December Reading Recap: The Month I Lost Some Reading Steam

Published by The Connected Reader on

The Connected Reader Reading Recap

Does anyone else lose reading steam by the end of the year? It feels really hard to find something that meets my mood in December, and I usually end up filling my time with television – in this case a watch/rewatch of Grey’s Anatomy. (Watching that Covid season for the first time was wild, y’all. I’m glad I didn’t watch it in real time.)

Despite losing reading steam, I did manage to get a few good ones in to end the year, relying heavily on audiobooks while I did stuff around the house. 

What did you read in December? Any favorites?

My Favorite Book of the Month

Image of Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett, my favorite book I read in December that helped me to not lose reading steam

Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett

Print   Audio
This one has been on my list to read since the beginning of the year, and I finally got to it in December. (It even ended up on my list of 2023 favorites.) I’m glad I did because the unique structure was a great way to end my reading year. In this novel, a young woman, Emma, returns to her small New England hometown, where her parents’ marriage is falling apart, her brother is living at home after completing rehab, and her father is dying from an unexplained illness. If that isn’t enough, a chorus of ghosts – who are former residents of the small town – watch over the current inhabitants, and one of them befriends Emma’s father; Emma has a special healing gift, there is a missing person who happens to be Emma’s high school best friend – and the list goes on. If you like something a bit different and don’t mind suspending reality for a good story, this is for you.

One of the reasons I lost reading steam

Image of Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros, a book that made me lose reading steam

Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros

Print   Audio

I thought Fourth Wing was fine, and the twist at the end made me want to read Iron Flame. But that twist plays a minor role in this book, which is pretty much just the two main characters fighting about the same thing over and over – and over – again, while they and their friends face constant mortal danger that they inevitably find a way out of. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t quit this, even though I should have. I just kept increasing the listening speed so I could hurry up and finish, which was no small feat given the audiobook clocks in at 28 hours. No twist at the end could save me though; I am officially retiring from this series.

All The Rest, Which Were Lovely

Image of the book A December to Remember by Jenny Bayliss, on a list of books I read in December that helped me to not lose reading steam

A December to Remember by Jenny Bayliss

Print  Audio 
I’ve read a Jenny Bayliss Christmas book each holiday season since 2021. The Twelve Dates of Christmas and A Season For Second Chances are absolutely lovely. I read Meet Me Under The Mistletoe last month and found it less so; for me, the group of characters was underdeveloped and not very likable, and the main character makes a decision toward the end that I just couldn’t make sense of. A December to Remember is Bayliss’s newest book, and I thought it was a return to the whimsy of the first two. I also liked the shift from a focus on romance for the main character, to a focus on the relationship between three sisters.

An image of the book Death Comes to Marlow by Robert Thorogood, on the list of books I read in December that helped me to not lose reading steam

Death Comes to Marlow by Robert Thorogood

Print   Audio
This is the second book in a cozy mystery series set in the UK with a 70+ year old main character, which I needed to cure the book hangover I had after I finished this other cozy mystery series set in the UK with a core group of 70+ main characters. Do you sense a trend? The Marlow Murder Club is not quite at the level of delight of The Thursday Murder Club, but it’s close. I like the dynamic of the main group of three women who find themselves unlikely friends, and this series is a great audiobook option.

An image of the book Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson, on the list of books I read in December that helped me to not lose reading steam

Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson

Print   Audio
My book club read the first book in this YA mystery series back in 2020 and I’ve enjoyed listening to the rest of the series ever since. This installment takes the core group of characters from Vermont to the UK to help solve a 30-year-old murder at an English country estate. I enjoyed the 90s setting for the flashback and the cast of characters involved in the murder case, and I liked seeing the core group of characters in this new setting. Sign me up for the next book in the series!

An image of the book The Penderwicks at Pointe Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall, on the list of books I read in December that helped me to not lose reading steam

The Penderwicks at Pointe Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall

Print   Audio 

Do you have a book or series that just captures a moment in time for you, and because of this, it will always be a favorite? The Penderwicks series is that for me. I read the first one shortly after having my first child and the book about a family of four girls made me dream about sisters for my infant daughter. Eight years later, I have three daughters and I am re-reading this series with the oldest. Magic.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Even if you don’t use the links, I highly recommend checking out and for access to tons of titles while still supporting an indie bookstore.


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *