January and February wrap up

Hello lovely people! I swear February feels way longer than it actually is. The beginning of the month (when I had my exams) feels like a fever dream an eternity away, and I can’t remember a single thing that happened in the past two weeks. Turns out, I’ve read six books in total during January and February, so let’s see what they are!

What I read

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Technically, I read Iron Widow in December last year. This is a very fast paced story that is so full of energy, and the video-game-esque aesthetics are impeccable. It also has a very good love triangle turned polyam relationship. However, to be brutally honest, I wasn’t drawn to any of the characters. The main trio were the only characters we really get to know. It wouldn’t have been a problem but their character arcs stopped making sense at times. The fast pace means we jump from one plot point to the other with little explanation of how we got there, and the last half of the book was definitely weaker than the first half.

That being said, this book is fun. It is engaging and direct and never gets boring, and the whole story just feels vibrant. My rating: ★★★✩✩ (3 stars)

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

This was an incredibly hyped book that, for me, lived up to it. She Who Became the Sun mainly follows two characters, Zhu Chongba and Ouyang, and it explores the ideas of fate and desire, what it costs to desire greatness and defy fate. Zhu and Ouyang are enemies, and I loved how they were foils to each other, how similar but ultimately how different they both were.

The prose was fantastic, I was completely taken by surprise by how beautiful it was. One of the things that struck me was that I really felt like I was in the fourteenth century while reading it; not many books can transport me to a fictional world so totally. One thing to note, though: this is a slow paced book. More time is spent scheming and plotting than in the battlefield, and there was way more politics than I expected, which was a plus or a minus depending on the characters involved. My rating: ★★★★★ (4.5 stars)

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

I found Tess of D’Urbervilles a deeply depressing and unsettling read. It was bleak and it was so devoid of hope, definitely not the kind of story I gravitate towards. But I couldn’t stop until I finished the story. This was a definite 4-star read until the last few chapters where I began to feel infuriated at Tess’s decisions. Like, girl, maybe don’t trust the douchebag who raped you? Or run for the other douchebag who left you? Because seriously, all the men in this story were trash. My rating: ★★★★✩ (3.5 stars)

The Invisible Life of Addie laRue by V.E. Schwab

This is another hyped book that I enjoyed, but never really loved. To point out the good: the prose was flowery and poetic. I really felt for Addie in her journey through the book, and I rooted for her romance with Henry. Then there was Luc who I thought was going to be a straight up villain but turned out to be a much more morally grey character (ultimately, I ended up feeling that he was more interesting than Addie.)

But the middle part of the book was so slow, as it jumps between the past and the present in Addie’s life, and there seemed to be no plot at all. Everything felt a tad rushed towards the ending, and I disliked that ending. My rating: ★★★✩✩ (3.5 stars)

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

For a debut novel, this book was really well written, with an unpredictable mystery that always keeps one guessing. The prose is very precise and direct, full of references to historical events. The story is set in 19th century Korea, and follows Seol, a sixteen-year-old servant who gets pulled into investigating the murder of a noblewoman.

There were so many side characters that were instrumental to the story as Seol, but my favourite character is Inspector Han. His and Seol’s ever-changing relationship was the heart of the story. I’m definitely going to read the rest of June Hur’s books! My rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

I knew nothing about this book except for the fact that it’s about vampires and Maria @ The Character Study loved it. The first was right, and I can totally see why people love this. A Dowry of Blood very atmospheric and creepy. It really puts the ‘dark’ in dark romance, and some of the stuff that goes down in the book are straight up disturbing.

The writing style was mesmerising in a way that I couldn’t look away, and the characters were all riveting and well-developed. However, I felt that the relationships between the characters were developed way too quickly for my liking. My rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong

What a finale. Our Violent Ends starts almost immediately where These Violent Delights left off, with new problems blooming for them. There was more character development on Roma’s part here than in the previous book, as he juggles his love and hate for Juliette. There was a lot more focus on the political struggles of the nationalists and the communists, which was barely featured in the first book. At first, reading about it felt jarring, but it seamlessly mixed up with the plot of the monster as the story went on.

