🌷 January Wrap Up || Much less books but an incredible start to the year!

Raise your hand if you’re not used to writing 2021.

*raises right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot*

I know everyone has said this but let me reiterate: I can’t believe that we are finally in 2021, the situation is still *gradually* getting better and I’m so thankful and excited for how this year will (hopefully) improve. How has everyone been?

For me, the start of the year means a start of the endless workload and thus I have been appearing and posting sporadically during this month, but your support nonetheless means a million! This month, I have read significantly less books than my crazy amount in December and yet I’m still enjoying my reading, as it feels more relaxed and each good story lasts longer.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

My Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜… || Genre(s): Fantasy || Age Group: YA || My Review

I was really excited for this read because it had 2 of my favourite elements in it: Mulan retelling and Chinese author/culture, which gels well with my goal of reading more books by Asian authors, and thus chose Spin the Dawn to start 2021, after hearing so many bloggers gush about it.

And I totally understand all the love! Maia is such an innocent yet passionate and brave female lead who is still vulnerable to the brutality of the world, and I loved that realistic “flaw” of hers. And ahhh this is one of the books that has brought out the hopeless romantic in me.

Naturally, I was trying to spot the elements of Chinese culture in the book. I do understand that this is a fantastical world, but I thought there was a lot of missed opportunity in embedding Chinese culture into the setting and society to serve as plot points. All I read pertaining to that was random food, saying “baba” and having an imperial palace with an emperor. But I do applaud Spin the Dawn for subtly referencing a Chinese myth!

Overall though, I felt that the story was lacking a bit of depth with certain trials seemingly too easy, and many action scenes falling flat. However, I will be continuing with the series because I cannot endure cliffhangers!


These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

My Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½ || Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Fantasy || Age Group: YA || My Review

Guys, I loved this one so desperately on the other hand.

Juliette was such a compelling main character, the parallelism and contrasts between her and Roma was incredible, and the writing simply stunning.

But most importantly, this book became an instant favourite because of the Chinese culture and how much I managed to resonate with it. These Violent Delights was set in 1920s Shanghai, and was uniquely set up, gangs and Communists and Westerners, vibrant and tense. The commentary on Western colonisation got me emotional, and how much I could feel the Chinese atmosphere with not only the physical aspects, but also the values ingrained into the plots and characters were so familiar to me and I simply adored their involvement.

Do note that the gore level in this one is quite high and I myself did feel uncomfortable at times, but despite that, I felt my Chinese identity being represented by this book, and everything else was simply stunning!


On the Tips of Her Fingers by Bibiana Kerpcar

My Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜… || Genre(s): Fantasy || Age Group: YA || My Review

I did my very first blog tour this month!

On the Tips of Her Fingers was such a whimsical and fairytale-like book that included so many cliches which did not make me roll my eyes, but instead smile warmly and be flooded with so much nostalgia. Like this book is 100% quotable!

The pacing and random side characters did affect my enjoyment of the book quite a bit, but ultimately it was such a beautiful story of hope and courage weaved through different timelines.


A Druid’s Tale by A.J. Thornton

My Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½Β || Genre(s): Fantasy || Age Group: YA || My Review

I just finished this one so my thoughts are in a bit of an incoherent mess, I’ll be posting a full review soon! In short, I did enjoy this one a lot, the world was richly imagined and it certainly sets up so well for an whole series, and I’m really excited to see where it will be heading, especially with so many themes of ethics of killing, power which this book just grazed the surface of and I hope will be explored more in later books!

My only problem was that for the first 50% of the book, the characters were just wandering in the forest and I was frustrated because I couldn’t see where the book was heading. However, once the pace picked up and the “mission” became clear, it was glorious!

As mentioned above, I was sadly not as active in blogging due to my busy schedule and envision it to be the case in February as well. Nevertheless, I did read quite a couple of incredible posts that I’ll be highlighting!

And that was my start of the year! I have a feeling I would be even busier in February so pardon me if I disappear for a while again. Thank you for reading!

How was your January? What was your first read of 2021?

72 thoughts on “🌷 January Wrap Up || Much less books but an incredible start to the year!”

