December 2021 Novel Ideas: 21 Quick Lit Reviews

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December 2021 Novel Ideas is filled with quick reviews for the hottest new releases, many of which are featured in our round-up of new books coming in the first few months of 2022.

From Historical Fiction to Mysteries, and everything else in between, this book is filled with lots of quick reviews to help you narrow down your to-read list.

Let us know if you are planning to add any of these to your home library shelves, or if you agree or disagree with one of our reviews.

Happy Reading!

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Jackie’s December 2021 Novel Ideas Stack

The Maid by Nita Prose

Molly works as a maid in a grand hotel and gets joy from leaving things orderly and pristine. Molly struggles with reading social cues and has had even more trouble since her gran can no longer help.

When Molly finds a dead body in a room at the hotel, she becomes a prime suspect and will need all her friends to help her.

I loved the description of this book and I hoped it would love up to my expectations. I did that and more. I loved every minute of this book and closed the last page smiling.

Thanks to Ballantine for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Tiffany Brooks

Although this book does not have magic, it does have a deadly game that gave me Hunger Games vibes the minute I read it.

When a group of high school students are brought to a deserted island for a reality show like survivor, nothing is at it seems.

As the competitors search for a treasure that has been lost long ago, things start to go very wrong on the set. And local curse does say 7 will die before the treasure is found. This book like the Hunger Games will keep you turning the pages until the last sentence.

Thanks to Dreamscape Media for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gilded by Marissa Meyer

I love Marissa Meyer’s ability to transport us into the world of fairy tales. This haunting Rumpelstiltskin re-telling left me wondering what happens next.

Serilda is very good and telling lies. Her stories make a wonderful pastime for a miller’s daughter even if they do get her into trouble most of the time. When her lies capture the attention of the Erlking, she must accompany him and his undead Hunters back to his home and complete an impossible task. You guess it- she must spin straw into gold.

This story is dark and creepy and also has no clear ending- be forwarded.

Do you love Marissa Meyer? Be sure to check out Books to Read Like the Lunar Chronicles!

Thank you to Macmillian Audio for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Inheritance of Orquidé Divine by Zoraida Córoda

I do not know how to begin to describe this wonderful and complex adult fantasy. The characters are deep and the magic from this story seeps from the pages

The Montoya family are summoned to their grandmother’s house to collect their inheritance. They are hoping to obtain answers from her before she dies. They are used to living with secrets and unexplained phenomenon.

But when Orquidea Divina is transformed into a tree before their eyes, they must seek the answers themselves.

Thanks to Libro.fm for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

How to Love your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan

When Grace Travis moves into the house she inherited from her grandparents, she does not expect a gorgeous and equally aggravating neighbor to offer to buy her house repeatedly. Nor does she expect him to get under her skin quite so much.

When she is offered a chance to decorate his house and be featured in a magazine, its a chance she cannot pass up.

This book was a cute and light romance that is a friends to lovers scenario.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

This gothic historical fiction is centered around Hazel, a 16 year old woman who lives in Edinburgh Scotland with her mother and younger brother. She has always had an obsession with anatomy and wants to be a surgeon despite the fact that no women are allowed to study to become doctors.

In order to study and pass her exam, she must have dead bodies to look at. Enter Jack, who earns extra money by taking bodies from their graves at night.

This was such a quick read with amazing details to keep the story moving. There were some surprise details that really added to the story. The ending, however, felt very rushed to me- especially when compared to the rest of the book. It left me feeling that I was missing something.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

Jane is a very practical woman. She has done her research and has found the perfect man to be her husband. She assured him that the relationship will be strictly business. But as her feelings for him grow, she starts to learn there is more to this hard-working and quiet doctor.

As a matter of fact, there is something strange going on at his house that cannot be explained and she starts to worry for her health as well as that of her husband.

I was looking forward to this gothic horror with a touch of fantasy mixed it but I was unfortunately left disappointed.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Dana is a black women in the 1970’s when she is abruptly transported to the antebellum South. She saves Rufus, the white son of the plantation owner, and then is transported back home again.

Dana keeps finding herself transported back in time to save Rufus over and over while she finds herself in an increasing amount of danger. This is an amazing, fast-paced read.






Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Once and Future Witches by Alex E. Harrow

in 1893 there are no witches anymore. In the town of new Salem the Eastwood sisters join the suffragist to turn the women’s movement into the witches movement and give women back their power.

I had been looking forward to reading this book for so long as was so happily to finally read it off my stack. Unfortunately, I felt that there were a lot of parts that dragged and the story lacked forward movement in many places.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

Kirsten’s December 2021 Novel Ideas Stack

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale

This incredible story about a trio of ballerinas in Paris is a thriller and a feminist commentary all in one. I could not put it down!!!

It’s all about the tolls dancing takes on the physical and mental well-being of Paris’s premiere ballerinas. With some #metoo moments in here as well, this is a great one for book clubs!

