January 2017 Wrap Up: Laurel


There’s something magical about being a teacher in January… if you’re lucky there’s these days called “snow days” – or in my personal vocabulary: “stay-in-my-pajamas-while-reading-and-drinking-hot chocolate days.”

Winter Wonderland thanks to late winter storms dumping snowflakes upon snowflakes…

Thanks to snowflakes and freezing rain I was able to get through a lot of books this month. This does not resemble my normal monthly reading list by any means whatsoever…since I do like my Netflix and getting a good nights’ sleep before teaching young minds.

*Star ranking is based on goodreads*

Trust by Jana Aston ~ 4 stars — quick read, laugh out loud moments and very steamy bits.

Right by Jana Aston ~ 3 stars — quick read, engaging storyline and very steamy bits.

Wrong by Jana Aston ~ 3 stars — (noticing a pattern…hmmm..) quick read, unique characters and very steamy bits.

Stalking Jack the Ripper  by Kerri Maniscalco ~ 3 stars — intelligent heroine who is not interested in tea parties but would rather dissect bodies and hunt down notorious serial killers…

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch ~ 5 stars — a childhood favorite reread for this blog.

Love Fortune and Other Disasters  by Kimberly Karalius ~ 5 stars –magical setting, unique character names, love fortunes that are never wrong…and a heroine that thinks of herself as the “clever maid” instead of the Princess in this fairy tale.
I especially liked the beginning of Chapter 16. Fallon knows love isn’t going to come easy for her due to a bad love fortune, but nevertheless she shows her feelings by being gutsy.
Sebastian is the perfect prince to Fallon’s “princess.
Nico and Martin had an adorable supporting story, loved the back story between those two.
Camille was just poisonous enough to hate and Zita…well…the ending was a lot darker than I thought, but perfect. A perfect ending to cap off a book that is worth staying up late for.

Murder on the Homefront by Molly Lefebure ~ 4 stars — Heard that this was already a BBC series, my question is: when will PBS or Netflix pick up this slightly…okay…not slightly in your face brutal and grisly real life stories of murder and suicide during WWII in London.
Definitely a darker side of home front history that has rarely been told… the narrator was so honest and candid with a touch of wit that must have gotten her through many graphic autopsies and murder trials…along with a strong stomach.
I would recommend this to history buffs, specially for the ones interested in WWII home front first hand accounts of life.

First Kisses and Other Misfortunes by Kimberly Karalius ~ 4 stars — Only 77 pages but still an adorable read. Wish Nico and Martin had a 232 page book dedicated to their story, but the free ebook novella helped with the sting of disappointment.
Enjoyed the short story with all the Grimbald characters, even the scheming Camille made an important plot appearance.
Love how Nico is not the perfect male protoprotagonist with his genetically thinning hair and scars, even Martin has flaws of anxiety and living in his head instead of speaking his thoughts.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz ~ 5 stars — one of my very favorites reread for this rereadability blog.

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts by Maja Safstrom ~ 4 stars — Adorable.
Beautifully simple ink illustrations of all sorts of animals with accompanying fun facts.
Like a group of ravens is called a conspiracy, a group of mice called a mischief…and otters are the most romantic sleeping buddies.
And I learnt a lot of animals can’t move backwards and that pigs physically cannot look up at the sky – sorry Wilbur…

Love Charms and Other Catastrophes  by Kimberly Karalius ~ 5 stars — Charming book full of diverse and lovable characters who struggle with their own shortcomings.
Hijira and Ken’s story is totally special and full of surprises and feels, hope there’s another story coming for the twins and Ms. Ward and Bram!

Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros ~ 3 stars — Loved the witty Twitter banter, not so much the open ended ending

Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman ~ 2 stars — interpretation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night – not my favorite retelling but a light read nonetheless.

Fling by Jana Aston ~ 3 stars — a novella based on two characters that are featured in Right, Wrong and Trust. Very steamy! Not to read out loud in public on a bus for example.

The Cranberry Hush by Ben Monopoli ~ 2 stars — a kind of coming of age story/living in the present/road trip/love story.

Wires and Nerve: Volume I by Marissa Meyer ~ 3 stars — If you loved the characters from the Lunar Chronicles they are all reunited in this first Lunar graphic novel. Quick read and POV of Iko is more fleshed out and a new enemy is revealed.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness ~ 4 stars — Raw emotional story telling of letting go…huge waterfall tears… looking forward to watching the film adaptation!

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo ~ 2 stars — coming back to this after Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom; was bit of a let down. I didn’t connect with the characters at all, and wasn’t invested in their stories...really did want to finish the series but think, for now anyways, I will put this down as a “series dnf.”

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling ~ 5 stars -Just like rewatching the movie, glad I watched the movie first so I could “see” all the magical creatures mentioned in the screenplay. Even got a little teary again when they had to obliviate Jacob at the end…reading this makes me want to watch the movie again with plenty of buttered popcorn.

Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat ~ 3 stars — An okay book that addresses first impressions and social inequality but the heroine completely annoyed me by being a complete snob who constantly made poor decisions even though she knew they were the WORST, but kept on repeating the same mistake in different ways – and everyone around her kept on accepting her many apologies. Seriously?!  So…three stars.


Whew! Congratulations on finishing this epically long “wrap up” post for my very productive January. Scrolling back up and rereading all the books I’ve read… makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something great …other than streaming Netflix and Hulu…which I also did a lot of last month. Who else is addicted to The Great American Baking Show and reruns of Criminal Minds and NCIS? Just me?