monthly wrap up: january, ’21

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Hello, friends!

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!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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!

PLAYLIST

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.

LOOKING FORWARD

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!

19 comentários sobre “monthly wrap up: january, ’21

  1. Kayla @ The Book Loving Beaut 29 de janeiro de 2021 / 23:36

    I LOVE NOTION! I am glad you finally gave in! I mostly use it for school and to track my reading and writing. Also I am glad you enjoyed Concrete Rose I definitely hope I am able to read it soon. In February I am looking forward from a break from school and also very excited for Always and Forever!

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 2 de fevereiro de 2021 / 19:50

      Hahah, it’s super helpful! I haven’t started using it for school yet, because the semester is delayed due to covid. But I really hope I can use it for university assignments/projects as well.
      Hope you enjoy your break, Kayla! Thanks for stopping by! 💛

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  2. tasya @ the literary huntress 30 de janeiro de 2021 / 03:04

    I’m so happy you finally read Second Chance Summer! I agree it’s a little bit too long, but I love how easy it was for me to connect with the characters and I was sobbing at the end of the book…

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 2 de fevereiro de 2021 / 19:49

      Yes, I loved that as well, the characters were really well written and fleshed out. The ending was really emotional, I think it had one of the best ending scenes I’ve ever read!
      Thanks for stopping by, Tasya! 😊

      Curtir

  3. Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea 30 de janeiro de 2021 / 04:14

    omg it’s great that you got into notion! i tried to get into it a few months back, but the website was so confusing i gave up on figuring it our lmao. i could probably with the help of may’s post, but i’m far too lazy, and trying to be organized has never worked for my messy self anyway 😭 and i’m glad you enjoyed concrete rose. i honestly found it a little weird that it wasn’t on more anticipated 2020 releases bc angie thomas is so popular, but maybe ppl had the same thought process as me and wanted to include more unknown/debut authors haha. i’m not the biggest fan of contemporary, but an angie thomas book has never disappointed me before, so i hope i can pick concrete rose up eventually! also your playlist screams taste ahhhhh, make a wish and 90s love are such bops. for me nct songs take some getting used to, but when i do get used to them i just can’t stop replaying them lmao

    i hope you have a great february <3

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 2 de fevereiro de 2021 / 19:48

      It’s super confusing, honestly, it reminds me of the wordpress bl*ck editor hahahh but because I used the template, all I had to do was delete what I didn’t need and change what I did. It was fairly easy because it was already set up, but I’d have probably lost my mind trying to do it from scratch hahah
      Yes, it was pretty weird indeed, but I hope people still pick it up, because it is a really good book with amazing discussions!
      Hahah, same here! It took me a while to get used to Kick it and Work It but now I’ve been playing both non-stop.
      Thank you, Caitlin! And thanks for your comment! 💕

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  4. Sophie @ Me & Ink 30 de janeiro de 2021 / 08:23

    ahh.. I finally gave into notion this month too and I actually like it, I mostly use it as a place to dump all my lists that were usually just scattered all over the place but I love it for that reason. Did you do an ‘aesthetic’ for your design? I tried to but gave up with that so just used it for organising hhaha.

    I’d heard about Go Deep and it’s on my TBR because I had heard good things so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it as well. I’m also glad to hear you also enjoyed Concrete Rose (I love the American cover so much) and that it lived up to your expectations. I haven’t read any Angie Thomas but I thought I might wait until my library gets concrete rose so I can read all three in a row but that might be too much of one author so I don’t know. Anyway I’m excited and I think I the plot concept of concrete rose might be the one I’m most excited for especially as I now know it made you laugh (I love that)!!
    Yes I became obsessed with driver’s license too (lol), i knew it would happen as soon as I played it haha. I have also been loving Sad Song by L Devine and Route 94, as well as ‘is your bedroom ceiling bored’ by sody and cavestown. Three new obsessions. I’ll have to listen to NCT though.

    I hope you have a good February and going back to your job goes well. Stay safe 💕

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 2 de fevereiro de 2021 / 19:45

      Hahhah, I’m glad Notion works well for you on that regard! The template I got from May already had a bit of an “aesthetic” to it, so all I really did was change the pictures, lol. But I’m definitely not good enough to make that from scratch, hahah.
      I think it might be a good idea to read Concrete Rose and The Hate U Give back to back. Immediately after I finished Concrete Rose, I wanted to pick up THUG and re-read it, hahah.

