Well, friends, it’s been…a month. And, yet again, the number of books I’ve read has been…uh…what’s that saying?…less??…”less than stellar”—that’s it! Yes, my reading sure has been less than stellar. But, hey, we’re in it for the long haul, the bigger victories, not the quick and easy wins, right?
So what media did I manage to devour (…er…maybe more like…nibble on?) this past July? Let’s take a look…
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- Lately With Lila | June Wrap Up
- Black & Bookish | The Black Book Blogger Tag
- In Love With Incendiary | Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova
- Lila’s Doing Her First Ever Read-A-Thon?!! My 2020 Reading Rush TBR
- Disability Pride Month | What You Should Know About Book Blogging While Disabled
- Controversial Opinion Alert! There’s No Such Thing As A “Non-Critical” Review (So Let’s Stop Pretending There Is)!!!
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- The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill (★★★★☆) So…ahem…erm…Yes, friends, the lone book I completed in July and the sole book I finished during The Reading Rush was a 72 page, younger Middle Grade graphic novel but, hey, at least I finished something!…Right? Regardless, I completed The Tea Dragon Society and it was so incredibly cute! It was the softest kind of lovely and I adored the incredibly subtle themes it had about how being independent doesn’t necessarily mean being all alone! All in all, I think this one is a great options for kids (and anyone, really!) looking for a sweet and gentle “adventure”!
- The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty I know, I know—how on Earth did I manage to not instantly devour the finale to my all-time favorite series?! I honestly can’t tell you why except that I really just don’t want it to end yet or to have to say goodbye to these characters. I’ve made it to the middle of The Empire of Gold already, though, so, slowly but surely, the end is coming…
- Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko I’m also partially through this one, which I received an audiobook ALC of for a book tour! And I’ve gotta say I’m really enjoying it, so I can’t wait to see where the rest of the story goes!
- Legendborn by Tracy Deonn I’m also participating in a book tour for Legendborn, so it’s another book that I’ll be getting to this coming month. I’m so excited to read this one, especially as it’s one of my most anticipated debuts of this year!
- Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse And what do ya know?! This one is ALSO an ARC I’m receiving for an upcoming book tour that I’m participating in! What a coinkydink! That being said, I’m very grateful to have received it (as well as Raybearer and Legendborn) and I am BEYOND EXCITED to read this one. It’s an Indigenous American inspired fantasy and I cannot tell you how fantastic it looks to me!
- Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar I’ve already pre-ordered my audiobook copy of Star Daughter because it honestly looks so. freaking. AMAZING! I’ve always been a big fan of celestial fantasy and seeing that this one also has an Indian twist? I cannot express to you how hyped I am!!!
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer Vol. 1: High School Is Hell by Jordie Bellaire and Dan Mora Confession: I’ve never watched Buffy The Vampire Slayer. My family’s never had cable plus the show was a bit before my time, as I’m a November ’94 baby, so I never got into it when it was actually airing. But I know the gist of the story and it’s always sounded cool to me, especially as I grew up loving shows like Sabrina The Teenage Witch and the original Charmed. So when I heard about this new run of Buffy comics, which is a retelling set in the modern world and which has an art style that I really like, I jumped at the chance to read it. I’ve currently read about 25% of the first volume and I’m loving it so far, so I figure I’ll probably finish it within the next month!
Thank you to the publishers and to Hear Our Voices Tours for providing these ARC copies!
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JUNE 2020 FAVORITES
T-Swizzle Took Us Back To Basics With Folklore
Swift wowed everyone by managing to release her new album, folklore, amidst a global pandemic which left us all confined to our homes! It would be understandable—natural, even—if folklore wasn’t her best work yet, but NOPE! Ms. Swift dazzled again with a beautifully honest and raw album that perfectly blends the OG Taylor Swift sound of her debut and sophomore albums with the more pop-y, synth-y sounds of her 1989 to Lover eras—and it sounds amazing, as per usual!
I’m not usually massively into mindfulness, as I find that, as someone who grew up with a mom who practiced Buddhism for a large portion of her own life and who also happens to be a psychologist, it tends to be a lot of stuff that I already know and have already integrated into my life. That being said, I’ve been experiencing a massive relapse in my depression and anxiety in the past year and when I found this simple and short meditation, I ended up really liking it and feeling that it may end up being really useful, especially with how “on-the-go” I tend to be.
