Booked Out [January 2021]

How was your month in books? Which book was your favorite? Did you participate in any reading events? Work on any of your reading challenges? Here’s a look at what we’ve read this month.

+ KIM +

January turned out to be an amazing month for books! I read 16 books and finished all three prompts for our 3 reading challenges. I finished Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse from our list of Best Books of 2020 We Missed. 

The best book I read this month was probably Red, White, & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston. This is saying a lot because I rarely read contemporary romance books. I read this one for the Book Award Reading Challenge. It won an Alex Award in 2020. Can I just say I adored it?!! Seriously loved every second of it. Laughed, cried, all the emotions. The underlining subject of politics was timely and I appreciated reading something full of hope on that front.

Truthfully, I loved everything I read this month…

  • The Midnight Library, Matt Haig. A woman commits suicide and finds herself in a library where each book represents a different version of her life. She chooses and experiences several of these lives trying to decide if she really wants to live or not.
  • Bluecrowne, Kate Milford. This is the 3rd book in the Greenglass House series. In this book we head back in time to the houses first occupants. Sea loving young Lucy finds herself wrapped up in some magical and very sinister happenings. I loved this addition to the series.
  • Before the Ever After, Jacqueline Woodson. A middle grade book from the perspective of a young boy who’s father has a brain injury from playing professional football. It’s written in verse and very sad.
  • Anxious People, Fredrik Backman. I listened to this on audio and I’m so glad I did. It’s about a group of random people being held hostage during an apartment viewing. Over the course of the day, they learn about each other, form unlikely alliances, and learn about the themselves in the process.
Anxious People
  • Teen Titans: Raven Girl & Beast Boy, Kami Garcia. I picked up both of these comics about teens who find out they have unusual abilities. I suspect the next in the series will bring them together in some way.
  • Heartstopper 1 & 2, Alice Oseman. Again, two comics that I read for a little interlude. They follow gay teen student Charlie and popular straight? student Nick. They form a friendship and Nick realizes he may not be straight after all. These are adorably cute and heartwarming.
  • The Wife Upstairs, Rachel Hawkins. Suburban murder mystery with a couple of strange twists. I enjoyed this one even if I didn’t find it at all believable.
  • Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse. I saw a review that said nothing much happens in this one. It’s true but that didn’t stop me from loving it. There’s just a lot of character development and world building (which I happen to love) and only a couple of ‘action’ moments. I plan to read on in the series.
  • The End of Everything, Katie Mack. Written by an astrophysicist using a bit of sarcasm and humor, this book explores the five most plausible ways in which our Earth will finally meet its demise.
  • The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis, Christiana Figueres. Written by the organizer of the 2015 Paris Agreement, an international climate treaty, this book discusses the current attitudes toward climate change and paints a picture of what our world could look like by 2050 if we don’t take it seriously as well as what it could look like if we take immediate action.
  • The Girl in the Tower, Katherine Arden. The 2nd book in the Winternight Trilogy, and I loved it just as much as the first. Russian folklore is so magical and Vasya is such a fierce character.
  • Punching the Air, Ibi Zoboi. Written in verse, this book follows a teen boy who is committed of aggravated assault and sent to a juvenile detention center. It highlights the many ways that racism continues to destroy our already broken justice system.
  • Across the Green Grass Fields, Seanan McGuire. Part of the Wayward Children series, this book follows an intersex ten year old Regan who falls through a door in the woods and finds herself in the Hooflands. A magical land inhabited by all kinds of hoofed creatures including Centaurs and Unicorns. Enjoyed it but it’s not my favorite from the series.


I read 10 books this month all were pretty good – and completed the January prompts for our 3 reading challenges. I’m also doing The 2021 SFF Badge Collection Challenge and collected the Africa badge for Remote Control, Nnedi Okorafor (one of the books on our 2021 New Releases on Our Radar – Part 1 list) – The Big Battle and The Animal Companion badges for the 2 books in the Clocktaur War series by T. Kingfisher and The Epic Fantasy Badge for A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas – which happened to be my favorite read of the month.

It’s the 3rd year in a row that my fave read for January is a fantasy (previous faves were Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik and The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden). A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas was giving me Beauty and the Beast + Cinderella vibes … but yes, like the other 500,000+ people who’ve left ratings on Goodreads, the hype is real! Magic and cursed faerie lands … and by now we should all know that modern faeries are tricky monsters … that we can’t help but love.

How Beautiful We Were

Another very different book which really made an impression on me is How Beautiful We Were, Imbolo Mbue. It doesn’t get released until March – but gosh this book! It’s unforgettable, sad and heartbreaking. Its the story of how oil pipelines running through the fictional village of Kosawa and it’s people … the oil spills destroying their farms, the toxic waste being dumped in their river, the gas flares, the mysterious illness killing their children. It’s told from the point of view of several different people impacted – but I think what broke me was when Thula’s grandma was reminiscing towards the end of her life about how this oil crisis wasn’t the first and probably won’t be the last – she remembered escapees from neighboring village coming with stories of people being snatched and sold and also the rubber plantations coming and taking the young men from the villages.

The other books I read this month – with 1 sentence reviews …

  • Snow White and Rose Red, Ed McBain. A solid mystery novel – not outstanding, but it’s fast paced and will keep you reading until the end.
  • A House at the Bottom of a Lake, Josh Malerman. This is more of an atmospheric type horror novella, where something bad could happen at any minute – and I felt the anticipation building right up to the WTF ending.
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie Sherman. An important story about growing up on an Indian reservation but looking at it through the eyes of a teenage boy who has to come to grips with wanting more than the reservation can provide and finding his place in a “white” world outside the reservation.
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, Mark Manson. I much preferred the first third of it – which is the part that actually discussed what not to – and what to – give a fuck about in order to conserve your precious emotional energy.
  • We Need to Hang Out: A Memoir of Making Friends, Billy Baker. Interesting look on male friendships and how it’s de-prioritized as guys get older, resulting in loneliness being “an underappreciated public health threat” – and what the author did about it after writing a viral article for the Boston Globe.

What was your favorite book read this month? Are you doing any reading challenges? How many?


// Comments //

  1. Helen Murdoch

    Jan 31

    Great months of reading! I also adored Red, White, and Royal Blue. Alexi’s and Ziboi’s books were also fantastic and I’m looking forward to reading Anxious People.

  2. Gilda

    Jan 29

    “Anxious People” and “The Future We Choose,” both sound interesting. I’ll probably pick up both. And I very much agree with your take of “A House at the Bottom of a Lake.” Having really enjoyed some of the author’s other books, this was a real disappointment.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Jan 29

      @Gilda you will absolutely love Anxious People!