Absolutely Delightful…

Have you ever been so immersed in a book it’s almost as if you were in a dream? I love when that happens, that moment you escape. I’ve read a lot of different books lately and with each one I’m praying for that experience of being drawn into the pages and disappearing inside them for hours.

I’m not sure why books induce this almost dream-like state but I feel well rested after as well. Writing about this now, I’m a bit embarrassed because I can’t help but think “this sounds insane” and yet I know there are people who’ve experienced this same thing.

Reading to me is no different than when I used to play dolls. Letting your imagination take charge and creating and exploring (sometimes the impossible!) in your head. It’s like the perfect balance between fiction and reality because you know in fact that it’s all a play but you engage with it because it’s absolutely delightful…or disturbing if you’re reading a horror novel…but then again some books (and films) can be disturbingly delightful.

In my last post I felt almost betrayed by what I’d read. Books for me have always been my favourite place…not just thing…but a place, because every book has a new setting, a new set of character’s to meet and new things to discover along the way. I love that about them. I like to venture into spooky old mansions, or travel across space…just from the comfort of my bedroom.

Each time I read a good book, it’s like being in a long dream. A good dream. A dream that keeps you guessing. A dream that gives you a warm feeling. A dream that lingers with you after you wake up. Books are beautiful in that sense.

Absolutely beautiful.

Upcoming Reviews

2021 is here and I am pumped about all the books on my TBR! I have high hopes. I was accepted for 2 arc reviews that I’m looking forward to reading. Along with that I’ve decided on the books and series that I’ll be starting the year off with!

Manga:

Marmalade Boy:

I’ve already read and reviewed the first volume in this series. I’m currently on volume 6 now…and yes I’ve only been reading it for a few days.

Do I sleep? Ha…not since I started reading this.

That aside, I plan on doing a full series review once I get through each and every volume of this series. I can’t wait!

I might also review the anime after I finish the series!

Ultra Maniac

I’m familiar with this series but haven’t read it, so I thought “Hey, I’m on an 90s early 00s manga binge right now. Why not go for it!”

It sounds really cute. I can’t wait to review it!

Fever

I know very little about this series. I judged it by it’s cover. I know…bad…but it’s a book, we do that sometimes.

I also read the synopsis and it sounded kind of interesting. I’m taking a risk giving this manwha a chance.

The cover art for the series is gorgeous.

Lovely Lesson

Lovely Lesson is another series that I’m not very familiar with but I thought it might be interesting to read.

This one I judged by the synopsis and the cover.

Who knows maybe it’ll be a fun read?

Perfect World (Vol 1 – 3)

This is a series I picked up on a whim. I was given the first three volumes from Book Santa. Yes, there is such thing. Book Santa is the Santa that gives you books. It’s the same as regular Santa but…you get BOOKS! Isn’t that awesome!?

Anyway the series looks really good and I’m looking forward to reading it!

Blood on the Tracks (Vol.1 and 2)

The first book of this series had me shooketh to the core. Like whoa…

Anyway no spoilers! This is the only horror on my list for as you can see the others are all shojo, romance types. This however was dubbed by one YouTuber as “the series that breaks people” and so I totally had to read it.

I actually stumbled upon it by accident. See, first I saw it at the store and was like “I wonder what that’s about” and then I went home and finished watching a YouTube video that was talking about the history of Horror and how the Horror genre’s book covers have lost their identity. Immediately after that video finished another began to auto-play, featuring Blood on the Tracks.

The following day I bought volume 1.

Then volume 2 was given to me by Book Santa!

I can’t wait to review these.

Comics

Jughead’s Time Police:

If you weren’t aware, I’m a big fan of the Archie comics. I’ve been reading them for as long as I can remember. My mom had a bunch and so did my great-uncle. In university I started adding my own books to the collection, especially after my great-uncle passed away.

My only comment about this franchise is that I wish they would watch out for spelling errors. I’ve purchased several in recent years that had at least 3 mistakes each. I’m not usually this picky about print errors and things but 3 or more mistakes becomes distracting to the reader. I also feel that with such a large company, this really shouldn’t be happening as frequently as it does. If I find any in this comic, I will comment about it in the review and it will probably taint the overall rating, because as I mentioned this wouldn’t be the first time.

