How’s 2017 so far? Well, we may only be a month in, but so far 2017 is looking fantastic! I managed to read a ton, and get my GoodReads reading challenge off to a flying stars.Here are the books that I finished in January 2017.
Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I have read A LOT of Cassie Clare the past few years, but I have to say that this one might just be my favourite. Set in the shadowhunter universe, an urban fantasy setting where there are a race of part human-part angel warriors who rid the world of demons, but this time in LA, we are introduced to a new set of characters, though some familiar faces to make appearances. In theory our protagonist is Emma Carstairs, an Shadowhunter orphan who is hell bent on finding out who murdered her parents. Without a doubt Emma is my favourite female character in the Shadowhunter world, and I can be very picky when it comes to female protagonists. However, this has a much wider scope than any of Clare’s previous Shadowhunter books, with so many main character, but not too many, each fleshed out with their own storylines. When you compare this book, to Clare’s first in the Shadowhunter world, City of Bones, which was pretty good, you can really see just how much this author has grown, and for me that is so exciting. As the first book in a trilogy (the sequel is out in a few months) there is so much potential for this series to grow even more than this original novel, and can see this surpassing The Infernal Devices as my favourite of Cassie’s Shadowhunter Series’. As you can see I have plenty to say and you can see a full review right HERE.
Beautiful Player (Beautiful Bastard #3) by Christina Lauren 🌟🌟🌟
Meh. After the fantastic Lady Midnight, I wanted something quick. This was not quick. Unlike the previous books in the series it was l-o-n-g, especially considering it is literally just a romance. I mean there was nothing else going on, other than the romance between Will and the kind of annoying (but I’ll get to that in a minute) Hanna. Now, I like a romance, especially those more adult in nature, and this is not my first dip in that particular pol, but this book seemed to go on for ever. Hanna, a bookish girl who lives her life in the lab (she’s a Chemistry grad student), is one of those characters who had absolutely no filter. I really don’t like characters like this, I can’t explain it but I just find them annoying. Maybe, if this was the first Christina Lauren book I’d read, the rating would be higher, but for me Beautiful Stranger, the previous book, was kind of perfect, so in comparison Beautiful Player was just a bit disappointing.
The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Yay! This is one of my favourite childhood series’, and I am so excited for the upcoming Netflix adaptation, hence the re-read of at least the books that the series covers. The Bad Beginning is a really good, strong start to this series, and really sets up your expectations for what’s to come. Obviously, if you are reading this for the first time as an adult then you’re going to have to be a little bit patient at first, because it is aimed toward children. However, it is darker than you might expect and gets even darker as the series goes on. The character of the villainous Count Olaf is one of my favourites and, as Snicket himself points out, first impressions are really rarely wrong. Even as a stand alone book, this is still pretty good, but also finds seamlessly into the series as a whole.
The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Continuing on from the events if the first book, the Baudelaire orphans moving in with their Uncle Monty, an expert in reptiles. In all honesty, there isn’t much development in term of character or plot but I don’t see that as a problem, because it’s important to remember this is a children’s book. There’s enough connection made to the previous book while still maintaining a fresh plot. Snicket is also pretty good at characterisation, especially considering the amount of pages he has to do it in, Uncle Monty especially, which only servs to emphasis that stark sense on loss, more than in the previous book because we never actually met the Baudelaire parents. Like it’s predecessor, The Reptile Room is a concise, and complete story, if you didn’t want to read the next one, you wouldn’t have to, though why you wouldn’t is beyond me.
Hamiltome (or Hamilton; The Revolution) by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This is probably the first non-fiction book I have ever read voluntarily, and that is completely down to the genius that is Hamilton: An American Musical. For those of you who don’t know, Hamilton is a hip-hop musical based on the life of one of the founding fathers, and first treasury secretary of the U.S, Alexander Hamilton. It is spectacular, and I’m coming to you as a person who hasn’t (as of yet) had the opportunity to see the musical. This book, not only contains every lyric to every song, annotated by their composer Lin-Manuel, but also takes an in-depth look at both the composition, the behind-the-scenes, and the way history is depicted in Hamilton. And I cannot praise it enough. This was everything I wanted, and more, and really encapsulates just how much work goes into the production of a musical, especially one as ambitions as this. The book itself is a beautiful giant of a hardcover, a faux leather spine, and deckled edged pages that mirror the amount of work going into this musical. I just can’t praise it enough. (P.S I managed to get tickets to see the London production in November and June 2018 and I am ecstatic!)
