December 2022–Part One

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

A Blizzard of Polar Bears by Alice Henderson (Length: 347 pages) This is the second novel in a series featuring the “nature detective” Alice Carter, who in this book is researching polar bears in Churchill, Canada. This is VERY action-packed ( a few helicopter crashes, lots of murder, a ship sinking, etc). I enjoyed learning about how climate change is affecting the polar bear population too. This novel is entirely unbelievable, but the writing is decent and overall, this is a really fun ride, IF You suspend all disbelief. This would be a great read on vacation especially an Alaskan cruise.

Book #2:

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Length: 363 pages). I am a TJR fan and I was very excited to finally get my hands on a copy of this one. This is definitely more for tennis fans as TJR gets into the nitty gritty of tennis games, AND for those readers who don’t feel a need to like or even empathize with the main character. The main character here, the eponymous Carrie Soto, is definitely not likeable but I didn’t care and I loved picking this up each time. I really enjoyed the author’s exploration of the ins and outs of professional tennis, and I really enjoyed the character of her dad, Javier Soto. I would love to see this as a movie as I could picture this in my head the entire time I was reading. Definitely two thumbs up from me!

Book #3:

Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente (Length: 95 pages).  This creepy novella was recommended by a bookish podcast and the podcaster described this one as fairytale horror, but I’d add, with a twist. This novella won the Shirley Jackson prize which should give the reader a clue as to what this book is about. I figured out the twist fairly early on (thanks to some cleverly placed clues) but I still really enjoyed the ride here. Definitely get someone else to read it so you can discuss afterwards . . . it’s hard to describe anything more without giving away spoilers. This is worth a library checkout solely due to its short length.

Book #4:

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena (Length: 302 pages)  I listened to this one on my commute. I would not recommend this narrator or this book, unfortunately. I found the narrator to be a bit too annoying (as I thought she took too much artistic license in voicing some of the emotions such as sarcasm). This is a locked room/remote snowbound hotel type mystery, which I typically enjoy, thanks to Agatha Christie. Characters get knocked off, one by one, and the author clearly is trying to channel the great Agatha here, but it’s a miss, by a few miles. There is zero way for the reader to figure out whodunit it (because the reveal depends on hidden backstories of the characters) so you are just along for the ride, which is is fine but the big reveal here is a big stretch, and not clever at all. Skip this one. 😦


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