december goals

It’s December! Meaning: November is over (yay!!) and it is becoming the Holiday Season of winteryness, joy, presents, and family time. I am personally very looking forward to Christmas even though I won’t be able to go home for it, but my parents are coming and staying in an air bnb and we will have a nice time. Plus, I’m taking the Friday before Christmas off so that I can just relax and be chill for a good while. I have also already purchased my boyfriend’s Hannukah gift, but I am struggling to think of things to get for my mom and dad.

But anyway, here is how I did on my goals for November and my December goals!

november goals

  • Make a goals page in my bullet journal and keep track of my goals.           !!          I did this! And it was very helpful. I liked keeping track of my goals and found it very motivating.
  • Read only when I feel like it.           !X           I kind of did this? I tried to not read for a while but I didn’t like it so I forced myself to read even though I was feeling slumpy, but eventually I found a book, MONDAY’S NOT COMING, that got me out of my slump!! Yay!!
  • Have one night of alone time per week.           X           I did not do this. I actually forgot this was a goal because I did not put it on my bullet journal goals page. So it will probably carry over into next month.
  • Come up with a morning and evening routine (or try a few of them).           !!          I at least did this for the morning. Now when I get up I try to get in some steps on my fitbit and have a morning playlist that I listen to, plus try to use my Verilux light. For evening, I realized I can’t really have a routine because of my work schedule and because it really varies how I feel at the end of the day when I do get off at 5:30 instead of 8:00.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo.       XX           To be fair this was a tentative goal, but still, LOLOLOLOL I did not do this. I participated for about two days before deciding to break up with my WIP.
  • Clean apartment once a week.             !!              I did this! Yay!!

 

december goals

  • Get up to 75 books this year. Which means I have to read…8 books next month. Can I do it? I don’t know. This is probably a lofty goal considering how slumpy I’ve been.
  • Work out 4x per week. I did this in November and was very successful! I count my walking as working out so it is relatively easy.
  • Clean once a week. Same as last month
  • One night of alone time per week. See last month.
  • Set up my 2019 bullet journal!! Because it’s almost that time! Woohoo!
  • Participate in Blogmas and Tidyathon. Blogmas is basically just writing holiday/New Year’s themed posts for December. I hope to do at least 12 posts. Tidyathon is hosted by Book Dragons to encourage bloggers to tidy up their blogs and Goodreads. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for it yet but I’m sure I could tidy up my TBR list and shelves on GR.
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november rewind \\ sleepy blues

what happened in november

  • I started feeling the seasonal depression. I usually get really depressed in the winter, and unfortunately I started feeling it a little earlier than normal this year. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. I’ve been using a Verilux mood light in the mornings to help combat it, and I think it’s been a little effective, but I wish I could use it in the evening because I always feel the worst when it’s really dark out and I get home from work.
  • I got asked out by a patron. This is actually a fairly common occurrence in libraries, unfortunately. I probably should’ve said yes when he started asking if I had a boyfriend, but I thought telling him I don’t answer personal questions would get the point across so the whole thing could be avoided, but the guy did not get the message, but I was kind of already walking away when he started asking. Definitely not my favorite library experience and now I’m going to be super uncomfortable every time he comes in.
  • I confronted my neighbors about them scratching my car. They do this thing where they park their motorcycle horizontally in front of the space to reserve it for their car, which is kind of a dick move, and as a result, often park super close to or on the line, and in October they scratched my car because of their shitty parking. I told them rather politely that they did it, but they appeared not to believe me and tried to tell me I was a bad driver and that they go out of their way to be courteous to fellow people parking in front of the building, which is obviously bullshit because if they were really being courteous, they wouldn’t park like jerks in the first place. My therapist was super impressed by this because I usually turn all my anger inward but this time I was assertive and stood up for myself!
  • I saw friends! I actually saw my friends who live half an hour away a couple times this month. The first time was for a brunch that was very tasty (one of my friends made a pot roast and I was super impressed by his cooking abilities) and the next time we hung out in a fun area of the city for a vintage expo and also lunch. I told them about feeling insecure and having a weird paranoia thing that they don’t really like me, and they told me not to worry and that they wish our schedules matched up more so we could hang out more frequently, so I feel mildly better about that now.
  • I continued struggling to find a hobby. I slightly have things to do now that I try to get 10,000 steps in every day, but I still desperately need a fun hobby. I feel like journaling would probably be a good hobby but it’s still not enough to do, because I don’t have things to journal every day. I’ve thought about teaching myself to draw, even though I’ve always been terrible at it. I’ve also thought about trying to take some sort of free online classes, because I really miss my grad school days and always having interesting things to study (plus I’d love to have a studyblr). I am just really struggling to find things to do that I enjoy other than reading and walking that will take up my time effectively and enjoyably.

