Books I Read in December 2022

Hey, hey it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are in December, I want to go back to January MJ and tell her that we are rounding out into the 120’s in books, I cannot believe that since my goal with my TBR was 50, my actual goal was 75 and here I am going to hopefully hit somewhere in the high 120’s by the end of the year. 

            I read so much this year and loved so much as well, but there were also several that I didn’t really like and I will be making a part two to my unhauled books of the year (you can check out part 1 if you want to). I read so much and a lot of the books kind of have blurred together, I might actually have to do some rereading because I need to, I need to really go back and savor the books. I didn’t this year as much as I usually do and that was difficult for me to realize as we round out November and move into the 12th month of the year. 

            I am hoping to read 13 books this month, but like I said, I have some chunky books to read this month. I am reading Crescent City at the moment and that book is 800 pages! Come on now! I love the series so far and by the time this comes out I will be done with it for quite some time. 

Crescent City: House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas (5/5)

            SARAH! That ending!? The book was so good, but the ending had me almost throwing it across my office, it almost ended up on the floor. Why? Why can’t we have nice things and everyone staying in their own lane? It was so good, I called none of the twists, none of them but I said some words at the end of this book that I cannot repeat in this blog post, I said them out loud to my empty office though. I really enjoyed the book, I did, I loved the world building and the character building and Bryce and Hunt 5ever, if that is not endgame, I will riot. I will, I promise I will. I have put up with a lot of heartache reading anything that SJM has written, like I love the ACOTAR series and CC is so good, I am only one book into ToG so that’s going. Seriously, I walked into this book knowing that everyone was going WTF at the ending, I get it now and I am in pain. 

Ten Rules for Faking It by Sophie Sullivan (3.8/5)

            It was really cute and sweet and very clean. Like it was super slow burn, there was no kissing or anything until in the 300’s and this book was only 369 pages. (Spoilers and all that.) I want to know what happens with Stacey and Rob because they would be so cute. I love Chris and Everly, they both needed to get over themselves and they finally did. Everyone by now knows that I need an HEA when it comes to a romance novel or a romantic comedy or something of the nature, so it was good. I really did enjoy it, I wanted something more from it though and I’m not sure what that was. I liked the treatment of anxiety in this because as someone with it, less now that I am medicated, knowing exactly what that feels like though. Knowing the rushing thoughts and not wanting to be in crowds or in situations I can’t control, I felt that to my very core. I had friends in college who pressured me to be social, to go out to bars, to drink. Not being in control in a large crowd triggers my anxiety, like I have had a panic attack in a crowd before. So seeing that in this, it was great to see it treated as a real issue, as a problem, not as something that everyone has to fix. 

This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab (5/5)

            I love her writing style whether that’s her adult fantasy series or her YA, this book took me a little while to get into and now I need the second one, I will get it eventually. I love the worlds that she creates and whatever August became near the end, that was super cool. I want to know how Kate and August’s story ends. The story kept me invested from pretty early on and the plot had me guessing and wondering what was going to happen next. The monsters are super interesting and I am so looking forward to the second. 

Babel by R.F. Kuang (3.8/5)

            This was my December Book of the Month book so a more in-depth review will be out soon. I wanted to like it, I actually wanted to love it because of how much the internet and TikTok hyped this up. I liked it, it was a well written book, but it was not the five-star book that so many people made it sound like it would be. There were footnotes, in a fiction text, there were copious footnotes and it read so much more like a non-fiction than a fiction. The concept was super interesting, but it just didn’t wow me like I expected it to and I was so excited to read this one. 

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhew by Manda Collins (3.8/5)

            I liked it! It was really cute. It for sure reminded me of the Lady Darby mysteries by Anna Lee Huber and the League of Extraordinary Women series by Evie Dunmore. It had a lot of similarities in my head to those. It was really cute though and I enjoyed it, I blew through it in two days and that is always fun. It was sweet, kept me turning pages, and I laughed more than once. The murderer did shock me, well, partly shocked me. I had kind of figured it out early on at least in part and so when it was true it made sense. I could read a whole series with just Kate and Andrew, I really could. I have the second one so I will be reading that eventually. I could have actually used an epilogue in this one, or at least a more buttoned up ending, there was just a very open ending and I know that it’s a series, but I want a good closure for pretty much any romance novel. 

