Quick Lit: January 2019 (Part 1)

I've finally made it to 2019 reviews! I've still got reviews to write, but the task is less daunting now. I read 20 books in January. I'm reviewing nine today and nine in Part Two tomorrow. I talked about my one other January read in December's Quick Lit. Check out the Quick Lit linkup hosted by Modern Mrs. Darcy for reviews from other readers.

A RULE AGAINST MURDER BY LOUISE PENNY – Confession, y'all: I still don't love this series. I know I said it in my review of the previous book, but I keep waiting for these books to get better for me. If I hadn't splurged and bought the entire series, I probably would have quit by now. I'm going to give it another book or two, and then... we shall see. Penny's writing is always really enjoyable, and I love that she seems fascinated by the whys of human nature. I liked the change of setting, Gamache is still great, and I loved seeing more of his relationship with his wife. All good things! But the mystery was boring, and the motive seemed weak. I So Liked It overall, but I want more from it.

BRIDGE OF CLAY BY MARKUS ZUSAK – This is about five brothers surviving in the wake of family tragedy. It spans continents and generations, zipping between characters, and shifting where it’s at in time. There is the simplicity of life in suburban Australia infused with the magic of Michelangelo and the greatness of two Greek poems. In the first 60 pages, I almost set it aside. Zusak’s writing has a rhythm all its own, but puzzle pieces eventually started to fall into place. I So Loved It, but maybe in the way you love a sibling? I loved it, even when it tested my patience or wasn't what I expected. If you like stories about family, forgiveness, and finding your way, this one is for you.

WE WERE THE LUCKY ONES BY GEORGIA HUNTER – I cried over this book, and that rarely happens. Inspired by the true story of one Jewish family during WWII, this book was the perfect choice to start the year. Sometimes a statistic is hard to wrap your head around, but reading just one family’s story can put a name to a number and breathe feelings into facts. Stories like this one remind me that reading is such a gift. Great books can call out the best in us: igniting our imagination, inspiring our actions, and bringing forth empathy and compassion. And this book certainly did all of that and more. I'm So Obsessed With It and know this will be one of my favorites of the year.

TARNISH BY KATHERINE LONGSHORE – Kelly gave me this book back in 2014, and it sat on my shelves until I finally picked it up this year. Kelly adores Anne Boleyn, and this is one of her favorite historical fiction books about her. While I don't have her same wealth of knowledge about the subject matter, I really enjoyed this backstory. Longshore imagines Anne's return to the Tudor court in her teens, and I thought the setting was so well. Anne's ambition and desire to prove herself was fascinating. My least favorite aspect of the book was the relationships. None of them worked for me. But this is about Anne, not the romance, and that aspects earns a So Enjoyed It.

LOVE Á LA MODE BY STEPHANIE KATE STROHM – Rosie and Henry have a meet cute on a flight to Paris — where they’re headed to study at a prestigious cooking school. What followed was a delicious mix of food, family drama, and falling in love. I’m not a foodie (gimme all the pizza rolls and don’t come near me with pâté), but I looove books with a culinary angle. This satisfied that craving! I was drooling over crêpes and croissants the entire time. The only sour note in an otherwise sweet dish? The romance! The hero was moody and jealous, and the miscommunication was frustrating. I So Liked It and recommend it if you love France and/or food in books, with reservations.

PRINCESS OF THORNS BY STACEY JAY – I was browsing my library's audiobook selection and spotted Princess of Thorns. I downloaded it, turned it on, and got swept up in Julia Whelan's excellent narration. I loved this one back when I first read in 2015. But y'all, it was even better than I remembered! It's a fairy tale with a twist, and I love that it uses Sleeping Beauty as its jumping off point. The characters steal the show here, though the world and story are great, too. Aurora + Niklaas is a match made in heaven. I loved how their journey led to a wonderful friendship first! I'm So Obsessed With It and am buying the audio for future re-reads. Whelan did an excellent job reading it!

THE HUNTRESS BY KATE QUINN* – In the aftermath of WWII, three people are brought together by a common goal: the search for a female Nazi known only as the Huntress. Readers know the identity of the Huntress pretty early on, and I’m not sure that entirely worked for me. I expected this to read like a thriller, but the pacing didn’t have that sense of urgency. It's a slow-burning game of cat and mouse. I had to remind myself — it isn’t about the mystery, it’s about the hunt. I think if I'd gone in with that expectation, the pacing wouldn't have bothered me as much.

Of the three storylines, Nina’s was the most compelling for me. I had never read much about female pilots in the war, so I loved learning more about them. Ian’s perspective highlighted the difficulty of searching for someone without current technology. So tedious and time consuming before the Internet! And Jordan’s POV had a building sense of anxiety because she knows something isn’t right, but no one believes her. Quinn excels at providing vivid historical detail, memorable settings, and hitting all the emotional notes. It was satisfying overall, and I So Loved It.

THE OTHER MISS BRIDGERTON BY JULIA QUINN – I loved the first book in this series and thought the second was just okay, so I didn't know what to expect going into the third. I hadn't seen a lot of reviews for it either. I'll be honest, I just never loved the premise of this one. I mean, he kidnapped her! Yes, he had his reasons, but still... Their interactions were fun, but it started to feel repetitive after a while. The pacing was a little off for me, too. The first two-thirds felt somewhat languid, and then a lot of drama is packed into the last third. That unevenness bugged me! I'd give it a So Liked It because it was fun, but I won't re-read or remember much about it.

I OWE YOU ONE BY SOPHIE KINSELLA* – Fixie Farr saves a stranger’s laptop from disaster at a coffee shop and ends up with an “IOU” that changes everything... eventually. Prepare for these characters to test your patience on every page. The heroine’s nickname comes from her desire to “fix” everything around her, but she really needed to focus on fixing herself. The hero and other secondary characters weren’t any better, and that was the downfall of the book for me. There were classic Kinsella elements I enjoyed (humor, personal growth, heartwarming ending), but I was So Okay With It overall. It's hard to root for a heroine who let everyone in her life take advantage of her!  

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

What have you been reading lately?


  1. I'm still so sad we never got a Princess of Thorns sequel :( I LOVE that book.

  2. I'm so curious about the Princess of Thorns on audio now! I really enjoyed the book when I read it, but I'm now excited to potentially do a reread via audio after seeing your thoughts :)


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