January 14, 2019

Prioritizing Blogger Safety | Why Writing Under a Pen Name is Perfectly Fine

From the first time I logged into a computer, I have been lectured about online safety. Parents, teachers, neighbors, signs in hallways, and TV commercials have all warned me about the dangers of the Internet, especially meeting strangers and giving them my information.

I am not saying that online friends are sketchy or not trustworthy, but the Internet has a lot of types of people and not all of them have your best interests at heart. For the most part, the book community has each other's backs and I have felt safe sharing about my personal life.

That being said, Tessa is not my real name. It's a pen name that my 8th grade self created in order to protect myself on the Internet (and so that I didn't get lectured again from my mom). I have always blogged under a pen name and I don't plan on changing that in the near future.

I have always been very open about my use of a pen name, but recently, a certain author has questioned the trustworthiness of bloggers who use a pseudonym. This event in the book blogging world, involving a case of stalking and invasion of privacy, is the reason that I chose to use a pen name so long ago.

Instead of getting into a debate about the specifics of the event, I would like to give a list of reasons why it is perfectly acceptable for bloggers to use a pen name.

January 9, 2019

What Even Happened this Year? | A Wrap-Up of 2018

I have never had the best grasp on time. I can read for three hours, yet it will only feel like a second has passed. I can nap for five hours, but when I wake up it feels like I only slept for minutes. I can attempt to do homework for half an hour but it will feel like eons have passed. I am always the person that asks what day it is. I will be dating everything in 2018 for at least three months. 

So, when 2019 rolled around I couldn't believe it. There is something about the new year that seems to defy both time and space; things feel so much different yet so much the same.

For that reason, I have shifted away from New Year's Resolutions and vowing to be a completely different person whenever the calendar changed to January 1st. Instead of focusing on huge yearly changes, I want to focus on daily ways to be a better person. 

That philosophical rant aside, here are my reflections from 2018 and my low-pressure goals for 2019.

January 1, 2019

The Best Books I Read in 2018

I know that I say this every year, but 2018 was a difficult year. 

I only had four five-star books. In fact, a majority of the books I read were three stars or below. I am not sure if I was just heard to impress this year or if I was just extremely unlucky with my choice of TBR. Even though there is nothing wrong with three star books (for me the rating means that I liked the book without loving it), not many stories managed to WOW me this year. In the end of the year, when I finally had time to read, I hit a streak of three-star reads that wasn't necessarily a slump, but did disappoint me. 

The stats are not on my side, but that is where the complaining ends. My reading journey this year taught me that not every book will earn five stars, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't worth reading. 

Regardless of the ratings, I still managed to find books that I love and will scream about for the next year(s) to come. Out of the 50 books I read this year (which accomplished my Goodreads Challenge!) I still managed to have some favorites.

Since I loved all of these books so much, I have already written posts about most of them. Instead of trying to rearticulate my ramblings, I have included the links to my original posts if you want to learn more about them. 

Here are my top 10 books of 2018!

December 20, 2018

Your Best Posts of 2018 | A Master List of the Posts Bloggers Loved Writing this Year

The end of the year is a time of self-reflection. This year, instead of just staring into a mirror and lamenting about all of the goals I never achieved and promises that I broke to myself, I thought I would celebrate the achievements of the blogging community.

So, I went to Twitter and asked for your favorite posts that you wrote this year, whether it was a review that you are proud of or a thoughtful discussion that didn't get as much love as you wanted. There is a whole spectrum of posts in this list with all kinds of book bloggers lending their favorite posts of 2018. 

I learned a lot from this list and found quite a few new bloggers. Sometimes, the posts that we are the most proud of aren't the ones with the most comments, the most views, or the most shares on social media. Pride doesn't have to equate to statistics. The heart writes what the heart writes, whether or not it goes viral. That being said, I hope this master list of posts can help spread some love to the posts we are most proud of this year.

*I also included some quotes from random posts to further entice you to check out these posts and their discussions.

December 4, 2018

Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson | Blog Tour and Review

Paper Girl
By Cindy R. Wilson
400 Pages
Published December 4th, 2018
Young Adult, Contemporary
Trigger Warnings: Child Abuse, Panic Attacks, Drugs, and Alcoholism

This book was provided to me from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.

I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.
Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear...