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?

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 Ever Cruel Kingdom (preorder)
  10. The Burning God (preorder)
  11. 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?

Mini Life Update + Five 2020 Favorite Books (So Far)

I can’t believe the first week of school is almost over. For virtual learning, my week went pretty well. I wish we were back in the class because I like being in the room for class discussioons vs. just seeing everyone’s face. My favorite class is probably going to be AP Psychology because I am completely new to this subject. I also found a new way to help myself since I’ll be staring at the computer for a little over six hours some days: find new songs to listen to and close my eyes for 10 minutes OR read for 10 minutes while listening to the Merlin OST.

Let’s get to the fun part of this post: five books that I’ve loved so far in 2020 that were also published this year.

  1. IRON HEART by NINA VARELA – an excellent finale that had me mentally sobbing on the floor. I am so in love with this duology, and it really is the perfect conclusion. Crier and Ayla work so well together, and so do all of the other relationships. Additionally, this duology has two of my all time favorite covers. There are so many tiny details that I only caught when I looked at the cover a bit more closely. Definitely thinking of writing a fanfic for Crier and Ayla.

  2. NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU by KRISTINA FOREST – I ended my summer with a few books, and this is the one of two that I am still thinking about. I preordered this in July and got it the day after release day, which was awesome. Evie and Milo make the cutest team, and I loved that this book was a mystery while also being a light-hearted romantic ya novel. I Wanna Be Where You Are is also amazing, and I am going to try to re-read it before the end of this year.

  3. WHERE DREAMS DESCEND by Janella Angeles – Wednesday Books sent me a free copy along with a few other cool items because I am a part of Shealea @ Shut Up Shealea’s Asian Bookish Creators Directory. This was probably the best moment of a very uneventful but also challenging summer mentally because it’s the first time I’ve received something like this. I highly recommend WDD because Kallia is amazing and fierce. I also love Demarco.

  4. THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS by Chloe Gong – I AM SO READY FOR THIS BOOK TO COME OUT!! I have something very exciting related to TVD that will be revealed towards the end of October/the beginning of November. DM me @solaceinreading_ if you want to know my fanpage username because this series is going to change the game, and I don’t say that about a lot of books. Juliette is another fierce character who I’d pay to teach me how to throw knives.

  5. INCENDIARY by Zoraida Córdova – I would love to see more people reading this: revolution, magic, sneaking into a palace, royalty with a secret, a very motivated main character who I love: these are all elements of an enticing and magical read. I love the fact that this book deals with courtly intrigue and what it’s like to be a part of the rebellion at the same time in an organic way. Renata is just trying to figure things out, and she is confident and ready to burn down the world for [redacted] or maybe [redacted] by the end of the book. I am so excited for the second book and will be waiting in a state of anticipation until it comes out!!!

I hope you’ll pick up these books because they are seriously amazing. Now That I’ve Found You is one the #1 best ya contemporary romance novels I’ve read this year because I love celebrity romances in YA, and the incorporation of the mystery is seamless.

The YA fantasy genre revived itself because of these authors (and many authors who I’d add to this list, and that would make this post over 5k words long. I will aspire to write a post that long if I can). Thanks to all of these authors because re-reading your books are going to help me get through this school year: I feel as though I can truly escape my everyday life with your words, and I appreciate all that you do.

How Is This Going to Work?

Yeah, you’re probably thinking, “What is THIS, exactly?” Well, THIS is the fact that school starts tomorrow, so I need to set some goals for myself so I don’t get overwhelmed/burnt out/procrastinate/etc. Listen, I am one of those odd people who love school. In fact, my school taught me about Mansa Musa, the Pacific Theater (specifically, the second Sino Japanese War), a little bit about the U.S. colonization of the Philippines, and a lot of other historical figures who others might not have learned about in high school (however, this is the bare minimum of what middle/high schools should be teaching). I’ve gotten to do final projects on the history of immigration by Filipinos to the U.S. after WWII, and influential Filipino women in WWII.

