Books I Read in January & My Start to the 52 Book Challenge

 My January got off to a bit of a slow start, reading wise. I barely managed to read/listen to 8 books! We just had such a busy month and I had a hard time concentrating on stories. But I did read some good books this month and started on my 52 Book Challenge. 



1. Murder at the Elms (A Gilded Newport Mystery, book 11) by Alyssa Maxwell-- I picked up a copy of this book when we went to the Newport Mansions and enjoyed this fun murder mystery meets historical fiction novel.  Set in Newport Rhode Island during the gilded age, Emma Cross and her new husband are attending a musical concert at the Elms mansion when a body is found that cuts the concert short. Emma, a newspaper reporter by trade, can not help investigating. I definitely plan to read the others in this series. 


2. Philly Barker is on the Case (book 2 in the Philly Barker Mysteries) by Joanne Tracey-- I have yet to read a Joanne Tracey book that I don't like! In book 2, Philly is working with the police to track down some missing antiques when they uncover a ring of burglaries, mischief, and intimidation of some elderly, single farmers out in the country. These old farmers are quite feisty and were such a fun addition to the story. 


3. Hot Ice by Nora Roberts-- I listened to this book on my Libby app and though I liked the story I had a hard time with the actual voice and set up of the narration.  Douglas Lord is on the run from some men that want to kill him when he jumps into the car of debutante Whitney MacAllister.  Whitney is not your run of the mill debutante though and really rises to the challenge, agreeing to foot the bill for Douglas' treasure hunt in Madagascar on the condition that she will be accompanying him. The two have quite the adventure and start to fall for one another despite each of their attempts not to. 


4. The Book Proposal by KJ Micciche-- When Gracie drunkenly emails her old high school crush one night, she never expected him to email back. They strike up an unlikely friendship that's destined to be more.  It was cute, if a bit odd at times. Gracie definitely is quirky but so fun. 


5. One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus-- I was surprised that this second book in the series had a completely different set of main characters.  I also listened to this book on my Libby app and barely managed to finish before it was due to be returned... it was a great story but my January was busy and I had little time to listen. This time there is a Truth or Dare game that has been started in the high school and anyone that chooses not to play gets a secret about them revealed to the entire school. Phoebe, Maeve, and Knox are desperately drying to figure out who is behind the texts fueling this game but it soon turns deadly,


6. Betting on You by Lynn Painter-- when Bailey meets Charlie for the first time, they don't exactly hit it off.  So when he turns out to be a coworker 3 years later they're both surprised when they start hanging out together.  Bailey and Charlie have a bet going on whether two of their co-workers will end up hooking up because Charlie believes men and women can't be friends and Bailey wants to prove him wrong. But when Charlie and Bailey start "fake dating" to try and run off her mom's new boyfriend the two are trying not to fall for one another and rink disturbing their friendship.

7. The Summer of Broken Rules by K. L. Walther-- Meredith Fox and her family have not been back to their family compound on Martha's Vineyard ever since her sister died a year and a half ago. But this summer Meredith's cousin is getting married and the WHOLE family is going and better yet they are going to be playing an old family favorite game called "assassin." Meredith wants to win at all costs since assassin was her sister's favorite game so she makes an alliance with one of the groomsmen.  Only Meredith starts to get distracted by the adorable boy. 


8. Ultra Processed People: The Science Behind Food that Isn't Food by Chris Can Tulleken-- I equally loved and hated this book.  I loved it because it really looked at unbiased research on the effects of processed foods (and boy are they staggering!) but I hated it because it made me want to throw out all our foods.. and gave me no great alternative solutions since it also talked about how even things we think of when we think unprocessed foods like fruit and vegetables have been manipulated, changed, and crossbred so there really is no such thing as unprocessed foods.  


Where they fit into the 52 Book Challenge:


Linking up with: Thinking Out Loud, Spread the kindness, 









Comments

  1. I think that I would feel the same way about processed food as you do after reading the book that you did! I have never listened to a book/ done the audio book thing. I am way too worried that I wouldn´t like the narrator´s voice whose reading it and that would ruin it for me!

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    1. I really like listening to audiobooks where the author is the one reading it; especially when it comes to celebrity memoirs!

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  2. You read some great books this month, it seems. I can't remember if I've read that Lynn Painter book or not...hers start to run together for me. I don't know if I could read the one about processed foods! Yikes.

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    1. I just "discovered" Lynn Painter last year and am really enjoying reading through her books.

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  3. I love seeing that graph on how your reads fit into the whole picture of the challenge. So motivating and encouraging, Joanne! Happy February reading to you.

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  4. I am really loving all of the book covers! I’ve noticed how fun the illustrations are getting. I would love to do the 52 book challenge, but maybe in a few years when I have more time to read!!

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    1. It's funny because so many of the books with the fun illustrations end up being so much deeper than their illustrations make them look. I'm finding that I really can't judge a book by it's cover... which I knew but often seem to forget.

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  5. Joanne,
    I can't believe that you read 8 books in a month..I barely got to read 8 this past Summer which is the time of year that I seem to have more time to read... I know I have said it before but I do want to make more time to read even though it seems like there is always something else that I need to do over reading...The first one you mentioned caught my eye! Thanks so much for sharing!! And thanks for taking the time to stop by!!
    Hugs,
    Deb
    Debbie-Dabble Blog

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    1. You're welcome! I can't wait to go back and read the other books in that series.

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  6. I didn't know One of Us Is Next is a different set of characters. I still have to read that one.

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    1. They do overlap and the old characters make cameos but I thought it was going to be the exact same 4.

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  7. I started reading Bright Young Woman last night, but I didn't realize it was about Ted Bundy. Not quite the light read I was looking for to wind down at night. I'll stick with the final book in the Class Mom series!

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    1. Oh jeez, that does sound like it would be a stressful book.

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  8. Thanks for the reviews Joanne, I read mostly cozy mysteries and am not familiar with the ones you listed, I will check them out!
    Jenna

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    1. I hope you find some you like! I really enjoy cozy mysteries.

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  9. I'm going to look into the 52 book challenge...sounds fun!

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    1. It is a lot of fun; I like that it pushes me to read books I'd otherwise never think to pick up.

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  10. I'm so excited that you're doing the book challenge again this year! I loved following along with you last year! You've already put a good dent in it just one month in!

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  11. That's a great challenge. Congratulations on 8 books in January!

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  12. I really need to step up my reading game! I have only finished one book so far this year. I have requested another from my library but it hasn't come yet! These look like some good titles and I am thinking I might need to listen to a few audiobooks while I walk!
    xo,
    Kellyann

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    1. Oh yes, audiobooks while walking is great! I tend to just put one earbud in so I can hear both the story and any traffic/ sounds etc.

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  13. I started One of Us is Next and abandoned it because I just didn't care. Do you recommend this new one? I didn't read as many books in January, either, even though it seemed like I was reading all the time.

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. I'm thinking if you didn't really like first one I don't think you'd like this next one in the series either; I actually preferred the first book.

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  14. That processed book reminds me of the one I just read called Fatal Conveniences. You feel screwed no matter what. But you do what you can and giving up the TRUE processed foods is so helpful.
    OXOX
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. Yeah, we don't really eat any convenience foods (well, my young adults do but I can't control where they drive themselves to!) and mostly just shop the permitter of our grocery store but it really had me looking at things like condiments, dressings, bread, dairy etc... and wondering if I really wanted to start making all that from scratch too! I got that he really meant the ultra processed stuff like TV dinners (YUCK!) and ready made meals that we've never even tried but still once he started mentioning things like how we are getting more antibiotic resistant mostly because of all the antibiotics they feed animals before we eat them I felt like what can I do?!

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  15. Murder at the Elms sounds right up my alley! I love historical fiction and mysteries! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome! I was thrilled to have come across that series... of course it doesn't hurt that we love touring the Newport Mansions too.

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  16. I love books by Joanne Tracey, such intense misteries. Thank you for sharing your list of books, I am thinking I should do the same.

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    1. I find that book reviews are huge hits with readers. I know I love reading about what other people have been reading.

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  17. I love the book challenge. Thinking about sharing the form with my book club. I bet many of the members would love it too!

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  18. Well done! You're off to a good start with the challenge. I only did 2 in January, but I aim to read much more this month. :)

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  19. Nice! We have begun listening to audio books, not quite the same, but it's a start!

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    1. I started listening to audiobooks in the car with my boys when they were quite little so I've gotten used to them over the years but they definitely are not the same as reading them (and some books I find just do not work for me as audiobooks!).

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  20. I enjoyed One of Us is Lying, so maybe I'd like the sequel too. Your book challenge looks fun.

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    1. Thanks! I do like that it challenges me to read books I might not otherwise consider.

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  21. Thank you for your reviews and suggestions. 8 seems like a lot of books to me! I am happy if I get through a couple a month. I finished a lovely one last night, The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak, if you haven't already read it.

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    1. Oh I haven't heard of that one; I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  22. I just put The Summer of Broken Rules on my list. It sounds good!

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    1. I hope you like it! I thought it was really sweet and cute.

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  23. What a fun book challenge, Joanne! I had not heard of this one. I like your goal of reading 52 books in 2024 as well. Thank you for sharing what you have read so far. I always enjoy reading book reviews and finding books to add to my reading list. I was interested that you had read Ultra Processed People - I want to read it but I'm worried about reading it for similar reasons to what you described. I'll be featuring this post at the March edition of Hearth and Soul which goes live on March 3rd. Thank you so much for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Community!

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  24. Hi Joanne, a great set of books this month and it's good to see your progress on the 52 Book Club challenge. I love all of Jo Tracey's books too, she is a very talented writer. Thanks for joining us for WOYBS and sharing your reads.

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  25. Hi, Joanne - I wholeheartedly agree with you on Jo Tracey's Philly series. Such fabulous reasd. I can't wait for more!
    After reading your reviews, I immediately looked on our local online library to see if they had a copy of UltraProcessed People. They currently do not. Now I don't know if that is a good or bad thing. Sounds like this is definitely a love-hate read! <D

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  26. Hi, Joanne - I just commented -- or at least tried to. If the comment is not in your spam or pending folder let me know and I will rewrite!

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  27. So many good books to select from, thanks for sharing Joanne. UltraProcessed People sounds interesting and probably an 'eye-opener' for the reader. I love cozy crime and of course, Philly Barker is my favourite and can't wait for the third book in the series to be published. Thanks for joining us for #WOYBS? each month and sharing your reviews. x

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    1. There are so many good books to pick from that it often makes it hard to settle on just a few!

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  28. You've really powered thru them this month! Well done! I didn't even manage half what you read #WOYBS

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  29. Firstly, thanks for the shout-out and secondly, thanks for linking up. A great start to your book challenge year.

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  30. I loved Philly. Good to see you have your challenge started. I enjoyed looking at the books your chose for particular prompts.

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  31. Quite a few of these sound good and the kinds of books I'd read. Is the Nora Roberts new? I like her romantic suspense and know she has something new coming out soon.

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    1. No, it's actually a much older one from 1987. I just ordered Identity by her from our local library and it sounds very suspenseful!

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