APRIL & MAY WRAP UP | returning from my long hiatus, starting bookstagram & redesigning my blog (again)!

hello friends! i’m so happy to be finally writing a post, having been on a seemingly never-ending hiatus since february dawned thanks to a hectic study life and now that it’s nearing break, i’ve some time to come back.

whilst ghosting the blogosphere, i’ve been somewhat eventful in other areas? i recently started a bookstagram account, which i’ll be sharing more of my thoughts down below, and if you’ve noticed, redesigned my blog for the umpteenth time, thank you itchy fingers, but i’m rather pleased with the outcome, tell me what you think!

i’m trying a new format with this two months’ wrap ups, so let me not dawdle and get into it!

books read

in April, I managed to read 2 books and in May, 5. ah i’m severely behind on my goodreads reading challenge, but the books were mostly all high-quality and deserving reads that I shouldn’t be complaining!

the outlands by tyler edwards [★★★]

ah for some reason 2021 was the year in which i started to read more (or well, 2) dystopian novels since my hunger games phase and both did not disappoint! the outlands with the typical post-apocalyptic setting, societal classes, oppressive government, was a quick but entertaining read with found family and such a resonant main character voice. enjoyed this one!

the ones we’re meant to find by joan he [★★★★½]

my newest obsession!! TOWMTF was one of my most anticipated releases for the year and it was absolutely brilliant okay. it’s a melancholic yet moving tale of two sisters who are polar opposites but having the undeniable bond, and yet at it’s core, intrinsically thematic. amidst the dual narrative with a raging plot (ugh my heart still pitter patters from that twistTM), joan he brings out themes of climate change, technology and thought-provokingly examines the very prospect of humanity in such a grandiose, not in the slightest pretentious manner. it was done so beautifully. i cannot recommend this book enough.

we are not free by traci chee [★★★★]

this book is pure emotion, pure pain, pure soul i swear. a ww2 historical fiction centering on the lives of a group of japanese-american teens, through a staggering but brilliantly executed 14 povs, it poignantly touches on the discrimination during the war back then, as well as the indomitable pride despite the identity struggle of these teenagers. i haven’t ugly-cried in so long, and we are not free completely ripped. my. cold. dead. desensitised. heart. out. ugh feelings. definitely recommend this one though i cannot guarantee your heart to stay in one piece?

jade city by fonda lee [★★★½]

gosh this book left my brain in pure tangles and shambles, but it was so worth it. jade city is a historical fantasy set in the island of kekon, where jade is highly coveted being both a sign of status and a source of power. it was so reminiscent of those chinese kungfu dramas i used to be obsessed with, and all the political intrigue balanced out with intergenerational family ties made it such a vibrant, immersive read. i’m dying to read jade war to figure out if i hate or love hilo.

the gilded wolves by roshani chokshi [★★]

this was a major disappointment. i had sky high expectations for this one, which were cruelly sunk to the bottom of the sea. ah okay perhaps it was partially my fault, for the dregs from six of crows were constantly singing their alluring siren song at the back of my mind and i just couldn’t resist but start comparing. but seriously, the characters in the gilded wolves were SO reflective of those in six of crows, it almost felt like a carbon copy but so much flatter, duller, and i was unable to get emotionally invested into any of them. add on the huge amount of confusion i was in throughout the book, and the blatant lack of any historical atmosphere despite it being set in rich 1889 france with such a world defining event, and the absence of a good plot, colour me unimpressed and disappointed.

in order to live by yeonmi park

ah finally a non-fiction in like forever! it was a poignant, hard hitting yet meaningful read, truly grateful to hear her story.

skyhunter by marie lu [★★★★]

dang, marie lu has done it again. she’s messed with my heart and rendered me imboile till book 2: steelstriker comes out. not that i’m surprised, the young elites, warcross, the kingdom of back have all stuck with me and skyhunter will be no exception. it brings with it a wonderfully written and explored band of characters: talin, red, the mouse, adena, jeran, aramin, all of them just so resonant and real with whatever magic marie lu infuses in her writing. i’ve so much to say about skyhunter but i’ll save my rambling for a review, meanwhile wake up!! look and go grab this beautiful book y’all have been sleeping on!

