Lately With Lila June 2022 | [Insert Kamala Harris Saying “We Did It, Joe” Here]

Hello, dear friends, how’s it going? I hope all is well and if not I hope brighter days head your way soon!

I realize I’ve been mostly gone this month, sadly. I regret to report that… I had an overwhelming amount of schoolwork due. Yes, it’s a sad excuse, but what’s even sadder is that it’s true! But I am finally free (!!!) of my schoolwork and my summer break has begun!

Of course, because I had school, I didn’t consume too much media. But let’s take a look at what did go down this past month…

what i posted

what i’m reading

👁️ The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake …*big sigh*… Are we even surprised anymore? But good news is I’m nearly done!! Truth be told, I didn’t do much reading at all, periodt, in June, so I’m excited to dive back into this book in July!

what i watched

⚔️ The Wheel of Time (Season 1) I finished this season of The Wheel of Time and…wow! This show reminded me of why I love high fantasy stories! I was totally swept away by the intrigue, the action, the adventure—the everything!!! I’ve never read the books that The Wheel of Time is adapted from, so I can’t comment on how well the show adapted the source material, but on its own…this show is breathtaking, y’all.

✈️ The Flight Attendant Honestly I feel kinda “meh” about this one? It was sold as an intrigue-filled mystery/thriller with light comedy sprinkled in, but truthfully I feel like the actual hook of the first episode wasn’t too strong. I also feel like the show hasn’t so far given the audience any good reason to be invested in the characters. I’m gonna give it a few more episodes to see if it manages to grab me, though, so for now the jury’s out on this one.

☀️ The Summer I Turned Pretty I’ve never read the book trilogy by beloved YA author Jenny Han that this Amazon series is based on, but nevertheless I love it! I feel like this show does a really good job of capturing the feeling of being a teenager (yes, I do remember it, even at the ripe, old age of 27 *sigh*) and I found myself feeling so wistful and nostalgic as I watched it. It’s also, like, the perfect summer show! Bottom line: I highly recommend The Summer I Turned Pretty.

what i listened to

🌊 The Kleio Files This is a fascinating audiodrama all about an archeological expedition investigating a mysterious sunken city discovered in the Indian Ocean. Funnily enough, I actually discovered this podcast via the book community, as it’s actually written and produced by a writer whose tweet I saw in passing. And I gotta say: I’m glad I discovered it!

high notes

🎶 “Quiet On Set” by Remi Wolf This is such a fun, youthful song that gives the feel of sneaking around with your friends and getting into teenage shenanigans!

🎶 “Blutooth” by Blu DeTiger and Chromeo I’ve come to really appreciatiate the bass-centric groove of Blu DeTiger and mixed with a hint of Chromeo’s pop-funk, it’s perfection!

🎶 “Otro Atardecer” by Bad Bunny and The Marias What a summery song!

🎶 “Spring 1 – 2022” Arr. Max Richter I love this arrangement of Vivaldi’s “Spring”! First off, Vivaldi has always been my favorite classical composer and second off this arrangement is AMAZING!! I feel like it really recaptures the freedom of the original work, with a slightly modern twist that’s not too overbearing.

what i bookmarked

what i did in june 2022

Have you ever given three speeches in a row??!?! Cause lemme tell ya—I had to this past month and even this here big ol’ extrovert was EXHAUSTED by the end of it!!! That being said, I managed to finish both of my courses exhausted but intact and with good grades! Success!! I’m still surprised that I somehow managed to pull it off, tbh. *wipes sweat from brow*

Not much happened aside from school, though! I was pretty fatigued and had a couple of bad pain flares through the month, which was unfortunate, but thankfully I’m feeling a bit better now.

what i plan on doing in july 2022

July is looking to be a fun month, seeing as I’m on summer break and already have a few plans! I’ll be headed to the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival, so that’s bound to be a great time, plus I have a few other things up my sleeves that hopefully I’ll manage to pull off! It should also be pretty relaxing since, as I mentioned, I’m off school!

spill the beans, friends!

  • How was your June?
  • What are you looking forward to in July?
  • What’s on your July TBR?

Lately With Lila September 2020 | Bookopolathon, Meddling Teen Detectives, The Start of Spooky Season, & Sbooktober TBR!

PLEASE NOTE: This post contains affiliate links for Libro.fm, for which I receive a free audiobook if you use to purchase a subscription.

Hello, dear friends, I hope you are all safe, happy, and healthy (and if you are not, I am wishing good vibes your way)! Well, it seems we can cross yet another month off the seemingly unending list that is 2020—can you believe it? It feels like March was just yesterday but also an eternity ago? And also it feels like next year is just around the corner yet also eons away?? What a strange year we’ve had…

Anyhoo, strange years aside, I’m happy to say that September was a relatively prosperous reading month for me. After months on end of only managing to finish at most two books, I actually managed to finish…wait for it, y’all…three books! I know in the bookish community that’s not a lot, but when you consider that I’ve only finished one or two books per month for the past year and a half? Um? I’ll take it! So let’s take a look at those books, as well as my other September 2020 favorites!

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BLOG UPDATES

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BLOG POSTS

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BOOKISH STUFF

READ

  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer Vol. 1: High School Is Hell by Dan Mora and Jordie Bellaire (★★★☆) Coming from a total Buffy newb—this graphic novel was awesome! It’s a modern “retelling” of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and it’s a very easy place to pick up and start with no real background knowledge. The endearing characters and fun plot made this one a great read!
  • Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (★★★☆) Aaaah, I loved this book so much! Full of compelling characters and an intriguing plot, Where Dreams Descend was such a dazzling read! My only gripe is that now I have to wait at least a year for the sequel 😉
  • The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty (★★★★) Y’all know I’m a super-fan of The Daevabad Trilogy, so seeing it come to an end is bittersweet. That being said, I couldn’t have asked for a better finale! The Empire of Gold was the perfect conclusion and it left me very satisfied.

