Blogging Hiatus: Break Time

Friends, it’s time for me to take a blogging break. I was originally going to take a couple of weeks away from the blog in December, but I ended up sticking around. Probably not my wisest decision as I know I need a break and at this point, I feel myself starting to check out mentally. I was going to post a couple of more times before going on hiatus, but I’m going to go ahead and wait on those instead of trying to push myself to write and edit them when I’m not in the best head space. I have no definitive return date, but expect to be back sometime during the first week of February. I should still be active on Instagram and occasionally Twitter if you need to reach me. See you soon, friends ❤

Book Lists: 2021 Releases I’m Making a Priority in 2022

I am riding this New Year high where I truly believe I can get to all the books I’m hoping to get to. I am feeling unstoppable and am making all these lists that are way too ambitious. I know am I going to come down (or get knocked down) from this high, but for now, I’m going to embrace the optimism. For this book list I am highlighting ten 2021 releases that I really want to get to this year. This list could have easily been twice as long, but even though I am feeling optimistic, I am still realistic. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

I can’t believe I’ve never read a Malinda Lo novel. I’ve heard so many good things about this one and wish I had found the time earlier last year to pick this up.

2. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

I almost listened to the audiobook of this one from the library, but I immediately stopped because it just felt like the kind of novel I would want to read a physical copy of.

3. The Unbroken by C.L. Clark

I know this one is a pretty heavy read and so I ended up putting it off, but now I feel like I really should have read it already.

4. Black Water sister by Zen Cho

I just feel like it will be a good thing if I have more Zen Cho in my life.

5. The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

I know this one is going to captivate me and I have no real reason why I haven’t read it other than it was released when I was reading a bunch of other things and so it fell down the TBR pile.

6. The Bronzed Beast by Roshani Chokshi

I am determined to get to this one, but may have to reread the first two books (or at least skim them) before doing so.

7. Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan

This one was actually going to be my first read for 2022 before my mood shifted and I went for horror for some reason.

8. Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno

Words can’t express how much I love Nina Moreno’s Don’t Date Rosa Santos, so this companion novel is high on my TBR.

9. Dreaming of You by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

My only 2021 eARC that I didn’t get a chance to read. I will rectify this (hopefully early) in the new year.

10. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

I don’t think I’ve seen a single person not rave about this one and I am always looking to pick up more adult fantasy reads.

Which of these should I get to ASAP? Which 2021 release are you making a priority this year? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Monthly Wrap-Up: December ’21 + Welcome 2022!

Happy New Year, friends! Here’s to hoping 2022 is a little kinder to us all ❤ You may have noticed that things around here look a little different and that’s because I decided to revamp the blog. I’ve had the same theme for several years, but decided that I wanted to shake things up a bit this year. I am still in the process of updating graphics, so please be patient. December wasn’t exactly a productive month for me, but that was kind of on purpose. I didn’t want to stress about reading or blogging too much the last month of the year. In December I finished five books (almost six, but the audiobook carried into the new year) and I barely reviewed any of it (whoops). Slowing down made me realize I am in need of a blogging break again and instead of putting it off for months like I did last time (don’t recommend), I am going to listen to myself. I’ll have a formal announcement, but I am aiming for the middle of January. The start of the new year has me contemplating how I want my reading journey to go this year. I feel like I did some good branching out last year and I want to continue this in 2022 (post forthcoming). I also want to continue to explore genres like horror which I feel I only dipped my toes in. Overall, I’m feeling optimistic about entering my eighth year of blogging.

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.) 

Favorite Book This Month:

I had two five-star reads in December to close out the year, so I think they are both worthy of praise. Zoe Hana Mikuta’s Gearbreakers was an incredible debut (probably my favorite of 2021), one of the most exciting novels I’ve ever picked up. Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne ended up being my final read of the year and it was as wonderful as I knew it would be. Bury me with all of Tasha Suri’s stories please.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No book received lower than three stars from me.

Other Books I Read This Month:

✿The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown

✿White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America by Anthea Butler

✿Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Reviews Posted:

(Covers linked to reviews)

Notable Blog Posts:

Book Lists: Short Books to Help You Meet Your 2021 Reading Goals – Put together this list of short books for those who were looking for quick reads to reach their goals at the end of the year.

