June Wrap Up!

June Wrap Up!

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June was another great reading month and I managed a total of nineteen books! These past few months are definitely the most I’ve ever read in a month. I’d love to be able to continue this for the rest of the year but with lockdown restrictions being eased in July I doubt I’m going to make it through as many. I’m going to keep things short and sweet because there are so many to get through but full reviews will be available for them all!

Copy of book cover (66)1. The Donor – Clare Macintosh
This is one of the Reading Agency’s Quick Reads for 2020. It’s a creepy little story about a young girl who recieves a transplant, and the parent of the deceased donor who inserts herself into the life of the young girl and her family. It was a fast paced read with a fun twist at the end, but would have loved a longer story. (3.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover2. The Curator – M W Craven
The third instalment in the Washington Poe series, this is rapidly becoming my favourite crime series of all time. Poe and Tilly are at it again, attempting to uncover the truth behind some gruesome murders in Cumbria. Despite being quite a thick book I completely devoured this, and I cannot wait for book four to come out. (5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (2)3. Wonderland – Juno Dawson
Wonderland is the third instalment in Juno Dawson’s London Trilogy. Despite all the books being linked you can read them as standalones and this was my first book by Juno Dawson. A bright and modern take on the tale of Alice in Wonderland, I really enjoyed this story of friendship, finding yourself and the underworld of excess (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (67)4. Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas
I’ve made a deal with myself that I’m going to attempt to finish as many series/read as many sequels as possible for the rest of 2020 so I thought the Throne of Glass series would be a great place to start since I only ever read the first two. Fast paced and addictive, I had so much fun rereading this, I honestly have no idea why it has taken me so long to pick up the rest of the series.  (5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-15T131539.2795. The Human Son – Adrian J Walker
This beautiful and moving tale follows a race of beings that have come to save the planet after the greed of humanity has almost destroyed it. After fixing all the problems humans have caused, they create a human in an experiment to see if they should be allowed to return to the planet. A really unique and inspiring read, I can’t wait to read more from this author (3.25/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-20T140551.5026. Little Creeping Things – Chelsea Ichaso
This was such a fast paced read that I ended up reading it pretty much in one sitting. The story of a young girl who jokingly plots the murder of her bully, and then the bully ends up dead. I guessed pretty early on who was behind it but it was still an incredibly gripping read. I also love that delightfully creepy cover. (3.75/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (65)7. Crown of Midnight – Sarah J Maas
Continuing on with my reread I read Crown of Midnight and I’m so glad I decided to reread the first couple because I remembered pretty much nothing about this. I loved seeing the relationships between the main characters develop and I thought this was a really solid sequel – very much excited to pick up Heir of Fire. (5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (68)8. Darkness Rising – A A Dhand
Another of the 2020 Quick Reads, this is a prequel story in A A Dhand’s Detective Harry Virdee series. I saw the author speak at an event a number of years ago and always meant to pick up some of his books. I really enjoyed this fun and gritty little book and I’m definitely going to be trying a full length novel from this author. (3/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (3)9. Midnight’s Twins – Holly Race
This beautifully written tale about twins that end up following in their mother’s footsteps to become knights of the dream world Annun, it was such a unique tale and I absolutely devoured this one. I loved seeing the relationship between Fern and Ollie change as learn to become knights and there was tons of action. (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-20T141731.56410. Wilder Girls – Rory Power
