Thursday, February 2, 2017

What I Read: January

After being in a reading slump for most of December, I was glad to start off this year with a pretty good stack of books. Thanks to a long weekend being stuck in the house (due to a bad cold plus 8 inches of snow), I managed to get a lot of reading done! As always, click on the title for my Goodreads review.

Something New, by Lucy Knisley. I read one of this author's earlier books last year and was a little disappointed with it. But the whole idea of a graphic novel memoir intrigued me enough to try another of her books. This one is about the author and her fiancé planning their wedding. Overall I really enjoyed it. The illustration style was very cute, and my only real complaint was that the author comes across as a bit annoying at times.

The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan. The second book in the Percy Jackson series, which I started back in November. This one was fun and enjoyable, but not as good as the first!

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. Just like her first book, this one was light and quick, with some of the essays being funnier than others.

The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. The beginning was very promising, and there were some really lovely, creative, charming parts. But it felt tedious. I think I'm getting pickier about middle grade books, which makes me sad!

Unmentionable, by Therese Oneill. You know those things that you always wonder about in BBC period dramas, things that either don't seem historically accurate or are never even mentioned? This book promises to answer those questions, and I guess it does to a degree. But the interesting information is buried under too much sarcasm and too many jokes. So even though I found out some new information, this one wasn't what I expected.

Miss Jane, by Brad Watson. I picked up this book solely because of the cover and the title, because they reminded me of Pride and Prejudice. :) I really loved the first half, but things kept going downhill for most of the characters in the second half. The writing is really beautiful, and I felt compelled to keep reading throughout the entire book. But the story was sad and focused so much on loneliness that it was difficult to feel satisfied by the time it was over.

The Shepherd's Life, by James Rebanks. I've been wanting to read this one for a long time now! I enjoyed it a lot, though maybe not as much as I thought I would. The author's attitude grated on my nerves a lot, and the book felt disjointed and choppy at times. But sometimes the writing and imagery was beautiful, and if you're at all interested in sheep, I feel like you'd enjoy this book.


  1. It's hard to enjoy reading when you find the author or main character annoying. The last few middle grade books I tried disturbed me greatly (maybe one wasn't meant for middle grade?).

    Have you read the Penderwick series? My mom, four sisters, and I all LOVE them. They are middle grade. The first one is cute and the others are excellent; I highly recommend them.

    Daddy-Long Legs (the book Dear Mr. Knightly modernizes) reads at about middle-grade. It was adorable. I love Katherine Patterson. My sisters and I enjoy Jessica Day George's books (the dragon's trilogy is the best). We LOVE RJ Anderson's Faerie Rebels trilogy (kind of bridges the gap like HP between middle-grade and YA) and the subsequent duo (only in UK) plus she has a cute newer duo, A Pocket Full of Murder and A Little Taste of Poison, aimed at a younger age and then an older duo in sci-fi.

    I LOVE ND Wilson's 100 Cupboards trilogy. He has two newer series (one just started) that are fun and worth a read, but I think the first one is something special. I also enjoyed his stand alone books, Leepike Ridge and Boys of Blur.

    1. I've read all of the Penderwick books but the most recent one, and I love those! They're so charming and have that classic, timeless feel that the best children's books have. I've been meaning to read Daddy Long Legs, and I've read one of Jessica Day George's princess retellings. I think I read the first 100 Cupboards book years ago but I don't remember loving it, and I ended up donating my copy.

      Thanks for all of your recommendations! It seems like a lot of the middle grade I've read over the past 2-3 years has been very similar, and very forgettable. I guess that's inevitable when you read so much of it. But every once in a while I stumble across a gem. :)

    2. I would give 100 Cupboards Another chance; the next books improve. I felt that occurred with the Penderwicks too. I think that is the mark of a good writer, when the story builds up instead of peters out.

      I think too many books get published too easily; we have to wade through all the rest, of course it doesn't make it great by contrast to find a good book.


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