📚 J A N U A R Y maybes

is mid January too late to share what I planned on reading this month? 😂🙈
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most of these are buddy reads! and some I have already finished ✨
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🌿 tender is the flesh (e-book) is the January choice for #readwithacouplereads that Milana hosts! I did not like it.. 😅
🌿 jar of hearts I’ve finished and it was spectacular
🌿 finlay donovan is killing it is an arc courtesy of @minotaur_books that I devoured in an afternoon 😍 it comes out February 2!
🌿 the once and future witches I’m reading with a great group of gals and have already finished. I loved it so much! we have a group chat going to discuss at the end of the month if you’d like to join!
🌿 the henna artist I’m reading for my IRL bookclub! I started it last night and I really think I’ll enjoy it!
🌿 invisible girl is for @webebooknfb January read! I’ve never read a Lisa Jewell book so I’m excited
🌿 and finally, because everyone raves about it, I’ll be reading Addie Larue finally!
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besides these, I’ve already been distracted by an e-arc or two 🙈 and if I get time I’ll start reading some books I’ve already picked out for February!
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so far 2021 is off to a great start, reading wise. now if we could get humanity together, that’d be great 😑

🌿 a little about me

Hello, fellow bloggers and book friends!

I sort of fell off the wagon with posting last year. Instagram is much easier to post to than this site 😂 BUT it is a new year, and as one does, I’ve made a resolution to post more frequently. I’m hoping to connect with other bloggers who love discussing books and reading! I’m on instagram as plantladyreader if you’d like to find me there!

A bit about me…
– I’m 30 years old, and just recently purchased a house in a small town, Ontario with my hubs and our husky mix Luna
– you’d think having to move my library would have encouraged me to acquire less books, but it didn’t. My home library currently has over 1200 books in it, and I’m still getting more every month!
– I love reading historical fiction, recently I’ve been loving fantasy novels, thrillers and classic literature. As long as it doesn’t have a heavily romantic plot, I’ll read it!
– I’m making a plan to tackle more of my backlist books this year, instead of focusing on new releases and advanced copies
– I’ve recently started using a bullet journal, and I’m loving it! I will be posting about my journey with it soon!
– my favourite food lately is cauliflower crust, dairy-free homemade pizza (with vegan ranch for dip – I kid you not, it’s better than regular ranch!), my favourite colour is purple, green or black, my favourite animal is a fox, and my favourite activity (besides reading) is being outside in nature, especially at my cottage
– I have almost 100 houseplants, which are often featured in my photos, and there’s no end in sight. I love watching them grow and flourish!

A project I put together for myself last year, and didn’t really stick to, was my TBR in a Jar! I took the time to write out all my unread books, and put them in a jar. The plan was to draw one every month to read, and tackle my unread pile! However, life, new releases and ARCs got in the way, and I ended up reading NOTHING that I pulled from the jar. Not that I didn’t read any backlist books last year! I did read a bunch, but they were ones I chose myself, and didn’t leave it to the Jar Gods. So this year, I’m hoping to commit to this goal! I didn’t add any books to it last year, so every title in there is a book I’ve owned for at least a year, and therefore NEED to get to!

I hope you can stick with me this year, I hope to post content you’ll enjoy, and mostly I hope to read a ton of great books!

Have you set any goals this year? Reading or otherwise? ✨

🌿 R E V I E W – Tender is the Flesh 🌱

I definitely always try to keep an open mind when it comes to reading books outside my usual genre. Especially ones that have been suggested to me by others. But, sometimes, a book just doesn’t do anything for me. And sometimes it disgusts me. Thankfully, I don’t often read books that disturb me greatly. This, however, was one of them. TW: rape, murder, graphic descriptions, animal abuse.

Set in a dystopian future where animals have all been killed or died based on a disease that could infect humans, in order to still be able to eat meat, humans have started eating humans. While that premise wasn’t gross enough, the author goes into startling detail about the slaughterhouse process, and what each part of the body is used for, tastes like, and how to get the best “cuts”. The “head”, as these humans are called, are bred specifically for slaughter. Obviously, this is supposed to bring to mind our current processes with meat and slaughterhouses, and as someone who is an occasional meat eater, it was enough for me to not want to eat it at all. Our main character, Marcos Tejo, runs a slaughterhouse, and has a very key job of ensuring everything is running smoothly, and they’re being supplied the very best product. Initially, the reader is given the impression that Marcos is more human than the others – he does his job to make ends meet, he doesn’t eat meat, and he shows sympathetic tendencies towards the product. However, by the end, he’s just the same as the rest of them.

The only character I can say I liked in this book was known only as “the female”, mainly because she’s entirely innocent, yet learns to adapt to the life she’s given. She ends up having a terrible resolution at the hands of the main character, and I was sad with how it ended.

There are so many people who enjoyed this book, and I can understand why! If you can get past the gory subject matter and have a stronger stomach than me, the plot outside of the cannibalism is very intriguing, and the main character does have some development (and eventual downfall, in my eyes) that does create an interesting read. I just couldn’t get over the idea of eating people (🤢) the whole time, and it really spoiled the rest of the story for me.

