January 2020 Reading Wrap Up

Last year was a decent reading year, but certainly not one for the record books in terms of quantity. Even so, I still stepped out of my comfort zone to read more graphic novels, and even a poetry book that I still think about to this day. Likewise, given the number of books on this list, I hope that this first month will reflect the quality and quantity that I might see in my reading ventures throughout the rest of the year.

Children’s books:

1. Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang

Image result for amy wu and the perfect bao
5 Stars

2. I Miss My Grandpa by Jin Xiaojing

Image result for I Miss My Grandpa by Jin Xiaojing
5 Stars

Young Adult books:

1. Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Image result for pride by ibi zoboi
4 Stars

2. Slay by Brittany Morris

Image result for slay by brittney morris
5 Stars

Adult books:

1. Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Image result for natalie tan's book of luck and fortune by roselle lim
5 Stars

2. Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

Image result for pride prejudice and other flavors by sonali dev
3 Stars

Disclaimer: All images are not my own, but Google’s.

#ReadYourTomesAthon Announcement

Hi everyone!

So it looks like 2020 is the year of readathons, for me, anyways. There have been a myriad of them happening in years past, but I never managed to participate in many. This year, however, I’ve decided to change that. So, here I am, to announce my intent to participate in another readathon. I cannot say this will be the last announcement of the sort, however, the one in question this time is the #ReadYourTomesAthon by Vanessa, who blogs at The Wolf & Books.

Personally, I am ecstatic that this particular readathon has been created, because now I have legitimate motivation to read the massive books that have been on my TBR for a while now. Currently, the TBR I have for it is:

1. Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

2. Peace and Turmoil (The Dark Shores Book 1) by Elliot Brooks

3. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

4. Jade City by Fonda Lee

5. The Inheritance Trilogy (bind up version from Amazon) by N.K. Jemison

6. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison

7. The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy: Book 1) by S.A. Chakraborty

8. The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci

9. The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell

Looking up at that list, I feel confident that I will manage to pick up each of those titles, considering that I own all of them. However, I am participating in another readathon, and do have other books outside of these that I’d like to read, so it’s all about managing my time and seeing what I can handle alongside life.

If you haven’t heard of this readathon, and you are a reader who loves tomes, then you should definitely check it out!

Until next time,

T.J.

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2020 Announcement of Intention to Participate

Hi everyone!

This year, I’ve decided to sign up for the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2020. I hadn’t planned on participating originally, but after a glance at the tentative TBR I’ve set for myself this year, I honestly have no excuse not to.

With that being said, my Goodreads goal for 2020 had been previously set to 25 books, but given this and other reading challenges I foresee myself signing up for, that *may* change. Only time will tell, honestly.

Either way, in regards to the YARC, I am aiming for the Indian cobra, which is the second level, and requires 11 to 20 books by Asian authors to be read.

Green and blue award badge with a Indian Cobra in the center, and with two gold stars above the award.

Anyways, that’s about all I have for now. Has anyone else heard of this, and thought about joining? If you haven’t, then consider checking it out at The Quiet Pond book blog!

Until next time,

T.J.

My 1st DNF and 1 Star Book of The Year

Well, it finally happened. I read a book I could not finish, as well as another that received a 1 star rating. A quick perusal of my Goodreads page will lead anyone towards the correct conclusion that I generally rate books between 4-5 stars, because I rarely subject myself to a book I think I might never enjoy. However, I went in blind, reading both of the aforementioned books without researching, and this was the result.

One of the books, The Art of Being Normal, has been on my TBR for ages, so it’s a miracle I never did seek out any non-spoiler reviews where I might have gleaned even a hint of whether I’d enjoy it or not. If I had though, I would have realized it wasn’t a book for me, because it was a non- OwnVoices hot mess, to put it frankly. However, I was fooled by the beautiful rainbow cover, and so here we are. As for the other, The Keeper of The Mist, I picked it up at random from the library, and the synopsis immediately grabbed my attention, so my hopes were high. However, xenophobia was rife in it, and therefore no longer something I wished to consume.

This is not to say, however, that I am not pleased with the outcome. Despite the terrible ratings I gave, I am thankful to have read these books, because one – they were both published roughly 3-4 years ago, and after knowing the majority of their contents, it is easy to see that publishing in YA is transitioning to something somewhat better, even if it’s at a snail’s pace in certain aspects, and two – I will now advocate even more strongly for OwnVoice novels of all sorts, including my own future ones. There are moments in life that shape us, and I believe reading these books was another one for me.

Some Rather Than None

In a surprising turn of events, I wrote words.

No, really, I did. My spreadsheet even says so. I promise.

By the time this posts, I’ll be working towards my overall monthly goal of finishing with at least 40K under my belt, which will be relatively easy considering I’m closer to 36K at this point than not. This is a non NaNo month, in which I spread myself out over a variety of projects, so I am quite pleased with my work, even if my drive fizzled out towards the end due to life and its inconsistencies, coupled with my inability to focus after these unexpected events transpired. Still, I wrote words that mattered and which helped me grow. That is progress I can get behind.

Now that May is all but over, as I look forward to next month, believe it or not, I am aiming for the whole 50K, if not more. With a new spreadsheet in tow, I will be tracking my progress once again, because it seemed that method helped me to best stay on track, even if I did deviate for a bit. In preparation for the July NaNo, and each one after, I want to keep the work load steady, so that writing that much becomes as easy as breathing. Otherwise, finishing all that I want to may never happen.

