Here’s everything I’ve read so far in 2024!

The 52 Book Challenge of 2024

Version 1.0.0

17. A Court of Silver Flames

The fifth installment in the ACOTAR series – this time about Nesta.

  • Author: Sarah J. Maas
  • How I Read: Kindle
  • Category: Romantasy
  • Location: Night Court in Prythian
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

THOUGHTS

Nesta has become my favorite character, so I was really excited to get to this novel and read more about her. I’m pretty sure she’s my favorite because the way she responds to things is definitely how I tend to respond to things (anger before sadness), and I enjoyed watching her heal and find her footing. I almost think this could’ve been two books with slightly different edits but I’m not mad about getting a ginormous read.

Also, yeah, this is the book where everything gets very, very smutty. But it a fun way!

16. The House with the Golden Door

Sequel to The Wolf Den, so no spoilers here!

  • Author: Elodie Harper
  • How I Read: Paperback
  • Category: Historical Fiction
  • Location: Ancient Pompeii
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

THOUGHTS

Man, this was SUCH a rough read. Rough as in I absolutely loved it but also felt deeply anxious for Amara for literally the entire novel. She was in such survival mode in the first book, it’s like she finally had some semblance of mild security and she let a lot of her logic fall the way side and let her heart take over. Which isn’t bad but still you just knew nothing was going to go well and when the cards finally fell, it was so hard to see.

I will say I feel like I barely registered Philos as a character in the first book but he was such so, so lovely in the second. It’s nice to see Amara not only experience love but sex where she actually enjoys herself. I’m still absolutely furious with Victoria but she’s also a victim of like a million different abuses so the real villain will always be fuckin’ Felix. Also, Britannica is, of course, iconic.

A Court of Frost and Starlight

15. A Court of Frost and Starlight

More of a novella in the ACOTAR series – kind of a cozy read!

  • Author: Sarah J. Maas
  • How I Read: Kindle
  • Category: Romantasy
  • Location: Velaris in the Night Court
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

THOUGHTS

If the first three books are more of a trilogy and A Court of Silver Flames is a standalone Nesta book, ACOFAS acts more like a bridge between them. It’s pretty short and takes place around Winter Solstice so has all sorts of cozy, wintry, festive holiday vibes.

I did think it was interesting how she kept Rhys and Feyre’s first person POV and then did some third person POVs with some other characters. I’m not sure I would’ve kept it that way but I’m also three and a half books deep in this series so I also don’t really care.

Also, I don’t know if anyone else noticed it, but I swear most of Rhys’s POV was him being beyond horny. Like damn.

14. Funny Story

What happens when Daphne has to move in with her ex-fiancé’s new fiancé’s ex-boyfriend…

  • Author: Emily Henry
  • How I Read: Physical Book
  • Category: Romantic Comedy
  • Location: Fictional Waning Bay, MI
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

THOUGHTS

I make it no secret on this blog that I freakin’ love an Emily Henry book. She’s a master at combining plot, romance, witty dialogue, world building, and real life challenges into one, sweet story that’ll have you wanting to move to her fictional towns. I feel like I have to re-read her other novels to fully decide where Funny Story falls but I’d definitely have to say it’s near the top.

Daphne’s journey feels so real and heartbreaking and I love that the underlying lesson she learns is to not let a romantic partner absorb her whole life. Miles is sweet and feels real – like I feel like I’ve met many Miles in my life (and all of them, naturally, were taken and/or definitely not interested in me lol). I just love this story and this world and I wish I could send that one scene with Ashleigh to every friend that has abandoned me for boyfriends!!

A Court of Wings and Ruin

13. A Court of Wings and Ruin

The third book in the ACOTAR series, so not spoiling anything here.

