December Wrap Up 2020 + ANNOUNCEMENT!

Welcome to my final wrap up (and post) of 2020! What a year it’s been. It has definitely had its ups and its many, many downs, but I think we all learned a lot this year, and for that I’m really grateful. My outlook on life has changed a lot, and I think I’ve really learned that life is short and you have to take advantage of every opportunity given to you!

With that being said, I have decided to start a podcast! You can listen to the trailer now on Anchor.fm, and in a few days, it should be available on many more podcasting platforms (including Apple Podcasts and Spotify)!

If you want to hear me chat about reading, writing, and the creative podcast, definitely be sure to check it out.

I have also decided to go back to posting once a week on here in 2021 in order to increase the quality of my posts. I want to be happy with everything I share, and I don’t want to feel rushed or burnt out.

I hope this change will be a positive one for you all as well because you’ll be able to get more value out of my posts! I am excited for all that the new year will bring, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Now, let’s look at my reading for the month of December! I read 12 books, which I’m so happy about, and I enjoyed all of them—that’s pretty rare!

5 stars

  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi: This is a very well written and informative read! I think it’s a book that everyone should read.
  • Shine Your Icy Crown by Amanda Lovelace: We all know how much I love Amanda Lovelace! This collection is all about sisterhood, and as I have a younger sister, I related to it so much. It was beautiful as always.
  • Writers & Lovers by Lily King: This was one of my most anticipated reads, and I am so pleased that it was a good one. I love reading about other writers, so I knew this one would be a 5 star!
  • The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon: I read my first book by Rachel Lynn Solomon this year & it is one of my favorite reads of 2020! I loved this one just as much, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to be able to read it.
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: The Hill House show is one of my absolute favorites, and I have been wanting to read the book for a really long time. It surprised me a lot because it’s so different from the show, but I loved it in its own way! Shirley Jackson is an amazing writer.

4 stars

  • Please Pick Me by Reina Regina: This is a poetry collection I reviewed earlier this month, so be sure to check that out for my in-depth thoughts!
  • My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni: I have been loving thrillers recently, and this one was really interesting! I may even continue the rest of the series because I enjoyed the story a lot.
  • Genius and Ink by Virginia Woolf: Virginia Woolf is a writer I want to explore a lot more in the new year! This was a great introduction to her work for those who are new to her because it is her reviews of other writers.
  • After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott: Another thriller that I really enjoyed! This one was a longer one, but it was full of action and twists. I highly recommend it!

3.5 stars

  • Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham: I really like reading about social media and influencers, so this was an enjoyable read! Some of it felt a little unrealistic, but I had a good time reading it.

3 stars

  • Essential Bukowski by Charles Bukowski: Charles Bukowski writes really…interesting poetry. There were a few good pieces, but a lot of it was very misogynistic, which I was not fond of. I know that he is considered a really good poet, but he is not someone I will probably read more of.
  • You Have a Match by Emma Lord: In December of last year, I read Emma Lord’s debut book Tweet Cute and absolutely adored it! I enjoyed You Have a Match, but unfortunately not as much as her first novel. It just felt a little too rushed because there was so much going on. It wasn’t bad, just not one of my favorites!

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know what your thoughts were!

And please share what your favorite reads of the year were, I’d love to know!

The Netflix Book Tag

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a good holiday season this year, given the circumstances.

Since I’ve been home from school, all I’ve been doing is catching up on movies and shows that have been on my Netflix list for ages, so I thought it was appropriate to do this tag now!

I’m not sure who the original creator is, but I saw it on Kristin’s blog a really long time ago (yes, that’s how long I save tags for), so check it out!

Recently Watched: The last book you finished reading

Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham: I will talk more about this book in my wrap up, but it was an enjoyable read! It’s also my last read of 2020!

Top Picks: A book/books that have been recommended to you based on books you have previously read.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson: I’ve only read 2 other short stories and novels by Shirley Jackson, but I absolutely loved them. This one has been recommended to me quite a few times after I read The Haunting of Hill House! I also have the movie adaptation of this on my Netflix list, so I need to get on it ASAP!