 

what i read

I…didn’t read much this month. I was trying to read only when I felt like it per my monthly goals, but I did end up kind of forcing myself to read because I have literally nothing to do with my life if I don’t read and I was tired of being in a slump and determined to get out of it. Two books helped me get out of it, namely THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, a book of fairytale-esque short stories that I bought special from Book Depository, and also MONDAY’S NOT COMING by Tiffany D. Jackson. MONDAY was an absolutely amazing book, even better than Jackson’s first book, ALLEGEDLY, which incidentally also pulled me out of a reading slump last year. The words “harrowing” and “haunting” never so perfectly described a book. I’m still thinking about this book and probably will be for a very long time. My most disappointing read was THE SIMILARS, about a mysterious boarding school and cloning, which ended up being oddly paced and meh.

 

 

blogging things

I reached 247 followers! Sometimes I feel embarrassed by how small my blog seems but apparently that’s about average according to a survey I read recently. On the blog this month, I wrote about wanting to at least make some changes to this blog and add in some witchy posts, and I started doing that with my tarot reading posts of WARCROSS and VICIOUS. Both posts have been relatively successful and people seem to enjoy them so I think I’m going to keep doing it.

I also started a new Twitter account just for blog and book things since my original Twitter is for library things now. Ironically, this new Twitter was born after I decided to quit Twitter, and lasted for about three days. Additionally, I started trying a new aesthetic on my Instagram, but I’m not really feeling it and am debating trying a new aesthetic that more closely fits my new witchy branding. I’m also debating renaming my blog…Cotton Candy Book Witch. It’s the name of my Tumblr and I really love the name, but I also love A Word and a Whisper. So idk.

 

around the blogosphere

This is a new section I’m doing because I always read such great posts throughout the month and feel the need to share! So here are some posts from other bloggers that I thought were awesome this month:

 

favorites

  1. My Verilux happy light. One of my doctors suggested I try a mood light/happy light as it gets darker earlier to help combat seasonal depression, and I have to say, the light I got from Verilux really works! I used one last year too and I think it helped me then also.
  2. Revenge. Lily at Sprinkles of Dreams talked about how she was watching the show Revenge, and I’ve watched the first two seasons a couple of times but never finished it, and talking with her about it made me want to try again, and thus far I am enjoying it IMMENSELY. Everyone is pretty, there’s so much drama, I love the setting, and the soundtrack is on point. What more could you want from a TV show??
  3. Unicorn Crate. For the past couple months I’ve been trying Unicorn Crate for YA fantasy, since I like fantasy books again now. I don’t think I like it as much as OwlCrate, but I LOVED the special edition box for THE LAST UNICORN that I bought even though I haven’t read the book. Everything was so beautiful and unicorn themed!!

 

book haul highlights

This is a new section I’m experimenting with. We’ll see how it goes.

