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:
  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:
  3. Ouellette, L. (2019). Spark Joy? Compulsory Happiness and the Feminist Politics of Decluttering. Culture Unbound, 11,3–4, pp. 534—550. Available at:
  4. Burgess, A., Frost, R. O., Marani, C., Gabrielson, I. (2018). Imperfection, indecision, and hoarding. Current Psychology, 37, 445–453. Available at:

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?



Beautiful Books to Buy in 2022

Let’s put it out there: every book is beautiful. However, this post aims to curate books that have extra features that make them even more special. With the year 2021 coming to an end and 2022 looking around the corner, I figured I’d collate a list of beautiful books/special editions that will be released in 2022.

Okay, let’s define what I mean by beautiful books. Books on this list may include features such as the following:

  • Sprayed, stencilled, or digitally sprayed edges
  • Endpage art
  • Foiling on the dust jacket
  • Reverse art in dust jacket
  • Foiling on hardcover
  • Embossing on hardcover
  • Signed or digitally signed

I know I’m not being gentle with anyone’s wallets, including my own but I hope you enjoy this list.

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Science Fiction, dystopia
Price: £89 + shipping
Available: 11/01/2022
Features: Exclusive covers, stencilled sprayed edges, custom endpapers, signed
Where can I buy this? Fairyloot

Note: Please note that these editions will be available for Fairyloot’s subscribers first and may or may not be available for general sale due to limited numbers.

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Fantasy
Price: £74 + shipping
Available: 22/02/2022
Features: Exclusive covers, reversible dust jackets, naked cover design with foil details, digitally sprayed edges, custom endpapers, signed
Where can I buy this? Fairyloot

Note: Please note that these editions will be available for Fairyloot’s subscribers first and may or may not be available for general sale due to limited numbers.

Title: The Book of Sand
Author: Theo Clare
Genre: Fantasy
Price: £24.99
576 Pages
Released: 13/01/2022
Features: Sprayed/stencilled edges, digital signature
Where can I buy this? Goldsboro

Click for Synopsis:

    SAND. A hostile world of burning sun.

    Outlines of several once-busy cities shimmer on the horizon. Now empty of inhabitants, their buildings lie in ruins.

    In the distance a group of people – a family – walk towards us.

    Ahead lies shelter: a ‘shuck’ the family call home and which they know they must reach before the light fails, as to be out after dark is to invite danger and almost certain death.

    To survive in this alien world of shifting sand, they must find an object hidden in or near water. But other families want it too. And they are willing to fight to the death to make it theirs.

    It is beginning to rain in Fairfax County, Virginia when McKenzie Strathie wakes up. An ordinary teenage girl living an ordinary life – except that the previous night she found a sand-lizard in her bed, and now she’s beginning to question everything around her, especially who she really is …

    Two very different worlds featuring a group of extraordinary characters driven to the very limit of their endurance in a place where only the strongest will survive.

Title: Ghosts (book 4)
Author: G. X. Todd
Genre: Crime
Price: £24.99
576 Pages
Released: 21/01/2022
Features: Sprayed edges, signed, numbered
Where can I buy this? Goldsboro

Click for Synopsis:

    The heart-stopping conclusion to the highly acclaimed Voices series, where there is no place left to hide and nowhere else to run.

    Seven years ago, the voices came. Some people could hear and others despised them for it. As death and destruction spread, a ghostly figure was waiting in the shadows. Now the Flitting Man is ready to show his face – and no one is safe.

    Pilgrim was made for this broken world. He’s chosen his path and will stop at nothing to see it through.

    Lacey grew up in this changing world. She’s lost almost everything to the Flitting Man, but her fight isn’t over yet.

    Albus sees this world as others cannot. And the friends that he’s kept safe are facing terrible danger.

    Addison belongs to a very different world. She might just be the future, if she survives…

Title: Pandora
Author: Susan Stokes-Chapman
Genre: Historical fiction
Price: £24.99
576 Pages
Released: 21/01/2022
Features: Sprayed edges, signed, numbered
Where can I buy this? Goldsboro

Click for Synopsis:

    A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance.

