Hello, and welcome to the first edition of Blogger Spotlight, a new feature here on Cotton Candy Book Witch. I came up with this feature because I wanted to give back to the community and support fellow book bloggers by highlighting the excellent content being put out.
The theme of this post is featuring blog posts themed around fall. This round up will include fall book recs, tags, and more!
Spooks and tea readathon
Lauren @ Northern Plunder announced the perfect fall-time readathon, which is a readathon dedicated to reading HORROR for the month of October. The prompts are as follows:
A book with autumnal vibes A horror book that was recommended to you A book with paranormal creatures Reread a spooky old favourite A book featuring witches A LGBTQ+ horror book A horror book by an author of colour A horror book you love the cover of A book featuring something you’re afraid of
the pumpkin spice latte book tag
I saw Caro @ Bookcheshire Cat do this tag themed around the best fall drink, pumpkin spice lattes. I love all things fall and am definitely planning to do this tag.
on seasonal reading
Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books has a great discussion post on seasonal reading. She discusses what makes a “fall” book, what she reads in other seasons, and holiday reading. The post is part of the Let’s Talk Bookish feature created by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion.
fall time tbrs
I loved reading all the fall tbrs this week, including these from Alison and Kristin. From their lists, I am super excited to read A DEADLY EDUCATION, MEXICAN GOTHIC, THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE, and CEMETERY BOYS. I need to join a fall themed readathon STAT so I can read these amazing-sounding books!
Asha @ A book. a cat. and a cup of tea. announced the Hallowreadathon and three prompts. This readathon is for three days from October 31-November 1.
I wasn’t sure if it would be super extra to make a post basically sharing covers with the colors of my favorite season, but I have ultimately decided this is my blog, and I love fall, and you all deserve to feast your eyes on some autumnal-colored covers, because fall is a beautiful season.
Behold, some awesome fall-colored books:
This book is criminally underhyped. I loved Jane Sinner’s sarcastic, darkly funny voice and the reality TV element (she moves out of her parents’ house by agreeing to participate in a reality TV show hosted by her local community college). I truly wish more people in the book community knew about this book.
I love WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI so much. Dimple is such a strong character and I love her journey throughout the is book.
I haven’t read this one yet but I keep meaning to since I really liked Emma Mills’ second book, THIS ADVENTURE ENDS.
I am an embarrassment to the trans/nonbinary community because I haven’t finished this book yet. However, it ticks all the Mel-book boxes being magical and diverse, so it’ll happen.
I know I just wrote about this book but I am not going to be shutting up about it any time soon. CHARMING AS A VERB is, in fact, utterly charming and worth a read (or 5).
I’m kind of curious about this book even though I haven’t read Young’s other books. I love books about pirate-y ocean-y things and adventures, so this one should be right up my alley.
I adored the first book in this series, THE RIGHT SWIPE, and totally intend to read the second book, GIRL GONE VIRAL, and this book when it comes out, at which point I will buy the whole trilogy.
I loved Sarah Henning’s debut, SEA WITCH, which I have a mini-collection of, so I was pumped to hear she was coming out with another fantasy. Even though I have yet to read it, it’s definitely high on my TBR.
Oh, Felix, how I love thee. Reading this book was so empowering to me, because it deals a lot with finding your gender identity and discovering yourself even after you “come out,” which just really speaks to me because I am still very much dealing with that in my own life. A+ book.
The way sapphic book twitter talks about this book, omg. It was already on my list at the beginning of the year, but the sapphics of book twt have definitely moved it up the tbr.
I have tried to read WILDER GIRLS three times, but unfortunately that book was not for me. I want to like Rory Power’s writing so badly, so hopefully I will like it more in Creepy Corn Book, aka BURN OUR BODIES DOWN.
I was tagged for the Fall Time, Cozy Time tag by the lovely Caro! I love doing tags and I love fall, so really, this is the perfect tag for me!
crunching leaves–a book that has reds/oranges/yellows on the cover
I knew instantly I had to pick When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon for the answer to this prompt. I have always adored this cover and probably would’ve read it based on cover alone if I hadn’t known anything about it when it came out. This cover is just so happy and joyful and makes me smile every time I take it off my shelf.
cozy sweater–what book gives you the warm fuzzies?
