Everything I Read In December 2022

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I finished up the year with a pretty solid reading month. I read 11 books in December which brought my total for the Know Your Shelf Challenge to 22!

There weren’t any five-star reads this month but no DNFs or two stars either. I read a good number but everything was really three or four stars. I’m on a travel nonfiction kick right now, which you can see.

And while I’ve enjoyed the challenge (I’m doing a 23 in ’23 that is similar and a self-imposed one to read more of my shelf) I’m very excited to read the books I got in November on my Indie bookstore trips.

I’m hoping I can keep my reading momentum going in the new year but right now it’s moving a little slow. It’s only the fourth though and I’m not too worried. Last winter I was in a bit of a slump but it eventually worked its way out. Anyway, here is everything I read in December 2022!

  • If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free.  Get that Audible deal here.
  • If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd!  You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot. Sign up for Scribd here!
  • Shop my collection of bookish goodies on Etsy! These aren’t my shop items, but other shops I’ve curated into a book-themed collection. Shop my Etsy bookish goodies here!
  • If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
  • Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Shop BookOutlet here!
  • Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
  • Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.
  • Shopping internationally? Check out Book Depository!

Bike Riding in Kabul

Author: Jamie Bowman

Genre: Travel memoir

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Jamie was an attorney in California turned international legal consultant, a career that took her to Kosovo, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Moscow, Afghanistan, Southern Sudan, and Afghanistan again.

This is a collection of tales from her experiences abroad both professionally and as a tourist, from a Kyiv feline sex fest to the ill-fated bike ride in Kabul, it’s sure to keep you entertained.

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this one! I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the description but this was fun and I enjoyed reading about all of these places. I also really appreciated that the stories were short within each longer chapter.

Walking Home from Mongolia

Author: Rob Lilwall

Genre: Adventure travel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Several years after cycling home from Siberia, getting married, and moving to Hong Kong, Rob was ready for a new adventure: a walk home from Mongolia with Leon, his companion and cameraman. They set out from the Gobi Desert, crossing the mountains and backroads of China, facing injury, extreme weather, and a lot of police.

Final thoughts: This was another fun one though sometimes it did feel like some parts dragged a little. I wished it was a little more Mongolia because it’s one of my top bucket list trips but this was still interesting, especially as my book choice right after Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven which is also about China travel.

Amazon Hitchhiker

Author: Alycin Hayes

Genre: Travel memoir

Rating: 4/5

About the book: This is the story of Alycin who followed her dreams and hitchhiked alone from Canada to Colombia, through Mexico and Central America, in the 1970s. Once she made it to Colombia, she bought an old dugout canoe thinking she could paddle the Amazon River to Brazil.

The Amazon Rainforest isn’t the paradise she imagines, especially with little food and no map. Along the way she faces life-threatening obstacles, mystical adventures, and even falls in love.

Final thoughts: I was very excited for this one because I love Latin America so much. Its an adventure (the hitchhiking and canoe parts) I don’t think I could do so reading about it was even better. It was also really interesting reading about a trip like this that didn’t involve today’s technology. Big fan.

The Hidden Staircase

Author: Carolyn Keene

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Nancy is called in to investigate ghosts in an old mansion where valuable are also going missing. Her father was threatened by Nathan Gomber who she later runs into in her own investigation. Now she must find the thief and find out what Mr. Gomber is really up to.

Final thoughts: It’s Nancy Drew, what’s not to like?

The Jingle Bell Jinx

Author: Alice Leonhardt

Genre: Middle-grade mystery

Rating: 3/5

About the book: Mary-Kate and Ashley are invited to Winter Wonderland Resort too watch a holiday TV special taping featuring their favorite ice skaters. But the show is jinxed from the start and things keep going wrong, but they’re on the case now!

Final thoughts: I know this is middle-grade but as soon as the culprit was introduced, I knew what was going on. This wasn’t my favorite of the series but it was an enjoyable enough read.

