Books I Read January 2022

by - Tuesday, February 08, 2022

January was a cold and miserable month in DC, which made for a pretty great month of reading. I spent many evenings curled up under blankets with a whole bunch of really good books. 

I leaned heavily into my love of mystery this month, but also read a really powerful nonfiction book about Jewish women resistance fighters during the Holocaust that I highly recommend and a couple other non-mystery novels. 


Five Stars

The Dutch HouseThe Dutch House by Ann Patchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is just something about Ann Patchett's writing that sucks you in from the first word on the page. This is the story of a man who pulls his family out of poverty with a misguided and surprise real estate investment in an old house that his wife hates. That one purchase sets into motion a series of events that tears the family apart, and his children are left to pick up the pieces after their stepmother casts them out of the house and out of any inheritance after their father's death. I found the sibling relationship fascinating and just loved all the family drama in this book.

Lock Every DoorLock Every Door by Riley Sager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My love of Riley Siger's books continues. This book was dark and a little bit creepy (though not keep you up at night scary), and the entire time you're reading, you know something is just not right. A lavish apartment building puts out an ad for a short term renter to occupy a unit until a new owner can be found. The agreement comes with a great paycheck, but there are some weird rules -- like no visitors and tenants must sleep in the apartment every night. When the newest tenant makes friends with the temporary renter in the unit below her, they realize there is something is off. And then one of them goes missing. The whole time I was waiting for the twist, but I did not expect the twist to be what it was. What a great read.

Four Stars

Kiss the Girls and Make Them CryKiss the Girls and Make Them Cry by Mary Higgins Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This felt like a delightful and nostalgic throwback to my middle school/high school reading days when I regularly tore through Mary Higgins Clark books. This book was exactly like what I remembered, a captivating and fast read where I just wanted to figure out whodunit. An investigative journalist gets a cryptic email from CRyan about something terrible she experienced while working at a premier news network. But then CRyan turns up dead in Aruba, and our journalist is set on figuring out what's going on. This book is a timely take on how those in power will go to all costs to protect themselves from whistleblowers.

Rock Paper ScissorsRock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun mystery that jumps back and forth from present day when Adam and Amelia are on a weekend getaway to try to save their marriage to the early beginnings of their relationship. That part of the book is told through anniversary letters Amelia has written Adam but never shared with him. I like the twist at the end, that I probably should have seen coming, but didn't.

The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's GhettosThe Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos by Judy Batalion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book told the story of a group of young Jewish girls and women who were resistance fighters against the Nazis in Poland. It was a piece of World War II history that I had not previously been familiar with, and to read these women's stories -- about how they risked their lives smuggling weapons and trying to pass as non-Jewish to thwart Nazi plans -- was quite awe inspiring. I actually found the last part of the book that covered how these women are remembered (or in many cases not remembered) to be some of the most interesting. The book raised the question about why women's stories, and in this case specifically Jewish women's stories are often forgotten, downplayed or discredited.

Home Before DarkHome Before Dark by Riley Sager
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was spookier than other books I've read by Riley Sager, but I still tore through it, and only once had to stop reading it at night before bed. When Maggie Holt was a child, her family moved into a mysterious house that was cloaked in tragedy. Many of the previous owners had killed their children in the house. Maggie doesn't remember much about the two weeks her family lived there before fleeing in the night, but her father wrote a book about the whole experience claiming the house was haunted and ghosts terrorized Maggie. Maggie's always been convinced the book was a lie, but after his death, she goes back to the house determined to remember what happened. Spooky things started happening again, and I couldn't put this book down while trying to figure out what was going on. This book reminded me a bit of White Smoke in the creepy haunted house element.

An Irish Hostage (Bess Crawford, #12)An Irish Hostage by Charles Todd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I discovered this book on a random trip to the library when I went to pick up covid tests. The title and the cover image caught my eye, and I was curious about a mystery set in historical Ireland. This was a good read that finds English nurse Bess Crawford fresh off her service in World War I. She's invited to Ireland for a close friend's wedding who she served with in the war. But tensions are high in Ireland after the 1916 Easter Rising and the groom, an Irishmen who served for England in the war, goes missing days before the wedding. Bess is determined to find him and get herself safely out of Ireland. I really enjoyed this historical mystery, and found out Bess Crawford is a continuous character from this author, and I'm now kind of intrigued to read some of the other books she stars in. While this book worked fine as a standalone, there were some mentions to things that must have happened in other books that I didn't have context for, so these may best be read in order.

Three Stars

The PlotThe Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was really slow at the start and I kept wondering where the mystery was going to come in. This book got a lot of praise, and the plot line did eventually pick up and become a decently enjoyable mystery, though I found the ending to be super predictable.

Malibu RisingMalibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoy Taylor Jenkins Reid’s book, but this one took me a little while to get into. Once it got going though, I enjoyed the story of the Riva siblings and watching their relationships grow and morph over the years, while they dealt with their father’s fame.

View all my reviews

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