The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

January Haul and the Bookish Resolutions

on January 28, 2016

January isn’t over yet, but I’ve decided to wrap up (aka brag about my book haul) a few days early this month. This is partly because I’m going away this weekend, but mainly because I’ve spent far too much money on books this month and I’M NOT ALLOWED TO BUY ANY MORE. Seriously, somebody take my debit card away from me before I render myself destitute!

Before I get on with said bragging, I wanted to talk about New Year’s resolutions. It might seem strange doing this at the end of January, but I always think it’s best to give yourself a trial month to see whether all of the things you’ve promised to do are actually doable. Let’s face it, when I decided I’d give up drinking wine apart from on special occasions this year (and when I say special occasions, I’m not referring to Wednesdays…) I was naturally setting myself up to fail. However, it supposedly takes 21 days to make or break a habit, and seeing as I’ve managed to keep this resolution for a month, I’m confident I can stick with it…. for at least another week 😉

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This January I set myself some bookish resolutions, and as I’ve succeeded so far, I’m hoping I’ll keep on succeeding in them for the rest of the year. My bookish resolutions for the next 11 months are:

Read what I want to read, not what I feel I should be reading!

The English Lit graduate in me still occasionally tries to make me feel guilty that all I read is YA, and that I still haven’t read Great Expectations or War and Peace. THIS HAS TO STOP. I solemnly pledge to read whatever the hell I want this year, and stop kidding myself that I’m one day going to tackle another Tolstoy tome. Life is too short to read books I don’t enjoy, and I hereby grant myself permission to DNF novels that aren’t floating my boat in 2016.

Write more reviews

Technically I haven’t been all that successful with this resolution, as I only wrote two reviews in January, but I only wrote one in December! My aim this year is to review as many books as I can, even the ones I end up disliking. I have a tendency not to review books I haven’t been wowed by, worrying I’ll offend, but my blog will be more credible if I can talk about these books. Honesty is important, and it can be conveyed without resorting to rudeness!

Read more slowly!

Last year, I read 100 books, and I only managed to read that number because I began treating reading like a race! This year I want to read books more carefully, savouring the words, because I know I’ll get more out of them that way. The number of books you read in a year doesn’t matter at all – what matters is your enjoyment of them.

There are more bookish resolutions I could make, but I’m crap at sticking to resolutions (a fact which will no doubt be illustrated next Wednesday when I succumb to a nice glass of wine to celebrate the ‘special occasion’), so I think that’s plenty to be getting on with.


As I mentioned earlier in my post, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on books this month, but I have no regrets! Here are the beauties I added to my bookshelf this month:

***To have and to hold***

I bought one physical book this month, and pre-ordered two. The struggle of waiting for them to be released is REAL.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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I haven’t read any of Alexandra Bracken’s other books, but I’ve heard great things about this new release. The premise sounds incredible (it had me at ‘time-travel adventure’) and the hardback version I purchased is so, so pretty!

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (pre-order)

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As you may have seen, I recently finished Winter, and I was so sad when I reached the last page, because I wanted to spend more time with the characters. Luckily, I won’t have to wait long at all to do just that, because this new collection of Lunar Chronicles stories will be turning up on my doorstep in 5 days time! I may have squealed a tiny bit when I hit the pre-order button…

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (pre-order)

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Waterstones tweeted this picture of their limited edition of Lady Midnight (only 1000 copies), and the cover was so gorgeous I couldn’t not pre-order it! Why isn’t it March already?! I need to get my hands on this book!


***Digital love***

I went a bit crazy with my e-book haul this month, and had a massive Kindle spending spree. I have so many books on my TBR already, but I really want to read all of these shiny new books right now! Some of them I already have.. 😉

Scarlet, Cress, Fairest and Winter by Marissa Meyer

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After receiving Cinder for Christmas, I spent virtually the whole of January marathon-reading The Lunar Chronicles. I completely fell in love with these books! You can read my review of Winter here.

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

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Gay romance AND historical paranormal mystery, you say?! With this frankly fabulous combination of genres, I simply had to download the book! This one was recommended to me by the lovely Annelise. Hope I enjoy it as much as she did! 😀

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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I’ve been meaning to buy this book for ages, and I’ve finally added it to my digital shelf. I’ve been warned this book will rip my heart out, so I’m stocking up on tissues as we speak.

