January 2023 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

Seeming as we’re well into the second week of February, I thought it was time to wrap up my reading for last month. January is typically one of the months of the year where I read less than I do the rest of the year. I dunno if it’s my recovery month after trying to cram in as much as possible in December or if it’s because I’m so busy in other areas of my life that I don’t read as much. That’s just usually how it is.

So imagine my surprise that I managed to read 11 books last month! To be fair, a couple of those were part of a Amazon Original short story collection and others were fairly short, but I’m still surprised! I even had two five star reads in the first month of 2023, so I feel like my reading year is off to a great start.

Now, let me share all the books I read in January.

Books Reads

  • Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert: My first read of the year and it was this fun, sweet, Black romance that I ended up giving five stars! What a way to kick off 2023. I read this book for a tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours and I loved every second of it. The main characters were both wonderful and had me rooting for their love from page one. There’s also OCD rep that I thought was handled well, though I’m not a part of that community, so I can’t say for sure! Still, this was a great YA romance and has cemented Talia Hibbert as a new favorite author. You can read my full review here! ★★★★★
  • The Garden by Tomi Champion-Adeyemi: This short story is part of one of the Amazon Original Stories series that caught my eye. It surrounds characters that delve deeper than others and peek behind the curtain. Who aren’t afraid to look into the darker side of things. This story in particular was about a young woman searching for a mysterious garden that drew her mother away from her years ago. It alternates between prose and poetry, which I enjoyed. The overall story, however, was just… okay? I think the concept would have made for an incredible novel. As a short story, it felt like a read a couple of chapters in a book that was never finished. Interesting story, but I would have loved more. ★★★
  • Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren: I buddy read this book with a bunch of bookish friends. I was excited because I liked The Unhoneymooners. This, however, was not it. The ending was trash, the male love interest was low-key a stalker, and there was a sexual assault (not on page) that was just not discussed at all. I spent most of the book annoyed with one (or both) of the main characters and that’s not what you want when you’re reading a romance! If I don’t like the characters, I can’t get behind the romance, so there’s really no point, is there? I will say, I loved how bookish both the main characters were, but that was pretty much the only thing. I can recognize why people enjoy this one, but it was definitely not for me. ★★
  • Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney: I’ve been wanting to read an Alice Feeney novel for awhile, now, and I’m so glad this was the first one I picked up! This was a perfect homage to one of the most prolific mystery writers, Agatha Christie, specifically her novel And Then There Were None. The atmosphere was spot on, the characters were intriguing, and I thought the twist was executed so well! I guessed it about halfway through the book but the way the author crafted her story had me second guessing myself up until the reveal. I love that in a mystery! You can read my full review here. ★★★★
  • Unanimity by Alexandra Almeida: I read this book for my first The Write Reads blog tour of the new year. This was an interesting, dark science fiction that had me quite confused at the beginning, I’m not gonna lie. Still, the story pulled me in and I was invested in what happened to all these disaster characters. And I did love the world once I could wrap my mind around it, haha. It was an entertaining read, but definitely check trigger warnings before jumping into this one. You can read my full review here. ★★★
  • Delicious Monsters by Liselle Sambury: Speaking of checking trigger warnings, this YA horror was an excellent read, but definitely delves into some heavy topics. This was my second five star read of the year, so I clearly thoroughly enjoyed how the author handled this difficult subjects. It’s a story that centers around a creepy house, which is something I love, and a girl that can see the dead. And it was the perfect blend of body horror and social commentary that I truly enjoy in horror novels! I read this for a blog tour with Hear Our Voices Tours and you can read my full review here. ★★★★★
  • The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant: This was the Middle Grade Marvels pick for January and I’m so glad I decided to join in on the fun. This was such a whimsical, adventurous read that had me in it’s grip from page one until the end! I adore Cordelia, Goose, and Sam, our three main characters. Their friendship was wonderful and each individual character had me invested in their story. You can read my full review here. ★★★★
  • Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake: Ahhh, I freakin’ loved this romance! Delilah and Claire are both such incredible characters that I connected to easily. That made rooting for their adorable attraction pretty easy. They are so cute together and I loved following their love story. I also truly enjoyed how this romance takes a deeper look at the characters and their issues. There’s trauma involved for both Delilah and Claire and it was nice to explore that as they came together. This was funny, heartwarming, and an absolute delight. It makes me eager to read the next book in the series! ★★★★
  • The Candles Are Burning by Veronica G. Henry: The second short story I read from the Into Shadows Amazon Original Stories collection was better than the first! I’ve not read anything from this author before, but I thoroughly enjoyed her creepy story about a woman who contends with Death. It had great atmosphere and a compelling main character, so I was invested in the story very quickly. The ending was a little meh but, overall, I had a great time with this story. ★★★★
  • The second to last book I read in January was published by an offshoot of HarperCollins and, as you may or may not be aware, the HarperCollins Union is currently on strike. In solidarity with the union, I’m going to hold back any kind of review until an agreement has been reached. You can click the image above to learn more!
  • Slappy, Beware! by R.L. Stine: Haha, what a trip down memory lane! Though I’ve not read any of the previous Slappy books, I was a big fan of both Goosebumps and Fear Street when I was a teen. They were my introduction to reading horror! This book definitely skewed more middle grade with its humor and content. I think it would be a great intro to the genre for a kid who is interested and maybe not ready for big scares. It was predictable, but fun, and I had a good time with it overall. ★★★

Book of the Month

I had two five star reads in January and they were both excellent. Hence the five stars, haha. So picking one of the two to feature as my book of the month was a bit difficult! In the end, though, I had to go with the one that had me thinking for days after I finished it. The Book of the Month for January is…

Delicious Monsters by Liselle Sambury

Challenge Update

Popsugar Reading Challenge:

  • A book with a queer lead (Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute)
  • A book that was self-published (Unanimity)
  • A book about a holiday that’s not Christmas (Daisy Darker)

12 Friends, 12 Recommendations Challenge:

My goal of reading one per month has started off strong! Let’s hope I can stay committed as the year goes on.

  • Slappy, Beware! by R.L. Stine (Thanks for the recommendation, @jscribblescom!)

Disney Reading Challenge:

  • A book by an author you’ve never read before (Unanimity)
  • A book by an author writing under a pen name (Love and Other Words)
  • A book told from multiple POVs (Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute)
  • Read a non-physical book (Check out the HarperCollins Union links!)
  • A horror book (Delicious Monsters)
  • A book with a house on the cover (Daisy Darker)
  • A book where the MC has your dream job (Delilah Green Doesn’t Care)
  • A book that mentions a historical figure (The Hatmakers)

Project Backlist Reading Challenge:

  • Committed Reader – I read one book that was already on my physical shelf in January. So… a slow start there.
  • Cold Turkey – I did, however, manage to stick to my book buying ban!
  • ARCrastinator – I also managed to read three ARCs, though two were for tours, haha.

Year in Aeldia Magical Readathon Challenge:

At the last possible second, I decided to join in with the choose your own adventure style year long reading challenge that G @ Book Roast created as part of the Magical Readathon. She made a map, y’all… I couldn’t resist 😂 Check out her video for all the details!

For January, you could either Turn Left (start a series) or Turn Right (finish a series). I choose to turn left and the book that fulfilled the prompt was Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake.

How was your reading in January? Did you find a new favorite? Make any progress on some challenges? Let me know in the comments!

And, as always, happy reading!


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