January Reading Wrap Up Part 2


Hi everyone. I’m Rincey and this is Rincey Reads. Today I’m going to be doing my January wrap
up part 2. I have five books that I want to talk to you
guys about in this video. So I’m just going to jump right in. So the first book that I have to talk about
really briefly is Vita Nostra. And I say really briefly because I’m actually
going to do a full video on this book cause I have a lot of feelings about it. Like a lot of people who watch booktube, I
found out about this book because of Matthew Scriappa. And I really enjoyed this book a lot. I think I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars. It is a really fantastic magical school story. But it like takes it to another level. The way that I summed it up in my Goodreads
review was that this is like Harry Potter, but if Harry Potter was written by Kafka. Now that’s like a super simplification, obviously. So I do want to talk about this book more. But just know that like overall I really enjoyed
it. And if you are someone who enjoys magical
school stories, especially ones that are more adult and have like a lot of darker themes
to them and deeper ideas to them, then this is definitely one that you should have on
your radar. But again, I’m going to do a full review on
this one next week. So you guys can look forward to that. But yeah, I really enjoyed this one a lot. Next up I have The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay. And this is a book that I actually listened
to on audio. The audiobook of this is available on Hoopla
for anyone who is interested and I actually really loved it on audio. The narrator for this is really fantastic. So if you are interested in this book, I highly
recommend the audiobook. This story takes place in India and you are
following this character named Shalini who is in her, like, 20s when her mother passes
away. And this story sort of flashes back and forth
in time between like present day of her dealing with her grief and whatnot. And then also flashing back in time and you
get to see stories about her childhood and about her mother growing up and even like
leading up to their death– her death and things like that. But after her mother passes away, Shalini
is kind of aimless for a while and she decides that she is going to head to Kashmir. Because when she was younger, there was this
man who used to sell clothes and he was from Kashmir. And he was basically the only person that
she knew of that was actually her mother’s friend. But then one day he kind of just like disappears. But now she decides that she is going to travel
to Kashmir and try to find him. She remembers the village that he has mentioned
when he used to visit. So she decides that she is going to go there
and, you now, try to find him. While she’s there, she ends up staying with
this family and ends up getting like really involved in the lives of this family and within
this village and things like that. And things sort of like expand from there. This is one of those like literary fiction
books where the plot is very much secondary to character development and writing and things
like that. So like, giving a plot summary isn’t super
easy because a lot happens in this story, but it also isn’t really about what happens
in the story. This is a book about grief, which is always
a thing that I really appreciate. This is also a book that’s about privilege,
which is also a thing that I really appreciate. Shalini comes from a major city. She’s from Bangalore, which is in southern
India, and she has a lot of privilege. She’s been sheltered from a lot of things. And so when she goes to Kashmir, which is
a country that deals with a lot of conflict specifically in the village that she goes
to, there is a significant amount of conflict, her eyes are sort of opened to other things
that are happening in the world, other experiences that other people are happening. So yeah, like I said, I really enjoyed listening
to this on audio. I think this is a book that if I had read
the physical form of it, I probably would have DNF’d it because Shalini is a super irritating
character at times. Like she’s so naive sometimes that it’s almost
infuriating. But also that’s kind of the point. But again, the audiobook narration is so well
done that I was able to, you know, deal with that significantly better. The writing in here is really beautiful in
a way that having it told to you is like a really amazing experience. So I think that also helps a lot. I think I gave this like a 3 and a half out
of 5 stars. I think it’s like a 3 star story with a 5
star narration. But I really enjoyed the exploration of things
like grief and privilege and things like that. This is a book filled with unlikeable characters
and characters who make poor decisions and characters you want to yell at and things
like that. Like these are morally gray, complicated characters,
which is something that I always really enjoy seeing in books. So if you are looking for a good literary
fiction book that deals with like morally gray characters that doesn’t have a lot of
plot but has really beautiful writing and complicated characters, The Far Field might
be one for you. All right next up I have Harmless Like You
by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan. This is another one that is literary fiction
with complicated characters that cause complicated feelings in me. In this story you are following two storylines. One of ’em, you are following this character
named Yuki who is of Japanese descent. She lives in New York City. You’re following her as she is like in high
school. And her parents decided that she is– that
they are going to move back to Japan, but she’s able to convince her parents to let
her stay in the United States. And you are just like following her as she
grows up and she decides to become an artist and things like that. And then the other storyline you are following
is in more present day — the story of Yuki takes place in like the 1970s. And then there is a present day storyline
where you are following this character named who is actually Yuki’s son who she abandoned
