January 2024 Reading Wrap Up: 5 Star Reads

January 2024 Five Star Reads

I rated five books as five stars in January 2024. Four novels and one memoir. I was not given any of these books to review and do not collaborate with any of these authors (but oh how I would love to!) All but one of these books were published after March 2023 so they’re all still fairly new releases. I hope you enjoy them!

Hey, Hun: Sales, Sisterhood, Supremacy, and Other Lies Behind Multilevel Marketing by Emily Lynn Paulson

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Release Date: May 30, 2023

Buy Hey Hun on Amazon

I listened to this audiobook for free on the Libby App, using my local public library card. Yay for libraries!! Emily Lynn Paulson, the author, narrates the book herself.

I love a good tell-all. In this book, Paulson uses a pseudonym for the Multi-Level Marketing company she sold product for, earning over a million dollars as one who skyrocketed to the top of the pyramid. She does this because most MLM companies operate the same way.

The book was well-written, honest, and brave. Not only did she spill a lot of tea about what goes on behind the scenes of all of those meetings, lunches, wine nights, and conventions, she addresses her alcoholism and how the culture of the MLM she was a part of played right into it.

Read: Hey Hun if you enjoyed: Educated by Tara Westover; and Uncultured by Daniella Mestyanek Young.

The Star and the Strange Moon by Constance Sayers

I reviewed and raved about The Star and the Strange Moon already on this blog. It was great. Read it. I mean the book, not the blog. But I’d love it if you read that, as well.

Release Date: November 14, 2023

Buy The Star and the Strange Moon on Amazon

I read this e-book courtesy of the Libby App from my local public library. Yay libraries!!

The Star and the Strange Moon is the third novel by Constance Sayers. They’re all standalone novels but have the same character lurking in the background and ‘pulling the strings,’ as it were.

Each of the three novels involves a curse gone wrong. Different characters in different times and places deal with the consequences of and learn how to build lives within the constraints of someone else’s curse.

Sayer’s first and second novels are both five stars as well.

A Witch in Time

Ladies of the Secret Circus

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Read the Star and the Strange Moon if you liked The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

North Woods by Daniel Mason

This book was a NYT 10 Best Books of 2023, so I put it on my wish list and I was not disappointed!

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Release Date: September 19, 2023

Buy North Woods at Amazon

I borrowed this e-book on the Libby App, courtesy of my local public library. Yay for libraries!

North Woods follows a piece of property in rural Massachusetts from when two runaway Puritan lovers build a cabin in the 17th century through present time. Throughout the centuries, people come and go. They build an apple orchard, they build additions to the house, they live their lives. It was a captivating story with great characters, many fascinating (and some heart breaking) stories. The book is not told from the houses point of view, but uses the house as an anchor, holding our minds in place, for us to observe the lifetimes gone by.

Read North Woods by Daniel Mason if you enjoyed The Overstory by Richard Powers or Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthoney Doerr. Note: As of 2/2024, The Overstory is included in the Audible Plus catalog, and is free to listen to for Audible subscribers.

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

I was hesitant to read Hello Beautiful because it’s somewhat of a retelling of Little Women. I did not enjoy Little Women, no matter how many times I tried. And I tried many, many times. Regardless, the Padavano sisters in Hello Beautiful completely captured my attention.

I’m one of those people that doesn’t cry – I don’t mean that I don’t feel sorrow, it is just that crying does not come easily to me. That being said, this book is added to the list of books/movies that made me completely lose it and sob until I had bright pink dots all over my forehead. (Also included in this cub: the movie Field of Dreams, White Squall, book and movies – A Man Called Ove/Otto, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman). But, anyway.

Released: March 14, 2023

Buy Hello Beautiful on Amazon

I read this book in a Hardcover, purchased on sale at a book store.

Life is lived as part of a group if you’re a Padavano. There are four sisters that are extremely close. As the oldest daughter graduates from Northwestern University, their family faces a tragedy. The way they rebuild themselves and live their lives makes for a great story. Ann Napolitano is really a great author and is now in the category where I’ll read anything she writes.

This book was on almost every major “best of 2023” book list.

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Read Hello Beautiful if you liked Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard or March by Geraldine Brooks.

The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout

From Blood and Ash, Book 3

This was a re-read with me, and, the first time I read it, I only gave it 4 stars. However, after reading the Flesh and Fire prequel series, I now see book three for what it is – way more than just what it appears on the surface. This makes the list, but I encourage you to read both the From Blood and Ash and Flesh and Fire series, no matter what genres you enjoy.

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Release Date: April 20, 2021

Buy The Crown of Gilded Bones on Amazon

I listened to this audiobook by using an Audible credit. The narrator, Stina Neilsen, is fantastic.

Some people don’t enjoy that this book uses a lot of modern jargon and slang, but it is a fantasy world and not historical fiction, so there is really no reason for the characters to speak the Queen’s English. It’s also got some (great) graphic sex scenes.

I’ve graduated to SUPER FAN of the two related series.

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