Books I Read in January // ft. 16 books that were mostly v nice

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January was a pretty nice month!!! I only cried eleven times??? I also read 16 books and had 2 five-star reads.

i feel like a genius reading machine.

which is why I ambitiously set my year’s reading goal at 200 books.

it was a moment of incredible optimism

+ i’m obviously insane what have I done

i might fail but you know what, it shall be for a good cause because this year I’m trying to get my shit together,,,so I might not have as much time to read. it’s a very valid excuse.

For example, I plan to write like an unloved recluse, and finish my book about Marcel and Violet.


me showing up to deal w anxiety

Also, so many people see my Goodreads challenge at 200 books, and they’re like “how do you read so much?” “surely it’s not an unhealthy obsession !! lol

and usually my answer is something like “I sold my soul in exchange for the ability to read at an above average speed” or “idk lol” “because i’m trash” “no one invites me to parties because i’m too awkward and I eat all their snacks”

But THE thoughtful ANSWER = audiobooks!!!

I get so much reading done while walking around, vacuuming, and staring at my ceiling being anxious + depressed. audiobooks are v convenient.

I also listen at double speed, which i know sounds crazy and uncivilized. But anything slower than a speed of 1.75 moves slower than my thoughts go?????????? ((((it’s hard to explain)))) But audiobooks = my little secret to reading lots of books per month


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But here are all the books I read in January. There were certainly some highs and lows. [clears throat] including a 1 star book.



I’m actually very compassionate to myself when a book disappoints me, A Disappointing Reading Experience is just,,,,,,,,a cruel thing to happen to a human being.

(especially me because I’m Soft.)

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Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

🌸4/5 stars🌸YA Contemporary Romance🌸

This was the very first book I read in 2019, and I’m hoping it sets a fluffy tone that will last for the rest of time. This one was about a girl who dreams of directing plays.

BUT in her senior year of high school, she has play Juliet, so she asks a v cute friend to tutor her in Shakespeare! AND WHAT FOLLOWS IS A BUCKET OF SOFT SPARKLES.

Always Never Yours

The Wall of Winnipeg And Me by Mariana Zapata

🌸4/5 stars🌸 Adult Contemporary Romance🌸

TW: mentions of past physical, emotional abuse (familial)

I love Marina Zapata with eternal love and devotion, she’s so FUNNY. and she’s somehow mastered the art of slow burn. I listened to this as an audiobook, and it was done so well, the narrator is ADORABLE and down-to-earth about everything.

This was about 700 pages, so Mariana is showed up and *presented* us with this hulking, adorable book. And one hug scene in particular lasted at least three pages.

[smiles fondly]

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

🌸4/5 stars🌸Classic🌸

TW: mention of surgery, death of a mc, depictions of psychosis

This is one of my new favorite books and sadly it’s extremely underrated. It’s about intense friendship, betrayal, and I’m pretty sure the main character is a psychopath.

A Separate Peace

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

🌸4/5 stars🌸Classic🌸

TW: detailed suicide

Steinbeck’s best novel, it was written SO BEAUTIFULLY, the imagery about the ocean was gorgeous. It took my breath away !! And despite being a John Steinbeck book, it was pretty soft???

Tea by Matthew J Metzger

🌸3/5 stars🌸Adult Contemporary Romance🌸LGBTQ+🌸

I was excited about this one because it’s about a trans man written BY a trans man!!! Also, the main character (Chris) is blind, has epilepsy, and at one point calls his love interest, John, “sweetheart.”

For the record, endearments are my number one enjoyment in life. I enjoy love stories SOLELY based on use of endearments + ability to hug.


The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee

🌸 5/5 stars 🌸 YA Dystopian Sci-Fi 🌸 LBGTQ+ 🌸

(arc, Pub. March 1st)

Usually I don’t like sci fi, but I appreciated this book !!! IT WAS SO CHARACTER-DRIVEN???? But at the same time, we’re given science! and betrayal! AND TRUE LOVE FOR THE GAYS!

This was an excellent novel.

