Time to break my unintentional blogging break! The end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 really got busy and I found myself feeling overwhelmed and retreating to other hobbies and activities instead of turning to this outlet. I started 75 hard and shared my (only 32 day) journey on Tiktok, which was a new creative outlet for me that I’ve really enjoyed. I got busy at work and started going back into the office a few days a week, and life just happened!
But this is one of my most favorite and cherished creative outlets, so I couldn’t stay away for too long! Today I’m back with reviews on my reads for January and February 2022! We are 14 books in so far, so let’s go!
BIRD BOX BY JOSH MALERMAN – 5 STARS
Of course, if you’ve seen the movie, you know the plot for this book already. We had an 8 hour road trip to Nashville and I needed something to do so I wouldn’t look at my phone and make myself carsick, and this book was the answer! It’s been long enough since I watched the movie that I didn’t remember everything exactly, and I really enjoyed this listen. It’s about a dystopian world where the world has been overtaken by an epidemic of madness – if you open your eyes outside and lay eyes on a creature (what kind of creature, we don’t know), you’re driven to madness so intense that you end your life. So creepy but so good.
BEL CANTO BY ANN PATCHETT – 3 STARS
I love Ann Patchett, I really do, but this book was so boring to me. I felt like it just dragged and dragged and dragged. This was my third attempt at trying to read it, and I finally made it through. It’s based off of the Japanese embassy hostage crisis that took place in Peru in 1996-1997. (To be honest, I just looked that up to make sure I was sharing the correct place that the book to place, and had I known that it was based off of a true story, I may have found it more interesting.) The last few pages of the book had me immediately hooked, but at that point it was obviously too late to redeem the entire book for me.
NOMADLAND BY JESSICA BRUDER – 4 STARS
Random listen for me, but I loved learning about a completely new-to-me way of life. Nomadland follows several different people across the country as they live “off the grid” as real-life nomads. I had no idea there was this entire culture of people living in vans and RVs and traveling across the country to do seasonal work as a lifestyle. It was all very interesting!
FORGIVEN BY KAREN KINGSBURY – 5 STARS
I will allllways be a Karen Kingsbury fan, and the Baxter family has my heart. I love how new characters are starting to be introduced as the story grows and changes. This is book one in the third Baxter family series, and I can’t really give a plot summary as it spoils some of the previous books, but it’s just so heartwarming.
EAT, PRAY, LOVE BY ELIZABETH GILBERT – 5 STARS
I know I’m years behind on reading this one, but wow was it good! I know that some people have had a totally negative reaction, but I loved hearing Gilbert’s journey of self-discovery across the world. I loved her descriptions of the food and the people and the places, and it made me want to go straight to Italy and eat at every restaurant she talked about. While I can confidently say that I am not brave enough to go on a journey around the world, it did inspire me to be a little bit more adventurous!
MALORIE BY JOSH MALERMAN – 3 STARS
This is the second installment in the Bird Box series. It came out in 2020, so it’s relatively new. It picks up where the first book left off in the “sanctuary”, but of course, things go wrong. You learn so many interesting things about this new world and meet a whole host of characters navigating it in different ways.
LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND BY RUMAAN ALAM – 2 STARS
This book had the potential to be SO GOOD. Truly. I loved the mysterious vibes – family at a vacation home out in the middle of nowhere outside of NYC, people show up claiming to be the owners of the home escaping the city from a strange blackout and unconfirmed terrorist attack, strange things begin to happen. I gave it two stars strictly because I was interested in the beginning. BUT overall, it fell so flat! The story only spans about 48 hours, there are no answers as to what is happening or literally any resolution, and then it just abruptly ends. Save your time by not picking this one up.
FALLING BY T.J. NEWMAN – 5 STARS
Now THIS was a thriller. A pilot leaves for a last minute flight and gets in the air only to find his wife and children held hostage. The demands for their release? Take down the plane. I flew through this book in a day because I just had to find out how it ended.
ALMOST EVERYTHING BY ANNE LAMOTT – 4 STARS
To be honest, it is March as I’m writing these reviews, and I really can’t even remember any details about this book. I remember that I liked it and that the language was lovely, but I can’t really give you a synopsis. (Maybe that means I need to change my rating?)
DON’T OVERTHINK IT BY ANNE BOGEL – 5 STARS
This was a re-read for me, and it just gets better every single time. I LOVE how Anne Bogel tackles the topics of overthinking, distraction, overwhelm, and anxiety in such practical ways and gives the reader tangible steps on how to change their circumstances. I will probably need to reread this a million more times in my life.
THE BAD BEGINNING BY LEMONY SNICKET – 3 STARS
What is life without a fun reread of your favorite book series from childhood? I was at my parents house getting some books in January when I came across my copies of The Series of Unfortunate Events books, and I decided I’d reread them just for fun. They are actually really funny, and I’m excited to read more of them.
IT HAPPENED ONE SUMMER BY TESSA BAILEY – 3 STARS
This was our January book club pick! We all decided to throw out a few titles, chose five of them, and then put it to a vote as a group, and this is what we landed on! Let me tell you… we did NOT know how spicy it was going to be. And I mean SPICY. I’m not a huge romance reader to begin with, and so when I got about halfway into this book, I was shocked lol. It’s definitely what you’d call an “open-door romance”. The story itself was cute, and I read that the author based the story off of Schitts Creek sort of, so that’s fun!
MEET ME IN BOMBAY BY JENNY ASHCROFT – 4 STARS
I won this book on Goodreads in 2020, but never picked it up until now, and I really liked it! Since I finished the book, I found many reviews upset with the story as it’s a romance about two British colonists living in India during the 1920s. I can definitely see the problematic elements in the book, but as I read it blindly and didn’t have any context of the history, all I can speak to is the plot itself, which I enjoyed.
THE RUTHLESS ELIMINATION OF HURRY BY JOHN MARK COMER – 3 STARS
I really needed this lesson at the beginning of this year. I am a productivity junkie working to learn how to rest, and often, miserably failing at it. This book, written from the perspective of a former pastor, touched on so many topics that have been very top-of-mind for me lately. I think this is one that I will come back to as a physical read so I can take notes.