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.

๐“๐ข๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž: The Tea Dragon Tapestry
๐€๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ: K. O’Neill
๐ˆ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐จ๐ซ: K. O’Neill
๐†๐ž๐ง๐ซ๐ž: Comics & Graphic Novels
๐๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ซ: 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.


๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: grief, loss, disabilities, acceptance, purpose
๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: 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.


๐“๐ข๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž: That Can Be Arranged
๐€๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ: Huda Fahmy
๐ˆ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐จ๐ซ: Huda Fahmy
๐†๐ž๐ง๐ซ๐ž: Comics & Graphic Novels, Humour
๐๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ซ: 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.

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: love, self-love, self-worth, taking initiative, staying true to your beliefs
๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: 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.


๐“๐ข๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž: Bear
๐€๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ: Ben Queen
๐ˆ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐จ๐ซ: Joe Todd-Stanton
๐†๐ž๐ง๐ซ๐ž: Comics & Graphic Novels
๐๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ซ: BOOM! Studios

In Bear, we follow the paw steps of a guide dog named Bear. As a guide dog, Bearโ€™s job is to assist his owner Patrick, who is blind. Patrick and Bear happily live their lives in-sync until the unthinkable happensโ€”Bear loses his sight. Scared heโ€™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. Bearโ€™s search is rewarded and reunites with Patrick. After their reunion, Bear undergoes surgery for his eyes. Whilst Bear states he wasnโ€™t โ€œone hundred per centโ€ after the surgery, he notes that he gained something far greater than what he thought he ever wantedโ€”he becomes Patrickโ€™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 Bearโ€™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.

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: friendship, acceptance, resilience
๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: This is a book Iโ€™d highly recommend and Iโ€™d definitely buy a copy. I canโ€™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.



๐“๐ข๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž: All The Colors of Life
๐€๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ: Lisa Aisato
๐ˆ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐จ๐ซ: Lisa Aisato
๐†๐ž๐ง๐ซ๐ž: Arts & Photography
๐๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ซ: Arctis Books

๐†๐”๐’๐‡:
โ€ข Gorgeous, breathtakingly beautiful illustrations depicting different phases of life accompanied by short poems.
โ€ข 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.
โ€ข I feel like this book would be a perfect coffee table book. Great to peruse and keep around.

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: the exploration of human experiences and life
๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: 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.



๐“๐ข๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž: Beneath the Trees
๐€๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ: Dav
๐ˆ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐จ๐ซ: Dav
๐†๐ž๐ง๐ซ๐ž: Children’s Fiction
๐๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ซ: Diamond Book Distributors


๐†๐”๐’๐‡:
โ€ข 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
โ€ข Simple and fun read with a great message (helping those in need)
โ€ข Gorgeous art style with vibrant and a beautiful colour scheme befitting for Autumn/Fall
โ€ข The ending made me chuckle
โ€ข Perfect Autumnal read

๐ˆ๐ง ๐š ๐ง๐ฎ๐ญ๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ, ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ข๐Ÿ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ค๐ž:
โœ” grumpy characters with a heart of gold
โœ” seasonal mood reader looking for a cozy read
โœ” fan of Disney-like art style/storytelling

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: community, never judge a person by their appearance, kindness
๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: 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.



๐“๐ข๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž: My Pet Cloud
๐€๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ: Amanda Rawson Hill
๐ˆ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐จ๐ซ: Laia Arriols
๐†๐ž๐ง๐ซ๐ž: Children’s Fiction
๐๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ซ: Capstone


๐†๐”๐’๐‡:
โ€ข A sweet and charming story about a boy and a pet cloud
โ€ข 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
โ€ข Beautiful illustrations with a gentle colour palette, befitting of the narrative and themes
โ€ข Perfect read before bedtime

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: responsibilities of having a pet, friendship, educational (weather and science)
๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: 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?

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Jade Fire Gold | Book Review + Tour

Hello and welcome to my stop. Here, this post will include a review, creative content (music), and favourite quotes.
Many thanks to @CaffeineTours and Harper Teen for the opportunity take part in this tour.

You can check out the Tour Schedule here.