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

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This book has been on my radar for a while, and I’m so intrigued by the premise, which involves suffragettes and hypnotism!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

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I’ve been suffering from the January blues, so I decided to invest in some light summer reading and escape to somewhere the sun is actually shining (even if only fictionally)!

UPDATE: So, I’ve been reliably informed that this book is not as light and fluffy as the cover suggests, and in fact has a pretty good chance of breaking my heart too! If I still have one left in my chest after reading All the Bright Places, that is…

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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I bought this one for exactly the same reason, plus I’ve never read any Sarah Dessen, so it’s high time I checked out her books!

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

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Everyone seems to have loved this book! This is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, and I’m so interested to see how the story will play out.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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An unofficial resolution of mine is to read more fantasy this year! This one sounds exciting, plus Emma Watson will be starring in the film adaption, therefore it must be fabulous!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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This book has received a lot of hype in the blogging community, and from what I’ve read of the opening chapters, it looks promisingly likely to live up to it! I love the idea of this book being set in four alternate versions of London – I haven’t read much fantasy set in the UK, so I’m very excited to start this one!


Fifteen books! Oops… I did get a little bit carried away!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them, and which should I read first? Decisions, decisions… 🙂

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67 responses to “January Haul and the Bookish Resolutions

  1. Maria says:

    Ooh great haul! I’m glad you enjoyed The Lunar Chronciles – I binged them all November/December and it was so much fun! I hope you like Saint Anything! I grew up with Sarah Dessen so she has always had a very special place in my heart. Her books are a great pick-me-up.

    • mudandstars says:

      Yes I loved them! I remembered you saying in one of your tags that you weren’t too sold on the whole cyborgs/androids aspect before you picked up the series (which is something that had put me off reading them sooner), but you’d loved the books once you gave them a chance, so it was actually your tag that inspired me to give them a go and add Cinder to my Christmas wishlist! 🙂 Aww, Sarah Dessen certainly seems to be a well-loved author! I’m surprised I never discovered her as a teenager, because her books would have been right up my street! Which are your favourites of her books?

      • Maria says:

        Oh wow I’m so glad my post influenced you to pick them up and that you enjoyed them! They are such a fun form of escapism and adventure.

        HMM let me think about my favorite Sarah Dessen book. I think my favorites have been That Summer, The Truth About Forever and Keeping the Moon. Honestly all her books are quite similar, but in a way that is more pleasantly familiar than boringly predictable. Let me know what you think of Saint Anything!

      • mudandstars says:

        It really did – I think it’s because you had the same reservations as I did beforehand, but enjoyed them even though it wasn’t something you’d normally pick up, so I thought I’d step outside my comfort zone too. It was definitely worth it 😀 Ooh thanks for the recommendations – will check all of these out. I do enjoy books that have a familiar format, because they’re just perfect comfort reading! Will be sure to let you know what I thought of Saint Anything when I get round to starting it 🙂 I’m thinking I’ll take it on holiday with me in a couple of weeks as I have a long flight to keep myself entertained on!

  2. I just bought Cinder and am waiting for it to be delivered. I can’t wait! I really really hope it lives up to all the hype. Great haul btw 🙂

  3. Annelise B. says:

    Aww, I can’t wait to see if you will love Widdershins as much as I did! And your bookish resolutions and book haul are amazing! And stay strong in the wine section ❤ I know it is difficult (I'm addicted to Coke, so I know what I'm saying), but I believe in you! Love you, doll!!

    • mudandstars says:

      I may dip into it this weekend as I’m going on holiday so in need of some comfort reading I can fangirl over haha! I know exactly what you mean – I have a huge addiction to diet coke (I’m literally typing this with a diet coke in front of me) and apparently it’s even worse for you than regular coke! Oooops! Lots of love to you too, hope you have a great weekend! ❤

      • Annelise B. says:

        That’s a good reason 😂 you go, girl! 💙 yeah, I heard that too, but I don’t know if it’s totally true, haha! I think both are bad in some level 😅 hope you have fun!! 😙❤️

      • mudandstars says:

        Ohh definitely, both are a bit naughty haha. I am trying to cut down on fizzy drinks too, and basially all stuff that’s bad for me, but it’s not going too well so far 😛 Sadly I didn’t get round to starting the book this weekend, as I didn’t have too much time for reading, but I’ll let you know as soon as I get to it 😀

      • Annelise B. says:

        Fair enough, haha! And that’s okay, sometimes real life insists on pulling us away from books, haha! ❤ I won't be going anywhere anytime soon, promise ;D

  4. Kat says:

    I’ve not read any of these books, but one thing we have in common here is to slow down on the reading. My goal is to read 70 books this year, and it is starting to lag, so I tend to try and keep up—which results in rushing a book. I’m going to try and stop doing that, rather enjoy it than complete a goal. Enjoying the experience is much more important.

    • mudandstars says:

      Glad I’m not alone in this! I do exactly the same thing when I fall behind, and get all stressed, which is so silly really because reading isn’t a competition and definitely shouldn’t be stressful! Last year I literally read 5 of the Narnia books in one day, and I felt sick/had a massive headache/ and probably eye strain by the end of it – I would have enjoyed them so much more if I hadn’t raced through them!

  5. Oh wow, great haul! I’ve heard great things about the Lunar Chronicles; hope you like them! I’m hoping to read them soon as well! I hope you enjoy Saint Anything as well; I got that book and I can’t wait to dive in 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      I loved The Lunar Chronicles, you should definitely check them out! Hope you end up loving them as much as I did! 😀 For me, they definitely lived up to all the hype. Ooh hope you enjoy Saint Anything, let me know how you get on with it if you end up reading it before I do 🙂

  6. sublimereads says:

    Tell us what you think of Saint Anything 😀 Also, if you like it, check out Sarah Dessen’s other books! They really are perfect fluff 😉 Good luck on the resolutions!

  7. There’s an ADSOM readalong somewhere on Goodreads in preparation for AGOS and it’s a pretty fun book! Hope you enjoy!

    • mudandstars says:

      Glad you enjoyed the book – I’m really excited to read it! Ooh excellent, thanks for the tip, will definitely check that out. 😀 I’ve never participated in a readalong before so could be fun! There are so many first books I want to catch up with this year before the second ones come out.

  8. Love all three of your resolutions! As a fellow English lit graduate, I feel you on #1. I’ve wanted to read Wolf Hall since December but felt like I should get some classics out of the way first.

    Dammit, Wolf Hall WILL be my next book.

    • mudandstars says:

      Glad I’m not the only one haha – I always feel guilty I haven’t read more classics! And I always seem to challenge myself to read more of them, fail, then feel even more guilty! You should definitely make Wolf Hall your next book though, I really want to check that one out too! Would love to hear what you think of the book if you end up sticking to that resolution 🙂

  9. OMFG you have two of my favourite books in your janurary book haul and i’m soooooooooooooooooo stoked. Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer is NOT an easy beach read or whatever you think it is. It fucking broke me and still makes me whimper when I think about it. And All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven??? Are you kidding me?? That’s a great purchase!! I want to high five you for that one haha And finally I just want to thank you for all the lovely resolutions you gave yourself because I totally suffer the should-i-dnf-or-not syndrome. I’m also going to join the read-anything-i-want club and not give a shit because life is too short for horrible books! Awaiting your next post, Lisa.

    • mudandstars says:

      Oh wow, I had no idea – that cover is deceptively light and fluffy haha! I love emotionally powerful books though (more than light and fluffy ones) so I’m sure I will love the book. Glad to hear so much love for All the Bright Places – I’m really excited to get started on that one! And glad you’re joining the permission-to-DNF club, life is definitely too short!! Last year I put myself through a month (A WHOLE MONTH) of reading Anna Karenina, which I was sadly bored to tears by, and if I’d just given up 100 pages in I could have read a ton more fun books I’d have actually enjoyed instead!