      I was actually pretty surprised by drivers license success, but I love it, so I’m not mad, hahah. I will check out these songs, I really need some new tracks for my February playlist!
      Thank you so much for stopping by, Sophie! 😌

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  5. clarice @ stardust pages 30 de janeiro de 2021 / 12:28

    lovely wrap up!! almost everyone is using motion and it makes me so tempted to start using it too…but i’m too lazy to set it up HAHAHA. second chance summer is so sad but so good ahhh 🥺 i’d definitely recommend morgan matson’s other books! i hope feb will be a good month for you 💖☺️

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 2 de fevereiro de 2021 / 19:39

      I was definitely super lazy to set it up too, which is probably why i got all templates and it still took me like a week to add all the books but I’d recommend looking into it, depending on how you use it, it can be really helpful to track specific things!
      I really am curious about Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, I like roadtrip books and am writing one myself, so I think it would be nice to check it out too!
      Thanks for stopping by, Clarice! 😊

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  6. Caro @ bookcheshirecat 30 de janeiro de 2021 / 15:48

    Happy to hear that you got into Notion as well, I love to use it for organizing 😄 I’m really looking forward to reading Concrete Rose, so I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much 🥰 My exams are coming up at the end of February so I’ll be studying a lot soon 🥺 I hope we can still enjoy next month though!

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 2 de fevereiro de 2021 / 19:28

      Oh yes, Caro, and I have to mention your post! I remember you mentioning Notion a few months ago and I totally went back to it to check out your organization method. It’s been super helpful so far, so thanks for sharing! (I ended up not commenting on it, but I wanted to let you know that it was very useful!)
      I know you probably won’t see this, as I saw on Twitter you’ll be taking a hiatus, but I hope once you get back to this comment, you’ve done well on your exams and you’re doing really well!
      Thanks for stopping by!

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      • Caro @ bookcheshirecat 4 de fevereiro de 2021 / 09:24

        I’m so happy to hear that my post could help you, Lais!! 🥰 I use Notion for so many things now, and I absolutely love the system, it’s so useful ❤ Thank you so much! I’m in the middle of studying, but hoping the exams turn out okay 🙏

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  7. Daria|Bookaholic's Therapy☄ 1 de fevereiro de 2021 / 15:48

    I’m so happy you liked Concrete Rose! It’s one of my most anticipated releases of the year as well. Since I was pretty much in a romance mood, I didn’t get to pock it up but I hope I will get to it in either February or March.
    Oh, and I really need to read Aristotle and Dante!! I’ve been hearing such amazing things and it has been on my tbr for ages.
    I hope your reading will be great in February as well!!

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 2 de fevereiro de 2021 / 19:19

      Ahhh, I hope you do! It was amazing and I hope to be able to post my full review soon!
      Ari & Dante is amazing, it’s literally my favorite book ever and I encourage everyone I know to read it, hahah.
      Thank you so much, Daria! And thanks for the comment! 💛

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  8. Dezzy @ The Thoughtful Voice 4 de fevereiro de 2021 / 05:06

    loved reading this post as always, Lais!! haha i’m happy that Notion has been working for you :)) i want to try using Notion, but tbh i feel kinda intimidated by it (it seems kinda confusing to navigate? 😅) and my current planner/organization system has been working fine for me (i use google calendar and Trello) so no reason for me to change it up, yet haha. although i will say i’ve been loving all the Notion aesthetic layouts i’ve seen 👀 also i’m so happy you enjoyed Concrete Rose, i really want to read it bc i absolutely loved The Hate U Give and Angie Thomas’ writing. also HAHA same my top song in January was drivers license, i literally streamed it nonstop and once even listened to it for half an hour straight LOL. it rly hits me right in the feels every single time 🥺🥺

    wonderful post, and i’m wishing you all the best for your job (and waking up at 6, that sounds painful ahh 😩)!! omg i had almost forgotten Always & Forever comes out this month haha, i’m looking forward to watching it as well!! i hope February will bring you lots of fantastic reads Lais 💞

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 16 de fevereiro de 2021 / 19:53

      I also believed Notion would be too intimidating to start, but I think if you have a template that you can just edit and tweak to your needs, it’s a lot easier than starting out from scratch. I’d say if you have an organization system that works for you, then I probably wouldn’t change it, but if you ever feel the need to do something else, I think Notion could be a great option!
      Hahaha, drivers license is such a good songggg! I can definitely see it showing up on my Spotify Wrapped, even if that is still nine months from now, hahah.
      Thank you so much! (I literally forgot that Always & Forever was coming out this month too even though I was the one to mention I was excited about it? Hhaha. I literally remembered a day before it came out, so at least I wasn’t totally late for it, hahah). Thank you so much for all your kind wishes & I hope you’re having a great February so far too, Dezzy!

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  9. rain 8 de fevereiro de 2021 / 00:39

    yess welcome to the notion club!! im really not an organized person but i think im slowly becoming one because of notion. im excited to read concrete rose as well. im glad that you loved it!

    i hope you’re having a great february so far 💖

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 16 de fevereiro de 2021 / 17:48

      hahah same, i feel myself wanting to be more organized because of it even if just so the layout looks better all completed and with the lists checked hahah
      thank you, rain! and thanks for reading! 😊

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