I finally read four books in a month! But none were from my Shop Your Stash. DOH! Three were library holds and one was to get an extra point (?) in the Kindle Reading Challenge. But it was a book I already owned, just a Kindle book, not a physical one. I have about a million Kindle books but they don’t take up precious floor or shelf space so they are second to physical books and library holds. 

And be sure to read to the end to find my 2022 Book of the Year! Each month the books I read face off and a winner is declared. Then at the end of the year, the top monthly books battle it out for the title of Book of the year. 

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Read by Stephanie Racine


The Darker family gathers for Nana’s 80th birthday. Once the tide goes out, they are trapped on the island until morning. Each family member harbors dark secrets. And then family members start to die, one by one. Who will make it out alive?

I listened to the audiobook and thought Stephanie Racine did an excellent job!

The story switched back and forth between the current time and the past. The stories from the past give more insight into the family and their dynamics. It helps round out the stories and characters.

I enjoyed the story and wanted to keep listening/reading to figure out whodunit. I started putting some of the pieces together until about 75% in. The larger twist totally escaped me.

I would recommend this book if you like locked-room mysteries. If you read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie you would probably like Daisy Darker.

Ghost 19 by Simone St. James

Read by Brittany Pressley 


Ginette, a former actress, has moved to a small town after a doctor told her she needed “less excitement”. But she may have found more!

Ginette starts watching her neighbors and makes them the stars of her play. She can’t leave the house and spends her days watching and discussing their lives with the grocery delivery boy, Andrew. 

One day, Ginette believes she has witnessed a murder. Will anyone believe her? Will she believe herself? 

Simone St. James does it again! Ghost 19 is a short novella that keeps you hooked from start to finish. Is Ginette losing her mind or is something actually keeping her trapped in the house? 

I would recommend this to anyone that has enjoyed St. James’s other books or thrillers like Hitchcock’s Rear Window. 

Make Space for Happiness by Tracy McCubbin


A roadmap to clearing your clutter! 

Make Space for Happiness is a very surface-level book about clutter and the psychological reasons we keep buying stuff.

It was a short, easy read but really didn’t offer anything new or a deep dive into any specific area.

It was a nice refresh but I would say it’s not a must-read. It might be good if you are looking for a reminder to help kick off your decluttering.

Verity by Colleen Hoover 


OMG. Where to begin?

I did not want to put this book down. Hoover creates a mood and the ending? Yah, not sure what to believe. 

Lowen Ashleigh’s life isn’t going quite how she planned. On her way to a meeting, she witnesses a tragic accident and is helped by a complete stranger. When she arrives at her meeting, the mysterious stranger is also there. 

Turns out the stranger is the husband of famous author Verity Crawford and the meeting is to see if Lowen will finish Verity’s series after an accident left her comatose. Lowen accepts the gig since she needs the money and heads out to the Crawford estate.

She had planned to spend the day going through Verity’s notes and files to plan out the next book. While there she gets the news her apartment application was rejected. She has nowhere to go and no money as the advance hasn’t come through yet. Verity’s husband insists she stay there and continue to go through all the paperwork and files.

She agrees and of course, things start to happen. Is there something really going on or is Lowen descending into madness?

I would recommend this book if you are a fan of thrillers. I was on the edge of my seat and wanted to get to the end the entire time. Hoover paints an anxiety-inducing mood throughout much of the novel. The ending left me wondering what I just read and unsure of what was true and what was manipulated by the characters. That is all I will say to not give anything away.

Warning: There is a fair amount of graphic sex scenes in this book. If that’s not your thing you may want to skip this book or skim through those sections.

Runs on Espresso 2022 Book of the Year

little fires everywhere book

It was a tough bracket this year! My book of the year ended up being Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.

Runners-up include: Run Rose Run by James Patterson and Dolly Parton and Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney.

What did you read in December? Did you reach your annual reading goal, if you had one? Share all the details in the comments

Categories: Books


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.