when he was a baby. And Jay’s father recently passed away and
has left in his will the house that they grew up in, that Jay grew up in, to Yuki. And so he has to fly to I believe Germany
which is where she is currently living in order to hand over the deed to the home and
things like that and to get her to like either sign off on it or have her sell it or whatever
she wants to do with it. But he sort of travels there without saying
that it’s him that’s traveling there. Like he sort of doesn’t say anything and she
just assumes it’s a lawyer. And so you’re sort of just following those
two storylines. So yeah, like I said, this is a book that
I have really complicated feelings about. I loved following the Yuki storyline, like
the 1970s storyline, watching this girl grow up and figure out what she’s doing and have
like really conflicting emotions about so many different things was really, really fantastic
for me. Jay’s a character in my opinion. Like he would be a terrible person. He’s married and it’s like super confusing
whether or not he actually likes or loves his wife. They recently had a child who he seems very
ambivalent with. And the way his point of view is provided,
it’s like so off putting to me that I was not enjoying this book at all when it was
from his point of view. But luckily his point of view doesn’t take
up a significant portion of the book. But again, I really enjoyed everything from
Yuki’s storyline and that’s really what kept me going. It was nice to see sort of Jay when he finally
meets Yuki and things like that, and then I started enjoying it more. But sort of everything leading up to that
point, like there’s a lot of time spent with just Jay that I was not into. So. I think I also gave this one a 3 and a half
out of 5 stars specifically for that reason. It’s really, really beautifully written, but
it’s one of those, again, literary fiction sort of navel gazing, meandering plot sort
of stories. So you sort of have to know that going into
it. So if you’re into something that is a slightly
slower burn, I do recommend this one. I think there’s a lot done with Yuki’s storyline
to talk about what it was like growing up in the 60s and 70s and having these ambitious
dreams and sort of the corruption of that and dealing with real life and all of those
different things. And I think all of that was handled really
well. This is like one of those books that’s like
borderline pretentious, which I’m kind of OK with sometimes. If you are also into borderline pretentious
books, then you can pick up Harmless Like You. All right, my next two books are basically
on the opposite end of the spectrum. First one is August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones. This is the first book in a mystery series. So this is like a really fun, action packed
book. If you are looking for a crime book that is
just like all action, this is for you. In this story you are following this character
named August Snow who is a former police officer for the Detroit Police Department. And he basically ends up telling on his corrupt
department and mayor and like takes down a significant portion of the department. He becomes a piranha for the police department. He also got a $12 million payout for being
someone who told on them. And since he becomes a piranha, he leaves
Detroit, travels the world for a little bit, but then ends up going back to Detroit and
moving back to his hometown. And when he moves back, he gets contacted
by this woman named Eleanor Paget who he is like an acquaintance with. She asks him to look into some suspicious
things that are happening at the bank that she owns. And he turns it down because he says he’s
no longer a police officer, he’s not a private detective, he doesn’t have a detective’s license,
and he has no real interest in following that path anymore. But then the next day, Eleanor Paget ends
up dead. It’s being ruled as a suicide, but August
Snow doesn’t believe that it actually was a suicide. So he starts looking into it and he gets himself
into quite a bit of a mess. This book I’ve seen described as like a Raymond
Chandler novel with a bit of a Walter Mosley, Easy Rawlins feel to it, which I think is
kind of accurate. There’s a lot of things about this book that
I really enjoyed. This book takes place in Detroit and Detroit
is a major part of this story. The author is also from the Detroit area. So you can tell how much he loves the city
by how much the main character loves the city and talks about the city and things like that. So if you are someone who enjoys books that
like really ground you in a place, this is a good one for that. Again, like I said, it’s basically all action
and all plot. So if you are in the mood for something like
that, then this is a really great one. Like it really feels like you’re watching
or reading an action movie, like a popcorn flick or something like that. So don’t go into this book expecting like
super deep character development or anything like that. But there is some slight character development
that happens in this story. And the main character in this story is half
black, half Mexican. There is like talk about race in Detroit and
the way the lines are set up and things like that and the conflicts that occur between
different races and things like that. So he doesn’t like shy away from some deeper
racial topics. But again, it’s mostly like an action popcorn
flick. So again, I really enjoyed this. I thought it was a lot of fun. I have the second book as well, which just
came out in January. So I’m definitely going to be picking that
one up. There’s a lot of really fun characters in
here that I’m excited to continue on with. I feel like a lot of times when I get into
a mystery series, a lot of times what makes or breaks it for me is how the side characters
are portrayed and written. If I enjoy the side characters, then I usually
am really excited to continue on with the series. And this one has a lot of really fun side
characters as well. So yeah, August Snow, I really liked it. I recommend it if you want a fast paced, action
packed mystery book. Oh but I will say the one major flaw that
