December 2015 & January 2016 Quick Reviews

I was too busy with wedding preparations to put together the quick reviews for December, there’s so many books to get through that I’ve decided to only cover up until the end of 2015 here, and the rest will be covered next month.


the art of home-makingThe Art of Home-making by Alison May ($2.94 on Kindle): May is the woman behind BrocanteHome, and this book is a wonderful collection of her inspirational and thought-provoking essays on how to turn your home into your perfect nest.

hildHild by Nicola Griffith*: Fascinating historical novel on the early life of St Hilda of Whitby, absolutely loved it. (Full Review)

luther and katharinaLuther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund**: Poor excuse for a historical novel, goes against well-known facts. Very disappointing. (Full review)

you are your own best medicineYou Are Your Own Best Medicine: A Doctor’s Advice on the Body’s Natural Healing Powers by Frédérick Saldmann, M.D.*: Based on the title I would’ve expected You Are Your Own Best Medicine to deal with how we can heal ourselves from disease – but the content was pretty much exclusively about preventing chronic disease. That would all be well and good, if the content was “based on the latest research”, as the book claims, but the vast majority of the content are things that have been written about for years. If you’ve never read anything on health, this isn’t the worst place to start, but it’s far from the best either.

the buried giantThe Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro: I really don’t know how to feel about Ishiguro’s latest novel. His works are very hit and miss for me – I either love them – or I find them very confusing and senseless. I’m afraid The Buried Giant is mostly in the latter category. In the end I find myself as confused, as the people living in the medieval fog of the novel. If you haven’t read Ishiguro before I suggest you start with Never Let Me Go or The Remains of the Day.

the herbal apothecaryThe Herbal Apothecary: 100 Medicinal Herbs and How to Use Them by JJ Pursell*: A visually stunning and beautiful book, which covers in depth 100 different medicinal herbs, but also the many ways to store, and use them. How to put together compounds, treatment plans etc. I received an advanced reader’s copy from Netgalley, but loved it so much that I am ordering my own copy to keep on hand.

tiny beautiful thingsTiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (currently $1.48 on Kindle): One of the most beautiful, inspirational and thought-provoking books I have ever read. Cheryl Strayed, aka Dear Sugar, wrote an advice column for The Rumpus, and her advice goes from the profound to the heartbreakingly honest. I’ll be writing a full review, suffice it to say that I can’t recommend this enough.

the palest inkThe Palest Ink by Kay Bratt*: While I understand that the author spent some time in China herself, I did not get the feeling that she fully knew/understood this time in Chinese history. I’ve read several books by Chinese authors covering the same time period, and they had a very different feeling to them.

the painful truthThe Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us by Lynn R. Webster, M.D.*:  The Painful Truth is an eye-opener that can help those who are lucky enough not to have experienced chronic pain, get a small glimpse into what such a life is like, as well as showing us the steps we need to take to be able to better handle our chronic pain problem on a society-wide basis. (Full Review)

wellness on a shoestringWellness on a Shoestring: Seven Habits for a Healthy Life by Michelle Robin: Very basic information; drink water, get exercise etc. If you know the basics of leading a healthy life I would skip this one.

the green beauty rulesThe Green Beauty Rules: The Essential Guide to Toxic-Free Beauty, Green Glamour and Glowing Skin by Paige Padgett*: The Green Beauty Rules is an excellent introduction to cleaning up your personal and make up products, while still getting the benefits and effects that you are accustomed to.

the danish girlThe Danish Girl by David Ebershoff*: The fictionalized version of the life of Lili Elbe, one of the first transwomen to go through gender confirmation surgery. While well-written, and a good story on it’s own, I was once again disappointed by a so-called historical novel choosing to completely disregard basic facts. I’ll be writing a full review comparing The Danish Girl to Lili, which is based on her own writings.

little womenLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott (free on Kindle): I listened to the audio recordings with the always excellent commentary from Heather Ordover on Craft Lit. I read Little women as a child, but it is always fun to revisit books from your childhood and see how your memories compare to the actual story.

the chimesThe Chimes by Charles Dickens (free on Kindle): As a free holiday present to everyone, Audible gave away a recording of The Chimes by Richard Armitage, and it was just beautiful. The Chimes is the 2nd of Dickens Christmas Books, more of a novella in length, it was a very enjoyable 4 hours.

cleopatraCleopatra by Ernle Bradford* ($4.40 on Kindle): Decent overview of the last Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, insight into who she really was, and her relationships first with Julius Caesar and later with Mark Anothony.

the importance of being earnestThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde: I listened to a dramatized recording from Audible starring James Marsters *swoon*. It was absolutely lovely, funny and thought-provoking. Highly recommended.

the strange case of dr jekyll and mr hydeThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (free on Kindle): This is another gem from Craft Lit, and once again Heather Ordover’s commentary helps bring the classics to life.

the oil pulling miracleThe Oil Pulling Miracle: Detoxify, Simply and Effectively by Birgit Frohn*: While the book gives a decent introduction to oil pulling, covering the steps and the various oils that can be used for this purpose, I didn’t find many scientific references, and the last half of the book was filled with non-scientific detox methods without any kind of references.

the tudor roseThe Tudor Rose: A vibrant, fascinating tale of the queen who founded a dynasty by Margaret Campbell Barnes: First published about 60 years ago, The Tudor Rose is the story of Margaret of York and how her marriage to Henry Tudor helped end the War of the Roses. A fascinating story, although this historical novel is a bit dry.



As always, I’m linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy.

What have you been reading lately?
As always I invite you to find me and connect with me on Goodreads.

*Received an advanced reader’s copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
**Received an advanced reader’s copy through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


  1. sheridacon

    I’m with you on The Buried Giant. I found it boring and pointless. . . but I loved Never Let Me Go. I’ve also got the Audible version of The Chimes, and after your lovely review I’m going to bump it up on my listening list. Thanks for your reviews!


    • Thank you for stopping by! Yes, Never Let Me Go was beautiful.
      Let me know what you think of The Chimes – if you like other Dickens’ I’m confident you’ll enjoy it 🙂


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