tbr for remaining of may + june

ah yes finally i’m a setting a tbr which will hopefully help me be more motivated in my readings. here are the top 3 i’m incredibly excited for. i nearly cried when i got approved for an arc of six crimson cranes by elizabeth lim on netgalley because it is literally the first major release i’m getting approved for, all my other many requests have been denied due to geographical restrictions unfortunately. and then two sequels as well: vengeful by ve schwab and the dragon republic by rf kuang, i know both of them are going to end me (in a good way or a bad way up to your interpretation) especially the dragon republic, i’ve heard loads of ravings about it and i’m terrified for my fragile heart.

i’ve been mostly a ghost for the past three months, popping back in sporadically to read a few posts but for most of it, nothing much has happened haha. but i did redesign my blog again, sticking to my pink theme (how could i ever abandon my precious pink?) but getting new graphics, tell me what you think okay!

and because of my hiatus, i didn’t manage to bloghop or be consistent with the WP reader so i’ll push the post and blogger shoutouts to next month. but one thing i need to mention is that ashmita @ the fictional journal hit 1000 followers!!

but one thing incredible is that my fellow book bloggers, the lovely Ahaana @ Windows to Worlds and Becky @ Simply It’s Blue have created a discord group for book bloggers: click on this link to join: https://discord.gg/KCXRNNrk, it’s basically a place for us to interact with the community and help each other out (e.g share ideas, arrange collabs more easily!). it’s been an incredible experience so far, please come! (and many thanks once again to ahaana and becky for asking me to help mod <3)

ah well these two months have been tumultuous to say the least for the world, i hope everyone’s aware of the situation in palestine, as well as the covid-19 struggles around the world especially in india. the support from the international community is heartened, everyone please stay aware, stay healthy and stay safe, doing whatever little bit you can to help.

on a more personal note, singapore’s covid 19 cases are on the rise again and everything is being shut down. all the restrictions are in place, i’m having lessons online.

but a light for me would be finally starting a bookstagram account! my sense of aesthetic and photography skills is zero to none so i was hesitant, but i finally took the plunge and wow. it’s so different, definitely a very fast-paced, i would say even stressful platform (for me at least) but ah. all. the. shiny. books. and so many lovely bookworms who aren’t on blogs as well! perhaps i’ll do a full post one day where i share all my thoughts!

how was your april/may? what was your favourite read? anyone can assure me that the dragon republic and vengeful wouldn’t shatter me completely? how are you all doing?


90 thoughts on “APRIL & MAY WRAP UP | returning from my long hiatus, starting bookstagram & redesigning my blog (again)!

  1. Cherelle!! I’m so happy to see you back 🥰🥺 The redesign looks absolutely amazing—all the graphics are gorgeous and I’m so in love with the entire aesthetic 😍

    Ahhh I’m thrilled to hear you loved We Are Not Free! I’m planning to read it in June as soon as my biggest exams of the year are over and I don’t think I’m prepared to get my heart wrecked 😭 I’ve also been hearing the best things about Jade City and The Ones We’re Meant to Find so I’m going to have to pick them up soon! But I’m sorry to hear The Gilded Wolves was a disappointment 😢 I’ve been looking forward to reading it but I’ll definitely have to keep in mind what you said here!!

    And omggggg Skyhunter!!!! I am SO HAPPY to hear that you loved it. I need Steelstriker in my hands yesterday—that blurb and the quotes that Marie is dropping over on Instagram are giving me anxiety 😫😫

    Speaking of which!! Congrats on starting your Bookstagram! It definitely looks like a more fast-paced platform than the blogosphere, but I’m sure you’re doing amazing over there as well 💖

    But I’m sorry to hear Singapore’s COVID situation is worsening 😔 I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and that things will settle down again soon 🙏

    I hope the rest of May and the whole of June treats you well, Cherelle! I can’t wait to see what you think of Six Crimson Cranes and Vengeful 🤩 Happy reading and sending all my love ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Abby, ah thank you so much for your kind words! 🥺💕 Ooh all the very best for your biggest exams for this year, and I’m so excited for you to read We Are Not Free though yes heartbreak is inevitable – my crying level matched that of A Sky Beyond the Storm which is crazy considering this is a short standalone compared to the end of such an epic series. 😭

      Ah The Ones We’re Meant to Find and Jade City were both refreshing reads, I hope you enjoy them! Aww I think it was my mistake for comparing The Gilded Wolves too much to Six of Crows, try to avoid it and perhaps you’ll enjoy it more? Do let me know!

      I KNOW RIGHT, I don’t know if it’s a mercy with the quotes sustaining us, or them just slowly wearing us out with anxiety ahhh, just another uh 4 whole months till Steelstriker 😢.

