Hello, January. One of my least favorite months. But, since it is my last month before our baby arrives, I am going to soak up every moment that I have to myself…and fill it with thick fantasy books!
Here are the books I hope to read this month!
The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang
I devoured The Poppy War in December and immediately flagged it as one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read. I plan on doing a full trilogy review once I am done … and I have a feeling I will finish The Dragon Republic and The Burning God this month! It’s so good, friends. Pick it up if you haven’t already.
The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black
In a previous version of this post, I listed The Cruel Prince as a January 2022 read … well … I flew through the first one and now on to the second! I am excited to see what happens in this trilogy. The Cruel Prince was … dark and pretty messed up. Loved it, honestly.
Rule of Wolves (King of Scars #2) by Leigh Bardugo
While I was not a fan of King of Scars (more on that later), the ending did pique my interest and encourage me to finish the duology and the Grishaverse series. I am going to go into this one cautiously optimistic …
Daughter of the Moon Goddess (The Celestial Kingdom Duology #1) by Sue Lynn Tan
The cover alone has me hooked, but I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book. It has a strong female lead, magic, monsters, adventure, romance … I simply cannot wait to get my hands on this book.
The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang
I can only assume once I finish The Dragon Republic I will need to pick up the final book in this trilogy. Kuang is also releasing a new book in August called Babel, and I cannot wait for more of her work!
December was a great reading month — I read everything on my December Hopefuls list … and then some! I am closing out my year with 54 books!
Here’s what I read this month:
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
An annual reread … and one of the best Christmas ghost stories! Every year I get something different out of this book, and this year, I was actually spooked! I also made a resolution to read at least two Dickens novels this year! I admittedly have only read two … A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist. I read Oliver Twist in 9th grade, so I look forward to reading it again as an adult.
Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
It felt really special to read this out loud to my daughter this year. Ian and I took turns reading a letter throughout the season. If you love Tolkien or whimsy things (and let’s be honest, you love both when you love Tolkien), read this! It’s hilarious, fun, smart, and so beautiful.
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
I go into more detail in my book review, but golly, Backman is one of my favorite authors ever. This book was Beartown meets A Man Called Ove meets Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine in all the best ways. I absolutely adored it. I have one more novella and I will have completed all of Backman’s works!
King of Scars (King of Scars #1) by Leigh Bardugo
I am working my way through the Grishaverse! I read the Shadow and Bone trilogy this summer, giving them an average review. That didn’t stop me from reading the Six of Crows duology, which I have yet to review … but Six of Crows was one of my favorite books this year! Crooked Kingdom … not so much.
Anyways, I devoured this book in a week or so, and found it to be … mmm, well. Average. This 527-page book is a bit of a rollercoaster. I was feeling disconnected from the main characters and the pacing throughout. The story follows Nikolai (one of the only reasons I continued to read Shadow and Bone), Nina (one of my favorite characters in Six of Crows), and Zoya, who was a prevalent character in Shadow and Bone. All of the characters were watered down versions of themselves, especially Nikolai. I will give a longer review when I finish Rule of Wolves, which I have ordered. The way this story ends makes you want to pick up the last book, so don’t fret if you started this one and you’re unsure. We can finish this together!
The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang
Thank goodness I ordered this book. I finished it this week and wow. I am enthralled by this story and the main character. Rin is unlike any fantasy heroine I have ever encountered … and this book was unlike any fantasy book I have ever read. It is raw, dark, violent, honest. It packs a punch and is not for the sensitive or faint hearted. It was my first military fantasy and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
I finished The Cruel Prince the morning of Dec. 31. I was hoping to make this one my first completed read of 2022, but I flew through this one. This book was extremely interesting and though there are things I did not like about it … I certainly didn’t hate it. I look forward to completing The Folk of the Air trilogy in the next couple of months!
What about you? What did you read this month?
Another year in the books (heh). Check out all the books I read in 2021:
2021 is at its end, and that means it’s time to write another Top Books post. I had a difficult year with books; I ran into a lot of what I call “meh” books that were overhyped and left me disappointed. But overall, I am still happy that I read.
From wrapping up a master’s thesis to getting pregnant with our first baby, I didn’t expect to meet my Goodreads challenge, but I did! Hooray!
