2021 Wrap Up: Stats, Charts and Reflections + 2022 Goals

It’s new year’s eve you guys! Wow it feels surreal saying that.

It’s scary how “next year” has become “tomorrow”. You know the feeling where you can actually feel time rushing past you? Pretty much like a passing metro right in front of you. And the kind that is accompanied by a blast of air that leaves you sputtering and trying to keep your hair out of your mouth. Ok i spoiled the metaphor didn’t I?

Anyway. Being the opportunist I am, let me grab this opportunity by the toes and reflect on my reading and blogging this year. So keep aside that biology assignment (which the school felt essential to give RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER BREAK, why?) and settle down to read this chaotic post. Also, this is my first time wrapping up the entire year, so while i’m obviously very excited, this post is longer than I expected it to be. Like much longer. But hopefully you’ll not doze off in the middle (remember that bio assignment? yeah we cannot have you sleeping while precious time runs out) since I’ve tried my best to keep things interesting with lots of cute ‘lil graphics and with all that said and done let’s start right away!

Reading Stats

Books Read: 71 || Pages Read: 26662 || Average book length: 375 pages

Best Book(s) Of The Year: Six Of Crows duology
Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)
Worst Book Of The Year: The Young Elites
The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)
Most Read Author(s) Of The Year: Leigh Bardugo and TJ Klune
Leigh Bardugo
T.J. Klune
Book Genres

Not surprisingly, fantasy has dominated my reading (imagine little knights and fairies and goblins from the fantasy kingdom charging forward with swords and chasing away the other genres)

I’m honestly disappointed that I hardly read any historical fiction this year. It is one of my favourite genres, but I guess I didn’t find many historical books that sounded particularly intriguing to me, so please, hit me with recs in the comments!

What’s new is that started reading YA contemporaries! I mean, this happened pretty late into the year, like my first one was Perfect On Paper in the month of October. One small step for most of the bookish community, a giant leap for Rachel. (who, btw formerly couldn’t understand why on earth people would choose high school drama over dragons and magic. but she has evolved. congratulations and happy realization to her. and now third person is getting weird so she is going to stop)

Book Formats

This too is hardly surprising. Since my neighbourhood library shut down and then moved to a new location (thank you Covid), I’ve been reading mostly on my Kindle (which has proved such a boon in these trying times). Not that I don’t have a lot of unread physical books sitting on my shelves; it’s just that I haven’t been prioritizing them over others. Guess I need to do that in 2022.

But I started reading audiobooks for a change! Its basically reading without having to use your hands and eyes and that honestly makes it so much easier for someone having a chaotic life (like me, obviously). I also live under the illusion that listening to murder mysteries and horror books makes them less scary than reading them on page, but i’m pretty sure that’s delusional so let’s not go there i’ve embarassed myself enough.

Series / Standalones / ARCs

Till last year, I was a huge series person but now I’m just intimidated by them so I stick to standalones and duologies. And even those 29 books that are mentioned as part of series in the graph are mostly the first books of a trilogy or something, and in most cases I never read the sequels. Like the Gilded Wolves trilogy for instance. I really enjoyed the first book, it was even on my top 10, but for some reason I keep putting off reading the sequel? Idk I feel like I’ve lost commitment to anything more than a duology.

Authors

I mean, since 2021 was the first year I actually became part of the bookish community, I discovered loads and loads of new fantastic authors and books I’d never heard about earlier. Yay to that.

Blog Stats

Posts Published: 85 || Views: 7678 || Visitors: 3291 || Likes Received: 2575 || Comments Received: 1079

Post Categories

So here I’ve analysed the different categories of posts I published in 2021, and i’ve mentioned my favourite posts from each category as well as a few lines reacting to the number of posts in each category I wrote this year. (wow that did not make sense at all)

Book / ARC Reviews

Quite understandably, book reviews make up a significant population of posts on my blog. I feel like I’ve really REALLY improved in writing book reviews (i’m not bragging, you just haven’t seen my very early reviews lol) over time.
I and my friend April also started the hype-o-meter series, which is basically reviewing popular books in a way that deems them worthy (or not) of the hype they get.

My favourite book review posts: The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He || We Are Not Free by Traci Chee || We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Discussion Posts

I have a confession to make. Idontlikewritingdiscussionsanymorehelp *ahem* What I meant was that for some reason I don’t enjoy writing discussion posts these days (yes i know that’s unforgivable, it’s the worst form of betrayal to the book blogging community, it’s treason it’s-) and when I do, they don’t really turn out that great so yeah that’s why there weren’t many discussion posts this year.

