september rewind \\ it lasted a minute

Wow, um…where did September go? Most months during the pandemic have gone by at a snail’s pace but for some reason August and September went by in a snap. Let’s take a look at what I did and read during September.

books read

1. Who I Was With Her – Nita Tyndall
2. Charming as a Verb – Ben Philippe
3. Horrid – Katrina Leno
4. Early Departures – Justin A. Reynolds
5. One to Watch – Kate Stayman-London
6. The Summer of Everything – Julian Winters
7. Head Over Heels – Hannah Orenstein

Honestly, I’m super impressed with my reading in September. Other than July, where I read 9 books, this is my best reading month in 2020 so far. I’m also impressed because unlike in July, my reads were all regular novels instead of graphic novels, which usually take me much longer to read than a graphic novel.

My favorite book was definitely Charming as a Verb, which featured a low-key con involving dogs, a feisty female love interest, and a wonderfully flawed but ultimately soft hero. I loved this book so much and am definitely going to be recommending it to everyone I know.

My least favorite book was probably Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall. This book would for sure appeal to some readers, but for me, the way the narrative about coming out was written just hit me the wrong way, especially after all the Becky Albertalli stuff. It just didn’t make sense to me that the MC’s secret girlfriend was pressuring her to come out so much when she had just figured out she was bi. I think the pressure to come out has to be handled really carefully in books, and this one just hit wrong.

book haul

Book of the Month books:
1. Mexican Gothic – Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
2. Bringing Down the Duke – Evie Dunmore
3. One to Watch – Kate Stayman-London

NetGalley:
4. With You All the Way – Cynthia Hand
5. The Key to You and Me – Jaye Robin Brown

Edelweiss:
6. House of Hollow – Krystal Sutherland
7. The Dark Tide – Alicia Jasinka
8. A Taste for Love – Jennifer Yu
9. The Wide Starlight – Nicole Lesperance

I hauled a lot of great books this month. The one I’m most excited for is Krystal Sutherland’s House of Hollow, a mystery about two odd girls who went missing as children and returned a few months later. I’m actually also pretty pumped for The Wide Starlight, which I hadn’t heard about before but was comped to THE HAZEL WOOD and THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER, so I’m expecting both magic and a lot of emotions.

life updates

Nothing really happened this month of note. We added a Saturday schedule at the library, threw around a possible reopening date, seem to have forgotten the possible reopening date, and patrons were…patrons. The most exciting thing that happened was that book Twitter discovered Notion, a digital planning/note-taking app, that I knew about and had been using for my digital grimoire but had no concept of how to use, and am now going to be using forever because its so efficient and pretty. I also hit 400 followers on Twitter, which I am very proud of.

blogging

Here are some of my favorite posts from this blog from the past month:

  • I recommended books to read with autumn colors
  • I discussed why I don’t feel represented by portrayals of fat characters
  • I gushed about why you should read CHARMING AS A VERB
  • I reviewed WHO I WAS WITH HER
  • I talked about reconnecting with witchcraft

Here are my favorite posts from around the blogosphere from September:

  • Cande wrote about why they use the term Latinx
  • Clo discussed how her formatting system has changed
  • Sumedha interviewed me for her series Blogletters and wrote about why she doesn’t like comment back culture
  • Veronika recommended books with yearning
  • Tasya hyped some of her anticipated 2021 releases
  • Liv made a mood board for the FURIA blog tour, effectively adding it to my TBR
  • Caro spotlighted three amazing books
  • Fadwa discussed how the #ownvoices label has lost its way
  • Sofia highlighted upcoming books by Latinx authors
  • Tracy wrote about how to have a healthier relationship with reading

How was your September? Tell me all about it!

august 2020 \\ wrap up

August felt like it went by in a flash, which is probably the only time a month has felt like that in all of 2020 so far. Hopefully that means things are picking up and feeling normal-ish and not as scary. Maybe.

what happened

This month went really fast for some reason and I can’t figure out why, though I guess maybe it was a bit busier than normal. I was also eagerly anticipating my trip home for my birthday, which I celebrated last week. I spent a long trip with my parents, which was nice and relaxing and a good change of pace from being stuck at home half the time.

I also feel like I’ve gotten used to sidewalk service at the library, and even though things are slow, I actually kind of like doing phone service because I feel a lot more confident about it now. I also finally got approval to change my name on my email and have it announced to people at work so I don’t keep getting deadnamed in emails, so that’s good. I also was invited to work on a project creating a training on how to be more LGBT friendly toward coworkers and customers that I am both excited and nervous for.

what i read

  1. kingdom of the wicked – kerri maniscalco
  2. two dark reigns – kendare blake
  3. now that i’ve found you – kristina forest
  4. grown – tiffany jackson

I did not read much this month even though my goal was reading 5 novels. My favorite book was definitely GROWN, even though pretty much everything I read this month was really good. NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU was my most disappointing read because the romance really fell flat for me and there wasn’t enough of a character arc, but it was still a 3 star read for me.

blogging highlights

On this blog:

Around the blogosphere:

  • Tessi wrote about book piracy, price, and privilege
  • Arin introduced a new event, Sapphic Saturdays, that I am very pumped for
  • Mieke ranted and wrote an extremely awesome and detailed review of MIDNIGHT SUN
  • Marta announced her booktube channel!
  • Meg discussed adults reviewing YA
  • Clo celebrated her blogoversary
  • Emme took a week away from social media and talked about the results
  • Sofia announced Latinx Book Bingo
  • Kay wrote about reviewing #ownvoices books from a biracial perspective
  • Tracy recommended books based on book twitter drama
  • Cielo announced the Diverse Clan, an exciting new initiative

how was your August? what did you read? how are you all doing during these strange times?

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

 

march rewind \\ ummm, what just happened?

Okay, wow, March has been…A Month. For everyone who thought 2019 was bad…so sorry, 2020 is taking the cake for sure. I hope everyone is managing to stay healthy and mostly sane, and if you’re isolating/social distancing that you’re getting in a lot of reading time at least (well, more than I am, anyway).

Okay…let’s get to the wrap up.

 

what happened

  • Um hello coronavirus?? This is probably the wildest thing I’ve ever experienced. There is no toilet paper left at the grocery store across the street from me. I’ve been teleworking even though I’m a public librarian. Boyfriend is home also because his university is closed the rest of the semester and is teaching online. My state isn’t on lockdown yet, but for all I know by the time this post publishes it could be.
  • The library was closed. At first we just cancelled all public programming and reduced available computers, but a day later they decided to close us for two weeks. Then it became clear we couldn’t open back up to the public, and that timeline has been extended to “indefinitely.” However, I am EXTREMELY lucky and still being paid.
  • I got a really cool side gig. Apparently I’m better at blogging than I thought I am, because I applied to what was originally a freelance position with an organization that works with companies on gender issues as a content creator, and I was hired. My first assignment is to write about gender bias and AI, which I’m super pumped for.
  • I got Animal Crossing!!! I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it or not before it came out, but everyone on book twitter was gushing about it so I splurged and got it, and honestly, I love picking all the weeds on my island. I feel weird playing it at night though because the island is in real time so it’s dark and I feel like I should be asleep, not catching butterflies, lol. And now I’m super in debt to an excitable raccoon, woohoo.

giphy

 

what i read

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I only read one book this month, WHEN WE WERE MAGIC, but it was sooooo sapphic and amazing!!! I definitely recommend this one and am debating doing a week-long feature about it even though it’s already out.

I really haven’t felt like reading the past few weeks. I’ve started a few things but lose interest halfway through and can’t focus. I think I’m just really stressed about everything going on and the changes in my daily routine and I just can’t concentrate on reading. Nothing is really appealing to me at the moment and I’m not in the mood to sit down and read for long stretches of time even though I am able to since I’m not at work. It’s very frustrating and I wish I could un-slump so I could knock out some books on my TBR list while I have the time.

 

blogging life

I ended up taking a hiatus this month because I was feeling bad and insecure about my blog. Talking to a couple prospective jobs about my blogging experience did make me feel a little more confident about it because people seem really impressed by my writing, but honestly, I kind of don’t know why I’m coming back to it other than I feel lost without it. I want to be involved with book influencing, but don’t know how to do that other than blogging because I don’t like any other platform as much and this is what I’m good at and have liked doing the most in the past.

 

favorites

  • Animal Crossing! Let me pick all the pears and pull all the weeds, please!
  • Conan Gray’s new album. I discovered Conan Gray on Spotify somewhat recently and really liked his EP and singles, especially Maniac, and his new album is just so. Good.
  • The Overcoats’ new album. I LOVED the first album by this lady duo called Overcoats and they came out with new music a couple weeks ago and it is so amazning I just [heart eyes]

 

december rewind \\ holly jolly

Did December just fly by for anyone else? I honestly don’t know where this month went or mostly what I did during it. I think I was just so busy at work and the holidays happened that it all just feels like a blur, and now…it’s basically the end of a whole DECADE. Like…what????

 

what happened

  • Honestly what did even happen?
  • I went to work and did a lot of stuff there.
  • yeah basically I Went to Work.
  • OH WAIT I came out on Facebook. Totally forgot that happened already. I decided I want to be known in my personal life as Mel and wrote what I thought was a very succinct post on my gender identity. So far everyone has been super respectful about it and all my friends and especially family are trying their best. Shout out to my parents who are trying so hard to use my new name and pronouns <3 <3 My next step is to come out at work and I’m feeling a lot less nervous about it based on people’s responses so far.
  • I made goals for the new year. I tried to focus on reasonable, attainable goals that wouldn’t involve drastically changing different parts of myself or my body. I think I did a pretty good job with that. I also had a lot more positive goals where my career was concerned. If you’re interested, click here for my reading & blogging goals of 2020 and here for my personal/other goals.
  • I went home for the holidays. I visited my boyfriend’s parents for Hannukah and my parents for Christmas. I got very delicious latkes and also very delicious roast beef. My uncle was there too, and he even used my preferred name and I was super pleasantly surprised. My mom even got me a bunch of stuff from my witchy wish list, and I now have a new tarot deck and the Spirit Cats oracle deck. I just felt so accepted and loved and it was really nice to go home.
  • I bought a car?!?!?! I did a Very Adult Thing and got a new car. My old car is about 18 years old and on its last legs, so it was definitely time to get a new car. I just knew if I kept pouring money into maintenance on a car I knew I wasn’t going to keep that I wouldn’t be happy, so I made the decision to get a new one!

