april rewind // it’s been 84 years…

…and it’s still 2020. fml. Honestly, what is up with 2020 being a garbage fire. Okay, time for the monthly rewind.

 

what happened

  • I had a family Zoom chat. This is probably the only thing of note that happened this month, tbh. It was kind of nice because we can never all be in the same place as each other because we live from CT all the way to Alaska, so it’s hard to see that many of the cousins at the same time anymore. It was also kind of challenging because there were so many people in the call but it was good to hear everyone’s updates. Apparently most of my cousins’ children are very excited to have everybody at home, lol. And one of my cousins is pregnant so that’s cool for them.
  • I started the Three Dark Crowns series. I should save this for my next section but it is also newsworthy enough to include in this section because GODDAMN, I can’t believe I slept on this FANTASTIC series for so freaking long. This series is definitely going to be the death of me, I can already feel it.
  • Nothing else really of note.

 

what i read

I am frankly appalled by how few books I’ve read during quarantine. I’ve been under isolation for 40+ days and I’ve only read THREE BOOKS?? For SHAME. I really wish I had the ability to concentrate more and felt more invested in reading because this would be an excellent time to knock some stuff off my tbr. But anyway, here are my thoughts on my April reads:

  • Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble – I’m super happy I decided to check this one out from my library’s OverDrive. It’ super delightful and about brujas who do magic through baking. It’s a middle grade paranormal series and I’m really excited for the rest of the books in the series and it’s the first MG series I’ve been interested in continuing for a while.
  • Whichwood – I read this one because I thought I’d try to read some of the physical copies on my unread books shelf because I really shouldn’t need an entire shelf from my unread books. This was a companion to FURTHERMORE, a really good MG fantasy, about a moordeshore, or person who washes dead bodies to prepare them for the afterlife. To be honest, I felt like this one was a little overdone and was gory and dark just for a shock factor and I wasn’t super invested in it. It was still well-written for the most part, but I ended up skimming the last third of this.
  • Three Dark Crowns – I stan this series so hard now. It’s so dark in all the right ways and I can tell it’s going to destroy my soul by the end and if Billy dies I am going to SCREAM. Everything about this series is *chef’s kiss* except Mirabella, she’s the only character who’s kind of bland to me.

 

around the blogosphere

  • Maha wrote about being productive/creative during hard times
  • Caro wrote another post in my favorite blogging feature she does about getting back into writing
  • Kat gave some tips on using SEO in your blog posts
  • Karis posted about how she rates books
  • Kathy wrote about how historical fiction has been comforting to her lately

 

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dear Three Dark Crowns by kendare blake

I saw Holly at Nut Free Nerd do letter post to a book she read recently on her blog and really liked the idea of writing about a book that way, so I decided to give it a try with one of my recent reads, THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake.

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Dear THREE DARK CROWNS,

Man, I feel like I have been seeing you recommended by everyone forever for YEARS now and honestly I don’t know why I haven’t read you before now? I know I don’t usually go for series anymore because I have terrible series amnesia, so maybe it’s good that I waited to read you until you were a completely published series, because I don’t think I could survive without the next books in it for long.

GODDAMN, I can’t believe I’ve been sleeping on reading you for so long. You are such a dark story, about three sisters who are destined to fight to the death until only one of them remains to become queen, and your author, Kendare Blake, does NOT shy away from the potential for darkness and goriness that that premise brings. You are a super FIERCE story and honestly I still don’t know who I want to become queen (although I think Mirabella can go; she’s messing with my favorite ship too much).

Even though I guessed one of your major twists within the first three chapters, you still kept me on my toes for the whole book. I loved each of the three settings and learning about all the politics of each one, and getting to know each of the sisters in turn (except Mirabella. I never liked that bitch). And even your side characters are amazing; I love Billy and Arsinoe’s friendship, and Katharine’s weird whatever vibes with Pietyr (can I still ship them after that ending? I mean, DAMN).

It has been so long since I’ve felt the need to buy a second book in a series IMMEDIATELY after finishing the first one, and so long since I’ve felt this invested in a story, so thank you for putting more excitement back into my reading life. I seriously have not been able to stop thinking about you since finishing that final sentence.

I can’t wait to read ONE DARK THRONE and see how much more twisted this tale is bound to get.

