What I Read in December 2022

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Can you believe that there are only a few hours of 2022 left? Or that I am actually here and posting something for a change? Miracles will never cease, I suppose…

Anyway, I figured I might as well give you this wrap-up today because

a) I don’t have another post ready and

b) the workload I’ve neglected over Christmas is so immeasurably large that I am strictly forbidden from reading anything else before I leave for a New Year’s Eve party with my friends later today. Even if that means there is now absolute finality to me having failed to achieve pretty much all of my 2022 reading goals. **sneakily proceeds to adjust her Goodreads challenge in order to hide at least part of the incriminating evidence**

Some December highlights, featuring: Heavy mountain snowfalls, this year’s Christmas tree, and the Hedwig lego set my youngest brother got for Christmas (which my siblings and I stayed up until well past 2 a.m. building because my parents having bought it used meant that ALL of the over 3,000 pieces came in one humongous bag that then had to be meticulously searched for every single lego we needed πŸ€—πŸŽ„)

Quite honestly, though? I’d rather forget the first half of December altogether. There were a few highlights, such as my tenth-graders baking me an enormous personalized gingerbread cookie as an Advent present or me visiting friends in Munich to take advantage of Christmas markets finally being fully reopened, but for the most part, my life was an absolute nightmare that I was trying to survive on a day-by-day basis. I was teaching on about four hours of sleep a night, spent my birthday doing nothing except grading exams and trying to avoid answering phone calls because I was afraid I would start crying if people asked how I was doing, and to top it all off, my car broke down, leaving me stranded in -20Β°C weather that could definitely not be navigated by bicycle. A huge shoutout goes to my wonderful neighbors, who didn’t ask any questions when I appeared on their doorstep at 6:30 a.m., drove me to school, helped me figure out how to change a car battery, proceeded to drive me around all week when it turned out that changing the car battery hadn’t solved the problem, and refused to accept any thanks other than me inviting them over for dinner. Neighbors, I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but you are amazing!

Then, thankfully, came Christmas break. Which was wonderful! Miraculously, I made it home on December 23rd without any train delays whatsoever, meaning I got there right on time to meet up with my friends from school for our annual pre-Christmas dinner and Secret Santa exchange. And Christmas itself was pretty epic, too. I ate way too much food, played a ton of board games with my siblings and parents, read way more than I have in months, and “enchanted” everyone with my Christmas carol accompaniment skills until my sister rudely wrested the guitar away from me…

Anyway, that pretty much sums up my December, so let’s get into books! From awesome to downright awful, I had a bit of everything this month, which means you should have a variety of reviews to choose from!

The Witness for the Dead (4.5/5 Stars) and The Grief of Stones (5/5 Stars) (The Cemeteries of Amalo #1-2) by Katherine Addison

(I listened to both of these as audiobooks; the narrator was Liam Gerrard.)

When I started reading this series, I was sure it could never compete with Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor. How could I possibly love something that didn’t include Maia or the Untheileneise Court? My biased heart, fearful of disappointment, had me skeptically judging everything – until I suddenly realized that I loved this every bit as much as The Goblin Emperor and that I would give my dying breath to defend the protagonist.

Set in a steampunk fantasy world, The Cemeteries of Amalo is a crime fiction spin-off series that takes place shortly after the events of The Goblin Emperor, following the formerly disgraced Prelate of Ulis and Witness for the Dead Thara Celehar. Due to his ability to communicate with the recently deceased, Thara is drawn into petty squabbles, inheritance disputes, and murder cases. Simultaneously, he must find his place in a city where he isn’t always wanted and come to terms with the darker parts of his own past.

Briefly put: I positively, wholeheartedly adored both of these books. Yes, I docked half a star off the first one, but that was because I didn’t know what Katherine Addison was planning in the grand scheme of things. I felt like the plot of The Witness for the Dead was a bit disjointed, with Thara suddenly jumping from one case to another in the middle of the book. And while I loved that we got to see Thara’s entire thought process while trying to solve the various mysteries he was working on, I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get all the clues needed to solve them slightly earlier.

However, The Grief of Stones changed my mind on a lot of these minor quibbles. For one thing, details which I thought had been dropped for just a bit of extra subplot in book one suddenly became really important! And for another, The Grief of Stones made me realize that I didn’t just love Thara Celehar – I wholeheartedly adored him. He was the dutiful, depressed, idealistic, deeply caring, I-can’t-let-anyone-get-too-close-to-me-because-they-probably-won’t-like-me-anyway character I didn’t know I needed, and at some point, I honestly stopped caring what kind of plot Katherine Addison threw at me. As long as I got to read about Thara Celehar, I was happy!

In general, though, I loved all of the character development in these books. It wasn’t just Thara, but also the relationships he had with his friends, colleagues, and clients. Like, I am nearly as obsessed with IΓ€na Pel-Thenhior as I am with Thara Celehar, and the two of them together are just the best thing ever!! I adore Anora Chanavar. And although we only get to know her in book two, Velhiro Tomasaran quickly wormed her way into my heart as well.

But fine, before this turns into endlessly long, incoherent gushing, I will shut up. Just trust me and read this series, okay?

