My December

Hello in the new year! How was your December? Did you enjoy the holiday season?

My December was pretty good. I did get a nasty cold just after Christmas, but otherwise, it was a sunny month full of little walks in the cold, despite the fact that Ljubljana gets shrouded in fog too often. We didn’t get any snow (the air is so dry it crackles), but I’m hopeful.

In Kiddo news: He was really happy to be home over the holidays. He likes kindergarten well enough but my husband had 10 days off work and we spent some quality time together. The first half of the holidays, he had some tantrums, but he really calmed down for the second half, so it was so, so nice. He’s currently obsessed with his Cars long-sleeved t-shirt (which we got second-hand from a friend of mine) and I have to wash it every other day so he can wear it as often as possible.

In Baby news: He learned to roll from his back to his tummy! He still doesn’t know how to flip back, though, which is super frustrating for him. He’s great, such a sunny baby. He clearly adores his older brother, he follows him around the room with his eyes and when Kiddo condescends to play with him, he laughs out loud. I feel like Kiddo enjoys him, too, but they can’t really play together yet, so he’ll have to wait.

In personal news: I had a mini slump just at the end of the year, feeling like I didn’t complete all the things I wanted to do in 2016 (ranging from cleaning out our pantry to finishing my PhD, lol). But I had a nice chat with my husband who reminded me that the end of the year was an arbitrary barrier and that I still had the time to do all that. He’s a great guy.

December was a mediocre reading month. I really enjoyed Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie, which also made it onto my “Best of 2016” list. It made me laugh out loud, which is always a good thing. But the best read of the month goes to Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer which was my only 5-star read of the month, and punched me right in the gut. I’ll be reviewing it soon but if you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend it. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was good, too! I’m making some headway on my Winter TBR, which is making me happy, because I love crossing items off lists.

Two of those items were, unfortunately, DNFs. One was Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. I’d recently reviewed A Discovery of Witches, which I re-read in order to finally continue with the series. But Shadow pissed me off so much that I decided to quit it, even though I already own two of the books. Matthew (the “hero”) was a controlling jackass and acted so abhorrently, I no longer wish to read about him. So there’s that.

The other DNF (for now, at least), was Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, which came highly recommended (sorry guys). It is the most horribly depressing fantasy novel I ever had the displeasure of reading and I just can’t handle that right now. Kids being hurt/dying is definitely one of my triggers right now and I don’t need my books making me anxious. I don’t shy away from all hard stuff (case in point: the Guernsey book is about WWII and it’s beautiful) but this was just so fucking DARK. Like no hope at all and I hated the main characters’ decisions. So yeah. DNF.

I also read a couple of fluffy romances to compensate for all the serious stuff, and my love for Lauren Layne continues! Seriously, if you need a pick-me-up, her books are perfect.

Posts I Wrote:

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – The Best Books I Read in 2016 – My Ultimate TBR List + ChallengesHappy Holidays!My Winter TBRA Crop of Mini Reviews – Rebel of the Sands – My Romance Binge Continues – The Exiled Queen – Challenges and Resolutions Update #3

How was your December?

What January books are you excited for?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

  • Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

    The end of the year really is an arbitrary moment of time… I feel like we all set our goals too high and then stress out over things. That’s why I rarely make personal goals. Although I think I will this year, but make them very small.

    I’m so sad to hear you didn’t enjoy Finnikin of the Rock because that book has been on my to-read list for ages. But if you’re not enjoying it: DNF. There’s no need to read a book that you don’t like.

    I hope you and your family have a great 2017, Kaja!

    • It’s not that I made personal goals and failed them – I just felt like there were tasks I had left undone. But I’m over that now, I’ll just take it one day at a time. :)

      Ugh, yeah, I had Finnikin on my TBR for so long, this is why I bought it when I saw the Kindle deal! I know lots of people enjoyed that series but as I’ve heard that it only gets more depressing, I’m giving up on it for now.

      Thank you and I wish you a great year, too! :)

  • I couldn’t get through Discovery of Witches so you did better than me.

    And I also had a kid who only wanted to wear his Cars shirt for most of a summer. Stupid Disney merchandising department.

    • Nathan! :)

      Well Discovery of Witches did disappoint me more the second time around – I think I read it when I was in my vampire phase (yep) the first time and wasn’t as sensitive to the obnoxious behavior. But Shadow of Night was just too much.

      I’m debating whether or not to burn that shirt. I’m afraid of the moment he’ll grow out of it and there won’t be another one.

  • Your kiddos sound adorable! And that’s A++ advice from your husband. I hope you’ll be able to reach your completion goals this year.

    I got Agnes from the library and the file won’t work properly so I’m waiting for a physical copy to be available. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it though.
    I’m really sad to hear you DNFed Finnikin, but I can understand where you are coming from. It really is one heck of a dark read. It gets worse as the series progresses.

    I hope you’ll have a good January!

    • Thanks, Nick. Yeah, my husband’s a smart guy, he’s this calming presence in my life. :)

      I know Nereyda has been on your case to read Agnes. :D I hope we haven’t hyped it up too much for you. Expect over the top fun!

