December Wrap Up

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder

I had such a wonderful December filled with family, friends and LOTS of delicious food. I’m pretty sad I no longer have an excuse to add the auld drop of Baileys to my coffee but it’s time to get back to normal now anyway.

How was your holiday season?

With all the family fun I got very little reading done and what I did read were mostly audiobooks.

I’m still slowly reading The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (since November) I’m enjoying it but I hope to finish it up in January.

eBooks

Voyeur by Fiona Cole ★★★★☆

Contemporary Romance, Erotica

I think 3.5 stars for this one. Voyeur follows Oaklyn and Callum who are college student and teacher. Oaklyn is desperate for a job in order to pay for college and on the advice of a friend gets a job in Voyeur, a club where clients can watch people having sex and/or masturbating. Unbeknownst to Oaklyn, her new teacher Callum is a regular of the club. Callum has some issues that make a normal relationship very difficult and becomes slightly obsessed with Oaklyn… or infatuated if you want to be a bit nicer. I actually really enjoyed this story but it dragged a bit.

Audiobooks

I Thee Wed (Vanza #2) by Amanda Quick ★★★★☆

Historical Romance, Mystery

My first Amanda Quick book and I am now a fan. I didn’t realise this would have a mystery in it (suits me perfectly since I’m doing Cloak and Dagger Christmas). I love when historical romances have a mystery in them as well.

This book follows Emma and Edison who are attending an event in a country house. Emma is a lady’s companion at the party when circumstances lead her to being assistant to Edison in his investigations for a book of arcane potions he believes was stolen by one of the guests.

Wicked Widow (Vanza #3) by Amanda Quick ★★★★★

Historical Romance, Mystery

Loved this one! Here we follow Madeline and Artemis  who are being plagued by the apparent ghost of Madeline’s husband. The husband everyone believes she murdered. The ghost wrecks havoc with Artemis’s plans for revenge on the men responsible for the death of his lover so the two team up to discover who the ghost is and what he’s after.

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1) by Kerry Greenwood ★★★★☆

Historical, Cosy Mystery

I thought I would enjoy this more since I really like the TV show but there’s something about Phryne in this that annoys me. She’s a little bit of a Mary-Sue… The woman can do anything including dance like a professional, have the perfect body and solve crimes. It was a bit much but still enjoyable. I’ll keep going with the series and see if Phryne calms down a bit.

Murphy’s Law (Molly Murphy Mysteries #1) by Rhys Bowen ★★★★☆

Historical, Cosy Mystery

This was really enjoyable even if it was a bit unrealistic. That’s totally fine for a cosy mystery though. It should be more enjoyable and fun to read than gritty and real.

Here we follow Molly Murphy in 1901 making her way from Ireland to New York. When she arrives she gets entangled in a murder on Ellis Island and must clear her name and the name of her friend. The reason I found it a bit unrealistic is because Molly is very independent and has very trouble running around New York investigating a murder by herself.

I really loved the language in the book. It’s the best Irish dialogue written from a non-Irish person I’ve read.

Death of Riley (Molly Murphy Mysteries #2) by Rhys Bowen ★★★★☆

Historical, Cosy Mystery

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first but it was still very good. In this one Molly gets a job working for a private investigator but he ends up murdered and she sets herself the task of finding out who done it


So that was it for December. I was in a tizzy over what book to bring to my parents for Christmas week and in the end I had no time to read anyway!

I’ll hopefully read a bit more in January. What was your favourite read in December?

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Romanceopoly

Romanceopoly is a reading challenge game hosted by Under the Covers and Peace Love Books.

The game is based loosely on Monopoly and set in the fictional city of Romanceopolis. You can roll a die to make your way around the board or just do each task which is how I’m going to play.

The website the creators have made is so helpful with tasks. They have a list of recommendations for each task here which I have found great because there are a few tasks that require books I wouldn’t normally read.

Tasks & TBR

LEATHER LANE Urban Fantasy Read an urban fantasy where the series is already completed

Alpha (Shifters, #6)

KICKASS LANE Urban Fantasy Read an urban fantasy with a picture of a kickass heroine on the cover

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels, #6)

DOWNTOWN Subway Read a rock star romance

Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, #1)

GROWING PAINS PLACE Young Adult Read a young adult book (fantasy or contemporary)

Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles, #4)

MEMORY LANE Historical Fiction Read a historical fiction novel

With This Ring  (Vanza, #1)

WOMEN’S AVE Women’s Fiction Read a women’s fiction novel

The Woman Who Stole My Life

DUNGEON Corner Read a book with a hero in prison or who is an ex-con – OR – Read a book on UTC’s or PLB’s Book Boyfriends List.