  • Author: Sarah J Maas
  • How I Read: Kindle
  • Category: Romantasy
  • Location: Prythian – All Over
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

THOUGHTS

A lot of people describe ACOTAR as kind of a trilogy with a bonus novella and then a stand alone novel after that, so I see ACOWAR as kind of the end of the first three novels. I actually can’t believe how much is packed into this novel – like we start with Feyre in the Spring Court and end with the great war against Hybern. SO MUCH HAPPENS.

I was doing pretty good about reading it steadily and then one day I just sat down to read and found myself spending that whole day finishing it. Just know the romance is definitely on the chaste side so, again, if you’re looking for faerie smut, this ain’t it. But I really loved the whole story and the build up to the war as well as the war. Heart in throat for the entire war section

The Wolf Den

12. the Wolf Den

The harsh life of a slave in Ancient Pompeii’s brothel.

  • Author: Elodie Harper
  • How I Read: Physical Book
  • Category: Historical Fiction
  • Location: Ancient Pompeii
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

THOUGHTS

I really did not expect to be affected by this book as much as I was! It’s a very easy read but the subject matter is a lot. Harper does a really good job writing about it a way that isn’t overly graphic but still, it’s just a lot. I love Amara, the main character, and her perseverance in trying to improve her life anyway she can. I was hooked on how she navigated Ancient Pompeii.

Just a warning the last maybe fifty pages or so are HEARTBREAKING. I’m really intrigued to see how the next two books go but damn. I finished this one and just had to sit with it for a bit.

A Court of Mist and Fury

11. A Court of Mist and Fury

Sequel to ACOTAR – not going to spoil anything that book in this bit!

  • Author: Sarah J Maas
  • How I Read: Physical Book
  • Category: Romantasy
  • Location: Prythian – Night Court
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

THOUGHTS

PHEW! Everyone told me that if I actually enjoyed ACOTAR instead of seeing it as a world building first book, I would love ACOMAF. They were not wrong – I actually can’t believe this is a sequel. SO much happens and SO much is revealed, I don’t even want to write it down here in case someone reads this as a spoiler. If ACOTAR was all about the Spring Court, ACOMAF is all about the Night Court and its main players.

I also just take issue with people calling these books faerie smut. Trust the tension and the pay off is fantastic but I’d hardly call these books smutty, and I do think it does them a disservice! (Although maybe I’m speaking to soon lol). The book is 600+ pages and it honestly feels like a blip that’s how much happens and how well Maas can balance both the story’s pace, introducing new characters, build new worlds, and manage relationships.

Yes, there are some funny idiosyncrasies like the toilet or the way Lucien’s fake eye is always whirring, but honestly that just seems like nitpicking. If you need one more sign to get on the hype train, let this BE IT!

10. What the Mountains Remember

When Belle Newbold returns to the mountains for building of the now famous Grove Park Inn, she finds she must confront her past if she has any hope of finding a place in the future.

  • Author: Joy Callaway
  • How I Read: Paperback – Gifted ARC*
  • Category: 1900s Historical Fiction
  • Location: Asheville, NC
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

THOUGHTS

Joy Callaway actually messaged me on Instagram to see if I wanted to read her latest book, and it just seemed like the most perfect timing! I’d literally just gotten back from Asheville, and if you know me, I love the artistry behind grand hotels and homes – especially historic ones.

The best way I can describe this book is sweet but not in an overly saccharine way. The real love story here is the creation of Grove Park Inn, which made a lot of sense when I read that Callaway grew up going here and still visits now. I enjoyed the way she wove details of its construction into the narrative, and now I need to return to Asheville so I can stay here and see its architecture for myself.

The story that surrounds Grove Park Inn is a sweet, very slow burn romance between Belle and her fiancé, Worth Delafield while she grapples with her and her mother’s secretive past in a world full of some of the richest men in America. She’s afraid of falling in love after seeing what it did to her mother after her father’s death so agrees through her stepfather to marry a man she barely knows. Only she actually does start falling for him when they finally meet in person. It’s just a very sweet romance that had grinning giddily by the end!

