This was a pretty great month of reading. 7 books. 5 thrillers, one historical fiction book, one non-fiction book. Sounds about right. Some of the thrillers I read were only medium (you can probably skip Good Rich People for example) but otherwise, I absolutely loved this months books! The Maid was probably this month’s sleeper – it’s excellent. I had heard good things about it, but it was just so good. I’ve read very few heartwarming thrillers and this one is just that! I gave it to my mom and she loved it too, saying that this is the first book she’s read in ages that she just couldn’t put down. I agree.
Last but not least, I could use some book suggestions– in the comments, tell me what you’re reading / send any and all recommendations – it’s really, really helpful!
IF YOU’RE NEW HERE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOK, DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHECK OUT MY BEAUTIFUL BOOK CLUB PAGE.
Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every book I’ve read in the past seven years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre. Now you can also filter by GRADE to find exactly what you’re looking for or just peruse my top picks. If you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list. And of course my big post of everything that I read in 2021.
Everything I Read in January 2022
This month’s Non-Fiction
Atomic Habits, by James Clear
I loved this book and got so much out of reading it. I’m going to have a longer post about it next week as there are so many takeaways (and for me, writing stuff down is how I retain information) but it is such a good book that I think literally everyone could benefit from. I have been a big fan of James Clear for a long time, his 3-2-1 Newsletter is one of my favorites. I really love his philosophy of striving to be 1% better every day. And that the tiny changes you make over time will add up to yield big results. I also love the mentality of focusing on systems rather than goals. Goals are great of course, but how does one set up systems to help them attain those goals. And his systems will help.
Some of the things he shares will probably be a reinforcement of things you already are doing (I think of myself setting out my skincare and lash serum next to my tooth brush so that I am reminded at night to do those things) but there are so many great tips and tricks in this book. My personal favorite is to layer in the habit you want to start between things you already do or really enjoy doing. Again, longer post to come but I absolutely loved this book and cannot recommend it enough! Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon!
- Overall Score: A
This month’s thrillers!
Everything We Didn’t Say, by Nicole Baart
I will be honest, when I started this book, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it as it felt a little bit young. But about 100 pages in, I was hooked. Couldn’t put it down, and stayed up until 2am reading (on a week night!). The best kind of thrillers are the ones where you feel as though you truly just cannot stop reading, even if it means you’re going to be extremely tired the next day. That was the case with this one.
When Juniper, aka June, was 19 years old, a horrible crime occurred: her beloved neighbors were murdered. The worst part: her brother was the main suspect. After college, she moved away from her quiet mid-Western town but now, nearly 15 years later she is back. The premise of her return is to take care of a friend who is battling cancer but she’s secretly determined to clear her brother’s name. Alternating between past and present, this book is fast-paced and twisty… I didn’t guess the ending. At times, it reads YA (nothing wrong with that – I love YA but it’s a different reading craving) but I found it very smart and fun to read. Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon!
- Overall Score: A-
Reckless Girls, by Rachel Hawkins
Similar to Everything We Didn’t Say, when I started this, I wasn’t so sure. I was thinking it may be too young for me. I didn’t like the main character and I don’t enjoy thrillers about young and reckless twenty-somethings the way I do about older couples (you know I love a scorned ex-wife) or unreliable middle-aged women. (Also, I hate saying this, but the glaring yellow cover really put me off!). But I enjoy Rachel Hawkins’ writing (I LOVED The Wife Upstairs) and so I plodded through. Before I knew it, I was heavily invested and needed to know what happened. I read it in about 36 hours, staying up late just to finish it.
Lux and her boyfriend Nico have moved to Maui with grand plans of traveling the world by sailboat, but things keep going wrong for them. Nico’s boat is broken and Lux has just been fired from her job. An opportunity arises and the two agree to take two college girls to a deserted island on their sailboat for $50,000. What could go wrong? Only the fact that the island has a sordid history: cannibalism, murder, shipwreck, and more! When they get arrive at Meroe Island, they meet a couple and the six of them become fast friends. At first, they’re all just enjoying island life… until they realize just how cut-off they are, and things start to go wrong. When one person from their group goes missing and another turns up dead, things go from tropical vacation to learning how to survive. Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon!
