October 2022 Book of the Month Review:

Title: Sign Here 

Author: Claudia Lux

Rating: 3.5/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            There are going to be spoilers because I had some feelings about this book and some of them weren’t great. They are my opinion and that’s how it always has been and always will be, no one is going to be sending me books anytime soon. I can pretty much guarantee that because I don’t hold punches. 

            Seriously, if you want to read this book, I will see you with the next post, if you don’t want the whole thing spoiled, I will see you later, bye. 

            So, where do I start? This book was marketed by Book of the Month as a tale about hell, someone living and working there and working toward a promotion. I didn’t know it was also going to be a murder mystery with like teenagers being killed either by murder or accident. Like there were so many twists and turns in this that I felt like I was getting whiplash.

            The chapters were super short and they switched between like a half dozen or so characters and that was just too many. I didn’t really get that feeling of much of the story being in hell or who the main character actually was. I didn’t find half of the characters likable. I wanted to like this book so much, but there was like references almost to grooming teenagers and a lot of stuff that just rubbed me the wrong way.

            Like the holy army militia thing that Cal grew up in and the story of her father, I get religious cults and extremism but all of that just felt so unnecessary. 

            This book felt like it was about a half dozen books all trying to be one book. If it was the story about hell, cool. If it was the story of the Harrison family and their clearly glaring issues, cool. Cal and her family dynamic about growing up in a religious cult where fighting was a rite of passage, cool. It was all of those things plus like some really unnecessary plot devices about cheating and manipulation. 

            With all of the shifting, with all of the almost lack of emotion in this book it just didn’t grip me, reading parts of it was a slog. 

            It all pretty much starts out with a murder, well, not all of it starts that way, but the Harrison family sections, it was an accident or maybe it wasn’t. I still have no idea, to be completely honest the whole storyline with Sarah and Gavin, that whole thing with Gavin that just hit me in all the icky places. Cheating is a pretty common trope in books but he seduced her to kill her child, to take revenge for the death of his sister. Like there was nothing solved. 

            I would have been so much more interested in the story involved with the underworld, with Peyote and Cal and the deals department, that would have been so much cooler and that’s what I thought I was getting because Book of the Month is pulling baits and switches on me this year it seems, which is annoying. 

            The narrative about self-harm and drug use, that hit me in a place that I don’t want to be hit, I never used drugs but I had some dark times as a teenager and I would have liked a trigger warning on that one. I would have also liked a trigger warning on a few other things throughout this book, but here we are. 

            I feel like I am just tearing this book apart, and I did like parts of it, but those parts were overshadowed by a lot of stuff that was really messed up. It left me more confused than satisfied at the end and that’s never fun when you are trying to love most of what you read. This left me underwhelmed.

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

            Alright, 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 

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, )

September 2022 Book of the Month Review:

Title: Other Birds

Author: Sarah Addison Allen

Rating: 4.6/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are in fall, finally. I am hoping that by the time this post comes out that it’s not like 90 degrees outside, that at this point is the goal. 

            Alright, there might be spoilers, I don’t know yet. I never really do as I start these posts whether or not there is going to be spoilers for the novel. I try not to, but in the course of a review it might happen. 

            I read this book in one sitting, I didn’t mean to. Seriously, I didn’t mean to read it all in an afternoon but it was a quick read. It took a minute for me to get into and then when I was into it, I couldn’t put it down. 

            This is book 90 of the year for me which is crazy because I didn’t think I would get anywhere close to that number. 

            So, this book shifts between characters pretty frequently and that worked in this novel, in some it just doesn’t, but in this one it made sense because you are seeing the lives of the people who live in the Dellawisp condos and I love the quirky cast of characters in this novel. You meet Zoey first, who is moving across country, well halfway for school and because her father doesn’t want to be a part of her life. Everyone knows how much I love the found family trope, everyone by now should. 

            There is a death in the building and it’s Zoey and Charlotte cleaning out the apartment, it’s building relationships between the residents and bringing up old issues and secrets. It’s half a ghost story too, but in the best way. I would say more guardian angels rather than ghosts. Frasier, the caretaker, can see them, but they are just there at the fringes and that was such a fun concept. 

            Seriously, the relationship building in this novel was amazing, that made this novel so fun and so worth the read because it felt real, it felt like the natural progression of how you find people who make you whole. 

            Mallow Island seems like a fun place and I would have liked to have seen more interaction with it, but I understood why most everything happened at the condo complex. I liked the bird aspect throughout and the invisible bird that followed Zoey around, it took me most of the book to figure that out, but I loved that symbolism. 

            There are so many characters mentioned that were in the fabric of the main cast’s lives that you never see in person and I thought that added so much to the story as a whole. One decision, one person can make such a difference in your life and that’s true in reality as well. 

            I would for sure recommend this one, it’s an easy and quick read that holds a lot of meaning through its pages. The shifting perspectives and the chapters of the reality and the ghost stories was done so well and the added in ghost stories gave so much more to the story than at face value. 

            I really enjoyed this one, I really did and I would suggest it if you like found family, a bit of quirk, and some magical realism, a touch of drama and intrigue as well. There was a moment that this book went from zero to sixty in about seven seconds and then it hit its conclusion pretty fast as well, but again, that worked here. 

            If you want to see what else I have read this year, you totally can with the rest of my Book of the Month posts for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August.

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

            -MJ

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, )

August Unplugged Book Box Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            Whoops my bad at disappearing for like a month. I spent most of September feeling awful, note to self, don’t change up your probiotic it will merk your system for like a month

Alright so here we are, this is my second Unplugged Book box and I enjoyed it. I like the fact that I have changed all of the boxes I get in a month to one that actually gives me a book. It was either this or Once Upon a Book Club. I didn’t get their Halloween one this year for the first time in three years, but that’s okay. 

            So, this box was really interesting product wise, the book was not my favorite and that might eventually be what turns me off from this book. The last two I got were thrillers. I don’t read a lot of thrillers and for the variety of product fandoms that are encompassed in the box you would think that the book themes would be for lack of a better term, varied. 

            You can read the book review for The Drown Our Daughters below, it was a lot and not something that I would pick up on a normal basis, it would never really be something that I would go and search for either. I was not a huge fan, but it is not my preferential genre which is totally fine, branching and all that. 

            So, what was in the box?

A Discovery of Witches round towel: 

            This is super cool and this book is something that my mom owns and loved when she read it, I for sure want to read it eventually when I get through my whole backlog of books. I have so many books to read, you should see my Goodreads. I love the colors and the quote; do I know what I am going to do with it? No. Is it currently sitting folded up on a bench in my office? Yes, it is.

Practical Magic salt grinder:

            It’s actually a really cool idea to have a salt grinder and this book is also on my list, it’s actually in my Book of The Month TBR because I can get it from there and it’s a classic at this point. I have not seen the movie but I can hear the quote in my head that this salt shaker goes to. Seriously, this book is on my list! I promise. 

Wuthering Heights perfume roller:

            I have read a few retellings of this classic and I have not read the classic, the perfume smells really good though. The scent is described as misty moors, toxic love, and regret. I would say that I can’t actually imagine what that would smell like because it probably wouldn’t be great but I laughed when I read it. We all know that this epic love story was on the toxic side and I can’t say that I am surprised by that. Eventually I will read the book, it will eventually be on my list but I read ten classics last year in 2021 and I am taking a break from them for a while because ten classics in one year is too many. 

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy tea tray: 

            I have read this one and Douglas Adams’ books are more suited for the screen than the page in my opinion, I have read three of them and liked the movie or TV adaptations so much better. That is a personal opinion I know people who love his work. I liked Hitchhiker’s don’t get me wrong but I loved the movie. That was my introduction to Adams’ work when I was just out of college so cut me some slack. The tea tray is super cute and I love the quote on it because a cup of tea is very good at restoring a bit of normalcy. 

