February 14, 2024

What I Read in January 2024

I read eight books in January, starting off the year strong. Yay! I am still shooting for 100 books in 2024, and I’m hopeful that this year I’ll come a lot closer than last year. Here we go!

Two frothy fun rom coms and a great nonfiction book by Charles Duhigg!

5 stars:

Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection, by Charles Duhigg: This was absolutely fantastic. Researcher Charles Duhigg teaches a framework for recognizing three different types of conversations people have (“what’s this really about?”, “who are we?”, and “how do we feel?”), and then teaches how to match those and take the other person’s emotions and experiences into account in your response. As a consultant, I know that what clients verbally say may not reflect how they really feel / what they want; this book helps you read between the lines and learn how to connect more deeply and effectively with everyone you meet. I absolutely loved “The Power of Habit”, and Duhigg uses the same storytelling / science / conclusion formula to present his research in a really engaging and easy to read way. I am recommending this book to everyone I know!

The Rom Con, by Devon Daniels: I loved this sweet and fun novel! Cassidy is a women’s magazine journalist who turns her grandmother’s retro “125 tips to hook a husband” article into an experiment – and inadvertently hooks Jack Bradford, who’s the founder of a bro-y men’s magazine that is her company’s rival. The plot is a great riff on “How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days”, but I loved the realism behind it as the characters came to life; while normally I hate enemies to lovers, this didn’t feel too trope-y at all. Highly recommend!

4 stars:

Triple Sec, by T.J. Alexander: Mel is an expert bartender at the hottest cocktail bar in New York, when a woman named Bebe walks into the bar. The two are immediately drawn to each other, and Mel THINKS Bebe’s flirting, but then she finds out Bebe is married. In fact, Bebe and her wife Kade are polyamorous, and Bebe IS interested in dating Mel. I didn’t know almost anything about polyamory before reading this, and it was fun to learn about it alongside Mel, without the book feeling didactic. Mel was a little bit of an annoying character, in her constant refusal to admit her true feelings, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it – and especially the mixology element, with a lot of attention paid to the different drink recipes, and the culmination of a big cocktail competition at the end. I love books about cooking competitions (like TJ Alexander’s other novels), and this didn’t disappoint.

Tread Loudly: Call Out the Bullsh*t and Fight for Equality in the Workplace, by Kristine Cherek: Kristine is a former attorney at a Big Law firm, and she’s learned a lot about how to succeed as a woman in business. This book is a compendium of her stories and advice, with some psychology studies thrown in, aimed at helping the generations of women to follow. I enjoyed the conversational tone that made this a very quick read (I read it in one day), but it also jumped around quite a bit without covering any one topic in great detail. I would recommend this for young 20somethings who are just getting into the workplace and need a high-level overview, but it’s a bit too simplistic for anyone who already reads books in this oeuvre. On the plus side, the personal stories and examples were really engaging!

That Prince is Mine, by Jayci Lee: This was a fun, sweet read, but didn’t have the depth that I loved in Jayci Lee’s other novels. Emma is a Korean-American culinary instructor, who’s reluctantly relying on her godmother the matchmaker to find her a husband. She has a meet cute in a coffee shop with Michel Aubert, a visiting professor at USC… but what she doesn’t know is he’s actually a foreign prince, who’s trying to find the woman of his dreams before he has to do his duty for his country and have an arranged marriage. The premise is VERY fairy tale-like and sappy, but if you can get past that, it’s a cute story and the characters are reasonably realistic.

Good Guy (Rookie Rebels, #1), by Kate Meader: At first, this felt like a bit of a mess… I got it free from Amazon, and I wondered if it was written by AI? But while the writing wasn’t the best, the premise drew me in and I had a really hard time putting this down. Levi is the oldest rookie on a Chicago NHL team after spending ten years in the military as a Green Beret. Jordan is a young sports reporter who gets a temporary job covering the Rebels in part due to her connection with Levi – her husband was Levi’s best friend in the Green Berets, until he was killed in action. And at his funeral, Jordan and Levi shared a steamy kiss that both of them are trying to forget. The romance was fine, but I loved reading about the world of pro hockey (and sports journalism) and seeing all that goes on behind the scenes.

3 stars:

MoneyZen: The Secret to Finding Your “Enough”, by Manisha Thakor, Lisa Sweetingham: Manisha is a personal finance guru, but the focus of this book isn’t on money but really on workaholism, as she explores figuring out what’s “enough” for you rather than pushing too hard. It was somewhat interesting, but it probably would have resonated with me a lot more strongly a few years ago; I didn’t get as much out of it at this time. I was disappointed that it wasn’t more about money (misleading title), though I suppose her other books cover that adequately. There were still some interesting insights, and I recommended it to a few friends.

1 star:

When No One Is Watching, by Alyssa Cole: Ick, I did not enjoy this, and really wish I had DNFed! Sydney still lives in the Brooklyn neighborhood she grew up in – in fact, in the same house – but the rest of the neighborhood is being gentrified, and it seems alarmingly fast, with neighbors disappearing overnight for strange reasons. Meanwhile, one of her new neighbors, Theo, feels just as much of a fish out of water: his rich girlfriend with whom he bought one of the aging brownstones doesn’t seem to be interested in him now that he’s lost his job, and he doesn’t know what to do. The two team up to investigate what’s going on, and… this dragged on forever. None of the characters were likable enough to root for (okay, maybe the dog), and the ending was so violent and absurd that it made the entire book seem farcical. Hard pass!

Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.


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