January 2022 TBR

Hello again, friends! New year, new blog… right? (Okay, even I will admit that was lame.)

All (bad) jokes aside, I’m excited to get back to the grind. Here’s my first of many TBR posts of the 2022 year. This TBR post is a little different than my typical TBR posts. With the month already half over when this goes out, I’m going to include the stories that I’ve already read or have already started this month. While that might not be a crazy amount of stories, it differs from how I normally do things.

Sure I might have started some of these stories in December 2021, but the majority of these reads I started (and potentially finished already) in January 2022. That doesn’t mean I’ve read everything that’s going onto this list – far from it. I still expect to get a decent amount of reading done this month. This list includes 5 books that I’ve either started and haven’t finished yet, or reads that I want to start before the end of the month.

**For anyone who’s here for the first time, I’ve organized the books by Physical Books, eBooks, AudioBooks, Kindle Unlimited, and Library books. **

As always, I expect to deviate from the TBR a bit, but here are the books I look forward to choosing from this month:

Total books: 10

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Books to Read:

  1. High Jinx by Kelley Armstrong (Cursed Luck, Book 2) 349 Pages
  2. Perfectly Played by Holly Kerr (Goodreads) 370 Pages
  3. Evershade by Michelle Areaux (The Shifter Chronicles, Book 1) 209 Pages
  4. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (Goodreads) 456 Pages
  5. City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 1) 471 Pages
  6. A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 2) 416 Pages
  7. This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 3) 359 Pages
  8. Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 4) 368 Pages
  9. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (Camelot Rising, Book 1) 352 Pages
  10. For Steam and Country by Jon Del Arroz (Adventures of Baron Von Monocle, Book 1) 279 Pages

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High Jinx by Kelley Armstrong:

Curse weaver Kennedy Bennett has re-settled into her beloved hometown and opened a shop selling previously hexed antiques. When she fails to win an online auction for a notorious cursed painting, Aiden Connolly—the wealthy and swoon-worthy luck worker she is not dating—swoops in to buy it for her.

Crying Girl is one of a quartet of haunted legendary paintings. Kennedy knows that the “ghosts” are actually curses—fatal ones. The paintings have been missing for years, and Kennedy is thrilled at the chance to uncurse one…until Crying Girl disappears before they can collect it.

Kennedy and Aiden soon discover that the painting hasn’t been randomly whisked out of their reach. Someone used it to lure them in, and now that they’ve snatched the bait, they’ve been snared in a trap. Either the thief gets what they want…or the four paintings are going to find their way back into the world, and Kennedy and Aiden will be responsible for the deadly chaos the cursed portraits wreak.

Disclaimer: I have already devoured this book. Loved it.

I can’t wait for the next story to come out. I might reread Cursed Luck and High Jinx again before the month is out. I can never get enough of Armstrong’s writing.

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Perfectly Played by Holly Kerr:

Flower shop owner Flora waited years to get married but when it came down to the moment of reckoning, it all felt wrong. No flowers, no patient groom… no perfect love story waiting for her. And so she pulled up her wedding dress and ran out of the chapel—straight into the sweetest, saddest, tallest guy she’d ever seen.

Ex-ball player Dean thought a wedding was expected until an icy cold text to his best man let him know it wasn’t going to happen. Ever. Now there’s nothing to do but spend a few hours commiserating with the cute bride who ran out of her own wedding.

It is Las Vegas, after all.

One perfect night later, with strippers and syrup and drag queens, Flora and Dean go home alone, forgetting about last names and usernames and even old-school addresses. Maybe they can find love again, but not if they can’t find each other.

But love plays its own game, and the best happily ever afters always have a bit of serendipity involved. Will Flora and Dean’s love story be perfectly played?

Disclaimer: I have already devoured this book. Pretty good read.

Being a Blue Jays girl myself, I adored the moments where baseball and the jays were brought up. It was a cute read and I look forward to reading more about this world.

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Evershade by Michelle Areaux:

It only took one moment to change my life forever.

After being shipped off to spend my entire summer with my great aunt, I am finally returning to my small, whimsical hometown of Shady Oaks. I’ve missed my best friend Maddox like crazy and have dreamed of having my normal life back. Only, my return wasn’t as welcome as I had expected–or normal.

Everyone is acting weird around me and I can’t help but feel like everything is changing. Of course, I am frustrated and ready to snap. Well, that is until I see him.

Asher. The beautiful, dark-haired boy with almost supernatural like qualities that are drawing me in against my own will. No matter how hard we try to fight it, there is this uncanny connection between us. I finally feel like I am getting my life back under control, and then disaster strikes. When a wolf threatens to attack us, I discover everything I have ever known to be true, has been nothing but lies and magical secrets.

Now, finding myself in the middle of an ages-old war between shifters and hunters, I quickly learn someone wants me dead, and the closer we get to saving our kind, the more destruction hits.

Who will emerge victorious in the battle?

Disclaimer: I have made an attempt at reading this story already.

It has not gone well for me. It might have been the eBook version I read, but this story truly felt like a rough draft. This is the first book in a long time that I’ve found myself DNFing a book. Yet I did make an attempt to read the book this month, so I felt it deserves to be mentioned here – even if it wasn’t personally a winner.

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson:

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Disclaimer: I have already devoured this story. Again. And loved it. Again.

