12 Books Challenge

On my Instagram, I asked for 12 book recommendations for the #12bookschallenge and I was not disappointed.

The idea is that each book will represent a different month of the year. While I am technically already behind with January almost being over, there is not a specific time that I have to read these during 2022, and I do not have to go in order.

What better way to find the best books than through other book lovers?

If you wish, follow along with my reading challenge! Find some inspiration from these recommendations.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Goodreads rating: 4.35 / 5

Recommended by: Alice (Ali) from @ur_average_demigod

Genre: LGBTQ / Contemporary Young Adult (YA)

My Thoughts: I discovered this in a Little Free Library recently, and now I have the perfect opportunity to dive in! This novel is supposed to be a masterpiece at revealing the intricacies of young love and identity between two boys. I’m also a sucker for a strong, emotional Young Adult novel – it’s the high school teacher in me! I have a feeling that I won’t be the same once I’m finished with this one.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Goodreads rating: 4.23 / 5

Recommended by: Best friend from college, Shelby Ostrom

Genre: Mystery / Gothic Romance

My Thoughts: My friend, Shelby, has been begging me to read this classic, and the time is here. Gothic fiction is my jam, so I am ready for all of the dark, creepy, sultry vibes that are going to haunt the marriage between a widower and his new, young wife. Apparently, his dead wife is not through with him. I want to know all of the secrets! (Plus, who doesn’t want to see a suspicious man getting haunted? We need more of that justice in the world.)

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

Goodreads rating: 4.25 / 5

Recommended by: Carolyn from @carolyn.chaffin

Genre: Memoir

My Thoughts: All I needed to know was that the author was the 39th of her father’s 42 children to be sold on this title. I love nonfiction books about cults; part of this is due to curiosity, while the other part is based on my desire to understand how people become manipulated into these situations. I just finished reading Sex Cult Nun about the Children of God cult, so I’m ready to learn more!

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Goodreads rating: 3.78 / 5

Recommended by: LeeAnn from @librarygirlreads

Genre: Historical Fiction

My Thoughts: I was happy to see this recommendation because this is a book I bought from Book of the Month, but haven’t read yet. The cover is beautiful, yet I’ve heard mixed reviews about the plot. For me, the appeal based on the synopsis is there. The idea of a female apothecary making poison to help free women from evil, deceitful men?

Yes. Please.

The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe

Goodreads rating: 4.27 / 5

Recommended by: Best friend from college, Meghan Ketcham

Genre: Nonfiction / Education & Social Justice

My Thoughts: This was recommended to me from a friend who is also a teacher, so she knew exactly what kind of nonfiction title would be relevant to my interests! I frequently read fiction about immigrant experiences, so this will be the perfect nonfiction read with the current state of affairs in our country. We can always seek to learn to be better and more inclusive.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Goodreads rating: 4.20 / 5

Recommended by: D. and P. from @linen_and_literature

Genre: Contemporary Romance

My Thoughts: This one is the third in a series; should I read the first two in order to enjoy this one? (If so, let me know!) I do fear that it won’t live up to the hype for me, but I am willing to take the chance and see what everyone is talking about. Eve Brown sounds like a relatable character, and enemies-to-lovers plots usually are guaranteed fun. Bring it on!

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Goodreads rating: 4.04 / 5

Recommended by: Meghan from @meghans.book.smarts

Genre: Psychological Suspense

My Thoughts: This is a title I hadn’t heard of before, , but – WOW – the premise sounds intriguing! In this cat-and-mouse chase, a man gets a stranger to help plot the murder of his wife, and this stranger has a secret, violent past. It sounds like this one won’t end well for someone, and I already want to find out for whom.

Bear Town by Fredrik Backman

Goodreads rating: 4.27 / 5

Recommended by: Stephanie from @stephonashelf

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

My Thoughts: Honestly, I’m not someone that usually picks up books that are centered around sports (in this case, hockey), but I have heard great reviews about this one, so I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. This novel takes place in a small town, which I enjoy, and I wonder what traumatic event will take place that will change this community. I have a feeling that I’ll learn something from this one, and I am excited to experience the writing of the beloved Fredrik Backman!

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

Goodreads rating: 4.23 / 5

Recommended by: Lyndsey from @bookmarkedbylynds

Genre: Psychological Thriller

My Thoughts: A psychological thriller recommendation is the key to my heart. In this novel, Marin’s son is kidnapped; the long-term effects on her marriage are detrimental. She discovers that her husband is having an affair (hence, the secrets) and she decides to take matters in her own hands. I wonder: Will her son be discovered? What is she going to do to his mistress? Is there a connection between the disappearance and the affair? I’m ready to find out for myself.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Goodreads rating: 4.36 / 5

Recommended by: Coworker and best friend, Katie Weber

Genre: Literary Fiction

My Thoughts: Yes, I was recommended TWO Fredrik Backman books; he really must be that good! I love the curmudgeonly-old-man character trope because there is always something soft and heartfelt beneath a hard exterior. According to the synopsis, a funny, lighthearted family moves in next door, and their interactions are supposedly comical. I have been warned this is a tear-jerker, so I will have my tissues nearby!

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Goodreads rating: 4.26 / 5

Recommended by: Kelly from @dearbooks_iloveyou

Genre: LGBTQ / Contemporary Fiction

My Thoughts: I’ve seen this cover before (and I definitely remember it being advertised as a Reese’s Book Club choice), but I didn’t realize that it’s for adults, not YA! I’m excited about the synopsis, as this book looks at family and identity. Claude wants to be his true self: a girl. Parents, Claude and Penn, want to be supportive, but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be obstacles. I can already tell that this is a timely read for a world that is trying to be more inclusive, and I am curious to see how the author approaches these themes.

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant

Goodreads rating: 4.25 / 5

Recommended by: Sami from @fallinginlovewithreading

Genre: Mystery Thriller & Suspense

My Thoughts: A thriller in an isolated setting without modern amenities? Count me in. I’m excited to unearth the secrets that the father is hiding from his young daughter, leading him to hide their lives within the Appalachian wilderness. These types of mystery thrillers lead us to question who else might be present and what their intentions are… I’m getting cozy and creepy vibes from this one!

*Blog post cover picture is from a template created by @shadowbooker

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