December in Review // books, video games, & a whole lot of food

December was a whirlwind for me! I’m fortunate enough to work for a public university, which means that I only needed to use three vacation days to have a nice ten day vacation at the end of the year! I spent my time lounging around my dad’s house, eating food I didn’t have to cook, reading books, roasting Hallmark movies with my dad, and playing some video games. It was some much needed downtime for me and I came into 2019 restored and ready to take the world by storm!

I already wrapped up my favorite reads of 2018, and a couple on that list were read in December. I am still a bit behind on my WP Reader and blog hopping but I will be catching up this weekend so that I can get to my 2019 goal of keeping up with it daily! Let’s take one last look at 2018 through my December in Review and see what I read and played during the last month of the year.


I read a total of 13 books in December, wow! And only four of those books were ARCs, hooray for mood reading!!! As always, you can click on the title links to be taken to the Goodreads page, and if my review has been published here on the blog I will also provide a link to it. ARCs/copies from author or publisher are noted above by an asterisk *

Five Stars

  • From Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity by Soko Morinaga – this is a beautiful memoir and introduction to Zen Buddhism. Morinaga had a wonderful voice and a talent for finding lessons and meaning in the smallest things. I re-read this book about once a year.
  • Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Illuminae is nothing short of incredible and I am so glad to have finally read it! | 📖 Read my full review
  • Trail of Lightning (Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse – is an incredible debut that landed a spot on my favorite reads of the year! The characters are all wonderful and the worldbuilding offers just enough to whet the appetite, and while there are Navajo words and phrases used I never once felt lost. I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. | 📖 Read my full review
  • Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – just holy crap, I didn’t expect to feel these feelings or love this book more than Illumaine, but here we are. I haven’t written my review of this yet because brain = dead.

Four Stars

  • Perfect (Pretty Little Liars #3) by Sara Shepard – I actually enjoyed Perfect a lot more than the first two books in the series. I feel like while action was happening, a lot of groundwork was being made to develop the four main characters – both who they were in relation to Alison and who they have become in her absence. This definitely paid off for me big time.
  • Unbelievable (Pretty Little Liars #4) by Sara Shepard – I’ve finished the first arc for Pretty Little Liars and I have to say: I think I enjoyed the books more than the series! Our girls have been put through the ringer and all the developments from book 3 continue here. While books 1 and 2 were all setting the stage for book 3, Unbelievable is the direct continuation & resolution of the previous book.
  • * Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books and Karina Shor – is a beautifully illustrated book and a more inclusive take at the traditional story of Rudolph. I don’t read many illustrated books these days which honestly is a shame! I was instantly blown away by the artwork and really enjoyed this quick read. | 📖 Read my full review
  • Witching Hour Theatre by Jonathan Janz – This is a re-release of Jonathan Janz’s first published work, originally published in 2005. While this wasn’t a perfect read, it was instantly captivating and as a lifelong horror fan it spoke to me deeply. From wishing that my town had a weekly Witching Hour Theatre for me to attend to cringing at Longface, I was fully enthralled from start to finish and recommend this novella to fans of the horror genre.
  • Firefly: Big Damn Hero by James Lovegrove – This was a wild ride back into the world of Firefly that I sorely missed and I loved learning some of the backstory that Fox robbed us from fifteen years ago. Full review to come!

Three Stars

  • Flawless ( Pretty Little Liars #2) by Sara Shepard – Flawless picks up right after the first book ends with the first group A message. The book does a really good job of making the case for who A could be, and casting doubt on everyone. Interestingly enough the girls are still separated and not really re-bonded yet in this book, unlike in the tv series.

Two Stars

  • * The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker – this was such a disappointing read for me. There’s a reader for every book, but unfortunately this one was not for me. While the writing is beautiful, I found the story had too many characters and suffered from a lack of a clear narrative voice that ultimately made it difficult for me to care about the characters. | 📖 Read my full review
  • * Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant – Friends, it pains me to say that this was just not the book for me. This is my first Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) read and while I absolutely adored the plot, unfortunately the writing style and narrative voice just did not work for me. This is definitely a case of right book, wrong reader. | 📖 Read my full review

One Star

  • * A Murder of Crows by Annie Kirke – I love me some strong female characters, so when Dying Arts Press reached out to me to offer me a chance to read this YA fantasy I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately this book did not work for me: I found the characters flat, worldbuilding confusing, and the plot to be predictable and a little troublesome. | 📖 Read my full review

DNF – Did Not Finish

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I tried twice to read this book with Sam, but both times we couldn’t get into it. It took me about three hours to read 70 pages because I kept zoning out and staring into space. While this is a plot that I am sure I would love and Bardugo can write a good action sequence, unfortunately I found the writing style the rest of the time to be boring and dense with information. 🤝 Buddy read & DNF with Sam @ Fictionally Sam

Total Books Read in December: 13


Total Books Read in 2018: 137
Goodreads Reading Goal: 50 100 125


I thought that I would include a bit about the video games that I obsessed over played in December.

