Book Review: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Book #8 of 2022 was a good one. I think this one’s taking the lead! It might actually be better than “People We Meet On Vacation”. This could be a controversial opinion, but “The Inheritance Games” took me places where I’ve never gone before, you know?

I also could have read it in one day (yes, it’s that good).

Imagine being a senior in high school and not having a father, a mother, or any money at all. You don’t even have a home! You’re sleeping every night in your car with postcards of destinations you dream of travelling to. Then one day you get called to the principal’s office to meet the grandson of the richest man in Texas/one of the richest men in America: Grayson Hawthorn. His grandfather (who you never knew existed), Tobias Hawthorne, is a billionaire. He recently passed away and has requested that you be present at the reading of his will. Why? Because you’ve just inherited everything.

Honestly though, what would you do if you were randomly picked to inherit billions from an old man you didn’t know? I’d freak out! I’d make sure it wasn’t a prank, that’s for sure. What our protagonist, Avery Grambs, finds out is that Mr. Tobias Hawthorne was a man of many mysteries. He communicated through games and puzzles, and including Avery in his will was most definitely part of another puzzle that they were going to have to solve. I think all of the puzzles were a big reason why I enjoyed reading The Inheritance Games. It made me think and kept me wanting to know what was next, which made me incapable of putting this book down. If you love a mystery and being taken for a ride, you’ll love this book! I felt like I was alongside them as they tried to solve each clue/riddle. By “they” I mean the Hawthorne boys + Avery, which leads me to another few reasons (four reasons to be exact) why I loved this book.

The Hawthorne men. The grandsons of Tobias Hawthorne. In order from oldest to youngest, there’s Nash Hawthorne, Grayson Hawthorne, Jameson Hawthorne, and Xander Hawthorne. Their family dynamic is intoxicating. I love them so much. They have the most fun dialogue in the book. Each of them has their own personality with unique qualities. I think it’s safe to say that their handsome but on top of that, they’re smart. I love men with brains lol.

The Hawthorne House. Or I guess the proper term is “mansion”. It sounds like it should be a home classified as something all on its own because this house is crazy huge. It’s full of hidden passageways and dark secrets. Think closets that have hidden doors. Fireplaces with a hidden passageway that opens at the pull of a candlestick. There are floors that open up into completely new rooms. THE LIBRARIES. There are multiple libraries in this novel and I couldn’t handle it. My dream is to have my own library, and the Hawthorne’s have FIVE (at least)! As you read the book, you discover that there’s a whole other wing of the house, then another wing of the house, and so on. I’m hoping this book gets picked up and adapted into a film because I would love to see how they bring the Hawthorne mansion to life.

Another reason why I loved this book is that I feel like this touches on a different kind of Cinderella story. Avery didn’t have much and overnight she had everything (including her own football team and a number of airplanes). I think what makes those that love this book love it so much is the fact that it makes you wonder, could this happen to me, too? Obviously not. I mean, I wish! But it’s probably not likely, let’s be honest. It does let you dream of the possibility though, and who doesn’t like dreaming? (Btw I’m leaving out the part where she has so much money that people are shooting at her on her own property and needs like, heavy security lol – not really the dream)

Now it wouldn’t be the perfect book for me if there wasn’t some kind of romance to talk about. This book is nothing short of romance. It’s got a LOVE TRIANGLE. I’ve never been sure if I like love triangles. Personally, they sound a little messy to me. But Avery gets herself caught in the middle of two of the Hawthorne brothers. The two that seem to have a history of loving the same girl when they couldn’t be more different. It’s Grayson and Jameson. Grayson is super serious/realistic and Jameson is everything but serious. I’d say that the love triangle is more established in the second book than in the first, but let that encourage you to continue the series! The third book comes out in August – I can’t wait!

Okay, I could go on and on about things I loved about this book. But I’m going to say one more thing and leave it at that. I really hope I’ve convinced you to read this by now! But if you’re someone that values getting through a single chapter in one sitting, or just likes the satisfaction of completing something, you’ll love this. The chapters are so short. You can read like, 5 chapters in one sitting. You’ll honestly feel so good about yourself. I mean, I at least did ha-ha. Because I finished so many chapters at a time (this could be my competitive side showing), I just wanted to keep reading and see how many more chapters I could read (which is probably why I didn’t go to bed until 2AM lol)!

