Captain’s Log: The (Brutally Honest) January 2022 Edition, + A Poll For You

In which I talk about how I did on my new year’s habits, what I wrote, read, saw, listened to, and what I want to get done in February. Plus – a poll! Because I can’t make up my mind and would like your input.

This is a high moment for me, being my fifth post in a row in this new year. ❤ So what did I do (and not do) in January? I’ve come up with an outline template for these monthly updates – see below. 🙂

My Posts (Count: 4)

Surprisingly, I fulfilled my goal of one post per week (true – I did have to skip a week and then make it up in the next), but still, it’s pretty big that I posted the entire month. And didn’t die trying. 😀 Thank you to all those who read, “liked,” commented and interacted with me here!! I appreciate your support and your comments that brightens my day.

The Books (Count: 7)

  1. Jade Fire Gold Reviewed
  2. Instructions for Dancing ⭐ (Review to come)
  3. Heart of Shadow ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐+! 💕 (Ahhh this is TOO AMAZING – Review to come)
  4. Secrets in the Mist ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reviewed
  5. Beta Read 💕 (Very honored to have been on Josiah‘s beta review team. 🙂
  6. The Curse That Binds Us (ARC) ⭐ Reviewed
  7. The Sorcerer and the Swan Princess ⭐⭐⭐ (Review to come)

I, Vargaard of Spineheights, made this soul vow. In your shadow may I dwell that your shadow I may be. Your sorrows I will borrow, your pain I will bear, the lifting of your head shall be my glory, and the light of your eyes my delight. To the last drop of my blood, I will defend you, screaming defiance into the depths. … If I fail in my vow, may curses fall on my head, and may my soul walk the howling roads beyond the veil.


I don’t understand why ‘scream like a girl’ is considered an insult. Have you been to a childbed before?

I have not.

Many women scream in childbed. Scream with such power and might that they defy pain and bring into the world vibrant new life. There is power in their screams. Strength and defiance. They show that being afraid need not conquer you and that agony is not the end but a beginning.


And I will hold onto you, Ilsaletta. I won’t let you face it alone. I will walk with you and through I may not touch you, my arms will shield you, and though I cannot carry you, I will carry your burdens. Though I cannot feed you, I will not let you go hungry. Sick or well, dying or vibrant, destitute or rich, beautiful or withered, innocent or drenched in blood – I will cling to you and guard you, I will honor you and lift you up.

There are wedding vows less full.


You can see character art for Vaargard and Ilsaletta and read the First Chapter on the author’s site. ❤

The Movies

Nothing new here. I (partially) re-watched the Marvel series when it was on in the house. And currently the 007 series are on, so, yeah. I may do a ranking list someday for these two, because, as it turns out, re-watching helps me sort out which ones age better and which ones don’t. xD

Bucky is still the best. And Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is now officially my favorite Marvel movie ever.

And Hawkeye needs a feature movie ALREADY. Read THIS post for why (The Story Sponge never disappoints). I know the TV show came out on Disney+, but yours truly don’t sub to any streaming services. So that’s that. Maybe someday. I do hope that they’re doing a good job with making it.

We just… need more good dad-figures in stories.

The Music

Re-played my BTS’ BE, Map of the Soul: Persona, and especially this BTS chill list that’s simply the best and have basically all of my favorites in one long run:

Thanks to… well, BTS… and MUS!C F0R L!FE


Thanks to what I’ve learned by reading Instructions for Dancing (I dislike the book as a whole on principal, but there are a lot of #TheMostBeautifulMomentsInLife parts in the story that made it extremely charming to read – Yoon is a good writer for sure), as well as Rebecca Rossnewsletter in which she explains her writing process of keeping a journal of story notes before she writes (she’s a pantser – it’s amazing to me that her stories flow logically and paces so well – she must have this intuitive gift to keep it all organized), I’ve finally decided to keep a separate journal to write in all of my little/daily observations and thoughts for story inspiration, ideas, and name banks!

Image from Owlcrate: This is truly a beautiful edition!
P.S. I totally stole that #TheMostBeautifulMomentsInLife from this title.

Highlights in the Blogsphere (Count: 5 x 4 = 20 + 1)

As a way to express my appreciation for every blogger/writer out there publishing content, here are my highlights. 🙂

Bryn Shutt @ Time of the Immortals

She writes epic fantasy, and her snippets from her WIP/s are Simply Glorious: from the prose, to the character intros, to the mystery, to the atmosphere. If you are in the mood for epicness and depth, read them.

