Here’s my (slightly belated) wrap up of all the books I read in the last three months of the year! You can read my January-March wrap up here, my April-June wrap up here, and my July-September wrap up here.
As always, let’s talk about the books I’m currently reading before getting into what I have read. I had the very lofty ambition that I would completely clear my currently reading shelf. It’s really no surprise that I wasn’t successful in doing this. So, once again, I am still reading House of Leaves. It’s such a commitment, so I’ve just been prioritising other books. I’m also about halfway through I Am Malala, which I’d hoped to read for the #DAReadathon, but will probably finish up in January regardless. I also got approved for two ARCs, those being Heartless by Marissa Meyer and Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo. While these are both sitting on my currently reading shelf on Goodreads, I’m only actively reading Heartless at the moment.
Now, here are the books I have read!
I went on holiday with my parents during the first week of October, and managed to get a lot of reading while I was away. I finally got around to reading The Name of the Wind, which I completely loved, and gave 5 stars. I’ll have a full review of this book up soon, so I won’t say anything about it here. I also read This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab, another book I’m hoping to write a full review for. This Savage Song unfortunately fell a little short for me, though I did enjoy it, and gave it 3 stars. I then read The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which was another 5 star read for me. I talked about this in my Best Books of 2016 post, so really I’m only going to be repeating what I said there. In short: I loved it; I devoured it; it’s absolutely as good as everyone said it would be.
Then, I had an email saying that I’d been approved for Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I was so excited that I’d been approved for this book. It’d been out in the US for quite a while and I’d seen nothing but positive reviews. It’s certainly a very hyped book, so you’d be forgiven for feeling wary, but for me, this book lived up to the hype and then some. Again, this was one of my favourite books of the year, and it’s one that I’m ceaselessly recommending to people.
Continuing what was the best reading month of the year for me by far, I participated in Lauren’s Halloween Read-a-thon. I read a total of three books for the read-a-thon. The first of these was Nailbiter Vol. 1: There Will Be Blood, which I gave 4 stars. As it was the first book in this graphic novel series, it was primarily introductory, but it gave me a lot of hope that there’s a lot of interesting things to come in the future. I’m really hoping to pick up the rest of this series soon.
The second book I read for the read-a-thon was Misery by Stephen King. I’ve said this many times before, but I’m a huge Stephen King fan, so I was fairly certain that this book was going to be a hit with me. Sure enough, it was, though not for the reasons I was expecting. Though it is a really tense and engaging escape narrative, it was actually King’s musings on writing that made me like this book so much. I gave Misery 4 stars.
Finally, I read Bird Box by Josh Malerman, another one of my favourite books of last year. This was an incredibly tense and gripping novel. It’s vaguely dystopian, and vaguely sci-fi, and as such it’s perfect for fans of either. This was mainly a favourite because I loved the reading experience – I read it entirely at night, so it created the perfect atmosphere. Its concept is very unique, and for the most part it delivers. It doesn’t answer every question you have of it, but really, I don’t see how it could without sacrificing some of the uncertainty that made it so tense. I gave Bird Box 5 stars.
After the read-a-thon, I decided to read one of the books that I’d put on my TBR anyway. This was The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley. This won the Costa Book Award in the UK, so it was absolutely everywhere. Everyone seemed to love it, and being that it was described as a Gothic novel set in the North of England, it sounded like it’d be perfect for me. Frankly, it was a bit of a disappointment, I think largely due to my high expectations for it. The novel deals with our narrator, Smith, and his brother Hanny, who is mentally ill. Every year their devout Catholic family make a pilgrimage to a holy site, the Loney. Here, they worship for God to ‘cure’ Hanny. The relationship between the two brothers was the highlight of this book. Smith cares for his brother above all else, and goes to great lengths to protect him. It’s clear that he’s the only person Hanny really trusts, as his mother’s treatment of him, in her eagerness for a ‘cure’ occasionally borders on abusive. There’s an uneasiness to the novel that is captured perfectly in Hurley’s prose, and the landscape of the Loney is perfectly rendered. Unfortunately, I felt that while there were a lot of interesting element to this book, it didn’t really come together, and there were far too many unanswered questions. At times I felt myself getting bored, or frustrated, particularly in the middle. I gave it 3 stars but it’s probably more of a 2.5.
Following this, I finally got around to picking up where I’d left off in The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. This was another one that I featured in my Best Books post, so I won’t say too much more about it here. This book was just so perfect for me—there wasn’t a single thing that I didn’t like, and I frequently paused reading just to have a moment to think about how good it is. Obviously, I gave it 5 stars.
I actually then experienced a minor reading slump. It was a combination between having read so much in October, and having finished The Lies of Locke Lamora, because all I wanted to do was read it all over again. I finished both The Loney and Lies during November, and then began reading I Am Malala on and off.
