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My December Reads. What Did You Read Over This Month?

What did you read in December. With the holidays there seemed to be more down time and I really enjoyed getting into a couple of these books. Enjoy. Let me know what you’re reading or if you’ve read any of these. What do you think?

THE LIST OF Last Chances… A Novel by Christina Myers … Caitlin Press. 2021.

A pure delight to read. This is a story a young woman, Ruthie, who’s hired to drive an older woman, Kay, across Canada. This adventure is to facilitate a move of the senior to her son’s home, at his expense and insistence.

Unbeknownst to Ruthie, the driver, her cross country companion, Kay, has compiled a list of 20 things she wants to accomplish on the trip.

Well, needless to say this leads to some shenanigans, a wee bit of blushing, and even a few tears.

This book is an easy read and offers a wonderfully flawed character in Ruthie. I’m sure many will identify with her.

Both Ruthie and Kay, realize how much life has already passed them by, but the question remains, what will they do about it?

I totally recommend this lovely book. Enjoy.

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan … Blackstone Audio. 2019

This is a psychological thriller where three affluent families send their kids to summer camp (or wherever), and rent a fabulous beach front house in order to get to know each other better. The premise is interesting, but unfortunately I was lost right away.

So many names. So many points of view (pov).

I listened to the book on audio and I wonder if it would have been better having a physical copy.

I found the switching of pov and voices in the audio, confusing and unsettling. It would always take me a minute to figure out who was who. This took me out of the story and then it was hard to catch up.

The gist of the story is that one of the six is murdered and then we begin to learn the behind-the-doors secrets of each couple. This leads to intrigue as it appears that many could have committed the murder as they all seemed to have a motive of sorts.

The story is good, but if you decide to indulge in this book, do it with a physical copy and not audio. Frankly, I’m glad I’m done.

The Dark Muse by Philip Mann … Independently Published. 2019.

Philip Mann contacted me and asked me to read and review his book. I agreed and finally I can let you all know what I think. Took me a while to say the least, but it was all circumstance not the book once given the opportunity to finally read the book, I quite enjoyed the twists and the unconventional plot.

This is a Jewish paranormal romance, based in Canada. (told you it was different). It is fantastical, emotional, and evocative.

What Mann has done here is mix genres and make the story his own. I’m all for something new and this definitely delivered.

A muse, is the personification of inspiration for a creative force. Here, the muse is dark and presents difficult decisions that walk that wicked line–ever thin–between right and wrong, good and bad,– of choice.

Which way does said muse fall? It sounds like an easy, choice but there are many mysteries and impassioned factors.

Mann has been able to pull together characters that are unique and interesting. A reader feels for Vi, the main character and that reinforces the intrigue and tension. The lesbian relationship between Vi and Lee, coupled with the draw of Cal was well done and raised an eyebrow.

I enjoyed the book. In this particular instance, story trumps craft. I read the version printed and published in 2019. In the publication there are obvious formatting issues and lack of editing is apparent.

Now, those kinds of things are real and it’s up to the author to ensure that the copy is as clean as possible prior to printing. I understand that Mann has now reedited and reprinted. Bravo.

So overall, though this was not my ‘normal’ genre to read, it was still a decent read and with the inclusion of the Jewish faith I also learned a thing or two. 4* for the story… just look past the lack of editing if you can in this particular print run.

Lucky by Marissa Stapley… Simon and Schuster. 2021.

I read this book in two days. It’s a short, easy, and enjoyable read.

To be honest, the real reason I chose to read this book was because it’s the first ever Canadian author to be chosen for Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club and I was curious about what kind of book it was.

It’s a contemporary women’s novel filled with angst, uncertainty and hope.

In a nutshell, the story fluctuates between a father/daughter con-artist duo (do you remember the movie Paper Moon with Ryan and Tatum O’Neal?), and the daughter by herself.

Alternating chapters provided history and current happenings. The main character’s name is “Lucky”. She’s a con artist extraordinaire and can steal the shirt right off your back without you even noticing. It was an interesting psyche to read about.

What the author did well, was take a character with a criminal background and make her sympathetic to the reader. This was done partly in the going back and forth in time to illustrate Lucky’s longing to be boring and normal and the other part was through action. Well done.

The author allowed Lucky to be flawed, but likable to a degree that the reader could identity and root for her.

The story wound up quickly and tidily which seemed a bit too fast and furious. I would have liked to have seen a bit more, but that’s me.

It’s a good read. Congratulations to author Marissa Stapley for having her work recognized in such a wonderful way. Brava.

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10 thoughts on “My December Reads. What Did You Read Over This Month?”

  1. I read a book called the Reluctant Angel. Also a delight to read. Now I am reading the Paris Library.

  2. A couple days of these caught my eye, Faye. Thanks. I need to read different genres, at least some of them. Not sure I’m ready for a Jewish paranormal book yet though!

    1. lol…What? No Jewish paranormal… 😉lol…that’s ok. I think you’d really enjoy the Christina Myers book. It good to see other genres and styles of writing. Reading a bit of everything hones the senses…it also lets you identify authors you like and those you have no use for. There’s a lot of great stuff out there but a lot of crap too… 🙂

  3. Thanks for this. I’ve added The List of Last Chances to my pile of books to read. I finished a lot of books by Canadian authors, but I am a retired TL who still reads children’s books. (More adults should read picture books!) Other Canadian books I read in December include, “Indian” in the Cabinet by Judy Wilson-Raybould, Borders by Thomas King & Natasha Donovan (Illustrator) and Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline.

    1. Hi! You’re so welcome. Thanks for stopping by. I think you’ll enjoy Myers book. It’s light and fun…sometimes a nice chance. Have you checked out Girls Need Not Apply by Kelly Thompson? Reviewed it here a few months ago. Good read. I will check out JWR book because I respect her and her story. I need to read that. Thx for the suggestions. Hope you won’t be a stranger. 😊

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