Wrap Up: January 2016


I am so excited about 2016 because there are so many fantastic books coming out this year! I’ve had the pleasure of reading quite a few 2016 releases this month and I can’t wait to share my brief thoughts on each book! I read a total of 17 books this month (plus one reread) and I’m super ahead in my 100 book challenge!

I wanted to talk briefly about my reading goals for this year. I’ve created a new page called 2016 Reading Challenges that lists my 4 goals for this year. In addition to reading 100 books this year, I’m hoping to read The Complete Sherlock Holmes by the end of the year. This month, I read A Study in Scarlet, one of the four novels in the collection. I’ve also signed up for one reading challenge, which is to read all of the Youth Media Awards YA Books of 2016. You can check out the challenges on my Reading Challenges Page. Lastly, I’m also planning to participate each month in Aentee @ Read at Midnight‘s new Diverse YA Book Club!

[edit: I completely forgot about the Aussie YA Bloggers 2016 Book Club Challenge! I’ll be adding a section on my Reading Challenges page later].



Reading summary header

As always, these books appear in the order that I read them and their reviews are linked. I am a co-blogger at Happy Indulgence and I also post YA reviews there.

1. Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods – Rick Riordan (illustrated by John Rocco)  5 stars

A beautifully illustrated guide to the 12 major gods (and goddesses) of Olympus. It also contains chapters about the beginning of the world and the Titans. I absolutely loved this and will treasure this book forever.

2. Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice – Kathleen Benner Duble  35 stars

This is a historical fiction novel set in France during the French Revolution. It follows a young orphan girl who is a thief and steals from the rich. One day she is given the opportunity to work as an apprentice for Madame Tussaud and discovers that the world doesn’t work the way she thought it did…

3. The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski  45 stars

This is one of my new favourite series now. It has a superbly constructed plot and world. The characters are magnificent and the tension will have you rolling around in anticipation.

4. The Winner’s Crime – Marie Rutkoski  5 stars

One of my favourite novels of all time! This was the perfect sequel to The Winner’s Curse. The yearning and tension and political intrigue in this book was out of this world!! Cannot recommend this one highly enough and it was, by far, my favourite book of the month,.

5. Passenger – Alexandra Bracken  4 stars

A scavenger hunt through time and space, Passenger follows the story of a violin virtuoso who discovers that she comes from a family of time travellers.

6. Chewy Noh and the March of Death – Tim Learn  25 stars

The third instalment of the Chewy Noh series, this one was a little bit disappointing since I enjoyed the first two so much. I still found the Korean culture and the mythology to be fascinating though.

7. The Distance from A to Z – Natalie Blitt  3 stars

A short and fast-paced contemporary romance about a girl who attends an intensive French language course during the summer. She falls in love with her French speaking partner… and things happen. I wasn’t a big fan of this one. It was a pretty average plot with a frustrating and dislikable main character. This book also had a large amount of dialogue that was in French, with English translations provided at the end of every line, which felt very repetitive to me since I’ve studied French in the past. It also kind of broke the flow of the book a little. This novel was just kind of average.

8. Second Chance Summer – Morgan Matson  5 stars

This is one of my new favourite coming of age stories. It’s a beautiful summery contemporary about forgiveness and second chances. It had wonderful characters and the perfect balance of family, romance and friendship.

9. Yuki Chan in Brontë Country – Mick Jackson  35 stars

An adult novel about a Japanese girl in a small English town during the winter. Yuki is on a quest to find out what led to her mother’s death a decade ago. This was a beautifully written story about a girl travelling alone to a foreign country.

10. Truthwitch – Susan Dennard  4 stars

The first book in a new four-book high fantasy series, Truthwitch was one long escape/survival story. It has some amazing characters and ships and an intriguing magic system, but lacked a little on the world building.

11. Symptoms of Being Human – Jeff Garvin  4 stars

A unique and eye-opening novel about a gender fluid character. There’s a lot of information about gender fluidity packed into this book but it felt a little bit plotless at times.

