December Wrap Up


In the lead up to the end of the year, I’ve tried really hard to finish the books I was ‘currently reading’ for a long time. I succeeded in finishing the book I’d requested for review purposes Assistant to the Villain. It was really good, but I struggled to read anything at all for more than a few pages at a time over the past few months.

Sometimes I think I like the anticipation of reading a great book better than the experience of reading a mediocre one.

I reviewed 17 books this year. That’s not a very high number. I read nearly 60, but only reviewed 17. Part of that is because I started reading more widely, while keeping this book blog largely for YA books (which are my first and one true love).

This doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to change anything going forward, it’s just something for me to note.


To top it all off, I got this cool email from Goodreads that said I was in the top 25% of readers on the site! For someone who only reads around 50 books a year due to other commitments, I think that’s pretty neat!


Favourite Books of 2023:


Here are some book I’m looking forward to in 2024:

The Darkness Within Us (The Shadows Between Us #2) by Tricia Levenseller

Chrysantha Stathos has won.

By hiding her intelligence and ambition behind the mask of a beautiful air-headed girl, she has gathered important secrets, earned her father’s constant care, and become a wealthy duchess—all by age nineteen. Now, she is only one elderly, dying duke away from having all the freedom, money, and safety she’s ever wanted.

Or so she thought.

Turns out her little sister somehow snatched the true victory away from her: Alessandra is wedding the Shadow King, the most powerful man in the world. Meanwhile, after the death of Chrysantha’s no-good, lecherous husband, a man claiming to be the duke’s estranged grandson turns up to inherit everything that should be hers.

Chrysantha is enraged. There is no way that she’s going to let some man take everything from her. Never mind that he’s extremely handsome and secretive and alluring with mysterious powers… No, Chrysantha wants Eryx Demos dead, and in the end, a Stathos girl always gets what she wants.


Twelfth Knight by Alexene Farol Follmuth

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six (under the penname Olivie Blake) comes Twelfth Knight, a YA romantic comedy and coming of age story about taking up space in the world and learning what it means to let others in.

Viola Reyes is annoyed.

Her painstakingly crafted tabletop game campaign was shot down, her best friend is suggesting she try being more “likable,” and her school’s star running back Jack Orsino is the most lackadaisical Student Body President she’s ever seen, which makes her job as VP that much harder. Vi’s favorite escape from the world is the MMORPG Twelfth Knight, but online spaces aren’t exactly kind to girls like her—girls who are extremely competent and have the swagger to prove it. So Vi creates a masculine alter ego, choosing to play as a knight named Cesario to create a safe haven for herself.

But when a football injury leads Jack Orsino to the world of Twelfth Knight, Vi is alarmed to discover their online alter egos—Cesario and Duke Orsino—are surprisingly well-matched.

As the long nights of game-play turn into discussions about life and love, Vi and Jack soon realise they’ve become more than just weapon-wielding characters in an online game. But Vi has been concealing her true identity from Jack, and Jack might just be falling for her offline


The Perfect Guy Doens’t Exist by Sophie Gonzales

A fanfic writer brings her favorite TV character to life in this friends-to-enemies-to-lovers novel full of humor and heart.

Ivy Winslow has the house to herself for a week while her parents are away. She’s planning to use this newfound freedom to binge-watch her favorite fantasy TV show, H-MAD, and hang out with her best friend, Henry. She’ll also have to avoid her former best friend-turned enemy (and neighbor), Mack. But things quickly go awry when Ivy wakes up to find Weston, the gorgeous, very fictional main character of H-MAD in her bedroom, claiming to be her soul mate.

Ivy realizes that her fanfic writing has somehow brought Weston as she’s imagined him to life. But it turns out that the tropes she swoons over in her stories are slightly less romantic in reality, and her not-so-fictional crush is causing some real-world problems. To figure out why Weston is here and what to do with him, Ivy decides to team up with Henry and (against her better judgment) Mack. But with Mack back in her life, Ivy starts to wonder if Weston, her “perfect guy”, is the one who’s truly perfect for her . . . or if that was someone else all along.

A Novel Love Story by Ashley Poston

A professor of literature finds herself caught up in a work of fiction…literally, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Seven Year Slip and The Dead Romantics.

