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January 2023 | Wrap Up

I know I know… I said no more wrap-ups in a previous post because it’s a difficult post to make time wise but I’m doing better now so I want to bring these back!

Happy New Year!

I think I started this year pretty well! I read in total 16 books and 27 manga. I’m still in a huge small-town romance mood and I’m so okay with it! I’m having the time of my life reading all these different books. I do hope to also read some fantasy this year, so wish me luck.

So let’s get started!

Puppy Love by Tsuchida Haru – 3 stars ✨ This manga was a really good choice for my first read of the year. It was fluffy and cute. Everything I needed to start the year. I had so much fun reading it. This was so adorable! I wish we got to know just a bit more about the characters tho, but oh well what do you expect from a manga with 6 chapters… The artwork is lovely and it is such a cute story with a cute puppy starting in the main role. If you like low-angst romantic BL manga then this is one for you. It is an enjoyable story and definitely, one to re-read and hold onto when cheering up is needed.

Meet Me Halfway by Lilian T. James – 4 stars ✨I really enjoyed Meet Me Halfway. It was a vulnerable, beautiful story of a mother doing the best she could. Madison had a problematic past and would stop at nothing to give her son a great life.
Madison and Garrett were amazing. They had such a strong dislike for each other. Due to them both making assumptions about each other. And once they finally saw who they were, the build-up to their eventual romantic relationship was everything. He fit so well. And I think what helped with his relationship was Jamie. Jamie was very protective of his mother, and he made sure to take time to bond with him. I don’t know a better man.

By a Thread by Lucy Score – 5 stars ✨This book had everything I want in a romance: a sassy, non-damsel heroine and a hero with soft boi vibes (I am a complete sucker for assholes covering up soft, warm centers). Don’t let the office romance aspect dissuade you (it’s obviously a common, but controversial trope in romance b/c power dynamics and whatnot), this is not ~in my experience~ a conventional office romance.

Kamisama Kiss Vol.1 by Julietta Suzuki – 5 stars ✨I’m so happy to finally be reading the manga for one of my all-time favorite animes. I decided it was time to start this since I was missing Tomoe too much. I’m glad to say that the anime and the manga are quite similar and give out the same emotions. The only small negative thing I have to say is you can tell how old it is by the art style (not to say the art style is bad) but still this doesn’t ruin my reading experience. Can’t wait to continue.

Given Vol. 1 by Natsuki Kizu – 4 stars ✨I’m sick and I thought what better to read than given. I already know the story since I’ve seen the anime and the volumes aren’t a lot. I have to say I’m so glad I watched the anime first because I already know all the songs by heart. If I had read the manga first I don’t think the story would have had the same impact on me. Anyway, I had a lot of fun and I can’t wait to read more…

Beautifully Broken Pieces (Sutter Lake #1) by Catherine Cowles – 4 stars ✨ Catherine Cowles is a new-to-me author that I have been wanting to read for a while, and I’m so excited that I finally dove in! Her writing is easy and natural, and I was utterly swept up in this beautifully emotional small-town romance. The story of a broken woman searching for peace, and finding it in the arms of a man still battling with his own grief from the past. With a touch of drama and suspense, I was completely hooked and I loved it!

Beautifully Broken Life (Sutter Lake #2) by Catherine Cowles – 4.5 stars ✨After devouring the first book in this series, I couldn’t wait to dive into this one, and I read it in a day, unable to put it down. A beautifully emotional story of a woman running from her past, a rockstar hiding from his fame, and a sweet, sexy romance that completely stole my heart. I loved this one!

Given Vol. 2 by Natsuki Kizu – 4 stars ✨The second volume almost takes us up to the end of the anime. And ughhghgh I loved it. I don’t know what to say… this just about broke my heart. I think Given is definitely one of my favorite manga right now. I honestly love all the characters and the story, albeit quite sad, is so, so good. It deals with a pretty heavy topic but despite all of the hurting and melancholy there is also a shimmer of hope and I can’t wait to read the next volume.

Given Vol. 3 by Natsuki Kizu – 4 stars ✨I love these characters so much it’s ridiculous. It’s the cutest comic, and it’s amazing when you see how slow these two guys burn. I love Mafuyu and am learning more about his sad backstory, I love watching these characters’ relationships develop. I already knew what to expect because I watched the anime, but the manga just added a little more depth.

