What I Read – January (Reviews and Recommendations)

What I Read January 2019 #bookreview #bookblog #becomingmichelleobama #lianemoriarty #popularbooks

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. 


What I Read January 2019 #bookreview #bookblog #becomingmichelleobama #lianemoriarty #popularbooks

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Maid by Stephanie Land












Maid by Stephanie Land

Synopsis (Amazon):

At 28, Stephanie Land’s plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly. She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn’t feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.
Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients’ lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.

My Review:

This book was eye-opening. Stephanie Land is a woman who ended up in circumstantial poverty, and she found herself unable to get out. Reading her tale of using government money – and being unable to make enough money to make her own ends meet – was riveting. If you have any compassion for those struggling with living under the poverty line, you need to read this. This is a book I will read more than once, and it is a book that will make you more compassionate and more interested in helping people in circumstances that differ from yours. 
Recommendation: BUY THIS BOOK!
An ANonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen











An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen


Synopsis (Amazon): 

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.


My Review: 

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 perfect strangers liane moriarty











Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Synopsis (Amazon):

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.


My Review:

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.



the luxe by anna godbersen












The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Synopsis (Amazon):

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…


My Review:

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)!


mr miracle by debbie macomber










Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Synopsis (Amazon): 

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.


My Review: 

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


Becoming by Michelle Obama











Becoming by Michelle Obama

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.


present over perfect










Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequise

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!



What’s on your reading list for February? Give me your recommendations!

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  1. Rach

    Some great ideas for my next fiction pick. I am wanting to read Becomming as well but for some reason I end up shying away from extremely popular books. This one looks good though!

  2. candy

    I will have to go and look up all but one of these books. They all sound like something I would enjoy reading

  3. Jenny Morrison

    The book Luxe looks interesting. I need to up my reading as I am way behind on my reading goals for the year.

  4. Bailey

    I haven’t read any of your January books but I did enjoy Present Over Perfect! If you like it, you should try Sara Haggerty’s unseen.

  5. Kristin C

    I had not heard of any of your January books. I haven’t read much fiction lately. I am currently reading The Gospel Comes with a House Key, which is excellent, and I am part of a book club that is meeting soon, and we will decide our next book then 🙂

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