February 2023 Wrap Up

Another successful month. Not as great as January but still a great month.

  • I read 15 books this month
  • Genre: 6 fantasy, 3 sci-fi, 3 romance, 1 crime, 1 magical realism and 1 non-fiction
  • Gender of authors: 9 women, 3 men, 1 duo and 1 unknown
  • Race of authors: 9 white authors, 5 Asian authors and 1 Middle Eastern author
  • Age range: 10 adult, 4 YA and 1 middle grade
  • Format: 7 paperback, 6 ebook and 2 hardback


  • Prompt: Romance
    • Inuyasha Vol.1
    • Blood in the Thread
    • The Last Tale of the Flower Bride
    • My Killer Vacation
    • Wotakoi, Vol.1
    • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
    • This Is How You Lose the Time War
  • Sequel: Didn’t read any
  • Tor.com: Blood in the Thread – Cheri Kamei

This Is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (DNF)

Now did I DNF this book 75% in? Yes… Was it super short? Also yes. This follows two women who are time travel spies that fall in love during a war. I personally found this to be too pretentious for me. Now I don’t mind my fair share of pretentious writing. But this writing made it super hard to follow which just left me not caring about the characters or their story.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab (DNF)

I have learnt that I am not a vibes person. If someone describes a book to me as nothing but pure vibes – I now know to stay away. Barely anything happened in this book and it bored me. It follows a young woman who makes a deal with a god to get out of an arranged marriage. The god ends up granting her basically a life of no ageing and we follow her during the time she gets this curse and then like 300 years later.

The scenes set around the time Addie makes her wish and the first couple of years as she learns and adapts were super interesting. I enjoyed learning about how the wish worked and what its restrictions were. But once that passed the rest of the book was just boring. It is literally just following Addie walk around New York. I didn’t think she was that interesting of a character so she didn’t keep me wanting to read more.

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku – Fujita (3 stars)

This was fine. I enjoyed it as a whole and I really enjoyed the friendship dynamic between the four characters. I cannot say though that I enjoyed any of the romance elements. I found them to be unrealistic and, in the case of one couple, very unlikeable. I did enjoy some of the topics of gaming and anime.

My Killer Vacation – Tessa Bailey (3 stars)

This was a fun easy read. It was a romance with a murder mystery side plot. I enjoyed the characters and I found the dialogue to be funny and fun. Was it the best mystery I have ever read? No. But it was super fun and added an extra exciting layer to the story. I will say that by the end I started to feel that the story got a bit cringe mainly because Bailey kept adding what I felt was unnecessary sexual dialogue in moments that I felt should have been left to be romantic. I also am not a fan of how quickly everything progressed within the relationship it was too fast for my liking. Finally, when will we free authors from the shackles of the ginormous man x tiny woman trope PLEASE!

The Sixteenth Century in 100 Women – Amy Licence (3 stars)

A super informative and concise look at women from across the world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about women I didn’t know plus re-reading and familiarising myself with women from 16th-century history that I already knew.

Some of my favourite stories to learn were:

  • La Malinche
  • Elizabeth ‘Blessie’ Blount
  • Roxelana, aka Hurrem Sultan
  • Mary Boleyn
  • Women of the Devonshire Manuscript
  • Lady Nata, or Otomo-Nata ‘Jezebel’
  • Susan Clarencieux
  • Amye Robsart

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride – Roshani Chokshi (3.5 stars)

This was an interesting book to read. Overall I really enjoyed the story. I felt the book did a really great job of delving into the complexities of certain types of female friendship specifically the cases where it’s all-consuming and toxic with very strong sapphic energy! I have rarely seen this portrayed in media and I found it to be a really interesting dynamic. I thought the female characters in this story were expertly written. That being said, I will be critiquing the main male character as that man was boring. I didn’t really feel that he brought much to the story apart from being the force that allows us to find answers. I will also say that I found the constant reference and discussions of fairytales and folklore to be great at the start but it got old very quickly. It was over-saturation by the end of the book and I found myself skimming those paragraphs so I could get to the actual meat of the story.

Knee Deep, Book 1 – Joe Flood (4 stars)

Following in a semi-post-apocalyptic climate change disaster world we follow a young girl who goes on a mission to find her parents. Great art, amazing character design, and an engaging storyline that left me wanting more!