While I did read 5X books this year, only a few made the Top Books list. I’m excited to share them below.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Perhaps one of my favorite books of all time? I read this one for a buddy read back in January. It was my first book of 2021, and my favorite this year. I write more in detail in my book review, but there are a lot of trigger warnings in this one. If you want to read, reach out and we can talk about it. This book is complicated, frustrating, raw, and beautiful. Backman is just tremendous. My advice: Yes, it’s a book centered around hockey, but it’s so much more than that.
Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
This book is from a chorus of writers accounting 400 years of the history of Black America. This book is an essential piece of storytelling and I highly recommend reading it. I plan on rereading it next year because it is that good. The audio is also fantastic.
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
After reading a few disappointing books this summer and fall, Kate Quinn certainly delivered with The Rose Code. In my book review, I wrote about how this book is all about strength, sisterhood, love, and sacrifice. Quinn always knows how to weave a good story and bring rich history into her books. I highly recommend this one and anything Kate Quinn writes. I’d give something she wrote on a napkin 5 stars.
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
This book is the sequel to Beartown and oh my goodness, I enjoyed this one. These books break my heart. Again, some trigger warnings, so please reach out if you’d like to read this series. Backman will be releasing the third one this year, and while I can’t wait, I am also preparing my soul for simultaneous heartache and healing.
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
I read this one on my iPad and furiously highlighted throughout. Hood Feminism offers rich insight in areas such as intersectionality and the problem with white feminism. I learned so much reading this book and I encourage everyone who is interested in feminism (read: everyone) to pick it up.
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Throughout the fall of 2020 into spring 2021, I read the Throne of Glass series, which was no easy feat. I am glad I did it, and I am thrilled that I found an author that I enjoy. Out of all of the Throne of Glass books, Queen of Shadows was my favorite. The action, the badass women, the plot — I was hooked throughout. You can read more about my thoughts on Throne of Glass in my series review.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
You want to have a lot of fun? Read Talia Hibberts’ Act Your Age series. I read all of them, and really enjoyed them. Out of all three, I’d have to say I liked Dani the best, but I enjoyed Eve’s story more. These books are funny and steamy, but I also love their representation, from LGBTQ to mental health and more.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I read the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology this year, and while I flew through the Shadow and Bone trilogy (review here), I enjoyed Six of Crows as a standalone book much more. I am yet to read King of Scars and Rule of Wolves, but I have a feeling I will continue to enjoy the stories. I really loved the Grishaverse and the characters she introduces in Six of Crows. I love the action and the heist and how she writes dialogue. It’s fun, witty, and engaging. I really loved Nina and Inej, as well as Jasper and Wyatt. Looking forward to checking in with Nikolai in January!
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Oh, look. Another Backman! Britt-Marie Was Here was fantastic. This one is a good mix of A Man Called Ove and Beartown — without feeling like you are reading the same book. I go into more detail in my book review, but this one really stuck with me. I loved Britt-Marie, the town and its characters. I laughed and shed many tears reading this one!
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
This was a perfect Halloween, witchy read. What I really loved about this book was the pretty prose throughout. Griffin has a talent for atmospheric writing. I appreciated all of the seasons while reading this book (and I usually hate summer!). I also loved the idea that everyone has their own “season” where they feel the most themselves — I am definitely an autumn! You can read more about my thoughts on this one in my book review!
This is awkward. I kind of disappeared the past few months because …
We are going to have a baby! Our first child is due in early February. The first trimester was very rough, and I did not come up for air and feel better until a month ago. So, I am slowly returning to “normal” until the third trimester takes over again.
Seeing that I have a good excuse … I am forgiven, right? I can move on to the books?
This is going to be a long one, folks. I have read 15 books since I wrote last, and I am going to list them out below with a few sentences on each.
And awayyy we gooo …. (sorry, I am super jazzed as I write this)
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Without a doubt my favorite book so far this year. I absolutely loved this story. The story world, the characters, the fast-moving plot. It was so good. So, so good. If you weren’t a fan of Shadow and Bone and really want to give Bardugo another try, pick up Six of Crows.
