Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2023

Well, this post is way longer than I thought it would be. I was not prepared to have such a good reading month and honestly, I’m impressed with myself. At the start of the month, I was in a bit of a slump and I really didn’t feel much like reading. But somehow I got over it and managed to finish a huge 13 books, including graphic novels.

Influential by Amara Sage

Read: 3/1/2023 – 4/1/2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

This was a fun book to start the year with. I quite like books that explore the world of influencers and this was the first one I’ve seen set in the UK. 

Influential was a gripping semi-thriller that was interesting and very quick to read. I quite enjoyed it – read my full review here

Synopsis: Almond Brown has no friends in real life . . . but 3.5 million followers online. A heart-felt, whip-smart deep dive into what it would really be like to be internet famous at 17: a cautionary tale for our time from a writer who has grown up with social media.

Almond is forced into the spotlight when she was just a perfectly filtered bump: her mum has been documenting their family through social media since before she was born. And her family enjoy all the rewards that come from that level of influence. Only, it’s not the life Almond would have chosen for herself, and being on a platform all the time has made her anxious and insecure. When the darkest side of the internet begins to haunt her, Almond feels like she’s going to lose everything . . . If only she could see that she has a real-life, too, full of friends and family who love her, and that it could save her.

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Read: 26/12/2022 – 5/1/2023

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I gave this book four stars, but in hindsight that was a little generous so I’m taking my rating down to 3.5 stars. It was definitely enjoyable at times, but everything was so dragged out and it didn’t feel like the plot moved at all. 

My (slightly too generous) review of The Atlas Six can be read here

Synopsis: The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation.

Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will.

Most of them.

First Kiss (Kit & Tully #1) by Mocha VonBee

Read: 5/1/2023 – 7/1/2023

Rating: 1 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I don’t want to sound like a complete savage by saying this was one of the most boring books I’ve ever read, but unfortunately it was. There is definitely potential and the concept sounds very intriguing but it wasn’t executed well. 

Read my review of First Kiss here

Synopsis: Love or Music…

Which should they choose and what price will they have to pay?

When new guy, Tully, falls for sixteen-year-old Kit, he needs to find a way to win her over. Because, right now, she only has eyes for scorching hot lead-singer, Mac Whitehead, who’s turning every head in town.

Neither believe a half-forgotten legend is true, but once a sleeping Celtic god awakes, it’s too late to turn back, too late to refuse his offer…

Love or Music…

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao

Read: 7/1/2023 – 12/1/2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

My first fantasy of 2023 and it was pretty good. I enjoyed the world building and the magic system was very interesting, but something was missing for me. It was possibly the fact that it was sold to me as a romance, but there is little to no romance. 

Check out my in-depth thoughts on Song of Silver, Flame Like Night here

Synopsis: The first of a YA xiānxiá series following a song girl in a conquered land whose last remnant of her mother—and the fallen Hin dynasty of her ancestors—is the symbol seared onto her hand, which, if the mysterious boy she encounters is to be trusted, may be the key to freeing her people by unlocking and mastering the ancient, forgotten magic of practitioning.

Accidentally Amy by Lynn Painter

Read: 13/1/2023 – 17/1/2023

Rating: 3 out of 5.

After absolutely adoring Better Than the Movies I wanted more Lynn Painter romance in my life. Unfortunately, this wasn’t anywhere near as good, but it was still enjoyable. If you have Kindle Unlimted it’s a good choice for a quick read. 

Check out my review here

Synopsis: Isabella Shay is usually a very honest person.

But when she’s running late for her first day at a dream job and the barista yells for “Amy” 3x with no answer, she does the unthinkable.

Izzy takes that PSL.

It’s the exact drink she ordered and paid for, only waaaay further ahead in the line, so she mutters “I’m Amy” and grabs the cup.

But when she turns around and runs directly into the most attractive man she’s ever seen, spilling the drink all over his GQ shirt and tie, she ends up having the ultimate meet-cute. Sparks fly and things feel beyond promising until he says the words, “See you tomorrow, Amy.”

Uh, oh – she’ll definitely have to straighten him out the following day.

Only when she gets to her new office and meets the VP of her department, it is none other than Blake Phillips – the hottie from Starbucks. And the man might’ve been charming to “Amy,” but he is an arrogant grump to Izzy, an arrogant grump who dos not find her explanation funny at all.

Spectacle Vol. 3 by Megan Rose Gedris

Read: 19/1/2023

Rating: 3 out of 5.

These are definitely getting better with each new volume, but they aren’t incredible by any stretch of the imagination. The art style is fun and I love a murder mystery. Read my review if you want to see my full thoughts.

