November Wrap Up (2021)

There is no way that time actually exists because if it did, it would not already be November.
Also, I would actually have time to read more than I do, but since the days and weeks and months just INSIST on slipping through my fingers, I guess I don’t get that.

Amazon.com: Redemptor (Raybearer Book 2): 9781419739842: Ifueko, Jordan:  Books
A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix by C.B. Lee
  • Act Cool by Tobly McSmith. Overall, I really enjoyed this one. It was a great story about a transgender actor who just got into a prestigious acting school after running away from his transphobic parents. There were some parts of the plot that I don’t know how I felt about, but I enjoyed the story as a whole. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko. This is the second book in the Raybearer duology and I immediately got it after finishing Raybearer. It was great!! I loved to see where the plot went after book 1, and while there were some things that didn’t feel as fleshed out as they might have been, it was still an EXCELLENT book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • A Clash of Steel by CB Lee. This book. Like honestly, THIS BOOK!!! The beginning was pretty slow so I wasn’t sure how I was going to enjoy it, but OH MY GOSH. This book was TEN TIMES better than I ever expected it to be, and I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: American Street: 9780062473042: Zoboi, Ibi: Books
The Great Gatsby | Book by F. Scott Fitzgerald | Official Publisher Page |  Simon & Schuster
Amazon.com: Not Your Backup (Sidekick Squad): 9781945053788: Lee, C.B.:  Books
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi. I read this one back in July or August, but here I am reading it again, once again for school. Honestly, I enjoyed this a lot more this time through, I think because of all the things that my english teacher pointed out when we discussed this one in class! ⭐⭐⭐
  • The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. Another reread for school. I have read The Great Gatsby far more than I ever thought or wished I would, and boy am I glad that it’s not long and it’s not a book that I hate (only dislike haha). ⭐⭐⭐
  • Not Your Backup by CB Lee. The Sidekick Squad series has been one I’ve been reading since February, and it’s enjoyable but not something that I’m extremely invested in. Except for this one. GUYS WE HAVE AROACE SPEC QUESTIONING REP AAAAH. And it was AMAZINGLY DONE. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Darius the Great Deserves Better: 9780593108239: Khorram, Adib:  Books
Amazon.com: Red Hood: 9780062742353: Arnold, Elana K.: Books
  • The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl. Vampire girls team up to kill their ex boyfriend, who is the vampire who turned them all into vampires. Main character falls in love withvampire ex boyfriend’s current girlfriend. I ENJOYED THIS SO MUCH!!! (yes that’s all I have to say) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram. This one is the sequel to Darius the Great is Not Okay, which I read last month and enjoyed. Another one that I just…went to the library…and then just picked up (love being able to do that again!)…and both books are so awesome! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Red Hood by Elana K Arnold. Honestly, this book felt super empowering and pretty cool, but also I understand that there’s some problems with it. This was the first book I’ve read in second person and it was really weird but I actually got used to it! [no rating]

I posted two posts this month which is twice as much as I’ve been doing since school started! The first was a book tag, something that I haven’t done since mid April. The second is an announcement about a new feature I have on my blog, where you can recommend a friend’s blog, which I’m super excited about!

The bookish blog tag
Recommend a blog announcement!

November goals:

  • Stay on top of school! ✅
  • STUDY FOR QUIZZES AND TESTS
  • Enjoy your weekends and off days. (don’t just think about school!) ✅
  • Talk/hang out with your friends more ✅

Goals-wise, I had a pretty good month! I’m super happy I was able to hang out with my friends more, just after school and such, and I also did do well in school, too! Unfortunately, I’m still not great about studying for quizzes and tests, but…

December goals:

  • Work on your english project (because I feel like this is something I’ll forget)
  • Post at least 3 blog posts? (including wrap up)
  • Stop reading just to finish books (read what you want to read!!!)
  • Hang out with your friends
  • Enjoy your time not in school
  • Study more
  • Okay so first of all, big news…I finally caught up on all my books on goodreads! Basically, I’d been slacking on marking some books as read on my goodreads, all the way back since April. Earlier this month, I went onto my blog and goodreads and marked every single book that I’d forgotten to as read on goodreads and wow I’ve actually read way more books than I thought I had!
  • School is…still school. I feel like I am finally settling into the rhythm, and everything being crazy, which is nice. I mean, I’d rather it not be crazy, but still. Our first term finished this month, and I did well which is nice, so now onward to second term, I guess (second term is always the worst).
  • I went to see a musical that my friends were in! It was really fun, I was NOT expecting to enjoy it as much as I did (no offense to my friends, it was just the topic of the play), but it was SUCH a fun experience and the play was absolutely AMAZING.
  • I went to my grandparents’ place for Thanksgiving which was really nice, we ate a lot of food (too much food, I got super full), but it was just a relaxing and fun holiday!

That’s it for this month! What did you read in November? Did you find any posts that you really enjoyed? And does time really exist (there’s only one correct answer; choose wisely).

5 Reasons I’m So Grateful for Blogging

I said that I’d write a post like this when I did my blogiversary post, but then the terror that one calls school started and I got nothing done blogging-wise. By now, I’ve been blogging for an entire year (and a little more) and I honestly can’t believe it. It feels like yesterday that I published my first post but it also feels like I’ve been doing this forever because blogging is such a big part of my life now.

This is a list of reasons that I am so grateful for this platform that I have figured out through my year of blogging

1. I’ve been able to read better books!

I was on Goodreads before I started blogging, and yeah, there’s a lot of books there (surprising everyone, I know). But while I did and still do love goodreads, starting a blog has helped me discover so many more and so many amazing books. I’m able to follow blogs of people who read the same kinds of books as I do, so find more books that are the kind of things that I read, and all in all, it’s easier to discover books through blogs than it is through goodreads!

2. I’ve met so many amazing people!

How could I possibly write this list without mentioning the people? You all, anyone who reads my blog, anyone who has a book blog, are amazing. Just being able to talk books with someone in the comments, freaking out about the same book (there are people who have read the same books as I have, here!!!). To see people leaving comments on my blog after I write posts, just to chat about what I’ve written, it’s nice. I’m gonna be honest, I do love blogging and writing these posts, but I probably wouldn’t have continued this long without all of you. So thank you. So much.

3. I’ve begun paying attention to upcoming releases.

One day, maybe April or May of 2020, I heard of a book via goodreads. And it sounded like a very good book! I wanted to get it immediately. It wasn’t until a month or so later that I realized that book wouldn’t come out until September of that year. I honestly just had no idea about books that were going to be released but weren’t yet, it was very surprising to me that this book was already on goodreads! I didn’t pay attention to these kinds of releases until I made a blog and suddenly people were talking about books that they were looking forwards to, making lists of books that were going to be released in the upcoming year. I was able to learn about books before they were out in the world and see which ones I was looking forward to, and it just added a whole new layer of excitement (and also impatientness) to books!

4. I know how to do so many wordpress blog-type things

I am not tech savvy. Like, at all. I still don’t know how to do several elements in blogging and have begun losing faith that I ever will (I’m pretty sure I’ve been taught how to hide text in the little spoiler thing about 4 times and have never managed to do it in an actual post?). BUT I know a WHOLE lot more about using wordpress, as well as doing things like graphic design, now. Over my year of blogging I’ve slowly been changing what the graphics look like and how many I use (seriously, go back to my first post, you’ll definitely see. Actually, wait, don’t) and I think that they are much better than they were. Also, they actually exist. Much better than they were. WordPress itself is still much of a mystery, but eh. Some things are meant to remain mysterious (I’d really rather this one not being one of them, though).

5. I’ve learned so much! And I have a platform, myself.

Blogging, while amazing for learning about books and making friends, has also taught me a lot about so many important issues that aren’t taught other places and are so necessary to talk about! Plus, I myself have been able to talk about the things that I want more people to know about (other than books. And baseball. Pretty sure you guys don’t want to hear me talk about baseball all the time). In June I posted about why aro/ace spec characters are so important in books and it was just really nice to have a place to talk about things that I care about! I think that a platform for these kinds of things, helping to educate others on things that we don’t usually hear about in every day life, is really important and I’m so glad to be able to use it myself and to read about the things others are saying!

I am so, so thankful and happy for blogging and I can’t wait to see what’s more to come. Thank you all for your unending support and for giving me a place to talk about the things that I love. I honestly couldn’t have done this without you. I can’t wait to see what else the blogging community has to offer and what else I can give you all as well!
As always, stay safe, and keep on reading!!!