Given Vol. 4 by Natsuki Kizu – 4 stars ✨I am obsessed with this series. I’m back after watching an anime I really like. This reel is basically the whole movie, but it’s so good ahhh. This show is so gay and cute, I’m in love with it. This book tackles some of the tougher issues, and I’m heartbroken, but the themes of grief and longing are well done.

Given Vol. 5 by Natsuki Kizu – 4 stars ✨They are dating finallyyy!
Unexpectedly, it would become like this, timidly expecting Haruki to find someone else. You can see the difficulties you may encounter in the future, but I believe you will be able to overcome them. Also thumbs up for the adult relationships in this story!

Given Vol. 6 by Natsuki Kizu – 4.5 stars ✨First time watching the physical version, haha. Those chapters still give me goosebumps. I like Hiiragi and Jing very much. I’m obsessed with how intense and possessive Shizu is and how it’s just two idiots who are madly in love and think the other doesn’t love them.

In an entirely unpredictable switch of POV, Shizu is now my favorite character.

Given Vol. 7 by Natsuki Kizu – 4.5 stars ✨It’s just disheartening to see Ritsu and Mafuyu like that. They have to communicate!! But the problem is that they don’t know how they will approach the subject. It’s just that Mafuyu is being haunted by his past traumas and Yuki, and now he’s getting afraid to move even a single step. He’s afraid if he does something even in the slightest, it might be a mistake and the past will repeat itself. I just want to scream, boy, that’s the mistake right there. You’re running away again!

And Shizu is HOT OH BOY. The way that he owns that obsessed boy trope is like he’s so unhinged and exudes that “I would burn down the world for you” energy for Hiiragi UGH. PLEASE I NEED MORE OF THEM.

Beautifully Broken Spirit (Sutter Lake #3) by Catherine Cowles – 4.5 stars ✨The third book in the Sutter Lake series, is a gorgeously emotional best-friends-to-lovers story that, just like the first two books in the series, captivated me and stole my heart. From the moment we first saw Tuck and Jensen interact earlier in the series I suspected that there was more to their friendship – little glances and Tuck’s protectiveness over Jensen were fun little clues – so I was thrilled when I learned that they would get a book. I was right on board for their story. Tuck is the best friend of Walker (hero from book #1, and Jensen’s older brother). Jensen grew up with the two boys and became best friends with Tuck over the years, and he has practically become a member of their family. Jensen and Tuck have always had a special bond, he has been her support and protector for years, always there when she needed him, and he is just as present for her nine-year-old son, Noah.

Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapatareread – 4.5 ✨ Coming in at 580 pages, and well, being a Mariana Zapata book, you generally know how this is going to go. It’s a slow burn, in every sense of the phrase, and things move forward and backward as these two figure out what they are feeling and reconcile it with everything else in their lives. And even with such a large page count, I never felt like it was dragging or found myself getting bored. I enjoy the slow pace, as that to me is incredibly realistic and thoughtful. I love the small moments that are sprinkled in their daily lives as much as the grand giant moments that pop up when the time is right.

My Hero Academia Vol.1 by Kohei Horikoshi – 4 stars ✨ I finally decided on giving this manga a chance since I love anime so much! I was hesitant because I heard it’s a lot similar to the anime, meaning the adaptation is actually good. And I have to say I agree, I loved being back at the beginning of this incredible story and seeing how far the characters have come. I mean Deku and Bakugo’s relationship has had the most development and I’m so here so it. I’m not if I’m gonna continue yet, but It was a fun read.

Waiting for Spring Vol.1 by Anashin – 4 stars ✨I finally read volume 1 of this series and I have to say it’s pretty good. This whole story gave me Fruits Basket vibes as well as Lovesick Ellie. It’s super fun, cute, and easy to read. It’s light shojo romance and I’m here so that. I already ship Mizuki and Aya I think they are adorable. I think I’m gonna continue with this series but I have no idea when.

The Bribe (Calamity Montana #1) by Willa Nash – 4.5 stars ✨This is Devney Perry’s foray into romantic suspense with a new and shiny pseudonym, and I knew I would love it when I initially I read about this debut book in the Calamity, Montana series. I’m happy to say I was so very right. From the first crazy meeting to learning about all secrets that will slowly and eventually come along, this story has it all, especially an alpha and compassionate hero who goes after what he wants.

