The Christmas Song Book Tag

On the twenty fourth day of Christmas, a book blogger gave to me… The Christmas Song Book Tag!

  • “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”: Name a villainous character you can’t help but love

He’s not necessarily a villain, but he is apart of an enemies-to-lovers couple which I love. Charlie from Book Lovers was one of my favorites enemies-to-lovers this year. I really loved his banter with Nora and they were one of my favorite couples of the year.

  • “All I Want for Christmas is You”: Which book do you hope to see under your Christmas tree?

This book definitely isn’t coming on time for Christmas, but it is a book that I am excited to receive in 2023. Recently, I pre-ordered the Fairyloot edition of Crescent City which feature exclusive covers and artwork of the characters. I am am very excited to have these as a part of my collection!

  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”: Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves

One character that overcomes obstacles is Fiona St. James, a former child actor from Birds of California by Katie Cotugno. Fiona’s experience in the industry caused her to dislike something which she loved so much. However, in the book, readers get to see Fiona discover her love of acting again, even if it isn’t on the screen.

  • “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”: Which character would be on the nice list and which character would be on the naughty list?

For this question, I am going to go with the book Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca. This book made one of my least favorite love interests ever to reappear, Daniel from Well Played. He would definitely be on the naughty list because he still hasn’t grown from the book where he first appeared in the series and still takes no accountability for the terrible actions he did in Well Played. I will give the character on the nice list to Dex, the main love interest of Well Traveled. Dex has a huge reputation as a conceited player, but readers get to see a different side of him in this story.

  • “Frosty the Snowman”: Which book melts your heart?

One book that melted my heart this year Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood. This was the perfect cute, fun romance and I really enjoyed Bee and Levi as a couple. This book helped me get out of a reading slump in 2022 because I enjoyed reading it so much!

  • “Feliz Navidid”: A book that takes place in a different country than your own

This isn’t a real place, but it is a place that I wish I could visit… Terrasen from Throne of Glass! After finishing Throne of Glass, I wish I could see what Terrasen has become since the end of the novel.

  • “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Which holiday themed book do you use to spread Christmas joy?

and

  • “Sleigh Ride”: Which fictional characters would you spend the holiday with?

One holiday themed book that I enjoyed this year was A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. As a result, I would love to spend the holiday with Colton Wheeler from A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. Colton loves Christmas and likes to share holiday experiences with the important people in his life. I love how much of a family the members of the Bromance Book Club are even though they aren’t related, so I think they would be a fun group to hang out with around the holidays.

  • Baby It’s Cold Outside”: Which book that you didn’t like would you not mind sacrificing to a fire to keep yourself warm?

I don’t necessarily think this book should be thrown in a fire, but my lowest rated book of the year would have to be Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter. I found the main character and plot to be extremely immature. I didn’t like how the main character making very ridiculous decisions was portrayed as humorous. I am not a fan of romances that read a lot younger, but seem to be aged up to include more intimate scenes, which this book unfortunately did.

  • “Do You Hear What I Hear?”: Which book do you think everyone should read?

One book that I read this year which I would recommend to other people is Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez. I am a huge fan of her books, but I don’t see them talked about as much online.

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Off-Campus by Elle Kennedy (Spoiler Free!) Series Review

Off-Campus was a little off from five stars for me.

The Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy is a four-part companion series which follows four different girls as they develop relationships with four college hockey team members who live together in one house. For my review, I will focus on the four main books in the series: The Deal, The Mistake, The Score, and The Goal. There is an additional novella, The Legacy, which occurs after the events of the first four novels.

The Deal focuses on Hannah Wells, who tutors Garret Graham, the hockey team captain. The Mistake centers on Grace Ivers who has a second chance romance with John Logan after a quick encounter with the hockey player during her freshman year. The Score follows Allie Hayes who has a rebound relationship with Dean Di Laurentis, the team’s most notorious player off the ice. Finally, The Goal concludes with Sabrina James, who unexpectedly becomes pregnant with hockey player John Tucker’s baby.

