December Recap: My Blog Levels Up and… I Level Up(?)


Hi friends! How are we all?

You may have noticed – or I hope you’ve noticed! – that my blog looks a little different… hopefully a little better! I’ll discuss the changes in my recap for December! This recap will be a little shorter today because we’re in the heart of the festive season, so I’ll keep it short-ish for everyone!

However, I want to highlight that I am inviting book bloggers to recommend four books to commemorate a cultural festival that is important to them! It’ll be a Festive Book Recs guest post, so if you are interested, see the details below!


Books read in December (and my thoughts in three words)

1. Cloudwish by Fiona Wood – lighthearted, sweet, simple

2. Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley – meh, disappointing, soulless

3. Frostblood by Elly Blake – flawed but fun?

4. Monstress by Marjorie Liu – dark, beautiful, mysterious

5. Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki – captures innocence, simple

6. Into White by Randi Pink – subversive, funny, heartfelt

7. Otherbound by Corvinne Duyvis – mixed feelings, unique

8. Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard – fresh, important narrative

Short stories:

9. Ginga by Daniel José Older


Reviews and posts in December

1. FEATURE: Diversity Spotlight Thursday #3 – Another contribution to this amazing feature! I feature books that have characters with disabilities – definitely check this post out!

2. REVIEW: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adam – If you haven’t read this book yet, you absolutely should! In this review, I tell you my three reasons of why this book is amazing.

3. FOR FUN: Gift Ideas for Friends Who Don’t Read (Spoiler: They’re All Books) – Have you ever struggled to find a great gift book for those friends who don’t read (but they absolutely should)? I’ve got your back with this post!


4. REVIEW: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang – A lovely book about gaming, finding yourself, unexpected friendships, and helping others – a wonderful graphic novel!

5. FEATURE: Diversity Spotlight #4 – For this week, I highlight three books that are about the immigrant experience! All are definite must-reads!

6. BOOK RECS: #OwnVoices 2016 – I started reading more diversely a little too late, but I wanted to share four amazing #ownvoices books that I’ve read this year!

7. FESTIVE BOOK RECS: Dongzhi Festival & The Importance of Family – To celebrate dongzhi festival, I talk a little bit about how I celebrate this important festival, and recommend four books about family.


8. REVIEW: The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee – A gorgeous, light-hearted book filled with vivid writing and wonderful characters – great for those who have a keen sense of smell!


Blog Update

A better banner!

I recently changed my blog’s banner, and I think it looks much better than before! The typography is crisper, and my illustrations are sharper too. I’m kicking myself for not changing it sooner – my laptop’s display was big so I thought my laptop was just displaying my imagery weird, so when I saw my blog on my sister’s laptop, I felt so embarrassed that the image quality was so poor!

Here is the new one and the old one – to give you an idea!

Read Think Ponder’s old banner
Read Think Ponder’s new banner

I like the newer one, don’t you?

… And also better graphics!

After overhauling the banner, I started going through all my graphic templates and making them bigger. If you’ve noticed, posts starting from my Book Recs post should look much more defined and nicer. I also completely revamped the templates, and am now using fresher and cleaner font, and also fits the feel of my blog. Here’s the comparison below:

The Book Recs old banner
The Book Recs new banner

Ugh… what was I thinking with the old banners?! I had really let myself and my standards go! I’m so glad I took the time to revamp everything. Now, I am much happier with the new banners, and feel more motivated to publish good content. Happy graphics means a happy CW! 💖

… And new dividers!

You would’ve already seen the new dividers already in use in my more recent posts, but here’s my old one below — what was I thinking before?!

My old divider… eugh.
More book recs: Festive Book Recs!

I realized that writing book recommendations is one of my favourite things to do for Read Think Ponder! So, as well as my monthly, every-third Monday book recommendations with a random theme, I’ll also be doing a new thing called Festive Book RecsYou’ve already seen it with my post about dongzhi/Winter Solstice, but I’ll be doing it for other festivals too! Ones I intend to write book recs for (and have planned!) are Chinese/Lunar New Year and Valentines Day!

