In December, I read 8 books which made my total amount of books I read in 2023, 60 books! WHOA! I can’t believe I read 60 books! I read 2 books in January of 2023 and 1 in February, never could I imagine that I would end the year with 60 books! I’m so proud of myself, I know you’re all probably annoyed with me saying that but I can’t help but be proud of myself. I always admired those who could read multiple books in a month and now I’ve become one.
December was a wonderful reading month! I ticked off a lot of books that had been on my tbr list. I had five 4-star reads and ended the year a 5-star! I also decided to DNF a book which pained me because I like to finish books.
Make sure to follow me on Goodreads to be updated on what I’m reading and on StoryGraph if you’re curious about my book statistics. Also, check out last month’s What I Read post to see more of the books I read.
My star reading scale
★★★★★/5 – Loved it! Would reread and recommend it to others.
★★★★/5 – Kept me entertained. I would reread.
★★★/5 – Didn’t love or hate but would recommend to others.
★★/5 – Did not enjoy it and probably skimmed through most of it.
★/5 – I hated it and regret wasting my time with this book.
DNF – Did not finish. This will probably be rare because I like to finish every book I start.
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The Return by Rachel Harrison ★★★★/5
Julie is missing, and no one believes she will ever return—except Elise. Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and feels it in her bones that her best friend is out there and that one day Julie will come back. She’s right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she’s been or what happened to her.
This is my third Rachel Harrison novel and it’s by far my favorite! After their friend goes missing for 2 years, she mysteriously returns in front of her house but doesn’t remember a thing so they decide to take a girls’ trip to see if they can help rekindle her memory. You can tell there is something off throughout the entire story, the build-up made me read this as quickly as possible. Overall, I enjoyed The Return. Rachel Harrison is the type of author who keeps building up the story and waits until the last chapter to reveal everything so be patient. haha
You can purchase The Return here
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh ★★★★/5
Our narrator should be happy, shouldn’t she? She’s young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?
As someone whose favorite form of escapism is sleeping, I found this concept rather intriguing. You want to feel for the characters but they make it hard to because they’re so privileged, however, mental health doesn’t judge. This book has the most impactful last chapters and last sentences that I think I have ever read, it was the perfect ending.
You can purchase My Year of Rest and Relaxation here
The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz ★★★★/5
Alex has all but given up on her dreams of becoming a published author when she receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attend an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Even the knowledge that Wren, her former best friend and current rival, is attending doesn’t dampen her excitement.
I’ve been wanting to read The Writing Retreat for exactly a year! I remember because last winter I almost bought a copy. I loved it! The first half of the book just seems like a normal writing retreat with some conflict between the main character and their ex-friend but then one of the guests goes missing and the story picks up from there. There were so many twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting! If you’re looking for a winter thriller (specifically set around late January/early February) this is for you!
You can purchase The Writing Retreat here
The October Country by Ray Bradbury –/5
I decided to go ahead and DNF The October Country. I picked this back in September with the intention to read this during October to get into the spooky season, however, October was the month I started using my Kindle because I still had Kindle Unlimited and then later connected my Kindle to Libby, so I kept putting this book off. Instead, of forcing myself to read this, I decided to just DNF until this October when it’s spooky season again.
Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin ★★★/5
It’s winter in Sokcho, a tourist town on the border between South and North Korea. The cold slows everything down. Bodies are red and raw, the fish turn venomous, beyond the beach guns point out from the North’s watchtowers. A young French Korean woman works as a receptionist in a tired guesthouse. One evening, an unexpected guest arrives: a French cartoonist determined to find inspiration in this desolate landscape.
I didn’t know how I felt about Winter in Sokcho, it’s been on my tbr for a while so I looked forward to finally reading this, especially in the winter. However, nothing much happened. I wanted more. As I neared the end and saw how much was left I was nervous that it would be one of those books with an open ending and that’s exactly what happened which disappointed me.
You can purchase Winter in Sokcho here
Rouge by Mona Awad ★★★/5
For as long as she can remember, Belle has been insidiously obsessed with her skin and skincare videos. When her estranged mother Noelle mysteriously dies, Belle finds herself back in Southern California, dealing with her mother’s considerable debts and grappling with lingering questions about her death. The stakes escalate when a strange woman in red appears at the funeral, offering a tantalizing clue about her mother’s demise, followed by a cryptic video about a transformative spa experience. With the help of a pair of red shoes, Belle is lured into the barbed embrace of La Maison de Méduse, the same lavish, culty spa to which her mother was devoted. There, Belle discovers the frightening secret behind her (and her mother’s) obsession with the mirror—and the great shimmering depths (and demons) that lurk on the other side of the glass.
I was interested in Rouge because I heard it described as horror skincare, lol! At first, I was fascinated with what was happening but the middle part became repetitive and as I neared the end it just felt like too much going which became confusing and rushed.
You can purchase Rouge here
Ankle Snatcher by Grady Hendrix ★★★★/5
Marcus grew up believing his father killed his mother—then blamed it on the boogeyman under the bed. Always leave the lights on, his father warned, or the boogeyman will get you. Marcus still heeds the superstition, especially when he invites his new girlfriend over. Is Marcus haunted by a creature or has he just inherited his father’s murderous delusions? The night will tell.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t keeping track of my books until I saw I only needed a few to reach 60 books so I searched for a short story to read. I remembered that I had downloaded Ankle Snatcher on my Kindle! It was an eerie but entertaining read and under 30 pages. haha
You can read Ankle Snatcher here
Earthlings by Sayaka Murata ★★★★/5
As a child, Natsuki doesn’t fit in with her family. Her parents favor her sister, and her best friend is a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut, who talks to her. He tells her that he has come from the planet Popinpobopia on a special quest to help her save the Earth. One summer, on vacation with her family and her cousin Yuu in her grandparents’ ramshackle wooden house in the mountains of Nagano, Natsuki decides that she must be an alien, which would explain why she can’t seem to fit in like everyone else. Later, as a grown woman, living a quiet life with her asexual husband, Natsuki is still pursued by dark shadows from her childhood, and decides to flee the “baby factory” of society for good, searching for answers about the vast and frightening mysteries of the universe―answers only Natsuki has the power to uncover.
Wow! I didn’t expect Earthlings to be the book to shock me as much as it did! I knew a little bit about what happens because I read a few spoiler-free reviews that mentioned one of the things that happens. However, there are much more shocking parts in Earthlings! Overall, this book was messed up AF but in an entertaining way. You’ve been warned! haha
You can purchase Earthlings here
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha ★★★★★/5
A riveting debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossible standards of beauty, after-hours room salons catering to wealthy men, ruthless social hierarchies, and K-pop mania
My final book of 2023! If I Had Your Face shares a lot of information on what it’s like to be a Korean woman in modern society. It was heartbreaking at times. This book follows the perspective of four young women who are trying to live in South Korea and some of the difficulties they face. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have no complaints about it.
You can purchase If I Had Your Face here
Have you read any of these books? What did you read in December?