    Perfect for readers who loved The Binding and The Essex Serpent.

    London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.

    But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

    orgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

    A richly evocative and hugely enjoyable read, bubbling with mysteries, secrets and pleasures’ Joseph O’Connor

Title: The Winner’s Curse Trilogy
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Fantasy
Price: £75 + shipping
Available: 13/01/2022
Features: Exclusive covers, hidden covers, signed, sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Illumicrate

Note: Please note that these editions will be available for Illumicrate’s subscribers first and may or may not be available for general sale due to limited numbers.

Title: Daughter of the Moon Goddess
Author: Sue Lynn Tan
Genre: Fantasy
Price: £14.99
400 Pages
Published: 20/01/2022
Features: Signed, sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess.

    A young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm, setting her on a dangerous path where those she loves are not the only ones at risk…

    Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when her magic flares and her existence is discovered, Xingyin is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

    Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to train in the Crown Prince’s service, learning to master archery and magic, despite the passion which flames between her and the emperor’s son.

    To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies, across the earth and skies.

    But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream -striking a dangerous bargain, where she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

    Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic, of loss and sacrifice – where love vies with honour, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.

Title: The Maid
Author: Nita Prose
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Crime & Mystery
Price: £14.99
352 Pages
Published: 20/01/2022
Features: Stencilled edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    I am your maid. I know so much about you. But what do you know about me?

    Molly the Maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She’s used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping away the grime, dust and secrets of the guests who pass through. She’s just a maid – why should anyone take notice?

    But Molly is thrown into the spotlight when she discovers an infamous guest, Mr Black, very dead in his bed. This isn’t a mess that can be easily cleaned up. And so Molly becomes embroiled in a hunt for the truth, learning who to trust as she navigates the secret underbelly of the Regency Grand Hotel.

    Escapist, charming, and introducing a truly original heroine, The Maid is a story about how everyone deserves to be seen, and how the truth isn’t always black and white – it’s often found in the dirtier, grey areas in between…

Title: The Christie Affair
Author: Nina De Gramont
Genre: Historical Fiction, Crime & Mystery
Price: £16.99
368 Pages
Published: 20/01/2022
Features: Signed, sprayed/stencilled edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance.
    I’m no Hercule Poirot.
    I’m her husband’s mistress.

    Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.

    Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.

    After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.

    Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to…

Title: A Terrible Kindness
Author: Jo Browning Wroe
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Price: £14.99
400 Pages
Published: 20/01/2022
Features: Signed, exclusive cover colourway, sprayed/stencilled edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:
    Tonight nineteen-year-old William Lavery is dressed for success, his first black-tie do. It’s the Midlands Chapter of the Institute of Embalmers Ladies’ Night Dinner Dance, and William is taking Gloria in her sequined evening gown. He can barely believe his luck. But as the guests sip their drinks and smoke their post-dinner cigarettes a telegram delivers news of a tragedy. An event so terrible it will shake the nation. It is October 1966 and a landslide at a coal mine has buried a school: Aberfan. William decides he must act, so he stands and volunteers to attend. It will be his first job, and will be – although he’s yet to know it – a choice that threatens to sacrifice his own happiness. His work that night will force him to think about the little boy he was, and the losses he has worked so hard to bury. But compassion can have surprising consequences, because – as William discovers – giving so much to others can sometimes help us heal ourselves.

Title: Pandora
Author: Susan Stokes-Chapman
Genre: Historical fiction
Price: £14.99
352 Pages
Published: 27/01/2022
Features: Signed, exclusive endpapers, stencilled edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance.

    London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.

    But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

    Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

Title: Breathless
Author: Amy McCulloch
Genre: Crime & mystery
Price: £14.99
400 Pages
Published: 17/02/2022
Features: Stencilled edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    When struggling journalist Cecily Wong is invited to join an expedition to climb one of the world’s tallest mountains, it seems like the chance of a lifetime.

    She doesn’t realise how deadly the climb will be.

