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Hello Hello! How are you today?
It’s the start of another month, which means it’s time to look back on the books I read in January.
I had a really strong start to the month and can’t believe I read as many books as I did… 18 in total! Okay, a lot of those were graphic novels or comics, but they still count!! I also read some really fantastic books, and only one flopped completely, so I’ll take that as a win.
Keep on reading to find out what books I read in January.
FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE MONTH
Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney — 5 stars
This was my first 5-star read of the year and boy was it a good one. I buddy read this with some friends from TWR and I was so surprised at how captivated I was by this book from the very first page. The first line drew me in so quickly and the whole writing style was so good that I couldn’t stop reading. I was really surprised by that ending and surprised I loved this book so much because psychological thrillers/mysteries are really my thing, but I absolutely loved reading it and found the whole thing to be fantastic. You can find my full review here!
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren — 5 stars
And this is another buddy-read book I read with some of the same book blogging buddies and this book also completely sucked me in. It’s also not my kind of book usually, but I just loved that the two main characters met, got to know each other and fell in love all thanks to their mutual love of books. It’s a book about books and that makes any bookworm happy. It’s also a book about first love, first times and also has a bit of betrayal, some trauma and lots of grief and sadness, but at the end, after that big reveal that made me SOB, it was just a beautiful book, with lots of emotions running through it. I really loved it and felt lost when I had finished it. I explained more of my thoughts in my full review, if you’re interested in reading it!
MY JANUARY READS
Éliott et la bibliothèque fabuleuse by Pascaline Nolot — 3.5 stars
This was a little French MG fantasy book that I picked up at my library and the first book I managed to read in January. It was cute, was about a little boy’s love for books and how the staff at the library he frequents have a sort of secret society at night, for the protection of libraries all around the country and for books. There were also lots of great mythological and imagined creatures that popped up through the pages, and even if it wasn’t incredible, I still enjoyed it.
Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman — 5 stars
I’m so glad I also picked up the next volume in the Hearstopper series that I absolutely love. Reading these books gives me such lovely feelings, and I love going back to these characters. The author goes over tough topics in such a sensitive way, in this book she specifically touches on eating disorders, and she does so in a way that just makes it work in the book. I’m so excited to get my hands on the 4th volume of this series, and later this year the 5th volume.
Le Jardin Secret (#2) by Maud Begon — 3.5 stars
I started this graphic novel adaptation of The Secret Garden by Francess Hodgson Burnett last year, and my hold for the second book came in during the month of January. I have a bit of a weird relationship with this story to be honest, because I read it with my mum as a child and loved it, and loved the film as well, but having reread it for my thesis, I’ve realised there are a lot of ableist, sexist and racist elements in the story that I don’t care for — although they were good examples for my thesis. I know it’s a thing of its time, so I can’t do much about it, but I do have these waring feelings of nostalgia and enjoying it, but also being bugged and bothered by it. Anyway, the graphic novel adaptation was super cute and didn’t go into the weird and yucky details, so it was an enjoyable, quick read.
D’ambre et de feu by Agnes Domergue — 4 stars
This was another super fast graphic novel that I read during a break in my library. I honestly can’t remember much about it now because I read it at the start of the month and it wasn’t super memorable. But I seem to remember it being a story about the last fox/vixen, a bit in the vein of Wicked Fox by Kat Cho. But it also touched strongly on the topic of ecology and taking care of our planet through nature and its animals. It was a kind of quest, coming-of-age story, and it was very cute and a very nice read.
Professeur Goupil (#1) by Loïc Clément — 4 stars
I ended up finding the first instalment of this little spin-off series set in the world of Le Temps des Mitaines, which I started reading in December. I can’t believe I read these mini books out of order because the first book made so much from the next books make sense. But that’s okay, because I still had a great few minutes reading it (it’s very short), it was cute, I love the colourful illustrations and it was fun to dive back into this little unique fantasy world.
