Welcome to 2024! A few of us started out the year with a bang – check out our reads and let us know what you devoured in January!
I have continued my deep dive into the romantasy genre in 2024 and have five more titles on loan from the library. Wish me luck finishing all five before I have to return them!
A Light in the Flame by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I am almost caught up in my Jennifer L. Armentrout series. I finished A Soul of Ash and Blood (book #5 in the Blood and Ash series) and A Light in the Flame (book #2 in the Flesh and Fire series) this month and loved them both. A Soul of Blood and Ash is a bit controversial because it is – too simply put – a retelling of book #1, but from the male main character’s point of view. I enjoyed it because it gave me a chance to remember lost details and piece together the many, MANY moving parts in this series. Especially because the Flesh and Fire series is intertwined. I devoured A Light in the Flame and think this prequel series may be the only prequel in the history of prequels that I’ve not only enjoyed but probably love more than the “original” stories!
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Because I rely heavily on my local libraries and because Sarah J. Maas is incredibly popular right now, I actually got a library card from another county because they had Throne of Glass available, and I needed to cure my book hangover while on the wait list for others! Compared to the other stories I’m reading/listening to, this felt a bit more Young Adult, but it was just what I needed. Still exciting. Slow burn on the lighter romance. World building that didn’t overwhelm me. I see why people love Sarah J. Mass and am excited to finish my current read so I can jump into book #2 – Crown of Midnight.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna
I started 2024 with Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel by Susanna Clarke. I tried another of Clarke’s books Piranesi but found it a little confusing as the narrative jumped around a lot. So was pleasantly surprised that Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel’s narrative is completely different – chronological, descriptive and enjoyable to read. It follows the story of reclusive magician Mr. Norrel and his encounters with novice magician, Jonathan Strange.
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
I’ve also been dipping into Katherine May’s Wintering – an ode to the quiet beauty of winter. May shares personal stories, conversations and mythology as she gives gentle tips on how we can embrace cyclical living and enjoy the fallow winter season. I really like this book, I read one chapter for the month it’s related to and have found it a calming reminder that we don’t have to rush through winter at 100%.
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
This book was so good for many reasons. It was funny, full of satire, It’s a darkly funny tale of white privilege, some ridiculousness in the world of publishing, and an unreliable narrator you just love to hate. You get sucked into her world and her thinking, and it’s just…a place you don’t want to be. But that’s the way this book is supposed to be!
While all of that makes the book good, I got bored in parts where we’re just stuck in the main character’s doom scrolling and nothing really happens. So, I’m going with a 3 overall.
The Housemaid by Freida McFadden
Oh man. dissenting opinion, coming your way. I’m working on a full review of this one so I won’t say a whole lot here besides…ugh. I really didn’t like The Housemaid! It took a good half of the book for the locking in the room, which everyone knows is going to happen, to happen. The narrator just ignores straight up warnings about being in danger for the whole first half, too. I just couldn’t catch the vibe that all other readers seem to love on this one at all.
No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister
Imagine a book that you’ve read recently. What was happening in your life when you read that book? How did you react to it?
In No Two Persons, we meet 9 different characters in different seasons of life, facing different obstacles, who are all reading the same book. First, you learn how the book is precious to the author, and then you meet the readers.
Overall, I thought this was really good! The stories were all compelling and heartfelt, and I really enjoyed all of them. I will say that I had a hard time transitioning, though. I’d feel like I was really getting to know a character on a deeper level, and then their story would be over and it was on to the next. Really a cool, unique story, though, that I recommend checking out!
Aside from finishing The Frozen River (one of my top books of the year) I read two other books in January:
A Rule Against Murder by Lousie Penny
The fourth book in Penny’s Inspector Gamache series takes place not in the usual setting of Three Pines but instead at a luxurious and secluded country manor hotel where Gamache and his wife have gone for a vacation. Unfortunately for them, they are sharing the manor with the immensely wealthy, and perpetually unhappy, Morrow clan, who have gathered there for the unveiling of a statue of their late father. When one of the family members is killed in a freak occurrence, Gamache finds his vacation turning into an investigation.
The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre
This may be non-fiction, but parts of it read like a classic, spy thriller. In the 1970s, KGB agent Oleg Gordievsky became a source for MI6 after growing disillusioned with the Soviet Union and its repression of the Prague Spring. The book walks readers through Gordievsky’s relationships with his MI6 handlers as he was posted to Denmark and then eventually to London where he was promoted to station chief for the Russian residence there. Constantly living a double-life, Gordievsky knew that the revelation of his clandestine work for MI6 would be certain to lead to his death. The last third of the book looks at what happens when he is unexpectedly called back to Moscow and the daring plan to extricate him back to England.
That’s our list! What did you read in January?