Thursday, December 30, 2021

2022 Challenges and Resolutions

We did it, friends! We made it through 2021. Once again, the year really didn't go how I thought it would. I really, truly thought we'd be through COVID by now. Meanwhile, we're steadily logging more cases. At least many of us are vaccinated now, so we probably won't end up in the hospital if we catch it. One thing that did come of this year was that I had plenty of time to read and demolished my Goodreads goal! Yay for that, at least! I also managed to beat my Audiobook Challenge and came really close to meeting all of this year's PopSugar prompts. I did accomplish two of my three off-blog goals for 2021: avoided getting COVID and read more diversely. Hopefully I can keep it going for another year! 



Another year of the audiobook reading challenge? Absolutely, yes! I can't imagine a year without this challenge. Last year I beat my goal, but for 2022 I'm sticking with the My Precious (30+) level. 


Here we go again! I came really close to meeting every prompt in 2021 so maybe I can do even better in 2022! It's fun to try either way. 


I absolutely killed my goal of 90 books in 2021, partially with the help of a newfound appreciation for fanfiction, so in 2022 I'm going to up the goal to 100 and hope I can keep it going. I can't imagine I'll be writing of fanfic anytime soon and I've been loving romance this year too, so they should help to balance out the bit of adult fantasy and sci-fi I pick up!

  • Don't get COVID - Let's see if I can make it a third year without getting sick!
  • Run the Princess 10K in February - Disney races are back on and I can only hope that they're safe since they're outdoors and I'm vaccinated. Fingers are crossed that this one actually happens, but even if it's switched to virtual I'm planning to run it at home. 
  • Read more diversely - I read more diversely in 2021 than I have in any year previous and I definitely want to keep that ball rolling. I've found so many amazing authors I wouldn't have otherwise by going out of my way to read more diverse stories!
  • Do my best - My mantra in 2021 was "best I can do" when it came to pretty much everything. After an awful 2020, I made it a goal to be kinder to myself and that's another thing I want to keep going into 2022. In the new year I'm going to keep reminding myself that we're living in unprecedented times and all I can do is my best to make it through the each day. I'm enjoying new hobbies, enjoying my dogs, and generally just doing the best I can. 

Are you setting any goals for 2022? 
What reading challenges have you signed up for? 
Let me know in the comments! 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Twelve Days of Christmas Book Tag

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope all of you are having a wonderful week so far. My brother is visiting and we've been watching (not Christmas) movies and eating lots of great food already. I'm so excited for Christmas eve when we'll go to look at Christmas lights with hot chocolate. I thought I'd do a Christmas book tag today to get even more in the Christmas spirit! This tag was created by Lizzie Loves Books!

The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favorite stand alone?

Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

Going with a throwback! Morpheus and Alyssa.

In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?


Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favorite series?

Apparently I don't read many long series, so instead, have a book I own more than 4 copies of!

One ring to rule them all! Who is your favorite Villain/Antagonist?

The Darkling forever 🖤

Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favorite world/world-building?

Caraval's world is simply magical.

Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favorite animal sidekick?


Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes beverages/food to a whole new level?

There is SO MUCH baking in this!

Dancing is just one skill of a Lady! Who is your favorite kickass female lead?

Lada from And I Darken

How about your favorite leading lad?

Tau from The Rage of Dragons

What is your favorite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)

Music is a huge part of this beautiful book.

Drum roll please…what is your favorite read of this year?

Monday, December 20, 2021

Book Review: The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson

Title: The Girl Who Lived
Author: Christopher Greyson
Publication Date: November 24, 2017
Publisher: Greyson Media
Pages: 297
Add to Goodreads

Ten years ago, four people were brutally murdered. One girl lived.

No one believes her story.
The police think she’s crazy.
Her therapist thinks she’s suicidal.
Everyone else thinks she’s a dangerous drunk.
They’re all right—but did she see the killer?

As the anniversary of the murders approaches, Faith Winters is released from the psychiatric hospital and yanked back to the last spot on earth she wants to be—her hometown where the slayings took place. Wracked by the lingering echoes of survivor’s guilt, Faith spirals into a black hole of alcoholism and wanton self-destruction. Finding no solace at the bottom of a bottle, Faith decides to track down her sister’s killer—and then discovers that she’s the one being hunted.