TBR

  • The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab (Audio/ARC) By some miraculous mistake, I received the audiobook of Addie Larue as part of my Libro.fm October audioARC package—a snafu which left me screaming in joy! I still can’t believe my luck and I intend to devour this one immediately.
  • Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Audio/ARC) Black Sun is a Native American fantasy that I’m SO excited to have in my hands! Plus, I’m reviewing this book for a book tour, so it’s one I’ll definitely be reading this month!
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (Audio/ARC) I technically began Legendborn months ago, but I’m still finishing it up. I’m beyond so in love with this book and I can’t wait to see how it wraps up!
  • This Is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi (Audio/ARC) This is another book I’m super hyped for and that I’m also part of a book tour for. This is a super cute looking contemporary involving a bookstore and a group of girl who work there. It looks like so much fun and I can’t wait to dive in!
  • The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi (Audio/Library) My library loan for the audiobook of The Silvered Serpents just came in and, y’all, I am do freaking excited! I adored The Gilded Wolves and I’ve heard great things about this sequel, so hopefully I’ll be able to dig into this book soon!
  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (Audio/Purchase) Last on my list is A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, which I purchased in September. This book looks delightfully dark! It’s about a girl attending a school where the only options are to graduate or die trying. I honestly don’t know much about the story beyond that, but the basic premise has me intrigued.

SBOOKTOBER TBR

I’m taking part in Sbooktober this year and luckily my regular October TBR jives with this year’s set of prompts! To find out more information about Sbooktober, check out the readathon’s Twitter.

“Room”PromptSelected Book
Costume PartyFantasy Costume ↝ Read A FantasyLegendborn by Tracy Deonn
RefreshmentsDevil’s Food Cake ↝ A Black CoverThe Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab
Dance Floor PlaylistI Put A Spell On You ↝ A Book With MagicBlack Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
FestivitiesCarve Jsck O’Lanterns ↝ A Face On The CoverThis Is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi

BOUGHT

ARCS ACQUIRED

Thank you to the kind publishers who approved me for these ARCs and ALCs, as well as to Libro.fm for distributing the ALCs

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AUGUST 2020 FAVORITES

NOTION

I actually discovered Notion about a year ago, but I only started using recently, just before the Notion craze hit the bookish community haha! I’ve been using it to organize my life, my classes, this blog, my creative endeavors, and just my thoughts in general and, I gotta say, so far it’s been working (which is like a miracle for someone like me with severe ADHD). I’ve been having so much fun making and customizing my own templates and I’m glad to have found an organization tool/system that seems to work—now let’s just hope I stick with it!

ENOLA HOLMES

Okay technically I finished the last 15ish minutes of this film on October 1st, but I watched the vast majority of it in September, so I’m saying it counts! Anyhoo! I absolutely ADORED Enola Holmes! It reminded me so much of myself when I was younger and of my own relationship with my mom. Everything about the film was so adorable and I can’t help but hope we get several sequels! I definitely recommend Enola Holmes if you haven’t already seen it!

MUSIC

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THE WORD AROUND THE WEB

FOR READERS

FOR BLOGGERS

FOR FUN

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SEPTEMBER 2020 MEMORIES

It’s been said before, but needs saying again…How the f*ck are we only in October in this never-ending hell dimension that is 2020???! God, is it not over already??! Have we not stared into the void and seen our souls enough—just let it end already!!!

Okay, but in all seriousness, I feel like nothing has proved the weirdness of that wacky little thing we call time more than 2020. But we can breath a little easier, friends, because we’re just two months away from the end of 2020 and then we can move on and never look back!

Anyhoo! Rants about 2020 aside, September was pretty bland for me. I soldiered through my classes, tripped over my first test (but made it through!), and even managed to turn in a few assignments late. What can I say? I’m a champion at online school (*weary sigh*). But! Nevertheless, I have persisted and I’m hoping that’s what matters!

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FORWARD THINKING

It’s Spooky Season, friends! Time to break out the bats and spiderwebs and fake blood and celebrate 🎵the most wonderful time of the year🎵! I actually don’t yet have any real plans for this Halloween (I mean, other than chowing down on some candy haha) but I’m hoping my friends and I can coordinate some kind of virtual event, whether it’s watching a spooky movie together or getting all dolled up with nowhere to go and breaking out the alcohol (don’t worry, we’re all of age). Other than that, though, October is basically a wasteland of unending schoolwork! Although, I did see several vloggers cooking what looks like delicious meals, so I’m definitely planning on attempting to replicate some of those. Besides this, though, it’s really all possibility from here on out. Regardless, whatever may come, I’m ready for adventure!

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SPILL THE BEANS, FRIENDS!

  • How was your September?
  • Is there anything you’re looking forward to coming up in October?
  • How are you celebrating Spooky Season?

Sun & Fun | Summer 2020 Favorites

PLEASE NOTE: This post contains affiliate links for which I receive a small commission if you use them to purchase an item.

Hello, dear friends! I hope you are all well and if not I hope you are able to see brighter days soon! As you probably know, summer in the northern hemisphere is coming to a close. In my area of the US, the summer heat doesn’t really fade until early to mid October but this year it seems like we’re getting a bit of an early Autumn, with temperatures in the 70s and 60s (Fahrenheit) having already begun to creep up on us. Regardless of my feelings toward the changing weather, I decided it’s about time to curl up in cozy layers and wrap up some of my Summer 2020 favorites. So let’s see exactly what those favorites were!

Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova

I recently read Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova and…y’all…when I say y’all are sleeping on this book

But let me back up a little before I start raving.

So what is Incendiary about?

