January 2024 Book Bracket

A new month, a new year, a new set of books to face off against each other to find the best read of January! There is a good collection of books reviewed this month, so it’s going to be super hard to find a favorite. Let’s get to the bracket!

Starting positions were generated at random and two five-star books were given first round byes.

Round One

The Naughty List by Jade West -vs- Read Me by Lauren Connolly

We start off with two romances that could not be more different! The Naughty List by Jade West was rated higher at a solid 4 stars, but was mostly, purely erotica with minimal plot. Read Me by Lauren Connolly garnered 3.5 stars, had a meh FMC but a great MMC. Solely due to having an actual plot, Read Me moves forward!

American Midnight -vs- Prince Hudson by Lily Cahill

American Midnight, an anthology curated by Laird Hunt, was a nice collection of short, gothic American stories. It was good to get into classics, but fairly forgettable after an initial read. Prince Hudson by Lily Cahill is a very short shifter romance that had too much happen in too little time. That said, I do still think about Prince Hudson and picking up the next in the series, so by that virtue alone, Prince Hudson moves onto the next round!

Winter Bloodlust by Miranda Thorn -vs- The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Winter Bloodlust by Miranda Thorn is a short paranormal romance that really whets the appetite for her upcoming Bloodthorne Institute series. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood came out of nowhere for my throat and I said thank you, more. It had great spice and wonderful characters. This match-up feels a little unfair, but The Love Hypothesis wins out clear.

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab - vs- Butcher & Blackbird by Brynne Weaver

This is the worst decision I’m having to make! A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab was just so good and made me cry so much. I love this world and its characters. Butcher & Blackbird by Brynne Weaver introduced me to darker romances, specifically serial killer romances, and was just SO SPICY and SO GOOD. I don’t want to have to pick between the two but if I have to, I have to go with A Darker Shade of Magic simply because it did make me cry a few times.

Losing My Breath by j rose black -vs- honeysuckles by January Rayne

This isn’t even going to have an entire paragraph. Losing my Breath by J Rose Black wins and moves forward. Honeysuckles didn’t stand a chance, being my lowest rated review of the month.

Consider Me by Becka Mack -vs- Furbidden Attraction by R O'Leary

Another unfair match-up! Consider Me by Becka Mack was just SO GOOD. I love the characters, the spice, the story. I want to read the rest of the series, loved the discreet cover, and just all around enjoyed this book. Furbidden Attraction by R O’Leary was such a surprising read! It has a great and interesting plot, fantastic characters, and a sweet/lovely romance. That said, I think hockey trumps shifters for me and I’m pushing Consider Me through to the next round.

Round two

Final Offer by Lauren Asher -vs- Read Me by Lauren Connolly

This is not going to be a hard choice. While Read Me is a very sweet romance, Final Offer receive a first round bye for a reason. It was an absolutely amazing ending to a great series that really introduced me to the world of modern romance. Final Offer moves forward!

Prince Hudson -vs- The Love Hypothesis

Another unfair pairing. While Prince Hudson really had promise, The Love Hypothesis actually delivered on it. Love Hypothesis moves forward!

A Darker Shade of Magic -vs- Losing My Breath

Wow, a second unfair matching in a row. Losing My Breath was really touching and had some heavy themes, but Darker Shade of Magic, again, made me cry and has me invested in the world Schwab created. Darker Shade of Magic moves on!

Consider Me by Becka Mack -vs- The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Oh no! Another tough choice! Consider Me received a perfect five stars for my review this month, but so did The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. One is a romance that had great spice and really helped me get super invested in hockey romance. The other is an amazing horror story that touches upon heavy themes. I’m going to have to go with the book that made me cry and tear up while at work. The Only Good Indians moves forward!

Round Three

Final Offer -vs- The Love Hypothesis

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty! Both were great romances. Both had great spice. But the book that moves forward had two amazing predecessors in the series that built up the emotion I felt while reading. Final Offer moves ahead to the final round!

A Darker Shade of Magic -vs- The Only Good Indians

Oh no! The only two non romances for the month (apart from American Midnight) are up against one another for the last spot in the finals. Both made me cry. Both made me feel things. One, however, has me sucked in and dying to continue the series and so, of course, A Darker Shade of Magic moves forward to the finals.

Final Round

Final Offer -vs- A Darker Shade of Magic

I didn’t think this is where we’d end up, but maybe I should have! In Final Offer, we have the crown jewel of the Dreamland Billionaires series. Three amazing romances, three great brothers, three happy endings. Then, we have A Darker Shade of Magic, the first in a fantasy series. Full of darkness, angst, world building, my tears. This was a really hard decision to make but it came down to which character hurts the most and that honor goes to A Darker Shade of Magic (my poor son Holland.)