Yearly Wrap: All of My 2020 Faves + 2021 Resolutions!

Hello hello hello!! Long time, no see, everyone!! First things first: HAPPY NEW YEAR! How have you all been?? I hope you’ve all been staying safe and happy and are well on your way to achieve all of your 2021 goals. I personally am doing very nicely! I know I disappeared on you for like a month (it’s somehow already three weeks into January?!?!) and I’m sorry about that… I blame it on having more winter break homework than anticipated, plus lack of motivation and procrastination.

But nonetheless! It’s finally time for me to gush about all the bookish things that I loved in 2020, and some not-so-bookish things as well. And stay till the end for my resolutions for the new year! I’ve also attempted to make some *aesthetic* graphics, so please appreciate my extensive skill in utilizing Canva’s free clipart 😅

I hope you enjoy this very, very long wrap-up of my 2020! So without further ado, here’s the post!

Firstly, may I present to you my favorite books of the year! These are listed in the order that I read them, no way am I ranking perfection against perfection… 😅

The Illuminae Files, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Finally picking up this series was definitely one of the highlights of 2020. Each installment of this trilogy is told in a very unique format of a collection of hacked documents, and it makes for an absolutely addictive sci-fi adventure. So addictive, in fact, that I read each of the books within one or two sittings. There’s romance, found family vibes, banter (lots of it), mind-blowing twists, deadly plagues, discussions about humanity and ethics, and one very morally gray AI system that I may or may not have fallen in love with. My personal favorite from the series is Gemina — the plot twists are never-ending, with a heavy but digestible dose of quantum physics. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, by H. G. Parry

Charming? Delightful? Serotonin booster? Complex sibling relationships? An ode to literary analysis and bibliophily? How about all of the above 🤩 With a eye-catching premise of a main character who has the ability to summon things out of books, the author takes us on an truly magical adventure that features Dorian Gray as an Internet predator, Excalibur casually sitting in the faculty cabinet, and random Dickensian characters showing up as your intern, among other things. I swear, H. G. Parry wrote this book just for me. I really can’t say enough about it. 

All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely

This was an incredibly nuanced discussion of racism in America that I’m still in awe of. The authors take two very different perspectives and have them collide through a shocking case of police brutality, and the effect is POWERFUL. Rashad and Quin are each beautifully developed, although Quin’s character arc especially stands out for me. The way he goes from being a passive bystander to realizing that he is part of the problem to standing up for a better world… amazing. It’s a must-read, and I can definitely see why the book’s been challenged/banned. (The Fraternal Order of Police in Charleston, South Carolina, accused All American Boys and The Hate U Give as being “an indoctrination of distrust of police” and requested that it be removed from a high school’s suggested reading list, which is absolutely NOT what those two books are going for, but um… okay?)

Spin the Dawn, by Elizabeth Lim

I was expecting a lot from this book after seeing it screamed about all over the bookish community, and it completely lived up to the hype for me! The magical world-building combined with the romance that I found myself rooting for with everything in me… and the simple but hard-hitting prose… please don’t ask me why I haven’t picked up the sequel yet. The plot was that perfect mix of whimsy and logic and I loved it so much??? Also, I can’t stress this enough, but the protagonist’s weapon of choice is MAGIC SCISSORS!! ✂️ Ugh, why am I so obsessed with this book.

The Silence of Bones, by June Hur

The historical thriller I didn’t know I needed in my life!!! This was one of the best surprises of the year that took me aback with how much I loved it. The characters were so so three-dimensional and flawed but at the same time so perfect. The writing was flowing and beautiful, the atmosphere was EVERYTHING, and it’s just *flails* so good. And it takes place in Joseon (modern-day Korean Peninsula)!! The smallest aspects of Korean culture that were depicted meant the world to me 🥺 Definitely an author I’m planning to read more of!

Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo

I finally did it people!! I finally read the most hyped YA books in the history of YA books, and I have no regrets. Well, my shattered-into-a-million-pieces heart has quite a few of them, but otherwise? This duology (soon to be trilogy? Hi, mysterious third book? You gotta give us something here, Leigh) deserves all the love it’s already gotten. Seriously, it’s given me a wonderful cast that I’d do anything for, a few of my top OTPs of all time, plus one of the most brilliant character arcs I have ever beheld (MATTHIAS HELVAR ❤️). So good 😍

A Sky Beyond the Storm, by Sabaa Tahir.

What is thisssss. The final installment of one of my all-time favorite series released in 2020, and let’s just say it didn’t disappoint. The stunning character arcs, the swoony but also really emotionally demanding ships, the wonderful writing, the twists and turns and DEATHS and MORE DEATHS and TEARS and MORE TEARS and ELIAS VETURIUS and LAIA and *faints* 😍🤩😱😭 You HAVE to pick up this series if you haven’t yet. I, for one, am so ready to cry my way through the books a second time once my hold for Torch finally arrives.

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers, by Deborah Heiligman

This was my last read of the year, and it. was. amazing. Heiligman has truly created something beautiful here. It’s just — beautiful. I’m honestly pressed to describe it using another adjective. Vincent and Theo are so so well-developed, it’s like they jump off the page ahh 🤩 And their relationship is one of the most beautiful, inspirational, heartwarming things I have ever read about in my life. It’s — I just can’t deal with this. My heart is broken. My eyes are puffy from crying. (I shed more tears for this than I did for Sky and Crooked Kingdom combined, which is… quite the feat.) I need more of this in my life. Go read it.

As you all must know at this point, I am a hugeeeeee fan of musicals. And staying at home all year, it turns out, is a fantastic opportunity for finding new favorites! I know this is a weirdly specific interest of mine, so feel free to skip over this section if you feel so inclined 😉

Starry: Original Concept Recording (Spotify)

Hahaha, absolutely nobody is surprised. This pop-rock reimagining of the lives of the Van Gogh brothers was a completely unexpected favorite and I really can’t exaggerate how much I love it. The musical motifs?? The harmonies?? Joe Viba’s gorgeous singing?? The thing Dylan Saunders does with his voice during “The Road”? The switched harmonies during “On the Threshold of Eternity”? Literally everything about “The Red Vineyard”? The beautiful lyrics of “The Starry Night”? The bonus tracks?? That one lady at the end of “Wheat Fields” who declares that Vincent is the greatest artist to ever live and consequently makes me cry every. single. time?!?! AHHHHHH.

The Hamilfilm (Disney+)

Otherwise known as literal, tangible perfection. I was lucky enough to see Hamilton live on Broadway before this pandemic (but not with the original cast, I was like four years too late for that haha), which was obviously inexpressibly incredible, but I think the Disney+ version was even better in some ways.  The way the Proshot was edited was truly jaw-dropping — the camera really captures everything happening on the stage in a magical way. I loved every single moment of it, from the emotion on Hamilton’s face during “That Would Be Enough” (which made me cry, by the way), to the mind-blowing choreography of “Satisfied,” to the sheer joy on Hamilton and Burr’s faces in “Dear Theodosia,” to the quiet devastation of “It’s Quiet Uptown,” and of course Eliza’s famous gasp during the finale. The tiniest details, guys. Priceless.

The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (YouTube)

I watched the 25th anniversary performance of this Broadway classic for the first time this April, and it was PHENOMENAL. The dancing, scenery, storyline, characters, and above all, the singing enraptured me and have yet to let me go. The performers worked so well together, and their little touches to the script to make it their own was so special. In the final scene, when Christine comes back to return the Phantom’s ring and starts singing “All I Ask of You” and it’s supposed to be directed at Raoul, but the incredible Sierra Boggess sings it to the Phantom (played by the amazing Ramin Karimloo) instead but she goes with Raoul anyway ugh MY HEART BROKE OKAY. 

Honorable Mentions: Anne of Green Gables: A New Musical, Hadestown, Newsies, The Greatest Showman

Lastly, here are all the things that I hope to accomplish this year!

Personal

⛪ Read the Bible everyday. While I’d really like to try to finish the entire Bible this year, I’m setting my goal as reading from it everyday. I’ve already started Blue Letter Bible’s Blended reading plan on YouVersion, which has you read books of the Bible in a nontraditional sequence (for example, my current readings are from Genesis and Romans, which is quite the interesting pair). This is a goal that I’ve set for myself for the past few years (and subsequently failed), but I have hope that I’ll be able to fulfill it once and for all in 2021 — with God’s help of course.