The story follows Renata (a.k.a. “Ren”), a young woman with a dark past. She belongs to a race of magic wielders, the Moria, a group which has become oppressed by the government. Ren is a “robari,” a Moria who can steal memories (although the act of stealing memories has consequences, like losing your own memories to “The Grey”). As a very young child, Ren was stolen away from her family and turned into a human weapon by the government, who used her to steal rebels’ memories and thus gain access to top secret info about the rebel resistance, who they would then massacre. Ren does this does this under the watchful eye of Justice Mendez, a powerful government leader who has sinister motives, despite his seeming personal kindness to Ren. But one fateful night, Ren is rescued by the Whispers, a rebel group, and taken into their care.

Flash forward about ten years.

Ren is a rebel agent for the Whispers despite the fact that they deeply distrust her because of her past, which leaves her as an outcast. Despite the Whispers hatred for her, Ren works tirelessly to prove herself as loyal, reliable, and trustworthy. But when a rebel mission to save the boy Ren loves goes horribly wrong, Ren is left to fend for herself. Through some clever manipulation, Ren works her way back into the good graces of Justice Mendez once again, with the intention of eventually killing the supposedly evil prince, Castien. But in the gilded cage of the royal court, not everything is what it seems and the shocking secrets Ren discovers could change the course of Ren’s life forever and turn the tide of the ongoing war against the Moria…

So, I could write a whole book review about why I love Incendiary with all my heart—as a matter of fact I have already done that—but what exactly makes it worthy of another mention? Oh I dunno, maybe the complex themes surrounding morality? Or the intriguing cast of characters?? Or perhaps it’s the interest-grabbing plot??? Basically everything about this absolutely stunning book, is what I’m saying! Honestly, I’m beyond obsessed with Incendiary and I’ll continue to throw this book at anyone and everyone I can!

BUY: Goodreads | Bookshop.org | Libro.fm | Book Depository

Never Have I Ever (Netflix)

I briefly talked about my love for Netflix’s new teen dramedy Never Have I Ever in my May 2020 Wrap Up, but I wanted to take a bit of a deeper look into my love for the show here.

Never Have I Ever is about Indian American teen girl Devi Vishwakumar, as well as her family and friends. I feel like the trailer makes it look like the show is all about Devi’s struggle to navigate high school, especially as an Indian American girl—but to be honest, that’s only partially true. Instead, Never Have I Ever actually focuses largely on Devi’s struggle to come to terms with her father’s recent death.

Now, this is where I reveal a part of my life to you: my own father died when I was seven years old. So when I realized that “death of a father” was going to be the main topic of Never Have I Ever (at least for Season 1) I was simultaneously wary and hopeful about how the show would represent Devi’s struggle with grief. And I have to say that I was not let down! I won’t lie, I don’t really cry over media but this show got me to shed tears on multiple occasions, so take that as you will.

Never Have I Ever handles Devi’s journey with grief in a surprisingly touching manner, depicting it in an in turns difficult, touching, tender, and gently humorous way. I found that, though Devi and I both express and manage our grief over our respective fathers’ deaths differently (for the most part), I could easily accept Never Have I Ever’s portrayal of Devi’s sadness as something which resonated as deeply genuine.

Eve Cornwell

I’ve talked about my love for Eve Cornwell’s content before, but I really can’t stress just how obsessed I am. I mean, I practically eat, sleep, and breathe her stuff, okay?! A former studytuber who transitioned from university student to trainee lawyer, Eve’s content is about 50% lifestyle and 50% legal lessons (but, like, the fun kind of legal lessons, as impossible as that sounds). Eve’s got a great sense of dry humor and I adore her cheery yet down-to-earth personality. I always leave her videos feeling like I’ve both learned something and had a fun time. Plus, as geeky as this may seem, Eve’s passion for law is so contagious and she always motivates me to learn more about national and international law! Anyhoo, Eve hasn’t posted for a bit now, but I’m definitely looking forward to her new content when she returns and I hope you’ll check her stuff out too!

The Enneagram

I do enjoy a bit of pop psychology every now and again (knowing, of course, that the accuracy of pop psychology isn’t 100%) and this summer I got into the enneagram. The enneagram is basically a pop psychology personality type test, similar to the Myers-Briggs typology test. The enneagram separates people into nine different basic personality types, and then adds in “wings” and “tritypes,” to add a more complex vision of your personality. I’m a Type 7 Wing 6, which means I’m adventurous, curious, optimistic, enthusiastic, fun-loving, spontaneous, and socially-oriented, among other things. This isn’t really a surprise to me, but what was a surprising was that I originally mis-typed as a Type 2, which is apparently an occurrence that’s common among women as Type 2s tend to follow the social roles that are traditionally assigned to women. I was really confused at that point, as I didn’t relate much to Type 2 and what I did relate to, I related to on a very shallow level. So I took the test four more times and three out of four times I got Type 7, which I highly relate to. Anyway, I feel like my experience shows how inaccurate that pop psychology tests can be (I mean having an entire freaking gender skewed more towards one personality type because #patriarchy? Come on.), but either way it is a fun tiny bit of insight into myself that I enjoyed looking into, even if I had to take it with a grain of salt.