It’s my Blogiversary!!!

You all probably read the title, but I’m just going to say it again:
It’s
My
Blogiversary.

One year ago today, I launched my blog. I wrote my first post (which was extremely cringey but isn’t that true for everyone?). I have been writing on this blog for an entire year, posting my thoughts, my favorites, the books I didn’t like so much, discussion posts, so much more! And I am so grateful for it.

Thank-yous

First of all, I wanted to thank some amazing bloggers who have helped introduce me to the blogging community, who are wonderful people and who I’ve gotten to know over the year!

The first person I need to thank is, of course, Katie @Whispering Pages. Katie has helped me so, so much with my blog. A year ago, I was actually pretty unsure about creating a blog because I had formerly had one with two of my friends, but I wanted to make my own. Katie was the person who encouraged me to go out there and start one, so I am forever grateful for her! And, of course, her blogging content is AMAZING so please go check out her blog and give her some serious love! (Also I miss you please post again I miss your posts!)

Next, I’m thanking April @Booked Till Midnight. I’ve gotten to know April super well in the past year and she is just the best person! I love all our conversations, from the ones in the comments to ones over emails, the ones that are absolutely out there and the ones that we intended to be serious blogging-business, but dissolved into just talking about whatever we wanted!

Cherelle @A Bolt Out of the Book is basically the sweetest book blogger around. She’s always eager to give tips to bloggers and help out however she can, and her blog is just fabulous!

Ahaana @Windows to Worlds has amazing posts and her blog is beautiful! She is a wonderful person who is super fun to talk to! It is always a delight to see her comments on my blog because she is always so cheery and excited!

Madeline @The Bookish Mutant. Madeline was one of the first bloggers I found on wordpress and one of the first blogs that I followed and so I really think that her blog, and her following me (she was one of my first followers I believe!) was what really got me into the blogging community!

Now, I’m aware that I only shouted out five people and I’m aware that there are so many more people out there whose blogs I love and who I love talking to! Here are some other people who have helped me so much on my blogging journey, whose posts I’ve loved, whose comments are amazing, and who I am so grateful to have met!

Saniya @Sunnyside Reviews for following my blog pretty early on and commenting on all my posts / Riddhi @Whispering Pages for noticing me when I was just a newbie blogger and you were, like, super versed with the blogging world (okay I don’t know how true this is but it sure seemed that way when I was new) / Rania @Rania’s Rambling Reads for talking on and on and ON about Julie and the Phantoms in the comments of my posts! I’m still here if you ever want to discuss more theories! / Ritz @Living Loving Reading For having amazing posts and awesome comments! / Susana @Susana Loves Books for agreeing with me about She Drives Me Crazy even though everyone else thinks that it’s a great book (haha!) / Ashmita @The Fictional Journal for being just the happiest person with the brightest comments that make my day! / Lilly @Lilly’s Little Library for being my goodreads friend even before my blog existed! / Maria @The Character Study for having super awesome posts! (also you should get a trophy for your posts actually being good when you first started your blog–most everyone’s are really cringey!)/ May @Forever and Everly for just being an inspiration to bloggers everywhere! I’m always so excited when I see your posts in my reader.

If I forgot to mention you, that is absolutely my fault and I am so sorry–I’m terrible at remembering things like this! Know that you mean just as much as everyone else listed here to me.

Blog Statistics:

I am going to include my blog statistics here for my own knowledge, so I can track how my blog grows over the years. This is not in any way me bragging, it is for myself!

Follows: 273 (258 wordpress, 15 email followers)
Posts: 63
Views: 6,976
Visitors: 2,399
Likes: 1,654
Comments: 1,376

Some of my favorite posts:

Over my first year of blogging, I wrote 63 posts. Some of them were terrible (aka, the first few months and all my book reviews until about 3 months ago). Some of them, I loved. Let’s look at a few of my favorite posts.

Please note: I selected these posts that I enjoyed based on content only. Some of the posts, from closer to the beginning of blogging, have some weird font colors or different graphics than I now use.

  • The Future was Now, By JR Harber (Book Rant). This review remains the only book rant I have written on my blog to this day. I wrote it a while ago, as you can probably tell by the difference of the featured image, but I still really enjoyed reading most of it when I went back to look for my favorite posts, and think it really shows my dislike of the book. It was super fun to write, when I just filtered all my annoyance from this book into a review.
  • The 2020 Book Tag (Original Tag). This is the first and only tag I have ever created, but let me tell you, I’m very proud of it. The prompts follow some of the events of 2020, which we all know was an absolutely bonkers year, and overall it was just a very fun tag. Contrary to what it seems like most people believed, this tag is not one that you have to do within the end of 2020–the prompts just follow 2020! So, despite the fact that it’s nearly September of 2021, you can absolutely still do this tag (if you aren’t terrified of looking back at 2020).
  • Thoughts on Teens in YA (discussion). This was my second discussion post, I believe (and the first was amazing, too! It was a collab between myself and April @Booked Till Midnight on Retellings!) and it was a very interesting one, in my opinion. I looked at what makes a good teenage protagonist and what some YA writers don’t do well when writing their protagonists. Being a teen is a very interesting part of life and some (adult) authors who write YA don’t always portray teens as the age they actually are!
  • Why Aro/Ace spec characters are so important in books (discussion). This is probably my top favorite post. I wrote this one back in June, for pride month, and it is such an important post, for me. It discusses why characters who are on the aromantic and asexual spectrum are so important to include in books, as well as providing definitions for a few (of many) sexualities that are on the aromantic and asexual spectrum. Please please please check it out if you haven’t already! (I swear this is the only post of mine that I will literally beg you to check out, but this one was very personal to me and I think it will be very educational to a lot of other people, so it would mean so much for you to read it!)
  • People you See at Bookstores (I have no idea what category this goes in). This one was 100% the most fun post that I have written on my blog! I studied the many different types of bookstore-goers there are–that is, how different people have different ways of studying bookstores. It’s a totally light and fun post that I hope you get a LOT of enjoyment out of, because I sure did when writing it!
  • Sports in Books (discussion). This was the first post in a collection of two of them, and the other one was also fun, but this one was definitely my favorite (find the other post, a list of books with sports, here)! I discussed why sports aren’t in books as often as it seems like they should be, given the impact in sports around the world, and why it’s important for sports books to be diverse.

It seems like a lot of people have a feedback form in their blogiversaries, but I’ve decided not to do that because I’m lazy and I’m rushing to write this. However, I’d absolutely love to hear what you think of my blog, the good, the bad, etc. in the comments section! I am aware that this does not give an option to answer anonymously (unless you make another wordpress account and respond in the comments with that one–but that seems like a lot of work. If you really want to, though!) and I may in future posts put a feedback form up for this purpose. Thank you for all your feedback if you participated!

I just realized how short this post was! I’m planning on doing another post about what blogging taught me in a week or so (depending on when I can write it) so hopefully that’s a bit of a blogiversary-celebration. Until then, this is going to be all!

When’s your blogiversary? Do you have any feedback for me? And what do you think of my favorite posts? Thank you all so much for following me, and being with me on this journey and supporting me through it all! I literally couldn’t have done it without you and I love you all so much!

May Wrap Up

I’m back!
I’m so sorry for my completely unexplained disappearance from the blogging world this month. It was entirely unplanned but unfortunately some outside factors had a bit of a sway in this. I’m going to try to post regularly in June and I’ll explain more with what happened farther down in this post.
In other news, I’ve decided to turn my wrap up back into a singular post. Given that I’ve gotten rid of my monthly book awards, my posts will definitely not be as long so I figured I’d save myself the effort of having to format TWO posts and make an entire 2/5s of my posts be just wrap ups and turn it back into one wrap up.

