An Unplanned Hiatus: January 2021 Wrap-Up

Another month, another completely unplanned hiatus. Whoops.

Okay, so here’s the thing: I actually had every intention of being super active this month. True story. I had a whole lot of reviews lined up, a post about my summer reading plans and some fresh new content. And then, life got in the way. You know, as it does.

Anyway, after a suffering through a post lockdown burn-out and an exhausting Christmas period in retail, January came at me fast and, if I’m being honest, I really struggled with staying motivated.

Here’s what I got up to this month…  

With my parents visiting from interstate, I rang in the New Year with an intimate Gatsby themed party. It ended up being just the four of us [because, you know, COVID19 is still a thing] but that didn’t stop us from having an amazing night. There was plenty of French Champagne, some seriously questionable karaoke and mum ended up tripping over our Christmas lights and kissing the pavement at midnight.

January 3rd marked my twenty-fourth birthday and I had a quiet one at home, relaxing on the alfresco with wine, cheese and a roaring game of Cards Against Humanity [apologies to the neighbors]. Considering this year was a little more low key I was spoiled rotten and it actually ended up being one of the best birthdays ever. My work wife even surprised me with gourmet cupcakes. YUM!

After my parents left, I kept busy with movie days and an impromptu, very late game night with my friends. We played charades until the early hours of the morning – I have no idea who actually won.

The highlight of the month though was definitely a spontaneous day-trip to the rural spa town of Daylesford. With it’s natural mineral springs and rich, artistic culture, Daylesford is the wellness capital of Victoria. After a beautiful, winding drive through pastures and woodland we spent the morning wandering the boutiques and op-shops before heading to the Amazing Mill Markets.

The Mill Markets are basically this massive warehouse of stalls which specialize in selling vintage décor, retro collectibles and thousands of antiques. You can honestly just meander around for hours. There’s even a massive gorilla out the front [I call King Kong] because why not? We left with an armful of second-hand books and some Queen Anne bone china to add to our growing collections.

But the award for most anxiety inducing moment was having a spot removed from my back. This was actually the incident that threw a wet blanket on my motivation. Not only was it a super painful and confronting experience but I was pretty much a wreck while I waited for my results. Thankfully said results came back clear but I’m still wading through the influx of anxiety. On the bright side, I guess I have a badass scar?

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Adult > Historical Fiction | ★★★★½ | Holy freaking shit – Ya’ll were right, okay? Daisy Jones & The Six was amazing. You can all say “I told you so” because, let’s face it, you told me so. Daisy Jones & The Six is a raw, emotional journey documenting the rise and fall of a fictional rock band. Told entirely in interview snippets and set during the heat of the 70’s music scene, this book will transport you to a bygone era of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren  | Adult > Romance |★★★½☆ | The Unhoneymooners was recommended to me by my bookish bestie, Octavia [be sure to check out her reviews over at Mermaid Reads] and while I loved it, I didn’t love it as much as I did The Hating Game. #sorrynotsorry. I just felt that it lacked the steam Sally Thorne is known for. That being said, the whole idea of arch nemeses posing as newly-weds on a honeymoon is so much fun. Also, A+ for the family dynamics.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor  | YA > Urban Fantasy |★★★★☆| I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this series but Daughter of Smoke and Bone was definitely my favorite. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a modern, urban fantasy spanning cultures and worlds. Much like Strange the Dreamer, its complex and multilayered with a dream-like quality. The narrative is shrouded in a thick veil of mystery and the conflict reveals itself gradually.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor | YA > Urban Fantasy |★★★☆☆| Honestly, I had to check to make sure I was reading the right book because Days of Blood and Starlight was completely different to Daughter of Smoke and Bone… And not in a good way. The whimsical, urban fantasy setting gave way to a very graphic depiction of war and genocide. The tone was bleak, the pacing choppy and the romance was completely pushed aside. Basically, Mik and Zuzana’s comic relief saved this book.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor | YA > Urban Fantasy |★★★½☆| Honestly, I was actually relieved to reach the end of Dreams of Gods and Monsters. This series was epic in scope and the world was just so beautifully crafted but I felt that the pacing throughout was constantly choppy. I would go days where I could barely force myself to turn the page and other’s where I couldn’t tear myself away. Basically, Daughter of Smoke and Bone isn’t as polished as Strange the Dreamer and that’s the tea.

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale  | Middle Grade > Fantasy |★★★★☆| Okay, yes The Goose Girl is technically middle grade but honestly, I still love this book. It’s a timeless and comforting retelling but what I love most is the fact that our heroine, Anidori is not your typical princess. Anidori does not command the room. She is very much intimidated by the crown and the weight of her duty as Crown Princess. But she has this quiet strength about her and it’s the journey that she takes that inspires.

