June 2022 Book of The Month Review:

Title: The Stardust Thief

Author: Chelsea Abdullah

Rating: 4.5/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I’m going to be thinking about this book for weeks if not the rest of the year! I need to start out with that. There will probably be spoilers in this post so if you want to read it (which you totally should!) I will see you for the next post. 

            I have had Book of the Month for a year now and this book blew me away! It’s going on the favorites shelf because I need it in my permanent, ‘I keep this out all the time’ collection and recommend it to everyone I know!

            It has so many twists and turns and I love all the magic throughout the story. I got real sad several times because Chelsea, don’t kill my fave character! I love the bodyguard; I love him so much. Like I want a jinn bodyguard! It for sure took me a little while to get into it and then when I did, I watched a film in my head with it. 

            This book has amazing and dimension characters, a brilliant story, and imagery that could rival an actual movie. I loved the building of the story through the relics and the tales told throughout. I loved this book and let’s be real I might change my score on it to a 5 eventually. I loved it. 

            I was so sad multiple times because there is a lot of death, like so much. The twist! I didn’t picture it until like a chapter or two before it happened and man, Omar’s a bitch. That’s it, that’s all I’m saying Omar a bitch. I don’t like to swear on here but he is and he deserves to be called as such. 

            I am so glad that it’s part of a trilogy because this one left it open and now. I need the next one, soon, please, I am begging you. (As someone who writes, I get that it takes a long time to plan, write, and publish (I am still always at the writing stage because I fear rejection)) Though normally I don’t want to read the next book right now. I do want this story to settle in me and this is for sure one that I could reread and that for me is rare. 

            I don’t know a lot of the myths but I loved the Forty Thieves in this, again, huge twist with this. There were so few threads that were left untied and that is so rare for a book. I cannot and I know that I just said this, I cannot wait for the next two. 

            I cannot wait to see the jinn city and learn more of the truth of Qadir. I cannot wait to see where she takes the characters next, I really can’t. I have certain things that I would like to happen, but they probably won’t. 

            If you want a book that touches on the old legend of the Forty Thieves and gives major Aladdin vibes, this book is so for you! A strong female lead, a bumbling but lovable prince, and a really bad ass and protective jinn bodyguard. Magic, jinn, sword fights, all of it. It was so good. I was also totally okay with the shifting perspectives and I am glad it was only three though I would have loved some chapters from Qadir’s point of view I think they would just be him groaning because the humans were getting into trouble. 

            I would say that if you are averse to a lot of mentions of death, suffering, and even torture be aware as you walk into this one. It’s not super focused on, but there is a lot of death involved throughout. 

            If you want to see what else I’ve read this year with Book of The Month, you totally can! January, February, March, April, and May.

            Well, I think that’s about it for me so I will see everyone later in the week with another post and until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ

Books I Read in June 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I was not expecting to have to start this document on June 1st, but here we are and I have already finished a book in June. So, I have to start the post. I am hoping to really knock a big chunk of my current physical TBR, I know that I have my TBR books and my extras books. 

            I am really hoping to read about 13 books this month, if not more. I have the time off so I might as well get some reading done and completed and all of that. I have some books I am really looking forward to reading this month. 

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross (3.7/5)

            This one was cute, I love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, I read all of it in a day. It was predictable because it is for sure a retelling so it is going to be predictable and the last like 20 pages were a little weird. I really enjoyed it though, it took me a little bit to get into but then I for sure got into it. I really liked the mirror mechanic in this one and all of the little twists and turns that were not in the Disney version. Beauty and the Beast is for sure one of my favorite Disney movies so when this was given to me as a gift, I was excited. I have not read the original fairytale but it is for sure a book I own and would like to read eventually. 

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher (4.5/5)

            I picked this one up in March when I was on spring break in Indiana, it was the on the BookTok table, but I have never seen this book on BookTok. Who knows? It was super cute, accepting yourself and all of that. I laughed out loud more times than I would like to admit. I loved Violet and Lincoln’s dynamic and there are of course a lot of tropes that were utilized in this one. It’s of course a happy ending because it wouldn’t be a cute little rom com if there wasn’t a happy ending. I loved the characters and her grandmother is my favorite character in the whole book. I cannot wait for the sequel with her sister Rose as the main character (I think?) I looked at the synopsis for a total of three seconds before adding it to my want to read list. I really enjoyed this one and it was a super cute and quick read. 

Hot Vampire Next Door Season 3 by Nikki St. Crowe (5/5)

            I don’t rate many things five, that’s a hard rating for me to give out, but this one, this whole series has me in its clutches and I cannot wait for the next one! It all takes place over like 48 hours before to during Jessie’s pledge. Like all hell breaks loose and it let me on a cliffhanger! Nikki! Come on! Also, if Jessie and Bran don’t get a happy ending, I will riot, I will 100% riot, no one will know any peace. Like it’s spicy (real spicy and a little dark) and we got some from Bran’s perspective in this one. I cannot, it was so good! I got this like the moment it was released in paperback and then it burned a hole in my desk for two days while I read Not the Witch You Wed, it was so worth the wait though and if I really wanted to, I could read it on Kindle, but I like the tension of me checking Amazon several times a day after the ebook has been released for me to get it in paperback. There are also a lot of tie in plot lines with this one and an expanding world so here is my patiently, but not patiently at all waiting for her to give me more! 

Hooked by Emily McIntire (4.5/5)

            This was not supposed to be my next book, but I got three chapters into another book and got bored so I am going to work on that while I read other books or I am going to get bogged. A very dark reimagining of Peter Pan, hold crap was it spicy and like real dark romance. It was really good though, I read it in two sittings because I could not put it down. Like he’s not a hero, but at this point heroes are a little over rated, I love a good morally grey book boyfriend. It’s about revenge and family and loyalty and betrayal, that one thing can cascade events through time and space and it’s a lot. I have read a lot of Peter Pan themed fiction in the last year or so and this I think has been my favorite. Y’all there are a lot of trigger warnings with this one, if you want to look them up go and do it, it’s not for the faint of heart. I can promise that, it’s so good, but it’s dark. 