The Secret of the Old Clock

Author: Carolyn Keene

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 4/5

About the book: This is where it all began and Nancy is on the hunt for a missing will! Josiah Crowley, surprisingly, left everything to the Tophams, even after promising inheritance for good friends and family. Nancy is sure a later will exists and is determined to find it.

Final thoughts: There are some reviews kind of complaining about how everything goes perfectly for Nancy and every book is the same. Yeah, it does and they are, but like, that’s the whole point of Nancy Drew?

OG mysteries where everything works out. That’s what they are, just fun easy reads. I wouldn’t read too many in a row for this reason but spread them out between books and it’s fine.

The Weird Science Mystery

Author: Judy Katschke

Genre: Middle-grade mystery

Rating: 3/5

About the book: Jessie’s robot is missing from the science fair and everyone thinks someone took it to keep her from winning. The Trenchcoat Twins need to find the robot before the science fair is canceled.

Final thoughts: Basically the same as the Jingle Bell Jinx, but I did like this one a little more. I liked the science fair theme more.

The Hidden Holiday Riddle

Author: Jean Waricha

Genre: Middle-grade mystery

Rating: 4/5

About the book: The Trenchcoat Twins have two mysteries to solve: the Holiday Hidden Riddle and finding out who stole their riddle cards! If they win, they’ll get an amazing prize, but can they win and find the thief at the same time?

Final thoughts: This was my favorite of the three Mary-Kate and Ashley books I read this month. I also saved it specifically for December. It’s a fun easy read.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

Author: Susan Jane Gilman

Genre: Travel memoir

Rating: 3.5/5

About the book: Susan and Claire decided on a whim, thanks to an iHop placemat, to take a gap year after graduating from Brown. The trip would start in China in 1986, not long after it opened to tourists.

Things start out rough, start to get better, then go downhill as Claire’s behavior gets a little stranger the further they go into China.

Final thoughts: From Goodreads: 3.5 This isn’t a book to learn about China and I don’t know why people think it is. It’s an entertaining (if annoying) memoir about traveling to China as naive 21-year-olds in 1986.

And as for Claire’s mental health issues and Susie’s lack of understanding around that, if you have no experience with that and she’s kind of dramatic normally, that probably won’t be the first place your mind goes.

I did wonder why they didn’t just leave China sooner for somewhere else if she seemed so paranoid being there. It may not have helped but being there obviously was not going that well. It was a little annoying and slightly frustrating reading it. I kept going because I mostly wanted to know what happened with claire.

It’s entertaining though and I enjoyed reading it

If I Die Tonight

Author: Alison Gaylin

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Jackie Reed knew her sons better than anyone, but as time goes by, she feels like she knows them less and less. When one of her son’s classmates is killed in a hit-and-run, people start to ask questions she may not want the answers to.

Final thoughts: This one was a little slow-moving at first but I really ended up enjoying it! I almost put it down but am glad I pushed through. It’s not an all-time favorite thriller but I did like it and would recommend it, especially if you want a slow burn.

Children of Eden

Author: Joey Graceffa

Genre: YA dystopia

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Rowan is a second child in Eden, a world of first children. She has spent her years hidden away in the family home because if anyone found out about her, an illegal second child, it would almost certainly mean death. Or worse.

The Earth was killed but Aaron Al-Baz created Eden and the EcoPanopticon to save not just humanity, but the Earth itself. One night Rowan has had enough and decides to sneak out of the house where she meets Lark, her twin brother’s best friend. While the night is incredible, it only leads to tragedy.

Final thoughts: This felt like a Rule of One and Uglies mashup. I will be finishing the series. From Goodreads: I enjoyed this for what it is, a YA dystopian trilogy. If you want deep thoughts and top-notch writing, maybe look elsewhere but it’s fun enough if you don’t take it too seriously.

Have you read any of these? Which ones? What did you read in December?

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a cheesehead at heart currently residing in the Sunshine State. You can probably find me reading, watching Forensic Files, or both.

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