A Cuppa Cosy Reads – August 2022

It’s September? Talk about a month flying by- I don’t even know if I truly know where the time went…truly, I’m not just saying that. I feel like we were all just excited about August and here we are school starting, leaves changing, crisp mornings (maybe, we’re still lagging a bit in that department). My reading was really good for the month of August- a total of 10 books and an average rating of 4.16. A great month! Lots to talk about, so I’m just going to jump right in…

The Tea Dragon Festival by Kay O’Neil 5 Stars Much like the first, these next two graphic novels are just the most feel good, quaint ones of the bunch. I just loved seeing our characters change and grow and learn more about the different tea dragons. 

The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Kay O’Neill 5 Stars In this one we found one of our characters really grow into who she is now, rather than living in the past of who she was and that was really special. 

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes 5 Stars This is easily one of those books that I could recommend to anyone (and everyone). It may be a science fiction thriller, but it doesn’t feel like science fiction. It is set in space, but atmospheric enough that the fact that it is set in space simply fades to the background. It’s definitely just one of those books that I love. 

Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay 3 Stars I’ll be honest…I’m drawing a blank with this book. I think it was just a standard cozy mystery.  

This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede 4 Stars Now this book I remember. I found the premise interesting, the execution well done, but a smidge predictable. It’s a good book and one that I enjoyed reading as you get to see characters fight against what they truly want, only to get it and it’s maybe not what they expected or needed. 

Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace NR This is a poetry collection, the first in a series that I enjoyed, but didn’t find groundbreaking. I’ll continue on though.

A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair 4 Stars Ah another Hades and Persephone retelling. I don’t know where this obsession has come from, but oooo do I love a good Hades and Persephone dark re-imagining. I’m definitely excited to see what comes next…

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare 3.5 Stars I started this on a whim after seeing someone do a “outfits inspired by”. I haven’t read a Cassandra Clare since ages ago when she was still doing the Infernal Devices series and I…petered out from those. However, this one I enjoyed. Something about it really struck a chord, whether it was the time period or the location I’m not sure, but I definitely preferred it. Might dip my toe back in to the world. 

The Game by Linsey Miller 4 Stars This is a, basically, novella about a game that high school seniors play at a prestigious school that turns deadly one year. Fast paced, good action, and just enough suspense to keep you on your toes, but short enough you won’t stop- this had it all. 

Jade War by Fonda Lee 4 Stars The second of three novels in this trilogy and while it was a bit slow to start (it started off veeeerrrrrryyyyy middle book in a trilogy), it quickly shed that and went to work on destroying my heart. I want to read the third…but I don’t want to read the third (in a good way).

And that is it! I’m about 2/3rds of the way through my current read as I’m typing this (8/31/2022) and it’s a good one too. What was a big hit for you in August?

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – July 2022

I feel like I say this every month now, but I can’t believe another month has come to an end. And this month I really just felt like got away from me in so many ways- that balance of life really took a tumble. With that life balance tumble, my reading was rocky. I read quite a few books, 10, BUT I either felt ambivalent or angry about them. It was a rough month- even looking back now and calculating the average rating of 3.25. I did DNF (did not finish) two books that I got enough of the way in that I’ll be including later in the post. Here’s to hoping that August goes better across the board!

Let’s just get in to the nitty/gritty of it all, shall we?

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen 3 Stars This was fine. It’s very reminiscent of Practical Magic (if you liked that you’ll like this), but calmer in so many ways. It’s a feel-good story that was nice and calming to read but didn’t extend beyond that. 

Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin 4 Stars Maybe? I’m still not sure I know entirely how I feel about this book, but man did it pull at a string in my mama heart. So much so, that I want to warn other mamas on reading this- it will tug your emotions and make you think things and question decisions. 

The Body in the Garden by Katherine Schellman 4 Stars Hello cozy mystery from the Victorian Era. A very low stakes (think Ellery Adams) fun mystery that our heroine suddenly finds herself embroiled in. I really enjoyed this one (and the second one that’s up next). It really is Ellery Adams, but Victorian. 

Silence in the Library by Katherine Schellman 4 Stars The second in this mystery series that I’ll definitely be continuing on found our heroine embroiled in another mystery, but the kind that helps her grow in herself and helps her find some suitors of a romantic nature. 