Now I wrote down that I wasn’t pleased with the ending of the first book. But now that I’ve read the second, I understand why she did what she did. I was just upset that there wasn’t as big of a reveal that I had hoped for at the end of The Inheritance Games. I also read a few reviews on GoodReads and a lot of people said that they didn’t like these novels because the story was a little too much like Knives Out. I haven’t read Knives Out (Is it a book? Or just a movie?) so now I’m wondering if maybe I wouldn’t be as impressed if I had. Should I read Knives Out? Have you read it? Let me know!

Max is Avery’s best friend in the book. She has very strict parents that take away her phone a lot. She also can’t swear, or curse, or whatever, so she makes up her own curse words. It’s quirky, but sometimes annoying. I also found her to be not that great of a friend. I guess she does the best she can with what she has. With such restrictions, it’s probably hard to be there for Avery in the way that she would like to be. I don’t know, I just felt like that relationship was lacking in some way. I don’t know whether to blame Avery for being too caught up in her own mess, or Max for being unavailable.

There’s also the Emily plot line. She sounds like a nightmare of a person, but everyone adored her. I’m just not a fan of manipulation. I don’t want to get into this in too much detail, but I’d like to know other people’s thoughts if you’ve read this book. Do we like Emily? Because I feel like she’s caused a lot of pain and trauma for a lot of people.

To summarize, I LOVED THIS BOOK. GO GET IT RIGHT NOW. I want to talk about it with someone! Someone read it and get excited about it with me! You have no idea how much I adored these books and reading them was an experience that will stick with me. I love reading again, and I think this series really helped me with that. I think Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a fabulous storyteller and I’m going to look into reading more of her books. Like I said earlier, I could have sat in a chair and finished this book all in one day. This won’t come as a surprise after everything that I’ve said, but I rate this book 5/5 stars!

I hope you enjoyed this book review! I love book recommendations so if you have any, please leave them in the comment section below!

Happy Friday!

Until next time,

– Tiny ❤

March Favourites 2022

I’m back! And it’s April, so HAPPY APRIL! Another month has gone by which means I have another set of favourites to share with you. My sister had her second baby, the Oscars happened so I was watching a lot of movies all month, I read some of the best books I’ve read in a really long time, and I think I’m starting to love getting dressed again? It sounds funny because a lot of people that know me would probably find it hard to believe that I ever stopped loving getting dressed. But recently, I’ve been planning outfits and getting excited about what I’m going to wear. I’ve also been taking a lot of mirror selfies of my outfits at work, which I haven’t done in a really long time. Maybe it’s the weather getting warmer? I think it might also have to do with the fact that we’re sort of seeing an end to the pandemic now? *knocks on wood* Before it felt like I was getting dressed for the sake of getting dressed, and that’s not me. I know we’re sick and tired of talking about the pandemic but it’s affected so many. I’ve lost the energy to express myself and I’ve lost sight of what makes me happy/makes me feel good. Fashion makes me happy. Writing these posts makes me happy. I think a lot of us, like myself, just continued to do things out of habit. And I think I’ve finally realized why I love certain things and why I continue to do them. It feels good!

Anyways, despite a busy month, I do remember a few things that I loved most throughout the month of March. I think that if I’m missing anything, I’m sure I’ll mention them in a future monthly favourites post. And if I can’t remember them now, did I really love them that much anyway?

Here are my March favourites!

1. Brown EVERYTHING – This was not planned, but I don’t really think I plan my favourites. Becoming obsessed with the colour brown was just very unexpected. I gravitated towards a lot of brown this past month and I don’t know why. I got two brown leather jackets, brown trousers, and even when shopping, I noticed that everything I picked up/preferred was chocolate brown. Like right now I’m thinking, chocolate brown nail polish? What I think I love about the colour brown is that it’s a great alternative for black and white. It’s a new option if you wanna stay neutral. I don’t know how long this brown phase is going to last (I’m thinking probably throughout this transition to spring/summer), but I’m here for it. What do you think of wearing brown this season? Part of me thinks it also reminds people of poo lol.

