Monday, February 1, 2021

Book Club: January 2021

 Happy first day of February friends! Does anyone else feel like January was a particularly long, but fast month? So many things were jam packed into January that our New Years trip to Barnsley Resort seems so long ago! 

We don't know about you, but we're looking forward to a month that celebrates love and kindness. 

Each month we look forward to our Book Club post the most. And saddle up for today's post because it's a doozy! We get asked all the time how we are able to read so many books in a month with our lifestyles. Our big (not so secret) secret...

Multi-tasking + audio books. 

A close second...our Kindles/Kindle App. 

While we love a sit down with a good physical book, time is limited for that. With audio books we have the ability to "read" while we fold laundry, drive the car, make dinner, walk the dog. With our Kindles we can read a book while we have twenty minutes waiting for our prescriptions to be filled, have an unexpectedly long carpool line, or during an extra long cuddle session to get kids back to sleep in the middle of the night. 

So if reading more is on your goal list for 2021, but you can't seem to find the time - give audiobooks a try! Audible gives you a free book to try so you can see if you enjoy listening before you commit. But - trust us - we think you'll love it!

Now onto the fun part...January's book reviews! 



I finished 4 books this month...two that were good and two that were GREAT! Like they might end up being contenders for my top books of the year kind of great.  I know! That is saying a lot right out of the gate, but they were SO good. 

The first book I listened to this month was Emily Giffin's The Lies That Bind. I am a big fan of Giffin's novels and in fact I named All We Ever Wanted one of my top books of 2018 so I was excited to check this one out.  I didn't even really know what it was about so was kind of shocked to learn it was set in NYC during 9/11. It was completely fictional, but did weave in some of the events that happened during that day and after.  The story follows Cecily, a twenty something reporter, who has just broken up with her long time boyfriend and ends up meeting a guy who she quickly falls head over heels for. Their relationship seems a little off at times, but the times they are together you really do believe they are meant for each other.  She sees him on the night of September 10th, and then never hears from him after the September 11th events. What she finds out about his life after 9/11 makes her question everything. The more she goes digging into his past, the more far fetched the story gets. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, but the second half just seemed a little hard to believe. That being said, I still found myself listening to it every chance I got because the love triangle she finds herself in and lies just continue to get deeper and deeper.  

I shared about this in my Friday Favorites a few weeks ago, but listening to Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer took me back to my Twilight loving days. This is the story of Twilight told from Edwards point of view and it is SO good.  The Twilight series was the first one that really sucked me in and kept me thinking about the characters long after I was done reading. However, since I read them so long ago I sort of forgot a lot of the details. It was fun to listen to this story knowing what was going to happen, but not knowing all of the details. It almost felt new again! This version is definitely a little darker than Twilight, but I loved every second and was so sad when it was over.  It makes me want to re-read (or, let's be honest, listen to) the entire series again and watch all of the movies again, too! 

My next read for the month was The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser. My mom gave me this book for Christmas because her cousin is the author! It's actually part of a series, but reads fine as a stand alone. It's a departure from the type of stories I usually read, but it was a book with a lot of spiritual depth and a great story of letting go of fears, control, and burdens. It focuses on several different characters, but the main one being Abby, a forty something mother and wife with a seemingly perfect life that is starting to fall apart. Her teenage sons are moving away from home, her husband decides he needs some "space" and her aging parents are beginning to have serious health issues. She's on the verge of a mental breakdown when she decides to visit her son during his gap year in France and walk the Camino pilgrimage with him.  She is forced to take a look at herself and discover who she is and what really makes her happy. 

My last book of this month was You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley. Jen recommended this one to me and it has been on my wish-list for a while, but when I saw that she named it her favorite book of 2020 I downloaded it immediately!  You know what, it might just make my top 3 of 2021! It's about young married couple and the wife, Mia, truly loves her husband.  However, she has been having reoccurring dreams about another man for years.  She thinks it's just some weird dream coincidence until she meets him in real life and realizes that maybe the universe is showing her that the guy from her dreams is really the one she should be with.  It sounds kind of far fetched, but it was SO believable in the book. Towards the end I found myself hoping she would make a difficult decision only to then be blindsided with how these characters all ended up crossing paths and how their lives aligned. I was SOBBING in my car one afternoon listening to the end of this story and just love books that make you FEEL something.  I highly recommend this one. I also loved the narrator's voice, so if you are an audible fan, this one is great listen.  


When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Kicking off the new year for me was When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle. After loving In Five Years last year (and naming it one of my top books of the year!), I was SO excited to read this one. Hmmm...I'm torn because it was totally not what I expected. This is a modern day re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, but from Rosaline's perspective. I also didn't realize it was a young adult novel until I read the first chapter Based off the language and the writing it's pretty clear right away that it's geared towards a younger audience. The start of the book was a little underwhelming for me, but I enjoyed the ending and the twist Serle put on the classic tale. Overall I would say maybe 3.5 out of 5 stars??

I think it's funny that both Carrie Beth and I had teenage vampire love stories on the brain for the start of 2021. At her suggestion I have Midnight Sun in my queue, but in January I dug into a new YA fantasy series. I forget who suggested the Crave Series by Tracy Wolff to me, but thank you. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was entertaining for sure.  It sucked me right in, and gave me the escapism I needed in moments of January. In Crave you are introduced to Grace - an orphan who is sent to live with her uncle in Alaska. He is the headmaster of an Alaskan boarding school. Pretty quickly you are introduced to Jaxon, her enemy/love interest. Take Twilight, put it in an elite boarding school in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness, throw in a variety of supernatural friends, and a crazy love triangle - and you've got this series in a nutshell. The one twist is that in Crush, the love triangle is totally flipped on you. It's such a fun twist that in this series I am actually team "Jacob". Is it literary genius? No. Is it entertaining? Yes. The third book in the series comes out March 2nd. 

Next up for the month is This is Not How it Ends. This has been on my 
Kindle forever. With Prime you get a free book each month and I think this was a pick I had from last year. Okay...girl meets guy on plane, they fall madly in love, they move to Islamorada in the Keys, he travels a lot, and a love triangle ensues. In my notes I wrote, "A book that digs into friendship, loss, grief and love. I loved the overall story, but felt a little disconnected to the characters at times. The ending is sweet and makes all the tears through the novel more than worth it.That about sums it up. If you are looking for a romance novel with a good cry - this one is for you. 

I switched gears for the back half of the month. My middle little had a cheer comp out of town that required an overnight stay, but because of Covid wouldn't allow spectators. Needless to say I had a lot of down time. I picked up Lies Lies Lies when we were stocking up on road trip snacks at Target. I think this would be considered a domestic thriller. I will give it a full trigger warning because abuse of several kinds come to light throughout the story. Simon and Daisy seemingly have the perfect marriage. After years of infertility, they finally have the precious daughter they prayed for. But not all marriages are perfect and theirs has secrets upon secrets upon secrets. A major incident occurs following a party one night, and everything begins to unravel for the couple. I could not put this one down. The twist and turns that kept coming made me want to read it until the end - even though this is not really a genre I'm into. A main character I disliked from the start ended up being one of my favorites by the end. And the ending is a doozy. If you are into thriller novels - give Lies Lies Lies a go. 

Okay if I have to pick one book from this month's bunch to read - it would be A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. It was just. so. GOOD! This is classified as a YA novel, but I think it is well written enough anyone would enjoy it. Full disclosure: I listened to this one, and instantly it was one of my favorite Audibles I've ever listened to. The cast reading it is really good, and it's formatted similar to a true crime podcast. The story follows Pippa who decides to do her senior project on the hometown murder/suicide that hit her hometown five years earlier. She knew the "murderer" and feels that something is off about the facts of the story and the investigation that followed the events that lead to one faithful night. As Pippa does her own investigating she realizes she is right. Let me just tell you...I could not stop listening. And so many twists and turns occur that when you finally find out what happens - you never would have guessed. Never in a million years would have I figured out the ending. Nothing is gruesome and the release of details keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. There is a sequel that comes out in March and I already have it pre-ordered. 



I can't wait to start on a few that Jen mentioned above, but first up for me is going to be A Good Neighborhood by Therese Ann Fowler. 


As mentioned, I've started listening to Midnight Sun. But in my reading pile for February I want to dig into Shipped. A friend told me about it and it sounds super cute! 


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1 comment:

  1. I honestly searched for the Twilight movies to watch again after reading Midnight Sun! I too wanted to dive back into all the old novels and the movies. I'm pretty sure I have This is Not How It Ends on my kindle waiting for me to one day read ALL the Kindle first books I download every year and never seem to read-- ever!


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