Thursday, December 29, 2022

Monthly Reading Wrap-up ~ December 2022 + End of the Year Book Freakout Tag

This year I thought I would share a little more of all my books and I thought the best way to do that would be if I wrapped up my reads of each month, so I can share mini reviews on all the books I've gone through! 

It could be a big range from 2 to 10 books depending on how much I read, but I figure I can share a little synopsis and quick thoughts on each book. I will still be doing more in depth reviews on books that really capture me! 

Monthly Reading Wrap-up ~ December 2022
I purchased everything in this post - this post contains affiliate links

So, in December I read 9 books - a mix of genres from young adult sci-fi to adult romance. I love most genres, and I really want to keep my reads diversified this year - I think I have been doing a great job of that so far! Also, I've been trying to read a mix of old and new books, which I've done a good job at so far all year, but this month has been mostly new reads trying to catch up on books I wanted to get in this year. I read 7 audio books, and 2 physical book (with no e-books this month!)

Here's a quick look at all the books I read in the past month: 

Monthly Reading Wrap-up ~ December 2022

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult romance by an author duo who's last few books I've really enjoyed! This was a little different than any other romance that I've read and I loved that it took chances and ended up being quite fun. This is a Western style treasure hunt, somewhat adventure book with a second chance romance in there. The tension and rise and fall of the romance was so different than the typical books and I liked that - I also loved the stakes of the adventure and how much was going on. It kept me on my toes and I flew through this one. While coding was important for this book, it had me a little lost some times and I found it a little hyper focused on it! But, overall great read. 

Poster Girl by Veronica Roth ~ ☆☆ - 2 stars. This is an adult dystopian book by the same author of the Divergent series. I remember really enjoying those, so I hoping to find something to enjoy that genre again. I'm disappointed by this, sadly and I will be honest, this was so slow. I felt like absolutely nothing happened in the first half, I kept falling asleep every time I read this and it took a long time to get through. The second half picked up, but I didn't really feel invested because I didn't like the characters or the concept at all. I just wanted to rush through it to finish and it wasn't great. There was some interesting commentary on systems and how the control people, but I'm a little bummed I didn't love this.

Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult romance set in a small town on a little Christmas Tree farm, so it's fitting to read in November and December. It was really cute and had both a friends to lovers and a fake dating storyline and I really enjoyed this book! I enjoyed the story overall, but I didn't love the conflict and resolution at the end (the main character got a tad insufferable for me) and a wanted a little more tied up at the end with how everything played out for the Farm after. But, it was cute overall.

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is a young adult fantasy and this book is so gorgeous - this came in an owlcrate and I love the dark cover and pink edges. This is somewhat a fairytale-esque, cursed woods story. I thought this started really strong; but, I thought the middle dragged a little and I just didn't connect with the story as everything was getting sorted. It came to a head okay and I liked the very end - I did like the characters and wished I connected with the story a little more! Still a good read!

When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O'Neill ~ ☆ - 1 star DNF. This is an adult historical fiction. This is a Canadian author that I've read from before - I've enjoyed one of her books and not the other, but this one was giving Marie Antoinette vibes (which I'm here for); but, unfortunately I didn't connect with this at all. I don't mind a spoiled girl, but I thought both girls were totally insufferable and had no redeeming qualities. I think maybe the authors writing isn't for me - it's just a little to raw and dark, which is normally my thing but just not it for me. 

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke ~ ☆ - 1 star DNF. This is an adult contemporary fiction - but maybe, also historical since we are covering 3 different timelines, with one present day, on 22 years prior and one hundreds of years before. This book is highly reviewed and I almost feel like I was reading a different book than everyone. I found it slow, I didn't like the characters and I didn't like following 3 different timelines. I also just couldn't get over the fact that the police/child services had all the information for sister on record, but no one noticed this girl went missing 22 years ago on a file instead of two days - it just made no sense and ruined the whole book premise for me. I don't like huge plot holes nor do I enjoy memory loss as a way to add to the story. (So I read half of this book and then I had to read spoilers to see if it was worth it - I wouldn't have liked the twist either so I'm happy I ended it). So this just didn't work at all for me at all. 

