January 2023: Reading Recap

I’ve got to give The Storygraph credit. Their January Reading Challenge – to read at least one page and/or listen to at least one minute of an audiobook each day, and track it in the app – really paid off for me. I’m a sucker for prizes. Do I think I’ll actually win? I mean, I’m hopeful. I often have decent luck with these sorts of contests and giveaways, so yeah, there’s a chance. But the important part of this quest is that since I had to log at least one page/minute each day, I read every single day in January…and I read a lot more than one page/minute per day.

In fact, I read 18 books in January. Those 18 books made up 6,219 pages and 26.77 hours of audio.

Now, before you run to the comments section to leave some version of “omigod, how can you read that much?!or ugh, well, I mean, they’re probably not *quality* books, right?!or any other sort of negative, gatekeep-y, hobby shaming rhetoric, I politely invite you to walk away right now. Don’t even finish reading this post. I am sick and tired of the people of the Internet lauding others who spend thousands of hours and even more thousands of dollars on [insert practically any other hobby/interest/passion/craft here], but the second someone (a woman, almost 99.9% of the time) says “Oh, yeah, I spend that much time/money on books,” the fucking world falls apart as though she said, “Oh, my hobby is kicking puppies.” Just. Stop. It.

Now, for those of you who made it through that rant and still want to be here, here’s what I read and a few quick thoughts on each. If you’re interested in snagging any of these books for yourself, I invite you to shop at my affiliate link with Bookshop.org (yes, I receive a percentage if you order from these links).

NOTE: I did read a lot of duologies and series this month. In those cases, I’ve put the image of the cover of the first book, but I’ve linked all of them (that I read and are available through my affiliate store) in the description.

Set on You by Amy Lea was the first book I read in 2023. It seemed a good “counterpoint” to the copious amounts of diet ads that I feel flooded everyone’s feeds on January 1. This is the first in the “Influencers” series of interconnected stand-alone rom-coms (Book #2 – Exes and O’s – came out last month and is on my February TBR).

Overall, I thought this book was fine. The MMC was a bit one-dimensional (almost too easy to love), but the FMC was feisty and I liked following her story.

Next, I decided to wander back into YA for a bit with Daughter of the Pirate King and its follow-up Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller. I was slightly put off by the marketing pull quote that they used for this series, because I don’t think Alosa is a “female Captain Jack Sparrow.” I think if you’re going to make a Disney-related reference, she’s more “If Merida from Brave was a badass pirate with a taste for adventure and maybe a little revenge too.” This duology was cute, and the love story, though a minor component, was one I liked rooting for.

I finally made the leap into Katee Robert’s Dark Olympus series, and I am not at all sorry I did. Neon Gods was my favorite read in the month of January, but Electric Idol and Wicked Beauty were close behind it for second and third place. I love the twists and turns and SPICE (with an emphasis on emphatic consent!!!). These books are inspired reimaginings of Greek pairings: Hades and Persephone, Psyche and Eros, and Helen, Achilles, and Patroclus. The next book in the series, Radiant Sin, is available for pre-order now. (These books are for readers 18+).

I read ‘Tis the Season for Revenge by Morgan Elizabeth back in December, and I had to find more of her work! So, I started with the Ocean View series this month and read all three: The Ex Files, Walking Red Flag, and Bittersweet. Of the three, Walking Red Flag was my favorite. The FMC (Gabi) has ADHD, and it was nice to be inside the mind of a character whose brain works like mine! And Dr. Vic is just book-boyfriend chef’s kiss perfection. Bittersweet is the darkest/spiciest of the series so far. (These books are for readers 18+).

I know the Plated Prisoner series was super popular on BookTok and Bookstagram recently, but when I finally got around to reading Gild and Glint (the first two books in the series), they just didn’t grab me, which is why I’m not even linking them here. These books both felt like they had a ton of potential, but the pacing was off and there was so much repetition. I felt like the two combined, with a ton of editing, could’ve maybe been one good book on its own, but it dragged too much to keep my attention and I gave up on the series.

After devouring the Salacious Players’ Club books last year (Praise, Eyes on Me, Give Me More, and Mercy; the next two books in that series come out later this year), I started making my way through all of Sara Cate’s backlist. In January, I read the Wilde Boys duology, Gravity and Free Fall. This duology is intense – it’s about people bonding over grief and trauma, and there are a number of…group activities involved. 😉 (These books are for readers 18+).

Look, I cannot explain my love of Zodiac Academy and the world of Solaria. People always ask, “Are they good? Are they well-written? Do you recommend them?” To which I say “No.” IN SPITE OF THAT, I am absolutely damn obsessed with these books. And I’m not trying to gatekeep them! I really don’t think they’re “good,” but they are addictive. They’re, like, the book nutritional equivalent of eating Oreos and drinking Dr. Pepper for every meal. But I don’t care. I love them.

Anyway, Dark Fae and Savage Fae are the first two books in the Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac series, which is set five years before the events of Zodiac Academy, and I devoured them. And I’m starting the third book – Vicious Fae – today. (Weirdly, only books 1, 4, and 5 are currently on Bookshop.org).

Loathe to Love You is a collection of three interconnected novellas about three women scientists who all met in graduate school. Each novella is about 125 pages, and tells each character’s individual love story. If you liked either The Love Hypothesis or Love on the Brain, you’ll probably like these too. They were sweet, sappy, a lil’ spicy, and overall a lot of fun. They were basically like if you just took the “A-story romance” from a novel and cut out all the subplots/side characters. It also made me excited for her next book – Love, Theoretically – which is available to pre-order now and will be released in June.

The last two books I read in January were the Graphic Audio books for A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury. Graphic Audio differ from other audiobooks in that they include music and sound effects, and they also have a full cast of voice actors (so, one actor per character). They are slightly abridged/edited versions of the books, so I don’t think I would’ve liked listening to them that way for my first read, but as a re-read — and as an activity I’m sharing with my husband (we sit on the couch with our dog and listen to the book together, sorta like how other people would watch a TV show or movie together) — they’re fantastic.

So, what did you read in January? Have you read any of the books I read last month? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!