Amazon.com: Where Dreams Descend: A Novel (Kingdom of Cards, 1)  (9781250204356): Angeles, Janella: Books
Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
Amazon.com: The Gravity of Us (9781547600144): Stamper, Phil: Books
  • Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles. I’ve seen this book hyped by many of my friends and it was something that I’d been meaning to read, but unfortunately it was a disappointment. It just did not hold my attention and it took me a while to finish it, as well as getting me into a fantasy reading slump. ⭐⭐
  • Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen. This was a really good book! I’m definitely in the middle of a realistic fiction binge right now and I found this to be a very satisfying read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper. This book was okay. Honestly, nothing really stood out about it, I found it interesting that the main character was into media journaling but there was absolutely no development to the romance and it happened out of nowhere. ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Miss Meteor (9780062869913): Mejia, Tehlor Kay, McLemore,  Anna-Marie: Books
Amazon.com: Michigan vs. the Boys (9781525301483): Allen, Carrie S., Allen,  Carrie S.: Books
Amazon.com: The Henna Wars (9781624149689): Jaigirdar, Adiba: Books
  • Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia. Okay, so I’m not usually a fan of magical realism. It may be one of my least favorite genres ever. I also didn’t enjoy the first book by McLemore that I read. But this book? This was AWESOME! I loved it so much, it kept me hooked, I liked the writing, it was just amazing! Plus, one of the main characters is pansexual, not something we see much in books, and there was amazing trans rep! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Michigan vs. the Boys by Carrie Allen. Guys I loved this book SO much. Three words: Girls playing sports. As a girl who plays sports myself (well, just one sport. Fencing didn’t really work out) it is SO AMAZING to see a book like this because honestly? There’s so few of them. I think this is a super important book to read because it highlights a lot of the sexism that revolves around sports. Also it’s just an awesome book. Read it. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Henna Wars by Abida Jaigirdar. Okay, I know it’s kinda crazy that this is the first time I’ve read this. It’s a super popular book with people, it seems. And it was a nice read, too! I really enjoyed it, especially Nishat’s relationship with her sister, Priti, because we really need more awesome sibling relationships in books, please and thank you. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Amazon.com: The Sky Blues (9781534477858): Couch, Robbie: Books
Most Likely (Most Likely #1) by Sarah Watson
  • You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson. Yet another book that’s gotten really popular since it came out which I hadn’t read. This book was good! Shoot, I forget what happened in it (despite the fact that I read it more recently than several of these other books). But it was definitely good. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch. This was a sweet book, I loved how everyone came together to help Sky and there were some great friendships here. It was a sort of predictable book, or maybe that’s just me being able to predict far out things (though, given that I’ve NEVER guessed the outcome of a murder mystery…) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Most Likely by Sarah Watson. This was a good book but I have some complaints. Don’t listen to the goodreads summary. Or any summary. Nowhere in the book does it say that one of these four girls are destined to be president. In the prologue, I guess it says that one of them will be president, but the way the goodreads summary says it– ‘destined to become president’ makes it seem like some ominous prophecy.
    Complaints aside, this was a really nice realistic fiction story. ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Voting Booth (9781368053297): Colbert, Brandy: Books
Amazon.com: Perfect on Paper: A Novel (9781250769787): Gonzales, Sophie:  Books
Amazon.com: Pet (9780525647072): Emezi, Akwaeke: Books
  • The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert. Honestly, I didn’t know how a book all about voting, set in one day would be pulled off. I was skeptical. But it worked, it really did. I loved how we got to know the characters and they got to know each other throughout the day, and the book really kept me engaged and educated. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Perfect On Paper by Sophie Gonzales. This was the PERFECT book to read when I was at the height of my realistic fiction reading phase–it’s basically the type of book I think of when I think realistic fiction. It was a really great book! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. I picked this book up on a whim and it was pretty interesting! There were times I was confused about the monsters and angels and I’ve figured out the monsters but I’m honestly still sort of confused about the angels but oh well, it was still an awesome book with a great lesson! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Edge of Anything (9780762467587): Carpenter, Nora Shalaway:  Books
Amazon.com: She Drives Me Crazy (9781250209153): Quindlen, Kelly: Books
Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
  • The Edge of Anything by Nora Shalaway Carpenter. Super important book, would definitely recommend. Has a great friendship in it and teaches some very important things! (excuse my overuse of the word ‘important’). ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen. I did enjoy this book, however I cannot get over the fact that Scottie CLEARLY blackmailed Irene into fake dating her. And she didn’t even realize it. Did the author even realize it? Because it’s literally never addressed in the rest of the book. That really rubbed me the wrong way. ⭐⭐⭐
  • Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee. The disappointment I feel about this book…I’m wondering if I shouldn’t be so harsh on it because the way that the main character was acting (kinda self centered) for most of the book mighta been part of his growing process or whatever but I still feel super let down because I was so excited for this one. ⭐⭐

Well, I’m clearly terrible at sticking to my TBRs but I want to be able to finish some of the books I own, including some fantasy ones, because I hope to get out of my fantasy book slump. I’d also love to read LOTS of queer books for pride month and so if anyone has any recommendations, PLEASE suggest them in the comments below! Especially if you have any with rep that is less commonly seen in books!

The Monthly Bingo is created by A Colorful Bibliophile and it is totally amazing, so please head over there and check it out! It’s such a fun thing to do and I hope you’ll join in on it! You can find May’s board here and here is what I’ve done for this month!

Despite being inactive on my own blog, I did do a pretty good job of staying on top of other people’s posts, if I may say so myself. I was unable to comment on them, but I did read them (I promise, I read them!). Here are just a few that I enjoyed!

I wrote a measly one blog post in May, but it was a super awesome one! April @Booked Till Midnight and I collaborated once again to write a discussion post, this time on spoilers, and I LOVE how it turned out! We split it in two, just like last time, and you can find my half here and hers here.

May goals:

  • When you have school stuff, do it first!!! Writing/blogging comes afterwards (not saying I don’t do this already but my schedule is about to get a lot busier)
  • Drink more water (please?)
  • Blog a liiiiittle more (be on top of my posts more)
  • Remember to study (the end of the school year is, amazingly, coming right up!)❌✅

Well uuuuuuh…I definitely didn’t blog more. Haha. I did stay more on top of school stuff I think? I wouldn’t say I drank more water. And I studied once? For a quiz? We don’t have finals this year, so that’s nice.

June goals:

  • Blog some more?
  • Hang out with my friends
  • Don’t think about school after it ends
  • Follow a few more blogs

*If you’ll notice, I skipped the blogging updates section, simply because I have no blogging updates to give*

Okay, so what’s been going on with me this month? Where have I been?
Well, the first week of May, my only excuse for posting was that I didn’t know what to post. I have a bunch of book tags lined up and several book reviews, but I just wanted to write something new and exciting (not to say that book tags aren’t exciting) and I just didn’t know what to do.
Then, on Friday May 14, I injured my elbow while playing softball. The short story was that I landed on it while trying to stop a ball from getting past me, the longer story for any of you who actually understand the baseball/softball talk is that the other team had the bases loaded with one out and I was playing right field. The batter hit the ball to the pitcher, who tossed it to the catcher to get the out at home, but then the catcher threw down to first to try to get the batter out as well. However, the ball got past the first baseman and because I was backing up first, I ran to try to get the ball. I dove, but I didn’t manage to get it and I landed on my arm.
Immediately after I got up (yes, you’re getting the full story here), my arm felt really weird, it was all shaky and hurt a little (but surprisingly, not much). Whatever the case, I knew I couldn’t put my glove back on so I went back to the dugout (and a few parents fawned over me). I wasn’t feeling well enough to play in the rest of the game but we wanted to see if it was something I could sleep off.
It definitely wasn’t. I went to the doctor’s the next day and they told me to go to the ER to get an X-ray. It turned out that I’d fractured a bone in my elbow–a fracture small enough that they couldn’t even see in the x-ray (they could tell by the fluids that were gathering around my bone), but a fracture nonetheless. I got a splint, which made it very hard to type. Basically I couldn’t type. So that’s why I haven’t been blogging (typing with one hand is so agonizing).
On Monday (the 24th) I got my splint off and, while my arm is still injured, it’s okay enough that I just have to keep it in a sling until my next appointment by which time it will hopefully be better. I can type again, hooray! (though I probably shouldn’t be doing it much). And that is the story of why I haven’t been blogging.

Other stuff I’ve been doing this month include playing softball, until I got injured, and reading because what else can I do. Oh yeah, also school. My teachers are giving us lots of projects and tests (and terrifying latin assignments) before the end of the year. So that’s fun. I paid more attention to baseball? Because from April-October, Major League Baseball is basically my life? This season has been absolutely CRAZY so far, with some super competitive divisions and also six??? no-hitters??? somehow??? But honestly, really nothing else happened this month aside from breaking my first bone ever (seriously, this was my first big injury).

How was your May? Do you have any queer book recommendations for me? What do you think of my reading month?
As always, thank you so much for stopping by and have a marvelous June! (I wish I’d thought of ‘marvelous’ before, because ‘marvelous May’ sounds so much better than ‘marvelous June)
Stay safe and keep on reading!

