Friday, January 5, 2024

My Favorite Books Of 2023

 Happy New Year! 2023 was the year I read the most books I have ever read in my life. 85 books ๐Ÿ˜ฎ my goal was 80 so I am very pleased. I think my average rating was a 3.8 which I think is pretty good. I do tend to give a lot of 3.5/4 star so that tracks. So I will insert a visual of my best of 2023 bracket and then my honorable mentions which are all 4 star or higher. 

So here are my best books of 2023! We have mostly horror/suspense/thriller but a couple general/historical fiction and 1 romance. If you are looking for great suspense thrillers definitely check out The Southern Book Clubs Guide To Slaying Vampires, Razorblade Tears, None Of This Is True and The Only One Left. If you’re looking for a true extreme horror then Maeve Fly is the perfect book! If paranormal,sci-fi is your thing then I suggest Kindred and My Best Friends Exorcism. The Push is very much about generational trauma and motherhood. Kind of in a group all its own but still considered a thriller. Shark Heart is a romance but it’s also fantasy. It’s so beautiful and heartbreaking. Unlike anything I’ve read before. That brings us to my two favorite books of the year. I could not pick just one. The first one Delicate Condition by Danielle Valentine is something that will stay with me forever. I know it won’t resonate with everyone. I know some will see it as a some weird book about paranoia but it was so much more for me. I have never cried so much reading a book. Definitely check trigger warnings as it does talk about miscarriage, IVF, infertility etc. The overall narrative of how women are gaslit so much especially when it comes to their bodies and their health in the medical system. Not knowing if you can trust your own thoughts and feelings. She really did a fantastic job showing the emotions a person goes through while trying to conceive and trying to understand this foreign thing in your body! Her authors note at the end was brilliant and I wish that was made into a book itself! Even if it went in a bit of a strange direction I don’t care because the rest of it was so perfect. I will be rereading this at some point. My other favorite of the year is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I am still so shocked that I loved this book as much as I did. A time travel book about JFK? That doesn’t really sound like my thing. It was so much more than that though. That is the premise though. This man goes back in time to prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating JFK. I loved the rules of the time travel and the idea of the butterfly effect. There were so many excellent characters in this book and to me Kings writing is like a screenplay which is why so many of his books translate so well into tv. I am still thinking about those characters and that world. It was 850 pages and I wanted more. This is sci-fi but it’s also suspense and romance. The romance is unexpected and so good! I really took my time reading this book and now I’m sad it’s over. I have a new favorite book character Jake/George. I need to watch the series now just so I can go back to that world. 
So those were my most favorite books of 2023. It was really hard choosing those because as you can see I had a lot that I loved. If I had to choose a top 5 from Honorable Mentions it would be Nestlings by Nat Cassidy, The Only Safe Place Left Is The Dark By Warren Wagner, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, Black River Orchard by Chuck Wendig and The House In The Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune. But I would recommend them all! What were your favorite books of 2023! Any that were on my list? I can’t wait to see what makes it to the top this year! Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Everything I Read In December

 Happy New Year! Wow I can’t believe it’s 2024! 2023 really flew by. I will be doing my favorite and least favorite books of the year but today’s post is everything I read in the month of December. I ended up reading 6 books this month which I was actually surprised by because I was really only aimingfor 3 or 4. I will say 1 book I did start in November but finished in December.
 So let’s start with my first book of the month which was The Visitor. This is a horror novella about aliens. It takes place on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day ( can’t remember) and follows a few different folks that for whatever reason find themselves at this diner during a blizzard. I think it did a good job in a short amount of time of building up tension and suspense. I thought it was an interesting take on an alien invasion. It wasn’t my favorite thing I’ve read but I think it’s worth the read. I appreciated the story. I gave it 3-3.5 stars. 

Next is The Girl Who Heard Maggots. What a title huh? Really interesting book about a woman with some sort of past we aren’t quite sure about, who takes a job at this gothic type house taking care of a child. This book did a great job at being very mysterious and not knowing who to trust. Everyone at this house is just a little off, a little different. This got really crazy, in a good entertaining way, and I really enjoyed it. A little bit out there but fun. A solid 3.5-3.75 stars. 

