Making My Grand(ish) Return To The Online Book World! | Lately With Lila August 2021 – January 2022 Edition

Hello again, my dear friends! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I hope you all are well, and if not, I hope brighter days head your way soon!

The question is now “how many times can I use this specific gif in a ‘returing from hiatus’ post?” šŸ¤¦ā€ā™€ļø

I’m so very sorry that I disappeared all of a sudden. The second half of 2021 was incredibly difficult for me, as my physical and mental health significantly declined. This led to my motivation and ability to read and blog just taking a total nosedive and crash landing in the sewer. I’m still s l o w l y crawling out of the emotional trash pit I fell into, but at least now I can see the sun, so that’s progress and at this point I’m taking what I can get!

Anyhoo, the last time I managed to finish any reading was in September of 2021! Can you believe that?! So long ago!! I also haven’t managed to really watch much, either! I know—I’m shocked too! But enough of me bemoaning my lack of progress when it comes to consuming entertainment media! The latter half of 2021 wasn’t a total loss in that area, so let’s just take a look at what I did manage to actually read, watch, and listen to!

what i posted

what i read

šŸ”Ž The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson (ā˜…ā˜…ā˜…ā˜…ā˜…) Are we surprised? No? Didn’t think so. Lissen, honestly Maureen Johnson could stack an infinite amount of Stevie Bell mysteries on my plate and I’d still happily shovel them all down without complaint! The Box in the Woods is kind of a “bonus”/”spin-off” adventure involving Stevie and the gang, wherein they are hired to solve a decades old murder mystery, whilst masquerading as summer camp counselors. It’s goofy, it’s gumshoe-filled, it’s as glorious as all of the previous books! Should you read it you haven’t read the Truly Devious trilogy and don’t want to be spoiled? Absolutely not! But I guess that’s just one more good reason to read the original series!

šŸŗ The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid (ā˜…ā˜…ā˜†ā˜†ā˜†.75 ) This book was one of my top three most anticipated debuts of 2021, so you can imagine my devastation when it ended up being my biggest disappointment of the year! I actually have a review of The Wolf and the Woodsman coming up soon, so for now I’ll just leave it at saying that this book and I just didn’t click for a myriad of reasons.

šŸ”„ Clara and the Devil by Olivie Blake and Little Chmura (ā˜…ā˜…ā˜…ā˜…ā˜…) A lot of readers say that they can’t get super into this particular webcomic (which is penned by current “bookish internet” queen, Olivie Blake, author of The Atlas Six) and, from what I’ve seen, people’s chief complaint is that the series lacks a solid plot as of yet. So, noting that complaint, I went in with low to moderate expectations…and I was actually pleasantly surprised? Clara and the Devil is an interesting mix between a Faustian fantasy and a modern day slice-of-life college story, with its elegant writing and beautiful art mixing to make a uniquely atmospheric reading experience. An absolutely enchanting read and I highly recommend it!

what i plan on reading

what i’d like to read in 2022

Given my recent health struggles, this year I’d like to be far easier on myself than I’ve been in recent years when it comes to my reading. My Goodreads goal is set to “1” and I’m focused solely on the quality of the books I read and not on pressuring myself to reach any kind of goals. Yes, I’m technically “participating” in Pondathon and The 2022 Popsugar Reading Challenge, but that’s more in case I need extra motivational “help” to figure out what to read at any point. The books pictured above are all of my most anticipated releases and while I’d definitely love to read any of them, I also won’t particularly heartbroken if I don’t end up reading any at all.

Now, you may notice a big difference between this year’s loose TBR and TBRs of years past and that is that all of the above books fall solidly into the “Adult” demographic (at least in the American market). Honestly, I’m just as surprised as you may be, but I’m definitely not upset about it. I’ve been trying to branch out into the Adult Fantasy demographic for years now, but it’s been tough because until this past year there were very few Adult Fantasy books which followed women in their twenties (especially marginalized women in their twenties like me). But it seems like last year was finally a big breakthrough in the Adult Fantasy category for that particular demographic and it also appears that this year is continuing that trend! And lemme tell ya, friends, I am LIVING for it! Give me ALL the Adult Fantasy books about marginalized young women in their twenties!!!

