Wednesday, February 1, 2023

January 2023 Book Review

It's already time for the first book review of 2023! I still need to post my 2023 Goals post, but one of my book goals remains the same - to read 100 books. 

Well, I started the year off with a bang - 15 books! - but my stats are slightly padded. {grin} A book I finished on January 1 {I had one chapter left ha}, 3 audiobooks, 1 novella and 2 pretty short books, but it still added up to 15!

In terms of content, my month was pretty normal - a mix of nonfiction and fiction, 3 books by authors of color, some light fluff, some heavier topics, pretty well-rounded.

The Rise of the Black Quarterback
 by Jason Reid - I got this book from the cutest bookstore on our trip to Hilton Head AND I got it for free! The owner of the bookstore gets Advance Reader Copies and can't read them all and gives them away to customers wrapped up so you don't know what you're getting. I was excited to read this because I enjoy continuously learning about systemic racism and being a native Texan football is a big deal. Well, this book did NOT disappoint! I learned a lot and it was very entertaining. If you like either topic, you will find this a worthwhile read. I also find it interesting that the upcoming Superbowl is the first time ever we've had 2 Black QB-led teams facing off - this story makes you understand why that's never happened before!

 and Inheritance {novella} by Katharine McGee - I've enjoyed the 'American Royals' series and was excited to read book 3. I thought it was good and continued the story nicely. It did start off a little slow but as always, by the time it ended I was bummed, and I'm looking forward to book 4. It's fun to live in the world with America having the Washington family as our Royal Family! I also read a novella prequel and it was totally unnecessary but fun!

Remarkably Bright Creatures
 by Shelby Van Pelt [audiobook] - This was our in-person book club pick for the month AND our pick for Blog Friend Book Club. I loved this book, and it seems like everyone I know who has read it has felt the same way. It feels a little similar to some other books I've read with a grumpy older character with a heart of gold, but it was also unique. There are several storylines you are following that I was really curious how they would connect and thought the resolution was great, and I ended the book with a huge smile on my face.

Speaking of my in-person book club, we also had a little baby shower at our meeting - one of our members, Staci, and her husband, Ryan, are expecting their first baby, so of course we had to spoil Staci and the baby!

Yummy food including an amazing hot cocoa bar

Of course Heather made cookies - they're as good as they are cute!

Can't wait to meet the new baby!

Back to our regularly scheduled book post! {grin}

Things We Lost to the Water
 by Eric Nguyen - This was our book selection for my work book club - January was a busy month for book club meetings! It follows a mother and her 2 sons as they immigrate from Vietnam to NOLA ending when Hurricane Katrina comes. This was a very complicated family drama that had me feeling very raw, but the ending was extremely impactful and overall I enjoyed it. 

It Starts With Us
by Colleen Hoover - I read It Ends With Us a few years ago and was curious about this follow-up. I don't always love Colleen Hoover books - some are great and some feel very overwrought and just too much. This was one I really liked! I loved getting to revisit characters I really enjoyed in the first book and seeing how things turned out.

I'm Glad My Mom Died
 by Jennette McCurdy [audiobook] - Woof. This book was SO HARD but also SO GOOD. It's my only 5 star review of the month because I couldn't stop listening. It is 100% not a happy book, but it is 100% engrossing. I thought Jennette did an amazing job sharing her story, and I hope writing about her trauma provided some healing for her.

The Valentine's Hate
 by Sidney Halston - I somehow read 2 stories about Valentine's Day this month, and this was the first one. Enemies-to-lovers at a Valentine's Day themed destination wedding. It was cute, it was fun, it was fine.

Beach Read
 by Emily Henry [audiobook] - Man, I still don't know what I think about Emily Henry! I don't think I LOVE her like so many others do, but I thought this was pretty cute. Overall, my conclusion is her books are too long, so I think listening to this as an audiobook helped me stay engaged. It follows the story of 2 neighbors who are both authors {who knew each other in college} as they are both going through some difficult personal times. It was good and fun, with a little bit of oomph, but it's not one that will stick with me.

The Do Over
 by Lynn Painter - This is my 3rd Lynn Painter book, and while it's probably my least favorite, it was still really cute. It's a YA groundhog's day story happening on Valentine's Day - I liked that it touched some on family dynamics and loss to make it a little bit more than just a YA rom com. This author is becoming a 'must read' for me!

by Geraldine Brooks - A co-worker recommended this to me, and I'm so glad she did! This is a historical fiction story that goes from the past to the present and follows the life of the most prolific race horse in American history who lived in the 1850s/1860s. I thought this book packed a lot story in and it was very interesting. I really liked the present day story...and then it took a pretty shocking turn that I wasn't expecting. I liked that the book examined the concepts of slavery and racism - it would have been easy to skip over that, and I'm really glad the author didn't!

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris
/Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York by Paul Gallico - I wanted to read Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris after seeing the movie and didn't realize it was a series! I ended up reading the first 2 books because they were both pretty short, and they were ok. I think the fact that they were short stories the movie was able to more with the characters which was a bit disappointing when reading the books. I don't see myself reading any more.

By the Shores of Silver Lake
 by Laura Ingalls Wilder - Continuing to work our way through this series with Drew. I find them interesting but like seeing how much Drew enjoys them!

Just Haven't Met You Yet
 by Sophie Cousens - This was probably my favorite rom com of the month. Laura grabs the wrong luggage off the plane and thinks she's met her soulmate based on what is in the suitcase that she grabbed. She's also working on a story about her parents' love story...and finding out maybe it isn't what she thought. I really enjoyed this one and felt it was a little deeper than some others I've read lately. I highly recommend.

I found it interesting that my average rating for the month was 3.5. I didn't have any books that I didn't like, but there were a lot I would say were just 'ok' or 'good'. More often than not I have more than one 5 star review and can struggle to pick my favorite. With that said, I'm off to a great start for 2023! :) 


Kathryn Bagley said...

You read some ones I want to check out! We had BC last Friday at my house and watched our book-The Secret Life of Bees. It was fun to get to watch a movie. Chance and I saw A man named Otto last weekend with some friends. I need to re-read because I did not remember a lot of what was in the movie! This month's BC book is In a New York Minute-it's cute so far.

Natasha said...

All I remember about American Royals is that I enjoyed it. Now I need to re-read that one (to reacquaint myself with the characters and story) and then the rest of the series while all that is still fresh in my mind. I'll probably need to do the same with "It Ends With Us."

Emily said...

I started your post and immediately requested "rise of the black quarterback"; let's see if it gets here before the superbowl! I'm still so torn on "I'm Glad My Mom Died"; I'm creeping down the waitlist but I don't know if I'll actually read it when it comes to my turn. Intrigued by the "horse" book; I do like random books about this kind of stuff. Maybe a good read before the Kentucky Derby?