A Cuppa Cosy Reads – May 2022

Another month has come to an end and it’s time to talk about the books that I’ve read! I kind of wandered all over the place in terms of stories and genres. Part of it was not really know what I wanted to read, part of it was just life throwing curve balls all over the place. I went from wanting comfort to needing expansive stories, to wanting simple romance. It was all over, but it was also great fun and full of some good reads. I read 9 books and gave an average rating of 3.75. So, let’s just get into those books, shall we?

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune 5 Stars Much like the first book of T.J. Klunes that I read, this is a feel good, life lesson in a soft cute way kind of book. We are following a man as he’s just died. In his path to “the final door” he learns about the meaning of life, love, and what really makes him happy. It was adorable and meaningful, and I definitely cried at the end. 

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim 5 Stars In a completely different direction, this is a court room murder thriller following the lives of several families after a massive tragedy. It is a unique look at parenthood with children who suffer from varying levels of disability as well as the immigrant experience in a small town. I found this to be incredible and I cried at the end. 

Book Lovers by Emily Henry 4 Stars This might have been the cutest, chinchiest book I’ve read this month. We follow to high powered editors who have one goal in mind for their lives, their careers. Of course, life never goes to plan, and they find themselves fighting against what they thought was impossible.  

Electric Idol by Katee Robert 3 Stars Look- I couldn’t help myself, especially after reading the first book in the series last month. This is the second book in the Dark Olympus series, which, at its core, follows four sisters as they live and fight in the city of Olympus. It’s a fun, smutty, reimagining of Greek g-ds that makes for light, but compelling reading. 

The Mayfair Bookshop by Eliza Knight 4 Stars My first proper historical fiction in a while, The Mayfair Bookshop follows two different women in different eras at crossroads in their lives. We see how a family, broken by different viewpoints in WW2 exists and leaves a legacy that intersects with our modern-day protagonist. I really enjoyed this one and would highly recommend it. 

Even If We Break by Marieke Nijkamp 4 Stars, I’ll be honest, this book freaked me out in so many ways, but also left me a bit confused (in a good way) by the end. We are following 5-6 friends as they are closing a chapter of their lives. Things are changing and we are seeing how they fall apart, come together, and fall apart again. All this on the back of a haunting, thrilling, mystery that you (as a reader) never quite know what is real and what is not. I found this to be incredibly well done and atmospheric as all. 

The Palace Papers by Tina Brown NR Here’s another one that…well I just couldn’t help myself when I saw it on sale. I’m a royal fan, and am fascinated by all the scandal, intrigue, and the dynamic of the family and the firm. It’s important to know that the woman who wrote the book has a background of tabloid sensationalism, so that’s good to keep in mind regarding some of her criticism and praise, but still…just soaking all the dynamics and drama. 

Snow White with the Red Hair Volume 1 by Sorata Akiduki 4 Stars I ended the month with a couple Manga options. This is a genre that I dip my toes in to from time to time, just when I need something quick, but storytelling and easy. I found comfort in this selection- even though absolutely nothing happens. It’s very much a slice of life manga, and it’ll be good for when you just want to read something comforting, but easy.

Spy X Family Volume 1 by Tatsuya Endo, translated by Casey Loe 5 Stars Ok, I loved this. I get the “mainstream” hype around it. We are following a spy as he forms this unconventional family with two people, he thinks are normal. But, as with anything else, not all is what it seems and, in this family, everyone has secrets. This is great- it’s easy and approachable for people just getting into manga, but if you’ve read and loved manga before it’s also great. 

And that’s it! Quite the variety to offer and I have a good sense for what I want to read moving forward. Any stand outs for you this past month of reading? Let me know!  

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.

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – October 2021

It was actually, surprisingly, a stellar reading month! I think I was surprised because looking back, I enjoyed everything I read, I didn’t feel like I was reading as much as I normally do in a month. This makes sense as we traveled, then had family visiting, had PTO kick off, and then needed to decompress from everything. Somehow, I managed to read 6 books and give an average rating of 4 Stars. So, maybe not by best of the year, but certainly a high rating month. 

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones 4 Stars I found this to be suitably, atmospherically spooky. The book has a haunting nature to it, far surpassing the haunting that is happening in the book itself. I really enjoyed it. 

Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson 4 Stars This is the second book in the Good Girls Guide to Murder trilogy and I did enjoy this new case. I don’t know if I enjoyed it as much as the first book, but I did enjoy seeing some character development and I feel like the underlying tone of the book got suitably darker. 

