Wrap Up: January 2022

January was a long month and yet it went incredibly quickly! COVID was rampant here in NYC and I had more exposures than I’d like to admit, yet somehow remained healthy! (Knock on wood) (I thank my booster shot I received in early December.) It was a busy month at times, and a quiet month at times. We just had a blizzard over the weekend with a foot of snow and let me tell you – I hate snow.

I wrote a January TBR post – how did I do? I read 5 books of the 7 on my TBR – and I’m currently reading 1 of them (A River Enchanted) so I call this a huge success!

In January, I read 14 books total and DNF-ed 3 books. Nobody is more shocked than I am at how much I read! I have no idea how I read 14 books, and got through 50% or more of 3 books before DNF-ing them. That’s a lot of reading! I did read a lot of short novellas and graphic novels this month, which really helped my motivation.

I also read a lot of really good books, 4 or 5 star reads, this month. DNF-ing has helped me tremendously. It’s one of my 2022 goals and so far, I’m on track.

If We Were Villains – Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★

Have I already read one of my favorite books of 2022? Quite possibly. I saw this book on a lot of Best of 2021 lists and with very good reason. I’m so happy this was my first book of 2022!

I went into this one not really knowing much, and I’ve found that usually works best for me and I enjoy books a lot that way. So my suggestion is, go into this one just knowing its worth the hype and it will F— YOU UP.

I loved the suspense of this. The pacing is truly perfect, I was never bored and never felt there was a dull moment. I loved learning about the past more than the present, but at the end when the present catches up to us, ohhhh boy, it catches up in a good way. That ending though, that ending! I love endings like this.

Tuck Everlasting – Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★

I first read Tuck Everlasting in middle school, I must’ve been like, 10 years old? And somehow, 20+ years later, this story always stuck with me. I own a tattered paperback copy. And I decided I wanted to start off 2022 with an audiobook reread of it to see how adult me would feel about it.

I still love this story and its message. You should live your life. Change is inevitable. Growing up and growing older happens to all of us. And all you can do is enjoy the journey, which the Tucks never got to do. Sweet story and I’m glad I let myself reread this.

Super Hot Wingman – Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★

This book had me at Teddy Hamilton and Jacob Morgan narrating it. This was a fabulous prequel and now I can’t wait to read (listen to) the actual book! This was a quick read and has me eager for more. I’m dyinggg and waiting 2 weeks for the book to come out is going to kill me!

Highly recommend the audio for this one, currently free to listen to on YouTube & SoundCloud.

The Starless Sea – Audiobook – 2/5 ★★☆☆☆

I’m honestly not sure what I just read. I didn’t like it. I didn’t dislike it, which is why I finished it. But I can’t say I “liked” it, which is why its only getting 2 stars. I was curious to see where this story went. 

I knew going into this it was going to be a very weird book and I was proven correct. The writing is beautiful, I just wish I appreciated or followed along better. I can see why some people love this and why others hate this. I’m proud of myself for FINALLY reading this book and being able to say I have read it. Truthfully, I think I’m done with Erin Morgenstern’s writing. It’s just not for me as a reader.

Electric Idol – Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★

If you’re looking for a steamy romance with marriage of convenience and enemies to lovers, this is the story for you. Psyche and Eros aren’t friends – they are barely acquaintances. But when Eros shows up to a party limping and covered in blood, Psyche is quick to help patch him up. When they’re seen together, the rumors start to fly of their so called “relationship” and Eros mother, Aphrodite, tells Eros to bring her Psyche’s heart on a platter. Instead, he decides the only way to protect this innocent young woman is to marry her. He either has to kill her or marry her and he goes with marry – and she agrees.

I really enjoyed this story and I couldn’t stop listening to it – its addictive! I’m already looking forward to the next book in this series.

Vinyl Moon – Audiobook – 3.5/5 ★★★☆☆

This is a short yet intense book. Vinyl Moon is about Angel, a teenage girl who is forced to move from her home in California to live with her uncle in Brooklyn. She arrives in Brooklyn with her arm in a sling, but we don’t know what happened.

I loved the way this was told, usually in short moments lasting only a few pages, and sometimes in poems. It made this story easy to digest in small snippets.

Teen Titans: Raven – Graphic Novel – 4/5 ★★★★☆

I originally read this in August 2019 and decided to reread. I still love this one, even the second time around! I didn’t remember much of it so I’m glad I let myself reread it in preparation for finally reading Beast Boy! If you loved the Teen Titans animated show like I did, you’ll enjoy this one 🙂

I absolutely LOVED this artwork – I need more of Gabriel Picolo’s artwork PLEASE! I loved the style and the coloring of each page – perfection.