      Aww thank you so much, you too please take care and stay safe, have a wonderful June Abby, thank you for the lovely comment! 💖

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  2. Aaah Cherelle I’m so glad to see you’re back! I’d write a longer comment but I am unfortunately limited in my use of my left hand (I fractured my elbow) so I’ll just say that I look forward to seeing more from you and I hope you have a great June!

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  3. Amazing post, and welcome back! Love the graphics, and I can guarantee that Vengeful will most likely shatter you 😉
    I feel the same about Gilded Wolves, though to a lesser degree…it was definitely not as good as SoC, but if I’d read it without the influence of SoC, I might have liked it more. ❤

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  4. WOW WOW WOW your blog redesign is to pretty.😍😍 I’m glad you’re back from hiatus, and I can’t wait to read more of your posts! Happy reading!!

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  5. ahh i always look forward to reading your posts because they are so addictive😭😭 congrats on starting a bookstagram!! skyhunter has been on my tbr since forever, and i love marie lu so much, i’m looking forward to reading it😌😌😭

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      1. ahh warcross is one of my faves, i think it’s just spectacular😌😌
        i love legend too~ the whole series is super precious to me and day’s character development is just>>>>

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  6. Cherelle!! i’m so happy to see you’re back! i LOVE the new graphics for your blog, they match so well 😍 & aww i’m sorry to hear Gilded Wolves was disappointing, it’s actually on my tbr for next month but i might push it back more now haha. hope you’re staying safe (esp because of the rise in covid cases!) and have a lovely june 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aarushi hi! Thank you so much for the kind words ahh… oh no don’t let me stop you, just try to avoid comparing it to Six of Crows (you’ve read SoC right?) and you should enjoy it just fine! But do let me know how it goes for you! Mmm you too please take care, I hope that June treats you well too! ❤️

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  7. AHHH welcome back Cherelle!! I’m absolutely in love with your new design, it’s so cute! I’m so glad you enjoyed The Ones We’re Meant to Find (that plot twist ended me), and I can’t wait for you to read The Dragon Republic (it will break you :p)! Stay safe, and happy reading!

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  8. Welcome back! I’m the same as you wanting to change my design constantly, I love this new design. Welcome to Bookstagram! Everyone on there is super friendly, don’t feel pressured to have an aesthetically pleasing feed, just do what makes you happy and post as often or as little as you’d like. Stay safe, and happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    The blogsphere isn’t the same without you, and I kind of missed your rambling reviews. Same here, I started a Booktok account and while it’s vastly different than my blog (it’s so stressful and turning my content from long paragraphs to one line sentences was so difficult at first!), I’m enjoying it surprisingly.

    I hope you’re staying safe with the current circumstances. I’m very lucky and privileged to have been able to get my vaccine, and I’m even luckier that my family is able to get it as well.

    As usual your blog is ✨immaculate✨ and yes that precious pink shouldn’t go anywhere! Happy reading and best of luck with your bookstagram! ❤️📚

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    1. JAWAHIR THANK UU!! 🥺💕 Ooh congrats on starting Booktok, and indeed the liberty to be verbose and effusive is kinda gone, but I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying it! Ah that’s wonderful, I hope that you and your family will constinue to stay safe and things will ease up soon. 💛 Haha glad you agree with the love for pink, thank you so much! 💕 Take care and have a lovely June! 🥰

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  10. Yay I am so happy you’re back!! Your posts brighten up my Reader😊
    Ahhh the Ones We are meant to find has been getting a lot of hype, I am so excited for it!
    Marie Lu has been on my TBR since ages, but I haven’t found the courage to do so yet. (Any suggestions on which book I should start with?)
    Unfortunately that discord invite has expired so I am unable to join 😦 but I guess I’ll just ask Ahaana to send me a new one.
    Looking forward to reading all your fantastic posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww Rachel, thank you so much! Ooh yes and The Ones We’re Meant to Find deserves ALL of it, I hope you resonate with it too! 🤗 Ah I’m so happy to hear that! If you’re in for a good science fiction with VR, the Warcross duology is a great place to start… if you want some fantasy with a brilliantly written morally-grey main character, I’m sure you’ll enjoy The Young Elites trilogy! 😌

      Oh my apologies, here’s the new link which should not have an expiry date: https://discord.gg/gwB6Mf6hZX

