Reads of December 2022

pile of assorted novel books
Photo by Min An on

Finished the year strong with fifteen reads. Went over my year’s goal of 150 by 7. But I didn’t finish the Read Harder Challenge. I still have four books left, but I fully intend to read them this year instead. But let’s get into the books. 

Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix
I’ll need to get a hard copy of this book to really get the entire effect, but this was a delightful listening experience. 
I feel more informed about the horror genre and can’t wait to read some of the books mentioned. 
I really enjoyed Hendrix’s humorous tone throughout. A great book for horror lovers. 

The Chain by Adrian McKinty 
This book had a very strong beginning. I was petrified from word go and had to keep reading to find out what happens to Kylie. 
But the middle got a little meh. Then I found myself questioning if I cared about the ending. I predicted the reveal by the time we got there. And the ending felt a little rushed. 
Overall, meh. Great premise, but bland execution. 

Help! My Launch Plan Sucks by Mal and Jill Cooper 
A fantastic guide to help plan launches. They included step-by-step timelines for multiple paths and pros and cons for each. The worksheets included are also very helpful. I know I’ll be using this from here on out to help plan my book launches. 

Final Girls by Riley Sager
I almost DNFed this one. By the halfway mark, I was a little annoyed. It felt repetitive and boring as Sam pushed Quincey and Quincey questioned everything. I checked some reviews and soldiered on. 
I did not guess the ending, but I also didn’t really care about any of them enough to be very affected by it. 
Felt like it could have been a little tightened up and I would have liked it more. 

The Bookstore Sisters by Alice Hoffman 
A short story about sisters reuniting after years apart. It was very heartfelt, and the relationship blossomed beautifully, even in a short book.
I felt a little confused about the life Isabel left behind in New York, but I enjoyed being pulled along for the ride. 

Imaginary Friend Stephen Chbosky 
This book had so much going for it and I was so disappointed with the direction it went in the end. 
So creepy, dark, and twisted, and then BAM Jesus. The last quarter of the book was drawn out, a little lame, and I really just wanted it to end. 
I can’t say much else without it turning it into a rant. 

On Writing Horror by The Horror Writer’s Association 
A great asset in my horror writing journey. Packed with amazing insights from authors who have been there and done it. 
Some advice I’d heard before, but there were several golden nuggets of wisdom that I’ll cherish throughout my career. 

Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand 
I have mixed feelings about this one. 
The story itself was pretty interesting. The traumatic turn of events and the hiding in plain sight villain kept me interested. 
But Cass is such an annoying lead character. She doesn’t seem to have any point aside from getting drunk and stumbling into answers. Debating on reading the next book. 

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones 
Another one I’m not super sure about. Jade is such a kooky girl with dark twisty insides. I wanted to hang out with her, share a cigarette, and give her a hug. 
And the murder mystery kept me on the edge of my seat. All the final girl stuff was super entertaining, and I loved the tone of the whole book. 
But the end really threw me for a loop. The dark magic really comes out of nowhere. Super interesting though. 

Her Name is Knight by Yasmin Angoe 
Such a punch in the gut of a book. 
The back and forth of past and present day really drove the pain home for me in Nena’s life. 
She’s amazing and mart and really blossoms at the end. I loved the vibes and core family values of the story. My heart aches for her in the last several chapters. And I can’t wait to start the next book. 

The Ones that Got Away by Stephen Graham Jones
Felt very just meh about these stories. None of them stood out to me as being great, but neither were they awful. There were times i got the creeps and felt grossed out, but nothing stuck with me. 
A mediocre read at best. 

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delaney
Another simply okay reading experience. I feel like if the book had been longer and explained a bit more, I could have really liked it. The futuristic elements and the alien life were interesting, but several times I found myself confused about what was actually going on. Interesting but bland. 

A Wild and Precious Life by Edie Windsor and Joshua Lyon *Read Harder Challenge 22*
A beautiful and emotional story that filled me with love and hope. 
Edie’s life was so interesting and fun to hear about. How she handled herself and her situations is nothing short of amazing. My heart is so full. 
I’d love to know more about Edie and her life and will be looking for more to read. 

Self-publishing with Amazon Ads by Bryan Cohen 
I have to say, I really enjoyed the way he wrote this book as though helping an author learn it step-by-step and not just as a guide. The conversations with Erin really brought it to me in a way I can understand better than any other book I’ve read on the subject. Can’t wait to start my ad setup. 

Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Overall, I think this story was pretty great. Creepy, haunted house, blood and gore, emotional trauma – what’s not to love? But I wish there had been more story and less prose. 
Don’t get me wrong, the sentences were beautiful and gave some pretty visceral reactions – but the story itself went too fast and was over in a blink and all I’m left feeling is like I read some scary poetry, not a horror story. 

And that wraps up my reading of 2022. This year I’m starting my goal at 100 again. I know I reached 157 for ’22, but I relied mostly on audio books and this year I really want to try to read harder and be more focused when I read. And that will mean more re-reads and slower read times in general so I’m going to aim for 100. If I go over it, great. But I don’t want to push it.

What do you plan on reading this year?
If you’d like a free short story from one of my books, click here 🙂