2. Bridgerton: Season 2 – I would have binged all of this the day it came out (Friday, March 25th), but my sister and I decided to wait and watch it together when I came to visit. I LOVE this show. I will say that I preferred Daphne’s story over Anthony’s (there’s just no one like Simon, am I right?), but the whole production is what I love most. The costumes, the music and the set design is absolutely mesmerizing! Like, those big houses and the way their interiors are decorated are absolutely stunning. I kind of wish I lived to experience that period. The way that society worked is kind of bonkers. Women 100% should have had more rights. But if we were to eliminate all of the problematic societal norms, I think everything seemed so much more romantic, whimsical, and beautiful. Everything was so romanticized. But maybe it’s all a facade? I have some second thoughts now lol. Let’s just say, on a surface level perspective, the show is gorgeous. I can’t wait for season 3! I’m going to need to read the third book of the series ASAP. I think it might be Eloise’s love story that’s next – exciting!

3. Crochet pieces that I made this month: Leg Warmers + Cat Beanie – I’m honestly really enjoying having crochet projects completed monthly. It’s so rewarding! This past month I made my very first pair of leg warmers! They’re pink, chunky, and so warm. I’m obsessed with how cute they look. I’m pretty happy that they’re trending again. I don’t know how long I have until it’s too warm to wear them, but I’m very much tempted to make some in every colour. I also completed this striped beanie with cat ears. It was so fun to make and I got some cute selfies while wearing it so if I never wear it again, at least there’s that. I also think temperatures are getting warm enough to no longer need a beanie. I’ll probably just save it for next winter. Also: I’m way too excited not to mention my current project so I’m just going to quickly say that I’m making a BLANKET!!! There’s this crochet blanket that was seen on an episode or two of Euphoria that I saw someone recreate on TikTok, and I was instantly inspired. It’s going to be so much work but I think it’s going to keep me busy throughout April. Hopefully I’ll finish it and share it with you next month!

4. The Inheritance Games: Book 1 & 2 by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – I don’t know if this is going to be posted before or after my book review, but man oh man, you need to read these. I read them so fast because I literally couldn’t put them down! I would pick up these books any chance I could get. It’s been so long since I’ve found a series that makes me want to come home from work, make a tea, and sit on the couch and read until 2AM. It’s one of my favourite things to do and there’s really nothing like it. It’s hard to explain the feeling of being so wrapped up in a story unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Has this ever happened to you? It happened to me with both of these books and I don’t want to wait until August for the 3rd one! Thinking about it actually makes me sad lol. I won’t tell you too much plot-wise, but if you like Cinderella stories with puzzles, mystery, romance, and 4 handsome boys with brains and a sense of humour, grab these books now.

5. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood – Normally, I have one book in a monthly favourites post, but here I am with three! I had such amazing luck with reading material this past month that I’m worried it’s downhill from here. What if nothing can top these ones? I must read more and find out! Send me your recommendations, please! To explain briefly, this book was about a romance between a student and a professor. They’re both in the medical field. It’s a fake relationship turned into something much, much more. I know it sounds cheesy, but I haven’t read anything like it. I enjoyed it so much. It also got a little steamy at parts so don’t say I didn’t warn ya lol.

6. Eloise Jordan Johnson (MY ONE MONTH-OLD NIECE) – I met my niece last week and she’s PRECIOUS. I don’t even think precious is enough to describe her. She’s an angel! I’m so excited for us to have another little girl in the family, and to watch her grow. When I went back to my hometown to visit my family and help my sister with her two kids, I felt like it was something that I needed. I was there for 6 days and being surrounded by them, and having my niece and nephew keeping me (very) busy was really good for me. Family is important and being with them simply reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for. My little niece and nephew are the cutest kids. I do get baby fever whenever I’m around them. They’re so sweet and pure. They fill my heart with joy. I most definitely have biggest soft spot for them because I literally can’t say no ha-ha – they’re just too cute! But my sister is so lucky to have such blessings, and I hope that when I’m ready to have children that I get just as lucky.

7. The 94th Academy Awards/Oscars – As much as I was disappointed in the Oscars this year (very few of the nominations truly wow’d me tbh), it still remains one of my favourite annual events. I love movies, as most of you all know, and it’s so fun to see all my favourite actors and actresses get dressed up and recognized for their hard work. This year was so controversial with all the Will Smith and Chris Rock business. I’m not going to get into it because I feel like the rest of the internet has said enough. I really hope that we just learn and be better going forward, and hopefully next year is better. Regardless of what happens, the Oscars will always be something special to me. Did any of you watch? I am so happy that CODA won Best Picture! That movie made me sob.

