Wednesday, February 1, 2023

January 2023 Wrap Up

Just like that, January is over.

I wish I had more to report for this month, but I think I've just been working all of the time. The big study I am leading is underway and it requires a ton of my time and attention. Plus I have other studies that also need my time and attention. Constant prep work and paperwork, being on call and working late/long hours/weekends. I haven't even been able to do laundry which is desperately needed.

But things are starting to wrap up. By the end of February my time should be a little less chaotic.

Despite the craziness, I managed to read more books than I expected. I will keep reviews short since I know this post is already a bit late.

Titles: Cold Fire and Shatterglass
Author: Tamora Pierce
Synopsis/Thoughts: These are the last two books of the Circle Opens quartet that follow Daja and Tris, respectively, as they travel and take on students. More comfort reads of course, but these two books are some of my favorites by Tamora Pierce.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Attachments
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Laura Hamilton

Synopsis/Thoughts: I have read and reviewed this book a few times. It is a good read and I love the email communications between Beth and Jennifer. It is an easy, lovely read.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Title: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Author: Mark Twain
Narrator: Nick Offerman
Synopsis/Thoughts: I feel that this classic doesn't need much introduction. After seeing the Mark Twain house and museum in Connecticut, I figured I should read more than one story, so I did! It was a bit young, but still enjoyable.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll
Narrator: Scarlett Johansson

Synopsis/Thoughts: Another classic that needs no real introduction.  Another one I had never read before and it was a fun little listen. While I didn't LOVE it, it was still good.
 Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The Ballad of Perilous Graves
Author: Alex Jennings
Narrator: Gralen Bryant Banks

Synopsis: In an alternate version of New Orleans, ghosts are real, zombies work in the town, animals speak like humans, and music is the magic that holds the world together. When the core songs that protect the city escape and someone begins killing them, Perry (Perilous) and his friends and family must save the city.

Thoughts: I started reading this many months ago. It is actually quite good, but it didn't hold my attention well. That was completely on me, though, not the book. I just wasn't in the right head space for this type of story. It is one I will consider revisiting another time.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The Depths
Author: Nicole Lesperance
Synopsis: Addie, having recently survived a near-death accident, is required to tag along to a remote island with her mom and new step-dad for their honeymoon. But the island is inexplicably strange; beautiful and unsettling and covered in mysteries. As she gets deeper into the islands mysteries, the island and its inhabitants seem determined to keep her.
Thoughts: This was an Owlcrate book from September that I started in October since it is a spooky book. There are two "ghosts" on the island (they are called ghosts, but they are really zombies if you ask me). One is good and the other gave me the worst creeps. Spoiler: that ghost is also good, but we don't know it right away. I only mention it because I was glad of that when it came out. Parts of this books were definitely eerie and creepy. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars 

Title: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Narrator: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Synopsis/Thoughts: Yet another classic that needs no introduction which I had never read before. I didn't actually know what to expect, I knew so little about this story. But it was a sweet, enjoyable read.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Four Dead Queens
Author: Astrid Scholte
Narrators: Amy Shiels and Elizabeth Knoweiden
Synopsis: Quadara is a nation is divided into four quadrants (Toria, Ludia, Archia, and Eonia), each ruled by a different queen. Keralie is a Torian thief and steals comm discs from an Eonian messenger. When things suddenly go wrong, she watches the comm discs and sees the four queens each being murdered in different, horrible ways. She and the messenger, Varin, set out to save the queens. But they don't know who they are looking for.

Thoughts: This was an older Owlcrate book that I finally picked up. The mystery was super intriguing and I loved the twists. It was so much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. If you are looking for a neat, captivating mystery, I highly recommend this one.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Something Fabulous
Author: Alexis Hall
Narrator: Nicholas Boulton
Synopsis/Thoughts: I ADORE Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall, so I thought I should read this, too. It takes place in the past and involves a Duke falling in love with the brother of his meant-to-be bride. So some parts were funny and entertaining and some of the characters were fun. But there were um... spicy parts in this book that were a bit much for me. That usually isn't my favorite thing to read anyway, but I don't normally have to actually skip parts of the book. Which I definitely had to do a couple of times. That probably says much more about me than about the book itself though. I will keep Boyfriend Material (and re-read it soooooo many times), but I think I will leave this one behind.

Rating: 2 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Lunar Love
Author: Lauren Kung Jessen
Narrator: Raechel Wong
Synopsis: Olivia is in the process of taking over the family match making business when she discovers a dating app that also uses the Chinese zodiac to match people. She infiltrates their app in order to meet the creator to try to bring him down. But Bennett is not quite what she expects and they keep getting thrown together. Then feelings happen.

Thoughts: This was a pick for the Happily Ever After group run by Jenny Lawson and it sounded interesting so I wanted to read it. It was interesting and I enjoyed some of the Chinese culture that we get to see. And the way Olivia and Bennett's relationship develops was different than most of these that I have read. But in a very good way.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Fruits Basket, volumes 1-3
Author: Natsuki Takaya
Synopsis/Thoughts: Inspired by Lunar Love, I wanted to actually read these since they have the zodiac animals in them. I have seen the anime (many years ago, but still) and I have liked reading them very much. They are cute and fun and easy to read.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Favorite book read this month: Probably have to pick Four Dead Queens
Least favorite book read this month: Something Fabulous
I have read 14 books towards my goal of 75 for 2023.

I want to work my way through some Owlcrate books (including the extra classic books that they sometimes send) and I managed to read 4 this month. I have some others in progress.