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (4/5 Stars)

Since I adored Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere, Our Missing Hearts was one of my most anticipated releases of this year. I was so excited when I found a copy underneath our Christmas tree, and although it didn’t quite manage to live up to my astronomically high expectations, I still enjoyed it a lot.

Set in a dystopian future where the United States has become paranoid about protecting American ideals and banning foreign influences, Our Missing Hearts is told from the perspective of a twelve-year-old boy, Bird Gardner. Raised by a broken-hearted father after his Chinese-American mother walked out on their family, Bird knows that he is not supposed to do anything that might attract the authorities’ attention. Children of dissidents, particularly those of Asian origin, are often taken away to be properly educated, and since Bird’s mother is known for her rebellious poetry, he is already on their radar. But, one day, a letter arrives, and Bird can’t help but ask questions. Questions that lead him to libraries, missing children, and the truth about his mom.

Like all of Celeste Ng’s novels, Our Missing Hearts is profoundly lyrical and does not shy away from heavy topics. The dystopian world she portrays is frightening precisely because it is not that far removed from our current reality and makes you reflect on things you’ve always taken for granted.

That being said, I feel like Our Missing Hearts’s biggest flaw is that it gets so caught up in trying to get a political message across that it fails to focus on its characters as much as Celeste Ng’s previous novels do. Bird and his parents’ personalities are overshadowed by them being a mixed-race family in a country where non-whiteness is immediately seen as suspicious. Side characters are there to provide information on all of the awful things the government is doing to its people. Which, of course, isn’t a bad thing per se, but I just felt like it would have added a lot of depth to the story if the characters had also been important of their own accord, if that makes any sense.

The Haunting Season: Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights (4/5 Stars)

An anthology of ghost stories set around Christmas time, The Haunting Season has had me extremely intrigued for well over a year now. Unfortunately, though, getting my hands on a copy was far more difficult than I had originally anticipated. Neither Scribd or my library had one, and since I was determined to stick to the rules of my book buying ban, I had to wait for my family to come through and give one to me… But come through they did – and with perfect timing, too, because this was the ideal winter read!

If you’re looking for dark and atmospheric holiday tales with a creepy twist, look no further. The Haunting Season includes eight chilling stories, the majority of which take place in Victorian England and all of which are set around Christmas time, by different award-winning British authors.

I didn’t love all the stories equally, but they all had me engaged and gave me the exact ghost story vibes I had been craving. So I’d definitely recommend this to fans of the macabre!

(Also, for any nosy people out there looking for more detailed thoughts on the individual stories, here are a few to satisfy your curiosity:

‘A Study in Black and White’ by Bridget Collins (5/5 Stars): Has Bridget Collins entranced me so much with her lyrically atmospheric writing style that I will unquestionably love every single one of her works? Possibly. Besides, this was about chess! Like any proper math nerd, I obviously love chess!

‘Thwaite’s Tenant’ by Imogen Hermes Gowar (3/5 Stars): This one was alright, I guess. The dramatic beginning of a mother fleeing from her abusive husband in ice-cold rain immediately had me hooked, but unfortunately, I felt like the story lost momentum from there. I just didn’t think it was particularly creepy!

‘The Eel Singers’ by Natasha Pulley (4/5 Stars): Storytellingwise, I think this had its flaws, but I still loved everything about it because it gave me more Mori, Thaniel, and Six! After The Lost Future of Pepperharrow gave me such a Watchmaker of Filigree Street book hangover that I am still in recovery, I needed this!

‘Lily Wilt’ by Jess Kidd (3.5/5 Stars): I loved the creepy necromantic premise and snide humor but found the second-half a bit underwhelming. If you ask me, this story was so busy not taking itself seriously that it lost a lot of the macabre tension it had built up in the first half.

‘The Chillingham Chair’ by Laura Purcell (3/5 Stars): Meh. This one was probably my least favorite story in the collection, due entirely to how it was written. The plot – think creepy manor, mysterious accidents, and a wealthy soon-to-be brother-in-law – was good, but the way it was presented had me rolling my eyes. I guessed the big twist right from the get-go and with all the super obvious hints we kept getting, I just found it utterly unbelievable that the characters were so clueless!

‘The Hanging of the Greens’ by Andrew Michael Hurley (3.5/Stars): The main story about a recovering alcoholic was pretty decent, but the frame narrative felt kind of forced and made the whole thing a bit too disjointed for my tastes.

‘Confinement’ by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (4.5/5 Stars): Yellow Wallpaper-vibes with a creepy child-murdering witch thrown in? Yes, please! I’m not gonna pretend my evil soul wasn’t hoping for an even darker ending, though…

‘Monster’ by Elizabeth Macneal (5/5 Stars): Hands-down my favorite story in the entire collection! What could be better than a thoroughly unlikeable protagonist digging up dinosaur bones on Victorian beaches?)

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (4/5 Stars)

I am unashamed to admit that I picked this up solely because I’d heard that parts of it were set in a bookstore. Well, that and because Words in Deep Blue was supposed to be simultaneously depressing and hopeful. How can you not love depressing hopefulness?

