Every Book I’ve read in January

Every Book I’ve read in January

Hello my wonderful bookworms! It feels like it was just yesterday that we were enjoying Christmas Dinner and complaining about another year ruined by COVID and now January has already come to an end. Can we please make time slow down? How am I ever going to get through my TBR before I die? Okay, let’s not go there. January is already depressing enough.

Anyway, January has been a good reading month for me. I set a goal for 75 books this year and I’m already slightly ahead. I like to be a little bit ahead so that I don’t have to stress about finding the time to read. I’ve read a total of 9 books in January and these are all of them:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My very first book of the year. A young shepherd goes looking for a treasure and his purpose in life. Short, sweet and a little disappointing at times. The writing was just fine, but I just didn’t always agree with the themes. Also, I really disliked the ending. Literally any ending would’ve been better. The book kind of gets you thinking, but since I didn’t much agree with the themes, I didn’t take much away from it. If you have this on your TBR, you can leave it there, for it is interesting and relatively short and easy to read, but don’t move it up on my account. If the themes speak to you, read it. Otherwise, it’s not worth your time. It counts towards your reading goal, though..

The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Heartbreaking, intriguing at times, but also very slow and occasionally dull. I liked, but not loved, this book. It peaks very early and I kept waiting for more, but it didn’t really come. Parts of the story were really heartbreaking and I noticed myself holding my breath while reading those, but most of the time I was just struggling through, waiting for something to happen. I linked a full review in the title and down below, including a summary of the story.

The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan (The Trials of Apollo #3

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The third part of the Trials of Apollo series, where the Greek God Apollo is punished by Zeus and sent to earth in the body of a mortal. Apollo is now 16-year-old Lester Papadopoulos, complete with acne and love handles. He is to stay on earth with 12-year-old Meg McCaffrey as his master until he has fulfilled his punishment. The books are set in the same world as Percy Jackson, so there are a lot of familiar faces.

I read the first two books in the series last year and since I made a New Year’s Resolution to finally finish some of the series I’ve started, I figured I’d start with this one. In The Burning Maze, Meg, Apollo and Rover (yes, Rover from the Percy Jackson series) have to find their way through the Labyrinth to rescue the next oracle in order to stop the emperors from taking over the world.

The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan (The Trials of Apollo #4

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The fourth book in the Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan. Meg and Apollo set off from Camp Halfblood to Camp Jupiter, in the San Fransisco Bay Area. Camp Jupiter is the home of demigods that descend from the Roman Gods. The camp will be under attack soon and Apollo needs to find a way to defeat their enemies. That’s as much as I can say without spoiling anything. I loved this book. That’s all I will say.

Chess for Dummies by James Eade

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I started reading this Ebook AGES ago when I started to play chess with my boyfriend. I was a terrible chess player and he is actually pretty good, so I wanted to get on his level (or at least nearer to his level) so it would actually be fun for both parties. So I decided to do what I do best: read! Well, I owe mister Eade a great big thanks, because shortly after I finished this book, I won my very first chess game from my boyfriend, something I had never deemed possible. All kidding aside, the Dummies series is actually an amazing series to get into a certain subject with no prior knowledge. The book stays on the surface, but it gives you that push that gets you on a certain level. From there you can decide if you want to learn more. Chess for Dummies was very helpful to me! Now on to grand-mastery!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (reread)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really hope I don’t need to explain the plot to you anymore. I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in January for my Rereading Harry Potter series of posts that will continue throughout the next couple of months. I absolutely loved rereading it. There were so many details that I had completely forgotten about and I loved meeting familiar characters for the first time again. It was just perfect. I linked the whole Rereading Harry Potter series so far in the book title. Check it out if you’re interested.

