Now that my body has decided to stop trying to kill me (maybe, we can never be certain) I’m hoping to have energy to actually post again. The one good thing about being forced to take a break is that I got plenty of reading done! I ended my month at 8 books with a total of 2,123 pages. The genre breakdown was: 1 non-fiction, 1 graphic novel, 2 romance, 1 fantasy, 1 urban fantasy, 1 poetry, and 1 classic. There was a bit of overlap in some of them, but we’ll get into that.
Dope Therapy – Shani Tran – This one was a carry over from last year and I have mixed feelings. I adore the author’s TikTok channel and I’m always interested in advice on getting the most out of therapy, but I don’t know that her same tone and humor showed through. Granted, I am pretty sure the book pre-dates TikTok, so it may just be that she’s more comfortable in her brand now. That said, it’s a really accessible primer on starting therapy and demystifying a process that can seem really intimidating, especially to BIPOC people. It’s very conversational in tone and centers a lot of the unique challenges that BIPOC individuals face in finding a therapist and combating mental health stigmas in their communities. It was still a good read and I’m happy to support the author, I just think that for me personally, I’ve been in therapy for too long to really pull useful advice from it.
The Me You Love In The Dark – Skottie Young & Jorge Corona – I almost don’t know how to talk about this one without spoiling things, but I loved this SO MUCH. I’ve been a fan of Skottie Young’s comics for a while, so I will pick up anything he writes or draws, but this was so different from his usual style. It’s a horror novel about an artist who moves into a supposedly haunted house to work on paintings for a new gallery show and winds up falling in love with the literal monster in the house. It brought up a lot of feels for me as someone who made it out of an abusive relationship even if I’m not sure it was intended to be an allegory. The artwork is beautiful and the story is delightfully creepy. Do recommend.
Cruel Seduction – Katee Robert – This is a continuation of the Dark Olympus series, this time following Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Pandora, and Adonis. Despite it having some tropes I love (enemies to lovers, revenge banging, oops I caught feels) this was not my favorite in the series. It somehow felt both like it didn’t further the over arching plot of the series and crammed so much in at the end. The pacing felt off and I’m not sure how much I believed all of the relationships. As usual the smut was great, but that’s never an issue with her books. I’m curious to see where the series goes since the next book is on my TBR for February.
Assistant to the Villain – Hannah Nicole Maehrer – Hands down, this was my surprise hit of the month. I shit you not, I was halfway through this book and trying to shove it at all of my bookish friends. I didn’t know a ton about it going in, only that it was based on a TikTok series about the personal assistant for the town’s evil villain and that it was just a good time all around and that is exactly what it was. After a bit of a mishap in the woods, Evie winds up as the personal assistant for the Villain and it is the most corporate office job ever, as long as she doesn’t mind the occasional dead body laid out on her desk. That is until someone starts trying to kill the Villain and she has to team up with him to help figure out who is leaking their secrets. There’s a dragon named Fluffy and a human turned frog who only communicates by holding up tiny signs a la the Coyote from the Looney Toons. It’s silly and funny, still has a decent whodunnit plot, and I spent a good 60% of the book going “omg you dinguses, just kiss already!”. It was a good enough time that I already have the next book preordered.
The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes – translated by Jackson Crawford – While I am not a heathen, I am a somewhat stereotypical pagan who loves folklore and mythology. Crawford is one of the foremost scholars in the Norse history area and I had heard really good things about his translation. There’s a lot of ick in the heathen spaces now since it’s one of those subjects that the white supremacists love to co-opt despite their beliefs being antithetical to Norse pagan and Viking beliefs, but Crawford does a great job of smacking those ideas down. It was a really well written and easy to understand translation and I really enjoyed getting to hear about some of the lesser known myths that I hadn’t come across before. Bonus if you are listening to the audiobook: Crawford’s voice is extremely soothing and just made the whole experience even better.
Daddy Bod – Margot Scott – I picked this novella up during a Stuff Your Kindle Day and just wanted a quick ‘turn your brain off’ read during an insomnia filled night. It was overall kind of meh, but it’s honestly hard to build up and kind of character attachment in a 70 page story. I found it a little boring and somehow it felt like it dragged despite its length. I’m okay with instalove, especially in a novella, but typically outside of vampire stories where it’s a genre trope, I don’t enjoy the whole “oh no, she’s so fragile I must protect her” bit. It was unintentionally funny with how often the author reminded everyone that he was an absolute giant of a man who towered over everyone menacingly though. I wouldn’t really recommend it, but if you’re in the ;mood for a quick instalove age gap that’s sex work positive, it might work for you!
Carmilla – J. Sheridan Le Fanu – This has been on my TBR forever, since a friend introduced me to the web series adaptation. I picked up the audio drama version because who doesn’t want to hear David Tennant voice acting? It was a quick listen and I may go back to read the novel itself since I’m not sure how much context got edited out but I enjoyed the hell out of this. I also really like that it was lesbian vampires with Ye Olde “They Were Roommates” vibes and not just Bram Stoker’s vampires.
Fool Moon – Jim Butcher – My first reread of the year! Dresden Files are always a good time and since the audiobooks are narrated by James Marsters, they are so well done. He pulls off the snark perfectly. Fool Moon is not my favorite of the series though. Having read through the series I can see where it sets up a lot of things for further down the road, but the pacing is weird and it just feels like it was Butcher going “oh shit, I didn’t expect this to actually get picked up for a series or do well so now I guess I have to write more!”. It still has its funny moments and Harry is still so fucking horny on main, but overall if I didn’t need a refresh on the early parts of the series to read the last two that came out, I’d probably skip it and not miss much.
Well, that was it for me in January. What did you read? Any new favorites? Let me know!