December 2022 Reading Update

After a great reading year, I ended with a fizzle. I was all ready to read a lot over my winter break – I checked out a big stack of books from my library! Then I got sick and my fuzzy head was way too tired to read… for a week! I’m slowly catching up, while still fighting off the winter sickness. This month I read:

  • The Golden Season by Madeline Kay Sneed – Emmy was raised in a small town in West Texas where football and church are the two most important things in everyone’s lives. Emmy decides to come out to her divorced parents as she prepares to head off to the end of her college years. Both of her parents react poorly and stop speaking to her, her mother out of shock, and her father because he cannot support her eternal damnation. We then folloing both Emmy and her father Steve throughout the next year, as she grapples with new love without her family love and as he realizes a lifelong dream of becoming head football coach. This story had beautiful touching moments, and also such sad moments. The author was able to bring to life the struggles between evangelical faith and the lived experiences of those on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
  • A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (Gamache #12) – I love this series so much and this was one of my favorites! Because the author’s latest book in the series just came out this month, I’ve heard her in a few interviews and I love how invested she is increating the heartwarming little village of Three Pines, in the snowy woods of Canada. In this story, Gamache, recently injured and then retired, has take anew job as the head of the police academy, so he can clean up the mess left within. When a professor is murdered on campus, everyone wants to investigate and everyone is a suspect. I appreciate the deep connections between the characters and how they were explored in this story.
  • We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker – What a bittersweet story! The two main characters are Walk, a small town police chief, and Dutchess, a 13 year old whose primary goal in life is to take care of her younger brother through all of their life troubles, which are dark and rough! None of the characters are happy in this story, and it is not a happy story, but boy was it powerful. I was so sad for Ducthess and her brother Robin, as one bad thing after the next happened to them, causing pain and lonliness. Meanwhile, Walk was working so hard to solve past and current crimes to save his oldest and dearest friends, while hiding his own secrets. Even though it sounds so depressing, it was such a sweet story to see that inspite of all the darkness, there was still love hidden amongst this group.
  • On a Quiet Street by Seraphina Nova Glass [audiobook]- This was a fun mystery to listen to on audio, as I attempt to move from only listening to non fiction and/or YA books. On this “quiet” street it seems that all the neighbors have secrets. Paige believes that one of her neighbors killed her son in last year’s hit and run. Cora believes her husband is cheating on her and is determined to catch him. Georgina won’t leave her house. As we switch narrators amongst these three women, we learn about them and how they perceive the world around them. The story speeds up as major secrets are revealed and the ending was fast-paced and fun!
  • The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian – One of my colleagues loaned me this book after they heard I had just returned from safari in Africa. I’m glad I didn’t read this right BEFORE my trip, as it was exciting but horrifying! A famous Hollywood actress, Katie, takes a group of 7 Americans on a safari as the second part of her honeymoon. Each chapter is narrated by a different character and with each new voice the plot moves forward and we learn the backstory of each person on the trip. When the group is basically attacked and kidnapped by a group of Russians, they are split up and have to fight for survival. This was gruesome, bittersweet, and still full of the beauty of Africa, with a clear love and respect for the people and the wildlife who belong there. This was such an interesting story, well told!
  • Glass Houses by Louise Penny [Gamache #13] – I love returning to the peaceful village of Three Pines, even though it’s never peaceful for long. When the cobrador, a Spanish debt collector in a costume like Death, comes to haunt the village, everyone freaks out. When someone is murdered, the lies begin to explode. As Gamache is trying to save the police force from the inside, there is trouble all around and he goes to extreme measures to do what he must.
  • Comfort Me with Apples by Catherynne M. Valente – This was a creepy novella! I remember when Currently Reading first recommended it, it sounded interesting. Sophia knows she was made for her husband, and the perfect life they have. But is it so perfect? In this short short Sophia’s world unravels as she discovers things that don’t make sense. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you read it, let me know so we can discuss!
  • The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead – I’m ending my reading year with another creepy book! This starts out weird and just gets more bizarre and dark as you learn more. When Shay learns that her college best friend died in what looks like a suicide, she decides to travel back to NY to uncover what has happened in the 8 years since they last spoke. We learn about Shay’s marriage and her past while she is discovering who her BFF, Laurel, had become. While this was a fast-paced thriller and I stayed up late to finish it, it was also graphically disgusting and horrifying as well.
  • Never Look Back by Clare Donoghue (DI Mike Lockyer #1) – I love finding a new mystery series! DI Mike Lockyer is a crime detective in London. Along with his assistant detective Jane, he is chasing down a serial killer who is hunting young woman who look like his own daughter. At the same time, a stalker case catches Mike’s interest, causing a conflict of interest. I enjoyed the characters and the writing style and look forward to continuing to read more in this series.

Favorite book(s) of the month

Fiction: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker


My favorite books of 2022

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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