UK edition
Art: Aaron Munday
US edition
Art: GUWEIZ


Title: Jade Fire Gold
Author: June CL Tan
Publisher: Harper Teen (US)
Age group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: โ˜… โ˜… โ˜… โ˜… โ˜†
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of character-driven stories, fans of YA fantasy,
On-page Representation: POC (Chinese-coded characters), LGBTQ+ (Sapphic, gay)
Trigger and Content Warnings: self-harm (gouging, eye horror; non-graphic), child abuse (physical, verbal, emotional manipulation/gaslighting), parent death (implied, off-page), character deaths, mentions and descriptions of fantasy/magical violence (blood, war, political violence), mentions and descriptions of physical symptoms that might be triggering to those with emetophobia, alcohol consumption

Check out the Goodreads synopsis below!

Girls of Paper and Fire meets The Tiger at Midnight in June CL Tanโ€™s stunning debut, inspired by Chinese mythology, with rich magic and an epic slow-burn romance.

In an empire on the brink of war . . .

Ahn is no one, with no past and no family.

Altan is a lost heir, his future stolen away as a child.

When they meet, Altan sees in Ahn a path to reclaiming the throne. Ahn sees a way to finally unlock her past and understand her arcane magical abilities.

But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.

Ferocious action, shadowy intrigue, and a captivating romance collide in June CL Tanโ€™s debut, a stunning homage to the Xianxia novel with a tender, beating heart, perfect for fans of The Bone Witch and We Hunt the Flame.

I asked my partner to create music to accompany this book.
I thought this tune was so fitting and atmospheric whilst read the bookโ€”especially at tense times!
Feel free to listen to it.

I received an Advanced Readerโ€™s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour.

OKAY. First things first, weโ€™ve all read the synopsis? Yes? Yes! Now, let me get this off my chest:

This book was pitched as โ€˜Avatar the Last Airbenderโ€™ inspired! More specifically, inspired by Zutara (Zuko X Katara) dynamics??? My little twelve-year-old self is celebrating. OUR TIME HAS COME!!! Zutara!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐ŸŽ‰

Yes, please play the song included above as it adds to the hype. Trust me.

AND THEN! Not only does this novel pays homage to Xianxia (Chinese fantasy influenced byChinese mythology, martial arts, religion, and other traditional elements) perfect for fans of We Hunt the Flame?? Good-bye, monies!

Yes, as exemplified above, Jade Fire Gold was a highly anticipated read.

Alright, now that’s out of my system, the review time.

Told in dual POV, we follow Ahn, the orphaned girl with a mysterious past and Altan, an exiled prince with revenge on his mind. When their paths in twined Ahn sees the opportunity to unlock her memories and powers whilst Altan see this as a means to avenge his family and reclaim the throne.

However, in order to gain, one must give. And the two may have bargained more than they can pay.

๐–๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐ :
The writing is simple and easy to follow which makes the narrative easily digestible. Despite the writing being quite straightforward, it paints beautiful scenery, strong emotions, and great attention into little details which are important aspects (such s as weaponry, colour and clothing).

However, my main concern whilst reading this was that I found the pacing jarring at times. For example, there would be moments where I feel like I was trudging through the desert, in the middle of the day with no water (this was only the first ~30%). And then there are times were it feels like weโ€™re rushing through a whirlwind of events.

Of course, this could be a โ€œmeโ€ thing as I like to get into the โ€˜meatโ€™ of the plot early in the book soo I can divulge myself with more details throughout the journey. Donโ€™t let this deter you!

๐–๐จ๐ซ๐ฅ๐-๐›๐ฎ๐ข๐ฅ๐๐ข๐ง๐ :
Iโ€™m a huge fan of Asian mythology and Asian-inspired stories, so I found it enjoyable finding little nuggets or Lore sprinkles throughout the novel.

๐‚๐ก๐š๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ:
Ahn: one of the protagonist starts off naive and I found her passive at the beginning but I did like how she started to develop and become more confident and critical.

Altan: I found it hard to connect to his character due to his angst, however, I did come to appreciate his character. I liked how he started becoming more open and honest.

๐‘๐จ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐œ๐ž:
I admit Iโ€™m a huge sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope, I enjoy it mainly because I love seeing the relationship develop over time (and often begrudgingly ๐Ÿ˜) and I love the banter. In this case, there was no romance until about halfway, which I didnโ€™t mind it so! I just wished we couldโ€™ve seen the two develop their relationship more. As I really enjoyed reading Ahn and Altanโ€™s interactions and dynamics.

๐†๐”๐’๐‡:
โ€ข The writing is simple and easy which made this book quick to fly though
โ€ข Intriguing world-building yet consists of common elements in a YA Fantasy, therefore perfect for those who enjoy certain tropes (Royal characters, reunited with someone, dislike to like, finding the magical artefact, etc.) and genres (fantasy).