  1. Ahh I love this wrap-up Cherelle!! I can 200% agree about feeling awkward saying 2021 instead of 2020…. it still feels so weird πŸ˜‚

    Ooh I loved hearing your thoughts on Spin the Dawn!! I think your points about the missed opportunity to include more Chinese culture were so well-made, it really highlights how important ownvoices reviewers are. And thank you so much for mentioning my post!! I’m so happy you enjoyed it πŸ₯°

    And don’t worry about disappearing for a while, goodness knows it happens to all of us (especially me) πŸ˜…πŸ˜Š I hope you have a wonderful February Cherelle!! Great post ❀️

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    1. Thank you Abby! Ah Spin the Dawn was beautiful, but I was going in with the perspective of it mainly being “Chinese inspired” and thus felt it a pity, but it was a solid fantasy nonetheless. My pleasure Abby, I really loved your post! Haha thank you and wishing you a great February too! πŸ₯°

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  2. I read Spin the Dawn in 2019 I believe and I gave it 4.5 stars. I think I may have been swept up in the hype and the fact that it was a Mulan retelling which is one of my favourite Disney movies. If I had to rate it in reflection it would probably be a 3.5 as it didn’t stick with me well. πŸ˜”

    Ahhhh! I wanted to read it this month for Books Go Boom but I’m still waiting for my hold of These Violent Delights to come in from the library! It’s taking forever 😩 I have trouble reading ebooks which aren’t from the Kindle store (or in general) because either they don’t have the audiobook component which helps me to focus and follow along or they give me headaches. I hope my hold will come in soon so I can put my thoughts in even though it won’t be in January. I’ll still drop my thoughts in the January BOTM discussion bar.

    Thank you for welcoming back into the book blogosphere! πŸ₯Ί It really makes me excited to post again! πŸ’™

    Wow, sorry this comment is so long πŸ˜‚ but I hope you have a good day, night or everything in between!

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    1. Eryn! Ahh I was rather intrigued by the Mulan retelling aspect as well, it didn’t stick as well as I hoped for too but I’m glad that you loved if the first time you read it! No worries, libraries are infamous for the never-ending wait for holds on books, I’m still incredibly happy to hear that you’re reading it with the club, I see it’s on your “currently reading” on Goodreads now – so happy to hear from the status update that you are enjoying it…and thank you!! My pleasure, I’m thrilled to have you back! It’s totally fine Eryn, I love long comments, have a wonderful February! πŸ’•

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  3. Eep I got so excited when I saw this post Cherelle! The quantity of books I read was small, but the quality was very high!! It was definitely an amazing start to the year!! Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who picks up a Chinese inspired book and then hungrily searches for every reference πŸ˜‰ Oh my gosh did we have the exact same thoughts about Spin the Dawn or what? I also thought that the three main trials took only two pages each…but of course the representation was good to see 😁 I can’t wait for more of your posts, but of course, take it easy!! πŸ’ž Wishing you a lovely February (Chinese New Year AND a week long break is what I’m looking forward to πŸ˜‚)!!!

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    1. I’m so pleased to hear that you had a great start to the year as well, Eleanor! Yeah, those trials passed in a blur which was a pity as fierce competitions are so fun to read about! The representation was indeed great to see in Spin the Dawn but I felt that there could have been more Chinese culture embedded in the setting etc… have you read its sequel? Aww thank you so much Eleanor, and happy Chinese New Year (we have finally arrived at the long break)! ❀

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      1. Especially since Spin the Dawn was marketed as “steeped in Chinese culture” I did wish we could have seen more of that…like you said, I only remembered the β€œbaba” references and the long names of the emperor’s various palaces πŸ™ƒ I haven’t read the sequel yet, partly because there are mixed reviews about it, but it might be nice to pick up some time if I have room on my TBR! So excited to relax ☺️ hope you have fun too!

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  4. I have a copy of Spin The Dawn, and I’ve been wanting to read it for a while now, so it was amazing to see your thoughts on it! Also, I’ve been seeing These Violent Delights around a LOT, and now I want to read it too!
    Awesome post!!

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  5. Ah it always takes me a month (or two or three πŸ˜…) to adjust to writing the new year.

    I hope you get a chance to simply relax and enjoy some great reads in spite of your workload. πŸ’ž

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  6. I’m glad you’re liking 2021 so far, it’s definitely been a ride 😊 It always takes me so long to get used to writing 2021, I’ve taken to going back over every assignment I have just to make sure I wrote the right date πŸ˜… I also only read 4 books, which is less than I normally do, but I guess I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump 🀧 On The Tips of Fingers looks absolutely gorgeous, and I’m glad you like it πŸ’™ Have a nice February! Happy reading!

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    1. Haha I can relate 100% on having to double check my dates! Aww I hope that your reading slump quickly evades you and this month you will be able to read some incredible books. Ahh yes On the Tips of Her Fingers has such a beautiful cover and contains a heartfelt story… have a wonderful February, Cherry! πŸ’ž

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  7. my first read of january was The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller and i had a good reading month! I’m really interested in These Violent Delight and Spin The Dawn, even though i’m not a big fantasy fan! i wish you a good February reading month though!

