January Round Up

Hey everyone! Today we’re looking at my January reading round up. About 2 weeks in to January, I decided that I wanted to do both the Read Harder reading challeng and the Popsugar reading challenge.

This was for two reasons. One, I love challenges and two, it made me step out of my comfort zone and pick books I may not have looked at before. There’s been books I’ve wanted to read but as they’re not my ‘first pick’, I may not have ever gotten around to them. So this should really throw some variety in there.

I did get quite a lot of books read this month, but noted that I am still off work recovering from my surgery. I go back to work on the 1st February, so my round up for February might be a little shorter as I adjust back to working life!

1. The Dry – Jane Harper


Goodreads rating: 4.19/5

My rating: 3/5

Blog link here.

This was a book that was on my radar because I had been sent it as part of a blog tour for the release of the hardback version of this book. Whilst I found the storyline of this book brilliant, I really enjoyed following it and I was glued, I found certain parts really slow. (Or ‘dry’). Sometimes you would be following the main character as he walked from the pub on his own to a field and back around to do something else, there would be no communication and it would go over quite a few pages. I feel like the author tried to bulk the novel up a bit, and I found myself wanting to skip over these parts at times.

2. The Outliers – Kimberly McCreight


Goodreads rating: 3.26/5

My rating: 2/5

Blog link here.

This wasn’t on my January TBR, but I was attracted to this book. The description of this book doesn’t give away much at all, but I find that better with these kinds of books. What it did tell me drew me in. After the first few chapters, I was really interested and even went as far as recommending this to a friend. Unfortunately, I was a little premature in my recommendation. I had to re-read to see if I had missed something – I hadn’t. It got weirder and weirder until I have no idea what was going on, why or even what the point of the story was.

3. You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott


Goodreads rating: 3.51/5

My rating: 2.5/5

Blog link here.

This was another one that wasn’t on my January TBR (I know, we’re not starting well!) but it did fit in to the Read Harder challenge prompt of reading a book about sports. I found the characters in this a little boring and predicting and there was nothing major keeping me from reading from one page to the next apart from the fact that it fit my reading challenge. It told a story, not a completely bad story in my opinion, I think it was just the style and the characters that took away from it for me.

4. The Gatekeeper’s Sons – Eva Pohler


Goodreads rating: 3.72/5

My rating: 4/5

Blog link here.

This book was a win/win because not only was it originally in my January TBR (yay!) but it also fit in to my Popsugar reading challenge. I really enjoyed this book. I’m glad I found it, as honestly I think the cover looks a little cheap, something you would get for free with a newspaper. But the book is lovely, it does have some stereotypical romantic ‘boy meets girl and changes her life’ aspects to it, but it’s really individual and the story is unique to anything I’ve read before. Bear in mind, I am fairly new to fantasy as I mostly read thriller/horror before. I absolutely love mythology so this probably played a huge part in my liking of the book.

5. Quidditch Through the Ages – J.K. Rowling


Goodreads rating: 3.85/5

My rating: 3/5

Blog link here.

This was another book that was on my January TBR. It’s a book I had wanted to read for a long time and just hadn’t gotten around to it. It’s also a short story and I was trying to read a few short stories in January to get a good start on the year. It was a nice addition to the series and had some interesting facts. It was also nice to get back in to the world of Harry Potter. However, it’s not quite what I expected and I probably would have DNR’d it had it been any longer, as it got a little boring at times.

6. Heroin: A True Story of Drug Addiction, Hope & Triumph – Julie O’Toole


Goodreads rating: 3.49/5

My rating: 3/5

Blog link here.

This was another book ticked off my January TBR and also fit in to my Popsugar reading challenge for a book about a difficult topic. This was a really interesting read and allowed me to get in the mind of someone who has struggled with this addiction. It was insightful to see just how easy it is to go from soft drugs up and not even realise you have a serious problem. However, this book lost marks because at the end it got incredibly religious. I don’t have anything against religion but there was no indication through the rest of the book it would present itself and it just turned a corner so quickly I wasn’t prepared for it. I feel instead of explaining how religion helped, it was more being forced upon me.