The Fever King (Feverwake, #1)

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

🌸3/5 stars🌸 YA Historical🌸

TWphysical & emotional abuse (from parents – child), depictions of dead animals, blood, gun violence

so many POVS, they will topple down and crush you. also the setting made me nervous

The Smell of Other People's Houses

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

🌸3/5 stars🌸YA Contemporary Romance🌸LGBTQ+🌸

(arc, Pub. June 11th)

I felt like this wasn’t what it could’ve been. There were still cute moments, but I didn’t care about the family drama, the girls’ personal drama, or the relationship drama. I’VE BEEN EXPOSED, ALL I WANT ALL THE TIME IS FLUFF FULL FORCE.

(but can we take a moment to appreciate the cover c: )

Tell Me How You Really Feel

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

🌸3/5 stars🌸NA Contemporary Romance🌸LBGTQ+🌸

(arc, Pub. May 14th)

I enjoyed this book and would 10/10 recommend it to everyone. It was cute and funny and sweet and gay! Henry and Alex are absolutely SMITTEN with each other.

What more can you possibly want from this world?

Red, White & Royal Blue

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

🌸2/5 stars🌸YA Dystopian🌸

TW: fatphobia, transphobia  

Wade is garbage. but the world-building is cool.

Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

🌸3/5 stars🌸YA Historical🌸

TWrape, death of main character(s), depictions of suicide, general violence & death

That was just a hardcore SAD book. I feel subdued. I’m not even on the verge of sobbing anymore, it’s more like,,,,,,,,i’m staring off into the distance, entirely destroyed but also okay with my fate.

The ONE character I loved was treated BADLY and I was not expecting it. The sheer BOLDNESS of this author to treat me this way.

pls just toss my mangled heart into the garbage disposal, it’s a useless lug now.

Salt to the Sea

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

🌸4/5 stars🌸YA Sci Fi🌸

TW: gun violence 

 don’t usually like sci-fi and let’s be real, I still don’t like sci-fi. There are a few books in this genre that are great, but usually it’s not my thing

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? I enjoyed this book????

I’m not overly impressed, but it was still *enjoyable*

Most importantly, Ezra is truly Jake from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, don’t fight this truth.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

No One Here Is Lonely by Sarah Everett

🌸1/5 stars🌸YA Contemporary🌸

It was annoying and disappointed me deeply. Am I just slowly becoming more callous???????? Is that what this is? Because I was so irritated with every single sentence the main character uttered.

OR was this book just INHERENTLY boring? I need to be validated because I’m v sensitive and want to be hugged.

No One Here Is Lonely

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore

🌸4/5 stars🌸YA Fantasy🌸

I admire Katsa so much???????? Not only is she a graceling, which means she was born with eyes that are two different colors, signifying that she has special powers,,,,,,,,but said special powers are intimidating and dismantled my feelings.

We’re here to talk about super strength and speed and *killing abilities* so that she’s able to make men turn pale and terrified.

scary girls are one of the greatest things in this life

But amazing abilities aside, she’s also logical and hard on herself to the point that it’s difficult to comprehend. such discipline oh god

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

🌸5/5 stars🌸Classic🌸

This story is only about 90 pages, is inherently wonderful, and is now one of my favorites. It felt like soft flowers and pastel clouds and poems and that new tennis ball smell.

my soul is in serious danger of being P U R E

The Little Prince

The Girls by Emma Cline

🌸2/5 stars🌸Adult Historical🌸

TW: rape, violence, physical and emotional abuse, cult culture

There’s such a resigned quality to this book. Every character is fundamentally bitter, and since the story is based on the Manson cult, you know things are not going to end up being peaches and rainbows.

But sunshine cannot exist in this dark, forsaken narrative.

Only sadness.

And uncomfortable sexual tension.

The Girls

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How was your January?

Do you love The Little Prince as much as I do?

What is your favorite food?


62 thoughts on “Books I Read in January // ft. 16 books that were mostly v nice

  1. Nimika @ wordhaven says:

    malanie attacking me w relatable content for a minute straight:

    “I only cried eleven times???”
    “i feel like a genius reading machine. i’m obviously insane what have I done”
    “because i’m trash” 
    “no one invites me to parties because i’m too awkward and I eat all their snacks”
    “endearments are my number one enjoyment in life”
    “pls just toss my mangled heart into the garbage disposal, it’s a useless lug now.”

    I feel attacked 💛

    i hope you continue w the illuminae trilogy; gemina is literally a total masterpiece. also,,,, omg, Ezra is TOTALLY jake peralta.

