Read in December

Well, well, well it’s suddenly a new year! With all the hustle and bustle of Christmas I didn’t want to post my round-up of my December books until I had well and truly finished them so it took me a little longer than usual to write this post.

I can happily say that this is the first year I’ve properly completed a Goodreads Reading Challenge and that’s with increasing my target a few months back. I feel like I deserve a trophy or something because at times it was tough-going but I don’t see myself putting the challenge to bed for a while yet – I do want to keep reading books and keep myself involved in the book blogging community this new year so 2017 challenge here I come!

BTW if you’re a sucker for a good info graph you should see my pretty cool 2016 in books here.


Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett

This is perhaps one of my least favourite books of this challenge because as much I wanted to like it, it bored me to tears and it really bugged me. I started reading this with some trepidation because the word feminist leaves a bad taste in my mouth as it is but dragging myself through the end of this book was a mission in itself.

Part manual, part manifesto, Feminist Fight Club blends the personal story of a group of women who formed a secret group in New York City with cutting edge social science research to provide practical, no-bullshit advice for how to combat today’s sexism. Bennett offers a new vocabulary for the sexist archetypes women encounter everyday—such as the Manterrupter, who talks over female colleagues in meetings, or the Bropropriator, who appropriates their ideas—and provides practical hacks for pushing back.

So why didn’t I get on with this book? Well, the format of it was so damn repetitive I found myself skipping chapters because the advice was repeated so much that I could dictate each passage in my sleep. Yeah, I did like the language used as it was quite modern and the down-to-Earth account of arsehole men in the workplace was amusing at best but the man-bashing grated on me a lot.

I didn’t know if to take this book as tongue-in-cheek or not? At times the male gender are generalised as knuckle-dragging, selfish simpletons who need a woman to whip them into or shape or just to understand that she isn’t just a pair of legs in a skirt and it just isn’t funny to me or useful.

Overall, there is some good in this book because the general feeling of it is that the woman must stand up for herself in the workplace and be strong about herself and her opinions especially on if she is feeling blocked by her male work colleagues but the representation of this wisdom can be, at times, in poor taste.

A coffee table type of book I would perhaps gift to a good female friend working in an office or in a male-dominated environment and ask her what she thought of it but not something I would recommend as a prime-piece of feministic reading to anyone.


The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

Sometimes I love a bit of what I call ‘trashy’ reading and this is one of those books for me that ticks that little niggling need of the mine to indulge in something I wouldn’t usually lay my hands on.

I was in the midst of a phase of reading from my Kindle and I’d just finished a decent(ish) book before finding this one so I added it to my shelf because I just really fancied it at the time. I mean, reading about four middle-aged female friends who write secret letters to each other on a holiday aimed to rekindle their fading friendships just screams ‘not your cup of tea‘ at me usually so I was pretty impressed when I found myself actually enjoying reading this in the evenings.

Set against the backdrop of Australia (exotic) the friends write letters during a drunken night away that holds one secret they’ve been keeping from each other and they decide to read them aloud each night as a group and dissect these secrets to improve their friendships. Only problem is that one of the girls writes two letters and bins the first one because she’s been harbouring a secret burning hated for one member of the group and she decides to keep on carrying her secret instead of airing it BUT of course that destroyed letter is found and every one’s secrets come tumbling out in the process.

This was trashy enough for me and not a complete bore so I was happy to read this book and rate it favourably. Everyone loves a good female friendship group novel and this one did not disappoint. The characters were alright and the banter was okay so I got on with reading this without feeling like it was a mega cliche or anything like that. It left me feeling a little bit fuzzy on the inside and happy that I’d spent some time delving into some women with a serious bit of drama between them – yum.

might check out a few others stories written by the author if I fancy it but again, I don’t usually get on with this type of chick-lit so we’ll see.


Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

I’ve been slowly making my way through this series for a while now so it made sense for me to try and finish it before the year was up. This is the last book in the Home for Peculiar Children series and it concludes the adventure that has been steadily ticking over since the second book that I talked about in this post. Jacob and Emma are on the run and it seems like the nasties are closing in on them so they decide to rescue their captured friends by making it into the belly of the beast and discover once and for all what the wights and the dangerous Caul are up to by sucking the souls of peculiar children.

This was a good read but annoying at the beginning as the same fast-pace of the last book continued and I feelt out of breath just reading through the chapters and hoping these characters will get some peace. I mean, I know you’re meant to be running for your lives and all but I found it frustrating that these characters could be running on no rest, food or sleep of three to four days without any consequence just for sake of keeping the plot exciting.

I felt like there should’ve been more downtime for the characters and for myself as a reader to start digesting the story but luckily, about midway through, Emma and Jacob come across someone who puts the plot into perspective and explains all of those niggling questions I’ve had since the end of the first book so I wasn’t completely let down.

A beautiful read throughout as the theme of photos against text and story continues but I still am left feeling like this was a story written around pictures which irks me to no end. Even though the trilogy has been decent and the books are a good horror/adventure read the whole process feels a little lazy as you can tell when parts of the setting have been slotted in to contribute the photos the author has found. However, these books will live on my bookshelf as a worthwhile trilogy anyways.


Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I’d spotted this on sale in a bookshop in the summer and paid a grand total of only £2 to take it home with me. As I was debating what to read as my last book of 2016 I spied this on my bookshelf and something about the cover drew me in. I remember reading generally good things about this book when I originally purchased it and being as it’s a pretty short book and seemed like an easy read I dived in.

Everything, Everything is a story about a teenager called Maddy who is confined to her house with her mother and her nurse as she has a rare medical disorder which means she cannot leave her home because she’s allergic to the outside world. The cute boy next-door moves in and they slowly fall in love, persuading Maddy to leave the safety of her house and explore the world as her final day alive before she’s killed off by her bodies allergic reactions. Blah.

Yup I didn’t rate this very highly and the only benefit I found was that it was a bit of a cute read with Maddy’s narrations and how the book is laid out like a notebook or diary telling the story. This is one of those books that I put down and felt I was far too old to have spent an afternoon of my time on because I didn’t gain anything apart from eyestrain from all of the eye-rolling I did between chapters.

Honestly, I’ve read far worse books than this and if I was going on a holiday and needed a sweet read for an afternoon I would’ve chosen this as it wasn’t taxing on my brain at all. It wasn’t too bad but it wasn’t great either, this book just gets added to the every-growing pile of subpar YA that gains popularity for no real reason.

So that’s it for the books I read in December and in 2016 – watch this space for my review of the reading year.

Have you read any of the books on this list? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments.