Unreleased books I’m excited to read in 2023

With almost half the year — yes, almost half of 2023 is over what have I done with my life?! What better thing to do than to ignore the rental crisis, rising gas prices, responsibilities, and impending doom and instead look at something positive like future releases!

Obviously, this list isn’t a comprehensive list of books I’m anticipating for 2023 (that list is long) but a few releases in the next few months.

So, without further ado, here are some books I’m highly anticipating in 2023 (or, what’s left of 2023).

onward, friends!

Of Light and Shadow by Tanaz Bhathena
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Sale date: 23 May 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Set in historical India-inspired world
• Enemies to lovers with a rakish prince
• YA Fantasy stand-alone!

Something Close to Magic by Emma Mills
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Sale date: 13 June 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Fan of the author
• Cozy fantasy? Yes, we need more!
• Tender characters

The Jasad Heir by Sara Hashem
Genre: Fantasy
Sale date: 18 July 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Inspired by both Egyptian folklore and political upheaval
• Hidden heir to the throne
• Enemies to allies to friends to enemies…

Bonesmith by Nicki Pau Preto
Genre: Young adult, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Sale date: 25 July 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Fan of the author
• Enemies forging alliances
• Disgraced ghost-fighting warrior

The Boy You Always Wanted by Michelle Quach
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Sale date: 1 August 2023

Why I’m excited: UPDATE: currently reading an ARC woo!
• Fan of the author
• Exploration of heritage, tradition, and duty
• Not quite fake dating-more like fake male heir

Guardians of Dawn: Zhara by S. Jae-Jones
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Sale date: 1 August 2023

Why I’m excited:
• “Sailor Moon meets—” I’m sorry, did they just mention Sailor Moon? Yeah, sold. I’m going to read anything related to Sailor Moon. That alone gets me.

House of Marionne by J. Elle
Genre: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Sale date: 29 August 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Secret magic debutante society
• Dark academia vibes
• Morally gray characters

The Phoenix King by Aparna Verma
Genre: Fantasy
Sale date: 29 August 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Slow burn enemies to lovers
• Inspired by myths and legends of India
• Morally gray princess

Everyone’s Thinking It by Aleema Omotoni
Genre: Young Adult
Sale date: 5 September 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Elite UK boarding school
• A loose reimagining of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• Exploration of colourism and beauty standards

A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
Sale date: 19 September 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Fan of the author
• Dark academic fantasy stand-alone
• Academic rivals to lovers

This Dark Descent by Kalyn Josephson
Genre: Fantasy
Sale date: 26 September 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Fan of the author
• Jewish folklore
• Friends to enemies to lovers

The Scarlet Veil by Shelby Mahurin
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Sale date: 26 September 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Enemies to lovers
• Vampires in 2023? I’m intrigued
• Pretty cover (call me superficial lol idc)

The Scarlet Alchemist by Kylie Lee Baker
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Sale date: 3 October 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Call me biased, but I’ll read anything with ‘alchemist’ or with alchemy courtesy of FMA
• Historical Asian Fantasy
• Ugh, just look at that cover. I need that on my shelves

The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Sale date: 3 October 2023

Why I’m excited:
• South East Asian inspired fantasy
• Enemies to lovers
• Forced proximity

Huda F Cares by Huda Fahmy
Genre: Young Adult fiction, Comics
Sale date: 10 October 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Fan of the author
• Fun and humorous storytelling
• Exploration of what it’s like growing up Muslim in America

Two Twisted Crowns by Rachel Gillig
Genre: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Sale date: 17 October 2023

Why I’m excited:
• Fan of the author
• Complex magic system and interesting lore
• I read the prequel and I NEED this

Honorary 2024 mentions:

A Tempest of Tea by Harsh Faizal For some reason I thought this was going to be released in 2023 (perhaps I just wished and dreamt it…)

me and my two braincells excited. Honestly, I’m so hyped for these books!!

Are any of these books on your radar? What’s a book you’re excited to read?

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Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2023

Better late than pregnant never! Here’s my monthly wrap-up for April 2023. I started slow this year, however, I randomly picked up a book and started binge reading books. Go me!

Books I read: 5

Format: physical and e-book

City of Nightmares by Rebecca Schaeffer • ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This book took me by surprise! I received this book from a Fairyloot box and thought ‘meh, I might as well read this’. And Oh. My. Goodness. This book took me slapped me on the face and woke me up as it introduced me to a genre I haven’t read much before: ✨Urban Fantasy

𝐈𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞:
✔ Dark grimy city filled with weird, wonderful, terrible things
✔ A cowardly protagonist but a fun cowardly protagonist
✔ Uniquely terrifying concept where your nightmares can become your reality

Me (and my two brain cells) to this book: LOVE

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Another book from a subscription box (Illumicrate). This is such a gorgeous copy, and I felt it was a disservice to not read it! After my previous read (City of Nightmares), I was on a hunt for more Urban Fantasy books.

This book has such a unique premise and I was so intrigued by it! Also, I didn’t mind the writing, although a not-so-spoilery note: the synopsis IS the cliff notes of the book. You know, when you’re supposed to read a book for an assignment but you’re too lazy to read, so you look online for the concise yet in-depth summary instead? Yeah, the synopsis is exactly that. The book does not add anything new to the story. And I was frustrated by that! By the end I was hooked and that was it? Give me MORE! BUT! I was hooked and I’m such a sucker for childhood friends to no longer friends and a main character, child of a traitor that has something to prove™

𝐈𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞:
✔ Urban fantasy with monsters
✔ Monster hunters and secret societies
✔ Childhood friends to “enemies” to allies to…?

Go girl! Give us nothing! (as in the synopsis is all that happens in the book). But hey, this book sucked me in so… who is the real loser huh? it’s me, isn’t it

Seven Faceless Saints by M. K. Lobb • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

I’m on a roll with these book boxes! This book was another Fairyloot book, however, this was a fantasy read. To be honest, I can’t really remember much of this book, other than this was a quick read and that this book focused more on the romance than… anything, really. Which, by the way, there are no complaints on my end! Although, some people may feel cheated as this book promises a dark, twisty YA Fantasy with a murder mystery plot. I love a good murder mystery as I don’t like to use my braincells and try figure anything out, as I’m here for a good time, to let my brain rest and not work hard — but I actually guessed everything! Noooo! (AND HOW?)

𝐈𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞:
✔ Murder mystery
✔ Second chance romance
✔ Stabby girl™ and a Softboi™

A solid three star read that promises murder mystery but delivers a a second chance romance instead

Only A Monster by Vanessa Len • ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Okay, let’s just get this out of the way: all of my reads this month were from book boxes. (Although, this was an ARC I read — I read this earlier, but hey! The sequel is coming up so I need a refresher).

𝐈𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞:
✔ Star-crossed lovers who are also enemies
✔ time travelling shenanigans
✔ a good ol’ heist™
✔ rival families working together

Whilst this book contained my favourite ingredients in a book (secret society, rival families, etc.) it also had to contain the one I’m most allergic to: Naive and Reckless Main Character Syndrome™

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh • ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A quick and easy yet atmospheric read with an enchanting world where there is action and adventure as well as mystery and romance.

𝐈𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞:
✔ Stand-alone YA fantasy
✔ Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli) aesthetics
✔ Inspired by Korean folktale “The Tale of Shim Cheong”
✔ Magical world, mythical creatures, and fascinating folk lores

I’m already a fan of this author but this book hit me right in the HEART! Ah my kokoro! (Shh I know this is based on Korean mythology)

Looking back, I feel quite impressed as I read these books in less than a week (a book a day). As I write this post, I realise we are nearing the end of May… that means it’s time to binge read more books! What’s a book you’re reading or recommend?

What’s the last book you read?

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Being Discouraged and Finding Inspiration Again | How to get out of a Reading Slump

TW: twilight reference (I’m sorry)

*slowly emerges from the pitiful hole*

Hi everyone!

Long time, no post… So where have I been?

I know I endeavour to keep this space mainly for my love of books and concepts pertaining to books but in reality this space intersects with many facets of life. It’s so important to highlight, uplift, and challenge ideas, values, and practices today and fight complicity and ignorances. However, with everything going on in life it can get overwhelming at times. I’m sure I’m not the only person when I say the past few years was challenging. I’ll be honest, dealing with trauma and death both on a personal and professional level was a struggle for me over the years. I haven’t been active on this blog as much as I liked but I needed to take some time off to reorganise myself, work schedule, and priorities. I love reading however, it was hard when dealing with discouragement and burn out. I found myself in a reading slump (hence my disappearance here). 


But wait! What is a reading slump?

According to Urban dictionary, a reading slump is:

Reading slump: a readers worst nightmare.

not being able to pick up a book and read because you just can’t, you just can’t read.


A reader in a reader slump? 

How to get out of a Reading Slump

I know there are many sources that address reading slumps, I mainly write this for myself as I constantly find myself in a reading slump.

Take a break and ride the wave out

For me, reading is a hobby. And I don’t know about you, but hobbies are supposed to be fun. Sometimes it is best to not force yourself to do something you don’t feel like doing–there’s no fun in it, no love, no passion. Pressuring yourself to achieve something may result in the worsening the reading slump. Sometimes, you may need a break from reading altogether and that’s okay (I say this to myself as I avoid eye contact with my ARC pile).

