Monthly Recaps

JANUARY RECAP // hello 2021 ft. content planning & much reading

Today, you witness a miracle, my fine friends. You know why? BECAUSE THIS RECAP WAS POSTED ON TIME.

I think we should all just take a second to soak it all in. And also so I can pat myself on the back.

Let’s ignore that Valentines Day is in approximately two weeks. We have books to keep us company in this household. We’re definitely not alone in this household, no ma’am.

I’ll stop now, let’s get into it.

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata {★☆☆}: You may be thinking that it’s very unfortunate that my first read of 2021 was a 3-star but in full honesty, I couldn’t care less. I 99.9% believe that it shan’t represent the rest of my reading year. I did really like this one, it’s not a bad 3-stars, more of an “I don’t have much to say”. I know this one is a fan favourite and I can tell why. From Lukov with Love is still my personal fave but this one and Dear Aaron are fighting for second place. This book is INCREDIBLY slow-burn, like so slow you might pull your hair out. Can be a good and a bad thing. This was… a lot different to Mariana’s other books. I’d say the wit and humour aren’t as sharp and it’s more a story about opening yourself up while remaining very guarded. And it’s good. I really enjoyed it. The romance is very… endearing and tender. And did I mention slow??? Because OOF. But I do recommend and you can click here for my GR review <3

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman {★½☆}: oof I am GLAD that I have finally read this. This book has been on many a tbr since like 2017 so YAY ME *pats myself on back*. As you can tell by my rating, it wasn’t a 5 star and I am slightly disappointed. It was still enjoyable and I couldn’t put it down. Just not exactly what I expected. This is mainly due to the romance which I… disliked funnily enough. Huh a rare for me. But it’s the truth. All the other discussions were phenomenal but I just wasn’t hooked on the romance. I’m hoping to post a review soon so I’ll leave this short, but head on over to GR for more thoughts. Thanks to JB for the review copy!

Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese {★½☆}: I picked this one up on a whim, which I do know is something I need to be doing less of. Stop judging me. Something good did come of it alright, gimme a break. But sports romance IS MY THING ATM. As you can tell by my first read of the year. I don’t have all that many thoughts on this one apart from that I just enjoyed it and had a good time. I ADORE Chloe Liese *cough* see below *cough* and I loved that this one was about a female athlete. There’s also great disability representation. My only issues with this were that I think the romance needed more development, it escalated quite quickly and I also didn’t love the miscommunication. But overall, a great time. Click for my GR review.

Always Only You by Chloe Liese {★}: no, your eyes are not deceiving you. Those are indeed 5 complete stars in a row. That should be all you need to know, but of course, I have more to say. I do also have a blog post review planned because I MEAN HELLO. This is the companion novel to Only When It’s Us and just !!! *insert all the heart eyes*. I do want to hold you in suspense until that review comes out but both the writing and banter were amazing, there’s own-voices autism representation, THE ROMANCE WAS FANTASTIC and I also mayhaps have actually liked the sex scenes. Click here for my GR review as you wait.

You and Me On Vacation by Emily Henry {★☆}: ugh I’m annoying, I know, but more thoughts to come in my blog post review. But basically, my entire day was interrupted when I got accepted for the eARC. May have been screaming idk. But IT WAS A WILD TIME. And this friends to lovers was PAINFUL OMG. You’ll also learn that I say different far too many times in that review but this book was different and I still need recovery time. Out May 11th, GR review here, peace out. Big thanks to Penguin UK for the eARC via Netgalley xoxo.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon {★☆☆}: crying big tears right now because I’m kinda disappointed. And it’s sad but I don’t want to dwell if I’m being honest. I’ve never read from this author before but have been COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS till it came out. But we just didn’t click. The premise was fun and I read it super fast, but it was just… meh. The romance was just not my cup of tea and lacked development. I need SLOW-BURN and TENSION and YEARNING. This romance just happened way too fast for me to buy it. Also, I didn’t expect this going in but it is VERY steamy and has a lot more sex than I anticipated. All rather lacklustre in my opinion, but click here for more thoughts.

Did I read any of the books I wanted to since like a week ago? No. Was that expected? Yes, it was.