 

what i read

This was another extremely light reading month and I only read two books. Technically, I only read one new books, because THE HAZEL WOOD was a reread/reskim, and that was just so I could read THE NIGHT COUNTRY because I didn’t quite remember how everything had ended up going down in the first book. I enjoyed rereading THW, but was disappointed in THE NIGHT COUNTRY and found it lackluster, which was sad because it was one of my most anticipated reads.

I also started quite a few books after THE NIGHT COUNTRY, but really couldn’t decide what I was in the mood for, but am now reading SONG OF THE CRIMSON FLOWER by the illustrious Julie C. Dao, who wrote one of my all-time favorite books, FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS. It was also one of my three Book of the Month picks for December, and I really need to catch up on those because I already have 5 and have read approximately 0 of them and my subscription just renewed for January *screams with anxiety**

 

blogging life

I also did something super exciting in December on the blog, which was my announcement of the readathon I am hosting for all of 2020, the HERE & QUEERATHON, which you can read more about and find the sign up form here. It is a readathon focusing on reading books written by queer authors. I thought about doing just books with queer representation, but since I’m including backlist titles for this challenge, I realized that could allow people to to read a lot of really problematic and triggering books (think LUNA), which would defeat the purpose of the challenge. So, I decided just to focus on books written by queer authors. Additionally, I really wanted to focus on lifting up queer voices, especially after the J. K. Rowling drama that recently unfolded, and I think it’s really important to lift up queer voices in general.

 

around the blogosphere

I actually blog hopped this month, which means I can feature all your cool posts! Woohoo!

  • Vanessa wrote a post I really relate to as a fellow non-romance reader about why she likes romances
  • Kay wrote a rant review of I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE that I really enjoyed reading despite my love of the book
  • Rebecca wrote a helpful list of 7 romances she can’t wait for in 2020
  • Caro announced the Out of Your Comfort Zone reading challenge
  • Elizabeth compared her expectations of her most anticipated 2019 reads to how she actually felt about them
  • Kal posted her magical Book Blogger Spreadsheet for 2020

 

my favorite posts from the blog

august rewind \\ i don’t know what to subtitle this

Did this month go by really fast or is it just me? It’s probably just me because this month was BUSY and a lot of changes happened. But here we are at the beginning of September and it is almost FALL thank goodness; I hate summer (despite all the YA romance potential). ANYWAY, here is what happened in August…

 

what happened

  • I started my new job! Well, new-ish since it is still at the same library system I was working before. But I am now a children’s librarian instead of a teen librarian and am working in a much smaller branch, which I think will actually be a lot better for me because the big branch often caused me a ton of stress. Even though I started somewhere new, my stress level has already gone way down and I think this job will be very good for my heart condition, which incidentally was caused by stress and anxiety.
  • I went home and celebrated my birthday. I desperately needed a vacation since I hadn’t had one since April, and it was nice to go home and surprise my dad for his birthday and get the feeling of helping him feel happier and have people be happy to see me. I’ve been really down for most of the month and going home helped lift my spirits a bit. And I got to see my home kitties!
  • I really didn’t feel that great for the second half of the month, tbh. Part of the reason I was so looking forward to going home was because my depression was getting bad again due to some other stuff going on and I just knew going home and seeing my parents and cats would help. I’ve been feeling kind of blah and unmotivated and lethargic for a while I think, but things took a downward turn because of some stuff I’ve been facing in therapy really getting to me. I kind of wish I could talk about it on the blog just to get it out of my system but for some reason this just feels too personal and I’m also kind of embarrassed about what I’ve been struggling with.
  • We had two exploding ceiling incidents. Of water pouring from our ceiling into our kitchen. And they were within two weeks of each other. Apparently the first time they used “bad materials” to fix it, which is the dumbest excuse I could imagine. I’m really worried that when a new neighbor moves in upstairs and starts using the sink that it’s going to just keep happening.

 

what i read

I really dropped the ball again this month in terms of reading. It felt like I read a lot, but I think that was because I DNF’ed 4-5 books. I tried SPIN THE DAWN, which had a storytelling style I found off-putting, WILDER GIRLS, which had a writing style I didn’t like, THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO, which I had majorly spoiled for me, THE BABYSITTER’S COVEN, which needed to be more gay, and WICKED FOX, which I think I’ll like but I just wasn’t in the mood for this month. I think the problem was that at the beginning of the month I finished two books that were absolutely STELLAR, aka DAISY JONES AND THE SIX and THE RAVEN BOYS and had the worst (best???) book hangover as a result. Honestly, those two books made me feel blah about reading anything else because I knew nothing else would live up to them.