8. Freshii – This is a last-minute addition to the favourites list because as I’m writing this, I’m craving a Pangoa bowl from Freshii. I’ve bought a few on my break at work last month, and I also had one while I stayed with my sister (my tiny hometown just got a Freshii, it’s actually crazy lol). I don’t know why I love them so much. I think they’re just fresh (at Freshii? Who knew lol)? They beat the cans of soup that I normally eat at work for lunch, that’s for sure. I always add chicken to my Pangoa bowl because it’s more filling for me. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it! I also just love photographing it, is that weird? I appreciate all the pretty colours!

Another month for the books! Official farewell to March 2022! I can’t believe how fast the year is going by. Only a few more months and my birthday month will be here! Is it too early to be excited? I don’t have anything planned yet, but I know I can always expect the best things in June. Comment down below and tell me your favourite month of the year!

I hope you’re all having a great week so far!

Until next time,

– Tiny ❤

Book Review: People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

Since finishing this book, I have read the second book to the Bridgerton series (Season 2 is out March 25th!!!) and now I’m currently reading “Instructions For Dancing” by Nicola Yoon. I’ve been reading so much more than last year so be ready for more book reviews in the future! According to Goodreads, I’m 3 books behind schedule. How this came to be? I don’t know. I think I’m going to find a light read that I can finish in a couple of days to help me get caught up a little. I’d be devastated if I get too far behind to reach my goal. Do any of you have some books that are less than 200 pages long that you can recommend? Let me know in the comment section below :))

Before I begin telling you about “People We Meet On Vacation”, I want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was one of those ones that I kept wanting to go back to. I would read it on my commutes to and from work and I’ll be honest, it made those trips 1,000 times more exciting. Warning: This book is very cheesy and probably better for those hopeless romantics, like myself.

People We Meet On Vacation is about a woman in her 30s, Poppy, and her best friend, Alex. They met in college and I don’t remember how it started, but they’ve been taking an annual “summer trip” together ever since. The book is written with every chapter being a scenario or experience that happened during one of their summer trips. It kind of bounces back and forth between one from the past and their present summer trip. Currently, they’re trying to break a funk. They haven’t spoken to each other in two years since something happened between them in Croatia. It’s obvious that they miss each other, and Poppy is just hoping that this trip to Palm Springs to attend Alex’s brother’s wedding will fix everything. Hopefully, it’ll return things back to normal between them. But how exactly were things before? Poppy finds herself with this 5% “what if” situation. Alex is everything to her. She’s happier whenever she’s with him. Does she feel more for Alex than she’s willing to admit? Could her and Alex ever be something more than friends?

You’re gonna have to read it if you want to find out! I’m not spoiling anything ha-ha.

What I probably loved most about this book was Poppy’s job. She worked for a magazine or an online website that shared the best travel destinations. It was kind of like a travel guide? Poppy would go on these trips, take photos/content, and then share them and romanticize the whole experience. And it all started with a blog (maybe kind of like this one lol). Imagine if I somehow turned blogging into my full-time job? That would be the dream. I would no longer have to stress about finding the time to write because I’d literally have ALL the time. What I also loved about her job was all the places in the world that she was able to see for free! CAN YOU IMAGINE? I am dying to see the world but my retail job and shopping addiction isn’t gonna allow that for me.

This might make you roll your eyes, but I loved the romance in this one. Poppy has a lot of relationships in the novel but her relationship with Alex… whoa. Just whoa. Whatever feelings that I felt that I was missing in These Violent Delights were found in People We Meet On Vacation. The love that they have for each other is unmatched. The hopeless romantic in me can’t get enough of a love like that. Is it even possible? Does this kind of love only happen in books? Either way, I ate it all up and loved every second of it. If you love love, like myself, you’re gonna be obsessed with this novel. It’s steamy.

I think Emily Henry also did a fantastic job at continuing to leave the reader wanting more. I just had to know if they were going to end up being together. I had to know if they were going to finally be honest with each other and admit their feelings! Or were they better off not being friends? Is it worth ruining their friendship? I don’t know about y’all, but I’m such a sucker for these types of storylines. Emily somehow wrote something that I hadn’t expected though, and I appreciated that. I really didn’t know what was going to happen! Obviously you’re hoping for that happily ever after, but Emily left plenty of doubt. I liked that she kept me on my toes.