Next up is Nestlings by Nat Cassidy. Who is a man btw ๐Ÿ˜‚ This book ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป wow I loved it! A favorite of the year for sure. I am definitely in my strange motherhood, creepy kids era when it comes to books and this one really delivered. This is about a couple who won this housing lottery and they get to move into this historic building in NYC that has a very mysterious history. The writing in this book was top notch! I did not know what direction this book was heading. It felt paranormal, cult-like, vampire-ish, it was just so fun trying to figure what was happening. It does revolve around motherhood, marriage, disabilities, and babies. So entertaining. I highly recommend. 5 stars. 

Next is a reread for me. I made a plan last year that every December I would read A Christmas Carol which is my favorite Christmas story. I love this book so much! My favorite adaptation is the movie with George C Scott. I think he’s the perfect Scrooge and it’s very true to the book. I think a great way to start with classic books is to look for books that have been turned into either movies or tv shows. That way you’re kind of familiar with the story and can follow along a little easier. A Christmas Carol is such a heartwarming story and it always makes me cry. 5 stars 

Next is the book that I started in November which is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I won’t say a whole lot about this book because it may or may not be a favorite of the year but what I will say is it is about time travel and trying to stop the assassination of JFK. You may think wow that sounds dull and I’m not into history/politics like that. Yeah me either, although I find JFK fascinating. It is about so much more than that. It’s thrilling, romantic and heartbreaking. I loved every second. 5 stars. 

My last book of the year was Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. If you are looking for a book with twists look no further! Holy moly the twists and turns will make your head spin! This is about a woman who is in a coma and her and the you the reader are trying to figure out what happened. So this is present day, the days leading up to some sort of accident and then also diary excerpts from childhood days. This book had me so confused ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m still not sure what was what but it was very entertaining and worth the read  4 stars. 

Ok so that is my last month of reading for 2023. I ended up reading 85 books in 2023 which I was really happy with. I am so excited for another year of reading. Next post should be my best and worst books of 2023 so buckle up! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

What I Read In November

 How are we already in December? It’s almost 2024?!? I can’t comprehend this. November was my worst month of reading all year but that’s ok. It was just a weird month and I started 11/22/63 and it’s 850 pages. I’m still reading it ๐Ÿ˜‚ It’s all good though. I read more in November than I did all of 2019 so that’s a win ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป 

The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins. This was an ARC and it comes out in January I believe. I really enjoyed this. Solid suspenseful book. It felt like a comforting thriller. Like just a fun read about crazy family drama and secrets. It wasn’t the most mind blowing, best written thing I’ve ever read but I had a lot of fun reading it and I would recommend. 

The Woman In Me by Britney Spears. Well speaking of not well written ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m sorry. This was not a well written book. It was all over the place and choppy. She would talk about something and then abruptly stop that story and go to something else. What I loved was hearing her side and it was absolutely heartbreaking what she went through. Her entire family should be in jail. I hope she gets to live the rest of her life in peace. I would recommend even though the writing isn’t great.  

Shark Heart by Emily Habeck. Ugh this book!! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป this book has my whole heart! I know it won’t be for everyone. You’ll either love it or think wth did I just read?! In this book people can mutate into animals. It’s a disease like any other and can happen whenever. So one of our main characters is turning into a shark. I know it sounds bizarre and almost scary but I assure you this is a beautiful romance story. You just need to realize going in that it is a little out there. Please check it out! One of my favorites this year 

A Short Stay In Hell by Steven L. Peck. This was a very interesting novella. It really takes the idea of “Hell” in a unique direction. A vast library with no end in sight full of books but the catch is most of the books are complete nonsense. You can not leave this hell until you found your life’s story in a book. I did like this book. I really liked the premise and characters. There was just something that fell a little short for me. I can’t pinpoint it though. Maybe the writing wasn’t my favorite. I’m not sure but I would recommend and it’s nice and short. 

So there it is! The 4 books I read in November  have you read any of these? What are your opinions? Decembers reads may be worse than this month ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’ve only read 2 books this month so far. We got this though! Let’s finish this year out strong! Happy reading! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

What I Read In September & October

 Yikes ok I am so behind!! I was doing so good staying up to date with this but life happens! I thought before I shared my November reads, I should share my September and October reads. I read 6 books in September and 6 in October. Most of which I loved! Let’s start with September. I’m going to give brief synopsis of each book 

Happy Place- I absolutely loved this second chance romance book. This is my first Emily Henry and I can’t wait to read more from her. This is about a romantic relationship but also friendships as a person in your 30s which was very relatable. 5 out of 5 stars!