My favourite discussion post: Appreciation For Book Bloggers

Lists / Recommendations

These consist of themed book recs, and lists of certain types of books or characters. I like how short and to the point these kinds of posts usually are (please ignore the fact that i gush about nearly the same books in every recommendation post). I’d definitely like to increase the number of this category of posts next year.

My favourite list/recommendation posts: My Top 10 Reads Of 2021! || 8 Diverse Books I Loved, And 8 That Are On My TBR! || My Worst Reads Of 2021!

Random (aka weird) bookish stuff

Aha! Undoubtedly my favourite type of posts to write. I mean, yeah you have to sacrifice a few brain cells, but no big deal. These posts that honestly come out of nowhere can be found aplenty on my blog, especially in these last few months of 2021. We have every level of weirdness here. Comparing books to road trips when they have nothing in common (or do they?)? Check. Trying to relate quotes from books to real life? Check. Choosing books to throw at someone’s face? Also check.

My favourite “random bookish stuff” posts: Books As Road Trips || Books I’d Use As Weapons // aka books i’d throw at jesper if i was david

Look out for more of these posts in 2022!!

TBRs & Wrap-Ups

While I stopped making monthly tbrs a while back, I still love writing monthly wrap-ups! It is a fact well known that the wrap-ups on this blog always start with weird bird facts (also that is getting just a tiny bit old, so wait and watch in 2022 *wink wink*) so that’s a special feature.

My favourite wrap-up post: September Wrap-Up // ft. more diverse reads and lots of blog hopping!

Tags & Awards

While I was absolutely going crazy with tags and awards last year, this year i hardly did any of them. And the ones I did do were the generic ones like the mid year freakout, the end of the year etc etc. Sure, tags are great for a rainy day when I do not have a single post idea in mind, but I tend to not use them much for regular days when I already have posts planned. But. I do have a few very fun tags sitting in my drafts at the moment, so look out for those in the coming weeks!

My favourite “tags / awards” post: The Christmas Song Book Tag || The End Of The Year Book Tag

Read more historical fiction. As I mentioned earlier, though I thoroughly enjoy historical fiction, for some reason I haven’t been reading much of it. So prioritizing historical fics on my tbr is something I hope to do tomorrow next year.

Shorten that physical tbr. Those unread books will collect dust on my shelves no longer. (Let’s ignore the fact that I lost all control and ordered a lot of books recently for some reason so more pretty copies are on their way to me while I procrastinate reading the ones I already have.)

Catch up on arcs and arc reviews. Apparently I have no self control and went on a requesting spree on Edelweiss. Plus when authors contacted me to review their books, guess what I did? I said yes, of course. So I’m slowly wading through the pile of arcs and an even bigger pile of pending reviews.

Follow up on series. At least, the ones whose first books I enjoyed. Because I’m internally dying to know what happens.

Work on my WIP. I realize I never announced over here that I. AM. WRITING. A. BOOK! I mean, it’s less a book than a jumble of words right now, but that’s exactly why I want to give it some more time and effort. And also don’t get too excited because there’s basically no plot yet. We’re thriving on vibes.

Who was your most read author this year? Any historical fiction recs for me? What are some of your goals for 2022?(which, let me very unhelpfully remind you, is not more than a few hours away) Chat with me in the comments, goodbye and happy new year everyone!

~ Rachel

The Year 2021 Divided Into My Bookish Phases

Everybody, say happy birthday to my laptop! *chorus of Happy Birthday, Laptop!* That’s right, this lovely device and my partner in crime came into being (aka was gifted to me by my parents) somewhere a little before Christmas last year. It seems like yesterday (for the record, it does not.) when I first cradled it in my arms, and it’s nearly one already. Look at it grow!

Now onto today’s main deal. I don’t know about you, but I find myself suddenly wanting to read a murder mystery one moment and a fluffy contemporary the next, an underrated book one moment and an overrated one the other. Sometimes these “moments” are actually literal moments, sometimes they can be hours, days or even months. Being the mood reader I am, I often give in to these urges.

In this post I bring you all those bookish phases which together made my reading year a big chaotic jumble of books of all shapes and sizes (not literally though, most of them are e-books). Ready? Here we go!

(also, the formatting is terrible in the Reader so please read it here)

The “ooh I wanna read what everybody else is reading” phase in which I read hyped books (February-March and October-November)
Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1)
These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)
Skyward (Skyward, #1)

I am literally the co-founder of the “Hype-o-meter” series so yeah, I have a thing for popular books haha and sometimes I just get carried away by the hype. Specifically, it was in February, March, October and November when I read a lot of hyped books. Some of them were totally worth the hype, and others just… weren’t. (if you’re curious – SoC, WHTF, and TVD were the ones worth the hype)

The “yay, childhood” phase in which I read middle grade (May – July)
Small Spaces (Small Spaces, #1)
Malamander (The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea, #1)
The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Believe

Yeah so I’ve pretty much given up on middle grade now, but there was a time when I was super into mg books. And then in June, I also took part in this read-a-thon called Whatever-a-thon, and joined the team “Middle Grade Monarchs” so middle grade was pretty much what I read that month. And then I binged the entire heroes of olympus series.

