We’re a quarter of the way into the year, and I don’t understand how??
Happy April to everyone though!
March was an … interesting month.
I didn’t read as much as I thought I would, which is always disappointing?
But at the same time, I don’t completely blame myself because the first half of the month, especially was generally super busy and WOW it was not fun??
It was a super up and down month, and I’m glad it’s over.
I have a new monthly wrap-up heading, yay! I’m trying to be better at my blog graphics and images, and hopefully, this will be a start!
Anyways, let’s get on to the wrap-up! We have way too much to talk about.
I’m still using the key that I used in my TBR and wrap up posts! I just love tracking everything, because I’m that person. Anyways.
Also, all covers link to its appropriate Goodreads. Reviews (or shall I say, a review) that I have written on Goodreads or on the blog will be linked in the stars.
🏳️🌈 lgbtq lead / major side characters
☀️ lead / major characters of color
🌸 neurodiversity and trauma
✨ New Release Challenge
💨 Beat the Backlist
📚 Back to the Classics
📖 Library Love Challenge
🎧 Audiobook Challenge 2019
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte ★★★★☆ 🏳️🌈✨ // This was just so, so enjoyable and bingeable to the point that I finished it within 24 hours! The mystery is just so captivating, and Scholte’s The writing is just so smooth that I would not have guessed that she is a debut author. While the world of Quadra was interesting, it definitely would’ve needed some more expansion. I do recommend this, especially if you haven’t been spoilt, like I was!
The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin ★★★☆☆ ☀️✨ // This sounded like a story for ME. I was so hopeful I was going to go in and give it 5 stars, which alas for me, did not happen. Like, Mean Girls and the Tudors? Count me IN. But while I loved how refreshing Cleeves was as the main character (also Chinese rep!!) and all the feminism in it, (since in this house we stan girls coming together to say goodbye to terrible men), this was way too confusing and it dragged way too much in the middle for my liking? Ultimately, I’d chalk this up to a great concept, but mediocre execution.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ★★★★☆ ☀️✨🎧 // This was another one I wanted to ADORE. After (clearly) falling heads over heels for Evelyn Hugo, and subsequently binging all of Reid’s backlist, I consider Reid one of my favourite authors This had such a brilliant concept, but let me tell you, it was so difficult to get into at first – I wish I listened to the audio first read. But Reid is still fantastic at crafting flawed, nuanced characters (especially female characters) who feel so real, and by the last quarter, I was anxiously flipping the pages to find out what happened to the Six. At the end I wanted to listen to all the Six’s music, and nearly cried when I couldn’t. I can’t wait to REID (I’m the queen of
glorious terrible, overused puns) all her future books, (and re-listen to Evelyn Hugo, of course).
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K Rowling ★★★★☆ 💨📖🎧 (audio reread) // Since I fell behind on me re-reading (through audio) a Harry Potter book a month, I figured I had to catch up. While this is probably (?) my least favourite book in this series, I realized how much I missed the initial lightheartedness of the series. And as much as I severely disagree with Rowling’s actions regarding the Potterverse now, I still gotta give her props for her writing and her worldbuilding. Still as great as ever.
Where’s my Hogwarts letter smh
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K Rowling ★★★★☆ (4.5) 💨📖🎧 (audio reread) // I CANNOT believe this was my least favourite book of the series when I first read this??
Clearly, younger me didn’t know jack. This is the point where the books begin transferring from middle grade to young adult, but there is so much importance in this novel? I’m still happy crying over (highlight white text to see spoilers) Gryffindor’s win in the House Cup because it was so wholesome and my heart is just so happy also Oliver Wood crying just gets me in the feels every time I think about it?? What is happening, I’m going off-brand. Also the Marauders, Hogsmeade … just, I was so close to giving this a 5 star when I finished it, but decided not to on further thought.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K Rowling ★★★★☆ 💨📖🎧 (audio reread) // This was my second favorite book of the series before (because I was and still am trash for books with games/tournaments that are often life-endangering??), but I don’t think it is any more and I’m just so sad. This book further cemented my realization that I missed the initial lightheartedness of the series, and that makes me sad because my precious cinnamon rolls are going to have to go through so much and I’m not ready?? At this point I was on such a Harry Potter high but since this book put me ahead on the challenge, I figured I had to stop. Should I consider reading Order of the Phoenix in April or wait until May? Let me know.
Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagen ★★★☆☆ (3.5) ☀️✨🌷 // While I felt like this had so much good, especially in terms of the intersectional feminism, teenage feminism, male allies and just so many great things, it also had a lot of things that just got under my skin, frankly. Chelsea COMPLETELY drove me insane, and even though she did get called out for her privilege, she never fully acknowledges it and I could not get on board with her AT ALL. Believe me, I was hoping this would be a new favourite, especially since I could some extent, relate to the premise, Chelsea’s character made me drop at least half a star. So much wasted potential.
The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith ★★★☆☆ (3.25) 💨🌸 // I read this free on RivetedLit.com, and seriously, that whole site (and Simon Teen) are just gems who I love a whole lot? This book had such an interesting premise, following the trauma of Eden over a collective period of four years. My heart hurt for Eden, and I felt all the things. She represented a survivor who paid the price of something absolutely terrible and that was completely not her fault. However, in covering such a large period of time, we miss a lot of key development, much of which is glossed over, hinted at or at times, non-existent, especially a certain section that I don’t want to talk about because of spoilers. While this was a really solid look into rape culture and the trauma of sexual assault, I do think there are books that have done this better.
Far From The Tree by Robin Benway ★★★★☆ (4.5, audio reread) 🏳️🌈☀️🌸💨📖🎧 // So this was honestly a really great re-listen, and I’m so glad I reread it? It portrays sibling relationships so well, and this simultaneously made my heart hurt and made it so happy! I loved it so much. Always and forever will recommend!
You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman ★★★★☆ (4.5) 🏳️🌈☀️✨ // Wow, this was so fantastic and relatable, and I was super engaged while reading this! I loved how realistic it was, and the family relationship was excellent! The Jewish rep was really great too! I do feel a little bad about my academics while reading this because hELLO imposter syndrome! This book nearly made me cry at the end too. I would’ve given this 5 stars if there was a little more closure, as I felt like the book ended abruptly. Also there was a Brooklyn Nine Nine reference in this, thank you for giving me the initial heads-up, Dezzy! We spotted it and we LOVED it.
The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon ★★★★☆ (4.25, audio reread) ☀️💨📖🎧 // This is a great book to how the smallest actions and your decisions impact the people around you. Though I do not like insta-love and though this felt unrealistic at times, the author wrote it so well. I genuinely cared about Natasha, Daniel and the people in their lives that they encountered and/or had some sort of relationship with. The side POVs were just so powerful, and I loved how it went deep into some really timely topics. The audio was absolutely phenomenal, too! I cannot wait for the movie.
Most Popular Post Of The Month:
This is surprising, but also not surprising? My wrap up posts tend to get a lot of views and interaction, and I do really enjoy writing them, even though they tend to be super long-winded (like myself, as you can clearly tell).
Featured Posts of the Month
I’m only featuring two posts this month, because firstly, I didn’t LOVE the posts that I put out in March, and secondly, I only put out 5 posts in March, so there’s not much to choose from.
I just love doing my TBR/reading plans post so much, and I have absolutely no idea why? As for my feminist book recommendation post, I do think that this would have been the most popular post I did if I had published it earlier? I’m so glad it got the love it did because I did enjoy making it!
Also, I literally kept writing February for some reason what is up with my brain?? Smh.
I was so much better at interaction than I was in February, but not so great at blog hopping? (Yikes.) I did find a pretty great collection of posts that I really enjoyed, so here they are:
- Austine @ Novel Knight talked about how to get ARCs/books for review!
- Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books asks about how you like to interact with the book blogging community?
- Aline @ Fully Booked celebrates her 17th birthday, and shares her 17 wishes about books, publishing, and the bookish community
- Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads selects and recommends books for YARC this March!
- Ju @ Paper Blots spoofs her favourite book titles and makes fake synopses for them
- Caitlin @ Rose Petal Pages shares her reasons why she doesn’t mind required reading
- The Bibliotheque talks about the truth about getting ARCs outside the U.S or U.K for international book bloggers
- Kaleena @ Reader Voracious shares a really important stats transparency post
- Caitlin @ Caitlin Athlea shares her list of the 10 first audiobooks she wants to listen to
- Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews shares how to use Canva to beautify your blog!
- Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads shares her list of books to read if you’re stressed about college apps (in the wake of the recent college cheating scandal)
- CW @ The Quiet Pond shares 16 reasons why you should read Colour Outside the Lines in November + summarizes her blog series spotlighting how bloggers balance blogging, reading and life! (again, thank you so much for letting me part of this series!)
Because I’m super predictable, I had a rollercoaster of the month. Since I was finishing out my Personal Project, amongst submitting a variety of things, the first two weeks of the month was basically me trying not to drown, which was why so many of my blog posts during that time were posted late.
This month, I really focused on school, my grades (which were starting to slip) and my iGCSEs, and I think for the most part it really paid off, which made me so so happy! I managed to get my grades up to a better place, and I’m pretty relieved that I managed to do that. I aced my Chinese IGCSE Speaking Exam, and I’m super psyched about that! (Also because it was over, phew).
I was also a lot more social this month and even went to a party (or two? Can’t remember exactly.) I’m an outgoing ambivert, I guess – like I really do like spending time with people, especially those who I really like, but at the same time, I would die without my alone time, and I do cherish my alone time, so I have to maintain a balance between the both of them.
Disclaimer: I initially didn’t want to share this as I was afraid that I would be viewed as an attention seeker and as whiny, but it was an integral part of the month and if I can help someone by being open with my experiences might help and/or resonate some of you. Otherwise, feel free to scroll past this part. Thank you for understanding ❤️
Mental-health wise, especially in the middle of the month, March was one of those times where the people I surrounded myself with and people I was extremely close with, were making me feel like absolute garbage and made me feel like a person who was not worth existing, and not worth anything without help. It was also the month where I realized that a lot of the people who I 100% believed were there and cared about me as a person absolutely failed to be there in my hours of need. And to be completely truthful: that new found knowledge cut me in a way that hurt deeply. I don’t really know how I feel about it now, because I’ve been trying to make an effort to move on, but also, at the same time, it still stings. This realization also made me disregard and ignore much real-life support systems that I thought I had in favor of other types of coping mechanisms. And of course, this led to some days that I could barely do anything except mindlessly scrolling or lying in bed watching movies.
I’ve always battled with my own self-hatred and feelings that I will never measure up to anything I hoped to be, and with this feeling that anything horrible I got was what I deserved. I felt (and still do feel) that if mediocre is what I receive in life, it will be the best I can and will ever get in life. I was constantly taught that much of what I achieved was from the help of others, and that very little of what I accomplished was something I could fully and wholeheartedly take credit for.
But. But. I had a saving grace, which came in the form of all you lovely people here, reading this post. Blogging and talking to some really lovely people in particular, are what got me through this month alive. Talking to some of you on Twitter and sometimes Snapchat was what got me out of bed each day, and what made me just feel like a person more worthy of happiness and love. So as cheesy as that whole little monologue sounded, you all were the ones that truly made my month. So thank YOU. If you need some validation today, I just want to say that you are a lovely person, both inside and outside, and that the world is not at all worthy of you, and that you are a person worth a lot to so many people. Ily ❤️
Music/My Monthly Playlist
March was an absolutely AMAZING month for music! I found three favourite albums of all time, and for a time, my favourite album of the year, most of which were recommended by the number one music recommendation queen, Elise (who you all probably already follow). Those albums were the Grammy-winning Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves and Strange Desire by Bleachers (which was my favorite album of the year for some time, not sure now though).
Also, the queen aka Billie Eilish (if you can’t tell, I’m an absolute Billie Stan), dropped her debut album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? yesterday (at the time of writing this), which I am completely and absolutely IN LOVE with. I made a whole thread about my thoughts on the album on Twitter if you would be interested in reading that!
Go forth and listen to all of them!
And I obviously discovered lots of amazing songs! (Yes I know my music taste is lowkey basic but let me live).
By the way, each album cover has a link to its appropriate Spotify! (You’re welcome. I’m never going to do this again).
I would put some mini-thoughts next to each song, but this wrap up is way too long anyway, so we got to cut some things, you know?
- Congratulations by Post Malone feat. Quavo
- Wonder Woman by Kacey Musgraves
- Butterflies by Kacey Musgraves
- Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves
- Happy and Sad by Kacey Musgraves
- DDU-DU DDU-DU by Blackpink
- in my head by Ariana Grande
- Nonstop by Drake
- I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers
- bloodline by Ariana Grande
- Sucker by the Jonas Brothers
- Take Me Away by Bleachers
- Velvet Elvis by Kacey Musgraves
- Don’t Kill My Vibe by Sigrid
- Wake Me by Bleachers
- Reckless Love by Bleachers
- You’re Still A Mystery by Bleachers
- bad guy by Billie Eilish
- 8 by Billie Eilish
- listen before i go by Billie Eilish
- i love you by Billie Eilish
Miscellaneous Mains of the Month
What I Watched
I didn’t add this in my last few wrap-ups, as I barely watched anything in January and February. But because of life things, I ended up re-watching (and watching) a lot of comfort movies to make myself feel better about well, life. I also watched a couple of movies that were outside my comfort zone with friends, which was cool.
Notting Hill ★★★★★ // This is an old family favorite that I rewatched while doing maths homework, which was fun! I’m just complete trash for British, Hugh Grant rom-coms and this one was absolutely fantastic. The acting was amazing, the friend group was A+, and Hugh Grant is just so good at playing the awkward main character. I just love this movie a whole lot, and it still has a special place in my heart.
10 Things I Hate About You ★★★☆☆ (3.5) // Since I was in a super rom-com mood after Notting Hill, I decided to watch the fan-favourite 10 Things I Hate About You, and hoping I would fall head over heels for it, which I, unfortunately, did not. This movie just dragged so hard, and it just didn’t capture my attention. Also, Bianca drove me insane, and not in a good way.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ★★★★☆ (4.5) // Because I wasn’t in a great place, I needed to watch a comfort film that would
make me feel better about my life cheer me up, and this was a perfect pick. Even though I’m salty over how they eliminated the potions part of the Philosopher’s Stone, this reminded me why I loved the series. The acting is A+. The worldbuilding is fantastic. It’s just so funny. Seriously, just perfection.
Captain Marvel ★★★☆☆ (3.75) // Not gonna lie, the main reasons I went to see this movie was because my friends are huge Marvel stans and also we. stan. badass. female. superheroes. Of course!!! I do think I would’ve appreciated this more if I cared about superheroes/the Marvelverse as well as known more about the previous Marvel films, but this was an enjoyable flick in general. Also, I watched this in IMAX 3D, which was a super cool experience. (Spoiler: Can we just talk about that badass ending breakthrough scene though).
Five Feet Apart ★★★☆☆ (3.75) // This is a super unique movie, and I loved its portrayal of cystic fibrosis, which is pretty rare! Please note that this is a very heavy movie, as it led to me and my three other friends that I went with breaking down afterwards. I think my main issue with this was that I was initially super confused (and it didn’t help that I did come in late).
- Revise for IGCSEs. Not gonna lie, this goal didn’t go as great as I hoped it would but still I did it so it counts!!! ✔️
- Fully follow up on my personal project and tie up the loose ends. I mean, does sort of count? Or like in the middle of? ✔️
- Catch up and reply on all comments. Well, I have in terms of comments, but so many lovely people linked to my ARC hoarding post and I just haven’t responded, since I’m a terrible person? I’m so sorry, I will be doing my best to catch up soon! ✔️
- Interact more. I mean, I did a LOT better than in February! I’ve been chatting with Aline and Dezzy for quite a bit (aka the most lovely humans ever) and I have tried my best to keep up with commenting, even though I’m still pretty terrible at it? Anyways. ✔️
- Organize and tidy up my closet. I can’t even look at myself right now. It is an absolute mess. I’m going to try to get this done before the month is over, and knock out an audiobook while I’m at it! But yeah, at the time of writing this, it is still .. an absolute mess that I’m super ashamed of. I’ll have a little more time in April, so hopefully, I can pull it together? ❌
- Fully set up the Club relating to my Personal Project. I’m hoping to get meetings set up next week, but I’m just so behind and such a mess ❌
- Be more social + keep in touch with old friends. Though I am getting slightly better at this, this is something I want to work on. I have lots to do in March, but I do want to ensure that I balance my work time out with my chill time/some social life. I have traditionally been very bad at keeping in touch with people, but I honestly want to change that, because it’s something that I don’t love about myself.
