Monthly Roundup – December 2020

We reach the end of 2020 having faced a challenging year. This month started with the lifting of Lockdown 2 and ended with more stringent restrictions for large swaths of the UK. For now, Wiltshire is in a tier that allows gyms to remain open and I had returned to my thrice weekly visits. However, in the week before Christmas, bad form on a deadlift resulted in a back injury that forced me to rest and recuperate. As I had been struggling with a number of foot injuries which hampered running efforts I decided to abandon all my digital challenges – disappointing after beating numerous personal bests before everything started to hurt even more than is usual.

Daughter returned to Wiltshire mid December for a month long stay. Thus we were all together for the festive season and could enjoy our quiet celebrations. Online grocery shopping comes with a risk of items not available or random substitutions. As we had no guests to cater for I could relax into accepting whatever was available without anxiety. The only item my children voiced regret at missing from their Christmas dinner was sprouts – I will add them to our next midweek roast.

Younger son has heard from his university that the rest of the academic year will be online. He has paid thousands of pounds for a year’s accommodation that he will not have used for even a night. Although I am glad to have him here rather than isolated in halls, the wasteful addition to his already large student debt is infuriating.

I posted reviews for 8 books in December – 4 fiction (1 translated) and 4 non fiction. Robyn added a bumper 14 more as part of her Cosmere Christmas series (introduced here). Her final review in this series will appear next week.

We each posted an annual roundup of recommended reads selected from those books we reviewed on the blog this year – do check them out: Annual Roundup: My Books of 2020 and Robyn’s Roundup: 20 Books of 2020.

As ever in these monthly posts, click on the title below to read the review and on the cover to learn more about the book.



The Last Good Man by Thomas McMullan, published by Bloomsbury
The Piano Student by Lea Singer (translated by Elisabeth Lauffer), published by New Vessel Press


Greensmith by Aliya Whiteley, published by Unsung Stories
Beastings by Benjamin Myers, originally published by Bluemoose, now available from Bloomsbury


Non Fiction

Seven Kinds of People You Find In Bookshops by Shaun Bythell, published by Profile
Broken Consort by Will Eaves, published by CB editions


Fifty Words for Snow by Nancy Campbell, published by Elliott & Thompson
It’s the End of the World by Adam Roberts, published by Elliott & Thompson


Robyn’s Cosmere Christmas 

All the following books were written by Brandon Sanderson and published by Gollancz, with Dawnshard due out in 2021.

The Final Empire


The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages


The Emperor’s Soul
The Alloy of Law

Shadows of Self
The Bands of Mourning

The Way of Kings

Words of Radiance



Sourcing the books

Robyn is on Netgalley and is grateful for all approvals of titles requested. She also purchased or was gifted a number of hard copies, including some received for Christmas.

There were no books for me under the Christmas tree. Thankfully, I was sent a good number of welcome additions to my TBR pile.


As ever I wish to thank all the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.

My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your continuing support is always appreciated.

And to everyone reading this, I wish you and yours good health and as much mental stability as can be mustered in these challenging times. May we strive, at all times, to be kind  xx

Robyn and I wish all our readers a New Year filled with fabulous books

4 comments on “Monthly Roundup – December 2020

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    Ouch! Can your son not get any money back from accommodation costs? Such a frustration!

    • Jackie Law says:

      Unless the government steps in, I can’t see a landlord returning rent paid under an agreed contract that was always available for use – just no longer needed.

  2. It infuriates me that students, and the country’s future, are not being refunded accommodation costs. Here’s hoping 2021 will see you all, healthy, fit and happy Jackie.

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