I needed to read 10 books in December to meet my goal of 52 books in 2017 and I finished exactly ten. I finished the last one with just a couple of hours to spare on New Year’s Eve! Last year I finished 48, so I was really proud of myself for finishing this time!
The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Coyle
Rating: 3/5 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads): As a dense yellow fog swirls through the streets of London, a deep melancholy has descended on Sherlock Holmes, who sits in a cocaine-induced haze at 221B Baker Street. His mood is only lifted by a visit from a beautiful but distressed young woman – Mary Morstan, whose father vanished ten years before. Four years later she began to receive an exquisite gift every year: a large, lustrous pearl. Now she has had an intriguing invitation to meet her unknown benefactor and urges Holmes and Watson to accompany her. And in the ensuing investigation – which involves a wronged woman, a stolen hoard of Indian treasure, a wooden-legged ruffian, a helpful dog and a love affair – even the jaded Holmes is moved to exclaim, ‘Isn’t it gorgeous!
What I thought: This was my second Sherlock Holmes book and I think I liked it better than “A Study in Scarlet.”
Synposis of Winter Street (from Goodreads): As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.
What I thought: I kept seeing this series all over Instagram and I was wanting a good Christmas book. This series did not disappoint. If you’re looking for a serious, deeper read, I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you want something light and fun with some drama mixed in, then this series is for you. I said on an Instagram post that it reminded me of the show Parenthood, which I love. Someone else compared it to a Hallmark movie, but with more drama. If this sounds good to you, add it to your list to read during the next Christmas season.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Heartwarming and touching, filled with love and hope, A Baxter Family Christmas brings together two families in the aftermath of a tragedy and in the midst of an unfolding love story, all with the help of one very special child.
What I thought: This book did have some emotional depth to it, but was overall another light Christmas read. I’ve been reading all of Karen Kingsbury’s books about the Baxter family for years, so this one was a must for me. It wasn’t my favorite of her books, but I enjoyed getting a look into what all the Baxter family was up to.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Leo Borlock follows the unspoken rule at Mica Area High School: don’t stand out–under any circumstances! Then Stargirl arrives at Mica High and everything changes–for Leo and for the entire school. After 15 years of home schooling, Stargirl bursts into tenth grade in an explosion of color and a clatter of ukulele music, enchanting the Mica student body. But the delicate scales of popularity suddenly shift, and Stargirl is shunned for everything that makes her different. Somewhere in the midst of Stargirl’s arrival and rise and fall, normal Leo Borlock has tumbled into love with her.
What I thought: I’ve been seeing this book for years and have had it on my own shelf for quite awhile, so I decided to pick it up as a quick read to help me finish my reading challenge. This young adult book was quirky and fun with some life lessons added in. I definitely liked it enough that I want to eventually read the second book in the series, “Love, Stargirl.”
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Number one New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury delivers an instant classic with this heartwarming Christmas story about a hundred-year flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships.
What I thought: This was another heartwarming read from Karen Kingsbury. Like “A Baxter Family Christmas,” this one wasn’t among my favorite of her books. I’m still glad I read it though because I’m getting close to having read everything she’s written.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): The Pevensie siblings are back to help a prince denied his rightful throne as he gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world.
What I thought: This is the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia (publication order). These are books I can’t wait to introduce to my kids someday. I love the symbolism throughout the book and the character of Aslan makes my heart swell.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Nine-year-old David has recently lost his mother to a freak accident, his salesman father is constantly on the road, and he is letting his anger out on his grandmother. Sarcastic and bossy 13-year-old Primrose lives with her childlike, fortuneteller mother, and a framed picture is the only evidence of the father she never knew. Despite their differences, David and Primrose forge a tight yet tumultuous friendship, eventually helping each other deal with what is missing in their lives. This powerful, quirky novel about two very complicated, damaged children has much to say about friendship, loss, and recovery.
What I thought: This was my second Jerry Spinelli book in December and my favorite of the two. I had heard way more about Stargirl, but this one resonated with me more. This one was also quirky and I’m wondering if all Spinelli books are like that. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the occasional middle grade book.
I’ll be sharing my favorite books of 2017 and what my reading plan for 2018 is soon!