The Sleeping King by Bill Flippin and Cindy Dees (DNF)

            I don’t DNF and everyone who has been around my blog for a while knows that. I got like 40 pages in and it just…I didn’t like it. I have decided that I am going to DNF it and the rest of the series. Not every book is for everybody, and this one did threaten to throw me into a reading slump. So, I have chosen to let it go and move on. I am not going to count this toward my TBR now, I will pick another fantasy book from my Extras pile to replace this one. I just decided that this one isn’t for me and instead of slogging through 600 pages or skimming, I’m moving on. I should have done that with a number of books in May and I regret it. This might be your favorite book, but I felt like I was reading a weird transcript of someone’s D&D campaign, also with the forced breeding insinuation and aspect at the beginning, nah, I’m good.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (3.5/5)

            It was a cute book; the premise was really fun. There were just some things that rubbed me as a person the wrong way. I loved Leon and Tiffy and the whole concept of getting to know someone through post-it’s that is so cute and I do mean so cute. The unhinged ex-boyfriend, that hit me, that was weird and like emotional manipulation and gaslighting is never okay in a relationship. If you do something wrong, own it. Don’t let someone feel like they aren’t good enough because you want to be right. I have dealt with emotional manipulation in life more than I would like to discuss and reading this it hit me. There were some things that I feel like got left or untethered, was there ever a restraining order? The epilogue was what lost me on it, it really was, it was cute and they finally get together and he proposes with notes but not with words, I understand being an introvert, but that was a lot. The writing style with Leon’s chapters was also more like a transcript than prose and it was odd. It was cute, don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the cute little romcom, but I think that it will suit someone else’s bookshelf better.

The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul by Douglas Adams (2.8/5)

            Okay, I loved the TV series, I really did it was so good and this series as a written model just doesn’t make any sense to me. I finished this because I had to. Like I liked the parts with Thor and Kate in them more than I liked the parts with Dirk Gently in them, I will be unhauling it because I don’t want them in my permanent collection. I skimmed a lot of it, I don’t and didn’t mean to skip pieces of it but I just couldn’t get into it like I wanted to. But I’m done with it and that’s fine. I know that Douglas Adams is one of those authors that so many people love, I just didn’t and that’s okay. 

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah (4.5/5)

            This one was my June Book of The Month, it will have its own post up soon. I will be thinking about this book for the rest of the year! I loved it so much and I cannot wait for the other two! Like it took me a while to get into it and then I could not put it down, I loved the characters, the story, the imagery. The ending of this one, I cannot wait for the next one! 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (5/5)

            It should shock no one that this series is a 5 for me. This book was amazing. I laughed so hard at some points and almost cried at others. Like there are so many twists and turns and a few times I for sure said “holy plot twists Batman” thanks to BookTok I know some things, but there was a part that my heart stopped beating in my chest. I was like Sarah! Sarah, don’t you do this to me. I love the bat boys, but I would be blind and stupid not to. A lot of people that I have seen on BookTok did not like this book all that much, I loved it. (I also finished the day I found out that I didn’t get a job I wanted so it hurt for a lot of different reasons.) A Court of Frost and Starlight is actually the last book on my TBR for this year so I am looking forward to reading that one too. 

Sea of Lost Love by Santa Montefiore (3.5/5)

            It took me a long time to get into it. Like it was a who-don-it with several interesting twists, I called most of them. The plot felt a little messy for me and I had some moments where I wasn’t sure whose perspective it was in. I enjoyed it for the feel-good parts of the story, not the espionage parts. The whole plot line with the priest was a little weird. The parts in Italy were the best, it was just a lot to be honest. I liked it, I have had it in my collection for a really long time and it was time to read it. If you like a British high-born family in the late 1950’s falling apart at the seams, this one is for sure for you. 

            I didn’t hit my 13 goal and that’s okay, I read a lot of big books this month and I took some days off. I also wrote over 250,000 words in June and that is so many words, like I finished drafting three books, as of right now and I still have two days left. I might get another in that I started this month. I have been off in my own head a lot and sometimes that means I don’t read as much. 

            I am unhauling four books this month, which is weird for me. I also unhauled a whole series because I got 40 pages in the first one and didn’t want to read anymore, so I am just letting the whole series go. I did still read quite a bit this month, I enjoyed most of the books that I read, I am going to say that. Just because I am unhauling the book does not necessarily mean I didn’t enjoy it. I just never plan on reading it again. 

            I want a library and I know that takes 1,000 books, but I want to make sure of those 1,000 books that I love every single one. I like a lot of books, but if I want them in my permanent collection, I have to love them. If the ones I unhaul are your favorite books, that’s totally okay! We all love what we love and we can get along, I promise, we don’t have to step on each other’s toes to just live. 

            If you want to check out what else I have read this year, you totally can because there are over 60 books now. January, February, March, April, and May

            Alright, I was going to give my normal end of post salutation, but with everything that’s happening in the world right now, stay safe out there. Be nice to each other. A lot of us are going through it. 

            -MJ 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 6/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 5/9 (because one has been DNFed) (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, )

Historical: 8 /10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, A Study in Death, In Falling Snow, Sea of Lost Love, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 10/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Study in Ashes, A Clockwork Heart, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Beast’s Heart, A Court of Wings and Ruin, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 6/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, )

Extras: 16/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games, A Not So Meet Cute, Not the Witch You Wed, Hot Vampire Next Door S3, Hooked, The Flatshare, )

May 2022 Book of The Month Review:

Title: Darling Girl

Author: Liz Michalski

Rating: 4/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are, I have had book of the month for almost a year now which is super cool because I had read a lot of really amazing books. This was for sure one of them, it was a lot. I am going to start out by saying that.

            There are going to be spoilers so if you want to read the book, stop reading this, I will see you in the next post. 

            A Darling, Wendy’s granddaughter, has secrets and they are starting to pile up and spill out. This book had a really slow start and then it really kicked off, you have to get through like the first 30 or so percent of the novel but after that it moves fast. 

            Holly is trying her best, she lost her husband and one of her twin sons and her daughter is in a coma, she’s trying to keep a company together while also trying to grow it and raise a teenage boy who is brooding and she’s trying to protect him. Her daughter’s blood has some sort of healing protein, which, cool. 

            Her daughter goes missing and that’s a lot because she’s been in a coma for ten years. So she goes to London, she suspects that Peter Pan, yes that Peter Pan has her because Peter is the girl’s father. There is mention of sexual assault so that is for sure a trigger warning for those of you who don’t like that. Peter is unhinged, like super unhinged. This is why heroes are overrated, well, what we know of them. 

            There is a lot of mentions of the original book, which I read last year and of course we have all seen the Disney film. 

            The twists and turns of trying to find her daughter take her to a hook handed man, and of course thanks to Once Upon a Time all I could picture was Hook from that show and well, here we are. Private detective with a motorcycle who’s a combat vet, he’s brooding and so much cooler than Peter.

            It’s a lot of deception and lies, there are for sure a lot of those throughout the story, I liked Holly as a character, when you are given two impossible choices you have to pick the lesser of two evils and that’s about what it is for her. 

            Peter Pan has had a lot of retellings over the years, I have a few of them in my collection from the original to The Child Thief by Brom, which needs to be on my list to actually read because that book is beautiful. I started it my senior year of high school (so 2010) and it’s been on shelf ever since, but I wanted that book for such a long time and it was worth the price.

            This book was great, I actually really enjoyed it once I got into it. The ending comes up quick and it leaves it open, I don’t mind the openness of it. I wish that they would have wrapped up what happened with Elliot though because I feel like that could come back and bite someone in the butt later on. 

            Her company was kind of secondary to the rest of the story which I was totally okay with. 

            There is a lot of family expectations in this novel and that’s totally cool as well, that dynamic really did spur the story forward throughout because while Holly is the main character seeing Jane, who is Wendy’s daughter and a typical London socialite grow and change throughout the story was really nice. I love a good dynamic character, but who doesn’t.

            Peter in this one is kind of terrifying, like I wouldn’t want to be young forever and there is a lot of loss of innocence moments throughout, innocence in different ways mind you. 

            Seriously though if you are trigger by drug use or sexual assault, I would tread carefully, it’s not a big theme but they are both still there in the story. 

            Alright if you want to see what else I have read this year, you totally can, January, February, March, and April.

            I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then I hope that everyone has a safe, happy, and healthy week.

            -MJ 

Books I Read in May 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are, in May, how? How is it already May? Aldo how am I currently (at the time of writing this part of my post on May 3rd) at 44 books read. How? Last year I didn’t hit the 40’s until August, it’s May. 

            I blame BookTok and my need to read like 100 pages a night. I would probably be at 45 or 46 if I hadn’t taken some nights off…oops. 

            I am hoping to be done with my TBR pile by the end of the summer and then just read what I want the rest of the year, which will be super dangerous because when I get sad, I buy books. Seriously though, my love language is books, I have determined that. Just books, buying them, reading them, talking about them, writing them; that’s it, that’s me.

            Well, I have my first book though and I want to talk about it!

A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby #4) (4/5)

            I love this series, I picked this series up because I was in a bookstore in like 2015 this was the book on the shelf and wanted it, but this was the fourth one in the series so I had to order the first one and then I read it in like 2016, I read the second one in 2020, and the third one last year. I love the series because Kiera is amazing, but I love a strong Victorian woman in a time that women were meant to be seen not heard. This one had me guessing throughout, I didn’t guess until it was pretty much revealed and I love a mystery that keeps me completely guessing until the end. I cannot wait to read the next one, it’s on my TBR for next year already because I have very little self-control when it comes to mysteries. (All books, I’m lying, it’s all books.) If you like a strong heroine and Scotland, I would suggest this one to you. 

A Not so Meet Cute by Meghan Quinn (4.8/5)

            I read it in one day, this book had me in a choke hold from about chapter two. It took me a second to get into it and then, man, did it hook me. Fake dating and all of that is a trope that would not work for me in real life, but in books it always turns into real dating. Huxley. I mean…that’s it, that’s the sentence. I loved the whole book, it was so good, the ending was a little abrupt but I am totally for it. It was spicy, not as spicy as I figured it would be, this was a ‘I saw three sentences on TikTok and bought it.’ This was for sure a BookTok made me buy it book, and it was so good. He flies her to Portland for a concert! Where are these guys in real life? I mean, they exist, I hope? It was really good and the scene in the dining room, wow. 

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (2/5)

            This one had such potential. I didn’t like it, I thought the premise was super interesting when I picked it up, time travel in Victorian London, sign me up. It was three stories and I was confused, the prose was great but so dense that I skimmed parts because I was getting bogged down in it. Lots of lies and deceit, I just didn’t like it. I have the second one, I will be unhauling without reading because I cannot suffer through another 600-page novel that I am not enjoying. That’s right, I read the whole thing because I cannot DNF. Like there were like 30 interesting pages in the mid-500’s and that was it. It starts out literally with a guy picking a gun to kill himself. That was trigger for page one and it didn’t get any better than that. 

Darling Girl by Liz Michalski (4/5)

            I wrote a whole post on it, literally a whole post because this was my May Book of the Month, so that will be out soon. I really enjoyed it, there are a few trigger warnings (drug use and mentions and depictions of SA) so go into that mindful to that if you want to read it. It’s fast paced and very twisty, sometimes we don’t like the hero anymore, though all villains are just heroes in their own minds. 

A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz (3.6/5)

            I read the first one in the series last fall and I ordered the third as I was finishing this one. It’s good, I liked the story, it was for sure a slow start and this one hurts. Like you want people to have a happy ending and I know there will be bumps in the road to a happy ending, but if this one doesn’t end happy you bet your sweet bippy that they will be unhauled. I will unhaul them if I am left feeling unfulfilled because the Goodreads reviews say that there was supposed to be a fourth one, well the third one was published in 2014 and nothing since then. Right, it picks up with Elle and Marsh, who I love together, then he gets taken made into a zombie and she’s trying to free him. The ending hurt! It hurt so much! 

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (2.5/5)

            I wanted to like it, I really did, like I bought this and I was so excited because who doesn’t love a royal love story (this was seriously a pretty carbon copy to a certain royal love story we saw in the early 2010’s). It was so long! It had some really funny parts but the rest of it I slogged through, there was just so much needless and senseless drama involved. Like this book was just not for me I guess and that’s fine. Like they didn’t need to have his brother in love with her too, that was so unnecessary. I will not be reading the second one because I don’t care, I honestly and truly do not care about the resolution of Bex and Nick’s story, this will be unhauled. I almost DNFed this book a half dozen times but I would have stressed about not finishing it. It had so much potential and I found myself just trying to get through it, I don’t read ahead, I read ahead because I really did want to see if it was worth finishing. It had a happy ending? I have no idea because I gave up my interest in it. Seriously, so much potential and it just didn’t do it for me. Not every book is for everybody and this one was clearly not for me. (This was book fifty of the year though.)  

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (4/5)

            I liked it, it took a while for me to get into it and I really left the door open (pun accidental but intended) for a sequel because there are a lot of threads left unbound. The splicing in of the Ten Thousand Doors really detracted from the story for me. I understand having to put context on things but they were so long and wordy, like those are what took me the longest and after they ended it was so much better and a much more fun story to read. I loved the characters and all that and do I hope that there is a second one of January going through all of these worlds and opening the doors back up, yes, I really do because I would read that. I would read that hardcore. I know that it’s a story within a story within a book and I understand that, but I need to have a more resolved ending than how this epilogue ended. 

In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl (2.5/5)

            I didn’t really enjoy it. There were too many randoms shifts in the timeline, if it would have all been WW1, I think it would have been better. There was too much drama and a lot of stuff that just felt unnecessary to the plot of the story. It left me feeling unfulfilled and that’s okay. The World War One stuff was compelling, the present? 80’s? I am not really sure when it took place in the “present”, but I was confused and it was just odd. I wasn’t even sure if it was taking place in Australia in the present or not, I think it was? I really don’t know, I think so. The chapters were either like three pages or 60 pages and that’s too much. Too much! I was just confused for 450 pages, it had potential, it didn’t deliver. 

            So that’s it for May, I had a really unfulfilling reading month and that is disappointing. Like I read nine books, I will be unhauling three and I wasn’t super wowed! by any of them. That’s so hard, why was A Not So Meet Cute the most exciting book I read this month. I liked most of them, I did, but some just left me feeling like I could easily stop reading all together, and I know that I am on book 54 of the year and we aren’t even halfway through the year. I know that some of them will not be winners, I am completely aware of that because when I bought a lot of them, I was a different reader. 

