Posted in Uncategorized

Last Part of Summer Wrapup

So last month was the best month for me blog wise. I explained my reasons in the last post but I plan to make that better in this last part of the summer. I think I never do well in the summer posting because it’s my least favorite season. I live in a sub-tropical climate, so it hot, buggy and annoying and I’m already looking out for pumpkin related things. Also don’t get me started on waiting for Halloween. I may finally be getting a place of my own and I’m basically going to fill it with witchy decorations.

Keep me in your thoughts though because my getting a place of my own is totally not solid yet. I’m just really hoping everything falls into place the way it should.

So I was talking about my Rock Camp Fatigue in one of my earlier posts and it was indeed real and I think I’m just now not feeling tired. But one of the great things about rock camp is I got to see old friends and make some new ones which is great because a friend of a decade dumped me via text. However I’m trying not to be bitter and moving ahead with new friends and projects I hadn’t given time to because I was giving emotional energy to that friend. Hopefully I work on my novels some more in August and in the fall, and I’ve got a really exciting new adventure coming.

So one of my friends who we’ll call B, is a great DM for D&D adventures. I’ve been wanting to get in on one of her campaigns for like a year, well a spot finally opened up and I’m going to get to be a part of her campaign set in the Wildemount world created by the podcasters at Critical Role.

I already have a pretty good idea of what my character is going to be like, but I can’t wait to meet the rest of the group and see what they are planning. By the way this is an all woman D&D group which I’m extra excited about, since some of my experiences playing D&D with men have been less than stellar.

I’ve also got a new friend from camp called C, we are planning to go bowling at some point at this cool kinda upscale bowling place with TVs and food and the glow in the dark carpet. It also has an arcade so hopefully that will be fun as well.

Anyway I’m just thinking despite a few issues the future looks bright. And I can’t wait to start reading for my readathons August 1st.

Posted in Royal Readathon, Trope-ical Readathon

August Readathon Plans: More Book Challenges

You would think that after failing to meet my goals on my last couple of readathons. I’d just not to do them. But honestly I just enjoy readathons, and since I’ll be more present in August I think I’ll be able to be more successful in completing at least some of the prompts. So I’m doing two readathons this month, The Royal Readathon whose theme is Sidekicks and who I’ll probably be posting a loose TBR for this weekend or early next week.

Though I’ve discovered I’m really kind of a mood reader so I may not stick to my picks. The other readathon I’m doing is one I’ve done before that has another round in August is Trope-ical Readathon. I’m on Team Fantasy though Sci-fi was almost my pick and I may read for some of the prompts there too. I might put a TBR for this together as well but I also might just read as I go and update everyone on how I’m doing along the way.

Posted in Discussion, Path Or Pantheon, Recommendations, Wrapup

Rock Camp Fatigue: Blog Update

Rock Camp was wonderful and self affirming and seeing the youth and all my fellow volunteers was the highlight of the summer. Now it’s just waiting till fall. Seriously it’s the best thing in the summer, then I have to wait for the air to cool down and for it to be my birthday and spooky season. I have some friends with August birthdays and I’m excited for that, but seriously I don’t like summer even though summer has been really mild here.

I also learned a lesson, don’t try and do a readathon during July, don’t make high reading goals during July. I was too caught up with camp and setting myself up for failure. I think I’ll have much more luck with the readathon I’m planning for August. Though I really do hope Make Your Myth taker shows up again soon because I loved the challenges from Path or Pantheon they just came at a bad time life wise. I’d love to do something about reading for Rock Camp next year but I’m not sure what that would look like just yet. I did a workshop on tarot that went well. So I’m sure I could build something cool.

Anyway expect to see me slowly getting back in the flow of the blog. I did not mean to gone for so long but camp is literally my most important and rewarding volunteer activity all year so sometimes things have to take a backseat.

As for what I’m currently up to while recovering from Rock Camp, I’m playing lots of video games, I’m working my way through Horizon: Zero Dawn and I just got Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin because I needed something like Pokemon until the next Pokemon game came out.