I had with this is that like August Snow can be really annoying at times because he has
so much pride and so much ego that you kind of want to kick him. But also, all of the other characters feel
that way about him, too. So you know you’re not crazy when you’re felling
that way. Everyone else kind of justifies it. All right, and the final book I have to talk
about is Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee. Now full disclosure, Disney Presents sent
me this book and sponsored my most anticipated science fiction and fantasy video that I posted
last week. But they did not like pay me to review this
book or anything like that. But you know, I just want to say that so it
is clear. So, this is a new middle grade story from
Yoon Ha Lee. He wrote the science fiction book Ninefox
Gambit as well as it’s sequels that I can never remember the names of. And this is, again, like I said, a new middle
grade novel from him. This was a really fun book. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy
middle grade adventure stories because this is a really fun adventure story. So in this story you are following this character
named Min who is about 13 years old. She and her family are all fox spirits, but
fox spirits are not like highly looked upon. In fact, they’re seen as being like very untrustworthy
and things like that. Their mother has told the entire family that
they all have to disguise themselves as humans. The story starts off with an officer coming
to their house telling them that Jun, Min’s older brother who is a cadet part of the Space
Forces, has basically abandoned the Space Forces. And they believe that he has left to go find
the Dragon Pearl, which is this object that holds immense power. However, Min doesn’t believe that Jun would
ever do that and thinks that something is up. And so she decides that she is going to run
away from home to try to find out what exactly is happening here. So first of all, let’s just talk about how
amazing this cover is. I like legitimately keep looking at it cause
I am kind of obsessed with it. I think it’s one of the most beautiful covers
I’ve seen in a long time. But besides that, this was, like I said, a
really fun adventure story. It did take me a little bit to get into the
story. I feel like there is like a small side adventure
that Min goes on before the story really takes off that while it’s not completely unnecessary
because like it does lead to the plot eventually. But it does take a little bit to really get
into the meat of the story. But I felt like once I was into the real part
of the plot, then I was having a lot of fun with this story. There are, again, a lot of really fun side
characters. I didn’t really know where the story was going,
although I had an inkling. And because it’s middle grade, it’s not super
twisty. But there were some parts of it that I was
surprised by. There’s a lot of heart in this story. But overall, it’s just like a fun adventure
story. I believe that this is a first in a series,
which makes me really happy because I totally will continue reading more of these books
as they come out. This book is also based on like Korean mythology. So if you are interested in stuff like that,
then this would be a really great one to pick up. I think that they do a really good job of
just sort of like building out this world, even the little bits that you see of it. And just, again, providing you with fun characters
and fun friendships and a fun adventure to go on. So yeah, Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee, if you
enjoy middle grade science fiction, fantasy adventure stories then this is definitely
one you should have on your radar. It was really fun and cute and I liked it
a lot. So that is everything I have for this video. Or at least everything I’ve read so far this
month. At the end of December I made sort of like
a monthly goal so that way, I basically took my quarterly goals and broke them down into
monthly goals. And so one of my goals was so read 3 books
off of the Book Riot Best of list, Best of 2018 list. And I did that at the first half of the month,
so I already took care of that. My other one was to reduce my TBR by 5 books. So that meant if I got books in the mail or
anything like that or bought books, then I would have to read enough to make up for that. I didn’t hit 5 though, I hit 4, which I am
actually OK with because I didn’t even know if I was going to hit 4. Because I read 6 books off my TBR, but then
I received 2 in the mail, which I’m OK with. So yeah, I feel like I did OK for the month
of January although I was hoping I would at least get it down to 60. My goals for February are to read 2 books
off of the Best of list and then to just get my TBR to under 60. So like, if I hit 58, I’ll be fine. The reason why I say that is because I’m going
to New Orleans next month and so I know I’m going to be going to bookstores. And so, I don’t know how much I’m going to
buy when I’m down there to be completely honest. I’m gonna like be relatively under control,
but you never know. And then also, I have a bunch of library books
checked out that I want to read. I know I’m going to get books in the mail,
again. Actually, my goal is just to get to 60 and
like keep it at 60 or less. Because I really do think I’m going to probably
come out even when it comes to my reading and acquiring next month. I’m being realistic. So yeah, as long as I’m at 60 or less I’ll
be happy. So yeah, that is everything I have for this
video. Feel free to leave a comment down below letting
me know what your favorite read was in the month of January or maybe what your least
favorite read was in the month of January. You know, mix it up a little bit. Although I will say that I am more excited
when I hear about books that people loved versus books that people hated. So, maybe just mention the ones you loved. Or if you if you have any comments or questions
about any of the books that I mentioned here today, if you’ve read any of them yourself,
I’d love to hear your thoughts about them. So yeah, that’s all I have for now and thanks
for watching.