The “i wanna play detective” phase in which I read mystery-thrillers (September – October)
The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, #1)
How We Fall Apart (How We Fall Apart, #1)
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #1)
Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1)

This phase started with me buddy reading The Inheritance Games with April. After that I was suddenly into solving murders in elite prep schools and small towns and the like. I think I’m over this phase now (thank you, Truly Devious, for being so truly terrible)

The “science geek” phase in which I read sci-fi (April and August)
The Supernaturalist
Down to Earth
The Ones We're Meant to Find
The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts, #1)

Nowadays I feel like I’ve lost my interest in the science fiction genre, but there certainly was, and probably will be a time when I was fascinated by all books that had to do with technology and space and aliens. In August especially, sci-fi made up most of my reading.

The “I’ll review you! And you! And you!” phase in which I read arcs and review copies (September and November)
A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix
The Wolf's Curse
This Last Adventure
The Helheim Princess (The Helheim Prophecy, #1)

Yeah I have those occasional phases where all upcoming releases suddenly sound just my type and I cannot wait for them to be published so I go ahead and request and arc, or sign up for a blog tour. The story ends with me buried under a pile of arcs. And then under a pile of pending reviews.

the “i desperately need more happiness in my life” phase in which I started reading contemporaries (November-December)
Perfect on Paper
Not My Problem
Only Mostly Devastated

This is a fairly recent development in my reading life. I felt like I couldn’t handle any more pain and death that usually comes in a package with fantasy books, so I finally started reading YA contemporaries. And my, I’d no idea what I was missing out on all this time.

So that was my year in bookish phases, tell me about yours! Do you also have these sudden urges to read certain genres? Chat with me in the comments!

~Rachel

My Worst Reads Of 2021! // ft. a lot of disappointed sighing

Someone stole my Office keys. He’s gonna pay, you have my Word. (get it? like Microsoft Office? MS Word?)

Oh hi. Yeah I don’t know what happened there. Obviously my poor attempt at lightening the mood was unsuccessful. Well then. Points for effort.

Sooo. As part of wrapping up the year, you’ll be seeing a lot of these bookish lists on my blog this month. And what better to start off than a list of the worst books I read this year, right? What can I say, I always believe in getting over and done with the bad stuff first. (if you ever say to me “i have good news and bad news”, like they do in the movies, you know, I’ll always vote for the bad news)

Some quick little pointers before we start!
– all of this is based on personal opinion. Though I didn’t like these books for whatever reason, that doesn’t mean I hate their fans. If you liked these books, i’m happy for you.
– this list is in no particular order, though I did dislike some books more than the others.

With that out of the way, let’s get started right away!

~ The Young Elites by Marie Lu ~
The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

Ironically, The Young Elites was our first pick for the hype-o-meter series (a series of posts in which I and my dear friend April determine whether or not a book is truly worth the hype), because hello, it’s Marie Lu, the popular author whose books everybody seems to love.

I think this book and me got off in the wrong foot (the initial scenes weren’t very encouraging), and after that, well, everything just went more and more downhill. I mean okay, so Ms Lu tried very hard to create morally grey characters but they just turned out to be conflicted and confused about everything in their life. And to top that, the narration was first person, and if I despise the main character, do you really think I’d be interested in seeing the world through their eyes? I mean, Adelina had no direction. She thought something, said something else and did something totally different (and often these actions were stupid). Add to this sorely underdeveloped characters and you get a recipe for what Rachel dislikes in a book.

~ The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman ~
The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts, #1)

This. This was the biggest disappointment this year, maybe the biggest ever in my life. Maybe it was my fault for having huge expectations? I read this back in the month of April, just a few days after it got released. This honestly had SO much potential, the concept was mind-blowing, but the execution just fell flat. *sigh* Nami as the main character and also our narrator was so repetitive that it got really annoying. Unpopular opinion, i know.
Then the plot twist at the end was sort of lazy writing, to get the reader excited for the sequel i guess. I don’t know. I just didn’t care.

~ Shadow Jumper by J.M Forster~
Shadow Jumper (Shadow Jumper #1)

To be honest, the first part of the book wasn’t bad. In fact, it was good. But I have no idea what happened after that. Like everything seemed too hasty and not properly researched. The plot was quite predictable and the conclusion was extremely unsatisfactory too. I think I also read this during the time I was just giving up on middle grade, so that might have played a part too.

