HomeFeaturesTBRs/Wrap-UpsJanuary 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

January 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

January 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

Here’s my stack of conquered reads from January 2021, in which I seemingly listened to an astounding number of audiobooks …

Links to full synopsis & reviews are linked.

5 Stars:

The Dreamers

The Dreamers book coverWritten by Karen Thompson Walker

Published by Bond Street Books

Reading a book about a pandemic during a global pandemic … why not? What could go wrong … Yes, this was a bit challenging to read at times – although maybe I continued on as an audiobook because the narrator’s voice is surprisingly calming even with the given subject matter – but if you can stomach it, this is a wonderful book! Fantastic observations on the human condition at its best and worst, pitch perfect pacing, and a genuine sense of urgency kept me on the edge of my seat interested. Thought provoking, jarring, and startlingly foretelling of the 2020 pandemic to come, The Dreamers is one hypnotic read that makes you think … and maybe too much … about where that line between reality and dreams really exists.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Cinders & Sparrows

Cinders & Sparrows book coverWritten by Stefan Bachmann

Published by Greenwillow Books

I can’t imagine a better book to sink in with around Halloween – even reading in the middle of January this was still a delightful chilly adventure. A really fun stand alone, this gothic middle grade ticked all the right boxes for my daughter and me: A likeable heroine, witchy magic (including spells and classes), animal familiars, loveable side characters, and a wonderfully atmospheric setting in an old crumbling castle where the good and the dead battle for control. An excellent story of found family and home, Cinders & Sparrows completely captivated my ten year old.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Huntress

Written by Kate Quinn

Published by William Morrow

Historical fiction at its best, really. For those who want to just stick with an exceptional, detailed, thoroughly researched piece for awhile (this is a chunky read!) but I did stall out a bit wishing the pacing had been a notch steadier. An overall, minor complaint in such a well researched piece and I truly enjoyed learning of the historical “Night Witches” of Russia. A great historical novel where women share equal footing with men, Kate Quinn delivers again for all fans of this genre.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

4 Stars:

The Humans

The Humans book coverWritten by Matt Haig

Published by HarperCollins

This was an absolute delightful book, much in the vein of The House in the Cerulean Sea – it just made me feel … joy. A little too sweet sometimes? Maybe. But I was having too much fun to care.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Mercies

Written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Published by Little Brown & Company

Utterly haunting – in both a good and bad way. Packing an emotional gut punch, this gorgeously writing and methodically paced novel left me quite speechless … and disturbed. While the violent, horrifying scenes are maybe necessary to fully and honestly explore this topic and historical event, it wasn’t an easy or forgiving read.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Barren Grounds

The Barren Grounds book coverWritten by David A. Robertson

Published by Puffin Canada

A great read to open conversations on Indigenous peoples, their land, and the harmful role white man has played in their history, while also gently exploring feelings of alienation and the difficulty of finding harmony and security in foster families. I really enjoyed this heartfelt story.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Silvered Serpents

The Silvered Serpents book coverWritten by Roshani Chokshi

Published by Wednesday Books

A really impressive sequel that is undoubtedly a sharper, crisper version of its predecessor, The Gilded Wolves. But do yourself a favour and reread the first in the series before diving in here, otherwise you’ll spend your time catching up (like me!) instead of enjoying the great story. Which I know was in there somewhere amongst the great characters.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

3 Stars:

The Lost Apothecary

The Lost Apothecary book coverWritten by Sarah Penner

Published by Park Row Books

A delicious premise – a vigilante, murderous apothecary who seeks revenge on men who’ve wronged women – told through multi-person narrative and multiple timeline perspective that ultimately left me frustrated and wanting more. I found it very difficult to hear a distinctive voice amongst the three women and kept waiting for the story to crack open and these voices to solidify, but as the pace/plot thickened, the characters still failed to diversify from one another. I was frustrated by the central notion to this plot that “all men are evil and deserve to die for their transgressions”. This felt somewhat unfulfilling and one dimensional … enjoyable, but I thought I’d love it more.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None book coverWritten by Agatha Christie

Published by William Morrow

Even though Dan Stevens’ narration is exceptional of this beloved Christie classic … it just wasn’t my favourite. So many characters, many only briefly met, made for a frustrating reading experience trying to keep them all sorted rather than enjoying any storytelling. Maybe that’s the point, mystery/thriller isn’t my genre, but by the time the “big reveal” came around I wasn’t surprised or even interested anymore. Will definitely try more Agatha Christie, but Murder on the Orient Express has this one beat in my books.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

2 Stars:

Among the Beasts & Briars

Among the Beasts & Briars book coverWritten by Ashley Poston

Published by Balzer + Bray

Unfortunately this was a big miss for me – a really great beginning that was brought asunder by a floundering middle full of the same repetitive pattern of “couple steps through a forest – fight a big nasty – romantic/existential crisis – couple steps forward again”. Two extremely whiny characters crowd the text and one completely underused aged, wise bear, made for an overly frustrating and wholly boring read. Not to mention the incredible number of “I’m just a gardener’s daughter” lines … have mercy.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Aggie Morton: Mystery Queen – Peril at Owl Park

Aggie Morton Mystery Queen book coverWritten by Marthe Jocelyn

Published by Tundra Books

While it isn’t necessary to read the first in this series to enjoy this novel, I’m wondering if maybe I would have liked it more had I done so. There wasn’t a lot of character development or establishment, so given the plethora of characters present, it fell somewhat flat for this audience. Do be warned that there is a surprising amount of blood, gore, and discussion of dead bodies in this middle grade, so fair warning for the younger/sensitive readers. Otherwise a cute Agatha Christie meets Downtown Abbey middle grade.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

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