I’m so excited to be sharing my January reading recap, and man oh man, what a reading month January was! I started off a little slow, actually thinking I might not even finish one book for the month, and then went on to read a whopping 8 books in total! This might actually be my best reading month ever. So far. There’s always February 😉
While I definitely had some favorites this month, I also had a couple I didn’t love that much. Keep reading to find out the books I’d recommend, and the ones I’d probably skip out on if I had to pick again.
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My January 2022 Completed Reading List
(Written in the order I read the books).
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind I’m a very harsh critic, and it’s usually nothing personal against the story or the author. I often find my ratings are less than the average Goodreads rating, and I think it’s because of this:
If a book doesn’t haunt me or stay with me for days after I finish it, it doesn’t deserve 5 stars.If the story doesn’t make me feel all the feels, it doesn’t deserve 5 stars.If the plot twist is too easy to guess, or way too outlandish, it doesn’t deserve 5 stars.
Please don’t let a low score rating from me steer you away from giving any book a try!
You Feel it Just Below the Ribs by Jeffrey Crano and Janina Matthewson
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.05
Genre: dystopian books for adults
Born at the end of the old world, Miriam grows up during The Great Reckoning, a sprawling, decades-long war that nearly decimates humanity and strips her of friends and family.
Devastated by grief and loneliness, she emotionally exiles herself, avoiding relationships or allegiances, and throws herself into her work – a disengagement that serves her well when the war finally ends and The New Society arises.
To ensure lasting peace, The New Society forbids anything that may cause tribal loyalties, including traditional families. Suddenly, everyone must live as Miriam has cohen – to disconnect and remain unattached.
A researcher by heart, Miriam becomes involved in implementing this detachment process, unknowing that it’s the beginning of a sinister program that will transform the new world and the lives of everyone in it.
Eventually, the harmful effects of her research become too much for Miriam, and she devises a plan to destroy the very thing she’s dedicated her life working for.
Well, friends. This one got a solid ⭐️⭐️ from me, but I’ll be honest: I struggled with how I felt about this book and it DID stay with me after finishing it. So I should probably bump it up (but even if I generously tack on another star or two, I still wouldn’t label this as a 5 star read).
The bones were so good. I love a dystopian novel, and I thought it was extremely cool that this dystopian world actually took place in the past.
The disengagement process that became mandatory in the New World was absolutely heartbreaking, and I found myself glued to the pages wanting to feel all the feels about it. (Five star book in the making!)
But ultimately, it was way too slow. It took over half the book to actually get to the meat and potatoes, and too many pages and chapters were dedicated to leading up to the true storyline. It was also written like a manuscript, complete with footnotes at the bottom – which really could have added to the story, but instead I felt it took away.
I think if it could have flowed a little better, cut out some of the introduction, and spent more time in the true storyline, it could have been a real winner in my book. Pardon the pun. But I will say, all the reviews I’m seeing on social media about it are just raving. So I’m guessing I’m in the minority group for not loving it.
A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
Buy it here.
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.78
Genre: Contemporary fiction
A Little Hope follows the story of a year in the intertwining lives of multiple people and families in a small Connecticut town. There’s Freddie and Greg Tyler, who are coming to grips with Greg’s new devastating diagnosis. Darcy Crowley, who is figuring out how to manage business, family, and life after the loss of her husband. Ginger Lord, the successful veterinarian who is willing to walk away from the life she built for one more chance at true love. And Alex Lionel, Greg’s successful boss who has been hiding a secret of his own for more than twenty years.
A Little Hope shows how in depth the human emotion can be. How sometimes our biggest obstacles are the ones we create ourselves, and how sometimes – you just have to have a little bit of hope.
Looking back on my Goodreads rating I’m really not sure or remembering why I only gave this one ⭐️⭐️. Reminiscing, it feels like a solid three star read to me, so I might have to go back and change that.
