Back on Track – My December Reading Recap

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December was an interesting month for reading. It started off a little lackluster but I ended up enjoying everything I read by the end of the month.

In December I read:

  • Do Your Worst by Rosie Danan
  • Throne of The Fallen by Kerri Maniscalco
  • The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
  • A Study in Drowning by Ava Reed
  • Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Prefer to watch? That’s an option too.

Do Your Worst by Rosie Danan

Goodreads / Amazon

Sparks fly between an occult expert and a disgraced archeologist in this enemies-with-benefits story.

Riley Rhodes has the opportunity to turn her family’s gift for the supernatural into a legitimate business when she is hired to break the curse, on an infamous Scottish castle. Used to working alone, Riley is pleasantly surprised to meet a handsome stranger once she arrives – until he gets her fired.

Not far off from a professional scandal, Clark Edgeware cannot allow some self-proclaimed “curse breaker” to ruin his last hope of redemption. After he fails to get Riley kicked off the survey site, he vows to avoid her. Unluckily for him, Riley vows to get even.

Instead, Riley and Clark find themselves constantly around each other. And unfortunately for them, they fool around better than they fight.

Alright friends, I have to be honest. I did not like this one. I listened to the audiobook version and kept jotting notes down along the way and, here’s my rollercoaster of note-taking while listening to this book.

My notes while listening to the audiobook

I think my favorite comment is,


Notes aside, this book had the insta-love trope which I genuinely despise so I knew it would probably be downhill from that moment on. I was not wrong.

I wanted to like this book more than I did. Though I liked the fact that Clark falls first, I love that he has a cat, the smut was decent once the feelings got involved, and Clark and Riley became much more tolerable as the book went on.

However, the scene with Riley and the cat. WHY. Just WHY.

Where in the world is there a cat eating a fucking banana right now????

Anyway, I’d say this book gets a solid 3 out of 5 stars from me. There was a lot of nonsense but in between my growing hatred of this book, I did enjoy some parts.

Throne of The Fallen by Kerri Maniscalco

Goodreads / Amazon

The Prince of Envy takes the focus of this book. Prince Envy begins a dangerous game to save his court. He plans to do whatever it takes until he meets her.

Camilla Antonius has had her fair share of scoundrels while living in Waverly Green. So much so in fact, she is forced to enter a devil’s bargain with Envy, to avoid scandal.

Together, Envy and Camila begin a perilous journey to the Underworld, from glittering demon courts to the sultry vampire realm. All while trying to fall into the most dangerous trap of all: falling in love.

Dear Kerri Maniscalco,

The next book, which I very very very much hope is about Prince Pride, Lucia, and Vittoria. May I please have some plot with my smut?

Thank you very much.

  • C

Okay, so this book wasn’t bad. She was incredibly thick and had a lot going on. And while I think the author likes to think that “Adult” and “Erotica” are interchangeable, they are not.

However, I liked meeting Camila. She is feisty and holds her own. Especially against Envy.

This book did fail at making me like Envy though. My heart still belongs to Wrath. 🥹

And while I may complain about the smut, that throne scene at the end still makes me blush.

So overall, a solid 4 out of 5 stars from me. The bits of plot we did get were jam-packed, I just wanted more of it.

(Also, is this how others see Wrath? Because I get it now.)

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Goodreads / Amazon

Alessandra Stathos is tired of being overlooked so she has come up with a plan.

  1. Woo the Shadow King
  2. Marry the Shadow King
  3. Kill the Shadow King and take his Kingdom for herself

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s abilities. Some say he can command his shadows to do his bidding. Others say his shadows speak to him, the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless of the gossip, Alessandra is finally going to get what is hers.

But Alessandra is not the only one trying to kill the Shadow King. Despite attempts being made on his life, Alessandra finds her plans taking a back seat, to saving his life to keep her plan to become queen. Because after all, who better for a Shadow King than a Villainous Queen?

I loved this book. I’m just gonna say it. I don’t know what happened in my brain while I was reading this, but I loved it.

