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Personal: Feburary TBR


Yesterday on my Bookstagram (linked in the About Me page), I posted my tentative February TBR.

But as I mentioned in my January Recap post, I am definitely a mood reader. So this list, even though I wrote it 6 hours ago has already changed. Obviously before I read Lovecraft Country I should probably read some of the HP Lovecraft collection that I have, and before I read Reaper at the Gates I have to finish Torch Against the Night. All of the books listed are either books I’ve started already or books that currently fit the mood I’m in.

The potion bottles were purchased with the Patronus Potions Year 2 mystery box.

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Personal: January Recap + New reading habits


Last year, between the New York shut down and the reduced in person hours at work places, there was a lot of time to read. During this time, I joined Alexandra Bracken’s Brackfast Book Club (link in currently reading), and the books we read were voted on by everyone in the group. This led to us reading things that I wouldn’t normally have read on my own and it was an interesting way to analyze how I read different types of books. It was fascinating to see how my brain tackled series verses standalones, and how tracking my reading differently changed the way I was reading.

Most trackers focus on the number of books finished in the month but for me, I have trouble focusing on just one book at a time. So, I decided to start using my Happy Planner as a way to track pages and books read in a day.

This way of tracking and reading came about because of the book club. Specifically, with standalones and binging series, I kept getting bogged down with all of the information going into my brain at once. So, I started reading side books to break up the reading for the book club. But that also put me behind the book club’s pace and made me feel like I couldn’t keep up. Tracking the books differently wasn’t going to make me read faster, or help me keep up, but it made me reevaluate my goals and expectations for myself and experience less burn out. This is how it worked out for January’s tracker:

This month I was trying to finish We Hunt the Flame from the book club, but it’s just too much world building for me to speed read. So, I focused on a couple of other books that I had been meaning to read instead and got pretty far in all of them. Tracking this way had not only given me a more visual representation of my accomplishments, but also a way to make time to slow down and process what I was reading. I even wrote notes on the books for reviews.

In the end of the month I had made it 25% of the way through We Hunt the Flame, 15% of the way through The Naming, 15% of the way through This Time by Azaa Davis, and 17% of the way through Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith.

This wouldn’t be a recap without a brief description of the books I read so:

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal follows Zafira and Nasir in the kingdom of Arawiya. Zafira is a woman in a society that doesn’t value their contributions beyond being in the home and working under men. But she desires more, and has lost much to get it. Nasir is deadly, but his actions are not his own. They are sent on a mission, both to seek, one to kill, one to survive. This book has the feel of The Hunger Games.

The Naming by Alison Croggon follows Maerad from her life in slavery, to her daring escape with her rescuer Cadvan. Along this journey she discovers that she is from a line of very powerful Bards, and her destiny may be more important than that of a simple slave. This book has the feel of Tamora Pierce’s Immortals Quartet.

This Time by Azaaa Davis (free copy for review) follows Nadira, a demon hunter who wakes up in a strange place and is unsure of how she got there or how long she had been there and once she escapes is shocked to find the answers she’s looking for. This book has the feel of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

So that was my January 2021, I didn’t finish any of the books but that’s okay, I’m sure I’ll finish some eventually and it’s the reading that’s important not the pace.

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Personal: March TBR, February Recap, and other Updates


Happy March!

I recently started a “Bookstagram” Account and honestly it is so fun! I definitely needed a new platform and outlet for my creativity. Between the pictures and the captions, this new Instagram account definitely has new opportunities for my brain to play around. There are all sorts of different challenges you could participate in and so many other community members to follow. It also gives me a new way to share and track my TBR list. If you would like to come follow me, click on the link in the Social Media sidebar.

For my March TBR, I’ve decided to take one more attack on my old February TBR before setting them aside for a while to try and match my mood. So for the first two weeks I’m going to continue with Iron King, Hunting Prince Dracula, A Gathering of Shadows, and Bloodwitch. Now, I know most people would say if you have to take a break from a book, it’s not a good book. But as someone with an anxiety disorder that makes it hard to focus on one specific thing over time, I feel like that is a lot of responsibility to put on a book. That being said, these books are still very good, but my brain just can’t hold on to them right now. So I’m going to give them one more shot before moving on to one of these beautiful collections that are calling to my attention.