Craven Manor mud mask:

            I will probably not be able to use this, I will patch test it, but I have to be so careful with facial skincare products. I have never read this book and it sounds like a horror novel so it probably won’t be on my list, which is fine. I am allowed to not love every fandom that gets represented in a box. I think that in the last one there was like one, I think, no there was two because I added one of the books to my TBR. I love the idea of this product though and I will try it to see if I can use it. The packaging is super cool and really dark, so here we are with me liking it for what it is and hoping that my skin doesn’t react poorly to it. 

Book Review

Title: They Drown Our Daughters

Author: Katrina Monroe

Rating: 2.8/5

            There might be spoilers so if you want to read the book, I would stop reading now, I will see you with the next post. 

This one wasn’t for me. It just wasn’t and that is totally okay. I don’t read horror; I don’t like that creeping sensation you get with them. I also don’t read a lot of LGBTQ fiction. I wholeheartedly support the lifestyle, but it is not mine and that means that those feelings don’t make sense to me. I need to say that and get that out here now because I feel it necessary.

            Meredith went from being a really strong but fragile character to well… spoiler alert, the title still stands at the end of the book. I understand why, but I don’t like sad endings. It was to save her daughter and all the other daughters but still. Her mother tried as well and for some reason failed, I have no idea why.

            The whole thing about her great whatever grandmother still being alive was so weird and with that one guy from town who turned out to be the worst, like seriously, the worst. 

            I didn’t mind the shifting timelines but they all ended in death and that’s just not for me. It gave me bad vibes, I understood why, again, I get it. I completely and totally do because that is the plot, that is the story throughline. 

            Like I was totally into it for a while and as the book wore on, I got less and less into it. There were just things that never sat right with me as I was reading this, again, I don’t read horror and that will color my opinion on this one. The twists and turns were interesting but they became almost predictable and repetitive because you knew that they were going to die. Seriously, they all die until a sacrifice is made and that didn’t sit right with me. It never will.

            Not every book is for everybody and that is totally fine, this one wasn’t for me, the next one might be and that’s so exciting. I liked the premise, it was good and I liked the story in broad strokes, I didn’t enjoy the nitty gritty details. 

If you want to see how I felt about July’s box, you totally can go and look at that post. I will be back later in the week with another post, at least I hope I will be. September was rough, it’s rough being sick for weeks and also having a co-worker who made you depressed through your antidepressants. That’s all I’m going to say about that topic because it’s still effecting my real life.

Until I am back with another post i hope that everyone has a good few days, stay safe, happy, and healthy.

-MJ

August 2022 Book of the Month Review:

Title: Small Angels

Author: Lauren Owen

Rating: 3/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            As usual there are going to be spoilers. I feel the need to start out with that because I should. 

            Alright, so overall, the story was interesting, but it wasn’t for me. There were a lot of things in this book that were so interesting, the woods, the tales of Harry Child and all of that. The family bound to the forest, the rituals and necessities that they took to keep the village safe from him and what had happened to him. 

            If it was just a ghost story, if it was just horror, it would have been fine. The add in of Chloe and Sam’s wedding, I understand that her actions were the catalyst for it, but the wedding felt unnecessary as a whole event. It was interesting and further the plot, but it could have been something else because the characters started to become unlikable with their weaponized ignorance of what happened in the woods and their unwillingness to even acknowledge it. 

            Not every book is for everyone and this one wasn’t for me and that’s okay. I liked so much of it but there was just stuff in it that felt unnecessary, there was a romantic subplot which was strange and really didn’t feel fleshed out or needed. (I don’t read a lot of LGBTQ fiction; I support the lifestyle, of course, but it is not generally a subgenre of fiction that I read.)

            There were also errors in the text, I counted six or seven that were in the formatting random dialogue marks words that should have been one that were separated and I know that is in the revision and editing process, but it was noticeable. 

            Overall, it was interesting, it was horror and there were parts of it that gripped me, but the characters, I just feel connected to and that makes things hard when you read through them. I feel like I am repeating myself and I will apologize for that because I feel like I am bashing someone else’s work. This had an audience, that audience is just not me. 

            The ending was good, well the ending with Harry, the rest of it felt rushed but left threads open, it’s a story told in a story which is super interesting and I love a good book within a book. This just didn’t hit for me because it shifted through four perspectives. 