Set in an Australian coastal town, the novel follows two teenagers, Rachel and Henry, who used to be best friends before Rachel moved away and broke off all contact. Now, however, Rachel is back. In an attempt to escape from the meaninglessness she has felt since her brother drowned several months ago, Rachel moves in with her aunt and promises to get a job – and her first offer happens to come from Henry’s parents, who run a struggling second-hand bookshop. A bookshop that a heartbroken Henry, who was just dumped by his girlfriend, also happens to work at.

From page one, Words in Deep Blue had me completely engrossed. I loved how messily real the characters were – and let me tell you, they definitely make their fair share of realistically stupid decisions -, I loved how Rachel’s grieving process was portrayed, and I loved the dynamic between Henry and his sister George, who was by far my favorite character.

However, I also think that the ending wrapped things up a bit too neatly. Sure, there were a few messy ends as well, but overall, I guess I wanted more pain and unresolved complications considering what the characters had gone through. Sometimes, I felt as though the romance overshadowed the subtler, more meaningful themes in the story, and I would have liked just a little bit more balance.

Still, Words in Deep Blue is certainly a YA contemporary story worth checking out if you want depth in addition to a cute friends-to-lovers romance. Get your tissues ready, because if you’re a book crier, you’re probably going to need them!

Unplugged by Gordon Korman (3.5/5 Stars)

Gordon Korman is one of my favorite childhood authors, so I’ve made it my mission to read whatever the man publishes. And while his most recent release isn’t exactly a new favorite, I did have a ton of fun with it!

Unplugged follows a group of kids who are sent to an off-the-grid wellness retreat in Arkansas – a place where daily meditation is a must and technology and meat are strictly forbidden. There’s Grace Atwater, a true believer who has been coming to the Oasis for years now. Tyrell Karrigan, who’s allergic to pretty much everything and has a permanently boyfriend-obsessed older sister. Brooklynne Feldman, who knows way more about the Oasis than any other guest. Jett Baranov, the spoilt rich kid condemned to stay at the Oasis after his billionaire father decided his pranks had gone too far. Despite their initial dislike for one another, the four children become unlikely allies when Grace rescues a baby lizard that soon turns into a secret pet. And their friendship is further cemented when the adults at the Oasis start acting very, very strange…

If I had read Unplugged when I was around ten, I think I would’ve whole-heartedly adored it. At age 27, I still enjoyed it a lot, but also found it to be a bit predictable and lacking the character-depth I now look for in novels. It was fun, fast-paced, and unique, but not the kind of story that sticks with you and that will make you think even months after you’ve read it.

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler (1/5 Stars)

(I read this in German – if anyone is interested, a heavily annotated edition by the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich can be found here – but there are several English translations, most of which are titled Mein Kampf: My Struggle)

Well, I did it. After half a year of struggling though this book, I have finally finished. And it was absolutely not worth it.

Perhaps the most infamous work ever published, Mein Kampf is the autobiographical manifesto of Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, which he began writing while imprisoned in Landsberg am Lech after his failed 1923 coup in Munich. In two volumes, the book explains Hitler’s political ideology, his plans for Germany’s future, and the struggles he encountered while trying to realize his ideals.

Heavily controversial, publishing Mein Kampf was forbidden in Germany from 1945 until 2016 – and, with me being the idiot that I am, anything forbidden obviously peaked my interest. There were probably historical insights to be gained from this, I thought, especially within the current political climate!

Boy, was I wrong. After forcing myself through over 800 pages worth of Nazi ideology, antisemitic propaganda, glorification of war, and the most disorganized, boring, and grammatically atrocious writing style I have ever encountered, as well as an additional 1,000 pages of footnotes in which the editors painstakingly fact-check Hitler’s claims, the only things I can honestly say I have learnt are:

1) Hitler was a terrible writer, and

2) Heart of Darkness is officially no longer my least favorite book of all time.

Everything else was pretty much only a bloated version of what I had already learnt in history class, and trust me, you do not need 800 pages of Hitler ranting about Jews perpetuating Communism to wipe out the superior Arian race and Germany having to fortify its position within Europe by allying itself with Italy and England to claim more territory when a summary will do. My encounter with this book was the worst reading experience of my entire life, and if you value your sanity, I recommend you steer well clear and read a history textbook instead.

The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses #1) by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu (3/5 Stars)

Give me something Shadowhunter-related, and I will read it. Especially if it includes characters as precious as Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane!

The Red Scrolls of Magic follows the two of them on their first ever vacation together, right after the events of City of Glass. However, what was supposed to be a relaxing journey across Europe quickly turns into a dangerous mission filled with demons, murder, and a vengeful cult that Magnus may or may not have founded himself…

Overall, I had a ton of nostalgia-filled fun with this, loved all the cute Malec moments, and enjoyed getting to see a bit more of Aline Penhallow and Helen Blackthorn. Still, a lot about The Red Scrolls of Magic also felt really random, like the plot had been hastily cobbled together to provide the reader with plenty of groan-worthy jokes and Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices/Dark Artifices Easter eggs. I didn’t find the book particularly compelling in its own right, thought the ending was extremely predictable, and found several of its scenes similar to what I had already seen in other Cassandra Clare novels.

