Note – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that I’ll receive a small percentage of any purchase you make using them at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep this blog running. I received some of these books for review from the publisher. I’ll state which books were sent to me in the review–and it’ll be listed in the link to my original review as well. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Dreams, etc.!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How fitting that I’m talking about one of my favorite things on Valentine’s Day. This post was supposed to go up last week, but after a busy day on Saturday I came down with the flu and didn’t touch my computer for most of the week, because I was in bed for a lot of it. Of course, that meant that Little One had a fantastic week! I think she likes it when I’m not feeling well since it means I spend more time at home and she usually has a higher likelihood of getting some tissue to snack on.

Anyway, on that gross note (keepin’ it real!) let’s get on with the books. Since I had a slower reading month, but actually watched quite a few movies, I thought I’d talk about a few of those once I’m done with the books.

What I read (and watched!) in January and if you should read them! // dreams-etc.om

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I reviewed this on Instagram after I read it (there’s also a short review of the movie!) and I like that review, so I’m just gonna copy and paste:

I read A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness this weekend and now I understand the reviews I’ve read/watched that start with, “Why did it take me so long to read this?” because… why did it take me so long?? This book is beautiful. The writing, the art, the story… but I’m getting ahead of myself. If you haven’t heard of this book, it’s about a boy who’s mother is very sick and has the same nightmare every night. And then he’s visited by a monster, who comes to tell him stories.

I tend to avoid books that have family members who are sick, because nine years ago my mom went through treatment for cancer and I don’t like to relive those memories. I thought back to that time with this book, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Instead, I just appreciated watching Conor think through and process what was happening to his mom and how the monster helped with that. I finished just in time to hop in the car and go to the movie on Sunday. I loved how the artwork was incorporated into the film and thought the story was just as beautiful and impactful on screen. This is a short read and doesn’t take long to get through, but it’s one I would recommend to everyone.

Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.” A MONSTER CALLS is an important story.

Read A Monster Calls if:
>> You are human. Seriously… I’m not going to put criteria down because I think this is a beautiful book that should be read and discussed.

This Is Not Over by Holly Brown

An online battle ensues after a woman who rents a vacation home reads a review from a recent guest and responds via email.

I received a copy of this for review and wrote a longer review back in January. I’ve been on the lookout for a thriller that will creep me out and I wondered if this would be it. It had the potential–considering it sounds like a plot that could happen to anyone. How many of us write reviews for things online? (Obviously, I should raise my hand since this is a post of book/movie reviews.) This book, however, wasn’t a creepy thriller, so I will admit that I was a little disappointed. It was fascinating to watch as these two characters allowed the situation to spiral out of control in ways that I wouldn’t necessarily have predicted. I also really loved how the title permeated the book, down to the very last page. I think my favorite part of the book was the ending, so if you read it for nothing else, read it for that ending.

Read This Is Not Over if:
>> You enjoy character studies–even if the characters aren’t ones that you love.
>> You like thrillers, but you don’t want to read something that will have you looking over your shoulder.

Map of Fates by Maggie Hall

This is the second in a series (the first is The Conspiracy of Us), so I’m not going to go into too much detail about this, but this series is about a teen named Avery who meets her father for the first time and discovers he’s part of a network of families that essentially run the world and she might be the special member they’ve been looking for.

That’s a terrible synopsis–although the series does have a plot made me think twice before I decided to read it. And by think twice I mean that the series has been showing up as a recommended read on Audible for quite some time and I avoided it for the longest time. However, I do love stories that have these big conspiracies with worldwide implications that involve a lot of frenzied travel. And the narrator of the audiobooks–Julia Whelan–is one of my faves, so I decided to check it out. And I’m so glad I did! I have enjoyed every minute of both of these books and I’m looking forward to the release of the third (The Ends of the World) later this year.

Read this series if:
>> You’re a fan of worldwide conspiracies/secret societies.
>> You like books that have a historical tie-in.
>> You enjoy thrillers with a lot of international travel.

Top 3 Movies from January

I already briefly talked about A Monster Calls in my review of the book, otherwise that would be in this list as well. It’s a beautiful film and you should definitely watch it after you’ve read the book. Other standouts:

Passengers // Two passengers aboard a spaceship are awakened from their hibernation pods 90 years before they’re scheduled to reach their destination. // This wasn’t my favorite movie and I thought it was a bit slow in the beginning, but I really enjoyed it seeing how it would play out. Also, I’d love to live on that spaceship.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to the Find Them // Follow Newt Scamander in 1920’s New York as a few of his fantastic beasts are released and he has join forces with others in the NY wizard world to find them. // I was obviously going to see this at some point. I was actually hoping to see it in the theaters, thought I had missed my chance, and then saw that my theater had one showing when I went to see Passengers, so I went to two movies that day. I was excited about it, but I didn’t actually think I’d love it as much as I did. It was fun to see all the fantastic beasts in the movie and it was also cool to see wizards in a different time/place. It made this Harry Potter-fan very happy!

Take Me Home // A woman enlists a New York cabbie to drive her across the country to visit her ailing father in California. // I didn’t expect to love this movie as much as I did, but I really enjoyed following these two characters as they made their way across the country. It was just cute and quirky and an enjoyable way to pass a few hours.

What I read (and watched!) in January and if you should read them! // dreams-etc.om