 

Yours,

Mel

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animal crossing book tag

Today I’ll be participating in the Animal Crossing Book Tag, an original tag created by Bec and Angharad of Two Book ThievesThis tag celebrates reading and the lovely game Animal Crossing, which is probably helping keep at least half the population sane during isolation. Yay, Animal Crossing! You go, Animal Crossing!

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Past Villager – Who is a character you found when you were younger that still has a place in your heart?

Definitely Lyra from THE GOLDEN COMPASS/His Dark Materials series. Whenever I think about that series I get so nostalgic because I listened to it on audio a million and one times when I was a kid.

 

Blather’s Blatherings – Recommend a historical fiction book that you think everybody should read

Um…I really don’t read much historical fiction. I can’t recommend my usual historical fic rec because the author is turning out to be trash and I can’t ignore that anymore. I guess I’ll go with SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys, which is about an obscure ship sinking that I think took place near Poland? There was something about Poland, I think.

 

Celeste’s Wish – What is a future book release you wish you could read now?

Whatever Tahereh Mafi’s next book is going to be. I’ll be honest and say I still haven’t read the continuation of the SHATTER ME series and I’m not sure if I’m going to. But I loved FURTHERMORE and am liking WHICHWOOD at the moment, so I can’t wait to see what she does outside of those two worlds.

 

Timmy & Tommy – What is your favourite sibling relationship in a book?

TATBILB, of course!! I love the Song sisters so much. If I had ever had siblings, I would want to have a little sister exactly like Kitty (minus her spilling my deepest secrets, of cours).

 

The Easter Bunny – A popular book character that you’re not a big fan of

Not a single character I guess but a book–I tried reading THRONE OF GLASS recently and was…unimpressed. I was very bored by both love interests and don’t understand what the hype is about them. Caleana can do better.

 

Nook’s Loans – An author you’d give all your money to

Jandy Nelson and Leigh Bardugo, TAKE MY MONEY LADIES!!! Also Sandhya Menon; she can definitely have all my funds.

 

The Sisters Able – What is your favourite fictional family (found or otherwise)?

Blue Sargeant’s family in THE RAVEN BOYS. However, I will say that I find it hard to believe any of those women are as hetero as Maggie Stiefvater portrays them to be.

 

It’s a C+  – What is a book trope you don’t like that keeps popping up?

Meeting the love interest in a dream. Or meeting some other important character in a dream. Can we retire this please?

 

The Wandering Camel – What is your favourite book set in a land far away from yours?

Honestly most of the books I’ve been reading lately don’t feature places I’d actually want to go. Like…do I want to be buried in Kalyazi snow or traipse through Tranavian swamps, or cross the Fold? That would be a hard no. But maybe Lyra’s version of Oxford in THE GOLDEN COMPASS so I could have an animal soul companion.

 

What Would Dodos Do?  – A fictional land you wish you could fly away to at any moment?

Actually, I would like to go to the Inkworld from INKHEART. It’s so magical and wondrous.

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springtime witchcraft

Every time the seasons change, I love collecting ways in which to practice witchcraft based on the season, and then…fail epically at doing so. Still, I want to share some ways to add a bit of springtime into your daily witchy practices that maybe I’ll actually be able to do now that I have a considerable amount of time on my hands:

  • study flower and herb correspondences for usage in spells
  • use crystals with spring color correspondences in your spells or to create crystal grids, such as citrine, emerald, rose quartz, amber, tigers eye
  • celebrate ostara and beltane
  • charge yourself by going outside and feeling the sun warm your body
  • take walks in nature and notice how green everything is and how spring is changing nature
  • do a deep spring cleaning/cleanse of your living space to drive out unwanted and negative energies
  • open your windows during the day to blow away negative energies with the spring breeze
  • use divination to reevaluate your goals for the year and discover how you can help yourself grow
  • add some houseplants to your family and take good care of them
  • research springtime gods and goddesses, like Gaia, Apollo, Freya, Lares, and the May Queen
  • perform spells around abundance, fertility, growth, and positivity and happiness
  • when you need to feel grounded, go outside with bare feet and feel the grass and dirt between your toes
  • collect rainwater and sun water for spells
  • plant an herb and flower garden for your craft and the bees

 

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bookending spring: springtime jam

It’s time for my last post for Bookending Spring with the Springtime Jam prompt, which asks bloggers to share their favorite things about spring, bookish or not. Bookending Spring is hosted by Sam and this prompt is hosted by Michelle.

