December Reading Wrap-Up

In December, I was lucky enough to discover two new 5-star reads, and also picked up several holiday romances. Let’s dive in!


Total books read: 8

Audiobooks: 2

ebooks: 1

#readmyowndamnbooks: 5

2022 releases: 6

Cursed Bunny: StoriesKiss Her Once for Me by Alison CochrunHow to Be Eaten by Maria AdelmannCaste by Isabel WilkersonYour Table Is Ready by Michael Cecchi-AzzolinaWindow Shopping by Tessa BaileyYou're a Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy JanovskyThe American Roommate Experiment (Spanish Love Deception, #2)


How to Be Eaten by Maria Adelmann (5 stars) – This ticked so many boxes for what I want in a book. It’s a modern-day retelling of fairytales through a feminist lens and using the device of a support group for women who have been through traumatic and public experiences. I love when books use old stories to shed light on relevant current issues, and I loved the dynamic between the complex female characters that comprise the support group.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (5 stars) – A nonfiction work that explores the history and current state of racism in the U.S. through the lens of caste that is powerful, informative, incredibly well-researched, and devastating. It’s a book that you immediately realize should be required reading in this country.

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung (4 stars) – This was one of those random indie bookstore finds that I ended up picking up much sooner than I thought I would. A lot of the initial appeal was based on the cover (I love bunnies in general; also, Bunny by Mona Awad is my favorite book of all time) but anytime I see a book of strange short stories I’m also drawn towards it. I found Chung’s writing to be overall quite strong, although my enjoyment of the stories themselves varied somewhat. The titular story was one of my favorites, and I liked the unsettling center at many of her tales.

Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey (4 stars) – I’m a year late to the party on this one, but I’m so glad I picked it up! This contemporary novella is possibly my new favorite holiday romance, and it’s a representation of the best of Tessa Bailey, an author I’ve had mixed results with in the past. It’s a good mix of spicy and sweet, with interesting main characters and a fun setting, and I read it while trapped inside during a massive blizzard. Definitely recommend!

The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas (4 stars) – Was this as good as The Spanish Love Deception? Not quite, speaking about the actual romance, but I still thoroughly enjoyed Armas’s writing style. Like Armas’s debut, I started this one very slowly, then binge-read the last half. Could this illustrate a pacing issue? Maybe, but I really don’t have any complaints about her style or the story; I just find these books very fun.

Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochran (3.5 stars) – Another holiday romance I picked up during the month. I was hoping to enjoy Kiss Her Once for Me more than this author’s debut, The Charm Offensive, that ended up on so many favorites lists but was just OK for me personally, but I think I ended up liking the two about the same amount. Neither are favorites; this one had some fun tropes, and I liked the family characters, but the miscommunication was extremely frustrating to read about.

Your Table is Ready by Michael Cecchi-Azzolina (3.5 stars) – An interesting memoir on audiobook about a man who spent his career as a fixture in the New York restaurant scene, working as a waiter and maitre d’. It’s an interesting read for foodies and fans of Anthony Bourdain-type culinary memoirs, and a very entertaining listen.

You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky (3 stars) – This was my second underwhelming contemporary romance audiobook from this author; I picked it up looking for a holiday romance on audio and had a much more difficult time than expected getting through it, because I kept falling asleep every time I pressed play. (I’m not kidding! I don’t mean that in a mean way; that’s actually what happened.) I liked the premise, and the main character’s journey, but the romance didn’t work as well as I’d have liked and the ending wasn’t my favorite.

Most-Read Authors of 2022

It’s time for one of my favorite stats to track–my most-read authors of the year. I started tracking this a few years ago, and continue to find it interesting.

Ali Hazelwood – I actually predicted my first-place author, with 4 books read, last year. I was, however, disappointed with the 3 novellas that put her into the #1 spot; they were too repetitive for me, and not nearly as strong as her longer works. Luckily, Love on the Brain redeemed Ali Hazelwood for me with a solid 4.5 star rating.

Under One Roof by Ali HazelwoodStuck with You by Ali HazelwoodBelow Zero by Ali HazelwoodLove on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Anita Kelly – In second place are 5 authors that I read 3 books each from. Anita Kelly is an author new to me, so I love that they were able to make it so high in the rankings and that I’ve discovered an author that writes excellent LGBTQIA+ romance. They have a new 2023 release coming out, but not a deep backlist, so probably won’t be making my list next year.

Love & Other Disasters by Anita KellySing Anyway by Anita KellyOur Favorite Songs by Anita Kelly

Katee Robert – 2 novels and 1 novella from her Dark Olympus series got Katee Robert into a solid spot on this list.

