On Blogging and Feeling Generally Stuck

You might’ve noticed that I took a three-month hiatus from blogging at the end of 2018. (You also might not have noticed because, like me, it’s more difficult for you to tell that something is missing when you aren’t actively looking at it. ūüė¨) This wasn’t a planned thing, but it felt necessary for me, and I wanted to talk a bit about my absence and my plans going forward.

(A note that I’m going to be going into some depression-y stuff here just a bit — it won’t be that deep of a discussion, but I wanted to mention it up-front.)

I realized in the last quarter of 2018 that I was more depressed than I had thought I was — I had so many things going well for me, and I guess that having good things happening for me tricked my brain into thinking I was actually happy when I wasn’t. I wasn’t enjoying things anymore, and I just kind of crashed at the end of the year… On the one hand I wasn’t pressuring myself to get things done and that was kind of nice, but on the other hand I wasn’t doing much of anything, and that was really difficult because I need stimulation in order to keep myself moving and I wasn’t really getting that from anything. I had a bit of an upswing during the first eight days of 2019, and then I hit a low point again and I’m trying to level my moods back out now. It’s difficult.

I’ve never had much of a “schedule” for this blog, and after the last few months I’m thinking that I need to continue not having a real schedule for a while. I’m going to aim to post twice per week for a while to see how that goes, and then later in the year I’ll reassess to see if I want to make any changes. I’m really behind on reviews right now because I’ve been so stressed and I haven’t been reading all that much and writing has been even more difficult for me.

I’m working on getting myself back in check — I have a monthly ARC checklist in my bullet journal that I’m going to try to stick to, and I’m hoping to catch myself back up because I have a LOT of fantastic ARCs on my iPad that are just waiting for me to devour them right now. I also just have a lot of leftover 2018 ARCs that I haven’t read, and a lot that I HAVE read but have struggled with reviewing. I don’t think that putting this kind of pressure on myself has been helping me, and I’m trying to get myself to relax a little more and stress a little less about this.

Also, in 2019 I really want to focus on drafting out my novel. I’ve had this story in my head for over a year now and I know where I want it to go, but I’m having trouble getting the words down. I started trying the silly “writing in Comic Sans” trick during my last writing session and for whatever reason it seems to be working, so I’m going to be trying that out for a while.

My other writing-related goal for this year is that I want to attend the Rainbow Weekend workshop at The Writing Barn, but I don’t feel that this is likely to happen because I don’t have a lot to show for myself in terms of writing, and I honestly feel kind of ashamed. My lack of any creative writing in the last several years is trauma-related and I know that this isn’t my fault, but I’m still blaming myself. I’d like to go to the workshop to try to break myself out of this slump I’m in and to try to write in a new place and reinvigorate myself, but even if I’ve done enough to actually get accepted the only way I’d be able to afford to go is with a scholarship, and that’s even less likely to happen because I don’t feel like I “look” serious enough to actually get one. I’m going to work on things and see if I can get myself situated to where I can apply, but I don’t feel hopeful.

I’m hoping to do more non-review blog posts this year and to try to do more collaborative things than I did last year — I have been feeling really lonely, and I think I need a tighter community around me at this point. Interacting with people is a challenge, and I feel very distant from most people and like most people are keeping their distance from me, and I want more engagement… More interaction… More feedback… More friends… More. Support goes a long way, and I think I need more of it than I have in the past.

Overall, I’m going to try to let my creative instincts drive me this year. I don’t know where they’re going to take me or what will happen, but I need it. It could take me a while to get my footing, but I’ll get it. I just need to keep at it.

Thank you so much for your support, and I hope we can have an amazing 2019 together!

September Wrap-up!

I have blogged almost not at all this month, and while I wish I could have done more I feel okay with this. I’ll talk about that more later — for now, let’s get into what all I read in the last month!

