Hey hey, it’s MJ.
I set my Goodreads goal to 75, my physical TBR pile this year is 55 and I feel like after reading 130, that’s right, 130 books last year I can hopefully hit at least 75 this year.
I would go through what I am reading and how I am doing my book bullet journal differently this year, but I don’t know if I am actually going to. I am going to give the TBR categories. 12 each of general fiction, science fiction/fantasy, and historical because those are my three largest genres, 4 non-fiction, and 2 thrillers, along with 15 free choice books. That whole list is done. It has been mostly complete since midway through last year. Next year I have no idea what my TBR is going to look like.
I have already finished my first book of the year so let’s talk about that, like every year there will be a tracker at the bottom because that is what I need in my brain, more lists and things.
There might be spoilers, I am putting that up here because I think that giving my honest review unfiltered is how it’s always been.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (4.3/5)
I grew up on the animated version of this, that was the reason that I bought the book and now I need to go and watch the movie again. I really want a movie that follows this book exactly because it is much more adult and grown up than I thought it was. I did enjoy it, there is a lot going on throughout, Wales surprised me. Sophie was sometimes a hard character to like, though Howl was as well, if we aren’t fooling ourselves. I still like the ending; it is much more compelling than the movie ending and I really did enjoy it throughout. I need to not compare the book to the movie because the movie had to curb the story to a younger audience, it was still good though!
The Gown by Jennifer Robson (3.3/5)
It was good, until it wasn’t. I expected something different from this book, more royal wedding and all of that less sexual assault. It shifted between 1947 and 2016, I thought that was fun. It was and it was so good even though it took me a good hundred pages to get into, but a very out of place sexual assault of one of the main characters really threw me. It came out of nowhere and didn’t fit into the overarching plot at all, I do really mean, at all. It kind of sullied the rest of the book for me even though the rest of it was moving and amazing, but that’s what is going to stick with me about this book. The fact that the main character was raped because she wouldn’t give away information on the wedding dress of then Princess Elizabeth. The 2016 part of it was fun, though a little contrived and that was fine because it was fun. The ending didn’t feel like it was pulled together enough for me though, it just kind of ended, almost suddenly and I was left feeling adrift.
Lunar Love by Lauren Kung Jessen (3.6/5)
It was really cute, super-duper predictable but really cute. So very very clean which was totally fine. I liked the story, I liked the characters and the tropes, I will never be a fan of the third act break up because that’s not something I enjoy. This was my January Book of the Month so there will be a more in depth review on this soon.
Cocky Roommate by Claire Kingsley (4/5)
Okay, I read the first one last spring which was Book Boyfriend and I liked that one, I really did. This one was a lot, I liked Kendra and Weston even though Weston started out with me wanting to smack him in the head with the book that was about him. I liked so much of it, the trauma, the building back up, but I will never be okay with the third act break up and he was dumb about it. I did enjoy the ending though I feared him proposing at Alex and Mia’s wedding which I would have been really upset about because I don’t believe in someone proposing at someone else’s wedding. I cannot wait to read Caleb’s story and I will get to it eventually since the person I borrowed this one from is getting that one in the mail in the next few days.
A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander (4/5)
I read the first in the Lady Emily mysteries last February and loved it. I have number 8 and 9 but not 3-7, so those are on my list of books to buy. A list that is continually growing and that’s a problem. I really enjoyed this book and was not expecting to blow through it in two days. I love Emily and Colin; they are a trip. I liked all of the twists and turns in this one and I didn’t predict the killer until it was revealed. I really didn’t and that is totally cool with me. All of the rumors swirling in this book remind me that while I find Victorian England intriguing, I as a modern woman would not want to be in that time frame (I wouldn’t know any better then, but as a person living in 2023, I think it’s interesting but would not want the pressure of it.) I would love Sebastian to make a reappearance, for no reason or every reason, I don’t know he just seems like a mess.
You Will Get Through This Night by Daniel Howell (4.3/5)
This is a practical mental health guide; I will go back and review passages and exercises. I am someone who has struggled since I was a teenager with my mental health (I am finally medicated and that has made me much more even.) I was in therapy for a few years late high school early college but when you have four therapists in three years because they keep moving it gets hard to trust. This was such a good book, it was part memoir, part mental health guide and there was a lot of practical advice. Split into three parts and that was such a good idea. Dan and his best friend, Phil, popped up on my Tumblr back in about 2015 and I started watching their content, they were two creators who got me back into watching videos and made me feel better. I watch their Sims 4 series around Christmas every year because it makes me smile.
