Monthly Round-up

Monthly Round-up: January

Well, if I thought March last year was 8 years long, ask me how long this January has felt like? But seriously, thank the small gods for books. Not that I read a lot of books in January, six, I think, plus two which I DNFed. But four is better than none, right? Shame about the two duds. Honestly, I thought I was getting better at choosing books. It seems I was wrong. This is why I miss being able to spend an hour or two cruising the shelves at my local book store(s) hunting books. You can sit and read first chapters to get a better idea of whether you’re going to love or hate a book.

It’s a bit more complicated, though, when we’re ordering all our books online. Anyway …

— What Happened —

I’ve read some absolutely cracking reads this January, starting with, DEAD STOP, book #2 in the Sydney Parnell series by Barbara Nickless. This series just goes from strength to strength. Not only is the character of Sydney one of the best drawn characters you are every likely to read, but Nickless weaves an utterly absorbing plot so richly thought out and executed you’ll be totally hooked from the get go. I know I was.

Next up on the TBR pile was DEAD LAND by one of my trusted go to authors, Sara Paretsky. And I was not disappointed with this twentieth outing for V.I. Warshawski hot on the trail of corruption, and isn’t she always? But rest assured, Vic always gets to the truth but not without first dodging a bullet or two along the way.

One of my most anticipated reads this January was the latest Louise Penny, book #16 in her long running Three Pines mystery series, ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE. Which is set in Paris this time around and not the quaint village we’ve all become accustomed too. This was another outstanding read in a series that just keep getting better and better. The characters, oh man, the characters are so damn real, you feel all their pain.

Then there was book #3 in the Sydney Parnell series, AMBUSH, by Barbara Nickless, that had me up into the wee small hours of the night, unable to put it down till I’d finished it. And, again, I read this one in two crazy page-turning sittings. Go and read my review to find out why—this one is smart, high-octane, and brutally authentic!

And then? There was MOSCOW DECEPTION by Karen Robards, billed as a taut, tense thriller that, well, left a lot to be desired and, I mean, a lot! This one had some fun action moments but that in itself did little to change my mind. This one was such a missed opportunity and beyond cliched.

Finally, I managed to squeeze in book #2 of Devin Madson’s excellent fantasy series, WE LIE WITH DEATH, which follows on directly from events that unfolded in the equally riveting read, WE RIDE THE STORM. With excellent world building, and told through a number of POVs, this is one of the best fantasy series I’ve ever read. [Check out Book Blurb for all my science fiction and fantasy reviews.]

And the two duds? Sadly they were, TWO GIRLS DOWN by Louisa Luna and IN PLAIN SIGHT by Marion Todd. I’ll try give both of them another chance later on.

Of course, I also squeezed in a number of Top Ten Tuesday posts, the best of which was definitely my Bookish Resolutions, which garnered a lot of views. And, My Favourite Reads of 2020.

— What’s Up Next —

Indeed, that’s the eternal question for any reader and especially a book blogger trying to stay one book ahead of her impossibly huge TBR, whether physical or not. Mine is set to topple and mine is a small one compared to most. So, just what is up next?

  • GONE TO DARKNESS by Barbara Nickless
  • HALL OF SMOKE by H.M. Long
  • THE SANATORIUM by Sarah Pearse
  • THE BURN by Kathleen Kent
  • A TIP FOR THE HANGMAN by Allison Epstein
  • THE SURVIVORS by Jane Harper
  • HOW THE ONE-ARMED SISTER SWEEPS HER HOUSE by Cherie Jones

Yes, an ambitious agenda for February, but one I hope I can achieve. Especially as I have now started doing two reading sessions a day. Whereas before, I was doing only an evening read, between 8-10 pm. I’ve added in 2-4 pm in the afternoons where I have the time and, it’s paying off big time. After all, I read 5 books in January, which I am so happy with.

And you, what have you got planned for February?

6 comments on “Monthly Round-up: January

  1. Avatar

    I spent January reading all the books I was gifted for Christmas, and now I’ve got a backlog of ebooks to get through, including Eat a Peach by David Cheng, The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner, The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold, and just… SO many more.

    Hopefully we can both keep our reading momentum up, though I feel like the pressure’s on with how short February is!

    • Alex

      Ooo, that sounds like you got a good Christmas haul then. Lucky you. I’m still waiting on 3 that were ordered for me. And I like the sound of the Jane Austen book, and have already read The Last Smile in Sunder City which was a fun dark, gritty urban fantasy with a few new twists. I hope you enjoy it.

      Yeah, I hope so too. But as you say, February is kind of short.

  2. Avatar

    Ambitious plans for February… I’ve heard a lot about The Sanatorium and that’s piqued my interest too.. I look forward to hearing more about that one.. it does look creepy! I never make plans about what I’m going to read in a month… I always look what books need to be read. I choose the proofs I receive always over my own books, and then the Netgalley deadlines next, but I don’t have a lot of proofs left or Netgalley books (I’m down to 2) so I guess I’ll be reading my own books soon and I better give it some thought soon. Happy reading Alex!

    • Alex

      Oh, indeed they are, Inge. I just hope I can read all these in such a short month. We will see, as they say. Yes, The Sanatorium has been on my radar from the moment I heard about it. First the cover caught my eye but the premise? Sounds way cool. Looking forward to that one.

      No, I don’t normally make plans but I’ve found them helpful in making me accountable to reading more than I might if they weren’t there. So I’m trying.

      I hope you get through all your reads and yes, happy reading my dear friend!

  3. Avatar

    Hi Alex, I have read the Survivors last month and… it’s very summery/beachy, while I was in a winter mood. If you are the same, you might enjoy this book better when there is some good sunny weather outside, instead of pooring rain and freezing cold… I don’t wish you the same disconnection!

    And now, I’m off to reading your Moscow review. It sounds intruiging! Hope your february will be better!

    • Alex

      When I say I’m a mood reader it’s not usually anything to do with the weather, it’s more like me saying well I just read a fantasy now Im in the mood for a murder mystery or a comedy or a romance. That kind of thing. I like to vary up my reading and not get in a genre rut.

      And I’ve loved all Harpers books so far so I don’t see me not liking this one. She has a great writing style.

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