Reading Challenge – December

Happy Holidays WordPress! :) I had a really fantastic time with family and friends this year. As it’s Summer we hit up the beach and the zoo, and on Christmas Day the family gathered under the air conditioner while we ate yummy food. I really love the hot weather, so it’s been great for me, but I know a lot of people who are already counting the days until Autumn. I hope that however you’re spending you’re holidays, you have a fantastic time, and get a chance to cuddle up with a good book!

(Yep, I finally got to see some lemurs at the zoo. It was fantastic.)

Anyway, I actually got a lot of reading done this month, surprising even myself! I read 10 books all together, which means that in 2015 I read 142 books. Given that my initial target was 64I can’t quite believe it. Also, having finished more books than I planned, I didn’t really have many backups prepared, and actually got to dig through my TBR as the mood struck me. The result? A really great mix of reads. Both short and long stories, a satire, graphic novels and finally, some conclusions to ongoing series.


The Books


My True Love Gave to Me – Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor & Kiersten White
Three stars overall, but some of the short stories in this book were definitely worth five. Some of the authors really utilized the short story medium well, others maybe not so much. Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Holly Black & Kelly Link’s were definitely my stand out favourites.
★★★✩✩

Castle in the Air (Howl’s Castle #2) – Diana Wynne Jones
The first third of this sequel was a bit slow, and I was just waiting to find out how this linked to Howl’s Moving Castle. However, once those pieces started falling into place I felt that the story became that much more intriguing and clever.
★★★★✩

Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4) – Marissa Meyer
Once again I was amazed at how all the diverse characters were handled in an expert way- all the POV switches added to the scope of the story, allowing the reader to always have an eye on the action, and didn’t slow the pace at all. All the relationship building was also fantastic. It’s so hard to wrap up a series so completely and satisfyingly, but I was definitely happy with the ending.
★★★★✩ (4.5 stars)

Library of Souls (Peregrine #3) – Ransom Riggs
I started off slowly, and found myself skimming through pages as I struggled to really get drawn in. In the case of the Peregrine series, it’s probably due to the writing style–it’s relatively slow paced until the last few chapters, and I struggle with the characters and (what I see as) their lack of depth. I wish there could have been more backstory for the supporting cast, something to help me connect to them emotionally. The bizarre photos are still the highlight of this series, and are used in a very clever and unique way throughout the story.
★★★✩✩ (3.5 stars)

The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson
Whilst I like the author’s writing style, I think what really let me down in this book were the protagonist’s actions. I hate when I can see a guilty secret/decision of a character that is ultimately going to be their major downfall in a story. It meant that I couldn’t really enjoy the characters and light-hearted moments as much, in anticipation of what was to come. That said, the writing was whimsical and at times very deep and thought provoking. I think if I were to re-read this book I would feel differently about it and relax a little, but for now it earns a 3.5 stars.
★★★✩✩ (3.5 stars)

House of Many Ways (Howl’s Castle #3) – Diana Wynne Jones
The ball really got rolling much quicker than in Castle in the Air and I could have easily finished it in one sitting. Very quick, enjoyable read. Main characters were a bit frustrating at times, but just likeable enough to balance out, which seems to be the author’s style. Just what I needed to read this month.
★★★★✩

Infinite Sea (5th Wave #2) – Rick Yancey
I progressed through this much quicker than I expected, as the reader is  dropped right back into the aftermath of book one. Having not read the series in a while, I struggled for the first few chapters to remember who the characters were, especially as the POV switched pretty frequently. The story was pretty intense from the get-go, but around the half way point it started to feel like more of a novella, as the book doesn’t actually focus directly on the main characters, but rather fills in the story based on the experiences of the supporting cast.
We got some new backstory for these characters, but there wasn’t any major plot progression, apart from maybe one or two new reveals for the reader. Still an enjoyable read, but not sure where this will go in the final instalment.
★★★✩✩

Beauty Queens – Libba Bray
This book was such a pleasant surprise, even with the comments I’d heard about it previously. At first the story seemed targeted toward mocking the ‘beauty queens’, but as the plot progresses we delve much deeper into their backstories, families, and the kind of society that helped make them who they are-or thought they had to be. There is commentary on ideals of beauty, gender, sex, body image issues, media, large scale corporations, and even masculine stereotypes. Nobody is as they appear to be, but we discover they can be much, much more. It’s possible that Libba Bray has constructed the perfect satire. Not only clever, but an enjoyable and funny read too!
★★★★★

Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
A funny, clever and unique graphic novel. I liked the glimpses we gain of the world that this novel takes place in, though it is mainly centred on the characters themselves. Each character at first seems sort of stereotypical-good guy, bad guy, tragic backstory etc, but they prove themselves to be much more. I’d love a sequel as I feel that there’s a lot more that this world has to offer.
★★★★★

Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson
A great continuation after Lawson’s previous book: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Laugh out loud moments are balanced with a deeper look into what it’s like to live with depression and anxiety disorders, and how Lawson manages them day to day. You don’t have to have read her previous book to enjoy this one, but it will definitely better prepare you for her fantastic, dark sense of humour.
★★★★✩


A huge thanks for sticking by my little blog this year, it’s nice to think I’m not talking to myself the entire time, haha. I hope you have a happy and safe New Year, and that you’re as pumped as I am for all that 2016 will bring.
Much hugs!
avatar     Datsu xox

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