January 2022 Grown Up Book Reviews

January 2022 Grown Up Book Reviews

February 1, 2022
by
Brittany the Book Lady

Another great start to a fabulous reading year!! This year, I set a goal to read 100 books. I know, I know, I read over double that in 2021, but this year, I don't want to be under pressure to finish as many as last year and I don't want to be wary of the thicker reads! I hope to embrace some much longer reads this year! Wish me luck!! 

But back to January....We road tripped a lot in January and I was the primary driver, so I got a TON of time to listen to audiobooks and my selections were quite varied, just how I like them. I'm a very eclectic reader. I was able to knock several books off of my TBR, many of which have been on my TBR for a while and some that are brand new. Have you read any of these books? 

The Island of Missing Trees - Elif Shafak

Short summary

This story has nonlinear timelines. Meet Ada, the daughter of Kosta and Defne, and the “all-knowing” fig tree that witnessed so much over the years. Ada longs to know about her ancestors on Cyprus, an island she has never visited, and her parents’ forbidden love. Her mother has just died and her father doesn’t talk about it and is entirely engrossed in his research and writing about trees. How will she ever learn about her past?

Overall review

This book was classified as literary fiction. For me, it was slow paced and the nonlinear timelines threw me off a few times. We also heard the perspective and ecology of the fig tree and various other trees, which while interesting to me, slowed things down as well. Overall, the story was beautifully written and interesting. I do enjoy reading literary fiction but have to be in the mood for it.

Overall rating - 3.5 ⭐️

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music - Dave Grohl

Short summary

This memoir/autobiography gives us an inside look into Dave Grohl’s life, choices that led him to where he is today, loads of stories about rock shows, connections he has made that have influenced him and inspired him over the years, time spent in multiple bands including Nirvana and the impact Kurt Cobain and his death had on his life. In this book, we hear from the real Dave Grohl and he is unapologetically himself in this book, f bombs and all!

Overall review

I’m a big Foo Fighters fan and I’ve always thought Dave Grohl was a great guy. I was intrigued by this book and the awesome reviews it had so I wanted to pick it up and see if it lived up to the hype. It was a bit scattered and some of the stories led me wanting to learn more and understand his experiences on a deeper level, but I had to appreciate the book for what it was, a sneak peek into Dave’s life, through a collection of stories (some of which were unrelated), written by a musician, not an author. For me, the most redeeming part of the book is hearing about his daughters and the impact his mom had on his life. I loved hearing his stories from fatherhood. I do feel like I finished the book with a greater appreciation for Dave Grohl and his music and he sounds like an all-around well-rounded, and passionate guy who puts family first. He has found a way to balance music and family and be the present father that was missing in his life. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to fellow Foo Fighters fans.

Overall rating - 4⭐️

A Flicker in the Dark - Stacy Willingham

Short summary

Chloe Davis is a psychologist getting ready for her wedding. Local teens are going missing in her area, including one of her very own patients. The troubling events surrounding these disappearances are causing her own past traumas from 20 years ago to resurface. It was a time when teen girls were also going missing and her father confessed to the murders and was put away for life. Why does Chloe feel like the disappearances from today are somehow linked to her very own past? Can she unmask a killer for the second time in her life? 

Overall review

This book had me hooked from the beginning. I couldn't imagine being the daughter of a serial killer and the lifelong damage that something like that would do to a person. I loved the twists and turns, many of which were unexpected for me! I highly recommend this thriller! It will keep you second guessing yourself and who the real culprit could be.

Overall rating - 4⭐️

Yearbook - Seth Rogen

Short summary

Actor and comedian Seth Rogen wrote a memoir, cataloging a variety of funny and oftentimes appalling true stories from his own life, including tales of Jewish summer camp, drug consumption, the influence his grandparents had on his life, and many more crazy stories.

Overall review

While this book was entertaining, it was also wildly inappropriate at times. There was talk of porn, illegal activities, underage drinking, and drugs....lots of drugs. I cannot in good faith recommend this book without those trigger warnings. But I did laugh at times, and listening to this book passed the time while driving on our road trip. If you listen, like I did, be sure to grab your AirPods! 

Overall rating - 3⭐️

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead - Emily R. Austin

Short summary

Gilda is an atheist lesbian who cannot stop herself from agonizing over the thought of death. She very accidentally finds herself getting employed as a receptionist at a Catholic church to replace another receptionist who has passed away. She also found herself impersonating the recently deceased previous receptionist, Grace, in church email correspondence with Grace's old friend, just too afraid to break the bad news to her. When some suspicious details come out about Grace's death, things get tricky and Gilda wants to put on her detective hat a bit and begins speculating about what really happened to Grace.

Overall review

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I adored this book. The deadpan humor, insight on the human condition, and Gilda's quirks and insights about life kept me interested and engaged in what would happen. I liked the element of mystery surrounding Grace's death and the irony of the situations that Gilda kept finding herself in. I really like books that feature atypical/neurodiverse characters and this one didn't disappoint! 

Overall rating - 4⭐️

Olympus, Texas - Stacey Swann

Short summary

Meet the Briscoe family, a family fraught with affairs, deception, drama, betrayal, tense emotions, and more. It is so twisted what these family members would do to each other, the secrets they would keep from one another, and the abuse they would inflict upon each other! And now, someone is dead, and someone is to blame, but who should take the fall? 

Overall review

I loved following the drama around this family and enjoyed the elements of mystery and deception. While there was incredible deceit, I was also amazed at the lengths some family members would go to protect each other in this tale as well.

