I’d love to tell you that my absence of posts from this blog has been because I’ve been off on exotic travels, but nope. There’s been adventure—domestic, not exotic. But thrilling (and time-consuming) nonetheless. This adventure has brought many changes to our schedules and has reminded me how important it is to be able to bend and adapt.
That said, I have been reading. It has been and always will be my number one choice of escape. I’ve been trying to get caught up with books off my TBR list, both print books from my home library and those that I’ve been collecting on my ereader.
I do keep track of the books I read during the calendar year through Goodreads and I participate in the annual reading challenge. This year I am aiming for 65 books read in 2022. Currently, I’ve read 48, so I’m ahead of schedule and that’s okay by me. If you’re interested in seeing my full Goodreads 2022 Book Challenge the link is below.
But, I’d like to share a few of my thoughts about some of the books I’ve read recently. Maybe you’ll find something in my list that will spark interest or a new-to-you author that you can get to know.
Middle Grade Books
Wretched Waterpark by Kiersten White
Perfect for summer! Spooky but not too creepy, and I absolutely liked the 12 yr old twins, Alexander and Theo and their big sister Wil. Likeable characters, an interesting mystery, and a few chills made this book very enjoyable and I’m definitely going to pick up the next book when it’s available.
Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce
This book was a serious delight for me and kid-Barb would have savored every word and then quickly reread it, but it’s exactly the kind of mystery I loved at that age. I also enjoyed immensely as an adult. Premeditated Myrtle is smart, funny, and is written to keep you guessing. Another series that I will continue reading.
Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
If you’re looking for a magical middle grade fantasy adventure with smart, fun, relatable characters who capture your heart, then Witchlings is a book you don’t want to miss.
Claribel A. Ortega has created an immersive and imaginative world. It’s not without its problems, but her trio of witchlings have the moxie to set some very disturbing things right. I loved the world-building and was completely enchanted, but it’s the characters and how their friendships develop that won my heart. Unlikely friendships, strong family ties, and plenty of twists and turns are just a few of the elements that made this book a winner for me.
Drew Leclair Gets a Clue by Katryn Bury
Katryn Bury has created a more than likable character who is smart, relatable, flawed, loyal, and funny. If I were a kid, I’d want to be friends with Drew. I thought the mystery was solid with clues for the reader to follow, plus it touched on issues many kid readers can relate to: bullying, body shaming, chronic illness, and divorce. While some of the issues/themes are most definitely heavy, the story never sags and it’s infused with humor and hope in just the right places.
Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater
Bravely continues the story of Merida as originated in the Disney film “Brave”. The book is a whimsical yet poignant fairy tale steeped with historical tidbits (be sure to read the author’s notes at the end) and filled with what I like to think of as Merida-moments. It’s YA but there is no language or sex, and really no romance plot. While it’s about growth and change and stagnation, the book is filled with heart, hope, and family—both blood and found.
Hail, Hail Camp Timberwood by Ellen Conford
Hail, Hail Camp Timberwood was one of those books from my childhood/preteen years that I read multiple times. So many times, actually, that I wore my copy out. A couple of weeks ago, I found a copy in decent shape in an antique shop and it had to come home with me.
It’s a quick read, a fun summertime story about a young girl at camp for the first time. You get to experience her fears, first love, and even how she learns to stand up for herself against a bully cabinmate. It was fun to reread it after all these years and I’m really happy to have a copy for my bookshelf, purely for nostalgia-sake.
Killing November by Adriana Mather
It’s an action-packed read filled with intrigue, suspense, and humor at just the right moments. I went into the book expecting a school-for-assassins/spies type story and was thrilled to find so much more.
November, for me, was a likable character. Her cluelessness of her true situation gave me just the right level of anxiety and it was fun watching her develop and learn her place while figuring out what the hell was going on. November has a lot to unpack—not only the “why” of her dad sending her away to this remote/hidden boarding school, but his connection to the school, her family history, and how everything she thought were games were actually training for who she’d one day have to become.
Hunting November by Adriana Mather
Hunting November was the perfect sequel to Killing November. If you’re looking for a spy-style adventure with deceptions, action, and a bit of romance, this is the book to pick up. Definitely read Killing November first. The books should be read in order.
The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson
As a life-long fan of Agatha Christie, I had looked forward to The Agathas and was excited to start reading. The authors didn’t disappoint with the Christie references and I particularly enjoyed the quotes from Christie’s books at the beginning of the chapters.
It’s whodunit, complete with murder, lies, red herrings, and clues the reader can pick up if they’re looking. The contemporary mystery is set amid the haves and have-nots of a California high school and it’s told in dual POV, which I enjoyed. We get multiple subplots, teen angst, and maybe a bit too much about the adults who do play an integral role in the story and the overall mystery.
Nightwork by Nora Roberts
Nightwork is a suspenseful thriller-mystery told from the perspective of a very talented thief. If you’re a fan of Nora Roberts’ suspense novels, this one won’t disappoint.
Hide by Kiersten White
Definitely horror. Definitely dark. The book is set in an extremely creepy, abandoned amusement park where contestants on a reality/game show have been brought to compete. Except, nothing is as it seems. It was a page-turner and I really liked it.
Nine Lives by Peter Swanson
I picked up Nine Lives because it was recommended to me by another mystery book lover. It’s a well-woven mystery with multiple threads, a solid plot, and the right amount of well-placed clues but balanced with twists to keep you guessing.
As an avid mystery reader, in particular Agatha Christie, I immensely enjoyed the references and because of my Christie knowledge I had a fair idea of the “who” and even a general idea of the “why”—but I wasn’t sure at all on the “how”. This made it a fun read for me.
Finding My Voice by Nadiya Hussain
It’s rare for me to read non-fiction and I’m so glad I picked up Finding My Voice by Nadiya Hussain. First, I absolutely loved her on GBBO and I have watched and re-watched her show on Netflix because I find her not only smart and funny, but calming. And in the chaos of this world, it’s been exactly what I needed.
This book was a fast read for me because it felt like I was sitting down and chatting with Nadiya Hussain over a cup of tea (or coffee for me). It’s charming, heartbreaking, eye-opening, and a book I’m just happy that I read.