Today’s post is my very first monthly wrap-up! I’ll be posting one of these on the first Friday of each month, giving you an overview of my reading for the previous month and a mini-review of all the books I’ve finished. I’ll also be including a little look at my stats and will be checking back against my reading goals for the year to keep myself accountable. Hope you enjoy!
That’s January done, lovelies! First month of 2021 down and gosh has it been a good reading month for me.
Here’s some quick stats for you: I managed to read 7 books this month, which means I’m already ahead of schedule for my goal for the year! I read a total of 2,253 pages this month and listened to 27.45 hours of audiobooks. My average rating was 4.428571429 — why does that number look so weird to me? — and made time to read 19 days out of the 31, much less than I usually do which, quite honestly, is due to me re-discovering my love for Animal Crossing: New Horizons… oops?
Let’s take a look at the books I finished in the month of January!
Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
Dates Read: 01/01 → 07/01
TW: Body horror, fire/arson, gun violence, murder, suicidal ideation, violence, vomit, mentions of parental abuse.
What better way to kick off the year than to return to one of my favourite fictional worlds? My first read of 2020 was actually The Raven King, the final book in the Raven Cycle series, so it feels fitting that my first 2021 read would be book one in the companion series. I actually put off reading this for a really long time because I was so worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations but I was so glad to find that it completely surpassed them! I have missed these characters and their magic so much and I really enjoyed meeting the new protagonists who have now joined their ranks. So happy to be back in the world of dreamers and I’m really excited to see what happens in the next instalment!
That Way Madness Lies edited by Dahlia Adler
Dates Read: 26/12 → 09/01
TW: Ableism, anti-semitism, child abuse/neglect, emotional abuse, grooming, homophobia, miscarriage, parental death, racism (colonialism, micro-aggressions, police violence and white supremacy), self-harm, threats of torture.
I was lucky enough to win a NetGalley arc of this one on Instagram after it being on my radar for a while. I have a full review coming in April when it comes out but I really enjoyed making my way through this one! This is the first book of short stories I’ve ever read and, even though I’m not sure the format is really for me, I still had a lot of fun reading from so many new-to-me authors and revisiting Shakespeare through this new lens. Despite the stories being so short, this anthology managed tackle some huge topics and contained some incredible rep. If you’re planning on picking it up for yourself, you can view the content warnings for each individual story here so you can just skip stories with any content your aren’t comfortable reading.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Format: Physical ARC
Dates Read: 12/01 → 13/01
TW: Death of a parent, sexual harassment, infidelity, drugs, alcoholism, estranged father, abandonment, adoption, stroke, drowning, fire.
If you saw my 2021 Anticipated Releases post a few weeks back, you’ll know how excited I was when the lovely people at Penguin Random House were kind enough to send me a proof of this one. I’ve become a huge fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing in recent years, with Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo both making it to my favourites of the year lists in 2019 and 2020 respectively. I also buddy-read this one with Celina from Venus In Books and Cossette of Tea Time Lit which made it even more fun. Again, I’ll have a full review of this one up closer to it’s release but it definitely did not disappoint. Jenkins Reid’s ability to craft such realistic pictures of famous lives once again compelled me to google if her characters were in fact real people on a number of occasions while reading — I really hope she continues to write these glamorous Hollywood tales as I cannot get enough of them!
I remember seeing this in a few peoples anticipated releases lists for this year so when I saw in on NetGalley I requested it without even really knowing that much about it. Little did I know that one month later I’d be standing on rooftops declaring my love for it to anyone who’d listen. I’m not gonna talk to much about this one here as I posted my full thoughts in my review last week but just know I absolutely adored this book and cannot wait to reread it.
Legendborn by Tracey Deonn
Dates Read: 11/01 → 21/01
TW: Death of a parent, exploration of grief and trauma, instances of racism and racist speech, blood, mild gore, vomiting, combat violence, instances of assault and kidnapping, violence against slaves, sexual assault.
Oh gosh, what is there to say about Legendborn that hasn’t already been said? Besides it being one of the most interesting and inventive magic systems I’ve come across in Young Adult for a long time with an fantastic whirlwind of a plot, this book has some of the best grief and parental loss representation I have ever seen in any book, YA or otherwise. As someone who lives with both of these things, it was so incredible to see them depicted so well and with so much care, and there were times that thoughts and feelings I had never before been able to put into words were laid out right there on the page. I also loved the commentary on racism and classism and the ways in which Bree had to navigate this ‘exclusive’ society despite how clear it was that they actively excluded her wherever possible. Overall, I’m really excited to see what’s next for the characters in this series and where the story will go.
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Dates Read: 26/11/2020 → 28/01/2021
TW: Sexual violence, victim shaming, suicide, body hatred, trauma.
This book is the reason this post is all the books I finished in January rather than read. I really love non-fiction but they are the kind of books that often take me the longest to get through, especially if they deal with a heavy subject matter like this one. However, that doesn’t mean to say it was any kind of struggle to get through, in fact I’d go as far as saying this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Chanel Miller’s voice was crystal clear — often memoirs can read as though the writer is answering interview questions but Know My Name felt so incredibly direct, like each and every word was for you personally. Miller says in her final chapter, “This is the topic I was given. If something else had happened to me, I would have written about that too,” and I wholeheartedly believe this to be true, because while this is the harrowing story of her journey through the most difficult time in her life, it is also a beautiful piece of writing and bottomline just a damn good book.
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
Dates Read: 28/01 → 30/01
TW: loss of a family member (grandparent), breakups (friendship & romantic), mental health issues, grief, dementia.
This one is the teatimereads book club pick for February but, as previously mentioned, I sort of fell down the Animal Crossing rabbit hole towards the end of January so I decided to pick up the audiobook of this one to listen to while I played. This was such a sweet, wholesome story and a really easy listen, I just found that I wasn’t totally invested in the characters. This was another book where the exploration of grief and loss were fantastic and I loved all insights into Cuban culture and Miami life. However, I found it a little difficult to place the Winchester setting and really picture it, which made it hard for me to get fully immersed in the story. In short, super cute but just not for me. I’d definitely like to read more from this author in the future though!
As far as my reading goals go, I’ve gotten off to a pretty decent start so far: I am well on track for my 50 book target, I managed to read a non-fiction book (listen, its ‘more’ than usual for me, okay?) and I completed the Buzzword prompt for January with Call Down The Hawk. 5 of the 7 books I read were own voices, however most were still by cis women so I need to work harder in that regard. I also only acquired 4 new books which puts me in a deficit, as well as unhauling 21 books through a combination of donating to my local Little Free Library, selling on Depop and passing some on to friends.
That’s all for today, folx! I hope January was kind to you and that February is too. Let me know how your reading went last month in the comments, I’d love to know how the first leg of 2021 is going for you all.
Lots of love,