Saturday, April 10, 2021

Quarterly Reading Wrap-up - January to March 2021

I hope you all have been enjoying the addition of extra book content on my blog (and if you aren't, tough shit - it's not going anywhere!) Ha, I'm kidding, but really I know books on a beauty blog may not be everyone's cup of tea, but besides makeup, it's one of my favourite hobbies! 

Quarterly Reading Wrap-up - January to March 2021
Some of the books talked about were received as review copies - this post contains affiliate links

So, I thought I'd have a little fun and talk about the books I've read in the first quarter of this year - there were 33 of them! (My goal was to read at least 60 books through the whole year and I feel like I'm going to crush that!) So, I will share some stats as well as the Best and the Worst of the lot! 

I have always been a pretty good reader; but, my reading has really picked since the pandemic. I've been more conscious about taking the time to read, and using it as a pre-bed routine to help my unwind and relax before bed (I think my anxious thoughts picked up and it was hard to fall asleep), so I've been turning the phone off before bed and reading for at least 15-20 minutes, and it's really helped with my routine plus getting through my growing TBR! 

Quarterly Reading Wrap-up - January to March 2021

I'm not a book snob - I will consume books anyway - audiobooks, physical books and I've been getting more in to electronic books as well! I have a fairly long commute to work, so audiobooks have always been a big part of my reading routine and I read a pretty equal amount of audiobooks compared to physical and e-books over the past few months! 

In terms of my reading taste, I read absolutely everything - literary fiction, non-fiction books, fantasy, young adult, graphic novels; I will give anything a go and there is rarely a category that I don't enjoy!

I certainly can't give reviews on 33 books, so if you are interested in my thoughts and rankings on all of them make sure you check out my Goodreads page - and if you have it too, add me as a friend! I love seeing what people are reading and find some new books to read! 

Quarterly Reading Wrap-up - January to March 2021

One of my reading goals this year is to read about the same amount of newer books are older books - newer books would be 2020, 2021 and ARC releases and older books are anything prior to 2020! Clearly, I was pretty heavily in to the new releases this quarter as I had a lot of arcs, so I'm hoping to slow down a bit on how many I am getting! 

Alright, all the books I've read in January to March 2021 are: 

The Divines by Ellie Eaton (contemporary), Red River Girl: The Life and Death of Tina Fontaine by Joanna Jolly (non-fiction true crime), Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol (middle grade graphic novel), If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier (mystery), The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu (historical fantasy), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Fred Rogers and Tom Junod (non fiction biography), The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan (non fiction true crime), The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (fantasy), Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (fiction), The Sprite and the Gardener by Joe Whitt and Rii Abrego (graphic novel), The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures by Noelle Stevenson (graphic novel memoir), The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (romance), Sheets by Brenna Thummler (middle grade graphic novel), Heidi by Johanna Spyri (classic), A Pho Love Story by Loan Le (young adult romance), The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (historical fiction), The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag (middle grade graphic novel), Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi (middle grade fantasy), Snapdragon by Kat Leyh (graphic novel), A Map of Days by Ransom Riggs (young adult fantasy), Havenfall by Sara Holland (young adult fantasy), Girls with Bright Futures by Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman (contemporary), Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (young adult fiction), Shades of Magic Vol. 2: Night of Knives by V.E. Schwab (graphic novel fantasy), Phoenix Flame by Sara Holland (young adult fantasy), Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger (young adult fantasy), Delicates by Brenna Thummler (middle grade graphic novel), Agnes, Murderess by Sarah Leavitt (graphic novel), The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton (historical fiction), The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz (fiction), Skin Care for Your Soul by Jude Chao (non fiction health), Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead (fiction), and Shades of Magic Vol. 3: The Rebel Army by V.E. Schwab (graphic novel fantasy).

My rating system is:

5 Stars: Excellent/Fantastic/Amazing Read 
4.5 Stars: Really Great Read
4 Stars: Great Read 
3.5 Stars: Really Good Book
3 Stars: Good Book 
2.5 Stars: Eh, It was Okay Read
2 Stars: Finished it, but Didn't Enjoy It
1.5 Stars: Not Good at All
1 Star: DNF (Did Not Finish)

Lucky for me, I had a pretty great reading quarter - I read lots of Great and Good books! There were only a couple of books that I read that I didn't really enjoy and only one that could not finish. 

Quarterly Reading Wrap-up - January to March 2021

This year has started with some amazing reads and I'm always excited to share the top 6 books that I've read in the first quarter of 2021:
  • The Starless Sea By Erin Morgenstern ~ 5 Stars. This was a re-read of this book - I don't talk about my re-reads in my overall favourites of the year because they were already favourites, but I will talk about them in my quarterly wrap-ups. This is such a lovely book - it was a really great read! It's very detailed and descriptive, but it's a build of a slow build and has a few books inside the book. The Starless Sea is about discovering and protecting the Starless Sea, an ancient library beneath the Earth. It's an ode to stories and to Time and Fate. 
  • The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner ~ 5 Stars. This was a historical fiction with a duel timeline between 1791 and present day. It follows three women, two back with the apothecary and one in the present day who discovers a piece of the apothecary while going through her own struggles and uncovers the secrets of the apothecary. It was such a great plot line - honestly, I could have had the whole book set in 1791 as I loved the apothecary that dispenses poisons specially to kill men, so it took me a little longer to get on board with the present day story. I love how this jumped back and forth between timelines to build anticipation! (I've written a full review on this here!)
  • Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas ~ 5 Stars. This is the "prequel" to The Hate U Give set 17 years before the events of that book, with Starr's father Maverick as the main character. This book just hit me with all the feels - I laughed, I cried, I loved this. I enjoyed Maverick's perspective and I feel like even though this is fiction, this is a story that is playing out in real life: young black teens growing up with family in prison or as the result of a crime and it's pretty heart-wrenching. I really felt his personal struggle of wanting the connection and protection of the gang, but also wanting to make a better life when he is going to have 2 children before he turns 18. If you read The Hate You Give then you know the decision, but it's still a great story because you know the outcome and despite all the struggles, you know there is hope! (I've written a full review on this book here!)
  • Delicates by Brenna Thummler ~ 4.5 Stars. This is the follow-up graphic novel to Sheets, a story about grief and ghosts, and while I enjoyed Sheets, I really enjoyed Delicates! This book touches on bullying, suicidal thoughts, etc. - I cried, but I was also very touched because it still deals with these topics in a way that is approachable to a wide audience and was really heartwarming. I love the friendships and ghosts and the shades used in the novel - it is a grade 8 coming of age story that most people can relate to. I loved this.
  • Skin Care For Your Soul by Jude Chao ~ 4.5 Stars. A great resource for skincare! I used this author's blog and podcast as a huge skincare resource as I was really delving in to the world of skincare! I appreciated the breakdown of steps, and while some information I knew, I appreciated the breakdown of products and ingredients, because there is still lots to learn. Also, I appreciated the emphasis on the media's representation of unattainable skin, but also on marketing tactics. I tagged quite a few pages on ingredients and know that I will go back to it. It's a quick read and the aesthetic is lovely! (I did share a review on this book here!)
  • Red River Girl by Joanna Jolly ~ 4.5 Stars. This was a difficult, but important read. I think everyone should know Tina Fontaine's name - she was a 15 year old girl found in the Red River in Winnipeg and she really shot forward the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada and issues of youth in care. But, also if you know the story, you know it took some time for the police to charge some one in Tina's death and that he was eventually found not guilty of her murder. This book touched on Tina's early life and the work done to find out what Tina's last few weeks were like after she ran away from the home. I enjoyed all the information about the investigation and the more unknown My. Big operation. It was graphic as we are dealing with police work with a dead person, so there are some details about the autopsy and at risk lifestyles if you find that difficult to read.

Quarterly Reading Wrap-up - January to March 2021

And where there is good, there usually has to be some bad and I definitely read a few books that I did not enjoy in the first quarter of this year:
  • The Babysitter by Liza Rodman ~ 1 Star. This was the only book that I DNF'd this year so far. I was very interested in the idea of this author growing up with a serial killer as a babysitter, but it felt like they were trying to make the connection too strong - personally, I don't remember much about my old baby sitters when I was 7 and that was much more recent than the 60's, so I felt like this dragged on with details that weren't believable. I also don't do books that glamourize or idolize serial killers, so talking about liking his face, I had to stop. 
  • Agnes, Murderess by Sarah Leavitt ~ 2 Stars. This is a graphic novel about a historical figure, Agnes - she was said to have murdered over 50 people in B.C. in the gold rush era. I wanted to love this more than I actually did. The author certainly did her research as to what Agnes life would have been like and that part was well done; but, this is totally a personal preference, the drawing style and a lot of the character conversations just didn't do it for me, unfortunately.
  • The Divines by Ellie Eaton ~ 2 Stars. The main character is unlikeable and that makes it hard for me to root for them, and even if I was, if felt like she had no character arc or growth at all. I won't delve in to her much as I don't want to spoil anything, but she when she was younger, she was a complete follower and was probably worse than some of the lead bullies. Then, as an adult, she is obsessed with the past, but won't share anything with her husband. It was a lot to continue from her perspective. The story pace was also quite slow for me - I found that about the first 70% didn't have a lot of story bulk and was basically just boarding school girls bullying one particular girl and the ending felt unsatisfying all over (except for one character who has clearly done well for herself, but they still gave her a final ending I didn't want).
Let me know what your favourite read has been so far this year - I'd love to check it out! 


  1. I always check out what you are reading because I think I like what you like, but I am so much that I drive to work I don't get the reading time on transit so my reading time is limited to the tub. I am not great about reading before bed, but I should since I also have a hard time settling down.

    1. I love seeing what you read too - always love to see new suggestions! I certainly benefit from my drive, I would get through a lot less books without it!