The Hunting Wives by May Cobb 2 Stars My biggest disappointment yet. I had high hopes after hearing such good things, but it not only fell flat for me, but the main character POV was obnoxious. Couldn’t stand any of this book and was actually quite glad it was over. It gets a second star for the fact that I didn’t entirely see the mystery ending the way it did until it was happening. 

Half A Soul by Olivia Atwater 3 Stars I was on the fence about this book, actually put it down and then picked it back up throughout the month, but I’ve settled on it being a “fine” book. The thing this has going for it is that it represents fae in their true sense, but there’s only a fraction of it in this entire book, so don’t let that be a reason for you to pick it up.

We Had to Remove This Post by Hanna Bervoets, translated by Emma Rault 4 Stars I have to say, this is probably one of the best reads of my month. This gave me a lot to think about, a lot to consider in both my own personal social media and others. There’s a larger discussion to be had around this book and I look forward to being able to have it with others who have read it. 

Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang 2 Stars Another disappointment to really end the month with. To be bluntly honest, I found this to be the most unbelievable of cozy mysteries. It just…. none of it worked (in as much as our main characters doing as much as she was) and I found the main character POV to be…well just dumb. This book had me questioning my cozy small town mystery book shop vibe genre I had going on. 

I DNF’d:

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard – On its face this book probably had everything to be a fantastic found family, chosen one, save the world trope duology, BUT I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t care about any of it, except a side character or two, which were not present nearly enough to keep me going with it. 

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix Another one where the main character POV just really ruined the entire book for me. I could have probably continued on and enjoyed it, but I couldn’t get past the viewpoint that we were reading from. 

And that’s it! A lot to talk about, but also not a lot haha. I will say, with as lackluster as some of the month turned out to be in reading, I’ve been very grateful to utilize my library as much as I have been! Did you have a good reading month in July? Or was it lackluster?

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – June 2022

Hello! Long time no post! Not really, only a couple weeks, but it was a good, very much needed break away. We had our annual summer holiday and, once again, had a really nice time! We traveled to seven different spots (so look forward to seven blog posts coming your way with all the details) and just really enjoyed the time together, away from work, phones, and computer screens. Somehow, I managed to read 8 books in the month of June, with an average rating of 3.85. A win of a month for sure! Let’s get into those- please keep in mind the reviews might be shorter as it’s been a minute since I’ve read/thought about them so things might slip through the cracks. 

Rivals by Katherine McGee 3 Stars This the third book in this series and I found it…fine. I always enjoy this American Royal reimagining, even if I feel like sometimes, it gets a little dragged out. It’s young adult and there will be a fourth book coming (that I will be purchasing and reading). An average to good book to start the month with!

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean 3 Stars This is another royal re-imagining, though if I had to pick, I might have enjoyed this one slightly more than Rivals. I think it’s a bit…fresher and the insight/view into a different culture is wonderful. 

Wicked Beauty by Katee Robert 4 Stars Another hit from Katee Robert’s Dark Olympus series. This pushed the boundaries a bit and definitely re imagined Greek Mythology (in a sense, who knows though), but I really enjoyed it!

The Vanishing Type by Ellery Adams 4 Stars I was really in the mood this month for light and fun, so I read two Ellery Adams, this one being her Book, Tea & Scone Society series. I’m not quite sure which I really prefer- I love and relate to both so much. Anyways, another really enjoyable cozy mystery, plus a smattering of romance. 

I Hope This Finds You Well by Kate Baer NR I swung in the complete opposite direction with this one, a black out poetry collection designed to take “hate” or “negative” messages and turn them into a positive argument. And, once again, Kate Baer did an excellent job not only with the poetry, but with the collection as a whole. 

The Sprite and The Gardener by Rii Abrego 5 Stars This was a short, fun graphic novel about a Sprite trying to get back to her…roots of sorts. She’s new to town and she befriends and helps a human with a small garden. It was just quaint and fun to read. 

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody 4 Stars Ok, I was unsure about this one for a long while, but somewhere it hooked me and I really enjoyed it! We’re following “villains” (at least in their communities’ eyes) as they compete against each other for the final bit of magic left. It’s reminiscent of The Hunger Games, but if every victor trained like they lived in District 1. It was good and I’ll definitely be reading the next one (I think it’ll only be a duology). 

Murder in the Reading Room by Ellery Adams 4 Stars I ended the month on a high note with another Ellery Adams cozy mystery. I don’t have much to say about these, but they’re always just really nice to read in a day or two. 

All in all, it was a great reading month- especially for having traveled the last week or so of it! We are also at the halfway point in the year, so I might be posting a little…mid-yearbook freak out towards the end of this week, so keep an eye out for that bonus post before all the travel content begins!

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – April 2022

It is once again time for another reading wrap up! Where is the year going? It feels odd to say that we’ve reached the end of April, it feels like it’s flown by but also gone so slowly. April was…a month for us. We were basically out of the game for two weeks- between catching the Flu, family visiting, and then traveling it definitely hampered some of my reading. I feel like the month started off…average but got a bit better reading wise by the end. I read a total of 7 books and gave an average rating of 3.25. 

The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper 3.5 Stars In The Wolf Den we are following a group of girls as they navigate a hard life of slave prostitution in Pompeii. Highs and lows and fighting for their own freedom, it’s a mix of a story. I have to say- I did enjoy this book partly because it’s very “day in the life” of an era we don’t get to see much from, and partly because we don’t like any single character. These girls live a hard life and make seemingly impossible choices just to move forward. 

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley 3 Stars In this third novel by Lucy Foley we are following a young girl who is trying to escape her own life and by doing so, stumbles into a mystery her brother has been investigating. I’ve got to say, while Lucy Foley can write a very well done “locked room” mystery/thriller…it’s become almost formulaic in a sense. I wasn’t too impressed with this one, much preferring her other two. I don’t know if I’ll continue on with her books or not. 

Neon Gods by Katee Robert 3 Stars I finally jumped on this craze (from last year, I think? Not sure) and while it didn’t disappoint, it also didn’t overwhelm. A Greek G-d retelling, this modern take on mythology delivers it all, including quite a bit of smut. However, it also didn’t provide or add anything new, just an easy going easy to read smutty novel. Which isn’t a bad thing every once in a while. 

Eternal Life by Dara Horn 3 Stars After reading and loving (and highly recommending) People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn, I decided to go back and read some of her backlist novels. Eternal Life follows a young woman who makes an obvious, but impossible choice and, because of it, will never die. Full of heart, life, and death, this book is short but powerful. Some truly incredible thoughtful moments that I really enjoyed. 

Wahala by Nikki May 3 Stars Wahala follows a group of friends at various stages of life as they come together, fall apart, and what happens when a newcomer who may not have the best intentions joins the group. Another easy-to-read thriller of sorts that I enjoyed but wasn’t overwhelmed by. 

The City of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon 4 Stars Imagine my extreme joy when I found out that my all-time favorite author had a new book posthumously published. No words. This is a collection of short stories that are much darker and more sinister than anything I’ve read of his previously. All the stories run along the same current as his famous Shadow of the Wind quartet, taking place in Barcelona and are written in that beautifully descriptive way. 

Nazis Knew My Name by Magda Hellinger and Maya Lee No Rating This was my final read of April and what a way to end the month. Magda arrived on the second transport to Auschwitz and survived not only being a prisoner in the camp, but also serving as a functionary- a leader of sorts, a go between with the prisoners and the SS. She saw it all, the move from Auschwitz I to Auschwitz II- Birkenau, the creation of the crematoria, the medical experiments, the death marches, and through it all she somehow kept her spirit, kept moving forward, and used her spirit, position and network to save countless lives. It was truly incredible to read.

And that wraps up April in reading! I already feel like May is off to a better start, after doing a little library run, and evaluating what I want to read right now. How was your reading month? Any new favorites?

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – March 2022

We have come to the end of another month, and similar to last month, my reading started out great, then I read one book that slumped the rest of the month! I saw it coming, but it also bummed me out because I have so many great books that I desperately want to read, but life and certain books just gave me other plans. I read a total of 6 books this past month and gave an average rating of 3.8. I thought, overall, it was a really good reading month. I found a couple really good ones, some new to me authors that I’ll continue with, and a couple of not for me books. 

