Posted in Chopped Readathon, Monthly Reads, Readathons, Wrapup

Chopped Readathon: In Review

It’s the end of the Chopped Readathon, @TheBlindScribe and I are sad that this is over but we really enjoyed our time reading with all of you. As your host we didn’t get much reading done, because again, running readathons is more work than either of us pictured. So we are both crossing the finish line with 2 books each.

I’m sure some our participants however will have wonderful posts that will show up throughout the day now as for the prizes @TheReaderPegniun won our prize for who read the most and will get a twenty euro prize.

Prizes

Meanwhile in the random drawing JenniReads won our US Chopped prize pack of signed books and a $20 however they want it from.

Finally @WordsThatStay1 and @hepatic15 have both won our random drawing twenty euro prize package, we will figure out how they want it delivered as well.

I’m also sending out ARCs to @KittyGamerGirl who is getting an ARC of Arrow to the Moon. As well as @JenniReads getting Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating.

Books We Read

Overall we as a group have read 39 different books. Though I think a couple of people were reading The Kindred.

Also we reached the over 10,000 pages mark like I knew we would, the total number of pages read is 10,682! Along with the total number of hours read at via audio book at 6.7!

You finished a lot of books and hit a lot of prompts so I can’t wait to see what your meals look like when you post your wrapups for this readathon. As sad as we are to see this finish we will be back in July, we aren’t sharing the theme yet, but I have a lot to learn about Google Forms and making announcement videos so expect next time to be bigger and better. And please share with your friends if you enjoyed the readathon, you see how relaxed we are about prompts and such, if you like that please share with someone else you think might enjoy that atmosphere as well.

Chopped Readathon

Posted in Recommendations

Cookies as Books-Girl Scout Cookie Flavors

It’s that time of year again. I for one can’t resist the appeal of helping an organization that helps girls and trans youth grow and become fantastic young people but it doesn’t hurt that they have cookies. I have to get my Peanut Butter Patties and maybe a few Thin Mints, but not everyone loves these flavors and everyone has a flavor. So I’d thought I’d represent a few of the cookies as books.

Adventurefuls

New to the block yet full of life this sweet cookie deserves an equally sweet book.

The Forgotten Five Map of Flames

Amazon: The Forgotten Five: Map of Flames

Carmel Chocolate Chip

This is an old favorite a comfort read

The Fellowship of the Ring I chose this book because it’s a book I try to read every year hence the old favorite, and the caramel making it a bit of adventure.

Amazon: The Fellowship of the Ring

Carmel-De-Lites

A little tropical because of the coconut-a little sweet because of chocolate

The book I chose for this prompt was Ophelia After All because it was a sweet book about the protagonist learning about love relating to others and herself.

Girl Scout Smores

This cookie represents friendship and I wanted to pick a book where friendship was the central theme.

The Winterbourne Home for Vengeance and Valor

This is set in a creepy mansion where a bunch of friends must solve a mystery. At first the protagonist doesn’t want friends but slowly warms up to those around her as they help with the slowly unfolding mystery.

Thin Mints

One of our classics this is chocolate with a hint of a surprise

The Storyteller- I picked this book because the protagnist believes her great aunt to be Anastasia and however the book turns out she’ll get a surprise. I also picked it because it’s chocolate and her aunt would have possibly come from a rich background like and chocolate is rich.

If you want to do this like a tag please do just tag back.

Posted in ARCs, Challenges, Readathons, TBR, Trope-ical Readathon

A Book or Two for the Trope-ical Readathon

I do the Trope-ical readathon every year, often multiple times a year and this year I need it especially I’m very behind when it comes to where I should be if I want to hit my reading goal but I always seem to hit all of the prompts on this readathon. I also like it because it has alternate prompts for each thing so I’m putting forward a book for each trope and the alternatives and hoping I get to at least most of them.