      And “it gets worse” is exactly what I’ve heard about the Finnikin books – and another reason I’m giving up on them. If there was a hope of a better ending, I’d maybe power through, but this just doesn’t sound like my kind of thing.

      Have a good month! :)

  • Sounds like Kiddo and Baby are both doing well, and it’s so nice that you had 10 full days to spend together as a family. The image of Baby stuck on his tummy and unable to roll onto his back is really sweet and makes me smile.

    A. is totally right, of course. There’s a ton of time to finish up your PhD and assorted other goals! You have two young kids, for crying out loud — the fact that you manage to do all that you do is crazy impressive as is. :)

    Agnes and the Hitman seriously had me laughing out loud. The frying pan? Those damn flamingos??? Classic. For some reason her other books didn’t work quite as well for me, but I absolutely loved that one. There’s something about a heroine who’s a chef/writing a cookbook that just gripped me from the start, maybe because I really like cooking and cookbooks, haha. Here’s hoping that Ready, Set, Rogue is another fluffy pick-me-up read!

    • Yeah time management is a bitch these days. But I’m trying not to care as much, otherwise I can spend my days worrying and that’s really not something I like to do. :)

      And I’m so glad you liked Agnes! The flamingos were hilarious. :D I loved how she was as far from a dainty heroine as possible. Have you read the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich? I know there are like 24 of them but they’re basically separate, and never end on a cliffhanger, so you can read them at your leisure. I think you’d enjoy them – maybe you can get them at your library?

      How’s life these days? :)

  • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I had quite the slump at the end of last year :) It happens. Can’t say a controlling jackass character compels me to try that book out. Sometimes it makes sense to DNF a book

    • Hi Lisa! :)

      End of year slumps are annoying but luckily they don’t last long. I’m okay now, taking it one day at a time.

      And DNFing books is a must – when a book doesn’t agree with you, it just doesn’t make sense to continue. So many better books out there.

  • Greg Hill

    Glad you had a nice December! It went by fast here and while I normally hate January, this year it’s kind of relaxing. :) It did snow here so there’s a little extra if you want it. :) Yay for Guernsey Literary- I’ve seen that one at the bookstore. And lol about the Cars shirt.

    Sorry to hear about shadow of Night. I was kinda intrigued by that series but but I couldn’t get into it. Finnikin sounds like one I’d drop too.

    • Yeah, January is when things wind down and there’s less pressure to be out and about.

      And I’m hoping for some snow – would love to take Kiddo sledding. And build at least one snowman.

      Guernsey Literary is really, really good. Give it a try if you can. It has the longest title and LOOKS like it might be intimidating but it’s really not.

      I’ve heard that the Finnikin books only get worse as the series progresses so I’m definitely giving up on them. I don’t need that in my life.

  • I love your husband’s attitude. He’s right that the end of a year is a completely arbitrary “end” but we put so much stock in it!

    • Yeah, he’s a smart guy. :) It’s lucky that the end of year blues don’t last long – I’m taking it one day at a time and we’ll see what happens.

  • AGNES AND THE HITMAN!!!!
    Ahhhh, I freaking love that book and I do believe you are the first blogger that I know of who has even read that book so I’m very happy to hear it made you best of list. I’m trying to get Nick to read it.
    I started 2017 with a cold but I’m all good now. Happy 2017!

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

    • Well I read Agnes because you recommended it (and I’ve previously enjoyed Crusie’s other books) so THANK YOU! It reminds me of the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, I love that series as well.

      Happy 2017 to you, too! :)

  • I haven’t completed y PhD and my pantry’s a mess – at the right moment those can feel equally frustrating! Glad you got some good advice and were able to put it in perspective.

    I really want to try another Crusie after loving Bet Me and I keep seeing Agnes and the Hitman mentioned everywhere. That it made it on to your Best Of… list, seals the deal that I’ll pick that up next from her. The Guernsey Literary… is such a lovely book and it does a great job balancing the light and dark. Glad you loved it and look forward to your review.

    • Perspective is much needed when things get overwhelming. Time management is hard with 2 kids and I’m just trying to take it one day at a time and do my best not to worry too much.

      Agnes is a great book! I hope you’ll like it. And yay, another Guernsey lover! It’s such a thoughtful book, I’m glad I listened to my mom – she recommended it to me.

  • I binge read the last couple of weeks of December because I was off! So happy about that! I binge read contemporary romance, too! I tried reading Lauren Layne but I just couldn’t get into her book. I read a book in her Hard Ink series.

    • I haven’t tried the Hard Ink series yet – I read the sample on Amazon and didn’t really feel like reading it. Maybe try the Wedding Belles series or Blurred Lines if you like New Adult.

  • Honestly, every time you mention stuff A has done I just think ‘aww’ you’ve got yourself a keeper there (in case you weren’t aware already). He is right, though, the end of the year is nothing, it’s just our way of tracking the passage of time. And, honestly, anytime you feel like you haven’t done enough you have to remember all the stuff you do in a day would probably take me a month to do. I don’t know how you have the time to be writing a book, all the translations you do, be doing a phD and parenting! I mean, it’s crazy. How do you find time to read, that’s the real question?

