January Reads (2020)

January was a really productive month for reading. I read 14 books, which consisted of 10 graphic novels and 4 novels. Of those 14, only one was an audiobook, although I was working through another audiobook that I will finish in February (stay tuned).

With that, here are the books I read in January 2020:

 

hilda

 

Hilda Series #2-6 by Luke Pearson

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I did a separate post about this series, so I won’t say too much here, other than I think it is super cute and fun. My partner and I are currently watching the Netflix show, and it is great.

I highly recommend this fun read to people all the time at work. I even got one of my coworkers, who doesn’t ever read, into this series. I have yet to met someone who doesn’t like this series.

My only complaint about this graphic novel series, is that the art style changes dramatically from book to book. But that’s just me trying to find something negative to say.

This is an evergreen read, meaning reading it anytime of year will be good. This series spans multiple seasons, so you can read it anytime of year for good feels. I do not think any season is better than another to read this series since it is so whimsical and fun no matter the weather.


teadragon society

The Tea Dragon Society (Tea Dragon #1) by Kate O’Neill

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This fantastical graphic novel is about a society that cares for these little dragons that grow tea leaves from their bodies. When the dragon caretakers trim the tea leaves and steep various flavors of tea, the drinkers of the tea share the memories of the dragons the tea was harvested from. Not only is this idea interesting, but it is incredibly adorable and gives way to so many interesting scenarios and encounters between characters. 

I love everything about this book. The art is gorgeous and cute. The characters are well rounded, diverse, and relatable. The story and world is interesting, lighthearted, whimsical, and just the perfect experience all around. 

I already have the second book of the series at home for February. I just wish there were more than two books in this duology. What I really want is an adorable, innocent anime to extend this universe. 

I would recommend reading these in Spring or Summer. Even though this is technically a book for younger audiences, I think it is a book for anyone.

I will definitely look into O’ Neill’s other graphic novels.

Like I said in my February TBR, ” if you like cute things, tea, dragons, graphic novels, or anything good, you will probably love this series.”


home

Home (The Magic Thief #4) by Sarah Prineas

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The first book I completed on my January TBR is the fourth book of a children’s fantasy series I loved as a kid. The original trilogy is probably what sparked my love for reading all those years ago. 

I thought I would enjoy revisiting this series, even though I am an adult now, but I was wrong… I LOVE THIS SERIES EVEN MORE AS AN ADULT. This was even better than I could have hoped for. I am considering rereading the first three of this series, because I loved it that much. 

Maybe it is due to the fact that I just read Harry Potter for the first time (and was pretty unimpressed), but I currently feel like this is the best children’s fantasy ever, and I don’t know why this isn’t as popular as things like Harry Potter.

I love this world, the political commentary, the realistic characters, the magic system, and the secret language throughout the story. The main reason I love this series for kids, is that the author doesn’t treat her audience like they are stupid. Kids are smart and can understand a complex world with complex characters. My biggest pet peeve is books that talk to children like they aren’t smart. 

I would recommend reading this book in Fall or Winter, since that’s when the story takes place. I should give Prineas’s other books another chance, since they didn’t really click for me when I was younger.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43885679-frozen-2?from_search=true&qid=2ticCjddnF&rank=2

Frozen 2: Forest of Shadows by Kamilla Benko

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This addition to the Frozen world bridges the gap between the first and second movie with quite a bit of foreshadowing in regards to the second movie. I was not even mad that I saw a lot of reveals in the second movie coming, because I was just extra excited to see if what I predicted was true and to get more of the world. 

If you like Frozen, but want more than what the movies offer, then you need to read this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book, because we get to see more of the characters’ personalities, more of the history and lore behind Arendelle, and a deep look into Anna’s thoughts. This book is from Anna’s perspective, which was so interesting.

There were a lot of new characters introduced and even some social commentary and science. The story had me on edge most of the time, and I didn’t once feel like I was reading a children’s book.

The audiobook is also really good. I ended up reading half and listening to the second half. The narrator did a great job with the voicing and personalities of each character.

This is (obviously) a Winter read, because it takes place in the Frozen universe with snow, ice magic, and forests.

I have never read a Disney retelling or companion novel like this before, and I think I might look into some after enjoying this one so much.


The Witch Boy Series (#1-3) by Molly Ostertag

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This YA Graphic Novel series is about a family of witches, where the boys become shapeshifters and the girls learn witchcraft. The main character, Caster, feels deep in his soul that he is a witch and not a shifter, but such things are not acceptable in his family. 

This is a wonderful story that parallels current social issues. This series covers a lot of ground and raises some good points. 

The art is great, the story is super interesting, the magic is on point, and the good feels are strong. I even teared up during the last book, because this series knows how to pull on your heart strings while also being exciting and making important commentary. 

This series will give you the family/friendship feels, so be ready for that. 

I would recommend reading the first book in Fall around October and the second and third book in Winter, since those are the seasons the story takes place. 

I really hope Ostertag comes out with more in this series, because this was my favorite graphic novel read of January. This series really left me wanting more, but in a good way.


Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

In addition to being the only other book I completed from my January TBR, this was probably my favorite book that I read in January (that isn’t a Graphic Novel). I bought this book on a whim when I saw it on sale at Barnes and Noble. I didn’t know much going into the story, but I think that was ultimately why I liked it so much.

This is not just a story about a witch who lives in the hills when a boy from the boys camp nearby goes missing. This book took me by surprise with the murder mystery and science fiction elements it curve balled at me. 

I do not want to spoil anything, so I won’t say more than that. Just know that I was thrown for a loop, and I really enjoyed the entire reading experience. If you have been considering picking this book up, I highly recommend it.

The use of witchcraft was tasteful in my opinion, and I found the main character to be incredibly relatable. I saw a lot of myself in her and really invested my emotions into the story. 

I was so into this book that I read it in less than two days, because I just couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen and what the characters would discover. 

This is obviously a book for Winter, hence the title, and I will definitely look into Ernshaw’s other books.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30375423-catstronauts?from_search=true&qid=JlRrQAFjE3&rank=1CatStronauts: Mission Mars by Drew Brockington

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This was a cute Children’s Graphic Novel about a world of cats that is running out of power on Earth, so they recruit a team of cat astronauts to put a solar panel on the moon in order to power the planet. 

This is a super fast, punny, and ridiculous story with adorable cat art. Even if it is silly, there are still some valuable messages sprinkled throughout the story.

This is by no means a serious book, so it is good for some easy reading. I am sure children will find it hilarious, because I couldn’t help but smile at some parts. 

There are six books in this series, and I might just read them. Because I can. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I have no real complaints. It’s funny and cute.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7504361-malaeska?from_search=true&qid=puFaRehSD1&rank=1

Malaeska: The Indian Wife of the White Hunter by Ann Sophia Stephens

My Rating: ♦◊◊◊◊

*sigh* Where do I start with this one… ?

I had to read this for a class, and boy did I struggle. The writing is… difficult to read. That’s all I can really say about that. I had to literally force myself to read each word on the page, and I wholeheartedly disliked this book. The themes are racist, sexist, and just plain offensive. I know the book is old, but that doesn’t mean I can’t rate it low. 

I rate based on enjoyability and quality. This book, in my opinion, is low quality and zero enjoyability. If you are a scholar who studies this time period, then yes this is great. But if you are looking to sit down and enjoy a book, this probably won’t do it for you. 

Also of note, this book does not have a happy ending, or happy anything. It’s tragic and sad, but I just didn’t care enough to be invested. If I could give zero stars on Goodreads, I would have.

PS: I am really sad that my 5 star streak was broken by this book, since I had only read really great books this year up until this point. At least it bumps up my total number of books for the year by one, which is the only positive thing I got out of this experience… oh well.


Year in Books:

14 /36 Books Read (42%)

∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴

2,467 Pages Read

∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴

Average rating: 4.7 / 5 stars

[This is the average for the year, up to this point.]

 


What did you read this month? What was your average rating?

Don’t forget to check out my February TBR (2020).

-Knight of Cups ❤


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