January 2021 Reading

This month I read five novels and one non-fiction, and most novels were quick reads, starting off the year well.

My first completed read of 2021 was The Godmothers (Monica McInerney), which I gave 4 of 5 stars, though a low, could-change-my-mind type of 4. This story is about Eliza, and the journey she goes on to discovering who her real father is once her mother dies. Encouraged by her two Godmothers, Eliza travels across the world to find answers. I did enjoy this book, but found ‘the mystery’ too drawn out, thus making ‘the answer’ rather anticlimactic. But I do love good character growth, particularly young women who realise their potential and step into their own.

Secondly was the mysterious The Guest List (Lucy Foley), which I also gave a 4. Told in alternating point of views on the days leading up to a wedding, and the day of, the reader learns at the beginning that someone has been murdered, but we don’t know who it was or who did it. As the story goes on, secrets are brought to light as the past is uncovered, leading to the murderer and the deceased. The only reason I gave this a 4 is because it was fun to read something that you didn’t know the ending of and trying to figure it out. Once it was revealed, however, I didn’t find it too clever, and the writing wasn’t the greatest. Still an enjoyable, quick read though, particularly if other crime novels are too graphic and dark for you (which they tend to be for me).

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (V.E. Schwab) I was hoping to give 5 stars but in the end settled for 4. Addie is a woman who makes a deal that changes her life forever; she is granted immortality but in return no one will ever remember her. She cannot write or speak her name, tell her story, and as soon as someone looks away they forget they ever saw her. The writing of this novel is the most captivating I’ve ever read, and the premise was so interesting I couldn’t put it down. Why I didn’t give it 5 stars is because it fell flat in the middle and didn’t pick up again. The story gets repetitive, and it was building up to a big moment that never happened. Still beautiful, but I was waiting for a bang and was left disappointed.

My last 4 stars was Olive (Emma Gannon), which is about – funnily enough – Olive, who doesn’t want children, and how her three friends all have babies, are expecting babies, or are trying to have babies. While I don’t relate to the protagonist, as I do want children, I found her interesting and I wanted to know more. The problem with this book, though, is how dislikeable Olive is and how she treats her friends poorly and never really changes. She was so selfish and makes the same mistakes every few chapters, but doesn’t develop as a character. The 4 stars are for her friends.

The last novel I read this month was If I Never Met You (Mhairi McFarlane), which was a freebie from work. I gave it 3 stars because it was, well, a bit boring. In terms of chick-lit, it wasn’t terrible. It was clean, which I appreciate, and the characters were enough to keep me reading. But it didn’t really offer much and held the same predictable rhythm that books of this genre do. Which I knew going into it. You get what you expect, with this one.

The non-fiction I read was Power in Praise (Merlin Carothers), which I gave a 3. I liked his book Prison to Praise much more than this one, which I suspect is because it had more real life experiences, while this one was more the information behind those stories. I’m happy to take some of this and apply to my prayer life, but perhaps not all of it. We’ll see!

I’ve started the year strong as my goal is to read 52 books this year (one a week). I had holidays a couple of weeks ago, which is where I did a lot of reading and raced ahead. That’s how it goes, hey?

Sarah xx

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