I’m also reading The Companion by Katie Alender. It is very good for a late summer spooky book.

Posted in Reviews

Improv Activism: Ava Andrews Review

I tried listening to this book at first an it didn’t stick, but once I tried reading it I got through it very quickly. Five things refers to an improv exercise that is of some importance in the book. There is also some disability representation.

Five Things About Ava Andrews by [Margaret Dilloway]

Summary

In her mind Ava Andrews is filled with ideas and plans, but only her best friend Zelia sees them. What’s worse Zelia has just moved away leaving Ava with people who think she doesn’t talk or is stuck up. What they can’t see are her invisible disabilities: anxiety and a heart condition.

Ava had hoped middle school would be a fresh start but with Zelia gone she’s not sure what to do, her Nana Linda encourages her to speak up about social issues that just sends Ava further into her shell. Until her writing is recognized by her teacher and impress her classmates and they invite her to join an improv group.

Ava is initially concerned she won’t be able to do it, but wanting something to challenge her anxiety she decides to try going to the group. With the group she discovers a whole new side of herself and a set of friends, and learns what it’s like to be on a team.

But as Ava’s self-confidence blossoms, her relationship with Zelia strains, and she learns that it isn’t enough just to raise your voice—it’s how and why you use it that matters.

Review

First this book did a great job showing the effects of invisible disabilities and how they often aren’t understood by those around the person. It also shows how important the arts can be for disabled people expressing themselves. It’s so important that disabled people are allowed to find their way to show what they have to say. I also loved the activism element of this book and how it shows how kids and teens can be involved in making social change in their communities. Overall, great representation and plot, 5/5.

Amazon: Five Things about Ava Andrews

Posted in new releases

Challenges at Hand : New Releases

This week’s group of new releases is a diverse bunch, from facing magic, tradition or your own personal challenges theses heroes and heroines face it all and come out on top!

Etta Invincible

Etta Invincible by [Reese Eschmann]

Twelve-year-old Etta Johnson has Loud Days where she can hear just fine and Quiet Days where sounds come from far away and she gets to retreat into her thoughts. Etta spends most of her time alone, working on her comic book about Invisible Girl, the superhero who takes down super villain Petra Fide and does all the things Etta thinks she can’t.

But when Louisa May Alcott, a friendly Goldendoodle from across the street, disappears, Etta and the dog’s boy, Eleazar, must find their inner heroes to save her. The catch? LMA has run onto a magical train that mysteriously arrived at the station near Etta and Eleazar’s houses. On-board, they discover each train car is its own magical world with individual riddles and challenges that must be solved before they can reach the engine room and rescue LMA.

Only, the stakes are even higher than they thought. The train’s magic is malfunctioning and spreading a purple smoke called The Fear through the streets of Chicago. Etta and Eleazar are the only ones who can save the city, save Louisa May Alcott—and save each other.

Amazon: Etta Invincible

Margie Kelly Breaks the Dress Code

Margie Kelly’s perfect skirt was dress coded on her very first day of middle school. Upset and embarrassed, Margie spends the whole day wearing oversized gym shorts. So much for starting sixth grade with confidence!

But when Margie realizes that the dress code is only applied to the female students and not the boys, Margie gets mad. Really mad.

The dress code is keeping girls stuck in detention all day and away from learning. The boys act like they own the school. And the teachers turn a blind eye to the hypocrisies taking place in the halls, classrooms, and clubs. Something has to change! And Margie knows just how to do it. She’ll plan a school-wide protest that challenges the dress code with her best friend, Daniela, and fellow classmates Jamiya and Gloria.

But as Margie moves forward with her plans, she comes to realize some hard truths about herself. Will Margie recognize her own privilege and make meaningful change for all students?

