January Wrap-Up + February TBR


The first month of the year is over, and I’m pretty happy with how it went! I finished 14 books, had a job interview that I think went well, and got new glasses 🙂



#1 – Right Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins – ★★★★★

It was such a simple concept that I was embarrassed to admit I’d never really thought of it that way. I was still the one standing at the front of the room, not some version of myself that I could return to a month later…even if it sometimes felt that way. And of course there was the fact that I’d forgotten to be either version all day. I’d just been myself.

I loved this. It made me cry and I think it was the perfect book to start the year with because of the way it made me reflect. And Hawkins even surprised me with the way she handled some arguments in the book, so kudos to her.

#2 – Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life by the Fab Five – ★★★★

I believe that Mother Nature doesn’t usually get it too wrong, so don’t battle what she gave you. Instead, just go with the flow. – Jonathan

I knew before this book was even published that I’d love it. How could I not? I sometimes wonder, if I could spend a day with just one member of the Fab Five to help me with something, which one would I pick? I couldn’t definitively answer that until I read this book.

#3 – No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay – ★★★

I am watching parts of me evaporate like sidewalk waters.
This wet grey, this nighttime dew, gone before morning.

Some poems I thought were okay, but then others punched me in the gut. I’ve seen both rave and “meh” reviews of this collection, and I fell somewhere in the middle.

#4 – Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) by Jeaniene Frost – ★★★★

His flesh vibrated with power, making me feel like I stroked lightning encased in skin.

This was really fun. It kind of reminds me of what a YA paranormal series would be like if it were written for adults. My main sticking point for this one is Cat’s mother — oh my God, woman. Just nope on so many levels.

*Romanceopoly Pick #1 – Leather Lane: Read an urban fantasy where the series is already completed.

#5 – Ten Days with the Highlander by Hayson Manning – ★★★★

Tha thu bòidheach.” He kissed her head. “You are beautiful.”
“Oh, that’s what it means.” Her voice wobbled.
“Aye, and you are.”

This was one of those books I saw, bought, and read right away. It was super cute and felt like a hug on a cold winter day. I like how Manning threaded some folklore into the story. It added a nice touch. And I also liked how the romance seemed plausible even though the book is so short.

#6 – My Lady Quicksilver (London Steampunk #3) by Bec McMaster – ★★★★

He didn’t regret a thing, not truly, no matter how much heartbreak both Annabelle and Rosalind’s deceptions had wrought, for to have done things differently would have meant he would have been a different man.

I liked this one better than the last one and probably about the same as the first one. I found it funny how Jasper struggled with his feelings for “both” women. I love a good hidden identity romance, and this one didn’t disappoint. I really enjoyed it, and I’m still very much enjoying this series.

#7 – The Joy of X by Steven Strogatz – ★★★

Whenever a state of featureless equilibrium loses stability — for whatever reason, and by whatever physical, biological, or chemical process — the pattern that appears first is a sine wave, or a combination of them.

This one took me forever to read. It’s good, but it could definitely get pretty dry. I’m a mood reader, and trying to get in the mood to read a math book can be hard, even if you find math interesting.

#8 – Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton – ★★★★


I’d seen many of these cartoons before here and there online, and it’s really a nice, funny, and sometimes poignant collection.

#9 – Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After #2) by Tessa Dare – ★★★★

It wasn’t just knowing that Rafe found her body attractive. It was that she found her body rather attractive, too.

This is probably the funniest romance novel I’ve ever read. While I appreciated that Rafe had to struggle through his “secret pain,” I do think there was a little too much time spent on it. When he’d start up again, I’d think, “Oh no, not again.” But overall I really liked this one. I’d even like additional books on Phoebe, Piers, and Bruiser each.

*Romanceopoly Pick #2 – Library: Read any book you want.

#10 – The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One (Women Are Some Kind of Magic #2) – ★★★

as always, the women save themselves in this one.

I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first, but it’s still very worth the read and I teared up a few times.

#11 – Nightchaser (Endeavor #1) by Amanda Bouchet – ★★★★

Is it wrong to try? Maybe what’s wrong is never putting yourself out there for fear of losing things you don’t even have.

What a great start to a series! Now I wish I’d waited until it was done lol. I would have liked the romance to go a little deeper, but maybe there’s more room to develop that a little more later. I’m normally not a huge sci-fi fan, but it wasn’t too heavy in this book and the world building was slow and steady, which I liked. I also stayed up way too late to finish reading this, which speaks volumes.

*Romanceopoly Pick #3 – Kickass Lane: Read an urban fantasy with a picture of a kickass heroine on the cover.

#12 – Never Seduce a Scot (Montgomerys and Armstrongs #1) by Maya Banks – ★★★

There’s no reason for others to levy such hatred toward that which they do not understand.

This book was a parabola. The beginning was good, the middle dragged, and the ending picked the story back up again. It was also a bit repetitive. I didn’t need the constant reminder that Eveline needed to read lips. As for the romance, I think Graeme fell in love a little too quickly. Not that it isn’t possible, but it seemed a little exaggerated.

#13 – Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon – ★★★★

Oh, Claire, ye do break my heart wi’ loving you.

I think I liked this one better than Outlander, possibly because I read it first before watching the second season. I’m not totally on the same page with Claire’s view of the rules of time travel, so I’m interested to see how her opinion changes, if it does, in the later books. This book definitely almost made me cry a few times, as well.

#14 – 1066: The Year of the Conquest by David Howarth – ★★★

They never became Norman; they remained most stubbornly English, absorbed the invaders and made of the mixture a new kind of Englishness.

This is a very well-written and well-researched book. It’s interesting to see how much of our knowledge of the events leading up to, during, and following the Battle of Hastings relies on much conjecture, simply because the few records that exist often conflict with one another. 



Even though it wasn’t quite a 5-star review for me, the “Book of the Month” honor has to go to Dragonfly in Amber. I love big books like this so much because they can really pull you into rich stories that stick with you no matter where you go or what you’re doing. I’m excited to start Voyager soon — maybe not next month, but possibly in March.



I know it looks like I bought a lot of books last month, but four of them were free and a couple were on sale for really cheap.


I work in a library, so keeping this down to ten is honestly astonishing. Four I got as hard copies, and the other 6 are through Overdrive and Hoopla.


I haven’t really mentioned these here before, but I am participating in some reading challenges this year. Here are my stats so far:

Ampersand2019: 4/36
Modern Mrs. Darcy: 3/13
Read Harder*: 1/10
Reading Women: 1/20
Romanceopoly: 3/39

*This one’s just for the challenges that can be satisfied by books I already own.


And here are the books I plan to read in February, not including the four Romanceopoly picks, which will be in a separate post:

Why I’ve chosen the shortest month to try to read all these, I have no idea. That’s just how the cookie crumbles, as they say.

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