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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

-B

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Books I’m Excited To Read in 2023

My love for reading has grown exponentially since the pandemic – & my younger self would be so happy because I was such a bookworm back in the day. With a new year comes a new reading goal. And I’m striving for 100 books this year! And I have so many books I’m excited to finally read. This past year, it has made me so happy that you – my readers enjoy when I talk about books. Very few in my real life have the level of love for reading as I do – so the fact I found this corner of the internet where I can discuss books to this degree warms my heart. As much as I adore the blogging community, I’ve learned the book community is just as sweet. So thank you for listening & being entertained by my love for books. Today, I wanted to share a few new releases & books that are new to me that I hope to get to this year. I figured it would be fun to look back on this post & see if I actually manage to read them all. Let me know if you are excited to read these yourself or if you’ve read them before.

Light Bringer by Pierce Brown

The sixth installment of the Red Rising saga is releasing this summer. Last year, I fell in love with this sci fi series & my husband & I are both are stoked for this next book. If you are looking for a sci fi series that is epically fast paced, filled with plot twists & such memorable characters – definitely add this series to your TBR. I had no idea I would be so entertained with the sci fi genre as I am with this series & I can’t wait to see how the story continues.

Crescent City Series

I was gifted the first two books to the Crescent City series for Christmas. And although they have been out for some time, this series is new to me. And as an avid Sarah J Maas fan who read both A Court of Thorns & Roses series & Throne of Glass in 2022; I’m so happy to have another one of your series to read. And supposedly, the third book will be coming out sometime this year. So, I definitely want to get caught up.

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

In between my fantasy reads, I love getting lost in a high stakes thriller. And I discovered Alice Feeney after reading Rock Paper Scissors last year which I rated a solid five stars. Her thrillers are so good! I hope to read His & Hers next, which I have on my bookshelves as well as the rest of her back list. Most times, I catch the twist in thrillers. But Alice Feeney’s writing seems to leave me shocked.

Dance of Thieves Duology

My love for the fantasy genre grew this past year & so I’ve been wanting to add a few more series that will scratch the ACOTAR itch. I’ve heard great things about this romantic fantasy series & hope people are steering me in the right direction. Not to mention the covers are beautiful & look so nice on my shelf.

Bunny by Mona Awad

I’ve been told this is the weirdest book ever. And I’ve been holding it off because some people say it’s rather dark & messes with their head. But the curiosity is enticing & I need to know what the hype is all about. It’s one of those contemporary fictions that reminds people of Mean Girls if they are all in a cult. Others also compare it to Heathers mixed with The Secret History. A lot of the story isn’t what you may think & I have a feeling it’s a metaphorical mind fuck that I’m intimidated to be a part of. But I’m striving to read books out of my comfort zone this year & am curious to see my take on the story. *since posting this – I have read this & is the first finished book of the year – mini review coming soon*

Happy Place by Emily Henry

So far, I have mixed feelings on Emily Henry’s books. People We Meet on Vacation was a solid friendships to lovers summer read. And Beach Read was not what I was expecting with it’s grief storyline. And Book Lovers left me bored. But I am still curious what her newest release will be about & if it will be one I end up loving. The premise of a fake dating trope seems interesting enough & so I’m willing to test the waters once again.

The Serpent & The Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent

After reading a few great fantasy series in 2022, I definitely wanted to find some new books / series that would scratch that itch. This is a vampire fantasy romance & I’ve heard really great things. A lot of people compare this to ACOTAR & Throne of Glass if those series had vampires.

What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

-B

books, Uncategorized

Reading WrapUp: What I Read in September

I started the month in a bit of a reading slump & was jumping from book to book – which I rarely do. I don’t know what it was exactly. I think I can be such a mood reader at times, where I just have to get a taste of a few books before really getting into one. Luckily, there were still a few that really stood out & I was able to read more than I was projecting.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I finally started the TOG series this month & I’m so glad to be reading something else by SJM. This series is rather intimedating to start because the discussion of the reading order can be very confusing. After much deliberation, I decided to start with Throne of Glass instead of starting with the prequel / novella – Assassin’s Blade [ which we will get into later ]. Overall, I think it was a good start into this nine book series. I can already tell I’m going to love the main character, Caleana. The only thing I didn’t care for was how the main character was portrayed. In this story, you are told about how she overcomes being a slave for a few years. She is depicted as rather weak & pitiful [ especially in the beginning ]. But I feel like as the character development progress & the story thickens, I will be so sucked into this story.

Exodus by Kate Stewart

Last month, I read the first book of the Ravenhood series – Flock & found it to be confusing & cryptic. It gives off Fifty Shades of Grey but with more guys & fast cars. The saving grace was the amount of romance & spice which was still evident in the second installment. It took me some time to really get into this book for whatever reason. I think I’ve been so engrossed with fantasy, that I just found this smutty romance to fall flat. It honestly took me until 200 pages in – to be interested. And although, I can finally say I understand the infamous quote, “we love rainy days, don’t we baby?” – it just left me sad. I doubt I will read the final book of this series because overall, I found the plot to be downright ridiculous. I feel like the only reason why people rave about this series is for the smut. This was a big example of, “ booktok made me read it.”

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

If you’ve been catching up with my reading wrap ups for a few months now, you know the Red Rising series has put me in a choke hold. I absolutely love this series & decided to jump into the next installment after the trilogy. Iron Gold takes place 10 years later as Darrow continues to lead the Solar Republic. Without giving too much away, I’d say I really enjoyed the multiple POV’s throughout this book. The first three books took the point of view of just Darrow & having multiple characters and storylines come together really kept me on my toes. I feel like I’m watching a movie when reading these books & highly recommend them to everyone if you are wanting a page turner with tons of twists and turns.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

I was craving another thriller as we are getting closer to spooky season & I highly recommend with one as I give it a solid 5 stars! It takes a lot for me to give a thriller five stars because I tend to pick up on the twists early. But the way Feeney ends each chapter in a cliff hanger, I was hooked the entire time. Whenever I thought I was figuring out the twist, I kept getting stumped. I definitely want to check out more books by Alice Feeney including her newest release, Daisy Darker.

Assassins Blade by Sarah J. Maas

I don’t usually include books I don’t finish – but I got half way through this novella & decided to pick up on it later. If you are unfamiliar with the Throne of Glass series, Assassins Blade is a prequel of short stories about the main character Caleana. Although this information is good to know at some point, I felt like after reading Throne of Glass – I’d much rather continue with the main story [ or at least Crown of Midnight ]. I even read from some people on Reddit, that they didn’t even read this novella at all. So, since it was putting me in a reading slump, I decided to put it to the side & return to it later. It’s always a good reminder that DNFing a book is normal & sometimes we have to listen to our mood. Reading is supposed to be enjoyable, so if you aren’t feeling a book, you are more than welcome to put it down.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

I decided to close the month out by listening to Hopeless on audiobook. So, far I’ve read six CoHo books & am striving to get through most of them. This one is about a teenager named Sky who lives a rather secluded lifestyle away from technology & has been homeschooled her entire life. She also has a best friend named Six who teaches her the perks of lust vs. love. It’s her senior year, & she really wants to experience public school. She meets a guy named Dean Holder who has a rather mysterious past. This book went from a cringy insta love trope to very dark & sad. My one pet peeve with CoHo books is how over the top the plots can be. And overall, this is another depressing read from her. This is the first book of the Hopeless series. ( Hopeless, Finding Hope, Finding Cinderella, All Your Perfects & Finding Perfect).

In October, I plan to read quite a few thrillers & possibly more of the Throne of Glass series as well as the latest book from the Red Rising series. Let me know in the comments what you are looking forward to read this season. I’m always looking for more to add to my endless TBR.

-B