2022 Reading Resolutions & a TBR of 5* Predictions ✨

Happy 2022! I hope the year has gotten to a great start for you (and if it hasn’t, I hope it changes gears to something great right now!).

I love the New Year because it feels like it offers a fresh chance to try something new. Today I’m going through everything that I hope to achieve by reading in 2022! (and a sneaky check-in on how I did with 2021 resolutions as well!)

Similarly to 2021, I decided to set a couple reading resolutions and a yearly TBR for 2022. Let’s get into it!

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ARC review: The Key in the Lock by Beth Underdown

the cover of The Key in the Lock by Beth Underdown (title in the middle with a picture of a key, surrounded by a layout of a house)

The Key in the Lock by Beth Underdown

I received an advance reader copy for free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author! Receiving a free copy has in no way influenced my opinions on the book.

Expected publication date: January 13th 2022

Historical fiction, mystery

304 pages

Goodreads page

Buddy read with the amazing Stephen from Stephen Writes

I still dream, every night, of Polneath on fire. Smoke unfurling out of an upper window and a hectic orange light cascading across the terrace.

By day, Ivy Boscawen mourns the loss of her son Tim in the Great War. But by night she mourns another boy – one whose death decades ago haunts her still.

For Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened all those years ago: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. A truth she must uncover, if she is ever to be free.

I requested The Key in the Lock in no time after I saw it being advertised for fans of The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal and The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I adored both of these books, and so I expected The Key in the Lock to provide a rich atmospheric tale with eerie twists. Although my hopes were pretty high to begin with, The Key in the Lock also seems to intentionally build up the readers’ expectations at the beginning of the book. The characters tip toe around a great mystery and something monstrous that happened in the past. Unfortunately, I felt that the Key in the Lock suffered badly from both the comparison to books by Elizabeth Macneal and Jessie Burton, and from the hype in the beginning of the book. In the end, the revelations don’t live up to the hype, and I couldn’t sense why anyone would compare The Key in the Lock to the Doll Factory or the Miniaturist.

The tale seemed very interesting to begin with, partly because the characters felt odd in a very curious way. I was certain that a lot of red herrings and Easter eggs were hidden in the narrative, and I couldn’t wait to find out why the characters behaved in certain ways. Sadly, the hints and tips and twists never appeared. The characters felt odd and distant, which made it difficult to root for them. I also couldn’t understand their reasoning at times, the main character, Ivy, being the greatest mystery of all.

The story is told in dual timelines that touch on both the mysterious events in 1888 and the first world war in 1918. I usually like time jumps such as this, but here it felt like the separate timelines took away from the story. The narrative jumps around, and the earlier timeline felt much more engaging throughout the book. I sometimes audibly groaned when a new chapter begun in 1918 rather than 1888. The timelines also discount some of the tragic events, making them seem less important and inconsequential for the story.

In addition to the separate timelines, I was confused by occasional changes in the writing style. While most of the narrative was typical of a novel, one of the chapters made it seem like Ivy was actually writing the story in a diary or letter format. This didn’t make any sense in the context of the previous narrative, and I feel that it was an odd choice from the author.

Regardless of my issues with The Key in the Lock, I must say that it was a delightfully quick book to read. The chapters were short and engaging which made the book whizz by. Also – I had a particularly great experience reading this (although the book was far from a favourite) because I buddy read it with Stephen @ Stephen Writes 😊 I loved our discussions of the sections and we came up with some crazy twists (that sadly didn’t come to fruition haha)

I also enjoyed the setting and timing of the events. The book is mostly set around Christmas in both timelines, which made it a great read in December. Not exactly a festive book – but nice to pick up around winter!

Overall, I think The Key in the Lock would make a great quick-read when you are looking for an intriguing mystery. Although the book doesn’t provide the depth that I wish it had, it is a good one to pick up and read in one or two sittings – just don’t go in with too high hopes!

picture of my rating: 2.5/5 stars
2.5/5 stars

Are you planning to read The Key in the Lock? Although it wasn’t for me, I’m sure that many readers will fall in love with it. Most of all, it would make a really good rainy day read (or even better, a snowy day read!).

Thank you so much for reading!

- Pauliina

November Wrap-up & December TBR: Trying to hit all of my yearly goals 💪

Hello there!

Hope you have had the loveliest beginning to December! I’m over the moon that we are in the Christmas (and my birthday!) -month now, and I’m ready for all things Christmas ☺️🎅

Today I’m going over all the books I read in November (which was way more than I expected!), and what I’m hoping to get to in December. Throughout these last two months of 2021 my goal is to crush my yearly reading goals. If you missed my recent look into how I’m doing with my goals and resolutions so far, check out the post here.

Without further a do – let’s get into it!

A gif of a stack of books, a ribbon and christmas ornaments appear and make the stack into a christmas tree
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2021 Reading Resolutions Check: Am I completing my reading challenges?

Hello there!

In November I have been taking part in Destiny @ The Howling Libraries Devour Your TBR reading challenge, Remember November, in which the idea is to read books that were part of yearly challenges and pick up books that have been waiting for a long time. This challenge got me excited to check on the challenges that I’m doing in 2021 and whether I’m on route to hit them!

GIF of a woman dancing and saying 'be the goal, do the goal, become the goal'
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Everything I read in September 2021: Magical readathon and Becca’s Bookoplathon wrap-up ✨

Hello there!

My reading has been a bit slow over the summer of 2021, but in September I got a great reading spike! I was excited about the fall vibes, readathons, and my upcoming holiday which made me really excited about picking up books ✨ I’m actually currently writing this in the middle of the woods in Finland, surrounded by fall leaves. Just look at this beautiful place:

Let’s get into the September stats!

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WWW Wednesday: 11th August 2021

Hello! Happy Wednesday!

It has been a bit since I did a WWW Wednesday post, but couldn’t resist taking it up today! It’s a cozy, rainy day in Edinburgh and I’m dreaming of a day filled with reading.

I love the WWW Wednesday posts because somehow they make Wednesdays feel like a celebration 🥳 But let’s talk about the current reads! WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The idea is to share your current reads, a recent read and what you plan to read next! Short and sweet, let’s get into it!

text saying 'it is wednesday' with confetti
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Everything I read in April with Mini-reviews

Hello there!

I can’t believe it’s May already! April seemed to fly by. The Spring has been kind of odd to me as I have been buried in increasing PhD pressure and weeks have flown by while each day feels endless. I feel like I’m definitely getting to the busy-busy part of the PhD and my reading & blogging habits have taken a hit. I hope that I’ll get used to the new schedule and manage to stuff in a lot of reading!

(Thanks for hanging on with me while I have had difficulty finishing posts by the way ilysm 🥺🥰)

Spring is my absolute favourite season! I love all the colours that suddenly pop out from the doom & gloom of winter – and I have been wandering around my local park doing some flower-stalking as much as possible.

A gif of a corgi in a flower field
My idea of the-best-time™️ (just add a book, tea, and allergy medication)

Before I get into the books, I want to share some important resources:


#FreePalestine

Palestine is under attack, as Israel is senselessly bombing civilians and destroying homes in Gaza. Hundreds of people have died already, and we all must play in part in stopping a genocide. Many western countries are fuelling the massacre by supporting Israel and we can all stop this by amplifying the voices of Palestinians and challenging politics. This is about human lives.

Covid crisis in India and Nepal

India has been overwhelmed by the emergence of a new coronavirus variant, and it has started spreading to other countries that are struggling to cope. ICUs are full, oxygen is running out and people cannot find help even if they are running out of breath.


Please look into these resources, educate yourself on what’s happening and donate if you can!

Today I’m here to tell you about all the books I read in April. I had some major struggles to find time for reading, but I still managed to get through 4 books. You’ll find a tiny little bit of stats & mini-reviews for these books in this post:

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  • Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (Modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice in Pakistan)
  • Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger (Mystery & magical realism, a Lipan Apache main character)
  • The Confectioner’s Exile by Claire Luana (Prequel novella to The Confectioner’s Guild)
  • The Betrayals by Bridget Collins (Genre-bending mystery with LGBT+ rep)
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WWW Wednesday 28th April 2021: Current Reading & Reading plans

Hello! Happy Wednesday!

I’m having a cozy evening drinking cold brewed tea and finishing some books I have been in the middle of for a long time! Hope you have had the best of Wednesdays so far 💫

Let’s talk about the current reads! WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The idea is to share your current reads, a recent read and what you plan to read next! Short and sweet, let’s get into it!

What are you currently reading?

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Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. ☁️ Paperback 😍 enjoying it!

What did you recently finish reading?

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Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 (4/5 stars) 📱 e-book

What do you think you’ll read next?

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The Bright & The Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski. 📖 hardcover 🧚‍♀️ fairyloot copy

Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard. 📱 e-book 🌹 ARC

Master of One by Jaida Jones & Dani Bennett. 📖 hardcover 🧚‍♀️ fairyloot copy

What are your answers to the questions? Did you enjoy the book you most recently finished? I would love to know!

I’m so glad I have finally started finishing some books! I had multiple DNFs (= did not finish) one after each other before I finally picked up Elatsoe, and truly enjoyed it. It is a beautiful book about a Lipan Apache main character who can summon ghosts. The main story is an intriguing mystery, but multiple stories are woven into it, making the book equal measures an engrossing read and a comforting collection of stories.

Next I plan to pick up two books – either The Bright and the Pale or Master of One and Finding the Mother Tree. I was lucky enough to snatch an arc of Finding the Mother Tree and now I need to read it asap! This is weird, but I have been very intrigued by forests, trees, and especially mushrooms lately (not mushrooms as in hallucinogens but more like what even are mushrooms haha).

Thank you so much for reading! Hope you have the best of Wednesdays filled with books and cake and relaxing moments  ✨

Book Review: The Betrayals by Bridget Collins

Hello there!

I have finally gotten inspired to write a book review 🙌 I took a long hiatus from posting them because I have had difficulty getting my thoughts across in the form of a review, but buddy reading The Betrayals by Bridget Collins with Stephen @ Stephen Writes made me really eager to sit down and write. (and I’m sorry to report that I was so keen on writing a review that I did it when I was supposed to be writing a research manuscript instead oops)

A meme of the 'most interesting man in the world': older man sits while leaning on a table and says "I don't always write reviews. But when I do, I write them when I'm supposed to be working."
Did I create this meme just for this purpose? Yes, yes I did

Stephen and I had some great discussions on The Betrayals and I feel that there was a lot to unpack! Thanks for buddy reading it with me Stephen, it was a lot of fun!

Let’s get into it!

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The Betrayals by Bridget Collins

Read as an audiobook

416 pages

Genre: ???

2/5 stars
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