Books – January 2023

Coming at you with some more book reviews! December was a super slow reading month for me. I did manage to close out the year reading 80 books! My goal I had set was 52, one per week. I never want to set anything too lofty, as it becomes less fun for me. This year I set my goal for 60 books.

M is for Mama by Abbie Halberstadt

Wow y’all. Just wow. Now listen. I know that this wont be for everyone, as it is a Christian based book…but it has so many good nuggets in it that I highly suggest it. Sometimes it is hard to hear the truth and follow what is right. Especially in today’s culture. This book really spoke to me. I took notes the entire time I was reading it. I only consumed one chapter at a time to really soak it all in. There were so many good verses to reflect on, and so much advice on how to raise up our children in the way that they should go. Plus, some very solid advice on how to model the behavior we want to see. I could share so much more about this book, but if I do, I will gush for days. This will be a book that I come back to and reread annually I think. I am so glad I purchased my own copy.

Bottom Line: A must read for women with littles.

Love Always, Christmas by Karen Schaler

This book reads like a Hallmark movie. It is cute, cheesy, and over the top Christmas. Things I enjoy in only a Christmas book. The characters were fun, I enjoyed Libby and Adam. I will say that the book got to be repetitive about Libby and Adam’s fears and some of their inner thoughts that were constantly repeated. Also, I didn’t love the way that Libby’s job as a social media manager was portrayed. Why was there so much focus on hashtags and a ridiculous campaign? I wish the characters had a little more depth, but that is expected of light Christmas reads like this. I did love the way the towns people were all willing to help each other out. There was also an element of mystery thrown in, which was fun. Overall, I enjoyed it.

Bottom Line: Cute to read at Christmas. I could definitely see this being a Hallmark movie.

**I received a copy of Love Always, Christmas from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

A Guide to Just Being Friends by Sophie Sullivan

This is the third (and I am guessing final?) book of the Jansen brothers series. You do not have to read the first two to enjoy this one, but you should to get the back story on Noah and Chris’s girls.

I loved getting to know Wes and Hailey. I loved Hailey’s salad shop business, and wished I had a local restaurant like that here. This is a slow burn friends to lovers, which is always fun. I felt like Hailey didn’t have to be so stubborn about accepting help from others, specifically Wes. And when the real conflict happened….I felt like Wes did a 180 in the wrong direction that almost felt out of character. But I absolutely loved the ending, getting to see how all three brothers ended up.

I consumed this as an audiobook, and truly enjoyed both the male and female narrator. It added to the fun of the book for me.

Bottom Line: Read it!

**I received an audio copy of A Guide to Being Just Friends from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Going Rogue by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum is back! You all know how much I love these. One of the first series that got me back into reading about 12 years ago. These are more of a comfort read for me than anything. I love the wacky cast of regulars who get into some ridiculous shenanigans. Of course we have the love triangle, cars blowing up, lots of donuts and buckets of chicken. Are these books repetitive? Yes. Are these books predictable? Yes. Are they highly unlikely to happen in real life? Yes. Yet I am still here for them, 29 books later. I LOL’d a lot in this one. I felt like Stephanie was more capable in this book than others, maybe she is turning a new leaf. Thoroughly enjoyed.

Bottom Line: If you are a Stephanie Plum fan, obviously you are going to read this!

A Confident Mom by Renee Swope

Another one that I recommend for my mom friends out there. I took notes while reading this one too, and will definitely look back on it in the future. I like the Renee took stories from her own family to get her points across. She isn’t trying to just make you a better parent, but a better person to anyone no matter the relationship. She is very character-focused, which I think is the most important train in a person.

I know someone is going to ask me if I can only pick one of the mom books from this post, which would it be. If you are only going to read one, I would go for M is for Mama…but this one is great and you should definitely add it to your list! It is less intense than M is for Mama though. So think about which style you want to follow.

Bottom Line: Read it!

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

I really liked Nora. I loved how perfectly imperfect her life is. I saw myself in her in a lot of ways and found this book so relatable. Her ex-husband was a total asshat and I loved watching her relationship with Leo start to bud. We can all see where it was going. I love that Nora sort of finds herself and happiness without love in the in between. And how good of a mother she is to her kids. Her friend Kate was such a good friend. We all need a Kate in our lives. I am sad this one is done. I feel like this is going to end up on my list of favorites for the year.

I consumed this one via audiobook, and Hillary Huber is one of my favorites. She did a fantastic job!

Bottom Line: Read it!

Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant

Full disclosure: I stopped reading this book less than 100 pages in. Already there were too many characters and too many plots going on. The style of the writing was not my favorite, as it was hard to tell which character’s view we were getting. To sum up, it was very chaotic. I didn’t even like any of the characters really, except maybe Millie. And then her sister like Millie’s husband? Like what? I cannot with this book. So I can’t really rate or review it fairly, seeing as how I didn’t get even half way through it.

Bottom Line: Pass

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  • Reply Biana January 30, 2023 at 8:35 am

    I added M is for Mama after your recommendation of it! Adding being just friends and going rogue to my list!! Thank you!

  • Reply Kristin January 30, 2023 at 4:55 pm

    Putting some of these on hold! Adding M is for Mama to my “buy” list 🙂

  • Reply Danielle January 31, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you for the book recommendations and being honest on when to pass on a book.

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