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (4/5)

            It was so cute! I blew through this book; it was so much fun and as a human who has a degree in Radio and Television Production (and went on to do other things) this book hit really close into my heart. It reminded me a little bit of Ten Rules for Faking It which I read earlier this month. This was a little spicier though and I really liked Shay and Dominic. They were so much fun and who doesn’t love a fun couple in a rom-com. I really hated Kent, he seemed like the worst and I guess that he got his so, it’s okay. I know that this one had some mixed reviews, but I really enjoyed it. I really did and that’s really all that matters. 

A Lust for Blood by K.C. Smith (5/5)

            It was so good! I love a good curse mechanic with true love, who doesn’t love a curse mechanic with true love? The whole concept of bloodlust as a creature and the gods interfering with things, it was so good. I love the book as a whole because I got a special edition and let’s be real Garren and Oriana are end game, if they don’t get a permanent happily ever after, I’m gonna be upset. This is apparently the first in a trilogy (?) I hope so because I want more of their story, more of their adventures. I want more in general, it does get a little spicy, which is fine. It was such a fun book to read though, I don’t give many books five stars, this one was for sure a five star book for me. 

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten (5/5)

            It was so good! I loved the concept throughout the whole beginning, the relationship that forms between Red and Eammon is so much fun and so tortured. It feels very Beauty and the Beast which I absolutely loved, I read it in two days. I could not put it down and I didn’t want to. I cannot wait to read the second one because I want to see where it goes. I really didn’t 100% like her sister, I hope there is a lot less weakness and sniveling in her in the second book. The whole plot that was subversive to this with Kiri and Arick, it made the story so much more interesting and painful. So painful. There was also just a lot of pain in this book but also so much that I smiled at and laughed at, a lot less laughter, but it was so good and I will be ordering the second one here shortly. 

Between by L.L. Starling (5/5)

            This was a TikTok made me buy it book and then it was gifted to me by my cousin. It’s 737 pages of really fun fantasy and I loved it with my whole being. I laughed so much throughout the whole and having it split almost down the middle between Sasha and Lorn, that made it so much more fun seeing how their interactions truly affected the other person. I swear though, Lorn needs to not do the thing and the High King needs to just stop, whatever they are planning and that nonsense, like don’t ruin this really cute relationship for me. The next one doesn’t come out until late next year and I am going to be chomping at the bit about it until then. I cannot wait to see what happens with the coven, with Lyla, with Ash, with Sasha and Lorn as she does become the Queen of Between. Seriously, the artwork in this was fun, the characters were great, and the world is a mess. Who doesn’t love a truly messy fantasy world that gives very hard Labyrinth meets Monty Phyton vibes? Also its starts out with a drunk unicorn headbutting a car, what’s not to love?

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout (5/5)

            We shall rise. (I had to!)

I heard some mixed reviews on this one, I knew some of the spoilers because of the internet and you know it’s popularity over on the clock app. I read it in two sittings, seriously, I could not put it down. I cannot wait to read the second one. There were so many points throughout where I wanted to smack all of them, every character in the book and some parts that broke me. Like I knew about the betrayal because of the internet, but that didn’t make it hurt any less or make it any less shocking. I love the ‘touch her and die’ trope, I really do and the ending! Now I have to wait and that’s just not fair. I want to go out and get the second on like right now, I’m not going to but dang do I want to. I love Poppy, she’s a secret badass and she’s amazing, all around amazing and the plot twists, I called a few of them but not many. I loved the world building and the relationships. I definitely fist pumped a couple of times when certain characters got theirs, I wanted them to get theirs. Seriously, it was awesome, I will never look at a certain melon the same way and that doesn’t seem fair, but here we are. 

