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

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My Top 10 Reads Of 2021! // in which i run out of words to describe these books

Ho Ho Ho! (ok my Santa imitation needs work)

Merry Christmas to all humans and elves alike! Let there be cheer! And presents! (you’ll never guess what i got! but maybe in another post) And candy! And more candy!

What better occasion than Christmas to flaunt my favourites (aka my obsessions) of this year? I read a total of 70 books in 2021, but only some of them are truly special to me. I’ve chosen the 10 books I liked the best (+ some honourable mentions of course), books that own my heart and soul, books I’ll never stop recommending till the day I die (atleast i’ll get prizes for the drama? no?)

I have also done the heart-wrenching task of actually ranking these books (believe me, it only looks easy) however I’d also like to mention that all of them have an equal place in my heart, but some more equal than the others (yes that was an Animal Farm reference). To keep the suspense rolling, we’ll go in reverse order; that means we’ll start off from number 10 all the way to number 1 (with #1 being like the best book of the year), and NOW I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T WAIT ANYMORE LET’S STA–

~ #10 The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Choksi ~

“’You and your secrets.
‘Secrets keep my hair lustrous,’ said Severin, running his hand through his curls.”

I’d been hearing about this all over the bookish community, and though I read so many mixed opinions, one thing that I found common in all the reviews was the comparison to six of crows. Obviously, I knew I had to give this a try. And I wasn’t disappointed. Sure, it was a lot like the soc duology, but it put a different twist into everything. And not to forget, the author is an indian (like me!) and believe me the desi vibes were up to the mark (“laila-majnun”? i’m dying) and of course I adored the moral greyness (is that even a word?) of the characters. The banter was *chef’s kiss* and don’t even get me started on the found family.

~ #9 Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth ~

“I dug deep down into my empathy store and found a dried-up old raisin.”

To say that this book made me laugh would be an understatement. It had me snorting and chuckling and giggling (in the most embarrassing way) and basically a lot of people around me thought I’d finally lost it so there’s that. There was Aideen, aka the best narrator ever. There was the perfectly accurate description of students in a high school. And then there was Meabh. Sweet, perfect Meabh in whom I saw so much of myself that I think the author somehow based her off my personality. But. The whole point of those graphics were to stop me from boring you to death with essays, so we stop here.

Why I picked this up: It’s no coincidence that I started reading this a couple of days after reading Anoushka’s review! I was feeling the contemporary vibes anyway, so after reading her review I was sure I needed this!

~ #8 We Are Not Free by Traci Chee ~

“Is this what life is like? People coming together and drifting apart, coming together and drifting apart, over and over until there’s no one left?”

The award for “Most Tears Of The Year” (yes I just made that up) goes to We Are Not Free by Traci Chee! 14 POVs brought out the individuality of each character beautifully, and while this was not my first Traci Chee book, it was definitely the most impactful. And I’m sure it will also leave a lasting impact on you (and those poor tissues that’ll get wet in the process)

Why I picked it up: I decided to give this a try after reading Cherelle’s review!

~ #7 Supernova by Merissa Meyer ~

“Some people were always meant to be heroes.
Just like some people were always meant to be villains.”

Superheroes. And supervillains. But not the cheesy kind, I promise.

The third and final book in the Renegades trilogy, Supernova was the best of the lot. It was filled to the brim with action and anguish and secrets and I couldn’t have hoped for a better ending.

Why I picked it up: It was because of April’s review of the Renegades trilogy that I decided to read it. (though April, I do realize that you liked the first two books better?? but anyway.)

~ #6 Sands Of Arawiya Duology by Hafsah Faizal ~

A thousand leagues and a thousand sands. For you, a thousand times I would defy the sun.

I swear there’s some sorcery involved here because Faizal straight off picked all my favourite tropes, topped it with mind-blowing writing and humour, and named the result the Sands Of Arawiya duology. That’s how good this book is.

If you’re curious about the tropes in question, we had enemies to lovers, knife to throat, slow burn and plenty of witty banter. Still need convincing? Read the epic showdown of WHTF against the hype-o-meter!

Why I picked it up: I read Cherry’s and Kaya’s reviews, and it was then I knew that I needed to read this duology!

~ #5 Aurora Cycle duology by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ~

“He asks for nothing, this boy. No favor. No quarter. He lives every moment of his life is pain, but still, he lives it. And he stands, where others would have long ago fallen.”

Full of complex and well-developed characters, found family vibes, and cool spaceships, the Aurora Cycle duology (now a trilogy) has to be one of the best space operas I’ve ever read! And WOULD YOU LOOK AT THOSE COVERS??

Why I picked it up: Madeline convinced me to pick up this one through her constant ramblings about this series on her blog! Ashmita also recommended this to me!

~ #4 These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong ~

“You know me. Running around. Living life. Committing arson.”

Ok this was another one of those instances where I got carried away by the hype and am glad I was. Because #ownvoices historical fiction! set in asia! blood feuds! morally grey characters! badass girl and soft boy! enemies to lovers at it’s finest! and whatever else I mentioned in the graphic of course, but tell me, do you still need a reason to go bury your nose in These Violent Delights right now?

~ #3 Rule Of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo ~

“The world might crumble, but Nikolai Lantsov would be holding up the ceiling with one hand and plucking a speck of dirt from his lapel with the other when it all went to ruin”

I’ll have you know that this was the book that pushed These Violent Delights out of the top 3 at the very last moment. I finished reading the duology (but I put only rule of wolves here because i found it even better than king of scars) just yesterday evening, it doesn’t get any more last-minute than that. Also please do understand that because of the reason stated above, my feelings for this one are very fresh. So. ASJHDFHFGSJK MISS BARDUGO YOU DID IT AGAIN I LOVED THIS SO SO MUCH IT’S BRILLIANT. And did I mention I’m obsessed with Zoya and Nikolai’s characters? And the Six of Crows references were EVERYTHING.

~ #2 House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune ~

“Sometimes, he thought to himself in a house in a cerulean sea, you were able to choose the life you wanted. And if you were of the lucky sort, sometimes that life chose you back.

With dry sarcastic humour, out of the world character development and found family vibes, The House In The Cerulean Sea is in short, AWESOME. It will tug at all your heartstrings (note the use of “will”) and make you laugh and cry and then smile through watery eyes and much more including staring at the wall trying to process how a book can be so beautiful.

~ #1 Six Of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo ~

““Greed is your god, Kaz.”
He almost laughed at that. “No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.”

At this point, I am 200% sure this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, given the amount of SoC references there are in my posts. And there have also been posts specifically dedicated to this duology (apart from the review), the latest being Books I’d Use As Weapons // aka books i’d throw at jesper if i was david.
I am wholly and truly OBSESSED with everything that has to do with this duology. I don’t even have words (turns out, i do) to describe the sheer PERFECTION this duology is – it’s captivating, it’s brilliant, it’s… perfect. (yeah I’m running out of synonyms here)

Why I picked it up: Well because it is so massively hyped and everyone was raving about it. But I first came to know about it from Cherelle’s blog last year, so shout-out to her!

A quick little vote of thanks before we move one- THANK YOU Anoushka, Cherelle, April, Cherry, Kaya, Madeline and Ashmita for recommending these fantastic reads to me because it’s very likely i never would have read these without your persuasion!

I had to include an Honourable Mentions section because I am afraid of the wrath of the bookish gods even though these books couldn’t make it to my top 10 because of ~competition~, nevertheless they cannot be left out as they were also absolutely amazing books that deserve all the love they can get.

Cemetery Boys
Perfect on Paper

Soo I feel like I’m supposed to make an eloquent speech at the end of this post so here goes *ahem * GO READ ALL OF THESE BECAUSE TRUST ME, YOU NEED THESE IN YOUR LIFE OKAY?! Ok not quite the eloquence I was hoping for but it gets the point across.

How was your Christmas? Candy? Gifts?? Which were your best reads in 2021? Have you read any of mine? Thoughts?
Oh and before you go, let’s scream it together – NO MOURNERS, NO FUNERALS!!

~ Rachel

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!