About Immortals

  • My input is found on the About Bryn page since this one doesn’t allow comments. But it’s SO GOOD (there are beautiful artwork <3)

Long live no one, nobody … nothing

  • I’m afraid I’ve a weakness for the essentially “de-throned” royal-turned-commoner/thief character. This intro to Ronan is short, but oh so informative. (And that art board is perfect – just what I needed to help picture the atmosphere, scene, and people. <3)


  • The brother dynamic shown in this jailbreak story 😀 is amazing! I love the mysterious setting here, as well as all the questions that are hinted at.
  • And that ending… 😥 I need more. ❤

Dudes in Distress – the devolution of masculinity in contemporary literature

  • If you read or write stories today, read this. It’s a breath of fresh air.

Sam @ Bookshire

December Wrap-Up

The Reread, Rewrite, or Burn Book Tag

  • Bookmark this tag to take and try!!

Good, Better, Best: Georgette Heyer

  • It’s GEORGETTE HEYER. The only non-contemporary author other than Jane Austen who actually delights and amuses me as only Austen could. (My contemporary author mention would be W. R. Gingell.) Bookmarked!

Ellery @ The Gadfly

  • The first is a short poem that simply struck me at the heart. The second is, well, about life. And SO WISE. Go read them.

sing to me


Elisha @ The Voyaging Storyteller: I Bake (a Potica Cake) for the First Time

  • A nice baking recipe and a good reminder that nothing looks best until it’s finished. Found Elisha via Sarah Seele’s link. Cool recipe to try!

Maya Joelle: 2021 reading wrap-up ⟡ feat. stats & a tag 🙂

  • (Need to reread and actually comment 😀

Maya @ When Through the Woods: album recommendations 🙂

  • Maya ALWAYS gives the best recommendations. Can’t wait to see what kind of music things she’ll introduce me to!

Sarah Seele @ Sixty-Something Trees: Talking Animals and Sad Humans and, like, Magic ~ Summer Reads Pt. 1

Gabrielle@ Write For The King: On Eucatastrophe: Writing a Proper Fairy Tale Ending

  • An intro on Eucatastrophe. Essential reading for all fantasy writers/readers.

Gabrielle @ Write For The King: Literary Agents 101

Aberdeen @ A Glimpse of Starlight

how my friends say I love you

  • Beautiful poem. The entire concept and imagery is simply amazing and accurate and everything I’ve experienced.

Dark Ages

  • Another beautiful poem. My favorite is the last stanza.

Quote Collection: Best of 2021 So Far

  • Learned something new about images/text formatting, and I’ve found more quotes to add to my lit. col. as well as TBR. And Aberdeen’s references to Till We Have Faces and the mountains and The Scorpio Races are after my heart.

Lemon Duck @ World of Chronicles

  • Her short stories are fun and stabby (while still keeping a good moral compass, whew) – just my kind of light reading. I’m so happy to have finally read some of ’em.

Know the Novel: Within the WiP

Delicious Moose

Colors of the Past: Memory of Birth (1/4)

Recap: 2022 Habits

This section justifies the “brutally honest” part of the post title.

  • Legacy Bible Reading
    • No. Which means I’ve got five OT books to read for February, along with my regular reading goals. I think it would be better if I include these books onto my list of the month in general, so I can look at it and remember to prioritize them.
  • Active for 20+ min. daily
    • No. I did on a few days, but certainly not daily. Needs work.
  • 8+ Hrs. of Sleep daily
    • No – I think I’ve had at least 5 hrs. on most nights, but still need to work on this.
  • Write anything for 15 min.+ daily
    • Mostly yes, if I count discussion/comments (some of which are quite long).
  • Vocal exercises for 10 min.+ daily
    • No – I did on some days, but the past month has been sniffle and cough season, and along with my struggle with the humidity level – it’s HARD, people.
  • Fill out a Reading/Watching/Listening log daily
    • No – mostly because I didn’t properly watch anything this past month, and I’ve been re-playing only old playlists. And I’ve been using Goodreads for my reading tracker.
  • Post at least once a week
    • Yes! ❤
  • Comment on 5 new posts per week
    • Yes! Kind of – I did have to make up for some weeks, but overall still fulfilled my quota.
  • Reread Book Reviews
    • No rereads in the past month. I did write a couple of reviews though. ❤
  • BuJo
    • Partially. I was able to keep up with making my task management lists and shopping lists. But I didn’t get to do my daily reflection notes – needs work.