All in all, I’m hoping to just take this year as it comes and not try to force anything. Hopefully that means reading plenty of good books that I really enjoy and which light up my imagination, but if it doesn’t…*shrugs* guess that’s just life, baby šŸ˜‰

what i’d like to read in february 2022

Since it’s super late in January as I’m writing this post and I haven’t made a ton of progress on reading anything yet, realistically, I’m probably not gonna be able to finish anything by the end of the month. That being said, during the past few days I have started Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan and The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, so maybe I’ll get through one of those two books by the end of February.

I’d also like to check off the Popsugar prompt, “read a book about the afterlife,” by reading Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco. I figured that since the book stars a prince of Hell and takes place at least partly in the underworld, Kingdom of the Cursed qualifies in some way as being “about the afterlife.” Anyhow, I know it’s a cheesy series, but I thought the first book was really fun, despite a few technical issues, and I’ve heard great things about the sequel from readers who loved the first book. I’m also interested as the publisher is marketing Kingdom of the Cursed (and presumably the rest of the series as well) as New Adult/Adult, despite having marketed the first book as Young Adult and I’m interested in seeing how the book navigates that change in content maturity level.

That’s pretty much it for February, though. Just trying to live out that goal for a more relaxed mindset and have a good time. Keepin’ my figers crossed it’ll pan out!

what i acquired

Tbh I don’t really remember, so I have no clue šŸ˜¬šŸ˜‚

what i watched

only murders in the building

The only show that I’ve really gotten into is Hulu’s new(ish) original series, Only Murders in the Building, which I absolutely LOVE! If you enjoy Knives Out—and particularly how Knives Out mixed old style Agatha Christie-ish murder mystery with comedy—then you will just adore this show! I cannot stress how completely obsessed I am with Only Murders in the Building!! The show focuses on three tenants of an apartment building who bond over their love of a true crime podcast when their building is evacuated because the fire alarm was set off. The three learn that during the evacuation someone was found dead, and, convinced it must’ve been a murder, the they decide to investigate and document their thoughts and findings in their own true crime podcast. But each person in the trio has plenty of secrets and as they look more and more into the mysterious death in their apartment building, the secrets from their foggy pasts just might come creeping up to tangle their investigation!

what i listened to

autumn 2021

the podcast corner


I typically listen to podcasts on Spotify, but given everything that’s going on, I’m currently looking for a new podcast distributor. While I’ve still embedded the Spotify player for each podcast, I’ve also linked to each show’s general website, where you can find an alternate distributor.

old gods of appalachia

I actually live about two hours away from the Shenandoah Valley and the Virginia section of the Appalachian Mountains, so when I found this podcast and saw that it was a paranormal fiction audiodrama, I was instantly interested! I’ve always thought the Appalachian part of the US has a very interesting folklore that’s mixed into its history, so it’s pretty neat to see a story taking advantage of it (especially since the folks telling the story are actually from that region). I’ve only just started Old Gods of Appalachia, but so far it’s every bit as enjoyable as I hoped it’d be!

noble blood

What an interesting podcast! Noble Blood is a podcast in which each episode focuses on a single noble in history whose life has a particularly wacky, weird, and/or bloody story. And it’s absolutely fascinating! Even as just a “fledgling writer,” I find the true stories on the podcast are great fodder for fiction! But regardless of whether or not you enjoy writing, you should DEFINITELY give this awesome podcast a listen!

the mothership podcast

I absolutely LOVE all of the YouTubers who host The Mothership Podcast (shoutout Broey Deschanel, Amanda the Jedi, Friendly Space Ninja, and Short N Bald!), so of course I love their new podcast together! Together the group discusses mainly movies and TV and, even when I haven’t watched whatever they’re talking about, it’s really interesting to hear their takes and how they interact (especially when their perspectives diverge).

what i bookmarked

As a fantasy fan and fellow scientist (albeit one of the physics variety, lol), I absolutely LOVED Fi’s post mixing the two! It’s so incredibly cool how she got to work for Jay Kristoff as a botany reference! And it was also really neat to hear about that process and how her knowledge was integrated into Empire of the Vampire!

