Thanksgiving Book Tag (2023)

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the United States (and anywhere else you may be celebrating)! 🦃 I did this tag last year and thought it’d be fun to repeat with choices from books I’ve read this year. Thank you to Anna’s Book Nook for creating this tag!

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Give credit to the author (Annasbooknook)
  • Answer the prompts
  • Tag others if you desire!

The Questions

1) Friends and Family: A Book with Characters that Feel Like Family

Only This Beautiful Moment

Only This Beautiful Moment follows three generations of Iranian American men on the cusp of adulthood. I learned so much about Iran and what it means to be queer there from this book. By the end, I felt like part of their family, and this one is a huge contender for my favorite book of the year.

2) Fallen Leaves: A Book that Fell Flat (didn’t meet your expectations)

The Three-Body Problem was interesting, but the structure of the narrative just didn’t work for me. I was so excited to read it because of all the hype around the series, but I definitely won’t be reading the rest of the series.

3) Thanksgiving Dinner: A Book You Want to Read Every Year During This Season

I don’t re-read certain things by season, and I rarely re-read anything at all because there’s always so much great new stuff being released. I’ve been in the mood to re-read A Marvellous Light (and the other two books in the series), Jade City (and the other two books in the series), and The Darkness Outside Us. I have a special edition of the latter coming in the mail soon and plan to re-read it when I get it.

4) Turkey: A Book With a Bird in It

The Raven Boys and its sequels were the first books that came to mind for this prompt. Chainsaw was such a great animal companion.

5) Ham: A Book that Made Your Eyes Glaze Over (Boring)

I wanted to DNF Immortal Longings so bad, but I somehow made it through it. I was so excited to read it, too, but it just did not capture my interest at all.

6) Dinner Rolls: A Book that Melted Your Heart and Made You Feel Warm

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute was ADORABLE. I had so much fun reading this book and laughed so much. It definitely warmed my heart.

7) Mashed Potatoes: A Book With a White Cover

Academy Arcanist was a cute start to a fantasy series with such great creature companions. Different for Boys was a really cool mix of illustration and story that explored the queer experience of boys. These are very different books, but they both were really great in their own ways.

8) Gravy: A Book You’re not Totally Sure Why You Love, but You Do

The Navigating Fox was a recent read that I enjoyed quite a bit. Although, I’m not quite sure why. lol. It was weird, with talking animals and humans living side by side. The messaging and symbols felt super important, though, as if I was reading something profound guarded by the absurdity of it all.

9) Pumpkin Pie: A Dessert Book That You Love

Last year I answered this prompt with a sickeningly sweet book that I adore. This year I’ve decided to take a different approach by choosing a series of books that are guilty pleasures. I started reading some more manga this year, and one of my favorites was On or Off. This story was steamy with graphic depictions of sex, and I came away from them feeling a little dirty, which is half the fun. 🙂

Bonus: Black Friday: The Top 5 Books on Your “I want to buy them” List

As I said last year, I don’t really have a list because I typically just buy a book when I want it (or borrow it from the library, if available). So, instead I’m going to list the last five books I bought on a whim…

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft, Emmett by L.C. Rosen, Fangirl (10th Anniversary Edition) by Rainbow Rowell, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I Tag

Anyone who wants to participate. I recognize that today is Thanksgiving. So, if you’re bored, feel free to have some fun and consider yourself tagged. Otherwise, bookmark it until next year!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving full of good food and great times. I’ve already stuffed myself full of turkey, ham, and too many sides. I think it is time for a nap…

The Firsts of 2023 Tag

Hello, everyone! I recently saw The Firsts of 2023 Tag on Celeste’s and Dini’s blogs. It looked simple and fun, which is something I’m always on the lookout for. So, I thought I’d give it a shot! This book tag was originally created by Tanya @girlxoxo.

First book read this year

My first book of the year was Alone with You in the Ether by Olivie Blake. Blake is one of my favorite authors, and I loved this book. It was a great start to the year.

Book Synopsis 📚


Two people meet in the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist, undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. By the end of the story, these things will still be true. But this is not a story about endings.

For Regan, people are predictable and tedious, including and perhaps especially herself. She copes with the dreariness of existence by living impulsively, imagining a new, alternate timeline being created in the wake of every rash decision.

