Reading in December

08 January 2021

 

Another year has come and gone, and what a year it was! I thought about doing a reflection post all about my thoughts on the year, but there is nothing more I can say about 2020 that hasn't already been echoed by everyone else on the internet. Most of my thoughts are still relevant from this post I wrote back when lockdowns were beginning, so if you want to read that you can. Other than that, I am trying to keep the overall perspective of history in mind, and I'm trying to remember that God is at the center of my life and He is the only constant in our broken world. It's keeping me grounded going into 2021.

I have a lot of goals for this blog in mind, but I'm still smoothing out what I want to do and whether or not it's actually attainable. But there are a lot of fun posts coming up soon, including my favorite books of 2020 and my overall reading stats! 

Until then we still have a December wrap up to get through. I feel like no one really cares about a December wrap up when it's more fun to gush about my favorite books of the year. However, I've done mini reviews for every book I read the past 12 month, so I didn't want to just skip this one. I read a whopping seven books and was able to finish the year strong! There were no new all time favorites from this batch, but I really enjoyed a lot of the books. I also read quite a few Christmas books which I've never really done in any other holiday season.


This has been quite a hyped book this past year in the historical fiction market, and I really enjoyed it! Through the story, O'Farrell explores the popular theory among Shakespeare scholars that it was the unexpected death of Shakespeare's son, Hamnet, that served as his inspiration when he wrote Hamlet. It was such an interesting topic and I learned a lot about Shakespeare that I didn't already know. It goes back and forth through the timeline of his life, which was a bit confusing at first but amazing once I got used to it. But even more than the intriguing story, Maggie O'Farrell's writing just blew me away! Her prose is perfect and I cannot wait to pick up more books she's written!
Rating: ★


The first Christmas book I read, and unfortunately, a bit of an underwhelming one. It's a classic, Hallmark-esque Christmas story about a girl who's going through a hard time and goes on a journey in the wilderness to find the true meaning of Christmas and love. I know Kristin Hannah is good at writing detailed plots and believable, emotional character relationships from reading The Nightingale, but this was not a good example of her work. The first half was rough. The plot was extremely fast paced, and the events that happened in the mere first 50 pages were laughably unrealistic! I found myself rolling my eyes a lot. The second half did clear up some confusion, but overall the decent idea failed in execution for me. 
Rating: ★

*I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


The only word I can use to describe this book is "fine." I think it's a good book for people who are interested in historical romance, but get uncomfortable at the idea of graphic sex scenes. This is marketed as Christian Fiction, but the spiritual aspects are very minor. They fit in with the mindset of the people of the time period well and doesn't get preachy at all. However, the main plot points: the conflict with François and Alexander's past, and the romantic arc of Laura and Alexander were all bland to me. It was fine, but it all read like a very basic episode of a period drama, nothing new or interesting. The few parts of the story that were mildly intriguing and mysterious to me were resolved in long scenes of dialogue exposition, which I think was too easy and boring. I just felt like the ending wrapped up a little too cleanly altogether. I always appreciate repercussions for the events that happen in a book. I find it unbelievable when a story can tie up all the loose ends like this one does.
Rating: ★


All I can say about this book is it's without a doubt the most classic Christmas story of all time. I had only seen the movie adaptations and decided to read the source material this year and I absolutely loved it! Dickens is definitely a writer that deserves to be reread and remembered for generations to come! (Also, for anyone wondering I love the Muppet adaptation so much and I think it's my favorite interpretation.)
Rating: ★


My last Christmas book of the year. I picked this heartwarming story about a homeless man and the little girl that teaches him the true meaning of Christmas on a whim. Chantel talked about this book on her channel, so with her recommendation I read it in one sitting and really enjoyed it more than I expected to. It's definitely formulaic in its concept, but unlike Comfort and Joy, this book executed it well. It's just a fluffy, heartwarming story that makes you cry and gets you in the mood for the holiday season. It is a bit heavy handed in its Christmas themes, but I didn't mind it. Overall I would recommend this one for whenever you want to get a taste of Christmas in your life, and don't mind crying a little bit.
Rating: ★


This was a reread for me. I read this opening book to the Inheritance Cycle back in 2013 and felt incredibly lukewarm about it. I never finished the series, but my husband loves these books and has been encouraging me to give them a second chance. Upon rereading this book I feel pretty much the same as I did the first time I read it. I will say that Paolini's writing at 15 is pretty decent and better than anything I could have written when I was that age. But the pacing is all over the place, it's full of tropes and clichés (the plot is literally just Star Wars in a Lord of the Rings setting. This is the hill I will die on), and Eragon is an idiot. However, this is a decent beginning and I'll continue to see whether the story will become its own.
Rating: ★


Since I have a full, detailed review up on the blog already, I just want to say that this is an interesting, fast-paced book following the real life experiences of Nancy Wake as she worked for the French resistance in WWII. I learned a lot while reading this book, but I felt like it could have gone deeper into her characterization and it could have had a better structure to the plot. But I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys books based on true stories.
Rating: ★
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What did you read in December?

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