I feel like my year of 'big reading' may have come to an end. As was the case in November, December also saw me reading one less book in 2020 than I had in 2019 (12 boos vs 11 books). Not earth shattering, certainly but when my overall books read for the year jumped by almost 50, it's a bit off to have some months where less was read - but it just means that some months really saw A LOT more, right?
I skipped the 'best of 2020' post with Jana Says and Life According to Steph, but I'm still back for another monthly summary. I wish there was an easy way to sort out my five-star reads from 2020, but my brain has been too...ugh, you know?... to work on another post.
Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publishers for books I received free in exchange for reviews. Any my title links this time are going to Bookshop - I get a small portion of your purchase if you click through and buy a book (at no extra cost to you, of course). Any books I couldn't find on Bookshop, or books I haven't read yet, link to Goodreads. My book reviews link to either SweetlyBSquared or Books I Think You Should Read.
On to my December reads!
Aunt Ivy's Cottage by Kristin Harper - What a charming book! I think this was actually the second book in the Hope Haven series, but it read just fine as a stand-alone. The description was a bit off, though. There was no easily found diary - Zoey searched and talked to a few old-timers before she found the diary in quite an unusual and unexpected place. She solved the generations old mystery and set the series up nicely for more books to come. I gave this one 3.5 out of 5 stars in my full review here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Dear Santa by Nancy Naigle - This was a delightful holiday read - like a Hallmark movie in a book. Angela has run her family's Christmas store for generations. Now a mega-store with some Christmas stuff has come to their quaint seaside town, and it's the final nail in the coffin for the Heart of Christmas. She starts venting to an internet Santa, but guess which store he runs? Read my full 3/5 star review here. ⭐⭐⭐
Bone Canyon by Lee Goldberg - I'm admittedly biased - I loved the first Eve Ronin story, and I loved the second. Eve Ronin didn't get promoted to detective the traditional way, and not a lot of her co-workers like her, but she gets stuff done. I also liked this one for the random scientific knowledge through the police investigation that is disclosed and credited. My full 4 out of 5 star review is at Books I Think You Should Read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Every Last Secret by A.R. Torre - Neena thinks she's found her next husband to continue her upwardly mobile life. Unfortunately for Neena, William is already married to Cat. And Cat doesn't share well. Featuring two manipulative and conniving women and stereotypically lame male characters, this book did have a great ending. I rated this fun psychological thriller 3 out of 5 stars here. ⭐⭐⭐
The Boiling Season by Christopher Hebert - Alexandre has spent his life trying to better himself and his social station. What he hasn't realized is that he's turned his back on those who have less from his childhood and family. As he's bettered himself, those who have supported him are ignored, and he thinks it's their fault for not wanting more. But the cycle of poverty and revolution in his country (never named, but made to resemble Haiti) doesn't stop. The descriptions of both the opulent and rich and the poor were beautiful. Check out my full 3.5 out of 5 star review here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Red Sky Over Hawaii by Sara Ackerman - Lana is ready to walk away from her marriage to the wrong man when her dad calls to say he's sick and unexpectedly ask for her to come home to Hilo. While she's too late to save her father, she ends up taking care of two German girls when their parents are taken into custody by the FBI, and a Japanese old man who was friends with her father, and his adopted son. All five of them flee chaotic Hilo to go finish up and stay at her father's vacation property in the town of Volcano. I loved the descriptions of the beautiful Hawaiian landscape and the political turmoil of Hawaii in the days and months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I gave this book 4/5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