My January 2022 in Books

I finished five books in January. This is still below where I used to be. I have accepted that this is how i read now. I take a longer to read a book. I take longer breaks between books. I get distracted while reading. I have adjusted my yearly reading goal accordingly and will change it again if necessary.

1. Friends Like These by Kimberly McCreight

Told in various viewpoints and bouncing back and forth in time we get the story of a group of friends who met in college. They have come together at one’s summer house to hold an intervention and convince another to go to rehab. Later in the weekend, a car is found. One of the group is dead, another is missing. Is it connected to an incident from their college years?

It took me longer to read this one than I expected. I didn’t like any of the characters. I don’t think I was supposed to. You don’t know who is dead and who is missing until the very end of the book. The ending connects to another part of the story interestingly, but it took a long time to get there and then the book ends. It could have been much better.

2. All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M Morris

Ellice Littlejohn seemingly has it all. An Ivy League education, a good job as a lawyer, good friends, and her relationship with her married boss, Michael. That all changed early one morning when Ellice finds Michael dead in his office. His death is ruled a homicide and Ellice’s life is turned upside down.

I should have liked this book more. I got it from the library because of the good reviews. It is the type of book I usually like. It just took me forever to get into it. Maybe it was because it was another one of those books where a lot of her troubles could have been solved had she immediately called the police or talked to anyone at all about anything. I get that they tell her backstory and she has a reason not to trust, but it still annoyed me. Also, the whole story of who did it and why seemed a bit ridiculous.

3. The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper

Charlie Marder is a veteran, author, and professor who becomes a Congressman when his dad uses his influence to get him appointed when his predecessor dies suddenly. Charlie is struggling to navigate 1950’s DC when a fatal car crash thrusts him into an underworld of secret clubs and a plot that could change the course of history.

I enjoyed the mix of real history and fiction. I looked up several things to see if they were real and was always surprised at what actually happened. The story was interesting. I just didn’t find the main character that interesting. While I liked the story, I didn’t really care what happened to Charlie and his wife. I probably won’t read the sequel.

4. The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly

This is the latest in the Renee Ballard/Harry Bosch series. Ballard is working on a murder that is connected to a murder Bosch investigated before he retired. She’s also trying to catch a pair of serial rapists. She teams up with Bosch again to solve the crimes.

I usually love the Bosch books. I’ve enjoyed the addition of Ballard to the story. It took me a bit to get into this one because Connelly leaned really hard into “it’s during the pandemic so I need to mention masks constantly” It made it hard for me to read. Eventually, the story took over and he mentioned who was wearing or not wearing a mask. The mystery of the murder was decent. The rape story was not as well done. A bit of disappointment for me.

5. Wholehearted Faith by Rachel Held Evans

Rachel Held Evans started this book before her tragic death in 2019. With the help of her friend and fellow writer, Jeff Chu, that start has been woven together with some of her other writing from her blog and other unpublished writing into this book. It is a collection of essays looking at the stories and lessons we’ve been told from another angle.

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction in general and I generally only read religion books for church stuff. Evans was the one writer who always got me to read religious books away from the church. She writes for those like her. People who have doubts, who have questions, who have been hurt by the church but still want to believe. I’m sad this is the last writing we will get from her.


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