Monthly wrap up // January 2023

The first month of 2023 is already over. I had a good January. Nothing much happened and I had a lot of free time on my hands, which meant that I had plenty of time to read books. I read 14 books this month, and most of them were big ones.

What I read

Lightlark by Alex Aster

For some reason, I picked up one of 2022’s most controversial books to start off the year. And…it was one of the most awful books I’ve ever read. The plot was cliche, the characters were so cringe-y and the fantasy names wanted me to tear my hair out. Seriously, who names the broody tall dark handsome (cough cough) love interest ‘Grimshaw’? And I guessed the biggest plot twist of the book the second a specific character was introduced. My rating: ★✩✩✩✩ (1 star, this deserves less.)

These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever

Now, this was a book I really, really wanted to love, seeing that so many of my bookish friends do. Unfortunately…I just did not get the hype. While the prose was good, this book was disturbing in a way that I did not like, and Paul and Julian were just horrible people. [hides from the audience]

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Technically, this is a reread, but it’s been so long since I first read The Blue Castle that I decided to count it into this list. L.M. Montgomery just knew how to write comfort stories, didn’t she? The protagonist in this one is 29-year-old Valancy Stirling, who gets diagnosed with a fatal heart disease and ends up with about a year more to live.

She does the only sensible thing – ditches societal expectations, runs wild, proposes and marries a mysterious man who may or may not be a murderer. I loved Valancy and related to her struggles a lot more than I first realized. My rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant was…a lot to take in. It’s so brutal at times, but so beautifully written it’s hard to look away. Baru was such a riveting main character. And it was so sad to watch her compromise, again and again, to achieve her goals. The last time I’d seen such a female character was Rin Kitay. Baru was probably even better. The ending took me by surprise, but now I’m looking forward to reading the other two books.

My rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)

Strike the Zither by Joan He

I have tried to read two of Joan He’s other books before and never finished. This book, however, gripped me from the beginning. All the strategizing and negotiating Zephyr did in the first half of the book felt like a frantic, delicate dance. I was warned there would be a big twist, but wow I did not expect that. After that, my interest in the story gradually dissipated. Surprisingly, I liked the romance. My rating: ★★★✩✩ (3 stars)

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, retold by Geraldine McCaughrean

Another reread. This is a very short book I picked off my shelf because I wanted to kill some time. Some of the stories are annoying but some are so funny. My personal favourite is the runaway alchemist’s story.

The Six Deaths of the Saint by Alix E. Harrow

Everyone on twitter were losing their minds over this 30-page short story. And guys, this story deserves all the praise. It’s harrowing, hopeful and full of so much yearning it makes my heart ache.

Do yourselves a favour and take ten minutes off your day to read this. There’s a big chance that like me, you’d end up reading this over and over several times. My rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

To quote from Emma, If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.

  • Assassin’s Apprentice: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
  • Royal Assassin: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
  • Assassin’s Quest: ★★★★✩ (4.5 stars)

I finally started reading Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series and I get it, folks. These books are massive but I couldn’t put them down. I adore all the characters in the Farseer Trilogy. Fitz, Molly, Burrich, Nighteyes(!!), Chade, Verity, Kettricken, Kettle, the Fool (I LOVE the Fool), Patience…damn this list is long. I might review the whole thing someday. I stayed up a whole night to finish Royal Assassin, I was that engrossed with the story.

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

This was a nice, fairytale-ish YA story with a good ending that left me a LOT curious as to what the second book will bring. (spoilers) I’m glad that for once, the mysterious ancient love interest actually was up to no good. my rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)

The Liveship Traders trilogy has an entirely new cast of characters. It was odd at the beginning and it certainly took a few chapters to get ‘into’ this new story in a new location. (I missed Fitz so much) And at the start I found almost all of the POV characters irritating. And the worst of it all seemed to come down on the only character I rooted for in the beginning: Althea.

