January, from a blogging perspective, did not feel like January – because I was mostly scheduling posts in February and even March. This was a combination of carry-over titles from December taking up January slots, non-review posts, many many many e/ARCs needing slots near release (pushing my non-e/ARC reviews later), and some “bind-up posts” taken from misc posts. I honestly hope this calms down soon as it really does play with my head scheduling that far ahead (and makes me feel even more behind on eARCs, which is currently 50 I think?!)
It also doesn’t help/hurt that I read a lot of books this month. I had exams in the second full week, so there was a far amount of stress reading in the lead up! I am pleasantly surprised with how many new releases I read (~40%) because I was expecting to spend most of the month playing catch up with 2021 (I still am! I suspect it will be April earliest before I’ve read those titles.) But, then again, most of the new releases were e/ARCs.
Best New Release
CASTLES IN THEIR BONES, by Laura Sebastian, is the start of a new trilogy about triplets raised to infiltrate neighbouring kingdoms through marriage – then bring them to the ground, ready for their mother to conquer. But their loyalties are tested as secrets come to light and they come to know the lands they’re sent to.
I really enjoyed this twisty book, full of schemes within schemes and a continent that could be at the sisters’ feet – if only their mother played fair. Betrayal, lies, and choosing your own path are all to be found in this chonky series starter.
Best Backlist Read
LITTLE THIEVES, by Margaret Owen, is a very different retelling of the Goose Girl fairy tale, focusing on the one who does the identity stealing (rather than the one whose identity is stolen.) Only she’s been cursed and has investigators on her heels. It was originally a standalone but has since had a sequel added.
I loved the voice in this book, as well as all the mischief. Plus it’s lead (and her love interest) are both demi-sexual and I loved seeing them slowly fall in love, and then panic when they did. It’s so nice to see aroacespec rep getting more page time!
Most Surprising Read
I have real difficulty with reading the classics, mostly because of how they were taught at school (aka ruined reading them.) It’s this big mental block where I freeze whenever I have to read them. When I heard about Barrington Stoke’s classics retold (the UK’s specialist publisher of books for dyslexic and reluctant readers), I thought I’d give them a go.
I flew through JANE EYRE, retold by Tanya Landman. I had read this at school, so I knew the basic story, and was so impressed by how the story was presented with every chapter included but condensed and made so much more readable. The core is there, just presented in a way that makes it so much easier to read (and really pulls out the gothic elements.)
Best UK-Authored Book
HARLEY HITCH AND THE MISSING MOON, by Vashti Hardy, is the second instalment in her STEM-heavy lower middle grade series. (It’s also the only book on this list whose review is live – scheduling has been so weird this month!)
The circus has come to town, and they have a vanishing cabinet. When Harley has a closer look, she accidentally breaks it – and then the moon goes missing. Soon other objects are missing and the world is getting out of sorts. Can Harley find out what’s happened before it’s too late?
DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS, by Sue Lynn Tan, is a gorgeous start to a fantasy duology that reimagines Chinese mythology. To free her mother, the moon goddess, Xingyin hides her identity and trains alongside the crown prince, the son of the people who imprisoned her mother. She soon finds herself tangled in various upheavals and with a growing attraction to the prince.
This was such a beautifully written book, with lush descriptions that stitched together a world of strange creatures and embattled love. It works pretty much as a standalone, save for the final chapter, so it’s very satisfying to read even without the sequel.
Most Anticipated February Release
I have two books this month I am super excited for, and cannot pick between them!
RIVALS ON THE TRACK, by Annelise Gray, is the second book in this historical middle grade Circus Maximus series. It follows a young girl, Dido, in Ancient Rome and her racing adventures as she is forced to flee after her father’s murder and then comes back for answers, revenge, and her beloved horse.
I adored the first book, RACE TO THE DEATH, last year and am so excited for this follow up that sees her fleeing from the corrupt emperor Caligula who was responsible for her father’s death. She can flee, or she can turn and fight.
A RIVER ENCHANTED, by Rebecca Ross, is her adult fantasy debut. I have loved her YA books so far (and the next one looks amazing too but that’s 2023!), and so I’m really excited to see what she writes as she ventures into the adult space.
This is a Scottish-inspired duology-starter about an isle of magic split between two rival clans where young girls are going missing – and it doesn’t seem to be the fault of either side. To save their home, childhood enemies must team up if they’re to discover what’s really happening.
What was your January like?
2 thoughts on “January 2022 Round-Up”
What a great month of reading! I’ve been meaning to check out that Jane Eyre retelling—it’s good to hear you enjoyed it.
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I hope you get around to reading it soon!