How can one woman uncover the truth when everyone’s a suspect—including herself?

WOW! I absolutely loved this book! It was an absolute five star read for me. The Girl Who Lived is about Faith Winters. Ten years prior to the setting of the book, Faith’s father, sister, best friend, and her best friend’s mother were brutally murdered on her birthday weekend. By a stroke of luck, Faith physically survived, but emotionally and mentally, she was wrecked. After being released from a psychiatric hospital, due to probation, she was sent back to the absolute last place she ever wanted to be – her hometown. Faith had extreme survivors’ guilt which led to multiple suicide attempts and an addiction to alcohol. Discovering that all the bottom of the bottle gets her is into trouble, she decides to try to track down the man who butchered her family and friends. While she’s searching for a killer, she herself is being hunted. How can a woman who can’t trust anyone track down a dangerous killer while staying alive herself?

This psychological thriller gave me heart palpitations. I am not exaggerating. The biggest mistake I made was reading this book before bed on a night when my husband had duty (meaning he had to stay at work all night). What I liked about this book was the writing. I hated the characters and I suspected absolutely everyone, including Faith. Greyson is an expert at realistic world and character building. I felt like I personally knew (and hated) every single character in the book. There was absolutely nothing that I hated about this book (aside from the characters that I loved to hate). The writing was superb and the whodunit mystery was so tremendous that you never know who exactly to expect. The twist at the end of the story was truly unexpected. I am rarely surprised and it’s usually easy for me to guess what happens in mysteries, but I literally never guessed the ending of this book.

For anyone who loves thrillers and mysteries, I HIGHLY recommend this book! It was my first Greyson book, but it definitely will not be my last!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Weekly Recap: 12/12 - 12/18


Hi, everyone! This has been A WEEK! I spent Sunday through Friday getting Christmas candle orders made and ready to ship, then finally got them all in the mail. It was EXHAUSTING, but it's finished! It also explains why there's only one new post this week. Also all week, I've been itching like crazy! I've always had seasonal allergies, but this was seemingly out of nowhere and without discernible cause. It also wasn't significantly improved with my daily allergy medicine and, by Saturday, I had to make a trip to urgent care because it was just so bad. The doctor had literally no idea what was causing it so he gave me steroids and suggested I go to Cleveland Clinic. :/ Soooo that's fun! At least it's just annoying and not painful, I guess. But in better news, my brother gets here Tuesday and I can't wait to do all the fun Christmas things with him! We're starting his trip by watching Krampus (he may or not know that). 


Nothing this week!

& a few long fanfics that I can't share



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Thursday, December 16, 2021

2021 End of Year Survey


Number Of Books You Read: 121 (so far)
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre You Read The Most From: Romance :/

1. Best Book You Read In 2021?
For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten. I didn't read much fantasy this year, but this one was my favorite! 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
A Vow So Bold and Deadly was easily my biggest disappointment of the year. The rest of the series were easy 5-star reads for me and this one was a huge let-down. 

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Into the Dark by Dana Isaly. Serial killer romance??? That I enjoyed?? What even? 

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I bullied as many people as I could into reading Her Soul to Take by Harley Laroux

5. Best series you started in 2021? Best Sequel of 2021? Best Series Ender of 2021?
Series started: For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten 
Sequel: Learn My Lesson by Katee Robert
Series ender: I haven't finished any series this year lol

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2021?
Harley Laroux

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

9. Book You Read In 2021 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Gallant by V.E. Schwab

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2021?
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

11. Most memorable character of 2021?
Leon from Her Soul to Take by Harley Laroux

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2021?
Gallant by V.E. Schwab. You really want to preorder this book.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2021?
My brain was in the off position this year.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2021 to finally read?
The House in the Cerulean Sea! Friends have been trying to get me to read this for awhile and I finally gave it. It was so sweet and heartwarming!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2021?
Honestly, I never remember quotes. 