Beautifully Broken Control (Sutter Lake #4) by Catherine Cowles – 4.75 stars ✨The final in the Sutter Lake series, is a gorgeous story of two damaged people who are running from their pasts and come together in a sweet, chemistry-filled romance. I happily lost myself in this book, and it brings beautiful closure to the series, I loved it.

Attack on Titan Omnibus 3 by Hajime Isayama – 5 stars ✨

Volume 7: Eren fights the female Titan. Because of this, Eren is forced to go to the Military Police. That’s mostly it in this volume. Still really good though.

Well, this volume is full of action and speculation, and it’s left me feeling murderous. Sometimes someone just needs to die a slow and painful death, and when that doesn’t happen, emotions tend to run high. It’s also possible that I’m hangry, but either way, I have unresolved issues, so it’s on to Volume 8. Hopefully, this particular character gets what they deserve, and soon.

Volume 8: The truth behind the female Titan is revealed! And so, Eren fights her again! This volume marks the end of the first season of the anime.

This vol. is where season 1 of anime ended, so I didn’t expect to be surprised, because I’ve seen the first season, but boy was I wrong! This contained one chapter after the anime ended, and it was just so fucking mind-blowing. I don’t know why didn’t they make another episode with this last chapter (but I guess that I’m grateful that they didn’t, because what a cliffhanger would that be!).

Volume 9: And now we move into the second season of the anime! A strange-looking Titan that can talk (!!) kills the leader of a group of Survey Corps members. Then plans start being made, and Connie finds his hometown destroyed. A surprising volume indeed.

I am shooketh!! So many things happened in this volume and there were so many plot twists. I loved how this volume spent time giving a lot of the side characters backstories, especially Sasha. The beast titan was low-key really freaky (and I googled the beast titan just to double check that that was what it was called and I spoiled part of the story for myself…).

Beautifully Broken Redemption (Sutter Lake #5) by Catherine Cowles – 4.5 stars ✨Oh, what a beautiful story! A heartfelt and emotional marriage-of-convenience romance between two lonely people with traumatic histories, and a gorgeous story of a family coming together in very difficult circumstances. With a touch of suspense and well-developed drama, this is a fantastic read that had me captivated from start to finish. I was so thrilled when I learned that Catherine Cowles was heading back to her Sutter Lake series – I love these books, and though each can be read as a standalone, as a fan of the series, I loved catching up with these characters again.

Tattered (Lark Cove #1) by Devney Perry – 4 stars ✨ Tattered featured an incredibly strong single mom heroine unexpectedly reunited with the sexy but mysterious father of her child more than a decade after their one passionate night together. Watching them share a second chance at falling in love with each other, seeing how the hero tried so hard to be the best dad he could be for the daughter he’d only just found out about, and feeling how strongly the heroine supported her daughter through every new challenge they faced, and all that paired with beautiful writing really made this a truly wonderful read.

The Bluff (Calamity Montana #2) by Willa Nash – 4.75 stars ✨This story is a bit more emotional than the first book. Hux and Savannah love each other so much and being kept apart are taxing for both of them. The growing love between Everly and Hux is wonderful to watch as it blossoms when neither of them is looking. Everly has so much love to give and Hux are in need of all that love.

Attack on Titan Omnibus 4 by Hajime Isayama – 5 stars ✨ Volume 10: CRYING SCREAMING THROWING UP WHAT THE HECK DID I JUST READ?? I’m in actual shock and I need some time to process this. I can’t even say what I’m screaming about because it’ll be a massive spoiler asdjkhl

Volume 11: An epic battle starts off this volume. Mikasa for me is again the star of the volume, Armin also being quite touching.

Volume 12: Amazing, action-packed volume, and also really emotional. I loved the scene between Mikasa and Eren at the end (even though I still think that Eren is an annoying little shit, who doesn’t deserve Mikasa), it was nice to see Mikasa’s emotional side. Yet again, different relationships were developed. Ymir and Christa, and how they fight for each other, rather than for themselves. Bert and Reiner, and how they’d die trying to protect each other: the perfect warriors.

Hitorijime My Hero Vol. 1-12 by Memeko Arii – 4 stars ✨ A very sweet and funny story. It’s a love story between high school student Masahiro (Setti) Setagawa and his temp mathematics teacher Kousuke Oshiba. Unlike most ‘forbidden love’ stories involving schoolchildren and their teachers, this manga addresses the many issues involved and even delves into the question of whether we can simply condemn all such relationships as ‘BAD’ or whether it might depend on the individual and circumstances.

