Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 New Authors of 2022

This week’s topic is top 5 new authors of 2022. This is seriously impossible to narrow down to five authors. I’ve read SO MANY new and new to me authors this year, and I loved so many of them. So, I’m just going to do the first five that catch my eye as I scroll through my Goodreads challenge for this year. Here we go with some of my favorite books by new (to me) authors! Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, and is now being hosted at Meeghan Reads!

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Bookish Smash or Pass Book Tag

I was so excited to get tagged in this fantastic book tag TWICE. So, thank you to Jordyn @ Birdie’s Book Nook and Julie @ One Book More for the tags. Be sure to check out their answers as well! This tag was created by Becky @ Becky’s Book Blog and was so much fun to do.

Bookish Tropes

SMASH. I love so many tropes, especially enemies to lovers, forced proximity, reluctant hero, chosen one, and found family. There are also a few that need to be done really well for me to enjoy them, such as love triangle, quest, and miscommunication, but I don’t outright hate any tropes.

Alternating POV

SMASH. I enjoy both single and alternating POV stories. Often, alternating POV creates a more interesting dynamic because it allows the reader to see the central conflict from multiple angles. The only time I don’t like it is when the story rehashes the same scenes over and over from different POVs. That gets repetitive and annoying pretty fast.

Ambiguous Endings

sort of SMASH. It really depends on if an ambiguous ending adds anything of value to the story. I can love a good ambiguous ending as long as the major story arcs get wrapped up in some way. I don’t need everything to be resolved perfectly to enjoy an ending. It allows me to use my imagination to fill in what might happen next.


sort of SMASH. I read mostly fiction, but I also do enjoy the occasional nonfiction book. I love learning new things, and this is a great way to do it. I mostly read history, psychology, LGBT, or politics when picking up a nonfiction book.

Historical Setting

SMASH. Books with a historical setting, whether fantasy or historical fiction, are some of my favorite things to read. I just find being in the head of someone who lived in the past a fascinating endeavor, even if it was written in the present.

Morally Grey Characters

SMASH. I love them. Give me ALL the chaos gremlins please. LOL.

First Person POV

mostly PASS. I was beginning to think I’d be smashing everything… I don’t hate first person, but it is definitely not my favorite. It can be done well, but I’ve found that it often is not.


SMASH. I listen to audiobooks all the time, often at 2X speed. It allows me to read while doing chores or driving, which has greatly increased my capacity for getting through books. There’s also something about a really great narrator that adds another dimension to a story.


SMASH. I don’t re-read books nearly as often as I’d like, but I do enjoy it. I think it might be one of my priorities for the coming year because I have a pretty large stack now that I’d love to get back to.

Classic Novels

PASS. I’ll read classic novels occasionally, but I often find them tedious. I’d much rather read something contemporary most of the time.


mostly PASS. I don’t usually take notes while reading. I consider marking up physical books an unforgivable SIN (jk… sort of), but I do occasionally highlight passages when I’m reading on my Kindle. I’d actually like to get in the habit of annotating a bit more (in a notebook obviously), but it just seems like a lot of work.

Cracking Book Spines

HARD PASS. Nope. Nope. Nope. I do everything I can to avoid this because I hate the way a cracked spine looks on my bookshelf.


SMASH. I love having erotic content included when it serves a purpose to further relationship-building and growth of intimacy between the characters. Although, I usually also enjoy it even if it’s gratuitous and there for no other reason than to be hot. lol.

Character Driven Books

SMASH. If I love the characters, I can sit and read about them doing nothing forever. I enjoy plot-based books too, but I enjoy reading about relationship dynamics and internal growth. So, I’m down for those types of stories as well.

Past/Present Split Timeline

SMASH. I almost always enjoy a good split timeline. It just adds an extra layer to the story, and I love when the split allows for extra mysteries, exciting reveals, or greater insights into the characters.

Heavy World-building

SMASH. This is one of the reasons that I love reading SFF. I enjoy being transported to new worlds/societies and getting to explore them through the eyes of the characters. I’m not a huge fan of info-dumps, but I really love organic world-building, even when the learning curve is pretty steep.


I tag the following bloggers to participate:

Anyone else who’d like to do it!

First Lines Fridays (61) – December 16, 2022

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!
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ARC Mini Review – External Forces

Hello, everyone! I’m slowly clearing out my backlog of ARCs from 2022. I’m not sure I’ll get to them all before the end of the year, but I’m going to try my best… The next one up is External Forces by Shannon Fay.