On a semi related note, I actually read 5 books this month, as well as one graphic novel. April was the worst reading month I’ve had in years, so to read that much after the previous month, was a breath of relief. In terms of overall enjoyment – I loved each book that I chose. Two thirds of them were new releases, with the other two being books I’ve had on my TBR pile for a while. Not a single one disappointed, thankfully.

While I do not plan to set a definitive TBR for next month, I will say that I’d like to read at least 5 queer books, if not more. Massive monthly TBR piles, like I tried to set for each month at the beginning of the year, will not do it for me. At least, not while I’m juggling all that I am. Even so, I’m sure I will enjoy the next month, and whatever reads it brings.

So that’s my May in a nutshell, with writing and reading – two actions which are intrinsically linked. If you do either, do you have any goals for next month? Are you setting a definitive TBR for Pride Month, or winging it?

Either way, I hope that if you’re reading this, that you’re having a great day!

T.J.

On My Unintended Hiatus, Health Status, & More

Contrary to what I said last week, I did not have as many posts queued up as I initially thought. I have many drafts that I need to finish, but given the status of where I’ve been mentally and physically, it was not possible to do so for this past week. Normally, I don’t speak up much about my personal life on this blog much outside of what fits the LGBTQIA+ themed posts, but I figure now might be a good time to explain at least part of the reason this past month and this past first quarter of the year exhausted me so thoroughly.

Health-wise, over the past few weeks, I came down with the flu. I’m not often sick, so when I am, the illnesses I do contract have me down and out for longer than most, it seems. This is merely an observation of my own, not an absolute fact. Secondly, I have seizures. It’s something I’ve dealt with for years now, but over the course of the past year, particularly since the beginning of this year, they have become more frequent than ever.

The seizures I have come in varying degrees and they leave me exhausted to the point my body overcompensates for sleep afterwards. Even with the “normal” amount of sleep an adult should have, sometimes that isn’t enough. There are periods after where I have to exceed that by a great deal to recover. Then there’s the other aftermath symptoms that come along with recovering, such as the inability to concentrate, amongst others. That one is particularly frustrating and overwhelming, especially when all I want to do is write or work on my school work.

That being said, I am working with health professionals to be diagnosed, get on medication, and I’m taking all of the proper precautions, etc. I even bought a bracelet which has SEIZURES emblazoned across the bright red band. Even so, it’s hard some days, to say the least.

Even though all of this has been going on, I’ve still managed to do more school work after copious amounts of sleep and mental rest. I’ve also finished a book. Just one from my 15 count long TBR for April. At this point, I don’t see that being finished, given all that I’ve got going on. As for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m not where I want to be, but I’ve written a decent amount. Depending on how these last two weeks of April go, I may be able to finish my 30,000 word goal. All in all, I’m just winging it and hoping for the best.

As for this blog, if I don’t post on the days I normally do, it’s not for lack of trying. I am doing all that I can to be on a normal schedule. I’d like to say there won’t be any more gaps, but I’m not a seer. All I can do is do the best with what I’ve been given, and hope it’s enough.

I hope everyone’s April is going well!

Until next time,

T.J.


April Showers Me With To Do Lists and Goals

Hi guys!

It’s a bit of a personal post today, rather than a certain topic. I need a good written ramble though, so please bear with me.

This month is going to be a chaotic one in my life for a number of reasons:

  1. I’m back in school, working to become certified for a specific job in the medical field. Anything related to that area means studying, sleeping if possible, more studying, a bit of crying, and then studying again, as I have learned the last few weeks. I loved what I’ve learned so far though, and I am glad I chose a career change.
  2. I’m trying to complete a whole manuscript with Camp NaNoWriMo. It is only a first draft, but the pressure is on, because I chose this MS over one I’ve been working on for ten years and now I feel like this is a monumental decision, because I shelved my dream project(s) for one I hadn’t planned on writing for another ten years. However, I wanted to do an OwnVoices novel, so that is what led me to this one instead. More news on that later, as time progresses.
  3. I’ve assigned myself a massive TBR to complete, because my hope is that I can read enough books to populate posts for every single day of Pride Month in June. Will it happen? Who knows. However, I am still going to try. I’m an ambitious sort, what can I say?
  4. Outside of this, I am a parent, and a person who has to do other things related to being a human. I also have other goals I won’t list here, but ones that could potentially be difficult given that every single free moment from here on out must be scripted or scheduled.

Reading over this you might wonder, why on earth would you take on all of that at once? The answer is short – I’m tired of wasting time where I don’t want to be, career wise. Also, I have stories that need to be told, and ones I want to boost because representation matters, and those seeking it should find it. I’m working towards a better future for myself and my family, as well as my little corner of the world. Sometimes that means making sacrifices, but in the end, it’ll be worth it.

As for the blog, the schedule will retain its normal routine. I’ve got scheduled posts that will drop while I’m busy. In a month I’ll let you all know how this craziness goes, and whether I’ve gained a few gray hairs or not.

So, readers, what about you? Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? What are you entering? Have you got a big TBR, or no? Let’s talk in the comments!

I hope each person who reads this has a swell day!

Until next time,

T.J.