If you’re a big fan and craving more Shadowhunters content, go for it – but also don’t expect anything too special.

Le FantΓ΄me de l’OpΓ©ra by Gaston Leroux (1.5/5 Stars)

(I read this in the French original, but in case anyone had trouble figuring this out, the title of the English translation is The Phantom of the Opera 😜)

Let me preface this by saying that I am not fluent in French. After German and English, it is the language I am most comfortable in, but I still had to look up quite a bit while reading this. Which means it is entirely possible that a lot of what happened in The Phantom of the Opera went over my head. Maybe my intense hatred of this novel is simply due to me not having understood it properly?

Anyway, The Phantom of the Opera is a French classic that gained world-wide fame through Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical adaptation in the 1980s. Set in 19th-century Paris, it tells the story of a haunted opera house and a beautiful soprano, Christine DaaΓ©, who is torn between the affections of her childhood friend Vicomte Raoul de Chagny and a mysterious angelic voice that has been teaching her how to sing.

To sum up it up: I liked absolutely nothing about this book except the creepy gothic atmosphere and the descriptions of the opera house. The entire plot was based on the characters being total morons who needed hundreds pages to figure out what I had assumed everybody had known all along and whose decision-making skills made Bella Swan look like a world-class genius. Seriously, Christine’s thought-process can be summed up pretty much as follows: “Oh no, Raoul, I can’t tell you anything or I will die! Oh, actually, never mind, let me tell you a boring twenty-page story about how this ghost has been courting me. I’m so terrified! But, no, we can’t run away today because it will break the ghost’s heart. Let’s do it tomorrow instead so the ghost will have another opportunity to kill me! Or actually, never mind, let me completely ignore you and make dumb decisions that you are not going to question because your brain flew out the window the minute you met me!” IT WAS INFURIATING! I hated Christine, I hated Raoul for having no personality that didn’t involve being obsessed with Christine, I hated how conveniently this character called the Persian knew everything whenever information was needed, and I hated the phantom for how utterly pathetic it was. The Phantom of the Opera could have been such a tragic unrequited love story, and instead we got… this. It was boring, it was repetitive, there were tremendous plotholes, and the characters were thoroughly flat and uninteresting.

Overall, I recommend skipping this particular classic and watching the musical instead. Though, like I said, maybe that’s just my lack of French skills talking.

Ringel, Rangel, Rosen by Kirsten Boie (4/5 Stars)

(I read this in German, and, as far as I’m aware, it has not been translated into any other languages. The title is the German equivalent of the nursery rhyme ‘Ring Around the Rosie’.)

A coming-of-age historical fiction novel set in Hamburg during the 1960s, Ringel, Rangel, Rosen is one of the darkest middle-grade books I have ever encountered. Which obviously means I enjoyed it tremendously!

In fragmented episodes spanning several consecutive years, the novel follows Karin, a girl growing up in a typical middle-class family in northern Germany. On the surface, Karin’s childhood couldn’t be more idyllic: Although her parents only just got a television and don’t have the big house they’ve always dreamed of, she spends her summers playing outside and joking around with her family. But then, one day, Karin’s best friend lends her a book that tells the stories of Jewish children who were murdered during the war. The more questions Karin asks, the more she realizes that there are things her parents aren’t telling her. And when the dykes break, flooding Hamburg in what will later be known as one of the greatest natural disasters in German history, Karin discovers secrets that are going to change her life forever.

Although Ringel, Rangel, Rosen was extremely depressing and doesn’t exactly have much of a plot, I just could not put it down. It does a masterful job of twisting your emotions by showing you mere glimpses of a bigger story, and honestly, I found many parts of this to be extremely relatable. Like, it took my mother and her siblings years to find out that the reason they only had one grandmother was because the other one “died of natural causes” after the Nazis imprisoned her for having schizophrenia, and while my paternal grandmother did tell us that her father was a proud member of the NSDAP, we were never really sure what details that entailed. There were just some things you didn’t ask about when it was your own family under scrutiny, and I can only imagine how more difficult that must’ve been for my parents’ generation.

So yeah – I found this book to be insightful on a very personal level and liked it a lot. However, I also don’t really see myself rereading it. It’s the kind of book that packs a punch once, but whose characters aren’t really likeable enough that you’d ever want to revisit them.

After I pretty much vanished off the face of the Earth this past month, it probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise that I was abysmal at keeping up with your December posts, too. However, I do have a few recommendations to dish out! Excluding everyone’s best and worst books of the year posts – which I always adore reading and can’t mention separately because we’d be here forever if I did that – some of my December favorites were:

  • Rachel @ A Bookworm’s Paradise returned to the blogosphere with a huge Autumn wrap-up! Although I’ve been pulling the disappearing act myself and can’t really complain, I’ve really been missing your posts, Rachel, so seeing this one pop up in my reader was a wonderful surprise! πŸ€—
  • Line @ First Line Reader gave us the perfect combination of literature and music by matching books to her Spotify Wrapped! 🎢 Not only does this post feature several of my favorite books, but it has also made me realize that I should maybe stop ignoring BTS because some of their music is actually genuinely amazing…
  • Amaya @ Mauve Mumblings ranted about her biggest book cover pet peeves – and if there’s anything I can’t resist, it’s good old-fashioned complaining! 😁 Especially when I agree with pretty much all of the cover atrocities in question.
  • I swear I’m not actively seeking out unfavorable reviews of this book… But Mesal @ Earthly Abode wrote such a great rant on The Atlas Six that I simply have to include it here! 😎
  • Robyn @ Voice of Reason created this amazingly creative Riordanverse playlist by pairing demigods with what she thinks are secretly their favorite albums! 🎼 If you love Percy Jackson and music, you have to check this out!

