Posted in Discussion, Feature

We Don’t Talk About Bruno…No…No…No

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR ENCANTO DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WAN’T TO BE SPOILED FOR ENCANTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I know this is a book blog however I believe in talking about all exceptional pieces of media and Encanto was exceptional. I plan to profile all the character about how they relate to mental health and trauma because ultimately the movie is about intergenerational trauma. First on the roster is my favorite character Bruno.

Bruno is shunned by the family for his visions. However I believe they are a symbol for his mental illness that that Abuela who wanted the family perfect didn’t know how to handle I think a lyric from “We Don’t Talk about Bruno” sums it up best, it’s from Dolores.

It’s a heavy lift with a gift so humbling
Always left Abuela and the family fumbling
Grappling with prophecies they couldn’t understand
Do you understand?

I think it’s worth pointing out she’s the only one who realizes Bruno never left and perhaps has a more positive view of him, the rest of the song is about negative things Bruno supposedly did but she seems to be more at least understanding about Bruno’s gift being tough.

Bruno’s Diagnosis

As for Bruno’s actual diagnosis, I at first went to autism because of his blunt remarks and issues with social situations. But now I think he’s somewhere of the schizoaffective spectrum, the visons are just a manifestation of that, he’s a schizophrenic who has true visions. Some more supporting evidence is the different personalities that manfest to help build the house the have the different personalities and his ritual tapping as a calming mechanism all fit a schizophrenic diagnosis.

He’s also the family scapegoat who is showing the family exactly what they don’t want to see with his visions so it’s not surprising that along with his mental illness make him an easy target for the family to ostracize. Also the fact that they don’t realize his vision are changeable until Maribel is a big issue for everyone. Bruno realizes it but assumes everyone will think the worst because it’s him. Which considering the above issues actually isn’t unreasonable assumption.

Family Trauma

His role in the family trauma landscape is to watch out for things that might hurt the family in the future. But like Dolores said back in his song “It’s a heavy lift with a gift so humbling.” Luisa may be the first to show actual weakness but Bruno was the first who couldn’t hold up to the perfect standard set by Abuela and had to run away.

At the end of the movie though it’s good to see him back with the family, but time will tell if he’s truly accepted for who he is, Abuela did seem happy to see him. Either way, there is a lot to say about Bruno.

Posted in Discussion, Feature

Summary of 2021: Each Month Reviewed

I’m doing a summary of how the blog improved each month during the year and any mistakes I made that I could get better at in 2022.

January

In January of this year I was trying to keep up with last December’s numbers which wasn’t happening. I shattered my ankle in the middle of the month and had to deal with surgeries and doctor’s visits. Though I’d read 9 books for the month in spite all of this and did an author interview with Lisa McMann so I think January was a pretty good month for the blog.

February

This is where I was starting to get approved for ARCs I wanted and putting together events I thought would be cool, they weren’t always successful but that’s the nature of the blogging world. In summary I was growing as a blogger most because I was laying down recovering from my broken ankle.

March

In March I really worked on improving the website’s design and did lots of readathons, I did Trope-ical Readathon which I plan to do in its next round as well I did this readathon again later in the year, I didn’t do as well on this try but I was at least working on readathons and the blog was getting its current redesign.

April

I was getting back to my books per month numbers before breaking my foot, so that was nice. I also took part in at least 3 readathons this month. the Easter Readathon, the Autism Readathon, and the Disability Readathon. I also was doing well about writing reviews for my ARCs after I read them, there is one habit I need to get back to.

May

I finished some more of the books from the Disability Readathon, my fatigue from my healing was slowing my reading down as well. I only managed to finish five books. I also didn’t get to AAPI authors until later in the year.

June

The beginning of the famous summer slump, all book bloggers seem to talk about it. It’s harder to keep up momentum in the summer. Though I seemed to be conquering it pretty well. I read 6 books this month and almost read 7. So my reading was heading in the right direction. I posted the most regularly I had throughout the year. I also found readathons for the next two months. So I was getting better with planning.

July

I had so much personal drama in July, I broke up with a friend of a decade. My other friend was in California and I hadn’t been able to see her due to COVID. In summary this was not a great month for me personally, so hence not a very good month for the blog I only read 3 books. It was just not a great month, I learned things personally, but the blog kinda fell behind the way.

August

If July was my least productive month, then I came back swinging in August. I read the most books I’d ever had in a month at that point 13. I also took part of the Royal Readathon, I can’t remember what their subcategory was I believe sidekicks and the Trope-ical Readathon in which I hit most of the prompts so I was proud of myself for that.

