January 2020 Reading Round-Up

The Outsider  by Stephen King  ★★★★☆ Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with an upside-down image on the cover B...

The Outsider by Stephen King ★★★★☆

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with an upside-down image on the cover

Brief synopsis: When a boy is found dead in the local woods, all evidence points to local legend, little league coach, and high school English teacher Terry Maitland. But there's also proof Maitland was a hundred miles away at the time of the crime. As the investigation deepens and lives are completely uprooted, all answers seem to deliver more questions. Evil has a face, and sometimes it may be the face of a person you thought you knew.

Overall thoughts: This novel is really dark. Yes, most King novels are dark, but this was a whole new level. Unlike most King books, this read more like a crime thriller with a hint of supernatural. As always, I loved the character development and getting to know each individual in the story. Another storytelling masterpiece. Full review here.

A Map of Days by Ransom Riggs ★★★☆☆

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with a map

Brief synopsis: Jacob Portman and the peculiar Peregine wards have recently succeeded in saving peculiardom from the wights, and are kind of famous now. Jacob thought he'd never see his peculiar friends again; he'd decided to live with the fact he would go back to just being normal. But now that they've showed up at his normal house in normal-town, Florida, he's shocked and excited. He's ready to teach his peculiar friends to be normal, but instead finds some secret information left behind by his grandfather and spurs out to follow in his grandfather's footsteps.

Overall thoughts: Overall, and especially compared to others in the series, not much happened in this novel. It's much longer than I remember any of the others being, and nothing really happened until about three-quarters of the way into the book. The content was just lacking, and I was super bored. I did like catching back up with Jacob and co, but this is likely my least favorite in the series so far. Full review here.

The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs ★★★★☆

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with a bird on the cover

Brief synopsis: Jacob Portman has once again disobeyed Miss Peregrine's direct orders and escaped Devil's Acre, and he has one true mission: keep Noor Pradesh (the light-eater) safe and deliver her to V, a women who used to save peculiar children alongside Jacob's grandfather, Abe. For there's a prophecy about Noor, and she may be the only one who can save peculiardom. That may be difficult, though, because the wights and the hollowgast, both recently locked up in a impenetrable prison in the Acre, have escaped. And Jacob's the only one who can see hollows. So, his hands have become quite full.

Overall thoughts: After A Map of Days, this one really picked back up. It was non-stop the entire time, full of action, and had a sweet bit of romance. BUT THE CLIFFHANGER - it about killed me. Full review here.

When We Were Vikings* by Andrew David MacDonald ★★★☆☆

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book that's published in 2020

Brief synopsis: Zelda, a 21-year old woman with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, is very into vikings - in fact, she considers herself a bit of a viking and those closest to her are her tribe: Gert, her older brother with whom she lives; Annie aka AK47, Gert's ex-girlfriend and still close friend to Zelda; Marxy, Zelda's boyfriend/fair maiden; Dr. Laird, Zelda's therapist; and Big Todd, who manages the community center Zelda frequents. Zelda's on a mission to build her own Viking Legend, and when her brother starts spending time with some sketchy people, it gives her the chance to check a few things off her THINGS LEGENDS NEED list.

Overall thoughts: The book, while a page-turner, was potentially problematic. This isn't an #ownvoices story, which made it a bit more difficult to appreciate than I excepted. There are some unnecessary slurs, which stole away from the story, and the sex seemed aggressive and unconsensual at times. There was also a bit I enjoyed about the novel - particularly the unique perspective of the protagonist/narrator. Full review here.

Songbirds and Stray Dogs* by Meagan Lucas ★★★★★

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with a main character in their 20s (advanced)

Brief synopsis: Jolene was left on her aunt's doorstep when she was eight. Addict mother, unknown father. Jolene fought her to win the love of her extremely Christian, tough-love aunt. At 21, unintentionally pregnant, Jolene loses her boyfriend, her job, and her home. Kicked out with nowhere to go, she leaves town alongside a kind gentleman. Her new town provides a place where she must recognize the kindness of strangers so she can overcome the burdens of her own past.

Overall thoughts: Wow, this book was good. I loved the setting, I truly connected with the characters, and there was just enough mystery to keep me intrigued. This book was beautifully written, with a poetic mix of heartbreak and uplift. Full review here.

What did you read in January?

* denotes book was received free in exchange of an honest review. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own. 

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