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      I am so happpyyy,, you relating to this content brings me life, U UNDERSTAND and i just, i need to read all your favorite books bc i know i’m going to love them!!!!!!!!! u are my long lost TWIN united at last

      +i’m actually excited to finish the Illuminae series and that’s the surprise of my year, bc usually i can’t read sci fi???? It’s just never been my thing, but apparently if jake peralta shows up thennnn anything can be my thing (^u^)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marina_Books of Magic says:

    The Little Prince is life!!! ❤ My fave food are french fries haha, though I don't mind any kinds of sweets, especially waffles mmmm. Wow I admire you so much for listening audio books whenever you want and at high speed, I can't concentrate enough, I always float away haha. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Ahh one-star books happen to all of us every now and again but wow 16 books is incredible Malanie! I’ve got a couple of audiobooks on my TBR list still and I can definitely see how they’d help boost your read stats. Good luck with your 200 goal by the way, if you keep reading like you did last month I’m sure you’ll smash it! 😀 ❤️
    Also there are plenty of amazing reads in this post; I love Illuminae so I’m thrilled you enjoyed it soon, and I have The Fever King on my TBR list and every positive thing I see about it just makes me more excited for its release.
    Great post, it seems like you had a good January so I hope you have an even better February. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      ahh thank you Beth!!<3 ❤ ❤ oh gosh, January was such a nice reading month, but Feb might not be as productive because I just read "In Other Lands" by Sarah Rees Brennan and

      ***sighs w adoration***

      it was so incredible??????? I CANNOT HANDLE HOW MUCH I LOVE ELLIOTT. have u read it? oh gosh, if not i hope you read it v soon, it's 10000% a Beth book c: c: c: c: c: i'm going to live in a permanent book slump until at least July because how can any other book be as amazing, it's totally impossible

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Arini says:

    You read so many good books! 😍 I see you’re quite fond of Mariana Zapata’s books. I just finished Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGary, and it’s a new favorite of mine. It’s a slow burn, and it’s heartfelt, emotional, and touching. 😭💖 I think you should check it out. 🤓 Yes, I love The Little Prince, but mainly because it’s the only classic I read. 😂 My favorite food is spaghetti. 🍝

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      i love Mariana Zapata so much!!! I need to read more of her books, i’m trying to convince my library to buy more XD + ahh I’m going to add Only a Breath Apart to my tbr, i love reading other ppl’s favorite books dslkfj

      + i miss spaghetti!!!!! i use to really love it, but then one time i ate it while I was sad and I’ve never been able to love it since, it’s EXTREMELY HEARTBREAKING </3

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    Malanie, I think you have just convinced me that I need to start listening to audiobooks! I never did so before because I feel like I can read WAY faster than I can listen listen to something. It NEVER even crossed my mind to increase the speed of the reading! My word! YOU ARE A GENIUS! 😍

    Also, 16 books!? You Queen! That is amazing! I’m glad that nearly all of them were enjoyable! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  6. may says:

    the spongebob meme you captioned with ‘me showing up to deal with anxiety’ dude i felt that
    ALSO 16 BOOKS??? you reading MACHINE im so proud of you!
    and omg a fellow audiobooker. i seriously cant listen on anything less than 1.75 either too (usually 2x) and when my brothers hear it, theyre like ??is that what aliens sound like?? but i cannot concentrate on it otherwise so too bad for them

    i’m slowlllyyy finding my way through na and mariana zapata sounds like an absolute must read author, so colour me intrigued.
    IM SO HAPPY YOU ENJOYED MY FAV, ILLUMINAE IFHDAKFHAKJ i am too vulnerable when it comes to that book like it just hurts me when my favs dont like it but 🎉🎉🎉yayayayay (i cant wait for you to read gemina hehe)

    i have yet to read little prince (i know, what am i doing with my life???) but i was legit SPOILED for the ending bc of a movie, which is RUDE anyways it still sounds amazing
    im so glad you had a fantastic reading month and i hope youre having an even better month with lots of 5 stars!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:


      this exact thing happens to me on a daily basis!!!!! U UNDERSTAND. i’ll have my book casually playing out loud in my room, and my sister will walk in and is horrified lskdfj

      but she doesn’t understand the Audiobook Flow one enters after a few minutes. all i can do is try to explain w :::”YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND, IT HAS TO BE THIS WAY”