Am I allowed to pick a book I read only this month? I must, because Charming as a Verb is so delightful and made me feel all kinds of fuzziness. Henri is such a witty, and yes, charming character, but is also so genuine and I just want to hug him and tell him as long as he does his best he’ll be okay. I also LOVE the romance in this story, because Corrine, the LI, is so powerful and Henri is continuously amazed by her and reading about their romance made me so happy.
fall storm–choose a book you’d like to read on a stormy day
I am ashamed to say I haven’t finished this yet but Cemetery Boys definitely gives me stormy night vibes, as it is about witches and cemeteries and dark magic. Maybe I’ll read it for Mabon this year…
cool crisp air–who’s the coolest character you’d like to trade places with?
I would LOVE to be Leo from the Love, Sugar, Magic series by Anna Meriano. Leo is a little girl whose family runs a magical bakery and discovers all the women in her family are brujas, or witches. I would absolutely love to help out in a bakery, especially a magical one!
hot apple cider–what underhyped book do you want to become the next hottest thing?
I’m actually really surprised the book community didn’t hype up When We Were Magic more when it came out. It’s about a group of teen girls who all have mysterious magical abilities. I loved the friendship and sapphic dynamics in this book and the magic system and how dark it was (the story starts out with the MC accidentally killing a guy at a prom afterparty with her magic). This book is so good and sapphic book twitter needs to GET ON IT.
coats, scarves, and mittens–what’s a book cover you don’t like?
The colors on this make my eyes bleed. Not a fan.
pumpkin spice–what’s your favorite fall time foods/comfort foods?
I am really looking forward to soup season. I have a lot of soup recipes bookmarked on the New York Times Cooking app. I also love hot apple cider and am definitely going to need to make a trip to Trader Joe’s soon because they have amazing cider. I’m also looking forward to it being appropriate tea weather (not that you can’t have tea all the time, but it’s just so much more satisfying when it’s actually cold out).
So, before we begin, let us discuss–what is Mabon? Mabon is one of the Fall time pagan events on the Wheel of the Year, this year falling from September 21-29, celebrating balance in the world. Mabon is the autumnal equinox, celebrated at the beginning of fall, a time when the days and nights start to be equal length and balance in nature is restored.
Mabon is one of my favorite witchy holidays because it is one of the first ones I ever celebrated after becoming a witch. I also in general just love the autumn holidays because I feel very connected to them spiritually and personally and love the colder seasons.
This year, I’m planning to do some witchy activities to celebrate Mabon as part of my goal this month of reconnecting with witchcraft. Here are some of the things I plan to do to celebrate:
Cleanse my tarot decks. I do this for every witchy holiday I manage to remember. My favorite and in my opinion most effective way to cleanse a deck is to separate the deck and spread it out by suit. This helps solve a lot of deck problems, especially when it starts to give me a lot of reversed cards.
House cleaning. I plan to do a major house cleaning throughout the week and really work on spots that have been bothering me. I also want to look through my old fall clothes and decide what I can still wear so I know how much I need to replace.
Watch spooky/witchy movies. I am really in the mood for Coraline, so that’s definitely going on the list. I’m also kind of in the mood for some early episodes of Charmed, so that might happen as well. There are also a couple horror movies on my Hulu list that I want to watch to get in the mood for the season.
Actually work on my grimoire, maybe? Creating the perfect grimoire has been an ongoing project for me since becoming a witch. I just can’t seem to create one that works. My cat actually destroyed my last one, so obviously that one wasn’t working either. I’m hoping the care and planning I plan to put into my new one will work out and I’ll finally end up with something I’m happy with.
Go for a walk. I have been loving the crisp, cool autumn air in the mornings and have been really wanting to spend some time in the fall weather, and Mabon is definitely an excellent time to do that.
This week was honestly an emotional rollercoaster. I had something SUPER GOOD happen that I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about, but it is publishing career related and I have never felt more validated in my pursuit of a career in that industry.
