The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

December Haul and the Book That Won 2015

on December 29, 2015

December is almost over, therefore so is the season of continuously reclining, whilst shovelling chocolates and/or mince pies and/or Baileys into my face-hole every minute of the waking day. I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas had a lovely one indeed. I’m pretty certain I have tripled in size over the last couple of weeks, but the good news is I’m feeling so rotund and lazy that the only thing I’ve had the slightest bit of energy to do over the holidays (besides said chocolate-shovelling) is read! Yay for reading!

I stayed up late last night finishing The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey, which was my 100th book of the year. I don’t want to ruin the perfection of this number (I mean seriously, I didn’t even do it on purpose!), but on the other hand I really want to start reading all of the amazing books I received for Christmas. Dilemma!

I can’t believe 2015 is coming to an end, and that I’ve been blogging for 6 whole months now! I’m so happy I joined the book blogging community, as I’ve met some wonderful like-minded people here. I’ve had so much fun rambling and ranting and fangirling about books with you all this year. Can’t wait to do the same thing all over again next year!

As I mentioned above, I’ve officially read 100 books in 2015. I was planning on listing my top books of 2015, but I think I’ve squealed about most of them enough over the past few months, so I’d only be repeating myself. What I will tell you, however, is that I’ve chosen my favourite book of 2015. And the winner is…


Wild by Cheryl Strayed! This book wasn’t published in 2015, but it received a lot of hype this year after the DVD release of the movie adaptation starring Reece Witherspoon. Wild is a memoir written by a young woman who made the impulsive decision to hike 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in America on her own, with no prior training or experience with hiking whatsoever. Who would have thought I could be so utterly gripped by a book which essentially tells the story of a very long walk?

Cheryl Strayed writes with so much emotional honesty, and I cried several times whilst reading her story, particularly in the opening chapters where she describes hitting rock bottom after the death of her mother and the break-up of her marriage (the grief and pain of which led to her decision to take off on her own across America), but also throughout her journey as she slowly begins to heal. As well as being an emotional read, it was also an entertaining one. There are lots of edge-of-seat moments where Cheryl’s journey leads her into danger (and BEARS!), and there’s also plenty of humour: I was particularly amused by Cheryl’s severe case of overpacking for the trek (she couldn’t even lift her rucksack off the ground!)

I picked this book up when I was in a bad place, because I knew it would give me some much-needed perspective, inspiration and hope. I found Wild very empowering, and although I haven’t set off on any solo hikes across America this year (see previous description of myself as ‘rotund and lazy’), this book gave me the strength to set off on a different kind of journey which has led to me ending 2015 in a very happy place, which I never would have believed possible at the beginning of the year.

Wild had a huge emotional impact on me, as well as being an engagingly-written, real-life adventure, and for those reasons, it is my favourite book of 2015!

I received lots of wonderful books for Christmas this year from my lovely friends and family, and I naturally treated myself to a few Kindle self-gifts too! Here’s my book haul for December:

***To have and to hold***

The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis


I received this as a Christmas present from Aura, a fellow book blogger who also happens to be one of my best friends in real life! I am obsessed with the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders Cassie Clare has created, therefore Aura knows me very well indeed. ❤

The Time Chamber: a magical story and colouring book by Daria Song


I received this gorgeous adult colouring book from my parents! I am a little bit in love with the pictures. I’m so happy colouring for grown-ups is now a thing, because it’s not only relaxing, but so much fun. Really hoping adult playgrounds will catch on next year, because slides and roundabouts, yay!

Harry Potter Colouring Book


I squealed when I unwrapped this on Christmas morning! Now all I need is a maroon crayon for Ron’s fave jumper.

Harry Potter Page to Screen by Bob McCabe


My brother bought me this amazing book for Christmas! We did the Harry Potter studio tour earlier in the year for my birthday, and I loved it so much, so I’m really excited to find out more about how JK Rowling’s incredible books were adapted for the screen. This is now officially the most beautiful and most enormous book I own (it weighs about 5 kilos, I’m not even kidding!)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer


I couldn’t ignore the Lunar Chronicles hype any longer, so I added Cinder to my Christmas wishlist, and happily, that wish was granted. I love fairytale retellings, and I’m really excited I finally get to experience what everyone else has been raving about for months!

Don’t Look Now and other stories by Daphne du Maurier


Another Christmas gift! I’m so happy with this book, as Daphne du Maurier is one of my favourite writers. I love Don’t Look Now (it’s seriously atmospheric and creepy), but I haven’t read many of the others in this collection, so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into these.

The Lottery and other stories by Shirley Jackson


I read Shirley Jackson’s chilling short story, The Lottery, a while ago, and I’ve been wanting to read more of her work ever since. As you probably know by now, I’m a huge fan of strange and creepy writing, so I was very excited to open this one on Christmas day!

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella


The Shopaholic books are my favourite comfort reads, and never fail to make me laugh! Looking forward to snuggling up with this one.

The Winter Children by Lulu Taylor


This was another Christmas gift from my mum, and it looks like an intriguing, atmospheric (and potentially creepy!) family mystery. I love me some dark secrets, and this book promises to be full of them. Can’t wait to read this!

***Digital Love***


I don’t have a very big Kindle haul this month, but I did treat myself to The 5th Wave (and its sequel The Infinite Sea) by Rick Yancey, as the movie is coming out soon, and I’ve been wanting to read this series for a long time. These books were so pacey and exciting, and I stayed up long into the night finishing the second one. That twist! I’ll be posting a review of this series soon. Can’t believe I now have to wait until May for the final instalment! I can’t!!!

So, that’s a wrap for December (and 2015!) What books did you add to your shelves this month? And for those who celebrate, did you get any books or bookish goodies for Christmas? I hope you’ve all been as spoiled as I have 😀

I’m away for the next few days, so this will be my last post for 2015. Happy New Year lovely people!


