January Wrap-Up // 11 books read, 10 posts, and countless hours of TV watched!

Hi friends!

I didn’t really do much this month by way of personal updates so let’s just get right into it!

Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan // I try to reread Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares and Twelve Days of Dash and Lily every holiday season and this year was a must considering they released a new book AND the Netflix series. Each book holds a special place in my heart both as part of the series but also its own merit. Twelve Days really explores family dynamics and what happens after the HEA, when the honeymoon period is over and things aren’t so shiny and you’re 17 and don’t know what to do with BIG feelings.

The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert // This was a whim purchase when Talia announced the new cover and the matching sales price and then I proceeded to drop everything I was doing and immediately read it in one sitting and I have 0 regrets. This book only solidified my desire to slowly but surely work my way through Talia’s backlist. Also it was the perfect book to follow up my watching of Bridgerton on Netflix because it was contemporary but with similar high society, fake engagement, and utter traumatic backstory vibes.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan // This is still such a good book and this is the first time I read it after seeing the musical last year and wow what a great adaptation that was. But seriously this is a perfect crossover series because the characters are young and it’s definitely written in a way the “target” audience of 10-13 year olds will grasp and enjoy but I’m still not bored as a 20 something “adult.” I can’t wait to finish my reread of the series and watch these characters mature and their relationships develop 🥺

Wings of Ebony by J. Elle // While this book wasn’t quite what I expected it was still rather good and I’m excited to get my hands on a finished copy to see how it differs from the arc I read! This book is for anyone looking for a story about magic intersecting with race and mysteries and learning about yourself and what does home really mean? All of that and more is in this story and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria // This was such a fun read with a nice undercurrent of serious topics which is just what I look for in a romance! From the meet-cute to the blossoming friendship to the hooking up and everything in between was cute, funny, romantic, or a little bit of all three, but there was also a look at the darker aspects of the entertainment industry and about race and diversity in shows both on screen and behind the scenes, not to mention what viewers think they’re entitled to and how that can affect the people who end up in the public eye.

Serpent and Dove (audio) by Shelby Mahurin narrated by Holter Graham and Saskia Maarleveld // This audio book took me so long to get through which wasn’t too surprising considering the size of the physical book, but I’m so glad I listened to it. If this wasn’t a reread it might have been hard to follow along or at least I would’ve missed things, but for a reread it was perfect because I feel like I noticed things I might’ve missed simply by having it read aloud and of course the narrators lent certain personalities and inflections to the story that changed how I saw some things.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han // I knew there was a reason I blocked the events of this book from my mind. I thought it was just because I hadn’t read it as many times as the first two books, but no I’m pretty sure it’s because there’s so much angst and growing pains and so many cringey moments (in the sense of tension or fights) and I hate seeing Peter and Lara Jean unhappy 😦 but ultimately this book rounds out the series and is a glimpse at the realities of high school sweethearts and graduating.

Mind the Gap, Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan // AHHH this was even better than I hoped! I was nervous going into it because Dash and Lily hold such a special place in my heart and if they went through the classic third act break up or basically put me through the heartache of Always and Forever I would definitely cry. BUT I am pleased to say that any and all issues in this book were external. Was their relationship occasionally strained? Yes! But the story is really more about growing up and finding home and yourself as well as how relationships change in good ways and bad.

Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan // Reading this just made me angry about the movie all over again. There’s a reason I tend to block the second movie from my brain because not only is it a bad adaptation but it also lacks the entertaining factor that the first one had going for it. Logan Lerman is literally the only selling factor for me which is enough to get me to watch the movie every other year or so. BUT the book is so good and sets up the rest of the story beautifully and builds on what we learned in the first one without being overly repetitive. Also seeing Annabeth and Percy grow closer is just 🥺

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle // Did I just read this in December? Yes, yes I did. And I have no regrets about reading it again so soon, if anything it was even better the second time around because I understood going in that both were to blame for the demise of their relationship (vs. the first read had me believing Nicholas was all to blame for the first 30% of the novel). And I actually got more joy out of the funny one-liners and ridiculous hijinks and banter because I either a) knew they were coming and could ~anticipate~ or b) things I missed the first time caught my attention this time OR caught my attention in a different way.

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai // This was such a cute romance! It’s discussions of social media and what being an influencer looks like and in general the entertainment industry was on point without getting lost in the little details. Jia is a badass and I sincerely hope that whatever Alisha Rai does next includes a look at what Jia does next 👀

Currently reading: A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey and Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Here are some books that I released over the last month that I added to my TBR! You can also check out my February releases post here!

So I’ve started putting together a monthly releases post (check out my January post here) but over the course of the month more releases came to my attention so I wanted to still include this section to highlight books that caught my eye over the month!

