JANUARY WRAP UP: Fantastic reads and personal reflections on my WIP

Mabuhay, friends!

January has been a wonderful month! Despite not much happening, I did find happiness in the books I read, the novel I’m writing and the time I get to spend with my husband. January is also the month for a new beginning which I can’t just speak on yet. In this post, I’m sharing the books I read and a little snippet about what has happened in my life so far.

In January I read six books; I am finishing up three books I started at the end of January and would believe that one of them is an audiobook? Here are my thoughts on each book.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

The final book in The Poppy War series had me sobbing like a baby. It was so good, it was horrible and it was everything I need in a book. There are books that you know you will never, ever recover from and this is one of them. I don’t want to say too much just yet as I plan on filming a series review.

Do You Dream of Terra-Two?

I wish U had known about this book earlier! This book is about a group of astronauts who are chosen to make a 23 years trip to a potential habitable planet named Terra-Two. With the three senior astronauts is a team of six teenagers who had trained relentlessly for years to be a part of the pioneer voyage. However, before their trip, one of the members dies and is eventually replace. Do You Dream of Terra-Two? is a science fiction, character driven book about what we’re willing to sacrifice for a dream and the isolation of pursuing such a dream.

Recommended read: The Relevancy of Temi Oh’s Do You Dream of Terra Two?

The Ascent to Godhood by Neon Yang

Another series finale that left me wanting more. I have praised The Tensorate series endlessly for its gender dynamics, the war between machinists and the magic users, and well-developed characters. The final book is essentially a villain origin story featuring an f/f romance. I love how the relationship of the two women was portrayed – how twisted emotions could get. I especially enjoyed how how this novella portrayed the cunningness of women and how unapologetic we can be. A video review for this series is the works which I am super excited about!

Recommended read: THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE BY NGHI VO: A BEAUTIFUL NARRATIVE ON FIERCE FRIENDSHIPS AND THE ANGER OF WOMEN

The Ninth Sorceress by Bonnie Wynne

This was a re-read before I picked up A Wind from the Rift. Isn’t weird to realise how much you forget when you re-read? I enjoyed re-reading this book and catching certain information that I had missed out on before. Funnily enough, I found certain aspects of the writing familiar to Robert Jordan’s style. This made sense when I saw that this books was recommended for fans of The Wheel of Time. While I found the plot intriguing, I did not feel as invested in this book this time around.

Recommended read: THE NINTH SORCERESS BY BONNIE WYNNE: BLOOD MAGIC, NECROMANCY, AND ANGRY GODS

BOOKS THAT WERE OKAY

THE HUNTING PARTY BY LUCY FOLEY

When I first finished the book, I rated it four stars but the longer I considered it, the less I liked it. It was certainly a mystery that was unputdownable. I enjoyed the way it jumped between perspective of before the body was found and after. The characters were very unlikable – privileged, selfish and boring. I eventually stopped caring about who died and just wanted to know who the murderer was. The book was so good as it went along until that end. The ending was…utterly disappointing and used a tiring trope.

ELSEWHERE BY DEAN KOONTZ

Elsewhere had a wonderful premise! I love the whole premise of jumping parallel planes, discovering bizarre and sometimes horrifying worlds similar to our own. The father-daughter relationship and their adventure – or run from death, might best describe it – was my favorite aspect of the book! Elsewhere is a mix of thriller and sci-fi which is new for me. My only gripe with the book is that the prose was too wordy where it shouldn’t have been. For example, the daughter who is eleven years old, had very unconvincing inner monologue. As you read from her perspective, it’s clear that the author does not know how to write children. My other gripe is that the book did not explore the other worlds as much as it should have.

CURRENTLY READING

A Wind from the Rift by Bonnie Wynne

This is the sequel to The Ninth Sorceress. As of writing this, I am only halfway through the book but I’m enjoying it so far. I liked seeing Gwyn in a sort of academic setting but it’s also enemy territory. I am still unsure how I feel about Gwyn – the nightmarish sorceress from prison was apparently just a persona? I’ll be honest, I feel a bit betrayed by that because I wanted to see more of that fearsome sorceress. Again, I’m only partway through the book and will have a better review once I’m done.

Recommended Read: INCENDIARY BY ZORAIDA CORDOVA: A MEMORY THIEF GRASPING AT REDEMPTION DURING A TIME OF OPPRESSION AND REVOLUTION

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

This book is a buddy read with Kate @ Your Tita Kate and I honestly thought it was going to be fun. And it is! Like, rip your heart out kinda fun. Rage is a military fantasy book described as a crossover between Game of Thrones and Gladiator, inspired by the Xhosa culture of South Africa. If you’re going to read this book, here’s my advice: don’t get attached.