- Overall Score B+
The Maid, by Nita Prose
OK I absolutely loved this book. It was the most heartwarming murder mystery I’ve ever read? Molly is a maid at an upscale London hotel. She loves her job and can’t think of anything else she’d rather do. But Molly is different. She’s smart and kind and well intentioned, but doesn’t always pick up on social cues and tends to misread people. Because of that, sometimes, she trusts the wrong people. One day, one of the hotel’s VIP clients turns up dead. A murder investigation ensues and Molly finds herself at the center of it, as the main suspect… wanted for murder! Everything she says only seems to make the situation worse. Her entire life is upended, but friends in unlikely places come through to help her search for clues and figure out what really happened: who the real murderer was, and what actually happened.
I loved this book. For the first part of the book I really cringed watching this extremely lovable, well-intentioned person unintentionally mess up her life. But the redemption (and the friendships!) are so wonderful. I can’t recommend it enough… I think nearly everyone I know would enjoy this! Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon!
- Overall Score: A+
The Good Sister, by Sally Hepworth
I listened to this one on Scribd and absolutely loved it. Without giving too much away, I think that this book is actually MORE suited to audio than paper. It was SO, SO GOOD. This is the story of twin sisters Fern and Rose. The book alternates between the perspective of the two women – both, unreliable narrators. Fern does not like to be touched, avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible, living a very structured life. Rose is her rock, her support system. All that Rose wants in the world is to have a baby, but she finds out she can’t get pregnant. Ever the good, helpful sister, Fern decides that she is going to have a baby for Rose – she just needs to find a father. But in the process, she meets Wally, and ends up developing real feelings for him.
There are so many layers to this book. It’s dark and twisty but also a little bit heartwarming. It really kept me on my toes and I found myself stretching out my walks and chore time so that I could listen to more of it. Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon!
- Overall Score: A
Good Rich People, by Eliza Jane Brazier
This book is highly fucked up (and highly skippable, if you ask me) but it’s had so much buzz and I wanted to see what happened. It’s twisty, that’s for sure! Lyla and her husband Graham are as rich as they come, living in a glass house in the Hollywood Hills (below Graham’s mother Margot’s castle). They are bored, sinister, and will do anything to entertain themselves… including playing a little bit of a game. The game is simple: they invite people who are self-made success stories to live in their guest house… and then, slowly but surely, dismantle that person’s life. When Demi moves in, they know she is special. Except Demi has her own secrets. For start, she isn’t exactly Demi. She’s struggled her whole life and through a chance accident, has had the opportunity to steal a stranger’s life.
Even though I didn’t love this book, I kept reading as I needed to know what happened. And it ended up being kind of fun (but also a little bit insufferable to read). So I would say that you could probably skip it, even though a small part of me enjoyed it just a little bit. Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon!
- Overall Score B-
I need to read more historical fiction!
The Christie Affair, by Nina de Gramont
This just came out today! This book is part historical fiction, part murder mystery and I really enjoyed it – much more than I thought I would, if I am being honest. In case you weren’t familiar with the backstory, Agatha Christie disappeared for twelve days back in 1925 (just after her husband had requested a divorce). Upon being found in a hotel, she simply stated that she didn’t remember what happened. This is an imaginative (fictional!) look at what could have happened during those twelve days. It is clever and smart and told (interestingly enough) from the perspective of her husband Archie’s mistress: Nan O’Dea. The clincher is that Nan does not seem to love Archie. So why destroy his marriage?
I absolutely loved this. Alternating back and forth between Nan’s (incredibly dark, heartbreaking) past and the time of the disappearance, we come to understand why Nan did what she did. And, how she was connected to Agatha’s disappearance. It’s such an interesting and clever take on a real-life event, I wanted it to be real! It was also a reminder that I need to read more historical fiction… I always enjoy it once I’m reading, but tend to pick up thrillers or contemporary fiction instead. I will add that it starts a little slowly but it builds. Pay attention to all the tiny details, they will be important later on. Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon!
- Overall Score: A-
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photography by Laura Saur.
One of my all time favorite books is, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryan Greenwood. I read it years ago and still think of it often. It’s extremely thought provoking and had me questioning my own self. Why on Earth am I rooting for this to happen…? Is a question I internally asked myself often. Such unexpected feelings and surprises in this book. You may have already read it but this is the one book I recommend to everyone!