The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan (The Trials of Apollo #5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The fifth and final part of the Trials of Apollo series. Weirdly enough, this was actually my least favourite of the three Trials of Apollo books that I read this month. I loved the final battle, which covers about half of the book, but the first half was a little annoying, if you ask me. Apollo and his companions go underground to look for the Troglodytes, a weird lizard-people who wear hats and eat other lizards, but also pretty much everything that moves. I guess the Troglodytes were amusing enough, but also a little too weird for me. The ending was epic, though, and a little emotional. Still definitely worth the read.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Without a doubt my favourite read for this month. Honestly, it was so much better than I had expected. I was a little afraid that it was overhyped when I read it, but it really isn’t. The story is completely fictional of course, but I hope with all my heart that one day we will have a female president and she will have a bisexual son who falls in love with the queer Prince of Wales. Until then, I will just have to keep rereading this book on repeat. Full review is coming somewhere in the next week. Stay tuned 😉

Elevation by Stephen King

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Definitely the winner of the most-disappointing-January-read award. I had such high hopes for my very first Stephen King book, but alas. It wasn’t meant to be. Elevation is short, which is why I picked it as my first Stephen King book, but perhaps a little TOO short and frankly, it seemed a little rushed. I linked the full review in the title and down below.

I’m currently reading The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Adhieh, The Gifts of Reading by Robert Macfarlane and of course Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Stay tuned for updates and reviews on those! As always, thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you soon with more reviews, book recommendations and Harry Potter reading updates!

The Alchemist review: https://caffeineandcurlsbookblog.com/2022/01/07/the-alchemist-by-paulo-coelho/

The Comfort of Others review: https://caffeineandcurlsbookblog.com/2022/01/14/the-comfort-of-others-by-kay-langdale/

Rereading Harry Potter: https://caffeineandcurlsbookblog.com/category/harry-potter/harry-potter-reread/

Elevation review: https://caffeineandcurlsbookblog.com/2022/02/01/elevation-by-stephen-king-book-review/

14 Short Reads to get Ahead of Your Reading Goal

14 Short Reads to get Ahead of Your Reading Goal

Hello my lovely fellow bookworms! I don’t know about you, but I always love setting myself a reading goal for the year. I’m kind of an all or nothing kinda gal, so I have always struggled with forming habits, but I feel like having a reading goal helps me with that. The downside of having a reading goal, though, is that it can be a source of stress whenever I’m behind or on track. My favourite place to be is just a couple of books ahead. Right now I’m at 6 books out of 75 for 2022, which is 3 books ahead of schedule. My approach for this year was to start off with some short reads. This way, I would be ahead right away and I wouldn’t experience any stress. This also creates some space for a potential reading slump or to fit in some big books that take a little longer to get through (Stephen King is on my TBR this year). Here are 14 short reads to get ahead of your reading goal (or catch up if you’re already behind) and experience a stress-free year of reading!

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (226 pages)

My first read of the year for 2022 for this exact reason. I wasn’t blown away, but it was enjoyable enough to make this list.

2. We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (64 pages)

Short, but informative. You get ahead of your reading goal ánd you learn about feminism. What more could you possibly want? Plus, she has written many more books, so if you like this, there’s more where that came from.

3. For the Harry Potter fans:

If you haven’t read them yet, try reading Quidditch Through the Ages (105 pages), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (128 pages), The Tales of Beedle the Bard (109 pages) and the Pottermore Presents series (3 short ebooks with short stories from Hogwarts).

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (213 pages)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is not actually one of my favourites. My guess is that I may have just been too young to understand the book, since I was about 13 or so and English is not my first language. Since everyone seems to love this book with all their hearts, I’ll probably give it another shot one of these days and I suppose that earns it a place on this list.

5. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (155 pages)

Shakespeare is not the easiest writer to read, of course. Though the plus side of reading Shakespeare is that his plays are always between about 100 pages and 200 pages long. So if you’re into reading plays, poetry or classics like Jane Austen, this would make a pretty good read to get ahead of your reading goal. Since you probably already know the story of Romeo and Juliet, it will be easier to get through than most of Shakespeare’s other plays.

6. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (96 pages)

This book is so cute and so educational at the same time. It was written by the French pilot Saint-Exupéry in 1943 as a kind of modern fairytale. The pilot died a year later after being shot down by a German pilot. The Little Prince was the last book he ever published. Most editions of The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) are illustrated and it’s a great read for both children and adults.

