Books I Read in September 2022

Hey hey it’s MJ, 

            So, here we are in September. I am mood reading the rest of the year because I finished my yearly TBR in August, how? I did though so here we are and I am going to read whatever I want for the rest of the year. That’s super dangerous, it really really is. 

            I will still have my Unplugged Book Box books as well as my Book of the Month books, but other than that I am not sticking to a list. I have all the books I plan on reading on a shelf by my desk and I just keep adding to that list. Also, I have a list on Amazon that is just books, there is like 45 in there now…I have a problem. 

            Also, everything is terrible so I need so happy and books are about the only thing that brings me joy at the moment, isn’t that sad? Seriously, have to replace my car windshield (it will be in by the time this post goes up) and a lawn mower threw a rock through my living room window, both panes so that has to be replaced as well (the apartment complex I live in has to do that) September has already been a long month and I am currently only three days into it. 

            Alright, enough rambling. Here we go. My goal for September is 13 like it was last month and the month before that. Though I am reading a few really thick books this month so we will see.

Go Hex Yourself by Jessica Clare (5/5)

            It was so cute! It was for sure a Star Wars fan fiction, like The Love Hypothesis, did that stop me from reading it and loving every moment? No, I loved all of it and that’s the most fun thing about all of this. The story was really cute, it was a little spicy and the characters were so much fun. I cannot wait to read the next one that comes out next year. So many tropes that I love and that means that this was a five-star book for me. Dru is a lot and for sure my favorite, I want an aunt like her. I loved the magic system in this so much. There was nothing in it that I didn’t like, well there were a few lines that were questionable, but overall, I loved it! 

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore (4.3/5)

            It should shock no one that I love Victorian based literature, seriously I have read a billion books where Jack the Ripper is a character, it’s not really that many but I think I read six last year. I love that era, it was insane. Like the treatment of women was not great, but it is such a fun era to read. This book was do good, I devoured it in two days, I read over 100 pages in it after finishing Go Hex Yourself, oops. I read the other 200 pages the next day. I couldn’t put it down. I get what so many people like historical romance, I have never watched or read Bridgerton and I don’t plan on it but this series with a strong and opinionated lead female and a duke who is so much. Like I love enemies to lovers, I really do and this was so good. I cannot wait to read the other two, which I already own because I was hoping that I would like the series. It was spicy, I will say that, though I feel like that is just going to be a pretty blanket true statement throughout the rest of the year. 

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas (5/5)

            I love ACOTAR, everyone knows that. This one was better. I called none of the plot twists, none of it. I loved it so much; it broke me to my very core a few times. I love all the characters and I am not one to order hardcovers, the next book will be here tomorrow, I ordered it before I even finished the book after it broke me because I could not wait for it to come out in paperback. I love Bryce and Hunt so much. Like I was so amped up about this book the whole time I was reading it. It took like 80 pages or so to get into and then I could not put it down! 799 pages is totally worth it, it’s so worth it and I loved it. I cannot wait to see what happens next and there was so much death and destruction, but I cannot tell you that I loved this book enough times. 

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen (4.6/5)

            This was my September Book of the Month book so there will be a whole post out about this book in a few days, I really enjoyed this one if you can’t tell by my score of it. I read it in one sitting and it was such a fun read. 

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood (5/5)

            I have been waiting to read this book since I read The Love Hypothesis last December, I read it all in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down, seriously I have finished two books this weekend. I loved the whole thing, cats and Star Wars, enemies to lovers, the growth of relationships even when things get hard. I loved the whole book, the bad guy, that was insanity. The whole thing was amazing and I cannot get over it. I feel like I will have more things to say eventually because I am wrapped up in this book a little tightly. I loved the dynamics between Bee and Levi, but again I loved Adam and Olive too so that should shock no one because apparently Ali Hazelwood is an instant buy author for me, who knew. I really did enjoy this whole book because it’s insane, I laughed so hard so many times and the pure gut-wrenching pain of it as well. Seriously, five star book and I cannot wait for Love, Theoretically which apparently comes out next year! 

The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead (3/5)

            This one was a lot. I love a good thriller as much as the next person even though that is not really my genre. I liked it but there were a lot of things in it that really hit me and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, besides uncomfortable. This was my Unplugged Book Box book so that full review will be out with that post soon. 

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (4/5)

            It’s non-fiction. I love turn of the century serial crime. Jack the Ripper and H.H. Holmes were fascinating and I have read a number of books in the last few years when they are characters. This is true crime though and it wraps in the Columbian Exposition as well and I grew up near Chicago so I knew a lot of the places mentioned. Some of the parts about the fair we a little boring, I expecting more Holmes less landscape architecture. I read Depraved last year and I really enjoyed that because man it’s creepy! Like I don’t understand serial killers though I don’t think I would want to dive into their brains. He was charismatic and killed a bunch of people, the total still isn’t known. It was fascinating as a whole. 

The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood (3/5)

            I wanted to like it, I wanted to badly to like it and I did, until I didn’t. I am going to spoil the fact that it didn’t have a happy ending and that did ruin it for me. I liked the idea of a dark Cinderella retelling; I was not on board for magical abortion. Seriously, that was where it lost me. For the first hundred or so pages I had no idea what was going on and then it got good and then it got not so good again. I grew to hate the main character throughout the story. Like she’s 17, she’s 17 and bargains away her soul for wishes. I get Victorian politics and social structure but this one was a lot and I didn’t enjoy it. I love a good love story and a good dark tale, but this tried too hard to be both and left some weird threads dangling at the end. 

