My 2023 Reading Plan!!

And we must officially say our final goodbye to 2022! Onwards and upwards to 2023! A very different year 2023 will be. Last year was more about picking what I wanted when I wanted but now I have a nearly 200-book physical TBR and it’s time to start whittling it down. This year will be focused more on tackling the number of books that I own!

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.

A Master of Djinn Review

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer. So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage. Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems….

House of Hunger Review

Marion Shaw has been raised in the slums, where want and deprivation are all she knows. Despite longing to leave the city and its miseries, she has no real hope of escape until the day she spots a strange advertisement in the newspaper, seeking a ‘bloodmaid’. Though she knows little about the far north – where wealthy nobles live in luxury and drink the blood of those in their service – Marion applies to the position. In a matter of days, she finds herself at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery – and there, at the centre of it all is her.

Her name is Countess Lisavet. Loved and feared in equal measure, she presides over this hedonistic court. And she takes a special interest in Marion. Lisavet is magnetic, charismatic, seductive – and Marion is eager to please her new mistress.

But when her fellow bloodmaids begin to go missing in the night, Marion is thrust into a vicious game of cat and mouse. She’ll need to learn the rules of her new home – and fast – or its halls will soon become her grave.

The Broken Earth Trilogy Review

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

The Phantom of the Opera Review

First published in French as a serial in 1909, “The Phantom of the Opera” is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine Daaé. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine’s childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous ‘ghost’ of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster. 

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches Review

As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….

Six Crimson Cranes Review

Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.