March Wrap Up (part two)

Hey everyone, welcome back to my March wrap up! This is part two, in case you missed it, I’m splitting my wrap ups into two parts so they aren’t the monster that was my January Wrap up. I published the first part of the wrap up on Sunday, where I discussed favorite posts around the blogosphere, the posts I published this month and more! Please head on over and check it out if you haven’t already! For this part of the wrap up, I’ll be talking about the books I’ve read, my monthly bookish awards (more on those later if you don’t know what they are) and more!
First of all, someone please tell me how we’re already a fourth of the way through the year? Please, educate me on this sorcery, it seems impossible. This year is going…weirdly fast and I’m not sure why. Or how. But I’m all for it.
Anyways, let’s get into my reading month!

~What I Read~ A Dark and Hollow Star (9781534453678): Shuttleworth, Ashley:  Books Skyhunter (Skyhunter Duology, 1) (9781250221681): Lu, Marie:  Books
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. This book was super different from what I usually read. It was a little slower than other things that I pick up but it was super good! But now I just don’t know what was real because at the end, Odie just said something like ‘all storytellers bend their stories a little,’ and a bit more stuff like that. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth. This was probably my most anticipated release of 2021 and it was good! I really liked the characters and the plot, but I do have to say that it was definitely very slow at the beginning and while there was rep LGBTQ+-wise, there was basically no rep POC-wise which was disappointing ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Skyhunter by Marie Lu. This book was super interesting and may very well be my favorite Marie Lu book. It did seem like just another sci fi book but the characters were awesome and there was a bit of twist to a usual YA sci fi plot. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Dangerous Gift (Wings of Fire, Book 14) (14): Sutherland, Tui T.:  9781338214543: Books
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Shadows Over London | CamCat Books
  • Wings of Fire by Tui T Sutherland: The Dangerous Gift. I started reading Wings of Fire when I read middle grade books and so I’ve continued to read them as they come out! These books are ones that I never grow out of–they’re still as enjoyable today as they were when I was the target audience! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez. This book was sad and eye-opening and I’m really glad to have read it. It taught me a lot–I had no idea about La Bestia before reading this–and it was very heart-wrenching. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Shadows Over London by Christian Klaver. I received this book as an ARC and it was…fine. I didn’t really care for it, the writing style was not to my liking and the plot was just meh. ⭐⭐
Lore by Alexandra Bracken Elatsoe (9781646140053): Little Badger, Darcie, Cai, Rovina:  Books
  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I read the entire Shadow and Bone series just so I could read this one and I finally got around to it. Wow, it did not disappoint! I loved seeing Nikolai and Zoya but I especially loved seeing Nina. Plus, Leigh Bardugo is a master at writing plot as always and it was just so awesome to be in the Grishaverse again! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Lore by Alexandra Bracken. I read The Darkest Minds by Bracken a while ago and didn’t enjoy it that much so I didn’t really know what to think, going into this one. Whatever it was, my expectations were not very high. And it was indeed a meh book. It was an interesting idea for a book overall and there were some interesting parts and interesting characters but the book itself, I didn’t really care for it. ⭐⭐
  • Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. This was a fun, easy to read book! Plus, I always love seeing an aroace protagonist! I do agree with many reviews I’ve seen on this book that it reads more as middle grade than YA but it was still enjoyable. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Girls I've Been (9780593353806): Sharpe, Tess: Books
I'll Be the One by Lyla Lee Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology, 2) (9781250142306):  Bardugo, Leigh: Books
  • The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe. Woah, this book was…intense. This might have been the first thriller I’ve ever read (honestly, I’ve probably read more but who knows) and…wow. Clearly I have nothing to say about this book haha. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee. This book was so fun and enjoyable! I was recommended this book by Katie @Whispering Pages and finally got around to reading it and it was just so awesome! I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a fun contemporary book. Or just anyone. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo. It’s over. I can’t really believe it’s over but wow that book is quite something. There were some things I liked less than I liked about King of Scars, and some things I liked more. It was a very mixed book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

~The Monthly Book Awards~

Those of you who’ve seen my blog since the last wrap up know what the monthly book awards are but for anyone new, I’ll explain them really quickly.
These awards are basically just short little things I do where I ‘award’ a character, a world, a book, etc. if it’s the best one of the topic that I’ve read that month. Down below, you can see all the categories and the award winners for each one!
Note: all awards are my own opinion
Also: While this is my creation, anyone who wants to participate in the monthly book awards is completely welcome to do so on their own blog! Just make sure to credit me, but other than that I’d love to see everyone else’s award winners!
And just a reminder from last month, I’ve decided to remove the ‘worst’ part of the awards. While it can be good to know what books to stay away from and where books are weaker, I’ve realized that it’s much more important to focus on the good parts of books, and also that it might be sort of unfair to choose what book was worst in some points. Hope you all are okay with this! (If you really want to know the ‘worst’s, you can ask me in the comments).