To Aldo, the world feels disturbingly chaotic. He gets through his days by erecting a wall of routine: a backbeat of rules and formulas that keep him going. Without them, the entire framework of his existence would collapse.

For Regan and Aldo, life has been a matter of resigning themselves to the blueprints of inevitability—until the two meet. Could six conversations with a stranger be the variable that shakes up the entire simulation?

From Olivie Blake, the New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six, comes an intimate and contemporary study of time, space, and the nature of love. Alone with You in the Ether explores what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you’re not broken.

First book reviewed

The first book I reviewed this year was The Sapphire Altar by David Dalglish. You can find my thoughts on this one here!

Book Synopsis 📚

In this epic fantasy from a bestselling author, a usurped prince must master the magic of shadows in order to reclaim his kingdom and his people.

​ Cyrus wants out. Trained to be an assassin in order to oust the invading Empire from his kingdom, Cyrus is now worried the price of his vengeance is too high. His old master has been keeping too many secrets to be trusted. And the mask he wears to hide his true identity and become the legendary “Vagrant” has started whispering to him in the dark. But the fight isn’t over and the Empire has sent its full force to bear upon Cyrus’s floundering revolution. He’ll have to decide once and for all whether to become the thing he fears or lose the country he loves.

First book by a debut author

My first book by a debut author this year was Seven Faceless Saints by M. K. Lobb. I loved the mystery in this one and its dark and foreboding atmosphere. See all my thoughts here!

Book Synopsis 📚

In the city of Ombrazia, saints and their disciples rule with terrifying and unjust power, playing favorites while the unfavored struggle to survive.

After her father’s murder at the hands of the Ombrazian military, Rossana Lacertosa is willing to do whatever it takes to dismantle the corrupt system—tapping into her powers as a disciple of Patience, joining the rebellion, and facing the boy who broke her heart. As the youngest captain in the history of Palazzo security, Damian Venturi is expected to be ruthless and strong, and to serve the saints with unquestioning devotion. But three years spent fighting in a never-ending war have left him with deeper scars than he wants to admit… and a fear of confronting the girl he left behind.

Now a murderer stalks Ombrazia’s citizens. As the body count climbs, the Palazzo is all too happy to look the other way—that is, until a disciple becomes the newest victim. With every lead turning into a dead end, Damian and Roz must team up to find the killer, even if it means digging up buried emotions. As they dive into the underbelly of Ombrazia, the pair will discover something more sinister—and far less holy. With darkness closing in and time running out, will they be able to save the city from an evil so powerful that it threatens to destroy everything in its path?

Discover what’s lurking in the shadows in this dark fantasy debut with a murder-mystery twist, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kerri Maniscalco.

First book by a new-to-me author

The answer to this one is a bit of a lie. I don’t want to use the same answer twice. With that in mind, my first book in 2023 by a new-to-me author was Olympic Enemies by Rebecca J Caffery. I had high hopes for this one, but it ended up being just okay.

Book Synopsis 📚

Three weeks at the Olympic Village.
Two Gymnasts who’ve been rivals for half a decade.
One tonne of sexual tension.

Forced to share a room at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Oliver and Lucas are less than happy. After five years of fighting, the team needs them to learn to work together if they stand any chance of medalling.

To make matters worse, Lucas, king of lone wolfs, has absolutely no desire to become best friends with the three musketeers who make up the rest of the male British Gymnastics team.

So when the press becomes intrusive towards Lucas and Oliver finally steps in to defend him, things are looking up. Until that sliver of common ground truly demonstrates how thin the line between love and hate really can be.

However, when their fighting turns to kissing which results in headlines in every newspaper and potential heartbreak for the pair, it isn’t just gold on the line – it’s their hearts.

First book that slayed me

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin was the first book that slayed me this year. I was SOBBING and a total mess, especially during the NPC chapter.

Book Synopsis 📚

In this exhilarating novel, two friends–often in love, but never lovers–come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.

First book that I wished I could get back the time I spent reading it

This book got on my nerves so much. So many things about the setup just didn’t make sense to me, and it ruined what could have been an enjoyable read. See all my thoughts in my review!

Book Synopsis 📚

Scream meets Clown in a Cornfield in this young adult horror novel by bestselling Cale Dietrich featuring a masked killer who targets frat boys.

