Inside Out Book Tag

Still no internet! (It’s Feb. 5th as i type) I’m spending this whole day stocking up on posts to queue.

I found this TAG! at A Backpack Full of Adventures and since I LOVE doing TAGs I decided to steal it 😛

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Inside flap/Back of the book: Too much info? Or not enough? (Discuss)

FAR TOO MUCH! I like going into things blind; books, movies, video games, I don’t want to know anything. Obviously I can’t always go into something 100% blind but you’d be amazed by how often I manage it. I have bought books knowing as little as one person saying they hated it (yes, hated it so vehemently that I had to see what the fuss was about). Books like The Name of the Wind and The Lies of Locke Lamora I read knowing only that my friend told me I had to. I even have a bunch of naked hardcovers on my shelves that i picked up secondhand with nothing but the title, and maybe a quick glance at the first paragraph to go on.

This is probably why i have never read Harry Potter; I have done a PHENOMENAL JOB avoiding spoilers for that series for so long “just in case” I decided to read it one day and then, in the last few years, random people kept spoiling things for me and now I literally don’t give a shit anymore. It’s also why my reviews tend to skirt around even basic plot points. I just can’t handle any information besides “It’s historical fiction, set in this place”.

New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: audio book, e-book, paperback, or hardcover?

Paperback or hardcover but I am partial to hardcover if it’s a book I feel like I’m going to want to keep for a while. I’m hard on my books 9and everything else in my possession) so they need to stand up to being tossed in a bookbag, lugged around, thrown, dropped, packed up, moved around, etc. Hardcovers just stand up better BUT paperbacks are lighter and more portable so sometimes it’s just a matter of the size of the book.

Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean? (Tell us why)

Eh. Okay here’s the thing, I don’t give a shit about writing in books. I know. I know. Blasphemy; I’ll go find a stake you get the fire going.

I honestly think that scribbles and notes add to a book. I buy mostly used books and when I find scribbles and underlined bits it makes me feel connected to someone I will never know who read the same words I’m reading. I personally tend not to write in my books though because I usually find I don’t have much to say until after I’m finished reading it and then I’m not going to go back and take notes. The most I would want while reading is to highlight passages I like but I find sticky tabs work best because I can easily go back and find them. Maybe one day, with my favorite of favorites I will go through with a highlighter and a pen and permanently mark the pages but for now it never happens. Except reference/nonfiction books. Those i take notes in.

In your best voice read for us your favorite first sentence from a book.

I’m going to skip this one. 1) because I cannot read to you and 2) because I only have 188 books at my disposal right now and not a one of them has a first sentence that i could claim to be my “favorite”. I don’t remember if i have a favorite first sentence.

Scratch that, I keep coming back to it so here it is; “Marty was dead, to begin with.” Something about it always makes me chuckle.

Does it matter if the author is male or female when deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the authors gender?

I usually don’t pay attention to the authors gender when deciding to pickup a book. I do find that I tend to read more books by female authors but I tend to like books by male authors more.

Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

I used to always read the last sentence of a book before I started the book; I have no idea why it’s just what I did (I’m talking elementary/middle school age). That evolved into me just reading the last 3 words because it was less spoilers but I kept my tradition. It’s weird. I really have no idea why i did that.

Nowadays I will look ahead if a book is getting dull or is at a part i really hate; I never read ahead i just look to see when some dialog might be coming up, or a change of narrator or something.

Organized bookshelves or outrageous bookshelves?

Always organized. In my previous home I had them organized by purpose; my fiction (organized by color) was in my bedroom, on another shelf in the room was my fairytales/childrens books. Downstairs were nonfiction/reference organized by subject, then by author. On another shelf were graphic novels and comics organized by series/author and stand-alones were by color.

Now i only have one self so most of my books are in a giant rainbow with some reference books to the side.

Under oath; have you ever bought a book based off of the cover alone?

Oh hell yeah. I do it all of the time seeing as i don’t read the backs ever.

Take it outside to read, or stay in?

Depends on the season; i love reading in the hammock when it’s hot out but i do a lot of reading outside all year long because I take public transportation everywhere; it’s pretty common to find me reading on a bus top somewhere i the city.

