My January Reads

Do I talk too much about books? Probably. Am I going to keep doing it anyway? You betcha. Here are my reviews of the books I read this month:

  1. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig—3.75/5

You may have noticed that this was my first virtual book club pick of the year. As I discussed via my Instagram stories, this read came at the perfect time for me. I’ve been questioning if I’m in the “right” place in my life, and as this novel reminded me, I am exactly where I am meant to be. It’s a solid, easy read in which the protagonist, Nora, is faced with the option to visit all of the parallel lives she could be living had her choices been just slightly different. It deals with regret, purpose, and the relationships that we don’t even realize make our world go ‘round.

  1. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng—4/5 

This one has been on my list for quite a while now. It’s about a teenage girl who is found dead, and her parents must come to terms with the person she truly was versus the person they thought she was—or, more so, wanted her to be. It highlights the intricacies of family, the struggles of racism in America, and the difficulty of being a teenager, among other themes.

  1. Only Child by Rhiannon Navin—5/5

Woah. It’s not often that I rate something five out of five, but this novel was incredible. Forewarning: I sobbed throughout the entire thing. It’s a story of a school shooting—an all-too-familiar occurrence in this country—told through the lens of a six-year old that lived through it. It’s very hard to read emotionally, but it is seriously a work of art.

  1. Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand—3.5/5

Hello, royals! My friend Emily, a huge royal family buff, lent me this (and #8 on this list). I love The Crown, Spencer, and all things Diana, so I really enjoyed learning all of the nitty gritty details of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s break with “The Firm.” The authors are very close to the royal family and their employees, so it makes the facts and perspective feel more authentic than other reports. 

  1. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins—4.75/5

This should be required reading in our country. It’s a fictional story of a mother and her young son who are being threatened by a drug cartel in Mexico and must flee to America without being tracked. It’s a topic that hits close to home for the author, so she did her research in making sure that, while fictional, it paints a realistic picture of the unbelievable struggle that many people go through in trying to enter our country for safety. You’ll never look at “illegal” immigration the same again.

  1. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell—3/5

You know I love a good, juicy mystery about a missing woman. (Ok, that sounds super weird, but it really is a theme!) This one was a quick read and kept my interest for sure. The only downside was that it got a bit predictable and didn’t necessarily stand out from other novels in the same genre…but certainly still worth a read if you like a psychological thriller.

  1. A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out by Sally Franson—2.5/5 

At the beginning, I had higher hopes for this one. It’s about a woman in her late twenties that works for a PR agency, and I saw a lot of parallels in the lives of me and my peers. The main character, Casey, often asks herself if her career path is right or if there’s something more to life. The second half gets a little…strange, though? It felt like the author was trying to fit too much into the back end and it was a bit chaotic.

  1. Battle of Brothers: William & Harry, the Inside Story of a Family in Tumult by Robert Lacey—2.5/5

Another royal read! If you’re choosing between the two, I liked Finding Freedom much more. Part of the problem is the two reads feature a lot of the same information, so maybe it’s just because I read this one second. But, I also did feel like this author infused too much of his random, personal commentary that didn’t really feel like it belonged.

9. I Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped Her by Joanna Connors—4.5/5

The author of this memoir is not only courageous, but has a level of empathy that makes the reader see the world—and the often terrible events of it—in a new light. Decades after her rape in the ’80s, she sets out to learn about her rapist’s upbringing to figure out how he ended up the way he did. It’s understandably difficult to read at points, but you won’t be disappointed when you power through.

Happy reading!

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

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