hi friends! i hope you’re doing well. i know this post might seem late… might seem three months late.. but basically, i am posting my january, february, and march wrap ups – and then i will be doing my first quarter of 2023 statistics! i am still slowly getting back into reviews + blogging, but my hunger for reading is still very much here – and i am so very happy about it! but maybe for this year, i will focus more on doing quarterly things like this while trying to get back into the swing of more things bookish content! i hope you enjoy + thank you always for spending some of your time with me. 🤍
✨ Chain of Thorns (The Last Hours, #3) by Cassandra Clare
“I am saying that with you, I have no armor. I feel everything. For better or worse.”
what a freaking way to start the new year, with a surprise arc of this final installment in cassie clare’s newest series. sadly, i feel like i was the first person to not really love this one, and now… whew… i am praying for her. but, i have the highest of hopes for sword catcher that also comes out this year! also, i love these characters and it was very nice to be back in this world. i am giggling forever at this being the first book i read this year though. but maybe it really set the bar to keep me in my reading era.
trigger + content warnings: loss of a loved one, trauma, alcoholism, extreme alcohol withdrawals, vomiting, seizures, grief depictions, anxiety, abusive parents/bad parents, grey area cheating, blood depictions, violence, gore, homophobia, misogyny, self harm, mention of loss of a child in the past, possession (against one’s will), enchantment (against one’s will), insect horror, kidnapping, harming of a baby
✨ The Stolen Heir (The Stolen Heir Duology, #1) by Holly Black
“Your sister may have inherited your father’s gift for strategy, but you’re the one who got his bloodlust.”
i mean, you guys already know… i loved this, it was perfect /for me/, but i still enjoyed the cruel prince a lot more (and jude + cardan a lot more). i also feel like some readers might not love that this is a quest storyline so they are constantly traveling throughout this, but that is also something i really enjoy in stories – so i feel extra biased. holly was really giving the creepy and dark fae side with this one and now i am forever screaming at the last scene…. well, until i get book two!
tw/cw: kidnapping, parental abuse, physical abuse, torture, abandonment, gore, violence, drugging, vomiting, captivity, murder, blood depictions, self harm to get blood for magic, mention of animal death, suicide mention in past, mention of death in childbirth, ptsd depictions, and a few scenes with bugs/insects/spiders.
✨ Tress of the Emerald Sea (The Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson
“Our words, like our hearts, are weapons still hot from the forging, beating themselves into new shapes each time we swing them.”
The first of brandon sanderson’s secret cosmere projects was everything for me. This story is truly unlike any other that brandon has created before, for so many reasons, but mostly because it reads like a fairytale! this is a story about a girl who leaves the only home she has ever known to brave a very strange ocean, in a very different cosmere world, with a very sweet pirate crew (for the most part), for love. Because at the end of all my favorite types of stories, it’s always for love and it’s always worth it. I so quickly fell in love with Tress and her teacups and her story. Also, if you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you will know how much I adore a questing storyline and this book delivered that and more so! I also feel like every cosmere series has such a perfect and different found family, yet you always feel like you are a part of that family as well, and it’s so beautiful each time, but this one was extra close to my heart.
tw/cw: mentions of war, poison/drugging, vomit, captivity, murder, talk of cancer/tumors very briefly, brief weight loss comment, mention of slavery, and… lots of mentions of spores (i only say this because i think a lot of people are watching last of us right now and it might make you think about things lol)
✨ What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
“If we ran then we would have to admit there was something to run from.”
this year, i really want to read so much from t kingfisher! year after year, so many people recommend them and their stories to me so i knew i wanted to pick something up by them this first month of 2023. i really enjoyed this, the atmosphere, and the writing… whew… the writing was 11/10! but i think i would have enjoyed more if i would have reread the fall of the house of usher. not that you need to, this story completely stands on it’s own! but this was still a powerful novella that i thoroughly enjoyed! and i can’t wait to pick up something else by this author extra now! (also, the way i have read so many stories this month about spooky houses after finishing this one… completely unintentionally)
tw/cw: mention of tumors for descriptions, talk of war, talk of surgery, insect depictions, death, animal death, talk of dead bodies, mention of suicide, loss of a loved one, brief mentions of transphobia
✨ The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi
“Who were we when not cleaved to each other?”