I did try the second book in the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire, and I really enjoyed it. DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES follows my two favorite minor characters from the first book in the series, twins Jack and Jill, and their journey into their door. This series is just so excellently written and so dark and twisty but whimsical at the same time. These books really make me wish that whimsical horror were a subgenre that was more explored. I don’t even really know what genre to categorize these books as but they’re just so creative and clever and I’m psyched to read the next book in the series, BENEATH A SUGAR SKY.

 

around the blogosphere

I actually blog hopped this month, go me!!

  • Kaya discussed how to achieve your readathon goals
  • Xandra wrote about things that seem scary about blogging, but actually aren’t
  • Cam talked about ways blogging has changed her as a reader
  • May discussed her rating system and why ratings are so hard
  • The Orangutan Librarian talked about mood reading
  • Vicky gave book recs based on the emoji mashup game

 

blogging life

I reached 476 followers this month! I am well on my way to my goal of reaching 500 followers by the end of 2019. This month blogging was a little tough for me because I found that I didn’t have much time, and when I did have time I wasn’t in the mood to blog. I think it’s just part of feeling overall blah/lethargic because of feeling a little depressed and all the changes that are happening in my life. I just felt so uninspired by blogging even though I read lots of cool posts from other bloggers. Honestly I’m kind of contemplating another blogging hiatus just to give myself a break and get myself together, but I went on one so recently and I don’t want to lose my momentum with blogging. But I’m just so TIRED and feeling lackluster about things and just want to focus on other aspects of my life for a while. So we’ll see.

 

favorites

Woo, this section returns because I have favorite things this month.

  • watching Daredevil on Netflix. I decided to give the Netflix Marvel show Daredevil a try on Netflix because I was feeling sad about not liking the second season of Jessica Jones enough to finish it and OMG, I am so in love with Daredevil? I think Matthew Murdoch might be my new favorite superhero. And Foggy Nelson, his bff??? LOVE!!! Also I am very weirdly attracted to Karen Page even though she’s not my usual type. I will say this show is EXTREMELY dark and violent, and sometimes I have to fast forward through some head smashing. But the story is intriguing and having a blind superhero is like the best thing?? Plus Rosario Dawson is on it and I think she was probably one of my first girl crushes before I realized I liked girls so this show has serious bi energy.
  • watching Veronica Mars on Hulu. One of my best work friends has been encouraging me to watch this show and I finally did. I’m not sure if I *love* it yet but I am enjoying it and the mysteries are fun and Kristen Bell is great obviously. I wish I knew about the sexual assault stuff beforehand but also am kind of glad I didn’t at the same time because if I had I probably wouldn’t have given it a chance. Also Veronica’s father is the greatest.
  • This cleanser from Farmacy at Sephora. I’ve been wanting to try a new cleanser for some reason and I’d liked another product from Farmacy, a “clean” beauty brand at Sephora, so I decided to try their gentle cleanser, and it is vv gentle, foams nicely, and has a nice scent that does in fact remind me of bees (in a good way).
  • My new iPhone 8. Right before my trip home, my phone cracked really badly and I ended up getting a new phone for my birthday?? So that was a nice surprise. It has SO MUCH SPACE and I have room for all my music and apps and also the battery doesn’t run out in half an hour of using it. Also my new case is very smooth and nice.
  • TAYLOR SWIFT’S NEW ALBUM, “LOVER”!!!!!!!! This came out the day before my birthday and made me feel like it was a gift to me even though obviously I know that is not true. But I am a huge Tay Swift fan so it felt very serendipitous. My top three songs are: 1. You Need to Calm Down (I am now a Taylor Is Bi conspiracy theorist) 2. The Man (so underrated but so accurate) and 3. The Archer (speaks to me on a personal level)

july rewind \\ change is in the air

I’m doing my monthly rewind a couple days early this month because by the time this post goes up I’ll be starting my new job (!!) and will likely be too busy to blog. So I am wrapping up July a couple of days early as a result.

 

