January 2023 Books

January 2023 Books

I had every intention of combining my February and January books for one big post so I could stay atop things through the rest of the year, but it’s already March, and so far I’ve only read one book. Shocking, I know! The T20 BBL Cricket season has ended so instead of delving into a good audio book while I watch the matches my evenings are spent listening to people argue over which version of Mario Kart is the best, the ludicrous idea of a KFC Romance novel, or watching a few too many YT videos. Hey, we all have our vices, and some of those videos are actually for research purposes. Or, so I tell myself. 

Things will pick up in the second half of the month once the Aussie Rules season begins. I’ve suggested we create a countdown chain, but that was vetoed. So instead, each evening I announce exactly how many more days we have until the season begins. (At the time of editing this we just finished watching our first game, and to quote the famous BT, “Boy oh boy, wowee!” was it a good game!}

 Just in case I get a little too distracted with the footy, I’ll save my February books to go with whatever I read in March. In the mean time, let’s jump into what I read in January.

The Intentional Year by Glenn and Holly Packham — My word for this year is rhythm, and in my quest to find books that would support this theme, I stumbled across this quick read. The theory behind the book is that if you’re looking to set goals for yourself and/or your family you could read the book and follow the steps inside to do just that. I own two different goal planners that I use, so that was not my purpose in reading this book, but I did enjoy it. It’d be a great read if you’re just looking for some ideas on how to plan out a goal and don’t want to invest a lot of money into any one system.

If, like me, you already have a goal planner system(s) that work well for you, you might still find this book a great read in late December or early January as you carefully consider what goals you wish to tend and cultivate in the year ahead. 

The False Prince & The Runaway King by Jennifer A Nelson — These are the first two books in the Ascendance Series. I was looking for a good read that would pull me in, and while this is written for a much younger audience, it certainly pulled me in. 

In Book 1 Connor, a Nobleman, is looking for young orphan boys that he can train and pass off as the missing prince. One of those boys, Sage, has his own secret and will do anything to keep it, even if that means risking his own life and destroying Connor’s plans.

Book 2 picks up where the first  left off. The missing prince has been found and is on the throne, but not everyone is delighted at his return. Further, someone attempts to assassinate the Prince. Knowing that treason is afoot the prince vanishes, but before he does he sends his only friends away hoping to save them from harm too.

The One Hundred Years Of Leni & Margot by Marianne Cronin. I’ve had this one in my TBR pile for a while, but had been putting it off expecting it to be quite the deep and sad read. Leni is young, but she’s dying. Margot is old, but she is living. They meet in the same hospital under unusual circumstances, and again in an art class, when Lenni asks if she can join the senior citizen class as opposed to the young adult class. She finds peace amongst the elderly who don’t shy away from her or death. In meeting Margot, Leni expresses that she wants to live, she wants to grow old, maybe see 100, but knows it will never happen. Between herself and Margot they already  have a total of 100 years, and in each art class they begin to paint the pictures of their lives. Each piece tells a story of the person they were before coming to the hospital, and how they ended up where they are now.

I enjoyed this read, but I confess that I find it quite frustrating when authors want to throw modern day problems into every book they write, regardless of when the book took place. Keep your tissues nearby, especially at the end.

The Book Of John. In one of our weekly church studies, we were challenged to read the book of John. I confess, I listened to it instead, choosing The Passion Translation. I listened to a couple of chapters each day while working through my normal morning chores. 

The Librarian Of Crooked Lane by CJ Archer — I’m not entirely sure, but I think this might have been one of those nifty Audible Deal Of The Day books. Either way, I was looking for something to really sink into for a while, and I’m glad I chose this book. 

This is book one in the Glass Library series. We meet Sylvia Ashe who is currently working in a library that is only open to men. Her boss doesn’t like her, and is constantly finding faults with her, and her only friend isn’t helping by sneaking into the library every chance she gets. The final straw comes when Gabe Steele comes to visit her during work hours. Her boss is convinced it’s enough reason to fire her. This small act throws Sylvia head first into an investigation about stolen art, lands her a job at the Glass Library, and befriends her to Gabe where she learns that magic is real.

