Posted in Blogtober, monthly goals

November Goals

Well Blogtober went so well I’m going to try to post as much as I can in November, I’m not going to promise ever day because I need a little bit of a break after my blog a thon in October, but I’ll try for like 4-5 times a week.

Blog more!

This worked so well this past month I can’t argue with numbers. So expect to see more from me as often as I can.

Read more

If I want to blog more I’ve got to read more to have stuff to review, so I’ll be doing more of that, also I’d like to hit maybe 75 books by the end of the year. My goal was 50 I already crashed through that so 75 is like a ambitous goal that I’m hoping to hit. I’ve figured out I can finish about 9 books a month with a picture book thrown in here and there. It should leave me plenty of room to hit 75 by January 1st.

Finish up Challenges and get ready for the ones at the end of the year.

I want to hit/surpass my number for Year of the Asian Reading Challenge and I also want to do Blogmas and/or maybe another challenge in December.

Try to start looking at the technical side of blogging.

I need to start doing things like keyword searches and the like, better SEO and such. I think all that will lead me into the New Year especially if I add in things like Pinterest and visual search.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, monthly goals, Updates

Blogtober Wrapup

Blogtober was a smashing success. I only missed a couple of days but I got tons of new followers and my number of visitors and views reflected posting every day. I haven’t had this many followers since before the summer, leading me to wonder, is the summer a slow time in blogging? I’ll have to check into this and see what other bloggers say.

Anyway, some Blogtober highlights

  1. Lots of new followers.
  2. Visitors are up.
  3. I’ve been reading more.
  4. I almost didn’t have to use the prompts at all to think of posts.
  5. I’ve been interacting on Twitter more.

These are all goals I’ve been trying to reach over the summer so I’d consider that a smashing success. I hope to continue this positive energy in November!

Image by Benjamin Balazs from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, new releases

November MG New Releases

The winter must be a slow time for publishing I’m having a hard time finding middle grade titles that are coming out this month. Maybe it’s me? Let me know if there is anything you are looking forward to. There is certainly plenty of YA.

Stick With Me

Izzy’s best friend’s seem to be ditching her for the meanest girl in middle school Daphne Toll. All Izzy wants is to fit in and have some real friends. But all she really has is her art and the fact that she is attending theatre camp. It doesn’t help that her family rents out their house during winter break for some extra cash, so that family’s daughter is sleeping in her room and attending the same camp, a fact that Izzy isn’t one bit happy about.

Meanwhile the Wren, the girl from the family that is renting out Izzy’s house has problems of her. Before ending up at Izzy’s house Wren was focused on perfecting her ice skating routine after tanking at a big competition last year. But when her sister qualifies for a chance to participate in a life saving treatment for her epilepsy, Wren must forget about all that and stay in a rented home near Boston, what’s worse she has to attend the local theater camp where it seems like the mean girls are making her their number one target.

Izzy and Wren may both be targets of the mean girls, but with their differences is that enough to bring them close enough to have a chance at trying to be friends or will middle school drama win out in the end.

Told from dual perspective this is a story about fitting in and figuring yourself out.

Out November 3rd

Amazon: Stick with Me

Serena Says

A perfect story told by award winning author Tanita S. Davis about a young black girl who finds her voice.

Serena’s friend JC has never had a problem casting a light, she just shines. She’s got the biggest and best idea, the funniest laugh and the party starts when she arrive. Serena St. John is proud just to be known as her best friend.

But JC needed a kidney transplant and time in the hospital, Serena expects everything to be the same when JC returns home but not only does she have a new kidney she’s got a new best friend. Out of JC’s spotlight Serena feels lonely and life just doesn’t have that shine.

Serena works on perfecting her vlogs, hoping to earn a shot at becoming a classroom reporter. But if she can be smart and funny on video, why can’t she do it in real life. If only real life had pause, edit and delete functions for conversations. It would be so much easier to say then right thing when she’s supposed to, instead of not saying what she should or blurting out a secret that wasn’t hers to share.

But life doesn’t have a pause button and as Serena discovers her voice through vlogging, she learns that she’s not just there to reflect JC’s light, she’s fully able to shine on her own.

Tanita S. Davis is an American author of young adult novels, best known for her NAACP Image Award-nominated and Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel Mare’s War.