    It’s adorable how your kids obviously really like each other. It’s the problem when one is still so little there’s not much they can do together. Give it a few months and he’s crawling around and kiddo will think baby is far more interesting.

    Sorry to hear you stopped reading Finnikin and the Rock, everyone says good things but if it’s one of those books which has triggers for you then quit. Especially if you’re not liking the characters either. I’ll still check it out (you know, one day). And I remember abandoning Shadow of Night I think a couple of years ago when I decided to reread the series before starting the third book, I can’t remember my reasoning but Matthew was definitely OTT in that book. Wasn’t it because he’d lived through that time so he obviously knew best or something? I really loved you got to see his dad, though, in the book. I feel like the family element was good although didn’t they have Matthew getting all depressed or something or was that the first book? I can’t even remember anymore. I will still, one day, finish that series but I think I know better now when I finish it than when I first read it.

    I’ve actually DNF a book today (a rarity for me) I managed to get halfway through The CHemist and I was bored and it had the most illogical romance, which I should have expected as it is a Stephenie Meyer book. I just got overwhelmingly bored, I’m glad I quit when I did though, supposedly there is way too much time with the couple spent in hiding in a ranch with dogs and I managed to avoid most of that. I need to read better books this January, I think. Maybe the fun of Read Set Rogue will help me forget.

    • Becky, I love your comments! :D

      And yeah, I know my life is crazy right now, it’s just the way it is. But I’ve always had about a hundred projects on the go. The difference now is that I’m more sleep deprived, and I care less that my eyebrows are perfectly plucked than before. ;) I mostly read while breastfeeding, haha, that takes some time and I have nothing else to do while he’s eating. The secret to my success. :)

      I know the kids will be able to play together soon, it’ll bring a bunch of new problems when the younger will be after the older one’s toys.

      And yeah, Finnikin. I mean, I asked Maraia who’d championed the series if it got any less depressing and she said no, it only gets worse and I was like NOPE.

      I didn’t get as far as seeing Matthew’s dad in Shadow of Night. They were getting ready to travel to him and Matthew was being an ass and I just quit. Meh.

      Ooh, The Chemist! I haven’t even seen any reviews – was it very bad? I never read The Host, either, I’m not interested in reading The Chemist right now.

      And hopefully your next book will be better than Ready Set Rogue lol!

      • Who needs perfectly plucked eyebrows anyway? And I here sleep deprivation is the new in thing, it’s either that or that’s the excise we use for getting less sleep and not feeling bad about it. And breastfeeding and reading, it’s one way to pass the time.

        And yeah, sharing is always a nightmare with kids, especially when one has toys for a slightly older age group because suddenly they get detachable parts and it becomes chaos.

        Yeah tried with both books at least. Depressing books are definitely hit or miss anyway because depressing isn’t always something folk want to read. As for Matthew being an ass, I remember that being annoying, no great less ditching it.

        And The Chemist was just so dull! I got about halfway in and abandoned ship and by the sounds of it there was another 100 pages of the 2 MCs on a farm talking about dogs and guns and having an ill timed romance whilst they’re on the run. It was so illogical. I think The Host was the only book by Meyer I’ve managed to get through and I don’t know how I did it. It was an interesting read but that was slow as well. Ugh, I need more interesting books.

        I actually did finish a really great one, A Boy Made Of Blocks and that book was fantastic so there is hope yet.

  • Maraia

    Your husband makes an excellent point. I’m going to listen to him, too. :)

    I’m sorry that Finnikin was such an emotional mess for you. I hope you give it a try again, maybe when your kids have moved out but don’t have kids of their own yet. I’d like to say that the next books are less depressing, but they really aren’t. Fortunately, I do think they’re better books, at least.

    January and February feel a bit hectic for me in terms of reading. I feel like I need to read ALL THE BOOKS before I leave, but of course that’s an impossible (and stressful) goal. xD

  • I was not a fan of A Discovery of Witches, but it’s always such a letdown when a sequel to a novel you liked ends up kind of ruining everything for you (*cough*SJM*cough*). Now that you mention it, yes Finnikin is rather depressing. I think I may have blocked all that out. I have all three books in the series, so I intend to reread the first and get to all of them, but will have to wait until I’m emotionally ready. I hope you have a wonderful January!

  • The kids sound great, and you plenty of time to get all that stuff done! The end of the year means nothing! Except a new semester at school… :P

    If I keep up last year’s romance trend, I may have to take you up on the Lauren Layne recommendations; I could use something light and fluffy. Best save it for after I get at least half the stuff on this to-do list knocked out, though, or I’ll definitely ditch the list and read instead. ;)

    Best of luck (and fewer depressing DNFs) in January!

  • The reading slump I’d fallen into in November inevitably continued in December with the Holidays, work stress and general running around that I usually try to avoid but can’t during Xmas LOL! Sounds like you had a lovely December despite a few bumps along the way :D