I can give the author creativity points, because she has a very vivid, disturbing imagination, but there were aspects about the book that seemed unnecessary. The details with the slaughter process, the scenes of animal abuse, the way the humans are treated, and the resolution truly disturbed me. I would not recommend this book, and seriously would suggest a strong stomach if you’re going to read it. I really try not to rate books so poorly, but with this one, I can barely give it a rating at all.

1🌿

🌿 R E V I E W – Murder in Old Bombay 🌱

For some reason, around the holidays I always love reading cozy mysteries. Murder in Old Bombay is a cozy mystery with a more thrilling side than your usual choice.

Set in 1892 Bombay, Captain Jim Agnihotri is laying in the hospital, bored and recovering. While he’s constantly scanning the newspapers, he reads an interesting story of two women falling to their death off the university clock tower in the middle of the day, and local authorities are deeming it suicide. Catching a letter to the paper from one of the victim’s husband, however, Captain Jim decides to interview the widowed man and discover why he so adamantly believes it wasn’t suicide. When he meets with Adi, he quickly accepts the offer to investigate the crimes fully, Sherlock Holmes style. What follows is an adventure Captain Jim nor Adi could have imagined. Throw in a love interest and a band of ragtag children, this story was one I could not stop reading until the very end!

I was so invested in the characters from this story right away, and needed to know what happened to these women. I loved the historical aspects, and the author described the settings in such detail that I was able to picture this historic city with ease. I loved how Captain Jim ended up making friends, and having a sense of family that he had never experienced. Overall, I would highly recommend picking this one up, and look forward to reading more by this author!

5🌿

🌿 R E V I E W – The Book Thief 🌱

This was my second time reading The Book Thief, and I definitely appreciated it more. Even after 8 or 9 years between readings, this book still stuck in my mind. I remember loving the characters, the narrator and the writing.

On my second read, I feel like I was really able to absorb what I was reading, appreciate the characters and their struggles, and really marvel at Zusak’s writing. He writes in a way that is truly different – he makes the reader see words as objects, feelings as colours. I really felt my imagination working, picturing the characters, seeing the words and the colours in the sky.

One of my favourite aspects of this book was the narrator being Death. It was definitely a new, surprising outlook on life and how we all interact with each other. How our words and actions can cause a ripple effect on our world and the people in it – even years after.

While the main story in this book is the development of the main character, Liesel, we are always dealing with a very heavy subject in our world history: World War Two and Hitler’s persecution of an entire race of people. While this was a subplot of the novel, it still created a heavy atmosphere, and enhanced the adventures and struggles of the family we follow.

As a book lover, I really enjoyed watching Liesel discover a love of reading and books, and having that desire for an exciting new read. She struggles in the beginning, as we all do, but flourishes into a confident, creative individual.

Overall, the characters in this novel were touching, the story was beautiful, and the author wrote everything so creatively. I will definitely be looking into more work by Markus Zusak.

🌿 R E V I E W – The Chestnut Man 🌱

This thriller was AMAZING!

Right from the beginning, the story drew me in. The characters were interesting and had backgrounds that piqued my curiosity. The author did a great job of offering up tiny pieces of their stories at a time, building up the person into something you liked or disliked, revealing aspects of their pasts you never saw coming. The relationships developed were really enjoyable to me.

The killer in this novel was definitely a very interesting murderer. I was constantly wondering who it could be, why they were doing what they were doing, and how they picked their targets. I had guessed about halfway through who I thought it could be, but I was so wrong! It never occurred to me that it could be the person it was! I really enjoyed that the author kept me constantly guessing (wrong) right until the last 50 pages or so!

This story took me for a ride! I abandoned the buddy read schedule and had to devour the last 150 pages in an afternoon, because I just couldn’t put it down! Everything came together in the end, and I wasn’t left with too many questions. There was definitely some rather descriptive violence in this novel, but it never seemed excessive to me, merely fitting with the tone overall.

I will definitely be looking forward to more books by Søren Sveistrup, AND checking out the show he was a part of?

5🌿

🌿 R E V I E W – Dreamland 🌱

This book was a quick historical fiction, focused around murder in Coney Island in the early 1900s, as well as class lines within society.

We follow heiress Peggy Batternberg as she travels to Coney Island with her family and her sisters fiancé and family. We can immediately see that Peggy is more of a black sheep as far as her family is concerned – she was working in a bookshop, which she loved (and didn’t need to be doing), and she quickly falls in love with the people of Coney Island and their livelihood. While the rest of her family has no interest in Coney Island or the lower class, Peggy is fascinated, and falls in love with an immigrant artist. Their love would be frowned upon, based on their different stations in life. As women start turning up dead, the police are quick to suspect people within Coney Island because of their lower station in life, and the wildness in which they live their lives. Peggy strives to uncover the truth to rescue her love, even if that means potentially hurting people around her family.