Reads for September

Here’s all I read in September:

That’s Not What Happened¬†by Kody Keplinger — 5 of 5 stars

Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens¬†anthology (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars

Zora & Me: The Cursed Ground¬†by T. R. Simon — 5 of 5 stars

Skeleton Tree¬†by Kim Ventrella — 5 of 5 stars

Black Panther: The Young Prince¬†by Ronald L. Smith — 5 of 5 stars

Carrie¬†by Stephen King — 5 of 5 stars

Sadie¬†by Courtney Summers — 4.5 of 5 stars

Summer Bird Blue¬†by Akemi Dawn Bowman — 5 of 5 stars

Salt¬†by Hannah Moskowitz — 5 of 5 stars

One True Way¬†by Shannon Hitchcock — 5 of 5 stars

Trans Teen Survival Guide¬†by Owl and Fox Fisher (ARC) — 2 of 5 stars

You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P!¬†by Alex Gino — 5 of 5 stars

Big Words Small Stories: The Missing Donut¬†by Judith Henderson (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars

I Am Small¬†by Qin Leng (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars

Sleep, Sheep!¬†by Kerry Lyn Sparrow (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars

The Adventures of Wilhelm: A Rat’s Tale¬†by Maria Ritter (ARC) — 2 of 5 stars

The Spy With The Red Balloon¬†by Katherine Locke (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars

 

Reading stats:

  • Number of books read: 17
  • Number of nonfiction books: 1
  • Number of ARCs: 7
  • Number of books by marginalized authors: ~11
  • Number of library books: 3
  • Number of books that WEREN’T part of my monthly TBR: 1

I am very happy with how well I stuck to my TBR this month! The only book I read that wasn’t on my TBR was¬†Carrie, which wass a reread for me as well, but I’ve made peace with it because I reread it for a special side project that will be completely worthwhile when I finish it.

I am less happy with my blogging and review-writing for this month — and by that I mean my lack thereof. I have a BUNCH of ARCs I need to review now, and I’m planning to put a concentrated effort on writing them in October!

On The Personal Side…

I turned 24 in September, and it has been a wild month ever since then. I got my driver’s license the day after my birthday, somehow passing my test on the first try.¬† Despite it being almost three weeks since I got my license, I’ve only driven by myself twice in the meantime, and only about a mile away both times. I still feel a bit awkward driving places by myself and I’m working on building my confidence up, but I’m working on it. Also, because I’m in Oregon I was able to get an “X” gender marker on my license! I’ve been waiting to change my gender marker since that option was legalized literally days after I got my learner permit, and it feels really satisfying to have it be a reality for me now.

The Monday after my birthday, I said goodbye to my job of the last four years (which I already miss a ton), and on Wednesday of that week I started my new job as a high school librarian! I really lucked out on all fronts with that job — it came at exactly the time I needed it to, the people are great, and I’m doing pretty much exactly what I want to be doing with quite a bit of control, and I really love it. The only thing that could be better is the pay, but I’m getting paid a little more than I was at my old job and I have more than double the hours, and I’ll be able to live with it. For my first post-college job, I am really lucky with what I got.

I feel like I’ve been thrown into growing up faster this month, and I surprisingly feel pretty okay with this. It’s been cutting into my free time (and my blogging time) and it’s been overwhelming at times, but I feel things starting to mellow and level out as the days go by. Things feel like they’re starting to come together for me, and while I still have quite a ways to go I’m feeling much better about the way things are going for me. Things are looking up!

Also, if you like my content, there are new ways in which you can support me now!

The best way to support me is by becoming a Patron on my new Patreon page! My Patrons will be receiving lots of bookish and cat-related content from me and my cat, Coco, so please check it out! We really appreciate it!
https://www.patreon.com/librarybenni

If you‚Äôd prefer one-time or occasional donations, that‚Äôs okay too! I have both a Ko-fi and a Paypal.me set up, and you are welcome to use either, if you wish! (Coco had a $450 vet bill in September and I’m struggling a little with paying it off, so a little extra help would be VERY appreciated.)
http://ko-fi.com/librarybenni
http://paypal.me/librarybenni

Rather support me with items rather than with cash? I have an Amazon wishlist, too! There are both fun things and necessities on this list, and I’d love to receive any of them!
http://a.co/arrvEe3

The last couple months have been kind of rough, so I really appreciate any support I can get!

