January was a delightful reading month! I read 5 books and even rewarded my first 5-star of the year! My goal is to read 36 books this year so I’m already ahead of my goal progress (3 books a month) but I don’t mind. It’s about quality, not quantity and I read some good quality books this month.
Make sure to follow me on Goodreads to be updated on what I’m reading and on StoryGraph if you’re curious about my book statistics.
My star reading scale
★★★★★/5 – Loved it! Would reread and recommend it to others.
★★★★/5 – Kept me entertained. I would reread.
★★★/5 – Didn’t love or hate but would recommend to others.
★★/5 – Did not enjoy it and probably skimmed through most of it.
★/5 – I hated it and regret wasting my time with this book.
DNF – Did not finish. This will probably be rare because I like to finish every book I start.
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The Stranger Upstairs by Rachel Harrison ★★★★/5
A social media influencer with a secret past buys a murder house to renovate, but finds more than she bargained for behind the peeling wallpaper in this gothic psychological debut.
The Stranger Upstairs is about a popular therapist who buys an old house where a murder took place years ago. She attempts to renovate her home so that she can blog about her experience but starts experiencing some creepy encounters. I enjoyed this book. I didn’t expect a lot of what happened and was on the edge of my seat the last third of the book, especially since I was home alone when I was reading this, it added to the spookiness! I deducted one star because I felt like the past of the character wasn’t too clear and I felt like we didn’t get to learn about the husband’s life, a chapter or two from his perspective would’ve been nice to understand him better. But overall, it was a great book to start the year. I also encourage you to read the author’s note at the end because it was so inspiring!
You can purchase The Stranger Upstairs here
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King ★★★★/5
“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon the publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.
I want to start reading Stephen King this year because I feel like I would enjoy his novels but I don’t know much about King which is why I wanted to read his book On Writing. Now, I’m not a writer nor do I want to be but I think the best way to get to know someone is to understand their craft and the reason behind it. The first half of the book is about King’s life and how he got into writing. The second half of the book is about writing with tips on how to improve your writing. If you’re an aspiring writer or curious about Stephen King’s life then I think you will enjoy this read. I listened to the audiobook, and hearing King talk about his life and passion was a joy to listen to.
You can purchase On Writing; A Memoir of the Craft here
Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley ★★★★/5
A new, fascinating account of the life of Agatha Christie from celebrated literary and cultural historian Lucy Worsley.
If you followed me for some time then you know I’m a Agatha Christie fan. I wanted to learn more about her so I decided to read Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman. This book offers a lot of insight into Agatha’s background and life throughout the years. She was groundbreaking in many ways but she also made some sketchy choices, I mean who hasn’t? Do be wary as this book does spoil some of Christie’s work.
You can purchase Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman here
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio ★★★/5
On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.
I was excited to read If We Were Villains, I’ve seen this book a lot on Bookstagram and it was rated pretty high on Goodreads. If We Were Villains tells the story of a group of friends who attend a school based around the work of Shakespeare but after a wild party, an incident happens that changes the trajectory of their friend group. This fell flat for me. The first half was fantastic and I was interested to see what the big blow was. After I reached the halfway mark and the major plot point was revealed I was curious to see how the rest of the book was going to play out but there was so much build up which I always take as a bad sign. I don’t want to spoil anything but I felt like they threw in a curve ball last minute and made the main character a certain way even though throughout the entire book I didn’t think the main character was this certain way. Maybe I just read them wrong or didn’t pick up on the small details but I was overall underwhelmed.
You can purchase If We Were Villains here
What You Are Looking For Is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama ★★★★★/5
What are you looking for? So asks Tokyo’s most enigmatic librarian. For Sayuri Komachi is able to sense exactly what each visitor to her library is searching for and provide just the book recommendation to help them find it.
This was such a pleasant read! Each chapter is a different story of a character who wants to change a certain aspect of their life which eventually leads them to a library at a community center where they run into a librarian who recommends them a list of books, one book that is a completely random book that subsequently is the book that inspires them. This was my first 5-star of the year! I absolutely adored this book, it even made me cry! It’s similar to Before The Coffe Gets Cold which was another book that I enjoyed, Japanese literary fiction just hits differently!
You can purchase What You Are Looking For Is in the Library here
Have you read any of these books? What did you read in January?