This month is also the first month that I have gotten to play with my new Keys and Curios journal from Wizarding World Gold. So that will be another fun little thing to go back to periodically through out the month.

I’ve also started using my bullet journal daily this year, and may have to start incorporating that into my posts and stories. It has been a good way to keep track of my to do list and my TBR. It’s also been a tactile way to let my brain and my hands work out what they need. It’s made budgeting easier. It’s made time management sort of easier, my brain still has its own limitations.

Really, for me this whole month is probably going to be about getting back to my creativity. I always seem to lose it over winter. And with the loss of my creativity, my focus and my mood both fluctuate. This month I want to get back to me and stop trying to focus on other people’s opinions of me. This month is all about me and my needs.

(As always, look for this post image on my business pages for any updates on Paparazzi or Younique.)

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Personal: February TBR/Monthly Update


Happy February!

Can you believe that it’s already the second month of 2020? A new month of a new year, and a new decade. Maybe your January didn’t kick off the year like you’d hoped. But who cares? Every month is a new opportunity to start your goals over. Every day is a new opportunity to start your goals over. Do I have a large list of things I didn’t accomplish this month? Yes. But were they essential? Not really. They didn’t impact my immediate health and well being, they didn’t impact my living situation, they really didn’t impact much at all. Does this mean that I’m not setting the right goals? Maybe. Or maybe it means that I’m setting exactly the right goals. Goals don’t have to always have to be working towards a long term change. Sometimes it’s okay to just work day by day.

That being said, I do have goals for the month, most of them are reading goals but some of them are not. For my reading goals, there are four series that I want to finish in the beginning of this year:

  1. The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa
    1. January didn’t end as planned as far as this series was concerned. So I intend to finish Iron King by mid-February, and start Iron Daughter before the end. So far I’m 1/3 of the way through Iron King.
  2. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
    1. In January I finished my re-read of the first book in this series Stalking Jack the Ripper. So for this month I want to get at least halfway through Hunting Prince Dracula, hopefully I’ll finish it completely, but I’m aiming for halfway to be safe.
  3. Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab
    1. In January I finished A Darker Shade of Magic and I hope to review it this month. While I’m reviewing the first one I hope to get to at least halfway through A Gathering of Shadows by the end of the month.
  4. The Witchlands by Susan Dennard
    1. As anyone who has seen my recent posts from last year knows; I went on a pretty big binge of Susan Dennard’s Witchland series over the summer. During those months I finished the first three parts of the series but I feel like I burned myself out, so I took a little bit of a break from Bloodwitch. So for this month I wanted to try and finish that in order to finish the latest piece of the series. (Sooz is currently writing more of the series so this isn’t the last book. Also, go check out my review for Truthwitch)

I definitely hope to finish these series by the end of the year, maybe even before June. But for now I’m just going to take it one day at a time. In addition to these reading goals I have some writing goals and money goals, but they are less concrete. I know I would like to edit one of the projects that I have started. But I also want to flesh out character cards for all of my projects and both are big undertakings so I don’t know which to start this month.

For money I know I would like to save double what I usually do for the month and I’m not sure if that’s possible. If I take advantage of the promotions this month for Younique or Paparazzi (check the links in the About Me for details) and hit the goals they set I could probably do it. But again, the goal is not concrete. Later today I will try and have fully updated pages. But for now, here are my goals for February, here’s to a productive month!

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Read-A-Long: FaeCrate Iron Fey


This month FaeCrate (a book subscription box service) is doing a Read-A-long of the Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa. Today was the first day of the Read-A-Long so if you want to join in you still have time. The dates are listed below, and that picture should link to the Event FaeCrate has created on Facebook: (EDIT 1/13/20: The Facebook link broke, so I added the Instagram one instead)

