January Book Reviews
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 5/5
This book was certainly a strong start to the year. It made the running list of my favorite books and I’m toying with the idea of rereading it already, less than two weeks after finishing it.
I wouldn’t say that this is a completely believable book but it is moving and engrossing. Kya Clark is as poor as you can imagine. She lives in a shack in a marsh on the North Carolina coast with her parents and several siblings. One by one they all end up leaving until she finds herself completely alone at ten. She gets by selling mussels and on the generosity of a few kind people in town. Despite going to school one one day in her life, Kya ends up a talented artist and teaches herself to be a naturalist. This isn’t necessarily a happy read but it is fantastic and will make you move the North Carolina coast to the top of your travel list. This book is worth the hype, I recommend everyone give it a try.
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan 3.5/5
For me this book did not quite live up to its description or cover (I know, I know). It has just a touch of Magical Realism, which I love, but the main character, Laura, makes a lot of really bad decisions and doesn’t think things through very well. That was frustrating, along with jumping back and forth in timelines. Those things aside, it was overall an enjoyable read and had a nice ending. I’d recommend getting this one from the library if you’d like to read it.
The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale #2) by Margaret Atwood 3/5
I was skeptical of this due to the current political climate but ultimately looking forward to reading it because I enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale so much. It was okay. I liked learning more about how Gilead came to be and works and seeing into other professions aside from Handmaids. We have three points-of-view in this book and I have to say, I cannot stand Daisy, the teenager based in Canada. Everything she said or did screamed “annoying teenager” and I almost stopped reading because of that character. I do not like that current politics muddied what this follow-up turned out to be and feel that it would have been much better and more true to the story if it would have been written closer to the first one.
Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey #1) by Deanna Raybourn 2/5
I absolutely LOVE Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series and I’ve been meaning to read her earlier work for a while now. This is the first I’ve read outside of that series and it was a pretty big disappointment. I feels like an old first draft to the Speedwell series; it is very similar but the characters have since been refined and are less petulant all around. I strongly recommend skipping this one and starting with A Curious Beginning.
A Longer Fall (Gunnie Rose #2) by Charlaine Harris 2/5
The second book in Harris’s newest series, Gunnie Rose, was a let-down for me. Harris usually does a great job recapping relevant prior events (she has a lot of series) but this book hardly had any and it made it more difficult for me to follow and care about what was going on in this book. I don’t care for this world/setting (dirty and rough in all the wrong ways) and I don’t like Lizbeth as a character (odd way of thinking, doesn’t stand up for herself and what she wants). Unfortunately this will be the last book in this series for me.
The Book of Flying by Keith Miller 100/5 Stars
This book was a complete surprise for me. I’ve never read a story quite like it and I’ve never encountered an author with a similar writing style. It is so poetic and descriptive and uses such fascinating word combinations; it was a little distracting at first but I liked it and eventually got used to it.
My two favorite things about this book are the layout and that it is one that means something. The overarching story is that Pico leaves the city by the sea for a journey to find The Morning Town so he can read The Book of Flying, get his wings, and be with the girl he loves, who is winged. On his journey, he meets a robber queen, Minotaur, rabbit, dream seller, stops at the city in the mountains, and more. He sets out with a pack he carries on his back, and these items plus the encounters he has along the way are what make the book meaningful. I feel that Miller has done an enormous and wonderful job of stripping away the stuff of life to explore what might actually make a meaningful existence. Countless shorter stories and excerpts within this book will allow possibilities to bloom within the reader for changes in their own life. I imagine I will be rereading this book for many years.
The Phantom Prince by Elizabeth Kendall, Molly Kendall 5/5 Stars
This is an intense book about Liz’s six-year-long relationship with Ted Bundy. We all probably have at least one unhealthy relationship under our belts, but imagine adding on that your partner turns out to be a famous serial killer with a name recognized by everyone in the country. A fascinating look into the love we feel, the lies we tell ourselves, and our abilities to overcome traumatic experiences. Highly recommended for anyone interested in relationships or true crime.