A Dowry of Blood – Audiobook – 4.5/5 ★★★★☆

This book was….weird, to say the least, but I also loved it? This is the book I didn’t know I needed, but I needed it and I loved it. It’s vampires and queer af and passionate.

This is a quick story and once I started, I couldn’t put it down. We learn about Constanta and her adjusting to being a vampire. Soon Dracula finds another consort to add to his harem, Magdalena. The two women become sisters, rivals, and lovers along with Dracula. This is an odd type of found family story.

Many years later Dracula decides to bring Alexi into their “family”, a young actor, and I love seeing how their dynamic changes once again. There is a M/F/F/M polyam relationship by the end of this book, with all characters being bisexual as well. There is plenty of bloodshed and death and sex in this book, as one might expect from a vampire novel.

An Encore of Roses – Novella – 4/5 ★★★★☆

(I was debating if I should count this in my “read” books for this month, but Goodreads counts it, so SO DO IT. YOLO.)

I finished A Dowry of Blood and discovered this short novella epilogue set in present time told from Alexi’s POV. We don’t get to hear much from him in ADOB, so it was nice to see him thriving as an actor in NYC in present time. I loved the reunion between him, Constanta, and Magdalena. It was nice to see what they’ve been getting up to all those years~

It’s not necessary to read this, but I felt it was a nice little addition to the ADOB world.

Cold The Night, Fast The Wolves – Audiobook – DNF @ 63%

The beginning of this book is incredibly slow and nothing feels like it really happens. If nothing happens in the first 50% of your book, I’m sorry but thats too long for me to care anymore.

Sena has to be one of the most unlikeable, annoying MC’s I’ve ever met. I don’t feel anything for her, I don’t feel sorry for her. Everyone has the right to grieve in their own way, but her mentioning the death of her moms, 5 years prior to the present time, every moment possible really annoyed me.

I’m so sad I didn’t enjoy this one as I hoped I would, but I would like to read whatever Meg Long writes next!

When You Get The Chance – Audiobook – 4/5 ★★★★☆

Apparently this is a “retelling” of Mamma Mia, but I have never seen it and don’t even know the plot, so I can’t really comment on that – but honestly, you don’t need to know Mamma Mia to appreciate this story line.

I loved Millie as a character, she’s so fun and strong willed. She knows who she is and what she wants – she’s bold and not afraid to make a scene – she does want to be an actress, after all.

This story is a love letter to New York City, as Teddy is super into geocaching and drags Millie all around NYC. It’s a love letter to Broadway, as Millie mentions so many shows, some actually currently on Broadway and others not currently playing in real life, but shows nonetheless. It’s about family and how they would do anything for you and to protect you.

The Ravens – Audiobook – 3.5/5 ★★★☆☆

Kappa Rho Nu is a different kind of sorority – these ladies aren’t just sisters, but they’re also witches. I loved that this book is set in college – it’s still technically young adult, there’s nothing “new adult” about this one, but I always appreciate stories set in college.

This book has magic, but it all moves pretty quickly so there is no long drawn out chapters with them learning or practicing, which I actually appreciated. We’ve all see our share of witch shows or read witch books, we don’t need all the little details to understand what is going on. The Ravens is fast paced and once you start, you need to know how it’ll end.

The Reckless Kind – Audiobook – DNF @ 72%

I came here for the disabled and queer rep and left sorely disappointed. The rep? Fantastic! The story? Has zero plot. I’m 72% into this story and there is basically no plot. WHAT EVEN IS THE POINT?! If you’re here for characters going from point A to point B and doing daily life things, then sure, this story is great! But I’m here for a STORY. A PLOT. SOMETHING. ANYTHING! I love historical fiction but this was just so boring and tedious.

It’s 2022 and I’m not bothering to finish anymore books that I know I’m going to rate 1 or 2 stars and I don’t care how they end.

Ain’t Burned All The Bright – Graphic Novel/Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★

Ain’t Burned All The Bright is a visual story of a Black young adult living through the COVID-19 pandemic. “TOO SOON” you might be thinking – but no, its really, really not. We’re in January 2022 of an ongoing pandemic, and its not too soon for an author like Reynolds to share his poetry about this topic with the world.

It touches on subjects we can all relate to. Our mother not changing the channel, the news saying the same depressing news over and over and over. Someone we know contracting COVID. Masks. The lack of masks. Protests. Staying inside. The stress. The anxiety. All of it, rolled into one book.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Jason Reynolds has a way with words and I don’t know how he does it, but I’m so glad he does.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy – Graphic Novel – 4/5 ★★★★☆

I grew up watching the Teen Titans animated series, thats where my knowledge of them comes from. Reading this origin story about Gar aka Beast Boy was fantastic! I loved seeing where he came from and how he became ~the~ Beast Boy.

