How is January over already? It’s been a hot minute since 2020 — a festering sore of a year — ended and somehow we’re already approaching February? Time is weird, man.
The only thing with any semblance of consistency in my life is the beginning-of-the-year Big Sad and it of course hit right on cue in 2021 as well. Add to that a hectic work schedule and my tenuous grasp on sanity and you’ve got yourself a terrible month in general.
Despite all this, I managed to stay afloat thanks to books and some bandwagon jumping I did recently. Read on to find out what I read and loved in January!
This was my first read of the year and I went in with high expectations but I was quite disappointed in the end. While Searching for Sylvie Lee definitely is a poignant family drama exploring the immigrant experience, cultural division, racism, and dark family secrets it suffered due to some problematic aspects that went unaddressed.
My friends and I continued with our Percy Jackson readalong — they’ve all read the series before but this is my first time. I absolutely loved The Titan’s Curse and can’t wait to get to the next book! Also, it has Thalia and simp Percy so is there any reason why I wouldn’t love it so?
Set in the tumultuous time between Japanese and American occupation in South Korea, The Mermaid from Jeju is a moving tale about life, love, and loss. There’s a sudden switch in narration in Part Two of the book and while it threw me off, I still found the story captivating. I don’t think I’m going to forget this book anytime soon.
Talia Hibbert is my new favourite author and I’m slowly making my way through her backlist. The Princess Trap, like all her other books, made me laugh, tear up, and swoon. I’m glad Talia’s books exist in this world and can personally vouch for their ability to cheer you up on a bad day.
I had high expectations for this post-apocalyptic satirical novel and it did measure up, but not by a lot. I loved the biting commentary about capitalism and its themes such as immigration, assimilation, and materialism, but sadly, the ending was a bit of a letdown. I’d definitely love to read more books by Ma, though.
I read The Knockout when I was full on being Big Sad last week. I don’t know if it’s because I was already emotional but it kept drawing tears from me. I loved the themes around culture and acceptance and also how supportive Kareena’s parents are about her Muay Thai talent. It was a good read.
This was one of my most anticipated reads for this month and it definitely did measure up! I’d have given anything to have a book like this growing up. Charlie Vega is a realistic coming-of-age story about first love, friendship, and our relationships with our own bodies. Can’t recommend it enough!
I don’t know why I put off jumping on the webtoons bandwagon for so long. I love comics and graphic novels so of course I am OBSESSED with webcomics now, especially the following.
Brimstone and Roses: This was my first and all-time favourite Webtoon! We stan a book with incidental fat rep. And fake dating. And demon summoning to save face in front of an ex. I absolutely cannot wait for season 2 to come out!
To Love Your Enemy: Uhh, this Webtoon. How do I begin to express my love for it? It has my top favourite tropes, enemies to lovers and fake dating, so OF COURSE I am obsessed with it.
The Remarried Empress: I started reading this one because there was an event for free coins and I ended up getting invested. I tried very hard not to hate Rashta (Topple the monarchy! Eat the rich!), but uhhh, she’s not making it easy. Like the rest of the fandom, I can’t wait for the divorce scene from the first episode!
Age Matters: The grumpy/sunshine trope is the way to my soul. Started this yesterday and I’m 40 episodes in already. And yes, I am invested!
True Beauty: I am embarrassed to admit that I binged all 130 episodes of this Webtoon in two days because of who I am as a person. I’m frankly very disappointed with the way the true beauty message has been lost and the story is all about the love interests now but I’m also not able to stop reading this story despite numerous threats from Charvi. Oh well.
I’m also reading a whole bunch of other ongoing comics. I’ve pretty much ignored my TBR in favour of webcomics this month and honestly, I love this for me. They bring me so much happiness.
- Charvi recommended her favourite Webtoons and I can’t wait to check them out.
- Thya reviewed The Knockout by S.A. Patel — it’s an OV review you should definitely read.
- Dany wrote a Part Two to their 2021 Middle Grade releases article and I swear you need to bookmark both this post and its predecessor.
- Simant built a 2021 South Asian books database — another bookmark-worthy list of books.
- In addition to maintaining a kickass blog, working on a podcast, and being okay with my general clownery in her DMs, Cam has now also started a Booktube channel. Definitely subscribe to her channel — I already love her first video!
In all, it was an okay month on the books and mental health front but at least I have my newfound obsession with webcomics!
I’m just going to patiently wait for the Hoopla credits to land so I can start We Free the Stars tomorrow.
How was your reading month? Any new favourite books? What’s on your TBR for February?
Let me know in the comments!