Thursday, 11 February 2021

What I read in January 2021 {Monthly Book Round-up}

At the start of the year I shared that one of my hopes was to read more books. I set myself the challenge of reading 30 books in 2021. Now that doesn't really sound like an awful lot does it? Well to me it is, I haven't had time to finish a book since having m  y third baby almost two years ago. I was very worried about setting a goal that was so unachievable to me in my head. So I started out small with just two and a half books a month to be read through the whole year, just to see what was really achievable for my life right now. I plan to share all of my books and ratings  / brief reviews in a monthly round-up post all through the year.

 I'm just going to say it now, as it will quickly become apparent as we go along these monthly round-ups this year, I have a very, eclectic taste in books. I like almost all genres and usually those I don't like are simply ones I have never read before. I also tend to bounce to and from genres whenever I feel like it, I enjoy everything from young adult, rom-coms, full on romance, erotica, biography's, diary's, thriller books, fantasy and basically everything in between. So I have no doubt that throughout this year I will cover many genres, titles and styles of writing which really excites me! 



I really surprised myself by reading 4, yes four whole books in January, well I finished one at 2am on February 1st so I am counting it! I have really loved getting back into the world of books, I love the world created by authors and captured in the pages of a book. 

The four books I read in January 2021 were:  

Lockdown Parenting Fails by Nathan Joyce. 

★★★★★

I had never read a book composed entirely of tweets without any story to it, I quite liked that shortened ability to stop mid page or grab a few page while the children had been busy. It is a collection of tweets from during the first lockdown back in March 2020, the book is sorted into categories with tweets falling under those categories in each section. I particularly enjoyed the Home Schooling tweets. Nathan Joyce really sets down just how crazy this current world we are living in has been for parents in a hilarious and relatable way. 


A Winter Flame by Milly Johnson 

★★★★☆



Eve is a young woman who has suffered a hard childhood and the loss of her greatest love. As a result of her heartbreaking past she hates Christmas, I can't really blame her after all her mother put Eve through with her drug filled lifestyle. Eve was still surrounded by loving family members, aunts and cousins who lived normal lives and cared deeply for their children which showed, especially around Christmas. Eve's great aunt dies, she had been popping by almost every week for years now and expects to be left a locket in her will. She is going to discover that she's actually been left an entire Christmas theme park, a secret fortune her aunt never told anyone about and she is to finish the whole project with the help of Jacques Glace, a stranger who she has never even heard of before. Why would her great aunt leave him half her fortune?

I really enjoyed this read, it was easy to get through. The story was engaging and I was desperate to know exactly who Jacques Glace is. I felt sorry for Eve through most of the story although she seemed a tad selfish and broken compared to the whole host of other characters in the story. The story is told through the view of 3 different people and it regularly jumps between them although it is very easy to follow and keep track of. It would make a good Valentine's read.


The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland 

★★★★★


Tessa, a grief stricken mother who lost one her twins at birth and the other just a few years later has been living in an all consuming state of grief for over a year. It caused her marriage to break down and her job to be lost. However her life is turned upside down one Sunday night after visiting her children's graves. Tessa returns to her big empty house to find Harry, a 5 year old boy sat in her kitchen with no real explanation of how he got there. He asks "Are you my mummy?" And tells her that an angel brought him to her and they travelled by bus. The trouble really begins when Tessa phones the police to help her return Harry to his parents. Everyone around her starts to question if Tessa really took the small boy over her grief at losing her own son. There are even points when Tessa herself doubts her sanity and questions if she could have taken Harry.
Will she have the strength to confront her own past, along with the present lives of the people in her life including her Scott, her husband and find out the truth about who is lying and why?

I loved this book, I simply couldn't put it down, I finished the book in around 9 hours although I have no doubt it would have been faster had I not had 3 children at home all day too. I was entirely enthralled after the first several pages. I can honestly say I felt every emotion you can imagine through this book despite Tessa's truly harrowing story, there was happy moments, sadness, betrayal and ever other emotion we can go through. 
The whole book is written in a way that feels so real, very raw and openly emotional at ever turn. Even I had to question if I thought Tessa had stolen Harry or not.  Shalini Boland is an exceptional writer that really brings everything to life in a way that seems so real and as if your caught up in this story yourself. The story is told through the view of Tessa and we see her inner struggle with her grief, her reality and sometimes with her own mind.
 I will say that I had guessed the ending by around half way through but it honestly didn't put me off reading at all, I still wanted to find out every twist and turn on the way! 

I highly recommend as it is definitely worth a read. 


This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay  

★★★★☆

A real recounting of life as Junior Doctor in the NHS, this is a non- fiction book that is really the diary of Adam Kay in his first and only years as a Doctor. We all count on the NHS day in and day out, it keeps us alive and helps to look after us when we need them most. However Adam Kay opens our eyes to the reality of life behind the front line of the NHS when it comes to the doctors we trust with our life. 
I enjoyed the book, it's set like a dairy and I imagine quite similar to the actual diaries which Adam kept during this time. IT shares the good, the bad and very ugly stories and realities that many of us don't even think about. IT really is an eye opening book and worth the read. I think I had this one particularly hyped up in my mind because it got glowing reviews of an absolute must read last year and it just didn't live up to my expectation which is why I gave it 4 stars. 


I'm officially in love with reading again, January has shown me that I can enjoy a few chapters here and there without having to plough through entire books in one sitting. I'm really excited to keep reading and seeing what I will read this year.

What did you read in January?


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