Hold on to your eyeballs, this is going to be a long one. January was an incredible month for reading. Honestly maybe my best reading month EVER.
I credit this to the fact that I formed my Facebook reading community, Bloom Where You’re Planted Book Group, this month. This group has me on FIRE for reading. Well, even more on fire than I was before. And I didn’t know that was possible! We have encouraged, and shared, and recommended and the results have been extraordinary.
I read FIFTEEN books this month. That’s crazy!!! Even for me! hahah!
I am going to change things up this time. Instead of sharing a photo of each book (ain’t nobody got time for that), I’m just going to share recaps.
1. Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford ☆☆☆☆
Deeply sad but also quite beautiful. I’m glad I read it years after Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet so that i wouldn’t mentally be comparing both the entire time.
2. I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi ☆☆☆☆☆
This one was a home run for me. It’s just a beautiful commentary on life and love and struggles and motherhood and man…I cried my eyes out.
3. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides ☆☆☆☆
Suspenseful and twisty and definitely kept me flipping the pages. I felt like some of the dialogue was super stilted and weird as were some of the characters. Diomedes, for example. Totally worth a read if you love a good thriller.
4. For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt (Listened on Audible) ☆☆
Man did I deeply and intensely dislike everyone in this book except for Charlie.
What awful, horrible people. This book just kind of made me feel sick to my stomach. What a mess.
5. Verity by Colleen Hoover ☆☆☆☆☆
This. Book. Y’ALLLLLLL. THIS. BOOK. Brain melting and mind blowing and disturbing and horrifying and sweet and weird and perfect and steamy. I haven’t stopped thinking about it or obsessing over it since I stopped reading it. Warning. This is not the CoHo you are used to. Well i mean it is but it isn’t. The romance is there, the chemistry is there, and the heat is definitely there. BUT. This is psychological thriller Colleen. And parts are seriously MESSED UP. WARNING. Do not read if you have delicate sensibilities. One part literally made me cringe and put the book down. If you liked You/Hidden Bodies and if you like Gillian Flynn then this will be right up your alley. WOW.
6. Keeping Lucy by T.Greenwood (Pub Date 8/16/19) ☆☆☆
When Ginny has a baby daughter with Down syndrome, she’s taken away from her immediately . Her husband and father-in-law institutionalize Lucy, insisting that it’s for the best. Ginny agrees because she is led to believe it’s the only choice.
Two years later, Ginny reads that Willowridge is abusing and neglecting the children. She travels to the “school”, takes Lucy, and embarks on a journey that will change her heart and soul.
On the surface this seems that it would have been a book I LOVED.
But something fell flat for me. I’m not sure why this book didn’t really do it for me. I feel like I could have learned so much more about Down Syndrome and the horrors of institutionalization but that part was kind of a minor story compared to Ginny and Ab. I found Ginny so ridiculously week. Yes, I know this was the 60s/ 70s and she seemed to have some feminist thoughts (never mind the totally ridiculous portion where she goes off on a tangent about lesbians) but she cannot do anything for herself. Even at the end of her “awakening”, a male police officer has to make all of the decisions for her.
Ab doesn’t ever read as the great man Ginny wants you to think he is. He comes across as incredibly spineless and intentionally clueless.
I did enjoy the parts that painted Ginny as a fierce mother. I also liked her friendship with Marsha, but I feel like Marsha cursed constantly to prove that she was a liberated woman. So unnecessary. Their road trip was heart warming and laugh out loud funny in places. I just wish I liked the characters more.
7. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh- REREAD ☆☆☆☆☆
I fell in love with this book. From beginning to end…in love. I didn’t want it to end and I cried at the end. Beautifully, beautifully written. A story of love, fear, acceptance, forgiveness, redemption…JUST READ IT.
8. The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni ☆☆☆☆☆
What an extraordinary story. I thought it was just beautiful. Faith and love. So much love. Familial love, romantic love, brotherly love, platonic love. I adored every page.
9. Lost You by Haylen Beck (Pub Date 8/6/19) ☆☆☆
This was an interesting, fast-paced book that was perfectly fine but never truly “did it for me” for some reason. I felt that the end was tied up rather quickly and I wanted more of the “current day” story. I did enjoy learning more about black market surrogacy. All in all this story was just deeply sad. My heart broke for Anna but also for Libby. She completely snapped and the desperation broke my heart. Solid 3 star read.
10. Maid by Stephanie Land ☆☆☆
I believe this an important topic but for some reason this book was so all over the place and disjointed to me. It breaks my heart the way that the working poor are treated. I can’t really put my finger on why I didn’t click with this book. I wish Stephanie would have shared more of her personal life vs. such detailed descriptions of client’s homes.
11. The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth (Pub Date 4/23/19) ☆☆☆☆1/2
This book really took me by surprise! Let me start by saying I’m a big Sally Hepworth fan and I was so excited to get my hands on this book.
At first I thought it was going to be just another typical psychological thriller but man was I wrong. This is actually a quite beautiful, though sad, story of familial love and how you never really know who someone is unless you take the time to stop judging and dig deeper.
I thought the Lucy and Diana storyline was just wonderful and not at all what I expected.
And Nettie broke my heart. I found her character arc deeply sad.
Last, but not least, I loved the humane refugee angle. I loved everything about it. For a moment I was worried that the refugees were going to tie into the crime, and I would have HATED that…but I should have known better. Sally Hepworth is better than that.
12. The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani ☆☆☆1/2
I thought this one was remarkable until it just wasn’t anymore. A thriller but also a commentary on race and class which was super interesting. The end was so rushed and flat for me, though. Boo.
13. Watching You by Lisa Jewell☆☆☆☆
This one was really enjoyable to me. Lisa Jewell is a hit or miss for me and this definitely falls into the hot category.
Nice and naturally twisty – but it doesn’t depend on ridiculous out-twisting each other twists. I probably won’t remember it long term but it was nice and enjoyable in the moment.
14. Recursion by Blake Crouch (Pub Date 6/11/19) ☆☆☆☆1/2
Oh, Blake Crouch. How I love thee. You manage to make me feel so dumb yet so intrigued. I am obsessed with your books.
I literally have to skip over about a third of what you write because I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. Dark Matter was the same. My mind cannot comprehend your brilliance. I’m not built for physics or time travel YET I devoured Recursion. I could not flip the pages fast enough.
It was a pretty brilliant and timely commentary on memory. And it made my heart ache a bit. And (like in Dark Matter) I adored the unexpected love story woven within.
Recursion is another heart pounder.
15. Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding ☆☆
Ehhhhhh just okay for me. Pretty forgettable. And what is it with the author constantly commenting on weight and calling everyone fat? And why is she obsessed with how thin Kate is?
I mean… For the love of God… The author says that Frances is insecure and overweight. And then mentions later that she has 20 pounds to lose? What the heck? Seems like this author has a major body image issues.
Also, the title makes absolutely zero sense.
WHEW! Y’all! I told you this month was serious business!