The Off-Campus series is popular in the sport romance sphere of the BookTok community. If someone is looking for a hockey romance book, the Off-Campus series is usually recommended. Overall, the Off-Campus series isn’t my favorite and I find the books tend to go downhill as the series go on. However, I am not in the book target audience as the characters in this book are in college, so I may have enjoyed these books more if I were younger.

Some issues I had with the Off-Campus book were the pacing and plots of the books. These tended to be inconsistent throughout the series. As a whole, however, I found myself picking these books up and putting them down again and again. For some of the books in the series, I needed to check them out from the library multiple times to finish them. For some of the stories, I found the plots to consist of a string of events that didn’t necessarily build on each other or relate to each other but only cute moments between the characters. While I do enjoy reading cute moments between love interests, they don’t carry the story for me, which is why I struggled to get through some of the books in this series.

Another aspect of these books which were slightly off-putting were some of the cringeworthy scenes and dialogue. I find this to be especially true as the series progresses. Additionally, I found some of the content in this book to be dated. On one hand, contemporary books will date themselves with references to pop culture. However, this wasn’t the biggest drawback to me. A lot of the tropes used in this book are very of the time, which is around 2016. Some of the phrases or tropes used in these books aren’t the healthiest, or they have been done so many times and this iteration didn’t offer anything unique or different to me.

Overall, my feelings towards the Off-Campus is “meh.” I don’t see myself picking up another book in the series or rereading any of the books that I already have read.

Books on my Library TBR

Recently, I have found myself requesting more and more books on the virtual branch on my library. Here are a few of my most recent requests:

  • Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle

In 2021, I read Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle and enjoyed it. I was interesting in reading more books by her and I was excited to see that she was releasing a Christmas book this year. As a result, I suggested this book to my virtual library. In the beginning of December, I was placed on the waitlist for this book and just a few days ago I got the notification that it was my turn to check it out!

That being said, I am a little nervous for this read based on the synopsis. Just Like Magic follows Bettie Hughes, a former rich girl who accidentally encounters Hall, a Christmas spirit, after she plays a Christmas song. However, the happier she becomes with Hall, the quicker he will leave. Based on the summary, I think this book could be really cute or it could lean too gimmicky.

  • Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade

I have read both of the previous books in the Spoiler Alert contemporary romance series. Overall, this series has just been average for me. However, since I have read the two previous book and I noticed the third book in my virtual library, I decided to request a hold for this book. From the description, Ship Wrecked seems to be a second-chance romance for two actors who previously had a fling, but are now forced to work together on a new project. While I am interested in rounding out the series, I hope this book doesn’t become a DNF for me in 2023 just because I am not super invested in the series.

  • The American Roommate Experience by Elena Armas

This book isn’t technically available on my library, but I have suggested it in hopes that it will appear in the library. However, if it doesn’t, I may end up purchasing it for my Kindle. The Spanish Love Experiment wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m always interested in reading other books by an author, even if I didn’t like the first book that I read by them. The American Roommate Experiment follows Rosie, who quits her job to pursue her career as an author. Rosie stays at a friend’s place which she must share with her friend’s cousin.

What books are on your library TBR?

Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca Review

Well Traveled isn’t my most well loved book in the Well Met companion series.

Well Traveled is the fourth book in the Well Met contemporary romance companion series by Jen DeLuca. The Well Met series follows four different women as they fall in love at a renaissance faire. The fourth book, Well Traveled, follows Louisa “Lulu” Malone, the cousin of a character from the last installment in the series, after she quits her job. As a break, her cousin suggests that she follows the Dueling Kilts, a band who plays at renaissance faires, on the road during the summer. At first, Lulu can’t imagine herself taking a break, let alone a break traveling to renaissance faires, but she soon finds some unexpected love for the faires and Dex, a member of the band.

