January 2021 Wrap-Up

January 2021 is over and…well, it looks like 2020 maintains its hold.

Either way, it was a decent month reading-wise, and an even better one writing-wise. I finished the first draft of That Distant Dream 2 and will start editing in February, for (fingers crossed) a late 2021/early 2022 release date. I had a couple of short story ideas, and wrote nearly 50k between shorts, the book and the blog.

But let’s talk books.

I read 14 books this month, with seven books, six audiobooks and one graphic novel, for a total of 4817 pages. Not doing hours listened for the audios because I’m feeling lazy.

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Three five-star books! I’m so excited, although I wished I had finished A Desolation Called Peace in January instead of (now February). The Gilded Ones was absolutely fucking fantastic. Believe the hype, regard the trigger warnings, and sit back to enjoy the ride. While the ending dipped into a little weirdness and felt off, I believe it set itself up for a really twisty, turny sequel, which I will definitely be tuning into.

Winter’s Orbit was a mlm space opera I tiptoed into, but again—the hype is real on this one too! The comp titles are complete poop. RWRB is accurate in terms of chaos gay and control gay, but Ancillary Justice was…really off. However, it reminded me a shit-ton like the Vorkosigan saga, which was perfect because one of my 2021 resolutions is to reread that series! And I did! I haven’t read the The Warrior’s Apprentice since 2012 (I tend to skip around in my rereads as most books can be done as stand-alones), and it was even better eight years later, and some things hit harder and differently than before. I love books (and series, in this case), where you can go back and continue to gain new insight and love, and that is why the Vorkosigan series is my all-time favorite.

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Lots of four star reads! Boyfriend Material was really 3.5, but I bumped it up because of the secondary characters and the fact that it’s #ownvoices (I really was meh about the main love interests). A Pho Love Story was the delightful Romeo and Juliet retelling of of star-crossed lovers from rival Vietnamese restaurants I never knew I needed. Once Upon a Quinceañera was an entirely different read than I expected (the blurb made me think light and fluffy), but I really enjoyed it! I have read very few webcomics, and devoured everything there was on Maiden of the Machine, which has an amazing aesthetic and an interesting storyline (really 3.5 stars for the fact that several plot points appear to have been lost, but rounded up because she’s been doing this story since 2016 which is dedication).

And there were two science fiction four-star reads too. Recursion was my first Blake Crouch book, and after seeing nothing but glowing 5-star reviews on this one for the past two years (it lit up Goodreads and Bookstagram like no one’s business upon its release), I am happy to report that the hype is not lying? It’s good, but very much white dude writing women in some places, and parts of it annoyed me. The Echo Wife was fantastic and that GB blurb doesn’t do it full justice (although how can it without spoiling the book), and the near-ending twist kept twisting. It was cruising along to five-stars until that ending, but it’s still very, very good.

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Much Ado About You was probably more of a 2-star book because the leads suuuucked and the heroine is a bit of a Mary Sue (and the reason for their big break-up before the HEA is…eye rolling), but it regained a star because the secondary characters’ banter was delightful. Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies had a lot of great pointers for a self-help book, but occasionally dipped too far into the woo-woo for me to really get behind. I loved her writing style, did not love how she named her exes and talked so much about how they sucked (I hope she used pseudonyms). Leave the World Behind was a solid thriller, and I liked the nebulous nature of the characters trying to figure out what the fuck was going on, however, with that much build up to the mystery I wanted a little something in return at the end, not a mid-scene Sopranos ending.

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Unravel the Dusk was…a mess. I loved Spin the Dawn‘s first half, and tolerated the second half (it wasn’t bad and the ending was fantastic), but the sequel was…a lot of things happen in succession until there are about 50 million climaxes with no real big finish, which turned the book into 355 pages of and then, and then, and then. I have owned the Bathroom Book of Oregon Trivia for quite some time, and picked it up on a whim one Saturday (not in the bathroom), and read a couple of tidbits, and then flipped to page one and read from start to finish. I wish it focused less on quickly dated items (like economics stats and other things that change drastically, particularly after a recession), and more on historical facts. I was surprised to learn the famous marionberry was a human creation in the 1950s, but disappointed that the authors did not address any of Oregon’s racist history (they mention the tragedy of the Vanport flooding but not that the majority of the population was Black) or much of anyone who wasn’t white. Oregon’s rich and diverse Indigenous communities were mentioned, but the lens was very much from the white settler. Disappointing, but not unexpected from something from 2007. Not much was weird, whacky or wild…it was pretty standard Oregon trivia.

What was your favorite book from January?

2 thoughts on “January 2021 Wrap-Up

  1. Lokos like you had a really good reading month! I cannot wait to pick up The GIlded Ones!
    I’m about to read A Desolation Called Peace, so glad to hear you really enjoyed it!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

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