 

my favorite things about spring

  • It’s Dewey’s Readathon time! I always used to look forward to about April 20-25ish for the past few years because that’s usually the time when the Dewey’s 24-hour readathon is hosted. I haven’t been participating the past few times, but I’m hoping to read at least a couple hours for the current event, which is today!
  • Camp NaNo. I also used to participate in Camp NaNo and have in the past gotten a good chunk of WIPs written before. Now that I’m not participating, I still really like reading people’s posts about writing for the event and reading about people’s awesome-sounding WIPs that I definitely need on my shelf.
  • T-shirt weather. I love sweaters, but I’m always excited to put them away and bring out my comfy and cute t-shirts. I just feel lighter when I’m wearing t-shirts and that’s always a nice feeling.
  • Visiting home. Typically, I go home to visit my parents in May because it counts as kind of a Mother’s Day/my mom’s birthday visit. I’m really bummed I can’t travel home this year.
  • May book releases. I don’t know why this is, but for some reason May is always FILLED with amazing new book releases. Spring and Fall are generally the best release seasons, but May especially is a month that always has what feels like hundreds of new books.

 

what are your favorite things about spring?

 

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bookending spring: spring cleaning & unhauling tips

Today’s Bookending Spring post is hosted by Michelle. The idea is to share your collections, or spring cleaning tips. I am going to be sharing some factors that go into unhauling books for me when I think it’s time to clean out my shelves.

 

am i still interested in the book?

Obviously I only buy books I am interested in reading, but if a book sits on the shelf for a long time it can end up becoming less appealing to me and sometimes I can even forget what a book is about or what drew me to the book in the first place.

 

how long have i had the book?

I feel like I need to have a more clear-cut deadline for how long I can keep a book unread on my shelves, because I have been known to keep unread books for 5+ years. I think a reasonable rule would probably be that I can’t keep a book unread on my shelf for over a year after I get it, but if that’s too soon for you, I think 3 years is also a good deadline.

 

am i only keeping this for sentimental reasons?

A lot of the 5+ years kept books on my shelves are books I kept because even though I hadn’t read them, they held a special sentimental significance to me. However, I have realized since Marie Kondo-ing my books a few times that sentimentality is not a good reason to keep an unread book gathering dust for years.

 

am i only keeping this for aesthetic reasons?

I am ashamed to admit I sometimes get multiple editions of a book before I have read it because I’m 100% convinced at the time that it will be a new favorite. However, I have two editions of HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer on my shelf that I’ve had since 2016 that I haven’t read yet, and an ARC and hardcover of STAIN by A. G. Howard that I haven’t finished, so clearly this is not advisable. Books like these are the most painful for me to part with because obviously I had high hopes for them, but there must be something about them preventing me from reading it so there’s no point in keeping multiple editions of unread books for years.

 

 

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the sunday post // 4-19-20

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news about the past week, reading recaps, hauls, and more.

 

weekly happenings

  • I’m still at home…and want to cry about it tbh. I may be an introvert but I liked at least having the OPTION to go places. I am realizing I am not cut out for working remotely, at least when it comes to a job that literally relies on human interaction to be useful and functioning. I miss getting to work too early and stressing about how to fill an hour of lunch and getting annoyed at patrons asking silly questions (only in my head, of course). Someone please ask me if you’re allowed to go to the bathroom.
  • We had a couple apartment issues. Which is literally the most exciting thing that’s happened in the past month. The smoke detector malfunctioned when we tried to replace a battery and we have a leak in the pipes over our bathroom sink. But honestly seeing other humans come into the apartment is a highlight. Lol, who am I.
  • I did pilates for 20 minutes. Normally this would not be news that would go in the blog but given the state of the world…well.