How was your September? What are you looking forward to in October?

September Preorders!

Oh, do I have preorders this month! I actually have several physical books for September, which is quite a change from the rest of the year. Usually I have trouble telling myself to get ebooks instead of physical books, but I’ve been pretty good at buying ebooks this year. I think I have a good mix this month, and I’m excited.

Here are my September picks!

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 9/4/2018
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1250105714

I have heard so many amazing things about this book! (Check out my friend Taylor’s review here!) Several people I trust have been squealing about this one, and so I’m excited for it as well.

Soft on Soft by Em Ali

Cover placeholder from Goodreads
Cover placeholder from Goodreads

Release date: 9/10/2018
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Soft-Em-Ali-ebook/dp/B07GL135XS/

Cats? Anxiety? Queer fluffy romance? Yes, please! I love Em, and I’m really excited to read zir new book!

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 9/11/2018
Format: Hardcover
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Summer-Bird-Blue-Akemi-Bowman/dp/1481487752/

My birthday book for this year. ūüôā I loved Bowman’s first book, so this one was an easy choice for me. (Also, how gorgeous is that cover?)

You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P!¬†by Alex Gino

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 9/25/2018
Format: Hardcover
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/You-Dont-Know-Everything-Jilly-ebook/dp/B078TJPKYN/

After GEORGE, I am super excited for Gino’s next release! Deaf rep in books, especially middle grade, is also a big draw for me.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 9/25/2018
Format: Hardcover
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Absolutely-Remarkable-Thing-Novel-ebook/dp/B0796DR2XV/

Hank Green’s debut strikes me as odd and quirky, and I’m intrigued. I’ve heard good things about this one so far, so I hope it lives up to expectations!

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 9/25/2018
Format: Hardcover
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Blade-So-Black-L-L-McKinney/dp/1250153905/

I’m a sucker for Alice in Wonderland stories, and this urban fantasy retelling sounds amazing. And that cover is perfect.

What September releases are you excited for?

September To-Read List!

Remember how I said that I usually don’t do TBRs? I found last month’s TBR so helpful that I’m going to try to keep doing them for a while! I don’t know if I’ll keep this up indefinitely, but I have a LOT of books to read and this has at least been helping me stay organized.

I’m looking at my TBR not as a to-do list but as a menu of options I can choose from to read. I think that’s taking the pressure off of me quite a bit — and it allows me to not feel quite so guilty for not finishing every single book I have on my list.

August TBR Stats

Pile 1: #SummerOfPLL Reads
Amount completed: 6/9
Carrying over: 0

Pile 2: Library Books
Amount completed: 8/8
Carrying over: 0

Pile 3: ARC August!
Amount completed: 5/18
Carrying over: 12

Non-TBR Books Read: 1 (not including the ARC I read before I made my TBR)

I finished all of my library books! I also finished all of the main Pretty Little Liars books, but did not get to the companion ones and I’ve made my peace with that. The ARCs did not get the attention they needed in August, so they’re getting bumped forward to September!

September’s TBR

Pile 1: New Books

I have a lot of books that I’ve preordered or purchased while they were discounted on Amazon and haven’t read this year, and I feel really bad because I really want to read them. So, my first target area for September is filled with them!

  • Pride Must Be A Place by Kevin Craig
  • Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
  • Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
  • The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotic by David Arnold
  • The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse
  • Learning to Breathe by Janice Lynn Mather
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  • #murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil
  • If Only by Jennifer Gilmore
  • To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin
  • The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
  • Life Inside My Mind anthology
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  • Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
  • Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Justina Chen
  • Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
  • That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers
  • Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino
  • A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
  • Soft on Soft by Em Ali

Pile 2: ARCs

This pile has two parts: the ARCs that I’m carrying over from August, and the ARCs that are new to the September pile.

