The Book Corner: December Reads Update

So here we are, my final bookish update of 2017, my December reads. I’m not sure if I told you my December reads plans but I decided to read exclusively Christmas books in December. I love Christmas so I thought it would be good idea to envelope myself in Christmas from the get go. Plus it means I’ve been able to get through a whole stack of festive reads that would otherwise be sat on my shelf for another year! And the result? So much fun! I highly recommend it if you’ve got a plethora of Christmassy books on your TBR pile. It definitely got me in the festive mood sooner. Granted I slipped in a couple of non-Christmas reads, but you know what I’m not to annoyed at myself. No one’s perfect after all!

December Reads Update - The Book Corner - This and That Blog

Before we dive into my book reviews let’s discuss 2017 one last time. According to Goodreads I read 84 books, but that doesn’t include the mountain of work books I read too – so well done me. It was also a really good reading year in terms of what I read. I can only think of a handful of books that I didn’t love in 2017, which is always a good thing. Plus my decision to never read the same genre twice in a row worked so well and ensured I didn’t get stuck in a reading rut. So before we move into tracking, and chatting about, 2018s reads let’s dive into my December reads update post…

So what did I think of them all?

December Reads #1 – The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

Over recent months I’ve been trying to read more of Agatha Christie’s brilliant books as I’ve not read nearly enough of them. To my shame. So of course Christmas deserves a festive crime and I loved this short story so much. Such a quick read and a simple tale but I loved it nonetheless. And of course I had no idea who did it and why, so Agatha Christie fooled me again!

December Reads #2 – My True Love Gave to Me by various authors

This is the first of two short story collections on my December reads list and I loved it. I’ve had this book on my TBR pile since last Christmas so it was kinda nice to crack it open at long last. This collection included stories from Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Jenny Han, Holly Black, Laini Taylor and David Levithan.

As with all short story collections there were definitely some that I preferred to others, in fact one story I didn’t even finish. But I adored the majority of them, particularly those by Rainbow Rowell, Matt de la Pena and David Levithan. It was also good to be introduced to some new, to me, authors like Holly Black and Laini Taylor. I really must check out their other books. If you’re looking for some lovely heart-warming festive tales then this is the perfect read. It also goes perfectly with a blanket and hot chocolate!

December Reads #3 – Top Elf by Caleb Zane Huett

This book is pitched as Elf meets The Hunger Games as the search for a new Santa begins. Anyone in the North Pole is eligible to compete, and so begins a series of trials pitting elf against Claus, friend against foe. This is a hilarious read and I can imagine it being read every year by kids of all ages. At parts it felt slightly rushed and in other parts it needed more explanation but as a festive read this really did tick all the boxes. I might have to gift it to my god-daughter next year – I’m sure she’d love it!

December Reads #4 – Murder on Christmas Eve by various authors

The second of the story collections, Murder on Christmas Eve, was possibly my favourite. As it contained mostly unknown (to me) writers and crime stories. Who doesn’t love a bit of a whodunnit to puzzle over? There was definitely two stand out stories in the collection, although they were all good. My first favourite involved a cat helping to catch a murderer, while the second was a crime involving snow, footprints and a hedge. If you’re a murder mystery fan then this is definitely a must read next Christmas. I think I read it in just two sittings – that’s how good it is!

December Reads #5 – Bah! Humbug! by Michael Rosen and Tony Ross

Two legends of the children’s book world teamed up to create a new version of A Christmas Carol and it did not disappoint. This version is about a young boy who is staring as Scrooge in his school play and whose father also happens to be a little bit work obsessed. So much so that he leaves part way through the performance to sort out an issue at work. The father’s then ‘visited’ by three different people (friends/colleagues/memories) to remind him of the importance of family – thus mirroring the original Dickens story. The father’s journey is interspersed with snippets of the play and it makes for a really good introduction to the story for kids. Or a good reminder if you’ve not read the Dickens classic for a while, just like me!

December Reads #6 – How Do you Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne

I was lent a proof copy of Holly Bourne’s newest book, not out until later this year, just before Christmas and couldn’t help but read it straightaway. It’s her first foray into adult books and it most certainly didn’t disappoint. I expect this book to be a huge success when it’s released. It tells the story of Tori who is a guru in the world of self-help books having written a bestseller that has inspired millions, plus she’s in a relationship with the love of her life. So you’d think she’d be perfectly happy, right? But no, all her friends are getting married and having kids but her partner refuse to entertain the idea of marriage and babies. Tori has to decide if that’s enough for her or whether she needs more. This book is so perfectly written and unflinchingly honest. Not to mention hilarious. Holly Bourne really has hit the nail on the head when it comes to being a 30-year old and dealing with society’s expectations. It’s superb.

December Reads #7 – The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

This is book two in Matt Haig’s Christmas series and I’ve been waiting a whole year to read this, having read A Boy Called Christmas last year and loved every page. It’s set in Dickensian London where we meet a little orphan girl, Amelia. Amelia lives in an orphanage and no longer believes in Father Christmas. The horror! Meanwhile in the North Pole rampaging trolls are destroying the town and the lack of children believing in Santa threatens to destroy Christmas. Yes really! Can Santa save Amelia and can Amelia in turn help Santa save Christmas or will they leave things too late… This really is a brilliant series, and perfect for Christmas fans aged 8 – 80. And Chris Mould’s illustrations are out-of-this-world good. There’s so many funny things happening in each picture. I love them!

So there we have it, my final reads of 2017 – a whole host of excellent festive books! How was your December reading? Anything lovely and festive that I need to add to my festive TBR list for next December?

-Fi x