            I have some books that I will be reading in June that I am super excited about and I am so looking forward too, I want to get through the TBR so I can read whatever I want. I changed my Goodreads goal from 75 books to 100 books and I cannot believe that I did that. (I also didn’t think that I would have already finished writing three entire books this year already, but here we are.) 

            If you want to see what else I have read this year, you completely and totally can, some months are better than this one, I promise: January, February, March, and April

            Well, I will be back later in the week with another post so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

            -MJ 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 5/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 5/10 (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, )

Historical: 7/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, A Study in Death, In Falling Snow, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 8/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Study in Ashes, A Clockwork Heart, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 5/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, )

Extras: 12/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games, A Not So Meet Cute, )

Books I Read in April 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Last month was not a great showing on the number of books that I was planning on reading but I kept up such a pace in February that a mini-slump was inevitable. I knew it was coming and clearly March was that month, oops. I had such plans on where I wanted to be on my TBR this month. If I want to actually hit the goal that I thought that I would get to I would need to read a little over a dozen books and I just don’t see that happening, it might, but who knows. I am going to try, but I am not going to burn myself out to get there. 

            I have read 33 books so far and as I am writing this; I only have another hundred or so pages in the book I am reading, hence why I started this post today because I know I’m going to finish it and I need to have this part started before I do. I want to get a good chuck of my TBR read earlier in the year so I can read whatever I want later, I’m beginning to think that is a mistake because being a mood reader means that I want to buy all the books that I see that I think I might like so here we are. I do not have the room for more books but I could be doing things that are a lot worse. 

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase (4/5)

            It was a slow start but when I got into it, I could not put it down. I know that I say that about a lot of books, this one was no different though. It was good, there was a moment in it where I almost hurled it across the room because incest is not allowed in this house. (It was a lie so we are good.) I guessed the plot twist pretty early on, but it was a fun read and felt very cinematic overall. The Epilogue was weird and it felt completely unnecessary to be completely honest. It had a really happy ending before that though and I was smiling a lot throughout it. I am not 100% when the “modern” timeline took place actually, I just couldn’t pin point it. I was happy with the read overall though and that is my fifth historical fiction (yes, I’m counting it as historical) of the year so I am half done with that category which is a lot of fun. 

Book Boyfriend by Claire Kingsley (4.2/5)

            Well, it was short, sweet, and hella spicy. Like I read it in two days because I finished the one above and started this one on the same day. It was so spicy, like there is spicy and then there is SPICY this one was that. It was cute, it really was and it was one of those books that kept me turning page after page. I loved the characters and the plot was interesting, I mean it was a lot, but it was such a fun, quick read. I will probably read the other two in the series that focus on Alex’s siblings. If you want a cute little romp with something I wish would happen in real life, someone buying you books in a bookstore like they would buy you a drink, this one might be right up your street.

Always Look on The Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle (4/5)

            I love Monty Python, I watched The Holy Grail in high school, I was probably just a touch young to watch it and then one of my first Netflix binges after I moved to Arkansas was finally watching all of Flying Circus, twice. I love the humor and I for sure will make random references every once in a while, I for sure have said “and now for something completely different” to my students before and they just look at me. I have also said Ni over and over again like a crazy person. I loved reading about one of my favorite Pythons, I think that the humor has both lasted for decades and also become so quotable and timeless. I have for sure also said ‘nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition’ in casual conversation to see who understands it. Reading stories about these storied figures in pop culture history was fascinating to be completely honest, man times were wild and there were chapters dedicated to people who changed the world because of who they were. I laughed, a lot, while reading this book and now I want to go back and watching Flying Circus again. My copy is also signed because Barnes and Noble did that in like 2018 and I had to have it. 

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel (3.5/5)

            It was my April Book of the Month book, if you want a full review of it, you can totally can when it comes out in a few days. I liked the book; it was not super for me and that is totally cool. Not every book is for everybody and that is what is really cool about having varying reading tastes. You don’t have to 100% love everything, not every book can be your favorite book. Some books are just there to teach you things. 

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow (4/5)

            This came out right before the pandemic and reading it now almost hurts. It’s YA dystopian alien fiction. It was good, maybe I’m not the target demographic but it was good. The ending was weird and I have no idea if there is a second one because I was confused by the ending, it felt like it came up too quickly and I don’t feel like it was resolved, but it leaves it open so who knows. It was a super cute little love story between a human and an alien trying to save the world from more aliens, it kept me engaged throughout the novel so that’s always a good thing. This is one of those books that I could for sure being made into a film, it was written like a movie and I enjoyed it overall.

Pleading the Fish by Bree Baker (4/5)

            This is the last in the series and I am upset about it! I love the series and I hate when series ends, I mean really, it’s short for a cozy series to be completely honest, only seven books. I loved Charm and all the characters. Like reading it was very Once Upon a Time for me for some reason, I think it was the names, I don’t know. I loved it though, but I am sad that it’s over. The epilogues were weird, I got really confused for a minute and had to re-read them because you know it skipped like thirty years between one epilogue and the next, there were three. The story was good, it was a little bland for me though to be honest, I loved the love story in this more than the mystery in this one, which for me is really odd when it comes to cozies. I am just a little crushed that this was the last one. Now I have to find a new series to read, dang it. 

Twisted Games by Ana Huang (4.3/5)

            I couldn’t put it down; I literally told my cousin that it’s like The Princess Diaries but they do it. It was so good and it ripped me apart the same way that Twisted Love did, this one is a lot spicier though, like so spicy. I love Ana’s writing, she’s great and I cannot wait to read the other two in the Twisted series. I love Bridget and Rhys and how it followed for a little while at the beginning alongside the timeline of Twisted Love, the twists and turns had me turning page after page. I loved the found family aspect, though I for sure called the plot twist like 200 pages in, I was even right about the character that the twist pertained to. I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing, she laid some amazing groundwork for it. This one had a lot of very traumatic moments, so if you are averse to that, I would avoid it. Though it seems the whole series is like that and Ana, don’t rip my heart out again, please! Like I love a happily ever after and I am no above throwing books across my office! (Then carefully picking them up and apologizing to them.) 

A Study in Ashes by Emma Jean Holloway (4.2/5)

            This is the third and final in this series, I read the first one in 2016 and the second one last year. I loved this series, it was so fun sherlock Holmes, sky pirates, steampunk, a London ruled by the steam barons. This book was dense and the ending did leave me with questions, but that is totally cool. I have had this book on my shelf for a long time and it was so worth the wait. I wasn’t really sure how I would feel about the series when I purchased them, but it was amazing. I wanted so much different for the main character in the first book, but the person she became was dimensional and I loved watching her grow through the series and the trauma that she went through. 

