The top 8 books to read in December 2019

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in December 2019

Click on the covers to know more



Elder Anthony

I have deeply enjoyed the 3 previous books historical mysteries in this series on Giordano Bruno. This volume 4 was said to have been published in 2014, but I was never able to find it. Finally now available.
“Summer, 1585: As English ships are held captive in Spain, fear mounts of an Invincible Armada, built by King Philip II, and intended to invade English shores. Sir Francis Drake prepares to embark on an expedition by royal commission to cross the Atlantic and seize major Spanish ports, diverting Philip’s American treasure supplies to Queen Elizabeth. Giordano Bruno, radical philosopher and spy, accompanies his friend Sir Philip Sidney to Plymouth to oversee Drake’s departure. Unbeknownst to Bruno, Sidney intends to join the mission – and he wants Bruno to go too. But when a ship captain is brutally murdered, and Drake’s life threatened, it becomes clear that someone plans to destroy the expedition before it begins. Bruno and Sidney hunt for the killer, but are they being lured into a trap? And when Drake’s young wife and her cousin arrive, Bruno and Sidney find themselves thrown into an unexpected rivalry.”
I like the historical background so far. And there’s an esoteric book in the plot!
Received for review through Netgalley

Olga’s Egg
So far, very enjoyable. About the world of Fabergé’s eggs! Luscious descriptions.
Received for review through the publisher

Elder Anthony of Optina
I have a devotion to the Optina Fathers. This is book 2 in the series. Elder Anthony is incredible. In connection with this book blog, I discovered he loved reading A LOT, and he took lots of notes while reading.
I’m almost done, in the interesting excerpt of his diary.


  Lady Clementine   Dreamland

Hyperbole and a half

The first two are books that will come out early January, by two authors I really enjoy a lot.

Lady Clementine
“In 1909, Clementine Churchill steps off a train with her new husband, Winston. An angry woman emerges from the crowd to attack, shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill saves her husband.
Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the brilliant and ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies.”
Received for review through Netgalley

“The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.
The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.
But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.
Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.
Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.”
Received for review through the publisher

Hyperbole and a Half
For the third year, I’m participating in the Winter Challenge organized by my library: the staff picks a book for you to read. Looks like they thought I was not reading many graphic books, though I read so many mangas this year! So should be an easy challenge

If I have time, I have 3 books I received this past year I would like to read finally:
If You Cross The River, by Geneviève Damas
La grande escapade, by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Les grands cerfs, by Claudie Hunzinger



  Sur les chemins noirs The Lodger

Sur les chemins noirs
Recovering from a major accident, this author walks all over France through hidden ways. Also about escaping the radar of Big Brother and all the hyper connected society. I really enjoy it a lot.

The Lodger
“Somewhere in London a madman was at large. And then one night there came a knock at the door of a quiet lodging house in the Marylebone Road. . . . This novel, based on the Jack the Ripper murders, was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock.”
Will be listening for The Classics Club


We have several giveaways listed on the homepage

List of books I can swap with yours

Upcoming treat: come back tomorrow to enter my giveaway for my over 5,000 followers!


  • Review the book I read for Classics Spin #13, and other recently finished books
  • Prepare what I plan to read for The Japanese Literature Challenge 13 in January-March at Dolce Bellezza
  • Start preparing my fun end of the year stats!

Eiffel Tower Orange



2019: November wrap-up


📚 It’s really unusual for me, but I had a rather meh reading month, as for quantity and content. Actually, I tend to read more slowly when the books are not that great.
But I listened to a lot of audiobook content!

📚 AND I have so far already read more books than my yearly goal of 100 books. So it’s not all that bad.

📚 PLUS, November saw my 5,000th follower! As promised, I sent a book to the lucky new follower (Shalini at Shalini’s Books & Reviews – please go and visit her). That ended up being quite an adventure. I talked about it here.
I promised another giveaway for all my current followers, I will post it in a few days.

📚 I actually did read/browse some gorgeous books published by Rockridge Press and received through The Callisto Publisher’s Club, but as they are mostly cookbooks and children activity books, I do not count them in my statistics.
Some bloggers disagree with that. I don’t mind what other bloggers do, I personally only count books what I really read from A to Z, no word skipped.

📚 Thankfully, it was #Nonficnov, so I visited lots of blogs featuring fascinating nonfiction titles.

📚 And I’m currently reading 2 great books – come back tomorrow to know more about them!

