What To Read & Skip – January 2020

Welcome to my first round of mini book reviews in 2020! As usual, I’m helping you decide which books to read and which books you can skip. Thankfully, most of the books on my list today are ones I recommend! I ended up with a bunch of winners this month, plus one reread that I knew would be a five star rating.

Did anyone else take advantage of all the extra reading time over the holidays? We were visiting family here and there, but ended up with a lot of downtime at home. It’s always a bit more difficult to find time to read with a youngin’, but my husband and I both make it a priority.

I was hitting the cheesy Christmas movies pretty hard early in December, so I think I burned myself out by the end of the month. That certainly opened up more reading time! If one of your goals this year is to read more, check out my tips to find ways to read more books.

If you’ve read any of the books in my mini book reviews below, let me know in the comments if you agree with my rating!

I’m linking up with Jana Says /Life According to Steph and Modern Mrs Darcy as usual to share what we read this month!

*Disclosure – I earn a small commission for any items purchased through the links above at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my book blog!!


Physical Books:

The Will and the Wilds by Charlie Holmberg

I begged the publisher for a copy of this new release since I adore Charlie Holmberg’s Paper Magician series. Unfortunately, I think I was a bit too excited. While this is a passable YA Fantasy, I definitely enjoyed The Paper Magician books more. So, I’d suggest going to read those instead! 3 stars.

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

I’m extremely sad to see this series end. Starting with The Bear and the Nightingale, through the Girl in the Tower, and ultimately wrapping up with The Winter of the Witch, these novels are stellar. If you haven’t heard, the fantasy series is set long ago in Russia and follows a girl who has the ability to see and speak with the spirits that haunt and protect the land. There’s rich details about Russia and the fairy tales that have come to life along with thrilling battles and magical missions. 5 stars.

A Highlander Walks Into A Bar by Laura Trentham

Backstory: I requested the sequel to this romance on NetGalley because, hey I like Scotland! That meant I had to read Book 1 first, though. Well, suffice to say this falls squarely in the romance genre and there’s little else to draw you in besides the main characters getting together. I prefer my love stories with a bit more plot and better writing. Unfortunately, I still have to read the sequel so I can review it on NetGalley. Maybe there’s more hope for book 2? 2.5 stars.


Do you have a way to track your reading in 2020? My Reading Tracker will help!


eBooks (reading on Netgalley / Kindle Unlimited):

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Stay tuned for a full review next week, but I’ll give you a sneak peek: high marks to this adorable YA rom com! It’s a millennial / Gen Z dream read – with a Twitter war, GIFs, anonymous chat apps, and more! I realized I completely forgot to include it on my list of must-read Winter 2020 new releases, but it definitely deserves a spot. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of the YA genre or loves a good GIF battle. 4 stars.

Verity by Colleen Hoover

The first book I finished in 2020 was intense!! When a girl agrees to ghost write the remainder of a popular author’s series, she has no idea she’s stepping into the life of a psychopath. This honestly creeped me out to the point where I couldn’t read it before bed. Although, I’m admittedly a complete wuss so it’s not really scary, just a bit suspenseful. I finished the book in two days, so you can get an idea of how it keeps you on the edge of your seat. I read it for free with Kindle Unlimited! 4 stars.


Audio Books (listening on Kindle Unlimited / Audible):

The Martian by Andy Weir

I purchased this as an Audible daily deal and I know I’ll be getting my money’s worth with plenty of re-listens. I’ve read the book, seen the movie, and now listened to the audiobook so does that make me a super nerd? There’s a perfect blend of sarcastic humor and detailed scientific analysis as Mark Watney tries to figure out how to stay alive on Mars. I know people sometimes avoid the sci fi genre, but I think you should give this a shot! It’s appealing to all types of readers. 5 stars.


Around the Web:

Best Books of the Decade – Allison of Mind Joggle and I hosted a linkup to share our best books of the decade. I sorted mine by genre to help narrow down the list. Come check out all the book blogger’s posts if you’re trying to decide what to read next! Or join us if you’re a blogger or bookstagrammer. The linkup will remain open for another week.

Uncorked Librarian’s Reading Challenge – Christine put together a very relaxed reading challenge this year and January is dedicated to a book that makes you think. This first post tackles a bunch of recommendations and a great discussion is happening in the comments!


For more mini book reviews, check out What I Read in December 2019!



January book recommendations



    1. I’ve heard it’s way different from her other books. I’m excited to try her other novels too though.

  1. I’ve been meaning to read Verity for forever! I love Colleen Hoover and I know this one is a departure from her typical romantic books. My top two genres are romance/romcoms and suspense so I need to read this ASAP!
    Ill have to check out the other ones you’ve mentioned especially the one set in Russia. Sounds good! Great list!

    1. This sounds like it’ll be the perfect combo for you then! Do you have any suggestions for what else I should read by her?

  2. i was not a fan of the highlander walks into a bar book, don’t think that author’s writing is for me. you can always just say you don’t want to leave a review on netgalley. the martian is so good. one of the best audiobooks i’ve ever listened to!

  3. I read the first Paper Magician book and found it so disappointing. I loved the concept but didn’t really like the way it was executed. And I couldn’t get past the main character cooking biscuits and gravy. In the London. Biscuits are cookies in the UK… so cookies with gravy?! Um, no!

    1. Ha!! I never even noticed the biscuits and gravy thing doesn’t make sense in London. That’s hilarious. To be fair, the storyline in the first book wasn’t my favorite, but I love her magic system. Thankfully the story got better in the second and third books.

  4. Verity was my first and only Colleen Hoover. Obviously all of her books won’t be like THAT but I think I’m done for awhile lol.

    I loved The Martian the movie so much, so I will likely never read the book. It just is what it is now.

  5. Both of your eBooks sound interesting – in totally different ways! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to read them myself 🙂 Thanks for the reviews!

  6. Omg, I love that you tackled The Martain in every way possible, HAHA!! I listened to the audiobook, which was great, and I saw the movie too. I felt a tad of detail-overload-boredom on that one (blasphemy, right?!), but that’s more because of my personal tastes. People LOVED it all. I definitely appreciate all of the detail, in the end. Plus, the story is wonderful and so is the writing!

    The Bear and the Nightingale (and that series) is definitely one that I have been eyeing for it’s diverse/international feel and acclaim. I’m so glad that you recommend them. I’ll take that as a total vote of confidence to squeeze them into my TBR pile.

    I saw Colleen Hoover on here and was going to message Lauren lol–BUT SHE’S ALREADY ON IT. Haha.

  7. I’ve just added The Bear and the Nightingale books to my wish list, was unsure on the Paper Magician as reviews on amazon put me off. Will go add Paper Magician series to my wish list as well now.

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