My Top Five Songs of Summer

  • “Kinfolk” by Mereba // This song makes me so nostalgic for my teenage years and I have no clue why but I like it, haha! Mereba is an Ethiopian American artist and I feel like you can really feel undertones of East Africa in some of her music, which I love. I’ve become pretty obsessed with her music, and I feel like “Kinfolk” is a perfect example of why.
  • “Barefoot in the Park” by James Black ft. ROSALIA // This song feels like those magical summer days when the breeze softly brushes across your skin and sunlight is fluttering through treetops. I don’t know what it is, but something about “Barefoot in the Park” just sends me to a daydream-y elsewhere. 10/10 highly recommend for Peak Summertime Vibes!
  • “Hide Out” by Mahalia // Mahalia is another artist I’ve come to be pretty obsessed with this past summer and “Hide Out” is one of may favorite songs from her. What can I say, everyone needs a good ol’ “f*ck my ex” anthem and this one is a jam! Plus, I love the samples of Eartha Kitt that Mahalia sprinkled through the song. All in all, I love everything about “Hide Out” and I’m sure it’ll be on repeat for a good while.
  • “NO ONE’S IN THE ROOM” by Jessie Reyez // This song honestly makes me cry, but, like, in a good way? Which is a weird new experience for me haha! Regardless, I just find the lyrics and the sound of this song to be so incredibly moving, especially as someone who’s a (very, very, very liberal) Catholic who grew up attending an incredibly liberal Catholic elementary/middle school. The music video was also really touching and emotional. Overall, I can’t recommend “NO ONE’S IN THE ROOM” enough!
  • “This Is Me Trying” by Taylor Swift // Ah, this is another emotional song for me. Honestly, the lyrics of this song came to me at the right moment, when I was experiencing a depressive low, and it really helped me to feel less alone.

Well, dear friends, that’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed and maybe found something new to look into. I wish all of you plenty of sunlight, a good dose of tea, and, of course, a great book to fall into. Until next time, friends…

SPILL THE BEANS, FRIENDS!

  • What are your Summer 2020 favorites?
  • What are you looking forward to for Autumn 2020?
  • Oooh! And if you know your enneagram type, definitely share it and if you think it’s accurate!

SUPPORT BLACK LIVES AND HUMAN RIGHTS

It’s Cliche But I Gotta Say I’m Doing A 1K Q&A!

Hello, dear friends, I am coming to you typically late as ever to bring you my 1000 follower Q&A! I apologize for the delay—I had an urgent family situation that I had to focus on (fortunately my family member is doing well now).

Today I’m celebrating six years of blogging and 1000 followers by answering your questions for me! And before we get started, I want to again thank all of you, my dear friends, for sticking around and joining me on this journey—it truly means the world!

So let’s not dillydally any longer—let’s find out the answers to your questions!

How do you balance blogging with everything else?

Rukky @ Eternity Books

and

Do you keep a blogging schedule?

Tessi @ Bookrapt

For me, I think the key is that I actually don’t treat blogging like a job or a super serious responsibility. I can be really rebelliously flighty about responsibilities that I feel tied down to, in part because of my ADHD causing me to have this very anxious variety of perfectionism, so the minute something feels like its a ticking time bomb hanging over my head, I’m outta there and avoiding that responsibility like a bat out of hell running from an angry devil, haha. So I very much protect the idea that blogging is a hobby first and a responsibility second. I give myself room to let it go for a bit when life gets too hectic and/or overwhelming and just to come back to it naturally, when I’m ready. I don’t really schedule my posts or have a timetable or an overarching schedule, I just blog when I can because it makes me happy. I know my approach would definitely drive a lot of people absolutely bonkers, but hey, it’s all about what works to make you happy at the end of the day.

What’s your favorite meal/dessert?

Rukky @ Eternity Books

I can’t really choose a favorite meal, but I think for dessert, I’ma go with mint chocolate chip ice cream. I recently told a friend that this was my favorite dessert and they had the audacity to say, “Gross—minty ice cream tastes like toothpaste!” To which I replied, “Well, duh, that’s why toothpaste tastes good!”* 🤣

* This is a joke. Please do not eat toothpaste, it is not particularly edible!

Do you have any other hobbies?

Rukky @ Eternity Books

My lifelong love in terms of hobbies has always been singing. I’ve been singing since I could make noise! I’m classically trained in opera, but my favorite genres to sing are jazz, blues, and soul. I come from a musical family and my dad was a professional musician, so I guess you could say it comes with the territory, but that’s definitely not to say I love music and singing any less.

I also love arts and crafts (I’m currently learning hand embroidery) and I’m a HUGE nerd, so I enjoy learning new skills and about new topics of interest. For the past few years I’ve been s l o w l y learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in hopes of eventually being able to code a website and I’ve found it to be quite a fun hobby. Before the pandemic, I was going to take a few belly dance workshops at a dance studio near me, but that’s put off for now. Basically, I like to try everything that catches my fancy, obsess over it for a while, and move on—but what can I say other than it’s now very clear that I do, in fact, have ADHD lol!

What made you want to start your blog?

Rukky @ Eternity Books

So, I’ll tell y’all a little secret. You know how many book bloggers advise you to never start a book blog just because you want ARCs? Well here’s my secret: I actually started my book blog because of ARCs 😂😂😂 I remember learning about book bloggers getting them and thinking, “Ooooh, well if it gets me free books, I might as well try it—after all, how hard can it be?”

After six years, I can decidedly say to 19 year old Lila, 1) sis, ARCs are not free books and earning them takes a lot of work, which brings me to 2) IT CAN BE REALLY HARD, GIRL, THAT’S HOW HARD IT CAN BE! Lololol!

But, that being said, despite my “less than noble” intentions with starting a book blog, I really fell in love with it along the way. I’m not a very consistent person when it comes to responsibilities, so the fact that I’ve stuck with something that requires a lot of time, effort, energy, and mental coordination for six whole years is really a testament to the fact that I really genuinely enjoy book blogging. I started out with dubious intentions, but I got a great community of friends who can all share in my love of books, so I think it all worked out pretty well for me in the end 😉

Was there ever a time in those six years when you didn’t feel like blogging at all? If so, what helped get through it?

