2021 End of Year Book Survey: Part II & III

It’s time for parts 2 & 3 of the End of Year Book Survey! This part of the survey looks more at blogging and future planning but you can check out part one for my 2021 Stats & ‘Best in Books’!

The End of Year Book Survey was originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner.

New favourite book blog/bookstagram/youtube channel you discovered in 2021?

I didn’t do half as much blog hopping this year as I had planned so there were only a few new bloggers that I discovered but I’m so glad that I discovered them! They produce great content and write great reviews, so you should definitely check them out: Nick @ Infinite Limits of Love, Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse, Kerri @ Kerri McBookNerd , Lia @ An Ode to Fiction, Maria @ The Character Study, Georgia @ Lost in Neverland, Hasini @ Bibliosini, Sam @ We Live and Breathe Books, and Lori @ Fifty-two!

I also have to give a special shout out to my favourites on here because they’ve made this reading year even more incredible with buddy reads and great chats: Leslie @ Books Are the New Black, Julie @ One Book More, Jess @ Jessticulates, Becky @ Becky’s Book Blog and Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den!

I also started watching my fair share of booktube this year and these three were my favourites:

Jess

Gavin

Jack


Favourite post you wrote in 2021?

I’m not usually good at boosting my own stuff? But there were a few posts that I really enjoyed making and two reviews that I’m particularly proud of, even though they’re a bit lot on the long, I couldn’t help gushing about the books because I loved them *so much*!


I didn’t take a lot of bookish related photos this year but I did do a book look for my stop on the Cast in Firelight blog tour, a photo of my newly reorganised bookshelf (that didn’t last long lol) and another photo of one of the (very) few hauls I did this year!


Best bookish event that you participated in
(author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

There were none this year (but are there ever any events? no… lol) 🥲


Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2021?

I don’t know if I can really say whether I had a “best” moment because my blogging and reading life felt pretty low key in 2021. I guess one of the best moments I felt was when I came back from my extended hiatus to find that there were still people following my blog? 😂 I still feel the imposter syndrome pretty often, especially when things felt really tough this year, but yeah… I’m just thankful for all of you who engage with this weird third culture kid across the sea! ❤️


Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Oof, I’ve said it a million times already but this year was a weird one and I felt it on both the blogging and reading front. I planned to take a short break early on in the year which then turned into a several-month-long hiatus which I apparently really needed! It wasn’t a smooth journey diving back into blogging but I found my groove again after a while. I still question why I’m producing anything at times because my engagements weren’t what they were before, but I love this community and I’m still glad to be here. In terms of reading, I was stuck with a weird reading mood that didn’t disappear until… well, it didn’t really disappear all year! 😂 While I’d normally read a pretty balanced mix of fantasies and romances, I could hardly focus on anything except the latter all year and without them I probably would’ve read next to nothing in 2021. 🙈 I’m planning to try reintroducing more fantasy into my life this year but if not, I’m totally okay with mainly reading romances!


Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views?)

The most liked post on my blog this year was my Top Ten Tuesday: Goals & Hopes for 2021! The post with the most comments was also a Top Ten Tuesday: Re-reading 5-star Books Like It Was the First Time.


Post you wished got a little more love?

As with every year so far, my reviews always get the lowest views out of all the posts on my blog. I’m also sure that because I took an extended hiatus this year, my stats dropped considerably but again, I’m just glad that anyone stuck around. ❤️


I gotta be honest, I didn’t really discover any new book related sites or book stores this year because I didn’t really do much retail therapy (surprisingly!) and outside of work, I spent very little time online and engaging. 🙈 Boring, I know!


Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Well, I can say with certainty that I didn’t reach many of the reading/blogging goals I set myself this year. Some of the reasons why were out of my control and the others… Well, it just didn’t happen and that’s fine! The one goal that I did surpass was my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I set my goal for 150 books in 2021 and I ended up reading 199 (welp, that one to 200 😂). I’m happy I at least did that!


One book you didn’t get to in 2021 but will be your number 1 priority in 2022?

I’ve technically been reading She Who Became the Sun for… A long time now. It’s been on my “currently reading” list since I picked it up mid-year and I’m disappointed that I haven’t finished it yet but as I’ve mentioned, I really struggled with fantasy last year. I’m definitely going to prioritise it this year and I do hope I love it as much as everyone else seemed to!


Book you are most anticipating for 2022 (non-debut)?

Ooh, there’s not just one book I’m highly anticipating! I’ve just made a list of ten but here are ten more that I’m really looking forward to this year:


2022 debut you are most anticipating?

A Magic Steeped in Poison isn’t my most anticipated debut because it has the most gorgeous cover but it definitely doesn’t hurt! 😂


Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2022?

I’m really looking forward to reading Bound by Firelight, the second and final book in the Wickery duology.


One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2022?