9. The Fox Wife

A mystery where the detective can tell when someone lies and the woman he’s trying to find isn’t want she seems.

  • Author: Yangsze Choo
  • How I Read: Audiobook – Spotify
  • Category: 1900s Historical Fiction
  • Location: Manchuria, 1908
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

Thoughts

I had no idea Choo had another book out until I went on Spotify to find something to listen to. I LOVED The Ghost Bride and The Night Tiger, so I immediately downloaded The Fox Wife. And, just like I loved the other two books, I loved this one. It’s a bit of a detective mystery set during the end of the Qing dynasty in 1908 Manchuria with a heavy dose of fox mythology woven in. The audio narrator also really captures the charm of Choo’s characters really well.

I would say my only wish is that it had a little more romance. Choo’s books are more story with a sprinkle of romance and this was a story with like the smallest pinch.

8. A Court of Thorns and Roses

When a mortal girl kills a Faerie, she gets drawn into their world.

Thoughts

Alright, y’all consider me buckled in for the ACOTAR journey! It’s legitimately taking everything in me to not speed my way through all the books. I’m here for this fantasy faerie world and the Spring Court sounds like my dream (or maybe nightmare depending on how allergies work). The memes on Tiktok are absolutely cracking me and while I don’t 100% see Rhysand’s appeal, Tamlin’s appeal definitely faded after the first half. 

Also I don’t what it says about me but Nesta is already my favorite sister, and I don’t think we’re supposed to totally like her yet. Lucien is my favorite over all, poor guy. 

7. If I Never Met You

What happens when your boyfriend uses your life for TV fodder?

Thoughts

Back to a Mhairi McFarlane book! This one is actually a bit more romance-y with the fake dating trope. Maybe it’s my age, but I feel like I know so many Lauries who had steady, long term relationships end out of the blue! Laurie and Jamie have really fun chemistry as they fake date their way to him getting a promotion at their law firm and her getting back at her idiotic ex (also at this law firm). 

6. The Weaver and the Witch Queen

When two childhood friends reunite to find one’s kidnapped sister.

  • Author: Genevieve Gornichec
  • How I Read: Libby – Audiobook
  • Category: Viking Age Historical Fiction
  • Location: Norway
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

Thoughts

Okay, so this tells the story of Oddny (fictional) and Gunnhild (Mother of Kings in Norwegian legends). Essentially they swear a blood oath with each other and Oddny’s sister, Signy, after a wise woman makes an ominous prophecy but no one knows which one. 

I was really into the story for maybe the first half and then I hit a wall. I felt like the pace just slowed to molasses and while I don’t mind both Oddny and Gunnhild’s romantic entanglements being a big part of the plot line, it just made the book feel unnecessarily long. It also kind of reads like YA, and I’m just not into YA. 

And, yes, the dialogue is pretty atrocious. And, yes, the trans character feels thrown in and highly unrealistic. And, yes, I was hoping this would be more of an epic to get Signy back than a muddling romance with a PG-rated pay off. Apparently the author’s first book is better, so I might give that a try some other time.

5. The Club

Three friends in the nineties create a video game that launches them into the big leagues.

  • Author: Ellery Lloyd
  • How I Read: Libby – Audiobook
  • Category: Murder Mystery
  • Location: Island in the UK
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

Thoughts

The Club is something like Soho House crossed with Fyre Festival crossed with White Lotus-esque murder mystery. I feel like it was a glitzy, frothy ride but not particularly memorable? Felt a bit cluttered with all the POVs and, again, hard to distinguish over audio sometimes. 

4. The Wife, the Mistress, & the Maid

What really happened to Joseph Crater? The answer might lie with the three women who knew him best.

  • Author: Ariel Lawhon
  • How I Read: Libby – Audiobook
  • Category: 1900s Historical Fiction
  • Location: New York City & Belgrade, ME
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

Thoughts

A fictional take on the real life disappearance of Joseph Crater, a lawyer who was also a New York Supreme Court justice in the 1920s. As the title suggests, it focuses on his wife, Stella, his mistress, Ritzi, and his maid, Maria, and how their lives intertwine in the lead up and fall out. 

