January 2018 Month in Review

February 1, 2018


January started out with a BANG. David and I attended two New Years Eve parties and had more fun at NYE than we’ve had in years. It was the perfect start to a wonderful year.

This month, we went to see Rent the Musical. It’s hard to believe Rent is 20 years old! But, that was obvious in the theatre when a parent around me had to explain how old-school answering machines work (“You can hear them speak in real time and then pick up the phone to interrupt their message and talk to them immediately…”) and what the AIDS epidemic was. Yup. Rent is now a period piece.

Last week, I was in Orlando Florida for an Operational Excellence Convention. I learned a TON and I’m looking forward to sharing that back at work. Meanwhile, I obviously went to Epcot, read on all my flights, and took lots of photos of palm trees when I was there too. It was great to have so much time dedicated to reading.

Unfortunately, I came back from this convention with some sort of bug. Cold variant? Who knows. All I know is that it’s bad. I’ve spent the last few days laying around in bed just hoping it goes away before my bachelorette party this month! Wedding planning is going well. We’re in the final stretch now…


List of Reads

One of my reading/blogging related goals for 2018 is to ensure my blog is a source of joy. From a blogging perspective, that means not pressuring myself too much, overworking myself, etc. But from a reading perspective, that means reading fun, fluffy books when I need to. January was a source of joy for reading on so many levels. I couldn’t be happier with my books this month. I am lucky to have 6 highly rated reads, plus a lot of lighthearted fun in there.

January Books:

Read 11 total books

MUST READ this month:

Rilla of Ingleside – It has been a LONG time since I’ve read so many 5-star books in a single month. I feel incredibly honored to have read three 5-star and three 4-star books out of my 11 this month. That’s QUITE rare for me! That said, Rilla of Ingleside is the 5-star book I know will stick with me the longest. A beautiful and evocative story of the Canadian home front during World War I, I recommend it to everyone. Yes, even though it is the last book in a series– you can totally treat it like a stand-alone.
Check out my review here.

Meh. I wasn’t into it this month:

Amos Fortune, Free Man  Read as part of my Great Newbery Quest, Amos Fortune, Free Man gives an idealistic view of life as a free black man in 18th century northern America. Based on a true story, it comes across as naive. But, as a middle-grade biography of a black man written by a white woman in the 1950’s, well, it’s much better than I expected it to be.

February TBR:

  • Our Shared Shelf  – Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Kids LitThe Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford and Kelly Murphy
  • West Side StoriesThe Bear and the Nightengale by Katherine Arden
  • Brunch Books – TBD
  • VACB Book ClubPillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Club: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
  • The Great Newbery ChallengeMiracles of Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson

2018 Reading Goal Updates: 

  • Overall 2018 Reading Challenge: 11/80 (13% complete)
  • State of the ARC Reading Challenge: 1/12 (8%)
  • Total Non-Fiction Books Read: 0 (0%/5% of overall reading challenge)
  • 2018 Great Newbery Challenge: 1/20 (5% complete)
  • Read Along Participation 0/1

Wow! What a solid start for reading in 2018! I didn’t read any non-fiction, but we’re still early in the game. Jillian just recommended Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain to me, a WWI memoir. Also, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is high on my to be read list, but I’m 76th in line at the library. And that’s it for my non-fiction queue. Oops! It looks like I need some non-fiction recommendations here. Suggestions are welcome!

You can follow The Great Newbery Challenge over the years here.


Tsundoku Life

It wouldn’t be tsundoku if I didn’t have a gigantic pile of books and bookish things going on in my life!

On the Blog:

January started off strong with quite a few blog posts! I will admit, I didn’t get everything posted which I wanted to, but so is life, right? The discussion in the comment section has started off strongly this year, as well. I hope I can keep that momentum going throughout the entire year.

Book Reviews

Death by Tsundoku Series Posts

Top Ten Tuesday

Other Posts

Blog Goal Updates:

  • 1/3 of blog posts are reviews each month: 0/12 (0%)
  • New sets of discussion questions: 1/12 (8%)
  • Total series posts: 4/36 (11%)

I just barely missed my goal for total book reviews this month, coming in at only 25% of my posts were reviews. I have a few other reviews written an in the wings, but due to sickness I never had the focus or energy to get them posted. With a strong start to reading this year, it should be easy to improve that goal!