Disclaimer:

Before I go into my review, I would like to include a disclaimer. Usually in contemporary romance companion series, it isn’t necessary to read the previous books because each installment can stand on its own. Well Traveled, however, contains major spoilers for the second book of the series, Well Played. I would definitely recommend at least reading Well Played in this series if you are interested in reading Well Traveled, as some of the plot in that book is heavily referenced in this book. As a result, in my review, there may be spoilers for the Well Played. I include a SPOILER notice before I include them in my review.

Review:

Overall, Well Traveled isn’t my least favorite book in the series, but it isn’t my favorite book in the series either. There are some aspects of this book that I think fans of the series will enjoy, but other aspects which I feel missed the mark. When I first saw the synopsis of this book, I was excited. I wasn’t expecting another installment in the series, but I was interested in the direction that this book would take. I did enjoy Lulu’s character in the previous book of this series and I was interested in learning more about Dex, who has appeared in multiple books in the series. That being said, I didn’t get the depth that I wanted in either of their characters. Consequently, their relationship felt flat and unmemorable for me.

One of my biggest issues with this book is that it barely scratches the surface on Lulu and Dex as characters. DeLuca did try to give each character an interesting backstory. Lulu, like Mitch in the previous book, comes from a very judgmental and critical family. Lulu constantly pushes herself to succeed, and as a result, lost who she really is in the process. On the other hand, Dex is never taken seriously by his family and his contributions are often overlooked. But… that’s all we get as readers, repeated over and over again. Even though the characters make changes in their lives by the end of the novel, I felt like I didn’t see a lot of progression, especially concerning Dex’s character in this book. This is one book where I really wished that I could have more than one point of view.

I had similar feelings towards the romance in this book. Lulu and Dex say they like each other, but I don’t see a deep emotional connection like I have with other contemporary romances. Since I didn’t really know them as characters, I didn’t feel as invested in their relationship and I didn’t fully buy into their love story. I didn’t really get why they were so interested in the other person. Like with their backstories, a lot of information is repeated over and over: they know their relationship can’t go beyond the summer, but they like each other so much. Even though there is a resolution to these issues, I didn’t find it to be very realistic.

I have discussed repetitiveness quite a few times in this review and I have found this to seep into other parts of the novel as well. As I mentioned, this book heavily references the second book in the series. Well Played was definitely my least favorite book in the series, so I really didn’t like having to see it rehashed multiple times in this book. There were also several lines in this book repeated over and over again so many times that they lost their humor. The plot itself lended to these issues as well since the characters are packing up and going to a new renaissance faire every week. As a result, it didn’t seem like the plot was moving forward to me.

Another aspect which I think contributed to these issues was that this book was the most far removed from the original series. This book does not primarily take place at the renaissance faire featured in the earlier books. While this book does feature some previous characters, Stacey and Daniel (from Well Played) as well as the Dueling Kilts, they are not the favorites among the series. Additionally, Lulu’s family is a large component of her backstory, but they aren’t really present throughout the novel which takes away from the tension surrounding that part of her story.

My biggest problem with this book, however, were the references to Well Played, the second book in the series.

SPOILERS BELOW

At the end of Well Played, I could not believe that Stacey and Daniel were together after everything he did in that novel. He is a huge red flag for me, which was even more apparent in Well Traveled. Despite everything Daniel did, he continues to blame Dex for his actions. Even more alarming, Stacey started to blame Dex for all these actions too. Additionally, Daniel is a major reason for all the drama at the end surrounding Lulu and Dex because of inaccurate statements that he makes.

On one hand, I really did like that Lulu called Stacey and Daniel out on what they said. I feel like Stacey and Daniel’s romance wasn’t really challenged that much in their original story. At the same time, this made me dislike Stacey and Daniel even more as a couple. After you read a romance book, you want to love them as a couple and see them together forever as a couple, especially if you see them in later installments as a series. While I understand Stacey and Daniel would be a part of this story due to their connection to the Dueling Kilts, I wish this aspect of the story was handled differently.