things that happened

  • I GOT A NEW JOB!!!!!!! (ish). The (ish) is because it’s at my same library system, but it’s at a new branch, and it’s a CHILDREN’S job instead of teen. Back in December I realized that children’s librarianship might be a better choice for me, and mid-July I got a call asking if I still wanted to do that, and then I was transferred. I have a lot of emotions about leaving because I do really like my coworkers and my kids, but I think in general working at a smaller branch in the children’s department will be a good change for me and fit my personality and skills and interests better. Plus, most people I’ve talked to about it think the branch I’m going to will be a good fit for me and my former manager said she thinks I’ll be a “great” children’s librarian, which is very affirming and gives me more confidence that I’ll love and be better at this job than I am with teens.
  • I saw a friend! It really is newsworthy when I see friends in my not-working time because it happens so infrequently, lol. This particular friend and I tend to see each other on an every six months basis for some reason even though we live not an unreasonable distance away. I don’t know why this happens because he is always enthusiastic about getting together and we enjoy our talks about music and life but then don’t see each other for another six months. I hope I can fix that though.
  • We had another annoying neighbor incident. I don’t know what it is about this apartment, but my boyfriend and I keep getting stuck next to people who have no sense of basic human consideration and decency. This month, he had a screaming fight with a neighbor because she refused to turn down her super loud music that I could hear in the bedroom with my hearing aid turned off and played it every night for a week from 8-11pm. I honestly don’t understand why people think it’s okay to play music so loudly that it bothers all their neighbors. Even our upstairs neighbor was bothered and banged on our floor because he was annoyed and thought it was us. Anyway, it all sorted itself out once my boyfriend called management. I can’t wait until we can afford a house and not have to deal with annoying apartment neighbors. I can’t tell anymore if I hate this particular apartment or hate living in apartments in general. Ugh. Anyway.
  • I started a kidlit recommendation Instagram. Kind of. I’m still not very consistent with it because Instagram is not really my thing, but I have a new Insta at @urlibrarymom that focuses on kid’s books. My thought is that it would help hold me accountable for reading more picture books and kidlit in general on my journey to becoming a children’s librarian.

 

what i read

I really…dropped the ball on reading this month. I meant to read 5 YA novels, and I only read one. I did have a variety of reading, but I only read 4 books in total, which is not as much as I would like. My favorite book was definitely THE GRAVITY OF US by Phil Stamper, which was spacey and queer.

I also liked Megan Boyle’s collection of blog posts, which was apparently marketed as a poetry collection even though it’s not strictly poetry, which is interesting. I found a couple of the posts a little triggering, but the writing was interesting and I would be curious to read LIVEBLOG by her, which is a collection of all her blog posts. She started a liveblog of minute to minute posts about her life in the hopes of becoming a better person if she had an audience to judge her thoughts and actions, which apparently caused a major public breakdown a while ago, but still, the writing and concept are interesting.

 

writing updates

I don’t know why I’m including this again when I have approximately zero writing updates to give this month. I had been feeling super inspired by two particular ideas, but then life happened and got in the way and I lost motivation. But I still kind of want to start doing some serious outlining/planning/research for my two ideas.

I still am interested in writing a loose, Southern Gothic sapphic Jane Eyre retelling where Helen Burns (Jane’s best friend at Lowood) doesn’t die. There will still be a Rochester, but he will be creepy and possibly a serial killer. Also ghosts and possession and horror elements that I have yet to decide upon.

I also got interested in doing a Harriet the Spy (aka one of my favorite things as a child) retelling, but in this one, Harriet is a college student who has anxiety and has trouble making friends, so she writes an RPF (real-person fanfic) blog about kids at her school that goes viral even as she makes friends in real life. It will also be queer and the love interest will be nonbinary. I have already decided this even though I have no other plans for it. I will definitely have to read fanfiction, especially real-people fanfiction, which may be creepy, but it’s RESEARCH.

 

around the blogosphere

I didn’t do much blog hopping this month so this will be a very short section. Oops.

  • May wrote about things you shouldn’t feel guilty about as a book blogger
  • Paulina asked if she is a seasonal reader

 

blogging life

This month I reached 458 blog followers! Thank you all so much for sticking with me. Caro also nominated me for best adult book blogger for the 2019 book blogger awards. I was so super flattered to get the nomination because I haven’t been on this blog for that long and I really admire Caro’s blog as well and always enjoy talking with her in the comments, so that was a major highlight.

I also started writing a lot more witchy-themed posts. When I switched over to self-hosting and Cotton Candy Book Witch back in January, I intended to do this, but for the most part have stuck to my usual bookish-only posts. I’ve been really liking making the change to more witchy posts and feel that fits my brand and what I want to do with this blog. One thing I would like to do is incorporate my cats into the blog more, since I had graphics made of them when I first started this blog, introduced them as my familiars, and then never got around to doing posts with them. I just haven’t figured out a clever way to incorporate my kitties into my blog.

I’d also like to make my bookstagram more witchy and feature the cats more. My boyfriend and I had a cat instagram with book recs a while ago, but he wants me to make a new catsagram so people can’t find it through his information. I’d love do do an instagram that incorporates bookish and personal tarot readings as well as cat book recs, but as I’ve discussed numerous times, I’m dreadful at picking an aesthetic.

