Happy Monday, friends! After what seems like a very long break between book reviews, today is my JANUARY 2022 BOOK REVIEW!
Annnnnnnd…just like every January, it’s EXTRA-BIG!!
I always share my December Book Review with you guys mid-December which means, by the time I get around to this post here, I’m reviewing not only the books I read in January, but the last few I read in December too. This month, I have SIX BOOKS to review…
…and I’m a little freaked out because…I have no idea how the rest of the books I read this year are going to top THESE!!!
Did I read my favorite book of the year already?
I really and truly loved some of these so much that I cannot imagine finding books I love more.
I’ve never felt this passionate about a January batch of books.
Needless to say, settle in, open your Amazon app and get ready to jot down some great books to add to your list. I was consumed with all of these books starting with the very first book I read this year…
…Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan.
So, if I’m being super transparent, I cannot imagine this not being my favorite book of 2022.
I threw down the gauntlet already.
This novel is based on the life of Joy Davidman who would go on to, eventually, marry author C.S. Lewis.
I had this novel on my Kindle for a year (because my aunt and cousin raved about it), but it sounded so boring to me that I kept putting it off. Finally, I decided “well, you paid for it Shay, you might as well try to read it”, and I was suuuuuucked in more than any book I’ve ever been sucked into before. I could not put this down. I was staying up past midnight, I was waking up at 3:30 AM…I was reading this every single second I could. I. Was. In. This. Deep.
This book is written like a biography, and you’ll swear it is, but it’s written by a present-day author who spent time with Davidman’s son, researched letters and writings of both Davidman and Lewis and put this piece of literature together. This book is for everyone. If you’re a Christian, read it. If you’re Jewish, read it. If you’re atheist, read it. If you’re in a bad marriage, read it. If you feel like a woman not living the ‘right’ life, read it. If you’re American, read it. If you’re British, read it. If you feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled, read it. If you really just want an incredible book, READ IT.
I know, I know. A book about C.S. Lewis’ wife? Snooze fest. Except it wasn’t. It drew me in, grabbed my attention and held on to it tight until the very last page. I’m telling you, read it.
Speaking of which…
…Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins.
So, I love Kristan Higgins books. They’re all light and happy…easy to read chick-lit. This one though…had some meat to it. A lot of meat. This book is about a woman who is dying and one chapter will be journal entries she wrote leading up to her death (except they go in reverse, the first entry you read is right before she dies and they work backwards) and then the next chapter will be her grieving husband’s story (starting with her death and moving forward). It’s just about them.
I sat here a minute trying to think of “the point” of this book, but honestly, I think the point is just life is hard sometimes, but it can still be beautiful if we look for it. I was reading this novel like a crazy woman too. I could not put it down. I was in deep with these fictitious characters and wanted to see it through to the end. As much as I love Higgins novels (and chick-lit in particular), this one was so original, so well-written and completely on a different level. I cried reading this book (yup). It’s hard. It’s good. Even though it’s fiction, this book made me think of Manda (who died at 35) and had so much left to say and always wanted to put it down on paper. This book doesn’t align with my theology and there are some parts in it that are maybe unrealistic…but I was able to look past it all because the story was so well-written and my heart was so attached to the characters. It’s cute, it’s thoughtful, it’s sad, but it’s also very sweet.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
I mean…where do I begin?
Reading this book was like a rollercoaster for me.
I was up.
I was down.
I was about to quit.
I was sucked back in.
I have all the thoughts.
My first thought is that this felt very much like two books instead of one. There’s the first half about a young woman who moves to New York City to live and work with her aunt in her aunt’s theater house back in 1940. This is a coming of age story about a young girl from the ‘burbs who is introduced to the fast and often hard life of NYC. It’s very much rated-R and, in my opinion, often the content was even too much for me (and I pretty much will read anything), but then, the real “meat” of the story would come back, and I’d be sucked back in again. The author gives a lot of backstory to a larger story…life for women leading up to WWII.
So, you learn a lot about these young women and the hard lives they had and what they needed to do to survive back in 1940 (the story is fictional, but based on historical events), and then you see how their lives drastically switch and change as the US enters the war. And then (yes, there’s more!), it unravels the story of what their lives were post-war and as they grew older. The entire book is written like one long letter (so clever!) and one of the most original stories I’ve ever written. There were moments when I didn’t love it at all and then other moments when I thought it was brilliant. It was truly an unforgettable story. Buyer beware…it’s gritty, but it’s probably very close to the reality of many young women in the 1940s. I would LOVE to know if you’ve read this one and what your thoughts are on it!
The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson was my least favorite this month. It’s a cute little chick-lit story about a librarian in a small British town whose library is on the brink of closing…and there’s a cute boy…and some charming background things…but in a bizarre turn of events, this one didn’t speak to me this month. I *think* that perhaps (wait for it), I read too many really amazing books in a row that the light little chick-lit book didn’t capture my attention (gasp!).
