Very important questions I have about American high schools in YA fiction as a non-American // I demand answers

Most YA contemporary fiction is set in unrealistic U.S. high schools that supposedly have horrible food and mean kids everywhere.

Like, 98% of schools are in the US, to be honest, and a lot of them are carbon copies of each other, except named after a different president or something.

Which kind of sucks because THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER COUNTRIES OKAY. (Like Canada… *cough* Or think about European countries! Or Asian countries! Australia!)

And because we’re reading about teens and all, there’s the whole issue of high school and that little thing called systemically engineered torture education!!

I know living in Canada means our high schools are not that different from US high schools, or not so different compared to other countries, but there are still several aspects that I’m not familiar with which reoccur in YA books enough to just make me wonder… does this actually happen in real life?? Maybe it’s just because I don’t live in the States?

And I know a lot of you are from the States, and a lot of you aren’t! So I thought it would be interesting to talk about perspectives on what high schools are like in fiction vs. reality!!

1. Is Phys Ed mandatory for all years of high school?

I’M SO CONFUSED ABOUT THIS. Because I keep seeing these main characters getting all worried or annoyed or frustrated about gym class and I… just don’t relate??? Not past grade 9, anyway.

I know several of my friends who did take physical education in Grade 10/11/12, but you only need ONE (1) health/phys ed credit to graduate, and I think it’s mandatory to take it in Grade 9?

Aside from that, you don’t ever have to suffer through the dreaded class again unless you choose to!!

(For the Ontario diploma, anyway.)

So why, are all these characters choosing to suffer through phys ed if they hate it so much?? Hmm??? (Okay yes, plot, but REALISM. HELLO. Where is it.) Is it mandatory in the US?

I’m just honestly so tired of seeing 17/18 year olds who, complain or face drama because of gym class when realistically, based off my experience, THEY DON’T NEED TO TAKE IT. I know it’s important to plot and such but it’s irritating! Of course, if it IS mandatory, then… whelp, I send you my condolences.

Unless you enjoy phys ed, in which case yayy for you!! But not for the fictional characters lmao.

ALSO. Is gym class usually co-ed?? Because mine wasn’t? (Usually.) Girls and guys had separate teachers, did activities and sports separately. I suppose that would strip a novel of its usual gym class drama, but just being real here.

2. Are there mean girls at every high school?

(Okay, another joke question because no, obviously.) But how common are they, hm??? Not as common as they are in books, I bet. I swear, books paint American high schools as some kind of hang out spot for girls who hate on other girls–like can you please not???

Sure, I didn’t love everyone at my school, but no one was outright mean to someone else? I’m not saying they don’t exist, but I feel like they’re overdramatized A TON in fiction. If you didn’t like someone, you just stayed away from them, plain and simple. Not blackmail them for a guy and/or try to undermine them and make sure their life is miserable… just no. Chill.

3. Do you ever have courses aside from English/Math/Science/History??

Okay, slightly sarcastic question because obviously yes. BUT I MEAN. Going by YA novels… no, you don’t.

What a sad life. (I mean, that’s school already but.)

Also why are the English teachers always the most chill ones? They’re not always? I’ve previously had and my friends have had some pretty crappy English teachers before, who are NOT super philosophical and easy going. Nope.

I am kind of curious about what courses are like in US high schools though, like obviously not that different, but what’s the day rotation like? How many do you take? Are you guys also semestered?

Why are courses just never talked about at all??

DO YOU KNOW HOW STRESSFUL CHOOSING THEM CAN BE. And you know, they can be kiiiiind of important. For college and university. Just a thought.

Maybe that’s just me and my indecisive self oops

4. How many people usually take AP classes anyway?

I think it’s slightly unrealistic great that YA contains so many smart characters who apparently don’t need to study to pass their classes, and I’m not trying to discredit anyone who takes/has taken AP (Advanced Placement) classes, but WHY is it everywhere. Just a thought. You don’t need to take AP to be smart, you know.

I low-key feel like authors just shove it in everywhere without a thought to kind of show, yeah, this character is super smart and serious about school… but then they don’t show that through anything else which makes it kind of futile?

AP is not big at all where I live, but I don’t know, there are so many books I’ve read where the main character is taking like all AP classes or whatnot. That’s great, but it makes it seem a lot more common than it might be? Perhaps? I don’t know, I’m just guessing from my own experience.

And speaking of advances classes and the like, is the IB program (International Baccalaureate) not popular at all in the States? Like, I don’t think I’ve EVER seen it in a book… but it exists in the States I’m sure, so…….

OR MAYBE… just a typical, standard high school diploma works too. You know.

5. Do people really have different hours for lunch time?

Okay, a serious question! Because I noticed sometimes characters would mention who they don’t have the same lunch period as their friend, or something similar, which kind of confused me because what is the point of that? Everyone had the same lunch time at my school??

How does that even work, and why? Does the school become too crowded? Not everyone eats in the cafeteria anyway, can’t you eat in hallways and such? I mean, I did. The cafeteria was wayyy too loud and hot and annoying lol. But we all had the same lunch period?

This sad eating alone thing also, did not generally happen, but idk, maybe I was just oblivious.

6. Is cafeteria food really that bad?

I suppose this depends from school to school no matter the country, but in 97% of the books I’ve read, the cafeteria food is supposedly disgusting, or just not appetizing and…???

OUR CAF FOOD WAS DELICIOUS, OKAY. I probably gained 10 pounds from purchasing a delicious chocolate chip cookie or muffin in the morning my first years of high school, but let’s be real, I have no regrets.

I mean, those were some GOOD COOKIES. Omg. Best $1.25 I’ve ever spent. They were super big, too!! Like a good 5-6 inches in diameter.

the return of this beautiful cookie gif omg I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use this

And we had tons of great options for lunch too! I didn’t buy my lunch that often because a) ouf that would become expensive,  b) I’m so not waiting in line for that long I’m a very impatient soul and c) *whispers* my mom packed me a lunch for a large portion of my high school years and her cooking is amazing okay.

But still, we had good food! There were large pizza slices, different pastas, sandwiches, and… POUTINE. Granted it wasn’t a very large quantity (unfortunately) BUT IT WAS SO GOOD.

Would almost go back to high school for all the food, tbh. The cookies, at the very least.

(ALSO. How daunting and scary are cafeterias, really? Books [and movies, actually] make them seem like such a feat, but… they’re really just places where noisy and slightly sweaty teens eat lunch and socialize. I totally understand how for some people that IS a feat [esp. if you have anxiety] but as a generalization, they’re not that bad; and you don’t have to eat there if you don’t want to.)

7. How do groups of friends just happen to have so many classes together?

Grade 9, sure, yeah, I had a decent amount of friends in pretty much all my classes because we had so little options in terms of courses that obviously we’d be grouped together somewhat. And we’re still meeting new people and making new friends anyway!

Grade 10, a bit less so but still not bad. Grade 11 and 12 are so much more random though? You have a lot less requirements all of a sudden and people are taking different electives and the like, which means you’re not often likely to have your group of friends all in the same class(es)?

Unfortunately most of us don’t/didn’t attend Hogwarts….

I don’t know, it depends from person to person/school to school I guess? Depending on how many classes there are for a particular subject, how many students there are, etc.

But I see in books especially large groups of bullies, for example, all in the same Math/English/typical class with the main character and aside from the fact that the bullies seem to constantly pick on the MC (which doesn’t happen? usually?) how are they all together???

I went to a pretty large school, so maybe that’s what’s influencing me but it just makes me laugh to see that happen. Because those chances are just… so slim, where I went lmao. Not to mention bullies picking on someone at all during class was just unlikely lol. Canadian genes? (Jokes, jokes… mostly. Or maybe I just hung out with good people?)

8. How long is your lunch?? 

Why does no one complain about how short lunch is?? These characters seem to fit everything in at lunch and never seem to have an issue with how fast it goes by, despite doing 10 000 things at a time.

For me it was like 45 minutes? And it went by SO FAST. Omg. It was the worst. Walking from your class to your locker/meeting up with friends; 10 minutes! Eat lunch and (GASP) occasionally socialize; 25 minutes! Even worse if you stand in line to buy lunch, have a club meeting or need to finish homework.

SIGH.

Yet here all these characters are just hiding out in the library–speaking of which!! The school library doesn’t always allow food??? What do you do then? — and/or socializing, or going outside nearby to get lunch somewhere else, without a care in the world that, oh, look, lunch is almost over crap, we gotta hurry!!

I see you, authors trying to fit in all the drama at lunch time, but it ain’t working because these students should be getting to class. 😂

9. How comfortable are your seats?

This of course depends from school to school or even class to class, but OH MY LORD SOME OF OUR SEATS WERE AWFUL. The seats were attached to the desk looking something like this:

Which meant to sit you had to make sure to be on the side without the metal bar thing attaching the desk and the chair otherwise you have to do this awkward thing where you lift your leg over the bar (which is made worse if there are people behind you, or a desk right beside you because trust me, it’s not a very flattering position).

And!! The back part of the seat usually had screws, which meant my hair would ALWAYS catch on them and djadiaehfuihfwiuhiuwef I swear it was torture. TORTURE. I lost so much hair from those chairs, I swear. (And I didn’t usually tie my hair up either because who has the time to do that also I didn’t really like to do so)

Of course there are some normal chairs out there which don’t aim to kill me, but then those desks are usually made for multiple people and then you face awkwardness if you’re assigned to a seat with people you don’t know very well or some other awkward situation….

WHY IS THIS NEVER AN ISSUE. I demand characters to suffer as I do.

10. Report cards… exams… studying… death… is that not required to succeed high school??

Sure, some people might just not study or care about exams, but then I don’t think those people also ace their exams without studying? Like, as a general rule? (If you do, that’s great! I admire your skills!)

But there are so many characters I’ve read about who just never seem to care about handing in assignments, or their marks each term and report cards, their average, or their courses, ESPECIALLY during Grade 11/12, yet are on a straight path to some Ivy League school or are in AP classes…………………

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

High school was kind of stressful okay. I have parents wanting me to have at least a 90+ average and a procrastinator-perfectionist mindset (which is an AWFUL pairing) which meant I worked really hard for my marks because they don’t always come easy!! It’s hard not to spite these fictional characters getting accepted to all their choices seemingly without have done much? How easy is high school for you Americans, hm? I demand your secrets or the lies to be revealed.

Calling all Americans to answer these high school questions!! What is/was your experience in high school? Does it match up to what you read about in books, somewhat? And if you didn’t attend/don’t attend high school in the States, what’s your experience like? Which country’s high school system would you like to read more about in books? Did anyone else have death traps painful seating arrangements or other particular high school experiences?

And I’m sincerely asking about phys ed in the US, because IT IS EVERYWHERE and my brain cannot compute (or search it up on the Internet because this way is obviously more fun).

At this point, I’d just like any schools apart from ones in the US haha no offense!! I find it’s such a shame so many books are set in the US, for so many reasons, but also particularly because of high school. It just gets so repetitive! At least make different types of high schools. Idk. Something. Because right now, there are many similar holes I see and I’m calling out these “schools”. 😂

I just realized 3 of these have to do with lunch time and I’ll just leave it up to you to determine what that says about me…

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Big and popular books I’m avoiding // Because hype + long books are scary?

In case you missed it, Big Books + Hype = EXTREME FEAR.

This is fact, okay. FACT. Decided by me, the Very Honest, Never Ever EVER Hyperbolic Queen.

So, “big” can kind of vary (because I am an unpredictable potato), but generally I’ll label anything from around 400 or mid-400 onwards as being a big book??