This creepy story of a virus that plagues a school causing the girls to develop strange symptoms that destroy their bodies. I must admit that I had really high expectations for this book and while I did enjoy it, it wasn’t quite what I expected. A fascinating story and one loads of people will love. (3.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (51)11. The Trials of Apollo: Hidden Oracle – Rick Riordan
I took part in a readalong for this book and it was my first time reading a Rick Riordan book. It was such a fun read but I do kind of wish I had started with the Percy Jackson books instead. I’m definitely going to go back and read those first and then I’m going to continue on with the series. (3.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (35)12. The Falconer – Elizabeth May
This was one I pulled off my TBR at random and I’m so glad I did because I loved this so much. Steampunk Edinburgh, bad ass main character and monstrous creatures. I read the whole thing practically in one sitting and it was so much fun. I can’t believe it took me so long to pick this up and I’ve already ordered the other two books in the trilogy. (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (69)13. The Corset – Laura Purcell
I really loved The Silent Companions so I was really intrigued to pick up The Corset. This story was just as dark and eerie, and I absolutely adored it. The story of a young girl in prison for murder, she recounts her tale to a wealthy woman as their fates become intertwined. A brilliant tale and one of my favourites of the month. It was so cleverly executed, I didn’t want to put it down.  (4.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (70)14. Notting Hill Carnival – Candice Carty Williams
My third Quick Reads book, this isn’t the sort of thing I would normally read but I was intrigued and ended up really enjoying it. A West Side Story type tale in which a boy and girl from rival gangs fall in love. It was a really quick read but like the other two I would have loved a bit more. (3/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (71)15. The Shamer’s Daughter – Lene Kaaberbol
This is another one that has been sitting on my TBR for some time and I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up. The beautifully written story of a world in which shamers can make people confess to their guilt and the story of a shamer’s daughter who is caught up in a plot to take over a town. It was fun and a great read if you’re looking for some light fantasy. (3/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (38)16. The Girl From Widow Hills – Megan Miranda
A dark and twisty new book from Megan Miranda, this follows a girl who survived a horrific accident in which she was swept away during a storm and survived three days in the drainage system. Haunted by her past she changes her name and moves away, but the past doesn’t stay buried for long. Gripping and a great ending, this was such a good story. (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (5)17. Call Me Joe – Martin Van Es & Andrew Crofts
This was a fascinating and thought provoking tale of an event in which the sun disappears for twelve minutes. After twelve minutes the sun returns and a man appears claiming to be the son of God, offering to help humanity make one last ditch effort to solve the problems that are destroying the plan. A really interesting read that I kept thinking about long after I’d finished reading. (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (72)18. The Last Human – Zack Jordan
This epic space opera follows Sarya, the last human in space. She’s also the thing the galaxy fears most. She has many questions about her past and why humans were deemed too dangerous, but has to contend with staying hidden at Watertower Station. When she encounters a bounty hunter events spiral out of control and Sarya ends up getting a lot more than she asked for. This one has plenty of action and is a really interesting read. (3/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (73)19. Elves War Fighting Manual – Den Patrick
I read the Orcs War Fighting Manual a few months back and decided it would be fun to pick up the next instalment. These are fun little fantasy books that recount the fighting styles of different races, they’re witty and quick little reads and I really enjoyed this one. I’m very intrigued to pick up the third and final book in the series, which focuses on the dwarves. (4/5 stars)

