My First Monthly Reading Wrap Up Went Like… | January 2023

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 ].

Wow, I’m so happy I decided to read the Crescent City series this month. But now that I’ve read all of SJM’s series – I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. Do I re-read ACOTAR this year? Please let me know book series I should add to my TBR. I do hope to possibly start the famous Wheel of Time Series soon [ but that is a 14 book series…so yea ].

In the comments, let me know your favorite book you read this month



My 10 Favorite Books & Series of 2022

I read over 50 books this year & while a few were on the level of forgettable & underwhelming – others were god damn masterpieces. So, today I wanted to share with you the stand alone books & book series that I absolutely fell in love with this past year. And I highly recommend you check them out & add them to your TBR if you haven’t already. In 2022, my love for reading grew tremendously. I’ve always been a avid reader; even as a little girl, reading picture books in her crib [ while ripping out each page as I went along LOL]. But as technology advanced & life became busier, I found myself not finding time to read anymore. But this past year, I prioritized the hobby & swapped my screen time for reading books more often. I made the habit of choosing reading over other things & I’m so glad I did. Intentionally, I found the hobby to be very peaceful & relaxing & helped me escape from life’s obstacles. It’s my favorite form of self care.

*the links included in this post are not affiliated

With that being said, I hope this blog post inspires you to pick up a book & possibly discover your long lost love for reading. Here are the books & book series that stood out & that I would recommend over & over again…

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A Court of Thorns & Roses Series by Sarah J Maas

I decided to pick up the first book of this series in May to have something to read on the airplane coming home from my wedding weekend. I didn’t know how much I would love this book, let alone the entire series because I wasn’t a fan of the fantasy genre before. But I managed to read the other four books of the series & it is hands down one of my favorites. If you are looking for a fantasy series with romance, spice, action & a page turning plot, definitely check this series out. And if you’ve read it already, please message me on Twitter so we can rave about how amazing it is! Out of the entire series my two all time favorites are A Court of Mist & Fury as well as A Court of Silver Flames [ huge Nesta fan over here] because I seemed to really connect to these specific stories and characters on a relatable & emotional standpoint. I can’t wait for the 6th installment to come out in the future. Sarah J. Maas has became an author I absolutely love & if she writes it, I will read it!

Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown

My husband recommended this sci-fi series to me over the summer & I was very apprehensive because I NEVER read sci-fi before. But I was pleasantly surprised by this entire saga & highly recommend it because Pierce Brown’s writing is immaculate. If you are looking for a fast paced sci-fi action series that’s a mix of Star Wars, Hunger Games & Lord of the Flies, this series would be right up your ally. I’ve never read a book series where I was shocked by the twists & turns. The character development in this series is amazing & each character is unique in their own way. They need to make this a tv show in the near future. My all time favorites of the series are Golden Son, Morning Star & Dark Age. And I can’t wait until the newest release, Lightbringer, this summer.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

This stand alone thriller was a five star read & immediately placed Alice Feeney as an automatic buy as an author. I can’t wait to read more of her books in 2023 because her plot twists blow my mind. Rarely does a thriller surprise me like this book did. It’s a husband vs. wife redemption trope set in a secluded chapel Air B&B in a blizzard. A great choice for this winter!

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I read this book during Halloween time & I found it to be the perfect ghost story / haunted house trope with a twist. At some points, I found myself so creeped out by the eery descriptions & overall plot. It slightly reminds me of the classic movie, Amittyville Horror. Basically, it’s about the relationship between a daughter & a father. The father writes a book about their experience in this home they lived in for a few weeks. When her father dies, she realizes the father never sold the house & so she returns to find out the truth & whether his book is real or fiction.