Setting Goals: 2021 Bookish Resolutions

A real solid effort, am I right?

Looking back, I’ve realized that it’s completely okay to have survived 2020 and have reached this point. It’s okay to not be productive right now. That being said, I’m trying to be a little better with posting in February.

As for my reading plans, I’m continuing with my summer reading list [even if I still haven’t posted said list yet]. I’m starting off the month with The Geography of Lost Things and Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe. I love a summery romance so I have high hopes for these contemporaries. I’m also planning on re-reading Journey to the River Sea because the lush Amazonian setting is just what I need right now. And of course, you can bet that I’ll be reading A Court of Silver Flames the minuet it drops in stores.

As for posting? I still have so much to catch up on from January. You can expect that summer reading list I keep teasing as well as the 2020 Reading by Starlight Awards [let’s not even talk about how overdue that one is]. I’ve also got a Daughter of Smoke and Bone review headed your way so be on the lookout for that.

I hope you all had a productive month – or at the very least, a little more productive than mine. Let me know what you got up to in the comments below – until next time my friends. x

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17 thoughts on “An Unplanned Hiatus: January 2021 Wrap-Up

    • Awwww – thank you so much, J! I had a lovely birthday. And I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who takes sporadic hiatus’… Makes me feel a LOT less guilty… ahaha! 😉 Hope you’re having an amazing reading month! 💙

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  1. Happy belated birthday! And don’t feel bad about taking a break – everyone needs that sometimes 😉 And I’m glad you still managed to enjoy parts of your January: your New Year’s and birthday parties actually sound pretty epic!
    Also, I’m really happy you loved so many of the books you read this month, as quite a few are among my own favorites 😊 Though I actually loved the genocide plotline in the DoSaB series and thought it made the second book way more interesting than the first one 😁 But to each their own!

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    • Ahaha thank you! And, at the risk of sounding conceited, they were pretty epic. I’m lucky to have a close relationship with my mum and stepdad because while it might sound dorky partying with your parents, we always have the best time. Especially because one of us is basically guaranteed to do something stupid. 😉

      Actually, so many people I talked too preferred the darker plot line and tone of DoBaS but I missed that whimsical feel of DoSaB… Especially Laini’s depiction of Prague. Somehow it just seemed so magical? But the series did grow on me – I just wasn’t prepared for such a heavy, emotional ride. Also, I was DEVASTATED that Brimstone wasn’t resurrected somehow… I was like 99.9% sure they would figure out a way to bring him back. But I guess if they did that would get in the way of Karou’s journey and all. I definitely feel like a re-read is needed to pick up on all the foreshadowing. I feel like it’s one of those series where you’d pick up something new with each re-read.

      Hope your February is full of amazing books! 💙

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      • Well, I always love celebrating birthdays with my family as well, so I know exactly what you mean! 😊 Even though our parties were never quite as inspired as yours – we mostly just play tons of board games all day, with the rules getting more and more ridiculous the more time has passed 😉

        And gosh, yes! Brimstone’s death DESTROYED me! I also thought he’d probably be resurrected, so I was devastated when he wasn’t! But in the best way possible 😁 There’s nothing I love more than sobbing my eyes out over a well-written character death 😉

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        • Okay – you definitely have a point there. And Brimstone’s death was SO well-written. I actually sobbed. But I’m so mad that we never got to find the other thurible Issa spoke of and here the message??? Like talk about a loose end! I’m hoping for a spin off… 😉

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          • I mean, Strange the Dreamer already showed us that all the worlds in Laini Taylor’s universe are connected, so I don’t think it’s too far fetched that we’ll eventually get a spin off that ties all the series together even more? 🙃🤗 Because I’m definitely with you on that!

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  2. happy belated birthday alexandra, i got so excited when i saw your post in my reader haha!! it’s okay – everyone needs a break sometimes!! i really need to read daisy jones and the six sometime soon, because i’ve heard only good things about it!! i loved reading this wrap-up, and i can’t wait to see more of your content in the future!! 💖💖

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    • Awwww, Ahaana that mean’s so much! 💖💖💖 Thank you! And it was such a lovely birthday, despite the fact that I couldn’t have a bigger party. Sometimes it’s all in the little things, isn’t it?

      And I would definitely recommend picking up Daisy Jones & The Six. Especially during summer. Don’t let the hype put you off – the characters, the story, the aesthetic is amazing. And it’s so vivid! You can see it playing out in your head like a movie!

      Thank you for stopping by – I’m looking forward to stalking your content too now that I’m back! haha! 😉 Happy reading!

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  3. I’m so glad you had a wonderful birthday, Alexandra! You deserve it! ❤ I find it funny how I read The Hating Game because of you, and you read The Unhoneymooners because of me, but we both liked the other book more 😂 I'm glad you still had fun reading The Unhoneymooners, though! Now, I'm struggling to decide if I should read the DoSaB trilogy or not… I really want those covers on my shelves, but they're not worth the buy if the books themselves are mediocre. What to do, what to do…

    And OH MY GOSH THE GOOSE GIRL WAS MY FAVORITE BOOK IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL! It's been so many years since I've read it, maybe it's time for a re-read!

    Oh, and this is random, but I saw your Titanic Instagram stories last night, and now I desperately watch to re-watch it 😂😉

    Anyways, I hope the rest of your February is amazing! Wonderful wrap-up!!!

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    • Awwww you’re the BEST! I had a lovely birthday – it was so good to FINALLY see my family. COVID really does suck but hopefully I can see more of mum this year once the vaccines start rolling out.

      And actually I hadn’t thought of that whole Hating Game/Unhoneymooners thing but you’re so right – that’s hysterical. Don’t get me wrong though – I still LOVED the Unhoneymooners. I can definitely see it becoming a go-to romance of mine. Thank you again for recommending it [and for getting me hooked on Christina Lauren books! I’m wanting to read Twice in a Blue Moon next… once I tackle some of my physical TBR…].

      As for DoSaB, I’ll have my review up by the end of the month. At this stage I’m drafting a sort-of series review with more of a focus on DoSaB because I just can’t be bothered to write reviews for all three books. I honestly feel like if you struggled with StD you’ll struggle with DoSaB… but it’s still somehow worth the read??? Lol! 😂😂😂

      AND YES NOW WE CAN BE THE GOOSE GIRL BUDDIES! I have the other books sitting on my shelves. Where they’ve been for years. Collecting dust. Judging me. Which is why I re-read The Goose Girl in my anxiety-haze so I can finally make a dent in my TBR. Highly recommend a re-read – it’s still amazing! 😉

      Also, I had WAY too much fun making those Titanic stories… I’m WAY too lame. But it’s the perfect Galentines flick! 90’s Leo is actual goals.

      Anyway sorry I’ve been so inactive lately but Melbourne’s back in lockdown for a couple of days [don’t ask] and I can’t wait to stalk all your posts I’ve missed. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of comments and ramblings hahaha! Have an amazing month, lovely! 💖💖💖

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      • I’ll keep an eye out for your DoSaB review! The thing is, StD is a book I enjoy looking back on and thinking about (I LOVE the world and characters), but I didn’t really enjoy it while I read it. Does that even make sense??? The writing was so stunning, buttttttt it made the plot feel super slow to me. If DoSaB is the same way, I might be better off skipping it. But we’ll see! Mood is also a big factor that plays into my enjoyment of a book… Maybe I would have liked StD more if I had read it while in a different mindset. Who knows?

        Anyways, it’s great to see you back and I can’t wait to gush about more books with you! Hope you have an incredible month too!! ❤

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  4. Also dying for A Court of Silver Flames bc CASSIAN duh. My posting schedules also been a mess and I’m just now starting to post more consistently – whoops. Looks like you still read some great books tho! Heres to hoping your reading months even better next month 🙂

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    • Ahhhhh so good to hear from you, Jamie! 💖💖💖 And I’m so glad I’m not the only one who’s been all over the place when it comes to posting! But I can’t wait to stalk your blog again and catch up on all the posts I missed!

      I’m actually so bummed because Melbourne was sent into a five day lockdown which happens to cover the release of A Court of Silver Flames. I have this tradition of going into the CDB on release day, buying the US hardcover and then going to my favorite coffee shop to read and gorge myself on blended coffee. This will be the first time I’ve missed out and I’m so MAD! But, it’s going to be an epic book so I’ll just have to wait a couple more days hahah! 😉

      Hope you have an amazing month too, lovely! x

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      • Oh no that sounds so fun!! I love blended coffee! My pre order actually came in today so time to start the BINGE reading lol 😂 Can’t wait to hear what u think after u read it!!!

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  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEXANDRA!!! (and yay for gourmet cupcakes!!) hope you had as amazing a day as possible in 2021 (I almost typed 2020 but it isn’t 2020… but it’s kinda the same thing so far oop) honestly between a Gatsby party, cards against humanity, and a day trip to a spa town your month sounds so amazing I am living vicariously through you (this sentence is brought to you from my bedroom in zoom hell). The goose girl is literally so amazing ahh you can never go wrong reading goose girl!! (also I can’t is that book considered middle grade now I love upper ya but I low-key hate how ya is becoming so mature on behalf of my 12 year old self who felt so mature walking upstairs (the children’s section was on the first floor) to the YA section of my local library and absolutely adoring the goose girl and falling in love with ya lit and here we are so many years later… *ahem* anyways)

    hope you’re having a lovely February ❤

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