Allowing myself to keep a slow pace on healing was the theme of April. I’m doing much better now and even made it out to some stores today now that I have full immunity. I can’t wait to get out to book shop, once to gas shortage calms down. We’ve been in pretty hard lockdown since March 2019 so it’s nice to get out finally.
1)Try and keep posting ahead of time
Since I’ve gotten better from my injury I’ve found I had a whole lot to do to make up for my time down while I was recovering. Do you know there is this weird phenomena that when you have an injury you literally lose all your things. I couldn’t keep up with a game controller. Which was no where near I injured myself, several outfits and remotes.
2) Finishing up my books from previous months
I’ve still got a lot books from the Disability and Autistic Readathons. Some of the are really good and I want to get the reviews out, so I want to do that in May.
3) Celebrate AAPI authors this month!
I’ve already got several AAPI authors lined up to read this month including Joan He The One We’re Meant to Find to keep me current, The Dragon Egg Princess by Ellen Oh, and Andrea Tang’s Rebelwing. That’s just a few of the ones on the list,
4) Get back to 10 books a month.
I got close last month but healing keeps making tired, think the gif of the book keeps falling onto the person’s face because they’re asleep. That’s me, trying to get any reading in.
5) Look for Readathons for this month/next month
I know there are going to be a lot of Pride readathons in June so I’m going to probably one of those. But I’d love to try another Readathon, so if you know of any cool ones send them my way.
Hello from Quarantine Week 8 or 9 I believe. My week was pretty unremarkable, I went shopping a few times for essentials since I’m the lowest risk person in my family. I found toilet paper on one trip and paper towels on another, so I was super happy about that. I also manage to find a good stock of meat one trip so my family is all set for awhile. Hope your family is all safe. Now to the books!
What have I been reading, lots of books about the end of the world, I’m going to do a post on that soon. Because I must not be the only one who end of the world fiction is calming down during all of this. I’ve also been re-read a few but the three main ones I’ve been focused on are.
The Last 8
Clover Martinez is a survivor, perhaps the only survivor after an alien attack on earth. She thinks she’s the only one left until randomly hears a voice through the radio, calling her to join their group in the former Area 51.
There she finds a band of misfits who call themselves the Last Teenagers on Earth. But instead of wanting to fight back, some of them don’t even have any idea what has happened in the world outside Area 51. And they seem pretty content to keep it that way, instead pretending the world never ended. This leaves Clover questioning if she was better off alone.
Until she finds a spaceship in the walls of the compound leaving her with questions if there is truly any one on Earth left that she can trust.
After surving the terrors of a virus gone mad on Achlys. Thea, Coen and Nova thought they had found safety.
But they are anything but safe Nova is coma, and Thea and Coen find themselves in cells treated more like experiments than people.
They soon realize the people on the ship have no idea what they are dealing with and plan to unleash the contagion in an act of political warfare. Will the trio with a little help from a new friend be able to stop them.
Or will the entire galaxy be at risk of catching the virus? They’ll have to use the only weapons they have on hand to stop it from happening: themselves.
This one is a re-read from last year. But I just wanted a good creepy ghost story to draw inspiration from for a story I’m writing so I’m re-rereading all the good middle grade ghost stories I know starting with Arden’s work.
Okay, so it would be a super fair assessment to say I really like a lot of things, but Animal Crossing is at the top now. Along with reading, writing, and blogging, if I can fit bread baking in there I think I can truly become the ultimate millennial.
But seriously I’m really enjoying Animal Crossing, it takes my mind off of quartine like nothing else. I’m currently working on trying to get hybrid flowers and relocating where I want my fruit trees. Also more seriously, I’m working on that bread baking as soon as I’m over some pulled muscles.
I was a little wary about spending the amount of money I did on my Cricut. But now I’m totally over any uncertainty I might have had, it’s the ultimate crafting machine. Mostly I’ve just been working on getting cutting right and making gender netural bathroom signs for a non profit I volunteer with. Next I want to look into vinyl and infusible ink for clothes so I can start making my own shirts for myself and others.
I got into a fight with an associate of mine so that kind of got me down and clogged up some of the cognitive space I could have used for reading. So that was annoying, but other than that I’m in pretty good mental health, I got my tarot read by an awesome reader. It was a treat since I usually read myself, she was really good and her reading calmed me down a lot.