7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (201 pages)

This book absolutely broke my heart. The plot is so incredibly well thought of and beautifully executed. Definitely worth a read if you like getting your heart ripped out and stomped on. I would recommend this even if you’re not looking for a short read in particular.

8. Animal Farm by George Orwell (141 pages)

Easily one of my favourite classics. I say easily, because I haven’t read that many, so there are not a lot to choose from. Nevertheless, even if there were, this would probably still be one of my favourites. The fact that it’s relatively short probably has something to do with it. I love classics, but not for 600 pages straight. That’s just too much. This one is short and sweet and understandable. I would recommend doing a little bit of research on it before reading, though. That way you might better understand what Orwell is trying to say with his book.

9. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan (211 pages)

I loved this one. It’s romantic poetry that is told through words from a dictionary. This way the story is not told chronologically, but through short entries, mixed up and put in alphabetical order.

10. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod (172 pages)

I read this book a while ago on my Ipad. If you’re more into the nonfictional/self help books and/or you’ve set some New Year’s Resolutions for 2022, I would recommend this book. Even if you’re not planning on getting up at 5 A.M. every day like Hal Elrod, he still has some great tips and tricks to make the most of your day. And all that in just 172 pages.

11. The Millstone by Margaret Drabble (172 pages)

I remember reading this book when I was about 15 years old. The book was published in 1965 and it’s about a young (unmarried) academic who gets pregnant after a one-night stand. She considers an abortion at first, but in the end she decides to keep the baby and raise it by herself. Not exactly a light read, but definitely one that leaves an impression and it’s only 172 pages. (TW: Abortion)

12. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (206 pages)

What I wouldn’t give to be able to read the Narnia series again for the first time. This book is absolutely magical. If you haven’t read it yet, this is your sign. We named our family cat Aslan because of this book. You could choose to watch the movies of course, but there are only three movies and the series contains of 7 books, so.. You’d be missing out.

13. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (226 pages)

A true tearjerker. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll love the book. I know this is a cliché, but the book is actually better than the movie. Just rip my heart out, why don’t you.

14. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (200 pages)

One of the classics that appears on every list, so naturally this one can’t be an exception. It’s relatively short, the story is amazing and it’s a classic to scratch off your list.

That’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed this list of short reads to get ahead of your reading goal. If you have any additions to this list, let me know.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

  • Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Ebook
  • 226 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 3.89

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hi fellow bookworms! I’m back with a review for the very first book I read in 2022: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I had a hard time choosing the first book of the year, but I eventually settled on this one, because it is relatively short and when someone asks what your first book of the year was, you can say: “Oh just The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, why?”. So, there’s that.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I was a little bit disappointed with the book (hence the 3-star rating). My expectations were pretty high because of the good ratings and all the praise on Bookstagram and Booktok, but it kind of let me down. Funny thing is, now that I take a closer look at some other reviews of this book, the keyword there is “underwhelmed”. So I guess I’m not alone in my disappointment.

First of all, the main character, Santiago, is constantly referred to as “the boy”, but at no point in the book do you have any idea how old he is. This may be a tiny detail, but if you say “boy”, I may think he’s like 7 years old at first. But then suddenly that 7-year-old says he wants to marry the merchant’s daughter next year and you figure, okay I guess he’s probably a little older than I’ve been picturing him. If I’m constantly trying to figure out how old the main character is, I’m not paying attention to the story.

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The other thing that bothered me, is the circumstances around the search for Santiago’s destiny. I mean, I love a good story about someone trying to find their destiny and eventually finding it, but in this case the destiny was basically just getting rich. So I guess this a religious self-help book written by a capitalist? Also, the boy is constantly told that all that matters is fulfilling his destiny and as long as he does that, everything will magically fall into place. Except, he forgets that he is trying to fulfil a destiny like every 10 seconds. Most of the book he’s just doing his thing in a crystal shop, making a lot of money and thinking of ways to make even more money.

I really liked learning new things about the Islam, like how the Quran dictates that you should always feed a hungry person. I love how the book paints the Islam in such a positive light. The world needs more books that show how beautiful Islam can be.

All in all, The Alchemist was alright. It had some beautiful quotes and some life lessons to remember every now and then, but also a lot of life lessons you should forget as soon as possible. If all you have to do to get something, is to want it bad enough, I would be married to Ryan Reynolds right now. Also, without spoiling anything, the ending to the story was really frustrating…

,

My 2022 TBR

My 2022 TBR

The last few days of 2021 went by SO fast, I hardly even had time to blink. It’s the dark magic of those final few days between Christmas and New Year’s where you’re not sure what day it is and you enter some kind of existential crisis that you don’t really snap out of until you’re a few days into the new year and you’re suddenly already behind on EVERYTHING. Well, it’s the 5th of January today and I’m suddenly behind on everything, like this post. Anyway, I was planning to get a jump on things and make sure my reading in 2022 isn’t endangered by a chaotic, rocky start. So I decided to make a list of some books I would really like to read in 2022 that have either been at the top of my TBR pile for months, have scared me because of their intimidating number of pages or books that are still relatively new and that I want to read before they lose their momentum. Even though I didn’t get a chance to finish this post before New Year’s (or in the few days after), I did actually have a flying start reading wise. So anyway, let’s get cracking. These are the books I hope to read in 2022:

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I bought this book a few weeks ago because I’ve been hearing so many good things about it. It’s much smaller than I’d thought, so it might be one of the first books I will read next year, to get that zero out of the way. (I wrote this before NYE and I can now tell you, this was indeed my first book of the year. Review coming soon.)

  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I have a new year’s resolution to pick up a few classics next year. This seems like a good classic to start overcoming my fear of classics, since it’s one of the shorter ones.

  • The Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze(#3), The Tyrant’s Tomb (#4) and The Tower of Nero (#5) by Rick Riordan

I read the first two books in this series, The Hidden Oracle (#1) and The Dark Prophecy (#2) in early 2021. I absolutely loved these books, which is why I bought the rest of the series too. I just haven’t really gotten around to reading them, so I hope 2022 is the year I will finally learn to finish series I start!

  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King

Stephen King is one of those authors that I would really like to read, but that I’m very intimidated by, considering most of his books are so thick they could probably be used as a murder weapon. A while back I came across a summary of this book though and I was so curious I bought it immediately (it involves the murder of JFK, time travel and I think someone falls in love with a history teacher). It’s still over 700 pages, so wish me luck.

  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

I read Shadow and Bone and Ruin and Rising in 2021. The first book was amazing, the second one was pretty good too, but it didn’t hold my attention as much as I’d hoped, which is why I have been reluctant to finish the series. I desperately want to know how it ends though, so I hope to pick up Ruin and Rising soon!

  • The Harry Potter series (reread 1-7) by J.K. Rowling

If you’ve been following my posts, you may know that I’m doing a reread of Harry Potter as “adult” starting next week. So naturally, The Harry Potter series should be on my list for 2022.

  • Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston

Mostly just following the hype on this one. I loved the cover for this one and I love that LGBTQ+ books are getting more and more popular, so count me in. I was going to read this as a buddy read, starting last Sunday, but I decided I wasn’t really in the mood for this one yet, so I’m postponing it a little.

  • The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

The first book in this series was amazing. All over the place and very confusing, but amazing. I read it late last year and I’ve wanted to read on ever since, but the next two books are sold out everywhere. Let’s just hope they’ll be back in stock soon.

  • The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

The opinions on this series are divided, but I personally kind of liked the first book, so I’m willing to give the rest of the series a shot. It’s 3 more books (4 total) and 3 novellas, so we’ll see how far we can get before the end of the year.. This series is definitely not my priority, though.

  • And Then there were None by Agatha Christie

2021 was the year I really started to get into Agatha Christie novels. I would really like to read more of them in the future, starting with 2022 of course. And Then There Were None is supposed to be THE best Agatha Christie novel, so that one just had to go on my 2022 TBR.

Do you have any books you’re really hoping to read in 2022? Or any New Year’s resolutions about your reading habits? Let me know in the comments!

,