February 2023 TBR: the books I’m reading for Black History Month

Black History Month is about to start and I decided to put together a short tbr with the books that I want to prioritize during this month. I’m hoping to read more than the 6 books on this list but I’m leaving space for some mood reading.

These are the books that I’m planning to read:

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson: I’m embarrassed to say that this is the third year in a row that this book makes it into my Black Heritage Month tbr. But hopefully, the third time is the charm! This is witchy and sounds like something I would love and I need to finally read it.

Ring Shout by P. Djéli Clark: I have read a few books by this author and enjoyed them, and I have heard nothing but great things about this one, so I’m excited to give this one a read.

A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette: I love cozy mysteries but most of the popular ones are written by white authors, so one of my goals for 2023 is to find more cozy mysteries written by authors of color, and I have heard great things about this one.

Bet On It by Jodie Slaughter: this sounds like such a cute romance and I have heard that it has really good mental health rep. Also, it seemed like this is steamier than the cover suggests and there’s some sort of bingo-based sex pact. I’m intrigued!

The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa: I really enjoyed The Worst Best Man and I was looking forward to this companion novel, but the mixed reviews when it came out made me hesitate to read it. Nonetheless, recently I have heard a lot of people talking about how much they enjoyed this so I’ll give it a chance.

Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo: I read another non-fiction book by this author, So You Want To Talk About Race, and I thought it was brilliant, so I’m looking forward to her newest release.

What are you planning to read for Black History Month? What are your favorite books by Black authors?

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Reading Other People’s Favorite Books of 2022 | TBR

For a second year in a row, I decided to put together a tbr based on the lists of favorite books of 2022 posted by bloggers and booktubers. Last year, I had very good results and ended up giving 4 or 5 stars to all the books (check out my wrap up to know my thoughts on the books and the experiment!) and that’s why I decided to do it again this year.

To pick the books for this tbr, I used the same rules from last year:

  1. It had to be on the list of favorite/best books of 2021 of more than 1 person
  2. It had to have good reviews from my goodread friends
  3. It had to sound interesting to me

After going through SO MANY lists of favorites/best books of 2022, I finally have a tbr of 6 books that I’m looking forward to reading:

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy: I only watched a few iCarly episodes so I wasn’t really interested in reading this when it came out, but after all of the glowing reviews, I’m excited to read it.

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield: the concept of this book sounds fascinating, maybe because being stranded under the sea is really frightening to me. I have heard the writing is incredible and, from some quotes I have read, I think I’ll really like it as well.

Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda: this is often described as a character-driven, all vibes, slow-paced book, which I know won’t be appealing to a lot of people, but it sounds like exactly my type of book. No one among my Goodread friends so I have given it less than 4 stars, so I have high expectations.

The Book of the Most Precious Substance by Sara Gran: Not a lot of people seem to have read this book, but two of my favorite booktubers who have similar tastes to mine included it in their favorites of 2022, so I know I’m going to love it. It seems to be a mix of horror and fantasy, which sounds right up my alley.

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher: I discovered T. Kingfisher’s books in 2022 and I loved what I have read so far, so I’m excited to pick up more of her books. I have heard this is dark but humorous, which sounds intriguing to me. Hopefully, I’ll love it as much as her other books.

The Push by Ashley Audrain: I don’t read that many thrillers and I’m very picky with the ones I do read, so I was a bit hesitant to include this book. But it was the most frequently mentioned book out of all the books on this list, so I decided to give it a chance.

Have you read these books and did you enjoy them? What books have you seen a lot on best books of 2022 lists?

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My favorite books of 2022

This post is so late and I wish I could say there’s a good reason, but the truth is that I started watching my very first Turkish series, Love is in the Air, and I have watched 60 episodes in one week, which is an absurd number, and honestly I didn’t want to anything else besides watching it, so no posts were written.

But better late than never, here are my favorite books of 2022. I decided to divide this list by genre and the books in each genre are ranked starting with my favorite.

HORROR

1. Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas: This was atmospheric, unique, and intriguing. I was utterly captivated while reading it. The fact that the plot was so mysterious and we don’t get all the answers worked perfectly for me. The complex and chaotic characters, as well as the found family element, were some of my favorite things about this. Also, the ending had me on the edge of my seat. (Review)

2. Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes: This was so atmospheric, having an abandoned ship in the middle of space as the setting was a perfect choice, and there were some tension-filled, disturbing moments. The interesting and unique concept was executed really well and while the main character in this book is really flawed, it was also easy to root for her. I also enjoyed the little bit of romance that there was in this and I overall was really invested in the story and couldn’t stop reading.

3. What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher: This was a short, atmospheric, gothic read. It was engaging from beginning to end and had a really satisfying ending, which is hard to do in short horror books. While it wasn’t a scary story, it had a few very unnerving moments.

4. The Houseguest and Other Stories by Amparo Davila: This book is full of disturbing and fascinating short stories that conveyed feelings of dread and desperation very well. There were a lot of vague or open-ended stories, often there were no answers to what was happening, there was no way of knowing if things were real or not, if the narrators were reliable or not, and this added to the unnerving feeling of the stories, which was the strength of the collection.

5. Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente:  This short book was mindblowing. It’s smart and quietly disturbing and it touches on some powerful themes and includes interesting commentary revolving around religious and feminist ideas. I found it really thought-proving. (Review)

ROMANCE

1. Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese: The main characters in this book were so endearing and their romance was cute and heartwarming. I loved how understanding they both were with each other. I appreciated that there was autism and anxiety rep and while that didn’t become the focus of the book, I appreciated that the way it impacted different aspects of their lives, including their relationship, was addressed. There was a mix between a “you’ve got mail” setup and the fake dating trope in this book, and they were executed so well.

2. Lovelight farms by B.K. Borison This was an excellent friends-to-lovers romance. I loved how much the main characters cared and were there for each other, and how easily they transitioned to a romantic relationship. Luka was a swoon-worthy hero, he and Stella had such a sweet relationship, and there were also a few good steamy moments.

3. Don’t Go Baking My Heart by N.G. Peltier: This is the best representation of the grumpy/sunshine trope I have read. Throughout the book the character development of the two main characters was outstanding and it ended up being really easy to root for them. The chemistry, tension, and slow development of their relationship were all great. Also, the steamy scenes were fantastic.

MYSTERY

1. Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano: This cozy mystery was fun, fast-paced, full of twists and turns, and absolutely absurd. It has a main character who was easy to root for and compelling side characters, as well as a plot that was ridiculous but also really entertaining. (Review)

2. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman: This was a charming, quirky and quick read. Seeing a group of old people in a retirement home trying to solve a murder was fun, all the characters are incredibly endearing, and I was interested in the mystery the entire time. 

SFF

1. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady MartineThe political maneuvering and intrigue in this book were fantastic, the characters were so clever and interesting, and the worldbuilding was complex without being hard to understand. I also appreciated that this book went in directions that I wasn’t expecting and there were a couple surprising twists that kept it interesting. My favorite thing about this is definitely the discussion about loving and enjoying a culture that it’s imposing itself on your own culture

2. Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper: I loved the witchy small town, the magic tournament, the humor, the captivating characters, the lovely sapphic romance, the banter between the two main characters, and the personal journey the main character went through. Overall, a fantastic fantasy romance book. (Review)

3. Witchlings by Claribel Ortega: This was such a sweet book, I don’t really read Middle Grade anymore so I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did. The characters in this were so charming, the friendship that developed between the three main characters – who are the most unlikely allies ever – was so sweet, the writing was excellent, the worldbuilding intricate but easy to understand, and I loved the use of Spanish in the magic. 

LITERARY FICTION

1. Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo (4.5 stars): This book was very unique, I sometimes felt like I was reading an academic text or a reportage about the challenges women face in South Korea, thinly veiled as a novel, but at the same time, the story managed to keep me interested. This book covered so many topics, it’s an introduction to the challenges women face, but it doesn’t go too deeply into any of them. Still, by the end of it, especially after reading the last page, it hit me really hard, it made me emotional and I felt a bit hopeless.

2. Happening by Annie Ernaux (4.5 stars): This book is a testament to the power of descriptive writing, Ernaux managed to convey what she was seeing, hearing, feeling, and thinking, accompanied by poignant commentary that makes her experience feel relatable and resonate with women. While the writing in this was beautiful and it was a unique reading experience.

What are the best books you read in 2022? If you posted a list of your best books of the year, leave me a link in the comments, I would love to check it out!

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Disappointing books of 2022 (+ worst book of the year)

I’m not someone who gives 1 and 2 stars a lot, so that’s why I don’t usually make a “worst books of the year” list. Instead, I like to make a list talking about the 3-star books that were meh and disappointed me. All of the books on this list are 3-star reads except for the last book which is my worst book of the year and it got 2 stars.