And that was it for today – and this year! Let me know down below if you’ve read any of the books I mentioned here, and feel free to share your thoughts on them. I’d love to know where we agree and disagree!

Also, how was your December? I’ve been so absent from the blogosphere these past two months that I feel like I missed out on a lot, so please, keep me updated in the comments!

38 thoughts on “What I Read in December 2022

  1. earthlyabode says:

    tysm for the mention! heart of darkness no longer being your least fav book cracked me up LMAO hope 2023 shapes up to be an ever better reading year for you! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      You’re welcome! Your review had me cackling with glee, so obviously, I had to include it! 😁

      And lol, yes, who would have thought anything could ever be worse than Heart of Darkness? 😫 Though I guess it’s my own fault for putting myself into this predicament. I mean, it’s not like I expected Hitler to have written a new favorite of mine… πŸ˜…

      And fingers crossed for a great 2023 for you, too! Hopefully, we’ll both discover some new favorite books! πŸ’™


  2. Abby @ Beyond the Read says:

    nooo i’m so sorry to hear the first half of december was so abysmal for you naemi!! 😭😭 i’m super glad though that you had your amazing neighbors to help you out and that christmas break has been much happier 😊 on the reading front, i might need to check out katherine addison’s books now!! i’m already intrigued by thala celeharβ€”β€œdutiful, depressed, idealistic, and deeply caring” sounds like a fascinating combination πŸ˜† and my condolences on finding your least favorite book of all timeβ€”i will listen to your advice and stick to my textbook for the historical insights of mein kampf. also, the way this post jumped from middle grade adventure book to β€œhitler was a terrible writer” really made me do a double take πŸ˜…

    i’ve also been very spotty with being online, but just wanted to pop in before 2023 is officially upon us!! i hope you have a beautiful time with your loved ones for the rest of your break! happy new year naemi ❀️❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Oh, trust me, I am supremely glad that those first December weeks are over, too! πŸ˜… Christmas break is truly an amazing invention! πŸ₯°πŸŽ„

      And ahhhh, yes, Abby, check out Katherine Addison! πŸ€—πŸ€©πŸ€— I also highly recommend The Goblin Emperor – just like Thara, Maia is an amazing multifaceted and thoroughly loveable main character πŸ₯° – but I do have to admit that that one is a lot more political and probably less accessible than the Cemeteries of Amalo series… Still, Katherine Addison is definitely my favorite author I discovered in 2022!

      And lololol, I guess that just goes to show that my reading tastes are extremely chaotic πŸ˜‚ Although I also wouldn’t say that I picked up Mein Kampf expecting it to be a new favorite… πŸ˜… But I hadn’t expected this level of awfulness either 😬 I honestly didn’t even know that was possible!

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by, Abby! I hope you have an amazing last day of 2022 and a great start into 2023! πŸ’™πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Line @First Line Reader says:

    A post from Naemi?!? πŸ˜±πŸ˜‚ Prepare for the length of this comment to make up for all the comments I couldn’t make in December πŸ˜‰

    I’m reading The Witness for the Dead very soon! I just need to find the time to pick it up from the library within the next week so it’s great to hear you felt so positive about both books! I’m still a little skeptical about whether I’ll love it just as much as The Goblin Emperor but I doubt I’ll hate them after reading your thoughts πŸ˜„

    And you read The Haunting Season!! πŸ€— I had to go back and check my own ratings of each story and well, we don’t agree on everything πŸ˜… My favorite was the Bridget Collins one and I obviously also gave 5 stars to Thaniel and Mori. My least favorite was The Hanging of the Greens because it had such a different vibe than all the other stories so I don’t know what it was doing in that collection. And I also didn’t like Confinement because it didn’t really make me feel anything. Lily Wilt and The Chillingham Chair got high ratings from me, though, I just can’t remember why πŸ™ˆ

    But congratulations on ending your Mein Kampf sufferings πŸ˜‚ Maybe you learned something about reading books just because they’re forbidden? πŸ˜‰

    Your thoughts on The Red Scrolls of Magic also mirror mine. Like, if you really want more Shadowhunter content, sure go read it but it’s mainly easter eggs. Those books are just the definition of “Fine”.