END OF SPOILERS

Overall, I just wanted more from this book. For me, the characters and the plot fell flat because they weren’t given thee depth that they needed. While it isn’t my least favorite in the series, it isn’t my favorite either. I give Well Traveled 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Most Read Authors in 2022

As 2022 comes to close, I like to reflect on some of my reading stats. One of my favorite reading stats to look at is my most read authors of the year. It is always interesting to see which authors I picked up again and again. This year, my list wasn’t too surprising. I read some series, both contemporary and fantasy, so I expected to see the authors of those series on the list. Here are my most read authors of 2022 from least to most book read:

5. Julia Quinn (2 books)

After the first couple of months of the year, I got into a reading slump. I needed a quick and easy read to get me back into reading. The second season of Bridgerton came out around this time, so I decided to read one of the books in the series. As a result, I reread the third book in the Bridgerton series, An Offer from a Gentleman. I did get into a reading slump a little later in the year and I decided to read this again. An Offer From a Gentleman isn’t my favorite romance book and I think the Benedict in the show is a better character than the one in the books, but it did help me get out of two reading slumps this year.

Books Read: An Offer from a Gentleman (read 2x)

4. Sara Desai (3 books)

I saw Sara Desai’s book on my virtual library and I was instantly drawn to the beautiful covers. These books were easy-to-read and enjoyable contemporary books. I really liked Sara Desai’s writing style and I can definitely see myself picking up more books by her in the future.

Books Read: The Singles Table, The Dating Plan, The Marriage Game

3. Ali Hazelwood (1 book, 3 novellas)

I wasn’t a huge fan of The Love Hypothesis last year, but I decided to pick up Ali Hazelwood’s novellas to see if I would like her other works. After reading three novellas and one novel by Hazelwood this year, she does have a very formulaic writing style with similar plots and characters. That being said, I did enjoy the novellas and her novel released this year, Love on the Brain, more than the first book I read by her because I thought they were a little more quickly paced.

Books Read: Under One Roof, Stuck With You, Below Zero, Love on the Brain

2. Elle Kennedy (5 books)

The Off-Campus and Briar U series are ones that I see recommended a lot for sports romances. Unfortunately for me, this series was hit-or-miss with a lot more misses. Especially as the series went on, the plots were not very strong and they became very repetitive. I tried to read the next book in the second series after The Chase, but no matter how many times I checked it out of the library, I just couldn’t get through it.

Books Read: The Deal, The Goal, The Score, The Mistake, The Chase

1. Sarah J. Maas (11 books)

It definitely didn’t surprise me to see Sarah J. Maas at the top of my list. I read all of the books in the Throne of Glass series this year except for the first one as well as both books in the Crescent City series. Additionally, I did start rereading the ACOTAR series this year. As a result, I read many of her books during the 2023 year. At first, I wasn’t really interested in reading Throne of Glass or Crescent City. I read the first book of Throne of Glass and I wasn’t that motivated to continue in the series and Crescent City didn’t really seem up my alley. However, I am really glad that I gave both series a chance because I did end up liking both of them.

Books Read: House of Earth and Blood, House of Sky and Breath, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Assassin’s Blade, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn, Kingdom of Ash

Who were some of your most read authors in 2022?

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez Review

I wish I could be part of this book’s world!

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez follows doctor Alexis Montgomery when she travels to a small town after leaving her abusive ex. There, she meets carpenter Daniel Grant who also runs a small bed and breakfast in town. While Alexis grows closer to Daniel, she also suffers enormous pressure from her parents, who want her to follow in their famous surgeon footsteps and reunite with her ex.