Naemi @ A Book Owl’s Corner

Oh definitely! There have absolutely been times when I’ve been overwhelmed by other parts of my life or when I’ve felt kind of like I was just screaming into a void and I thought to myself, “Ya know, you don’t have to be doing this, no one’s holding a gun to your head saying you can’t just walk away.” But I think at those times I remember how big a part of my life that blogging has become and how many of y’all I’ve come to befriend and to really enjoy talking with and I let that pull me through. And, as I mentioned before, I also allow myself room to take long hiatuses and to not panic over stats during that break period. So I guess what gets me through is allowing myself to rest and be at peace with resting and remembering why I find so much joy in blogging.

What’s your favorite post that you’ve ever written?

Naemi @ A Book Owl’s Corner

My memory of individual blog posts is a bit fuzzy, but I can give you a recent favorite post of mine! A recent post I’ve written that was my favorite was my post about folklore of the African Diaspora that I want to see rewritten. A lot of love went into that post because I was talking about a part of my cultural heritage that has been passed down in my family and is near and dear to my heart.

What was your favorite subject at school and the coolest class you’ve taken so far at university?

Naemi @ A Book Owl’s Corner

I’ve always loved any and every science subject and, although it didn’t start out this way, I’ve also come to really enjoy mathematics. I actually failed math so badly in elementary and middle school that I was nearly held back in fifth grade. But in sixth grade, I took remedial math with a teacher named Mrs. Bonard, who absolutely changed my life in the best way possible. The next year, I was able to move up to the regular math class and then in high school I moved up to the honors and IB HL math classes. I think for me, being able to do advanced math at the level that I now can will always be a really triumphant thing for me because I struggled so much to get here. And the best thing is that along the way I’ve come to really deeply love mathematics to the point that I’m currently majoring in arguably the most math-based science field (physics) and have even considered becoming a mathematician.

So, as for cool college courses, as you can tell, I really enjoy my calculus classes, haha! But I think hands down the coolest course I’ve taken in college was a course called “Theories of Mathematics and the Mind,” which was a course where we studied and wrote essays about mathematics and its relationship to things like consciousness and AI and the intersection of those three things. It was such a fascinating class and aligned perfectly with what I hope to study in part in my future career!

How do you feel as a book blogger who is not a English lit major?

Tessi @ Bookrapt

Haha, well I definitely feel like I have a bit of a secret advantage in the literature electives I take!

Most people, both online and irl, are typically surprised that I’m not an English major. A surprising factoid about myself is that despite not being an English Lit major, I’m actually a tested and proven genius in the areas of English grammar, vocabulary and language comprehension, so I think my English abilities tend to be why in real life a lot of people think I’m an English Lit major. That being said, I’m the type of person who is insatiably curious and who always needs a big challenge, so I ended up going into STEM instead. Luckily online and irl, I’ve found the bookish community to be very welcoming (unlike a lot of STEM communities which can be quite snobby about looking down at humanities and arts majors), so I’m glad to find a place here as well. And who knows—maybe someday I’ll end up writing a book and my backgrounds in both English Lit and STEM will pay off! Regardless, I’m quite happy to straddle the line of both worlds!

How do you come up with new post ideas after blogging for 6 years?

Juli @ Kozy Words

Well, I personally am a BIG fan of Austin Kleon’s “Steal Like An Artist” philosophy. I take a lot of inspiration from other book bloggers I follow and love figuring out how I can put my own unique spin on their posts.

Source Credit: Austin Kleon

Another thing I also try to do is to find ways to merge things that I love outside of books with books to create content.

It’s definitely difficult at times, but when you think about it the universe is infinite and full of inspiring ideas, so there’s always something new out there to talk about if you look hard enough!

What type of blog post do you find hardest to write?

Lois @ My Midnight Musing

The truth is, after six years, I still agonize over most posts I write. I’m very perfectionistic when it comes to myself and my own work in any area of my life, so I worry a lot about things like if I’m getting my point across clearly while maintaining my own personal voice when blogging, which for me is a tough line to walk as I’m mainly used to academic writing, which prioritizes clarity over style and voice. However, I think the type of post where this fine line is most difficult for me to walk is in reviews. If you’ve been around, you’ve probably noticed that over they years and even in recent months, I’ve tinkered a lot with the style, format, and voice I use for reviews. I think reviews present a particular difficulty for me in that they are formatted so similarly to academic papers, so it’s hard for me to maintain my blogging voice and not fall into the toneless, voiceless style of academic writing.

Blogging achievements (not based on stats) that you’re proud of?

Sumedha @ The Wordy Habitat

As cheesy as it sounds, it really is making such great new friends from all over the world! In a way, blogging really allows you to have the experience of traveling the world from the comfort of your home, haha! I mean, I’ve made blogging friends from places like Indonesia, France, India, Venezuela, Australia, Brazil, and more and its so interesting to learn about and celebrate our similarities and our differences. And its really great to think of the broader online bookish community and to realize that we all come to the same table to share our love of books not in spite of our differences but with our differences. It really is an amazing thing that I’m truly honored to be a part of.

So that’s all we have for today, dear friends! I hope you enjoyed my answers and learning a bit more about me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some tea to toast to many more happy years of blogging 😉 Sending each one of you all my best and I’ll talk to you next time!

Disability Pride Month | What You Should Know About Book Blogging While Disabled

Hello, dear friends! As you may be aware, July is Disability Pride Month and, today, I’m going to be talking about a topic that is very close to my heart: what you should know about book blogging while disabled.

Now, I technically began book blogging before I was just formally diagnosed with one of my disabilities (POTS) but was very much struggling with it, as well as with the disabilities I’d already been diagnosed with (ADHD, depression, and anxiety). I’ve now been blogging for six years (wow!) and it has been a journey, y’all! But as I was thinking about what I wanted to post this July for Disability Pride Month, I started to reflect on my beginnings in this community and what I may have needed to hear to make it easier for me to join this community, particularly as a disabled individual.