What about you? As always i tag everyone!

Writing Prompt Challenge Week 1

As part of my 2017 Bookish goals I have challenged myself and two of my good friends to write a piece, preferably a full short story but anything will do, based off of a writing prompt I pull from a cup. The prompts are a random mix of things I found online or on random prompt generators. We started last week so there will be 50 total; the rules are there are no rules. Just write words. We do not have to share but I want to, so here we are.


Week 1: Mermaids are the women thrown overboard by sailors afraid of having women on a ship. They lure sailors to their deaths as revenge.

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Finishing My Novel

Don’t let the title fool you; I am not finished my novel.

I am, however, finished with the rough draft of my novel. 😊 It is the roughest of drafts, most of it having been written during this past National Novel Writing Month (wanna read about my time in that level of hell?) and the rest eeked out over the dreaded holiday season. I just finished on January 16th. Okay, technically seven minute into the 17th but sue me.

I’ve mentioned before that this story has been living in me for years, so now that it’s out, even unpolished and terrible, I feel a little loss. Now what? The characters are written, the story is told, well shit.

My plan is to let it sit for a few weeks so I can forget about it that way when I come back through with my red pen I will feel less protective of the words in the page. Kill your darlings and all that. Once I run through and rewrite most of it to, well, to make sense (yay NaNoWriMo cut corners and retconning!) then I’m going to hand it over to some friends so they can tell me what a shit writer I am, and then I’ll rewrite it again, rinse, repeat until I’m either happy with it or so full of despair I give up. Either works.

In the meantime my friends and I have begun a weekly shirt story challenge. Each week I draw a random prompt from a jar and we all write a story based on it. The prompts are either randomly generated online or ideas I found around the internet as writing exercises and such, nothing special. I believe I will share my creations here so be in the look out for rough short stories!

What are your writing goals this year?

2016 Wrap-Up

Am I the only one who thinks 2016 is a sentient entity that derives pleasure from our continued cried for mercy? Because I would put money on that being the case.

Regardless of the shit show the last 12 months have been for everyone all across the world this year, in my little corner of reality goals have been met and I’m proud of myself. I met my reading goal, won NaNoWriMo, and finally jumped on the Bookstagram bandwagon. This is going to be a quick wrap up of my reading year. That means numbers so I made graphs! Fun fact: I fucking live graphs.

In 2016 I read:

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My ratings:

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Genres I read:

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As for my writing; this year I won Nanowrimo and am about 80% of the way through the first draft of my novel as of this writing!

Goals for next year:

  • Read 75 books or short stories
  • Complete a “polished” draft of/finish my novel
  • Begin posting to YouTube again
  • Read Harry Potter and LotR
  • Do a month TBR jar reading challenge
  • Do a weekly short story writing challenge

That list is way more confident than it should be. Wish me luck and happy end of 2016!!

MORE Books for Babies!

I have a problem.

That problem is childrens books. Also just books. I went to a local thrift store for some last minute Yule shopping and lo I bought 8 more books for my nephews.

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Rapunzal retold by Monica Hughes and Adrienne Salgado This is the classic tale of Rapunzal beautifully illustrated; not much to it. I was pretty happy with it until I just read it. It’s terrible. Books for babies should have a good rhythm, maybe rhyme. They should be simple but they don’t have to be dumbed down or poor quality. This book has a jerky flow that grates my nerves. It isn’t good. Don’t read shitty books to babies. It is also one of those “teach you to read” things that I HATE! It makes it a lesson and reading should never be work. In short; if you see this book around. Just leave it. I won’t be giving this to my nephews.

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Corey’s Kite by Hannah Roche and Pierre Pratt This is a book about a young boy named Corey who wakes up to find a nice windy day and calls his uncle to take he and his friends kite flying. It’s not even a little interesting but its not bad quality. There isn’t a story it just sort of is. I like the art style though and that it is diverse.

