January & February Reading Round-Up

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This year I have had the opportunity to read a lot more than the end of last year. I haven’t posted a reading review lately, so since I’ve hit my 10 books this year mark, I figured I would share a little bit about them. I’ve also been listening to the podcast What Should I Read Next? with Anne Bogel and continuing my TBR list. It is ever-growing. Another fun reading thing I have done is make a list of bookstores all over the United States that I would like to visit. There are so many cool independent book stores that are begging to be explored. Last but not least, I started a Facebook Book Club for book recommendations. To be added to that group, just click here and request to be added. I would love to have more friends and more readers to discuss with!!

“But God showed us that even in the midst of a crisis, we can look for His gifts of joy and peace.” // The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson is the first book I read this year. It is about a group of women who meet at a women’s conference and form a prayer group that gets them through some hard times. While it wasn’t anything that stood out to me, the story and characters were likable. I found the main character Jodi Baxter to be relatable. It is the first book in a series. I would probably pick up the next ones at the library if I were to find them!

 “But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?” // All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was available at the library, and I snatched it up as quickly as I could. I saw that everyone was raving about this book and wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. The answer is YES. It is the story of a blind French girl and a German Nazi soldier boy. Their paths intersect in occupied France. I was blown away at how this story came together at the end. It is both sweet and tragic juxtaposing the innocence of childhood and the corruption of war. The character development was incredible, and I loved how you got to peek into each of their thoughts and actions. This is one that I haven’t stopped recommending.

“So, in a world that likes division and categories, that sections us into the homeschoolers and the public schoolers, the breast-feeders and the bottle feeders, the “working moms” and the “stay-at-home moms”…how do we link arms?…I think the answer is listening to each other.” // Women are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends by Melanie Dale was laugh out loud funny. There hasn’t been a book that I have felt myself nodding and saying, “Yes, that’s me,” in a long time. Dale uses baseball to talk about the stages of “momlationships.” I read this on my Kindle, and I underlined so many things. Dale is encouraging, funny, and real about what it takes to make deep heart friends. I loved this one!

 “Daddy gave me real useful information to protect me in the real world. If anyone hits me, I’m not to hit them back. I wait until their back is turned, then hit them in the head with a brick.” // Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man was my first Fannie Flagg book. It is the coming-of-age story of Daisy Fay Harper. It is set in Mississippi in the 1950’s. Daisy Fay is funny, sassy, and determined to make something of herself. The story is told in her journal entries, and you will learn about her loyalty and optimism. I will say that at the beginning of the book, I wasn’t sure where it was going, but by the end, I didn’t want it to end! If you are a fan of Southern novels and haven’t read this one, you should pick it up.

“I learned that there is good in this world, if you look hard enough for it. I learned that not everyone is disappointing, including me, and that a 1,257-foot bump in the ground can feel higher than a bell tower if you’re standing next to the right person.” // All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is the only YA book I have read this year so far, and it is a good one! It hooked me from the very beginning. You meet the two main characters Violet Markey and Theodore Finch while they are both at the top of a bell tower. The story continues from there. While I had a gut feeling of what was going to happen the whole time, it was beautifully and tragically drawn out. Fans of John Green would enjoy this one!

“William knows that science and magic are the same thing; magic is only science that hasn’t been explained yet.” // Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson drew me in from the very beginning, probably because the first scene is a gas station robbery. The story that follows traces the steps of the people in the gas station and how their lives intersect. I had a soft spot for Natty, the main character’s son. While part of the ending was very predictable for me, another part took me by complete surprise. There are some heavy topics that this story hinges around, but I thought they were handled well.

 “Why do we do this? Why do we undervalue things when we have them? Why is it only on the verge of losing something that we see how much we need it?” //  After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid had been on my Kindle for awhile, but I decided to start it after hearing Anne Bogel recommended Reid on WSIRN. While the premise of taking a year-long break from marriage is not something I morally agree with, the book sucked me in. The story was good, and I loved seeing the main character’s transformation throughout the story. The ending was a bit unbelievable, but it was sweet and even made me tear up at one point. It was a good book that I would recommend for a fun, quick read!

“I know this isn’t a conventional love story. I know there are all sorts of reasons I shouldn’t even be saying what I am. But I love you. I do… And I think you might even love me a little bit.” // I was obviously late to the Me Before You train, but when I saw it at the library, I decided to pick it up after all the hype I had heard about it a couple years ago. Honestly, I didn’t want to love this book. I thought it surely must be overrated… I knew how it was going to end from the beginning, and it still made my heart ache. One of my favorite parts was Louisa’s transformation from the beginning to the end. So no, I didn’t want to love it, but love it I did.

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.” // Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a post-apocalyptic story, but the cool thing about it is that it only takes place a short time after not hundreds or thousands of years after when society is all different and moving along. Mandel does an excellent job at world-building, and I really enjoyed her writing. There are several characters that you follow throughout the book, and the way they come together is beautifully tragic. Loved this one!

 “It wasn’t so much the discovery of one single clue, as the coming together of many small details. That moment when the sun shifts by a degree and a spider’s web, previously concealed, begins to shine like fine-spun silver. Because suddenly Sadie could see how it all connected and she knew what had happened that night.” //  The Lake House by Kate Morton left me with my jaw dropped the way it all comes together. It is told in varying perspectives and varying time periods. It is all based around a lake house and the disappearance of an 11-month-old child 70 years prior that was never solved. I felt like I couldn’t read this book fast enough when trying to put all the pieces together. This is one of my favorites that I have read in quite some time, and it makes me want to read more books in this genre and by Morton.

I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to talk book recommendations!

Have you read any of these books or books by these authors? Tell me what you thought in the comments or email me at openhandsopenhome@gmail.com. I love talking books!!

Author: Erin Roberts

Hi! I'm Erin. I'm a follower of Jesus, a wife to Sam, a mom to Henry, and a drinker of coffee. My hope is that you will kick off your shoes, get some coffee, and stay awhile. Visit me at openhandsopenhome.com.

7 thoughts on “January & February Reading Round-Up”

  1. Wonderful selection of books. I’ve added several to my cart. I loved Station Eleven and I’m loving reading All the Light We Cannot See – as I came late to the party, too. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just read Station Eleven this past month too! I love that it’s a unique take on the post apocalyptic genre. It felt much more plausible. I also love Kate Morton. If you haven’t, you should read The Distant Hours. It’s my favorite of her books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I definitely appreciated the way she approached it, since that became such a popular genre. I really enjoyed the Lake House, and I’ve heard people say that’s actually her least favorite of hers. I’m definitely going to read some of her other stuff!


  3. I think we have similar tastes as well! I loved All the Light and I’m currently listening to Someone Else’s Love Story, I have Station Eleven on my TBR and After I Do ready to pick up at the library. Pam 🙂


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