I wrote last year that I wanted to spend more time engaging in the book community and sadly, I didn’t do as much as I’d like. So I think I’m going to keep this goal the same! I hope to be more active in the book community and engage with more amazing book lovers!


A 2022 release you’ve already read & recommend to everyone (if applicable)

I’ve only read two 2022 releases (I’m so behind please don’t judge) and one I didn’t quite enjoy and the other I absolutely loved but haven’t gushed much about yet.

If you’re looking for a sweet and adorable graphic novel to read this year I’d highly recommend Chef’s Kiss! It’s got great friendships, realistic and relatable adulting situations post-uni life, and a very sweet MM romance. Not to mention all the food!

And that’s a wrap on 2021, folks!

So, that’s the last bit of the End of Year Survey. I actually feel like there are maybe some things that I haven’t reflected on yet in this wrap-up—mostly to do with my 2021 goals—but that’s OK. Maybe I’ll do a separate post for that. I can’t believe 2021 is already over and we’ve started another new year, sadly with the same circumstances. That said, I hope 2022 gets better and is kinder to all of us!

How was your year of reading and blogging in 2021? What was your best blogging or book-related moment? Is there anything that you’re really looking forward to or something you really want to achieve in 2022?

Let’s Talk Bookish: Keeping Up With New Releases

It’s been a hot hot minute since I’ve done a LTB so I’m sorry if I’m a little rusty and more rambly than usual! 😂

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on November 2021 prompts & a list of all prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

DO YOU KEEP UP WITH NEW RELEASES?

(SUGGESTED BY PIPPIN @ THE PIGEON)
Prompts: How current is your reading? Do you tend to read recently published books or pick from the publishing backlog, and why? Is there any particular merit to keeping up with current releases, or is it all hype? How has book blogging changed your habits on this front? And, in the future, are you thinking you want your reading to shift either way? 

How current is your reading? do you pick from the newest releases or from the backlist?

Ever since I discovered the book community I think my reading has been pretty current as I’ve been reading a lot more ARCs compared to backlist titles. I don’t think I purposely search out the newest titles but because a lot of what I’m reading has started to revolve around blog tours, especially in the last year+, I’ve definitely prioritised these newer titles. Taking a quick look at the books I’ve read this year, I do notice that there’s a difference between the genres I read too. For example, I tend to read newer titles when it comes to contemporary fiction and fantasy while I tend to read a mixed variety of mostly old and some new titles when it comes to romances! I think this is because I tend to join blog tours that are for contemporary/fantasy titles and when it comes to romance I randomly trawl through Romance Twitter to find out what authors/titles are being mentioned and catch my eye! 👀 But I don’t pick books specifically because they’re frontlist or backlist titles.

Is there any particular merit to keeping up with current releases, or is it all hype?

I mean, I think there’s definitely merit to keeping up with the current releases but I also think it’s a personal preference? I feel like keeping up with the latest books and jumping on the hype wagon keeps you in a certain spotlight because, of course, you’re featuring titles that are hot right now and that everyone else is talking about too. Being part of that hype and being able to join in the current discussions about popular books is a boost for you especially if you engage in various platforms; but I also think there’s a lot of pressure to keep up with new books which can get overwhelming, especially if you’re based internationally and don’t have access to the same resources as those based in the US/UK/Canada.

What I love about a lot of newer releases is that it’s easier to find more diverse and representative reads. It’s so great that more people have the chance to see themeslves reflected in stories, whether it’s in fantasies and (for me especially) in romances, while with a lot of backlist titles that’s not always the case. It’s been said before, and I’m sure it’ll keep being said, but I wish that a lot of these reads had existed for younger me because I would’ve felt *so* seen, and I’m happy that more people (especially younger readers) will get that experience now!

How has blogging changed your habits on this front?

Ever since I started blogging I’ve noticed a shift towards reading newer titles. Looking at my reading journey through a “before and after” lens, I honestly can’t remember how I ever discovered “new” titles prior to joining the community! Being international, it’s not as if the local bookstores that sell English books always have the latest titles (or if they do it takes a good long while to appear in store!), but then again, I have to be honest and say that I never really paid attention to publication dates prior to starting up this hobby! 😂 Now that I’m more aware of upcoming releases it’s easy to get caught up in the hype (even though it makes me nervous in equal measure) and I (mostly) want to read what everyone else seems to be reading, too! 🙈

are you thinking you want your reading to shift either way?

I can see my reading habits shift to more backlist titles if I choose to stop doing as many blog tours in 2022, which is a possibility, and if I decide to pursue my “re-read project”! Though I wouldn’t necessarily say that I want my reading to shift either way because I don’t really—I’m happy to read both newer titles and backlist titles and at the end of the day, what matters is that you enjoy what you read, right? 😉

Do you keep up with the latest releases or are you more of a backlist reader? Do you prefer one to the other? Does the hype entice you or nah?

