December 2022 Books #AmReading

A December post means the end of the year! How did that happen? 😱

It’s a month filled with excitement and all things festive, as well as lots of chances to be gifted new books… and the holidays give a chance to read. How will I do this month??

Well, for a start, the plan to read my TBR went to pot, as I was inundated with amazing ARCS that I just had to read first!

So that makes 14 books read this month and just one ARC left on my NetGalley pile. Will 2023 be the year I crack that TBR Pile in half??

You’ll have to scroll to the end to see my Goodreads Book Challenge result for this year!


Big Chicas Don’t Cry by Annette Chavez Macias
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a story revolving around family, and it was great to read about this Latino American group of cousins, their life and relationship with each other, as well as what is going on in their own lives.
I thought it would get a little confusing with the different POVs, but it was easy to keep a track of what was happening, and generally an enjoyable read.

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: Book 2: A Winter Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fairies, Myths & Magic book 2, as it brought a sprinkling of mysticism to the darkening nights.
Colleen Chesebro has woven her poetic verse and stories within recounts of various myths and legends, all things fae, and it won my heart!
The first story, about the changeling, was my favourite read. These things fascinate me, and if you are looking for something to add a little magic to your life, then you should really pick up a copy of this!

The Secret Keeper by Amanda James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Amanda James’ book the Forgotten Beach, and The Secret Keeper is written in the same beautiful way.
Rosa heads off to Tintagel to fulfil the last wish of her Grandmother as she lies waiting to take her last breaths. She arrives, emotional and sceptical,
But, something in the air gets to her, as she begins to sense and see things she wouldn’t usually believe. The addition of the mysterious, but handsome Talen, adds to the mystery.
What a beautiful love story, or rather two; one tragic and one a blossoming one, with plenty of ups and downs.
I really don’t want to give much away, but the story involves some folklore, spirits, and a whole lot of belief.
I loved it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC

Releasing 13th January, 2023

Hart’s Ridge by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I sped through this book, the first in a new series (Yay!) by Kay Bratt.
Kay is such a talented author with fiction that spans different genres, and this one gives a cosy mystery crime thriller kind of vibe.
Taylor is a Deputy in a small town called Hart’s Ridge. Her past weighs heavy on her day-to-day duties as a member of the local police force, especially when small children are involved.
A small girl wandering into a local convenience store, alone, hungry and distressed, brings out the mama bear in Taylor as she tries to find answers as to where this little girl has come from.
Taylor’s innate sense of what appears right or wrong helps her to solve a huge mystery, all while dealing with her own pretty dysfunctional family; her alcoholic father and three younger siblings, one of whom keep going missing.
And her canine companion, Barnard, is an interesting soul with a back story of his own that Taylor fights hard to find out.
I was fully invested in the story and cannot wait to read the next one!

Releasing January 10th, 2023

A Ghost in Shining Armor by Therese Beharrie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What’s the plan when you find out you can see ghosts, but you don’t realise you might just be falling in love with one?
That’s Gemma’s conundrum. She’s known about her ability for a while and spent a few years helping hapless spirits find their way. Then she meets Levi. Except, things are a bit different with him because he’s been sent to help her, too…
Gemma is a happy soul, with her worries that she carries hidden away. Levi is a grump. He didn’t want to die when he did, and he had a chance to change his fate…
But things happen. You can never anticipate what your feelings will do.
An enjoyable paranormal romance read that is not filled with spooky stuff but rather more about emotions.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for an ARC.

Releasing 27th January, 2023

The Davenports by Krystal Marquis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now I love a bit of Bridgerton, and I am all about diversity in all walks of life, so to read this dream of a book set in the early 20th century, based on one of a handful of wealthy Black families in a changing America, was pretty mesmerising!
The Davenports are rich. Richer than many of their White counterparts and certainly the richest Black family in the area. Their three children are of marriageable age, and the story shows that it doesn’t matter the colour of your skin, your children can be just as much of a handful as the next person!
Olivia, the oldest, is ready to conform. She knows her future is finding the right man to take as a husband, and she is well on the way.
John is the sole male heir to the Davenport Carriage Company, a business built up from scratch by his father, a formerly enslaved man, who has worked hard to bring himself and his family to the heights they now rest. But he has dreams too, that go against the grain of his father’s thinking.
Helen is the youngest and the polar opposite of her sister, wanting to push boundaries further by working, helping her brother to set up a new business, and getting her hands dirty, literally, instead of wearing silken gloves, awaiting being presented as ready for marriage.
The problem is, having your future prescribed is often the reason you want something different, which is exactly what these young people face. Forbidden love, unheard-of dreams, and previously unreachable ambitions all pull together to make for an amazing story. I am so glad this is the first of a series because I have definitely been left wanting more!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for an ARC.