12. Not If I See You First – Eric Lindstrom  35 stars

Another eye-opening read about a blind main character and her discovery that things aren’t always as they seem. It was a fast-paced read and I enjoyed how the book explored blindness. It was lighthearted and showed how the main character is able to do things that others can do.

13. Max – Sarah Cohen-Scali  5 stars

Written from the perspective of a boy who was conceived and molded into the perfect Hitler youth, this book follows Max’s journey from birth until the end of WWII. This book is profound and disturbing and I enjoyed reading about the Nazi Regime from such a unique perspective.

14. Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club – Alison Goodman  4 stars

A paranormal fantasy, set in Regency London, this book follows Lady Helen as she discovers that she’s not just a regular young lady in 19th century London. She discovers a clandestine world full of tentacled demons and becomes sucked into the action and horror of it all.

15. The Year We Fell Apart – Emily Martin  3 stars

This is another fast-paced contemporary, second-chance romance story. The premise of this book seems very similar to Second Chance Summer. However, this debut novel wasn’t quite as good and I had some problems with the plot and main character.

16. The Love That Split the World – Emily Henry  4 stars

This was a bit of a strange read for me. It’s not quite contemporary, not quite fantasy and not quite magical realism. There were lots of things that I didn’t understand but it was still, strangely, enjoyable?

17. The Stars at Oktober Bend – Glenda Millard  45 stars

I actually finished this at 2am on Feb 1, but I’m going to sneak this one in here. I could have read this one faster but the writing was so beautiful that I had to read the whole book out loud. This is a moving Australian YA novel about overcoming adversity and living with hope and courage. A review will be coming soon.


Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli  5 stars

I reread this one for the Diverse YA Book Club this month and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time I read this book.


I posted a Top Ten Tuesday list each week of January:

What was your favourite book of the month?

34 thoughts on “Wrap Up: January 2016

  1. Windie @ Geek Apprentice says:

    Good luck with your reading challenge! I think you’re going to complete most of them by June with your current reading speed. 😀
    I also made a reading goals page to keep track of everything, but it can be depressing to see how empty my completion tables are. lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Haha yeah. I think I’ll have to increase my goal to 150 later in the year. I just didn’t want to put any pressure on myself. I’ll be doing a little bit of travelling this year so I might not be able to progress at this rate anyway 😀 It is a little bit depressing to see how many challenges I still have to complete but it’s still early days, I guess. Good luck with yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Summer @ Xingsings says:

    I’m a big rereader; I wish I could afford rereading but, sigh, there’s already too much on my TBR (as you know) and four books a month (for me) is pushing it. I was like so rusty in the book chat, lol. Speaking of the BC, thanks for cueing me! I was late because I totally calculated the BC to be on Sunday (over here) instead of Saturday. Anyway, time differences are so confusing for me, hah. >.< And I don't care if I still have a lot of ARCs I need to read, I'm going to try to read The Winner's Curse this month.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Haha I’m sure you won’t be rusty in the next book chat! I’m happy that Wolf by Wolf won because now I’ll have to pick it up ASAP! And yeah timezones confuse me all the time as well. But basically we’re always a day ahead of you 😀 YAY I’m so glad that you’re going to read The Winner’s Curse! It’s sooooo good ❤ And the series only gets better! The Winner's Crime is my favourite book I've read so far this year! I hope you love Kestrel and Arin as much as I did.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ksenia says:

    Hi, Jenna! Sorry I haven’t visited your blog for a while, it’s been very hectic couple of weeks for me. Wow 18 books in a month that’s a lot, I’m looking forward to your reviews. I’m pretty bad with challenges, but I’m glad it works for you. I’m really looking forward to start The Winners Trilogy this year. Second Chance Summer is on my tbr-list forever, I need to read you review ASAP. I’m intrigued by Not If I See You First, I’ll check out your review. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is another book I planned to read, unfortunately I didn’t have time to participate in the Diverse YA Book Club this month, maybe next time. Do you plan to write a review on The Love That Split the World? This book is on my tbr-list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Hi Ksenia! Thanks for always visiting my blog. I’ve had an insanely lazy commenting month in January. I was so behind on replying to comments and I barely visited any blogs to comment back T_T. I’ll try to do better in February 😀 YAY I’m so happy that you’re planning to read The Winner’s trilogy this year! Definitely a new favourite series of mine. But you should definitely wait until the last book is released because the cliffhangers are just ridiculous. I literally wanted to cry from wanting the last book so badly HAHA. Eeeeep, you should totally join us in reading Wolf by Wolf this month! That book chat was so much fun! And yes, I do plan to post a review for The Love That Split the World. I’m still trying to get my head around it but it should be up next week!