Alongside the eARCS I had on my December tber, I may have been approved a couple more and I may also be screaming:

  • You Have a Match by Emma Lord (released 12 January)
  • A Pho Love Story by Loan Le (out 9 February)
  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle (out 11 February)
  • A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth (out 23 February)
  • The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas (out 23 February)
  • Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (out 9 March)

My friends, I have discovered the magic of secondhand book stores so like that is why there are quite a few books on here.

I bought The Diviners by Libbra Bray, this hardcover of my fave Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, all second hand. And also won a copy of House of Earth & Blood (Crescent City) by Sarah J. Maas in a giveaway.

The lovely folks from Penguin Random House SA sent me a copy of The Cousins by Karen M. McManus.

Pan Macmillan SA so kindly sent me Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (an anticipated 2021 release), as well as Kristin Hannah‘s most recent releases: Wild and The Four Winds.

And lastly, I’m trying out some non-fiction, so my favourites at Jonathan Ball Publishers sent me The Pink Line: Journeys Across The World’s Queer Frontiers by Mark Gevisser and also The Address Book: What Street Ad
dresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power by Deirdre Mask

Click to go to the post

Okay, it SHALL be February that I try and listen to Evermore. Mark my words. Moving on. Don’t shame me.

My watching month has actually been pretty boring tbh. I continued with Shameless a lil bit. But AM WAITING ON MORE SEASON 11 EPISODES DAMN IT.

I think I watched one movie but I’ve already forgotten what it’s called lmao.

Though I did literally just last night watch the first episode of Peaky Blinders and !!!! It’s only the first episode so I don’t have many thoughts so I’ll keep you posted.

I’m a boring person oh well.

Though keep your eyes open for an upcoming related movie post. Hopefully soon. My fingers are working on it.

I almost said that I didn’t have much here either but that’d be a lie. Because I can talk about uni, which is actually very exciting. I took a look at my courses and though my registration hasn’t gone through, all of my classes look SO AMAZING. Which is a very new feeling for me. First-year was, not experimental, but more just a discovery time for. And now that I know what uni is all about, I can be excited about my classes. If that makes sense??

Though lowkey at the same time, I don’t want the semester to start.

Love that for me.

Apart from that, my January has been going great. I’ve been taking it super chill, which I think is how a lot of people are taking it. I’ve been on shift a smol bit and just keeping myself busy.

Great times.


Happy reading




  • Sara * Lyrical Reads

    Used bookstores are the best!! (oh no, I want to go to a few now😂) I haven’t finished my first read yet, although I’m planning on today, mainly because I started a few new shows and yeah lol. I wanted to watch the first episode of Extracurricular (K-drama on Netflix) for an article I was writing, and then I ended up finishing the whole thing whoops. Then I started Reply 1997, and I can see why people love this show a lot!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Sara, you’re the bestest. Thank you for stopping by xoxoxo

      And oof YES. I really miss physical book shopping and when we eventually can go back, I really want to go to some of them. The 2nd hand places i’ve been buying from have all been online local places and it’s been so much fun!!

      Omg but FUN. Love that you’ve been watching shows. I hope you can read something soon but also YOU DO YOU. And also ahh I did the SAME thing for a uni essay. I had to do a film analysis essay and chose a show and totally devoured all of it lmao. I haven’t heard of the ones you’ve talked about but I’m def going to look them up and add to my watchlist.

      Lots of love xoxoxo

  • Sophie @ Me & Ink

    I didn’t love the romance in Starfish either, it was okay just not my favourite. I think my favourite things were the discussions and the art. But I did want more from the brothers (or brother, I can’t remember) but I remember feeling like we could have spent more time with them really.
    I’m glad you had a 5 star read last month though, I’m still waiting on my first 5 star of the year haah.
    I hope you enjoy all the books on your TBR. I’m very excited for A Dark and Hollow Star !!
    I hope your uni classes go okay and I’m glad you are looking forward to them mostly. I’m sending loads of best wishes your way !! 💕 Have a great February !!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ahh Sophie, I’m glad I’m not alone because I realised not many people addressed that the romance wasn’t great?? For me, it would have been fine if the romance wasn’t such a huge part of the story. But I just COULDN’T buy it. But I LOVED the discussions and the incorporation of art omg *chefs kiss*. 1000& agree with on the brothers though!! I wanted more of them, to understand them and understand why they weren’t very close!!