  10. Ah I’m so jealous of your book haul! I also purchased the Lunar Chronicles this month, and right now I’m on Cress and I’m LOVING it! What’s your favorite book in the series? Oh, and OH MY GOODNESS YOU WILL ADORE ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES. That book literally ripped my heart out, and a year later I’m still picking up the pieces. 😉

    • mudandstars says:

      Oh wow, I am definitely going to cry when I read All the Bright Places then haha! And yay I’m so glad you picked up The Lunar Chronicles, I loved the series so much! My favourite was Cress actually, closely followed by Winter! I loved the first two books, but I think in Cress the series just went up a million rungs on the ladder of epicness and I was just on the edge of my seat the whole time! Plus I loved Cress as a character, and have a massive book crush on Thorne! Which is your favourite so far?

  11. Saint Anything is amazing!! So is All The Bright Places! I’m currently reading Passenger right now and I really can’t wait for Lady Midnight!

    • mudandstars says:

      So excited to start both of those!! It’s really hard to make a decision on what to read next haha. How are you finding Passenger so far? I am so excited for Lady Midnight, I’ve been counting the months down for what feels like forever! Luckily I have the Shadowhunters TV show to tide me over while I wait – have you been watching the show?

      • It’s really good!! Yes!! The show is interesting but I can make it through the show!!! I’ve been watching it since it started! It’s great to find someone else who likes it too❤️❤️

      • mudandstars says:

        Me too – I’m really enjoying it so far! I’m so happy it turned out to be so much better than the Mortal Instruments movie (which for me was a bit disappointing). But I think the script for the TV show is a lot better, and the cast are amazing! 😀

  12. MyBookJacket says:

    Darker shade of magic is great. Now usually my genre but I really enjoyed it… I’m sure you’ll love it too.

    • mudandstars says:

      Glad to hear you loved the book 🙂 I’ve heard great things about it, so really excited to pick it up! It’s not my usual genre either, but I’ve recently started to read more fantasy (after years of thinking I hated fantasy) and I’m really loving it!

  13. Read what I want to read, YES TO THAT. This is what I want to do, too!! I loved All The Bright Places, I hope you will, too! I need to read The Wrath and the Dawn, and Second Chance Summer, both sound so great! 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Yessss, definitely – it’s the way forward! 🙂 I have wasted so much time in my life reading books I wasn’t enjoying, just because I thought I *should* read them, or because I felt guilty for not seeing a book through to the end! Hope I love All The Bright Places as much as you did 🙂 And I’m so excited about the other two too – I’m having a really tough time deciding what to read next as I want to read EVERYTHING all at once haha. Please do let me know how you get on if you get round to reading either of those books before I do!

  14. rakioddbooks says:

    Bragging about books is so much fun!! And I’m with you, read what you want!
    So maybe I SHOULD read more adult books, but darn it I’ll read middle grade if I want to!

    • mudandstars says:

      I know right – wrapping up the month with some book-bragging is probably my favourite type of post to write 😉 And YES that’s exactly it – reading what you enjoy is the most important thing! We shouldn’t feel guilty if that’s middle grade and YA at all. I hardly ever read adult fiction anymore, I’m like a 25 year old teenager haha 😀

  15. lunireads says:

    This is a great haul! I love so many of these books and want to read the queen of the tearling soon 🙂

  16. LOVE the haul! All The Bright Places will leave you in a heap of sobs. Please read it in a protected shelter of comfort blankets. The Wrath and the Dawn is awesome and you’ll be left screaming for the sequel. The Queen of the Tearling is delicious and you can read the sequel once you’re done. A Darker Shade of Magic is insanely good, my favorite from last year. Passenger was really great and the sequel is going to be hella amazing I hope. The haul is awesome!!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks for stopping by! Ooh you have just made me even more excited to start all of these books! 😀 Glad to hear you enjoyed so many of them. I’ve just checked out your review of Passenger, which is probably going to be my next read (although I am having such trouble deciding because I want to read everything NOW!) Thanks for the tip about All the Bright Places by the way, I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of tears! Will definitely get the comfort blankets ready beforehand!

  17. Great haul!! Some I definitely will be buying myself soon! 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks! 🙂 Ooh which ones are you thinking of buying? I went so crazy with book buying I can’t actually decide which one to read first!

      • The wrath and the dawn, Passenger, Saint anything, The Queen of the Tearling and Stars above basically most of your haul haha! I would read the Wrath and The dawn because I’ve been dying to get read it ever since it came out! Happy reading 🙂

      • mudandstars says:

        Me too, I kept seeing so many reviews and being really jealous of everyone who had bought it! Will let you know how I get on if I get to it first (although you may end up reading it before I do because I am having a super busy month!!)

