November 2021 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

We’ve made it to the last month of 2021, which means it’s time to wrap up my reading in November. It was a weird one, I’ll tell ya that! I found myself in a strange, slumpy mood which means I didn’t read nearly as much as I usually do. Still, I’m happy about the books I did read because I enjoyed all of them. Seriously, I didn’t read anything under four stars.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? Let’s get to the post!


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

Book: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: This was such an interesting read. It was my first time reading a graphic memoir and I really enjoyed it. It was heartbreaking and incredibly moving at times. I also enjoyed the art style. I definitely want to continue the author’s story!


Book: Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: I read this book for a blog tour run by TBR & Beyond Tours. I absolutely loved this Black mermaid tale! It had a bit of a slow start, but it certainly gripped me by the end. And the world-building was great! You can read my full review here.


Book: Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: This was such an intense, short read that completely gripped me from beginning to end. I loved the writing style, the characters, and the concept. And it packed quite the emotional punch. It definitely made me want to read more from this author!

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September 2021 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

Welcome to another monthly wrap up! September was a fairly good month when it comes to reading, though there was definitely a stressful vibe for yours truly. I went into the month with a TBR for the Magical Readathon and thinking I would be okay if I didn’t actually read all the books on it. And then I got really wrapped up in the story that G @ Book Roast created and I needed to complete it! Seeming as I had stuck quite a few bigger books on the original TBR, there were some swaps as the month came to a close 😅 Still, in the end, I enjoyed what I read and I’m happy I completed my revised Magical Readathon TBR.

So, let’s talk about what I read in the month of September!


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

Book: The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: This was such a sweet, fun romance! I loved the beginning of the book, where we get to see the town of Carmel through the main character’s eyes. And I loved the eventual romance that occurred between her and our mysterious Lift driver. You can read my full review here.


Book: Rivers of London: Detective Stories by Ben Aaronovitch/Lee Sullivan (Illustrator)

Rating: ★★★

Thoughts: I jumped back on the ROL graphic novel train last month, starting with this one. Though I’ll forever love these graphic novels for the beautiful art, this one was just okay for me. I think it’s because it was a bunch of little stories about Peter’s work in the force as opposed to just focusing on one. Still, it was a fun and quick read.


Book: The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: I read this book for a blog tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours and I’m so glad I signed up! This was such a creepy, atmospheric read! I loved the writing, the characters, and the fact that this one actually gave me the shivers. You can read my full review here.

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August 2021 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

Guess who just had her best reading month (both in quantity and quality) in August?? Yup! This girl! Not only did I read a whopping 16 books (!!), but I read not one, not two, but four 5 star reads! Let’s take a moment to appreciate this because it won’t be happening again 😂 I have to give props to the Trope-ical Readathon and my competitive nature for bumping them numbers, lol. Though I didn’t finish all the books on my TBR, I read more prompts than I ever have before! After a kind of lackluster July, I’m happy that August really brought its A game. I read so many incredible books (and a couple of duds…) and found a couple of new favorites.

But enough chit-chat, let’s get to what I read in August!


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

Book: The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: The Rivers of London readalong continues and, this time, I went with an audiobook! Which, I have to say, I really loved. The narrator was top-notch! This is a novella that I quite enjoyed, especially since we get to see a lot of Abigail. She’s quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in this series.


Book: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Rating: ★★

Thoughts: This one hurt, I have to say. This was one of my favorite books when I was younger. The adventure! The love story! I remember falling for this book so hard. And then I re-read it with TWR book club and yiiiiikes. The fatphobia! The sexism! It was just… not it. Nostalgia is the main reason this got a two star instead of a one. I think I’ll just stick with the movie 😅


Book: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

Rating: ★★★★★

Thoughts: And then came my first five star read of the month! My goodness, this book was incredible! This is the first book in the Singing Hills Cycle and it completely captured my imagination. Nghi Vo has beautiful writing that pulls you into the story in the best way. I loved the cleric and their talking bird and I loved hearing Rabbit’s story. This book made me want to read everything Nghi Vo ever writes!

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July 2021 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

We’ve made it to a new month, which means it’s time to wrap up my reading for the last month! July both flew and dragged by and, though I’m happy we’ve moved on the August, I’m also shocked that it’s already the eighth month of the year. I will say, though, that July was definitely a much better reading month than June! I ended up reading 11 books and I found myself really enjoying all of them! I also got away from the weird reading mood I had been in all of June. I think the fact that I was, for the most part, reading whatever I wanted certainly helped with that. I even picked up a couple books that weren’t for blog tours or buddy reads!

