05 February 2020

What I Read Wednesday {January Reads}

Hey y'all,

I feel like January flew by and before we know it spring will be here especially since NC has gone back into the 60s weather wise. I actually did not read a lot of physical books in January as I felt like I had so much going on during both week days and weekends. Here's what I did finish:

Everything, Everything (audiobook)

Everything, EverythingMy disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

I grabbed this audiobook on Libby as I didn't have any holds to grab and while this is a quick read/listen, I wasn't in love with it. The book focuses on a young girl who is isolated due to her condition and looks out onto the world where she discovers the cute new neighbor. Olly and Maddy begin to communicate online and form a tight friendship. By the end, I wanted everyone to get a hug and call social services. I felt the end fell flat for me. ⭐⭐

My Friend Anna

My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake HeiressSex and the City meets Catch Me if You Can in the astonishing true story of Anna Delvey, a young con artist posing as a German heiress in New York City—as told by the former Vanity Fair photo editor who got seduced by her friendship and then scammed out of more than $62,000.

I first heard of Anna Delvey from an article back in the Fall. This is a true story of a young woman in NYC who befriends who she believes to be a German heiress, over the course of their friendship though, things begin to be suspicious. After a trip to Morroco where Rachel uses her credit card to pay for the hotel room under the guise of a misunderstanding with Anna's bank, the friendship begins to deteriorate and the truth of Anna Delvey is revealed. You can read more about the trial here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Bride Test

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

I really enjoyed Helen Hoang's Kiss Quotient and yet again she weaves a fun modern romance. I love that Hoang focuses on more representation in the genre with an immigrant story as well as a character with disabilities. Esme is brought to the US on behalf of Khai's mother to marry him. Yep, an arranged marriage but the deal is Esme attends all the weddings of the family as Khai's date over the summer and then they get to decide if she stays to become his wife, or back to Ho Chi Minh City and her family. This was a quick read that would be perfect at the pool this spring. ⭐⭐⭐.5

An American Marriage (audiobook)

An American MarriageNewlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-elusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel.

My book club's January read is also an Oprah book selection and very timely for Black History Month in February. This book deals with racial injustice, family, relationships, and our justice system. I did enjoy the audiobook read by three different people for the three perspectives of the novel but overall I didn't enjoy the book itself. ⭐⭐⭐

The Hate You Give (audiobook)

The Hate U GiveSixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Okay, if you pick one book from my list, grab The Hate You Give. This book begins with Starr witnessing the fatal shooting of her childhood friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. This becomes a national headline as Khalil was unarmed. Inspired by recent events, Thomas creates a story that is educational, riveting, and a very powerful look into racial bias, police brutality, and injustice. My favorite reminder was that our words are a powerful weapon - do not be silent when your voice can make a change for good. Also, just a warning, there is a lot of language in the book and while it makes sense contextually, it can be a bit jarring on audio. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What did you read this month?
Life According to Steph
Link up with Jana and Steph.



  1. oh man, I want to read My Friend Anna, sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction..

  2. I loved American Marriage and The Hate U Give. My Friend Anna sounds interesting!

  3. I did The Hate You Give on audio too, as well as My Friend Anna. I was intrigued by that one. I plan to read The Bride Test soon!

  4. My Friend Anna sounds interesting. I still need to read The Hate U Give and American Marriage, though I own both.


  5. My Friend Anna sounds fascinating. THUG and An American Marriage were both outstanding books.

  6. I never tried American Marriage simply because the hype. I tend to stay away in those cases.

    I have The Kiss Quotient waiting at the library.

    Also, I read The Sun is Also a Star a few years and didn't care for it at all (YA was probably the issue) so Everything, Everything didn't appeal to me. It seems like it's too easy to figure out the exact plot?

  7. I remember the news story about the My Friend Anna story. I may be interested in reading the whole thing. The Bride Test sounds cozy and good :)

  8. my friend anna sounds interesting, will have to add that one to my list. the bride test was cute but i did prefer the kiss quotient. i will still read the next one though!


Thank you for your sweet message!

Just Jessica. Design by Berenica Designs.