A cozy month of Reading, Book Buying & Productivity | Reading Diary pt. 1

This first month of 2022 was surprisingly productive for me which was a kind of a shock because recently these past couple months have felt a bit repetitive for me with quarantining, blogging, and thinking more about my mental health. However its also been a deeply emotional month with accepting the recent loss of my grandfather (I know my personal life isn’t something delved into a whole lot on the blog & its not always easy to talk about this stuff)…but I finally felt comfortable sharing because its such a deep loss that affected me.

Its been a bit more quiet around the house, which is a weird feeling but also without a doubt the family was brought even closer together as we continue honoring & remembering him everyday.

Reading-wise, January felt like a rather quite month, which in a way reflected my reading. Poetry collections are like a restart to the new year for me and for literal years now, I’d been meaning to read works by Mary Oliver. I’d picked up Felicity and finished it on the first of January. If you’d like to read a more cohesive post with all my thoughts, check out my review. But, overall what spoke to me about Oliver’s book was the meditative look on the ordinary, wondrous moments in life, especially through the language of nature. Reading this collection also reminded me that I deeply missed reading poetry and hopefully, I’ll reach for more of them in the new year.

Next, I finished a graphic novel called Clockwork Curandera: The Witch Owl Parliament which let me just say has such a fascinating concept: A Frankenstein retelling set in Colonial Mexico, but there’s also steampunk, alchemy, magic plus a brother & sister duo working together to stop a mysterious owl coven?? Does that not sound so cool? I think RaΓΊl the Third’s artwork made this such a unique reading experience too! It has a sepia look to it plus the vintage aesthetic of it all brought the setting & story to life even more. While the fast pace made the story feel way too rushed, it definitely is a very unique concept that leaves you wondering what’ll happen in future volumes.

My third read of the month, which I’m also drafting a review for is Now That I’ve Found You from Kristina Forest. Romance books have been bringing me so much joy recently & I’m so glad I picked this up because, its a book I fall deeply in love with the more that time passes. Evie Jones is descended from Hollywood royalty and is herself, an up and coming actress looking for her next big break. Then when she gets blacklisted, Evie thinks what may just save her career is taking part in a public appearance with her incredibly famous grandmother Gigi, also known as Evelyn Conaway. But when Gigi goes missing, Evie’s traveling across NYC with a musician named Milo (who was also a friend of Gigi’s) to figure out where she is.

Evie and Milo were such a perfect match, they had such a great dynamic! Even though Evie is apprehensive in trusting others & becoming involved with other artists (like Milo and his band), she realizes how important it is for her to value her self aside from her Hollywood journey. This is probably my favorite of Kristina’s books yet, but also easily just a top tier / all-time favorite because the characters are so well-developed & the layered story about legacy, art, plus following your dreams spoke to me in a much deeper way that I kinda needed right now. I also particularly enjoyed the Old Hollywood aesthetics and use of articles, scripts, video recordings, etc. to add to the interesting idea of how media shows public figures vs. the deeper nuances of their lives that aren’t brought into the light, but also its a great way to get a deeper look into Gigi’s acting legacy! Overall, this was a spectacular YA Contemporary and I cannot wait to read Kristina’s next book!!

Lastly, my fourth read of the month was the final Dark Of The West book from Joanna Hathaway, Southern Sun, Northern Star! Don’t want to delve too much into this one as its a finale plus I’ve got a very detailed, in-depth review planned….but this was such an incredibly special series for me that made me cry, smile and left me a mess of emotions. This last novel left me thinking a lot about the grander themes that are explored across the series but also considering how I was in a different place than when I first read them, it just left an impact on me in another way in terms of Ali & Athan’s stories, plus the big ideas that were delved into throughout. (And YES, I do have an in-depth review planned and I can’t wait to share it!!).

So far I’m very happy with my 2022 reading because not only am I reading more books that I own, but I also finished my FIRST series in over a year.