But enough rambling. Let’s take a look at what I got to read in the month of July.


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

Book: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: My Rivers of London readalong with some of the TWR gang continues! This was the most recent full-length novel I read in the series since we’ve started diving into the graphic novels and novellas. I really liked it, though I wish there had been more Nightingale. What can I say? He’s my favorite! Still, this was a solid addition to the series.


Book: Rivers of London: Night Witch by Ben Aaronovitch

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: Speaking of Rivers of London graphic novels, this was the next book I completed in July. Though I found myself not loving this one as much as Body Work, I still had a fun time with it. The story just felt a bit disjointed, but, once I got into the flow, I enjoyed the ride. Also, it was interesting learning a bit more about a certain Night Witch.


Book: Gargantis by Thomas Taylor

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: Aaahh, I loved this book!! I honestly can’t decide whether I enjoyed this one more than the first book in the series, Malamander. It was such a fun, eerie, exciting read and it made me anxious to snatch up the third book once it comes out. I need more Herbie and Violet adventures!

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June 2021 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

We’re over halfway through July, so I figured it might be time to throw up my June Wrap Up, lol. I’m not gonna lie, June was kind of a rough reading month for me. Not only did I not read as many books as the three previous months and fail hard at Pride month, but I found it so hard to get into most of the books I picked up. Not saying I didn’t enjoy the books I read. I didn’t rate anything below four stars, it was just getting myself to actually pick up the books felt like such a chore 😅 I don’t know what brought it on, but it lead to June feeling like a very odd reading month!

Still, it’s not about quantity but quality right? Like I said, I didn’t rate anything I read last month under four stars and I had two five star reads! So why don’t we get to the post so you can see what I loved in June.


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

Book: Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Rating: ★★★★★

Thoughts: I read this YA contemporary for a The Write Reads tour and I absolutely loved it! I went into this expecting a light-hearted story about young love and relationships, with a dash of magic. What I got was so much deeper and more emotional than that! This book ripped my heart out, but then gave me a warm hug afterwards. Ugh, I want to read it again and that’s always a mark of a great book to me! You can read my full review here.


Book: Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: This was another The Write Reads tour book and another hit. I don’t know why I’m also so nervous to go int space opera books because I always end up loving them. This was the beginning to a new epic sci-fi and it was a wild ride! I had a lot of fun reading this book, even though it was a thick one, and I’m eager to continue the series when the next book comes out! You can read my full review here.


Book: Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: I’m currently buddy reading this entire series with some bookish friends and we’ve gotten to the moment where we’re diving into the graphic novels. I found myself really enjoying this story and seeing characters I’ve been following for awhile come to life. Also, Nightingale is just awesome and I love when he gets to show off, lol. This was a fun, quick read and a great addition to the series.


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April 2021 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

It’s time once again for another monthly wrap up. Which makes no sense because didn’t April just start? I swear, I blinked and it was May! This year is already going much faster than 2020 which, hey, I appreciate it. April was a pretty stellar reading month, with most of the books I read being four stars. I even found a new favorite book! I’m excited to share with you all the books I managed to read and some thoughts, so let’s jump right in!


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

Book: Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes by M.R. Noble

Rating: ★★★

Thoughts: I read this book for a blog tour and, for the most part, I had a good time! It was an intriguing and fast-paced paranormal romance that definitely kept my interest! I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance and I would have appreciated a little more world-building, but I still had a fun time reading it. You can read my full review here!


Book: What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: What an absolutely beautiful book! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into this novel for a blog tour and I was blown away! This is a dark and enthralling young adult thriller that will chill you to the bones. The writing was my favorite part, it was so lyrical and hit me in the feels. You can read my full review here!


Book: Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: In April, I was trying to bring my Netgalley ratio back up after getting a bit behind on reviews. Which meant I need to re-read this book because I never got around to reviewing it when I read it the first time. I didn’t mind, though, because this book about two dragonriders with a lot of secrets was incredible! I adored our two main characters, Annie and Lee, and the world-building was *chef’s kiss* You can read my full review here!

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March 2021 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

Now that we’re in the middle of our first week of April, I figured it was time to do my wrap up for March! I’m also trying to be more punctual with my wrap ups than I was in 2020, lol. March was quite the reading month for me, what with buddy reads and participating in the Trope-ical Readathon. I read the most I have all year and I thoroughly enjoyed most of what I read! I also realized that I am super behind on my non-blog tour reviews 😅

But let’s not focus on that right now! Let’s talk about what I read in the month of March.


