Saturday 4 January 2014

In December I snuggled up with some brilliant books...

So here we are, at the very final reading round up of 2013, and what a reading year it's been! I've read some absolutely superb books over the last twelve months and I've enjoyed chronicling them on the blog. It's a nice reading diary to look back on in the future. As for my reading challenge - read over 52 books in twelve months -  I did it, hooray! In fact I surpassed that as Linger was my 52nd book. I was worried earlier in the 2013 that I wouldn't do it but thankfully December was a great reading month for me. Hooray indeed! So anyway enough waffling, let's get down to the books from this month - there's just a few to natter about...

The Grimm Legacy – Polly Shulman
I have to admit that this isn't the sort of book I’d usually pick up but I’m very glad I was sent it as part of the #bloggerbookswap as it’s brilliant. I will go into more depth on the review in the new year when I round up my thoughts on all three of the books I was sent. But let’s just say I now definitely feel the need to read the original tales and book two in the series The Wells Bequest!

The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me – Roald Dahl
Yet another Dahl book I’d never read and I don’t know why as it’s fantastic and so short that it would have been the perfect introduction to Dahl’s work when I was a youngster. Anywho I’m glad I've now read it as I love the wonderful rhymes and the brilliant characters. Dahl is amazing at painting such vivid characters with such lovely quirks – like the clever pelican’s beak and the brilliant Duke of Hampshire with his habit for shotguns and kind heart. Such a wonderful story.

Heidi –Johanna Spiri
A classic I know, but one I’d not read properly until know. I wasn't a massive fan if I’m honest and I didn't particularly enjoy the story or the individual characters. It contained lovely sentiments (that something might be better than you first perceive, being rich and city bound isn't always a good thing and that the important things are friends and family) but I just wasn't that fussed with it.  

Wonder – RJ Palacio
You know when you hear so much good buzz about a book that you build it up to such a high level that when you finally do get round to reading it it can’t do anything but disappoint? Well that’s how I feel about Wonder now that I've finally read it. It’s been on my to-read list for ages, ever since I first heard about it back in 2012, yet somehow I didn't actually pick it up until December of this year. Don’t get me wrong this isn't a negative review, I did enjoy the book. I love so much about this book, starting with the brilliantly simple and effective cover. It was beautifully written, the story wasn't far-fetched and ridiculous and focused on the everyday lives of a set of characters related to August, who has a sever deformity. It was interesting that the book is written in a number of different characters’ voices and I enjoyed that aspect of it. It really was an eye-opening book with a core message that I 100% agree with -  that it’s who you are and your actions that are important and not what you look like or how popular you are – and I like that the message was wonderfully woven into the story and not shoved down your throat. But still there was something that stopped me from seeing this as the best book I've ever read, which is what I've heard others exclaim. For some reason it didn't move me or make me love it as much as I expected to and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that it was all nice and neatly tied together at the end or maybe even the fact that you didn't hear from some of the characters enough during the 370 pages. But something stops me from giving the brilliantly written Wonder 5 stars, instead it’ll have to settle on 4.5 stars.

Linger – Maggie Stiefvater
I LOVED this book so much and I was so annoyed with myself for not taking the final book in the trilogy, Forever, with me when I went home for Christmas. What was I thinking? I finished this book on Tuesday and I've had to wait till I got home a week later before I could get my hands on the third book. Annoying indeed. It was a great follow up to the first book and I really like where the story is going. I like that Stiefvater isn't trying to create a love triangle in these books (at least not yet) and it's intriguing to see where she goes next. The new character, Cole, is a great addition and I can't wait to see what happens with him int he next book, and of course the upcoming spin-off Sinner.

Tinder - Sally Gardner
My lovely friend H1 is the publicist for this book and was kind enough to send me a copy when I mentioned how beautiful it looked and how intrigued I was to read it. I absolutely love the fact that there are illustrations throughout this book (and that they are all in black, red and white) and I found myself hooked on the story straightaway. Gardner has such a great voice and her descriptions are brilliant. Definitely a good book to read at this time of year, when it's dark and atmospheric outside. I highly recommend it.

I also read the first Tom Gates book this month, as part of my new job and I would definitely recommend it for kids who love funny books, or cartooney ones like Wimpy Kid. It really is funny and I love the embarrassing stories and cringy parents!

So what about you, what have you been reading this month? Any recommendations?

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