Sub-pile: Carryover ARCs

  • Disbanded Kingdom¬†by Polis Loizou
  • Rules of the Ruff¬†by Heidi Lang
  • Love Letters to Jane‚Äôs World¬†by Paige Braddock
  • The Adventures of Wilhelm: A Rat‚Äôs Tale¬†by Maria Ritter
  • The Lost Art of Reading¬†by David L. Ulin
  • The Splintered Light¬†by Ginger Johnson
  • Big Words Small Stories: The Missing Donut¬†by Judith Henderson
  • The Ghost Road¬†by Charis Cotter
  • Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground¬†by T.R. Simon
  • Unbroken¬†Anthology
  • Black Diamond Fall¬†by Joseph Olshan
  • Trans Teen Survival Guide¬†by Owl Fisher and Fox Fisher

Sub-pile: New ARCs

  • Sleep, Sheep! by Kerry Sparrow
  • I am Small by Qin Leng
  • How to Read Donald Duck by¬†Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart
  • Hearts Unbroken by¬†Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Unwritten by Tara Gilboy
  • Histories of the Transgender Child by Julian Gill-Peterson
  • The Spy With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
  • Salt by Hannah Moskowitz
  • The Chaos of Now by Erin Jade Lange

Pile 3: Library Books

You know that thing where you finish all of your library books and go to the library to return them and then somehow walk out carrying more library books? Yep, I did that. It’s okay, though — libraries are GOOD!

  • One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock
  • Book Scavenger: The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
  • The Skeleton Tree by Kim Ventrella
  • Black Panther: The Young Prince by Ronald L. Smith
  • The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
  • Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America by Nathaniel Frank

Do I think there’s any possible way I’m going to finish all of these in September? Pfft, no… There are 53 books on this list! My goal is to try to give myself options while still reading the books I actually need to read, and I think this does that, right?

What are you hoping to read in September?

August Wrap-up!

I am tired! I haven’t felt like blogging too much this last month, and I’ve tried not to pressure myself into it because I had a lot going on. I still got lots of reading, done, though!

Reads for August

Here’s all I read in August:

A Dark and Twisting Path¬†by Julia Buckley (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars

Stunning¬†by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

How to Be Miserable¬†by Randy J. Paterson — 4 of 5 stars

Finding Yvonne¬†by Brandy Colbert — 5 of 5 stars

Burned¬†by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu¬†by Joshua Hammer — 4 of 5 stars

Crushed¬†by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner¬†by Scott Cunningham — 2 of 5 stars

Darius the Great is Not Okay¬†by Adib Khorram (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

Deadly¬†by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

Archie: Volume One¬†by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish — 4 of 5 stars

Toxic¬†by Sara Shepard — 1 of 5 stars

Wicca’s Charm¬†by Catherine Edwards Sanders — 1 of 5 stars

Vicious¬†by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

This Book is Overdue!¬†by Marilyn Johnson — 4 of 5 stars

Harbor Me¬†by Jacqueline Woodson (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars

Book Scavenger¬†by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman — 5 of 5 stars

The Librarian’s Book of Quotes¬†by Tatyana Eckstrand — 5 of 5 stars

Dream Country¬†by Shannon Gibney (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars

How to Speak Cat¬†by Aline Alexander Newman (ARC) — 4.5 of 5 stars

Like Never and Always¬†by Ann Aguirre (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars

 

Reading stats:

  • Number of books read: 21
  • Number of nonfiction books: 7
  • Number of ARCs: 6
  • Number of books by marginalized authors: ~4
  • Number of library books: 8
  • Number of books that WEREN’T part of my monthly TBR: 1

I did a REALLY good job of sticking to my TBR this month! The only book that wasn’t on my TBR that I read was a book I preordered, so I’m okay with this. I AM frustrated at how sticking so close to my TBR this month caused me to read so few books by marginalized authors. I do recognize that by having a large chunk of my reading dedicated to #SummerOfPLL I already set myself up to read fewer marginalized authors, and I’m also seeing that the library books I’m picking up are also pretty white, abled, and non-queer. Maybe this is why I felt like I enjoyed fewer books overall that I read this month than I usually do. I’ll need to be more aware of this in the future.