I think, in a lot of ways, sometimes it feels like disabled folks are the “invisible” marginalized group in this community and that we don’t get much focus, not only in regards to #ownvoices representation in literature (which is still abysmal), but in regards to the bookish community itself being made accessible. I mean, when we think about platforms that tend to get the most visibility and opportunity, that’s booktube and bookstagram, which are, unfortunately, two platforms that are not the most disability accessible or disability friendly, unfortunately. I know for myself that I chose a blog as a platform in part because it seemed more accessible to me as someone who not only has ADHD, but who, at the time, was pretty confined to my bed.

So what am I getting at? Well, for those of you who are disabled and looking for a way to join this community, I’m hoping you’ll see this piece as an encouraging “nudge,” as evidence that you can be a member of this community—and a “successful” and “visible” one at that! And I very much hope you’ll decide to be.

For those of you who aren’t disabled, but who are interested in learning about the experiences of someone who’s a member of the vast and diverse disabled community, I’m hoping this piece will give you just that chance to learn a bit more.

At best, I hope maybe this post might help us make this community more accessible, disability friendly, and diverse!

So let’s not dilly dally any more—let’s jump right in!

One important thing I want to note before we really dig into this discussion is that disabilities come in all different kinds and impact people in many different ways, but regardless, each person is still valid in their experience of being disabled. Please also keep in mind that being disabled can encompass:

  • having a physical disability
  • having a chronic illness
  • having a learning disability
  • having a mental illness
  • being neurodiverse
  • having a visible disability
  • having an invisible disability
  • having one disability
  • having multiple disabilities
  • having a temporary and/or short term disability
  • having a permanent disability
  • being born with a disability
  • acquiring a disability

So with that out of the way, I want to give you guys some background on my own disabled experience, so you might better understand where I come from.

I’ve had Postural Orthostatic Tavhycardia Syndrome (a.k.a. POTS) my entire life, but was only diagnosed at age 20. I experience a wealth of symptoms, namely chronic fatigue and chronic pain. In addition, I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 7 (and re-diagnosed at age 18). I also deal with depression and generalized anxiety disorder. So, as you can probably imagine, my life has been impacted by my disabilities in a myriad of ways and, naturally, that includes my life as a book blogger.

I’d say the biggest things to impact my reading and blogging life are my chronic fatigue and my ADHD. It’s difficult for me to focus and to use so much energy when reading and writing blog posts. It can be a really exhausting process, but I love books and blogging so I don’t mind the toll it can take on my energy and my body. I’ve also learned ways to minimize the impact blogging can have when it comes to my disabilities and what I can’t change I’ve come to accept and embrace as part of the deal. So here’s what I’ve learned about blogging while disabled…

Burnout is inevitable and can happen a lot quicker and sooner than it does for able bodied/neurotypical bloggers. Burnout can be a hot topic among bloggers because it’s honestly inevitable for all of us. The difference is that for those of us who are disabled, burnout can happen a lot sooner. The hard truth of blogging that no one really talks about is that it requires a lot of time, effort, and energy. And if you love blogging, you’re happy to give those things. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t eventually take its toll. This goes especially for those of us who are disabled and may have to put in extra effort, energy, and/or time.

Hiatuses (yes, that’s plural) can be imperative. Again, hiatuses are important for any blogger, but they can be especially important for those of us who are disabled. Be it long or short, few or frequent, taking time to allow your body and/or mind to rest and recuperate is really important for disabled bloggers such as myself. Taking hiatuses has allowed me to blog more in the long run rather than burning out fast and never getting back to blogging, even if I want to.

You blog when you can but shouldn’t be anxious or ashamed when you can’t. I used to feel anxious and ashamed when other bloggers would talk about how one of their tips to success was consistency and/or a blogging schedule. For me, my disabilities make having a regular schedule and being super consistent really difficult. But I remember that doing my best is enough. At the end of the day, my blogging habits are about what makes me happy and what allows me to be comfortable, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Knowing your limits and not being ashamed of them is essential. Sometimes you can’t do the same thing as other bloggers or do as much as other bloggers without causing yourself pain. So you don’t. And that’s perfectly okay. It’s important to know your limits as a disabled person so you don’t put yourself in difficult, painful, and/or dangerous situations. And you should never be ashamed of those limits, either—knowing them is what allows for happy and healthy growth!

You don’t owe anyone an explanation or your story. Every now and again when I can’t read a book as fast as others or can’t get a post up on time or need to take a sudden hiatus, I’m tempted to explain that I’m disabled and I need time to recharge or yada yada yada but then I remember it’s okay. First off, everyone deserves to take time for themselves and their health, be it physical, mental, and/or emotional. More than that, however, I try to remember that I don’t owe anyone my “disability story.” People who like me and/or enjoy my content will understand without feeling the need to be pushy about the “why” of what I’m doing.

You CAN do this! I’m a big proponent of the belief that I am not disabled, but differently abled and that I and other disabled individuals can do anything we set our minds and hearts to, we just may have to do it differently. I’m definitely not saying that you have to believe that if you’re disabled because we all understand ourselves differently. But, that being said, five years ago I set my mind and my heart to becoming a book blogger and I’m still here. I’m not gonna tell you it’s easy, but it is possible.

So that’s it for today, dear friends. For those of you who are disabled, I hope I was able to provide some encouragement, and for those of you who aren’t disabled, I hope that I may have provided a bit of enlightenment. Blogging is such a fun time which brings with it a wonderful and vibrant community, and it’s my wish that no one ever feels discouraged from joining in because of circumstance and/or identity.

Now, with all that being said, I think it’s time for me to grab a nice, cool iced tea and to sit back, rest, and recuperate! It’s been a long week, friends, and you know what sounds good right about now? A few moments to relax! I’m gonna sign off, friends, so until next time…

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SPILL THE BEANS, FRIENDS!