This was sweet and adorable and super easy to read…but it just didn’t move that quickly, and I wasn’t nearly as drawn to it as I was the others this month. It just fell a bit flat.
Practicing Parisienne by Marissa Cox was my fifth book of the month…and it was such a great read.
We all know that I love these little books about French culture (I’ve read approximately 4 million of them) and well, this one did not disappoint. In fact, I would say that this one was actually in a league all its own. The author of this book is from London but has been living in Paris for the last eight years and her perspective was more unique than all of the other books I’ve read. She speaks about many of the same topics (living in Paris, how living there has changed her fashion/beauty/hair/diet, etc), but what she does differently is incorporate interviews with experts/friends/other people to elaborate on each topic. She also goes into great detail about how hard it is to buy or rent an apartment in France, how difficult it was for her to learn the language, make friends, etc. If you’re a Francophile like me, read this one! I always find these books encouraging and motivating. They always make me want to put on some lipstick, clean out my closet and take a walk to the farmers market. They’re just feel-good, do-good books.
The sixth and final book this month was…
…Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.
Well, I loved this one too 🙂 .
This novel was such an unexpected find for me. Several of you recommended it and you know, the synopsis sounded nice and all, but I really just didn’t anticipate how much I would love it. This is the story of two friends in NYC and their lives as they get older…surrounding this theater company. One of them chooses motherhood, then other, a television actress. They’re best friends, they’re facing insecurities and life challenges…it was just a really ‘good’ read 🙂 . If you are looking for something that’s a cross between chick-lit and “meatier” fiction, here you go. This one was good enough to definitely be in my Top Three this year. It was original, it was entertaining, it had a few unexpected twists, a plot change and a nice ending. It’s about the choices we make and living with them. Two big thumbs up!
Whew! I READ SOME AMAZING BOOKS THIS MONTH!!!
Okay, what are your thoughts? What did you read this month? Have you checked out my TOP THREE BOOKS OF 2021 yet? What should I read in February? Talk to me, friends! I am so inspired to keep up the great reads!! I would love some fresh recommendations!! Comment, share and let’s chat books!!
To see the complete list of books I read in 2015 (all 63 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2016 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2017 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2018 (all 61 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2019 (all 54 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2020 (all 54 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2021 (all 59 of them), click here.
That wraps up Book Day and the last day of January!! I will see you back here next month 😉 . xx
First of all, in your first paragraph you write you’re telling us about the books you read in January 2021. I think we’re in 2022 now, although I find that REALLY hard to believe 🙂
Also, I put Becoming Mrs Lewis on hold and noticed the author had another CS Lewis based book which came out last year called Once Upon A Wardrobe. I haven’t read it yet but I put it on hold too.
The best book I read this month was The One Hundred Years Of Lenni And Margot. Our book club read it and some people loved it and some people didn’t.
Mix and Match Mama says
Oh geez…that is where my brain is. right now. editing that! agh!
Sheila DeSpirito says
I too was going to recommend the book, Once Upon A Wardrobe, I read it late December early January. AWESOME book! I know you have a handful of people recommending it in the comments. Please add me to the highly recommend this book. I’m sure you will LOVE it! I also read in December a awesome book, The Secret Of Snow by Viola Shipman, LOVED It!! So many great books, so little time to read them all.
You’ve got me hooked – I’m going to read Becoming Mrs. Lewis this month now! Did you know there is a follow up (of sorts) called Once Upon a Wardrobe? That was already on my list and the reviews are insanely good. Look it up because based on how much you loved this one, I think you’d more than likely love that one, too.
I read the newer Colleen Hoover this month and thought it was her best one in years. My fav of hers is It Ends With Us with All Your Perfects coming in second – and I’ve thought others of hers were good but not great – and a big no to Verity – so I think we see eye to eye on which Colleen books we love! This one was incredible and reminded me of why I love her writing so much. It’s called Reminders of Him. Read it!
Just finished the third in the Simple Wild series (Running Wild) and adored it. It’s Marie’s story and she was so relatable. I couldn’t put it down and read it in just over a day. I’d highly recommend!
This month I read a bunch of really good books. Leaving a few quick thoughts below –
The Book of Lost Names – WWII fiction about a girl who forges papers for people fleeing France, recommended in the comments here, a fantastic and beautiful read.
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margo – story of two women, one a teen and one in her eighties, and the incredible friendship they form while in the hospital. It made me laugh out loud and sob. Unlike any book I’ve read before. Will almost certainly be in my top 5 for 2022.
The Guilt Trip – similar to the Guest List in plot. Entertaining and not to dark.
Our Woman in Moscow – moved to the top of my “to read” pile after seeing the review here. Great read.
Made in Manhattan – preordered this one and usually love the author. Manhattan girl fixes up New Orleans boy for future job at family company. Fell flat for me. Anyone else have thoughts?
