General Post, Reviews

January 2019 Wrap-Up

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to my ridiculously late, but better-than-nothing last look at January. I ended up reading 10 books over the month (YAY), mainly due to the fact that my kids went to school a total of 3.5 days last month and we stayed inside doing inside things… Like reading! 😉 I’m not exactly sure how I want to structure these in the future, but I thought maybe I could include one review of my favorite book of the month, plus some fun statistics to keep me on track and such. If you want to keep track of my pictures of book mail, you can follow my Instagram HERE. Feel free to reach out in the comments for any additional content you’d like to see in the future!

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Let’s start with my favorite book of the month! January’s winner was The Lost Man by Jane Harper. I’m doubly excited about this one because Mr. Humphrey and I are meeting up with a few other bookstagrammers in D.C. to meet Jane Harper on Sunday! I’ve pasted the full review below for your convenience; this one is published in the US today!

 

“He used to say the ones who wandered off called the loudest. For the rest of their lives, their mums would hear them crying out in the wind. Do you think that’s true? That this place has ghosts? That the mothers would hear their lost children in the wind.”

Guys, I’m blown away. I’ve been a colossal fan of Jane Harper since her debut novel The Dry was published, and more specifically a massive fan of her series protagonist Aaron Falk. Her lush, atmospheric way of writing makes me feel the heat of the Australian outback, and her character driven plots are more engaging than any high octane thriller, placing Harper squarely in the ring as one of the finest writers today. When I found out that The Lost Man would be a stand-alone novel, set apart from her police procedural series, I was a bit anxious due to the fact that I love those novels so much. Clearly, I had nothing to be concerned over, as I’m tempted to go so far as confirming that this is Harper’s best work of fiction to date.

“Dead men didn’t talk. Nathan must have thought that a hundred times over the years, but as he drove past the grave, the idea slipped slightly, taking on a strange and unfamiliar form. It was uncomfortable as it lodged itself in the darkest corner of his mind.”

One of the most appealing aspects of The Lost Man is how it takes a traditional genre and puts the author’s unique flair on the subject. If you’ve spent any time in the world of crime fiction, then you have likely read your fair share of police procedurals and may have even grown weary of their repetitive, familiar behavior. Here, Harper has inserted an amateur detective, the murder victim’s brother, and made it read in a believable manner that feels neither contrived nor overdone. As we follow Nathan’s journey in determining if his brother Cam was murdered or committed suicide, there are no fancy tricks or improbable action sequences where we shake our heads thinking, “No amateur would be able to pull that off!”

“Sometimes, the space almost seemed to call to Nathan. Like a faint heartbeat, insistent and persuasive… Life out here is hard. We all try to get through the best way we can. But trust me, there’s not a single person here who isn’t lying to themselves about something.”

Is this a book that will shock you with unexpected twists and floor you with its unpredictable plot? Probably not. As someone who has read more “twisty” psychological thrillers than I can count, I’m finding it beyond difficult to pick up one of those that actually surprises me, or entertains me anymore. The Lost Man isn’t that type of read though; this is a timeless tale of family dynamics, all-too familiar abuse, and perhaps a small enough cast that you will possibly guess the final outcome before the reveal. Let it be known, however, that I did NOT have it all nailed down before then.

This is the beauty of the book though; it’s a small enough cast that your suspicion is cast upon everyone, and as the story progresses between past and present, the reader is brought to an emotional climax after a tense journey alongside of Nathan and his family. The excellence is in Harper’s style of writing, her ability to captivate the reader, and talented way of transporting us to a place we may never have a chance to visit in person in our lifetime. If you enjoy emotionally charged, character driven stories, please do yourself a favor and pick this one up the second it lands in your hands. I feel privileged to have found one of my Top Ten reads of 2019 in the first month of the year, but I’ll be thinking about this gem of a novel for a considerable amount of time.

*I received a review copy via the publisher.

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I decided towards the middle of 2018 that I wanted the following year to be simplified and less stressful, so I’m pleased to announce that I’ve whittled down my Goodreads TBR (which is where I keep my most up to date and immediate to read list) to 30 books! I’m hoping to stay around this number, and that includes both ARCs and pre-publications that I’m excited about and want to keep tabs on. At the time of this writing, 18 of those 30 books are ARCs publishing between March and August of this year, so I’m pretty pleased with that number. The books that are older and I decide to read on a whim are just getting added straight to my currently reading shelf, which is making me feel less stressed and pressured all around. Also, Dennis and I’s #ScaredSuspenseBookClub chose Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen McManus as our January read, and we are already making headway on our February choice, The One by John Marrs. You can follow our discussions and announcements on our Instagram page @scaredsuspensebookclub.

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Friends, I was so preoccupied with reading as much as possible this month that this is all I have for you. ❤ Thank you for reading this far and, as always, happy reading in the months ahead! If you’d like to follow me on my other platforms, you can do so on Goodreads and Twitter as well.

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1 thought on “January 2019 Wrap-Up”

  1. Really exceptional post, Chelsea! Your enthusiasm for The Lost Man and reading in general is so refreshing. I know the feeling of falling in love with a book ~ I seem to do it all the time! But I also will decide a book is not to my taste and move on. So when I gush, it’s because I feel like you did when you read this book. I thank you for introducing me to this one!

    Like

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