 

  • Let Me Hear a Rhyme | Tiffany D. Jackson | May 2019 – After reading this author’s first two books, I can safely say I’ll be reading everything she writes. I don’t even care what this one is about; I’m reading it.
  • These Witches Don’t Burn | Isabel Sterling | May 2019 – My first Penguin eARC approved on Edelweiss! They used to hate me! Which didn’t really matter because I have a contact at Penguin, but I still really wanted to be able to get stuff on Edelweiss. Anyway, this one is about WITCHES and has mystery and friendship and girl power, so YES YES YES!!!!
  • A Dress for the Wicked | Autumn Krause | August 2019 – FML why do I have to wait so long to read this book?? It’s about a FASHION COMPETITION and is comped to THE BELLES and THE LUXE, two of my favorite things.
  • Girl Gone Viral | Arvin Ahmadi | May 2019 – I haven’t read Ahmadi’s first book, DOWN AND ACROSS yet, but after finishing GGV I might go back and read it. I just started GGV, which is about a girl who’s super into coding and is entering this competition to get closer to a guy who knew her father right before he left them a note and disappeared forever, and it is very good thus far.
Continue Reading

november rewind \\ sleepy blues

what happened in november

  • I started feeling the seasonal depression. I usually get really depressed in the winter, and unfortunately I started feeling it a little earlier than normal this year. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. I’ve been using a Verilux mood light in the mornings to help combat it, and I think it’s been a little effective, but I wish I could use it in the evening because I always feel the worst when it’s really dark out and I get home from work.
  • I got asked out by a patron. This is actually a fairly common occurrence in libraries, unfortunately. I probably should’ve said yes when he started asking if I had a boyfriend, but I thought telling him I don’t answer personal questions would get the point across so the whole thing could be avoided, but the guy did not get the message, but I was kind of already walking away when he started asking. Definitely not my favorite library experience and now I’m going to be super uncomfortable every time he comes in.
  • I confronted my neighbors about them scratching my car. They do this thing where they park their motorcycle horizontally in front of the space to reserve it for their car, which is kind of a dick move, and as a result, often park super close to or on the line, and in October they scratched my car because of their shitty parking. I told them rather politely that they did it, but they appeared not to believe me and tried to tell me I was a bad driver and that they go out of their way to be courteous to fellow people parking in front of the building, which is obviously bullshit because if they were really being courteous, they wouldn’t park like jerks in the first place. My therapist was super impressed by this because I usually turn all my anger inward but this time I was assertive and stood up for myself!
  • I saw friends! I actually saw my friends who live half an hour away a couple times this month. The first time was for a brunch that was very tasty (one of my friends made a pot roast and I was super impressed by his cooking abilities) and the next time we hung out in a fun area of the city for a vintage expo and also lunch. I told them about feeling insecure and having a weird paranoia thing that they don’t really like me, and they told me not to worry and that they wish our schedules matched up more so we could hang out more frequently, so I feel mildly better about that now.
  • I continued struggling to find a hobby. I slightly have things to do now that I try to get 10,000 steps in every day, but I still desperately need a fun hobby. I feel like journaling would probably be a good hobby but it’s still not enough to do, because I don’t have things to journal every day. I’ve thought about teaching myself to draw, even though I’ve always been terrible at it. I’ve also thought about trying to take some sort of free online classes, because I really miss my grad school days and always having interesting things to study (plus I’d love to have a studyblr). I am just really struggling to find things to do that I enjoy other than reading and walking that will take up my time effectively and enjoyably.

 

what i read

I…didn’t read much this month. I was trying to read only when I felt like it per my monthly goals, but I did end up kind of forcing myself to read because I have literally nothing to do with my life if I don’t read and I was tired of being in a slump and determined to get out of it. Two books helped me get out of it, namely THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, a book of fairytale-esque short stories that I bought special from Book Depository, and also MONDAY’S NOT COMING by Tiffany D. Jackson. MONDAY was an absolutely amazing book, even better than Jackson’s first book, ALLEGEDLY, which incidentally also pulled me out of a reading slump last year. The words “harrowing” and “haunting” never so perfectly described a book. I’m still thinking about this book and probably will be for a very long time. My most disappointing read was THE SIMILARS, about a mysterious boarding school and cloning, which ended up being oddly paced and meh.

