Somehow January is already over, even though 2017 still feels like yesterday. We had a busy month, trying to catch up on everything we didn’t get to in December, family obligations, and trying to finish all our Christmas chocolate before we start (non-religiously) participating in Lent. We also went to see a live production of Jesus Christ Superstar, our favorite musical. Nothing beats Funky Disco Judas, but we enjoyed this modernized interpretation as well.

Books & Audiobooks

Sog – Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
While we did like this book more than the first, it has the same problem as the first book. The characters just don’t do it for us. We don’t care about their lives, and there was a lot side story going on that didn’t add a single thing to the plot. Still, the mystery itself kept us hooked to the very end.

Ship of Magic – Robin Hobb
Finally, a Robin Hobb book that didn’t bore Sebastian to tears! Maraia loved it even more than the first time, and Sebastian thought it was much better than the previous series. Not that that’s saying a whole lot. ? The multiple POVs range from interesting to flawed to f*cking obnoxious, and they really help to move the story along.

Nebelkind – Emelie Schepp
We started this with no expectations, we just wanted a standalone thriller. We ended up really enjoying the book, although it turns out it’s actually part of a series. Fortunately, we definitely want to read on and are glad the story isn’t over. We just hope a certain obnoxious character won’t make a reappearance.

Change Agent – Daniel Suarez
While this wasn’t a terrible book, it definitely didn’t live up to our expectations. The idea and the setting were both great, but the pacing was off. Part of it was heavy and part of it dragged along while nothing much happened.

Last Mile – David Baldacci
We loved Memory Man, the first book in the Amos Decker series, and this one is just as good, if not better. The case is thrilling and full of surprises, we enjoyed the developing friendships between certain characters, and the narration is absolutely fantastic.

Six Stories – Matt Wesolowski
This was recommended by several bookstagram friends, and we were excited to read it both for the gorgeous cover and the unique narration style – the book is written as a series of podcast interviews. Six Stories kept us on the edge of our seats from the get go. The crime itself isn’t anything special, but the way Wesolowski slowly builds the case through six different perspectives makes for a thrilling read.

Die Wahrheit – Melanie Raabe
Die Wahrheit is fairly unique as far as thrillers go. The writing is more lyrical than gritty, and the story is surprisingly sentimental. We enjoyed the first 380 or so pages, but the we couldn’t help feeling a bit let down by the ending.

The Man Who Spoke Snakish – Andrus Kivirähk
Neither of us had heard of this book before Mooni gave it to Maraia for Christmas, but apparently it’s a cult classic in Estonia. The Man Who Spoke Snakish is one of the most unique (read: bizarre) books we’ve ever read. There’s no plot to speak of, although the last third is quite action packed. We were never bored, despite the lack of direction in the story, but did we enjoy it? We’re still not sure. We are glad we read it, though. And if there’s one thing to be said about the book, it’s that it has one of the nicest, softest covers ever!

Todesurteil – Andreas Gruber
I had read the first book in this series a few years ago and only remembered that I really enjoyed it thanks to the thrilling story and the interesting protagonists and for the second book I decided to switch to the audiobook version which eventually made the reading experience even better. The plot was at least just as good as in book 1 but the narrator (which had been unknown to me before) made it even more fantastic – especially because he spoke the grumpy Dutch profiler with a very convincing Dutch accent! ?

The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness
I merely picked this book from my TBR on a whim and didn’t have any expectations at all but it turned out to be a good decision: I really liked the idea that all that crazy the-world-is-going-to-end stuff was just a footnote to the actual story, it was easy to sympathize with the characters and overall I enjoyed this much more than I had expected.

Der Musentempel – John Maddox Roberts
The historical crime novels I usually read are mostly set in the Victorian era but I also appreciate John Maddox Robbert’s series about an investigator that solves cases in ancient Rome. This fourth book of the SPQR series however was set in Egypt which I found almost even more interesting and while the first two hours of the audiobook were still a bit slow the rest was pretty good and I just like how these books combine suspense and historical information.

If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo
This was recommended to me by Kelsea, and I’m glad I listened to her. Aside from the heavy focus on the romance, this was a great audiobook and an important #ownvoices story. My only questions about the book were answered by the author in the afterword. I definitely recommend the audiobook format if you’re thinking of reading this.

Autoboyography – Christina Lauren
This is another romance-heavy book, but it was so sweet, I couldn’t help but love it. Both of the main character and his love interests were adorable, and I also appreciated the strong emphasis on family and friendship. What I loved most, though, is the message of the book: be yourself, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough the way you are.

Taste of Morrow – Sarah Gailey
I enjoyed this much more than book one, which was too similar to another novella I had just read. Taste of Morrow has the same great cast of characters but I thought the mission was sweeter.

Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire
This was one of my most-anticipated sequels of the year, and it did not disappoint. I love the diverse characters and I love the idea behind the world. These books are all about the importance of finding the place you belong. I’m so glad we have more books ahead of us!

You Bring the Distant Near – Mitali Perkins
I highly recommend You Bring the Distant Near. This may be a short novel, but it has a lot to say. It deals with race, religion, immigration, multiculturalism, multiple generations, and fitting in somewhere new. These are the kind of stories we need!

Before They Are Hanged – Joe Abercrombie
I could listen to this narrator forever. This was a great book in and of itself, but the narration takes it to the next level. I enjoyed book two even more than the first. I loved getting to know the characters better, watching them grow, and seeing their relationships develop.

Movies

 

  • SING: This was so cute! It delivered exactly what it promised: a feel-good movie that left us smiling and dancing in our seats.
  • NOW YOU SEE ME 2: We both fell asleep during the movie. Make of that what you will. ?

TV shows

    

  • THE GOOD PLACE: Season 2 is so weird. We definitely weren’t expecting things to go where they did, but we still couldn’t stop watching this bizarre and hilarious show. We wish we didn’t have to wait so long for the season to continue.
  • DARK: We ended the season the way we started – hating all the characters but somehow 100% addicted. We can’t wait for season 2!
  • CRIMINAL MINDS: Season 7 is definitely not our favorite, and we really hope season 8 is back to normal so we can actually guess who the killer is while watching.
  • LIFE IN PIECES: We’re still loving this, despite the fact that we’d forgotten how obnoxious most of the characters are. That’s all part of the show’s charm, though.
  • STROMBERG: The thing that Maraia has been waiting for since the very first season has finally happened! ?

    

  • FRESH OFF THE BOAT: It’s so nice to be back with these characters!
  • ONE DAY AT A TIME: Season one was great, but this season is on a whole new level. We love that the show doesn’t sugarcoat anything, directly addressing so many issues that are important and relevant right now. If you’re not watching this show yet, you really should be.
  • PASTEWKA: This new season has gotten off to a rough start, with a season premiere that was sneakily almost an hour long (instead of 20 minutes) and a second episode that was almost too absurd to be funny (but still pretty entertaining). We’re curious how the rest of the season will go.
  • ZOO: This is a rewatch for Sebastian so Maraia can catch up to where he left off. She can see why he loves this show! The scenario it explores is absolutely terrifying.
  • ALL OR NOTHING: While season one of this fantastic documentary series was about the Arizona Cardinals the second season now accompanied the Los Angeles Rams during their first season after the move from St. Louis to L.A. Thanks to the NFL playoffs I’m even more excited about football than during the rest of the year and this show is just perfect for getting in the right mood for the upcoming Super Bowl (Fly Eagles fly!)

How was your January?
Did you discover any new favorites?


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