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

Book: Ranger’s Oath by Blake Arthur Peel

Rating: ★★★

Thoughts: This was one of my blog tour books for the month of March. I ended up enjoying this one, though it could be a bit info-dumpy. The characters were interesting and the world was easy to get lost in, so it made for a quick read! You can read my full thoughts here!


Book: Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: This book made me realize that I don’t dislike all werewolf stories. This was so good and not at all what I was expecting! For the Trope-ical Readathon, I was on Team Mystery/Horror/Thriller and this was one of the choices for the team book. I’m so glad it was because I probably would never have picked it up otherwise! I’ll definitely be reading more from this author.


Book: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: I’ve finally decided to give the Lord of the Rings trilogy another go with a little prodding from some of the Write Reads gang. I… was not a fan when I first tried these books, to state it mildly. However, I’m going the audiobook route this time and, I have to say, I’m absolutely loving the experience! It helps to have friends to talk to about the story as we go 💕

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January 2021 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

We’re into the second week in February, so I figured it was about time I wrapped up my reading in January. I’m planning on doing things a little bit differently this year. I’m not going to be including my year-long reading challenges in my wrap ups anymore because all it did was cause me stress 😅 It felt like I was barely doing anything because I would only have one or two books a month in that section! I’ll be keeping track of that separately and talk about it in a dedicated post, I think. I’m also only going to focus on my best book of the month as opposed to doing highs and lows. This is because what may be a low for me might be someone else’s favorite book and I always felt bad drawing attention to the fact that I just didn’t jive with it. We’re focusing on the positive in this blog! Of course, that’s not to say that I’ll never talk about books I didn’t like (it’s part of being a reviewer… you can’t enjoy every book!) but I’m not going to make it such a feature, ya know?

Alright, enough blabber. Let’s get to my first wrap up of the new year!


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

Book: The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

Rating: ★★★★★

Thoughts: This book was as good, if not better, than the first one in the series! The Poppy War hurts and this book was no different, but, for some reason, I welcome the pain. Rin’s story is just so compelling and it’s interesting to watch her rise and descent.


Book: Fly Free by Allison Rose

Rating: ★★★

Thoughts: This was a quick, enjoyable read that throws you into the land and intrigue of the land of fae. I really enjoyed the plot and the world-building, though the love interests (and the romance, in general) fell a little flat for me. You can read my full review here.


Book: Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Rating: ★★★★

Thoughts: Ahhhh, this was so CUTE! I absolutely loved the romance between Dani and Zafir 😍 This was the perfect mix of adorable and steamy. I can’t wait to get my hands on the last Brown Sisters book!

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December 2020 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

We’ve made it to 2021 and I, for one, couldn’t be happier! I know the changing of the year on the calendar doesn’t instantly mean all the bad things from last year are gone, but I still feel like a weight has been lifted. It’s a fresh new year with fresh possibilities and I’m excited to make the most of it! Before we can move on to 2021, however, it’s time to wrap up my last reading month of 2020.

December was a busy month that had me going a mile a minute. Work was a mile a minute, getting ready for the holidays had me stressed, and we got a new puppy who has been keeping us busy! Thankfully, though, the books I read really ended the year on a high note!


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

  1. The Cousins by Karen M. McManus::★★★★★::My review
  2. Check Please Book 2 by Ngozi Ukazu::★★★★
  3. Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston::★★★★★::My review
  4. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia::★★★★★
  5. Winterling by Sarah Prineas::★★★
  6. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton::★★★★

Challenges


Popsugar Challenge prompts completed: 1

  • A book with a pun in the title (Check, Please Book 2: Sticks & Scones)

Not a strong end to the year, is it 😅 I’ll be going over my 2020 challenge stats in a later post!

Highs and Lows


This is a tough one because I had three five star reads in December! It’s hard choosing the one that I loved the most. As I think about them, though, there is one that stands out just a bit from the other two. They were all incredible, but this book had one of my new favorite characters of all time! My high this month is…

Tristan is such a phenomenal character that I just have to pick his book to be my favorite of December. I’d been wanting to read Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky for quite some time and I’m glad I finally did because it’s now a new favorite. I adored Tristan and I adored seeing legends that featured Black people being retold in this contemporary middle grade fantasy. It was interesting and beautifully written and I really need to write my review because there’s a lot I want to say! I’m so thankful to Middle Grade Marvels for finally compelling me to read this fantastic book.

