December Book Haul


Considering December is the most expensive time of the year, and a time full of treats, it is no surprise for me to find out that I acquired more books this month compared to November’s book haul. Four more to be exact, three of them were gifts and one of them was sent to me by the author. All things considered, it’s not sounding too hard on my book budget (what budget?).

So, let’s see which books found their way home for Christmas…

One – Sarah Crossan


Paperback, 434 pages
Published June 2nd 2016 by Bloomsbury Children’s (first published August 27th 2015)
Goodreads synopsis:

Grace and Tippi don’t like being stared and sneered at, but they’re used to it. They’re conjoined twins – united in blood and bone.
What they want is to be looked at in turn, like they truly are two people. They want real friends. And what about love?
But a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead for Tippi and Grace. One that could change their lives more than they ever asked for…

I found this book in a cheap bookshop and picked it up for only £1! It was one of those books I’ve seen around but wouldn’t go out of my way to buy, but for that price I thought I’d give it a go. Plus, I’m intrigued to read a book with twins as the main characters.

I have a feeling that this will be a book I’ll enjoy reading, but that it won’t become a firm favourite…but we’ll have to wait and see!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs


Paperback, 382 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Quirk Books (first published June 7th 2011)
Goodreads synopsis:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

I started reading this pretty much as soon as I’d bought it. I wanted a creepy read…and it was creepy to an extent. The pictures were my favourite, and I loved the beginning of the novel, but it took a while to get going and by that point the creepiness had worn off. I’m not running out to buy the other books in the series, but I definitely want to read them.

Read my full review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories – R. J. Palacio

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories

Paperback, 303 pages
Published August 27th 2015 by Corgi Children’s (first published August 18th 2015)
Goodreads synopsis:

WONDER tells the story of Auggie Pullman: an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, whose first year at school changed the lives and the perspectives of everyone around him.

AUGGIE & ME is a new side to the WONDER story: three new chapters from three different characters – bully Julian, oldest friend Christopher and classmate Charlotte – giving an insight into how Auggie has touched their own lives. Thought-provoking, surprising, infuriating, heartbreaking and heartwarming, AUGGIE & ME is a must-read for the thousands of readers who loved WONDER.

I recently read Wonder  and thought it was a beautiful story. It made me shed a tear right at the end, which is a big deal for me (I’m known for my stone-cold heart when it comes to fiction – it’s really hard to make me cry). So when I came across this book, I just had to get it! It’s not up very high on my tbr for the start to 2017, but it’s certainly one I’ll get round to reading sometime next year.

I’m glad R. J. Palacio has written these three Wonder stories, the characters in the book are very unique and deserve their own space to tell their stories.

Read my full review of Wonder: Wonder

We Carry the Sky – McKayla Robbin


Paperback, 158 pages
Published December 5th 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Goodreads synopsis:

“all women carry
the sky
inside of them
didn’t your mother
tell you that”

In her first collection of poetry, McKayla Robbin grows language “like wildflowers / from the wounds / that for years / would not close up.” Simultaneously vulnerable and fierce, her short-form poems engage themes of femininity, identity, violence, and healing.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a full, honest review, so technically I didn’t buy this, but it counts as a book I received this month…and what a book! The poems made my heart race, and dealt with subjects like feminism, war, politics, violence, rape etc.

They may be small poems on the page, but they made a big impact on me when I read them.

Read my full review: we carry the sky

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness


Hardback, 479 pages
Published May 5th 2008 by Walker 
Goodreads synopsis:

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

As I write this, this is the book I am currently reading. A few months ago I bought The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men which are book 2 and 3 in the Chaos Walking series. So annoyingly I couldn’t start reading the series until I had found the first book, and much to my happiness and relief, I found it just before Christmas!

I’m past halfway, and hope to have it read before next year begins. It’s incredibly imaginative and I love the plot, the characters, the setting, everything!

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan


Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by Electric Monkey
Goodreads synopsis:

Glorious new collaboration from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

Dash and Lily have been dating for nearly a year, but when Lily’s beloved grandfather falls ill, the repercussions take their toll on everyone. Even though they are still together, somehow the magic has gone out of their relationship and it’s clear that Lily has fallen out of love with life.

Action must be taken! Dash teams up with Lily’s brother and a host of their friends, who have just twelve days to get Lily’s groove back in time for Christmas.

This was my perfect Christmas read, and a good few hours of my Christmas Day were spent reading it. I thought I wouldn’t get a copy before Christmas, because I was waiting for it to come in the supermarket at a cheaper price…and the only other edition I could find was the Zoella’s bookclub edition, which I didn’t want.

So I had to buy this brand-new, but it was worth it for a cosy Christmassy read. Dash and Lily have to be one of my favourite couples in YA fiction, so this was a lovely story of how they’ve been getting on since Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares.