Book Lists: Holiday Gift Guide (Middle Grade Edition) – Loved putting this gift guide together for middle grade books which you can use all year long!

Book Lists: Holiday Gift Guide (Young Adult Edition) – I also did a young adult edition of my gift guide, check it out!

Top Ten Tuesday: My Five-Star 2021 Reads – Take a look at my five-star reads of 2021!

2021 End of the Year Book Survey – Always love doing this recap of my most memorable reads!

What I Watched/Am Watching:

Literally haven’t started anything new this month. If you can believe it, I am still catching up on several K-Dramas that I started in October/November.

January Releases I’m Excited For:

What was your final 2021 read? What’s your first read of 2022? Let’s talk in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own wrap-up post, so I can visit!

2021 End of the Year Book Survey

The End of the Year Book Survey was created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner and gives readers a chance to look back on their reading and blogging journey. 2021 for me was a year where I read less, but I ended up having a lot more fun reading. I picked up a genre I rarely did in the past (horror), fell in love and know it will follow me into 2022. In 2021 I also discovered how much I enjoyed audiobooks. I literally listened to more audiobooks this year than I have ever in my life. It’s become so much a part of how I consume literature that I feel like something is missing if I don’t have an audiobook on deck. I didn’t get to all the books I wanted to, but I found many favorites to add to my all-time favorites list. This will be my final post for 2021, so I will see you all on the other side! Covers linked to Goodreads.

**2021 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: 64 (counting my current read which I will be finishing today)
Number of Re-Reads: 5
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy, followed by contemporary and horror

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1. Best Book You Read In 2021?

I read some really great books in 2021, but if pressed, my favorite of all of them would have to be How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland. No book this year made me feel the way this one did. It made me smile, it made me cry, it made me angry, it filled me with wonderment. I wanted to physically hug it when I finished.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I really thought C.L. Polk’s The Midnight Bargain would end up being a favorite. I have such a soft spot for fantasy romance, but this one fell really flat for me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

Because of how much I was disappointed in The Midnight Bargain, I didn’t expect to love C.L. Polk’s Witchmark as much as I did. I LOVED it so much. Everything I wanted out of The Midnight Bargain, I got out of Witchmark.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

No particular book is coming to mind for this question, but if you consider my answers for this post, it’s probably going to end up being How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe.

5. Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2021?

Zoe Hana Mikuta’s Gearbreakers was such a good series opener. I cannot wait for the next book. My favorite sequel was Monstress, Vol. 5: Warchild by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda. This series has been so amazing and it has never let me down. My favorite series ender was We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal. This was my first five-star read of the year and one of my favorite fantasy duologies of all-time.

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6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2021?

There were a lot of new-to-me authors in 2021, but one that immediately comes to mind for this question is Daka Hermon. Her middle grade horror, Hide and Seeker impressed me so much. I cannot wait to read more from her.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I dipped my toes into the horror genre this year. Horror itself isn’t necessarily out of my comfort zone. I am a big fan of scary movies and shows, but I never really picked up horror books. This changed this year and I cannot express enough how much I loved Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I read a few action-packed books this year and maybe it’s because I just finished this one, but Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta is the first book that comes to mind for this question.

I love that this post allows me to reflect on my reading. It gives me a chance to really think about the books that stayed with me the most. I think there is a strong possibility that I will be revisiting Hafsah Faizal’s We Hunt the Flame and We Free the Stars next year. I just love this duology so much and I don’t want to let the characters go.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2021?

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera has one of the most beautiful covers I have ever beheld. And in person, it is sooooo stunning.

11. Most memorable character of 2021?

This was a hard one as I was introduced to so many amazing characters this year, but I immediately thought of Charlie from Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado because her voice comes through so clear from page one.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2021?

If Anna-Marie McLemore writes it, it’s definitely going on my most beautifully written list. This year I read The Mirror Season by them and it was heartbreaking and beautiful in an aching kind of way.

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13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2021?

One book in particular that’s really stuck with me is Jenny Torres Sanchez’s We Are Not From Here. One of the most heart-wretching books I’ve ever read.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2021 to finally read? 

I finally got to Tracey Baptiste’s The Jumbies and oh my gosh, I should have read this one sooner. I always love my middle grade with a dash of creepy.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2021?