And okay, sure, I totally understand that fantasy books often have to be long because of how much content and world it needs to explore, but from simply a reader’s perspective, big books can be kind of a hassle. 😂

  • They take more time –> time is precious –> also more of a need for the book to be amazing because you spend so much time on it??
  • I like completing goals!! And overall succeeding!! But then in the time it takes for me to read one big book, I could’ve maybe finished 2 smaller books and that’s better for my GR challenge 😂😅
  • What if it disappoints??? Double the disappointment because it’s double the size of a normal book!!
  • I’m a lazy person
  • My logic is flawless
  • Often times the book doesn’t really even NEED to be that long (*cough* The Unexpected Everything *cough*) and so then it’s just filler which is annoying
  • THEY’RE SO HEAVY AND INTIMIDATING
  • What if they fall from my shelf and break my head
  • This is a true fear

Older hyped books

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (848 pages)

Okay, barring the fact that there’s incest and all the characters die over and over or something tragic like that, THESE BOOKS ARE SO FREAKING BIG. Like omg I can’t even.

WHYYY are these books so big.

Not for world building or anything obviously

Am I ever going to read these? Uhhhhh.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer (620 pages)

Will I ever read this?? Hahahahah nope, probably not.

It’s just not my cup of tea??

Also it’s just wayyyyy too long PLEASE SPARE ME.

The Diviners by Libba Bray (578 pages)

I heard so much about The Diviners!! But I’m very skeptical because GOSH THAT’S LONG and I’m 99.9% sure it doesn’t need to be that long.

What a large commitment I cry

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (500 pages)

I heard of dragons!! I might read this someday! (BUT 500 pages geez)

New Books

(So I tried organizing by release date AND page count and it did not work oops. But that’s okay!!)

Lord of the Shadows by Cassandra Clare (700 pages)

I ADORE SHADOWHUNTERS.
I ADORE LADY MIDNIGHT.

I STILL HAVEN’T READ THIS BOOK.

I know, I’m insane.

But guyssss everyone says this book is amazing and there’s a cliffhanger and I’m scared okay!!! I need my children to be okay!!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (600 pages)

Also if I read it I also have to read Gemina, which is 660 pages (!!!!) and the upcoming Obsidio which is reportedly 624 pages….

I give y’all permission to screech at me to read the series!!

And I will!

Someday!!

Maybe!!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (536 pages)

It’s staring me down from my shelf but gosh darnit it’s long. And it’s Laini Taylor!! Which means the writing will be beautiful but also very descriptive and hard to get into at first hahahah hence me still not having read it oops.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (525 pages)

OKAY. I KNOW I’m going to love this book!! The hype is NOT going to be wrong with this one, I just know it.

Buuuuut I still haven’t read it.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And I Darken by Kiersten White (475 pages)

I was planning on listening to this on audiobook from Overdrive but I can’t focus as well in audiobook?? So I’m going to read the physical book and I’m so excited for Lada (is that her name) and Radu?? and all that murder and stuff…

except I’m apparently not ready enough to read it!! Surprise!!

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (450 pages)

Okay so this is on the smaller side of the big scale, but the HYPE. Omg. So huge. And 450 pages is still a rather large commitment?? Also there’s some certain content issues I heard of that makes me avoid it a bit more but I might end up reading it?

slightly spoilery/content warning

I’m a bit more hesitant because of the “bury your gays” trope I heard about in this, but also W/POC rep is so important and I think this book is still worth reading? I’m just so saddened by the bury your gays trope because I thought we would’ve been past that? But I do want to read this and basically I’m a contradictory mess hahahah oops

What popular and/or large books have you been avoiding? Do you avoid large books? Are any of these books still on your TBR as well? What is your preferred length for a book? Which of these books must I *ABSOLUTELY* read? 

Choosing between SHINY NEW BOOKS and backlist titles // Pros and Cons + Recs you must read immediately!

I am a huge fan of backlist titles.

But I am also very easily distracted by NEW titles.

You remember that little kid who pokes things and runs off to look at every remotely new and shiny object in the store? YEAH, I’M THAT KID. (Except I’m not considered a kid anymore so it becomes slightly more of an “issue”.)

The problem becomes, although there are a ton of books I’m interested in reading that were released in past years, THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY NEW BOOKS I keep discovering, especially thanks to book blogging.

So now, to decide, once and for all*, I will be comparing the two in order to somehow reach a conclusion between the two options!

Plus recommendations because I like screeching about books and very kindly nudging you to read them all. :)))

Pros

  • You feel like you’re “in the know” and don’t feel as left out with everyone hyping up certain new releases!
  • THEY’RE PRETTY
  • AND SHINY
  • And more hyped and obviously you’re curious*??
  • If you write reviews, writing a review on new releases are likely to be more popular because people know about them more/are more interested in them

*even though curiosity killed the cat. Haven’t you learned, child.

Me @ new books

Cons

  • HYPED BOOKS ARE SCARY
  • Like, REALLY scary
  • New and hyped books can let you down
  • Like, a lot.
  • Also money spent
  • Like, a lot.

Pros

  • Old books deserve the love tooooooo. Don’t be so mean against the books with white hair, excuse you.
  • You can find a surprise favourite! Surprise because sometimes backlist books that aren’t talked about as much but then you realize how amazing it is?!
  • You can be Special and Stand Out and be a Rebel and not follow the status quo
  • You catch up on the 10 000 books that were released last year that everyone just forgot about the minute the new year came around (even though everyone was just as excited for those books)
  • So they were hyped!
  • So if you did want to follow the status quo, well, those books work
All the backlist books you’re supposed to be reading cause they’re on your (or the library’s) shelves…

Cons

  • If it’s from a looooonng time ago then people might not recognize or care about the book as much, which might be a factor when reviewing books
  • Not as many people care about the book, even if it was hyped before
  • Seriously, we have the attention span of a goldfish
  • Who has time for old books anyway?
  • (Yes I’m contradictory, your point is?)
  • You might read a book and LOVE IT but there’s not many new readers who share the same excited feelings?

(Not that I’ve read many of them hahahahaha oops)

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann: very very adorable read! It is super cute, but it’s also a super needed book featuring a bi-romantic (and black) main character. I loved how honest it was about it, how it delved into the struggles Alice faces while also not making it her whole identity! It was just super fun.

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown: I already talked about this one here, but basically I loved it and it’s the fourth book in the Red Rising series that you should definitely read if you like fantasy and murder!!

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed: My review on this is coming!! I think!! Thank you so much for all your support on the issue I was facing for this book, it encouraged me so much. Overall I would definitely recommend this though!

Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi: I related to Scott’s struggles so much! Not knowing what he wants to do in life, feeling his parents are too overprotective (but knowing/finding out they come from a good place), was so real to me! I didn’t particularly care about Fiora though.

American Panda by Gloria Chao: An #ownvoices novel ft. a Taiwanese main character and Japanese L.I! This was equally super super adorable and also kind of heavy/tension-filled when it comes to Mei’s family?! I related to her so much.

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh: I really loved the concept of exploring grief in a fantasy world! I didn’t particularly like how long it lasted or how fast it happened, but Odessa’s emotion was really real and not to mention the necromancy and zombies things was super cool! I also loved the side characters so much.

I’d also recommend Meet Cute if you’re one for romance, but I personally had mixed thoughts? Some of the stories I liked/loved, others didn’t… but it was cute! I also didn’t love Batman by Marie Lu or Everless by Sara Holland, but you might still like them!

Newly backlisted – 2017

Does 2017 count as backlist?? I guess so, but it doesn’t feel that long ago? Oh well.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller: PIRATES AND BANTER. I love it. Alosa, our MC is super fierce and feisty and I loved the banter between her and Riden so much! I’m currently reading the sequel and so far it’s really good as well!

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: Percy is the most precious soul okay, Monty is… pretty ignorant? But I felt for him and loved seeing him grow and all the action and I am super pumped for Felicity’s book!!

Warcross by Marie Lu: The MC, Emika was a huge special snowflake, but I actually really loved her!! Not to mention Warcross and the virtual reality thing they have going on in their futuristic world is AMAZING and I WANT TO GO THERE RIGHT NOW SOMEONE PLEASE HELP.

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer: I was surprised with this one!! It explores grief, mother-child, father-child relationships and broke my heart but omg it was so good.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone: This was soooo short but omg it packed a punch?! It tackles racism, police brutality, racial profiling, sexism, and GOD IT WAS SO GOOD. And so important!!

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody: Magic carnivals! Illusions that are real? Murder? I wasn’t that interested at first while reading, and the pacing felt kind of off for me, but the world, the characters, and the plot twists were actually so so so good omg.

THEY’RE ALL SO GOOD. *side glances at you to pick them up immediately*

Kind of old backlist – 2016

The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine: Ahhh I haven’t read the sequel yet, but the magic and ruling system in this book was so cool and I loved it

Beyond the Red by Ava Jae: This is a sci-fi, which I don’t usually pick, but I remember actually enjoying this one a lot?? I… don’t remember specific reasons why though which makes this recommendation utterly useless. Oh well.

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye: Okay, so I kind of didn’t like the sequel very much, but the first book I enjoyed!! I loved the Russian influences to the world and the magic was super cool as well.

Ruined by Amy Tintera: More people with superpowers and stuff in a world where people are then afraid of said people! I loved both Em and Cas SO MUCH and there was so much tension and ahhh I really need to read the sequel!!

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury: Aladdin retelling!! Must I even say more???!

Starflight by Melissa Landers: Another hate-to-love romance!! ADORE. It’s also another sci-fi, which is odd considering I don’t usually read the genre. But omg so much banter I love itttt.

Oldish backlist – 2015

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: Guys, I’m not sure if you know, but, I freaking ADORE hate-to-love romances, and this has that, and also magic, intrigue, and a MC who is the BESTTT. I adore her so much!

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin: There’s a motorcycle race during a time where Hitler rules and we have Yael, a shapeshifter who must win and murder him. SO GOOD.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: SIMON. IS. THE. BEST. I love him, and his family, and his story and huadjkasdald you NEED to read this.

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore: I

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine: So much diversity in a fantasy world! It’s the best!! Also libraries and I remember this being super interesting, but I read it a while ago so details are vague hahaha oops. BUT IT’s GOOD. trust me.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: Simon and Bazzzz!!! My two little preciousness. Also there were sour cherry scones and SNOWBAZ okay I love them so much

(And OBVIOUSLY there are gems such as Six of Crows, and A Darker Shade of Magic! Obviously. I just take it that you’ve read them already… right??? 👀 Exactly.)

OLDER

Hahahahah so many of these are my favourite series because I don’t remember many old standalones. 😂

Shatter Me by There Mafi – 2011 // The Raven Boys – 2012 // Shadow and Bone – 2012 // Red Rising – 2014 // The Lunar Chronicles – 2012 // Angelfall by Susan Ee – 2011

These are all the first books in each of their respective series, because those are the oldest! But it seems crazy that these were published so long ago omg.

Also:

The Sky is Everywhere (2010) and I’ll Give You the Sun, both by Jandy Nelson (2014) were such emotional reads!! I loved them both so much! The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (2011) was about a magic circus/carnival and omg it was so good!

I don’t mind backlist books! After all, they’re just like any other book? BUT. At the same time, I feel like I’m also not actively looking for them? Obviously there are the backlist books I own myself that I need to get through, but say if I were at a library, I generally don’t pick up books that were published before 2015? I know, it’s bad!!

