Monday, 1 January 2018

A Month In Books - December 2017

A day late because I have just got too many roundup posts to get through this week! It's a good problem to have.

Let's start with

Happy New Year!!

Did you have a good night? If you're reading this soon after publication, I will guess that either you didn't go out celebrating or you haven't got yourself to bed yet!

I hope you saw my Best Books of 2017 post on Saturday. If not, do pop back and take a look. I present my 12 favourite books this year and crown my top three.

Also new, I've set up a Current Giveaways page on Literary Flits. With all the different Giveaways I host now it was getting tricky to keep up with them all. Bookmark the Current Giveaways Page and check back regularly to make sure you don't miss out!

And now for December's Spotlights and book reviews - 23 books in all. Click the covers or titles to be taken to their relevant Literary Flits post where you can find out more about each book. There's even links to purchase your own copies!


Beginnings by Helen J Christmas + Extract

Beginnings is a romantic thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. Eleanor Chapman is 16. She has no idea her father is employed in a world of organised crime until the day he is forced to go on the run, leaving her at the mercy of dangerous people. Her life is spiralling out of control yet, on the night she plans to escape, she stumbles across a mysterious prisoner. His name is Jake, a rock musician from Holland and he has a contract on his life.

Smothered by M C Hall + Giveaway

Fifteen years ago, Kitty Holbrooke was set to be the greatest child star since Shirley Temple. Days after completing her debut film, the young girl was kidnapped from her home in the middle of the night. The next day, a rambling ransom note appeared in the family’s mailbox, but as the family scrambled to gather the money, police discovered Kitty’s body. Due to the media circus surrounding the case, changing testimony from key witnesses, and police missteps, lead detective Andrea Bennett was never able to bring Kitty’s killer to justice, and the case that rocked a nation went cold.

The Second Window by Erica Kiefer + Giveaway + Extract

As her senior year flies by on cruise control, seventeen-year-old Olivia Cole yearns for excitement — something her upscale private school no longer provides. Her job as a grocery store bagger isn’t much help … until the day she has a bizarre exchange with the cagey town recluse. When the woman abruptly surrenders to the police, Olivia feels compelled to dig deeper into her perplexing story.

Beauty And Beastly: a steampunk Beauty and the Beast by Melanie Karsak + Giveaway + Extract

In this tale as old as time, Isabelle Hawking must tinker a solution to a heartbreaking mystery. When Isabelle Hawking and her papa set out from London on a sea voyage, Isabelle is thrilled. Visiting foreign courts, learning from master tinkers, and studying mechanicals is her dream. And it doesn't hurt that the trip also offers Isabelle an escape from her overbearing and unwanted suitor, Gerard LeBoeuf. But Isabelle never arrives. Swept up in a tempest, her ship is lost.

Queen Of Corona by Esterhazy + Giveaway + Extract

Queen of Corona delves into the mind of a young American adult growing up in today’s multicultural society. It is a human look at contemporary existence “from the bottom of the barrel.” It tells the story of a high school senior who is running after a student protest ends in tragedy. Queen of Corona is a coming-of-age novel in a dangerous age, in the age of Trump and all the forces stirring with and against the American president.

Starlight Christmas by Yumoyori Wilson + Giveaway

A time for giving and receiving. A time for celebration. A holiday I’ve only read about in a storybook – page after page of seeing a little girl celebrating the joys of Christmas.
I had envied that girl, reading her tale on the cold, library floor while she was surrounded by so much warmth. So many cycles trapped in the facility by my Owner, my only presents the old, tattered books that surrounded me, my imagination my only salvation.

The Weaver Poet: The Songs and Poems of Robert Tannahill, introduced by Claire Casey

The most famous of these weaver poets, was Robert Tannahill (1774-1810), who was a contemporary of Robert Burns. Tannahill’s name and work may not be as famous as that of Burns, but with Paisley having come so close to gaining City of Culture status for 2021, there is no better time than now to highlight him and his work.

Revelation by Gemma Humphrey

Eighteen-year-old Rose Davies is a Fresher at the prestigious Cambridge University. She dreams of punting on the river, reading Shakespeare in the famous library, and getting to know a town steeped in history.  But Trinity College's newest professor, Christian Howard, is a dream of a very different kind - and, impossibly, the image of the man who saved her life when she was only six years old. Soon, Rose is swept into a world she never expected to find; filled with angels and demons, a war raging eons, and a discovery that will change her life forever.

My Reviews

Gingerbread At Moonglow by Deborah Garner

The small town of Timberton, Montana, boasts an ambience of near-magical proportions during the Christmas season, due in no small part to resident artist and chef Mist's mysterious way of working small miracles in people's everyday lives. Each year, return guests and new arrivals mingle with local townsfolk to enjoy companionship, exquisite decor, and exceptional cuisine at The Timberton Hotel.

The Things We Learn When We're Dead by Charlie Laidlaw

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets The Lovely Bones in this surrealist, sci-fi comedy.
On the way home from a dinner party she didn't want to attend, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.

Emma by Jane Austen

I read my first Jane Austen book, Persuasion, in January, having previously only watched TV or film adaptations. Realising that 2017 is the 200th anniversary year of Austen's death, I challenged myself to read all six of her novels within the year - and have now done so!