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Olivia by Ian Falconer Olivia is the adorable story of a little piggy who wears people out. She is just a cute little girl doing annoying little girl things that drive her mother batty. I love it. The illustrations are beautiful, in just black,white, and red. The high contrast is great for newborn readers. Let your baby look at the pages for a long while if you get this for the tiniest of babies.

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Disney’s Princess Collection THIS BOOK BROUGHT ME SO MANY FEELS! I had this when I was young and honestly I might just keep this. It is just a collection of Disney movie stories. That’s it. Its the movies, with the movie art and I love it. It’s more than just princess movies, it has everything from both Lion Kings to Fox and the Hound, to The Little Mermaid; 19 tales total.

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The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss Fun fact; this was the first book I ever read on my own,the Christmas I was 3. This is a simple, fun, Seussian rhyme with that silly Seuss art. A library must have.

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Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? By Dr. Seuss Seuss rhyme but mostly just an onomatopoeia book. Nothing special.

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A Kitten Tale by Eric Rohmann Four little kittens are waiting for winter snows; only one with eager anticipation. As the seasons pass the other three become more and more wary and the last becomes increasingly excited. My sisters and I all love cats and I know my nephews are going to grow up to either love or resent cats. Start them early.

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Medieval Fables by Marie de France and Jason Carter, translated by Jeanette Beer This book is not a baby book. It is a book of fables with medieval style art that I picked up because it will be a good addition to my nephews library even if they won’t be able to enjoy it now.

I had a good time searching out these books, and I think this is going to be the last Yule baby book haul. I’m so excited to see the older boy unwrapping these, he LOVES books.

Happy Yule/Solstice/Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Whatever you’re lighting a fire for this time of year!

Book Chat: Symptomatic by Danzy Senna

Have you ever read a book and thought; “I love what this wants to be but not so much what it is.”? That’s how I feel about Symptomatic by Danzy Senna; I love the themes in this book, and I connect with the main character on several levels but the story itself was nothing that spectacular.

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We follow a young reporter who has just left her unconventional home and family in California and moved to New York for a job. She is lonely, bad at relationships, and determined to prove herself to a family that thinks her dreams of an office job at a magazine are ludicrous. It’s very much the type of story I enjoy where we just sort of see a person existing in life. If you know anything about Danzy Senna you will know going into this book that our protagonist is half black and half white though you wouldn’t know it looking at her; this is how Senna herself appears and it makes sense that that is the experience of her protagonists. Write what you know, and all that. This means that race, racism, and the struggles of not appearing to be who you are all come up and play a significant part on the overall plot. And we do get an overall plot eventually, it sneaks up on us and before you know it everything is very Single White Female. I caught that about halfway in and I’ve only ever seen bits of that movie once so it is that obvious.

The book goes from walking simulator with a nameless protagonist to thriller at the blink of an eye and then it’s over. Nothing too special about it honestly, but because I connected with the main character I did love it.

Telling the story of a biracial person is why I adore Sennas work, I feel she writes books about my life, the little everyday struggles of being biracial without writing a book about race. My life isn’t about race, but race comes up quite a damn bit, if that makes sense. That is what some people don’t seem to like. With each book of hers I read I see “tragic mulatto” all over the reviews, and yes, that is a trope that is present in her books. Tropes aren’t inherently bad, they are just things that are used and seen often; they become negative when paired with the words “overused”, “cliche”, “been done before”. For the people who have described Sennas work in such a manner I think they need to reevaluate what the tragic mula15554949_1209121805793103_1612686617_ntto trope is; it is the story of a mixed person who doesn’t fit in, may be sad or depressed because of it, struggles to find their place, etc. It was used a lot in anti-interracial marriage propaganda as a “think of the children” ploy. Now I see it every time a multiracial protagonist feels disphoia, or loneliness, etc. I see the words “tragic mulatto” thrown out in ways that suggest and eye roll. It’s a bit insulting. These are stories written by people about their real experiences so calling those experiences cliche, to me, sounds like you’re just complaining that you can’t relate and so they must just be whining.

