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).

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Author Interview with Maggie Tokuda Hall, Author of ‘The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea’

Hey everyone! I know I usually post on Sundays (and the occasional wednesday/thursday when it’s the end of the month) but you’ll have to forgive me for being a bit late as I was celebrating Easter with my family yesterday (and I’m terrified of scheduling posts because I feel like I’m going to mess everything up).
I am so excited today to be hosting an author interview with Maggie Tokuda Hall, the author of ‘The Mermaid the Witch and the Sea.’
I read ‘The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea’ in January and thought it was a really interesting book! MWS is an adventure fantasy and while it does follow a lot of the same paths as an adventure fantasy usually does, there are a lot of factors that make it a super interesting read! It was especially interesting how it was sort of split into three different sections, each with a sub plot in them–the mermaid, the witch, and the sea.
Now, let’s get right into this interview! I hope that you enjoy!

  1. When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

I always loved telling stories, but when I was a teen and a college student, I thought of myself as a visual arts person. It was in pursuit of my BA in Studio Art that I realized what I really loved was narrative, and that my greater ability to achieve the stories I wanted to communicate was through writing, and often with the interplay of text and image.

2. How did you come up with the idea for The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea?

This book is written for one person in particular, a young woman named Clare. I met her when she was 9 years old and I worked in a bookstore. She was this shockingly bright, voracious reader, and when she was 10 or 11 her parents hired me to be her creative writing tutor. In the time I spent mentoring her it became clear that– at the time– there weren’t many stories that she liked best, with magic and murder and rules and kissing, that centered queer kids. So I sat down with the idea that I would write her that book. She’s 22 now, so I missed being able to hand it to teenaged Clare, but I got to hand it to her as an adult, and it felt like my own coming of age moment. It’s very emotional for me, realizing that in trying to create a coming of age story for her, by the strength of her character and her imagination and her joyful queerness, she created a coming of age moment for me, too.

3. What inspired you to write this book, especially when you were stuck?

I started this book when Clare was 13. It came out when she was 21. I got stuck a lot. I spent more time stuck than writing. My biggest problem was that I kept rewriting the beginning thinking, erroneously, that if I could just write the perfect beginning then it would lead me to a perfect middle and end. What I was learning the hard way was that, no matter how good a beginning is, it’s nothing until it has an ending to answer it. The thing that ended up getting me to finish a first draft (most of which is gone now, it’s worth noting) was NaNoWriMo 2016.

4. Is there anything you hoped to accomplish by sharing this book with the world? 

I just wanted Clare to like the book. That was the number one, only and most important goal. She liked it, thank god, but everything that has come after that has been just bonuses for me. The most meaningful emails I get are from kids who have come out as gender fluid after reading it. That they found permission or solidarity or reflection on their own identity that moved them in a step to being their truer selves– I can’t imagine anything else as meaningful as that to me. 

5. What did you learn while writing MWS? How did you grow as an author while writing it?

Oh gosh. I learned so much, and I do really believe that writing your way through it is the only way to learn to be a writer. It’s reps, it’s just like sports that way. You can practice and practice and practice (and you have to practice and practice and practice and practice) but you also need to play a game, to finish the thing. You need more seemingly infinitely more practice than you do game time, but that game time is what really gives you confidence. At least, that was what I found for myself. The more I practice the more I trust my own decisions, the less time I spend fiddling about with things that can be fixed in the next draft, or projects that aren’t right yet. I only let myself write forward now, and that’s served me so so well. I’ve also learned to get comfortable (even delighted) by deleting things. I don’t save any of my own writing anymore, no projects I didn’t finish, no character sketches. I force myself to write from scratch every time because I’ve learned now that every time I write I get better. So why not work with the best I have to offer?

6. MWS is your YA debut. What made you decide to write a YA book instead of sticking with what you usually write?

I usually write YA. I have a few picture books– one out and a couple on the way, and some short stories and essays for adults. But YA is my favorite genre to write. I have a YA graphic novel out in October 2021 called Squad (about teenaged girls who turn into werewolves at the full moon and eat sex pests) illustrated by Lisa Sterle. There will be a sequel to MWS, and another YA graphic novel in the time after that. And I hope much more YA after those, too.

7. What is some advice you have for aspiring authors?

Free advice is worth every penny. But that doesn’t necessarily mean advice you paid for will work for you, either. You never know who’s advice will be the thought technology that cracks open accomplishment for you, and I won’t pretend to offer it. I can tell you what worked best for me, but I’ll tell you that when I say these things on panels much more experienced and accomplished authors break into a cold and horrified sweat when I say I don’t save anything, or that I delete everything. Or that I believe that often, that slog I feel with a story, is permission to abandon it.

Well, that’s it for the post, everyone! I really hope that you enjoyed it and it was super fun to conduct this interview! I thought it was so meaningful to hear of Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s journey through writing this book to get it out to Clare and I’m so happy that it’s a book now!

What did you think of this interview? Have you read The Mermaid, The Witch and the Sea? Do you want to? Please, talk to me in the comments, I’d love to hear what you think!
Thank you so much for stopping by to read this post and as always, stay safe and keep reading!