Miss Independent (Study)
We all know it: I’m a chaotic mess! Beyond the fact that I have ADHD, I think I also happen to have a personality that doesn’t lend itself towards making self-discipline, focus, and organization easy and natural habits for me. So, unfortunately, I have to turn to tips from outside sources on how to actually, ya know, get organized, focused, and self-disciplined. Luckily for me, the internet is full of such tips! With quarantine still pretty much in full effect in my area, at least in regards to schools, I’ve been especially needing help with independent studying/learning/schooling—and I found the above video especially helpful! I really like that this video manages to give you the kick in the ass you may need to get started, without talking down to you or making it seem like “everyone else gets this so you’re just the odd one out.” It definitely gave useful tips and it’s a video I’ve absolutely bookmarked to come back to time and time again!
A Musical Moment
- “Be Kind” by Halsey and Marshmello I’ve been a big fan of Halsey since her EP, Room 93, dropped, so I was bound to love her new work too. I’m really glad to hear her say that she’s in a much happier “era” of music making and to see that her songs reflect that. “Be Kind” is one of those songs that does just that, reminding us that, first and foremost, love should be kind. It’s a different topic than “typical Halsey music,” but it has enough of the overarching themes of her actual sound that I can’t help but enjoy it too, for both its happy message and for sounding authentic to the artists.
- “Forgive Me” by Chloe x Halle I’ve also loved Chloe x Halle’s work for a good few years now, so I was ecstatic to see they’d released a new album! Ungodly Hour sounds just as otherworldly as their previous works, but with a bit more of a R&B/pop “oomph” behind it. “Forgive Me” reflects that, with ethereal, sighing vocals laid over a thumping background. It’s an interesting and intoxicating juxtaposition and one you can’t help but sing or hum along to.
- “Hate The Club” by Kehlani ft. Masego Masego is a favorite music artist of mine and I love Kehlani’s work as well, so hearing them collab is like a dream come true! “Hate The Club” is a slower, deeper sound with a moody, soulful bump to it and the smooth notes of Masego’s saxophone floating throughout. It’s definitely everything I could want from a Masego/Kehlani crossover!
- “This Is Me Trying” by Taylor Swift I admit, my favorite song off folklore is a bit of an “unpopular opinion” (if there even is one when it comes to Swift’s music), seeing as my favorite song is “This Is Me Trying,” which seems to be lower on most people’s lists. Nevertheless, sometimes a song’s lyrics, sound, and theme just hit you at the right time in your life, just when you need it, and for me that song was “This Is Me Trying.”
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THE WORD AROUND THE INTERNET
- These are certainly times of large scale change we’re going through, what with a global pandemic continuing to ravage the world and a US election involving Donald Trump fast approaching. So what can we do to ease this time of transition? Read It Forward has some ideas, with an article all about how books help us in times of transition
- We’re all familiar with the old question of if “YA” is a genre or a marketing demographic—but what makes a book YA in the first place? Breanna of Paws and Paperbacks takes a deeper look!
- For all of y’all looking to take a trip this quarantine, Jamieson of Jami’s Shelves recommended 10 books set in 10 different countries
- If you’re looking for a book to fit your very specific reading mood, Noura from The Perks of Being Noura has you covered! And maybe you also want to read more while you’re at it? Noura has some tips!
- For some bizarre reason, trigger warnings have long been a topic of debate in the book community? Marie at Drizzle and Hurricane Books breaks down why they matter to her
- Trying to keep up the energy with supporting Black folks? Try reading Black authored books! On that front, Rhi at Marshmallow Harmonies recommends 22 books by Black authors to read and support
- Speaking of reading Black authored books, BLM Tarot Bingo might be for you if you’re looking for a fun way to do just that!
- I, for one, love my TV shows and if you too are a TV fanatic, check out Olivia of Purely Olivia‘s post of YA book recommendations based off TV shows!
- We’ve all experienced it: The Dreaded Reading Slump! Check in with Sofi at A Book. A Thought. to find out how reading slumps affect her and what she does to overcome them!
- Hollie over at Hollieblog gives her thoughts on “cancel culture” and the fantabulous fiasco of an open letter that J.K. Rowling and plenty of other famous authors recently signed.
- Are certain tropes on your “nope trope!” list? Lisa at Way Too Fantasy might have you rethinking after reading her piece on why she loves tropes!
- Searching for your daily dose of funny? Kristie at Upside-Down Books has a great post wondering where all the town criers in books are
- Musical fans unite! Margaret at Weird Zeal has a post all about books she think would make great musicals!