I won’t harp about this any longer though. After I finished reading I gave this book 4 stars because i had devoured it in a sitting and had not stopped being entertained but after letting it stew I’m thinking it’s more of a 3.5. Without the race issues the books isn’t all that interesting once you realize it’s Single White Female (I’ve heard more people compare it to Passing but I’ve never read that). The nameless protagonist is interesting, but in hindsight she’s just like the faceless protagonists in video games, bland because giving her a stronger personality would break the player/reader immersion. So while I love the writing, and the experience was fun it’s not something I’m going to rave about.

Books for Babies

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Yule is my favorite time of year. I love the traditions, I love the gift giving, I love that it is a National holiday celebrating the fact that they days are going to start getting longer! Seriously, I dislike winter. I love that Yule is literally a celebration that its leaving. That aside I am a gift giver, its my love language or whatever. Every year I go out of my way to give meaningful and spectacular gifts, trying to outdo myself each time.
Not this year.
This year I almost didn’t get any presents but as I saw the holidays drawing near and I hadn’t even thought of gift ideas I started to get anxious and I cracked. These are last minute gifts of course so I stuck to books for most people; especially my nephews who are just under 2 years and just over 1 week old. The older boy LOVES books and of course I want to foster that love so here are the 8 books I’ve found at my local used book stores for him.

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Hickory, Dickory, Dock illustrated by Sanja Rescek
This colorful board book features 21 favorite nursery rhymes along with fun, colorful illustrations.
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Always Copycub by Richard Edwards and Susan Winter
This is a about a bear cub named Copycub who likes to hide from his mom to see if she can find him; she always can. One day he hides so well he gets lost and is concerned that he will never be found. Luckily Mom will always come for him. Always.This is a paper book with longer sentences so more for toddler age.

The illustrations in this are beautiful, not too bright and colorful but I don’t think children need continuous schizophrenic color explosions to hold their attention.

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Owl Howl by Paul Friester and Philippe Goossens
This is the only new book I bought for the boys. It mad me laugh and I had to have it, its pretty stupid if I’m being blunt. It is about a baby owl who is screaming and screaming; everyone in the forest is trying to help but she won’t stop until eventually her mom comes and she stops. When asked why she was crying she replies “I forgot.”
The illustrations in this board book are absolutely adorable.

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Hopper Hunts for Spring by Marcus Pfister
Hopper hears that Spring is coming so he goes out to welcome him. He asks around but no one he meets is Spring. In the end he never finds him but he does find new friends.
You can probably see the art style I love for children’s books; they look cozy, plush, and a little out of focus.

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Flip, Flap, Fly by Phyllis Root and David Walker

This is a run little rhyme about baby animals taking their first steps (more like flying, sliding, swimming). Its got a fun pace and I’ve read it through aloud twice because its entertaining. Brighter colored, the whole thing looks to have been illustrated with oil pastels. Like the saturation is turned up a bit yet the edges are soft and plush.

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My First Legends: The Story of Bluebonnet by Tomie dePaola
Fun fact; there are more children’s books about animals than there are about nonwhite humans. It is not impossible to find nonwhite protagonists if you look hard but I shop used books mostly and the disparity is blatant. I only found nonwhite people in books about traditional societies. Its annoying at the very least. This is a Native American legend about how the flower bluebonnet came to be.
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London Bridge is Falling Down! illustrated by Peter Spier
The full lyrics to the song London Bridge is Falling Down beautifully illustrated and feature historical details about the bridge at the back of the book. I read it aloud a few times because this is one of the most fun, yet annoying songs ever. I hope my sister loves repeating herself!


Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
I realized last night that I have NEVER read this book! I read it through and almost cried; it can be easy to forget how beautifully Dr. Seuss introduces serious, real life issues like racism, capitalism, environmentalism, and depression. This book is about how you CAN and you WILL accomplish everything you set out to do. Though you will fail sometimes, and you will be lonely sometimes, and you will pass through a waiting place, where people sit and wait forever, never going and doing. BUT you will make it through and you will succeed.
Of course it has the wonderful Seuss illustration style and rhyme. This edition was published in 1990, it is hardcover and I count it a good find at my local bookstore.

So far that is what I’ve gotten for the boys. What are you buying for the little readers in your life?