On The Personal Side…

I’m still exercising more, which is nice. My pool is shutting down for maintenance for the next three weeks, which sucks, but I’m so far still planning to go back after they reopen late in September. I’ve also been zooming through levels in Pok√©mon Go, although I stopped to do a raid on a city lawn and my Fitbit lost a fight with a sprinkler earlier in the month so I had to get a new one… I love this weather right now, and I’m really going to miss it when it’s gone.

I have a driving test scheduled at the DMV for the day after my birthday this month! If all goes well, I SHOULD get my license and I’ll be able to actually use my car to go get groceries! That’s all I want. To be able to drive to the grocery store and back. That’s it. That’s all I need.

#ARCAugust was a bit of a bust, so I’ll be moving quite a bit of ARCs on my TBR over to my September TBR. I decided that I’m going to try to keep having a TBR each month for a while just to see how it goes. I’ll have a post up about my September TBR pretty soon.

Also, if you like my content, there are new ways in which you can support me now!

The best way to support me is by becoming a Patron on my new Patreon page! My Patrons will be receiving lots of bookish and cat-related content from me and my cat, Coco, so please check it out! We really appreciate it!
https://www.patreon.com/librarybenni

If you’d prefer one-time or occasional donations, that’s okay too! I have both a Ko-fi and a Paypal.me set up, and you are welcome to use either, if you wish! (I have a rather large vet bill coming up for Coco next month, so a little extra help would be VERY appreciated.)
http://ko-fi.com/librarybenni
http://paypal.me/librarybenni

Rather support me with items rather than with cash? I have an Amazon wishlist, too! There are both fun things and necessities on this list, and I’d love to receive any of them!
http://a.co/arrvEe3

The last couple months have been kind of rough, so I really appreciate any support I can get!

How was your August? Any fun plans for September? Let’s talk in the comments!

August (and July!) Preorders!

I forgot to make a preorders post for my July preorders, so I’m just going to do both here in one post! And my August preorders aren’t even on my August TBR… Oy. (I’ve been good about preordering ebooks instead of physical books, though, so at least I’m not taking up more¬†physical shelf space.)

Anyway, here are my July picks!

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 7/10/2018
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Fawkes-Novel-Nadine-Brandes-ebook/dp/B077CXZGHB/

I need more dark magic books, and this one looks really, really good. I have high hopes.

If Only by Jennifer Gilmore

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 7/31/2018
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/If-Only-Jennifer-Gilmore-ebook/dp/B071JLP74C/

The narrative structure of this is intriguing, and I really love teen pregnancy books for some reason, so I’m excited!

Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Justina Chen

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 7/31/2018
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Lovely-Dark-Deep-Justina-Chen-ebook/dp/B0756KZPPF/

This cover is lovely, and I’m really intrigued by the photosensitivity rep. I hope it’s good.

 

And here are my August picks!

Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 8/7/2018
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0785LQ7NH/

This book has the teen pregnancy storyline that I love AND it combines it with another one of my favorites: teen musicians. I can’t wait.

#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 8/7/2018
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/MurderTrending-Gretchen-McNeil-ebook/dp/B077XMXRN6/

I first heard of this book through a library webinar, and I was instantly intrigued. I hope it’s a little bit scary. I like scary stuff!

Our Stories, Our Voices Anthology

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 8/14/2018
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Our-Stories-Voices-Injustice-Empowerment-ebook/dp/B075RSWTSY/

I really love essays, and this anthology has them from some of my very favorites. Yes, please!

To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 8/21/2018
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Be-Honest-Maggie-Ann-Martin-ebook/dp/B078X23DCX/

This book has been all over my timeline on Twitter lately, and I’m really excited about it. I hope it’s as good as people have been saying it is!

 

Are you preordering anything this month? Let’s talk in the comments!

August To-Read List!

I don’t usually do to-read lists because I’m kind of a mood reader and tend to throw these lists out the window, BUT I have a few distinct piles of books that I need to read and I want to make sure I touch upon all of them. I have LOTS to read, and I think that listing out what I’m hoping to read this month will help!

