January has been an interesting hodge-podge of books. I had two I could not finish and barely even read. But I do have a few I loved!
I loved two of these, liked a few, and disliked 3 of them! Do you finish books you are not enjoying? I usually finish if I am past 3/4 of the book. But it is sometimes a slog to do that!
“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!“
Maame by Jessica George
Maddie is a 20-something Black woman living in London and taking care of her father. He has Parkinson’s, although I think his symptoms sound more like dementia.
Maddie’s mom alternates between a year in Ghana and then a year in London for reasons I won’t divulge.
And then her mom returns, seemingly for good.
Maddie moves into a flat with roommates to escape her mom’s perpetual nagging and asking for money. All is going well until her roommates take her out drinking and due to her hangover the next day she cannot get out of bed. Then her mother calls with bad news.
This was a cleverly written book that kept me engaged. The mom was maddening and perhaps karma will catch up with her eventually. Maddie is a likable character and I was pulling for her to overcome her mother’s oppression and care for herself.
The only thing I disliked about the book was the inclusion of many passages that included Maddie’s Google search results and advice she was given to queries. Overall, I gave this one 4 stars.
None of This is True by Lisa Jewell
On her 45th birthday, Alix Summer meets Josie Fair in a pub. They are both celebrating their 45th birthdays- they are birthday twins.
A few days after this chance meeting Josie manages to place herself in a spot where she will see Alix again. They begin a conversation and Alix talks about her current job.
She has a podcast and it doesn’t take much for Joise to convince Alix she wants to create a series on how she is changing her life.
Oh, my, Alix should have run off right then.
A bizarre turn reveals that Josie met her husband when she was 13 and began a relationship with him at age 15-16 and they married when she was still in her teens. Why is this a problem? At the time Walter was 43!
Josie also had 2 very odd daughters, and quite a story is told during the podcast recordings. And suddenly Josie needs a place to stay and shows up on Alix’s doorstep.
The ending is ambiguous, but you should always remember the title of this book. What is the truth?
This book was surprisingly good and quite fast-paced. I gave it 4 stars!
The Paris Affair by Melanie Hudson
Sebastian tells his life story to a chaplain while imprisoned. He expects his execution imminently.
His story begins on the Channel Islands where Sebastion is a doctor for the sparse population. As World War II looms he does not wish to participate due to something that happened when he was young.
However, Sebastian is German.
When German troops are preparing to occupy the island, the island’s caretaker helps Sebastian escape to London. There he begins to pose as his twin brother Sascha and he becomes part of the underground resistance.
A chance encounter with Sophie in Paris changes everything. Sebastian first met Sophie on the island and fell in love with her. They were separated due to the war and then she shows up in Paris. They begin their love story then.
All is well until the Germans advance on Paris and begin a takeover. Sebastian and Sophie are torn apart and go in different directions.
The book alternates between the backstory and the meetings with the chaplain in prison.
I LOVED this book. It was mesmerizing and the last 50 pages were extraordinary. The twists at the end were magnificent. 5 stars for this one!
The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian
It is 1922 when Ada Morgan returns to Mississippi. She ran away at age 15 or 16 and lived with a boyfriend. He has left her and she returns home.
Ada returns to her swamp home, a house built on stilts, and cleans up the house her father seems to have abandoned. Her mother has been dead for many years.
When her father returns to the house she drifts right back into the abusive situation and does whatever he says.
At the same time, Matilda, a black girl and the daughter of a sharecropper tells her story. She lives in a shack with her dad and mother who is trying to give birth to a baby after many miscarriages. Her dad has become part of the illegal liquor trade with local men.
After some heart-breaking events, Mattie meets Ada. And that is as much as I can reveal. I can just say this one is worth getting into. I loved it! The ending and culmination of the events were heart-breaking, yet perfect. 5 stars!
Most Disappointing Books of the Month
For different reasons, I did not love these:
- Bright Young Women – I was just too confused by this one. There were just too many people and the story was all over the place. I only finished this one because I was l listening to it and hate to waste Audible credits. 2 stars.
- The Boys Club– This one was infuriating. The main character, a female, does whatever it takes to belong to the elite men’s division of her law firm. It was just maddening. 2 stars.
- Lights Out – This was a mystery crime thriller without the thrill. The story was silly and the missing parts of the plot were distracting. I also did not like any of the characters. 2 stars.
I hope you try a few of these! I know you will love the ones I did! (And, you might like the ones I did not care for!)