Comics Roundup #48: “An Embarrassment of Witches”

Sometimes I go on my library’s Libby app just to browse what they have in their online collection. I was doing that one night when I stubbled upon An Embarrassment of Witches by Sophie Goldstein & Jenn Jordan. It’s a YA fantasy graphic novel about two young women navigating life after college and their changing friendship.

An Embarrassment of Witches by Sophie Goldstein (illus.) & Jenn Jordan

Genre

YA Fantasy

Series

n/a

Pubbed

2020

Goodreads summary

Life after college isn’t turning out exactly as Rory and Angela had planned. Rory, recently dumped at the gate of her flight to Australia, needs to find a new life path ASAP. What do you do with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Southeast Asian Spellcraft? Maybe her cute new housemate Guy is the answer she’s looking for (spoiler alert: he isn’t).

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2021 Reading Plans

I’m all done reflecting on what I read and did last year. 2020 was a good year for my reading and blogging. I read way more than I anticipated (94 books, comics, and picture books) and blogged a lot more too. My followers rose as well, which was pretty cool. 😊 Thank you everyone!

I hope such positivity for my blogging and reading will continue into 2021. I kept my reading goals manageable last year, and I plan to continue doing so this year. (I just need to limit the amount of reading events I participate in at a time.)

Many of my goals below are the same as last year.

Overall reading goals

spend less
read more of my own books
complete some series

I spent less and read more of my own books in 2020 but didn’t complete many series. I’d like to continue with these goals because I know I can do better.

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Characters of the Year Book Tag | 2020

Here’s a tag to give a shout-out to the characters I read about and watched in 2020.

I believe this tag was created by Amanda, A Brighter Shade of Hope, at least that’s what I said in my previous posts of this tag; but Amanda’s tag link no longer works. Maybe it was taken down. I mention all this because I like to credit those who create the tags, and I really think she created this one. So…

Favorite male character of the year

Maia

That’s Maia the half-goblin from The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. It’s a fantasy novel about a young half-goblin, Maia, who suddenly becomes emperor when his father died. Maia is just the sweetest. He’s pretty naïve when he becomes emperor, and it shows. I love that we get to follow along as he grows and becomes more competent and confident in his position.

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Reflecting on 2020: Reading

2020 wasn’t a great year, but there were some positive moments and my reading was one of them. Although I suffered from bouts of reading slumps, especially at the beginning of the year, I managed to read a lot more than I anticipated.

To go easy on myself, I set my Goodreads goal at a manageable 50 books, just as I did back in 2019. But because I was stuck at home like many others with little else to distract me, I managed to read more than I expected and ended the year having read a combination of 94 books, comics, mangas, and picture books. That’s 16 more things than I read last year. I was hoping to hit the 100 mark (which I hope for every year), but that didn’t work out. Maybe I’ll do so this year, 2021.

I began 2020 in a reading slump that didn’t get much better as the year wore on. Sometimes I’d escape the slumpiness only to plunge back into it weeks later either because I took on too many reading events and engagements or because what was going on in the world affected my mood and reading experiences. Still, I managed to read some good books and even binged on a genre I hardly ever read — romance. I also managed to partake in some great readalongs and buddy-reads too.

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2020 End of Year Book Survey

It’s that time again for the very long, very detailed book survey created by Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner. I enjoy doing this each year. It’s just a fun way to reflect on one’s reading. There are a lot of questions, so I’ll most likely skip some of them (and you’ll most likely not read all of them, lol).

2020 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 94

Books: 44
Audio: 22
E-books: 28

Number of books reread: 24

Number of books I Did Not Finish: 4

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

Best book I read in 2020:

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

It’s a children’s picture book that has no pictures in it, and it’s the best book I read in 2020 because it was light and simple and the best companion to have during such a tumultuous year.

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ZeZee’s Disappointing Reads of 2020

Hey, the disappointing books I read deserve some love too, so here’s a list of them.

I’m of the opinion that listing my disappointing reads can help them attract a new book lover. Just because I didn’t like them doesn’t mean everyone else will. I don’t often see people list their disappointing reads, but I’ve sometimes found recommendations on the few such lists I’ve seen and have even added a book to my TBR after reading a negative review of it. So, although these books and comics didn’t work for me, they might interest you.

