My January 2024 Reads

New year, and another great month in books.

I started off the month on my way to a luxurious destinataion wedding, but got lost in a blinding snowstorm in Germany. After having found shelter in a Bavarian ghost town, strange things began happening. And then the bodies started appearing. Next I journeyed to a quiet Connecticut town, where a friendly real estate agent decides to moonlight as a private investigator – turns out to be a useful skill in her idyllic New England town, where the bodies keep piling up.

January 2024 reads

After this, I moved to a rural Irish town where a childhood fight between three best friends is revisited fifeen years later, when the three women are back in town. And I wrapped up the month in the American midwest, taking part in a community theatre production, haunted by the spirit of a former actress who performed there.

One of the four novels was a NetGalley read. Two of the four were penned by wonderful, fellow Women’s Fiction Writers Association authors.

Check out all my reviews here below. Happy February reading to all!

The ResortThe Resort cover

This was an enjoyable, twisty psychological thriller. British couple Mila and Ethan leave Bristol for the destination wedding of Mila’s sister, Jess, in a luxurious ski resort in Bavaria. When they get lost driving in a snowstorm, they are forced to take refuge in an isolated, deserted German village, now merely broken-down cabins in thick woods.

When Mila awakens the next morning, Ethan is gone – and she must struggle to survive and to overcome the fear that someone is watching her.

This was a creepy, page-turning story, with flashbacks to Mila’s difficult homelife and strained relations with her sister, as she slowly unravels the mystery surrounding her. A highly engaging read.




First Dates Are FatalFirst Dates are Fatal cover

This novella was a fun, fast read.

Think an American suburban Midsomer, one of those idyllic. tight-knit communities where bodies just happen to keep popping up.

Luckily for Woodbridge, there’s Sadie McIntyre, a local real estate agent with a passion for solving crime in her free time. While out on a Valentine’s Day date that “definitely-is-not-a-date”, Sadie witnesses some of the last moments of a soon-to-be murder victim. She is warned by police to stay out of the investigation, but you’ll be pleased to know Sadie has no intention of heeding those warnings.

This is part of a series, but I hadn’t read the earlier novellas and could still enjoy this as a stand-alone. A highly enjoyable read.




The Sunrise Swimming SocietyThe Sunrise Swimming Society cover

This novel takes place in rural Ireland, in a small lakeside town. Three young girls – wealthier golden girl who dreams of adventure, Niamh, unhappy and neglected Heather, who is bent on escaping the shadow of her hippie family, and Lauren, who dreams of one day having a large family with her steady boyfriend – meet and, despite their differences, become fast friends.

These three friends support one another throughout school and gather at each solstice to dive into the frigid local lake and to make their wishes for the new season at sunrise. Fast forward fifteen years, when all three women are in their mid-thirties. Their lives have not spooled out in the ways they imagined in their youth, and they are no longer friends. Or even speaking to one another.

This novel had a lot of elements I love in a story: its rural Irish setting, a somewhat unlikely friendship, digging into how life turns out differently to how the characters imagined it would as young girls, and the swimming angle. While I enjoyed it, I did find it a bit slow and I didn’t feel as drawn to the characters as I felt I could have. I think part of the issue is that so much emphasis is placed on a blow-up between the three girls as the reason for their break. When the explanation finally arrived, it felt anticlimactic.

Still, it’s a pleasant story in an enjoyable setting of smalltown Ireland and I’m certain many readers will appreciate this feel-good tale.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy – all thoughts are my own.

Divinely DramaticDivinely Dramatic cover

Such a fun follow-up to Divine Vintage, another novel I loved.

Marcy, who is working multiple jobs while she helps her ill mother, fills in for a friend as costume designer for a community theatre production. The sudden departure of an actress means she must step into the leading lady role. She can overlook the fact that Mike, the sexy but gruff director isn’t completely convinced. While Marcy is excited about the challenge, she also possesses an eerie sixth sense that allows her to view the auras of people around her – and spirits who have unfinished business. To her dismay, the theatre houses one of these lost souls.

This fun tale blends women’s fiction, romance, mystery and a hint of the supernatural, and is a thoroughly engaging read.

Thanks to the publisher for my ARC, all thoughts are my own.

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