December Reading Wrap Up

I really threw myself into reading in December, I really wanted to make it to 100 books for 2019, which I’m thrilled to say I did. That’s why this post is so late, there were just so many books to talk about.


Girls of Paper and Fire

Girls of Paper and Fire – by Natasha Ngan

Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by the royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl whose golden eyes, whose rumoured beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

*Please be aware that this contains scenes of violence and sexual assault.

I had really high expectations for this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. The writing was really beautiful and descriptive, and I soon found myself invested in Lei’s story. I honestly couldn’t put it down, this book had me wishing for longer lunch breaks. I can’t wait to read the next book!

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Of Fire and Stars

Of Fire and Stars – by Audrey Coulthurst

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

This book has been on my TBR for ages, from the moment it was announced, I knew I needed to read it. Of Fire and Stars was well worth the wait, I loved it! The romance was so sweet, and took time to develop, I have a lot of feelings about it. I really liked the two princesses, and enjoyed their alternating perspectives. I just really enjoyed this book, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Moon over Soho

Moon Over Soho – by Ben Aaronovitch

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul. They’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

I had forgotten so many important details from this book, so rereading it was definitely worthwhile. Honestly, these audio books are so good, and have helped keep me going this month. This is definitely a series that just gets better every time you listen. I cannot recommend it enough.

Rating: 4 Stars


Reign the Earth

Reign the Earth – by A. C. Gaughen

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

This book definitely lived up to the positive reviews I read towards the beginning of the year when it was first released. I was gripped from start to finish. First off, I love elemental magic systems, they feature in some of my favourite stories, and it didn’t disappoint in this book. Secondly, there is a really sweet, slow-burn, angsty romance in this book that was really compelling. I would warn anyone considering reading this book that there is an ongoing theme of abuse and scenes of domestic violence that may be triggering to some. It’s not always easy to read, but I really liked it, and plan on continuing the series.

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Howl's moving castle

Howl’s Moving Castle – by Diana Wynne Jones

“How about making a bargain with me?” said the demon. “I’ll break your spell if you agree to break this contract I’m under.”

In the land of Ingary, where seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, Sophie Hatter attracts the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on her. Determined to make the best of things, Sophie travels to the one place where she might get help – the moving castle which hovers on the nearby hills.

But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the hearts of young girls…

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book. It’s quite different to the Studio Ghibli Movie, with a number of interesting details and side-plots that kept me very entertained. This book is whimsical, funny, and honestly enjoyable for all ages, and I can’t believe that I’ve gone my whole life so far without reading it. I’m definitely planning on reading the other books in the series.

Rating: 5 Stars


Rivers of London Detective Stories

Rivers of London: Volume 4 – Detective Stories

Four self-contained magical crimes, ripped from the streets of supernatural London. 

From the million-selling Rivers of London novel and graphic novel series by writer Ben Aaronovitch comes this unmissable next chapter in the saga, as PC Peter Grant faces his gruelling Detective exam, forcing him to relive the strangest cases of his career! 

From foling an aspiring god to confronting a Virtual Flasher, Peter’s police history has been anything but conventional; whether that’s chasing down ‘Falcon’ crimes wit hthe aid of modern technology, or confronting timeless villainy with his magical skill-set. Does Peter have what it takes…or will DI Chopra judge him unsuitable for a badge?

This graphic novel is a fantastic addition to the series. I really enjoyed seeing all these smaller cases that Peter has dealt with over the years, and had fun spotting references and side characters from the books. While these graphic novels are by no means essential to the main book series, they are a great deal of fun, and I still recommend them if, like me, you just can’t get enough of this series.

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Whispers Underground

Whispers Underground – by Ben Aaronovitch

‘Come Monday I get to do some proper policing. Person Unknown has been stabbed to death on the tracks at Baker Street tube. Magic may have been involved.’

Person Unknown turns out to be the son of a US senator and before you can say ‘International incident’, FBI agent Kimberley Reynolds is on DC Grant’s case.

And down in the dark, in the tunnels of London’s Underground, the buried rivers, the Victorian sewers, there are whispers of vengeance from beyond the grave.

DC Grant’s latest case is about to come off the rails… 

I love this series, and I highly recommend the audio books, because the narrator is excellent. This was another reread for me, and I really enjoyed it. It’s interesting what I had forgotten since first reading this, and I had fun picking up on details that become important in later books.

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Giant Days Vol 6

Giant Days: volume 6

Second year begins and Daisy, Susan, and Esther have taken their friendship commitment to the next level by moving into their “beautiful home” off-campus. But the keys didn’t come without new responsibilities. Unwanted suitor visits, a robbery, and Susan living only a few blocks apart from her ex-boyfriend, McGraw, has made the dorms feel like a haven. The girls are in for a dose of reality when they learn that there’s more to being an adult than paying your own rent.