Revisit a favourite

Sometimes reading a known favourite book helps you get back into the groove of things. Reading an old favourite may remind you “ah, this is why I love reading! I need more!” 

Try a different genre

Listen, before joining social media would you believe I used to exclusively read non-fiction books? Only when I tried a different genre (YA fantasy for example), I got sucked into this rabbit hole. I hadn’t realised there’s such a thing with genre burn out. Hey, if you’re looking for a quick read to reintroduce you to reading, graphic novels (including manga, comics, etc.) are a highly recommended source! 

Switch reading formats

I used to limit myself to reading print books only. Yeah, the smell of books is nice, but sometimes when the night is late and the eyelids are heavy the current book you’re holding feels like the perfect lullaby. The next thing you know, it’s suddenly the morning after! Learn from my mistake and don’t limit yourself to one reading format. Mix it up and try an audiobook if you usually read print books. Audiobooks are perfect when you’re on a walk, doing chores, driving, or even if you have the book in front of you, follow word for word. If you’re on the go, digital books are perfect! You can sneak a chapter here and there in small pockets of time. Sometimes the change of atmosphere drastically helps.

Join a book club

Look, I know most readers are introverts but sometimes forcing family members to listen to your latest rant about a book or character isn’t  enough. Especially when you know they’re not really listening but pretending to just to appease you. Imagine having a full blown rant session with someone who understands your frustration or your excitement? Or better yet, challenges your thoughts? Sharing experiences can be extremely satisfying and reading with others can help encourage you to push on whether you like or dislike your current read. Because oooh we all have some thoughts we want to share!

One strike, you’re out!

I used to force read myself to finish every book I’ve started. Looking back, that was a terrible habit. With the constant bombardment in life I’m finding I don’t have the luxury (or let’s face it, masochist will power in me) to finish books I don’t enjoy. Life is too short to waste it on a book that brings you no joy! I’ve heard of people reading only a certain amount of the book (for example, reading 10% or reading x chapters) before DNF’ing it and I think that’s an excellent approach. Or, if you’re anything like me, too afraid to commit to DNF’ing, I like to put books in the “perhaps one day I’ll read this later pile”. 

Set up reading goals that are attainable

Looking back at my reading goals I have to laugh at my own audacity. I once had a reading goal that included having a daily reading schedule. To think I would set up  a reading schedule? In this economy? Peh! Instead, I place my metaphorical reading bars low that even the underworld would shake their head at my pitiful goals. But hey! No one will get hurt with disappointment because, the bar is on the floor. How can I NOT meet my reading goal? Setting up realistic goals means there’s a chance of actually meeting such goals. And who doesn’t like crossing things off your ‘to do list’? We need that dopamine hit once we scratch that off our list! M favourite line is this: almost anything can be accomplished if broken down into small attainable steps. And that includes my reading goals. 

Anyway, here are some of my steps I take when facing a reading slump. Hope this helps!

How do you get out of a reading slump?

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How to Track Your Reading: a guide to start

How to Track Your Reading:

There are various methods on tracking you reading. There is no one correct method. In fact, try different approaches and discover what works best for you. You may enjoy doing a mixed way of doing things. However, why should you track your reading?

Benefits of tracking your reading:

  • beneficial for improving your reading habits
  • encourages you to read more
  • observe the statistics; what you read, what you like
  • helps organise your thoughts (handy for reviews)
  • provides insight on your reading habits
  • helps with recommending books
  • find hidden biases

Yes, so it’s established that there are numerous benefits to tracking your reading, but how do you track your reading?

Before running off and grabbing the nearest book and/or pen, first consider your preferred format. Do you love writing and underlining whilst reading? Do you love writing your ideas in a book or do you prefer to type your ideas? Below is a general list of pros and cons of physical format vs digital format.

Tracking your reading in different formats:

  1. Physical Format
    • DIY book (e.g. bullet journal, book journal): can be any notebook/bullet journal.
    • Printed (printed journal, pre-printed journal): a specific book made for tracking your ideas (e.g. reading journal on Etsy)
  2. Digital Format
    • Apps (Goodreads, Instagram, YouTube, Blog, Twitter, etc.)
    • Software (Spreadsheet, Word, Scrivener, Notion, etc.)

Physical Format

  • Bullet Journal
    • Pros
      • Fully customisable for your specific needs
      • Portable
      • Easily accessible
      • Doesn’t have to be “artistic”
    • Cons
      • Can be time-consuming if you don’t have a consistent system
      • If you’re a perfectionist, can be discouraging
      • Limited pages and space
  • Reading Journal (printed or pre-printed journal)
    • Pros
      • Easy to use
      • Portable
      • Can purchase a reading journal
      • You don’t have to design it, designs and template is already there
      • Pre-made templates make it handy although can be limiting
    • Cons
      • Can be pricey depending on the brand you buy (or access)
      • There can be limitations with the pre-made templates as it may not be suitable for you
      • Limited pages and space

Digital Format

  • Goodreads (Available as an App and Website)
    • Pros
      • Great resource for books
      • Accessible and straight-forward to use
      • Community is already established
    • Cons
      • There are some limitations with Goodreads (e.g. interface)
      • Need internet connection
  • Bookstagram: (Instagram dedicated for books) (Available as an App and Website)
    • Pros
      • Easily accessible via App
      • Easy to use
      • Great community
      • Great for those who love taking pictures
      • Can be aesthetic but doesn’t have to be
    • Cons
      • Can be daunting to start
      • Can be discouraging if you’re not “good at taking pictures”
      • Algorithm can be disheartening
      • Need internet connection
  • BookTok (Tik Tok dedicated for books) (Available as an App and Website)
    • Pros
      • Easily accessible via App
      • Easy to use
      • Great for those who love making videos
      • Easy to make content
      • Established community
    • Cons
      • if you’re not into visual media may be difficult or daunting
      • Algorithm can be disheartening
      • Need internet connection
  • Book Twitter (Twitter dedicated for books) (Available as an App and Website)
    • Pros
      • Easily accessible via App
      • Perfect for those who don’t want to make too much content (visual or video) and want to share thoughts
    • Cons
      • can be chaotic as it’s not as organised
      • can be messy/hard to organise thoughts
      • Need internet connection
  • Notion (Available as an App and Website)
    • Pros
      • Fully customisable to your needs
      • Pre-designed templates to help you
    • Cons
      • No community
      • Can be time-consuming making your templates
      • Need internet connection
  • StoryGraph (Available as an App* and Website)
    • Pros
      • Great recommendation tool
      • Unique search function
      • Creates handy graphs to indicate your reading stats
    • Cons
      • Not a lot of users yet
      • If a book is not on the system you may beed to add it to the database
      • Need internet connection
  • Bookly (Available as an App)
    • Pros
      • Can create a reading plan and goals
      • Creates handy graphs to indicate your reading stats
    • Cons
      • Free access may be limited as a payment is needed for full access
      • Need internet connection
  • Spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Numbers, etc.)
    • Pros:
      • Perfect for those who appreciate stats and graphs
      • Spreadsheets are customisable
      • Great for people who are good with numbers and are visual
      • Can be easily shared and accessible to many people (digital)
      • May not need the internet for use (depending on program/version)
    • Cons:
      • May be difficult to get into if you don’t know how to use the program (e.g. Excel)
      • May need internet connection
  • Scrivener
    • Pros
      • Can store plenty of information, good database
      • Great writing and organisation tool
      • Easy to use
      • Don’t need the internet to use
    • Cons
      • Need to pay for the program (one time pay)

Ideas on What to Track for Reading:

Year Published
Format read
Dates read
Background of book (e.g. author identity, translated book, etc.)
Content warnings
Misc notes (e.g. representation?)

What works for me:

Whilst I love physical copies I need to be realistic with my lifestyle and schedule. I’m very on the go. My schedule is haphazard and I don’t always have access to a pen and paper. Therefore, digital media works best for me.


  • Bookstagram: For general summaries, and reviews. I find this app to be fun, and quick. I love creating photos and I love the community there.
  • Blog (more in-depth): I love to ramble on and share links.
  • BookTok: I enjoy making video content, it’s easy to create
  • Google notes: I use this to start writing ideas and reviews

Do you track your reading? What works for you?



Why is it so hard to declutter books?

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If you’ve read my previous post, I’ve explored how to declutter your books, however, in that post I never fully explored why is it so darn hard to declutter books.

In this post, I wanted to explore why we (or myself in particular) struggle to declutter books and perhaps with identifying the “why’s” I could be better at executing the decluttering bit in future times. Hopefully.

Why is it so hard to declutter books?

And what to say to the excuses.

Sentimental value:

It’s normal to have books that hold sentimental value. Perhaps there’s an emotional attachment to the book due to someone gifting you that copy, reading it at a critical time in life, the content of the book… There are many reasons as to why a possession holds sentimental value. When faced with holding a book that possesses sentimental value, identify your “why” first. Why does this book hold sentimental value? Why do you want to own it? Once identifying that, ask yourself: does owning this book make me happy? Has this book serve its purpose (whether that purpose is, up to you)?