The Tree by John Fowles NR I don’t really have too much to say about this book as I wasn’t really…feeling it? I don’t know, it might have just been a miss for me, but while I understand and believe what he was saying in his long essay, I didn’t connect with it.

The Passengers by John Marrs 5 Stars Easily one of my favorite reads of the month, maybe even of the year (who knows- I haven’t even started to look at end of the year lists). John Marrs is just quickly becoming one of my go to authors for quick paced, unputdownable thrillers. This is my second one and I loved it just as much as The One. I would recommend reading The One first, as this is set in the same “universe” (read: the same modern-day era) and does have a couple of near spoilers for that book. 

Rebel Rose by Emma Theriault 3 Stars Ah, this book fell a bit flat for me. I know I’m not necessarily the intended audience (this is a lower end of the young adult spectrum book) and I think that was the major reason for the average rating from me. I think this book would be excellent for a 12/13-year-old (depending on maturity level- there isn’t anything graphic or super inappropriate, but parent discretion on it), who loves Belle and Beauty and the Beast and wants more post Disney story. I did appreciate the historical references that took place. 

Not All Diamonds & Rose by Dave Quinn NR Ah, THE housewives book. I’m going to be doing an entire podcast on this book, but I’ll just say that I actually really enjoyed it. This is a Bravo/Andy approved book, so you’re not going to get ALL the tea, but you get a good amount of “tea”, but also behind the scenes producer content. 

So, that’s it! Not too much to say on the books, but I’m hoping to end the month strong with a good November and December (even though spoiler alert- I’m not loving my current read…).

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – September 2021

Well, we’ve come to the end of another month and I’m once again sat here wondering…where did the month go??? It was a busy one for us, we traveled at the beginning, and then school started, Autumn sports started, I got a little burned out in doing some forward planning and thinking about all the things that are coming, and it seemed like the world just continued much the way it has been over the past year or two. It was just…wow. You would think I would run to a book, take to reading and escaping even more and yet, it wasn’t a great reading month. I feel like there was a lot of…this was fine/ok, but not a lot of in-depth thoughts happening about really any of the books that I read. It was just a very…meh reading month to be honest. 

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing 4 Stars  Ok, I was a bit on the fence about this one, but upon reflection I think I enjoyed it more than I thought. We are following a couple of characters at a prestigious private school who all just want the best for themselves/their friends/ their students and will go to whatever lengths to do what they think is right and best. While I think this was good and well done, and I enjoyed the overall concept, I do feel like there could have been a bit of change or editing. There were a couple bits that were…unnecessary? Or were intended to be like red herrings, but in reality, had just nothing to do with anything. 

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurlan 4 Stars Ah, if I had to guess, I would say this was the book that started the reading mood I found myself in as the month wore on. There is just something to be said about reading a book from a variety of psychopath’s perspectives that will…just do something to you. Now, don’t get me wrong I really liked this book- the hunter becomes the hunted? Yes please. BUT there is something about reading from points of views of people who don’t “feel” as we do that just makes it…a struggle. 

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer 4 Stars I think that Kemmerer is just one of my go to light romance, light fantasy authors that I know will give me a book that I enjoy and captivates me. This was my fourth of hers that I’ve read and, similar to the other three, I enjoyed this one. 

To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers 3 Stars This is a novella that is space centered, like many of her other books. I don’t have a lot to say about this one as it was shorter, but I will say (and maybe this is because it was shorter) but what I will say is there is quite a bit more of the “science-y” stuff that I struggled with in this one. 

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé 4 Stars I think this was probably one of my most unnerving books that I read this year. This is an academic thriller, with very much Gossip Girl vibes (a mystery person sending out texts that harm others reputations), but with much more sinister undertones and connotations. It hits you in a way that you don’t expect when you find out the common denominator (though as a reader I feel like we figure it out much faster), but it brings up quite a bit of good social commentary that could start some very important social commentary.

The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle 4 Stars This is the final book I’m going to talk about, the final book I’ve read at this point, and the easiest fastest read of the month. I think I’ve settled on my overly specific romance genre I prefer- which is royal or royal adjacent romances. In this case, the neighbor and the bodyguard. It’s good, some of the romantic thoughts made me giggle, and there was definitely some smut, but also some sweetness. A true win to the end of the month. 

I’m sure I’ll still read another book before the month ends, or maybe I won’t this month has been a strange one in terms of reading. What about you?