January Reads and Reviews
You can probably tell that I stayed indoors a lot in January because I read A LOT. It got colder outside and it seems like everyone I know either got Covid or was in contact with someone that had it, so I did not venture out much this month! Books were my comfort once again, and I explored so many new places through the power of words. Here's what I read this month-
The Second Mrs. Astor by Shana Abe
Tried a different genre than I usually read and it was just ok. I've never read a book about the Titanic before so it was pretty fascinating and heart breaking to read about it from a passenger's perspective. I didn't love the courtship of Madeleine and Jack- the age difference felt really uncomfortable for me and I didn't really understand why they fell in love (besides them always saying it was basically love at first sight.) The writing was absolutely beautiful though and I loved the descriptions of all the fancy and foreign places they traveled to!
My Rating - 3/5
The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman
My Rating - 5/5
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
This was my book club's January selection and I was happy that it got picked since I've been meaning to read it after hearing that it got adapted for a Netflix show. There are so many things I loved about this book- the two very different paths that the main characters took but kept their lives intertwined, how current events were woven in the story, and the sweeping arc of a lifelong friendship told from start to finish. What I didn’t like was the actual friendship (spoiler?)- Tully was always so self-centered and borderline abusive to Kate, particularly with her daughter’s relationship. I got so angry reading some of the parts, especially close to the end of the book. I guess this kind of relationship is more realistic but it still made me feel sorry for Kate and wished she had a more supportive friend in her life. I also felt sorry for Tully and how she grew up but don’t give her a pass to hurt the only people that were always there for her. And that ending- UGH so emotional! (side note- I watched a few episodes of the show and it was so different from the book that I wasn't able to enjoy it at all!)
My Rating - 3.5/5
56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
Such a good book! I liked the structure of changing timelines and points of view- it could have been really confusing but it was done well and really made the story. The end has a lot of twists I didn’t see coming and it was great. Not recommended if you’re still triggered by Covid situations but it was an interesting look at how another country handled the early stages (and a reminder at how things were at the start of the pandemic!)
My Rating - 4/5
Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
I really don't know what to make of this book! It almost seemed to me like it was written by two different people- some chapters seemed so normal and the conversations regular and then it would get so weird and cringey. I liked how the setting was really unique, but I wasn't really a fan of Ruthie and Teddy just seemed like a caricature. Plus- everything just seemed so unrealistic (like the conversations with Rose and Teddy? Did not seem believable, especially how their conflict resolved so nicely at the end.) I absolutely loved the interactions with all the old people and the lovely "sisters". Could have had a whole story about them!
My Rating - 2.5/5
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Good follow-up from the first Inheritance Games book (you can read my thoughts on that one here!). Beginning was basically reminding us what happened in the first (which was good since it's been a bit since I've read it) and then the middle got a bit repetitive and tedious. End was great and moved along really quickly. I always wish there was more of a romance in the book instead of being completely about the mystery and games (a few quick kisses aren't cutting it for me!!). Maybe I'll get my wish in the final book- although (spoiler?) there wasn't much of a cliffhanger at the end so I have no idea what to expect?
My Rating - 3.5/5
One Day in December by Josie Silver
Spoiler-ish alerts ahead!! I loved this book but kind of hate the premise...the actual story was amazing and sweet and I always love following characters as they go from early twenties to mid thirties. But- the main aspect of the story really bothered me and didn't really seem probable. Maybe it's because I don't believe in love at first sight but I can't picture devoting a year of my life to finding a mysterious man IN LONDON that I barely saw for a minute through a bus window, then having it be this huge secret that destroys my best friendship. Plus- Jake was kind of a jerk and I don't understand what Laurie saw in him at all. Take out those parts and it's a beautiful story (even if the scene right before the wedding absolutely wrecked me and took me on a roller coaster of emotions!!). The ending was also really cute and reminded me of The Ex Talk!
My Rating - 4/5