What I Read – January (Reviews and Recommendations)
What I Read in January consists of 5 (FIVE!) books. That’s a huge accomplishment – I don’t think I’ve read more than 2 a month since Camden was born. I read one fantastic must-read, one book that was good, 2 okay books, and one book that was not worth the time it took to read.
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Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.
Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?
But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.
Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?
As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?
From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.
I thought this read was okay. I got more into it than I did reading their first book, The Wife Between Us. I was interested in what was happening to Jess – but it was all a little bit predictable. Similarly, I was interested in how things would turn out – but disappointed in how the authors chose to end it. Overall, this would be a great beach read, but not especially memorable.
Recommendation: Borrow From Your Library
Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.
Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?
It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.
I wanted to like this book so much. I loved her book Big Little Lies, so I came at this one with high hopes. It was, truthfully, quite a letdown. The story drug on and on, and it jumped so much between the (sterotypical) characters that it felt hard to get invested in any of them. And when everything went belly up, the solutions in the story did not seem to do much to advance the plot. It was a light read, and not very memorable. I think it was okay, and maybe worth a read if you got nothing else.
Recommendation: Read if you’ve got nothing else to pick up.
In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.
Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions. White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hook-ups. This is Manhattan, 1899.
Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan’s social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City’s elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone—from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker to the spiteful maid Lina Broud—threatens Elizabeth’s and Diana’s golden future.
With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city’s gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan’s most celebrated daughter disappear…
I actually liked this YA book quite a bit. It’s like Gossip Girl, but set in 1899. The story seems fairly realistic, in a drama-of-the-rich people fictional world. The drama was set up well, and each chapter made me want to figure out how they were going to backstab or pick each other up. And similar to an episode of Gossip Girl, this book made me want to read the next book in the series, Rumors.
Recommendation: Worth a Read (It’s only $3.99 on Kindle)!
Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store.
After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’tplan to do is run into Erich Simmons.
Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to tease her. Now she intends to avoid him entirely, yet when they’re suddenly forced to spend Christmas together, Addie braces for trouble.
Perhaps it’s the spirit of the season or the magic of mistletoe, but Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought—and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. With a little prompting from a certain angelic teacher, the two are in for a holiday miracle they’ll never forget.
This book was cheesy, unrealistic and ridiculous. I probably could have just written it off as cheesy romance, if it weren’t for one thing. The way the author represented minorities and other ‘stereotypes’ was just awful. The perfect white girl befriended the sad veteran and the pathetic, uneducated jail bird. Just awful. Skip it. Please. If you’re into cheesy romance, find an author who can at least represent characters with dignity.
Recommendation: Skip it. For sure.
Books I Want to Read in February
I had this on my ‘to-read’ list in January, but didn’t get around to buying it until the end of the month. It’s the first book I’m reading this month.
I bought this book on Black Friday for $1.99, and I’ve had numerous people recommend this one. I’d like to read it; and it’s on Kindle, so I can read while I’m feeding Camden!