      Eeeep I hope your first 5 star comes SOON. We need that energy in 2021 hahaha. I’ll def keep you posted on A Dark and Hollow Star btw. It’s coming out soon so need to read asap.

      Thank you so much Sophie. You are too kind. I luckily still have the rest of the month until classes so trying to make the most out of it. Lots of love to youuuu <3<3

  • Emily

    I really enjoyed The Cousins by: Karen M. Mcmanus. It took me on a rollercoaster of emotions, that’s for sure. But it was also pretty thrilling and I didn’t see the twists coming for sure.

    I have never really listened to Taylor Swift before but omg her last two albums are so good! I listen to Folklore and Evermore when I’m doing yoga and it instantly makes my day better.

    Hope you have a good February!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ooooh you’ve made me very intrigued and I hope I love The Cousins!! Hope I enjoy hehe. It’s been a bit of hit/miss with the author but I really enjoyed her latest one. Fingers crossed!!

      Omg SAME. Though I have listened to her other two recent albums, and I liked them. Not a fave but still fun. But omg FOLKLORE IS FANTASTIC. And I’m not ready to be murdered by Evermore, going to listen to it soooonnn though.

      Thank you so much for stopping by xoxoxo

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah Tiff, love you!!! Thank you for stopping by!! Eeep hope you love it when it comes out. I don’t wan to spoil anything so I shan’t say a word but I’m intrigued to hear what you think <3<3

  • Sofii @ A Book. A Thought.

    Ok, but OMG … SUPER excited that you started Peaky Blinders!! I LOVE that series SO MUCH. 😍😍😍
    I trust your opinion so much that every time I see a 5 star happening in one of your posts I’m like adding it all to my TBR. 😅❤️
    I hope you have a wonderful month, love & happy reading ✨✨✨

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah Sofii, thank you so much for stopping by. Haha RIGHT?! I’ve been meaning to for ages. I’ve since started episode two and THE PLOT HAS THICKENED OMG. Agh you are TOO sweet but I do highly recommend Always Only You. It just,,, wow I loved it <3<3

      Lots of love to you xoxo

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      So sorry for this late response Marta. Agh I’m terrible with comments lately!!

      I also,,, haven’t read either of those ones yet. But they’re on the tbr again for this month so cross your fingers for me haha. I have high hopes I’ll love them both so I’m excited! Lots of love <3<3

  • Lais @ The Bookish Skies

    props to you for being able to read slowburn romance, my impatient ass could never🤩 even when i’m reading fanfic, i skim until the couple gets together or close to lol the chloe elise duology looks amazing, i really need to pick up more books with disability rep!

    ALSO: why is it that shameless is not releasing a new episode every week? their schedule for season 11 is so messed up jesusssss

    anyway, hope you have an amazing february, ruby!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Lais, huge apologies for being so late with this reply, I’ve been horrible at comments lately. But love you and thank you for stopping by!!

      lmao the way you make me LAUGH. Slow-burn is my absolute favourite and I for some reason like to make myself suffer. But the waiting is why I LOVE romance. If it happens too fast then I tend to not like them oops. And yes you MUST read Chloe Liese’s books. They’re not as slow-burn as Mariana but still quite. I believe that her series is going to be quite long actually (there are lots of siblings in the family hehe) which should be fun.

      omg YES I’M SO FRUSTRATED, IT IS TORTURE!!! But I think from this week onwards they’re going back to a weekly schedule THANK GOODNESS!

  • White Rose Stories

    Thank you so much for the mention, Ruby! I appreciate it so very much 🤍 And ahh, I don’t know how but you and I are so similar in many ways. I literally started watching Peaky Blinders for the first time last month. I’ve only watched the first episode so far because I’ve not really been in a mood to binge anything. So happy you’re excited for your classes! I’m in the middle of the registration process for my first year and it’s quite scary because I’m new to everything to do with university, you know? I just don’t know what to expect 🙈✨

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Apologies for this very late response omg!! But of course, LOVED that post.

      We love the twin energy in this household hehe. Oof yes, I’ve also only watched a few episodes since because it’s quite heavy.

      Eeep that is so exciting!! Hope it all goes well. If you don’t mind me asking, which uni are you attending? You’ll be great btw <3<3 lots of love!!!

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