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2)

COLLEGE ROW New Adult Read a new adult book set in college

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)

BUS Transport Read a book where the character(s) have to go on a journey
which involves travel (this includes fantasy)

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark, #18)

LGBT LANE LGBT Read a new adult LGBT romance

Him (Him #1)

FREEDOM FRIARS LGBT Read an adult LGBT romance

Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)

SWEET STREET Contemporary Romance Read a sweet or small town contemporary romance

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)

BAD BOY CIRCUS Contemporary Romance Read a contemporary romance with a bad boy hero or bad gal heroine

The Dark Calling (The Arcana Chronicles, #5)

EROTIC EAVES Erotic Romance Read a smoking hot erotic contemporary romance

The Master (The Game Maker, #2)

FIRESTATION Corner Read a book with a firefighter hero/heroine – OR – Read an ON FIRE HOT erotic romance (can be other than contemporary)

Consumed (Firefighters, #1)

WARRIORS WAY Paranormal Romance Read a paranormal romance that involves a band of warriors

Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #8)

MAGIC ROW Paranormal Romance Read a paranormal romance where the hero/heroine can wield magic

Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld, #11)

CREATURE CRESCENT Paranormal Romance Read a paranormal romance where the hero/heroine isn’t human (shifters, vamps, angels, demons, gargoyles, etc)

River Marked (Mercy Thompson, #6)

COZY CORNER Mystery Read a mystery or cozy mystery

For the Love of Mike (Molly Murphy, #3)

MILITARY MEWS Romantic Suspense Read a romantic suspense with a military hero/heroine

Deadly Game (GhostWalkers, #5)

TAXI Transport Read a book on UTC’s or PLB’s Recs List (any genre).

Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter, #1)

MURDER MILL Thriller Read a thriller or romantic thriller

Final Girls

HEARTBREAK HOSPITAL Corner Read a book with a doctor hero/heroine – OR – Read a tearjerker

Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #9)

FARAWAY LAND Fantasy Read a fantasy romance or a fantasy novel

Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #10)

LONDON STREET Steampunk Read a steampunk romance or steampunk novel

Heart of Steel (The Iron Seas #2)

ALIEN AVENUE Sci Fi Read a sci fi romance or a sci fi novel

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin, #1)

AUSTEN ROW Historical Romance Read a classic romance – OR – Read a historical romance on UTC’s or PLB’s Recs List.

Jane Eyre

UPTOWN Subway Read a chef/foodie romance

Hyde and Seek (Hyde #1)

MAYFAIR Historical Romance Read a historical romance where there is a class disparity

Beauty and the Blacksmith  (Spindle Cove, #3.5)

Be sure to check out the website if you’re interested in the challenge. It is seriously the most informative site I’ve seen for a reading challenge.

January TBR

The first TBR of the year. I plan on reading less this year than previous years so I’m going to make my TBRs about 3 or 4 books and leave the rest to mood reading.

I’ve picked out two books from series I’ve already started, one new series and a stand alone novel that I was sent from Poolbeg.

Echoes of Grace by Caragh Bell

Contemporary Fiction, Stand Alone, Print

Echoes of Grace

Even in death, love survives

Grace Molloy was the darling of the theatre scene. Young and dazzling, she gave it all up to marry the playwright Henry Sinclair, thirty years her senior. Then, one stormy night, she died giving birth to her daughter, Aurora.

Left with no memory of her mother, Aurora is raised by Henry and her nanny, Maggie, in a huge old house on the Cornish coastline. All the little girl has of Grace is a portrait – a painting of a woman in a white dress, her beautiful face frozen in time.

Aurora grows up, resembling Grace in looks and talent. She pursues her dream of being on the stage and soon achieves great success in the world of theatre, like her mother before her. Then a secret unfolds – a secret that could threaten all that she holds dear . . .

Echoes of Grace is the story of a young woman who, having overcome a painful past, must now embrace it to find her real self.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole

YA Fantasy Dystopia, #4 Arcana Chronicles, eBook

Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles, #4)

Losses mount and deadly new threats converge in this next action-packed tale of the Arcana Chronicles by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole. 

When the battle is done . . . 
The Emperor unleashes hell and annihilates an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind–but Circe strikes back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.

And all hope is lost . . . 
With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter’s reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.

Vengeance becomes everything.
To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future–and her chilling past–will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter’s ashes, stronger than ever before?

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole

Paranormal Romance, #18 Immortals After Dark, eBook

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark, #18)

This fairy tale doesn’t end with a kiss… A spellbinding Immortals After Dark tale from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole!

The terrifying king of hell…

As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster–just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.

Meets his match.

Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for eons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.

Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?

As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Urban Fantasy, #1 Iron Druid Chronicles, eBook

Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #1)

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


What books are you planning on reading this month?

2019 Reading Challenges

Happy 2019 everyone!! I hope the new year treats you well.


I’ve signed up to a few reading challenges for the new year to help me tackle my TBR. I use Goodreads to track most of my challenges so you won’t see them here but I’ve included links.

Goodreads Challenge – 80 Books

I decided to read less than usual this year because I want to focus more on creating instead of spending all of my spare time reading. I would normally read about 100 books in a year and this year I’m aiming for 80. I must be the only book blogger trying to read less 😅

The Pagemaster – 4 to 6 Series

The aim of this challenge is to complete series I’ve already started. I’m terrible for starting series and never finishing them. I would be delighted if I managed to complete 6 series in 2019.

Cover Love – 61 to 100 Books

This challenge is kind of like a treasure hunt where you have to find items on books covers. The listed items include things such as a coffee cup, sword, boots and bats. Thinking about it now it’s amazing how many books just have people on the cover so this one might actually be tricky.

Mt. TBR 2019 – 20 Books

For this challenge you can only read books added to your TBR before Jan 2019. I plan on only reading books that I already own and not include ones that I added to my wishlist during the year. There are a bunch of different tasks to help you narrow down what books to read.

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2019 Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge – 25 Books

I’m tracking this one here on my blog. I really enjoy historical fiction but don’t read nearly enough so I’d like to up my count this year. I have some books I’d like to read listed in my announcement post.


Those are all of the year long challenges I’ve signed up to for 2019. I will be doing monthly, 3 month and 6 month ones as well cause I am crazy for reading challenges!!

Are you taking part in any reading challenges this year?

Literary Article Round-Up

From Ideation to Revision: Margaret George’s Writing Advice

Every writer is asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” Writers create people and worlds in a way that hints of magic, making things seemingly real that didn’t exist before. This mystery intrigues readers, who enjoy the final result but wonder how it came about. –  MARGARET GEORGE, Signature

A Reader’s Guide to the Works of Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami is a difficult writer to characterize. Broadly, his style falls under magical realism with an occasional absurdist streak. His writing is simple yet dense, filled with lush imagery, richly drawn characters, and a deep well of underlying emotion. –  KEITH RICE, Signature

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This Woman Opened a Bookstore and Drove It Across the Country

Do you love reading so much you’d like to bring books to people all over the country? That’s just what Rita Collins has done with her mobile bookshop, Saint Rita’s Amazing Traveling Bookstore and Textual Apothecary, a white van full of books that has traveled around the country multiple times. – G.G. Andrew, Bookbub

John Boyne Explores the Dark Side of Literary Ambition

A Ladder to the Sky

Graham Greene wrote that “there is a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer.” By that measure, the novelist antihero of John Boyne’s gripping new book, A Ladder to the Sky, must have an entire ice rink at his core.

Maurice Swift is gorgeous, charming, and hell-bent on literary fame. His only problem? He can’t think of a thing to write about. After beguiling aging German novelist Erich Ackermann, however, Swift extracts from Ackermann a devastating wartime confession of love and betrayal. He steals it for his own bestselling debut, ruining what’s left of Ackermann’s life. Soon it’s clear that “literary larceny” is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Swift’s dark ambition. – Goodreads

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5 Classic Books That Are Ripe for a Retelling

Before I began writing The Winters, my modern response to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, the first thing I did was Google whether another writer had already taken a stab. Turns out there are a few Rebecca retellings, including at least two sequels, one sanctioned by the estate called Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman. – LISA GABRIELE, Signature

Stephen King Sells Film Rights to Teens for One Dollar

Talk about encouraging young artists: Stephen King just sold the film rights to his short story “Stationary Bike” (from the Just After Sunset collection) to a couple of teenagers for just one dollar. This is part of a program on King’s website called “Dollar Babies,” which offers up some of his smaller and less popular works to aspiring filmmakers, including stories from older collections like Night Shift and Skeleton Crew. You never know which of these dollar deals could end up making a splash on the festival circuit, potentially making someone’s career. So dive in, auteurs! As The AV Club points out reassuringly, “Nothing you make will be as bad as the Dark Tower movie.” – TOM BLUNT, Signature