January 2021 Book Review.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Happy Tuesday!! It is a very happy Tuesday indeed because it is BOOK REVIEW TIME!!! Abby and I are combining forces to review all the books that we read in January!! Grab our graphic and join us!! You can find the link-up HERE.

We've got lots on the lineup for today!! 3 series. 1 memoir. 1 classic. One five-star. Two one-star. 23 books coming up, so let’s get into it!!

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

This book is about Liz Lighty. She believes that she's too black, too poor, and too awkward to fit into her small, rich, and "prom obsessed" town. But she has a plan. Liz's dream is to go to Pennington College and play in their orchestra. But unfortunately, Liz's financial aid falls through and she's left wondering how she'll be able to pursue her dreams. UNTIL she remembers her school's scholarship for prom king and queen. There's nothing Liz wants to do less, but she's willing to endure it all to achieve her dream. The only thing that makes it bearable is the new girl, Mack. Smart, funny, and popular, Mack also runs for prom queen. 

I loved this book!! First of all, I've never read anything like it!! I normally steer away from high school chick-lits, but this book's hype was way too much to ignore!! I've heard so much about this book, and it was finally time for me to read it!!

This book was so sweet. It is an enemies-to-lovers, which I normally don't love, but this book really pulled it off!! This book also features a queer couple, Liz and Mack, and they were so much fun to read about!! 

Speaking of Liz, she was such a great character to read about!! Her growth throughout this book was really inspiring!!

This book was just a delight to read!! If you are looking for a light, happy, but also emotional, easy book to put your mind at ease, I recommend this one 100%!! 


Becoming by Michelle Obama 

Oh my goodness. This book could EASILY make it into my top 3 for 2021, if not the number one spot!! I read my number one book from 2020 in January, who's to say that couldn't be the same for this year!! 

I loved, loved, loved this book. I mean, wow. Wow, wow, wow. This book was just great,

This book is a memoir from the one and only Michelle Obama. In this book, the former First Lady recounts her time growing up on the South-side of Chicago to going to Princeton to becoming the First Lady of the United States. 

If you couldn't tell already, I loved this book. I've been wanting to read this book for a while now but just haven't. Why? I'm wondering the exact same thing. I finally suggested to Abby about reading it for our book club, and I was so excited when she happily agreed!!

I'm normally not one to read memoirs, especially enjoy them, but this book gets a 100000000000/5. I could not put it down and read it all in one day. 

This book is SOOOO hard to review because I loved it SOOOO much that I can't put it into words.

Okay, well, I loved this book. I'm sorry that this review is very all over the place, but I simply can not even put into words how great this book is. It touches on everything. From racism and genderism to all the hate that her family received. I loved hearing about how she grew up as a simple girl, never even imagining that her future would hold something this big. She had similar aspirations as me. She wanted to be a mom, lawyer. But she grew into something much bigger and the WHOLE time remained as humble as she would've been without turning into the First Lady. She pictured herself as someone who was there to help others and better our country which I found very inspiring and reassuring. 

If I haven't gotten you to want to read this book yet, then I don't what will. I'll say it one final time before I make everyone run away...

I loved this book. 


Okay...I'm done. 


This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens

This book is about a woman named Minnie who was born on New Year's Day. Her mom was determined to make Minnie the first baby born of 1990 in order to win a prize. Minnie's mom and another mom go head-to-head, but in the end, Minnie's mom misses it by only a few minutes. And in addition to that, the mom competing against Minnie's steals the name that Minnie's mom originally had planned for Minnie, Quinn. 

Wow that’s a lot of Minnie talk. 

This book basically focuses on how Minnie has a ton of bad luck and has a doomed relationship with New Year's Eve. And then,  Minnie meets Quinn on when? New Year's Eve. 

Okay, first of all, I read this on New Year's Day so that's exciting. And second of all, I did not like it...so that's less exciting. 

This book to me was just very bland. Nothing about it stood out to me. It just seemed like all the other chick-lit, rom-com books that I've read. I did like the idea of it, but it just seemed very bland to me. 

Overall, this book is nothing special. I didn't love it. 


Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

At the beginning of quarantine, I decided that I wanted to start on a series. I hadn't read a good, real, series in a while so I was ready to dive into one!! I was looking around and found Vampire Academy and decided to try it on a whim!! 

Y'all know that I love Twilight, but one of the only problems that I have with it, is that Bella was not self-sufficient at all. She wasn't very reliable. Now Enter Rose. Rose is a bodyguard to Lissa, a vampire princess. I know, I know, but trust me, it gets better. They attend a vampire academy. 

So yeah, this book is not something that I would normally pick up, but I did, and I actually really enjoyed it!!  

Okay, first of all, I love the friendship between Lissa and Rose. I mean Rose is a bodyguard and Lissa is a princess. Not a very likely friendship, but it works. Rose is hard-headed and stubborn, and Lissa is gentle and kind. Pretty much opposites, but they were very interesting to read about. 

Second of all, I loved Dimitri, who is another bodyguard in the vampire royalty world. He's also Rose's instructor/mentor. 

