Welcome to the start of the 2024 book reviews! I can’t believe we’re into a new year of reading already and that January is already over.
I’ve set the bar low for my reading goals (low for me anyway) this year, and if you want to read all about my 2024 goals you can find those here. I’m aiming for 55 books this year and I’ll be very intrigued to see where I get with this number as my lifestyle is very much going to change soon.
Anyhow, here are the reviews of the six books I read in January and this includes two hefty 600-page books from the Knockemout series that I was dying to read.
1. The Coworker by Freida McFadden
Two women. An office filled with secrets. One terrible crime that can’t be taken back.
Dawn Schiff is strange. At least, everyone thinks so at Vixed, the nutritional supplement company where Dawn works as an accountant. She never says the right thing. She has no friends. And she is always at her desk at precisely 8:45 a.m.
So when Dawn doesn’t show up to the office one morning, her coworker Natalie Farrell—beautiful, popular, top sales rep five years running—is surprised. Then she receives an unsettling, anonymous phone call that changes everything…
My Rating: ★★★★
After reading The Housemaid and The Housemaid’s Secret last year by Freida McFadden, you can bet that I will read just about anything that she writes (even her shopping list). I picked The Coworker up in a mystery bookstore while I was in New York and believe this is her most recent release. While the book was full of the usual Freida McFadden twists, turns and suspense, it just wasn’t as good as The Housemaid, so had to give it four stars. Still enjoyable, but it’s going to take a lot for something to come as close to The Housemaid series.
2. Things We Hide From the Light by Lucy Score
Nash Morgan was always known as the good Morgan brother, with a smile and a wink for everyone. But now, this chief of police is recovering from being shot and his Southern charm has been overshadowed by panic attacks and nightmares. Nash isn’t about to let anyone in his life know he’s struggling. But his new next-door neighbour, smart and sexy Lina, sees his shadows. As a rule, she’s not a fan of physical contact unless she initiates it, but for some reason Nash’s touch is different. He feels it too. The physical connection between them is incendiary, grounding him and making her wonder if exploring it is worth the risk. Too bad Lina’s got secrets of her own, and if Nash finds out the real reason she’s in town, he’ll never forgive her.
My Rating: ★★★★★
This is book number two in the Knockemout series and I was hoping for it to be almost as good as the first in the series (Things We Never Got Over) because I didn’t think there would be any chance that it could be better. But oh I was wrong.
Nash and Lina’s love story was somehow even better than Knox and Naomi’s and again, I couldn’t put this chunky (600-page) book down, finishing in just a few days. I’m obsessed with series.
3. Here is New York by E. B. White
Perceptive, funny, and nostalgic, E.B. White’s stroll around Manhattan remains the quintessential love letter to the city, written by one of America’s foremost literary figures. The New York Times has named Here is New York one of the ten best books ever written about the metropolis, and The New Yorker calls it “the wittiest essay, and one of the most perceptive, ever done on the city.
My Rating: ★★★★
I would say this was more of an essay than a book, but it was a beautiful essay at that. Written back in 1949, the words that E. B. White put to paper still stand true today. There’s one passage in the book that talks about the people of New York as three different cities and it’s a passage about New York that will stick with me forever.
4. Working Hard, Hardly Working by Grace Beverley
We all know the pressure of feeling like we should be grinding 24/7 while simultaneously being told that we should ‘just relax’ and take care of ourselves, like we somehow have to decide between success and sanity. But in today’s complex working world, where every hobby can be a hustle and social media is the lens through which we view ourselves and others, this seemingly impossible choice couldn’t be further from our reality.
In Working Hard, Hardly Working, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed ‘lazy workaholic’ Grace Beverley challenges this unrealistic and unnecessary split, and offers a fresh take on how to create your own balance, be more productive and feel fulfilled.
My Rating: ★★
This is a book that could have easily been a blog post or two. I love Grace Beverley and find her an incredibly admirable person for all that she’s achieved at such a young age. I kept this book specifically for the month of January, to have a self-help kind of book to kickstart my 2024 right, and I really wanted to love it, but just couldn’t. It felt like reading a Business Studies text book and I found a lot of it very repetitive. The condensed 1,000 word blog post version would have been much more useful.
5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.
They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.
My Rating: ★★★★★
I’ve had this book on my shelf for around two years now I would say. I’ve heard all of the rave reviews, heard everyone claim this as a modern-day classic, but still couldn’t bring myself to read it. After reading Circe by the same author and low-key hating it, I couldn’t face another of Madeline Miller’s books on Greek Mythology. But boy am I glad that I finally picked this up. A beautiful and tragic love story, I couldn’t put this down. I may have also shed a tear or two (which if you know me, you’ll know is very unlike me).
6. Things We Left Behind by Lucy Score
Lucian Rollins is a lean, mean vengeance-seeking mogul. On a quest to erase his father’s mark on the family name, he spends every waking minute pulling strings and building an indestructible empire. The more money and power he amasses, the safer he is from threats. Except when it comes to the feisty small-town librarian that keeps him up at night…
Sloane Walton is a spitfire determined to carry on her father’s quest for justice. Bonded by an old, dark secret from the past and the dislike they now share for each other, Sloane trusts Lucian about as far as she can throw his designer-suited body.
When bickering accidentally turns to foreplay, these two find themselves not quite regretting their steamy one-night stand. Once those flames are fanned, it seems impossible to put them out again. But with Sloane ready to start a family and Lucian refusing to even consider the idea of marriage and kids, these enemies-to-lovers are stuck at an impasse.
My Rating: ★★★★★
After racing through book two of the series, I had to get my hands on the third and final instalment to find out how the series would end. After reading the first two books, it was obvious that Lucian and Sloane’s story was going to be the most intense and I think Lucy Score definitely kept the best until last. I’m gutted that this series has come to an end and I’m silently hoping that Lucy Score writes a spin-off or retracts her choice to finish at the third book. We can live in hope.