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2021?
Shortest: Ark by Veronica Roth, 39 pages
Longest: Master of Sorrows by Justin Call, 577 pages
(Actual longest: Unnamed fanfiction story, 2000+ pages)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most?
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue shocked me with how boring it was

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Griffin and Keynes from Work For It by Talia Hibbert are so stinking cute I can't stand it

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?
Ryland and Rocky from Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2021 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
Gallant. Seriously, SO GOOD!

21. Best Book You Read In 2021 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?
Into the Dark by Dana Isaly. I definitely would not have picked this up without being pushed into it by other people, but I did and I couldn't believe how good it was! 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2021?
Hades, specifically from the Wicked Villains series by Katee Robert

23. Best 2021 debut you read?
I guess I shouldn't choose For the Wolf for every category, but... 

24. Best World Building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri. I had my issues with this book, but world building was not one of them! I am absolutely enamored by the setting, especially the Hirana. 

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber. It wasn't a perfect book, but I loved being back in that world with Jacks. 

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2021?
Okay, well the only book that has EVER made me cry was a fanfic, but I'm not including those here, so I have to go (again) with Into the Dark. Heartbreaking! 

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
The Black Mage by Daniel Barnes was such a fun and beautiful graphic novel! I can't believe it hasn't gotten more attention! 

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Well, I have to go with fanfiction for this one, sorry. It's Manacled. Absolutely soul crushing. If you know, you know.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2021?
In the Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland. The magic was so unique and I loved the diversity!

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
A Vow So Bold and Deadly. I have... a lot of feelings about this book. I was so angry with the characterization, specifically the way Rhen's character was handled. 

1. Favorite review that you wrote in 2021?
Y'all know I'm just here for the rants, and ripping apart A Vow So Bold and Deadly was one of my blogging highlights of the year. I was just so angry about it. 

2. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
This one about reading with aphantasia. I had a similar answer this year, but I loved being able to delve into the topic a bit more and discuss it with other people!

3. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Events are what, again? I don't know them.

4. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2021?
Getting my hands on a UK ARC of Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo.

5. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Literally all of it? Keeping the blog going through a never-ending slump.

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My most viewed and most searched for post this year was my review of Flock by Kate Stewart. I have no idea why.

7. Best bookish discovery?
Dark romance as a genre and well-written fanfiction.

8.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Yes! I completed the audiobook challenge and I'm a couple categories from finishing the Pop Sugar Challenge.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2021 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2022?
Master Artificer by Justin Call

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2022 (non-debut)?
Wind Daughter by Joanna Ruth Meyer

3. 2022 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan 

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2022?
For the Throne by Hannah Whitten

5. A 2022 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
Gallant by Victoria Schwab is a literal masterpiece.

The annual end of year survey was created by The Perpetual Page-Turner!
Sunday, December 12, 2021

Weekly(ish) Recap: 11/28 - 12/11


Hi, everyone! Yep, still aboard the fanfiction train. It looks like I haven't read much in the past two weeks, but that's only because I can't share most of what I've actually been reading. :/ In "real" books, I'm mostly still reading dark romance. Alas. I do have a couple YA fantasy audiobooks checked out from the library! This week I went off the deep end and bought a Cricut, specifically for painting and stenciling the edges of books. At least my husband is supportive of my hobbies, I guess! 





The topic was books I loved as a kid for Top Ten Tuesday
Book review of The Husband's Secret


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, December 11, 2021

Why I'm shamelessly reading fanfiction

I first talked about fanfiction back in 2017. Back then I was discussing whether it should ever count towards reading goals, despite the fact that I really didn't read it. The post was definitely written with a mocking tone and I can tell from reading it that I didn't think fanfiction should really be taken seriously, despite the length of many stories. 

Sometime in the past year or so, it seems that fanfiction has become more mainstream in the book community. It's very common to see more popular fics included in recommendation lists on BookTok. I've seen Manacled, in particular, recommended and discussed more and more in the past few months amongst many creators, which was my first real foray into the world of fanfiction and I found that I loved it! But then I went back to published works and didn't pick up another fanfic until October... and now I can't stop. 

As you might know if you read my blog semi-regularly, I've been in a bit of a slump for the past year and a half as life wreaked havoc on my mental health. I've struggled to post regularly and, more upsetting, to read regularly. Or at least, as regularly as I'd like. This year I've turned to new genres to get back into the groove, but what's shocked me the most in the past few months is that I've come to absolutely love and appreciate fanfiction. 

