January Reading Wrap-Up (2016)

wrap up logo

Happy February, all! I realize I haven’t done a monthly reading wrap-up in ages, and I miss doing them, so here we are. I’m definitely going to post these more often this year because some months I read way too much to do a full review for every book. January was a pretty good reading month for me since I was taking a Children’s Literature class for college where we were assigned one to two books per week. That being said, I only read one book outside of the class, since most of my time was dedicated to reading those middle grade books. Alright, no more rambling. Here’s my mini reviews for the eight books I read in January…

1.  The Borrowers by Mary Norton 


Goodreads Synopsis
My Rating: 3/5

I never read this book as a child, so perhaps that’s why I didn’t care for it. It was cute and entertaining, but it wasn’t memorable, especially compared with some of the other books we read in that class. I didn’t agonize over having to read it. I didn’t love reading it. It’s one of those books that’s just kind of there for me. I really liked the illustrations, though.

2. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt 


Goodreads Synopsis
My Rating: 5/5

Again, I never read this when I was younger. However, I enjoyed this much more than The Borrowers. I liked the characters, the whimsical setting, the plot, and the themes. It felt mature, yet it still had that childlike magic to it. It’s one of those books that I think children and adults can appreciate equally. It was a lovely read.

3. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’brien

 mrs frisby

Gooreads Synopsis
My Rating: 3/5

This book left me feeling similar to how I felt after finishing The Borrowers. I thought it had some important messages, and I liked that the hero was female, but it was extremely slow. I found myself skimming a lot of a descriptive paragraphs toward the last third of the book. This was another one that was just there for me because I could appreciate what it was trying to teach children, but it wasn’t the most entertaining story.

4. Matilda by Roald Dahl


Goodreads Synopsis
My Rating: 4/5

Of course we read this classic. Matilda is such a fun novel, and I especially loved how much the protagonist read because, even as an adult, I related to this five year old genius because of that trait. I also loved how British this book felt because it reminded me of my time studying abroad. What else can I say? Roald Dahl is a fantastic children’s author.

5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster 


Goodreads Synopsis
My Rating: 5/5

This was without a doubt my favorite book that we read for the children’s lit. class. I read this when I was younger, but I think a lot of it went over my head. As an adult, I found it well-written, comical, and extremely clever. I absolutely loved all of the play on words, and there was something poetic about the writing style. I couldn’t put this one down, and it’s definitely getting added to my favorites list.

6. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh 


Goodreads Synopsis
My Rating: 3.5/5

I know I just recently said I probably wouldn’t read this any time soon, but I found an audio book of it and decided, eh, why not? Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to rate this because I didn’t know how I felt about it. I still don’t. I guess there were certain aspects that I really liked, and it did pick up a lot toward the end, but there was also this one aspect that really annoyed me that I couldn’t get past. To be more specific without spoiling anything, I just couldn’t get behind the main romance because I found it unbelievable considering what the female protagonist knew about the male protagonist and chose to justify. Maybe my thoughts would be different if I had read it instead of listened to it. I think I’ll give the second book a go when it comes out, but I’m not going to pre-order it or anything. Given the hype, I guess I was just a little disappointed, especially with the romance that everyone else seems to love.

7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle 


Goodreads Synopsis
My Rating: 3/5

Another okay book. I’m not the biggest fan of sci-fi, so that was a contributing factor toward my rating. I did like that this book followed a female heroine and was action-packed. The writing was decent. I just thought that Calvin was an unnecessary character and the whole “love conquers all” message that popped up at the end was done in an extremely cheesy fashion. And it’s not like I haven’t read books where that message is done well (*cough*HarryPotter*cough*), so I was turned off by the end quite a bit. I don’t recall liking this story much as a child either.

8. Coraline by Neil Gaiman


Goodreads Synopsis
My Rating: 4/5

One of my goals this year is to read more Neil Gaiman, so I was happy to see this on the syllabus. I really enjoyed this as I knew I probably would. It was creepy and magical and had a smart, female protagonist. All great aspects of children’s literature (or any literature, really). I adored Coraline as a character, probably more so than any of the other protagonists that we read about. She is a strong, brave, and incredibly intelligent young girl. The writing is great, as per usual with Gaiman. Overall, this was just an enjoyable, lovely read.

Like I said, I only got time to read one book outside of class, but now that the class is finished, I’ll be back to reading from my TBR. I have a lot of books I’m super excited about lined up for February, so expect reviews in the near future!

What was your favorite read of January? What do you plan on reading in February? Let me know below!

Until next time, keep reading and writing! – Veronica


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