A mage for the British royals matches wits with a power-mad old foe in a beguiling novel of enchantments and daring by Shannon Fay, author of Innate Magic.

London, 1957. By crafting magical outfits for his friend, Princess Katherine, cloth mage Paul Gallagher is getting ahead. It’s not a seamless path. Not since the Virtuis Party came to power. The far-right faction is using criminals to create a protective barrier around England. The enchanted uniforms the prisoners wear may beget a demand for mages, but using luckless convicts as tools for warmongering reactionaries isn’t Paul’s dream for cloth magic.

His road to success takes an even darker turn when the unexpected death of a member of the royal family plunges the country into chaos. The Virtuis Party is rising, its mysterious puppet master is gaining control, and Paul and his allies are prepared to do anything to protect the princess, the throne, and ultimately, the soul of the country. That means falling back on the innate magic Paul dreads using again. It’s illegal, dangerous, and so potent it can raise the dead.

But as the fate of the entire nation hangs by a thread, dire times call for extreme magic.

***Thank you to 47North for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

This was such an improvement compared to the first book, Innate Magic. I liked the first book, but its meandering plot felt like it was going nowhere for most of the story. External Forces, on the other hand, had a fairly tight and engaging main story with incredibly high stakes. There was quite a bit of action in this book, and the violence and torture were graphic enough to make me squirm in my seat while reading. The story also deepened the world-building and provided a lot of interesting information about the magic system that makes me excited to see what comes next for this series. The alternate 1950’s Britain was still a fun setting, and it allowed for the exploration of some timely topics, including queer and women’s rights and the fight against fascism growing under the guise of ‘safety.’ The characters, especially Paul, seemed much more mature in this book compared to the first. Paul felt less like the stereotypical bisexual man and more well-rounded. He had to grapple with severe challenges to his morals and handled all the crises with a surprising amount of grace. He still made plenty of reckless, selfish choices too, though. I guess he wouldn’t be Paul without them. lol. One thing I love about this series is that it centers a bisexual man who primarily pursues long term relationships with women (at least during the time we’re with him on the page). This representation is sorely lacking, and it was nice to get a story where the bi guy ends up with a woman even if the romance felt a bit forced at times. Most, if not all, of the bi male rep I’ve read has the bi man experiencing a bi awakening and choosing to pursue relationships with men. So, it was a nice change of pace to have Paul confident in his identity from the beginning and not shy away from relationships with women in an effort to make the story ‘more queer’ because bi men in love with a woman are just as queer as gold star gays. ***Steps off soap box.*** The only other qualm I had with this book was the large time gap since the first book. It felt like so much character growth happened during that time, and I was a little let down we didn’t get to see it on the page. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and am curious to see where it goes next. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

ARC Review – In the Lives of Puppets

Hello, everyone! I’m very excited to be bringing you this review today. I started reading In the Lives of Puppets as soon as I was approved to receive it on NetGalley, and I couldn’t be more grateful to Tor for allowing me to read it early. I love everything I’ve read by TJ Klune, and this book was no exception. This will largely be spoiler-free ramblings about how much I loved the book. Consider yourself warned. lol.

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Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Books I Meant to Read in 2022

Hello, everyone! I’m actually participating in Top 5 Tuesday for TWO WEEKS IN A ROW. This is quite the accomplishment for my lazy self. lol. Meeghan is coming out of the gate swinging this month with the brutal topic first. I guess it is best to rip the bandaid off quick so we can move on to more happy year-end topics. 🙂 This week’s topic is top 5 books I meant to read in 2022. The actual answer is probably ALL OF THEM (or close to it), but I was able to pick out 5 that I’m disappointed the most about punting to 2023. Stay tuned after these five letdowns for a special treat that will hopefully lighten the mood! Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, and is now being hosted at Meeghan Reads!

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Audiobook Review – The Legend of Black Jack

Hello, everyone! Today I have another review. The author reached out and offered an audiobook copy of The Legend of Black Jack. I’ve never had a request that offered an audiobook before, and most of my audiobook listening is mood reading, which made it easy to slip into the line-up fairly quickly. So, I decided to accept the request even though I’m not currently open to review requests. It also didn’t hurt that I’ve seen some other bloggers rave about this book. 🙂

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