One month into 2020, and I think this may be the year I start feeling like a ‘real’ book blogger. Last year, I felt like I was just testing the waters - writing reviews whenever a book I would have read anyway gave me things to say, and working out what kinds of books I had a lot to say about (non-fiction, mainly, but I don’t want to limit myself).
In January, I booked on to a few upcoming author events, had a bit of a catch-up with some of my fellow book bloggers at Lesley Kara’s event at Colchester Waterstones, finally joined Netgalley and arranged my first ever blog tour stop. I was particularly excited to get approved for House of Trelawney, by Hannah Rothschild and Exit, by Belinda Bauer, as they’re both books I’d been really looking forward to reading.
My blog was definitely occupying my thoughts more than before, then! However, I want it stay fun, and I’m still resisting looking at my analytics because I don’t want to get hung up on views (or lack thereof!).
So, here’s what I read in January…
Call Down the Hawk, by Maggie Stiefvater - brilliant, though very much the first of a trilogy and now we have to wait for the next instalment! 4.5*
Your Fault, by Andrew Cowan - vivid, brutal. 5*
Birthdays for the Dead, by Stuart MacBride - 3.5*
Three Daughters of Eve, by Elif Shafak - 4*
Tunnel of Bones, by Victoria Schwab - 4*
Ghostland: in search of a haunted country, by Edward Parnell - 4*
D.O.G.S., by M. A. Bennett - I liked the premise and it was pretty solid, but lacked the sense of danger and threat of S.T.A.G.S.. 3.5*
Marking Time, by Elizabeth Jane Howard - I absolutely powered through the second title in the Cazalet Chronicles. The ‘coming-of-age’ element really came into its own and I can’t wait to read more. 4.5*
City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert - 4*
Those Who Are Loved, by Victoria Hislop - 4.5*
When the Dogs Don’t Bark, by Professor Angela Gallop - I normally love a book about working in forensics. This one had some fascinating stories, but it felt quite bitty in places and there was a lot of really dry stuff about how various organisations evolved over the years. 3.5*
A mix of old and new this month. I really enjoyed Stacey Halls’ debut novel, The Familiars, last year, and am looking forward to seeing her and picking up her new book at Red Lion Books on 14 February. Another gorgeous cover, too! I’ve also got Liar Liar, by Mel Sherratt on pre-order as her crime novels are always a treat.
As mentioned above, I’m really getting into Elizabeth Jane Howard, and I’ll be continuing with the Cazalet Chronicles with Confusion. And having devoured What a Carve Up! in December, I’m excited to read Number 11, by Jonathan Coe. It’s nice to discover an author late on and have so much back catalogue to explore!
Only one of these is a Suffolk library book, but I’ll also be very busy reading the other five I have out from there. I’m leaving for a new job at the end of the month (sniffle) and I won’t be working in Suffolk any more, let alone in a library. I’ve started reserving and borrowing books from Essex Libraries in anticipation of the big move, but they don’t seem to get as many titles into their catalogue in advance of publication. That’s something I’m going to miss, as well as the staff perk of free DVD loans!