January 2023 Reads

Wow, it’s been over six months since I’ve posted here!

Life got busy. I have no other excuse.

I have been editing my latest manuscript, a fantasy murder mystery set in 1940’s (magical) Pacific Northwest.

But if you’re here looking for books to read now you don’t care about my unpublished manuscript!

Let’s get to it.

It’s been a busy month (it’s cute that I think things will slow down eventually), which means I have but four books I have finished. I DNFed one romance novel, and I’ve been working on reading two other books that I won’t finish this month — one is non-fiction, which always goes slowly for me. 

I started off the year with Tracy Deonn’s Bloodmarked, which is book two in the Legendborn Cycle. I’m not going to lie, I thought this was a duology and was SO READY for an epic conclusion. It doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger per se (I mean, it might for some folks), and I felt like there was enough of a resolution of several plot points that I wasn’t entirely enraged that I couldn’t start book three immediately, but be warned book 3 is not out yet, and I’ve yet to see an expected publication date. Fingers crossed it’s in the works because I love this series so far, and I would like more ends tied up. 

The Legendborn series is a contemporary fantasy series set in the U.S. and offers a unique magic system based around Arthurian legend, but with a fresh twist (I’m not in love with Arthurian lore). 

Rebecca Carvalho’s Salt & Sugar is a sweet YA contemporary romance, but (and I read a lot of YA so don’t at me) the characters and their feud came across as particularly younger teen for me than the ages of the characters. It was enjoyable and a light read, just not what I was expecting going into it. I think I might also be fatiguing on YA contemporary romance, so plan to take a break for a month or two before reading more. It’s hard not to get jaded when reading a lot in a particular genre. If you want a light and sweet escape, you might give this a try.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna surprised me. I really enjoyed it. If you like a lighter Practical Magic with some T.J. Klune House in the Cerulean Sea vibes, pick this up. The undercurrent of mystery to the book was fun (although it wasn’t hard to figure out) and I really enjoyed the romantic subplot. Overall a warm read that left me wishing I had nothing to do, rain on my command, and a chair by the fire. Oh, and tea. Always tea. 

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel started off slow for me. I was reading it for a book club, so honestly, if not for that I might have DNFed it after the first section just because slow sci-fi is not my thing (look I’ve struggled through a few that turned out to be great, but given my TBR stack, I’m not going to force my way through a slog for the potential of something great. There’s too much to read!) But I’m glad I (involuntarily) stuck with it because by the last quarter, you’d have had to slap the book from my hands to get me to put it down. 

It’s a hard book to describe without giving away too much of the twists/plot. But as you can tell from the above, I’m not giving plot summaries. That’s what backcopy and book blurbs on bookshop.org are for. 😉

There are multiple POVs, various time periods (hello time travel), and if you’re wondering if they’re all related, spoiler, they are! It was a delight to see them all come together, and I can’t wait for the book club meeting this week to find out what my co-workers thought. 

What I’m currently reading: 

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin – yeah I know it’s been out for awhile, and I read the first book years ago, loved it, then promptly refused to read book 2 because I thought I needed to reread book one (there was a gap between me finishing The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate being published). Last year I FINALLY read The Obelisk Gate, which moved The Stone Sky to the top of my stack for 2023. So far it’s *chef’s kiss*. Seriously, if you haven’t read anything by N. K. Jemisin, stop what you’re doing and go pick up The Broken Earth trilogy. You can thank me later. This world is not a kind one, but Jemisin’s words paint it so vividly and weave emotion so expertly that you can’t look away. 

The Song of the Cell by Siddhartha Mukherjee – I typically have a wish list on bookshop.org so that relatives and friends can get me books from my TBR list rather than risking getting something I already own or have previously read. I completely forgot to update it this last year and so my husband went off on his own and found something incredibly dense (but interesting) to gift me. This is not a boring book, but I mostly read before bed, and reading nonfiction takes me forever because I will inevitable only read five pages max before my brain powers off. With this book, I fall asleep to lyrical prose on cellular history and structure. It’s lovely. We’ll see how long it takes me to finish it. 

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