~ The Middler by Kirsty Applebaum ~
The Middler

Once again, the synopsis was so promising, even the whole concept of ” the middle child being bad luck” was unique, but the story as a whole failed to deliver. I read this way back, in February, so I don’t even remember much of it. From what I recall, I almost dnf’ed it several times, it was so monotonous. I felt distanced from the characters; I didn’t care what happened to them. The escapades seemed too convenient and some plot points didn’t even make sense.

~ The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He ~
The Ones We're Meant to Find

This is the classic “it’s not you, it’s me” case. I spent nearly the entirety of the book feeling confused and stumped. The dual povs + the switching timelines were something I couldn’t keep track of, so I barely understood what was going on. Among the things I liked were the atmosphere, the worldbuilding, and the unique take on climate change. Unfortunately it was not enough. Among the two sisters Celia and Kasey, I liked Celia’s chapters much more than Kasey’s (at least initially) and the whole “surviving on a remote island” concept was cool until it got boring, and once again, confusing. I also felt quite underwhelmed by the plot twists. Sorry but no.

Which were your worst reads of 2021? Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Chat with me in the comments!

~ Rachel

The End Of The Year Book Tag // ft. a fraction of my tbr for 2022!

‘Tis that time of the year, folks! Okay wait no, that doesn’t sound right. I would be saying that if I’d been blogging for decades (or maybe even a couple of years) and this was my 17th time doing this annual tag. Far from it; it’s actually my first time. *sigh* So much for that one line. I’ll go with my usual “hey guys” next time.

Anyway, we have some brilliant bookish questions to answer, so let’s get started, shall we?

~Are there any books you started this year that you still need to finish?~

Not My Problem

King of Scars (King of Scars, #1)

At the time of writing, I am currently reading Not My Problem and King Of Scars. I am almost 60% in the former, but have read only a few pages of the latter. But I definitely hope to finish both in a few days.

~Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?~

Small Spaces (Small Spaces, #1)
The Haunting of Aveline Jones

Umm not really. But I do feel obliged to mention a couple of books with autumn vibes, so we are going to go with Small Spaces and The Haunting Of Aveline Jones.

~Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?~

If This Gets Out

If This Gets Out is the last 2021 release I’m waiting for.

~What are three books you want to get to before the end of the year?~

Our Violent Ends
Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle, #3)
Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2)

*nervous chuckle* sooo that’s a difficult one because there are at least a million books I want to read in 2021 (or what’s left of it), you know, books I said I would read this year for sure but never got to them, books on my shelves collecting dust… but that’s a depressing line of thought so let’s move on.

I picked 3 books from my “asap tbr”, which I would very much like to get to immediately, if circumstances allow it. (by which I mean if I somehow manage to acquire a copy of OVE) All 3 are sequels of some sort, and I guess I want to read them this year so that sometime far away in the future (read: next year) I can say that I finished such-and-such series in 2021.

~ is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite of the year? ~

Well saying the favourite would be a bit of a stretch, since that spot (and a few spots below it as well) has already been occupied… but yeah I guess there can be a couple additions to my top 10? But also. I’ve learnt that books can surprise you when you least expect it, so no promises.

~ Have you already started making reading plans for 2022? ~

Not plans per say, but of course I’ve a huge tbr laid out for the initial months of 2022. There are SO many amazing releases (just LOOK at those covers!!) coming out next year, and also I have quite a lot of backlist books (books released in 2021 and before) that I want to read, so my tbr is a mix of all these. But (i feel like all of my answers have this ‘but’ element??) then again, who follows tbrs over here right?

Is there a 2021 release you’re still waiting for? Which are your most anticipated 2022 releases? Let me know in the comments!

~ Rachel

September Wrap-Up // ft. more diverse reads and lots of blog hopping!

Would you look at that? My wrap-up post is actually on time for once! I can’t really promise to make this a habit though. What can I say, I like to be fashionably late. *flips hair in sass*

Speaking about fashion, did you know that the bearded vulture purposely dyes its feathers with red soil? Interestingly, it is the only bird that likes to play dress-up in this manner.

Yes, believe it or not, that was the weird bird fact for today.

Since the entire purpose of my monthly bird-fact intros is to spare me from writing long introductions to my wrap-ups, we get started right away!

I didn’t get much time to read this month – most of it was a whirlwind of exams and schoolwork – so I barely read anything for the first half of the month, it was only later that I found some time to read. The books were all 4 star-ish so I guess that’s a good thing?

The highlight of this month, however, is something else. Somehow, ALL my reads this month were written from first person point-of-view! Like, how? An utter coincidence, Nature playing a joke on this poor soul, or the bookish gods trying to convince me that not all first person narratives are boring? Whatever it may be, I am actually glad I gave (5!) books with 1st person POV a chance, because upto this point, I had ended up disliking nearly every book told from 1t person POV. However, I for once enjoyed reading the narratives of most of these 5 books, so happy realization to me!