this is a beautiful and lush atmospheric story, with a gothic spooky house setting, all centered around the mystery that is the fae and three people who have been searching their whole lives for them. but the heart of this story is about grief, abuse, neglect, and how the world can be so extra unfair to children that they are forced to find and create their own places in magical worlds to feel safe, loved, and be able to escape. This book was very hard to read at times, and roshani is an expert at blending dark whimsy and dark reality together flawlessly. i could not put this book down, because i needed to know more and more answers each time one was unlocked! but also while i was having that intense feeling of seeing scenes play out while you are watching with your hands kind of covering your eyes. you don’t want to know, but you need to know. plus roshani’s writing is such a tier above everything, this story is filled with very intense and juxtaposing feelings. ahhh, i feel like i have already said too much – but i love all roshani’s stories and i am always so proud of her and her voice – i hope the world loves this story and all the well crafted and very important layers.
tw/cw: loss of a loved one, extreme nightmares, a lot of blood depiction + drawing blood, gore, abuse, domestic abuse, child abuse, child neglect, child abandonment, gaslighting, animal deaths, human deaths, murder, mention of child death, kind of brief mentions of dieting/eating a very specific way, bullying, cheating, codependency, suicidal ideation and thoughts, drugging, pedophilia (very weird things being said, the child being scared/constant state of fear at home, creepy and unsettling vibes every scene with intention for more, and then at 17 years old unwanted touching/brushing past + maybe more/set up to be more… this is a hard trigger warning, but it is a constant thing in the book that is very hard to read so please use caution)
✨ The Six Deaths of the Saint (Into Shadow, #3) by Alix E. Harrow
“I wonder what the songs will say about the Devil now that she is covered in the blood of her own God.”
this is a very beautiful and emotion evoking story about a girl trying to feel needed, to feel seen, to feel love, to feel like she is not nothing, to feel anything that is real. but love can be exceptionally hard, especially when you enter into this world not knowing what love is. while also slowly figuring out what you will do in the name of it, mixed with the overwhelming feelings we all have of wanting to leave something behind, but to also belong so desperately in the time we are presently here. the writing is perfect, and these thirty pages of heartfelt pain and love will truly leave you feeling dizzy in the best way possible. this is a perfect example of why i love short fiction and how it can be so very powerful and inspiring.
tw/cw: war, battle, violence, a lot of blood depiction, gore, nightmares, codependency depiction, exploitation depiction, sickness/child sickness, medical things, death, child death, drowning, + suicide.
✨ What the Dead Know (Into Shadow, #4) by Nghi Vo
“…Maryse had finally learned, after five years as a medium, what the dead spoke of.”
nghi vo is one of my favorite authors, so i knew i would enjoy this short story from this collection. it was spooky, unsettling, and truly all the vibes were exactly what i look for in horror. we follow two people posing as mediums traveling in historical illinois, where they find themselves stranded at a very isolated school for young girls, in a really creepy and unsettling town, with a river that is holding dark secrets. again, vo is such a talented writer that i felt like i was barely breathing while reading this and watching everything happen. This a very high three star from me, but upon finishing it just really left me wanting more in a good way, but also in a way that really makes me think this story would be better in a longer and more expandable format.
tw/cw: racism, blood depictions, murder, death, gore, + maybe choking (the writing is so good and descriptive, it made me feel it a little hehe)
✨ Lost in the Moment and Found (Wayward Children, #8) by Seanan McGuire
“Travel can be hard. It wears on the heart, even when it’s done on purpose, and there’s always a cost and a consequence.”
for sure my favorite or 2nd favorite wayward children tale yet. i really loved this even though i felt like i was constantly crying or experiencing the feeling of being on the verge of crying from the author note to the very last page. all these novellas focus on a very important, but newly introduced theme, while also maintaining the overarching message of finding the place(s) you belong – on your terms, with your health and safety as the number one priority. but the theme of this short story is losing your childhood – in all the ways imaginable. from loss and grief, to feeling unseen and unheard, to being manipulated by people you trust… and they are all very heartbreaking but so very real. besides this book being very important and feeling very thankful it is in the world, antsy + seanan do an amazing job letting people know they aren’t alone and they were never at fault… for anything ❤
authors note warnings: grooming, gaslighting, reassurance nothing physical happens (very important and very much impacted my reading experience in a very positive way because of the reassurance)
additional trigger + content warnings that i wrote down while reading: loss of a parent, heart-attack, pedophilia, panic attack, mention of making a small cut to see magic, grief, loss of a sibling, child abuse
✨ Hell Bent (Alex Stern, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
➽ Ninth House ★★★
“Welcome home. Welcome back. We missed you. I missed you more than I should have, more than I wanted to. I went to hell for you. I’d do it again.”