I would recommend reading this one vs listening to it. I don’t know why but I keep mixing up the narrators, and because it’s a bit of a mystery, you need to really focus.

3. Between Us

What happens when your boyfriend uses your life for TV fodder?

Thoughts

If you can’t tell, Mhairi McFarlane has quickly gone into my “Would Literally Read Their Grocery List” list of authors. As I keep saying, her books are more fiction with a sprinkle of romance, and this one is no different. I would say this book tackles a few different things with its main lead, Roisin. The first is a relationship that’s gone on too long and might just have some gaslighting involved. The second is issues that face a friend group who may have bonded over something similar back in the day but are now drifting apart as they mature. And the third is addressing the way your parents’ dysfunction may be affecting your present day.  

All that’s to say it’s all tied in with a nice little friends-to-lovers romance, a group of friends where each one feels real, and McFarlane’s classic humor. If you like her other books, you’ll like this one too!

2. Windfallen

Two childhood friends and a bohemian house.

  • Author: Jojo Moyes
  • How I Read: Libby – Audiobook
  • Category: 1900s historical and modern fiction
  • Location: Merham, England
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

Thoughts

I downloaded this because I needed something to listen to while running. It was available and I generally like Jojo Moyes. As soon as I finished I had to look up when she wrote this and sure enough it’s definitely one of her earlier novels. Like it’s almost good and the writing talent is there but… the storytelling leaves a lot to be desired.

I literally can’t even remember the proper plot or how it ends. It’s a dual story, and I just remember the plot dragging and then just when it was getting somewhat juicy, the book cut to the present. Almost like two semi-complete books in one. I even think some of the plot points didn’t make sense at the end. IDK it was THAT forgettable.

1. Three Sisters, Three Queens

A fictional account of Margaret Tudor’s life.

  • Author: Philippa Gregory
  • How I Read: Audibook – Libby
  • Category: 1500s British Historical Fiction
  • Location: Scotland & England
  • Shop Local // Buy on Amazon

Thoughts

Please do me a favor. Next time I consider reading a Philippa Gregory book, tell me to not even bother. Especially where the Tudors are concerned. This book is sold as though it’s about Margaret Tudor (Queen of Scots), Mary Tudor (Queen of France/married Henry Cavill’s character from the show IRL), and Katherine of Aragon. You would think with a title that literally says “Three Sisters, Three Queens,” we’d be getting equal attention to ALL THREE WOMEN.

However, this is not the case. It’s all told from first person POV via Margaret, and my word does Gregory’s hatred against strong historical figures continue. She makes Margaret, who is such a badass IRL, sound either whiny, pettily jealous, or high off her own supply. It doesn’t help that this book goes on forever and she’s like this to the bitter end.

Someone please recommend a book about Margaret Tudor that’s actually good. And for that matter for Mary Tudor and Katherine of Aragon!!!

Please do me a favor. Next time I consider reading a Philippa Gregory book, tell me to not even bother. Especially where the Tudors are concerned. This book is sold as though it’s about Margaret Tudor (Queen of Scots), Mary Tudor (Queen of France/married Henry Cavill’s character from the show IRL), and Katherine of Aragon. You would think with a title that literally says “Three Sisters, Three Queens,” we’d be getting equal attention to ALL THREE WOMEN.

However, this is not the case. It’s all told from first person POV via Margaret, and my word does Gregory’s hatred against strong historical figures continue. She makes Margaret, who is such a badass IRL, sound either whiny, pettily jealous, or high off her own supply. It doesn’t help that this book goes on forever and she’s like this to the bitter end.

Someone please recommend a book about Margaret Tudor that’s actually good. And for that matter for Mary Tudor and Katherine of Aragon!!!

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