A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw ~ ☆☆ ½ - 2.5 stars. This is a young adult sci-fi (I think it's sort of misplaced as a fantasy) - a plague is taking over the world and there is two people who need to find each other when the right sign shows itself, the Astronomer and Architect. This author's writing is beautiful; however, as one of my big hopefuls of the year, I didn't love this. Personally, I found the action happened to soon so there was a chase going for the whole book (and sadly it made the whole middle a little repetitive), and I couldn't really connect with the characters. While I love the story of the Astronomer and the Architect, I didn't love how it all played out. I did read it quickly to see what happened, but wasn't my favourite by this author.

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is an adult fantasy novella focusing on a nun with a group of bandits, who may not be all that they seem. Okay, I loved the characters and the storyline, but this left me how I feel at the end of most novellas - I want more! I wanted to see where the story was going, it felt like we were only halfway done. The three main characters were great and so much fun (this was a bigger group and so I did get confused by names and titles, however I was figuring it out). I just thought there could have been more resolution, or we are set up for a second novella to see where things go next!

Monthly Reading Wrap-up ~ December 2022

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman ~ ☆☆ ½ - 2.5 stars. This is a classic Christmas story - it's meant someone for middlegrade, but for all ages. The Nutcracker has popped up a lot this year, so I thought it was a good time to read the original story. I didn't realize that Alexander Dumas wrote a version from this, and that is the better known version that the ballet is based on (so this is a bit different than the story I know best). I might have liked that one more - this one felt a little less whimsical. 

Sadly, December was not a great reading month for me - a couple good ones, but mostly disappointing books! 

Here's a little refresh of my rating system:

5 Stars: Excellent/Fantastic/Amazing Read 
4.5 Stars: Really Great Read
4 Stars: Great Read 
3.5 Stars: Really Good Book
3 Stars: Good Book 
2.5 Stars: Eh, It was Okay Read
2 Stars: Finished it, but Didn't Enjoy It
1.5 Stars: Not Good at All
1 Star: DNF (Did Not Finish)

What was the best book you read this month?! My favourite of all of these was probably Something Wilder! 

And, since I did the Mid-Year book Freakout Tag, I thought I would answer the same questions for the last 6 months of the year! There are 13 questions:

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2022.

I think The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune was my favourite in the second half of the year! 

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2022. 

I think The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber - this is the follow up to Once Upon a Broken Heart that came out last year. I liked the story line much better in this and I love the characters. 

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to. 

I have been trying to power through the releases that came out this year that I wanted to pick up, but I didn't get the to The Daughter of the Moon Goodess by Sue Lynn Tan or Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin and I did want to get to those ones (both also had their sequels released in the same year and that makes me happy!)

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year. 

Okay, this question doesn't translate great for the end of the year, so I will answer this for my most anticipated release of 2023 and that would be Venco by Cherie Dimaline - I have already preordered this as Cherie is my favourite author and it is about witches and roadtrips and it sounds amazing! (Also, what's impressive is I read all 4 that I mentioned in my mid-year book freakout tag!)

5. Biggest disappointment. 

Ugh I have 3 that I just read in December that were all books I was super excited for this year - Poster Girl by Veronica Roth, The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke and When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O'Neill. I was looking forward to all of these and for various reasons, I probably won't be reading from the authors again, they just didn't work for me! 

6. Biggest surprise. 

I have to go with Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree on this one - I'm not usually a high fantasy person, so when this combined high fantasy characters, with a cozy fantasy story, I was so taken by this. It was just such a warm read and it took me by surprise for sure! 

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

I have to go with T.J. Klune or Travis Baldree - enjoyed the one book I read from both of these authors, but I always want to read more before they stay on the favourites list!! 

8. Newest fictional crush. 

Hmmm no one really stood out too much this year so either Leo Grady from Something Wilder or Luka Peters from Lovelight Farms. 

9. Newest favourite character. 

Probably everyone from The House in the Cerulean Sea, but most specifically Lucy and Talia had me cracking up and crying and I loved them. 

10. Book that made you cry. 

Okay, I tend to cry a fair bit in books, but I think Carrie Soto is Back - now not bawling, crying but this made me feel all the emotions - laughing, crying, cheering, everything. So well written. 

11. Book that made you happy. 

I think Something Wilder by Christina Lauren - it was such a fun, different take on a typical romance with a fun storyline and I really enjoyed it! 

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received) 

I've talked about it once already, but Magic Steeped in Poison is stunning and so is the sequel Venom Dark and Sweet by Judy I. Lin. 

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I'm getting to Saint by Adrienne Young as I was super excited to read it and it was released later in the year! 

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