Book Reviews Book Reviews Over 50s Lifestyle

What’s On Your Bookshelf? – January 2024

January 19, 2024
What's on your bookshelf?

Happy New Year everyone!!!


It’s time for a new year of reading and sharing at the What’s On your Bookshelf? link up for 2024! I’m looking forward to you sharing what you’ve read at our monthly link up co-hosted with my friends Deb from Deb’s World, Donna from Retirement Reflections and Jo from And Anways. Remember to check out what has been on their bookshelves as well.

I love the time between Christmas and New Year. The celebrations are over and everyone is in a relaxed mode from Boxing Day. It is the perfect time to catch up on some reading and relaxation by the pool or in airconditioned comfort for some of us, or cozy by the fire for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere.

During the December/January holidays I read some really good books which I wanted to share with you.

What’s On Your Bookshelf? – January 2024

52 Book Club Challenge 2024 is now underway

Having completed the 2023 52 Book Club Challenge I am looking forward to 2024’s challenge. Some of you who link up have indicated you are taking the challenge too so it will be interesting to see what books we select for the various prompts. One of my holiday reading books mentioned below will cover several prompts which may help you.

Here is the link to find all the information about 2024 Reading Challenge – The 52 Book Club
Some of the prompts are definitely unusual however there are guides on both the 52 Book Club website and Goodreads to help you decided what books might be a good fit for the prompt.

Do you think you will take the challenge? I’ve kicked off my reading challenge for 2024 reading a couple of books in January.

Have you ever kept a Reading Journal?

One of my Christmas gifts from my daughter was a Reading Journal. I’ve never kept a reading journal before and didn’t really know what it was until I saw that the 52 Book Club Reading Challenge has a journal you can purchase specifically for the challenge.

This is my journal and I love it. It will certainly be a good way to keep record of what books I’ve read as well as my thoughts on the books which will help with reviews.

My favourite reads over the holidays

The Golden Girls Road Trip by Kate Galley – My rating ✭✭✭

What's On Your Bookshelf? - January 2024

It’s never too late for one last adventure…

Constance Fitzgerald may be approaching 70, but she’s never been one for settling down. She’s spent her life untethered and free, but when she finds herself newly engaged and a soon to be grandmother, Constance is forced to accept it may be time, perhaps, to settle down. Until a chance encounter with throws open a window to her past, and Constance decides to head to the Highlands to find an old friend… (Goodreads)

My Review

The Golden Girls Road Trip by Judy Leigh was not what I expected and I really enjoyed it. When I saw the title I thought it would be a ‘nice little book’ to read during the holiday season. I don’t think the title really portrays the story, which is more than just a holiday read and has much more depth to the story. Constance Fitzgerald (Connie) is 70, preparing for her marriage to Leo. She has accepted that she gave up the love of her life 52 years ago. A free spirit who has travelled most of her life, is now preparing to share her life with Leo in addition to trying to win over her daughter-in-law Diana.

Life takes a turn and Connie realises that perhaps it is never too late to right the wrongs of her past. We are taken along for the ride as Connie drives her beloved Ruby (campervan) to Scotland in the hope of finding an old friend.

The characters are real and the story although easy to read has depth with a couple of twists and turns to keep the reader interested.

It definitely isn’t smooth sailing for Connie. Will she find peace and her happy ever after? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

BLINK by K.L. Slater – My rating ✭✭✭✭✭

This book was recommended by Gail from Is this Mutton in one of our previous #WOYBS link ups. I kept it for the holiday period and devoured it in two days.

What's On Your Bookshelf? - January 2024 Blink

What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace.

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter. (Goodreads)

My Review

Wow! This book was recommended to me by a friend and I’ll be reading more of K.L. Slater’s books. This psychological thriller had it all – twists and turns and I couldn’t put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and storyline and highly recommend it if you love a good thriller.

If you are participating in the 52 Book Club Reading Challenge 2024 this book will qualify for several of the prompts. Prompt #20 A Revenge Story, Prompt #14 A Grieving Character, #3 more than 40 chapters, and maybe also #10 told in non-chronological order?

Toni having recently been widowed moves with her 5 year old daughter, Evie to be closer to her Mum. A stroke patient lies in a hospital bed unable to communicate although inside she sees, hears and thinks. She is in a locked in state and doctors are debating whether to turn off life support.

What unfolds is every parent’s nightmare but who, why and how are the questions?

I’ve already downloaded several other K.L. Slater books which I’m looking forward to reading in 2024.

