Hello fellow bookworms! This is my first monthly review wrap-up of 2024. It was a decent month reading wise, if I may say so myself. Without further ado, let’s take a look at my January 2024 book reviews.
My list includes four books from my tbr pile I promised myself I would tackle this year, four arcs, and two dnfs. All in all, I’m happy with the results.The most exciting news is that I also had two five star reads, which hasn’t happened at all last year.
These are my January 2024 book reviews.
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
What a nice way to start off my new reading year! This Time Tomorrow is such a lovely book. I’ve had this one on my tbr for awhile, and I’m ecstatic that I finally read it. Not to mention, I’m clearing my shelves one book at a time, which makes me very happy right now.
Although the time travel part wasn’t perfect in my opinion, pretty much everything else about this book was.
The writing is exquisite, the setting ideal for New York lovers, and the character development well executed. It shows the author’s life revolves around books and writing. I felt like I was getting warm hugs throughout the whole experience.
I can’t even find the right words to describe how I feel about this book, but I’ll do my best.
The father-daughter relationship, along with Alice and Sam’s friendship were at the core of this story. Themes of self-exploration and grief are present in this gem of a novel. But the way Straub tells the story is hard to top.
If you’re a contemporary fiction lover with a penchant for time travel, you must pick this one up.
And now I have to bump up her other book of hers I own, All Adults Here to the top of my remaining reading pile for the year.
The Retreat by Sarah Pearse
I enjoyed the sequel to the author’s debut novel the Sanitarium more. It was an intricate plot with a whodunnit that kept me guessing until the end. I had my doubts about the culprit, but the book still surprised me.
To me, a good mystery/thriller makes you wonder about who the perpetrator is throughout the book. While I guessed right, it did make me wonder about a few different possibilities before the reveal. In the first part of the book everyone seemed suspicious, but as I read on, it became clearer.
Still, it is a book that is well worth your time, especially if you have a penchant for locked-room thrillers.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
This is my first dnf of the year, unfortunately. The novel is very lauded, but it did not work for me at all. I found Didion’s writing ok, but not as mind-blowing as I was expecting. I guess when your expectations are set that high, sometimes you get let down. And that’s exactly what happened with this book.
At some point in the future I might revisit it, but for now I’m setting it aside. My first disappointment of the year. Ah well, I can’t love them all! Just goes to show you that not every book is meant for every reader. I still have Play It As It Lays on my Kobo, so I will try it in the future and let you know if I can get through it. I really hope so!
Holiday Country by Inci Atrek
Debut novel Holiday Country is a lyrical, beautifully written coming-of-age novel by newcomer Inci Atrek.
At the core of the book there are complicated, complex mother-daughter relationships. The descriptions of the Aegean village and rich cultural references made the book more bearable.
Ada, the main character, is trying to find herself while vacationing in her home away from home, Turkey. The author portrayed her as a very unlikable character with a very twisted sense of right and wrong. She has a very strange way of showing her love for her mother, which left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Another thing that bothered me is that she makes terrible decisions that have disastrous consequences. Probably due to her young age, she only realizes that once it’s too late.
Despite my strong dislike for Ada, I powered through the story. To be honest, it was mostly out of curiosity. Thankfully the writing was sublime, otherwise this would have been another dnf for me.
Lovers of coming-of-age literary fiction might love this one, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.
I thank Netgalley and Flatiron books for my advanced readers’ copy. The book was published on January 9th, 2024.
After Everything You Did by Stephanie Sowden
This legal thriller contains some cultish vibes that evoked some uncomfortable feelings in me, and I had to set it aside after reading about a third.
The thing that bothered me the most was the blatant racism thrown in throughout. I know it was very real during the sixties when the novel took place, but it threw me off.
The writing is good, the plot and layout well thought-out, but the overall storyline wasn’t for me.
Those who love books about cults would appreciate it. Unfortunately, it is a dnf for me at this time.
The Silence in Her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa
This was an interesting thriller from Armando Lucas Correa. While the author is best known for his historical fiction, this is his first thriller. While the book didn’t wow me, I think it was very well written.