I've thought a lot about why this is as I tried to convince myself to read a "real" book in between stories. Why is it so easy and comforting to read these sometimes beautiful stories that people put into the world for free? 

Think about the fact that, when you choose a story to read on AO3, you're probably choosing from a fandom you already love. When you go into a work of fanfiction, you know the characters. You probably love them already, and you're probably already very invested in their lives. You already know the world and can't wait to jump back into it. There's no effort required to understand a new world or understand who new characters are. There's only the effort it takes to fall into a story full of people and places you adore. It brings a whole new meaning to "comfort read." 

While I was wondering if I was just late to the game that everyone else was already playing, I came across this Forbes article discussing the fanfiction boom of 2020, which apparently began around the time of lockdown. Apparently, traffic to AO3, the most popular fanfiction website, increased by 60% year over year in April 2020. 

Obviously, fanfiction has been around forever. I remember people reading when I was in high school, but I certainly was not one of them. The only fanfics I knew about were, frankly, awful. I just didn't know where to look! Some of my absolute favorite reads of all time have been discovered in the past three months, and I'll be shamelessly reading for the foreseeable future. It isn't as if I'm going to run out of material! 

For anyone like me who is interested but has no idea where to start (the AO3 search is intimidating), here's the fanfiction genre page on Goodreads with some popular options! 

Do you read fanfiction?
What's your comfort genre?
Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

ARC Review: At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

Title: At the End of Everything
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 400
Add to Goodreads

//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends comes another heartbreaking, emotional and timely page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist.

Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day...they don't show up. But when the teens band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There's a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they're stuck at Hope. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all.

As supplies quickly dwindle and a deadly plague tears through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never wanted them in the first place.

I’ve just finished reading an ARC of At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp and I absolutely LOVED it. This was a great 5/5 star read for me.

One day, the juveniles at the Hope Juvenile Treatment Center, where delinquent teenagers are sent for various reasons, are abandoned and forgotten by those who were supposed to take care of them. A few curious teens break out to get freedom from the center. They are surprised to run into armed soldiers who tell them that an infectious disease, a plague, has broken out and everyone is confined to their houses and they are not allowed to travel without a permit. Stranded at Hope, the teens who decide to remain there are forced to find a way to survive. With their dwindling food sources, limited medical supplies, and with the plague having broken out within the facility, they have to bind together to make it.

There are three main characters and three points of view throughout the book. Each of the three main characters are white. However, the book is full of people of different races and nationalities. There is also a non-binary transgender teenager who was kicked out of their religious parents’ home. Too many authors nowadays are forcing diversity they don’t want into their stories. The problem with this is they write their characters in offensive manners. Nijkamp, however, doesn’t do this. When they describe a character’s skin tone, they do so in such a way that you can tell they aren’t forcing the diversity. For example, a character named Khalil is described as “Dark-brown hair, light-brown skin, laughing brown eyes.” I also love that Nijkamp didn’t try to write about the injustice black teens experience in the justice system. They didn’t want to take away space from a writer of color.

“This is what the plague looks like. It’s not illness, at first. It’s fear. The type of fear that nags at the back of your thoughts, that crawls like a parasite under your skin. It’s like every bruise that brushes against my clothes.” The story itself was slow. Not in a bad way, but in a good one. They took the time to humanize each character, even the worst ones. They make you feel like you truly get to know the characters of this book. Not just the three narrators but the characters who surround them as well. I could write an entire book on how this book made me feel and the profound thoughts I had about life, fear, and COVID while reading it.

It was surreal to read about a plague when we have one of our own going on in real life. The plague in the book was far worse than COVID is but still, it was emotional to read about. I’d say the genre of this book would be YA Dystopian Psychological Thriller.

This book will be published on 4 January 2022 and I can’t recommend it to others enough!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

The unexpected ways my reading habits changed in 2021

In 2020 and 2021 I used a reading spreadsheet in addition to Goodreads to track all of my reading stats. In addition to the categories shown, I started tracking categories in 2021 to challenge myself to read more diversely. For the purposes of this post, though, I'll be sharing how my reading habits changed in relation to genre, age range, and book format!