However, I was also really stressed for most of the week and have been feeling that way since the library where I work announced we’re considering reopening again. I did manage to get more information about what our procedures will be, which made me feel somewhat better.
This week I mostly read picture books. I’m also still in the middle of ONE TO WATCH, but I’m not going to share thoughts just yet because I’m a little over halfway through and EVERY TIME I say I’m enjoying a book in a post I then immediately stop liking it so we are beating that trend.
TW: discussion of weight loss, body image issues, mention of eating disorder
Today I’m going to talk about an issue I don’t discuss on this blog a lot because it’s very difficult for me in my daily life, and that’s fat representation in books.
Something you may not know about me because I don’t post full body selfies is that I am overweight. I have struggled with my weight since my sophomore year of college, but have been having an extra hard time with it the past few years. I have cycled through many diets, seen a nutritionist, and tried to change my habits time and time again. I have dealt with body shaming from people around me as well as eating disorders, and have an extremely fraught relationship with my body when it comes to weight.
This is why fat representation of books is important to me. Every time I see a book come out, especially YA, with a fat protagonist, it immediately goes on my TBR. I am eager to see nuanced stories of weight issues and representation of a variety of body types.
I’m going to begin by saying that I can count the number of books I’ve read with actual fat rep where the fat person isn’t vilified or negatively stereotyped on less than two hands. In probably a third of those, the fat character still tries to lose weight and it’s framed as healthy weight loss and as a positive thing for the character. I have read very few books where weight loss is still not the end goal for a fat character and they still have a genuinely happy life while being fat.
Fat representation in books is not very nuanced. I’ve noticed that fat characters tend to be either a) vilified and shamed and used as a cautionary tale or b) body positive with no doubts about themselves. When fat characters are portrayed positively, it’s usually after they’ve gone through a self-transformation and chosen to focus on “self love and self acceptance” and “embrace their body and themselves.” Sure, they often get hate either from online anyonymous haters or in person from family, but they are usually portrayed as so confident in themselves that it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to and doesn’t make them doubt themselves or completely fall off the acceptance wagon.
I think portraying body positivity in books is great and important, but the journey towards body positivity is not a straight line or as simple as deciding to accept yourself. Body positivity isn’t something that happens all the time; it’s something that fat people strive for every day and sometimes we don’t get there. Even when you think you are body positive, you can still be tempted by diets and the promise of feeling “normal,” whatever that means, and negatively influenced by social and social media messaging about bodies. Body positive people aren’t immune to doubts about themselves and their bodies, and that’s why I don’t feel seen in a most body positive books because body positivity is a daily struggle.
Basically, I’d really like to see more books about the journey to become body positive. Though seeing body positive characters is great, personally I just wish that we could see how those body positive characters arrived at self acceptance and body positivity, as opposed to having it glossed over. Body positivity isn’t and doesn’t have to be all or nothing in order to be valid, and I want to see more books with fat characters that portray an array of our experiences.
There is no one fat experience, and fat experience is more than only being the villain or idiot or only being body positive. I just hope that soon, publishing and the world in general are ready for portrayals of fat people’s lives that are more nuanced and fully exploratory of our experiences.
I’m currently reading one of my BOTM add ons, ONE TO WATCH. This book is about Bea, a plus size fashion blogger, who goes viral in a vitriolic take down of beauty standards on a popular dating show, Main Squeeze. She is then invited to be the titular Main Squeeze of the latest season, after dealing with her own heartbreak.
what are you reading next?
BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE was my Book of the Month pick for September since I opted to go with one of the selected member favorites. I’m really interested in reading this one because I’ve never given historical romance a try, and this one, which is about a woman in 1879 who is accepted to Oxford on the condition that she attract men to the suffragist cause. This is also a series, so I am happy to know if I like it there will be more books by this author.
what did you just finish reading?