- Post 4-6 times this month. I posted five times, so I still made it! Though I do think the quality of the posts could improve? Idk? ✔️
- Self. Care. HAHAHAHHAA LOL WHAT IS SELF CARE?? ❌
- Fully set up the club + get projects started! This is a really important goal that I need to get done in April, since I was a mess that didn’t even get it finished in March. I’ve talked enough about this club in a variety of monthly wrap-ups already, so I don’t want to go into much detail. Why am I such a big mess.
- Past. Papers. iGCSEs are coming, and they’re coming in May (and one in June). And since I do have spring break (even though we don’t have four seasons here in Singapore), I’m going to be spending a lot of time practicing for the IGCSEs, especially since I’m aiming for all As and A*s!
- <big>Improve my MYP grades.</big> Even though I did do fairly well in my mocks (but to me, ish?), my MYP/regular high school grades fell by a lot. Especially since I want to apply to American colleges for college, I need to keep my high school grades consistent, which becomes even more important considering that is something that colleges do take seriously! I’ve been somewhat successful at this so far, but I know I can do so much better than I have.
- Organize my notes. Though I’m considered to be a good student and am pretty organized in terms of reading and blogging, offline, I am one of the most disorganized people you will have ever met. You know that stereotype of ‘girl who seems like she has everything together but inside is a complete mess?’ Because that is literally me, and I hate that part of myself to the core. And when IGCSEs are approaching, it is so important for me to have my notes (and hopefully, my life) together.
- Get as many blog posts scheduled ahead of time as possible! Even though having the posting schedule of two to three blog posts in two weeks has been so much better for my mental health (because girl, posting two times a week is so HARD, how do you all do it?), I want to get as many blog posts done and scheduled ahead of time as possible, especially since April will mostly be me studying for my IGCSEs and getting that club rolling, and I just don’t want to deal with that extra stress. And this may include some of May’s blog posts scheduled (if there will be any, especially considering May is going to be INSANE with exams).
- Self-Care. I am LITERALLY the worst at self-care because I am just such a workaholic and overachiever, or a major procrastinator, so that causes me a lot of stress and to make decisions I regret (e.g with assignments). I … just never seem to make or find the time for it (a self-care day is a non-existent day), as much as so many of you lovely people have told me to! And to be absolutely honest, it doesn’t help that my parents tell me that I can rest after exams.
- Talk more (and make more friends) with you all! I’ve been reaching out more to so many lovely people through Twitter (and sometimes Snapchat), and it honestly made me so happy! And you guys are just so sweet and I love you all A LOT. Aline really helped me out when I was going through a really bad time this month and when I absolutely needed someone. So again, thank you, Aline. I love you so much and you’re blessing my year with your friendship, truly ❤️
- Be happier with my relationships! Though I am very opinionated and have what I think to be a fairly strong character, I tend to be a pushover and I guess people take advantage of that? This is a pretty general goal, but I would really love to feel more fulfilled in regards to this goal by the end of the month!
- Find a five-star read. Seriously, I haven’t found a 5-star read yet. It is tragic, and it needs to happen, ASAP. Give me all your recommendations, I am DESPERATE.
April is literally going to be crammed with IGCSE revision, for the most part! I’m really trying to push through, and doing as many past papers as I can, as I truly want to do the best I can to prepare myself for the exams!
And!! I get spring break, which means all the
stuDYING time! I may also be going to Bangkok for reasons I’m not going to disclose here (just in case people from IRL find this), but that’s pretty cool! (God I can’t wait for all the bubble tea/coconut).
Also, Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns from its hiatus on April 11th (or April 12th, for me, because of timezones) and I’m so excited because I heard it’s a Peraltiago anniversary episode and my inner Peraltiago
trash self fangirl is screeching in absolute delight!!!!
How was your March? What was your favorite book that you read this month, and what did you read? Bloggers, what were some of your favorite posts this month? Feel free to share them here! Did you set goals last month, and how did you do on them? I would love to know.
I hope April treats you all well!