i enjoyed this, i just didn’t love it the way i wish i did… but that’s okay because i still had a really good time turning these pages! this is still such a powerful series, and i can’t wait for whatever book three has in store!
tw/cw: loss of a loved one, blood depictions, abuse, mentions of rape in past, murder, death, gore, panic attacks, fire, talk of attempted suicide, talk of suicide, self harm for blood for magic, possession and compulsion, bullying, brief mentions of overdosing, drugs, drugs use, police brutality, cancer mention, vomiting, heart attack mention, animal death, talk of electric shock therapy, mentions of bugs/maggots/spiders, and very bad and abusive relationships with people and with parents in the past. this book can get very dark at times and has constant themes of abuse – please use caution while reading and make sure you’re in a good space for it in your life.
✨ Twisted Love (Twisted, #1) by Ana Huang
“Your enemies are my enemies, your friends are my friends, and if you wanted, I would burn down the world for you.”
i really did enjoy reading this and i could not put it down, but this was just not what I was expecting. Which is completely on me, but you’re going to see the trigger warning below and… I truly thought this was going to be a light little romance with a girl and her brother’s bestie and, again, there is no one to blame but myself for not looking at any reviews first, but whew this book got pretty heavy so many times. I still enjoyed it, I can’t wait to read more from this author, but I just don’t know if I loved reading this first installment. But I also could not stop reading this and read it pretty much in two sittings, back to back, so I feel happy giving this a good three star rating. But this book heavily puts the childhood trauma for both of our main characters at the forefront of this story, so please use caution and make sure you’re in a good head space.
tw/cw: severe aquaphobia (fear of water), blood depictions, abuse/parental abuse, gaslighting, attempted murder, attempted harm to a child, death, murder, grief depiction, depression depiction, ptsd depiction, mention of ex cheating in the past, mention of marital infidelity, divorce, brief mention of sexual assault (not main character), harry potter reference, stalking, assault, unwanted touching, panic attacks, kidnapping, torture, suicide mention/overdose mention, bad nightmares, and loss of loved ones/family members.
okay, friends! those are the ten books i read during the very first month of the year! with some trigger and content warnings, too! my favorite read from this month for sure was Tress of the Emerald Sea (The Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson! i am still thinking about this book, three months later! ahhh, i can’t wait to finally get my physical hopefully soon (i think 50% have been mailed so far?) and i can’t wait to read his next secret project! but thank you all again for reading this post, and i’ll see you tomorrow! 💛
10 thoughts on “january reading wrap up | 2023”
I LOVED the Stolen Heir. I kinda agree about Hellbent, but maybe for different reasons. I felt like the 2/3 packed a punch to the gut. However, instead of it picking it up a notch in the last 1/3, it lost that punch and its pacing.
LikeLiked by 1 person
i feel this so very much, friend! and that ending? she for sure knows how to leave the reader begging for more each time hahah! i hope youre having happy reading and a good april, friend 🤍🤍
Several of these books are on my TBR to eventually read. Hopefully I will be reading Hell Bent in April. I have high hope for it because I absolutely loved Ninth House. I’ve read Twisted Love and I definitely wasn’t expecting all of that but the author did a great job of sucking me into the story.
LikeLiked by 1 person
see… more buddy reading manifestation hehehe! i am sending you so much love and i just hope youre having the happiest of reading this april! 🤍🤍
LikeLiked by 1 person
Whenever you have time for one just let me know I am pretty much able to squeeze in buddy reads at any time. Thank you so far I’ve finished 2 books and I’m in the middle of 3 more. Happy reading!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Looks like you had a pretty decent start to the year reading wise. I’m really excited to finally pick up Stolen Heir 😊
LikeLiked by 1 person
i cant believe the reading hunger is back in full force! hehehe! i hope you love it and i hope youre just having happy reading bby 🤍
LikeLiked by 1 person
seanan mcguire’s impact on this year, i cant believe this was in january!! time is fake!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
but will this motivate me to physically pick up the sailor scouts murdered edition? we will see… time is fake. thank you for reading these 🤍 all the happy baby steps