Here I am, keeping up my new routine of waiting until a month is almost over to go over my reads from the month prior 😂 Look, life has been especially hectic in the McBookNerd household lately and my blogging has reflected that! Still, I want to talk about my reading in April because, honestly, it was a fantastic reading month. It was the Orilium Spring Equinox, which always is a ton of fun. I managed to read everything I needed to move my character along on the path to becoming the greatest Beast Master of all time! And I participated in an ARC reading challenge that got me to finally read one of the oldest books on my Netgalley shelf. On top of that, I just really enjoyed pretty much all of the books I read in April. All in all, it’s gonna be a tough month to beat!
That being said, let me share what I read in the month of April.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill: I had so much fun with this middle grade fantasy! It was the March pick for Middle Grade Marvels and I’m so glad that pushed me into finally reading it. It’s been on my radar for awhile, but I just never picked it up. Now I’m firmly on the hype train because this was such a great read! It was whimsical, magical, and had me crying in public at a McDonald’s 😅 It made me want to read more from this author! ★★★★
Dark Eyes: White Lies by M.R. Noble: This is the sequel to a book I read for a tour hosted by The Write Reads, so when I saw it was going on tour with them, as well, I jumped on board! I enjoyed the first book in this series and this one was equally as enticing. The action picks right up from where it ends in the first novel, but things get a lot more intense very quickly. I enjoyed this read and the ending left me eager to continue this paranormal series! You can read my full review here. ★★★★
Zora Books Her Happy Ever After by Taj McCoy: I read this book for a blog tour hosted by Hear Our Voices Tours. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this contemporary adult romance, but I had a great time reading it! The fact that it featured Black characters and book nerds just made my heart happy. And the steam was definitely on point! You can read my full review here. ★★★★
Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah: I spent a lot of April trying to catch up with Netgalley books and this was one that had been on my TBR for a minute. This YA horror ended up being an atmospheric, compelling read that hits on some dark topics in an interesting way. I thought the story was compulsively readable though the characters felt a little all over the place. In the end, though, I overall had a good time with this book. You can read my full review here. ★★★
After two months of readathons, I’m back to building my TBR according to my own whims, haha. The books I’m hoping to get to in May are an eclectic mix, but I’m quickly learning that’s what I need to keep my reading mojo high. Too many of one genre in a row (even fantasy) tends to make me start to feel bored. So I’m hoping to keep it fresh this month by bouncing from fantasy to romance to horror and back again!
Now, let me share with you what I’m planning to read in the month of May.
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Witchlings: The Golden Frog Gamesby Claribel A. Ortega
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Belladonnaby Adalyn Grace (my 12 friends, 12 recommendations read of the month!)
Look who is finally wrapping up her March reading! Yes, I know it’s the last day of April and I’ll soon need to be doing that wrap up, but better late than never, right? That’s what I’m telling myself 😂 In March, I participated in the Trope-ical Readathon, which usually corresponds with me reading a ton of books! This March, however, I found myself in a weird, kind of reading slump. Like, I was enjoying most of what I was reading, but the urge to read was super low. Still, I managed to get through 8 books and I ended up with two five star reads! I’m gonna count that as a win.
Now, let me wrap up all my reading for last month.
Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano: I read this book for the Literally Dead Book Club. It was the February pick and I vastly overestimated how quickly I could read it, haha. That being said, I had a good time with this book but I think I would have benefitted from not binging all the books in a row. This is the third book in a mystery series and, though I loved the concept at first, but this third book it was starting to get a little too absurd, haha. I still love Finlay and Vero, but the things they get themselves into (and out of) are starting to really stretch my suspension of disbelief. I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the next book… perhaps with a little time between reading about these characters will make me like it a lot more. ★★★
Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie: This was my first Trope-ical Readathon read and I enjoyed it! Hercule Poirot books are just a comfort read, at this point, because they’re so easy to get into and entertaining. I’m always a little put out when it takes forever for the famous detective to make an appearance in the story and that is definitely the case with this book. Still, I liked the mystery, I liked the investigation, and I liked the reveal. This was a solid addition to the series and I ended up having a good time reading it. ★★★★
The Moth Keeper by K. O’Neill: I participated in the TBR & Beyond Tours book tour for this middle grade graphic novel and I absolutely loved it! K. O’Neill’s art is always gorgeous and this graphic novel is no different. This was a beautiful book containing and important story. It’s about a young girl who has been tapped as her community’s new Moth Keeper, a very important job because the people really depend on the moths she’ll be protecting. It talks about loneliness and burnout; topics that I think it dealt with in a wonderful and accessible way. You can read my full review here. ★★★★★
Now that the month of March is almost over, perhaps it is time that I finally wrap up my reading from February 😂 March has been A Month and my focus has been shot because of it. I meant to get to this post ages ago but, hey, at least I’m here now, right? Right! February was a decent reading month, though I didn’t read as much as I did in January. Still, I read a lot of books that I thoroughly enjoyed and even had a five star read!
But enough of my rambling. Let me tell you all about the books I read in Feburary!