Amazon: Margie Kelly Breaks the Dress Code

Ten Thousand Tries

Ten Thousand Tries by [Amy Makechnie]

Twelve-year-old Golden Maroni is determined to channel his hero, soccer superstar Lionel Messi, and become captain of his soccer team and master of his eighth grade universe…especially since his home universe is spiraling out of orbit. Off the field, Golden’s dad, once a pro soccer player himself, is now battling ALS, a disease that attacks his muscles, leaving him less and less physically able to control his body every day. And while Mom says there’s no cure, Golden is convinced that his dad can beat these challenges , just like any opponent, they just have to try.

Golden knows that if you want to perfect a skill you have to put ten thousand tries in, so he’s convinced if he can put that much effort in, on and off the field, he can stop everything from changing. But when his dad continues to decline and his constant pushing starts to alienate his friends and team, Golden is forced to confront the idea that being master of your universe might not mean being in control of everything. What if it means letting go of the things you can’t control so you can do the most good for the things you can?

Amazon: Ten Thousand Tries

Posted in Path Or Pantheon, Weekly Wrap-ups

Sorry for the disappearance.

Sorry the disappearance and lack of updates, I’ve had some emotional drama, which honestly made me realize I’m a little depressed. So I’m trying to get back on the boat and start posting normally again. I think it’s the fact that both of my regular friends are busy (one is in California, one is a new mother) that has me down. But I’m going to my favorite charity to help out a little next week. So that should cheer me up I never leave Girls Rock on a down note so I think that will be enough to push me through the last of my least favorite months, July and August.

I just hate summer my track record with things happening in the summer is all bad, so bring on Fall and Winter, the best seasons there are.

I also missed my update this weekend. I haven’t been doing much, except for work leading up to camp (ie depression), but I have been playing Horizon Zero Dawn whenever I can. Seriously it’s my summer RPG like Dragon Age was last year. I’m not a very good shot though so I think I’m going to need to work on that some.

I’ve also been looking at Monster Hunter Stories 2 Wings of Ruin. Because seriously I need some cute Pokémon esque stuff in my life and I can’t wait till Pokemon Legends: Arceus comes out next year.

I did manage to get one book read despite my depressive fog, The Infinity Courts was AMAZING and I can’t wait to put out a review. I’m also going to get back to reading so hopefully I can fulfill one of my chosen picks for Path or Pantheon. Here is to a better time moving forward yay better future positive energy.

I’m done saying sorry for being myself. I willing to work on my own issues but I’m not going to dilute myself any longer.

Posted in Recommendations, Reviews

Finding Junie Kim Review: A Complex Book

This was a very impactful book it was written about the Trump era and it was written about communist history in the 1950’s in Korea. The Ellen Oh noted how personal it was for her to write this book. While I can never fully understand I can see how the issues thread through history and how things to come back around. While it is historical fiction it has elements of biography in it too. Just labelling Finding Junie Kim historical fiction would be oversimplifying this wonderful piece of fiction completely.

Finding Junie Kim by [Ellen Oh]

Summary

Junie Kim just wants to fit in and stay out of the way of her bullies who make fun of her for being Asian. So she keeps her head down and tries not to draw attention to herself. But when racist graffiti appears at her middle school and her friends want to do something about it, they just can’t understand why Junie wants to stay out of it.

Then Junie’s history teacher assigns a project and Junie decides to interview her grandparents she learns about their unbelievable experiences as kids during the Korean War. Junie comes to admire her grandma’s fierce determination to overcome impossible odds and her grandpa’s unwavering compassion during wartime.

As the racism becomes more prevalent at school Junie learns through learning about her ancestors to stand up for herself and the rest of the kids being bullied at her school. She finds the courage to do what is right to help make real change and stand up to her own personal bully.

Finding Junie Kim is a reminder that within us all lies the power to overcome hardship and emerge triumphant.

Review

This is a fantastic book. I thought that before I learned how well it was researched at the end. I can promise you this book taught me more about the Korean War than I learned in school. I live in a state that is pretty far down the education list but still, it is informative on such a deep personal and interesting level that you want to know more every time she talks to her grandfather.

