Wrap Ups & Hauls

December 2016 Wrap-Up + Book Haul


As much as I love the holidays, I am always a little relieved to see them go.  I am a creature of habit and routine, so the holidays really throw my schedule out the window.  I was surprised that I managed to read 8 books this month!

Let’s see what I accomplished this month, shall we?


 Books I read in December:


Summary of feelings:  I read this book for my book club’s December selection.  I am not a fan of the cozy mystery genre, so I knew going into this that it probably wasn’t going to be the book for me.  I was right, it wasn’t.  I didn’t give this one a rating because I don’t necessarily think it would be fair since I dislike cozy mysteries…

» Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn


5-Star Rating System

*4.5 stars

Summary of feelings:  This book was so much more than I was anticipating.  There is so much going on in this one: racial issues, socio-economic issues, LGBT issues etc. etc.  This was also my first time reading a book where there was a f/f romantic relationship with a main character!  This book would make an excellent book club selection. The only reason I docked it half a star was because the ending felt a little abrupt.  Full review to come!

» Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult


5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings: I think Jodi Picoult did a wonderful job with this book.  She mentions in her author’s note that she was so scared to write a book about racism from a white author, but it is so clear here that Picoult really did her homework with this one.  After reading The Underground Railroad last month and really digging into the history behind racism, Small Great Things really opened my eyes up to present day racism and white privilege.  I cannot wait to review this one.

» The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood


5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings: This ended being such a sweet read.  The cover makes it look like this is a middle grade read, but it is actually an adult book.  It gave me similar feels as A Man Called Ove, so if you read and enjoyed that book, you’d probably enjoy this one too.

» The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket


5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings:  I listened to the audiobook version of this one and I think I am going to re-read it in print form.  Even though I thought the narration was wonderful, I felt that the background music and sound effects distracted from the story instead of enhanced it.

» George by Alex Gino


5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings:  I absolutely adored this book.  What a beautiful story that can be utilized to help children better understand transgendered issues.  I would recommend this book to older middle graders (10+) and I would also recommend reading this book WITH your child.  This book is an opportunity to open up dialogue between you and your child.  I will explain more in my upcoming review.

» Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll


5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings:  I am sad to report that this was more like 2.5 stars that I rounded up to 3.  I am not sure what the issue was here.  I listened to the audiobook version, which I thought was wonderfully narrated, but I had a hard time with this book.  Had I not seen the Disney adaptation, I don’t think I would have been able to imagine this story in my mind… I am not sure if I just missed it or not, but it seemed like the world building was lacking.  I was anticipating vivid descriptions of Wonderland, but I didn’t feel like I got that.

» And I Darken by Kiersten White


5-Star Rating System

Summary of feelings: I know this one has pretty mixed reviews, but I really enjoyed it.  I am a huge historical fiction fan, so this slower paced book was right up my alley.  This book had lots of things going for it: a strong female main character, political drama, action, and romance.  There were a few annoyances, but nothing that hindered my enjoyment of the book.


December Book Reviews:


Book Review: The Vault of Dreamers (The Vault of Dreamers #1) by Caragh M. O’Brien


Book Review: Since She Went Away by David Bell


Book Review: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead


Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1) by Ransom Riggs

Other Posts in December:

kidscornerchristmasKids’ Corner: Christmas 2016 Book Buying Guide


Blog Award: The Liebster Award (Part 2)


Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2016 Releases


Christmas 2016: A Very Bookish Christmas Haul


 December Book Haul:

*Titles link to Goodreads

» The Brontë Sisters (Boxed Set): Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and Villette

» The Puffin in Bloom Collection (Boxed Set): Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, and A Little Princess

» Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Illustrated Edition) by J.K. Rowling

» Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

» Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

» The Martian by Andy Weir

» Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

» The Giver by Lois Lowry

» The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

*You can see more pictures of these beautiful books in my Christmas Haul post here → Christmas 2016: A Very Bookish Christmas Haul


How was your December?

Which books did you read?

Did you buy any books?

17 thoughts on “December 2016 Wrap-Up + Book Haul”

  1. So many awesome book reviews to come. I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on these especially Here Comes The Sun & Small Great Things. I was curious or should I say hesitant in regards to Jodi Picoults new book but I have heard nothing but great things. Glad to hear that she did her research & handled these sensitive issues well. Happy reading Amanda! 🙂


    1. I’m so excited to review those books in particular because they both taught me so much. Small Great Things taught me about hidden racism in everyday life and just how much privilege I have as a white person. I’ve been so oblivious for the majority of my life. Just because i don’t consider myself “racist” it doesn’t mean that I am not contributing to the problem. Things I’ve done and said have been unintentionally racist… and I had no idea. It really gave me a new outlook on things.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oops sent that before I was ready! Like I was saying: SGT also taught me that by not helping to fix the problem, I am contributing to the problem…. I’ve had opportunities that I should have taken but haven’t. It definitely gave me lots to reflect on.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. See books like this, that educate & lift the veil are necessary and i’m so glad to have received my copy. Although my skin is white, I am a Latina woman married to an African American man with 2 Bi-racial children. It has been a learning experience for me, the racism that I have experienced differs from his but it has affected us, too many bad encounters to recount. I’m really looking forward to your review Amanda! 🙂


  2. Your book photography is so good, Amanda! December was a great reading month for you, it seems. I plan to make room for Here Comes The Sun this February, and eagerly await your review. I’ve also seen a lot of buzz for Jodi Picoul’s new book and I’m curious to see how she handled writing about racism, so I’m also very eager to read your thoughts on Small Great Things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Naz! I’ve been really trying to step up my game. Taking pictures to go along with my posts is one of my favorite parts of my process. There is still so much to learn!

      I need to get my behind moving on these reviews then 😊


  3. Just like you, I’m kinda happy the holidays are over because I’m use to routine and just controlling my time with that routine. Holidays always throws that out the window lol. You had a great reading month and I cannot wait to read your thoughts on Small Great Things! I haven’t seen much reviews for that one here on the blogosphere. Btw I really love your photos!! I hope you have an amazing reading month in January xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Gretchen! I really have to get my butt moving on all these backlogged reviews!!! And thank you for noticing the pictures! I’ve really been trying to learn and step up my book photography game, so I really appreciate that.

      Happy reading in January to you as well 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I need to read Here Comes the Sun. It sounds amazing! And I’m so happy that you enjoyed And I Darken. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, so I’m glad it worked for you! I think book two is coming out this year…


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