That’s right- the best books of January!
The best of the month is my new book review format. I have tried reviewing five books each month and I tried one book per week.
Then a stressful year happened and I read a lot of junk. It was hard to find a good book to share with you! So, I am refining this monthly review post- starting today! I will review the best books I have read each month. It might be one book. It might be ten. And, just for laughs I will include the worst book I read each month!
Let’s take a look at the best books of January 2021!
In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links to resources. This means that Amazon will pass on small percentages to me with your purchase of items. This will not create extra costs for you at all! It will help me keep this blog running!
A Happy Catastrophe by Maddie Dawson
When I started reading this book it began to sound really familiar. In fact, I wondered if I had already read it.
It turns out to be a sequel to a book that I had read a while back and it also turned out to be really delightful.
The first book was called Matchmaking for Beginners. I will list my review for that book at the end of this post! In that book, Marnie marries Noah and they divorce in two weeks. Prior to the wedding, Marnie meets Noah’s great-aunt Blix. After the divorce Marnie goes to visit her. In the end, Marnie inherits not only Blix’s estate but discovers that she is just like Blix- a matchmaker.
Marnie can detect when two people are well suited for one another – she sees “sparkles”.
Now, I know what you are thinking- really, magic? Yes, but somehow it works. I did have reservations about the first book but I still enjoyed it. The author has a unique writing style, but I found it easy to read and totally (almost) believable.
Same with this sequel! I am still skeptical about Marnie’s magic abilities but I love all the characters in the book. As this book opens, you discover that Marnie is with a young man named Patrick (psssst…he’s in the first book, too) and she wants to have a baby. He does not.
Then one day, out of the blue, a baby lands on their doorstep. It happens to be an eight-year-old that is Patrick’s biological daughter. This intriguing little sprite turns their world upside down but in such a fun way. Marnie is a natural with her. The drama of the daughter, Patrick’s artistic endeavors plus his medical issues, and all the hilarious antics of Marnie and the neighbors made this a page-turner for me!
I give this book 4 stars. I loved it, despite the fact that it is chick-lit which is not my favorite type of book. But still, a little magic in life can’t hurt.
Outlawed by Anna North
“In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw. Like a lot of things, it didn’t happen all at once.”
This is the opening line of this fun little book.
Ada is 17 and has just married. She and her husband live with his parents.
Ada is pressured constantly to conceive and seems to be unable. In the meantime, Ada’s mother is a local midwife and Ada has learned the craft from her. Now, let’s remember it is 1894 before I tell you about part of this story.
Women who were barren, in the community where Ada lived, were thought to be abnormal, to the point of being accused of witchcraft. If another woman lost a child or had a baby born with health or physical problems it would be blamed on the barren woman. Many were hung as a result.
Now, I wondered if this was true or just something added to the storyline by the author. I really could not find anything to support this viewpoint. The author also throws in a steady dose of biblical mentions and beliefs that may or may not reflect the setting. Just so you will know….but let’s get back to Ada.
Ada must leave her community, due to the lack of pregnancy, and she is taken to a convent. She is supposed to live her life there, but is helped by someone I won’t name here. She makes her way to the Hole-in-the-Wall gang. Yes. You read that right.
Don’t be discouraged because this is where the story begins to fly. Ada joins several other characters in the gang’s camp, but none of the lively outlaws you might expect to be there. Ada joins the gang as their doctor and begins her outlaw days. You are going to need to read this one! Just trust me- this book was really mesmerizing.
I give this one 4.5 stars! It was comical, page-turning, dramatic, and had some really sad moments too!
A Knock at Midnight by Brittany K. Barnett
This true story is written by a young lawyer whose life changed when she found the case of Sharonda Jones. Brittany Barnett was a successful accountant and planned a career in corporate law. Sharanda’s story changed everything.
Sharanda was a single mother and small business owner that made a fateful decision to carry drugs for someone to earn extra money. When Brittany first came across Sharanda’s story she noticed the number written across her photo. Brittany’s own mother had been incarcerated and a number was the one memory Brittany could never forget.
Sharanda’s incarceration was born of the war on drugs movement and statutes that began during the Reagan administration. Harsh penalties were handed down for drug offenses- even if the person was like Sharanda, a first-time offender. Sharanda’s sentence was LIFE IN PRISON. As Brittany studied the case she found that “stacking” of sentences was a common occurrence as was the testimony of other persons involved in the crime. Despite Sharanda’s small part in the crime she was sentenced to the most devastating length of time.
Trust me on this book. Read it. Better, listen to it. The version on Audible was superb. I was brought to tears many times listening to the powerful narrator tell the story. 5 stars for this one!
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins
What follows the wedding is a series of wild coincidences that throw Harper and Nick together on a cross-country road trip. I will say the repertoire between them is occasionally comical, but it’s also just so silly. Not believable and not even remotely page-turning or wonderful. Nope. I just really didn’t care how it would turn out- although being chick-lit I think you know exactly how this one turns out. If this is your favorite genre you will likely love this book! Me – 2.5 stars.
Click on any of the images to take a closer look at the book. Tune in next month for my favorites and the worst of the month.
My rating system: 5 stars- perfection, the book was written well, held my attention, and I did not want it to end. 4 stars- the book was really good, but I had questions or concerns about parts of it. This might include the way it ended. 3 stars- the book was okay, but I just didn’t like it much. 2 stars- I skimmed most of it. 1 star- I could not finish it.
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