I never actually realised how adorable a character Marshall Seo was before I read this book! He had me smiling with every line he said. And the final two chapters were the best. My rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)

What I watched

Little Forest

This is one of the sweetest movies ever made, and exactly what people call a comfort film. It’s joyous and happy and so lighthearted, but underneath the surface we see the main character, Hae-won’s growth as a person overcoming her pride. There’s so much love for nature, farming and living simply.

And the food. I’m not a foodie, but seeing all the food so lovingly prepared in this film made my mouth water. I watched this on the last day of my exams, and it was exactly the mood-lifter I needed!

My Mister

When I say this is genuinely one of the best things I have watched in my life, I mean it. This is a love story, first and foremost, with little bits of thriller, drama and comedy scattered everywhere. It is not a romantic show though. It’s rather a beautiful exploration of how kindness can change someone, and how a person can love another so deeply they would sacrifice anything to keep the other safe. The story is dark and depressing on the surface, but as it goes you get to see the love, trust and the warm sense of community, and makes you think, what makes someone a good person. Watch it, guys, it’s on Netflix.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

And I’m down to four Star Wars movies (is the sequel trilogy worth the watch though? Idk.) Anyways, Rogue One is one of the best Star Wars movies out there. I already knew THE spoiler going in (someone keep me away from wikipedia summaries) but perhaps that made me enjoy my watch more? Rogue One is a lot more grittier and brutal than most Star Wars movies but it also has what I love best about the films in droves.

Posts I enjoyed reading

I didn’t blog hop as much as I wanted to in the past two months, but here are some posts around the blogosphere that I really enjoyed reading!

🔸The one where Naemi designs her own book cover made my day. With her talent it’s a wonder why she isn’t designing covers for bestsellers.

🔸Ritz discusses book banning in an incredibly thoughtful post!

🔸I found Riddhi’s discussion of things in American and British novels that surprised her as a kid very relatable!

🔸Maddie’s list of books by Black authors has so many new titles you should add to your tbrs!

🔸Sumedha’s review for This is How You Lose the Time War has left me extremely hyped for the book!

Goals for March

I don’t usually have set goals for the month, so I’ll vaguely list out stuff I’ve to do.

🔸NOT spend every waking hour scrolling through twitter. I suck at interacting with people, but just scrolling through and watching everyone else’s business is so addictive, no one told me.

🔸Drink more water.

🔸Learn to drive. I’m afraid of driving but then I think that if millions of people can do it, why can’t I?

I have some reviews and maybe discussions up my sleeve, and I’ll try to post consistently this month! See you around, folks, and hope you have a great month ahead!

34 thoughts on “January and February wrap up”

  1. Finally someone who didn’t enjoy Addie LaRue as much as the rest of the world did! I agree totally with your views, honestly I couldn’t keep up with the writing style at all, it was so slow and just not to my taste at all!
    Thank you so much for mentioning my post, I am glad you liked it!

    I hope you have a great March!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It looks like you’ve had a great reading month! I also enjoyed Tess of the d’Urbervilles despite it being rather bleak and making me roll my eyes a lot. The Silence of Bones is one I’m hoping to pick up soon so I’m really pleased to hear your positive verdict on it 📚❤️ X x x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess I’ll be reading She Who Became The Sun, then 😂 I had already been vaguely interested before, but now that you’ve brought complex characters, slow-pacing, beautiful writing, and politics into the picture, I am sold!!

    I’m sorry Addie LaRue didn’t completely live up to the hype for you, though. I loved it, but a large portion of that was probably also because I was absolutely obsessed about all the intertextual references to the Faust myth 🤩 I’m just a huge literature nerd at heart! I do agree with you that Luc is by far the most interesting character, though.