Dance With the Fae Prince by Elise Kova (4.3/5)

            It was really cute. I read the first in this series in February. They are all stand-alone’s set in the same world which is really fun. I did call like 95% of the twists but I read it in one day, seriously. I was not planning on reading all of it yesterday into last night but I did and I don’t regret it one little bit. It was a really fun read; I liked the characters and the world building. It was very Cinderella which was for sure what it promised, I am excited to read the rest of them when I get a chance hopefully next year. 

A Court of Sugar and Spice by Rebecca F. Kenney (4.5/5)

            I want to preface this with, make sure you are aware of the trigger warnings because this book goes hard, I do mean that in so many senses of the word. It was really good; I loved the story as a whole and there is apparently going to be a sequel which is fun. This one is…spicy…like, MJ from a little over a year ago would have smacked me when I told her about it. I saw a snippet on TikTok and it lived in my brain, I showed the snippet to a coworker and she said “I wanna read that” so I bought it. I love the story of The Nutcracker and this one was, dark, twisted, spicy, and a little weird. It was good though, I was expecting it to be not as good as I found it but man, it was interesting and kept me reading.

            So, that’s it. It’s December 30th and I am not going to have time to read a whole other book before the conclusion of the year, so this is where I leave this post. I am going to do it the same way next year, once a month…if I keep the blog going, that is still a little up in the air to be honest. I haven’t had the joy or the time this year to really focus in on this as much as I need to or have wanted to in the past which is not fun. I like blogging but it doesn’t seem worth it to only put up a few posts a month because I get overwhelmed. 

            I read 130 books this year, that’s right, 130. I wanted to read 75, my TBR was 50 and here I am, in December and I read 130 books. I joked at the beginning of the year that reading 100 books in a year seemed like an impossible task and then I found my love for fantasy and apparently romance (?) because I don’t know where that came from. But I started to read more things this year that I wanted to read along with my TBR and I plowed through so many books.

            I don’t know what next year holds, I really don’t and that’s fine. I want to say that I want to set my goal immediately at 100, but I am shooting for 75 at the moment, I don’t want to set a goal that I am not sure is achievable two years in a row.  

            Now, it is time to close out my Book Bullet Journal for the year, it is time to prep and plan for next year’s reading, the Bullet Journal for next year is already done and very different from this year’s. It’s better. 

If you want to check out what else I read throughout the year, you totally can, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November!

            So, until next time, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ

Post TBR Reads: 35/35 (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, Throne of Glass, Not Your Average Hot Guy, Kingdom of the Feared, Six of Crows, Well Matched, What Lies Beyond the Veil, The Masked City, Book of Night, Defy the Night, Til Death, A Rogue of One’s Own, Hook, Line, and Sinker, Piranesi, Death on The Nile, The Summer of Broken Rules, Much Ado About You, Bride of the Shadow King, Crescent City: House of Sky and Breath, Ten Rules for Faking It, This Savage Song, A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem, The Ex Talk, For the Wolf, Between, From Blood and Ash, Dance With the Fae Prince, A Court of Sugar and Spice)

Unplugged Book Box: 6/6 (The Woman in The library, They Drown Our Daughters, The Last Housewife, Throw Me to the Wolves, The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn, A Lust for Blood)

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

Books I Read in November 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are in November. I wanted to read more in October and I didn’t so here I am hoping that I can read more in November. I will have a whole week off later in the month because of Thanksgiving Break so I will hopefully have time to read and then just deal with it.

            The first book of the month only took me a few days to read, but has been on my Want to Read list for almost a year? If not about a year. I don’t remember at the moment. Mood reading is my whole life for the rest of that year and at this moment, I am totally cool with that. 

Defy the Night by Brigit Kemmerer (5/5)

            I blew right through this book. It was so good and it kept me engaged from about page one to page 443. I loved Tessa and Corrik and reading it from both of their perspectives made it so much more fun. The second one is already on my want to read list because I want more. I loved the whole story and it was so much the whole time. Like it kept me guessing as to what was going on and who was behind all the things. I want to see how they all grow as people in the second one and there were parts of this book that broke me apart a little. The reveal! I kind of called it, but I really liked all of the twists and turns that led from the beginning to the end. 