Foul Play at Seal Bay (Morwenna Mutton Mystery #1) by Judy Leigh My rating ✭✭✭✭

What's On Your Bookshelf? - January 2024  Foul Play

A brand-new series perfect for Richard Osman readers and all fans of a page-turning whodunnit. It was meant to be the start of quiet season in the sleepy Cornish village of Seal Bay, but not for sexagenarian librarian and wild swimming enthusiast Morwenna Mutton. Because when a local businessman is found on the beach with a bread knife is his back, bungling police officer DI Rick Tremayne is soon out of his depth. Morwenna knows it’s going to be down to her to crack the case.

The list of people the victim upset is long, the evidence is slight, and an arrest illusive. Morwenna has plenty to occupy her time what with ghostly goings-on at the library and skullduggery at her granddaughter’s school, but she could never resist a challenge. And even the most ruthless of murderers should quake at the sight of this amateur sleuth getting on her bike to track them down.

If you love Miss Marple and The Thursday Murder Club, then you’ll love The Morwenna Mutton mysteries. (Goodreads)

My Review

This was an easy read, and a good choice after reading the thriller, Blink. I love a cozy crime and enjoyed the story line. The main character, Morwenna is likeable and the writing is good. I would definitely recommend the Morwenna Mutton Mystery series.

Happy Place by Emily Henry – My rating ✭✭✭✭

Prompt #10 – 52 Book Club Challenge – ‘Told in Non-chronological order’

Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.

They broke up six months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.

Which is how they find themselves sharing the largest bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blue week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.

Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week… in front of those who know you best?

A couple who broke up months ago make a pact to pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry. (Goodreads)

My Review

When I first started reading Happy Place by Emily Henry, I set it aside as I thought it was just another romance/chic lit book. However, on holidays and ‘in the mood for something light’ I revisited and found to my surprise that I really enjoyed the book. Harriet and Wyn have been together since meeting in college. A couple others aspire to be like – they are so together and so in love. Yet all is not as it seems and when their annual holiday with long term friends as we discover early in the book. I found the story entertaining, easy to read with likeable characters. It definitely is a romance book but there was enough depth to keep me interested and hoping that Harriet and Wyn will find their Happy Place. It’s a story about friendships, love and maintaining longterm friendships despite growing up and wanting different things. Change happens everyday but friendships and love can overcome change and remain strong.

The Locked Room (Ruth Galloway Mystery # 14) by Elly Griffiths – My rating ✭✭✭✭✭

Prompt #1 – 52 Book Club Challenge – ‘Locked Room Mystery’

Pandemic lockdowns have Ruth Galloway feeling isolated from everyone but a new neighbor—until Nelson comes calling, investigating a decades-long string of murder-suicides that’s looming ever closer, in USA Today Elly Griffiths’ penultimate novel in the beloved series. Three years after her mother’s death, Ruth is finally sorting through her things when she finds a curious a decades-old photograph of her own Norfolk cottage— before  she lived there—with a peculiar inscription on the back. Ruth returns to the cot­tage to uncover its meaning as Norfolk’s first cases of Covid-19 make headlines, leaving her and Kate to shelter in place there. They struggle to stave off isolation by clapping for frontline workers each evening and befriending a kind neighbor, Zoe, from a distance. Meanwhile, Nelson is investigating a series of deaths of women that may or may not be suicide. When he links a case to an archaeological dis­covery, he breaks curfew to visit Ruth and enlist her help. But the further Nelson investigates the deaths, the closer he gets to Ruth’s isolated cot­tage—until Ruth, Zoe, and Kate all go missing, and Nelson is left scrambling to find them before it’s too late. (Goodreads)

My Review

I’m a fan of Elly Griffiths and of course her protagonist, Ruth Galloway. This is the 14th book in the Ruth Galloway series and as always I was hooked from the beginning. I did read this out of order so there were some spoilers for me from previous books and character development but it was still a great stand alone story. Set during the pandemic lockdown, it brought back memories of what life was like and what we had taken for granted. There is the crime to be solved – how can a series of deaths be murder when the only way in is locked from the outside? The book also delves into how people handled locked down, Ruth’s discovery of her Mother’s past, raising her daughter Katie (Nelson’s daughter) and the complicated relationship with Nelson himself. A great read and I gave it 5 stars.

Advance Copy Reading a new book coming soon from Joanne Tracey- My rating ✭✭✭✭✭

During the holiday period, I was honoured and lucky enough to get a sneak read of Jo’s new book and I’m sworn to secrecy and don’t want to give anything away, but you are in for a treat when it is published later this year. In the meantime you can see all of Jo’s books at her website, Joanne Tracey – Author.

