dear january - 2022 | month at a glance

by - 5:12 PM

Hello there! It has been more than a year since I've written a wrap-up post of some sorts and recently, I've been inspired to hop back onto the grind and summarize all the happenings of each month. It feels like January flew by in an instant but also like the days dragged on forever. I'm still unsure how I've made it this far, but I guess there's something good in having a strict day-to-day routine that keeps you going. ðŸ™ƒ 

I read a total of seven books this month which is double my original goal of approximately one book a week and I have Hoopla to thank for that. I've been on such a contemporary kick that I'll aimlessly scroll through the listings and pick up random titles that sound somewhat entertaining and end up reading them during my lunch breaks. After a couple mediocre reads, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed so I'm definitely dialing it back in February to try and focus on reads that I'm genuinely 100% interested in.

            

daughter of the moon goddess by sue lynn tan
physical - 
read my review here
If you've read my review, you know how much I love this book. It's got the classic journey storyline that spans several years and a rich cast of characters that I adore. If you're in the mood for a Chang'e inspired retelling with lots of gorgeous wuxia imagery and court politics, please pick this one up!

we can't keep meeting like this by rachel lynn solomon
audio - 
read my review here
This book was the most pleasant surprise with its deep dive into mental health, parental expectations, and harps! Rachel Lynn Solomon really brought the characters to life and I found myself empathizing with their struggles as if they were my own. The relationships in this was also so adorable and I can definitely confirm that one of my love languages is food.

the quantum weirdness of an almost kiss by amy noelle parks
ebook - 
Hoopla influence of the month #1 - I had never heard of this but was intrigued by the friends-to-lovers aspect. While I did like the friends aspect and really enjoyed the friend group that we got to meet, the romance was not the most compelling. That, coupled with the dual POVs dragged out the mutual pining and confusion which, on top of all the math and science themes, was both over and underwhelming.

once more upon a time by roshani chokshi 
ebook - 
Hoopla #2 - Am I avoiding The Gilded Wolves a bit and trying to avoid the pain, 100% yes. I thought I could get reacquainted with Roshani Chokshi's writing before fully diving into the trilogy and while this wasn't bad, it just didn't interest me. I did like the novella-length and the fairytale setting but I ultimately wasn't connected with the characters or their quest so that was a bit of a let down.

            

four days of you and me by miranda kennealley
ebook - 
The one that broke Hoopla's hold over me because this book truly irritated me. I didn't actually notice how much I disliked the characters and plot until after I finished and sat down to write my thoughts. This is a perfect of example where the premise is incredibly interesting but the execution just fell super flat. The story is told in both present day and past flash backs along with the linear timeline of freshman-senior year field trips and it was just discombobulated. Not the mention the characters' relationships with each other were very "on the nose" storytelling and it came off as messy.

you've reached sam by dustin thao
physical - 
read my review here
I've avoided this book for months because of both the polarizing reviews and the promise of pain and tears. I finished this during my break and by some miracle was able to pull myself together enough to jump into a 3rd grade recorder lesson. Dustin Thao knew just how to pull on my heart strings and make me all emotional and for such a short book, the characters' relationships will stay in my mind forever.

the upside of falling by alex light
audio - 
This book brought back all the Wattpad memories which makes sense because this is from a Wattpad author. While I did enjoy the story and the characters even with all the predictable tropes and cheesy lines, it didn't quite make as big of an impact as I think the plot wanted especially when dealing with a central theme of divorce. I did also find the storytelling to be a bit over the top - it was truly peak "football jock falls in love with bookworm" vibes. This also reminded me of Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey  which also has a reader main character and deals with heavier topics amongst high school drama but just less impactful.

On the topics of books, I didn't quite know where to stick this but I'm joining Pondathon II hosted by the wonderful CW at The Quiet Pond. I missed the first Pondathon and was so excited when CW announced a second event that would last the entirety of 2022. The concept art is adorable and I love that we get to create our own characters, so please meet Ivorie! She is a happy-go-lucky lizard that just loves flowers and her glasses are constantly smudged with dirt. Round 1 has just wrapped up and I'm so excited to add all the prizes to Ivorie's garden. If you would like more information on the readathon, check out the Pondathon Portal!