Overall except for a few bumps in the road it was a pretty good week, hope you had a good week as well! I’ll be back to you next week, with hopefully more books finished.
A crew of misfits is sent to check out a distress call from a drill team on a distant planet, Achlys. They aren’t the most qualified but they are the closest and all have personal issues that could get them in danger on an already dangerous mission. They are all aboard a ship called The Odyessy and hope to get this work done as fast as they can so they can get back to their normal lives.
They are supposed to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission for Black Quarry, the ship that was having trouble, but it turns out to be anything but when they uncover the remains, both literal and figurative, of a project gone wrong.
They find dead bodies with mysterious symptoms, but it may be too late to stop themselves from getting exposed to this contagion. Is anyone safe from this mysterious contagion, and if they are, what does that make them?
Why am I reading a book about a biological contagion during a pandemic you ask. I honestly don’t know. I just seemed to calm me the way horror movies have been doing. I also think this book is so not bad, but just kind of out there, that it was easy to laugh at a contagion like it when the real world is kinda scary.
So this is honestly, a zombie book. Space zombies due to an alien parasite, but still the center focus, dead come back to life infect others. Zombies in space are still zombies.
Some of the characters are simply zombie fodder, so I won’t mention them. There are several however that I found interesting.
Dr. Lisbeth Tarlow-she’s a microbiologist and the only survivor of an earlier expedition to Achlys called Witch Hazel. Her character is interesting because you don’t learn her motivations till the last.
Thea-Tarlow’s assistant, she’s an intern. She’s in high school just trying to get credits to get into a prestigious institute. She also from foster care and not super quick to trust anyone.
Coen -the only survivor of the Black Quarry expedition where all his fellow crew perished, he’s got secrets alright, but is he looking to help or hurt the rescue crew?
Nova-the ships pilot who was washed out of the military academy to due to a medical condition. She’s in love with The Oddessy’s captain, stupid choice. Nearly gets her killed.
Dylan Lowe–The Odessey’s ship’s captain. She’s trying to live up to her admiral father’s image and makes some dumb choices in doing so. Her father is also part of the Black Quarry mission.
I like the book, and it’s clear the real villain isn’t the infected, its crew against the crew, trust turns really quick when you don’t know who is infected. The one part of the book I’m not super fond of is the point of view changes. T
hey aren’t denoted well. Like with heading or anything. I get the same situation being told from multiple points of view, but I like to know what point of view I’m jumping into if that makes any sense.
The concept was great, but I think the execution was a little not sloppy because it was a good mystery about who was who, and who was responsible for what happening right up until the end. I just found the points of view jarring.
So the book gets three stars, mostly because of the points of view shifts.
So as we are in the last days of April I’d thought I’d see how I did for my goals for this month. Some were wildly ambitious and didn’t happen, some I actually hit pretty close to the mark.
Get over 250 views for the blog in a month.
This was the one I didn’t think was possible. But as of April 25th I’d already beaten that goal, so, apparently, it is.
2. Get 100 followers on WordPress
Okay, now this one I was hopeful but thought it was unrealistic, but at the time of writing this post I’ve got 104 followers, so apparently it wasn’t too unrealistic to happen. Thank you to all my new followers.
3.) Finish 10 books in April
This one just didn’t happen, I’m blaming it solely on working on my novel. Which is at nearly 20,000 words, also I’ve been in kind of a reading slump. But thankfully, I’m going back to some old favorites and reading debuts so hopefully, this number will go up in May. I was ahead anyway so I don’t have to worry about my yearly reading goal taking a hit.
4. Do Tarot three time a week
This past week I only missed one day of doing tarot so I think I did pretty well.
I like this book a lot better than the first for several reasons, mostly because of the main character changing from Book 1.
Warning Spoilers Ahead
Steel Tide (Seafire)
Caledonia finds herself separated from her crew after nearly choosing to face an old foe, instead of running to safety with her crew. After nearly dying, Caledonia is pulled out of the sea barely alive and nursed back to health by the last people she’d expect. A crew of former Bullets who call themselves the Blades.
The Blades escaped Aric Athair’s clutches and are now nomadic, ready to leave when any sign of trouble comes their way. Caledonia herself represents trouble, and some of the Blades particularly one named Pine don’t like that.
But Caledonia makes some friends among the Blades, including Sledge and Triple, each of the Blades have given themselves their own names and prides themselves on having a sense of choice.
