The Best Books I Read in January 2023

I finished 17 books in January and 11 of them were 5 star reads, which might be a record for me!

How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis

Personal Development

This book far exceeded my expectations. It’s written for people like me who have conditions that make housework extra difficult and stressful. In my case, it’s depression and long COVID. I appreciate the gentle approach to housework, specifically nixing the word chores and using care tasks instead. I felt seen and understood while reading this book. SO much resonated with me and I’m going to have my husband read it too. I have spent so much of my life feeling like I am a bad wife, bad woman, because I’m not good at cleaning the house. Now, I am going to give myself permission to focus on making my space functional for my family as opposed to aesthetically pleasing or thinking about what other people think of my home. This book is full of helpful tips and honest examples from the author’s own life. Rarely do I think everyone should read a book but this is one where I believe that strongly.

A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney


I’ve never read a memoir quite like this one. I finished it in two sittings, I couldn’t put it down. Besides being an incredibly compelling story, it’s a perpetual punch to the gut. If I had a child, I don’t know that I could handle reading it. Delaney has been one of my favorite comedians since long before Catastrophe, and I loved his previous memoir. This one is similar in that the dark humor is top notch, but it’s different because it’s such a brutal read. Delaney’s honesty veers into uncomfortable territory as he relates his experience when his young son was diagnosed with a brain tumor and later died. I felt not only his grief but also his anger over his loss. The writing is beautiful and covers every emotion from joy to fury. I love the way he uses language to attempt to put words to indescribable feelings. This is an important book but it’s not for everyone, there are graphic medical descriptions that are hard to handle.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Literary fiction

This is without a doubt the most shocking, horrifying, sexually explicit book I’ve ever read. It’s bizarre because the content is so disgusting yet I couldn’t stop reading. That’s a testament to the writing skill. For the entire book we are inside the head of Celeste, a smoking hot 26 year old teacher who is also a pedophile. We learn every one of her desires and impulses and it’s so compelling I couldn’t look away, even when I was grossed out by her. At the start of the book Celeste is just starting a teaching job with eighth graders and is determined to find a young man she can have sex with. The story takes place over the course of about a year and shows every detail of their relationship and what happens afterward. The lengths that she will go to, to not be found out is astounding. I suspect she is also a psychopath. I’m not sure how this author managed to make the book so off putting yet interesting at the same time. It’s dark and twisty, yet manages to be funny at times, and it’s a debut novel too, which seems like an enormous feat. While I think this is excellent in terms of a work of literary fiction, I can’t recommend it for everybody. If you’ve read this review and are intrigued, I say give it a shot.

Yes & I Love You by Roni Loren

Contemporary romance

This is the first book in a series of three that are all excellent. It’s such a beautiful book, it captures everything I love about the romance genre. There’s humor and hot sex, and also some heaviness. Hollyn is an entertainment writer who has Tourette’s Syndrome, which causes her to be self conscious and anxious around strangers. When extraverted improv comic Jasper enters her life, she’s determined to keep to herself. Eventually he is able to get beneath her shell and help her strive for the kind of life she’s always wanted. I appreciated learning about Tourettte’s through Hollyn and her friend Cal. And I loved witnessing Hollyn learn that not everyone is going to care about or judge her tics.

Idol by Kristen Callihan

Contemporary romance

Book one in a series of four that are all 5 stars. I love how all the characters show up in all of the books, it feels like one long story. I haven’t read many rock star romances, and this one gave me all the feels! I found I had to fully suspend my disbelief to get lost in the story and go with it, and I’m so glad I was able to. Libby finds Killian passed out drunk on her lawn after wrecking his motorcycle. Instead of calling the cops, she takes care of him and then he just won’t go away. They form a unique friendship that slowly grows into something more. The only problem? Killian is the biggest rock star on the planet, and the time comes when he needs to back to his world. This book is full of sweet moments and hot sexy ones too! It has everything I love about the romance genre, including heaviness.

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