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating – quirky, funny story about modern relationships. So far so good, about 1/3 way finished.
I loved The Book of Lost Names–so good!
Lisa D says
I loved The Book Of Lost Names! The author is Kristin Harmel. Wonderful book!
You gave me so many great suggestions!! Can’t wait to add some new reads to my collection!
Erika Slaughter says
OOOH!!! Way to kick of 2022 with a bang! I’m adding some to my Kindle now. There goes my read less resolution for the year! ha!
Erika! Read less?! What kind of resolution is that? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone say that. Lol
Tammy Murphy says
Your book review screen popped up as I sat down early this morning with my coffee. Excitement ran through me even though I order library books for a living every day. I love to see your recs and opinions.
Have you read The Wicked Widow by Beatriz Williams? I.can’t.stop. In my opinion, it’s her absolute best.
Don’t forget to remind your readers that the public library is an option for reading. Free and a great variety. Maybe I should make a Mix and Match display?
Mix and Match Mama says
Not yet but I CANNOT WAIT to read it!!!!!
Kelly Davis says
I love the library- it has been such a place of happy memories for me since childhood. (I couldn’t get my hands on Nancy Drew books fast enough!).I actually have been placing books on hold as I read this post 🙂 (I hoard nonfiction, but fiction is not something I keep, so the library is perfect for me!)
Thanks for the list. Are you aware there is Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis? Just FYI. Happy Monday.
Mix and Match Mama says
As like a book or a show? I need details!!!!! 😉
Also wanted to add, I finished Cloud Cuckoo Land at the end of December and have so many conflicting feelings about the book. Would love to hear other thoughts!
Wasn’t sure about it when I started but ended up thinking it was brilliant. The way he tied everything together was so well done and I found each piece interesting.
Nancy Granger says
Since you loved Becoming Mrs. Lewis, you should read her new one, Once Upon a Wardrobe.
Mix and Match Mama says
Is it also written like a biography or more of a fictional story?
Nancy Granger- says
It is written like a story. It’s about the sister of a young boy who is dying who wants to know where Narnia really is. The sister contacts C. S. Lewis to find out.
It is written as a biography but a slightly different POV. Just finished Once Upon and Wardrobe and LOVED it! Highly recommend!!
It’s a fictional story and is fantastic!
Susan Jeffries says
Thank you so much for the reviews! I had not been able to read for quite some time after my dad and step father both passed away. I think it was grief rendering me unable to focus and enjoy a book. A friend and I recently started a local book club. We had a book swap, we chat on line a lot, and we have had a couple of meet ups. Its been so healing! Now I am obsessed with reading again! I just finished The Orphan Collector and I loved it! I am currently reading The German Midwife and getting my February list ready! I added 3 of your choices to my list! I am excited to follow along this year!
Mix and Match Mama says
Susan, I’m so sorry about your losses. I find such joy in knowing that reading has been a comfort to you. Sending you so much love right now. xx
Tiffany W says
Have you read The Light of Days? It’s about Jewish women during WWII. It’s a tough read, but so important to learn about what these women and Jewish people in general went through during this horrific time.
Mix and Match Mama says
I haven’t, but thank you so much for the rec!!
I read Becoming Mrs Lewis quite a while ago and still think it is one of the best books I have read in years and I read 60-70 books per year. I hear that her new book, “Once Upon a Wardrobe” is also excellent!
Dana Miller says
You should check out Once Upon A Wardrobe by Callahan So engaging—a lovely book!
Loved that one!
I agree loved this one too!
Cassie Adrian says
I always love readying your book reviews and pretty much only read what you recommend. I really thought you would read Apples Never Fall this month. It’s the new Liane Moriarty book. It was so so good. Best book I’ve read in awhile
Im currently reading The Maid by Nita Prose. Cannot put it down! Highly recommend
I’m reading Lady Clementine. It’s about Winston Churchill’s wife. A snooze fest for me but I would like to finish it.
Molly Stockberger says
Such a great review this month. I’m in the middle of reading pack up the moon. I’ve also read City of girls and really enjoyed it. I’ve added 3 of your books on this list to my Amazon cart. Thanks for all you do. I always look forward to your reviews. Have a great day.
I read the Nightingale and Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah! Both were really good, but Nightingale kept me up until I finished it!
These sound great and I haven’t read ANY of them!! Pinned.
Emily Gardner says
I may have also already read my favorite book of the year! I suggest “Reminders of Him” by Colleen Hoover. It’s her newest one (just came out in late January) and it’s wonderful! Covers hard topics like death, forgiveness, child custody, love, etc.
I think this will be my favorite book of the year too!