But when Caledonia finds out her crew is being held at the infamous Slipmark, she must convince the Blades to jump back into the fight and help rescue her beloved sisters.
Along the way, Caledonia finds out more about life in the Bullet army and just what all is under Aric Athair’s control. She senses a way to start a revolution if she can convince everyone to want to fight.
But the battle for the world of the Bullet Sea maybe even more surprising than Calendonia expected when an old enemy shows up with the last person she’d expect: her brother.
Okay first off, nearly dying knocks some sense into Caledonia. Not much, but enough to make her MUCH more tolerable throughout this book. I also love that when she reunites with her crew, she has to pay for her action, she doesn’t just get automatically forgiven.
Second, the Blades are by far my favorite thing about this book, their love for choice is like super important. Like Sledge says early on in the book. “Consent is our most important choice.” Ahh! So wonderful. Also, Sledge may be built like The Rock but he is the big softie of the book.
Finally, the look into Bullet society is enlightening, it makes me wonder how things will be resolved in the third and final book Stormbreak, which comes out this November.
My latest read and it’s my first book on the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge for the year, it also fits one of my own challenges of reading books that deal with mental health.
The Science of Breakable Things
Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
Natalie’s mother is suffering from depression, and Natalie is suffering too because she doesn’t know how to fix her mom. She has ideas as to why all of this has happened. Her mom is (was) a botanist and got fired, sending her into her depressive state.
Natalie is angry at her dad for trying to pretend everything is okay, and even though she doesn’t want to admit it, she’s angry at her mom, because she feels like she wasn’t good enough, and that if her mom loved her she wouldn’t be depressed.
All this is set against the backdrop of Natalie’s seventh-grade science class. Natalie’s science teacher wants them to find a research question. When Natalie struggles he suggests that she enter an egg drop competition. Natalie is reluctant at first but realizes there is prize money attached and that this might be the solution to fix her mom.
Her mom’s botany work focused on miraculous Cobalt Blue Orchids–flowers that survive against impossible odds. The one they had at their house has died and Natalie is sure seeing the flowers will inspire her mom to want to be an active part of life again.
Natalie’s friend Twig is the first to sign onto the team, soon called Operation Egg, along with a new boy from India named Dari. With their help Natalie might just have a chance of winning the contest and helping her mom, but what happens when things fall apart like broken eggs?
Having friends around to pick up the piece help Natalie learns that talking about things can start her on a journey of healing and that with help. Her family might never put the pieces back the same way, but that they might slowly but surely begin to heal with or without the Cobalt Blue Orchid.
I loved the view of mental health from another perspective. I also loved how they brought in how Natalie feels about her being Korean and her dad’s disinterest/discomfort with his Korean identity. There wasn’t as much focus on it since depression was the main plot but I still liked the fact that it was mentioned.
Five Favorite Things
Natalie’s Two Best Friends
Natalie’s response to her mom’s depression
Natalie making Korean food
Natalie and her Mom interacting at the end of the book.
Overall this was a good five stars, very sweet, and portrayed mental health very well.
So I finished 5 books in March despite all the issues with the Coronavirus. That puts me right on track with my goal for the year which is 50. It also makes up for February, where I only finished three books.
I have six books on my TBR this month. I’m being a bit ambitious since I’m under a shelter in place order from my state’s governor and will have way more time to read. Here are a few of my picks for the month.
I Can Make This Promise
I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now, one because I don’t read enough Native American fiction and two because it just sounds like a cool story. Inspired by her family’s history—Christine Day tells the story of a girl who uncovers her family’s secret and finds her own Native American identity.
Edie has known her whole life that her mom was adopted by a white couple, even though she’s Native American. Edie is curious about her own history but is sure her family doesn’t have any answers so she tries to put it out of her mind.
Everything is perfect until one day she and her friends find a box in the attic with letters signed “Love Edith” and a photo of a woman who looks just like her.
Edie now has a bunch of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Does that mean she also belongs to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have lied to her this long, why would they tell the truth now?
I really am liking this so far, it is pitched as being like a fairy tale and that really is how it comes across. Very mystical and the illustrations are lovely.
Emeline doesn’t know she has ancient magic, all she knows is when her little brother breaks the rules of the village and goes into mystical, dangerous woods, she fights back and somehow fights the monster off. But her brother has awakened a dark thing called the Ithin. Any sighting of dark creatures must be reported, so by law, Emeline and her family must travel to the royal court to warn the king.