Best character: There really is no character that pops out at me as the ‘best character’ in this group. My first thought was Nikolai, but I think I’m going to go with Skye from ‘I’ll be the One.’ Skye was super determined and self confident and she didn’t let anyone push her down which was a super cool quality to have.
Most interesting character: I guess I’ll go with Nora from The Girls I’ve Been. She’s a con artist’s daughter so she’s had to basically be different girls throughout her life.
Funniest character: Okay, this is why I didn’t put Nikolai as ‘best character’; he’s clearly the funniest character. I mean, come on, he’s Nikolai. How could he not be the funniest.

Best Villain: I….honestly don’t know. I didn’t read many books with villains this month. I guess the only two villains there really was was those in A Dark and Hollow Star and in Shadows Over London and of those I guess I’d have to say the villain in A Dark and Hollow Star?
Most original villain: I honestly do not know, nor do I think either of the villains I mentioned previously were extremely original so I’m just gonna leave this blank.

Best plot: What else could I possibly say other than King of Scars? Leigh Bardugo is a master of plots (and characters, too) and KoS is no exception. Rule of Wolves is a close second behind this (as it is the second in the King of Stars duology…)(I don’t even know if that was a pun and it wasn’t intended to be but…)
Most original plot: I think I have to go with Lore by Alexandra Bracken here. I’ve never read a book anything like this (I mean, Percy Jackson was the closest as it is set in NYC and there is greek mythology but it didn’t come anywhere close) and the concept was super interesting.
Craziest plot twist: Not gonna lie, I’m just saying Rule of Wolves because I can’t think of anything else. I cannot think of a plot twist in Rule of Wolves either, but I’m just going with it because there’s got to be one in there somewhere.

Best world building: I always hate using a single book for lots of answers but best world building clearly goes to King of Scars/Rule of Wolves. Just like sh’es a master at plot, Bardugo’s world building is fabulous.
Most original world: Well it appears I did not read many books that even had fantasy worlds so I’ll go with Elatsoe for this one. The world in Elatsoe was basically our world but there was some magic and creatures which I thought was pretty cool.

Best romance: Uuuuh
I guess I’ll say Nina and Hanne from King of Scars??? There was literally no other romance that stood out to me this month
Most unexpected romance: I’m not gonna lie, most romances are extremely predictable these days. I honestly don’t know what to say because none of these surprised me the slightest bit.

Most diverse book: Well, King of Scars was very diverse but I’m going to go with I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee here. All of the main characters/important side characters were LGBTQ+ as well as Asian. Skye was also fat and it was a very body-positive book which unfortunately is not something that I see very often in YA.

Best book overall: …Oh, come on, it’s got to have been King of Scars. I’d also put Rule of Wolves here. Despite the fact that I did rate Rule of Wolves 4 stars when I rated King of Scars (as well as I’ll be the One) 5, I think overall I enjoyed Rule of Wolves more, there were just more things that I also enjoyed less. I’ll Be the One was an extremely close second, I loved that book.
Most original book overall: (*Note: I’m changing this prompt from ‘most interesting book overall’ to ‘most interesting book overall’) Oh, Lore’s gotta win this one too, like I said before it was extremely original.
Most surprising book overall: I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee. I was expecting to really enjoy it but I was not expecting to LOVE it. It was SUCH an amazing book and you NEED to go out and read it RIGHT AWAY.