Sky Pirates by Liesel Schwarz (4/5)

            This was the third in the Chronicles of Shadow and Light. I read the first one last year and the second earlier this year. It left it open, but apparently there was supposed to be a fourth, this book came out in 2014 so…I have a feeling that it’s over. I really enjoyed it. I love Elle and Marsh, I mean I love Elle in general who doesn’t love a strong female character, but this book had me rooting for Dashwood and Elle too. That’s such a problem. I read it quickly and I was totally okay with it because it kept me turning page after page. The oracle element was really cool, but it always is and Patrice is still the worst. I wish that it wouldn’t have left it open in the epilogue. I wish there was more closure, but there wasn’t so I will just have to roll through it on my own. It was a really fun book though and I would suggest it if you like steampunk as much as I do. 

The Orphan Witch by Paige Crutcher (3.6/5)

            It was good, super predictable but good. It took me a while to get into it and that was one thing that bugged me. I want to be thrown into the story. I loved the magical mechanics of this story as well as the Library. I love books with ridiculous libraries, we should all know that by now. I love ridiculous and/or magical libraries. They are so much fun. There was a lot in this book that I really liked, there were things that I didn’t. The fact that her family flipped on her was a little off putting and something I called early on. True was the worst and I didn’t miss her. The ending left me slightly unfulfilled and that’s okay. I did enjoy it, would I read it again? No, would I suggest it to others? Yea, sure. 

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva (3.6/5)

            Well, I read A Christmas Carol last December and who doesn’t love the Dickens classic? It’s a cultural phenomenon and has been for almost 200 hundred years, or so. It was fine, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. The story of the creation of A Christmas Carol felt a little weird in this one. I know it is fiction and that means that liberties can be taken. I liked it, but I wasn’t in love with it. I like historical fiction and there is so much going on in this book. 

            Well, there you have it, I read 11 books in September all while my body merked itself because I stopped taking my probiotic and then suffered the consequences. Seriously, it was bad, all bad for weeks. 

            I had a few really amazing books that I got to read this month, some were not my favorite and that’s totally okay. Seriously, you cannot love every book you read, it’s just a little disappointing when you pay for them and they aren’t great, but that’s the break of it. 

            I am on book 98 of the year so that’s really exciting since my original goal was 75 and now it’s 100 which I should hit like this week? Maybe next week? 

If you want to check out what else I have read this year, it’s a lot, but you can: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August.

Normally here would be my ‘Let’s Keep Track’ count, but I finished my TBR, so I am going to modify it slightly, if you want to check out the TBR look at August’s post. That’s the last one it’s going to be in. I am changing it up because I want to and not have a few hundred words down here.

Post TBR Reads: 9/? (Go Hex Yourself, Bringing Down the Duke, Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood, Love on the Brain, The Devil in the White City, The Shadow in the Glass, Sky Pirates, The Orphan Witch, Mr. Dickens and His Carol, )

Unplugged Book Box: 3/? (The Woman in The library, They Drown Our Daughters, The Last Housewife, )

Book of The Month: 9/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, The Bodyguard, Small Angels, Other Birds, )

Books I Read in August 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ          

Happy August! (well September now, so Happy September!) 

By the time that this comes out in September I will be back in school, which is totally fine it just means less time to read. My hope and I do really mean my hope is that I finish my predetermined 2022 TBR this month! I only have seven books left on the TBR and I am hoping that even with my extras this month that I will be able to get all the way through it. I just want to be a mood reader the rest of the year! 

I didn’t expect to open this doc up on August 1st but I finished my July Unplugged Book Box book today and I figured I might as well get it done. As of this moment I have read 74 books this year. That’s insane since in 2021 I read 77 books in the year; I am in shock that I have read so many this year. I joked early that I thought that people who read 100 books in a year were insane, my goal is now 100 this year. I blame BookTok and sadness. 

The Woman in The Library by Sulari Gentill (3.7/5)

            I wrote a whole post on it a few weeks ago so you can for sure go and check that one out. It was really good; I love the novel within a novel concept because that it hard to do overall. I have seen some less than stellar attempts in the past, but this one was overwhelmingly the novel so I was totally cool with it. Leo gave me the creeps (for good reason). It kept me guessing until the very end and that was so exciting. It was a solid novel that made me want to go and check out Boston. 

The Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons (2.2/5)

            I hated it, I slogged through 600 pages of unfulfilling novel and I hated it. I should have gone with my instincts after like 200 pages to DNF it, but I feel bad doing that. It had such potential but shifting between character perspectives and formatting between sections. It was weird. There were too many plot lines going on, there was too many subversive moments and I hated it. Sherlock Holmes is fiction or not fiction in a book that is fiction. I was confused, I was concerned, and I hated it. This one was not for me and that is totally okay. You may love this book and I might not see the merit or whatever, but I didn’t enjoy reading it. I should have put it down and moved on. 

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (4.3/5)

            I read all but the first 36 pages in one day. I could not put this book down. I love the characters, the concept, and the world building. I have already ordered the second one because I had to. I had to have it already even though I am not going to be reading it anytime soon. I loved all of it, it kept me wrapped from the first page to the end. I love Irene and Kai and I cannot wait to see where that goes. I love detective stories; we all know that and to have an almost Sherlockian style mystery just with magic and alternate realities was so much fun after the last book I read. Like we know that the library has secrets and I am so looking forward to seeing where it goes in the next book. 

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey (4.6/5)

            Y’all when I say that I couldn’t put this down, I couldn’t! TikTok made me want this one and now I want to read Hook, Line, and Sinker so bad. It was so good, I loved the characters and the world building in it, I want to visit this place now. It was spicy, it really and truly was but I have a few of her books on my want to read list and I have seen her on TikTok more than once. This was not supposed to be my next book, I was supposed to finish my Book of The Month book first, but I slogged through the first 100 pages yesterday and needed a good book. I finished it this morning. I was up until 11:30 reading it last night and up at 7:30 reading it this morning. That was how much I loved it, I really loved Piper and Brendan’s transformations throughout the book, it was so cute. They are a lot and I would want it no other way, can’t wait to see how Fox and Hannah get on. 

