January: Monthly Round-Up

January 31, 2018

It’s hard to believe we’re already a month into 2018! Of course, I spent the first two weeks of January in a fog – it was probably bronchitis – and I’m sure that’s contributing to how fast time seems to have gone.

Mostly I’ve been readjusting to school. Did a bit of reading, a bit of crocheting; not very much writing. It’s been a very quiet month. I’m not particularly complaining about that, but hopefully I’ll get a bit more done in February.

So just how much reading did I do?

Well. Three adult books, all in completely different genres: The Princess Bride, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and The Tea Master and the Detective. I’ve watched The Princess Bride before, of course; it’s a classic adventure-comedic-romance (yes, I know that’s not a genre) and while the book delves into backstories a bit more and has some more funny lines, overall I wasn’t hugely impressed.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is also considered rather a classic, in the horror genre, and I really enjoyed it! It’s about two sisters who live alone together, and it seems to move along pretty slowly on the surface, but there’s a lot of tension underneath. First-person unreliable narrator with a very strong voice and abnormal worldview really pulls the reader into the atmosphere. It’s the sort of mindbender that leaves you thinking about it for days afterward.

The Tea Master and the Detective is a brand new novella – I don’t think it’s actually out yet, I got an advance review copy from Netgalley – about a sentient ship (shipmind) and a detective. While the characters didn’t quite hook me, the worldbuilding was intriguing, and my main regret was the shortness.

Middle Grade and YA are tied this month, probably because I was reading all the MG books my siblings got for Christmas. In Middle Grade we have Ghosts of Greenglass House, a much-anticipated sequel (magical realism!) that came really close to the first one; Castle in the Skyย and House of Many Ways, both Howl’s Moving Castle companions and pretty fun for quirky fantasy but not as good as the first; The Knights of Crystallia, a reread that I somehow forgot to review before, and you guys know how much I love Alcatraz; and 100 Cupboards, a requested world-hopping fantasy that was okay, but not that exciting after all. I will be reviewing the rest of that series in the upcoming month though, if you were wondering, for completion.

Onto YA. I got Invictus for Christmas; the child of a time-traveler and gladiator, born out of time, tasked with saving the world. The off-the-wall concept is awesome, and it was a fun read, but it didn’t live up to Ryan Graudin’s other books. The Language of Thorns is a collection of fantasy fairy tales, and I loved it. One of the only two five star books for January! (The other one is We Have Always Lived in the Castle.) The Last Girl On Earth is another advance review from Netgalley, and it was terrible. Sorry. But it’s about the last girl on earth, hiding her humanity from aliens; the differences between alien/human seem contrived, no one’s sure how the girl has survived this long, and did I mention the dreaded insta-love? And finally, I reread Everlost, because Neal Shusterman’s great. Two kids dead in a car accident don’t quite get where they’re going, and end up in a Neverland limbo full of lost children who never grow up. It sounds a bit morbid, but it’s really not; the world feels a bit like Wonderland, too, but with more internal consistency.

I only wrote one discussion post: Comfort Books.

1/12th of 2018 done. Here’s to the rest!


  • Laura February 2, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Iโ€™m sorry you were sick this month! I hope youโ€™re feeling much better now ๐Ÿ™‚
    Iโ€™ve always meant to read We Have Always Lived In The Castle, so Iโ€™ll have to try and get to it soon. Iโ€™m glad you enjoyed it.
    Have a great February! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Bernadette Holmes February 2, 2018 at 3:37 pm

      Oh yes, I’m all recovered now, thank you! I totally recommend We Have Always Lived in the Castle, especially if you like more mind-based horror. I feel like I should warn you that I have unusual tastes sometimes, though. XD It’s a kind of disturbing story, but so well written.
      I hope you have a good February too!

  • Daniela Ark February 6, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    hi Birdie! first time visiting your blog and wow how unique! love it! So you dance ballet! hat’s awesome I did for many years and now my daughter does ๐Ÿ™‚ I practiced Taekwondo too! So I know you are not kidding! I like to think of myself like one of those “fun, varied characters who do all sorts of interesting things” [Like crocheting and flamenco dancing] and have weird illogical backgrounds [like being descendant from real Andalusian gypsies] so I think we’ll get along very well ๐Ÿ™‚ [I wish I could have left all this comment in your about age but I couldn’t ;-P ]

    wow you read A LOT in January! even with being sick, school and all. Sorry to hear you were sick, I think I want to give We Have Always Lived in the Castle a try. I like classic horror Not so sure about First-person unreliable narrator but hey I like to keep trying things I don’t like much ๐Ÿ™‚
    Definitely good recommendation for Laura! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Bernadette Holmes February 7, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      Ah, that’s really neat that you’ve done ballet *and* TKD too.They really compliment each other, right? And flamenco dancing! That sounds so cool.

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