You’ll also notice that not all of these disappointing reads received a low rating. I mostly rate based on my enjoyment of what I read because I read to be entertained, but I also consider how well crafted the book, comic, or picture book is. So some of these received a high rating because they are well written (and I probably enjoyed them at first) but ultimately let me down by the end (and I couldn’t ignore/forgive that so I added them to this list).

These are listed in the order I read them throughout the year. If I posted a review, I will link to it.

(NOTE: If the layout below looks wonky, it’s mostly likely because you’re viewing this on your phone in the WordPress Reader app which, for some reason unknown to me, keeps messing up the layout when I use certain gallery settings to format the layout of photos. If you view it on the website instead, it will show correctly.)

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ZeZee’s Most Memorable Reads of 2020

Can you tell that I get a kick out of these “best of” book lists for this time of year?

I recently posted my favorites list and now I’m sharing a list of the most memorable books and comics I read in 2020. These are stories that lingered with me long after I completed them either because of their great storytelling, strong characters, impressive worldbuilding, beautiful prose, or a combination of those qualities. These are stories I couldn’t help thinking about at odd times or considered returning to in the new year. Some received higher ratings than some of my favorites and almost made it onto that list.

I’ve listed them below in the order I read them. If I posted a review, I will link to it.

Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner ★★★★☆

A 2020 debut fantasy novel about a young woman who leaves her restrictive society for a new city to become a magician and gets caught up in helping to solve a series of troll murders while there. The story is slow-paced but held my interest. It also focuses on the relationship between a troll and a human man. The world building really interested me because of the variety of cultures in the world, the relations between trolls and humans, and how religion is regarded in some countries. I look forward to reading Waggoner’s next book (The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry, which will be out sometime early this year) to learn more about this world.

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ZeZee’s Favorite Reads of 2020

Happy New Year, everyone! 😀 I’m excited for 2021. I’m trying not to jinx the year by placing too many hopes on it to be way better than 2020, but I can’t help myself.

I know the new year started last week but my mind doesn’t want to accept that. For me, the new year starts today, January 4, on a Monday. So expect many posts this week reflecting on my reading and blogging in 2020.

This is my favorite time of year as a book blogger, end of December into the beginning of January, because this is when EVERYONE — bloggers, newspapers and other media outlets, and even friends and family — share what the best books they read in the previous year are. I get so many recommendations from such lists. And, although not everyone does it, I also get recommendations from lists of disappointing reads experienced in the previous year. I mean, just because someone hated a book doesn’t mean I will. So if a book on such a list appeals to me, I’ll add it to my TBR.

Anyway, I’m here with my list of favorite reads in 2020. They are categorized but listed in the order I read them. If I posted a review, I will link to it.

Novels & Short Collections

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe ★★★★☆

This is a little collection of three of Poe’s short stories, but the one that falls on my favorites list for 2020 is the titular one, which is about a young man who kills a blind old man and is driven by the sound of the old man’s heart to confess his crime. Oh man! It’s such a thrilling read. I love how it’s narrated. I sped through it and couldn’t believe I waited this long to try Poe’s work. (I gave the collection 4 stars because I didn’t like the other two stories as much, but I gave the Tell-Tale Heart 5 stars.)

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Reflecting on 2020: Life

Despite the trials and difficulties of 2020, I was lucky and had many positive moments throughout the year. The coronavirus has made the year hard on everyone, and, although my family members were able to keep their jobs and managed not to contract the virus, it made aspects of the year difficult for us too.

The biggest difficulty was being unable to physically connect with family to support them during difficult times. We had a death in the family in 2020 (unrelated to corona) that deeply affected everyone; but because the person passed in March when air travel was at a standstill and countries’ borders were closed, we were unable to travel back to Jamaica to be with family there, to emotionally support them and to be emotionally supported. We had to do it from afar, often over Zoom and WhatsApp, which weren’t often the best substitute.

The downside here is that corona kept us apart when we wanted to be closer; but, in some ways, it made us closer. Due to the death in the family and restrictions to travelling, my family began to connect more. Instead of calling each other every now and then, we formed a WhatsApp group that allowed us to quickly share news, encourage each other, and even joke around. There was a lot more chatter between us.

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