Cheers to finally getting through 2020! I was a bit absent this past month because I was trying to get to my goal of 150 books read in the year. Luckily, I finished my 150th book right on time, a few hours before the new year. Here are all of the books that I read in December as I raced to my finish line!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: What a weird book to read while in the midst of an actual real-life pandemic. Don’t read this if you don’t want to add to any anxiety you may have surrounding the current pandemic. Do read this if you want a thrilling, page-flipping, beautiful book about human connection, survival, and hope. I am going to be reading up on how to survive in the wilderness asap…definitely a fitting favorite book of 2020.
To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer: This is now one of my favorite middle grade reads and one I would highly recommend to listen to on audiobook. It was so adorable and I loved how everything that happens pieces itself together by the end to create a beautiful story of found family and friendship.
Us Against You (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman: Fredrik Backman is the master of character development. I liked this book even more than Beartown, which I read last year and rated 4 stars. I cried, I gasped, I laughed. His characters are so vibrant, it’s as if they are real people.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux: This is the first book in a long time that I couldn’t put down and read into the wee hours of the morning. Admittedly, the first half was quite slow. The second half, however, blew me out of the water. It was such an intricately woven mystery in which everything had a purpose and every character had their role. If you are looking to read classics, but are put off by difficult language and plots, maybe try this one out.
A Dead Djinn in Cairo (Fatma el-Sha’arawi, #1) by P. Djèlí Clark: A solid fantasy novella. I liked reading a fantasy that is concise rather than endlessly meandering like many fantasies tend to be. I’ll definitely be continuing this series to see where it goes.
Mangos and Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera: I read this novella because I was seeing it everywhere. The cozy baking show vibes were perfect for the holidays, I really enjoyed this one.
All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) by Martha Wells: I finally jumped onto the Murderbot train and I’m glad I did. I too, now am a Murderbot stan.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan: This was one of my favorite books as a child and it was still just as beautiful as I remember.
Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown: Wow. This book hits hard. I would recommend looking up trigger warnings before reading if you aren’t sure about it. I don’t even know how to talk about this story. Unlike anything I’ve read and so, so beautiful.
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur: Cute, cute! I enjoyed the astrology angle of this book and the lovely characters.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: I couldn’t decide whether to rate this a 3 or a 4. I didn’t enjoy reading it at all really, but the themes of the story came together to weave a beautiful message. I feel like given that, it is more of a 3.5 or 4. Just not the most entertaining read.
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno Garcia: Another book I wasn’t sure to rate a 3 or a 4. Mexican vampires, action,
gore, and a vaguely cyberpunk world. I enjoyed this book up until one very particular point. *Spoiler alert* Sometimes a book doesn’t need to have romance in it. The romance ruined the story for me. Can’t we have more friendships in books that don’t lead to romance?! Please?!
Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier: The cover and the fact that this book takes place in my home of Los Angeles are what made me pick up this book, but the story was completely not my thing. I didn’t like or care about any of the one-dimensional characters. The subject of alcoholism was also used as a plot device in a pretty poor manner in my opinion. The entire story could have done with more development and editing.
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn: I wanted to read this book before watching the Netflix show to compare the two, despite horrible reviews. I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into due to other reviews I read, but yeah…it was bad. It was an okay romance until that part. The show handled the situation in a much different way that was not nearly as horrible as what happened in the last few chapters of the book. Check out content warnings for details.
Books I didn’t rate because I couldn’t gather my thoughts into a coherent review:
A Promised Land by Barack Obama: Glad I read it, but it took me ages. Lots and lots of facts and information.
I prefer Michelle’s book/style of writing.
Eartheater by Dolores Reyes: I really don’t know what to say about this one.
The Mueller Report Illustrated: The Obstruction Investigation by The Washington Post: An interesting, concise representation of what the Mueller Report was all about.
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman: Ugh. I definitely shed a tear or two reading this.Overall, I had a pretty great reading month. Four books I rated five stars, which just might be a record for 2020. Overall, I feel like 2020 was the year I expanded my reading horizons while also honing in on my tastes to choose books that I know (for the most part) I will enjoy.
I’m excited for all the reading I’ll be doing in 2021 and already have my TBR for January going. I’m currently reading Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas, a historical romance, and will soon be starting The Last Wish, the first book in The Witcher series. What are the first books you will be reading this year? Let me know in the comments!
Ahh, I really should catch up on Fredrik Backman! I am so glad that you enjoyed the second book in Beartown even more!
My first book is going to be a reread: either Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie or Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli!
Yes, I would really recommend it if you liked Beartown. Hope you have an enjoyable reread! ♡
erin @ Reading On A Star says
OMG YOUR BLOG IS ADORABLE!!
These all look so good! May I ask, how did you read so much? You are a reading machine haha
Yes! It’s audiobooks that have helped me read so many books. In December, I read a total of 6 books either with audiobook completely or for at least half of the book. In November it was 7. If I start to slow down on physical reads, I borrow the audiobook from my library and finish it up that way. I also read some books on my kindle, which I tend to read faster on as well. A lot of the books in December were also short novellas, so there’s also that!
cherelle @ a bolt out of the book says
Ahh Ali, congrats on finishing your goal of 150 just in time! 💝 I’m so happy to hear about Us Against You, a sequel which is even better than the original are such delights! And I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer (phew that was a handful to type!) – definitely agree on tearing up… lovely review and a happy new year to you! 💖💖
Congrats on finishing your goal!! I might have to bump up The Phantom of the Opera on my tbr 👀
Thanks! It was so good, you should!!
Marianna @ Marianna's corner says
Just WOW I can’t believe you read 150 books in a year 😮 just respect 👏🏻👏🏻