    As their small team starts to climb, things start to go wrong. There’s a theft. Then an accident. Then a mysterious note, pinned to her tent: there’s a murderer on the mountain.

    The higher they get, the more dangerous the climb becomes, and the more they need to trust one another.

    And that’s when Cecily finds the first body . . .

Title: The Embroidered Book
Author: Kate Heartfield
Genre: Historical fiction, Fantasy
Price: £14.99
400 Pages
Published: 17/02/2022
Features: Stencilled edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    A sweeping historical epic with a thread of magic, perfect for readers of THE FAMILIARS, THE BINDING, and THE MINIATURIST.

    ‘Power is not something you are given. Power is something you take. When you are a woman, it is a little more difficult, that’s all’

    1768. Charlotte arrives in Naples to marry a man she has never met. Two years later, her sister Antoine is sent to France to marry another stranger. In the mirrored corridors of Versailles, they rename her Marie Antoinette.

    But the sisters are not powerless. When they were only children, Charlotte and Antoine discovered a book of spells – spells that seem to work, with dark and unpredictable consequences.

    In a world of vicious court politics, of discovery and dizzying change, Charlotte and Antoine use their secret skills to redefine their lives, becoming the most influential women of the age.

    But every spell requires a sacrifice. As love between the sisters turns to rivalry, they will send Europe spiralling into revolution.

    Brimming with romance, betrayal, and the hidden power of women, THE EMBROIDERED BOOK reveals and reimagines a dazzling period of history as you have never seen it before.

Title: Gallant
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Price: £17.99
448 Pages
Published: 01/03/2022
Features: Stencilled edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    Sixteen-year-old Olivia Prior is missing three things: a mother, a father, and a voice. Her mother vanished all at once, and her father by degrees, and her voice was a thing she never had to start with. She grew up at Merilance School for Girls. Now, nearing the end of her time there, Olivia receives a letter from an uncle she’s never met, her father’s older brother, summoning her to his estate, a place called Gallant.

    But when she arrives, she discovers that the letter she received was several years old. Her uncle is dead. The estate is empty, save for the servants. Olivia is permitted to remain, but must follow two rules: don’t go out after dusk, and always stay on the right side of a wall that runs along the estate’s western edge. Beyond it is another realm, ancient and magical, which calls to Olivia through her blood…

Title: The Atlas Six
Author: Olivie Blake
Genre: Fantasy
Price: £16.99
384 Pages
Published: 03/03/2022
Features: Sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake is the runaway TikTok must-read fantasy novel of the year. If you loved Ninth House and A Deadly Education, you’ll love this.

    The world’s best young magicians accept the opportunity of a lifetime.

    Six are chosen. Only five will walk away.

    The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…

    – Libby Rhodes and Nicolas Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
    – Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
    – Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
    – Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
    – Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.

    When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.

Title: Run Rose Run
Author: Dolly Parton and James Paterson
Genre: Fantasy
Price: £20.00
400 Pages
Published: 07/03/2022
Features: Sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    From America’s most beloved superstar and its greatest storyteller – a thriller about a young singer-songwriter on the rise and on the run, and determined to do whatever it takes to survive.

    Every song tells a story.

    She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her.

    She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past.

    Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny. It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her.

    Run, Rose, Run is a novel glittering with danger and desire – a story that only America’s #1 beloved entertainer and its #1 bestselling author could have created.

Title: Wild and Wicked Things
Author: Francesca May
Genre: Fantasy
Price: £12.99
432 Pages
Published: 31/03/2022
Features: Sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    In the aftermath of the First World War, a young woman gets swept into a glittering world filled with illicit magic, romance, blood debts and murder in this lush and decadent debut novel.

    On Crow Island, people whispered, real magic lurked just below the surface. But Annie Mason never expected her enigmatic new neighbour to be a witch.

    When she witnesses a confrontation between her best friend Bea and the infamous Emmeline Delacroix at one of Emmeline’s extravagantly illicit parties, Annie is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where magic can buy what money cannot; a world where the consequence of a forbidden blood bargain might be death.

Title: Yinka, where is your husband?
Author: Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
Genre: Contemporary romance
Price: £14.99
352 Pages
Published: 31/03/2022
Features: Sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    The hotly anticipated debut of 2022 with a heroine to fall in love with.

    The Nigerian accent Dictionary
    Huzband (pronounced auz-band) noun
    1. A male partner in a marriage
    E.g. Yinka’s younger sister, Kemi, is married to Uche
    2. A non-existent man in a non-existent marriage whose whereabouts is often questioned, usually by Nigerian mums and aunties to single British Nigerian women
    E.g. So, Yinka. Tell me. Where is your huzband? Ah, ah. You’re thirty-one now!

    Yinka wants to find love. The problem is she also has a mum who thinks she’s better qualified to find it for her.

    She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food, and a bum she’s sure is far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too…

    When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding. Will Yinka find herself a huzband? And what if the thing she really needs is to find herself?

Title: Lessons in Chemistry
Author: Bonnie Garmus
Genre: Contemporary fiction; feminism
Price: £14.99
400 Pages
Published: 05/04/2022
Features: Sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    ‘Your ability to change everything – including yourself – starts here’ – Elizabeth Zott

    Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.

    But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results.

    But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (‘combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride’) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

    Meet the unconventional, uncompromising Elizabeth Zott.

Title: With This Kiss
Author: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Genre: Contemporary romance
Price: £14.99
400 Pages
Published: 14/04/2022
Features: Sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    With This Kiss is the brand-new magical love story from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author, coming soon.

    When their lips touch, will she seal his fate?

    From the outside, Lorelai is an ordinary young woman with a normal life. She loves reading, she works at the local cinema and she adores living with her best friend. But she carries a painful burden, something she’s kept hidden for years; whenever she kisses someone on the lips, she sees how they are going to die. But she’s never known if she’s seeing what was always meant to be, or if her kiss is the thing that decides their destiny. And so, she hasn’t kissed anyone since she was sixteen.

    Then she meets Grayson. Sweet, clever, funny Grayson. And for the first time in years she yearns for a man’s kiss. But she can’t… or can she? And if she does, should she try to intervene and change what she sees?

    Spellbinding, magical and utterly original, With This Kiss is one love story you will never forget.

Title: A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting
Author: Sophie Irwin
Genre: Historical romance
Price: £14.99
400 Pages
Published: 05/04/2022
Features: Sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    The season is about to begin – and there’s not a minute to lose.

    Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.

    With only twelve weeks until the bailiffs call, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her, and Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.

    The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost, especially when it comes to his own brother falling for her charms.

    Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one – not even a lord – will stand in her way…

Title: Do No Harm
Author: Jack Jordan
Genre: Contemporary fiction; feminism
Price: £12.99
432 Pages
Published: 26/05/2022
Features: Sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    My child has been taken. And I’ve been given a choice…
    Kill a patient on the operating table. Or never see my son again.

    The man lies on the table in front of me.
    As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him.
    As a mother, I know I must kill him.
    You might think that I’m a monster.
    But there really is only one choice.
    I must get away with murder.
    Or I will never see my son again.


Title: Blade Breaker
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Fantasy
Price: £16.99
576 Pages
Published: 28/06/2022
Features: Sprayed edges
Where can I buy this? Waterstones

Click for Synopsis:

    The fate of the world rests on a blade’s edge.

    Fighting beside her band of unlikely companions, Corayne is learning to embrace her ancient lineage and wield her father’s powerful sword. But while she successfully closed one of the Spindles, her journey is far from over.

    Queen Erida’s army marches across Allward with her consort, Taristan, right beside them, opening more portals into nightmarish worlds, razing kingdoms to the ground.

    Corayne has no choice but to assemble an army of her own if she’s to save the realm as she knows it. But perilous lands await her and the companions, and they face assassins, otherworldly beasts, and tempestuous seas all as they rally a divided Ward to fight behind them.

