December was a rather busy month for me, so I really wasn’t sure how much reading I’d get in. As it turns out, I wound up powering through a lot of romances this month (the Psy-Changeling series is just so addicting!), plus a handful of other things, so all in all it was a good conclusion to my 2018 reading!
How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe: I was so looking forward to this holiday romance anthology (and I managed to wait to read it until December, too!), but I was actually kind of disappointed by it. The reality is that the stories just weren’t long enough to really show people falling in love, though I did enjoy how the stories were slightly interconnected.
The Girl King by Mimi Yu: I was really looking forward to this book, but I just could not get into it and DNFed it after 165 pages. It would be one thing if it were just a slow-paced story, but I also didn’t really like any of the protagonists and was struggling to motivate myself to pick it up.
Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII by Chester Nez and Judith Schiess Avila: This was such an interesting memoir. It’s definitely not the best written, but it was fascinating to learn more about Navajo culture and the code talkers and their role in World War II.
Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh: The Psy-Changeling binge continues! I didn’t expect to care about this story at all as I barely knew the characters going in, but I wound up really loving this!
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik: THIS WAS SO GOOD! I had almost no expectations going into this book and wound up being completely blown away. I’ll put together a bit more of a thorough review before this book is published in February. I received a copy of this book as part of the Avon Addicts program.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby: I actually DNFed the audio of this one. I’m still definitely interested in reading it, but I just wasn’t enjoying Irby’s narration of it.
Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay: So I got past the slump I was in with this book, but when I got to the end, I just felt really depressed. I’m not sure what I got out of it other than to know that there are a lot of despicable people in the world, and I desperately needed a romance as a palate cleanser.
Dance All Night by Alexis Daria: This was the perfect holiday romance! I loved watching Nik and Jess fall in love, and the holiday elements were the perfect touch. Such a great addition to the Dance Off world!
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton: I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I absolutely loved learning more about Cuba and what it’s like for those who fled to not have a home anymore. At the same time, I didn’t care for either of the romantic storylines and thought they were super insta-lovey. So I loved the culture and history included in this book, but wasn’t the biggest fan of the actual story and characters.
Insert Groom Here by KM Jackson: I disliked a number of things about this book, including the excessive amount of backstory crammed into the oddest spots and the heroine’s obsession with getting married. I DNFed it after about 75 pages.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: I finally admitted to myself that I just do not want to read this book for whatever reason and DNFed it. I might actually really like this book if I ever pick it up again, but I just haven’t been able to read more than a page or two for the last six months, so I think it’s time to just let it go, unfortunately.
My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden: This book caught me completely off guard, and I loved it! I’m such a fan of forced proximity romances, and I thought this was addicting and really well done.
An Earl Like You by Caroline Linden: I immediately picked up the sequel to My Once and Future Duke after I finished it, but I wasn’t as big of a fan of this one. I have to give Linden a ton of credit that even though the hero lied to the heroine, I still really liked him and completely understood his actions, but this type of story is just never going to be my thing.
One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare: I’m not sure anymore what motivated me to finally go back and tackle Dare’s backlist, but I’m so glad I did because I absolutely loved One Dance with a Duke. This one also had an element of forced proximity that moved the romance along quickly and helped get me completely hooked on Spencer and Amelia’s story.
Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare: As much as I loved One Dance with a Duke, Twice Tempted by a Rogue wasn’t my favorite. I just had a hard time with Rhys’ determination to die, and then suddenly deciding he was meant to save his hometown.
Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh: This is another Psy-Changeling story I didn’t have high expectations for, and then became rather hooked on! This was a great addition to the series, though I could maybe deal without the hero/heroine on a timeline and about to die.
Play of Passion by Nalini Singh: This is my latest favorite in the series! I really liked how Indigo and Drew challenged each other, plus Drew is such a lovable character. His campaign to win back Indigo after messing up was amazing and totally sets the bar for groveling!
Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh: Another great addition to the series! Seriously, I’ve been loving all of these books so much, and Singh has been doing an amazing job continuing this series and expanding it with each book. Also, Hawke and Sienna are perfect for each other and both deserve their happily ever after together!
The Queen’s Gambit by Jessie Mihalik: I desperately need more books by Jessie Mihalik, or more sci-fi romance, because her book and novella just aren’t enough! This was a really fun little novella, and I can’t wait to see how the world unfolds and the romance progresses in future installments.
All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung: What a great book to end the year on! This was such a powerful memoir about adoption and race and identity, and I can absolutely see why everyone has been recommending it so highly.
My One and Only Duke by Grace Burrows: I meant to end the year with a nice, even 175 books read. But then I started reading this for my book club, and I got super hooked and finished it on New Year’s Eve. The outlandish premise was really fun and somehow really believable for me, and I just really liked Quinn and Jane.
We have the cover for Sarah MacLean’s next book, Brazen and the Beast!
There’s also a cover for Eloisa James’ next book!
And Netflix has officially announced a sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before! I still maintain that the TATBILB is a perfect film on its own and I don’t particularly want a sequel, but I’m still excited!
And in case you missed it, Book Riot has posted its 2019 Read Harder Challenge, and the Reading Women has posted its 2019 Reading Women Challenge if you want to participate! I’m planning to put together posts soon with recommendations for the different tasks.
Also, signups are open now for the next round of the 24 in 48 Readathon! I have some stuff going on that weekend, so I haven’t decided yet how much I’m going to participate, but I’m still excited for it.
I have so many great links to share this month! Maybe the best one to start with is this article about “10 Moments that Shook the Literary World in 2018.” I forgot some of them were this year, and it was fun to scroll back through them all.
Another fun post is Book Riot’s “The Origin of the Romance Novel Clinch Covers.” I like some of the new covers that publishers are coming out with, but the classic clinch will always have a special place in my heart.
While we’re talking about romance novels, Book Riot also had a great article titled “Why Not Romance Novels? Showing Respect for the Romance Genre.”
And if you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend checking out this “Romance and Sex Positivity” panel that The Strand held in December! It was such a great panel and the authors had some really interesting discussion. I still can’t get over how much fun it was!
On a separate note, I wanted to flag this great article about authors appearing on late-night shows, “Late-Night TV Hosts Give Publicity-Starved Novelists the Star Treatment.” I’ve noticed since reading (and loving) his memoir that Trevor Noah has a lot of books I’m interested in featured on his show, so it was cool to learn more about that.
And last but not least, I wanted to flag this post about diversity on The Bookish Actress, “Seeing You Guys Get Mad About the Lack of Diverse Fantasy Books Is Starting to Piss Me Off [And Here’s Why], Feat. Some Book Recs.” It’s a really good reminder that there are diverse books out there if you just look for them. I also really appreciated her point that a lot of the books that are hyped up aren’t own voices, because I think that gets overlooked by a lot of readers. Plus, who doesn’t need more recs?!
I didn’t realize I did as much blogging as I did in December since I didn’t really blog much over Christmas, but there are actually quite a few posts for you to check out if you haven’t already!
- Nonfiction November Wrap Up
- November Wrap Up
- OverDrive Tips and Tricks
- 2019 Reading Goals
- Tips for Tackling Your TBR
- Monthly Recs: Mash Up
- Rereading HP: The Deathly Hallows
And don’t forget to check out my updated NYC Signing Calendar! It’s pretty quiet in January, but there are definitely some interesting book events coming up.
How was your December reading? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to stay tuned for a burst of yearend posts coming up in the next few days!