Home Before Dark Mini Review: My October Reading Wrap Up

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

Another fantasy series I highly recommend would be the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I’m so proud of myself for reading the entire eight book series in this past year. And SJM has became one of my all time favorite authors. I can’t decide if I love this series more than ACOTAR. But if you are looking for a slightly more YA very plot driven fantasy series with hints of romance subplots, I suggest you read it this year. SJM’s writing is phenomenal & I love how she immerses her readers into these worlds & the characters. The plot of this book is a masterpiece. The way she foreshadows throughout the series & the character development made me lost for words at times. Although the final book was nearly 1,000 pages, I didn’t want it to end & I could have read another 1,000 pages. I may have cried a few times as well. LOL My all time favorites from the series are Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms & Kingdom of Ash. I’d say, it’s a rather slow burn of a series so if you have read the first book & aren’t that interested – keep going & read to at least Heir of Fire before you make your final decision.

Side note: the reading order of this series is controversial. Some people read the prequel: Assassin’s Blade first, last or in between. I decided to read them in the romanic order which goes as followed:

Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Assassins Blade, Heir of Fire, Empire of Storms / Tower of Dawn [ tandem read] & Kingdom of Ash

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I read a few of TJR’s books this past year & loved them all – but The Seven Husband’s of Evelyn Hugo stood out to me. I love historical fiction especially old Hollywood tropes such as this one. The plot twist was amazing & the story kept me on my toes & entertained until the very end. This was a highly anticipated read as well since I saw it all over Booktok & it was definitely worth the hype.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I was really surprised I would love this book because the interview style to it made me hesitant. But when I tell you I thought I was reading about an ACTUAL band from the 60’s & 70’s – if felt THAT real. A lot of people recommend listening to the audiobook [ which I didn’t do ] so you can become immersed in the characters & the music even more. I can’t wait for the tv show / movie adaptation coming to Prime video in March.

Daisy Jones & The Six mini review : May Monthly Reading Wrap Up

Beach Read by Emily Henry

I was kind of surprised I would be including this in my top tier reads list. The reason this book connected with me so hard was the talks & quotes about grief. I found myself tabbing & highlighting specific quotes that resonated with me & helped me through the grieving process oddly enough. The actual romantic storyline was subpar in all honesty – but the discuss of such a emotional topic & traumatic event – really helped me have a healthy perspective over loss.

The Ravenhood Series by Kate Stewart

Over the summer, I read the first two books of The Ravenhood series & at first – I didn’t know what to make of these books. I saw them all over the internet with the ever so famous rainy day quote. But after much deliberation, I consider it to be in my top reads for the year because of how emotionally attached I got to the characters & storyline. Especially the second book, Exodus – I never annotated a book so much! I hope to finish out the series this year with Finish Line. I would consider this to be a spicy romance with a “secret society / mafia” trope. If you like morally grey characters & fast cars, & a love triangle, I highly recommend this series.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This is a greek mythology retelling of before & after the Trojan War as well as a love story between Patroclus & Achilles. I didn’t realize how much I would love this story. I new it was such a popular read according to those on Booktok. If you are looking for an emotional rollercoaster & one that will possibly make you tear up, definitely pick this one up if you haven’t already. But I’m not responsible if you suffer extreme heartbreak.

These books I’ve mentioned fall under my five star reads this year. I’m definitely a book series type of gal & end up grouping a series together as one. Although there are always a few that are more favorites than others within said series. I can’t wait to read even more books in 2023. My reading goal is 100 books by the end of the year. Be sure to follow me on Goodreads to follow along with my progress.

In the comments, let me know some of your favorite reads of the year.


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I Read 11 Books in October | Monthly Wrap Up

Anyone else feel like October just flew by?! I can’t believe it. To those who participated in Blogtober, I hope it was a successful & fun month! I’m so happy I decided not to post daily this time around. Life has became too hectic for daily posting. On the other hand, I did manage to read 11 books this month! Like – how?! 10 physical books & one audiobook! And I also surpassed my yearly reading goal of 50 books! Before I begin this wrap up, I wanted to answer a frequently asked book related question – “how do I find the time to read so many books? I’m lucky to say I’m a relatively fast reader [ and the more i read – the faster i become ]. Also, I have revamped my routines to make reading more of a priority. My husband & I both have been reading pretty much every evening for the past 6 months. We find it relaxing & our way to unwind. Lately, we’ve been adding a bit of ambience by playing rain sounds with fall scenery on the TV. Highly recommend if you are trying to romanticize the autumn season. Regardless how many books you read a month, just picking up a book & finding something that helps you escape reality / expand your thoughts is something to be proud of. And I hope these wrap ups have sparked your interest in reading & inspired you to add a few to your TBR [ to be read ] lists. Let’s get into the wrap up…

