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
2022 releases: 6
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.