So, let’s get into the books, shall we?

An Unorthodox Match by Naomi Ragen 4 Stars I truly loved this book. It bordered a 5 Star read for me, but I really reserve those (apparently). Much preferred to the Matzah Ball, I feel like this book handled both its appeal to Jew and Non-Jew audiences really well. As a Jewish Woman, this is what I would want to showcase my culture and religion. The romance was super sweet and adorable too. 

The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 3.5 Stars This is the second novel in this duology, and it was alright. I found to be an average young adult mystery, but it had a couple nice twists placed throughout and it was a quick easy read. 

Address Unknown by Katherine Kressmann Taylor 5 Stars I loved this. It’s short, told entirely in letters and painfully illustrates what so many Jews have experienced in their life. Set in the early 1930’s we are following two friends, business owners as Hitler rises to power. 

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake 3 Stars I feel so disappointed in this book. The premise, the first half, the whole concept was great! It started off so strongly but somewhere along the way it lost me, and really lost me. I barely finished and just honestly felt disappointment in the…loss of the storyline? I’m not even sure if I could describe exactly what it was, but it just lost me. 

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James 4.5 Stars I LOVED this book too. Simone St. James sure can set an atmosphere. This book has something for everyone (except a romance really), true crime, mystery, supernatural, haunted house, I mean it- everything! And it’s done really well- everything it seamlessly melded together and comes out beautifully. Will definitely be checking out some of the authors other works.

War of Two Queens by Jennifer L. Armentrout 3 Stars Ok, I’ve said it from book one, these books are not great works of literature. We do not judge them on their quality, but rather the escapism, the ridiculousness, the…je ne sais quoi that keeps you reading. And while this one was the same bingeable readable book as the first 4, I found it to be a bit…lackluster. Armentrout introduced quite a bit of plot into this book, a lot of the mythology and lore to the communities that she created, but I think it set it at odds with what we’ve come to expect from this series. 

And that’s it! War of Two Queens and life put me in a minor slump towards the end of March, but I’m emerging victorious with a large April list that I’d like to get to! 

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – February 2022

Ah, the month that I read the least, the least I’ve read in a while. I’m not sure what really happened, whether it was having the kids home for the last week of February, a minor outpatient surgery for one of the kids, my need for a little staycation, the world at large, or a combination of everything, but man the last half of February I just…stopped reading. It wasn’t a bad thing, it’s actually happened several times before, but it does mean that this post will be shorter than normal. I read a total of 4 books (though I started 2 more in addition to that) and gave an average rating of 3.8.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman 3.75 Stars This is the second book in the Thursday Murder Club series and while I don’t know if I enjoyed this one as much as the first, I still really enjoy watching the characters bumble about. Just the idea of this senior citizen club solving murders and cheating out the cops…it just really tickles me haha. 

You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen 3.5 Stars I think this is an EXCELLENT young young adult novel to read to understand a bit more about Islamophobia, the intersection of different minorities and learning how we can help and do better by these communities. It follows three young women as they are learning about themselves, being activists, and standing up for what they believe both in personal relationships AND in the world. I think it would be great for the Jr High age range.

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimand 4 Stars This book, on the whole, was a fun one to read. If you want a quirky main character bumbling and stumbling into something larger than herself, then bumbling and stumbling to get out of it…this is the book for you. I really had a good time once I got through the initial few chapters. At the start it’s a bit too…heavy handed with certain things, but once we got into the swing of things it lightened up quite a bit. 

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas 4 Stars This. This book. This is what I’m ultimately blaming the rest of the month on. Because this book…once I finished it, I just wanted to read it all over again (but not really) and all I really wanted was just more of the same. The second book in the Crescent City Series, this was an excellent follow up to the first, though (like the first), a bit long winded in places. 

And that’s it for books I finished in February. I started both Jade War and An Unorthodox Match, but the former wasn’t being read at the right time (aka I was not being captivated for whatever reason) and the latter is still being read currently (so look for a review next month!). How was your reading month in February?