Recently Added: The last book you bought

The Lord of the Rings box set by J.R.R. Tolkien: I have had this specific box set on my mind for years. I almost bought it so many times, but then I kept holding off. I finally decided to purchase it for myself as a Christmas gift, and I am so happy that I did. I’ve only read The Hobbit (2 years ago for a children’s literature class), but I really enjoyed it. That’s what inspired me to purchase this set!

Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about (2 you’ve read and 2 you have read or have no interest in reading)

Read:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: This book has been super hyped this year, and for good reason! This is a beautiful historical fiction about two Black twins who split up and live very different lives—one passes as white, while the other escapes an abusive marriage.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: Everyone has heard of this book, and everyone has heard of how heartbreaking it is. I just had to include this one here!

Unread:

Circe by Madeline Miller: This book was one that I had on my TBR for a while, but the longer I thought about it, the less interested I was in it. I’m sure it is a really good book, like everyone says! But personally, I know I wouldn’t really enjoy it.

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas: I feel like everyone is going to hate me for this one, but I just have no desire to read this series (or any of SJM’s other books). I tried ACOTAR and didn’t really like it, and I’m also not really a YA fantasy person—especially a series.

Comedies: A funny book

Shit, Actually by Lindy West: This was a really fun book where a woman gives commentary about various films. Her reading this was just so entertaining, and I highly recommend it if you like to watch movies!

Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king

Cardan from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: I have the worst book memory possible, so it’s hard for me to think of things like this right away, but I had The Cruel Prince lying next to me, so I thought of Cardan. Not only is he a legitimate king, but he is very dramatic, too.

Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover

The Switch by Beth O’Leary: Illustrated novels are all the rage right now, but it was surprisingly difficult for me to choose a book for this! I decided to go with The Switch because I think the cover with the doors is absolutely adorable. Plus, it was a phenomenal read!

Watch it again: A book/book series that you want to re-read

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy by Jenny Han: I absolutely must do a re-read of this series soon. It is definitely one of my favorite series of all time, but I have never re-read it!

Documentaries: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone

Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton: This is a book that needs to be read by everyone. It’s a story about a women who was raped who then accused the wrong man of the crime. He went to prison for years until it was finally proven that he was innocent. It made me sob, but it was so beautiful.

Action and Adventure: An action packed book

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: For some reason, this was the first book to come to mind. It definitely has a lot of action (the whole series does), and I think it’s just a really fun read!

New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab: This is probably going to be one of my first reads of 2021, and I am so excited! It has been out for a little while now, but I wanted to include it here!

This was such a fun tag! I hope you enjoyed reading my answers as much as I enjoyed writing them :)

I can’t believe I have just one more post going up in 2020. There are going to be some changes and new things coming in 2021 that I’m really excited to be sharing soon, so be on the lookout for that!

For now, I’ll see you on Thursday :)

Quarterly Favorites #4 / October-December 2020

Hello and Merry Christmas Eve to those who celebrate!!

Today we have my last quarterly favorites post of the year! I feel like it’s also a bit of a shorter one, but not much has changed in my life over the last three months because I was so busy with school and work.

But, I still have a few things I’m excited to share, so let’s take a look!

Food:

  • Chunky almond butter: I have never tried a chunky nut butter. I always buy the creamy option. But one day I was at a grocery store, and I bought the chunky one accidentally. But it was phenomenal! I am so glad that I bought that one because it has become my new obsession.
  • Toasted white chocolate mocha: I tried this Starbucks drink just a few days ago, but now it is my favorite drink they sell! It is the perfect holiday drink, and I know I will be buying it over and over for the rest of this year.

Entertainment:

  • The Queen’s Gambit: This is not a show I thought I was going to like, but with EVERYONE talking about it, I gave it a try. And it proved me wrong because I absolutely adored it. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a Netflix show about a young orphan who learns to play chess and becomes a prodigy. The story follows her as she grows up, and it was so fascinating and made me want to learn how to play!
  • Evermore: I became a TS fan a little over a year ago, when Lover came out. Since then, I have grown to love her music more and more. Evermore is incredible! My top 3 right now are tolerate it, no body no crime, and ’tis the damn season!

Health:

  • Kickboxing: My dad bought a punching bag a few weeks ago, and I have been loving it. It is such a great form of exercise, and it makes me feel so strong. I haven’t had a chance to try it out for too long because I was away at school, but now that I’m home for winter break, I am going to be getting a ton of use out of it!

Other:

  • iPhone tripod: This is a purchase I have been meaning to make for quite some time! I am so glad that I finally got it because it has made taking pictures for instagram so much easier! I used to use my camera to take all of my photos, but it has become much easier to just use my phone recently, so having a tripod is essential, especially because I take most of my photos on my own.
  • Kindle: I bought a Kindle Paperwhite! It’s probably my favorite purchase of the year, if I’m being honest. I love physical books, but over the years, I’ve started to care less and less about owning a ton of them. I’m in the process of weeding out my shelves now and only keeping books I really love. I want my collection to be curated to my tastes, so that is what I’m working on! Plus, the Kindle is great for reading all of my ARCs instead of using my phone.

I’d love to know if you’ve tried any of these, watched/listened to them, etc.! And what are your thoughts if you have?

I hope you all have an incredible holiday season and I’ll see you next week!

2020 Goals Update & New Goals for 2021!

In June, I did a 2020 goals update, but since then, things have changed quite a bit. Let’s take a look at how I did with my reading, blogging, and personal goals.

My goals have definitely changed since January, and my goal-setting plan is a little bit different for next year as well, so be sure to read to the end to see some of my updates!

2020 Goals

Personal:

Mindfulness: This was the pillar I was probably most intentional about because my word of the year was “present.” I wanted to focus more on the current moment and stop worrying about the future/past so much!

  • meditate more frequently ✅
  • set to-do lists the night before ✅
  • limit screen time ✅

Health/Fitness: I definitely started working out more, I eat much less sugar, and I drink a lot of water every single day (I didn’t track if it was 64 oz though, so I didn’t give myself a full check).

  • eat less processed sugar ✅❌
  • workout 3-5 days per week (at least 15 times per month) ✅
  • drink 64 oz of water per day ✅❌

Finances: I added a lot more to my savings account than I anticipated, but it was very sporadic. My $10 a week system was working at first, but once I got an actual job, I put more money towards it monthly instead of weekly.

  • attempt a “low buy year” ❌
  • add $5-10 per week into savings account ❌
  • pay off credit card ✅

School:

  • join a new club ✅
  • start thesis research ✅
  • land a summer internship or job (slightly school-related) ✅

Miscellaneous:

  • write more frequently ✅
  • watch all movies on AFI’s Best 100 Movies list ❌
  • learn to bake/cook better ✅

BlogGing:

  • Post at least once a week (but aim for 2) ✅
  • write one book review per month ✅
  • utilize Pinterest more ❌
  • hit 1000 followers ✅

Reading:

  • Read 52 books ✅
  • Read 1 ARC a month ✅
  • Read 1 e-book a month ✅
  • Get owned TBR under 50 books ❌ (I got it down from 99 to 60, so I’m pretty happy with this considering I added a ton of books to this list throughout the year, too)
  • Buy under 10 books ❌ (we’re not going to talk about this one)

2021 Goals

I’m not goals as specific as the ones I did for 2020. I found it exhausting to keep track of numbers and pay attention to these things that don’t really matter to me? Who cares if I read one ARC a month or not? I don’t! It just honestly felt so constraining. Even with my blogging goals, I set myself a schedule of posting 2 blog posts per week (which I did!), but some of my content felt rushed or not as valuable simply because I didn’t always have time to write them.