That aside, the Jughead comics in these past few years have been really fun! I loved the Sabrina cross overs as well. Jughead’s Time Police covers all the variations of Jughead throughout the comic (and Riverdale’s) history. Basically I’m hoping this comic has the character poking fun at himself. It’ll be fun to see a bunch of Jugheads going head to head…get it? Head to head. Yah…it’s not that funny but I tried!

Novels

As mentioned I’ve been accepted for 2 ARC reviews! One of those is a novel. I’ll be sharing what book it is at a later date but I’m fairly excited to read it as I’d heard rumours about it circulating Bookstagram and got to see the cover reveal a little while back!

As for other novels, I’m still undecided. I’ve got some ideas in mind but because of the lock down I don’t currently have access to those books.

I may however, reread and review an old favourite of mine or even a few of the novels I was forced to read in university and high school…to see if my poor opinion of them changed.


I just want to finish off this post by saying a fly just flew into my cup and I am very sad. Just…why? It didn’t have to drown. It didn’t. But it did. In my drink. I am. So. Upset.

R.I.P Fly McGuy, Jan 4th, 2021

My Favourite Bookish Posts

Seeing as how Christmas is around the corner, I thought a little Narnia humour was in order.

Seriously though, do not eat the turkish delight.

Now onto our next post which comes from Pillow Thoughts II. I found this one on pinterest and thought it was very beautiful.

Have you ever finished reading a gorgeous passage in a book and just sat there in awe? I always take the time to admire them before moving on to the next line. Passages like those deserve to be appreciated for the art that they are.

Have you ever read something without a fandom? I have…it can be a very lonely place. However, I use that as an opportunity to introduce people to new books!

The other day one of my co-workers suggested a book to me that sounds both hilarious and heart-wrenching all at the same time! I’ve added it to my list of books to read ASAP!

I take my co-workers book suggestions very seriously. We spend a lot of time looking at books and judging how beautiful the spines are…I also now have an obsession with the hardcover details thanks to another co-worker of mine. Some of them are absolutely beautiful!

Anyway, here’s another favourite of mine:

I think we all have at least once. When I read the Outsider’s I fell hard for Ponyboy Curtis. Before that when I read Camp Confidential I was in love with Jordan. Before that…and this one takes me way back I loved Prince Val’ in the Princess School series. This doesn’t even include all the cartoon and anime boys.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

I Bought Some New Books!

I picked up a couple books today that I am looking forward to reading in the very near feature.

The first was Mexican Gothic, which I also found out was by a Canadian while I was buying it today. Hello Silvia! It is a pleasure! I look forward to reading your book.

Haha…Who knows she may read this post someday. You never know?

I really am excited to read this. I read the synopsis while browsing for books online and I instantly wanted to read it.

The other’s I got were one that I ordered forever ago Chocolat, which was a series I was really into when I was 14. I only managed to get book 1 but I’ll keep my eye out for the others. I know the series was discontinued…which sucks because we got left with this big cliff hanger. I like to imagine my own endings when that sort of thing happens with a series.

Lastly I got Black Canary Ignite, which is about DC’s Black Canary (one of my faves btw) when she’s 13 years old. Bonus Meg Cabot is the author. That’s right, the author of Princess Diaries! What a stellar combo!

I’m stoked to read all three of these and if I like the Black Canary one I will definitely be passing it onto my niece. I personally prefer to read books before I give them to her. Mainly just to gauge the maturity level.

Middle Grade fiction (9-12 books) are a little tricky. I’d say YA (teen) is diffificult in the same way. I know from experience that although a book says it is meant for readers 9-12, it may be more for a 12 year old audience. 12 year old’s and 9 year old’s may seem close in age (and sometimes height…at least in my case), but the reality is that some books I got when I was 9 I absolutely hated because they were “boring.” When in reality I just wasn’t mature enough for the content. When I turned 11/12 I adored those same books I once hated.

As I mentioned YA is very similar. Books I enjoyed at 17, I might have hated at 13. Simply because I couldn’t relate to the character’s or found it “boring.”

This is why for example after reading Best Babysitters Ever, I decided to not give it to my niece until she’s about 10. I think she’ll enjoy the book but it is a bit longer than what she’s currently reading and I don’t want her to feel intimidated by all this vocabulary that she hasn’t grown accustom to yet. I think when she’s in 5th or 6th grade she will also relate to these character’s a lot more than as a 4th grader.