Sacrifice by Vicky Walklate: This was my first read for the currently running blog tours for all of BBNYA’s 2022 finalists! I say this every time I read one of these books, but I can see why this made it to the final round. This was such a quick read that had me immersed in the world the author created. I loved the characters and the worldbuilding. This book certainly made me excited to pick up the next in the series! You can read my full review here. ★★★★
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano: Here begins my binging of the Finlay Donovan series, haha. I wanted to join in on the Literally Dead Book Club discussion of the third book in the series, the pick for February, so I had to catch up! This first book was definitely my favorite in the series so far. It was fun, quirky, and charming in a way that had me completely invested in Finlay and her shenanigans. I have to give props to the audiobook narrator, Angela Dawe, because she really made the story come to life! This was a great first installment to a cozy mystery series. ★★★★
Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano: I immediately jumped into the sequel because, ya know, I was on a timeline, lol. I enjoyed this one as well, but not as much as the first book. It was still fun and charming, but the shenanigans started to really stretch my suspension of disbelief. I think this is a concept that can only continue to get more and more unbelievable and I know it’s eventually gonna lose me because I can’t 😂 Still, this was fast-paced, engaging and I still love Finlay and Vero to pieces. Steven can die in a fire, but those two are great! ★★★★
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.
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. ★★★★
I hope you’re having a great weekend. Today seemed like a good day to finally share my 2023 bookish goals! Now, a few of these goals are going to be holdovers from 2022 (*cough*), but I think the main goal of 2023 is trying not to do ALL THE THINGS. Ya girl just does not have the time. I’m also going to talk about my blogging goals and the reading challenges I’m planning on trying to complete this year.
That being said, let’s jump in!
In 2023, I’m trying not to set myself too many goals because I’m the type of person who beats herself up if she does not achieve some arbitrary goal that I made up in my head 😅😂 So I’m trying to be kind to 2024-Kerri’s mental health and set some achievable goals that are a little more ambiguous in nature. Only one hard number here, but it’s definitely something do-able and I can’t go a year without setting a Goodreads goal! So let me share my reading goals for 2023.
#1. Read 100 books
This is my one reading goal that actually has a number attached to it (not counting reading challenges, of course). This is also the highest I’ve ever set my Goodreads goal! I’ve read over 100 books the last two years and, with blogging and Netgalley, I think it’s something I can do again. Blog tours and ARCs have certainly upped my reading in recent years and I can’t imagine 2023 being any different. Still, seeing those triple digits makes me a little nervous 😅
#2. Read from my owned TBR as much as possible
This was a goal last year and it did not go well, lol. I got distracted by a lot of blog tours and new, shiny releases so I’m fairly certainly my owned TBR has grown rather than shrunk. I’m planning on cataloguing my owned TBR… soon. Looking at all the stacks around my bedroom and on my TBR bookshelf is daunting, to say the least, but I want to know where I’m starting so I can see how well I stick to this goal in 2023. I don’t have a specific number that I want to hit, or an amount I’d like to reduce my owned TBR by… I’m just hoping to end the year with less instead of more.
#3. Stay on top of Netgalley reads
Now, there’s definitely a number involved with this, but I’m not setting myself a specific number that I’m trying to achieve. I’m already pretty close to the recommended feedback ratio, so I’m not stressed about that. Mostly, I want to stay on top of my Netgalley reads instead of letting ARCs languish on my shelf until they are already published… heh.
We’re five days into the new year, so I figured I would finally, fully wrap up how my reading went in 2022. Honestly, last year was the year of four star reads and I wasn’t mad about it! I read so many really wonderful books and discovered some authors that I would love to continue to read. I started to dip my toe in the romance genre, I picked up a few books that I’ve been meaning to read for ages, and I actually finished a series!
That being said, let’s go ahead and get into my wrap up post!
In 2022, I read the most books I’ve ever read since I got back into reading as a hobby! It boggles my mind that I read 135 books and 41,950 pages. Like… what?! I’m not complaining though because I feel quite accomplished. I have to give props to rekindling my love for audiobooks and graphic novels. I’m hoping to continue this energy into the new year, though I think that I will be shocked if I get close to or surpass that number in 2023. We shall see!
The fact that the average length of the books I picked up was only 310 pages definitely helped me read the amount that I did, too. This was the year of short, quick reads, which I kind of needed because I was a busy bee in 2022. I think this average length also has to do with the fact that I read a lot more romance this year than I ever have before. Romances tend to be shorter than the fantasy books I usually read. Being a fan of epic, sweeping stories is both a blessing and a curse 😂 Romances also brought me so much joy in 2022, so I am most definitely continuing my exploration of the genre!
I told you that this was the year of four star reads and the fact that my average rating in 2022 was 4.1 stars proves my point! There were so many books I read that were incredible, but didn’t quite reach that five star mark. I mean, I still read 24 five star books this year, which is a great number, I think. So many new favorites! The fact that the rest of my reads were mostly still great makes me quite happy. Here’s hoping 2023 treats me just as well.
I’ve once again waited until it was almost next month to wrap up my reading for last month. This has become a trend 😬😅 Still, let my lateness not reflect on how my reading went in July. I read a ton of incredible reads last month and I’m excited to share them with you! Last month is also the first time I think ever that I read more audiobooks than physical books. I suppose I’m officially in my audiobook era.
