JANUARY WRAP UP

JANUARY WRAP UP


Happier Now

  • AUTHOR: Nataly Kogan
  • TOPIC: Self Development

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have never read so many books before in one month, and choosing this one to finish off my January reads was the best decision ever. The right book at the right moment.
I have been going through a phase of uncertainty, my confidence weakened, searching for answers…and this book opened up a wide door of support and understanding.
I would highly recommend anyone to read this, regardless of your personal life circumstances: it’s a great reminder to love ourselves, to cut ourselves some slack, to be understanding and forgiving, and how much our mental health affects anything in life.
Acceptance, gratitude, intentional kindness, the bigger why and self care are the pillars of this amazing book.
Do yourself a favor and read it. You will thank me later.


The Silent Patient

  • AUTHOR: Alex Michaelides
  • TOPIC: Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5.

These few days off gave me a lot of time to read, finishing one book a day, and trashing my record of books per month.
I have been wanting to read this book for so long. It has been praised to highly, and even though it’s not my usual genre, I loved it so much that I finished it in one day: I simply couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen.
Alicia stops talking after her husband is brutally murdered in their house. She is put in the care of a psychiatric facility, and when Theo, a new joiner, starts working there…it makes it his personal challenge to find out what really happened, and to get her to talk again. Alicia kept a diary…the key to the truth about what really happened, and the key to find out who tried to kill her to silence her forever.
This is just a super short summary. The plot is too twisted and gripping so don’t want to spoil it for you. If you like mystery and thriller, this one is for you! Highly recommend !!


The Psychology of Time Travel

  • AUTHOR: Kate Mascarenhas
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I was honestly so excited by the title and the summary plot at the back of the book. Time travel is something whole humanity has been thinking about since the dawn of time and I was sincerely looking forward to it. I am not sure what exactly didn’t make me love this book: maybe it was the complexity of the plot, which is so intricate that it makes me unable to write a summary of sorts. Too many moving parts and too much going on, that often made me lose track of the story and it’s purpose. It started well but didn’t blow my mind…in fact, it was so close to be a DNF for me but I was just too curious to finish it to find out what it was all about. Shame.


The Kiss Quotient

  • AUTHOR: Helen Hoang
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This one was a funny, steamy, cute and witty one, totally unputdownable hence finished it in one day.
I heard so much about her books and all the fuss was totally worth it, as I now can’t wait to read her next ones. Michael left all his dreams aside to pay for his mom cancer treatments and take care of his 5 sister and brother after his dad left, taking everything with him. To make ends meet, he spends Fridays being an escort. Stella is successful and rich, but doesn’t know how to be with a man or have a relationship, and her autism doesn’t help her with this. When pressured by her mom to bring a date to an upcoming charity social event, Stella contacts an escort agency to have a professional teach her all she needs to know. Michael shows up at her door. Stella will not be the only one to learn about relationships: they will tear each other walls and insecurities down, learning about trust and love and forgiveness.


VOX

  • AUTHOR: Christina Dalcher
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I knew, when I read the summary at the back of the book, that I would love this. Reminds me a bit of Atwood’s recent books, though I must be truthful in saying that this one is much better. We are again in the US, when the overzealous Christians decide to purge the communicate from sin: by taking away everything from women…most importantly their voice. If they speak more than 100 words a day, an electric shock will go through their bodies…to remind them what their new place in the world is: silence, reverence and obedience to man, in a world where they cannot read, write, work, communicate, feel. A terrifying tale but with a happy ending. Because woman are resilient and they always find a way, to protect their families, kids, loved ones…and themselves.