  18. bookboxbykat says:

    I’ve ordered and waiting for all the bright place to knock on my door! cant wait to read it 😀

  19. Codie says:

    I too bought an obsence amount of books over a week (I know, I know) and I really think someone should just take my card away before I end up in the poor house. Anyway, you’ve got an awesome collection here and I can’t wait for your review of Passenger. Everyone seems to LOVE that book.

    • mudandstars says:

      Oooh which books did you end up buying on your spree? Haha I can totally relate, I feel like maybe I should just give it to someone I trust and get them to hide it from me for a while, and not give it back even if I beg… Yeah I’ve heard a lot of love for Passenger going around, so I’m really excited to start that one! I’m thinking I may make it my next read 🙂

      • Codie says:

        I bought around 42 books in less than a week *shame face*. There were a ton of them at the Goodwill and I just couldn’t resist. But the new (as in not used) books I bought were The Martian, Saga Vol. 2, Everything, Everything, and The Scorch Trials. Haha that’s an idea I’m considering also – my pockets feel pillaged! Ooh, that’s great. I can’t wait for the review, I’m hoping the hype isn’t just hype.

      • mudandstars says:

        Oh wow, now I feel better about the 15 book spend hahaaa! That’s a pretty impressive number! I am a little jealous. I really want to read The Marian too, I have a feeling I’ll end up buying that one this month! I did want to read Everything Everything, but I read a review which gave away the main spoiler/twist, so now I feel like I’ve already read it haha 😦 The Scorch Trials was brilliant, hope you enjoy! Although don’t watch the movie, because it’s literally like they didn’t even read the book… they completely changed the plot!

      • Codie says:

        Haha, I really have to stop going to places that sells books. Yes! the Martian looks amazing and I cannot wait to read it. That sucks that Everything, Everything was spoiled for you – certain books can’t be spoiled and still enjoyed. And Sadly I’ve already seen the movie 😦 I enjoyed the movie, but learning that it was completely different is disheartening. I hope I like it – thanks for the heads up!

      • mudandstars says:

        Me too, I get tempted far too easily. I don’t even have any room on my shelves for more… yet still this doesn’t stop me. Yeahh it is a bit of a shame about the spoilers 😦 I seem to have a knack for accidentally reading spoilers. It’s worse with TV, especially with American shows, because they air several episodes behind in the UK, and I’m always seeing spoilers on Twitter! And with The Scorch Trials, I really enjoyed the movie too, in its own right, it was really exciting. Its just that they changed quite a bit of the plot and left some important things out. Plus Theresa didn’t have much of a part in the movie, whereas she’s a pretty important character in the books.

      • Codie says:

        Me neither, it’s the book addiction I guess . TV is much, much worse than books for me, too. My mom and sister ruined every show I’ve ever liked, however twitter is also a big spoiler explosion. That’s a bummer that the tweets ruin the television experience. She really wasn’t, but I didn’t mind because I hated her character in the movie…I’m thinking they should’ve picked a different girl maybe. But I would like to know one thing…..does she do what she did the movie in the book?

      • mudandstars says:

        Yeah I found her irritating in the movie too! Actually, come to think of it, I wasn’t a huge fan of her in the books either, but at least she was kind of there for a reason – she seems a bit redundant in the movies. And I think I remember what you’re talking about, and yes she does do that, although I think it happens in a slightly different way in the books.

      • Codie says:

        Yeah, she’s not a very likable character. For me it was because she didn’t add anything to the entire novel, but it’s good to know she isn’t useless in all the novels. I can’t believe she actually does that…my dislike of her continues to grow. Haha, thank you for the info!

      • mudandstars says:

        I think (if I remember correctly) the reason behind what she does is explained in the book (though I can’t remember whether it is in the film) – although maybe that doesn’t happen until the final book. But I’ll keep my mouth shut now because spoilers haha!

      • Codie says:

        Ugh, how could she do that. Me not liking her has intensified lol. Thank you for the stuff you did tell me, because I know spoilers are terrible for people haha – don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

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