The last month of 2018 concluded on a high note with 13 books read, and that was despite traveling between Europe and the US! I am quite proud of this. After some anxiety and a last big push, I was also able to complete the Popsugar reading challenge with 2 hours to spare on December 31st. So, with that, I fulfilled all my goals for 2018!
Welcome to the Show (various authors) ♠♠♠ and 1/2♠
This is a compilation of horror short stories. There were a few in the series I really enjoyed and some that were just really meh. The writing was excellent but some plotlines weren’t well developed and I got lost. I wish there would’ve been more editing or proof-reading amongst the authors to guarantee a more equal distribution of quality stories.
This short story collection is worth a read if you: don’t mind a mix of horror genres, like to read up-and-coming authors
This is not for you if you are: looking to be truly terrified
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) ♠♠
Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!!! This book bested me again. I listened to it as an audiobook and was able to follow the plot about 2/3 through and then, yet again, completely lost interest. I half-listened to the ending. So, although I technically completed the book, I don’t feel like I actually did. I am counting it for this month but will probably revisit this novel in the future.
This is so my nemesis book I don’t even allow myself to have an opinion about it.
City of Ghosts (V.E. Schwab) ♠♠♠♠♠
Schwab just delivers when it comes to creating an atmosphere. This story, although targeting middle-grade readers, is most definitely a delight for anyone who enjoys eerie scenes, ghost stories, and beautiful language. Her characters were so odd but so lovable, I I am glad this will be a series and I get to spend more time with them soon! This book would also make an excellent graphic novel – here is to hoping for an adaptation.
Read it if you: just need some dark but magical plots in your life
Don’t read it if you: are looking for a complex plot or adult themes
Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe (Debbie Johnson) ♠♠♠♠
This was one of my favorite fluff reads of December. Debbie Johnson’s writing style and her character development were delightful and I think I am going to pick up other work by her.
This Christmas read is for you if you are: looking for a heart-warming story and a cozy feel, enjoy colorful characters
Don’t pick up this book if you are: looking for depth in a story
Snow in Love (various authors) ♠♠♠and 1/2♠
A cute fluff read with several short stories. The plots were adorable and the romance cheesy.
This book is for you if you: want a fun read with your hot chocolate, like YA romances
Nope on the book if you: can’t stand cheesy young love
The Gift (Cecelia Ahern) ♠♠♠ and 1/2♠
This is not your typical Christmas fluff. In fact, the plot is kind of heavy and quite melancholic. It does have an important message. This is a good read to reflect upon your own life.
This novel is for you if you: are looking for a thoughtful read
This novel is not your thing if you: do not want to have moments of sadness or melancholy
Saga, Vol 1 and Vol 2 (Brian K Vaughan) ♠♠♠♠♠ and ♠♠♠♠
I fell in love with this series so quickly, I just had to buy my own copies. This is a very adult graphic novel series – there are themes of sex and war. The illustrations don’t leave anything to the imagination but are beautifully done. The style matches the crassness of the story. I am definitely on the Saga bandwagon!
If you’re an adult (and not easily offended), you should read this series.
Krampus: the Yule Lord (Brom)
Guys, I can’t fathom I just now discovered Brom!!!! What a treasure! I freaking loved this novel. I’ve always enjoyed Krampus stories as a kid but seeing it in print as an adult put into an adult novel was something different entirely. Brom did a wonderful job combining folklore with suspense and modern themes. I loved his Krampus and I am sure this will become a regular re-read around the Christmas season. I had gotten this book from the library but proceeded to purchase my own copy pretty much right away.
This Christmasy read is for you if you: want something different than a cozy holiday romance, love a good scary folktale
Don’t read this book if you: only believe in Santa Claus
In Cold Blood (Truman Capote) ♠♠♠♠
This was pretty awesome! If you enjoy true crime, this book is for you. I listened to it and felt like I was investigating these murders together with Truman Capote. His prose fits the circumstance so well that the book reads more like fiction than nonfiction. I got a bit disengaged during the end but overall this was a wonderful audiobook.
Read this story if you: like true crime stories that feel like fiction
Don’t read it if you: can’t handle graphic descriptions of murder scenes and creepy insights into murderer psyches
One Day in December (Josie Silver) ♠♠♠♠♠
This was my December BOTM pick and also happened to be Reese Witherspoon’s book club read. I saved this novel for Christmas Eve and I am so glad I did. It set the mood perfectly. This novel is a lot more than a romance story. It’s more of a character study that spans a decade or more where we get to live and learn alongside the main characters and go with them through their trials and tribulations. Each one is flawed and makes mistakes. Everything feels very real. The book really caught me by surprise as it was so much deeper than I had expected. I was quite invested in the characters and shed a few tears here and there (well, at some point it was more of a through weep).
Pick this book as your next read if you: want to feel all the feels, enjoy following a character, want a little romance with your plot
Don’t read this book if you: are looking for a fast-paced plot or an over the top romance
Magician: Apprentice (Raymond Feist) ♠♠♠♠♠
What a find! This was my hardest Popsugar category to fulfill (a book read by someone in public) and I had to wait until November when I finally saw someone reading a physical book in public (well he was actually carrying it around my work building but the copy looked well loved, so I assume he was reading it or had read it at some point). But, boy, am I happy with how this worked out. I loved this story. It was epic. It had elves. There was magic. A war against a weird future race was fought. Someone fell in love. Someone got captured. Battles were won and lost. A wise magician was wise. And friendships were tested and allegiances pledged. I really can’t wait to read the second installment.
This series is right up your alley if you: loved The Hobbit or LOTR, played or are still playing D&D
Not your thing if you: don’t like LENGTHY tales
Tell the Wolves I’m Home (Carol Rifka Brunt) ♠♠♠♠♠
AIDS in the 198s was a completely different beast than it is today. This story was a good reminder of how the unknown scares us and how we often fail to recognize that our reaction to certain things can deeply hurt others. This story was often sad (or at the least melancholic). The plot was driven by a lack of knowledge about AIDS and a family was almost torn apart by this. This story was also a coming-of-age tale. It had friendship and love, forgiveness and redemption, and a lot of heart. This honestly was a good end-of-the-year read that allowed me to reflect upon my own insecurities and fears.
Read this if you: want a reminder to be less judgy and more open toward other people’s feelings and experiences
Don’t read this novel if you: are afraid to tackle some of your own prejudices and insecurities