Here I talk about the reasons why these books disappointed me, but since they are all 3 stars, there are things that I enjoyed about them that I don’t mention here, so I left links to my Goodreads reviews of all of these books in case you want to know what I liked about them.

Without further ado, here are the books:

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey: I had high expectations and really enjoyed the first half, but unfortunately, I had so many issues with the second half. The hero decides that he wants the heroine forever after less than 3 weeks of knowing her and he becomes pushy and annoying, and the book becomes so cheesy that it was almost unbearable at times. (review)

Honey Girl by Morgan Roger: I had heard great things about this, but sadly the writing wasn’t for me, the author was trying SO HARD to be profound and poetic and it felt forced and sappy. Also, I didn’t feel the connection between the main couple, and their relationship felt a bit forced and awkward at times. (review)

A Sweet Mess by Jayce Lee: the dialogue was cringy and stilted at times, and the depth of the main characters’ feelings didn’t match the amount of time or experiences they shared. Also, in the end, a trope was used in a way that didn’t work, there was so much miscommunication and the protagonists acted so out of character, so it was a very frustrating ending. (review)

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren: This book relies way too much on the main character’s connection from their short time together 10 years ago. Beyond the physical attraction, there didn’t seem to be much to their relationship in the present or past timeline. Since I didn’t care about the romance, I wasn’t invested in the plot either and I kept noticing how unrealistic and convenient everything was. (review)

The Spinster and The Rake by Eva Devon: This sounded like something I would love and I have heard nothing but good things, so I went in with high expectations. But this ended up being just ok for me, I didn’t feel invested in the romance, and since not a lot happened plot-wise, I was a bit bored while reading it. (review)

Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux: After reading and loving Happening I was looking forward to picking up another book by Ernaux. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything particularly unique or special about this, and after finishing, I was left feeling like the whole thing had been a bit pointless. (review)

Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher: This book feels at points formulaic and repetitive. Honestly, the plots of the books in this series are starting to feel very similar to me. Also, I know these books have a lot of sexism and hypersexualization of female characters, but this book took it to another level that made me really uncomfortable because it happened with a 17-year-old. (review)

The Tower of the Swallows by Andrzej Sapkowski: I found this book boring and meandering. I feel like Gerald and Ciri’s storylines are almost pointless in the macro storyline of the series and Gerald gets forgotten in the last part of the book. The plot has advanced really slowly in the last few books, so I’m nervous that the final book is going to be rushed and it’s not going to give the series a satisfying ending. (review)

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: This dragged at certain points and it felt pretentious at times because the name-dropping was relentless, I don’t think there was one page where she didn’t name someone she knew that was famous or well-known (I didn’t know most of these people, but I guess other people do). (review)

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson: I had high expectations because I really loved 2 of Lawson’s more recent books. But I found parts of this boring, the fact that every story revolved around animals (dead or alive) was something that I didn’t love, and I had issues with some of her jokes (about sexual assault, eating disorders, race) which crossed lines. (review)

Vulnerable AF by Tarriona Ball: besides a couple of standout poems, the rest were just fine. I actually ended up enjoying the short prose pieces much more than the poetry, but none of it was anything special.

Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace: This was the worst book I read in 2022. Amanda Lovelace’s books have always been very hit-or-miss for me, but the last few have all been misses so I think it’s time I stop reading them. This book didn’t evoke any sort of emotion out of me and it didn’t leave a lasting impression either. This collection felt repetitive and unsubstantial.

What are some of your worst or most disappointing reads of 2022?

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December 2022 Wrap up: a 5 star romance and some 2022 releases

Happy new year!!! 2022 is over and I’m taking the first week of 2023 to wrap up all my content about the books I read in 2022, so that includes this monthly wrap-up, as well as posts about my most disappointing books and my favorite books of 2022, which will be coming in the next few days.

December was a weird reading month, I had plans to read 1 book a day and that didn’t happen and, while I started the month with a book I loved, things went kind of downhill after that in terms of my enjoyment. So overall, not the greatest reading month. Still, here are my thoughts on the books I managed to read.

Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese (5 stars): Liese’s main characters are always so endearing, I loved Bea and Jamie and their romance, which was cute and heartwarming. I loved how understanding they both were with each other. I appreciated that there was autism and anxiety rep and while that didn’t become the focus of the book, it did impact different aspects of their lives, including their relationship, and that was addressed. There’s a mix between a “you’ve got mail” setup and the fake dating trope in this book, and I liked that neither trope was overly extended, the characters found out about the identity of the other early on, and similarly, they realized that their feelings were real pretty quickly. My one issue with this is that the ending felt a little rushed, but that didn’t affect my overall enjoyment too much.

Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake (4 stars): I had heard mixed things about this book so I was hesitant to pick it up after really enjoying the first book in the series. But I ended up being surprised, I really liked it. Unlike a lot of people, I didn’t have a problem with either Astrid or Jordan, I liked that they had complicated backstories and were kind of damaged and on a journey of learning to let go of things. I really appreciated that Astrid was a woman in her thirties exploring her sexuality for the first time because it’s not something that it’s represented often in books. I loved that this is a dislike-to-like story, and getting to see Astrid and Jordan slowly get to know each other and connect was great, and they had so much chemistry! There was something about the drama and conflict that didn’t totally work for me but still found this book to be really enjoyable.

An Alaskan Christmas by Jennifer Snow (4 stars): I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. This really worked for me because while the characters started not liking each other, the book takes the time to show why their perspectives change and how their connection grew through their actions and their interactions with each other. I appreciated the way this covered complicated family relationships, and also, I always find books set in Alaska very interesting and the way this book talked about the people who work as part of search and rescue teams was incredible, and there were even some action scenes involving rescues, which I enjoyed.

Touch & Go by Mira Lyn Kelly (3.5 stars): I love friends-to-lovers stories and this one was good. I think the first half of the book was stronger, the tension and chemistry between the characters were great, it was easy to see their long and deep-rooted connection, and there was some good steam. Nonetheless, in the second half, the conflict was a bit frustrating, and there was a lack of communication and lack of honesty that didn’t work for me. Nonetheless, I overall enjoyed the reading experience.

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas (4 stars): While I didn’t find this scary, instead it was an atmospheric haunted house story with the unique twist of being set in Mexico and including some of the culture and history of the country. It had characters that it was easy to root for and that had very realistic responses to what was happening around them, there wasn’t a ton of character depth but the characters worked for the type of story the book was telling. The plot was well executed and the reveals made sense. The book very lightly addressed colorism, and some of the tension between native costumes and catholicism, but there wasn’t too much thematic depth

Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo (4 stars): This is not my favorite of the Singing Hills Cycle novellas, but it’s still really good. I loved seeing cleric Chih and Almost Brilliant again and I love how this series continues to address the power of stories, how a story varies depending on who tells it, and how even within communities, some stories may be considered worth remembering and others don’t. I think I liked this novella a little less than the others because it wasn’t one story but pieces of a bunch of different tales

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn (4 stars): You have to suspend your disbelief going into this book because almost everything that happens is so far-fetched and ridiculous, but it’s fun to read. I liked the characters, the plot was interesting, I liked the glimpses that we get from their years as paid killers, and I really enjoyed the interactions between the four main characters, it definitely felt like these were relationships between women that knew each other for a long time. My one issue with this is that, while I liked all the individual aspects of this, I never felt fully invested in it.

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz (3.5 stars): I have a similar problem with this book and with the first book in the series, I think the device that Horowitz uses of a book within a book doesn’t work for me. In this book, I had a hard time getting into the story, and then when I’m finally enjoying it, it switches to the book within a book, and I felt that change so strongly and I struggled to get into that story as well. Nonetheless, I think Horowitz writes good mysteries, his writing is great, and by the end, I really enjoyed both the real-life mystery and the book within a book, even if I suspected the answer to the real-life mystery and I was right

The Office BFFs by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (4 stars): I watched The Office for the first time during lockdown and loved it, which I think plays a big part in enjoying this book. I loved hearing all the behind-the-scenes stories and since I don’t listen to their podcast they were all new stories to me. I think the love they have for the show comes through this book and makes it an enjoyable reading experience for fans.

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman (4 stars): This was a beautiful poetry collection that heavily deals with the pandemic. I really appreciated that the writing was lyrical and complex but it was easy to understand what Gorman was trying to convey with each of her poems. As someone who doesn’t read that much poetry, I discovered that I like shorter collections because this did feel a little overlong at times.

What are the best and worst books you read in December?

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2022 in Movies #7: rom-coms and 2022 releases

There might be another post tomorrow, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish it on time, so I’m going to take this opportunity to say: Happy new year! I hope 2023 is filled with wonderful things for all of you and that your goals and dreams come true.

