As I wrote on my round-up of the year, I finished 2014 having read 68 books. Of those, I read six in December.
For most of the month, I worked on getting through a few more texts from my TBR pile…before breaking out and buying some new books!
I started the month with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which I bought after hearing so many positive things. It’s certainly a unique book, and I loved the way the story makes use of dozens of uncanny old photographs. But in the end I didn’t love the book – bizarrely, I found it a bit bland – and I’m not sure I’ll bother reading the sequel.
Next up was The Hangman’s Song, the third in a series of crime novels by Scottish writer James Oswald. The interesting thing about these stories is that they all have a supernatural twist, which make the crimes that much harder for the police to solve.
I’ve mentioned a number of times how much I love Haruki Murakami’s work, so when he released his second book of the year; I had to buy it – although I’m still to read the previous one! The Strange Library is actually a short story, stretched out across a beautifully illustrated novel. It’s not Murakami’s best work and I read it in about 20 minutes, but if you’re a fan of the Japanese author then you might enjoy this, especially as a collector’s item.
Over the Christmas holidays, I read three novels, starting with Blacklands by Belinda Bauer, which is another crime novel, again with an interesting twist. Steven Lamb lives his life in the shadow of his Uncle Billy, who was abducted by serial child killer Arnold Avery as a boy. Ever since, his family has lived a half-life, their relationships ruined. Determined to put his grandmother’s mind at rest, Steven hatches a plan to write to Avery in prison and find out where his uncle’s body is buried. But he can’t know what the consequences of his actions will be.
Blacklands doesn’t work the way a typical crime thriller does. There’s no police procedural, instead it deals with the aftermath of a crime so horrendous that it can affect a family for generations.
Earlier this year, I read and loved Eleanor and Park by YA author Rainbow Rowell. Ever since I’ve been keen to read some more of her work, and over the holidays I started with Fangirl, which I’ve heard amazing things about.
I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Eleanor and Park, but I did spend a good bit of time crying my eyes out as I worked my way through the novel. Rowell certainly has a gift for writing outsiders and making their struggles powerfully real.
My final book of the year was Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, which I downloaded on a whim after seeing it on sale. A colleague of mine often talks about his books, so I thought I’d give them a go. Rivers of London is the first in a series of detective novels – once again with a twist! This time, there’s a whole hidden supernatural world that can be found lurking in the shadows of London, causing chaos for regular people. When a series of brutal murders take place, young PC Peter Grant is recruited by a secret police unit and discovers a talent for magic.
This was definitely an unusual tale, with a richly crafted mythology that will no doubt expand as the series progresses.
So December was quite an eclectic month for reading. If you would like to find out more about any if the novels I’ve mentioned, you can check them out below (affiliate links).
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children), by Ransom Riggs
- The Hangman’s Song: Inspector McLean 3 (The Inspector McLean Mysteries), by James Oswald
- The Strange Library, by Haruki Murakami
- Blacklands, by Belinda Bauer
- Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
- Rivers of London: 1, by Ben Aaronovitch