Another thing to note is it depends on the individual kid. Understanding their sense of humour, their level of maturity, what genres they like etc…so if you are choosing a book for a 9-12 or 13-18 year old, keep that in mind.

I’m used to recommending books as I work and spend most of my free time in bookstores…along with being an author and studying books…so uh…yah. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert or anything but I’ve come to learn what to think about when you are buying a book for someone else. It hasn’t failed me yet! So hopefully that gives me some credibility.

That aside, I’m really excited about all the books I’m reading going into September! I can’t wait. Sure my list keeps growing, but there are just so many wonderful things to be read!

Help! My TBR list keeps growing!

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen the following tweets:

On top of this spontaneous haul, I’ve been trying to catch up on my TBR pile, one that has been accumulating over the span of about 3 years now. In university my sister and I would go buy new books just about every other weekend…just to get out of the house. At the time I also was blessed with many, many gift cards from my family members so that I could indulge in this ever growing obsession.

If not, it is my pleasure to announce that I went on a bit of a book binge…and the books I purchased had not initially been on my wishlist. My ever growing wishlist.

Sadly some books I purchased during my studies I never got around to because I was busy reading for school.

One thing they don’t tell you about studying literature is that it can make you hate reading. At least periodically….

What happens is you’re no loner reading for fun or being allowed to choose what you want to read…you have to read whatever is on the syllabus and some of it is the absolutely most boring, drab, dull pieces of literature in the entire existence of the written word.

Wow…that was really shady of me…but it’s honest.

My friends and I all expressed our disdain usually near midterms or examination periods for reading. Trying to force yourself to read books you absolutely hate can be just as stressful as writing essays on said books for your final.

My solution however wasn’t to stop reading altogether. I adore books. I adore reading. I used to spend hours in books stores browsing…which really annoyed my family but as I’ve gotten older I’ve become the “designated book person” where I basically buy books for them that I think they’ll enjoy or help them find ones that they’ve had their eye on.

I’m also the one who picks books to give my niece for her birthday and Christmas gifts. I always go for something I think she’ll actually get a kick out of. She likes books with a lot of crazy shenanigans so I actually have a lot of fun choosing them for her. It also gives me an excuse to randomly read children’s and MG fiction again (and honestly a lot of them are brilliant!)

Sorry I got a bit off topic there…but basically my solution was to read comics and manga for fun and read the novels I had to read for school. Thus my comic and manga collection grew immensely and in turn rekindled my love for reading.

This form of literature reads a lot faster, so I had time to read them between completing my assigned readings for class. On top of that, because of the artwork they were barely boring (even in some where the plot got a bit dry at times).

Anyway, I’ve been desperately trying to catch up on these books during quarantine and as a result I reached my 2020 reading goal very quickly…and decided to increase it. Which I’ll probably do again because I just bought a bunch of books and have a lot more I’m planning on reading.

As you saw from my Tweet I bought the first three books from the series Nana. I also bought Paradise Kiss (I got the 20th anniversary edition!) and the first book to a manwha I read in high school called Chocolat.

However on top of those I have several books on my wishlist that I’m planning on getting in the very near future:

The first being Love in Focus Books 2 and 3. As mentioned in my review of book 1 I’m really looking forward to continuing this series. I instantly felt drawn to the characters!

I’m also looking forward to reading A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. So many people have recommended this book to me and the reviews have been fantastic. I’m really excited about it.

I also have Mexican Gothic on my wishlist along with The War Widow. Some of my favourite reads in university were in the American Southern Gothic genre (I’m Canadian). So Mexican Gothic got me very excited by the synopsis. I really want to read this book. I haven’t heard any reviews on it yet either…so I’m extremely curious!

As for other manga (aside from Love in Focus) I’ve been looking forward to getting the new releases from the series Love Me, Love Me Not, and Daytime Shooting Star. I’ve also had a book from this series called Living-room Matsunaga-san that keeps popping up in my recommendations, so I’ve added book 1 to my wishlist.

I plan on reviewing all of them, which seems a bit ambitious at the moment since I’m currently reading 4 books and am planning on starting several others later this week.

