Happy, happy Monday, friends!
It’s BOOK REVIEW DAY!!!!!!
We haven’t had a Book Review Day since mid-December, and I don’t know about you, but I am R-E-A-D-Y to discuss all things BOOKS again!
Just to recap, here were my Top 5 Favorite Books of 2022…
#5: The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki
#4: Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
#3: Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon
#2: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
#1: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Now, on to my JANUARY 2023 reads!
If I’m being super transparent, this month was “okay”. I’m really hoping you guys offer up some amazing suggestions for February because all in all, my January was a bit flat. There were so high moments, some low moments and some boring moments. New book suggestions greatly appreciated in the comment section today!
I read five books this month.
It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover
So, if you’ll recall, I named Colleen Hoover’s book It Ends With Us MY 2nd FAVORITE BOOK OF 2016. I loved that book so much! If you haven’t read it, you certainly should. You can read my original review of it HERE.
Fast forward all of these years later and Hoover’s newest novel is the prequel to that one (sort of, but not really). This starts right before the epilogue of It Ends With Us. So, these events aren’t “before” the plot of It Ends With Us, it’s about all of the events that take place between the last two chapters of that novel (as time as passed between the two…this is that time). I’m being vague, but if I’m not, I’ll give away what happens in the first book.
So…what did I think about it?
It was good! I thought this was a quick read, much ‘lighter’ than the first one. It’s not super meaty (the first one has a heavy theme), but more frivolous and chick-lit. There is no real suspense in this novel or major surprise since we’ve all read the final chapter of the first book and know how it wraps up. Was it entertaining? Yes. Was it necessary? Not at all. It doesn’t advance the story in any real way. Just like the first one though, this novel is Rated R. I would say that if you haven’t read It Ends With Us, make sure you read that one first…and then if you have time, pick up this one. You’ll breeze right through it.
In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner
So many of you suggested I read this novel about two teens from Tennessee who get scholarships to a very prestigious boarding school in Connecticut. They go from their small rural town to this very upscale, wealthy school that’s more academically challenging but also socially challenging too. Out of all the books I read this month, this one was my favorite. I didn’t love, love, love it, but I liked it a lot and was always anxious to pick it back up. This has a little bit of everything…it’s sad but sweet. It’s meaty but light. It’s about adventure and then also returning home. It has a little love, a little humor, it’s a lot about family and what makes us connected. It was a good read. Thank you for suggesting it!
Another one you suggested for me to read this month was…
I Take My Coffee Black by Tyler Merritt
Well dang, I really love this man now.
I had zero idea who this guy was or why you all thought I should read his memoir, but now, I want to be his best friend.
In great detail, Merritt takes you from his childhood in Vegas as a military kid through how he avoided not being in a gang, how he survived and then thrived between different high schools, how he fell in love with musical theater, FOUND JESUS, moved to California, Tennessee and soooooo much in between all while being funny, charming, serious and crazy witty. This book covers everything from how he feels/deals/thrives/succeeds as Black man in America to his faith and how the Lord has lead him down roads he never would have suspected and also dug him out of pits life threw his way. He talks about addictions and love and friendship and career changes and heartbreak and hope…you guys, it was like going to church inside a country bar with a little Broadway thrown in for kicks. He was endearing and encouraging. I didn’t know who he was, but I loved him in the end. His memoir is excellent. Thank you for the rec!
My Hygge Home by Meik Wiking
Yes, please! I’ll take all the Hygge I can get in the wintertime!
I’ve blogged about my love of Hygge before. What is it? It’s basically the Danish word for a cozy lifestyle (sort of). It’s all about creating coziness in your home and contentment in your heart. This author is a Danish man who has spent his life thinking through different ways to bring Hygge into homes. He covers everything from actually doing things (the lighting in your home, the blankets on your bed, etc) to ways of life (the people you spend your time with, the food you eat). If you want to be inspired this gray winter, pick up this book. I promise you, you’ll be lighting the fire, making soup and inviting your girlfriends over. It’s just coziness.
Spare by Prince Harry
Here we go.
So, I read this one.
I went into this book trying to be neutral in my heart. I like the Royal Family. I respected the heck out of Queen Elizabeth. I watch The Crown. I know that Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are controversial. I don’t know? I was intrigued, so I bought the book. Here are my thoughts…
He clearly had a complicated life. Clearly. No one on Earth has any say over what family they’re born into, and needless to say, being born into the Royal Family had its perks but also its problems. And then his mom died when he was eleven. And he goes away to boarding school. Complicated. I loved hearing the “behind the scenes” stories on how they live day to day. I really loved his stories from when he served in the British military. I loved reading about how much he loved Africa. How much he loved his wife. I think all of that would have been a very entertaining book to read. I would have loved that book.
This book though?
Um, as much as I loved that other stuff, I didn’t love the airing of the dirty laundry or the throwing his family under the bus. I actually think I would have liked him as a person very much had the book not be filled with so much animosity. There were lots of jabs and fingers pointed at others…and very little self-reflection or accountability for any of his own actions. This is really a memoir about him being a victim. I think he would have written this and edited out about 50%, I would have finished and thought “wow, he’s a really good man with a complicated life”. Instead, I finished and thought “he sure is a bitter man”.
Everything he wrote that made his life and Meghan’s life so hard (the paparazzi, the pressure from the British public, the lack of attention from his father, having a mom that died when he was young, going to boarding school, having no real say whatsoever on what kind of life he was ‘supposed’ to have) was very “poor us”, but, please correct me if I’m wrong…didn’t those exact same things happen to William and Kate? Aren’t those their problems too? And yet, they’re very much painted as the villains while Harry and Meghan are the victims.
All “poor me” and “they’re so terrible”. Not a good look, Prince Harry.
And finally, about 7 or 8 times a year, I “quit a book” but never discuss it here. I don’t talk about it because I didn’t finish the book, so it doesn’t “count” as something I read this year. Why bring it up?
This photo. Dang. On my recent DAY IN THE LIFE post, I showed this picture and so many of you recognized the book as The Rose Code, so I feel like I should mention that it’s not included today because I did quit it. It wasn’t “bad”, it was just (in my little old opinion) very boring. I read and I read and I read and I always know something is off when I lose interest in picking up my book at night. So, one night, I begrudgingly picked it up and clicked out of the book on my Kindle to see how much I had left to read (hey, maybe it’s almost over?!). I was only 41% of the way through. Nope. Too slow for me. I quit it. So, that’s that.
I need to know WHAT DID YOU READ THIS MONTH?! I would LOVE some new suggestions from any genre!!! Comment, comment, comment please!
Also, don’t forget…
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.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2022 (all 60 of them), click here.
That wraps up Book Day!
Sending you all so much love on this Monday!
I’ll see all of you back here tomorrow! xx