Third of all, this whole book is just very interesting. It kept my attention the whole time, which y'all know, is very difficult to do. I mean the whole concept is very interesting. Vampire royalty who are protected by "half-vampires," from Strigoi, which are vampires that have turned evil. And they go to a vampire school. 

The only issue that I have with this series is that it lacked the Harry Potter aspect. Do you get what I'm saying? The academy wasn't really that special...nothing compared to Harry Potter. 

Overall, I did really enjoy this series. It was very interesting. A great young-adult fantasy for those who looking for a series to read!! 


The Siren by Kiera Cass

So if you missed my post earlier this month, you would not know that I was a big fan of Kiera Cass' Selection series!! If you remember my August book review, I read The Betrothed by Kiera Cass and was very, very disappointed by it. Well, I tried to venture out and read The Siren and I was, once again, very disappointed. 

Honestly, this book was kinda a snoozefest...It did nothing for me. It was very dull and bland, and it did not keep my attention at all. 

This book is basically about these girls who are sirens. Meaning, that their voices are deadly. They use their singing to drown humans. Kahlen has been a siren for 80 years. She never ages or gets sick, and she never disobeys the ocean. Until she meets Akinli.

The characters were boring. The concept was interesting but it was not portrayed well at all. There was insta-love which I am not a fan of. It was just flat. 

So, I think I might be done with Kiera Cass. The Selection was amazing, but these last 2 books did absolutely nothing for me. 


The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

If you remember from last month, I read one of Elizabeth Acevedo's newest releases, Clap When You Land, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This month, I decided to try another one of her books, and ended up with The Poet X! 

The Poet X is about a girl named Xiomara who is growing up. Things are changing around her, and she's finally become aware of herself. I mean the emotions are everywhere. Shame, fear, anger, desire, joy, doubt, pleasure. With that Xiomara also has to worry about her mother's extremely strict rules and religion. 

These past few months I have formed a newfound love for books in verse. They're easy to read, yet they pack a very powerful punch. So going into this book, I was expecting nothing less, and it delivered. 

Just like Clap When You Land, The Poet X discusses a bunch of hard-hitting topics but does it in such an effective and beautiful way. This book is all about self-acceptance and becoming an individual and I found it very powerful to read. Overall this book was great, and the message behind it was even greater. I had an absolute thrill reading about Xiomara and her story. This story shows what it means to be a girl, sister, daughter, but most importantly, what it means to be an individual.

Endless love for this book and Elizabeth Acevedo...I'm hoping to try With Fire on High in February!!


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I've been wanting to read this book for about a year now, and I finally took the plunge!!

This book is about Jacob. Jacob grew up on the stories that his grandfather told him about his childhood. Jacob eventually loses the fantasy in his stories, but when Jacob's grandfather dies, he starts to wonder if these stories are actually real. 

I really liked this book!! I had already seen the movie, which was probably not the best idea, but I really liked the way it translated into book form!! The whole story stayed very similar to the movie, which I always love. 

One of my favorite things about this book was that it incorporated photos!! It was easy to see what they were talking about, and honestly, just fun to look at!! 

I loved how different this book was from most of the books that I've read!! It had a very interesting concept, and I loved how it was sort of creepy also!!

Overall, I thought this was a fun, creepy, book that I really enjoyed!!


Legend Series by Marie Lu

Y'all know that I am a huge sucker for dystopian books. The Hunger Games, Shatter Me, Selection series...I love them all!! I came across Legend and instantly knew that I had to read it!!

Legend is told from a dual perspective. We have June, who is a noble citizen, and we have Day, who is a notorious criminal. It is set 100 years into the future. The United States has been split between the Colonies and the Republic. Plagues are diminishing the population and what was once a united country is no longer. Sounds very familiar, right? I know!! 

I really enjoyed this series!! I loved the split perspective and how the stories overlapped!! This dystopian society was VERY interesting to read about, especially with how similar it is to the time we're going through now!! Let me tell y'all, it is VERY corrupt. 

I also really enjoyed the characters!! I had a thrill reading about June and Day and how different they are!! Overall, this was a fun series that I really enjoyed!!


If You're Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser

This book is about Zan. Zan's best friend Priya recently moved to California, and all of a sudden she ghosts her. 

I had some really high hopes for this one. *sigh* It did not reach those hopes. This book was such a letdown. 

I mean it wasn't awful, but it wasn't good. The plot was boring and nothing really gripped me. It wasn't very suspenseful and it did not keep me on the edge of my seat at all. 

And ya, that's it.


There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Okay. Let's get into it.

This book is about a small town. This small town recently had a murder. And then another. And then another. Serial killer in high school. Yikes. Anyways, Makani recently moved to this small town from Hawaii, due to a little accident. She's living with her grandmother, and yeah. I'm sure you can guess it...She's determined to catch the killer. 

This book was a wild ride. 

Let's start from the beginning. Makani moved to this small town from Hawaii. Why? She's had an accident. Me: Hooked. But of course, they don't reveal this "accident," until the end of the book. Classic. But, there's another hook. There's been a murder. And yeah, that's what got me.

