January 2021 Must-Reads

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

Is reading more on your 2021 list of goals? I can’t wait to share 10 incredible books that I think you should add to your book stacks stat! This stack has everything from a great nonfiction new-year-new-you book to a great rom-com to stay-up-all-night thrillers.  Be sure to bookmark this post for your next library day!

It’s a brand new year of reading and I couldn’t be happier to share another book stack with you.

In fact, I’ve got ten great books to talk about this week that I think will be perfect for your stack of cozy winter reads. These books all had me staying up way past my bedtime and lingering far too long in bed in the mornings.  

Heck, if I have to stay home, I might as well make it as enjoyable as possible.

Did you see that we announced our MomAdvice Book Club picks for 2021? Be sure to head to this post and snag this year’s picks. You can print out our free downloadable list and even get a t-shirt this year with all of our selections on it! 

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June 2020 Book of the Month

Check out the February Book of the Month Club Selections:

The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson

Girl A by Abigail Dean

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (read my review of this one over here)

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Now let’s talk about this month’s stack!

January 2021 Must-Reads

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

At the end of the year, I wanted to escape with a little something lighter and decided to finally tackle the first two books in this series.

Imagine a book club for men that read romance novels to figure out new ways to woo their women. This is the adorable concept Adams has concocted for her series and I enjoyed every minute of this first read.

The club is a secret one, but when their friend, Gavin Scott, finds his marriage in trouble, they know they can help him by teaching him the ways of the romance world.

Gavin begs his wife for another chance, they set a timeline, and he starts putting into practice all that he has learned. The question is if it will be enough to bring back the love of his life.

This had some great laugh-out-loud parts and the characters are quite endearing. It is a good thing they are as Adams uses a different bromance club member for each of her books.

Will this one change your life? Nope. Is it a great light-hearted escape? YOU BET! Put this novel in your stack, between your heavier reads this month.

4 out of 5 Stars

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Longtime readers know that it is rare for me to ever read a series book, mostly because I have commitment issues. Since the first book in the Bromance Book Club was such a fun escape, I decided to dig into this second one too.

This novel takes on another bromance book club member (Mack- their faithful leader) and Gavin’s sister-in-law (Liv). We knew it was coming thanks to those hints of chemistry in the first book.

Liv is working at one of the hottest restaurants in town, as a sous chef, for a chef that she loathes. When she finds out that he has been sexually harassing his employees, she decides to take matters into her own hands to get the justice he deserves. Unfortunately, her decision to do this leads to her being blackballed by every restaurant in town.

Mack happens to be a local nightclub owner and would love to assist Liv with this assignment, along with a few other ones…

I didn’t connect with this story as much as the first book, which is why I am such a fizzler on series books. That said, this was still a really enjoyable read and a great little escape between my heavier books this month.

Adams has a third book in the series that I look forward to reading and following these bros for another love saga.

3 out of 5 Stars

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I got an opportunity to sneak peek this release, that is coming to bookstores on February 2nd.

Just as a man is about to jump off a bridge and commit suicide, a talk therapist pulls up and convinces him to stop his attempt and join her for a cup of coffee. Not only does he join her for coffee, but she also lets him stay with her for the weekend so that she can monitor him at her house.

Recently divorced, Tallie finds comfort in his company and the two become fast friends with lots of spark over the course of these three days.

The problem is that neither is REALLY being honest about who they are.

One must suspend reality a bit with this idea of a therapist allowing a suicidal stranger to join them for a weekend, blurring those lines an awful lot.

I read this one really quickly and was disappointed to find the ending to be an abrupt one after so much build-up to their unusual love story, of sorts. Despite not connecting with the story as much as I wanted, I did read this one in a day and would definitely read the author again, even if this wasn’t my favorite this month.

3 out of 5 Stars

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

The Push by Ashley Audrain 

One thriller that I think a lot of people will be talking about this year is, The Push. Meaty enough to be a book club pick, shocking enough to have you holding your breath, and twisty enough to keep you guessing until the final pages. What more could a girl want in a thriller?

Motherhood doesn’t come naturally to everyone and Audrain shows how this can make connections with our children difficult, especially if we don’t have any example of what that looks like.

This is the case for Blythe who ends up having a child that is unusually difficult and where she struggles to find connection.

Is it because she hasn’t had the right example or is it because there really is something disturbing about her child?

The book shares Blythe’s story, but also shares the story of generations of women before her that have all had disturbing relationships with their children.

When a tragedy happens, the reader is left wondering if this is really brought on by the child or if Blythe’s past is just catching up to her.

This is the stay-up-all-night thriller you need and would lend itself for a great book discussion as it explores the idea of nature vs. nurture.

5 out of 5 Stars

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Liz Moore’s first novel, Heft, is one of my all-time favorites so I was ready to treasure this novel based on her writing reputation alone. This book, of course, did not disappoint.

A Philadelphia neighborhood is rocked by an opioid crisis and Mickey is no stranger to it, both personally (as the sister of an addict) and professionally (as a cop).

Although the sisters have lost touch, a series of murders begins to concern Mickey when she discovers her sister has been missing from her regular haunts.

