What I read in December 2023

🍵 I took some time off from work for the Holidays, so I managed to dive into a bunch of books! These last weeks of the December brought a lot of rain (instead of snow), and I enjoyed having quiet mornings sitting in my cozy corner with a cup of tea and my e-reader. It was basically my idea of pure bliss – raindrops, good book, and zero stress.

  1. The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare, 384p: I didn’t like the main characters. The female character seemed like she didn’t have her own agency or maybe her opinions weren’t openly expressed (even in self monologues) and I missed that. I wasn’t too much into the sense of sarcastic humour in this one. It's the whole marriage-of-convenience trope, and it didn’t work that well for me.

  2. The Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood And Ash #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout, 645p: I feel like this third book could have closed the arc with the war between Solis and Atlantia, but the author leaves the conflict for the next book. I think I got enough of this world already, and this book reveals and explains Poppy's background, and we finally discover who she really is. The world building keeps on adding more creatures and beings that were supposedly legend, but they turn out to still exist. The good thing about this one is that there are some relaxing moments where Poppy and Casteel are just having a great time together and enjoying life a little. So it's less dark than the previous ones for a while. The ending is again shocking, but this time I didn't want to continue to the next one just yet.

  3. White Trash Warlock (Adam Binder #1) by David R. Slayton, 307p: This was an easy, quick read and decent for a debut novel. It incorporates all the urban fantasy tropes I'm familiar with.  The book carries a similar vibe to The Dresden Files but with more diverse characters and a gay romance, which is refreshing.  Although there are interesting plot twists, the overall story didn't grab me too much by the end. I felt the lack of character development for Annie; we were not given insight into what she was feeling, making her seem like a voiceless character.  The book explores some dark themes, such as forced institutionalization and child abuse, which I found pulled me out of the intended joyful tone of the story. I wasn't too familiar with the whole “white trash” topic, so I learned a little bit.

  4. The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War #2) by John Scalzi, 356p: Getting back to this series a few years after I read the first one. I enjoyed the thought experiment about transfer of consciousness and identity. It gets into these themes in an easy-to-understand way, and I had fun reading it. I want to read the next book, I think there are interesting things to be explored in this universe.

  5. Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood, 392p: A S.T.E.M. romance at its best. Real academic background, lots of physics dad jokes, slow burn romance and supportive relationships. I devoured this book in 2 days: theoretical versus experimental physics shenanigans. I think the relationship development was deep and masterfully done. A theme that spoke close to my heart was the “people pleaser” identity that Elsie was dealing with. I cried and laughed with this book. I love anything this author writes, she has become a must-read for me.

  6. The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3) by John Scalzi, 337p: I liked that this third book in the series takes us back to the protagonist of Old Man's War (John Perry) and characters from the second book (Jane Sagan and Zoe). We follow the characters in the process of starting a new colony in another planet: Roanoke. I think John Perry has always been my favourite character because of his human traits. I missed some more development about the race inhabiting the planet: it seems it could develop into a main plot issue, but it's totally forgotten at some point. There are some interesting discussions about the costs of war, colonization rights and genocide in the name of peace. These themes are never explored too deeply, making it a light and interesting read overall.

  7. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, 352p (re-read): This is my third time reading this book, and I’ve written a series of posts with reading notes. I started my re-read back in September, I took my time, and now I’m done. I still learn a lot each time I read this book. It’s timeless!


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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.