January Wrap-up

How did you kick off your reading year? Did you set a challenge? Have you managed to read any good books yet?

I ended up reading 31 books this month, so exactly one book for every day. Like always in my wrap-ups, I’ll share my Goodreads reviews for my 4 and 5 star reads.

Want to keep track of my reading in more detail? Feel free to add me on Goodreads!

Rivers Solomon – The Deep

I received an ALC from Libro.fm in exchange for my honest review

In this novella, mermaids have been born from the pregnant slaves who were thrown overboard by slave traders. The book deals with the importance of remembering one’s past, one’s ancestry, no matter how painful, because forgetting is not healing.

I listened to the audiobook, and one of the first things I noticed was the beautiful writing style. While this is not really a genre I normally reach for, the writing style kept me engaged all the way through. Even though it’s a short book, it’s not an easy one, as it deals with the intersection of different themes, like history and identity. I definitely want to read Rivers Solomon’s other book as well, because this was well worth reading.

CWs: attempted suicide, past slavery, trauma

Maulik Pancholy – The Best At It

Why does middlegrade always make me cry? I’m just such a sucker for middlegrade that feels genuine, and this is exactly that.

It was a little slow to start, but when it did, my heart broke for Rahul multiple times, but I was also so proud of him for learning to stand up for himself and learn to be himself.

Rep: gay Indian-American MC with OCD, Indian-American side characters, Japanese-American side character

CWs: bullying, (internalized) racism, homophobia

Mia García – The Resolutions

You can read my review here.

Darren Charlton – Wranglestone

You can read my review here.

Thomas van der Meer – Welkom bij de club

Soms is less echt more. Ik las dit boek in één ruk uit. Hoewel het vaak heftig was om te lezen, gezien alle transfobische uitspraken die mensen denken te mogen doen, heb ik ook meerdere keren hardop moeten lachen, vaak zelfs om dezelfde fragmenten. Van der Meer beschrijft zijn transitie en vooral ook de reacties daarop met zoveel humor en relativeringsvermogen dat de toon van dit boek een verademing is.

Het is ook duidelijk niet een boek dat per se is aangepast op de belevingswereld van cisgender mensen. Er wordt relatief weinig uitgelegd, en het wordt goed duidelijk gemaakt hoe belachelijk het is wanneer cis mensen iemands transitie volledig om zichzelf laten draaien, alsof ze er ook maar iets mee te maken hebben. Dit maakte het boek nog fijner om te lezen, want hoewel het soms zeker zware momenten laat zien, wordt dit nooit gedramatiseerd. Daardoor wordt het nooit “trauma porn” voor een cis publiek, op de manier waarop sommige andere boeken en media “queer pain” uitbuiten. Dit laat meteen ook weer de waarde zien van een “own voices” verhaal. Het is fijn dat daar eindelijk iets meer ruimte voor lijkt te komen in de Nederlandse uitgeefwereld.

TJ Klune – Feralsong

This is a short story as part of the Greek Creek series, and you can read it here! It was excellent.

Libba Bray – The King of Crows

I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

What better way to kick off the roaring 20s than with the final installment in The Diviners series?

The Diviners is one of my favourite series, so I was absolutely thrilled to be able to read The King of Crows early. And I both loved it and felt a little underwhelmed at the same time. This was still a really good read, but I felt like it missed some direction, and it meandered for a long time.

I still think this is a phenomenal series, as it takes on so many different topics and has such an amazing cast of characters. I just missed some of the suspense of the first three books, and didn’t feel as pressed to read on.

There were also some formatting issues with the eARC, such as missing spaces, doubled sentences, and lay-out problems, which may have added to my inability to completely enjoy this book.

Jen Wang – Stargazing

This was a really loveable middlegrade graphic novel.

A.M. Strickland – Beyond the Black Door

You can read my review here.

TJ Klune – The House In the Cerulean Sea

This is exactly as fun as it looks. I had such a blast reading this, I thoroughly enjoyed every page. It’s fresh and funny, and there’s such a loveable cast of characters.

This book is about learning to live instead of exist, and about overcoming prejudices. It’s also about found family, which is truly what TJ Klune does best.

One letdown was the (internalized) fatphobia that didn’t really get addressed. There were so many negative remarks that the MC made about his body, and they were pretty hard to read. I did feel like the MC began to love himself more towards the end, but it was never really handled.

CWs: (internalized) fatphobia, mentions of abuse, trauma-related anxiety

Huda Fahmy – That Can Be Arranged

I’m a big fan of the “Yes, I’m hot in this” comics, so when I saw this was available as “read now”, I quickly downloaded it and dove in. And I loved this! It was so funny, and the mix of text and comic works really well. It was a very quick, very entertaining read.

Jen Campbell – The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night

This was so weird, and I loved it.

Kelly Loy Gilbert – Picture Us In the Light

You can read my review here.

A. Andrews – A Quick & Easy Guide to Sex & Disability

“If there’s one thing that just about every disabled person on the planet is beyond familiar with, it’s preparedness. In a world that is rarely built to accomodate us, we are often left to our own in adapting to spaces that don’t work for us.”

I heard great things about A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns and A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities (although I haven’t actually read them yet), so when I saw this book was “read now” on Netgalley, I was very interested to give it a try. It seemed very educational, and I have been wanting to read more non-fiction. Also, as an autistic person, I want to do my best to be a good ally for people with all kinds of disabilities, and I can only do that if I educate myself.

I really appreciated that this was own voices, and I also really loved the art style. Those are two of the positives that I noticed right away. Overall, I mainly appreciated that this was hugely inclusive and hugely positive about disability, and it felt very uplifting and empowering. It was also very queer, yay!

Would definitely recommend this educational graphic novel for just about anyone, because it’s very insightful and sex positive.

CWs: ableism

Lyssa Kay Adams – The Bromance Book Club

I was a little hesitant to read this, as I wasn’t sure it would be my cup of tea, but I had so much fun. I had a hard time putting this down, and I was really invested right from the start.

CWs: sex, vomiting, fatphobic comment

How many books did you end up reading in January? What was your favourite read of the month?


2 thoughts on “January Wrap-up

Add yours

  1. Oo great wrap-up Anniek! I’m so excited for The House in the Cerulean Sea. I really enjoyed Feralsong, That Can Be Arranged and Wranglestone and now that you enjoyed The Bromance Book Club, I think I’ll boost it up my TBR 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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