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.
As we start to settle the new year, I figured I would wrap my last month of reading in 2022. Honestly, December was a bit of a blur for me. Mostly because of the holidays but also because I was trying to squeeze in books that I needed to read! This is why I need to stop procrastinating on my BBNYA reads… I love being a panelist but I really need to plan better 😂
Either way, I think that’s why my December reading felt a little all over the place and frazzled. I didn’t read nearly as much I did for most of the year and the ratings fluctuated a bit more, but I still had a good time. And I will say that I closed out the year with an absolute winner!
That being said, let’s jump into the wrap up.
The Reaper’s Quota by Sarah McKnight: This was my first BBNYA read for the final round. I don’t want to talk too much about it because there will be tours coming up for all our finalists, but I found myself really enjoying this book! It was interesting, dark, and humorous in the best way. It didn’t blow me away or anything but it was definitely a solid read. Stay tuned for my more in-depth thoughts once the tours begin! ★★★
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead: I’m not a big historical fiction reader, but I continue to enjoy pretty much any historical fiction that Colson Whitehead writes. This book is no different! It focuses on a Black furniture salesman in Harlem during the 1960s and his fall into (and rise from) a life of crime. I loved following Carney on his journey and getting to know the varied personalities he runs into throughout this book. And I didn’t realize this was the first in a series, but I’m excited to give the next one a read! ★★★★
Lesser Known Monsters by Rory Michaelson: This was my second BBNYA read for the final round and I loved it! Again, I don’t want to talk too much about it because I want to save it for the tour, but this book totally sucked me in. I have so many angry notes about people being mean to Oscar, so you know I was invested in his story 😂 He is such a compelling character with flaws and nuances that makes him feel so real. I’ll tell y’all more once the tours start, but I highly recommend this one if you enjoy horror and would love to read one with strong LGBTQIA+ representation. ★★★★
Inheriting Her Ghosts by S.H. Cooper: And then I read my final BBNYA read for 2022 and it smashed it out of the park! I adored this gothic book so much! First of all, the main character is a middle aged woman and I’m here. for. IT. Second, she has two huge dogs that are her constant companions and I would die for them 😭 You know I’m going to be gushing about this book when the tours swing around, so stay tuned! ★★★★★
It’s time for another monthly wrap up! I read the same amount of books in October as I did in September, though I felt like I was taking forever to read. October was also the month of buddy reads, so I was trying to break up my reading to keep pace with the readalongs. It worked better with some books than others 😂 Still, it was a great month for spooky reads and books that got me into the fall/winter mood. I didn’t read anything under four stars, so I’m definitely counting it as a great reading month!
Now, let’s talk about all the books I managed to finish in October.
The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery: I was reading this as part of the Middle Grade Marvels buddy read in September. Clearly, it took me a wee bit longer since it’s in my October wrap up 😅 This is through no fault of the book, though! This was an incredible read that had me hooked from the beginning. It just suffered because of my weird reading mood in September. This was a wonderful middle grade story about friendship and fighting for what’s right, even if it feels like everything is against you. The backdrop of this story is WWII and there is an air raid on London that is intricately detailed, so it can get a bit intense. Still, I had a great time with this book and really fell in love with the characters. ★★★★
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones: I’ve read a few Stephen Graham Jones novels now and I think I’ve found my favorite, so far. This was such a dark, atmospheric, incredible book! The entity stalking the main characters in this book was suitably creepy and I loved the background story that was created for it. The fact that this is rooted in Blackfeet culture was interesting, as well. This was a frightening, engaging read and makes me want to read even more from this author! ★★★★★
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling: I read this book as part of a buddy read. I did not stick to the reading schedule, though, because, once I started reading, I couldn’t stop! This was such a fun, witchy romance that had me enthralled from page one. It was a quick, cute read and I was hardcore rooting for our main couple, Vivi and Rhys. I haven’t read many second chance romances, but if they’re all like this, I can see myself wanting more! I also love the town in which this was set. It was so cozy and gave the perfect Halloween vibes. I liked this book so much that I pretty much immediately picked up the next book in the series, which you’ll see later in this post, haha. ★★★★
The Legend of Black Jack by A.R. Witham: I read this fantasy novel as part of a tour hosted by The Write Reads. You can tell the author really thought about the world he created in this book a lot because the worldbuilding was top-notch! I was enchanted by this portal fantasy and found it easy to picture it all in my head. This book read like a movie, which is something I always love! I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed but, overall, this was such an engaging and enjoyable read. You can find my full review here. ★★★★
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher: I’ve been hearing more and more about the author T. Kingfisher lately but I hadn’t read anything by her. I figured it was spooky season and this looked probably creepy, so I picked it up at the library. I’m so glad I did because I ended up loving this! It was a dark fairytale that starred all of the side characters that don’t usually get the spotlight. It was dark and funny and digs into some real world topics in a way that I very much enjoyed. And there’s a bone dog and a demon chicken! What more do you need, right? After this experience, I’m excited to give more of her books a try! ★★★★
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley: Similarly to the last book, I’ve heard so much about Lucy Foley but had yet to pick up any of her books. I found this book on Scribd and figured, “Why not?” Again, I’m so glad I gave this a shot because I had a great time! This was a wonderfully atmospheric thriller that made me want to never go to Paris 😂 The apartment building itself is almost a character of its own it has so much sinister personality. I wanted to strangle a good portion of the characters and I guessed a few of the twists, yet I still found myself on the edge of my seat, eager to read what was going to happen next. And I certainly didn’t see the ending coming! Again, now I’m excited to pick up more from this author. ★★★★
Now that we’re firmly into October, I figured it was time to wrap up my reading from last month. After a particularly epic amount of books that I read in August, my September reading was noticeably less epic. I feel like my poor brain was recovering! It didn’t help that I contracted a head cold that put me into a fog for a good portion of the month. And that was before I contracted Covid 😅 It was a fun month with ups (I turned 40!) and downs (aforementioned head cold…) and it flew by way too fast.
Now, let’s wrap up what I managed to read in my favorite month of the year!
Spy x Family Vol 5 by Tatsuya Endo: I started the month continuing my Spy x Family obsession. This volume of the manga was a lot of fun, as always, though Yor’s brother creeps me out 😂 He is way too obsessed with his sister… Still, I loved seeing more of the Forger family and the art, as always, was a delight. This did just remind me that I need to catch up with the anime now that the second season is out! ★★★★
Spy x Family Vol 6 by Tatsuya Endo: This was most definitely my favorite volume of the manga so far! We got to go along with Loid on one of his missions, there were so many cute moments between him and Yor, and Anya was, as ever, adorable. There was something about this volume that made me love the series even more. It was also the last one my library had so I’ve been in withdrawal ever since, haha. ★★★★★
With Fire In Their Blood by Kat Delacorte: I read this book for a tour hosted by The Write Reads. This YA dark fantasy was a wild ride that was incredibly gripping, I loved the strange town of Castello and all the horrifying religious overtones that flow throughout the book were certainly eerie. The atmosphere and tone were expertly done and were probably my favorite part of the story. You can read my full review here. ★★★★
Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine: Y’all. I’ve been a fan of Rachel Caine’s for a long time, ever since I picked up the Great Library series. So, when I picked up the first book in her thriller series, I was expecting to enjoy it. I was not, however, expecting to become so completely ensnared in the story that I wanted to abandon all my other reading goals for the month so I could binge the entire series! This book was so good! It was dark and tense and frightening, with several moments that had me on the edge of my seat. I want to fight the world for Gwen, our main character, and her kids. Rachel Caine has always been good at writing compelling characters and she definitely brought that skill into this book, as well. ★★★★★
Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez: Ahhhhhh, this was so stinkin’ CUTE! I had heard Dini @ Dini Panda Reads talk about how much she enjoyed this graphic novel, which is what originally piqued my interest. Then, I spotted it at my local library and figured, why not? I borrowed it, sat down to read, and immediately became smitten. The art style! The characters! The FOOD! This story about a young college graduate just trying to find his true passion in this life (and maybe another kind of passion…) was so beautifully told and beautifully drawn that I was invested in his story from beginning to end. Add to that all the inclusiveness littered throughout this tale and I was hooked! ★★★★
It Looks Like Us by Alison Ames: Talk about a perfect read for spooky season! Though a bit predictable, this novel was a thrill ride from beginning to end. If you enjoyed the movie The Thing and aren’t easily grossed out, I would definitely suggest giving this one a go! I read it for a TBR & Beyond Tours book tour and I’m so glad that I did. It was intense and messy and I enjoyed my time sunk within its pages. You can read my full review here. ★★★★
I’ve managed to get to my reading wrap up for the previous month before it is almost the end of this month! We’re making progress 😂 In my defense, I read a lot of books (for me) last month. I somehow managed to get through 20 books! The task of rounding them all up and talking about them has been daunting, to say the least.
I have to blame the two readathons I participated in last month, the Trope-ical Readathon and the Magical Readathon. They were both a ton of fun and had me tearing through books. I managed to complete my character’s classes for the Magical Readathon, though I did… less great with my Trope-ical TBR 😅 I am but one, slow reader and there was no way I was getting through all those books! Still, I had a blast with both readathons and I can’t wait until the next round for each.
Alright, now let’s jump in so I can talk about all the books I managed to read in August!
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood: This was such a thrilling read! It’s an Ethiopian-inspired retelling of Jane Eyre which is one of my favorite classic novels. I was already primed to love this and it did not disappoint! I loved the world, the characters, and their messy, wonderful relationships. It also brought the creepy factor and I loved that! This would be a great read for spooky season. You can read my full review here. ★★★★
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones: Stephen Graham Jones has a way of writing horror that makes it feel like a contemporary. This book was no different and, somehow, it totally works! I enjoyed how this was really a character study of Jade, our main character, who is obsessed with slashers and hates pretty much everything else. It was intriguing following her as she tries to convince people that a slasher has arrived at their small town. Don’t get me wrong, though… there are definitely some pretty horrific things in this book, especially near the end! It all wraps up into a weird, wonderful story that was both spine-tingling and introspective. ★★★★
Spy x Family Vol 1 by Tatsuya Endo: And here we see the beginning of my obsession with the Forger family, lol. I read this manga after hearing about it all over the bookish community. It sounded cute and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Immediately after finishing this volume, I binged the first season of the anime and put a hold on all the volumes available at my library 😂 It’s just so sweet! It follows a spy who needs a fake family to complete his latest mission. The people he manages to get into his fake family, however, are 1) an assassin (Yor is the BEST) and 2) a telepath (I ADORE Anya). It’s a lot of fun and I need mooooore. ★★★★
These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall: I read this book as part of a book tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours. I signed up for the tour because this sounded like a gothic horror that would be right up my alley! I had a great time with this dark, brooding story. The atmosphere was on point and I loved that we got some good rep throughout the story. There’s even a sapphic love story mixed in with all the horror. This book certainly made me interested in reading more of Kate Alice Marshall’s work! You can read my full review here. ★★★★
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. ★★★