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

Books Read in January 2017

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


  1. Kristin Cook

    February 14, 2017 at 8:00 am

    I haven’t read or watched any of those, but Fantastic Beasts looked really interesting!

  2. Angela Tolsma

    February 14, 2017 at 11:14 am

    This Is Not Over sounds like an interesting read, just because we all do things online now and it’s crazy how insane it can get sometimes.

    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      February 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Yes! It was so interesting to think about how things spiraled out of control and made me think about all the times either I’ve been upset or have seen people get upset by things online. If you decide to read it I’d love to know what you think!

  3. Shann Eva

    February 14, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Great reviews! I haven’t watched a movie for a really long time, so all three (well, 4) sound great. I have a million books on my list, but I’m definitely adding This Is Not Over.

    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      February 16, 2017 at 7:38 pm

      Thank you! You’ll have to let me know what you think if you read This Is Not Over. And you should definitely watch a movie soon. I forgot how much I love them. 🙂

  4. Emmmmerz

    February 15, 2017 at 3:55 am

    Ewww; my moms dog was a tissue snacker; it’s always grossed me out so bad!

    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      February 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm

      I know! It’s so gross. But she’s adorable and very sweet, so I’ll just try to keep the tissues away from her. 😂

  5. Chelsea Jacobs

    February 15, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Adding A Monster Calls to my list!!


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  • “Spread love wherever you go.” [Mother Theresa]
  • Whether you had a case of the Mondays or you had a great Monday, a photo of a cute dog is always in order.

PS - There’s a new post on the blog featuring this guy and a few other cute dogs. 🐶
  • If you’re looking for me, I am probably buried in the snow someplace, waiting for mail that never gets delivered and wondering if the only greenery I’ll ever see again are the plants that fill my room. What colors do you see when you look outside?
  • Just booked tickets to head back to a city that captured my heart last year. And I’ll be there a little longer this time! Tell me your NYC faves! What should I do? Where should I eat? Where should I get coffee? And any tips for being social while at @vox_con? I can be an awkward one sometimes. 😂
  • Happy #nationalloveyourpetday to my sweet little sidekick. She was a little bewildered by all the snow we got today, but by the end of the day she was frolicking through it. I so appreciate this little girl and all the joy, laughter, and comfort she brings. Tell me about your pet.
  • Let’s see if I can make it through this without crying. If you’ve been following my Stories, you’ll know that I left town on Wednesday. I mentioned that this isn’t a fun trip, but I followed that up with images of cute dogs and a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan. What I didn’t show was a day spent at the hospital as I visit people I love dearly, one of whom is in ICU and may not get better. This would actually be a great segue into “Instagram is curated,” but not today.

Yesterday was a hard day. It was filled with this view, that brought some peace. It was filled with cute dogs, who brought some comfort. It was also filled with a lot of anxiety and tension and sadness. We ended the day in a group and our conversation was filled with tears as we talked about what’s happening right now and how we feel.

And then the tears turned to laughter as we reminisced about the past and talked about dogs.

It brought to mind that quote by the wise Albus Dumbledore: “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” The day I left, a friend and I were chatting and he said, “Your heart must be aching.” And it is. I wouldn’t necessarily describe anything I’ve felt as happiness, but yesterday I was reminded (because I’ve always known this, sometimes it’s just harder to remember) that the heartache and sadness can coexist with easier moments, too.

I can enjoy this view and accept the peace that it brings as I wonder what the outcome of this will be. I can feel the heaviness that I might not see this person again and accept the comfort that these dogs bring me. I can band together with people that I love to live through a rough day, but also enjoy the good moments that we share in the midst of it.

Laughter can accompany tears.

And when I live through days like today, I wonder if it’s exactly what we need in order to get through them.
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