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Welcome to the NeverNever: We just announced The Iron Fey 10th Anniversary Hangover Recovery Kits are going on sale January 17th, 2020! Still haven’t read the book? Or in need of a reread? WE GOT YOU. @faecrate and @berrybookpages are hosting a READALONG of The Iron King Series by @juliekagawaauthor (Books 1-4 for the first segment of the series) This is how things will go down: 1. We will read all four books. 2. There will be Instagram story activities, Facebook group activities and discussions for a chance to win prizes! 3. There will be a Youtube video at the end of each book. You will need to comment on it for a chance to win a The Iron Fey 10th Anniversary Hangover Recovery Kit. Super simple! There will be prizes as we go! Please tag @faecrate or @berrybookpages in your readalong stories, updates, or posts. The name of the Facebook group is Faecrate Made Me Do It. There will be a link in stories. We ADORE fangirling with you. And feel free to use the hashtag #ironfaecrate There will be a WIDE VARIETY of giveaways along the way (more details to come) but the Grand Prize is a FULL HANGOVER RECOVERY KIT (you will be reimbursed if you win and have purchased a box). HOW TO ENTER THE READALONG: ✔Follow @berrybookpages @juliekagawaauthor and @faecrate . ✔Share this post in your story and tag both @faecrate and @berrybookpages ✔Participate in the various events for the book events. The more you participate, the more entries you get. RULES: ✔Readalong & Giveaways will end July 24 at midnight EST ✔International ✔Not affiliated with Instagram ✔Must be 18 or have parents permission ✔Must be a public account so we can verify entries

A post shared by 🧚🏼‍♀️Fae Crate🧚🏽‍♂️ (@faecrate) on

The Facebook link didn’t work so here’s the instagram one!

I have not read this series, but own the first two so I am going to use this as a way to finally find time to read the books. This will hopefully get me closer to my Goodreads 2020 Reading Goal as well. If you’re participating and have a blog or Bookstagram or Booktube comment below so I can check them out!

Happy reading everybody!

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Project: NaNoWriMo 2019


It’s that time of year again everybody! The time where we stretch out our brains, max out our creativity, and eat our weight in Halloween candy or drink it in warm beverages. For this year, because I’ve been watching so many D&D campaigns I’m kind of playing with that sort of feeling. Right now it’s sort of switching between modern and fantasy type worlds. Maybe once I get a little further into it my brain will connect the two together. It also doesn’t really have any sort of structure at the moment. Normally, I have distinct chapter/character perspective set ups. But this time I just started writing in scenes.

This year is also different, not only because NaNoWriMo has changed their website, but also because I have switched up the way I do my NaNo tracking journal. For my journal I have taken something that Kerri Maniscalco had shared as her “How to Beat Writer’s Block” go-to. After every chapter, or every writing session she will write a quick summary of what she had done in a word document or outline so that she knew where she had left off. So I’ve started doing a day by day break down chart in a sketch book style bullet journal.

On the chart I write my word count goal for the day, the total project word count goal, and what NaNo says I need to write for the day to stay on track. At the end of the day I will write what I actually achieved for those statistics, and then I will write a quick summary of what I wrote that day broken down by scenes. Then at the beginning of the next day I will take a few minutes and plot out what my plans for the day are on a different page. that can contain summaries, descriptions, maps etc. So far I’ve found this to be very helpful in setting up my mind for the day ahead and remembering what happened in the days behind.

I personally use a sketchbook because it allows me to make the pages into what ever I want and gives me space to draw and make whatever I want it to be. Another thing I was very interested in trying out, but ultimately decided against it was The Rook and The Raven’s D&D journals, or Critical Role’s Cobalt Soul journal. Each had pre-planned pages for different things. I just liked the idea of being able to draw in my own boxes and heading spaces better than a pre-planned journal. If you would like to see what my journal looks like leave a comment or message me on the Facebook page (link in the About Me) and I’ll post pictures to the page.

Now let’s get into the new NaNoWriMo website. With every change there is always something unsettling that someone, if not everyone, is going to hate at first. For me that was the new Stats page. NaNoWriMo had updated their statistics page to make sure that you get a more real time, interactive, and informative writing experience. For the most part, this new page works and is TOTALLY awesome. But there are still some kinks to be worked out.

A while back I reviewed a writing site called Writely. This application website basically timed you when you wrote in a document that was in their app. It added the critiquing feature of Scribophile together with the timed writing style of any of those zen writing or Write or Die type websites and programs. The main problem with Writely was you had to write in their document for the timer to work and it COULD NOT be accessed through a phone very easily. Why am I bringing this up? Well, Writely would have been a very good tool for NaNoWriMo style word sprints if it had some of the features that NaNoWriMo already had and some of the bug fixes were actually worked out and now, NaNo seems to agree. So NaNo stepped up their game a little with their new site relauch.

