Kaitlyn Luckow

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January Reading Wrap-Up

I am always preaching that if you want to be a writer, you HAVE to read. Nothing is more important to your creativity and craft than to consume the kind of work you want to make. 

Because of this (and because I love it), I read a lot. So I thought I would share the books I read each month with you all.

January was a crazy reading month for me. Honestly, I have no idea how I read so many books this month. I was just on a great fantasty kick and it’s still going.   

Of Love And War by Lynsey Addario —5 Stars

Addario is a war photojournalist who has traveled to many conflict areas including Rwanda, Syria, and Afghanistan. This is a photography collection of what she saw there along with her first-hand experience. Addario is one of my favorite photographers and I love her and her work. These stories are heartbreaking and the images are not for the faint of heart. But they are so important.

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill—4.5 Stars

This poetry collection takes a look at all of the classic fairytales and retells them in a new light.

I really enjoyed this collection. Is it terrible to say that it reminded me a lot of my own writing? Regardless, it definitely inspires me to write more.

These renditions of fairytales were fresh and provided a lot of different perspectives. I did think that the collection could have been edited down a little more as some of the pieces didn’t seem necessary.

Some of my favorites were “Once Upon A Time II”; “Cinderella’s Mother Sends Her A Message From Heaven”; and “The Hatter” (my favorite).

 

 Salt by Hannah Moskowitz —1.5 Stars 

This is a story about a family of near-future pirates who are on a mission to avenge their parents from a dangerous sea monster.

Wow. I did not enjoy this read. The premise has so much promise, but the execution of the plot was not great. The writing was paced so bizarrely with a lot of focus on scenes that added nothing and the action scenes were rushed. It was predictable and I didn’t feel any stakes for the characters). 

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Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero —4.5 Stars

This is a graphic novel exploring the life of photographer Graciela Iturbide. 

This book was so beautifully written. The language was poetic and insightful. The graphics were a genius mixture of drawings and actual photos of Graciela’s. My only qualm with this book was that it was too short.

Girls of Paper and Fire by  Natasha Ngan—3.5 Stars

This new YA fantasy has been getting a lot of hype. It takes place in a land where the Paper caste is oppressed. The main character is sent to the castle for training to become a paper girl, which are similar to geishas. However, it appears that the main character doesn’t know everything about herself or about the kingdom she lives in. 

I thought that this book was...average. There were some things that I really liked and some things that I thought needed a lot of work.

I really liked the characters and I thought that most of them were pretty well-developed and complex. Of course, I also loved having a femalexfemale relationship in a YA fantasy. I also thought that the very last page was a really nice ending and cliff-hanger.

However, I thought that the plot was predictable and so many of the characters were so forthcoming about their "secrets" that it just felt like it was something that was needed to move the plot forward rather than for the plot to be natural. I also wasn't a huge fan of the world itself, but I think that's just more personal preference than anything else.

 

The part that bugged me the most was the writing itself. I thought that it was lazy at times and I found myself constantly rolling my eyes at the main character's obvious thoughts.



Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake— 4.5 Stars 

This is the third book in a YA fantasy series about triplets who are supposed to fight and kill each other in order to become queen.  

This series continues to be amazing. Awesome character development, complex relationships, and incredible plot twists. I can’t wait for the conclusion! 

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 The City Of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty—5 Stars

This fantasy debut tells the story of con-woman Nahiri in 18th century Cairo, who uses her mysterious healing skills to fool everyone around her. That is until she is thrown into a magical world and finds out where she truly is. 

I loved this book so much! It was so wonderfully politically complex. The whole ending was shocking and brutal and makes me so excited for the next book (in fact, that’s what I’m reading next).

 

 Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan—4.5 stars

* ARC provided by Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review*

I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. From the very first page, I wasn’t able to put it down. I thought that the magic system and the world was really interesting and I loved how it brought up philosophical discussions about gods and religion without it seeming forced in any way.

The characters were wonderfully complex and flawed and I loved the banter between all of the characters.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the plot twists in this book. They were brutal and so well done. I’m already looking forward to the next book and this one isn’t even out yet! AHHH!! I can’t wait.
The only criticism I have for this book is that some of the pacing seemed a bit off for me. Sometimes the descriptions of things seemed to be cut short, and I wanted more.
This book is perfect for you if you are a fan of Sarah J Maas or Leigh Bardugo.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, you need to add this book to your list.

 

 

Have you read any of these books? What books did you read in January? Let me know in the comments below!