Posted in Uncategorized, Weekly Wrap-ups

Cats, New RPGs, Pride Month

Sorry I didn’t post this weekend cats were the reason I was busy or should I say one cat specifically. My Sweet albeit very feral cat Cinnamon is sick. I thought I could catch her yesterday, and I didn’t and felt like a real failure afterward, now I’m realizing this is going to have to be a long game. I guess I just thought I had a good enough bond with her I could do it easily, but now I know I was being unrealistic. But never fear it’s not all bad news, the cat is getting to the vet one way or the other we are just going to have to be tricky, and stubborn just like cats are.

I was also just kind of depressed about Cinnamon and what happens if we don’t catch her in time to treat her condition. We are going to get a feral trap today, so hopefully we are headed in the right direction still I worry about my sweet little feral baby.

In happier news, I’m just starting Horizon Zero Dawn so I can play the new one when it comes out. The puzzles are a little tougher than what I’m used to so I’m using guides. Also, I’m just not a very talented gamer, I’m more there for the story. But I ended up loving the combat system in Dragon Age 3, so I could love the combat system once I get into it a bit more. The puzzles so far have just been tough and I’m only at the beginning lol. However, it is the newest RPG I’ve played so SO pretty.

Also if you are listening universe Dragon Age 4 release date like before I turn 35.

Last but not least I’m trying to read as many books as I can for Pride Month, and I’m also doing the Read Your Gays readathon. I’m trying to read about a little bit of everyone and stories I’m not familiar with. For example, I haven’t read a lot of books on non-binary folx, so I’m trying to make that one of my goals this month.

Posted in Feature

Pride Month Readathon

Happy Pride Month! I try to read diverse books and as I’ve said before I’m not the hugest fan of Pride for various reasons, however, I do enjoy books with LGBTQIA+ characters especially with a happy ending.

This year I’m doing the Read Your Gay Challenges: Their theme this year is Queer Scouts. Which is ironic because I work at a camp for Queer Youth in July.

Prompts include: Camping Badge A book that takes place in the woods

Art badge: A book will an illustrated cover.

Bird watching badge: A Book with a Bird on the cover

Emergency preparedness badge: A dystopian or survival story

Nature Badge: A book that takes place in nature.

Posted in Book Festivals

Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block, in a Book Festival panel you’re bound to find at least one panel on the topic. The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival had a few of them, the one I attended were with panelists Rachelle Delaney famous for her book, The Circus Dogs of Prague. Alex de Campi, famous for her large bibliography in comics. Finally Jen Calonita famous for her work on Disney’s Twisted Tales as well as

Moderator: Do you have any rituals when it comes to writing/writer’s block?

de Campi: Don’t be precious. Write when and where you can. Don’t think you just have to write on your sofa at a certain time. If you can find time to write use it.

Calonita; Some days you just have to make it work. Some day once you’re a professional writer you just have to sit down and write even if you don’t want to because it’s your job.

Delaney: Accepting that some days you just can’t make writing work.

de Campi: Get to it when you get it, but the starring out the window is always important too don’t be afraid to do other things to keep your brain inspired.

Moderator: Do you keep notes to help with writer’s block?

de Campi: Yes

Calonita: Post its.

Delaney: Paper notebook notes app.

Moderator: How do you get to a place where things need to be but the story won’t go there?

de Campi: Outline messy sketchy but don’t get stuck in it. You can always fix it later.

Moderator: How do you discover the end of the book as you are writing the book?

Delany: Outline, reoutline as you are writing

Calonita: Think about the saggy middle and how you are going to solve that problem.

de Campi: Plot is what happens. Story is why it happens. Also spend more time in the emotional life of the characters.

Calonita: Write straight through.

de Campi For the first draft of your story.

  1. Forgive yourself and move on.
  2. Don’t make the beginning perfect.
  3. Get used to ending your story.
  4. Put your first book in a drawer for three months and leave it alone.

Calonita: I describe too much in the first draft

Delaney: Everything in you’re writing needs to serve the story.

Calonita: To be a writer you don’t have to write every day.

de Campi: Revise on paper it forces you to pay attention.

Calonita: How do big moments help story progress sometimes you have a big idea and small events and scenes come out from it.

de Campi: Have fun, do your own thing write to your own style, don’t write to the trend.

Calonita: Not every idea you have is going to be turned into a book.

Moderator: Do you find your writing influenced by readers?

de Campi: Your book is not for everyone. Never complain, never explain.

The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival

Posted in TBR

June TBR

What is everyone planning on reading for June? I’m going to put 4 books up here since that seems to be what I’m consistently reading. At this point, I’m aiming low and being happily surprised if I come out higher.

1)That Thing About Bollywood.

That Thing about Bollywood by [Supriya Kelkar]

Not sure if this counts because I’m already reading it but I’m going to count it anyway.

