Happy Thursday February 1st, and welcome to my first monthly wrap-up of 2024! How are we one month into 2024 already? As they say, time flies when you’re having fun!
I set myself a chunky TBR back at the beginning of January. I’ve linked to that post if you want to see the full list of books I set myself. I didn’t get to all of them this month, which isn’t surprising given I set myself a list of 10! Saying that, I’ve read more than average this month, setting myself in good stead for the rest of the year (I can only hope!)
Shall we get to the recap of the books I read in January? Strap yourselves in – it’s going to be a longer post than usual!
Gemina was the physical read I carried over from 2023. I had only read about 40% of the book by the end of December. A solid start, but there was plenty of progress to make still!
As Gemina is a YA sci-fi written in a mixed media format, I gobbled up the rest of the book in just a couple of days. Like Illuminae, I found it difficult to put down! The way it’s written is easy to read and the different perspectives and data sources that make up this story keep the narrative interesting.
I also loved the characters within the book. There is some small overlap on characters, although broadly we enjoy two new perspectives in the overarching storyline. I can only hope all parties come together in the sequel and last in the trilogy, Obsidio.
It’s safe to say that I started off the year well; Gemina was a great first read of 2024, netting my first 5 star rating.
My Sister’s Keeper
In addition to Gemina, I carried over My Sister’s Keeper from 2023. At the beginning of the year, I was approximately a third of the way through this audiobook.
My Sister’s Keeper isn’t a type of book I would pick up very often, but I’m glad I did! I was drawn to it because of the synopsis and the question of morality over Anna and her lifelong role as a donor for her sister, Kate.
I loved how this book played out and the drama within. The end made me teary and I am so glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to pick it up. Not everybody loves the ending of this book and I can understand why. However, I think it depends on what expectations you go into the book with. If you go into it looking for an answer to the morality question, then you may not get what you’re looking for. However, I think the book is about asking the question of ourselves – and that I did throughout reading.
The Girl in Seat 2A
I downloaded a copy of The Girl in Seat 2A published by Boldwood books via NetGalley. I have reviewed multiple Boldwood books through Rachael’s Random Resources tours before, and this book caught my eye.
The Girl in Seat 2A has an interesting storyline and I enjoyed the wider plot. I confess that I didn’t love the main character Jade, but that is because we are very unlike each other. I struggled to relate to her as a person, and also her circumstances, meaning that I could only invest so much into her.
Hers is not the only perspective in this book though, and it’s that second perspective that made the book for me. I also enjoy how the plot really starts to come together from this alternate perspective and the action and drama was fun to read.
If you’re interested to read my full thoughts on this book, you can find my review here.
Betrothal and Betrayal
Another reading obligation to include in today’s monthly wrap-up post is my read of Betrothal and Betrayal as part of a blog tour I took part in mid-month.
Betrothal and Betrayal is a fun and relatively short historical fantasy novel. With a strong, fiery, female protagonist living in a man’s world, I got everything I wanted from this book. I loved the protagonist and her unwavering resolve, despite her circumstances. She is the kind of protagonist to make a great role model for all young women, so it’s great to see represented in fiction.
I’m not going to go too far into the book here as I have already shared my review as part of the blog tour. If you want to go and see that review, I’ll provide a link here.
Crime and Punishment
The slowest read on January’s TBR that I include in today’s monthly wrap-up is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
And that’s not surprising. I am always slower with reading classics because I find the narrative styles differ from modern day. Until I’m used to it, there is an adjustment period. Although it took me a little longer to get into than the rest of the books on this monthly wrap-up, I still enjoyed picking it up.
In this narrative we follow the actions and fall-out of destitute student Raskolnikov murdering a moneylender. The booking itself explores mental health as that features heavily in the narrative, but also around morality of killing, and whether such actions can be washed out by any overall benefit to society as a consequence.
That is a very brief and probably not the best summary of the book, but it’s the best I can do with limited paragraph space!
The second audiobook I picked up in the month of January was Unmasked by Ellie Middleton. This is also the first non-fiction book I have picked up this year. If the rest are as good as this one, then I’m in for a good year!
The primary focus of Unmasked is about Ellie’s experience of late diagnoses of ADHD and autism. However, the book also takes an objective view of these neurodivergent conditions, as well as others, to educate readers about what it is like to interpret the world differently. Not only that, but the book explores how those who are neurodivergent are often discriminated against, and what steps we can take in society to be more accepting and accommodating.
I picked up this book to understand more about neurodivergence in general. I was surprised to find that I could relate to some of the traits of autism. That’s not to say I have autism, but it helped me appreciate overall how difficult it must be to grow up with these differences… especially if you grow up undiagnosed as most women do.
It was an eye-opening read, and if you’re interested in the subject, I would strongly recommend picking up Unmasked. I especially enjoyed listening to the audiobook as Ellie narrates this herself.
Sword of Vengeance
The last reading obligation I picked up in January that our feature on this monthly wrap-up post is Sword of Vengeance by Peter Gibbons. You won’t yet have seen the review for this book on my blog as it is going live tomorrow.
To date, I have enjoyed following along with the series and I’ve reviewed 2 out of the 3 prior books in the series as part of blog tours. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this fourth book of the series tomorrow. In summary, the book was everything I expected it to be based on the high expectations from reading the earlier books in the series. Again, there is a lot of action in this book, as well as underlying political intrigue which I love to read about.
I hope you can stay tuned for my review tomorrow!
The Black Coats
As of this monthly wrap-up post, I’m currently reading The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes and I’m 40% into the book.
It’s an enjoyable read so far and I’m loving the feminist take. I can see the action only picking up from where I’m up to, so I think I’ll have the book finished within another day or two! If you want to find out more about this book, I’ll be talking about it in more detail in the coming days.
The Atlas Six
My next ongoing read at month-end is The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. As of writing this post, I’m just over 2 hours into this nearly 17 hour long book. For the stats nerds, that’s about 13%. Unlucky for some, but not me!
I’ve only really gotten introduced to the characters and basic premise so far, but I’m intrigued. There’s definitely a lot to be explored in the narrative. I’m also glad I went for audio; each character is separately cast, making it easier to follow who is who. I love the different voices and styles as well – it adds a layer of interest.
Given that I’m not too far into the book, there isn’t really much I can say right now. This is one to stay tuned to my blog for!
I needed to read 5 books to stay on target of 60 books by the end of the year. I let the new year excitement get away with me in setting 10 books. However, I think having a longer reading list has encouraged me to read a little more this month. It doesn’t always work this way, but it’s working at the moment!
Next month’s TBR is going to look much the same – there’s always more to read! If you’re interested to see that list, I’ll share my February TBR on Saturday! Stay tuned for that!
In the meantime, what are you reading?