Decluttering possessions that hold sentimental value is the hardest as we most often have an emotional connection to it (either memories, evoking feelings, etc.). In saying that, it is okay to hold on or to pass on something that has sentimental value to you. Only you can make that choice.

The “but what if?” scenario:

But what if I need to refer to this book later? But what if I’ll read this and love it and want to keep it?

First, take a step back and be realistic with yourself, your goals, and your time. In this golden digital time of the internet, we have endless access to information and resources. Most often, we are able to access books more than once. Furthermore, our time is limited. Remember, plenty books are easily replaceable either via buying another copy (digital, hardcopy) or through a library (if you have access). And most often than not, you can replace the book if you ever do need to refer to it later. Your time and your space is limited.

Books are part of my identity!:

As a book lover, I know I love books and being surrounded by books. It’s so comforting to be surrounded by your favourite things. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. However, when it becomes overwhelming to the point it feels like clutter the feelings of warmth and happiness can start to blur. As a book lover, I want to be surrounded by books. However, it is important to remember this:

You are not defined by material items.

Whilst loving books is perfectly fine, owning many possessions doesn’t necessarily reflect the value or love you hold for something. If it is weighing you down, perhaps curate the space for your absolute favourites and thereby creating the extra specialness of the collection.

Exclusive editions:

I currently subscribe to a few book boxes where limited special exclusive editions are released. These editions are gorgeous and special (signed, author letter, exclusive art, etc.) and for me, it adds to the experience of the book. Over time, it’s easy to continuously hold on to these editions as they are exclusive and special, however, over time it can get overwhelming. Despite me not reading the book or even loving it, it’s harder for me to let go of these books as they are exclusive editions. What then? In this stance it’s important to know your priorities and your ‘whys’:

  • Why do you want to own exclusive editions?
  • Why do you want to own exclusive editions despite not loving the book itself?
  • Does owning this particular (although special/exclusive) edition bring you joy?
  • Can you use this space for something else you would love more?

I admit I really struggle with decluttering. I’m from the background where things were limited so that’s where my mindset on saving and holding on to things stem from. Consequently, it’s difficult for me to let go of things. Here, identifying and exploring the why’s may will help with navigating reasons as to when to hold on to something or when to let go of it. For me, this post is quite helpful as it reminds me that I want to curate my collection, space and time with my absolute favourite books.

Do you find it hard to declutter your books?

How do you declutter your books?

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What to read based on Met Gala 2022 looks

I’m no fashion critic but I can’t help but marvel at the gorgeous outfits!

Good looks and good books? Yes, please! So, without further ado, here are some books to read based on Met Gala 2022 looks:

Blake Lively in Versace + Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Photo: Getty Images

Taylor Hill in Miss Sohee supported by Dolce & Gabbana gown and David Yurman jewellery + A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross

Photo: Getty Images

Temana Taylor in Iris van Herpen + Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

Photo: Getty Images

Quannah Chasinghorse in Atelier Prabal Gurung + Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Photo: Getty Images

Jasmine Tookes in Zuhair Murad Gouture and Chopard jewelry + The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Photo: Getty Images

Rosalia in Givenchy + The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Photo: Getty Images

Anitta in Moschino + Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Photo: Getty Images

Madeline Putsch in Moschino + Small Favours by Erin A. Craig

Photo: Getty Images

Gemma Chan in Louis Vuitton + Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

Photo: Getty Images

Papa Essiedu + Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Tessa Thompson in Carolina Herrera + Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Photo: Getty Images

Gabrielle Union in Versace gown + The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

Photo: Getty Images

Simone Ashley in Moschino + Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

Photo: Getty Images

Megan Thee Stallion in Moschino gown and Stuart Weitzman heel + An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Photo: Getty Images

Olivia Rodrigo in Versace + Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Photo: Getty Images

Sza in Vivienne Westwood + The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Photo: Getty Images

Nicola Coughlan in Richard Quinn + Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong

Photo: Getty Images

Shawn Mendes in Tommy Hilfiger + Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas

Photo: Getty Images

Kid Cudi in Kenzo + Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé 

Photo: Getty Images

Lizzo in Thom Browne + Star Daughter by Sheet Thakrar

Photo: Getty Images

Who do you think was the best dressed at the Met Gala in 2022?

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Happy Lunar New Year 2022 | Book Tag

Happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate!

Let’s celebrate the New Year with some books and a book tag! This book tag was originally created by Tiff at Mostly YA Lit and Joey at Thoughts and Afterthoughts (back in 2017) because I am too lazy to create my own and honestly, why mess with a perfect tag already there?

I know a month has almost passed already, and excuse my tardiness and all, but hey! Better late than pregnant late.

Now, without further ado, here are my answers and book recommendations I hope you pick up!

Rat (delicate, witty, and flexible): A book author that has flown under the radar

The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae

Why I feel like this book has flown under the radar:

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I hardly see this book on Bookstagram, Book Twitter, BookTube, or book blogs! I read this in one sitting and I LOVED it. It’s fun, adventurous, and exciting and who can I gush about this book to??? Almost no one!

✨So, here’s why you should read The Kinder Poison (so we can gush together): ✨
• funny and kind main character that has the ability to communicate with animals
• fast-paced action with plenty of adventure, trials, and mishaps
• Morally grey characters and cinnamon roll characters
• Easily digestible (devoured this in one sitting) and an enjoyable experience (I NEED more)

Bear by Ben Queen

I picked up Bear on a whim, and I LOVED it.

Perhaps because it’s for a younger audience and it’s a graphic novel, but this is the sweetest book ever.

Ox (diligent, persistent, honest): A character who has strong morals or ideals

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto (Character: Naruto)

Come, on! If you’ve read or seen Naruto then you know what I mean. Rather than kill the villains like usual protagonists, Naruto would prefer to use “Talk-no-Jutsu” (the Talking Technique: talking and emphasising with the villain to stop their evil ways and realise their errors rather than killing them). Moreover, Naruto comes from a tragic background and yet continues to be optimistic, hard-working, and loyal. Of course I’m going to pick Naruto.

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya (Character: Tohru)

Tohru, the main character, is the sweetest albeit most naive character I’ve come across. I love her diligence and optimism.

Tiger (powerful, confident, brave): A book that boldly addresses an issue

White Tears, Bown Scars by Ruby Hamad

Honestly just read this book!!

Why Do We Cry? by Fran Pintadera

In this book, Why Do We Cry? A mother and son explore various reasons why people cry. The accompanying art with each reason complements the emotion and explanation in a gorgeous manner. I also love how this book normalises crying and validates feelings—“it’s okay to cry if you feel like crying. It’s okay to cry if you’re happy/sad/etc.”

Rabbit (tender, graceful, sensitive): A book with a sweet romance

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

I don’t make it obvious (at least on my blog) but I LOVE and adore the main couple. They are adorable and deserve happiness and joy.

Dragon (authority, dignity, luck): A book with royalty in it

Blood Heirby Amelie Wen Zhao

We Hunt the Flame by Harsh Faizal

Snake (wise, cunning, & sly): A book with a manipulative character

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (Character: Jude)

Manipulative character you ask? Of course I’m going to include Jude.

The Shadow Between Us by Tricia Levenseller (Character: Alessandra)

Another manipulative character that may not be as well known as Jude is Alessendra from The Shadows Between Us. Look, the book literally starts with this:

They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart. And they never will.

YES. This protagonist is conniving, scheming, and manipulative. I LOVE it.

Horse (enthusiastic, independent, zealous): A standalone book

Ace of Spades bye Faridah Abike-Iyimide

I love the narration, the tension and the suspense! I NEEDED to find the answers and refused to put this book down
• I love the two main characters—Chiamaka and Devon are both strong and endearing characters in their own right. Chiamaka’s strong-willed, go-getter attitude is something I admire
• Devon is sweet and caring, but willing to do what it takes for his loved ones
• The ending!

𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤:
• A nuanced take on and the exploration of institutional and systematic racism, classism, white supremacy, and sexuality
• A queer black story that shows a peek of living under the gaze of white supremacy

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

A great standalone fantasy book! I’m always looking for more YA fantasy that is standalone.

I loved the protagonists determination and growth. Her journey to self-discovery and justice was a fun ride. Plus, I liked the friendship formed between the characters and their banter. This is a great feel-good standalone fantasy, perfect if you’re looking for something quick, fun, and easy.

Ram (tender, sensitive to art & beauty): Your favourite book cover or design

The Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

BEHOLD! Look! Look at how beautiful and marvellous the cover is!! Don’t you want to cry? Ugh! It’s too gorgeous. Whoever designed this book needs a raise!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I hope this book counts because technically, there are like, four different covers for this one book and I love them all. To pick ONE cover is to pick a favourite child and one should never admit it aloud (though I have one, and it’s this one). Anyway, I hope this cover alone tempts you to pick up this book because it’s one of my favourite fantasy series!

Monkey (clever, lively, quick-witted): Your favourite comic relief character

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang (Character: Kitay)

Listen, Kitay is the perfect balance between sass, wit, and tired of your shit™. If you love lush fantasy, rich politics and having your heart broken I highly recommend The Poppy War (although, check out the content warnings first).

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (Character: M-Bot)

Despite being an actual machine, M-Bot is full of personality and as sassy as they come. Love it!

