Looking back this month seemed especially long! I cannot believe the first books I read this month were this month, it seems like I read them ages ago!
After We Fell by Anna Todd ⭐️/5
We started this month in the same place we left November, with the After series. I contemplated abandoning this series, but I felt too committed to seeing what these fools were doing. Despite my abysmally low rating of this book series in general, after spending hundreds of pages with Tessa and Hardin, I couldn't help but get a little attached to them. The plots of this book and book 2 (After We Collided) are essentially indistinguishable to me. Tessa and Hardin fight and get back together countless times and not much else happens.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
I've been slowly rereading this book for months (since August I think), and I finally finished it this month. It was very needed this year when so many things were up in the year and I was trying to figure out what the heck I was doing. If you aren't familiar this book is about creativity in the broadest sense of the word and it's such a wonderful reminder of why we create and how to find and make joy in our lives every day.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
I finally started reading the Sarah J. Maas books. If you have been anywhere near book Instagram or Tik Tok, you've probably seen SJM books everywhere, I know I have. These came out when I was in college and wasn't really reading fiction and I just missed the boat. They have really mixed reviews, but their fans are Twilight levels of cray (which as a Twilight stan in high school, I appreciate). The books are sort of YA (but pretty steamy for YA) and high fantasy. I don't typically read high fantasy (if there's a map in the front, it's generally a no from me) because my brain struggles with keeping track of all the things, but this seemed relatively approachable and came so highly recommended that I decided to give it a try. This book follows Feyre when she accidentally shoots a wolf (who's actually a fairy) and then is taken into the fairylands. It's a Beauty and the Beast retelling. To me, it felt very much like there were two pretty distinct parts of the book. The first part of the book was kind of boring and I felt like it dragged on and then once we get into the second storyline (probably the last third of the book), I really enjoyed it.
After Ever Happy by Anna Todd ⭐️⭐️/5
The final book in the After series (well sort of, there's another book that's After from Hardin's perspective, but I will not be subjecting myself to that). I cried during this book, but honestly, I was reading this while listening to the brand new Taylor Swift album and I think that was the main cause ("champagne problems" is likely to make me weep 50% of the time I hear it). We finally get the conclusion to Tessa and Hardin's love story. I didn't love the way Todd jumped around through their future (it seemed kind of lazy), but I can't help but give a star for some character growth. But also can we talk about this title? What does it mean? I'm pretty sure those words, in that order, have no meaning.
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5
I'm officially a Taylor Jenkins Reid stan. I've loved every book I read from her. This book is not Evelyn Hugo's level of brilliant, but it's a phenomenal twist on a basic romance novel that I absolutely adored. Essentially, Hannah makes a choice on her first night back in LA that sends her life down two completely different paths. The book alternates chapters between each of those paths. It's almost like you get two different books in one and I loved them both. It also really resonated with the "moral" of the story (that feels cheesy to say, but it didn't feel cheesy at all in the book, I promise) and I was surprised by how comforted I felt by it.
The Stopover by T. L. Swan ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5
This book was a cute and steamy romance that was a perfect leisurely Saturday read. Months after a fantastic one night stand during an unexpected flight stopover, Emily finds herself working at her dream media company. There's only one problem. Her new boss, billionaire media mogul Jameson Miles is the man from her one night stand.
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
I feel like Colleen Hoover is one of the most popular romance authors of the moment (also people LOVED Verity), so all her new books are being constantly recommended. This book is about Tate, a nurse, who recently moved in with her brother, a pilot, in San Fransico. She starts up a friends with benefits situation with the man across the hall, who also happens to be one of her brother's best friends. But Miles (the man across the hall) has a dark secret in his past, you get where this is going. This book was so effing sad. I love a good book that makes me cry and it isn't particularly hard to do, but sometimes a book goes too far and starts to just feel emotionally manipulative and I don't love that. This book definitely veered in that direction. I stayed up to finish this book because I had to know what happened to Miles and I was crying so hard I couldn't breathe at 2 am. It was just maybe a little heavy-handed with the tragedy.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
One of my favorite podcasts, Bad on Paper, is often recommending Jasmine Guillory's books, but this is the first one I've tried. It was the perfect cute romance novel! Essentially, Alexa and Drew get trapped in an elevator together, and then Drew asks Alexa to be his fake girlfriend for a wedding he's attending the next day, and then romance ensues. It's predictable in the best ways and the main characters are both likable and compelling.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5
I read this book for the first time when I was 15. In fact, I was coerced into reading this book, in exchange for my best friend reading Twilight. I enjoyed it then, but I truly loved it now. I'm sure you know the basic premise. The Bennett sisters (all five of them) are all looking for husbands because if they don't get married before their father dies they'll be homeless. Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy, two wealthy bachelors, show up in town. However, Mr. Darcy is kind of an asshole and Elizabeth Bennett (the second eldest and the sassiest Bennett sister) is like I would literally never marry that man. It is perhaps the most iconic enemies to lovers story of all time and for good reason. Mr. Darcy proves himself to be the best sort of guy (aka someone who is able to take criticism and make himself better). Lizzie is sharp and witty. I'm not sure if I missed the humor the first time, or if I just don't remember, but this book is also hilarious. I was chuckling the whole way through. As I tend to do with classic novels, I listened as I read. I listened to Jennifer Ehle (who played Elizabeth in the 1995 miniseries adaptation) read the novel aloud. It was a little more chaotic than your typical audiobook, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5
I read the next book in the ACOTAR series also this month. This book was long (the first was 140,000 and this one was 202,000). It picks up with Feyre a couple of months after the first book and she's not doing so hot. We're quickly moved into the bargain she made with Rhysand, where she has to spend a week a month with him (this book is a retelling of Persephone and Hades if you didn't catch that). Things spiral pretty quickly. I found once again I had to drag myself through the first 400 pages of this book, but then I truly enjoyed the last 200 pages. It's not like I hated the first chunk of the book, but I feel like it takes a long time to get invested in the relationships. When I read YA fantasy/romance, I want to be invested pretty quickly and I just don't find that to be the case for these. Will I continue reading? Of course! I've got to know what happens next.