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 Feature, Memes, Uncategorized

Dessert-Chopped Tag

This is it, you made it to the final and toughest round, the dessert round it’s just you and your competitor can you make the winning dish and become Chopped Champion. You are presented with these ingredients as a challenge, what kind of dish can you make?

Dessert

Sugar: A sweet book for dessert

This is a surprise sweet book as the protagonist at first doesn’t appear sweet but slowly embraces her sweet side. She was good all along she just had a dark chocolate outer layer.

The Dark Lord Clementine by [Sarah Jean Horwitz]

Amazon: Dark Lord Clementine

Flour: A hearty book.

The Dragon Egg Princess

The Dragon Egg Princess by [Ellen Oh]

Even though it was a short book I found it to be a hearty book because I was really taken into the world with dragons, fairies and Jiho and Koko, there was a great villain, a wonderful Raman stand and a great array of creatures and people both magical and not.

Amazon: The Dragon Egg Princess

Berries: A book about nature for dessert

The Last Windwitch by [Jennifer Adam]

The Last Windwitch is about a girl on the run from an evil queen because of her magic, before the queen took over there was a witch who wove the seasons with her magic and helped people. The main character Brida is going on a quest to find to learn about her family, her magic, and who she’s meant to be, this book reminds me of a delicate dessert maybe like a sponge cake.

Amazon: The Last Wind Witchwitch

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

Dark Waters (Small Spaces Quartet Book 3) by [Katherine Arden]

I’m not normally waiting all year for summer but this book is an exception. I think it would represent something like caviar because of the monster so it would be a wild card ingredient.

From all of this I would make a cholate sponge cake with dark chocolate truffles maybe adding on some gold leaf in a dragon scale pattern and topped with caviar.

If you’ve liked this as a meme, come join The Blind Scribe and I for the readathon version of this in Febuary, all I can tell you right now is the theme will be a Couple’s dinner and each ingredient will be a reading prompt. There is also a signed book as a prize that is unfortunately only available with within the US due to shipping. However I’m also offering a $20 Book Depository Card to one of our international participants.

Posted in Feature

Stats for 2021

Happy New Year! In yesterday post I wrote about my ups and downs from lasts year, here I though you might want to see my stats from my reading chart done by the wonderful Reader Voracious.

Here you can find some information about my books:

Here you can find some information about my blog

As you can see I most read contempary middle grade. I also read some YA fantasy and some graphic novels, I also read a lot of other really cool stuff especially horror, which you see made a dent in the stats as it was one of my categories after my big three.

Unfortunately my reading seemed to go in a reserve curve this year. I was doing really well of December of last year and really well of December of this year. But things fell down in the middle. Which is the reverse of what I want to be happening with my reading. I will say that I had lots of extenuating circumstances this past year.

I shattered my ankle in January and had to be off it for three months and am still recovering from the effects of all of that medical drama. It definitely affected my reading stats for the year, that’s no excuse just the way it is. This year I ended up having to read a lot of books at the end of the year to get to my goal of 100. I want to read more consistently across the year so I’m not rushing at the end of the year. I’m mean I’ll probably still be rushing a little but still I’d like to have a monthly goal to meet ever month and meet it.

I think what I learned most from these stats is consistency and my lack of it last year, this year I’m going to try and be more consistent with reading and posting. That going to be a high level goal.

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 ARCs, Feature

Counterclockwise Heart

I just wanted to let you know about a cool new middle great book coming out, by the same writer who gave you The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, one of my faves! Check out, The Counterclockwise Heart I’ll be spotlighting soon and so I wanted to give you a sneak peek, check out the information below.

By Brian Farrey and out February 1st 2022, this book tells the story of a kingdom with a crisis.

Summary

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
 
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be— His heart has begun to run counterclockwise, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.

More about the Author

Brian Farrey is a two-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award and the 2017 recipient of the McKnight Fellowship in Children’s Literature. His debut novel, With or Without You, was named a Stonewall honor book by the American Library Association and the 2012 Minnesota Book Award winner for Young People’s literature. The first book in his critically acclaimed middle grade fantasy trilogy (The Vengekeep Prophecies) was named a Junior Library Guild selection.  He lives in the Twin Cities with his husband and their cats.

Come join me for my review of this fabulous book in February! Check out the author on Twitter @BrianFarrey and the publishing company at @AlgonquinYR

Amazon: The Counterclockwise Heart

Posted in Feature, Memes

Christmas Stocking Tag

I found the Christmas Stocking Tag on Reading through Infinity last year and thought I’d and thought I’d try it again. The Christmas Stocking Challenge is a pretty easy tag especially if you’ve been tracking your books for the year which you totally should via Kal @ Reader Voracious’ wonderful spreadsheet which I’ve used for the past two years and you can find here.

Rules

  • Link to the person who tagged you
  • Link to me, as I’d love to read your answers
  • Answer all 10 questions, choosing books for each theme
  • Tag five people to do this

An orange! Which book is refreshing and vibrant, both inside and out?

Starfish

Starfish by [Lisa Fipps]

This book had to make the Christmas Stocking Tag List this book let me feeling refreshed because it was one of first children’s books I’ve seen where the characters are being fat positive. So it’s my refreshing book.

The next thing you see is a bag of chocolate coins. (Yum) Which book have you recently bought that was a little expensive, but totally worth the price?

Steelstriker

Steelstriker (Skyhunter Duology Book 2) by [Marie Lu]

I did the pre-order for the pretty extra art gift. So I spluged a little with this book but the quality art I got in return was totally worth it.

You also pull out a bath bomb. Tell us about a book that had explosive action scenes.

Vespertine

Vespertine by [Margaret Rogerson]

Vespertine totally won the action award for the Christmas Stocking Tag this year I won’t spoil anything but there are some awesome action scenes.

Next is a pack of playing cards. Which series won you over?

The Revenge of Magic Series

Normally I’m not a huge fan of a male protagonist but the action and the world in general won me over in the end. I also especially liked some of the side characters.

You also get a candle. Which character is a symbol of hope in their story?

Five Things About Ava Andrews

Five Things About Ava Andrews by [Margaret Dilloway]

Ava becomes a symbol of hope not only to herself but to her whole community when she learns how to speak up. I really think she fits this prompt very well.

There are socks inside too. Is there a book that you think really encompasses all the distinctive tropes of its genre?

The Tea Dragon Tapestry

The Tea Dragon Tapestry (The Tea Dragon Series Book 3) by [K. O'Neill]

I think K. O’Neill’s works show the the best parts of the graphic novel genre, from their content to their illustration they really are at the top and show off the best qualities of what a graphic novel can be.

There’s also a notebook. Which author’s writing process do you find most interesting/inspiring?

I’m very interested in Marieke Nijkamp, Rajani LaRocca, and Katherine Arden think and write. Also I want the answers to some cliffhangers they’ve left me!

To go with the notebook, there’s a fancy pen. Is there a book or a series that you’d change if you’d written it yourself?

The Brave by [James Bird]

The Brave by James Bird is the book that has the lowest ranking this year. However it’s because it was criticized by other Indigenous people like the author. I’m definitely not the one to change it however if it were to be changed I think someone with better knowledge of the culture represented to should be the one to do it.

There’s also a small bedside clock. Which book took you a long time to pick up but was worth it in the end?

The Dragon Egg Princess

The Dragon Egg Princess by [Ellen Oh]

I put it down a couple of times but I eventually finished it and it was a great read.

Your pile is getting really big. You reach in to pull out the last gift and it’s… a lump of coal? You’re a little disappointed. But you look closer and realise there’s a seam running through the coal. You crack it open and sitting inside is a tiny golden gem. Tell us about a book that surprised you in some way.

The Infinity Courts

The Infinity Courts by [Akemi Dawn Bowman]

This book surprised me in a lot of ways. I thought it was just going to be another YA I wouldn’t like. But it had so many surprising twists and turns it ended up being one of my favorite book of the year and I can’t wait for the sequel. (April 2022 for those wondering). It’s definitely a five star read and I’d totally recommend.

Five tagged people

@bookworm_blue

@ImogenTypes

@emmaferrierx

@cosychapters

@kalventure