I really enjoy books that have multiple narrators, because I love getting to see the same/similar story played out through a new perspective. I did feel this one lacked in some depth in some areas, and I felt like it had the potential to really dig deep into the reader’s emotions and leave you crying for days (hello five stars!). But it didn’t.
I felt like it stayed very surace level. There were heartbreaking occurrences, yes, but I really enjoy it when a book just goes for it and twists that gut-wrenching knife a little tighter. (Please keep in mind, I also felt the same way about Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us and EVERYONE loved that book).
All in all, I can see this book really climbing the charts, and I feel like most people would probably disagree with my review.
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.76
Genre: Contemporary thriller
Jane is a broke dog walker with a past she’s trying to escape who stumbles upon the man of her dreams in Birmingham’s upper class posh neighborhood. Not only is Eddie handsome, but he’s successful, rich, and single.
As Jane and Eddie start to fall for one another, Jane is accepted into his lifestyle and neighborhood with tentative arms. She learns that just a year earlier, Eddie’s wife Bea disappeared while at their lake house for the weekend with her best friend Blanche, both presumed dead.
But when Blanche’s body is discovered, the case is reopened and Eddie starts acting differently. With the police knocking on their door, old questions are starting to surface, and Jane is starting to wonder who is hiding the bigger secret, her or Eddie.
This has been penned as a modern day Jane Eyre, and truth be told, I’ve never read it. So I feel like I can’t adequately compare the two. But this was a solid ⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me.
(I’m beginning to feel like 3 stars is my baseline – if I enjoyed it then it’s three stars. If I finished it in one day, four stars. If it left me thinking about it for a week, five stars. Okay there you have it, I found my official rubric).
I did enjoy this book, but I felt like the story was too long. I feel like all the things that happened could have happened in a shorter timeline. There was a LOT of buildup to get to the ending. BUT – I did enjoy the plot twist, and while I had my suspicions, I didn’t have them from page one. I had to play detective as I went and really keep track of my clues, and even then I didn’t have it figured out 100%. So I thoroughly appreciated that.
There were a few details at the end I still couldn’t quite figure out but nothing that really took away from the story. I would definitely read more books by Rachel Hawkins (and let’s be honest, the aesthetic of her book covers deserves ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️).
One in Three by Tess Stimson
Buy it here.
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.08
They both loved him. But one of them killed him.
Louise is a divorced mom of two kids who can’t stand her husband’s new wife Caz. But it’s probably because Andrew cheated on Louise with Caz, so that dislike is understandable.
Not only is Caz younger than Louise, but she’s got a secret past that could ruin everything if exposed.
When Louise starts to dig into Caz’s past at an attempt to win Andrew back, she’ll discover more than she bargained for. Except that Caz is also coming to some shocking revelations that could shake up everyone’s world.
It all ends with Andrew dead (not a spoiler) while the entire family is together for an anniversary weekend celebration for Louise’s parents. Except there are two wives standing over the body, and only one knife.
I enjoyed this book but similar to The Wife Upstairs I found it to be a little long. It could have made some of the points earlier on in the story, but it was still a pretty quick read that kept me entertained and guessing for the first ⅔ of the book. By the end, I figured it out, which I equally love and hate when that happens. I love it because I’m proud that my sleuthing skills are top notch (ha!) but then disappointed that it didn’t leave me with my jaw on the ground. This one is a solid ⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me.
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Buy it here.
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.72
Leah Stevens just lost her job as a journalist in Boston and has moved to the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania with her old roommate Emmy Grey to become a teacher. She’s hoping this move will be her chance to start over.
But shortly after their arrival, a local woman (who happens to look just like Leah) is brutally attacked and left for dead. Then, Emmy goes missing without a trace. Not even a trace to show she was ever there in the first place, except for a broken necklace that Leah finds.
As the police start coming around to ask questions, Leah begins an investigation of her own. Who was Emmy really? And where did she go?
As she uncovers more clues, she’ll realize that this disappearance is linked to more than she ever could have bargained for.