But Emeline has never been out of her village, how is she going to take the journey which requires the protection of sour magister and a handsome, whip-wielding Lash Knight. Will Emeline find the answers to the questions about her magic in a city where there are conspiracies everywhere and her magic shouldn’t even exist?
This one is really interesting to me because of the way one of the sisters is portrayed, I’m going to read it and see how it goes but it may end up on my mental health list.
Sisters Zuhra and Inara have grown up in the Citadel of the Paladins, The Paladins were legendary magical warriors, they have since disappeared from the world. Leaving the two girls to grow up an abandoned fortress surrounded by a massive magical hedge.
All the Paladins may have gone from the world but Inara inherited their father’s power, her eyes glow blue and she’s able to make plants grow at magical rates. But at a cost, she’s trapped in her own mind because of a “roar” that drowns everything else out, leaving Zuhra by herself with their emotionally broken human mother.
It seems like nothing will change, they have lived there for fifteen years trapped in the citadel until one day a stranger passes through the hedge and turns their whole world upside down.
So I tried to read this book last year, and it didn’t stick, I’m not sure why maybe I just wasn’t ready for its amazing-ness yet. So why did I give the book a low rating, you’ll see below.
Warning Spoilers Ahead
Female pirates being AWESOME.
Okay for real, it is female pirates being awesome but its so much more. After Caledonia Styx and her best friend, Pisces are the only survivors on a raid on their ship where their families are killed and their brothers are kidnapped by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets. They set their minds for revenge.
Four years later the two have set up a new ship from the ashes of the old one, Caledonia captains the ship while Pisces is second in command. The two have built a crew of women who have also been personally affected by Aric Athair in one way or another. Either losing their families, homes or being former members of his army.
On their ship the Mors Navis, the crew tries to stay alive and take out the Aric’s fleet when they can. But when one attempt to attack some of the vessels in the fleet that make an addictive compound called Silt goes south, Caledonia nearly loses Pises, were it not for the help of a Bullet looking to defect.
Caledonia finds herself at a crossroads, the last time she trusted a Bullet she nearly lost everything but this man may have valuable intelligence that could help the crew of the Mors Navis finally gain an upper hand against Aric.
But Bullets aren’t supposed to be able to come back from being mindless members of Arics army? Are they? If he joins the crew will it break the bonds that Caledonia and the women of the Mors Navis have spent four hard years trying to build?
It’s not that I didn’t love this book. I loved the world-building. The bonds between the different members of the crew. An all-woman pirate crew for crying out loud. The majority of the book was great.
Some of my favorite characters included Caledonia second in command, Pisces. She’s all heart and therefore definitely the heart of the story. Some of my other favorites include, deaf/hard of hearing Hime, who is the ship medic and is in a relationship with one of the commanding officers of the ship, Amina.
Even, the Bullet they rescue/hold hostage? Oran is a complex character. He finds his own little spot in your heart in this book, how mostly by presenting non-toxic masculinity as anthesis to the Bullets we do see in the book. Everything about him is softer and respectful. Which when we find out about his past is even more interesting.
The reason the book got 3.5 stars is Caledonia Styx, I understand why she makes some of the choices she does, she completely sidelines her whole command crew at times, and end up doing the dumbest things possible.
She’s leading with her heart and not her head, which again is understandable except she has like 50 odd people to command and needs to think about someone besides herself and her goals. She ends up listening to people at the wrong times and not listening to them at when she should be.
I know trilogies are all about growth, but I like the character a whole lot better in the second book, one of her final actions in this book is the dumbest choice. It makes sense conflict wise, but my god, if she had only listened to like one person on her crew.
The truth is she’s a good character when she listens to the other people on her crew, which is why it is so annoying to see her being selfish and just doing what she wants.
I should say the book generally gets about a 4.5, great world-building diverse characters, lots of action, but my annoyance at Caledonia brings it down to a 3.5
So March has been quite the month, it seemed like it lasted forever. But I got lots of books read, more than I have since November. A lot has changed from the beginning of the month, when I could go out bowling with my friends, to now. We have a shelter in place order enacted in my state so I’ll be home, reading and working on crafts and the blog.
Finished this month
The Science of Breakable Things
Dealing with depression as a family can be tough, but a little hope can be a powerful thing.
