January Wrap-Up

Hi pals, January was a really good reading month for me and I’m so glad that I dedicated some time to getting some reading done! I tend to stress when I have too much free time, rather than savouring it. It looks as though I’m going to have a busy term with university, work, soccer, and an internship, so I’m hoping that I can continue in this vein for the beginning of February! Anyway, onto the wrap-up!

I read four novels and one poetry book in January and I am pleased to say that I enjoyed each one of them.

Firstly, I read Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. Dark Triumph is the second book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy and follows the character of Sybella as she tries to navigate the dangerous court run by her ruthless father. Sybella, like Ismae in the first book, is one of ‘death’s handmaiden’s, an assassin from the convent of St Mortain. She must appear to remain loyal to her father, whilst following orders from the convent, and fighting her own conflicting loyalties. This book is exciting and enjoyable, and a quick read. It wasn’t my favourite of the month, but it was a nice light read. I gave this one 3 stars.

Secondly, I finished of The Universe of Us by Lang Leav. I’d been meaning to pick up this poetry collection for a long time, and I finally relented and bought it for myself for Christmas. I admit that the cover is what initially drew me in (all of her poetry books have stunning covers), but the writing kept hold of me. I really enjoyed the mixture of poetry, and prose and the varying length and style of each piece. Some of these poems really hit me and I cannot wait to pick up her other collections. I gave this one 4 stars.

I then read my most anticipated book of the month, The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I received this book for Christmas from my brother and my first thought upon opening it was, it’s so big! For some reason I was under the impression that it was quite a short novel, and so I was very surprised to discover that it is quite hefty, especially with the small font. The story is as magical as I expected, with vivid imagery, intricate description and stunning world-building. It felt like a fairytale and I really enjoyed it. My only regret is that I read it in Summer, when it is clearly made for feather donnas and steaming cups of hot chocolate. I gave this one 4 stars.

My next book was also a Christmas gift and that was The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. I first read Kate Forsyth in one of my writing classes at university and I absolutely adored that book. Since then I have made it my mission to pick up every one of her historical fiction novels and read them as soon as I am able. This book did not disappoint. Set in Germany in WW11, it is every bit as heartbreaking and harrowing as you would expect. Told from the perspective of a young German woman, it looks at the brave rebels within the society, along with the German soldiers who bravely tried to take Hitler down. It’s always difficult to read of this time period, but it is also so intriguing and important. I was left reeling, again absolutely horrified by what humans are capable of doing to other humans. I gave this one 4 stars.

Finally, I read the conclusion to the Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King. This book was like coming home. The familiarity of this story is as comforting as curling up in bed. I’d never read the books before I started the series last year, but the movies and the story are one of my absolute favourites and to sit down and read the original story was just wonderful. I loved discovering the aspects that didn’t make it to the movies and the little nuances in the characters that I didn’t notice before. My love for Sam intensified, and I discovered a new ship (Eowyn and Faramir). Faramir is probably one of my favourite characters now and I really wish they had given him a bigger part in the movies. Although, if they had given everyone I adore a bigger part in the movies, they’d probably have to make a whole new trilogy! In conclusion, there is a reason this series is so well-loved and it stands the test of time. I gave this one 4.5 stars.

What did you read this month? Any favourites? Any let-downs?

Cas xx

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