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

REALLY.
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?

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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

𝐆𝐔𝐒𝐇:
• 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


𝐆𝐔𝐒𝐇:
• 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


𝐆𝐔𝐒𝐇:
• 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?

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My Book Decluttering Journey (so far)

Back in February I counted all the hardback books I owned and discovered it was a total of 130-ish books. It may not look like a large sum of books for many, but before I started book blogging, I hardly owned any books (at most, like, 3 books) as I grew up being a library user and could never justify owning books as I moved a lot when I lived alone. However, everything changed upon joining Bookstagram. I fell down the rabbit hole of thinking I needed to own hardcover books of everything. Because, how else could I post books on Bookstagram, a visual platform of social media? (This is another topic for later…) So to me, owning 3 books to 130-ish books is a lot. Not only am I running out of shelf-space, I’m also drowning in my TBR. Please help

After a year, I’ve accumulated over 100 books. Whilst I love owning books, I feel like it weighs me down in terms of space and clutter. I want to curate my space with books I love and would enjoy re-reading and sharing. If you haven’t already seen it, I’ve written a post on How to Declutter Books (it’s mainly a post calling out myself lol). Anyway, this post is to see my progress on how I am with decluttering my books. This post is to keep myself accountable and also, I love making figures and tables.

Now, without further ado… let’s see how much damage I’ve done!

Number of Hardback Books I own in 2021

MonthBooks owned start of monthBooks I boughtBooks I declutteredTotal books at end of month
January136+ 2– 5133
February133+ 5– 4134
March134+ 5– 4135
April135+ 6– 2143
May143+ 40147
June147+ 30150
July150+ 9– 5154
August154+ 5* (pending)pending lol159*
Table 1. The total number of books I owned, bought, and decluttered each month of 2021.

Books owned at start of the year, January: 136.

Books owned at time of post (August): 159.

In January I did so well, decluttering 5 books and only purchasing 2! And then you see my rapid decline in decluttering books from May onwards. Obviously, I’m not doing that well because in the span of 8 months I have gained +23 books.

23 books!

But hey! I’m supporting authors, so yay! At least, that’s what I’m telling myself right now…

Although, in my defence, a major excuse factor that stops me from decluttering is the fact that I haven’t had time due to my city in lockdown for the past 2 months (woohoo, Sydney) and me being a HCW trying to confine my movement . And for August I’ve put aside a bunch of books I plan to declutter, which is about 8-9 books.

I don’t have a specific number of books I want to own, but I do want to be picky with what I own. Anyway, I’m glad to see my progress on this constant journey. Progress, not perfection!

PS. I didn’t count my books at the start of the year and had to do some MaTheMatiCS to figure this all out. So I’m very happy I managed to figure out the exact numbers! Hahaha… help. You wouldn’t believe that I was that kid who used to do advanced mathematics (secondary level) in primary school lmaooooo where are my braincells now???

Do you declutter your books?

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Anticipated ARCs Everyone Should Check Out | Book Rambles

The ARC Gods have been quite generous and I feel that I must share some ARCS Im so excited to read. Some of these have been on my highly anticipated reads list and some Ive discovered via NetGalley.

Six Crimson Cranes • by Elizabeth Lim
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publish Date: 8 July 2021

Why I’m excited to read it:
– fan of Elizabeth’s writing (written Spin the Dawn)
– intriguing premise
– arranged marriage trope

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These Hollow Vows • Lexi Ryan
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publish Date: 20 Jult 2021

Why I’m excited to read it:
– promising premise! desperate to read it
– love stories to do with Fae
– love triangle (lol we know I love the drama)

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She Who Became the Sun • Shelley Parker-Chan
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Pan Macmillan, Mantle
Publish Date: 22 July 2021

Why I’m excited to read it:
– historical fantasy re-imagining of Zhu Yuanzhang!!
– intriguing premise
– tragedy, yearning, ambition, and magic

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Not Here to be Liked • Michelle Quach
Genre: Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Publish Date: 16 September

Why I’m excited to read it:
– rivals to lovers!!
– features an unlikeable female character & intersectional feminism
– coming of age

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Little Thieves • Margaret Owen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publish Date: 5 October 2021

Why I’m excited to read it:
– huge fan of Margaret Owen (author of The Merciful Crow)
– LOVE the premise!
– unlikeable MC, yes please!