I don’t know, there’s just something about book blogging nowadays that makes me feel like I HAVE to read the newer or somewhat recent books… which is ridiculous, I know.

For newer books or books released the same year, well, I usually end up picking them up later in the year? Except for this year, I’ve read a lot more January releases closer to their release date, which is so weird.

But I also have a fear of hype??? And I procrastinate on new books?? Sooooo I don’t know how all that works.

Do you prefer reading backlist books or newer, recent books??? (Isn’t the hype scary.) What are some of your favourite backlist or 2018 titles?? Have you read any of my recommendations?? (YOU SHOULD. JUST SAYIN’.) What are your thoughts?! 

26 YA Books Releasing in March 2018 You Need on Your TBR (because I said so)!

So it’s well-known, that publishers love to smother us with new books!!

Which is great! But also, it is supremely difficult to keep up with all of them, or the ones we’re most interested in, so basically I’m taking the opportunity to make sure I don’t forget these books because my memory is horrible!! (And oh yes, I’m also sneakily plotting to make sure your TBRs grow taller but you didn’t hear that from me.)

Also featuring me crying joyfully over diversity, beautiful covers and my empty wallet!! Let’s go!

March 6th

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: THE HYPE. THE HYYYYYYYYPEEEE! A West-African inspired fantasy! Diverse!! Um, hi, it’s mine, thanks!!!

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi: Shatter Me!!!! More Juliette and Warner and Kenji and all the amazing things!!!! (I’M NOT SCREAMING, YOU ARE)

The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk: Grief and music and diversity!! *grabby hands*

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer: I ADORED Letters to the Lost, and this book is from the POV of Rex, who I was so intrigued with in LTTL. So sign me up!!

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo: This sounds SO GOOD omg. I believe there are sirens and more specifically, a disgraced siren who needs to kill the prince to be made a siren again??! I SENSE MURDER INTRIGUE!

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton: I loved Rebel of the Sands, but I’ve been uninterested in reading the second book and I’m kiiiind of indifferent to the third’s book release. BUT THE SERIES STARTED OFF GOOD.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw: Three sisters who were drowned for witchery steal the bodies of human girls every year to lure boys and drown them for revenge – HOLY CRAP. Sign me up! (I swear I’m normal)

In Search Of Us by Ava Dellaira: “A parallel story of a mother and daughter, each at age 17” The main character is biracial,

The Case For Jamie by Brittany Cavallero: I haven’t read any of the Charlotte Holmes books, but I’ve had them on my TBR for so long! Oops.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough: To be honest I’m not a fan of historical fiction? Too much sexism and old-fashioned

The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara: Sooooo I don’t actually see ton of good reviews for this?? BUT PIRATESSSSSSS.

Pacifica by Kristen Simmons: MORE PIRATES. Did I miss something about March??? There are so many sea-themed/pirating books going on?? I MEAN I’M NOT COMPLAINING. But why now???

March 13th

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: Oops, looks like I have to actually read Illuminae and Gemina now… *hides*

The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood: I’m not actually a super huge fan of short stories, but there are so many amazing authors involved in this!! Anna-Marie McLemore, Marieke Nijkamp, Mackenzi Lee, Dhonielle Clayton…!!!

In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner: This goes back and forth in terms of timelines and explores the story of Klee, who gets committed and the time before and after and during and such (I think??) and I’ve seen a lot of good reviews on this!!

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau: Set during a school bombing and I…. </3 Heartbreak all over.

March 20th

        

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan: Ft. a biracial (half Asian, half white) protagonist tackling grief and her mother’s suicide </3 This book already sounds so beautiful and heartbreaking from its synopsis!!

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles: If this book isn’t on your TBR: WHAT ARE YOU DOING. I already can tell what an amazing this book will be, among the likes of The Hate U Give , and Dear Martin. Publishing, writers; YOU’RE DOING AMAZING, SWEETIE.

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco: Aaah I’ve been meaning to read The Bone Witch for so long! But I… didn’t. Oops.

Miles Away From You by A.B. Rutledge: The synopsis made this book sound so good!! But I also just looked through some reviews aaaand it doesn’t seem as great as it sounds but some people loved it? So.

Tiger’s Dream by Colleen Houck: I’m actually not interested in this book or series anymore haha, but I had to include this for nostalgia’s sake! I had no idea there was a fifth book being published in this series?! I don’t think I’m reading this, but omg, this brings back memories. 😂

March 27th

       

 Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Choksi: This isn’t YA, but I am so so happy to see a middle grade fantasy book being published with an Indian main character and exploring India’s mythology from an #ownvoices author!! I’M SO HAPPY.

Lost Crow Conspiracy by Rosalyn Eves: Oops another sequel where I haven’t read the first book!! (Am I the only one who hears “crow” and immediately wants to go back to the Dregs, MY LOVES)

And She Was by Jessica Verdi: Dara, the main character, discovers her mother is actually transgender and goes on a road trip with her best guy friend!

In Her Skin by Kim Savage: Oh my gosh, this reminds me so much of Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill! I loved that book so much, and this one follows the same sort of missing-person-impersonation plot and so I’m actually super excited for this one.

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton: Okay, this sounds SO COOL. I’m raising a skeptic brow at the words “starblessed Ella” to describe one of the king’s daughters, because um hi special snowflake, but that’s okay!! It has “a family drenched in blood” and that’s all I need, tbh.

(Yes, this is the same person who loves cute romances. FIGHT ME.)

What books are you anticipating the most this upcoming month??! March 6th is ABSOLUTELY INSANE and I love-hate it because I want them so muchhhhh but um I would need a miracle to afford them all?? (Also am I the only one who hasn’t read Illuminae or Gemina yet?? *nervous laughter* *prepares to run*)

March is ACTUALLY AMAZING okay!! I’m so pumped! (Even though I’m probably not gonna have time to read half these books!!)

SHOUT BOOKS WITH ME.

The unspoken pressure of writing #ownvoices reviews

Recently, I’ve been kind of stressed.

Particularly surrounding writing my review on a particular book called Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed which most of you have undoubtedly heard of in the YA book community.

I started writing it a while ago, way back in January, because I read it then and I was so excited! I have almost all of it done, yet… I just haven’t been able to publish it.

I’m HELLA NERVOUS. And stressed. And it’s ridiculous, cause, well, it’s just a book review, right? I’ve never had troubles posting a review before.

THIS POST IS ALREADY STRESSING ME OUT

But see, the thing is, Love, Hate, & Other Filters is one of the FIRST times I’ve written a full-length #ownvoices review (on an #ownvoices book). (I’ve previously read Saints & Misfits though which I also identified with, but didn’t write a full review on.)

Sure, yes, it’s extremely freeing to be able to write on something that’s so close to what I’ve lived through myself, and I of course want to share my thoughts on a book that may (or may not have) properly represented marginalized people.

But the thing is, it hasn’t been that easy for me.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about, because this topic has been stressing me out and making me panic every time I read over my review, and that’s not okay. 

Why writing ownvoices reviews are stressful.

In theory, sure, yes, I just write a normal review, you know, just like I would any other review, yes? Which is still hard but whatever

Yet that’s the thing: I feel like I can’t treat it like any other review because I’m writing from an #ownvoices perspective. I don’t know if it’s just me putting unnecessary and invisible pressure on myself, but somehow, writing this review on Love, Hate & Other Filters is infinitely harder than me writing a review on any other book.

Why? Well, let me give you a list because otherwise this will be an even larger mess.

There is a social expectation that you know what you’re talking about/ are a trustworthy source on the representation in a novel.

Slkwejflkjwkjefj this drives me crazy because I know I’m totally guilty of also relying on ownvoices reviews to be a reliable source on marginalized rep in a book. It makes sense, of course! The best people to speak for a book’s rep on a minority population are the people who are part of that minority, not people who have no experience living as part of that group. Of course. You can’t ask a human what it’s like to be a turtle, you can’t ask non-marginalized people what it’s like to be marginalized. Simple.

Yet, I feel like that also places so much pressure on the ownvoices reviewer to be 100% correct and reliable on what they’re saying, because other readers who are not part of that minority will look to the reviewer for indication on good rep.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but … am I the only one who sees that unspoken pressure there?? It feels like there’s much less room for error for those reviewers, especially because there’s not always many of them in the first place, and so there’s more pressure to be “right”?

I would feel AWFUL if I said something (that I believed to be true) and a reader trusted me on it, only to have it be perhaps contrary to other valid opinions, or if someone was harmed while reading the book. (*More on this later!)

Not to mention…

Everyone has different experiences.

Just because I’m a Muslim, it doesn’t mean my experience as a Muslim is identical to every other Muslims out there. Just because I’m a POC, it doesn’t mean my experience is identical to other POCs.

We all have different experiences.

I just feel like, with some things, there are people who have a preconceived notion of what the experience of a particular minority should be like, and can enforce those notions on the book, even when it might not be so for the author’s or the character’s experience?

Especially with an #OwnVoices novel, the author is sharing (some version) of their experience, or their background, or knowledge. So if my experience doesn’t match the one in the book, does that automatically mean the book is in the wrong? Or that I am? That either one of those experiences are invalid?

No.

But the issues comes when reviewing, making that distinction between your OWN experience affecting your opinion of the book versus the book itself.

Of course we have every right to dislike a book if the rep was inaccurate. But can you always truly ascertain if the rep was such based on your own experiences? Just because I didn’t see myself represented in the narrative, how can I say that the rep wasn’t good/bad? When there are so many different experiences for everyone, or if the book is ownvoices?

So many rhetorical questions, I know, but seriously, this is the heart of the issue I face, content-wise.

I feel like, because books featuring diverse leads are so hard to come by, we put all our hopes and expectations for what we WANT to see on the few diverse books (for a particular minority group) that ARE published. And when they’re not met, we’re disappointed.

Which is 100% valid as well! Everyone deserves to see themselves represented in books! And it’s normal to want to project your wishes on a particular book when those types of books are so far in between.

But one book with a marginalized main character, is just ONE BOOK with a marginalized main character. It’s not fair to ask one book to represent all of us when there are so, so, SO many different experiences out there.

Who’s to say my experience is wrong, or someone else’s opinion is wrong? No one. Everyone’s ownvoices experience is allowed to be different. It doesn’t make anything less valid.

See, if we take Love, Hate & Other Filters as an example, I personally did not fully relate to the Muslim rep. It felt brushed aside, and didn’t always take it very seriously, despite being a huge selling point of the novel.

But every Muslim’s experience is different! Can I truly say that, because I didn’t personally relate to Maya’s actions and thoughts, that it was bad or inaccurate? I don’t feel like I have that right. I speak for MY experience, not for anyone else’s, so who am I to say, really.

Because sometimes, the things the reviewer is attacking or criticizing are things that someone else relates to, and that can be hurtful! I’m not saying not to be honest; our opinions as reviewers are valid and you shouldn’t have to hide them.

But there has to be a way to express your own feelings and experiences without belittling or looking down on other experiences; you don’t need to sacrifice your honesty to be considerate.

Relating to certain representation where most people don’t or not relating to certain rep where most people do

Jjkjaksdjklasjd being a black sheep is already difficult enough, okay. I think in this community though, it is possible to find others that feel the same way as you about any book, even the most popular ones, but at the same time, there’s always that odd discomfort when everyone is raving about a book or everyone is disliking a book that you hated/enjoyed.

It’s just awkward???!

And as rebellious we all like to think ourselves to be, that want to fit in and have people with the same feelings as you will still be there, you know? At least for me.