Overall rating - 4⭐️

The Mother-in-Law - Sally Hepworth

Short summary

Lucy's mother in law is dead and she's not surprised or particularly sad about it. Since meeting Diana, Lucy has tried to win Diana's acceptance, but Diana merely tolerates Lucy and never really lets her get close. Why? Diana has left a suicide note after changing her will to disinherit her children, and there is no cancer in her body as she had claimed. Diana is an upstanding community member and works hard for female refugees. Was her death a set up? And if so, who would want her dead? 

Overall review

I have loved some of Sally Hepworth's other domestic thrillers and was glad to grab this audiobook for our travels as well. While this one was a bit slower than the others I have enjoyed, I was still motivated to churn through it from start to finish in one stretch of our drive. It wasn't AS twisty as the others, but there were some unexpected turns in this one. At the end of the audiobook, it was interesting to hear a short interview with Sally and it gave me an even greater appreciation for her works.

Overall rating - 4⭐️

The Kind Worth Killing - Peter Swanson

Short summary

Ted meets Lily in an airport and as they get chummy, they begin to share very revealing details about their personal lives. Ted even reveals, jokingly that he'd like to kill his wife for her infidelity and Lily very calmly replies that she would like to help. As they make this plan, Ted begins to wonder - what's in this for Lily? Lily has some secrets of her own from her past that she hasn't shared with Ted including her own personal experience with murder starting from a very early age. Will they both survive the plan that they have laid out to end Miranda's life? 

Overall review

This book was absolutely crazy! It will stick with me for a while. Graphic, appalling, surprising, and mysterious! I was kept on the edge of my seat throughout much of this book. Twisty in all the right ways. I recommend and if you read it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Overall rating - 4.5 ⭐️

Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult - Faith Jones

Short summary

Faith Jones grew up in the Children of God cult. She eventually escapes as she craves independence in her own life and once she is out, she reflects back on her experiences and learns how screwed up her childhood really was. In this memoir, she courageously shares of the radical ideas, abuse, sex scandals, and journey that she had over the years living in her own version of reality, what she used to know as truth.

Overall review

I was enthralled by this shocking memoir. It was like reading about a train wreck and it continued to surprise and appall me throughout. I'm always intrigued by the psychological nature of cults and how and why they work and this memoir didn't disappoint. If this topic interests you at all, I encourage you to check it out.

Overall rating - 4⭐️

These Silent Woods - Kimi Cunningham Grant

Short summary

A father and daughter are living entirely by themselves in the remote Appalachian mountains. They are completely disconnected and sheltered away from the real world and have supplies delivered once a year by their dear friend, Jake. What is it that has led Cooper to raise his daughter by himself in this way? What has he got to hide? What will happen to them when Jake doesn't bring supplies this year? The two will need to face their past and do what it takes to move forward.

Overall review

This book quite literally blew me away. So beautifully written, such great storytelling, and a heart-warming relationship between father and daughter. Cooper would go to the ends of the earth on account of his love for his only daughter and his only love left in his world, Finch. We need more stories like this! This was my first 5 star read for 2022! 

Overall rating - 5⭐️

The Maid - Nita Prose

Short summary

Molly finds the infamous and wealthy Mr. Black dead in his hotel suite. Because Molly is a bit different, it's no surprise that the police find her quite suspicious in their investigation. How will Molly get out of this situation, especially after losing her Gran just a few months ago, the only person that she felt she could truly rely on and who knew her better than anyone. Is there anyone else on her side? 

Overall review

This book is another example of a story that featured a neurodiverse protagonist, Molly the maid. She was so lovable and interesting to read. I loved seeing her develop in this story and find herself despite the circumstances. She learned a bit more about who she is and how to interact with others and how to work through the grief of her Gran's passing. This book was much more than just a murder mystery/whodunit! There are deeper themes and strong character development for our main character, Molly.

Overall rating - 4⭐️

Reckless Girls - Rachel Hawkins

Short summary

Lux and her boyfriend Nico are hired to charter a sail to a remote island by college best friends Brittany and Amma. This sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime to escape reality a bit for all parties involved, but when they arrive, they realize that this trip is not all it was cracked up to be. There are others on the island already. Who are these people and why are they really there? They are finding that this island is more cut off from the real world than they had originally realized and some members of this party are starting to feel trapped and questioning their island mates. Can they really trust each other? 

Overall review

This one was entertaining and a quick listen as an audiobook, and I enjoyed the unique setting, but overall, I think this one was a bit forgettable. The characters were unlikeable and awful, backstabbing, and unfaithful. It was alright and a bit twisty, but nothing earth-shattering. I much preferred The Wife Upstairs, another book by Rachel Hawkins that I read last year.

Overall rating - 3⭐️

We Are the Brennans - Tracey Lange

Short summary

Sunday gets into a terrible car accident and is forced to reunite with her family after running away from them with little explanation 5 years away. What really caused her to leave the family? After a dangerous man from Sunday's past re-enters the picture and threatens to upend the Brennans and their livelihoods, old secrets must come out and they must lean on one another like they never have before.

Overall review

This one was a bit slow moving for me. While I like a good family saga and this one was somewhat entertaining, I personally felt like it was a bit repetitive and dragged on more than it needed to. Then the ending was a bit rushed for my liking.

Overall rating - 3⭐️

Did you enjoy this blog post? Would you like to see more bookish content? I invite you to also connect with me over on Instagram at and on my Goodreads account.

Brittany the Book Lady

Growing up I was first introduced to Usborne Books and More at a young age when my mom had purchased books for our family. Since then, I've fallen in love with the books and the company's mission to promote literacy throughout the country.​

All Posts By This Author
Connect with Us

Related Posts