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This is the story of a grown-up meeting his inner child, embodied by a Little Prince. Travelling from an asteroid, he left his rose there in order to discover the world. Before landing on Earth he visited many planets and their inhabitants where all grown-ups incarnate humankind’s most common vices.

Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster + Giveaway

Blackmail, Sex and Lies is a story of deception, scandal, and fractured traditional Victorian social values. It is the tale of a naïve, young woman caught up in a whirlwind romance with a much older man. However, both have personality flaws that result in poor choices, and ultimately lead to a tragic end.

The Element In The Room: Science-y Stuff Staring You in the Face (Festival of the Spoken Nerd) by Helen Arney and Steve Mould

Why is it impossible to spin your right foot clockwise while you draw a 6 with your right hand?
Can you extract DNA from a strawberry daiquiri?
Would you make love like a praying mantis?
Should you book a holiday on Earth 2.0?
The Element in the Room will take you on a rib-tickling, experiment-fuelled adventure to explain everyday science that is staring you in the face. If you are sci-curious, pi-curious or just the-end-is-nigh-curious then this is the book for you.

The Shelf Life Of Happiness by David Machado

Ripped apart by Portugal’s financial crisis, Daniel’s family is struggling to adjust to circumstances beyond their control. His wife and children move out to live with family hours away, but Daniel believes against all odds that he will find a job and everything will return to normal.

The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan

My Book of the Month!
Bound to wheelchairs and dependent on prosthetic limbs, the physically disabled students living in the House are overlooked by the Outsides. Not that it matters to anyone living in the House, a hulking old structure that its residents know is alive. From the corridors and crawl spaces to the classrooms and dorms, the House is full of tribes, tinctures, scared teachers, and laws—all seen and understood through a prismatic array of teenagers’ eyes.

A Maigret Christmas by Georges Simenon

Short stories.
It is Christmas in Paris, but beneath the sparkling lights and glittering decorations lie sinister deeds and dark secrets...

Salvage by Cynthia Dewi Oka

How do we transform the wreckage of our identities? Cynthia Dewi Oka’s evocative collection answers this question by brimming with what we salvage from our most deep-seated battles. Reflecting the many dimensions of the poet’s life, Salvage manifests an intermixture of aesthetic forms that encompasses multiple social, political, and cultural contexts—leading readers to Bali, Indonesia, to the Pacific Northwest, and to South Jersey and Philadelphia.

The More Known World by Tiffany Tsao + Giveaway

Two years after Murgatroyd Floyd joined the Quest to understand and catalogue the wonders of the More Known World, the rash-prone, blue-eyed Oddfit starts having doubts about his exploratory skill. And while that’s enough to give his mentor, Ann Hsu, pause, it’s not what’s bringing the Quest to a grinding halt. Blame that on a series of murders that sends Ann and Murgatroyd to a strange new Territory to investigate.

Sketcher by Roland Watson-Grant

Nine-year-old “Skid” Beaumont’s family is stuck in the mud. Following his father’s decision to relocate and build a new home, based on a drunken vision that New Orleans would rapidly expand eastwards into the wetlands as a result of the Seventies oil boom, Skid and his brothers grow up in a swampy area of Louisiana. But the constructions stop short, the dream fizzles out, and the Beaumonts find themselves sinking in a soggy corner of 1980s Cold War America.

A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens + Free Book

I read A Christmas Carol a while before Christmas last year - my first Dickens actually from the book rather than the TV! I thought it might be fun to make this author another of my Christmas traditions so chose the not-at-all seasonal A Tale Of Two Cities for this year. It turns out that I already knew the first and last sentences because they have become famous quotes: 'It was the best of times and the worst of times' and 'it is a far far better thing that I do than I have ever done'.

The Girl And The Bomb by Jari Jarvela

Rust and Metro live life to the fullest in the small Finnish city of Kotka. The lovers work together by day and write graffiti by night, always staying one step ahead of the law. But their luck runs out after an ambush by rogue security guards causes Rust to fall to his death. Having literally left their marks all over the city, Metro cannot help but be reminded of Rust everywhere she goes, making it impossible for her to move past the tragedy. Heartbroken and alone, she becomes determined to get to the bottom of her partner’s death and to exact revenge on those responsible by using the tool she knows best: spray paint. 

Season Of The Witch by Arni Thorarinsson

When the editors at Reykjavik-based The Afternoon News decide to expand the newspaper into northern Iceland—with their crime writer Einar as its sole reporter on location—the journalist feels as though he has stepped back in time. So it’s only fitting that one of Einar’s first assignments is to cover a college theater production of Loftur the Sorcerer, an Icelandic folktale of ambition and greed. But that supposedly ancient history becomes ominously relevant when a local woman dies after falling overboard during a corporate boating retreat.

So that's all my December reads. I hope you find a book or two to entice you!

Tomorrow I will be blogging about how my 2017 reading challenges went and the new challenges I am setting myself for 2018.

Don't forget to download your copies of the Free Books and to enter the Giveaways!


  1. I think I slept 4 hours last night? I’m exhausted. Anyway, it looks like you read some interesting books last month. Happy New Year!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!