Current Reading or Listening

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – our Simply Stunning Book Club selection

Well these are the books that have been on my bookshelf during the month, What’s been on yours? I would love you to share with me your recommendations.

Dates for the Diary

The What’s On Your Bookshelf? Link Up dates for 2024 are listed below. Make a note in your diary as a reminder as we would love to have you join us.

The link for What’s On Your Bookshelf (WOYBS) is open on the third Friday of each month at 8 am (AEST) – that makes it sometime on the third Thursday of each month if you’re in the northern hemisphere…

• January 18/19,

• February 15/16,

• March 14/15,

• April 18/19

• May 16/17,

• June 20/21,

• July 18/19,

• August 15/16

• September 19/20,

• October 17/18,

• November 21/22

• December 19/20.

Happy reading and remember to pop over to read what books have been on my co-hosts shelves.

Happy New Year!

The next #WOYBS will be Thursday February 15/Friday February 16. I’m looking forward to seeing and reading What’s Been on your Bookshelf? during the month.

Sue Loncaric

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40 Comments

  • Reply Jennifer Jones January 19, 2024 at 09:50

    I don’t know any of these books with their lovely bright covers Sue. I am presuming you are using The Locked Room for the challenge prompt. It sounds interesting.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:16

      Hi Jen, yes they are colourful aren’t they? I did use The Locked Room for the challenge prompt and I’m sure you would enjoy the Ruth Galloway series. x

  • Reply Thistles and Kiwis January 19, 2024 at 10:29

    I’ve read a few Elly Griffiths but have so many more to go!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:18

      I’ve read a few but not all of them. I tend to binge a series but lately if I really enjoy a series I try to spread out the books as I want them to last longer!

  • Reply marsha57 January 19, 2024 at 14:30

    I haven’t read any of the Emily Henry books though they keep popping up as suggestions for me. I should try one. I keep track of my reading through Goodreads. I exceeded my goal last year so I set it higher for this year. We will see!

    Thanks for all the reviews, Sue!

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:19

      Hi Marsha, I think I might have read one other of Emily Henry’s books last year and they are easy to read. I track my books on Goodreads although now I’ll also use the lovely Journal my daughter gave me. x

  • Reply Retirement Reflections January 19, 2024 at 14:51

    Hi, Sue – Congratulations for taking on the 52 Book Club Reading Challenge again this year. That is an impressive commitment. I love your new reading journal and hope that you’ll share snippets with us on how you use it. Your reading year has been off to a great start with some awesome titles. Like you, the ARC copy of Jo Tracey’s new book was at the top of my recent reads. And I GREATLY look forward to hearing your thoughts on A Tale of Two Cities. Man, I was really on the struggle bus trying to get into that one. But once I finally got into it, I found it extremely difficult to put down (you’ll be proud of me that I did what I was told and put it down where I was supposed to).:D
    I look forward to catching up with you soon!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:23

      I’m enjoying the Challenge, Donna but want to pace myself. Some participants feel they need to have them all ready be end of February and I want to enjoy reading rather than it be a race. Jo’s book was fabulous and she just gets better and better. Looking forward to our discussion tomorrow for TOTC x

  • Reply Cathy January 19, 2024 at 18:49

    I find it strange that after reading the first Ruth Galloway many years ago I’ve never read another yet I have devoured the series she calls The Brighton Mysteries and look forward to new ones being published.
    Thank you for co hosting this link up Sue. It’s making me think about what I’m reading rather than just reading and recording (on Goodreads).

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:24

      Oh I haven’t heard of The Brighton Mysteries, I’m off to check them out. Thanks Cathy and it is lovely you can join in the link up. x

  • Reply Gail Is This Mutton January 19, 2024 at 20:14

    So glad you loved the KL Slater book! She writes such pacey and interesting thrillers.
    I’ve never kept a physical book journal, though I do capture now all the books read, and review them, on Good Reads so I guess that’s similar.
    I want to try the 52 Book Club challenge so need to examine which of the books read in January fits into one of the categories!
    Thanks for the link-up and hope you have a great weekend.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:25

      Yes I’ve read two KL Slater and I also have the rest of the series so I’m pacing myself. Thanks for introducing me to the series, Gail. Have a lovely week. x

  • Reply Joanne January 20, 2024 at 05:00

    I really enjoyed Happy Place (which I read this past spring while in MAINE!– it was the perfect accompaniment to our trip). So many of these look great!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:29

      Oh that would have been great to read Happy Place in Maine and really feel part of the book. I enjoyed it once I got into the story. x

  • Reply Marsha January 20, 2024 at 05:02

    The thriller Blink sounds something like one I read this year, It’s taking me too long to find it, but I think it is Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. It’s your worst nightmare all told in first person, during the time she can’t see, move or talk, and through her memories.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:30

      Oh Marsha thanks for sharing Sometimes I Lie I think I would really enjoy that. Have a lovely week. x

      • Reply Marsha January 23, 2024 at 10:57

        Thanks for your comment, Sue. I hope you enjoy it.

