I did it! For the month of December, I finished 37 books, bringing me to 250 books read in 2016! December was an amazing month for me, both in my reading life and out. From sharing laughter to reading truly groundbreaking works of fiction, I couldn’t have asked for a better end to the year! My life has changed dramatically over the last few years and 2016 was no exception, but looking back on it now, I can see it’s all changing for the better – a trend I hope continues into the new year.
Happy 2017! May you all have a great start to the year!
Stranded by Bracken MacLeod: An extraordinary tale of parallel universes and survival, Stranded follows a ship’s crew as they find themselves trapped in an endless sea of ice. With no link to the outside world and a mysterious epidemic among crew members, the men make a desperate attempt to cross the ice towards a hazy outline of another ship, but instead of hope, they find only more danger. An incredible adventure from start to finish, I couldn’t put this one down!
The Hike by Drew Magary: From talking crabs, to man-eating giants, to an endless journey through forests and sand, The Hike is truly unlike any novel I’ve ever read. Full of adventure and possibility, Magary’s strange and twisted quest left me feeling in charge and hopeful for a future of my own making.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: I can’t believe it took me so long to read this! I loved reading her YA series, This Savage Song, and while the stories are treated very differently, one being for teens and the other a more mature audience, the elements of her stories are very similar. One key theme being the importance of friendship. I can’t wait to read more!
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd: An absolutely stunning book cover, I couldn’t wait to read The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, but diving in, I soon realized I was going to need a few tissues… or maybe a whole box. Set at a hospital for children during World War II, Emmaline is a patient suffering both illness and a terrible loss, but Emmaline has a secret: there ae little winged horses that live in the mirrors at Briar Hill hospital.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer: Torn between following her dreams and pleasing her parents, the future Queen of Hearts just wants to be left alone to start her own bakery, but fate has other ideas. Instead, the King of Hearts has offered a proposal while the new, and mysterious, Court Jester offers a quizzical flirtation. Bound for an unhappy ending from the start, I struggled to see the end in Catherine’s future, but alas, a bitter heart she found.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman: Set in a world without hunger, disease, or misery of any kind, death is only brought by the scythes – an imperial order that keeps the population in check. Noted for their character and empathy, Citra and Rowan have been chosen to apprentice a scythe, a role neither of them want, but dutifully accept, nonetheless. I find it hard to buy into their world, and the scythes as they constantly contradict themselves by both their words and their actions, but ultimately the mystery sucked me back in.
To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin: Complete with a meet-cute in a hot air balloon overlooking the glittering cityscape of Paris, Pike’s historical novel follows the tumultuous affair between a widowed chaperone, Catriona Wallace, and the co-designer of the Eiffel Tower, Emile Nouiguir. Full of intrigue and gossip, I found myself fascinated by their troubled relationship and the far reaching effects of a seemingly trivial faux pas.
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt: A middle school classic read by children across the nation, I was definitely surprised by my rereading of Across Five Aprils. How did I forget the harrowing circumstances of the Creighton family? From a simple act of harassment all the way to arson, the Creighton family suffers greatly in this authentic look at a family’s plight during the Civil War.
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin: Set in a future post-apocalyptic world after a devastating epidemic caused by electro-magnetic pulses, technology has been abandoned, but Nell Crane has other ideas. Daughter to the famed doctor who saved the city by revolutionizing biomechanical limbs, Nell struggles to find her own place in society, but after finding a tattered old mannequin, she’ll put aside long held grudges toward computers to recreate the future. An imaginative new world, Nell’s journey is a curious, if not hypocritical, look into a life without technology – I’d love to see more from her world, especially more on how her robot is received after its initial discovery.
Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand: Finley’s entire world is on the verge: her parents are having problems (but pretending like everything’s ok), she’s going to be sent to her grandparents’ home for the summer (even though she’s never met them), and her blue days are quickly outnumbering the happy. Her only retreat is the Everwood, a magical forest only found in the pages of her notebook, until she discovers the vast forest behind the family home. Full of magic, family, and unyielding sadness, Some Kind of Happiness is a beautifully written middle grade novel on childhood depression. Depression, no matter the age, is certainly a tricky subject, but Legrand hits it out of the park, showing readers it’s okay to ask for help.
News of the World by Paulette Jiles: In Wichita Falls to read the news, Captain Kidd is offered $50 to take a recovered, ten-year-old captive from the Kiowa tribe back to her family in San Antonio – a 400-mile long journey across unsettled, dangerous terrain and hostile territories. A short read, News of the World is a beautiful story of friendship and family as Captain Kidd gets to know the young girl, teaching her to eat with a fork, speak English, and her assisting in warding off dangerous kidnappers! Their journey together is captivating and heartfelt, taking you through a mini Texas history lesson – perhaps my favorite part of the book, living in Texas myself.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: I finally finished it!! Perhaps one of the best novels I’ve ever read, I regret not having it finished before I listed my favorite books of 2016. From his relationships, to his place in history, to the exquisite study on Russian culture, Count Rostov’s story leaves a lasting impression. And, Amor Towles is blessing Houston with a visit this winter!
What are your December favorites?
** For this month’s recap, I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy. She always has the best recommendations and it’s great to see what everyone else is reading too! **