What I’m Reading Right Now:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Takane and Hana Vol.2

Papillon Vol. 3

The Girl From the Other Side Vol. 2

I just finished reading Monster Vol. 3 and I plan on starting Second Best, Anna Blue off the Record and A Girl on the Shore as well. So…yah. I’m basically going to have to force myself not to binge buy anything on my wishlist else until I’ve completed my current TBR list. To have so many unread books accumulate like that…at least in my opinion is a bit silly. I try my best to be responsible when buying books, since I know I tend to buy a bunch at one time…but last month I actually managed to only get what I needed. I bought I think 3 in total back in July. August I’ve purchased 5 thus far…and have others I’d like to get, but I’m going to wait and save up for them. I try to limit my book budget to around $40 at a time…but as one of the greats said:

“Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days.”

Hannah Montana

Fake Blood Book Review

Summary:

“It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown nor had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harboured for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain-vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires?” – Whitney Gardner, Fake Blood.

Rating: 5 Stars!

Review:

This is the first Middle Grade graphic novel that I have read in a long time, and it did not disappoint.

Fake Blood had me howling (pun intended) with laughter. Each and every character was likeable and fun in their own way. Plus it had a fantastic twist that I’m still thinking about 24 hours after finishing the book. It almost made me wish it was longer. I would have loved to see more of these characters.

My favourite character overall was Aj’s older sister, who is a 15 year old vlogger and great advice giver. She was hilarious and very sweet (in a big sister kind of way). I love reading books where the siblings have a good, healthy relationship. Even when she suspected her brother of stealing her things to give to his crush, both her and AJ retained that loving sibling relationship throughout. It was obvious how much their cared and looked out for one another, even when they argued.

AJ was extremely relatable as well. I can definitely remember a time when I too was the smallest amongst my friends, and a bookworm who preferred to read during recess versus run around…oh…wait a second I’m still a short bookworm. I miss recess.

Anyway, haha, AJ was such a great character to follow. I think many of us, especially when we were 12, had crushes that we never spoke to and prayed for some way to get them to take notice of us.

AJ takes that longing to the next level, despite is friends and sister telling him to “Just talk to Nia!” and decides that since she loves Vampire’s so much, he’ll learn everything he can about them.

AJ goes so far that he even begin watching and reading Fake Bloods versions of Twilight and Vampire Diaries. There are even references to Buffy and Teen Wolf.

Unfortunately this doesn’t go as planned. Nia takes everything related to vampires very seriously. Like, very, very seriously. In fact, she plans on becoming a vampire slayer!

This little twist creates a ton of problems for AJ, as Nia and other character’s, like their mysterious new teacher Mr. Niles, start believing that he really is a vampire.

I have to say, this twist had me turning the pages faster and faster. I was scared for AJ. Who knew the sixth grade could be so dangerous?

Nia was also a really fun character. I loved her hair (mainly because I wore mine like that in the sixth grade). She was really sweet…to bad about the whole killing vampires thing. But hey, if Buffy is your hero I mean…can you blame her?

I also love how in AJ vision, when Nia drinks from the water fountain, rainbows spill out and it’s all sparkly. That was a cute touch.

Amidst all the confusion with Nia, AJ is also dealing with other problems. He feels left out constantly by his friends Ivy and Hunter, and is starting to grow impatient with their constant betting. AJ ends up even emulating the cold attitude of the vampires in the books he’s been reading and as a result ends up hurting his friends and family. It isn’t until after this that he realizes how much he needs them by his side…especially with all the craziness going on.

Overall, this book was a fun read! I finished it in one sitting and couldn’t put it down. I would definitely recommend it to Middle Grader readers (and up) and am exciting to see what this author comes up with next.

Planning Ahead: My Exploration of Book Marketing (So Far)

In my last post I shared some Book Trailers that I thought did a great job of engaging potential readers. Although they all had different approaches, they were great to watch, visually appealing and had me interested in learning more about the books.

As a reader, I know what I look for when buying books, and those are the same things that I like to think about when I’ve completed the first draft of my novel. I always write books that I would enjoy reading, but I get curious about the different ways authors and publishers choose to market their books. There are so many different options, that sometimes I find myself going down a marketing rabbit hole. You’d be surprised at how long a person can spend looking at everything from great book covers to how to set up a bookstagram tour.

I think it’s honestly really wonderful how much information is out there.

There are hundreds of articles on how to grow an engaged audience of potential readers as well, which is something I believe every author strives for.