I really love this quote from How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe:

“There’s an invisible thread pulling me in. I am a piece of wool, brown, about to be stitched into a great cosmic blanket. Or maybe I’m a petal stuck to a spiderweb, one tiny fabric-like spot making a whole universe undulate like wisps in the wind.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2021?

My longest read was Fonda Lee’s Jade War and shortest was Yesika Salgado’s Corazón. Not too surprising on either front.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I don’t want to give anything away, but my mouth was agape while reading Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite’s One of the Good Ones.

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18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Can I have several? I love Nasir and Zafira from We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal, Julián and Mat from Jonny Garza Villa’s Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun, and Sona and Eris from Zoe Hana Mikuta’s Gearbreakers.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Kaul siblings always and forever ❤

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2021 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

I had the pleasure of reading two Tiffany D. Jackson books this year, but it was Grown that really stuck with me. It was flawless.

21. Best Book You Read In 2021 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

The only reason I picked up Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus, Vol. 1 was because of how popular the webtoon has been with others in the book community.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2021?

I need to read more romance books in 2022 because no one in particular is coming to mind.

23. Best 2021 debut you read?

I loved loved LOVED Zoe Hana Mikuta’s Gearbreakers!

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Ava Reid’s The Wolf and the Woodsman was so impressive, especially on the world-building front. I would not mind visiting this universe again.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Donna Barba Higuera’s Lupe Wong Won’t Dance was hilarious from page one. I smiled so much while reading this middle grade.

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26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2021?

Several books made me cry this year: Jenny Torres Sanchez’s We Are Not From Here, Tiffany D. Jackson’s Grown, and Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Mirror Season all come immediately to mind.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland’s How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe hands down does not get enough love. It’s my favorite read of the year and not enough people have read it. Truly an injustice.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

So many books crushed my soul, but this is a special shout out to Susan Dennard for Witchshadow. I need my girls to be happy. How much more must they go through before this happens?

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2021?

I picked up Akwaeke Emezi’s Pet on a whim because I was in the mood for an audiobook and I was aghast at how unique a story it was. Literally gave me chills.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe had several characters who I wanted to physically strangle.

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1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2021?

I always love discovering new bloggers and enjoy talking to all of you, so don’t make me choose!

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2021?

Top Ten Tuesday: You Are NOT a Bad Book Blogger If… seemed to resonate with a lot of bloggers and writing it felt really cathartic for me.

I am really proud of my Instagram, so it’s hard to decide which is my favorite photo from this year. I’m going to go with my Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne photo because it took me forever to take a good photo of this book. I can’t even tell you the number of photos I took to get this one.

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

I was pretty terrible at attending online bookish events this year even though I loved doing so last year. I even signed up for several and then just could not make it. Don’t worry, I am judging me too.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2021?

Is it weird that my best moment was when I realized I needed to take a break? I took almost two months away from the blog and it literally renewed my love of blogging.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Related to the last answer, the most challenging thing about blogging was accepting that I could not keep making myself blog. I was running on fumes most of this year and considered that it could end up being the end of my blogging career. I made myself take a break and it was the longest plus the most fruitful break of my blogging journey.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021 got a lot of love. I am ashamed to say that I only got to half of these.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My review of Raquel Vasquez Gilliland’s How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe because this book is so good and I need everyone to read it too!

Can I just say audiobooks in general? It’s my own personal discovery. I did not know I could fall so much in love with this medium and it’s the reason why I read more books than I probably would have.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did not participate in any reading challenges besides the Goodreads challenge, which I did complete.

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2021 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2022?

I feel really guilty not getting to Dreaming of You by Melissa Lozado-Oliva. I will read this one in the new year though.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2022 (non-debut)?

I am really looking forward to The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

3. 2022 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie!!!!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2022?

I need Zoe Hana Mikuta’s Godslayers so bad!!!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2022?

I want to pick up more horror in 2022 and also some manga (give me your recs!)

6. A 2022 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

I haven’t read any yet because publishers haven’t approved any of my requests yet 😦

What is a 2022 sequel you are looking forward to? Which 2021 read do you wish more people had picked up? Which book did you feel was life-changing? Let’s discuss in the comments and leave a link to any end of the year post you’ve put together for me to visit!