What a whirlwind the last month has been! I hope you all enjoyed a lovely holiday break with loved ones, regardless of how (or if) you celebrate the season.
This December, I accepted a new job, started wrapping up my old work (one work week to go!), CK’s parents are visiting Australia for the month (which has been lovely), we visited Hobart for a 3-day trip, and had a bunch of Christmas catch-ups in between (wiht all the baking, crafting, and gift-hunting that they bring). Needless to say, while I found time for reading with all this going on, I didn’t find much time to sit and review the books…so here we are again with another mini-review wrap up!
In 2020 I’m resolving to review at least half the books I read…I didn’t quite hit that mark this year (oops). Maybe you’ll spy some 2019 reads hitting the blog in the new year. I make no promises though, who knows what 2020 will be like!
Love & Misadventure – Lang Leav
I have wanted to read a Lang Leav poetry book after years of seeing beautiful words by her pop up all over the internet. While I really loved some of the poetry in this collection, overall I think I was vaguely underwhelmed.
Honestly, maybe it was just the hype, or maybe there are topics covered that I don’t relate to enough to find the beauty in the poetry – I know this is a well loved collection, but perhaps I’m best suited to Leav in smaller bursts through the web.
Hive – A J Betts
Look, I didn’t get off to a great start with this month’s reading – this one also underwhelmed me. It was an interesting premise and I thought the dystopian setting would be right up my alley, but it felt very rushed and there wasn’t quite enough time to build the suspense of the world and happenings within it. I had seen this everywhere on Bookstagram, so I had high hopes for it but it fell short of the mark for me.
It does have a bloody great cover though!
Reverie – Ryan La Sala
At last! A book I loved this month! Reverie is about a boy who has lost a chunk of his memories & is being questioned by the police, he soon discovers he is part of a group who call themselves ‘The Others’. The Others are able to stay lucid while other people’s dreams (or reveries) come alive in the town and wreak havoc – it’s up to The Others to ensure these reveries that break out run their true course, while ensuring nobody in the town gets hurt in the process.
It’s an interesting concept and La Sala builds the world so beautifully, it was a treat to discover how reveries work alongside the main character as he re-learns everything about them and how to stop them. With a great cast of characters, a villain dressed in drag, and a whole lot of representation – this book has everything you could want! Especially if you’re a fantasy reader 🙂
Dark Heart – A B Endacott
It’s no secret that Alice’s books set on the Godskissed Continent made me rethink my stance of ‘Oh I don’t really read fantasy’ and for that I thank her endlessly! Dark Heart is the final book in this trilogy and it was the perfect wrap up to the series in my opinion.
I loved sneaking through the world of the Resistance with Freya and Ashtyn, and I loved that this book delved in to what happens AFTER the Resistance is successful, and the unrest within the city that stemmed from it.
The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone – Felicity McLean
This novel is touted as part mystery, part coming of age story, and it absolutely hits that mark. The story is told by Tikka, who was just 11 (and 1/6) years old when her neighbours, the three Van Apfel Girls, went missing. Now, she has returned home from her new life in Baltimore and is thrown back in to the memories of that time (though they never really left her).
I found this book gorgeously written, capturing the essence of growing up in Australia over hot summers, and the weaving of past and present was done extremely well by McLean. If you like a mystery (and don’t mind not having everything tied up in a neat box) then I’d highly recommend this one!
Let it Snow – Maureen Johnson, John Green & Lauren Myracle
Of course, I had to get a festive read in before the season was over (and I tried a couple of holiday romances but both got abandoned a chapter or so in).
Let It Snow is a cute YA, but I think diversity & inclusion in YA novels has come a long way in the 4 years since it was released, so it almost felt a bit outdated. Don’t get me wrong, it was cute and very Christmassy indeed, so it ticked the boxes I wanted it to for the season, but I wasn’t blown away by it at all. I ended up watching the new Netflix movie afterwards and (this might be the only time you hear me say this) I think the movie was better than the book!
To the Land of Long Lost Friends – Alexander McCall Smith
Ah how wonderful it is to be back in the world of Mma Ramotswe and friends. There is something so beautiful about each novel in this series, and I’ve been reading them for so long that picking one up feels a little bit like coming home.
This story is no different, as we follow along with the gang of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency as they investigate an estranged daughter & a man who may (or may not) be taking Mathematics classes…or is it something more?
The joy & brightness of this series continues to shine through this latest release.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
I listened to it as an audiobook from my library, narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda, and holy smokes it was amazing. The characters were beautiful and layered, each of them follows their own journey through the book and they learn so much from each other (including the parents learning from their teenage sons, which I find so gorgeous).
It’s a coming of age story with so much heart, as two lonely boys navigate a new friendship, growing up, and relationships with their parents. I firmly believe there’s something for everyone in this book – it’s a YA but felt like so much more.
I can’t believe the year is over! It’s been a crazy one with lots of ups and downs (in reading and in life), but I’m grateful to have spaces I can retreat to and talk books with some other book-nerds. Thanks for being here 🙂
And who knows, hopefully 2020 brings a few more reviews back to this blog!
Until next time,