๐†๐‘๐ˆ๐๐„:
โ€ข The pacing at times (tit took me a while to get into the first 30% or so of the book but then I got so hooked after that)

โ€ข Why was there a need to put chopsticks in ones hair?? That really took me out.

Being of Asian descent and being a diaspora, Iโ€™m aware of the historical context of the use of chopsticks in the hair and the micro aggression regarding that. However, I acknowledge that I am not a Chinese and therefore, perhaps Iโ€™m not familiar with all the nuance.

Edit:

I read another review and noted that the author responded to concerns regarding chopsticks in the hair. I suggest you check out this review!

The author stated that the chopsticks were not for use of eating but rather a concealed weapon.

๐ˆ๐ง ๐š ๐ง๐ฎ๐ญ๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ, ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ข๐Ÿ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ค๐ž:
โœ” Zutara inspired dynamics (exiled Prince X peasant girl with mysterious powers)
โœ” forbidden magic
โœ” East Asian (Chinese) mythology inspired fantasy

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: empire (explores imperialism), legacy, fate, choice, and power

๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: fans of character driven stories, fans of YA fantasy or new to or enjoy Xianxia or Chinese influenced mythology

๐‚๐–: death, war, gore, torture, murder

Thank you to Caffeine Tours and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Some favourite quotes:

โ€œ๐‡๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ง๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ ๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ง ๐›๐ฒ ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ฏ๐ข๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฌ.โ€

โ€œ๐ˆ๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐œ๐ก๐จ๐ข๐œ๐ž. ๐๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ: ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐œ๐ก๐จ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ž๐ช๐ฎ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ž๐ข๐ ๐ก ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ž๐ช๐ฎ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ.โ€

โ€œ๐’๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ, ๐๐จ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ง๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐๐จ.โ€

June CL Tan grew up in Singapore where she was raised on a diet of classic books and wuxia movies, caffeine and congee. She holds various degrees in communication studies, education, and film. After teaching for a few years, she took a detour into the finance industry. To no oneโ€™s surprise, she soon realized her mistake and made her escape. Now, she resides in New York City, talking to imaginary people and creating fantastical worlds under the watchful eye of her crafty cat. She enjoys telling stories that draw on both the traditional and modern to create something fresh to the eye, but familiar to the heart. Jade Fire Gold is her debut novel. 

Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok

Again, please feel free to follow the next tour stops. The Tour Schedule can be found here.

Have you read this? Will you be reading Jade Fire Gold?

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Lakesedge | Book Review

UK edition
US edition

Title: Lakesedge
Author: Lyndall Clipstone
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: โ˜… โ˜… โ˜… โ˜† โ˜†
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of gothic romance fantasy, fans of For the Wolf, House of Salt and Sorrow, fans of flowery writing
CW: emotional + physical parental abuse, body horror, gore, exploration of death + grief, drowning, self-injury (e.g. cutting)

Check out the Goodreads synopsis below!

A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawnโ€ฆ

Thereโ€™s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowanโ€”and herselfโ€”Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

๐† ๐”๐’๐‡:
โ€ข Dark, gothic read incorporating a simple yet beautiful writing style. The beautiful descriptors evoke a rich and eerie atmosphere. Normally, I enjoy a straightforward type of writing, but here the narrative was fun and easy to read.
โ€ข Intriguing premise with promising conceptsโ€”magic? Broody love interest with a mysterious past? Suffocating atmosphere and spooky mansions? Yes, please!

๐†๐‘๐ˆ๐๐„:
โ€ข I know I mentioned how I enjoyed the writing, however, I understand that it wonโ€™t be for everyone. The flowery language paints pretty pictures and can get repetitive if youโ€™re not a fan or think about it too closely (I donโ€™t know what silt and shadows taste like? And Iโ€™m not sure I want to…)
โ€ข Whilst I somewhat like the main character, she can seem a bit too self-sacrificial at times and her poor choicesโ„ข did frustrate me more than once. I also didnโ€™t appreciate how she never communicates anything with anyone!! Despite promising her younger brother that โ€œweโ€™ll figure things out togetherโ€ she runs out and does things herself with no consideration of anyone. I really empathise with her younger brother. How can someone be so โ€œselflessโ€ and selfish at the same time??
โ€ข I really enjoyed the first part of the book and thenโ€ฆ arghhh!!! Why did I think this was a stand-alone??