This year, my goals might not seem very specific, but that’s because I didn’t want to feel as much pressure. I’m going with the flow. Plus, I set quarterly goals for myself, too, so I want to use those for smaller, more specific goals to help me achieve these larger goals!

I divided them up into similar categories to last year’s, but I eliminated/merged a few of them.

Also, my word of the year is balance. I’m someone who tends to do a lot of work, especially when it comes to school, and I don’t leave a lot of time for anything else. I want to introduce balance into my life this year & make better use of my time so that my life feels full and well rounded!

Health & Fitness

✨ Get into a consistent healthy lifestyle that is realistic

✨ Enjoy all of your workouts, even if they’re hard

School & Career

✨ Land another internship

✨ Graduate with honors

✨ Figure out post-grad plans

Personal Growth

✨ Learn more yoga poses

✨ Read 52 books, but slow down with them

✨ Take a class to learn something new

Creative

✨ Be proud of every post you share

✨ Finish first draft of novel

Life

✨ Watch 24 movies

✨Save at least $5k

✨Do more things outside of your comfort zone

So, some changes in 2021- I will be going back to one post per week. But, I also have a fun new project I’m launching in the new year, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

I would love to hear what some of your goals are for the new year! Feel free to share them in the comments :)

Baby It’s Cold Outside Tag

Back in November, I was tagged by the lovely Erin to do the Baby It’s Cold Outside tag that she created. I’m a little late, but it’s actually snowing as I write this, so I think it’s a fitting time to post it!

Snow Day – What’s your “comfort” book? 🌨

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: Admittedly, I haven’t re-read this book since my first read back when I was 14. But this book just brings back the best memories for me, as does the entire trilogy. Plus, I’ve watched the movies a ton of times, too, so it’s just become one big ball of comfort for me.

Snow Angels – What’s a book that you love so much you would want to be buried with it (a little morid, but…)? 👼🏼

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: Look, I don’t know if I’ll be buried with this book. But I do plan on getting a tattoo inspired by it, so close enough, right? This book is everything to me, if I’m being completely honest. I love it so much.

Warm Socks – What’s a book that makes you feel warm inside? (The fluffiest, cutest romance you’ve ever read?) 🔥

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert: The angst and the feelings in this book. Ugh, impeccable. I still need to read book #2, and I’m just desperately waiting to get my hands on a copy from the library!!

Hot Cocoa – What winter-themed novels have you previously read? 🍫

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: Is now the time I have to admit that I haven’t read any Holiday books in years??? I’ve read quite a few books set in Winter but they just don’t give off the Holiday vibes. I did read this Dickens novel back in elementary school and it was the first one that came to mind, so Im putting it on here.

Sledding – What’s a book with the best plot twists? Who’s an author that always keeps you on your toes? 🛷

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: One of my favorite books of the year for sure and the ending? Shocking for sure! If you haven’t yet read it, I highly recommend picking it up.

Ugly Sweaters – What’s a book with the ugliest cover? 🧥

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer: I hate this cover. So much. And the book wasn’t that great either (🙈).

Movie Marathon – What’s the last book you marathoned? 🎬

After The Eclipse by Fran Dorricott: I just finished this one last night but I read the majority of it in 2 days (and it’s over 400 pages, so that was FAST for me). I really enjoyed all of the twists and turns in this thriller.

Letter to Santa – What’s a book that’s on your wishlist this year? 🎅

I didn’t ask for any books for Christmas this year because I just don’t need any at the moment! But, on my ARC wishlist right now are The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin, She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard, and We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon!

That’s it for the tag! If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged by me!

And let me know if you agree with any of my answers, or tell me what books you would pick! And thank you so much to the lovely Erin for tagging me :)

Authors I Discovered This Year & Fell in Love With

Every year, I obviously read new books and with that comes many new authors! I thought that in today’s post, I would share a few of the ones that I hadn’t heard about prior to this year or haven’t ever read anything by them before, but now they are new favorite authors.

Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng is a fairly popular novel, so she may not be new to you! But, I read both Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You this year—and I really loved both! I think I liked Little Fires Everywhere just a little bit more, but both books were such phenomenal reads. And, the Hulu show for LFE was amazing, too.

Rachel Lynn Solomon

I was gifted an ARC of Rachel’s 2020 release Today Tonight Tomorrow by Simon & Schuster, which I am so grateful for. Because of that ARC, I read one of my favorite books of the year, and I found a new incredible author. You can read my review for it here! I have now put her other books on my TBR, and I even got an ARC of her adult debut, The Ex Talk.

Brit Bennett

I will for sure be reading more from Brit Bennett in the new year. The Vanishing Half really took my breath away, and I have heard more just as many amazing things about The Mothers. The writing was just so up my alley. On top of that, it covered so many important topics surrounding race. I am really excited for more from this author.

R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War was such a great read. It was really striking and beautiful, and I am excited to read the rest of the trilogy! It is incredible to me that she wrote this book at 19, which I talked about in my ‘favorite debut books’ post. I am definitely a contemporary reader, so the fact that I included a fantasy writer in this post says a lot. I hope that convinces you to pick up the books!

Christina Lauren

I honestly can’t believe this year was my first year reading from Christina Lauren. My first book was The Unhoneymooners, and it was such a treat! My second book of theirs I read wasn’t a favorite of mine, but it was one of their earlier releases in a different genre (YA horror—The House), so I think it’s going to be an outlier. These two ladies know how to write a romance, and I do have plans to read more of their books. If you have any favorites, let me know!

Who are some authors you discovered this year for the first time? Do you have any of the same ones as me?

Please Pick Me Blog Tour / Poetry Review

Hello everyone! I hope you are having an amazing week so far!

Today I am exciting to be taking part in a blog tour for Please Pick Me by Reina Regina with Caffeine Book Tours! Thank you so much to Shealea for allowing me to take part!

Goodreads Synopsis

In a garden of a thousand other volumes, my little yellow book with its earnest plea and hopeful flowers on the cover sits waiting for you to pick it up. It’s got a heart it wants to give away.

These haikus, poems, and prose pieces are about

the miracle of being wanted back by someone we want,
the desperation of hoping they’ll fight harder when they waver,
the rawness of seeking reassurance that we are loved as we are, and
the tenderness we feel when we’re sending love out to others

—all those moments when we are making our need to be accepted plain and praying, please pick me.

This book was born after twenty-six years of learning that it’s okay to want to be wanted, that vulnerability is merely throwing open the gateway to honest connections, and that fighting to be loved the way you deserve is bravery and not weakness.

I hope you open it. I hope it invites you to be open too.

My Review

This poetry collection had me from the foreword. Reading those words from the author made me feel so connected to the poems before I even read them because I understood where the words were coming from. I knew I would be able to relate, and I did.

I really loved the longer poems in this collection. They were full of metaphors and vivid imagery, and I felt like the outside world didn’t exist when I was reading this. Some of my favorites are “date a boy who draws,” “sepsis,” and “care instructions.”

The parts that I couldn’t necessarily relate to in a literal sense, I still felt deeply connected to. I think that really shows that the author has a way with words!

Unfortunately, a few of the shorter poems didn’t resonate with me as much and they felt a bit more cliche.

That one fault aside, this was exactly the poetry collection I needed. It hit home in ways I never knew a book could, and it felt like some part that I’ve kept hidden inside me was finally able to come out.

if you are saying
“don’t ask me to choose
between you and her”
and you are notsaying
“I will choose you
no matter what”
then isit not quite clear
what your answer will be?

{ logically, not me}

Reina Regina

Also, the illustrations in this were so so beautiful. They really completed the collection.

Overall, this is a story for people who want to be chosen. About people who feel like they give so much love but do not get it in return. It’s for the people who just want to feel special and seen and appreciated. It was raw, honest, and beautifully written.

This short book is perfect for anyone looking to read a quick poetry collection that’s emotional and will hit you hard!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Do you read poetry? What are some of your favorite collections?

Don’t forget to check out this book if you’re interested in purchasing it—It’s out now!

5 Star Predictions for 2021 (#5)

Hello! This is my fifth installment of 5 star predictions! I’m almost done with reading the books from the last batch, but I thought I would do a post with my predictions for the new year!

This is also another way to get myself to read books I’ve been putting off reading, so I’m going to try to get to these early on in 2021. This is how I’m holing myself accountable. Anyway, let’s get right into it!

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

Boarding school horror story. What else is more me than this? I’ve also seen some pretty good reviews of this, so I’m really looking forward to reading it! I have an audiobook courtesy of Libro.fm, so I think this is going to be a great book to dive into soon!

Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman

I have had multiple books by Bachman on my TBR over the years, but I’ve never picked one up yet. I have heard phenomenal things about the author, and I’m expecting the book to be very poignant and beautifully written. All I know is that it is about a robber who holds a group of people hostage at an apartment open house! It sounds super intriguing, and I’m curious to know how the story will unfold!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

My sister got me this book for my birthday last month, and it has taken a lot of willpower not to have started it right away. I held myself back because I was still working through quite a few other books, and I don’t think I’ll have time to get through it this month either. BUT, that means it is a perfect read to start the new year off with, and I think that is exactly what I’m going to do! In case you don’t know, this is a story about a girl who makes a bargain with the devil to live forever in exchange for being forgotten by everyone she meets. Until she meets someone who remembers her…

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

I love a good YA mystery. And this is a Sherlock Holmes spinoff about the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve had this book on my TBR for a really long time, and it’s imperative that I get to it in 2021. I want to even finish the whole series, though I’m not sure when that will happen!

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

This is a book about a mysterious illness that causes people to fall asleep and not wake up. I don’t know much else besides that, but I have heard some very good things about it. I think it will be a strange and atmospheric novel, if the cover is any judge. My lovely friend Olivia gifted it to me, and I can not wait to pick it up!

Have you read any of these? What did you think? I would love to hear any opinions on them you have!

November 2020 Wrap Up

November was a good month. I somehow managed to read more books than I have since July, and I enjoyed pretty much all of them! I am back on a big reading kick, which is a really nice feeling.

In total, I read 11 books this month! Let’s take a look at what they were.

5 Stars

  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: The first book I read in November was also one of the best I read. It is a breathtaking story about twin sisters who run away from their small town to a big city and eventually split up. They are both “passing” as white, but one marries a darker skinned Black man, while the other pretends to be white. The story was so brilliantly weaved together, and I was so drawn in the entire time I was reading it. It truly left me speechless.
  • A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti: I was not expecting to actually get to this book this month, but once I started it, I finished it in a matter of hours. It is a story about a girl who decides to run across the world after experiencing an incredibly traumatic event a year ago. I was in awe of this story, and it was just so inspiring.
  • Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman: I have been a long time fan of Akemi Dawn Bowman’s books (Summer Bird Blue is one of my all-time favorites), so I was so happy to find this audiobook on Scribd. There is something so lyrical and beautiful about her writing, and this story was no different. It is about a girl who wants to be a trapeze artist, but her parents won’t allow it (despite owning their own circus). She runs away and joins a rivaling traveling circus instead. I ate this story up.

4 Stars

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: This was a multi-generational story about a family in Korea. It was really well written, and I feel like I learned so much about Korean and Japanese history by reading it. I did get a little lost at some points because there were a lot of characters to keep up with, but overall it was a phenomenal read.
  • Shit, Actually by Lindy West: I picked this book up on a whim from Libro.fm, and I was not at all expecting to love it as much as I did. I think I was just reading a lot of heavy books, and this provided me some relief from that. It’s basically just a commentary on popular films, and even though I haven’t even read half of them, hearing the author talk about them was so fun. It was wildly entertaining and made me laugh out loud a few times.
  • An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard: I wrote a review for this book, so I’m going to link it if you are interested in reading! I really enjoyed it, though, especially as someone who is not big on fantasy!

3 Stars

  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport: I am very interested in the idea of minimalism as a whole, and have recently been trying to live a simpler digital life as well. This book was good, but as someone who has been watching a lot of documentaries, Youtube videos, and listening to podcasts about this topic, it felt very basic. A lot of the Youtube videos and podcasts referred to this book, so I thought it would be more groundbreaking than it was.
  • Broken Things by Lauren Oliver: This was an enjoyable read. I have been putting this one off for a while, so I am glad that I finally got around to reading it. It’s a story about the murder of a young girl, and it was DARK and quite morbid. I didn’t really love the ending of it, which is what knocked it down a bit for me, but it was a good read!
  • The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd: This was an interesting story that deals with mental illness in an interesting way. I was interested enough to continue reading it, but it felt a little off to me. I think it needed to be refined and edited a bit more in order for the story to flow better.

2.5 Stars

  • The House by Christina Lauren: The concept for this book was great- a house that’s alive? It was basically a romance version of Monster House. Except, the romance was bad, in my opinion, which is the most shocking part considering Christina Lauren are known for their romance books now! I just wish the overall execution of this were a bit better.

2 Stars

  • Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith: This is a book about a trans boy who goes to live with his aunt for the summer, and a girl who recently lost her sister. Unfortunately, the representation in this book is not done very well at all, according to own voice reviewers, and there were many parts of this story that did not sit well with me.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts on them? Let me know down in the comments!

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard / Review

Many of you know that I am not a huge fantasy reader. I tend to stick to contemporaries anywhere from romances to thrillers to literary fiction.

However, I do enjoy a fantasy every now and then to break up my reading. I first heard of An Unkindness of Magicians a couple of years ago from Merphy Napier, who is a booktuber I really like! She mentioned that it was an adult standalone fantasy, and that peaked my interest for sure.

I’ve had it on my TBR for a while now, so I’m so happy that I finally got to it!

Goodreads Synopsis

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.

Review

The Good:
  • The magic- I really enjoyed the magic system in this book. It was a lot darker than I had expected, but that made me love it even more. It was just really intricate in the way that it worked, especially once one of the twists was revealed.
  • Plot- As I mentioned, this book was a lot darker than I originally thought it would be, but it was oh so good. I really like any books with magical competitions, and this reminded me a bit of The Night Circus. I liked that there were a lot of hidden agendas for everything, and each chapter gave us a little bit more. And that ending? It absolutely destroyed me. Take that as you will.
  • The writing- I also liked the writing style of this book. It was easy to follow, but filled with very beautiful prose. There were quite a few quotes that really stood out to me from it, which is part of how I judge a book’s writing.

“Magic, at its heart, starts with sacrifice. You have to give up something to get something, and because magic is big, with all that it allows you access to, what you give up has to be big. It has to be meaningful.”

The Bad:
  • Character- I felt like the characters were lacking complexity for me. I love character driven novels, but this one was not the best at making me connect to the cast. There are a lot of characters introduced in the beginning, and I felt like they did not distinguish themselves enough. I got a bit lost and actually started the audiobook over when I was 3 chapters in because of that. However, once you got to know who each person was, I started to enjoy the story more.
  • Action- This was a slower moving story, which is something I tend to prefer. With this one, though, I wish that some of the challenges were described with more detail. I feel like they really could have been fleshed out to be more intense and action-packed. Those scenes were really underwhelming for me, which is unfortunate because I really liked the magic system and would have wanted to see more of it.
Overall:

This was a really solid, enjoyable read. I would definitely pick up more from this author in the future, and I’m really happy I read this one!

Rating: 4 stars

I would love to know if you’ve read this one and what your thoughts were! I don’t see nearly enough people talking about this book (or the author in general).

I’m also in need of more recs similar to this one, so if you have any, send them may way!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon.