January passed by in the blink of an eye which further proves that time is fake. Or you can also say that I feel this way because my life is the poster child for monotony and it feels like I’m living the same day every day (okay we will not be talking about this any further because I don’t want to cry two minutes into this post). For me, January was a month of relaxation and endless lounging on the couch while reading books and watching anime. Yes, I am aware that I need to find new hobbies. Give me 100 more years to get my life together.
Despite my negative ramblings, January wasn’t exactly uneventful. In fact, quite a lot of good things happened last month. I discovered new things to scream about and read a considerable number of books. By considerable, I mean I surpassed my Goodreads challenge of 50 books. No biggie.
Let’s start the wrap up, shall we?
I read a total of 69 books in January. As much as I want to say that I achieved this because I struck a deal with a particularly conniving demon, that’s not what happened. I just got myself into a massive Haikyu!! brainrot and read all 45 manga volumes in less than a week. Is that normal? Heck if I know. I also read a lot of webcomics. Like, A LOT. My two brain cells just have no chill.
Let’s break down my January reads! Buckle up because there are a lot of them 🙈
REREAD & BACKLIST BOOKS
It’s my third time reading The Poppy War but I still loved this experience like it was my first. In fact, I loved it even more because I was hit by trucks of nostalgia and rereading this after knowing what happened in the third book was both painful and gratifying. I also buddy read this with May and discussing my favorite scenes and characters with her made the reading experience more special. I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK OKAY. It’s a masterpiece that reminded me why I love reading in the first place. This series will always have a special place in my heart.
I picked this up on a whim because I wanted to cut back on my screen time (I’ve been having migraines from too much screen exposure) and this was the first book on my shelf that caught my attention. I ended up enjoying it because of the pining and the pretty writing. It also offers an interesting take on the fair folk. This is an immersive standalone that you can read in one sitting.
I read 5 ARCs in January which is quite the satisfying number. I’m actually prioritizing ARCs right now which is why I hardly pick up backlist books unless they’re in audiobook format. I’m hoping to keep this energy up for the rest of the year.
This is a very entertaining and magical middle grade! I highly recommend this to bookdragons who love reading about magic schools and adventure with a sprinkle of mystery. Amari also highlights the importance of family and the harrowing but brave act of fighting against all odds.
I have to be honest here. I didn’t love this book as much as I thought I would. It hardly has any plot (which is quite understandable considering that it’s a Great Gatsby retelling) and I was mostly bored while reading it. However, I still commend Nghi Vo’s versatility as a writer because this book really reads like a classic and has a lot of hard-hitting lines. You’ll either love this or hate this.
Now, this is one book that I enjoyed reading very much. The writing is beautiful, the world-building is immaculate, and the yearning can be felt across nine dimensions. I’d also like to point out that this story is an example of enemies-to-lovers done right. I buddy read this with Lauren and our entire conversation was filled with barely coherent screaming. This may go down as one of my most favorite reads of the year. READ THIS BOOK WHEN IT COMES OUT ON MARCH 2.
Reading this book was an experience. Courtney Summers was able to write a deeply unsettling book about the terrifying pull of cults through The Project. Its pacing is on the slow side but the payoff was worth it.
I adore this book with every fiber of my being. Sarah Hogle hit the mark once again. My heart was full to the brim with love and adoration while reading Twice Shy. This book will make you laugh out loud, cry, and fall in love. I can’t recommend it enough.
Audiobooks keep me alive. Thanks to them for keeping my brain occupied to the point where I can’t hear my own thoughts any longer 😌
This was a bit confusing to follow on audiobook but I definitely loved its whimsical vibe. I enjoyed mulling over the little snippets of stories scattered across the book and was fascinated by the fact that they play an integral role in the main storyline. I need to reread this someday to appreciate it more.
Drawing inspiration from Filipino folklore, Lalani of the Distant Sea is an inspiring story that readers of all ages will appreciate. Reading this was both entertaining and informative. It’s always a pleasure to learn more things about Filipino folklore. Highly recommended for fans of middle grade.