Part of Your World is Abby Jimenez’s first book outside of The Friend Zone companion series. I have only read one book in that series, Life’s Too Short, which is a third and final book. In Life’s Too Short, I enjoyed the depth that Jimenez gave her characters and found myself invested in their relationship. That being said, I did find the book to drag in some places throughout the story. Similar to Life’s Too Short, I enjoyed the main two love interests in the novel. Unlike Life’s Too Short, I did not have issues with pacing.

Typically, I am not a huge from of the “from two different worlds” trope. I find often in this trope that one of the love interests must compromise more than the other.. Additionally, there may be other factors which lead to a power imbalance between the couple, such as wealth. While the characters were from “different worlds,” I found them to be evenly balanced. At the end of the story, each characters ends up where they want and need to be. Additionally, both love interests help the other love interest to grow. While Alexis comes from a wealthy family, she lacks skills to be independent and fully separate from her ex. On the other hand, Daniel is self-sufficient and thoughtful, but doesn’t realize his full potential. Alexis helps Daniel with his business and Daniel helps Alexis develop more practical skills. As a result, Alexis and Daniel work as a couple, even though they are from “different words.”

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the realistic story. Sometimes, I find the obstacles that stop a couple in a book to be unrealistic or just thrown in to cause drama. However, all of the obstacles which Alexis and Daniel face are reasonable for their storyline and characters. Recently, I have enjoyed romances where every scene builds on the previous scene and the interactions between the main characters challenge the other’s idea of love as opposed to a collection of cute scenes or situations where the main characters interact. All of the scenes between Alexis and Daniel were cute, but also purposeful, which kept me invested in the book and helped the book move at a good pace.

Overall, Part of Your World was an enjoyable read for me. Since I have read two books by Abby Jimenez that I have loved, I definitely look forward to her next release in 2023, which is a companion novel to this book. I give Part of Your World five out of five stars.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

When it comes to this book, I am a book lover.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry follows ruthless literary agent Nora Stephens when she agrees to spend time in a small North Carolina town with her sister. During her trip, Nora runs into Charlie Lastra, a book editor whom she despises from New York City. However, as Nora and Charlie continue to cross paths, they begin to question their initial dislike of each other. Book Lovers is Emily Henry’s third book and recently won the Goodreads’ Choice Award for Romance 2022.

My experiences with Emily Henry’s book have been mostly positive. Overall, she has a solid writing style, perfect length, excellent pasting. That being said, I do think her books can be divided into two different sets. Beach Read, her first book, has a much different vibe than her second book, The People We Meet on Vacation. Beach Read has some darker themes. The book itself questions the difference between women’s fiction and romance, so it doesn’t truly fit into either of those genres. The People We Meet on Vacation is a much lighter read which is firmly in the romance genre.

As a result, I have seen readers split over Emily Henry’s most recent release. Book Lovers has a more similar feel To The People We Meet on Vacation as it fits more firmly in the romance genre. As someone who preferred The People We Meet on Vacation to Beach Read, I really enjoyed Book Lovers. However, if you are looking for a story more similar to Beach Read, or if you didn’t enjoy The People We Meet on Vacation, then Book Lovers may not be your favorite by this author.

One aspect of Book Lovers that I really enjoyed was the main character, Nora. I knew Book Lovers was going to be one of my favorite characters just by the first chapter. Nora’s voice comes through clearly in the first chapter of the book. Usually, a first chapter talking about who a character is rather than dropping the reader into the middle of the action can be boring. However, I found this not to be the case with Nora. The first chapter gave me a good sense of who Nora is, and how this will impact her potential romance later on, which made me invested in her story.

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the romance. Out of the love interests that I’ve read in books by Emily Henry, Charlie would have to be my favorite. I loved the banter that occurred between Nora and Charlie throughout the novel. I enjoyed seeing how their personalities complimented each other. Also, I liked how the ending in the book brought a full circle moment for Nora to make the novel feel complete. When I was reading this book, I kept thinking about how well Nora and Charlie suited each other. In a romance book, I like to see how the love interests’ actions challenge each other’s ideas about love and prove them wrong. These aspects of the book made me feel like Nora and Charlie would last long off the page, so I was invested in their relationship and its success.