Rooster (honest, ambitious, punctual): Your most anticipated 2022 book

Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li

Yinka, Where is your huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

Dog (independent, sincere, loyal): A comfort book you always go back to

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Whenever I’m in a slump, this book gets me out.

𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤:
• forced close proximity (including there’s only one bed!! trope)
• enemies to reluctant allies to lovers
• close family bonds + found family
• rich history and world-building

Gakuen Alice (Alice Academy) by Higuchi Tachibana

I will never get over this manga. I’ve read so many shoujo manga and I keep returning to this one.

𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤:
• cute and endearing read with relevant themes (made me cry!)
• explores friendship, love (platonic, familial), and identity
• honestly, I just love the protagonist—she’s hardworking, optimistic, and a loving character. It shows the strength doesn’t necessarily mean physically strong, but strong in character (resilient) and empathetic.

Book boxes!

I spend way too much on Book Boxes! (Please don’t ask how much because I don’t know the price).

Have you read any of these books?

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Reading 12 books recommended by 12 friends in 12 months | Book Challenge

Hi, friends!

So I decided to hop on the bandwagon and join the 12 Book Challenge. The 12 Book challenge is where there are 12 months to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends. This challenge was created by a fellow bookish friend @/shadowbooker on Bookstagram. Pictured below is the finalised challenge with books recommended by 12 friends from Bookstagram. I’ve tagged the lovely friends in the picture below, thank you for the recommendations!

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

Genre: Young Adult, Science-fiction

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

The Witch King by H. E. Edgmon

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Genre: Adult, Fantasy

The girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

Genre: Adult, Romance

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction

XOXO by Axie Oh

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Genre: Adult, Romance

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Genre: Adult, Science-fiction

I’m so excited to read these! Though some I have already read, so does it count still?

If you’re interested in joining in this reading challenge and need a recommendation, I have plenty of recommendations!

Are you taking part of any readathons this year?



Defining book clutter and the benefits of decluttering books

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There’s a common bookish saying “there’s no such thing as too many books” and I used to live by it. Used to. Why? Living in a small apartment and allocating certain spaces for books makes it hard to live by that statement because I am drowning in too many books! And whilst I love having too many books I can’t maintain owning too many books in my home!

First, let’s define “clutter”:

“Clutter” is defined to be a collection of many objects that are in a state of disorder (REF). Therefore, in regards to books, would “book clutter” be the state of having many messy book piles? Or am I just messy? Where’s the line between book clutter and not book clutter? Before joining Bookstagram, Book blogging, and BookTok, I was quite messy with my bookshelves and hardly ever organised my book spaces. Would that space count as book clutter?

I want to differentiate “owning a messy book pile” from “book declutter”. As a book lover, there is a difference.

When does a book pile become “book clutter”?

Defining “book clutter”:

In this case, I refer the term “book clutter” to be the state where one owns books to the point of chaos, more specifically, when books take up too much of your physical space and/or mental space in a negative manner.

What counts as book clutter?
  • Books that no longer serve their purpose for you (no longer useful/needed, damaged, etc.)
  • Books that have no emotional connection to you and can be easily replaced or removed from your collection
  • When owning certain books give you anxiety or stress
Why should I declutter my books?

There are numerous benefits of decluttering books. Some benefits include the following:

Benefits of decluttering:

Reduce stress and anxiety

Studies noted a link between clutter and increased cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Therefore, there’s a possibility that greater clutter can lead to greater stress.

However, it’s also important to note that untidy environments are necessarily a bad thing. Research found that sometimes untidy environments can promote creativeness and innovation.

Different people have different perceptions of what clutter is. I find that it’s important to be aware of your own needs and wants in regards to your space and home. Having a sweet balance between untidy and order is important.

Help cleanse your mind

Building upon the previous point, a cluttered space can lead to a cluttered mind and can feel overwhelming when faced to address it. With less mental clutter to distract or occupy your time and energy, you can instead focus it on things that serve you purpose or bring you joy.

Simplify your living

By decluttering you can simplify your living, meaning living simply can result in being more accessible to your belongings, possessing less, and creating more space.

Clearing book clutter means less stuff and therefore less stuff to maintain and manage, and as a result, can give you more control in your life.

Sometimes it’s not practical owning mountains of unfinished, unread, and/or unloved books everywhere. Decluttering books can create more space. The positive aspect of creating more space enables you to curate and refine your bookshelf with books you really love and want.

Boost productivity and creativity

Clearing clutter can help with your focus by removing external stimuli, lessening visual distractions, and reducing decision fatigue.

Potentially save money

During and/or after the decluttering process can help you realise your spending habits and therefore adjust accordingly. You may be spending unnecessarily and realise that after seeing how many books you have accumulated versus how many of those books you’ve actually read. Decluttering can help you be more mindful of purchases.

