The Looooong and the Short of It with a Giveaway: December/End of 2021 Wrap-Up Post and Looking Forward to 2022

Posted January 1, 2022 by Lisa Mandina in End of the month post / 31 Comments

December as usual went by crazy fast! And while in retrospect 2021 went by fast, I wish it had went a little faster, or maybe been a little better of a year. As I look back at my end of the year post last year, unfortunately it looks as if some of the things I wished for then, we’re still wishing for now, that Covid would at least be less of an issue than it was, and it doesn’t seem like it is. Yeah, there’s a vaccine, but life is still nowhere near normal. Wearing a mask to work every day does not make life anywhere near normal, although I guess at least we are back to school in person all kids now, if they want to be anyway. Also looking back at the end of the year post last year, I still don’t have a second/part-time job anymore. However switching to my new school district this fall, as horrendous as it has turned out to be, at least financially I am doing well enough I don’t need the second job anymore.

I only saw my mom’s side of the family this year for Christmas. Due to a disagreement with my dad, they kind of shut me out of Christmas, well I told them they could if that was how they were going to be. Since we do a gift exchange, drawing names, I still mailed my gift to the sister whose name I had drawn. Obviously whoever had me decided not to bother with my gift. I’m handling it okay. I think in 2022 I am going to do the things that make me happy. I don’t want to hurt anyone else, but I’m tired of letting others make me feel bad or guilty for things that are my decision. My dad has been cutting family out of his life over the last 5 or 6 years, and I’ve been the kind of person who didn’t want to do that. But I think seeing how easily he can do it to his own daughter and that no one else in that side of my family, sisters, stepmom, even sent me a Merry Christmas text or anything, I can be done as well. I guess I’m lucky my parents are divorced and so I have two sides and one to fall back on, or not fall back on, stay close with as they have stayed with me always. And of course I still talk to my cousins on my dad’s side, even if he has cut them out.

We had the usual New Year’s Eve dinner at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. My four year old nephew gave us a pre-dinner Spider-Man stunt show, then he participated in the meal with us. My nine year old niece helped with cooking, and serving, and did a mid-meal magic show for us with my nephew as her “volunteer”. Here are some pictures of the food! (I might have forgotten to take a picture of the “signature drink” before I took the little skewer with fruit off the top, and also taken a bite of my pork slider before taking a picture, lol) Also had to add in a shot from the kitchen staff and the magic show.

My reading was about the same as last month. I ended up with 20 books finished for the month, got a lot of reading done during my break from school at the end of the month.

December Reviews:

All my reviews are caught up for the month, and entire year, other than one DNF and one that is for a review post this coming week.

Challenges Wrap-Up:

Now this is the final results for these since it is the end of 2021.

You can see my sign up post for this challenge HERE. And here is the image with all the books I thought would be read.

While I didn’t read any more that were on my original picture, I did get the three I needed read this month! Here are the reviews for all the books I read for this challenge totaling the 12 I set as a goal:

  • Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
  • The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter
  • From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Pride by Ibi Zoboi
  • Must Love Wieners by Casey Griffin – the author has actually re-titled it because not everyone loves a title with wiener in it like us dachshund owners, and it is now called Paws Off the Boss. And I bought a copy just to have both of them. lol
  • Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
  • Get Inked by Helena Hunting
  • Day Zero by Kresley Cole
  • Passion and Ponies by Tara Sivec
  • Kiss My Putt by Tara Sivec
  • Sanctum by Hannah McBride
  • Australia – an anthology to raise money for the wildfire victims in Australia in 2020. Now technically I started this one in 2020, but since it was over 800 pages and I just finished it this last week of 2021, I’m counting it.

This was really the only challenge I did in 2021. But I think I’m going to try to do a few more in 2022, plus I see the Bookish Resolutions challenge is being hosted by Because Reading this year, so I’ll probably sign up for that! Look for a challenge sign up post in the next week or two.

What to Expect in January 2022:

As I mentioned above, a challenge sign up post is coming. Probably more of the craziness with my job. I know that some districts where I live have switched to no masks due to the Missouri Attorney General and Treasurer both saying that schools can’t do that and receive bond money or suing schools that do it. But I think my school is still planning to require them, because there is a school district in my county that is part of the lawsuit against the Attorney General doing this. We’ll see what happens.

Here is my proposed TBR for January:
  1. Matchmaking Mischief by A.R. Casella and Denise Grover Swank – currently reading, for a blog tour review on the 4th
  2. Kiss and Tell by Maya Hughes – for an author requested review on the 6th
  3. The Hustler by Gina Azzi – for a blog tour review on the 7th
  4. Dating the Duke by Emma Hart – haven’t heard for sure, but hoping to do an author requested review on the 8th
  5. Put Me In Detention by Meghan Quinn – for an author ARC team review on the 10th
  6. Making Her Mine by Monica Murphy – for the author review team a review on the 11th?
  7. On the Honey Side by Staci Hart – somewhere I saw this comes out on the 11th, but haven’t seen any sign ups for reviews even though I put it on my calendar to review on the 11th
  8. Prodigal Son by Jay Crownover – I signed up through a blog tour company to hopefully read and review on the 12th
  9. Into Every Generation by Kendare Blake – for a blog tour review on the 14th
  10. Nashville Dreams by Julie Capulet – the author reached out and asked me to read and review, will hopefully be reviewing this one on the 17th
  11. The Wedding Setup by Sara Desai – blog tour review on the 19th
  12. Just About Over You by Carrie Aarons – blog tour review on the 21st
  13. Josh and Gemma Make a Baby by Sarah Ready – blog tour review on the 26th
  14. Scammer Girl by Michelle Dayton – for a blog tour review on the 27th
  15. Blind Pass by Teagan Hunter – Fingers crossed I actually got signed up for a blog tour of this one on the 27th as well
  16. It Started with a List by Tinia Montford – blog tour review on the 28th
  17. I Wanna Text You Up by Teagan Hunter – the audiobook I’m currently listening to
  18. Boy in Luv by Jay Crownover and Rebecca Yarros – probably the next audiobook I’m going to listen to.
  19. Other books that are going to be part of challenges that I will decide on over the next week or two.
  20. Say it Like You Mane It by Erin Nicholas – will be a blog tour review at the beginning of February, but should hopefully get finished before the end of January


I haven’t been as good about doing the whole Bookstagram this past month, been busy I guess! But here are the four I did post that were originals not just copy and pasted.

Final Thoughts:

So how was your December? I hope you were able to get some joy out of the season if you celebrate any holidays. And I hope your new year is starting off as well as it can! What are you looking forward to in January 2022?


Below are ARCs I’ve finished and also a couple of finished copies, the winner will get to pick out 3 books from the list. I’ve added some books from an older ARC stack I had too, ones I just don’t know that I’m going to get to. There may even be a few more choices by the end of the month! I will make the giveaway international in that you can pick a book for under $10 if The Book Depository ships to you. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below the picture.

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31 responses to “The Looooong and the Short of It with a Giveaway: December/End of 2021 Wrap-Up Post and Looking Forward to 2022

      • Hi Lisa, Glad you had a good reading month! I’m impressed with how much you read and how you keep up with reviews for all the books you’ve read. That’s something I planned to do when I started blogging years ago but have never quite managed. Anyway, wishing you all the best for your reading in January and for the rest of 2022!

        Andrew Blackman recently posted: Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami
        • Lisa Mandina

          It took me a few years to try to get organized. And some missed blog tour reviews a year or two before I realized I had to get an old fashioned planner to keep track. Thanks for stopping by!

  1. I am sorry your new job hasn’t turned out as well as you hoped and I’m sorry about your family trouble. I hope this coming year will be better. My in-laws visited for Christmas and I admit I was a bit nervous how it would go since we haven’t been on the best of terms in recent years, but it went well, thankfully. It sounds like you had a nice Christmas and New Year’s despite everything. And look at all the books you read in December! I hope you enjoyed them all. Have a great January, Lisa, and Happy New Year!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Overall things have been okay. Probably a little more time for myself without having two family gatherings to deal with. Glad your time with your in-laws went okay. Thanks for stopping by and have a great new year as well!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yep, although with the way the world is, that extra “me” time has been stuck at home which is not always the best! But at least I like my new house. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Lisa Mandina

      I want to hope that 2022 will be better, but after last year, I’m afraid to build my hopes up anymore! Thanks for visiting!

  2. Danielle Hammelef

    I am so sorry your dad has cut you out! My parents did a similar thing to me; up until this past August they would talk to me on the phone, but refused to let me visit and it had been well over a decade. I think what finally changed their minds was their quickly failing health. We had to cancel our extended family Christmas dinner because of COVID concerns and my biggest hope for 2022 is to get this virus under control (endemic levels at most). My last read of the year was So We Meet Again by Suzanne Park and I loved my choice so much. B&N 50% sale was too tempting and I shopped (mask on) in store and I’d forgotten how much I love bookstores. I bought books from my wish list and am enjoying Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling currently. Happy New Year, Lisa!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Agreed, we’ve got to get this under control. I liked the one Suzanne Park book I read, I need to get ahold of another by her soon! Yeah, that B&N sale was too much to resist. Happy new year!

  3. John Smith

    “How was your December or 2021, or what are you looking forward to in January or 2022 as a whole year?” I read a new book of Junji Ito horror stories, and I’m looking forward to reading an even newer one!

    I’m hoping for a country that clings to democracy in 2022. And 2023. And 2024.

  4. sherry1969

    My December was pretty good although I live in KY and we’ve had some horrible weather. One of the areas hit by the Dec. 11th tornado is just about 25 minutes away. It was a super scary night.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Oh no, but sounds like you didn’t get any of the crazy damage? That’s good. But yeah, that was a scary night! Hopefully 2022 is better for all of us!

  5. I’m so sorry to hear how your dad (and family) are treating you! But you’re absolutely right. You have to take care of you! It looks like you had a lovely New Years! And wow! What a great reading month! I wish all the best in 2022!

    Dedra+@+A+Book+Wanderer recently posted: My January TBR
  6. Jen

    Sending you all of the hugs ♥! I’m so glad you were able to end the year with a huge positive of 20 books and getting to see your mom’s side. Here’s hoping your reading in January goes as wonderfully and that your job this year allows you to breathe, hugs again!

    • Lisa Mandina

      So far so good on the reading,although I may have overbooked some reviews! lol Thanks for stopping by!

    • Lisa Mandina

      The Sourcebook ARCs I get because I’ve signed up for a list as a school librarian. Others come from publishers that I have a good relationship with when they reach out to me and then keep me on lists for future titles. I’ve even written to publishers requesting them. Although that doesn’t always work if I don’t have someone I’ve worked with before. And you can always get most of these digitally through Netgalley or Edelweiss. Thanks for stopping by, glad to have you here!

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