  4. Prima says:

    Is that a hardback of Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods??? Be still my heart! And yes to Second Chance Summer, it was probably one of the best contemporaries I’ve ever read. Just the feels everywhere 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Yes! It’s the hardback and I’m so happy to have it in my collection! ❤ I got it for a great price off Amazon, along with Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes. I'm hoping to read that one soon but my arms are still recovering from holding the Greek Gods haha. I'm glad you loved Second Chance Summer too! It was a truly wonderful contemporary!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Oh no! I hate reading slumps. I still end up reading but I don’t enjoy what I read when I feel slumpy. Hmm.. I don’t think The Dark Days Club or Truthwitch will get you out of your slump. The Dark Days Club is really, really slow and Truthwitch is SO confusing at the beginning. The Winner’s Curse is also kind of slow as well, but it’s so interesting that it might work?


  5. Lois says:

    17 books? Damn that’s impressive. I don’t know how you do it. So many of the books you read this month are on my priority list this year but trying to find time for them all is challenging. We need some hours in a day for reading haha. I absolutely love re-reading books. I’m currently re-reading ADSoM to prepare myself for A Gathering of Shadows. I think my favourite book of January was Something Real by Heather Demetrios, how predictable of me haha. Nowhere but Here came was equally as good though.
    I love the idea of the Diverse YA Book Club and if I can get a hold of the chosen book I’d definitely join. Although being in UK means that time zone wise I’m usually asleep when the chat takes place haha. I definitely plan on joining in though. I’ll stock up on the coffee 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Oh wow, yeah. The book chat would be at 2am for you, wouldn’t it? That really sucks. But I guess you can’t please everyone since timezones suck! The chat was so much fun though so I hope you can join! I can’t wait to read Wolf by Wolf this month!
      Ugh, I kind of want to reread ADSoM as well but I think I’ll just look up a summary since the book is a bit longer than my average read…and I’d rather read something new. Or maybe I’ll read the last third of the book or something. I still need to get my hands on I’ll Meet You There! WHY ARE BOOKS SO EXPENSIVE?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lois says:

        Depending on the day I’m usually awake at that time anyway. I’m such a Night Owl, my sleeping patterns are definitely messed up haha. If I can get my hands on Wolf by Wolf I will definitely be joining in.
        I’d say read the last third cause that’s when all the action really takes off. After re-reading it my curiosity about Kell’s past has me coming up with all sorts of new theories now. It’s making my head turn.
        I feel like we should be compensated with every book we buy so our bank accounts don’t hate us as much haha. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

          Yeah I’ll definitely try to reread the last third of ADSoM. I remember most of what happens except when they get to grey London (I think?)… the part when stuff actually happens. I think we should be compensated for every book we buy that we actually read! That would be a great system! It would motivate me to actually read what I buy. Now, who do we speak to about this? XD

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Kate says:

    You read some amazing sounding books this month! Nothing that I’ve read but lots I want to – I can’t wait to get my hands on Truthwitch, Not If I See You First and Second Chance Summer in particular. I loved Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson and it sounds like you liked this one! I’m glad that it had the perfect balance of family, romance and friendship. I much prefer contemporary romances that also feature a strong family dynamic.
    Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I liked Second Chance Summer even more than I liked Since You’ve Been Gone. Those are the only two that I’ve read but they were both fantastic! I think I just enjoyed the plot and the great balance of themes in Second Chance Summer a little bit more. There’s also nothing that I love more than a second chance romance! I hope you can get your hands on all those awesome books you want to read!


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