    And Tess of the D’Urbervilles! I’ve always wanted to read it after a university lecture spoiled absolutely everything for me, because it sounds so interesting! It’s good to hear you liked it 😊

    Also, yes. Rogue One is possibly THE best Star Wars movie! (Maybe even the only one I actually love, but shhh 🤫😅) The only problem with it is that I first saw it on a plane, and let’s just say some of the movie content is not the most reassuring when you’re already picturing yourself dying at the slightest sign of turbulence anyway… 🤣

    But great wrap-up, Jan, and thank you so much for showing my cover designing skills so much love! It’s always nice to see one’s masterpieces appreciated 😂🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy swbts if you start reading it!! I know, luc was the most interesting character. I felt like addie’s character just went around in circles in the middle of the book while we slowly get to know more about luc. Okay, I didn’t like him as much as you did (he is slimy idk) but he’s extremely interesting. Like I want to study his mind under a microscope.

      Of course, who am I without appreciating your designing prowess?

      Sorry for the late reply, I was swamped with work😧

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I definitely didn’t like Luc as a person, either – I just loved him as a character BECAUSE he was so interesting! I’m happy to join in on that microscope mind study with you! 🔬🧐

        And don’t worry! I’ve barely been keeping up with my own comments, so if there’s a bit of a delay in replies, I don’t mind in the slightest – I find it super relatable 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so excited to read She Who Became The Sun (hopefully soon as it is currently on my shelf) as well as A Dowry of Blood, and The Silence of Bones (I’ve heard such great things about June Hur’s books) so I loved seeing that you enjoyed all of these books. I agree, Rogue One feels like such a distinct Star Wars film so it stands out. I didn’t particularly love the sequel trilogy myself… but others did. Best of luck with your goals and I hope you have a great March.🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahh I’ve been hearing so so many things about iron widow of late and honestly I’m kind of intimidated to start it 😭 and she who became the sun SOUNDS SO WONDERFUL!!The silence of the bones has such a STUNNING cover and I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it!! Adding it to my TBR right away !
    Good luck with your goals for March and have a great month ahead!!!💖 loved reading this wrap up so so much!💕

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ahhh i’m so glad you enjoyed she who became the sun so much!! i’ve been seeing it around EVERYWHERE but i knew hardly anything about it?? BUT I’M DEFINITELY INTERESTED NOW AND CANNOT WAIT TO READ IT!! also Little Forest and My Mister both sound SO GOOD, I need to watch them AHH! I love your wrap up so much AND HOPE YOU’RE HAVING AN AMAZING MARCH!! ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “not spend an hour scrolling on twitter” SAME. I do NOT need to be on the app that much. a little fortunately, my phone’s screen time is on the lower end anyway but most of the time i do spend on it is mindlessly scrolling on twt smh.

    good luck to drive! i learnt recently and still need to practice and take the test but I’m terrified lol. if i fail i might just never try again 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still haven’t beginner learning driving (I keep forgetting or putting it off, I must get it done somehow haha)
      Omg yes twitter is so addictive, but my internet speed is low and takes years to load anything and I go to twitter on the browser, all of which help me limit my time on there!

      Like

  8. oh, i’m so happy that you loved she who became the sun! zhu and ouyang’s character dynamics and arcs were honestly chef’s kiss, i can’t wait to see what the author does with them in the sequel! and i’m also very excited to read a dowry of blood, and i’m glad that you also loved it. makes me more confident i will too haha (though i probably will feel the same way about the relationships developing fast, since that’s a pet peeve of mine!). hope you’re having a great march so far, and good luck on learning how to drive!! it’s definitely intimidating at first but gets a little less so after practice ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Swbts ended with such a bang im so excited to see what the characters will be up to in the sequel! A dowry of blood was great but it’s really dark and the relationships developing quickly is a pet peeve of mine too.
      Thanks✨

      Liked by 1 person

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