Freshman Sam believes that joining a fraternity is the best way to form a friend group as he begins his college journey – and his best chance of moving on from his past. He is the survivor of a horrific, and world-famous, murder spree, where a masked killer hunted down Sam and his friends.

Sam had to do the unthinkable to survive that night, and it completely derailed his life. He sees college, and his new identity as a frat boy, as his best shot at living a life not defined by the killings. He starts to flirt with one of the brothers, who Sam finds is surprisingly accepting of Sam’s past, and begins to think a fresh start truly is possible.

And then… one of his new frat brothers is found dead. A new masked murderer, one clearly inspired by the original, emerges, and starts stalking, and slaying, the frat boys of Munroe University. Now Sam will have to race against the clock to figure out who the new killer is – and why they are killing – before Sam loses his second chance – or the lives of any more of his friends.

Elements of horror, mystery, and a gay romance make this a story readers won’t want to miss.

Welp. There you have it! My firsts of 2023. I’m not going to tag anyone specific in this one, but I’d love to read the answers of others. So, consider yourself tagged. 😁

Mid-Year Freakout Tag (2023)

I’ve done this tag every year that I’ve been blogging, and I always enjoy it. I’m still not quite sure where it originated, but I’ve seen it all over on a bunch of blogs. If you know where it came from, feel free to tag/link them in the comments. I’ve already finished 128 books this year. So, I’ve got plenty of great options to choose from for this tag. Let’s get started. 🙂

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Pride Flag Book Tag (2023)

How is it already the end of June?! For this last day of Pride month, I wanted to do something to celebrate before the month is over. I found this tag created by Common Spence on Youtube a couple years ago and thought it would be fun to re-visit it to update my answers. You can find my first attempt at this tag here. I’ll be picking books that I think embody the meanings of each of the colors in the Pride flag. You can find out more about a book by clicking on its cover, which will take you to the book’s Goodreads page.

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The A-Z Book Tag

I’ve had this tag in my drafts for a REALLY long time. Dini tagged me almost a year ago, and I’m finally getting to it. Better late than never. Right? At first, I found it really daunting, but it actually turned out to be a lot of fun. Without further ado, here are my answers to the A-Z Book Tag.

This tag was originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner and it was actually called the A-Z Survey.


The author I’ve read the most is Cassandra Clare at 18 books. Terry Goodkind comes in a close second at 17 books. I honestly find this answer a bit hilarious because neither of these authors would be in my list of favorites. They just happened to write series I started when I was really young and haven’t wanted to give up on since I’m too invested now to stop. lol. Although, I actually just put my entire collection of Terry Goodkind books for sale on Pango a few days ago. I know I’m never going to read them again now that I’m done with the series. There are so many books with much better writing to spend my time on now. 🙂


I tend to have a hit or miss relationship with sequels a lot of the time, but Ryan Cahill hit it out of the park with Of Darkness and Light.


The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang, Dragonfall by L. R. Lam, The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater


It has to be Dr Pepper. That is my drink. When I’m trying to be healthy, I’ll have ice water, but I’ll be wishing it was Dr Pepper. lol.


My thoughts on this have changed drastically since I started blogging. I used to only read physical books. Since I’ve started getting eARCs, I’ve grown increasingly more reliant on my Kindle. Now I don’t really have a preference. Looking at this year’s stats so far, the number of digital versus physical books I’ve read is pretty much the same. The actual winner is audiobooks by quite a bit, which is also a huge change from just a couple years ago considering I would almost never read that way. Now I pretty much always have an audiobook going. So, I guess the answer is neither. 🙂


I really had to stop and think about this one. As a teenager, I was super nerdy and awkward as hell. I probably would have dated just about anyone who asked. 🤣 I recently read Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters and identified so much with Isaac. I could definitely see myself dating his best friend turned boyfriend, Diego. We could have been nerdy together, and he would know how to deal with my awkwardness and social anxiety without making me feel bad about it.


Initially, I didn’t really want to read this book. The description didn’t appeal to me, and I was wary of all the hype. I only read it to fulfill a POPSUGAR prompt, and I’m so glad I did. I ended up loving Daisy Jones & The Six.


Ymir is a book I rarely see anyone talking about, which is a real shame. It is a sci fi re-telling of Beowulf, and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. It was super gritty and fascinating, and I cannot recommend it enough.


