What I Read in February of 2024

 I feel like nearly every book I read this month was either a murder mystery, a historical fiction novel or some combination of the two! It was a great month of reading though and I am knocking off topics for my 52 Book Challenge left and right! 



1. A Fatal Affair by A. R. Torre-- When the brother of a famous movie star and a mystery woman are found dead in that star's guest house the police have a bunch of questions.  This was a fun little mystery with some really odd characters and lots of other side stories and plot twists.  I liked that the chapters were real short and the story was told from multiple points of view but I felt like it ended with so many loose ends not tied up (and I hate that! LOL). 


2. The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto-- I'm not really sure how I feel about this book.  I mean it was gripping and I needed to know how it ended but I still don't know if I liked it or not. Lia receives a full scholarship to a fancy prep school called Draycott Academy but has trouble fitting in from day one.  Soon she's uncovering a cheating ring, gets wrapped up in a murder investigation, and ferrets out a drug dealer on campus. She's not sure who she can trust and if any of her friends are really her friends.  At times I felt so bad for her but at others I wanted to ring her neck over the obviously stupid choices she makes. 


3. Olivia Strauss Is Running Out Of Time by Angela Brown -- I thought this was a cute enough story. Olivia and her best friend share a birthday and on the day of their 39th birthday her friend has the idea to take Olivia for a blood test that is supposed to predict when they will die... only Olivia's results reveal that she has just one year left to live.  Even though she's pretty sure the test is bogus the results throw Olivia for a loop and have her rethinking most everything about her life and how her current life got so far away from her dreams.


4. Yellowface by R. F. Kuang-- I enjoyed listening to this book on my Libby app. June and Athena met at school and while Athena's career took off June is stull a struggling author. Until the night that Athena dies right in front of June after handing June her latest manuscript to read. June loves the story and after lots and lots of fine tuning and editing actually publishes Athena's book under a pen name with an ambiguous author photo. She ends up coming up against controversy when readers start to question if she has the right to tell a story about Chinese laborers during World War I. It was a fun audiobook to listen to and I think it really helped that the story was written in the first person point of view. I thought the story took a few fun little twists I wasn't expecting either which always helps keep the story interesting. 


5. The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon- A very compelling story-- set in rural Maine in 1789 a midwife is called to testify about a rape coming up against a very prominent town figure. Set to stop her this figure puts her and her family through so much-- including putting her family in the crosshairs. Set during the time period of one winter the book moves at a good pace and is one I will be thinking about for a long time to come. I nearly set this one aside since I thought the beginning was a little slow but I kept at it and I am so glad I did! 


6. Blue Hawaiian by Carla Luna-- I read this adorable book in just a day or two! When Jess lands on Maui for her sister's destination wedding she just hopes she can be the perfect maid of honor her sister is looking for. But when she immediately bumps into her ex- boyfriend Connor, the groom's cousin, Jess realizes that this week is going to be even harder to get through than she thought.  Conner lands on the island determined to prove to his family that he's changed in the hopes that his family will support him going into business for himself.  But running into Jess at the airport and remembering how he treated her hurts and he's determined to make it up to her. With all sorts of secrets, wedding drama, and fun Maui inspired activities it was a really fun and light book that is making me even more anxious to get to Hawaii by the end of the year.   


7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell-- Another book I listened to on the Libby ap; such a sweet and sad story.  Eleanor is the new girl in school that everyone loves to pick on. Park takes pity on her and lets her sit with him on the bus but slowly as he gets to know her he begins to not only like her but fall in love with her as well. Park has never fully fit in either and two become thick as thieves but Eleanor's home life is a mess. As she begins spending more and more time with park she starts to feel like they are living on borrowed time.  


8. One Woman's War: A Novel of the Real Moneypenny by Christine Wells-- I enjoyed this story about two women working for Great Britain during the second World War. Paddy is a socialite who lands a job working in the admiralty's office under Ian Fleming. Friedl is an Austrian double agent trying her hardest to survive the war working for MI-5 to gather information about supporters of Nazi Germany. Both end up working on a covert operation called Operation Mincemeat that nearly upsets their entire lives.


 

9. In Defense of Food An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan-- After last month's food book made me hesitant to eat just about anything I was hopeful for a book that would help me feel better about making healthy choices without driving myself nutty... but mostly I already knew everything in this book and it really can be boiled down to the very first few lines of chapter one-- "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants."  If I were cooking and eating just for me I think I'd have zero problems with a mostly plant based diet and the occasional treat of chicken, fish, and steak... but I'm done reading any sort of food books for awhile! 

10.  The Women by Kristin Hannah-- Such a powerful story! When Frankie signs up to be a nurse in Vietnam she has no idea what she's in for but she soon finds her purpose in life and she's a great nurse. She makes deep friendships with the women working alongside her but slowly one by one they are sent home as their tours of duty end.  Back in the "real world," Frankie is struggling to adjust. People are angry that she served and her family kept it a secret, she has flashbacks and nightmares and no one seems able or willing to help.  When she stops by a VA office asking for help she's told that women weren't in Vietnam.  Luckily a couple of her nursing buddies come to her rescue and the three of them learn to settle back into civilian life by relying on one another. It in turns made me sad and angry and wondering why we STILL don't have a better handle on providing mental health services to our servicemen and women. 


