December 2020 Reading: Amari and the Night Brothers; Understanding Children and Teens; How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House; The Unravelling of Maria; The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot; The Devil and the Dark Water; Asylum Road; The Smallest Man; Seven Nights at the Flamingo Hotel; You Will Have a Black Labrador

December already seems quite a long time ago, but as usual I am running behind on getting reviews up, so in the meantime here is my wrap up of the brilliant books I read last month. What I really like about this (typically eclectic!) selection of books is that it sums up the fantastic experience I have had in joining the bookish community on social media – there are blog tour books, giveaway wins, buddy read books, author requests, exciting proofs, and a fab new indie press all represented here, and I LOVE to see it. I’m going to get the rest of my reviews up soon, but we are once again in the middle of a house move (please let it be the last one for a while!!!) so do bear with me.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston (2021)

I was absolutely thrilled to take part in The Write Reads Ultimate Blog Tour for this wonderful middle grade novel, which kicks off an exciting new series by B.B. Alston. You can read my full review here – Amari is going to be HUGE, and rightly so!

Understanding Children and Teens by Judy Bartkowiak (2020)

A highly relevant non-fiction read as part of another blog tour, this time run by the fab people at Literally PR, Understanding Children and Teens is a practical, empathetic book which offers techniques and tools for anyone working or living with kids (big or small). You can read my full review of this excellent guide here.

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones (2021)

I honestly can’t believe this is a debut novel; it is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to read a proof copy. This brutal yet intricately constructed story blew me away – you can read my review here. Do not miss this book, which is out in a couple of weeks.

The Unravelling of Maria by F J Curlew (2020)

I was delighted to be invited by the author to take part in the blog tour for The Unravelling Of Maria, an original, satisfying novel that spans years and countries and introduced me to the history of Estonian independence. You can read my full review here.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin (2021)

I’m in the middle of writing my review for this beautiful novel, and hoping to post it very soon, so I shall stay quiet for now, except to say I adored this book. And I cried A LOT. Out in February, you definitely want this on your bookish radar.

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton (2020)

This was another readalong with my book club that isn’t a book club, a wonderful group of bloggers from The Write Reads! We had so much fun discussing this gripping adventure story, speculating on the supernatural elements and trying to predict the twists and turns of a very twisty, turny plot! I really want to read more by Stuart Turton – he’s such a skilled writer, and I loved the contemporary feel to this book despite the historical setting. Brilliant stuff.

Asylum Road by Olivia Sudjic (2021)

Again, my review is on its way for this sharp, insightful, sometimes shocking novel, which is out this month from Bloomsbury. This is a book that gets under your skin and stays with you. More thoughts very soon!

The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn (2021)

Nat Davy is such a wonderful character, and Frances Quinn has created something very, very special with this book, which (sorry for the pun) deserves to be HUGE. Full review coming soon, but I really loved this one.

Seven Nights at the Flamingo Hotel by Drew Gummerson (2020)

I can tell when a book has hit the spot when I get really excited about the prospect of writing a review for it, and I can’t wait to share my full thoughts on Drew Gummerson’s novel, which is published by new indie press Bearded Badger Publishing (go forth and follow on social media, folks!) So far, my review notes include: “genius use of second person pov, lots of bums and willies, surprisingly moving” – and if that hasn’t tantalised your reading buds, well then I don’t know what will.

You Will Have a Black Labrador by Nino Gugunishvili (2019)

My final read of the year was this delightfully quirky, slim enough to squeeze in at the final hour, offering from Nino Gugunishvili. Full review to come, but it’s a lovely, short and sweet treat, and I thoroughly recommend it!

So there we go, once again, my wrap up is mostly built on promises of reviews to come, but I’m pleased I managed to read ten books in December (and made my 100 books in 2020 target) – it feels like a fitting end to a wonderful year of reading. I’m looking forward to slowing the pace a bit in 2021 and not aiming for a set target, but with all the brilliant books on my TBR, we’ll see how it goes!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, and massive thanks for all your support, always!

Ellie x


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