Her grandparents both help her with standing up to bullies and facing racism and are great role models for her throughout the book. Her grandfather also helps her understand that others have more issues in America with race than they do. Her grandmothers story is also a magnificent one and her grandmother shows her other forms of being powerful.

Also the amount of research that went into this book is mind boggling as well as the amount of putting oneself into it personally. I know Ellen Oh is already getting awards for Finding Junie Kim, but she truly deserves them.

5 stars.

Amazon: Finding Junie Kim

Posted in new releases, Recommendations

She Gets It Done: New Releases 1st Week of July

We’ve got a lot of heroines this week. The books see our heroines drawing their way to success, managing friendship, or finding their destiny, what the problem, she has it covered.

Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom 

Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom by [Sangu Mandanna]

Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier. Did she lock the front door? Is there a terrible reason her mom is late? Recently her anxiety has been getting out of control, but one thing that has always soothed her is drawing. Kiki’s sketchbook is full of fanciful doodles of the rich Indian myths and legends her mother has told her over the years.

One day, her sketchbook’s calming effect is broken when her mythological characters begin springing to life right out of its pages. Kiki ends up falling into the mystical world she drew, which includes a lot of wonderful discoveries like the band of rebel kids who protect the kingdom, as well as not-so-great ones like the ancient deity bent on total destruction. As the one responsible for creating the evil god, Kiki must overcome her fear and anxiety to save both worlds–the real and the imagined–from his wrath. But how can a girl armed with only a pencil defeat something so powerful?

Amazon:Kiki Kallira Breaks A Kingdom

Clash

Clash (A Click Graphic Novel) by [Kayla Miller]

There’s a new kid in town! From the moment Natasha sets foot in class, it’s clear she’s one of the coolest kids in sixth grade. Everyone wants to be her friend, including Olive . . . but things might not be so easy.
 
Olive tries her best to befriend Nat, but it seems like the only thing they have in common is that they both want to hang out with Olive’s friends! Watching as Natasha gets closer with some of her best buds, Olive can’t help but worry that they’re starting to like Nat more than they like her . . .  and who could blame them? Nat is just that cool . . . and Olive is, well, just Olive.
 
The New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Kayla Miller delivers a nuanced look at navigating middle school friendships and the importance of both empathy and respect.

Amazon: Clash (A Click Graphic Novel)

It End In Fire

It Ends in Fire by [Andrew Shvarts]

1. Infiltrate Blackwater Academy
2. Win the Great Game
3. Burn Wizard society to the ground  As a child, Alka witnessed her parents’ brutal murder at the hands of Wizards before she was taken in by an underground rebel group. Now, Alka is deep undercover at the most prestigious school of magic in the Republic: Blackwater Academy, a place where status is everything, where decadent galas end in blood-splattered duels, where every student has their own agenda. To survive, Alka will have to lie, cheat, and kill to use every trick in her spy’s toolkit. And for the first time in her life, the fiercely independent Alka will have to make friends, to recruit the misfits and the outcasts into her motley rebellion.

But even as she draws closer to victory—to vengeance —she sinks deeper into danger as suspicious professors and murderous rivals seek the traitor in their midst, as dark revelations unravel her resolve. Can Alka destroy the twisted game… without becoming a part of it?

Amazon: It Ends in Fire

Rise to the Sun

Rise to the Sun by [Leah Johnson]

From the author of You Should See Me in a Crown, Leah Johnson delivers a stunning novel about being brave enough to be true to yourself, and learning to find joy even when times are unimaginably dark.

Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind off the senior year that awaits her.

Toni is one week away from starting college, and it’s the last place she wants to be. Unsure about who she wants to become and still reeling in the wake of the loss of her musician-turned-roadie father, she’s heading back to the music festival that changed his life in hopes that following in his footsteps will help her find her own way forward.

When the two arrive at Farmland, the last thing they expect is to realize that they’ll need to join forces in order to get what they’re searching for out of the weekend. As they work together, the festival becomes so much more complicated than they bargained for. Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other, and music, more than they ever could have imagined.