Haunting + Hunting Adeline (Cat and Mouse Duet #1 + #2) by H.D Carlton – 5 stars ✨ I’ve never read a stalker romance before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But when a few trusted romance reviewers began raving about Haunting Adeline, my interest was piqued. I mean, even I don’t mind a twisted love story every now and then, so why not give it a try? Well, Lord, have mercy on my soul, I feel so wrong admitting it, but I needed the stalker to get the girl. Zade (hot stalker man) is both an anti-hero and a hero. (Think Dexter but times his hotness by 1000.) He personifies goodness in a way not many men ever could, but he’s also a possessive asshole with aggressive tendencies.

I’m speechless. There are no words to describe just how good this book is. It’s a fucking masterpiece and I absolutely LOVED it.
I cried like a BABY (cause I am one 😃) reading this story and I’m crying AGAIN as I write this review simply because I don’t want to leave the characters.
The story between Zade and Addie is just as heartbreaking as it is healing. After everything Addie goes through, Zade never gives up on her no matter how much she pushes him away, he continuously fights for her. And while he knows he can’t fight the demons inside her own head, the ones who haunt her from her kidnapping and everything she experienced, he does every possible thing he can to help her.

The Brazen (Calamity Montana #3) by Willa Nash – 4.75 stars ✨ This is the third book in the Calamity Montana series and is the story of Calamity native, Kerrigan Hale. Kerrigan has appeared in the previous two books – she is the owner of houses that both of the previous heroines lived in – and she is completely dedicated to building her own business empire, to the exclusion of pretty much everything else in her life. She’s making great progress, a lot of it with the help of her business mentor and investor, but his sudden death brings her dreams crashing down around her when his businessman grandson comes to town demanding full payment on her loan.

The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy – reread – 4.5 stars ✨ This is the first book by Elle that I’ve read where it’s just her writing it. I’ll be honest, I’ve wanted to read some of Elle’s books since I found out that Erin Watt was a pseudonym for two authors, and recently on Booktok, Elle’s Off-Campus/Briar U series started to show up on my FYP all the time ranking the guys and showing mood boards, so I gave in (not that it took much) and bought an e-copy then I finished it today and ended up buying a physical copy because I love Garrett and Hannah’s story so much.

The Bully (Calamity Montana #4) by Willa Nash – 4.5 stars ✨ Devney Perry (writing as Willa Nash) takes us back to the town of Calamity, Montana for an emotional enemies-to-lovers romance with red-hot chemistry, sizzling passion, and a beautiful slow-burning love story. This story owned my heart, and I loved it so much.
We met Cal and Nellie in the last book of the series, The Brazen. Cal is the best friend of Pierce, the hero from The Brazen, and Nellie is a close friend of Piece’s and the VP of his company. The three of them attended their exclusive high school together, but while Cal and Pierce were there because their parents paid for them to be, Nellie was the recipient of a scholarship and was constantly looked down on by the other students. Cal was mostly the one who made her school life so hellish, and she has hated him ever since.

The Brawl (Calamity Montana #5) by Willa Nash – 4.5 stars ✨

Attack on Titan Omnibus 5 by Hajime Isayama – 5 stars ✨ Volume 13: The Squad Levi scenes where they’re all making house was a bit tone-deaf. I realize they can’t be fighting and running for their lives constantly but these scenes of “normal life” just were … weird. Trying to insert levity at this point in the story just seemed like a way to fill pages.

Volume 14: That was intense and not what I was expecting. This series never fails to be twisty and full of surprises. The series has definitely shifted to much more of a conflict between humans as opposed to a titan conflict, but I’m not too mad about it because it’s still really interesting and enjoyable. I loved how this volume made the lines between good and evil a little blurry. It gave me a lot to think about and at times I was even sick to my stomach because of some of the violence occurring from the “good” people. I can’t wait to read the next volume soon.

Volume 15: Who the hell is Eren’s father and why did he do it to Eren??? I have sooo many questions right now!
On the other hand, I liked Erwin’s risk-taking skills. Applause. ..
Is it me or do some characters need development? I feel like some of them look bland..
Anyway, I hope the storyline changed to action and got some explanations to its mysteries rather than dealing with politics and such.

How Was Your Reading Month?


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