March Wrap Up (part two)

Hey everyone, welcome back to my March wrap up! This is part two, in case you missed it, I’m splitting my wrap ups into two parts so they aren’t the monster that was my January Wrap up. I published the first part of the wrap up on Sunday, where I discussed favorite posts around the blogosphere, the posts I published this month and more! Please head on over and check it out if you haven’t already! For this part of the wrap up, I’ll be talking about the books I’ve read, my monthly bookish awards (more on those later if you don’t know what they are) and more!
First of all, someone please tell me how we’re already a fourth of the way through the year? Please, educate me on this sorcery, it seems impossible. This year is going…weirdly fast and I’m not sure why. Or how. But I’m all for it.
Anyways, let’s get into my reading month!

~What I Read~

Amazon.com: A Dark and Hollow Star (9781534453678): Shuttleworth, Ashley:  Books
Amazon.com: Skyhunter (Skyhunter Duology, 1) (9781250221681): Lu, Marie:  Books
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. This book was super different from what I usually read. It was a little slower than other things that I pick up but it was super good! But now I just don’t know what was real because at the end, Odie just said something like ‘all storytellers bend their stories a little,’ and a bit more stuff like that. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth. This was probably my most anticipated release of 2021 and it was good! I really liked the characters and the plot, but I do have to say that it was definitely very slow at the beginning and while there was rep LGBTQ+-wise, there was basically no rep POC-wise which was disappointing ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Skyhunter by Marie Lu. This book was super interesting and may very well be my favorite Marie Lu book. It did seem like just another sci fi book but the characters were awesome and there was a bit of twist to a usual YA sci fi plot. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Dangerous Gift (Wings of Fire, Book 14) (14): Sutherland, Tui T.:  9781338214543: Amazon.com: Books
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Shadows Over London | CamCat Books
  • Wings of Fire by Tui T Sutherland: The Dangerous Gift. I started reading Wings of Fire when I read middle grade books and so I’ve continued to read them as they come out! These books are ones that I never grow out of–they’re still as enjoyable today as they were when I was the target audience! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez. This book was sad and eye-opening and I’m really glad to have read it. It taught me a lot–I had no idea about La Bestia before reading this–and it was very heart-wrenching. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Shadows Over London by Christian Klaver. I received this book as an ARC and it was…fine. I didn’t really care for it, the writing style was not to my liking and the plot was just meh. ⭐⭐
Lore by Alexandra Bracken
Amazon.com: Elatsoe (9781646140053): Little Badger, Darcie, Cai, Rovina:  Books
  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I read the entire Shadow and Bone series just so I could read this one and I finally got around to it. Wow, it did not disappoint! I loved seeing Nikolai and Zoya but I especially loved seeing Nina. Plus, Leigh Bardugo is a master at writing plot as always and it was just so awesome to be in the Grishaverse again! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Lore by Alexandra Bracken. I read The Darkest Minds by Bracken a while ago and didn’t enjoy it that much so I didn’t really know what to think, going into this one. Whatever it was, my expectations were not very high. And it was indeed a meh book. It was an interesting idea for a book overall and there were some interesting parts and interesting characters but the book itself, I didn’t really care for it. ⭐⭐
  • Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. This was a fun, easy to read book! Plus, I always love seeing an aroace protagonist! I do agree with many reviews I’ve seen on this book that it reads more as middle grade than YA but it was still enjoyable. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Girls I've Been (9780593353806): Sharpe, Tess: Books
I'll Be the One by Lyla Lee
Amazon.com: Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology, 2) (9781250142306):  Bardugo, Leigh: Books
  • The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe. Woah, this book was…intense. This might have been the first thriller I’ve ever read (honestly, I’ve probably read more but who knows) and…wow. Clearly I have nothing to say about this book haha. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee. This book was so fun and enjoyable! I was recommended this book by Katie @Whispering Pages and finally got around to reading it and it was just so awesome! I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a fun contemporary book. Or just anyone. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo. It’s over. I can’t really believe it’s over but wow that book is quite something. There were some things I liked less than I liked about King of Scars, and some things I liked more. It was a very mixed book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

~The Monthly Book Awards~

Those of you who’ve seen my blog since the last wrap up know what the monthly book awards are but for anyone new, I’ll explain them really quickly.
These awards are basically just short little things I do where I ‘award’ a character, a world, a book, etc. if it’s the best one of the topic that I’ve read that month. Down below, you can see all the categories and the award winners for each one!
Note: all awards are my own opinion
Also: While this is my creation, anyone who wants to participate in the monthly book awards is completely welcome to do so on their own blog! Just make sure to credit me, but other than that I’d love to see everyone else’s award winners!
And just a reminder from last month, I’ve decided to remove the ‘worst’ part of the awards. While it can be good to know what books to stay away from and where books are weaker, I’ve realized that it’s much more important to focus on the good parts of books, and also that it might be sort of unfair to choose what book was worst in some points. Hope you all are okay with this! (If you really want to know the ‘worst’s, you can ask me in the comments).

Best character: There really is no character that pops out at me as the ‘best character’ in this group. My first thought was Nikolai, but I think I’m going to go with Skye from ‘I’ll be the One.’ Skye was super determined and self confident and she didn’t let anyone push her down which was a super cool quality to have.
Most interesting character: I guess I’ll go with Nora from The Girls I’ve Been. She’s a con artist’s daughter so she’s had to basically be different girls throughout her life.
Funniest character: Okay, this is why I didn’t put Nikolai as ‘best character’; he’s clearly the funniest character. I mean, come on, he’s Nikolai. How could he not be the funniest.

Best Villain: I….honestly don’t know. I didn’t read many books with villains this month. I guess the only two villains there really was was those in A Dark and Hollow Star and in Shadows Over London and of those I guess I’d have to say the villain in A Dark and Hollow Star?
Most original villain: I honestly do not know, nor do I think either of the villains I mentioned previously were extremely original so I’m just gonna leave this blank.

Best plot: What else could I possibly say other than King of Scars? Leigh Bardugo is a master of plots (and characters, too) and KoS is no exception. Rule of Wolves is a close second behind this (as it is the second in the King of Stars duology…)(I don’t even know if that was a pun and it wasn’t intended to be but…)
Most original plot: I think I have to go with Lore by Alexandra Bracken here. I’ve never read a book anything like this (I mean, Percy Jackson was the closest as it is set in NYC and there is greek mythology but it didn’t come anywhere close) and the concept was super interesting.
Craziest plot twist: Not gonna lie, I’m just saying Rule of Wolves because I can’t think of anything else. I cannot think of a plot twist in Rule of Wolves either, but I’m just going with it because there’s got to be one in there somewhere.

Best world building: I always hate using a single book for lots of answers but best world building clearly goes to King of Scars/Rule of Wolves. Just like sh’es a master at plot, Bardugo’s world building is fabulous.
Most original world: Well it appears I did not read many books that even had fantasy worlds so I’ll go with Elatsoe for this one. The world in Elatsoe was basically our world but there was some magic and creatures which I thought was pretty cool.

Best romance: Uuuuh
Uuuuuuuuuh
I guess I’ll say Nina and Hanne from King of Scars??? There was literally no other romance that stood out to me this month
Most unexpected romance: I’m not gonna lie, most romances are extremely predictable these days. I honestly don’t know what to say because none of these surprised me the slightest bit.

Most diverse book: Well, King of Scars was very diverse but I’m going to go with I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee here. All of the main characters/important side characters were LGBTQ+ as well as Asian. Skye was also fat and it was a very body-positive book which unfortunately is not something that I see very often in YA.

Best book overall: …Oh, come on, it’s got to have been King of Scars. I’d also put Rule of Wolves here. Despite the fact that I did rate Rule of Wolves 4 stars when I rated King of Scars (as well as I’ll be the One) 5, I think overall I enjoyed Rule of Wolves more, there were just more things that I also enjoyed less. I’ll Be the One was an extremely close second, I loved that book.
Most original book overall: (*Note: I’m changing this prompt from ‘most interesting book overall’ to ‘most interesting book overall’) Oh, Lore’s gotta win this one too, like I said before it was extremely original.
Most surprising book overall: I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee. I was expecting to really enjoy it but I was not expecting to LOVE it. It was SUCH an amazing book and you NEED to go out and read it RIGHT AWAY.

