When All Is Read And Done // January 2019 Wrap-Up ft. My YARC Sign-Up

I don’t talk about my son on here very often, but I love him more than both books and waffles combined – so that’s a whole dang lot. He’s two years old and about as rambunctious as a spinning top stuck in a EF-5 tornado. Like I said: he’s two. That’s how most two-year-olds are. They like to run around, channeling the speed of a cheetah and the slickness of an oil-dipped otter right when you’re trying to put them to sleep. They bounce up and down like their name is T-I-Double-Guh-Er. This is especially great when you live in a second floor apartment and your neighbors downstairs don’t appreciate the live Winnie-the-Pooh reenactments.

Imagine me as Pooh and my son as Tigger, and you’ll have an idea of my day-to-day life.

Most of all, energetic toddlers love to make noise. They love to shout, screech, squeal, and scream (usually loudest when you’re in the midst of a raging battle with your old nemesis: The Massive Migraine™). I’ve tried to patiently explain to my son that unless he is getting abducted by vicious vampire-aliens, he should never let loose a scream that exceeds 150 decibels.

But when I saw the announcement for the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge, I think I broke my own rule.

Actual footage of me letting loose a scream that exceeds 150 decibels.

Bloodsucking extraterrestrials aside, I’m Kermit-the-Frog excited to announce that I will be participating in the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019 – or YARC for short. Hosted by four of the most amazing and hardworking book bloggers out there (CW, Vicky, Lily, & Shealea I’m looking at you), YARC aims to shower love and support on Asian literature and Asian authors. And if that isn’t a worthy cause, I don’t know what is.

Now, on to the part that’s as mad as a March hare: I’ve made an utterly impractical a completely realistic goal of reading 100 books this year. EEP. I THINK I MUST BE GOING CRAZY IN MY OLD AGE.

*In a cheesy Infomercial Pitchman voice* But wait, there’s more! Not only do I want to read 100 books, but I also want over half of those to be written by Asian authors. Yes, Dear Reader, you read that correctly. I’m going to get that Bengali Tiger even if it kills me. NOW LET’S DO THIS!!

Call me Little Miss Optimist.

The Midnight Star // Marie Lu // ★★★★☆ – You know that feeling when you keep scraping the bottom of the ice cream bowl with your spoon because you can’t admit that you ate it all? That’s how I feel about this book. After I finished listening to the audiobook, I just sat there, staring off into space. For like…five minutes. Straight. Because IT ENDED. HOW DARE THIS WONDERFUL SERIES EVEN THINK OF ENDING. And although the ending wasn’t perfect, I found myself scraping the bottom of the empty bowl, wishing that the proverbial ice cream wasn’t all gone. Okay, wow. Now I want some ice-cream.

The Bone Witch // Rin Chupeco // ★★★★☆ – The storytelling in this book is so unique and my smol brain struggles to wrap itself around just how vast Chupeco’s fictional world really is. This is an example of true high fantasy AND IT’S DIVERSE. What more do you really need? Me @ Me: Maybe some ice-cream…

When Dimple Met Rishi // Sandhya Menon //★★☆☆☆ – I initially was going to give this book three stars, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t really enjoy it. Also, the number of times Dimple “playfully” punches Rishi could probably surpass the National Debt. Okay mmaaaaaybe I’m exaggerating a bit here, but still. It was a lot. Is that how all the young’uns flirt these days? Apparently, I’ve been doing it all wrong! Shouts over my should to my husband: “Honey, come here so I can lovingly punch you!”

The Star-Touched Queen // Roshani Chokshi // ★★½☆☆☆ – The purple prose is strong with this one. Don’t get me wrong – I love flowery language as much as the next person. Give me the purpliest, purple prose that you can find, and I’ll be as happy as a pair of plums asleep under a blanket of violet sky. Did that make any sense? No? Well good, because that was kind of the point. While Chokshi’s writing style in The Star-Touched Queen was undoubtably beautiful, it distanced me from the story and made it harder to fully understand the plot. Sure, it was magical and atmospheric, but it also left me feeling detached and confused.

Legendary // Stephanie Garber // ★★★★½☆– I was reeeaaaaally skeptical when I started reading this. I didn’t enjoy Caraval very much and thought that Tella was (and I quote): “border-line obnoxious,” but I picked up Legendary anyways. I thought, “If I like this book, pistachios for everyone.” Lo and behold:

The story itself was very disjointed from Caraval and was more like a spinoff series than a direct sequel. A whole mythology was introduced that never once was mentioned in Caraval, thus making the story feel like it was taking place in a completely different world. And that’s probably why I liked this installment so much more.

Daughter of the Siren Queen // Tricia Levenseller // ★★★★☆ – The slow burn is real, folks. And it very nearly killed me. The whole time I was reading this, I wanted to take Alosa by the shoulders and yell, “YOU’RE IN DENIAL. JUST KISS HIM ALREADY.”

Me the entirety of this book.

Also, you know that piece of writing advice that goes something like, “Think of the worst thing that could happen to your characters – and then make it even worse?” Well, Levenseller really nails that on the head in this book. The stakes were so high, they were taller than the Empire State Building.

Love, Hate, and Other Filters // Samira Ahmed // ★★★★★ – In the beginning of January, I made a goal to try and read more books outside of my usual preferences (read: books that are not YA fantasy), and that resolution is already paying off. Without it, I wouldn’t have picked this book up and that would have been a shame. Ahmed’s #ownvoices debut novel is the perfect tie-dyed mix of fluffy romance and hard-hitting topics, such as racism and Islamophobia.

All YARC images were made by the lovely & talented CW.

Men in Black // What with the Men in Black: International trailer being dropped this month, I figured I should probably culture myself and watch the original, which I hadn’t seen before. The fact that I am only now partaking of the glory that is this movie is a complete travesty, because UM HELLO? THEY CALL THEIR MEMORY-WIPING DEVICE THE “FLASHY-THING!” Now that’s my kind of humor.

Gone With the Wind // This was how I spent my New Years Eve/New Years Day: snuggled up with the hubbie under our fuzzy heated blanket (which is probably one of the best human inventions ever, alongside the air conditioner and indoor plumbing), having a Gone With the Wind marathon. I married a good one, folks.

The Muppets // The music in this movie is SO CATCHY! It got stuck on the walls of my mind like honey-covered superglue. Gosh, Kat. Remember that discussion we just had about purple prose? I was humming it nonstop for at least a week afterwards. Also, I’m pretty sure Walter is my spirit animal. I mean, just look at this:

I think I wear this expression about 99.9% of the time because I don’t have any chill and my anxiety is a real monster.

The Good Place {Season 3} // DEAD. I AM DEAD. This show happily dug my grave for me and now I’m lying in it, crying my eyes out like the emotional mess that I am. Thank you and goodnight.

  • I had my first guest post on the blog! The wonderful Tiffany @ Read By Tiffany shared her contemporary recommendations for 2019 and we named it “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” because we’re extra like that.
  • I was the #blogoftheday on The Write Reads and my stats exploded like a well-aimed water balloon! It’s only January, but I’ve almost surpassed my total number of views for all of 2018. WHUT.
  • I started a new blog feature called, “Going Undercover,” where I interview book cover illustrators. The first installment spotlighted Maike Plenzke’s amazing work and it was so fascinating to learn more about all the work that goes into cover illustration.
  • The #NewAdultRevolution became a thing, somehow? I’m still shook that it’s gotten such a positive reaction. Like, people are actually listening to little ol’ me? WHAT IS THIS WITCHCRAFT?

What did you read this month?

Have you/are you going to join the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge?

What books are on your February TBR?


52 thoughts on “When All Is Read And Done // January 2019 Wrap-Up ft. My YARC Sign-Up

  1. I love this post so much! Your designs are amazing 🙂 I do need to get back to The Bone Witch on audio and also freaking read Legendary lol *things keep getting in the way* Men in Black is so nostalgic for me too. The first movie is my favorite 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m really glad that you liked my post 🙂 I listened to The Bone Witch on audio too! How have you liked it so far? And Legendary seems to be a hit or miss with a lot of people, but I hope you like it when you get around do it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had started it a bit ago and I do like both narrators a lot! I’ve just been in a little bit of an audio book slump but I will definitely get back to it soon 🙂 yes your graphics and design is just so freaking adorable!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Kat!
    I have to agree with you regarding Dimple and Rishi! I had such high hopes going into the book but I really didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
    I will be joining the YARC challenge this year as well. Which books do you have on your YARC TBR? I haven’t read too many books by Asian authors last year so I am hoping to make up for it this year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Sophie! I’m glad to hear that I wasn’t the only one who felt sort of “meh” about Dimple and Rishi. And yay for the YARC challenge! As for my TBR, I’m not so great at planning these things out, but I have an eARC of Descendant of the Crane and I bought Ignite the Stars, so I guess those are two books I will be reading for sure. What are some books you think you will be reading?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s awesome! I’ve been hearing about Descendant of the Crane as well and debated about putting it on my TBR. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on that one 🙂
        I am looking forward to reading Starfish and The Epic Crush of Genie Lo 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so, so much for sharing my post, Kat, I’m so happy you enjoyed it ❤
    I get your confusion about The Star-Touched Queen, I felt that way too at times, yet somehow I also felt transported by the story when I managed to really get into it. It was a… complicated, but interesting book 😂
    Best of luck for YARC, I can't wait to see all of the fabulous books you'll read. Have a fantastic February ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MARIE! Of course I enjoyed your post – I enjoy ALL of your posts, tbh. But I figured it might be weird to link up to every single one of them here…so I just picked one haha.

      I also think the fact that I listened to The Star-Touched Queen on audiobook made it a bit more difficult for me to follow, but I dunno *shrugs*

      Thank you once again and I hope you have a wonderful February as well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good luck with YARC & your reading goal! It’s so awesome that you’re committing to read 50 Asian authors; I really think you’ll have an amazing wrap up by the end of the year. I see you’re planning to read American Panda & The Way You Make Me Feel, both which I read in January. I enjoyed them sooooo much! They’re very different, but I loved them to pieces. I hope you have a great time with them too!
    Wishing you a great February!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so cool that you read both of those books in January! I’m almost done with American Panda, and oof, it has been such an emotional rollercoaster (but in a good way). The author really knows how to get the reader to FEEL things. And I barely have started The Way You Make Me Feel, but I already love Clara’s spunky attitude! Thanks so much for such a lovely comment and for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. im SO EXCITED FOR YARC TOO!! (and omg that bit about your son’s vocal strength,,,,,,,i felt that. 2 year olds have the energy and strength that i WISH for)

    GOOD LUCK ON GETTING THROUGH 50 BOOKS, thats’ incredible. i’m aiming for the bengali tiger too bc overachiever, yes that is me very much!

    i feel you on when dimple met rishi, i just COULDNT stand dimple as a main character and her constant punching really made me dislike her. ugh. im so GLAD you liked the bone witch though, it’s been on my tbr forever and i’m really excited to get to it! you’re already doing AMAZING on YARC and im impressed and also jealous (in a good way)

    hope your febuary is just as amazing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MAYYYYYYY!!! Thank you so much! And honestly, I wish my son had a little less energy and that I had a little bit more of it but…..*shrugs* oh well. At least all that bouncing means he’s healthy right? *in a ragged voice* RigHtT???

      I’m glad that I’m not the only person aiming for 50 out there. I’m probably gonna fail so hard, but derp here I go anyways.

      AND YES. THANK YOU. I am glad that Dimple was repping girls in Science and STEM and all that…but she was actually a bit annoying? I especially couldn’t get over the part where she talked Rishi into doing the dance in the Talent Show as a special favor and then GOT MAD AT HIM for not being good enough???! Like, um, ExCUsE MEeeE, PRinCeSS!

      Anyways, you are awesome and I’m sorry I haven’t been as talkative as of late, but seriously, we should buddy read a book for YARC sometime in the future. HAVE AN AMAZING FEBUARYYY!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. it’s okay we can fail the 50+ books together, it’ll be a great time lol

        excuse you, you’ve been busy being amazing and creative i UNDERSTAND!! but yes omg we TOTALLY need to buddy read something, i’ve missed our buddy reads ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Kat, my wordy, your wrap up posts are the most aesthetically pleasing posts my eyes have ever been BLESSED to see!!! They honestly never cease to amaze me! Haha! I STILL need to launch my YARC post! Oof! I’m so behind with my blogging! I have so much faith in your for getting that Tiger tho! Also, I’m SO happy you liked Legendary and Daughter of the Siren Queen! I was SUPER hesitant about reading the former because I was underwhelmed by Caraval. But I loved it to pieces! And thank you so much for including my post here!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. KAT I LOVE YOUR BLOGGING VOICE AND POSTS SO MUCH!! Hahaha sorry for the caps but honestly, your posts never fail to entertain me and put a smile on my face. (I usually chuckle quite a bit, too.) 💕 This is such a great wrap-up, and I LOVE that you’re aiming for the Bengali Tiger for YARC (you’re the first person I’ve seen to do so, hahah). You can do it!! I believe in you 💓

    I’m so glad you enjoyed The Midnight Star overall! I finished the entire Young Elites trilogy in January and ikr, I still can’t believe it’s over. 😭 AND YES OMG THE GOOD PLACE!! The season 3 finale absolutely broke my heart and I’m still not over it (and will never be, tbh). How dare they do this to us 💔

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kat, your son sounds adorable! And ooff I read that in infomercial voice I wow…

    Your description of Star-Touched Queen may have conviced me to add it in my YARC TBR. I’m curious… I have read Midnight Star last year! AND I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN. It’ not perfect yes but dangg how dare it end?

    Happy to see a fellow challenger! Good luck in unlocking the Bengali tiger Kat! (And your graphics are amazing *cries in heart emojis*)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good luck with reading 100 books and 50 by Asian authors– this reading challenge is amazing!!! Sounds like you’ve have a good start to the year with reading!! I too have been meaning to try out more genre but I yet to make progress with that 😂
    Have a fabulous February!!! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m happy you enjoyed Love, Hate and Other Filters – i wasn’t a fan myself but it’s cool to see other people enjoying it! and ooh i haven’t seen much about the daughter of a siren queen, I thought the first book was okay, so I’m kinda intrigued about book two?? ALSO YES YOU ENJOYED LEGENDARY I’M SO HAPPY THATS SERIES IS ONE OF MY FAVES.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Daughter of a Siren Queen was a fun ride – nothing spectacular, but definitely entertaining! And YES. Legendary was sooooo addictive somehow?? AND THE ENDING. It left me going like: UM, EXCUSE ME, WHERE’S THE REST OF THIS BOOK?? haha. Thanks for such a wonderful comment 🙂



    also gosh hearing about your adorable smol son being 2yo made me v nostalgic, bc i help raise my little sisters, and my TINY SUNSHINE 5yo sister named May started kindergarten this year and she is just a baby HOW DARE SHE [flails dramatically] ****get tall and logical and stuff*******

    ////goes away to cry//////

    also Gone With The Wind = the saddest and longest movie of all time, i’m so happy u had a movie friend. i was a mess. THAT ENDING OH GOD, WHYYYYYY

    Liked by 1 person


      And also, I have never met May (obviously) but I love her already, just from your description. SHE SOUNDS ADORABLE. When my son starts kindergarten in the farrrrrr future, I will feel the same way (there will be lots of tears and ice-cream…because ice-cream can fix everything, right? RIGHTT??)

      AND YESH. The ending of Gone with the Wind. This is the ultimate example of me wanting to slap a fictional character upside the head. Scarlett, you done messed up.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I always enjoy reading your posts, they’re so wonderfully edited and the grahics are so pretty! Best of luck for YARC, I’m not personally participating but will be consciously trying to read more Asian lit. Definitely hit me up if you want Indonesian lit recommendations 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love your monthly reading stats graphic! And I find it very funny that I highly enjoyed your two lowest rated books. Although it did take me a few times to get into A Star-Touched Queen, since I needed to be in the right mood to get through all that purple prose. My friend has been pushing me to watch The Good Place, so maybe I’ll try that out this month, since I keep hearing such good things.

    This post was so entertaining and informative! I hope your February is even better than this month!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for you kind words, Malka! And yes, A Star-Touched Queen’s purple prose is totally something you have to be in the mood for, and I guess I just wasn’t feeling it when I read it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I love that different people can experience a book differently – it sort of adds to the magic of reading, you know what I mean? Anyways, thanks again for stopping by! 🙂


  14. Omg The Muppet’s soundtrack is SO GOOD?! I remember when I saw it years ago I had it stuck in my head all the time haha And Walter is so precious I love him he’s definitely a Mood.


    Liked by 1 person

  15. I loved reading this wrap-up very much! And yes I would like to eat ice cream and meet your Tigger-reincarnated son. We can scream louder than 150 decibels together.

    Your January was indeed colorful. So glad you’re joining YARC too! Can’t wait to read all the Asian books AAAAHHHHH

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow! Best of luck on finishing 100 books & completing the Asian challenge. 😀 I am rooting for you! I have seen the Love Hate & Other Filters book a lot lately but I had never wanted to read it until I read your review. I think I’ll add it to my TBR right now! Thanks for the rec! I also have to finish the 3rd season of The Good Place & you just totally made me want to do it sooner than later. Congratulations on your blog stats exploding!! You did so great in reading this month. I only read two books in January. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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