The Promised Neverland Vol, 12&13 – Kaiu Shirai (4 stars)

What can I say that I haven’t already said before. Always a great read.

Blood in the Thread – Cheri Kamei (4 stars)

A powerful sapphic short story about 2 high school sweethearts who hide their relationship when one of them becomes a famous actress and how they navigate the toxicity and abusive nature of Hollywood.

I loved this short story so much. The writing was beautiful and atmospheric with amazing imagery. I loved the ending and how it tied into ‘The Crane Wife’ folktale.

Moonlight – Gill Lewis (4.5 stars)

A middle-grade story about a young rat going on an epic adventure to return a stolen jewel. I could see Disney or Studio Ghibli snatching up this story for an adaptation! This story has heart, exhilaration, plot twists and a strong message, throughout, of doing the right thing. With incredible settings, a fun myriad of characters and a plot that keeps you wanting more.

Inuyasha, Vol. 1 – Rumiko Takahashi (5 stars)

A manga about a young girl who falls through her family’s well and ends up in Ancient Japan. It’s there she gets caught up in the fight of good v evil. Inuyasha was not a disappointment! I loved the blend of history and fantasy. I love the lore behind this series and how we mix historical moments with folklore. I really like our main characters and their dynamic is super engaging. I just really wish Kagome was older than 15 as it was the only thing that felt a bit icky. I also want to add that I did not expect it to have any horror or gore elements whatsoever and was super shocked when the blood started spraying. Not a critique at all, I was just super unaware.

Godkiller – Hannah Kaner (5 stars)

This world was a great balance of taking well-known and highly loved elements of the fantasy genre but adding a fresh new set of ideas and world-building. I loved the staple of the very detailed world with a brewing civil war where we get a lot of detail about different cultures etc. but I loved the addition of the Gods. Everything surrounding the Gods from the ones we meet all the way to the long and twisted history of the Gods was by far my favourite part of the book. They added so much depth to the story not just in terms of varied and vibrant characters but also in terms of world-building and character motivation. 

We follow 4 different characters in this story all with secrets to hide and questions to answer. I found every single POV in this book to be engaging and exciting. I enjoyed all of their stories equally and I looked forward to turning the page and seeing who we were following next. I really enjoyed watching these characters as individuals and learning their story and learn who they are at their core but I LOVED watching these characters together and bond with each other.

The story itself was simple and detailed at the same time. The story is a quest story. A journey that leads all our characters to the same ruined city but the detail of the world and the history that we learn alongside this journey was so grand and detailed that it elevated such a simple concept.

The Mountain in the Sea – Ray Nayler (5 stars)

A near-future dystopia is about a young woman researching a possibly killer octopus. This book is so much more about an incredibly intelligent Octopus. This book is kind of a window to the future, to what our future may be like if we stray down the path we are going. Where AI and technology start to take over our world when corporations get greedy and we destroy our eco-system, over-fishing, capitalism, and modern-day slavery. This book covers a lot. This book covers so much that on paper you think how can this author cover all of these themes in a coherent and easy-to-follow/accessible way while also maintaining an engaging story about humanity and connection as well as a killer Octopus? Well, Nayler does all of that and more.

Speak of the Devil – Rose Wilding (5 stars)

This book swept under the radar at the last minute for me. It follows 7 women as we navigate their lives after the head of a man is found in a seedy hotel room. As the story continues you find that all these women had some connection to the deceased and as you unravel the secrets of the women you find out who killed him. This book is heavy for trigger warnings re. rape, sexual harassment, abuse, forced outing, alcoholism.

I have never been so strongly impacted by a book in my life. The harrowing, raw and truthful way that Wilding writes as we slowly learn more about these women and how one singular man’s actions caused a ripple effect in these women’s lives was a hard read but a powerful read. I really enjoyed getting into the mind of these women and living their stories and their truths. Some of the best character work I had read alongside a super engaging mystery where each time we learn something you feel yourself creeping closer and closer to the reveal of the murderer.