Glass & Steele Books 1-5:

After finishing The Librarian Of Crooked Lane, I noticed that the next book to the series wasn’t due out on Audible until March, so I decided to hunt around for something else to read and discovered an entire series, by C J Archer, that came prior to the Glass Library Series.

In the Glass & Steele series we learn about Gabe’s parents and how they met. This means that going into the series I knew that they would eventually tie the knot, but I had no idea when. The first 5 books are about various mysteries that India Steele and Matthew Glass help Scotland Yard solve. Each one involves magic in some fashion.

The theory is that people don’t just have magic, but they have a specific form of magic. India learns that she’s a timepiece magician, and any watch she works on can keep perfect time. A wool magician is pulled to wool and might make rugs with it, whereas an ink magician is drawn to using his art to write or sketch in ink.

While Scotland Yard is aware that magic exists, they prefer to keep it hidden from the general public, which is why Matthew and India are called upon to help with some cases. Matt’s friends Cyclops, Duke, and his cousin Willie also join the motley crew to help.

In the first book you learn that Matt is looking for a timepiece magician, but not India. Yet, he rescues her from her current situation and offers her a job in helping him locate the magician he’s after. Someone India presumed was dead.

It’s through the course of the first five books that the small group hunts high and low for this mysterious magician and seeks to find a cure for Matt who is dying. Without finding the correct two magicians Matt’s life will end early due to a fatal accident years ago.

As the series progresses Matt and India fall in love, but Matt refuses to marry her until he knows he has a future to offer her. The catch is India is English and doesn’t believe it would be proper for Matt to marry her, and Matthew’s Aunt agrees. What will become of the young couple?

While this series kept me hooked through the first five books, I’ll admit that the author’s position on current situations like women’s rights is strong in these books.

Dear Reader,

If you, like many others, wonder why I tend to listen to books more than physically reading them you’re not alone. I get the question a lot, and am also often told that it’s not the same as reading the physical version of the book.

To each his own, is my simple reply. However, my time for reading is in the evenings after I’ve been pulled away from my writing desk, dinner has been enjoyed and cleaned up from, the curtains drawn, and most of us are curled up under blankets. The house is not bright at this time because my sons and I both have something called Irlen. One of my sons is on the severe end of the spectrum and lights can be quite painful for him if they are too bright. He’s not alone in that, especially with the new fad of LED lighting.

So, in our home we keep 2 lights on, both of which are powered by good old fashioned incandescent bulbs. One sits upon the piano, directly behind where I’m usually sitting, and the other in the far corner of the living room. While both provide enough light that we’re not stumbling around in the dark, it’s not enough light to read by. Unless you are my eldest who has the most outstanding night vision of anyone on th face of this earth.

I’m talking so brilliantly that at one of his cousin’s 18th birthday party’s all the teens were complaining that the “glow in the dark” night hike was a bad idea because they couldn’t see. My ten year old took the hand of the birthday girl and that of his Aunt and said, “I’ll help you.” They all came back delighted, and much to our son’s delight he became the “tour guide” for the hike. Pointing out all kinds of things from wild animals to rocks to keep people from tripping or being startled.

This kid could sit in a dark room and easily read a book cover to cover. I, on the other hand, cannot. I appreciate the dimmer lighting, but I cannot read in it. And because I cannot stand being still for long, even while watching a sporting event, I end up pulling up an audio book and vegging out with it while I watch the game.

The unfortunate side effect to this is that on occasion the game has to be paused so the guys can rewind slightly in order to have me listen to the absurd statement one commentator or the other has made. Or, because they missed a brilliant mark when they looked down at their screens.

I have no doubt to others it probably seems strange and unusual, but it’s just the normal humdrum of evening life in our home.

PS: If you’re wondering, the digital book journal was something I purchased off Etsy, and can be found here.

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