Black River Orchard- Man I loved this book. Now be warned, it is really long! Did it have to be that long? Maybe not. I was never bored though there were just parts I preferred over other parts. What I can say about this is evil apples and fantastic body horror! Such a messed up book that I need to be turned into a movie! 4.5 out of 5 stars 

Never Whistle At Night- My favorite anthology of the year. These are dark indigenous stories. These just really worked for me. They were dark, creepy, educational and I really enjoyed it. I found some new authors I want to check out too! 4 out of 5 stars  

The Push- Ah one of my favorite books of the year! The writing was excellent, the story was compelling and even relatable. It was chilling and really kept you guessing. Morherhood really is the scariest thing! Highly recommend! 5 out of 5 stars 

Sula- Absolutely beautiful writing. Her books are classic for a reason. Really interesting and unique story. If you’re new to Toni Morrison start here! 4 out of 5 stars

I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls- Ok well this is like my 3rd book pertaining to puppets this year and it just doesn’t work for me. I think there is probably a way to make them creepy, and this book I think did the best, but they just aren’t scary to me. Like I said this book did do a good job just based on the scale of the puppets and the environment they were in but the story was kind of all over the place and I didn’t love the writing. 3 out of 5 stars 

Pretty Girls- I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time. It is a longer book and at times I felt a bit too long. I was told this book was very intense and graphic and honestly I was expecting more. Don’t get me wrong it talks about some really horrific stuff but I was expecting worse. I did really enjoy this, lots of twists and turns. 4 out of 5 stars 

None Of This Is True- Such a fun book! Even though this was a predictable read while you were reading it, the ending will have you guessing what is and isn’t true. I’ve heard the audiobook of this is fantastic! It has a podcast in it so I’m sure that is great on audio. I really thought this was fun and I highly recommend. 5 out of 5 stars. Please make this into a miniseries!!

The Hellbound Heart- My first Clive Barker. This is the book that the movie Hellraiser is based off of. One of my favorite horror movies. This really was true to the movie. They are very similar. I preferred the movie honestly. I wasn’t expecting his writing to be so…classic, old times like lol. It felt very old world. I know Hellraiser has a lot of sexual aspects in it and it worked ok there but I didn’t love it in the book. This was just ok but it is a good quick read. 3 out of 5 stars 

Frankenstein- Alright we got a classic! I had never read Frankenstein before. I’ve seen the movies but wow the book is much more different! I’ve realized the thing I struggle with the most when it comes to classics is that they do too much telling and not enough show. So much rambling on and on about god knows what but then when it came to things like creating the monster it was completely glazed over! I wanted to know the details of the creation and what happened leading up to it. The thing I did like was how much dialogue we got from the monster itself! In the movies the monster is this big, mute being who just stumbles and mumbles around. In the book the monster is very well spoken and has pages and pages of dialogue. I loved those parts. Frankenstein himself was a weenie. He got a fever and was bedridden every other page! This was a bit of a disappointment. 3 out of 5 stars.

Joyland- This was such a great surprise! Stephen King is always surprising me. If you want to try a King book but don’t want scary, check this one out. Yes there is a mystery and some suspense going on but at the core it’s a coming of age story and a beautiful one at that. The writing was great. I loved the carnival setting and all of the different characters. This was just a “joy” to read and I highly recommend it. 4 out of 5 stars 

Mexican Gothic- A creepy, gothic, story that went in a direction that I was not expecting. The atmosphere and vibes in this book are immaculate. A bit of a slow burn but still engaging. The ending gets pretty weird but I thought it worked. Also some romance thrown in there which I really liked. 4 out of 5 stars 

So there you go! There are all of my reads for September and October. Great reading months with a few favorites of the year. Have you read any of these before? What are your thoughts? Happy reading!