I Feel Bad About My Neck

  • AUTHOR: Nora Ephron
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I think every woman in the world should read this book. The way Nora Ephron destroys bluntly every single cliche’ about what women do or care about just to uphold the standard role that society has given us ( or we have given ourselves ), it’s mind blowing. And hilarious. And so true it hurts. And straightforward. And I just loved it and please make sure you read it. Every chapter is something new, all based on her own experience recounted without shame or embarrassment. What she learned, where she failed, what she believes in, and even if you don’t know her and you are from a different age group/nationality/part of the world…you will relate so much that you will just laugh and raise your hand and say “yup, that’s me”! I would personally take a screenshot of the chapter called “what I wish I’d known” for future life reference 😉


The Gift

  • AUTHOR: Edith Eger
  • TOPIC: Self help

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Just as the title says, this book is truly a gift. It’s raw, it’s true, it makes you think and it makes you cry. @dr.editheger puts it all out on the table, showing us how being vulnerable can be our biggest strength. Not shy or ashamed to use her own life experience to teach us how to love ourselves no matter what, she explains in great details 12 ways to make your life better.
If you read carefully, you will recognize yourself in so many ways, remembering things you either said, did or thought…and how you can do better next time. For your own good. Just for you. I think everyone in the world, no matter their life circumstances, weather they had a good or troubled life, should read this book and never give it away. Keep it there in the shelf so you can go back to read it, when you know you are going off-path.


The Year that Changed Everything

  • AUTHOR: Cathy Kelly
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED!! I knew I would love this writer and can’t wait to read more from her. The story is full of meaning and truth, the power of woman resilience, the importance of family and true friends, the hard-learned life lesson of never giving up. Callie turns 50, only to find out that her husband James is gone, leaving her and her daughter behind, escaping a fraud case. Ginger turns 30 at her best friend wedding; she is still a virgin and overweight, and that night she discovers that her best friend was no such thing all along. Sam turns 40 and gives birth to her miracle baby, after years of IVF, but is consumed by post-natal depression and the memory of her own unmotherly mother, fearing she will end up like her. During a full year, all 3 woman rediscover themselves and get a new chance at a happy life, thanks only to themselves and to their loved ones around them. Highly recommend.


The Seventh Commandment

  • AUTHOR: Tom Fox
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have waited for this book for so long. It took me ages to find anyone who would have it in stock and shipping to the UAE, so I was super excited when I started. I loved his other book so much that I couldn’t wait to read it as soon as it was out of the delivery box. It was good, but maybe not as exciting as Dominus. An ancient tablet written in Akkadian, a lost language from Mesopotamia that only a handful of people can translate, is found underneath Rome. And it contains seven prophecies. Though it will turn out to be a huge scam, Emil, fired years ago from the Secret Archives of the Vatican, has made his life purpose ever since to seek revenge. And thanks to years of meticulous planning, conjures this tablet and its seven commandments to become true, forcing Rome to its knees for 4 days. His ultimate objective: empty the secret vault of the Vatican, full of gold and silver and only known to a few. But thanks to the only two people in Rome that understand Akkadian, and with the help of the Swiss Guards, he will be discovered and stopped.


Sorry I missed you

  • AUTHOR: Suzy Krause
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Maude, Mackanzie and Sunna have all lost someone. Not literally, but they have been all ghosted by people that mattered to them. When a broken letter shows up one day in the shared mail box of the house where they recently moved in as tenants, each one of them hopes it’s for them. This takes them to spend a lot of time in a cafe’ where the letter mentioned that person would be waiting. But no one ever shows up. Each of the ladies will eventually meet their “ghosts”, and make up for lost time, while becoming friends in the process. Other actual ghosts are living in the attic, as strange noises and disappearances happen every day in the house. Larry, the landlord, too scared to take action and see what is up there, will be in for a surprise: his aunt who left him the house is not dead, and is the one living in the attic…with is non-dead husband, and non-dead friends. At the very end, the mystery of the broken letter will be revealed: it was for Larry. Funny, comical, smart, loved it. And recommend it!


Originals

  • AUTHOR: Adam Grant
  • TOPIC: Social studies

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What an amazing read this was! So many busted myths about who is labelled as an “Original”. With plenty of studies to back up his theories, real-life examples from business, sport, management, families, and history, his thoughts make perfect sense. All his ideas can support you in business or personal life alike, and his advice is so well explained and thought of, that it can be easily replicated and used in all spheres of life. Highly recommend!