For February:

Realistically, I have some big projects for work that I have to prioritize on catching up, so I’m truly uncertain how I’m going to do on the following. But I’m listing them here for myself. 🙂 At the very least I intend to read do the Bible readings, improve on my yearly habits, finish the buddy-reads that I started, and continue with my blogsphere goals of posting and commenting on posts.

  • Buddy-reads that I need to finish/do (7 books)
    • Finis:
      • Frederica by Georgette Heyer (with Sarah Seele)
      • The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (with Leon)
      • The Sunfire King by Sylvia Mercedes – sequel to The Moonfire Bride (with Isabelle)
      • Between Kings by W. R. Gingell – the finale to one of my favorite series of ALL time, and THE favorite urban fantasy series ever (with Winter)
    • Start:
      • Red Rising by Pierce Brown – this is a re-read, but a first time read for my buddy (with Elisha)
      • Cinderella Must Die by W. R. Gingell – I think the title just says everything – expect Gingell’s signature twists to the oldest tropes 😉 (with Beka, once the book releases at the end of this month!)
      • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Suzaane Clarke (with SJ)
  • Blog Goals
    • If I release my Cast in Firelight read-along posts once a week, I’d be all set. But at this point I suspect that I shall be posting those along with some other more general posts (for those who are not doing the read-along with me). Let’s see how this goes! 🙂
      • Hint: I intend to do a special edition for Valentine’s Day, and I’m trying to determine if I should make it a music or an OTP edition now. 💕
      • Also – I’ve this idea to make a poll about what to do a read-along series next after I’m finished with the Wickery books. That way I’d have more live participation and anticipation (I’m mainly doing the Wickery books now to get a feel for how I want to do these things – thus the impromptu). 🙂
  • Write a post about indie vs. traditional publishing, by request of my wonderful writer friend, Gabrielle @ Write for the King (She offers a lot of wonderful resources and lessons on writing – go check it out! Currently she’s doing a series on finding literary agents. 🙂
  • Finish my drafts on my year-end wrap ups on the books, music, and movies for 2021 that I promised in the first post this year.
  • Bible Reading (6 books)
    • Genesis
    • Exodus
    • Leviticus
    • Numbers
    • Deuteronomy
    • Proverbs
    • Psalms (part)
  • Reading
    • See above for the buddy-reads
    • ARCs
      • Finish reading and then review
        • Cathedral by Maya Joelle (Courtesy of the author)
        • Sky Keeper by S. M. Gaither (Courtesy of the author)
      • Curse Painter by Jordan Rivet (Courtesy of the author)
      • Aeroreh by Jesikah Sundin (Courtesy of BookSirens & the author)
  • I hope to complete some of those titles from my 2021 Autumn Scary TBR that I didn’t finish. Which counts to be 13 total (I’m including the ones from the rereads and possible sections.), but I don’t expect to do all of them.

  • XOXO by Axie Oh
    • For my kpop heart ❤
  • These War-Torn Hands by Emily Hayse
    • Western + Arthurian vibes? YES!
  • Gothel and the Maiden Prince by W. R. Gingell
    • I’m just… really in for ANYTHING Gingell. Plus, who doesn’t want to read about interesting happy-ending twists for the usual “villains” (in this case, the witch who locks Rapunzel up in the tower)?
  • A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross
    • {I should have been born a Scot. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿}
    • This book is filled with Scottish-Gaelic vibes, and I heard that it reads like a folk tale with plenty of mystery and a dashing of romance. Ross impressed me greatly with her Dreams Lie Beneath last December – it’s lush, atmospheric, mesmerizing, with proper character arcs and relationships and raw (while still keeping it good in terms of content). I expect the same from this new release – so I can’t wait to get my personalized copy in a couple of weeks!! ❤
    • She delves into themes including career, marriage, raising children, and loss of faith in this one! ❤
    • You can find her Content Guide as well as an explanation for why this is in the adult fantasy genre (from what she says, I expect it to be on the milder end, so mature young adults can read this with no major qualms).

House of Earth and Blood meets The Witch’s Heart in Rebecca Ross’s brilliant first adult fantasy, set on the magical isle of Cadence where two childhood enemies must team up to discover why girls are going missing from their clan.

