We are starting the new year off with a bang! I swear this has been such a great reading month! I read six books this month with two being over 800 pages. I’d say it was a good range of amazing reads that will for sure be some of my favorites of the entire year; while others were – MID. But regardless if a book met my expectations or left me disappointed, I rarely regret reading it because at least I’m “in the know”. And I’m slowly but surely knocking off more & more from my physical TBR. That way, I feel less guilty when I finally break my book buying ban. Which feels a lot sooner than later. *jumps for joy*. My hope for this year is to read a wide range of genres & get out of my comfort zone & read more longer series [ possibly – Wheel of Time?]. And I think this month, we are definitely headed in the right direction.
Bunny by Mona Awad
Talk about the weirdest book I’ve ever read. Bunny is definitely not for the faint of heart. And I personally, went in rather blind. So, when I realized this was considered in the horror genre – I was quite surprised. Especially when the book cover is rather vibrant. I would describe the plot as Mean Girls, if they created a darker version with murderous cults & animal cruelty. And I seriously thought I was going to absolutely despise this book. But as I kept reading & ignored the gruesome scenes, I started to question different parts & it became more of a psychological unraveling – which I personally love. If you’ve seen the movie, Shutter Island, I think you could appreciate the concepts of this story. What really sold me was the final sentence. It literally caused me to go down the Reddit rabbit hole [ pun intended] & look up all the theories. And for that reason alone, I give this book a solid 3.5 stars [ almost 4].
Crescent City: House of Earth & Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Starting this series is one of my highly anticipated reads of the year & I knew I wanted to start it right away after receiving them for Christmas. But if you’ve seen the thickness of the books, you know what a commitment it is. This is a urban fantasy written by the queen, SJM. So, basically it’s your typical fantasy story with Fae & other mythical creatures – but they have cellphones, watch sports, play beer pong & go to clubs. I read someone describe it as a fantasy frat house & honestly – that’s rather spot on. But of course like any fantasy, the plot slowly thickens. I would say, this first book was a rather slow burn & getting through the initial world building took some time. But again, SJM can do no wrong in my eyes & the character development, slow burn forced proximity romance, countless subplots & redemption story really made it a wild ride. Especially the final 200 characters that immediately made me want to go to the next one. And for my readers who love a good murder mystery & want to dip their toes into the fantasy genre, I highly recommend this series. A solid 5 stars for me.
Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover
This is where things went slightly down hill. And I kind of regret taking a slight break from such an amazing fantasy series to this mediocre novella, but you win some & you lose some. I mainly read this one because it was free on the Apple Books app & although I was going to swear off CoHo books this year, my curiosity got me once again. Now, I’m not saying Colleen Hoover is a horrible author. I will always have a place in my heart for Verity & will always recommend it. But lately I find her to be someone who is letting the fame get to your head & a lot of her books are almost too “realistic” & borderline “the glorification of trauma”. Basically, I don’t get the wanted escapism from her books & like this one – some feel rather mid tier fan fiction for my adult taste. This particular novella is a part of the Hopeless series [ which received 2 stars after I read it last year ]. Check out my mini review on Hopeless in my October reading wrap up. This tells the story of Sky’s bestfriend named Six [ what kind of name is that? btw] & her teenage sexual escapades. She has never been in love before until she meets this mystery man in a dark high school’s janitor closet. His identity is kept mysterious. A year later, Six meets a boy named Daniel & attraction instantly forms. You can kind of see where is this going… I personally give this book 2 stars for it’s immature plot & predictability. I feel like if I was a teenager, I would have enjoyed this book a lot more. But as an adult, I just cringe.
Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
This book is the perfect example of reading something out of your comfort zone & not fully grasping the writing style & even concept of what the author was trying to persuade. Or it was simply the overall mood of the book just didn’t gel with me. Who knows. But I found this writing style rather difficult to read because I felt like it was a translated version so the English was rather broken. Not only this, but it felt like I was reading a play or musical of sorts which really made me uninterested. The concept of the book which are an array of short stories all taking place in a coffee shop that allows people to return to the past to replay but [ plot twist ] CAN’T change the future. I feel like it’s a story of acceptance & that even if we can’t change the past, we have to sometimes simply live with it & move forward. But the stories were rather sad & depressing & I just couldn’t appreciate it like some others seem to do. Rating: 2.5 stars
The Housemaid by Freida McFadden
When I say I devoured this book – I literally couldn’t put it down. If you are looking for a fast paced thriller with short chapters, this book is for you. It gave me Verity vibes from the first chapter. This tells the story of a woman who gets hired to be a housemaid for a wealthy family. I will say, I really enjoyed the beginning of this book a lot more & the twist although surprised me at first – was a rather predicable one that is seen in many thrillers. I also was a little bothered by some of the character’s actions. I understand it’s a thriller so psychopaths is a common trope, but some of the scenes left me thinking WTF?! And once I discovered the main twist, the ending kind of fell flat for me. And I was just rushing to get it done. I still enjoyed it because the beginning really made me hate the wife alongside the housemaid & all the miscommunication etc. Overall, I give this a solid 3.5 stars & could have gotten 4 stars if the ending had not been so predicable.
Crescent City: House of Sky & Breath by Sarah J. Maas
We are finally redeeming ourselves with this final read of the month. I finally decided to continue the Crescent City series. Again, this book was quite the read to get through & once again the beginning really seemed to drag on & to grasp the new characters & plot that is introduced. I’ll be completely honest, I feel like there are parts of this book that really drag on & there were times where I just wanted to get to the meat & potatoes. I also felt like it was rather hard to picture some of these scenes. I’ve read my fair share of fantasy & so this was the first time where I was reading scenes & asking myself “what is happening right now?” But although the plot seemed to thicken continuously with countless subplots, I was hear for it. And once I got to the middle of Part 2, things really started to flow. For me, I can appreciate a complex fantasy series because it really reels me in & provides that proper escapism. There got to a point where I was finally just breezing through the characters & wanting to see what happens next. So much emotion & beautiful moments. And of course, I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but that ending was MINDBLOWING!!! IYKYK. I completely understand why so many people are anxiously waiting for Crescent City 3 to release. I’m eagerly waiting & will be down the SJM theories rabbit hole for the time being. Rating: 5 stars [ a million stars if i could ].