23 thoughts on “January Reading Wrap Up Part 2

  1. I need to pick up that Yoon Ha Lee book, stat! My favorite book of the month was The Reckonings by Lacy M Johnson, which is an incredible essay collection

  2. I read six books in January. A lot of four stars. One three stars. So my #1 fave is a true crime book from mother and author Lois Duncan, Who Killed My Daughter: A Mother's Search for Her Daughter's Murderer 4/5. Least fave, mystery /horror 100 Fathoms Below by Steven L. Kent and Nicholas Kaufmann. 3/5 I can't believe I read six books. Last year, I think it took me a few months to reach six books. lol

  3. I'm from Detroit and am always interested in books set here, so I will have to check out August Snow! Also glad to hear Dragon Pearl is good. Been really looking forward to that one.

  4. I only read one book this month 🙁 But, I really enjoyed the book I did read – Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser. It is astonishingly well-researched and takes a look at Laura Ingalls Wilder's actual life (versus the semi-fictionalized version presented in the Little House books and the very fictionalized version in the TV show). I also started reading Cronica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold), which is the first novel I've tackled in the original Spanish. So I'm excited about that!

    Vita Nostra sounds amazing. Added to my never-ending TBR.

  5. Best books read in January Were
    The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman
    The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
    The Great Gatsby read by Jake Gyllenhaal
    Sirens &
    The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox
    Dark Pines & Red Snow by Will Dean
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

  6. I totally agree with you about The Far Field by Madhury Vijay–The Narration of the audio totally makes the story. I also think if I had read the book ( vs. the audio ) I may have put it down or taken a really long time to get through it. Have now added August Snow to my TBR.

  7. I enjoyed your review of Harmless Like You and couldn’t agree more – the Yuki story was a 5-star read for me, and I didn’t think the son character cohered – and certainly wasn’t very likable. Still, I think Buchanan is an extremely talented writer, and I’m planning to pounce on her second novel when it comes out this year.

  8. The best book I read this month was (of course) Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty. I inhaled that book like it was oxygen.
    But I also really learned a lot from The Goddess of Anarchy by Jacqueline Jones and Locking Up Our Own by James Forman Jr.
    Oh, and Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller was really good too.

  9. I grew up 30 minutes south of Detroit so I’m excited to check out August Snow. I get so many book ideas from your videos 🙂

  10. Excited you’re coming to my home! Check out my favorite bookstores while you’re here: Faulkner House Books in the French Quarter, Octavia Books and Garden District Books in the Garden District, and Blue Cypress Books Uptown!

  11. Hi rincey, sorry this has nothing to do with the video… But i think you'd love the tv show ''one day at a time''. You mentionned one of your videos that you watch the good place and b99 which makes me thinks you'd love odaat 🙂

  12. Amazing work on your January goals 👏🏻 my favourite book of the month was one of your recommendations, My Sister the Serial Killer. It was such a sophisticated, entertaining book. 😀

  13. I normally only listen to nonfiction on audio, but The Far Field was on my TBR and since you loved the narrator so much I figured I would give it a try. I am loving it! Her voice is so soothing and it feels like the best kind of grown-up story time, if that makes sense. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

  14. I picked up The Far Field given your recommendation. I really enjoyed it (print version). Thank you! (I so appreciate your grown, fun perspective on books.)

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