Onto the books I read!

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, #1)
The Wolf's Curse

A Clash Of Steel by C.B. Lee (ARC)
Rating: ★★ (4 out of 5 stars)
This was a lovely diverse retelling of the classic favourite Treasure Island – with strong woman characters, pirates and treasure hunting! It was one of my most anticipated releases this year so I’m grateful I got the chance to be a part of the blog tour!

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Rating: ★★ (4 out of 5 stars)
A book that has gotten popular recently due to its recently released sequel, I buddy read The Inheritance Games with April for our hype-o-meter series of posts! While lacking in several aspects, I laud the author for creating such an intriguing atmospheric mystery!

The Wolf’s Curse by Jessica Vitalis (ARC)
Rating: ★★ (4 out of 5 stars)
A beautiful, lyrical, atmospheric middle grade fantasy centered around death and life, love and loss among lots of other meaningful themes, this book completely stole my heart.

We Are Not Free

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao
Rating: ★★ (4 out of 5 stars)
This was an intriguing murder mystery set in an elite prep school where secrets don’t stay buried for long. A completely Asian main cast of characters, flashbacks and dark secrets – this book will keep you hooked.

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
Rating: ★★½ (4.5 out of 5 stars)
An impactful story about 14 Japanese teenagers living in war-torn America during WWII, growing up amid discrimination and facing all odds to stay happy together – We Are Not Free was deep. Full review to come!

Most of my posts this month were basically reviews of some sort so yeah, compared to the plethora of creative posts I published last month, this month’s content was pretty stale. Still, some of the reviews are nicely written, with quotes and moodboards and hype-o-meters and what not.
Here are all my posts this month, check them out in case you missed them earlier!

  1. August Wrap-Up // the month of mostly mediocre reads, creative posts and blog redesign! : The month started with me wrapping up my reads, blogging etc in August. The weird bird fact of the month was something on albatrosses.

2. We Hunt The Flame vs the Hype-o-meter // Review : New favourite book incoming! This post was the second in a collab series with April, in which we determine whether or not a popular book is worth the hype! And my, We Hunt The Flame definitely was!!

3. Blogger Interview with Rachel! : Soo this was not a real post at all, it was a reblog of my interview with Riddhi from Whispering Stories! She asks me a set of questions related to everything from my blog to my future career and lots more!

4. Blog Tour: A Clash Of Steel by C.B. Lee (Review + Moodboard) || A diverse retelling set in imperial china ft. lost treasure and pirates! : I got selected for a blog tour of A Clash Of Steel, and got the chance to review an arc! Plus there’s a moodboard!!

5. We Hunt The Flame Quotes As Real Life Moments! : In my favorite post this month, I compare quotes from the Sands of Arawiya duology to moments in my life! Basically a sarcastic compilation of random real life moments!!

6. Blog Tour: Top 5 Reasons To Read The Wolf’s Curse by Jessica Vitalis || A poignant tale revolving around superstitions and death : As part of the book tour of the recently released The Wolf’s Curse, I list the top 5 resons you should read this lyrical middle grade!

7. The Inheritance Games vs the Hype-o-meter // Review : In the third installment of our hype-o-meter series, me and April review a book everyone seems to be reading lately! Was it worth the hype? Click to find out! (and click here to read April’s post!)

I am not kidding when I say I did a LOT of blog hopping this month and I’m proud of how many great new blogs and posts I discovered! Here’s a list of some posts I enjoyed reading in September!!

Maddie @Inking & Thinking reviews The Bones of Ruin!

Darcey @Read In The Clouds reviews Under The Whispering Door!

Aashi @Words On Fleek writes a hilarious song-review of City Of Bones!

Becky @Becky’s Book Blog reviews Among Thieves!

Sabrina @Wordy & Whimsical lists six ridiculous reading worries!

Laura @The Corner Of Laura lists six bad reasons to dnf a book!

Kaya @A Fictional Bookworm reviews an arc of Beasts Of Prey!

Malka @Paper Procrastinators gives tips for Netgalley newbies!

Anoushka @Dipped In Ink wrote a hilarious post on why bookworms can be dangerous!

J @Midnight Book Blog gives helpful tips for writing reviews!

Maddie @Inking And Thinking writes a discussion on why she follows book blogs!

Saima @Stories With Saima shares 6 things she has learnt after 6 months of blogging!

Bertie @Luminiosity Library reviews an ARC of Under The Whispering Door!

Laura @The Corner Of Laura does the fantasy tropes book tag!

Naemi @A Book Owl’s Corner reacts to five star reviews of books she hated!