That’s true for any book, but it becomes even more so with diverse books where there’s also the question of proper representation. Of course I want more diverse books, but I don’t want them at the cost of misrepresenting anyone? It’s just such a disservice, and so harmful, and just DON’T DO IT.

But this ties back into the whole different experiences thing, because what one person didn’t enjoy, or thought was inaccurate, could actually be something that resonated with you a lot. Or it could be the other way around, what they loved was something you didn’t enjoy at all.

And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, at all! Different perspectives are crucial and important and they’re all to be considered.

BUT IT’S STILL STRESSFUL TO BE A BLACK SHEEP.

Especially with the whole feeling like you’re meant to be a reliable source on this? What if you loved it but someone else/majority hated it, or vice versa? Of course it’s valid, but it’s also incredible nerve-wracking. 😳😅😂

The fear of backlash + being hurt from other reviews

OF COURSE I want to share my thoughts on the book. OF COURSE my opinions are valid, and acceptable. OF COURSE I should be free to express my opinions without worry. I know this.

But the internet can be VICIOUS, and, although I’ve never had to deal with a hateful comment in the blogging community myself (because y’all are so lovely!!), I certainly don’t want that to change now, and I don’t want to be on the receiving end of someone’s hate. I just don’t.

Rationally, I know that probably won’t happen, that I’m making this out to be bigger than it really is, but writing that review is personal, to me. I don’t often talk about my culture or background, ethnicity, or religion, because I haven’t always been that comfortable with discussing it. I haven’t always gotten the best reactions in the past.

I see things in other reviews, for any book, where reviewers comment on things that were ‘unrealistic’ or that they hated about the main character. And the thing is, sometimes, and this ties back to my last point up there, I related to that aspect they hated so much. Maybe it’s exactly what I do myself.

So yeah, not gonna lie, that freaking hurts. A lot. Even if I know it’s not directed towards me, or that it’s unintentional, when it comes to part of my identity, ouch, okay. That’s all I’m going to say.

I’m not trying to gather pity or suddenly make your paranoid if you’ve criticized a character for something others might relate to, (because God knows I’ve probably done this as well)!! But another stressful thing is worrying about how people will take the review, if you’ll be accepted, or if people will claim your opinion as invalid?? IT’S SCARY.

That’s honestly one of my biggest fears when it comes to reviewing, for any book; that I may unintentionally hurt someone due to my own biases and experiences. Please tell me if I ever do this!! It is never my intention, I swear. 💕

Basically, to sum it up:

  • Social expectations are freaking HARD; there seems to be a sort of expectation that because you’re #OwnVoices, you know what you’re talking about and many people look to you for the green light which means there’s a smaller room for error
  • Everyone has different experiences which make it difficult to accurately comment on the rep; the question is, if the rep doesn’t match what you’re familiar with, is it still okay/good rep?
  • Being the black sheep is stressful when there’s a smaller community of OwnVoices readers; liking rep others dislike or disliking rep others like leads to possible backlash or insecurity
  • Tying everything together: with social expectations, the complications of considering more than just your own experience, and facing the opinions of others, who may or may not agree with you, writing that review can be extra difficult

So will I ever post my Love, Hate & Other Filters review? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s probably one of the most personal reviews I wrote, ever haha and I’m not sure how comfortable I am with it yet? (Maybe after the reactions on this mess of a post haha. )

But I hope this post explains more on why that is? I don’t know if this is only a me thing, if I’m imagining this pressure when it comes to writing an ownvoices review? (These could totally apply for non-diverse review-writing as well; it’s just that I personally struggle the most with this one.)

I tried to make this post as cohesive as possible, and I want to just say as a disclaimer this is just MY OWN EXPERIENCE. You can of course disagree with me, but please be respectful!! My heart probably couldn’t take it otherwise 😂 (Underneath my scary exterior, I’m actually a huge baby)

I would be seriously impressed if you managed to stay interested in this whole post for the entirety of it!! I’m sorry if I rambled, if I was contradictory and confusing. What are YOUR thoughts? I know I am basically TOO PARANOID and might be *slightly* (hehe) overreacting about this, but I really would love to know what you all think.

If you’re part of a minority and have read a book representing yourself, have you ever felt this sort of pressure? If you’re not part of a minority, but are a book reviewer, have you ever been a black sheep in the book community? (Feel free to spill which book it is!! *waggles eyebrows*) Should I still post my LH&OF review? 

Spread some book love: what is a diverse book you read that you loved, or that represented you?! I’m taking recs!

Talk to me!!! I want to hear from everyone, don’t worry if you’re part of a minority or not, what are your thoughts?!

(I know this post is me overreacting as usual but shhh it’s still stressful)

Blogging confessions: Sneaky things all bloggers have done hoping no one would notice

In the past, I’ve been known to expose myself quite frequently.

Especially when it came to book blogging habits. (I just love to hop into graves I created myself, apparently.)

And well, would you look at me now! Again! Exposing! Myself!

Why do I do this to myself

But it’s okay, because I’m dragging you all down with me!! Unless this list does not apply to you, in which case a) You’re making my title a lie, excuse me, I DO NOT LIE. and b) Are you sure you’re not lying???? *side eye*

1. Saying you’ll read a book someone recommends and coincidentally never mentioning it ever again

HAHAHA.

Ha.

Well. You see. In my defence, I don’t intentionally NOT read a book I get recommended! I just… forget!

I AM A GOLDFISH and I literally won’t remember anything past 2 days, okay. (Yes, exams were difficult.) It doesn’t mean I didn’t like your recommendation or something!!

I just.. consistently forget?

*Tiny whispers* Though sometimes I’m just not actually interested in the book but I feel too guilty to say that when someone loved it so much ……. *hides*

2. Stalking previous comments in a non-stalkerish way

If you say you’ve never stalked comments on someone else’s post, I’m 99% sure YOU ARE LYING.

Generally no one will know (or care) if you stalk the comments! That’s okay! It’s just entertaining to see what other people thought on a topic, and maybe they offer some useful information as well?

BUT THEN.

It’s when you accidentally press “like” one someone else’s comment while stalking the comments without having commented yourself and then you’re exposed as a somewhat stalker??? WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK.

nothing

You’re sneaky and all clever as you go giggling* through the other comments UNTIL IT’S NOT.

*Okay hopefully that’s not what you’re doing because that’s kind of creepy but hey, this is a mostly judge-free zone.

3. Editing a comment we wrote on our blog or deleting it completely

I don’t think I’ve ever deleted any of my own or anyone else’s comments? I haven’t edited anyone’s comments either (can you do that?) but I’m going to sheepishly confess I’ve totally edited my own comment before.

It’s not anything bad, I swear!! And I don’t change the general idea of what I wrote originally, so I’m not deceiving anyone! 😂 I just… typos are frustrating okay??? And sometimes I want to add onto what I said originally and so I go back and add it?

DOES THIS MAKE ME A DECEITFUL PERSON????

(Please don’t answer that)

(I don’t think it does?? If it makes you feel better, I do it 0.0008% of the time anyway, which is to say I hardly do.)

My question is, does the person who I’m replying to notice if I changed my comment? Like, will they still receive the original comment? Probably, right?

Oh darnit people have witnessed my non-sneaky sneakiness

4. Not fully reading a blog post (and accidentally writing a comment that shows utter ignorance)

Ahahah…. oops.

I… don’t always read full blog posts? I feel kind of guilty for admitting that, but I would totally understand if people didn’t read my full posts (especially when they’re long as heck), and I’m already exposing myself so why not!

I do try to read full posts as much as I can, though!! I don’t intentionally decide, oh, hey, I’m not going to read the full post of so-and-so for so-and-so reason, because usually it’s completely arbitrary and up to my mood and how much time I have. 😅

Generally people won’t be able to tell? (If you don’t read my full post, I generally won’t know?)

YET. One time.

Oh god, I still cringe.

I feel so guilty!! This hasn’t happened to me recently, this was like in 2015? Somehow, I read-skimmed a post about a book, okay. Normal things. And then I go to comment, because it was a good post and everything, and then I comment about a WHOLLY DIFFERENT BOOK.

The sad thing is, the titles weren’t even remotely alike, apart from the fact they both had “All the” .

HOW DOES THIS EVEN HAPPEN.

Oh yes, because I am an absolute IDIOT.

(My memory strangely remembers this so well?? I’m scarred for life, apparently.)

5. Post something, delete it, and then post it again at another time or date 

HAHAHA okay I’m going to confess I’ve totally done this before. If you’re one of the people who’ve noticed the same post of mine come up twice, well… now you know.

But to be fair, one time it was because my scheduling thing didn’t post it on time and posted it super late, and hardly anyone saw it?? (Obviously you guys were deprived of a masterpiece*)

So I sneakily just deleted it and posted it the next day at a regular time, and, well, I actually had people reading it? Sooooo I don’t see the downside of this other than it seems kind of suspicious… sorry???

Also there was that time I accidentally posted a draft without realizing… Sigh. And people wonder why I’m paranoid, geez.

*Hahahah. WP was probably trying to tell me something yikes. 👀

6. Unfollowing a blog 

I don’t actually unfollow blogs often, because I’m wayyyyy too lazy to go through my 100+ blogs followed list to unfollow people, and I just don’t see the worth in spending my time on that tbh.

But the times I did, I swear you’d think I was comittting some sort of crime????

(I’M NOT, JUST TO BE CLEAR.)

It’s this super stealthy affair of me deciding how long it’s been since they posted and sneakily pressing that unfollow button and having the wrath of the bloggers come down on me and–

Yeah, no, not really. I just press unfollow. But I do hope they don’t notice?? 

8. Reading multiple posts from a blog without commenting/Liking posts without reading them.

Honestly, there’s not really a way for the blogger to know if you’ve been reading the post at all so it’s pretty easy for bloggers to get away with liking posts without having read them? Or reading without commenting?

But I mean… I don’t think anyone goes into a blog post thinking to themselves, “hehehe I’m going to be super sneaky and not actually read their posts or comment” because UM???? What the heck, pal. Why would you even. It’s fine to not comment or read a post, but don’t actively plan not to? 😂

I totally get how sometimes you’re just not in the mood to comment or read so you may just like it and leave! And it’s okayyyy! It’s not a super bad thing!

I’m just paranoid and feel bad afterwards in case the blogger is secretly wondering why I didn’t comment on their posts??

I don’t think like this so I have no freaking clue why I keep imagining other bloggers doing so?? MY MIND IS JUST… ODD, someone save me from it.

9. Deleted old posts because they were trash in need of being hidden away from the world for protection

Hahahah, okay I can hardly look at my old posts?? I haven’t deleted a lot of them, but I low-key really want to do that 😂 I’ve totally had posts I deleted though before, though I can’t really remember why??

They were probably just reaaalllly bad posts and well, GOOD RIDDANCE.

See: there are two types of bloggers: one, is the type who just started blogging either knowing what they were doing, or didn’t know but seemed like they did. This type, have pretty decent posts.

And then there’s the other type: the one who did not know what they were doing and seemed like they didn’t know what they were doing! That’s me!

My posts weren’t all BAD*, but… I didn’t enjoy writing them as much as I enjoy writing my posts now? I did sooooo many memes, and wow, was it a mess.

So delete they go!! And no one notices either, which is ultimately perfect.

SEE, I’M VERY SNEAKY.

I would make a wonderful spy.

*Hahahahahahhahahahha I’m so funny

(Yes, for the extra perceptive people, I cheated and skipped #7 .. ending on 8 is just such an ugly thing, okay, I can’t just end on 8 things???? STOP EXPOSING ME)

What are some of your blogging confessions??? Have you done anything here? Do you ever like posts without reading them? Have you ever edited or deleted one of your own comments? EXPOSE YOURSELF WITH ME.

