January Reads (+ Movies/TV)

*Warning: this is a long post! So get comfy!*

Hello everyone!

This year I’m trying out something new to help me with my ratings. G from BookRoast uploaded on YouTube a video on what she does to help her work out book ratings. The CAWPILE. She even had created a spreadsheet following the same system for anyone to download and it’s so thorough and broken down into categories (character, atmosphere, writing, intrigue, logic and excitement) to help you reflect on the book and see how you actually feel. I used to just rate on what I felt it was but now I want to do this system as well as an instinct feeling (and so far my instinct feeling matches the rating it worked out to be!).

G explains this so much better and in a lot more detail. I’ve provided a link to her video for you to check out. I’ve been really enjoying it so far and as you put in data it immediately updates all the book stats for gender, pages, genre, etc. This would be great for end of year stats as it’s already done for you!


Aggie Morton: The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn

Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was my first middle grade mystery. I’m a fan of Agatha Christie so when I read the summary I immediately requested it and I really enjoyed this. It was a well thought out mystery to solve. What I loved the most was that it covered topics such as women’s rights, sexism as well as some discrimination against immigrants (mainly from the policeman), Hector Perot who arrived from Belgium. It was great seeing it from Aggie’s POV, a twelve year old girl, in that time and her opinions on these topics. I liked her character. I would say it’d be directed towards advanced readers in middle grade.

Also, the authors note was good to read. I appreciated her research for this book. How inspiration of Agatha Christie’s life (Aggie Morton plays a fictional version of a young Agatha Christie) played key parts in the setting of the whole book!

I don’t know how detailed middle grade mysteries usually are but I was surprised with some descriptions but after all, it is a murder mystery. I will be keeping an eye out for Miss Aggie’s upcoming mysteries.

(Thanks NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for a honest review)

A Reluctant Bride (The Shelley Sisters) by Jess Michael

Rating:

⭐⭐⭐

Publisher: Victory Editing

The Reluctant Bride was a pleasant read. It was a book that was nice to pick up for a historical romance fix. It’s what you expect from a standard historical fiction romance. The main thing that let me down was that sometimes there wasn’t a whole lot going on, I would have loved it to be more suspenseful in the times that should’ve been.

The writing was easy to follow, the characters didn’t stand out for me but it was interesting to read Thomasina being a triplet, I have never read a book where the main character was a triplet and her whole experience of it, so that was new for me. The family of Thomasina and Jasper intrigued me the most, there were discussions on family and loss of family loved ones.

(Thanks NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for a honest review)

Anne Frank’s Diary: Graphic Adaptation by Ari

Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Borrowed from the library

This rating is a 4.8/5. I know weird rating but that’s what it came down to for my CAWPILE rating. I’m really enjoying this system.

I have never read Anne Frank’s Diary before and I thought this was a great way to introduce me into the story. The illustrations were amazing, I loved seeing the house and all the rooms they stayed in. It definitely helped in telling the story. Of course some parts were cut out as it’s a graphic novel but the author mentioned his idea with keeping all the main key parts and diary entries as well as alternate ways to add the missing passages into the illustrations. I finished this in one sitting as it captured my attention and I had to know what happened next.

Ink & Arrows by Shruthi Viswanathan

Rating:

⭐⭐⭐

I give this 3 stars (however a lower three stars). I did a whole review on my blog if you want to know my feelings a bit more in depth. Overall I went in with too high expectations and sadly, it did not meet them. It was a bit of a let down but also has so much potential for it to be really good.

(Thanks NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for a honest review)

Moonstruck Vol.1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis

Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Borrowed from the library

This was such a cute graphic novel. I loved this and thought all the characters were so cute. It has a f/f romance, working at a barista, magic and supernatural creatures.

Midnight Secretary Vol.1 by Tomu Ohmi

Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Borrowed from the library

I give this a 3.75. I flew through this as it was fast paced and I’m a sucker for vampires (ha no pun intended), well just supernatural in general. Finished in one sitting and will be continuing the series.

Follows Kaya who’s a private secretary for the Director of a company and their relationship as well as uncovering secrets. Like for example him being a vampire.

A Study in Pink (Sherlock #1) by Jay

Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Another 4.8 (although on Goodreads I just said 4.5 as it seemed easier). I absolutely loved this! It was exactly like the episode and I could picture it so clearly and could imagine their voices saying the lines. I got exactly what I wanted and was not let down. The illustrations as well were so good. I feel like watching the series again!

May Leave Stars: The Writers Cut by Catherine C. Heywood

Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This whole world of nineteen century Paris was so fun to read about. You can also tell how the author has taken time with it and wanted to make sure she got the details right.

May Leave Stars is all about Jasper and Amelie’s romance. They agree to a no-strings affair as they are both struggling with their former relationships. However, how long will this no-strings attach love affair last if they start to fall for one another? The Writers Cut gives us the full explicit version and I knew what I was signing up for but at the same time wow! Sometimes caught me off guard but most of them did kinda flow in the story.