Blog Projects

#AnneReadAlong2017 is over.  Wow. I cannot believe that our Anne of Green Gables series read along is over already! I feel like we just started it. To end things with a BANG Jane and I hosted a giveaway featuring an AOGG tote, print, and leather-bound copy of Anne of Green Gables. A HUGE congratulations to Shouni @ The Book Portal who won!! 

…Wait, there are no other projects on the horizon?!  I am both excited and disappointed this is how my Blog Projects section is ended. I am getting married on March 25th, so a lot is happening in my life outside the blog. I don’t plan on taking on any new projects before April. Just focusing on reading, developing good blog habits, and working on achieving my goals. I’m still pushing myself, just trying not to overdo it!


What an amazing way to start 2018! With so many amazing 5-star reads, wonderful posts, and great feedback from the community I ready and refreshed. Let’s make 2018 the best year yet!

Happy Reading,

Jackie B.

Jackie B Forman

What do you think?

  • What amazing things happened to you in January? What reads would you recommend?
  • What was your favorite Death by Tsundoku post this month? Why?
  • What non-fiction books do you recommend I read ASAP?
  • Do you aim for a percentage of certain types of posts on your blog? If so, what is it? If not, why not?


  • Donna February 1, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Well I feel old now, but I suppose Rent is pretty out of most teenagers’ experience. It’s so weird to think they don’t know what an answering machine is!

    You seem to have had a very eclectic reading month! I hope you enjoy The Bear and the Nightingale – I loved it last year and am looking forward to reading the sequel.

    • Jackie B February 2, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      I can completely relate to feeling old when it comes to Rent. Kids these days… 😉

      It is a super eclectic reading month. I am excited for the diversity in my reading. This will hopefully ensure I don’t fall into a slump, 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale! I have barely started it, but I am really enjoying the text thus far. It’s a lot of fun.

  • Helen Murdoch February 1, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Your wedding is getting so close; I hope the build-up and day are all that you hope for. Remember, if anything goes awry on the day what matters is that you are married in the end 🙂

  • Grab the Lapels February 1, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    For nonfiction I would recommend My Life in France by Julia Child. It was a surprising, lovely story and is not nonfiction about something awful.

  • Annemieke February 2, 2018 at 1:13 am

    Oh your wedding is getting very close. That is exciting! We kept ours really tiny so we had little planning to do so I have no idea what you are going through with that haha. 😀

    You read Genie Lo, yeay!

  • (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea February 2, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Ah, that is too bad about catching a bug Hope it passes soon! Happy the wedding plans are progressing well When is the big date again? Forgive me if you have told me.. I struggle to remember a lot of late.

    I also read And I Darken this past month and loved it! I am excited to see you have The Bear and the Nightingale coming up. Happy reading – ××

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom February 3, 2018 at 8:13 am

    What a month! So happy to hear your year is off to a good start. I’m sorry you’ve been sick, but hopefully you are now on the mend. Have a wonderful bachelorette party!!! So exciting!

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom February 3, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Getting an error again, so it’s back to small comments lol I am so happy you enjoyed And I Darken! I really loved it and the second book. The second book is more of Radu and less of Lada. It is more action packed and quicker paced I’d say. I am looking forward to the third installment.

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom February 3, 2018 at 8:19 am

    I’m bummed you didn’t enjoy The Paper Magician. I’ve had my eye on it for a long time. I will be looking forward to reading your review to see what you didn’t enjoy.

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom February 3, 2018 at 8:20 am

    I’m so excited for you to read The Bear and the Nightingale!! Such a beautiful book. Just make sure you are in the mood for a slower paced atmospheric book. I read the second book in January and loved it just as much.

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom February 3, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Congrats on finishing the Anne series! I am planning on reading book #7 this month, and the 8th next month to finish out. I am very intrigued with #8 now that you gave it 5 stars!

  • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks February 3, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Oh wow, I didn’t know Rilla was almost a stand alone! And it makes me glad to hear it’s 5 stars 🙂 I will get to reading them EVENTUALLY xD

    I can start to understand why you’re so busy though. The date is quickly approaching! Gosh, I hope you will share ALL THE PHOTOS with me 🙂

    And I can’t believe the readalong is over and I just strayed off after like the second or third book xD

  • Jamie @ The Last Page February 3, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    You had a productive reading month! Glad to see that you enjoyed And I Darken and pumped that you’re gonna read The Bear and the Nightingale, both of those were some of my favorites last year. 🙂 Congrats on finishing the Anne series, that’s one I need to pick up. I’ve caught the same cold going around and haven’t had energy the last two days, I hope it clears up for you soon! Good luck with the wedding planning, that’s really exciting!

    • Jackie B February 6, 2018 at 4:13 pm

      Thank you so much, Jamie! I’m glad that you loved both of those books! So far, The Bear and the Nightingale isn’t really gripping me, but I’m only 4% into it, so there is time. 😀 I hope that it becomes a favorite of mine, too.

      Ugh! It’s so depressing how much a cold can bring us down and ruin all our plans. I hope you feel better ASAP!

      • Jamie @ The Last Page February 6, 2018 at 5:53 pm

        Thank you Jackie, and yeah Bear is definitely has a slow start establishing the background setting and characters, but once the story gets going it gets a lot better. 🙂

        • Jackie B February 11, 2018 at 10:18 pm

          Thanks for the heads up! This will certainly inspire me to keep going strong, then. 😀

  • hannah February 4, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Ahhh your wedding is coming up, that’s so fabulous and I’m so excited for you!! (also, I hope you feel better soon… it’s never fun to get sick during flu season. )

    Danggg, you’ve been productive this month! Plus, you read And I Darken??!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it; it was one of my favorite reads of 2016 (and possibly of all time!!) I would definitely recommend The Hazel Wood if you like quirky, whimsical writing/stories about fairytales. I know there’s quite a bit of mixed reviews, but I adored it, not to mention the cover is absolutely gorgeous. I’m unfortunately not organized enough to allocate a certain percentage to each type of post; I just put out whatever I felt like writing xD

    I love how cohesive and well-thought-out each of your blog posts are, though! They’re always so easy to follow (and so much fun to read) <3

    • Jackie B February 6, 2018 at 9:34 am

      Thank you so much, Hannah! I am super excited for the wedding… but a bit nervous. There is so much to do and so little time to do it in, you know?

      I am working on my review of And I Darken as we speak (I needed a break from the writing– I am struggling to put my thoughts down). I found I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. But I’m nervous that the next book will get quite violent. I don’t want to read a ton of violence… particularly if it is graphic. It’s not my jam.

      I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about The Hazel Wood. I like to binge read series, so it’ll be a few years before I pick those books up. It’s a trilogy, right?

      Thank you for the compliment on my blog posts! That means a lot to me. I often wonder if I write too much, or if I am focusing on the wrong content. But they seem to be connecting me with the right people, so I guess it works! 😀

  • Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf February 5, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    What a great month, Jackie! That’s exciting!

    Also, your wedding is so soon! Congratulations!! So excited for you 🙂

    • Jackie B February 6, 2018 at 8:03 am

      Thank you! I couldn’t be more excited for how strongly my 2018 started from a bookish perspective. It’s hard to believe the wedding is only in 7 weeks… Yikes! I don’t feel prepared at all. O_o

  • Anna @MyBookishDream February 8, 2018 at 6:06 am

    It seems like you had a great month! Too bad that you got sick, I hope that you will feel better soon. 🙂 I really want to read And I Darken, it seems like such an exiting book and one that I would definitely enjoy. (I just need to get my hands on it.) I have heard many amazing things about The Bear and the Nightingale and it’s a book that I definitely NEED to read. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it! 😀

  • Aj @ Read All The Things! February 17, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    Wow, it sounds like you’ve been busy. I hope you’re having a great February!

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