There’s not much to say about this book without going into full on fan mode, so I won’t say too much here. However, I will say that this read through was just as powerful as the first one. Even knowing the twists and turns that were coming, my emotions went wild. What an incredible story. I know I just read it, but I already can’t wait to jump back into this world. If you haven’t listen to the AudioBook version of this story, I highly recommend it. Emily Ellet does a fantastic job narrating this story.

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City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong:

Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey’s best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana’s husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it’s time for the two of them to disappear again.

Diana has heard of a town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you’re accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, and living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. As a murderer, Casey isn’t a good candidate, but she has something they want: She’s a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn’t the only secret Rockton is hiding—in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.

Disclaimer: I have already devoured this story. Multiple times (but only once this month… so far.)

Like all Kelley Armstrong books, I adore rereading this one. This entire series does it for me and I often find myself binging the books back to back. Multiple times a year, even. Whether it’s listening to the AudioBook like I did this time (narrated by the fabulous Therese Plummer) or reading the physical books themselves, I enjoy immersing myself in the world of Rockton and small town Yukon. Even in the middle of a Southern Ontario snow storm, I still find this story about an almost unknown town in the wilds of Canada an amazing getaway.

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A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong:

When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers.

Now, in A Darkness Absolute, Casey and her fellow Rockton sheriff’s deputy Will chase a cabin-fevered resident into the woods, where they are stranded in a blizzard. Taking shelter in a cave, they discover a former resident who’s been held captive for over a year. When the bodies of two other women turn up, Casey and her colleagues must find out if it’s an outsider behind the killings or if the answer is more complicated than that…before another victim goes missing.

Disclaimer: I have already started this story.

Like I mentioned previously, I can’t get enough of this world. Casey and Eric are two of my favourite protagonists I’ve ever read. I wish I was as badass as these two.

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This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong:

In This Fallen Prey, the next installment of New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s thriller series, Casey Duncan is about to face her toughest job as police detective in Rockton yet. When Casey first arrived at the off-the-grid town, an isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect, with no cell phones, no internet, no mail, and no way of getting in or out without the town councils approval. She certainly didn’t expect to be the homicide detective on two separate cases or to begin a romantic relationship with her boss. But the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned and to keep others safe. Of course, Oliver Brady claims he’s being set up. But the longer Brady stays in town, the more things start to go wrong. When evidence comes to light that someone inside Rockton might be working as his accomplice, helping him to escape, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he’s truly responsible for committing. In the next page-turning entry in Kelley Armstrong’s gripping series, life in Rockton is about to get even more dangerous.

Knowing myself, I’m going to fly through this story incredibly fast (as I always do). I might not be done the second book in the series yet, but I’m more than confident that I can get through this story as well before the month is over. I have another 14 days, after all.

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Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong:

The secret town of Rockton has seen some rocky times lately; understandable considering its mix of criminals and victims fleeing society for refuge within its Yukon borders. Casey Duncan, the town’s only detective on a police force of three, has already faced murder, arson and falling in love in less than the year that she’s lived there. Yet even she didn’t think it would be possible for an outsider to find and cause trouble in the town she’s come to call home.

When a US Marshal shows up in town demanding the release of one of the residents, Casey and her boyfriend, Sheriff Dalton, are skeptical. And yet only hours later, the marshal is shot dead and the only visible suspects are the townspeople and her estranged sister, in town for just the weekend. It’s up to Casey to figure out who murdered the marshal, and why they would kill to keep him quiet.

My goal for the month is to at least get this far in the series – book 4. While I could add the fifth book in the series to my January TBR list, I think aiming for the first 4 books in the series is a good place to start. Especially for the first month of the year. Besides, not everything I read this month can be Kelley Armstrong… right?

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The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White:

A new fantasy series set in the world of Camelot that bestselling author Christina Lauren calls brilliant, reimagining the Arthurian legend . . . where nothing is as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

Disclaimer: I have already started reading this book.

I’ve chosen this to be my “lunchtime reading at work” book, so I haven’t made much progress so far. While I’m lucky enough to be able to go into the office on a semi-regular basis right now, I’ve been doing other things during my lunch period than reading. That being said, I can’t wait to get into this story more. I don’t know a crazy amount about the King Arthur mythos, making this story even more intriguing to me than many of the retellings I’ve read in my life. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s nice to read something that isn’t a Cinderella retelling (though I do read my fair share of those as well).

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For Steam and Country by Jon Del Arroz:

Her father’s been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira’s day is just getting started…

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.

Disclaimer: I have already started reading this story.

It’s been a while since I’ve dived into a Steampunk story – too long, in fact. I discovered my love for the genre last year, and I’m happy to say this love is still going strong. While the characters themselves might have ridiculous names, overall I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far. Here’s hoping that the rest of the book is as good as what I’ve already read and I’ve found myself a new Steampunk series to adore.

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I wasn’t kidding when I said my TBR this month was going to be a little different than usual. Being halfway into the month, I can kind of already sense which way the wind is blowing on my reading tastes and speed. Sure there can still be a freak storm that causes chaos and uproots my plans (okay, I’m done with the weather metaphors), but I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to get at least most of these reads done. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to throw something else in there as well.

Most of what I plan on reading this month is by one author, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be picking up anything else. In fact, I look forward to sitting down and doing a little library book haul in the upcoming weeks. Try some new reads I haven’t yet heard of, discover an author or two that I’ve never tried before. But that’s information for a future post.

For now, this is me signing off. Happy reading everyone!

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