🌷 December Wrap-Up || 2020 Wrap-Up & 2021 Goals

Wow. Wow. Wow. Happy New Year Everyone! We have finally conquered that beast of a year, and it feels so good to start anew.

But before I get carried away with how much I am looking forward to 2021 and talking about the last month of that crazy year, let me introduce you to the two books BOOKS GO BOOM (a book club run by Ashmita @ The Fictional Journal & myself) are reading for January! If you have Goodreads please feel free to join us and read either one of both of the books. The two books that tied for first place in the polls are:

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong and Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco. As mentioned, you just have to read one of these books (though you are welcome to have a go at both) to join the discussions!

(p.s. I love how similar those two covers look!!)

I went slightly off my rocker and devoured 19 books in December in hopes of hitting 100 books (ambitious much I know because I am not a speedy reader)… some of these books ended up in my top 10 of 2020 list as well!

This Tender Land by William Kent KruegerFOUND FAMILY FANS COME OVER HERE! This historical fiction set in 1932, on the banks of Minnesota’s Gilead River, follows the journey of four vagabond orphans as they try to find a home and discover who they are. This Tender Land ranked 6th place in my top 10 reads of 2020 and that was thanks to the heartwarming found family and the realistic pov of 12-year old Odie which was a mix of both childishness and dashes of wisdom as he tries to navigate the world, tries to understand forgiveness and faith. Definitely a book that will leave you in awe! [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½]

For I Pity Them by Potterhead Aanya – I just- WOW. I finished this in one whole sitting and was hooked the entire time. Aanya writes with such maturity beyond her age and I loved her passionate, resolute, unflinching voice! The poems she wrote were also extremely impactful. Thank you Aanya for the copy! [review] [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…]

Unlocked by Shannon Messenger (KOTLC #8.5) – Yet another installment in the never-ending Keeper of the Lost Cities which I instantly gobbled up because phew, despite the novella being less than 300 pages, it was such a game changing ride and that cliffhanger has me left in a state till November 2021. Other than the novella, the world guide was SO so detailed and I now stand by the claim that kotlc has one of the most intricate world buildings ever. (also the illustrations were gorgeous ahh!!) [review] [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½]

Soothsayer by Kathryn Amurra – Ancient Rome and such a swoon-worthy slow burn romance plus characters who are 100% charming and loving of their family. Despite the awkward starting, I totally fell for it! The theme of fate, inclusion of soothsayers and prophecies were such a nice touch to this historical romance! Thank you once again for the author for providing me a review copy! [review] [β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½]

Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons – I enjoyed this book but there were quite a number of places it was lacking in. The world-building (social disparity, petty politics, powers/magic) was incredible, the fighting scenes in the arena were also really thrilling thanks to the writing… however, where Set Fire to the Gods fell short for me was the plot. There was a huge info dump in the beginning, random reveals and overall confusing plot for me which definitely hindered my enjoyment of this book! Furthermore, there isn’t much character development which is a pity as Ash and Madoc are characters with strong morals and firm backstories… [β˜…β˜…Β½]

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman – I’ve mentioned this book a lot but for good reason because somehow a mere 76 page novella could punch me right in the gut, break right into my heart and make me sob sob sob. This novella deals with Alzheimer’s disease and explores the meaning of missing someone who’s still there with so much emotion and grace. I loved this. [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½]

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews – This was actually a buddy read with Katie @ Whispering Pages and I loved the experience of buddy reading for the first time. However, that said, I’m quite disappointed that I didn’t love this book. And surprised because there were so many lovable elements like the food, the delaineys ahh, the small quirks to each character and more! However, I think the problem was that I had overly high expectations. After reading A Thousand Perfect Notes, I was expecting to be wrecked by this one. But I wasn’t. I think that the story felt a little too similar to ATPN, not that I don’t like that kind of storyline, but just that it felt a little dry and predictable which kind of put me off. And I could definitely resonate more with ATPN so this similar story didn’t cling to me as much as I would have liked it to. :((( [β˜…β˜…Β½]

Legendborn by Tracey Deonn (Legendborn #1) – I enjoyed this novel a lot, especially thanks to our main character, Bree who is such a queen. I loved the exploration of grief, racism and slavery, which was integrated so nicely into both the main plot and through the histories/backstories of the characters. The world building was incredible but info dump alert. Okay, maybe it wasn’t really an info dump but all the new terms flung rapidly around took me a while to get used to and I only managed to grasp the whole world towards the end of the book. Overall, I am looking forward to the sequel! [β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½]

Ah yes this is one of the series that my blog is now being dominated by, and the series that last minute made it to my top 10 of 2020 and kicked Warcross out.

An Ember in the Ashes [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…] [review] || A Torch Against the Night [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…] [review] || A Reaper At the Gates [β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½] || A Sky Beyond the Storm [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…]

As you can see I have different degrees of love for each of the books, but overall this series is a new favourite for me, with Sky being a rare 5 star! Apart from how the titles match so satisfyingly, I love this series because of the characters. Let me keep this brief as you all have already read much of my screaming for this series haha.

Laia has one of the most remarkable character arcs ever. Elias is so sweet and I loved his journey on finding freedom, and even Helene’s struggle with loyalty. Add on the super high stakes. And the number of times my heart died. And the plot which made me screech all the way. There you have it, a spectacular series you must read!

The Word Trove by Elias Vorpahl – My very first arc! And I enjoyed it! A short little book about a word trying to find its meaning, full of puns and references that made my literature-obsessed heart full. And an amazing journey trope, only criticism is that it felt a little too rushed and short. [β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½] [review]

Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan – The element of family resonated with me so much but this book was a disappointment for me in how it was pretty unrealistic. People changing so fast because of a little girl, lots of doubtful coincidences and quite an abrupt ending. I was also pining for more involvement and development of the side characters. [β˜…β˜…]

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – It won the GR choice awards? Umm. Apart from me being proud that I went through my first audiobook, nothing else was enjoyable. The main character was so bland, and the side characters practically not having any impact. It was brutal, but emotion? Where? The story was rather random and had no proper direction in my opinion, well at least I learnt some history. [β˜…]

The Midnight Library by Matt HaigOn the other hand, this was a book that definitely deserved to be crowned the GR choice award winner of 2020. The Midnight Library is an ugly yet uplifting read and I loved both the concept and execution. Nora’s character development in terms of finding the answers to questions of: what is a better life? How to live when there are so many regrets? and more was so impactful. How Haig draws in quantum physics, philosophy and fate to do so was something I loved. Recommend this read but please check the triggers! [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…]

Vicious by V.E. SchwabThe most memorable thing was trying not to bite my nails because oh my goodness this one was a real ride. V.E. Schwab stirs some strong emotions and makes me doubt myself as I start to root for one bad guy and hate the other and try to navigate all the morally grey waters. I loved how dark and intense and well… bad the characters were… and the premise and the plot was absolutely mindblowing! I need to start the sequel soon! [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…]

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. PanThis was a beautiful read, in how it combined both grief and magical realism. On a completely unrelated note, I loved the food aspect so much like I saw youtiao and stinky tofu and got super excited. I loved the setting in Taiwan as well as the relationship with the grandparents as it touched on some Chinese culture that as a Chinese myself, am familiar with! [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…]

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green – I did enjoy but had mixed feelings about Paper Towns. But I loved Turtles All The Way Down. The way anxiety was portrayed through the thought spirals and the numerous metaphors was affecting yet impactful. The side characters were pretty awesome as well. Turtles All the Way Down felt like such a real and raw story with so many small observations, thought-provoking ideas scattered throughout and I loved it. [β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…]

2020 reading wrap up

2020 has been a year. As mentioned in my top 10 reads of 2020 post, it was the year I fully immersed myself in the YA category and started blogging, only then finding out about what everyone was reading, thus this year was a lot of reading popular series and whatnot. And I must say, most were pretty high quality reads!

no. of books read: 101 || no. of pages read: 39,406

average length of book: 390 pages || average rating of book: 3.4 stars

age group



Non surprisingly, YA dominates my reading and so does fantasy. I’m thankful for the number of highly rated books I have as well, the number of solid 4 stars is incredible!

2021 goals

πŸ“š Read 60 books

I only managed to read 101 books in 2020 thanks to lockdown and all, furthermore, school will be busier for me this year, so I will be aiming at around a book every week!

