Monday, February 1, 2021

January Books!


Happy Monday, friends! I'm linking up with Tanya from The Other Side of the Road for this blog post and will do my weekending post tomorrow. 

I read eight books in the month of January, finishing my last book of the month on Saturday before Todd left for work. I'll just jump right in, but it was a good reading month for me. I did have to put one book down that I didn't love, but more about one in just a second.

My first book isn't pictured, because it was a library book, but it was Happily This Christmas by Susan Mallery. This book is about a next door romance—single dad needs his neighbor's help in preparing his home for a visit from his pregnant daughter whose husband was deployed overseas, and before you can get to the second chapter, you've figured out the whole book. It was good, don't get me wrong, just very predictable and not a lot of substance, which I always prefer. It was heartwarming by the end of the book and ended well, but it was a little more PG-13 than I like.

In the Dead of Winter was my second book of the month and I started reading it on the night of January 1 and finished it the next morning. (We stayed home all of that day for New Years and I read the majority of the day.) I picked up this little book at a used bookstore for about $1, but I loved it so much! It had an Agatha Christie feel to it, so it felt familiar to me. (I also used to love Nancy Drew books and this also reminded me of those.) The main character returns to her hometown to plan the funeral of the aunt she hasn't seen in sometime, only to discover that maybe she didn't die like they'd originally thought. As she starts to do her own investigating, someone starts to go after her as well, to keep the truth from being found out. Her childhood friend and now sheriff of her hometown helps her out and they discover a little romance along the way. Unless I mention otherwise, these books are Christian fiction. 

Books number three and four of this month were the last half of a series I started back in November, when I read the first two, the Winter Street series by Elin Hilderbrand. (These are NOT Christian books, but they were still very good.) The series is about the Quinn family that owns the Winter Street Inn on Nantucket—the father is remarried (but still friends with his ex-wife and mother of three older kids) to Mitzi and together they have one son. As you can imagine, there are lots of tales with each of the siblings and the family drama runs deep. These books were some of my favorites and I loved reading about each of the Quinn kids and the lives they lived with their spouses and children. 

The order of the series is Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms and Winter Solstice. 

Books five and six were together in a series by one of my most beloved authors, Karen Kingsbury. A Time to Dance and A Time to Embrace were both so wonderful and heartwarming with twists and turns. The first in the series is about the marriage of Jon and Abby and the ins and outs of their lives over the years. It puts into perspective how we should each treat our spouses and our marriages and what happens when we don't do that. The second in the series is the continuation of their story with more twists and turns. 

Book number seven of the month was Gardenias For Breakfast, by my favorite author of all time, Robin Jones Gunn. Here is the review from Goodreads:

"Everybody has a story. You listen to that story, Honeygirl, and your story will come find you." Her Grand Lady spoke these words when Abby was just a girl, spending the summer in rural Louisiana, surrounded by an extended, loving family. She's been listening carefully ever since. Now Abby is raising her own family thousands of miles away. And even though Hawaii might seem like paradise to some, it's a long way away from those idyllic days she remembers, sitting with her grandmother, learning about the beauty and mystery of life. So Abby has just one wish: that her daughter Hannah might be touched by the beauty of her 92-year-old Grand Lady's stories, before it's too late. But when Hannah finally does spend time with Grand Lady, the old woman crushes her tender spirit. And a mother-daughter journey home becomes an adventure of discovery-about the importance of family and the healing found in forgiveness. In Gardenias for Breakfast , mothers and daughters may recognize a branch or two from their own family trees and find themselves wishing not only for Grand Lady's guidance but also for Hannah's ability to smell the clouds.

If you've never read a book by Robin Jones Gunn, what are you waiting for? Her books are always my favorites.

My final book of the month was Prodigal Son by Danielle Steel, who never disappoints me when I want a good and easy to get into book. This is a story about twin sons who never got along their whole life, but then find their way back to each other in a twist of events that happened in one's life. I don't want to say anything more about this book in case you want to read it for yourself, but a HUGE twist happens that I never saw coming and needless to say, I sat down to read on Saturday and stayed put until I'd finished the book. About Danielle Steel books—her older books are a bit more risque that I like, but her newer books are cleaner. There is still some language and one or two things I just skip over (in this particular book), but they're highly entertaining and she is a master storyteller as she weaves it all together in her monologue style of writing. 

I'm already half way into my first book for February, so here's to hoping I can keep up the goal I made for myself of reading more consistently in 2021. I can honestly say that out of thirty one days in January, for at least twenty nine of them, I made time to read at least one hour each day. That usually turns into more time than just one hour, but I read when I'm sitting or waiting on dinner to cook. I read mostly at night when Todd is at home, while we watch tv, because I can multitask like that. (I'm being sarcastic, I am a terrible multitasker.) I do have an innate ability to be able to drown things out. I mentioned I put down one book that I didn't like—after the Winter Street series, I tried another Elin Hilderbrand book, but I didn't love it and life is far too short to read mediocre books. I didn't include this book in this month's books, but I'm also reading a book called Loving Your Actual Neighbor by Alexandra Kuykendall. I'm about two chapters in, but it's the kind of book that needs savoring, because it's rich with practical tips and great thoughts.

This was a fun post to write! I'll be back for the February list of my books on the last day of the month, most likely. Thanks for reading my blog! Love to all. 


  1. I find both Elin's & Danielle's books can be hit or miss for me; though I do count both of them as my favorite authors. I too read while cooking dinner.. also while eating breakfast, brushing teeth, folding laundry, etc.

  2. Joanne- I'm glad to know it's not just me! I do like most of Danielle's, as long as they're the newer ones that she writes. Those are all great times to read! I do the same. Have a great week!


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