Til Death by Carol J. Perry (3.2/5)

            This was book 12 in the Witch City Mysteries and I love the series as a whole. This one though, it didn’t even hit the mystery part until halfway through the book. It was a lot of messy plot lines and maybe that will set up for later books, but it felt very disjointed and I wasn’t actually a huge fan of it. Like her uncle killing her parents? Like he orphaned a child and got away with it for 30 years? It just didn’t feel like the other Witch City books, there was just something about it that fell short for me. Maybe I am getting out of cozy mysteries, I don’t know. I just didn’t love this like I have loved the others. Like I said there was a lot of disjointed plotting and it felt like it took forever and a day to actually get to something interesting. Even then though, it didn’t feel like it was the quality and the caliber of the rest of the series before this one. Like there was this big build up to the wedding and then the wedding got like a chapter before moving on. Lee getting a Jeep had more coverage than the wedding which is really strange because the first half of the book was the prep and lead up to the wedding. A murder at the wedding would have been more fulfilling than this book was. 

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore (4.3/5)

            I loved it, I loved Bringing Down the Duke as well. Like Tristan and Lucie are so much, in all the best ways. Everyone should know by now I love a good enemies to lovers where the guy for sure falls first! Victorian politics and decorum are a mess. I am glad that I don’t live in that time because no thanks. Her cousins are the worst, seriously, the worst. It was such a fun read and I read more than half in one day because it sucked me into the story and then didn’t let me go until the ending. I cannot wait to read about Hattie and Blackstone in the next one but that is way down on my list so that very well could be an early next year read. 

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey (4.2/5)

            Wow, this one was a lot angstier than It Happened One Summer also a lot less spicy which I was okay with. I was so worried that Fox and Hannah wouldn’t actually make it and that to be honest would have been so sad about that. Like Fox holds my heart and he needs to be protected, he’s kind of a lot but so is Hannah. I liked the first one a little better, but this one had a very different vibe to it. Fox and Hannah just work and it makes sense to be honest. For him to have this persona that he tries to live up to in the first book, then you find out why and I want to give him a hug. People are the worst to be completely honest. He tries to change for her and I was like, ah yes, he falls first but she’s not far behind. I love their relationship to be completely honest. 

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (3/5)

            This was my November Book of the Month because none of the choices sounded good. I should have just kept my credit for next month because I wasn’t a huge fan of it. There is a much more in-depth review that will be coming out soon. 

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (3.5/5)

            It was weird. Good but weird, I think that it was good anyway. It felt like a weird cross between The Starless Sea and Annihilation, I loved the idea of this place with the halls and the statues. The ending was weird though, I understand the mind fracturing and all of that. I know that this is a favorite of a lot of people and it’s been on my list for a long time. It was good, but it was also very strange, I know that’s kind of the point. I went into it blind so that was for sure a better plan than knowing anything. I liked that it was told in the forms of a journal or multiple journals. The random capitalizations were a little weird though, but I understood it. Like it was a lot, some of it was great and some of it was confusing, but that’s totally fine. 

Death on The Nile by Agatha Christie (3.5/5)

            This was written and published in the 1930’s I wanted to read it because they made a movie. I was not a huge fan and that’s okay. I love mysteries, I really prefer the cozy variety. This was a lot as a whole book, there was so much convolution. It ends in a murder/suicide and the detective figured that would happen, which was really strange. It didn’t actually start to interest me until like halfway through the book. There were just so many things going on, there were so many perspectives and I cannot judge it on the standard of today, but it’s just not 100% for me and that’s okay.  