I’ve thought of all of the different techniques I’ve seen, and imagined different ways I could implement them for a successful launch, when the time comes. Even just thinking about launch prep can be a lot of work. There is so much that has to go into publishing a book, regardless if you are traditionally or self-published! Luckily there are so many unique approaches to this, many of which, I’ve seen done well with fantastic results.

The main thing that I’ve noticed from these successful approaches is the amount of planning people did. They figured out their budget, they thought of how far in advance they needed to begin promoting their book, they came up with events, got a team together, made a detailed list or calendar of everything they wanted to do prior to and on launch day.

The majority of the success stories I’ve heard has been from people who took their time to plan things out in advance.

Something I wonder is how far in advance should a person begin planning? I honestly don’t know. Is it when your book is picked up for publication? Is it when you have an actual publication date? Is it when the editing is complete? I haven’t the slightest idea.

Regardless, I’d like to hope that by at least looking into these different strategies others have used, that when I get the go ahead, I’ve already got a ton of inspiration to pull from and possibly things that I’ve already decided that I want to do.

Something that I am very excited for is having Beta Readers. Although my editor and I are currently on our 3rd round of edits, seeing her feedback and enthusiasm has really got me wondering what other’s will think of my novel. Will they enjoy my characters? Will they like my style of writing? Will want to read more?

I’ve missed having people read my work. I used to share my stories with my friends, family and classmates when I was in grades 7-9, but stopped being so open with it. Instead I only shared my writing in my creative writing classes and clubs at school, or in online writing communities. Most of what I shared however, were poems. Mainly I miss talking to people about my stories and characters, and I think most storytellers long for that.

I definitely have a lot of things that I’d love to do with this debut…and because of the current situation, and the uncertainty of 2020, I’m also making sure that I have alternative ideas to each of my main ones because I saw how devastating it was for people to have launches that didn’t go as planned. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I am having fun brainstorming ideas in between editing and work.

Full Review of Daytime Shooting Star, Vol. 5 by Mika Yamamori

Daytime Shooting Star, Vol. 5 by Mika Yamamori

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Although I enjoy the series and the artwork, there are some problematic things about the plot that don’t sit well with me, so at the moment the series is 4.5 stars for me…mainly because of some of the content.

I find it odd that this specific shojo trope (student-teacher relationship) is something I’ve been reading since I was like 11 years old, and it’s only now that I’m in my twenties that I find this trope problematic. I think part of the reason is that before I was the same age as the protagonist, and now I’m the same age as their older love interest…and I can see how manipulative and creepy it can be.

I think what’s more shocking is that this series is YA…and her friends like Yuyuka, are encouraging her to pursue their 24 year old teacher. Which, although all the girls are lovely, it is a bit sad that the male leading rival is the only person who can see why this relationship is inappropriate, but this insight is being written as though it’s jealously.

Aside from that, the character development is really well done. I also like how all the characters are named after animals. That’s a really cute little touch. I also liked the little authors corner segment about Mika’s date. It was really funny and she seems like a genuinely sweet person.

I did enjoy this volume, and the additional mini manga short at the end called Cookie Girl and Cream Boy. I love that Mika includes characters of colour in her work. It reminds me of why I adored the Peach Girl series so much by Miwa Ueda.



View all my reviews

Mid-Read Review for Daytime Shooting Star Vol.5

The weather has been so nice this weekend. It’s been good to sit out in the yard and read or work for a little change of scenery.

I’m currently reading Volume 5 of Daytime Shooting Star, a Manga by Mika Yamamori.

Although I enjoy the series and the artwork, there are some problematic things about the plot that don’t sit well with me, so at the moment the series is 4.5 stars for me…mainly because of some of the content.

I find it odd that this specific shojo trope is something I’ve been reading since I was like 11 years old, and it’s only now that I’m in my twenties that I find this trope problematic.

I think what’s more shocking is that this series is YA…and the teen characters in it are encouraging this behaviour in their friend. Which, although all the girls are lovely, it is a bit sad that the male leading rival is the only person who can see why this relationship is inappropriate.

Aside from that though the character development is really well done. I also like how all the characters are named after animals. That’s a really cute little touch.

I’m not sure which Manga I’ll be reading after this but I’m also reading a novel for my YA May good reads challenge. So far I’m enjoying that.