Another thing that I touched on already, but still loved, is the interesting format. She kind of bopped back and forth between past summers that they spent together to the present/current summer together. This progression of them spending summer after summer, year after year together really allowed me to grow with them, and understand how deep their friendship is. You’re kind of along for the ride/with them on their journey to discovering that they’re made for each other.

I’m starting to realize that this blog post is getting long, and that there’s a lot that I can say that I liked about this book but I’m just going to say that I loved that Emily also normalized therapy. I think it’s great that we’re including this in novels now. Therapy should be normalized. It’s okay to get help. It’s okay to admit that there’s something wrong that needs fixing. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to. The fact that Poppy and Alex both admit to getting therapy really made me happy. I respect Emily Henry for including it.

Based on the amount of things that I did like about this book, I’m pretty sure it’s obvious that I don’t really have anything negative to say. Poppy’s character kind of annoyed me sometimes, and I think that’s something you’ll only understand if you read it. I can’t describe it. She was kind of lacking compassion towards Alex. I mean, to be fair, she wasn’t very aware of how Alex felt about her. I just think she just could have been more considerate. The way she communicated was also very frustrating. Girl, JUST SAY WHAT YOU FEEL!

All in all, “People We Meet On Vacation” has to be one of my favourite reads so far in 2022. I feel like I’m making a huge statement that I might want to take back later, but oh well. I highly recommend you read this book if you have a similar taste in novels. This one’s a good one for all you hopeless romantics. It’s also just a great novel in regards to friendship. They really set the bar and their friendship is rather admirable. I would give this book 5/5 stars. I may be hyping this book up too much, but I truly believe it’s worth this rating. If you end up reading this, PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! Let’s talk about it!

I hope you’re all having a fabulous week so far!

Until next time,

– Tiny ❤

Book Review: These Violent Delights Duet

Let me remind you that I am not an expert when it comes to reviewing books. Take what I have to say with a grain of salt or whatever. I honestly just love reading. And if you’re a YA fantasy fiction lover, like myself, you’ve stumbled upon the right book review today.

Since I’m reviewing the duet instead of each book individually, I probably won’t cover everything. It’ll be brief but I’m going to try to include everything you absolutely need to know. So the duet is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in Shanghai during the 1920s. It’s been a while since I’ve read a period piece. I think the last one that I read would have to be the first Bridgerton novel? Anyways, I love a good period piece! I think it would be a beautiful movie to watch. Juliette wears some of the most stunning dresses in the novel and I would love to see them come to life on screen. I’m smiling just picturing all the sparkle! But I think I’m trailing off my little synopsis here… So, where were we? Ah – Romeo and Juliet! We all know the famous love story by William Shakespeare. However, Roma and Juliette are the main characters in this duet. They’re the heirs to two separate gangs that have been in this ongoing blood feud since the dawn of time. No one even remembers why they started hating each other to begin with. Juliette Cai is the heir to the Scarlet Gang, and Roman Montagov is the heir to the White Flowers. They were each other’s first love. And much like the original play, their romance is ultimately doomed. There is so much betrayal. On top of that, there’s a contagion they name “the madness” and a monster in the Huangpu river that is killing everyone in their city. The only way to stop it is to put their feelings aside, do what’s right for their people, and work together.

I think that’s not the most terrible explanation of the two novels, no? There’s a lot more in the second novel that I’m leaving out, but I think knowing the information that I mentioned above, you’ll figure out what comes next. I am in no means saying that the second book is not worth mentioning. A lot of people online (and I agree with them) have said that the second book was very emotional for its readers. I don’t know what it is about a forbidden romance. The fact that they love each other so much, couldn’t be more perfect for one another, but can never be together is just absolutely heartbreaking! If you’re familiar with the play, you’ll also have a good idea of how the story will go. I’m not saying that it’s predictable. Chloe actually manages to retell the story but still make it something completely different.

There are a lot of characters that I enjoyed getting to know throughout these two novels. My favourites would have to be Juliette and her cousins. Juliette is a badass woman. I love her. Although she demonstrates weakness when it comes to loving Roma, she’s still one of the strongest characters in the book. You know what, she’s probably the strongest. She’s tough both mentally and physically. She’s very decisive and as a woman in a gang in the the 1920s, working alongside mostly men, she’s very well-respected. They treat her with more respect than what you’’d expect during that time. No one would mess with her. I know she had to work hard to earn that respect, and I respect that a lot. There are times in the novel where she’s excluded in some important decision making because she’s a woman. Her father consults her cousin, Tyler, for too many things, and that’s a whole other side story that I could get into but you can find that out for yourselves. I’ll just let you know right now that we don’t like Tyler over here. Awful human. Anyways, I really feel like she’s for the most part an equal, but she’s wearing a gorgeous dress while doing it? That’s pretty freaking heroic/badass if I do say so myself. And Juliette’s cousins are the same way! Kathleen and Rosalind have grown up with Juliette and they all have an equal understanding on how they have to be in order to survive in their “Scarlet vs. White Flower” world.

What I probably love most about these books is that there’s only two. I really feel like most YA fantasy novels are drawn out for much longer than they need to be. Two books long is the perfect length for Chloe’s story, and I appreciate her choosing to do so. Am I the only one that has noticed that most fantasy series are at least 3-4 books long? And sometimes I feel like it’s just unnecessary information/a reason to sell one more book. With two books, I think this duet has much more value. Two really good books is better than 4 mediocre ones.

Another reason why I enjoyed these books so much is that they were a mix of genres. I got a little bit of everything. There was mystery, romance, historical fiction, and fantasy. Some might think it’s too much but I think it was perfect. It allowed so much interest and always had me wanting to know more.

I know I’m almost 29 years-old and still reading teen fiction, but I definitely think things between Roma and Juliette could have been much steamier lol. I’m not asking for porn. I just felt like there wasn’t enough passion between the two of them. Roma was kind of a “blah” character. I didn’t understand how he felt towards Juliette. I think Juliette’s feelings were much more apparent. I had a better sense that Juliette would literally do anything for Roma. Romeo was a hopeless romantic, was he not? I just wanted more from Roma. Personally, I think Juliette was too good for him.

I don’t think anyone ever wants characters to die, but it’s kind of obvious when this is a retelling of Romeo and Juliette that they’re gonna die in some way or another. I didn’t want that though. I really wanted to see them create a life together, away from their city. I wanted them to live happily ever after. I mean, that’s probably the hopeless romantic in me, but I still wanted it nonetheless. They deserved to be together! They had already gone through so much, so why did they have to die?! But I guess that’s the romantic tragedy for ya. The “doomed romance”.

Overall, these were probably the YA fantasy novels that I needed to get back into reading again. I’ve been on a roll! I’ve read almost 4 books this month! I can’t believe it. I am definitely on the path towards meeting my goal of 50 books read in 2022. I know it’s only the first month of the year, but it’s promising! I’m hopeful.

If you’re going to pick up these books, expect a little bit of everything. Like I said, there’s mystery, romance, historical fiction, and fantasy. A ton of twists and turns. It really kept me on my toes despite knowing the story of Romeo and Juliet all too well. Although these were debut novels for Chloe Gong, it really didn’t feel like it. Her writing was exceptional as far as I’m concerned. I think Chloe created amazing characters and told a beautiful and heartbreaking story. Much like Romeo and Juliet, her novels were full of emotions and pain. I think this retelling would be an interesting movie. It’s definitely something I’d consider worth watching.

My rating for this duet is 4/5 stars. The reason it’s not a full 5/5 is because I really think there were characters, like Roma, that needed just a tad more attention. I wanted to understand him more, especially since he was one of the two main characters. I might just be saying this because I love romance, and I wanted Roma to bring more romance to the table. As I said in the introduction, take what I have to say with a grain of salt. I do highly recommend these books if this is the sort of thing you’re into. I think they were a great start to what’s going to be a great year of reading.

If you liked this book review, please let me know in the comment section! I’m a little rusty because a.) I haven’t read this much in a while and b.) I haven’t really reviewed or talked about a book in a long while. I think the more I read, the more insight I have. At least I hope that’s the case ha-ha!

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend!

Until next time,

– Tiny ❤

Books I Read In 2021

I don’t know where I want to begin with this one because I’ll be honest, I’m a little disappointed with myself. In 2020, I read over 30 books (33 to be exact!) and in 2021, I only read 21?! There are a lot of reasons why I didn’t read as much last year but I thought I’d at least read the same amount, y’know? I could have at least stayed consistent! Unfortunately, I read 12 less books. Ugh, it hurts even more putting a number to it. I mean, it is what it is. I had a lot going on with Never Skip a Bead that didn’t allow me time to stop and read for as long as I would have liked. Julia and I also had the podcast going. I had a book club. We had to stop the podcast because we both got a little too busy so that prevented a higher book count as well. Part of me feels like these are excuses because if I really wanted to read, I would have made it happen. I sound like a broken record but life really does get in the way sometimes. And I’ve got to accept that sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you want it.

But that’s what a new year is all about, right? A fresh start! I know what I want to prioritize this year, and reading is one of those things. I’ve been reading as much as I can on my commutes to and from work. I had some tough side effects after getting my booster this week that I had to call in sick to work for a couple days. I had a fever, chills, and body aches. I couldn’t really do much so I read my book. I’m currently reading the second book to “These Violent Delights” by Chloe Gong. I love this book (expect a book review on this duet soon!) so I don’t see a problem with momentum at the moment, but we’ll see!

Anyways, this post isn’t about current or future reads, but about past reads! It’s tough to pick out my “top ten” because that’s literally half the books I read. I don’t know about you but I don’t think that justifies a top ten, so I’m sharing with y’all this year a “Top 5 Books I Read In 2021”. They’re the titles highlighted in yellow and the pink are honourable mentions. Basically, I really want you to read the yellow and if you have extra time, read the pink ones!

These are the books I enjoyed reading the most in 2021. Not pictured: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (because my littlest sister is borrowing it lol).

TOP 5 BOOKS I READ IN 2021

1. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah – This was a book Julia and I read for the podcast. I would have never bothered with it if it hadn’t been picked up by Netflix and turned into a series. Honestly, I’m super happy I read it. It made me cry. If you haven’t heard our podcast, The Books Office Podcast, I mentioned that I think the book is way better than the Netflix series. You don’t get enough information from the show. The book had so much more depth and Kristin Hannah does a real good job at connecting you with her characters.

2. Crying In H Mart by Michelle Zauner – I saw this book all over social media. The cover is cute. There was a lot of hype and I was looking for something good, like really good. I needed something to get me reading again. This was the last book I read in 2021, and I loved it. It’s non-fiction/a memoir, so that made it even more interesting. Losing a parent to cancer is something I can relate to, and it made her story that much more special to me.

3. Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz – This was another memoir that we ended up reading in our book club last year. I think joining this book club really made me open up to books outside of teen fiction. This story opens your eyes and it makes you appreciate all that you have. I think it also helps you to better understand the minds of young women and young women of colour. Jaquira shares a lot that demonstrates what it takes to survive and make a better life for yourself. She definitely has courage to have written such a vulnerable and honest book like this. I absolutely recommend it.

4. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – Definitely deserving of this spot. It might be one of the best books I’ve read in years. I think this story had fantastic characters and it covers so much ground: race, identity, gender, belonging, as well as the relationship of twins and their daughters. It’s a very powerful read that I don’t think I am capable of explaining. I definitely can’t do as good of a job as it deserves. You’re just going to have to read it!

5. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – I’m pretty sure you’ve probably heard of this book. It’s really deserving of all the praise. I think it might be popular on TikTok? Matt Haig is an amazing writer. This is the first book that I’ve read that he’s written, but I’m definitely going to look into reading one of his other novels this year. How he came up with “The Midnight Library” is fascinating to me. It’s such a unique story and I think it has a great message. This is 100% a book that everyone should read.

I know I didn’t describe the books as well as I could have. If you’ve read my book reviews before, you know I struggle along the line of over sharing and not sharing enough. I just don’t want to ruin it for anyone that is dying to read one of these 5 books I’ve mentioned. They all deserve to be read and discovered for yourselves. I think you’ll love any one of them. Now that I’m looking back at this, although I only read 21 books last year, I think I read some pretty darn good ones! If you end up reading one of these, I want to know what you think! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

I also hope you’re all having a great week! I’m so glad that I’m no longer feeling poorly. That booster really took me out this week, but I’m feeling as good as new now! I’m super excited because my mom and sister are coming to visit me for the weekend. They’re going to help me with the apartment and come with me to IKEA! If anything exciting happens, I’ll be sure to share.

Until next time,

– Tiny ❤