πŸ“š Read more books by Asian authors

As mentioned above, this year I was mostly catching up on all the widely read books, and many of them not the most diverse. (which is kind of shameful as an asian myself haha) Thus, in 2021, I will be aiming to read more books by Asian authors, specifically Chinese authors (as a Chinese myself)- yes I am looking at you Spin the Dawn, These Violent Delights, The Poppy War and more. If you have any recommendations, please hit me up in the comments below!

πŸ“š Finish my physical tbr

Because 2020 was the year of staying at home, there were so many online bookish deals and I could not help but buy a couple of books. It’s been a while and they are still sitting on my shelf (blame shiny new releases) and so I am determined to finish them this year before I move out of my current place.

And that was an incredibly long and detailed post haha, thank you for reading if you’re still here.

How was your reading in December and 2020? Have you read any of the books mentioned? What is your most read genre?

Any Asian author book recommendations for me?


90 thoughts on “🌷 December Wrap-Up || 2020 Wrap-Up & 2021 Goals

  1. Happy New Year Cherelle!!! Ahhhhh have I mentioned that I absolutely adore your aesthetic + graphics?? They’re sooo pretty 😍😍

    Anyway, I loved reading this post!! You read so many books in December, I can’t even imagine reading 19 books in a single month! πŸ˜… I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy The Underground Railroad, though… it’s been on my TBR for so long, but I think this is a sign that I should give it a pass!

    Ooh, as for Asian author recs, The Silence of Bones by June Hur is amazingggg!! It takes place in 1800 Joseon (Korea) and it’s one of my top reads this year 🀩 Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao is an ultra-cute contemporary that I enjoyed with lots of Taiwanese culture… and Sandhya Menon’s books are also great if you’re in the mood for something cute!!

    You had a wonderful reading year in 2020!! Here’s to hoping that 2021 will bring even better books πŸ₯° Great post as always Cherelle!! ❀️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Happy 2021 to you too, Abby! Aww, thank you so much you’re so sweet ahh… 😍

      Haha, it was only thanks to staying home the whole day and too many amazing books that could not be put down! πŸ€— Ooh I’m glad that my mini thoughts could help you decide about The Underground Railroad, but I would still urge you to check out other reviews because the book does carry several important messages like slavery and all which definitely spoke out to some…

      That’s all I need to hear to put The Silence of Bones on my priority tbr! 🀩 Thank you so much for your recommendations for Rent a Boyfriend and Sandhya Menon’s books as well, they will definitely be on my mind when life becomes too gloomy and in need of sunshine. 😊

      Wishing you an amazing 2021 both for reading and life, thank you for the lovely comment Abby! πŸ’–πŸ’–

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhhhh, I’m so glad you enjoyed TACOA!🀩🀩🀩
    And thank you so much, Cherelle for mentioning our blog! Also, you accidentally wrote the spelling of my name there wrong, just FYI.πŸ˜…
    Also, what name confusion? Wasn’t I always Fictionally Crazy?πŸ™ƒ

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know, it was such a beautiful and heartfelt book! πŸ’–
      My pleasure! Oh no my apologies, I’ll change it straight away!
      Umm… are you sure? I don’t think I’m the only one who got confused… I’m quite reassured that Aanya thought so too or I would have been hallucinating haha! πŸ•΅οΈ

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I’m glad An Ember in the Ashes is an all-around solid series! I can’t resist books with satisfying character arcs. 😍 I’m planning on binge reading this and The Daevabad Trilogy next.

    Turtles All the Way Down was easily my favorite from John Greene’s books! I’m so sorry to echo you, but I had mixed feelings about his other works too. I didn’t enjoy the storylines or the characters as much but I loved the metaphors. They’re what kept me going.

    And thank you very much for featuring my story in your post! That was so kind of you, Cherelle! πŸ₯°

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know! Being able to witness the character’s growth and journey with them gets me attached every time… I’m so excited for you to do so… ooh The Daevabad Trilogy has actually been on my tbr for a while haha, so please update me on how it goes for you!