It’s all still tentative, but next year (specifically around mid-January) I’ll be inviting bloggers to recommend books to commemorate a cultural festival that is important to them. This is what it would entail:

  • Sharing on my blog what the cultural festival means, what it means to you/your family, and why it is important.
  • Recommend four books and give a few reasons of why you recommend them! (They should fit the theme of the cultural festival you are commemorating!)
  • The format of the book recs post will be exactly like this post.
  • I will handle all the graphics for the post!

If you are interested in possibly contributing, DM me on Twitter or email me on!


Snapshots of my life

I leveled up to almost-mid-20’s!

a. I kinda get why older adults don’t like birthdays. When I was young, I was like Lily from How I Met Your Mother – I loved my birthday, and in a way, I still do. When you are young, every birthday feels special. But after you turn 21, every birthday thereafter feels less and less special.

b. I received a Star Wars Rogue One poster and Dishonored 2! I’m already 9 hours into the latter, and, uh, needless to say I am hopeless addicted.

c. Nonetheless, I had a very relaxing and lovely birthday. I had lunch with my family and my partner at a cafe that was understaffed and very busy (not their fault!) with mediocre food, but the company was wonderful and everyone was happy and relaxed despite. We drove to a regional park and went cockle-picking at the beach. It isn’t very exciting, but it is fun and there’s something very satisfying at finding the big ones. The best part was that, the next day, we steamed and ate the fruits of our labour. There was dinner and dessert, and I was a very happy girl.

d. Can I be 18 again?

Your Name (Kimi no na wa, 君の名は)

I loved this movie so much that I just had to talk about it today.

My anime-watching days are long over, but I’ll still love anything that Makoto Shinkai. If you haven’t heard of him, he directed this gorgeous 45 minute animated movie called Garden of Words, which I loved to the moon and back. I watched Your Name with my sister on a whim, and I’m so glad I did.

I watched this movie without knowing what it was about, and I think I enjoyed it more because of it. (So, for that reason alone, I won’t disclose what it’s about!) But ugh, I cried so much watching this movie. I haven’t felt so emotionally connected to two characters since watching Interstellar (which I watched in July). It was beautiful, poignant, profound, and made my heart ache. It’s a story about longing, the beauty of human connection and how it transcends time and space, and about the strange nature of dreams. Not only was it such a gorgeous film (the animation was incredible!), but the writing was compelling and heartfelt.

I just. I love this movie so much. It makes my tiny list of favourite movies ever.


I’m afraid this one is a little short today! As we’re still in the holiday season, it’s been a very busy time – relaxing-busy!

But oh my goodness, I can’t believe this is the last post of 2016! There have been many ups and downs (a lot of downs for the world), so I am hopeful for a better and more positive 2017. So, before I conclude this post, I want to take the time again to thank all of you for reading and for all of your support this year! Whether we’ve been long-time friends or new acquaintances, I appreciate you all the same. Thank you for everything! ❤

I’ll be taking a short break starting tomorrow until the second week of January. (Though, after the new year I’ll be posting a little summary of 2016 as well as my goals and hopes for 2017. I hope to see you all then!) Until then, wishing you all a lovely day on New Years Day! Have a lovely, relaxing day and have fun, and be safe my friends! ❤


28 thoughts on “December Recap: My Blog Levels Up and… I Level Up(?)

  1. Great wrap up! I think I mentioned this on twitter, but I looove your new banner – it looks fab! I also really like your new book recs banner, the new font is so fun and quirky. I’m glad you thought Girl Mans Up was an important read, as I’m hoping to get to that in the new year, and I’m desperate to watch Kimi no na wa! I’m a big anime watcher and it’s been on my list for ages but I just haven’t got to it yet for some reason! Lovely to hear that you had a good Christmas, and my best wishes for the new year!