    But Taristan has unleashed an evil far more wicked than his corpse armies. Something deadly waits in the shadows; something that might consume the world before there’s any hope for victory.

Have any special editions to suggest? Let me know down below!

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Do you know any other special editions releasing in 2022 I missed?



Pardon my absence, I’ve been struggling + books to warm your (*my) cold soulless body (that aren’t YA)

Hi, friends! How are you? Hope this blog post finds you well!

How this blog post finds me

Sorry for being away. I swear I’m alive. Being a frontliner* sucks. Lol. ANYWAY!

With everything going on, I’ve been looking for some heart-warming reads that are easy to consume.

P.s who is giving me access to NetGalley?? WHO?? Because my requests keep getting accepted. And whilst I’m happy with every acceptance (YAY, validation!), that means I must WORK. Nevertheless, I keep getting surprised my requests get accepted despite knowing it was me who’s been logging on and begging for ARCs. Why am I like this lol.

𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: The Tea Dragon Tapestry
𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫: K. O’Neill
𝐈𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫: K. O’Neill
𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Comics & Graphic Novels
𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫: Oni Press

Behold! The Tea Dragon Tapestry is a magical heartwarming story. This book is the equivalent of the perfect marshmallow in the form of a book! However, said marshmallow isn’t edible, but it is sure is light, fluffy, and just melts your heart. Plus, it leaves you a slight concern of developing early-onset diabetes from all the sweetness it exudes. Let me just get this out of the way first: I am in love with the art style. The illustrations are gorgeous, soft, and beautifully detailed. The panels are engaging and the art captures and evokes emotions well. This graphic novel is not only heart-warming in the sense of characters and story-telling, but it also explores other avenues such as disabilities, grief, loss, and acceptance. Overall, this was an amazing book and I would highly recommend this book to everyone.

𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬: grief, loss, disabilities, acceptance, purpose
𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫: fans of graphic novels, people looking for a wholesome, heart-warming read, basically recommend this to everyone
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Oni Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: That Can Be Arranged
𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫: Huda Fahmy
𝐈𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫: Huda Fahmy
𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Comics & Graphic Novels, Humour
𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫: Andrews McMeel Publishing

I’ve been following Fahmy’s Instagram for quite some time and always thought her comics and content were truly funny and great. And this book definitely delivered. ‘That Can Be Arranged’ is an endearing read where we follow Fahmy’s journey to finding a husband. I liked the insights Fahmy shared upon her journey (self-worth, self-love, taking initiative, staying true to your belief, etc.) and how she kept a light-hearted tone despite covering some serious topics. I truly enjoyed this read. There were plenty of moments that made me smile and chuckle.

𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬: love, self-love, self-worth, taking initiative, staying true to your beliefs
𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫: I’d definitely recommend this to any hopeless romantics, fans of Jane Austen, and anyone curious about this book.
Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: Bear
𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫: Ben Queen
𝐈𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫: Joe Todd-Stanton
𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Comics & Graphic Novels
𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫: BOOM! Studios

In Bear, we follow the paw steps of a guide dog named Bear. As a guide dog, Bear’s job is to assist his owner Patrick, who is blind. Patrick and Bear happily live their lives in-sync until the unthinkable happens—Bear loses his sight. Scared he’ll no longer be useful to Patrick and lose his job, Bear then follows the racoons to find a mysterious bear to teach Bear magic for his sight. Despite making friends in unlikely places, Bear finds trouble and then gets lost. Bear’s search is rewarded and reunites with Patrick. After their reunion, Bear undergoes surgery for his eyes. Whilst Bear states he wasn’t “one hundred per cent” after the surgery, he notes that he gained something far greater than what he thought he ever wanted—he becomes Patrick’s friend.

Bear is such an endearing character and I found it easy to emotionally invest in him and his endeavours. I enjoyed the themes explored in this book and liked the unique premise of the story and how it highlights the importance of guide dogs. The book also educates the readers regarding how blindness impacts people.

