quick lit – next page, please {january 2023}

Here’s a look at what I read in January. This year I am continuing to be very intentional and deliberate about my reading life in 2023. I don’t want to save the good stuff (taking inspiration for Ginger Horton’s episode on What Should I Read Next? podcast). One of my goals for the year is to make a significant dent in my Owned TBR Shelf, which I did by reading 3 books from that shelf this month. Yay!

A PRAYER FOR THE CROWN-SHY (Monk & Robot #2) by Becky Chambers

I absolutely love the Monk & Robot series and this one follows Sibling Dex and Mosscap off the mountain and into Panga. How will the people react to the robot? Will Sibling Dex still be a tea monk? This was the first book I read this year and I am planning on making reading a Monk & Robot during the first of the year a tradition. It’s dedication sums up my life beautifully: For anybody who doesn’t know where they are going. A lovely story about being where you are while you are there. I love this series so much! 


My first five-star read this year, I will read anything R. F. Kuang writes after last year’s BABEL was one of the my best reads. This one is very meta, set in publishing and about authors and who can tell what stories.  I am not sure I can form a concise thought about this yet; and I am going to read this one again. Set to release on May 16; thanks to William Morrow for the advanced readers’ copy. 

GALATEA by Madeline Miller

This is more short story than novella and I read it because I loved Miller’s CIRCE.  An interesting perspective on another Greek mythological tale.  I liked it.


This was a surprising five-star read for me; it’s a lesson on not giving up on a book when I think there is something there. I started it two or three times and the time was right for me to complete it this month! This is a sci-fi multiverse novel with multiple worlds with multiple you(s) on those worlds. I’ve always been fascinated with “the road not traveled” and “what if I had made a different choice” stories. This is all that and more.  I can’t stop thinking about it. Here’s to hoping Micaiah Johnson’s working on another one.


I am now a Becky Chambers’ completist; and I’m not going to lie, I am sad about that. This one was published before A PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT and is a bit more science-driven than her other works. This one was about a team of astronauts visiting and researching other planets who have to create a home in many locales. Visiting these other worlds was very imaginative. I loved what she says, “…a home can only exist in a moment. Something both found and made. Always temporary, in the grand scheme of things, but vital all the same.” I think fans of Andy Weir’s work will enjoy this one.


I read this for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club; it was the January’s selection.  I loved it because it had a lot of the things I loved: music and mystery. I had the privilege of interviewing Brendan Slocumb in Anne’s stead; it is an episode of the What Should I Read Next podcast.  He was a delight and he said that this story is based on his own life’s experience as a classical violinist who also had a violin stolen.  His upcoming release SYMPHONY OF SECRETS is releases in April and is set in the same universe as THE VIOLIN CONSPIRACY! I love when books do that. 

THE MIMICKING OF KNOWN SUCCESS (Mossa & Pleiti #1) by Malka Ann Older

Think Sherlock Holmes & John Watson. But females. On Jupiter because Earth is no longer inhabitable. It will release March 7th. I liked this one and will read the follow-up THE IMPOSITION OF UNNECESSARY OBSTACLES due out February 2024. Thanks to Tordotcom for the advanced readers’ copy. 

What did you read in January? As usual, I’m linking up to Anne Bogel’s Quick Lit post. If you’re here because you were there, thank you for coming.

enjoy life… 

quick lit – next page, please {2022 best fiction}

“[Read fiction] to make the unknown known, to make the other familiar….to make magic with words.”

– Professor Jerome Playfair, BABEL

Below are the best works of fiction and five-star reads of 2022. I have been looking at it to see if there are any connective themes: what made me excited about reading each of them? What kind of books are they? If you see any let me know. 

MY OXFORD YEAR by Julia Whelan

I LOVED this book so much.  This was a reread and I fell even more in love with it this time than I did the first time around.  One of the reasons is because I didn’t fully experience the poems in this story until my second reading. I should mention, I have a thing for Oxford, England. I considered attending a school in Georgia named Oxford to get as close as I could to the place.


A PRAYER FOR THE CROWN-SHY is the second novella in the Monk & Robot series. A PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT saved me in 2021.  When I read it the first time, I hugged it to my chest and cried literal tears.  It is such a lovely book; like a warm cup of tea on a cold night and I reread it on the first of the year. I do hope there’s a third in this series. 

SO MANY BEGINNINGS by Bethany Morrow

This meticulously researched YA novel is a reimagining of LITTLE WOMEN by Louise May Alcott featuring black sisters during the same time period. Bethany Morrow is quoted as saying that she is “telling a completely different story.” She has to because a black girl’s story in the late 1800’s would be a totally different than a white girl’s story. It was a beautiful story and one that I wished had been available when I read the original LITTLE WOMEN as a young girl. 

