Books I Read January 2020

by - Monday, February 03, 2020

January was a pretty prolific reading month for me: 15 books in total. I had some travel and some vacation which left me with lots of free time to read some good books.


I read a couple of series this month and binge-read a ton of Elin Hilderbrand books. She's typically one of my favorite authors to read in the summer, but I was looking for lighter beach reads for my trip to Jamaica. Then when I got home and it was really cold, I just wanted to read books set in nice warm places.

Here are the series I read:

The Winter series by Elin Hilderbrand
(Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms, Winter Solstice)

Five stars. I fell in love with the Quinn family over the course of the four books in this series. These are by far some of Elin Hilderbrand's best books. You find yourself cheering for the family as they go through a series of bad stuff -- crimes, war deployments, infidelity and more -- and yet somehow manage to still pull together. Margaret and Kelley, the matriarch and patriarch of the family were some of my favorite characters.

The Playbook series by Alexa Martin
(Intercepted, Fumbled, Blitzed)

Four stars. As the names of the books might suggest, these are books featuring the lives of women who are dating, married to or just in the general orbit of the players on a fictional NFL franchise in Denver. Alexa Martin is an NFL wife herself and she put her characters in the midst of love-triangles, catty exchanges between the others wives, CTE challenges and moves across the country as players are traded. I thought the third book wrapped up the series nicely, but I just found out from my friend there's going to be a fourth book, which I'm super excited about!

Five stars

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
This is a beautifully written and griping book that mixes historical fiction with Malayan and Chinese folklore. When Ren's master dies and leaves him with the task of finding his missing finger so he can be buried "whole," Ren sets off on a mission steeped in loyalty to his former master. At the same time, Ji Lin a teenage girl working two jobs to help her mother pay off her debts finds herself in possession of the missing finger. As the story twists and turns, people in the small community keep chalking up mysterious incidents to a weretiger or "night tiger, and Ren believes it's the ghost of his former master searching for his missing finger. As the two characters' paths overlap, nothing is quite as it seems, and they must make sense of it all before danger befalls them.

Four stars

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
This book is getting a ton of buzz right now, and after reading it, it was easy to see why. At it's heart, the book is a story about racism, but not blatant, in-your-face racism. Things start to spiral right at the beginning of the book, when a white woman asks a security guard to intervene at a grocery store because she sees a black woman with a little white girl. The black woman is the girl's babysitter. The fall out from many different sides of this incident is what makes this book interesting. It's a fast read; it doesn't beat you over the head with preachiness, which is what makes it so effective. You finish the book and you're like wow...really, that whole thing was very messed up. Also, two of the main characters grew up in Allentown, so of course I loved this book.

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand
This was the first audio book I've ever listened to. Does listening count as reading? Because this story was overall light hearted, I thought it made for a great audio book. The story follows Birdie and her two daughters on their girl's retreat to Nantucket. One girl has just called off her wedding, the other is more free spirited and Birdie herself is seeking love again after divorcing her husband. I loved the mother daughter bond in this book.

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
This month I checked out basically all of Elin Hilderbrand's books out of the library. This was the first one of the bunch I picked up, and I really enjoyed it. It follows two former friends who rekindle their friendship after one's husband is arrested for running a massive Ponzi scheme. They escape to Nantucket seeking refuge and slowly start to rebuild their friendship.

What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
I love Elin Hilderbrand books, and I'm really into her series set on St. John in the USVI. The only downside is, the books are all a trilogy and the third one isn't coming out until next October. This one didn't end in as much of a cliff hanger as the first one, but man there is some weird stuff going down, and I wish I didn't have to wait 10 more months to find out how this story concludes.

Resilient Management by Lara Hogan
This was obviously a book I read for work. Lara Hogan's management resources had been recommended to me when I started my new job. After poking around her blog and website, I decided to buy myself her book. I thought it was relatable and helpful and made me feel more secure in moving into my new job.

Three Stars

Here's to Us by Elin Hilderbrand
There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book, and I struggled to do that in the beginning. But once I figured out who everyone was, I thought this book really picked up. By the end I was super invested in the characters and wanted them to find the comfort they were all seeking.

Two Stars

A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand
I usually love Elin Hilderbrand's books, but this one just felt like a long slog to me. I kept getting annoyed at the main character every time she did something that was reckless and dumb. It made it hard for me to like her, which made it hard to get through the book.

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
I think I struggled with this book because of how all over the place it was. This was my book club book for the month, and we had a pretty interesting discussion about it. Ultimately, I felt the book was too shallow in spots. I thought it would have been far better as a nonfiction memoir as opposed to this fictional story that in parts very closely mirrors the author's life.

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