The author centered the story around its main character, Leah, who was an intriguing young lady suffering from akinetopsia. But the secondary characters were hard to follow and their reasoning seemed very far-fetched. I wasn’t sure until the end if the story was true or a figment of Leah’s imagination. I will not spoil it for you, but I liked the fact that it made me wonder and kept me on my toes. Especially the last third of the book, which I flew through!
I gave it three stars on Goodreads, but it’s not a thriller that I will remember a few months from now.
Thank you to Netgalley, Atria Books and the author for my advanced readers’ copy. It was published on January 16th, 2024.
The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
A great literary fiction novel that is worthy of your attention. Although the book contains a few disturbing scenes, it is very cleverly written. I love Giordano’s style, and I will certainly read something else by him in the future.
The story follows two misfits from childhood into adulthood. The author builds their characters with finesse, and the storyline is well layered and easy to follow.
There are a couple of scenes that will remain imprinted in my memory for years, and not in a good way. Despite that, it is a book I will recommend to those who like detailed stories and complex characters. An interesting fact about the author is that he’s born in Torino, the town my uncle is from as well! That enticed me to read the book even more.
Everyone Who Can Forgive Me is Dead by Jenny Hollander
An addictive book, Everyone Who Can Forgive Me is Dead will capture your attention from the very first page. The title alone will catch anyone’s attention, although it is a little misleading. I will not say more about it, but it’s not what you’re tempted to believe.
It has a well laid out plot, which contains lots of juicy details and drama. The characters are mostly unlikable, but they work well in this context. And the ending was decent, although it took me by surprise. All in all, I enjoyed this highly entertaining book, and I recommend it to those who are looking for a fast, intriguing mystery.
Thank you Jenny Hollander, Minotaur Books and Netgalley for my advanced readers’ copy. This book will be published on February 6th, 2024.
The Killing by David Hewson
This is absolute perfection as far as police procedural, political thriller with all the Nordic Noir atmospheric vibes you want.
While the book takes place in Copenhagen, the setting is on par with the chilly, dark and twisted characteristics that makes the genre so compelling to many. Me, in particular. I couldn’t get enough of this book. Even though the book was a brick (over 700 pages), I flew through it in a couple of days.
The book is centered around the disappearance and killing of nineteen year old Nanna Birk Larssen. Sara Lund, the detective assigned to the case, is the best in her department, and she is known for seeing things others don’t see. Call it a sixth sense, if you may. She gets obsessed with her cases and she does not rest until the real perpetrator is brought to justice.
To some readers, this may seem like an annoyance, but the many twists and turns this book contained made for a very compulsive read. Especially in the second half, which is action-packed and reads very easily.
I gave it five stars on Goodreads, and to me it still doesn’t seem like it’s ranked high enough. WIthout a doubt, this is my favorite book of the year so far. It will be hard for any other book to top this one, but who knows? I’m so glad to have finally read it and highly recommend it to Nordic Noir fans.
Bye, Baby by Carola Lovering
I finished the month of January with another addictive, unputdownable book.
The book’s main themes are toxic female friendships and the messy reality of an influencer. The discrepancies between the online personas and and their real life interactions are well developed in this novel.
Billie and Cassie have been best friends since they met in high school. After college, they moved together in a small New York apartment, happily starting their careers. But once Cassie meets her husband Grant the two women, who were once inseparable, start drifting apart.
The plot is centered around a couple of events that shaped the two friends’ lives. Told from both of their perspectives, I liked the way the author laid out the story and wrapped it up at the end. A well-written, highly entertaining novel that will get anyone out of a reading funk. A solid four stars from me!
Thank you St. Martin’s Press, Carola Lovering, and Netgalley for my advanced readers copy. This book will be published on March 5th, 2024.
This sums up my January 2024 book reviews. If you made it this far then you know it was a great reading month, one of the best I had in a while. A pretty amazing way to start the year, in my opinion! Tell me how your January reading was in the comments below.
Until next time, keep reading my fellow bookworms!