Funnily enough, my low for the month was also a Middle Grade Marvels read, heh 😅 It was my only three star read last month and, while I enjoyed it, I think it suffered from being read in a month of truly incredibly books. My low this month is…

Like I said, I did enjoy this book, but it didn’t love it as much as I had imagined I would. I liked the story, I thought the plot was fine, and Fer was a great character. At the same time, I wish we had gotten to see more of the magic and been able to see more of Fer after she figured out who she was. The fae magic was the most interesting thing in the book and I felt like we didn’t get nearly enough. Still, since this is the beginning of a series, I am interested in continuing as I think we’ll get more of that in the subsequent books.

Reflections


2020 was… a year and I feel like December was a concentrated dose of all the insanity we’ve experienced throughout the year. I’m so glad that, overall, my reading was an incredible escape! I read so many fantastic books in the last month of 2020 and I’m thankful I ended my reading year on such a high note.

Now, I didn’t do so hot with the challenges this month and I didn’t read a ton. And I may have headed into January feeling a little burnout and slumpy, but that had nothing to do with the quality of the books. I think that was due to my trying to do ALL THE THINGS at the end of the year. Though I never officially stated I was doing Blogmas, I was trying to post every day before Christmas. I almost got there, too! I pushed myself a little more than I probably should have and, as a result, I entered the last week of 2020 and the first week of 2021 not wanting to write anything. I think I’ve rounded the bend and am feeling the blogging love again, though! Going into the new year, I need to find a posting schedule that will keep my blog lively, but won’t make me want to hide from my laptop 😂

Overall, I think this was a pretty stellar reading year. I read a ton of great books and I became more active in the bookish community. I met some fantastic people and discovered the joy of buddy reads. Although 2020 was a bit of a dumpster fire, I will always be thankful for the books and the bookish community because they made this year pretty great 💖 Now on to 2021!


How was your reading in December? Did you find a new favorite? Make any progress on some challenges? Let me know in the comments!

And, as always, happy reading!

Year End Wrap Up: Top Ten Books of 2020

Hello, reader!

It has been a minute, hasn’t it? I took a little bit of a Christmas week break. Nothing planned but I was working the holiday and it has been busy because people can’t be bothered to follow Covid protocols 🙃

(For context, I work in a lab that runs Covid tests. I feel like I eat, sleep, and breath Covid at this point.)

All that aside, I couldn’t close out the year without a few year-end posts, could I? 2020 has been… something else, but, mixed up with all the pandemic strangeness and the stress that was the 2020 elections in the United States, I read a lot of fantastic books! That made creating my top ten list a tiny bit difficult, as you can imagine. There are just so many books I loved this year! For the sake of this post (and my typing fingers), I had to make some tough cuts, but just know that this list is by all means not the limit of all the books I adored in 2020. These are just the shining stars that stand out for one reason or another!

Okay, okay… enough with the suspense. Time to show you my favorite books of the year!


#10. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

This is a recent favorite that I haven’t even had a chance to review. I read it as part of the Middle Grade Marvels group and absolutely adored it! It has a mix of humor and heart that I found incredibly endearing. The inclusion of legends that I grew up with, legends that featured people who look like me, made me love it even more! I think my favorite aspect, however, is Tristan Strong. He’s a young, Black boy who is depicted as just that. He has insecurities, he isn’t afraid to be open about being afraid, and we get to experience his joy right alongside his pain. He’s a fantastic character and the reason this book has ended up on my list!


#9. Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

The number nine spot goes to another recent read, though I read this one as part of a blog tour run by Dave @ The Write Reads! Dave is always sending incredible books our way, so I’m not surprised one of them ended up on my top ten list. Even though this won’t be published until 2021, I’m so happy I read it early enough to include it here! This book is absolutely magical. I felt transported to the world in which Amari is searching for her missing brother in a secret society that deals with the supernatural. I loved every bit of this book from beginning to end! And, yet again, we have a book with a young, Black protagonist that isn’t featuring The Struggle. Here’s a book that I would have loved to have a young kid, to see that Black people can have magical adventures, too. You can read my full review here.


#8. All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Books were definitely my shining beacon during this pretty hellish year. One of my favorite moments was being introduced to the wonder that is Murderbot! I read this book during the Trope-ical Readathon for the A.I. prompt and had to resist the urge to complete the entire series! I would die for Murderbot and they would be thoroughly confused as to why, but I would still do it! I loved this novella with all my being and am looking forward to continuing the Murderbot Diaries in 2021. Though I did resist the urge to read them all, I couldn’t resist getting the entire series on my Kindle 😬


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