Books I Read in January 2021

31 Jan 2021

How crazy is it that the first month of 2021 is over? I've set myself the goal of reading 40 books this year. I managed to read 54 books last year but after a bit of a drought at the end of last year (I literally didn't finish a single book in December) I decided not to be too over ambitious with my goals and 40 is double what I would usually set because 2020 was such a great reading year for me but I'm not sure if I'm up to 10 books a month in my current state. I started off really well but then Olivia Rodrigo dropped drivers license so that took up way too much of my time but I finished strong. That being said in January I did manage to read NINE books which means we're off to a good enough start and I'm almost a quarter of the way to 40 already! I don't trust myself to maintain this especially since I read so so many great books this month I'm worried that I've peaked too soon and nothing will quite live up to these.

The Viscount Who Loved Me

Julia Quinn

Anthony Bridgerton is the eldest of the Bridgerton children and the most eligible bachelor in the ton but he has his sights set on wedding this year but the older sister of his intended bride might prove more of a challenge than he initially thought. Meanwhile, Kate Sheffield, the older sister of this seasons incomparable who has caught the eye of one mister Anthony Bridgerton, isn't sure that he'd make the best husband for her sister and is determined to prove her point.

Honestly, if you told me that my very first read of the year would be a regency mass-market romance I would have laughed in your face but I like many of you got very into Bridgerton at the end of last year, so much so that I knew I needed more Anthony Bridgerton in my life and I wasn't about to wait until season two for it. I used to work in a charity shop and I would always silently judge anyone who came in to buy the mass-market romances but the jokes on me now because this book was genuinely GREAT! I feel like I loved Anthony in Bridgerton more than the average person and I'm going to chock it up to the fact that I am actually a modern-day Kate Sheffield! She's the older, less desirable sister (I know for a fact that my sister would be the season's incomparable if marriage season was still a thing) and she's obsessed with Anthony Bridgerton, need I say more! Now that Bridgerton has been renewed for season two I'm ever so excited to see what they do with this book because it really is just pure JOY and I'm so excited to see my beloved Kate Sheffield brought to life.

Beauty Queens

Libba Bray

After their plane crashes on a deserted island on their way to a pageant a group of teenage beauty queens try their best to survive but meanwhile the corporation in charge of the pageant, who they are so loyal to have some other ideas. This story follows the group as they learn more about themselves and each other and run into a whole host of people and problems along the way.

I absolutely adore Libba Bray, The Diviners is my absolute favourite series of all time, but I did struggle with this one motivation wise and it took me over a month to finish up. When I was listening to it though I really enjoyed it, but I didn't find myself hooked enough to want to continue all the time and it was long as well which is be expected from Libba Bray. I've heard some people compare it to The Wilds on Amazon Prime so if that was your jam I'm sure you'll enjoy this as well. There's also a lot of political satire and a cast of strong and diverse characters.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

TJ Klune

Linus Baker is a care worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth and has been set a secret mission to check out the mysterious Marsyas Island orphanage and its equally mysterious master, Arthur Parnassus. To his surprise, he finds that the six children at this orphanage are unlike any that he has encountered before. There's a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, a were-pomeranian, an unidentifiable blob and the antichrist.

I'd heard nothing but good things about this book so when it popped up in my local digital library I was beyond excited to get to reading it and it didn't disappoint me at all. I immediately fell in love with this whimsical tale and its wide array of characters. It's a story of acceptance and how those that we deem different aren't any less important in society. The children are all so adorable and you will literally fall in love with all of them and it will make you cry happy tears. This truly is such a special book and I couldn't recommend it more.

It Only Happens In The Movies

Holly Bourne

Audrey doesn't believe in love anymore, not after what happened with her ex-boyfriend and to top it all off, she's got family troubles, she's dropped out of drama which has thrown her plans for the future up in the air, and she's started a new job alongside the resident bad boy. Audrey knows that he is every movie cliche rolled into one but boys like this only change in the movies don't they, and her life certainly isn't a movie!

I've felt that lately, I might finally be getting to an age where YA contemporaries, once my favourite genre, just weren't cutting it for me anymore but then I read this one and realised that the issue wasn't the genre itself, I just wasn't reading any good ones! This book so exceeded my expectations and is definitely one of the best YA contemporaries I've read in a long time! I think perhaps because it was British I maybe related to it a bit more than US-based ones, that and it gave me big Wondering vibes and as one of my favourite songs of all time, any book that gives me Wondering vibes is going to hold a special place in my heart. In this book, Audrey is confused about her future as she's about to finish school and as someone who has just finished uni and is still confused about the future it was weirdly relatable! I'm definitely interested in picking up some more of Holly Bourne's work because I loved this a lot!

