Monthly Wrap Up: January 2020

Good morning friends and welcome back. Today, I’ll be doing my Monthly Wrap-Up for the first month of the decade.

January feels like it was super long and super short at the same time. Classes only started on the 6th of Jan, but it feels like we’ve been in school for forever. I got a good amount of reading done, I managed to write some posts, but this college + school + blogging thing is not going how I imagined it at all.

Books:

Covers are from Goodreads

So, I read 10 books last month which is great since I feel like I didn’t read anything at all. I’m 1 book behind schedule on my reading challenge, but for now I’m okay with it. I also signed up for YARC, but haven’t read any Asian books, or books by Asian authors yet. That’s mostly what I’m going to read now in February.

January was a pretty good month with only two 3 star books, while the rest were 4, 4.5, or 5 stars. So yay!

  • Heir of Fire By Sarah J. Maas – 4 | It was good. I really liked it, and the series has been getting better since this book, which I’m super glad about.
  • This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nejkamp – 3 | I’m mixed. On one hand, the characters were really blah, and I didn’t care much about them. Autumn and Claire were annoying, and Tomas, Sylv, and Matt were the only one who mattered to me. Tyler was also pretty one dimensional, but the story itself is sad. All these people dying, hoping, crying, wanting to survive, it really got to me. No one should ever have to go through what these characters did, but the sad reality is that people do. And that’s something that needs to change.
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware – 4 | So, it was good, super suspenseful and creepy. Like really creepy. TBH, I did get scared at times and had to put it down and take a deep breath lol. It was kind of slow at the start as well. And then that ending. It started off great, and I was shocked and it was good. And then there was no explanation about what happened after!!! I think the author wants the reader to guess, or maybe it should be obvious? Idk, I just would have loved a more solid conclusion/epilogue.
  • Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – 4.5 | This is probably the best book in the series. All the amazing women in this book, the witches, Manon and Aelin’s fight, Dorian’s parts (which broke my heart) and honestly, it was just amazing.
  • Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – 4 | It was good, but I was put off by the characters for some reason. I would have loved to get to know the side characters better, maybe even have some chapters from their POV. But I still liked the plot and friendships a lot.
  • Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – 4.5 | Totally not YA anymore lol. I still love all the amazing characters, especially Manon, I’m glad everyone’s paths have crossed, and I’m eager to see what happens in the next book.
  • Also Known As by Robin Benway – 3 | This was so so so cheesy. It’s a fun read to pass the time, and I loved Roux, but everything else was so cheesy and insta-lovey and yeah.
  • The Chain by Adrian McKinty – 5 | An absolutely amazing terrifying and thrilling book. I loved it. The idea of The Chain is so interesting, and it’s also so terrifying, because (God forbid anything like that ever happens to anyone) I would do anything to save my child as well. I couldn’t sacrifice my kid in the hopes that the police would help. I just couldn’t. And that’s really terrifying.
  • Paper and Fire By Rachel Caine – 4 | It was a great sequel, and I like the characters even more and how everything’s moving now. The plot was good, but I kind of don’t want Morgan and Jess to be together. It’s just moving too fast. And I don’t really like Morgan.
  • Someone We Know by Shari Lapena – 5 | I couldn’t put this book down. The secrets, the surprises, the twists, the connection of every character to the murdered woman (I don’t remember her name lol) made this so interesting because just about anybody could have been the murderer. And I totally did not guess that ending at all.

Total Number of Books Read This Month: 10

2019 Wrap-Up + YARC Sign Up

So, in the place of tags, I’ll be sharing all the 2019 wrap-up posts I did, and my YARC sign up post.