๐ˆ๐ง ๐š ๐ง๐ฎ๐ญ๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ, ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ข๐Ÿ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ค๐ž:
โœ” monster boys
โœ” sibling love
โœ” eerie atmospheric reads

โ€œ๐ˆโ€™๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐š๐ซ๐ค๐ง๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ง ๐ก๐ข๐ฆ ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐จ ๐š ๐ฆ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ.
๐ˆโ€™๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐ข๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ฅ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ž๐ง๐๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ง๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ก๐ฎ๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ซ.
๐€๐ง๐ ๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐ˆ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐ ๐›๐ž๐ง๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ก ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ก๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ญ.โ€

~ ๐‘ณ๐’š๐’๐’…๐’‚๐’๐’ ๐‘ช๐’๐’Š๐’‘๐’”๐’๐’๐’†, ๐‘ณ๐’‚๐’Œ๐’†๐’”๐’†๐’…๐’ˆ๐’†

Please note: This is NOT a stand-alone.

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: first love, sacrificing yourself for others

๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: fans of gothic romance fantasy, fans of For the Wolf, House of Salt and Sorrow, Down Comes the Night

๐‚๐–: emotional + physical parental abuse, body horror, gore, exploration of death + grief, drowning, self-injury (e.g. cutting)

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

๐˜—๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ: ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜™๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜บ (๐˜ˆ๐˜™๐˜Š) ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ฃ๐˜ซ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ถ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ.

Are you reading any spooky reads this month?
Otherwise, what do you plan to read?

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Like A Love Song | Book Review

Title: Like a Love Song
Author: Gabriela Martins
Publisher: Underlined
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of YA contemporary, fake-dating trope, and cute, fluffy romance
CW: racism, public humiliation

Check out the Goodreads synopsis below!

This debut paperback original romance follows a Latina teen pop star whose image takes a dive after a messy public breakup, until sheโ€™s set up with a swoon-worthy fake boyfriend.

Fake boyfriend. Real heartbreak?

Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop starโ€ฆuntil sheโ€™s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliatingโ€”it could end her career.

Her PR teamโ€™s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boyโ€”not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for Williamโ€”and realizes that maybe sheโ€™s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?

Honestly, this was such a cute and entertaining read!

๐†๐”๐’๐‡:
โ€ข Light-hearted, fast-paced and fun read
โ€ข This book explores assimilation and how it connects to oneโ€™s identity (I could personally relate to this aspect and appreciate reading it because I havenโ€™t read many books that explore this). I love how it delves into oneโ€™s culture and the importance of self-acceptance and love. My younger self definitely needed a book like this!
โ€ข Positive female friendship. I adored how they celebrated and brought each other up. Love it.
โ€ข Love Natiโ€™s growth and her journey.
โ€ข Wouldโ€™ve loved this and needed this book when I was younger!

๐†๐‘๐ˆ๐๐„:
โ€ข Maybe itโ€™s just me, but I wouldโ€™ve appreciated more communication on Williamโ€™s end, especially towards the end of the book.

๐ˆ๐ง ๐š ๐ง๐ฎ๐ญ๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ, ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ข๐Ÿ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ค๐ž:
โœ” fake-dating trope
โœ” golden retriever/cinnamon roll love interest
โœ” only one bed
โœ” opposites attract
โœ” celebrity main characters

โ€œ๐‡๐จ๐ฐ ๐๐จ ๐ˆ ๐ญ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ˆ ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐›๐ž ๐›๐จ๐ญ๐ก ๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž๐ ๐š๐ญ ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฎ๐š๐ ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐จ ๐›๐š๐œ๐ค ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ก๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐จ ๐๐จ ๐ฏ๐จ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ž๐ซ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ค ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ง๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐š๐ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐œ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž?โ€

~ ๐‘ฎ๐’‚๐’ƒ๐’“๐’Š๐’†๐’๐’‚ ๐‘ด๐’‚๐’“๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’”, ๐‘ณ๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐’‚ ๐‘ณ๐’๐’—๐’† ๐‘บ๐’๐’๐’ˆ

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: assimilation and reconnecting to your culture (Brazilian-American), identity, coming of age

๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: fans of YA contemporary, fans of fake-dating trope,

๐‚๐–: racism, public humiliation

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

 โ€

๐๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: What are you currently reading and whatโ€™s a song that reminds you of it?

๐€๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Obviously, I thought of โ€œLove you like a love songโ€ by Selena Gomez when I read this book and man that song is so nostalgic for me.