Onyx (Lux #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout 🌟🌟🌟🌟
I have to admit that this one kind of snuck up on me. It’s been a year since the first one, which was just okay, but I didn’t really want to invest my time re-reading it. Some other books snuck onto my currently reading, so I nearly checked this one off my TBR all together, but, boy am I glad that I didn’t. God knows, that I didn’t read this for the alien related plot, but, dare I admit, that it kind of impressed me. I mean sure there were a few tropes, and a ‘development’ that was probably supposed to come as a surprise but I saw from a mile away, but it was worth it for one reason; Daemon Black. Forget the odd looking boy on the cheesy cover, because Daemon is a sass master extraordinaire, to a level that reminded me of Jace Whatshisface from The Mortal Instruments, and I absolutely loevd it. That alone has given me hope for the future of this series, and I’m starting to get why so many people rave about it.
Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Wow. This was a bit off the beaten track for me, just in terms of things I usually gravitate towards, but I loved it. Previously published as Tony snd Susan, this is the sort of book that makes you want to sit, think, and just dwell over all the metaphors and complexities Wright manages to fit into this book. At just under 400 pages, Nocturnal Animals manages to tell three intertwined stories, in a really detailed and complete way. This is the sort of book that is a perfect stand-alone, as everything comes to a full circle in the end. I’d definitely be interested in seeing what else Wright has written, maybe reading more of his work, and seeing how this translates into the film version
The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This was my 3rd read of The Bone Season and i just fall more and more in one with this sci-fi/historical/urban fantasy and its characters. Taking place in the future, but in a Victorian-like London, where clairvoyance is common but punishable by law, we are introduced to Paige, the sassy little dreamwalker and our narrator. You do have to be patient because there is a lot of world building needed to make this work, but so long as you are prepared for a slow start, not so much in terms of plot but in terms of reader understanding, then you’ll be fine. I’m so in love with these characters, not just Paige, out first person protagonist, but also my sötnos, Nick and even Jax. Shannon has founded such a rich world in this book that she could write there forever, and I could live there forever.
The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs 🌟🌟🌟🌟
As a surprise present from this wasn’t on my official TBR but I squeezed it in anyway and here we are. The Hamilton Affair is a historical fiction retelling of Alexander Hamilton, founding father and first treasury secretary of the USA, and basis for Hamilton; An American Musical, and his wife Eliza Schuyler. I was super conscious of comparing it too much to the musical but found that it fit really well anyway. There is an obvious emphasis on their relationship, which was fine by me, because there’s a reason the Ron Chernow biography is something like 800 pages. What I did struggle with, however, was the time span of the book since it covers from when Eliza and Alexander are around 10 years old to Eliza’s death, and because of the length of the book there was a lot of jumping around. But if you like Hamilton: An American Musical or historical fiction in general I would definitely recommend this, it even left me teary eyed toward the end.
Real Murders (The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #1) by Charlaine Harris 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Even though this was a re-read, and I could remember exactly who the killer was I enjoyed this jus as much as I did the first time around. Here, we are introduced to Roe, a part-time librarian, just in time for a spree of murders that resemble famous cases throughout history, to touch her mundane southern life. I love everything that Charlaine Harris writes (at least what I’ve read so far anyway) so it should come as no surprise that this is one of my favourite mystery series. Like Agatha Christie’s books, Real Murders truly is a cosy murder mystery that wraps up nice and neat in the end. Roe is a great protagonist, a gal who is smart enough to probe the mystery without leaving the reader lagging behind. Real Murders was super quick, I flew through it, leaving me satisfied, but also looking forward to the next instalment.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by J.K Rowaling, narrated by Stephen Fry. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
“After all this time?”
What more is there to say?
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons 🌟🌟🌟🌟
This books reminded me just how a historical fiction novel should be done, it was beautiful and heart-wrenching and just leaves you lost for words I have been super harsh and not given it a full five stars simply because of the relationship between Tatiana and her sister Dasha. I won’t go in to details but it just didn’t feel right to me. There is definitely a strong focus on the relationship between seventeen year old Tatiana, and 22 year old Alexander Belov, of the red army, but theres no getting away from the war. At 800 odd pages, it’s definitely more along the lines of an epic saga and really opens your eyes to a side of World War II that you probably wouldn’t know much about, from the side of the Soviet Union. This is the sort of book that’ll stay with you long after you’ve finished with it. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review coming soon.
So, yay for January and yay for 2017, because I’m super happy (and is shock) with what I managed to read. Roll on February! Also, if there’s something you’d like to see a full review on (either with spoiler of without) let me know, because I can definitely do that!
What did you read this month? Anything that’s not your usual cup of tea?
Thanks for reading,