            There were parts that confused me, there were and that’s true in a lot of novels, you can have parts that make no sense in the whole of it. The imagery was great and I feel like I am doing pro, con, con, pro like I am back in my college sorority when we were trying to end on a good note. 

            It was interesting and a compelling horror story in its own way, but not for me as a reader. We will not love everything we read and this was the only one of the books this time with Book of The Month that even piqued my interest, out of seven books this month I think, this was the only one that interested me because it was all thrillers. Maybe I should have chosen one of them. 

            I don’t know, okay, I don’t because I have such a mixed bag of feelings on this book and I feel like I am not articulating this well for someone who writes as a hobby and teaches children as a profession. I am always really on the fence about unhauling BoTM books, but there are three this year so far that I don’t want in my permanent collection. Which is fine.

            If you want to check out what else I have gotten with Book of The Month this year, you totally can, January, February, March, April, May, June, and July.

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

            -MJ

Books I Read in 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, )

July 2022 Book of The Month Review:

Title: The Bodyguard

Author: Katherine Center

Rating: 4.3/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, I read it in literally an afternoon, I could not put it down. I have not read many bodyguard romances, but this was a reverse of that, she was the bodyguard and I loved the dynamic. It was super cute. I am going to start it out with that, it was very cute with a lot of tropes that I really enjoy. Some that I for sure do not though, but those were minor in this one. 

            Alright, per usual with these there might be spoilers so roll with me and if you want to read this one, don’t read this review. That’s just what it is at this point.

            I love the character of Hannah, she’s so much fun, the beginning starts out so sad for her though losing her mom and then her boyfriend dumping her literally the day after the funeral. I did not like the character of Robby, there are plenty of characters in fiction that I would really like to kick; he is one of them. Then he sleeps with her work bestie, not cool my guy, not cool.

            So, she gets an assignment to protect Jack, who looks like Zach Efron on the cover of the book. It is just an observation, nothing more. I love his character and their meet cute of him thinking she was his housekeeper was hilarious. Then she flips him over her shoulder and I knew that of course they would end up together.

            There is a scene with cows which I loved so much! Like the banter in this book is amazing, such good banter.

            There are so many twists and turns in this as Hannah and Jack start to work together and then she has to be his fake girlfriend because his mom is sick and they don’t want to worry her because he is being stalked. So, she has to go with him and you watch this amazing relationship bloom. You find out really early on that his brother died in a car accident and there are some really conflicting stories about it throughout. Until it is revealed late in the story what actually happened.

            So she has to leave because someone threatens “the girlfriend” and she is forced off his case. She goes to Thanksgiving they make out a little and he asks her on a date for the next day. 

            Then there is a rejection and it almost made me throw the book across my living room. I was so mad! When I tell y’all that I was livid, I was! Then you find out that there is someone in his house threatening his life and then Hannah gets to put her skills to use. 

            Of course it is a happy ending and I was so happy that it was a happy ending because if it wasn’t, man I would have been upset. The epilogue was a little long for me, but I also am not a huge fan of epilogues, I have written a few, but they are not my favorites. 

            I need to talk about the book stylistically. Just for a second. It was a super cute read content wise and story progression wise, no spice, which is totally fine in a romantic comedy. It didn’t have a lot of detail, there were pages that were just dialogue and I was confused at times who was speaking. That’s okay and I know that some writers don’t do sweeping prose, I am guilty of that in my own writing. But the lack of dialogue tags or extra descriptions was jarring. 

            I loved the banter; it was only 302 pages so it was a short little beach read and I really enjoyed it. I liked that it was from one perspective even though I would love to have seen some of it from Jack’s point of view because I want to see when he really fell for her. I want to see when he went all heart eyes for her. I think it’s mentioned in the book, but I loved it. 

            So, this book was really good and if you are looking for a cute little palette cleanser, (which I for sure did) this one is for sure for you. 

            If you want to check out what else I have read from Book of the Month this year, you totally can because all of those posts are already live: January, February, March, April, May, and June

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

            -MJ

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