I honestly cannot believe that we’re already one month into 2021 – the days are flying by lately! I have made it a personal goal of mine for 2021 (my full goals list coming soon!) to read as many books off of my physical bookshelves this year as I can. I feel like I did a decent job this month – out of 11 books, six were my own and five were other new-ish releases that have been on my list for a while!
As we get further into 2021, I’ll continue documenting my reads monthly here, so stay tuned for all of the books and life to come this year! Without further ado, what I read in January!
FAIR PLAY BY EVE RODSKY – 3 STARS
My book club reads the Reese Witherspoon Book Club picks monthly, and I have been so inconsistent in reading the books on the list, so one of my priorities is fitting in previous books whenever I can! This was a different pick than normal for the book club, but it’s basically all about creating a system of checks and balances to maintain a happy and healthy household with balance between partners! A lot of the book talked about households where you’re managing kids among other things, which I couldn’t relate to, but for the most part, I found it very interesting!
THE COMPLICATED HEART BY SARAH MAE – 4 STARS
Wow! Sarah Mae bares her soul in this book about her experiences growing up and longing for a “normal” relationship with her mother, when what she has is far from conventional. Though her story is rocky and so hard in many ways, she overcomes it through the grace of God and shares her faith in a beautiful way. If you’re a believer, I highly recommend!
LITTLE PIECES OF ME BY ALISON HAMMER – 2 STARS
I had really high hopes for this book – a woman takes a home DNA kit and is told that her father is not her father – but it just fell flat for me. I couldn’t relate to the incredibly distant relationship between mother and daughter – to the point that when she finds out her dad isn’t genetically her dad, her mom somehow evades the conversation for what seems like weeks. I expected it to be more “thriller-y”, but it just wasn’t that for me. It was an interesting story, I just had different expectations.
TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM BY YAA GYASI – 4 STARS
I had zero expectations for this book other than that I saw everyone, everywhere raving about it! For some reason I thought it was something to do with a post-apocalyptic situation? It is not in the slightest. It follows a Ghanaian woman who grew up in Alabama and now lives in California as a scientist. The road her family had to go down to get to where they are now, all of the heartache, and everything in between. There was a lot of faith involved – it’s somewhat a story of the main character losing her faith – but it was more about belief and what that means.
SLAMMED BY COLLEEN HOOVER – 3 STARS
Slammed is my first Colleen Hoover book – I’ve been gearing up to read Verity for a long time – and it was good! It definitely gave me Twilight vibes: forbidden high school romance that seems to flare up almost overnight. It was happy and sad and angsty, but I really enjoyed seeing where these characters would go! I’m excited to pick up the sequel soon.
BRIDGE TO HAVEN BY FRANCINE RIVERS – 4 STARS
This has been on my shelf forever. I absolutely love Francine Rivers, so I have been excited to pick it up, but also nervous it wouldn’t live up to my Redeeming Love-level hype I’ve given it. I really, really enjoyed it! Set in and around the 1950’s in California, I loved the retro Hollywood vibes mixed into the typical faith and romance based storylines that I’m used to with Francine Rivers.
THIS LIFE I LIVE BY RORY FEEK – 4 STARS
A memoir from the voice of a country musician on his journey to where he is now and the heartache and lessons he’s learned along the way. We follow Rory from childhood, through his climb up in Nashville to become a songwriter, and meeting (and losing) his wife Joey. It was such a beautiful story!
THE GRACE YEAR BY KIM LIGGETT – 3 STARS
In a dystopian society where women are believed to hold “magic” within themselves, girls are sent out into the wilderness for the entirety of their sixteenth year to “release their magic” before they return to society to fulfill their duties as wives for the rest of their days. It seemed slightly Hunger Games meets The Selection, and I had high hopes. It did go a little off the rails in a way I didn’t expect that left it slightly flat for me. I still had to find out the ending, because I couldn’t predict it!
ASK AGAIN, YES BY MARY BETH KEANE – 4 STARS
Once again, this was one that everyone was raving about that I had absolutely no idea what it was about. It was the story of two Irish families living in New York City – the heartache and troubles that they went through as their children were growing up, and how those events impacted them all for years to come. Part romance, part drama, part literary fiction that you just can’t put down because you have to know how it all ties together in the end.
THE LYING GAME BY RUTH WARE – 3 STARS
Another Reese Book Club pick! I love some of her previous books, so I figured this one would be no different. I will say I didn’t love it as much as I’ve loved some of her books in the past. It was presented as a thriller that you can’t put down, but it seemed to have a pretty slow pace throughout most of the story. I wanted to know how it ended, but I wasn’t just hooked.
THE GUEST LIST BY LUCY FOLEY – 5 STARS
My ONLY five star read of the month! I’ve read many thrillers over the years, and this is the kind that make me love the genre! Old and new friends converge on an Irish island, in the middle of a stormy weekend, to celebrate the wedding of an actor and up-and-coming magazine editor. But everything is not what it seems. Secret betrayals, long-kept secrets, and plenty of twists and turns leave you frantically flipping pages, and one person won’t make it out alive.
Stay tuned as I document allll of my reading from 2021 here along the way!