Shelby Says: 2023 End of the year book reviews

As we get closer to the end of the year, I thought I’d recap some of the books I’ve read this year. Some of you may know that I keep a spreadsheet of all of my books, and when I went back and looked, I had to go back and look how many books I’ve read so far this year, which was 19 that I could count. As I was typing this though, I remembered more and had to keep changing the number, so 19 is probably wrong. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I also finished writing two books this year and I feel like that took up a good chunk of free time.
Of course, I’ll always recommend reading anything you enjoy, and a lot of these books area available at your local library.
“The Firekeeper’s Daughter”
by Angeline Boulley
This book follows Daunis Fontaine in her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie as she struggles with her heritage as an unenrolled member of the Ojibwe tribe. Daunis is trying to care for her family and friends and ends up in the middle of a big mystery where her life and the life of her family is at stake.
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but I knew it was popular and a lot of people seemed to enjoy it. I didn’t realize it was a mystery until it came up in the book, and I’ve always been a mystery fan. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and I didn’t see any of the twists coming. Also, as a resident of Michigan, I felt able to relate to Daunis a bit more as she talked about the beauty of the state and, especially, the importance of hockey to Michiganders. This was probably my favorite book I read this year.
“Go Set a Watchman”
by Harper Lee
I’m sure many people remember having to read “To Kill a Mockingbird” in high school. This book follows a grown up Scout, now going by her given name of Jean Louise, as she returns to Maycomb County for a visit. Having moved to New York, the culture she returns to is not what she is used to anymore, and she finds that she isn’t a fan anymore.
Okay, I wanted to like this book. I liked “To Kill a Mockingbird” and this being the sequel, I thought I’d like this to. I did not, unfortunately. What I found in my research after I finished the book was that it actually was first draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and to be honest, it reads like one. I struggled to understand what was going on most of the book, and a lot of it was filler information. I’m glad I read it, but it was my least favorite book of the year.
The Honeywood Fun Park Series by Julie Olivia
The Honeywood Fun Park Series is a series of four books that follow a group of friends that work in the theme park Honeywood. After I finished the first book, “All Downhill With You” I immediately ordered the other three. The main characters are all lovable, relatable, and fun to read about. The small town that houses Honeywood is relatable for anyone who lives in a small town, and the relationships are fun and easy to read.
I haven’t fallen in love with a book series this much probably since I was a twelve year old reading the Twilight series. Of course, this is significantly better than Twilight. It was easy and fun, and I think it’s good for anyone looking to get out of a reading slump like I was. Or anyone who loves theme parks.
“What Happened to the Bennetts” by Lisa Scottoline
This book is a family-centered thriller. After a seemingly-random tragedy, the Bennett family is put into witness protection while mourning the death of one of their children. Jason Bennett is just trying to keep his family together while solving the mystery of the murder of his daughter.
Okay, I have to admit, Lisa Scottoline is my favorite author. She has been for many, many years since my dad gave me one of her books as a teenager. I still have said book, and it is literally falling apart and I had to buy a new one. This book is no different in capturing my attention, and the story is compelling for anyone who enjoys a mystery. I loved it, and I finished it in a day. I don’t think I can say enough good things about her books or Scottoline as a person. A few years ago I actually got to meet her over Zoom for one of her book tours, and she is wonderful, and that comes through in all of her books.
If you see me out and about, ask me what I’m currently reading. I love to talk about books, and I’ll give you an honest review of whatever book I’m reading or just finished. My goal is to read a lot more in 2024, and I’ll let you know if there are any books that really captivate me.

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