Happy December! I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year. I didn’t set a TBR for November, so I basically just mood read my way through it, and I ended up reading 32 books. Definitely less than the previous months, but I really don’t mind how much or how little I end up reading every month. Plus, I expect to be reading a lot in December, because I’m going to be reading holiday books and those are often pretty short.
My favourites of the month have been The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley, Bear, Otter and the Kid by TJ Klune, Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake, The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta, The Lights on Knockbridge Lane by Roan Parrish, and Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe.
In this post, I’ll share my Goodreads reviews of my 4 and 5 star reads of the month. Want to keep track of my reading in more detail? Feel free to add me on Goodreads!
Natasha Pulley – The Kingdoms
An alternate history with time travel and soulmates? Sign me UP! I maybe expected the romance in this book to be a little more present, but definitely stick with it until the end, because for me, it made up for everything. This was just such an amazing read and I flew through it despite it being a tome.
TJ Klune – Bear, Otter and the Kid
Sometimes the only books that can make me feel things are TJK books, so you gotta do what you gotta do. Rating is highly subjective, as this does have its problematic elements. I read the whole series this month, and loved it!
Ashley Herring Blake – Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea
When I tell you I WEPT
A.R. Capetta – The Heartbreak Bakery
My favourite experience is and will always be reading a book exactly when you need it. I read this book exactly at the right time for me, and it felt like a warm bath. This was sweet and magical and very very queer, and I loved every second of it. It was so amazing to read a romance between two non-binary characters!
Roan Parrish – The Lights on Knockbridge Lane
If you pick up one cosy, feelgood holiday romance this year, make it this one! Especially if you’ve enjoyed the rest of the Garnet Run series, because it’s amazing to be back in this town.
This is the holiday romance I’ve been looking forward to the most this year, so it’s fitting that it should be the first I read as well. This sets the bar for the other books I’m hoping to read very high, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being a holiday favourite this year.
If you’re familiar with the Garnet Run series, this book is a little more lighthearted, to stay in the Christmas spirit, but it still does have two characters dealing with their own issues in order to be together. What I especially loved about this book was the central role Gus, Adam’s daughter, had in the book. She was a well-rounded character, and she absolutely stole the show. I love that she stole Wes’ heart even before Adam did, because that just makes the book that much more wholesome.
What I’ve loved about all the Roan Parrish books I’ve read so far, and also particularly about this one, is seeing two characters having to step outside of their comfort zones to be able to be together, and them genuinely struggling with that, because no, love actually does not conquer all, and it doesn’t cure things like trauma and anxiety. It’s nice to see such a balance between a character stepping outside of their comfort zone, but also them struggling with that and not overcoming their struggles by the end of the book, but just promising to do their best.
When it comes to the project the book was titled after, I have to say I had to suspend my disbelief a lot for that. After a hard year, Adam and his daughter have moved back to Garnet Run, and he asks her what she would love this Christmas. She says she wants the most Christmas lights of anywhere ever, so Adam gets right on that, decorating the house. And honestly, every time he or Gus turned on the lights, I expected them to put the entire neighbourhood out of power! This didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book though, and I absolutely loved this one! I’m hoping we’ll be getting River’s (Adam’s sibling’s) book next!
Ryka Aoki – Light From Uncommon Stars
This book was very different from what I expected, because I’d seen it described as cosy sci-fi. Because of that, I expected it to be more sci-fi heavy, but it’s more of a contemporary with SFF elements. I was also expecting something super cosy, but it had quite a lot of transphobia (all addressed, of course!). It was still a really good read though – perfect if you like weird books, and it had a sapphic relationship between two elderly women, which is not something I’ve really seen before!
Harmony Becker – Himawari House
This is a beautiful graphic novel about not knowing where you belong.
Alexis Hall – Murder Most Actual
Sometimes all a failing marriage needs, are a few murders to spice things up. Some couples, when drifting apart, might feel that a holiday could help them reconnect. Liza and Hanna do too, but what actually does the trick is… murder. Maybe not so surprising, since Liza is a true crime podcaster. Hanna, however, isn’t a true crime fan, and this is part of where they clash.
This is my fourth or fifth Alexis Hall book, and while it’s a different genre, since what I’ve read before were romances, this has the exact same feel to it, and the dry, sarcastic writing style I’ve come to love. I also love the way Alexis Hall plays with genres and how this pulls directly from classic murder mysteries like Agatha Christie’s, while also being tongue in cheek about those. There’s a humorous undercurrent throughout the entire book that I really enjoyed.
All of this would make this book into a 5 star read, but unfortunately I wasn’t the biggest fan of the murder mystery itself. It was intriguing enough to start with, but I found that it wrapped up quite messily and I think that was a shame.
N.R. Walker – Dearest Milton James
This romance is so fun and fluffy in and of itself, but what truly made the book for me (and made me cry) was the way it was rooted in queer history with the mystery of the love letters from the 70s. The letters were so beautiful, and the way the mystery was resolved? My heart.
N.R. Walker – Dearest Malachi Keogh
I didn’t review this, but it’s a Christmas novella as a follow-up to Dearest Milton James, and I really enjoyed it. You should read Dearest Milton James first though, since it follows the same characters!
Maggie Knox – The Holiday Swap
This was such a charming holiday read, I could barely put it down because I was just transported into the story. I loved the plot of identical twins switching places and the chaos this causes, and both of the romances were very cute. I think this will be a great read for people who don’t typically read a lot of romance, but would love to pick something up for the holidays.
Rachel Smythe – Lore Olympus, vol. 1
This was a DELIGHT and I can’t wait to continue on Webtoon!
Annabelle Greene – A Winter’s Earl
Is it truly a historical romance if it doesn’t have YEARNING? This is the perfect second chance romance for everyone who sees “enemies to lovers” and goes: “Why not enemies AND lovers?” I was absolutely living for the angst, and I loved the writing style, which is flowery while still being very readable.
Raquel Vasquez Gilliland – Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything
I’m not exaggerating when I say that books like this are why I read YA. This was a 5 star prediction for me, and I’m so glad I was right. Poets writing prose just hit different, and the way this played with genre was so superb.
Together, Apart (anthology)
This anthology was weirdly comforting for me, and actually it might be something I’ll revisit when I need it. Also, and this NEVER happens to me, I liked every single story in this anthology!
Ava Reid – The Wolf and the Woodsman
This was a lot more gruesome than I somehow expected, and a really cool book!
What was your favourite read this month?
Ohhh, I’ve been meaning to snag The Wolf and the Woodsman for so long, I’m glad you were able to read it!
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