Well, January got the year off to a pretty good start, reading wise. There were five (looooong) weeks in the month which meant I needed to have read five books by the end to be on target for my 52 in the year and my total currently stands at eight so I am ahead of myself! I always like to have a bit of a buffer to allow for the inevitable slump that happens at some point during the year.
The books I finished reading in January were:
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (4/5*) – This was actually the Smut Club book for November (oops) but as we didn’t have any meetings in December I did get it finished before we discussed it at the January gathering, so it’s all fine. I really enjoyed this – it has been a while since I tackled a meaty epic-fantasy and this was a good gritty one although it was very much setting up for the next two books. The characters were brilliant and I loved the world created around them but when I stopped and thought about it, not a lot really happened in the 600ish pages of book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I very much want to read the next book and find out more – but it did put off a couple of Smut Club members who abandoned it because they weren’t fussed about the rest of the series.
Wailing Ghosts by Pu Songling (4/5*) – One of the Penguin Little Black Classics series, I really loved this collection of traditional Chinese folk tales. They made me laugh, and they made me think. They’re so different from European tales and yet also very similar – I guess because at the heart of it, humanity is all the same regardless of where we come from.
Monster Meat Eaters by Sarah Creese (5/5*) – This was actually one of Arthur’s Christmas presents but I accidentally sat and read it when I should have been putting it away. A gorgeous little 32 page book about predatory insects with fabulous photographic illustrations and fun facts – it is one of a set of four (that got split between my two and my godchildren) and I think they are well worth looking up to get your little ones interested in all things creepy and crawly. Not too many words but not too simplified either, they hit the balance just right. Oh, and each book comes with a toy insect to play with, too!
The Legend Of Kevin by Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre (5/5*) – I loved this so much I wrote a proper review of it, here. A great book for kids 7+ (and grown ups) who like fun stories about flying ponies and custard creams.
I Know What You Did Last Wednesday by Anthony Horowitz (3/5*) – A World Book Day installment of the Diamond Brothers series, this was thrust into my hands by Tori who told me I had to read it over the weekend because she needed to take it back to school on Monday. Now I loved the first couple of Diamond Brothers books back when I was about her age, so it was fun to slip back into one of their stories. Some of the novelty appears to have worn off as I have grown up though as I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I expected to. That said, 9-year-old-Me would have loved it. It was a silly little murder mystery based on the game of Cluedo. It was silly, gently gory, and lots of fun.
The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (4/5*) – This was January’s Smut Club book choice and it was delightful. A super quick, easy, gentle read with very mild peril and lots of entertaining observations about people. It made me chuckle and I read it in about three sittings without really noticing the time passing by. I don’t really know what I was expecting from it, but it wasn’t what I got. Mostly what I took away from it was an overwheling feeling of peace with the world, which was rather nice.
Evolution by Teri Terry (4/5*) – The final instalment of the Dark Matter Trilogy, I was not disappointed. Fast-paced and absorbing, this book carried straight on from where the last book finished and barrelled along to the series conculsion. A super easy to read series with thrills and spills, I have really enjoyed the Dark Matter adventure and am a little bit sad that it is over.
Scythe by Neil Schusterman (5/5*) – I listened to this as an unabridged Audiobook and really enjoyed it. I wrote a full review of what I thought, here. I will definitely be looking out for the next book!
(Yes, I am aware that a few of those books are aimed at children but in my mind that doesn’t make them any less ‘proper’ books and so they get counted the same as any other! I believe in reading *everything* that takes your fancy. There’s no such thing as ‘too young’, ‘too old’ or ‘too hard’ for you – if it’s not right for you at the time, you won’t finish it, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be right some other time. Likewise audiobooks absolutely count – otherwise all the reading aloud with my kids doesn’t count for them either and, well, that’s just silly.)
Ahem, rant over… I’m also currently reading a couple of others but didn’t finish them before January ran out: Sprout by Dale Peck (I am listening to this as an audiobook), and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein (yes, I am *still* reading this with the Smalls. It’s like a TARDIS in book form – it doesn’t look long but it’s taking foooooreeeveeeeeerrr!!)
Some of the books in January helped me tick off three squares in my Backlist Bingo as well because they have been on my TBR since (at least) last year! The Blade Itself was over 400 pages long, Evolution has a one word title, and Wailing Ghosts was under 200 pages long!
Now, in the four weeks of February I am hoping to read:
- Witch Fire by Anya Bast – The February Smut Club book which is, for a change, very definitely actual Smut! We figured it would fit for Valentines day if nothing else. It’s probably going to be terrible but in a hilarious way.
- Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – Sticking to my pledge to read borrowed books, this is one I picked up at Smut Club last month and so I am reading it this month so that I can give it back ASAP.
- Heroes by Stephen Fry – Another Smut Club borrowed title – Winston knew I had read the first in the series and so passed this along for me to read and I am super excited to get stuck in.
- Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner – One on my Backlist Bingo list. I can’t even remember what this one is about, it’s so long since I acquired it (I think I won it) but the cover is very pretty!
- Women & Power by Mary Beard – Yes, this makes 5 but it’s good to have a choice when you’re as much of a mood-reader as I am! This is another Backlist Bingo title so it would be good if I could get them both ticked off.
That seems a lot of reading when I stack it up like that, given how short a month February is. But hey, I’m going to give it my best shot! And I have my half-read titles on the go as well that I might finish to keep my reading target total on track whatever happens.
What are you reading in February?