- Is the book really always better than the screen adaptation? Heather of This Library of Mine has found the secret to enjoying adaptations
- I typically am a TOTAL series devour-er (when I like the first book, obviously), so I was fascinated by Tasya at The Literary Huntress‘s post on what makes her finish a series
- I recently learned that I think and imagine things in a manner known as “hyperphantasia”—which apparently isn’t necessarily the norm? Anyhoo, Naemi at A Book Owl’s Corner has a SUPER interesting post related to the topic of hyperphantasia, all about the question of “What do you see in your mind when reading?“
- The Bookish Twins‘s post on why they read fantasy plus recommendations is A+ for seasoned lovers of the genre, as well as newcomers!
- Romance readers, rejoice! Malka from Paper Procrastinators has the post of your dreams, all about her journey with the romance genre!
- Guess who read Percy Jackson and the Olympians for the first time at 23? Not me, I’m trash. But Lauren at Twenty-Seven Letters did and she wrote a post about it and what she learned from it!
- The ladies of Pages Unbound hit it out of the park this month with not one, but two (!) great posts: “Must reading always be educational?” and “Should public libraries be political?“
- Charlotte at Escapades of a Bookworm lays out her reviewing etiquette
- The ladies over at the much beloved blog Happy Indulgence celebrated their 8 year anniversary!
- Up your bookstagram game with Xandra of Starry Sky Book‘s tips on how to edit Instagram photos with a digital book cover and other bookstagram secrets!
- The Orangutan Librarian has yet another awesome post, this time on why they don’t review every books they read!
- There’s been a good deal of discussion in the book blogging community (and even some in the broader bookish community too) about how book bloggers don’t tend to get enough recognition for our work. If you’re wondering how to support us as book bloggers, check out Sumedha of The Wordy Habitat‘s wonderful piece on how to do just that!
- In the same vein, May over at Forever and Everly wrote a post on why she loves book blogs and how to support the bloggers behind them!
- Vicky of Vicky Again has an absolutely STELLAR must read piece all about how to make your blog and social media more disability accessible!
- If you’re considering starting a booktube, check out Belle from Belle Can Read‘s post all about the pros and cons of starting a booktube!
- Youtuber Olivia Kathryn lists 45 concrete and sustained good things that have happened/are happening in the world right now and it honestly helped calm my soul a bit
- Are you horrified by the recent cake meme and the idea that our lives may be a giant simulation created from cake? Don’t feel alone—Eater is too!
- Calling all Hamilton fans! Margaret over at Weird Zeal took a moment to reflect on what the musical means to her in 2020
- Speaking of Broadway shows—if you’re a big fan of Broadway, Michelle of A Geek Girl’s Guide has tips on how to enjoy Broadway from the comfort of your home!
- Are you a fellow fan of web comics? One great one to check out is Lore Olympus—and Tiffany at Read by Tiffany has 5 reasons you should be reading it!
- We all know and love Mulan—or do we? Philip from mulanbook.com checks our knowledge with a fabulous guest post on Book Princess Reviews asking how well do we know Mulan?
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JULY 2020 MEMORIES
July was honestly a weird blur of nothingness in terms of my personal life? Like, I don’t remember if nothing actually happened or if I just don’t remember what happened?? It’s strange. Regardless, it was yet another month in quarantine and, friends, I’m beginning to go a little crazy!
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My college’s fall semester actually begins in late August, so I’ll be headed back to school this month. I’m fortunate enough to attend a college which is taking the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously and continuing remote learning until at least the Spring 2021 semester, at which point they plan on consulting updated CDC guidelines and reevaluating. I’ll be honest: as someone who’s an extrovert and a “social learner” type of student who works best in person with teachers and study groups, and also as someone with severe ADHD, remote has been incredibly difficult for me to adjust to and work within the boundaries of. That being said, I’ve opted to enroll only in non-STEM courses, so I’m hoping this time around won’t be as difficult. I’ve already enrolled in Principles of Anthropology I (which is basically intro level anthropology) and Intro to Poetry (which is another hybrid creative writing/literary analysis course), both of which I’m really excited for. I may add another course, but it honestly depends at this point. Regardless, I’m sure I’ll find a way to make it through the madness this semester.
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SPILL THE BEANS, FRIENDS!
- Do you remember your July? Tell all about it!
- Are you looking forward to anything coming up in August?
- What books have you read lately? Anything you really loved?