I am here with December Wrap Up. This month I read a total of 12 books and a total of 4,208 pages.
The genres I read this month were fantasy and historical fiction. I read 4 standalones, 2 first books and 5 sequels.
I will do my best not to include spoilers for the sequels but just be weary if you want to avoid finding out too much about the storyline.
Onto the ratings!
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
I have a full review of this book so I will try and keep my thought yeah to a minimum. This was my first Pat Barker and I adored every moment of it. The Silence of the Girls is a Trojan War retelling focusing on the women’s stories as their lives were arguably more destroyed by war as they didn’t have the ability to fight back.
The narrative opens at the end of the war, with the city of Lyrnessus falling to the Greek’s and their Queen, Briseis, taking as a slave and become Achilles’ war bride.
Barker’s portrayal of the Greek leaders lacks the gloss and shine from The Iliad. They are less heroic, gritty like the trench soldiers of WWI. I really enjoyed this comparison. It was refreshing but at the same time does fit with the overall storyline.
This is one my my favourite retellings and will be looking into Barker’s other work.
Blood Queen (Blood Queen #1) by Joanna Courtney
This is the first book in Joanna Courtney’s new series. In this series Courtney will unearth the history and reality behind Shakespeare’s most infamous queens. The first queen up is Lady Macbeth.
Set in 1020 AD Alba — modern day Scotland — King Malcolm II is fading fast and the line of succession alternates between the Constantin and Ade lines. However, King Malcolm wants to hand the throne to this grandson, Prince Duncan and to do so has been killing off competitors, which includes Cora MacDuff’s father. Cora waits in Moray with her sweetheart, Macbeth who she hopes to marry. But her dreams are about to be stolen from her. In order to reclaim the life she was promised, she will learn to use every weapon at her disposal – even her son.
This is the first real look I’ve had at the history of Scotland. The Dark Ages must be Courtney’s pocket of history as this books is set 40 years for so before her Conqueror’s Queens trilogy. Cora is a complex character who has gone through every traumatic experience imaginable. Its harrowing and the way she copes is to cling to her rage and her revenge, which borders on obsession. The only thing that seems to soften her rage is Macbeth. Macbeth is the my new book boyfriend. I love him so much!
I also enjoy that we get to see from Sybil, Prince Duncan’s wife, so we do get to see the war from both sides of these feuding families. I cannot wait to see which queen will be looking at next. I will pre-ordering the next book
Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh
To kick off my holiday leave, I decided to re-read some of the books in the Psy-Chnageling series. I thought it was only fitting to start with the first one. And this re-read was everything I was needing.
The Psy are psychic beings who are programmed to feel no emotions. In this book we follow, Psy Sasha Duncan, who must walk hard to conceal her feelings. To reveal them will brand her a flawed and lead to rehabilitation. DarkRiver Alpha, Lucas Hunter, is working on a new development contract with the Duncan family. He’s determined to find a Psy Killer who butchered his pack make and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society.
Since I’m now caught up with the series, I am so used to seeing these two together that it’s amazing to revisit how they got together.
Visions of Heat (Psy-Changeling #2) by Nalini Singh
This is the follow up to my re-reading. Visions of Heat take place right after the events of Slave to Senstation.
Faith NightStar, a Foresight-Psy is used to silence and is suddenly being tormented by vision of murder. Silence is perfect for Faith as her type of Psy have a high rate of mental illness. Faith seeks help from Sasha Duncan about how to deal with these new visions and emotions she’s starting to feel. Enter DarkRiver sentinel and Jaguar changeling, Vaughn D’Angelo. The jaguar’s instinct is to claim Faith. But while Vaughn hungers for Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity.
As the series moves on and we move further away from DarkRiver we do see less and less of Faith and Vaughn. Mostly because a) Vaughn’s known to be a loner type and b) Faith can’t cope with too much emotion. I loved being back in this world.
Caressed by Ice (Psy-Changeling #3) by Nalini Singh
Caressed by Ice might be my favourite Psy-Changeling books. This is the first look we get a the SnowDancer wolves. Wolves by far are my favourite changelings, the bears do come a close second.
Defector Psy, Judd Lawrence is hiding out in the wolves Den with his brother, nieces and nephew after fleeing the PsyNet. He was an Arrow, an elite solider, who’s dark abilities who made him cold and unfeeling until he meets wolf changeling Brenna. Brenna was adducted by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope.