Delicious by Ruth Reichl (3/5)

            Three is a generous score. I liked most of the book though, that’s the only reason that it is getting a three. It had so much potential, it was so good and then like 75 pages from the end it shifted. I hated the ending; it was so quick and left me absolutely unsatisfied. The wrap up was an email and it just felt so rushed. Like if you like this book, cool, I loved parts of this book but the ending and a lot of that felt inconsistent with the rest of the novel. I was so hopeful that I would like this book because I was enjoying the read so much, the ending ruined it for me. 

            Well, I only read nine books in April which I wanted to read more, I had a goal of 13, but April came through and kicked me in the teeth so here we are. I read some good books this month and some that I will be unhauling at the end of the year. Though I am on book 42 of the year so that means there are books that I probably won’t like. I also bought a bunch of books in April because I have a problem. 

            If you want to see all the other books that I have read this year, you totally can with January, February, and March

            I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 4/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 4/10 (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny,)

Historical: 5/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 6/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A study in Ashes,)

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 4/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, )

Extras: 11/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games,)

Books I Read in March 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I don’t know how we got here. I really don’t, it’s March, somehow. I read 15 books in February, only 14 made it to the last blog post because I finished the other one after the post came out, so I read it in February but it’s on this post. There is just too much some days. 

            I have literally a dozen books in my Amazon save for later cart because I am on a book buying ban until the end of April (I made it to the tail end of March, my bad), I’ve bought 14 books this year and it’s March. That’s a lot of books, I love books though and I am such a mood reader and BookTok doesn’t help. It doesn’t help one little bit. 

            I am starting this month off with a book that is not on my TBR, it was an extra add-on I got with Book of the Month. I am learning that I need to mix in extra books that I want to read in with my TBR books so I don’t hit the dreaded reading slump because no one needs that. 

Well Met by Jen DeLuca (4.3/5)

            I couldn’t put it down. I love a good rom-com and enemies to lovers; it’s a really good trope and I loved this book. It was super cute and super real. I read like 230 pages in one night because I couldn’t put it down and the rest of the series so far is in my Amazon cart because I want to read the rest of it! I loved the family angle and the Ren Faire angle so much, the handfasting bit was so fun and I love Emily and Simon, this book for sure gave me New Girl vibes and I was here for it! It was super cute and had me laughing out loud several times alone in my apartment. It’s a rom-com so it’s a little spicy, but tame compared to some of the books I read last month. 

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (4/5)

            This book came out in the 1970’s. I want to preface it with that, who doesn’t love an Arthurian legend though? I love Arthurian legend and this is a telling of Merlin growing up and it was really good. It was a lot to read but totally worth it. The next one is already on my TBR for next year, do I think I will complete the whole series? I am going to try. I pictured only the characters from BBC’s Merlin the whole time I was reading it because why not. There is so much in the legend and the canon of Arthur and his round table. I have The Once and Future King in my collection as well, I should have read that in high school, I didn’t, it was a mistake to not read it then but I didn’t want to. I’ll loop back around to it eventually. It was interesting seeing the origins of Merlin who is such an intragyral character in fantasy, the idea of him spans much further than the legends themselves. 

Teacher Misery by Jane Morris (4.3/5)

            I am a teacher, this book was hilarious, it hurt so much at some points though because it is so true that it’s pathetic and it came out before the pandemic! Like I cannot imagine what could be added if the pandemic was included. There were so many things that had me laughing but also nodding and shaking my head because apparently it is not uncommon for things that I have seen or heard that happen in schools happen in more than one place and that seems a little ridiculous. TeacherTok is a real place that I have found myself in and we are all going through it y’all. This book was hilarious, real, and I wish I could say shocking, but it wasn’t. It was a reflection of the current state of our education system and while I love teaching, I love my kids, and my school family, but some days you just want to sit at your desk and cry because it’s overwhelming at all times anymore. Please check in on your teacher friends, we are not okay. 

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma (4.4/5)

            This was my March Book of the Month so this one has its whole own dedicated post. I am going to brief overview it here, but if you want to know my more in-depth feelings on it you can check that post out when it does, I will link it here so you can read it if you want. It was cute and I enjoyed it a lot, it had a lot of interesting topics and fun moments. A little spicer than I am used to when it comes to more of the romantic comedy genre. It was a really fun book though and if you are looking for a cute enemies to lovers and fake dating rom-com, this one is for sure something that you might want to look into. 

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz (2.5/5)

            I didn’t like it, actually there were no redeeming qualities for me when I read this book. I bought it when the movie came out because I wanted to read it before I saw the movie. I never saw the movie and this book has been in my collection since like 2013. Maybe I would have liked it more then, but now, it gave me all the icky feelings. Like it was boring, the drama was predictable and annoying, and the ending was terrible. Like I didn’t like the main character at all, I feel like I should, I feel like I should have felt bad for her and everything she went through, I don’t. I am angry about this book, like this is the closest I have gotten to DNFing a book since like 2016. I put off starting this book for almost a week and read another book instead. It wasn’t good. I normally say that not every book is for everybody and I do still think that. A lot of people liked this book, I was not one of them. Normally I can find qualities in a book that I like, this one had none for me. The relationships and friendships felt forced and unnatural, the plot lines were a lot and not in a good way, and I found myself skimming sections because I didn’t care to read them. Most of the time I at least kind of recommend the books that I read; I don’t recommend this one. This is one that will be leaving my collection at the end of the year and I won’t be sad to see it go. 

It Devours! By Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (4/5)

            I have been an avid listener of the podcast Welcome To night Vale for a long time, I actually need to catch up on it because I loved the series and then I stopped listening to podcasts. I forget them, sorry, my bad. This is the second novel from that universe and this one was a little weird; in Night Vale though that is 100% par for the course. This focused-on Carlos and his band of scientists trying to figure out why pieces of the town are being devoured. The Joyful Congregation of the Smiling God makes a large appearance, that was fun. I was not a huge fan of the ending to be completely honest, I liked the rest of it, it was a lot of fun. Violent, but a lot of fun. Just the end made it a little less cohesive, also I like happy endings and it really wasn’t 100% that. It was fun though and I will eventually read the third novel, I just have to get to it. 

Sword of Destiny by Andjez Sapkowski (4/5)

            I mean, I like The Witcher Netflix series, it’s fun. I started reading it because my best friend was obsessed with the game, at the time she had played something like 1,300 hours and that to me is insane, more power to her. I have played something like 500+ on Animal Crossing so I understand that better now. It was good collection of stories, some that were in the series already and a few that I would like to see in the series in the future. The one with the mermaids was fascinating, I will say this, they are different than the series for sure. Some are closer to what you see on screen and some are vastly different. I am excited to read the actual series and I will probably read it later in the year when I am done with my TBR. 

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero (4/5)

            This took me days to read. It was good, Scooby Doo meets Supernatural. It was weird, I am going to put it that way, it was just weird, but it was fun. I enjoyed reading it, I am on vacation so I didn’t read it like I should have. There were a lot of comments on Kerri’s hair, which was really weird. The whole book was really weird, it was a good weird though. Like I wanted to go back and re-read things but I didn’t, it was interesting though and I did enjoy it. It was written a little strangely which was okay, again, the book is strange. I feel like I want to say more about it and I really don’t know what to say about it though, I enjoyed the book, that’s the bottom line, it was just a little odd and I can’t think of any more synonyms for it. 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (5/5)

            I couldn’t put it down and it’s like 600 something pages. I get why the internet gives one of the characters a not so nice nickname, I completely understand I swore at him a lot throughout reading it. I want to go to the Night Court; I want to be there and I loved all of those characters that I have been seeing on the internet. The imagery is stunning and I cannot wait to read the next one. The end, it broke me a little, actually it broke me a lot, there was swearing, almost tears, and just heart break; absolute heartbreak even though we all know there are more books in the series. If I was reading these when they came out, I think that the waiting for the third one would have killed me. I love Rhys, that should shock no one I always go for that type in books, he’s a lot, but in the best way.

            Well there you have it, I only read nine books in March, there is one that isn’t on here because it was for One School One Book and we read Frindle

            I for sure wanted to read more in March and I expected to because I was off for a week with Spring Break but we traveled and it was like 2000 something miles in the car and I can’t read in the car. So, I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to.

            My goal in April is 10 books, I think, I had a much more ambitious goal but I don’t see that happening because I didn’t read all the ones I wanted to read in the month of March. That’s okay though, reading 15 in February was an unsustainable. 

            If you are curious what else I have read this year, you totally can and see what I read in January and February. This list will grow and grow as the year goes on and I am looking forward to it. 

            I hope everyone has a great day and I will be back soon with another post! So, until then stay safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 3/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission,)

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 4/10 (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny)

Historical: 4/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 5/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 1/2 (Buffering and )

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 3/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, )

Extras: 8/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, )

March Book of the Month Review:

Title: Dating Dr. Dil

Author: Nisha Sharma

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I saw this book on TikTok a while back, before it was a choice for book of the month and I immediately thought of a YouTube Sims 4 series that I used to watch. It brought a smile to my face. Which is completely unrelated to this review, but just a bit of general knowledge about me as a person. 

            By now everyone knows that I have a weird relationship with romance novels, it should be no shock that I chose it though because I love a good enemies to lovers rom-com romp and this for sure was that. 

            This book was great, I really enjoyed it even though I am not a part of the culture, so some of the things were lost on me. I laughed a lot though and I hope there are going to be more because I can see some future couples from reading this book. Also, according Goodreads it’s #1 in the ‘If Shakespeare was an Auntie’ series and that title amused me greatly. 

            Let’s set it up, Kareena Mann is a career driven 30-year-old (as someone who will be 30 in a couple of weeks, that is scary) who is single, and in the culture being single at 30 is frowned upon. I mean that seems to be a cultural norm for a lot of people and that’s not fair. 

            There is a lot of strife in the family and Kareena is treated poorly by the other members of her family, they are a lot, I can for sure tell you that. Some of the running jokes with the family are hilarious though. She throws a drink on a hot-shot doctor and then they fake date, which leads to real dating, which leads to things, and then fights, doubting, and then well it’s happily ever after. Also, I love Kareena’s friends; they are real and a lot and remind me of some of my friends. 

            Of course, the love interest is a lot also, a doctor who has a very guarded heart of gold who isn’t in touch with his feelings and at the beginning is kind of painted as an ass. You learn to like him, I promise. I can’t ever see the word Charlie the same though now because of this book. That’s just a thing, I am trying not to spoil it, but there are several scenes that qualify as spicy, I didn’t expect so much spice, but I should have expected it to be honest. 

            I was a fun little book though and I breezed through it, it was a little predictable because it’s romance and they have that formula, this one was fun though and I enjoyed it even though I was lost some times with the cultural stuff, that is no one’s fault but my own. I am not part of it, so I can look at it from the outside but not understand it from an inside perspective. 

            Like Well Met, this one almost gave me New Girl vibes but more Cici and Schmidt, I really enjoyed New Girl, it was a really good show. 

            Will I read the rest in the series if this is a series? I will, it was fun and I like the characters. The epilogue in this book was really well done, as an online advice column, sort and sweet, and left it completely open. That’s the epilogue I like, let me draw my own conclusions. 

            I loved that Kareena was hard working and expected a lot of people, also this book just proved to me that online dating is for sure not for me. I do wish that a little more credence would have been given to her job because being a lawyer for a startup to help found women owned businesses sounds super cool and I felt like it was a little glazed over. 

            I didn’t get around to posting my rating up top though, so we are going to get to that here, I gave it a solid 4.4. It was good and I cannot wait for the rest if there are more, it was fun and I love interconnected standalones so much. 

            Well, there it is, my March BotM, I go an add-on this month as well and that was The Cartographers, I will get around to reading it eventually, but not quite yet. 

If you want to check out the other Books of the Month that I have gotten this year, you totally can with January and February.

            I will be back later in the week with another post so until then, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ 

February Book of the Month Review:

Title: A River Enchanted

Author: Rebecca Ross

Rating: 4/5

            Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Here we are with another Book of the Month review and this one was over 400 pages, that is such a long book, but I enjoyed it so much. It was really interesting and this will probably contain spoilers because I read like 200 pages in a day and that’s just where I am at the moment. I wasn’t going to write this post tonight but here I am; I was also not planning on finishing the book tonight, but again, here I am. 

            This book had an amazing story spun throughout with the almost Highland feeling with all of the spirits and the warring clans on the same island. I feel like I just read something similar with warring clans and I have read ten books so far this month and it’s only the 16th so I don’t actively remember at the moment because my brain is falling asleep and I am the sleepy tired. 

            I loved the magic system in this book, using the spirits and the enchantments through tangible objects was so interesting to use as a mechanic. I love legends and myths and this weaved those elements into it so well. I also loved that all of the magic and enchantments seemed to be through skills and careers and that is again so cool. 

            It is part of a series and according to Goodreads the next one comes out in December so I will hopefully be reading it in December because the cliffhanger had me wanting to throw this book across my office. I am in pain and I don’t like books that leave me at a cliffhanger and leave me in pain.

            This book did take a while for me to get into it, it was for sure a slow build. The first hundred pages or so had me wondering if I was even going to enjoy it and then it got good. It flipped between perspectives and it was done so well. I just read another book that shifted perspectives and it didn’t feel necessary. This made the story, this one multi-dimensional and I enjoyed it so much. 

            The dynamics of the characters and their lives was so cool, I loved all of the family elements in this and I am wondering how the ending of this book will affect all of those relationships into the next book. 

            I really liked the characters and all of the threads woven together where their lives overlap. I thought it was all going to be told through Jack’s perspective but I was glad that it wasn’t. 

            Brief summary of the plot, Jack a Bard is called home by the Laird of his island of Cadence because little girls are going missing. He finds out that the Laird wasn’t the one who called him, it was the Laird’s daughter who was Jack’s nemesis when they were children before he was sent to the mainland for school. Let’s be honest they are enemies to lovers and that’s fun. They are considering trade with the West of the island who they don’t get along with and the Heiress wants that trade to begin but the Heir of the West is…I don’t want to compare him to a piece of anatomy, but he is (that makes sense when you read the book). Jack has the ability to call the spirits for the earth, water, and wind and they have to because those spirits have the answers they seek about the missing girls. 

There are so many plot lines that snake together and it was so interesting and compelling after you get passed that first chunk of the book. Some people might be hooked from page one, I was not, I was hooked from about page 100 or so. 

If you like fantasy, the power of music, and the Scottish Highlands aesthetic; this one is for sure something that might be for you.

If you want to see the other books I have gotten this year and my feelings on them, you for sure can because I love linking things to things, January was an adventure.

I will see everyone later in the week with another post, so until then, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

-MJ 

January 2022 Book of the Month Review:

Title: Reckless Girls

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Rating: 3.6/5

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            There are for sure going to be spoilers in this review so if you don’t want to know anything about it, I would skip this one. 

This book started slow, I am not going to lie, I finished it in two days though and the second half went from 0 to 60 in like ten pages. 

So we start on Maui with Lux and her boyfriend Nico who seem like a really solid couple, Nico is hired to charter a boat out to a deserted kind of spooky island and they go with Brittany and Amma. It’s a lot, like so much. They meet up with Jake and Eliza on the island and they party for like a week or two. Some stuff happens and then like everyone is dead. It shifts between ‘now’ and ‘before’ and all of these timelines and story lines all weave together. Everyone has something to hide and that is made clear throughout the novel itself. 

Going from 0 to 60 so quickly made it a really slow build, I wasn’t really sure if I liked it until about page 200 or so out of 309. Like I feel like a lot of it was a little cliché for a thriller novel, I am not saying that’s a bad thing but everyone is sleeping with everyone, it’s kind of like Clue but with a lot more swearing. Like there is so much swearing in this book. I swear a lot in real life but not in writing, there is just something really permanent about it that I don’t really like. 

I can see this for sure being made into a movie, it feels very cinematic and that is really cool. The imagery was really good but I was left with questions, so many questions. 

(HUGE SPOILER!!) For example, how didn’t Amma recognize Eliza as Chloe, did she change her look that much? I was really confused by that when it was revealed unless I just missed the part where she realized it was her and never said anything, I was confused. 

I just wasn’t surprised when Nico kind of turned into a not so nice guy, I liked him at the beginning but when you get all of the “Now” perspective from one character you don’t get to know what everyone else is thinking. All of the “Before” perspectives were from different characters but the “Now” was all from Lux’s point of view, it was an odd shift from knowing how everyone got there to just knowing one person’s thoughts and feelings in the present tense of the book. 

The ending for sure left me unfulfilled it was very odd, everyone but Lux dies and she just leaves, like she killed two people and then she just goes and doesn’t look back. Everyone kills someone and it’s just a little odd and everything at the end happened really quickly. I really did feel like the book gave me a little bit of whiplash.

I liked it though, do not get me wrong, I was gripped and I read all of it in two sittings, I would call it a beach read because you can get through it so fast. If you like an island thriller where literally everything goes wrong, I would totally recommend this one for you. 

The “In The After” epilogue was a little weird and honestly it left me with more questions, like what’s going to happen to Caroline? It’s implied that it’s Lux that she goes off with but that’s where it ends. It left me with more questions than answers about the book itself and it was kind of thrown in there for me, but most epilogues are. 

I liked the book, it was a pretty good book, I cannot be upset about it, I would love to see it as a movie because I think it would be fun. I know that this was the best choice for me this month with Book of The Month and I will be looking forward to next month’s choices at the end of this month.

I am only going to tag the current year’s posts but you can click on the “book of the Month” tag and see what I read last year.

I will be back later in the week with another post so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

-MJ 

Books I Read in January 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Something I learned last year was that I read a lot of books. A lot more than I usually do and I enjoy reading, I always knew that. Here’s the thing though; I only had six parts to this series last year because I did it every other month. There was a problem with that, some months I read 3 or 4 books or 9 but in December when I read like 14 and that means that my longest post was either part 4 or part 6 and that is a lot of books to cram into one post when I know it’s a lot to read. You can still go back and see what I read last year and proof that once I finish my TBR I solely become a mood reader is proved at the end of the year, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6

I am 100% aware of how long those posts were and I was not expecting to have posts that long. I was expecting to read 45 books and then I read over 70 and here we are in another year and this year my TBR goal alone is 50, plus my 12 Book of The Month books, and any other books that I want to read throughout the year so I have a lot of books planned this year. I know people who can read 100 books in a year and that boggles my mind. 

            So, this year I am going to be doing monthly posts about my reading habits. Y’all are going to be seeing a lot of book content and that’s just where I am right now. I love the fact that my blog while is lifestyle, lifestyle can literally be anything so here we are, on brand, on theme. 

            Like last year I have some TBR pile goals and I am going to do the break down first and as always there will be a tracker at the bottom because by now y’all know how much I love to track like everything, well I like to track things that probably aren’t super important to most, but I enjoy it. I am also keeping a Book Bullet Journal this year and you can see some of the content of that in the Intro post I did that is linked just above. 

            What do I plan on reading this year? Most of the books that are in these categories come from my current collection or books I bought in 2021. I have a lot of books and I am trying to dwindle my current collection before buying more. I have had a lot of them for a long enough time that they aren’t really my genre faves anymore, so I might as well read them and unhaul them if I don’t enjoy them.

Fiction: This is my largest category because let’s be honest, I read a lot more fiction than non-fiction and that’s just my scene so it’s okay.

            – 10 General Fiction, this has not changed from last year, I just doubled the number of books in it and that is going to be a common theme. I also feel like when you say general it’s more contemporary or whatever I want to read that doesn’t fit into other categories.

            – 10 Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, most of them are fantasy and about half of my planned Free Choice this year are also fantasy. It is very clear to me what my favorite genre outside of cozy mystery is. 

            – 10 Historical Fiction, self-explanatory, I have a lot of historical fiction in my collection and I have for a while so reading them sooner rather than later is probably a good idea on my part. 

            – 2 Thrillers, I actually really liked reading thrillers last year, but I don’t have enough in my collection to want to read more than two. 

            – 14 Free Choice, this is my flex category of books that I want to read that I can’t or don’t want to fit into a category, I thought this would be mostly cozies, but I ended up picking up several books last year that I really want to read as well as leaving some spots open for books coming out this year that I am waiting on.

