Looking Back at December 2022

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Last month of the year. Where has the time gone? This year has had some of my lowest moments (losing my job) to feeling like a weight has been lifted off my shoulder for the first time in almost five years (getting a new job). Not only that, but I got the majority of my teeth fixed, and I still have some more work to be done of course. But I no longer hate the thought of smiling and having people see my teeth. My habits regarding my teeth are better than they were before, and I intend to make that a priority in 2023 so this never happens again. Because I realize when it came to my health, I was doing the wrong thing. I was letting work dictate when or if I could go see doctors, dentists, etc. As I felt like I could never take time off to do so, but not anymore. So, here’s to the next year and making myself a priority.

But before the new year can kick off, I wanted to look back at everything that happened in December 2022. From what I read, what I did on stream, what happened in my personal life, and what I did as far as body painting.

Body Paints of the Month

Twitch

This month was BioShock month, meaning I played BioShock Remastered 1 and Bioshock Remastered 2 and Stardew Valley. It was the first time I ever played BioShock. Though I did see a spoiler of the ending or a plot twist at some point (though not fully recalling it at the time) for the first game, but it was fun to experience this for the first time.

I also tried to increase my stream schedule to Tuesday through Saturday, with Saturdays being body paints. With the holidays, I wasn’t able to keep up with that all the time. And then my mental health decided to tank, so I’m going to be taking a break once the New Year starts. I’ll still post here on my blog whenever something comes up that I want to discuss, and I’ll be active in Discord, but I just won’t be streaming. When I return, we’ll see what I end up doing. If that means more body painting or changing the kind of games I play. Though probably not the latter as I usually play games I’m interested in already.

Books I Managed to Read this Month

If they have a ♥ next to them, they are available on Kindle Unlimited. If I did a review, I’ll link it outside I decided to include quick reviews of books or series. If it’s a series, the mini-review is at the end of all the books. Mostly it’s just a quick blurb about what the book/series was about.

