It’s the weekend!
Firstly, I feel like I need to apologise because I’ve posted something literally every day so far this week and I feel like I’m spamming, as I usually post Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
This year, though, I’d like to try and do monthly reading wrap-ups and, just this month, I even have a TBR I’d like to try and follow.
If you didn’t already know – hi, I’m Jess and I hate TBRs.
I love reading other people’s and I love creating TBRs for readathons, but I tried doing monthly TBRs when I first started blogging and I found them so restrictive and, as soon as I put a book on my TBR it became the last book I wanted to pick up. Then last year I started wrapping up the seasonal TBRs I make for Top Ten Tuesday and found it so satisfying when I could look back over three months and cross off the books from that list I had managed to read.
Ultimately, for me, TBRs are always going to be more of a suggestion of what I should read than something I absolutely must read, but as I’m aiming to devote February to reading and reviewing romance, I do have some books I’d like to read this month that I thought I’d share with you!
(I’m already taking part in Faebruary, and you can check out some of the books I’d like to try and read for that here.)
First, though, let’s talk about what I read in January!
Somehow, I ended up reading nine books in January – even more baffling to me is that three of them are 600+ pages long!
I did DNF two books I read in January – A Winter’s Promise and Blood Heir – but I got through 44% and 36% of them respectively, so I gave them both a good try. Ultimately they just weren’t for me, and I don’t want to waste time on books I’m not enjoying. I reviewed them both on Goodreads if you’d like to know why they didn’t work for me!
I didn’t love my first read of the year, Venus & Aphrodite, as much as I hoped (although I’m glad I started the year with non-fiction, which I’d like to read more of throughout 2020!) and I ended up not being a big fan of The Confessions of Frannie Langton, which is a shame as I expected to love it.
Other than those books, though, I had a really good reading month! None of the five other books I read got less than 4 stars, and I even had my first 5 star read of the year right at the end of the month with Lair of Dreams. I’m so excited to continue with The Diviners series this year.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January was an absolutely stunning debut novel, so beautifully written and such a loving, nostalgic ode to the power of stories, and The Kingdom of Copper was a fantastic follow-up to The City of Brass that has me chomping at the bit for The Empire of Gold.
I got to try Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s very first thriller, Untamed Shore, this month too and loved reading it. She writes noir so well and, while I’ll always love her SFF, I’d happily read more thrillers by her in future.
The highlights of January for me, though, were The Sword of Kaigen and Lair of Dreams. The Sword of Kaigen is a phenomenal piece of Asian-inspired fantasy – if you only read one Asian-inspired fantasy novel this year, please make it this one – and Lair of Dreams I ended up loving even more than The Diviners. I want to go for a walk around Libba Bray’s brain because her research for this series is amazing and it shines in these books.
Like I mentioned above, outside of Faebruary my aim is to devote as much of February as I can to reading and reviewing romance, and as I usually find romance fairly quick to read I’m hoping I’ll be able to blast through a few of these!
I love the sound of a romance set at a Renaissance Faire, so I can’t wait to read Well Met – it sounds like it’s going to be so much fun. I read Alyssa Cole for the first time when I picked up the f/f novella, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, set in her Reluctant Royals series last year, and now I’d like to start the series properly with this first novel.
Grace Draven is my go-to romantasy author, and I really like the first book in this series, Radiance, so I’m looking forward to getting to this sequel which I have a feeling is going to be a bit more angsty. As you all know I love stories about witches, so it’s about time I cross Serpent & Dove off my TBR – a romance between a witch and a witch-hunter sounds disastrous, but I’ve seen good reviews for this one so far.
I’ve owned copies of all three of these novels for aaaaaages. I picked up The Lady and the Poet when I was a student after studying some of John Donne’s poetry and I love my Tudors, so it’s crazy I haven’ read it yet. I’m ashamed to say that I received an ARC of Mistress Firebrand from the author… in 2015. I still love the sound of it, but it was the first time an author reached out to me through my blog and I think I was so terrified of reading the book and hurting the author’s feelings if I didn’t enjoy it that I never picked it up. It’s time to change that, because it sounds like such a juicy read! Eva Ibbotson is one of the authors from my teens who first got me into historical fiction when I read A Company of Swans and I’ve owned a copy of The Morning Gift, considered one of her best, for years. It features a marriage of convenience, and I’m here for it.