CEMETERY BOYS BY AIDEN THOMAS

In January, I picked up my first audiobook ever! Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas is a YA paranormal about a trans brujo who wants to find the ghost of his murdered cousin but accidentally summons the ghost of the school’s bad boy. I am loving the audiobook, so far, and being able to go on long walks while listening to a book has been a fun experience. This book, in particular, is so full of emotion and the way the author explores the intersection between one’s Latinx identity and the brujx culture. I’ll talk more on this book when I finish it!

Things have been quite lax on the blog since the pandemic started. In December I wrote a post about my 2021 Blog Changes. I mentioned being intentional with the content I create which has been a bit harder than I expected. I say this because, I find myself working on one post then discarding to work on another that has caught my attention. There are always too many post ideas going on in my head which I struggle to rein in. Is this something you struggle with too? If so, how do you handle it?

One of my goals in 2021 is to explore genres that I am not well-read in, so I picked up Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh. I loved this book and if you haven’t had a chance yet, you should check out my post on the Relevancy of Temi Oh’s Do You Dream of Terra-Two?

My scariest and biggest endeavor was joining booktube! Fun fact: I filmed this video three times and waited weeks before I uploaded it! That’s how nervous I was! In the end, I’m really glad I did this as I found out that I really enjoy talking about books and my thoughts come easier. You can subscribe to my Youtube channel which is also named Camillea Reads. In my first video, I let my Spotify Wrapped playlist decide my TBR.

☕ I’m still in the process of revising my #GhoulWIP which I’ve titled Their Wicked Devotion. I had to delete and rewrite so many scenes for the WIP to fit what I wanted from the story. I also had to re-assess certain character motivations and strengthen my plot. I came across this Twitter thread over last week, which was honestly a godsend! As I worked on Wicked I worried a lot about my main character coming off as too passive. It came to a point where I began to dislike what I wrote. Why couldn’t I make Zio more aggressive? Why couldn’t I write him eager for adventure and magic? And then I read what Vida Cruz had to say and it changed how I saw my novel. I highly recommend reading the entire thread.

☕ After a visit to a doctor, I was given to go-ahead to start weaning off my anxiety meds. A big step for me! Unfortunately, this comes with some annoying side-effects like lots of sleepless nights.

☕ I had my first Netflix watch party! I watched Welcome with Gargee, Nandini, Charvi, Shruti, Anandi, Shealea and Kate. Nothing can top Indian comedy movies!

☕ This year, I want to be more mindful of my expenses and so I’ve set myself on a book buying ban with the exception of one book on my birthday and one for Christmas. In 2020, I made a list of the books I hauled and how much I spent. Much to my surprise, I spent nearly 500 AUD on books. I consider myself a thrifty person, good with money, but who was I kidding? I’m uncomfortable knowing that I spent this much. I thought that by buying books from thrift stores and that were on sale on Amazon Kindle, I was doing good. I really wasn’t. So, this year, I’m going to work really hard to curb this habit.

📚 Shruti at This is Lit provides some well-researched and very true Romance Novel Tropes based on your Zodiac Sign

📚 Charvi shares how they Build their Personal Library and how they decide between keeping a book or discarding it.

📚 Sabrina from Wordy and Whimsical shares 15 books she didn’t love but think we might!

PIN THIS POST!

🌸 How was your reading month? Did you find any favourites?

🌸 What are you planning to read in February?

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9 thoughts on “JANUARY WRAP UP: Fantastic reads and personal reflections on my WIP

    • Charvi says:

      Ooh having doubts about your WIP is natural and I’m glad you found that Twitter thread! Yaay for weanjng off anxiety meds but I hope your sleep cycle gets better soon. Oh and your booktube video was so cute, can’t wait for more 😍
      Thanks for including my post, I’m looking forward to more movie parties 😄

      Like

  1. Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense says:

    The Burning War was so gutting. I buddy read it and it’s a good thing I did because I needed the emotional report. Congrats on picking up your first audiobook. I don’t listen to many but have enjoyed the ones I’ve picked up. I hope you have a good February!

    Like

  2. Shealea says:

    Do You Dream of Terra-Two has been sitting on my TBR for literal years. I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I think this will motivate me to getting to it sooner.

    (Also, to more Netflix parties please!)

    Like

  3. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I can’t wait to read Cemetery Boys! I’ve been putting it off and so many readers have enjoyed it. I’m going to add Do You Dream of Terra Two to my reading list as I think I’d really enjoy it too.

    Like

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