Who is ready for some fresh reads for their book stacks? I’ve been a reading machine this month and I’m so excited to share some fresh picks with you that I’d love to recommend for your reading this month. In fact, I have eight great books that I tackled and several 5-star reads that I am hoping will be winners with you too.
Did I mention how much I love sharing books with you guys?
I haven’t done this before, but I thought it would be fun to see an actual visual of how many pages that I read this month. Sometimes I’m frustrated that I’m not reading faster than I am, but seeing this stack reminds me that sometimes it isn’t the volume of books I’m sharing, but the volume of pages that I’ve flipped for this monthly feature.
Check out that leaning tower of books, people!
My Usual Reminders
If you want to see more of what I am reading, please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there!
In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.
Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club! I can’t believe we have over 1,500 bookworms in this group. Our discussion this month was AMAZING and it is so much fun to have so many participating (and enjoying) the books that I selected to share. I announced our selections (here is what we will be reading in February) and you can find them pinned at the top of the group page. These will be added in a blog entry for January, but book club participants get the list a little earlier. It’s just one more perk to enjoy with this free club!
Need another challenge to push you out of your reading comfort zone? Be sure to download this year’s Reading Challenge Worksheet.
Before we chat about books, this month’s Book of the Month selections are AWESOME this month and I have to share about them with you!
This month’s special: Use code YESPLZ to get your first month free! (new members only!)
The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan
Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Here are 8 must-read books I tackled in February:
Looking for a thriller with a plot that you probably have never considered? Self-Portrait With Boy is one of the most inventive plot concepts that I’ve read in a long time and absolutely captivated me. This novel is about a struggling photographer who lives in an artist loft where she has been working on a personal photography project taking a daily self-portrait.
A little boy, in the apartment above her’s, tragically falls to his death and Lu happens to be taking an image of herself when the tragedy occurs. Upon development, she sees that it is one of the most beautiful images she has ever taken and has to grapple with the decision to let this work be seen.
As the tenants grow closer together following the tragedy, she finds herself entangled in a friendship with the mother and must decide if she is going to share the image of her son with the world.
Adding to the deep moral dilemma, she is barely making ends meet and her father has to undergo a pricey surgery. It isn’t just about the fame, it’s about survival. This image could help her become known in her field, but at what cost?
I listened to this one on audiobook in a single day, and had to know what was going to happen with this photo. I don’t want to say more- it’s really awesome. This book would lend itself well to a book club discussion.
5 Out Of 5 Stars
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaram
I also have to lead with this month’s MomAdvice Book Club pick because it was so darn good. What I heard frequently from our book club members was that this was a book that they would have not picked up on their own and that it ended up being a favorite this month. The best part, for me, was also hearing that it changed people’s viewpoints and made them more empathetic to refugees and immigrants that have come to America.
This story is about two women- one who is in her teens and coming to the states illegally and the other who is living the American dream version of the immigrant story in Berkley. When Soli, our teen narrator, becomes pregnant on her perilous journey to the states, she decides to keep her son and do her best to juggle her job as a housekeeper and care for her child.
The other woman is struggling with infertility and would do anything to have a child.
When Soli’s little boy enters her life, she must do everything she can to keep him in it.
Our “lucky” boy is loved fiercely by two women and both will stop at nothing to keep him in their lives.
I honestly couldn’t turn the pages fast enough on this one. It made for a FANTASTIC and timely book club discussion from fertility to the immigrant struggle to the unstoppable love of motherhood. I can’t recommend this read enough!
5 Out Of 5 Stars
Serial fans will LOVE this fantastic debut novel that explores a fictional murder and a podcast that decides to reopen a thirteen-year-old murder case. If you are looking for a fun book to enjoy on audiobook, I HIGHLY recommend it since it reads as part novel and part podcast.
Josie has started a new life in New York and hasn’t even shared her real past with her partner. It is only when her mother dies that she has to confront her demons and one person is determined to leave no stone unturned. An investigative reporter has decided Josie’s father’s murder is worth exploring in her podcast and her family’s old secrets are exposed, forcing Josie to deal with her past and her estranged twin sister.
I really enjoyed this one and thought the pacing was so great. It also gives you food for thought on our own obsessions with true crime and what that might be like for a family who has become the topic of exploration.
True crime, a podcast, and a twisty thriller are all rolled into one satisfying read.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
Looking for a book that is unlike any other you’ve read? Spoonbenders was a highly imaginative exploration of a family that all have special powers that have been celebrated publicly.