RING SHOUT by P. Djèlí Clark

I don’t typically read horror stories but my friend, Ginger, told me that this was one of the best books that she has ever read. Period! This story reimagines the members of the Ku Klux Klan as actual demons and makes very clear the horrors of that time. P. Djèlí Clark is an academic and his knowledge of history is evident in all of his work.  I will read anything he writes. 

SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Emily St. John Mandel

I read SEA OF TRANQUILITY in February of this year and yes, it maintained a top spot from the day I finished it until BABEL came along. I adored the interconnectivity and multiple storylines spanning 500 years and into the future (love a well-placed sci-fi element). It is a novel about art, love, and COVID; but don’t let that deter you from reading it. It took me a long time to get into it and I wasn’t fully invested until halfway in. The storylines all come together brilliantly into an ending that I adored. I picked this one up because Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy told me that I would like it.  She was right. 


This book slayed me, wrecked me.  Stories about wanting desperately to be a part of something and searching for a place to belong deeply resonate with me.  With more than a passing interest in linguistics and etymology, and my thing for Oxford, this book was right up my alley. It’s thoroughly researched, almost historical fiction with a mild fantasy element which I love.  Be warned, the book raises a lot of questions but answers none of them. Don’t let that deter you.  The writing style is genius and I will definitely reread it at some point. 

BURY YOUR DEAD by Louise Penny

This is the book that relieved me of my BABEL book hangover. The sixth book in the Inspector Gamache Series, this book is an in-depth look at grief and loss. But is weirdly comforting.  It was the perfect book for me to read at the end of a very hard year. 

Per usual, I’m linking up with Anne Bogel’s Quick Lit post over on Modern Mrs. Darcy. If you are here because of her, thank you. 

quick lit – next page, please {october 2020}

I mentioned in my October What I’m Into post that I’m leaning into the weirdness and mystery that is this time of year. I am no longer trying to stave off the desire to be in the dark, both physically and metaphorically. To that end, I selected a few books that are generally outside of my comfort zone. One was my first book in the horror genre! I was listening to October 29th episode of Laura Vanderkam’s podcast, The New Corner Office, and she mentioned that one of the reasons people are drawn to horror is that “it is an over-the-top manifestation of some things we already encounter in real life: fright, anxiety, dread.” Well, ain’t that the truth?

And I reached my Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge goal of reading 40 books! Yay!


  • The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. This book was a lot of what I hoped that it would be when Anne told me about it on my episode of What Should I Read Next. It dealt with serious themes but in an entertaining way. I read it in two sittings.
  • The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren. I was browsing my bookshelves (does any one do this besides me?) and saw this romance that I had gotten early in the pandemic. It was a quick, easy read and I read it in one sitting. I think I might have liked it if it hadn’t turned two of the main characters, based on Chip and Joanna Gaines, into adulterous and manipulative people. And, of course, I kept picturing Chip and Joanna which just didn’t seem right. Thanks to Snail on the Wall for the advanced reader’s copy.
  • Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski. I can’t say enough good things about this book and if I have had a conversation with you recently, I have probably already told you about this. The first few chapters alone were worth the price of the book. I was introduced to it by Brenè Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us, and if you are interested in the content but don’t feel like reading the book, you can gain some nuggets from Brown’s interview of Emily and Amelia.
  • Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth. This was my horror pick! I started it not knowing if I would be able to finish it – it’s horror, after all. While I did not enjoy the story that much, Danforth’s writing was amazing. I started it on audio, read by the brilliant narrator Xe Sands. After listening for a while, I had to see the words on the page and I was able to download an advanced digital copy (thanks Snail on the Wall) to note the sentence structure and how Sands translated that in her reading of the text. It was appropriately spooky for the season. Thanks to Libro.fm for the Advanced Listener’s Copy.
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. I LOVED this fantasy! I read the first half in one sitting and was so nervous to read the rest and because I wanted to fully experience it, I didn’t do what I normally do and read the ending first. I was sustained in this because my friend, Kari, told me that she thought I would be OK with the ending. I was and Addie is easily a contender for my best books of 2020.

Currently Reading

DNF’d (Did Not Finish Reading)

Anticipated Reading

  • Hmm, I don’t think I’m anticipating anything right now. I need to do something about this! Any suggestions?

If you are a member of the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club, be sure to check out Anne’s interview with Alix Harrow. If you’re not a member, join the fun.

And as usual, Anne does a Quick Lit post every month discussing what she is currently reading, to which I am linking this post. If you’re here because of her, I thank you and I thank her.

As Anne would say, “Happy Reading”!

enjoy life…