1. Miracle On Regent Street by Ali Harris - 6/10 (full review). A fluffy, Christmas-themed piece of chick lit: the romantic elements are ridiculously cheesy and implausible, but the book is just about rescued by its sweet, heartwarming depiction of friendships and refreshingly non-patronising attitude towards its characters.
2. The Somnambulist by Essie Fox - 6/10 (full review). A pastiche of Victorian gothic in the tradition of Sarah Waters, this spooky mystery promises a lot but doesn't really deliver: the plot goes over the top with an excessive, and ultimately exhausting, number of twists.
3. The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - 6/10 (full review). One of the author's early YA books, recently translated into English, this is a bit daft and inevitably childish, but quite exciting - and much better than its predecessor, The Prince of Mist. A good easy read for a night in.
4. Invisible by Paul Auster - 10/10 (full review). Completely dazzling, compulsively readable, and effortless, this is my favourite book by Auster so far - a dark coming-of-age tale with the tone and pace of a thriller. This is what fiction should be, and I wish I could find more brilliant novels like this!
5. Man in the Dark by Paul Auster - 8/10 (full review). Telling the story of an ageing writer who relates the story of his own life through a fictional character trapped in an alternate, war-torn version of America, this is very short but quite enjoyable. However, it will be nothing new for fans of Auster, and it's not his best work (see above).
6. The Enchantment of Lily Dahl by Siri Hustvedt - 7/10 (full review). One of the strangest books I've read for a while. This is a meandering story about a girl finding her way through life in small-town America, with a cast of very odd characters and a heavy dose of the surreal. Interesting, but not wholly satisfying.
I think it's fair to say this year's reading hasn't got off to a great start, and with the obvious exception of Invisible (which has jumped straight into my all-time-favourites list), I haven't come across anything I've found enormously inspiring. I think that's why I've been slacking on writing up reviews and posting them here - it's hard to find the motivation when everything you're reading is just, well, okay. I'm slogging through two books at the moment and neither of them are really that great. None of this has made me feel particularly enthusiastic about reading and I've probably spent more of my spare time listening to music this month.
I have lots of books on my wishlist, most of which haven't been released yet, or else they've been released fairly recently and I can't afford them, so the library is my only hope. Speaking of which, I have still got a few library books waiting for me after I've finished the current couple, but my expectations are low and I'm starting to lose faith in my own judgement...! Have you read anything amazing lately? I need inspiration!