January wrap up, a month with a lot of pages but not a lot of books

At the start of January, I used a “wheel of TBR” to determine which books I should pick up during the month. The wheel wasn’t very kind to me as it chose some quite large books. I didn’t have all that much time to read last month, so I didn’t get to all of them (as expected). However, I did tackle one of my most intimidating reads at the start of the year which makes me feel very proud.

What was I supposed to read this month?

Little Women, How to Be Remy Cameron, De Vrouw Die Door Het Vuur Ging, Words of Radiance, and Silver in the Wood

What did I actually read?

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh – ★★★★★
This was a random purchase from the Amazon sale a month or two ago, and my pick for the “short book” prompt of the wheel. Although I had seen it mentioned on a few Best of 2019 lists, I didn’t expect much going into it. I find it hard to fall into a new world or atmosphere or get attached to characters with novellas because they’re so short. However, this novella was atmospheric and rich from the start. On page 3, I already knew it would end up a 5-star read.

Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson – ★★★★★
I can’t believe I managed to read one of my most intimidating books at the start of the year. Why is Words of Radiance so intimidating? First of all, it’s about 1300 pages long. Second, one of my favorite characters has the tendency to almost end up dead in every chapter. I was scared, okay? After gathering all my courage and picking this book up, I fell in love with it. It was even better than the first book in the series as we didn’t need as much worldbuilding or background this time around. I can’t wait to buy and read Oathbringer, the next book in the Stormlight Archive!


What did you read in January?

February TBR, reading black authors

I quite like the idea of centering my TBR around a certain theme every month, even though I probably won’t be able to finish all the books I set out to read. I, like many others, am dedicating February to black authors and characters. Black history month is the perfect time to make sure I read enough stories from black perspectives, both in terms of authors and characters.

I aim to read a variety of genres and target audiences as well. Let’s take a look at the books I hope to read in February!

The Obelisk Gate (Broken Earth #2) by N.K. Jemisin
I started the Broken Earth trilogy in December 2018, and have been eager to continue ever since. Who knows why I’ve been putting the sequel off for so long. If I get lucky and have a lot of reading time in February, I might even aim to read the final book in the trilogy as well.

How to be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters
This book was actually on my January TBR but I didn’t get around to it. I had too many big books on my to-read list for the month and not enough time. Luckily, it fits perfectly for February as well. I hope I’ll love this just as much as his previous novel, Running With Lions.

A Blade So Black (Nightmare-Verse #1) by L.L. McKinney
I bought A Blade So Black in the same Amazon sale I’ve mentioned a few times this month. From what I can gather, it’s an Alice in Wonderland retelling – in which Alice is obviously a black girl. The cover looks absolutely epic, and even though I’m not a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, I can’t wait to read this.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
I’ve seen this book on quite a few “best of 2019” lists which makes me even more excited to read it. The synopsis (and title) sound incredible, and the audiobook is available on Scribd. It’s also only 4 hours long!

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus
I literally have no idea what this novel is about. I know it has an f/f relationship and it’s contemporary. I want to go into this not knowing what the expect from the story itself, and just be surprised by it.

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
The Wicker King has been on my to-read list for ages, and I finally bought myself a copy in the sale I keep mentioning. One of the details I love most about this (before actually reading it) is that the story revolves around a boy with a degenerative hallucinatory disorder, and that as the hallucinations get worse, the pages of the book get blacker and blacker.


I have another list on my Scribd account dedicated entirely to black authors and  black characters, so I might end up listening to a different book as well. Just in case I have more time to listen than to actually sit down and read a physical copy. I’m so excited for these books! Some of them I’ve been meaning to read for absolute ages.

Have you read any of these books? Which one should I pick up first?

most anticipated releases of 2020, part one

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a Top Ten Tuesday post, hasn’t it? It’s still being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and you can find all the information on the weekly posts here. This week, everyone will be talking about their most anticipated releases for the first half of 2020. So, what are mine?

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
I have never read an Anna-Marie McLemore book, but all of their novels are on my to-read list. Literally all I know about this book is that it has shoes that make you dance until you fall down dead. Sounds like an epic read to me… Plus, look at that cover! The covers for their books are always so gorgeous.

Release date: January 14

Nottingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood by Anna Burke
Nottingham is on today’s list because it’s an LGBTQ+ retelling of Robin Hood in which Robin is a woman. Does that not sound like everything you’ve ever wanted in life??

Release date: January 21

Ink in the Blood (Ink in the Blood #1) by Kim Smejkal
I first clicked on this book because of the cover. It just screams “tattoo” to me. Combined with the tagline “one performance can change your destiny”, my curiosity was piqued. Apparently, this book includes tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater. It’s also marked as an LGBTQ+ book, although I have no idea what the rep in this book will be.

Release date: February 11th

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
Any N.K. Jemisin book will make it on my most anticipated list, because she writes the most incredible SFF books. This novel is about 5 New Yorkers who must come together to defend their city. In this world, every city has a soul. NYC has got 5. And every city has a dark side… THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD. Give it to me already!

Release date: March 26th

Queen of Coins and Whispers by Helen Corcoran
Another fantasy novel, of course. This is my list, after all, and I make no excuses for choosing my favorite genre. Queen of Coins and Whispers follows a teenage queen who inherits her uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, and brings a new spymaster into the fold. Another LGBTQ+ novel on the list, and unless I’m sorely mistaken, another f/f read.

Release date: April 6th

The Silence of Bones by June Hur
To add some variety to this list, I added The Silence of Bones. This is a historical fiction and mystery novel, two genres I want to dive into more. It’s set in Joseon in 1800 (Korea), where a young girl needs to assist the police in the investigation of a politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

Release date: April 21st 

Fence: Rivals by C.S. Pacat
I’ve been waiting for the next Fences story for ages, so this one definitely makes the most anticipated list. If you haven’t read these graphic novels, I highly recommend them. It’s got friendships, competition, fencing, enemies to friends (to hopefully lovers), and everything you could ever need.

Release date: May 19th

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
The title and cover alone are enough to land this book on my to-read list. The synopsis is the reason it ended up on my most anticipated list though. “When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.”

Release date: June 9th

The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna
I know I mention this constantly in this post, but this cover!! It’s so gorgeous. The Gilded Ones is a West-African inspired feminist fantasy, in which Deka goes through the blood ceremony that will determine whether she becomes part of her village or not. Only, her blood runs gold – the color of impurity. Then she becomes a warrior? I don’t know, it just sounds too good to be true.

Release date: May 26th

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
It’s kind of embarrassing of me to put a Zen Cho novel on this list if I’ve had one of her books for years and still haven’t read it, but I’m sticking with it. The synopsis got me with the first line: “A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there.” I’m in. I’ll buy a copy. Immediately. Then I saw it described as a found family wuxia fantasy, which truly solidified its place on my list.

Release date: June 23rd


These are 10 of my most anticipated reads for the first half of 2020! I’m definitely going to make a part 2 – and possibly 3 – of this. I had such a hard time narrowing it down to only 10 as there are so many exciting books being published!

Which books are you looking forward to?

What I plan on reading in January

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m sure you neither noticed nor cared that I have been gone for a while, so I’ll keep the explanation short. In 2019, I lost my passion for blogging somewhat and started exploring other areas of my life, including workout classes, language learning, a buys full-time job and a lot of traveling. While I am still doing all those things, I caught myself making reading plans again lately.

Even though I haven’t blogged in a while, I’ve still been reading. Mood reading, that is. Now, I find myself wanting to try challenges, TBRs and more again. So here I am, in January of 2020, writing a blog post. I won’t promise that I’ll post regularly again.

Last year, I fell in love with the “Wheel of TBR” videos on Cody’s channel. They give her direction to read yet allow her to pick the books to fit the given prompt at the same time. I decided to try the same for the first month of 2020. As I’ve been reading less the past few months, and have a busy month ahead, I decided to spin the wheel 5 times.

1: read an #ownvoices book

how to be remy cameron

Spin 1 gave me the prompt to read an own voices novel. Since I recently bought How to Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters, I figured that’d be the perfect read to kick off the year. I adored the author’s previous novel, Running With Lions, and can’t wait to read more of his work.

Synopsis
Everyone on campus knows Remy Cameron. He’s the out-and-gay, super-likable guy that people admire for his confidence. The only person who may not know Remy that well is Remy himself. So when he is assigned to write an essay describing himself, he goes on a journey to reconcile the labels that people have attached to him, and get to know the real Remy Cameron.

2: randomized read

de vrouw die door het vuur gingThe second spin of the wheel ended up on “randomized read” which means I have to go to my Goodreads TBR shelf and sort the books at random. The first one to pop up is the one I have to read.

The book selected was De Vrouw Die Door Het Vuur Ging by Manda Scott. This is a translated version, the original (English) title is Into the Fire.

I was a tad discouraged when I saw this pop up, because this book seems absolutely huge. I know Goodreads says it “only” has 500 pages but for some reason it seems like a lot more to me.

Synopsis
February 2014: Police Capitaine Inés Picaut is called out to investigate a blaze in the old town of Orléans. This is the fourth in a series of increasingly brutal arson attacks, and at the centre of the conflagration lies a body. 

September 1429: Joan of Arc is in the process of turning the tide of The Hundred Years’ War. English troops have Orléans under siege, and Tomas Rustbeard, the Duke of Bedford’s most accomplished agent, finally has her in his sights. But he knows that killing ‘The Maid’ – the apparently illiterate peasant girl who nonetheless has an unmatched sense of military strategy and can ride a warhorse in battle – is not enough. 

3: read your highest rated book

words of radianceWhen spin number 3 landed on “highest rated book”, I wanted to jump out the window. Why? Simply because I knew that the highest rated book on my shelf is Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, the sequel to The Way of Kings.

Remember when I mentioned I had a busy month ahead a few paragraphs ago? Yeah. Apparently, now I have to find time to read a 1000+ page book too.

I am really excited about this book though. I adored the first novel in the series and I can’t wait to find out more about the world and get to know the characters better. I’m already way too attached to everyone we met in book 1 (especially Kaladin). I’m also secretly happy this TBR made me pick this up because I don’t want to wait 5 years before continuing the series.

4: pick a short read

silver in the woodThank you, wheel, for blessing me with a short read after putting Words of Radiance on my list for the month! I’m so grateful.

In the same order in which I purchased How to Be Remy Cameron, I bought  Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh. The perfect choice for this prompt, as it’s only 112 pages long. I was already quite excited to read this, and then I saw it on Destiny (Howling Libraries) favorite reads of 2019 list…

Synopsis
There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

5: read a classic

little womenAnother prompt that terrifies me… To be honest, that’s the point of using the wheel: encouraging me to pick up the books I’ve been putting off for a while or might not pick from my shelf on my own.

I actually only have two unread classics so my choices were limited. After hearing so many people rave about the new movie, I decided to go for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

I have never read this book nor have I watched an adaptation of the story. I’m excited to find out what this book is actually about!

Synopsis
Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.


That’s it! Those are the books I’m hoping to read this month. I think the wheel was a tad unkind to me, leaving me with these long books to finish, but I’m genuinely excited about all these reads. I hope I’ll have a good reading month with these picks.

Have you read any of these books? What are you planning to read in January?