January is always a pretty mellow month in terms of music since I primarily listen to K-pop so I've been delving back into some of my high school favorites and actually listening to music in English for the first time in forever. Cassadee Pope's new album Thrive has been on repeat ever since I found it on Spotify and my favorites have to be: See What the Stars See, Say It First, Mind Your Own, and Some People. It's also made me super nostalgic for all the country-pop I used to listen to so I've been re-listening to my high school playlist. (Low-key feel like I'm exposing myself with this playlist, don't come for me country-music haters ðŸ™ƒ)

Since January is also concert planning season, I thought I'd throw in one of the songs I'm planning for my choir that has been in my head non-stop. Sisi Ni Moja is a Swahili inspired song with lyrics the center around a message of unity and hope with the title translating as "we are one". The cool harmonies and 2-parts break down give me chills every time and my students have been loving it!

Can I make this post without mentioning the sensation that is Encanto? I've been hooked, like everyone else, on this soundtrack and have already watched the movie several times. Ironically enough, I wasn't the biggest fan on the first watch, but the music just got stuck in my head and I had to give the film a second go. The rest is history because my entire YouTube and Instagram feed is now flooded with Encanto related content and I'm absolutely thriving. My sister and I have been communicating solely through "We Don't Talk About Bruno"  lyrics for the past month.

Another content component I'm trying this year is a little series I'm titling "record_024" where I'm attempting to document various moments of each month that have made me happy -  even if it's super trivial and insignificant to others. This side project is largely inspired by Joan Kim's Joanday365 series that's been living in my mind for the past couple of months. I've been stuck feeling like my 20s are passing by without any significance and maybe it's my mid-life crisis hitting early but I wanted to make sure that I don't let this year slip away like I did with 2020 and 2021. 

check out my monthly highlights here!

Thanks for sticking around through this monster of a post! I would love to know how your January went - what books, music, or other media consumed your thoughts this month?

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8 Comments

  1. I'm glad that you had a productive month, Riv! I've seen Daughter of the Moon Goddess everywhere at that cover is calling to me. It looks really great!

    I haven't watched Encanto yet but I have definitely heard the songs on Tik Tok. Soon I will have to watch it, I have high hopes!

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    1. Daughter of the Moon Goddess is so good! I'm still in shock of how quickly it became a favorite for me - if you pick it up, please tell me what you think! I can't wait to hear what you think about Encanto!

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  2. Riv I love this post so much and I do hope that you continue with the monthly recaps because this was absolutely wonderful. I can relate so much to the feelings that you described here -- like January was packed, like things are moving fast and slow, like what is happening in my 20s ???

    I hope that February is bright for you and I'm also excited to hear about your record_024 series -- it's appreciating those small bright things that can be so much more meaningful than a certain job/accomplishment/life happening etc.

    claire @ clairefy

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    1. aww claire thank you ❤️ i had a lot more fun that i thought putting this together so fingers crossed i can keep up throughout the rest of the year! i hope february is full of moments that allow you to take a minute and breathe amidst your busy schedule and that you get to create lots of beautiful and simple memories!

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  3. Aww I'm sorry you didn't enjoy Four Days of You and Me! I agree the premise sounds super interesting, it's sad to hear the execution was meh.

    I hope you have a great February!

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    1. another one where execution didn't meet premise 😕 but thank you tasya! hope your february is off to a lovely start!

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  4. Wow, such a successful reading month! Looks like you read so many great books. I managed to get through four books in Jan which I was pretty stoked with. I need to sign up for The Quiet Pond readathon too, it's just SO cute!! Here's to a successful Feb YAY

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    1. thank you! i honestly wasn't expecting to read so many but hoopla really came through 😂ahh if you sign up for pondathon i can't wait to see your character creation!

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