On the other side

  • AUTHOR: Carrie Hope Fletcher
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

It took me a bit to fall in love with this story and the writing style of this new author I am reading for the first time. But all in all, it was a great read, with lots of fantasy involved aside of the lingering main love story that was underneath it all. Upon he passing, Evie finds herself in a limbo, which has taken shape of the place where she was most happy in her life. There, she understands that in order to enter her own heaven, she needs to let go of some heavy secrets that are keeping her from making the crossing. She needs to chose the right person and also the right action that she wants them to perform. She visits 3 different people in her sleep, and they all wake up feeling Evie has been there with them. Prompted by the intensity of the dream, they analyze it and they feel inexplicably pushed to act of it. Each time they succeed, Evie feels lighter and closer to her heaven: spend the rest of her time with her first and only true love.


House of Spies

  • AUTHOR: Daniel Silva
  • TOPIC: Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I can never get enough of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon’s stories. This is my third book from him and he is slowly becoming one of my favorite writers. The beauty is that you can read the book without having read the one before, as there is always a good summary to ensure you are up to speed with the story. In this episode, Gabriel is intended to do all he can to find the mastermind behind all the recent attacks around the world: Saladin. By working closely with all the other agencies around the world, he is led to Morocco where the biggest drug dealer is actually in business with Saladin, helping him out to source weapons and most recently, a bomb. Thanks to his amazing team, he is able to personally bring Saladin to an end and save the world once more. Recommend it if you like action spy reads!


How to Walk Away

  • AUTHOR: Katherine Center
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved! I laughed! I recommend! What a book! So good that I am now on a mission to read everything else she wrote asap. Maggie hates to fly, but when her boyfriend/training pilot forces her to get onto a plane on Valentine’s day, she reluctantly accepts because she thinks he will propose. And he does, just before a turbulence causes them to crash: he gets out of it without a scratch…she, with burns and a broken spine. Once in hospital, aside trying put her life back together and come to terms with the reality that she might not walk again, she needs to deal with: her fiancé’ cheating on him and the consequent broken engagement, her sister she didn’t see for 3 years coming back into her life, a family secret surfacing that explains her sister disappearance, and a rude untalkative PT…who will soon become the only reason for her to smile and be happy. Will Maggie be able to put herself back on her feet and be happy again? Read to find out.


Think Like a Monk

  • AUTHOR: Jay Shetty
  • TOPIC: Self Help

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I started this book with zero expectations, as I simply didn’t have any. Of course, like everyone, I have come across Jay’s videos on Facebook many times and always found them inspiring, but I had no idea about his life story and how we came to be who is is today. If I could, I would give this book more than 5 stars. It has quickly become one of those few books in my life that I would re-read just to absorb the information better. Perfectly written, making sense through every word, every quote, every chapter, hitting to the core more than one would care to admit. I was just WOWED, and I learned so much from it, made me really want to take some of his advice and teachings and put them into practice. Do not think twice, just read this book and make the most of it. It is a must.


The Return

  • AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks
  • TOPICS: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I liked, but I didn’t love. I am not sure if it is because it was written in first person tense, or because I was expecting more surprises. Never the less, was a pleasant read, but I liked some of his other work better. After being injured in Afghanistan where he was working as a doctor, Trevor moves back to his grandfather hometown after his passing. He is still struggling with the aftermath of his experience, but he is trying to look forward to his life, planning to return to medical school as a psychology resident, while tending to the beehives of his grandfather. He was certainly not looking to fall in love when he meets Natalie, a local who works as a deputy sheriff. Though she seems to fall for him too, she seems distant as if something is holding her back. He also meets Callie, a teenager that seems to live on her own and away from everyone. Things get complicated when he starts a journey to understand why his grandfather passed away in another state…only to find out that this mystery is somehow connected to Callie. When Callie has an accident, and Trevor saves her life, so many secrets will unfold, including the real season why his grandfather died where he did, and why Natalie was holding back from his love.