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – January 2022

Ah the first month of 2022! I’ve always loved the first reading month of the year. The fresh start, everything looks bright, and I always seem to have good luck with books at the beginning of the year. This month was…no different. I had almost all wins, aka I didn’t give less than 3 stars to any book I read, and I overall enjoyed everything that I read. I read a total of 6 books and gave an average rating of 3.6. 

So, let’s talk about those books…

Jade City by Fonda Lee 4 Stars – I LOVED this book. Thinking back, I don’t know why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5, but I usually go with my first gut rating on most books. This is an Asian inspired Urban fantasy that has the perfect mix of politics, fighting, and a hinting of romance here and there. It really checks so many boxes and I can’t wait to continue with the series. 

People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn NR – This was another great read, though a difficult one at times. This book not only covers the fascination of dead Jews, but also gives insight into so many stories that we don’t normally hear or talk about in relation to the Jewish Community. It’s such an important read for both Jews and Non-Jews and I highly recommend it. 

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey 3 Stars – I have mixed feelings about this book. This is a space melodrama that involves both political and interpersonal battles. For me, about half of the book I was really intrigued, really into what was happening, and then half of the book I was questioning why I was bothering to read it/wasting my time. I get the appeal, but there were moments that I was just bored. There was also some initial confusion about the different “sects” of space and trying to work that out in my head. 

Duke, Actually by Jenny Holiday 4 Stars – This is actually the second book in a series which I didn’t realize, but I don’t think you need to read the first to get on with the second (and I probably won’t go back and read the first). A fun, lighthearted, aristocratic romance, we follow two characters who have sworn off love only to find that maybe they just needed the right person to fall in love with. My only “negative” was towards the end I felt like the “conflict” was a little…over engineered. But this was the perfect read for a weekend.

Reprieve by James Han Mattson 3 Stars – I’m not really sure how I feel about this one. This is a murder mystery that takes place in a “famous” full contact escape house. I found this to be a really good character study that pushed a variety of characters from different backgrounds past their limits to see what would happen. It was good, but unsettling. 

Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire 4 Stars – This book reminded me how much I loved this series in the first place. The 6th book in the Wayward Children Series, we get to see a second school that isn’t quite like Eleanor Wests’. We follow some of our previous characters, meet some new ones, and expand the “human” world a bit more. I really enjoyed this one, which was nice after feeling meh from the past couple. 

I’m currently reading The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, but I don’t know if I’ll finish it before the end of the month, definitely not before this blog post needs to be scheduled to go up on Wednesday. So far, I’m enjoying it and looking forward to seeing where the story goes (I’m about 75 pages in). And that’s my first reading wrap up of 2022! How has your reading started off this year?

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – Best & Worst 2021

It is FINALLY time (almost too late, but we’ll roll with it) to talk about what I thought were my best and worst reads of 2021. 2021 was a really good reading year for me, a solid pack of books to choose from. I read a total of 97 books with an average rating of 3.7, which I think is pretty good. I had initially set a reading goal of 50 books, knowing that I would read closer to 100, and while I was a little bummed, I didn’t hit that 100, the second half of the year presented a slight change to my mindset and reading goals. 

For 2022 I’m not setting a reading goal, because I just want to read what I want to read, when I want to read it. I’ll track what I read and note it, but I don’t want to do much more than that. Even if it’s supposed to be a fun thing (or a tracking thing), I find that without realizing it, there is a pressure on your reading. So, we’re just taking all that pressure away. I still plan on doing monthly reading recaps because I think that’s just the best/easiest way to share my reads with you, but there may not be too many stats in those anymore. Ok, brief interlude re: 2022 aside, let’s look back at 2021. 

So, how do I determine what is “best” and what is “worst”. It’s simple, just what I think were some of my reading highlights of the year and some of my reading lows. I find that if we get too much into the semantics of it all at the outset it gets too complicated. I’ll give a brief explanation of what worked or didn’t work for me with each book that I mention, but you won’t find me splitting out disappointing OR overhyped from bad OR enjoyed for pleasure vs well written. Basically, I’m scrolling through all the books I read in 2021 and noting what stands out. Trying to simplify things across the board moving forward for everyone’s sake 

Best Books of 2021

The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker – I LOVED this book. I really truly do, and I feel like this is one of those books that I would recommend to those who love Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Erin Morgenstern, any author who loves flowery language, describing little moments and day to day, and using words in a manner befitting a writer. This also just placed Jewish life at the forefront, in a day to day setting that I hadn’t read before. 

