January is done. Believe it or not. But I’m happy with the dent I have made in my meagre resolutions. I learnt last year, that the trick to achieving all your resolutions is to have as few resolutions as possible 😅 and as underachieving as that sounds, it actually helps you to focus on what you want.
Why is that the intro to a post about what I’ve been reading lately? Because I went all out and set my reading target at 120 books this year.
It’s doable. I think. I hope so. I just need to get in 10 books per month and maybe extra. Maybe. But there’s the goal. And here are my first 10 books of 2021. Be warned. This might also be a longer post.
Nope, this is definitely a longer post!
By the book by Amanda Sellet
Sometimes past associations hold us back. Nostalgia can be a trap. Don’t confuse loyalty and sentimentality,
A lot of people assume two introverts will automatically be comfortable with each other, but sometimes it’s the opposite, due to a double helping of awkward silence.
This is a YA contemporary. The MC changes school and is thrust into a completely new environment, which is hard for her because she is not exactly very outgoing. She is ditched by the only friend she knew and only infiltrates her new friend group under the guise of being the know-it-all on relationships because she has read enough books with all these characters. Her advice is not altogether very sound because all readers know fiction and reality rarely meet. I thought it an okay book. Sound plot, okay characters. Truly all together just okay.
An Anonymous Girl by Greet Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
And sometimes the people who seem the most accomplished and together are the ones who can hurt you the deepest.
Often the person we judge most harshly is ourself.
It’s Adult fiction by the authors of The Wife Between Us. I enjoyed that one…the wife one. In its blurb it promises that you’ll think you know what’s going on but you’ll find you don’t. I didn’t. I liked the twist that made me gasp out loud. So I read An Anonymous Girl. The MC hijacks a test meant for someone else to make some quick money only to realise that the Doctor behind it may not be quite as put together upstairs as she appears. There wasn’t much suspense or thrill to it for me though I enjoyed how they created thought over moral situations. Which is the basis of the research. I found the plot a little sketchy but I think they worked it. And I liked the Doctor’s character, shady as they were.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
I don’t want to be married just for the sake of being married. I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with
Boredom is a powerful reason to befriend the enemy, and the prospect of fun is a powerful draw—especially when you are young
Friends, show me a man who hates himself, and I’ll show you a man who hates his neighbours more! He’d have to—you wouldn’t grant anyone else something you can’t have for yourself—no love, no kindness, no respect!
This was a group read from a Facebook group. And I must say it was a lovely pick. Absolutely lovely. I heartily recommend this one for anyone looking for book to read. I am not sure if it falls under Literary Series or Historical Fiction. I think it fits the bill for both. This is a story told entirely by letters and I assure you that adds to the experience rather than take from it. The MC is a writer, looking to write another book after her past success. When one of the residents of the island reaches out to her, she asks for their account of the war, WWII which they willingly give. It gives you the dark and ugly mixed with the good and remarkable of how they all survived together because of their society. Which is actually a book club. I loved the story. Can’t stress that enough. Gave entertainment and information at the same time, and who doesn’t like a book like that. Wholesome characters, realistic setting. Wonderfully executed.
Murder is bad manners by Robin Stevens
This is a Middle Grade novel, I think. I can’t remember how I came across it but I’m glad I did. It’s the first in its series of two girl detectives in a boarding school in the UK. I like school settings, especially boarding school since my days of reading Enid Blyton, they make for good drama. The story is narrated from the perspective of only one of the detectives as they set out to solve the murder of one of their teachers. How did it happen, why did it happen, these girls pull out all the skills they’ve learnt from reading detective books to solve the case. I thought it had good friend dynamics between the two and stayed true to the girls ages and what thoughts they could have. I mostly liked the fact that I didn’t guess the perp, even though I was so sure about my suspect, and that’s an extra point for a mystery novel. Yep, another good read.
The Invention of Sophie Carter by Samantha Hastings
It’s the story of identical twins trying to better their situation. They have been orphans and shifted from home to home till one of them gets an invite to go stay with their aunt. On condition that she will have secured a husband at the end of the season. The twins take that as an opportunity for both of them and play at being Sophie together without their aunt’s knowledge. It’s a very sound plot, and I liked the differences between the girls. I think it all ended well too.
