August Wrap-Up: A Long but Good Month

Books

This month, I read 25-28 books. August is the first month where I have decided not to finish books – there were three that weren’t for me, but that others may like.

My favorite books were The Final Strife, The City of Dusk, and Siren Queen. I also re-read a few books, including the These Violent Delights duology which was just as amazing as the first time I read it.

College

I started university on August 29! I am so surprised because I like all of my professors, which is very lucky. My favorite class so far is Global Studies 101. I was worried that I wouldn’t like the readings, but I love them. I feel affirmed in my decision to have already declared my major. I don’t have a least favorite class; however, I do not like my ENVS 101 class because it is at 8:30 AM.

I need to give credit to students at my uni for following my #Bookstagram and getting me to 1.4k followers!! I have been hovering around 1400 for so long.

Life

Life is pretty good. I am excited for my birthday in September, and I am glad I get to celebrate with my family.

Yesterday, I went to WorldCon for the first time. I cannot believe that I just found out about it a week ago! I met N.E. Davenport, Xiran Jay Zhao, Gene Ha, and Apara Verma. Later this week, I will hopefully have a post up about my first WorldCon experience (it was amazing and I really hope to go to the Hugo Awards the next time!).

I also took a lot of photos for my ##Bookstagram account before I left for university, and I hope I have enough to last me the semester.

The An Ember in the Ashes Quartet by Sabaa Tahir.

September

My only goal for September is to get through my first month of college: go to every class, not get covid, read for fun, and make time for my own hobbies. I also have a few books I need to read and review from NetGalley: I am reading Study Break right now and I LOVE IT!! Being a first year college student, SB came at the perfect time.

How was your August?

Summer 2022 Wrap Up: Books, Internship, and College

I bought a copy of The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang this month and am so happy to finally have the complete trilogy!!

Yes, I know summer isn’t over yet; however, I move in to college this month. . .omg. Therefore, I am posting this wrap-up now because I don’t think I’ll have a lot of time for personal reading during the last couple of months of this year. Here is my Summer 2022 wrap-up!

Books

This summer I read 63 books (including the months of June, July, and August as of August 19). Of those books, 16 were re-reads and 27 were published this year. Overall, I have read 135 books this year (including re-reads). My top six favorite books were:

  1. The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah: Chelsea Abdullah’s world building is INCREDIBLE. This multi POV fantasy swept me away to a magical and deadly world.
  2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi: One of the 16 re-reads! This remains one of my favorite series of all time. I love the cast of characters and I hope Roshani Chokshi returns to this world someday.
  3. Siren Queen and The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo: these are both amazing historical fiction novels with a touch of magic.
  4. The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi: another new fantasy novel, also with multiple POVs. I could not put this book down, although I’ll have to re-read it because there is so much detail.
  5. We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal: very long, dense, and intense – I loved it! I cannot wait for A Tempest of Tea to expand this world.

Other books I enjoyed: The City of Dusk by Tara Sim, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin, and Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li.

Life and College

I finished my first internship with a book publishing company! It was from November until the end of July. I had a decent experience, although for my next internship I hope to be in person because virtual internships can be a bit lonely.

There has been a three week period between the end of my internship and when I’ll move into college. I am super excited and there’s a book club at my uni that I already know I want to join. Packing wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be – I am only bringing three of my personal books because I have 13 for my classes. Also, I only have one 8:30 A.M. class (yay!) and all of my classes end before 4:00 P.M.

Looking Forward

I don’t set numerical reading goals anymore; however, there are some books I’m really excited for:

  1. Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn: this was one of my favorite books of 2020. I love the Fairyloot editions of this trilogy!
  2. Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong: I am super excited for my preorder to come!
  3. Babel by R.F. Kuang: I have also preordered this one!! I have heard so many great things about it.
  4. Strike the Zither by Joan He: I have preordered this one as well : )

How was your June-August? What books are you looking forward to?

Mini Life Update ft. School

September/October Book Mail : )

Honestly, I’m writing this for the sole purpose of warming up my brain before I do my AP Lit homework. It’s a nice rainy day, and I’m kind of just needing somewhere to write before I start analyzing poetry.

Book Related Updates

I’ve been reading at a slower pace this year, which is very beneficial. Also, I feel pretty happy because I’ve found a good way to balance school and blogging and bookstagram, which is to say the place I’m most active is on Twitter because 1. Twitter is basically for me to try to have a These Violent Delights fanpage (it’s not working. I need to remember that Twitter does not equal my personal diary.), and 2. For me personally, Twitter takes the least amount of work. I’ve met some really nice people and authors.