      Thank you Rachel, stay safe and have a lovely June! 🥰

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  11. WELCOME BACK CHERELLE!!! i’m so glad you’re back and i hope you’re doing well! in order to live looks so interesting; i really want to check it out. we are not free looks so painful and i’ve been wanting to read it! good luck with tdr!! it’s even worse than tpw in my opinion :’) your blog looks gorgeous! i love it sm ❤ i'll be looking forward to your posts <33

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    1. KATIE THANK YOU AHH! In Order to Live was such a poignant but incredibly impactful memoir, I hope you’ll find it meaningful should you pick it up too! 😌 Ah yes We Are Not Free truly is a synonym of pain, but it’s 100% worth it… oh no I’m so anxious for The Dragon Republic now ahh, kudos to you for making it through!! 🥺 Thank you so much, take care and have a lovely June, Katie! 💕

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  12. Cherelle!! Welcome back!! We all missed you 🙂

    The Ones We’re Meant to Find, We are Not Free and The Gilded Wolves are all on my TBR!! Sorry you didn’t enjoy The Gilded Wolves. I’ve also seen it compared to Six of Crows. And I loved Skyhunter, that cover is so nice!

    And I think the Discord link expired, so would you mind sending a new one? I’d love to join. Also, your blog redesign looks amazing (it always was amazing)! Great post and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ritz ahh thank you so much!! ❤ Ooh yes I hope you absolutely love The Ones We’re Meant to Find and We are Not Free, both are poignant yet beautiful books though the latter is just pure pain and tears ahh… 😭 Mmm it’d be good not to think of Six of Crows when reading The Gilded Wolves, hopefully you’ll enjoy it more then! Glad you agree oh my goodness, I may have bought it just for the cover hehe, but it’s a wonderful story as well! 😌

      Here’s the new one, my apologies: https://discord.gg/gwB6Mf6hZX

      Aww thank you you’re too kind, Ritz! Take care, have a lovely June! 💕

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  13. Love this new design. I’m also have itchy fingers but it’s more towards blog theme than overall design. Graphics remains same and lately I have removed all graphics. Don’t know if it’s good or bad though. Your Instagram looks great, I loved recent post. Great wrap up!

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  14. It’s so wonderful to have you back, Cherelle!! I hope you’re doing well ❤ I love the new blog theme, it's sooo pretty and aesthetically pleasing!

    I really enjoyed reading your review for towmtf, it was so beautifully written, and I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future ❤

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  15. Hi, I am so happy to see that you are back!! I am happy you liked We Are Not Free and The Ones We’re Meant to Find; they’re two of my favorite books by Asian authors. My April and May were good. I was stressed but now my AP exams are over and I have so much more time to think about books. Also, I am happy to see that you’re on bookstagram!! It’s a great community. Thanks for also talking about Palestine and India.

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    1. Hello! Thank you so much and ah I’m glad to hear that! Congrats on finishing your AP exams, go reward yourself with lots of reading yeah… and yes, it’s aww, yes the community there is wonderful too! Definitely, just because some countries are recovering, doesn’t mean that the others are spared. 😔 Anyway, take care have a lovely June! ❤️

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  16. Lovely post Cherelle. Your blog redesign looks really pretty. And I am so glad you enjoyed most of the books you read.

    Covid situation is definitely very bad here in India as well, hope we’ll get through this together !

    And congrats on the bookstagram ! ❤️

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  17. April and May has been an exhausting month tbh, even though we had a long holiday due to Eid 😭 Yeah all my friends have been really worried that another circuit breaker is coming- I hope the situation is getting better soon and it doesn’t come to that! Indonesia has been bracing for an increase of cases too, luckily the vaccination program seems to have speed up as they are currently doing vaccinations for private sector employees 😀

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  18. Welcome back Cherelle! The Ones We’re Meant To Find is on my priority tbr, very excited for that one. I’ll definitely have to check out your review. I’m struggling to get into historical fiction at the moment, but Traci’s book is a must read for me at some point, also SKYHUNTER, haven’t read it yet, but looks amazing. Happy rest of May! 😌💕

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    1. Aww thank you, and I’m so glad to hear that, I can’t recommend The Ones We’re Meant to Find enough! 🤗 Ah hope the little slump goes away, and yes definitely We Are Not Free should be a classic YA hist-fic, I hope you’ll be moved by it too! And Skyhunter 😌 I can promise you the story is just as beautiful as the cover! Have a lovely June and thank you for the comment! 💕