Small Angels by Lauren Owen (3/5)

            There will be a whole post out about this next week, this one wasn’t for me. This was my August Book of the Month and y’all know by now that I post that as a whole thing all by its lonesome. It was an interesting story and concept but it fell really flat for me. It’s just not my kind of fiction and that’s alright, it happens. I have read a lot of books this year and not every single one of them is going to be a winner. 

Star Wars: Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse (3/5)

            It was a filler book between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, it was fine. It was very much a filler with a lot of characters that I couldn’t connect with and a plot line that was messy. It was not bad, but I was so shocked that there was no perspective from Rey, it was a lot. The writer I feel like ships StormPilot and I agree with that so here we are. I also kind of wish that there was an interlude with the First Order. I was glad that I read Bloodlines a few years ago otherwise there would have been other things that didn’t make sense in this book as well. For a casual Star Wars fan, it was a lot. 

Well Played by Jen DeLuca (3.7/5)

            I wanted to love this one as much as I loved Well Met, it paled in comparison. Catfishing, but make it faire? I liked it, I really did, but it just didn’t feel like a cohesive story, maybe because it starts off where Well Met pretty much ended, well the Epilogue, I think? I am not actually sure and then it went to the next year, taking little snippets of time throughout the year so that spacing was odd for me. I liked Stacey and Daniel, I thought they were fun, but the lies were a little much. I loved the cat, Benedick was a great addition to the story and I am glad that she got out, okay I am. I am glad that Stacey gets to live her life. I thought that problem was going to be with her mom throughout. I will never stop hating the third act break up, I won’t. It’s a very overused trope in contemporary romance, and I am always glad to see a happily ever after or at least to the end of the epilogue, but I don’t like the third act break up. 

They Drown Our Daughters by Katrina Monroe (2.8/5)

            This one wasn’t for me; it was in my Unplugged Book Box for August and when that post goes out you can see a more in-depth review of it. It had some really good parts and some that just didn’t sit right with me. This might be someone’s favorite book and that’s awesome, I love that for you. I don’t read horror very often and this one just wasn’t for me. 

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (5/5)

            I loved this whole series, I read the first last September and then the second in November, I think. I don’t remember at the moment, but I could not put this one down. I love the world that has been built in this series and all of the characters feel very real. This one hurt, it hurt so much! I loved it though so much, the arcs throughout and the magic, I can’t! All of the twists and turns left no threads loose and I can’t say enough good about this book. The ending I felt like left it open and I think that she’s writing more in The Threads of Power, I’m not sure. I would love more with these characters, but I don’t know if that is happening. I loved the entire series though V.E. Schwab like Erin Morgenstern write these beautiful, thrilling, and vivid worlds that suck you in and don’t let go.  

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan (3.5/5)

            It was cute, but very predictable. I didn’t dislike this one as much as I disliked The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris. The main character going back to her ex who was clearly the worst, that hit me in a place. I liked the friendships developed throughout the story and it was cute. It was a tale of picking yourself up after great loss and keeping going. That seems a common theme in Jenny Colgan’s books, a new life in the face and wake of a tragedy. There is a second one that I will not be reading, like it felt very tacked on that (spoilers) Austin is moving abroad and she’s willing to go with him to expand her business. I thought that felt a little sloppy and just a ploy for a sequel. It could have wrapped up nicely in one book not with a Christmasy sequel. It was cute and I enjoyed it, but not that much. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson (3.7/5)

            It’s a movie tie in, I love a good movie tie in novel. I saw the movie when it came out and I did enjoy it. I really did, but I am also not a super huge Star Wars fanatic, I like Star Wars as much as a normal fan. I liked the movie and I know that a lot of people didn’t. Reading it was still different than watching the movie but I did enjoy both the novelization and the film. I really don’t have much to say about it though, if you have seen the movie and enjoyed it you will probably enjoy the book as well.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas (5/5)

            This is the last book for my 2022 TBR, of the fifty that I picked for this year I have read 49, one I did DNF. This book was hilarious, I laughed so much, the snowball fight had me just about rolling. I liked the different perspectives and I know that this is the bridge between ACOWAR and ACOSF, which my copy should be here at some point this month, I ordered a paperback and I am hoping it’s the same size or I will be taking it back to Barnes and Noble and buying their exclusive version. I loved it, I read it in one sitting because I wanted to get it done. I’m still not a huge Nesta fan and maybe ACOSF will change my mind, I don’t know if it will though. This series showed up in my life because of BookTok and I would say it was probably my gateway series to a lot the other books I have bought in the last year or so. I want to go back to MJ at this time last year and tell her about all of this. She would laugh at me because I have read 85 books this year. She would laugh, hysterically. Az actually talked in this one, it was like a miracle. 

Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley (4/5)

            Alright, there is going to be a major spoiler for this book, so if you want to read it, skip this blurb, I promise it’s a big deal. The revelation of him actually being engaged at her friend’s wedding almost broke me. I was so mad! Like there is still a happy ending but that almost ruined the book for me. Yea, soulmates are great and all but he was engaged! To the woman that he claimed to have cheated on her with when they dated in college. I loved watching their relationship flourish and then that happened and I was gutted. Like it left a bad taste in my mouth. I loved the book within a book aspect. The epilogue was weird, but if you know me, I think that most epilogues are weird and I am not a huge fan of them. 