I heard about the sad news that Simon Pulse and Jimmy Patterson Presents are ending (unconfirmed, I can’t really tell what’s going on). Girls of Paper and Fire definitely changed my taste in reading forever, and I hope Natasha Ngan gets the advertising she deserves because GOPAF is one of my favorite series of all time.

Maybe I should actually write about what I’m reading: I have a few e-ARCs that I’m reading: Like Home and Payback (the third book in the Vale Hall series) are my two favorites right now. I also have to start Rebel Rose and Clues to the Universe. As for reviews, I need to write one for These Violent Delights, Skyhunter, and White Fox.

Balancing School and Blogging and Bookstagram

I’ve said this a lot: I’ve thrown a schedule out the window and oh my gosh, I have never felt so motivated. I like school, so it was pretty easy for me to change my mindset to being “I want to work on posting pretty photos of books” to “I need to focus on school because this is a critical year.” I think Twitter has been a bit detrimental because I do not have any drafted bookstagram posts right now, but that’s ok!! I am going to try posting everyday in December like I did last year because I love creating a theme based around the holidays I celebrate (also flatlays. I love flatlays!!).

I mean, if you want advice, here’s some: just do what you want and know that your life is your priority. I exist outside of the Internet and I have other priorities that take precedence over bookstagram and blogging. I have found that I create the best posts when I am motivated to do so for me, and not for others.

Overall, I have a lot going on right now, however, I do find blogging to be very soothing. I need to finish some of my ARCs so I can post some reviews.

What are you reading right now and would you recommend it?

September Wrap Up ft. I’ve read 120 books this year?!

I was on the tour for Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao for Caffeine Tours!!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUCtf-ZrFb4/

I am 6 followers away from 1.4k!!! I really love how nice and inviting the bookstagram community has been, and I am so happy with my schedule of having no posting schedule – doing what I want, when I want to is so freeing. For some reason, WordPress is not allowing me to insert images, so here are links to a few of my September posts I love.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUPmMrWLENQ/

I also turned 18!! It was a great day and I got to go to a bookstore and have a slice of 17 layer chocolate cake. Chocolate cake is my favorite. Furthermore, I spent the day with both sides of my family (had to wear a mask because 1. COVID, and 2. personal health reasons).

https://www.instagram.com/p/CT7WCuzLHkY/

School is honestly taking up a lot of my energy, but I’ve read nearly 120 books this year!! I’m really excited for these October-December releases: When Night Breaks, Jade Fire Gold, Our Violent Ends, Girls of Fate and Fury, and The Holiday Switch.

What books are you hoping to read before the end of 2021?

September – December 2021: Thoughts, Aspirations

I love fall and winter. My birthday is in September, my family has birthdays, there’s Halloween, fall weather, Christmas. It’s basically a time of food and and fun in my house. . .and also a time of great book releases!! However, I am a senior, so I have college applications. Here’s what my blog and bookstagram will (tentatively) look like this fall.

Blog

There’s a few ARCs I need to review:

  • Our Violent Ends
  • Fools in Love
  • The Bronzed Beasts
  • A Clash of Steel – for Colored Pages Book Tours – look out for my post September 10th!
  • The Red Palace
  • Within These Wicked Walls

Tbh, I DNF-ed OVE, FIL, and WTWW just because I was in a reading slump in August, but I really need to get those reviews done. I highly recommend all of the books btw!

I also want to make more lists of books with certain tropes/genres, maybe an article on why I don’t use online book tracker apps, my third year bookstagram anniversary post. I have a lot of ideas and hopefully can use my free time to work on something other than applying to college.

Bookstagram

Ah, my main platform! Time to pull out the fairy lights and wayyyyyy more props. Another fun activity that calms me during the school year.

The main post I want to have up in October is a cosplay of Kallia from When Night Breaks – I cosplayed a modern version of her in 2020, and it’s one of my favorite posts ever.

And of course, 2022 has many great book releases in store (All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir comes to mind), so I will definitely be promoting those.

Additionally, I think J. Elle may have another street team for Wings of Ebony’s sequel, so I want to sign up for that. The cover for Ashes of Gold is out!!

Shopping

Recently, I’ve gotten into online shopping. I am looking for clothes that I don’t have in colors I don’t have. As a shorter person, I fit in clothes from middle school, but then grow out of others, and I recently got some money, so that’s really fun.

I also am limiting myself to buying five books this fall, however, it depends on if I get anything for my birthday (September 25). I am grateful to have parents who support my book lovingness.

