Hello Fiction Dwellers! 👋👋
It is January so it is the time to wrap up my year in reading, blogging, and everything else in between. Looking back on 2020 I was still new to blogging and didn’t read a lot of books so going into 2021 I had a lot of ambition and drive to write better reviews, read more books, and interact more with the people in the community. I’m very grateful that I achieved all of those things that by the end of the year I have grown exponentially in numbers and experience. I also smashed my reading goals that I thought I couldn’t have achieved back in 2020. Let’s look back on 2021 with me through stats and prompts to summarize my reading & blogging journey, reflect on life, and reminisce as I look through the highlights of my year!
- 2021 Reading Statistics 📊
- 2021 Year in Review 📖
- 2021 Bookish Highlights 🥂
- 2021 Blogging Summary 💻
- 2021 Life Reflections ☕
📊 2021 Reading Statistics 📊
2021 Reading Goals & Reading Challenge 🔥
In 2021 I used both Storygraph and Good Reads to track my reading though at first I abandoned my Storygraph preferring to Good Reads for it’s streamline interface and how I do not need to go back to back unlike Storygraph. It is my personal preference because I am a simple person that don’t have a lot of time to click multiple times to update my reading. Though nearing the end of 2021 I started paying attention to my Storygraph because of the stats, I wanted to review my reading year to see how my reading fluctuated throughout the year. Starting 2021 I set my goals to 50 books which then I changed to 70 books mid year. As it is displayed I exceeded my goal and I was able to read 107 books consisting of novels, novellas, etc.
While on my GoodReads I reached 200 books consisting of 107 books and 93 mangas. The reasoning why I did this is because GoodReads’s catalogue is bigger and you can find any book there compared to Storygraph that is still lacking. I really can’t be bothered manually adding volumes upon volumes of mangas that I couldn’t find on the site, it’s tedious work that is just a waste of my time so for now going to add mangas only on GoodReads.
Books Read & Pages Read 📚
Taking my stats from Storygraph as it is displayed here my reading peaked after I quit my job in August and dropped in August when I was mostly stressed about training the person that will be replacing me. It is apparent how unemployment really does wonders to my reading stats. According to my stats the highest page count was in November around 4k pages which is pretty awesome as my average is around 2-3k pages. The highest amount of books read is in December when I read about 9 short stories and a handful of novellas but it also has the lowest page count around 2.9k pages. My average for amount of books read in a month increased after I quit my job to 10-13 books a month. I never imagine it would happen to me and I hope I can bring in this habit into 2022.
2021 is my best reading year so far! Look at the amount 5 stars and 4 stars! I might look like I’m really generous about my ratings but in actuality I am very picky about my reads. From January-August I was still working in an office from 9-5, Monday to Friday, so I didn’t have a lot of time back then to read. I have to schedule at least an hour a day to read. The book I read needs to be bangers because I don’t want to waste my time on a book I will end up not liking. I didn’t reach out to books I have mild interest in and prioritized ARCs I will love. Please check out my post An Ode to the meh, the no-nos, and the DNFs of 2021 to find out the books that didn’t work out for me and the books I did not finish.
Pace & Page Number ⌛
I am a fairly consistent reader with my pacing completely dependent on my mood and page numbers. My pacing can differ from book to book, I can finish certain books in a day and some books could take 4-5 days average. Though what I noticed my pace has incredibly increased as I could read a hundred pages of in 2-3 hours since I quit my job. When I was still working I would force myself to read a chapter to make it a habit now I can leisurely read how many pages I want to read. Less pressure = a more enjoyable reading experience.
I am not surprised seeing these stats having fantasy as my most read genre. Though I am slightly ashamed to see sci-fi in 5th place. As a blogger that describes themselves as one that reads and reviews SFF books I don’t read a lot of sci-fi. I am happy to LGBTQIA+ books coming in the second place considering I read the Sapphic Trifecta and plenty of other books similar to it. Third place is young adult, this can only be explained by the blog tours I did that are mostly for young adult books. If it wasn’t for the blog tours I wouldn’t have read the books as most of them I got rejected for on NetGalley. Romance is fourth place as it is the genre that reach out to when I am in a fantasy rut and need something easy to sink my teeth into.