Brianne @Peruse With Coffee shares her huge autumn tbr!

Cherry @Letters To The Lost lists the reasons why you should read We Hunt The Flame!

Sabrina @Wordy And Whimsical shares blog post ideas that she discarded!

Laura @The Corner Of Laura lists 6 features of a chill-out read!

Saima @Stories With Saima shares her spooky October tbr!

Siena @Booksophobia discusses unhauling books!

Rebecca @Bex the Bibliophile reviews A Dark And Hollow Star!

Alix @Alix Reads Books writes a discussion on annotating books!

Raji @Worlds Unlike Our Own recommends 7 thrilling reads to read during Halloween!

How was September for you? Which was your favourite read this month? Have you read any of the books I read? Let me know in the comments!!

~ Rachel

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

Is it weird that ever since I became a blogger, I’ve wanted to do the Mid Year Freak Out Tag without knowing what exactly it is? Yes, definitely weird🙃 But now that has changed since I did my homework and read lots of Mid Year Freak Out posts by other bloggers from previous years.

True to the name of this post, I am freaking out. Like seriously, when did time sprout wings? Just yesterday I was getting tired of the new year wishes and memes, and we are halfway through already? Whoa.

Till 25th June, I’ve read 37 books and a total of 14348 pages which are both mind blowing, when compared to previous years (I didn’t track my reading before this year, but I know I got nowhere close to these figures). I am doing quite good on my goodreads goal of 65 books, considering that I am 6 books ahead of schedule. Without further ado, let’s start with the tag!

Best Books So Far In 2021

Surprise surprise! Six Of Crows and The House In The Cerulean Sea. Linked below are my reviews for the same.

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review || Book Review: The House In The Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Best Sequels In 2021

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

Supernova was by far the best book in the Renegades trilogy! Read my review here

I love the Aurora Cycle series with all my heart, but somehow Aurora Burning was even better than Aurora Rising! Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Review

Crooked Kingdom does not need any explanation as to why I am willing to die over it. Period.

New Releases I Want To Read

There are SO many of them, but I’ll go with the top 3.

The Ones We're Meant to Find

The Immortal Game

Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations, #1)

Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of 2021

Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle, #3)

Definitely Aurora’s End, the final book in the Aurora Cycle duology-soon-to-be-a-trilogy. After THAT cliffhanger in Aurora Burning (which is THE worst cliffhanger in the history of cliffhangers, if I do say so myself) I can’t wait to see how this turns out. (Also, can we please scream about THAT GORGEOUS COVER?!)

Biggest Disappointment of 2021

The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts, #1)

There have been quite a few books that did not live up to my expectations, but the one that hurt the most has to be The Infinity Courts. I rated it 1.5 stars. Shocking, isn’t it? What’s more is that this book had so much potential with such a cool concept *cue the sighing and head shaking* Read my review here.

Biggest Surprises Of 2021

Malamander and Book Scavenger. Both these lovely books reminded me why I love middle grade so much. Linked below are my reviews!

Book Review: Malamander by Thomas Taylor || Book Scavenger by Jennifer Bertman || Mini-review, some art, and a little “book scavenger” game of my own!

Favourite New Authors

Well, Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer probably?

Book That Made You Cry

The House In The Cerulean Sea all the way. It takes a lot for a book to make me cry, and this one had it all and much more.

Book That Made You Happy

Is it cheating if I say The House In The Cerulean Sea again? Because yes, this book gave me ALL the feels. I laughed, I cried, I smiled through my tears.

Most Beautiful Books You Got In 2021

These were both part of my birthday book haul. I am currently reading The Girl Who Drank The Moon.

Books You Need To Read By The End Of 2021

A Dark and Hollow Star (A Dark and Hollow Star, #1)
The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)
Sweet & Bitter Magic
King of Scars (King of Scars, #1)
The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1)
These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)
It Ends in Fire
The Ones We're Meant to Find
Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)
The Immortal Game

I just picked some books from the top of my head, and though I definitely want to read these books asap, they are in no way the only books I want to read this year. Also if you’ve read any of these, I’d love to hear your opinion!

Which are your best reads of 2021 so far? What are some new releases that you haven’t read yet but want to? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to link your mid year freak out post if you’ve made one!

We’re going on an adventure! || Wyrd & Wonder 2021 TBR

It’s been so long since I took part in any readathon or reading challenge, that when I found out about this entire new world of fantasy lovers, Wyrd and Wonder, I signed up right away! It runs throughout the month of May, and there is like a prompt for every day of the month. What I liked the most about this is that there are no hard and fast rules to this – we can respond to the prompt with a photo, a blog post, anything we want. (psst! As far as I know, sign ups are open throughout the month, so it is not too late to join in! Click HERE to see the intro post, where you will find everything you need to know!)

Obviously I will be reading only fantasy this month, and most of my blog posts will also be centered around the same. Here is how my planned TBR looks like.

(from top left to bottom right)

  • The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  • Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray
  • The Flame of Olympus by Kate O’Hearn (The Wyrd and Wonder mascot this year is a pegasus, so how can I not read this?)
  • The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  • Supernova by Marissa Meyer
  • The Shadow Watch by S.A. Klopfenstein

Buddy-read call out!

I would love to buddy read any of these books with you guys! So if any of them is on your TBR as well, let me know in the comments so we can arrange a buddy-read!!


Before ending this post, I would like to inform you that I will not be following my regular posting schedule in May. There are two reasons for this – 1) because I will be following the respective dates of the prompts from Wyrd & Wonder and 2) since I am comparatively less busy with other stuff this month, I hope to post more frequently than my regular schedule permits. However, I will most probably be back to following my schedule from June.

Are any of these books on your TBR? Are you taking part in any readathon/ reading challenge in May? Would you like to suggest me ideas for different discussion posts, lists, etc related to fantasy that I can do this month? Let me know in the comments! See you there!!

Blog Tour: A Wilder Magic by Juliana Brandt (Review + INTL Giveaway!)

Hey people, I am so excited to be participating in the Book Promo tour for A Wilder Magic hosted by MTMC Tours! A huge thanks to MTMC tours and Netgalley for providing me an eARC (my first ever!) of this book.

Title: A Wilder Magic

Author: Juliana Brandt

Publisher: Sourcebooks Young Readers

Publication Date: May 4, 2021

Genres: Middle Grade Historical Fantasy

Add on Goodreads!

From the author of The Wolf of Cape Fen comes a
beautiful and lyrical standalone story about one
family with magic in their bones, who are tied to the
mountain valley in which they live in more ways
than one. And what happens when the land they
love is destined to be flooded, whether or not they’re still on it.

For generations, Sybaline’s family has lived in a magical valley in the Appalachian mountains, helping the magic grow the land. But now the government has ordered them to relocate; their valley is needed to create a dam for electricity. In one week, their home will be flooded.

Sybaline can’t imagine life without her home and without the magic. Stopping the dam proves to be impossible; the government is too big and too strong. She takes the only choice left: she stays. Using her magic, she builds a wall, and as water floods the valley, it covers her house, leaving her living beneath the lake itself.
But there is a consequence to using magic in such a way, one that will transform both herself and the friends who end up trapped beneath the water with her. If she can’t find a way to escape the prison she’s created, both she and those she loves will end up staying in the watery grave of the valley forever.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s been a while since I enjoyed a middle-grade fantasy book so much! There is so much to love in this book, so I have decided to put together a list of all the things you should read this book for.

The strong sibling relationships. This book was all about family relations. I loved how the main character, Sybaline, and her three cousin sisters shared such a strong bond. Tevi, the youngest, was downright adorable, though I have to appreciate the courage she showed throughout the book.

The positive character traits. None of the four cousins were pampered little children, they were all independent and headstrong young women. I think they would provide great inspiration to all little readers.

The beautiful nature descriptions. Since the setting of the entire story is a picturesque valley, obviously the description matters. And this was done very beautifully throughout the book. Though I am usually not one for artistic depictions, I did pay a lot of attention to them in this book, and found it really easy to picture the scenery in my mind.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this to all those who enjoy scenic descriptions, heart-touching platonic relationships and live-saving (or threatening) decisions and choices.

Juliana Brandt is an author and kindergarten teacher with a passion for storytelling that guides her in both of her jobs. She lives in her childhood home of Minnesota, and her writing is heavily influenced by travels around the country and decade living in the South. When not working, she is usually exploring the great outdoors.
Her debut novel, THE WOLF OF CAPE FEN, was published by SourcebooksKids on April 7th, 2020. Her sophomore novel, A WILDER MAGIC, will publish May 2021. Her writing is represented by Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary Agency.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | TWITTER

INTL Tour-wide Instagram Giveaway!

Head over to Instagram and visit the #AWilderMagicMTMC hashtag where 10 lucky readers will win:

A Wilder Magic sticker, signed bookplate, and official bookmark.

This giveaway is open internationally and ends on April 30th, 2021. Winner will be announced on @mtmctours’ Instagram account.


What did you think of my first blog tour? Do you have A Wilder Magic on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

January Wrap-Up // ft. Wrap-Ups for Among Us Readathon and Explore-a-thon

January has been a whirlwind of a month! I had school examinations right from the beginning of the month till 15th, then had another really important examination on 26th (I know! Who keeps exams on Republic Day?) so the entire month seemed to pass by pretty quickly.

It was also a pretty good month on terms of reading, but not so much in blogging. I feel like I kinda neglected my blog a little, and just enjoyed reading other’s posts instead of writing my own. I also posted very infrequently and with long gaps, and now at the end of the month, suddenly three posts pop up on three consecutive days. (Atleast that’s how I have planned this post, are you reading this on the 31st, or after?) So sorry about that, I hope to be a little more consistent from now onwards.

Reading

I read 5 books (plus 1 comic, but I don’t count comics in my book count) this month, and a total of 2391 pages which is a quite a lot more than what I read last month. The books I read were (in order) –

Tin by Padraig Kenny [MY REVIEW]

My first book of the year!!

Unlocked by Shannon Messenger [My Rating – 4.5 stars]

The Red Scrolls Of Magic by Cassandra Clare [MY REVIEW]

The Reader by Traci Chee [My Rating – 3.5 stars]

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo [Review to come soon!]

Among Us Readathon Wrap-Up

I took part in this Among-Us themed readathon as a Cyan Crewmate, and to win I had to complete all my tasks, which I did!

Tasks Completed

Required Tasks

  1. Swipe Card – Read a standalone (Tin by Padraig Kenny)
  2. Alien Engine Output 1 – A comic (Tinkle Digest)
  3. Alien Engine Output 2 – A book with greater than 500 pages (Unlocked by Shannon Messenger)
  4. Upload Data 1 – LGBTQ+ Rep (The Red Scrolls Of Magic)
  5. Upload Data 2 – A Recommendation (The Reader by Traci Chee)

Bonus Task

  1. Fuel Engine 1 – Most recent purchase (Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo)

Points

1200 (for required tasks) + 100 (for bonus task) = 1300 pts in total.

Explore-a-thon Wrap-Up

To successfully complete my first term at the Explorer’s Academy, I had to complete atleast 5 classes for this readathon.

Basic/Required Classes

  1. Human History – A book set in a country outside my own (The Red Scrolls Of Magic)
  2. Technology – A sci-fi or a book with focus on some kind of tech (Tin)
  3. The many Peoples Of The Universe – A diverse read (Tinkle comic)
  4. Magics Of The Universe – A fantasy (The Reader)
  5. Survival Skills – A book over 500 pages (Unlocked)

Extra Class

  1. Basic Combat – A book that includes a battle or a fight (Six Of Crows)
Favourite posts from around the blogosphere

As I said, this month I read lots of posts by fellow bloggers. Here are the links to some posts by other bloggers that I enjoyed reading-

With that, my post is all done! Thank you for staying put and reading my post to the end (I am assuming you did😂).

How did you spend your January? Did you read some great books? Comment below!

Predicting my top 10 books of 2021

Hello bookworms! Today I am doing something I have never done before. Ranking books before I’ve read them! Actually, I have never even ranked books after I have read them😅, but yeah, you get the point. (and this is about to change this year btw, I am determined to do a “Top 10 books of 2021” post at the end of the year and compare it with this list.)

This post will be about me trying to predict the books I think would become my new favorites this year. It’s all very tentative, though. I don’t even know whether I’ll even read all of these this year but, they are obviously very high up on my TBR.

As to how I am ranking these books, it’s on the basis of either their synopses, or recommendation by others.

Aurora Rising, Six of Crows, Unlocked, Renegades, An ember in the ashes, KOTLC 9, Iron Trial, The Flame Of Olympus, Story Thieves

#10 Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades

#9 Story Thieves by James Riley

Story Thieves:

#8 An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

 An Ember in the Ashes

#7 The Fire Within by D.K Holmberg

The Fire Within (Elemental Academy #1) by D.K. Holmberg

#6 Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Buy Six of Crows (Six of Crows, 1) Book Online at Low Prices in India | Six  of Crows (Six of Crows, 1) Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

#5 Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Buy Aurora Rising (Aurora Cycle 1) Book Online at Low Prices in India | Aurora  Rising (Aurora Cycle 1) Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

#4 Unlocked by Shannon Messenger

#3 The Flame Of Olympus

Buy The Flame of Olympus: 1 (Pegasus) Book Online at Low Prices in India | The  Flame of Olympus: 1 (Pegasus) Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

#2 KOTLC book 9 Shannon Messenger

Yeah, so this book is still untitled and it’s coming out in November this year. So I am pretty much predicting my second best book without even knowing the title, let alone the cover or the synopsis. That’s how much I believe in this series.

#1 Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Buy Magisterium: The Iron Trial (The Magisterium) Book Online at Low Prices  in India | Magisterium: The Iron Trial (The Magisterium) Reviews & Ratings  - Amazon.in

That was really hard, but also really fun. Anyway, how do you like my predictions? Have you read any of them? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!