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Iron Widow • Ziran Jay Zhao
Genre: Science Fiction, retelling
Publisher: Oneworld Publications, Rock the Boat
Publish Date: 7 October 2021

Why I’m excited to read it:
– retelling of Wu Zetian!!!
– FINALLY! A Polyam instead of a love triangle!
– Im in love with the premise, the cover, everything

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Within These Wicked Walls • Lauren Blackwood
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Publish Date: 9 November 2021

Why I’m excited to read it:
– Ethiopian inspired retelling of Jane Eyre
– Okay, Ive never finished reading the original Jane Eyre but Im excited
– Intriguing premise, gothic atmosphere


Have you read any of these books? Or are any of these books are on your radar?

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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. 

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? 

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

 

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 joy—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 you’re an avid book collector, most often you don’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 haven’t read:
      • Set realistic expectations on yourself: will I truly read this?
        • If the answer is no, consider why you won’t read the book and decide whether there is a need or reason to keep the book. 
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  • Books you have read—will you re-read it?
    • First and foremost: books are meant to be read. Consider why you want to keep the book. A book’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 “Just in case” books:
    • Consider if you were to lose this book—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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ARCs I’m Excited to Read in February 2021 | Thoughts and Rambles

I must really thank the ARC gods because somehow I’ve been approved to read and review some of my highly anticipated reads this year. Here’s a few: 

 

Title: Hall of Smoke
Author: H.M. Long
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Pub date: 19 Jan 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I wanted to read this:
• Gorgeous cover.
• Intriguing premise.
• A warrior main character on a mission for redemption? YES, I WANT IN.


An epic fantasy featuring warrior priestesses and fickle gods at war

Hessa is an Eangi: a warrior priestess of the Goddess of War, with the power to turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream. Banished for disobeying her goddess’s command to murder a traveller, she prays for forgiveness alone on a mountainside.

While she is gone, raiders raze her village and obliterate the Eangi priesthood. Grieving and alone, Hessa – the last Eangi – must find the traveller, atone for her weakness and secure her place with her loved ones in the High Halls. As clans from the north and legionaries from the south tear through her homeland, slaughtering everyone in their path, Hessa strives to win back her goddess’ favour.

Beset by zealot soldiers, deceitful gods, and newly-awakened demons at every turn, Hessa burns her path towards redemption and revenge. But her journey reveals a harrowing truth: the gods are dying and the High Halls of the afterlife are fading. Soon Hessa’s trust in her goddess weakens with every unheeded prayer.

Thrust into a battle between the gods of the Old World and the New, Hessa realizes there is far more on the line than securing a life beyond her own death. Bigger, older powers slumber beneath the surface of her world. And they’re about to wake up.


Title: Spellmaker 
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
Pub date: 9 March 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I wanted to read this:
• Love the premise.
• MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE TROPE YES!
• Okay, time for a confession: I didn’t realise this was a sequel so I binge read the first book and LOVED it.


Dead wizards, stolen enchantments, and broken promises force a young spellbreaker out of the shadows in the next thrilling installment of the Spellbreaker series by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician.

England, 1895. An unsolved series of magician murders and opus thefts isn’t a puzzle to Elsie Camden. But to reveal a master spellcaster as the culprit means incriminating herself as an unregistered spellbreaker. When Elsie refuses to join forces with the charming assassin, her secret is exposed, she’s thrown in jail, and the murderer disappears. But Elsie’s hope hasn’t vanished.

Through a twist of luck, the elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey helps Elsie join the lawful, but with a caveat: they must marry to prove their cover story. Forced beneath a magical tutor while her bond with Bacchus grows, Elsie seeks to thwart the plans of England’s most devious criminal—if she can find them.

With hundreds of stolen spells at their disposal, the villain has a plan—and it involves seducing Elsie to the dark side. But even now that her secret is out, Elsie must be careful how she uses the new abilities she’s discovering, or she may play right into the criminal’s hands.


Title: The Shadow in the Glass
Author: J.J.A. Harwood
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Pub date: 18 March 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I wanted to read this:
• Because I haven’t read any Cinderella retellings, okay?
• I’m so intrigued with the wishes and the price to pay!
• Look at the cover. I would love that on my shelf.


Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.

A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern. 


Title: Ace of Spades
Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Contemporary
Pub date: 10 June 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I wanted to read this:
• A Thriller!! Based in school.
• LOVE the cover.
• The premise, the themes… I need it all.


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… 


Title: Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder 
Author: T.A. Willberg
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Pub date: 10 June 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I want to read this:
• Love the premise.
• MYSTERY! MURDER! MAYHEM!
• Have I pointed out the cover? Because it is so beautiful.


The letter was short. A name, a time, a place.

Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder plunges readers into the heart of London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a mysterious group of detectives recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning and gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped Scotland Yard.

Late one night in April 1958, a filing assistant for Miss Brickett’s named Michelle White receives a letter warning her that a heinous act is about to occur. She goes to investigate but finds the room empty. At the stroke of midnight, she is murdered by a killer she can’t see—her death the only sign she wasn’t alone. It becomes chillingly clear that the person responsible must also work for Miss Brickett’s, making everyone a suspect.

Almost unwillingly, Marion Lane, a first-year Inquirer-in-training, finds herself being drawn ever deeper into the investigation. When her friend and mentor is framed for the crime, to clear his name she must sort through the hidden alliances at Miss Brickett’s and secrets dating back to WWII. Masterful, clever and deliciously suspenseful, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a fresh take on the Agatha Christie—style locked-room mystery with an exciting new heroine detective at the helm.


Title: She Who Became the Sun
Author: Shelley Parker-Chan
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Pub date: 22 July 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I want to read this:
• Okay, let’s first establish the cover is gorgeous.
• A reimagining of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty? NEED.
• AHHH the synopsis is giving me Red River vibes and I need it.


Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.

To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything

“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.


Have you noticed a similar pattern with how I pick my books? Why am I so drawn to pretty covers?

What entices you to pick up a book?

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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 I’m not familiar with, or aspects I’m ignorant of.

  • I want to read more backlist books (books that aren’t new releases)
  • I want to finish series I liked
  • I want to read more books I own

I don’t want to read or purchase books due to the hype if it doesn’t genuinely interest me.  Life is too short to fill my time and energy on books I’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 today’s society, time is our most precious currency. I’m too broke to spend my time on things that don’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, it’s not something too big but it’s a realistic goal with my schedule. I can easily read in my break/time off/commuting. Plus, ten minutes doesn’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. SooOooo…

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  1. Keep a consistent reading journal

Reading journals don’t need to be aesthetic. There, I said it! And I must continuously remind myself of this: READING GOALS DON’T NEED TO BE PERFECT AND PRETTY, DAMN IT. I’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 I’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 there’s a saying “you can never have too many books”. And that’s true. However, for myself, I don’t like the idea of owning books I don’t plan to read. Therefore, I’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.

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

I know I can’t speak for everyone, and different people enjoy books differently. That’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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Bad Book Buying Habits Anonymous | Book Confession + Haul

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Welcome to the Bad Book Buying Habits Anonymous. When was your last bookish purchase? I’ll start. Hi, I’m Joy and it’s been 0️⃣ days since I’ve last purchased a book.

Now, I may say buying second-hand books ‘don’t count’ but that doesn’t detract the fact I’m still running out of shelf space. 🙈 Anyway, rather than shame my book habits I wanted to display my latest book haul. We all know I’m always touting that I want to read more science fiction and thrillers. Well. I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and loving it. 😁

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What’s was the last book you bought/borrowed?

I’ve pre-ordered A Deadly Education and Kingdom of the Wicked and I’m planning to buy Raybearers later this week. I’m excited for both as they all sound so promising (plus I’ve so many positive reviews about Raybearers).

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Waterstones Mail | Book Hauls

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Hope everyone has been well. Given this whole situation, I’m fully aware of how we (okay, I mean myself) have taken full advantage of online shopping.

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Anyway, props to the postal workers because I’ve received some book mail today. (I may or may not have obsessively checked the tracking every day since ordering but that’s not the focus here haha). Thankfully, I’ve managed to fight off temptation and reduce my original total of eight books down to four. Progress. Now, I’ve never worked in Waterstones, but I’ve ordered four books, paid for postage for one package and have been receiving each book one. By. One. (Insert privileged crying here). As of today, I’ve received two books. I’ve received the last book of a series (haha) and a standalone.

My anticipated book haul:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (1/3 of Winternight series)

The Winter and the Witch by Katherine Arden (3/3 of Winternight series)

Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris (standalone)

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (standalone)

Okay, I’ll be honest. I usually prefer UK covers over the US version and that definitely was the case for The Bear and the Nightingale. AND! Because vain Joy just had to purchase the UK versions, I disregarded the fact that the middle of the series was out of print. LOL. I usually prefer to have one type and one copy of a book/series but that usually isn’t the case. Have a gander of my The Folk In The Air trilogy: two copies of two of the books (first and last book) but!!! Again I’m missing the second book??!! I am noticing this reoccurring pattern here…

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Okay. Let’s ignore my terrible shopping habits and marvel at the two gorgeous books!

 

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