The first month of 2023 is coming to an end, and it was a successful reading month. Last year, I was in a slump most of the year, so my desire to read just wasn’t there. But I think it’s finally back. Let’s get to my January 2023 wrap up.
Shadows of Self
Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity.
When family obligations forced Waxillium Ladrian to forsake the frontier lands and return to the metropolis of his birth. He little imagined that the crime-fighting skills acquired would be just as applicable in the big city. He soon learned that there too, just being a talented Twinborn would not suffice.
This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society will now face its first test by terrorism and assassination, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax, his eccentric sidekick Wayne, and brilliant, beautiful young Marasi, now officially part of the constabulary, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife can stop Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.
My Rating: 5/5
My Full Review: https://wildwoodreads.com/2023/01/13/shadows-of-self-review/
The Bands of Mourning
Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
My Rating: 4/5
My Full Review: https://wildwoodreads.com/2023/01/16/the-bands-of-mourning-review/
Mistborn: Secret History
Kelsier, sentenced to die mining the Pits of Hathsin after attempting to rob the Lord Ruler’s palace, arose as a powerful Mistborn and inspired the revolution that shook the foundations of the Final Empire. His name and deeds passed into legend.
But was that truly the end of his tale? Whispered hints to those he called friends suggested there was a lot more going on. If you think you know the story of the Mistborn trilogy, think again–but to say anything more here risks revealing too much. Even knowing of this tale’s existence could be heresy.
There’s always another secret.
My Rating: 3/5
My Full Review: https://wildwoodreads.com/2023/01/20/mistborn-secret-history-review/
The Lost Metal
For years, frontier lawman turned big-city senator Waxillium Ladrian has hunted the shadowy organization the Set. When Detective Marasi Colms and her partner Wayne find stockpiled weapons bound for the Outer City of Bilming, this opens a new lead. Conflict between Elendel and the Outer Cities only favors the Set, and their tendrils now reach to the Elendel Senate–whose corruption Wax and Steris have sought to expose–and Bilming is even more entangled.
After Wax discovers a new type of explosive that can unleash unprecedented destruction and realizes that the Set must already have it, an immortal kandra serving Scadrial’s god, Harmony, reveals that Bilming has fallen under the influence of another god: Trell, worshipped by the Set. And Trell isn’t the only factor at play from the larger Cosmere–Marasi is recruited by offworlders with strange abilities who claim their goal is to protect Scadrial…at any cost.
Wax must choose whether to set aside his rocky relationship with God and once again become the Sword that Harmony has groomed him to be. If no one steps forward to be the hero Scadrial needs, the planet and its millions of people will come to a sudden and calamitous ruin.
My Rating: 5/5
My Full Review: https://wildwoodreads.com/2023/01/27/the-lost-metal/
Death & Dragons
Sara Lochton broke the curse and released her magic to become High Witch of Ware Woods. But she is new to the magical world, and her inexperience puts the forest and everyone she loves—including her bonded mate, Thomas—at risk.
When tragedy strikes and her sworn enemy, Samson, warns of a formidable evil intent on destroying their entire magical region, Sara recklessly agrees to a blood bargain with him. But the pact is a tenuous truce for Sara. Determined to best Samson and defeat the evil, she conjures aid from powerful yet questionable allies—an arrogant vampire, an imposing wolf shifter, and an evasive witch.
As darkness descends, Sara must decide who she can trust and how far she will go to save those she loves. And face the fatal consequences.
My Rating: 4/5
My Full Review: https://wildwoodreads.com/2023/01/30/death-dragons-review/
A Dowry of Blood
This is my last love letter to you, though some would call it a confession. . .
Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things.
Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets. With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.
My Rating: 2/5
My Full Review: Coming Soon
You Are a Badass
In this refreshingly entertaining guide to reshaping your mindset and your life, mega-bestselling author and world-traveling success coach Jen Sincero serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilarious and inspiring stories, sage advice, loving yet firm kicks in the rear, and easy-to-implement exercises to help you:
- Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want.
- Shift your energy and attract what you desire.
- Create a life you totally love. And start creating it NOW.
- Make some damn money already. The kind you’ve never made before.
My Thoughts: I didn’t love this one. She gave some decent advice, but there was some stuff I didn’t completely agree with. It was also humorous, but at times it was a little over the top.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”
For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.
Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.
At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty. Caucasian, and athletic–capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.
My Thoughts: I didn’t know much about The Golden State Killer, but the author pieced the case together in a really interesting way. Unfortunately, the author passed away before this was published so her husband and several others pieced it together from her notes, so parts did feel a little disconnected.
The Stranger Beside Me
In 1971, while working the late-shift at a Seattle crisis clinic, true-crime writer Ann Rule struck up a friendship with a sensitive, charismatic young coworker: Ted Bundy. Three years later, eight young women disappeared in seven months, and Rule began tracking a brutal mass murderer. But she had no idea that the “Ted” the police were seeking was the same Ted who had become her close friend and confidant. As she put the evidence together, a terrifying picture emerged of the man she thought she knew–his magnetic power, his bleak compulsion, his double life, and, most of all, his string of helpless victims. Bundy eventually confessed to killing at least thirty-six women across the country.
My Thoughts: This one was so interesting. The author was friends with Ted Bundy, so she gives a whole different perspective to his crimes. It’s easy to forget that these horrible people have people fooled until they’re caught.
Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates
Only weeks after President Jefferson’s inauguration, he decided to confront the Tripoli pirates who had been kidnapping American ships and sailors. Though inclined toward diplomacy, Jefferson sent warships to blockade Tripoli and protect American shipping, and then escalated to all-out war against the Barbary states. The tiny American flotilla—with three frigates representing half of the U.S. Navy’s top-of-the-line ships—had some success in blockading the Barbary coast.
But that success came to an end when the USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli harbor and was captured. Kilmeade and Yaeger recount the dramatic story of a young American sailor, Stephen Decatur, who snuck into the harbor, boarded the Philadelphia, and set her on fire before escaping amid a torrent of enemy gunfire. Another amazing story is that of William Eaton’s daring attack on the port city of Derna. He led a detachment of Marines on a 500-mile trek across the desert to surprise the port. His strategy worked, and an American flag was raised in victory on foreign soil for the first time.
Few remember Decatur and Eaton today, but their legacy inspired the opening of the Marine Corps Hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land, and sea.” Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates tells a dramatic story of bravery, diplomacy, and battle on the high seas, and honors some of America’s forgotten heroes.
My Thoughts: I didn’t really know anything about this until I found the audiobook. It was fun, informative listen. It was a pretty quick read too.
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space.
Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.
My Thoughts: I loved this. I don’t know why I waited so long to pick it up. I’ve always been interested in Nasa and airplanes and to hear there were women behind all those great accomplishments was so inspiring. These women are amazing.
So that’s my January 2023 wrap up. What did you read this month? Did you find any new favorites?
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7 thoughts on “January 2023 Wrap Up”
I loved I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I didn’t know much about the case either at the time, but when I found out about what happened to Michelle it made me cry during the end.
I know! It was so sad.
Bummed you didn’t enjoy A Dowry of Blood. I was hoping to pick it up soon.
Maybe you’ll love it!
Jshdjsjsh yay on getting out of a reading slump!!!! REDISCOVERING THE AMAZINGNESS THAT IS READING IS ALWAYS THE BEST EVER. so glad you had so many good books in January and fingers crossed that all the February books end up being amazing too!!!!!