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Ace of Spades | Book Review

Title: Ace of Spades
Author: Faridah ร€bรญkรฉ-รyรญmรญdรฉย 
Publisher: Usborneย Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: everyone, fans of YA thrillers and thrillers
CW: racism, death, homophobia, gaslighting, abuse (bullying, etc.)

Check out the Goodreads synopsis below!

An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice.

Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light.


Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power.

Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…ย 

๐†๐”๐’๐‡:
โ€ข love the narration, the tension and the suspense! I NEEDED to find the answers and refused to put this book down
โ€ข I love the two main charactersโ€”Chiamaka and Devon are both strong and endearing characters in their own right. Chiamaka’s strong-willed, go-getter attitude is something I admire
โ€ข Devon is sweet and caring, but willing to do what it takes for his loved ones
โ€ข The ending!

๐†๐‘๐ˆ๐๐„:
โ€ข pacing at the first 20% felt slow although I can understand the set-up

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต๐˜๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ถ๐—น๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด:

0-10%: Wow, this is so fun. I already like the narration. Chiamaka is the best and I like Devon

Wait WHAT!!!!!! What are they talking about???!!

17%: Ahhh!! The gaslighting is so annoying!!

I don’t know if it’s just my version and the format, but it’s difficult to know who’s narrating at times. (Or maybe I just lack the brain cells… yes, that must be it…)

Chiamaka is pretty naive at times… I DON’T LIKE THIS PERSON, CHI!!

Ahhh!! Don’t trust anyone!! PLEASE!!!

25% ONWARDS: asdhjlsgkl;gslk ????!!!!

Cue song: ‘Oh no’ by Capone.

Honestly, from the 25% mark to the 100% I was on the edge of my seat, anxiously flying through the pages. BUT to ease things up, I did enjoy the ending.

but I’m still thinking about everything… and it’s got me like this:

TO SUM IT UP:

๐–๐ก๐ฒ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐›๐จ๐จ๐ค:
โ€ข A nuanced take on and the exploration of institutional and systematic racism, classism, white supremacy, and sexuality
โ€ข A queer black story that shows a peek of living under the gaze of white supremacy

โ™ ๏ธ Ace of Spades is a heart-racing and heart-wrenching story with compelling and endearing characters and haunting social commentary. Real and raw, terrifying and thought-provoking, Ace of Spades is a must-read.

โ€œ๐ˆ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ฉ ๐ฆ๐ฒ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐š๐ฉ๐จ๐ฅ๐จ๐ ๐ข๐ณ๐ข๐ง๐ -๐›๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐ˆ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ง ๐›๐ž ๐ฌ๐จ๐ซ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ? ๐„๐ฑ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ๐จ ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฎ๐?โ€

Faridah ร€bรญkรฉ-รyรญmรญdรฉ, Ace of Spades

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: race, class, sexuality, and familial themes

๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: everyone, fans of YA thrillers, and thrillers

๐‚๐–: racism, death, homophobia, gaslighting, abuse (bullying, etc.)

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

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The Wolf and the Woodsman | Book Review

Title: The Wolf and the Woodsman
Author: Ava Reid
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Adult Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of atmospheric reads set in a magical forest setting, fans of intricate world-building, fans of enemies to lovers
CW: torture, animal deaths, death, self-harm, gore (dismemberment, amputation, mutilation) antisemitism, child abuse, cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing

Check out the Goodreads synopsis below!

In her forest-veiled pagan village, ร‰vike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodlineโ€”her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the kingโ€™s blood sacrifice, ร‰vike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but ร‰vike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except heโ€™s no ordinary Woodsmanโ€”heโ€™s the disgraced prince, Gรกspรกr Bรกrรกny, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gรกspรกr fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gรกspรกr understands what itโ€™s like to be an outcast, and he and ร‰vike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as ร‰vike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gรกspรกr need to decide whose side theyโ€™re on, and what theyโ€™re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all. 

๐†๐”๐’๐‡:
โ€ข rich and evocative world-building, great atmospheric read
โ€ข compelling, lyrical writing
โ€ข Jewish mythology inspired
โ€ข Prideful prince brought to his knees
โ€ข ร‰vikeโ€™s (MC) relationship with a certain family member

๐†๐‘๐ˆ๐๐„:
โ€ข pacing especially the last 10%
โ€ข I wish we could witness more resolution regarding certain aspects

Writing:
The writing style immediately drew me in. Whimsical and magical at times, thereโ€™s a dark and gritty atmosphere throughout the novel which is quite fitting to the tone of the story.