Seven books! I’m way ahead on my goal for the year, plus all of them were fun reads, plus I got three YARC picks in there. One doesn’t count because I started it in 2019 but I’m still glad I finished it.
One of the best things to happen this month was,
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Now I just got this picture off Polygon but they are way further along in the game than I am. I’m still working on building my store. But I also got Nintendo Online for three months so I can visit other islands so I’m looking forward to chilling out with friends.
I’m also still playing Pokemon some to catch Pokemon in the wild areas, I’ve made a few good catches so that makes me happy as well.
Finally, I figured out one of the flight mechanics in Breath of the Wild, so I’m also trying to play that occasionally since I want to start working on the boss fights.
I’ve got all of April covered Post wise so I’m going to start on blog posts for May and maybe add a few extra posts to April. I’m glad I’m a month ahead it gives me more time for reading and promoting the blog. I was also super happy to have a very popular for this blog post this month and a spotlight on Twitter by Katie Zhao! Eee!
So if you’ve been reading along with me, back during the first part of the month before the virus really hit, I was worried since I couldn’t take part in my favorite volunteer activity, well it looks like there isn’t even going to be a volunteer activity to go to, so there is the universe for providing you with perspective.
Overall though my mental health is pretty good. I’m getting a little cabin fever, but honestly watching horror movies and reading thrillers is helping, you would think it would be the opposite in a situation like this but what can I say, my brain is weird.
Twitter and IG are still helping a lot with socialization, I feel like I’m more in touch with people through these platforms that I actually have been in person in a while. So there is that.
I know a lot of you are in the same position. But I know I’m lucky I’m healthy and my family is healthy and we don’t have to go out except to get essentials. I hope all of my readers are safe and able to do the same.
In light of the recent racism prompted by the ‘leader’ of the US, I wanted to put together a list of books that highlighted some awesome Asian middle-grade reads. Either about Asian characters or written by Asian authors, or hopefully both. Because Anti-Asian rhetoric is never okay, and those of us who highlight children’s and young adult books need to support #ownvoices authors.
The Dragon Warrior
The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao is a lovely middle-grade book with magic, and humor that discusses identity and belonging. The main character Faryn Liu has trained in secret to honor her family and the gods with the hopes of becoming a warrior. But Faryn is shunned by the main organization that does that kind of work called The Jade Society. She and her brother have been shunned by the Jade Society ever since their father disappeared years ago. But something draws Faryn into the world of being a warrior and leads her on a journey that could change her life and the world.
It’s important to note the Faryn is multi-racial she is Chinese as well as Egyptian, Turkish, and Greek.
Author Katie Zhao is a Chinese #ownvoices author as well as a young adult author.
Another one of my favorite books about Chinese characters is Front Desk by Kelly Yang. Based on Yang’s experience coming to America and running a motel with her parents. Front Desk is about Mia Tang.
She’s just trying to be a typical American girl, but she’s keeping a lot of secrets, like the fact that she doesn’t live in a big house and instead lives in a motel where her parents clean the rooms and manage the motel for the cruel Mr. Yao. Her parents are also hiding immigrants in their empty motel rooms, something they’d be doomed for if Mr. Yao finds out.
Finally, Mia wants to be a writer but faces criticism from her mother who wants her to stick to math since English isn’t her first language.
Yang artfully mixes her real-life experiences with fiction to create a beautiful book. It was one of my favorites in 2018.
Kelly Yang is a Chinese immigrant, she is a winner of the 2018 Asian Pacific American Award for Literature and founder of The Kelly Yang Project (kellyyang.edu.hk), a leading writing and debating program for kids in Asia.
Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword
Peasprout Chen and her little brother Cricket are the first students from the rural country of Shin to attend Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword, and Peasprout Chen wants nothing more than to be a champion.
They are there to learn the art of wu liu, a beautiful combo of martial arts and figure skating.
But soon they will find themselves not only battling for top ranking at the academy but facing prejudice when the lovely Pearl buildings of the academy are vandalized.
Now Peasprout must solve a mystery to ensure peace between her home country and Pearl, all while still becoming a champion.
Author Henry Lien was born in Taiwan and currently lives in Hollywood.
We may all be worried about COVID-19, but that’s no reason to fall into prejudice, we should all be supporting each other not tearing each other down. Because Anti-Asian racism is never okay! We are the book community and we are here to lift people up!