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (3/5)
This one was not really for me it seems. When I bought it I was a much bigger Gilmore Girls fan than I am now. (I bought this book in 2014.) It just wasn’t for me; I didn’t really like the writing style. It was based in 1995 and that that was enough of the recent past that it was a little uncanny valley for me. The whole thing with the guy from her acting class that had a thing for her and then her roommate getting broken up with and then might have a thing? Who knows? The premise was interesting but I found the main character annoying on so many occasions. It felt like things just came out of nowhere and I was trying to consolidate them in my brain. The ending left it so open and just didn’t tie everything up enough for me to even say that would have saved it, it didn’t because it left it open and that didn’t feel like a semi-cliffhanger needed to happen. I also got the title wrong for years I thought it was Someday, Maybe Someday.
Dark Horizons by Jenny T. Colgan (3.2/5)
It’s a Doctor Who book and I bought a lot of them several years ago, I am slowly witling through them because I don’t really watch it much anymore, it ebbed a while back. It was fine, Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor was my favorite so I like when it’s one of his adventures. Though there were some weird elements in it, Vikings was a cool choice, the Arill were a cool bad guy or antagonist, whatever you want to call them, but I didn’t like the writing style or the pacing. Though I have read several of her books under her non-Doctor Who umbrella and I should have known. I had to look it up to see if it was the same author who wrote this one as well as The Littlest Chocolate Shop in Paris, and Meet Me At The Cupcake Café,which are both books that I have read and unhauled in the last few years. Well, that’s good to know.
Mindset by Carol S. Dweck (4/5)
I have a Psychology degree and I teach; I wear a lot of hats with my educational background and I have been meaning to read this book since about 2015, seriously, I watched one of her TED talks and wanted the book. I never bought it. It’s dense, I will for sure say that and I did skim some parts that didn’t apply to me as a person, but a lot of the research was fascinating. I always tell my students that they need to believe in the power of ‘yet’, “I can’t do it.” Okay, you can’t do it…yet. We grow through what we go through and I thank that there is such this stigma on having to be the best at everything and failure is not an option. I have grown into a growth mindset over the years but still am fixed in some things. It is just the way of the world. But it was such a good read and I cannot wait to apply it more to my life personally as well as my life as an educator.
Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore (3.8/5)
It was good, not my favorite in the series but still good. It was so much, very Beauty and The Beast, I thought that Tristan was a lot from the second one, Lucian is more. I don’t know how that’s possible, he’s so much. I loved the treatment of the social classes in this one, I really did, it was fascinating. Like they both needed to get over themselves so much though throughout the book, and if it wouldn’t have been a happy ending, I would have rioted. Everyone else in this series has gotten their happy ending and if Hattie didn’t, I was going to be upset. He’s so respectful, that was one thing that stood out to me, like he’s an ass, but so respectful to her. The drama near the end with her going to France, it was a little weird and that was what threw me from this being a four star book to being a little less than that.
According to this I only read 10 books, I didn’t I read 13 but I am not reviewing the first three Percy Jacksonbooks because I am reading them for Battle of the Books at school. So I read 13 books in January which is insane.
There were a few books this month that were just kind of meh for me and that’s totally fine, it is the point of a TBR pile, I have to thin out some of the books that I bought almost a decade ago because they no longer might serve me like the books that are on my Amazon list, or on my Want to Read list on Goodreads, I have new tastes than I did when I bought a lot of the books I own, so it’s time to either love it or leave it.
I will be back next month with hopefully just about as many books, I am actually closing this post out on the 31st because I am starting a new book today and I am not going to finish it, I work for a living so therefore I don’t have unlimited reading time, even though today is an AMI day at school because weather.
It’s always weird to have the first post of the year like this one because I just have nothing to link down here, so with that being said, there is a link up top to December of last year and that has all the links to the rest of the books that I read last year.
I will be back in a few days with a new post, I am going about it a little different this year, I am going to post what I want, when I want. I am not going to try and stick to a schedule because this is for me, this blog is for me and if anyone enjoys any part of it, that’s super cool.
So, until we meet again, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!
Let’s Keep Track Shall We?:
General Fiction: 1/12 (Someday, Someday, Maybe, )
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 1/12 (Howl’s Moving Castle, )
Historical: 1/12 (The Gown, )
Free Choice: 2/15 (A Poisoned Season, Dark Horizons, )
Memoirs/Autobiographies: 1/2 (You Will Get Through This Night, )
General Non-Fiction: 1/2 (Mindset, )
Book of The Month: 1/12 (Lunar Love, )
Extras: 2/? (Cocky Roommate, Portrait of a Scotsman, )
Battle of the Books (it’s for school!): 3/? (The Lightening Thief, Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, )
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