Anxious People

  • AUTHOR: Fredrik Backman
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is the 3rd book I read from him, and I just love love love his unique writing style, clever and witty with a side of dry humor. This story is so unique and entangled that it is impossible to write a summary. All you need to know is that one morning a good person decides to rob a bank…out of despair…only to find out that it’s a cashless bank…the person escapes and hides into an apartment that it’s open for a viewing…and the mix of individuals in there is so unique, the situation so peculiar, the robber so useless that they end up helping him ( or is it a her? ) escape. The lives of all the characters come to be known, and they all interconnect somehow, either in the past, or present or future. It’s a master work: I laughed, I empathized, I loved it all! Read it!


Untamed

  • AUTHOR: Glennon Doyle
  • TOPIC: Autobiography / Self-help

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book hit home. Deep. There are topics that are touched that I cannot relate to, such as discrimination, BLM, bulimia, alcoholism, anxiety and depression. But I could definitely relate to being a parent and often not knowing what is the right thing to say or do; I could relate to divorce: do you stay for your children or do you leave because you simply cannot be happy if you stay; “who are you and what are you supposed to do with your life?” type of questions. I could feel a fire inside of me reading her story. Her words related so much, and they made so much sense: why do we make ourselves so little just to fit in? How about we stop caring and be ourselves and do what we really want to do? How about we live our lives based on our own rules? How about we just understand that all that matters is the integrity of making sure we don’t let ourselves down? How about we keep dreaming? How about we just be who we are and screw the rest? I didn’t know I needed this book till I read it. And will for sure be going back to the highlighted parts more than once. Recommended!


The Book of Two ways

  • AUTHOR: Jodi Picoult
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I didn’t do it intentionally but even my second read of the year is about regrets and a possible life that we could have lived. When Dawn is in a plane crash and survives it, all of her past comes rushing. This takes her to Egypt and to the love she had left behind, Wyatt. She was working with him as an archeologist, but her mom was about to pass away and she had to leave. Her life took a turn, she found out she was pregnant and married Brian, and left her dreams behind and made a new life and career for herself. But this near-death experience just makes her wonder “what if?”, and so she goes to find out if the love she felt is still there and unavoidable. True doubts and new discoveries, Dawn will have to make a choice between her two lives: the comfortable one she is in now, or the one she was always supposed to live. I loved the book, good narrative, the switch between her current life and possible life keeping the tale interesting. Recommend.


Midnight Library

  • AUTHOR: Matt Haig
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My first book of 2021 couldn’t have been a better choice. I read it in one day as it was impossible to put down. What a perfect story to start the year! Right on point at the time of our life when we are more inclined to think about life changes, resolutions and intentions. Imagine if you had the chance to try as many different life versions of yourself as you could? And choose the one that is best for you? Nora has this chance. One night she decides to end it all, but instead of dying, she wakes up in the Midnight Library. This library contains books made up of all the different lives she could have lived if she took different turns on her path. The book of regrets is the best place to start: trying to right her wrongs, and live lives she never got the opportunity to experience. But, she soon realizes, going from regret to regret, that grass is never greener on the other side. Grass becomes just as green in your backyard, as long as you water it and take care of it. She lives countless different versions of her life, only to realize that the one she really needed and wanted was right in front of her the whole time. Amazing, inspiring reading. One of the best books I have ever read. Cannot recommend it enough.

2 thoughts on “JANUARY WRAP UP

  1. celly1989 says:

    I love all of your reviews. I have quite a few of the books that you read on my TBR list for 2021 including Anxious People, The Midnight Library and The Silent Patient (you have me even more excited to read these). Now I want to check out Happier Now and that Jay Shetty book. Great reviews. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    1. booksandmon says:

      Thanks so much for your note! Means a lot to me to see they have been helpful. They all have been amazing reads but the ones you pointed out are for sure my favorites too! Stay tuned for more and check the 2020 tab as well for my last years read! Happy reading

      Liked by 1 person

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