Most Anticipated Releases of 2019 | 2019 Blogging Wrap-Up + 2020 Goals

End of Year Book Survey + Reading Wrap-Up| Year of The Asian Reading Challenge

Let’s Talk Bookish:

Audio-books | Bias Towards Books and Authors

Toxicity in the Book Blogging Community | Anxiety and Book Blogging

Required Reading

Great Posts From Around the Blog-O-Sphere:

Meeghan wrote her review of A Darker Shade of Magic, and I loved it so much

Caitlin talks about the books she’ll never read, and it’s super interesting

Kerys discusses the pros and cons of audio-books

Chana talks about her ratings and why they aren’t trustworthy, and I relate

Vera, Sabrina, and Ruzi talk about their plans for 2020, and it was so much fun to read (also welcome Sabrina!!)

Life & Blog Updates

So, my posting is completely off and I hate that. I really want to write more posts. But I’m not finding the time to do so. Even my weekends now are busy. It’s so frustrating. I have a few book tags, and a book recommendation post that I’m working on, but it’s taking me so much time to write them since I can only manage like 20 to 30 minutes each day (which is nothing)! I’ve been writing this wrap-up post for 5 days now.

At least I’m still getting a chance to read. School is stressful. College is stressful. And it’s getting to me, which it shouldn’t. Honestly, I need to chill a little bit, but I feel like I can’t. Lol, I finally understand why everyone who’s in college always complains of the stress and having so much to do in so little time.

I did get a little creative and I changed up my sidebar a bit, and got a new divider. I was starting to really dislike the old one. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new tiny changes!

I also love designing featured images. It’s just amazing putting together different fonts, colors, alignments, and pictures to create a unique header for a post. I feel like I’ve become a mini expert at it lol

I’m also not sure what other reading challenge I should join, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to share them down below!! I was thinking maybe a mystery/thriller reading challenge, but that will probably be easy, so I’m looking at maybe doing a third one as well. I’m very ambitious like that 🤦🏽‍♀️ Last year I couldn’t even finish one, and here I am wanting to do three.

My posting’s probably going to continue being sporadic, but I am still writing posts. I just need to finish/edit and publish them.

That’s A Wrap!

That’s it. I read 10 books, did 3 yearly wrap-up posts, a reading challenge sign up post, 4 LTBs, and I finally managed to post this wrap-up. So yeah, I’m proud of myself.

My goals for January were to

  • read 12 books, ❌
  • write 2 more wrap-ups, ✔
  • write 1 book recommendation post, ❌
  • write at least 4 LTBs, ✔
  • write 1 creative post, ✔ (YARC counts…)
  • and write 1 or 2 book reviews ❌

I met three of those goals, and failed the other three, which isn’t too bad. My goals for February are to:

  • read 10 books,
  • publish 5 posts besides LTB,
  • write 1 book recommendation post,
  • write 3 LTBs,
  • write 2 book reviews,
  • and figure out a schedule for my classes/organize my life

Hopefully, I’ll be able to meet all of these. Wish me luck guys!!

And that’s it for this wrap-up! How was January for you? What were your favorite books this past month? Are you taking part in any reading challenges? If so, which one? Any tips you’d like to share for my stressed self? Let’s chat in the comments below!

2019 Blogging Wrap-Up + 2020 Goals

Hey all!! Welcome back! I have finally finally done this post, 20 days later than I anticipated. But I’m really excited to see all the things I accomplished last year blogging wise, and share with you my goals for this year.

This is probably going to be a long post, so let’s get started!!

Blogging Stats:

  • Posts and Comments: I wrote a total of 179 posts last year, with 105,632 words. 105,632 words guys. That number just seems so big and absurd. That’s around 590 words per post which isn’t too long, but it’s still a lot of words. I also had a total of 1,996 comments, which I’m guessing includes my replies and pingbacks.
  • Followers: I gained 224 followers last year. 224!! Two hundred and twenty four. I can’t really believe it, that so many people actually liked my blog enough to follow. It means so much to me, and really, I never expected so many follows. I mean, my goal (that I set at the end of 2018) was to gain 40 more followers. 40. And I gained 224. Thank you so much to every single one of you for reading and following my tiny corner of the internet!! It means so much to know that you enjoy reading what I have to say!
  • Views and Visitors: In 2019, I had a total of 8,746 views and 3,260 visitors. It was kind of a shock, because most of those views tbh, came towards the end of the year. In Aug 2019, I went from around 700 views to 1,000 in September. And it’s been increasing since then. October and November were around 1,100 views, and then December was around 1,400.
  • May was my lowest month by far, because I took a month long hiatus. It was Ramadan, and I didn’t really feel like blogging and reading while fasting. But after I started Let’s Talk Bookish in August, my views went up by a lot, and Friday has become my most popular day for views. So, yeah. I’m super proud of this as well.
  • Now for a breakdown of the types of posts that I wrote:
    • 46 Reviews
    • 37 WWW Wednesday Reading Updates
    • 23 Discussions
    • 16 Book Tags
    • 5 Awards
  • Those amount to 127 posts. So that means I had 52 other posts which were random, announcements, or Monthly wrap-ups. Overall, I think I still did pretty well.

2019 Goals Review:

  • Write 200 posts ❌
    • 100 should be book reviews ❌
  • Read 100 books ❌
  • Get 40 more followers âœ”
  • Focus more on quality, not quantity (lol) ❔
  • Read more diverse books with either diverse characters, topics, or places ✔
  • Be more creative with my posts ❌

Lol. Four definite nos, and only two definite checks. I was close for some of them though.

  • Posts: I wrote 179 posts which is 21 short of 200. I didn’t even get close with the reviews.
  • Books: I was 2 books short of 100, so I’m still happy about that.
  • Followers: I got 224 more followers and I’m seriously very very proud of that.
  • Quality vs Quantity: I really don’t know how to figure out if I did? I think, for the most part, it was more about quantity and keeping up with my posting schedule. But I did have a few quality posts that I loved writing.
  • Diversity: Yes. For sure, my reading has become a lot more diverse. I read about so many diverse characters last year, and that has led to me learning about so many things that I didn’t even know existed. So yes. This is a very big yes.
  • Creativity: Haha no. I don’t think I was really creative? Unless we’re talking about graphics/header images, then no, I don’t think I was very creative with my posts.

Most Popular Posts:

Let’s Talk Bookish – Bookish and Blogging Myths

Diversity and Representation in YA feat. a rant about ‘Americanism’

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee – Review

Sunshine Blogger Award #2

Behind the Blog: 200 Follower Q&A Answers

Favorite Posts:

Honestly, I can think of only three posts that I’m super proud of or that I loved to write: my second ever discussion post, my review of Six of Crows, and my discussion about authors inspired by the uproar with Kathleen Hale.

Diversity and Representation in YA feat. a rant about ‘Americanism’

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Spoiler Review

Let’s Talk Bookish – When An Author Has Gone Too Far

2020 Goals: Bookish, Blogging, & Personal

  • Read 110 books
  • Take part in two reading challenges (and stick to it!!)
  • Read at least 40 books with diverse main characters or topics
  • Try to read more Adult thrillers and mysteries
  • Get to 400 followers
  • Get through my 27 backlogged reviews, and review at least 50% of the books I read this year
  • Monthly views should be more than a thousand
  • Catch up on my blog hopping and stay on track
  • Get through my first year of dual enrollment (college + high school classes) successfully
  • Continue making healthier versions of my favorite desserts
  • Continue exercising at least 5 times a week

And that’s it!! I had a lot of great stats for 2019, even though I didn’t meet most of my goals. I also stopped the two reading challenges that I started last January, but this year, I will do my best to continue. Overall, I’m really proud of everything that I accomplished last year, and I’m looking forward to making 2020 even better.

Chat with me

What was 2019 like for you? Did you meet your goals for the year? What was your favorite post from last year? What are your goals for 2020? Chat with me in the comments below!

P.S. If you wrote a post on any of this, be sure to link it in the comments below so I can check it out!!

Anticipated Releases of 2019 | Expectations vs Reality

The end of 2019 is here and it’s about time that I started all these end of year/year wrap-up/top 10 books etc.. posts. As you can already tell by the title, today I’m going to be sharing with you my anticipated releases for this year, and whether they lived up to my expectations or not.

I did 2 posts earlier this year in which I shared my most anticipated books for 2019, and my most anticipated books for the second half of 2019. Out of those 20, I’ve only read 5, and I just got a sixth one, so maybe I’ll finish that by the end of this month. To be honest, the lowest rating I’ve given a book I was excited for this year is 3 stars. So none of them have truly, really disappointed me, but there were still some that I was expecting much more from.

Let’s get started!!

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

4 Stars | GoodReads | Review

This was really good. Initially, I was kind of bored, and I thought that the Husband was a bit annoying, but it was still pretty good and I loved the suspense and the mystery.

However, I was expecting more, and the plot was pretty similar to other books that I’d read. The POV was definitely unique, and it was interesting seeing how the murders happened and why. However, it was just not a amazing as I anticipated it to be. I was just expecting more.

In the end, this was a dark and twisted thriller with an unconventional narrator, and a surprising ending.


We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

4 Stars | GoodReads | Review

I seriously was super excited for this book. I was looking for a heist, with some diversity, and also a fantasy book, since it was out of my comfort zone at the time.

And this was good in some ways. I loved Nasir and Altair (seriously, there’s no way not to love Altair. He’s obnoxiously awesome!!!), I respected Zafira and the other characters, and I loved the descriptions and the culture.

However, it was seriously lacking in the plot department, and until the very end, not much happened. Honestly, the characters were the only thing that kept the story going, at least for me.

In the end, this was an amazing Arabia inspired fantasy with phenomenal characters.


Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

4 Stars | GoodReads | Review

I read this right before One of of Us is Lying, and I’ve gotta say, it was pretty good. Not spectacular like I’d been expecting, but it was still a decent mystery.

The pacing was a little slow, but the family drama, and the several mysteries were pretty interesting to follow. I liked some of the characters, but now that it’s been 10 months, I really don’t remember much, except that it was just good. Which is kind of disappointing.

In the end, this was a suspenseful mystery with great characters and an amazing twist/plot.


The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

3 Stars | GoodReads | No Review Yet

When I initially heard about this, I was super excited because I seriously loved The Naturals and The Fixer series by JLB. I was sure that this was going to be another awesome book, and I was pretty disappointed.

Book wise, it was ok. However, I came in with the wrong expectations, and didn’t get a mystery, but more of a search-and-rescue, which is the point of the book. I wasn’t expecting the search and rescue to be the main focus, so that added to my disappointment.

I didn’t connect much to Kira, the main character, either, but I thought she was cool and different from the usual YA heroines. Free and Jude were such a welcome relief and I loved them for that, but honestly, they were all just meh. This book was really just meh. Really disappointing.

In the end, this was a good book with okay characters, and a meh plot.


The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

5 Stars | GoodReads | Review

This was truly one of the best books I’ve read this year and I loved it. The idea of the story, the setting, the time period, the characters, it was all so splendid and I couldn’t have been happier.

This was one of the few Historical Fiction novels I’ve read this year and it was the most perfect. I loved Jo, I loved the atmosphere, and I loved how she was determined to make a change in a society that did not want that kind of change. I loved all the side and semi-MC characters who supported Jo through everything and made this book the beauty that it is.

In the end, this was an amazing historical fiction novel that tackles diverse topics, with an amazing cast of characters.

That’s it! These were the five books that I had on my list that I managed to read, and hopefully I’ll be getting to a sixth one (The Queen of Nothing!!!!) before this month’s end.

Chat with me

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What were your most anticipated releases for 2019? Did they live up to your expectations? Which books surprised you and why? Did you read as many books as you hoped to this year? Chat with me in the comments below?