Let’s Talk Bookish: A Blogger Identity Crisis

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on August 2021 prompts & a list of all prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

HAVING A BLOGGER IDENTITY CRISIS

(SUGGESTED BY RUKKY @ ETERNITY BOOKS)
Prompts: Have you ever had a blogger identity crisis? What triggered it? How did you get over it? Has an identity crisis ever led you to significantly change the direction for your blog? Do you think having an identity crisis every once in a while can help you become a better blogger, or is it just a sign of insecurity?

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A BLOGGER IDENTITY CRISIS? WHAT TRIGGERED IT? HOW DID YOU GET OVER IT?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost three years since I made my first post on this blog! Over the years I’ve taken a couple of breaks and I think most of them were a result of feeling overwhelmed by everything, rather than because I had a blogger identity crisis. That said, there have been plenty of moments where I’ve been swamped by feelings of ‘imposter syndrome’ and I gotta be honest, it can be pretty debilitating! These feelings are always triggered when I look at other bloggers who create fantastic content, whether it’s amazing reviews, thought-provoking posts, and even new original tags—whatever it is, it usually leads me to think to myself: what are you even doing here when there’s no way you’ll ever compare to that?! Yikes, I cringed typing that sentence because I really hate the comparison game but… Here we are? 🙈

I don’t know if I can say I’m “over” the imposter feelings as they tend to come and go, which also depends on my head space in general, but I’ve dealt with it by acknowledging that as long as I enjoy what I do, does anything else really even matter? Obviously, accepting this attitude/mindset is often easier said than done, but even if I don’t grow a big following or don’t make any kind of lasting impression on readers, at the end of the day, I’m sharing my passion for books because I want to. If others decide that they enjoy what I have to share then that’s absolutely brilliant and I thank you all so much for following along on this mad journey! At the end of the day though, if it makes me happy to do what I do that should be enough, and on most days I’m really okay with that 😊

HAS AN IDENTITY CRISIS EVER LED YOU TO SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF YOUR BLOG?

I can’t say that having an identity crisis has led me to changing the direction of my blog. As this is a book blog my content is always going to be about books and I don’t foresee that changing in the near future. Maybe I’ll have a sprinkling of ‘real life’ content in some posts as I get more comfortable being part of this community but it won’t go beyond sprinklings, I think. Admittedly, these moments always make me want to push myself to create more fun and engaging content and although it doesn’t always work (or at least not for long) I do feel better whenever I manage to do something new when I make a ‘comeback’.

DO YOU THINK HAVING AN IDENTITY CRISIS EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE CAN HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER BLOGGER OR IS IT JUST INSECURITY?

Personally, I know that a lot of my crisis moments stem from my massive self-doubt and insecurity but I do think that having these ‘shake ups’ every once in a while can be helpful. It’s especially good if you’re able to take a step back and handle the situation constructively without letting it overwhelm you and stop you from moving forward.

Have you ever had a blogger identity crisis? How do or did you deal with it? Do you think it can be helpful to experience a crisis now and then?

Let’s Talk Bookish: Can Books Be Effective Horror?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on August 2021 prompts & a list of all prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

CAN BOOKS BE EFFECTIVE HORROR?

(SUGGESTED BY DANI @ LITERARY LION)
Prompts: Some people love to be scared – others not so much. When it comes to reading do you think books can be scary? Are you less scared because there are no pictures? Do you feel other mediums such as film are more effective for horror? Have you ever been kept up at night by a book? 

TO BE SCARED OR NOT TO BE SCARED, THAT IS THE QUESTION!

Considering the fact that I am The Ultimate Chicken™️ I guess you can say that I’m one of those people who don’t like to be scared! But it’s not so much the monsters, body horror or gory scenes that scare me, it’s more the paranormal/supernatural ghosts and possession type of horror that scares me absolutely witless.

CAN BOOKS BE SCARY?

As I tend to scare quite easy, I avoid the ghost-y books (and movies/shows/podcasts) as much as I can! If I had to choose a genre to never read again, it’d probably horror because I’m just that much of a chicken. There have been moments when I willingly stepped out of my comfort zone (like when I read Rules for Vanishing—gah, this book cover still REALLY CREEPS ME OUT and I can’t have it looking at me, LOL!—and didn’t have the worst experience with it, but I definitely lost sleep (actually, I didn’t sleep at all). 🥲

Obviously like with most reading experiences it is subjective but I do think books can be scary, though it depends on a few factors, such as the reader’s fear level, the type of horror, and the atmosphere (amongst other things, probably).

I personally find that books can often be scarier than movies/shows because of my very vivid and overactive imagination. It doesn’t take much of a description for my mind to start conjuring up the terrifyingly realistic scenarios or images of what I’ve read and then having that morph into nightmares that have me turning on the lights and stop me from sleeping 😂 Like, I’ll close my eyes and then whatever scary thing I’ve just read about will be imprinted behind my eyes for at least the rest of the night and it’s the worst!

