Hello Bloglandia!

I usually start off strong each year with these monthly reading round-ups only to flounder some time around March. But let’s see if I can’t be a little more diligent with it in 2021.

A few things will be different than the past (not that you even remember my past round-ups because it’s been so damn long since I’ve done one)…

  1. Each month will feature one book written by an indie author. Because I get most of my books through the library, I have a bad habit of not seeking out indie authors. Which is absolutely unforgivable since I’m always rambling on about the need for readers to support indie authors. This year, I’ve made it a goal of mine to read at least one book a month by a self-published writer.
  2. Each book will have a quick comment. (If you want to see my full comments you’ll find them on Bookbub).
  3. I’m also highlighting my absolute favorite book of the month, with a longer review.
  4. I’m no longer adding my writing round-up into the reading mix. I’ll be doing that in a separate post at the very end of the month. There’s no real reason for this other than it gives me one more blog post to toss out into the world.
  5. Things are handily separated into categories. Oooh, so organized.
  6. Books I read with my ears are noted.

Alright, enough rambling, here’s January’s books….

Indie Pick

Murphy’s Law by Douglas Smith

This was so much fun! Poor Murphy just can’t do anything right…which is just what an under-attack spaceship crew needs.

Fiction

Wishes and Wellingtons by Julie Berry – Very delightful, very original. Highly recommended!

The Dark Half by Stephen King – Meh. If you want a King story about a writer being tortured, go with Misery over this one. (Audiobook)

The Long Walk by Stephen King (Richard Bachman) – Like the walk itself, this started out compelling, but quickly got annoying.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – I mean, it’s Neil Gaiman, how can you go wrong? It’s not my favorite of his due to the odd, episodic nature of the story, but still worth a listen (Audiobook, read by Gaiman!)

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbie Waxman – Cute enough story, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so bored with a book. Completely predictable, and the author is completely inconsistent with the main character. I started listening at 1.5x speed just to get through with it. (Audiobook)

The Absolution by Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Good, but lacking the tension and compellingly smooth writing of the first two in her Children’s House series.

Non-Fiction

Save the Cat Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody – A strong book on outlining, but some aspects could possibly cripple your outlining process. Use it as a tool when revising. For your initial outline, opt for something like Scott King’s Outline Your Novel or Libbie Hawker’s Take Off Your Pants! instead.. (Audiobook)

Writing Killer Hooks & Blurbs by Adam Croft – It did help me with my blurb, but it’s REALLY repetitive without a huge amount of substance.

Graphic Novel

Once and Future (Volume 1) by Kieron Gilen – SO AMAZINGLY GOOD!! A nice modern twist on the Arthurian legends with a kick-ass granny leading the charge. I’m eagerly waiting to get my mitts on Volume 2.

And….My Absolute Favorite of January

The Lost City of the Monkey God

by Douglas Preston

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but now I can’t stop talking about it.

This is an excellent mix of history, adventure, and science. And if you can read this book and STILL want to go anywhere near a jungle, well, you are made of stronger stuff than I am!

The book is nicely divided into four different parts. There’s the history of the lost city and the many failed (or faked) attempts to find it. This part was fascinating and will be a treat for anyone who likes learning about the huckster side of exploration.

The next part is the author’s trip into the jungle to find the city. This is actually a pretty small portion of the overall book, but definitely makes you appreciate the effort the researchers took to find the city.

The third part covers the aftermath of the team’s findings. Another intriguing part that shows you how petty archaeologists can be.

And then we get to the other aftermath of the journey…the disease the team picked up.

My skin was crawling.

This was probably the strongest part of the book and covers how disease is quickly spreading from environments that humans are encroaching upon, and provides arguments for leaving wild places wild. It was written well before COVID times, but has some lessons that apply to today more strongly than ever.

Overall, a great book, even though I listened to the audio version of it and the narrator wasn’t very good (seriously, so much mis-pronunciation!).

What about you? What was your favorite book you read in January? Have you read any of these? What did you think?? Share your thoughts in the box below!

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2 thoughts on “January’s Reading Round-Up

  1. My best book this month? Robert Macfarlane’s “The old ways”. It will probably be one of my favourites of the year. He is a beautiful nature writer/philosopher/historian/story teller, who is walking many of the old paths in England and Scotland, and beyond. The paths also include sea ways, which he travels on small boats rather than foot! Last year I read “Underland”, where he was exploring the world beneath our feet ~ mines, catacombs, caves, glaciers. It was my favourite of the year.

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    1. The second I saw that name, I remembered you mentioning the Underland book in a previous post! I’m really going to have to check that out. I’ve already got a couple non-fiction books in the line-up for February, but maybe I can squeeze him in. Thanks for reminding me about his work, Anne…and for popping by : )

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