There isn’t really one moment that stands out as the ‘most important.’ However, the start of my blog in March 2021 would definitely be a big one. I wouldn’t have read most of the books that I did in the last few years if it wasn’t for blogging. So, my reading life right now would look very different without it.


The last book I finished was Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher. I absolutely loved this book. The banter was sublime, and I liked the murder mystery and the cute pet.


There’s not really a kind of book I won’t read, but I don’t read a ton of classics or horror. They just aren’t usually my jam unless I’m in a really particular mood.


I was not surprised by this at all because this chonky thing comes in at 1006 pages. I enjoyed the story a lot, but Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell definitely felt its length.


Y’all. This book broke me. I was in a horrible mood for almost a week after finishing it because it just had me all in my feelings way too much. Definitely read More Happy Than Not if you need a good cry.


Hmmm. Hold up a second while I go count… seven. That’s just the ones with my books. My wife has three more for her books, as well. What can I say? We like our books. 🙂


The Dark Is Rising is one of my favorite books. I don’t even know how many times I’ve read it since I was a child, but it’s probably more than five times at this point.


My favorite place to read has a tendency to shift with my mood. Right now it is probably my bed, but I also enjoy reading on the patio when the weather is nice or upstairs in my media room where most of my bookshelves live.


I think happiness is fleeting. It’s not a state of being, it’s moments. Contentment is better to strive for as a state of being.

A History of Madness by Rebecca Crunden


I don’t really have any reading regrets other than not reading more in my twenties. I was super busy with work and school and didn’t really make the time to read much of anything at all. I missed out on so much in that time, and it has led to me struggling to balance all the backlist books and new releases I want to read.


This is a joke right? The answer here is obviously ALL OF THEM. 🤣 Here’s some of the ones I consider most pressing at the moment:

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang, A Chorus of Dragons by Jenn Lyons, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, Swords and Fire by Melissa Caruso


How am I supposed to choose only three?! OMG. This is so hard… Some of my favorites have been mentioned as answers already. So, I’m going to pick three of my faves that haven’t been mentioned yet.

Babel by R. F. Kuang, Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee, The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake


I freak out over pretty much anything Star Wars. I consume every piece of Star Wars media that gets released, whether it is books, movies, TV shows, comics, or video games. I love it all and am so grateful that there is so much new content set in that universe.


I loved Little Thieves so much. So, of course I’m very excited about Painted Devils releasing soon.


I think my worst habit has to be buying/borrowing/requesting way more books than I can realistically read. My backlog is SO HUGE, and it has honestly gotten a bit stressful.


Revelle is a recent release I’m hoping to read soon. I love the cover so much and am so intrigued in the premise of Moulin Rouge set during prohibition with magic.


The last book I purchased was the ebook of Revenant Prince. I loved the first book in this series and am looking forward to reading this one soon (hopefully).


I stayed up so late listening to Engines of Chaos. I could not stop because everything was so tense, and I just NEEDED to know what would happen next.


The Quarter Year Crisis Book Tag

Hello, everyone! I cannot believe the year is already a quarter of the way over. Dini @ dinipandareads tagged me in this fun book tag that wraps up how things have gone during the first three months of this year. Overall, I think I’ve done pretty well this quarter, at least on the reading front. The original tag was created by Roisin @Roisin’s Reading over on BookTube.

How many books have you read so far?

I’ve read 70 books so far this year!!!! How is that even possible?! My 2023 goal is 100, and it looks like I’ll be hitting that pretty early, probably this month or next, since I’m 45 books ahead of schedule. I’ve read so much great stuff this quarter, and it has been a serious whirlwind. I’m hoping I can stay out a slump and keep up my pace because there are SO MANY great books coming out in April and May, and I want to read them all. lol.

Have you already found a book you think might be a 2023 favourite? If not, what was your favourite book you read that wasn’t quite five stars?

How the hell am I supposed to choose from 70 books?! To narrow it down a bit, I’m only going to pick from 2023 releases… Two books really stand out to me from this first quarter as likely to end up on my best of 2023 lists, The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi and Rubicon.

Any 1-star books / least favourite book of the year?