~April TBR~

Just like last month, I’m doing a short TBR of books that I’m probably going to read in April. Don’t expect me to stick to this TBR though! (I said I was gonna read The Gilded Ones in March but I only got halfway through due to the fact that I received two extremely anticipated books of mine right after I started reading it and just had to start reading those) Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, 1) (9780062870957): Barron,  Rena: Books A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology  (9781984896209): Clayton, Dhonielle: Books Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad) (9781945053252): Lee, C.B.:  Books
  • Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron. I saw a talk by this author last…August? And I’ve been excited to pick this up ever since. I think that now that I actually own this I’ll be much more likely to do so!
  • A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton. This will be the first anthology I’ve read in a while and I’m excited to pick it up! It looks like a super interesting read.
  • Not Your Villain by CB Lee. This is the second book in the Sidekick Squad, whose first book I read in February. I’m trying to read this series really slowly given that book 4 doesn’t come out until August and if I devour them all right now, I will be in that awkward spot where I remember too much that a reread is worth it but not enough that I can just pick up the book remembering exactly what happened in that last one, come August. (disclaimer: I’ll probably end up in that spot anyways)

~Monthly Bingo~

And I’m back with the monthly bingo again! The monthly bingo is created by A Colorful Bibliophile and it is an absolutely amazing creation. You can find this month’s bingo board here, as well as the board for the month of April here.
Anyways, enough rambling, here’s my March bingo board:

Not gonna lie, I definitely bent some of the prompts a lot. But come on, I needed to get my bingo!
Anyways, I do hope that you participate in the monthly bingo because it is a WHOLE LOT of fun!

Have you read any of the books that I did for my reading month? What do you think of my monthly bookish awards? Are you going to participate in the bingo? (you totally should). Let me know in the comments! I’d love to talk to you!
As always, thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read this; it means the world. Stay safe and keep on reading!


December and 2020 Wrap up

Hello hello hello friends, and welcome to (*drumroll please*) the end of 2020!
Wow, I cannot believe that we’re finally here! 2020 has been a crazy year of ups and downs–ha ha, I’m joking if there was an up please let me know because I cannot think of anything except the fact that I started this very blog.
Anyways, here’s how this wrap up is going to work. To spare you from having to read through my comments on all 181 books I read this year (and to spare me from having to write about all of them because–) the first part of the wrap up will be just December books. However, this month my ‘monthly wrap up awards’ will become my yearly wrap up awards so you can see what I thought of characters, plot, world building, etc. throughout the whole year!

In December I read ten books (sort of*). I had a lot of five star books which I’m super happy about! This was a really, really good month for reading.

*I actually read Fence, the graphic novel series as well but I won’t be talking about that

  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. This is the second book by Klune that I’ve ever read and I really enjoyed it! It was a unique idea and the characters were awesome (Lucy was the best, I’m not sure why but I really liked him. He was very funny) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos. This book was…okay. It had a VERY important message and it was a very eye opening book but I just found the actual plot and how it was written to be…less good. Still, I’d suggest you to give it a try! ⭐⭐⭐
  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. I loved Moxie! It was such an empowering novel and I liked how it was written as well! We need more novels like this in our lives. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan. I thought this was a great book because it was LOTR-esque but much easier to read and one of the main characters was female! I’d been looking for a book like this for a while now and I read The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan earlier this year which was a bit like LOTR but this one was much better. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert. This was a really great middle grade book, I really enjoyed it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron. This was a really great idea for a book but I just don’t think the actual plot was written that well. There was a lot of planning to do things and I just didn’t find that very interesting. Also…there was insta love which always makes me unhappy. ⭐⭐⭐
  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. As always, Acevedo’s books are beautiful. This is the third book by her I’ve read and the first book in prose and I enjoyed it more than the others! I loved Emoni and Acevedo’s writing is just absolutely beautiful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver. I loved this book so much it was so heartbreaking and adorable and amazing. It’s not often that you read a book with a non binary MC so that was also often to find in this book! Nathan was my favorite character because…Nathan. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. AAAAAAAAAAH hello I read this book in one sitting it was great now I cannot use punctuation because this book is great thank you.
    Okay, now for the thoughts that you can actually understand: I loved this book so much. It was so diverse and magical and the characters were awesome. Aiden Thomas’s writing, too, is amazing and I cannot wait for their next book, Lost in the Neverwoods. (also, Thomas has written another book pitched as Percy Jackson meets the Hunger Games and it’s queer and why is this not out right now). Sorry, I’m getting off topic. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore. This book was….interesting. It was extremely different than any other book I’ve read and it was a fascinating idea, too. I’m honestly not sure what I thought of it. ⭐⭐⭐

My Bookish Awards (for the entire year!)

Oh dear, this will be hard, won’t it be.

