Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Read In December//2015 Reading Challenge!

Today's post is a little unusual, in that it's a two-for-one deal! Because not only am I going to tell you what books I read in December, and what I thought of them, but also how I got on with my 2015 reading challenge! 

This month, I read a lot of short stories. It's not a genre I read usually, so it was a nice change. But I started the month with...

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

I started this book in November, and it took me a few weeks to finish it. But don't interpret that as a reflection on the book. "Royal Wedding" is just as good as I remember "The Princess Diaries" being; maybe more so for bringing us a grown-up Princess Mia! When you grow up with a book, and you're a lonely introvert like I was, the characters can come alive for you. It's really great, I think, to have a childhood series come back with a book for the, now adult, readers that gives you the happy-ever-after!

Rating: *****

The Ladybird Book Of Mindfulness 

Some of you may have seen the comical new Ladybird books popping up in bookstores across the UK. I didn't really know, at first, that they were meant to be a bit of a joke; good for a laugh. So when I bought this book, I wasn't expecting the hilarity that was inside. But it was hilarious. It's not very long, in fact I think it took me all of five minutes to read it from cover-to-cover, but it's a book I'll likely revisit in the future, as well as pull out to show visiting friends and family for a giggle, too! 

Rating: ***

The Ladybird Book Of The Hangover

Bought as a funny little gift for our neighbours son, who sometimes complains of a hangover, I decided to have a quick flick through myself before wrapping it up and handing it over! Pretty funny, some laugh-out-loud moments, but I might have enjoyed it more if I'd ever had a hangover. *smug face* 

Rating: ****

The Ladybird Book Of The Shed

A gift for our neighbour, who is talking about building a shed in his back garden this year. I started flicking through this before we bought it, and was having a good chuckle, so carried on when we got it home. 

Rating: ***

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

I didn't like "Gone Girl." There, I said it. I tried, I really tried to like it. But I couldn't. But this short story sounded promising, so I gave it a go. It opened with the most unexpected line I've ever read; so much so, that I had to read it again to make sure I'd read it right! But after that, it steadily improved. Gripping, thrilling, intense and dark; I was left so totally shellshocked by the end, that I still have no idea which story of Miles' was the truth, and which was the lie! A brilliant, short read. 

Rating: ****

The First by Jason Mott

A few months ago, I read "The Returned" by Jason Mott, and then found out there were prequels available on Amazon, for free! So, of course, I downloaded them, and this month got to reading them. It was also the first time I'd used my Kindle in so long! I find it hard to review something so short, so suffice it to say they set up the storyline of "The Returned" well, and were great little stories in themselves. Although some were better than others. 

Rating: ***

The Sparrow by Jason Mott

I didn't like this one as much, it didn't have the same grip, the same power, the same thrall as the previous one. 

Rating: **

The Choice by  Jason Mott

This was my favourite of the three prequels. It felt longer than the previous two, too, although that may have been down to good storytelling! 

Rating: ****

So, although I didn't read many of the books I'd planned to at the start of the month, I didn't do too badly in December! 

Now, let's see how I got on with my 2015 reading challenge, because at the beginning of the year, I set myself a challenge on GoodReads (if you use it, you can add me here!) The challenge was to read 60 books in 2015. Every year previously, since 2011, I've surpassed my goal, which is why I aimed so high this year. But I may have aimed too high. Because as it stands, with only 1 day and 10 hours remaining for anything I read to be counted in my 2015 reading challenge, I've read....

57 out of 60 books

I'm so close as well, which is gutting. And if I didn't have a busy day planned tomorrow, it's possible, although unlikely, I could cram in 3 books. Especially if they were short books/short stories. But realistically, I know that's not going to happen. So this year, I didn't meet my target. That doesn't mean I won't try again next year though, and you can see what challenge I'm setting myself in "What I'm Reading In January," which will be posted next week! 

And for those who might be interested, these are the books I did manage to read in 2015 (in no particular order): 

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
The Heavenstone Secrets by VC Andrews
Secret Whispers by VC Andrews
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
The Wrong Knickers by Bryony Gordon
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
The Bear by  Claire Cameron
Petals on the Wind by VC Andrews
If There be Thorns by VC Andrews
Seeds of Yesterday by VC Andrews
Garden of Shadows by VC Andrews
Paris for One by Jojo Moyes
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Doll's House by M.J. Arlidge
The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond
The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver
Theodore Boone: The Activist by John Grisham
The Returned by Jason Mott
The Executor by Jesse Kellerman
Second Life by S.J. Watson
Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Confabulist by Steven Galloway
253 by Geoff Ryman
Sycamore Row by John Grisham
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Disclaimer by Renee Knight
Dead Money Run by J. Frank James
Techbitch by Lucy Sykes
Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon
The Maiden in the Mask by Tim Hunt
Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
I Do Not Sleep by Judy Finnigan
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish
31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan
She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz
The Pocket Wife by Susan H. Crawford
Bag of Bones by Stephen King
Liar Liar by M.J. Arlidge
Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten
The Thriller Theater by Tim and Kathy Hunt
The Damaged by Simon Law
What my Best Friend Did by Lucy Dawson
What She Left by T.R. Richmond
Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot
The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness
The Ladybird Book of The Hangover
The Ladybird Book of The Shed
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
The First by Jason Mott
The Sparrow by Jason Mott
The Choice by Jason Mott

That's a long list! It's just a shame it wasn't 3 books longer, so I could have at least completed my challenge!

What have you read, and loved, this year? Let me know in the comments below! 

I'd also like to take this opportunity to wish my readers a very happy new year; I hope 2016 is kind to you! 

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