Romance:
If youโ€™re a fan of enemies-to-lovers that are not only stuck with each other but must work together, boy, do I have a book for you. Thereโ€™s a romance that will bring you to your knees. Your knees.

Setting & World-Building:
As previously mentioned, this novel is inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology. Additionally, the author states that this is a work reflecting and exploring nation-building. Therefore, brutal themes such as cultural genocide, ethnic cleansing, and religious persecution are explored in this novel.

Also, the scenes and experiences in this novel may give off visceral reactions. There were times where I had to physically put down the book and think, pace around the room, and pick the book up again. For me, being in the diaspora, struggles with identity and searching for a sense of belonging evoked such feelings and emotions I canโ€™t quite articulate yet as I witnessed ร‰vikeโ€™s journey. ร‰vike is a character that is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Despite exploring heavy themes, Reid ensures that joy, wit, and hope are woven throughout the story and I adored it. This is particularly evident when ร‰vike is reunited with a certain character and certain interactions with characters.

Overall, The Wolf and the Woodsman is a riveting read, a book that must be savoured upon reading.

โ€œ๐๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐จ๐, ๐š๐ฌ ๐ˆ ๐๐จ, ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฏ๐ข๐ฏ๐š๐ฅ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐š ๐›๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ง ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐จ๐ง๐œ๐ž.
๐˜๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐ข๐ญ ๐š๐ ๐š๐ข๐ง ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐๐š๐ฒ. ๐€๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ญ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฌ๐ฆ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐ซ๐จ๐ฐ.โ€

๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐‘พ๐’๐’๐’‡ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐‘พ๐’๐’๐’…๐’”๐’Ž๐’‚๐’, ๐‘จ๐’—๐’‚ ๐‘น๐’†๐’Š๐’…

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ: culture, religion, and identity are explored in this novel

๐‘๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ: fans of atmospheric reads set in a magical forest setting, fans of intricate world-building, fans of enemies to lovers

๐‚๐–: torture, animal deaths, death, self-harm, gore (dismemberment, amputation, mutilation) antisemitism, child abuse, cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing

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

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Tips For A Reading Slump? | Book Confessions

Book confession time: I bought these books (The Daevebad Trilogy) in hopes to finally read and complete this series after constant recommendations and empty promises to myself. And guess what? I end up marvelling at these books and picking up a different book.ย 

I’m discovering that perhaps I love purchasing books more than reading them right now and I need an intervention! Why am I like this?ย 

So, I took my plights to Bookstagram and some booksta friends recommended me their tips:

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Reading Slump Tips:

  • Reading is for pleasure. Read what you want when you want. Don’t force yourself
  • Try varying different lengths of books (graphic novels, light novels, novella, etc.)
  • Find a book that holds your interest, even if you flip through 10 books to find 1
  • Carry an e-book reader or Kindle app to read anywhere
  • Try an audiobook
  • Re-read favourites
  • Keep a page tracker

What are reading slump tips that work for you?

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How to Declutter Books

Books often hold sentimental value to a person. Whilst everyone is different and holds different priorities and motivations, there is often an emotional connection between reader and book. Sometimes people feel anxious at the thought of decluttering their book collection and that is totally understandable and valid. Purging books is a personal choice and journey. Before purging it is important to identify your intentions.

Why am I decluttering my books?

Why do I need to keep my books?

If you are a book collector and possessing multiple copies and/or special editions brings you joyโ€”then that is important aspect to acknowledge. For example, “I keep books because I read and collect them. I love reading and owning books give me joy I love seeing my shelves full.”

If you are not too concerned with owning special editions and drowning in the number of books perhaps consider why you need to keep all the books. 

Before you begin the process, consider yourself and your collection.

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Decluttering books: The Process

Step 1: Give yourself a time frame

Remember, be realistic with yourself. Give yourself a reasonable time frame to do this process. Some people need to do declutter in one go, some need to achieve this over increments of time.

As much as I’d like to think I can achieve this in one hit, I know I won’t. 

Step 2: Look at your book collection and categorise your books to

Keep
Donate 
Sell

That’s it! These are the steps! Haha. But if you struggle with decluttering (like me) or unsure how to categorise your books, ask yourself the following questions:

Questions for categorising books

Is this a duplicate?

    • Unless youโ€™re an avid book collector, most often you donโ€™t need multiple copies of a book. Check for duplicates and decide which copy you want. For optimal results be ruthless with yourself.

