December Round-Up – The Books I Read In December 2016

dec16In December I managed to read and review seven books:

The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto (Orenda Books) – My first review of December was the first of two as part of the ‘Finnish Invasion’ blog tour. The Exiled is the third book in Kati Hiekkapelto’s ‘Anna Fekete’ series. It follows Anna as she returns to the village where she was born for a relaxing summer holiday. But when she arrives she becomes the victim of a crime as her handbag is stolen from her at a local fair. And Anna’s policing instincts lead her to delve deeper into the crime and who is behind it, uncovering past secrets and a potential link to Anna’s family. This is an intriguing, tense thriller which kept me gripped throughout.

The Mine by Antti Tuomainen (Orenda Books) – My second stop on the ‘Finnish Invasion’ blog tour was for Antti Tuomainen’s latest novel, The Mine. The story focuses on Janne Vuori, an investigative reporter who receives an email which informs him of the occurrence of hazardous activities at a mine in northern Finland. Keen to get to the bottom of these activities and in the hope of landing a major story, Janne investigates the mine, and starts to uncover the true extent of secrets and corruption that surround it. An intriguing, gripping read.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (Serpents Tail)The Essex Serpent is a wonderful book which I named in my top 10 books of 2016. It follows the story of Cora Seaborne who, in the wake of her husband’s death, moves out of her London home to Essex with her son, where she hears rumours of the Essex Serpent, a mythical beast that has claimed human lives. And as Cora makes new relationships in the village of Aldwinter we see a coming together of different ideas – religion, science and superstition. A compelling, beautifully written story filled with intelligence and warmth.

Fell by Jenn Ashworth (Sceptre) – Jenn Ashworth’s fourth novel is an intriguing story told from the perspective of ‘other-worldly’ beings. It begins with Annette Clifford, a woman who returns to her crumbling childhood home in Morecambe Bay, which in turn awakes the spirits of her parents, Netty and Jack. Here we get a glimpse of past memories, and the mystery surrounding them. Told with a haunting, eerie quality, Fell is an intriguing read about love and family, the past and the present.

Before The Feast by Sasa Stanisic (Pushkin Press) – Sasa Stanisic’s second novel centres around the German village of Furstenfelde with events taking place on the evening before the famous feast. And this seemingly quiet rural village is steeped in history and mystery and these stories are told throughout the book as we learn more about the village and its inhabitants and the evening’s events as they unfold. Told in an unusual format switching back and forth through time I found it a little difficult to get into but this is an imaginative tale told with a whimsical quality, which uncovers one village’s folklore and a fascinating array of characters.

Star-Shot by Mary-Ann Constantine (Seren Books) – Star-Shot is considered a blend of mystery and fable set in and around Cardiff with the National Museum being central to the story along with the mysterious ‘silence’ that starts to run through the city. It is told from the perspective of various characters which includes Myra, a lady who sits at a bench outside the museum on her lunch breaks. Here her life becomes intertwined with that of various others and we see how people connect with each other in a busy world. Over the course of the novel we get to learn about all of the characters and their personal stories, and this made for an interesting, human story told with warmth.

The River At Night by Erica Ferencik (Raven Books) – Erica Ferencik’s debut thriller is a story of friendship and how it is put to the test in the most unusual of circumstances. Tired of life and still mourning the loss of her brother and the demise of her marriage, Win decides to spend some valuable time with her three best friends. Encouraged by the energetic Pia along with Sandra and Rachel, the group go on an adrenaline fuelled white water rafting trip in the Maine wilderness. But the trip doesn’t turn out how they expected and the friends find themselves in some very dangerous situations.  A surprising, atmospheric thriller.

You can read full reviews of all of my December reads by clicking the links above and they can also be found in my December 2016/Book Reviews archives. Also on the blog in December I featured an extract from Joanna Hickson’s latest novel First Of The Tudors as part of the blog tour. I also unboxed two bookish subscription boxes, Nerdy Bookworm Box (Strange New Worlds) and my first Fairy Loot (Sci-Fi Adventure)

As always, I would like to thank everyone who has read and shared my blog posts this month. I really appreciate the support and hope that you enjoy the blog – Happy New Year!

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