The final month of the year and oh what a year it has been. I’ve read so many books this year, but when I look back I just wish I had the time to read more! Why did I have to sleep so much? Or eat? I could have spent that time reading!
Decemeber isn’t about regrets though. It’s about looking back with fondness on the year that was. 2021 was a good one for me and I’m thankful to all of you for reading me. I’m also thankful for all of the great books coming out this month!
A lot to look forward to this month, that’s for sure. The Lost Pleiad by Kelly Branyik looks like a good one, a space retelling of Greek myth. I’m excited to check out No Beauties or Monsters by Tara Goedjen looks to be a must-read for me this month, a spooky mystery is just the thing to break up the monotony of cheer and goodwill.
I’m also intrigued by the latest in the John Corey series by Nelson DeMille, the latest Lydia Chin & Bill Smith mystery, and Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door by Barbara Ross. I can relate to the title in that last one. My neighbors are always watching TV when they should be reading. Talk about mad!
There are a lot of excellent books this month. Here’s a few of my favorites.
Best Upcoming Cozy Mystery Books: December 2021
Absence of Mallets by Kate Carlisle: The latest entry in the Fixer-Upper Mystery series sees contractor Shannon living happily with her boyfriend Mac. They are both busy with Mac hosting writing retreats at the lighthouse mansion and Shannon building homes. When one of Shannon’s friends is found murdered near the lighthouse, the two will have to move fast to solve the case.
Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door by Barbara Ross: Jane is a professional busybody and her new neighbor Megan needs some help from her. She’s been hearing voices, feeling like someone is following her and she’s not sure if it’s an illness or if she’s in some sort of danger. When Megan vanishes into thin air some think she has run away, but Jane knows better.
Crime Strikes a Chord by Christy Barritt: The second book in the School of Hard Rocks Mysteries series starts when Camryn Paine’s student assistant asks for her help. A moving truck hired to move across town has disappeared with all of the possessions in the truck. The family is desperate to find their belongings and Camryn sets out to help. What she doesn’t know is just how far the guilty party will go to keep her silent.
A Plus One for Murder by Laura Bradford: A new series, A Friend for Hire Mystery, from Laura Bradford debuts this month. The series will follow a woman named Emma Westlake as she decides to reinvent herself as a friend for hire. One of her first clients is Brian Hill who wants him to cheer after the reading of his new work. Brian knows that everyone else will want him dead after he’s done reading. He doesn’t know how right he is and now Emma will have to clear her name in order to save her new business.
City of Shadows by Victoria Thompson: The latest in the Counterfeit Lady series will feature Elizabeth Miles Bates returning from her honeymoon and being asked to help expose an unscrupulous medium who has been performing seances. She knows that exposing them won’t get the money back so she sets out to con them herself.
Best Upcoming Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books: December 2021
No Beauties or Monsters by Tara Goedjen: This book is being pushed as Stranger Things meets Veronica Mars so that’s an immediate thumbs up from me. The story sees Rylie returning to Twentynine Palms where her father died years ago. She hoped to never return. Now that she has, she finds a friend has gone missing in the desert. Making matters worse, she has started to see things that she can’t explain. Somehow it all connects to her grandfather and a family cabin he left behind in the town.
The Lost Pleiad by Kelly Branyik: Anya Allen sets out to find home, but ends up finding two. This will be the first in a new series by Branyik will be a retelling of the Greek myth, The Seven Sisters, set among the stars.
Spidertouch by Alex Thomson: As a boy, Razvan was trained as a translator for the Keda. The Keda are a cruel race and his mute enslavers. They enforce the children of Val Kedić to work in the mines from the ages of eleven until eighteen. Razvan learns fingerspeak, the Keda’s language, in order to avoid the punishment, but he wasn’t able to do the same for his son. As the city is attacked by another crueler army while a rebellion force has plans to defeat the Keba. Razvan must decide which side to fight on.
The Veiled Throne by Ken Liu: The third book in the Dandelion Dynasty series picks up where the last book left off, after the breach of the Wall of Storms and the invasion of Dara. A world of new possibilities has opened up for the gods and people of both empires.
Compound by Angeline Amefia: A dystopian science fiction novel that follows Ashlyn Fletcher who is dealing with oppression in the State of Nova. Not only does she deal with the the State Leaders who rule Nova, but also her mother who rules the family. Ashlyn sees no way of escaping this tyranny. This world was built on death and destruction, and the Fletcher family is a huge part of that. As things go on, Ashlyn will have to choose to make a stand – not only against her mother, but the state as well.
Best Upcoming Horror Books: December 2021
Gwen, In Green by Hugh Zachary: This book is part of the Paperbacks from Hell series, a re-issue of Zachary’s 1974 novel. It’s not new, but it is new to me. The story follows a young couple, George and Gwen, buying a home on a small island. It’s a dream, but what the real estate agent didn’t tell them is that a tragedy took place her years ago. Now, George begins to notice strange behavior from his wife as people begin disappearing around the island.
Cult of the Spider Queen by S.A. Sidor: A reporter named Andy gets a mysterious note in the mail that reads: “Maude Brion is very much alive!” Brion was a famous actress and film director who disappeared one year ago in the Amazon rainforest, investigating the legend of the Spirder Queen. Andy thinks this is his big break and sets out to the Amazon on a rescue mission. What he finds there opens him up to a web of terror.
Ghost Recall by Alan Baxter: This will be the third book in the Eli Carver Supernatural Thriller series. The series began in 2018 with Manifest Recall and introduced us to Eli, a hitman on the wrong side of his criminal syndicate.
