Saturday, February 1, 2014

January 2014 Wrap-up [spoiler free!]

January was a pretty great start to the new year, reading-wise. I completed six and a half books, took part in a Read-a-Thon, finished a reading goal for 2014 and started two others. Also, despite my week-long reading slump, I am still on track with my Goodread's Reading Challenge. Fist bumps, all around!


1. Hourglass by Myra McEntire. To kick off the new year, I picked up a book that had been sitting on my physical TBR shelf for several months; the first book in McEntire's Hourglass series. The beginning of this book was a little slow, full of back-story and complicated explanations—as well as a very Insta!Love-like vibe and quite a bit of back-and-forth between Emerson, our main character, and her love interest—but the story began picking up towards the middle, and I absolutely enjoyed how complex everything was; with its talk of time travel and the past/future. The story was a little predictable, but the characters were so well developed and the bigger surprises so... surprising, that I was able to ignore the smaller problems I discovered as I made my way through the book. I was extremely sorry I did not pick Hourglass up sooner.


2. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. Not only was this the first 2014 reading goal I was able to complete, but it was my very first read of the Bout of Books 9.0 read-a-thon. I fell in love with Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief in December and could not wait to get my hands on some of his other works. Unfortunately, I did not love this book as much as I had the latter; the situations seemed a little far-fetched and I just did not connect with the story as much as I had anticipated. However, it was extremely heartwarming and hilarious, and the characters—especially Ed—so raw and honest, and I loved the depth and how beautiful the message was. It was typical Zusak and, though I felt a bit cheated in the end, I could not give this book anything less than four stars.


3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. My second read of BoB 9.0, and the first step in completing my goal of rereading the entire Harry Potter series before 2014's end. It was just as magical as I remembered, and definitely one of my favorite reads of the year, thus far. The first book will always have a special place in my heart, and I really enjoyed re-introducing myself to all of the characters and experiencing their first year at Hogwarts once again. I love how young and innocent Harry is, and am looking forward to watching him grow.


4. Timepiece (Hourlgass #2) by Myra McEntire. Third and final book in the read-a-thon; one and a half more than I was able to complete the last time! I was extremely nervous, going into this book, due mostly in part to the change in POV. Now, I absolutely adored Kaleb in book one, I really did. It is just weird, spending so much time getting to know the main character in one book, only to have the voice switch in the second. However, the three stars was not related to Kaleb as the narrator. I really, really loved hearing/seeing things from his perspective - his feelings for Emerson and Lily, how he dealt with his powers and his father's lack of trust. Kaleb and Lily's growing feelings for one another and their quick and easy banter was definitely my favorite part of the entire story, as well as how engaging everything was; with the time travel and corrupted timelines. The reason for the three stars is because, while the actual plot was really exciting and original, everything was extremely confusing. Things from book one were left unexplained until much later in the book, and descriptions of the characters were lacking—I could not mentally picture Kaleb and some of the other, lesser characters, even though I had read book one only a few weeks earlier. Other than that, I really enjoyed the reading experience, and am looking forward to book three. Hopefully it is a bit better, detail-wise.


5. Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay. There is really not much to say about this book. Though it took me a while to get used to the poetry-like diary entries, it was a really unique way to tell the story and turned the 400-something pages into a super quick read.

6. Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard. I am sure that you have picked up on the fact that I am a HUGE fan of Alice in Wonderland, and enjoy reading/watching the book/movie's various spin-offs. Thus, Splintered, by A.G. Howard, which I read in May of last year. When Unhinged came out this last month, I ordered it from Amazon right away, and reached for it as soon as it arrived in the mail. Unfortunately, after completing the Bout of Books read-a-thon, I was not really in the mood to read anything, let alone a book I had built so much hype over. So, six days and 78 pages later—yes, the slump was that bad—I did something I rarely ever do, and set the book aside. I have no idea when I will pick it up again, but I definitely feel like putting it down was the right decision, because my slump ended after I picked up my next read.


7. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I first read this book waaay back in 2011, after its release, and I LOVED it. Ransom Riggs has this way with words; creating magical and terrifying worlds/situations and keeping the action and events suspenseful enough that you just cannot stop reading. With the release date of the second book in the series a few days away, I grabbed this book—realizing that I was in a slump and probably needed something I knew I would thoroughly enjoy to pull me out of it—and read; experiencing the wonders of Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children all over again. I adored it just as much as I had the first time; leaping out of my slump and ready to begin the second book.

8. Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #2) by Ransom Riggs. And the final book I cracked open in January is the one I am currently reading; the second Miss Peregrine book, because I was far too excited about its release to pick up anything else. I'm about halfway through and am really enjoying it. Though I did not manage to finish it before January's conclusion, I suspect I will have it completed within the next couple of days.

. . . . 

January Stats:

Read 6.5 books (and a few pages of another)
Read 3,442 pages

Upcoming Releases:

The Guard (The Selection #2.5) by Kiera Cass -- February 3, 2014
Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi -- February 4, 2014
Unite Me (Shatter Me #1.5 and 2.5) by Tahereh Mafi -- February 4, 2014

How are your New Year's reading goals going so far? Which books are you most excited to see released this year?

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