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!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • I wasn’t particularly close to my aunts and uncles growing up. I was born when my parents were a little older and I always felt like my aunts and uncles had done the aunt and uncle thing and didn’t need more of it by the time I was born.

But my Uncle H and Aunt J were different. When my uncle was dying I was asked what some of my biggest memories were. This question came up again over the weekend. And there were so many to choose from. The biggest was, of course, sticky buns on Sunday morning. (And usually going to the store with him to get them.) There was also ✨ “driving” the tractor through the fields on the farm
✨ fishing during the summer
✨ trips to the store and getting a candy bar that I didn’t have to tell my parents about (but always did)
✨ talking about his Spanish classes
✨ “scaring the fish away” by talking, but he was fine with me talking anyway
✨ driving the boat...and starting to fill the boat with water when I went too fast, but he wasn’t upset
✨driving the golf cart around the golf course
✨ listening to his stories about his time in the army

He wasn’t a perfect man and I saw that once I was an adult. But for someone who was only close to one uncle growing up, he’s part of some of my best childhood memories. 💙
  • ”I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.” [Anne Lamott]

The last time I was here it was cold and the ground was covered in snow. I said goodbye to my uncle. (That sentence still brings tears to my eyes.) Now it’s (slightly) warmer and the world is waking up after winter. This weekend I was thankful for 🌻 the chance to enjoy a beautiful view of Lake Michigan with my dog in my lap
🌻 a family brunch
🌻 followed by a family dinner the same day
🌻 fresh WI cheese curds
🌻 long talks with my cousin

What were you thankful for this weekend?
  • Lake Michigan was barely visible when we left this morning. It was fun to see how the view of lake changed each day—and throughout the day!—this weekend.
  • I guess I didn’t have to worry about whether or not the dogs would get along. 🤷🏻‍♀️😂
  • Hello, Lake Michigan. 👋🏼
  • When you think they finally placed an order for you...and then they make you get off the chair. 😒 Swipe to see other photos from my day: 🐾 Met my human’s aunt and I was cute.
🐾 Asked my grandhuman for tummy rubs.
🐾 Realized my tummy rubs weren’t his priority. 🙄
🐾 Met two Doodles and my human pet one of them... so if you’d like a human, I’m getting rid of mine. No time for that kind of betrayal.
  • We’re headed on an adventure! Mina’s handling the longest road trip she’s been on like a champ. While at a rest stop we met a man wearing a “Dogs are my favorite people” shirt (👏🏼👏🏼) and his German Shepherd, who fell in love with Miss Mina. Can you blame him? Who wouldn’t fall in love with her? #littleonesadventures
  • Goodnight moon. 🌙

Follow Me!