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FIRST Book Club: 7 Feel-Great Reads You’ll Love For January 2024

From historical fiction to romance and heartfelt young adult — we've got a novel for you!

Welcome, literature lovers, to the sixth installment of the new-and-improved FIRST for Women monthly book club!

Here at FIRST for Women, when we’re not hard at work bringing you stories about health, nutrition, beauty, and lifestyle, we like to kick back with a good book.

We know first-hand that reading provides relief from stress, improves brain health and ushers in more joy. So we rounded up our editors’ seven top picks for January 2024, from historical fiction to romance and heartfelt young adult. Read on for our FIRST book club picks!

We’d also love to hear what books you’re reading this month and how they made you feel!

Sad about canceled plans? Rx: The Second Chance Year 

Magical Realism by Melissa Wiesner

he Second Chance Year  by Melissa Wiesner (FFW Book Club)

“Recently, my best friend canceled our weekend trip upstate due to a bad cold, and I was feeling blue and frustrated by the long, looming winter ahead,” confesses Maggie Dillard, FIRST Associate Editor. “So when I saw this cheery, wintry read on the shelf at the bookstore, I decided to give it a chance.” Sadie Thatcher’s life is falling apart when a fortune teller offers her one wish. Sadie jumps at this chance for a fresh start. But after making her wish, nothing happens — until she kisses her brother’s best friend, Jacob. When she wakes up the next day, it’s the first day of January…of last year! “I really enjoyed watching the events unfold as Sadie lives out her second-chance year,” says Maggie. “I was so wrapped up, I forgot about my canceled plans!” (Forever, 2023)

Missing family? Rx: A Catered New Year’s Eve  

Cozy Mystery by Isis Crawford

A Catered New Year’s Eve by Isis Crawford (FFW Book Club)

“I love spending time with family during the holiday season, but the post-holiday blues set in when I realize it will be awhile until I see them all again,” shares Lauren Blum, FIRST Associate Editor. “To lift my spirits, I picked up this mystery starring two sisters, and it was a fun escape!” Bernie and Libby are called in to cater their cousin Ada’s New Year’s Eve party and hopefully find some clues to help prove that the death of Ada’s father and his business partner was no accident. When a guest at the party turns up dead after midnight, Ada flees the scene and police believe she may be the killer. Will Bernie and Libby be able to somehow prove Ada’s innocence and uncover the truth about Ada’s dad and partner? “Full of twists, this read had me on my toes,” says Lauren. “It also made me cherish the bond I have with my own family even more.” (Kensington, 2020)

Need a thrilling page-turner? Rx: Iron Flame

Fantasy by Rebecca Yarros

Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros (FFW Book Club)

“The first book in this series was one of the best novels I’ve read in decades — and as a book nerd, I read a lot! — so I was overjoyed to finally dive into this sequel,” says Carey Ostergard, FIRST Executive Editor. Everyone expected Violet Sorrengail to die during her first year at Basgiath War College, but she became a rider of one of the most powerful dragons alive. Now, she must unearth deadly secrets…and even dragon fire may not be enough to save her. “Dare I say this was better than the first novel,” says Carey. “I even did a happy dance.” (Entangled, 2023)

Having regrets? Rx: Recipe for Second Chances

Chick lit by Ali Rosen

Recipe for Second Chances by Ali Rosen (FFW Book Club)

“As the holidays wrap up, I can’t help but think back on a few missed opportunities from the past year,” admits Kristina Mastrocola, FIRST Senior Editor. “And this fun rom-com on my nightstand about second-chance love was just the dose of hope and humor I needed.” When Stella Park goes to Italy for her friend’s wedding, she’s excited to escape — until she runs into her ex, Samuel Gordon. When they keep getting pushed together throughout the weekend, Stella begins questioning why she ever broke up with him in the first place. Says Kristina, “Filled with witty banter and memorable characters, this saga helped me believe in love again…just in time for the new year.” (Montlake, 2023)

Looking for a little drama? Rx: The Spectacular

Historical fiction by Fiona Davis

The Spectacular by Fiona Davis (FFW Book Club)

“I’ve always been amazed by the Radio City Rockettes, and when I saw this novel about them, I had to read it,” says Patty Bontekoe, FIRST Executive Editor. In 1956, 19-year-old Marion lands a job as a Rockette and falls in love with the work and glamour. Then, when a bomber attacks the theater, Marion finds herself involved in the investigation. Raves Patty, “I just loved all the twists, turns and drama!” (Dutton, 2023)

Want to feel extra cozy? Rx: A Winter in New York

Romance by Josie Silver

A Winter in New York by Josie Silver (FFW Book Club)

“I love soaking up the coziness of winter, so I downloaded this romance set in New York City,” says Rachel Cosma, FIRST Health Director. “It got me right in the mood to celebrate all the holiday joy to come this year!” Iris decides to leave her job as a chef and move from London to the Big Apple to follow in her late mother’s footsteps. There, she meets Gio, who works at a gelateria Iris recognizes from one of her mother’s photographs. When Gio reveals the shop is in danger of closing, Iris offers to help re-create his family’s famous lost gelato recipe — which tastes identical to the gelato her mother used to make. Iris finds herself trying to balance her feelings for Gio with revealing the truth about how her mother came to have the family’s secret recipe. “This story reminded me that family is who you surround yourself with,” says Rachel, “and that it’s never too late to start over!” (Dell, 2023)

Feeling the pressure of your to-do list? Rx: Reign

Young Adult by Katharine McGee

Reign by Katharine McGee (FFW Book Club)
Random House

“Despite the pressure of my to-do list last week, I needed a break in the evening,” says Carissa Mosness, FIRST Assistant Digital Editor. “And this was a perfect escape!” In this last installment of the American Royals series, readers will once again be enamored with America’s fictional royal family. After Queen Beatrice’s accident and the disappearance of Princess Samantha, Prince Jefferson is now on the throne. For America, it’s what they always wanted — but for the Washington family, it’s their nightmare come true. Filled with twists and romance, the stakes in Reign are higher than ever! “I am a sucker for stories about royal families,” says Carissa. “And this dramatic tale added the right amount of romance, friendship and power into my life!” (Random House, 2023)

For more FIRST Book Club picks:

FIRST Book Club: 7 Feel-Great Reads You’ll Love For December 2023

FIRST Book Club: 7 Feel-Great Reads You’ll Love For November 2023

And for all things books, click here!

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