~April TBR~

Just like last month, I’m doing a short TBR of books that I’m probably going to read in April. Don’t expect me to stick to this TBR though! (I said I was gonna read The Gilded Ones in March but I only got halfway through due to the fact that I received two extremely anticipated books of mine right after I started reading it and just had to start reading those)

Amazon.com: Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, 1) (9780062870957): Barron,  Rena: Books
Amazon.com: A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology  (9781984896209): Clayton, Dhonielle: Books
Amazon.com: Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad) (9781945053252): Lee, C.B.:  Books
  • Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron. I saw a talk by this author last…August? And I’ve been excited to pick this up ever since. I think that now that I actually own this I’ll be much more likely to do so!
  • A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton. This will be the first anthology I’ve read in a while and I’m excited to pick it up! It looks like a super interesting read.
  • Not Your Villain by CB Lee. This is the second book in the Sidekick Squad, whose first book I read in February. I’m trying to read this series really slowly given that book 4 doesn’t come out until August and if I devour them all right now, I will be in that awkward spot where I remember too much that a reread is worth it but not enough that I can just pick up the book remembering exactly what happened in that last one, come August. (disclaimer: I’ll probably end up in that spot anyways)

~Monthly Bingo~

And I’m back with the monthly bingo again! The monthly bingo is created by A Colorful Bibliophile and it is an absolutely amazing creation. You can find this month’s bingo board here, as well as the board for the month of April here.
Anyways, enough rambling, here’s my March bingo board:

Not gonna lie, I definitely bent some of the prompts a lot. But come on, I needed to get my bingo!
Anyways, I do hope that you participate in the monthly bingo because it is a WHOLE LOT of fun!

Have you read any of the books that I did for my reading month? What do you think of my monthly bookish awards? Are you going to participate in the bingo? (you totally should). Let me know in the comments! I’d love to talk to you!
As always, thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read this; it means the world. Stay safe and keep on reading!

March Wrap Up (part one)

I honestly cannot believe it’s already the end of March. I feel like March went slower than the other months but it’s also…already the end of it? We’re a fourth of the way through the year already and I’m not entirely sure how we got here. I swear, it was just February.
Anyways. I’m going to do this wrap up slightly backwards from the way I did the last one–we’re doing everything but the bookish parts of the wrap up first and then the bookish parts afterwards, just because it’s not yet the end of the month and I want to be able to squeeze some more pages into these last few days!

~Posts I Enjoyed~

~February Blog Posts~

I posted three times this month. Not as much as usual, I feel like, and my posts really declined towards the end there but hey, they’re there and they’re mine, so….

I feel like my ‘Thoughts on Teens in YA’ post had the potential to become a really good post. However I of course procrastinated until the last minute to write it and didn’t even write it well so in my opinion it was sort of a flop. Maybe one day I’ll go back and write it again because I’d been super excited for it!

~Monthly Goals~

March goals:

  • Study more for tests
  • Go for more walks
  • Read the books that I own (instead of ignoring them and just reading books I get from the library)
  • STOP LOOKING AT STATS SO MUCH ✅❌
  • Reach at least chapter 10 in writing my book

I feel like I really did do better in studying for tests which is really nice because that’s never been something I’m good at doing.
Walks, well, I still don’t go on as many as I probably should but I made an effort to get outside even if I wasn’t going on a walk and did go on a few more walks I think.
I almost exclusively read books that I own this month! I have a lot of them all piling up and I was able to get through a lot of them which was super awesome.
I believe that I looked at stats less than I usually do, especially towards the end of the month, but I still proooobably need to work on that.
Also, I got like halfway through chapter 10 in my book but didn’t actually finish it, so…I guess that counts?

April goals:

  • In free time, do what I want to do (aka, blog if I want or write what I want, don’t do what I feel like I have to do)
  • Drink more water (a constant problem for me)
  • Write some more
  • Try to get outside more
  • Be more efficient in homework (granted, this is something that I’ve been doing towards the end of March as well)

~Blogging Updates~

I have no blogging updates. Nothing happened this month. Haha but I’m serious, I quite literally don’t know what to say here so….yeah. My blog exists. There you go.

~Life Updates~

  • I did NOT watch Julie and the Phantoms. Haha I know this is a little bit of a silly one to put on here but given my obsession with it it’s a liiiiittle bit surprising that I didn’t watch it. Still, hit me with all your theories, ideas, etc. no matter how crazy they are. The crazier, the better. Also, if you haven’t watched it, go watch it. I’m sure you’ve heard this before from me. But go watch it.
  • Okay the above statement is now a lie. I actually thought I’d get through the month without watching even one episode of JATP but who am I kidding? I did end up watching the first episode on Thursday.
  • I FINISHED ATLA. This is pretty big achievement for me given the pace at which I watch shows (I don’t actually want to watch them any faster–watching shows gives me semi-writer’s block–but I’m just reeeeeeeeally slow at it). It took me 6.5 months to get through this show and I really enjoyed it! Still not good as The Dragon Prince though. Someone, please agree with me. TDP is better. Please, someone. Everyone likes ATLA more. I just want one personnnnnnnnnnn.
  • I also started Legend of Korra immediately after finishing ATLA. I haven’t gotten very far yet but…wow it’s a little weird? I don’t know it’s just so different from ATLA. Even the animation style is different. Also seeing old Katara–and Katara’s children and grandchildren that’s weird.
  • I’ve written some more! I had a pretty productive writing month which I’m happy about and my story is going along swimmingly! (I swear, I never say ‘swimmingly’ but I just had to here because…it’s a book about mermaids….swimming… *crickets. crickets*)
  • The baseball season started. I mean, sorta. Not really. Anyways, for those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge baseball fan and the offseason is a very annoying time but spring training has now started so hooray! I know that no one else pays attention to major league baseball (And if you do, please tell me so that we can talk non-stop about it) but spring training is very exciting for baseball fans. Or….maybe just me given that whenever I try to talk about it to my family they go ‘okay but the games don’t matter in spring training’

Hey everyone, this is just one more reminder that the book giveaway of A Bite of Revenge by Setayesh Kazempoor is still going and ends tomorrow. Please enter, I promise you that it is well worth it! You can find my post where I have an author interview with Setayesh here. That post also outlines the giveaway requirements. You can also enter the giveaway directly here.
Also I want to acknowledge that there was a bit of a mess-up with the giveaway when I first started it but it’s all fixed now!

What do you think about my month? How was your month? What’d you think of my posts this month? Please let me know in the comments! Oh, also–I’ve been sort of struggling to figure out what to write that I want to write so if anyone wants to do a collab post on just about anything (I mean, it’s gotta be book related), please let me know in the comments, I’d be happy to work with you as long as you’re someone who I’ve talked to on my blog or yours beforehand. Also, you better have chosen the topic already because I’m *indecisive*.
Thank you so much for stopping by and as always, stay safe and keep reading!

Retellings

So if I am correct, this is the first discussion post I’ve ever done!* Discussion posts were the highest voted on the poll I gave my blog readers in my January wrap-up to see which posts they wanted me to do more of and I’m really excited for this!
I’ve always found discussion posts really interesting because they’re topics that spark, well, discussion (yeah, whoever came up with this name is GENIUS).
*Funny thing is, I was actually incorrect, I found, as I was looking through old posts. Waaay back when this blog was first getting started, I did a discussion-esque post on writer’s block, found here.

Anyways, I thought I’d write my first discussion post on retellings and for this post I’m working with April @Booked Till Midnight. April and I have decided to cut this post up so you’ll find half the post right here and the other half over on her blog, here. You do not need to read her post to understand this one (nor do you have to read mine to understand hers) but definitely check it out for more of our opinions on retellings!

So first of all:

What is a retelling?

If you’ve already read April’s post, this is a bit of a repeat but don’t worry, the rest of the questions will be different! We just wanted to get this out of the way for our first-time readers.
You’d think between the two of us, that we could come up with a semidecent definition for a retelling. But no. No such luck. Turns about writing definitions is an art form neither of us have mastered. Even good ole Google let us down! (google’s definition is ‘tell (a story) again or differently’) So here’s ours:

A retelling is a story in which an original story, usually a fairytale, classic, or legend, is taken and written again with a twist. Certain elements are changed in order to create a fresh perspective. Some of these elements could be setting, maybe a few minor plot points, character names and personalities, etc

Why do we enjoy retellings?

The general consensus seems to be the creativity and imagination that comes along with retellings. All books require some part of creativity, but the expansion or twist on a preexisting world is always super interesting to explore. Beyond that, we also have other reasons of our own. 

P: I think that I enjoy retellings so much because these are stories that a lot of people know already, they’re classics in literature. But it’s just so interesting to read an author’s spin on things. I feel like retellings are just one giant ‘what if’. What if Snow White was set in a city in modern times? What if The Little Mermaid actually took place in space? The what if question is really the question people need to answer in order to come up with an idea for a retelling.

