Friday, January 14, 2022

December 2021 Reads

This is a little late - I got distracted by choosing my end-of-year favorites.  The first two below were the books I liked best this month. December unexpectedly yielded lots of books about sisters, some missing, some suspenseful, and some just amusing.

The Fair Miss Fortune by D.E. Stevenson – This is one of Stevenson’s lesser-known titles, happily brought back into print in January 2022! It’s about Jane, who moves to a small town with her old nurse, planning to operate a tea shop, and all the adventures that happen to her instead.  Review to come.

Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke (2019) - In this romantic comedy, Justine decides to edit the horoscope of the childhood friend who does not really see her.  This reminded me of Maeve Binchy, whose books I always enjoyed.  My review.

Chick Lit / Romance

The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan (2021) – Carmen is the younger sister who always disappoints but this year her assignment is to get an Edinburgh bookstore profitable, so readers like me will enjoy the descriptions of the store and the city.  This was my last book of 2021.
Maybe not the best book this month
but definitely the best cover!!
The Matzah Ball: A Novel by Jean Meltzer (2021) – When a Jewish writer of Christmas-themed stories is told to pen one about Hanukkah or lose her livelihood. My review.

Always, in December by Emily Stone – In this quasi-holiday romance, Josie is recovering from a breakup with her cheating boyfriend Oliver when she meets preferable, sensitive Max. As she shows him London at Christmas, they fall in love but then he disappears.  I admired the author's unconventional ending.

The Lark in the Meadow by Essie Summers (1959)(reread) – Sarah is reluctant to accept an inheritance from a near-stranger but she needs it to support her orphaned siblings. If it means moving to New Zealand and facing the disgruntled joint-owner, she will do it for the children’s sake! My review.

South Island Stowaway by Essie Summers (1971)(reread) – Julia stows away in her brother’s car to surprise him but accidentally gets into the car of a stranger, which gets him in trouble with his fiancĂ©e. Readers, don’t do this at home! Given all the books I read about missing siblings, this could have ended very differently! My review.
The Secret of Snow by Viola Shipman (2021) - Sonny Dunes (not the name she was born with!) is a meteorologist who loses her job and has to go to the only news station that will hire her – in her hometown in Northern Michigan, which she has avoided for years.  This interested me because I used to hear about this part of the world from friends who played hockey in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and loved the area.

The Christmas Party by Karen Swan (2019) – Three sisters who grew up in a decaying castle in Ireland must deal with their unexpected inheritance. Thanks to Cath for the recommendation of this author. My review.


Lost Girls by Jessica Chiarella (2021) – Marti Reese is haunted by her sister’s disappearance and recently created an award-winning podcast chronicling her search for Maggie. Now someone appears with a related case that might result in a breakthrough. My review.
Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay (2021) (audio) – No one except Danny’s family believes he is innocent of killing his girlfriend, but when his parents and two siblings die mysteriously, the FBI gets involved.

And She Was by Alison Gaylin (2012) – Brenna is a private investigator obsessed with her sister’s disappearance 24 years ago. After I started reading this, I remembered I had been disappointed in this author’s books before.  I won't read any more although, coincidentally, as I was reading this my sister was reading her brand-new book and seemed to like it.
The Appeal by Janice Hallett (2021) – Amateur theatricals in the village lead to murder and there are far too many people with motives!  My review.

Elsewhere by Dean Koontz (2020) (audio) – When Jeffy and his daughter Amity are given the Key to Everything, which transports its holders into alternate worlds, they find themselves pursued by secret forces who want to use the gadget for evil. Not his best but entertaining for my commute.

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (2019) – I was intrigued by the plot involving a black, female FBI agent, written from her perspective as if to her two sons to explain her choices and their parentage.  Several of my friends had liked this but after a promising start, I found it tedious.

Living With a Dead Language by Ann Patty (2016) – a retired book editor with a love of language takes up Latin and studies with undergraduates. Very enjoyable! My review.

XOXO by Axie Oh (2021) – a Korean American teen who is a serious musician travels to Korea to visit her grandmother and gets involved with a K-pop band in this improbable but entertaining story.

Children’s Books

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo (2021) – Is Beatryce the child of the prophecy destined to depose the king who has wrongfully seized the throne? My review.
Young Elizabeth Green by Constance Savery (1975) – When Elizabeth is hired to be a governess, she is determined never to return to the orphanage but at just 15 she is not prepared for a student more sophisticated and rebellious than she is.

The Hacker’s Key by Jon Skovron (2020) – Ada has been sent to a military boarding school when her criminal father was imprisoned. But when the mysterious Hacker’s Key disappears he is suspected and refuses to cooperate unless Ada can be sent on the mission to find it. Slight but entertaining.


Test said...

I need to find a copy of Living with a Dead Language for my college roommate-- we BOTH majored in Latin. And no, it didn't end well for either of us when it came to jobs. We both became librarians!

Lex @ Lexlingua said...

I've seen a few other bloggers mention The Beatryce Prophecy, and I'd like to understand some day how the chain starts! Then I read your review of the book, seems it isn't all that appealing after all. I too "guess I am shallow and prefer my princesses less bald". Haha. The Fair Miss Fortune is the other book that caught my eye, waiting for you to review that!