More often than not, I wanted kick characters like Kyle Haven or Captain Kennit overboard. Then there was Malta Vestrit, who at the start seemed like someone who won a competition for the most annoying 13-year-old. As the story went on, I was starting to root for the characters, and they developed in the most unexpected ways. And the worldbuilding was phenomenal.

The only thing I’m salty about is the ending. Ship of Destiny was an excellent book (reading it exhausted me cause so! much! tension!)

(SPOILERS) I might sound heartless but I wish Kennit suffered more. And that Althea had a better ending, because she remaining on the Paragon just…leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That’s it. Otherwise it was excellent.

My ratings:

  • Ship of Magic: ★★★✩✩ (3.5 stars)
  • The Mad Ship: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
  • Ship of Destiny: ★★★★★ (4.5 stars)

What I watched

I binge watched all five seasons of Leverage and I loved it. It’s basically like, what if four of the world’s best hypercompetent criminals and one drunk divorced ex-insurance investigator decided to help the disadvantaged by destroying corrupt rich peoples’ lives and become a found family in the process. While being hilarious, wholesome and fun.

I attempted to watch the Leverage reboot, Leverage: Redemption but it just didn’t hit the right notes for me. I liked the two new characters introduced, Breanna and Harry, but I hate what they did with Parker and Eliot’s characters.

I rewatched a few episodes of My Mister and My Country: the New Age (now, that’s another good story I haven’t talked about on the blog. The plot is…fine, but the character relationships are fire. Just two stabby repressed boys who definitely do not love each other. Seriously, this story is queerbaiting at its finest.)

I watched up to episode 8 of Summer Strike, which is a nice enough kdrama but why do these comfort tales have to have a murder and trauma involved. The introvert-introvert romance was too cute, though!

Life update

After so much trouble, I trained my dog Lexi to respond to things like come, go, sit, flop (that’s when it lies flat on the ground, chin down), sleep, stop. There’s also a combination of gibberish I won’t repeat here that makes him roll over so that we can scratch its chest.

I finally got my drivers’ license! I think I’ve gotten the hang of driving in heavy traffic, though I’m still terrified of accidentally crashing into someone. (so far, I’ve only run the car right up to a wall while reversing. But the car is battered and scratched everywhere anyways, so my father only shrugged.) I still haven’t driven anywhere alone, but my dad has (somewhat) stopped telling me driving instructions every time I’m at the wheel.

That’s all, people! Hopefully I might be able to blog consistently this year.

I’m late, but Happy New Year, folks! Hope you have a good year ahead!

26 thoughts on “Monthly wrap up // January 2023”

  1. sounds like you had a great month!! congrats on getting your driver’s license!! haha yeah light lark looked like it sucked, the reviews are kind of hilarious though, who doesn’t love reading through rant reviews of books you haven’t even read
    have a great february!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I only just found out about Lightlark maybe a couple of weeks ago? And I got the gist of the controversy. Regardless, i doubt I’ll pick it up. And I just saw Alix E. Harrow’s latest pop up for me on my Kindle. I thought it was a full length book, but if it’s a short story I can def fit that into my reading. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve heard only good things about Robin Hobb, and I’ve really got to read some of her books! The Blue Castle is a lovely one. I also related more to Valancy on a reread than I realized at first. She’s just…that kind of character.

    Ooh, my sister and I just finished watching Leverage! It’s wonderful. She tried Leverage: Redemption and also didn’t like it. I’m curious what they did with Parker’s and Eliot’s characters that rubbed you wrong?
    My Country sounds wonderful. I haven’t thought about that one in a long time, but I’d really love to watch it one of these days (though sadly I have so little time for shows!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robin hobb’s books are great!! I related so hard with Valancy it felt painful sometimes lol.
      I’m so glad you and your sister love leverage as well! In redemption I felt like parker was given a more of a comic relief kind of character, as if they’d ignored all the character development in the first five seasons that made her into a mastermind. As for eliot…he was my favourite character in leverage and here, something just felt off and I don’t know what. And the humour feels gimmicky idk why. It’s as if they’re trying too hard to continue the jokes that worked perfectly in the og leverage. (I kinda went off in a rant here hope you don’t mind🙈😭)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. (your rant was great 😂 thank you for answering my questions! im always keen to hear what they did to my beloved leverage characters. parker is my personal favorite, so that’s really sad to hear!! 😟)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m even later than you are – Can I still say Happy New Year now that it’s February?! 🎆 – but I needed the time to properly comment BECAUSE OMG, JAN, YOU LOVE NIGHTEYES!! AND THE FOOL!! 🥰 AND THE INITIALLY VERY ANNOYING LIVESHIP TRADERS CHARACTERS!!! Consider me excited beyond measure!!! 🤗 I’m so glad you’ve finally joined in on Robin Hobb!