Wishlist

I am really hoping to buy more contemporary, fun books. I own a lot of fantasy series/first books in fantasy series, and I am realizing that I cannot own every single one because I am already having to double stack my books, which is not great. I actually got rid of a lot of books, or not got rid of because they are still where I live, but it feels good because I have friends who love books, so they are going to good homes. I also want to start a book collecting project at my school, but as a senior, I think I’m going to wait for myself to get into a routine before jumping into another project.

As for things other than books, I am looking to add a few new pieces to my fall and winter wardrobes that can work for both seasons AND for every occasion. There’s so many fancy pieces of clothes I have, so I’d like to add some casual clothes as well.

School

I am a high school senior. My first app is due November 1, and then I have an interview really soon.

I am taking two APs, Bio and Stats, and both go together, so I feel good about my AP classes. Stats is involved in Bio, and I love math, so I am excited to use math in bio!! I am also in Graphic Arts where we’ll get to use paper AND iPads. Art used to be something I wanted to do in college, and I want to take it as an elective because while I love talking, debating, and writing, art lets me use my thoughts in a different way!

Life

Honestly, I have such great friends both offline and online, so I am grateful to have support! August wasn’t a good month for me except for Santa Monica and LA which I am glad to say were bright spots. I am doing better now and am so grateful for the support I received in August, not only from my family, but also from my friends and school.

Do I have any goals? One of my CA’s is due Nov 1, I want to be done with my apps by December 17, and I want to find some clothes I do not have – I’m getting into experimenting with my outfits, which is a lot of fun.

Anything you want to do in Sep-Dec? Book recs for me?

July 2021 Wrap Up

Hey everyone!! This month, I read 24 new books. 6 less than last month and the same amount I read in May, which is a pretty good accomplishment because I had my academic summer program for four weeks in July. (I hope I did well because it was my last summer.) So far, I’ve read 107 books.Here’s what I read in July and my goals for August, as well as some of my favorite IG posts.

A black and white plaid blazer and skirt set along with a red shirt and an ARC of How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao (only 17 days away!!) and a sword necklace.

Favorite Quote

CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

“Beneath the beat of the sun, all he saw was the starkness of her skin and the sharp cut of her lips. But last night, beneath the glow of the moon, that skin had coaxed and those lips had beckoned. They still do.” – Nasir’s thoughts, pgs 294 to 295

Books I Read (bold = author is new to me, italisized = re-read)

  1. Everthing that Burns by Gita Trelease – started in June
  2. Blackout by Angie Thomas, Dhonielle Clayton, Ashley Woodfolk, Nicola Yoon, Nic Stone, and Tiffany D. Jackson – FAVORITE
  3. Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield – FAVORITE
  4. Witchshadow by Susan Dennard – Least favorite
  5. The Archer at Dawn by Swati Teerdhala – FAVORITE
  6. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – FAVORITE
  7. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan – FAVORITE
  8. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao – FAVORITE
  9. Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto – FAVORITE
  10. A Chorus Rises by  Bethany C. Morrow – FAVORITE
  11. Every Body Shines edited by Cassandra Newbould
  12. What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka – Least favorite
  13. The Chariot at Dusk by Swati Teerdhala – FAVORITE
  14. Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury – FAVORITE
  15. The Marvelous by Claire Kann
  16. A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton
  17. Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson – Least favorite
  18. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney – FAVORITE
  19. Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta – an almost 100% new FAVORITE but some things could be improved
  20. Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson – FAVORITE
  21. Darling by K. Ancrum
  22. Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June
  23. Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma – FAVORITE
  24. XOXO by Axie Oh – FAVORITE
  25. Off the Record by Camryn Garrett – FAVORITE
  26. The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison

Overall, 14/24 books I read were new favorites!! That’s about 60%. I didn’t like Witchshadow because the plot was all over the place and some parts seemed unecessary/there were a lot of POVs. I know this series is very popular, but it just didn’t land for me. And What’s Not to Love seemed so interesting, but I really feel like I want to read more rom-coms with people of color. Xoxo and Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance made up for What’s Not to Love.

I also did a buddy read with @sagarific and @yourlocalbookreader!! It was super fun and you all should definitely follow both of them. We read Iron Widow and it was super engaging and the ending. Oh my gosh.

Finally, if you read five books from this list (cries in I can’t choose but I will for now), read Blood Like Magic, Dial A For Aunties, and The Tiger at Midnight trilogy, and Off the Record, and Rise to the Sun.

August Goals

I hope to read seven books and have my TBR! I also am hoping to finish my e-ARCs of Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong and When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles!! I also got an e-ARC of The Red Palace by June Hur. Furthermore, I hope to post more reels this month.