I will say that the problems and drama in the romance did annoy me. I hate it when there’s over the top stubbornness and drama thrown in. There were so many times when I was reading and thinking “you both love each other, get together!” but then that’s just me. I understand all love stories aren’t straight forward but still it annoyed me. The atmosphere and chemistry of Jasper and Amelie were so good. I was not let down from the summary.

The Kissing Game by Marie Harte

Rating:

The Kissing Game is an E-Arc that will be published on the 4th of February. It took me two nights to finish one chapter. I just wasn’t vibing with it as much as I wanted to. I think this is the case of going into a book with too high of expectations. This is so sad as I love reading romances but I don’t want to force myself to read it. Maybe I’ll try again another time but right now I’m putting it down.
Seeing all the other reviews and comments isn’t helping me in wanting to pick this book up. From what I’ve heard I don’t think I’d connect with the characters.

Sadly, a DNF.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’m so happy to have finally read this! I mean it took me the whole month, but I did it! And I really enjoyed it. I read along with the audiobook and I loved the narrator (January LaVoy). She was good and what amazed me was how she was able to distinct male voices. If there’s a female narrator with multiple male characters they normally end up being similar and hard to tell who’s talking but this time I could at least tell there’s different male characters. Libba Bray’s writing is amazing, so atmospheric and felt like I was right there in the 1920’s.

ALSO, this can check off one book for the Magical Readathon!

CW: sexual assault, violence, scene with animal violence


Movies & TV

I don’t normally do a section on this but this month I’ve been getting really into some new movies and tv shows. This month I was distracted so much by Netflix (I mean I usually am let’s be honest but this month especially!). There were also movies and other things I got to see this month and absolutely loved!

TV Shows

  • Anne with an E

Season three came out early January and I didn’t want to say goodbye to this series! I absolutely love this. It’s one of those series where I feel like every episode is so important and meaningful. I’d be smiling then ready to bawl my eyes out and the back to smiling. I feel like I went through all the emotions and loved it. I’ve actually started from the beginning again and a bit over halfway in season one.

It covered so many topics like racism, social and economical class, friendships, relationships, family dynamics, feminism and sexism.

  • Grace and Frankie

Last year I binged this show and watched all five seasons in like less than a month. This month the sixth season was released, however, I was in the middle of a re-watch of the series so I haven’t gotten to the new season yet but very close. It’s such a great series that I love to put on. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are amazing.

  • Dance Academy & Dance Academy: The Movie

Really I went through this series in December but again I started from the beginning throughout January. It’s just when I find series I love and connect it’s hard for me to not re-watch as I don’t want it to stop.

I remember watching Dance Academy when I was about 12 and I only owned the first series and would watch it over and over again. It came on Netflix so I thought I’d check it out to see if I still loved it just as much and honestly I think I loved it more. I feel like when I first watched it there would’ve been so many things that wouldn’t have the same emotional impact on me as it does now. I feel like when I was 12 I probably watched it for the dancing and friendships but now it’s like I discovered a whole new part to the story. I flew threw this and again went through so many emotions. It’s a series I became obsessed with. Yes there’s the usual teen drama but it covered topics like; eating disorders, sexual orientations and finding your identity, family dynamics, friendships, bullying, death of a friend, mental health, and probably a few more.

I’ll just say right now the only thing that annoyed me was Grace’s character. Just all the stuff she would do and all the drama she would cause. We understand later on why she behaves like that, or at least one of the reasons behind it, but it went overboard that sometimes that I kind of thought it wasn’t a good enough excuse. Isaiah’s attitude kind of annoyed me as well but Grace is high on the list.

Movies

  • Frozen 2

Saw Frozen 2 and love it! This did not let me down. I loved the storyline, music, animations and the characters. I did really love how there was still a story connection with the first movie and wasn’t just a second movie, you know? Does that make sense? Probably not. But yeah loved it and gave me all the same feelings!

  • Little Women

I’m obsessed with this version. This was such a powerful adaptation of Little Women and it stole my heart. I even made a full bullet journal spread of this movie (also made a bullet journal spread of Anne With an E). I’ve been wanting to read the book and bought it at the end of last year and watching this just wants me to read it even more. Everyone suited their character so well, the clothes and powerful messages of feminsim, and ugh so good! I can’t express how much I loved this.

Stage Musical

  • Billy Elliott

I’ve never seen the film but I was fortunate enough to attend the stage musical of Billy Elliott and now I’m searching for the film. Even though I didn’t have much knowledge of the story I followed along a lot better than I thought. It was funny, sad and the dancing was incredible. It was one of those experiences where you’d watch something live and your heart is beating with the adrenaline of watching them perform. My favourite dance was the Angry dance by Billy. It was pretty much like the climax of the story and oh my god I was blown away. All the songs and dancing were amazing. I also made a bullet journal spread on this so I can keep the memory of it. So glad to have gone to this.


So that was my January wrap-up. I read one book on my TBR for the Magical Readathon, it could also go towards my #Startonyourshelfathon.

I watched awesome things and it was a good start to the year! I don’t think I’ve ever read so much in a month!

How was your January? Oh and if you made it this far then wow thank you, you’re amazing!

Until next time…

xx

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