My Killer Vacation Review

It was supposed to be a relaxing vacation in sweet, sunny Cape Cod—just me and my beloved brother—but discovering a corpse in our rental house really throws a wrench into our tanning schedule. Now a rude, crude bounty hunter has arrived on the back of his motorcycle to catch the killer and refuses to believe I can be helpful, despite countless hours of true crime podcast listening. Not to mention a fulfilling teaching career of wrangling second graders. A brash bounty hunter and an energetic elementary schoolteacher: the murder-solving team no one asked for, but thanks to these pesky attempts on my life, we’re stuck together, come hell or high tide. I’m just here to do a job, not babysit an amateur sleuth. Although… it is becoming less and less of a hardship to have her around. Sure, she’s stubborn, distracting and can’t stay out of harm’s way. She’s also brave and beautiful and reminds me of the home I left behind three years ago. In other words, the painful hunger and protectiveness she is waking up in me is a threat to my peace of mind. Before I sink any deeper into this dangerous attraction, I need to solve this murder and get back on the road. But will fate take her from me before I realize the road has been leading to her all along?

January 2023 Wrap Up!

Here we are! We are already one month into 2023! How scary is that! This last month was my best reading month to date! I always start off too strong when it comes to January. Every Jan I read loads of books, probably powered by the fact that it’s a new year and new possibilities, and the following months while good never match up to the power of January. Let’s dive in!


  • I read 18 books this month
  • Genre: 13 fantasy, 1 historical fiction, 1 mystery, 1 non-fiction, 1 romance and 1 sci-fi.
  • Gender of authors: 4 women, 4 men and 1 various
  • Race of authors: 7 asian authors, 5 white authors and 2 black authors
  • Age range: 12 YA and 6 adult
  • Format: 13 paperback, 3 ebook and 2 hardback


  • Sequel: Twilight Princess Vol.2 & 5 extra volumes of The Promised Neverland
  • Tor.com: Fruiting Bodies – Kemi Ashing-Giwa-Giwa

Fruiting Bodies – Kemi Ashing-Giwa (2 stars)

Plot: An alien fungal infection has ravaged a faraway planet, turning all but six of the colonists into ravenous alarinkiri. Inyama, a mycologist, is her species’ last hope. But it’s not expertise her fellow survivors want from her.

This just fell flat for me I’m afraid. It had such a great premise but I spent most of the story trying to figure out what was going on. I was a bit confused.

Night Train to the Stars – Kenji Miyazawa (2.5 stars)

Synopsis: A collection of short stories based on animals, nature and the growing increase in technology. These stories were written from the late 1800s- early 1900s.

Overall I felt this collection was a bit lacking. Barely any stories truly grabbed me but I did enjoy delving into the mind of this author and these little worlds he has created.

  1. A Stem of Lillies – 1
  2. The Man of the Hills – 1
  3. The Wild Pear – 1
  4. Night Train to the Stars – 2
  5. The Earthgod and the Fox – 2
  6. The Bears of Kametoko – 2
  7. Tokkobe Torako -2
  8. The Red Blanket – 2
  9. The Police Chief – 2.5
  10. Ozbel and the Elephant – 3
  11. The First Deer Dance – 3
  12. Gorsch the Cellist – 3
  13. The Thirty Frogs – 3
  14. The Ungrateful Rat – 3
  15. Night of the Festival – 3
  16. March by Moonlight – 3
  17. Down in the Wood – 3
  18. The Spider, the Slug and the Racoon – 3.5
  19. General Son Ba-Yu – 4
  20. Wildcat and the Acorns – 4
  21. The Dahlias and the Crane – 4
  22. The Fire Stone – 4
  23. The Restaurant of Many Orders – 5
  24. Kenju’s Wood – 5

Legends and Lattes – Travis Baldree (3 stars)

Plot: Retired barbarian Viv decides to set up shop and create the very first cafe in the city of Thune. Little does she know she can’t truly shake off the past.

Great characters and a beautiful cosy vibe but it was let down by the very quick pace and the fact that we simply couldn’t sit in the moment with the characters. We were always jumping from one plot point to the next leading me to not connect with the novel as a whole. I would also say that the big sapphic romance that was marketing was truly underwhelming and felt like a last min addition which was disappointing. Thimble though will forever be my fave!

TLOZ: Twilight Princess Vol. 2 – Akira Himekawa (4 stars)

Can’t go into too much detail about this as it will be spoilers but this was a solid volume. Literally no critiques.