So as much as I love this blogging community, I have to make school my #1 priority, especially since this is a *crucial year* for me. Why? Here are just a few reasons:

  1. I have three AP classes, am a TA, and one Dual Enrollment class. In fact, I am TA-ing for one of the most strict but also cool teachers at my school, and I am sure this teacher will not have me just sit around and make copies. This also means I still have AP exams in May (hey CB, mind cancelling these SINCE THERE’S STILL ONLINE SCHOOL AND A PANDEMIC?!!!).
  2. I need to research colleges. I refuse to elaborate since I am ignoring this at the moment.
  3. Homework. If any of my teachers ever reads this, please go easy on all of your students. Virtual learning is very different from in person learning.

Now that’s out of the way. Here are my goals on how I will balance school and blogging:

  1. Post when I can AND want to, and when I have the energy. I know I’m going to write so many essays this year. The creative writing I do on my blog is vastly different, and I will probably use the blog as an outlet to take a break from writing in the style of writing that I’m taught in school.
  2. When I feel overwhelmed, lie on the floor for 10 minutes and listen to either calming music or music that gives me confidence. I first heard this idea during Janella Angeles’ launch of her book (psst read Where Dreams Descend to fall in love with Kallia!), and it sounds like a really great idea.
  3. Blog to blog, not for the sake of creating content. Same for bookstagram. I like posting everyday when I’m in the mood, but I can’t during this first month of school. Last year, I posted everyday in December, so I think I’ll try to do that this year.
  4. Compare myself to myself. My one thought that I need to keep in mind is that I am doing this because 1. I like books, and 2. I want to share my love of books with the world. As long as I am having fun and editing my work, I will continue this blog.
  5. Focus on SCHOOL. I put a lot of pressure on myself because for a long time, I thought I had to get all A’s to get into a “good” college. Now? I need to let myself relax. This one really nice person told me in an honesty circle that I should be more confident because I am smart and motivated. I will always remember what everyone said about me, and will remember that when I’m feeling like saying negative things to myself.

Overall, setting goals makes me focus on what’s important and what I can control. I hope all of you will stick around because I am doing a really fun post with Sumedha @ The Wordy Habitat, am a part of the Spell Starter tour by Caffeine Tours, and have my first interview with one of my #1 new favorite authors in November.

What are your goals this semester/quarter? If you’re not in school, do you have any goals for September to December?

Obscure-ish Fears of An Online Book Person (ft. solutions)

This will probably be deleted, however, I need to get my thoughts out there:

  1. What if I tag authors too much? Well, authors don’t have to respond to me, but it’s cool if there is a possiblity!
  2. What if everyone is secretly talking about me? Ha. Everyone? This is where I have to tell my ego to go away for a moment because 1. This isn’t middle school, and 2. Sometimes your mind messes with you.
  3. What if I need a Twitter to grow my blog? Untrue. Also, somehow I hit 70 followers? Nice!! Thanks to everyone for sticking around.
  4. What if I don’t read enough? Well, most of the books I’ve read this year have been awesome since my goal is smaller, so I’d say I am reading the perfect amount because I haven’t wasted a lot of time on bad books/books I didn’t like.
  5. What if people think I’m doing this for fame/clout? Once again, my ego is in the way. Stop it, ego! I know that I am doing this for myself and no one else, and that’s what matters most.
  6. Do people actually want to be my friend? Yeah, you’ve maintained connections with people for over a year, so I’d say I am at least acquainted with them. (Note: there are so many Internet friends I want to meet. BookCon 2022, anyone?)
  7. What if all the ideas get taken? Doesn’t matter. I have the ability to put my own unique additions to these ideas.
  8. What if people are faking being my friend? Hmmm. Would someone who you’ve known FOR A YEAR fake being my friend?
  9. Am I too cling-y? Oh gosh. I need to let go of my middle school nightmares. Seriously.
  10. What if people think I’m online too much? Lucky for everyone, that’s going to change because school starts tomorrow!

Anyway, this is how I get my brain to slow down. The Internet is not real life. I will definitely be doing some in-depth posts about school so all of you can get to know me a bit more beyond reading, which is my main hobby. I have no posting schedule, except the book tours I need to participate in and a few ARCs I need to review. Other than that, expect about 3-4 posts a week, probably one to two during exam times. Thank all of you for following me!! The best place to talk if you want is through DMs on bookstagram: I am @/solaceinreading_.

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?