more january mini-reviews

We got a little dusting of snow here in NC a few days ago and it was so dreamy!  It didn’t quite stick to the ground but was strong enough that I had to dust it off my car, so I’m counting it as a proper snow.

I love winter and find that the cozy vibes help me get lots of reading done.  Here’s what I read in January.

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Climbing with Mollie by William Finnegan

I added this short little audiobook to my library because it was free with Audible (before I switched over to  Because of that I had very few expectations and didn’t know a lot going in.

Overall, I enjoyed this book about a father connecting with his daughter over her newfound love of rock climbing.  It was a quick, easygoing read that made me want to go play cards with my dad or go take a hike.  4 stars

Above All Else by Dana Alison Levy

I didn’t plan on reading two climbing books back to back but here we are!  Above All Else is about two childhood best friends who spend their last semester of high school climbing Mount Everest. 

While the beginning was a slow start and felt very staged at certain moments, I was sucked into the story from the halfway point through the last page.  Rose and Tate’s friendship, or more than friendship, felt so authentic.

The author did a fantastic job of replicating the culture of Mount Everest climbers, even the horrible, gory details that no one likes to talk about.  There’s a level of emotional intensity as Rose and Tate get higher up the mountain that stuck with me for a few days after I finished reading.

I’d absolutely recommend this book to a reader who seeks a good adventure.  4 stars.

I received a copy of Above All Else through NetGalley and I’m excited to share my honest, unbiased review.

My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams

If you’re a fan of true crime, you’ve got to pick up this book.

My Friend Anna tells the story of Anna Sorokin, who conned hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting friends while posing as German heiress Anna Delvey.  What’s wild is that this isn’t the story of an old-timey con woman; this happened only a handful of years ago.

Williams tells her story in a way that is relatable and empathy-inducing.  We see each of the characters as holistic people who were under Anna’s enigmatic influence and we see Anna as a lost, lonely girl who seeks attention and a high-society lifestyle.

If you’re new to non-fiction, I recommend starting here.  4 stars.

you might like… non-fiction books for people who don’t like non-fiction

Hallowed and Boundless by Cynthia Hand

In true 2000s paranormal romance style, Clara is seventeen, in love with two different guys, and part-angel.

These books were pretty on-par for this very specific genre; they’re not stellar (and didn’t age well) but they’re a great palate cleanser between heavier books.  Like I shared on my Instagram, these books are like a cheesy Hallmark movie: you already know what’s going to happen because it follows most genre stereotypes, so you can just enjoy the story without thinking too hard.  3 stars.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

The Southern, body-positivity novel we all need!

I was borth and raised in the South so I have a love-hate relationship with Southern culture.  I love the warmth and over-the-top personalities, but hate the long history of racial, gender, and body inequality.

Dumplin’ addresses this inequality and perfectionism by turning the stereotype of a pageant girl on its head.  I loved the message that you aren’t what others tell you that you are, but what you decide to be.

A great audiobook on and a super cute love story.  4 stars.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

If you’re starved for travel like me, you have to pick up this book.

After losing her mom, Lina moves to Italy for the summer to get to know her father, Howard.  She uses her mother’s old journal to unravel her mom’s idyllic years in Italy and learn more about her own identity.

I adored the heartfelt story and message about found family and what it means to take a risk.  The romance is adorable and this entire book felt like basking in the Tuscan sun.  4 stars.

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