As for non bookish/slightly bookish goals. . .

  1. I want to finish my commonapp essay. I have a second draft. If anyone else is applying, please message me and I’d love to talk about college. Also, narrow my college list/do more research.
  2. Rewatch some shows.
  3. Relax!!! My academic program was super fun but I also like having unstructured time.
  4. Hangout with friends. Hanging out in person is different than seeing someone through a screen.
  5. Start planning for Model United Nations. It’s my last year and I really hope in person conferences will happen.
  6. Get 10 people to read How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao – it’s one of my favorites of this year!!

My Favorite Posts of July

What did you do in July?

What do I want this blog to be?

One particular post I am super proud of – the first book I ever got sent to me because of publisher because of Shealea @shutupshealea’s Asian Bloggers Directory. Go follow her!!!

Recently, I’ve realized that there is a cycle that I go through on bookstagram that I think started in March 2020: first, I’ll feel really good about what I’m posting. I’ll feel so inspired. Then, the second part of the cycle is me looking at other people’s posts and comparing myself to them. Finally, I’ll start to worry that what I post is not good enough, and that I’m not being aware enough. This causes me to either 1. want to delete my account, or 2. delete Instagram off my phone. Then, the cycle starts again. How do I break the cycle? Here’s how I think I can:

First of all, the past two days, I’ve deleted Instagram off my phone when I start to do homework until my school day ends. This is really helpful because I’m becoming less attached to my phone in the morning. My eyes feel better and there’s more separation between my life outside my phone.

Second of all, I am someone who tends to overanalyze a lot and therefore, this causes me to think people don’t like me. I know this is a very convoluted way of reasoning. For example, if someone responds to a text with a period in their sentence, I’ve worried that they don’t want to talk to me.

Finally, I realized recently that I just wasn’t liking what I was posting, including what I was posting here on the blog. I didn’t like how I was just trying to maintain a certain aesthetic instead of contributing to educating others, and I repeated some of the same questions that I tried to use to talk to my followers. I think some of these feelings might be from me growing up in a competitive schooling environment where I was always second best from sixth to ninth grade. I get jealous of those who are so amazing at writing reviews, but I must realize that it takes time. I also need to accept that it’s ok to feel sad if I do put a lot of work into something and I get no response. I need to let go of relationships that are one-sided. Furthermore, I actually stopped talking about problematic books a while ago, but now, I feel like I should because white authors are still getting away with a lot. I don’t remember the author’s name, but she was harrassing someone who gave her book 4.5 stars on Goodreads.

GOALS

  1. Use my platform effectively.
  2. Create work that I’m proud of.
  3. I’ve seen this phrase many times and I did not come up with it: post with intention.
  4. Recognize that I don’t need to post everyday because my main “job” right now is to finish the school year and to continue researching colleges.
  5. Honestly, this goes for ALL parts of my life: recognize that stress is ok.

Overall, I think I do have to accept that analogy that “there will always be a car ahead of of me on the highway.” I feel like, as a high schooler, I’ve gotten caught up in the mindset that I need to have everything in my life figured out in addition to maintaining a certain image, but that’s not what I want this blog and bookstagram to be about. I wouldn’t want to monetize this hobby right now because my main concern is school, although it would be very cool to get paid to promote the books I love. I still get jealous of those bloggers who’ve been around for the past 5-6 years who have really pretty aesthetics and the perfect layout and sound so smart, while I’m over here with incoherant messes of reviews, which makes me think I’m not working hard enough to be taken seriously or for people to want to be friends with me, but I must recognize that comparing myself to others won’t help me make progress in where I want to be.

Thank you for reading! How are you?

Mini Life Update ft. My Birthday and a Book Haul

Yesterday was my birthday!! It was so much fun, and this time next year, I will turn the age you need to vote where I live. I am super grateful to have such giving parents because in a book, I read that parents don’t care as much about celebrating as their children get older. I like birthdays! I learned that I just need to relax and go with life because the birthday is the day to celebrate you.

NOTE: I am very very very grateful to my parents and family friends and friends. I am very privileged to be able to receive money for my birthday because the $ I get from my birthday and Christmas almost entirely go to books and my bank account, which is why I am able to get so many books. During this pandemic, both of my parents have still been able to work, which is why I can celebrate events like my birthday and my sister’s birthday, etc. I know that I have a lot in life, and I am so fortunate. TW: mentions of food, birthdays

My cake was chocolate with buttercream frosting and red hearts, plus a red 17 on top. It’s sort of this rose gold brown color, which doesn’t sound the best, but it’s really pretty! Also, it tastes really good, which is the most important part to me personally. I also got 12 cupcakes made by a friend of a family friend from the family friend which was so nice. These cupcakes are gorgeous: chocolate with chocolate frosting and gold dust.