25 responses to “December Haul and the Book That Won 2015

  1. planandread says:

    Hope you enjoy Cinder! That series gets better as it goes because each new book builds on the last one so well. I’d say the hype is worth it!

  2. tanazmasaba says:

    So glad you are picking up Cinder! It starts out REALLY slow but it gets better trust me. Hope you join the fandom!

    And wow 100 books! Great job girl! 👏👏👏

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thanks, I can definitely see that happening, because I’m getting really into the series now! I know what you mean about it starting slowly, but by the end I was so hooked. I’ve just started Scarlet, and I think I’m going to end up marathon reading the series! And thanks, it’s the first time I’ve ever counted how many books I’ve read in a year – I think I’m going to go for a lower goal this year though, because I feel like I rushed through quite a few of them, and I want to try and savor books more this year! 🙂

      • tanazmasaba says:

        Same here! One of the reasons why it takes me nearly a week to read a book is because I want to enjoy the feels and love the story as I read on. Can’t wait to see your reviews! :*

      • mudandstars says:

        Me too! Although having vowed I would read more slowly, I am getting through The Lunar Chronicles pretty quickly, I’m almost onto Winter now… I have found a new obsession, help!! 😀

  3. Tricia says:

    That Harry Potter coloring book looks amazing! I feel like that + reading + chocolate-face-shovelling is a PERFECT holiday combination.

    • mudandstars says:

      Doesn’t it? I haven’t had a chance to colour any of the pictures yet, but I’m planning a lazy weekend so it’s my top priority! And somehow I still have chocolate left, so I can do some chocolate-face-shovelling at the same time 🙂 How was your Christmas?

      • Tricia says:

        My Christmas was great! There was a lot of hiking, eating, and playing games. I just got a late gift of an adult coloring book, and I really like it. It’s calming and distracting at the same time.

      • mudandstars says:

        Sounds like a perfect way to spend Christmas! 🙂 ooh which adult colouring book did you get? I’m building up quite a collection of them now, they are quite addictive!

      • Tricia says:

        I have Tangle Wood – it’s a really lovely fantastical/fairy tale coloring book. Do you have that one yet?

      • mudandstars says:

        Oooh, I don’t, but I’ve just looked it up, and it’s so pretty! Adding to my wishlist 🙂 (although I now probably have enough colouring books to last me into old age…)

      • Tricia says:

        Hahaha, yes, but the OPTIONS. You need options.

  4. Oh my god adult playgrounds need to become a thing. It’s so unfair that kids get to do all the fun stuff 😂 I hope you’ll fall in love with The Lunar Chronicles just as much as I did 😊 You’ve got a lot of great gifts!

    • mudandstars says:

      I know. it’s extremely unfair! Especially considering they also get out of all the un-fun adult things WE have to do, like work and rent and responsibilities… if anything we deserve a playground far more than they do! 🙂 And thanks, I’m loving it so far, I’ve just starting Scarlet this evening. Which book was your favourite in the series?

      • OH MY GOD YES. What do they need to have playgrounds for?! They can just laze around all day without having to worry about anything. Let’s start a petition for adult playgrounds. It’s a tie between Cress and Winter I think! 🙂 While I loved Cinder, Scarlet is the book that made me fall in love with the series! I’m happy you’re loving it 😀

      • mudandstars says:

        I will gladly sign that petition! I think Cress is my favourite so far, I feel that’s where things started to get epic!! And I really, really want Cress and Thorne to happen in book 4!! I’m reading Fairest at the moment, and against my better judgement I’m starting to feel sorry for Levana… didn’t see that coming! Really excited to start Winter 😀

      • I’m keeping my mouth shut haha 😛 You’ll have to see for yourself! Winter is sooo good! 😀

  5. “Cinder” and “The 5th Wave” were on my Christmas Book Haul, too. The Harry Potter book looks very interesting. Hope you enjoy “The Shadowhunter Codex!” 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks! Ooh, have you started Cinder or The 5th Wave yet? Let me know how you get on 🙂 I’ve just finished Cinder, and now I’m planning to binge-read the rest of the series!

  6. I’m totally late reading this post, but there are just so many books I love on it!

    I LOVE the Lunar Chronicles. Can’t wait to hear what you think 🙂 And I need that Harry Potter coloring book! Too cool!

    I really need to read Cassandra Clare’s books. I keep hearing great things 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks for stopping by! I still haven’t had a free moment to start the colouring book 😦 but I know it’s going to be a good pick me up on a rainy day! I really recommend all of Cassandra Clare’s books, I completely fell in love with them!! Let me know if/when you start them 🙂 And I’m glad you love the Lunar Chronicles as much as I do, I’ve literally just finished Winter about five minutes ago, so I’ll be posting a review soon – I am feeling so bereft now that it’s all over!! But it was a perfect ending to the series 😀

      • Hope you find a good rainy day to color soon 🙂 And I can’t wait to read your review of Winter. I just posted mine last week. Did you see it? You should check it out. And have you heard about Stars Above?? It’s a little series of short stories about the Lunar Chronicles. Comes out next month. I’m super excited for that too! 🙂

      • mudandstars says:

        Ooh sorry I missed it, but will check it out now! 😀 I’ve posted mine now too – it took so long to write because I just couldn’t work out how to get all of my feelings into something coherent and resembling a review haha. It’s basically twice the size of all my other reviews – oooops. And thanks for the tip about Stars Above, I pre-ordered it straight away 😀 Can’t wait!!

      • Haha that’s just how I felt about writing a review of Winter–so many feelings! Haha. And glad you pre-ordered Stars Above! It looks so good!! 🙂

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