Ça pourrait être bien pire by Einat Tsarfati — 5 stars
This was a picture book I bought for my libraries and it finally arrived in January. I also really enjoyed this one. I won’t go into detail about it because it’s just a picture book, but it’s about these two boys who go on an adventure with an egg and bad things keep happening to them, to which they say “It could be far worse”. This was full of fun and humour, and the pictures were so bright and cheerful.
Le Grand méchant renard by Benjamin Renner — 5 stars
Omg I loved this one! It’s a French humourous children’s graphic novel, in the vein of The Big Bad Wolf, but here it is The Big Bad Fox, only he is a complete softy. The Wolf and the Fox plot to get something to eat, the Fox steals 3 eggs from a nearby farm, he keeps them warm, watches them hatch (in the idea of fattening them up and feasting on them with the Wolf), but then they say “Mama” and he falls in love. I had a smile on my face the whole time I read it. I loved the art style, the humour, the characters, and I just thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Âme rouge and L’enfer, le silence (Blacksad 3-4) by Juan Díaz Canales — 5 stars
Another graphic novel/comic, this time adult, and the next two books in the Blacksad series I started at the end of 2022. I gave these both 5 stars because they were just so good. I really appreciate how in each new comic, we keep the same 2-3 characters, obviously the main character John Blacksad, but the cases he investigates are wildly different. It’s been a few weeks since I read them so I don’t remember the details off-hand, but I really enjoyed them and they are quick reads. I’ll be finishing this series in February, as the two final tomes are sitting on my shelves, demanding my attention.
Peau d’Homme by Hubert — 3.5 stars
Oh look, another French graphic novel, this time it had a big feminist vein. I think this was supposed to be a kind of historical fiction in an alternate world to ours, one in which a young girl who is betrothed to someone she doesn’t know, goes to her aunt’s and is shown a man’s skin. I know it sounds mega weird and creepy, but this skin let her get to know her fiancé, and fell in love with him. The only problem was that the fiancé fell in love with the man, and not the woman. I kind of got the point of this story, but also found it a touch weird. It was okay, but not was I was hoping for.
Spellslinger (#1) by Sebastien de Castell — 4.5 stars
Another buddy read for me. Candyce from The Book Dutchesses and I picked this first book in the Spellslinger series as our first buddy read of 2023, and it was such a good pick. I had been wanting to read this book for so long, and was kindly gifted it at Christmas, so I took the plunge. I loved the world this was set in, so unique and the magic system was incredible. I fell in love with the characters, specifically Ferius Parfax, Reichis and Kellen. I’m excited to pick up the next book in this series soon, but for now, you can find out my full thoughts on this incredible book in my review!
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin — 4 stars
I am kind of ashamed to say that it took me months to read this book, but it was worth the wait. Algonquin Books reached out to me a few months ago, and I signed up to the blog tour for this book, that was organised kind of anticipation to the movie adaptation that was going to be released. We weren’t given dates as it was a free “do it when you can” tour, but that meant I kept pushing it back! I finally read it in January, and while I found that it lagged in the middle, I enjoyed it a lot overall and that ending made me cry. It was a really comforting, cosy book about books and love and the power of words. Here is my full review!
The Dark Ones (#1 The Dark Ones Saga) by Rachel Van Dyken — 4 stars
This next book is the one I pulled out of my NetGalley TBR Jar for January and I was honestly so immersed in it from the first page that I was reading it until 4am in the morning… I basically read it in one single go because it was so binge-worthy. It’s been on my NetGalley shelf for so long, which I feel so bad about because it was so enjoyable, and I loved this unique take on immortal creatures: vampires, werewolves and gods. I don’t think I’ll read the next books in the series because they follow other couples (I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS!), but I really enjoyed this one, nonetheless!
Le Plus petit Yack by Lu Fraser — 5 stars
Another super cute and super quick picture book! I stumbled upon this one in my library while preparing an order of English picture books because we are really lacking, and this cute little one popped up in French. It’s a cute story about a tiny yack who is fed up of being so small and wants to grow up quickly. But little Gertie doesn’t realise that being small can also be great. She ends up saving a baby yack stuck on the side of a cliff that the grown ups can’t reach, and she realises that even so small, she can do BIG things. It was so sweet!