Synopsis: From fake psychic to true believer, circus performer Anna finds herself dealing with the supernatural more and more, and is determined to use her growing powers to confront her sister’s murderer. Has she finally figured out whodunit, and can she prove it before a demon does her in?

Season of the Bruja Vol. 1 by Aaron Duran

Read: 20/1/2023

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review*

I loved the art style of this, but unfortunately, the pacing was way too fast and it felt like there was a lot of information missing. The concept definitely has potential and I love fantasy graphic novels so if I come across volume 2 at some point I may read it. 

Check out my review of Season of the Bruja Vol. 1 here.

Synopsis: From a young age, Althalia knew she would someday be the last of her kind—a bruja, tasked with keeping the power and stories of the ancient ways from fading fully into history. Never alone, Althalia works in a paranormal museum with her friends, a real-life Chupacabra and a were-coyote, while living with and caring for her beloved abuela. Through these powerful connections, her skills and knowledge grow.

But the prejudice her people have always faced continues, and after a seemingly random encounter with a priest, Althalia feels the weight of hundreds of years of religious oppression coming down upon her and her abuela. She must realize her destiny and grow into it quickly if she is to prevent the church from achieving its ultimate goal—destroying the last bruja.

The Mortal Instruments Vol. 1 by Cassandra Clare & Cassandra Jean

Read: 22/1/2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve wanted to read this for a while and I’m annoyed I didn’t do so sooner. It’s reignited my love for the series and I’m now itching to read them again. 

Read my review of The Mortal Instruments Vol. 1 here.

Synopsis: Hanging out with her best friend, Simon, is just about the most exciting thing in Clary’s life…that is, until she realizes there are people only she can see. But when her mother disappears and a monster attacks her, Clary has to embrace a world that she never even knew existed–a world full of vampires, werewolves, demons, and those who fight for the humans, Shadowhunters…

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

Read: 7/1/2023 – 22/1/2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

She’s finally done it folks, she’s finished The Raven Cycle series. This has been a long time coming and it feels so good to have finally finished the series. I LOVED it. Although I haven’t rated any of the books five stars, which looking back is weird. I think it’s because they took me so long to get through.

Read my review of The Raven King here.

Synopsis: All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Read: 22/1/2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hello first five star read of 2023, I bloody love you. I’m already obsessed with this series and I’ve only read the first book.

I can’t really explain why I loved it so much, there were a few factors; pacing, the speed at which I got through it, the plot and characters. My review of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder will be posted very soon though, so you can read my thoughts then. 

Synopsis: The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

The Songs You’ve Never Heard by Becky Jerams and Ellie Wyatt

Read: 20/1/2023 – 26/1/2023

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Ok, so this is set in Brighton (where I live) and I really enjoyed it. It’s also slightly weird seeing characters talk about places I visit on a daily basis. 

This was a cute little contemporary about music and friendship and I had fun reading it. There wasn’t anything special about it, hence the three stars, but it was decent. My review will be coming at some point in the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out for it. 

Synopsis: How can two lost girls find their voices in a world that’s determined to keep them silent?

Meg McCarthy seems to be everything Alana Howard is not: rich, glamorous and – thanks to Caspar, her world-famous pop star brother – a social media influencer that every brand wants to sponsor.

While Meg is feeling trapped by the squeaky-clean McCarthy brand, plagued by online haters and too terrified to share her own talent with the world, songwriter Alana doesn’t seem to be scared of standing out.

But when Meg and Alana’s worlds collide, they learn that appearances can be deceiving.

Geekerella (Once Upon a Con #1) by Ashley Poston

Read: 12/1/2023 – 26/1/2023

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would. I’m a big fan of books that champion fandom, but listening to the audio version was not a good decision. The narrators weren’t great and it took away from my experience. 

I did however enjoy the concept and the plot was executed fairly well, if not a little long-winded. I posted a full review of Geekerella a few days ago if you want to check it out. 

Synopsis: Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Read: 27/1/2023 – 29/1/2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Why the hell did I not read this sooner? I know she isn’t the best writer but her books make me smile like a lovesick teenager and I can’t get enough of them. I’m not one to stay up extremely late to finish books but I did with The Love Hypothesis and Love on the Brain. 

I don’t know what Ali Hazelwood puts in these books, but I love them. Which I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit. 

My full review of The Love Hypothesis will be posted at some point this month.

Synopsis: As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive on her way to a happily ever after was always going to be tough, scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting woman, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when he agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire and Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support (and his unyielding abs), their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion.

Olive soon discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

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Like this post? Why not read this one too: Book Haul: January 2023

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