Now, this is my final post talking about the movies I watched in 2022. I’m really glad that I managed to review every single one of the 50 movies I watched this year on the blog: 2022 in movies #1, #2, #3,#4, #5, and #6. And I’m happy to share my thoughts on the last batch of movies:

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (4.5 stars): This is my first Almodóvar film and I’ll be watching more. This movie is chaotic but in the best way, because it’s captivating. It tells the story of a group of women that feel powerless and overwhelmed, in one way or another, because of men and it’s about them having breakdowns, being messy, and reacting a little bit outlandishly to the situations they are put in. In terms of color palette and aesthetics, every choice in this movie feels so intentional, everything looks so beautiful and it’s a style that works so well with the story its telling. Overall, a great movie.

Enola Holmes 2 (4 stars): This was just as fun as the first one. Millie Bobby Brown does a great job as Enola Holmes in this sequel, I really liked that we got to see more Sherlock and more of Enola’s relationship with her brother, and also the little bit of romance in this was really cute. I think the way this is told, breaking the fourth wall adds to how fun this is to watch and in terms of the mystery, I really appreciated how it highlighted a real historical figure that did so much for working women.

Something from Tiffany’s (3.5 stars): I was expecting a bit more from this after hearing so many good things about it. But overall, it was entertaining and cute and it had a cast that did a great job. My issues with this are that the connection between the two main characters at the beginning felt a bit forced and that I wish there was less back-and-forth and confusion about the ring, and a lot more romance between the main characters.

Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me (3.5 stars): Everyone seems to love this and I’m unfortunately not one of those people. I think it’s an ok documentary, but I have issues with it. There are some heavy reveals in this documentary and Selena doesn’t shy away from showing the good and the bad. I think this does a good job of showing her struggle with mental illness and bringing awareness to this subject, which is really important. And also it’s honest enough to leave in a few moments where (to me) Selena comes off a little bit as a diva and out of touch with reality, which I guess is normal since she is being a celebrity most of her life. 

My problem with this is that spans such a long period of time and with the time jumps, it feels a bit disjointed at times like there’s no rhyme or reason as to why certain parts were included. Also, it feels like it gave too much protagonist to some of the people around Selena and it felt very intentional, but it didn’t always make sense.

Smile (3 stars): I went into this expecting it to be bad and it was not. It was nothing extraordinary or unique but it was entertaining. The acting was really good, there were a lot of tension-filled, anxiety-inducing moments and it kept me captivated the entire time. The one main thing that didn’t work so well is that it tried to address trauma but it ended up being too heavy-handed.

Falling for Christmas (2.5 stars): The way people are talking about this movie created the wrong expectations for me. Don’t get me wrong, this is a perfectly fine Christmas movie, it’s good to pass time and there are some cute moments between the two main characters. But most of the characters are two-dimensional, a couple of them are even caricatures, the plot is so unrealistic (and I’m not even talking about the amnesia), and while the characters have a couple of cute moments, at first the romance feels like it comes out of nowhere.

FILM CLUB

I watch 4 romantic comedies as part of the latest cycle of the film club I participate in:

When Harry Met Sally (5 stars): I rewatched this movie with my movie club and it’s as good as I remembered. The dialogue is so clever and the actors do a good job delivering the lines, the acting, in general, is excellent, and the character development of the two main characters, but especially Harry, is phenomenal. I have to admit that there are about 15 minutes of the movie, from the point when something finally happens between Harry and Sally to just before the ending, that are not as strong as the rest of the movie. But it was still good and the rest of the movie is so incredible that it still gets 5 stars.

Nothing Hill (2 stars): I watched this movie a long time ago but I remember almost nothing about it and unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it at all. Julia Robert’s character is awful, she treats this guy so poorly, she doesn’t tell him she has a boyfriend, he is there for her and she ends up accusing him of things and yelling at him, she leaves him and breaks his heart more than once throughout the movie, and after a half-assed apology, he ends up apologizing as well for not accepting her apology immediately. She walked all over him and he let her. So definitely not a fan of the romance in this. 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (3 stars): I had never watched this film but I had always wanted to. The main couple has so much chemistry, they are good together, it’s a good romance. Also, I loved how greek culture was such a big part of the movie. Nonetheless, I feel like this movie was too fast-paced. it rushed through their dating, then it rushed through their engagement, and finally their wedding. It’s like a race from beginning to end. Also, I was a bit frustrated seeing how the main character wouldn’t stand up to her family. She learned to accept them as they are but they didn’t leave room for her or him, it was their wedding but it wasn’t and I was so annoyed.