Starting off with the least interesting, I wanted to see how I've changed my physical reading habits. For example, in 2020 I read mostly audiobooks, followed by hardcovers. So how did I do things differently in 2021?

This was certainly an unforeseen change! For starters, I read significantly less audiobooks. Despite what I first though, this isn't because I've listened to less audiobooks! It's because I've read more actual books this year than last. While I only read 80ish books in 2020, I'm already over 100 for this year, so the percentage of audio is lower.

The most obvious difference is that I've read over half my books in ebook format! I think this can be largely explained by three things. First, I bought a Kindle Oasis this year and it is my new best friend. We go EVERYWHERE together! Second, I joined Kindle Unlimited and got a hankering for dark romance books that are almost all on KU. Finally, I started reading fanfiction and (obviously) that's in ebook format. My poor physical copies are feeling very lonely right about now. 


Next, I took a look at how I've changed my reading habits by age range. This blog started out and has remained a mostly YA book blog for several years, but that definitely changed this year!

Along with the introduction of dark romance and KU came significantly more adult books. This has definitely shown up around the blog in a way that I'm not entirely sure how to work with. What even is my blog if not mostly YA? I've still read young adult books this year, but not even close to how many I do in a normal year. While YA books made up 57% of my reading in 2020, they were less than 16% in 2021. Honestly, I'm a little worried for myself because I have a TON of YA books sitting unread on my bookshelves and I'm waiting for the inspiration to read them. Still, I've found a ton of new authors to love!


Finally, the category I've been most excited to see as a graph: what genres I've read most. Surely I'm still reading mostly fantasy even if it's adult fantasy, right? 

*laughs nervously*

Well, I guess not. In 2020, fantasy made up exactly 50% of the books I read, while it clocked in at just 22.3% in 2021 (so far). So what else am I reading?? Well, I read 2.3% romance in 2020, but 23.7% romance in 2021. Hmm. That's... something. I've also read more graphic novels and have been introduced to webtoons and fanfiction!

Interestingly, some genres that have stayed roughly the same. Thrillers, contemporary, and non-fiction stayed pretty close, while I read a bit less horror and sci-fi. This isn't visible, but mystery dropped to less than 1% from 11% in 2020. I'm very curious to see how these trends change in the next year! 

Do you track your reading habits?
How have your preferences changed?
Let me know in the comments!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Book Review: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Title: The Husband's Secret
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 396
Add to Goodreads

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died...

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

The Husband’s Secret is another hit thriller by Liane Moriarty. The book starts with Cecilia Fitzpatrick who stumbled across a letter addressed to her by her husband to be opened after his death. Cecilia has a decision to make: to honor her husband’s wishes and wait to open the letter or to go with her curiosity and open it now; to open and read a letter that could change the trajectory of their entire lives by revealing her husband’s deepest, darkest, harrowing secret. This book is told from three points of view: Cecilia, Rachel, and Tess. Even though they don’t know each other well, their lives unexpectedly intertwine, and the repercussions of John-Paul Fitzpatrick’s actions create an avalanche that no one can stop.

My favorite character in this book was Cecilia. She felt like the most three-dimensional character to me. She had so much depth that others couldn’t even begin to imagine, and I also found myself empathizing with her the most. As always, Moriarty’s characters felt real to me. This was also yet another book that keeps you guessing. I found myself not even wanting to sleep because I wanted to reach the end of the book while simultaneously wanting more to the story. My favorite part of this book was the climax. Seeing everything come together was as pleasurable as biting into a triple layer fudge cake. This book made me laugh at times, but I didn’t find myself wanting to cry even though it did get emotional.

The only thing I disliked about this book was Rachel. Without spoiling anything, all I can say is she was one-dimensional to me, and she was also just extremely annoying. I found myself wanting to throw my book across the room, and then I got mad because I it was a library book so I couldn’t. She was an overbearing grandmother, a lackluster parent, a terrible mother-in-law, and she tended to see what she wanted to see and to ignore what she didn’t want to see. For many reasons I found it difficult to care about Rachel.

This book was another amazing five star read for me and I would DEFINITELY recommend it to others!