Reading Round Up – December

64. Queen of Coin and Whispers

Helen Corcoran

Rating: 2 out of 5.
Queen of Coin and Whispers

‘She loved me as I loved her, fierce as a bloodied blade.’

When teenage queen Lia inherits her corrupt uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, she brings a new spymaster into the fold … Xania, who takes the job to avenge her murdered father.

Faced with dangerous plots and hidden enemies, can Lia and Xania learn to rely on each another, as they discover that all is not fair in love and treason?

In a world where the throne means both power and duty, they must decide what to sacrifice for their country – and for each other …

This books attempts to be a political fantasy as well as a romance, and fails at both.

I love courtly intrigue and I love a good romantic subplot, and once I heard this was a sapphic romance I couldn’t resist reading it. Perhaps I expected too much from the blurb, but my expectations fell short. I political aspect of the book felt both overly complicated and over simplified in all the wrong places, and I just couldn’t take it seriously. While at the same time I felt the romance began strong but something about it sort of fizzled at the midway mark and never quite recovered.

65. Morning Star

Pierce Brown

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Morning Star (Red Rising Saga, #3)

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

This is a fantastic book and a great conclusion of the trilogy. An ending that truly did not disappoint.

After the dramatic ending of the previous book, I was very keen to get stuck into this one, so I don’t know why I left it over a year to begin reading it. But one of the issues I had with this book was that it wasn’t very forgiving towards readers who hadn’t just that second completed the previous book. There were a lot of places where a reminder was sorely needed about who characters were, how they related, and what events had gone on previously. It took a long while for me to feel comfortably back in this world as a result.
The other issue that stopped me giving this book the full five stars was the weird references to other works–I’m going to assume they were heartfelt homages rather than plagiarism. Whatever their intention, they sucked me right out of the story. For example, the moment that’s meant to be very deeply emotional between Darrow and Mustang, where she repeatedly tells him it’s not his fault in a scene plucked straight out of Good Will Hunting. It just undercut the moment for me, and left me feeling disappointed.

Other than that, I loved the book. And in a world of bittersweet or just unhappy endings, I was so pleased with this one.

66. A Court of Thorns and Roses

Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 1 out of 5.
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Why did I read this book? Maybe because I hate myself…

I knew nothing more about A Court of Thorns and Roses other than it was considered very inappropriate for the teenage audience it was intended. “Inappropriate for teenagers,” I thought, “I’m in!” What people should have said was it was just… pants. 

Apparently, the MC falls in ‘love’ but really she’s just in ‘lust’. That’s fine, whatever, but it all became very hard to believe the MC is going to risk her entire life because some fairy has a hot body…

67. A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens

Rating: 5 out of 5.
A Christmas Carol

‘If I had my way, every idiot who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips, would be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!’

To bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is just another day. But all that changes when the ghost of his long-dead business partner appears, warning Scrooge to change his ways before it’s too late. 

Part of the Focus on the Family Great Stories collection, this abridged edition features an in-depth introduction and discussion questions by Joe Wheeler to provide greater understanding for today’s reader. “A Christmas Carol” captures the heart of the holidays like no other novel.

As soon as I read this I understood why A Christmas Carol is such a classic and why it’s been adapted so many times (The Muppets Christmas Carol is my favourite, followed by Scrooged). I listened to this on Audible, and can’t recommend the Hugh Grant audio book enough. When reading previous Dickens books I’ve occasionally found his meandering style a little tiresome, but when done in the Hugh Grant mumbles and waffling he’s so known for, the writing feels perfect. All Dickens should be read by Hugh Grant! 

It has been a long time (if ever??) since a book has brought me to tears, and I did not expect that to change now. But change it did. When the story concluded and Tiny Tim lived, tissues were required. I’m welling up now thinking about it.

This book also brings up a great code to live by. “I wear the chain I forged in life.” I think that’s something everyone should remember, regardless of religion, and remember the message of the book.

I loved this book so much I immediately bought the Penguin Classics hardback and vowed to read it every Christmas.

2 thoughts on “Reading Round Up – December

    • I’ve not read that one though I’ve read three of Samantha Shannon’s Bone Season series. I don’t think I could stop at 75%, though I was sorely tempted by A Court of Thorns and Roses! How’s your next read going?


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