So those were the nineteen books I picked up in June. If you’ve read any of these I’d love to know what you thought, as well as what your favourite read of June was!

March Wrap Up!

March Wrap Up!

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March was a bit of an odd month for me, I ended up in hospital towards the end of the month and have been ill ever since so I didn’t do as much reading as I’d hoped. I did however manage to get through eight of the books on my TBR – so here they are!

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-14T133205.2991. In the Tall Grass – Stephen King & Joe Hill
After struggling to find something to watch on Netflix I ended up watching the movie adaptation of this novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill. Like pretty much everything by these authors it was strange and eerie and I wasn’t really sure what was going on. I decided to have a go at the novella and it was a fun and quick read, although not something I’d be likely to pick up again. I definitely preferred it to the film adaptation though. (2.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-14T133251.9832. Last Ones Left Alive – Sarah Davis-Goff
Last Ones Left Alive follows the story of three women fighting to survive in a zombie infested Ireland. Last Ones Left Alive is a fierce and feminist tale of friendship, love and survival. I read it in a single afternoon and I still think about what a strong and powerful story it was. I really enjoyed the simple, raw writing style and I’m keen to try more from Sarah Davis-Goff in the future. (3/5 stars)

3. Of Curses and Kisses – Sandhya MenonCopy of book cover - 2020-04-14T133113.709
I love retellings so when I heard about a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast I was sold. This is my first time reading a book by Sandhya Menon and I enjoyed the fun and fast paced story of boarding school romance. It was a light and fluffy read, and it was the perfect story to get lost in when you need a pick me up. It was a fresh and interesting take on such a well known tale and I absolutely flew through this one. (3.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-29T191344.8144. Frozen Beauty – Lexa Hillyer
I really enjoyed Lexa Hillyer’s Spindle Fire so was really interested to see what she would do with a contemporary novel. The story follows three sisters in a small town full of secrets. When one mysteriously dies, the remaining two sisters must figure out the truth behind her death as well as find a way to live with their grief. A twisty tale that deals with family, sisterhood and grief, I found this one hard to put down. (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-14T133340.8295. Wicked As You Wish – Rin Chupeco
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to pick up a book by Rin Chupeco. I’ve had The Bone Witch on my TBR for ages but haven’t gotten around to it, and when an ARC of this arrived through the post I decided to have a go. I completely adored this wonderful tale of magic, friendship and battle. It was completely unputdownable and I cannot wait to read the next instalment. I’ve also now bumped The Bone Witch to the very top of my TBR because I cannot get enough of her writing. (5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-14T133429.9806. The Devouring Gray – Christine Lynn Herman
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman has been on my TBR for absolutely ages and it was one of those books I was really excited to read and somehow it just slipped through the cracks. I finally picked it up and I totally loved it. It has pretty much everything I love – creepy little town, weird cult like families with mysterious powers and tons of secrets. I read the last hundred pages or so on the edge of my seat and my next read is definitely going to be The Deck of Omens because I just can’t wait to find out what happens next. (4.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-14T133519.1347. Liquid Crystal Nightingale – Eeleen Lee
This space opera meets political thriller is an intense and clever debut, following the story of Pleo Tanza as she survives life on Chatoyance. With her father the only survivor in a mining tragedy and her sister dead, Pleo finds herself framed for the murder of one of her classmates, and wrapped up in a series of events that could change life on Chatoyance forever. Quick paced and exciting, this was a really enjoyable read. (3/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-31T135144.0428. Mortmain Hall – Martin Edwards
Mortmain Hall is the second instalment in the Rachel Savernake series. The story follows Rachel, an amateur sleuth as she attempts to uncover the mystery of a tragic death at her estate during a dinner party. Set in the 1930s, this tale is gripping and intense and gave me serious Agatha Christie vibes. If you’re looking for a beautifully told story to capture your attention this is definitely it. I haven’t read the first book so this can definitely be read as a standalone, but I’m looking forward to picking up book one too. (4/5 stars)

So those are the books I read in March! I’d love to know which books you read in March and if you’ve read any of these what you thought! 

Book Review: See What I Have Done – Sarah Schmidt

Book Review: See What I Have Done – Sarah Schmidt

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Release Date:
May 2nd 2017
Publisher: Tinder Press
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden – thirty two years old and still living at home – immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.

Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie’s unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie’s uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.

Review

Copy of book cover (38)There are no words to describe how good this book is. Dark, atmospheric and chilling, this book is an intense read, and one amazing debut. There are so many things I want to say about this book. It’s exquisitely written, the claustrophobic setting, the uncomfortable feelings you get all the way through the story. This is one book that has stuck with me long after I’ve finished reading it, and I’ve recommended it to just about everyone I know.

The novel is based on the real life story of Lizzie Borden, a young women who was accused of murdering her father and step-mother. Her case went to trial but she was acquitted due to lack of evidence. The story mixes the facts of the case with a narrative that switches between before the murders occurred, and the aftermath.

The book differs in point of view between that of Lizzie, her sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget and a stranger named Benjamin. The different perspectives are really fascinating because they give such differing views of the messed up Borden family. Each scene in the book is laced with familial tension, and Schmidt’s writing oozes with a sense of dark heat and atmosphere.

The thing that stands out most is the writing style of this book. Schmidt writes in such a fascinating way, often slightly poetic, every word adds another layer and the readers senses are continually assaulted by the descriptions of the tastes and smells of the Borden household. The story is certainly a vivid one, and it is completely unlike anything I have ever read. I think I read See What I Have Done in maybe two sittings, purely because I was completely sucked into the story.

I knew very little about Lizzie Borden prior to reading this book, bar of course the famous rhyme:

‘Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.’

But after finishing the book I found myself spending a large time googling Lizzie and the case, it’s such a fascinating story. The family being sick the day before the murders, Lizzie’s contradicting story and lack of remorse over the whole thing. Did she murder her father and step-mother? We’ll never know. I loved this book from start to finish. The characters were well constructed and fleshed out, the writing impeccable and the story probably one of the best I have ever read. This is easily my favourite book of 2017. I cannot wait to see what Sarah Schmidt writes next.
5 stars

February Wrap Up!

February Wrap Up!