✍️ Start writing again. I used to really love writing when I was younger. And by love, I mean love. I recently cleared out my used notebooks and literally half of them were filled with random writing snippets I wrote in elementary. I’m not sure why I stopped writing — probably because of school and time constraints whatnot, but that’s something I want to fix this year. I honestly don’t care about numerical goals, all that really matters to me is getting the stories in my head onto paper.

Reading & Blogging

⭐ Try to give more objective ratings. I’ve noticed that my rating system is extremely biased. My ratings are usually given on the spur of the moment right after I finish a book, which results in me having a preposterously high average rating. Not to say that being generous with your stars is necessarily a bad thing, but giving ratings in the 2-3 stars region is something that really scares me in general. So I want to work on that this year, by being more honest and objective with my thoughts on the books I read.

🪧 Read more books from BIPOC authors. I had a huge wake-up call about the impact of the choices I make about race this year. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, I reevaluated my bookshelf, and shocked by how white my reading choices were, I started shifting my focus to reading and spotlighting BIPOC authors. But it’s far from enough. I want to make this a big priority in 2021, even if it means pushing back reading the super-hyped books, most of which are written by white authors. I’m aiming for to have at least 40-50% of all my 2021 reads to be by authors of color (about 30% of my 2020 reads were by AOC).

📚 Get into Christian fiction. In the last few days of 2020, I started seriously thinking about the lack of religious representation in the books that I read. I went on a researching spree to try to find some YA books with religious characters that I could see myself in… and I swear, if I have to read the words “strict fundamentalist household” one more time I might actually go mad. I try not to be too negative about things in my posts, but I have to say: I’m sick of Christianity (and religion in general) being portrayed as “uncool.” I’m not asking for a deep theological discussion, I just want some indication that it’s okay for teens to have a spiritual life! I’ve had a few stereotypes of my own against Christian fiction, but it looks like it’s time to get over them. I really feel for followers of other religions who feel the same way about the portrayal of their beliefs and have no genre — however niche — to turn to.

💌 Don’t make blogging a chore for myself. You know, I was originally going to put “Post consistently on the blog” as one of my resolutions, but that sort of went out the window when I didn’t post for an entire month. So I changed my resolution! I don’t want to stress about blogging, ever. I want to post whenever I can, and I love interacting with you all more than I can say, but I don’t want to push myself further than I can go. It’s important to learn to step back when it becomes too hard to manage.

And so we conclude yet another overlong post of almost over 2K words. I’m sorry, guys. I never knew I was this talkative until I started this blog 😅

I just want to end by saying thank you to each and every one of you for supporting my tiny blog this past year. I’ve been blogging for over nine months now (!!), and every step of this journey thus far has been a blessing. Thank you for everything, and please know that you all mean the absolute world to me ❤️

Let me know what you think of this post in the comments! Do we share any favorite books of the year? Any resolutions? I’d love to chat with you down below! 🤗

Take care of yourselves, friends, and late though this post is, here’s to a great 2021!

54 thoughts on “Yearly Wrap: All of My 2020 Faves + 2021 Resolutions!

  1. I loved this post so much Abby (and was so happy and excited to see you had a new post ☺️) I’m so glad to see you’re doing well, looks like you had many amazing reads last year and know where you’re going this year!! Yay!! The Illuminae Files look so interesting, quantum physics all the wayyyy. And I need to buy The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep…now 😄 I wish you all the best with your 2021 goals, I know you’ll do fabulous with them!! I’m so excited to see that you want to get back into writing, do feel free to talk to me anytime 😀 I think 50% of BIPOC books is a very achievable goal as well, I’m personally also trying my best to read more diversely. Happy New Year!! 😌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Eleanor!! Yesss the brilliance behind the Illuminae Files is really quite beyond my level of understanding but that didn’t stop me from loving the series wholeheartedly 🤩 And yes you DO need to get your hands on Uriah Heep!! 😉

      Aww thank you!! The prospect of writing is honestly quite daunting but if there’s anything I’ve learned from the blogging community it’s that I’m not alone in feeling intimidated 😂 And I’m happy to hear you’re also trying to read more diversely! Hopefully we can both achieve our goals in that area 🤗

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting Eleanor!! Have a great day ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had an incredible 2020 book year= read more than I thought. Can’t choose my favorite either- but will list some of them.

    1. The Odyssey
    2. Bleak House
    3. Shades of Magic Trilogy
    4. A Christmas Treasury

    Just a few of them

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have read the classics for a while now. Here are others I love.

        1. The Iliad
        2. Don Quixote
        3. Mayor of Casterbridge
        4. A Christmas Carol
        5. Oliver Twist
        6. David Copperfield
        7. Nicholas Nickleby
        9. Great Expectations
        10. Tale of Two Cities
        11. Hunchback of Notre Dame
        12. Les Misérables- that was obvious

        This year, plan to read Hard Times (another Dickens book)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading this post, Abby! Your voice really shines through.

    I haven’t read anything by Jay Kristoff yet, but I really hope to this year, especially after reading your praise of The Illumnae Files. And I’m so glad you enjoyed Six of Crows! I agree wholeheartedly with how brilliantly Matthias’s character arc was executed.

    I hope this year is a good one for you, and you get to reach your goals! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much Noelle!! You’re too sweet ❤️

      To be honest, I also haven’t read anything from either Amie Kaufman or Jay Kristoff other than Illuminae 😅 But that series is definitely worth reading, I loved it so so much!! 🤩

      And omg yess about Matthias!! Super unpopular opinion here but the brilliance of his character arc plants him as my favorite from the entire crew. *spoilers for Crooked Kingdom* And of course I had to fall hardest for the one character who DIES 😭

      Thank you so much Noelle! And right back at you 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Six of Crows was one of my favorite reads of 2020 too. Such a fantastic story, and I ADORED the characters. I think the other book that really blew me away was The Song of Achilles. It was amazing! An Ember in the Ashes series is on my TBR for 2021. I’ve heard so many great things about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesss Six of Crows was AMAZING!! It was beautifully plotted and the characters are just *chef’s kiss* 😘😍 And ooh I’ve heard some great things about Madeleine Miller’s writing, so glad to hear you loved her book!! And yesss I’m soo excited to hear what you think of Ember 🤩

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting Julie!! Happy reading 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “Homework, lack of motivation and procrastination” could honestly be my personal mantra, so I totally get where you’re coming from, Abby 😂 Also, I’m thrilled to hear you say that Gemina is your favorite book in the Illuminae files! I, too, thought it was the best of the three by a long shot, but up until now, no one has ever agreed with me! Obviously, everyone else is wrong and your statement was the proof I needed 😁

    And yes to Matthias’s character arc! I’m still sobbing over it to this very day… Though Kaz and Inej will always remain my favorite Dregs 😊

    And I need The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep! Every time you mention that book, it sounds even more enticing than it did the last time, so I can’t wait to finally read all of my unread books so that I will then be allowed to break my self-imposed book buying ban 😅 Though let’s see if I really manage to stick to it – I already made an exception by preordering Winterkeep 😁

    And all those musicals! 😍 I really need to get to Starry! My expectations are so astronomical now that I’ve been saving it to give it the proper attention it deserves, but I think if I keep doing that, I’ll never get around to it. So I need to listen to you and get a move on already!

    Also, I love your graphics! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Naemi!! Hahahaha I’m glad you could relate!! (Or should I be concerned? 😂) Ahhh yes I adored Gemina so much!! Huh, I’m surprised the two of us are in the minority! I loved Obsidio as well, but I felt like some of the plot twists were a bit repetitive… Gemina is definitely number one for me 🤩

      And yep same. I get why his character development had to end like that, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult to read 😭😭 But true, Inej and Kaz are amazing as well!! The scenes the two of them had in CK made me either (a) cry, (b) hyperventilate, or (c) all of the above. So good 😍😍

      I’m happy to hear my strategy for getting you all to read Uriah Heep is working 😉 And wow, good luck with finishing all your physical TBR books and with your book buying ban. Sticking to that ban sounds very difficult 😅

      And yess musicals!! Ahhh I’m so excited for your thoughts on Starry!! But now I’m afraid I’ve set your expectations too high 😂😅 But I hope you won’t be disappointed!! I, for one, am still in love with that musical as much as ever 😍

      And haha thank you!! Thank you so much for reading 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahh I really need to read the Illuminae books! They sound right up my alley, and I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to them. I’m so happy that you loved Six of Crows too, since that’s one of my favorites 😀 And yesss Hamilton was absolutely a highlight of 2020 for me too!! I still haven’t emotionally recovered from Eliza’s gasp at the end.

    Best of luck with all your 2021 goals, and happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yess I loved Illuminae and the rest of the books in that series, I hope you love them too! 😊 And Six of Crows ahhhh. I was sort of nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the hype, but I needn’t have worried 😉

      And Hamilton of course!! Same, emotional recovery is nowhere near within reach 😭😂

      Thank you so much Margaret!! Wishing you luck with all your 2021 goals as well 💖

      Like

  7. Abby!! Hi!! So glad to have you back and know that you’re doing well! 🤗 Ahhh the graphics are so pretty, and what a good choice of not ranking them haha, I made that terrible choice and am still in unease of betraying some amazing books haha… 😅

    I’m really happy to hear that you enjoyed the Illuminae File, especially the morally grey and quantum physics aspect which sounds so intriguing! Aww hearing how you could resonate with The Silence of Bones is incredible, it is definitely a book on my priority thanks to your recommendation! 😍

    SIX OF CROWS *screams into the distance* and SKYY *wails into the distance* And shedding more tears for Vincent and Theo than Sky + Crooked Kingdom? Woahhh, it’s going onto the tbr too, their relationship sounds incredible, I’m so excited to meet them… 😊

    OHMYOHMYHAMILTONANDPHANTOMANDMYNEWFAVSTARRY(also thanks to you haha)…. I was literally breathless when reading what you said because YES! The singers for Phantom were absolutely amazing and I will NEVER get over that ending 🥺 (though have you seen Love Never Dies which is sort of a follow up?)

    I’m wishing you all the best with your goals as well! Giving low ratings is also something that I don’t like because I feel so guilty and thus most of the reviews I post are those I loved a lot, I just highlight the ones that didn’t work for me in my monthly wrap up. 🙂 I’m totally with you on reading more by BIPOC authors, and yes, blogging is fun, don’t be stressed out about consistency, we’re always here for you!

    Overall, lovely wrap up, Abby and my apologies for this rambly comment haha! 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cherelle!!! Thank you so much!! Hahaha, it’s the heart that counts, right? I’m sure the books will understand 😂

      Yess the Illuminae Files series is fantastic!! It might be a bit hard to get into at first but it totally makes up for it later on. And ahhh I’m so happy to hear you’re interested in The Silence of Bones!!! I still haven’t fully recovered from that ending, so… good luck with that 😂

      AHHHH SIX OF CROWS AND SKY *casually joining you in your screaming and wailing* 💔 And Vincent and Theo completely took me off guard with how much it broke me 😭 The way the relationship between the brothers progresses as they both mature was just *sniffles* And woooo I’m so excited to hear what you think, I hope you love it as much as I did 😍

      YES HAMILTON AND PHANTOM AND STARRY AHHH 🤩 Phantom was INCREDIBLE. Everything about it was so gorgeous and ahhhhh now I want to watch it again. And yeah I’ve seen LND… I liked some parts of the story, but I’m not too much of a fan. Although the ending for that one broke me as well 😭

      And thank you so much Cherelle!! So glad to hear I’m not alone with the low ratings…. and that’s a great way to be honest while still being respectful! I’ll have to try that out. And awww thank you, you’re too sweet 🥰

      Thanks so much!! And haha, it’s no problem. Happy reading!! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ahh abby!! happy new year!! i got so excited seeing this post lmaoo!! honestly, it’s SO relatable how yo chose not to rank your reads, because i could NEVER, and i would just die trying!! you read so many amazing books this year, and all of them that i haven’t read have gone straight to my TBR!!