I hope your Friday is amazing and you’re doing well!! ❤

All about the fam: Types of families in YA // ft. lists and books

My family, is kind of infuriating.

(Sorry sis, you too.)

I love them, but they’re also the ones who get me the most angry/mad/sad/frustrated and sometimes it makes it really difficult to see the love part of the relationship!

But recently, my father got an injury after falling unconscious for a few minutes (thankfully he’s doing a lot better now) and it just made me remember how nuanced and complex familial relationships are?

I could claim my parents as super overprotective and that I don’t like them, but deep down a) only I can call them that and if it’s anyone else does, beware and b) I do love and appreciate my parents a lot and I would never want to lose them.

Which is why I love seeing family dynamics explored in books, because even if I can’t relate to it myself, there is probably someone who does, and there’s just so much you can do with it?

So that’s why, I’m talking all about different types of families + books that feature them especially in honour of Family Day here in Canada!!

If you’re still “meh” about family, well, let me just toss my casual mini-list at you and bribe you with chocolate.

    • You can get jealous be happy over how amazing the family is
    • You add to your character’s development (since family or the lack thereof can shape a lot of our character?)
    • You add tension! Do the siblings seriously hate each other because one betrayed the other? Do the siblings have differing values that one has to sacrifice for? Do you have a rebellious teen with conservative parents? USE THE TENSION.
    • Good families are as great as having 100 chocolate bars –> THIS IS A FACT.
    • Having bad families but ones that are nuanced and not just bad is good too!! (Because (sadly) not everyone has good families!)
    • Um, it’s more realistic?? Most people generally don’t just have… NO family at all? So you know, having some sort of family member might be a good start if you’re aiming for relatability*?
    • Cause I said so
    • Bye

*WHY ISN’T RELATABILITY A WORD. It should totally be a word. Also my font size isn’t changing and I’m disgruntled @ WP.

1. The loving Weasleys

Yes, the Weasley’s have now become a type. And I mostly define it as the supportive (and loud) family! It doesn’t necessarily have to be as large as the Weasleys (it could be) but generally they’re just super loving and caring and the sweetest!

  • Features a Molly Weasley, aka the caring and protective elder who will allow no harm to their children
  • Can be an actual mom or just the person taking care of the whole family (JULIAN 😭)
  • They’re amazing
  • Also features the Weasley children: more than 2 kids I’ll say?
Well, sweet when you’re not on Molly Weasley’s bad side.

Obviously Harry Potter, but apart from that, some other books are:

         

Click on the covers to be taken to Goodreads!

HI I LOVE JULIAN

AND STARR

AND SIMON

AND I FORGET THE LAST BOOK BUT IT HAD A GOOD FAMILY

Also shoutout to May on showing how to centre multiple images!!

2. The single parent dad syndrome

Soooo many YA novels have single parents!! Which, to an extent is totally fine, because we’ve gotten some AMAZING single parents in YA lit that I adoreeeee. (Namely, Lara Jean’s dad) Some characteristics of this family:

  • Dad usually ends up being super awesome dad or a not-so-great-dad
  • Parent may or may not improve over time in the eye of the teen as a mutual understanding develops
  • Features either a MIA or dead mother or possibly divorced parents
  • Can also be a single mother but I was too lazy to find books that apply

         

3. The good vs bad/evil sibling contrast

I just finished a book and am currently reading a book that both features this sort of relationship, so this one really stuck out to me! When done well, this is actually quite interesting. (Though I recommend not reading two books back to back with this trope hahahahaha)

Some of its characteristics:

  • Usually seems to be Good Brother vs Bad Brother but isn’t always (can also be Good Sister vs Bad Sister or Good Brother vs Bad Sister or vice versa; many options!)
  • The main character falls for the Good Brother/Sister or has to choose between both
  • (Not much of a hard decision, but hey, maybe evil people just aren’t my type)
  • “Bad” can be the “I am a roguish troublemaker who wants to seduce you” type or the “I’m plotting to murder you in your sleep” type
  • Or both?

         

Most of those books feature the evil type of brother but there’s also Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare or Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck for the bad-boy/good-boy sibling love triangle aspect!

4. Abusive parents 😦

Where’s my heart, you ask? Oh, just smashed into pieces on the floor there, no biggie.

But seriously, abusive parents or parents with (untreated) mental illness who mistreat their children breaks my heart SO MUCH, especially knowing how it could very well be the reality for many people in real life. I CRY.

Listen, if anyone reading this is an abuse survivor: YOU ROCK and you’re amazing and I love you. And I wish I could send you all the love and support you deserve. ❤❤❤

         

Bad Romance: Tw for abusive romantic relationship (emotional), verbal abuse –> there may be more that I missed so please be careful! This is not an easy read. Stay safe. ❤

A List of Cages: TW for very graphic physical/sexual/child abuse (I legit want to sob)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue: Not as graphic or present as the other two books, but Monty has an abusive father

The Young Elites: Not as present as the first two books either, but Adelina’s father was horribly cruel to her.

I’ve also heard Starfish deals with an abusive household, but I haven’t read it yet and don’t know too much about it?

5. All about siblings

Ah, siblings. What an annoying intricate relationship they have.

I have a younger sister, okay. She’s tiny and fierce and very very annoying!! But I love her.

Seriously, sibling relationships have my absolute HEART okay. They can be so precious and equally vicious and that is amazing. Who else can hurt/love you as much as a sibling? A book NO ONE.

  • Both biologically related siblings or otherwise (step-siblings, foster siblings, etc)
  • Low-key my favourite out of the different familial relationships here
  • SO MANY OPTIONS
  • Also see the good and evil sibling
  • It pulls at your heart so much seeing siblings either sacrifice for one another or stand up for each other???
  • Also younger siblings wrecking havoc
  • So precious in books
  • (But annoying irl)

         

Fact #1: Lara Jean, Margot and Kitty are the best sisters ever ❤

Fact #2: Kell and Rhy aren’t related by blood but they’re the most amazing brothers ever

Opinion #1: I didn’t particularly like L&L as much as I’d hoped but YES to diversity and sister-brother relationships

Opinion #2: Vanishing Girls was so good???? Hi, sibling rivalry but also SISTERS. I have a younger sister and I love reading books about sisters okay

6. The “means-well-but…” parent(s)

I think I identify the most with this one haha.

These are the parents who you know have their heart in the right place, but there’s always that “but” where their intentions don’t always work great with their actions. Unfortunately.

More mini-lists!

  • Featuring a teen who disagrees with the parents’ values/opinions (gasp! teens forming their own opinions!)
  • Sadly this is a reality for me
  • Also occasionally ft. parents you feel bad for because the teen is so mean to them but you know the parents are only trying to help
  • Also ft. parents you dislike because they’re being super unreasonable (ughhghghgh)
  • They’re not horrible parents but they’re not always completely good ones either?

         

GUYS AMERICAN PANDA AND REIGN OF THE FALLEN ARE SO GOOD FKSJFKLJSFSD *shoves books into your face*

Hahaha I was planning to get to 10 buuuuut I’m hungry and I want to go eat lunch sooooo I’m going to end it there!! :))) That’s a good 24 books for you guys to read, right?? GO READ THEM. *chases you down with a chocolate bar*

What other types of familial relationships have you come across in books? Have you read any of the books I listed? What are your thoughts? What’s your favourite type of family explored in books? Any other book recommendations?

LET US DISCUSS!

(Also happy Family Day to those celebrating!)

Snacking on mini-reviews: Iron Gold & Batman!

Today is a very monumental day.

Why, you ask? Well, you see… I actually have reviews written!! And I’m posting them (near) the month the book was read!! I haven’t written reviews in foreverrrrr and I’ve been super excited for this post so I can screech about books to you guys again! Because I haven’t done that in a while. *hides* I also have a full-length review coming on Love, Hate & Other Filters sometime! omg I know WHO AM I

The first one to start with, is, of course: IRON GOLD because I loved it so much I want to cry okay bye.

I buddy-read the with my dear friend Kat @ Life and Other Disasters, and it was the best! We read at a pretty similar pace, and we exchanged thoughts pretty consistently despite the time difference which was great! ❤

My review will be completely SPOILER-FREE for this book and not very many spoilers for the previous books? (But I recommend skipping to the conclusion part if you haven’t read this series!)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

They call him father, liberator, warlord, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the pale blue planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-second of his life.

A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:

A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.

And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe, and Iron Goldis the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

  • The action! Was! Non-stop!
  • Seriously, there was so much happening, even my short attention span had to pay attention okay
  • SEVRO IS MY CHILD and I don’t care if he’s 30-something now. MY CHILD FOREVER.
  • LYRIA IS MY NEWFOUND CHILD. AND LIAM. My family from Lagalos deserve the world ❤
  • Seriously why is everyone treated so badly tho, I just want to shield my babies k?
  • Real life issues tackled like prejudice against groups of people because of what other people from that group has done, discrimination against less privileged classes of people
  • I FELT MANY THINGS. Heartbreak! Sadness! Terror! Disgust! Anger (so much anger) All the good things!!
  • Victra is still my bae (but she low-key needs to chill 😂)
  • Mustang has to make so many hard decisions and :(((
  • Darrow, too! (Though major side-eye to his stupid decisions)
  • Volga is so precious and pure ❤
  • I LOVE Cassius okay 
  • I want me a fox named Sophocles
  • The technology talk probably flew over my head half the time, but it was still SO COOL
  • THAT CLIFFHANGER

Wow this review is utterly unhelpful and just me fawning over the characters.

No one is surprised.

  • I’m not going to say in term of plot or anything, but CHARACTERS because ahhhh LYSANDER.
  • He killed me. One of the most fickle characters ever, a child in a man’s body who, truth be told, should’ve died 10 years ago. His POV was one of the most frustrating out of all of them, and, not gonna lie, it made me less interested in reading his chapters
  • Like, his self-righteousness and superiority complex is honestly so frustrating? His tendency to also do the exact OPPOSITE of what he should do also drove me insane
  • Especially after that ONE THING THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED BUT THAT STILL KILLS ME
  • Also Ephraim, dude. Just ’cause bad things happened, it doesn’t give you the right to do bad things to other people or have other people become the casualty of your stupidity. Fix your mistakes, PUH LEASE.
  • Even with this, though, like can I just 👏 Pierce Brown for creating such nuanced characters??
  • UM THAT CLIFFHANGER KILLED ME OKAY

The first half of this series is AMAZING, and this book definitely lived up to the expectations set from the past books, even though there were certain characters *cough* Lysander *cough* I didn’t like as much! There’s also tons of action, political tension and characters doing stupid things… all the fun stuff!

If you want to read a more in-depth review, I recommend checking out Kat’s review which was super insightful! 🙂

But basically: go read this.

(But also you could wait for the other books to be released because if you’re a gold fish like me it’s going to be painful to remember events. Thankfully the fifth book is being released later this year though!!)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

  • SUCH A SHORT BOOK. Wow. Bless. I finished this in like, a day and didn’t have to sacrifice my soul for once! What magic.
  • MARIE LU.(Her writing couldn’t save this book though. Unfortunately.)
  • Action-y parts were fun to read! because the rest of the book was boring
  • ……
  • Bruce’s friends! I forget their names though.

I’M SORRY, THAT’S ALL I HAVE..