Overall, Book Lovers was a well-paced book with strong writing, interesting characters, and a fun romance. Book Lovers contains a lot of depth, so you become attached to the characters and their relationship. As a result, Book Lovers is in my top five favorite books of 2022. I give it five out of five stars.

The Brittany Awards 2022: Favorite Books of 2022

Welcome to the 2022 Brittany Awards! The Brittany Awards are my end-of-year awards where I talk about my favorite (and sometimes least favorite!) books of the year as well as other bookish topics. The 2022 awards will use the following categories: favorite book covers, least favorite books, favorite books, and my favorite book reviews that I wrote during this year.

This week, I will be discussing some of my leas favorite books of the year. These books were not necessarily published in 2022, but they are from books that I read during the 2022 year. To see my other Brittany Awards posts this year, click the links below.

Now onto my favorite books of the year, in no particular order (any book with a review will be linked to the book’s title):

A Very Merry Bromance was an unexpected five star read for me. Overall, the Bromance Book Club series was average to me with a couple of misses. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the latest installment in the series. Gretchen and Colton are probably my favorite couple from the series. Their interactions were fun to read. Their backstories and interactions with their families made their actions made them realistic and believable characters. I found myself rooting for them as a couple throughout the novel and they fit so well together that I believed that they could last long after their story ended on the page.This was the perfect book to read around Christmas.

I started the Throne of Glass series a few years ago, but I didn’t finish the series until this year. One of my big motivating factors was that I heard there may be potential crossovers of all the characters in series by Maas, so I wanted to make sure I read all of her books before her next release, which is yet to be announced. I’m really glad that I decided to finish this series because the arcs of the characters are some of my favorite from recent books that I’ve read. I read from the second book on pretty much back-to-back because I had to see how the series played out. I haven’t stayed up late because I just had to read the next chapter in a long time, but I did this on multiple occasions with this series.

I had read Emily Henry’s two other books prior to this. I really liked The People We Meet on vacation, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Beach Read. As a result, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Book Lovers. Needless to say, I absolutely loved Book Lovers and I knew it would end up on my favorites list after only reading the first chapter. Nora and Charlie suited each other so well and I love when I can imagine a relationship lasting long after the story ends.

I was not a huge fan of The Love Hypothesis, which was Ali Hazelwood’s first full length novel, so I was apprehensive to read her next novel because I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not. Prior to reading this book, I also read her novellas which were only average for me. Love on the Brain wasn’t technically the perfect book, but it was perfect for me at the time I read it. I was in the middle of a huge reading slump and Love on the Brain was the perfect fun, contemporary read. I really enjoyed reading this book!

The first Crescent City book was an unexpected favorite for me. I had put off reading the first book in the series because even though I typically enjoy Sarah J. Maas books, the plot did not sound like something that I would enjoy and I was worried about the setting, which is very different from her other works. My favorite part about the first book in this series is how everything wraps up at the end. There were many full circle moments which made the long book worth it in the end. That being said, I was slightly disappointed by the second book in this series, which is why it did not end up on my favorites list.

What were some of your favorite books in 2022?

Crescent City Series Review

The Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas follows Bryce Quinlan, a party girl who investigates the murder of her best friend. However, Bryce quickly learns that murder is more dark and twisted than she could have imagined. Currently, there are two books released in the series, A House of Earth and Blood and A House of Sky and Breath. A third book in the series is currently planned, but there is currently no release date.

The Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas marked a new “era” by the author for me. Crescent City is the first series by the author to initially be labeled as adult (A Court of Thorns and Roses was originally placed in the YA category). Additionally, it is her first fantasy that leans more towards urban fantasy, as the world also contains a more modern city-like setting with technology. While The Court of Thorns and Roses series was considerably more sexually explicit and contained more graphic violence than Throne of Glass, despite still being labeled as YA. However, the first book in the series wasn’t as graphic as the later novels. Compared to the other series by Maas, Crescent City literally starts right off with these elements. That being said, I think the Crescent City series is a natural next read for people who enjoyed the A Court of Thorns and Roses series or readers new to Maas who are looking for an adult fantasy romance book.