Eileen Merriweather knows a thing or two about romance.
As a professor of literature, she teaches prestigious courses on history’s greatest romantics, but one week out of the year she abandons her dusty textbooks and makes a pilgrimage to the Hudson Valley with her best friend Pru to meet their Super Smutty Book Club in person, and celebrate the romance series that brought them together—Quixotic Falls. It’s a week of wine and happily-ever-afters.

Or it’s supposed to be.

Pru bails at the last minute, and Elsy winds up lost in Hudson Valley—alone. In a thunderstorm. When she takes shelter in a bookstore, she immediately gets on the bad side of its grumpy (and infuriatingly sexy) owner, and finds herself in a quaint town that feels like it’s right out of a book…

Because it is.

Eloraton can’t be real, and yet… she’s here. The town is everything she imagined from her favorite series, where the candy store’s honey taffy is always sweet, and the local bar’s burgers are always a little burnt, and rain always comes in the afternoon. It’s perfect. A place built on meet-cutes and storybook endings.

Except, there’s something off in Eloraton. Because nothing changes, nothing moves, trapped in the last place the late author of Quixotic Falls left them. Which must be why Elsy is to find an ending to this last story, the one the author never finished.

The only problem? The bookstore owner never wants the story to end, and he might be the one person who can help her imagine this final happily-ever-after.

And maybe find one for herself.



Wrath Becomes Her by Aden Polydoros

Frankenstein meets Inglourious Basterds in this stunning Jewish historical horror novel from the award-winning author of The City Beautiful.

Vera was made for vengeance.

Lithuania, 1943. A father drowns in the all-consuming grief of a daughter killed by the Nazis. He can’t bring Chaya back from the dead, but he can use kishuf — an ancient and profane magic — to create a golem in her image. A Nazi killer, to avenge her death.

When Vera awakens, she can feel her violent purpose thrumming within her. But she can also feel glimpses of a human life lived, of stolen kisses amidst the tragedy, and of a grisly death. And when she meets Akiva, she recognizes the boy with soft lips that gave warm kisses. But these memories aren’t hers, and Vera doesn’t know if she gets—or deserves —to have a life beyond what she was made for.

Vera’s strength feels limitless—until she learns that there are others who would channel kishuf for means far less noble than avenging a daughter’s death. As she confronts the very basest of humanity, Vera will need more than what her creator gave Not just a reason to fight, but a reason to live.

I’ve seen this book around a bit and I was so intrigued by the cover and title, and when I read the blurb and realised this story was about a non-human main character designed for revenge it just kind of hit something deep inside that really wanted to read it…

The Gilded Crown by Marianne Gordon

The first time Hellevir visited Death, she was ten years old…

Since she was a little girl, Hellevir has been able to raise the dead. Every creature can be saved for a price, a price demanded by the shrouded figure who rules the afterlife, who takes a little more from Hellevir with each soul she resurrects. Such a gift can rarely remain a secret.

When Princess Sullivain, sole heir to the kingdom’s throne, is assassinated, the Queen summons Hellevir to demand she bring her granddaughter back to life. But once is not enough; the killers might strike again. The Princess’s death would cause a civil war, so the Queen commands that Hellevir remain by her side. But Sullivain is no easy woman to be bound to, even as Hellevir begins to fall in love with her. With the threat of war looming, Hellevir must trade more and more of herself to keep the Princess alive. But Death will always take what he is owed.

I’m really drawn to the idea of a small child that can raise the dead. I know the book is about an adult, but I’d like to see how the story unfurls.

Bone Crier’s Moon and Bone Crier’s Dawn by Kathryn Purdie

I read this duology a couple of years ago and it still lives rent free in my head as a perfectly plotted, perfectly character-motivated, perfectly world-built story. Even though I try not to buy every book I’ve read as an ARC or borrowed form the library, recently I saw this duology for sale at a decent price, and as they have matte covers, I decided I wanted to own them. I also want to do a re-read as I initially listened to this on audio.


Monthly Wrap Up

Book Stuff

  • Number of books read: 5
    • Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer
    • Wed to the Alien Warlord by January Bell
    • Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision
    • Vengeance of the Pirate Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #3) by Tricia Levenseller (review may come)
    • A Very Russian Christmas (Her Russian Protector #3.5) by Roxie Rivera
  • Finished a series: No (I believe Levenseller intends further books in the Pirate Queen series)
  • Started a series: Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer, Accidental Alien Brides by January Bell, Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision
  • New to me authors: Hannah Nicole Maehrer, January Bell, Jennifer Ellision
  • Favourite book: Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros, Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer

Book Reviews:


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About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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