The best thing that came out of the winter storm of 2016 (Snowzilla, Snowmageddon 2016, or Winter Storm Jonas) was that I found a lot of time to read. I’ve also decided that in 2016 I’m going to try to give in and concede that if a book isn’t hooking me I’m not going to finish it. I’m tired of feeling like I have to finish a book just because I started it. I don’t. It’s ok to quit. Some books really aren’t worth reading.
That being said…here’s a recap of the books I read in January, 2016.
Amelia Earhart: Beyond the Grave by W.C. Jameson
I reviewed this book earlier this month as part of a promo tour. See my review here.
No Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn
Since I’ve joined the publisher’s publicity book tour for this one I don’t have a lot to say about it at the moment. I’ll share a full review in about a week or so. Right now all I’ll say is that this isn’t the kind of book I’d normally read but I was pleasantly surprised. See it here.
One More Day by Kelly Simmons
Since I am also participating in the publisher’s book publicity tour for this novel other than to say it’s not quite what I was expecting… The full review, as part of the tour, will be live in February. See it here.
The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin
I probably should have known better than to pick up this book and give it a chance. I read Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin a few years ago and I had an insufferable time with it. The implications that Lewis Carroll was a pedophile and that there was an inappropriate relationship with the young girl that inspired Alice in Wonderland was difficult to stomach and I wasn’t sure how I would respond to the frivolous attitudes of the characters in The Swans of Fifth Avenue. Now, I’ll admit, I didn’t love it. I read about 20% of it then I put it away. I found the characters very annoying.
None of that is meant to be critical toward Ms. Benjamin. I can tell you that she is a great author. She writes very well and her stories are always well-written and her characters are always very developed. She just doesn’t seem to write about subject matter that I enjoy. If you enjoy the frivolous nature of the wealthy and the flamboyance of Truman Capote you’ll probably love this book. See it here.
Amazing Truths: How Science and the Bible Agree by Michael Guillen
I had a lot of hopes for this book because I really love reading about scientific connections with the Bible. I once watched a TV series breaking down a series of scientific events that, if they occurred together, would cause the plagues that hit Egypt as told in Exodus. I was hoping that this book would do the same thing; instead, it seemed to draw a lot of parallels but I didn’t really get a lot of hard facts. It was ok, but it wasn’t anything mind-blowing. It’s a decent easy read but if you’re looking for something complex and deep this isn’t the book for you. See it here.
A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin
This is one of the books I had to quit this month. I know that Sundin has a great reputation as a historic romance author but I couldn’t get in to this book at all. I love historical fiction (especially the WWII era) but I really struggled to read this book. I’ve heard that she usually has a great balance between war and romance but I felt like this book was far more focused on the romance. That would have been fine except that the characters fell flat and I just couldn’t bring myself to care. It’s highly reviewed by a lot of other readers but I quit about 30% through the story. See it here.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
I wanted and expected so much from this book. I wanted to open it and fall madly in love with the story but, unfortunately, it let me down on so many levels. It felt so cliche with terrible dialog and characters I didn’t care one whit about. It was hard to get in to it. I finished it, reluctantly, but it was tough. I wanted to like it. The premise sounded so beautiful and romantic, but I can’t recommend it. There are too many other better books. See it here.
Love Fed: Purely Decadent, Simply Raw, Plant-Based Desserts by Christina Ross
I was really pleasantly surprised with this no-bake dessert cookbook. My husband has to adhere to some strong dietary restrictions since his surgery in 2012 so occasionally having days or weeks where we eat vegan are really good for him. He always eats vegetarian but vegan raw desserts sounded like something he could really get in to and enjoy. This cookbook was perfect! The only thing I can see being an issue is that some of the ingredients may be challenging to find if you live in a small town, unless you order them online. Living in Atlanta I didn’t have an issue finding what I wanted but some mind have challenges. See it here.
Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk
Just…NO. It sounded like an interesting premise but I found it frustratingly annoying from page 1. I gave up on this quickly, with no regrets. The concept was great but the story itself just was not my thing at all. See it here.
Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth by John Szwed
THIS. This was an amazing book and, by far, the best book I read this month. I’m almost always a sucker for a good biography but this one dove so deep into Holiday’s music, artistry, trials, and triumphs that I remained interested and engaged page after page. I loved that Szwed focused on her artistry and talent rather than telling yet another perspective on her hard life. It was refreshing to read a biography about Billie Holiday that focused on her talent and art. Truly, a great read. See it here.
Did you read anything great this month? Have you read any of the books on my list?