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 Krueger – FOUND 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! [★★★★½]
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] [★★★★]
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] [★★★★½]
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] [★★★½]
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… [★★½]
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. [★★★★½]
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. :((( [★★½]
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! [★★★½]
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.
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. [★★★½] [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. [★★]
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. [★]
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – On 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! [★★★★]
Vicious by V.E. Schwab – The 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! [★★★★]
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan – This 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! [★★★★]
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. [★★★★]
- Jawahir @ The Never Ending Chronicles of Jawahir the Bookworm did an original playlist on The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and I am in love
- Cherry @ Cherry Blossom Books shared so many hilarious and relatable bookish antics
- Becky @ Dusts of Magic and Ahaana @ Windows to Worlds are starting a new initiative called “After the Story” (Becky’s post || Ahaana’s post) and it is such a brilliant idea!
- Noelle @ Wordgazing and Magic wrote her own story: To Frame a Blank Canvas, and I had so much fun reading it!
- Alicia @ The Colorful Bibliophile started a monthly book bingo card to help with the taming of tbrs!
- Riddhi @ Whispering Stories, Nehal @ Fictionally Crazy, Tiction @ Books and Words and Potterhead Aanya have started a new collab blog: That Weird Club (p.s. am i the only one confused about tiction and nehal’s blog names haha)
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
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!
📚 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!
📚 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!
📚 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.