The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther (3.8/5)

            I liked it, it was cute. That’s about all I have on it, it was insta love and v Taylor Swift inspired. I liked the premise of the game of Assassin and the story kept me wanting to read it. The whole thing with her ex felt like it was just thrown in there to be a plot point. I was not a huge fan of how her friends/cousins acted with the situation about her sister, like grief is hard and she completely shut down, which was her choice and how she was grieving. I did like the cast of characters though and I love big families like that, I don’t have a big close family, it’s small and everyone is slung across the country. We don’t spend almost any time together and the last time all of my cousins and I were in the same room was a wedding in 2017 and even then, it was just the four of them and their families. It was very small and quiet so there we are. I do wish sometimes that I was part of one of those big families that got together every year, but I’m not. 

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young (4.2/5)

            It was so cute! Like I read it in two days and I smiled so much. I didn’t really like the twist, but it was still a happily ever after because if it wasn’t I would have been upset. I loved the village so much, the bookstore, the whole cast of characters was so much fun. I loved all the Shakespeare references throughout the book. I really liked the main couple because of course I have to. He for sure fell first and head over heels because it was insta love for him which was super cute. I loved Shadow so much; I love when an animal character is featured so heavily. It was a lot of healing old wounds and all of that which was a really good story. A lot of emotional trauma came out through this book and so much of it was solved. 

Bride of the Shadow King by Sylvia Mercedes (4.5/5)

            It took me some time to get into, but man do I ship them. Seriously. Some of the words were a lot because they were not in English and that’s okay, but it did detract from the story a little bit for me, like translations? Please. This for sure was a TikTok made we want it book. It was really good and such a slow burn, I will be getting the second eventually because let’s be honest, I need to see how their story ends but the third one doesn’t come out until next September, so I am going to wait a while before I buy the second one. There is so much in this book and I am wondering, if they would have been up front and honest about all of it, would it have been a very different story? Because let’s be real, boy is pining. I am so scared to see what happens in the second one though because it’s going to be rough, I just know it. 

The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn by Amber A. Logan (4/5)

            This was my November Unplugged Book Box book, it was really good and if you want a more in depth review (yes I promise this every time and then I don’t post anything for two months) it will be up in a few days. It was a good book if you like ghosts and The Secret Garden and Japan, it was for sure worth the read even though it took me some time to actually get into it. 

            Okay, I did want to read more in November, but honestly, life likes to get in the way and I read some chunky books this month. I have no idea how many I am actually going to read in December, my goal is 13, that’s my goal every month but I have three books that are at least 550 pages so that might be a stretch. I have two weeks off for Christmas break, so we are going to try. I promise we are going to try.

            There were a few books this month that I wanted to love, I wanted to really enjoy, but I didn’t and that’s okay. There were a few that left me wanting more of them and not having anything else. I had two books this month that I will be unhauling because I don’t want them in my permanent collection, that’s just the thing at this point. I have books that don’t bring me the joy that I want them to, so I will be saying goodbye to them at the end of the year. I feel like I say that a lot of months and that’s just how it happens because I know that I have more now than I even did last month with the separation of time. 

            If you want to check out what else I have read this year you totally can; January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October.

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

            -MJ

Post TBR Reads: 25/? (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, Throne of Glass, Not Your Average Hot Guy, Kingdom of the Feared, Six of Crows, Well Matched, What Lies Beyond the Veil, The Masked City, Book of Night, Defy the Night, Til Death, A Rogue of One’s Own, Hook, Line, and Sinker, Piranesi, Death on The Nile, The Summer of Broken Rules, Much Ado About You, Bride of the Shadow King, )

Unplugged Book Box: 5/6 (The Woman in The library, They Drown Our Daughters, The Last Housewife, Throw Me to the Wolves, The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn, )

Book of The Month: 11/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, The Bodyguard, Small Angels, Other Birds, Sign Here, The Heart Principle, )

Books I Read in October 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I am very nearly at 100 books this year, how? How is that possible? I want to go back to 2018 MJ who read 8 books because she got busy and then sad, I want to tell her that we just finished book 98 and its only October 4th. I want to go back to last year MJ and tell her the same thing, she would just stare at me and ask what’s wrong. She would also judge very hardcore what I have been reading. She would also question how I wrote eight books this year, so far. I think she would be concerned, I do think though that she would at least be kind of impressed. 

