December 2022 Wrap Up

What a year 2022 was! All of my wrap up posts are now officially up so if you want to see my year as a whole, check it out! December was an alright month reading-wise. I did move into my very first home so I was very pre-occupied with other things!

  • I read 10 books this month
  • Genre: 6 fantasy and 4 mysteries
  • Gender of authors: 4 women, 4 men and 1 various
  • Race of authors: 5 white authors, 3 asian authors and 1 various
  • Age range: 6 adult, 3 YA and 1 children’s
  • Format: 5 paperback, 3 hardback and 2 ebook

Portrait of a Murderer – Anne Meredith (DNF)

This was such a shame as I bought this book back in Dec 2021 and waited a whole year to read it! To be honest, I don’t have any criticism of the book itself, it just took a direction I didn’t expect nor did I care for. While I expect it to be a traditional murder mystery it was more of a character study of the murderer itself. Which for me, it was not what I was looking for.

Babel – R.F. Kuang (DNF)

This one actually broke my heart. I had been following the process of this book and its publication from the minute Kuang announced it. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it. I have a more detailed account of my reasons for DNFing on my wrap up posts.

The Christmas Murder Game – Alexandra Benedict (2.5 stars)

This book was about a woman who goes back to her childhood home to play the “titular” game and learn about her mothers mysterious death. This book was fine. It filled the Christmas themed gap I had which was great and I really enjoyed the main character but the story was predictable.

Marple – Various Authors (3.5 stars)

This was a really enjoyable short story collection all involving the incredible amateur detective Miss Marple created by Agatha Christie. Here are my individual ratings. My favourite story was A Deadly Wedding Day by Dreda Say Mitchell.

  • Evil in Small Places – 3
  • The Second Murder at the Vicarage – 2.5
  • Miss Marple Takes Manhattan – 3.5
  • The Unravelling – 4
  • Miss Marple’s Christmas – 4
  • The Open Mind – 4
  • The Jade Empress – 5
  • A Deadly Wedding Day – 5
  • Murder at the Villa Rosa – 2
  • The Murdering Sort – 3
  • The Mystery of the Acid Soil – 4
  • The Disappearance – 3.5

Blue Exorcist Vol. 1 – Kazue Kato (3.5 stars)

This story follows Run who finds out that his dad is Satan himself and he goes on a mission to become a Exorcist and defeat his father. I watched the anime years and years ago and was always disappointed that I never watched the second season but now I can just read the entire series!!! I felt this was a solid first volume setting up the characters and all the important plot points.

Kai and the Monkey King – Joe Todd-Stanton (4 stars)

This was a great story with beautiful art design, plot and characters. I want to own everything Joe Todd-Stanton creates!

Murder at the Theatre Royale – Ada Moncrieff (4 stars)

This is a Christmas historical murder mystery set at a theatre. I requested this on Netgalley on a whim as I really wanted to read some Christmas themed mysteries and I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. The writing was really easy-reading, the main character was really engaging and the mystery worked so well for me. I ended up finishing this on a bus journey home and nearly missed my stop as I was so engrossed by it.

The Lost Metal – Brandon Sanderson (4 stars)

The final book in the Wax and Wayne quartet. This was also my first proper foray into understanding the Cosmere etc. I enjoyed this story, I felt everything was wrapped up nicely and I enjoyed learning about the Cosmere. That being said it did not pack a punch the way The Hero of Ages did and I knew how things would go for a lot of the characters we meet. So while I enjoyed it, it was not my favourite in the series.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Vol. 3&4 – Kanehito Yamada (4.5/4 stars)

What a perfect way to end the year. Volume 3 was my favourite so far. I love the characters, I love the world, I love exploring Frieren’s backstory. I need to read every single one of these volumes.

November 2022 Wrap Up

This was a bit of a trickier month this month. A lot of ambitious books some of which I read but some I struggled with.