Yay for more books to add to my list! Some good ones I read this month are:
The Kindest Lie (great book about race in America and the lies we tell others and ourselves)
My Dark Vanessa (includes sexual abuse, but this one will stay with me for a looong time)
Too Good to be True (thriller-ish but not scary)
Rachel Shafer says
I love book review days! I just finished The Book of Lost Names. It is so so so good! Historical fiction at it’s finest set during WWII – I highly recommend! Here’s just the beginning synopsis from amazon: “Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.”
This book…just finished it and wow! SO good!
Andrea Hooper says
The book of lost names was so so so so good. I was so sucked in and stayed up very late trying to finish it!
Have you seen “Shadowlands” starring Anthony Hopkins as CS Lewis and Debra Winger as Joy? I think you would absolutely love it now that you have read Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
I also think you would enjoy The Stationary Shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali. I couldn’t put it down.
Amy Heinl says
If you loved Becoming Mrs. Lewis you must read her new one. I read it this month. It’s Once upon a wardrobe. In the book the main character sets out to fulfill her younger brothers last wish by uncovering the truth behind his favorite book, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The young boy wants to know where did Narnia come from. It’s a magical journey filled with hope and healing.
I fell in love with Viola Shipmans The Secret of Snow. It was my first read by this author. This is the first time I can recall where I actually highlighted lines in the book because the words were so powerful. I couldn’t get enough so I then read The Charm Bracelet and it was just as good. I have two more of his books (the author writes under a pen name which is his beloved grandmother’s name. Strongly suggest you check this author out
Yay Inlove this post every month!
OK I hate to say it, but I read Becoming Mrs. Lewis awhile back and was not a fan at all.? We lived in Britain for 4 years, and it felt like an American who never lived in Britain wrote the story which drove me nuts as I was reading. I love CS Lewis too much for him to sound like an American I guess – haha. It was just too hard for me that a man so brilliant with word choice and communicating could be portrayed as a speaker who didn’t live up to that in his dialogue.
I’ve read some great ones so far this January. I Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens was a wonderful addition to her repertoire. If you liked This Time Last Year, you won’t be disappointed – I could see it making top 3 for me. Her characters are endearing, the story quirky, and it was reminiscent of a modern day Guernsey Literary and PotatoPeel Pie Society with the island charm. Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel was cute. The Stranger in the Lifeboat was super weird but a quick read, and I will be shocked if the The Book of Lost Names isn’t top 3 for me -it’s definitely #1 for now.
Kelly Webb says
I completely agree with your opinions of City of Girls- so good and engrossing, like nothing I’d ever read about that era. I read two of Karen White’s books last year, The Sound of Glass and The Night the Lights Went Out. Both books were fantastic and hit all kinds of topics throughout.
Mix and Match Mama says
I wanted to look away…but I could not. I kept getting pulled in…it was so raw and very well-written.
This month I read – Running Wild – the book about Marie the vet from the simple wild – I think I really liked it, but still deciding, ha! I also read Reminders of Him by Colleen hoover and loved it!
I just read those same two books! I agree about Running Wild. I definetly feel like its worth reading if you’ve read the other 3 though. I just didn’t like it as much as Calla and Jonah’s story. Reminders of Him was amazing though! I wouldn’t be surprised if its my favorite book all year.
Oh Shay!! I’m so glad u loved Becoming Mrs. Lewis! One of my favorite books EVER!!! Now I want to reread it after reading your book review. I actually wrote down LOTS of quotes from that book in the notes app on my phone because it affected me so deeply.
A few of the many quotes I jotted down:
….”And I must trust God. ….The rusty and decrepit habit of trusting in only myself, only abiding in my own ability to make things happen, died hard and slow. “
“Your humor,…., you use it to hide your heart, and armor to keep anything from touching it. I know because I do the same thing.”
I highly recommend “Wish You Were Here” by Jodi Picoult. It’s the first book I’ve read which takes place during Covid, and it was a fascinating read. The story focuses on a couple…he is a doctor, and it is unbelievable to read what it was like to be a doctor when Covid first hit. Also, it’s just one of the most original stories I’ve EVER read. I don’t want to ruin it with more details but honestly, this book is so original it blew my mind.
I also read “Nothing to See Here” Kevin Wilson. I LOVED it! It sounded too crazy for me to enjoy (children that light on fire-no thanks!). BUT. It was written so realistically and is a great story about friendship between women, motherhood and also political life. It was very well written!
Robin Gowan says
Also just finished Wish You Were Here and it is a book that was heartfelt , heart breaking ( at times) and will serve as piece of important literature post pandemic . I agree – READ THIS BOOK . It’s nothing like I’ve ever read before .
I loved “Wish you Were Here Too”, such a detailed and interesting take on the start of COVID woven into a beautiful story
Terri D. says
Always love your book reviews! Just added Becoming Mrs. Lewis to the top of my (huge) TBR pile!! Have your read Lianne Moriaty’s new book “Apples Never Fall”? I really enjoyed that. I listened to the audio and would actually laugh out loud while I was walking! Also enjoyed One Two Three by Laurie Frankel. This one is especially good on audio because there are three distinct characters and they nailed their voices and attitudes!