Eisner Award nominee John Allison (Bad Machinery, Scary Go Round) and illustrators Max Sarin and Liz Fleming welcome you back to Sophomore year in Giant Days Volume 6, collecting issues #21-24 of the critically acclaimed series.

I adore Giant Days. It’s hilarious, fun, and gives me so much joy. This series just seems to be going from strength to strength, every chapter is a delight to read.

Rating: 5 Stars


giant days vol 7

Giant Days: volume 7

Esther, Susan, and Daisy continue to face the rigors of young adulthood in this Eisner-nominated series.

Fast friends Susan, Daisy, and Esther continue their second year at Sheffield University, and these are formative times, indeed. Education and looking ahead to the future isn’t all that college holds in-store for these ladies–grocery store protests, family reunions, and even an MMORPG wedding are all on this semester’s docket.  

John Allison (Bad Machinery, Scary Go Round) and illustrators Max Sarin and Liz Fleming, take us to Sophomore year’s second semester in Giant Days Volume 7, which collects Issues #25-28 of the Eisner Nominated series.

Obviously, I loved this volume as much as all the ones before it. I laughed out loud on numerous occasions, and it just brightened my day in general.

Rating: 5 Stars


Broken Homes

Broken Homes – by Ben Aaronovitch

A mutilated body in Crawley. Another killer on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil; an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man? Or just a common or garden serial killer? 

Before PC Peter Grant can get his head round the case a town planner going under a tube train and a stolen grimoire are adding to his case-load. 

So far so London. 

But then Peter gets word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on an housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans and inhabited by the truly desperate. 

Is there a connection? 

And if there is, why oh why did it have to be South of the River?

This is possibly the Rivers of London novel that I remember the least, which made this reread all the more significant for me. I spent a good portion of the book looking out for foreshadowing and clues, which is one of my favourite things about rereading books like this one.

Rating: 4 Stars


Foxglove Summer

Foxglove Summer – by Ben Aaronovitch

In the fifth of his bestselling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London – to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can’t take the London out of the copper.

Travelling west with Beverley Brook, Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what’s more all the shops are closed by 4pm…

I love this book, it’s one of my favourites in the series, and it’s also the one I’m the most familiar with. I flew through it, enjoying it just as much the third time around. So much happens in this book, with some interesting reveals.

Rating: 5 Stars


Moonstruck

Moonstruck: volume 1

Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late.

Collects issues 1 through 5.

This graphic novel is just as cute as it looks, if not more so. It’s also very queer, full of magic, and a really good time. I thoroughly enjoyed this first volume, and can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!

Rating: 4.5 Stars


The Furthest Station

The Furthest Station – by Ben Aaronovitch

A brand new novella in the PC Grant series! There’s something going bump on the Metropolitan line and Sergeant Jaget Kumar knows exactly who to call. It’s PC Peter Grant’s speciality . . . Only it’s more than going ‘bump’. Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message. Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter – making the follow up interviews rather difficult. So with a little help from Abigail and Toby the ghost hunting dog, Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition. Because finding the ghost and deciphering their urgent message might just be a matter of life and death.

Yet another reread. I picked up this novella partially because it was the next part in the Rivers of London series, but also partially because I needed to read some shorter books to get to a total of 100 books read in 2018. This is a really fun story set between books 5 and 6 that follows one of the smaller cases investigated by Peter Grant. Reading this book not necessary to understand the events of the 6th book, but it is a fun read that, with some nice details in. Personally, I will probably never tire of reading about all the different aspects of this world.

Rating: 5 Stars


Lumberjanes vol 1

Lumberjanes: volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX!

At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here. 

Collects Lumberjanes No. 1-4.

I wanted so much to like this, I’ve seen so much love and praise for the series as a whole, but I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t hate it, and I found the concept interesting, but overall, it wasn’t for me, and I’m quite sad about it, because there was moments that I really enjoyed. It was very almost a DNF because I struggled to find the motivation to finish it for the longest time. But, it was a book I could easily clear from my currently reading section on New Years Eve, so I finished it off.

Rating: 2.5 Stars


Want to chat, about books or anything else, here are some other places you can find me:

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4 thoughts on “December Reading Wrap Up

  1. So many books! Congrats on reading 100 books last year. And glad to hear you liked Girls of Paper and Fire. I’ve been hoping to read that one someday and the influx of positive reviews is really encouraging! 😀 Can’t wait to read that one. And it’s wonderful that it seemed that you really enjoyed most of your reads last December! Hope 2019 goes just as well for you 🙂

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