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 ๐Ÿ˜… 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 bookโ€™s Goodreads page

Book: The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

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: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

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: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

Thoughts: Ahhhh, this was so CUTE! I absolutely loved the romance between Dani and Zafir ๐Ÿ˜ 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 bookโ€™s Goodreads page

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

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 ๐Ÿ˜… 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 ๐Ÿ˜… 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 ๐Ÿ˜‚

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 ๐Ÿ’– Now on to 2021!


How was your reading in December? Did you find a new favorite? Make any progress on some challenges?ย 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 ๐Ÿ™ƒ

(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 ๐Ÿ˜ฌ


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November 2020 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

Can you believe that we’re almost done with this hell year? We’re so close to 2021 I can taste it! Before we dive completely into December and looking into the new year, though, it’s time to talk about my reading in November. After coming off a pretty dismal reading month in October, I’m happy to report that November treated me much better! I fell back into my reading grove and it felt really lovely. I also read some incredible books ๐Ÿ’–

So, without further ado, let’s get to the wrap up!


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the bookโ€™s Goodreads page

  1. The Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  2. No Truth Left to Tell by Michael McAuliffe::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  3. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  4. The Black Sky by Timothy D. Minneci::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  5. Blood and Honey by Shelby Mahurin::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  6. Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  7. Shadows of Winterspell by Amy Wilson::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  8. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  9. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  10. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

Shout out to the graphic novels for the fact that I managed to read ten books this month! They’re the real MVPs ๐Ÿ’•

Challenges


Popsugar Challenge prompts completed: 2

  • A book about a subject you know nothing about (Check, Please)
  • A book published in the 20th century (Rebecca)

Look, we have one month left and I think we all know I won’t be completing these challenges ๐Ÿ˜‚ Still, I like to keep y’all updated!

Highs and Lows


Though I read a lot of great books this month, there is definitely one clear winner that stands out. Funnily enough, it was the first book I finished in November! That book is…

What can I say? The sequel to one of my favorite books of 2019 just blew me out of the water! It was filled with action, incredible characters, and a hard look at what can happen when you treat people as the ‘other’. The writing is captivating and completely pulls you into the story. Absolutely loved this one and I can’t wait until the next book releases!

As for my low, this was a book that was sent to me by the publisher that I took a chance on and, through no fault of anyone, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I mean, I ended up giving the book three stars. It definitely had it’s merits. But it made me realize that there might be more genres than just Westerns that aren’t my thing. That book would be…

Like I said, this book was enjoyable, for the most part, but there’s a reason it took me almost all year to read this fairly short book. I just got so bored with the courtroom and police procedural stuff. I could not have cared less. But, plus side, I know now that kind of thing is just not for me.

Reflections


First, how is November already over? I remember thinking in March that this year was never going to end. Now we’re into the last month of 2020! It’s… been a weird one. But we’re talking about my last reading month, not the dumpster fire that was this past year. I’m so happy that I seem to have gotten back into my reading grove. The Poppy War legit ruined me for the entirety of October and it feels nice to have gotten back on the wagon.

Though I am planning to finish The Dragon Republic this month, sooooo… ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

I also finally got a library card for our local library and my access to books has sky-rocketed! Well… books I don’t want to buy, lol. I had been spending way too much money on books after breaking my book buying ban shortly after lockdown happened. I had been doing so well and then the dam broke, lol. Now I have even more books chilling on my TBR bookshelf that I promise to read… eventually! I’m stoked that I can now satisfy my need to read books that I’m interested in but don’t necessarily want to own. And this will hopefully help me stick to my new book buying ban ๐Ÿ˜…

I also discovered a robust graphic novel collection at the library and got back into reading those. I love graphic novels, but I don’t tend to buy them. I don’t know why… I think it’s because I remember buying manga when they started becoming more widely available in the United States and being aggrieved about spending ten bucks on a book I could read in half an hour! Especially since I’m not big on re-reading books! So it’s nice to have access to graphic novels and manga again because there are a lot of books and series that I’ve wanted to check out. They certainly help bump up those end of year numbers, as well!

As for my reading challenges… it’s been a good run, but I don’t think I’ll be completing either the PopSugar Reading Challenge or the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. Mostly because I stopped trying to squeeze in books that fit the last few prompts I needed, lol. What with book/blog tours, ARCs, and my tendency to mood read, there just wasn’t room to fit a book just to fulfill a prompt! Still, I’m pretty stoked with how far I got with both of those challenges! And, who knows, maybe whatever I read in December will help me check off a few more. Either way, I had fun and I’m not overly stressed about it ๐Ÿ˜Š

All in all, November was a fun reading month and, hopefully, December will shape up to be the same!