Hope February is a great reading month for you!!
MK Bowers says
I’m having one of those same “book binge” feelings over “Apples Never Fall” by Liane Moriarty. I just can’t put it down!
Ok, I know you have a love/hate relationship with Colleen Hoover’s books. You have to read her latest book, Reminders of Him. It was as good if not better than It Ends With Us! I’m certain it will be in my top 5 this year.
I could not put it down! Have you read The Last Thing He Told Me?
I totally agree!! LOVED IT!
I am suggesting you read Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain if you haven’t- my fav book of 2020! Tells the story of 2 women- one is 1939-40 and one in 2018-in 1939, one of them paints a mural in a post office in the south, and the other restores that piece of art in 2018. Lots of twists and turns- and discovering the connection between the 2 women just sucks you in. I listened to it on Audible and I found every excuse to listen whenever I could. My fav book of 2021 was The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel- WW2 historical fiction- pulls you in and another that I couldn’t stop… sobbed in my car, literally, for 40 miles when finishing the book.
I second both these recommendations. They were both so compelling. I listened to both and absolutely loved them!
Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang, The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, and The Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
I read a lot of great books this month too! I highly recommend The People We Keep, Beautiful Country, and Love and Other Words. I think you would LOVE all of them!
I just finished Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez. It focuses on two siblings from Brooklyn who are of Puerto Rican descent. I really enjoyed the story, and especially liked learning about a culture so different from mine, and hearing from voices with such different life experiences and perspectives. Olga is a wedding planner for rich New Yorkers and Prieto is a US Congressman, which is not everyone’s lifestyle, but their families and their experiences growing up took me to a completely different culture.
The UnHoneymooners by Christina Lauren is a cute, quick chick-lit book. I also was instantly drawn in to The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. I highly recommend it.
Leslie S says
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Before the movie comes out.
Leslie S says
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Before it becomes a movie.
I have read some GREAT books lately – all of them have great character development and stay with you after reading:
These Silent Woods
What Comes After
The People We Keep
Also, if you ever listen to audiobooks you should check out Going There by Katie Couric. It was one of the BEST audiobooks I have ever listened to. I think listening it was probably better than reading it because she includes actual news clips in the audio. It really is SO GOOD
One of my favorites of all your posts!! Thanks, Shay!
In the last week I’ve read Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover, it was soooo good. It Ends With Us is probably my favorite from her but this one is right there with it for me. I also finished Karen Kingsbury’s Forgiving Paris last night. It was so good too. I’ve read almost all of hers and have loved all of them.
Kelly W. says
So I immediately borrowed the e-book of Becoming Mrs. Lewis from my library and can’t wait to read it! I also LOVED City of Girls. It was definitely gritty and sometimes hard to read, but overall was just a fantastic book. I just finished Our Woman in Moscow, and as usual, Beatriz Williams is pure genius! Absolutely loved it!!
Please read The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain. I know the summary says it has to do w/ time travel and that might put you off ( it sat on my kindle because of that) but I have to say the time travel was actually believable if that makes sense and the story was incredible. One of my all time fav books and I am a very avid reader!
Jen Huegel says
I have commented on these reviews before that she should read that!! One of my all time favorites as well!!
Me too! I love Diane Chamberlain. But The Dream Daughter is just absolutely phenomenal and made time travel so believable!
Right! I was so hesitant but it’s one of my fav books ever.. Come on Shay read it! If you don’t like I will donate to your favorite charity!! 🙂
Yes! Wasn’t it fabulous.. I recommend it to everyone!
Debbie K says
This weekend, I read Flying Angels by Danielle Steele. I loved it! Read it in two days. I shared it with a fellow teacher who teaches history. I used to be a big Steele fan, but haven’t been in recent years. The cover of this book grabbed my attention first, and then the synopsis did too. This one did not disappoint. It will stay with me and be in my top reads of this year. I read four books in January, but I won’t forget this one!
Laura B says
Omgosh I was cracking up reading your review for becoming mrs lewis! I’d never heard of it, but you’ve convinced me to read it now! ?
YAY it’s book review day! I have been lazy and read way too many books this month. (Many based on your recs but a couple you haven’t read or at least haven’t reviewed.) Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo was about a British woman who, following the death of her mother, discovers the identity of her father and travels to Africa to meet him. I enjoyed reading this one, though it was not a page-turner for me. Conversely, Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood by Cheryl Diamond, I could not put down. This one reminded me of Educated. The story is gripping, painful, and just absolutely incredible.
Katie Hayes says
Love your book recs!
Have you read The Rose Code by Kate Quinn? I couldn’t put it down!
Thank you for the great book recommendations!!