  • I read 12 books this month
  • Genre: 7 fantasy, 2 historical fiction, 1 mystery, 1 non-fiction and 1 contemporary
  • Gender of authors: 5 women, 3 men, 1 various and 1 gender-fluid author.
  • Race of authors: 5 white authors, 4 asian authors and 1 various.
  • Age range: 7 adult, 3 YA and 2 middle grade
  • Format: 6 paperback, 3 hardback, 2 audiobook and 1 ebook

The Secret of Matterdale Hall by Marianne Ratcliffe (DNF)

This book was sent to me via the author and unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. It follows a young woman who becomes a new teacher at a new school and not everything is as it seems. For me, I found some of the characters to be forgettable and I didn’t find myself connected to the plot at all.

The Very Merry Murder Club by Various Authors (DNF)

I was super excited to get into the Christmassy mood with these mysteries. Unfortunately, I just got caught up with other books and never got round to finishing it.

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame (2 stars)

When I was 10 years old I took part in my school’s version of The Wind in the Willows musical. I played Mole! I was super excited to revisit the story of Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger. I decided to listen to the audio dramatisation rather than the actual novel and I loved all the performances and the ambience. I felt I was in the story myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the plot itself and the characters annoyed me.

Look Back – Tatsuki Fujimoto (2 stars)

This was the first manga I had ever read by this author. It follows a young woman who meets a friend through their love of manga. I had no big reason against this story. I just didn’t love it. I wasn’t a big fan of the main character so I think that must be why I couldn’t connect to the story.

Small Things Like These – Claire Keegan (3 stars)

I don’t read too much literary fiction. It’s not a genre that I enjoy too much but due to the short nature of the story, I felt it was a good bridge to give it a go. This follows a guy who is spending his before Christmas working and supporting his family while reflecting back on his childhood. Alongside that, we see glimpses into the treatment of unwed pregnant girls in 80’s Ireland. In terms of the story, I wanted more. I felt Keegan was connecting to something really important and just as we properly got into the story – the book ended. It was too short for me. I wanted more!

Welcome to St. Hell – Lewis Hancox (3 stars)

This was a graphic novel about one person’s experience growing up transgender in the early 2000’s. I found it to be really interesting and profound to get a first-hand account of someone’s personal experience. I will be honest and say I didn’t love the art style and I did find the dialogue to be quite cringey.

In The Watchful City – S. Qiouyi Lu (3 stars)

This was my first experience reading a book with Neo-pronouns. This was a super interesting story but I did get a bit confused throughout. I did enjoy the story within a story element as well as the numerous powers.

TLOZ: Twilight Princess Vol. 1 – Akira Himekawa (3.5 stars)

Still my favourite Zelda game to date. I was super interested in seeing the story adapted into a manga. I really enjoyed Himekawa’s take on the story and I think the first volume set everything up really well.

Secret History – Brandon Sanderson (3.5 stars)

I can’t say too much about this book due to major spoilers. I did think I was going to enjoy it more than I did but it did answer a lot of questions I had and still had some great emotional moments.

The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson (4 stars)

Probably my favourite book in the Mistborn era 2 series. I have already finished The Lost Metal and I still think book 3 is better. I felt that the characterisation was super strong, the plot was really interesting, the unexpected romance made me super happy and an ending that blew my mind.

Disfigured – Amanda Leduc (5 stars)

A super powerful and insightful book about how Western fairytales laid the foundation for the treatment of disabled people and the normalisation of ableism. I learnt a lot from reading this book. So many things I had been ignorant too.

Sailor Moon Vol. 1 – Naoko Takeuchi (5 stars)

I healed my inner child by reading this manga. Powerful women, beautiful illustrations, hilarious dialogue. It felt like I was 10 years old again watching Saturday morning cartoons. I am now officially obsessed with Sailor Moon and it has become my whole personality.

The Secret of Matterdale Hall Review

Susan Mottram lives an idyllic existence until her eighteenth birthday, when her father’s sudden death plunges the family into penury. To support her mother and younger sister, Susan takes employment as a teacher at a remote Yorkshire boarding school, Matterdale Hall, owned by the radical Dr. Claybourn and his penny-pinching wife. Susan soon discovers that all is not as it seems. Why is little Mary so silent? What really happened to Susan’s predecessor? Is anyone safe in the school’s draughty halls? Through a life-changing meeting with the beautiful and mysterious Cassandra, Susan begins to uncover the truth about Matterdale Hall, and discovers the cruelty, and love, that can lie within the human heart.