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Happy February, friends!

Normally when a month ends, I feel like it went by both too fast and too slow at the same time, but January—at least to me—lasted so long. Still, it feels so strange saying that we’re one-twelfth of the way through 2021!!

This month wasn’t the best start of the year, but it also wasn’t terrible. As you can tell from the title, I was able to read 14 books and really enjoyed almost all of them! I also had Spotify on almost all the time and listened to a ton of great music.

There’s not much else to say because my month was pretty boring, so let’s just get on with the wrap-up!



I enjoyed my last week of winter break at the beginning of January, and I mostly spent that reading and enjoying freedom from school!! I wish we had a longer break because going back to school after that was the worst, but thankfully the workload hasn’t been as bad as last semester, and I really hope it stays that way.

One highlight of my month was that I started going on (social distanced) walks outside almost every day with my family, and it’s been so fun! My mental health was also really great in January, which I’m so grateful for.

Reputation (Taylor Swift album) - Wikipedia 201229 (G)I-DLE 4th Mini Album [I burn] 🥀 : GIDLE

I had Taylor Swift’s reputation on repeat the entire month, and I love it so much!! My favorites off the album would probably be Getaway Car and King of My Heart. Also, (G)-idle released their mini album I Burn in January, and I really enjoyed listening to all the songs!

i love them 🥺🥺

I also got into Loona and they’re now one of my favorite kpop girl groups – all the girls are so talented!! A few of their songs I’ve had on repeat are Star, So What, Butterfly, Why Not, and Chuu’s solo Heart Attack (it’s the cutest song ever plus it has a sapphic mv!!).

In terms of TV, I watched a few episodes of The Legend of Korra, but other than that, I barely watched anything else! I’ve been struggling to finish The Legend of Korra for… a long time (I think I started it in October), and currently I’m only halfway through season 2. 😭 I really want to try to continue watching it because!! Korrasami!! but I unfortunately don’t love it as much as ATLA.



I read 14 books in January, and since that’s the most I’ve ever read in one month, I’m really proud of myself!! For today’s wrap-up, I’m just going to be showcasing my 5 favorites of the month (excluding rereads because I reread Picture Us In the Light as my first read of the year and cried again at its beauty!!), as well as my February TBR.

If you’d like to see every book that I read in January, you can find them here on my Goodreads reading challenge!)

The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle, #1) Pie in the Sky On a Sunbeam Dating Makes Perfect Raybearer (Raybearer, #1)

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo // 4 stars

I finished this in one sitting and truly enjoyed following the story, holding my breath as details unraveled and spun together to weave the full picture! The feminist themes were so powerful, and each character was fleshed out in such an intriguing way. [read my full review]

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai // 4.5 stars

Pie in the Sky embodied everything I love in middle grade novels, and it was truly a love letter to family, friendship, and cake! I really enjoyed reading it, and it’s so underrated so I would highly recommend picking it up. [read my full review]

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden // 4.5 stars

I’d heard such great things about this graphic novel, and it was truly as good as everyone else said it would be!! The art style was absolutely gorgeous, and it featured a (sapphic!) found family set in space, which was so lovely to read about. [read my full review]

Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn // 4 stars

This was such a cute contemporary novel that featured an adorable friends-to-enemies-to-lovers romance!! I binged it in a few sittings because it was such a fun read.  [read my full review]

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko // 4.5 stars

I honestly can’t believe this was a debut – almost everything about it was written amazingly, especially the immersive worldbuilding, beautiful prose, and fleshed out characters! I can’t wait to read the sequel when it comes out later this year.

✧ ♡ ✧ ♡ ✧

February TBR:

When We Were Infinite Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1) The Hate U Give (The Hate U Give, #1) The Space Between Worlds
We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1) The Stars and the Blackness Between Them So You Want to Talk About Race All Boys Aren't Blue

I received an eARC of When We Were Infinite after my first time emailing a publisher in January, and I’m so grateful that I was able to! I’m really hoping that it lives up to my expectations when I read it in February. I’m also very excited for the rest of these books, and I hope I can get to all of them—especially the nonfiction ones.



I… didn’t write anything in January, so as usual, this section is pitifully short!! However, I did make aesthetic boards and playlists for my WIPs, and I also made Picrews of the main characters for a new WIP I recently got the idea for! (credits to Poika)

mayra pari

I’m hoping I can try to get out of my slump and write at least something next month, so wish me luck. 😭



I’m pretty happy with how blogging went for me in January, because I posted 5 times and  was able to (at least kind of) keep up with blog hopping!!