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

And, as always, happy reading!

October 2020 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

It’s that time again to look back at how my reading went last month. I’m gonna tell you right now… it wasn’t great in October ๐Ÿ˜… I hit a pretty bad reading slump last month. Absolutely nothing could hold my interest! Not even The Dragon Republic, which I was dying to read! But we’ll talk about it in a moment.

First, let’s take a look back at what I read in the month of October.


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the bookโ€™s Goodreads page

  1. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  2. Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  3. The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  4. Sentience by Courtney P. Hunter::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
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September 2020 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

We’ve entered into a new month (Hello, October!) which means it’s time to say goodbye to the last one. September is my birth month, my favorite month of the year, but uuuuugh did it feel hectic this year! I think part of that is the fact that the kiddos started back at school which caused a major adjustment in all our routines. There was also the fact that I signed up for what seemed like ALL THE BLOG TOURS! I have no sense of balance, y’all…

Either way, I still had a rather good reading month, so let’s talk about it!


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the bookโ€™s Goodreads page

  1. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  2. Vampires Never Get Old edited by Zoraida Cรณrdova and Natalie C. Parker::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  3. The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  4. Loretta Little Looks Back by Andrea Davis Pickney and Brian Pickney::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  5. Frozen Rage by Steve McHugh::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
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August 2020 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

Welp, I blinked and somehow August is over? Not that I’m complaining as we have now entered the Best Month Ever! (Can you tell I was born in September?) As fast as August went, though, I managed to have my best reading month of 2020! Not only did I read the most books of any month in 2020, but I had two five star reads and the rest were all four stars. Like… just a solid reading month.

Let’s not talk about my review backlog, though ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Anyways, let’s take a look back at what I read during the month of August!


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the bookโ€™s Goodreads page

  1. Crossings by Alex Landragin::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  2. The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  3. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  5. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  6. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  7. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  8. The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  9. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  10. All Systems Red by Martha Wells::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

(See what I mean when I say I’m behind on my reviews? Heh ๐Ÿ˜…)

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July 2020 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

It’s that time once again to take a look back at what I read over the past month. Now, before I sat down to write up this post, I was under the impression that I really didn’t read a lot in July. It just felt like a slower reading month to me, especially since we were busy with moving to our new home at the very beginning of the month.

Y’all… I read eight books last month. Which, though not a huge number, is a big deal for someone like me! My average is typically five books a month, so I was floored when I counted up my July reads. And I’m not even sure how it happened. I honestly felt like I barely read last month and, yet, it was my most productive reading month of the entire year! It’s a mystery ๐Ÿ˜‚

That being said, let’s take a look at what I read in July.


Books Read

Click on the covers to be taken to the bookโ€™s Goodreads page

  1. Fire and Vengeance by Robert McCaw::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  2. Voice of War by Zack Argyle::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  3. The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  4. Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  5. The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  6. The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  7. The Call of the Wild by Jack London::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::Review to come
  8. Thomas Wildus and the Book of Shadows by J.M. Bergen::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::Review to come
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June 2020 Wrap Up

June Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

It’s time for my June wrap up! Yes, I know that we are halfway through July. The beginning of July has just been incredibly busy for ya girl. Work is picking up now that doctor’s offices are opening up for routine work again. And I became a first-time homeowner! We closed at the end of June but didn’t move until the very beginning of July. So my poor, little blog has been a bit neglected, as of late. But, now that we’re settling, I have the time (and the energy ๐Ÿ˜…) to talk about my reading in the month of June.

So why don’t we get started?


Books Read

Click on the covers to be taken to the bookโ€™s Goodreads page

  1. The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  2. Crossing in Time by D.L. Orton::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  3. Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  4. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  5. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Murder by Grady Hendrix::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::My review
  6. A Threat from the Past by Paul Cude::โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…::Review to come
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May 2020 Wrap Up

May Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

Before I dive into my May wrap up, I’m going to take a moment to once again share the link for the #BlackLivesMatter carrd. I know that things on the internet will eventually go back to “normal”, but this is something that we can’t afford to forget about. At least I know I can’t. We’re fighting the long fight, here, and I hope you all stay in the fight with us. That being said, don’t forget to take care of you and your mental health, as well!

Now, surprisingly, I read more last month than I have in the three previous months and I am shocked! I read seven books and I have no idea how I managed that! Well, actually, I have some idea. Mainly audiobooks, those beautiful, time-saving creations ๐Ÿ’• I listened to quite a few audiobooks in May and it definitely bumped up my numbers! And I read two new favorites!

But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s get into the actual wrap up ๐Ÿ˜‰


Books Read

Click on the covers to be taken to the bookโ€™s Goodreads page

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