Well, this was short but still worth the read. It’s been a while since I consumed something related to the Grishaverse and it felt good to delve back into this world once again.
Angie Thomas is a master at crafting realistic characters and clever dialogue. On the Come Up is a story of family, hope, dreams, and frustration. It discusses racial injustice and highlights the importance of using one’s voice to make a difference. This is a raw and insightful page-turner that will take your breath away.
This book lived up to its god tier premise which pleases my soul immensely. Lovely War spectacularly weaves two love stories set in World War I. What makes this book very interesting is that its chapters are narrated by Greek gods, adding more dimension to an already compelling story. If you’re looking for a book that is equal parts beautiful and tragic, pick this one up. You will not be disappointed.
This is a poignant novella starring mermaids descended from African slaves who were tossed overboard by slave owners. The Deep packs a punch in less than 200 pages. I was very impressed by the atmospheric writing and I appreciate the discussion of intergenerational trauma in such an imaginative way. Definitely worth the read.
GRAPHIC NOVEL, WEBCOMICS & MANGA
Lo and behold, the keys to my Goodreads challenge success! I definitely owe the bulk of my achievement to Haikyu!! but I also read quite a lot of webcomics and manhwa in January. In fact, there’s a lot of manhwa that I’m not planning to add to my Goodreads because of….reasons (inconsistent updates, obscure translations, and some don’t have Goodreads pages). So yeah, those are just between me and God now. Also, if I added them I’d probably be at 100 books next week and that’s kind of scary. We’ll stick with this list for now.
With its breathtaking art and masterful storytelling, The Magic Fish easily climbed the ranks and became one of my most favorite books of all time. This graphic novel offers tenderness and comfort while discussing important themes. It also subverts a lot of fairytale tropes in a very satisfying way.
Your Letter is a short webtoon that features a scavenger hunt, friendship, and a little bit of magic. Devil Number 4 is a story about mortals, angels, devils, and the fate that binds them together. I talked about these webtoons in my previous post so if you want to know more of my thoughts about them, feel free to check it out!
I read a lot of romance webtoons in January just because I wanted to feel something. These three are all very cute and yes they’re quite on the cliché side but I don’t really care. I ate up all the cliché tropes with a golden spoon and I still won in the end. I read them for the feels okay 😭
I fell in love with this webtoon at first sight. Not only is the art beautiful but the story is also engaging with its fantasy elements and high stakes. This is a story that begins when a star (who is also a boy) crash-landed on Earth and was rescued by a mortal. Star Children is still ongoing but I’m always on the lookout for its weekly updates. It deserves to be an Original. I hope that happens someday.
This is yet another webtoon that I picked up for the feels. It has the “im irritated with you but why an i slowly liking you” trope and it also has fake dating. The protagonists have great chemistry too! I’m still waiting for the story to pick up though.
This current arc is going to be the death of me. My favorite characters and I are not going to survive this. I am scared 😭 (atsushi and akutagawa sure are looking good on that cover though)
Thanks a million to the shoujo manga industry for carrying my whole life on its back. Horimiya is an adorable story that reminded me of a high school life I never had (my hs life was relatively uneventful romance-wise 🙂). I’m sad that the anime adaptation left out a lot of scenes from the manga but the visuals and the OP are top tier so I can live with it. I’m excited to read more chapters and watch more episodes so I can compare the manga and anime accordingly.
Look, my love for Haikyuu is overflowing I need about 100 hearts to fit all of my feelings in. I can write a 4k-word essay detailing why Haikyuu is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece but that’s not what we’re here for today so I’ll hold back a bit. Of course, I’ve heard about Haikyuu since my high school years but I only got into it this month. I watched the anime on a whim, not knowing that it will consume my life to the point of no return. I loved the anime so much that I binged all 4 seasons in less than 72 hours and binged all 45 volumes of the manga in less than a week. This, my friends, is what we call an extreme brainrot. I don’t exactly recommend it. My two brain cells are definitely spent right now. I HIGHLY recommend the manga and the anime, though.