The Troop by Nick Cutter – This book solidified that the way to well and truly freak me out is through body horror…and I loved that feeling.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson – I’ve been putting this off for a while, thinking of how much I’ve loved his stuff, but this was different than that and I didn’t want to mess with the good thing I had going with Sanderson. Boy did I not need to have that fear. This is Sci-fi, but it holds the excellent storytelling and world building that Sanderson does so you don’t feel like you’re out in the middle of space with no clues.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller – I mean, I think this has topped everyone’s list who has ever read it. I would highly recommend reading it, would almost say it should be required reading, but please note the themes and content as it could be triggering for some. Truly incredible, angering, and heartbreaking, but also a show of strength, of courage, of standing strong in the face of those who would brush you aside. 

The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle – This was just a fun one that solidified exactly what I like in “romance” stories. Looking forward to seeing not only what this author publishes next, but also what else this “royal/royal adjacent” genre can offer. 

Worst Books of 2021

Luxe by Anna Godberson- To be quite honest, I debated on whether to actually include this in my list because I am quite clearly not the intended audience, BUT even if I was…it’s still not great. Like there are so many other “societal melodramas” that could be read instead of this that would accomplish the same thing and do it better. This was just not it. 

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – This was a disappointment more so than a bad book. I just had really high hopes for this to sweep me off my feet, into a different time and place, but instead it felt clunky and flat the entire way through. Definitely a debut, definitely lacking some editor insight in terms of 3 dimensional characters and storytelling. 

Answered Prayers by Truman Capote – I mean, this was just garbage that I wish I hadn’t wasted my time on. That’s all I need to say. 

HM- As Good as Dead by Holly Jackson – I’m including this as an honorable mention as I didn’t actually finish this (with good reason), but it was just incredibly off putting and disappointing. I felt like our main character was acting so beyond out of character that it wasn’t even off character for her (where an author can have a character be out of character due to circumstances). It just…wasn’t even worth the 100 pages I attempted to read.

And that’s it for 2021! I could have probably talked about so many other books, but I really just wanted to showcase some of the ones that stood out to me upon review. Tell me, what were some of your favorite reads of 2021? Any least favorites?

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – December 2021

How is it the last month of the year??? I don’t get how this year has literally flown by. In this final reading wrap up we’re just covering my December reads. I will have a post in January talking about my best/worst reads of 2021 and we’ll talk about my reading year as a whole. In December I read a total of 7 books with an average rating of 3.4. So, I don’t have too much to say beyond that, so we’ll just dive straight into the books. 

The Chosen by Chaim Potok NR This classic was an incredible read both enlightening and heart breaking. A true story of fathers and sons, of differing religious viewpoints, and of being able to open your eyes in the face of those differences. I think the real importance of this story is in the understanding and willingness to look beyond our initial thoughts and judgements, to see and understand those who are different than us (and maybe in the end not so different). 

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine 3 Stars I’m going to be completely honest, I don’t really remember much of this book at all. Similar to the first book in this duology, it’s dense, but again we deal with trying to understand those who are different from us. There’s first contact with aliens, which I was meh about, and the ending left things concluded, but also open for more books in the future. I honestly just think part of this was a “too much time has passed” and my excitement about the first and the world had faded.

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean 3 Stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This story where one girl’s feeling of not fitting quite in…anywhere leads to a remarkable discovery about herself and how to change her own world. It’s very much a coming-of-age story, with royal stakes, and one that was just nice and fun to read. 

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk 3 Stars I gave this a 3 star, but I will say it probably ranks lowest on my list of books from this month. I just…didn’t care about it. At all. It, too, is a coming-of-age story, but I found it to by typical of not like other girls’ girl asserting her independence and defying societal expectations. It’s something I love, but in this case, it felt like a robotic regurgitation of some previous thing that I’d read. I fully recognize that this was a “me” thing, which is why I gave it 3 stars (as I didn’t hate it, just didn’t get on well with it). Just very bland for me. 

Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson 4.5 Stars A tricky read for me as I LOVE this, now, series, but I think this would probably not be my favorite of the set. We see Spensa go through a lot of character growth, which I loved, we see her struggle with what she wants vs what is best vs what she needs, all with outside sources messing with her very person, BUT I missed the camaraderie of some of the other characters we’ve grown to love. With that being said, the last 20 pages had me visibly crying and very much heart broken. And now I have to wait for who knows how long for the next one…grrrr.

The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan 3 Stars Another conflicting read for me (seems to be a trend for the month). I LOVED the setting, the concept of saving this bookshop and the stakes that come with that. I even liked the mystery aspect of the shop owner and his history. BUT, but, but, but, I did not care for our main character at all. I didn’t care for the weird jumping around to different character viewpoints and I didn’t care for how the story…presented itself. It felt jumbled and almost like Jenny Colgan wanted to have a bit of mystery, but didn’t quite know how to insert it? Not sure, but while the setting was cute, the execution wasn’t incredible. I’ve loved her previous two books so I’m not sure what this one had that didn’t really work for me. 

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead 4 Stars Man did I really love this. I found it to be captivating, twisting and turning every other page, with the perfect pacing to truly unfold a story for you. I could have done without the very last twist (the one that literally comes on the last two pages), BUT this is a really great thriller to read if you’re looking for an “in one sitting” kind of book. 

And that was it for December! I think at least, there are still a few days left in the month and we’re not doing much of anything so I may just finish another book or two in these last few days. 

A Cuppa Cosy – November 2021

I’ll be honest with you; I don’t really know how great this month’s reading recap is going to be. It’s not that I didn’t do a lot of reading (6 books) or that it was that I didn’t like the books that I read (average rating of 3.6), rather the fact that over the last week of the month and into the first week of this month that my mind kind of went to mush. We had some personal things going on and so, basically everything has left my mind. I’m going to try and do my best to share my thoughts (some of which are strong worded), but it also might be a little bare compared to previous months. We shall see how it goes…

Prince Charming by Rachel Hawkins 3 Stars: This was fine, exactly as it should be. Not groundbreaking, but a fun little pick me up. I really love this royal/royal adjacent romance trope, and this fell really well into that, though I wouldn’t say it was a memorable one. 

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire 4 Stars: I read this toward the beginning of November, when I had a reading plan for the month (that fell apart), and I still don’t quite know how to talk about it. It’s a weird one…almost like if you ever wanted to read a sci-fi fantasy set in our modern-day world. 

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson 4 Stars This is not my favorite Sanderson novel by any stretch. I still enjoyed it, BUT I felt like a lot of the book (like at the very least 2/3) was a set up for possibly a duology or trilogy, only for the last 1/3 to ¼ to conclude everything. Almost like he wanted to turn it into a duology at the least but wasn’t given clearance from editor/publisher. I still really enjoyed it, but it is definitely towards the bottom of the list of Sanderson novels I’ve read. 

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong 4 Stars This book was such a good, epic conclusion to this Romeo & Juliet meets fantasy (maybe a bit steam punk too???) meets Shanghai duology. While there were a couple parts that I…thought could have been edited down a bit more, on the whole it was a great book. 

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 3 Stars A book that I don’t know what really stuck with me. I enjoyed it, will probably pick up the second book, but I don’t know that there was anything truly “stand out” about it. It was a fine read. 

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer NR This book…this book I feel passionate about. For starters, you’ll note that I didn’t give it a rating; that’s because I don’t really know HOW to rate this book. I’m conflicted because while I enjoyed seeing a “Jewish” themed holiday romance (a la hallmark in a novel), I had some very direct notable issues. For starters the fact that this is book is marketed to both Jews and Non-Jews, BUT it doesn’t handle writing for both well. It seemed to waffle back and forth, rather than sticking with one and then adding an appendix or some description section. I also don’t really like how the concept of “liking Christmas” is akin to abandoning Judaism is handled in the book and a couple of other specific religious issues were handled. But then I DO appreciate that this is hitting the market, that it is being done, and that we can see some Jewish books. So, conflicted. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop. 

And that was it! I know some had a lot, others had little, but I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts anyways. Let me know, what was one book you read in November that you enjoyed.