Another reason I enjoy retellings is I find that oftentimes they make the original story better, almost. Of course nothing will ever replace a classic in lots of people’s eyes but there are so many ways that a retelling can make it better. Most classics in Western literature are written by white, non-LGBTQIAP+ men. They’re interesting stories but, as you’ve probably noticed, not the most diverse. And in fairytales, there’s usually a similar ending: the prince saves the helpless princess, they get married and live happily ever after (there are, of course, exceptions). Retellings allow someone to write a story in a more diverse way. It’s a way to re imagine that fairytale ending and twist it into something else. 

A: I would wholeheartedly agree with what Phoenix just said. Exploring the “what if” is a totally different brand of creativity that never fails to dazzle me. I would also agree that retellings can be better than the original (*looks at every Romeo and Juliet retelling ever*), especially when they are able to chop somewhat questionable elements and add much needed diversity. 

Retellings definitely hold a special place in my bookshelf shaped heart, but ultimately I love retellings for the same reason I love reading any book. I love immersing myself in all of the worlds (read: escapism). I also love the air of familiarity that they bring while still keeping me wondering what the twist will be. Books are constantly brimming with creativity and originality, but I think that retellings really allow those elements to shine because there is something to compare it to. 

Speaking of creativity and originality… (a moment of appreciation for that oh so smooth transition)

Do retellings lack originality? 

Well, we both have that same short answer of no. Retellings are just the opposite of this–they’re absolutely original! The very definition of a retelling makes it unique. If everything was the same nothing is being retold, it wouldn’t be worthy of it’s own book. 

That giant ‘what-if’ question really makes it original. Maybe Cinderella lived with her evil stepsisters/mother and had to slave away for them before the ball in the fairytale but what if all of this was based in the future? The awesomeness of retellings is that the author gets to tell the tale the way that they imagined and that makes retellings SO original. 

And yes, there are going to be some similarities to the original (it’s kinda to be expected— it’s in the definition and everything), but retellings require a different kind of originality. There is still room for other elements of originality like worldbuilding, characters, relationships +++, even while sticking within the limits of what a retelling is. The originality comes from the spin the author choses. 

Follow up: Can plot twists still be pulled off?

Plot twists can be tricky, especially when based on an already famous tale, but they can totally be pulled off. 

With the retelling’s spin on the original take, it’s sometimes hard to guess what the plot twist even is! Maybe Cinderella loses her shoe at the ball, but in Cinder she loses her whole foot (sorry for the spoilers, everyone). And in those times when you know something is going to happen, it can build excitement and anticipation. You know the moment is coming because of the original tale, but in the retelling it happens in a completely different way than you expected!

Another way that plot twists can be pulled off is if there is multiple plotlines as well as the fairytale! While the plotline revolving around the fairytale might be slightly more predictable, the other plotlines are a total wildcard. 

These Violent Delights is most certainly a Romeo and Juliet retelling, but at the same time everyone is trying to figure out what’s up with this monster and these bugs and THAT makes for some amazing plot twists. 

The last way that plot twists can be pulled off (that I’m thinking of right now–there are surely more!) is if the pacing of the retelling is different from the pacing of the original story. Maybe there’s something that’s just glossed over in the real tale but the author goes into greater detail there. Or maybe the story is only half the tale and is continued in the next book, and since you didn’t know that the things that happen at certain times really surprise you because…wow I thought something else was going on.

Cinderella is Dead is a really good example of this. It takes the original Cinderella tale and uses it as a base for a dystopian society set 200 years later. Cinderella is undoubtedly there (the story is sacred text), but since Cinderella is Dead is a futuristic continuation it still manages to take you by surprise.

What retellings do we want to see more of?

I’ll tell you what we don’t need more of— Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast.

Cinderella is probably the most common retelling I can think of. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Cinderella retelling, but there are so many more stories out there that can be told!!! Explore the great beyond of fairy tales!! Or classics!!! Or legends!!!

As for Beauty and the Beast, the whole kidnapping does not seem like the best way to start a relationship. It particularly irks me in fantasy Beauty and the Beast retellings, but is not so bad with the contemporary ones. The contemporary B&B retellings are typically a forced proximity situation, but the Beast is never beastly enough. Normally they are an arrogant chihuahua. You really can’t win. At least I haven’t found one yet 😦

(P: I actually haven’t read many B&B retellings but I’m taking April’s word for it)

A: I’d absolutely love to see more King Arthur retellings. The only ones I know of are Legendborn by Tracy Deonn and Once & Future by AR Capetta and Cori McCarthy. They both have been on my radar for a while, the trick is tackling all the other books on my tbr that stand between me and them #bookwormstruggles. As a general rule of thumb, more retellings of legends are a yes. 

P: I’d love to see more little mermaid retellings. I find the story of the Little Mermaid pretty fascinating because the ending is not happy, as well as the fact that the Little Mermaid actually sorta does something. She saves the prince, first of all, which NEVER happens in fairy tales, and she also has very real risks which I like. 

I’d also like to see retellings of fairy tales that we don’t hear very much about–maybe a retelling of the princess and the frog or something like that. Other than that, I’d love more Shakespeare retellings since I really dislike reading Shakespeare but I love seeing twists on his stories

A: I second all of that!!! Basically ME WANT MORE RETELLINGS

Recommendations!

Below, I’m sharing a few retellings that I’ve loved! Unfortunately, my mind has abandoned me and I can barely think of any, so I apologize if this section is a bit sparse. Or just, like, full of really popular books because I can’t think of anything else. Go check out April’s post since I’m pretty sure she has a lot of more interesting recommendations.

Image result for to kill a kingdom
Image result for a curse so dark and lonely
Image result for scavenge the stars
  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. This is the single Little Mermaid retelling that I have read and I reall enjoyed it! Because of my brain, which is terrible at remembering books, I don’t much remember what was happening in here but I do like the twist of the mermaids actually being sirens and trying to kill the prince at first.
  • A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. I’m sure that most of you have heard of this book. Hey, I warned you above that most of these books would be popular books. But this is the single B&B retelling that I’ve read and while I agree with April that kidnapping is most certainly NOT a good way to start a relationship I did like how awesome Harper was (yes, bask in my amazing descriptive skills in which I use the word awesome to describe someone).
  • Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim. So, I actually don’t know anything about the original tale for this book. Well, I guess if I’ve read this book I know something about it. But this is a retelling of the Count of Monte Christo and it’s super unique in that way!
Image result for these violent delights
Image result for cinder
  • These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. You’ve probably heard of this one since it’s been all over ever since it came out several months ago–and before that even. I’d highly recommend reading this while reading Romeo and Juliet (that is, if you have to read R&J–don’t suffer if you don’t have to) because it’s super fun to see how the books are similar and different.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Honestly, I feel a little weird putting this on here since this might be the most well known retelling out there. I know a lot of people have problems with it and it’s definitely not the most original retelling (Yes, I did just say original. retelling) but I, personally did still enjoy it.

Classic/fairytale inspired books

Image result for legendborn
Image result for cinderella is dead
Image result for legend by marie lu
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. Well, I wouldn’t call it a retelling but it’s like…if King Arthur’s round table and all the processes for knights, etc. took place in modern day. Sorry, I described that super badly. But it’s a super good story with really intricate storytelling…just get ready for some major info dumps
  • Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron is such an amazing idea for a book, it’s amazingly original. And I did really enjoy most of this book, however I felt that there were some parts that went pretty slowly and there was a lot of sitting around planning what to do next.
  • Legend by Marie Lu. So, I’m not entirely sure if I should put this on here but you know what? I did. You’re probably wondering what the heck it’s doing here for and supposedly the author got the idea for the book while she was listening to Les Miserables–and if you know Les Mis and you’ve read this book, you can sort of see the similarities.

Well, that’s it for this post! Please, check out April’s post here, where we discuss retellings even more–we’ll cover things like what makes a compelling retelling, what makes a retelling less good and, my personal favorite, where does ‘retelling’ end and ‘inspiration’ start.
I hope that all of you had fun with this post! What do you think about retellings? Do you think that retellings lack originality? What sorts of retellings do you want to see more of? What are some retellings that you love? Thanks again for stopping by, everyone, and as always, stay safe and keep reading!