I wanted to read the manga more slowly because I didn’t want to let go of the characters so quickly but I couldn’t find it in myself to slow down my pace. I was just that invested in the story. You see, Haikyuu is more than just volleyball (im aware that i sound so dramatic right now please look away). It’s a layered story of friendship, teamwork, success, failure, and improvement. Every character you meet is three-dimensional and each story arc is shot with action and tension. By the end of the manga, I was a sobbing mess. It shouldn’t make sense that I feel as if I’ve known these characters forever but I truly do. My brainrot is here to stay. I miss everyone already 😔
I’m incredibly thrilled to say that I have rediscovered my love for blogging in January. I found myself enjoying the process of writing posts so much. Sure, formatting is still exhausting but it can be strangely comforting at times. Case in point: I am actually at the point in my blogging life where I’m excited to create content and share it with the world. I hardly care about stats now. It feels good to be validated but mostly I’m just here to ramble and vibe. I enjoy what I’m doing and that’s precious enough.
With that said, here are my posts for January:
I also got back to blog hopping in January so I’ll be sharing some favorite posts below. A lot of my friends also rebranded their blogs last month so please support them as well!
✨ Kate’s blog is finally self-hosted and she published a lot of great posts last month. You need to read her series review of The Poppy War trilogy and find out why it’s such a masterful fantasy series.
✨ Fadwa went self-hosted as well and even blessed us with a 2021 reading spreadsheet. I’m currently using this spreadsheet and it’s an incredible blessing to my unorganized ass. Check out the spreadsheet here!
✨ Lauren and Orianna relaunched their blog, loveyoshelf, and posted a fun Q & A to celebrate the occasion. Visit their blog here.
✨ Ace also relaunched her blog and posted insightful reviews, including her review of The Project by Courtney Summers.
✨ Cande rebranded their blog and I enjoyed reading their 2020 wrap up post where they also shared their 2021 resolutions.
✨ Charvi also rebranded her blog. I loved reading her webtoon recommendations post. It’s always great to discover new webtoons to scream about.
✨ May’s blog turned 4 last week and she posted a Q & A that was very fun to read! Show her some love by visiting her blog here.
✨ All of Shealea’s posts are gold but I especially appreciate her post where she listed some free alternatives to pirated books. It’s a treasure trove for bookdragons who are wondering where they can read books for free and legally.
MORE JANUARY HIGHLIGHTS
✨ I finally turned 20 in January! I don’t celebrate a lot during my birthdays but my friends surprised me by visiting my lair so my day became more special than what I initially perceived. Also, I’m not thrilled to be in my 20s in the middle of a global pandemic. I just want to dissolve now.
✨ I buddy watched True Beauty with my friends Lily and Breana and it was so fun discussing the episodes with them while fangirling over all the beautiful people in the show. True Beauty isn’t the greatest drama out there but it sure is entertaining.
✨ I finally got a decent break from uni and I was happy when I found out that my grades turned out fine despite suffering for the majority of the semester. My second semester won’t begin until March so I still have a lot of time to relax. I have to face my thesis sooner or later though.
✨ I watched a lot of anime for emotional support. I caught up to new anime episodes of Black Clover and The Great Pretender. I binged Fairy Tail with my sister. I watched Jujutsu Kaisen, Fugou Keiji Balance Unlimited, Horimiya, and fell hard for Haikyuu.
✨ Have I already mentioned Haikyuu?
I am once again setting myself up for failure by listing these goals but here you go:
✨ Read at least 3 ARCs
✨ Publish at least 3 blog posts
✨Organize my Notion pages for second semester of uni
✨ Take bookstagram pictures before my account gets lost in proverbial cobwebs (this goal is quite unattainable)
✨Start planning out my thesis (this is the most impossible goal in this list lmao)
That’s about it! I hope your first month of the year also went well. Don’t despair if you weren’t able to read much in January. There are 11 more months in the year. I recommend reading manga or webcomics if you’re in a slump. Don’t forget to add them to your Goodreads challenge too! May February bless all of us with more excellent reads. See yall soon ❤️