It’s official, the holiday season has well and truly caught up with me. It’s one of those things that somehow manages to catch me by surprise every single year, despite it happening every. single. year. I’m tired, unwell and already over 2018. (Look at me, the poster girl ‘new year, new me’ positivity…) With that being said, like many of us, I am happy to see the back of 2017 and welcome 2018 with open arms, as long as it pinky promises to do better. However, since I’m not feeling too great, I’ve not been able to film my usual monthly reading wrap up for December and since I read some wonderful books last month, I didn’t want to rob them of their time to shine. Instead, I thought I’d do a mini December wrap up here and hope that makes up for it.
My first December read was Prodigy by Marie Lu, the second book in her dystopian Legend trilogy. After having read Legend book one a few months before and enjoying it but not loving it, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed its sequel. I ended up giving it a 3.75/5* after having previously given Legend 3.5/5*. Prodigy wasn’t quite as predictable as book one, which I liked but it still gave me all the classic 2000’s dystopian vibes I enjoyed about Legend. Although I enjoyed it, I do wish I’d read this series back when it was first released. I have a strong feeling the The Hunger Games and Divergent loving pre-teen Kate would have adored it! (Prodigy also revealed that June’s birthday is in July, which honestly I’m still not over…) Although I didn’t read it immediately after, I also read Champion by Marie Lu,
therefore finishing the Legend Trilogy in full. I ended up giving this a 3/5* and to be totally honestly, I kind of wish it had been a duology. If Prodigy hadn’t ended with a question mark, I would have been completely satisfied to have finished reading at that point. I enjoyed the first two books enough but I wan’t too invested and didn’t personally feel Champion added anything all that necessary to the story. Nevertheless, this was a fun trilogy and as I said, one I’m sure I would have loved, had I read it when it was first released.
I then finally, after years and years of being told to read it and featuring it in TBR video after TBR video, read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which is without a doubt, one of the most atmospheric, captivating and spellbinding books I’ve ever read. I’m astonished that it hasn’t already been made into a film. I can’t think of a single book that would lend itself to the screen quite as beautifully, as I’m sure this would do, if put in the right hands. I’ve never been one for heavily descriptive writing and beautiful prose but The Night Circus has proved how wrong I was to assume that I couldn’t enjoy it. I adored each and every word, leading me to give it 4.25/5*. Erin Morgenstern’s writing style somehow managed to make the heavy description feel light. I wanted to dive into the pages and run away with the Circus. I also found myself wanting to steal a fictional clock, which is an urge I can confidently say I’ve not experienced before (other than the Weasley’s clock, of course.) However, it did feel a little stretched out in places and a tad too long for me personally (hence why I didn’t give it a full five stars) but all in all, The Night Circus was a whimsical story unlike any other I’ve read.
After a somewhat heavier read with The Night Circus, I decided to pick up Civil War: A Marvel Comics Event by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines and Morry Hollowell. After having seen the Civil War movie adaptation a million times, it was interesting to be able to compare the two and their differences. I enjoyed having the vast, combined cast of characters but I did feel as though that meant the personality of each individual didn’t shine through as much. The dialogue was also a little cheesy at times (but who doesn’t love some superhero cheesiness?) Although seeing my favourites fight never fails to break my heart, it wasn’t my favourite marvel comic but it was a fun read nonetheless and one I gave a 3/5*.
I then read graphic novel memoir, Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung, which swiftly ended up being one of my favourite books of 2017 (as mentioned in more depth in my favourite books of 2017 video here.) If you’ve ever read a book that was so ridiculously relatable, you weren’t sure whether to laugh or cry, you’ll probably know exactly how I felt whilst reading Quiet Girl in a Noisy World. Yet, I was wearing an smile ear to ear smile from the first page until the last.
It was funny, adorable, heart breaking, heart warming, painful, honest, inspirational and oh so relatable. The artwork and its simple black and white colour scheme was utterly gorgeous and inviting. I wouldn’t hesitate for one moment to recommend this to all introverts and extroverts alike. I have undoubtedly found a new all time favourite graphic novel and unsurprisingly gave it a well deserved, glowing 5/5*.