            Alright, well I read 13 books in August which is insane. August has been a rollercoaster for me that’s for sure and at this point I don’t know what the rest of the year is going to look like. I am 20 books ahead of my goal which is insanity. I have read 86 books so far this year and I finished my TBR with A Court of Frost and Starlight. I finished 49 of my 50 TBR books, I did DNF one because I couldn’t get behind it. I think that my goal of 100 would have been lofty at the beginning of the year. 

            There were sure a few books this month that I could have done without reading and that’s totally okay. Not every book is for everybody there were also some really amazing books that I have read this month. Now I get to mood read the rest of the year and so this series is going to turn spicy, it’s going to just be fantasy and romance because that is apparently who I am now. I didn’t know that about myself until like October or November last year and now here I am…I am allowed to read and enjoy what I read and enjoy. I have to be a professional human all day and so when I get home and decompress, I want to read what I want. 

            Alright, well I think I need to stop on this post, it’s getting super long. If you want to check out the rest of the books that I have read this year (if you are so inclined or want to see my ramblings about books) you totally can! January, February, March, April, May, June, and July!

            So, until next time I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy and I will see y’all later in the week with another post!

            -MJ

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 10/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul, One Evening in Paris, Solsbury Hill, Girl Online: Going Solo, Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe)

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 9/9 (because one has been DNFed) (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, Dreams of Distant Shores, The Invisible Library, Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)

Historical: 10/10 (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, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, The Fifth Heart)

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

Free Choice: 14/14 (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, The last Days of Magic, The Devil’s Workshop, A Conjuring of Light, A Court of Frost and Starlight)

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: 8/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, The Bodyguard, Small Angels, )

Extras: 21/? (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, The Cartographers, Twisted Hate, The Library of the Dead, A Winter’s Promise, Well Played, Talk Bookish to Me)

Unplugged Book Box: 2/? (The Woman in The library, They Drown Our Daughters, )

Books I Read in July 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            It’s July, like seriously, how? At this point time is a construct that I no longer subscribe to, I don’t feel like it anymore. 

            I wrote somewhere around 250,000 words last month, I actually think it was more than that so I didn’t get as much read as I would have liked so I am hoping that in July I can read 12 books, I really am, but if I don’t, I am not going to stress out about it. 

            I am opening this for the first time on the 2nd because I finished a book, I started in June but just didn’t have the want to finish. The book was amazing, but I just didn’t want to read. 

            So, without unnecessary pausing, I will get right into it, enjoy.

The Cartogrpahers by Peng Shepherd (4.2/5)

            It was so good; it took me a while to get into and the ending left me with questions and a need for a wrap up. I love realistic fantasy and the idea of hidden Easter eggs in maps being like they are in this book was fascinating. I really liked the murder mystery element of it as well, it almost read like an escape room. I don’t know how else to describe it, I for sure had a few “holy plot twists Batman!” moments in this one as well. There was one that I called about halfway through. I normally don’t like interstitial chapters in books, but here they told a very important story within the story that tied the past and present together and that was so important for the story as a whole. It was beautifully written and I would for sure read a sequel if there was one to happen eventually. 

One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau (3/5)

            It was fine. I liked parts of it for sure but other parts felt thrown in like the editor said “we need more pages”, it has the miscommunication trope which is never something that I really enjoy. It was messy, it was just a little messy and it felt rushed and then too slow and the characters were flat. It is this love story where they meet and then she disappears and he’s searching Paris for it, she’s in it like 30 pages so I didn’t feel the romance of it. There was a good chunk of the book where I thought that she was like a time traveler or from an old film or something, it was a lot. She wasn’t. The ending felt rushed and cramped which was a little weird for the pacing of the rest of the novel. It ended happy so that was good. 

The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins (3/5)

            There was so much potential in this one. Like the first chapter and the epilogue, that’s the story I want. That’s what I want to read. The modern twist of it all, but like it was a lot. No shame or hate to the author, I loved the concept but for me there were a lot of things that just weren’t great. Like the mention of SA was not cool, also just the treatment of the concept of sex as well. There were just some things that hit me wrong, like Aisling she changed so much and I understand that trauma changes someone but she did a complete 180 in like fifteen pages. There were so many story lines and so many that just felt rushed in and then unfinished. Anything with the French king made my skin crawl. I had such high hopes for this book, but it wasn’t for me and that’s okay. I know that not every book will be my favorite and when I bought this I might have enjoyed it more, that is the reason for the TBR, to weed my collection. This one will be weeded at the end of the year. 

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (4.3/5)

            This was my July Book of the Month, so there is a whole post that will be coming out in a few days. I know that I say this every month with my BoTM’s and it’s still true. I am a huge fan of this book though; it was really cute after some disappointing books in the last few weeks. Really cute banter, body guard rom com, and I loved it so much!

Dreams of Distant Shores by Patricia McKillip (4/5)

            I saw this in Barnes and Noble several years ago and the cover was what caught me. I knew nothing about it but I wanted it and I pined over it for months because it looked so good. It did not disappoint, normally I don’t read short stories and novellas, this was a collection of them. My two favorites were The Gorgon in the Cupboard and Something Rich and Strange which was the novella. It was all wonderfully weird and written with such beautiful prose. Some of the stories I expected different things but I was never disappointed. If you like quick reads this one for sure is one because it’s 6 short stories and a novella they are very quick reads and I would read a whole book with the two stories that I mentioned about, whole novels. 