Alright, let’s get to the post!
Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes: This book was everything I wanted it to be! It was space horror at it’s most spine-tingling. I loved the atmospheric writing, the characters you don’t know if you can trust, and how everything was explained in the end. I will say there were moments that dragged a teensy bit and the ending wrapped a little too neat, but I still had a great time with this one. ★★★★
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Well, this book is definitely going on my list of ‘favorite classics’. This was such a weird, horrific time and I loved every minute of it! I enjoyed Oscar Wilde’s writing style and how he created such a compelling character that I also wanted to kick. The descriptions of things that I did not care about could get a bit out of hand, I have to admit. Still, this was an engaging and excellent read. ★★★★
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint: I finally read Ariadne and it was just as good as everyone has been saying! As Greek mythology retellings go, I thoroughly enjoyed how Saint centered Ariadne and her sister in a myth that usually sweeps them under the rug. I was completely engaged throughout the story an, even though I knew how it would end, I was riveted. I’m certainly interested in reading whatever else Jennifer Saint writes next! I need to get my hands on Elektra. ★★★★
Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie: I continued my Poirot reading last month and this was the first book I read. This was an interesting story with a intriguing mystery. I enjoyed all the characters, though never as much as Poirot himself. There was no Hastings, however, so that made me a little sad. But I liked the twists and turns in this story and how it all wrapped up in the end. ★★★★
Here I am, once again bringing you a very late monthly wrap up 😅 Perhaps in August I’ll get my act together, but, let’s be honest, probably not. This summer months have been busy and stressful and, though I’ve been reading quite a bit, I’ve been terrible at keeping track the way I used to that made making my monthly wrap up posts easier. So then I just put it off until I finally make myself sit down and do it, haha.
We’ve arrived at that point, so it’s time to tell you all about the books I read in June!
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James: This was my first Simone St. James and, though I enjoyed my time with it, I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this book. I thought they were intriguing and messed up and definitely interesting to follow. But this is a book that bounces back and forth between POVs and timelines and I found the timelines set in the past so intensely dull. Still, I enjoyed the spooky elements and the writing was good. That plus the great characters helped me pull through the duller chapters. ★★★
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake: I went into this one unsure of how I was going to like it. I’m a fan of dark academia, but there are so many mixed reviews about this book! Thankfully, I fell on the side of loving it. The vibes were incredible, the characters were fascinating, and I loved the (admittedly convoluted sometimes) plot. There were moments were the writing felt a tad overwrought and boring, but those were few and far between. All in all, this was a wild ride and I’m eager to read the sequel. ★★★★
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan: Here’s another book that has a lot of mixed reviews. And, again, I ended up on the side of loving it! This book was absolutely beautiful, inside and out. The writing was stunning! Like, so beautiful there were passages I listened to over again because I just loved them so much. The plot is fast-paced and intriguing and the worldbuilding is fantastic! The best part of this book, however, is the characters, especially Xingye. She’s such a nuanced and fierce character to watch grow throughout the story. Definitely looking forward to the sequel! ★★★★
Son of Shadow by John Lenahan: I read this book for a blog tour hosted by The Write Reads. It’s a fantasy that is focused around Irish mythology and it was quite a bit of fun! I loved how this book was a fantasy with a very contemporary feel. And the land of Tir na Nog was enchanting to read in this book. I have to admit to feeling a little lost for most of the book because this is the first book in a new trilogy, but there’s an entire trilogy before this. It felt like I was missing a lot of information because I hadn’t read that series. Overall, though, I had a good time with this book. You can read my full review here. ★★★
I am, once again, woefully behind when it comes to writing reviews these days. 2022 has been a busy year with loads of change happening and I’ve found myself with less and less time to sit and write reviews. Though I’ve been reading a ton! Perhaps that is the problem 😂
That being said, I thought I would try and catch up with some of my reviews by talking about three books I’ve finished from one of the year long reading challenges I’m doing in 2022. I’ve not been doing great with my 22 in 2022TBR, but I’ve checked up a good amount from my 12 friends, 12 recommendations TBR! And, today, I’m going to finally review three of them.
Title: Battle Royal
Author: Lucy Parker
CW/TW: Death of a parent (past), abusive familial relationship, emotional abuse (past)
This was such a delightful read! It made me realize that food + romance may just be my thing, because I loved the backdrop of this sweet story. Two rival bakers competing to bake a royal wedding cake while also working together on a hit baking competition is apparently the recipe to win my heart, haha. Not only did I get a cute (and sometimes steamy) romance, but I got to drool over delicious sounding desserts at the same time. Win-win!
I truly enjoyed the chemistry between Sylvie and Dominic, though Sylvie is hands-down my favorite character. Sorry, Dominic… but she has an enchanted forest in her bakery’s basement! That’s a default win! They were both wonderfully written and complex characters, though, and I truly enjoyed getting to know them throughout this book. There were a few plot points that stretched the imagination, but, overall this was a charming and fun romance that left me smiling from ear to ear.