Amazon: That Thing About Bollywood

2) The Memory Thief

The Memory Thief (Blink) by [Lauren Mansy]

I’m really enjoying this book so far because of the magic system and political intrigue. I can’t wait to see what’s up next.

Amazon: The Memory Thief

3) The Sun Will Come Out

I’ve been wanting to read this one for awhile so I’m going to try to find time for it in June

Amazon: The Sun Will Come Out

4) The Greystone Secrets: The Messengers

Greystone Secrets #3: The Messengers by [Margaret Peterson Haddix]

I’ve been a huge fan of this series and I can’t wait to read the conclusion.

Posted in Reviews

The Sea in Winter

The Sea in Winter

The Sea in Winter by [Christine Day]

Summary

Maisie Cannon has had a rough year, ever since she hurt her leg and couldn’t keep up with her ballet training and auditions the emotional and physical toll that’s taking on her bothers her more than she realizes.

Her blended family is loving and supportive, but Maisie knows that they just can’t understand how hopeless she feels.

But with everything that’s going on with her (ex?) friends ballet successes, troubles in school, and perhaps unrealistic hopes for her recovery. Maisie is not excited about their family midwinter road trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up.

But soon, Maisie’s anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as the pain in her knee. How can she keep pretending to be strong when on the inside she feels as roiling and cold as the sea?

Will she be able to get to find a way to move forward with her new circumstances? Or will she allow herself to be stuck in the past?

Review

When I started this book earlier in the year I wasn’t ready to pick it up. But this was definitely the book I needed for right now. I’m in a similar place as the book’s protagonist. Since I injured my ankle in January I’ve struggled with wanting to be in the same place I was before the injury. I often want to have the same level of energy. It’s been a challenge not to push myself to where I was before, and even when I do something

I think shouldn’t make me tired and does, it’s tough not to be angry that I can’t do more. For example, I’ve only been healing for 5 months and I want to think about roller skating, realistically I should be thinking about this 1-2 years out, but my brain is still annoyed with what I can’t do. So I get Maisie’s frustration and I’m trying to redirect my energy into a more positive place.

Amazon: The Sea in Winter

Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

Posted in monthly goals

Preparing for June: How did I do?

In preparing for June I like to go over my May Goals to see how I did for the month. I’ve got a little more energy now that I’m continuing to heal from my ankle. More than I did at the start of the end of April/the start of May when I set these goals Allowing myself to keep a slow pace on healing was the theme of April. I thought I had more energy in the beginning of May, but looking at it now I truly have more energy. I’m reading and writing and doing reviews at almost my pre-injury pace. So I’m happy about that.

1)Try and keep posting ahead of time

I’ve gotten MUCH better with this at this. I’ve been able to start preparing for the week ahead during the weekend and get most of what I’m going to post for the week done.

2) Finishing up my books from previous months

I’ve worked on lots of books but I got distracted by new content. This will have to be another goal for June.

3) Celebrate AAPI authors this month!

I started Joan He’s book and DNF it, I’ve come to find that I just don’t like her style however I’m going to focus back on these authors. I’ve got plenty of books line to read from AAPI authors and plan to make it a focus through the summer.

4) Get back to 10 books a month.

I only read 4 four this month, and I’m still happy with that, reading slump.

5) Look for Readathons for this month/next month

Probably going to find a pride readathon. But honestly I’m not the hugest fan of pride month, I appreciate the sentiment I’m just not a showy person naturally. So I’m more like t-shirts and door mats rather than going all out. But all the support to people who appreciate pride on a more involved level.

Posted in Weekly Wrap-ups

Healing, Reading, and Writing: Weekly Update

Well I’m finally rounding the bend with my healing. I won’t be fully back for a year, but I’m starting to see the results I want here at almost 5 months. I’m going to start taking walks again (short ones, I’m no fool) and generally trying to exercise.

I think since I’ve been healing. I’ve also been writing finally I think after going to The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival and getting some hints on craft from a variety of really brought out some creative ideas I’d had before I got hurt and brought them to the forefront.

The ideas are very different, one is a full fantasy with politics and court intrigue and romance and magic. The other is present-day murder mystery with music and mental health.

I’ve finally got out of the reading slump I’ve been in I’ve read more in this last week than I did in the whole month of May. My favorite thing read this week was The Sea in Winter, I’ll explain more about why in the reviews.

I also got to go out, I had an appointment near a bookstore. So I picked up some books.

That Thing about Bollywood

That Thing about Bollywood by [Supriya Kelkar]

Amazon: That Thing About Bollywood

and

The Beast Player

The Beast Player by [Nahoko Uehashi, Cathy Hirano] Healing

Amazon: Beast Player

Both look very interesting I’ve been waiting on Bollywood FOREVER, so I’m looking forward to reading these. Other than that my week has been pretty relaxed I’m trying to take things easy, I’ve had a lot of appointments but this coming week is appointment-free, so more time for reading and writing and me to look for a good readathon.