The Outstanding Blogger Awards

This award looks so fun and I cannot thank the three people who nominated me enough! Please please please check out Em’s blog @Cats, Bibliophiles and Baguettes. CBB is no longer active due to problems with the website creation website, but Em has started a new blog, on wordpress! You can find her @Tea for Teens. Next, we have April @Booked Till Midnight! As soon as I saw her blog, I fell in love (with the blog. And it’s purely platonic, I have no romantic feelings for April’s blog. Guess you’ll have to try harder, April. 😂😂😂 Actually wait, please don’t because I don’t really want to fall in love with a blog). She posts the most amazing things so please give it a look! And lastly, just today (or perhaps yesterday, depending on when I post this), Tiction @Fictionally Crazy nominated me as well!
Anywhom, before I start this post, I suppose I ought to actually post the rules…just so you all can keep me in check. Here you go:

  • Provide a link back to the creators original post 
  • Answer the questions provided
  • Create 7 unique questions
  • Nominate 10 bloggers. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination. Neither the award’s creator, nor the blogger that nominated you, can be nominated.
  • At the end of 2020, every blog that ping-backs the creator’s original post will be entered to win the 2020 Outstanding Blogger Award.

(By the way, I think the idea of every blog being entered at the end of 2020 to see who wins is an AWESOME idea)

And now, the part that you’ve all been waiting for (that is, I assume it’s the part you’ve all been waiting for since it’s the body of the post you’re currently reading), my answers to the questions!

Em’s Questions:

1. What is your ideal vacation spot?

Let’s see…usually when we go on vacation we go to a wide variety of places. I don’t visit beaches very often, even if we go to a state on the coast, just because my parents don’t like them much–and honestly neither do I. Too sandy. There’s two spots I love to vacation. Either in a cabin by a lake (kayaking!) or, actually, in the middle of a city. I LOVE exploring new cities, seeing new things, just being surrounded by buildings and people, it’s so awesome for me. (plus, there’s always lots of new restaurants with good food)

2. Who is a person who inspires you?

You know that thing where you’re asked a question and all answers just immediately vanish from your head? Yeah. But okay I actually got one. Phil Bildner. Bildner actually writes middle grade novels, not YA. I read his book A High Five For Glenn Burke earlier this summer and it was really enjoyable. For some background, AHFFGB is about a young gay boy who really loves the sport of baseball. He finds out and does a school project on the very first openly gay baseball player in the major leagues, Glenn Burke and throughout the book, Burke’s story really inspires him. Now, I love this book because I love baseball and I love the LGBTQ+ community. And this book is actually what got me interested in the LGBTQ+ community within professional sports (mostly baseball). Nowadays, I’m super interested in this and want to work to make professional sports and sports at all levels more accepting for the LGBTQ+ community. And AHFFGB is really what started it.
That being said, I also really admire Sean Doolittle, who is a pitcher in major league baseball (Oakland A’s, Washington Nationals, currently a free agent). Doolittle is a HUGE ally for the LGBTQ+ community and uses his platform and voice to speak out for a lot of causes (also, please look up Sean Doolittle pride shoes because those things are b e a u t i f u l)

3. What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about having a blog?

Probably one of my favorite things about having a blog is interacting with people and seeing how people enjoy my content (either that or you all are just putting on a facade to make me think you’re enjoying it). I love interacting with readers.
One of my least favorite things to do is probably design the actual blog, like what the pages look like and stuff. I feel like wordpress can be sorta frustrating when doing this just because…well maybe it’s because I’m an inexperienced wordpress user. Anyways, I dislike making my blog look good overall–but it’s fun to add little graphics to posts.

4. What’s your favorite bookstore?

Hmmm well I don’t usually really go to bookstores…(especially not during covid, obviously). Usually, I just get books from libraries. I do think that Barnes and Noble is a pretty cool store…other than that I can’t think of a big chain bookstore that you all would know of (and I’m NOT willing to talk about local bookstores that I go to).

5. What are your 2021 reading goals or life goals?

So there are a LOT of books that I REALLY want to read in 2021–enough that I will hopefully eventually write a post of 21 books I want to read in 2021. A few of the most notable ones are Cemetery Boys, which I actually hope to read in, like, the last 6 days of 2020 (this is me banking on getting it for christmas), some VE Schwab books and some Alice Oseman books.

6. If you could wish for one thing (not more wishes) what would it be?

In a perfect world I would say books but there’s too many problems in the world for me to feel like I can say that. So. I’d probably wish for everyone to be able to accept everyone for who they are–I wish that everyone would support the LGBTQ+ community and BLM and for everyone to be a feminist and no judging on body size or anything like that. That would be my wish.

7. What’s one thing you like about my blog and one thing you dislike?

I really enjoyed all the creative list posts you did, Em! I know that your new blog is not entirely focused on books but I hope that you will still be able to squeeze in posts like the ones on CBB like the list of books about politics you did around election day, or the red and green book cover list you did for one of the first days of blogmas. Those were so interesting to read!

April’s Questions

1. What is an oddly specific trope you adore?

THERE ARE TROPES THAT I LIKE
I JUST CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING RIGHT NOW
I’LL KEEP THINKING
Update from like two days later: have yet to think of a trope I really like but the trope I dislike the most is INSTA LOVE. I DESPISE INSTA LOVE. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

2. What is your favorite figure of speech?

APRIL STOP WITH THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE OBVIOUS ANSWERS I JUST CAN’T THINK OF RIGHT NOW. Nah, you don’t actually have to stop. But I can’t think of anything right now, I might come back later.
(Yeah, I didn’t do that, my mind is still empty)

3. What is your favorite song right now?

Hmmm….it’s something from Hamilton, the musical or Six, the musical. I think it’s Six, the song, from Six, the musical. For background, Six the Musical is about King Henry VIII’s six wives. It tells the story of the wives that might have been lost in history, given that Henry VIII, being a king in the 15 hundreds, was much more well known than his wives. The last song in the musical, named for the musical, is a rewritten end to the story of the six wives, in which they all get together and form a band, throwing off their positions as Henry’s wife. It’s just a very catchy and fun song and I love the idea!

4. What season is your favorite?

Ah, that’s actually really difficult. See, I like winter because snow, but also in the winter it’s really cold and then I’m cold and that’s not fun.
I think I like fall the best because it’s not too warm but not too cold.

5. Book Quote that you absolutely adore?

I don’t actually usually remember book quotes…I just read the book for the book. Ugh I’m sure there are some good ones out there but for now I can only remember the one from Cinderella is Dead that goes something like, “Do you even know how to use a sword? Women aren’t permitted to–” “The pointy end goes in your neck.” It’s amazing sword etiquette. But I really should start paying more attention to quotes in books.

6. If you had a sword, what would you name it?

Now this is a top notch questions if I’ve ever seen one. It requires some thinking because I’m not going to go naming my sword and silly little name that comes to mind…it must be dramatic! And it must be interesting! And it must be just…perfect.
I think I’d like something…like I don’t know. Maybe the word death included. Deathslayer, maybe…no, that’s too close to Elisabeth’s (Elisabeth from Sorcery of Thorns, where I assume April got this question from). Deathstabber? Dreadslayer. Dread…bringer. No. Doom. Huh I could just name the sword Doom, that would be interesting. So many words with D that are so dark (ha ha there’s another one).
Final verdict: Darksong.

7. If you could turn into any food for a day, what would it be?

I, uh….what? I mean if I really had to choose a food, it would probably be one that not many people would eat just so that I wouldn’t get eaten…something like one of those stinky cheeses. Or maybe a barely heard of vegetable. But if I weren’t going to be eaten regardless, I’d say I’d like to be a bar of chocolate because chocolate is just…✨perfection✨

Tiction’s Questions

1. What is one country you’ve always wanted to go to?

Easily Canada. I kinda…have an obsession with Canada? Well not really. But I have actually never been out of the United States and Canada…I don’t know, it just seems cool. Toronto, especially, I really want to live there when I grow up (yes, I’ve never been there, I know. I don’t know what it’s like at all. I still want to live there).

2. Tea or Coffee?

Amazingly enough, I’ve never had coffee in my life. Yes, I’ve gotten through school thus far without a sip. No caffeine in sight (other than chocolate because chocolate). However, I don’t exactly like tea either. And I enjoy the smell of coffee, so I’m sorta at a stalemate here.

3. Share a favorite quote?

Ha, well I don’t really remember quotations very well…I did put one up above when April asked.
For some reason when I saw the word ‘quote’ in this question I immediately thought of a certain English teacher lecturing about how ‘quote isn’t the right word in this scenario, it would be quotation, a quote is speaking or…’ honestly I don’t even remember and that might be wrong, so don’t quote me on that (ha ha see what I did there?)