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February was a great month and I managed to read fifteen books despite it being the shortest month of the year. It was a pretty mixed lot with some books I really loved and a few I was more than a little disappointed by. I’m not going to go too much into them because there’s quite a few books to get through!

book cover - 2019-03-17T114531.3091. The Calling – Cate Tiernan
This is the seventh book in the Sweep/Wicca series and I’ve been having such a good time revisiting this series. I’m so pleased that I still love them as much as I did when I read them the first time. It’s such a fun and addictive series and I really enjoyed this instalment as Morgan and the gang travel to New York and unravel secrets from her past. (4/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T114313.4972. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is a series I haven’t revisited since I first read it as a teenager so I thought it might be fun to listen to the audiobook version. After struggling with the narrator in the edition I was listening to I found another on Scribd and I really enjoyed it. It was great to revisit a book I really loved and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. (4/5 stars)

vassa3. Vassa In the Night – Sarah Porter
This was a fairyloot book quite a long time ago and I recently heard someone talk about it because it’s a reimagining of the story of Baba Yaga. I love the cover design and thought it would be a great atmospheric read but it really wasn’t for me. I struggled with the writing style, I didn’t like the characters and I found the plot a bit chaotic. (2/5 stars)

4. Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom – P. M. Freestonebook cover (39)
Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom is the first in an all new fantasy series in which the magic system is made up through scent. It was a brilliant read and one of my favourites of the month. It ended on such a cliff hanger and I’m dying to read book two. You can check out my review here, and my guest post from P. M. Freestone here! (5/5 stars)

book cover25. The Familiars – Stacy Halls
I love historical fiction that focuses on witches and I ended up completely devouring this book in one day. It was a dark and beautiful told story based on real events in history. It’s a book I still think about even though I finished it a while ago. I ranted a bit about how much I enjoyed this book here, so you can check that out if you want to know more. (4.5/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113810.1376. Queenie – Alice Munro
This was a short piece of fiction about a young girl who goes to stay with her sister that ran away with their neighbour. It really delves into the relationship between Queenie and her husband and was quite an emotional and powerful read. It’s a really quick read and it’s definitely one that makes you think about the nature of relationships.(3/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113823.2377. And Of Clay We Created – Isabelle Allende
This was another piece of short fiction based on the real events of a volcanic eruption that happened in Columbia in 1985. 23,000 people died and the story follows the media outpouring about a little girl trapped in a mudslide caused by the eruption. It’s a very heart wrenching piece and it really made me think. (3.5/5 stars)

blood and sand8. Blood and Sand – C. V. Wyk
This was another book that I got in a subscription box and was really intrigued about this gender bent re-imagining of Spartacus.  I found this book quite difficult to rate because I wanted to love it, I loved the idea and I enjoyed the plot but it was much more romance focused than I had hoped it would be. I wanted Attia to spend more time reclaiming her home than developing her romance with Xanthus. I still want to continue the series but I was a little disappointed overall. (3.5/5 stars)

9. The Last – Hanna Jamesonbook cover (38)
This was a fascinating look at a world in which nuclear bombs have caused the end of the world, but what happens when a group of people staying in a hotel survive? It was quite slow paced and definitely more of a character driven book but it was a really fresh perspective on this type of tale. (4/5 stars)

bosdfsr10. The Year After You – Nina de Pass
This YA debut is a beautiful story about grief, loss and forgiving yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. It was set in a remote boarding school in the snowy Swiss alps and I fell in love with the characters, the story and the setting. If you’re looking for a gripping and moving tale this is definitely one to try. You check out my full review here! (4.5/5 stars)

12. Master of Sorrows – Justin Callmos
This is the first in an all new fantasy series that I completely fell in love with. It has so many things that I love, the magical academy trope plenty of action and adventure and it was just such an exciting read. This is a series I will definitely be continuing. You can check out my stop on the blog tour here! (5/5 stars)

Untitled design (40)13. The Glass Spare – Lauren DeStefano
Quite a long time ago I read Wither by Lauren DeStefano and I loved it. The Glass Spare has been on my TBR for quite a long time so I finally decided to pick it up and I did have quite high expectations because I loved her previous series. I struggled a little with this one because I found the pacing a bit off and it felt a little repetitive. I did still enjoy it and will look to read the next book in the series, but it won’t be a priority. (3/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113630.47714. Two Can Keep A Secret – Karen M. McManus
Thrillers are something that I don’t read an awful lot of but have found myself rather enjoying them recently. I read One Of Us Is Lying last year and did quite enjoy it so I decided to pick Two Can Keep A Secret up. While I did really enjoy this it didn’t really feel like anything new (in fact it reminded me quite a lot of the TV series Riverdale), but if you like twisty and fun thrillers this is definitely one to pick up. (4/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113618.75215. Rogue Protocol – Martha Wells
This is the third instalment in The Murderbot Diaries series. These novellas are fun and fast reads, following the adventures of Murderbot as he tries to uncover mysteries and not get caught in the process. I’ve had mixed feelings about this series because some of the books have been a little slow but overall I really enjoyed this third instalment. (3/5 stars)

So those are the books I read in February! Let me know some of the books you read in February below!

January Wrap Up!

January Wrap Up!

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January felt like the longest month ever but I only ended up reading ten books. I felt like I kicked 2019 off quite well as a few of these were really fantastic reads, so let’s dive into my January wrap up!

gfsrThe Awakening – Kate Chopin
This little book has been on my TBR forever so I thought I would kick 2019 off by getting it off my to read list. The story is a feminist classic about a women who has an affair and becomes increasingly unhappy with the role thrust on her by society. It was a really interesting read and I found it pretty fascinating to learn how much this shocked readers when it was first published in 1899. (3/5 stars)

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The Fork the Witch & the Worm – Christopher Paolini
I really adored The Inheritance Cycle growing up so when I was given the opportunity to return to this world and all the characters I loved I was so excited. This book offers three short stories from the world of Eragon and provides an insight into what happens after the original series ends. I participated in the blog tour for this one so if you fancy reading my full review, you can check that out here. (4/5 stars)

book cover (13)The Wicked King – Holly Black
This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019 and I was so excited to see if it would live up to my expectations. I’m happy to say that I thought The Wicked King was brilliant, the plot was so addictive with even more twists and turns that I just didn’t see coming. I’ve really grown attached to the characters in this series and I honestly can’t wait to find out what’s in store in The Queen of Nothing. (5/5 stars) 

book cover (75)Stain – A. G. Howard
This was my first time reading a book by A. G. Howard and I loved it so much. This beautiful gothic fairy tale follows two kingdoms, one that only contains day and one that only contains night. The heir to the kingdom of day cannot speak and sunlight burns her skin. The story follows her as she is cast out of the kingdom by her aunt and attempts to regain her kingdom. It’s gorgeously written with excellent world building and you can read my full review here. (4.5/5 stars)  

book cover (40)The Wolves of Winter – Tyrell Johnson
This was another one that I’ve had on my TBR for quite a while. The Wolves of Winter is dystopian in which disease has destroyed much of the planet. Lynn and her family survive in the harsh landscape of the Yukon but when a strange visitor appears in their community he brings with him a whole host of secrets and shadows. I loved the setting and the atmosphere in this story and it was a really enjoyable standalone story. (3.5/5 stars)

cacsArtificial Condition – Martha Wells
I read the first book in The Murderbot Diaries at the end of 2018 so I decided to continue on the series with Artificial Condition. These short novellas follow a security bot gone rogue – “Murderbot” – and his adventures. In this instalment he teams up with a research vessel named ART to explore his past and the place where he went rogue. It’s a fun quick read and while I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed All Systems Red I’m still looking forward to continuing the series. (2.5/5 stars)

ssdThe Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One – Amanda Lovelace
I read The Princess Saves Herself In This One quite a while ago so when I spotted the second book in this series in my local bookshop I quickly snapped it up. I really enjoyed the first book but this one is definitely my favourite. Powerful and inspiring, I read the poetry in one sitting because I was completely absorbed in this collection of poems about the resilience and power of women. (5/5 stars)

book cover (98)The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven
The first in an all new crime thriller series, The Puppet Show opens with a series of murders in the Lake District. A serial killer is burning people alive at stone circles throughout the area and the police don’t have much to go on. When a clear message is sent to disgraced detective Washington Poe, he’s brought back onto the force but as he investigates these dark murders he uncovers a whole lot more than he bargained for. This book is so dark, twisty and unforgettable. It’s definitely one of my favourite crime thrillers of all time and I can’t wait to read the next instalment in the series – full review here! (4/5 stars)

book sdsThe Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One – Amanda Lovelace
After I read The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This one I requested the next instalment from Netgalley and was so excited when I got approved. This is the final collection in the Women are Some King of Magic series and whilst I still really enjoyed this, it was my least favourite of the three collections. The poems were beautiful, but they didn’t speak to me in the same way the others did. (3.5/5 stars)

book cover (100)Slay On Tour – Kim Curran
Slay are back! I read and loved the first book in this series last year and was super excited to be back with the boy band that are world famous by day and demon hunters by night. This instalment sees the gang go to Japan to investigate a series of demons that have been causing havok. They go on tour with a band of holographic girls but when things start to go wrong during the tour they soon learn they might have even bigger problems. The book is fun, fast paced and has a really great storyline. It’s a brilliant addition to the series and I’m hoping the series will continue with the band travelling to more places around the world. If you want to read my full review you can check out my blog tour stop here! (4/5 stars)

So those are the books I read in January! If you’ve read any of them definitely let me know what you thought and tell me some of the books you read and loved in January!