  • Clues to the Universe by Christina Li // When Rosalind’s dad dies, all Ro has left of him is an unfinished model rocket. Benjamin doesn’t like science, but he can’t get enough of Spacebound, a popular comic book series. Though Ro and Benji were only supposed to be science class partners, the pair become unlikely friends: Benji helps Ro finish her rocket, and Ro figures out a way to reunite Benji and his dad. As the two face bullying, grief, and their own differences, Benji and Ro must try to piece together clues to some of the biggest questions in the universe. 
  • Roman & Jewel by Dana L. Davis // Jerzie will do anything to land the lead role in Roman and Jewel, a Romeo and Juliet inspired hip-hopera on Broadway. But her hopes are crushed when she is cast as the understudy. Falling for male lead Zeppelin is a terrible idea. But when a video of Jerzie and Zepp practicing goes viral and the entire world weighs in on who should play Jewel, Jerzie learns that while the price of fame is high, friendship, family, and love are priceless.
  • One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite // When Kezi is killed under mysterious circumstances and becomes another immortalized victim, her sister Happi begins to question the idealized way she is remembered. One of the good ones. Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind, Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi. But there’s a twist—one that will change everything all over again.
  • The Knockout by Sajni Patel // Kareena’s landed the chance of a lifetime, an invitation to the US Muay Thai Open, which could lead to a spot on the first-ever Olympic team. If only her sport wasn’t seen as something too rough for girls, something she’s afraid to share with anyone outside of her family. Which is inconvenient, since she’s starting to fall for Amit, who just might be the world’s most perfect Indian. Admitting her feelings for Amit will cost Kareena more than just her pride–she’ll have to face his parents’ disapproval, battle her own insecurities, and remain focused for the big fight.
  • Then There Was You by Mona Schroff // When helicopter medic Daniel answers an emergency call at Phil’s Bar, he can’t believe who the bartender is: the beautiful woman he saw in his ER and hasn’t been able to stop thinking about. Annika is doing just fine. She loves her job as a kindergarten teacher, even if the pay is low and she has a side gig working at Phil’s. What she doesn’t need is Daniel. He’s wrong for her in every single way—so why is their chemistry off the charts?

January marks the end of my winter tbr and surprisingly I managed to read all of the holiday books on my list as well as finishing the To All the Boys trilogy and starting my reread of PJO. The experience actually taught me that I prefer balancing my rereads with new reads because it gives me options depending on my mood and attention level so I still plan on continuing through my reread list throughout the rest of the year.

For now here is the gist of my immediate tbr! I’ll probably read a good bit of romance because *gestures to the general capitalist nature of February and valentine’s day* but other than that I’d like to finally get to these books!

  • Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz // This book was high on my list of releases last year but I just didn’t get around to reading it BUT it works out because I got a hard copy for Christmas so I definitely plan to read it in the next few weeks!
  • Blood and Honey by Shelby Mahurin // This book has been sitting on my shelf since it’s release taunting me and telling me to read it but I decided on a whim to reread Serpent & Dove first which wouldn’t have been a problem if I hadn’t decided to pick up the audio book which took me almost two months to get through since I best process audiobooks in the car and obviously I haven’t really been going anywhere. But I finally finished it and I’m ready to pick up this book!
  • The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan // I’m excited to continue my reread of PJO and I’m starting to lean toward rereading Heroes of Olympus and maybe even reading The Trials of Apollo because I love this world so much!
  • Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas // I have been excited for this book since reading THUG because it was clear in that story that Mav went through a lot and had to grow up quick when he became a father and the choices he made helped him develop into a strong, smart man who loves his family and becomes the great father we see in THUG so getting to see his story is everything I wanted! And then I’ve heard phenomenal things from readers which only ups my excitement so I can’t wait to pick it up!
  • One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London // I’ve had this book on hold for so long and it’s finally almost available! I mean a plus-size influencer going on a Bachelorette style reality dating show?? It was a no brainer that I would add this to my tbr. Not to mention I’ve heard nothing but great things from my trusted sources on romance reads so I’m excited to dive in next month!

Here’s just a little glimpse at some of the things I watched last month!

  • Dash and Lily // I’m always apprehensive about adaptations especially when it comes to my favorite books (there’s a reason I still haven’t watched the Looking for Alaska series) but I heard so many good things about this series that I felt like it was worth the risk. And I actually don’t regret it! Obviously the show made some changes some of which I don’t agree with or really understand why they made that choice and others that made perfect sense! I plan on diving into a comparison between the series and the books in a post next month, but the gist is that I loved the casting and the stronger relationship between Lily and Boomer as well as the fact that Boomer was a little more serious.
  • Merlin // This has been on my rewatch list for a while and I finally got around to it last month. I still have a few more episodes left to finish which I’m putting off and seriously considering not watching at all because of the ending 😦
  • Haikyu!! // I finally started Haikyu!! thanks to the prodding of my friend and I’m hooked. Who knew I had space in my brain for these little high school volleyball boys 🥺 I’m almost done with the first season and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series progresses!
  • Bridgerton // 👁👄👁 This is still my face when I think about this series. I can’t wait to see the next season though I hope the creators/writers take into account all the issues viewers had with the first season. I don’t think there’s a great way to retroactively fix *that* scene between Daphne and Simon but some of the other stuff I think could be addressed or handled better moving forward. Really I just want more Eloise and Penelope content because those two were definitely my faves!
  • The Good Place // I tried to rewatch this a few months ago but it was just not the time or the mood, but with the new year and a lull in things I wanted to watch I decided to try again and apparently it was the right time considering I flew through the series. It was as good if not better than my last watches because the characters mean so much to me and seeing them develop all over again is just 🥺
  • Wonder Woman 1984 // I was hesitant to watch this because I’ve heard not great things about it but I decided to give it a shot after significantly lowering my expectations and I think that’s why I enjoyed it for the most part? Like it was entertaining if you don’t look too closely at the plot and just want action scenes. Mainly I don’t like how Steve came back and I don’t like that the villains didn’t feel overly compelling or fully developed? The movie really lost me in the pivotal moment when Diana gives a little speech because it kicked me right out of the experience.

Here’s a preview of what’s to come on my blog!

Reviews

  • First Comes Like by Alisha Rai
  • You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
  • A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
  • Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Misc.

  • YA Romance Recs
  • Adult Romance Recs
  • Things I Shouldn’t Feel Guilty For (But Do) // Reading Romance: Guilty Pleasure to Fave Rant
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares vs. the Netflix series

💫 What was your fave read of January? Did you watch anything good? What are your plans for February?

One thought on “January Wrap-Up // 11 books read, 10 posts, and countless hours of TV watched!

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