What I Read in January 2018

This year, I had the idea to post each month about what I read and what I thought about each book. It’s a little easier to manage than full-on book reviews, so I’ll try it out and see how it goes!

In January, I read six books! I’m ahead of schedule for my 50 books in a year challenge, and I’m hoping to keep it that way.

The Secret of Shadow Ranch – Nancy Drew

I actually didn’t grow up reading Nancy Drew – I loved the games and the movie with Emma Roberts, but I didn’t pick up an actual Nancy Drew book until I was in high school, probably. I read them in order and stopped just before this one. I played the PC game of it when I was younger and knew the story pretty well (although the book is different in that Nancy isn’t alone; she has her friends helping her out) and I liked the atmosphere of the ranch. As a horseback rider, I love when books feature horses and riding, and Nancy is such a kick-butt mystery solver! She is calm and collected, sharp but kind, and I think we could all aspire to be a little more like her.

Dancing in the Fountain: How to Enjoy Living Abroad – Karen McCann

This is a memoir/travel book about an American woman who moves to Seville, Spain with her husband. Her main premise is that everyone CAN live abroad, but many are too scared or think of it as something completely unattainable. Seville is on my bucket list, so I loved reading about the history, culture, and people through a foreigner’s eyes, and I could definitely relate to all the crazy things that happen to you when you move abroad. Her writing style is very easy to read. She’s funny, interesting, smart, and has a lot of insight for what living abroad is really like. If you like travel memoirs, give this a go.

Almost Midnight – Rainbow Rowell

This is a tiny book: two short stories relating to New Year’s and waiting for midnight. I love everything Rainbow Rowell has ever read, and these two stories were so cute and quirky that I devoured them both in a matter of hours. I loved the first story, which focuses on a girl with a crush and a hope that she’ll get a kiss on midnight. The second story was just as sweet, but reminded me of myself as a high schooler. The main character waits outside in the cold to see the new Star Wars movie, and she meets a lot of interesting people in the process. I love when Rainbow Rowell writes about geeky/nerdy characters, and that’s just what this was.

Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri

This is a book of short stories following Indians in India and Indians living abroad. The stories were always very thoughtful, sometimes heartbreaking, and often surprising. I love stories about the immigrant experience, as I’m one myself, and the stories set in India were just as captivating. Some of the stories are about marriage, others focus on parenthood or loneliness, but all of them are about the human experience and everyone can find a character they relate to.

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins

This is the second book in a series – the first being Anna and the French Kiss, which I read a while back. I loved this one even more than Anna, I think, because the characters were all so realistic and easy to empathize with. I loved quirky Lola and her parents. She lives in San Fransisco and loves making and wearing costumes. Her dream is to go to the winter formal, but her former neighbors are back in town and everything goes haywire. The plot is fast-paced and I read this in only a few days. The love story is sweet and tugged at my heartstrings for sure.

Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins

Isla is the third book in the series, and the main characters in Anna and Lola make appearances in this book, too. Isla goes to school in France, which is one of her homes, but her other home is in New York City. She can’t decide what she wants to do or where she wants to go to college, or even whether Paris or NYC is her true home. She’s had a crush on a boy for years, and when he finally starts talking to her at school, she is elated. However, annoying sisters and old friends make her question her new relationship before it’s even begun. This book was so good and such a quick read. I loved imagining I was in a Parisian art gallery or strolling the streets of New York.

So, those are the six books I read for January! I can easily say I enjoyed each one of them and would definitely recommend them all. I’m already reading my first book of February, which is Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. I’m halfway done and loving it, so look for my review next month!

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