Both A House of Earth and Blood as well as A House of Sky and Breath contain many elements that are typically found in novels by Maas, although the setting is different than her previous works. The pacing, the characters, and some of the fantasy elements/tropes/plots used within this series were similar to those in other works by the author. As a result, if you like Maas as an author, then you will probably enjoy this series as well. However, if you are not a fan as Maas as an author, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy this series either.

Like her other previous works, Maas contains a lot of world building at the beginning of the novel, which can be overwhelming. While this world building is always necessary, as it usually comes back around at the end of the story, it can be tedious for readers who want the plot to pick up quickly. The books in the Crescent City are also much longer than the first books in the other series by Maas. For comparison, these books are similar in page length to A Kingdom of Ash, the final book in the Throne of Glass series. As a result, there are a lot of people, places, and structures to keep track of as you are reading. Similarly, at the end of the books, it is exciting to see all of the plots come together. At the same time, there is so much action packed into the last 200 pages that it can be hard to keep straight.

One element of this book that made me wary was the setting since it was so different than other books by Maas. However, I really do enjoy the setting of the Crescent City and I think it really suits the characters who occupy the world in which it takes place. I think it also helped differentiate Crescent City from Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses which have settings that are more similar to each other.

Similar to the other works by Maas, there is an interesting and likable cast of characters. That being said, there are some characters that don’t stick out to me in the Crescent City and so I am not as attached to them as other side characters in other novels by Maas. For example, at the end of the second book in the ACOTAR series, I was fully invested in all members of the Inner Circle and Feyre’s sisters. At the end of the second book in the Crescent City series, there are some side characters, like some of Ruhn’s roommates or some of Bryce’s “inner circle” where there history is not as revealed, as I feel like I don’t know them as well. That being said, I do really like Bryce as a main character and I feel like she is different enough than Feyre or Aelin to stand out as her own main character.

Like Throne of Glass, the cast of characters is used to show many different points of views. However, I feel like this was done a little more effectively in Throne of Glass and it wasn’t even perfect in Throne of Glass. As I mentioned previously, I feel like I’m not fully invested in all of the characters in this series yet, so I kept wishing for the story to go back to Bryce’s point of view. In Throne of Glass I felt motivated to keep reading because every chapter ended in a cliffhanger and I couldn’t wait to get back to that person’s point of view. However, that wasn’t the case when I was reading this series, especially in A House of Sky and Breath.

Another aspect of this book that I’m not completely sold on is the romance. I like Bryce and Hunt, the main love interest, well enough. I didn’t dislike them as a couple by any means and I think they suit each other well. That being said, Hunt isn’t my favorite love interest that Maas has written. I think many of his character traits are picked from other love interests that have appeared throughout novels by Maas, so he doesn’t stand out as much to me. I actually found myself a little more invested in another male character in the book, Ruhn, and his potential love interests. As a result, the romance in this book isn’t necessarily a drawback for me, but I have liked other couples more in books that I have read by Maas.

Overall, I enjoyed both books in the Crescent City series, even though I wouldn’t consider them my favorite books by the author. That being said, I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series to see how it continues. I give the first two books in this series an average of 4 stars.

Midnights (Taylor Swift) Book Tag

Maroon – King of Battle and Blood

As we get closer to the most important midnight of the year, I thought it would be a great time to complete the Midnights (Taylor Swift) Book Tag! The original creator of this tag is Star is All Booked Up.

  • Lavender Haze – A book you will always love and defend

One book that I will always love is The Hunger Games. I have seen many TikToks recently showing clips of the series and it reminds me of how much I loved that series when I first read it. I recently saw some pictures of the movie for A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and I can’t wait to see another story set in the Hunger Games world.