 

 

blogging things

I reached 247 followers! Sometimes I feel embarrassed by how small my blog seems but apparently that’s about average according to a survey I read recently. On the blog this month, I wrote about wanting to at least make some changes to this blog and add in some witchy posts, and I started doing that with my tarot reading posts of WARCROSS and VICIOUS. Both posts have been relatively successful and people seem to enjoy them so I think I’m going to keep doing it.

I also started a new Twitter account just for blog and book things since my original Twitter is for library things now. Ironically, this new Twitter was born after I decided to quit Twitter, and lasted for about three days. Additionally, I started trying a new aesthetic on my Instagram, but I’m not really feeling it and am debating trying a new aesthetic that more closely fits my new witchy branding. I’m also debating renaming my blog…Cotton Candy Book Witch. It’s the name of my Tumblr and I really love the name, but I also love A Word and a Whisper. So idk.

 

around the blogosphere

This is a new section I’m doing because I always read such great posts throughout the month and feel the need to share! So here are some posts from other bloggers that I thought were awesome this month:

 

favorites

  1. My Verilux happy light. One of my doctors suggested I try a mood light/happy light as it gets darker earlier to help combat seasonal depression, and I have to say, the light I got from Verilux really works! I used one last year too and I think it helped me then also.
  2. Revenge. Lily at Sprinkles of Dreams talked about how she was watching the show Revenge, and I’ve watched the first two seasons a couple of times but never finished it, and talking with her about it made me want to try again, and thus far I am enjoying it IMMENSELY. Everyone is pretty, there’s so much drama, I love the setting, and the soundtrack is on point. What more could you want from a TV show??
  3. Unicorn Crate. For the past couple months I’ve been trying Unicorn Crate for YA fantasy, since I like fantasy books again now. I don’t think I like it as much as OwlCrate, but I LOVED the special edition box for THE LAST UNICORN that I bought even though I haven’t read the book. Everything was so beautiful and unicorn themed!!

 

book haul highlights

This is a new section I’m experimenting with. We’ll see how it goes.

 

  • Let Me Hear a Rhyme | Tiffany D. Jackson | May 2019 – After reading this author’s first two books, I can safely say I’ll be reading everything she writes. I don’t even care what this one is about; I’m reading it.
  • These Witches Don’t Burn | Isabel Sterling | May 2019 – My first Penguin eARC approved on Edelweiss! They used to hate me! Which didn’t really matter because I have a contact at Penguin, but I still really wanted to be able to get stuff on Edelweiss. Anyway, this one is about WITCHES and has mystery and friendship and girl power, so YES YES YES!!!!
  • A Dress for the Wicked | Autumn Krause | August 2019 – FML why do I have to wait so long to read this book?? It’s about a FASHION COMPETITION and is comped to THE BELLES and THE LUXE, two of my favorite things.
  • Girl Gone Viral | Arvin Ahmadi | May 2019 – I haven’t read Ahmadi’s first book, DOWN AND ACROSS yet, but after finishing GGV I might go back and read it. I just started GGV, which is about a girl who’s super into coding and is entering this competition to get closer to a guy who knew her father right before he left them a note and disappeared forever, and it is very good thus far.
Continue Reading

blogmas & tidyathon announcement!!

HELLO and welcome to ALMOST DECEMBER!! I am looking forward to November being over for many reasons, mainly because it was a totally blah month where I felt really sleepy all the time, but also because December is holiday month! I used to celebrate both Hannukah and Christmas as a child, but as an adult I have not done that yet until this year, as my boyfriend is Jewish also and celebrates it. So double holidays should be fun.

Anyway, I am also excited for December because I have decided to participate in two blogging events, namely Blogmas and Tidyathon. Blogmas is just some festive holiday/New Years-y posts throughout the month, and I have about 10 planned right now but am in need of some inspiration for more posts for the month.

Here are some of the posts I hope to write this month:

  • books I wouldn’t mind getting for Christmas
  • favorite series/sequels of 2018
  • favorite books of 2018
  • most disappointing books of 2018
  • favorite blog posts of 2018
  • best new-to-me authors of 2018
  • books I want to read before 2019
  • predicted 5-star reads of 2019
  • witchy ways to celebrate winter
  • a wintery tarot reading of some sort
  • holiday season tbr

Tidyathon is an event hosted by Book Dragons to encourage bloggers to tidy up their blogs and Goodreads. I would like to participate, but am a little unsure of what to do for it at the moment. I do want to…

  • crosspost the few reviews I’ve written on the blog to Goodreads
  • clean up my GR shelves and make sure everything is on the proper shelf.
  • get rid of multiple editions of books on GR
  • cull my TBR
  • update my about me page
  • add a contact me page??
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why merricat blackwood is a witch

Today I’ll be doing a more in-depth version of a post I did on Tumblr about why Merricat Blackwood from Shirley Jackson’s amazing novel, WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE, is a witch, even though the book never explicitly states that she is a witch. Before we get to that, I’ll share a synopsis of this book, because I really loved it and it is a new favorite that I want everyone to read.


Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.

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  • She uses “magic words” and sigils

“I decided that I would choose three powerful words, words of strong protection, and so long as these great words were never spoken aloud no change would come.”

Some spells use words, but others do not. In the novel, Merricat picks the words melody, Glouchester, and pegasus as her magic words. She says these words in her head and writes them on foggy cups and glasses like sigils. In witchcraft, sigils are drawn symbols or words that are believed to carry magical power. The power of what the sigil can do when drawn on whatever you choose to draw it on depends on your set intention. Intention is also very important in witchcraft. Sigils can be used for positive or negative intentions. Sigils can also be charged, whether in sunlight, moonlight, between your hands, or various other methods, to become more powerful to achieve your intention.

 

  • She buries lots of things

“I had always buried things, even when I was small; I remember that once I quartered the long field and buried something in each quarter to make the grass grow higher as I grew taller, so I would always be able to hide there. I once buried six blue marbles in the creek bed to make the river beyond run dry. ‘Here is a treasure for you to bury,’ Constance used to say to me when I was small, giving me a penny, or a bright ribbon; I had buried all my baby teeth as they came out one by one and perhaps someday they would grow as dragons. All our land was enriched with my treasures buried in it, thickly inhabited just below the surface with my marbles and my teeth and my colored stones, all perhaps turned to jewels by now, held together under the ground in a powerful taut web which never loosened, but held fast to guard us.”

Merricat likes to bury things. At one point in the novel, Cousin Charles gets very angry at Constance for letting Merricat go around burying things, specifically money, on the castle grounds. In witchcraft, burying things has a couple of uses, namely deployment or disposal. Deployment would be using and burying items close to the subject to aid in spellwork and even for curses. Burying an item can also be used in banishing spells. Some witches also use burying of objects to dispose of ritual items, though ideally they would be biodegradable of course. Burying something is also symbolic of putting it to rest.

 

  • She has Jonas, her cat familiar

“All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this…”

Witches often have familiars, or animals with whom they have a spiritual connection. Familiars are seen as companions and protectors. They are also seen as healers and guardians. But basically, a familiar is a witch’s loyal companion who protects a witch’s home and protects them spiritually.

 

  • Merricat loves to frolick in the woods

Many witches feel a connection with the earth and with nature. Many grounding spells and other activities involve natural elements, particularly the moon.

 

  • Merricat has an extensive knowledge of plants, especially poisonous ones

“I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom.”

In the book, Merricat does this thing to Charles at dinner often where she starts reciting the names of poisonous plants and what they do if you consume them and it really freaks him out. My guess is that Merricat would be a green witch. Green witches are witches whose magic and power comes from connecting with the earth and nature. They are often very skilled herbalists with extensive knowledge of plants, like Merricat. Also like Merricat, they often use outdoor activities like gardening to enhance their practice.

 

Continue Reading

disturbing and ??? but in a good way? \\ monday’s not coming

Title: Monday’s Not Coming
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Pages: 448
Published: May 22, 2018

TW: child abuse

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

35068534

I read Tiffany D. Jackson’s first book, ALLEGEDLY, last year when it came out and had high hopes for her further releases. Let me tell you, MONDAY’S NOT COMING did not disappoint. It was equally harrowing, disturbing, twisty and turny, important, and amazingly written as ALLEGEDLY and now I’m convinced I’ll be reading all of her books. Here are some of my thoughts about the story:

  • The setting was really vivid. Usually, I find that contemporary novel’s settings are unimportant and interchangeable and that the story could happen anywhere and be the same. With MONDAY, the author’s depiction of the Washington, DC setting really added to the book and the suspense. Her descriptions covered not only what each part of DC that is in the book looked like, but also the politics behind DC including especially gentrification, mixed in with bits about DC history, most prominently the parts about go-go music.
  • Claudia was a fully developed character. Obviously you’d hope that the protagonist of a novel is well-developed, but in most stories I’ve read that focus on a best friend or another character, the person narrating the story can often get left behind in terms of characterization. I liked that even though Monday was super important to the story, we still knew more about Claudia from just her personality to her nail painting talent to the unique way she saw things and people as colors. Claudia’s character was complex and nuanced in ways that made the story all the more rich and interesting to read.
  • The relationships were all unique and complex. Something else that made the story great was that even though it is focused on Claudia’s friendship with Monday, other relationships in her life were still deeply explored. My favorite was her relationship with her and Monday’s teacher, Ms. Valente. It was also great to see a positive, supportive family in a YA book, since YA can get a little absentee-parent-y at times.
  • I didn’t like one of the twists. I really dislike it when a character’s mental health becomes a plot twist in a book. I feel like it’s a really cheap storytelling device that’s also pretty problematic and insensitive to people with mental illness. This particular plot twist also didn’t feel needed because there were so many other twists and honestly it was suspenseful and shocking enough without anything added.
  • I wished Claudia and Monday’s relationship had been portrayed as more complex. Before Monday disappears, there is an incident that does complicate her relationship with Claudia, but it is not extensively explored. I think Jackson was trying to show readers that Claudia might not have known Monday as well as she thought, but I wish that was more fully explored throughout the entire story so we got hints of it all along and not just through other characters in the book.
  • The final reveal is shocking. The whole story is obviously building up to Claudia finding out what really happened to Monday, and to avoid spoilers, all I will say is that the ending is disturbing and shocking and is the exact opposite of anticlimactic.

All in all this was a very impressive sophomore novel from a very impressive author who I will for sure be reading more of. Tiffany D. Jackson’s books deserve SO MUCH HYPE and I will recommend them forever to anyone looking for thrillers with a little something different.

Continue Reading

disturbing and ??? but in a good way? \\ monday’s not coming

Title: Monday’s Not Coming
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Pages: 448
Published: May 22, 2018

TW: child abuse

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

35068534

I read Tiffany D. Jackson’s first book, ALLEGEDLY, last year when it came out and had high hopes for her further releases. Let me tell you, MONDAY’S NOT COMING did not disappoint. It was equally harrowing, disturbing, twisty and turny, important, and amazingly written as ALLEGEDLY and now I’m convinced I’ll be reading all of her books. Here are some of my thoughts about the story:

  • The setting was really vivid. Usually, I find that contemporary novel’s settings are unimportant and interchangeable and that the story could happen anywhere and be the same. With MONDAY, the author’s depiction of the Washington, DC setting really added to the book and the suspense. Her descriptions covered not only what each part of DC that is in the book looked like, but also the politics behind DC including especially gentrification, mixed in with bits about DC history, most prominently the parts about go-go music.
  • Claudia was a fully developed character. Obviously you’d hope that the protagonist of a novel is well-developed, but in most stories I’ve read that focus on a best friend or another character, the person narrating the story can often get left behind in terms of characterization. I liked that even though Monday was super important to the story, we still knew more about Claudia from just her personality to her nail painting talent to the unique way she saw things and people as colors. Claudia’s character was complex and nuanced in ways that made the story all the more rich and interesting to read.
  • The relationships were all unique and complex. Something else that made the story great was that even though it is focused on Claudia’s friendship with Monday, other relationships in her life were still deeply explored. My favorite was her relationship with her and Monday’s teacher, Ms. Valente. It was also great to see a positive, supportive family in a YA book, since YA can get a little absentee-parent-y at times.
  • I didn’t like one of the twists. I really dislike it when a character’s mental health becomes a plot twist in a book. I feel like it’s a really cheap storytelling device that’s also pretty problematic and insensitive to people with mental illness. This particular plot twist also didn’t feel needed because there were so many other twists and honestly it was suspenseful and shocking enough without anything added.
  • I wished Claudia and Monday’s relationship had been portrayed as more complex. Before Monday disappears, there is an incident that does complicate her relationship with Claudia, but it is not extensively explored. I think Jackson was trying to show readers that Claudia might not have known Monday as well as she thought, but I wish that was more fully explored throughout the entire story so we got hints of it all along and not just through other characters in the book.
  • The final reveal is shocking. The whole story is obviously building up to Claudia finding out what really happened to Monday, and to avoid spoilers, all I will say is that the ending is disturbing and shocking and is the exact opposite of anticlimactic.

All in all this was a very impressive sophomore novel from a very impressive author who I will for sure be reading more of. Tiffany D. Jackson’s books deserve SO MUCH HYPE and I will recommend them forever to anyone looking for thrillers with a little something different.

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tarot reading: vicious

First of all, today is Thanksgiving in the US, so happy turkey eating day to my fellow Americans! I debated not doing a post today but I have a lot of international readers, so I figured people might like to read something today on a day that will probably be quiet for most US bloggers. Anyway.

Some people were interested for me to do a tarot reading about a book I haven’t read after posting my reading of WARCROSS, so today, I’m sharing a two-card spread for VICIOUS by V. E. Schwab. I’m very embarrassed to say that I’ve never read a book by Schwab even though she’s the queen of YA and apparently fantasy in general. I recently bought ADSOM and VICIOUS because VENGEFUL just came out, so hopefully my tarot reading will be accurate.

This two-card spread answered two questions: 1) will I like this book, and 2) what will I dislike about this book?

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1)  will I like this book–FOUR OF WANDS–this is a positive card that generally implies positive feelings, so drawing this card makes me think I will probably like this book.

2) what will I dislike about this book–QUEEN OF WANDS–some people think the queen of wands represents one’s gut instincts. I interpret this to mean that I will not like that my gut instincts about what is going to happen with this book will turn out to be correct. I don’t like guessing what’s going to happen and then always being right, so that may happen when I read this book.

 

Which Schwab book do you think I should read first? What books would you like to see me do a tarot reading for?

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planning my bookish bujo

I think (????? sometimes I think ?????) I’ve talked on here a bit about how I am very into bullet journaling, a trend that is basically a personal planner but pretty and creative, on this blog. If I haven’t, you might have noticed that I love bullet journaling because of my most recent posts on my very smol Instagram, which is now dedicated to both books and bullet journal (I’m still trying to figure out lighting so my journaling actually shows up in photos. Meh.)

I’ve also talked a lot about being in need of a hobby/general things to do when I am not at work. One of the things I’ve decided to try is keeping a bullet journal specifically for books, which I have been working on for the past month or so. Today, I’m going to share some of the pages, collections, lists, etc., that I hope to put in my bookish bullet journal.

 

Record of physical unread books and ARCs

I haven’t actually bought too many books recently, which is good, but I still have two and a half shelves on my unread books shelf of books I bought and ARCs that still have to be read, so the first pages in my bookish bujo are dedicated to those books. I decided to keep them separate from my eARCs because I don’t want to forget what format they’re in/where they are in my collection.

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List of past eARCs

My list of past eARCs from previous years is…embarrassingly long. I have been super terrible about keeping up with eARCs, and it’s gotten worse since becoming a librarian and requesting as a librarian and not as a blogger, so I don’t have to review by a certain time (not that I ever did that anyway…I was a bad blogger in my former life). So, I have three collections of lists of eARCs: one for books published before 2017, one for books from 2017, and one for books from 2018.

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Social media calendar??

I’m iffy about putting this one in because I don’t schedule my blog posts; I just write them and schedule them as they come to me and this has worked for me for the past 6 years. However, I do sometimes think of blog post ideas that I want to write down, and I’d like to start scheduling out Instagram posts so I can be more consistent about posting.

 

Calendar of new releases

This would be very useful to include so I can keep up with what’s coming out. However, I don’t know if I’d want to keep track of what’s coming out just that month or that month and the next month, since I’d like to read books on time or ahead of time. I could also keep a list of books that are coming out that I have copies of, or books that I don’t have copies of, or both. There are (too) many options.

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TBR schedule

Since my major reading slump, I’ve been debating scheduling out my monthly TBR. I feel like this would help combat not being in the mood for anything but still getting myself to read, plus it would help me be better about reading ARCs on time.

 

Wish list

Of various books and bookish merch. This is pretty self-explanatory.

 

Books acquired throughout the month

Whether it’s physical ARCs, finished copies, or eARCs, I do want to start keeping track of the books I get. I do this on Goodreads somewhat, but sometimes I want to have a physical record to look at where everything is all in one place, because I put books on different shelves on Goodreads so I can’t see them all together. Plus, I think I’d like to start having book hauls in my monthly wrap-up posts.

 

That’s what I’ve got planned so far for my bookish bullet journal. Do any of you keep physical, non-digital records of bookish things? Does anyone else bullet journal?

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reading slumps are the worst

You guys, I have a problem, a serious, SERIOUS problem:

for the past 2-3 months, I have not been wanting to read.

Okay, correction: I’ve been really wanting to read, but I haven’t been enjoying what I’m reading. I’ll pick up a book I think I’ll like, and while I’m reading it I know in my head that I’d like it if I were feeling normal about books and reading, but in reality I’m slugging through the book. This even happened to me with WILDCARD, which was one of my most anticipated fall releases. I was sitting there reading it and couldn’t wait for it to be over even though I wanted to love it and would’ve loved it if I weren’t apparently in a horrible reading slump.

What’s the problem?

Well, one of my problems is that I’m a serious mood reader.

…or at least I thought I was. But lately, since I don’t know what I’m in the mood for, I’ve been having trouble picking a book and sticking to it. I’ve been trying to reread SHADOW & BONE recently even though I read it back in July (I have terrible series amnesia though, which is a topic for another post) because I loved it and want to read RUIN & RISING, but even that has now stopped holding my interest.

I think I need to make a TBR schedule.

I’ve never tried making one but apparently that works for some people. One of my goals for the upcoming year is also to stay on top of my ARCs and eARCs, so scheduling would help with that.

I should probably just take a break from reading.

Honestly, I probably should stop trying to force myself to read books when I clearly don’t want to be reading. Although I guess I do want to be reading, but my brain keeps telling me I’m not in the mood. But there’s a problem for me with taking a break from reading, too:

Not reading makes me feel guilty.

I do this thing where I psyche myself out about not reading so much so I keep trying to read, but end up with the problem of not enjoying anything. But I feel so guilty when I stop reading for a while! And I get worried that I’ll have another 6-month long reading slump like I did one time that completely threw off my reading pace for the past couple of years. I feel like I’m not ME when I don’t read. Like…without books, what am I? I am a bookish book loving bookworm. How can I be me without reading? I have an existential/identity crisis every time I contemplate taking a break from reading.

So, fellow bookish friends, I ask you: what do you do with yourselves when you are in a reading slump? Does anyone else feel crazy guilty when you take a break from reading? Am I nuts and overthinking?

 

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