2020 Mid Year Goals & Reading Challenge Update

basically, a post where I really surprise myself


Good morning, amigos!!! I hope you’ve all been having a great start to your week! Today I’ll be doing an update on all my bookish and not so bookish goals that I made at the start of the year. I’ll also be sharing what I’ve read for the 4 reading challenges that I’m doing.

To be honest, I’m pretty surprised with how well I did in some aspects, and of course, not so surprised that I failed in others. Lol, let’s get started!

Continue reading “2020 Mid Year Goals & Reading Challenge Update”

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!

#YARC2020: Year Of The Asian Reading Challenge

Hola, mi amigos!! (Hello, my friends!!) Welcome back!

This year, I’ve decided to take part in the Year of The Asian Reading Challenge hosted by these 4 lovely ladies: Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams, CW @ The Quiet Pond, Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads, and Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea. Check out Lily and CW’s posts to see all the rules and challenge levels!

I am not Asian, however, this reading challenge sounds like a great way to diversify my reading. YARC is all about boosting Asian authors and Asian books, so I’m super excited to try it out this year!

My goal is to reach the Indian Cobra level, which is 11-20 books. All credit goes to Lily who drew all the amazing badges!!

Who knows, maybe I’ll pass it or maybe I won’t. Either way, I hope this helps me read a lot of diverse books.

TBR List:

So, I’ve decided to make a TBR for this or else, I will never bother myself later with looking for Asian books or Asian authors. I know. It’s horrible, and it’s partly the reason why I didn’t do anything with the two reading challenges that I joined last year.

I’m going to start out with a TBR of 10 books, and use the monthly recommendation lists from Lily and the other co-hosts to pick the second 10 books later.


Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all. 


Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in LA, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime

In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. Protests and vigils are being staged all over the city. It’s in this dangerous tinderbox that two families must finally confront their pasts.

Grace Park lives a sheltered existence: living at home with her Korean-immigrant parents, working at the family pharmacy, and trying her best to understand why her sister Miriam hasn’t spoken to their mother in years. The chasm in her family is growing wider by the day and Grace is desperate for reconciliation, and frustrated by the feeling that her sister and parents are shielding her from the true cause of the falling out.

Shawn Matthews is dealing with a fractured family of his own. His sister, Ava, was murdered as a teenager back in 1991, and this new shooting is bringing up painful memories. Plus, his cousin Ray is just released from prison and needs to reconnect with their family after so many years away. While Shawn is trying his best to keep his demons at bay, he’s not sure Ray can do the same.

When another shocking crime hits LA, the Parks and the Matthewses collide in ways they never could have expected. After decades of loss, violence, and injustice, tensions come to a head and force a reckoning that could clear the air or lead to more violence.


We Free The Stars by Hafsah Faizal

Zafira is the Hunter, braving the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those who defy his autocratic father, the sultan. She must hide her identity. He mustn’t display compassion. But when both embark on a quest to uncover a lost magic artifact, Zafira and Nasir encounter an ancient evil long thought destroyed—and discover that the prize they seek may be even more dangerous than any of their enemies. In We Free the Stars, Zafira and Nasir must conquer the darkness around—and inside of—them.


Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.


This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.

She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.

Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.


Scavenge The Stars by Tara Sim

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.

Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…


Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

Seventeen-year-old Ali Chu knows that as the only Asian person at her school in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, she must be bland as white toast to survive. This means swapping her congee lunch for PB&Js, ignoring the clueless racism from her classmates and teachers, and keeping her mouth shut when people wrongly call her Allie instead of her actual name, pronounced Āh-lěe, after the mountain in Taiwan.

Her autopilot existence is disrupted when she finds out that Chase Yu, the new kid in school, is also Taiwanese. Despite some initial resistance due to the “they belong together” whispers, Ali and Chase soon spark a chemistry rooted in competitive martial arts, joking in two languages, and, most importantly, pushing back against the discrimination they face.

But when Ali’s mom finds out about the relationship, she forces Ali to end it. As Ali covertly digs into the why behind her mother’s disapproval, she uncovers secrets about her family and Chase that force her to question everything she thought she knew about life, love, and her unknowable future.

Snippets of a love story from nineteenth-century China (a retelling of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers) are interspersed with Ali’s narrative and intertwined with her fate.


Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?

In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.

A showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?


Unravel The Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

Chat with me

That’s it for today friends! I hope you enjoyed reading this and maybe added one or two of these to your TBR! They all sound and look amazing!!

Are you taking part in #YARC2020? What’s your favorite Asian book, or book by an Asian author? What reading challenges are you doing this year? Any book recommendations you’d like to share? Chat with me in the comments below!!