Hey everyone! Time for my December wrap up!It seems weird to be posting about last year in the new year but we do what we have to do I suppose! Oh, btw the photo for this post didn’t include all the books for the month as I had to turn some into the library and my sister took one to read but they’re all below!
I read 14 books this month which was a lot more than I thought I’d read since I was already reached my book goal on Goodreads, but as I had the last week of the year off work due to my company’s holiday closure, I had a lot of time to read. Because I just finished two more books after writing my Top 9 Books in 2016 post my 2016 wrap up is now slightly off. Instead of editing that post I’ll put the updates here!
So I read 90 books out of a goal of 75, meeting 120% of my reading challenge. I read a total of 30,100 pages in the books I finished in 2016. Now my shortest book is 36 pages for George Washington’s Farewell Address and the average length of books I’ve read is 338 pages. The average rating I’ve given in the year is 3.9 stars of 5.
*All major spoilers are avoided but sequels can reference minor plot points of previous works!
December Wrap Up
The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
So this is the one that my sister took to read, which is why the photo came from Goodreads! This book is the second and final book in the Orphan Queen duology. I felt it was a greatly satisfying if not quick end to the story. I liked the second book more than I liked the original and I liked the characters a lot more as well.
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
After finishing the Lunar Chronicles series I wanted to read this collection of short stories as 5 of them were new. I really expected to like the stories but there were 3 that I struggled to get through, the other 6 I really enjoyed. I particularly loved the last one where Scarlett’s friends tricked her and gave her such a sweet surprise!
Ms. Marvel Vol. 3, 4, and 5 by G. Willow Wilson
5/5 stars for each
These next three installments of Ms. Marvel were incredible! Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, now meets Loki, the Avengers, Jemma Simmons, Carol “Captain Marvel” Danvers, and even gets a new boyfriend! She goes through the regular superhero roller coaster of events. She saves the world and is applauded. She starts to fall behind in school and in her social life (much to the chagrin to her family and friends) just as the public starts to turn on her. And then she has to fight to get back in everyone’s good graces. Kamala is a wonderful character and I can’t wait to read what she gets up to next.
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Illustrated by Marie Lu
This stunning sequel to Illuminae was such a good read. We meet Hanna and Nik aboard the Heimdall as the Hypatia and Kady Grant are heading towards them. I actually liked this book more than I liked Illuminae and loved Hanna’s character. I believe this is a trilogy (I could be wrong) but I’m already looking forward to book 3!
To be a Princess by Hugh Brewster
I searched all over the internet for this book like crazy. I remember having read this book as a young person and wanted to find it again to enjoy. I finally tracked it down and got it from the library this month. This book is a children’s book regarding various historical princesses and the struggles of their lives. The princesses covered include Mary and Elizabeth who would become Queens of England, Marie Antoinette Archduchess of Austria and later Queen of France, Victoria of England, Ka’iulani Princess of Hawai’i, Anastasia and her sisters (Marie, Tatiana, and Olga), Grand Duchesses of Russia, Ayesha Devi, Princess of India, and Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, Princesses of England and, for Elizabeth, current Queen of England.
Together, these princesses must be diplomats for their countries in times of political upheaval, pillars of strength in times of war and unrest, and overall inspiring figures in history. I enjoyed this book just as much as I did as a child, and remembered how this book drove me to search through the biographies for more books on the Elizabeths, Victoria, Anastasia, and Ka’iulani specifically.
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
I definitely did not like this book as much as I liked The 5th Wave. In fact, I didn’t like it much at all. I did give it 3 stars as I felt it was still creative and had interesting parts but for the most part I kinda wanted to start skipping some pages to get the story moving along. I did pick up the third book and the movie of the first book from the library to check them out but I was just not impressed with this one.
Replica by Lauren Oliver
I really liked this book as half of it is told in Lyra’s point of view and the other is in Gemma’s. I read the two halfs in alternating chapters, starting with Lyra’s. I definitely liked Lyra and her story more than Gemma’s half. Lyra’s life in Haven was so interesting as was Gemma’s beginning but I felt that the story unfolded better in Lyra’s half of the story than it did for Gemma, which was more choppy and a little too coincidental at times.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I thought I was going to hate this book but I actually didn’t. I strongly suspect that was because I had been completely spoiled for this book and knew what would happen. Since I knew what to expect, it didn’t seem so out of context. The way this book was described to me was that it was like reading and spending time in one universe for a series and then reading the end to a completely different series and expecting it to make sense. I could see how that was the case, but I also thought that the characters were more true to their book 1 selves than they had been in book 2 and I liked the setting for the story, the O’Hare airport. It was just a completely new different, and equally as challenging set of issues at O’Hare but they mirrored the Chicago problems in a way. I would have preferred the series to go in a different way but this is how the author saw it and it was still a good read.