For those who have spent time learning how to use it, the new site has some really cool and handy features. It’s much easier to communicate with your communities. It has notifications for when people have replied to you. And it forces people to request to be your buddy instead of just stalking someone’s pages and being a creep. It also added a timer feature. This will passively time your writing while making noise marking each time milestone you’ve reached. It still can’t be used on a phone browser, but for someone who writes using pen and paper usually, it is much better for timing your writing than an in browser word document.

This also allows NaNoWriMo to more accurately give you your writing statistics. Things like what time of day you write the most, how fast you’re writing and what type of mood you were in when you were writing. Because every time you add a writing session you have the option of inputting all of these details. It’s a fun new way to track your progress on the site and show your tiny community of writers how you’re doing.

Other things don’t quite work the way I had hoped they would. Things like the edit word count by day feature and the choose whatever word count over 50k feature are no longer available on the site. This is a little bit sad, as those were some of the features that I enjoyed on the old site. But I’m still excited to see the site grow and evolve as all of the growing pains and kinks are worked out.

And so, on that note, I will leave you for the day and wish you luck on Day 3 of NaNoWriMo.

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Updates: Blog and Life


For the past two weeks I have been meaning to post a September Recap and an October midmonth TBR but suddenly it is the last week of October and I definitely have not done that. I also haven’t made much progress on the TBR. So now I’m thinking that I will just hold off until the end of November to do a recap, and until then I’ll post my usual book reviews, product reviews, and project updates. Each month I’m going to announce what charity or cause I’m donating a part of my sales to on the main page. I’m going to keep updating each page as well.

Right now, I am planning on posting some new crate reviews soon. I’m probably going to try and post on every Saturday going forward (this goal may not be achieved once NaNoWriMo starts). But for now, the posts I’m planning are: Review: Capturing the Devil Hangover Crate by Faecrate, Review: October Break the Wheel Crate by Faecrate, Review: The Witchlands Series (To Date) by Susan Dennard + boxed set plug, Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper Series by Kerri Maniscalco + boxed set plug, Project Announcement: NaNoWriMo 2019. So keep an eye out for those soon.

On Sundays, I’m planning on posting the final recap for the three-month period, and business page updates on each business page (all links are in the bio.) This is also when I’ll update the Currently Reading page, the Writing Project page, and my Goodreads page. These are the goals I have for now. Again, we’ll see how well I keep these goals as I’ve not been very good at keeping my blog goals since class started.

As far as life updates go, I’m still working my way through my classes. We are over halfway through the courses and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it. I’m definitely learning things, I’m just not sure how much of it I’m retaining based on the pacing and styles of the different courses. Although, I’ve never had a crush on a class before now, but I am absolutely LOVING this forensics class. It is everything I had wanted my degree to be, but it wasn’t. That’s about it for now. I’ll keep this updated as much as possible.

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Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard


Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I had initially started writing this review as just a standard review. But then I saw a post on Ms. Susan Dennard’s Instagram advertising for a Witchlander run blog tour. I’ve never participated in before so I decided to sign up! So first, some information. This blog tour is for the Witchlands Boxed Set which comes out October 8th, 2019. So in 7 days!

This boxed set includes the first three full length novels in the Witchlands series. For Truthwitch and Windwitch it also contains brand new dust jacket covers that are made to match the original cover of Bloodwitch. Unfortunately, the boxed set does not include a copy of Sightwitch, the Witchlands novella. This however, can be purchased separately in hardcover at any general retailer. (It’s also available as an ebook on all the retailers’ sites).

Now if you’ve never heard of the Witchlands series or Susan Dennard you’re probably very confused. But hopefully by the end you won’t be. If you really are new I would definitely say that this boxed set is the best way to get into the series because I promise you are going to want the sequels immediately if not sooner.

This series kicks off with Truthwitch which is the best hook you could ever hope for. You are immediately thrown into an action scene and are just swooped into a world and an adventure that keeps you captivated and curious. There are so many pieces and puzzles, lore and love, fights and flights. You get to see how lives weave together and plots twist and turn. It’s really a wonderful book.

It reads like a D&D campaign and that’s wholly unsurprising because it is one of her interests. There are certain authors who are good at weaving a tale together and drawing you into it and Susan Dennard is definitely one of them. She can world build without it being overbearing. Keeping you focused on the plot but also describing what the world looks like and making it real. It’s one of those books that can build a universe with out being over 1000 pages. And it is definitely a beautiful world. It is the reason that I fell so head over heels for the series.