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books – Martin Edwards (4 stars)

Synopsis: In this book Martin Edwards breaks down the history of the classic crime era sectioning into subgenre, years and influencing culture whilst also recommending some iconic classic novels.

I really enjoyed reading this. It was like one big long list of book recs as well as some really interesting components to the British publishing/writing world and beyond. There were some books that I had read plus some books already on my TBR! I love the British Library’s contribution to the crime genre.

Snow White with the Red Hair, Vol. 1 – Sorata Akiduki (4 stars)

Plot: A very loose re-telling of Snow White. Literally don’t go into this expecting Snow White.

Beautiful art, amazing characters, a protagonist you can’t help but root for! Plus a blossoming relationship between a prince and an apothecary! What I liked about this volume which I don’t see too much in manga was that each chapter was split into a different standalone story. Each story pushes the plot forward and we watch the characters grow but it was nice to see this structure over one continuous narrative.

Drifting Dragons, Vol. 1 – Taku Kuwabara (4 stars)

Plot: Follow a team of Dragon Hunters aboard their ship as we learn about them as individuals plus their interpersonal relationships. Also food is a major factor in this manga.

Probably the manga series I read this month with the best art-style. From the background design to the pictures of food. BEAUTIFUL! I really liked this more stripped back series where the focus is on the characters more than an over-arching plot. It was a big change to all the other series I was reading and it made for a nice break. I am so excited to read the next volume and see where the characters are heading next.

Children of the Whales, Vol. 1 – Abi Umeda (4.5 stars)

Plot: The world is covered by oceans of sand and 513 people live in isolation on an islandlike ship that is adrift on the sand. As he investigates an abandoned ship Chakuo — the island’s archivist — meets a mysterious girl named Rikosu. It marks the first time that an island inhabitant has made contact with someone from the outside world. Chakuro wonders if it is a sign that a new world awaits.

This was super, super good. The art was beautiful, the setting was unlike something I have ever seen and that ending was IMPACTFUL. It threw me so off guard. My jaw hit the floor. I am super interested to see where the rest of the series goes as we have only just scraped the surface.

The Promised Neverland, Vols. 7-11 – Kaiu Shirai (4-5 stars)

I WILL SCREAM ABOUT THIS SERIES UNTIL I AM DEAD. I literally cannot discuss too much due to spoilers but omg everyone pick this series up!

The Faraway Paladin, Vol. 1 – Mutsumi Okubashi (5 stars)

Plot: We follow a young boy who is being trained by 3 members of the undead but he soon starts to question who he is and what their stories are.

A manga I was not expecting to give 5 stars to, yet here we are. Such an underrated series with beautiful art. Found family, tragic backstories and really interesting lore!

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo (5 stars)

Plot: A bunch of reckless individuals with nothing to lose but a lot to gain go on an insane heist.

I mean, I think everyone knows this book let’s be honest. I can’t believe it took me this long to pick it up. I picked this up for a book group I am apart of and I am so thankful I was able to read it. All the characters were so distinct and I truly enjoyed learning and following each one. I felt that Bardugo did a great job with her more morally grey characters as well and tackling such difficult topics. I thought the plot was really engaging and I flew through the book. I did get a bit confused in the beginning and the middle of the book but that ending had me shook! Cannot wait to read the sequel.

Legendborn – Tracy Deonn (5 stars)

Plot: After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. And that is literally all the can be said as I don’t want to spoil ANYTHING.

Now, here is another book I wish I had read way earlier! Literally everyone was talking about how amazing this book was and I knew I needed to finally see what all the hype was all about. I LOVED THIS SO MUCH!!! The lore, the magic, the exploration of grief both current but also generational. I loved Bree so much and I really enjoyed the romance in this book! I found the ending to be so incredibly powerful and I needed to read the second book ASAP.

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels – Janice Hallett (5 stars)

Plot: A true crime journalist/writer sets out to write about the Alperton Angels case and gets caught up in the conspiracies, lies and truths of what happened years ago! Told in Hallett’s iconic epistolary style.

Every January I can’t wait to sit down with the latest Janice Hallett novel and expect my brain to explode from my genius. This book was no exception. I literally read this book in 2 days. I was up late into the night to finish this book. Hallett’s brain is just so smart and talented. I found this book to be my favourite of the 3 she has written so far. The plot is so smart, the characters so interesting. I highly recommend this book.

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….