Hello everyone and welcome to the first post of 2021! I hope everyone has a much better year in 2021 than 2020. We all need it. Today we are discussing the six books I read in December. I thought I was going to read like crazy in December, but a lot of unexpected things happened. I didn’t have the best reading month and didn’t even give one book 5 stars. Most everything is back to normal, and 2021 will be better! Comment down below and let me know how your reading went in 2021! I will be posting a wrap up for the whole year very soon.
I do want to post a disclaimer that there is an affiliate link at the bottom of this post! It will be clearly labeled and is for Better World Books, a place to buy very cheap, used books.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke (4 stars)
This is one of those cozy mystery series. I LOVE books that including baking, so I was so excited to start this series when I heard of it. It currently has twenty six books plus novellas. I really love that she has a disabled cat because I also have a disabled cat. Cats just make books better. I love the characters in this series. They are all very distinct and fun to read about. I do want to add that this book did use the word ‘retard’, which I didn’t appreciate.
Synopsis: Hannah Swensen already has her hands full, between dodging her mother’s attempts to marry her off, and running Lake Eden, Minnesota’s most popular bakery, The Cookie Jar. But when the Cozy Cow Dairy’s beloved deliveryman is found murdered behind Hannah’s bakery with her famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, Hannah sets out to track down a killer. The more Hannah snoops, the more suspects turn up. This is one murder that’s starting to leave a very bad taste in Hannah’s mouth, and if she doesn’t watch her back, her sweet life may get burned to a crisp.
Trigger Warnings: murder, attempted murder, guns, kidnapping
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (4 stars)
I was not going to allow myself to leave 2020 without reading this book. I originally started it earlier this year and didn’t manage to get very far in before I had to return it to the library. I recently bought a copy of my own and finally read it. I think the story was very interesting. However, I don’t particularly like that none of the characters seemed to learn anything from the story. There wasn’t any character development.
Synopsis: In the midst of a family crisis one late evening, white blogger Alix Chamberlain calls her African American babysitter, Emira, asking her to take toddler Briar to the local market for distraction. There, the security guard accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar, and Alix’s efforts to right the situation turn out to be good intentions selfishly mismanaged.
Trigger Warnings: fatphobia, racism, sexism, micro-agressions
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (4 stars)
I’ve been wanting to read all of Ware’s books in publication order and this is her second book. It was an odd book, but enjoyable. I didn’t like it quite as much as In a Dark, Dark Wood, but I didn’t guess the ending and it did surprise me. I just think it could have been shorter, which I don’t say often. Also, this book has a lot of trigger warnings. I think I thought of them all, but be warned.
Synopsis: Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Trigger Warnings: kidnapping, murder, home invasion, blood, violence, anxiety and panic attacks, substance abuse, sexual assault, depression
Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke (4 stars)
This one is the sequel to Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. I think the story was much more interesting than the first book. I won’t say much else because this is the second book in the series.
Trigger Warnings: murder, references to domestic violence, attempted murder, guns
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (2 stars)
I was 100% sure I was going to love this going in, and I didn’t. I thought it was going to be something completely different than it was, which didn’t affect my rating. Basically, this book starts out where this bank robber has taken all these people in an apartment hostage. They all make it out and this police officer is interviewing them because they can’t find the bank robber. So, we are going back and forth between the interviews and the hostage situation. I guessed early on where this bank robber was. The author kept going on random tangents that had nothing to do with the book and it was aggravating. The thing that really irritated me more than anything was the police officer character. He was so aggressive toward everyone. Not physically aggressive, but he acted aggressively. His character was the definition of someone who should not work for the police. He acted like all the witnesses were inconveniencing him like it wasn’t his job. Also, the witnesses were unnecessarily dumb. They would receive a question and completely interpret it wrong, or get upset they were being asked something. I could understand if it were one character, but it was ALL of them. For me, this was a version of the miscommunication trope, which no one likes.
Synopsis: Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix up their own marriage. There’s a wealthy banker who has been too busy making money to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world. Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in a motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.
Trigger Warnings: attempted suicide, mentions of suicide, guns, hostage situation, robbery
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren (4 stars)
I was so excited that I managed to get this in December. This is a romance book mixed with the groundhog day trope. I do have some spoilery issues with it, but overall I enjoyed it. I think this is my first book with the groundhog day trope in it, and I hope to read more in 2021.
Synopsis: It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Trigger Warnings: car accident and other accidental deaths (none in vivid detail), mentions of cancer
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