Releasing 2nd February, 2023

A Secret Garden Affair by Erica James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read a few of Erica James’ books in the past, and the evocative stories have always enthralled me.
A Secret Garden Affair was no different.
Partially set in the early 1980s and with a timeline starting sixty years previous, the story follows several characters. Libby, a woman whose wedding plans are cancelled when she finds out her fiance is cheating on her, and her great aunt, Bess, who has worked for the third main character, Elfrida, for the best part of her life.
Running to Larkspur House, where Bess works, and a place filled with happy memories for Libby, she tries to make life easier for the two older women who mean so much to her but unearths truths and secrets she had no idea about.
A story of friendship, classism, forbidden love, disappointments and celebrations, losing and finding precious memories and forgiveness.
I really enjoyed it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC.

Releasing 30th March, 2023

One Enchanted Evening: From the #1 bestselling author of uplifting feel-good fiction by Katie Fforde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I have read pretty much all of Katie Fforde’s books, and though this wasn’t my favourite, it was still an easy read.
Set in the 60s, Meg is called to her mother’s workplace to help out. It is a quaint hotel that is barely breathing, with the opening of a newer, more modern hotel nearby, complete with ensuite bathrooms and a highly-rated chef as the owner.
Meg hasn’t got much professional training, but what she does have is passion, ideas and empathy, which endear her to the staff and guests alike.
Shame it doesn’t seem to be the case for the owner’s son, who firmly believes that women shouldn’t be in charge of a professional kitchen at all.
Family politics, whimsical stories of the past, and a lot of passion for this project make the tale a lovely read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC.

Releasing 2nd March 2023

One French Summer by Gillian Harvey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my second Gillian Harvey read, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Katy is at that time of her life when her child has flown the nest (rather far, actually, to Australia, and decided to stay there a while longer), and her husband wants a break which appears to be more permanent than she originally thought.
She’s devastated. After trying her hardest to change things up, enrolling in a BootCamp with her friends, and generally making herself more like she thinks her husband wants, her whole future is up in the air.
Then her friends take her away on a trip to France. Katy begins to rediscover herself and finds she rather likes what she remembers.
Could romance be on the cards?
There is something in this story that could speak to every woman of a certain age. We are battling with perimenopause and that feeling of being there for the use of the rest of the family, not ourselves.
I just loved how even though there were down moments, Katy was able to find herself in a way that she could enjoy a future that would embrace her as a person, not just a plus one.
Lovely read!
Many Thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for an ARC.

Releasing 14th February 2023

An Unwanted Inheritance by Imogen Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three siblings mourning the loss of their much-loved father.
One finds a stash of cash hidden by the man they thought they knew, and it raises all sorts of dilemmas.
Should they be honest and pass it over to the police for investigation? Declare it as part of his estate, risking losing a huge chunk to inheritance tax, or divvy it up between the three?
Each of the three siblings is very different in their thoughts.
Caroline is married to Max, the eldest son. She found the money. Her instincts, and that of her husband, are to keep everything above board.
Ellie, the middle sibling starts off thinking the same, but her husband Jamie discloses information that makes them want the money more.
Nathan, the youngest, wants his share because he needs it, and now.
The story is filled with moral dilemmas and explores relationships between eh siblings, as well as the couples.
I enjoyed this read.
Thank you to Amazon Publishing for sending me a copy of An Unwanted Inheritance to read and review.
All opinions are my own.