Read my full review: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Paperback, 599 pages
Published October 22nd 2015 by Rock the Boat, imprint of Oneworld Publications (first published October 20th 2015)
Goodreads synopsis:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

This was, along with Gemina, the book I asked for for Christmas. I escorted my mother to the Young Adult section in Waterstones and watched her buy both books. I haven’t read much sci-fi in my reading career but I am very very excited to start this series. It doesn’t seem to be written in standard prose, and it is a book that challenges the form that we know so well.

I wouldn’t know about this book or its sequel if it wasn’t for the wonderful Bookstagram community, so if you’re a part of it and you’ve posted about this series then thank you! This was a pleasure to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Gemina – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Paperback, 672 pages
Published October 20th 2016 by Rock the Boat
Goodreads synopsis:

Hanna Donnelly is the station captain’s pampered daughter and Nik Malikov is the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. Together they struggle with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, blissfully unaware that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall with news of the Kerenza invasion.

Picking up about five minutes after Illuminae ends, Gemina is the electrifying sequel to the hottest YA novel of 2015.

This was bought by my mother at the same time as Illuminae and I’m just as excited to read this one. In fact, the existence of this sequel makes me even more excited to read the first in the series. They are both such aesthetically pleasing books, and I’m pretty sure they are going to give me an adventure in 2017!

The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett


Paperback, 285 pages
Published January 18th 1985 (first published 1983)
Goodreads synopsis:

Terry Pratchett’s profoundly irreverent, bestselling novels have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to the likes of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett’s maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins — with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind.

On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There’s an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet…

This book was recommend to me a little while ago, and I’ve been hunting down a copy for a while, and then I received it for Christmas! I really didn’t expect it, so it was a great surprise. I’m not sure when I’ll get round to reading it…but I’m wondering how much time I’ll have to set aside to read the entire Discworld series…but it seems I’m really starting to branch out into the sci-fi/fantasy genre!

The Princess Bride – William Goldman


Paperback, 399 pages
Published October 20th 1999 by Bloomsbury (first published 1973)
Goodreads synopsis:

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. When she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts – who never leaves survivors – her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humberdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairy tale like no other, of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, beasts, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passions and miracles.

I heard of the film before the book, and the film is apparently a cult film and very quotable and loved by many, so after hearing this I really wanted to read the book. So this was yet another one I have been waiting patiently to find…and I picked it up for £3 brand new from my favorite go-to place for books: Fopp. They never let me down when it comes to books. I think I’ll have to read this one soon. I have high expectations for it and want to be taken on an adventure!

How Long is Now?: Fascinating answers to 191 mind-boggling questions – edited by Frank Swain

Paperback, 298 pages
Published 2016 by John Murray

Life is full of baffling questions. And, as New Scientist readers know, answering them takes us on the weirdest and most wonderful journeys. How Long is Now?, the latest extraordinary installment in the million-selling ‘Last Word’ series, offers a guide through the unexplained that takes in everything from gravitational waves to goldfish memories.

I first discovered this book while perusing the books in Blackwell’s on my uni campus. I like New Scientist magazine, so seeing that this book was published as part of a New Scientist series I wanted it immediately. But I didn’t want to pay full price! Luckily, a couple of weeks later it appeared online at a reduced price, so I got it with some Christmas money. It goes without saying, as with every book I buy, I can’t wait to read it. I love a bit of non-fiction now and then, and I’ve not read a book like this before.

The Book of Human Emotions: An Encyclopedia of Feeling from Anger to Wanderlust – Tiffany Watt Smith

Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2016 by Wellcome Collection (first published September 17th 2015)
Goodreads synopsis:

How do you feel? Is your heart fluttering in anticipation? Is your stomach tight with nerves? Are you falling in love? Feeling a bit miffed? Are you antsy with Iktsuarpok? Or giddy with dépaysement?

The Book of Human Emotions is a gleeful, thoughtful collection of 156 feelings, both rare and familiar. Tiffany Watt Smith covers the globe and draws on history, anthropology, science, art, literature, music and popular culture to explore them. Each emotion has its own story, and reveals the strange forces which shape our rich and varied internal worlds. You’ll discover feelings you never knew you had (like basorexia, the sudden urge to kiss someone), uncover secret histories of boredom and confidence, and gain unexpected insights into why we feel the way we do.

When I last went to London, I visited the Wellcome Collection and had a look around their bookshop. I found this book but didn’t buy it (I was buying two other books instead) but I did pick up 6 postcards that were associated with this book, and since then I’ve secretly wanted to have the book too. So once I noticed that it was on sale at a reduced price online, I didn’t hesitate to order it! I love finding out what obscure words mean, so this book will hopefully be just the treat I’m after.

Are there any books on this list you fancy reading? I’m surprised at the amount I acquired, and I think my January haul will be a lot shorter! Now I just need to decide which order to read these in, because unfortunately I cannot read them all at once.

Have a very happy new year my bookish friends!


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