Amazon: Serena Says

Serena Says comes out November 3rd.

Unlocked

So book eight of this series was a terrible horrible rip your heart out cliff hanger. But since book nine won’t be out till next year the author is doing something special for the fans.

She’s doing a special kind of book and a half. Taking some of the pain out of the cliffhanger by revealing what happened in a way she’s never done before, from the heroine Sophie whose perspective we usually follow, as well as Keefe one of Sophie’s friend who was particularly affected by the way the last book ended. It will allow for more insight into both characters, as new powers are discovered and tough truths come to light and all of the Keeper of the Lost Cities crew find themselves tested in new ways they could have never imagined.

Not only that! The book also promises to reveal a comprehensive guide to the world of the Lost Cities where we will get new character and world details that haven’t been revealed to readers before. We are also promised cute things like Keeper themed recipes full color illustrations and more.

I for one cannot wait!

Unlocked will be released on November 17th

Amazon: Unlocked

Image by Pepper Mint from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, monthly goals, Uncategorized

October Wrapup

So how did I do with my goals this month? From how I’m looking at this I think I did a pretty good job.

1) Start reading Unwanteds Quest books

So I’ve read 5/6 books Unwanteds Quests books that are currently released and will probably finish the last book before the month is over

2) Get to 30% on Dragon Age Inquisition

I’m at 24% getting close to 25% so while I’m not at 30% like I wanted I’m getting closer.

3) Hit my reading goal for the year.

I’m over my goal by like 4 books so I’m good there.

4) Get back into doing weekly reviews

I’ve done weekly reviews for the past 3 weeks so I’d say I’m doing pretty well.

Also my numbers are great for this month so thank you guys for all the views and likes! The blog hasn’t seen this much attention since before the summer!

Image by monicore from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober

The Tarot Tag

I wanted to do a tag for Halloween but I couldn’t think of anything then my mind fell back to something I love to do daily, tarot.

1.) The Fool: What book/series did you fall into without thinking about it?

Keeper of The Lost Cities. I was on Book 6 without even realizing I’d finished the first 5.

2)The High Priestess: Which feminine character would you like to be like/or respect?

I really like Cassidy Blake from V.E. Schwab’s Cassidy Blake books

3)Suit of Wands: If you could live in any fictional book world which would you pick?

Okay stay with me here, but I love the Small Spaces world. I’m not sure I’m smart enough to face the Smiling Man. I also love the Darkdeep world again not the most pleasant answer. Maybe I like puzzles?

4) Suit of Cups: If you could have a bookish wedding what series would inspire it?

This one is easy, it would either be Sailor Moon, because manga counts as books, or some version of Arendelle.

5)Suit of Swords: Is there any bookish conflict you wish you could take part in?

I’d want to join the conflicts in Keeper of Lost Cities or The Unwanteds/Unwanted Quest conflicts

6)Suit of Pentacles: You have endless book money, what’s the first book you buy?

Probably a fancy book with tarot deck.

7) Divination: If you could have any future book what would it be?

Tie between the ninth Keeper of the Lost Cities Book, and several ARC on NetGalley.

Tagging

Books for the Love of Words

The Perks of Being Noura

A Dance With Books

Image by Rebekka D from Pixabay

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image by Mira Cosic from Pixabay

Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, Reviews

The Unwanteds: Island of Fire

This is perhaps the book I’ve read the most times it finds The Unwanteds at their most desperate and Aaron being particularly detestable. But it also introduces some of my favorite characters in the series and allows two characters to get closer that wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s also the first time we get to see what life is like on another island.

Island of Fire (The Unwanteds Book 3) by [Lisa McMann]

Summary

With the magical world of Artimé gone The Unwanteds are stuck. They have no food, no water and no hope. Everyone is looking to Alex Stowe for help.

And honestly he’s not sure he can provide any, feeling totally overwhelmed and helpless by how Artimé was taken away in the first place he also has the responsibility on his shoulders of rescuing his captive friend Samheed and Lani, from the strange island they disappeared to. He need to help free Meghan from her voice stealing necklace of thorns. If those two things were enough, he need to find a way to restore Artimé. No pressure right?