Pile 1: #SummerOfPLL reads

The first half of #SummerOfPLL is over, and I’ve surprised myself by staying on course with this for an entire month without reading anything early or late. At all. Which is very Not Me. So, despite that the second half of this series so far is DEFINITELY going downhill when the first half wasn’t anything particularly special to begin with, I’m determined to keep on track through August, too! Here’s my PLL reading list for August:

  • Stunning
  • Burned
  • Crushed
  • Deadly
  • Toxic
  • Vicious
  • Alison’s Pretty Little Diary
  • Pretty Little Secrets
  • Ali’s Pretty Little Lies

Pile 2: Library Books

So, while volunteering at the library I spent about 6 hours over the last couple weeks shelving nonfiction books… And I KIND OF usually find a lot of stuff I want to read while I’m shelving things… So… I KIND OF checked out a giant pile of library books at once… Good job, me! Here’s my library book pile:

  • The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu¬†by Joshua Hammer
  • Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham
  • The Librarian’s Book of Quotes complied by Tatyana Eckstrand
  • This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson
  • How To Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use¬†by Randy J. Paterson, PhD
  • Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
  • Wicca’s Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality¬†by Catherine Edwards Sanders
  • Archie: Volume One by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish

Pile 3: ARC August!

Since it’s August and I have A VERY LARGE NUMBER OF UNREAD ARCS, I’m going to make a concentrated effort to catch up on as many of them as possible this month! Here’s all of the unread ARCs I have that have a release date in September or earlier (not all of my ARCs, though… Good luck, me):

  • Harbor Me by Jacqueline Wilson
  • Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
  • Dream Country by Shannon Gibney
  • Disbanded Kingdom¬†by Polis Loizou
  • How To Speak Cat¬†by National Geographic Kids
  • Like Never And Always by Ann Aguirre
  • Scream Site by Justina Ireland
  • Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang
  • Love Letters to Jane’s World by Paige Braddock
  • The Adventures of Wilhelm: A Rat’s Tale¬†by Maria Ritter
  • The Lost Art of Reading by David L. Ulin
  • The Splintered Light¬†by Ginger Johnson
  • Big Words Small Stories: The Missing Donut by Judith Henderson
  • The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter
  • Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon
  • Unbroken Anthology
  • Black Diamond Fall¬†by Joseph Olshan
  • Trans Teen Survival Guide by Owl Fisher and Fox Fisher

Considering that my total August TBR is now at 35 books, I have NO illusions about actually finishing all of these things this month. Ideally, though, I would at least like to get through a large chunk of them (and I know that some will take me longer to review than they will to read, as a few of my ARCs are picture books). I feel that this list at least puts me in a good starting place for getting many of the books I actually NEED to read… well, read!

What’s on YOUR reading list for August? Let me know in the comments!

 

July Wrap-up!

July was a great month for reading, but not so much for blogging… I participated in the #24in48 Readathon and read a whopping 15 books in one weekend, which is more than I’ve been averaging PER MONTH all year, and the #SummerOfPLL readalong has also boosted my reading, so I’ve got QUITE a list of books I read last month.

Reads for July

Here’s all I read in July:

Pretty Little Liars¬†by Sara Shepard — 4 of 5 stars

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo¬†by Taylor Jenkins Reid — 5 of 5 stars

Flawless¬†by Sara Shepard — 3 of 5 stars

The Astonishing Color of After¬†by Emily X.R. Pan — 5 of 5 stars

Perfect¬†by Sara Shepard — 3 of 5 stars

Unbelievable¬†by Sara Shepard — 3 of 5 stars

Maudlin Towers: Curse of the Werewolf Boy¬†by Christ Priestley¬† (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars — review here!