  • King’s Quest: this is by far the best game ever. I grew up with the original franchise, the puns, and their floppy disks and I jumped at the opportunity to play the new game in 2016. This game does a great job of balancing nostalgia, staying true to the original games, but also making it its own and it is just incredible. I am replaying for the last few achievements that I need to 100% the game.
  • Soma: I finally caved and bought an Xbox one controller so I can more easily play the game and I just love it so much. I am about 7 hours in so far and wandering around the ocean trying to find my way to the next base.
  • Don’t Starve Together: had a two hour session with my friend Eva! A group of friends and I used to play quite a bit when it was still in Early Access and shortly after, but it’s been at least a year since we last played. Lots of fun improvements and can’t wait to play some more!
  • Stardew Valley: I decided to get back into my farm for a bit last month and I am slowly working towards 100% achievements.
  • Sunless Sea: I have 174 hours on record and this is one of my favorite PC games ever; slowly working on completing the game (78% achievements) and am working on one of the more annoying Ambitions.

Are you on Steam? Feel free to add me as a friend, I am kalventure on Steam! I am always down for a game of Town of Salem, DST, or Uno, so hit me up!

Awesome Community Posts

I did a bad job at hopping & remembering to save links in December, I am sorry friends!

Thank you

Thank you everyone so much for visiting, liking, commenting, and sharing your bookish thoughts with me this past month and year! My first ten months of book blogging have been simply amazing and I have each of you to thank. I will be hosting a giveaway in appreciation soon, so be sure to watch the blog and Twitter (@kalventure)!

I hope that you had a fantastic December, and I wish you happy reading in 2019!


Let’s Connect!

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Hi! I’m Kaleena: book lover, runner, wanderer, and philanthropist. Life is an adventurous gift: through the outdoors and books. I run Reader Voracious Blog, where I post spoiler-free book reviews of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and mystery & thriller.

45 thoughts on “December in Review // books, video games, & a whole lot of food

  1. A VIDEO GAME AND READING LEGEND! December was such a wonderful month with you! I absolutely adored our Illuminae Files buddy reads!

    I don’t use Steam often, but I’m definitely going to add you on there! & maybe I’ll purchase some UNO ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhh love your round up and I added you on Steam! We should play games together at some point as its one of my goals for this year. I got SOMA in one of the humble bundles but haven’t played it yet bc I’m a bit of a fraidy cat haha, I also really like the sound of Sunless Sea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay for Steam friendship! Definitely down for playing games together, one of my fave things to do and I don’t have a lot of people to play with / timezones suck. SOMA is good and atmospheric, it did creep me out last time I played it though… so maybe play with the lights on. Sunless Sea is INCREDIBLE.


  3. Oh no! I’m so disappointed you didn’t love The Dreamers. It’s one of the books I want to read the most in 2019. I will still get to it, but I hope I like it more than you did! Also, love these wrap-up posts. I like how you included non-bookish things!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Totally requested to add you as a friend on Steam! Not sure what it will show you, but I requested you. I just started getting into gaming (very much a casual gamer here). Stardew Valley is one of my favorite games ever. Loved seeing what games you like and are playing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful wrap up! So glad to see that your December was lovely! I have yet to try Stardew Valley, but I LOVE Don’t Starve together! I was just playing it with my brother a few days ago. I’m also quite glad that you enjoyed Illuminae so much! I can’t wait to start it soon!

    Wishing you the happiest of January’s and 2019! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, love! Stardew Valley is honestly so much fun to just casually play, if you like the sims or other sims you will enjoy it. Don’t Starve is SO FUN I LOVE IT. I’ve been a little addicted for the past week ahaha.

      I hope you love Illuminae as much as I did! Please DM me your thoughts as you read it. I wish I could experience it for the first time again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. SoC was a struggle indeed. But I feel low key relieved that I officially DNF’ed it. We gave it two tries. I mean….if the shoe don’t fit. 😂

    Looks you had an epic reading AND gaming month! Much proud I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I struggled with SoC so much the first time I read it. I was so mad because the first chunk just felt a little to Mistborn. I ended up reading it and enjoying it, didn’t particularly like book 2. I’ve come to the conclusion that Leigh Bardugo just isn’t my thing. I dnf’d her Grisha book and wonder woman was not for me at all.

    Your 10 days of sound like a little slice of heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thats an awesome month! I love watching people play Stardew Valley it is just so peaceful. I read the first two Pretty Little Liar books before and they are so different from the series and a lot darker. I need to get back to them!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. awww, kaleena!!! I haven’t had a time to read this until now, but thank you for linking up my post and it seems like you’ve had an awesome reading month in December!!! and I totally get the SoC DNF, I feel like I could have done that too if it wasn’t for my friends shouting in my ear to read it :S

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are totally welcome, Vicky!!! I had a lot of people screaming at me about the SoC DNF too, I just stopped caring. Did it at least get better for you? I am going to just watcnh the Netflix show when it is available because I am sure that the content is something I would LOVE, I just don’t think Bardugo’s writing is for me. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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