Last year, I had a book goal in mind. I had wanted to really start reading again, like I used to so many years ago. I thought I’d start small. 20 books for the entire year sounded extremely reasonable.
I ended up reading 50.
I wrote about my reading hiatus late last year, when I decided to give this whole blogging thing another shot. My husband keeps trying to get me to write book reviews. Maybe it’s my own insecurities gnawing at me but I’m terrible at them. I’m more or less like, “Hey this book was good, you should read it” and I either give you the most vague plot summary or I tell you how it ends. There’s really no in between. I also give pretty much any book at least a 3 and so many books a 4. If I finished it, it deserves a 3 at least. It’s a 4 if I enjoyed it and would recommend it to others who like similar books. It’s a 5 if I loved it and would tell people who just like reading to read it. Idk. It works in my head.
Anyway, here’s the books I read in January and if I think you should read them or not.
THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS by Meg Waite Clayton
For years, I had heard about Jolabokaflod – the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve and spending the night reading together. Last year, I decided that I wanted our family to start this tradition in our house. This was the book that my husband bought me. He knows me so well.
This is one, of many, WWII related books. I’m not against them, I just think that I’ve read quite a lot in my time and it’s normally filled with sorrow. This book follows 3 different people during WWII in Europe. An American woman who wants to help save the world (based off a real woman), a German artist who is simply trying to save his daughter, and his young daughter who is trying to make sense of everything. At first, I didn’t enjoy being in 3 different brains but I got used to it after a while. It was slow going at first as we were trying to get to know one another. The characters really kept me going when the story line failed me. I wanted to know how it would end – what would happen with the characters. I was invested in their survival. Plus, there’s a dog (don’t worry, he lives).
THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP by Grady Hendrix
If you know me, you know I made a beeline to this book when I saw it on the shelf. The whole idea is that the slasher movies that dominated the 80s and 90s were inspired by true events… And the final girl left behind. A Final Girl is the last girl standing – the one who defeats the killer(s). These girls formed a support group and our incredibly paranoid main character fears that there might be another killer on the loose. This book definitely hit me in the nostalgia and my love for horror movies. If you’re fan of horror movies, I definitely think you should give this one a go. It was fun and like any good slasher, full of misdirections.
THE UNHONEYMOONERS by Christina Lauren
One of my friends gave me a ton of her books at the end of 2021. This was one of them. I knew nothing going in but I wanted something light hearted. I read it in one sitting. In a crazy twist of events, our main character is stuck going on her sisters’ pre-paid honeymoon with non-other than… HER ENEMY! What can I say? I am a sucker for enemies to lovers to a very concerning extent. If you like romance, light hearted fun, and enemies to lovers, this one is for you.
SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid
I am not gonna lie. This one infuriated me. This was another book I had gotten from my friend and didn’t know anything about it going in. You get to see situations from two points of views: Emira, a young black woman who babysits for Alix, a very affluent white woman. I can see what the author was trying to do the entire time, but I was far too distracted screaming at both characters for their stupidity – and their horrible dialogue. Alix gave me more secondhand embarrassment than seeing a guy hire a flashmob to propose to his girlfriend on national TV, only to get rejected. Her saviorism and absolute lack of growth was just mind boggling. Listen, I get it. I had a guy break my heart in high school. I got the hell over it and didn’t let it dictate the rest of my life. I spent 90% of my time in Emira’s head, wishing I could just slap her so that maybe, JUST MAYBE, she’d care a little bit about anything happening. I urged her to be a strong woman at every single turn and she consistently let me down. Her constant comments about how she was the only person who cared about the little girl she babysat showed how much of a brat she was.
This book could have been so much more and maybe it did start a conversation that needs to be started, but this wasn’t it.
THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES by Alix E. Harrow
I’ve been reading way too many books with way too many narrators. This book was a slow burn but about half way through, I couldn’t put it down. This book follows around 3 sisters in the early 1900s and truly shows what miscommunication can do to a relationship. I would not describe any of the sisters as “lovable” but I would describe them all as badass in their own right. The sisters bond together, along with many other women in the city, to bring witches back. Any and all witchcraft was banned to help keep women down – and they didn’t want to stand for it anymore. In the end, it was a pretty entertaining book that I would recommend to badass women who love fiction.
IT ENDS WITH US by Colleen Hoover
Everyone kept posting about how this book broke them and I was like “wow, y’all are weird” but I get it. I was DESTROYED when I finished this book (in a mere 5.5 hours). Absolutely, completely, destroyed. I cried. I almost threw the book across the room several times. I wanted to hold the main character and never let her go. Trigger warning… This book explores abusive relationships – in many different forms.
My only gripes about this book are that this author needs someone to name all her characters for her so that she can stop breathing crappy names into the world (Ryle… RYLE?) and what’s with all the redheads? It seems like every book nowadays has a redheaded main female (always ~natural~) and I just don’t think that there’s THAT many redheads in the world.
THE WITCH’S HEART by Genevieve Gornichec
I picked up this book because the cover looked cool. That’s literally it. I have zero impulse control at a bookstore. Anywho, this book was okay. It was a very slow read and it took a while to get to the plot. If this story didn’t involve Norse Mythology, I probably would have put it down halfway and not picked it back up. With the inclusion of mythology that I know fairly well, it kept me hooked. I wanted to see this secret life of Loki but I was never actually convinced that either character actually loved one another (or really anyone else). All the relationships seemed very forced and the character development was pretty slim. It was fairly predictable (which doesn’t really bother me).
Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? Are any of these on your “want to read list”?