Well, friends, another year flew by! I can’t believe we’re in 2024 already. Time goes by so fast, but the silver lining is that I’m getting closer to retiring from my full-time job so I can dedicate more time to this blog! At least that’s something positive I’m looking forward to. But for now, let me sum up my December 2023 book reviews.
Surprisingly, although I got sick before Christmas and with the busyness of the season, I still read 10 books. That’s pretty amazing for me! So let’s see which ones I managed to squeeze in before the end of the year.
These are my December 2023 book reviews.
Love, Anonymous by Keighley Bradford
I am not the right demographic for this book, but I can see myself in my late teens/early twenties liking it. It is a super fast, lighthearted rom-com that can make you disconnect from the daily grind. It isn’t a great piece of literature, but it will entertain anyone for a few hours.
If contemporary romance with a tad of smut is your jam, by all means, give it a go. Otherwise, you can probably skip this one.
Black Ice by Carin Gerhendsen
If you’ve been around here a while, the fact that I just reviewed a book my Nordic Noir readalong group discussed last month should come as no surprise. I did finish the book in the first week of December though, so that’s progress in my book.
Here are some of my thoughts:
It is a story that is told from two different points of view. While it is very different from the Nordic Noir books I generally read, it kept me interested until the end. Mind you, I didn’t like any of the characters. But the twists and turns had me wondering what happened and who the perpetrator was. While I had my suspicions about two thirds into it, the ending still took me by surprise. Especially since I find the reason behind it to be bogus. That being said, it is a very well laid out, intricate story that will keep you engaged.
I want to thank Aina, aka @readbydusk, who moderates all of our discussions and comes up with interesting questions for our read along groups every month. Thanks to her I met a few fellow thriller lovers like myself, and we bond over our love of Nordic Noir on a regular basis.
We Know You Remember by Tove Alsterdal
Another day, another Nordic noir I had on my tbr shelf for the best part of last year. It was actually my group’s book read for the months of March-April. This should come as no shock to you, fellow bookworms. I always take on more than I can chew, and then fall miserably behind on my commitments.
I did like this book, but it’s not one of my favorite Nordic Noir thrillers. It did have the atmospheric vibes typical of the genre and it contained a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming. That being said, it was just ok for me overall. I’m still glad I finally read it, so there’s that.
I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel
I was confused for the first third of the book mostly because of its different style of writing. The way the author refers to the characters is odd. I can’t say I didn’t like it, but it took some getting used to. How can I describe this book? I think it’s a blend of contemporary fiction with some coming-of-age vibes, but don’t quote me on that.
While it’s a very fast read, the subject matter and its delivery were not that appealing to me.
The synopsis made me want to read this book so bad, yet it disappointed me big time. This is one of my biggest flops of the year, unfortunately.
Girl in Ice by Erica Ferencik
It was a very chilling, atmospheric read. It made me think of The Dark by Emma Hughes, which I read last year.
If you love locked-room whodunit mysteries with a cool setting, then this one is well done. It is also quite informative about the Inuit peoples and cultures of Greenland, which I liked.
But I did not like any of the characters except for Valerie, or Val. Maybe in order to survive in the fictional Arctic an insufferable personality is a prerequisite, because both books featured them. And, although it’s categorized as a thriller, there weren’t many thrilling elements to this story. An intriguing tale or mystery for sure, but categorizing it a thriller is a stretch. At least, in my opinion. I still liked it ok, but I wouldn’t jump to recommend it to everyone.
Christmas Lights and Snowball Fights by Beth Rain
Cute and easy-going, this light holiday book is to consider if you’re looking for something fun to read. Although it is a Christmas story, you can read it anytime of the year. Unless you’re a Grinch, of course! Then you’ll probably never pick up a book such as this one.
The characters are likable, the plot well tied up, and it’s very easy to get through. A lighthearted book to occupy a few hours during your holiday break!
Holidays in Manhattan by Jennifer Gracen
An adorable opposites-attract holiday story, it’s a perfect read for this time of year.
Anna and David couldn’t be more different, yet the sparks fly between from their first encounter. The fast-paced banter between them is well-done, which added to the character of the storyline. All in all, it was the ideal book to enjoy with some Christmas music playing in the background and a cup of tea.
Red Queen by Juan Gomez-Jurado
This is another thriller you must add to your tbr list if you aren’t sure where to start. This first installment in the Antonia Scott trilogy will introduce you to one of the most intelligent and interesting female characters since Lizbeth Salander.
Antonia is special, although at first glance most people underestimate her. While she’s fierce and possesses a superior iQ than most humans, she shows her vulnerable side through her actions. To me, that makes her more relatable and imperfect, like most people are.
The narration style is different than I’m accustomed to, but it still made for an enjoyable read. I will continue reading this series for sure.
Fans of complex, flawed characters and lots of action will enjoy this thriller.
The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva
While the subject matter of this book is no laughing matter, the author told the tale of Amy with lots of humor.
Amy suffers from OCD, anxiety and depression, but not many people in her small circle are aware. Although she’s trying very hard to keep up appearances and get involved in social interactions, she failed so miserably.
But she’s lucky, because she has a couple of great friends that will do anything for her, even give her that push to get the help she needs.
I loved this book, even though at times it was hard to read. Thankfully the author made use of humor throughout, which made it very enjoyable and easy to read.
I recommend this book for anyone who’s curious about how hard it is for people suffering from anxiety, depression and OCD to get through their days.
Reykjavik by Ragnar Jonasson
This has got to be my favorite Ragnar Jonasson book to date!
While I enjoyed the four books from the Dark Iceland series I read, Outside let me down. But I’m very glad his latest release was a hit for me. And the fact that he co-wrote it with Katrin Jakobsdottir, Iceland’s Prime Minister, made it so much more appealing to me! I mean, how cool is that!
I liked the way the story was structured, and the character development was well done in my opinion.
Written with the same Nordic Noir voice, Reykjavik is a good place to start if you’re new to the genre. Although the story took place decades ago, I still appreciate the references the authors made to the way things used to be back then.
The way the author tackled this cold case is different from his typical style, but I enjoyed it very much.
It will work for someone who is new to Nordic Noir. The book will ease you into the genre, all while keeping the real dark and gory details to a minimum.
This sums up my December 2023 book reviews. I’m still in shock that I managed to finish 10 books this month! Although, if i’m being honest, I did have a head start on a few of them. But I cleared some long overdue books I’ve had on my shelves for too long.
And now that we’re already in 2024, I wish you all a wonderful year, filled with everything you need. And lots of great reading, of course!
I also want to thank you for sticking around alongside me on this little corner of the internet. Until next time, keep reading fellow bookworms. I will keep my posts coming as long as you keep reading them!