Today, let’s look back on January and look forward to February.

Favourite January reads

Can you believe the first month of 2022 is almost over? Surreal!

I had a weird reading month. I read tons and then fell into an epic book slump and couldn’t get into anything. Books I thought for sure were going to be five stars ended up total flops. I don’t now if that’s because of my reading slump or if I’m just getting pickier. (Maybe both?)

I finished 16 books this month—4 audiobooks, 7 ebooks, and 4 physical books, and 1 graphic novel. I also DNF’d 3 books—see the aforementioned reading slump cry My favourites of the month are below. Just click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Amazon page.

Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier was my first 5-star read of the year. This is a new-to-me author, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was so pleasantly surprised. It’s about a man returning home after suffering imprisonement and plague. He can see ghosts and somehow ends up involved trying to solve the plot of who is trying to kill the young queen. It was well-plotted, well-written, fast-paced, and had great characters.

A Pebble for Lewis was my first (but won’t be my last) Amy Bellows book. It was super low-angst and super cute. The easiest, fluffiest book I’ve read in a long time.

I listened to Up North by Allison Temple on audio and I enjoyed this story so much. It’s full of Allison’s trademark humour. Featuring an A-List actor hiding out in Alaska and the fishing guide he falls for, it was quick, fun, and the narration was awesome!

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould briefly got me out of my book slump before I fell right back into it. It was spooky and creepy and gritty, with a storyline that keeps you guessing. It features a teenage girl who moves to a small town in Oregon with her ghosthunter fathers and quickly gets embroiled in the local missing person’s case. This was the author’s debut novel and I very much look forward to more.

Books I’m looking forward to reading in February

I’m keeping my TBR short for February in case my reading slump lasts much longer. This will give me more flexibility to switch genres as the mood strikes.

The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinka came in my December Rainbow Crate book box. First: check out that gorgeous cover! Second: it’s about two enchantresses competing for the heart of the prince, but who end up falling for each other. Yes please!

I’m a huge fan of Allie Therin’s Magic in Manhattan trilogy. Proper Scoundrels is a spin-off featuring side characters from the original series.

I read Volume 1 of the Fence graphic novel by C.S. Pacat a few days ago—it was one of the only things I could concentrate on during this stupid book slump—so I’m adding Volume 2 to my reading list for February. While the illustrations are great, I was expecting a bit more in terms of story and character arcs, so I’m hoping to get that in the subsequent volumes.

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray came in one of my Fairyloot boxes in 2021 and has been gracing my bookshelf since. It’s described as a series-opener featuring “two Black teenagers fate has binded together as they strike a dangerous alliance to hunt down the ancient creature menacing their home—and discover much more than they bargained for.”

TBR Wrap-Up: January

On last month’s High Five Friday post, the books below were on my TBR list. Here’s what I thought about them.

Short, sweet, and cute. Read it in under 2 hours! The perfect cozy read if you’re looking for something fast and sweet.

Great addition to this shifter series! I don’t often read m/m/m, but I quite enjoyed this one.

DNF at chapter 3. I didn’t click with the writing style. It’s quick and abrupt, with almost no emotion interspersed between the dialogue. Disappointing, as the premise sounded great and the cover is beautiful, but sadly, I couldn’t get into the story or the one-dimensional characters.

It suffers from book-two-in-a-trilogy syndrome: the dreaded filler. Book one in this series was a 5-star read, but this one lacked tension and focus, and I found it repetitive.

Probably my biggest disappointment of the month. It was overly wordy, the writing was pretentious, the characters were flat, and I never bought into the romance.

Spooky and creepy, this was so well-written and will keep you guessing until the very end!

My favourite read of the month! It takes a lot of skill to write a standalone fantasy novel, and Makiia pulled it off seamlessly!

The 12 Challenge

If you’re on Instagram, you might’ve seen the 12 Challenge going around at the beginning of the year. The goal is to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends, and I’m going to be participating!

These are the 12 books that have been recommended to me by 12 of my Instagram friends. Seven m/m romance novels, one m/f romance, two young adult fantasies (one of which, Cute Mutants, is LGBTQ+), one young adult contemporary, and one LGBTQ manga.

I haven’t managed to read any of these yet, but the year is young! I’ll be posting updates on which books I’ve read, and what I thought about them, on my monthly High Five Friday post going forward.

What do you think of this selection? See any favourites?

On the writing front

If you’re in my Facebook Group, you might know this already: I fell behind on writing Lighthouse Bay 3, Clark and Dev’s story. I had 54,000 written when I realized the story wasn’t working. The character development needed an overhaul and the story itself wasn’t fitting the characters. This wasn’t the story I needed to tell for Dev and Clark, so…

I started over. I had 54,000 words written with another 10K-20K to go and I started over almost from the beginning. Some of what I wrote is useable; most of it will go into the deleted scenes pile.

It sucks. And it’s going to set me back at least four weeks. But I think the direction it’s going in is so much better than what it was before. I’m lucky that I always give myself extra time when drafting a novel, and I always leave several weeks between my anticipated finish date of draft 1 and my copyedit date to allow myself time for setbacks just like this and revisions. Because of that, I think I’ll probably still be able to make my anticipated May release date.

Proof that author life isn’t always glamorous cry

Audiobook lovers!

Keeping Casey is now here on audio! Narrated by fresh new voice, Michael Franklin, you can find it on Amazon, Audible, and Apple. It’s also been Whispersynced!

Get all of the buy links here.

More audiobook news! My Stick Side series narrator, Adam Lawrence, has finished recording The Nature of the Game (Stick Side #2)! It’s currently being proofed for errors. Once those have been identified, Adam will re-record those minor fixes as necessary and it’ll be off to ACX. I’m hoping this one will be available for purchase sometime in February. Adam has done an amazing job narrating this novel—seriously, it’s SO good! He really brought Dan and Ash to life, and I can’t wait for you all to hear it.

Michael Franklin is now busy at work narrating Keeping Kellan (Keeping Him #2), which you should see on audio in the next 2-3 months if all goes well!

In other book news, have you heard about the Your Book Boyfriend’s Boyfriend giveaway? On January 1, more than 100 brand new books by authors you love were made available free on Prolific Works for the entire year! My contribution to the YBBB giveaway is Chasing Sunsets! (Psst. There’s a special appearance from one of the guys from Keeping Casey AND a side character from On the Ice. Can you guess who?) Check out the cover and blurb below!

Check out all of the books here.

A sex scandal wasn’t how NHL player Dane Roxborough imagined starting his summer. Neither was fleeing Boston with his tail between his legs. Seeking refuge at his parents’ inn in his hometown, all he wants is to hide from the press…and reconnect with his college sweetheart.

Grant Lilly’s had enough of broken hearts. Sure, Dane still owns his, but that doesn’t mean anything when Dane left him to play hockey once already. Grant has a life and a career in Glen Hill, and he doesn’t need Dane resurrecting old feelings.

Amid Green Mountain summer nights, can Dane and Grant chase the sunset to their happily ever after?

What was your favourite read of the month? Leave a comment below!