Beth & Amy by Virginia Kantra
Virginia Kantra’s retellings of Little Women are just OK. I am not a big fan of retellings anyways because why mess with perfection, but then again, She’s the Man and 10 Things I Hate About You slaps. I was not expecting anything groundbreaking or anything insightful with this one, so I did not feel disappointed reading it. They are cute and easy reads, but I wouldn’t highly recommend them.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows #2)
This one wasn’t as good as Six of Crows, but I loved revisiting these characters and learning more about their stories and what happened next. I felt that this one dragged a bit — it could have benefitted from some good editing and cuts. Otherwise, I finished the duology really loved them!
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
A full Throne of Glass series review is forthcoming once I get over my book hangover. I finished this book in June and golly, what an adventure. This book is THICK, folks. Lots going on. Lots of storylines to wrap up. It got a little too much and I started to lose track and interest. I mostly finished to finish the series, and that’s disappointing. Again, I will do a longer review of the series soon!
Survive the Night by Riley Sager
This was one of my most anticipated thrillers of the year, and I devoured it in one sitting. But I will tell you … I didn’t love it. The plot was a little too familiar to me, and I got super bored with all the movie references. The main character was beyond unlikable and the ending beyond unpredictable. The small twist barely made me gasp. Underwhelming.
Watching You by Lisa Jewell
I was super bummed after reading Survive the Night, and then I was super bummed after reading Watching You. Again, the main character was unlikable (which is usually OK in books, don’t get me wrong), but I was not even interested in how much I disliked her. And the ending, like Sager’s, was not surprising. Bleh.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
After reading two dull thrillers, I moved to a genre I almost never read: contemporary romance. I wanted to switch it up and hopefully get out of my “meh” reading slump. This one did not disappoint. I loved it. If this were made into a movie, it would be my favorite movie ever.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
When I saw that TJR was coming out with a new book this summer, I sighed with relief. Great. One of my favorite authors will release another book that will change my life. Unfortunately, Malibu Rising (or as I call it, Mali-boo Rising) did not make the cut. I was engaged the first 100 pages, but TJR lost me after that. I didn’t care about most of the characters, and all of their troubled storylines seemed so hurried and fragmented. There was a lot of unnecessary drama, and the “big ending” was about 3 lines. Just underwhelmed. Again.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
The cover alone pulls you in, right? I was hoping to read a whimsy, mystical, witchy-esque book to kick off spooky season a little early, but again, found myself going “meh” at the end. While I enjoyed the parts about the apothecary and murders (yep, you read that right), there was too little of that and more focus on a present-day, two-dimensional, boring character. I just closed the book wanting more.
The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne
What can I say? I’m a pregnant woman who wanted to read some Winnie the Pooh. Loved every moment and cannot wait to read this to my little one.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
…No idea what I even read. If there’s anything I’ve learned about Donna Tartt, it’s that she is a superb writer. But while she is a fantastic writer, she is also the world’s biggest flexer. This book is her flexing her writing skills paired with her knowledge of the Greeks and other snooty things. Not to mention this book is dripping with homophobia, antisemitism, racism, sexism (any kind of ism … throw it in there), and lots of triggers. I read the entire book with interest, but I didn’t like it.
The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine
Because I am having a baby girl, I wanted to reread a book all about female brains. This is a good one for anyone who wants to learn about how the female brain works. She also has one on the male brain which I read that is much shorter. She makes a joke about why it’s shorter. I bet you can guess why.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
I’ve been on a children’s book kick lately and oh my goodness, this book. Please be advised: If you are pregnant, do not read unless you want to sob on your couch for hours. This book is written in-verse and it is truly a masterpiece. I loved it!
Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman
You kind of already love this book because of its cover, right? Hoffman writes a series of short stories circled around this one grand house, Blackbird House. It is witchy, whimsical, and magical…but also kind of … boring? I liked some stories more than others, but it was a good witchy book to kick off the season.
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
When I got Picoult’s new book as an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) I dropped my witchy books and read this in two days. And … well … I hated it. I am a big Jodi P fan, don’t get me wrong, but this book was just not right. I will let my Goodreads review (with some spoilers, mind you) speak for itself.
So, while I was nauseated and encountering my first trimester, I WAS reading! See?!
What did you read these past few months? Share in the comments below!
Check out these posts to see what I’ve read this year: