Last Updated on January 31, 2021 by ThoughtsStained
I hope you’re hanging in there and doing well! 2021, like we all know, didn’t magically suddenly end the difficulties and challenges of 2020. Personally, I still struggled with my mental health, my seasonal depression spiked a bit as we haven’t seen the sun for longer than five minutes in almost a week this past week, and I still felt, at times, overwhelmed, at just how much work we truly have left to do, as a society, a country and a peoples.
But, I also felt hope. I read books, I wrote (!!) and I still have a day job, even if it’s becoming a bit complicated with threatened layoffs on the horizon. I still have my health, my family has recovered from COVID and my partner and I are doing well. I launched my self-hosted site and wrote some fun content this month. I slept and played with my dog, ate some good food and played a lot of video games.
We’re hanging in there.
What I Read
Kingshold by D.P. Wolliscroft
Tales of Kingshold by D.P. Wolliscroft
The Captain’s Rebel by C.B. Halverson
How to be an Anti-Racist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
What I Hauled
Hall of Smoke by H.M. Long (Titan)
We Lie With Death by Devin Madson (Orbit)
Out Past the Stars by K.B. Wagers (Orbit)
Thank you so much to Titan and Orbit for the review copies!
**Nothing this month**
Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers
Received for Review:
**Nothing this month**
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
My friend Beth and I started doing a reading exchange where we send each other books twice a year and then we have six months to read that book; this is my first one she’s sent me! Thanks Beth!
What I Posted
In this section, I like to share posts that I personally wrote this past month that I either really enjoyed writing, am really proud of or wish might have gotten a little more attention.
🏹 Hello, Beautiful: A Self-Hosted Blog Relaunch!
🏹 2021 Intentions
🏹 Getting it Write
🏹 Novels and Narrations No 6
Reading Challenges Update
2021 Discussion Challenge: 0/24
Backlist Books: 1/12
Monthly Diverse Reads: 1 versus 3
Goal: Every month, read equal to or more diverse reads than those written by authors who (or feature characters that) match my identity.
So, I didn’t do too bad this month! Reading four books compared to reading practically nothing in the past three months is definitely fantastic and aligns me right where I want to be with my yearly goals! I do need to do a better job of reading more diverse reads per month, but considering half the books I read this month, I had to read for a client, I know this will only improve, as long as I stay focused on it.
Sharing where I’m at on my yearly intentions, all of which I detailed in this post.
While I’m not up to my five-days-a-week writing routine I want to develop, I did edit almost 70 pages of BLOOD PRICE over a little over half a dozen writing sessions, explored some more aspects of worldbuilding and even made a rough map to help guide me through. I’m counting this month of a win.
Four books after a three month reading slump? I’ll take it (though, there are definitely some remnants of my reading slump, so I definitely want to get back to reading daily).
Freelance Editing ✔️
I had to read some client backlist books to prep for editing this month, so that was my main focus. I’d still like to do some more growing in terms of my own skills and find more clients, but finishing the next two books before tackling this larger project is my main focus until mid-March!
Followed my usual posting schedule pretty well and got all of my featured images added for this month. Haven’t started working on getting my backlog of posts updated, but it’ll be a project that goes on all year (if not longer), so I’m not in a major rush.
Didn’t do the best here this month. Trying to be kinder to myself, but still struggling with comparing a lot of what I used to look like and the body I used to have and living with regret that I “let myself go,” which is obviously bullshit.
Allyship and Activism ✔️
I’m still following Anti-Racist Daily and I just signed up for their 28 Days of Black History series launching tomorrow that I am really excited about (wanna join me!?). Also, read Dr. Kendi’s How to be an Anti-Racist, which was just as incredible as I’d heard it to be. Definitely think it’s going to become a yearly reread and something I dive back into often.
I also updated the bottom of my home page to include links to different crises to consider supporting and plan to update that regularly, as well as purchased my next non-fiction read, Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad.
As you may have seen, I had a lot of little things I hope to do over the year. And while I didn’t really focus on a lot of these (or struggled with them, like social media, which I deleted the apps off my phone but now just open a tab on my browser to view 🙃; or managing my finances better, which, ugh), I did clean the garage with my partner and started making plans to reorganize our kitchen (including some projects to make some things ourselves that I found on Etsy), so I’m pretty stocked about that!
Posts I Enjoyed
Curious what blog posts I really enjoyed around the blogsophere this month? Check them out here:
⚔️ Shealea @ Shup Up, Shealea shares 10 fantastic upcoming releases by Asian authors in the revival of her blog series, Books on the Rice! She also shared an amazing resource about how to read books legally for free and discusses briefly how reading is a very privileged hobby and can be inaccessible to many.
⚔️ Fadwa @ Word Wonders destroyed my TBR with this fantastic list of 40 adult releases for the first half of this year and I’m entirely okay with that.
⚔️ K.M @ K.M. Allen shares three tips on how to be more productive with your writing and I’m thinking I may need to adopt some of these tips!!
⚔️ Emme @ A Literary Latte wrote a really interesting discussion on the subjectivity versus objectivity of book ratings.
⚔️ Em @ Em’s Bookish Musings shares 17 2021 Releases by Muslim authors you should watch out!
⚔️ Lauren and Nana from Love Yo Shelf relaunched their self-hosted blog and it looks INCREDIBLE.
⚔️ Chana @ Paper Procrastinators writes an awesome post about misogyny in fiction and how her feelings about female leads have evolved.
⚔️ Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books writes a very poignant post about blogging insecurities that I connected with *way* too much.
⚔️ Aditi @ One in a Million shares a powerful post discussing her thoughts on Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
⚔️ Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense shares 10 Latinx 2021 releases she’s excited for!
⚔️ Crini @ Crini’s shares an awesome list of queer books coming out this February!
Whelp, that’s it from me for January! I hope February will continue to be a month of hope, growth and change, but I also want to try and focus more on the positives and do a better job on that, instead of giving into my depression and anxiety.
I hope you all have a wonderful month! 🖤
Paul's Picks says
Have a good month, Nicole!
Thank you so much, Paul! You, too!!
K.M. Allan says
Great breakdown! Thank you for including my blog post 😊.
Absolutely, thank you for writing it!
K.M. Allan says
Realms of My Mind says
Love seeing all the Hail love! Looking forward to seeing how the last trilogy ends. I’ve had A Court of Thorns and Roses on my TBR for a while, I bought it in a Kindle Daily Deal like three years ago aaaaannnnddddd haven’t read it. Oops. Fingers crossed for you on the job front, hang in there!
I know! I had bought the first book of the first trilogy and then, a few days later, was surprised with the ARC for the last book of the second, so I was like, fate. I am very excited to read everything about Hail! Thank you so much!! <3
Elizabeth Schap says
Ah!!! I can’t WAIT for you to read ACOTAR! Being a fantasy reader/writer it’s basically a crime you haven’t read it yet. (JK – what do I know?) Happy reading!
Hahaha, I feel like I have a lot of books where I fall into that category…:P