I won’t lie: I pretty much ended up skimming this book. I liked it at first and was drawn in by Jamal’s friendship with Q and Autumn’s character, but I ended up not being hugely invested in it. I felt like the story read more like a movie, which for me meant that it felt a bit too overdramatic without a lot of development of each issue. I thought Jamal’s relationship with Autumn was tied up too easily, and didn’t believe that she’d stick around after some of the things he did and how much he lied to her. The friendship especially felt too easily resolved which was likely a result of the short timeline in which the story took place, but that aspect of the book had me feeling a bit let down by the execution of the concept.
Have you read any of these books? What are you reading?
I have been meaning to write this post since kind of mostly coming out of quarantine (even though I still only go into work every other week for social distancing purposes, so I’m still in half-quarantine) and TODAY IS THE DAY. I will be sharing my book haul from my quarantine months, which lasted for me from March-July, and tell you a bit about each book, what made me buy it, if I’ve actually read it, etc.
Willow was very interested in my quarantine books photo shoot and he was so cute I decided to include him in the book haul pics. Notice how he is VERY interested in THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES. It was probably because of the birds.
BOOK OF THE MONTH PICKS:
I got 3 BOTM books over quarantine: Beach Read by Emily Henry, The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon, and Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein. I was excited about all because I thought I was in the mood for romance.
BEACH READ is about two rival writers who switch genres due to writer’s block and a bet and go on various dates to help each other write their books. I tried this one, but unfortunately I just couldn’t get into the drama of it, and I hated January (the MC’s) best friend, and I just wasn’t feeling it.
THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT is about a woman who goes viral after a public call out of a three-timing, scamming boyfriend and swears off men and decides to pursue her dream of creating an app instead. I did like this one initially, and probably would enjoy it, but the middle got really slow and the tension between them happened too early for the lack of action.
HEAD OVER HEELS is about a once Olympic-gymnast hopeful who returns to her hometown and accepts a job training another aspiring Olympian when a scandal breaks out. This book is based on the sexual assault scandal that broke out about the Olympic physician a while back, and I thought I could handle it, but honestly, I didn’t want to read about it. The MC is also super depressed for the majority of the book and that was challenging to read as well. I also thought the technical stuff about gymnastics was interesting at first, but eventually, I skimmed the paragraphs long descriptions of Hallie’s floor routine because I had no idea what the author was describing.
I discovered Bookshop over quarantine and bought a bunch of books from Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago because it is a Black-run business. I bought 6 books from them: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron, You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha, and The Crown Ain’t Worth Much by Hanif Abdurraqib.
CINDERELLA IS DEAD was one of my most anticipated 2020 books, a continuation/retelling of Cinderella 200 years after the original story, and it was AMAZING. I started YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN, another most-anticipated, but I wasn’t in the mood for it at the time so I’m going to come back to it.
Booktube videos also convinced me to try THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES even though I wasn’t initially interested in it. I almost reread the whole original HG trilogy, but I got about 1/3 through CATCHING FIRE when I realized it was a bit too similar to the real world for me to want to read. However, I still fully intend to read BOSAS.
I also bought a poetry collection, THE CROWN AIN’T WORTH MUCH, because my partner follows the author on Twitter and got me interested in reading his work. I haven’t read it yet.
Booktube (specifically Monica Kim) convinced me to branch out of my comfort zone to try IF I HAD YOUR FACE, which is set in Seoul and follows I believe 4 very different women and deconstructs Korean beauty standards. I have not read this yet.
Finally, I simply HAD to buy the THREE DARK CROWNS series after I at long last read my eARC from an embarrassing amount of years ago. I love this series so much and love all the characters except Mirabella, who is dry as unbuttered toast. I have managed to read the first three in the series, and am so scared for my faves in the finale, FIVE DARK FATES.
A few weeks ago, I included a past post discussing things I want to do in the future in a list of posts to read to get to know me. I wrote this post when I was in a very dark emotional place, and since I’ve improved in my mental health so drastically over the past few months, I was really interested to read it and see which things I’ve done or have taken steps to do. So today, I am going to revisit that post and check on my progress and take stock of what I’m doing to reach those goals:
Get a job I’m passionate about. I am definitely working toward this. Things at the library have been a lot better for me lately, and I think they will continue to improve with my confidence. I’m also taking steps to get more publishing experience so hopefully someday I can get a part time or remote job in the publishing industry.
Marry my bae. Not yet, but eventually.
Move to a bigger place. We are in the last year of living at our current place and have started looking at two bedroom places, which will be much easier to afford now that I’m making slightly more and my partner is going to have a full time job soon.
Work on my grimoire more. I have not done this and I don’t know why?
Get a new car. I did this! I got a new car in December and I love it!
Learn ukulele. I have not done this, despite my mother kindly gifting me a ukulele.
Write a book. Lol. I have definitely not done this nor taken any steps to do so.
Write poetry. Lol. See above.
Rescue all the cats. Can’t really do this until I have a big house to store all the kitties.
Reach 1,000 blog followers. I am definitely getting there! I’m now at over 650 followers, which is the most I’ve ever had on a book blog, and I’m really proud of myself and grateful for the friendships I’ve made!
Change my name and pronouns. I DID THIS. I am now out at work and am looking into changing my name legally.
Experiment with YouTube. I have done this a bit. It hasn’t gone anywhere so far, but who knows.
Feel more okay than not. VERY happy to report I have done this! I feel so much better than when I first drafted this post, and have made progress in leaps and bounds. I am really thankful that I have such good health insurance and work with professionals who were able to get me the help I needed. This was my ultimate goal, and I am so happy that I feel so much better.
Hello, and welcome to the first Friday edition of the Weekly Rewind! I talked about doing a rewind on a day other than Sunday in a recent post about upcoming content plans, so we are giving that a try this week. This week’s rewind is basically going to be a rewind for September so far since I didn’t do one last week on September 4th.
We got a target reopen date at the library. Originally, the library where I work had a reopen date of August, but because Covid cases were still high, they postponed it. We just got an email last week about the new date being October 8th potentially, and honestly, I’m really hoping they rethink that. As much as I know our patrons need library services, especially computer use, I’m just not comfortable working with people in person and I don’t want to risk exposure to Covid to help someone get on a computer even if it’s for an important reason. We will have social distancing measures in place of course, but I just have a lot of concerns, mainly not dying of Covid, and I’m really anxious about reopening.
My new work schedule was announced. Previously, the library had only been open Monday-Friday, but now they’re adding bi-weekly Saturdays, which unfortunately falls on my week. My main concern about this is that when we are open to computer appointments that I am not going to be able to adequately help everyone if I am the only librarian scheduled to work.
Basically, I’m really stressed about work. I’m trying to repeat positive thoughts about it to myself, and honestly the new schedule will be fine if we don’t reopen, but I’m really stressed about reopening because I DON’T WANT TO DIE. Even if we screen every patron before entering, they could still be asymptomatic and I also don’t want to end up in a situation like I’ve heard lots of librarians have faced where a physical altercation happens because patrons don’t want to adhere to social distancing guidelines. I did not sign up for this job to be physically assaulted.
I’ve actually been doing super well on my proposed TBR this month so far? My initial goal was to read 4-5 September releases and I’m already on my fourth one! So far I have read:
Who I Was With Her – Nita Tyndall
Charming as a Verb – Ben Philippe
Horrid – Katrina Leno
My least favorite so far is WHO I WAS WITH HER, which wasn’t a bad book but hit me the wrong way, and my favorite is CHARMING AS A VERB, which I will definitely be recommending to everyone I know.
I’m currently reading Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s book MISS METEOR. I’m a little nervous about it because honestly I haven’t liked any of Anna-Marie McLemore’s books that I’ve tried even though they totally SOUND like Mel books. However, I am hopeful that this book may work for me with their styles combined.
good readance 2020 check in
Since I’m participating in Shealea’s Good Readance 2020 challenge this month, I wanted to include a brief update post on what I’ve done for that challenge. So far, I’ve accomplished 3 of my Good Readance goals, including wittling my tbr from 400 to 200, getting rid of unnecessary shelves on GR, making a professional GR for children’s books, and unhauling my physical book collection.