            I am however really enjoying reading and I think that’s what’s important. I have someone in my personal/professional life who made September difficult at work, it’s sad when you tell someone that you don’t know very well that it’s sad that someone is making you depressed through your antidepressants. So here we are, new month, that’s who we are looking at it, new month. 

            It should shock no one that the rest of the year is mood reading and that’s such a dangerous place for me to be. I don’t need to buy more books, too bad that book that I just finished is one of seven and I am just staring off into the middle distance wanting for a cheaper hobby. 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (5/5)

            She could write literal garbage and I would still read it; she has a choke hold on me and it’s annoying. Ma’am no one gave you permission…I loved the book, I love her main female characters they are badass and amazing, multi-faceted and they grow so much throughout the story. I have heard that this series needs to be read in a specific order, I’m not going to, I am going to read it in the order it was published at least for the first read through. I loved the tournament element and the growing of the relationships that she finds herself in. I cannot wait to see how magic is integrated into the rest of the series and I have heard it’s going to break my heart, though Sarah has ripped my heart out several times and showed it to me while telling me that I like it. I do and that feels like a problem to discuss with a therapist. 

Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond (3.5/5)

            It was as cute story but the writing style and character voice were a little lacking for me. I am normally not super critical on that because everyone who writes has a different writing style and hopefully a unique voice. This one felt very juvenal at the beginning, it got better as the story evolved. It was a super cute story though and I will be reading the second one to see how Luke and Callie’s story ends. The twists and turns in this story felt both really fun but also tedious and just a little strange. I couldn’t really get a feel of all of it, I do love a cult leader turned into a pygmy fainting goat. That was the best. The whole thing with her friend and her brother, that was a little weird. Just everyone’s reactions didn’t feel genuine and it lacked purpose for me. 

Kingdom of the Feared by Kerri Maniscalco (5/5)

            I have been waiting for this book since last December of last year. Seriously, I have been waiting for almost a year to read this. I couldn’t put it down. I preordered it in April. It came in a few weeks ago and I read it after restraining myself for like a week and a half. It was so good and my 100th book of the year. I feel like that’s fitting, this author was one that really spurred on my reading last year and was my gateway author to a lot of other books and series that I have found since then. I love Wrath, I don’t think that will ever go away and I want to reread the series, which for me is rare. I will not spoil anything, but this book had me laughing, crying, confused, and a whole gambit of emotions that made it one of my best reads of the year no matter that this is the end of the series. I loved the princes and the rest of the cast of characters that were even further developed in this novel. It had me riveted from page one, literally page one and I will recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy and romance, this one was spicy. I will for sure give you that, spicier than I had expected, but it makes sense. 

Sign Here by Claudia Lux (3.5/5)

            This was my Book of the Month book so there will be a whole post about this book in a few days. It was fine, I wanted to like it so much but if felt like six books in one book and there was a lot in it that rubbed me the wrong way. It was a lot and most of it not in a good way. I am not going to spoil it, so that’s about it, if you want to see the spoilers those will be in the more in-depth blog post.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (4.3/5)

            It took me some time to get into and then I couldn’t put it down. I also took a full day off of reading, which is something I usually don’t do. I just wasn’t in the mood to read, which for me is weird and I’m not a fan. I really did enjoy it and I want to read the second one, like right now. I am not going to at the exact moment because I have like 30 books that I want to read before the end of the year…it’s a far-fetched goal, I will try… I promise. It was so good though and I loved the twists and turns that gripped me at the edge of my seat or curled up against in my chair hoping for them to get a break. The ending! What is going on?! I know that like everyone has already read this book, but here I am…late to the party. I will read Crooked Kingdom here eventually because I cannot handle not knowing that maybe there is some sort of happy ending, no matter what “happy” means. 

Throw Me to the Wolves by Lindy Ryan & Christopher Brooks (3.8/5)

            This has its own post coming eventually, I have been out of it for months now and just not posting as much. This one had me hooked from about a chapter in, it was really fast paced and the plot twists I didn’t really see coming, but kind of did. It was so much, but it was actually really good for what it was. It was a little dense overall, but it had me hooked early. The ending left me with a lot of questions and it’s so open for a second, but I don’t think there is going to be one? Who knows. 