Oh this sounds amazing, thank you so much for sharing.
Ooooo that book was so good but polarizing! I read it forever ago but still remember how it made me feel.
May need to check out Maid. I’m also not into anything historical, but I feel like that’s because every historical book is about war that people recommend. The Christie Affair may be the one that shows me otherwise! I’m currently reading The Seven Husbands and can’t wait to read People We Meet On Vacation when I go on a solo beach trip in 2 weeks.
an indigo day
YES I think you are right… I’m not big into war books, but make it about an amazing author and her life and I am in!!!!
I look forward to these posts every month! Just picked up “Reckless Girls” from the library, and added everything else to my Goodreads!
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a really beautiful story, Grace! I had many people recommend it to me, and I understand why now!
Thank you for the rec!!!!
I second this! It’s such a good one
I am starting The Christie Affair today. I read Greenwich Park on your rec and it was so good. Your book posts are my favorite.
Oh I am so glad… and think you will really enjoy both books!
Grace, you should check out The Magnolia Palace – another great historical fiction book that just came out!
I just bought that!
That looks so good. I have Fiona Davis’s The Lions of Fifth Avenue to read on my bedside table first.
I love her books! 🙂
OLGA DIES DREAMING! I really loved it and I already know it’ll make my “best books of 2022 list” – I won’t shut up about it. Also – either your post title is a year off or you read these books quite a while ago, ha! 😉
I think that is going to be my next Scribd listen! Becca loved it so much!
And wow I am losing my mind, I keep writing 2021!
OOOOOO!!! Thank you for all of these suggestions. Listening to Atomic Habits now and added all of these to my TBR on GoodReads. I love reading during these winter months!
xo – Kelly
You’re so welcome – happy reading!!!!
Adding Reckless Girls to my TBR. Already have the rest from your IG stories I can’t wait for The Maid!
I recently read Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano and would recommend it! It’s a cutesy murder mystery. Also just finished The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley, which is a very sweet novel.
Thank you for the recommendations!!
Just started Finlay Donovan thanks to this rec!
Currently halfway through The Good Sister! Thanks for the rec, Grace!
Ah I loved it!!!!
I second Finlay Donovan Is Killing It. If you are looking for another “heartwarming murder mystery” check out The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. Thanks for all the book recs!
I echo the rec for Thursday Murder Club! The sequel is great, too.
My other rec is The Lion’s Den, which is a thriller (set on a yacht off the coast of France) with a pretty good twist!
OOH thank you!
So many people have told me to read The Thursday Murder Club! Off to check it out!
Great list this month! There are two books out right now about Agatha Christie’s disappearance, funny right? I read The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict and really enjoyed it, although it didn’t delve into Nan much so maybe I need to read The Christie Affair too. I’ve since gone back to read an Agatha Christie book as I had a better appreciation of her as a writer and had not read any of her books. Looking forward to your in-depth review of Atomic Habits!
I know, I was just thinking about that – she’s been getting so much attention lately and I love it!
I wish every blogger shared reading lists, thank you for posting them so consistently and enthusiastically! Always love to add your recs to my library list or splurge through Bookshop and support you. (also, Bookshop e-gift cards were my go to gift in 2021 and they were always well received!)
I am so happy you enjoy them!!!
Only you would call something a “heartwarming murder mystery.”
the emoji somehow didn’t come through on this comment—I mean this in the absolute best way! 🙂
HA I know what you meant, but it is the TRUTH!!!! Read it!! 😉
I am so happy that you enjoyed The Good Sister. It’s one of my favourites. It’s not often that I get that attached to characters in a thriller!
I felt so attached to Fern, I loved her as a character.
Your monthly book recaps are my fave! If you haven’t read Katie Courics memoir yet, highly recommend. Juicy just like Jessica Simpsons—I couldn’t put it down!
OOOH I am going to have to look into that, thank you!
I really disliked The Maid which was quite disappointing as I’d heard such good things. I have never listened to an audiobook as it’s not a medium I enjoy – was the narrator Australian like the characters?
Oh no, I loved it so much!!!! And yes the narrator was Australian (or had an Australian accent!).