Fast forward halfway through the book, there's been another kill, and then. Oh, and then...THE REVEAL WHO THE KILLER IS...HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK. I mean, why keep reading the book? That's why I was reading it in the first place!! But, Makani's "accident," still hasn't been revealed. So, I keep reading.

Fast forward again to the end of the book, Makani's "accident" gets revealed. Y'all. I was expecting much, much worse.

So, my final thoughts are, that this book actually was good. It hooked me. I was never bored. The only thing I didn't like was that the killer was revealed halfway through.


Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho

In this book, Emmanuel Acho invites us to the table with open arms to give us the racism 101. This book features a bunch of frequently asked questions about racism which Acho answers. This book has all the resources, all the point of views. Everything that you need to become an ally and combat racism.

This book covers it all. From implicit bias to the "angry black man," it has everything that you need to educate yourself and become aware of the systematic, internalized, and individual racism that occurs everyday. 

This book was great. As a person who is always trying to educate themselves and become an ally, a lot of my questions were answered. This book is a great starter, and I recommend it to anyone!!


The Host by Stephanie Meyers


Y'all know that I love Twilight. I mean, it was my top series from 2020. Well, I've been wanting to read The Host for a while now but I was very intimidated by the size of it. 600 pages? Really? Well, I finally read it and...I did not like it at all. I mean at all. 

This book is about a future earth that has been taken over by aliens that uses humans as their, "host body." 

I was so excited for this book. I thought I was going to love it. About 50 pages in, I realized that I was wrong. 

This book was just a big disappointment. I got lost very quickly and I just could not understand it at all. By the end, I was just skimming through the pages. 

I really don't know what else to say. I didn't like this book at all, and it was way too long.


The Summer I Turned Pretty Series by Jenny Han

This series is about Belly (Isabel). She loves summer. She counts the weeks until she can go back to the beach house. To Susannah, and more importantly, the boy’s Belly has known since the first summer, Jeremiah and Conrad. They've been her brother figures. Her crushes. Her friends. But one summer, that all changes.

This series has been on my "to-read," forever. I loved the To All The Boy's I've Loved Before series by Jenny Han, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. 

I thought it was okay. It was sweet, short, and fun. It took me back to summer and got me out of my at-home, winter blues. Well, kinda. But, I did not like the ending. It was rushed, kinda expected, and honestly, not practical. It wasn't awful (I mean, we all expected it), but it just felt very rushed.

So overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a sweet and easy read.


1984 by George Orwell

Yes, I finally read it. The original dystopian book and...I hated it. 

Let me just say, I'm very happy that I'm done with this book. 

I mean there's really not much to review. I did not like it. It bored me to death. I'm happy it's over. And that's it. 

Another disappointing classic.


Well, that was my January book review!! I was able to read a lot this month and for that, I am very thankful!! Before I go, it's time to share our February book club picks!! We are reading...

Educated by Tara Westover


The Space Between the Stars by Anna Corlett. (Thank you Joanne for the recommendation!!)

I hope that you'll join us!! Don't forget that you can find the link-up HERE!! Have a great day and I'll see you back here again tomorrow!!

XO, Ella


  1. I love doing this book club with you! So much fun!

  2. Oh you picked two good ones for next month! I LOVED Educated (though as a homeschooling mom it made me realize how crazy it is we have to jump through all these hoops when families like hers are why we create the laws in the first place and they don't even follow them!!). I can't wait to hear what you think of them both. I read Becoming an despite so many people loving it and the fact that I really enjoy memoirs I just could not get into it. I really enjoyed parts of it-- like learning about how their cars are all fixed up and what is like to really live under the public eye but then other parts were just so slow moving for me that I felt like I was slogging through. Maybe because I'm not really into or interested in politics?? I don't know for me it was just an OK read that I was happy to be done with and was glad I had read. My librarian told me I should have listened to the audiobook since it's better told in her voice.

    1. I’m super excited to read Educated!! I don’t really enjoy memoirs, but I loved this one!! My mom is listening to the audiobook and she really loves it!!

  3. Great job on that review!! I can tell you spent a while on it, you did amazing. Have a Great Tuesday!

  4. Lots of good ones. I have This Time Next Year, I'm hoping I like it more than you did! I have read You Should See Me In A Crown, Becoming, The Poet X, and Legend - awhile ago. Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man sounds good!

    1. It was!! I think you’d enjoy it!! I’m just not a big chick-lit, rom-com kinda person, so I have a lot of trouble with enjoying books from that genre!!

  5. You shared such a wide variety of genres!

  6. Ella, as always, a VERY thorough review!

  7. I cannot get over how many books you and Abby read in a month! Good for you! I had to laugh that you hated 1984! I don't recall hating it all that much but it has probably been at least 30 years since I read it. I definitely do recall hating many classics though. But I have also enjoyed many classics, too. I also love the Twilight series (the movies) and would like to read some more vampire books. Thanks for sharing your book reviews and linking with me!