Light Perpetual

Francis Spufford

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and Faber and Faber

Five children are killed when a German rocket hits Woolworths but what if they weren't what if they grew up and lived very different but very normal lives. This book chronicles how the lives of five people changed through the years had they not been killed at the beginning.

I'm always very hit or miss when it comes to literary fiction and unfortunately for me, this was a miss! The concept sounded so intriguing and I was instantly intrigued to read it and I really wanted to love it but it just didn't hit home for me. This is a reimagining of what a group of characters lives could have been like had they not died in an explosion as children but with this happening at the very beginning of the book I had no time to get attached to any of the characters maybe if the explosion was revealed at the end after spending the time getting invested it may have struck home for me better. This book is basically all about the characters but I just didn't care about any of them I enjoyed finding out what they were getting up to at each stage but I didn't care about what actually happened to them. One thing I liked was how it portrayed different people at the same stage in life living completely different lives with completely different problems showing how not everyone travels through life at the same pace. All in all just not for me but I'm sure some other people will absolutely love it.

Verona Comics

Jennifer Duggan

Jubilee and Ridley meet at a comic convention and instantly hit it off, that is until Ridley realises that Jubilees parents run a rival comic store which just happens to be the one that his father has a giant feud with. In an attempt to patch up his relationship with his father Ridley goes undercover to find out just what's happening at Verona Comics but will his feelings for Jubilee get in the way?

I wasn't sure how to feel about this initially. As I said I used to read pretty much only YA contemporaries but I had never actually listened to one on audiobook before so this was a first. I'm so used to my audiobooks usually taking me forever to get through that this was actually a pleasant surprise at how quickly this one moved as the chapters were a lot shorter. Ultimately when I finished I still wasn't sure how I felt about it but using CAWPILE I ended up with three stars which seems about right. There is a big trigger warning on this for mental illness and suicidal thoughts as well which is a big theme of this book.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

V.E. Schwab

In a small village in France in 1714 Addie Larue flees her imminent wedding and ends up making a deal with an evil spirit for freedom, except this freedom comes at a cost, she can live forever but nobody will ever remember her. They can meet her but once they leave the room or close their eyes for too long any memory of her will be gone. She lives for 300 years like this but one day in 2014 in a bookshop in Brooklyn she finally meets someone who remembers her.

This book destroyed me in so many ways that I really can't get into without spoiling it for you. It's been such a long time since I truly FELT a book and oh boy oh boy oh boy did I feel this book. In fairness when you mix historical fiction with fantasy elements it's automatically a winner for me so I'm not at all surprised that I loved this book but I am surprised by just how much I loved this book especially since the parts that hurt me the most were the parts that I'd seen people not love as much but I guess that's what happens when you relate to something so much. I don't want to go too much into what that was to avoid spoilers but I truly just absolutely adored this book and it's been quite a while since I truly felt this way about a book. I was scared to go into this at first because I knew it had the potential to disappoint me but I'm so thrilled that I ultimately ended up loving this as much as I did.

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

Santiago is a shepherd in Andalusia who dreams of seeing the world so he sets off on a journey that leads him to Egypt to fulfil his personal legend where he meets an old king, a crystal merchant, a camel driver, an alchemist, but most importantly himself.

I'd heard a lot about this book over the years and when I found out it was only a little book I knew it would be perfect to finish up this month of reading. I've seen some people absolutely love this book and others absolutely hate it but I think I fell somewhere in the middle. This is very much a self reflective book, it gave me a kind of similar vibe to Life of Pi with respect to that. It encourages you to think about your life and where on Santiago's journey to his personal legend you fall. It's definitely a good one to read, especially as it's only short. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Jeremy Irons which was nice and soothing as I usually listen to audiobooks at night before I go to sleep, kind of like a bedtime story, this book is the perfect bedtime story.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Stephen Chbosky

This is a classic coming of age story told by Charlie through a series of letters that he writes to an anonymous recipient. Charlie is caught between wanting to live life to the full but also trying to run from it and through this ends up experiencing a whole host of new things that shape him for better or for worse.

It's honestly embarrassing how long this book has been sitting on my shelf. I remember going to see the movie in the cinema back in 2012 and I think I've been planning on reading this book since then. Obviously, as I'd already seen the film I knew the plot of this one going in but it had been a while so it was fun to remember everything that happened. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this as it's obviously such a classic for a reason. I didn't overly relate to Charlie's high school experience but I can see how it's such a special book for some people. That being said it is so beautifully written and it's such a poignant coming of age story on how our circles really have such a strong influence on our lives.
That's everything I read in January! I had such a great reading month and I'm so excited for everything that this year has to offer. I think I may have read some of my top books of the year already! Don't forget to follow me on Goodreads to keep up with my current reads. I've also created a list* on Bookshop of all these books if you want to check them out for yourself (I will earn a small amount of commission for any books purchased through this link). Did you have a good start to the reading year? What is one book that you know you want to read this year?

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