Best Character: The best character I have read all year is Fie from The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owens. I loved Fie because she was this super strong and determined character and I also loved the magic she could do–maybe not exactly about her but still. She could do said magic.
Worst Character: The fact that this isn’t even a hard choice is sort of sad. This award easily goes to Asa from The Future Was Now by JR Harbor. My hatred of Asa is unmatched. He only cares about his girlfriend because she’s ‘the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen.’ and that’s only the first reason I hate him. I’ll shut up before I continue ranting but find the rest of my rant about this book here. It was one of the more fun posts to write.
Most interesting Character: OKAY FINE I didn’t want to do this one but since I can’t think of anything else, I’ll say The Claw from We Ride Upon Sticks. The Claw is a hairstyle….but in the book it had a personality. Also it was, like, magical??? So that’s certainly interesting.
Funniest Character: Well, I’m not entirely sure if this is the actual character or the character’s actions that are funny, but Nick from The Extraordinaries did a lot of really funny dumb things and he was funny as well and that book made me laugh a lot. (Find my interview with the author, TJ Klune, here, where we discuss Nick and writing a book)

Best villain: So…I have the perfect villain in mind, however this villain comes in about halfway through said book and I don’t want to spoil for anyone! But I will say that the villain in Crown of Feathers was probably the best villain I read this year since they were cruel and smart and it’s just a thrill to read them because it always seems so impossible that the main character would defeat them.
Worst villain: Villains in Spy School Revolution. Perhaps it’s a little unfair for me to put these people here since this is a middle grade book, but I just didn’t like the idea for them as villains and stuff.
Most original villain: Villain (more like villainous idea) in Four Dead Queens. THAT PLOT TWIST–no, Phoenix, shush, no one needs to hear you talk about THAT PLOT TWIST–
Anyways there’s a great plot twist read Four Dead Queens please and thank you.

Best plot: Oh hello how on EARTH am I going to choose??? I’ve read so many amazing books this year! But finally, after much contemplation (and disagreement within myself) I have decided on Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian. This was such an interesting story and it really hooked me! I loved this book and you all should definitely check it out!
Worst plot: Maybe this isn’t actually true but I read so many books in 2020 and can’t possibly remember the plots of all of them. I just remember really disliking this book because of what was going on in it and stuff. I’m going to say “Let the Storm Break” by Shannon Messenger. I’ve read KOTLC by Messenger so I tried her other series and I just–meh. I got through the first book and read the second and I really struggled to get through it because the plot was so slow and just not what I wanted to read it. I never picked up the last book.
Craziest plot twist: PHOENIX DON’T SAY I–FOUR DEAD QUEENS. *pause* Are any of you surprised? Sorry, I just had to say this here.
Most original plot: Okay for this one I think I’m going to go with Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. I thought that it was such an interesting concept and VERY different than other things. Basically, it was about zombies (called shamblers in this book) who rose from the dead in the Civil War. Now (a little bit after the Civil War ended–it was cut short by this new zombie development), our main character Jane goes to a school to learn to cut down Shamblers and protect others (read: rich white people because, well, America). That being said, this book also brings attention to important things like slavery and racial inequalities in this United States. We also have great diversity–both main characters are POC (Jane is biracial) and our two main characters are bi and ace/aro. So get out and read this book!!!

Best world building: WHY DO I CURSE MYSELF TO THIS. Okay, it’s a tie between Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Scavenge the Stars never gave an info dump and there was a lot of different countries and places that were fitted into that. And, of course, Six of Crows is…Six of Crows. The grishaverse is so well thought out and complex! (Scavenge the Stars review)
Worst world building: How am I supposed to decide which world I hated the most??? I mean, there were worlds I hated but those worlds were meant to be hated (Like in Cinderella is Dead where women are literally forced to marry a man when they’re, like, 18).
Okay, I know I said this last month but since I can’t think of anything else, I’ll say it again: the world from House of Dragons. Basically nothing was explained. There was an island. There was an ocean. There were estates and there was a city. Where were they in relation to each other? I don’t know! (well, the island was in the middle of the sea, that’s for sure).
Most interesting world: For this one, I’ll go with the world from The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett. This book was definitely not my favorite but it had a very unique world. The world the character lived in, or at least the kingdom, was basically all ice. On top of a gigantic lake. Then, under the ice, in the water…there’s another world!