He doesn’t realize that help may lie with the silent orange eyed newcomers who washed up on shore during the last book and were forgotten in the crisis. The older girl, who through a series of basic signs tells Alex that her name is Sky, and her little brother Crow, find ways to help around the desolate land that used to be Artimé.

Alex is able to relax with Sky and doesn’t seem to feel the need to act like a leader, which is essential since Alex relaxing and Sky helping may be to key to solving a puzzle that helps bring Artimé back.

Meanwhile in Quill, Aaron continues to build his army wanting to strike The Unwanteds while they are weak, but a twist reveals that Alex and Aaron may have bigger enemies to worry about than each other.

Review

As I said at the onset one of my favorites of the series, mostly because of Sky. I also love the puzzle to bring back Artimé. I’ve always wondered what the Warbler sign language was based on though, ASL or just basic signs?

Alex kind of gets his foot in his mouth when he doesn’t seem to think Sky will be very helpful since she can’t talk and she ends up being the one pretty much helping solve a good portion of the riddle. I think it’s a mistake Alex doesn’t make again, assuming just because someone can’t speak or speak different they don’t have anything to offer but I thought it was an interesting moment of growth.

As a book itself: 5 out 5

In the series 5 out 5.

Amazon: Island of Fire

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, Reviews, Uncategorized

The Haunting of Bly Manor

So this is a book blog you say, why are they reviewing Netflix series. Because the Netflix series is haunting and perfect for this time of year. Based on Henry James’ work particularly his 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw.

Part of the ‘Haunting’ Series by Mike Flannagan the first season of which is an adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House.

The series starts out with a woman with some friends the night before a wedding, they land on the topic of ghosts and she shares that she has a ghost story if they are interested, though she promises it isn’t short.

The story starts out with a governess sent by a rich man to care for two odd children, the children have lost their parents. At first it seems like a simple assignment, till the woman, Dani, played by Victoria Pedretti. Starts to notice things aren’t as they seem the children are strange, with strange rules about when Dani shouldn’t be in and out of bed. They start playing tricks and won’t explain why.

And Dani is sure there are ghosts about, but the question is who living and who’s not? Dani knows the ghosts have power but when things start going on beyond what she ever imagined she isn’t sure who she can trust. Except for the gardener Jamie.

But when things come down to protecting the children, Dani has to make a tragic choice, one that perhaps is the most haunting of all.

I loved this series, it was queer, it was creepy, and it makes me want to watch it again I can’t wait to go back and look for details.

Image by Greg Montani from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, Reviews

Unwanteds: Island of Silence

Wow, I don’t know what I did to receive 20 views yesterday but thanks all the same. Didn’t mean to miss a day in Blogtober but I didn’t get ahead on my posts like I like then I wasn’t feeling well. Overall I think I’m doing pretty good though so I’m not going to stress over it. Today I’m bringing you a review of the next book in the Unwanteds Series.

Unwanteds: Island of Silence

Island of Silence (The Unwanteds Book 2) by [Lisa McMann]

Summary

Following the life changing events during the battle at the conclusion of The Unwanteds, the barrier between the non-magical world of Quill and the magical haven of Artimé is now broken down. Head Mage Marcus Today has welcomed anyone from Quill to Artimé whether they Wanteds, Unwanteds, or Necessaries.

In Artimé, Alex and his friends help the newcomers, but they wonder how long the peace will last. Alex is also stunned when Mr. Today comes to him with a special request, one he isn’t sure he’s ready for but the responsiblity may land at his feet whether he likes it or not due to dramatic circumstances.

Back in Quill Aaron Stowe, faces a very different path, after his loss of status due to Justine’s defeat, he’s full of rage towards his brother, but in a society where you can’t feel emotions, rage can come out in the strangest of ways. Not really acknowledging his feelings, Aaron starts a plan to claw his way back to power.

But when the world of Quill and Artimé meet it will change the path of both world forever and bring Alex and Aaron’s sibling rivalry to epic proportions.

Review

This is one of my favorite books in the series because it’s where the action starts to really pick up. Of course it’s where everyone’s hearts start getting torn out, but that’s the mark of a good series. You start feeling for everyone. Also Aaron gets more page time, and there is another adventure going on, one on another island that is really pivotal to the rest of the series that gets started here.

Book itself: 5 out 5

In the series 5 out 5.

