Saturday, February 1, 2014

January Reads 2014

I was writing yesterday’s post when I realised that it was the last day in January! So I decided seeing as I was on a roll, I’d continue on and do my January Reads list. I managed to get 10 books finished this month. Probably would have been 11 if I put the gas down on reading one particular book but even though I’m almost finished it, I just not inspired to pick it up right now. I will finish it though, no worries there!

January Reads

Bizarre London: Discover the Capital’s Secrets and Disguises by David Long


I bought this on Amazon during a big Kindle sale. I was delighted, as I had debated days earlier buying this in the airport for much, much more money. I like fact books like this about London, they’re always fun and I always learn something new. Like the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, which is situated off the Strand, belongs not to London Diocese but to the Queen herself. It’s her own personal church. And that the Eros statue at Piccadilly depicts not Eros but his brother Anteros, the Greek god of requited love.


Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger


I bought this book back in the summer thanks to the suggestion from Brandy over at The H House but never got around to it til now. It’s set in Victorian times and has a steampunk vibe to it, which is great. Sophronia is driving her mother crazy with her unlady like behavior, so she decides to send her to a finishing school. However, this is no ordinary finishing school. For one, it floats! It’s set in a giant floating airship. Also, while the girls do learn how to finish properly and all that comes with that, it is also a school for espionage and the girls there learn how to spy and kill, all while being ladylike of course. With vampires and werewolves being characters in this world, there’s an added bit of fantasy. It’s a light quick Young Adult book, nothing too serious but definitely fun!

Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements


I picked this up during the summer for under £2 and while I definitely should have read it then, it was nice to have something summery to read during winter! Imogen and Anna unexpectedly inherit their grandmother’s run down Brighton ice cream shop and decide to try jazz it up and make it a success again. The book follows their summer of ups and downs, along with their family, love life and other problems. It’s fairly predictable but it didn’t make me enjoy it any less. I could imagine how to place looked and longed to visit (ok own) somewhere like that!

Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

penumbra cover

My brother kindly got me this book for my birthday last year, I just love the cover. The book is about Clay, who gets a job on the late night shift at Mr Penumbra’s, a strange book store where there are very few customers and the ones who do come in during the night shift are strange and only ever borrow strange, dusty books. Clay gets curious about what are inside these books and decides to investigate. This book is a mixture of old school books and new technology and computers and features Google. It was definitely fun and definitely something new. It kept my attention and is well worth a read.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Despite being one of the most popular YA books, both the Irish libraries I used to go to and the English libraries I go to now don’t have this. It baffles me! So I caved and got the e-book. Cath and Wren are twins and big Simon Snow fans. And I mean big! They love the books, the films, hanging out on Simon Snow forums and writing Simon Snow fanfic. However when it’s time to move to college, Wren decides she doesn’t want to room with Cath. So Cath is left to room with a stranger and must watch her sister make a new best friend. Cath decides to throw herself in writing more Simon Snow fanfic and avoiding the world. However, Cath finds her world changing due to her roommate and her smiley boyfriend, worrying about her dad and getting close to one of her fiction writing classmates. Life becomes for complicated for Cath, who most try to deal with all this without the help of her sister. I found this book charming, I really liked it! I liked seeing Cath’s growth throughout the book and the Harry Potter doppelganger world (Simon Snow) really tickled me.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins


Another really popular YA book yet the only copy I could find in the library was in Polish. Anna’s father has decided to ship Anna off to an American school in Paris for her final year, something Anna is not too impressed about. However, she slowly warms up to Paris, thanks to all the cinemas showing older films, the charms of the city and a certain Etienne St.Clair, who she finds herself falling for despite his long term girlfriend. It’s a very cute romantic YA book that I really enjoyed and could see myself reading in the future when I want something quick, fun and romantic. It definitely lived up to the hype for me.

Drunk Tank Pink by Adam Alter


After reading so much fiction, I needed a nonfiction break! So I picked up this book, which I’ve had since September (sensing a theme here?). It’s about how the subconscious and subtle cues in our lives shape how we think. The title comes from a shade a pink that was found to make people calmer, first discovered after painting a cell in a jail pink and studying the effects it had on criminals. In fact, that story is the reason my mother chose a dusky rose colour for my bedroom growing up, she thought it would have a calming influence over me and my sister sharing a room!

Move Along, Please: Land’s End to John O’ Groats by Local Bus by Mark Mason


I read Mason’s other book, Walk the Lines, about walking the London Underground lines overground back in October and I liked it so much I decided to give this one a go. It didn’t disappoint, it was both interesting and funny, I found myself laughing out loud at points. The title is pretty self explanitory. Mason decides to make the famous Land’s End to John O’Groats trip using only local buses, going from one bus to the next. We hear about all the towns and cities he passes through as he makes his way along as well as people watching, seeing the locals go about their business. I hope he does another travel book as I’m really enjoying these and the fact that they’re set in UK.

The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster


Still on a nonfiction kick! I decided to read this to break up the other nonfiction book I started after Move Along, Please. It’s the latest memoir from Jen Lancaster, who’s decided that she needs to try get back on track with herself after a rough year and who better to emulate but Martha Stewart. In the book, Lancaster decides to take on projects like organization, cooking, crafting, decorating and gardening with the guidance of Martha. There’s a lot about Jen’s pets in this book, which as I’m not an animal fanatic I wasn’t too crazy by how much mention they get but I did shed a tear when her beloved pit bull Maisy passed away (I’m not a monster!). This book had a slightly different feel to her other memoirs, probably because there’s no footnotes (which I missed) and added photos (which I liked). I did like the book, I enjoy Lancaster’s style of writing and find myself chuckling along in places.

Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Garriger


The next book in The Finishing School series, following Sophronia at the Finishing and Espionage school abroad an airship. More lessons on how to act the lady and more lessons on how to be a better spy! I enjoyed this one as well, I like the steampunky vibe to the series and the idea of looking like a proper lady but being badass at the same time. I’m looking forward to the next book, which should be out later this year, so it’ll go on the list of books I’m anticipating the release of, like these other ones listed in a previous post.

January Stats

Number of Books Read- 10
Ratio Fiction to non-fiction- 6:4
Books borrowed from library- 1
Number of eBooks- 5
Number of books from Reading Resolutions- 1 (I read 4 books I already owned before 2014)

And that’s it! I have a few in mind for next month, some I have out from the library and some other YA books I’ve been wanting to read (they’re like my reading version of comfort food!). I will also get a start on reading more diversely next month, I have a few authors and books in mind. And I also want to read at least one Irish author I haven’t read before, in the build up to Paddy’s Day! Do suggest your favourite Irish authors and books build and I might check them out.


  1. I'm so inspired by how much you manage to read! Whenever I see you on Goodreads I'm always impressed.

    I just finished Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore myself, for a book club I'm in. I'm with you. It's something different. I didn't love love love it, but I certainly enjoyed it.

    (Also, please know I'm cackling to myself over here about your mother painting your room pink so you and your sister would share your room more placidly!)

    1. Thanks Martine! I've just got a lot of times on my hands at the moment, I didn't think I'd be so far into my challenge this year (25-30) books. I intentionally set it low for my Reading Resolutions this year because I felt under such pressure to hit 100 by the end of the last year and while I can read fast, I was getting a bit jaded by trying to maintain I hit that target, especially since September I read 5 and October I read 3 and it really took me off schedule. While I'll probably amp up my target again if (ok when!) I hit it, I'll do it in low increments!

      Yes, Mr Penumbra's was definitely different. While I did really enjoy it (and gave it 4 stars on GR), I'm the same as you, in that I didn't love it so much that it's something I'd want to reread, you know? I do think it's worth a read because the idea is so different and fun.

      And oh boy, I was SO unhappy to have a pink room growing up! I wasn't the biggest fan of pink. But I distinctly remember my Mum saying that it was going to be pink because it had a calming influence. Whether or not she'd remember that now if I mentioned it to her, I don't know. One Halloween she rented a VHS of The Goonies saying it was a good film. Fast forward several years later, I bought it on DVD, came home and was like 'Look what I got?!'. She didn't have a notion what I was on about and maintains that she's never seen it before!


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