    AHH SIX OF CROWS!! THAT DUOLOGY IS LEGENDARY!! omg i died when matthias made his sacrifice 🥺💔 it’s so sad to know that so many people hate him as a character, because personally he’s one of my favourites, and i love his relationship with nina, and his character arc so much 😭

    good luck with accomplishing all of your goals!! mine are so similar, because i definitely want to read more books by BIPOC authors, as well as not making blogging a chore, and starting to write again!! lovely post, abby!! i loved reading this ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you Ahaana!! That was basically my thought process hahaha, I’m allergic to superlatives in general when it comes to books, but ranking them is a whole other kind of torture 😂 Ahh I’m so happy to hear that I’ve convinced you to add these all to your TBR — I’d love to know what you think when you get around to them 😊

      SIX OF CROWS!! CROOKED KINGDOM!! Omg sameee. I was accidentally spoiled for the ending right before I started CK, but I still ended up weeping when I read that scene 😭😭😭 AND OH MY GOSH a fellow Matthias lover?!?!?! I ADORE him and his character development so much — and obviously him and Nina are to die for 😍 I know it’s like blasphemy to say this but I actually prefer him over Kaz…. I get so depressed every time somebody says he’s their least favorite from the crew 💔

      And aww thank you so much!! I’m glad you could relate 🤗 I hope we can both accomplish our 2021 goals!! Thank you for this lovely comment Ahaana ❤️❤️

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  9. HI!! Glad to see you back in my inbox! I love reading posts like these with peoples goals and good luck on all of yours! I love the don’t make blogging a chore one because there’s so much pressure to post consistently that we burn ourselves out quickly and blogging is supposed to be enjoyable! 🙂

    I also want to listen and find more musicals! I loved the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack and really want to see it performed live but for now the movie will do!😔 Hamilton is also a favourite as well as Moulin Rogue! I love seeing how much you raved about Starry and I definitely am interested in checking it out as well as the others on this list! 😆

    Good luck with everything and don’t burn yourself out! 💙

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eryn!! Yes exactly!! I’m definitely planning to focus more on quality over quantity in 2021 because blogging just isn’t worth it if I’m not enjoying it 😊

      MUSICALS. I really can’t believe I waited till 2020 to finally listen to POTO, it’s so good!!! 🤩 And same, one of the things I’m looking forward to most after this pandemic is getting to watch musicals live again 🥲 And ahhhh yes Starry is gorgeous!! The concept album is still prone to change because the show is Off-Broadway as of now, but it’s one of the most beautiful shows I’ve ever listened to 😍 So excited to hear what you think!

      Aww thank you!! I hope you have a great 2021 as well and best of luck with your goals!! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s been a month, and what a month it’s been! Glad you’re doing nicely Abby! And lovely graphics. I love the cursive and flowers!

    I’ve been meaning to read The Illuminae Files for forever, but quantum physics… It pains me to say but I’m currently taking physics and chemistry classes right now and I don’t think I could stomach more 😭 Although, on the other hand, it may help me so who knows! Uriah Heep sounds like a chaotic dream and I love it 😍 And I never noticed those magic scissors on the cover of Spin the Dawn. That sounds so cool, but also hilarious 😆

    And hope you achieve all your goals. I agree with not making blogging a chore cause that will just overwhelm you and lead to burnout which sucks. Right now, I’m thinking of just focusing on book reviews because those are my favorite posts to write. But ya, quality over quantity when it comes to blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so much Kirsten!! And I’m happy to hear you like my graphics haha! 😆

      Hahaha I totally get that!! The quantum physics isn’t too hardcore in The Illuminae Files but it is a bit hard to wrap your head around at first… I hope you enjoy it if you decide to pick it up!! And yess Uriah Heep is sooo good omg 🤩🤩 Yep, Spin the Dawn has such a creative premise, those scissors are just the cherry on the top!!