Wicked¬†by Sara Shepard — 3 of 5 stars

Killer¬†by Sara Shepard — 3 of 5 stars

Heartless¬†by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

Ghost Boys¬†by Jewell Parker Rhodes — 5 of 5 stars

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon¬†by Stephen King — 4 of 5 stars

Trapped in Death Cave¬†by Bill Wallace — 3 of 5 stars

A Study in Scarlet¬†by Arthur Conan Doyle — 4 of 5 stars

Summer of Salt¬†by Katrina Leno — 4 of 5 stars

Nice Try, Jane Sinner¬†by Lianne Oelke — 5 of 5 stars

1984¬†by George Orwell — 3 of 5 stars

Dear Rachel Maddow¬†by Adrienne Kisner — 5 of 5 stars

From a Buick 8¬†by Stephen King — 3 of 5 stars

Wild Beauty¬†by Anna-Marie McLemore — 4 of 5 stars

Lizzie¬†by Dawn Ius — 4 of 5 stars

When Dimple Met Rishi¬†by Sandhya Menon — 5 of 5 stars

The Great Gatsby¬†by F. Scott Fitzgerald — 4 of 5 stars

From Twinkle, With Love¬†by Sandhya Menon — 5 of 5 stars

The Outsider¬†by Stephen King — 5 of 5 stars

Wanted¬†by Sara Shepard — 4 of 5 stars

Twisted¬†by Sara Shepard — 1 of 5 stars

The Cats Came Back¬†by Sofie Kelly (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars

Ruthless¬†by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow¬†by Jessica Townsend — 5 of 5 stars

 

Reading stats:

  • Number of books read: 30
  • Number of nonfiction books: 0
  • Number of ARCs: 2
  • Number of books by marginalized authors: ~8
  • Number of library books: 11

Considering that I only read 11 books in June, I am SHOCKED by the number of books I managed to read in July. I wish I could have had more marginalized authors in my reading last month, but a third of my reading was from #SummerOfPLL and I made a concentrated effort to complete or work on some of my DayZero reading goals during #24in48, so I’m not that surprised. I’ll just need to work on that a little harder.

On The Personal Side…

I’ve surprisingly been exercising regularly this month! I’ve been going to yoga classes and water exercise classes, and I’ve actually been enjoying them and looking forward to going. This is weird because I usually hate exercise! I think it probably helps that the temperature has been pretty regularly close to 95 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the month, so going to the indoor pool has felt like a treat. I haven’t been swimming in ages, but I’ve been really happy that I’ve been going.

I also have been driving my car! For how weird getting a car on a short timeline in an unconventional way while still not having my license is, I am really happy that I have my car because I just really love it. I’ve only found one downside to this situation: walking past my car to go to the bus to get groceries, and then walking past my car again with an armload of grocery bags. I take the bus to work and back almost every single day and that doesn’t bother me, but the grocery thing is mildly irritating. I’m getting better at driving, though, and while I usually don’t get to practice more than once a week I’ve actually gotten to practice three times this week! I’m getting much better, and I’m happy with my progress.

I’ve got at LOT of ARCs on my plate (again) and because I did a poor job of reading ARCs in July, I’m going to be doing #ARCAugust this month in an attempt to catch back up again! We’ll see how that goes — I’ve got a lot to read!

How was your July? What are you looking forward to in August?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Reads of 2018 (So Far!)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is Best Reads of 2018 (So Far!). I’ve read a lot of amazing books this year so this list was difficult to make, but it reminded me of just how many amazing books I’ve come across recently!

10.) Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner

This is a truly nerdy book, and the fact that it takes place in the area where I live and grew up made this book a really fun read for me!

9.) The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno  

This one was recommended by my friend Silly Little Ravenclaw for its excellent Dissociative Identity Disorder rep, and it did not disappoint!

8.) Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White by Michael Tisserand

A fantastic biography of an excellent comics artist, this book was probably the best nonfiction book I’ve read in quite a while.

7.) American Panda by Gloria Chao

Funny, relatable, and absolutely charming, this book hit on so many early adulthood notes that felt so true to me.

6.) Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen

I came to this book for the cats, and I stayed for the mental illness rep. This comic was so relatable and funny, and I definitely read it at the right time.

5.) Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

Talk about a gut-punch. This book hurts to read, but it’s cathartic at the same time, and it’s well worth it.

4.)¬†You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon¬†

This is another one of those books that hurts to read, and it is so, so worth it. The sibling and family relationships in this book make it truly something special.

3.) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

I was on the waitlist at the library for this book for nearly half a year because of how many good things I’d heard about it, and it was worth the wait. Wow. Just wow.