I am a mood reader through and through. I pick up books based on my mood and I generally never stick to a TBR unless I force myself too. Based on this stat I really like adventurous, emotional, and dark books which all can be found in almost all the fantasy books I’ve read.
Most Read Authors 🤸
It’s funny to see Alice Oseman an author that mostly writes YA contemporary as my most read author followed by SFF heavy hitters such as Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, Martha Wells, P Djeli Clark, Fonda Lee, and then my new favorite romance author Helen Hoang. I read a lot of Alice Oseman because I read Heartstopper and all the novels written by them with the exception of Solitaire. I loved each and every one of them but my favourite is undoubtedly Radio Silence. One of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to! 2021 wouldn’t be my best reading year if it weren’t for Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, I read Tian Guan Ci Fu / Heaven Official’s Blessing and watched the donghua for Mo Dao Zu Shi. Their books made my year and “I pray to never rest in peace” because of them. Martha Wells’ Murderbot series is a series that I will continue to recommend for everyone to read especially if readers want to start reading sci-fi. P Djeli Clark my autobuy author, I absolutely loved A Master of Djinn and any book he writes, I am not surprised seeing his name there. Last, Fonda Lee! I read the entirety of The Green Bone Saga in 2021 the series that made 2021 my best reading year.
📖 2021 Year in Review 📖
New Favorite Author (Discovered this Year or Debut Author) 🙇
I am a big supporter of Shelley Parker Chan’s debut book She Who Became the Sun and will continue to support their future works. Shelley was kind enough to send me a signed book plate and book mark which still stuns me to this day. Their book brought me so much joy that I have made it a permanent presence here on my blog because of how much I loved it. My review of She Who Became the Sun is my highest viewed blog post to this day. Thank you, Shelley for writing an amazing book! <3
I’ve heard about Fonda Lee’s books in 2020 when my friends told me about The Green Bone Saga. I made the series my priority in 2021 and I am super thankful that I was able to read the whole entirety of the trilogy. When I read the last book of the series, Jade Legacy, in August it solidified The Green Bone Saga as one of the best series I’ve ever read that I will live in my brain rent free. The characters and world building felt like an extension of myself that I am sad to part with in 2021, but I know that I will keep coming back to it.
Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
Heaven Official’s Blessing and Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation have taken over my life in 2021. I started with watching the donghua of Heaven Official’s Blessing on Netflix and I immediately fell in love with Hua Cheng and Xie Lian. Then I immediately dived into the books which made me more attached to them. This series is unlike any western books I’ve read it’s different and endearing. I haven’t read Mo Dao Zu Shi and SVSS but I have watched their donghua adaptations. The donghua adaptations of Mo Dao Zu Shi reigned supreme amongst the three. The animation, the story telling, the ending, and the pacing is immaculate. They served us the Wangxian wedding of course they are superior!
I have to thank Ash @antigonesuraela and Rina @fumikodana for recommending this book to me. They were the ones that I know of that first read this book and started spreading the fires across book twitter. This book is hands down the BIGGEST SURPRISE of 2021 for me. After reading it I immediately made a book review because it was THAT good. Simon Jimenez’s writing and characterization was a breath of fresh air that ruined me. I still can’t believe it’s their debut book too! They are an up and coming writer that I will keep my eye on and I can’t wait to read their new book The Spear That Cuts Through Water releasing in 2022.
During the first half of 2021 I listened to a lot of amazing audiobooks but the highlight has to be The Murderbot Diaries. Before I read All Systems Red I have not read sci-fi at all so as my first ever sci-fi book it was a solid starter to get me into the genre. Murderbot is endearing, relatable, and a mood. I love that Murderbot is reluctant and has feuds with advanced space ships. Martha Wells deserved that Hugo award and I’m glad this series won. I have read four books out of the six that have released. I loved every minute of listening to the books and I can’t wait to continue it in 2022.
