Book Challenge: January Wrap-Up 

For #planwithmechallenge Sections and lessons, I decided to try the TUL discbound notebook for my collections. This meant slicing pages out of my Leuchtturm 1917 to put into my TUL. I actually had been on the fence for weeks about it because taking pages out was a scary thought! With my Christmas money, I decided to go for it and I’m so glad I did! Featured here in my TUL is the reading section that contains my Genre Tracker. Lesson learned: You won’t know if you like something until you try! .

For #bookishfriendsJanuary17 Favorite read of January–I can’t decide! I can honestly say I enjoyed each and everyone of these books. From following Demi-gods on a quest to following a young girl who can sense gold to gold rush California, I enjoyed every minute of it! 

For #squeakybookishlibrary Favorite New Author, he’s not new, but he’s new to me: Joe Abercrombie!

For #livelaughbooksjanuary and #watermelanerdsjanuary January Wrap-Up–In addition to these novels, I also completed several graphic novels: Ms. Marvel volumes 2 and 3; A Silent Voice (manga); and Through the Woods. For my mini-reviews, please scroll down. ⬇️

Phew! Six novels and four graphic book collections for January! Is it just me? Or has this month flown by so fast?! What were some of your favorites this month? Did you reach your reading goal?


My January 2017 Reading Wrap-Up
📚Ms. Marvel Volumes 3 and 4–4.5/5 stars. I really enjoy this series because Kamala is so easy to identify with. Between keeping true to her cultural heritage and living in the Bronx and dealing with her super hero powers, she’s got her hands full but it’s entertaining and poignant at times too. 
📚A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Ooima (manga)–3.5/5 stars. The premise is about a boy Shoya who bullied a deaf female student Shoka in elementary school. Shoka transfers out because the bullying gets out of hand, but then Shoya’s classmates turn on him, putting all the blame on him. Years later, scared from the experience, he enters high school and is a loner and prepares to kill himself. On the day he’s supposed to do it, he encounters Shoka, the girl he bullied in elementary, and tries to make amends for his wrong doing. Overall, I thought the story was compelling and the characters’ emotions were raw from the hurt and betrayal, but I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. It was the type that left it slightly open ended which I’m okay with if it’s done well. I needed a little more reassurance that things would get better and in some ways it looked like it would. These characters went through a lot, so I had hoped for an ending that was a little more definitive. 
📚 Through the Woods by Emily Carroll is a collection of illustrated Gothic short stories. I initially checked this book out for Halloween but finally read it for the New Year. It’s definitely a book perfect for the Halloween season or if you enjoy Gothic stories. The stores are very much like Edgar Alan Poe’s–haunting with a twisted lesson. The illustrations went so well with the stories and were nicely detailed. 5/5 stars
📚Tales from the Shadow Hunter Academy by Cassandra Clare–5/5 stars. I didn’t know if I’d enjoy this collection because Simon Lewis was a good character, but I didn’t think I’d enjoy reading short stories about him. I checked it out if the library as a safe way to read them without commuting to buying it, in case I didn’t enjoy them. I’m so glad I gave these stories a try! I enjoyed not only reading Simon’s journey toward becoming a shadow hunter, but I also enjoyed the backstories of the minor characters from The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices. It was so neat learning about what happened to the characters and also how they were connected to the present characters. My favorites were The White Chapel Fiend, Nothing but Shadows, Born to Endless Night, and Angels Twice Descending. I highly recommend this if you’re a big fan of the shadow hunter series. 
📚Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson– 5/5 stars. Rae Carson is an auto-buy author for me. I loved her series Girl of Fire and Thorns and was thrilled to see she started a new series. It’s so different from her previous one–set in the gold rush era, but still retained a fantasy element. The main character Lee Westfall can sense gold. Lee is from Georgia and after a set of tragic events, she flees to California disguised as a girl, in hopes of finding gold and her best friend Jefferson McCaully. Sounds amazing already, right?! What I also loved about this story was how subtle Rae Carson touched on themes of diversity–mixed race identity and being a freed slave during a post civil war era; what being a confirmed bachelor of that time meant; and the restrictions on women’s roles based on society’s expectations. It’s so skillfully weaved into the story that it’s seamless. Highly recommend it! 
📚The Blade Itself by Joe Ambercrombie– 5/5 stars. I’m new to high/epic fantasy. My point of references are Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss, so Joe Ambercrombie was different from what I had read. His writing is a lot more physically descriptive. The opening of the book shows a character falling off a cliff. There’s also a roughness to his characters that become endearing later–Im looking at you San Dan Glokta. I really enjoyed this and my only hang-up was not having the next book when I finished the first! 5/5 stars
📚The Lost Hero: Book 1 of the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan–5/5 stars. If you enjoyed the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series, you’ll love this. This was actually a reread with my older boys. It’s had been such a long time since I read it that it was almost new to me. I love the introduction of the new characters Leo, Piper, and Jason. I can’t wait to see how they all come together in the rest of the series. 
📚The Novice by Taran Matharu–4/5 stars. This was a fun fantasy read. The main character Fletcher was likeable and I also like his friends Othello (dwarf) and Syre (elf). The story was a great adventure story and enjoyable. Although I didn’t find any problems with it, I also wasn’t attached to the characters as I usually get. It could be because I had to stop for long periods of time to read it because I was buddy reading it, but I am curious to see how the story turns out, so will probably read the next one. 
📚This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab–5/5 stars. I’m already a big fan of her Darker Shade of Magic series so I was excited to read this one. I loved it so much! It’s an urban fantasy where monsters are real. They come into being through violence and tragedy–a kind of evolution of negative human emotions. Even though this is a YA book, Victoria Schwab still delivers! I loved her characters August Flynn and Kate Harker. I also enjoyed the history behind how the monsters are created–so unique but also cleverly done. I can’t wait until Our Dark Duet comes out this summer! 


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