Oh my god! I forgot how much I love Judd. Brenna is an amazing and complex character. The way Singh details her recovery —triumphs and setbacks included—felt very realist. I love these two together. The pair of them deserve every happiness.
Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalco
This was one of my most anticipated releases for 2018. I love Audrey and Thomas and it was great to see what mystery the got stuck into next.
This time we see the pair on route to New York to help solve a a string of murders. They trip is a one week long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria. Also traveling on the Etruria is a troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers and a young, Houdini who are entertaining the first-class passengers each night.
But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea.
I love the additions of the circus, it really adds a dramatic flare to the murders taking place. Maniscalco has this was of bringing the culture of the Victorian Era to life in every description, action and piece of dialogue. I wasn’t a big fan on the added tension between Audrey and Thomas or Audrey’s surprise love interest. I really hope Thomas is in more of the next book. Overall I love these mystery and they keep me guessing until the big reveal.
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
I’m sure everyone know what this story is about, since it was one of the most popular releases for 2018. But for those who don’t know, this story follow Jude and her sisters. The girls parents where children when their parents where murdered and stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
This was my first Holly Black and I was addicted—thank god I picked with up when I only had to wait weeks not months for the sequel.
I knew I was going to like it but my god I really loved this. I found it a bit slow to start but once we get to know Jude and she delves more into the politics of the faerie court I was hooked! I enjoyed that The Cruel Prince contains a host of pretty nasty and unlikable characters, even Judd and her sisters aren’t exempt at times. Developed and unlikable character I find make for engaging read because you can never to sure what’s going to happen next. There was twist after twist in the last half of the book that had me reeling. And boy, I would never have guessed the ending.
I have already preordered The Wicked King and will be reading it the moment I get my hands on it. Holly Black really is the Faerie Queen and I’ll be interested in reading some of her other works.
River Marked (Mercy Thompson #6) by Patricia Briggs
I really love this series! Mercy and Adam are so sweet together and give me so much joy! I won’t say too much about the plot since it is take place right after the pervious books.
The best thing about this on is that we and Mercy finally get to learn more about walkers. We also get to learn more about Native America folklore. I really hope we get to see more from the walkers and maybe even since different types.
The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan
The next instalment of the Percy Jackson series and I really enjoyed it. It’s been awhile since I’ve read Percy Jackson book and I forgot how much fun they are and how entertaining Percy’s voice is. I love guessing which myths, monsters and gods appear and am so glad we go to see Artemis and Apollo.
This was my first book with Thalia being a main character and my god did she really annoyed me in this book. I didn’t really get to know her as a character and she’s rude and dismissive of Percy. As if because she’s the Daughter of Zeus she is better than everyone and needs to be in charge.
Overall a great adventure and am excited to finish of this series.
St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
This was Russell’s debut short story collection and contains 10 stories that takes us to the ghostly and magical swamps of the Florida Everglades.
I was in awe of Russell’s imagination and creativity. The collection has the whimsy magical realism is known for. Here, wolf-like girls are reformed by nuns; a family makes its living wrestling alligators in a theme park; and little girls sail away on crab shells.
The writing is stunning and she has lyrical and inventive descriptors — which I kept highlighting. However the tone for voice doesn’t vary much per story. They are all told by children—and some precocious children at that— in first person, present tense. As this was her first collection, I’m still interested to see what her other work is like.
My favourite stories were:
- St. Lucy’s Home for Girls’s Raised by Wolves and
- Z.Z’s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers.
Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales edited by Angela Carter
This took me pretty much all year to read and I am so proud of myself for finishing it. This collection covers a vast number of countries and cultures.
I love seeing echoes of the classic tales all across the world, which is what I find most fascinating is that how cultures who never interacted have similar stories. The Cinderella archetype appears in Egyptian, Chinese, Hindu and African stories.
My favourite stories are:
- East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon,
- The Baba Yaga,
- Little Red Ridding Hood,
- Tongue Meat,
- The Twelve Wild Ducksm
- The Greenish Bird,
- Pretty Maid Ibronka,
- Vasilissa the Fair,
- The Three Aunts,
- Two Sisters and the Boa.
Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson
This book was a little bit of a let down for me. I thought we would get an in depth look at Homer’s work and how The Iliad and The Odyssey has influenced and continued to captivate people for centuries. Don’t get me wrong we do get chapters which analysis the poetry and links made to history which I really enjoyed.
I wasn’t a fan of Nicolson’s sections musing on his boating trips and liking himself to Odysseus.
Comment down below and let me know what you’re favourite read of December was.
Until next time, happy reading!