    Also, is it bad that you’ve kind of made me want to check out Lightlark, just to see how bad it is? 👀 It sounds atrocious, but I enjoyed your rant on it so much! 😂

    Also, I’ve somehow never even heard of The Blue Castle 😱 I’ll have to remedy that immediately because the Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon books are some of my alltime favorites. I need more L.M. Montgomery!

    Anyway, congrats on the awesome reading month and on the driver’s license! 🥳🚙🥳 And your dog sounds adorable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. NAEMI!! You’re so true for yelling about these books on your blog!! The fool might be becoming one of my favourite characters of all time, and I love Fitz so much (and I want to punch a braincell into his head), and nighteyes is the best animal companion ever. And fitz and the fool’s relationship drives me crazy lol why does robin hobb write them like that. Why.
      I was so annoyed at the beginning of liveship traders because all the characters were assholes lol but I’m glad I stuck it out!! (I just wish althea had a more satisfying ending.)
      GO AND READ THE BLUE CASTLE!! It’s so good and cozy!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. AHHHHHH, I AM SO GLAD TO HEAR THAT!!! 🤗🤩🥰🤩🤗 All that hard work I put into writing pretty much exclusively Robin Hobb reviews for the past few years and not shutting up about the Realm of the Elderlings is finally paying off!! 😁😇 I can’t wait to see what you think of the rest of the books!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahaha props to you for picking up lightlark, I’ve decided to stay as far away from it as possible now 😂 AND THE CHARACTER IS NAMED GRIMSHAW?!?! 😭
    Once upon a broken heart was such a fun quick read, I really need to get to the sequel!
    hope you have a great february!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ikr it’s REALLY awful. Yup he’s called grimshaw – grim for short. It tried too hard to sell the villain romance.
      I need to read the sequel too, it was a really fun story!!
      You too😊


  6. JAN I’VE SOMEHOW BEEN MISSING THE NOTIFICATIONS TO ALL OF YOUR POSTS?? and honestly thought until this point that the favorite 2022 characters post of yours WAS THE LAST ONE YOU EVER POSTED?? BUT APPARENTLY NOT?? AAHAHAHA 😭😭 but yay to me having more posts of yours to catch up on AND THEREFORE MORE CONTENT TO READ!!! i’m so glad about the great januray though (!!!!!) AND SHALL REMEMBER TO FOREVER STEER CLEAR OF LIGHTLARK IT SOUNDS LIKE TORTURE. i vaguely remember once upon a time borrowing the blue castle from the library and reading the first sentence AND DECIDING IT WAS TOO BORING?? but your description BASICALLY SOUNDS FABULOUS I NEED. ALSO OH MY GOSH YAY ON ALL THE ROBIN HOBB BOOKS YOUR THOUGHTS ARE THE BEST THING OF EVER AND I SLIGHTLY DESPERATELY DEMAND THAT REVIEW YOUR MENTIONED ASAP?? your rant on the second series is RIDICULOUSLY ENTERTAINING THOUGH I LOVE IT ALL. congrats on the driver’s license AND ALSO TEACHING YOUR DOG!!!! happy new year jan (ALTHOUGH IM INCREDIBLY LATE SORRY SORRY SORRY) and i hope its the best one!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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