  • Maroon – A spicy book

Scarlett St. Clair is known to be an author who heaving leans into the romance aspect of fantasy romance. I hadn’t read a book by her before this year, but I wasn’t surprised at the level of romance when I read King of Battle and Blood.

  • Anti Hero – An undesirable narrator

Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter was one of my least favorite books of the year, mostly due to the narrator, Olivia. The main character was one of my pet peeves with some adult romances: “main characters who are extremely immature, selfish, and awful but their actions as passed off as quirky or laughable. As a result, I did not find Olivia to be a likable or even tolerable narrator.

  • Snow on the Beach – An unexpected surprise
You’re Own Your Own Kid – Birds of California

For me, Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood (see my review here) was an unexpected surprise. I wasn’t a huge fan of her first novel, The Love Hypothesis, and I was iffy on the novellas that she realized earlier this year. However, Love on the Brain was an easy and fun book to read and it makes me want to read what Ali Hazelwood releases next.

  • You’re On Your Own Kid- A narrator who really needs a hug

Birds of California follows Fiona, a former child star with a rocky past in the tabloids, who the network wants to convince to join a revival of her past successful television show. Fiona’s past has made her closed off to other people and to despise something that she once loved. For that, I think she just needs someone else in her corner.

  • Midnight Rain – Star-crossed lovers

I am going to go with the second book in the Crescent City series for this one. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but one of the prophecies given in this novel is that the love interest of one character will result in terrible consequences for the other.

  • Question – Grumpy x sunshine
Snow on the Beach – Love on the Brain

My most recent grumpy.sunshine read was A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. It evens refers to the trope in the book! Usually in books, the male character is the grump character. However, this wasn’t the case for A Very Merry Bromance, so it was nice to see the roles reversed. This book has everything I wanted a from a grumpy x sunshine book: fun banter between the two main characters and main characters who challenge each other.

  • Vigilante Sh** – Favorite character out for revenge

I finished the Throne of Glass series this year, so Aelin definitely has to be my favorite character out for revenge. Aelin never forgets when someone hurts her or a friend and she always fights for the people who she loves. I saw someone say on TikTok that Midnights is basically an album written for Aelin, so many of these songs could describe her!

  • Bejeweled -Strong character development

In the first book of the Bellinger sisters series, Fox is a flirt who doesn’t take much seriously. In the second book in the series titled Hook, Line, and Sinker, Fox still maintains his charm, but strives to be taken more seriously in his profession and as a romantic partner. This helped him because a strong romantic lead in Hook, Line and Sinker, and it was nice to see a character in a contemporary novel grow from one book to the next.

  • Labyrinth – Second chance romance
Midnight Rain – House of Sky and Breath.

This isn’t necessarily a “second chance romance,” but the two main characters do get a second chance to interact after bad first impressions. Book Lovers by Emily Henry was one of my favorite books of the year, largely due to the two main characters. Nora and Charlie were the perfect fit for each other and I loved reading their banter back and forth.

  • Karma – Favorite full circle moment or parallel

Crescent City is full of full circle moments and parallels. There are so many clues dropped throughout the book that come together for an epic ending to the first book. I can’t wait to reread this book to see all of the clues that I missed the first time around.

  • Sweet Nothing – Favorite cozy/fluffy read

This isn’t my favorite cozy/fluffy read, but I’m currently reading Icebreaker by Hannah Grace. I was initially interested in this book because it was recommended as a fun, cute read. I’m hoping that I enjoy it!

  • Mastermind – Perfect world building and storytelling

For perfect world building, I have to go with Sarah J. Maas. When she revealed all of the worlds in her book were slightly connected, I went down the rabbit hole of theories which could connect them together. Even on their own, each series has so many layers, characters, and plots that create worlds which feel so real!

What book do you think pairs well with a Taylor Swift song?