It’s not only the descriptions of said scary thing that contribute to the fear though, as the atmosphere of a book can also play a big role. Saying that immediately made me think of my reading experience with House of Salt and Sorrows. Some scenes in that book were so scary because of the eerie and gothic setting—everything was so dark and gloomy and the story had the feeling of being cursed and I think aside from me being easily freaked out, it had to do with the combination of the eerie gothic atmosphere and the total unexpectedness of it. Ugh, my brain still has no problems remembering the scary bits now and W H Y. 🙈

Do you scare easily or do you love all things horror? Ghosty things? Do you think books can be scary or are movies/shows more effective for you?

Let’s Talk Bookish: What is your posting type?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on August 2021 prompts & a list of all prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

WHAT’S YOUR POSTING TYPE?

(SUGGESTED BY NICOLE @ THOUGHTS STAINED WITH INK)
Prompts: Do you schedule posts long before they’re published, how long? Do you write several drafts of a post and edit them, or do you not edit at all? Perhaps you simply write a post and put it up for the world to see immediately? There’s no right or wrong answer!

I didn’t intend to create my first discussion post post-hiatus so quickly but when I saw today’s prompt, I felt that it was just perfect timing to get myself back into the groove of writing and posting, as it’s a topic I’ve even mentioned in my ‘I’m back’ post yesterday!


do you schedule posts long before they’re published (& how long)?

Ahaha… That’s funny!!! I think one of lines I repeat most often in many of my posts is how I hope to be able to schedule ahead of time to reduce the pressure on myself. Le sigh, it’s been close to three years since I started blogging and… it hasn’t really happened yet! 🙊

I’m one of those people who (really) love to plan organising things but I’m also one of those people who struggle to follow through with said plans 90% of the time! I’m blaming it on my pro-procrastination skills and the fact that I do tend to thrive when I’m chasing a deadline—even if it’s one that I set for myself. I know it’s so unhealthy but it’s healthy that I acknowledge that, right? 😂 BUT I DIGRESS.

The only times I have been able to schedule posts in advance is when I finish reading an ARC months before its pub date and that has only happened a very smol number of times. I do feel pretty accomplished when this happens though, haha! I’m quite envious of the bloggers who do regularly schedule posts ahead of time, whether it’s just for the week or month ahead. Please teach 🥲

Do you write several drafts of a post and edit them, or do you not edit at all?

I don’t create multiple drafts of posts but I do have a habit of editing my posts as I write them, and once I’m done, I go through them again at least twice before previewing and then posting. This is definitely the reason why I need to spend so much time blogging because I can’t just post something without reading through it a few times, and I almost always end up removing or rewriting big chunks, and fiddling with the layout and design for way too long. This is something I do for all my posts and not just text heavy ones, so blogging anything always takes a lot of time—which is why if I ever manage to get my act together and schedule posts ahead of time, I know I’ll be making my life so much easier! 😂

So, are you like me or are you normal? 😂 If you schedule your posts ahead of time, can you pls teach me your sorcery?

Let’s Talk Bookish: What Makes You Pick Up A Book?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on April 2021 prompts & a list of all past prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

What makes you pick up a book?

(SUGGESTED BY RAFAELA @ THE PORTUGUESE BIBLIOPHILE)
Examples: What makes you pick up certain books? Is a pretty cover enough? Do you check for good reviews? Is the synopsis important? Do you look for diversity or #ownvoices? Do you look for any checkboxes? Do you have autobuy authors?

WHAT MAKES YOU PICK UP CERTAIN BOOKS?

There really isn’t one answer for this question! There are many factors that play into why I pick up a certain book and it varies every time.

  • A lot of the time it is because I see a book being talked about in the community, whether through book twitter, the blogosphere or more recently through booktube, and that’s usually what puts a title on my radar in the first place.
  • Other times it’s from recommendations by trusted book blogger friends. There are quite a few I know that have similar tastes as me, which makes it easier to gauge what I’ll like based on what they say! And 99% of the time it’s pretty spot on.
  • Funnily enough, I’ll also pick up a book a particular blogger doesn’t like because I know we often have opposite tastes and so there’s a medium to high probability I’ll like it even though they didn’t! 🤣
  • I’m more likely to pick up books from certain genres because they’re the ones I tend to read most (SFF, Romance, Contemporary).
  • Sometimes it also depends on my mood. I tend to get stuck in certain head spaces and only want to read certain types of books, i.e. romances. When this happens, I end up bingeing a bunch of similar books in the (sub)genre, i.e. sports romances.

IS A PRETTY COVER ENOUGH? DO YOU CHECK FOR GOOD REVIEWS? IS THE SYNOPSIS IMPORTANT?

I’d be lying if I said I’ve never bought a book because of its pretty cover but you know I have and I know you have too. 😉 While having a pretty cover doesn’t always make me want to immediately pick up a book, it’ll at least catch my eye, and that’s usually step one in the process of me deciding whether I want to read a book or not!

If a book manages to capture my attention, I will always check out the synopsis first! I know some readers like to go in completely blind but not me. 😂 I like to have some idea of what the story is about so having a good synopsis that can give me a tasty morsel of the story without giving too much away is definitely important. If my curiosity is piqued, I’ll then check out the ratings/reviews.

When it comes to ratings/reviews, I tend to look at who on my friends list has read it and what they’ve rated it, paying special attention to the readers whose tastes I’m more familiar with. I also tend to skim reviews so as not to catch anything I might not want to see but I always end up reading at least the first paragraph to get a general idea of their thoughts. Now that I think about it, I tend to rely quite heavily on ratings/reviews, sometimes even more so than a synopsis (because as we know they can be pretty misleading at times)! The combination of synopsis and reviews really helps me decide when choosing a book that’s usually not in my comfort zone or from a genre I rarely read.

DO YOU LOOK FOR DIVERSITY OR #OWNVOICES?

If you’d have asked me this question prior to me joining the community, my answer probably would’ve been what do you mean? 🙈 I’m embarrassed to admit that for most of my life I’ve been a rather passive reader and haven’t made great efforts to look for diverse books, but this has changed drastically over the course of two/three years! Yes, I still read books about white characters written by white authors but I also actively seek out diverse and own voices books more and more lately. I honestly wish that younger me had access to as many diverse books as adult me has now, and I hope that only continues to grow so that even more people in the future find books that they can identify with and that will make them feel seen and heard ❤️

DO YOU HAVE AUTOBUY AUTHORS?

I most certainly do! This list has grown so quickly over the years and with all the amazing authors I continue to discover, I don’t foresee this list getting smaller any time soon! 😂 Some authors on the list are: V.E. Schwab, Elizabeth Acevedo, Fonda Lee, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Helen Hoang, Chloe Liese, Angie Thomas, Neil Gaiman, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Beth O’Leary, Jodi Picoult, Laini Taylor, and honestly, so many more?

…It’s no wonder I can never save cos I apparently want to give away all my money for all the books! 🙈

What makes you want to pick up a book? How do you go about choosing which books to read or add to your TBR? Do you also look at the synopsis or do you like to go in blind? What about ratings/reviews?

Let’s Talk Bookish: Putting Off the Books I want to Read!

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on April 2021 prompts & a list of all past prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

PUTTING OFF BOOKS YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO READ

(SUGGESTED BY JILLIAN @ THE BOOKISH BUTTERFLY)
Examples: Do you ever put off the books you actually want to be reading? What do you end up reading instead? Why do you put off the books that you would rather read for other stories? Do you treat reading books you’re excited as a reward?

PUTTING OFF BOOKS I WANT TO READ

Hi, hellow. Do I ever put off books I want to be reading? Yes. Yes, I do. This is me 99% of the time. 😂 I feel like ever since joining the book community this has become an increasingly bad habit which has also resulted in both my physical and digital shelves to grow totally out of control. The rate at which I populate my shelves with books that I want to read ASAP vs the rate I actually read said books is… Very unbalanced! 🙈 But surely, I’m not the only one that does this, right?!

Also, I’m well aware that I’m speaking from a place of privilege here—especially as someone who doesn’t have access to libraries and has to purchase all of the aforementioned books!

BUT WHY?

Honestly, it’s not as if I pick up books I don’t want to read—I do want to read them, I just usually want to read the books I put off slightly more (I swear, we’re gonna make this make sense). There are definitely reasons for why I do this.

  1. I’m a big mood reader. Even if I have a book in hand that I know I’ve been dying to get to, if the mood to pick it up has passed I’d rather put it off rather than read it when I’m in the “wrong” mood and risk not enjoying it as much as I know I would otherwise. I’ve done this a few times and it just made me sad. 🥲
  2. Sometimes the hype kind of puts me off. I know that doesn’t make sense because hype usually makes you want to pick up a book more thanks to FOMO and all of that, right? While that’s usually true, I’ve noticed that I tend to read most hyped books much later compared to everyone else. It’s not like I forget about the hype, and this is probably all in my head, but I feel like I can push aside the hype and read it without those expectations later on rather than if I read it while everyone else was reading it too.
  3. This also links to my worries about not liking a highly anticipated book which makes it so easy for me to put off reading it. I can name a million books from the last year alone that I was super excited for and may have even pre-ordered, but I still have yet to read them—one. year. later!
  4. Other commitments like blog tours and ARCs have also made it easier to put off the books I want to be reading. This tends to happen a lot when I know I’m ‘chasing a deadline’ but the mood suddenly strikes to read one of those ‘sad on the shelf books that’ve been there forever’ and yet, I can’t because I’m bad at time management and deadlines loom ever closer. 😂

DO I TREAT READING BOOKS I’M EXCITED FOR AS A REWARD?

I’ve tried to do this a few times and though it worked sometimes, as a mood reader, my moods tend to change quite quickly especially when I’m feeling restless and so this often doesn’t work. I think it’s a good idea though because then at least you’d have more motivation to get your shit done ✔ so that you can move on to reading what you want!

It’s been a hot minute since I did a LTB post but it felt good to answer this prompt today, and I thought it was a really fun one to answer
Do you put off books you want to be reading? Why do you do it?

Let’s Talk Bookish: What Is A Good Ending?

I’m a bit tired today and of course I’m only writing this last minute… SO I’m sorry if I make zero sense and go around in circles 🙈

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on January 2021 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

What is a good ending?

(SUGGESTED BY RIAN @ DOGS AND BOOKS)
Examples: What are some books that had “good” endings for you? What are some books that had “bad” endings? What do you think makes an ending of a story satisfying? Is there anything you always hate in an ending?

WHAT MAKES A SATISFYING ENDING?

This is a great question and one that I honestly haven’t given very much thought to before and the more I think about it now, the more factors come up for me to consider. Are we talking series enders or are standalone endings or first-book-in-a-series endings? I mean, endings are endings (lol) but what I’m “okay with” when it comes to a first-book ending is obviously going to be different compared to what I expect from a series ender! I also think that some genres come with certain ending expectations, the most obvious being romance. I pick up romances for the HEA otherwise what am I reading the genre for? (It’s definitely not the angsty drama! 😂 ).

Since I joined the book community and started to really think about what works for me, I’ve come to realise that I’m one of those readers who like endings that give me an obvious sense of resolution. It doesn’t have to be “perfectly packaged” where everything is hunky-dory and 100% but at least the main issues are resolved, no lingering questions exist, the characters find some kind of peace, but most of all it just fits the story we’ve experienced. This “need” of mine to have a neat ending has changed a bit over the last year as I’ve started to feel less unsatisfied with open-endings as long as they fit the story.

One thing that I tend to hate is when endings are super abrupt AND open-ended. While I don’t think open endings will ever be a favourite, I’ve started to make peace with them. Then there are other times when the author ends the story so abruptly, usually mid-scene or at a half-formed thought, and it just feels so unsatisfying. Just thinking about it has me clenching my fist in frustration because WHY 😂

Another factor that determines what a good ending is for me also depends on where the author takes the final book in a series or the final parts of a standalone. I really dislike it when plots and character ARCs suddenly take completely different and unexpected directions that totally change the vibe of the story and results in a lacklustre or underwhelming ending. I also really dislike it when dramatic and traumatic events are used for shock factor in an ending especially when it’s (imho) unnecessary but will keep the dramatic plot going in a sequel.

BOOKS WITH ENDINGS I ENJOYED

If you’re not new to this blog, you’ll know by now my memory is like a sieve and I can hardly remember what I did last week let alone the endings of the many books I’ve read. Also, thankfully, most of the books I read do have satisfying endings (at least for me), so these are just going to be a few of the ones I enjoyed from books I read from the last couple years. I’ve also linked them to my reviews if available otherwise they’re linked to Goodreads.

The House in the Cerulean Sea // With or Without You // The Black Kids // Nevernight // With the Fire on High // The Silence of Bones // Verity // Final Girls // The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

BOOKS WITH ENDINGS THAT … *CLENCHES FIST*

Some of these (or maybe even all of these) are unpopular opinions of well-loved books. A few of these had the abrupt open-ended endings that are so not my jam:

  • The Toll: I was so saddened by this finale because we spent so little time with the characters that made me love this series in the first place. We follow new perspectives and characters that I never felt attached to and ultimately, this finale ended up being so disappointing.
  • Normal People: I loved this book but I hated this abrupt open-ending. Why Rooney do this to me? 😭
  • At the Edge of the Haight: Another abrupt open-ending that left me with unresolved thoughts/feels.
  • Restless Slumber: This was the second book in the Forutna Sworn series and I was enjoying myself until the ending of this book tanked it for me. Just… Why? I was so angry! Lol 🙈
  • Descendant of the Crane: This ending… Oh, this ending was so… not on!

What do you think makes a good or bad ending? What is something you hate to see in an ending? What are some endings you loved and hated? I’m curious to know what you think about this topic!

Let’s Talk Bookish: Why I Blog

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on January 2021 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

Why do you blog?

(SUGGESTED BY RUKKY @ ETERNITY BOOKS)
Examples: When did you first start blogging and why? What keeps you motivated to continue? Have you ever thought about not blogging anymore? What would make you go on a hiatus for forever? Do you have any specific plans for your blog this year, and if so, what are they?