Monday, September 25, 2023

Everything I Read In August

  Holy moly I can’t believe that September is almost over! I figured I better talk about my August reads before it’s too late. I had a surprisingly great reading month. I read 10 books in August. 4 of those were novellas and 5 were eARCs either from NetGalley or Book Sirens. Let’s start with my lowest rated book which was an ARC from Book Sirens called The Fabulous Miss Fortune by Jessica Gleason. This is about a timid woman who is determined to become a popular attraction at the circus being a fortune teller. She decides to take her fortunes and predictions in her own hands and well, things get murderous. I just don’t love really sexually explicit books and thats on me it’s not that it wasn't needed in the book but it’s just not something I enjoy reading. The story wasn’t bad I just didn’t connect with it. 2 stars. Next up is A Flicker In The Dark by Stacy Willingham. This is about Chloe and when she was 12 girls started going missing in her town. Eventually her dad confessed to the crimes and went to prison. Now 20 years later Chloe is a psychologist who is planning her wedding. She’s finally starting to feel like she’s able to put the past behind her but then a girl goes missing in her town and then another. Is she being paranoid seeing parallels from the past? I enjoyed this, I didn’t love it. There were a few twists, one or two I figured out but not all of them. I didn’t love the main character, she just kind of bothered me. I do think it’s worth the read. 3.5 stars. Next up is Out There Screaming: An Anthology Of New Black Horror. This was an ARC from NetGalley. Jordan Peele was an editor on this and I was so hyped for it! Unfortunately this didn’t really work for me. I was so hyped for some great horror, some seriously spooky folklore and I was left unsatisfied. There were a few really great stories. It started out strong but I found so many of them to be too cryptic and confusing or just overall bad and not at all scary. Definitely check it out because everyone has different likes and dislikes but this was mediocre for me. 3-3.5 stars. Next up we have The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson. This is a novella I received from NetGalley. I really enjoyed this. It had great gothic Christmas vibes. I don’t want to give anything away but it was a fun twisty book about two college girls and the one girl invites the other to her manor for Christmas break. Strange things start to happen and I’ll leave it at that. I really enjoyed the writing style of this. A lot of it is written in diary form. 4 stars. Next up is The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa. What a sweet, charming book. I ended up enjoying this way more than I thought I would. This felt like a love letter to books and reading. This is about Rintaro who is grieving the loss of his guardian and best friend, his grandfather. He is a recluse who is doesn’t seem to care about anything since the loss of his grandfather. One day a cat shows up and tells him he needs a book lovers help to save books. I’ll leave it at that but I highly recommend for a quick uplifting read. Next we have Silent Key by Laurel Hightower. Another ARC from NetGalley. I don’t really know how to describe this book. The cover makes you think this all takes place underwater or something and it does not. Water is a big theme but I do think the cover is a bit misleading. This is a horror/thriller but also low key a romance which I actually enjoyed! It’s also a mystery/paranormal story that I do think went on a little too long and got a bit confusing but I really loved the hauntings and characters. The writing was great and I need to read her backlist. 4.5 stars. Next up is Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This is a series which I believe will have 7 books in it. It is scifi, dystopian, magical realism. It’s very Hunger Games-esque but on Mars and also Greek mythology thrown in. The writing is fantastic and I liked the world building going on. I’m still not sure if this genre or series is for me but I will at least read the second one and go from there. I would recommend it. 4.5 stars. Now for my 5 star books! First is The Only Safe Place Left Is The Dark by Warren Wagner. This wan an ARC from Book Sirens and its a novella. I absolutely loved this book! Finally a new take on a zombie apocalypse. Not just a new take but an interesting, heartbreaking take. Even the zombies themselves were a fresh take and they will break your heart! The parallels between the apocalypse and the HIV/AIDS epidemic was really clever and made for such a wonderful story. This will scare you and break your heart! 5 stars! Next up is The Quiet Tenant by Clรฉmence Michallon. This is very dark, disturbing book about a serial killer, his 13 year old daughter and the woman he has spared. I absolutely loved the writing in this book. The chapters were quick but impactful. They read almost like a stream of consciousness which really made sense because the mind would be altered being held captive for so many years. This was a pulse-pounding psychological thriller and I highly recommend! 5 stars! Last but certainly not least we have Razorblade Tears by S.A Cosby. Wow what an amazing book! This is a hard read. It deals with a lot of tough subjects such as homophobia, racism etc. There are some really gruesome, graphic scenes as well. This is the story of a white father, a black father and their two murdered sons. The fathers are on a quest for vengeance after their sons are murdered. These two have nothing in common aside from being ex convicts and both being ashamed of their gay sons. This was hard hitting, heartbreaking and tackled so many important conversations. The writing was fantastic. I highly recommend this, it was one of my favorite reads this year. 5 stars! There you go! That is everything I read last month. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought. I hope you check some of these out and enjoy! Happy Reading!