Harold and Maude (4 stars): I really liked this movie, the dark humor is great, the soundtrack is fantastic and the message of loving who you are and the power of finding kinship was beautiful. Nonetheless, I have my one issue with this, the romance was unnecessary, I don’t think it strengthens the message and I think taking it out wouldn’t have affected the movie in any significant way. I would have loved this movie so much more if it wasn’t for the 20-year-old falling in love with the 80-year-old lady, who was a teacher figure and who he admired so much.

What was the best movie you watched recently? Have you watched any of the movies I mentioned?

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2023 Bookish Goals (reading & blogging)

I’m not someone who likes to set reading and blogging goals because I know that most of the time I completely lose track of them, especially if they are too specific. But here are just a few not-so-specific goals that I want to want to try and accomplish in 2023:

Read a minimum of 52 books

This is my goal every year because I don’t like to put pressure on myself even if I haven’t read less than 100 books in a year in a long time.

Get back to being intentional with my reading

This year I felt really slumpy the entire time and because of that, I was less intentional with my reading choices regarding diversity. The result of that is that my reading this year was less diverse than it has been in a long time and I want to change that, so I’m hoping to read at the very least 50% diverse books every month in 2023.

Post more consistently

At the beginning of 2022, I was doing a good job of posting two times a week, but I took on more responsibilities at my job, and, by the end of the year, I was posting very little and with no consistency. I’m hoping to change that and post at least 1 time every week (I’ll try to make it 2 times)

Do more creative reading/blogging projects

This year some of my favorite posts were when I wrote about reading other people’s favorite books of 2021 (1,2) and when I posted about trying to read 100 pages every day, so I’m hoping to have done more projects like that in 2023.

Host Latinx Book Bingo

Latinx Heritage Month is my favorite month of the year in the bookish community, I love highlighting Latinx authors and I have hosted the Latinx Book Bingo for 5 years and I can’t wait to do it again in 2023.

Be more active in the bookish community

This was one of my goals for 2022 and I completely failed, but I think this is important, so for 2023 I want to comment more on blog posts and youtube videos and see if I’m staying on Twitter or going to another platform and try to interact with the bookish community there,

Do you like setting yearly goals? Do you have bookish goals for 2023?

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Anticipated book releases of the first half of 2023

This type of blog post is always my favorite to write because I get so excited for the coming year knowing I have a bunch of fantastic books to look forward to. After going through my Goodreads shelf of 2023 releases, I chose the ones I’m most excited about that are coming out between January and June:

JANUARY

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix: I have become a fan of Hendrix in the last couple of years and while his last release wasn’t my favorite, I still enjoyed it and I’m excited to read his take on a haunted house story. The premise sounds interesting, two estranged siblings trying to sell their dad’s house after his death get a sinister surprise. (January 17)

Do I Know You? by Emely Wibberley and Austin Siegemund- Broka: I read this author duo’s first romance book and, while I had some issues with it, overall I really enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to this book. The premise of two people in a marriage in trouble pretending to be strangers and falling back in love sounds so good. (January 24)

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano: I’m in my cozy mysteries era and I’m loving this series, it’s so fun and it has great characters. A story about an author and single mom who gets in the most ridiculous situations and this time she owes the mobe a favor. (January 31)

MARCH

A Sinister Revenge by Deanna Raybourn: I’m equally excited and nervous about this book because while I loved the first three books in the series, the last three have definitely been less good. Still, it’s a fun series that I plan to continue because I love the story of Veronica and Stoker solving mysteries and falling in love in the Victorian era.

A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher: I’m quickly becoming a fan of this author and a project for 2023 is reading more of their works. I’m a big fan of haunted house stories, so this sounds fun. A woman goes home to visit her mother and quickly realizes her home isn’t what it used to be. (March 28)

To Swoon and To Spar by Martha Waters: I’m not reading that much historical romance recently but Martha Waters’ books in The Regency Vows series are an exception. I love Waters writing and her characters. This is a marriage of convenience story between a viscount and a woman who hopes to chase her husband from their home.

APRIL

Happy Place by Emily Henry: I really like Emily Henry’s romances so I was reading this regardless of what it was about, but luckily the premise sounds so good: a couple who broke up months ago make a pact to pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends. I want this now!

