The first month of the year, which really felt like month 13 of 2021, is finally over. I made it through. In all honesty it was a great month with lots of happy memories like celebrating the new year, seeing my parents, and seeing my first Broadway show with a friend. I did have COVID during the first week or so but luckily my symptoms were incredibly mild!


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I’m a children’s librarian, so I read books for kids and for grown-ups. This month, I read 7 picture/early reader books and 2 “big” books, including audiobooks, adult novels, and chapter books for children. My average rating this month was 4.4 stars.

Dad BakesDad Bakes by Katie Yamasaki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Always love this author/illustrator.

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Scoundrel of My Heart (Once Upon a Dukedom, #1)Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy CRAP. I can’t remember the last time I read a book this romantic. If you can handle a slow burn with a ton of pining and angst, this one is for you. I was SOBBING reading this one, wondering how these two were going to make it work with all the chemistry and history between them! Before I read romance, I always loved an angsty romantic subplot in my historical fiction and this book was like, “Hey, let’s make that the ENTIRE plot.” And it was SO GOOD.

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Read my full review here.

@daily.manifestationx Did you know: I LOVE historical romance? Lafe 1700s-Earlt 1900s is my jam. #boostofhope #booktok #romancebooks ♬ original sound – Marissa

Set on YouSet on You by Amy Lea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I adored this contemporary romance novel, told entirely from Crystal’s POV, about two gym rivals who go from enemies to friends to lovers. The friendship and chemistry between Scott and Crystal was lovely, but ultimately Crystal’s journey as a fitness influencer from pushing a message of self love and body positivity to using new language that embraces more of a message of acceptance was the real stand-out.

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Look out for my full review on May 7.

@daily.manifestationx romance readers unite! this one is available for preorder, or check out netgalley if you have an account #booktok #romancebooks #elfitup ♬ original sound – Marissa

The Big Bath HouseThe Big Bath House by Kyo Maclear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is about the ritual of a family attending a bath house together in Japan. I loved the story about connection between families and the message of body positivity – that all shapes, sizes, and ages of bodies are beautiful. Features nude illustrations – not overly detailed, but does include male genitalia, breasts, and pubic hair – which normalize how all bodies look.

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Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved HistoryYour Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History by Schele Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Now take a deep breath, close your eyes, and receive your ancestors: Love, intellect, determination, courage, brilliance, strength, ingenuity, grace, and dignity. They are part of you. Honor them and their sacrifices. You are meant to do great things. Walk tall, hold your head high, and change the world.”

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My Two Border TownsMy Two Border Towns by David Bowles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vibrant illustrations and a great story about a boy and his dad who visit a town across the border in Mexico every few weeks. On their way back, they stop to give some of their purchases to refugees who are waiting to immigrate to either Mexico or the US.

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My First DayMy First Day by Phùng Nguyên Quang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Awesome illustrations.

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El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! by Donna Barba Higuera
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So cute. I wanted to read Donna Barba Higuera’s picture book after adoring The Last Cuentista and it did not disappoint. A boy and his monster, El Cucuy, confront change and the unknown after moving.

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Groundhog's Runaway ShadowGroundhog’s Runaway Shadow by David Biedrzycki
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Silly & cute.

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A Peek Into My Planner

I’ve been trying to fill out my planner each day to keep myself organized and to use the plethora of planner supplies and stickers I possess. (I use The Happy Planner.) I started a brand new planner (well, two of them, actually) this month! Here are the spreads I shared in January.

I’ve been keeping track of my moods to keep an eye on my depression and anxiety. In 2022, I also began habit tracking various aspects of my life, but on the blog I’ll just continue to share moods:

  • Good – 7 days
  • Okay – 4 days
  • Productive – 3 days
  • Sick – 3 days
  • Creative – 2 days
  • Happy – 2 days
  • Relaxed – 2 days
  • Tired – 2 days
  • Worried – 2 days
  • Angry – 1 day
  • Great – 1 day
  • Lazy – 1 day
  • Optimistic – 1 day

I have been posting almost every day about my witchier interests on TikTok and also just having fun with it. I’m also sharing some #booktok posts there and just updates about my life in NYC.

@daily.manifestationx shoutout to the girls who never received an adhd diagonsis as a child bc they overcompensated and got straight a’s #CloseYourRings #thegirlsthatgetit ♬ original sound – Gab. A. Goola

I also watched Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts, The Great Season 2, and Euphoria Season 1.

Looking Ahead: February

I’m hopeful for an even better month now that I am temporarily immune to COVID (and scientists seem to think possible super immune!). I’ll continue to mask up and encourage you to get your booster if you are able to and haven’t done so yet. It seriously helped me get through this tough time with minimal symptoms.