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    1. I’m happy to hear that you had a good reading month, ahh and I was pleased that you mentioned Miller’s poetic writing in your wrap up, I’m excited to get to her books! These Violent Delights is a historical fantasy but is more on the historical side, I hope you enjoy them both if you decide to venture into the genre! Have a wonderful February as well, Sarah! πŸ’–

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  8. January wasn’t a great reading month for me as I only managed to read 2 books, but I’m not complaining since I did enjoy other things I was doing! I’ve heard great things about Spin the Dawn, now I’m even more curious to check it out πŸ™‚

    Have a great February!

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  9. So glad to see another one of your posts in my reader, Cherelle! I always love reading your posts so it was a joy to read this one after not seeing you for a while!
    I can totally relate to having lots and lots of work…good luck on whatever tests or school or whatever it is that’s giving you so much work though! And sorry you weren’t able to read very many books (I don’t know how it happened but I read an alarming number of books which you may see later when I’ve published my wrap up–if I can get it done because it’s gotten way too long oops). Thanks for mentioning my post!
    Best of luck on your reading in February and can’t wait to see more of your great posts! (even if you do have to vanish again for a while…I’ll be looking out for any of your posts that appear in my reader!)

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  10. Great wrap-up, Cherelle! I’m glad you were able to read some good books this month 😁 These Violent Delights has been on tbr for a while, so it’s good you had good things to say about it. I’m also looking forward to reading Spin the Dawn later this year (I mean…hopefully lol)

    My first read of the year was Crescent City and it was also my favorite of January!

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    1. Aarushi, thank you! ✨ Ah yes you MUST read These Violent Delights!! Ooh I hope you enjoy them both and haha I can definitely relate on having commitment issues with tbrs!

      Really pleased to hear that you started your year with a bang… have a lovely February and thank you for commenting! πŸ’•

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  11. Writing 2021 now is very hardπŸ˜‚ I have to say it in my head every time I write it out lol.

    I’ve wanted to read These Violent Delights so bad!!! I’m glad to hear that you liked it! I’ll have to get a copy soon! Amazing post, Cherelle! πŸ’•

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    1. Haha I’m glad to here I’m not the only one with my head still stuck in 2020! YES PLEASE READ THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS SOON! I truly hope that you love it just as much and please come scream about it with me if you do get to it… thank you so much Grace, have a lovely February! πŸ’–

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  12. Lovely Wrap-Up Cherelle! You seemed to have read quite a bit of good fantasy books. I loved how you explained resonating with your Chinese heritage and culture through These Violent Delights. Don’t worry about inactivity, do what’s best for you! πŸ’žπŸ’ž

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  13. ahh yess it definitely takes a hot second to get used to typing out 2021. it’ll take a couple more weeks until it feels normal lol
    it sounds like you read some good ones this month! i can’t wait to read these violent delights— it sounds like the kind of book i would enjoy!!
    lovely wrap up!

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  14. ahh i was so excited to see another post from you in my reader!! i’m sorry you didn’t love spin the dawn! i really enjoyed it, but imo, the second book was worse than the first πŸ₯Ί and thank you so much for shouting out my post! i’m so glad you loved it ❀ ilysm and i hope we can interact more in the future πŸ’– i hope you have a great start to your february!

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    1. Katie! Ahh I’m really happy that you enjoyed Spin the Dawn, at its core, it was such a heartfelt story! Yikes okay, I’m saddened to hear that especially after how book one left off with so much potential! Thank you for sharing though and ahh my pleasure, it was such fun to read! Have a lovely February, Katie! πŸ’•

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  15. I have to say that January has been a great month for as in reading terms. I have read 7 books so far and am also half was through two other books. I think this is because I now have all the opportunities to read the books i want as I don’t have to rely on going to the shops especially, been reading online on quite a few of them. Only 3 of the books were physical ones. I do however, miss having a physical copy on me.

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    1. That’s so heartening to hear, ahh yes the beauty of online books, I only discovered the joy of them last year and can agree – they do speed up my reading immensely… but indeed, there is that irreplaceable feeling of holding a physical book! Thank you for commenting and have a wonderful February!! πŸ€—

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  16. I’m also not used to writing 2021 πŸ˜„ I keep forgetting its not 2020 anymore.
    Looks like you had a good reading month!!
    My first book of the month was rereading the Hunger Games.

