Book Nook: January 2020

One of the biggest outcomes from last year's ambitious reading goal is that I now have a lower tolerance for books I'm not enjoying. If I start one and it's not floating my boat, I simply set it aside and move on.

That's not to say I don't still occasionally suffer from "Optimistic Reader Syndrome" though, where I like to believe a book will be redeemed by its ending. And sadly, as you're about to see, I've already succumbed to it.


I've added links to where you can find each book on Amazon US if you want to purchase it or read more reviews, as well as links to other Amazon services. All of them are affiliate links meaning that, if you purchase through them, I'll make a small commission (and probably use it to buy more books). Thank you! (For more info, read my disclosure.)

January 2020 Book Nook | Book reviews | Goodreads reading challenge 2020

It makes me so happy that these posts inspire not only YOU to read more, but me too. They keep me accountable, and I'm thrilled so many of you have been able to carve out some time to curl up with a good book because of one of my reviews.

Still, as I said, I'm a bit worn out from last year's goal of 100 books so I set my sights significantly lower this year, aiming instead for 36. I'm going for quality over quantity... but it's a work in progress. Here's how 2020 kicked off.

Reviews & ratings

For the month of January 2020, I curled up in my book nook with 3 books (keeping me right on track with my Goodreads goal).

Book #1 of 2020: "Filter This" by Sophie White

Started:  January 2nd          Finished:  January 2nd

After pushing myself to read so many books in 2019 and, frankly, having had a shit start to the new year, I was ready for something light and "fluffy". "Filter This" didn't disappoint in that department.

The story alternates between the lives of Shelly and Ali, the former being a soap opera celebrity and the latter with grand plans for Insta-fame... no matter the cost. But as they're both about to learn, when you're at the top of your game, the only way is down. Especially when there seems to be a saboteur in the ranks.

This one had a lot of potential but, for me, didn't live up to the hype. I didn't find the characters likeable, and only barely relatable. The story pushed the bounds of believability, and the ending was pretty inevitable.

But if you're lazing around by the beach with a few hours before dinner, or you need a good palette cleanser after a tough read, go for it.

  • Rating: 2 books          A harmless laugh at the expense of influencers everywhere, but pretty predictable

Book #2 of 2020: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng

Started:  January 3rd          Finished:  January 11th

When Mia Warren pulls into town with her daughter Pearl, she hopes she's finally outrun the demons of her past and can at last put down permanent roots.

On the other side of town the wealthy Richardson brood, born and raised in the neighbourhood, are slowly realising that they should have started running a long time ago.

This tragic tale opens with a fire that's about to burn everything to the ground.

  • Rating: 5 books          A sublime story about two troubled and dysfunctional families who slowly destroy each other

Book #3 of 2020: "A Simple Favor" by Darcey Bell

Started:  January 16th          Finished:  January 17th

This one's batshit crazy. And not in a good way. As soon as I started it I wanted to give up, but my "Optimistic Reader Syndrome" kicked in and I decided to stick with it.

(In truth, I was stubborn about it because I wanted to watch the film version. Blake Lively is a goddess and I refused to believe she'd be involved in something so awful.)

When Stephanie's best friend Emily goes missing, she fears the worst. She knows it's not like her to abandon her son, and so she starts an online campaign to find her. All she wants is her friend back.

But sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

This one started badly, slowly got interesting, and then devolved into insanity. I kept hoping for a good ending but, alas, was sorely disappointed.

(Should I still watch the film?)

  • Rating: 2 books          It had potential... but also a poor opener and ending

Safe to say I'd only recommend one from this list... and that I'll be reading a lot more of Celeste Ng's work.

But here's an interesting question for you...

Can you name a film that was better than the book?

I discussed it with my husband recently and was very surprised when we came up with a pretty lengthy list.

I'll start... Bridget Jones's Diary.

Now you. Drop your answer in the comments below. =)

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Under the Tuscan Sun

  2. The English Patient. The film was so extraordinary, the book paled in comparison.

  3. I really liked “Little Fires Everywhere”. Along these lines, I can highly recommend a German novel by Dörte Hansen, “This House is Mine” (English translation), characaterizing two strong-willed and very different women in northern Germany.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.