Electric Idol by Katee RobertStone Heart by Katee RobertWicked Beauty by Katee Robert

Juliette Cross – I loved that Cross had 2 new great installments in the Stay a Spell series come out this year; I liked her backlist PNR, Forged in Fire, much less.

Forged in Fire by Juliette CrossAlways Practice Safe Hex by Juliette CrossResting Witch Face by Juliette Cross

Skye Kilaen – a new-to-me author writing LGBTQIA+ contemporary romance novellas; I kept gravitating towards these feel-good reads throughout 2022.

Get It Right by Skye KilaenShake Things Up by Skye KilaenCheck Your Work by Skye Kilaen

Alexis Hall – Although the 2 new releases I read of his didn’t work for me as much as his older titles, he still makes this list with a re-read.

Boyfriend Material by Alexis HallHusband Material by Alexis HallParis Daillencourt Is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall

Elena Armas – I really enjoyed The Spanish Love Deception, enough to pick up her 2022 release The American Roommate Experiement, although both titles were slow to start for me.

The Spanish Love Deception by Elena ArmasThe American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas

Catherynne M. Valente – a past favorite author, I picked up 1 novella and 1 novelette in 2022.

The Past Is Red by Catherynne M. ValenteL'Esprit de L'Escalier by Catherynne M. Valente

Ilona Andrews – They’ve been a favorite of mine for many years, and I’m sad to see Catalina’s great trilogy end this year.

Fated Blades by Ilona AndrewsRuby Fever by Ilona Andrews

T. Kingfisher – I loved both books from this new-to-me SFF author, and am excited to discover more from her in the future.

Nettle & Bone by T. KingfisherThe Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

Tessa Bailey – I actually haven’t had the best history with Tessa Bailey, or at least a shaky one, but Window Shopping was a surprise hit for me at the very end of 2022.

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa BaileyWindow Shopping by Tessa Bailey

Julie Tieu – I ended up picking up 2 books from this new-to-me author after they were send to me by the publisher for review, and enjoyed both.

The Donut Trap by Julie TieuCircling Back To You by Julie Tieu

Timothy Janovsky – I rated both of these audiobooks 3 stars; both were somewhat entertaining but ultimately disappointing. I may still give him one more chance, though, because his 2023 release sounds interesting.

Never Been Kissed by Timothy JanovskyYou're a Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky


Predictions for Most-Read Author(s) of 2023 – Last year was easier to predict, since my most-read authors tend to be romance writers with either multiple new releases or a deep backlist. 2023 is more difficult, since only one of my favorite romance authors (Katee Robert) has multiple releases scheduled, and I’ve exhausted the backlists of a lot of the others. So this year’s most-read authors field is very much open–maybe it’ll be someone entirely new to me, or maybe I’ll make more progress on certain series than expected (I have a lot of books on my TBR that are next in series, but I suppose it’s possible that I’ll pick up more than one book in a series within a year).

Olivie Blake – I’ve only read one book from Blake previously, which ended up on my favorites list for 2021 (The Atlas Six), but now I have two of her 2022 releases already on my shelf and a 2023 release scheduled. She writes fantasy and has a very particular writing style, which I absolutely love but am not sure how much I can read of in a single year, but because she has 3 available books for me to pick up, she’s first up on my predictions list.

The Atlas Paradox (The Atlas, #2)Alone With You in the EtherOne for My Enemy

Rachel Harrison – I read and loved Cackle in 2022, and luckily this new-to-me (and local!) author has a new 2022 release and a backlist thriller for me to check out. I also enjoyed Cackle on audio, and found both of these available through my library’s Libby app, which makes reading them seem like an easy decision in 2023.

Such Sharp TeethThe Return

Katee Robert – As I mentioned, this is my only past favorite romance writer with more than one new release expected in 2023. Katee Robert is putting out 2 new installments in her Dark Olympus series, which I love and tend to devour as soon as the preorders hit my Kindle.

Radiant Sin (Dark Olympus, #4)Cruel Seduction (Dark Olympus, #5)

Jayci Lee – This one is a little out of left field, since I’ve never actually read any of Jayci Lee’s books. However, they all have premises that appeal to me, and I do love finding new-to-me romance authors with significant backlists. Is it possible that I dislike her writing and none of these will be finished in 2023? Sure, but I have a good feeling about her.

Booked on a Feeling (A Sweet Mess, #3)A Sweet Mess (A Sweet Mess, #1)

Tessa Dare – Yes, I barely read any historical romance in 2022 (4 in total). And yes, none of these were Tessa Dare books. But I still really like her, and since I’m a mood reader, you never know when I’ll be up for delving back into a past favorite, even if she’s been on the shelf for awhile (that was a historical romance pun).

A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2)Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4)Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1)