September

This month was my disability hearing so I kind of has a panic attack about that and couldn’t really focus on reading. I read 5 books but that was about all I did. They were mostly spooky so that was fun, I all the books I read this month were good.

October

I was still worried about disability this month because I hadn’t gotten a response back from Social Security, however I was posting more regularly and doing backlog reviews, I also took part in the Orillum Readathon which I had a lot of fun with and the Halloween Readathon. I still only read five books this month.

November

This is where I finally started looking at my 100 book goal and being like goodness I need to read some more. I took part in three readathons during this month, and completed all three, I did IndigAThon, another round of RoyalReadathon, And

PokemonaThon. I also read the most books per month ever this month, 16! So in summary this month was super successful!

December

I was still 14 books from my 100 book goal so I needed to read this month. I took part in the Reindeer Readthon and completed it. I also did Bookmas this month so I posted regularly about Christmas and New Years related things. I also started to make plans for the New Year and read 16 books this month reading over 100 books so I was happy with my progress in the end of the year. Now I just need to spread it across the year.

How was your year? Progressively good or just good in certain parts like mine my goal for this year is to try to remain progressively good throughout the year as opposed to just here and there.

Posted in Discussion, Feature, Memes

Entrée-Chopped Tag

So for the late post today I didn’t sleep well last night and have been having migraines, plus my ankle has been hurting so yeah, just a big party of fun. I’m still doing better about making post in advance so this doesn’t hit me so badly, but I’ll try and do better next year. So here is the Entrée post for the Chopped tag.

Entrée

Has to be meatier to get you to the dessert round

Protein: Another book that was either long or hard hitting.

The Best Worst Summer Ever wasn’t long but it was surely hard hitting as it was about how friendships can fall apart as and get back together many years later and how new friendships can form.

Amazon: Best Worst Summer Ever

Vegetable: Something healthy, you reading something off your TBR.

Red, White, and Whole by [Rajani LaRocca]

Red, White and Whole was on my TBR as soon as it came out out it tells the story of a young Indian American girl who is growing up as a teen in the 1980s and pushing against her parents rules, it would be a normal story of rebellion except for what happens later in the book. It’s definitely healthy as it talks about healthy and her mother is a doctor.

Amazon: Red, White and Whole

Starch: A comfort read or something that had a found family.

Dragon Fury (The Unwanteds Quests Book 7) by [Lisa McMann]

Dragon Fury is the last book in the Unwanteds Quests books which has great found family and is a great series of comfort reads if you like dragons, magic and multiple worlds.

Amazon: Dragon Fury

Durian: A book that was tough to work with.

The Dark Lord Clementine

The Dark Lord Clementine by [Sarah Jean Horwitz]

Though it turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year, it was difficult to work with at the time because I really didn’t know where the plot was going. I got about 2/3 in and finally got a better idea and then it was a much easier book to read. Great book and maybe it was just me but a little bit confusing in the beginning.

Amazon: The Dark Lord Clementine

Since this is the entrée I would make dinner and a drink I would make Indian Butter Chicken with spices from the Dragon World. Then my Drink would be a slushy with apples to represent both the Dark Lord Clementine and The Best Worst Summer.

Posted in Discussion, Feature

New Year Goals For the Year

What are your goals for the New Year, are you shooting high are you keeping to your same goals from last year, or are you reducing what you are doing to relax some? I have to say I’m shooting a bit higher for the coming year. Maybe because I see the blog as sort of a business and I want to start reading more material to work with.

1) Starting with the number of books I want to read in the New Year I’m shooting higher this coming year. I managed to read 100 this year so I’m shooting for 125 this coming year with a stretch of 150.

2) I want to make sure I take part in readathons, they encourage me to read and allow me to read outside of what I would normally read. I know so far I’m taking part in two, Pondathon Part 2, and Finshathon both are going all year long but I know I will find month long Readathons to take part in throughout the year, for example there are several from this year that have promised to have second parts in 2022 that I’m excited about.

3) Posting regularly, In the new year I’d like to post 5-6 days a week, I want to get more people visiting the site, I want to get my numbers up, and this so far is how I have see that you can do it. So expect to see plenty of me on the site, and me being annoying as I argue with myself to keep consistent. Summer is going to be a problem I already know it. I should write posts for June and July now.

4) Engage on social media more. I think I’m starting to do this, I’m hosting a readathon in February. Chopped Readathon for anyone who wants to know we still need another organizer, and we have a prize. Also, I’m going to try to do better at blog hopping and commenting on other blogs.