Is this book still relevant to me?

    • How do you determine what’s relevant for you? You get to decide the parameters. However, an example of books that have lost relevance for me include magazines, textbooks, and travel materials that have lost its relevance due to being outdated, unneeded, or unnecessary. If the book does not serve a purpose, if it holds no value to you, perhaps you no longer need it.

Have I read this and/or will I read this again?

    • Books you havenโ€™t read:
      • Set realistic expectations on yourself: will I truly read this?
        • If the answer is no, consider why you wonโ€™t read the book and decide whether there is a need or reason to keep the book. 
  •  
  • Books you have readโ€”will you re-read it?
    • First and foremost: books are meant to be read. Consider why you want to keep the book. A bookโ€™s initial purpose is to be consumed. If you have read the book then the book has served its primary purpose. If you want to re-read/share/happily gaze at the book then perhaps you can and should keep the book.
  • The โ€œJust in caseโ€ books:
    • Consider if you were to lose this bookโ€”would this bother you? If not, then perhaps the book no longer serves a purpose for you.
    • Am I able to replace this book should I need it again? (For example, library copy, digital format, is this an out of print book?)

What do to with the books:

Donate or sell

  • Donate to:
    • The public library
    • Schools
    • Thrift stores
    • People you know who would appreciate the book

If it is difficult to let go of books remember this:

  • Do I have access to a library and if so, am I able to borrow this book?
  • Can I consume this book via digital format? Audiobooks and/or e-readers?
  • Why do I own this particular book?

If you do declutter books that gives potential shelf space for more books!

Additional tips:

define a specific a home to keep the books

get rid of books you don’t usually re-read

keep books you would want to re-buy again 

be deliberate and intentional with books you want to own

I write this blog mainly to myself as I don’t want to hold onto books that I don’t love nor hold any value to me. If you have any tips or pointers on decluttering I’d love it if you’d share them!

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2021 Reading Goals | Thoughts and Rambles

My 2021 Reading Goals

  1. Be more intentional with reading

What does being intentional mean for me? It means to purposely take action that is important to me. Being intentional is a personal experience. For me, rather than focus on x number of books read per year, I want to consume more books that bring me joy, inform, and challenge me.

What does that mean? I want to be more conscious of the books I choose to read and spend time and money on.

Books that bring me joy: books that make me think and feel (both positive and negative)

Books that inform me: where I learn something new and/or build upon existing knowledge

Books that challenge me: books that confront me, or is from a perspective Iโ€™m not familiar with, or aspects Iโ€™m ignorant of.

  • I want to read more backlist books (books that arenโ€™t new releases)
  • I want to finish series I liked
  • I want to read more books I own

I donโ€™t want to read or purchase books due to the hype if it doesnโ€™t genuinely interest me.  Life is too short to fill my time and energy on books Iโ€™m not keen on. Which leads me to my next point.

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  1. Develop a regular reading routine

My next point stems from being intentional, but it still stands on its own. Everyone is busy. Reading time is limited. Reading often takes our leisure time. And with todayโ€™s society, time is our most precious currency. Iโ€™m too broke to spend my time on things that donโ€™t serve a purpose or be wasteful with it. Therefore, developing a regular reading routine may be extremely beneficial.

  • I aim to read at least 10 minutes a day. Ten minutes. In the greater scheme of things, itโ€™s not something too big but itโ€™s a realistic goal with my schedule. I can easily read in my break/time off/commuting. Plus, ten minutes doesnโ€™t put a big pressure on me to achieve such things.

Shouting to the void that I want to have a regular reading routine is all fine and dandy but I need to have tools or an approach to ensure I achieve such goals. SooOoooโ€ฆ

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  1. Keep a consistent reading journal

Reading journals donโ€™t need to be aesthetic. There, I said it! And I must continuously remind myself of this: READING GOALS DONโ€™T NEED TO BE PERFECT AND PRETTY, DAMN IT. Iโ€™ve constantly struggled with keeping a reading journal due to me wanting to make it aesthetic rather than useful. And ugh I hate being a perfectionist, but Iโ€™m working on it.

What does a Reading Journal consist of? Anything you want. Reading journals are a testament of what you want in regards to reading and books.

What I will include in my reading journal:

    • Book Log (Information such as: Title, author, publisher, etc.)
    • Bookish thoughts
    • Book review or reading response
    • Reading Challenges
    • Book lists (bucket lists, books I love, TBR, etc.)