The Liar's Knot by M.A. Carrick: The second book in Carrick’s Rook & Rose series. The first book in the series was The Mask of Mirrors which was an excellent fantasy novel, full of mystery and dark magic. The second book features a con artist, a vigilante, and a crime lord teaming up to save their city.
The Black Phone: Stories by Joe Hill: The Black Phone is an upcoming movie from Blumhouse Productions that looks like a real scare. That movie is based on a story by Joe Hill which is featured in this collection along with fourteen other scary stories.
Best Upcoming Mystery/Thriller Books: December 2021
A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw: Travis Wren has a talent for finding missing people, but his latest case is a doozy. He’s hired to find an author of dark, macabre children’s books named Maggie St. James who has gone missing. His search leads him to a place that many believed to only be legend – a reclusive community called Pastoral. The commune shouldn’t exist, but soon after Travis finds it, he disappears. Years later, a lifelong member of Pastoral named Theo finds Travis’s abandoned truck. No one is allowed in or out of this community and as he investigates it, he’ll reveal secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed.
The Maze by Nelson DeMille: This will be the eighth book in the John Corey series and has been called DeMille’s best thriller yet. Corey is in forced retirement from his job as a Federal Agent and now finds himself restless and looking for action. A former lover and Detective comes to him with a job offer that just might do the trick.
Darkness Falls by Robert Bryndza: Kate Marshall’s fledgling PI business gets a big break when they get hired to investigate a cold case involving a journalist who went missing twelve years ago. Most people have moved on, but her mother refuses to let go. Kate and her partner Tristan get the case file and go back over things, but find much different results. It turns out the journalist was on to the identity of a serial killer hiding in plain sight, and now Kate will have to find him.
Dark Night by Paige Shelton: There is something about reading books set in cold climates during the winter. The third book in the Alaska Wild series looks to be a perfect read for a cold winter’s day. The story sees Beth dealing with the surprise appearance of her mother and the town dealing with the unwelcome presence of the census man. When a woman comes into the bar, battered, and then her husband is found dead, the suspicions turn to the census man. However, he’s missing as well. Now, Beth and her mother will look to uncover the truth.
Family Business by S.J. Rozan: The latest book in the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith Mysteries series sees a powerful Chinatown boss dying and leaving a building to his niece. The young woman hires Lydia and Bill to help her inspect it, but they soon find themselves caught in the crossfire of a battle for the building.
Best Upcoming Romance Books: December 2021
North of the Stars by Monica James: This will be the first book in Monica James’ In Love and War series. The story follows Princess Emeline, daughter of King Eanred, as the Vikings are raiding England. Emeline has been promised to Aethelwulf, the son of King Egbert of Wesse, with the hope that their union will save Northumbria. However, it is not her way to just surrender. Things get complicated when her father captures Skarth the Godless, the most savage Viking in the land, and she decides to help him. Soon Skarth will become her teacher in all ways.
Flame by Helen Hardt: Flame is the 20th entry in Hardt’s long-running Steel Brothers Saga. Cally has always considered herself the plain one in her family, but somehow the gorgeous Donny Steel has fallen in love with her. The only thing keeping her from happiness is her nemesis from ten years ago who is out to destroy her bliss. While Donny has his own struggles as he believes that he can’t be the man she deserves until he solves the mysteries of his family’s past. These two are hot together, but they both have secrets that could put out that flame.
Heart of the Impaler by Alexander Delacroix: Vlad Dracula lives in the shadows of his father and older brother, Mircea. His lifelong goal has been to prove himself worthy of the throne. The only one that he is able to rely on is his cousin, Andrei Musat. One day, Vlad and Andrei meet Ilona, the daughter of an influential boyar, and the two find themselves drawn to her. However, Ilona is then betrothed to Mircea as part of a political alliance. Vlad’s resent of his brother grow dark while Ilona herself has no desire to marry. The kingdom’s enemies have their sights set on killing her as she tries to keep secret her growing feelings for Andrei and Vlad.
Western Waves by Brittainy Cherry: Damian Blackstone is known as the grave digger for the way he digs up the darkest secrets of a person’s past. He’s like a villain, but he has just been named in a will to marry a young woman. If she doesn’t do it, she won’t get the inheritance. She goes along with it, but has no idea how dark this relationship will get.
Homecoming King by Penny Reid: Rex is unlucky in love, but his exes have great luck after dating him. All of his ex-girlfriends end up marrying the very next person they date. He’s always a groomsman and never a groom, but he wishes to find love of his own. Then there is a bartender named Abby, the perpetual wing-woman who has only dated once in her life. She doesn’t see herself getting into a relationship except for the one guy that she’s loved since preschool and he just walked into her bar.
So, what did I miss? There is a lot that I’m excited to read this December, but I’m always looking for great suggestions. Let me know what you are reading and I’ll check them out!
I’m very excited to read “A History of Wild Places” as well as “The Hawthorne School” by Sylvie Perry. I am currently re-reading the “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” trilogy by Cixin Liu and will be finishing it up in December. It’s hard reading so many books at a time, and working in a library means that my TBR list is always out of control!
Thanks for the response Kris. I love Cixin! Did you read The Redemption of Time by Baoshu? I haven’t read that one yet and saw very mixed reviews.
I haven’t, and that’s why I’m re-reading the trilogy, so that I can read that one when I’m done. I’ll sure let you know what I think of it!