Photo by Vaibhav Nagare on Unsplash

Posted in Book Festivals

Dark Fantasy

On this panel about Dark Fantasy were: Rena Barron who is famous for her breakout fantasy The Gilded Ones. J. Elle is famous for her fantasy Wings of Ebony. Finally Kiersten White is famous for many books, including the And I Darken trilogy.

Moderator: How do you decide what readers’ first impression is going to be of your fantasy world?

White: It’s more about the soul of the story.

Barron: Dark doesn’t mean bad it just means unknown.

J Elle: What is the most intriguing entry point into the book? How you want to introduce the reader. The hook.

Moderator: Contemporary or full fantasy?

J Elle: I prefer contemporary fantasy

Barron: You get to throw some magic into the regular world.

White: It’s fun to get stuff from other people’s worlds.

Moderator Why Dark Fantasy?

White: I’m telling the story because it has integrity

Barron: I don’t mean to tell a dark fantasy I’m just trying to tell a story.

J Elle: When you go back to stories at different points in your life you get different answers. Darkness is just exploring the unknown.

White: Writing books is also a personal journey for the author that no one but the author can see but they know it’s there.

Moderator: What is everyone currently reading?

Realm Breaker by Victora Avyard

Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Moderator: When adding element from other cultures how do you do so respectfully?

J Elle: Lightly inspired if not your culture. Let Own Voices deal with it if its a major element of the plot.

White: If you are looking at history be careful of your sources. Why are you using these people as a jumping-off point?

Engage things with integrity, responsibility, and love. Also, throw out any extreme sources from either side of a conflict.

Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

Posted in Reviews

Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp

Oh Goosebumps, whoever sure who decided to give go-ahead for Marieke Nijkamp to write a comic adaptation had a very good idea. This piece was excellent. I may be a bit bias. I am a huge fan of Nijkamp in the first place. However, I’ll go over the reasons I loved it in the review.

Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp by [Marieke Nijkamp, Yasmin Florez Montanez, Yasmin Flores Montanez]

Summary

Twelve-year-old Blake was shipped off to her weird Aunt in Fever Swamp for the Summer. Lucky for her at least there is the internet and her favorite game Lore Hunter. lake’s never let anything–including her prosthetic hand–slow her down or stop her from crushing her opponents in a game of Lore Hunter.

But when she learns she’s going to meet the person on the top of the leaderboard in Lore Hunter in person, she’s hesitant. What’s she like in real life after all. Lily seems nice but ready for a real-life adventure she wants to go into the swamps to see what’s really there and when her other friend won’t go with her she ropes Blake in for the ride.

Soon Blake finds herself she finds herself in a spooky turf war between werewolves and wolf hunters! But real-life monsters on all sides take danger and fear to a whole new level, and Blake will need to use all of her gaming skills to escape.

Review

I don’t know if there were meant to be racial undertones here. However, most of the werewolves seemed to be people of color. While most of the wolf hunters were white or appeared white. So I thought that was worth noting especially since Fever Swamp brings to me an image of the South in the US and all the soci-political issues thereabouts. Perhaps I’m reading too much in it but Goosebumps books are never written down to kids or teens so who knows.

I really liked the friendship that developed between one of the female werewolves and Blake, it was someone Blake knew from before so the surprise reveal was interesting.

Finally I loved the end of the comic I really hope there is a volume two!

Amazon: Goosebumps:Secrets of the Swamp

Photo by Krystian Piątek on Unsplash

Posted in Book Festivals

Worldbuilding:Setting the Stage

Worldbuilding is such an important part of writing. I went to this panel for that reason and plan to go back review the other one offered when I don’t have Zoom fatigue.

The authors on this panel are known for their worldbuilding. Lisa McMann famous for her work on the Unwanteds Universe. Namina Forna best known for her book The Guilded Ones, the first part of a trilogy. and James Ponti, bestselling author of many books but currently working on the City Spies.

Moderator: How and why do you choose the settings?

James: I think about it like TV. Transportation and getting places without adults

Namina: I knew it was going to be set in an African world because I knew I would use my childhood in Benin as a jumping-off point.

Lisa: Environments and experiences.

James also recommended to start a story bible to keep up with all your worlds rules.

Moderator: Would you like to live your world or any other.

Namina: Any world by Holly Black but get out before things get serious because she’s worried she might die.

James; From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basel E. Frankweiler, because who wouldn’t want to spend the night in the library.

Lisa: Artime.

At the end of the panel, they just had some general advice. Namina pointed out the importance of research because you never know where information will come from.

James pointed out some cool fact he learned from researching with real spies. Like they play Assassin on board a ship before its commissioned.

Lisa pointed out the importance of using something you are familiar with as a jumping off point.

Finally they all agree that the world serves the story, it should help push your story along and that logic within your story matters and that you should always follow your own logic. Finally don’t overcomplicate the world you build.

Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash