on the edge of tears.
And the setting was amazing. A tilting mansion slowly breaking off into the ocean *shivers.* That was creepy enough all on its own. Fantastic.

Pilgrimage by J.F. Penn
Spent a few nice mornings reading through this one. The photos of her travels were especially nice. I felt the bug to go out and try it myself, but I’ll have to find something local first of course.
This book was packed with great tips and insights into these longs walks. And I really appreciated her emotional journal entries scattered throughout. This was a very good book.

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
I liked this book more than I thought I would. A great emotional roller coaster. The end had me near tears. I’m glad it turned out the way it did and I guess now I have to read the next one.

The Anatomy of a Best Seller by Sacha Black
I love Sacha’s voice. She doesn’t pull any punches. And while some find it offensive – she uses the f word a lot – I don’t agree with them. Nothing wrong with strong language.
Anyway. She has great insights into the business and her tips in this area are no different. Reading is such an important part of being a writer. And she has tips and tricks on how to use reading intentionally.
I will be using her methods going forward to read with purpose and write better stories.

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz
“I apply a bit more pressure to the wound. “You’re a really good clotter, you know that?” “Should I feel special or do you say that to all your flesh-eating-eel victims?””
This was a nice read. Had some creepy twists and very vivid characters.
I think I’ve read it before, but it would have been a very long time ago. Still enjoyed it a second time – and didn’t realize there was a sequel, so I’ll be reading that soon too.
My only complaint is that the winners of this contest were all 18/19 year olds who still lived with their parents. I know it’s a YA, but it said “must be 18 and up to ente.” So there wasn’t even one winner in their 20’s or 30’s? Didn’t really buy that bit.
But a good story and very dark.

Dead Watch by John Sandford
“I’ve never been questioned by a guy wearing a Hello Kitty hat. Kinda scary, in a chainsaw massacre way.”
I enjoyed the concept of this book. A good political thriller. There were lots of twists and turns and betrayals. Just like I like it. And the characters were great.
I wasn’t convinced of the falling in love plot line though. Lust, sure. Love, eh, not so much.
Other than that, it could have been a little shorter. He could have dropped the more detailed political explanations and the story would still have worked just fine. Those parts were a little boring and made the story drag.
But a good book with a few bits of humor along the way.

The Accident by Diane Hoh
A quick and easy read with a fun premise.
I felt like there could have been a lot more and it would have been a great book. Like more character building, more world building and a little more terror.
But it was good for what it was.

And that’s it. A great start to the year and I’ve already tore through two books this month. I can’t wait to keep up this momentum and read all my physical TBR. It’s been too long since I’ve spent enough time reading physical books and I really want that to change this year.
Check back next week to see what I thought of my favorite read of the month, The Only One Left.
What have you been reading this year?