January 2022 Wrap-Up

Happy February everyone!

January felt so long, and it’s been a really crazy month at work (and just in general).

I didn’t read too much this month, but I’m not worried about it since that’s typical for me in January. February, March, and April tend to be heavier reading months for me.

I did manage to finish a couple books that I’ve been in the middle of for a while though, so that was exciting! However, I still haven’t been able to finish reading The Help (which I started last summer). Hopefully February will be the month I’m able to accomplish that!

I also didn’t manage to read any books that I physically own this month (mostly just classroom books and audiobooks)… But I’m hoping February will be a better month for that as well! I’m also noticing that I didn’t read any nonfiction this month! That’s partially because I went into Cajas de carton thinking it was nonfiction (and planning on that being my nonfiction read for the month), but it’s actually not. I’ll definitely be more careful of that moving forward, and try to prioritize making some time for nonfiction in February to make up for it!

January was also my hiatus from blogging, and it was definitely the right choice for me! I’ve been really busy at work, so it was nice to be able to take one little thing off my plate. But now I’m feeling ready and excited to get back to blogging again! I won’t be back full-time, but my plan is to do two of each of my usual posts per month (so two Top Ten Tuesday posts, two Travel Thursday posts, and two reviews). And then hopefully I’ll be ready to go back to posting weekly by June!

Without further ado, here is my wrap-up of all the books I read in January:

To learn more about a book, click on the photo to find the Goodreads synopsis.

Stats and Overall Thoughts:

Books read: 5
Physical books: 2
Audiobooks: 3

Fiction: 5
Nonfiction: 0

Books that I physically own: 0

Average monthly rating: 4.2
Top Book of January: The Secret Garden

*To learn more about a book, click on the photo to find the Goodreads synopsis.

5-star books:

  • Cajas de cartón por Francisco Jiménez (Realistic Fiction/Autobiographical Fiction, Audiobook/Paperback, Middle Grade)
    • I’m so glad I finally managed to finish reading this one! I started it last summer as an audiobook, but could only listen to it in small doses since my listening comprehension in Spanish just isn’t as good as it is in English. Because of that, I had to find times when I could just sit and listen without other distractions, which was difficult since I normally listen to audiobooks while driving or doing chores. My intentions were good! I wanted to improve my listening comprehension, and the narrator for this book was fantastic (perfect for those learning Spanish), but eventually I decided to borrow a paperback copy from my classroom library and finish it this way. I had read a portion of this book in high school and had a general idea of what it was about, but I’m so glad I finally read it in its entirety. It’s a story about immigration and the life of a migrant, immigrant family, and the way it’s told from the perspective of a child is so powerful. While a lot about immigration and migrant families has changed since the 90s (when this book was written), it’s still an eye-opening reading experience. The English version is titled The Circuit, and I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a quick but meaningful read.
The Secret Garden: Burnett, Frances Hodgson, Tudor, Tasha: 9780397321650:  Amazon.com: Books
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Classic Literature, Audiobook, Middle Grade)
    • While this is technically considered to be a children’s book, it is definitely a book that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Due to it being an older book, it was maybe a little slow at times, but other than that I really can’t fault it! It was whimsical and magical, and I was sad when it ended because it was always so comforting to be able to go back to this story day-after-day. I love how perfectly the story encapsulated the imagination of children and their ability to find magic in ordinary things. Review coming soon!

4-star books:

  • The Bicycle Spy by Yona Z. McDonough (Historical Fiction, Paperback, Middle Grade)
    • I almost DNFed this one initially, which is why it took me so long to read it! The first couple chapters were really slow, and I just didn’t like how the parents were involving their child in their rebellious (though righteous) activities without his knowledge considering the grave danger this put him in. However, with the introduction of some other characters, it really picked up. And the climax was fast-paced and exciting! I think this would be a good book for kids wanting to learn a little more about WWII, and also for kids who are interested in cycling! The information about the Tour de France and what happened to it during WWII was really interesting. Review coming soon!
  • Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera (Historical Fiction, Audiobook)
    • I really enjoyed this one! It has three main characters, and the chapters alternate between each of their perspectives. Sometimes this can be tricky, as oftentimes the voices of the characters blend together and it’s hard to differentiate between them. However, Deb Spera did a fantastic job of giving each character their own unique voice and characteristics. It also helps that the audiobook had a different narrator for each character. It’s a story of strength, womanhood, and motherhood, and I found it very moving. If anything, the pacing is a little slow. There were moments when I found myself wondering what the point of the story was, but once all the characters come together it all makes sense and it was definitely worth the wait.

3-star books:

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  • Layla by Colleen Hoover (Thriller, Audiobook)
    • I don’t really know what to make of this one. I didn’t love it, but I also listened to the whole thing and was engaged the whole time, so the entertainment value has to count for something! Basically, I really disliked the main character/male protagonist. I found him to be creepy and despicable. And here’s the thing: I don’t have a problem with complex, unlikeable characters. The problem is that this book had a prominent romance plot, and we were clearly supposed to be rooting for this relationship and for him as the protagonist. I don’t want to give away too many details for those who might want to read it, but essentially I found the relationship to be formed too quickly and to be unbelievable, and I found his role in it to be abusive and disloyal. I often felt angry while listening to this one, so I think I maybe finished it out of spite? Or maybe I was hoping for a plot twist at the end that would give this character what he deserved? I’ve heard so many great things about Colleen Hoover, but I just really didn’t enjoy this one. Is there a different book of hers that I should try instead? Or are her books just not for me?

How did your reading go in January? Any stand-out books to recommend?

Let me know in the comments! And thanks for reading (my blog, but also just in general)!

2 thoughts on “January 2022 Wrap-Up

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