January is already over, which is crazy to think about! I haven’t even fully finished processing December, so that’s an issue. I have a lot to talk about, though!
- I gave in to Notion! I had seen so many bloggers and YouTubers talking about Notion, but I never thought it would work for me as I am not exactly a planner and can not keep a schedule to save my life. But I had a lot of notes, especially when it comes to TBR, books I want to re-read, personal projects, etc., and it’s been so much more helpful having everything in one place. I used May’s template and tweaked it to my needs. I definitely recommend it, even if you’re not a *super* planner, it can definitely be useful, especially to keep track of TBRs!
BOOKS I READ
My first read of 2021 was Tools of Engagement, by Tessa Bailey. While there were some elements of this book I didn’t love – such as Wes’ posessiveness as well as how they’d bounce between having sex talk and talking to a kid way too fast, which made me uncomfortable, lol -, I still found this to be a really enjoyable experience! I liked the exploration of Bethany’s anxiety and how supportive Wes was of her. I am not a fan of age gap romances, but I think this couple was still adorable and fun to read about!
I also did my re-read of Ari & Dante this year, and I am so happy for that. It was my first time listening to the audiobook and I won’t lie – Lin Manuel Miranda was not my favorite narrator. I think because he has such a well-known voice, it kept throwing me off the narrative sometimes, and I didn’t love the hyper excited voice he gave Dante, but it was still an amazing read since it is Aristotle and Dante after all.
I finally continued on with the Ember in the Ashes series by picking up its 3rd installment, A Reaper at the Gates. This book felt a bit like a filler when the author was placing the characters where we need them to for the last book. Like I said in my Goodreads review, this one feels like the equivalent of the Avengers Infinity War movie, where we watch all the characters fail for 400 pages straight, which is not exactly engaging or interesting, to be honest. There were some great twists in this one, though, and I hope to enjoy the conclusion better.
Snowflake had been a recommendation I was excited to get to ever since I got a Kindle Unlimited subscription, but I really did not vibe with it. Some of the good parts were that it was unapologetically black and the characters were well written on their own, but I didn’t find they had that much chemistry and pacing-wise, I feel like their relationship evolved too quickly just to have a “hole” in the middle where they weren’t together and then get back at the end. I also didn’t like how the author introduced a love interest by the 80% mark and then never actually resolved the conflicit. It felt rushed and poorly done, which is why I gave it 2 stars.
Another recommendation had been Go Deep, which is a really steamy and short friends-to-lovers novella. I really liked the fact, despite the short amount of time, the author was able to develop well both of the characters on their own, with their own hobbies and friendships, but also craft their relationship in a believable way. It was also really steamy, so props.
Concrete Rose was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021 and I’m so happy it did not disappoint. I have a full review planned that will be posted soon, where I’ll share more of my thoughts. But I just loved it! Maverick was such a funny narrator, and made me laugh out loud numerous times. This book still discusses very serious topics and I think Angie Thomas did a brilliant job at showing how the things Maverick is going through – becoming a teen dad, joining a gang, dealing – are not separate issues and how they’re all connected, so they need to be treated like so, with context. The side characters were also amazing and while the plot is not action-packed like it was on THUG, I loved it immensely.
Second Chance Summer was my first Morgan Matson book and I actually really enjoyed it! While the writing was a bit more dense and detailed than I’d like for my contemporaries, I feel like it worked and made me feel very connected to all the characters, not only our protagonist. However, it also made the book quite long, and I definitely think it could’ve been edited out a bit more. Despite that, the author did a great job balancing hard-hitting topics of cancer and grief with more light-hearted moments that made this a perfect summer read. I don’t know if I’ll be picking up more by Morgan Matson, as this was the only one of her books that really intrigued me, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it!
And, finally, I picked up Miss Meteor, which was so amazingly diverse and fun. Again, this book balanced well the “realistic” portrayal of homophobia, racism and bullying coming from a small white-predominant town, and a refreshing depiction of a friend group where these characters could feel accepted and safe. The sci-fi element also read more as magical realism, which I preferred, but the “enemies” to friends dynamic felt a tiny bit forced. Still, the family dynamics were A+ and each narration had a very distinct voice. The beauty peagant backdrop was also really interesting, and overall, a great time.
ON THE BLOG
January is one of my favorite months for content, as I love reading people’s recap of the past year and setting up goals/resolutions for the new one. These are my favorite posts to read & write and I was also happy to share an original tag this month!
Much like the rest of the world, in January I pretty much streamed exclusively drivers license, lol. I love Olivia Rodrigo and was so happy she was releasing a single. I don’t think anyone could’ve anticipated how big the song would become! I also listened to NCT’s new album and Shawn Mendes’ and both were really good.
To be honest, the thing I’m looking forward to the most in February is Always & Forever, Lara Jean, lol. My previous job is re-starting in the 1st, and I’m not exactly excited to wake up at 6 in the morning again. I also know the first week is going to be painful, but I gotta push through. Apart from that, I’m hoping the pandemic situation improves, as we’re currently back in lockdown (
but for some reason, schools are still opening? I don’t understand either, trust me).
Let me know what you’re looking forward to in February and what was your favorite read you’ve done this past month!