It's the first round-up of the year, woohoo! I'm not sure if anyone else will be as excited as I, but anyway. Here it is. This also means a new page for Books in 2015, so you'll find that there on the right sidebar under the "books" heading --------->. As always, just click a book cover to go to my Goodreads review. On with the show!
In January, I read 17 books. I didn't even think I had read that many - probably because January felt like the longest month since time began. I read a good mix of paperback and eBooks, which was great because my poor books have been neglected in favour of the kindle lately.
I finished two ebooks from Netgalley in January:
The Room by Jonas Karlsson
Translated from Swedish, this is a short novel about a man who finds an escape from mundane office life when he discovers a private room at work that nobody else can see. Witty, sarcastic and a lot funnier than you'd think, a very enjoyable read.
Baby It's Cold Outside by Kerry Barrett
A fluffy, light rom-com story about a witch planning her wedding and all the obstacles that fall into her path. Meh.
I read three non-fiction books in January, all biographies/autobiographies.
Not Quite a Geordie by Holly Hagan
Holly from Geordie Shore, as she is better known. This book was ghostwritten, fair enough. What wasn't fair enough was the fact that it was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. It promised to show us another side to Holly - but it didn't, she is exactly as she appears on TV. More power to her, if that's the way she wants to live her life then she's entitled to do that, the book was just not my cup of tea at all.
My Life and Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton
This was really warm and funny, just as I would imagine Dolly to be in reality. She tells stories about her childhood, about breaking into the music business during a very male-dominated time, and about the various friendships and loves she has had along the way. Her passion about her faith is admirable, and she doesn't push her beliefs on to anyone. Liked this a lot.
Kevyn Aucoin - A Beautiful Life by Kerry Diamond
I picked this up in a used book order, it's a beautiful hardback book full of pictures of Kevyn's makeup (not a makeup guide, though) and anecdotes from some of the people he worked with and called friends. It covers Kevyn's childhood right up to his tragically early death in 2002, and it's a lovely read.
January was a great month for fiction - I got through 6.
Horns by Joe Hill
Ignatius Perrish wakes up after a wild night with a hangover and a pair of horns. Ig soon realises that the horns have a very strange effect on people - they tell him their innermost, darkest secrets or desires. Can Ig use the horns to discover who really murdered his girlfriend Merrin a year before? Loved this.
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Maud has early dementia, and needs little notes to remind herself to do things. She hasn't heard from her good friend Elizabeth in a while, so when she thinks something is wrong, and nobody seems to be listening to her, she makes it her business to find out where Elizabeth is. There's an old mystery too - one that Maud can't quite remember, but the details slowly come back... adored this book, but I would proceed with caution if you've had a family member with alzheimers or dementia as I think it could be really difficult and upsetting to get through.
Room by Emma Donoghue
I was so late reading this, it's been on my to-read list for a long time. I really liked it - told entirely from the perspective of a five year old boy, it's the tale of a mother and son who are being imprisoned in an 11 foot square room and their attempt to escape.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Rachel passes a house every day on the train - a house with a glam young couple who appear to be very much in love. She knows them so well from watching them that she notices immediately when something is wrong - and sure enough, the woman goes missing. Can Rachel overcome her own battles and demons to help find out what happened? Thought this was excellent, even if the ending was a bit lukewarm for me.
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Cody and Meg have always been best friends - so when Meg ends her life, Cody is shocked that Meg didn't confide in her. She goes to Meg's to pack up belongings, and there she meets people that knew Meg before she died - Cody begins to realise that perhaps there were things in Meg's life that nobody knew about. With the help of some of Meg's friends, Cody goes on a journey to find out why Meg swallowed a bottle of poison. This was brilliant - parts of it made me weep. It's a respectful look at depression and suicide among teens, and it was handled brilliantly. Hopefully this will make an impact on the YA (young adult) community and get peope talking.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
This was a re-read due to the fact Sarah has just released a sequel to this - First Frost (reading it at the moment). Claire Waverley is a caterer, she knows just what ingredients to include for various purposes - remembrance, love, foresight, healing, etc. When her sister Sydney returns to the Waverley house after escaping an abusive relationship, the two sisters begin to help each other heal and enjoy life. Love this book so much!
I'm trying to be more open this year and tackle some classic "must-read" books - this month was Dubliners by James Joyce.
Oh, Mr. Joyce. You are not for me. I didn't enjoy this in the slightest - I actually felt less intelligent the more that I read. I thought a lot of it was just a thinly veiled reference to "being trapped" whether it be by religious or political issues, and I didn't really like any of the characters. I know that this was written in a time where it was hard to express an opinion on politics or religion, so I understand why it was important, but I thought it was pompous, and to be honest - a lot of it went over my head. Should I go and prepare for my lynching?
One of my reading resolutions this year was to re-read the Harry Potter series. In January, I read the first four.
There's no point in reviewing these individually, they are all 5-star books for me except The Chamber of Secrets. I still find it amazing that the entire Hogwarts world came from the imagination of one person, it's unbelievable. I adore the books, and I had to stop myself from racing through the series in order to make it last longer.
I had been slogging through this book since November, and I finally just gave up and raced ahead in January.
I had high hopes for US by David Nicholls, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. I found the protagonist, Douglas, inherently boring. I couldn't fathom why his wife ever married him in the first place, they were woefully unsuited. His son needed a lesson in respect and a kick up the bum. There were more art references in here than there were in The Goldfinch, and by the end of the book I not only wanted Connie to leave, I wanted her to run screaming. I skimmed a huge chunk of this - but there's a synopsis in one of the chapters near the end where Douglas is musing on everything that has happened since the night his wife told him she was leaving him. I gave this everything I could, but I just couldn't wait to get rid of it.
So - that's January done and dusted! See you in February!