For a complete change of pace, I picked up How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry. My friend Hannah had read this book and absolutely loved it, so she loaned it to me, and insisted that I read it. I’m so glad she did, because while this isn’t what I’d usually pick up, I really, really liked it. It follows the protagonist, Emilia, who returns to her hometown after the death of her father and decides to run his bookshop, Nightingale Books. The book covers several different characters within this village, all of whom are connected through the bookshop. It’s a very sweet, cosy story. It actually has a lot of book recommendations in it too, based around some of the focal characters, which I thought was a really nice touch! I gave How to Find Love in a Bookshop 4 stars, it was a lovely read that got me in the perfect mood to start reading properly again.
I also bought and read Green but for a Season by C.S. Pacat, which is a short story about the relationship between Jord and Aimeric, two secondary characters in her Captive Prince trilogy. I loved being back in this world, and while the story was very sweet, really I just felt the desire to reread the entire trilogy. I gave it 3 stars and have since bought The Summer Palace, the next in her short story series, which follows Damen and Laurent after the events of Kings Rising. I already know this one’s going to be Too Much.
Given the season, I decided to finally read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. My dad and I watch Scrooge pretty much every year, but I’d actually never read the original story. I really liked this. Obviously it’s a very familiar story, but it was actually my first Dickens, and the first classic that I’ve read for a quite some time! This got me in the mood to read more classic fiction, as often I do favour contemporary literature (I mean. Obviously. I did an entire master’s degree in it). I gave A Christmas Carol 4 stars.
Once again, here’s another book that made my favourites list. I received Pretty Iconic by Sali Hughes for Christmas, started reading it on Christmas Day, and literally couldn’t put it down. I love make up, so it was so interesting to me. Sali basically goes through a list of famous or gamechanging Western beauty products, all with her personal take on them, or personal experience with them. This was very nostalgic at times, and it was fun going through it with my mum, because it contained some of the products that she used to use. I gave Pretty Iconic 5 stars.
After that, I immediately read her first book, Pretty Honest, which I’d been gifted on a previous Christmas. Pretty Honest is a straightforward and—as the name would imply—honest guide to beauty. It’s perfect for people who are new to beauty, but also for people like me, who are already invested in it. Sali goes through everything, from a basic skincare routine, to bridal make up. There’s some crossover between the two books, so I wouldn’t necessarily read them side-by-side, as I did. Still, I gave Pretty Honest 4 stars. I’m considering doing a bigger post talking about both of them (and make up/beauty more generally) just because Sali captures loving make up while also recognising the harmful aspects of the beauty industry so perfectly, and these books really struck a chord with me.
Finally, my last book of the year was The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher, a book that was also loaned to me by my friend Hannah. Tom Fletcher is most known for the band McFly, and he’s written a series of children’s picture books with fellow band member Dougie Poynter, but this is his first children’s novel. This was a really sweet book, and one that I would have been absolutely obsessed with as a kid. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but my obsession with dinosaurs was real. I watched the Land Before Time films constantly, and was apparently so obsessed with Barney the Dinosaur that my mum still feels a surge of irritation at the sight of him all these years later. This book, about a dinosaur, whose egg was found and hatched by Santa and his elves, and his adventure with a young dinosaur-obsessed boy named William Trundle. Obviously, I’m not in the intended age group for this book, but I still really enjoyed it. I loved Tom’s depiction of the North Pole, and I enjoyed little things he included, like all of the elves only ever wanting to speak in rhyme. This book also had really lovely illustrations by Shane Devries that perfectly accompanied Tom’s whimsical writing. I gave The Christmasaurus 4 stars, and it’s one that I’d probably read again during the festive period.
Those were all the books I read between October and December! October was my best reading month by far, and because of that, I manged to hit my 50 book target, and ended up reading a total of 53 books in 2016. Of course, I’m very pleased with that, and I’m especially pleased that I still manage to enjoy reading after an incredibly intense few months writing my dissertation. You’ve probably noticed, too, that I read most of my favourite books of last year during the last few months—something I honestly wasn’t expecting!
If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Also, I’m trying to decide whether I want to do quarterly wrap ups like this, or do them when I’ve read a certain number of books—for instance, I’ll do a wrap up post for every 5 books I read (kind of how WellDoneBooks used to do recent reads videos, or how mynameismarines does her wrap ups). I’ve veered away from monthly wrap ups because the amount I read in a month usually fluctuates drastically. I expected that to change now that I’m finished with university, but it’s mostly stayed the same (I read 8 books in October, but only finished one in November, for example). If you could let me know if you’ve got a preference, I’d love to know. If only because I’m having trouble making my mind up!