Friday, December 30, 2016

Best Books of December

December is a busy month, but there's always time to read! Here are the great books I read this month.




Jenny Lundquist was an author whose books I read while I was waiting for my first book to come out. I love her writing, so I was counting the days until her November 29th release. Especially when I saw this gorgeous cover!



The Charming Life of Izzy Malone focuses on Izzy, a sixth grader who is at that awkward age where she isn't quite sure where she belongs. Making matters worse, she has a prodigy sister who seems to be perfect and a mom who is running for mayor. Jenny's writing took me right back to that age and the panicked frustration I felt when I thought nothing I could do would make grown-ups see me as the unique, creative person I was. This is a book that will help the many tweens who feel that way see that they aren't alone. Izzy makes the perfect middle grade heroine--quirky and filled with angst, but strong and spunky. You can't help but root for her!

Kristin Smith is another longtime blogging friend and she's celebrating her first book!!! I was so excited when I opened this book on my Kindle, and now I get to tell you about it.



Catalyst depicts a very realistic future in which genetic modification has taken over. The main character, Sienna, is forced to engage in criminal behavior after her father dies suddenly. When she learns her father's death wasn't an accident, her motives change. Kristin's version of the future is all too real...eventually people likely will choose their children's characteristics, thanks to science. But she also packs plenty of action scenes into the book that keep you turning the pages until the very end.

If I'm solely judging a book by its cover, I'm likely going to go for pink and cartoony. Or glittery and colorful. I think those are the hazards of being a children's author! So when I saw the cover for my next December read, I knew I was in for a wild ride.



Hell Comes to Hogtown by C.D. Gallant-King focuses on the death of the prime minister's wife and two guys who are pulled into the drama by accident. C.D. has a humorous, immensely likable writing voice that makes every scene more interesting. When you add in the action and drama of a comic book shop employee on the run with his wrestler friend (yes, you read that correctly!), you have a book that you won't be able to put down. 

Ayla Hashway is a new voice in the writing world. She's only NINE YEARS OLD!!! I'm sure many of us can say we wish we'd started writing and publishing books at nine. Imagine how successful we'd be by now!



In The Secret Sister, a 12-year-old girl named Olivia and her younger brother Max are preparing to go on vacation to Abura. Why Abura? A mysterious woman randomly walked up to her, handed her a brochure, and told her she should go there. It was only the first of several strange events for Olivia and Max. In addition to their exciting trip, the two also have to solve a mystery involving their mom. I can't emphasize enough how amazed I was that a nine-year-old wrote this book! It was engaging and fun and very readable. I think everyone should give Ayla's first book a read. (Pssst: It's free!!!)

And last...but so not least...is this contemporary romance from Jennifer Lane. Have I mentioned lately how much I love contemporary romances? I couldn't wait to dive into this one!



Spiked is a new adult romance told from two perspectives: the son of the U.S. President and an aspiring Olympic swimmer. It's also the third in a series, but it stands on its own, so you don't have to read the other two first. When the female protagonist, Jessica, is raped at a college party (very early in the book), she has some serious healing to do. As you can imagine, this book tackles some heavy issues, but the author does so in a compassionate, healing way that has you falling in love with both characters. This is like no other new adult romance you've read!

What are you reading now?

21 comments:

  1. Ooh. I need to set a book allowance. ~sigh~ Meanwhile, I'm rereading "Sword of the Lictor" by Gene Wolfe from 1982 (!). And I just finished George Sanders' 1960 (!!) autobiography "Memoirs of a Professional Cad" and am starting "Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe" recently released by Robert Matzen. Next up is something a lot more contemporary: "Knitted Tales: A Collection of Emotions" which are short stories by Rubina Ramesh. Happy New Year!

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    1. You sound like a very well-educated reader!

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  2. these books all have very cool covers, and I'm sure what's inside is even better. Congrats to all of these authors and I wish them plenty of sales in 2017

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    1. Thanks, Joanne. I love looking at different book covers!

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  3. Thanks for the recommendation of the Jennifer Lane book. It looks like a god one.

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    1. You'll love it. Definitely an author to add to your list if reading New Adult is among your 2017 goals.

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  4. Aw, thank you, Stephanie, for the wonderful review of Catalyst! <3

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  5. I loved Hell Comes to Hogtown. Thanks for the book recommendations, and happy reading in the new year!

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    1. It was a great one. Hope you have a great New Year!

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  6. Oh dang, so many good ones! I've been really remiss on books lately--that's going to change in the New Year!

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    1. That is definitely a good resolution to have.

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  7. I can see you read a great variety of books, Stephanie! I'm gobsmacked by a 9-year-old author--wow. I appreciate you taking the time to read and review!

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    1. Is that not AMAZING?! We didn't have the tools to publish our own books when we were a kid. I can only imagine how cool that would have been!

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  8. You just made Ayla's day. Her smile couldn't be any bigger at the moment. Thank you for including her book in your best books of December!

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    1. I think it's so sweet that she is following in her mom's footsteps, and I know your guidance makes a big difference. If all children had moms who encouraged them in their writing goals, we'd have a large group of phenomenal adult authors in 10-20 years!

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  9. Sounds like December was a good reading month for you.

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  10. Wow, awesome lot of books! Wishing you and your family a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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  11. I remember my reading list being totally over the top back in the day, but this year, I think I got through just about 10 books. Some of that was due to a slump, and some was because I was involved in other things. In 2017, I want to increase my total for sure. Kudos on some of the books you read, and a few sound rather fascinating. I hope you and your family have a Happy, Happy New Year! Hugs...

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  12. Thanks for all the recommendations Stephanie!!! Happy New Year!

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  13. I tend to lean towards audio books, leaving my hands free when I am doing routine chores. I am currently reading J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) Immortal In Death. Set in the future, it is thought provoking!

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