Book Reviews, Reviews

January Books in Review

So.

Since first reading “The Philosopher’s Stone”, in fourth grade, I’ve had an insatiable appetite for reading. However, since my Pearl Girl and Sapphire Son were born 3.5  and 1.5 years ago, I’ve been ever-lamenting that I “just don’t have time to read anymore”.

Uh huh.

Though I don’t usually make new year’s resolutions, I resolved this year to read more books. A conservative goal of 26, to be exact. How did I plan to fix that pesky “no time” issue? Easy. By being real with myself. I claim to have no time to read, yet I always seem to have time to scroll Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram. Simple solution: I downloaded the Kindle app on my tablet, and, when I would sit down to mindlessly scroll, I’d open the Kindle app and read a book instead.

Wow, would you look at that, I had the time to read eight books this month.

Here’s a quick rundown of those eight books. There are a couple that I’ve already written a full review for here on the blog, so for those I’ll simply link to the appropriate posts. Book titles link to the Amazon purchase page, Author name links to their Twitter page.

1 . A Murder of Crows by Ian Skewis     3/5

Read my full review of this book here.

2. The Silent Invader by Thomas Wood    4/5

 *At the time of writing this post, this book is currently available for free in the Kindle Store* A beautiful illustration of an entire life flashing before your eyes in an instant. Very well, and simply done: no unnecessary fluff. Author lets the character’s story speak for itself. Highly recommend.

3. Closet Full of Bones by A.J. Aalto    5/5

 *At the time of writing this post, this book is currently available for free in the Kindle Store*  Wow. Just wow. I have not devoured a book this fast in a long time. Story was gripping from beginning to end, could not put it down. Characters are well fleshed out, author writes with a perfect balance of humour and sarcasm, pacing is on point, and the twists and turns in this story are meticulously placed. I LOVE THIS BOOK. Will definitely be seeking out more works from this author.

4. Bones in the Meadow and Other Weird Tales by Tim Jefferys    5/5

Loved this short story collection! Some of the stories are chilling, others leave you to wonder, others are really thought provoking. My only complaint is that I would have liked for quite a few of these stories to be longer, but I guess that’s kind of the point with a short story, to leave you wanting more. Highly recommend.

5. Hidden (Dragonlands #1) by Megg Jensen    2/5

UGH. This book had sooo much potential.

The world the author built is fascinating and original. Wanting to find out more about it is what kept me reading to the end. However, making it to the end was something of an ordeal. The characters are flat, whiny and unrelatable. The main character seems trapped in perpetual victim-hood, and can’t seem to do anything on her own without a man to help her along. The entire romantic sub-plot is just morally wrong on so many levels.

The worst part about this book is the pace. It took FOREVER to get going, and, even then, it was just so long and boring. There was a lot of unnecessary dialogue and “scene” cuts, and just generally going around in circles, just for there to be super easy fixes near the end. Honestly, it read like watching Naruto: a two minute scene stretched into a six-episode arc.

This author has a lot of books out, so I don’t know if it’s a bad editing team issue, or if it’s just laying books one after the other (the old quantity/quality conundrum), but the mark was sorely missed with this book. So much potential. Disappointed.

6. Winds of the Forest (Forestborn #1) by Dele Daniel    4/5

A refreshing change of scenery from the usual American or Euro-centric dystopias, I loved the author’s setting the story in what is modern day West-Africa, and his creation of history and tribal conflict. However, what started off great, kind of slumped off near the 70% mark; the last quarter of the book fell short of it’s potential. Main character went from a strong hunter to a silly, almost helpless teen. I was disapointed to see her needing to be propped up by a male ally in order to succeed.

That said, I still give the book four stars, as I am outside of the target audience (12-18), and am probably approaching the story from a more cynical perspective. Also, the author approached and discussed subjects of racism, class inequality, and misogyny in a manner that would be well digested by the target age range.

7. The Red Church by Scott Nicholson    5/5

Read my full review of this book here.

8. The Wanderer by Sharon Creech    5/5

The Wanderer is one of my absolute favourite books, and has been since my sixth grade teacher (Mrs. Erskine) gifted it to me for my birthday, in 2002. I’ve been rereading it every few years since. Though I’ve long outgrown the target age-range for this novel, I feel like you can never really outgrow a Sharon Creech story.

As a teen, The Wanderer spoke to me about coming to terms with who you are, where you come from, and facing the scary parts of your past, in order to better move forward. As an adult, I read within its lines that it’s never too late. Never too late to grow, to better yourself. It’s never too late to chase your dreams.

Read this book. You won’t regret it.

Jessica Signature | Milk Stains & Notebooks | Motherhood. Marriage. Furious Scribbling. | www.milkstainsandnotebooks.com

 

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