Packed with irresistible romance and irrepressible heart, bestselling author Leah Johnson delivers a stunning and cinematic story about grief, love, and the remarkable power of music to heal and connect us all.

Amazon: Rise to the Sun

Posted in Weekly Wrap-ups

Cat Catching and Distracting Babies

So we finally caught Cinnamon behold the of tuna. She was gone for a night and we were worried about her, but she came home a different and happier cat, it’s like she’s 10 years younger and she was 2 years old to begin with now that she doesn’t have to worry about getting pregnant and I think she tell something is different. She had a litter when they took her in but it wasn’t viable. She’s just a happier cat, now hopefully getting her in the house, but that, followers is a problem for another day. Right now we are just happy she’s happy and has a rabies shot and doesn’t have to worry about getting pregnant and has her ear tipped so everyone knows she’s fixed.

You also may have noticed my post falling off toward the end of the week, some of the was Cinnamon, but most of that is my nephew. I’m not sharing his name or picture here so we’ll call him W.

W and his mom were in a rough medical situation last year where we weren’t sure W would make it. Let just say the odds were severely against them. For more information on W’s condition check out the PPROM Foundation. This condition effects lots of pregnancies and isn’t widely researched basically it causes the placenta to rupture early in pregnancy often causing the loss of the baby or if not treated properly leading to sepsis leading to the death of the baby and mother both.

Anyway W’s mom somehow made it through, I’ll forever be thankful and the fact that W made it through too is a close to a miracle as I’m ever going to see, anyway, he’s getting close to 9 months now very cute and very distracting. So if I’m not posting I’m probably off chilling with this cutie and his parents. I just bought way too many clothes for him, and I already have plans for birthday, smash cake plus cake cake and Halloween. Yes, I’m that overbearing aunt. But I love him and his parents so much I just can’t help myself.

Anyway when I’m not being distracted by cats and babies, wait a second, black clothes tough exterior I though I was supposed to be scary. I think I though I was Disney Villain and am really a Disney Sidekick.

There are worse realization to come to in life, speaking of what else am I upto? I’ve gotten addicted to Horizon Zero Dawn, even though I’m not really playing the plot yet I’m just running around slashing machines with my spear.

I’m happy though, so if I’m not posting as much at the end of the week that’s why, I’ve got my cat, and my friends, my nephew and am still, so thankful that I didn’t lose them. I’m also processing some trauma dealing with the fact that I nearly did.

Posted in monthly goals

Midsummer Goals-Improving in the 2nd Half

Looks like I didn’t put up any June goals or none that I can find. But since it’s around Midsummer I’m going to just look at June and July and into the second half of the year.

In June I,

  1. Read six books, moving back up toward the ten-a-month goal. And it was almost seven I was at like 83% on book 7 last night.
  2. Posted mostly regularly. I will explain why my post are falling off at the end of the week in my next post.
  3. Did a look at my reading habits so far for the year.
  4. Found Readathons for the next two months.

What I plan to do in July

Since it Midsummer I’m starting to look into the second half of the year.

Since July is the first part of the second half of the year, I want to start it off right.

  1. I want to read 10 books this month finally.
  2. I want to complete at least one of the challenges for my readathon.
  3. I want to get better numbers than last month on the blog.
  4. And I want to connect more on social media.

Check out the readathons I’m doing here and here.

I can’t believe that the year is half over, I’m not sure I’m going to make it to my original 100 book goal. I’m still trying but I’m currently at 40. So I’m really going to have to put on the gas the second half of the year to hit that goal. There are a couple of reasons I still think I can hit it though one we will be going into fall and winter, the seasons when I’m extremely productive for some reason. Two my libraries have been very good about releasing new releases to the online platforms shortly after they come out. For example all the wonderful LGBTQ books that came out for Pride month are now on my online platform. Anyway it’s giving me a better opportunity to read great books hence more content for the blog.