Absent/Dead Parent(s)

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves

Amazon: Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves

A book with more than one author

Another Kind

Amazon: Another Kind

Love Triangle

Love Somebody

Amazon: Love Somebody

Friends Followers Choose Between Two Books

Amazon: The Winter Duke

Bookish Themes

Long Lost

Amazon: Long Lost

A Predicted Five Star

The In Between

Amazon: The-Between

A Platonic Partnership

You Truly Assumed

Amazon: You Truly Assumed

A Buddy Read

TBD

Food Themed

A Pizza My Heart

Amazon: A Pizza My Heart

Meaty Book Over 500 Pages

Sorcery of Thorns

Amazon: A Sorcery of Thorns

Blast From the Past

Dog Star

Amazon: Dog Star

A Book Published Before the Year 2000

Mixed Media

The Insiders

Amazon: The Insiders

Ebook

No Filter and Other Lies

Amazon: No Filter and Other Lies

(Post) Apocalyptic

Morning in Wuhan

It’s not out yet so I’m not sure I can show the cover but I thought it fit the prompt rather well.

A Comfort Read

Air

Another Arc, here is the cover reveal for for but so far it’s very good and I’m enjoying it.

Found Family

The Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Amazon: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Book in Series

City Spies

Amazon: City Spies

Multiple POVs

Stick with Me

Amazon: Stick With Me

Multiple POCs

Ophelia After All

Amazon: Ophelia After All

Morally Gray/Anti Hero

Fire Becomes Her

Amazon: Fire Becomes Her

New Kid in Town

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance

Amazon: Maizy Chen’s Last Chance

A Previously DNF’ed Book

Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene

Amazon: Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene

Retelling

Mechanica

Amazon: Mechanica

A TV or Movie Adaptation

Ella Enchanted

Amazon: Ella Enchanted

As you see I have a few holes if you have any suggestions of good books that fit those categories please let me know in the comments. I also need to consider the group book for fantasy but I will do that in another post. Overall I think this is a pretty good starting point I’m a mood reader so some things may change but I think I have good bone here.

Posted in monthly goals, Orillium Readathon

Looking Ahead: March Goals

Are you all looking forward to the spring or more winter people like I am wishing it would stay cold? Either way warmer temperatures are coming along with lots of new spring releases and I for one can’t to catch some of the new books.

1) Read Everyday

I’ve been so focused on goals I’ve gotten away from just looking at a book at enjoying the habit of reading every day. I’m going to get back to that in March and not worry so much about goals. I’ll have them, but I’m also just going to try to pick up a book every day just for fun.

2) Write Everyday

My novel has been sitting on the backburner for too long and it needs some real attention and while I acknologde I might not be able to write EVERY day that why this is a goal. I need to work on outlining and the rules of my fantasy world and character background. Then I want to get into the fun part, writing.

3) Post Everyday

I’ve been doing pretty good about this and I want to keep it up. It makes the blog number good and I just feel a sense of accomplishment posting consistently. I’ve got a lot of posts coming up that I think everyone is going to like but I won’t have time till the weekend to work on them.

4) Particpate in Readathons

I’ve got a couple readathons I’m doing in March and I may add more. I really enjoy these particular readathons to I’m going to try and take part in the social aspect of the readathons as well since that was something I didn’t do last time.

I think these are four pretty good goals for March I don’t want to be too ambitious but I want to challenge myself and I think this set of goals does that. I’m looking forward to March to work on theses.

Posted in monthly goals

Overview: February Goals

Since we’re getting close to the end of the month I thought I’d do an overview of how I’d done for the month. See how everything went so far for this month.

Try and read at least 10 books in February

This is the same goal for every month. However I was extremely naïve to think I would hit it on a month where I was running a readathon. The readathon took the energy right out of me. I think I read two books this month. I plan to read more next month which I’ll get to in my March Goals especially since I’m participating in two readathons the Orillium Gear Up and the Trope-ical Readathon. Hopefully that will get my reading numbers back where they need to be for the year.