Survive the Night by Riley Sager — 1 star
And here comes my disappointing read of the month. I had such high hopes for this book because I had absolutely adored Home Before Dark by this author… However, in this book, the plot was literally a mess, nothing made sense, it was so inconsistent, there was really bad mental health rep in my opinion and it could really have done with a lot of extra editing. I gave it 1 star because the writing style was still really good, but I honestly disliked it so much and was so confused when finishing it…
The Hatmakers (#1 Cordelia Hatmaker) by Tamzin Merchant — 4.5 stars
The final book of the month thankfully saved face on what could have been a negative end to January. I managed to finish The Hatmakers on the final day of January in my breaks during my thesis work and I LOVED IT. From the minute I picked this book up for the Middle Grade Marvels book club pick, I knew I was going to enjoy it. It’s a sort of historical fiction fantasy/magic realism book, with an amazing cast of characters — Cordelia, the MC, is wonderful — lots of mysteries, the magic of making clothing, hats, gloves, shoes and watches, friendships, big twists and so much fun. I’ll get a review up on the blog as soon as I can.
JANUARY READING STATS
Number of books: 18
Number of pages: 3,785 pages
1 star: 1 book
3.5 stars: 3 books 10.5
4 stars: 4 books 16
4.5 stars: 2 books 9
5 stars: 8 books 40
Average rating: 4.25 ⭐
Genres: 1 French MG Fantasy, 1 LGBTQIA+ contemporary romance graphic novel, 1 French classic/adaptation graphic novel, 1 French MG fantasy graphic novel, 1 French children’s fantasy, 2 French children’s humorous picture books, 1 French humorous graphic novel, 2 French adult mystery graphic novels/comics, 2 adult thriller/mystery/psychological thrillers, 1 French adult feminist graphic novel, 1 YA fantasy, 2 adult contemporary romances, 1 NA fantasy paranormal romance and 1 MG fantasy historical fiction.
READING CHALLENGE WRAP-UP
In January, I also made some really good progress on my reading challenges I had set out for the year, especially on the Popsugar Reading Challenge, and the Disney Reading Challenge.
Here is a breakdown of all the prompts I ticked off my challenge list in January:
- Popsugar Reading Challenge, prompt 5: A book with mythical creatures — The Dark Ones by Rachel Van Dyken
- Popsugar Reading Challenge, prompt 9: A book with a colour in the title — Âme Rouge (#3 Blacksad) by Juan Dias Canales and Juanjo Guarnido
- Popsugar Reading Challenge, prompt 16: A book where the main character’s name is in the title — Éliott et la bibliothèque fabuleuse by Pascaline Nolot
- Popsugar Reading Challenge, prompt 17: A book with a love triangle — Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
- Popsugar Reading Challenge, prompt 21: A book set in the decade you were born — Survive the Night by Riley Sager
- Popsugar Reading Challenge, prompt 22: A book with a queer lead — Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman
- Popsugar Reading Challenge, prompt 31: A book about a family — Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
- Disney Reading Challenge, DUMBO: A book that features a baby or a child — The Hatmakers (#1 Cordelia Hatmaker) by Tamzin Merchant
- Disney Reading Challenge, INSIDE OUT: An emotional read — Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
- Disney Reading Challenge, FINDING NEMO: A buddy read — Spellslinger (#1) by Sebastien de Castell
- Disney Reading Challenge: MULAN: A book read in one sitting — Hearstopper, Volume 3 by Alice Oseman
- Disney Reading Challenge, NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Read a non physical book — The Dark Ones by Rachel Van Dyken (ebook)
- Disney Reading Challenge, ENCANTO: A book about family — Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
Physical Books left on Ellie’s TBR: 617 books.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading this post.
See you soon, stay safe,