2023 Bookish Hype Train

Per my post about 2023, I really need to refocus on refilling my creative well. So, this year, I’m limiting the number of author interviews I do and reshuffling my to-read list to be mainly about backlist titles. Plus, I am releasing a novella of my own, which I am more than thrilled to unleash upon the world.

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My 2022 in Reading: Jo Needs a Nap

I read 192 books this year in a split of: 54 ARCs (up from last year), 33 audiobooks (down from last year), 72 manga volumes (down from last year), 20 physical copies (up from last year), 8 light novels (up from last year), and 5 eBooks (down from last year). I want to share my favorites, so please enjoy my favorite 20 2022 books, favorite 10 books from before 2021, and my favorite 5 manga. I would have done a favorite 20 of backlist books, but, unfortunately, I did not prioritize this year, and I think that contributed to my exhaustion.

Overall, it’s not as many things as last year, and it did bring me dangerously close to burning out on reading. 2023 will be a year for resetting some of my priorities with regards to reading, which will focus on my backlog and reading a whole lot of light novels.

Note: Harper Collins book links have been replaced with the linktree for the Harper Collins Union until that publisher goes back to the bargaining table

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November 2022 Reading Recap

November might have been the month that took me out. Though I did not do NaNoWriMo, I wrote a lot and, more importantly for a post coming later this week, I read a lot. So much. So many things. I also wound up watching a lot of Japanese horror films (classics like Ringu and Ju-On, so if you have recommendations, I’d love them).

November’s blog interviews were:

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ARC Review: THREE KINGS by Freydís Moon (2022)

Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance
Year Release: 2022
Buy Link: NineStar Press

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read a NetGalley eARC
Content warnings: blood used in a ritual, necromancy, depiction of anxiety pertaining to pregnancy, conversation surrounding fertility

Ethan and Peter live a pretty idyllic life in the village of Casper as a lighthouse keeper and fishing captain, respectively. One day, a selkie gets tangled in Peter’s net and Ethan uses necromantic ritual to bring another person back to life. Full of healing, intimacy, and interpersonal devotion, this autumnal read is perfect for people looking for some magic and tenderness a la a Miyazaki film that also fucks.

I love the exploration of family here. Ethan and Peter are very devoted husbands at a kind of crossroads in their lives. The selkie does not help in the immediate situation, but opens up the opportunity for something else. There is a mishap with some marrow that leads to heat, but the relationships among the three develop long before ignition. I really enjoyed the dynamic between the husbands, but especially their interactions with others in town. It feels slice-of-life even though there’s definitely an inciting event, a middle, and an end.

The worldbuilding is also rad. The rules of the magic are fairly hand-wavey, but there’s a nice folkloric aspect to Ethan’s rituals that add a layer of dreaminess to the entire narrative. Overall, this quick read is atmospheric, magical, and romantic.

Review: EXODUS 20:3 by Freydís Moon (2022)

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Year Release: 2022
Source: Physical Copy

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content Warnings: explicit sexual content, off-page transphobia, mention of drug use, off-page police brutality

Diego is a trans man who takes on what’s supposed to be a low-key construction job to help get him back on track. The job is managed by the enigmatic Ariel, who definitely has a secret of angelic proportions. Their relationship evolves into something equally queer, intense, and divine.

This book is cozy in a way reminiscent of post-coitus. Diego carries a lot of baggage and a lot of emotional turmoil with regards to both faith and his experience as someone worthy of care and attention. The way the differences between faith, devotion, and religion mingle in the conversations between Ariel and Diego, especially when it comes to drawing lines between what is faith and what is the result of centuries of iterative interpretations. I found these explorations cathartic and affirming as a queer person raised in a religious household.

A theme that permeates Moon’s work is the respect given towards working class individuals, and this is also extends towards sex workers. There are mentions in the novella that Diego has engaged in cam work before and both the text and Ariel treat it as the job it is, with no virtue or vice attached to it. It’s a refreshing detail that also highlights the thoughtfulness in Moon’s work as a canon.

If erotica where a young man falls into lust with a literal and Biblically accurate angel is something of interest, definitely give this one a read. The paperback edition has a bonus scene that takes place a year later, and it is swoony—I cannot recommend it enough.

September 2022 Reading Recap

Somehow, September also saw me in New York City. We can thank the CDC for letting me reunite with my best friend from my childhood in Poland, along with several others who I haven’t seen in years even before the pandemic. This is also a reminder for folks to get the bivalent booster if you are 18 and haven’t had COVID within the last 3 months.

I finished my revision and resubmitted it, which is my big project completion that robbed me lots of reading time. Now, I’m resting an embarking on a reading adventure to learn how to write a horny goth book. Hopefully, I’ll be able recapping that in October’s post. But we’ll see.

This month’s blog interviews were:

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August 2022 Reading Recap

August saw me flying from New York City back to Texas and spending a bunch of time recovering from psychic damage I’m not going to get into. I also did a bunch of painting, had a weird episode with my Instagram, and just. What a ride of a month it was!

I am nearing the end of my revision journey, and then I’m going to be doing more focused reading lists that I may or may not share as part of the recovery phase after finishing an intense project.

This month’s blog interviews were:

September is off to a hype start, with me getting to announce a short story with the inaugural edition of the Best Served Cold zine.

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Author to Author with Freydís Moon (With a Vengeance)

I’m so thrilled to have Freydís Moon on my blog today to talk about their debut novel, With a Vengeance. Kye is a human who has a lot on their shoulder: grief, a family estate, a demonic haunting, and a rogue ICE agent sniffing around. This dark paranormal erotic romance is as affirming and as it is hot, while featuring a nuanced exploration of culture, family, grief, healing, and the things people do to keep their community safe.

Today, Freydís chats with me about the origins of this novel, the myriad projects coming down the pipeline, and the works they’re looking forward to most.

Buy Links: Amazon | Signed Paperback

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Review: WITH A VENGEANCE by Freydís Moon (2022)

Genre: Adult Dark Paranormal Romance
Year Release: 2022
Source: Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content Warnings: Dominant/submissive roleplay, rape fantasy, consensual explicit content, dubious consent, deadnaming, misgendering, body horror, dysphoria, reference to off-page sexual assault, murder, violence and gore, spanking, belt play, religious eroticism, religious trauma, familial death, saliva play, blood play, size difference, primal play, breeding kink, psychosis, mention of depression, depressive episodes, suicide ideation, racism, police brutality

Kye Lovato (they/them) returns to their haunted childhood home to settle their recently-deceased mother’s affairs. A demon prince, Eligos, hears Kye’s desperation and possesses them, starting a relationship that’s drenched in the supernatural, complete with powers. As if that isn’t complicated enough, an ICE agent starts sniffing around their mother’s alebrijes business and threatens the community she’s taken care of.

This romance between a nonbinary human and a demon is affirming and hot in its sexual content, while, also having a nuanced exploration of culture, family, grief, healing, and the things people do to keep their community safe from shady law enforcement. An incredible blend of recovering from trauma, a mystery, and getting split open by a saucy demon.

An interview with the author will be going up on September 1st.

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