2023 Book Challenge- January Reviews

A new year has begun and so has my yearly Book Challenges. My goal this year is 45 books. I’ve felt that I’ve been spending so much time doing unnecessary things in between work like watching youtube and scrolling when I could be reading so I’m working on filling that time with reading instead.

With the end of January, I am off to a promising start but the problem is, I have very few books on my To-be Read List. In need of recommendations, STAT! Please flood my messages with books you think I need to read and I will add them to the list for this year 🙂 

5 Books read within the first four weeks of 2023. Here is how they were:

The School for Whatnots by Margaret Peterson Haddix

No matter what anyone tells you, I’m real. 

Says the note Max finds under his keyboard. He knows it’s from his best friend Josie, but he doesn’t understand what it means. What is a whatnot? Why has she stopped answering her phone?  Max is determined to find the answers, but everything seems keen on keeping them apart. Because Josie wasn’t supposed to be real 

I have been on a Haddix kick lately and decided to read one of her stand-alone novels. The School for Whatnots had a really interesting premise and I was sucked in immediately. It’s a quick read because you don’t want to put it down until you get everything to make sense. It is my favorite Haddix book to date. A solid ⅘

The Deceivers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Part two in the Greystone Secrets series and I was intrigued to see how they were going to continue tying everything together between the two worlds and save their parents. The first quarter of the book started off strong because it began to reveal answers to the questions the reader had been holding since book one.

Is everything bad in the other world? Who discovered the connection between worlds and why did they do it? Is everyone that we think is bad actually bad?

The farther along it went the more I struggled to stay interested. The voices of the characters and their situations started to feel messy and inconsistent. The original plot concept I still like, but I’m not sure about the execution. 3/5

The Messengers by Margaret Peterson Haddix


The final book in the Greystone Secrets series and definitely the weakest of the three. Everything that had kept me coming back felt monotonous and bland in this book. There was a lot I think that could have been done but in the end, felt flat. The ending just seemed like it was laid out to the characters with no real effort in a way that seemed incredibly implausible from the first book. It had potential. 2.75/5 

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart


Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are back in a tale that threatens to pull them apart from everything they love. Mr. Curtain is once again determined to have what he deems rightfully his…Everything. Will the Mysterious Benedict Society be able to find the answers to the questions they seek, stop Curtain, and keep themselves from being separated? 

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book of this series, but the plot lines have diminished by this book. Their journey doesn’t seem to have enough stakes and the characters themselves have declined in their intrigue. I was bored from start to finish. 2.5/5

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

“I hope your bacon burns.”

I’ve watched the movie version of Howl’s Moving Castle but had forgotten it was a book first until I was searching for something new to read, and it popped up in my recommended list. Comparing the authenticity of the movie to the book, I am pleasantly surprised. It runs the plot journey well, although the book is more richly filled.

I enjoyed the characters and liked the depth that came with more insight into world-building. Howl is an even bigger drama queen here in the book *Shocker I know* Though I felt there wasn’t enough Calcifer and my biggest critics are, it ran slow and there was one part towards the end that I didn’t think flushed out well. It wasn’t an, oh should’ve noticed that moment, but more of a, how in the world does that make sense? 

Surprisingly, I still like the movie better than the book. 3.5/5

As you can see I was on a Children’s Literature kick in January. (As though I don’t tend to prefer this genre anyway). I want to switch it up for February so I am jumping to romance in classic literature. 

Tell me all about what genres and book you have been hooked on! I never tire of chatting about books. Let me know if you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned! 

Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂 

Currently Reading: 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Love and Responsibility by John Paul II 

The Life of St. Gemma written by Venerable Fr. Germanus