Work on the Readathon

I did tons of work on the readathon, I now know how much I have to learn and will be studying Google Forms and several other things before our new round of the readathon in July. This round was very educational and I hope everyone had fun and is still reading and getting in those last books.

Start doing research and rough drafting for my novel

The readathon eclipsed all other work, though hopefully I’ll have time for this in March. I really want to start getting my ideas organized and at least do some outlining. I have all my characters voices very strong in my head so I really should write them down.

Keep posting every day

I’ve done very well with posting nearly every single day in February. I only missed a few days here and there due to fatigue or pain, which I think is an acceptable reason to miss a day of posting besides sometimes you just need a break. But I’m going to keep my regular posting into March because it continues to make my stats look great.

So on the overview I think I did pretty well with my goals for this month, there are things I need to work on but I focused my energy on the thing that was most important to me and made sure content was up every day.

Check out what me and my co-host The Blind Scribe have done with the Chopped Readathon at here

Posted in Orillium Readathon

Gear Up: Orillium Readathon

Some of you might remember the Orillium Readathon from last year. This is kind of a mini session where you pick your gear, in this case your magical conduit and your magic specialty. You only have to read two books, so basically you’re just getting your gear for this one before the next part of the readathon.

My character Ranela was chosen for the Guild of the Mind Walkers during the main readathon so they get a choice of weapons, things like swords a staffs, but I choosing a a dagger because I think it fits her character better and is specifically for the guild, for this weapon we have to read a standalone book. I’m choosing

Ophelia After All

Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.

So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love—and sexuality—never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.

Amazon: Ophelia After All

As for the magical specialty as a Mind Walker I get to access one additional realm, form that realm I chose the Psychic Realm which is a realm that helps you connect to the energy around you. You have to choose a supernatural book for this I’m going to use Long Lost.

Eleven-year-old Fiona has just read a book that doesn’t exist.

When Fiona’s family moves to a new town to be closer to her older sister’s figure skating club—and far from Fiona’s close-knit group of friends—nobody seems to notice Fiona’s unhappiness. Alone and out of place, Fiona ventures to the town’s library, a rambling mansion donated by a long-dead heiress. And there she finds a gripping mystery novel about a small town, family secrets, and a tragic disappearance.

Soon Fiona begins to notice strange similarities that blur the lines between the novel and her new town. With a little help from a few odd Lost Lake locals, Fiona uncovers the book’s strange history. Lost Lake is a town of restless spirits, and Fiona will learn that both help and danger come from unexpected places—maybe even from the sister she thinks doesn’t care about her anymore

Amazon: Long Lost

So now that that I’ve got my gear I’m ready for this little portion of the readathon. I’m looking forward to all the readathons in March when I can hopefully catch up on my book goals for the year so far.

Posted in Uncategorized

Readathons are Hard

Or why I’m so sleepy this month. I ran a readathon for the first time it was the Chopped Readathon which is going to be continue in July with a theme The Blind Scribe and I will announce sooner than to July. We may have small event during the space between so pay attention to the Chopped account so you are aware of all updates. One thing I learned about running readathons, it’s about 10 times harder than it looks.

  1. You want to make sure everyone is engaged.

I’m not sure how good I did with this, I might do reading sprints or mini challenges next time to keep everyone involved. I’m also going to make sure I do stats for every week next time around.

2. You need help.

I was lucky enough to have The Blind Scribe at my side through all this being super encouraging and helping me with ideas and shooting down any bad ones. I think if you’re doing a readathon you shouldn’t do it alone.

3. Don’t feel discouraged by the number of people your first time around.

I was expecting 30, I got 7, I have no idea what I would have done with 30 people. Under ten was exactly what I needed for my first readathon. The Readathons will give you exactly the number of people you need.

4. Don’t forget to have fun!

You’re doing all this so that people can have fun, don’t forget to have to have some yourself, you’ll be too busy to do all the challenge for your readathon but try to do some of them and have some fun it’s just a reading challenge after all no reason to be so serious.