Nghi Vo stunned me when I read The Empress of Salt and Fortune. I immediately was struck with a gut a feeling that I will read any book Nghi Vo publishes and it was solidified when I read the sequel When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain. Vo’s writing is magical, vivid, and charming that pulled me in. The characterization are next level that Vo could flesh them out within a 100+ pages. The concept as well of a story within a story is something that I love in books so The Singing Hills Cycles got all the plusses from me. The novellas I’ve read is not enough to quench my thirst to read more stories from Vo. I wish there was more and be damned it is my mission to read Vo’s other works in 2022. I can’t wait to read the third book to the series as well!
In 2021 I struggled a lot with reading YA books and when I thought my taste has changed June Hur hit me with The Red Palace. The book was so gripping, beautifully written, paced wonderfully, the characters are so well fleshed out I was a stan. I finished The Red Palace in a day! Which rarely happens for a slow reader like me. It defied my expectations in every way and I just could not believe I’ve been missing out on June’s books. I am making it my mission to read June Hur’s other works in 2022 <3 Everyone needs to read June’s books! You guys are missing out on the Korean drama vibes. Seriously!
Consistency! That is why I love Andrea Stewart and The Drowning Empire series. I didn’t know that drip feed worldbuilding existed until I read The Bone Shard Daughter. Mysteries upon mysteries pilled on to a world following multiple POVs in different parts of the world and then throw in a charming animal companion in the mix I was hooked. The sequel The Bone Shard Emperor exceeded my expectations and proved that second book syndrome did not exist. Andrea said “no ma’am” to second book syndrome! I can’t wait to read the third and I’m sad that it is delayed but I am a patient girl that can handle the pain of anticipation. If you haven’t read The Bone Shard Daughter please pick it up!
Books I want to read but didn’t get to 😔
There are so many books I missed the opportunity to read in 2021 because I am a mood reader and my reading is dictated by what I feel like reading. These 8 books are the top few that I’m so sad I didn’t get to. I could have binged Martha Well’s Murderbot series but after reading the first four books my brain did not want to budge. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson *sigh* I have promised a lot of people that I will read this first book but somehow *cough*
Shallan *cough* ruined my mood. I really hope I could read all of the books in this list in 2022. Stormlight Archives I’m coming for you!
Best Book Purchases 💸
This purchase really revolutionized my reading entirely! Being a book blogger I read a lot of ARCs before hand I would read these ARCs on my mom’s iPad. Reading on an iPad isn’t the most comfortable because of the eye strain that never fails to lead to a headache for me. After being screamed at by my little brother I finally caved in and bought this kindle with my savings. It’s a Kindle Paperwhite 8GB in color Sage green. I did not buy it on Amazon, I bought on an Indonesian website called Tokopedia.
She Who Became the Sun is the first book I’ve bought two copies of because just look at that cover!! How can you choose? They both look so good. I regret nothing. I can’t wait to stick the book plate Shelley gave me on the US version.
Look I don’t like buying limited edition books, it’s not that I don’t like it, it’s that I don’t have the money to purchase limited edition books. For Christmas, my partner bought me The Green Bone Saga archive. He knows how much I love this series especially when he saw my reaction after finishing Jade Legacy. I cried for 2 hours straight and I am still not over it. I haven’t unboxed the books yet and might have to wait until I see my partner. They are my treasure and I will cherish it with all my being. I love this series so much and I’m so happy I have the set. Me and Eliza, my bestie, we both counted down the minutes during the sale day. It was a memorable experience and glad I got to share it with them.
🥂 2021 Bookish Highlights 🥂
I am blessed and acknowledge my privilege that for the first half of 2021 I was employed that I could spread the joy of reading to a lot of people by hosting giveaways. During the year I hosted 3 giveaways for books that I have read and raved about constantly. Each giveaway was a highlight to my month and hopefully I can do more in the future 🙂
In May I was blessed when my lost Book Depository order of Jade City by Fonda Lee finally arrived after waiting ~6 months. I ordered that book in October 2020. That is the struggle y’all! Because of that I have two copies of Jade City so I decided to giveaway 1 copy to an Indonesian reader.
In July to celebrate my birthday me and Sasha hosted a giveaway for She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, our favorite book of 2021. Sasha my best friend wanted to contribute so we can have TWO winners. It was a fun experience being able to giveaway a copy of my favorite book! You know spreading the She Who Became the Sun Agenda like a good CEO that I am.