I love Gabriel Picolo’s artwork SO much, that’s what truly makes me love this one and the previous volume, Raven. You don’t need to have read Raven to read this, technically, but I would recommend reading it first.

Hot British Boyfriend – Audiobook – DNF @ 54%

This was a 2021 release I didn’t quite get to last year and I was eager to read, but once I started this I found the MC Ellie veryyyy annoying. This reads as a lower YA book. Sometimes I think YA romance might not be for me anymore, but I have read some recently that I enjoyed, so I do still enjoy the genre, this one was just not it.

It’s fluffy and cute, Ellie just feels younger than her 17-years in this. I know, I was a teenage girl once too and I KNOW I was annoying. I just don’t feel like reading about it.This book is very cringe-y and second hand embarrassment for me, if you can push past that, this isn’t bad.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven – Graphic Novel – 4/5 ★★★★☆

This is another fun and quick storyline. I absolutely adore this artwork and I love that its all in full color! Gabriel Picolo’s artwork is -chefs kiss- one of the top reasons I love this series.

Gar (Beast Boy) and Raven finally meet up! And its exciting! Its a little cheesy but I had a lot of fun with this – I didn’t realize the series would continue, but with the introduction of Damian (Robin) and another character who I won’t name because (spoilers), I’m curious to see what happens next! Count me along for the ride.

Media:

TV: I finally started watching The Witcher Season 2! I also watched The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf prior to starting S2 because it was recommend to do so, and I’m soooo glad I did. The history and background of Witchers made me appreciate S2 Episode 2 especially all the more. I have never read the books or played the games (yet) so I only know what the Netflix show has told me.

I also started watching Peacemaker on HBO Max. I’m 3 episodes in so far, and it’s alright. I don’t love it and I don’t hate it but I think I will continue to watch it. Peacemaker wasn’t my favorite character from The Suicide Squad so its interesting they chose to make a show about him… but as a Harley Quinn stan, I feel like I need to keep up with the DC Universe.

Movies: I saw Belle (竜とそばかすの姫, Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime, literally “The Dragon and The Freckled Princess”) on January 18th. I saw it promoted at AnimeNYC back in November and figured I’d give it a try.

….and. It was ok. It was fine. But truthfully, I can’t say I liked it. The music was great, I’d be curious to hear it in English as well (I saw Japanese subbed) but overall, I didn’t really like the plot. Felt very Ready Play One, which I know, virtual reality isn’t a new concept and isn’t trademarked, but it just gave me those vibes. Maybe it’s because I don’t watch anime anymore but I just wasn’t feeling this one sadly.

Broadway: I started off January right – you get one guess what I saw first.

If you’ve been following along and said Freestyle Love Supreme, you’d be right! I started off January 1st by seeing Freestyle Love Supreme.

And then on Sunday, January 2nd, I saw it twice – 4pm and 8pm shows – because these were their last shows on Broadway! I’m so sad, I’ve loved this show so much and I’m going to miss it – but, it’s going on tour! Highly recommend checking out Freestyle Love Supreme if they’re coming to a city near you – or check out their documentary on Hulu called ‘We Are Freestyle Love Supreme’.

On January 5th, I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child again! I won the Friday Forty lottery so how could I refuse a cheap lottery ticket?! I sat in orchestra this time, although the very back, but was able to move up to an empty seat during intermission (thanks to a kind usher!) and it was nice to see the show slightly closer than I had before. I’m still not in love with the single part, and honestly don’t plan to see it again anytime soon unless an understudy I want to see is on in a lead role, or I win lottery tickets again!

I told myself I was going to take a break from Broadway for a few weeks, but I forgot I entered the lottery for Moulin Rouge and on January 14th, I won! I haven’t seen Moulin Rouge since January 2020 (just before the pandemic started) and it was incredible to see this show again. Oh my goodness I forgot how much I love this show! The stage! The decorations! The costumes! The music! I forgot all the song mashups they did so despite seeing it previously, parts of it felt brand new again!

My friend won the lottery for Come From Away and invited me, so on January 25th, I took my second “trip” to Gander, Newfoundland on Broadway. Since I had seen it before and already knew the story and music I could appreciate it all the more. It’s a great show and I do recommend it! AND the lottery tickets were literally front row – you do miss some of the action towards the back of the stage but I didn’t mind.

How was your month? Do anything fun?
Read or watch anything you highly recommend?

Let me know!

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4 thoughts on “Wrap Up: January 2022

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