Dark Age by Pierce Brown

I actually started this book at the end of September but completed it the first week of October. My husband actually recommended this series to me a few months back & I was pretty hesitant about it. Sci-fi / dystopian novels aren’t usually my thing. But he bated me by saying the series was like a combination of Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Star Wars & Lord of the Flies all wrapped up in one – & so I read the first book back in May. And next thing you know, in the span of a few months I read the entire trilogy as well as the two books of his latest installment [ which takes place 10 years after the first 3 books ]. Dark Age in particular is the darkest & most gruesome of Pierce Brown’s books [ hence the title] . But don’t let that deter you away. These books are filled with so much action, a little bit of slow burn romance & very fast paced. Another thing I appreciate with this entire series is the shock value. I usually see twists from a mile away. But PB writes in such a way that made me so surprised! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover

I told myself I wanted to read more Colleen Hoover books before I make a final cohesive rating of her as an author. And Reminders of Him has been on my bookshelf for months. And a lot of people considered this one their favorites. For me, I was very enticed by the plot – a mother released from prison who dreams of rekindling her relationship with her 5 year old daughter. It’s a small town “second chance romance” if the second chance is your deceased boyfriend’s best friend. There was a lot of potential with this one but the “twist” fell flat & the entire book although it had beautiful quotes, felt like a lifetime movie [ which isn’t my favorite ] . When it got to the ending, I was kind of expecting more of a dramatic & life altering conclusion. And for me, it was very predicable. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Of course, I had to read a spooky novel this month for Halloween. This was my first Riley Sager book [ & it certainly won’t be my last ]. This was the perfect haunted house / ghost story trope. And the premise was so interesting with the past & present POV’s. I was very much entertained the entire time & a little spooked out at parts [ not going to lie]. This tells the story of Maggie – who’s father [ who recently passed ] wrote a book about their experience in this victorian home. 25 years later, Maggie has returned to the home to find out the truth & whether her father’s book was all fiction or perhaps a bit more. This screams very much Amittyville Horror vibes if you’ve seen that movie. I can’t wait to read more of his books in the future. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

So, last month I finally started the first book of the Throne of Glass series – & I of course had to continue this month with the second installment. Once I finished the ACOTAR [ A Court of Thorns & Roses] series over the summer, I was craving another one of SLM’s books. Once again, I was thoroughly entertained & was immersed back into the world of fantasy with this read. I think I got a better understanding of the main character, Celeana. And we are introduced to a few new characters while also adding a hint of romance. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

This is where things went a little downhill. But you can’t always read an amazing book, right? I bought this book because a few booktubers recommended it & I thought it would be the perfect short [ under 300 pages] thriller I needed in between those thick fantasies. I almost DNFed [ did not finish ] this book because it was just simply- boring. I saw the twists from a mile away & I find the amnesia tropes to be so overdone within the thriller/ mystery genres. ⭐️⭐️

Love in The Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson

This is a perfect example of “don’t trust a book by a pretty cover.” What I thought was going to be a lighthearted spooky / true crime rom com ended up being a fairly deep story about a girl who returns to sell her deceased father’s home. She is a PhD student writing her dissertation on true crime / serial killers & quickly becomes convinced her neighbor is a serial killer himself. I found this story to be all over the place. Although it touched on many tough topics of grief, divorce, family dynamics, suicide, broken friendships & mental health – it also felt like a cringe spicy fan fiction. Phoebe & Sam’s romance was spicy but also very cringe. Some of the dialogue made me go 😬. And like most cheesy rom coms, the story was very predictable. Overall, I feel like some people would enjoy this for the lighthearted smut & see it as a good filler read – which is why I give it a solid 3 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Confess by Colleen Hoover

I warned you this was going to be a CoHo month – & so I decided to listen to the audiobook for this one. And once again, like Reminders of Him – this one felt the same. I will say, I find the premise of painting a person’s confessions so interesting. And the fact CoHo shared true confessions from fellow readers bumped up the rating for me. In general, I felt the romance between Auburn & Owen was good [ a mysterious artist with a bit of spice ]. I just felt like the twists weren’t that surprising & I’m personally not the hugest fan of the insta love trope. I want a romance that is a little more believable than that, you know? I also watched the tv series which made it slightly better but also kind of cringe. Have you read this one? ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Circe by Madeline Miller

I was excited to read Circe because I absolutely adored her other greek mythology novel, The Song of Achilles that I read back in May. I felt this book was perfect for spooky season because of her magical witchy tendencies. While some aspects of the story was rather dry, I think Madeline Miller writes these retellings so beautifully where you can feel all the emotions. For a literary fiction, I think her’s are worth reading because you learn something but also get the taste of a meaningful story. From her relationship with her sister, to finding love – I thought this was another well done read & I give it a solid four stars. If I were to compare the two though, I still think Song of Achilles is her best novel. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

This was probably my favorite book of the Throne of Glass series so far! This is the 3rd installment of the series. The story is finally growing more & more. And I absolutely loved the multiple POV’s & getting a glimpse of more characters. This was such a wild ride – especially towards the last few chapters. Rowan, ( one of the newest characters) is chef’s kiss. I knew this character was going to be in the books [ thanks to booktok spoilers] but people are so right to be obsessed with this character. And introducing more of the witch clans made it the perfect read for spooky season. It felt very much like Game of Thrones in some parts with witches riding on wyverns [ dragons] & I became enthralled with the world – per usual. SJM seriously knows how to write a fantasy story. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️👏🏻

Assassins Blade by Sarah J. Maas

I finally finished this novella since I DNFed it last month. The thing about this book was determining when was the right time to read this & fully appreciate the story since it’s a prequel / novella. You can read it before Throne of Glass , after Crown of Midnight or after Heir of Fire. So many decisions! I decided to choose the romantic reading order [ after Heir of Fire] , I pretty much knew what was going to happen. But I’m happy that I can move onto the rest of the series knowing Caleana’s backstory. Overall, this story – especially the ending, was heartbreaking. IYKYK. I may re – read this once I’m finished with the entire series just to see if I appreciate it even more. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

Let me just say, this was a highly anticipated read this month [ for a lot of us it seems ] . And although CoHo sheds light on domestic violence & the struggles of leaving a situation / relationship such as this one – this book made me so angry & frustrated. Yes, I love Atlas & Lily. A childhood friends to lovers / second chance romance is my cup of tea. But so many aspects of the story just pissed me off. And you would think if a book made me this emotionally charged, I would give it a higher rating. No. Lily deserves all the happiness in the world & to live the life she wishes. She should be with whoever she wants. No man ( especially a man who is violent towards her) should have a say. Period. Along with this, I just felt like the book was choppy & the ending seemed rushed. A lot of people pin this as a drawn out epilogue – & I fully agree. CoHo never really intended to make a second installment after It Ends With Us & so this was merely for the fans [ as she states in the thank you in the beginning of the book ]. I was discussing this book with a few other coho fans & I totally agree the twist with Atlas was very profound – especially the part where they state the title “it starts with us” IYKYK. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s hard to say if I’ll read this many books or more in the future – but we shall see! Reading has became my favorite activity & I just love immersing myself into the community. I’ve created a Good Reads account where you can keep up with my reading challenge & what I’m reading in real time. I hope you’ve been enjoying my book content on the blog. I still plan to share tons of decluttering posts & intentional living discussions especially with the holiday season approaching. In the comments, let me know what your favorite books were this month!