I don’t have any 1-star books because I typically DNF anything that would receive that rating before finishing it. So, I’ve chosen to pick one of my DNFs, Prince of the Sorrows, for the honor of least favorite book of the quarter. I could not stand the writing in this book, and I honestly don’t get all the hype it has received. I read approximately 25% of it before I couldn’t take anymore.

Most read genre so far?

Surprising no one, my most reads genres were fantasy and queer fiction. I’ve also read quite a bit of YA and romance this quarter. Despite leaning heavily into those four genres, I do think I’ve had quite a good mix of stuff so far this year.

A book that surprised you?

I didn’t know a lot about Into the Light going into it, and I was surprised by how much it moved me. It was incredibly raw, with visceral prose and a compelling main character. I also didn’t see the twist coming at all.

A book that’s come out in 2023 already that you want to read but haven’t yet?

There are quite a few I’m hoping to get to read soon. Here’s a look at some of them…

Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai, Godkiller by Hannah Kaner, Chaos & Flame by Tessa Gratton & Justina Ireland, Infinity Gate by M.R. Carey, Revelle by Lyssa Mia Smith

One goal you made that you’re succeeding at

I’m doing really well with my 12 months, 12 friends, 12 books challenge. I’ve read one of the recommendations each month. So, I’m currently on track with the goal. The three recommendations I’ve read this quarter are below:

The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic by F.T. Lukens, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett, Spear by Nicola Griffith

One goal you made that you need to focus on

I need to focus more on reading my owned backlist. I’m hoping to have 25% of my reads this year be from my shelves. I did pretty well in January and February, but so many of my March reads were ARCs or library books. I’ll definitely need to go back to reading more of my books in April if I want to get back on track…

New to you Bloggers/Booktubers/ Bookstagrammers/Booktokers for 2023 you recommend?

Roars and Echoes


Jenna Leone

I’m tagging…




Well. That’s it. How has the first quarter gone for all of you? Let me know down in the comments or complete the tag and link back so I can see your answers. The more, the merrier! 🙂

New Year’s Book Tag

Hello, everyone! Today I’m doing the New Year’s Book Tag! Thank you to Dini @ dinipandareads for the tag. This tag was originally created by booktuber Heather @Bookables.

How many books are you planning to read in 2023?

I’ve decided to keep my 2023 Goodreads goal the same as the last couple of years at 100 books. I’ll likely end up reading more than this again, but we’ll see how the year goes.

Name 5 books you didn’t get to this year but want to make a priority in 2023.

Hah! There are way more than five, but here are the ones I’m hoping to read within the next few months. So, they have the highest priority.

  • Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

What genre do you want to read more of?

Last year I set the goal of reading more non-fiction, and I achieved it. There’s not really a genre that stands out this year to me. Maybe science fiction? Fantasy dominated my reading last year, but I do love sci fi too. Maybe I’ll try to squeeze some more in around all the excellent fantasy coming out this year.

Name 3 non-book-related goals for 2023

  • Get in better shape. In 2021, I was quite active and watched what I was eating and drinking. I lost 30 pounds and improved my endurance and lung capacity quite a bit, which was incredibly helpful since I’ve only got one lung left. Unfortunately, 2022 was a year of backsliding, and I lost all my gains. I’m back to being 30 pounds too heavy again and can barely walk to the mailbox without being out of breath. So, I’m hoping to get back on track this year.
  • Keep my house cleaner. I’m horrible at keeping up with my chores. My home isn’t disgusting, but it could definitely be neater. I’m going to try to keep up with clutter a bit better this year.
  • Take at least one trip. I love traveling, but I’ve mostly avoided doing so since COVID started. I realize that the pandemic still isn’t over, but I’m getting very antsy. I really want to go somewhere new. Maybe a road trip?

What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read?

This definitely has to be The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve had this book for as long as I can remember, and I’ve still never read it. I’d definitely like to give it a try after watching Rings of Power last year. Maybe 2023 will be the year I’m finally brave enough to pick it up. lol.

One word that you’re hoping 2023 will be

I hope 2023 will be HEALTHY. This ties into my goals, but my family and/or I have also had bad luck with our health almost every year since 2019. So, I’m hoping everyone stays healthy this year!

I’m tagging…

Celeste @ A Literary Escape
Sahi @ My World of Books
Anyone else who wants to participate!