    Finally, a big thank you for sharing my post and admitting that I’ve corrupted you into liking some BTS songs 😁 However, an even bigger thank you for sharing another Atlas Six rant review πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m obviously very thrilled about the length of this make-up comment! πŸ€— Although between your Bitterblue review and the soccer doc, I feel like you got your fair share of December comments in regardless of me not posting, so I don’t feel all that guilty for depriving you of those comment opportunities, either 😜

      But I’m obviously extremely excited to hear your thoughts on The Witness for the Dead and am keeping my fingers crossed that you won’t hate it! πŸ˜… (After all, you don’t properly appreciate Robin Hobb’s dragons… 🀨) But I really think you’re going to like Thara Celehar if you give him a chance! And I really liked how the mystery aspect was done as well.

      As for the Haunting Season, I think it’s totally justified to put the Bridget Collins story in first place, too – that was my second favorite! πŸ₯° I think I would have liked the ending to be a bit more drawn out, though, which is why the last story ultimately topped it. And I’m pretty indifferent about The Hanging of the Greens, so you’re welcome to put it last! I am very curious what you saw in The Chillingham Chair, though πŸ˜‚

      And thank you for spelling out the moral of my Mein Kampf experience for me πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Yeah, I think I will gladly steer clear of forbidden books for a while… Although several of my favorites are on banned books lists in the US, so I guess you never know when I’ll be tempted again πŸ€”

      Also, you have no idea to what extent you’ve corrupted me – I’ve listened to almost as much BTS as Imagine Dragons in the past few days. After all, I need to figure out which other songs of theirs are good – even if I haven’t found one I like as much as Sweet Night yet 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line @First Line Reader says:

        Shh! Everyone else doesn’t know about those so just let me have my excuse! πŸ˜‚

        And I can’t remember what I saw in The Chillingham Chair πŸ™ˆ My own review isn’t helping me because I only say it had more plot than the other stories and apparently I really liked that πŸ˜…

        And yeah, a lot of books are/have been banned but a lot of them are also for stupid reasons. So maybe the rule of thumb is to read those with the idiotic reasons? πŸ€”

        That update on BTS makes me so excited! 😁 I really didn’t think I had been that successful in corrupting you! But yes, I’m also still working my way through all their music. Not everything is great and there’s a lot of rap stuff that I’m giving a pass. For me, the rule seems to be that if a song is sung/written by V, I’m in love immediately even if they don’t reach Sweet Night standards πŸ˜„ Current favorites are Inner Child and Blue & Grey.

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          Okay, well, in that case, I very much admire your excellent excuse! πŸ˜‚ And, although I think banning books is usually idiotic no matter what the reason is, I guess I’ll try to stick to ones banned for PARTICULARLY idiotic reasons in the future 😁

          Don’t get too excited about my BTS update, though. A big reason I’ve been able to listen to them so successfully is because so many of their lyrics are in Korean, meaning that it’s possible for me to use their songs as background music while I’m working without getting too distracted… I’m still not at the stage where I could tell you much about what my favorites are – except that I don’t particularly like the rap either and that, so far, I think I like the melodies of Butterfly and Blue & Grey? Don’t ask me to give you details, though πŸ˜… And I’ll have to check out Inner Child – I don’t think I’ve listened to that yet πŸ€”

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Sophie @ Me & Ink says:

    Lovely to see a post from you!! πŸ₯° It sounds like another hectic month but I’m glad you had a nice Christmas with your family! Plus your neighbours and that gingerbread cookie sound delightful. I hope you have been enjoying some rest over the holidays.

    I haven’t read The Goblin Emperor but it has been on my TBR for a while and this post felt like a reminder that I need to read it (and then this later series too)!

    I have read Words in Deep Blue and I loved the bookshop setting too πŸ“˜ I did like aspects of this story and I always appreciate protagonists being a little messy, but I think I would have preferred less focus on the romance too.

    The Haunting Season actually sounds like a great read for December, I might try and get it for next year!

    Wishing you a wonderful 2023! ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you, Sophie! πŸ₯° I definitely enjoyed getting to recharge a bit over Christmas and spend time with my family, and I hope you’ve been enjoying your holidays as well! πŸ’™πŸŽ„

      Reading The Goblin Emperor sounds like an excellent plan to me, too 😁 I really hope you end up loving it just as much as I did if you do pick it up! And it’s nice to hear we agree on Words in Deep Blue – bookstore settings are simply the best! πŸ€—

      Anyway, a very happy new year to you and your loved ones! May 2023 be full of amazingness and pleasant surprises! πŸ’—

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Janette says:

    I’m so sorry that the end of the term was so hard for you. It’s certainly been a difficult first term in your new school. I really hope that 2023 is better and that your workload and transport issues both improve.
    I haven’t read Grief of Stones yet but it is high on my TBR. I still don’t love Thara as much as Maia though and I can’t see that changing. I would love to see another novel set in the court, maybe about one of his young nieces? I am in awe of you managing to make your way through the whole of Mein Kampf although it doesn’t sound as though it was time well spent.
    Happy New Year Naemi XX

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Well, I did get my car fixed the week before Christmas, so I’m hoping that 2023 will at least be transport-issue-free… I feel like 2022 already covered my share of bad luck where vehicles are concerned! πŸ˜‚

      Of course, I’m now eagerly anticipating your thoughts on The Grief of Stones – I hope you like it as much as I did! I also didn’t think it was possible to love Thara as much as Maia, but somehow, Katherine Addison has made it extremely difficult for me to choose between them! πŸ₯°

      Although I really don’t think you need to admire me for reading Mein Kampf – that was probably one of my worst reading choices ever πŸ™ˆ I really don’t recommend trying it!