Non-Fiction: 

            – 2 Autobiographies/Biographies/Memoirs, I just like to read about people, usually about people who I find really funny and this year is no different. 

            – 2 general non-fiction, one is a teaching related book the other is something fun and that is just want I want with non-fiction. 

Book of the Month:

            – 12, I mean, it’s going to be 12 there because that’s how many months are in the year, so it’ll just be my 12 BotM books. 

            Let’s get started! Also, this year because I am a literal idiot and didn’t do it last year (I might go back and augment every single post with the ratings), I am going to put my rating next to each book because why not?

Midnight Spells Murder by Mary Angela (3.5/5)

            This was the Once Upon a Book Club pick for Halloween of 2021, I got it on New Year’s Eve because well, shipping is awful right now and I didn’t want to wait to read it. It was a quick read, not my favorite cozy but the gifts that came with it were super fun. I probably will write a whole post on it at some point. It’s the second in the series so I was just a touch lost but it was good. The ending felt rushed to me which is weird for a cozy but this one was only like 203 pages which is also on the short side for books that I usually read. That is all fine, my longest book this year is like 700 something pages from my TBR so here we are. This one was a little magic and it was fun. 

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman (4/5)

            Well, I read The Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable in like 2016 and it is about the same apartment in Paris, I was a little worried when I realized that this was the same context because I didn’t end up really liking The Paris Apartment. This one was amazing; I loved the story how it switched by Marthe from the 1880’s to the present of the 1940’s and Solange who is her granddaughter living in the 1940’s. My favorite thing about all of this is that it’s a real place and a real painting that was discovered in like 2010 which is super interesting to me. This story was complex and vivid and I really enjoyed it throughout my reading. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (5/5)

            I could not put it down, I read half the book in one day and it kind of broke me. It broke my heart just a little bit like all the best books do. I loved this book, I want I Remember You tattooed on me, I loved the characters and the story so much. It hurt, so much of it hurt but this book is one of those that will go on my favorite shelf. I love the writing style, the imagery, and how real it all feels to be trapped in the world where someone doesn’t remember you. I get it. I totally get it and I would love to read it again without knowing how it ends. There were so many moments where I was holding my breath and yelling at nothing because of what was going on. This book wrapped me up like a hug, a hug that is just a little too tight but you don’t want to let go because it feels good because you just need a good hug. 

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins (3.6/5)

            I wrote a whole post about it and that will come out next because this was my first Book of the Month book for 2022, it was good, a little beach read thriller that went from 0-60 in like ten pages and left me with a few dozen questions. I am not going to spoil it but it felt very much like Clue to me but on a deserted island in the Pacific not a manor house. 

The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne (3/5)

            It was cute, I enjoyed it but I guessed the ending about 45 pages in. Which is frustrating because it hit a lot of those cliches and I walked into this book really looking forward to it and if I would have read it in 2014 or 2013 when I bought it; I probably would have been head over heels for it. It’s not so much that anymore, a prince to come and sweep you off your feet and then pretty much give up whatever for you. (I did that like touch because normally it’s the other way around.) I cannot judge a book in 2022 standards that was written in 2012 and it was cute but it left too many threads undone for me. It was made very clear that her sister had done something but you don’t find out what that is until about 45 pages to the end, maybe later and I felt like that rushed it, that it was just thrown in as a plot point. Her being normal, not super thin, a little weird, all of those were plot points to be almost mocked and I understand because of the royal aspect, but that was a lot for me. 

Buffering by Hannah Hart (3.5/5)

            I bought this when it came out and I watched a lot more YouTube at the time, I also loved My Drunk Kitchen. My tastes have changed since then and that’s okay. It was a good book, it talked a lot about struggling with mental health and as someone who deals with that one the daily, I get it. I have moved away from certain creators on the internet and that’s totally cool, I wanted to get it read and I did. This is just a book that’s not meant for me and that is also okay. It’s meant for a lot of other people and I hope those people find it. 

Love and Gravity by Samantha Sotto (4/5)

            This book was good, it was a lot though. I love a good time travel book and the crack in the wall very much reminded me of Doctor Who. I was totally cool with that. I did like all the twists and turns and everything that happened throughout. There was a huge plot twist that made the end of the book worth it, I was for sure going to say that I didn’t like the ending but it wasn’t too bad. I enjoyed the read and I did like how it went, it ended happily and its own way. It was a really quick read and that is not a bad thing but there were moments where I was slightly confused, also really sad. 

In the Shadow of Paris by Claude Izner (3/5)

            I was so confused, it’s my own fault because this is not the first in the series. It’s a mystery and it was fine but I know very little about 1890’s Paris. Also, the perspective shifted so many times I was getting lost. Not every book is for everybody and I know that, this one is not really for me. It was fine but I had no idea who did it until it was very suddenly revealed and I was even more confused because I just wasn’t keeping up with the story. I couldn’t keep up with who was talking at some points because there would just be a paragraph space and it would switch perspectives only to switch to someone else a page later. Not my favorite book and that’s okay. I could go back and read the rest of the series but I don’t want to, it was just a little too much for me. 

The Alienist by Caleb Carr (3.6/5)

            I wanted to watch the series so bad when it came out because it sounded so cool. I enjoyed the book it was just dense like a lot of turn of the century based literature is, it was written in the 1990’s so it’s not like it’s that old. It was a good story with compelling characters and I enjoyed it. It was a lot, but most books are a lot. It was a gruesome story for sure and that threw me for a few moments but this book took me almost a week to read. For me it’s usually about three days to read a book but this one took some time. It had some amazing treatment of mental health and psychopathy from that time period, not a lot was known about the human brain and reading it through the lens of today it was fascinating.

            I was hoping to have one more on here, but that was just not the case. It will be the first one on my February post and it’s a good one. I promise, if you are into fantasy and murder plots, it’s for you. 

            I only read nine books in January, I mean compared to last January I think I only read three or four, I shouldn’t complain about reading nine books but I have seen people on the internet who read like 20 in a month and I am like “How?” I also have a full-time teaching job and you know writing that I do so I don’t have the undivided attention that some people do for reading. I also don’t have the attention span or the want for sleep deprivation to stay up all night and read books anymore like I did when I was younger. 

            This post was supposed to come out sooner, but I wanted to try and finish a book and then we had some snow so I wasn’t home to take the pictures, so this is coming out later than planned, oops! I also was not home because it snowed so I was snowed in at my parent’s house and this idiot didn’t take any pictures before she left her apartment, so it’s quite a bit later than planned!

            I will be back later in the week with another post so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 1/10 (The Runaway Princess)

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 1/10 (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue)

Historical: 2/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris)

Thriller: 1/2 (The Alienist)

Free Choice: 1/14 (Love and Gravity)

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 1/2 (Buffering)

General Non-Fiction: /2

Book of The Month: 1/12 (Reckless Girls)

Extras: 1/? (Midnight Spells Murder)