reading summary · review

January Wrap Up

It’s crazy to me to think that an entire month of the new year is already gone! It passed so quickly, but it was honestly a pretty good month for me. I consumed more media than I normally do — I watched four movies: M3gan (★★★★★), Black Phone (★★★), A Dark Song (★★★★), and The Invitation (★★★). More importantly, I read TEN books this month, which I’m super proud of considering that’s more than I read in both November and December combined. Here are all the books I read this month, with ratings:

I already wrote reviews for When She Woke and What Lies in the Woods. I just finished reading the second book in the ACOTAR series and I plan to review the entire series in one post, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on the rest of my reads as well as give some stats for the month.

My Dearest Darkest
Sapphic horror YA has me in its clutches. I loved everything about this book: the boarding school setting, the tension between the two main characters, the downright horrifying entity that preys on the girls, and the disgusting, terrifying, and sometimes downright gory scenes. Reading this reminded me a lot of Jennifer’s Body except instead of queer baiting a f/f romance, this book just went all the way for it. The romance scenes were cute and warm and fuzzy, and in the next chapter someone would be getting their fingernails ripped off so they could have shiny hair. This story truly had everything I could have hoped for, and I can’t wait to read more by this author!

Tender is the Flesh
The first time I read this book was in 2021, and I remember thinking it was just okay, but it was really gory and depressing and mostly pretty strange. I read it again this month as a buddy-read with one of my friends, and found myself enjoying it a lot more the second time around, probably because I knew what would happen so I could focus on other aspects of the story instead. There are a lot of beautiful albeit bleak quotes in this book that emphasized just how dismal this concept is. I had a fun time discussing with others whether this dystopian world is even in the realm of possibility (my answer is no, and I could write an essay on it, but I’ll save that for another time), and what it says about humanity that we would stoop to the level of various actions of choices made by characters in this story.

The Girls in the Garden
I’d read one other book by Lisa Jewell and enjoyed it, so I thought I’d give this author another chance. Unfortunately, I was extremely bored with this story. The story opens with a teenage girl being found unconscious in a neighborhood garden, but the first half of the book is wasted on introductions instead and made the story drag on forever. There are lots of supposed red herrings thrown in (is it the pervy neighbor dad, the girl’s boyfriend, the dad who just got out of a mental ward?), but I felt like the culprit was screaming in my face the entire time. There was zero surprise on learning what really happened, and it never felt suspenseful. I was also really bothered by how nonchalant and borderline negligent all of the parents were.

A Heart to Hold
This was such a cute novella! It’s a unique idea to have a regency era story inspired by Snow White. I loved the banter between the two characters as well as Harmony’s relationship with her family, especially her siblings. And of course I appreciated the inclusivity here! Characters are just queer, nonbinary, themselves without anyone questioning why they are or what makes them the way they are. There are a handful of minor grammar or punctuation errors here, but it’s not too distracting to pull me from the story. My only grievance is that I wish this was longer to really develop and flesh out everything/everyone as much as they deserve.

Gas Light
The premise of this story is pretty straightforward: Ella moves back to her childhood home, where she’s reminded constantly of the abuse she endured there. Strange things start happening to her, and while she’s haunted by her past, she can’t help but question if her boyfriend is the one behind these actions. I think this story has potential, but it’s way too short for what it’s trying to accomplish. There were some tense moments, but I kept waiting for scarier or stranger things to happen, and instead it was a couple arguing about who ate whose leftovers. I wound up disliking Ella quite a bit and actually sided with the man allegedly gaslighting her instead. The explanation at the end of the story was incredibly lackluster given the direction it could have gone. This isn’t a bad story, and I do think readers will enjoy it. Unfortunately I think I had expectations that it would take a different route and disappointed myself.

Through the Woods
This was a horror-themed graphic novel with a collection of five short stories. The stories were ominous and incredibly atmospheric, which pleasantly surprised me given how brief some of them are! The artwork here is gorgeous and really helped to set the tone for the stories. My favorites were “Our Neighbor’s House” and “The Nesting Place,” the bookends of the graphic novel.

I’m super proud of myself for reading so much this month. Over 3,000 pages is impressive! I read two huge books (the ACOTAR series) which took up a lot of my time, so I snuck in a few shorter books to still hit a good book number to stay on track with my reading goal for the year. I’m also clearly in a spooky~ mood with my reads this month.

The chart below shows which genres I read. Romance is way higher than I would ever usually expect, but it’s also ironically tied with thriller, mystery, and horror.

I have a readathon planned for the month of February, so it will be interesting to see how many of these statistics change in the next 28 days!

5 thoughts on “January Wrap Up

  1. That’s amazing that you read 10 books! 🙂 I actually liked A Court of Thorns and Roses, but then when I read the sequel….wtf, it got so lame and I ended up not liking it that much. I was so confused and didn’t understand why everything from A Court of Thorns and Roses and that Feyre was going through was just completely thrown out the window. And started all over again with A Court of Mist and Fury lol. It was weird and stupid. I will probably never finish the series. I don’t understand how people love it so much lol.


    1. Okay thank you for making me feel less alone in not loving this series! I’m the opposite of you, where I didn’t really enjoy A Court of Thorns and Roses, mostly because I didn’t like Tamlin and the plot was sooo slow. I liked A Court of Mist and Fury because it the plot moved faster and there were way more interesting characters, but I still don’t know how I feel about Rhysand and Feyre being together. It kind of comes off like SJM was going to do a love triangle and then changed her mind halfway through because the fans liked them together. I’ll only finish these books because I own the whole set haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe the rest of the books won’t be so bad since you plan to finish them haha. I don’t really know I feel about Rhysand and Feyre together either and part of why I decided to not even give the third book a chance. I actually liked Tamlin in book one, but fell like SJM completely changed him in book two into a whole different character and I’m like wtf, she did him so wrong lol. Oh well, it’s not for everyone haha.


      2. I hope so! Tamlin was TOTALLY different in the second book for sure. Feyre went through a lot of traumatic things and changed/grew as a person because of her trauma, but it was like Tamlin turned into a villain because of his trauma. We never got to see that though so it didn’t really make sense. I didn’t like Tamlin in the first book because of the Stockholm Syndrome lmao but Rhysand is arguably just as bad.


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