In October to celebrate the release of Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee I hosted another giveaway. Glad that a bestie won the giveaway and I hope it arrives soon <3
Book Playlists 🎶
I started making book playlists when I wanted to spice up my blog tour posts. I love listening and discovering new music to listen to so it was a fun project to make these book playlists. Each one of them I curated personally, I made sure to think about certain scenes and characters that left an impression on me to pick certain songs that fit the image I had in my mind. If I had to pick a favorite it would be The Green Bone Saga playlist because that one has 100 songs and covers the three books in the series. The series left a gaping hole when I finished Jade Legacy that I just had to compile a bunch of songs that could express my feelings about it ending. Six Crimson Cranes and The Ones We’re Meant to Find are also some of my best curations. I am happy with how the songs flowed together and how each song fit the vibe of the book really well. I still listen to them to this day because it just transports me back into the world of the story.
If you’re curious about the tunes I bop to follow my Spotify for monthly ish updates or DM me I love giving music recs! <3
I am proud that I read six ARCs in a month (which never happens) so I am definitely doing NetGalley November in 2022. I felt productive and I was happy to see my percentage go up by the end of the month. Even though it was just a fraction I still did it and found some new favorites.
An Ode to Tales Reader Awards 🏆
This was an exciting, ambitious, and fun project that I did with my best friend Ness from Talks of Tales. Just like everyone on book twitter we were disappointed when we saw the Good Reads Choice Awards. It wasn’t diverse, it was predominantly white, and of course
Sarah J Maas won again. We wanted an award ceremony that reflects the actual reading taste of our community so we combined forces to hold the An Ode to Tales Reader Awards. The voting period was done in two rounds in December and the winner is announced in early January. Thank you to Ness for being an amazing partner during a busy time of her life to do this with me. We are happy with the feedback and participation from the community. We also hope that we can do it again in 2022! If you haven’t checked who the winners are please head to our Twitter @anodetotales for the details <3
💻 2021 Blogging Summary 💻
a look back . . .
I revamped my blog in 2021 with the help of a friend Monica Wihardi and her amazing skills. An Ode to Fiction wouldn’t have all these amazing illustrations and graphics if it weren’t for her. She made everything by the way from the blog logo, the banner, the ending graphics, and of course the frames of each blog post banner. My blog looks more pretty now though a bit simple by design but I love it. Thank you Monica <3
I posted a lot more in 2021 and decided to post monthly wrap ups. I was surprised to see that a lot of love from people for my wrap ups. Because the effort I put in a lot of effort into it and seeing people recognize it keeps me going when I feel lazy about linking stuff. I had fun writing about the manga and anime section as I put a lot of heart writing about my thoughts and impressions. Though I have ceased posted anything relating to mangas and anime nearing the end of 2021 I hope to continue in 2022. Then there’s the content creator shoutout I’m glad I put that section there because of it I have made a lot of connections with some amazing blogger and artists. I love featuring them on there and it is an honor to have them be part of my wrap ups instead of just being retweeted and forgotten.
Top 5 Blog Posts Published 👀
Top 5 Book Reviews 👀
The reviews that made it to the top 5 on my blog are the reviews that took me the longest to write, especially She Who Became the Sun, Jade Legacy, and The Unbroken. I literally put my heart and tears into those reviews because I love those books so much. Jade Legacy took me 3 weeks and I cried a lot while writing, you can call me crazy or weird but I am proud with the results. It deserved a grand salute. For She Who Became the Sun it took me a couple of weeks but it was a review that wrote with a lot of passion. Shelley’s debut book really blew me away and I had to give it my absolute best. Then there’s The Unbroken my longest review ever, the word count is over 1.5k I think and there’s research put into that review because of the thought provoking the themes are to me. Also props for Iron Widow for being on the list because it is not a 5 star review and I did not enjoy the book. I wasn’t planning on posting it on my blog but since I got lots of likes on Good Reads I decided to post it for fun.
