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January 30, 2022

The First Reading Month of 2022

by Donna Huber

January always feels so long and it didn't help that I didn't sleep well for most of it. The cold, wet weather (I got snow one day) made my arthritis flare up. I didn't read much because I was just too tired most evenings. 

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Life Update

I think the most exciting thing this month was the snow day. Unfortunately, it occurred on a Sunday so I didn't get an extra day off work. But it was beautiful - big, fluffy flakes. It didn't last long as it was already starting to melt as the sunset. It was a lovely day though. There was a high risk of power outages so I did a lot of prep on Saturday. It left Sunday to be a completely lazy day and I took full advantage of it.

Tomorrow, I wrap up the 30 Day Yoga Journey with Yoga with Adriene. My French lessons are going well. I really hope that I finish them this year.

Blog Update

January was filled to the brim with new releases and we also had a few 2021 books to review this month. If you are looking for recommendations, here are some of our most popular posts this month.
Other posts that might be of interest:

Reading Update

At the end of last year, reading started feeling like a chore because I accepted way too many books for review in 2021 and I was really trying to keep up. So I tried to infuse a little more joy into my reading this month by listening to some favorite audiobooks. It felt like destiny as there are almost always long hold lists for them at the digital library. So I didn't read quite as many books as I have been, but I'm still 2 books ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge. 

My goals remain the same year.
  1. Read more or as many reviews copies: 10/13 (YTD: 10/13)
  2. Read 12 backlog (prior to 2021) review copies: 0 (YTD: 0)
  3. Read/listen to 130 books: 13/130
I listened to 9 audiobooks (6 were for review) and read 4 ebooks (all for review).

A Deception Most Deadly by Genevieve Essig

A Deception Most Deadly

This was probably a little more southern fiction than I typically like but I enjoyed the mystery. I liked the main character and I can see the other characters growing on me. It was a fun audiobook to listen to. I received the audiobook from Netgalley. Read my full review.

(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE)

The Last Dance of the Debutante by Julia Kelly

The Last Dance of the Debutante

It starting to be a habit of starting the new year with a new book from Julia Kelly. I enjoyed this book so much more than I thought I would. I knew it would be good but I thought the high society life would have me rolling my eyes. It reminded me a bit of the movie Mona Lisa Smile. I received an ARC via Netgalley. Read my full review.

The Mitford Vanishing by Jessica Fellowes

The Mitford Vanishing

This is the first Mitford Murders Mystery that I've read. I had a little trouble keeping straight the Mitford sisters but other than that I don't think it is necessary to have read the previous books in the series. Though I will be checking the library to see if they have this series as I really enjoyed this book and would like to read the previous books. I received an audiobook via Netgalley. Read my full review.

Buy The Mitford Vanishing at Amazon

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

Notes on an Execution

Five years ago I read Kukafka's debut novel and was kind of ambivalent about it - it was different from other books I had read in the genre but I wasn't sure if it was my cup of tea. So I debate back and forth on reading this book and probably had the only ARC been the ebook I would have passed, but since I there was an ARC of the audiobook available I decided to take a chance. I'm glad I read it. It was good - it held my attention, and I l.iked how all the threads came together. I'm not thrilled about the last chapter that was an epilogue of sorts. I think the book would have been better if it had ended with the execution. Overall, I would recommend the book. I received an audiobook via Netgalley. Read my full review.

Buy Notes on an Execution at Amazon

The Maid by Nita Prose 

The Maid

Wow now I know why everyone is talking about this book. It was so good. Definitely didn't want to put it down. I received an ARC via Netgalley. Read my full review.

Buy The Maid at Amazon

Easter Bonnet Murder by Leslie Meier

Easter Bonnet Murder

I read a Christmas short story a couple of years ago but I haven't read any of the books in this series. I was confused at the beginning because I didn't know who any of the characters were. I did like that Lucy is a mom. I don't think I read many series where the title character is married and has children. If you like Joanne Fluke's books then you will like this series. I received an audiobook from Netgalley. Read my full review.

Buy Easter Bonnet Murder at Amazon

Joan is Okay by Weike Wang

Joan is Okay

Joan is an interesting character. I wanted to read this book because it featured a single woman who didn't feel the need to find a husband. But I was kind of disappointed that she didn't have any work-life balance. She basically has no life outside of her job as an ICU doctor. As she is an Asain-American, cultural differences and racism are touched on. I received an ARC via Netgalley. Read my full review.

Buy Joan is Okay at Amazon

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I needed something to fill in between audiobooks and by some miracle the audiobook was available at my digital library. I always enjoy returning to Hogwarts and the world of Harry Potter. As usual it was an entertaining story.

(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE)

Up to No Gouda by Linda Reilly

Up to No Gouda

This is a fun cozy mystery. I think this might become a must read series for me as I really liked the characters - though it did make me want to eat grilled cheese sandwiches. I received an audiobook via Netgalley. Read my full review.

Buy Up to No Gouda at Amazon

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I was in between audiobooks again and shockingly this one was available at the digital library which is rare so I decided to revisit Hogwarts. This one has always been my least favorite of the series (because I found Dobby annoying) but it has grown on me.

(Prime members can read the ebook for FREE)

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections

I enjoyed the story, but I'm not sure if I liked it. All the characters seemed a bit odd as they have secrets to hide. The mystery is good but I figured out who did it about halfway through. I was disappointed that we didn't get a true answer to why the person did it. I received an ARC via Netgalley. Read my full review.

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

The Christie Affair

Not as much biographical fiction as I was expecting it was still an enjoyable book to read. I'm not sure how much Nan O'Dea is like the real Nancy Neele. I wish there had been an author's note as I'm really curious why de Gramont decided to create a fictional character rather than build the story around the real person. I received an audiobook via Netgalley. Read my full review.

Buy The Christie Affair at Amazon

The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

The Discover of Witches

This is another re-listen. I really love this series. I also recently rewatched season 1 of the TV series based on the book (I didn't really like it anymore than the first time I watched it). But by relistening to the book I realized one of the reasons I love it so much. It isn't rushed. We get to know the characters do everyday things (playing scrabble, watching movies, etc) instead of just going from one action scene to another. I borrowed the audiobook from the digital library.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. It looks like January was a good month for you! Have a fabulous February!

  2. I read Joan is Okay and The Maid this month, and I liked them both. It is always good when the positive buzz is justified, I think.

    I'm glad to see that The Last Dance of the Debutante was a hit with you.

    And I'm glad you have found a way to sit back and enjoy reading a little more than in 2021.

  3. It looks like 2022 is off to a good start for you! It's always fun to start the year with some really good reads.

    Have a great February!

  4. i like your snowman. i remember watching that first snow fall and how exciting it seemed. now, i watch it on tv and am satified. lol
    sherry @ fundinmental

  5. You had a great reading month. The Mitford Murder Mystery caught my eye.

  6. Love seeing Harry Potter in the mix but The Maid is on my GR list! Happy February!

  7. Thanks for all these interesting links!
    Yes, everybody seems to be reading The Maid!
    I used to have tons of books for review, I'm now very strict at what I request.
    Enjoy your week, and if you want more snow, maybe I can ship you some (on a week day!) from Chicago, lol.