I’m currently reading “The Red Notebook” by Antoine Laurain. It was translated from French, easy to read and a charming story.
LOVED Becoming Mrs. Lewis!! Eager to read her most recent book too. In the middle of “The Reading List”. A novel about books, people and how some books change your life forever. Really enjoying it.
Yay for book review day!! I love when you describe a book and it instantly speaks to me, sucks me in, and gets me excited to read it. You did that with American Dirt and now again with Becoming Mrs. Lewis…I can’t wait to read it now! I’m almost finished with Our Woman in Moscow! 🙂
@#@@@I always love your book review.
I’m always SO disappointed you have not read THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE by Julie Orringer.
I can almost guarantee you’d feel like it should be in your top 3.
I think I recommended City of Girls years ago; it was one of my favorites that year! Although yes, it definitely is x-rated! I read Good Company this past spring and was also pleasantly surprised by it. I’m in the middle of Katie Couric’s book now and yes, I can not put it down, just like you!
I haven’t recommended many books lately because a ton that I’ve read are good, or even really great, but nothing exceptional to rave and rave about (except for ones you’ve read too!).
Some that have stood out from the past few months that I know you would love are Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult, Apples Never Fall, and I’m still swearing that you HAVE to read The Invisible Husband of Frick Island! Based on your style from previous books you have reviewed and raved about, I promise these are right up your alley- especially The Invisible Husband of Frick Island!
I just ordered 3 of them – you aways have the best recommendations. Thanks!
Have you read the trilogy, Mark of the Lion, by Francine Rivers? It’s my all time favorite!
Also here to recommend Shadowlands (the movie about CS Lewis’s relationship with Joy.) It is poignant and thought-provoking, and would be great for your older kids as well!
Scarlett Spangler says
KA Tucker released the 4th book in the “Simple Wild” series and I’m excited to read it… it’s from the viewpoint of Marie the veterinarian. I also read one of her other books this month called”Say You Still Love Me” which was just a nice chick lit type of read but with a bit of a twist
I just read Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover – it was one of the best books I’ve read in awhile! Highly recommend! I also read Running Wild, which is the 4th book in the Simple Wild series. It’s about Marie instead of Calla and Jonah. Not going to lie, I didn’t like it as much as the first 3, but definetly worth the read!
Thanks for all the recommendations. I put almost all in my library list. I have found so many great books through your book reviews. I don’t think I would have found Beatriz Williams without you. I haven’t found even one of her books that I didn’t love.
Funny, for whatever reason I usually read about one to two books on the same month you review them. It is always fun for me because it feels like my own book club. ha. This month, I haven’t read one. However, I’ve also read 6 this month and they were all fantastic.
My top two faves were Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover. She strikes again with a great read! And The Good Lie by AR Torres. It is seriously rated R and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle it. It was dark and twisted and really good. Read it in 24 hours because I just needed to know how it ended.
Looking forward to trying a few on your list from this month.
I LOVED Becoming Mrs Lewis! You should also read Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan (the author of Becoming Mrs Lewis)!
I also really loved Midnight Library- my number one Rec from 2021!
Shay, my response to City of Girls was the same! “Where to begin…” A friend passed it on to me. It took me nearly 6-7 chapters to even get into it and I was about to throw in the towel. But I rarely do that so I pressed on, at the urge of my close friend. And oh my goodness – so much to unpack! The way the entire story unfolded truly took me by so many surprises and so many emotions. By the middle, I just couldn’t put it down. And in the end, I’m so glad I read it. A memorable story, for sure.
Keisha Dawson says
My favorite day of the month! City of Girls is the only one that I have read of these, but I felt the same way. Overall, I loved it, and I’m so glad I read it. I am finishing up Will Smith’s new book Will today. It is long, but if you grew up watching Fresh Prince, and you enjoy his movies, you should definitely read it. I have enjoyed it so much!
I found my way to your blog via your book reviews! I’ve enjoyed so many that you have read and shared – thank you. Two recommendations: These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant, and The Push by Ashley Audrain. They’re really different books, but both are unputdownable stories with the weight and wonder of parenthood woven through.
Sam Van Gorp says
I also agree about The Push! I literally could not put this book down and it provoked so many emotions about motherhood.
Hi Shay! Cant wait to read Becoming Mrs Lewis! It’s gotten so many great reviews here! Also pack up the moon has been in my TRB pile since some time, will be reading that in feb for sure…
I started my reading with a bang in 2022 with some really good books…First one I read was The immortal life of Henrietta Lack. Really engrossing & informative read. Baby doll was a good thriller…little different than the usual, it starts from when the protagonist escapes her kidnapper/abuser after 8 years…also finished the last one in the discovery of witches series. Also read a kristan Higgins, Now that you mention it and enjoyed it. Like you, I enjoy Higgins too. My favourite book of the month was Stephen King’s 11/22/63…Loved it! It’s an old book but I had never read Stephen king and I really enjoyed that one! You must read it!
