Sunday, January 10, 2016

December 2015 Wrap-Up

Hello readers and welcome to a quite late, but never forgotten, December Wrap-Up. Now that the holidays are over I can finally sit down and take some time to write out all of the blog posts I've been meaning to do. December was just one of those months where I imagined I would have a lot of free time, but in reality I was busy with work and preparing for the holidays. Not to mention I altered my usual book reading hermit lifestyle in favor of spending time with friends and family. Now that I'm back to my usual schedule, it's time to talk about the few books I managed to read before the end of the year.
  • My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

My True Love Gave To Me is a collection of short stories written by a number of famous authors. As such it's kind of difficult to give an overall rating to this book. Some stories were amazing, some were average and thankfully I only disliked two of them. Rather than dwell on the stories that I didn't like or spend time dissecting the stories I thought were average, I just want to talk about the stories that I really liked and wished were full length novels.

The first short story I enjoyed was amazingly the first story in the collection and that is "Midnights" by Rainbow Rowell, which isn't a shocker honestly because I've read and loved all of her novels. "Midnights" gives snapshots of two friends' lives every midnight on New Years Eve and over those midnights you get to see how their romantic relationship develops. This reminds me of that Lifetime movie, Love At The Christmas Table, where the movie shows how the relationship grows between the main characters over each Christmas dinner together. The next story I liked was Matt de la Pena's "Angels in the Snow," which is about a student that gets stuck apartment sitting over Christmas and runs into one of the neighbors. My absolute favorite short story in this collection has to be Stephanie Perkins' "It's a Yuletide Miracle Charlie Brown." It's about a girl that decides to visit a guy working at a Christmas tree farm to see if he'll be a part of her one of her short films. This book was the perfect kind of fluffy reading that I was looking for over the holidays.
  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Well here I am again having trouble finding to words to express how much I love this book. Words are easy if you dislike a book, but for some reason my thoughts don't quite order themselves when I really really like a book. Enough complaining. Time to start reviewing.

This book is set in the future when humans have colonized other planets. The story centers around Kady and Ezra, who live on one of these planets. On the same day that Kady finally breaks up with Ezra, two rival megacorporations are now at war and one of the corporations decides to attack the planet Kady and Ezra live on. Three ships manage to escape with refugees and our two main characters are separated. The refugees don't make a clean escape because one of the corporation's ships decides to come after the three other ships to kill all the survivors. As if that wasn't enough, a deadly plague ends up infecting a good portion of the survivors.

To say this book is action packed would be a bit of an understatement. The best part of Illuminae, in fact the part that really makes me love it, is that it's a story told through a unique physical format. I've made it no secret on this blog that I love books with innovative designs. Illuminae's story is told through a series of documents and pictures, including character emails, IMs, online journals, interviews, and reports. This book is as amazing to look at as it is to read. Through this dossier you get to read about Kady and Ezra's struggling relationship, but more importantly how the two grow as people in the face of almost certain death. This book is such a great mixture of dystopia, romance, and science fiction. I honestly can't recommend it enough and I can't wait for the sequels to be released.
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #3)

I order to save myself some time and prevent you from reading the same rehashed points about this book, I'm just going to link you to my latest Murder Mystery Monday Post. where I feature Career of Evil. This post is essentially an in depth review of the book.

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Like the previous classic pick of the month, I didn't actually finish this during December, but I decided to include it in this post anyway. For whatever reason the classic books that I've been reading recently haven't captivated me. I think the particular problem I have with The Picture of Dorian Gray was that I entered the reading experience expecting something a little more gothic in tone. I wanted to read more about Dorian's sinful debauchery, which leads to the painting's transformation and his ultimate downfall. Instead what I got was a whole lot of not so subtle commentary on art, beauty, and aestheticism, which is great if you're writing an academic paper. It's not so great when you are just trying to do some pleasure reading. That being said I'm glad I got another classic book I've been meaning to read out of the way.

Those are all of the books that I read in December. It might not be a large pile, but I've found some new favorite books to add to my book collection. If you've already read these books, don't be afraid to share your opinions in the comments. Now on to all of the books I've picked to read for January. Until my next post, happy reading!