Books,  Reading Roudup

Reading Roundup: January 2024

January has felt a bit slow to get into my reading gear, and I didn’t read a lot in December or get around to a roundup so I’m going to mix it all in here!

As usual I have linked the title to my full review.

December 2023: 2 three stars

In December I fell out of my audiobook habit. I couldn’t find anything I was interested in on BorrowBox and apparenty completely forgot I have access to one a month on Spotify now!

None of This is True by Lisa Jewell ⭐⭐⭐

This was not up to the high standard I have come to expect/want from a Lisa Jewell. I understand its going for a documentary style framing but I found it very odd that the title of the book completely gives away all the fun of it. We immediately know not to trust Josie… we can immediately work out what she has done. If the title is meant to be a twist in a twist that was not successful in my reading. However, as an audiobook the production is fantastic! If you want to read it do it in audio.

Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey (The Expanse 4) ⭐⭐⭐

I’ve been reading this series with my partner slowly since 2022! I first read them in 2017 and never finished the series, so far I’m loving being back in the world and looking forward to getting to the end. Book 4 was my least favourite before but on a reread I did enjoy it more and bumped it up a star. I posted reviews for the first four books, you can read with the link above.

January: back to some 4 stars

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell ⭐⭐

I’ve not done well with Lisa Jewell of late, I think we need a break. This one was so weird, while the writing was there the very far fetched plot didn’t feel like the author I’d got to know. Usually Lisa keeps me on my toes, but the whole thing was predictable from start to finish. It felt like a story I have heard before, probably an Law & Order SVU episode. The structure was odd, and the characters often didn’t act believably. This was a miss!

Nothing But The Truth: Stories of Crime, Guilt and Loss of Innocence by The Secret Barrister

I didn’t finish this audiobook, I borrowered it in a whim and it wasn’t for me. I should have started with one of his earlier books.

The Ghost Woods by C.J. Cooke ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I feel similarly about The Ghost Woods as I did The Lighthouse Witches, I loved it until it came to an unsatisfactory conclusion that didn’t answer any of the interesting parts. It’s well written, atmospheric, loved the creepy mushrooms but the story leaves far too much unexplained in a frustrating rather than fun speculative manner.

Why Did You Stay?: A Memoir About Self-Worth By Rebecca Humphries ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Really great memoir about heart break, leaving a toxic controller parter and rediscovering yourself afterwards. It thought it was really relatable, funny and uplifting. I particularly like how Rebecca took rom-com tropes and subverted them. It had me reflecting on some of my past relationships, especially in contrast to the love I have now!

Nemesis Games (The Expanse 5) by James S.A. Corey ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book 5 of The Expanse is a banger after two slightly lacklustre previous books. I loved getting POV for all four of the crew members, but especially Naomi. My emotional investment in those characters was really upped in this one, and it has some huge events that are going to really impact the rest of the series.

Currently reading

I just finished We Spread by Iain Reed. I really need to gather my thoughts on that one. I loved it but it’s a super ambitious one (in a good way). My next book is I Thought it was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown. A bit of non fiction for a change!

On audio I have Joanne Froggat reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I’m half way in and I definely had false impresssions of what this book is about, and I’m not sure what I’m making of it yet. It’s definitely not an enjoyable reading experience.

TBR Pulls

This is the idea I mentioned in my newsletter, inspired by Zezee at Zezee with Books and Nic at Dragon Ramblings. Each month I want to take a scan through my TBR list and see which books are calling out to me.

For my my TBR is comprised of books I already own, and most of those were purchased for 99p on my Kindle. Some of them by impulse, but most of them off my Reading List watch list.

Right now I have 40 books waiting on my Kindle in my “to read” collection!

Taking a scan through there are a couple of books I feel the pull for that I want to get read in the next few months.

Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh.

Little Marek, the abused and delusional son of the village shepherd, never knew his mother; his father told him she died in childbirth. One of life’s few consolations for Marek is his enduring bond with the blind village midwife, Ina, who suckled him as a baby, as she did so many of the village’s children. Ina’s gifts extend beyond childcare: she possesses a unique ability to communicate with the natural world. Her gift often brings her the transmission of sacred knowledge on levels far beyond those available to other villagers, however religious they might be. For some people, Ina’s home in the woods outside of the village is a place to fear and to avoid, a godless place.

In a village in a medieval fiefdom buffeted by natural disasters, a motherless shepherd boy finds himself the unlikely pivot of a power struggle that puts all manner of faith to a savage test, in a spellbinding novel that represents Ottessa Moshfegh’s most exciting leap yet

I enjoyed Eileen and My Year of Rest and Relaxation by the same author. I have had this for quite a while now but I’ve read plenty of reviews with earnings of extremely disturbing content, so I’m definitely waiting to be in the right mood. Which actually might be soon, I’ve been thinking about this one a bit.

Penance by Eliza Clark

It’s been nearly a decade since the horrifying murder of sixteen-year-old Joan Wilson rocked Crow-on-Sea, and the events of that terrible night are now being published for the first time.

That story is Penance, a dizzying feat of masterful storytelling, where Eliza Clark manoeuvres us through accounts from the inhabitants of this small seaside town. Placing us in the capable hands of journalist Alec Z. Carelli, Clark allows him to construct what he claims is the ‘definitive account’ of the murder – and what led up to it. Built on hours of interviews with witnesses and family members, painstaking historical research, and most notably, correspondence with the killers themselves, the result is a riveting snapshot of lives rocked by tragedy, and a town left in turmoil.

The only question is: how much of it is true?

The combo of taking on the true crime and an unreliable narrator is irresistible. I’ve had my eye on this for ages, and it was finally 99p this month! It sounds similar to None of This is True, which I didn’t love because of how it framed the story, I hope this keeps the mystery up.

Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”

Ancient, beautiful Manderley, between the rose garden and the sea, is the county’s showpiece. Rebecca made it so – even a year after her death, Rebecca’s influence still rules there. How can Maxim de Winter’s shy new bride ever fill her place or escape her vital shadow?

A shadow that grows longer and darker as the brief summer fades, until, in a moment of climatic revelations, it threatens to eclipse Manderley and its inhabitants completely…

This is a classic of gothic literature written in 1938, and it’s been lurking in my mental TBR list for about 15 years now. It’s starting to feel like it’s finally time.

Gothic novels are not usually my vibe, but I’m in a little phase of experimenting with them at the moment after The Ghost Woods and I’m currently reading Wuthering Heights, so perhaps I will keep going and see if I change my mind on the genre.

What books are you excited to read this year?

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  • Nic

    I hope you have fun with trying out my way of pulling books, whether it be each month or just every now and then. I find it a fun way to be a mood reader but also have a monthly TBR. I’m fascinated by people who put books on a monthly TBR that are not calling to them, especially if they then give themselves punishments for not finishing, or sticking to, it (I’ve seen this when people play TBR games).

    I hope you enjoy Rebecca. I loved it. And you remind me that it has been probably a couple of decades since I read it. I should probably get a copy so I can reread it.
    I’ve seen Penance and have been thinking about finding a copy. It sounds interesting and potentially a very good read. I look forward to seeing what you think of it.

    • Alice

      Forcing yourself to read something you’re not feeling drawn to does seem odd!

      I am intrigued by Rebecca, I just finished Wuthering Heights so I want to get into it while I’m still in that zone.

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