5ish) Maybe this is just me but don’t be a super stickler for your rules. If they really matter for your readathon that’s up to you, but I found letting my participants play with the rules a little bit resulted in happier participants.

Go and check out the Chopped Readathon

Posted in Interview

Elly Swartz Interview, Autumn, Snakes and More

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to had the wonderful Elly Swartz agree to an interview about her newest book Dear Student, we talked about the protagonist Autumn, pregnant snakes, and social anxiety as well as so much more so please take a read and enjoy the interview.

Most of your protagonists deal with some form of mental health condition? What made you decide you wanted to address social anxiety in this book?

The truth is, kids have social anxiety. I want them to be able to talk about it. I want them to know they are not alone. And books are way in. A way to breakdown the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding mental health challenges. A bridge to difficult conversations. And a reminder that we are all working on something.

I also think we are all a bit like Autumn.

We all have moments when we step into a room and wonder if we fit. If we’re saying the right words, wearing the right clothes, doing the right things. Moments where we wonder if we belong. In those moments, I hope kids realize that we are all working on something. That they do belong. They do matter. 

They don’t have to act like someone else, dress like someone else, or talk like someone else to fit. 

They just have to stay true to themselves. Truly, that’s the bravest thing we can all do. 

So what is your favorite pet in this book?

Ha! I love this question. My favorite pet in Dear Student has to be Spud. Fun fact… Spud’s real name is Ajax and he was my son’s guinea pig (pictured below). I babysat for him while my son moved out west and fell in love with this giant baked potato of a guinea pig and knew I wanted readers to meet him. 

A hamster in a cage

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Every try your hand at school journalism, if so what were the results?

In school, I was a cheerleader, not a journalist. But if I was to go back in time, I’d be all over writing for the school paper. And if anyone wants to hire me to write an advice column now, I’m all in! Just saying!

In the book Autumn is faced with two different people who like her but don’t like each other? Have you ever been in this situation and if so did you deal with it like Autumn did?

Stuck in the middle is something I can absolutely relate to. I have been in a situation where my friends didn’t like each other. For me, always staying true to myself was the way through. But that didn’t mean those moments when I felt caught in the middle weren’t uncomfortable to navigate. But like Prisha reminds Autumn, just be you!

I really liked Autumn’s answers as Dear Student, is there a future for her in journalism or activism? Or would that be telling?

Ha! I love this. Maybe. Keep reading, is all I can share!

Team Logan or Team Cooper?

Wow! Great question. I have to say, I’m Team Autumn! 

Oh this isn’t a question for the fans but for me but I really love Sleeping Beauty, how much snake research was involved?

Much research went into all aspects of this book. I had to know about pregnant snakes and iguanas! So thankful to Stephen Ayer of Jabberwock Reptiles in Winchester, MA, who was willing to share his knowledge with me. I also did lots of research on social anxiety. The laws on cosmetic companies testing on animals. And volunteering for the Peace Corps. But the animal research was by far the most fun!

Amazon: Dear Student

Posted in Chopped Readathon

Chopped Readathon:Barakah Beats Review

If you’ve been following me for very long you know I like books featuring Muslim characters. Barakah Beats was a short and sweet middle grade story which also brought up important issues about music in Islam. This also fits the Chopped Readathon prompt for Spaghetti a book featuring good friends.

Barakah Beats by [Maleeha Siddiqui]

Summary

12-year-old Nimra Sharif has spent her whole life in Islamic school, but is about to embark on middlel school and is feeling nervous.

Nimra is desperate to fit in but finds the popular kids avoid her because of her hijab, and her best-friend Jenna isn’t the same at school. So when she is invited to join the school’s popular band, Barakah Beats Nimra is unsure what to do. She has been taught that music isn’t allowed in Islam, but it is an opportunity to make new friends and win back the graces of her best-friend Jenna.

What will Nimra do?