Alessandra is such a snarky, sarcastic, intelligent, and ambitious FMC. Our Shadow King, Kallias, is such a smart, soft cinnamon roll who should be protected at all costs.

Look at these little bb’s playing grown-up!

The way these two form a pact and then slowly fight their ever-growing feelings until literally everyone in the room knows, I can’t.

I primarily focused on the enemies-to-lovers aspect of this book.

There isn’t much in terms of world-building or even foreshadowing. (That plot twist needed more build-up imo)

And to be honest, there are aspects of this book that make little sense. I am all for sex positivity, especially in FMC’s. But I feel like Alessandra’s independence took away some of the more traditional aspects of the time.

Like her reputation is somehow well-known and she’s able to directly woo the King.

Lol okay.

That aside, this book gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me.

A Study in Drowning by Ava Reed

Goodreads / Amazon

Effy Sayre has always believed in fairy tales. Haunted by visions of the Fairy King since she was a little girl, she’s clung to her copy of Angharad by Emrys Myrddin as though her very life depended on it. The famous epic is about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King and then destroys him.

And when Myrddin passes away and his estate holds a contest to redesign the late author’s family home, Effy leaps at the opportunity.

Despite decrepit and water-logged Hiraeth Manor, Effy finds herself now stuck with an impossible task. While at the Manor, Effy meets the stuck-up Preston Heloury, a literature scholar determined to expose Myrddin as a fraud.

As the two rivals piece together the past, dark forces, both mortal and magic, conspire again them. And the truth may bring them both to ruination.

It took me two months to read this book.

I started it at the end of October and finished it towards the end of December.

And it is not a long book by any means. Rather, I just found myself not interested.

Effy is a girl who recites her phone call before she even dials. She apologizes when someone does something wrong to her. She shrinks herself to make those around her comfortable.

Effy is surrounded by sexist professors and peers, a mother who is more interested in her magazine than her daughter, and now the impossible task of redesigning Hiraeth Manor. Oh and dealing with Preston.

And I love Effy dearly. 💖

Then we have Preston.

The Roman Kitt to Divine Rivals Iris Winnow.

The soft, I don’t agree with you but I understand you. The let me take care of you. The I believe every word you say. The let me make sure no one hurts you ever again.

This book tackles heavy topics, and in my opinion, handles them well.

But wtf was that ending?

If this is a standalone, WHY DID YOU DO THAT AVA REED!?

This book is short, punchy, and to the point. It came, said what it had to say, and left.

And despite taking nearly two months to finish it, I genuinely enjoyed it.

So a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars from me.

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

Goodreads / Amazon

Thornhedge is the story of a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a soft-spoken knight, and a mission gone completely sideways.

There is a princess trapped in a tower, but this isn’t about her.

Rather this story is about Toadling. A girl who was stolen from her crib by faeries. Having grown up in the safe, warm waters of faerieland, she is now asked to perform a simple task.

Return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child.

It sounds simple, but nothing involving the fae is simple.

Centuries go by, and a knight shows up, curious about the towering wall of brambles. Where thorns are as large and sharp as swords. He’s heard there is a curse that needs breaking, but it’s a curse Toadling will prevent the breaking of.

I don’t have too many thoughts about this book. After not enjoying Nettle & Bone but hearing good things about T. Kingfisher, I decided to give her writing another try.

This book was so enjoyable. Short and entirely to the point.

Toadling is an interesting character. The child is a terrifying creature and I genuinely enjoyed the softness of the knight.

I don’t know if this story worked as a retelling. This book felt more like T.Kingfisher than it did a retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

I understand the elements, I just don’t think they worked as a retelling. This story was creepy at points where Sleeping Beauty is not.

That aside, it was a super short and concise story. I picked up a copy at Barnes and Noble and the cover is absolutely stunning.

With that being said, I’ll give this story 4 out of 5 stars. Quite enjoyable compared to Nettle & Bone but still not one I’ll think about often.

I almost feel like December was a month where I got my momentum back. November was hard because Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros put me into such a slump.

Then December rolled around an I was right back into the swing of things! Which feels really great.

Have you read any of these books?

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