Twisted Hate by Ana Huang (4.4/5)

            Check the content and trigger warnings, I will always say that with romance novels that are not 100% romantic comedies. This one was…so spicy and like 500 pages. I read it in two days because I got sucked in. There are for sure some triggers for people, little degradation which in real life could not be into, it was rough and a little violent. I love Josh and Jules though, also if they would have involved Alex early on everything could have been avoided because having Alex in their lives just would have made it so much easier. I loved all the twists and turns and of course watching the enemies with benefits go to loving each other, it wouldn’t be a romance novel if they didn’t. I love a good romance though so do not get me wrong. We see so much more of Jules and her story in this one, it is her story, but from what we saw in Twisted Love and Twisted Games she is a very deep character and I was happy to read her story. I also had to remember who Christian was because he’s in the next one. A couple of pages in my copy did come out which is super unfortunate (thanks Amazon) but that’s an aesthetic issue, also there were some spelling and grammar errors, but I can overlook those for the rest of the story that had me laughing so many times. 

The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu (3.5/5)

            Spoilers, I expected more library less children being drained for their youth. I really did. Like spoilers, I expected something wholly different, more dark academic less horror. It was good, it took me a while to get into it and that is totally fine. I will still probably read the second one. I didn’t anticipate the villain, not at all actually and I was shocked when it was revealed. I wish there would have been more context on what happened in Edinburgh so it got that way. (I might have just missed that part and if I did, oops.) I loved the characters though and I cannot wait to see where they go from here. 

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King (4/5)

            I read the seventh and eighth or the eighth and ninth to be honest several years ago so I know some of the things that happen down the road, I think I need to read them again to really appreciate them. I loved this one, I love the character of Sherlock Holmes because he is so much and such a piece of literary canon that just transcends history. I am not thinking about the age gap in this series because, again, I know what happens. Unless I read the other books incorrectly. I wasn’t sure how I would like this one but I got sucked into it hardcore. It was fun and a lot, but everything with Sherlock Holmes is, honest and truly is.

Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wyler (2.2/5)

            And that score is generous. I should have known how the book was going to go when she caught her boyfriend cheating on her like 20 pages in. I literally finished it in an afternoon so I could be done with it. I have a lot of feelings and most of them are not positive. This one was not for me, I thought that Emily Bronte’s ghost was cool but some of the word choice and just the writing in general was not for me. I was spending the whole-time live texting my cousin because I needed someone else to experience this trainwreck with me. Her mom cheated on her dad so her dad isn’t her dad, there is a family curse because their Bronte’s, she forgives the guy who cheats on her. Like girl, run! Her career which sounded super interesting was just pushed to this back burner and it was weird. It was not great, I wanted to like it so much because the premise sounded cool, it was awful. It ended with her pregnant, so cliché, so boring. It was predictable and I was just waiting for it to get interesting and it never did, it was like throwing all of the romance clichés into one book and then saying “good”. Some of this book for sure gave me the ick, it just did and that is 100% my opinion, if you liked this book, cool, it just wasn’t for me. I couldn’t connect with the main character, I just couldn’t. I have read at least a half dozen books this year where so many of these same things happen. 

The Devil’s Workshop (Murder Squad #3) by Alex Grecian (3.7/5)

            The first two were better. Like the most interesting character in this one was Jack the Ripper. It felt messy, it really did. I loved the first two that focused on each of these characters and really built something with them. This one felt like a letdown. There are two more in the series which I will read, but at this moment, I don’t really have high hopes for them. I want to, I really do. I love Victorian era fiction, Jack the Ripper is fascinating, and I have read a lot of Victorian fiction with Jack the Ripper as a character in the last few years. I just couldn’t connect with this one. Walter felt very flat, the whole plot and premise felt rushed and then non-existent and I spent time confused. 

Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoe Sugg (3.5/5)

            I am no longer the target audience for this novel, if I would have read it when it came out in 2016, I would have been a lot closer than I am in 2022. I watched a lot of YouTube at the time and so of course I bought YouTuber books. I liked the first Girl Online when I read it in 2016. I really did at the time. My life has changed since then. It was a good story; it was a cute coming of age novel that was predictable and that’s totally okay. The twists and turns weren’t super twisty, but I am also not the target demographic for this anymore and I feel that bares repeating. I am glad that I did own the trilogy and have for years so I was able to finish it and then I can move on since I have been reading it on and off for the last 8 years. 

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos (4/5)

            I normally don’t read YA, we all know this but this one was so hyped on TikTok and honestly, for good reason. It’s so much! There were so many moments where I was left questioning who to trust and what would happen next. I loved the world building and the characters. I will be reading the next one, I have seen stellar reviews on 2 and 3 but not the fourth one and that’s a little concerning. I kind of want her and Thorn together, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I like the trope of enemies to lovers. Like it’s an arranged marriage and you find out why. It took me a while to get into but then I did and I couldn’t put it down. The world that was spun in this book was amazing, it was deep and rich and I cannot wait to eventually get my hands on the next one. Soon even though I won’t read it for months. 

            Well, I read a dozen books in July. I was hoping to read a few more, but part of July was lost to me because I got sick, so I didn’t do as much as I was planning on. I am excited to finish off my TBR and I am really really hoping to get that done in August. I only have seven books left on my actual TBR pre-planned list from last year for this year so I am hoping to get that done by the end of the August so I can move on and mood read. I want to be able to mood read because I have bought a lot of books this year so far and I have so many more on the list. 

            If you want to check out all the books that I have read this year, you totally can, just click the month! January, February, March, April, May, and June! If you want to see what I have unhauled so far this year you can for sure do that too! 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 9/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul, One Evening in Paris, Solsbury Hill, Girl Online: Going Solo, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 6/9 (because one has been DNFed) (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, Dreams of Distant Shores, )

Historical: 9/10 (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, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, )

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

Free Choice: 12/14 (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, The last Days of Magic, The Devil’s Workshop, )

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: 7/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, The Bodyguard, )

Extras: 19/? (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, The Cartographers, Twisted Hate, The Library of the Dead, A Winter’s Promise, )

Books I am Unhauling in 2022 Part 1

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I was not sure if I was going to reveal the books that I was unhauling before the end of the year, but at this point it’s something like 20 at the end of July so I will be doing a January-June post and a July-December post. I will probably have less in the second half because most of the books I am unhauling are from my TBR, not the books I am buying and mood reading. I think there has been one this year from that list that I am unhauling. 