7. Survivor – Tom Hoyle


Goodreads rating: 4.26/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Blog link here.

This is yet another book that fit both my January TBR and my Popsugar challenge. I read this in one entire sitting. I love the way the story is told, you’re hearing from the main character, another main character and some little chip ins from other characters. I was on edge the whole time, I didn’t guess the ending and I was so surprised. The book doesn’t give you much on what it’s about and honestly, it’s for the best. All you need to know is that a boy goes on a trip away with a group after he makes a heroic rescue and on this trip people start dying one by one. You’re isolated, who can you trust? Everything you think you know is wrong. It lost .5 of a star because I haven’t heard anything about a sequel, and I would like some kind of follow up on this book.

8. Relativity – Antonia Hayes


Goodreads rating: 3.68/5

My rating: 4/5

Blog link here.

This book filled all the boxes for me. It was on my January TBR, it was part of a blog tour I was participating in this month, it fit my Popsugar challenge and my Read Harder challenge. I enjoyed this book and the story that it told. You experience it from the mother, father and the child. It’s truly heart wrenching and will really open your eyes to certain issues that people and parents face. A great story that will stay with you for a long time.

9. Letter to My Daughter – George Bishop


Goodreads rating: 3.63/5

My rating: 4/5

Blog link here.

This book was free for a limited time so I decided to pick it up as an ebook. It filled one of my Popsugar reading challenge prompts, so I decided to check it out and see what it was about. I started reading and before I knew it I had read the whole thing (it’s a shorter story). You really feel the mothers heartbreak in her daughter going missing when a common argument gets out of hand. It was a nice quick story and told a story in a fresh way I hadn’t read before, a letter to her daughter.

10. You – Caroline Kepnes


Goodreads rating: 3.83/5

My rating: 4/5

Blog link here.

This was on my January TBR and fulfilled my Popsugar reading challenge. I listened to this as an audiobook, so it took a little longer than usual. I really enjoyed this method for this particular book. The narrator got the different voices perfectly and you could really feel the emotion and tension in his voice. I also want to purchase and read this book to see if the experience is different. This book is about a stalker and you’re reading it from his perspective completely, and is therefore very graphic, so probably not for those who are easily upset about this kind of thing.

11. The Brief History of the Dead – Kevin Brockmeier


Goodreads rating: 3.67/5

My rating: 4/5

Blog link here.

This was from a fellow Youtuber, as soon as I heard about it I was obsessed and had to read it. The world building in this was incredibly unique. The entire idea behind it was unique. The way the story was told, moving between the ‘real world’ and that of the dead was so fascinating. Trying to discover how everything all added up was fun and kept me pulled in even more. The ending I wasn’t a big fan of. I’m not sure if it was left for me to guess or if the author just didn’t know where to take it, that’s where the point loss came from me.

12. Screwed – Ronnie Thompson


Goodreads rating: 3.43/5

My rating: 3/5

Blog link here.

This book fit both my January TBR and my Popsugar reading challenge. I have mixed emotions about this book to be honest. It was really interesting to get an insight in to how the prison system works and how the guards are treated, a job that generally seems to be forgotten about. They do a lot more than people realise and realistically are putting their lives on the line daily. However, the author was quite graphic in his language at points, was blunt in his views and used the word “bird” a lot to describe a female of any kind.

13. Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything – E. Lockhart


Goodreads rating: 3.41/5

My rating: 3/5

This was another book that was part of my January TBR. I started moving through it quite well at this point. It was quite a short read, so I did read it in one sitting. It’s quite obvious from the start that this is a quirky, fun book and is not meant to be taken seriously. When you take that in to account, it’s a really fun and interesting read. It’s really random and I did dislike certain parts, the author repeated herself a lot and if you took away the repetition and the overly spaced out lines, it was probably even half the size again. A nice quick read though.

14. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – F. Scott Fitzgerald


Goodreads rating: 3.53/5

My rating: 4/5

This wasn’t on my January TBR, but since it was so short, I decided to read this quickly one night to make a bit of a start on my reading challenges. I hadn’t read this before and it was really interesting to see where the inspiration for the movie came from. It was incredibly weird and nothing like I’ve ever read before. I would love to see an accurate movie or short film of this book, I think it would be hilarious.

15. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll


Goodreads rating: 4.02/5

My rating: 4/5

This was another quick book that fulfilled my reading challenges and ticked another off the list. It probably look me about 20 minutes to read, so it wasn’t anything majorly significant. Saying that, I enjoyed it and it was nice to see such a quirky classic.

16. Lying about last summer – Sue Wallman


Goodreads rating: 3.68/5

My rating: 4/5

Blog link here.

This is another book that was on my January TBR. I had picked it because it was a relatively short book, so it filled my quota of wanting to try more. I didn’t predict the twists in this book, the chapters are short and it’s so easy to just read ‘one more’, although it is short and easy to read in one sitting anyway and I feel the ending was really thought through and I felt like I had some closure. It was definitely worth a read and I’ve already got some more of this authors books in my TBR.

17. Burned and Broken – Mark Hardie


Goodreads rating: 3.54/5

My rating: 4/5

Blog link here.

This is a book that was on my January TBR originally, but I had taken it off as it was part of a blog tour but I hadn’t received it yet. However, it did get to me so I went ahead and read it but I didn’t make it in time for the original blog tour date. I liked this book, it was interesting but it took me a little to get in to it.

18. The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson


Goodreads rating: 3.91/5

My rating: 5/5

Blog link here.

I absolutely loved this book! As strange as it sounds, I like reading anything that has a look in to murderers/serial killers etc, and I enjoy reading about Jack the Ripper and the mystery behind it. The fact that this featured him but didn’t retell the same story was fascinating to me. I went in to this book blind and I did not expect it to turn in to what it did! But I’m so glad and it definitely pulled me in to the rest. I’ve already purchased the next book. It also met my January TBR!

19. Baby Doll – Hollie Overton


Goodreads rating: 3.77/5

My rating: 4/5

Blog link here.

I came across the book by chance. They were selling it for £2 with the purchase of a newspaper. However, I’m really glad I came across it and I really enjoyed it! This story focuses on the escape of the main character after she’s been in captivity for 8 years. It follows her story afterwards, what it entails and it’s so interesting to get this side of a story.

20. The Winter People – Jennifer McMahon


Goodreads rating: 3.75/5

My rating: 4/5

Blog link here.

This book was picked for the January read in the Popsugar Monthly Challenge. I really enjoyed this book, it wasn’t quite the ‘horror’ I expected it to be but that was okay, it worked perfectly how it was. I read this really quickly, I knew part of the ending in the middle but it didn’t change how well the book read. Would definitely recommend this, I’m glad I came across it.

21. Illuminae – Amie Kaufman


Goodreads rating: 4.33/5

My rating: 5/5

Blog link here.

This was originally part of my February TBR, but I was naughty and read it early, I couldn’t wait! Because of this, I’ve probably knocked my January TBR ending away, but that’s okay, it’s not set in stone anyway. I’m not generally a Sci-Fi person and I hate everything to do with space, but I surprised myself when I discovered that I loved this book! I’ve already ordered Gemina, I can’t wait to read it.

22. The Madness Underneath – Maureen Johnson


Goodreads rating: 3.88/5

My rating: 4/5

Blog link here.

I purchased this book after I read the first one (see above, I rated 5/5) and couldn’t wait to continue the series. This was a shorter book at 290 pages, but I loved it and the story continued well. I’m definitely going to read the third book and wait very impatiently for the fourth to come out (predicted 2018).

23. When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi


Goodreads rating: 4.34/5

My rating: 5/5

Blog link here.

This book was one that stays with you for a while. The words and phrases used in this book stick with you. I’m generally not a person who tabs their books, but I think I had about 14 tabs in this book. Definitely worth the read.


So that is us! I did read an awful lot of books this month, but again, I’m off work at the moment after surgery and a lot of the books were shorter books in an aim to read more of them.

My February TBR will be up soon, and as usual it isn’t any less ambitious! (Although I am back at work)

Love & Laughter








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