      +Mariana Zapata is such an excellent quality na author, i always forget that her characters are in their early/mid twenties bc they seem so YOUNG but at the same time they’re out in the world, w jobs and cars etc. and i feel so protective of them, they need to be nurtured and sheltered

      + i was so scared that i wasn’t gonna like Illunimae BC U KNOW HOW SCARED I AM OF SCI FI, but then!!! EZRA!!!!!!!!!!!!! i’d like to pls take Ezra and place him on a planet of cotton candy, he is so cute and fun???????

      oh god I was not prepared for the ending of The Little Prince, i went into it thinking?? ahhhhh well this is nice?? this will be so sweet, look at the little prince being adorable and this is literally a children’s book so it’ll be fluffy and no way i’ll cry right !!!!!! r i g h t ?? BUT HOLY SHIT THAT WAS SUCH A SAD ENDING, my entire happiness and hope crumbled into a pile of tears

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bookbeachbunny says:

    Ha. I picked up No One Here is Lonely the other day and decided to exercise some self-control (for once) until I heard more about it. Looking like that was good idea.
    Hope the rest of your year has as much good reading as January!


  8. Raven @ Dreamy Addictions says:

    Wow, You had an amazing reading month! I also loved Always Never Yours, and Illuminae! I’ve read Ready Player One and really enjoyed it but I didn’t like Wade. The Wall Of Winnipeg and Me has been on my TBR list for ages. I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
    Hope you have a great reading in February! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      oh gosh it was so amazing, i was so worried that I’d not like Illuminae, bc it’s sci fi, but it turned out great???

      + i’m so happy there are others who don’t like Wade, I thought for sure i would get attacked for hating him, but i think a lot of people see what a jerk he truly is sldkfj


  9. thebookcorps says:

    I’m so glad you loved The Fever King! I’m reading it right now and it’s so good! I LOVE RED WHITE & ROYAL BLUE SO MUCH adshfjkashgk I can’t wait to have a physical copy 😭
    Hope February is just as good to you 💕😘

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Meeghan reads says:

    January was good! I only worked 2 days so got to read 14 books! (That was a lot for me.) I have not read The Little Prince (and am now inherently sad as I love pastel clouds). You can’t make me choose a favourite food. I am too indecisive. I do love Cadbury pineapple chocolate though. My fave drink is T2 Melbourne breakfast tea (brewed for 4 mins) with a lot of milk. (I am quite specific about my tea). Second place goes to frozen coke from Maccas in Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      14 books is so much!!!!!! in 2016, i remember i only read 1 book all year, i read like a chapter a month, it was Extremely Sad. so ever since anything above 1 is a lot and cherished XD c: c: c: c:

      + the little prince is so cute???????? i can’t wait for you to read it bc i think you’ll love him sm

      ++oh god, the Cadbury Pineapple chocolate sounds so delicious, i love pineapple things ❤ also same i am so specific about my tea!!!!!! i can only drink hot green tea, mint tea, and honey chamomile. and my friends are always giving me cranberry tea???? and it's like """"i love u guys but this tea is terrible"""" and they're like """""but all tea is the same""""" and i respond """""""our friendship is concluded""""""

      Liked by 1 person

  11. kozbisa says:

    Audiobooks really are convenient. I listen to them at work, when I’m driving, shopping, cleaning, etc, and they are helping me tremendously with my backlist. I think I read A Separate Peace back in 1986 (?). I remember it being one of my “required” reading books that I actually liked.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kay Wisteria | Hammock of Books says:

    Omg you read so many books that’s amazing 😀 Haha I don’t read audiobooks but also whenever I have to watch some videos for school like math or something I always set it to double speed because life is short and I don’t have time to listen to you speak at the speed of a normal human loll. Absolutely can’t wait to read Red White and Royal Blue, Fever King, and Always Never Yours, so I’m so glad you enjoyed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    Audiobooks are truly amazing for upping your reading! 😄 YAY I’m so glad you liked Graceling! It’s definitely one of my favorite fantasies and I love Katsa so much. And I’m glad to hear you recommend Red White and Royal Blue! I’m looking forward to that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      KATSA WAS SO AMAZING, i remember being just silently in awe of how intensely i adored her??????? everyone is so afraid of her,,,and i don’t know why exactly but i love characters everyone is terrified of (especially girls) I LOVE THEM ALLLLL


  14. Mel says:

    I’m so sad to see you didn’t love Tell Me How You Really Feel, I have been very excited for that one. I’m happy to see The Smell Of Other People’s Houses on your list though; that’s such an underrated book and I really wish more people would read it! I’m also super curious about The Fever King; I’ve heard a ton of good things about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      oh gosh i am still sad about Tell Me How You Really Feel, I was just rereading my “most anticipated of 2019” post, and that book was ON THE LIST and i nearly began to cry.

      + The Smell of Other Peoples Houses was *crafted* so well, the author is so good at combining everyone’s lives so seamlessly?????

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mel says:

        ikr? I haven’t read a book that combined multiple perspectives so well before that one. It was just so excellent all around, and it had such a unique setting, too.


  15. Malka @ Paper Procrastinators says:

    Wow! 16 books is amazing! Good luck with your yearly goal! This post had me laughing to myself. I love all the little side comments you made. So entertaining!

    I thought Always Never Yours was super cute, and I’m glad it was a good start to your year!

    Unfortunately, I’m currently reading The Wall of Winnipeg and me (I’m in the very, very beginning) and it seems a bit too slow of a slow burn for me? I also have to admit that I wasn’t enamored with The Little Prince. I just found it to be okay. But I think your Ezra comparison is on point! And I hope you love the rest of the series if/when you continue on!

    Also, cookies all day any day! 🍪

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      lolollll thank you Malka!!!!! ❤ i thought Wall of Winnipeg was too slow burn for the first half of the book sdlfkjsldfj i don't know why but I couldn't put it down??????? but in the end it made me happy, mostly bc of the *3 page hugging scene* that made history XD

      + now i want chocolate chip cookies so much


  16. Indiana | igreadsya says:

    I am so so so insanely happy you enjoyed A Separate Peace, I am the number one advocate for this book and get so sad when people don’t like it TToTT I also have an ARC of Red, White, and Royal Blue coming so I am excited that you enjoyed it, I look forward to reading it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. thebookishskies says:

    Ahhhh, I really need audiobooks in my life. Honestly. They do sound so convenient and I can think of so many moments where they could help be more productive – like reading a book + washing the dishes; reading a book + playing Candy Crush. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a Scribd subscription soon. And if I don’t read 5 books a month even with audiobooks, then I can be held hostage.
    I’m glad you enjoyed Illuminae – it’s one of my favorite trilogies of all times. Sci-fi is not my thing either, but these books swept me off my feet. I love the characters and how fast-paced it is. Hope you enjoy the rest of the series too! 💫

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      lolollll audiobooks are so completely convenient???????and sometimes i’m just too tired to hold a physical copy and turn the pages,,so i let the audio play and lay there motionlessly &I IT’S SO NICE ❤ ❤ I HOPE U LOVE THEM SOONNNN


  18. Michelle 🌈 says:

    I’m SO EXCITED for The Fever King!! I’m usually not that into sci-fi either so I’m so glad to hear you aren’t and still enjoyed it 😀 Red, White and Royal Blue also sounds super cute and I need it *grabby hands*

    Liked by 1 person

  19. tempestofbooks says:

    I do love The Little Prince as much as you do! Being french, I had the opportunity to read it for one of my optional classes at university and write a paper on it, and I enjoyed so much! I’m so happy you love it too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Kelly says:

    I’ve always said I could probably get through more books if I listened to audiobooks. I might just have to start listening to them more often! 16 books in a month is super impressive. I managed 7 books last month, which I don’t think is too shabby haha! Illuminae is currently sitting on my shelf and I’m so excited to get started on it but now that you’ve said one of the characters is like Jake from B99, I’m even more excited to dive into this book. Jake Peralta is a treasure.
    Also, my favourite food is pizza, but that seems to be pretty cliche even though pizza is delicious, so I’m gonna go with pancakes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      oh gosh Jake Peralta is SUCH A PRECIOUS DEAR, i miss him so much, i binged B99 in December and haven’t see him since, it’s extremely sad slkdjf

      (((but if u love Jake you’ll adore Ezra from Illuminae sdklfjdslkjf)))))

      + oh god I love pizza so much, it can never be cliche bc it’s Eternally Delicious, especially deep dish ❤ ❤ NOW I WISH I COULD HAVE SOMMME


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