  • How do you think we can make the bookish community more disability accessible and disability friendly?
  • Do you know of any other disabled book bloggers? Give them a shout out!
  • If you’re a disabled book blogger and feel comfortable sharing, what is an experience you’ve had as a disabled book blogger that you want people to know about?

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SUPPORT BLACK LIVES & HUMAN RIGHTS

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Black & Bookish | The Black Book Blogger Tag

Hey, y’all, it’s Lila! I’m coming to y’all today because I was tagged by the lovely Rae at Educated Negra and the wonderful Leelynn from Sometimes Leelynn Reads to do the Black Book Blogger Tag (adapted from the Black Booktuber Tag created by The Unfriendly Black Hotties)! I’m so excited to do this tag and to give some attention to Black/African/African Diaspora authors and own voices books, as well as Black/African/African Diaspora content creators! So let’s not dilly dally—let’s just jump right into the good stuff!

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TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF

Hi, friends!!! I’m Lila (pronouns: she/her) and I’m a 25 year old Black American, Lebanese, and Cherokee college student studying physics and a lover of literature (in particular, YA fantasy and sci fi)! I also happen to have a heart condition and ADHD and as a result can be a tad scatterbrained—BUT! What I lack in organization I definitely make up for in pure EXUBERANCE! I’m a Sagittarius, an ENFP, an enneagram type 7 and if you don’t have a clue what any of that means—NEVER FEAR!—it just basically just means I’m a super friendly, uber extroverted, giant teddy bear of a girl with a massive amount of heart! So don’t be shy to drop a comment or start a Twitter conversation and say “hi!”, I absolutely adore making new friends 😉

WHO’S A BLACK AUTHOR YOU LOVE THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT?

I don’t blog about it all that much but I actually really enjoy poetry, both written and spoken word, and there are some AMAZING Black poets out there (ya know, aside from Langston Hughes—although I do absolutely adore Hughes!). One of my favorite “modern poets” is slam poet Rudy Francisco!

I first noticed Francisco when I came across a video of him performing his poem “To The Girl Who Works At Starbucks.” I remember being so struck by not only his humor, but his honesty and his vulnerability in both his poetry and his performance. So, naturally, I decided to look up more of his performances and I soon discovered that he also had penned a poetry collection, Helium! All in all, I could go on forever about how much I love Francisco’s work and how I wish more people knew about him, but I’ll just let his work speak for itself and share one of his performances:

FAVORITE BOOK ABOUT THE BLACK EXPERIENCE?

I recently started reading A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow and right off the bat it was…wow… It’s a fantasy book set in the modern world, but it speaks so openly and honestly about what it is to be Black in America, particularly a Black girl. The main characters talk about everything from Black hair care to the murder of Black women and the public apathy surrounding those murders. I honestly have no words for how seen this book made me feel!

A Song Below Water is a modern fantasy about two Black girls, Tavia and Effie (one of whom is a siren), fighting to survive in a world where sirens tend to only be Black women and are reviled. It’s full of magic and sisterhood and is a powerful fantasy read that really digs into Black American identity and experience.

FAVORITE BOOK BY A BLACK AUTHOR?

I really enjoyed Mirage by Somaiya Daud! Daud is half Black American and half Amazigh (indigenous Moroccan) and it’s easy to see how both sides of her heritage really influenced her debut novel, Mirage, which is a Moroccan-influenced YA sci fi/fantasy.

Mirage is set in the far future and follows Amani, an indigenous resident of a distant, colonized planet, and the web of intrigue that ensues when she is forced to become the body double of the ruling government’s princess. The novel also talks a lot about the nuances of colonization and losing your culture to a colonizer, as well the nuances of systemic and political racism and how they bleed and blend into social and interpersonal situations and does so in a really powerful way.

RECOMMEND A BLACK + QUEER BOOK

So this is definitely an area I need to work on and I am eager to get to it! First on my list is Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann! Several of my local libraries recently added a digital audiobook copy of Let’s Talk About Love to their collections and I am so excited to finally be able to get to it! It’s a contemporary YA about an asexual Black girl (by a Black, female author and with a beautiful, dark skinned black girl on the cover, might I add!) and honestly YES, PLEASE! It’s so rare to have books about people on the demi/gray/ace spectrum and so to have one about a Black girl in particular…yes you go girl we love to see it!!!

RECOMMEND A BOOK WITH A BLACK PERSON ON THE COVER

This is kind of a sad one for me because the genre I love most (and thus tend to read most) is YA fantasy and sci fi, which is a genre where we currently are going through a typography trend so we rarely see people on covers—let alone Black people! And when Black people do star in a YA fantasy or sci fi, oftentimes the cover is whitewashed! Nevertheless, I found a cover with not one, but TWO beautiful Black girls on the cover that I’d recommend and that is A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy!

I started reading A River of Royal Blood last year and was really, really, really enjoying it when it was suddenly pulled from Scribd’s library, much to my disappointment. But! I plan on purchasing it and finishing it as soon as I can! A River of Royal Blood is a North African inspired fantasy filled with fae and chimera and magical creatures, which is about two sisters forced to fight to the death for the crown. From what I read, it was lots of fun and had a vibe kind of like an African version of a Sarah J. Maas book crossed with Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns series! It was a lot of fun, so be sure to take a look at it!

RECOMMEND A BOOK BY A BLACK AUTHOR THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

I really adore Soft Magic by Upile Chisala, which is a collection of poetry (a dark-skinned, African, female poet) that is aimed at really uplifting and empowering women of African/African Diaspora descent. Evocative and emotional, Chisala’s poetry manage to show the gentleness of the ferocity that Black women embody. With poems that feel like the taste of honey on a breezy summer day, Chisala manages to remind the reader that us Black women can be both soft and fierce and that we have a world of magic inside of us.