A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Bridig Kemmerer
There was something about knowing how long you have to suffer that was better than just waiting
I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”
Failure isn’t absolute
I read this going into our election period. Its a YA Beauty and the Beast retelling. I think Beauty and The Beast is my favourite Disney live action remake yet. I watch it every year and belt out ‘Gaston’ like the singer I am😏. So this was right up my alley, wonderful fairy tale with a touch of the fantastical. I was all in. And it didn’t disappoint. It’s told from two perspectives, ‘Belle’ who is from our world and suffers from celebral palsy and ‘the Beast’ who’s under a curse in another realm that is mostly like medival Europe, I think. The curse can only be broken, I hear you all chanting, by true love. But the course of true love never did run smooth and therein lies the plot.
Fireborne by Rosaria Munda
It’s strange how you can fight your way to a door, even through it, without thinking about what lies on the other side.
And now this is what it feels like, when you let yourself want something, fully, and fail to get it
Now this is my favourite read all month. It gave me a serious hungering for more fantasy books and I’m yet to find an equally good one to satisfy my hunger. It’s another YA dystopian – like fantasy told from two perspectives. Oh and they are dragons involved. There are two factions, the old regime and the new order. The two characters are at a school (another favourite setting) to compete for the position of Firstrider. Except that one keeps hidden their relation to the old order which is mostly treason. It’s a wonderful story. I thought it resembled An Ember in the Ashes, which I absolutely adored, in a number of ways. Again, wonderful wonderful story.
Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
Otherwise, you run the risk of allowing the thing that once carried you to become the thing that weighs you down
That’s love for you. Universal and yet so damn personal
I read Love and Gelatto last year and hope to finish with Love and Olives next month. I like the adventure and wanderlust to them. This one is set in Ireland ‘with its 40 shades of green’. Our MC doesn’t want to think of what went wrong with her ‘boyfriend’ despite her brother’s insistence that she tell her mum. Somehow (not really, because the book explains how this happens 😂) she finds herself following her brother around Ireland as he collects data for his music journalism project. I liked that it didn’t give a relationship despite introducing a romantic contender. It really hyped up the ‘thing’ she didn’t want to talk about for so long, I found myself thinking of criminal level activities. Did I see a lot of Ireland in it? A bit. I mean the story happens in roughly five days, how much can you pack into that. But it was a good read.
The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord
Life was both tragedy and comedy—that seemed clear enough. It just depended on which point you called the beginning and which part you called the end.
It was a weird spot, being old friends in a new context
This is the sequel to The Start of Me And You…so YA Contemporary Romance. I read the start last year and loved it. Truly loved it. I feel like the sequel massacred most of what I had loved in the first one. The book picks up about 3/4 months from where the first one left off. The romance is taking off and hits a few snugs. So this is her exploring what a relationship is like, with the ups and downs and in between. It also gives a glimpse into the college question. I think that aspect was well done. I missed the friend group dynamic in this one. I liked the direction the family story took. She seems to spend more time thinking about the relationship other than living it out so we didn’t get enough romance page time😅. It was another okay book for me. I actually thought when I was done that I was better off not reading it to preserve the memory of the first one. It was nice to know how the story progressed but that’s about it.
His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
It wasn’t easy being the key to other people’s happiness, their victory, and their vindication.
Set in Ghana, I liked how this book started off with the description of their traditional weddings which had close similarities to ours in Busoga, Okwandhula. I read it and almost shouted out, even us here. It was a good experience to relate to something so well in a book, not as an individual because there are plenty that do that, but as a people. The story centers around the MC on a quest to make her marriage work. She is a local girl from the village/town of Ho who gets into an arranged marriage with one of the sons of a wealthy family. But he already has someone on the side that the family won’t accept and doesn’t attend their wedding. I thought the story would go in one direction and it went in a completely other one. The MC seemed naive to me but I liked how she worked it all out. The story showed how strong toxic family ties can be and it was a quick read. Something made me want to keep reading till the end. But I wasn’t amused with the ending. That’s on me though, for wanting something else to happen other than what we got.
And there you have it. If you’ve made it this far, which of these have you read and how did you like them? Also which books have you read you been reading of late. I’d love to know in the comments below.