My posts might be all over the place, but at least this one is coming out at the right time! (I swear I’m going to be making way more of an effort going forward…)
This month has been crazy, I’m not going to lie. I honestly forgot how much work moving is. So far I’ve only had to deal with physically moving my own stuff, even when I’ve moved with other people. This past weekend I had to move my stuff, Yzma’s stuff, and help the people I was moving with. Suffice it to say I’m a little tired as I write this post (and maybe a little loopy from lack of sleep.)
That being said, I still managed to get a decent amount read this month. Let’s be honest, that’s what you’re here for not my ramblings.
As always, here are some pictures of Yzma:
And here’s my Bookstagram account that I’ll finally be posting to…. as soon as I’m finished unpacking! @PhantomOfTheLibrary1995
Without further ado, here are my reading stats for January 2022:
**For reference: Physical books, eBooks, AudioBooks, Kindle Unlimited, and Library Books**
Total books completed: 10
Total pages read: 3659 (avg. 366 pages)
Average rating: 3.65 stars
- An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (Goodreads)[3.75 stars] 300 pages
- High Jinx by Kelley Armstrong (Cursed Luck, Book 2)[5 stars] 349 Pages
- Perfectly Played by Holly Kerr (Goodreads)[3 stars] 370 Pages
- Evershade by Michelle Areaux (The Shifter Chronicles, Book 1)[0 stars] 209 Pages
- Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (Goodreads)[4.5 stars] 456 Pages
- City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 1)[5 stars] 471 Pages
- Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (Boyfriend Material, Book 1)[3.75 stars] 427 pages
- A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 2)[4.5 stars] 416 Pages
- Forcing You Away by Kennedy Fox (Archer & Everleigh, Book 1)[3 stars] 250 pages
- Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (The Shadow Game, Book 1)[4 stars] 411 pages
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson:
With a flick of her paintbrush, Isobel creates stunning portraits for a dangerous set of clients: the fair folk. These immortal creatures cannot bake bread or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and they trade valuable enchantments for Isobel’s paintings. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—Isobel makes a deadly mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes, a weakness that could cost him his throne, and even his life.
Furious, Rook spirits Isobel away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously amiss in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending upon each other for survival, their alliance blossoms into trust, perhaps even love . . . a forbidden emotion that would violate the fair folks’ ruthless laws, rendering both their lives forfeit. What force could Isobel’s paintings conjure that is powerful enough to defy the ancient malice of the fairy courts?
Isobel and Rook journey along a knife-edge in a lush world where beauty masks corruption and the cost of survival might be more frightening than death itself.
I enjoyed this story a lot more the second time around than I did the first. Looking back at my notes from the first time I read/listened to this story, it seems to me that my feelings were swayed on this story because I read/listened to it right after Sorcery of Thorns.
For a debut novel, this read was phenomenal. Absolutely outstanding – exactly what I want from a YA fantasy read. But Rogerson’s writing improved so much between this and her second book. The characters in this world are well rounded, but the characters in Sorcery of Thorns are just… more. I adore this world that Rogerson has created and the magic that it contains.
If I hadn’t already, reading this book would have made me want to read more by Rogerson. As it stands I look forward to continuing to read her works.
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.
The more I read about Kennedy and Aiden, the more I want to read. I love the dynamics the two of them have. I love the dynamics of the world around them and the magic system that Armstrong is setting. I adore getting to see the world expand as the story progresses, to see the way the mythology of our world becomes reality in their world.
The Crying Girl seems like a terrifying painting. Its story is heartbreaking… until you learn the truth. Then its origin is manipulative and aggravating. But that’s what makes its story so fascinating. Though I will admit I’m glad Kennedy had to deal with it, not me.
I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in this series. I’ve adored everything that Armstrong has put out there and I can’t seem to get enough.
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?
This was a very cute story. I found myself flying through it and smiling at Flora and Dean’s antics. Sure there was some heavy miscommunication at times, but that’s what makes characters feel real. No love story is perfect from beginning to end, so it’s nice to have a touch of realism from time to time.
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.
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.
I was really excited by the premise of this story (my inner teenager still has a thing for coming of age shapeshifter stories) but the writing was too hard for me to get through. I was interested to see how Areaux was going to tackle the shapeshifting mythos, to see what twists she would put into her story. But, again, the spelling mistakes and random gaps in the writing were just too much for me to power through.