            This was kind of the reason to have a TBR pile, to pick 50 books from the ones that I currently own and read them. I want to weed out books from my permanent collection that I don’t want in my permanent collection. I have two full bags in my living room of books from last year and books from previous years that I have decided to part with. If I made TikTok’s I would for sure make a video on this because let’s be real at this point my blog is a lot more book centered than anything else and I can’t say I am upset about it. 

            Another quick note, I might decide to unhaul more books from the beginning of the year as we get closer to the end, I don’t know yet so if that happens, I will add them to the second half of this post set. 

            All of these are my personal opinions, if you love these books, I love that for you, reading preference is subjective and you might hate the books that I love. That’s what’s cool about reading, we all can read and enjoy what we want. So, don’t come on here and tell me that you loved the book and I’m awful. Even my reading preferences have changed since last year, so roll with me.

            So, like I said, I am unhauling a bunch of books and I am just going to mention them and the reason why and then move on, I will link all of them back to their original reviews if you want to have more information. That’s going to be so much of a pain when I get around to posting this, well that’s okay, it’s for me to worry about and you to click if you want to. 

            I’m doing it by month, I changed my mind so I can just link the month because work smarter not harder or whatever. We’re doing it live. 

January: 

The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne

            I don’t remember much of this book; I had to go back and look at the blog post. It was boring and a lot of threads were just not pulled together right. It was super predictable and it did not age well from when it was published. It was cute, but not enough for me to keep. 

Buffering by Hannah Hart

            I know that people aren’t going to be happy about that one. I was not the target audience for it. I liked My Drunk Kitchen for a long time but I was also more into YouTube at the time. I have several YouTuber books that I have gotten rid of over the years and some that I loved. This one just wasn’t for me and that’s totally cool because it will speak to someone else so much louder than it ever could have for me. 

In the Shadow of Paris by Claude Izner

            It was like the second or third in the series and I was confused and bored. I don’t remember the mystery or any of the characters, there was no impact for me. The formatting and character shifts were confusing as well and just something that I couldn’t jive with. 

February:

Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire

            I thought it was going to be something very different, I love The Nutcracker, I didn’t like this one. The pacing was weird and I spent a lot of time confused. So much time confused. 

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford 

            Interesting concept, didn’t expect the espionage and it’s based in true events. I said in my first review of this I expected more radio less espionage and that is still true. It wasn’t for me and that’s totally cool I promise. 

March: 

Yes I am aware that’s not in focus, that’s how little I cared for the book.

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz

            This book had so many things that give me the ick and apparently that was not how the movie went. Like I have read some bad books this year, this one is in the top five and it’s going, it’s going no matter what. I wasn’t engaged and I was so lost and frustrated with all the tropes that were thrown in.

April: 

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

            I liked this book, but it’s not permanent collection material. It was a good one time read though there was a moment where it almost got thrown across my office, we don’t support incest in this house! 

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

            The ending was disappointing and terrible, the love story was weird, the main character was annoying and I just didn’t like it. It had some fun bits but for the most part it was annoying. I loved so much of it but the last 75 pages or so ruined it and I do mean ruined it for me. 

May: 

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

            I should have DNFed this one. I hated it, it had so much potential but it was lies and not fantasy and I didn’t like it. It triggered me from the first page and I was so against DNFing at the time I let this throw me into a book slump. I already put the second one in my donation bag not even cracked open. 

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

            When I bought it, I would have enjoyed it, it was annoying. Too much useless and needless drama and it was William and Kate, but she makes out with his brother. There is a second one, I don’t care about it. There were times I was cry laughing but then there were times I was reading ahead. If it was like half the pages with about half the drama, I probably would have been really on board with it. 

In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl

            I enjoyed parts of it, I really did but I was so confused through others. I spent a lot of time wondering exactly when in the present it was and you find out all the family drama that just is insane. Like so many twists and I loved the historical part, the rest of it was just ehh for me. 

June: 

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

            I don’t DNF books we all know this. I got like 4 chapters in and I couldn’t keep going, like the forced breeding that is implied, I couldn’t. I was done. It was like someone’s D&D game threw up. I didn’t like it. I have already put the whole series in my donate bag. 

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

            It was cute, I wouldn’t read it again and I didn’t love it enough to keep it. It had a lot of really cute moments but I got triggered by Tiffy’s ex and then the miscommunication trope just didn’t do it for me. Leon’s parts read like a TV script and it was odd, the prose just made it weird. 

The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul by Douglas Adams

            It was interesting, but every time I read Douglas Adams, I don’t like it. I love it as a TV series or movie, but not a novel. The concept was interesting I just struggled through it. Dirk wasn’t actually in it all that much if felt like and the story with Thor and Kate was what kept me reading, nothing else. 

Sea of Lost Love by Santa Montefiore

            This one took months to get into it felt like. I read it quickly because it was a compelling story but there was just a lot of weird in it. The parts in Italy were the most fun, but still a little weird overall.

            I said this in my June post, just because I unhaul a book doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it, I enjoyed a few of the books on here, but these are books that I don’t want in my permanent collection. I read a lot, I write even more, and I spend a lot of time in fictional worlds with fictional character so if I don’t love it, I don’t keep it. 

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

            -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, )

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, )

Books I Read in February 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Here we are again with another month and another set of books that I have read, again, I am doing this monthly so there will be less books on these than my posts of last year. There were so many in some of them last year and it was too much. If you want to read about the 9 books I read in January, you totally can. 