Once again, I am grateful because I got an Owlcrate box for myself and bullet journals, as well as $ to my favorite Independent Bookstore. Here’s a list of books I hope to get; the ones bolded are my top three choices out of books that have recently been released:

  1. Legendborn
  2. Raybearer
  3. A Thief Among the Trees
  4. Spellhacker
  5. Incendiary
  6. As The Shadow Rises (maybe)
  7. Maya and the Rising Dark
  8. These Violent Delights (preorder)
  9. The Burning God (preorder)
  10. Rent A Boyfriend

This year, I’ve gotten around 10-12 physical books (including physical ARCs) compared to 20-25 physical books last year. I love all of them, but realized that I don’t need to feel pressure to buy every new release that I want because I have so many incomplete series on my shelves.

Overall, my birthday was fun. My family and I got food and ate it socially distant in a park, and then went to my Dad’s bike path/bridge downtown (socially distant! with masks!). The sunset and weather were so nice, and when we got home, I ate more cake and watched Enola Holmes with my mom. For what it was, it was a pretty good and engaging movie, and I hope that there is a sequel, although it doesn’t need one.

Today? I have to study for a DE math test on Tuesday, as well as for an AP Psych exam on October 5. I’m also going to the bookstore (very strict: only four people allowed in at a time WITH MASKS and socially distant!!!!!!), so hopefully I can find the books I want.

Have you received any books recently?

Meet the Blogger: Version 2.0

Hello everyone! Recently, I learned that there are certain times every month when I should not be on my Instagram or blog. I also learned that I need to edit my posts before I publish them. However, this is not a post on what I am going to change on the blog. Those posts will be published on tomorrow and Wednesday. This is a post about me, Isabella @solaceinreading_ on Instagram, because I feel like a lot of people I would like connect with don’t know me (you can’t really know someone through the Internet anyway, but I can at least make the step of connecting postively with others). Here are five facts about me, five facts about my everyday life, and five facts about me and books:

Me

  1. I am a TEEN blogger!
  2. I could not live without any noodle/pasta based dish.
  3. I was adopted. Born in the U.S. and raised in the U.S. I don’t want to talk about this too much because it is a very personal subject, but I think people should know in case they want to recommend me a good book with an adopted Asian American main character.
  4. I am Filipino American. Even though the parents who adopted me are white, this doesn’t make me any less Filipino American and Asian American.
  5. I get very stressed over tiny things and tend to make things bigger in my head than they actually are in real life. (That is why I will be taking a two to three day break every month. Also, high school.)

My Everyday Life

  1. Yes, this is pre-pandemic: I used to row everyday from Monday to Friday from 4:15 to 6:15 and on Saturdays from 7:00-9:00 (I was a coxswain because I am five feet and one inch tall (154.94 centimeters)). I quit rowing for personal and pandemic reasons.
  2. I am a part of the Model United Nations club at my school. I have never won anything, but I am part of this club to have fun! I’ve learned a lot and am very sad that there might not be any in-person MUN events this year.
  3. I am very active in my school. Even though I mostly take classes with the grade above me, I still want to make my school the best it can be. Last year, I was a representative for my grade for Student Government, and hope to do it again this year! I also like volunteering for open houses (online this year, sadly), and setting up for dances.
  4. I love eating out in my city.

Me and Books

  1. In 2018, I started to broaden my reading tastes beyond a lot of problematic authors. Books like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Love, Hate, and Other Filters introduced me to the online YA book community.
  2. In 2019, I read more books by authors of color that don’t have to do with social events. I’ve learned that while stories about pain are needed, there should be as many, if not more, about joy and happiness and fantasy worlds.
  3. In 2020, I set my reading goal at 100 books I never read before, with the intent of at least 75% being by authors of color. So far, 16/76 have been by white authors, so that means 79% of the books I’ve read this year have been by authors of color.
  4. I changed by bookstagram name from @lives_in_ya_books to @solaceinreading because I read more than YA (yes, The Poppy War trilogy by R.F. Kuang changed my reading tastes forever). I read a bit of middle grade because I think I grew up too fast and was very serious and cautious as a child.
  5. I started my bookstagram in December 2018. I have met so many amazing people and made some online friends who I’d love to meet in person someday. (I will for sure try to attend Book Con 2022 since that is when I will be a *senior!*)

Any other questions for me?