Four by Veronica Roth
I held off on reading Four until I finished the trilogy. I really enjoyed the peek into Four’s thoughts although I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it before book 3 because we already get to experience his point of view through half of that book. Still it would have only reinforced the spoilers so I guess this was for the best. I particularly liked the parts where he meets Tris, because it was just too hilarious what he thought was appropriate for flirting. (Btw I would be Four in the flirting department so that only made me laugh harder!)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
After watching the film I just had to read the screenplay. I knew my sister was getting it for me for Christmas as she likes “to follow me around and buy me things after I pick them up and decide I don’t want to buy them for myself” which is a genius way to get me gifts. I literally have the best sister.
Back to the screenplay. I read it after watching the movie so it was so amazing because I kept imagining the scene again in my head and recalling moments that I thought I had forgotten. I did a movie review not to long ago and the movie was amazing. I don’t think I would have liked to read the screen play first this time because the movie was just that great and I preferred seeing it again in my head than to have imagined something less than awesome.
Oh and I want a pet niffler.
Sea Change by Frank Viva
I first mentioned this book wayyyyyyy back in my BookCon Haul post. I got this book after balancing a book on my head as a dare at one of the booths at BookCon. The story follows Eliot, a young boy who is sent to a small fishing town in Nova Scotia. He hates the idea because he is a young kid that doesn’t appreciate travel or the opportunity to experience new things yet and grows incredibly through the short story. I think this is a book that I would have loved to have read as a child, and I would have loved to pass it onto someone who would appreciate it but I don’t know anyone in the coming-of-age part of life who would like it. Maybe someday!
The illustrations are beautiful and the writing sometimes flows in a creative way on the page, much like Illuminae or Gemina does. It does look really nice and is a good, steady read.
George Washington’s Farewell Address by President George Washington
As you likely know, I’ve been obsessed with Hamilton for the better part of the year and one of the main characters in the musical is George Washington, who led the American army to victory over the British and became the first US President. In the song “One Last Time” both Hamilton and Washington sing part of Washington’s Farewell Address, the speech he gave when he chose not to run for president for a third term and established the two term precedent that would be followed by many presidents after him. (Until Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930-40s but that’s another story.)
I was cleaning out my room when I came across my notes from my AP US History class in high school (classes you take to prepare you for a difficult test that, if you score high enough, gets you college credit for freshman level classes) and I found an excerpt of the address. I then decided to read the full address.
The address, which is 32 handwritten pages long, contained Washington’s announcement that he would step down from the Presidency and gave his hopes for the country moving forward. He spoke of how he looked forward to living the rest of his life as a loyal and active citizen of the US, warned against political parties, promoted neutrality in the face of growing conflicts between other countries, and provided an argument for a united country.
I laughed at reading the line “In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgement of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me.” Which was a lovely way of saying “I’m totally retired, I know you love me, leave me alone.”
I suppose me reading this was also another way of me trying to understand an America which allowed a terrible, horrible, stupid idiot to be elected president and trying to connect that America with the America that should be. Another powerful passage:
Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.
There’s so much in this address that is inspiring and it ends with the passage that we are now familiar with through the song and musical. I want to continue reading other important American documents and plan to do so in 2017.
I read 8 of my books from last months’ TBR (14 total last month) so I think I did pretty good! Here’s my new one:
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (read a bit more)
- La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (did not read any more but I need to finish this one at some point x6)
- Loving and Leaving Washington by John Yochelson (brought this book home to read as my vacation book but changed at last minute, must finish!x3)
- Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton (I’ve actually been reading this for some time but didn’t have the heart to read it after the Election results… I really had wanted to read it when she was President-Elect. But I’ll get to it!)
- Ms. Marvel #’s 6 and 7 (gotta continue this one!)
- And I Darken by Kiersten White
- The Last Star by Rick Yancey
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Currently reading)
- The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
- The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
- The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
- More American Documents. I’m thinking I’m going to either continue with Farewell Addresses or try some of the Federalist papers. If you have suggestions, please let me know!
And that’s my December Wrap-Up and January TBR! This was quite a long post, I wasn’t actually expecting that but I had a blast writing it. I hope you liked reading it!
What books have you been enjoying lately?
Thanks for reading!