2020 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge [January Check-In]

Here we go again with the Monthly Motif Reading Challenge 2020. Each month we’ll be publishing a check in post like this to help keep you on track and to give you a few book suggestions that fit the months motif/theme. Our theme in January is:


“Read a book set in a truly wonderful place-somewhere beautiful, somewhere with a rich culture, or even a magical realm.”

Our recommendation …

Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Set in Prague, the imagery in this novel is absolutely stunning. The art scene and Prague are so vividly described that it will completely mesmerize you. But there’s another magical World – one where the Seraphim and Chimera exist and a war is raging between the two. Daughter of Smoke & Bone is an exceptional story of magic, forbidden love, hope and battles.

Karou is a 17-year old art student. She lives in Prague, paints and goes to school. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.


  • Your task is to read at least 1 book for this theme
  • Post about what you’ve read anywhere online – your blog, Goodreads and / or social media using the hashtag #MonthlyMotifGXO
  • Come back to our check-in here in the comments leave a link and/or tell us which book(s) you read and what you thought.

… so what are you reading this month?!


// Comments //

  1. Elizabeth B.

    Feb 19

    For January, I read Madeline Miller’s “Circe”. An amazing read set in ancient, mythical Greece.

  2. Scarlett

    Feb 07

    Last month I read “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah. It wasn’t my favorite of her books and I found it overly long and slow, but the ending was fantastic and made it all worth it.

  3. Jyothi Nair

    Feb 03

    I read A Week in Winter By Maeve Binchy.

    My Review is here: https://mybucketlistdiary.com/a-week-in-winter-by-maeve-binchy/

  4. I read The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner. It was a really interesting mix of a retelling of Christina Rosetti’s The Goblin Market, Jewish history, Russian & Ukrainian Folklore in a historical fantasy setting. Also interesting because the perspectives are alternating between two sisters – one told in regular prose and one in poetry. https://msnoseinabook.com/2020/01/10/book-reviewthe-sisters-of-the-winter-wood-by-rena-rossner/

  5. I read a book set in beautiful Ireland, a place I’d like to visit some day. I wish The Death of a Joyce Scholar by Bartholomew Gill had been as beautiful a book….

    I don’t have my review posted yet on my blog (I have other reviews that need to go up first), so I have linked my Goodreads review.

  6. Alana

    Jan 30

    I went fantasy for January’s motif and read The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson!

  7. Dorothy

    Jan 22

    For January I just read The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

  8. elflocks

    Jan 21

    I read From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón, set in Iceland, with magic, or ideas of magic, floating around. But though there is ice, beauty, and wonder, it’s not always of the happy, cozy sort! Good read, though!

  9. SuziQoregon

    Jan 15

    I focused on the Wonderland part and read a book set in a place with magic and magical creatures
    Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde

  10. Tanya Patrice

    Jan 12

    Just finished The Bear and The Nightingale (notes on Goodreads). Loved it – first 5 star read of the year.

  11. Cinzia

    Jan 05

    p.s. Colleen, not Collee 😉

  12. Cinzia

    Jan 05

    For January, I read “The white Christmas inn” by Collee Wright

    • @Cinzia Such a fun read for this time of year!

  13. Elizabeth B.

    Feb 19

    My review of January’s read, “Circe” by Madeline Miller: https://suojurelife.home.blog/2020/02/19/circe-by-madeline-miller-a-review/

// Trackbacks & Pingbacks //

  1. […] The reading order of these books was chosen using Girl XOXO’s three reading challenges: Monthly Motif, Monthly Keyword, and Monthly Book Award. I’m not actively participating in those particular […]

  2. […] read Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival, Bernd Heinrich for the January Monthly Motif Challenge, and learned so much! For the Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge I read This is How You Lose the […]

  3. […] JANUARY-  Winter Wonderland […]

  4. […] The reading order of these books was chosen using Girl XOXO’s three reading challenges: Monthly Motif, Monthly Keyword, and Monthly Book Award. I’m not actively participating in those particular […]