January Book Reviews (2015)

Holy January! I’ve got to say….if I can keep this pace up, I’ll have no trouble meeting my goal to read 100 books this year! True, I read a lot of short easy books, and I’d started one before January. Regardless. It’s still a lot of books!


I use the Goodreads rating scale of 1-5 stars. I know sometimes it’s hard to stick to only 5 options…lots of times we want half stars!! But, half stars make things messy. My ratings tend to be on the somewhat conservative side, so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that a 3 star rating doesn’t mean a book is bad. Generally, I choose books that I expect to enjoy (don’t we all?). If I do enjoy them, then they’ve met my expectations…so I give them a 3. Anything lower than 3 didn’t live up to my expectations, and anything above 3 exceeded them. I’m generally not looking for certain writing styles or plot lines or technical aspects. If something stands out (for good or bad), I’ll comment on it, but in general technical aspects won’t be the sole influencer on my rating.

Any questions on my ratings? If so, just ask, and I’ll try to clarify!

And now, on to the books!!!

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success

3 starsI know, I posted a whole review of this book. But, I didn’t give you a rating. Here’s your rating. Go read the review. 🙂

Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up3 starsI admit, I almost didn’t share this with you, because it’s a little embarrassing. Terrible title. I read The Dance of Anger a few years ago, and this one has been on my radar since. So I finally made time for it. I like Harriet Lerner because she’s accessible, and because she’s not a touchy-feely-bullshitter. There were some good points in the book that anyone in a relationship can learn from. And it’s short. And the lessons in here are good for anyone, whether you’re married, in a relationship, or just thinking about being in a relationship.

Yes Please4 stars

Our January book club book. I knew nothing about Amy Poehler, and was a little skeptical. I was afraid it’d be like that horrible Chelsea Handler book I read. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

I think the thing that got me was Amy is a genuinely good person. I’m not a huge fan of her comedy, and truthfully thought she was probably a bit of a jerk. But either she’s not, or she’s a really good faker. I kid. There’s no way you can read this book and not see that she’s someone who cares about the people and world around her.

And she’s real. She’s humble, she’s proud, and she’s not afraid to admit she screws up. Her book is full of things she’s learned the hard way, of little nuggets of advice. There are a lot of profound moments in there too – and messages all of us could stand to read (and take to heart).

Her style is all over the place, which was fine with me but no doubt will bother a lot of people. It feels a little more like talking to a friend than reading a memoir, and for that reason I wish I’d listened to the audio book instead. Amy herself is the reader, so I bet it’s fun.

Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)

2 stars I know, I know. This is a classic, and on all of the “best books” lists. I have no clue why. Maybe I’m too old for it. Maybe I’m too impatient for it. But seriously. ..where was the plot? It read like a diary, and not a particularly interesting one. By the second half I was reading only the first sentence of each paragraph, and don’t feel that I missed anything. I’m sure someone will think that’s blasphemous and I do apologize, but this book just wasn’t for me.

A Tiger's Tale (Call of the Wilde #2)

4 starsI want more of this series! I love the characters, and Morrigan has fantastic pacing. I got a little annoyed with Grace this time around, because of all the whining about not sharing her power with other people, but otherwise, another great book. Plus, it was neat to read a mystery that didn’t involve a murder. This is a missing persons case. If you like animals and cozy mysteries, definitely give this series a try.

Wild Born (Spirit Animals, #1)

3 starsI’m a sucker for a good kids series, and this has a lot of potential. The writing isn’t great in this one, but it’s tolerable. Each book in the series is written by a different author, so it’ll be interesting to see how the style changes. Basically, there are four kids with “spirit animals” and they’re trying to save the world. What’s not to love???

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (Magical Cats, #1)3 starsI picked this up because of the cover and because the cats are supposed to be magical. I suppose they were, but I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t have larger roles! I was also a little put off by the main character. ..she was the head librarian but from what I could tell, actually didn’t do anything. I didn’t have much sympathy for her. This was cute but nothing special, and there are better cozies out there.

A Deadly Grind (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery, #1)

3 starsYet another cozy. This one was a bit different in that the main character really wasnt a very good sleuth. In fact, she was pretty bad. And she drove me nuts with her constant mooning over her ex. All that aside though, I enjoyed the story. I loved the vintage kitchen aspect, and I loved meeting all the characters. I thought Hamilton did a great job bringing the town to life and making me feel like I was in the story. I’ll keep reading the series, for sure.

Paws For Murder3 starsThis was too cute! Loved the focus on the pet boutique. The murder itself was a little boring, and the book was carried by the supporting characters just as much as the main character. In fact, I forgot her name half the time. A decent first book in a series, and enough to make me want to keep going.

The Beginning of Everything

3 starsI had mixed feelings about this book. At times, I loved it. At times, I hated it. Ezra was…..ugh. Exhausting. Cassidy reminded me too much of a girl I couldn’t stand in high school. On one hand, this book was too dramatically tragic. On the other, it was a pretty accurate portrayal of how teenagers think everything is a tragedy. Not to say there weren’t some serious bad things in here. But mostly, Ezra just waffled around and couldn’t decide who he was. (I mean, in high school, who can?) It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t a great one either.

Book of the MonthThis month was kinda tough, actually. I read a lot, but there really wasn’t a clear winner. I guess I’ll go with

 Yes Please

What books did you read this month? Any keepers?