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  17. Cherelle!!! omggg!!! Thank you thank you thank you for featuring my post! It means so much to me πŸ₯ΊπŸ’•
    Great Wrap-Up! You seem to have had a great start of the year and I’m really happy for you! I gifted Spin the Dawn to my sister for Christmas to my sister but I hadn’t read it myself so I’m happy to see that you enjoyed it! I genuinely have a hard time typing out 2021 and I was startled when I saw the date written the other day because I keep forgetting πŸ˜‚ I also had a slow reading month but I’m happy with the books I read and I’m very excited for February because it’s my birthday month! πŸ₯°β£οΈ take care ❀️

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    1. Karla, my pleasure it was such a well-written discussion! Aww thank you and I hope that your sister enjoys Spin the Dawn as well! That’s good to hear, quality over quantity! Ooh has your birthday passed? Happy belated/ advanced birthday Karla! Thank you for commenting, you too take care! πŸ’•

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  18. So sorry to hear Spin the Dawn didn’t live up to your expectations – it wasn’t a favourite of mine either.
    However, I also quite enjoyed TVD! Actually, I also made a special playlist for it πŸ™‚
    Hope you have a good February!

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  19. ahh cherelle!! i loved this wrap-up so much!! OK SKFJFJSFSJH THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS WAS SO. GOOD. AND IT HAS MY ENTIRE HEART!!! i’m so glad you liked it, though yes, some scenes were a bit too descriptive, especially because i ~loathe~ insects!! i love all your content so much, and i look forward to getting to know you better through book club discussions and your blog!! πŸ’–πŸ’–

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    1. Ahaana! YES TVD HAS MY HEART and ENTIRE SOUL as well! And the ending was truly spectacular… have you seen the cover reveal for book 2?? 😍 Oh no, I hope that you didn’t find those scenes too triggering 😦 – thankfully more and more reviewers are warning readers on some of the gory scenes… Aww Ahaana, thank you so much πŸ₯Ίβœ¨, I’m excited to journey with you as well! πŸ₯Ίβ€οΈ

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    1. Ali ahh I’m glad you know now… the Mulan retelling was one of the elements that fascinated me the most, though minimal, it was exciting seeing it incorporated into the story… I hope that you’ll love Spin the Dawn if you decide to pick it up! Thank you so much and have a lovely rest of the month! πŸ₯°

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  20. Lovely wrap-up! I really enjoyed These Violent Delights as well. I thought that Juliette and Roma’s contrasts played in really nicely to their lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romance! I am definitely not used to writing 2021 either, and I’ll still catch myself writing 2020 from time to time haha.

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  21. glad to see TVD love in this wrap up!! im so excited to read the sequel that cliffhanger should have been illegal 😭 i hope february treats you well. cheers to reading more great books this month!

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  22. my first read of the year was Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter – it was great! Oh my gosh the cover for On The Tips of Her Fingers is stunning! It sounds great too ❀

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    1. Haha I can definitely relate to library holds seeming like an eternity, I hope that by now its off hold now? I’m thrilled to hear that you’re looking forward to it, These Violent Delights is such a richly written book I hope that you enjoy it just as much, Lou! πŸ’•

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  23. Lovely wrap up! I, too, have read much less than I did in December. The start of the year, (and for me the start of the semester as well) always takes a bit of adjusting. I only read a couple of books this month, but what really matters is quality over quantity, and I see that These Violent Delights is on here! I believe I’ve already seen your review, but again, I am so glad that you liked it. It’s such a special book, and I can’t wait for the sequel (have you seen the cover reveal by the way? let me know what you think!)

    I wish you a great reading month in February!! ❀ ❀

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    1. Quality over quantity are wise words! YES THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS, it’s been more than a month after finishing it but it is still constantly on my mind as I (painfully) await November for book 2 haha… YES THE COVER REVEAL!! Oh my goodness, it is truly such a beauty to behold and I’m confident it will be worth the wait ahh… have a wonderful February as well… thank you Sanah! πŸ₯°

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  24. wonderful post Cherelle, love your blogging voice as always ☺️ i definitely hear you on having an increased workload, now that i’m 3 weeks into my school semester, things are starting to pile up aahhhh :’) wishing you all the best with your work!! and ofc i’m so glad you loved These Violent Delights as much as i did, and i love that we both read it in January hehe (TVD was actually my first read of 2021!). i hope February brings you more great books and lovely memories πŸ’“

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    1. Dezzy, aww thank you for such sweet words… ahh I hope that by now you are well adjusted to the increase in workload! πŸ’• You too! Ahhh TVD being your first of 2021 is so incredible! I’m so happy it gave us both a brilliant start to the reading year… thank you and have a wonderful February as well! πŸ₯°

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  25. No. Of books don’t matter!! And I sorry that spin the dawn couldn’t live up to ur expectations and represent the culture enough and I am soo glad that tvd didπŸ˜‚πŸ˜β€οΈ and no worries if you disappear! This time of the year is busy for everyone I guess. Great post

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