I want to incorporate a consistent reading journal because of the many benefits. Benefits of a reading journal include (but are not limited to):

  • Greater focus on reading and being intentional with my time and reading goals
  • More meaningful and better reflection on what I read and learned

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  1. Read owned books

Of the 115 books I own (not including duplicates), I have read 26 books. 26 out of 115. Meaning, if this was a test I would fail. My reading rate is 22% of the books I currently own. I have unread almost 80% of my owned books. I need to do better.

Last year, I fell down the rabbit hole of purchasing new releases and hyped books and bought the books before having a change to read them. Whilst I love supporting authors, it was unsustainable for both my shelf space and wallet.

I want to bring my reading rate of up to at least 50% of book I own. Meaning, whatever number of books I own I will aim to read at least half of that. I want to be intentional with what I purchase and own. A books true purpose is to be read and damn it, I will fulfil my books dream!

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  1. Declutter the books

I know thereโ€™s a saying โ€œyou can never have too many booksโ€. And thatโ€™s true. However, for myself, I donโ€™t like the idea of owning books I donโ€™t plan to read. Therefore, Iโ€™d like to keep that shelf space free for a book I would like rather than owning a book just for the sake of owning it. I want to consciously curate my shelf space with books I love and am genuinely interested in.

Itโ€™s already past the middle of January and Iโ€™ve already purged 7 books I donโ€™t plan to read or have already read and didn’t love. Yay! Progress, not perfection.

I know I canโ€™t speak for everyone, and different people enjoy books differently. Thatโ€™s okay. I just need to set realistic boundaries for myself and shelf space.

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Do you have any reading goals? If so, what are they? Let me know!

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People of Abandoned Character | Review


Title: People of Abandoned Character
Author: Clare Whitfield
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery and Thriller, Historical Fiction
Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of historical fiction centring on Jack the Ripper or set in the Victorian era, fans of mystery and thrillers
CW: domestic abuse, violence, death, anti-Semitism*

*I did feel uncomfortable with the casual anti-Semitism (Jewish characters facing prejudice from other characters). Whilst I can understand the sentiments do not necessarily reflect the author or the protagonist, rather the common prejudices held at that time, Iโ€™d like to inform readers itโ€™s there. Also, this does not occur often and the protagonist questions the notions.

An absolute ripper of a book. What would you do if you suspected the man you loved and married was a serial killer?

People of Abandoned Character is a grim and brutal atmospheric thriller convoluted with abrupt twists and dark turns. Some twists I anticipated whilst others were unexpected. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the tumultuous ride and devoured this book in one sitting.

Set in 1880โ€™s Victorian England, this novel follows a young woman named Susannah, as she navigates her life from ward nurse to a newly wedded wife. Charmed by the enigmatic surgeon Thomas, Susannah is swept off her feet into a sudden advantageous marriage. The promise of a life of stability with a loving husband is new and exciting to Susannah. However, upon returning from their honeymoon their once sweet kisses turn sour as Thomasโ€™ endearing demeanour changes. Thomas who was once attentive, devoted, and charming becomes cold, surly, and volatile. With the rising coincidental spikes in crime and her husbandโ€™s erratic behaviour, Susannah grows suspicious. What if Thomas is the fearsome murderer?

First, I must mention the two major factors that made me thoroughly enjoy this book: the narration and the protagonist. Upon reading the first few pages, I instantly fell in love with the narration. Written in first-person, the voice is distinct and gripping yet humorous at times. The story is well-paced with an engaging protagonist. Susannah is an intriguing character who is both determined yet naรฏve and unconventional and I enjoyed witnessing the story unfurl from her perspective.

Originally from a lower social class and having little to no prospects, Susannah is no stranger to the poor, unfortunate circumstances and sometimes violent ends women face in that era. Despite that, we witness Susannah grapple societyโ€™s expectation using her quick wit and determination. Throughout the novel, you canโ€™t help but cheer for Susannah. Often berated by her grandmother of being a person of abandoned character, Susannah examines herself, questioning her morality and decisions. However, as the audience, we canโ€™t help but empathise with Susannah and her actions despite her flaws.

Also, this book explores aspects such as class and gender, presenting fascinating insight whilst drawing attention to the disparity between the rich and poor and the inequality between men and women. A sad tune that still rings true till this day.

Overall, this was a compelling read with great pacing and intriguing twists. I enjoyed this thoroughly (and was satisfied with the ending!) and would recommend this book. Now I cannot wait for my Goldsboro copy to arrive.

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

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