    • Aw, thanks so much Kate! ❤

      Ooooh, good choice! I really really liked it. I listened to Girl Mans Up audiobook and really enjoyed it. :D

      Kimi no na wa is AMAZING. I have no words for how beautiful it is. I just really really connected to it, and whenever I hear the main song, I just cry. Let me know if you ever watch it, ok? ❤

      Happy New Year to you too, Kate! Wishing you all the best and that 2017 is kind to you. :)

  2. I love your new graphics, they look stunning <3 Also, I get your feelings about birthdays, I tend to feel less and less excited about it, I want to be 18 again as well. I'm glad you had a good day! <3 Wishing you the best new year's, and have a great time <3 <3

  3. Your new graphics are just beautiful! I’m planning on revamping my blog for the new year too and I’m really scared because it’s something completely new that I did myself and I don’t know if people will like it! I’m so glad you had a nice relaxing birthday though I totally agree with you on them. I still really love my birthday but it just doesn’t have the same feeling it did when I was younger

  4. Oh my goodness, so yesterday I briefly went on Twitter and noticed that your graphics for your header changed but I didn’t say anything (because I’ve been gone so long I wasn’t sure if the update was done while I was away from the blogosphere). Anyways, I love it! I liked your previous ones as well (like when you had the book spines, I think?), but this one is the best yet!

    Again, I’m glad that you had a nice birthday with your loved ones. Also, your theory about birthdays getting less hyped… I already can relate to that. I will soon turn 21, which is kind of exciting because that’s the legal drinking age in the States. And I can finally supervise a learning driver. …yay. (I’m not very enthusiastic about getting older as you can see, lol.)

    “It’s a story about longing, the beauty of human connection and how it transcends time and space, and about the strange nature of dreams.” Yes, yes, YES! I am so, so happy that Your Name pulled at your heartstrings like it did. What a beautiful animation. :’)

    • Ah yay!! Thank you so much, Summer! The changes were very recent and a byproduct of procrastination. But I’m very happy with them too.

      Thank you! I think I like relaxing birthdays rather than big parties nowadays. Aw, 21 is a great age! I hope you have lots of fun. ❤️ And wow, your drinking age is high! Ours is 18. I’m certain people in the US still drink illegally anyway though, right? 😂

      YAY! Thank you for talking about Your Name in one of your posts – it was what made me want to watch it. I love it SOOO much ugh I have no words to describe how much I love it. 😭

    • Hi Emily! Oooh thank you so much! I’m so glad you like them. ❤️

      HAHA don’t worry, enjoy it!! I’m a melodramtic potato sometimes. Don’t mind me. And being 21+ has its awesome moments too. You’ll be just fine! ❤️

  5. YOU’RE A GRAPHICS GODDESS OH MY GOODNESS!! I WORSHIP YOU!! I’m delighted to see all these recs posts you’re doing—they’re my favorite part of your blog! I love the own voices especially ☺️
    I’M SO EXCITED FOR THE CULTURE FEATURE!! So should I DM you some books centering around Indian-Americans/Indians? EEK IT’S GONNA BE GREAT!

    • Oh my gosh Becca, you are far too kind to me!! Pls don’t worship me, you’re a goddess yourself, ok ❤️

      Aw, yay! I’m so happy to hear that you like my book recs! I enjoy doing them too, so I hope to get creative with my themes in 2017.

      I’ll DM you soon! I’m still trying to sort myself out whilst also having a good break following the holidays. ❤️ You’ll hear from me soon, I promise!

  6. I always love your wrap up posts, CW ♥ I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Monstress. I have an ARC of Frostblood so it’s good to see that despite its flaws it was still a fun read!! All your new graphics are so pretty. It’s crazy what just slightly changing a font can do, haha.

    Also “But after you turn 21, every birthday thereafter feels less and less special.” yesss. I totally get this. I’m past my mid 20s now and it’s so scary and I don’t like it 😅.

    I hope you have a wonderful 2017!

    • Aw, thanks Lauren!! ❤️

      I hope you enjoy Frostblood! I’m a big, big, BIG sucker for fantasy YA so I know it’s not great, but I really enjoyed it. XD

      Ahh thank you! ;_; I feel like I’ve improved on my graphics! Not sure how I’ll improve this year, so I can’t wait to see.

      HAHA I know what you mean by scary with each birthday. UGH. I want to be 18 again. Or even 21?

      Thanks Lauren! I hope you have a wonderful 2017 that is kind to you. ❤️

  7. I read it all and will come back to comment on more but it’s lunchtime and I’m starving, hahaha! I just wanted to say I looooove your graphics! They’re amazing!

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