 

last week on the blog

 

next week on the blog

  • more bookending spring posts
  • www wednesday probably

 

books read

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OMFG, HAVE I BEEN SLEEPING ON THIS SERIES. Paganism, magic, rituals, fights to the death, friendship–my gods, this series is totally gonna be the death of me. I did predict one of the twists at the end within the first three chapters but I don’t even care because I’m pumped that I was right. But now I have to wait for my hold on book 2 to come in, so…*cries*

 

currently reading

sugar summer – hannah moskowitz

  • wicked saints – emily a. duncan (reread)
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bookending spring: begin again

Today I’ll be sharing my Bookending Spring post based on the prompt Begin Again. This week’s Bookending Spring posts are hosted by Isabelle @ Nine Tale Vixen. For Begin Again, share how what you would do differently when starting your blog/bookstagram/other social media channel and tips for new bloggers.

 

how i’d bookstagram differently

I have often written about my struggles with bookstagram, but seem to be getting the hang of it now with my new account, Bitter Melon Books. So here are some things I would do differently if I started my bookstagram for the two millionth time:

  • I wouldn’t connect my account to my blog directly. I think a lot of people would disagree with me about this, but for me, removing the association with my blog and just starting fresh really helped me realize what I wanted to do with the account and freed up what my aesthetic could be.
  • I’d pick a theme that is easily maintainable. I think this was the major problem with the themes I tried using in the past. I often picked stuff that relied on certain lighting, and I don’t have any photography experience, so maintaining the same settings for each photo was hard for me when I tried different themes.
  • I’d worry less about props. The accounts I followed when I first started being interested in bookstagram definitely made me feel like I had to have stuff like daggers and sprigs of baby’s breath to be successful, but I have now found accounts that focus more on the books and vibe of the photo vs props, and I have realized I can bookstagram without all the fancy stuff.

 

tips for new bloggers

Since I only just started having a consistent bookstagram, I don’t feel qualified to offer tips to new bookstagrammers, so for the second part of this post I will be imparting my blogging wisdom to newbie bloggers instead. Here are my tips:

  • Interact! Interact! Interact! Interacting with other bloggers both in comments on my blog and other blogs, as well as on other social media channels like Twitter, has made my blogging experience exponentially better. I spent an embarrassingly long portion of my blogging career not talking to other bloggers, and it was lonely and also I didn’t get as much engagement on my own posts.
  • Don’t be intimidated by people who you admire or think of as a “celebrity” blogger…because honestly, people in the blogging community today are all super nice! I’m really glad I’ve gotten over thinking of certain bloggers as “celebrity” bloggers because it’s made me more confident when interacting with people online and I’ve made a lot more friends.
  • Don’t feel like you have to do every social media channel. This is honestly something I still struggle with, because I feel like I need to be doing the latest cool thing all the time. It’s important to stick with social media channels you’re actually interested in using and are passionate about. It’s totally okay to try stuff that’s new to you, but you don’t have to do something just because it’s popular or cool if it’s not your thing.
  • Think about your other interests when creating your ‘niche’. This is something I wish I’d done earlier on. I think it’s really hard for a new blogger to know what their niche is going to be before they start, but once I started thinking about how to incorporate my major non-bookish interest, witchcraft, into my posts, it got a lot easier to create a niche and brand for myself.
  • Create a blogging schedule that’s reasonable for you. And acknowledge that what that means may change over time! I’ve definitely gone through phases of blogging less and then blogging a ton again, but it’s all about finding what you can maintain and enjoy doing.

 

If you’re interested in what the other prompts are and participating in Bookending Spring, check out this post.

 

 

 

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what i’ve been doing while isolated: round 2

Hello, and, unfortunately, welcome to another edition of What I’ve Been Doing While Isolated. You can read round 1 of What I’ve Been Doing While Isolated here. Let’s hope this does not become a regular feature on this blog. However, I find it helpful to write about my life experiences when I’m stressed and in general and let me tell you: I am very stressed.

So here we go with more things I’ve been doing while isolated (although honestly, I could just say “not much of anything really” and be done with it).

 

  • Annoying the crap out of my boyfriend and parents. I am very fortunate to be isolated with my significant other but I have now reached the Intense Boredom stage of isolation and always want to bother him or my parents (via phone) and I think they can tell I am losing my shit. Seriously though, I would be totally bananas without my boyfriend.
  • Spending my time with very excited cats. My cat Willow is especially pumped that I am home. He has been waking me up at 3 most mornings this week to purr and ask for pets and food. I think both cats are confused about what time it is because they are not used to both their humans being home all day every day. But they are loving getting mommy cuddles and attention.
  • Casting spells. Okay, this should be “spell” singular. But I’ve been looking for magic to do while isolated with the herbs and spices and general materials I already have at home.
  • Researching paganism. Kind of casually for the most part, but I have done a bit of research on different types of paganism since being isolated because I had a dream about a deity which has never happened to me and pulled two tarot cards that seemed to represent her which is something I have never experienced.
  • Avoiding reading. I don’t know why but I’ve just been super avoiding reading since being isolated. I’ve read one good book and am in the middle of two, but for some reason I just can’t seem to motivate myself to read more even though isolation would definitely be better if I read more. I just haven’t been feeling super invested in reading for a long time now and I’m very frustrated by that because reading used to be something I loved doing and did at every spare opportunity. But now I just beat myself up because I can’t read as much or deeply as I used to be able to which has made it distinctly Not Fun.
  • A lot of laundry. I don’t?? Know why? I have so many pants?? I really don’t need to be doing this much laundry given I don’t need to go out and wear stuff to work.
  • Cooking more. This is kind of out of necessity and kind of because I have more energy to do so and kind of because it is comforting. I have now discovered more things I like to eat instead of my two things I usually make during the week as dinners and am pleased with myself. I made perfect mashed potatoes last week and was super proud of myself.
  • Journaling. I really love to use my bullet journal at the best of times and during the worst times (aka now and also probably soon) it is very helpful. I’ve been at a bit of a loss of what to use it for because I don’t have a set schedule to track or anything and a lot of stuff is up in the air, but I find the act of journaling very soothing.
  • Researching junk journaling. I don’t know how to explain junk journaling, but it’s more like art journaling and scrapbooking combined? It is definitely something I want to do when I have more access to materials and art supplies again.
  • Bleaching my hair. This seemed like a good time to try a new hair color because nobody will see me if it goes south, and I have time to bleach it properly and not damage my hair. It will be a smokey lavender color hopefully when complete. Currently it is golden.

 

Maybe, if this post continues to be a thing, I will one day have more interesting things to report. What have you all been doing while social distancing? How is everyone coping? Tell me in the comments.

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the sunday post // 4-12-20

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news about the past week, reading recaps, hauls, and more.

 

weekly happenings

  • My coworkers met my cat Willow at our weekly staff meeting. Our circulation supervisor was very excited to see Willow and everyone agreed he was cute. So that was the excitement for the staff meeting
  • We still do not have a return to work date, so help me God. I can’t take much more of this OMG I want to go back to work so bad even though I know as soon as I go back I’ll be all “can I go home?” But that would be much preferable to not being able to go anywhere.
  • I wrote my first article for my side gig. And my boss type person said the final draft was “terrific.” I got to write about gender and AI, which is something I didn’t know a lot about.
  • I continued debating dyeing my hair. For some reason I really want to try going turquoise even though I know my mom and boyfriend will say that is a terrible idea. But smokey/silvery lavender has also been suggested and that is what I am leaning toward. Mint green was another suggestion, but I think I would look dreadful with green hair. However, I figure if I screw it up, it doesn’t matter because nobody will see me until at least June, and once it grows out more I can get clippers and buzz it like all the other gays are doing.

 

last week on the blog

 

next week on the blog

  • who even knows
  • honestly

 

books read

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Holy gods, where is the screaming about this book? Is the hype monster asleep or hiding under the bed? Because girl, let me tell you how AWESOME this series is: there is baking, there are brujas, there is middle school mischief, and magic. OMG. This series is so dope and I can’t wait for my hold on book 2 to come in on OverDrive.

 

currently reading

I am still reading THREE DARK CROWNS because I am now a Slow Bean Reader. I also decided to reread WICKED SAINTS because for some reason I am still convinced I will love it. I know it is trash but it is also kind of great and dark and Gothic and blood. Plus, I decided to get the OwlCrate edition of the sequel, RUTHLESS GODS, and that came in so obviously I need to reread WICKED SAINTS.

 

book haul

  • grown (!!!!!!!!)
  • among beasts and briars
  • charming as a verb
  • hush
  • the left-handed booksellers of london
  • one to watch
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