Monday, September 4, 2023

Weight Loss Struggles


 Hey! I figured it was time for a bit of a weight loss update. I guess in this case a weight gain update. Although I am down weight since the beginning of the year for sure. It has just been so much harder to lose weight since going through menopause and dealing with all that comes with it. Weight just seems to cling on for dear life now. Ive lost about 3 pounds in the last 3 months, which I know is not great but I can tell that I am losing inches and getting stronger which makes me so happy!! I am able to fit into a few things I wasn’t able to a couple of months ago. Something that I have been trying to work on even more than just weight-loss is my relationship with food. I have had overeating/binging tendencies in the past and I have really been trying to work on that. Please note that I have not ever been diagnosed with any kind of disordered eating this is me expressing what kind of issues I have. I knew if I started restricting things I would fail. I knew that would put me into a bad head space. So, I have been letting myself eat whatever I want, within reason. I’m eating what I want but I’m eating normal amounts. I really feel like this has been helping me a lot and I do feel like my relationship with food is improving. I have also been documenting everything I eat over on the Lemon8 app. Everyday I post what I ate and if I got any movement in that day and how I felt. Honestly, I love it over there and it has been keeping me accountable. I know “what I eat in a day” type videos or posts can get a bad wrap but I don’t feel like I am promoting anything bad or dangerous and at the end of the day it’s just for fun and ultimately just for me. I have been doing Caroline Girvan’s Iron Series again for the 3rd? time. It is my favorite series of hers and she is coming out with another Iron Series next month! I can not wait! Also, I recently got my bike working again and I can not even tell you how much I’ve been loving it. I wish I would’ve been riding bike all Summer! It has really got me excited to move my body and it’s so freeing as silly as it sounds. Working out should not be a punishment. It should be something that makes you feel good and something you don’t dread. There will come a time where I will probably get more serious about my nutrition but for now working on my relationship with food is key and I’m really proud of where I’m at now. I will probably take my measurements soon-ish because I am curious if those have changed at all. I will add a picture of me from June and one from yesterday (August 22nd) I know it is kind of hard to tell but I do feel like my stomach has gotten less poofy and I do think I’m dropping some inches. I’m just going to keep on truckin on my health safari and take it day by day. Any tips or anything you want to share about your personal safari I would love to hear it. I call it a safari because I hate the word “journey” it is so cringe to me.Thanks for following along and I hope the next time I have an update I will be down more pounds and at an ever better place with food ๐Ÿ˜Š

Monday, August 28, 2023

Summer Thrifting

 I love thrifting! We love being environmentally friendly! I love the thrill of not knowing what you’re going to find. It’s basically the only way I buy books now. I like to support my library used book sales and used bookstores/thrift stores. You would not believe the books I have found while thrifting. Brand new new releases, classics and everything in between. I’m trying to acquire all of the classics and have a really great start. I also would love to find all of Stephen King’s books and I have a good collection started there too. Something else that I’ve been enjoying looking for are paintings/art. I’m trying to go for a more rustic, cottage type look in my home and the thrift t store is a great place to look for decor. I know thrifting and flea markets are all the rage now and for a good reason. Don’t be afraid of picking up pieces that are a little worn or need a little love. Especially if they are inexpensive and well made. Good quality pieces are worth a little extra effort. Also, not to be woo woo here but I totally believe in manifesting what you’re looking for. I can not tell you how many times I’ve thought of a book I wanted to find or a piece of decor and that same day I will find exactly what I wanted! No joke! It works! Remember your thrift stores when its time to decorate for the holidays. They always have a fun selection of holiday decor and its a budget friendly way to decorate for the holidays. You can find so many good deals but make sure to watch out for overpriced items. Just because you found something you are looking for doesn’t mean anything if its crazy overpriced. Know what something is worth and how much it’s worth to you. What are your favorite things to thrift? Are you anti-thrift store? How come? I’ll share a few pictures of some hauls from this Summer.