      Aww thank you!! And definitely, forcing yourself to blog is never a good solution. Ooh I’m looking forward to reading those book reviews — but no pressure, obviously 🤗

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting Kirsten!! Happy reading ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yaas, I love so many of your 2020 favourites. 😍 The Illuminae series is awesome and I can’t wait to reread the series on audio because I’ve heard it’s amazing! The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep has been on my TBR for a while now so, hopefully, I’ll get to it this year cos I’ve heard really good things! One of my goals this year is to keep diversifying my reads and being intentional about choosing diverse reads because like you said, I was pretty embarrassed to look at my shelves and see how white it was 🙈 it also made me realise how limited the range of English books international readers can get access to! You’ve set some great personal and blogging goals for yourself and I hope you enjoy achieving them and have a great year ahead, Abby!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I’ve heard literally nothing but great things about the Illuminae audiobooks! Can’t wait to see what you think 🤩 And yesss I hope you love reading Uriah Heep! I adore that book so much, it’s probably unhealthy at this point 😅 My thought process exactly! I was honestly completely shocked when I sat down to count the number of books by AOC vs. books by white authors on my shelf last June… hopefully we can both change that in 2021! And great point about the limited access international readers have to a lot of books. Joining the blogging community has definitely helped me realize how privileged I am to live in the US where physical copies of all these books are readily available.

      Thank you so much Dini!! I hope you have a wonderful 2021 as well 💗

      Like

  12. The Illuminae Files is sooo good!! I read the first two last year and still need to read Obsidio. I don’t want it to end because I loved the series so much!

    Ahhh I’m so glad you liked Six of Crows! Crooked Kingdom (my fave of the two) was amazing but destroyed me. 😭

    I love Phantom of the Opera, I was lucky enough to see it for the first time in the West End in January last year, so squeezed it in just before the pandemic hit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right!!! All three books are amazing 😍 Oh wow, are you in for a ride with Obsidio. I have no idea how you survived Gemina’s cliffhanger without closure! That ending — or in fact, the entire book — was brutal on my heart 😅

      Well, “like” is a bit of an understatement haha… and oh, I can relate to the emotional destruction so much. I’m dying to read King of Scars as soon as possible, I NEED to know what happens to Nina!!

      Ahh I’m so jealous! I miss sitting in a theater so much… going to watch POTO live is high on my list when this pandemic is finally over.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, MT! 💜

      Like

      1. I need to read King of Scars as well!

        It was really worth seeing POTO live, the singing was phenpmenal and it was so good. I only went to the theatre occasionally but I do really miss it. I had tickets for the UK Hairspray tour, should have been going to see that next month but its been cancelled obviously which is a shame, hopefully it will be back on after the pandemic is over.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy New Year, Abby! I hope it’ll be a great one for you!! ❤❤

    All your favourite books of the year sound amazing. Every time you blog about The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep I’m tempted to go buy it immediately. I’m so hooked on its premise, I’ll definitely pick it up as soon as I can.

    The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall is such a great production!! The acting? The singing? The costumes? Hadley Fraser’s eyeliner? All perfect and iconic!! It really cemented my love for the musical when I first watched it. I absolutely love Hadestown, too, as you might have noticed and Newsies is such a pick-me-up. Every time a newsie does a flip it’s instant happiness for me! The Greatest Showman has amazing musical numbers, too!

    I totally see what you mean about religion in fiction. Characters in contemporary works rarely even mention religion, let alone practice it. It seems like faith in Gods is “cool” only in fantasy settings. As you said, it doesn’t have to be all about spirituality and it doesn’t have to be in every novel. That’s maybe because I live in a country that is culturally Orthodox, but it doesn’t seem realistic to not even mention faith and spirituality in contemporary works of fiction.

    I hope you get to fulfil all your goals this year!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Nefeli!! Ahhh I’m so happy to hear I’ve got you hooked on Uriah Heep! Not to be dramatic or anything, but I really think it’s everything a bookworm could ever ask for in a book 😆 So excited to hear your thoughts!!

      Ahhhh yess!! That production was the perfect introduction to POTO for me and I’m with you in sayin that it cemented my love for the musical!! And Hadley Fraser’s eyeliner is the finishing touch 😂 Yess Hadestown and Newsies are both incredible!! That whole choreography sequence during “Seize the Day” with the footwork and the newspapers always makes my jaw drop. And we can’t forget The Greatest Showman either! 😍

      That’s my point exactly oh my gosh!! Being “realistic” is a huge focus for contemporary authors/readers, and it makes no sense to not include something that’s a fundamental part of so many people’s identities in the books that we read.

      Thanks so much again!! Wishing you a joyful and productive 2021!! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The Illuminae files and Spin the Dawn are high on my TBR! I’m so glad you loved them. Um, Crooked Kingdom completely wrecked me, so I can empathize with your shattered heart😂. I’m also excited that you’re checking out more Christian fiction! I’ve never been able to hugely get into it myself (Christian fantasy is normally lacking for me, lol), but I do enjoy several of Becky Wade’s books. She’s my go-to for an old fashioned romance novel😁 Good luck on your resolutions!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh yes Illuminae and Spin the Dawn are so good!! The world building in both of them is brilliant 😍 And hahaha glad to see I’m not alone…. I want to burst into tears just thinking about *that* scene 🥺 Ooh thank you for the recommendation!! I’ve been on the hunt for some genuinely interesting Christian fic books so this came at a great time 😊

      Thank you so much Hayden!! Good luck with your resolutions as well 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t wait to check them out!
        Lol, I did burst into tears (probably more than once if we’re being honest😂).
        I hope you enjoy the Becky Wade books you try! My favorites are True to You and My Stubborn Heart.
        Thank you! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m super late reading this post but it’s just reminded how much I absolutely *adore* your writing, Abby 😍❤ You read lots of amazing books in 2020 and there are a lot on your list that I really want to read. Good luck for your 2021 goals!! They are great, by the way. Very thoughtful and I’m sure you can achieve them all 🥰 It’s good to make sure blogging is not a chore and you do not feel pressure, because that is not the reason why we blog. Also giving more objective ratings – I generally think about ratings while I am actually reading the book! The important thing to remember is to trust your instinct and that half stars are very helpful!!

    I hope you are having a lovely start to the week and that 2021 is wonderful for you 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thank you so much Stephen!! I’m definitely trying my best with my 2021 goals, though let’s see how long that lasts 😂 I 100% agree, nobody should feel obligated to blog. If I wanted another homework assignment I’d just ask my teachers 😂

      And about ratings — thank you so much for the advice!! I’m proud to say that I’ve started to act upon my instincts instead of trying to convince myself I enjoyed a book more than I actually did. It’s never a great feeling when a book lets you down, but being honest with myself about I feel is actually really freeing??

      Thank you Stephen!! And right back at you — wishing you a fantastic 2021! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m so glad Spin the Dawn lived up to the hype for you! It has been on my TBR for way too long and I really want to read it this year ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Omg, how did I miss this post!? This is epic!

    I’ve been meaning to read Illuminae since forever 😍. I hope to get to it soon, I never did because I had heard somewhere it was adult, which apparently, it wasn’t 😑😂.

    And aaaah, how did I not know that six of crows is about to be a trilogy!? I need to read that book asap. I’m missing out on so much.

    Amazing post Abby!

    Just a question I’ve been asking fans a lot 😂😅, should I read the grisha trilogy before this? I’m super confused 😕.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thanks so much Nehal!! 😊

      And yesss I can’t wait for you to pick up Illuminae!! That entire trilogy is AMAZING 😍 Ahaha rest assured that it’s YA, although there IS a quite a lot of blood and death.

      Ahhhhh yes Six of Crows is apparently a trilogy?! There’s a third book listed with the series on Goodreads, although Leigh says it’s probably going to be many years before it’s ever released 😔 And omg YES Nehal you need to read SoC!!!! Believe me, the hype is REAL 🤩🤩

      I personally read the Grisha trilogy before starting the duology, but you don’t need to — I know plenty of people who skipped that series and still ended up loving the SoC books. The only difference is that it’s easier to understand the world building off the bat and there are some fun (and also spoilery) Easter eggs in there about the things that happened in the trilogy.

      Hope that helps!! Thanks so much for reading and commenting Nehal ☺️💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think blood and death would be a big problem…I hope so at least 😂.
        Ah, I will read it soon then. I have downloaded the audiobook 😁.
        Spoilers!? Ah no 😭.
        Never mind, i guess I’ll still read six of crows before that, I really want some Kaz Brekker stuff, he sounds so swoon worthy 😁.

        It did help. Thanks a Lot Abby 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

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