What do your goals look like for the next year? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Posted in Bookmas, Discussion, Feature

Successes of the Year

It’s almost the end of the year, I know we’re all still reading away. But I just wanted to think about some of my successes for the year.

1) I hit 500 posts for the blog

This is one I’ve been going after for awhile, so to finally hit it was a good feeling. I’m really looking forward to going after my next goal of 1000 posts.

2) I’ve got almost 200 followers for the blog I’m at 197, so if you know someone who would like to follow please send them my way. But seriously that is way up from the 163 followers I had at the start of the year so I’d definitely call gaining more followers one of my successes.

3) I successfully completed several readathons throughout the year and manage to read lots of books due to them. I’m also looking forward to part two in some of these readathons which will take place in 2022 next year.

4) The fact that I was able to get my reading books per month up to the teens. This is the first year I’ve been able to do that. I read 16 book one month this year and 12 and 13 in other months so I’m really proud of myself about that. I’m hoping next year I’ll be able to to reach 20 a month.

5) The fact that I’m going to hit my reading goal, even though I thought it was going to be a stretch in November I managed to read a 30 books in 2 months and I’m going to read the most books I’ve ever read in a year at 100 despite the fact that I was out of the reading game for three months recovering from my broken ankle.

What are some of your successes from this year? Let me hear about them in the comments!

Posted in Discussion, Feature, Memes

Chopped Tag

For those who don’t know I’m a huge fan of cooking shows, that’s usually what’s in the background when I’m writing the blog. One of my favorites is Chopped, for those of you not familiar with Chopped four chefs get baskets with four ingredients, these ingredients are usually a little oddball and the chefs have to make a cohesive dish to impress three judges

Now I thought I’d apply that to books, there are three rounds in Chopped. Appetizer, Entrée, and Dessert. Can you bring through four different books to make a cohesive reading experience?

Appetizer

Needs to be light but still impress the judges.

Light Book: A Book under 300 pages

Protein: This section of books still needs to have some impact. A book that hit you in the heart or a meaty book.

Vegetable: A book that was on your TBR.

Wild Card: An book that surprised you or was unique.

Entrée

Has to be meatier to get you to the dessert round

Protein: Another book that was either long or hard hitting.

Vegetable: Something healthy, you reading something off your TBR.

Starch: A comfort read or something that had a found family.

Durian: A book that was tough to work with.

Dessert

Sugar: A sweet book

Flour: A hearty book.

Berries: A book about nature

Candy Canes: Something you’ve had to wait all year for.

I’m going to fill this out tomorrow. I was also wondering if people would be interested in this a a readathon. Please comment if you think it would be a decent idea for a readathon or something you’d be interested in, I’d do the readathon on a theme most likely. But I think there is a lot of material to work with here so I think it would be worth a try.

Posted in Bookmas, Discussion

Best book of each month of 2021.

Sorry to have missed you all for a few days, that steroid was a pain and I didn’t feel like doing anything. Thankfully it actually did make me feel better, I’ve got one more medication after this then I’m done. But at least I’m back to blogging. So I’ve read a good bit this year, 92 books at the moment. But I’m going to make it to 100 by the end of the year, I’m putting this out into the universe. So I’m going over the best books of each month. Picking the best books is tough because I’ve read so many good books during each month.

January

A Place at the Table was the best read from this month, due to the the characters, the descriptions and the food. The description of the food made the book my favorite I wanted to be in there making the recipes myself.

A Place at the Table by [Saadia Faruqi, Laura Shovan]

Amazon: A Place at the Table

February

A Chance to Fly had to be the best piece I read in February, it was a wonderful awesome story about disability and theatre and looking at casting in a non-traditional way. I really liked the whole cast of characters and their friendships.

The Chance to Fly by [Ali Stroker, Stacy Davidowitz]

March

Alone was the best book for March, I really enjoyed the look at a survival tale from a girl’s perspective since most of the books written about this topic are about boys. Her tenacicity was inspiring as were some of the things she did to survive. I’d never think of them. So that made this my best book for March.

Alone by [Megan E. Freeman]

Amazon: Alone

April

Oh man April was tough I had to pick between two favorites, Sweet and Bitter Magic and Starfish. But Sweet and Bitter Magic won out in the end, only by a hair, because of worldbuilding, it’s still one of the best fantasy books just in general not just in this year. So it kind of had an edge but Starfish was right behind, if there could be a tie it would be those two.

