Recent Reads – Books I Read in January

January was a great reading month for me! I made a point to try to branch out into a few different genres that I don’t normally read to spice things up. 2 YA fantasy books in one month? Unheard of! 2021 is the year that I am dedicated to reading more diverse genres. Now without further ado, let’s get into the 10 books (and what I rated them out of 5) that I read in the month of January!

Just few of the goodies I read this month.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

This is the first book I read in January. We selected this book for my book club and it was very lackluster for me. The general consensus from everyone in book club was that it was forgettable and a little bit dated. There were a few funny moments like when Mindy talks about giving her friend’s new boyfriend 5 tries before she writes him off, but there weren’t enough of those moments for such a long memoir. While this book was published in 2011, there were some outdated and offensive jokes that I don’t think would’ve made the final cut if it had been published today.

My Rating: ☆☆


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This book has been on so many “Best of 2020” lists that I had to pick it up. While I don’t typically read horror, I think that this book did a good job of introducing me to the genre without being too complicated. There are incredible gothic elements as well as some disgusting body horror. I initially rated this book lower, but I can’t stop thinking about it. All I can say is: the mushrooms! Our heroine Noemí is a badass and I loved that she was both feminine and strong, they weren’t mutually exclusive. It doesn’t hurt that this edition also has a stunning cover.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆


The Bride Test by Helen Hoang 

Having already read The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, I had a bit of an idea as to what to expect from The Bride Test. This book was the perfect balance between sweet and steamy. I also felt like the 3rd act conflict made sense and didn’t feel forced. I had a good time reading this and I look forward to Helen Hoang’s upcoming release.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆


A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

The next book I read in January was this YA fantasy about a boy who sells his soul to an evil spirit in order to settle a debt. I will admit that I am not typically a fantasy reader and this story was no exception. I think that the world building was done well and the characters were fine, but I didn’t find myself wanting to read the next book in the series. I also felt like there was a romance that was shoe-horned in and not necessary for the plot. Overall I think the plot was well thought out but there were some pacing issues that took me out of the story.

My Rating: ☆☆☆


Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

This was a sweet YA romance/coming of age story. It was a quick read about a girl who is trying to raise money so that her marching band can compete in their local marching competition. Our lead falls in love with the new boy in town and miscommunication ensues for our 3rd act conflict. I think that overall it was feel good and a nice palette cleanser, however I don’t think I will remember this novel by next month.

My Rating: ☆☆☆


Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

This thriller was such a nice change of pace for me. I used to love reading thrillers back when I was a kid and this story really reminded me how much fun that they can be. This story has a kind of gothic feel with a few twists that I didn’t see coming. While I kind of knew who our main character should not have trusted, it was still fun to see everything unravel. The ending was nice and satisfying and I can see myself reading more from Riley Sager in the future.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆


The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

I love an enemies to lovers trope! I had read In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren in December and it was nice, fluffy, and an easy read and The Unhoneymooners did the same thing for me. It was pretty goofy and cheesy and I believed that the couple could be in love. While I liked the main story and the characters made sense together, I had to knock this story down to 3 stars because the epilogue was so unnecessary. It switched to the male lead’s point of view for the first time in the whole story and I found it very distracting.

My Rating: ☆☆☆


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Ok I know that Sarah J. Maas is controversial, and I can understand why. However, I did have a good time reading A Court of Thorns and Roses. This Beauty and the Beast retelling has our main character, Feyre, taken to the world of faeries as punishment for killing one. This book was unexpectedly steamy and had much more romance than I anticipated. I think it helped that I went in knowing nothing about this book. After looking into how the rest of the series goes, I will not be continuing on to the next book. But this was a fun and weird story and I’m glad I checked it out.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆


The Dating Plan by Sara Desai

Oh I hated this book! Where to even begin? Our lead, Daisy, tells us that she is “not like other girls” because she is smart (?) and likes the Avengers. The fake dating plot was fine and I could get behind the reasoning as to why both of our leads needed a fake fiancé, but their love story? Awful! The writing was lazy and poorly edited (hockey games don’t have half time?). Our main characters tell almost every side character that their relationship is fake and proceed to summarize the entire book multiple times. There are also mentions of childhood abuse that serve only to make our male character seem more like a bad boy. This is the first book I have rated 1 star and it is very deserving.

My Rating: ☆


The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Wow after the Dating Plan this was such a breath of fresh air. Brit Bennett’s writing is beautiful and effortless as she weaves together a multi-generational story about identity, race, and colorism. It was heartbreaking to read about these twin sisters living separate lives, and the damage it causes for the rest of their family. While both women are white-passing, one lives her life as a Black woman, and the other decides to live life as a white woman. Seeing their children unravel the mystery of their mothers’ lives was a beautiful study in family and privilege. This certainly lived up to all of the hype.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆


February is coming in hot with wildly different genres (so far) than January. I’m hoping I can find a few more books that are 5 star reads. While I’m always happy with a 3 star book, I do find that they are forgettable. If you have any recommendations or favorites, please feel free to let me know!