Well Matched by Jen DeLuca (4/5)

            It was so cute! I read it in one sitting and it brought back the joy of reading Well Met it for sure brought back the New Girl vibes of the first book. I am so happy that Mitch and April got their own story, that pairing was a little shocking when I first read the synopsis, but it was so good and after the letdown that was Well Played, this was so cute. I love Mitch’s family, like I cannot wait to see Lulu in Well Traveled because I think that’s going to be a lot. I didn’t mind the tension in this one that led to the bad thing, of course there was a happily ever after because if there wasn’t, I would have been upset. 

What Lies Beyond the Veil by Harper L. Woods (5/5)

            This was for sure a “TikTok made me buy it” book and I regret nothing about it. It was so much and I kind of called or at least had an inkling of the plot twist and I want a happy ending, actually no, I need a happy ending. There were parts of it that made me question my sanity but also so much of it kept me turning page after page. Like the first 100 pages or so took me some time to get into and then I finished the rest of the book in two days because I could not put it down. I loved the world building, the tension, and of course we love a good male lead. There were a lot of topics that I am not great with but there are trigger warnings at the beginning so I knew what I was getting into and as long as it wasn’t the main male lead, I’m cool. 

The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman (4.3/5)

            It’s the second in The Invisible Library series and it was so good. I love the characters and I cannot wait to read the next one, which I will buy eventually. I still want Irene and Kai to be together (no one spoil it for me if they have read the series) I love their dynamic, but I would also love that dynamic as well. I really liked the introduction of the dragons in this one and their dynamic against the fae, dragons are order, fae are chaos. I feel like that’s not inaccurate. I am really excited to read the next one though, I would love more library because I love a good magical library. I blew through this book in three days, I could have done it in two, but it’s during the school year so I can’t. The next is already sitting in my Amazon cart and might be a book for next year because I think I am about maxed out for this year, as of this moment. 

Book of Night by Holly Black (3/5)

            This book was good until the last chapter, the last chapter of this book ruined it for me and I will not be reading the second in the duology. I was so excited to read this one, I have had it since I got it in May. I liked the story, I really and truly did, but the ending, the ending turned me off from even considering reading the second one. Also, there were so many things throughout this book that left me with more questions than answers and the ending. Nope. Nah. No thank you. That was so disappointing to me, but it could have ended with this one, if the last chapter would have been changed, it would have been a perfect s stand alone. It is now a duology that I won’t be finishing. This is the first ‘TikTok made me buy it’ book that I didn’t really love as much as I hoped. This was so hyped in the spring and it fell flat because of the ending! 

            Alright, well I wanted to read more in October, but I didn’t and that’s okay. I still got ten books read and that’s still quite a lot. I had some really good reads this month and some that left me lacking feeling or satisfaction. I wanted to like all the books I read this month and didn’t. 

            I still want to read like 13 books in November and I will have a week off later in the month for Thanksgiving so I will hopefully have the time even though I am going to tackle some pretty large books this month. I have hope that I will be able to inch a little closer to 120 by the end of the year, that would be nice. 

            Okay, so like I said, ten books in October for a total of 107 so far this year. How is that even possible? I would love to tell you that I bought more books, I haven’t only my book of the month book but that’s it. 

            If you want to check out what else I have read this year, you totally can, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September!

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

            -MJ 

Post TBR Reads: 17/? (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, Throne of Glass, Not Your Average Hot Guy, Kingdom of the Feared, Six of Crows, Well Matched, What Lies Beyond the Veil, The Masked City, Book of Night, )

Unplugged Book Box: 4/6 (The Woman in The library, They Drown Our Daughters, The Last Housewife, Throw Me to the Wolves, )

Book of The Month: 10/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, The Bodyguard, Small Angels, Other Birds, Sign Here, )

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,)