Amazon: The Unwated: Island of Silence

Image by Kevinsphotos from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, Challenges, Chapter/Picture Book Feature, Reviews, YARC, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

The Name Jar

I still working diligently towards my goal for Year of the Asian Reading Challenge. My original goal was 10 books I’m at 6 at the moment and working on two at the current moment so I think I should at least hit my goal and hopefully surpass it. For this I went with classic picture book The Name Jar. Although publish in 2001 it still remains relevant plus it a cute story about identity and choosing to be yourself under pressure.

The Name Jar

Summary

Though the book is older it deals with the timeless challenge that immigrant children coming to America face. After all being the new kid is hard enough, what about when no one can pronouce your name.

Just having moved from Korea Unhei is just anxious that the American kids will like her so when it comes time to introduce herself on the first day she tells the class she will choose a name by the following week. The class is fasinated by the girl with no name and decide to help her with suggestions by filling a glass jar with names to pick from.

But while Unhei tries on all these names, none of them quite feel right. Meanwhile she runs into one of her classmates in her neighborhood and he discovers her name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing the jar has mysteriously disappeared.

Encouraged by her new friend Unhei chooses her own Korean and helps everyone pronouce it Yoon-Hey.

Review

This held up very well for being an older book. I also love the connection that Unhei has with her grandmother and the use of name stamps. I’d have to compare it with other children’s books from the time but her friends encourage Unhei’s agency in a way that you see now but I’m not sure if so much so back then. Worth looking into.

I’m going to give it a four out five just because it’s aged a little.

Amazon: The Name Jar

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, Challenges

The Real Neat Blog Award

I was nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award by Helen at Helen’s Crispy Confessions. You should totally check out their blog which has everything from book reviews to lifestyle posts as well as important information about what it’s like to be multiracial in America today.

Rules

  1. Include the award logo in your post.
  2. Answer the following seven questions, asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the person/people who nominated you.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like by linking to their blogs.
  5. Notify them that you have nominated them.

My Answers to the Seven Questions

  1. What is one thing you’ve struggled with the most in your life?

The thing I’ve most struggled with in my life is finding and naming all my mental health conditions. I didn’t realize I was autistic until my mid-twenties. I did realize I was schizophrenic till my late twenties. Even the conditions I knew about when I was younger, managing them and finding people who accept me and don’t worry about my conditions has been the biggest issue I’ve dealt with.

Also see: Mental Health TBR

2. What was your favorite part of your childhood?

Probably just the general culture of the 90’s. Some of it was very toxic and I’m glad we’ve moved beyond it. However I miss the music, and the entertainment.

3. Think of one bad habit you’ve been able to break. Tell me how you broke that bad habit.

Honestly I don’t really believe in bad habits save things that are truly hurting your health. The idea kinda breeds guilt which isn’t good for anyone. However I have gotten back into focusing more on my blog after not focusing on it this summer, but as I’ve mentioned here I was helping with my family this summer. One habit I’d like to be able to change is getting back to working on my fiction writing and to break that I’ll just have to find space to work that in m

4. What makes the struggle of blogging worth it to you?

Honestly blogging is fun, I’d do the blogging even if no one read it. I like writing and I need an outlet, yeah it can be hard to keep up at times and I’m working to be better about community engagement and things like SEO. If people enjoy seeing my blog I’m really glad but honestly I blog for me first.

After that I’m blogging to make sure underserved/diverse and OwnVoices get heard. It’s my job as as a white person to signal boost people of color. Even though I’m also queer and disabled I want to boost those voices as well.

5. When did you decide that you wanted to start a blog?

Honestly it was going to be an extension of my Instagram which you can find at Plaid_Reader

6. If you could meet yourself ten years from now, what questions would you ask yourself?

Well I just hit 30 a few weeks ago so in 10 years I’ll be 40. I’d have some serious questions for my future self given current circumstances. Such as:

How’s the whole COVID thing working out?

Whose the President?

Did we ever get disability?

Now assuming I had time for not so serious questions I’d ask for book spoilers. Oh and can future me give me books from ten years from now?

7. Do you know your Myers-Briggs personality type? If so, what is it?

No, but I should probably take the test.

My Nominees

Intisar Speaks

Az You Read

Starry Sky Books