This is a heart-warming read with themes of identity, friendship, and perseverance woven into Bear’s journey. Through his blindness and his tireless search, Bear discovers true friendship and acceptance. His emotional journey for purpose showcases resilience in the face of adversity. Also, I LOVE the illustration! The artwork is adorable and colourful. The art panels are engaging, successfully evoking intended emotions upon reading the book.

𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬: friendship, acceptance, resilience
𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫: This is a book I’d highly recommend and I’d definitely buy a copy. I can’t wait to read this to the kids.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: All The Colors of Life
𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫: Lisa Aisato
𝐈𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫: Lisa Aisato
𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Arts & Photography
𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫: Arctis Books

• Gorgeous, breathtakingly beautiful illustrations depicting different phases of life accompanied by short poems.
• The illustrations are vivid, whimsical, and engaging. I can’t get over how stunning, atmospheric, and expressive each picture is and how well fitted it was to the prose.
• I feel like this book would be a perfect coffee table book. Great to peruse and keep around.

𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬: the exploration of human experiences and life
𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫: fans of art, everyone
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Artics Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: Beneath the Trees
𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫: Dav
𝐈𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫: Dav
𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Children’s Fiction
𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫: Diamond Book Distributors

• A charming read about a character (Mister Grumpf) who is a grumpy badger trying to rake leaves in front of his house however, gets continually distracted by his neighbours
• Simple and fun read with a great message (helping those in need)
• Gorgeous art style with vibrant and a beautiful colour scheme befitting for Autumn/Fall
• The ending made me chuckle
• Perfect Autumnal read

𝐈𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞:
✔ grumpy characters with a heart of gold
✔ seasonal mood reader looking for a cozy read
✔ fan of Disney-like art style/storytelling

𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬: community, never judge a person by their appearance, kindness
𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫: everyone, fans of Disney, those looking for a charming and cozy read
Thank you to @NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: My Pet Cloud
𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫: Amanda Rawson Hill
𝐈𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫: Laia Arriols
𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Children’s Fiction
𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫: Capstone

• A sweet and charming story about a boy and a pet cloud
• Not only is this a cute read that explores the importance and responsibilities of owning a pet but there is also an educational factor regarding weather and science
• Beautiful illustrations with a gentle colour palette, befitting of the narrative and themes
• Perfect read before bedtime

𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬: responsibilities of having a pet, friendship, educational (weather and science)
𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫: young children, curious children, children wanting pets (great conversation starter when discussing responsibilities and compassion)
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Capstone for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

How are you?
What are some of your favourite heart-warming reads?



Iron Widow | ARC Book Review + incoherent thoughts

Title: Iron Widow
Author: Xiran Jay Zhao
Publisher: Rock the Boat
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of unhinged, selfish protagonist, Poppy War (similiar to Rin—angry protagonist fighting in a war)
CW: death, war, torture, murder, reference to sexual assault (no on-page depiction), misogyny, suicide ideation, and alcohol depiction

Check out the Goodreads synopsis below!

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

Upon finishing this book I was so incoherent. This was one of my highest anticipated read for 2021 and I’m at loss for words.

OKAY! Before I get into the review, here’s an original piece inspired by the book.
As I was telling my partner about this story, this song came into fruition.
They made this song and this is their interpretation (when Zetian gets out of the chrysalis).
I named the song “Rise from the Chrysalis”

Let’s do my typical Gush / Gripe and then I’ll get into more details with everything.

• Addictive to read. The writing style is simple and straight-forward.
• The relationship developing into a polyamorous relationship, exploring different avenues and boundaries of romantic love.
• I did like how this book made me think about it even a few days later. I love it when books do this.

• I didn’t feel grounded in the world. Despite this being in a new, vast world, I failed to see beyond the pages (this could be a me thing, though).
• Wish there were more development in the polyam.
• The take on “smashing the patriarchy” in this book.