2.) Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

This book felt personal to me for a number of reasons, from the characters to the writing. This is one of the books I most frequently recommend to others, for sure.

1.) Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

I have a thing for books that hurt me, apparently. This book hurts. It hurts BAD. And it’s just perfect.

What are some of your favorite reads of 2018 so far? Does your list overlap with mine at all? Let me know in the comments!

June Wrap-up!

I wrote actual blog posts this month! And quite a few of them! Yay! Finishing up school¬†definitely increased the amount of time I have to read and blog, and I’m happy that I’m able to do more here now because I love posting reviews and things and I missed doing this as much as I’d like.

Reads for June

Here’s all I read in June:

American Panda by Gloria Chao — 5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig — 3 of 5 stars — review here!

Running With Lions by Julian Winters — 5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

Final Draft by Riley Redgate (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars — review here!

A Quick & Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns¬†by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

Clowders by Vanessa Morgan (ARC) — 2.5 of 5 stars — review here!

When the Beat Drops by Anna Hecker (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, et. al¬† (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars — review here!

Probable Claws (Mrs. Murphy #27) by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown (ARC) — 3 of 5 stars — review here!

The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) are Creating a Gender Revolution by Ann Travers (ARC) — 4.5 of 5 stars — review here!

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

 

 

Reading stats:

  • Number of books read: 11
  • Number of nonfiction books: 2
  • Number of ARCs: 8
  • Number of books by marginalized authors: ~6
  • Number of library books: 0

Look at all of those links to reviews that I actually wrote this month instead of just slapping a “forthcoming” label on! And guess what? One of those three other “forthcoming” reviews is ALREADY WRITTEN! I’m getting so good at this! (Even though I still have a HELL of a backlog of reviews I still need to write sitting in my post drafts…)

I spent most of my reading time this month concentrating on my ARCs from NetGalley — I’d gotten quite a few of them that I hadn’t been able to give my full attention to because of school and they’d been published before I had a chance to read and review them, so I made an effort to read them and review them and get back to where the ARCs I have are for forthcoming releases rather than books that have already been published. I got to a good place, got my ratio back above 80% and only two books that have been published already sitting in my queue… And then I went on a requesting spree and got approved for 11 more books because I don’t ever learn and still underestimate how many publishers are willing to approve me to read their books. So I’ve got plenty of stuff to read now! It’s a good thing I have more time to read and stuff now, as I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do a better job of keeping up with reviewing ARCs before they release now.

On The Personal Side…

The biggest news of June — I have a Master of Library and Information Science degree now! What’s kind of funny is that the date my MLIS was awarded, according to my transcript, is six years to the day from the date I graduated from high school. It feels weird being done in more ways than one — it’s weird saying I have a master’s degree, sure, but it’s also weird that this break from school isn’t a short one and I DON’T have to just start classes again in a few weeks. I have been in some sort of school continuously for 20 academic years and I’m used to having to go back to class after a certain amount of break, but I’m no longer enrolled anywhere and don’t have to do that now… I don’t really understand this concept of NOT having to spend my non-work hours doing school-related things. I have free time, and I don’t comprehend it.

The second biggest news of June — I’m getting a car next week! I’m getting a really good deal from a family friend on a 2015 Hyundai Elantra that I just love, and I’m really excited about it even though I still don’t have my license. I may still be a gay who can’t drive, but at least now I’m a gay who can’t drive BUT WITH A CAR.

In terms of July projects, Camp NaNoWriMo is going to be here in 45 minutes for me and I’m really excited because that “free time” stuff means I can actually write this month! I can’t wait. I’ll be running sprints for a few shifts a week from the @NaNoWordSprints Twitter account along with some of my fellow MLs, so come write with us! Additionally, one of my fellow MLs, BookTuber Silly Little Ravenclaw, and I are doing a Pretty Little Liars readalong (#SummerOfPLL) and you should join us! My blog post about the readalong has some fancy calendars that I put together while using Canva for the first time, and it’ll be lots of fun!

What are you looking forward to in July?