MAY

The Golden Frog Games by Claribel A. Ortega: the first book in this middle-grade fantasy series was one of the biggest surprises for me in 2022, I truly wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I’m excited to see how the three witchy friends keep getting into trouble in this book.

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren: I really liked The Soulmate Equation, so I’m excited for this companion novel to that book. This sounds like a fun story about a romance novelist who has never been in love starting in a dating reality show to find love and falling for the creator of the show instead.

Jana Goes Wild by Farah Heron: I have read and loved Heron’s last two releases so I’m excited for this one. While I’m not the biggest fan of second-chance romances, this sounds like the type that I like, two people co-parenting together who still have feelings for each other. (May 2)

JUNE

Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon: I loved Weather Girl and I’m so excited for Solomon’s next release. Her characters always have very specific and interesting professions and I really like that, this time is the romance between a ghostwriter and a struggling actor who have to work together on a book.

The Only One Left by Riley Sager: this list truly exposes my not-so-secret love for haunted house stories. This one sounds like it’s gonna be creepy and dark, it’s about a young caregiver assigned to work for a woman accused of a massacre decades earlier.

What are some of your most anticipated releases of 2023?

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Wrap Up: Reading Other People’s Favorite Books

At the beginning of the year I posted a tbr with 6 books included in lists of favorite books of 2021 from bloggers, booktubers, and people from book Twitter, and today I wanted to tell you how that experiment worked out, if I enjoyed the books or not and if I found a new favorite.

These are the books I was planning to read:

I ended up reading 5 out of the six books because I decided that I was not really interested in reading The Atlas Six after the third time I loaned it from my library and didn’t even attempt to read it.

Overall, I had really good luck with the books I picked:

CONCLUSIONS

While I only gave one of the books five stars, I still think this was an absolute success. I found really good books that were a bit outside my comfort zone, since I don’t usually read magical realism or hard sci-fi and I didn’t use to read that much horror.

Also, I discovered four new-to-me authors. I have read more books by two of them (Elle Cosimano and T. Kingfisher) because I enjoyed their books so much and I’m planning on reading more books by the other two authors (Andy Weir and Susanna Clarke). I also discovered another great book by Zoraida Córdova, who is an author I love.

I think part of the reason why this experiment worked for me was that I didn’t choose the books that appeared in the biggest number of favorite lists, instead within the books that were mentioned more than once, I chose the ones that sounded interesting to me.

Overall, I really liked the experience even if reading all of these books took me a lot longer than I hoped. I will definitely be doing this again in 2023.

What were some of your favorite books of 2022?

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Short book recommendations to help you reach your 2022 reading goal (less than 200 pages)

The end of the year is nearly here and I know a lot of people are trying to accomplish their Goodreads challenge or in general their reading goals for the year, so I thought it would be a good idea to recommend some of the short books I read this year and that I really enjoyed.

Happening by Annie Ernaux: This book is so powerful and beautifully written. It’s a testament to the power of descriptive writing, Ernaux manages to convey what she was seeing, hearing, feeling, and thinking during a time of her life when she got an abortion in France in the 60s when it was illegal to do so. Her descriptions were accompanied by poignant commentary that makes her experience relatable and resonates with women. 

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher: A really short and quick read, which is a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”. This is engaging from beginning to end and has a really satisfying ending, which is hard to do in short horror books. This wasn’t scary, but there were a few unnerving moments.

The Houseguest and Other Stories by Amparo Davila: This short story collection is full of disturbing and fascinating tales that convey feelings of dread and desperation very well. This has a lot of vague or open-ended stories, often there are no answers to what was happening in these stories, and there is no way of knowing if things were real or not or if the narrators were reliable or not, which added to the unnerving feeling of the stories, which was the strength of the collection.

Goddess of Filth by V. Castro:  This novella is a very different take on a possession story, and it’s filled with creepy and gross moments. It did a great job of discussing the stereotypes around and the dangers of being a young Latina, as well as the roles that religion, sexuality, and female friendships play in the lives of young Latinas, particularly in the States.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw: This short story collection is captivating, messy, and realistic. It talks mainly about queerness, womanhood, complicated mother/daughter relationships and the intersections of these things with religion and faith. Also, the writing is fantastic.

Do you think you are going to reach your reading goals for 2022? what short books did you read this year that you really enjoyed?

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