STARTING ON A NEW ADVENTURE

Blogging is an activity that I’ve done for a long time. I kept a personal blog for roughly 6-7 years and I was a consistent blogger until about 2016, when my life went a little topsy turvy, and I stopped writing due to a lack of inspiration and because my life got really boring and I had nothing to say. 😂

I decided to start this book blog at the end of 2018, although I only started posting around February 2019, at the encouragement of my friends. I was pretty hesitant about it because I was worried about losing motivation (yes, before I even started!) and I questioned whether I’d even have anything to say that was worth reading. At the time, I was much more active on bookstagram but it was also because of bookstagram, and learning about ARCs and the book community that made me realise starting a book blog was something I could actually do.

TRUTH TIME:

Let’s be honest, I started blogging because I wanted access to ARCs and while that did happen, there were still plenty of barriers that I faced as an international blogger though that’s a post for a different day! 😅 I was also curious about this magical book community that I’d only dipped my toes into through bookstagram. I honestly don’t know how I never realised the community existed pre-2018, and looking back, I don’t know how I even found books to read in the first place. 😂 As dramatic as it may sound, starting this blog has added so much positivity to my life, and so while I started it because of the enticing ARCs, I’ve stayed on because of the community and how fulfilling blogging has been.

keeping ON

Having this blog has reminded me why I loved blogging in the first place. Creating and owning a space where I can just be my nerdy book-loving self while gushing about all the fantasy, romance and fictional lives that I read about, with other people who feel exactly the same, has added so much joy to my life. I know a lot of you can relate when I say that I don’t really have bookish people IRL, and so having this platform where I can engage without fear of being judged for reading romance or young adult/middle grade books as a 30-something woman, has been wonderfully freeing! This blog has also helped me deal with my anxiety and depression by giving me something to look forward to every day, and all of that is what makes me want to keep posting.

Engaging with the book community on here has also really changed how and what I read, and I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a reader because of it. I’m more intentional with what I choose to pick up, especially when it comes to diversifying the books I read, but also in stepping out of my comfort zone more often. I’m thinking a lot more and being more critical about what I consume and I love how it’s also impacted how I think and act IRL.

doubts and other negative thoughts

There are definitely days when I question what I’m doing running a book blog. The doubts about whether I have anything to say that’s worth reading still persists sometimes, especially because most of what I post isn’t “original creative content”. I do a lot of weekly memes mixed with reviews, and while I know it shouldn’t matter because this is my blog and if I’m happy with it that’s okay, but I have a tendency to self-sabotage through these kinds of comparisons with other more successful blogs. 😂

That said, it’s still fairly ‘early days’ for me and I’ll just be celebrating my two year blogiversary this February, so I haven’t given serious thought to not blogging anymore. I still really love doing it and there are only a few reasons I foresee that would lead to me going on a permanent hiatus, which would be because I lose interest in books ☠️, I become too busy to post regularly, or if I for some reason no longer feel welcome in the community.

grow, baby, grow!

I’m not really much of a “goals” and planning ahead person (lol welp), although I’m trying to do better with that this year. I do know that I hope to keep blogging for at least the next 3 years but I do want to take it one-year at a time because who really knows what’s around the corner! If anything, my goals for blogging this year include:

  • Continuing to regularly churn out content (daily, if possible)
  • Growing my blog to 800 followers
  • Trying new types of posts such as a ‘family reviews’ series (my dad just bought a bunch of NF over the holidays and my sister said she wants to read more, so if I can convince them to share their thoughts on a book–this might be a once-in-a-blue-moon situation–I thought it might be fun!)
  • Also trying: buddy read reviews, blogger spotlights, and author interviews.

And that’s a wrap! Why did you start a book blog? Have you always blogged or is blogging new to you? What would make you go on a permanent hiatus? Do you have any big blog plans this year?

2020 End of Year Book Survey: Part II & III

Alright, it’s time for part two and three of the End of Year Book Survey! This part of the survey looks more at blogging and future planning but you can check out part one for my 2020 Stats & ‘Best in Books’!

The End of Year Book Survey was originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner.

New favoUrite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2020?

Oh, I discovered so many amazing book blogs this year. I really wish that I could mention every single person that I follow because everyone deserves such a huge shoutout for constantly posting great and inspiring content, but also for being such supportive people! You keep me motivated and excited to keep engaging and I appreciate all of you so much! 😍 Some of my faves who’re a few of the most supportive bloggers I’ve met in the community and who’ve also heavily contributed to my increasingly gigantor TBR with their recs are: Becky, Leah, Julie, Lisa, and Stephen!

I never watched Booktube until this year but I did start watching a few although in the end the one that I keep coming back to is Noelle Gallagher. First of all, I could listen to Noelle speaking all day because her voice is so incredibly soothing, plus I love how much passion comes through when she speaks about books. I love her discussions, her reviews, and pretty much everything she posts 🤣


FavoUrite post you wrote in 2020?