Sweet & Bitter Magic by [Adrienne Tooley]

Amazon: Sweet and Bitter Magic

May

My obvious best pick for this month was The Sea in Winter. A lovely book from Heartdrum Publications about a girl who is dealing with depression after recovering from an athletic injury. Recovering from an injury was a theme I strongly related to this year. So this book stole my heart especially with the way the main character’s family supported her. Plus I love that I got to read a Native book.

The Sea in Winter by [Christine Day]

Amazon: The Sea in Winter

June

Again we have tie between another Native book Ancestor Approved and the great sequel and Shakespeare retelling, Much Ado about Baseball. I love them both for different reasons, Ancestor Approved is heartfelt and transported me to another world I was familiar with but Much Ado about Baseball made me felt like I was sinking back into a familiar world with some new friends. Oh and it made me laugh, a lot. That’s why even though it’s really a tie, Much Ado About Baseball wins if I have to pick one.

Amazon: Much Ado About Baseball

July

July was an easy pick, The Infinity Courts were the best book of the month. So looking forward to the sequel.

The Infinity Courts by [Akemi Dawn Bowman]

Amazon: The Infinity Courts

August

Another tough month because of so many good books to pick from, but in the end. The Tea Dragon Tapestry won for its beauty.

Amazon: Tea Dragon Tapestry

September

So much good horror this month, but my favorite had to be the first book in the Mortal Coil series. A whole new approach to zombies really made for an awesome story.

This Mortal Coil by [Emily Suvada]

Amazon: This Mortal Coil

October

A Kind of Spark was the clear best book in October, it dealt with neurodivergence and witches and was perfect to read around Halloween.

Amazon: A Kind of Spark

November

The best book I read this month was Vespertine. It was set in a great fantasy setting with a hilarious protagonist and a high stakes challenge.

Vespertine by [Margaret Rogerson]

Amazon: Vespertine

December

The best book I’ve read so far this month has been Skin of the Sea, from epic black mermaids, to an amazing quests, and awesome gods. This book’s worldbuilding make it my best pick for the month.

Skin of the Sea by [Natasha Bowen]

Amazon: Skin of the Sea

Posted in Bookmas, Discussion

Dream TBR: Or Books You Wish You’d Read

You know the feeling you wish you’d gotten to every book but you didn’t have the time or something else came up on your radar. Here are some books I wish I’d gotten to this year.

Eva Evergreen Semi-Magical Witch

Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by [Julie Abe]

This book has looked cute all year but somehow I’ve never gotten to it, maybe I’ll get to it in the last days of this year but if not it’s first on the list in 2022.

Summary

Eva Evergreen is determined to earn the rank of Novice Witch before her thirteenth birthday. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose her magic forever. For most young witches and wizards, it’s a simple enough test:

One: Help your town, do good all around.
Two: Live there for one moon, don’t leave too soon.
Three: Fly home by broomstick, the easiest of tricks.

The only problem? Eva only has a pinch of magic. She summons heads of cabbage instead of flowers and gets a sunburn instead of calling down rain. And to add insult to injury, whenever she overuses her magic, she falls asleep.

When she lands in the tranquil coastal town of Auteri, the residents expect a powerful witch, not a semi-magical girl. So Eva comes up with a plan: set up a magical repair shop to aid Auteri and prove she’s worthy. She may have more blood than magic, but her “semi-magical fixes” repair the lives of the townspeople in ways they never could have imagined. Only, Eva’s bit of magic may not be enough when the biggest magical storm in history threatens the town she’s grown to love. Eva must conjure up all of the magic, bravery, and cleverness she can muster or Auteri and her dreams of becoming a witch will wash away with the storm.

Amazon: Eva Evergreen

The Last Windwitch

The Last Windwitch by [Jennifer Adam]

Another cute middle grade witch book that came across my radar but I never seem to actually read. The world sounds really interesting so I wish I would have gotten a chance to read it.

Summary

Many years ago, in the kingdom of Fenwood Reach, there was a powerful Windwitch who wove the seasons, keeping the land bountiful and the people happy. But then a dark magic drove her from the realm, and the world fell into chaos.

Brida is content in her small village of Oak Hollow. There, she’s plenty occupied trying to convince her fickle magic to actually do what it’s meant to in her work as a hedgewitch’s apprentice—until she accidentally catches the attention of the wicked queen.

On the run from the queen’s huntsman and her all-seeing Crow spies, Brida discovers the truth about her family, her magic, and who she is destined to be—and that she may hold the power to defeating the wicked queen and setting the kingdom right again.

