*England’s Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton – It takes a lot of strength and cunning to rise above a miserably poor childhood to become the wife of an ambassador and Horatio Nelson’s mistress, especially in a time when women had extremely limited life options. Partway through, it got hard to read because Emma needed a reality check. She allowed herself to be used, and surrounded herself with toxic people, becoming toxic herself. Her insecurities and inability to get out of her own way caused her to self-destruct.
*My Real Children – This was a beautiful book. I love stories where the main character splits into two selves because of a choice they made. I liked how the details of her life and world events varied between her lives.
*172 Hours on the Moon – This book suffered from a really awesome idea that was poorly executed. If the big draw are creepy moon monsters, then a good chunk of the book should take place on the moon with characters avoiding or being killed by said monsters. The characters spent a little less than half the book on the moon, and when the monsters make their appearance, their presence and attacks felt rushed. There were plenty of opportunities for some great psychological horror, but they were not taken advantage of. That being said, I liked how the author played the ending. The possible repercussions made my skin crawl.
*Hellhole – I tried reading Croak a few years ago, but couldn’t get past one of the characters. The premise behind Hellhole drew me in – a house-crashing devil camping out on the basement couch playing video games and eating junk food. I LOVED this book. The author’s writing style has come together with sarcastic characters and a healthy sense of black humor. The interaction between characters reminded me of my sister and I when we’re on a roll. Hellhole ended up being my first book purchase of the new year.
*Tin Star – I liked this book enough to want to read the sequel when it comes out later this month. It’s not a deep book in terms of character development or delving into the issues at hand, but it was a nice story.
*Shades of Milk and Honey – This book is Jane Austen and light magic mixed together. The author must be a big Austen fan because multiple characters and plot points felt like like they were plucked directly from various Austen books (P&P and S&S come to mind). It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to be a fan of Austen and/or Regency books. The thing that really bothered me was that she used “shew” instead of “show”.
*A Bride’s Story, vol 1-7 – This isn’t a fast-paced story by any means. It’s essentially a historical slice of life. The characters felt believable. Plus I love Kaoru Mori’s drawing style.
I read four books aloud to Bean in January, though most of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was read in December.