Review

I really liked this story because it showed another side of how Muslims deal with music. Nimra is the first character I’ve seen in fiction who has actually not done music because of her faith. And while I’m not Muslim and understand it is a widely debated issue within Islam it is interesting to see a character with another perspective. As for the rest of the band, they are so wholesome you can’t help but love them. It’s also nice to see characters praying during school. My favorite scene though had to be the basement scene and them re-enacting something, I won’t spoil it for people who haven’t read it but it was just hilarious.

As for Nimra trying to impress Jenna, the plot is perfectly understandable, she doesn’t see the prejudice until someone else points it out because she’s been friends with Jenna so long, even though Jenna is toxic, she wants to save the friendship, but it’s only when she lets go of Jenna does she fully begin to thrive.

Another great scene was the solo at the concert, I won’t go into too much detail about that either but I think it was a very powerful scene.

Overall this was another great book about a Muslim pre-teen.

Amazon: Barakah Beats

Posted in Uncategorized

Olympic Tag Answers

So here are my answers to the Olympic Tag, you’ll find some books you’ve seen before you know are my favorites as well as some unexpected new favorites.

Favorite Winter Book/Book Set in Snow

Alpine Skiing -A book where agility/sneakiness was required. A Thousand Questions

A Thousand Questions by [Saadia Faruqi]

Both Mimi and Sakina had to be a little sneaky to get what they wanted and to help each other

Bobsled : A book where one character trust another as they leap into unknown. So far and I’m not done, a book that fits this is Fire Becomes Her.

Fire Becomes Her by [Rosiee Thor]

Now I’m not sure if her trust will be rewarded or if she’ll have to switch sides but it fits the prompt and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Cross Country Skiing : A book that took endurance to get through.

The Companion by [Katie Alender]

This took endurance because I spent the whole novel thinking the heroine was going to get murdered, the pacing was phenomenal, and you are always left on your toes to when the villain will show up and never given any answers to suit you.

Amazon: The Companion

Curling: A unexpected favorite.

The Place Inside the Storm

The Place Inside the Storm by [Bradley W. Wright]

This was one of the first independently published books that I actually tried and liked so in that way it was a very unexpected surprise.

Amazon: The Place Inside The Storm

Figure Skating: The beautiful and elegant fantasy that was also a lot of work.

The Infinity Courts

The Infinity Courts by [Akemi Dawn Bowman]

This book was elegant and detailed plus the whole time the protagonist had to act like she was skating on glass to keep her secrets from both sides. Plus she has to make up and costume to keep up her disguise.

Amazon: The Infinity Courts

Ice Hockey: A book where there is a battle

Alone

Alone by [Megan E. Freeman]

Twelve year old Maddie faces plenty of battles when it comes to being stuck in a town alone for years, wild dog, bandits and especially the elements and her sheer loneliness.

Amazon: Alone

Luge: A book where a character makes a sudden life changing decision.

Echoes and Empires

Echoes and Empires by [Morgan Rhodes]

Josslyn Drake must make a deal with with a thief after she is infected by magic in a world were magic is illegal dangerous and possibly deadly.

Amazon: Echoes and Empires

Skeleton: A great horror novel.

Long Lost

Long Lost by [Jacqueline West]

A creepy story about the power of sisters set in an old new England town. It shows the power of books and the thin line between the written word and reality.

Amazon: Long Lost

Speedskating: A quick book.

Barakah Beats

Barakah Beats by [Maleeha Siddiqui]

A super sweet book about a young Muslim teen finding herself in middle school and getting involved with a band and different views about the role of music in Islam.

Amazon: Barakah Beats

A Book To Represent to Host Country: Something By a Chinese or Chinese-American, British, etc author)

Maizy Chen's Last Chance by [Lisa Yee]

A wonderful newish book by the widely published Lisa Yee, so far I’m reading it and it’s very good it’s about a girl trying to find the answers about why her mother moved cross country when she was younger.

Amazon: Maizy Chen’s Last Chance

Represent Your Own Country-

Root Magic

Root Magic by [Eden Royce]

A serious and important book set in the part of the south I’m originally from, it brings up important issues such a racism and mixes them with magical realism.