So here are the few titles I read in November:

6 books:
3 in print 
with 862 pages, an average of 28 pages/day
3 in audio
= 25H10
, an average of 50 minutes

5 in mystery:

  1. Scare Me, by Richard Jay Parker – free ebook won in a giveaway
  2. Sharko, by Franck Thilliez – French audiobook
  3. The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe – audio, for The Classics Club
  4. A Noël Killing, by M.L. Longworth – received for review for Criminal Element
  5. The Mystery of the Hansom Cab, by Fergus Hume – audio, for The Classics Club

1 in nonfiction:

  1. Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth, by Tom Brown – free book won in a giveaway


  My Preschool WorkbookSad, but none of the books I completely read is worth being featured as a favorite. Let me tell you a few words about the ones I have not reviewed.

The Masque of the Red Death
I listened to this short story by Edgar Allan Poe for The Classics Club.
I was actually rather disappointed by it. I didn’t think there was much to it, probably because of the short story format. I even listened to an analysis of it, that was actually longer than the book itself, to be sure I had not missed something major. I didn’t even find suspense in it, as the end was obvious from the get go.

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab
And I listened to this one also for The Classics Club. I was really curious, as the author lived for a long time in New Zealand.
I was also rather disappointed. Even though it’s only 260 pages, I felt it was dragging for the resolution of the mystery. However, it was interesting to read about Melbourne in the 1880s. “A man is found dead in a hansom cab, and one of Melbourne’s leading citizens is accused of the murder. He pleads his innocence, yet refuses to give an alibi.” The reason why was also quite clear from the beginning.
I wanted to try this author, who supposedly really influenced Conan Doyle, but I don’t think I’ll read more by him.

A Noël Killing
If you want to try a Christmas mystery with a Provence setting, you may find A Noël Killing enjoyable. It was too slow for me, and as I notice the same criticism applied by other readers to the first book in this series, I don’t think I’ll stay in the company of Verlaque and Bonnet. It also contained inexact details about the region.
This is an excerpt of my review that will be published on Criminal Element mid December.


Classics Club: 6/50 (until September 2024)
2019 Calendar of Crime Challenge 20/12?
Where Are You Reading?: 21/50 – to be finished in ??
Total of books read in 2019 = 104/100 – FINISHED
Number of books added to my TBR this past month= 26


Guide to Healing the Earth  My Preschool Workbook Healing with Apple Cider Vinegar Feng Shui


The open giveaways are on my homepage


click on the cover to access my review (2013!)


Nonfiction 2019 Book Pairings


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Come back tomorrow
to see the books I plan to read in December.

Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange

How was YOUR month of November?


Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!


Kobo vs. Amazon: an adventure in gifting

A few weeks ago, I announced that I would send a gift to my 5,000th blog follower. The lucky winner is Shalini at Shalini’s Books & Reviews (please go visit her!).

So we started chatting on Twitter to see which book she wanted, etc.
Shalini only reads ebooks, so I tried to be an informed customer and send her an ebook through Kobo, which she uses, among other platforms.

BUT Shalini does not live in the same country I live in. From previous experiences, I know it’s better to log in the country you want to send the ebook to, to be sure the recipient can open it.

So here I go to Kobo from that country.
First hurdle, the log in. I have a kobo account, but it would not recognize my log in. Even though I knew my password, I did a password reset, to pass that hurdle. So I would reset the password, and log in again, and each time it would tell me it didn’t work. It only took 5 times…

When I tried to check out, I discovered that I could only send an ebook to somebody living in the same country as the PURCHASE address!!
So I thought, what about an eGift card? I tried that, but the page says that it’s not available!!
It says I could buy one from another retailer, there was only 1 in that country. I went to that store. Well, no, they do not sell eGift Card, and not even any physical Kobo gift card.

So, I contacted Kobo – by the way, the chat box is not that easy to find – it doesn’t pop up right away in a corner.

The person who answered took a long time. They ended up telling me I had to change my billing address on kobo to be able to send an ebook to another country, that it would be the only way. So they wanted me to lie about my address, and make up a fake address in another country I do not live in? Unreal!!!

I thought we were living in a global world…

So I went to plan 2, and sent Shalini the ebook through amazon.

Time spent on kobo: 1H15 minutes – no purchase
Time spent on amazon: less than 1 minute – book purchased.

There’s a bit of work to do to be a decent competitor.
I’m all for supporting other stores than amazon, but it needs to be somewhat easier.

Storm of Secrets

Book chosen by Shalini