            I am hoping to shrink my TBR pile even more this month and read a few more books that BookTok made me order. I mean I am easily swayed when it comes to reading, so I bought six books in January because of BookTok…It’s a lot. 

A Fate of Wrath and Flame by K.A. Tucker (5/5)

            The second one comes out in July and I will be preordering it soon, like really soon. This was the first book that BookTok made me buy and it was because of one exchange. I bought the book for like four lines of dialogue. It was so good; I loved the spinning of the worlds and it was such a fun read. I laughed, I questioned my very existence, and I read 300 pages in one day. One day! I loved the story and the characters and it was just a touch spicy and it is for sure enemies to lovers and who doesn’t love that trope? I mean I really do and here we are. It was totally worth the 492 pages; it was so good I could not put it down. I cannot wait to read the next one because this one left off at a cliffhanger and I want a happy ending because I like books with happy endings and this was for sure only my second five-star book of the year. I saw people reviewing it that they didn’t like the politics in it, I didn’t really think that I thought that it added a layer of realism and intrigue to it, and the twist was something I kind of figured but it’s fine. I cannot wait to read the next one and see how this story concludes, or keeps going I am not sure if it’s a duology or a series, we’ll find out I guess. 

Hot Vampire Next Door (Season 1) by Nikki St. Crowe (4.3/5)

            It is rare for me to buy a book and read it in the same week, this was a novella and it is a serial on Kindle. I saw it on TikTok and it is spicy, a lot spicier than I usually read. It was really funny though and I didn’t really mean to read it but it was only 132 pages and I did, while finishing the book that is right above this one. I laughed a lot, I cannot wait to see where it goes in Season 2, which I will buy when it comes out in paperback because I don’t read e-books. I really should have a “TikTok made me buy it/or at least add it to my Amazon cart” post. Maybe down the road I will. It was a really fun little paranormal romance with so much going on. It was fun, it was sexy, and overall amazing.  

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander (3.8/5)

            Three out of the last five books I have read have been historical mysteries and this is was my favorite of the three. I have had this book in my collection for probably nearly a decade, maybe not that long but who knows. I bought the 8thbook on clearance and bought this one after. I have not read any of them until this one, the second is on my TBR for next year and I might read it sooner than that but who knows. I loved the intrigue of this one, I hated Emily’s mother but that is modern sensibility as opposed to the Victorian morals. The story had me guessing until we actually find out who is guilty. It’s not a murder mystery! Which is super cool because I loved the fact that it was about stolen antiquities and I hated the person who was actually behind all of it from the beginning. I wrote in my book bullet journal in my thoughts section that I wanted to punch him. I am really excited to read the series. (Even though there are 15 published and the 16th comes out later this year.) I cannot wait to see what happens next in Emily’s life. 

Twisted Love by Ana Huang (4.3/5)

            Well, this is another book that BookTok made me want and I read it in one day and I read 100 pages in another book. It was really good and I could not put it down. I mean my reading tastes have for sure changed since last summer. I am going to be honest about that one, I don’t know why. It was hilarious at parts and absolutely broke me at others. It was so much, like so much and I could not put it down. Mind you it is currently February 5th and I already have four books on this post! That’s so many! I cannot wait to read the rest in this series since they are intertwined standalones. So excited for them, I cannot order any of them at the moment though (spoiler alert, I did order them…oops) because I promised myself that I would whittle down my physical TBR before I bought anymore and I bought 6 books because of BookTok in January and that is so many. Y’all, BookTok is a wild place, a really wild place and I have never had more fun reading. 

Since You’ve Been Gone by Anouska Knight (3.8/5)

            I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this one. I really enjoyed it, I saw some mixed reviews and I need to stop looking at reviews. It was really cute and I have had it in my collection for a long time. This is one for sure that I don’t think I would have liked when I bought it but I read it in two days. This was the book that I read 100 pages in when I was reading Twisted Love, I read two books this weekend. It’s the 6th… I mean really. I need to stop devouring books this fast. It was a really cute story and so much. There were parts where I had to put the book down and laugh because I love a good rom-com. I was a teenager and into college at the height of the rom-com movie phase. There is a lot of talk about death in this one but it was good and showed that dealing with grief is not a linear and straightforward thing, it can take a long time to get over. It was a powerful story and it was fun, super fun. 

City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte (4/5)

            City of Dark Magic is one of my all-time favorite books and I should have read this in like 2016 when I read the first one but I didn’t want to finish the series and here we are six years later and it didn’t have the same magic for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the book. I called the plot twist early on though, and for me that’s odd. The ending left me a little underwhelmed because it just felt too sudden and almost too peaceful for the rest of the book and even the one before it. I loved the time travel mechanic and who doesn’t love a sarcastic immortal dwarf. It’s a good book and I need to go back and reread the first one. I loved it so much when I read it and it was a good duology. 

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (3.5/5)

            Well, this book got so hyped last year and it was a lot. I enjoyed it to an extent but it is not my favorite. The fact that it was told through the eyes of what felt like 30 people was a little much for me and the ending was lacking. It just kind of ended and it was very odd. It was a fine book but it was not my favorite. It was an interesting story and it only took me three days to read and that’s pretty normal for me. I read it, I liked it enough, but it not going to be a top ten read this year. It was just a lot and all of the family drama was interesting but a little much for me as a reader. 