I loved it so much when I listened to it that I tried to steal Jackie’s copy in this funny instagram reel.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Duchess by Wendy Holden

This intimate look at Wallis Simpson was wonderfully written. Never have I had compassion for the Duchess of Windsor in the way I did when I read this book.

Holden’s portrayal of this controversial historical figure focused on the time period when Wallis and King Edward fell in love, but also the time period after his death.

I actually felt badly for both the king, who clearly didn’t want the crown, and the woman he both loved and used to get out of his royal duties.

Love royal reads? Check out the dozens we’ve rounded up here!

Thanks to Berkley for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

I adored this mystery set during the 11 days of Agatha Christie’s disappearance. It’s told from the perspective of Christie’s husband’s mistress and it is utterly absorbing.

There are layers of mystery throughout, with a side of love story. I never felt I would be able to sympathize with a mistress but I was cheering for her by the end. If you love a good mystery, this is a must-read.

Thanks to St. Martin Press for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Oh. What. Fun. By Chandler Baker

Oh. What. Fun. is a family drama that had me laughing out-loud and cringing at the same time. It’s all about a mother gone missing at Christmas and her adult children trying to justify their terrible behavior before she disappears.

It read it in one sitting and I smiled the whole time because it HIT. This poor mother did all the work and only got a dinky robe. It’s literally a book version of the SNL sketch from last holiday season and I adored it.

Thanks to Amazon Publishing for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

This is the Ultimate Beach Read Thriller! It’s all about 2 girls who hire a couple to charter them a boat to a deserted island.

But the island isn’t so deserted after all. As there relaxing trip turns deadly, we learn about the back story that brought each person to their destination.

It’s a wonderfully addicting read that is great in audiobook format as well.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Libro.fm for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding

December 2021 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick

Sonya is going through a struggle with addiction while trying to raise her 4-year-old son, Tommy. Told entirely in first-person from Sonya’s point of view, this story is an emotional look at the inner mind of an addict struggling to get help.

While Sonya’s heart is in the right place, the gut-wrenching story about trying to panic while an addict was hard to read at times. 

It’s a rocky road as she struggles to recover, but it ends on a hopeful note. This one would be a great book for book clubs to discuss. I also LOVED listening to it on audio, the narrator really nailed the cadence of Sonya’s thoughts.

Thanks to Libro.FM for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire by Manda Collins

While this story was billed as historical fiction, it’s also a romance and a mystery! Viscount Valentine Wrackham and Caroline Hartcastle were once secretly betrothed, and now can’t stand each other.

But when Caro’s friend is kidnapped and Val’s cousin is implicated in the crime, they must work together to find the real culprit and try not to catch feelings.

It was a well-done mystery, the social commentary on women’s rights was excellent, but the romance was duller than dishwater.

Thanks to Forever Publishing for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

Matrix by Lauren Groff

I adored Groff’s Fates and Furies, so I had high hopes for this historical fiction story. While the writing in this character-driven book was spectacular, I found myself uninterested in the plot at times.

The whole story is set during the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine and tells the story of a formidable Abbess and her congregation of nuns.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo

In this YA christmas book two teenagers are working at the inn where a famous holiday movie was filmed. Each is hiding secrets from their families, but confide in each other.

This enemies-to-lovers romance is a charming and innocent story that’s PG appropriate for teenagers. I loved all the cute Christmas scenes these 2 experience together.

It’s the perfect pick for our Christmas book round-up.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

October 2021 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick

Once again, Amor Towles writes an incredible, character driven-story that had me marveling at his writing ability.

The story is all about Emmett and his 8-year-old brother, Billy, and their quest to get to California to start a new life following the death of their father. Along for the ride are the scheming Duchess and his sidekick.

Their journey intertwines in this fast-moving character study of the 4 boys. It was a touch too long, but still a wonderful story from a gifted writer.






Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Flock by Kate Stewart

This steamy book is the first in The Ravenhood series by Kate Stewart about modern day Robin Hood type characters and the woman who falls for them.

Cecelia is spending the year with her ultra-rich, distant father in order to gain her inheritance and get her mother out of poverty. But when she falls in with the wrong crowd, she loses her head and her heart.

Immediately upon finishing, I jumped into book 2 which is even better. It’s gritty and dark and has lots of steamy sex scenes so this book is not for the faint of heart.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

Lucky by Marissa Stapley

December 2021 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

This was one of my least favorite Reese book club picks ever. It’s a story about a con-artist named Lucky who is running from the law while trying to cash in the 300 million dollar lottery ticket she bought.

Flashing between her current scenario and her childhood, I’m clearly suppose to care for her. Except I never did. Instead, I found this book to be dull. I easily could have skipped it and almost didn’t finish it.






Rating: 2 out of 5.

Did you find a book from December 2021 Novel Ideas to add to your to-read list?

The post December 2021 Novel Ideas: 21 Quick Lit Reviews appeared first on Beyond the Bookends.

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