I then once again amazed myself, by picking up another TBR pensioner and a book all too familiar with the sentence ‘I need to read this soon’, only to be left alone for months. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a book I’m still amazed took me this long to pick up but I’m very happy that I finally did. I adored all of the characters but especially Hans Hubermann. I found it so refreshing to read about a kind, safe, fatherly/authority figure, which seems to be rare to find in fiction. Although it took me a little while to get used to the writing style, I ended up throughly enjoying it and gave it a 4.5/5*. I’m not entirely sure what else to say about it other than it utterly broke me. So, a little word of warning. Maybe don’t read this if you’re already an emotional wreck (like I was.) Instead, save it for a time when you’re a little stronger, so you don’t end up sobbing at 4am (like I did.) Or not, it’s totally your call.
This was such a wonderful book and I now completely understand why I’ve been told to read it for so many years but it’s been a month and I’m still a mess, so thanks for that page 535…
After having my heart ripped in two by The Book Thief, I was in desperate need of some light relief, which came in the form of Archie, Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples and Veronica Fish. Being one of the (apparently) few people to have not read the original Archie comics or having watched Riverdale, I was intrigued going into this and was pleasantly surprised. It had a relaxed and low-key storyline, which was not at all what I’d expected after having heard bits and pieces about the TV show. I absolutely adored the art style and the bold colour scheme and I’m very much looking forward to continuing with this series and getting to know the cast of characters more, as I have a feeling they’re going to be a lot of fun. I gave it a 4/5*.
On a car journey to Bristol, headed to spend a mini Christmas with family, I devoured Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell, which consists of two short stories, Midnights and Kindred Spirits. Both stories I read and loved when they were first released and enjoyed just as much (possibly more?) the second time around, years later. They were unbelievably cute and I fell for all of the characters, which was unsurprising, since Rainbow Rowell seems to have a way with writing characters I adore. Considering Midnights is set on New Years Eve and Kindred Sprits set before the release of a new Star Wars movie (both of which was also true for the time I read it) I couldn’t have picked a better time to pick it up. This was a perfect, adorable read, made even more perfect by the addition of gorgeous illustrations by Simini Blocker. Almost Midnight gave my heart all the warm, fuzzies and I gave it a 5/5*.
After reading a few chapters the night before, on the journey back from Bristol, I finished Little Peach by Peggy Kern. This was utterly devastating and made all the more painful by its truthful inspiration, as explained in the authors note. I was a little sceptical at first, considering the short length of this book and the topic it was tackling (child trafficking) but I thought it worked brilliantly. I flew through it and although ‘enjoyable’ is definitely not the right word to describe the reading experience, I thought it was brilliantly insightful. However, there were some examples of problematic language when describing the race of a few characters e.g ‘almond eyes’ and ‘skin the colour of burnt toast’ which I found disappointing to read. With that being said, this was an undeniably eye opening read and I’m most definitely going to continue to educate myself more on this heartbreaking topic and therefore feel as though the author succeeded in her goal in telling this story, leading me to give it a 4/5*.
Lastly in December, I picked up my final ‘How have I still not read this book? It’s been years!’ read, with Every Day by David Levithan, which has to be one of the most interesting and unique stories I’ve read in a long time. I wasn’t too sure what to expect going into it but I definitely wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did (4.5/5* worth of enjoyment!) I loved how it explored so many aspects of humanity, how we look at others and what makes us who we are. We got to delve into the lives of so many different people, in such an intimate way and it was absolutely fantastic. I picked this up on a total whim and I’m so happy that I did. I couldn’t give it a higher rating due to a single chapter full of body shaming that was demeaning, unnecessary and disappointing to read but other than that, I thought every other aspect of this book was thought provoking, heartbreaking and so incredibly captivating that I found myself completely unwilling to put it down. I also just found out the movie adaptation is being released in February. So I’m incredibly intrigued to see how they portray this story and A as a character on the big screen.
And that’s it, my December 2018 in books. I’m honestly kind of surprised how much I managed to read, considering how busy the month was but I’m so glad that I read the books I did. I finally got to tick of some major books from my bookish bucket list and I can now spend the rest of the year trying to emotionally prepare myself to watch The Book Thief adaptation, which I’d initially planned to watch straight after finishing the book? Past Kate was so naive…
I hope you had a wonderful December and that 2018 has been treating you kindly so far.