4. If you could master one language, what would it be?

Let’s see…well it would either be Spanish or Latin…so Latin is a dead language but the thing is, since it’s the origin of the romance languages, I’d know a bit about those, too. Also, Latin is really difficult because there’s conjugations and declensions and tenses and it’s my lowest grade in school right now. But Spanish is used today and pretty common. I think I’d choose Spanish.

5. What’s your book of the month?

Hmm, I’ve read a lot of good books this month. I’m going to have to say Moxie, by Jennifer Mathieu, because it was really empowering and just a nice book altogether. You can find my review of it here.

6. Would you rather read just one perfect, no-fault, long, long book in your life or read unlimited standalones with cliffhangers at the end?

Ummmm stop being difficult, heh heh! That’s really hard because I wouldn’t want to read a single book in my life! But a whole bunch of cliffhangers at the end??? Aaaaaaah I guess I’ll have to say cliffhangers…I hope that never happens to me though, ha!

7. Tell us a Dad Joke

Funnily enough, I just read one in a book tonight.
Why did the scarecrow get an award?

Because they were outstanding in their field.
I would explain it (like what happens in the book) but explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog (If you ask nicely, I’ll explain that one in the comments. And it’s another dad joke too).

I nominate:

Katie @Whispering Pages
Sunny @Revolution Reading
Ahaana @Windows to Worlds
Emilie @Chronicles of a Bibliomaniac
Lilly @Lilly’s Little Library
Tess @Unbound Library
Vic @Books and Mate
Kirsten @The Novel Existence
Sanskriti @Portals Into Books
Cherry @Cherry Blossom Books

Questions:

  1. What’s the weirdest idea for a book you’ve ever read?
  2. What’s a food that everyone likes but you don’t?
  3. What do you do to get inspiration? (for writing a story, doing homework, whatever)
  4. Have you ever spoken to an author? (IRL or through email or goodreads or anything) If so, who and what did you say to them?
  5. If you could tell a character in a book one thing before the story took place, what character would it be and what would you say?
  6. Tell us a one sentence horror story (kinda a classic I know)
  7. What’s your favorite blog post that you’ve written in the past three months?

Well, friends, that’s a wrap! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading all my answers to these questions, boring as they are (I feel like half my answers were just, ‘I cannot think right now’ in some form).

What’s a dad joke that you enjoy? What sort of tropes do you like? And what are your goals for reading in 2021? Feed me words in the comments! (I’m sorry, I’m tired and not sure what I’m saying right now).
That’s all for today! As always, stay safe and keep on reading!

Blog Compare: How I’ve Improved

I feel like recently I’ve sorta been walking around feeling sorry for myself. Sorry that my blog has so few followers when people who started at the same time as me in blogging have 2x, 3x, 4x or more followers than I do. Which, let me just say, is dumb. I shouldn’t be caring so much about followers and whining about all of this because I know that I am so so lucky to have all the followers that I do. I love every single one of you and am so grateful to all of you. I know that there are so many bloggers out there who don’t have as many followers as I do. Let me say right now. MY BRAIN IS DUMB. MY BRAIN CARES ABOUT STUPID THINGS. MY BRAIN FEELS SORRY FOR MYSELF WHEN I SHOULDN’T. I’m trying to fix this, you guys, I promise. I’m trying to look up more than down every day.

Today I’ve decided to write a blog post discussing how far my blog has come. Before I start, I would like to say that I, personally, do not think that I am bragging by writing this post (though I understand that’s not exactly something I, the author of said post, can claim for myself). I’m only showing the things that I did to my blog that I, personally, believe makes it better. No one’s blog is the same, everyone has things that makes their blog theirs. But that was the problem with my old blog, it was not me. I am presenting what makes my blog me.

Also, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to Katie @The Storybook Sisters, since she has helped me A LOT with my blogging and just improving my content, how my blog looks, etc. (though she’s got to still have some secrets, how else could she be so much better than me?) If you don’t already follow her, please check out her blog and consider following because she is AMAZING.

Most of you hopefully probably don’t know that I used to run another blog, Writers’ YA Book Reviews. I ran this blog from April up until July or August. I was working with two of my friends, all three of us with nothing to do during quarantine and wanting to talk about books. (our friends Amethyst and Turquoise over at Act Your Page starting their blog was another big reason we started)
However. I, Phoenix, knew nothing about blogging. And I was the one with the idea. I was the most determined (sorry, Vampire and Werewolf), I really really wanted to start a blog. And, well, those of you who know Phoenix…she just jumps right in.
So let’s see what I’ve learned from blogging, having started this new blog, and how I’ve improved overall.

  1. The theme improved.

wHaT there’s theme’s other than the one they give you right when you start up the site? *cue sound of my mind in April being blown* Yeah, ha ha, I didn’t know that. (weird thing is, in fourth grade when I started another (equally cringy) site I did know…and you won’t find that site, it’s private and on a different account.)
Anyways…the theme that wordpress starts off with is…not the most beautiful. However, any site can look good, no matter the theme, as long as you know how to work with it and make it look good.
It’s too bad I didn’t know how to do that….

2. The home page

Compare: (sorry the screenshots aren’t perfect)

Okay, so the first thing I want to talk about is what the heck is that blue dot in the middle of the home page. I think that it was supposed to be a button? I believe there was a button there in the theme before any edits and I thought that just deleting the words would make it ✨disappear✨. So now there is a button that leads to nothing! (I have literally no idea where it leads, maybe the about page? I didn’t check)

3. The logo

Hint: We didn’t have one on the old site.
Okay, no, I am not saying that it’s bad not to have a logo. I know there are a lot of super successful blogs out there that don’t have logos or anything. But…we didn’t even have a symbol or a theme that the blog followed…it was just books (then again, books=good)

4. The blog itself.
Let’s compare what a book review looks like on my old blog and my new blog.

Old blog:

New blog: (*note: not the entire post, as the post was pretty long. If you want to see the full post, click here)

On blog number one we have a few things about the book (title, author, genre, representation in book, etc.), a brief summary and a few comments about the book.
Now, I don’t like this for several reasons. First of all, we don’t get many of my thoughts on the book. Just a short paragraph on what the book was like in general. This is not a book review. This is information about a book I read with a small amount of opinions sprinkled in. I’m really happy with how my reviews have improved in my new blog because it’s a lot more about my thoughts on the book. I’ve also let myself be more fluid in what my review is like–I feel like I’m constantly changing what my reviews are like constantly, which is good because they’re always improving to reflect what I think better. In fact, I will probably change my format in the very next review I write, so look out for that (it probably won’t be for a while, however).

5. The content

Guys, I literally only had book reviews on this thing. It was just the same thing, over and over and over. Now, there are some people who have blogs like this, who don’t feel like doing book tags or discussion posts and only post what they think of books, but when we have reviews like those demonstrated above, that is not good.

6. Interacting with the community

Let’s all be fair, I only started doing this on this blog over Thanksgiving break so I’m not sure I can really get angry at myself for not doing this before. But like…other blogs? That’s a thing? Who knew? I feel like on my old blog this would have helped me SO MUCH to improve my theme and my content and my reviews since I would be able to see how other people are doing it and how it might be able to look better.

A message to anyone whose blog is not ‘enough’: If you like your blog, if you like the content you are posting and you like what it looks like, keep at it. That is enough, I promise. Though I am a total hypocrite for saying this, it is not about the followers. It never has been and it never will be. Blogging is for you, is to let you have an outlet to share what you think and all the creative things like book tags and discussion posts that you do. How you make your blog, what you post, even who sees what you post, is your choice. Never think that your blog won’t reach that goal that seems impossible right now. It is not impossible. I promise. You will always see bloggers with better posts, better graphics, more people reading what they’re saying. But you will get there. Just keep reaching. Just keep writing. And keep being awesome. 😁😁😁

Well, that’s the whole post, folks! Yes you are definitely allowed to mock my old blog in the comments, it was truly terrible. Anyways, sorry if you didn’t find this post interesting, I just thought it would be cool to see how much I’ve learned about blogging through my journey these past few months!

What did you think of this post? Did it make you laugh? What are some ways that your blog has improved since you’ve created it? Please talk to me, I’d love to hear your opinion on my opinion as long as it isn’t disrespectful!
As always, thank you so much for reading, it means the world. Remember to stay safe and keep reading!