Did you ever read Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm? It’s an older book now…came out in 2015 maybe? I’d say it is psychological thriller-adjacent with an art heist-like plot, which seems like something that may be up your alley!
Hi Grace! I hope you are having a good week. I read Wish You We’re Here by Jodi Picolt this month for the Bad on Paper podcast and absolutely loved it. It is a book I would read again in 10 years or so to remember everything we have been through with this pandemic. I hadn’t read any Jodi Picolt books before (how??) but since I loved it, I requested a few more from the library. I just finished “Larger than Life.” It was incredible… I am still thinking about it. It is a short story, so a super quick read, about a women who does research on elephants in Africa. I sobbed. One of the best books I’ve read. Now I’m going to be requesting more Jodi Picolt books!
I feel the same way!!! It was so great! You MUST read Leaving Time next, it’s also about elephants in Africa and it made me cry. I read it years ago and still think about it.
Can’t wait to check out The Christie Affair, I just watched “Agatha and the Truth of Murder”on Amazon prime that also imagines (differently) what happened in those 12 lost days! By no means will it win an award but I liked the movie for something different to watch!
Dying to watch that!!!!
I’ve never commented before, but feel I need to let you know that I love your reading lists! I get so many great recommendations from you! Please never stop. 😉
That makes me so so happy! Thank you for telling me. 🙂
I’ve been looking for the post this evening (err, late late night) where you mention a new productivity hack. Did I miss that post? I cannot remember where I even saw that you mentioned posting this, so I attempted to peek at posts and keep filtering through ‘older’ posts. I landed here 🙂 I signed up for the James Clear newsletter in Spring 2019 after stumbling upon your blog and reading your newsletter that weekend. It’s now my favorite. Would LOVE to read the longer post when you share!
Hi Shelley, you just had to scroll back a little more – it’s Monday’s post! Here you go! https://thestripe.com/a-simple-productivity-trick/
Thank you for your thorough books lists every month! Up until the pandemic, I was never a thriller reader. However, I’ve noticed over the last year or so that with my waning attention span (pandemic brain?), thrillers are the only genre of books that consistently give me that can’t-put-it-down feeling. I still don’t like violent/super scary thrillers (when I was a kid I used to read the last chapter of Goosebumps books early on to make sure everything would turn okay!) so I appreciate your reviews, which help me figure out which ones I might like. I really enjoyed both Greenwich Park and The Last Thing He Told Me and I’m debating between The Maid and The Good Sister for today… which is a snow day for me. Also, if I’m buying for my Kindle, I always use your affiliate links as a small thank you for the recommendations. 🙂
That is how I feel too! I want to read more non-fiction, literary fiction, “great books,” but my attention span just isn’t as great. Thrillers really grab me and I can’t put them down!!!!
Starting The Good Sister today! Finished The Mother-in-Law last weekend and absolutely loved it! Stayed up until 3am to finish it Also picked up one of Hepworth’s other books, The Family Next Door! Adding Everything We Didn’t Say to my list.
Favourite January reads:
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by TJR
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica
The Mother-in-law by Sally Hepworth
Hostage by Clare Mackintosh
After the End by Clare Mackintosh
These posts are my favourite! Thank you ❤
Oh that is a great list, I’ve read most of them!!!!
I always love all your recommendations! Currently, my goal is to finish all the books I have in my physical and digital To-Be-Read pile!
Mine is verrrrry sizeable too!!!
Here to say I love these posts! I have so many books cued up from you and the comments. Thanks!
I’m so glad, thank you for letting me know!
Hi Grace! Thank you for always sharing your book recs with us- look forward to these recaps every month! It seems like you gravitate towards fiction but just finished The Empire of Pain which is a deep dive into the Sacklers Family and the OxyContin crisis. Reads like fiction and incredibly fascinating, especially if you’ve seen Dopesick on Hulu. For lighter reads – enjoyed The Flatshare and Just Haven’t Met You Yet. Can’t wait for your February recap!
I am so glad you enjoy them! I love non-fiction and don’t read enough of it, thank you so much for sharing the rec of Empire of Pain, it sounds fascinating!
Love Beatriz Williams for historical fiction!
Me too! I have a few of her books in my TBR pile and The Christie Affair made me remember that I need to read them!
I just finished Good Rich People…wtf?! So fucked up.