January was a mixed bag of reading for me. It started of with a few disappointing reads right off of the bat. However, by the end I added three books to my favorite reads list. One of the benefits of being an eclectic reader is that if I am having little luck in one genre, I switch it up and will hopefully fall into a good story. That's what happened this time. The fantasy books that I picked up didn't work for me, but the two historical fiction books and the memoir all blew me away.
I enjoyed Grace of Kings, but I wasn't blown away the way that I thought that I would be. You can read my review here.
The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps was my second book of 2017 and it was my second let down. I wanted to love this one so badly that I stopped halfway through and started over thinking that I had missed something and that was why I wasn't enjoying the story. Unfortunately, I had not missed anything. What I was looking for just wasn't written. The plot sounded so interesting, the fact that it's written by an African American man, writing about black men in a fantasy world populated by PoC, and the world is not Eurocentric all should have made this a favorite. However, after reading The Sorcerer of Wildeeps I couldn't help but feel it just wasn't for me. The dialogue, the lack of a clear vision of what/where the world being presented is, and the vernacular that felt right out of modern times, I just couldn't ground myself in the story.
I did enjoy A Taste of Honey more than The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, but it still was not a home run for me. I've pretty much decided that Wilson's writing style just isn't a good fit with me.
I enjoyed reading Sorcerer to the Crown and I am glad that I finally picked it up. I enjoyed the beginning and the set up, but I found myself sluggging through the middle, but enjoying the lead up to the ending. Zacharias was the most interesting character for me but it was hard for me to like Prunella. The world building was done well. I also enjoyed the social and political difficulties that faced both Zacharias and Prunella. I think that I will be tempted to pick up book 2 sometime after it's released. Probably.
I loved Cane River! Cane River has been added to my favorite reads list and it was a nice surprise since I had a run of so so reads until I got to it. You can read my full review of this gem here.
I listened to Red Rising as an audio book. It was a good audio book for our road trip and the narrator did a good job, but I am not sure if I will continue on with this series. My 18 year old daughter really enjoyed it and moved on to book two right away, but for me it was just okay. I am not even going to do a full review on this one since all I can say is that it was fine for passing the time in the car.
The Last Wish was so much of a bust for me that I had to DNF it. I threw in the towel at 105 pages in. I'm not going to say that this is bad, but I did say 'what the hell' a lot.
I absolutely loved Catherine Carmier. Gaines touched on colorism, class, and the feelings of displacement and disconnection when returning home after being absent for a long stretch of time. I am so glad that it was the first Gaines book that I read to kick off my Year of Ernest Gaines. I will be posting a full review on it that should be up on soon. This was added to my favorite reads list.
Born A Crime is hands down one of the most enjoyable memoirs that I have ever read. I listened to the audio book version of this and I HIGHLY recommend that everyone experience Trevor Noah narrating his own story. I was blown away by how emotional and thought provoking Born A Crime is. It's brilliant, and is on my favorites list with extra stars. I will be doing a full review soon.
Whispers is an entertaining read. However, what it boils down to is a story about wealthy over privileged teens/young adults with too much time and opportunity to create misery and angst in their own lives. Even the characters that we are meant to empathize with are self centered and spoiled. The trouble these people find are so far beyond the acceptable that deception, assault, and death all come into play. Whispers reads like a good made for television movie. This would be a good book to pick up while traveling or on vacation when you just want to be entertained and aren't looking to need to think too deeply about a story. I found this copy at Goodwill and I will definitely look for more Lisa Jackson in the future.