So this is about a week overdue, and honestly, I almost forgot to post this entirely. (Shout-out to Christine for reminding me by posting her own wrap-up.) The last week of January (and partial beginning of February) was quite wild. I barely got any writing or reading done, but alas, I have recovered from the chaos and am now here to conquer the days ahead.
It has been several months since I’ve done a wrap-up, but I promised myself 2017 would be the year I would pick it back up. I actually enjoyed going back through my reads for the month, but I simply became too busy and pushed it to the side. But no more of that.
I read a total of six books in January and wrote about 11k words for my WIP. I would normally scoff at these numbers, but over this last month, I’ve realized that it’s okay to give myself time, and that it’s okay if things take time. The creative process is such a sketchy, temperamental creature that is difficult to control, but as long as I continue to set aside time for it, I know everything will (eventually) be complete. It’s crucial for me to savor that spectacular journey to the end, not to rush it. (But I’m an IMPATIENT LITTLE SOUL, so it’s been hard for me. But also good for me.)
ANYWAYS ONTO THE BOOKS.
How to be Happy by David Burton
How to be Happy was my first read of the year, and it was a solid five stars. This memoir was incredibly raw and apologetically honest.
Burton touches upon a multitude of important topics, including anxiety and sexual confusion. We follow David through his early years all the way up to college.
I couldn’t think of a better way to begin the new year after the mess that was 2016. Transitioning to adulthood has been quite a journey (one that is not nearly over) and this book helped me through that.
For my full review of How to be Happy, click here.
The Flash, Volume 1: Move Forward by Francis Manapul
Despite the Flash being a classic DC superhero, I actually don’t know much about the witty Barry Allen. I learned quite a bit about him through the television series. (But I never even finished season one because life is chaotic and there are too many shows and films to watch in this world. *sigh*) So when I received The Flash: Moving Forward from my digital library, I was excited.
I really enjoyed reading about Barry among some of the side characters, like Iris and Captain Cold. The action was enthralling, but I found that overall there was just a lot going on. I had trouble keeping up with all of these unknown villains and characters being that I don’t know too much about this universe.
This was a quick, easy read and I enjoyed the adventure, though I didn’t love it.
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Going into Mosquitoland, I knew it touched upon mental illnesses, and was actually excited about it. If you aren’t already aware, I find the human mind to be incredibly fascinating and therefore enjoy reading about topics such as mental illnesses. On top of that, it raises my self-awareness and knowledge, and aids others who are suffering—IF they are written properly.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Mosquitoland, I feel as though it misrepresented and gave a negative message about mental illnesses. I can’t say too much without spoiling the book or dragging on this short review, but it certainly seemed mishandled in many circumstances.
I, of course, have no way of knowing this for certain. I am simply saying this as someone who has studied psychology and listened to those who do suffer from similar cases and have reviewed this book.
I did like Mosquitoland by the end of the novel, but the plot was a bit of a mess and again, I think some things were misrepresented.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares was such a darling read. I loved the setting and the plot (even though it’s super unrealistic, because who the bloody hell would actually swap notes back and forth like this [and it happens to be with a boy who loves books!? NO THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN.])
ANYWAYS, this novel was sweet and light, but also very real in some ways. (Only some, because like I said, BOYS WITH GLASSES WHO LOVE BOOKS AND ARE NICE!?) The characters were flawed and realistic with their thoughts. But honestly, I didn’t become too attached to Dash or Lily. I think this was perhaps because the story felt a bit too silly and, as I said, too unrealistic at times.
Still, this was a cute read with a series of gorgeous quotes that struck home for me. It was almost eerie the way the words spoke to me at the time of reading this. It was moments like those that reminded me why I adore reading and writing so much.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
“Well, I’m guessing since everyone loves this book, I won’t like it.”
– literal quote from me as I sat down and opened up the book to the first page.
And no, I am not a hipster. I simply said this because I tend to not like hyped books. And guess what? I WAS RIGHT.
But I’m not happy that I’m right. I was hoping to love this book. It had a promising plot—a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a bit more edge. Most of my friends adore this series and Sarah J. Maas in general, so I was really hoping I would at least like it.
Unfortunately, I found this book to be very problematic. Between supporting a borderline abusive relationship and using the terms “male” and “female” repetitively, this book really rubbed me the wrong way.
On top of that, I didn’t find Maas’ writing style to be that lyrical. She used an overabundance of adjectives. (Which is sort of a big no in writing? I mean, I use many adjectives speaking in real life and in blog posts, but in my actual writing I try to avoid them like the plague.) Not to mention, the same adjectives. Like Tamlin’s lazy smile or the fae’s male eyes. (What the bloody hell does that even mean!?)
I just …
I had a lot of problems with this book. It was predictable, problematic, and honestly quite boring until about page 250, which is over halfway through the book. Maas did create a very rich, elaborate world, and that takes an immense effort. So I admire her for that, but overall, A Court of Thorns and Roses just felt like a different version of Twilight.
I’m sorry to say I won’t be continuing with this series and most likely Sarah J. Maas’ books.
The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
Oh boy, did this book KILL me. I knew it was coming. Much like The Fault in Our Stars, I knew the pain was coming. I just wasn’t sure how much it would hurt. But it HURTS. A LOT.
The Last Leaves Falling delivers such a beautiful message that is so crucial for us to remember. The message that we should never let anyone or anything get in the way of our dreams. That it’s important to chase those dreams not just for us, but for those who can’t.
I loved the characters. Their humor and their passions. Their thoughts and their doubts. I loved their realness. They felt alive, and that made this all hurt so much more.
If you haven’t read The Last Leaves Falling, I highly recommend you add it to your list. It’s diverse and beautiful and real and heartbreaking and you will cry.
(Accurate representation of me after reading the final page.)
How many books did you read in January? How was the month for the rest of you? Good or bad? Feel free to dish your thoughts, comments or questions down below and we can discuss!