      Anyway, happy new year to you, too, Janette! May 2023 be everything you hope it will be! 🎊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ash says:

    naemi!! i haven’t read your posts in so long aahhh
    so sorry to hear that this month was hard for you, here’s to 2023 treating us a bit more kindly ❀

    i've heard so much about katherine addison, i really need to get to her work! especially goblin emperor!
    haunting season sounds like a great anthology, i've added it to my tbr. creepy chess sets?? pretty dead girls?? strange chairs?? hallucinations?? SIGN ME UP
    i don't think i'll *actually* get around reading it though lol. i'm easily spooked.

    also πŸ‘€ i may or may not want to read main kampf now πŸ‘€ purely because it's trash

    AND AND YOU'VE READ SHADOWHUNTERS?? asdfghjkl it always feels amazing to meet another person who loves the series!! we definitely need to gush about it someday soon!

    also also, your third photo in the title photo dump at the top of the post reminded me of winter night and now i'm feeling so nostalgic!! december would've been the PERFECT time to reread the trilogy!

    happy new year naemi ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      ASH!!! It’s so lovely to hear from you! Happy new year!! πŸ’™πŸŽŠπŸ’™

      Reading The Goblin Emperor sounds like an excellent idea to me, as does that Shadowhunters discussion, and a Winternight reread! I mean, you can never reread Winternight too many times, even outside of December… 😁

      The Haunting Season has such a great wintry atmosphere, though! And trust me – if I, the biggest scaredy cat to ever have walked the Earth, survived reading it, you should have nothing to worry about πŸ˜‰ The stories are deliciously spooky, but not utterly terrifying like some horror tends to be… They’re definitely a better reading choice than Mein Kampf, if you ask me! πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ash says:

        thanks, you too! ❀

        i'll add it to my 2023 tbr for sure! (whether i'll read it thoughπŸ‘€… i am the literal worst when it comes to books lmao)
        yesss true!!

        i'll be sure to check them out! they seem like the perfect october/november transitional read.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Nehal Jain says:

    When was your birthday?!???? 😭 Why don’t i know????? 😭😭😭 And it sounds it sucked πŸ₯Ί. Good to know Christmas was better for you!

    Our missing hearts sounds like a lovely book…except the main characters’ name is bird πŸ•ŠοΈ? Why do you read books with weird characters name…hmm it’s probably a disease *steers away*

    “How can you not love depressing hopefulness?”
    πŸ™‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜­ What even —

    Also, how come you read that many books a month and still not manage to accomplish your Goodreads goal?? 😢 I only set it 30 books this year because i knew this year wud be packed and i did accomplish it 🀣.

    Also wow somebody finally finished that Hitler book. I seriously need to applaud u rn πŸ‘πŸ‘.

    Happy new year, Neigh-me! πŸ₯°πŸ˜€πŸŽ„

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Happy new year, Neigh-hal!!! πŸŽŠπŸ’™πŸ™‚ May 2023 be way more awesome than 2022 was!

      And yeah, my birthday – December 5th πŸ˜‰ – unfortunately really wasn’t the greatest… But a few of my friends did come over to celebrate and bake Christmas cookies with me the weekend after! πŸ₯°

      And lol, Bird’s name being weird is actually a huge thing in the book 🀣 His real name is Noah, and that’s also what everyone calls him, but he thinks of himself as Bird… So who am I to judge? πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ At least it isn’t a disease 😜

      Depressing hopefulness is the best, though! In contrast to Mein Kampf – finishing it was the worst idea ever, so you should feel honored that I took all your begging to heart! 😫 Although at least I have content for my “Least Favorite Books of 2022” post now… 😎

      And how can I not have managed to meet my Goodreads goal, you ask? Well, by having unrealistically high goals, of course! Where’s the fun in setting a goal you can actually achieve? πŸ™ƒπŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Suhani says:


    I love the Christmas tree and mountain snowfalls pictures ahhh thank you for the wonderful photos, it doesn’t snow where I live so they give me a much needed boost of holiday spirit haha
    AND THE HEDWIG LEGO SET!!! Staying up till 2 building lego sounds like so much fun honestly!

    So glad you liked our missing hearts for the most part, I really need to get to it in the new year!

    Hope you have a great new year !! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:


      Anyway, I’m glad my mediocre photography skills were able to give you so much joy – despite seeing it on a regular basis, I may be slightly obsessed with snow, too, so I’m glad my snowy mountain photo dumps are being appreciated! πŸ˜‚β„οΈπŸ₯°

      And Our Missing Hearts is definitely a thought-provoking read! I really hope you like it if you end up reading it!

      Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you’ve had a great start to the new year! πŸ’—


    • abookowlscorner says:

      A very happy new year to you, too, Meena!! I hope you’ve had a great start to 2023! πŸ’™

      Lolol, yeah, I am very sorry I read Mein Kampf, too πŸ™ˆ I’m not so sure whether the lessons I learnt are worth it, but I guess at least you got some entertainment out of my suffering? 🀣

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ro.My.Voice says:

    Thanks for mentioning my Riordanverse Playlist! πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™ Oh wow, I will trust your rec of the Katherine Addison series! 🀩 ‘Words In Deep Blue’ looks like my type of YA, as well. New year, new TBR, amirite? πŸ˜†πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      You’re welcome! I’m still obsessed with that idea and certainly wouldn’t mind if you ever decided to do this for other series, too… πŸ‘€

      And yes, new TBRs are the best!! Particularly when you out books by Katharine Addison on them πŸ€— I really hope you like them if you do check them out, and Words in Deep Blue as well! πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Amaya says:

    tysm for the shoutout!!
    I’m so sorry about the first half of December for you, and I really hope it improves. It’s great that your neighbors were wonderful because great neighbors are kind of the best ❀
    Okay so I've actually not read any of these?? But I have read the infernal devices (yes, I am very behind on the Shadowhunters-verse) I'm not a huge fan of the shadowhunters world?? But I might try out The Red Scrolls of Magic because Magnus is wonderful. Also, so many of these books look amazing?? You've managed to destroy my hopes of finishing my TBR, and I'm very glad about that ❀
    Loved this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      You’re welcome! I loved all of the complaining in that post! 🀣

      And yes, my neighbors are the absolute best! Although I’m really hoping I won’t need any car-related help from them in the future… πŸ˜…

      If you like Magnus, The Red Scrolls of Magic will certainly provide you with lots of gush-worthy content 😁 I still don’t think it’s particularly great plotwise, but it’s worth a try – I hope you like it!

      Anyway, happy new year, Amaya! πŸ’™ May you encounter loads of amazing books in 2023!

      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Oooh, you can’t just ask me for ONE recommendation, that’s way too hard! 😫 So here are a couple for all the genres you wanted so that you can pick one whose synopsis sounds interesting and that you haven’t read yet! 😁
      Horror: Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley
      Sci-Fi: The Darkness Outside us by Eliot Schrefer (It’s my latest mission to make everyone read this! πŸ₯°πŸ€—)
      Classics: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, or, if you’ve already read it, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne BrontΓ«
      Anyway, have fun choosing! 😁 And good luck with your challenge!! πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ash says:

        ahahaha i’m cruel like that ❀

        tales of terror sounds so good?? i MUST get to it in october!
        darkness outside us has gays in space so YES am definitely getting to that this year!!
        that was literally my childhood asdfghjkl
        wildfell hall sounds like a gothic horror romance & i'm both intrigued and terrified lol!

        thank you so much for these wonderful recs!! ❀

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Anoushka says:


    I’m so so sorry the first half sucked so hard πŸ₯Ί the car troubles and the terrible birthday SOUND HORRIBLE IM SO SORRY but yay for amazing neighbors!! HERES TO HOPING 2023 MAKES UP FOR THE TERRIBLENESS THAT 22 INFLICTED UPON YOU ❀️❀️

    but also omg THE CHRISTMAS TREE?? I LOVE IT SO MUCH AND ALL THE SNOWFALL PHOTOS ARE GORGEOUS honestly all the fabulous photos you always include in your wrap ups give me life sometimes tbh

    Jshdjmsbdjd all the books sound PHENOMENAL though?? Yayy for such a great reading month AND LOOK. I’m sorry for all the torture getting through mein kampf ended up being, I REALLY AM, but also?? Your review is hilarious so would honestly call it a smol little success like that.

    Except it’s also pretty cruel of you to say such amazing things about Ringel, Rangel, Rosen and hype me up so much for it WHILE ALSO REVEALING IT DOESNT HAVE AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION??? how dare you I WANT TO READ IT TOO OK

    happy new year AND HAVE THE GREATEST EVER 2023 NAEMI ❀️❀️ i can’t wait to read all your end of the year posts THEYRE THE BEST EVER

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rachel says:

      HII NAEMI sorry i am once again very late BUT I HAVE MISSED YOUR POSTS!!
      wow your year was definitely eventful hehe.
      thank you so much for the mention and have an amazing 2023!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • abookowlscorner says:

        Don’t worry, you actually aren’t very late at all! AND I’M SO THRILLED TO SEE YOU AROUND AGAIN, RACHEL!! πŸ’™πŸ€—πŸ’™ A VERY HAPPY 2023 TO YOU, TOO, WITH HOPEFULLY LOADS OF AMAZING BOOKS ALONG THE WAY!! πŸ₯³

        Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      AHHH, ANOUSHKA, YOUR AMAZINGLY LONG COMMENTS FULL OF EXCITED SCREAMING ARE ALWAYS THE BEST!! πŸ€—πŸ’™πŸ€— I’m thrilled my rather unspectacular photography skills are being appreciated, and, yes, I’m also hoping for a much better 2023! Fingers crossed! 🀞

      Absolutely nothing about Mein Kampf was a success, though! 😫😑 I’m still traumatized and no rant review in the world could make having read it worth it!! 😭😭😭

      Anyway, have an amazing 2023 as well! πŸ’™ Thank you for stopping by!!


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