I spent half the book wondering if I’d read this one before, then the second half realizing I hadn’t. So there’s that. But I finished this one really fast. Megan Miranda has yet to disappoint me. Even if I did guess the plot before it happened, I still really enjoyed the read and I love when a good mystery gets pieced together. Solid ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐ which means I finished it in about a day and a half.
One by One by Ruth Ware
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.73
Erin and Danny work at a luxurious ski chalet in the French Alps and they’re getting ready to host a work retreat for a trendy London based tech startup and app called Snoop. It’s a social media based music app that has blown up in recent years.
The only problem is they quickly find the company to be divided over a potential buyout, and emotions skyrocket.
When the co-founder goes missing during an avalanche on the slopes, everyone panics. But one by one, more members of the company turn up dead.
With the storm only getting worse, and no way to radio for help, they’ll have to stick together. But how can you do that when you’re not sure who to trust?
Oh Ruth Ware, I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy your books! It was written so cleverly, so fast paced, and in a way that it made it difficult to set down because I just wanted to keep going. There were a lot of characters introduced right away, so I did find it slightly confusing remembering who was who, but after a handful of chapters it was fine.
Hands down this is my favorite book of January and the only thing holding it back from getting five stars is the fact that I guessed part of it. I guessed the main premise of the twist, but I didn’t know the reasons why. So I went back and forth. But I finished this one in a solid day. My official rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Have You Seen Me? By Kate White
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.61
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Ally Linden arrives at her office in Manhattan one rainy morning only to discover she hasn’t worked there in five years. She can’t remember where she’s been for the last 48 hours, or why of all places she’d show up there.
As Ally is evaluated and released back home to her husband, she’ll work tirelessly to piece together the events of her missing memory and what caused the amnesia. Was it triggered by a trauma she experienced as a child, or did something happen recently that sent her into a fugue state (if you know you know).
Desperate for answers, Ally will embark on a journey that will uncover one too many secrets. But the closer she gets, the more someone else is determined to keep her silent.
This book has a fairly good rating on Goodreads with so many good reviews. And yes it’s also for sale on my site. So please don’t let my opinions sway you from giving this a try.
I just really didn’t like it. The narrator bugged me. She said “fugue state” about 172 times (I’m estimating), and the plot twist was so unreal it almost didn’t make sense.
BUT. It keeps you guessing, so that’s a bonus. And a good amnesia story is always worthwhile. So I’ll challenge you this: read it, and we can compare notes.
The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.8 stars
Genre: Thriller + books about twins
Identical twin sisters Summer and Iris are mirror twins; exact mirror images of one another. Nearly impossible to tell apart from the outside world, but vastly different beneath the surface.
When Iris is called to help Summer sail their family yacht from Thailand to the Seychelles while Summer’s new husband Adam stays behind to care for his son and her new step-son, Iris obliges.
But when she awakens one morning and Summer is nowhere in sight, Iris does the unthinkable: she pretends to be Summer, and Adam, none the wiser, is so happy to see, who he thinks is his wife, still alive and well. Living in Summer’s shadows her entire life, Iris wants to know how it feels to the beautiful, favorite twin. And she’s quickly swept up in a world of glamor, and secrets.
But there’s more at stake than just assuming a new identity. A one hundred million dollar inheritance is on the line for the first person in Iris’s family to produce an heir. The real clincher? Summer was pregnant when she disappeared.
Will Iris be able to pull off her new identity? Will she inherit the grand prize? And will they ever find out what really happened to Summer?
If you’re looking for books about twins, then look no further. The Girl in the Mirror is the perfect psychological thriller about mistaken (or purposely taken?) identity. The first few chapters were really hard for me to stay interested in, but I am telling you what: I am so glad I stayed with it. Once the storyline picked up I finished this book in about a day.
This gets a solid ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 rating from me. Especially that ending! If you can make it through to the last chapter, it’s all worth it. (But trust me, it really picks up once the twins are out to sea!)