2021 Blog Tours I Participated in 📣
I also participated in a lot of blog tours in 2021. The reason why I put myself out there is to grow my blog following and read books that was first denied to me by publishers on NetGalley. Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours, Colored Pages Bookish Tours, and Xpresso Book Tours for hosting them making it more accessible for global south bloggers to promote amazing books. I hope to join more in 2022 but I might limit myself because I was quite burnt out by it mainly because I am a mood reader.
Collabs / Features 🤝
I had an impromptu collaboration with Jayati from It’s Just a Coffee Addicted Bibliophile to make a list of book recommendations based on The Green Bone Saga characters by Fonda Lee.
☕ 2021 Life Reflections ☕
A lot of things happened in 2021 for me personally. Life was like a roller coaster if I look at it from a distance. During the first half of 2021 I focused on working at my full time job in retail. The days were pretty dull and repetitive because I had to do the same thing each week. Reading and listening to audiobooks really helped me coped with the pandemic and to brighten up my days. Back in 2020 I applied for a visa to see my partner but got denied because of Covid. Then in April 2021 I applied again hoping for a second chance of reuniting with him. Not meeting wasn’t much of struggle for us since we started long distance and mostly communicated through video call but it was slowly taking a toll on both of us. The last time we met was August 2019 so it’s been 2 years since our first and last meeting. After I applied I never stopped hoping for an answer until December 2021.
In June before the height of the Delta variant I got my first dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine and it was not fun. I had really bad side effects which happened again when I got the second dose in September. Getting vaccinated was pretty tough because you have to hunt down the vaccines and they are very limited for the Astra Zeneca vaccine specifically. I am very thankful that me and my family could get access to vaccines. I am also very grateful that none of us got covid throughout the pandemic even though we had very close brushes with it as me and my brothers were working during the height of the delta variant.
In August of 2021 I quit my full time job and became unemployed. Working at a place that I have zero passion for and was only there for the money pushed my mental health to the limit. The atmosphere and the people wasn’t that great either as every month me and my co workers would stress about payment. It got to a point where my pay for a month was split in 4 payments with inconsistent dates. Not to mention the commute, the work from home debacle, the toxic work environment, etc. It was just A LOT and so I quit. Since the end of August 2021 until now I became a full time blogger and reader. I understand that not a lot of people can make the same decision I did especially during covid and I’m not saying anyone should follow in my footsteps. I am grateful to my mom and brothers that have supported me (mentally and financially) in making this decision. It was a hard one to make because I am a workaholic and have been working non stop since I graduated from university in 2018.
I’m happy that I got to go on a vacation with my family in October 2021 to Bali. Me and my family have a tradition of going there once a year since I was in middle school. We didn’t go in 2020 sadly but we redeemed it in 2021. Before we headed there a lot of things happened the Indonesian government decided to change the regulations regarding air travel last minute. We had to take PCR tests which is expensive so my mom cancelled our flights and decided we will go to Bali by car. We haven’t done this since my father died and it was exhilarating to go on a family road trip once last time when we are all adults with my mom. My brother drove us there and rode shotgun with him, I didn’t sleep at all during that 12 hour drive from Surabaya to Denpasar. That trip will forever be ingrained in my mind because I was wholly present enjoying quality time with my family.
Honorable mentions :
I have met a lot of amazing people in the book community both on Twitter and the blogging sphere. The steady growth is due to all that have visited my website, retweeted, and commented on my posts. I used this blog as a hobby and a way to write my thoughts it still blows my mind that people are reading what I write. Every engagement I get from everyone really means a lot though I am not good at replying or staying on top of my socializing game I will try my best. My social battery is quite short so I might reply in 1-2 months after the comment is posted. Just know I love y’all when you do like and comment <3
To all the bloggers I befriended this year thank you for motivating me to post more and inspiring me to write better content. I wish I could name all of y’all but there is just too many 😭😭 Also don’t be shy about DM’ing me if you want a shoutout on my monthly wrap ups because I will definitely make space for anyone!! <3
To all my internet friends that have kept me sane and stood by my side during the happiest and darkest moments in my life. Life became more bearable when I met you all as we can rant or scream about books together. I love you and thank you for being there for me! You know who you are <3