Barnes & Noble was having some recent sales and naturally, I bought some! First was during one of its 50% sale for hardcovers where I got Fire With Fire by Destiny Soria, a Latina-authored YA Fantasy about sisters who slay dragons, but also try to balance high school! I’d been eyeing this one for some time and was thrilled to have gotten it for a great deal. Earlier this month I also went to used bookstore near me and found an original hardcover edition of a fantasy book I’d never heard of, but it sounded very interesting & honestly it was just an immediate cover buy: In Winter’s Shadow by Gillian Bradshaw, which is an older Arthurian retelling from the 80’s. I’ve actually been interested in discovering more backlist or classic fantasy from the 80’s or 90’s, so if you have any recs please let me know.✨

Also was not expecting to win a goodreads giveaway, but it was so cool getting a copy of the upcoming YA Fantasy debut Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye in the mail! 2022 really is gonna be the year I catch up on fantasy both upcoming & backlist, so very eager to dive into this one. Taking that picture for booktwt also reminded me, I kinda miss being on Bookstagram so maybe I’ll try posting there again next month.

I also wanted to shout-out a few posts from around the book community that I’d read this month: Andge from Down The Rabbit Hole wrote such a detailed review about Dana Schwartz’s ‘Anatomy: A Love Story’ which broke down different elements of the story & what to expect. Next, Shanayah from Scarlet Book Keeper wrote a lovely review for ‘Daughter Of The Moon Goddess.’ Recently discovered both of those blogs & have a great time reading their newest posts. I love Rafela’s blog so much & loved reading her post about Most Anticipated Releases. Florence from Miscellany Pages (now OffBeatBooks) writes reviews with additional analysis which is always my favorite to read, for instance check out this review about Hamnet. Finally, Library In The Tower shares the most fun posts, I particularly enjoyed the New Year Book Tag & a great feature called Shelf Sightings with a great read all about French Pastries.

During January I also posted more over at The Booked Shelf, which is my book news website dedicated to all the newest YA releases and of course, latest news! There was a cover reveal and some adaptation news I covered for this month, but do keep an eye out for wrap-ups for other news that hasn’t made it onto the blog yet.

As for what I’m currently reading this month, I’m still in my YA Romance mood which you could probably tell from my recent bookish list all about YA Romances πŸ˜‚πŸ’• So, I was thrilled to have finally picked up an Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka novel Always Never Yours, which follows Megan Harper a confident high schooler who finds herself getting into lots of relationships that always end the same: the guy finds the perfect girl, which isn’t her. Then she’s also trying to get into a well-known theatre school without much drama, but for the production she ends up getting the lead role! I like how confident and assertive she is, its very refreshing to read about in a YA Contemporary. Its utterly readable and I’m having a great time seeing how the novel balances her family life, friendships, & of course her journey to figure out her next relationship. Like the speed at which I’m going through this book surprised even me, its only been a few days & I’m already over 60% through. (Update: as of posting this, I’ve finished it).

Finally, the last book I’ve been attempting to finish is my ARC of Only A Monster by Vanessa Len, a YA Contemporary Fantasy debut. Set in London, Joan is spending the summer with her mother’s eccentric family and also working the historic Holland House with her cute co-worker Nick. But she quickly learns she comes from a family of monsters meaning they have frightening powers & Nick, happens to be a legendary monster slayer, who’ll stop at nothing to take down people like her. So when she teams up with a boy from a rival monster family, Aaron Oliver, Joan realizes if things are going to get fixed, they’ll have to work together. I’ll be very vague with spoilers here but I will say that there’s lots of mystery surrounding the characters which has me so intrigued as to their backstories & the history of the human/monster rivalry. The fantasy elements easily blend with the setting making it both immersive and enthralling, leaving you curious to see how the world expands with each chapter. If I can get my act together this week, I also have a fun interview planned with Vanessa, so keep an eye out in the coming weeks!

What did you read this month? Which books were your favorites so far into 2022? Any other bookish things you’ve accomplished this month? πŸ“šπŸŽŠ

8 thoughts on “A cozy month of Reading, Book Buying & Productivity | Reading Diary pt. 1

  1. Thank you so much for the link back, I really appreciate it! It looks like you read a wonderful variety of books this month and I hope it continues for you in February. Also I am deeply sorry to hear of the loss of your Grandad, thinking of you and your family at such a sad time πŸ’• X x x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Alicia, I deeply appreciate that so much. I’m wishing you a fantastic February too! πŸ’žπŸ’ž ‘Now That I’ve Found You’ became an instant favorite of the month, hope you enjoy it also. I’ve been splurging here & there with those book sales too πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

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