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.

Well, that’s it! What were your highlights of last month? What do you plan on finishing/doing this month? Do you have anything in particular you’re looking forward to? Have you read anything amazing, or amazingly disappointing? (If you have read Wilson’s HEART OF SHADOW – give me a shout!) Do share any thoughts/questions with me below in the comments – I truly enjoy hearing from you and would love to know what you think! 🙂

13 thoughts on “Captain’s Log: The (Brutally Honest) January 2022 Edition, + A Poll For You

  1. Ahhh I love your honesty with your goals so far! I feel pretty similar with making goals and wanting to achieve them, but a lot of the time, things don’t go the way I wanted them to go. That’s okay, though! There’s always another day to try again 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I really love that! Definitely something to think about! I feel like at least for me, I can get super stuck in past mistakes and past goals that didn’t work out instead of accepting them and moving on. What you’re doing where you reflect and then continue forward is super beautiful!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, but CONGRATULATIONS on keeping up with so many of your goals. I have trouble with that, and I am just impressed and pleased. I’m especially pleased about the weekly posts because I get direct enjoyment out of that, lol. Also I’ve been posting this January too, so *high five* Can’t wait to see what February brings around here! (And i will be emailing you back soon about Frederica. Promise, lol.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww… thank you so much, Sarah! I was partially embarrassed that I wasn’t as successful as I’d wanted to be for those new year goal/habits, but I’m glad to have been able to honestly report about them. 😀 Also – thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed my posts! I’m always pleased to hear that, as a writer (of course).

      (O.O I shall be looking out for it. I’m working on my notes for Chapter 2.)

      Thus far, people have been telling me that they want a Ships/OTPs edition for St. Valentine’s Day. ❤ So yeah, been trying to brainstorm that and all. It's HARD. xD I dunno how @thestorysponge is so good but she is Literally The Queen for those kind of posts and I adore her.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. P.S. HOW ON EARTH did I forget to mention that I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts! So happy to see that you’ve been on the roll as well. ^_^ (Okay, technically, I’ve been kind of skimming them. I plan on actually reading and commenting on ’em this month. If you’ve noticed, I’ve been trying to focus on specific blogs and comment on handfuls at a time when I have the time to. 🙂 Keep it going! I love to read about you talking about books…. you’re the best. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good work on posting four times this month! I’ve definitely enjoyed seeing you pop up in my feed. 🙂

    After those snippets, I TOTALLY want to read Heart of Shadow now. Must look into that.

    Marvel rewatches are the best, and Captain America: The Winter Solider is even MORE the best. (It’s my second-favorite Marvel movie ever. I love it SO much.)

    Aww, thank you so much for featuring me as a highlight! That’s so sweet of you!

    Looks like you have a packed but lovely reading month ahead of you! Good luck keeping up with that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading & commenting, Sam! I’m glad to have been able to do so and to hear that I’ve entertained you :D.

      YAS YOU SHOULD. It’s amazing. Wilson’s writing is … rather unique (in a good way, kind of like a breath of fresh air – her female character’s 1st person POVs have a lot of common sense and little plain? but still poetic…? I’m not sure how to describe it yet. But it’s fantastic and wholly new to me <3) in comparison to most new releases these days… and I just love it so much.

      Oooh! What's your No. 1 Marvel movie? *raises eyebrows in curiosity**

      You're very welcome!! I've a ongoing draft post for basically my blosphere bookmarks – basically posts that I consider are just TOO GOOD to disappear into browser history xD. And I've your post about Natasha on there 😉 Hopefully I can get some more on that list (basically, find some older posts in the past that I've really loved and deserve revisiting)…


      1. It’s on my list now!! I’m looking forward to it.

        Age of Ultron is my #1 Marvel movie! I absolutely love it, despite hating one of the big subplots, which is a little strange, but you know how it is. XD

        Oh, thank you! You are far too complimentary. 🙂 I’m really glad you enjoyed the Natasha post!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am SHAMEFULLY late to this, but thank you so much for the shoutouts! It truly means so much when people comment on which poems resonate with them. Also, I dearly hope you can get access to Disney+ soon because the Hawkeye show made me so happy. And I’m going to check out A River Enchanted—it sounds right up my alley! I hope your February goals are coming along well. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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