oh hey i’m psychic now \\ march & april rewind

OMG I just went back to my February wrap-up to remind myself how I format these and the title was “the calm before the storm??” and LOLOLOL HOW DID I KNOW???? Maybe my tarot readings are enhancing my psychic abilities or something. Anyway. Moving on to the wrap-up, which will include March AND April because I was on hiatus…

what happened

  • I reread some good stuff. I reread the first two Grisha books to finish the trilogy, and I really enjoyed all of them. I also started rereading the CARAVAL books in preparation for FINALE coming out in May. I still love the series but rereading them, I could see some major flaws which probably set up FINALE to be…a little bit of a mess honestly so far. But I have been super enjoying rereading books again this year and plan to do a lot more of it because it is fun and comforting.
  • Even though I’ve been super stressed again, my mental health has been a lot better. And sometimes I actually feel somewhat content and even excited to wake up in the morning, which is not something I’m used to. I’ve been very stressed because of my personal life, but overall I’m still feeling positive and I seem to be in recovery mental health wise. My anxiety is a lot more manageable than it has ever been, and I’m starting to realize how much less limited I am to do things I never thought I could do.
  • I went home!!!!! After almost a year, I finally got to go home to visit my parents (and my home kitties!!). I have not been home in so long and it was a very nice vacation. It was nice to spend time with my parents and nap in my bed and just spend some time away from my life in a safe place.
  • I applied to get funding to go to Book Expo. In my library system, librarians can apply to get funding for conferences and we can have EVERYTHING paid for, including room and board and food!! Even though NYC completely terrifies me and I’ve never been completely on my own before, I applied to go to Book Expo! I have two out of three approvals that I need, so I’m hoping I’ll hear back soon and actually be able to go to book expo as an industry professional and not a reader or blogger like I’ve done in the past. Please let me know in the comments if you are planning to go to Book Expo!!
  • I did a lot of tarot. The most fun thing I’ve been doing is my daily tarot readings. So far they’ve been super accurate, so much so that I’m a little freaked out by it honestly. Even with my book tarot readings they’ve been accurate. There was one time that irked me though when I asked about a current stressful situation in which I’ve been very confused, and it said “the path is unclear.” My tarot deck apparently likes to be sassy sometimes. But be on the lookout for more tarot posts!

 

what i read

In March, I read a mix of meh and awesome books. I LOVED the Grisha books, and can’t wait to continue on to SIX OF CROWS. FIELD NOTES ON LOVE was okay, but fell flat in a lot of ways for me, including Mae’s boring character and the weird pacing and the lack of vivid settings. I was also SUPER excited for the companion to THE KISS QUOTIENT, aka THE BRIDE TEST, but overall was not impressed. I couldn’t tell the tone of this book and was kind of upset by the whole premise of the romance and felt like Khai and Esme had no chemistry.

My main reading project for this month was to reread the first two CARAVAL books in preparation for FINALE, which I did. I already talked about those in the intro so I won’t repeat it here except to say I still really don’t know if I’m going to finish FINALE because it’s such a hot mess. I also read Maurene Goo’s newest book, SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW, set in Hong Kong and about a k-pop artist and photographer, which was SO FREAKIN CUTE!!!! I loved this book so much and it has inspired me to go with my sudden re-interest in songwriting.

I also read PET, which was super weird. I still don’t know exactly what I think about it. The writing was good, but I couldn’t tell if the messages about abuse and monsters often hiding in plain sight were too heavy-handed? Also the world building in this one was very weak and sometimes confusing. I also couldn’t tell what genre I’d say it was if I were to rec it to teens, which is a big thing for me now when I read a book. Overall I don’t think most teens would dig it.

As I’m writing this post, I’m currently in the midst of GEEKERELLA, which I hope I’ll finish by the time the post goes up. This far, it is SO ADORABLE. The couple hasn’t even met yet and I already ship them, and I love soft and sweet and geeky Darien so very much and just want to hug him and protect him. The writing is really fun and addicting and I’m loving the Cinderella retelling things because they’re done so well without banging you over the head. I’m really interested to see where Elle and Sage’s friendship goes, and as of now I am very glad I picked up a copy of THE PRINCESS AND THE FANGIRL a while ago because I am loving this story a lot.

around the blogosphere

I’m going to include mostly March because I didn’t get to share March posts since I was on hiatus and I haven’t been able to find time to catch up on everyone’s April posts yet (sorry!! I will catch up soon I promise!)

  • Marie wrote about the truth about blogging statistics
  • Fadwa wrote a life-saving post about the productivity tools she uses
  • Kayli wrote a very interesting post about her preferred reading formats
  • Ellyn made a helpful list of tips for annotating your books!
  • Siobhan discussed age-shaming of YA readers
  • Becca made a really fun list of horror recommendations by and for Hufflepuff readers!

 

book haul highlights

  • Kingdom of Souls | Rena Barron – This book is one of my most anticipated Fall reads, and I’ve been interested in it since the deal was announced in Publisher’s Weekly, which feels like forever ago. KINGDOM is about a girl from a long line of witch doctors who doesn’t have any powers of her own. She decides to call upon a demon who can take years of her life away in exchange for her own magic.
  • Crier’s War | Nina Varela – I only heard about this one when it went up on Edelweiss recently, but OMG it sounds FABULOUS. It’s an epic, LGBT fantasy about two girls who fall in love and some other fantasy stuff and OMG IT SOUNDS SO GOODDDDDDDDD. Cannot wait to read this one!!!
  • Serpent & Dove | Shelby Mahurin – Obviously this witchy bitchy book had to go on my TBR list since I am Cotton Candy Book Witch. It’s about witches and a holy war and seems dark and mysterious and atmospheric and I AM HERE FOR IT!!!

 

favorites

I’m thinking about occasionally reviving this part of my monthly rewinds when I actually have stuff to write for it.

  • Lizzo’s new album, CUZ I LOVE YOU. I am SO OBSESSED with Lizzo’s new album. I heard of her when Bustle featured her song ‘SCUSE ME on one of their posts, and was so excited when this album finally dropped. It ended up even exceeding my expectations. It’s the most empowering album I’ve ever listened to and it makes me feel so good about being myself and I just can’t listen to it enough. Lizzo is a fantastic queen and I love her so much.
  • Top Chef. I am also really obsessed with Top Chef. My boyfriend and I watched Masterchef together a while ago but we finished all the seasons so I needed a new cooking reality show, and I got hooked on Top Chef. It amuses me so much when the contestants talk about how hot Padma Lakshmi is. She is very attractive, not gonna lie. She makes this show.
  • Saturday Skin Rise & Shine gentle cleanser. You probably don’t know this about me, but I am very in love with all types of skincare. I got this cleanser recently to use as my morning face wash, and I really like it. It’s very light and foamy and always makes me feel like my face is extra clean. The packaging for this brand is also really pretty and is my favorite shade of pink so all around it makes me very happy.

 

How was your April? What did you read that you liked? Or disliked?

february rewind \\ calm before the storm??

things that happened

  • Honestly…not much…January was stressful because the teens were out of school so much, but February was comparatively calm. Hopefully it’s not the calm before the storm, but honestly not much happened. Things were relatively quiet at the library, plus I got a snow day once which was nice.
  • Bae and I started movie night. The only thing of note that really happened is that my boyfriend instituted a movie night for Saturdays because we often don’t see much of each other during the week because of our schedules and don’t get to spend as much time together as we did over the summer. So far we’ve had three movie nights and I have actually enjoyed them so far. I need to find more movies for us to watch that both of us will enjoy though, and not just kids/animated movies that I like.
  • I got a Nintendo Switch! I guess that is a somewhat big thing. I bought it with the part of my tax return that didn’t go into savings, and I have been enjoying it very much but would like to own more than two games. So far I only have Super Mario Bros. and Let’s Go Eevee.
  • I had my one year anniversary at my job. I survived my first full year as a full-time librarian! I don’t know how I did it and wish I could erase the first six months when I was an emotional wreck, but I did it and even my boss thinks I’ve improved a lot, so hopefully my annual evaluation will go well and they’ll take me off probation.

 

what i read

I read an embarrassingly small amount this month. I also realized I’ve been almost exclusively reading backlist books and need to catch up on new releases. Anyway. My favorite reads were definitely THE POET X, an new read, and SHADOW & BONE, a reread. I read THE POET X because it’s one of our summer reading books for 2019 at the library job, and I was SO impressed and can totally see why it won a National Book Award AND the Printz, if I’m not mistaken. It was so good and I’m definitely recommending it to literally everyone I know for the foreseeable future.

The only book I was kind of “meh” about was ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY, which I read for a program at work. It was cute and funny, but definitely younger than I usually read. However, I would very much recommend it to younger readers and will probably do so with some of my kids who like gaming who always say they want to sleep in the library (I have two of those. It is annoying when I want to leave at the end of the day and they’re trying to stay but it’s cute). Anyway. I was a little weirded out because the author liked the two tweets I wrote about it, which I guess is fine but I didn’t write the author’s name or tag him in the tweets, and I wonder what the response would’ve been if I said I *didn’t* like the book, and I would rather authors not interact with my content if I don’t tag them directly or write their names in the tweet I guess. Maybe it’s not that big a deal but I felt weird about it.

 

blogging things

Not much of note happened on the blog this month. I did do a few more witchy posts that made me happy, including an etymology post, a Willow Adds post, and another tarot reading of a book I haven’t read, NO ONE HERE IS LONELY. I really want to start writing more witchy posts, including stuff that’s not strictly bookish, but I’m a little worried nobody will be interested because even though my witchy posts get a lot of views, they don’t get a ton of engagement and I’m not sure why.

 

around the blogosphere

As usual, there were lots of great posts this month. Here are some of them:

  • Marija discussed the five star rating system and its advantages and downfalls.
  • Charlotte recommended a bunch of quietly magical books and I want to add all of them to my TBR.
  • Kat and Tracy had an the amazing BLOGIFUL event, which was all about blog design, including how to make great graphics, navigation, branding, and more!
  • Kat also launched her design shop, Waffley Cute Designs! If you’re looking for someone who’s great to work with with a real eye for design for your blog, definitely check her out!
  • Marie wrote about how to stay positive while book blogging.