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  19. Lovely post Cherelle!! Welcome back 🥰 Quantity over quality for books! Your mini review makes me so excited for The ones We’re Meant to Find! I bought it when it was released and I hope I’ll be able to read it before the end of the month! Also sooo happy for your presence on bookstagram, it IS stressful but I love talking with people there! And I hope the situation gets better where you are and that you and your loved ones are safe 💕

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  20. i LOVE the redesign!! 😍 congrats on your bookstagram!! i’m gonna read six crimson cranes in june too and i can’t wait to see your thoughts on it 💖

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  21. omg welcome back cherelle! i love the new formatting for your wrap-ups, and i completely adore your blog re-design! the pastels go so well with each other, and i’m in love with your new fonts! 👀

    both TOWMTF and we are not free are favourites for me too! and both made me sob SO much ahhh 🥺 i loved the gilded wolves… so i’m sorry you didn’t! i think i went into it with not too many expectations, because i had read reviews saying not to compare it to SoC, and i actually really liked the story!

    i’m sorry to hear that the covid situation is worsening in singapore! i hope you and your family are all staying safe! things are also really bad here in india, but all my family is keeping safe. 💖

    also ahh i think the link isn’t working for some reason, i think it may have expired! i edited it now, so that there are unlimited uses, and no expiry date! here’s the new link – https://discord.gg/gwB6Mf6hZX

    i’m so glad to see you back! i hope june treats you well, and you have tons of great reads! 💞💞

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    1. Ahaana! Omg you’re so sweet, thank you that means millions! 🥺💖 I know right ugh Joan He and Traci Chee ought to have anticipated the amount of therapy needed after reading their books 😭, but they were both so brilliant, my broken heart is worth it! 🥰 Ohh I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed The Gilded Wolves! Have you read The Silvered Serpents? I’m eager to give the series another try if the sequel is great as well! 🤗

      It is wonderful to hear that you and your family and keeping safe, wishing you all good health and safety. 💕

      Oh and thank you so much for your thoughtfulness in resending the link, really appreciate it especially since many bloggers were asking! Have a wonderful June as well Ahaana, and thank you for the lovely comment! ❤️

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  22. This is my first time on your blog, so I didn’t see it before your redesign, but I do like the graphics!

    As for book blog posts, I personally prefer the discussions. I seldom read book reviews unless I’ve read the book myself or it’s known infamously in the autistic community. I just never know what to say about book reviews otherwise, so I don’t bother.

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  23. Welcome back Cherelle! And congrats on the arc of Six Crimson Cranes!!! I can’t wait for my pre-order to come in 😍

    Also, unfortunately I cannot reassure you that the end of the Dragon Republic won’t be very sad 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. May!! Thank you so much! And oh no, I’m so terrified argh I’ve been procrastinating The Dragon Republic for 3 months already and am still not prepared… but thank you for the warning (though I’m pretty sure my heart will still break nonetheless 😂) Have a lovely June! 💕

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  24. I’m glad you’re back. I love your book blog and I’m happy that we’re mutuals. 🙂😊☺️ I love books just as much as you. I hope you’re doing well and I wish you all the best. 💖💟 God Bless. ✝️🧡💛💚💜💖💕❤️🥳

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  25. This is the first time I’m visiting your blog to I can’t speak for the hew changes but the overall look of your blog is stunning! I love it! I’m excited to see more from you!

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  26. Welcome back ❤ I felt the same way about Gilded Wolves! I think seeing all the SoC comparisons really do it a disservice. I wanted to like the characters so badly but couldn't help but see them as a watered down version of the Dregs 😭

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  27. Ahh welcome back!!!!!! You have been certainly missed! And haha I keep tweaking with my graphics and themes too. Just can’t be satisfied. Haha even I can never let go of the precious pink 💟 ahh and that’s a lot of good books!! I am so scared to pick up the poppy war even after your assurance 😰😰 great post!!

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  28. Aaaah Cherelle! The new design is #goals!
    And I don’t know why this post never showed up on my Reader 🤔, well no worries I’m here now 😁.
    Dude welcome back!! 😍 I’m so happy you’re back. Coz once in my comments u said u r on a never ending hiatus and I totally freaked out 😲.
    Well, glad you’re back 😀.
    Wonderful wrap up as always ! Wish I had that unlaziness in me to do that 🤧. I’m pretty sure that’s not even a word but well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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