Amazon: The Last Windwitch

The Girl and the Ghost

The Girl and the Ghost by [Hanna Alkaf]

Finally one I wish I would have read around Halloween, it’s a great story about a girl, family and a spirit.

Summary

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.

Amazon: The Girl and the Ghost

What were some of the books you wished you had gotten to this year? Share your answers in the comments!

Posted in Bookmas, Discussion

Books that were unexpected 5+ Stars

Sorry for the late post to today I’m on a steroid and I’m not feeling super great. So here are some books that I read throughout the year that surprised me by being a 5+ stars books.

Seance Tea Party

I didn’t expect this quiet story about a girl and ghost to steal my heart but it was one of my quiet favorites of the year and a define five plus stars.

Summary

Growing up sounds terrible.

No one has time to do anything fun, or play outside, or use their imagination. Everything is suddenly so serious. People are more interested in their looks and what others think about them than having fun adventures. Who wants that?

Not Lora.

After watching her circle of friends seemingly fade away, Lora is determined to still have fun on her own. A tea party with a twist leaves Lora to re-discovering Alexa, the ghost that haunts her house — and Lora’s old imaginary friend! Lora and Alexa are thrilled to meet kindred spirits and they become best friends . . . but unfortunately, not everything can last forever.

Amazon: Seance Tea Party

A Chance to Fly

The Chance to Fly by [Ali Stroker, Stacy Davidowitz]

While I was excited about this book, I was also nervous. I knew it was written as an #OwnVoices piece but I still didn’t expect it to be as good as it was, it was one of the greatest pieces I read this year and arguably my favorite piece about disability. But it totally earned a place as a five plus stars book.

Summary

Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon loves a lot of things: her dog Warbucks, her best friend Chloe, and competing on her wheelchair racing team, the Zoomers, to name a few. But there’s one thing she’s absolutely OBSESSED with: MUSICALS! From Hamilton to Les Mis, there’s not a cast album she hasn’t memorized and belted along to. She’s never actually been in a musical though, or even seen an actor who uses a wheelchair for mobility on stage. Would someone like Nat ever get cast?

But when Nat’s family moves from California to New Jersey, Nat stumbles upon auditions for a kids’ production of Wicked, one of her favorite musicals ever! And she gets into the ensemble! The other cast members are super cool and inclusive (well, most of them)— especially Malik, the male lead and cutest boy Nat’s ever seen. But when things go awry a week before opening night, will Nat be able to cast her fears and insecurities aside and “Defy Gravity” in every sense of the song title?

Amazon: A Chance to Fly

Alone

Alone by [Megan E. Freeman]

This book was a great piece, there are lots of books about boys lost in the wilderness but not enough about girls. This piece about survival and finding your own strength was totally worth five plus stars.

Summary

When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone—left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.

With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten.

As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie’s most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?

Amazon: Alone

What were some of your unexpected favorites for the year, share below in comments?


 

Posted in Announcements, Discussion, Feature

Anniversary for the Blog!

So I’m not sure the exact date I started the blog I’m sure I could find it somewhere on WordPress but I forgot last year, so I wanted to say it was the second anniversary of me starting Plaid Reader Reviews. I’m pretty happy with how things have gone in these two years. I’ve gotten almost 200 followers (195) and written almost 500 posts (486) I’ve gotten a chance to be part of several fun blog tours, and read eArcs through Netgalley.

I’ve gotten to interview an author which I’d never thought I’d get to do, I’ve been to several virtual book festivals. Do I have any favorite moments to reflect on my 2nd anniversary, only that I hope the blog keeps growing and that I get more offers to work and be involved in things like readathons. I’m also doing my own readathon for Christmas but you’ll read more about. I think I’ve really grown as a blogger in the past two years. I’ve learned a basic amount about SEO, though I hope to improve that.

Where would I like to be next year? I’d like to maybe try Booktube or get back on Instagram. Since I’m disabled I need something lowkey I’m fine with working with lights but I don’t really have the money for a whole Booktube setup. Anyway it might be film degree to the rescue with simple ring lights.

I’d also like to get more ARCs, I haven’t contacted publishers but I might try that this year.

I also want to build on my Twitter following and be more active on Twitter I’d like to interact with more people, in fact I’d like to interact with people more across all platforms I want to find people that share my feelings on books as well as social issues like disability justice.

Anyway that’s what how I feel at 2 years. How did you feel on your blogaveries?