Thursday, January 4, 2024

Monthly Reads ~ December 2023

I hope you all are enjoying all the book reviews, since it's just another hobby of mine, it's not going anywhere! I loved doing the Monthly Wrap-up last year to share mini reviews on all the books I've read each month! 

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 Reads ~ December 2023
I purchased these books

So, in December I read 11 books (bringing my yearly total for 2023 to 112 books!), with a mix of genres from adult contemporary fiction to young adult gothic horror. 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; but, this month was mostly newer reads! I read 4 physical books, listened to 5 audiobooks. Eight books is a little light for me but there were some big books in here! 

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

The Winners by Fredrik Backman☆☆☆☆☆ - 5 stars. This is a contemporary fiction book and the third in the Beartown series - a follow up to Beartown and Us Against You and honestly, they are all amazing! This book takes place two years following the events of the first book. This is so character focused and it is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. I never thought that a book about hockey would be my favourite series, but it's so much more than that - I haven't laughed and cried and yelled so much during a book in a long time. It is more than a small town book, it's about family, friends, love, toxic masculinity, violence, teams, everything. Read this series! 

The Little Book of Skincare by Charlotte Cho ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a helpful little reference book - it is a little older now, so in 2015 it would have been incredibly useful. I did know a fair bit of the information from other books and the author's website, etc. but still good. I found the end shopping and Korea section not-needed for myself, but I can see overall this being used for reference!

A Curse For True Love by Stephanie Garber ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult fantasy novel - the third in the Once Upon A Broken Heart trilogy, which is a spin-off of Caraval series. This was a lovely little wrap up to the series - I love this world and love Jacks and Evangelines story. I thought the twists were great and overall good ending!

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult gothic horror/fantasy book and takes place in the world of A House of Salt and Sorrows following one of the sisters year later. I loved the new eerie gothic, florally setting that was such a contrast for our main character. I loved the weird family dynamic and how the story slowly unfolded. The characters and setting were great. The story was good - that ending!

Spectacle by Megan Rose Gedris ~ ☆☆ ½ - 2.5 stars. This is a fantasy circus-ish graphic novel and that's why it grabbed my attention! I picked this up on a whim because I love me some circus vibes, and this gives us an old-timey travelling circus with two sisters, one a knife-thrower and the other a physic, but with a weird affinity to try and make it science with a machine that doesn't fit at all. One sister is murdered and the other has to solve it - but something happens with the circus that is distracting and no storylines are really hashed out.

Foul Hearts Huntsman by Chloe Gong☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult fantasy - it is the follow up to Foul Lady Fortune, which is a spinoff of the These Violent Delights series. This was really complex and there were so many storylines all converging in on each other - the characters were a little hard to follow, and there were double and triple and whatever agents. But, I loved them and I really enjoyed how they wrapped up!

Welcome to the O.C. by Alan Sepinwall ~ ☆☆☆☆½ - 4.5 stars. I was a huge O.C. fan and this is a whole oral history with the writers/producers/directors/actors for the 20th Anniversary. For me, this was the ultimate teen show when I was growing up. This would have premiered just before my Grade 12 year in school and I remember watching it compulsively (I even did a re-watch this year for nostalgia sakes and I still loved it). This gave some great insight in the timelines of the show, how everyone was on set and what led to the direction of the show and decisions made (yes, I still can't believe they decided to kill off Marissa), but it was interesting to see what was going on behind the scenes that we wouldn't have been privvy to as the audience. If you are a fan, this was a great recap!

A Venom Dark and Sweet by Judy I. Lin ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is another young adult fantasy and the second book in a duology (can you tell I'm trying to finish series this month?!) This was the followup to A Magic Steeped in Poison and I enjoyed it - I did find it a little hard to get in to as I was trying to figure out the direction, but once our characters were on their path, I really enjoyed where our characters went and the outcome with the serpent. I like the tea magic!

Monthly Reads ~ December 2023

The Lover by Silvia Morena-Garcia ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This was a dark little short story! Part fantasy/part fairy-tale with a scorned lover and a little revenge in there. Quick, easy read. I did of course end up wanting a little bit more as is typical with a short story, but still good! 

Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuznair ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is a Nutcracker retelling where our main character is sent away to a fantasy world of Everwood where she is trapped by the King because of her talent of dancing. She needs to make friends and alliances to try and get home (but the life that awaits her at home is not ideal). I like the idea of friendship and helping eachother, I just found it got a tad repetitive in the storyline. Whimsical overall!

Snow Place Like LA by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone ~ ☆☆ ½ - 2.5 stars. These are holiday smutty romance reads in the Christmas Notch series, but this one had no storyline and I just did not enjoy the voice of the main character!

December was overall a pretty good reading month - mostly good reads for me this month! 

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?! For me, it had to be The Winners! 

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