 

book haul highlights

  • Symptoms of a Heartbreak | Sona Charaipotra – This book is about a med student who falls for her teen patient and it sounds like its gonna crush my soul and I am READY.
  • The Lost Coast | Amy Rose Capetta – Two words: QUEER. WITCHES. It’s me in a book!
  • If It Makes You Happy | Claire Kann – I don’t actually remember what this one is about but it’s by Claire Kann who wrote the wonderfully delightful LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE and I’ve been absolutely DYING for another book by her and cannot wait to read it!

january rewind \\ more books more stress!

things that happened

  • I had a job interview for a job I really want. I applied to be a materials selector at my library for the children’s books, which would mean I basically spend my days researching and reading books that I then get to decide if my library system buys. I REALLY want this job because, as I’ve been noting, my current job stresses me the fuck out and I’m not sure if I want to stay in librarianship in this capacity. I don’t feel like the interview went well because they changed the location on the day of the interview without telling me so I was even more stressed than a normal interview situation, and I’m worried I sabotaged myself. I haven’t heard back yet so I guess there’s still hope, but I’m not very optimistic even though I know I’d be amazing at it.
  • I went self-hosted!! I’ve been contemplating changing my name and going self-hosted for a while because I want my blog to reflect my personality more and to have more freedom where plug ins and themes are concerned. So, welcome to Cotton Candy Book Witch, your local witchy-bitchy book blog with lots of glitter, books, and magic!
  • I got threatened at work. To be fair, it was only a teen, but it is scary af to hear that someone wants to wait for you after work to beat you up and then have the same person say they’re ready to slap you plus calling you a bitch a few times. This same teen has also called our security officer a bitch, and I just wish we could ban him, but for some reason my boss just decided that talking to him with me and the security officer was enough, which I don’t agree with. If he gets to come back he’s just gonna do the same things over and over and I have to deal with extreme anxiety every time he comes in.
  • One of our most obnoxious teens no longer hates us. Granted, he is still annoying at times, but we got one of our most problematic teens to play Uno with us (us being the head of the department and I) and I think he secretly enjoyed it even though he’d die before admitting that. And he’s been hanging around our desk a bit more so I am extremely pleased. It has only taken 8 months of testing us for him to get to this point…

 

what i read

I actually read quite a few books (aka 7) this month! I am very pleased about this, especially because 5 were backlist books. My favorite book was either FAKE IT TILL YOU BREAK IT or THE KISS QUOTIENT, both of which are romances, but one is fluffy and YA and the other is somewhat fluffy and adult. I’m so glad my first foray into (published) adult romance went well and now I’m excited to read more adult romance books and branch out a little into adult. I also liked both MG graphic novels I read and hope to read more of those as well. The most disappointing fiction book I read was unfortunately KINGDOM OF THE BLAZING PHOENIX, which I am still sad about, but Jade was SO nice and SO deadly boring that I just couldn’t love the story as much as the complex and dark FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS.

 

blogging things

Obviously, the biggest blogging thing that happened this month was going self-hosted and becoming Cotton Candy Book Witch! I wish I could just say I’m happy and excited about it, but I also just have SO MUCH anxiety over it. I’m stressed that there’s no more WordPress follow button and I can’t figure out how to get a button other than the email subscribe because most of my followers read from the WordPress reader, and I’m really worried that my posts won’t show up in the reader even though my hosting company said they “should” because that’s where practically all my traffic comes from. I almost threw in the towel and decided not to migrate the blog, but I didn’t know how else to change the URL and migrate the site, so I decided to do it but I’m just so stressed about people possibly not seeing my posts in the WordPress reader. I’m just worried I made a huge mistake that I can’t take back and that I won’t keep gaining followers and my views will be completely shot.

On another note, I did somehow gain 60 followers this single month?? Idk how that happened but it is pretty great. I will get to my 500 follower goal for 2019 in no time if that keeps up (if I can figure out how to allow people to follow via self-hosted WordPress). Also if you found this via the WordPress reader, please tell me so I can stop panicking and crying??

 

around the blogosphere

People wrote some really great posts this month! Check some of them out here:

  • Kat made a wonderful list of books featuring protagonists who are 20ish and I am so excited to read all of them!
  • Shealea also launched a new blog, Shut Up, Shealea.
  • Camillea posted about 5 mistakes she made while writing her first novel.
  • Briana posted about what book bloggers actually do.
  • Vicky shared some paperback cover changes she’s in love with.

 

book haul highlights

  • Spin the Dawn | Elizabeth Lim – This book was pitched as Project Runway meets Mulan and how can I not want to read a book comped to those things??? Court intrigue & drama & fashion?? ALL THE YES!!!
  • Tell Me How You Really Feel | Amina Mae Safi – I was SO EXCITED to see this book on NetGalley. Just look at all that f/f magic on the cover! And I’m pretty sure they start out hating each other which is my favorite romance trope ever?? So this is going to be AMAZING.
  • Happy Messy Scary Love | Leah Konen – I actually requested this one kind of on a whim but as soon as I heard it had a character who loves horror movies and an online-turned-IRL romance, I knew I HAD to have it. I hope this one ends up being good.
  • Love from A-Z | S. K. Ali – I was very excited to see this one on Edelweiss because the Bustle cover reveal and excerpt convinced me I need to have it. Hopefully it will live up to my extremely high expectations!