My Posts (click on the graphic to read):





I didn’t set any goals for January, so here are my February goals!

  • Write!! Something!!
  • Journal more often.
  • Don’t look at your phone first thing in the morning! (This was one of my yearly goals for 2021, and I am not doing well at it so far…)
  • Continue going on short walks every day.
  • Post on Instagram more often! (I haven’t posted or interacted on my Instagram account for a few weeks, and I really want to get back to posting regularly!)
  • Read 7 books (and at least 2 nonfiction ones!)
  • Post at least 4 blog posts.

Let's Chat

how was January for you? what music did you listen to? what were your favorite books of the month?



23 responses to “January Wrap-Up // I Went Back to School But Read 14 Books!”

  1. Mary Elizabeth Avatar

    AhHhhhhh PICREW
    I love that format so much it’s my absolute favorite! I have it bookmarked! Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ash @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      haha same, i love the art style!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. May @ Forever and Everly Avatar

    omg i don’t know if you’ve started when we were infinite, but i just did and if you want to buddy read it let me know!! (i’ll likely be a bit slow lol) and ahh i just finished reading the space between worlds and it was so good! i hope you enjoy it, it makes such good social commentary and i loved the writing

    i’m really glad you enjoyed raybearer, on a sunbeam, and dating makes perfect! i haven’t read the last one (i have been meaning to for months now 😭) but i love raybearer and on a sunbeam so much. and your wip characters look so cool!! can’t wait to hear more about your wip eye emoji 😎

    i’m glad you had a decent january, and i hope you have a fantastic february!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ash @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      omg i’m planning on starting it today so i would love to buddy read it!! 🥺 (no worries i’m a very slow reader lmao) ahh i’m so glad you enjoyed the space between worlds, it sounds so good and i can’t wait to read it! i hope you love dating makes perfect and are able to read it soon 💕 and thank you hehe 🥰

      i hope you have a fantastic february as well, may!! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. May @ Forever and Everly Avatar

        perfect!! feel free to dm me on insta then! (i’m only like 15 pages in 😭)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. beckythemothling Avatar

    The picrews are so cute!

    I’ve been in a writing slump lately, too. I think it’s just really hard to keep up with writing once you’re doing homework. I would love to try to devote more time to it, though, I just need to get on top of my schedule 😅

    That’s great that you’ve been reading so much! I hope you continue to find books you like!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ash @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      thank you so much!! 🥺🥺and ahh i completely agree, school is so hard to balance with writing but i hope we’re both able to get back into writing soon! thank you ahh 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ahaana @ Windows to Worlds Avatar

    ahh ash!! i loved this wrap-up so much!! our school was going to physically start, but it’s gotten postponed now!! i’m also loving your picrews!! congratulations on emailing a publisher for the first time and receiving the book you requested!! i haven’t been able to work a lot on my WIP lately, but i’m hoping i will be soon!! 💖


  5. Sophie @ Me & Ink Avatar

    I’m glad your mental health has been doing well recently and sometimes walks can make a difference so I’m glad they’ve helped you. I will definitely have to listen to Loona, they sound great. I already like their song titles haha.
    I’m so glad you enjoyed Raybearer, I’ve honestly heard nothing but good things so it is very high priority on my TBR. Your TBR for February looks great, I hope you enjoy all of your reads.
    Those Picrew icons look amazing, I want to meet them and the earrings are GREAT !!
    Thank you so much for sharing my post, I’m SO glad you enjoyed it !! 💕💕 Best of luck with your goals for February. I am hoping to write and use instagram more this month too so fingers crossed for us both !!


  6. tasya @ the literary huntress Avatar

    I hope you have an amazing February! Jade City is one book I really want to start this year!


  7. Margaret @ Weird Zeal Avatar

    Fourteen books in a month is an amazing achievement!! Yep, Legend of Korra doesn’t quite live up to ATLA for me either, though I do still enjoy it most of the time. (Season 2 is pretty bad overall, but once you get through that it gets better IMO.)