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.
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. 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.
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.
In case you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a huge Kelley Armstrong fan. I adore everything she’s ever written. So, understanding that, I might read her stories with rose coloured glasses. Either way, I adore her writing.
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.
I might not have gotten through as much of this series as I expected to this month, but I know I’ll be finished the story sooner rather than later.
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall:
One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way
Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.
To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.
But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.
This was a really cute read. It had deeper undertones than I was expecting when I first picked this book up, and for that I’m glad. Of course, my thoughts on this book come with a warning that it deals with some very serious issues such as eating disorders (though this is not a focal point of the book or brought up often) and mentally abusive familial relationships.
This story is raw and impactful in ways that I didn’t expect going into it. And I’m so thankful that it was. I picked this story up excited to read a cute romance – which I got – and not expecting much more than that. A fake boyfriend turned real lover? Sign me up, I love these things! Fighting your traumatic past to find the good in yourself? Uh, yes please. That’s an added layer to this story I would happily devour again.
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.
This book hurts. In a world that’s already covering heavy topics such as abusive relationships, overcoming trauma, rape, etc., the primary topics in this story hit hard. I can’t imagine going through what Nicole did and making it out the other side stronger than ever. I can’t imagine thinking you’re finally safe only to realize you’re not. But still coming out stronger and more resilient than ever.
And, of course, Casey’s detective skills are impeccable. I’m astonished by the way her brain works when she’s on a case. I’m sure when she signed up to be Rockton’s detective she didn’t imagine she was getting herself into all this.
Plus her and Eric are adorable. And perfectly balanced for each other. Enough said.
Forcing you Away by Kennedy Fox:
As I search for a fresh start, a friend convinces me to move to his small town. Considering I don’t have a place to live, his little sister offers me her spare room.
She’s every man’s dream—witty, down to earth, and gorgeous as hell—too bad she’s off-limits. Unspoken words and stolen glances have me eager to please her in all the forbidden ways. My broken past makes it hard to open up, however, she inspires me to face my demons and be the man she deserves.
I shouldn’t fantasize about my roommate, but it’s impossible when Everleigh’s sleeping next to me—her lips whispering my name.
In case the cover of this story doesn’t make it obvious enough, this is a novel of smut in its purest form. And that’s exactly what I wanted going into this read.
However, I also based my expectations on this story from a tiktok I watched by the author. I went into this read expecting a roommate booty call story. Instead, I ended up with an ex-con romance novel.
Don’t get me wrong, this was still enjoyable to read. I might even pick up the second book in the duology to see how Archer and Everleigh’s story ends up. It just wasn’t what I had gone into the story for, and that negatively impacted my read through. I spent the whole story waiting for a specific kind of scene, but was instead given a slow burn romance novel.
This story is well written, so if you’re looking for a slow burn romance, you might just enjoy this read.
Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody:
Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.
Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.
Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…
And she’ll need to play.
This story has been in my TBR for a little over a year now, but I just hadn’t picked it up. Something else kept catching my attention and this story stuck in the TBR. Waiting. I have the physical copy of this book, so why rush, right? Wrong.
I’ve started a mini reading challenge with one of my friends (more on this to come), and this was a perfect read for that. I’m glad it gave me the excuse to pick the story up because I enjoyed every second I was in this world. I even went so far as to ignore my work book to read this one.
I might not be a gambler myself, but the gambling in this story doesn’t play a huge part in this story… until it does. The small decisions the players – I mean, characters – make slowly start adding up. It’s a slow build of minute gambles that lead the story to its bitter end. The main mystery turns into so much more than what it originally sounds like.
Levi and Enne might be the most unlikely of allies, but that might just work for the best.
As I’m still working on moving, I didn’t get as much read as I’d wanted this month. This is also why I might have fallen behind on a couple of posts I’d planned to have out… even though I only just started posting again. My bad.
Over the next week or so I plan on listening to a lot of AudioBooks while I unpack. I’m hoping that’ll help me catch up to the stories I’d hoped to have read by now. Of course, I’m not going to force myself to read if there’s no real time for it. I just find cleaning and unpacking a great way to listen to AudioBooks, a way to stay focused on the task at hand and not get bored and leave things half done.
I hope your reading this month was fruitful. Maybe you managed to find a new favourite read – or maybe you ended up DNFing a book you thought you’d enjoy.
As always, I’d love to hear how your reading went.