  1. A Familiar Betrayal (A Familiar Magic, Book 2) by E. M. Rinaldi – 3.75 stars
    • The conclusion to A Familiar Magic Duology. This book follows Kaya as she learns more about her dual heritage and abilities (witch and shifter). Whereas, before it was something she hid, now it’s the thing they need to save their community from the demon posing as their king. She also has to deal with the fallout between herself and Auren over what happened in the first book; not to mention, the growing feelings between them that are basically forbidden. I couldn’t put this book down and was rooting for them to get their happily ever after.
  2. Souls and Sorrow (Monsters & Muses, Book 5) by Sav R. Miller – 3.5 stars
    • This book follows Ariana Ricci and Cash Primrose. Elena Ricci’s sister from the first book in this series, and Lenny Primrose’s brother from the third book in this series. Because this is an Eros and Psyche-inspired story, Ariana is inspired by Psyche, and Cash is inspired by Eros. Ariana is described as the Ricci family’s most beautiful daughter, and she’s graceful as she was a ballerina. She is also the one who is envious of her sister, Elena, rather than the other way around. Cash is inspired by Eros in that he works as a lawyer for Cupid rather than being Aphrodite’s son. Because this is not a retelling, the plot does not follow the story of Eros and Psyche. Ariana is set to marry a horrible, abusive man (the original myth was arranged to a beast, who was actually Eros). However, this story separates the two. Ariana is engaged to another man before ending up belonging (married) to Cash after she sells herself at an auction in an attempt to convince her fiance that she had nothing to do with his parents’ disappearance. And, just like in the myth, Ariana attempts to murder Cash. Psyche did it on purpose, but Ariana did not because she was given the poisonous flowers without knowing what they were. No spoilers on what happens in the rest of the book, but considering that’s all within the first few chapters it’s not spoiling much.
  3. When She’s Merry (Risdaverse Novella) by Ruby Dixon – 3.25 stars
    • A short story about Sinath and Devin (and her pet rat) celebrating Christmas. Snow has come to Risda so Devin decides she’s going to celebrate Christmas and use it to cheer up a neighbor, who has depression. She enlists the help of Sinath, so she can get a tree for the holiday. The two end up falling for each other as they try to help out Devin’s neighbor. Sinath is a such sweetie with a big heart that just wants to make other people happy and knows that sometimes calling out or bringing attention to a situation isn’t the best way to help them. It’s a cute comfort read for the holiday season.
  4. Shattered Vow (Shadowblood Souls, Book 1) by Eva Chase – 3.25 stars
  5. Monstrous Power (Shadowblood Souls, Book 2) by Eva Chase – 3.25 stars
    • This good follows a group of five (previously six) that were experimented on by a secret government agency that managed to escape their clutches. They were raised by the organization and specifically created to be unique with their own powers. Each one has something slightly different, and they are forced to run for their lives while attempting to figure out why they are the way they are and if there is any way to reverse it. However, after four years of being separated from the others, Riva is not trusted by the others so she’s forced to be an outsider amongst her once closest friends as they fend for their lives. And after they realize their mistake, have to work towards earning her trust again all while they continue to be on the run and trying to learn to control their abilities.
  6. Sorrow and Starlight (Zodiac Academy, Book 8) by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti3.75 stars
    • See my review for thoughts on this series.
  7. Wild Kiss (Real Wolves Bite, Book 6) by C.R. Jane and Mila Young – 3 stars
    • Ah, five books on relationship development were thrown away as we got the memory loss trope. Rune does gain her memory back by the end of the book and goes from having two guys to three but it ends on a major cliffhanger. There’s only one book left in this series, and I’m curious how it’s going to play out.
      Spoiler
      Considering her abusive ex is in Ares’s prison, Wilder was just killed by Daria after realizing that she did something to prevent him from being able to mate bond with Rune, and Daria vanished yet again.
      I would not call this the best series ever written as it time jumps a lot, then later on sprinkles in detail that happened during those times in other books. Not to mention, I don’t think anything truly happened plot-wise that was of consequence since Rune spent the majority of the book with memory loss. We were literally about to figure out if she was a lost princess, but nope need to wait for the last book. That is not to say I don’t like this series. It’s one of those ones I always rate low then literally go back to re-read time and time again. I don’t know what it is about these books. I keep coming back to them.
  8. The Wolf and the Wildflower (Fated Fae, Book 2) by Ella Fields3.5 stars
    • See my review for my thoughts on this book.
  9. Who Breaks First (Clearwater University, Book 1) by Eva Ashwood – 3.5 stars
  10. Who Laughs Last (Clearwater University, Book 2) by Eva Ashwood – 3.5 stars
  11. Who Falls Hardest (Clearwater University, Book 3) by Eva Ashwood – 3.5 stars
    • This series focuses on Emma, Trent, West, and Reese as they navigate their relationship. What started out as friendship/crushes back in high school turned into the guys bullying Emma over a wrongful assumption. However, time has passed since then and they all end up at college together. Only the guys aren’t quite ready to bury the hacket especially after Trent’s mom starts dating Emma’s dad. So, there’s some tit-for-tat happening between them and the attraction they felt before hasn’t gone away. Not to mention, Emma isn’t sure who she can trust as once friends take their jealousy out on her in an attempt to ruin her life more than what the guys already did.
  12. Foxy Tales: A Charity Collection of Bonus Chapters by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti – 3.75 stars
    • Foxy Tales is a collection of bonus chapters mainly from Zodiac Academy but there is also a bonus epilogue from Kings of Quarantine. I did not read the last one as I haven’t read that book. But the bonus chapters from Zodiac Academy, I did read. They are alternative POVs from Darius and Orion of various scenes including: the first power-sharing class with Tory, the Swimming Pool, the Sex Ed Class, and the Shimmering Springs. It was interesting to see what the guys thought during those moments even if there wasn’t anything new to learn from their perspective during these moments.
  13. Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian x Isolde, Book 2) by Scarlett St. Clair3.25 stars
    • See my review for my thoughts on this book.
  14. When Sinners Play (Sinners of Hawthrone University, Book 1) by Eva Ashwood – 3.5 stars
  15. How Sinners Fight (Sinners of Hawthrone University, Book 2) by Eva Ashwood – 3.5 stars
  16. What Sinners Love (Sinners of Hawthrone University, Book 3) by Eva Ashwood – 3.5 stars
    • This series follows Sophie after she leaves the foster care system and earned a scholarship to Hawthorne University that covers every aspect, so she doesn’t have to worry about affording anything. However, the students and facility of the university aren’t a fan of scholarship students especially when she’s one of two. This lands her at the center of various pranks and in the eyes of a group called the Sinners (Gray, Elias, and Declan). One of whom she met before arriving at the university when they were at a bar following the death of a sibling. However, Sophie eventually ends up growing close (romantically) to the Sinners, especially after she’s assaulted. Sophie also deals with memory loss and spells that leave her disorientated due to trauma she’s experienced in the past. It doesn’t help that as time goes on, more trauma is added on top that exaggerates some of those conditions.

My Rating System

Check out this post to see how my rating scale works, but the quick version is:

  • 5 stars = Masterpiece. Nothing can literally be better than this. Not to mention, a major book slump happens afterward where I am unable to pick up another book for quite some time.
  • 4 stars = One of the best books I’ve ever read, I couldn’t put it down and found little fault in it.
  • 3 stars = A good book but there were some flaws, from editing to plot to you name it.
  • 2 stars = Liked the book, but wouldn’t say it was something that was memorable.
  • 1 star = Book wasn’t for me.

I almost never give a 5-star rating. Some books have come close, but something always held me back from giving it to those books. I also use .25 increments with the ratings, so there’s a range in each of those levels.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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