  • So short, BUT SO LONG. Like it’s a short book overall, but the majority of the book was Bruce drooling over intrigued by Madeleine and it just felt SO DARN LONG. And boring. Ughghghghgh.
  • But also it was a bit ~too~ short???? Where is the development? Where is the anything? I don’t know, there wasn’t enough time, man.
  • I’m so contradictory darnit.
  • Speaking of which, BRUCE. My boy. As sweet you are with your naivety and all, WHY are you so dumb. Just why.
  • Like:

Everyone: Madeleine is manipulative and will use you and lie to you. STAY AWAY.
Bruce: But what if she’s telling the truth tho?????
Me: -__-

  • I wasn’t.. that surprised by the ending??? The end part was probably the most interesting part to read and I did like reading it, but the predictability, man. It might just be me, though. I think I’ve read too much of the same kind of twists. Not a bad thing!! Others could totally be shocked, it was still well-written and not a flaw of the book!! (Just my flaw??)
  • Madeleine fell flat. She had the potential to be super awesome, and maybe under different circumstances I would have loved her, but through Bruce’s POV? NOPE. She’s under the guise of being ~super complex and special~ (NEVER HEARD THAT BEFORE) and I was basically indifferent to her and the interactions between her and Bruce. Oops.
  • I want to simultaneously slap Bruce TO WAKE HIM UP and also pat him on the head and give him a hug? Poor kid’s too naive but also too dedicated to being ~good~. He should go chill and eat ice cream. So should Madeleine.
  • Character development?? Where art thou? I CAN’T SEE YOU. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • There was plot! But it got lost as swiftly as Bruce got lost in Madeleine’s swoony and calculating dark eyeballs.
  • What the heck did this review become

I’m so salty omg forgive me.

I liked…. a few things? Mostly that it was short and the author is Marie Lu. But, you know. That counts.

But truthfully I don’t think you’re missing out on very much if you don’t read this? But that’s my very small, inconsequential opinion because you could still enjoy this very much! DON’T LET ME STOP YOU.

But personally I’m super disappointed I didn’t love it more, especially since Wonder Woman was one of my favourite reads. (GO READ IT GO READ IT.) I’d recommend reading Marie Lu’s other books, Warcross or The Young Elites or Legend, instead, those ones were more ones I enjoyed!

HI DID YOU READ THE RED RISING SERIES YET CAUSE YOU SHOULD.Will you shout about Sevro and Darrow and Victra and everything with me???

Have you read Batman? I’M SORRY FOR MY SALTINESS. 😂 Did you enjoy it, or did you find yourself disappointed like me? (Join me in my saltiness, I’m scared to be alone.)

Do you like these kinds of mini-reviews? It’s been so long since I’ve done a review, I low-key don’t know how to write one anymore???

LET’S CHAT BOOKS! What are you currently reading?? Also how was your January/ how is your February going? I had a ton of Valentine’s Day posts planned for this month and I’ve gotten to posting 0% of them oops, but I hope you guys have been doing well since I last spoke to you!

Struggles every reader with a bad memory understands // ft. books I loved but remember nothing about oops

ICYMI, I suffer from this thing called BOOK AMNESIA.

It’s basically the syndrome where you a) read a book. b) either love, hate, don’t care about it, whatever your opinion is and c) forget about it! (C is the most important symptom.)

If you say this has NEVER happened to you, you’re lying, Pinocchio.

And, as usual, because I’m a SUPER HELPFUL* person with a tendency to expose everyone (mostly myself tbh), I decided to make a post in honor of us book amnesiacs!!

I’m also linking up with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) prompt: Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything/Much About!

LET’S GET TO THE EXPOSING.

*Don’t look at me like that, it’s true.

1. Forgetting what happened in a book.

This is one of the foremost!! Struggles!! Of having!! A bad memory!! Even if you generally have a good memory, I will never ever ever believe you if you say this has never happened to you okay AT LEAST ONCE (unless you’re some sort of superhuman).

And it’s epecially lethal in the case of series!! I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve complained about forgetting the previous book in a series, but IT’S A LOT. It’s not my fault thouuuuughhhh.

There are many books we read throughout the year, and in case you forgot, a year is a horribly long time?! In the span of that time, am I honestly supposed to remember what happened in a 500 paged book? BECAUSE I WON’T. (Thank god for recaps like there are on this site and this site.) EVEN IF I LOVED IT.

And it’s such a struggle since now I either a) have to reread the series (which isn’t always a bad thing but also look at those UNREAD BOOKS on your TBR, hm and also who has time) b) continue with the second book not knowing or remembering the characters or what happened, and therefore not enjoying it as much or c) cry and eat chocolate <– best option

2. Not knowing or remembering what you read because you haven’t updated Goodreads/written it somewhere.

GUYS. I straight up forgot several books I read last year because I forgot to put them on Goodreads and it’s not in my phone and now I’m having a C R I S I S because I actually really loved them (well, one of them) and now I haven’t mentioned them anywhere and NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW.

I have the vaguest memory of books I feel like I’ve read but I have no idea when and if I did actually read it or I’m just imagining it?? Nowadays I’m neglecting updating Goodreads as well which becomes a struggle trying to remember when I read a book BECAUSE GR FAILED (to somehow read my mind and automatically add it for me, of course).

Here’s your daily reminder to write down somewhere what book you read and when you read it and also write down your thoughts on it immediately if you want to save your sanity!! 

MEEE figuring out when I read a book and if I liked it or not

3. Not being able to write a proper review because it’s been too long since we’ve read it.

And by too long I mean like, 2 days. THAT’S 48 HOURS OKAY. IT’S A LOT.

Nowadays I try to write at least a list of major points that come to my mind right after reading a book, in the notes of my phone because then I can say something other than “OMG I LOVED IT MY HEART DIED” or “UGH IT WAS A PLATE OF SOGGY POTATOES”*. You know?

Because it’s so incredibly hard to write a review when it’s been several days. You’re just sitting there knowing that you loved it but also having no clue why other than the pieces of your heart are on the ground (pain = good book) and that it made you FEEL THINGS. But what things? One may never know.

This is also why that ‘review to come’ will never come and you SHOULD JUST STOP LYING.

Why am I exposing myself here so much jeez

*I have not used this sentence yet in a review but I think I really should.

4. Being asked, “What was it about?” and stuttering like a dying fish.

Tbh, a fish might actually be able to summarize a book better than me BECAUSE I SUCK AT IT???

It’s honestly scary when someone asks me “what was it about” after hearing me squeal and scream about it because they expect me to be able to answer*??

What goes on in my brain when someone asks me what a book is about BECAUSE PANIC??!?!?!?!?!? (at the disco)

Literally I would make the best and worst publicist because my SCREAMING AND SHOUTING is so annoying you would obviously pick up a book because I said so** but then I would never be able to tell you what the book was about even if I loved it to death.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

*The worst is when it happens in person because I can’t just shove Goodreads at them and run away??? WHYYYY.
**Pff, obviously.. right?? Also if you actually have done this I hope you know I LOVE YOU AND YOU SHOULD TALK TO ME ABOUT IT unless you hated my favourite book in which case I’ll come after you with my scary non-weapons go hide in my guilt

5. Losing interest in a book after it’s been a year between the release of the first book and the sequel

A year is a looooooonnnnggggg time. That’s 365 days and there’s so much that happens? And so many books you read in between? There’s only so much space in our brainnnnn and I just… need to delete some information to make space for new stuff?

And so then I don’t care as much about what happens to the characters because it’s been so long and it lost that ~magic~ it originally had?

It makes me so sad though!! Because what if I originally wanted to continue with the series but then I’m less excited about the sequel coming out because I feel so emotionally distant now from the first book???

6. Not remembering what books are released when

If you’re even mildly implicated and involved in the book community, you know how many books are released every month!! The answer: A LOT.

See, the second I just look at a new book, there are like, 10 more books being released. Which is great, sure!!

But also all these amazing books are being released and I’m so excited but I also don’t know if they’re releasing tomorrow, in 6 months, or the next year. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But I plan on reading them so that counts for something right???

Thankfully, as far as struggles go, this one isn’t as bad as the other ones?? Goodreads got our back, it’s all good. 😉

7. Putting your bookmark somewhere and never finding it again

See, let me tell you a story!

I once had an extreme bookmark fascination!! They could be so pretty and funny and were so functional, and I used them all the time….

UNTIL I LOST ONE.

Tears of sadness as one disappears! But it’s okay, I got another one!

And… there goes that one.

Oh, see, let’s just put them all together in this very organized and specific place so that I always know where they are! Great idea, right?

BUT THEN.

You pick one up, use it, then put it down and the next thing you know is you’re doing this.

But you never found it again.

THE END.

No, but seriously if you’re someone who can remember where your bookmark is, YOU ROCK. And have great skills!! Because my memory sucks and I can’t ever remember where they are!!

I’ll just sit over here, bitter over my lost friends, petting my twin, the goldfish, and my slips of random paper that are my bookmarks.

Ah, struggle #1, visualized! Loving books and having very little idea as to what happened is literally the story of my life and ahhHHH well let’s go, exposing myself once again. You can see from my “mini blurbs” how much I remember (no spoilers though obviously). I REMEMBER A LOT.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (read 2016): Julian and Emma are parabatai! Mark is a sweetheart! I love Cristina! Fae threats! Julian is such a cutie and I love his family!! Anaand that’s it. BUT LOVE THIS BOOK.

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye (read 2016): Magic! Russia! Kingdom! BAD MAGIC.

Ruined by Amy Tintera (read 2016): I can’t even remember anything. I mean, there are people with magic who are shunned? But I don’t even remember the main character. Something with an e? Emma? Evaline? But seriously this book was so good.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (read 2015): SUCH A LONG TIME AGO WHAT. Shazi is fabulous! Love her and Khalid! Hate-to-love romance! Food! Tariq was awful can someone smack him please! Magical and beautiful writing!

The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine (read 2016 or 2017 I forget): SO GOOD. There were.. imposters? Oh oh and ice and fire magic was super cool!

Angelfall by Susan Ee: I looooove Raffe!! Also Penryn’s love for her sister is amazing and so pure. So gory and interesting and SO UNDERRATED.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera: I ADORE ADAM SILVERA’S BOOKS. And this one was amazing but all I remember is sadness!! Broken heart!! But give me the gay!! Where did my heart go oh look it’s broken!!

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom: Blind MC!! Loved her even if she was super negative!! Felt so bad but also it was cute!! Ugh why can’t I remember things

Starflight by Melissa Landers (read 2016? I think?): Hate to love romance! So much banter! Sci-fi, which I don’t usually read but this was really good!! Action!! And the side characters were great!

Rick Riordan books (read… uhhh.) : I read pretty much all of Rick Riordan’s books, I think, except for the newest ones? But I remember Percy!! And Annabeth of course!! And humourrr his books are always so fun.

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare: I ADORE CASSANDRA CLARE but I also don’t remember her books very well oops. Clary’s the special snowflake, Jace has an identity crisis??? Aaaand love triangles everywhere, but THE SERIES IS GOOD I SWEAR.

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes: Okay this series is totally cliche but apparently I enjoyed the books??? But I remember zilch. There’s magic! And incest at one point?? wait why did I like this I forget

Wow I just used way too many exclamation marks, oops. BUT GO READ THESE if you haven’t already I swear they’re better than my stupid mini blurbs!

Do you also struggle with a bad memory with books??? Do you remember the details of books you read in the past or no? Do you also lose interest in a sequel after it’s been too long? What books do YOU love but also don’t remember much about? EXPOSE YOURSELF.

Happy Tuesday!!

Do we put too much pressure on ourselves to produce “quality” content? // BLOGGING IS HARD, OKAY.

Blogging is many different things.

WOW, HOW OBVIOUS INSIGHTFUL, ANALEE.

It can be fun! It can be a way to share our thoughts! It can be also be stressful! Or a step towards dominating the internet! All or none of those things!

But for it to be all of those things, we need, of course, CONTENT. Yet within content comes my dilemma, because within content there’s the question of TYPE of content and within type of content there’s the question of is it good enough or will others enjoy it?

Because as much as this blog started off as a place for ME and my thoughts, it has expanded to where I think about it as a place for me to TALK TO OTHERS, and others to talk to me. Without the community, truthfully, I probably wouldn’t have continued blogging for so long, you know?

Which is why I started thinking more on content and what people enjoy reading and responding to, and the idea of “quality content” which swirls around in my head quite a lot.

HENCE THIS POST.

SPOILER: This post is going to be kind of all over the place but I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS.

What is considered quality content?

I’m going to be repeating quality content quite a bit throughout this post, even though it’s VAGUE as heck. I don’t even know if we can define quality content, honestly, cause it can be so subjective. For me, I would say it:

  • makes you think
  • makes you think AND/or laugh
  • is well written?
  • makes you go #relatable
  • you enjoyed writing?
  • includes cats rolling over

Personally, when I think of posts from other bloggers that I consider as “quality content” or posts that I am happy with myself, those are the things that come to mind. FOR ME. And the type of posts I personally enjoy reading.

(But spoiler quality content actually cannot be defined by these characteristics at all)

So far, so good, yeah? Okay, good, cause I’m completing changing the focus to stats in like two seconds but it’s RELATED OKAY I SWEAR.

Bear with me, this post is low-key a mess but  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The relation between stats and quality content

BECAUSE IT ALWAYS COMES BACK TO THE STATS. *muffled screaming into a pillow*

See, there’s this idea I have for my blog, that so-called quality content (above) = better stats. Or for better stats you need quality content. Either one.

Aka ALL POSTS must always be super well-written, funny and/or insightful and that NOTHING ELSE works for the stats and hence must be avoided at all costs.

(Slightly hyperbolic but you know what I mean.)

Ughghghghghgh this kind of thinking is so problematic!!

I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel as if they were held or forced to very high standards for themselves when writing posts; so why is it okay for me to do so myself?

Answer: IT’S NOT.

Not all of it is bad, of course. I myself ENJOY writing “quality” posts that are relatable and fun! I think they share a lot of my personality, and allow me to be creative and share my thoughts, which is what I aim for. The fact that I choose to write more of those because stats are higher for them (aka people seem to enjoy them more) doesn’t make that post any less genuine

So sure, wanting to write quality content, or things that people enjoy, based on stats, isn’t necessarily a bad thing!!

But the part that posts that don’t work for stats are neglected more often? Yeah, that’s been a part of writing posts, too, not gonna lie.

And spoiler: it’s not great. Because for me, it’s built up this RIDICULOUS notion that if the stats aren’t as high or don’t reach the “usual” for a post, it’s not “quality”, or popular, content.

WHICH IS GARBAGE.

Why? Because stats can be totally random!! Sometimes there are posts I am SUPER confident in, posts I write that I’m happy with, that I enjoyed writing and that maybe even fit my “usual quality” type of post… but still a flop in terms of stats. And then I post something similar another time and it becomes super popular. WHO KNOWS.

If a post doesn’t reach or surpass the usual number of stats, it’s not really your fault?? Because it’s not like you can control it? Yet I still feel that disappointment, that feeling of failure, associated with that post EVEN IF I loved writing it. And that freaking sucks!!

why can’t I be more chill about blogging oh my god

I completely derailed from where I intended to go with this post, but my answer to the original, titular question: A huge, fat, YES. I can’t speak for everyone, but concerning my own blog, I definitely put too much pressure on myself to post certain types of posts, or writing a certain way in order to have “quality content”, whatever that may be.

But what’s ridiculous, is that I BRING IT ON MYSELF. That feeling, that pressure I feel, to post things that are of “good quality” comes solely from my own insecurities and ambition(maybe?). What if my posts are not as good as the ones as [insert name here]? What if people don’t enjoy this post because it’s too [insert adjective here]? What if, what if, what if…????

Let me ask: Is there anyone out there policing whether or not something is quality content (apart from ourselves)? NOPE. Is there really even any definition to what type of post is quality content? NOPE.

Therefore the pressure is IMAGINARY and we need to breathe and chill* and write whatever the heck we want, OKAY???? Okay.

*I need to take my own advice, geez.

Basically, to sum up this whole mess of a post:

  1. Wanting to please your audience with “quality content” being posts you enjoy writing, isn’t a bad thing!
  2. Not posting something you want to post for fear of it not being “quality content”/getting lower stats IS problematic though because IT’S YOUR BLOG, and you should have the freedom to post what you want, yes? 🙂
  3. Regardless of the pressure we may bring onto ourselves, a post doesn’t HAVE TO be well-written, funny, or anything, just something true to your heart and something you enjoy writing.

What are your thoughts? Do you put pressure on posting certain types of posts due to stats? How do stats affect your posts; do they influence what you produce, or not really? Have you ever held off on posting something for fear of receiving a negative response or less stats? 

Even after all that “don’t put pressure on yourself” and don’t worry about stats talk, I’m super self-conscious about this post because it’s unlike my recent, more fun and happy posts??? Less organized, more cluttered, not at my usual time, but this has been SO REAL for me, on and off and I wanted to share my thoughts. 🙂

I hope you’re happy and having fun eating, sleeping, reading, life-ing, doing whatever!! ❤

How reading books is like playing or watching SPORTS // I compare my most favourite thing ever to my least favourite

Fact: I love reading.

Second fact: I really don’t love sports.

So why not compare the two? Because OBVIOUSLY THEY’RE SUPER ALIKE.

Am I crazy? Yes. No.

(Okay, maybe slightly.)

LET ME EXPLAIN.

In books, in movies, everywhere, we’ve always been shown the two “opposite” groups: the bookworms and the nerds, vs. the jocks, the athletes. And I find it SO annoying how the nerds are always portrayed as being so different, or feeling less than, the more athletic/sporty group of people????

Personally, sure, yes, I’m a bookworm with little interest in sports. But that doesn’t mean I consider myself less than people who play sports, or that I’m not happy being a bookworm? (How can you not be happy being a bookworm tho.) I’m happy being a bookworm! But there are others who like books, and who also like sports! And that’s fine too! It’s not mutually exclusive!!

Wow, I just went on a mini-rant there, but you get the point! Tons and tons of tropes and stereotypes make nerds and sports so incompatible, such a foreign thought and it just frustrates me. IMMENSELY.

So in order to demolish the idea that sports people and books people are so different*, I’ve decided to compose a list of ways reading is like watching/playing/training for sports! (Because watching/playing/training are all the same. Obviously.**)

*Okay, maybe they are a teensy bit different. A teensy bit. BUT SHH LET ME PROVE A POINT.
** ;))Read More »

Staying organized: 10 bullet journal spread ideas for book bloggers!

FACT OF THE DAY YEAR: Bullet journals are awesome.

It’s a fact, okay. Proven by me, myself and I, which is obviously reliable and not at all biased.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the bullet journal system, you can check out this link to learn a bit more, which is the creator’s site, and there are also tons of videos on YouTube, posts on Pinterest, about it as well! (How do I know this? Hahahaha I haven’t spent hours watching bullet journal videos on YouTube, what are you talking about? Though I’d recommend not going straight to YouTube if you’re new to bullet journaling because it can get quite overwhelming.)

To me, it’s basically a notebook you can design/customize to suit your needs. Whether that be a daily planner, a shopping list, or a thought-tracking journal (LOL aka a diary), doodle pad, whatever. ISN’T THAT GREAT? Any blank notebook (lined, grid, etc) works, though I personally use the Leuchtteurm 1917 dotted A5 journal*!

I’ve previously made a post on my bullet journal back in May last year talking about how I use my bullet journal for book blogging and I really loved writing it, and since my bullet journal has changed so much and it’s a new year, I thought I might share another (hopefully somewhat) helpful and more detailed post; 10 specific spreads (pages) you can use to keep your bookish and bloggish life organized! 

SPOILER: Is this post my excuse to not-so-secretly rave about bullet journalling? Yes, yes it is. Am I also trying to convert you all to bullet journals? Yes, yes I am. I WILL SUCCEED. (Maybe. Possibly. A girl can try, okay.)

*Because I’m basic. But it’s not necessary at all! There are tons of alternative options that works just as well. 🙂Read More »

Why do we procrastinate on reading highly anticipated books? ft. 10 books I meant to read in 2017 but didn’t

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I am a natural procrastinator.

And I don’t particularly need a reason to procrastinate. IT JUST HAPPENS. With studying, blogging, emerging out of my hobbit hole aka my bedroom… (never eating though. Just fyi.) Studying, okay, I think we’ve all procrastinated on that one, because WHO LIKES THAT.

But reading! Our companion! Our one true love! Our ENTIRE BEING.

Why would one procrastinate such a beautiful thing?

Well. Let me tell you.

If we were to delve deeper into the land of psychology (or just common sense) there are definitely some eyebrow-raising* reasons bookworms procrastinate reading books on their TBR which I am going to expertly** discuss!

I’m linking up with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt “Ten Books We Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To (and totallyyyy plan to get to in 2018!!)”, (the last one) hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

*Not really. They’re pretty basic. But whatever.
**Hahahaha
Read More »

I’M BACK FOR THE NEW YEAR! // Goodbye 2017 ft. the end of year book survey + 2018 resolutions!

IT’S 2018!

HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE.

High key mind blown right now???? (Even though we’ve had several days already to process the news)

It’s been a couple of days* since I’ve last talked to you guys and now it’s 2018???? What is this witchcraft????? I am led to believe I CAN CONTROL TIME, GUYS.

*days = months :O

…But obviously not really because if so I would’ve frozen time to finish my TBR (smart, eh?) and keep up with this blog and the community which I have ABANDONED for the past few months…

I’ve had a rough couple of months, with work and my studies which were becoming too overwhelming to handle alongside with blogging, and although this hiatus certainly helped and I don’t necessarily regret it, I am sorry for leaving so suddenly and overall ending 2017 with… silence?

YOU GUYS DESERVE MORE THAN THAT and I’ve also missed talking to you so much… FORGIVE ME, FRIENDS. ❤

But now it’s 2018 and I’m not usually one of those “new year, new me” people (we all know I’m gonna forget all about my so-called new year’s resolutions as soon as February hits but shhh) I’m taking it as a fresh start!

To wrap up 2017, I’ve decided to participate in the annual End of Year Survey for 2017 hosted by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner! (But I’m cheating and haven’t answered some/many of the questions.)

AKA BOOKS AND MORE BOOKS.

Paradise, yes?Read More »

The dilemmas behind book recommendations that no one ever talks about // #sendhelp

Confession: I kind of hate recommending books.
(lol not actually, but for the sake of this post okay.)

Not in the way you would think!! It’s a very loving sort of hate, you know. More of the I-am-super-conflicted-and-insecure-and-why-can’t-it-just-be-simple variety, than actual HATE. But for the sake of shorter intro sentences, there you go.

Because recommending books is actually pretty awesome??? (Psh, no, I’m not contradicting myself.) I mean:

  • You basically get to squeal and fangirl about your favourite books like a maniac and it’s considered somewhat useful to other people?? #doublewin
  • You also get to shove books and chocolate at other humans so that they will read your favourite book and hopefully proceed to also fangirl like a maniac.
  • Tis important to shareeee the love!! I love, love love talking about my favourite books or see other people talk about my favourite books and I just want to SHARE THE LOVE OKAY. Because there are books people are just missing out on and it is TRAGIC.
  • (Like Six of Crows)
  • (And Adam Silvera)
  • (And basically all of V.E. Schwab’s books)
  • (And the Lunar Chronicles)
  • (And also When Dimple Met Rishi because it’s not ALL ABOUT DEATH AND HEARTBREAK geez you heartless people.)
  • :)))
  • Remember said squealing and fangirling? That’s my life in a nutshell, okay, I will take any excuse to do so over my favourite books and in this case it is through book recommendations!!
  • Therefore recommending books is awesome.
  • And recieving them are awesome because YAY MORE BOOKS.
  • Hahaha I’m not crying because my TBR will crush me nope no biggie ahahaa

Now that I got all of that out of the way, let us proceed to the rest of this post in which I talk about how recommending books is NOT very awesome. Because I have a lot of logic. And pent-up frustration*.

*How my scheduled post did NOT actually post at 2:15 on Sunday and just sat in my scheduled posts folder, which is why I need to post it on Monday, which means my schedule is messed up. UGUUGHHGHG WORDPRESS WHY.


Not knowing WHAT KIND of books to recommend or only choosing ONE book.

Innocent human: “What book do you recommend?”
Me: *sweats nervously* Does this person like fantasy??? Or contemporary? And is it like a stabby-stabby fantasy or more of a romance fantasy?? And do you want a fluffy contemporary or a heartbreaking one or one with both??? 
Me: “ALL OF THEM” *throws list of favourite 20+ read books from GR*
Innocent human: …….. *dies from indecision* *hates me*
Me: Wait did this person want just ONE book??
Me:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I WILL NEVER CHOOSE, HUMAN.

(Moral of the story: Either a) be very very detailed about the kind of book you want or b) be prepared for many options or me running away) :)))

When you recommend a favourite book but they already read it AND hated it.

A LITTLE PART OF ME DIES, OKAY.

See, if you don’t love the ones super near and dear to my heart, those ones, I take the blow HARD. It’s like saying you don’t like food! (Are you even human????? I THINK NOT.) Stab to the heart, okay.

Heheheh I mean I of course accept every opinion graciously and without any pain whatsoever!!

I can generally understand WHY someone doesn’t like a favourite book, and I don’t hold any grudge or anything, but I still die.

And the reason why this is a dilemma is because now, your recommendations bar is completely wonky! This book that you love to the core, this universal book that you base your other recs off of, is actually HATED by the other person and now what do you recommend?? What if it means that they will hate your other favourite books too*?

*Yes, I acknowledge this is a ridiculous thought but AHEM paranoid little people-pleaser bookworm here!!

Recommending a book and not knowing how much you should hype it up.

Of course, for some books, I am just totally over the MOON for and I will hype that book up like nobody’s business because I love it THAT MUCH and want every single human and their pet to read this book.

But at the same time, there are books which *I* love but I’m not sure the other person will which means what if I hype it up TOO much and they hate it/are disappointed???

So sometimes I end up hyping them up LESS compared to how much I truly loved it? I swear I’m still being honest and genuine in my recommendations, I just don’t want them to be set up to love it and they actually hate it. SIGH.

GOOD INTENTIONS HERE, promise!!

What if the person hates your recommendation?

Kind of similar to dilemma #3, but this one is the one that scares me SO MUCH that it needs its own space here. Because as a book blogger, and passionate reader, I love promoting and recommending my favourite books and want people to love it as much as I do!! So when they don’t…

I JUST FEEL SO GUILTY.

Because that lovely person trusted ME (dangerous thing to do) enough to pick up a book I recommended, taking the TIME and effort to read the book and then I basically feel like I betrayed them if they don’t like it??

Even if it’s not my fault if the other person doesn’t like it??

BUT STILL. GAH. What if they never trust me again??? (Smart child)

*whispers* The guilt never leaves…

Being asked or required to summarize/give description of the book.

Now, ICYMI, my memory is as good as a goldfish, which is to say it kind of sucks?? I remember the titles of my favourite books, usually (if I’m lucky) but what it’s about? GIRL I HAVE NO CLUE.

Plus, my descriptions always seem to make a book seem 10 times less appealing? #oops

Person: Oh, have you read Six of Crows? What’s it about?
Me: Well, there’s this band of teens who steal stuff and tries not to die and lots of bantering occurs .. yeah! 10/10 recommend.
Person:
Me: It’s better than I made it sound I promise!!!  *throws book at person* *runs away*

I’d make such a good marketing person. 🙂 Also, can we just admire how much running I am doing? Considering how I’m attached to my bed 85% of the time, this is an accomplishment.

Now, on to the flip side of the person requesting or receiving recommendations! Because things are fair and equal on this blog to make up for the injustice in the world. and recommendees suffer tooooooo. (yay)

Getting TOO MANY recommendations.

Welcome to the book blogging world!! The world of books, books, and MORE BOOKS until you fall into a void full of books with no return! Hey that sounds nice *cue dramatic music*

And whether you’ve been book blogging for a long time, or only for a little, everyone knows that recommendations are EVERYWHERE. In the form of book reviews! Recommendation posts! Top Ten Tuesday posts if you read them! In your chocolate cake! wut

And because there are only a teensy teeny amount of time we* actually are able to spend reading, we don’t get the time to read all of those recommendations!!

Hence we are utter LIARS saying, “Oh yes, I’ll definitely read this book that you loved!!” except we forget about it the second after adding it to Goodreads and never look at it again for another 47 years because we’re too busy drowning from all the other books we said we’d read. :)))

*Okay, fine, me. Now shh and pretend.

Finishing a recommended book a longggg time after receiving the rec and wondering if you should broach the topic with the recommender.

Let me make this easy for anyone with this dilemma: Yes. YES. YESSS!!!

The number one thing you should do after finishing and loving a recommended book after celebrating with pie and petting your goldfish (to make sure you remember the book’s details, obviously) is TELL YOUR RECOMMENDER! (Yes it’s a word, go away you rude squiggly line)

Because any and every book blogger LOVES to hear that someone loved a book they recommended. Trust me. I am a genius at mind-reading. And since you loved the book (obviously you won’t go shouting at the blogger about how much you hated the book because um… Poor frail hearts here.) you also gain someone to pass you tissues or cake if needed!! #win

AND you can solve a threatening Dilemma #4 that may be looming over the head of the recommender because he/she doesn’t know if you loved or hated the book and they’re slowly descending into madness. BE A GOOD RECOMMENDEE and talk, human!

Because how can I end this post without book recommendations??? FEAST YOUR EYEBALLS:

Fantasy/Sci-fi/Dystopia/Mostly-fantasy

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: If you haven’t read this WHAT ARE YOU DOING??!??! Yes, this is the band-of-teens-who-steal-and-banter synopsis I gave earlier, IT’S GREAT okay!!

Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria Schwab: This Savage Song and OUR DARK DUET omg, they’re so amazing like oijwowneigwoigjigjworigj GO NOW okay bye

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo: Diana is hilarious?? So much banter?? Jesper 2.0?? Nim is great?? MUCH LOVE. Also come on. It’s WONDER WOMAN. And Leigh Bardugo. Must I say more?

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust: If you prefer more slow, more simply fantasies with focus on characters and the female leads, this is everything!! OH, and it’s a Snow White retelling btw. SUCH a good retelling!

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury: Say hi to the Aladdin retelling you never knew you needed!! As much as I loved the original, this one is even better imo, in a completely different but AMAZING way!!

The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh: This book was SO HYPED back when it released in 2015 (2 freaking years ago????!?! #wut) and guys, don’t sleep on this one now!! A beaaaauuutiful retelling of A Thousand and One Nights and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Shahrzad is fabulous and Khalid is straight up ??!! *dies*

Red Rising series by Pierce Brown: Literally the first book was like a darker and more twisted version of The Hunger Games?? Meeting Greek mythology + Roman stuff?? And it was SO GOOD. The series only keeps getting better and jijfoejfoejfojweo the characters!! Are!! So!! Precious!! 

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: These characters are all SO PRECIOUS to my heart. My god. So much love for this series, if you like retellings this is an absolute MUST. ❤ And if you don’t like retellings… you still must. 😉

The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski: I know some people didn’t like this but honestly I loved it!! Kestrel was so badass (although she couldn’t physically fight whatsoever #represented) and clever?? #yas

Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab: Nothing new to say here apart from the fact that if you DON’T read this series, my chocolate minions will come after you and you will regret it. :))) A FAVOURITE AUTHOR HERE.

Contemporary

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali: Muslim MC with an #ownvoices author, with an accurate representation of Islam, which I loved and something we need so much!! Janna’s story touched my heart and if you’re looking for a diverse, refreshing, #ownvoices read –> THIS BOOK. (Tw for discussion of sexual assault. Not graphic/descriptive, but it is discussed and the MC is facing the after-affects of it.)

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Another #ownvoices (YESS) diverse contemporary, featuring two Indian-American teens falling in love!! SO CUTE. Loved so much and Rishi was so precious?? ❤ I need a Rishi in my life, tbh. (Also, I loved reading little snippets of Hindi!! I can’t speak the language, but I can understand it and that was so much fun!)

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake: Another diverse (not sure if it’s own voices but it might be??) book featuring a bisexual main character, a biracial love interest and a f/f romance. #YESSSS So, so, good and also so heartbreaking? But also I smiled so much and it was amazing.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han: CUTEST!! Lara Jean is adorable and Peter is ❤ and Kitty is so cute?? And there’s also TON of baking and FOOD so what more do you need, really?

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: BEAUTIFUL. BEAUTIFUL. I adore this book, Jude and Noah are so precious and I loved reading their story. Plus the writing is so gorgeous??

Geekerella by Ashley Poston: Cute and fun and GEEKY Cinderella retelling!! ❤

Adam Silvera books: Heartbreaking but will make you smile at moments (making the sad moments even stronger honestly) and just aijiojefiojwgijwogj one of my FAVOURITE AUTHORS. ❤

Becky Albertalli books: Simon vs is so, so cute and fun and Simon is just the best?? (There’s a movie titled Love, Simon that’s going to be released and I am SO READY.) Her other novel, The Upside of Unrequited, ft. a curvy protagonist and tons of diversity and is so much fun!! ❤

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis: Warning!! NOT as happy and friendly as this odd cover may be telling you! It’s super dark and twisty but also is so important, dealing with rape culture. (Trigger warning for sexual assault, and more, I can’t remember but definitely read into it if you’re worried. It’s NOT light reading, guys!)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Yes, I’m mentioning this again and again until you feel guilty enough to read it. Just kidding! But you 100% need to read this, it’s just so good and so, so important.

Remember that list of 20 of my favourite books I mentioned in Dilemma #1? I WASN’T KIDDING. 😉

At the end of the day, no matter how much running I do because of book recommendations and all the sweat, anxiety and tears that go into it (I’m not exaggerating at all), I LOVE giving out recommendations and receiving them! So hit ’em at me. 😉

Anyway, if you’ve made it this far tell me one book a book blogger recommended to you that you LOVED! And What are your book recommendation dilemmas? Does anyone else worry about people not liking their recommendation? Or struggle with giving descriptions of what a book is about ??? (IT’S SO HARD not to make it sound horrible, gosh.) Any other dilemmas you’ve come across? LET US TALK.