11. The Mystery Guest: A Maid Novel (Molly the Maid book 2) by Nita Prose -I Thought this was a super cute sequel to the first book.  In this book Molly has been working at the hotel for 5 years since the last murder and all sorts of good things have been going on in her life. When a famous mystery writer drops dead in the middle of the tearoom during a function Molly is determined not to be the main suspect this time... only problem is she's hiding the fact that she knew the mystery writer. Told in alternating timelines between now and when Molly was a child it was a fun little whodunit. 



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









Comments

  1. Looks like a lovely month of reading. I did wonder myself about reading Frozen River - I might do so now, Jo x

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  2. Great selection! I tend to gravitate towards suspense novels too- who are your favorite suspense authors? Need some new suggestions

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    1. Just a few I can think of off the top of my head: B A Paris, Shari Lapena, Lucy Foley, Ruth Ware, Lisa Jewell, and Lucy Clarke.

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  3. I've been wondering about Yellowface. I'll add it to my list! And I'll definitely add The Women too. I've started seeing it pop up here and there. I love Kristin Hannah's other books already.

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    1. I love her books too and this one lived up to my expectations.

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  4. I'm in the middle of The Women right now, great read!

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  5. We read two of the same books this month - The Women and The Mystery Guest.

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  6. I got Yellowface for Christmas but haven't read it yet and I have The Women on my wish list

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    1. I thought both were really good; in very different ways.

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  7. Yellowface kind of stressed me out because I had second hand guilt and was just waiting to get caught ha!

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  8. I only finished 3 books in February for a total of 8 books so far. I've finished 1 for March so far. I am definitely behind on my goal of 60 books for the year. Looks like you are doing really well with your goal.

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  9. I have The Women & CANT WAIT to read it!

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  10. One Woman's War sounds especially good to me. I think I'm the only person who hasn't read The Women yet! It looks so good!

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  11. You read a LOT in February! I have only heard of a couple of these titles, but I'm definitely adding some of them to my TBR!

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  12. I didn't finish Frozen River because I found it a little slow. I'm glad it picked up later. We definitely agree on The Women and Yellowface too.

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad I didn't give up on it... but I definitely don't think it will make it onto my favorite book list either.

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  13. #2 cracked me up that you wanted to strangle her for her choices....to me that means it was written well to get you emotionally involved! 😜.
    I can't remember if I read #9 but I have a hard time subscribing to all plants. I'm a meat and potato girl at heart.
    Xoxo
    Jodie

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  14. Congrats on so many books! I seem to read murder mysteries mostly, too. I like chick lit, but I'm not a real fan of the formulaic love stories.

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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  15. There are some good titles here. Well done for getting through so many. You are smashing the challenge already!
    Have a great weekend Joanne! :)

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  16. I read In Defense of Food years ago. We try to eat more plant based but it's hard. Adding Yellowface, The Women and One Woman's War to my library list!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

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    1. It really is hard! I'm just trying to be more aware of my choices and make the best ones I can.

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  17. I loved Yellowface! And The Maid sequel omg!

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    1. I you enjoyed Yellowface you might also like The Plot; it had some good similarities but enough differences that I didn't feel like I was listening to the same book again.

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  18. You had an interesting and varied reading month in February. I hope March is as good. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  19. One of the best classes I took in college was called Food Rhetoric. By the end of it, I couldn't eat anything because all food hurts somebody! I haven't read a food book since I took the class. :)

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    1. I made the mistake of reading a book about meat processing plants when I was in high school and had to go vegan for a few years until I could stop seeing all those images running through my head!

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  20. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about The Women. It's on my list, but I'm sure the library holds are about a mile long for it right now!

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    1. Yeah, I was surprised to find that it was available when I went to look for it so I snapped it right up.

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  21. HI Joanne a fabulous variety of books this month and look at you filling up the spaces in the 52 Book Club Reading Challenge. I want to read The Women and The Frozen River and have also seen Yellowface recommended in a few places. Thanks so much for sharing what you've been reading this month and joining us for #WOYBS? Have a wonderful weekend. x

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  22. Hi, Joanne - Congratulataions with your continued success on your Book Challenge. You are doing incredibly well.
    And thank you for sharing where the line "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants" comes from. I saw it, out of context, recently. I thought it made great sense but did wonder where it came from or if there was more to it.

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    1. Aw, thank you! And you are welcome... that one (okay 3!) lines really stuck with me because it really does make sense.

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  23. Hi Joanne, you're powering along with the 52 Book Club challenge! I'm keen to read The Woman and Yellowface after reading some good reviews, maybe even The Frozen River. Thanks for your reviews and for joining us for #WOYBS this month.

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    1. You're welcome! Thank you so much for hosting.

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  24. I loved both The Women and The Frozen River so much. Looking forward to listening to the audio book of The Women also.

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  25. Another good mix of suggestions from you. I've heard good things about Yellowface, and The Women but would also be keen to read One Woman's War and The Frozen River. So many books so little time. Thanks for linking up with us.

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    1. I know! I always wish I could read even faster than I already do because that to read list just grows longer and longer each day.

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  26. The first and last books on your list - the mysteries - are the ones that look most appealing to me. Thanks for some good ideas! Happy Reading!

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  27. I put One Woman's War on hold and really wish my library had Blue Hawaiian as I really want to get to Hawaii too. It's one of the few places left on my travel bucket list :)

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    1. That is a bummer but I'm pretty sure I picked it up either for free or like $2 or $3 on Amazon.

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  28. I read The Maid and would like to read The Mystery Guest as well.

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