Furthermore, you could potentially make money whilst decluttering by selling books.

Improve your health

Clearing your space can also lessen the dust and allergens in your space and therefore improve the overall air quality in the house.

Practising gratitude and mindfulness

Decluttering can be seen as a form of self-care. With less focus on the stuff, you can use your time on things that truly matter to you—ensuring your lifestyle is aligned with your values and priorities. Removing the unnecessary items in your life can give you more freedom and you may appreciate more of what you have (practising gratitude).

Again, I want to highlight that it is important to identify your own definition of clutter and your own wants and needs regarding your space. What May work for me may not work for someone else.

Anyway, I hope this post helps you with your journey of book decluttering or at least serves you with some information.

I write this post to help identify “book clutter” in my life and emphasis the benefits of decluttering so I can move it and declutter my space.

Do you declutter your books? Or, do you have any tips?

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  1. Roster, C. A., Ferrari, J. R., & Jurkat, M. P. (2016). The dark side of home: Assessing possession ‘clutter’ on subjective well-being. The Journal of Environmental Psychology, 46, pp. 32—41. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494416300159
  2. Roster, C. A. & Ferrari, J. R. (2020). Does work stress lead to office clutter, and how? Mediating influences of emotional exhaustaion and indecision. North American Journal of Psychology, 22, 3, pp. 441—454. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916518823041
  3. Ouellette, L. (2019). Spark Joy? Compulsory Happiness and the Feminist Politics of Decluttering. Culture Unbound, 11,3–4, pp. 534—550. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3384/cu.2000.1525.191108
  4. Burgess, A., Frost, R. O., Marani, C., Gabrielson, I. (2018). Imperfection, indecision, and hoarding. Current Psychology, 37, 445–453. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12144-017-9695-4

Five Bookish Things I Learnt in 2021 | Book Rambles

After contemplating my reading habits and goals for 2020, I’ve discovered five bookish things I’ve learned in 2021 (when I write “you” I really mean “me”). And rather than make a long list of reading goals, I want to reapproach my current habits and develop sustainable reading habits both financially, mentally, and emotionally. So, without further ado, here are five bookish things I’ve learned in 2021.

1. Read what you want when you want

As a mood reader, I don’t necessarily have a problem with this. However, back in 2020, I followed the new releases and Bookstagram/Booktube trends and that exhausted me. As a result, in 2021 I decided to focus on books that interest me despite the trends and new releases. I picked up what I wanted and surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) I found that I enjoyed many of my reads.

2. You don’t NEED to be subscribed to all the book boxes

Your wallet will thank you. Trust me.

In 2020 I followed so many book trends and at one point was subscribed to 4 book boxes a month. Four. I was subscribed to Fairyloot, Illumicrate, Owlcrate, and Goldsboro and at times, I would buy Fox and Wit. That doesn’t sound bad, but remember, I’m mainly based in Australia and was paying approximately equal amounts of the box on shipping. I found that whilst I kept up with everything, I didn’t necessarily enjoy the monthly book picks. On top of that, I was gaining so much stuff. Now, I’m much more intentional with what I want to buy and own.

3. Don’t force yourself to read if you’re not enjoying it

Instead, temporarily DNF books.

DNF = did not finish

Sometimes the book isn’t for me at the time. And that’s okay. Usually, what works for me is to put the book down and read what I want instead. I’ll come back to the book when I feel like it and when I do, I usually find that I enjoy the book much more. However, if you truly don’t enjoy the book, don’t feel obligated to finish it. Our time is limited. Why waste it on a book that doesn’t serve any purpose for us?

4. It’s okay to let go of books that no longer serve you purpose

And that includes special editions.

If you read any of my previous posts, I’m attempting to declutter my books. Here’s a method that helped me declutter. I had such a gorgeous shelf of special edition books, however, my shelves were packed full of books I did not love nor read. What was the point? Everyone has their own rhyme and reason for their possessions and whilst some like to own books for the sake of owning (and that’s perfectly fine), I much prefer to own books I love and/or would reread. Right now I have limited space for books so I need to be more intentional with what I own. One big thing I had to really practice was letting go of special editions.

5. Go back to the library!!

You dont need to own every book you read.

Before joining Bookstagram, Booktok, and the online bookish community I used to (religiously) use the library. However, over time I started to buy more books as I wanted to own more. However, after more thought (and full bookcases), I wanted to be more intentional with what I own and what I spend more money on. I can still support authors through the library.

These five bookish things are what I want to be more conscientious of and I hope it would guide me to be more sustainable and intentional with my reading.

What was a bookish thing you learnt in 2021?