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee January 20, 2024 at 06:22

    I can’t beleive you’ve read so many already! I’ve read 2 in Jan. And one was a script (so maybe an hour long….) Feeling pressure! Just started the Galgut. I really like him. #WeekendCoffeeShare

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:32

      Hi Lydia I read them over the holidays when I had plenty of time. No pressure on how many books you read it is all about enjoyment. Have a lovely week. x

  • Reply Jo January 20, 2024 at 07:04

    I’m there with Morwenna Mutton – that series sounds right up my alley! Oh, and thanks for the shout-out!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:32

      Yes, I’m sure you would enjoy Morwenna although IMHO she isn’t a patch on Philly! x

  • Reply Natalie January 20, 2024 at 11:08

    Hi Sue, Thank you for sharing your book reviews with us at #weekendcoffeeshare. I read Happy Place and would also give it 4 stars. The 52-week reading challenge sounds great. I look forward to following your reading updates throughout 2024.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:33

      Hi Natalie I’m pleased to be able to participate more regularly this year in #weekendcoffeeshare. Have a lovely week. x

  • Reply Daenel T. January 20, 2024 at 23:05

    Sue, thank you for sharing this link up with me. Your review of BLINK has me intrigued. I’m adding it to my TBR. I really enjoy psychological thrillers.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:34

      I love psychological thrillers too, Daenel and sure you will enjoy BLINK. Have a great week and hope you can join us for #WOYBS? next month. x

  • Reply Writing Sparkle January 21, 2024 at 00:20

    Thank you for sharing the link to the reading challenge, Sue. I’m going to check it out.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:34

      I hope you can join us. Have a lovely week. x

  • Reply Janine January 21, 2024 at 16:00

    Oh dear Sue – your reads this month all sound really appealing. Another load to add to my wish list. Thank you for sharing

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:35

      They were all pretty good, Janine and hope you find one that you enjoy. x

  • Reply Debbie January 21, 2024 at 16:05

    Hi Sue, I really enjoyed your post and have noted down quite a few of your books as we do have similar tastes. I’m enjoying finding books for the 52 Book Club Reading Challenge and thanks for the tips! I have the reading journal and it’s a good way to keep track as well as GoodReads!
    Thanks again for sharing your insightful and helpful reviews! I LOVED Jo’s new book 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:36

      Thanks, Deb. Now that I have a reading journal I’m trying to note books that people recommend in WOYBS? There are always a few I would like to read that have been suggested. I loved Jo’s new book too and I also love the link up! x

  • Reply Janet Alcorn January 22, 2024 at 01:11

    Happy Place sounds lovely. I enjoy a good romance, well-told.

    I’ve never kept a journal solely devoted to reading, but I track my reading in my journal. Entries are brief: What I read, star rating, format, where I got the book, and a sentence or two about what I thought of it.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:37

      Hi Janet, this is the first time I’ve tried a journal and it was only because my daughter gave it to me as a gift. Happy Place was better than I expected it to be. x

  • Reply Kirstin Troyer January 22, 2024 at 11:16

    I’m excited to join the WOYB party. My making my way around to see what everyone else is reading. I think I might try that challenge next year. I have never kept a reading journal, but they always sound interesting to me. Those all sound like good books.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:39

      It’s so great you have joined us Kirstin and hope you can join us each month for WOYBS?. I really enjoy reading everyone’s recommendations. x

  • Reply Julie January 24, 2024 at 14:17

    The reading journey looks really cute! I have a reading journal but it’s just a simple black notebook!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 25, 2024 at 15:25

      Hi Julie, the Journal was a lovely gift, and I am actually using it! x

  • Reply Velva-Evening With A Sandwich January 31, 2024 at 10:02

    A fabulous list of great books for 2024! Thanks for sharing with us.

    Velva

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 2, 2024 at 13:54

      Thanks Velva, I love reading so will have more posts to share each month.

    I love hearing from you and your comments are important to me

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