In alternating chapters, Moore lays out the challenges that these sisters have faced since the very beginning, including Kacey’s drug abuse and Mickey’s role in how she has stepped in for her sister.

Moore writes about addiction with compassion and empathy, both for those that use and for those that suffer the consequences of these addictions.

I would not categorize this one as a thriller, but more in the vein of a well-developed mystery, as Mickey tries to find her sister. At almost 500 pages, Moore takes her time telling the story of their complicated past and the redemptive nature of family.

Moore proves, once again, that she has storytelling chops and I can’t wait to read what she writes next! 

4 out of 5 Stars

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia

Reese Witherspoon’s selections are, admittedly, a hit-or-miss with me and I think that is important to note since I know many of you are a big fan of her selections.

This story is about two small town sisters that have competing fried chicken restaurants. Hoping to get some publicity for the restaurants, they agree to compete in a Food Network type of challenge to see who is serving up the best fried chicken in town.

The idea is a charming one and the story is what I would classify as good Hallmark fun as the two sisters make discoveries about themselves and the story behind the split of these restaurants.

I was able to read this one in a day and it had lots of feel-good messages about the importance of family and it weaved in some fun with this competition in their town.

I can see why many might gravitate towards a story like this in these hard times and there were some really charming moments in this one. Even if this one lacked a little meat (pun intended), I can see this being a perfect winter read for a lighter escape. 

3 out of 5 Stars

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

The Power of Ritual by Casper Ter Kuile

I always like a “reset” book when the year starts and this was the perfect book, even in these COVID-filled times.

Kuile brings together wisdom and research to show the power of rituals in your life and how these can bring joy and structure to your day.

Treating the ordinary routines as a sacred practice immediately elevates whatever you are doing whether it is reading a good book, connecting with friends, connecting with nature, or connecting with a higher being.

I found myself highlighting so many portions of this book and found it to be the perfect excuse to connect with friends to discuss.

I knew that I did not want to set a lot of New Year’s intentions this year, but rituals feel like something that is nourishing and that can add some structure to my day. With Kuile’s guidance, I’m creating some new practices in my life and treating old habits as sacred rituals now.

4 out of 5 Stars

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Many of the big buzz books don’t usually end up getting read over here because I know so many of you have already read them. This thriller is one of those books that comes up in conversation, with much surprise, that I have not read. I thought you wouldn’t mind indulging me in finally reading this one since you all have talked so much about it.

A famous artist shoots her husband dead and then goes completely silent and never speaks again. No one really knows the motive behind the murder and interventions have been less than successful.

When a new therapist joins the team, he believes that he can get the story out of her and considers it his duty to explore every angle from allowing her to paint again to interviewing anyone who might have any knowledge about why this happened.

When he finally makes some progress with her, she allows him to read her journal where she has shared the story in her own words. Get ready for the twist because it just might be hidden in those journal pages.

This was not as good as I had hoped, but I did finish it in a day. The twist at the end was sufficiently satisfying, the pacing was good, but it just didn’t develop into the memorable type of plot that I had hoped for. This concludes why I rarely read buzz books anymore.

3 out of 5 Stars

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Get out your tissues for this haunting story because it is a real tear-jerker. Emezi writes such memorable characters and evokes some emotion in her imagery that you will be thinking about this story long after you finish the pages.

Growing up in Nigeria, Vivek is unlike the other boys. He loves to wear dresses and prefers to wear his hair long. In 1990’s Nigeria, his lifestyle is one that is usually kept in secret. When his mother discovers his body on her doorstep, bound in colorful fabric, she has no way of knowing what or just who would harm her sweet boy.

His cousin though knows of Vivek’s secrets and may be harboring a few of his own. As each chapter unfolds, in this heart aching book, we get a peek at what these two boys share and how Vivek’s life was taken.

This short novel is powerful and Vivek’s character is one of those memorable characters that is written so beautifully that you will have a hard time letting Vivek go once you close the pages.

This Book of the Month selection was one that I’m thankful I bought this year!

5 out of 5 Stars

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

NPR and podcast lovers are going to DEVOUR this adorable rom-com that had me grinning from ear-to-ear in this fun concept for a modern day romance novel.

When a local NPR station hits the struggle bus with listeners, a concept is crafted to start a fresh talk show that focuses on breaking up. The thing is, these two colleagues have never been in a relationship, but they are willing to fabricate that to lure in new listeners.

To really bring the concept home, they must get to know each other to create those perfect relationship quirks and problems that make listening so fun.

When the two really get to know each other, they realize that maybe they might like to be in a real relationship after all.

What is a couple to do though when the entire show relies on their break-up for its success?

Fans of The Hating Game and other similar romance novels are going to LOVE this clever concept. The included scripts for the show make this such an enjoyable and laugh-out-loud read that I couldn’t put it down. I hope you guys love it as much as I did!

5 out of 5 Stars

Read With Me This Year

Best Books of 2020

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enjoy these reviews? here are a few other reads you’ll enjoy this year!

The Best Books of 2019 from MomAdvice.comthe best books of 2019


19 thrillers to keep you up all night19 thrillers to keep you up all night

Happy Reading!

January 2021 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

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Published February 02, 2021 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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