I really enjoyed the insights into how different classes are treated and how they think in the early 1900s. Peggy is a modern woman, unconcerned with where people come from or what they have in life, and more focused on the people they really are. I really enjoyed this about her! She was smart and spunky – different from the stuck up society members around her. She marches to the beat of her own drum, and I think that’s important in a main female character. She doesn’t just take what she’s given in life from her standing in society, but works for what she wants and fights for the underdog!

Overall, I did enjoy this book, but mainly for the characters within it. The murder aspect was fairly easy to figure out, and it seemed like it was wrapped up rather hastily, which I didn’t enjoy.

Thank you to Netgalley and Endeavour Media for this advanced copy. Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau releases January 16, 2020.

3🌿

🌿 R E V I E W – Shanghai Girls 🌱

I want to start by saying that I loved Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. That book hooked me immediately.

However, this book was definitely a slow build up for me. The plot sounded amazing – two sisters struggling for survival from pre-World War Two Shanghai, married to boys from America to survive and provide for their families. Things don’t happen as smoothly as their parents were to believe, and the girls must adapt in order to survive.

I think my main issue with this book wasn’t that it started off slowly, because I suppose it really didn’t, but more so because I couldn’t connect with the characters in the beginning. 😅

Pearl is the older sister, and is such a push over I couldn’t handle it. She’s full of hopes and dreams but can never bring herself to even TRY to accomplish anything. May, the younger sister, was such an unbelievably selfish, spoiled brat that I couldn’t stand reading about her. She made me so angry with how she felt everything should be handed to her, and how she took advantage of her sister.

BIG HOWEVER – once the girls had nothing, and were fighting to survive both in Shanghai and America, I did start to enjoy this book. They came together in a beautiful bond that carried them for decades, surviving and thriving.

May still held on to a LOT of her selfish nature, even if she did learn to do things for others, so I never connected with her. Pearl however really came into her own. She learned to work for what she wanted, she always did what was best for her family, and ended up having a beautiful life.

The ending of this book was sad, but beautiful, and I did end up enjoying it. It took me over a month to read because I kept abandoning it for other books, but I did finish it, and I’m happy I did.

3🌿

🌿 R E V I E W – The Girls with No Names 🌱

Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for this advanced copy, in exchange for an honest review.

This book started off rather slow, and almost lost my interest. The author was setting up the family dynamics and the characters who would be involved, and it just seemed like a bunch of info.

However, about a third of the way through, I got into it. Both the sisters go missing, both by choice, but on very different paths. For one, it is easy to come home, but awkward. For the other, she is trapped, without her family knowing where she is, and no way of getting out.

I ended up enjoying this book. The main character, Effie, showed a real strength throughout. There was a mild MILD thriller aspect, in whether or not the girls were going to make it home to their families. I also enjoyed how there were multiple relationships that started out at odds and came together in the end. The ending was somewhat happy, but definitely had some sad aspects as well.

I would recommend this book! This one published January 7, 2020!

3.5🌿

🌿 R E V I E W – A Secret History of Witches 🌱

Wow. I loved this book.

Louisa Morgan is officially an auto-buy author for me now. This novel was so beautifully written, and the story line really hooked me. I was invested in the characters and their struggles, fighting along side them as they worked together for survival.

Each character is broken into a section of the book, and it helps keep them from getting jumbled up for me.

This story follows the women in the Orchiére line throughout history, starting in 1821. What starts as a whole group of women, with Grand-mère Ursule being the head of the family, dwindles to one or two members at a time. All the women in Orchiére line are witches, and they pass their craft down from mother to daughter. Grand-mére Ursule shows immense power, helping her family flee from witch hunters. She birthed six daughters, and the story continues on with them, focusing on the youngest, Nanette.

Each section moves from daughter to daughter. Some women have the craft, others don’t. Regardless, the history of their line is always taught, and the family is always fearing persecution from witch hunters.

It spanned five generations of women, some of whom you immediately love, some of whom you love to hate. I really enjoyed that whether the craft was present in the next daughter or not, the craft was still taught and shared, the history of the Orchiére line still repeated through the generations, the scrying stone and the Grimoire passed down, so that when another daughter was born, she would have the knowledge and the tools she needs to use her gift.

My favourite was the last daughter we met, Veronica, who didn’t use her craft for personal gain, but rather to help the masses. Her generation grew up in the 1940’s and dealing with World War Two. People she loved were fighting in the war, and not all of them came home. I really loved how Louisa Morgan wrote this element into the book, and had Veronica using her powers to help with the war effort, doing what she could to bring a swift end to the war with as little bloodshed as possible. There was also a cameo of Queen Elizabeth, and the story line around her was perfect – I loved it!

There was an element of suspense throughout this read, as each generation fears others discovering their gifts and killing them for them; as well as an element of mystery, as Louisa Morgan leaves you guessing and filling in some of the story line yourself as she jumps through the generations – but I still pieced together all the information I needed to enjoy the stories. I loved the stories around each sister in the Orchiére line, but Veronica was the one I loved most. She did the most good with her craft, she married a wonderful man, and the story ends on a small cliffhanger with how things end with her.

This book was definitely a great read, and I am looking forward to reading other works by Louisa Morgan.

5 🌿