What I read in December 2019

I read 15 books in December, and I’m not surprised - the month seemed to go on forever, and it would have been even more if one of them hadn’t been a huge Barbara Erskine tome. I reached a total of 148 books for the year, finishing my last one (S.T.A.G.S, by M. A. Bennett) at around 11:15pm on New Year’s Eve!

Grand Union, Nine Elms, How It All Began, Mindf*ck, The Raven King

Grand Union: stories, by Zadie Smith. A bit hit-and-miss for me, some of the stories I really enjoyed and others left me cold - 3*

Nine Elms, by Robert Bryndza. Robert Bryndza’s books are like Pringles - you have one and it leaves you craving more. As I’ve read all his thrillers now, though, I have to wait ten months for the next one! - 4.5*

How It All Began, by Penelope Lively - 4*

Mindf*ck: inside Cambridge Analytica’s plot to break the world, by Christopher Wylie. Fascinating, surprisingly wide-ranging re: psychology and culture, and probably not the best choice to read the week of a horrible election result - 4*

The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater - 4*

What a Carve Up!, Who Did You Tell?, Joe Country, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, Cartes Postales from Greece

What a Carve Up!, by Jonathan Coe. Nearly 26 years old, but still so relevant to today that it could have been published last week. Really funny, I absolutely barrelled through it - 5*

Who Did You Tell?, by Lesley Kara - 4*

Joe Country, by Mick Herron - 4*

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, by Adam Kay - 4*

Cartes Postales from Greece, by Victoria Hislop. Not quite what I was expecting re: how much we saw of the writer and receiver of the postcards/notebook, but I really enjoyed the short stories - 4*

The Ghost of Madison Avenue, The Warrior's Princess, I Never Said I Loved You, City of Ghosts, S.T.A.G.S

The Ghost of Madison Avenue, by Nancy Bilyeau - 4*

The Warrior’s Princess, by Barbara Erskine. Similar to Sleeper’s Castle (or the other way round, as this came out first) in setting and formula, but still a fun read and made me want to go on a holiday to Wales even more - 4*

I Never Said I Loved You, by Rhik Samadder. Occasional flashes of humour and relatability (I, too, would be regarded as ‘doing well’ if only I was a decade younger) but too often felt like a bit of a trudge - 3*

City of Ghosts, by Victoria Schwab - 4*

S.T.A.G.S, by M. A. Bennett - 4*

Looking ahead…

Call Down the Hawk, Those Who Are Loved, Birthdays for the Dead, Ghostland

As ever, this is more of a ‘hope to read’ than a ‘definitely will read’ list! Well, I’ll definitely be reading Call Down the Hawk, by Maggie Stiefvater, because I’ve already put my bookmark in it ready to begin reading. I found Ronan, his unusual ability, and his family the most fascinating things in the Raven Cycle, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

As a fan of all things spooky, Ghostland: in search of a haunted country, by Edward Parnell, looks fascinating to me. Having enjoyed my first Victoria Hislop book last month, I have high hopes for my second, Those Who Are Loved. And I’ve not quite read everything Stuart MacBride has ever written, so when I saw Birthdays for the Dead in the Kindle sale, I decided it was high time to remedy that! It’ll also keep me going until his next new book comes out.

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About Alice Violett

Reader of books, editor of web content, haver of PhD

Colchester, UK https://www.draliceviolett.com