You Get That From Me by Charlotte Butterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a beautiful book.
Stella is the youngest of three women living together. Three women, all from one family, each a generation apart.
Stella’s mother, Bonnie, and her grandmother, Florence, along with Stella, reside in the house that has been their home for decades. It’s the only home Bonnie and Stella have ever really known and the start of a lifetime of secrets that Florence started through no fault of her own.
As Stella reaches a certain age, she chooses to use a sperm donor to give her the child she longs for. A lot of research goes into the final decision of the donor, but as the story unravels, it becomes obvious that what she thought would be the best choice and the reasons for thinking that may not always be the right one.
Nature vs nurture is a strong theme, as well as family relationships.
Florence is extremely strong and resilient, and her concern for the women in her family is palpable. We all need a gran like her! Really enjoyed this.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC.

Releasing 9th March 2023

In a Thousand Different Ways by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alice has a life-changing moment when she is merely eight years old.
Her world becomes filled with colours that can be pleasant and some that are the exact opposite.
To be more precise, she sees colours associated with all the people, and even plants, around her. Like auras, but that’s not something she knows – yet.
This confusing discovery is a lot for a child to take in, and it impacts her behaviours, as well as her relationships.
She is already living with her two brothers and mother, who is deep in her own mental health issues, and as time goes by, she finds herself caring for her wheelchair-bound mother, living a life she is coping with but suffocating herself as well.
She does manage to live a life of her own, with the urging of her older brother, and moves away from the toxic environment that is her childhood home.
Over the years, and with the help of certain people, she begins to learn how to live with this ‘gift’, as it is described to her, but not without many battles.
An interesting fictional recount of how someone with synesthesia may see life and the world around them.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC.

Releasing 13th April, 2023

Call Time by Stephen Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This debut from Steve Jones was one I felt compelled to read after checking out the blurb.
I’ll be honest, it didn’t grab me from the off.
Not the kind of hook that ‘they’ all say is needed for a brilliant book. In fact, it took me a little while to get into the swing of the story, but when the phone appeared, I became more invested in it all.
Our main character, Bob (Rob/Robert), is an older, driven, successful and somewhat selfish man with a huge block of guilt on his shoulder from a tragedy in his past. It’s driven him to be a person that is not likeable.
When something rather mystical happens, and he is handed a phone that could change the past, he grabs the chance but doesn’t consider the butterfly effects of that one change in the past and what happens, because of it, in the future.
There is a lot to grip you once the story begins to flow. An interesting read.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Random House and Michael Joseph for an ARC.

Releasing 11th May, 2023

Lovestruck by Laura Jane Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laura Jane, I do believe you have done it again!
I have enjoyed Williams’ books so far, and this was so good.
Becca is a hairstylist and salon owner in her mid-thirties, worried that her time will pass. A timely event at the salon includes a session with a woman who encourages manifestations.
Becca chooses to manifest the love of her life into her life as soon as possible.
Within hours she gets a text from her ex.
Is it a sign?
The story is told intriguingly, running along parallel timelines in two different scenarios.
One where she doesn’t bother to answer the text and the other where she does…
I can’t write too much about the story, but it is really well done!
I loved Becca’s best friend, Jia Li, and her salon partner, Carlos.
The tension, as it builds in both storylines, is palpable, and oh, I couldn’t wait to see how the end panned out in both versions. Great read!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC.

Releasing 8th June 2023

And, with that last book read until the end of the year, my total of books read stands at 186 this year! That is a total record for me!

So, tell me do you know how many books you read, and was there anything that caught your eye in the ones above?

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dan Antion
    Jan 02, 2023 @ 14:21:09

    I have begun chipping away at my TBR pile. Reading is still one of the best things we can do with our time. Enjoy yours, Ritu.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Rebecca Moon Ruark
    Jan 01, 2023 @ 22:04:35

    I worked a lot this year and finished a novel and a book proposal for an anthology, so I didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to. Hoping to read more in the new year–it’s my most productive guilty pleasure! Happy New Year, Ritu and family!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Willow Croft
    Jan 01, 2023 @ 16:30:50

    Congrats! And Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Rising Star
    Jan 01, 2023 @ 11:08:22

    Wowwwwwww, congratulations dear 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Carol anne
    Jan 01, 2023 @ 08:56:53

    Great you read so many books! ❤ ❤ happy reading! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  6. KL Caley
    Jan 01, 2023 @ 08:43:45

    Happy New Year 🥳. Great post and reviews, Ritu. I read 53 books (I think I probably read more but missed them off my goodreads tally). Here’s to another year of great books 📚 KL ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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