May 17, 2018

Bouncing Back | April Wrap-Up

Yes, I know that it is ironic that the post is called "bouncing back into blogging" yet it is also over two weeks late.

Irony aside, the past couple of months have been a blur for me. A blur that, for the most part, did not include blogging. I did manage to post a few stray posts here and there, but my time was mostly taken up by writing essays and reading academic journals than blog posts and fiction novels. Not that blogging isn't important to me (you guys will always be my favorites), but my education has to be the priority so that I learn everything that I can (and get my money's worth). 

But, the semester is in the past and I am home for the summer. I promise there will be no more talk about college for at least a couple of months (minus a little discussion post that I have in the works). Not only do I have more time, but I have more energy to devote to reading, blogging, and catching up on all of the book happenings that I missed out on.

Posts I Loved

1. Feeling Validation as a Book Blogger and Why it Matters with Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books

I feel like this post really understands me. Many of the suppressed fears and worries that I have about blogging are expressed through Marie's eloquent discussion that puts into words the emotions that I am too afraid to. Regardless of where you are as a blogger, this post is relevant to you. If you have thousands of followers and commenters or even just one, then this post will still resonant with you. 

2. My Trip to an Amazon Bookstore: A Review @ Chuck Wendig

Chuck's hilarious (and insightful) commentary on Amazon bookstores in comparison to independent bookstores (plus a few key shoutouts to awesome PA bookstores!).

3. Do We Create too Much Content with Eva @Avalinah's Books
Avalinah discusses how to find the balance between writing posts and socializing in the community. Her insights make a question all all bloggers have to face a little bit less intimidating. 

4. Blog Spring Cleaning with Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner

Even though the weather is warming up, it is not too late to do some spring cleaning on the blog. It has been months since I gave my blog's aesthetics some love, not to mention the thousands of other little details that I tend to ignore until they pile up. Thankfully, Jamie has a nice checklist to help us all get started with the virtual vacuum and duster.

5. 5 Things I Want to See in Contemporary Books with POC Representation with Aimee @ Aimee Always

The journey to inclusion and diversity in publishing is far from over. Thankfully, there are some amazing bloggers igniting conversation about the importance of diversity and representation in books, including Aimee at Aimee Always. She uses her own experiences as a part of the Filipino-Chinese community to share what books are missing in terms of representation. Everyone should join in on the amazing discussion that she started to think about other areas that need more attention and how to tackle the missing representation.

6. Underhyped #Ownvoices Novels You NEED In Your Life with Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

Speaking of representation, Veronika made a list of great #ownvoices novels that have not been getting the attention that they deserve. #Ownvoices is not just a phenomenon for popular, hyped books, but also for books that fly under the radar. Just because they are not hitting any bestseller lists doesn't mean that they don't have great representation and great stories. Personally, I haven't read any of the books on her list either, but I plan to change that as soon as possible!

7. 5 Skills I’ve Improved Through Blogging with Laura @ Boats Against the Current

Despite what your friends and family might say, blogging is not just a useless hobby. I love that Laura put together a list of practical and useful skills that blogging teaches us, showing all of the doubters that we are more than just obsessed fangirls. 

Non-Bookish Favorites

1. Marvel Movies

In preparation for the soul-wrecking power of Infinity War, my family and I went on a quest to rewatch as many Marvel movies as possible. The quest, while successful, did not prevent me from being spoiled for Infinity War (it was very anticlimactic and on Pinterest of all places). 

Despite the impossibility of going into the theater without knowledge of the death and destruction, the movie was PHENOMENAL. There were a lot of characters and, individually, they did not get a lot of screen time. The ending would have also would have had more impact if I was not spoiled, but it was definitely still worth it. I know that Marvel movies are criticized for only being made for the money, but I still enjoy them. Black Panther was able so much more than just maintaining the franchise and making money. Thor Ragnarok was more than just another superhero movie set in space, verging into a unique mixture of comedy, action, and the Marvel universe. I also really enjoyed Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy, all of which have different tones that harmoniously converge into the Marvel universe that I have come to know and love. I just hope that it survives for me to love it.

2. Warm Weather

Winter held on as long as possible to my hometown this year. His icy nails were embedded in the air until two weeks ago. I celebrated my spring break by being stuck in a blizzard and our end-of-the-school-year beach trip was canceled due to the lack of swimsuit weather. 

I have very little tolerance for cold, so it took until the end of April for me to venture outside without a winter coat. But when I finally did, it was glorious. I did not carry the burden of a puffy coat or a scarf, only a Kindle and a pair of sunglasses to read outside. Allergies did not even stop me; a couple of sneezes is nothing to endure compared to standing outside in a snow cyclone. 

3. Herbal Tea

Toward the end of the semester, things got a little bit hard to handle for me. With all of the projects, papers, and exams, my coffee to sleep ratio was getting alarmingly high. Not enough sleep and too much coffee became my habit, which I know is not particularly healthy. However, my first goal for summer break is to wean myself off of coffee and caffeine in general. My lifesaver throughout this process has been herbal tea (which does not have any caffeine compared to black tea or green tea, in case you are also new to the tea world). Until recently, I always considered myself a coffee-drinker. I went to Starbucks for an espresso or macchiato, not some fruity tea (though my mind has been completely changed about Starbucks' tea). Anyway, I will drink some green tea if I desperately need a little bit of caffeine, but I have been mostly sticking to fruit teas, peppermint tea, hibiscus tea, and rosehip tea.

Books I Loved

The Art of EscapingThe Art of Escaping 
by Erin Callahan

Out of the handful of books I was able to read for fun, I would have to say that The Art of Escaping was my favorite. I loved the unique twist on the theme of magic with a girl as the kick-butt magician defying death and the horrors of high school. The focus wasn't on the romance or the high school angst, but the dangerous challenge of finding out who you really are. 

Cat's CradleCat's Cradle
by Kurt Vonnegut

As far as assigned readings go, I really enjoyed this absurdist story about the end of the world. Some moments were just so weird and unexpected that I actually laughed. This is my first experience with Vonnegut's writing, but it will definitely not be my last. The novel was full of insane characters in an insane world, but I still got a lot out of the story. Told through the lenses of a fake religion on a fake island, this story dives into the deepest questions about truth, science, and our role in the world. 

Posts I Wish Got More Love

How Love, Simon stole my heart (and hopefully changed cinema)

I don't normally write movie reviews (even though I think that might be change in the near future), but I HAD to write one for Love, Simon. Not only was it a marvelous movie, but it also set precedents for more inclusion and diversity in the movie theater. 

Guest Review of Wild Beauty on The Book Bratz

Last month I was honored with a guest post on The Book Bratz, which has been one of my favorite book blogs (or any kind of blog) since I first joined the community. 

I reviewed the beautiful story behind the equally gorgeous cover as well as commenting on the different kinds of representation in the novel. Hop on over to their blog to see the rest of my thoughts!

Did anyone else just get home for the summer? What are you planning to do with all of the newfound free time? What was one book from the beginning of this year that I HAVE to read? Does anyone want to rant about Infinity War with me? What tea should I try next? I also really missed you guys over the past couple of months, so catch me up with you as well!  

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