A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova (4/5)

            I read it in two sittings because I couldn’t put it down, the blurb on Malibu Rising I wrote yesterday to give you some context. This was another book that TikTok made me buy, I don’t even remember what enticed me to it. It was real cute, like real cute. It had very strong Beauty and the Beast vibes which I was totally there for. It was predictable in the best ways and there was a moment there were I was thinking that it wouldn’t end happily and y’all know your girl almost threw it across her office. It was such a fun read about learning and being in a new place and how sometimes you find what you are looking for when you aren’t even looking. It was a touch spicy, just a little and that’s fine. I really enjoyed the magic in this story and I will be reading the other books in this series when I get a chance to order them but I am putting myself on a self-imposed book buying ban until at least my birthday (except my BoTM) because I really need to stop buying books and then neglecting the books that I own and need to read. 

Hot Vampire Next Door (Season 2) by Nikki St. Crowe (4/5)

            It was really good, I read it in about an hour literally the day it showed up at my apartment. There were for sure some parts where I would urge you to read the content warnings. I had to stop reading for a minute an collect myself because I was in shock, let’s just say if you are averse to blood… I wouldn’t recommend it. I cannot wait for Season 3 and I could read it on the Kindle but I don’t like eBooks, I never have. This book left off on a soft cliffhanger, I don’t want to call it a hard cliffhanger but it’s still a cliffhanger. I want to read the rest of it. I love the characters and the story is absolutely bonkers. I mean it’s really bonkers but I am really enjoying it. It’s spicy and I mean it, well, it’s spicy for me. I know people who can blow through a lot spicier content than me with a straight face, I will sit and blush like an idiot. That’s just who I am as a person. Seriously, TikTok made me buy it and that’s just apparently who I am at the moment. 

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross (4/5)

            I was not planning on opening this document again tonight, I did though and here we are. I have been reading this through the last two books so here we are. I really enjoyed this one and I wrote a whole post on it because it was my February Book of the Month. So that will be out next week at some point so I am not going to go into heavy detail here. I enjoyed it and the next one doesn’t come out until December so that’s a bummer. 

The Fine Print by Lauren Asher (4.4/5)

            I even liked the epilogue in this one and everyone should know by now how much a detest epilogues. I could not put this book down and I am reading a non-fiction at the moment as well so I needed a break from that. I loved this book; the concept is amazing and well I mean it’s a theme park that feels very much like a certain mouse themed park and that was a fun thing. Rowan is so grumpy; I love the grumpy/sunshine trope though so that was fun. I really liked how there were some tough topics discussed and that was so important to see in a book like this. It’s spicy, it’s real spicy. I cannot wait to read the second one though and that comes out somewhere near the end of the month, which is next week and I am really excited for it because let’s be real; I love series like this that focus on one group or family apparently. 

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor (4/5)

            This was a gift from my step-grandmother when I graduated from high school in 2010. At the time I thought it was an odd gift to give someone at 18. Now at 29, I see the value. I have an undergraduate degree in psychology and reading this book made me remember and realize how much of my time as an undergrad was spent trying to chase the high of positive psychology. This book was great, it’s non-fiction which for me takes a lot longer to read but the contents of it were fascinating and I am going to try and implement them in my real life. It’s a lot, it’s so much trying to be happy at work somedays but we all try and we all want to do better (at least I hope that’s the case). It was eye opening to read this book that was published in 2010 that it still holds true because we went through another crisis and I feel like most of us throughout the pandemic have been living in a constant mode of crisis and uncertainty. It’s a good read if you are interested in psychology and I know that Growth Mindset is on my list of books to buy and has been for years. We are allowed to be happy in all aspects of our lives, it just takes time. 

Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire (3/5)

            I didn’t really enjoy it and that is okay. I have had this in my collection for years and I was hoping it would be much more fantasy and much more about the nutcracker than it actually felt like it was. I didn’t really like the pacing; it was just a little weird for me and it wasn’t a book that is for me. That’s totally cool because it is for someone else. I just didn’t jive with the story and the style of it. I thought it was interesting but it was just odd in many aspects and jarring in others. It was just weird. I don’t really have anything else to say about it, it just wasn’t my favorite. 

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford (3/5)

            This book has been in my collection for a long time. I liked the idea of the BBC in its infancy, there is a lot of espionage and I didn’t know that one of the characters was a real person. Not until the end. I expected very different things from this novel. I liked the character of Maisie, but there were a lot of things that I didn’t particularly enjoy. I know men treated women like this back in the day, but man, I wanted to punch things reading parts of this book. I expected more radio, less fascism. It was a lot and it just wasn’t for me and that is totally okay. I have read 14 books this month, and I have read almost 25 this year, we are bound to find a few that aren’t for me.  

            I didn’t expect to read this many books this month, I read 14 in December and this post is just as long or longer which is insane. I have trained myself to read like 100 pages a night and some nights that goes by super-fast, sometimes it takes me a long time. I had some highs and lows this month in my reading because some of my TBR books are just things that I am forcing myself to get through. I don’t DNF, I just don’t because what if it gets good ten pages before the end and that makes it all worth it? Will that actually happen? No, but do I think maybe someday it might? Maybe. 

            I have no idea how I read so much this month besides a few AMI days and books that I just couldn’t put down. I think on average it took me something like two days to finish each book which is insane and a breakneck pace that I cannot sustain. I need to not condition myself to do this because I will be finished with my TBR by the summer and I don’t need to be. 

            I cannot wait to read some of the books that I have planned for March and I am going on a book buying ban until my birthday so I cannot buy the four or five books that I have sitting in my Amazon cart, I need to get off BookTok because it’s one sentence and I am buying a book, which honestly seems a little insane; but here we are. 

            Well with all of that 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: 2/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, )

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

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

Thriller: 1/2 (The Alienist)

Free Choice: 3/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 1/2 (Buffering, )

General Non-Fiction: 1/2 (The Happiness Advantage, )

Book of The Month: 2/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, )

Extras: 7/? (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, )

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)