Monday, January 2, 2023

On the Shelf: December 2022

I finished 2022 with 155 books read—so I topped last year by 55 books. Wowza. And I was definitely committed to stuffing December with as many reads as possible. I even finished two books on the 31st--Only a Monster and Wherever is Your Heart, both of which were very satisfying in very different ways. More unsettling than satisfying was Tiffany D. Jackson's The Weight of Blood. A remix/retelling of Stephen King's Carrie, it's going to stay with me for a long while. Jackson never pulls her punches when it comes to talking about real trauma, and that stays true here even with the supernatural elements.  

I remain compelled by horror and suspense, and I keep telling myself it's because I'm probably going to pivot to those genres. But, really, it's just because there's something about fictional fear and tension that really speaks to me. Maybe because personal experiences have numbed me for things in my own life? And reading or watching these genres is me going, "Come at me, bro. Whaddya got?" Anyway, that's enough navel-gazing for an end-of-the-month book roundup. And if you want to know my Top 20 favorite romances of the year, you can find them here:

The Reading Rundown
The Night of the Wedding by J. Broson (contemporary romance, erotic romance)
Fire Season by KD Casey (contemporary m/m romance, LGTBQ+ romance, sports romance)
Masters in the Hall
by KJ Charles (historical m/m romance, historical mystery)
Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins (suspense, thriller)
The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson (horror, young adult horror)
To Catch a Raven by Beverly Jenkins (historical romance)
The Replacement Wife by Darby Kane (domestic suspense, thriller)
Wherever is Your Heart by Anita Kelly (contemporary f/f romance)
Only a Monster by Vanessa Len (young adult urban fantasy, young adult romance)
The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon (suspense, thriller)
The Princess and the Scoundrel by Beth Revis (science fiction/fantasy romance, Star Wars tie-in)
Do You Take This Man by Denise Williams (contemporary romance)

Backlists and rereads: Since I was clearly on a massive suspense/thriller kick, I picked up Riley Sager's The Last Time I Lied from the library. Then I finally got around to finishing Sunshine by Robin McKinley. It took me months. I love her stories but this one definitely could've used a closer edit. Another uneven experience was Nora Roberts' Genuine Lies. The Old Hollywood aspect was great. The excessive and unnecessary fatshaming? Not so much. Some of these older books just don't hold up. Alas.

Currently reading: An ARC of Namrata Patel's Scent of a Garden, which comes out on June 13.

On the TBR/ wish list for '23
All Hallows by Christopher Golden
Jana Goes Wild by Farah Heron
The Duchess Effect by Tracey Livesay
A Sinister Revenge by Deanna Raybourn

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