Hena Tayeb says
I have read Elizabeth Gilbert before and am on the fence about whether I like her books or not.
You read some good books. I have Good Company on my TBR.. and how gorgeous it that cover!
Brenda Thompson says
I soooo look forward to book review day and added a few of these on my list! I read and LOVED City of Girls. For me, I felt like it so eloquently depicted a woman trying hard to find out who she really was and how to survive while overcoming shame from an mistake she made early in her adult life. But she preservers and carries on.
A few books I would recommend:
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewel
Everything Beautiful in Its Time by Jenna Bush Hager
Erin Smith says
So glad you liked Good Company. It was my #3 best read of last year
Please read Verity by Colleen Hoover. I need your take on it!! 🙂
Mix and Match Mama says
Bahahaha! Well, I’ve reviewed over 500 books on here and only one time called a book “stupid”…and it was this one. 😉
I am so thankful you feel this way. I hated verity. Hated. It. I don’t understand the cult calling for that book. Everyone time I see someone recommend it in like no no no nooooo!
City of Girls was the very first book I have ever returned. Bought it at Costco and knew they’d take it back! I felt I had read far enough to give it a chance, but just could not get into it.
City of Girls is still one of my favorites. I recommend it to everyone! I’m glad you read it.
You might want to avoid The Paper Palace if you haven’t already read that one.
Mix and Match Mama says
Actually, The Paper Palace was my 2nd favorite book of 2021!!! I loved it!!
I started City of Girls and could not get into it. Too much rated R and I can handle pretty much anything too. Plus the storyline was blah. I quit about 50 pages in.
The others look interesting.
I just binged 56 Days – a thriller about a couple who meets right before COVID lockdown. So engrossing! And the audiobook was fantastic, with the narrator’s Irish accent 🙂
Recently I read Our Girl in Moscow (loved) and Katie Couric’s based on your rec! I started the The School for Good Mothers and got weirded out but I may try again. Also, enjoyed the Lincoln Highway
Kara Messner says
Reminders of him by Colleen Hoover. I just finished it last week and I did so in 24 hours. You won’t be able to put it down!! It’s very true to Colleen Hoovers writing style and I cried In This one which I rarely do. Sooooo good!
I added the first two to my list and am reading the last one now (2/3rds through)!
Hi Shay! I look forward to your book reviews every single month and always pick my next read based on your books! If you don’t love it, I usually won’t read it 🙂
You have to read the Midnight Library! It is a really sweet (and thought-provoking) read. I think you would love it and I’m curious to hear your thoughts about it!
If your kids haven’t yet read Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston, I think they’d really like it. It’s Percy Jackson-esque and very imaginative. One of my favorite books of January was The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow. It was a departure for me in terms of genre but I really liked it (listened on audio).
You MUST read Colleen Hoover’s Reminders of Him. By far her best yet. I couldn’t put it down and actually read it a second time the minute I finished. Sooo good!!!
Hi Sweet Shay! Ok I tried your #1 of 2021 and I’m super sensitive to Rated R books. Everyone is different, I know, I just try to stay Christian based. I also read The Four Winds and totally agree with you on how disappointing it was! I felt the same way you did UGH! (Read your past review)
I did absolutely LOVE The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers. Would love your opinion on that. What would you rate the one about CS LEWIS & Wife?
Mix and Match Mama says
I would say the CS Lewis book is between PG and PG-13. Sitting here, I cannot think of reasons why it would be rated anything else. I really think you’ll enjoy it!
Becoming Mrs. Lewis was my favorite book of 2021! I’m so glad you read it and loved it.
Looooved Becoming Mrs Lewis!! Did not like city of Girls AT ALL!!! Looking forward the the Kristan Higgins book! Always love your recs!!
So. . .I’ve only read Pack Up the Moon and I LOVED it, probably b/c it was so original. It sort of reminded me a bit of a Taylor Jenkins Reid love story. . .sort of. Anyway, thanks for the recommendations — I still have a list from last year!! I ended up reading Paper Palace and NOT liking it as much as you, mainly b/c I didn’t like the main character. I thought the author did really good developing the relationships and such, I just didn’t like her. I finally opened up Our Woman in Moscow today and cannot put it down. Wow. So, so good so far.
You never read/review John Grisham books (I know, a lot of them are the “same”) but some are just stand-alone stories. His latest one, Sooley, might be one you try. I love how he tells a story. . . he just starts talking to you and weaves around. . .because you family loves sports so much and because you have kids involved in sports, and because your husband has experience with elite sports. . .I think you might like it. I promise, it is an EASY read and something you might enjoy over the winter months. It is unexepcted.
Sam Van Gorp says
Read The Push by Ashley Audrain. COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! I was also in such a book funk with other books after reading that one because it was so good!