    Ahh I’m so happy you loved On a Sunbeam, since that’s one of my absolute favorite graphic novels!! And your description of Empress of Salt and Fortune makes me even more excited to read it 😀

    Good luck with all your goals in February—I hope it’s an amazing month! ❤


  8. Dezzy @ The Thoughtful Voice Avatar

    absolutely loved reading this post, Ash! your posts and blogging voice never fail to make me smile 🥺💓 thank you so much for including my 2020 favorites post in this, i really appreciate it and i’m glad you enjoyed reading it hehe :)) congrats on reading 14 books in January, that’s AMAZING haha look at you goooo 🤩 i think my record for the number of books i’ve read in a month was 12 books, and that was back in July 2019. i was able to read 7 books this January, so half of your amount, and i’m still v happy about it ☺️ anyway, i am SO happy to hear that you loved Raybearer – IKR i can’t believe it’s a debut either bc it’s sooo beautifully written and well-developed 🤯 and AAHHHH that’s wonderful that you got an eARC of When We Were Infinite, ik how much you love Picture Us in the Light haha so i hope you love this one too 💛 wishing you luck on your February goals, you got this!! i hope you read a lot of wonderful books this month 😊


  9. Bree Dawn Avatar

    Okay, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know if When We Were Infinite is as good as it sounds because it’s on my TBR but I need a good review from you to make it a I HAVE TO READ kinda book💕💕


  10. Eleanor J. Avatar

    Love this post!! Thank you so much for listing two of my posts 💞 I’m so happy you were able to listen to a lot of great music and read a lot of great books! Hope February reading goes well for you!! Wishing you all the best with your goals, you’ll do fabulously I’m sure!! I had a lovely January, and would say Becoming and Clues to the Universe were the most notable reads for me, a great way to start the year! And I’ve been listening to ‘the lakes’, ‘Cornelia Street’, ‘London Boy’, and ‘gold rush’ (all from Taylor LOL) an insane amount…


  11. BernadetteMichael Avatar

    I LOVE those pics of your characters


  12. Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea Avatar

    ahh thank you so much for including my post, ash!! and omg i love loona too! they’re all so talented and funny. heart attack really is the cutest song ever, and i love that they made the mv sapphic 😭😭 also i really hope you enjoy your february tbr! i found jade city slow, but the worldbuilding was amazing, and i’m so excited to read the space between worlds the premise is amazing!!

    i hope you have a wonderful february ❤


  13. Lais @ The Bookish Skies Avatar

    i’m happy to hear january has been such a good month, ash!

    i hope you do enjoy the hate u give! i recently read concrete rose, which is the recently published prequel, and *heart eyes*. it was amazing and made me want to re-read thug so much!

    i think procrastinating writing by making aesthetic boards for my characters is literally my biggest hobby lmao i had not thought about making picrews for them, but!!!!!! obsessed with this idea and will definitely be doing this now.

    hope you have an amazing february & wishing you luck on all your goals (especially the not to look at the phone first thing in the morning, it’s a goal of mine as well and i fail at it every morning hahaha)


  14. reindeershermaine Avatar

    I always look at book blogs and monthly wrap-ups, seeing that the amount of books they read is literally insane, and I always begin to question myself “wtf are you doing, shermaine?” (not in a bad way though, more like a joke of disasppointment); and then I proceed to think about how I can only read like 3 books max a month lmao (sometimes I don’t even finish one book)
    P.S. The Hate You Give has been a book that I really wanted to read last year, but I never go around to it.


  15. Marie Avatar

    Ah wow I’m so happy you got to read so much in the past month, that’s so great! I can’t wait to read Raybearer, it sounds incredible! 🙂
    I hope you’re having a lovely February ❤


  16. 3 Year Blogiversary Celebration ft. Me Being Insanely Sappy, Lots Of Thanking, And Some Surveys! – marshmallow harmonies Avatar

    […] list others who I know in this community, but three exceptions (as always!!) are Olivia, Ash, and Ruby – all of whom I adore and will never stop promoting!!! They deserve the world, and […]


  17. sophie Avatar

    i totally get what you mean by still getting thru korra. i’m stalling season 4 lol bc it’s the end of the show. it’s definitely not as good as atla, but i think a lot of people do tend to talk shit abt it for the wrong reasons (cough cough sexismmm) i personally did’t really enjoy s1 bc it focuses wayy to much on the romance aspect, but! i will say the seasons and character development get better as the show goes on!! and agh i love the politics in the modern atla world! (alsooo!!! umm… if you haven’t started we hunt the flame yet o.o buddy read? o.o)


  18. Ruby Rae Reads Avatar

    ma’am apologies for being this late because I see you mentioned my post and HELLO I LOVE YOU!!!! And I’m so so so happy you had a great reading month, just slaying the game methinks. You’ve made me even more excited to read all those books that you talked about eeep. Especially need to read Raybearer and Dating Makes Perfect though *hides*

    WIll keep it short because I have more of your wonderful posts to get through but all the love your way xoxoxo


  19. Sophie @ AIM Away Message Avatar

    Your picrews are so cute!!


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