Best romance: I’m…not really a romance person. I mean, of course I’ll read romance in books because it’s hard to find a YA book without romance, but I don’t pay attention to it much and don’t like when it’s a big part of the book. That being said, I do DEFINITELY ship some couples. Nick and Seth from The Extraordinaries (try to come up with a good ship name though, I dare you. I don’t want to ship ‘sick’). Jesper and Wylan from Six of Crows (SHIP SO HARD) and Yadriel and Julian from Cemetery Boys (I….guess I like m/m ships a lot??? Don’t exactly know what that’s about but okay then).
Worst romance: Do I really need to rant about this book again? Well, okay, it’s Asa and Eve from The Future Was Now because honestly the fact that Eve saw appeal in Asa–I feel like that’s just the author’s wishful thinking. ASA ONLY EVER TALKED ABOUT HOW BEAUUUUUUUTIFUL SHE WAS. It’s like it was her only trait!!! (it wasn’t her only trait, it was just the only one Asa could see, apparently) And there was NOTHING about him that was likeable. Plus it was insta love. AAAAAAH
Most unexpected romance: I feel like romances are pretty suspectable these days but…I guess I’ll say the romance in Four Dead Queens (the not main one, I don’t want to spoil but it gets revealed part way through the book?)

Most diverse book: How am I supposed to choose the most diverse book I read this year? I really don’t think I can so I’ll just put a few in here.
Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Least diverse book: Well I mean, there are still a lot of books out there that don’t have any rep of any kind at all or write rep VERY badly. I have read some of these this year and I’d probably say that the worst rep goes to The Future Was Now (I don’t know if that was a badly failed attempt to have LGBTQ+ characters or it was just outright homophobia) or any of the spy school books I’ve read this year.

Okay now how on earth am I going to choose.
Yeah, I really cannot. But the books I enjoyed this year the most were Cemetery Boys, I’ll Give You The Sun, The Merciful Crow and Six of Crows among other things.
Worst book overall: You guys are probably bored of me saying this by now honestly. And you can DEFINITELY guess what I’m going to say here.
*drumroll* (but not really)
Just check out my post if you want to see my problems with it….
Most interesting book overall: Interesting as in unique idea, that is. For this one I’m going to have to go with We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry. Field hockey team in the late 1980’s who dapple in dark magic to try to win the state championships? Well that’s certainly…unexpected. And there’s so much more about this book to discover!

Just a few more things:
First of all, I don’t know how far this is going to make it or if this is going to do anything but I just wanted to let all of you know that my 2020 book tag, a tag that I created in late December, can be done after 2020 is over. I wasn’t clear about this at all on my post and I can see how people might think it can only be done in 2020, but it’s just a tag whose questions mirror the events in 2020, it doesn’t have anything to do with when you post it. So you can do it whenever!

Some posts that I loved reading this month:
– The Quiet Pond posted 20 diverse and modern retellings of old classics.
– Cherelle @A Bolt Out Of a Book wrote a discussion post about redemtion arcs and what makes them good or not.
– April @Booked Till Midnight wrote a letter to her past self and the things she could have done better on her blog.
– Ahaana @Windows to Worlds wrote a discussion post about her favorite tropes in YA fiction.
– Riddhi @Whispering Stories created a new feature on her blog–blogger interviews!
– Ahaana also introduced a project she’s working on with Becky @Dusts of Magic–basically a book club that writes fanfic after they finish the book!
– And lastly, both Katie @Whispering Pages and May @Forever and Everly posted anticipated releases for the first half of 2021 and I am so excited for all these books! (Katie’s post) (May’s post)

My new years resolutions (aka the bookish things I want to do in 2021)
– Well, first of all there are a LOT of books I want to read in 2021. I keep getting recommendations and I say, ‘I’ll get to it eventually’ and then I never do.
– I also want to read more of the books that I actually, you know, own because usually when I get books for holidays or my birthday, I’ll put them aside because I’ll always own them whereas library books I can only get for 14 days and sometimes there’s a line to get them. And then…I never read the books at home.
– Something really important to me this year is to read a lot of diverse books especially books with main or at least important LGBTQIAP+ characters. OwnVoices please!
– As well as the bookish things above, I want to figure out how to balance my time with reading, school, blogging and other things. I’ll probably cut back on my posting from twice a week to once a week so I have more time to do those things.
– Similar to the above goal, I want to be able to write a lot more this year. I have some awesome book ideas (in my opinion) but because of school and blogging I haven’t really been able to write them much. I’ve really made some progress over winter break though!

And that, my dear friends, is the end of my last post in 2020. I really hope you enjoyed it! What did you think of this post? Have any opinions on my opinions? Please, talk to me in the comments, I’d love to heard what you think!
Thank you all again for loving my blog and interacting me–I love all of you! As always, stay safe and keep reading!
See you next year!