      Agreed, the metaphors were really thought-provoking and definitely gave me a better understanding of the book…

      My pleasure Noelle and thank you for commenting! πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh no you aren’t the only one, they changed it an I was the only one to notice at first!!!
    Thank you for telling about our blog!!! And my book!
    Also the graphics are soo pretty!!
    And unfortunately I don’t have any reccomandations….. 😦
    Happy New Year though!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. AHH CHERELLE I still can’t get over the prettiness of your blog 😍 And those graphs!! This was a lovely wrap-up post, I enjoyed reading this so much!! I want to read more books by Asian authors too, I’ve heard a lot about Sandhya Menon so I’m gonna give her books a try? And physical TBRs, the ever-growing bane of my existence πŸ˜… I really hope to read more of my physical books this year. Also, 19 books in one month? I can only dream about that haha.
    Have the happiest year, wishing you luck on all your goals!! 🀎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rhea!! Thank you oh my, you’re too kind! πŸ₯Ί Ooh someone in the comments section mentioned Sandhya Menon was mentioned by someone in the comments here as well, so we’ll both be checking her books out then! Ahh high five on physical tbrs haha, all the best! Aww thank you, it was simply thanks to staying at home all day with amazing books that could not be put down haha…

      Have an amazing 2021 Rhea, thank you for the lovely comment! πŸ’–πŸ’–

      Liked by 1 person

  6. fantasy is def my most favorite genre! i have read TBWSH and liked it. im sorry u didn’t like it as u thought u would πŸ˜”

    some books by asian authors that u should read: the bone witch, the poppy war, the sword of kaigen, the ghost bride

    i have a lot of faves but im blanking out right now. hope you enjoy reading TVD!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. High five on fantasy! Ahh but I’m glad you enjoyed it… thank you so much for the recommendations… ahh yes! The Poppy War has been popping up everywhere with so many rave reviews, I’ll definitely be checking the others out too! Haha no worries, I am currently reading TVD and am blown away, especially by the writing style. Thank you for commenting! πŸ’–πŸ’–


  7. omg your review of unlocked… now i’m even more impatient to read book seven and following!!
    I’m starting to hear more and more about The Midnight Library and I’m really intrigued! I need to check (read) that one!
    You had such a great year regarding books, I wish you the same (and even better) for 2021! πŸ₯°

    Liked by 2 people

    1. YESS! Keeper of the Lost Cities from book seven onwards becomes even more intense and complex, I’m so excited for you to venture there! Ah yes The Midnight Library, indeed, the premise is really interesting, I hope you enjoy it if you choose to pick it up. Thank you Ursa, have a lovely 2021 too! πŸ’–

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Have an amazing year Cherelle πŸ’™
    Wow 19 books in a month is impressive. I have to get An Ember in The Ashes soon, since everyone is talking about it. I have a feeling it will be a favourite πŸ˜…
    Thank you so much for featuring my post, you’re too kind ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I read Legendborn in December and I agree, I love the discussion on grief, racism and slavery and how well they are integrated into the story. I also agree that the world building took a while to adjust to, especially with the amount of terms and hierarchy they have πŸ˜…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow, that’s a lot of books read by you! And you have convinced me to read An Ember in the Ashes series, it is now going on my TBR.
    How do you keep your reading stats? Is there some software you use to create those charts and graphs? I would love to do this for 2021, that’s why I wanted to know.
    Loved your post, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think I probably read mostly Fantasy, but it might be a tie bewtween sci fi. πŸ˜… Those are the two genres that I can never get enough.
    I don’t think I have any books by Asian authors to recommend… I mostly just read what sounds good and not pay attention to the author until after I’ve finished the book… :/

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm… Well probably Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell, it’s not the best ever but I enjoyed it. Especially if you like Renegades by Marissa Meyer, it’s very similar in pacing and characters.


  12. I was confused with their blog names tooπŸ˜‚πŸ€£ but they have changed it back to their initial ones lol. And ahh!! Do satisfying to watch all the books in a series get such awesome rating! (Talking about ember quartet here) and I was soo bummed that I didn’t like set fire to the gods. I was hoping it would be a good start to the club😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh it was reassuring to know I wasn’t the only one haha! I know, four books of equally high standards was incredible to read… aww I was too, but I enjoyed January’s These Violent Delights and I hope you would have that equally great start! Thanks for commenting, Ashmita! πŸ€—


  13. OMG what an amazing year and reading month you’ve had! Congrats! The Poppy War, Daevabad trilogy and Ember in the Ashes quartet are all on my TBR for this year – I can’t wait for my Ember in the Ashes Fairyloot editions to arrive in Feb!
    Good luck with your 2021 reading challenge! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you so much for adding me to your list ❀️ You have so many amazing books on your book list, 2020 has been good to you bookish wise πŸ˜‚ πŸ“š
    I didn’t know you run a book club! but I’ll definitely check that out because Kingdom of the Wicked is on my TBR.

    Honestly the books you’ve mentioned are mainly the Asian books and authors that I’m familiar with but Tiffany @Read by Tiffany hosts a book club called “Subtle Asian” and the aim of the book club is to read more Asian inspired literature and books by Asian authors. Here’s the link: https://subtleasianbookclub.carrd.co/

    Have a happy healthy year cherelle!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. happy new year!!! ahhh cherelle, i’m loving all the graphs, and the entire theme looks absolutely gorgeous!! also 19 books in one month!!? that’s awesome!! i would honestly never be able to!! 😭 i would definitely second jawahir!! the subtle asian book club is a fantastic thing to join if you’re wanting to read more asian literature, and books!! although i didn’t discuss much (because of virtual school eating away all my time 😭), i loved reading set fire to the gods with you, ashmita, and the rest of books go boom, even though there was definitely ways in which the book could improve (*cough* that info dump *cough*)

    great post, and here’s to an even better 2021!! ❀❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahaana, you’re too sweet, thank you so much, it warms my heart to hear that! πŸ₯Ί Ahh thank you for the recommendation as well… and I truly appreciate your support for Ashmita and my club πŸ’•, (don’t worry virtual lessons are super taxing for everyone, hang in there! ❀) And agreed, the *ahem* big info dump spoiled the beginning of the book, such a pity… thank you once again, have a happy 2021! πŸ₯°

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Congrats on reaching your goal Cherelle!! You read so much!!! I am in awe πŸŽ‰πŸ˜± I couldn’t get to Set Fire to the Gods last month and obviously couldn’t join the discussion on the book club, but I’m so sad to hear you didn’t like it that much πŸ˜•

    A WONDERFUL post as always πŸ˜„πŸ˜‰Happy new year!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Pilar! It’s mostly thanks to such incredible books I could not put down! Aww it’s okay, actually, Ashmita and I were providing e-copies for those who didn’t have access.. in the future, if you decide to join us and not be able to get the book, do reach out! Have a happy new year as well! πŸ’–πŸ’–

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Happy New Year Cherelle! πŸ₯³ Omg!!! Congratulations on your reading year! This is so inspiring! πŸ₯° Good luck on your challenge this year! I also want to read more diverse books this year. There are so many amazing books on this list that I want to get to! πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  18. A book a week sounds like a solid goal! ALSO wow you read 19 books in a month!?! that’s truly an achievement. I spot my favorite series ( an ember in the ashes !!!) in there and vicious haha. i really love your pie chart and i think i also read a lot of fantasy in 2020. alsoo the poppy war is So Flippin Good – i hope you really enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you! I usually can never get past the 10 books mark, so 19 was a huge surprise though I will be reading less this year! So glad to hear that we both adore Ember and Vicious… I’m so looking forward to The Poppy War, I have hauled the series and am even more excited now! Thank you for the comment, Rachana! πŸ’–πŸ’–

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m impressed by how much you read!! And I’m glad to hear you gave A Sky Beyond the Storm 5 stars. πŸ™‚ I heard some mixed reviews about the last book but hopefully I like it as much as you did!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. wonderful post, Cherelle, i really enjoyed reading this! ☺️ haha i love your screaming and love for the An Ember in the Ashes series – i haven’t read the last book yet, but i really must get around to it soon! this series is incredible and absolutely blew me away, and i agree that the characters are so amazingly developed πŸ˜­πŸ’“ so glad you enjoyed Vicious as well, it definitely blew my mind as well and kept me on my toes the entire time 🀯 V.E. Schwab has such a special way of crafting brilliant and captivating storylines!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the affirmation, Dezzy! Ahh PLEASE do, I agree on everything you mentioned and let me assure you that the last book is even more compelling and is such a satisfying conclusion to an emotional ride, I hope that you love it to pieces as well! Agreed, V.E. Schwab is a master, I’m incredibly excited to start on Vengeful soon! Thank you for the lovely comment! πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

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