This is surprisingly difficult to answer because I actually have a few posts that I really enjoyed writing and am happy I wrote, thanks to the Let’s Talk Bookish discussion prompts I joined. One of the posts that I had tons of fun writing was the one for “What Makes You DNF A Book?” because 2020 was the year that I finally took the steps to DNF books that weren’t giving me joy without feeling crushing guilt for doing so.


2020 was the year that I disappeared off bookstagram because I feel like I pretty much burned out with all of that at the end of 2019. The pressure of trying to get a decent enough shot for the gram was just too much and I lost my enjoyment for it and rarely took photos in the end. There were a few pictures I took that I did like though! If you wanna be bookstagram friends you can add me: @dinipandareads


Best bookish event that you participated in
(author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

Sadly, I participated in none this year… I didn’t have the time with work but also, the time differences being on the other side of the world made it even more difficult to try and attend events without having to either stay up ridiculously late or wake up ridiculously early 😂


Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2020?

I think one of the best moments was achieving one of that goals that I set out for at the start of 2020, which was to get 500 followers on my blog. When it happened, I honestly had no words for how amazing it felt to wake up and see that I reached that number because I never actually believed it was possible, or at least that it’d take me a few years to achieve. I know that everyone says the numbers don’t matter and it’s about the enjoyment you get from doing this and I totally agree, it’s definitely that. But knowing that there are people out there who like what I post enough to subscribe and keep coming back really fills my heart with such warmth. Thank you so much, friends! ❤️


Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

What wasn’t challenging about this year though, right? Lol 😂 In all seriousness though, I think the most challenging thing was finding balance with my blogging/reading and my work life. Work was particularly trying this year and as I was already struggling to keep my motivation high, one of my biggest struggles was not succumbing to my desire to say “screw it” and just hole up in “cave reading mode” all year long 🙃 It’s a very privileged stance, I know. Sometimes blogging does feel like second job (although personally a lot more fulfilling for me than my actual job) and I’m quite proud that I did both without compromising on quality.


Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Um, so I can’t actually recall how to get the exact post numbers info but I think my most popular post this year was my Let’s Talk Bookish discussion post about Rereading Books! This was another really fun discussion post to write 🙂


Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Umm… I don’t really know the answer for this question? I think my posts get pretty okay views and engagements overall. After I took a short hiatus earlier this year my stats did drop and from that point on they stayed lower than they were at the start of the year, but I wasn’t particularly disappointed about the lack of engagement on any one post! 🤷🏻‍♀️


Thanks to Becky’s post with a list of bookish stores we could shop at to treat ourselves, I did discover a few bookish Etsy shops that I would one day like to purchase from because their merch is awesome and you can never really have too many bookish things! 😉 Some of my favourite shops were: Bookishly, Miss Bohemia and Bookworm Candles & Crafts!


Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

This feels like a personal attack 😭 Kidding… Sort of! I was quite ambitious at the start of 2020 and set myself quite a few reading challenges/goals that I mostly failed at achieving. The one goal that I did achieve and tend to always reach was my Goodreads Reading Challenge. Last year I set out to read 100 books and ended up reading 160. I was so very close to completing the POPSGUAR Reading Challenge but when I ended up DNFing one of the books in December I just decided it wasn’t worth rushing through reads just to complete it. That’s okay. 2021 is another year to try 😂

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2021?

Easily: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I got my copy towards the end of the year but I’ve heard so many amazing things about it, it was on so many favourites lists, I also really love Schwab’s books, so I’m really looking forward to reading this one 😊


Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021 (non-debut)?

There are so many amazing sounding/looking books that I really can’t wait to get my hands on in 2021 but I’m super excited for TJ Klune’s next book: Under the Whispering Door 😍


2021 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Witches Steeped in Gold sounds so good and I can’t wait to check it out!


Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?

Um, I seriously cannot wait for The Heart Principle! I needed Quan’s story last year already so this is definitely one of my most anticipated releases 😃


One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2021?

I think what I’d really like to try doing this year is spend more time engaging with other book bloggers on the blogosphere and book twitter but especially on bookstagram. I won’t be working full-time this year so I hope it’ll give me the time to focus on getting my bookstagram lively again, but also to have more meaningful interactions with others on here 😊


A 2021 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone
(if applicable)

The book that immediately jumped to mind was Amari and the Night Brothers (I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again… Lol). This was a fantastic middle grade fantasy that is chock full of everything I love about MG books. I cannot wait until the world gets to experience its magic this month 😍

And that’s a wrap on 2020, folks!

I still can’t believe that 2020 is over and that we’re kicking off with another new year already. Truthfully, I’m quite pleased with what I’ve accomplished in 2020 especially when it came to blogging. I’m glad that I didn’t let any hurdles stop me from pushing forward! I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2021 will bring in terms of reading and blogging. I’m hopeful and excited that it will be another amazing year for the books!

How was your year of reading and blogging? What was your best blogging or book-related moment in 2020? Is there anything that you’re really looking forward to in 2021?