Known as the Amazing Telemachus Family, each family member has a special skill from moving objects with their mind, the ability to predict the future, a human lie detector…and a con man who has the sleight of hand ability being used by the CIA.
Decades later this family is not so amazing. In fact, if you are an Arrested Development fan, you just might recognize some of the quirks of these family members. When one family member owes a large sum of money to the mob, this magical family must come together to save their family member and they discover more about each other in the process.
I love magical realism and really enjoyed this read. It had a bit of a lag towards the end and might have benefited from a bit of trimming, but overall it was one that I looked forward to reading. Several laugh-out-loud moments happen in this one that made it a welcome escape.
If magical realism or dysfunctional family stories are your thing, this might be a winner in your book stack too.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
Looking for a twisty thriller for your book stack? I have a feeling that you will really enjoy, The Wife Between Us. This is the type of book that keeps you on your toes as the plot takes you down many different rabbit trails only to realize it isn’t what you had thought all along.
Nellie thought she had the perfect marriage with Richard until she didn’t. Down on her luck and struggling financially to keep up, she discovers that Richard is engaged to be married again, really shortly after the end of her own marriage. Nellie becomes obsessed with this woman and talking with her and the reader is left guessing from start to finish just why it is so important that Nellie connect with his new wife.
Everything is not as it is seems, as all good thrillers should be, and this one had surprise after surprise. This dynamic writing duo really pulled together a fantastic 24-hour escape that you won’t be able to put down.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
An American Marriage was selected as Oprah’s Book Club Pick and has been THE buzz book this month. I snagged it through Book of the Month, but I ended up listening to this one instead.
This book tells the story of a man who is wrongfully incarcerated and how this couple does their best to continue to keep their marriage alive. A love triangle ensues, between the husband, wife and her childhood friend. It all comes to a shattering halt when Roy, the husband, gets out early from his twelve year sentence and their marriage is completely in question.
You do sympathize with the characters and wonder what you would do if put in this place. Roy feels like he has to pay for something he didn’t do and then pay for it again. Celestial, the wife, also grows up and evolves into a different person. It’s a difficult circumstance that would be a great one to discuss in your book club.
I will say, I was looking for a bit more depth on this one, particularly with the wrongful arrest and I can’t say that I actually had a deep connection with any of the characters.
I would say if you plan to read this one, the narration was beautifully done through the audiobook and it helped me to connect more with the letters that are written back and forth from the prison.
As with all buzz books, I’m not sure I embraced the hype, but I certainly enjoyed the story.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
Fans of Hitchcock are sure to love this amazing thriller that had me on a whodunit guessing spree up until the final pages. The main character is an alcoholic pill-popper who used to be a psychologist and now is estranged from her family. Since she is unable to leave her home, she makes a habit of spying on her neighbors and happens to witness the good ol’ neighbor lady being stabbed.
When the cops show up, after her frantic 9-1-1 call, they say that she is alive. To prove it, she walks in to show herself…and she is not herself at all. In fact, she is an entirely different woman. Now this unreliable narrator must figure out where the real Mrs. Russell is.
I don’t want to say too much about this one because half the fun is all the twists that the author has woven in.
Despite the long length, I was able to polish this one off in a couple of days and found it to be a satisfying and surprising ending.
If you prefer your thrillers with a great mystery woven in, you are sure to love this one! Finn also weaves in a lot of old movies that just might have you planning a movie night at home.
5 Out Of 5 Stars
I really loved The Nightingale and had really been hoping Kristin Hannah would tackle another historical fiction book, but this contemporary coming-of-age story ended up being sweetly satisfying for a winter escape.
This story is set in the seventies and is about a former POW father who comes home from the Vietnam War completely changed. His behavior and decision-making is wildly erratic and when a property becomes available in rural Alaska, he decides that they should seize the opportunity to live off the grid and make a different life for themselves.
Braving harrowing and life-threatening conditions is what is all about and thirteen-year-old Leni is caught in the middle of it all as they attempt to carve a new life in the wild frontier.
Living off the grid is not all it is cracked up to be and neither is surviving the difficult Alaska winters.
I really loved this read until the ending which took on a Lifetime movie quality. I tried to not let that overshadow my enjoyment of the rest of the story because braving the wilderness is tough and Hannah writes so eloquently about this impossible marriage and the honest struggle of a Vietnam veteran.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo
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