Wu Zetian: the protagonist, inspired by the only female emperor in Chinese history.
• Angry and unhinged
• pilots mecha
• looks mean, is mean

Li Shimin:
• replace the coffee with alcohol
• pilots the “Vermillion Bird”, is a mecha partner to Zetian
• looks mean, is a cinnamon roll

Gao Yizhi:
• blessed with good looks and money
• superpower is being rich
• looks like a cinnamon roll, can be mean

The Romance

I appreciate how this story develops a love triangle into a polyamorous relationship. I liked that. However, I wished the relationship had more depth into it. As readers, we witness the characters interact and develop however, I feel like the romance could have had more build up especially between everyone and Li Shimin. In saying that, I did like how it explored more avenues in love and to not be bound by just one person and have the ability, trust and openness.


I loved the premise of this story (sci-fi Chinese inspired world), however, I just wished there were more descriptions and world-building. I wasn’t too familiar with what chrysalis were and what they really looked like until I googled images. I do like straight-forward prose, but I didn’t feel grounded in the world whilst reading this.

Men = bad, women = bad (AKA my biggest gripe) (minor spoilers, ahoy!)

I just have a few qualms regarding Zetian and the narrative: whilst I’m aware this is fiction and Zetian nor the author is not here to “teach” the reader anything (a common emotional and mental burden for many minorities), I can’t help but question how this is a “smashing the patriarchy”.

This is supposed to be smashing down the patriarchy but I feel like it’s just killing evil men.

I failed to see how this was a feminist read because it does not bring women up. Zetian questions the world and the systematic evils whilst simultaneously looking down on other women, especially those who live a life that is viewed as a traditionally feminine role (being a mother, married, etc.). I thought the point of equality should be women could choose their paths in life “traditionally feminine” or not? Furthermore, there’s hardly any positive female relationships throughout this whole novel. Zetian speaks of love for her “Big Sister” (am unsure of her name) yet we the audience never experienced nor witnessed their relationship other than a few flashbacks here and there. How can this ring true to us? Despite Zetian being “for women”, she has very few positive female relationships and interactions. The majority of Zetian’s relationships with women are negative or end negatively. Furthermore, she looks down on others due to their choices (what about survival and social conditioning?) I do hope this means there’s room for growth or exploration in future novels.

One thing that rubbed me the wrong way was how the notion of traditional femininity (for example through the sister and the kind friend) is questioned then rejected and then deemed as “the bad choice”. Instead, reacting in anger and fully rejecting femininity is the “right answer”.

It feels so… binary. There’s no nuance. No discussion. Yes, perhaps finding true equality is to break down the systemic oppression and foundation. Perhaps the answer and the actionable steps will be messy. However, what Zetian truly wants is freedom and choice. Yet, she looks down on other women should they choose to marry or have children?

Also, there’s no discussion regarding her love interest’s complicity in this world. One killed his family due to a horrible circumstance, he feels bad about hurting women… The other, well, his mother was killed by his evil father so naturally, men = bad. Finding Zetian and her morals made them realise, that yes, women do get a say???!!

Whilst there is a passing acknowledgement of privilege and guilt of both her love interests… that’s it?

In a world where everyone is indoctrinated to think and therefore act a certain way, where did they gain this insight? I can understand Zetian’s thought process as she’s endured the hardship. But the men? They are most comfortable in this world. They have the most to gain. Especially, the rich love interest. How did he dismantle his thinking? His mother died? Right, that would fuel his fire to hate his father and to jump onto the father issues bandwagon…

Let’s talk about the family dynamics.
From Zetian’s point of view, her family has failed her due to their complicity and their treatment towards her. In response to her family failing Zetian, she kills them. I can’t get over how Zetian kills her own family. In cold blood. Yes, her family wasn’t good to her. I’m not here to defend either action, because there is no excuse for abuse. Let me reiterate: there is no excuse for abuse.

I wanted to scrutinise Zetian and her relationship between her mother (and grandmother). Zetian states she would want it better for her mother and grandmother… but let’s look a little deeper, shall we?? Zetian states her mother plays the role of being subservient to the father.

“It’s not about having it easy. It’s about keeping peace in the family.”

Zetian’s mother to Zetian

“She’d [the mother] step cautiously around him [the father] as if he were a bomb, worrying about her every move for fear of setting him off.”

Hmmm… this quote and scenario reminds me of abuse… Walking on eggshells with your partner, being afraid, not being able to be open, difficult to say “no”, partner dictates everything… Yeah, it sounds like abuse. Perhaps the mother is a victim of abuse and remains complicit in it towards Zetian. However, it’s important to note how hard it is to get out. So hard!! How can her mother and grandmother break such a vicious traumatic cycle?? With no therapy or support or knowledge? In a world where women solely rely on men (their husbands), how will they survive? How? Zetian wants her mum to create a scene, to fight back for her. But how? There’s no resources. There’s no help. Whilst Zetian may not be afraid to die, that doesn’t mean other people want to. Zetian vilifies/looks down on her mother (which, sounds like the mother is a victim of either domestic/emotional/mental abuse). There’s no redemption for them. Just death. I…

“You tell them over and over, until it’s the only truth they’re capable of living.”

The rage is natural and understandable. However, challenging and breaking down systems with cold blood murder and no remorse or afterthought? I really don’t think killing people in cold blood is the answer. Because it begs the question, who gives you authority to deem who dies and who doesn’t?

“It is not me who is wrong. It’s everyone else.”


Whilst I enjoyed this, these characters are definitely not the heroes.

I really am convinced that this is a villain origin story, in which I don’t mind. In fact, I love selfish female main characters!!! But don’t sell me that this is how you smash the patriarchy—with NO rationale logic, no compassion or empathy for anyone but your love interests.

Zetian is flawed and unhinged. As an audience, we see her wrath and rage. It’s palpable. It’s understandable, even. However, I don’t think she’s someone we should deem a hero. I cannot agree killing innocent is the answer to smashing the patriarchy (friends, this is a war crime help). Nor do I agree with the whole hypocrisy of it all.

“I’ve destroyed the Kaihuang watchtower. I did not care who was in there.”


The thing is, I don’t mind questionable morals and morally grey characters (love unhinged and selfish characters) but what really unsettled me was the fact that the narrative never questions Zetian’s actions or morals. Instead, we’re positioned to think that every move Zetian calls for a cheer and that THIS is how you break down the patriarchy. Yay! You killed your only female friend because she betrayed you (never mind the fact that she had her two toddler children held as hostages). Yay! You killed your own mother! Yay! You tortured and killed a man! Yay! You tore down a whole fucking tower with people in it. Innocents? What’s that! War crime? Never heard of her!!!!

There is literally this quote right here:

“New bargain: defy us, and all of you and your family will die!”

Whoa, what the fuck.

For a topic as complex as breaking down systematic misogyny and the patriarchy, I feel like there needs to be a range of discussion, a messy journey of learning and unlearning and questioning everything including yourself. Everyone needs to take the internal journey and intentionally address their own bias and comfort. Unfortunately, this did not happen to that extent throughout the novel.

There’s no nuance. There’s no conversation. Just death.

Despite my gripes, I do hope that this means there’s consequences and growth in future novels. I am curious to see where this will go.

𝐈𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞:
✔ Pacific Rim / Zoids / Gundam Wing / Neon Genesis Evangelion / mecha vibes
✔ Poly love triangle (finally!!)
✔ Unhinged main character taking on the patriarchy with her own bare hands in her own manner
✔ inspired by East Asian mythology and historical figures

𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬: misogyny, sexism

𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫: fans of unhinged, selfish protagonist, Poppy War (similar character dynamics—angry protagonist fighting in a war)

𝐂𝐖: death, war, torture, murder, reference to sexual assault (no on-page depiction), misogyny, suicide ideation, and alcohol depiction

Thank you to @NetGalley and the publisher (Rock the Boat) for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

𝘗𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘦: 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘰𝘵𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘢𝘯 𝘈𝘥𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘊𝘰𝘱𝘺 (𝘈𝘙𝘊) 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘺 𝘣𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘶𝘱𝘰𝘯 𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.

Have you read this? Will you be reading Iron Widow?
If you’ve read this, what’s your thoughts on it?