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I read a lot of books the last two months, so my January and February 2021 book review is packed full of recommendations. At first I thought it was due to the dark, gloomy PNW weather. Nothing better than curling up by the fire with a good book when it is raining outside! After really thinking about it though, I came to the conclusion that I read all those books as an escape. Most days in our little corner of the world right now feel a lot like the movie Groundhog Day. Some nights it was almost a relief to lose myself for a few hours in a book.
Most of my reading is done after everyone else in the house has gone to bed. There were a lot of nights when I stayed up reading way later than I should just because I loved the silent house so much! I’m guessing a lot of you moms with kids can relate. My kids still have not gone back to in person school yet, my husband is still home from work, AND we also have a new puppy. So those late night hours are pretty much the only quiet I get all day.
In no particular order, here is my January and February 2021 book review from my marathon reading sessions!
All The Ugly and Wonderful Things, by Bryn Greenwood
Wow. This one left me with a lot of mixed feelings. There was a point midway through the book, where I was texting my girlfriends about it, because I wasn’t sure that I could finish. I ended up completing it the last week of February and I am still thinking about it. So let’s just say it is NOT a relaxing beach read.
The novel has a solid 4 star rating on Goodreads, but readers have some very strong feelings in the reviews. People either loved it or they hated it. Without giving too much away, it is about the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy, who doesn’t trust anyone, even her own parents. Then she meets Kellen, who works for her father. When they first meet Wavy is a little girl and Kellen is 13 years older. At first, their relationship is innocent. Kellen is more like a protective older brother to Wavy. As the years go by and Wavy becomes a young teenager, their relationship develops into something more.
The age difference between them raises so many questions and feelings. Initially I felt like Kellen wasn’t taking advantage of Wavy, and had her best interests at heart. But as the book went on, there were parts where I wanted to stop reading because of their relationship. On the flip side, the beauty in the story could be that these two completely broken people are able to find love amidst all of the ugly things that happen in their lives. They had no one else to trust or love until they found each other.
I would recommend this book with caution. It is not for everyone, but it definitely made me think a lot about these two characters and their story.
Majesty (American Royals #2), by Katharine McGee
This one is a YA novel and I have to admit that I enjoyed it. I’d like to say that I was previewing it for my teen, but I was actually reading it for myself! And for the record, I do not preview the books my teenager reads. 😉 I read the first book in the series, American Royals, in December, and liked it enough to read the second. A love story about America’s royal family? Count me in!
28 Summers, by Erin Hilderbrand
Last year I read Summer of ’69 by Erin Hilderbrand, so decided to give another of her books a try. I was not disappointed! Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year, 28 Summers follows the story of Jake and Mallory, who meet as young adults, and then have a secret, one-weekend-a year affair on Nantucket. The affair lasts for almost three decades through marriage, other relationships, work, children, and everything else life throws their way. I found myself rooting for Jake and Mallory, despite the circumstances surrounding their relationship.
Where the Lost Wander, by Amy Harmon
I have always been intrigued by historical fiction books about life on the Oregon Trail. Probably due to growing up in Wyoming and being surrounded by so much of the trail’s history. As a child I visited several of the sites listed in this book, and my family also had a cabin with sweeping views of the Wind River Range (which is one of the settings in the book). I found myself a little nostalgic for my home state as I read this!
Widowed at 20, Naomi sets out with her family for a new life in the West. On the trail she forms a connection with John Lowry who is half-Pawnee, and struggling to fit into two different worlds. Their pasts and their struggles throughout the journey continue to keep them apart. Naomi and John are separated when a huge tragedy strikes their wagon train, and have to make huge sacrifices to find each other.
Tears were rolling at so many different points in this book! Especially for Naomi and her family, but also for many of the other characters in the book. They all faced so many hardships, but were determined to continue on with their journey and their hopes for the future.
No Time Like The Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, By Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox is one of my favorite childhood actors. I spent countless hours watching Family Ties and later Back to the Future. This latest book of his had really good reviews, so I really wanted to give it more praise for my January and February 2021 book review, but I didn’t love it. Parts of the book were disjointed to me, and I felt like I had to force myself to finish. Memoirs aren’t always my favorite to read, so maybe that is part of it too…
However I am glad that I read it. Michael J. Fox has gone through so much in his lifetime. His positivity and outlook on life are incredibly inspiring. And some of his stories about his family and his travels were fun to read.
The Simple Wild (#1), Wild at Heart (# 2),and Forever Wild (#3), by K.A. Tucker
I absolutely loved this trilogy! These were definitely my favorite books to get lost in this winter. Not only did I adore the love story between Calla and Jonah, but I also enjoyed all of the other characters in this book. Well, except for maybe Marie, who also happens to have a thing for Jonah… 😉
The characters felt real and relatable, and I loved the relationship that Calla developed with her dad, even after being apart from him for so long.
Now can the author please keep writing more books in this series??
The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris
So this one was a New York Times bestseller, but I have to admit that it fell short for me. The novel is actually based on the true story of Lale and Gita, who meet in Auschwitz, where Lale is put to work marking his fellow prisoners. Imprisoned for more than two years, their story is horrific and heartbreaking. The hope and courage that sustained Lale during his time in Auschwitz is remarkable. For the record, the story itself was compelling, but the author’s writing style was flat and choppy. Given the subject matter, I felt that the book lacked depth and emotion.
One in a Million, by Lindsey Kelk
One in a Million was just middle of the road for me. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. It is about a woman who accepts a challenge to make a random stranger Instagram famous in just thirty days. Except she ends up choosing a guy who hates social media and is just about the last person you could imagine becoming famous on Instagram. I did like that this book basically required no effort on my part. It was quick and would make a good beach read!
Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown, by Anne Glenconner
Once again, I am hooked by anything relating to a royal family. Anne Glenconner’s life was fascinating! She was a close member of the royal circle from childhood, a maid of honor at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, and a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. She witnessed major moments in royal history, traveled the world, and helped her eccentric husband, Colin Tennant, develop the Caribbean island of Mustique, where they ran with the rich and famous. Despite numerous tragedies, Anne continued to live her life to the fullest. This is one of my favorite memoirs that I have read recently.
There you have it! My January and February 2021 book review. If you are looking for more book ideas, check out my book list from 2019. I ended up reading most of them, but a few shifted onto my list for 2021.
Would love to hear what you are reading right now!
Samantha Laycock says
Thank you for your feedback. Some of these books I have never heard of before but some have now been added to my list.
Glad you found some books to add to your reading list! My list is so long! So many books and not enough time!
I would like to try One in a Million. I like easy read books, perfect for a busy mom like me.
I totally feel like that too sometimes Charina! As a mom, it is hard to find time to read. I try to read at night when my kids have gone to bed (although two of them like to keep coming downstairs to “chat” and snuggle with me).
Can you guess which one of your books I would love to read?
I will loan it to you next time we see you! I figured you’d want to read it! 🙂
Sonia Seivwright says
These books are a very interesting to read.
Thank you Sonia! Hope you found some you may want to add to your reading list!
Might have to add a few of these books to my reading list
My reading list is getting to be so long! Hopefully I can keep up my reading pace this year.
Thank you so much!! I plan on adding some of these to my book list.
Happy that you found some books you may find interesting!
This is a great reading list. So far, I have only read Majesty and I also loved it. Will check the other books you mentioned.
Majesty and American Royals reminded me a little bit of another YA series that my daughter read a while back called The Selection. Might be another option for you Clarice!
Monica Simpson says
I need book suggestions since I’m almost done reading this series I’ve been on since October. It’s nice to see such a variety on your list too.
I love that book series make it so easy to chose your next book! 😉 Once I am finished with them though, sometimes I am at a loss for what to read next. I’ve been trying to read a variety of books each month instead of just sticking to my usual genres.
both the first and last books on your list are on my TBR! And I am curious about Michael J Fox’s book as well… great reading months for you
I had mixed feelings about 28 Summers though I loved her writing style and will be sure to check out more books from her
You should definitely give those a read! I understand about 28 Summers. I like her writing style too, and have a few of her other books on my list to read as well.
I’m definitely putting some of these on my lists. One day life will slow down so I can read again!
Danielle, there were several years when my kids were younger, that I maybe read only 1-2 books per year. Definitely will get easier as they get older! 😉
I just ordered The Tattoo Artist! This part or our history fascinates me so sad and incredible to hear the stories of survivors.