It’s a good, quick read that sweeps you up and keeps you entertained but doesn’t take a whole year to finish. It was just the book I needed to keep me reading while I geared up to start taking classes again for the first time in a few years. And if you’re someone who is already taking classes and needs something to break a reading slump I highly recommend these books. It’s very hard to give you a summary without spoiling some aspect that you want to be surprised by so if you’re on my blog reading this I would recommend skipping the end of this post and heading over to Goodreads to read their synopsis because they are much better at it than I am. But if you don’t mind a quick play by play that uses that initial hook to bring you into the story keep reading below the bold-faced potential spoiler warning below. I personally think that the hook is one of the best I’ve read in a very long time and I would just jump right in with it if it were me.

Potential Spoiler Warning (hook, and story structure)

This story starts out following Safiya fon Hasstrel and Iseult det Midenzi running a heist against “Chiseled Cheater”, a guy Safi had met in a bar/gambling den sort of place where Safi ended up losing all of her money. This plan had been Safi’s idea from the start, she had assured Iseult that she could win big at this place and that they would be living large by the end of it. But it didn’t quite work out that way and now Safi had made it even worse. How? Because this was not Chiseled Cheater’s caravan of wagons approaching the ambush they had set up. No, this was the head of the Dalmoti Gold Guild, and he had a tracker with him.

Now, this was not some regular tracker, no this was a Bloodwitch. Because in the Witchlands people had power. There are different types of power, each tied to one of the Origin Wells. The Bloodwitch held power over blood. He could smell it, identify you by it, track you by it and control it. As soon as he has your smell you’re pretty much doomed to be caught. And Safi and Iseult could not get caught.

Here enters the master plot. They run. They get away from the Bloodwitch, but not in a way that they cannot be tracked. No one can run far enough for that. But they run to the docks to try and sail away because a Bloodwitch, while powerful, cannot outrun a ship. They were going to escape the city and come back when it was safer, when maybe it was all forgotten. But Safi’s Uncle had other plans and they were not to be ruined by Safi.

So Safi is whisked away by Habim to the peace summit she is supposed to be attending, and Iseult is sent off alone to escape the city. But plans always fail, and one marriage proposal, a “kidnapping”, and a high speed chase later and Safi and Iseult are on the run. They are not quite sure who they are running from or where they are running to. All they have is a Wordwitched contract that is nearly impossible to keep and a prince turned sailor to help them along the way as plots unfold, war breaks out, and mysteries become unveiled slowly.



View all my reviews

The cover featured above is NOT the cover of the boxed set Truthwitch.

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Upcoming: The Witchlands Boxed Set Blog Tour


Tomorrow kicks off the Witchlands Boxed Set blog tour, and I will be participating. This is the first blog tour I’ve ever been a part of so I’m really excited for it! My date on the tour is tomorrow so look out for my post.

The tour is being hosted by Adriyanna Zimmermann over at Life Writings of a Reader. So you should go over and check out her blog for any news or interesting information. The post that I’m putting up tomorrow will be a review of Truthwitch and then later in the month when I finish reading Bloodwitch I’ll probably do a series recap.

The boxed set comes out October 8th, 2019; and you can pre-order from most of the usual places. But based on a recent twitter thread I’m going to include only certain pre-order links below.

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/witchlands-hc-boxed-set-susan-dennard/1130769033?ean=9781250257796#/

ChaptersIndigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/witchlands-hc-boxed-set-truthwitch/9781250257796-item.html?ikwsec=Books&ikwidx=0

Fountain Bookstore: https://www.fountainbookstore.com/book/9781250257796

The Open Door: https://www.opendoor-bookstore.com/book/9781250257796

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Selling: Paparazzi Inventory Account


Hey guys!

I just wanted to check in and tell you guys about the new Instagram account that I made in order to help out one of my friends who needed an active presenter beneath her to advance in her company. The Instagram account is linked in my About Me page permanently, but I’ll add a link here as well. I will try to update the inventory pictures each month. Or after a large purchase happens on a post.

All of the numbers will stay the same, until I run out of numbers. Then once things are sold I will change the numbers around and repost the inventory. So feel free to go browse. The instructions on how to buy are in the post. If you don’t see anything that you want there also feel free to browse my paparazzi website.

Thank you for assisting me in supporting my friend,

Amy

Links:

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