I love your book reviews! I recently read The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen and WOW! It was SO powerful! It is considered a young adults novel but is one that I recommend everyone read! It focuses on a biracial child who moves down south in 1955. This book is one that I couldn’t put down and one that will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend!!!
I would love to hear your take on Rick paper scissors!
Not about books, but can you tell us about the necklace you’re wearing in stories today with the yellow jacket?
Mix and Match Mama says
I had one two! My little s necklace that was an Etsy find from last year and then my little tiny heart necklace which is from Kendra Scott!
Are Higgins books rated R? Or more tame?
Mix and Match Mama says
They’re more tame!
Love when I get to add books to my TBR! I read 6 books this past month and I have to recommend A History of Wild Places by Shae Ernshaw. It was like nothing I’ve ever read before! I think you’d like it.
Caitlin Shoemaker says
I finally got around to reading Castle of Water this month from your top list! I’ve already read many of your top 3’s from over the years. That one was super unique and I liked it a lot.
I’ll say again, The Rural Diaries may be right up your alley given your love for Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I kept thinking you’d be fascinated to read how he is as a husband and father haha.
Melissa M. says
Castle of Water is so amazing!!! I’m so glad I found it on this list!!
Leah Claire Hall says
Thank you once again for some great recommendations. Two of my favorite reads in the last month were Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York by Elizabeth Passarella and All The Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth. Also, my favorite kids’ novel was A Place To Hang The Moon by Kate Albus.
The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meisser is a good read.
My book club read this last year and I absolutely loved it! Love Susan Meissner!
Kary D says
I just finished Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover. Finished it in 2 days. It is so so good. Probably will be one of my favorites of the year. It would be an amazing movie.
ANYTHING Colleen Hoover writes has been gold!! I’m now on her 3rd book in 2 weeks. Can’t put them down! Verity, November 9, and Reminders of Him have all been excellent!
Have you read The Forest of Vanishing Stars?
Stephanie Nullmeyer says
You must read Code Name Helene! Historical fiction, romance, action…..it’s SO good and based on a real woman during WWII. My favorite book I’ve read in a long time. Also, Finlay Donovan is Killing It is such a fun quirky mystery! You’d love it.
Brooke Retherford says
If you haven’t yet, you need to add JACKIE AND MARIA, to your list of books to read!
I couldn’t put it down! It was fascinating historical fiction, full of twists and turns and highs and lows and gave some crazy insight on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy and opera singer Maria Callas.
Sheila DeSpirito says
I’m not sure you got my last email,(probably not) I think I did something wrong? In any case I was saying in previous email that, I too read One upon A Wardrobe and LOVED IT! Since you loved, Becoming Mrs. Lewis, you will absolutely love this book. I want to read this year the Narnia books. Have you read any of them?
I cried reading Pack Up the Moon, too. It was raw, sweet, and sat with me a long time. I love reading your book reviews!
Just bought Becoming Mrs. Lewis, thanks for the recommendation… can’t wait to get started!
How much do you spend on books monthly?
Mix and Match Mama says
Each Kindle purchase is probably around $10, and I buy each one…so it depends on how many books I read that month.
As an avid reader myself, I always enjoy your monthly book review posts! I would encourage you (& everyone) to read “The Burning” by Tim Madigan. This is a true story – the historical account of the Tulsa Race Riot in 1921. I am a life-long Kansas resident located only 120 miles from Tulsa, and I had never heard of this horrible incident until last year. This well-researched and written story of a truly devastating time in U.S. history reads like a novel. Everybody should read this book!
Love your book reviews. I recommend sooo much the Kookaburra Creek Cafe by Sandie Docker. Its set in small town Australia, about loss and overcoming and friendship. Its amazing you will love it!
Two books I couldn’t put down
Most recently, Nanny needed by Georgina Cross!
A couple years ago I read this and it’s stuck with me, Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
Can’t wait to read Mrs Lewis!
Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
Melissa M. says
I ❤️ your book reviews!! Have you read any Finlay Donovan? Her sequel was released this month- and it’s such a fun read!
I started City of Girls the day you published your book review, and I had to post a comment now that I am finished with it. I absolutely devoured the book, I thought it was fantastic. I didn’t struggle with it as much as you seemed to, I was absolutely hooked from beginning until end. I thought it was a brilliantly told story. I typically do not do audiobooks, but this one happened to be available from my library in that format, and the narrator was fabulous. I highly recommend to any of your readers looking for a worhtwhile escape! Not sure how another novel will top for me this year.
“Code Name Helene” by Ariel Lawhon. If you haven’t read it yet I think you may like it. It’s a historical fiction book based upon a real woman and her real life events. I couldn’t put it down and have enjoyed every book you’ve recommended from the same category.
You have to read Darling Venom! It was amazing! I couldn’t put it down and I couldn’t stop thinking about it when it was over.