BOOKENDS: January & February 2021

These first two months of 2021 have flown by. I’m trying to focus more on me this year, and I’ve also decided to move back east by this summer! Lots of changes are happening, and I’m very excited for so many of them (but the moving process itself is not something I enjoy). I’m taking this time to unhaul and reevaluate the books I currently own, and I’m hoping to reduce what’s on my shelves by a lot. I like the idea of having a personal library, but I also like having space and curating a collection of books that represents me as a reader.


At this point, I wonder if I should start taking bets on when I’ll finish A People’s History of the United States and The Big Book of Science Fiction. What I really need to do is take them out of a book stack and put them in easy reach so I read a little bit of them every day… I finally started reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and while I’m only a few chapters in, I don’t quite know how to feel about it yet. I’m enjoying The Paris Library and Siri, Who Am I? and hope to finish those soon!

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins (7%)
📓 The Paris Library – Janet Skeslien Charles (12%; thank you, Atria Books!)
📱 Siri, Who Am I? – Sam Tschida ; (44%; thank you, Quirk Books!)
📚 A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn (56%)
📚 The Big Book of Science Fiction – edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (32%)


I read nine books in January and nine books in February! For some reason I thought I read much less, but February itself just flew right on by and I also started reading A Court of Silver Flames at the end of the month, so that threw my books read sense askew. I was looking forward to The Duke and I, but aside from a DNF it is the lowest rated book of the year so far. I thought it would be better than it was, but I felt literally no connection/love/spark between the two leads. The show is much better than the book, and I ended up selling my Bridgerton books on eBay for a nice chunk of change. The first DNF of the year is Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues. I’ve tried on and off throughout the years to start this and make headway, but something about it kept causing me to set it aside. This time I made it a little further in and didn’t like the fatphobic jokes nor the use of the n-word, so I set it aside for good. The rest of the reads were good and I enjoyed so much from a variety of genres! This is also the first time I’ve gotten to use my reread emoji!

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

💞The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien (5/5 stars)
⌛️ A Grave Matter – Anna Lee Huber (4/5 stars)
⌛️ The Right Swipe – Alisha Rai (4/5 stars)
📓 Culture Warlords – Talia Lavin (4.5/5 stars; thank you, Hachette Books!)
📓 The Heiress – Molly Greeley (4.5/5 stars)
📚 The Duke and I – Julia Quinn (1/5 stars)
📱 The Princess and the Rogue – Kate Bateman (4/5 stars; thank you, St. Martin’s Press!)
⌛️ Hood Feminism – Mikki Kendall (5/5 stars)
📚 Pretty as a Picture – Elizabeth Little (3.5/5 stars)
📓 The Rush’s Edge – Ginger Smith (3.5/5 stars; thank you, Angry Robot!)
⌛️ The Duke Who Didn’t – Courtney Milan (4/5 stars)
📚 The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem – ed. Jeremy Noel-Tod (3/5 stars)
📓 Craft in the Real World – Matthew Salesses (5/5 stars; thank you, Catapult Press!)
📚 My Fake Rake – Eva Leigh (5/5 stars)
📓 Single and Forced to Mingle – Melissa Croce (3.5/5 stars; thank you, Atria!)
📚 Would I Lie to the Duke – Eva Leigh (4/5 stars)
📓 Reincarnation Blues – Michael Poore (DNF)
💞 The Thirteenth Princess – Diane Zahler (4/5 stars)



This is my rough March TBR based on a little game I created for myself (I’ll create a post on this soon!), and I’m trying to get myself out of reading ruts by creating prompts matched to a playing card. I drew five cards and got the following books based on these prompts: horror, random color (a generator picked #042279/navy blue), mystery/thriller, kindle + romance, and a friend’s pick! I’m actually really looking forward to this selection of books, and I feel like this method will also help me read more of my own backlist as well as make me think outside the box about what to read next!

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📓 Horrid – Katrina Leno (grabbed off the work arc shelf)
📚 The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
💾 The Hunting Party – Lucy Foley
💾 Destiny’s Embrace – Beverly Jenkins
📚 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins


I am trying to be more mindful of what I buy, considering I’m moving soon, but sometimes I just like to have the physical copy on my shelves…

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
📚 A Heart So Fierce and Broken – Brigid Kemmerer
📚 A Vow So Bold and Deadly – Brigid Kemmerer
📚 A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians – H.G. Parry
📓 Eleanor in the Village – Jan Jarboe Russell (thank you, Scribner!)
📚 Graceling – Kristin Cashore
📓 In Five Years – Rebecca Serle (thank you, Atria!)
📚 Lore – Alexandra Bracken
📚 Play It As It Lays – Joan Didion
📚 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Rae Carson
📓 The Agitators – Dorothy Wickenden (thank you, Scribner!)
📚 The Gilded Ones – Namina Forna
📚 The Mask Falling – Samantha Shannon
📓 The Moonsteel Crown – Stephen Deas (thank you, Angry Robot!)
📚 The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry – C.M. Waggoner


GAMING: I haven’t really played many video games. I pop into World of Warcraft every now and then, but I am finding I don’t have the attention span to dedicate myself to anything right now.

TV: Bridgerton is okay so far! I started it but got distracted by other things to watch and read. I really enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit, and WandaVision is amazing. I can’t wait to see how things wrap up.

MOVIES: I watched all three Lord of the Rings films in IMAX in January and reignited my love for that entire story. I was obsessed with LotR when I was a teenager, and seeing them on the big screen again brought back so many emotions and memories. WW84 was definitely better as a theater viewing!


All that’s on my horizon is moving, and I’m looking forward to new beginnings back where I lived before, and this whole time in Colorado will just be a there and back again sort of deal.

WRAP UP: August 2020

Halfway through September is a good time to do an August wrap up, yes? Time is such a weird thing with the pandemic, and I’m also still struggling about how I want to do this blog, but the more I think about it, the more I just need to do what I want, when I want, and if there’s a week of posts every month, then that’s the case! I know I wanted to do some writing for blog posts and otherwise last week, but with how things lined up at work, I ended up working nine days in a row with little to no time to myself, so that threw me off. I want to try to do three or four posts a week, and if I can schedule/write out a post or two a night, I can keep things on track.

Lately with the weather here in Colorado getting colder, I find myself more interested in keeping up this blog (but who knows how long that enthusiasm will last??), but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m writing for me and really no one else, because I like looking back on what I’ve read and how I thought about the things I read. I think ultimately I’m struggling with social media and Instagram in particular, because while that’s easier in a sense, I don’t feel like I’m getting much out of it anymore. I know I like buying books and collecting books, but I need to actually read them too. I also am making plans to clear out my shelves, reorganize, and weed out everything so that I feel motivated to read what I haven’t read and get rid of what I know I won’t read any time soon. With the library and places to buy used books, I know that if I ever want to read what I’ve let go of I know there will be opportunities to read them again in the future.

I’m also in the process of planning out my 2021 book bullet journal and tying in a book thoughts journal to go with it. I read a lot of books I don’t end up reviewing for one reason or another, but I would like to keep a personal book journal to have a physical thing to refer to in the future if anything happens to the internet!

I haven’t made much progress on any of my challenges and have been reading what I’ve been drawn to, and in August, that was a lot of shorter, easier reads because August felt more stressful with more full days than other months.

In August, I read:

  • The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
  • Letter From Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The A.I. Who Loved Me, by Alyssa Cole
  • The Binding, by Bridget Collins
  • The Duke’s Stolen Bride, by Sophie Jordan
  • Television Was a Baby Crawling Toward that Deathchamber, by Allen Ginsberg
  • Sisters of the Vast Black, by Lina Rather
  • The Times I Knew I Was Gay, by Eleanor Crewes
  • Sex and Vanity, by Kevin Kwan
  • The Scandal of It All, by Sophie Jordan

WRAP UP: June & July 2020

I can’t believe how fast the summer is flying by! I’m glad to have read as much as I have though, and I’m working on incorporating more works by non-white writers and am really excited to read some of the titles I bought in June and July. I have been struggling a little bit with my place on the internet and what I want to do with my blog/Instagram, and a lot of this came from the allegations coming to light in the SFF community. I had promoted some of those writers and now feel weird about having done so without being more aware. And then there was the whole terrible hosting of this years’ Hugos that reinforced our need to move forward and do better as a community. I know nobody is perfect, and no piece of writing is free from bias, but I know we can do better as writers and readers to promote a healthy perception that allows for growth and change.

Now onto the reading!

In June, I read:

  • Normal People, by Sally Rooney
  • The Glass Magician, by Caroline Stevermer
  • Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
  • Midnight Robber, by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Where Dreams Descend, by Janella Angeles
  • Head Over Heels, by Hannah Orenstein
  • Witchmark, by C.L. Polk
  • Little Weirds, by Jenny Slate
  • Romancing the Duke, by Tessa Dare
  • Medieval English Lyrics, ed. Thomas G. Duncan

In July, I read:

  • How to Be an Antiracist,by Ibram X. Kendi
  • A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas
  • Branwell, by Douglas A. Martin
  • The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories, ed. Jay Rubin
  • The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
  • Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, vol. 1, by Naoko Takeuchi
  • March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women, by Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, Carmen Maria Machado, and Jane Smiley
  • What Cats Want, by Dr. Yuki Hattori
  • The Echo Wife, by Sarah Gailey

Some of my favorite reads were Mexican Gothic, The Fire Next Time, Little Weirds, and Witchmark. I can’t stop thinking about Mexican Gothic and I’m going to be recommending this for a long time. I’m looking forward to reading Moreno-Garcia’s other/future work, and I have Gods of Jade and Shadow and Certain Dark Things on my kindle already! I haven’t really read anything from my personal challenges, and I’m looking at the calendar thinking there are only a few months left of the year, so I need to get on those!

What have you read in the last month that really stuck out with you?

WRAP UP: February & March 2020

I really dropped the ball in February and March, but with everything going on and a small uptick in hours at work tied up with literally everything else going on in the world, blogging didn’t feel like much of a priority. However, now that I am at home 99.9% of the time with lots of time on my hands, I’m making an effort to schedule some posts out and keep my blog and Instagram updated a little bit more. I also got Animal Crossing at the end of March and have been playing that quite a bit as well.

In February, I read:

  • The Contact Paradox, by Keith Cooper (4.5/5 stars)
  • An Illusion of Thieves, by Cate Glass (4/5 stars)
  • Show Them a Good Time, by Nicole Flattery (3/5 stars)
  • Mistress of the Ritz, by Melanie Benjamin (3/5 stars)
  • This Earl of Mine, by Kate Bateman (4/5 stars)
  • Upright Women Wanted, by Sarah Gailey (5/5 stars)
  • The Genius of Women, by Janice Kaplan (4/5 stars)
  • Bonds of Brass, by Emily Skrutskie (4.5/5 stars)

In March, I read:

  • Nottingham, by Nathan Makaryk (4/5 stars)
  • Tragedy, the Greeks, and Us, by Simon Critchley (5/5 stars)
  • How We Fight For Our Lives, by Saeed Jones (5/5 stars)
  • A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness (4/5 stars)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (5/5 stars)
  • A Study in Scarlet Women, by Sherry Thomas (4/5 stars)
  • The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel (4.5/5 stars)

Overall, I was really happy with the reads I chose for the last two months, and I’m hoping April will be better! I’m carving out time each day to focus on reading, because schedules are still a little necessary.

WRAP UP: January 2020

January felt like a weird month, a long month that felt like several years nested into the days, and just… L O N G. But I also didn’t get as much reading done as I would have hoped (even though eight books is a respectable number), or anything really, and honestly I’m okay with that. January and the pressure of performing in the first month of the new year is too much sometimes, and I think, especially for me who is currently working in retail, I need that time and space to give myself permission to do nothing at all and just unwind from the stress of the holidays.

I also started off the month with a disappointing read, so I think that threw off my whole reading excitement for a while. I’ve also been really into reading literary criticism/books about books and history, and I have a feeling this trend is going to continue for a while. But I also know I have a tendency to get stuck on certain subjects and genres, so I’ll see where it goes!

In January, I read:

  • On Nineteen Eighty-Four, by D.J. Taylor (1.5/5 stars)
  • Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics, by Stephen Greenblatt (5/5 stars)
  • Things in Jars, by Jess Kidd (4.5/5 stars)
  • A Beginning at the End, by Mike Chen (4/5 stars)
  • Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac, by Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky (4/5 stars)
  • How to Watch a Movie, by David Thomson (1.5/5 stars)
  • What a Difference a Duke Makes, by Lenora Bell (3/5 stars)
  • The Map of Knowledge, by Violet Moller (5/5 stars)

I also finally acknowledged that I am 1000% a mood reader and I don’t think I’ll be setting myself monthly TBRs much anymore, unless I do have obligations or definite reads I want to get to. I’ve also been a little better about writing reviews and getting posts ready. I want to try to post at least four days a week, with reviews and other things, and I think I have a few ideas for consistent posts that will help be sure I do hit that four posts a week mark.

How was your January?