Y’all know I’m a fan of Bertie’s series on literary ableism, so of course their latest post in the series is in this section! This time Bertie talks about the desexualization of disabled characters and…whew! Y’all I once again felt so seen by this post! I can’t praise their series and this post enough, so the bottom line is: go read it!

Well, call me a certified fangirl cause I’ve fallen completely in love with Amanda’s series of posts all about various literary sub genres and recommending books in those categories featuring diverse casts and characters! And, of course, as someone who’s already a fan of this particular sub genre, I loved her latest post in the series all about diverse dark fantasy!

what i did during the second half of 2021

Whew! Lemme tell y’all…2021 felt like *movie trailer guy voice*2020: The Sequel: COVID Challenges Part 5,399,2711,857 (Once Again Starring Our ‘Beloved’ Recurring Character, Overdramatic Mental Health Spirals But ‘New & Improved’!!!)” and I honestly cannot stress enough how fucking glad I am that the year (FINALLY!!!) ended! Tbh, by the time we reached December, trying to deal with my worsening physical and mental health felt like trying to beat a dead horse with a stick, except the “dead horse” in question was ME!

Thankfully, right at the beginning of January I was able to start the process to really get what I need and I’ve been on the mend since! I’m so glad to say that I now feel better than I have in months and am looking forward to the future with the knowledge that even brighter days are ahead!

what i hope for in 2022

My biggest focus for this coming year is healing. I’ve been through so much in recent months that’s really part of a larger constellation that formed around the start of the pandemic two years ago. I’ve only really been managing the issues that have popped up, rather than taking my life inmy own hands and living it. And I think I’m ready to st least start the process of doing that. It’s always daunting to look ahead on a journey like this, but I know I have lots of skills already in my toolbox and plenty of good teachers to help me along the way. I guess the only thing left to say is…

spill the beans, friends!

  • How was your 2021?
  • What were your favorite reads from 2021?
  • Do you have any reading goals for this coming year?

Posted by

Lila is a 27-year-old college student studying physics and a lover of literature. When she's not busy reading or saving the world through science, Lila can be found singing jazz and blues and obsessing over hedgehogs (a.k.a. the cutest animals in the multiverse!)

18 thoughts on “Making My Grand(ish) Return To The Online Book World! | Lately With Lila August 2021 – January 2022 Edition

  1. Okay, I absolutely HAVE to read Clara and the Devil!!! I adore the Atlas Six and I even have some art prints of the characters from the novel by Little Chmura, so I’ll definitely enjoy the art style as well.
    Also, I love Only Murders in the Building as well! I’m so looking forward to the second season šŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yesss do read it!!! i have yet to read The Atlas Six, but i’ve preordered the audiobook so i can’t wait to give it a listen! also i didn’t know Only Murders in the Building had the okay for a second season but i’m so excited to know that it does! i’m almost to the end of season 1 now and i can’t wait to see where it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It was such a nice surprise to see this post pop up in my reader! I’m happy to see you back, Lila, and I’m glad to hear you’re doing better! Hopefully, things will continue to go uphill in 2022! šŸ’™

    I’m sorry to hear you weren’t a big fan of The Wolf and the Woodsman, though – I’ve really been looking forward to that one and have been seeing more and more unfavorable reviews lately šŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. awww, thank you, my dear naemi ā¤ ā¤ ā¤

      i actually have a review for the wolf and the woodsman coming up later today. while it wasn't my personal taste, i do think the author shows a lot of promise in her writing. regardless, i truly hope you enjoy it—to each their own, after all šŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s good to see you again, Lila! Glad to hear that you’re slowly getting back to things and that your focus for this year is healing. Hope you have a great year and enjoy all the books in your list!

    Liked by 1 person

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