RECOMMEND SOME BLACK BOOK BLOGGERS/BOOKTUBERS/BOOKSTAGRAMMERS

BOOK BLOGGERS

  • Afoma Umesi
    • I recently discovered Afoma’s book blog and, although she reviews and blogs about largely Children’s and Middle Grade fiction, which are two age categories I don’t tend to dip into, I really enjoy her content!
  • Cierra’s Cynosure
    • Cierra has such a great blog, then again, I might be kinda biased, since we have similar taste in books! I get really good recommendations from her blog when it comes to books I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy! Cierra also has a booktube, which is really great to watch and you should check out both her blog and her booktube channel!
  • Phrases & Pages
    • I believe Tee began her blog this year and boy am I glad! Like me, she’s a big fantasy fan—and a fellow Daevabad Trilogy obsessed fangirl too! Interestingly, while Tee and I generally enjoy the same or similar books, we tend to enjoy them for different reasons, which I think is both fascinating and funny! So I definitely recommend her blog, especially if you have similar taste to me!
  • Curly Haired Bibliophile
    • Curly Haired Bibliophile is run by Jasmine and I love it so much! It’s always super interesting and fun to see what Jasmine is interested in and her thoughts on those books. She reads a lot of diverse Literary fiction, as well as YA and I feel like I get some great book recommendations from her. Go give her blog a look!
  • With Love, Saoudia
    • I also recently discovered Saoudia’s blog and aaaaaah I adore it! She’s more into Adult Literary Fiction and YA Contemporary, but I still love reading her content! She has a really engaging way of talking about books that makes me want to read them, even when they’re books that I wouldn’t typically pick up! Y’all gotta check out her blog for sure!

BOOKTUBERS

  • Francina Simone
    • I feel like most of y’all probably already know of Francina of Francina Simone, but just in case, I have to mention her. I feel like Francina is like…like the mom of booktube! She always brings equal doses of realness, honesty, humor, and compassion to everything she speaks on and I admire her so much for it. Francina’s able to capture the nuances of so many of the discussions we have in this community in a eloquent yet concise way. I really can’t praise her enough. If you aren’t following her already, definitely get on that asap!
  • The Novel Lush
    • If Francina is like booktube’s mom, Lauren of The Novel Lush is like booktube’s no nonsense older sister! Lauren is never afraid to bring the realness to her discussions and reviews and I am LIVING FOR IT!!! Like Francina, Lauren manages to also speak to the nuance in community discussions in a very honest yet compassionate way. She primarily reads Romance and YA and I love her commentary on books and her discussions! Lauren really manages to pull me in and get me interested, even though we read different types of books! Y’all ABSOLUTELY need to check out her channel!
  • OhSheReads
    • Ochuole of OhSheReads is a Nigerian American booktuber whose content I just love so, so much! She has a very analytical, yet blunt way of reviewing books and discussing topics, and let me tell y’all, my super honest Sagittarius self is so here for it! She and I have similar taste in books and I always love seeing her takes on what she reads. She also is very frank about issues surrounding being a Black/African/African Diaspora member of the community and I really appreciate her willingness to be open and honest about that. All in all, Ochuole’s a must-follow booktuber that y’all need to at least give a chance!
  • Minimal Bookie
    • Paige of Minimal Bookie is half Bajan and half Canadian and works in publishing in Toronto and I feel like those factors have always allowed her to bring a really unique perspective to the booktube scene. She’s never shy to share her opinions, but she also has a very concise style of conveying her thoughts that rings true to the “minimal” part of “Minimal Bookie.” Paige and I have differing taste in books, with her leaning more towards contemporary YA, literary fiction, and I believe some non-fiction as well (if I’m remembering correctly), but I always enjoy hearing her thoughts about what she reads. So, be sure to go take a look at her channel too!
  • Tiana Tea
    • I recently discovered Tiana of Tiana Tea‘s channel an I fell completely in love with it! Tiana has a way of talking about things that is light, fun, and humorous. Aside from her taste in books, I think the thing that draws me to Tiana’s content is largely her brand of humor, which is very lighthearted instead of the typical self deprecating, sarcastic, and/or more ironic brand of humor that many content creators tend to lean towards. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that type of humor as well, it’s just nice to see someone enjoying life in a lighter way—especially a Black girl! If you enjoy that style as well, then definitely check out Tiana’s channel!

BOOKSTAGRAMMERS

TALK ABOUT A BOOK BY A BLACK AUTHOR THAT’S COMING IN 2020

Y’all, I cannot even begin to tell you just how excited I am for Legendborn by Tracy Deonn!! Aaaaaah!!! It honestly sounds so amazing! It’s got magic and mages and demons and secret societies and agh what more could you ask for?!?!! This story also means a lot to me because it stars a young Black girl going to a school for “gifted” students—which is similar to my teenage-hood! See, when I was a teen, there weren’t many stories about Black teens, let alone Black teen girls, let alone Black teen girls who didn’t fall into a sporty stereotype. As a Black teen girl who wasn’t very sporty, but who was a competitive singer and a top student who loved school, I didn’t have much representation I could relate to. So, I feel like this is the type of story that I would have not only loved as a teen, but also deeply related to.

TAG SOME BLACK BOOK BLOGGERS!

Em @ Em’s Bookish Musings

Amber @ Du Livre

Rae @ Bookmark Chronicles

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So that’s all I got for ya today, friends! I hope you enjoyed and found some wonderful new books, authors, and creators to check out and enjoy as much as I do! I hope all of you stay well, safe, healthy, and happy and that you remember to wear your masks, social distance, and contribute what you can to make this world a better place, like the good little beans I know you all are! Until next time, friends!

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SPILL THE BEANS, FRIENDS!

  • What are some of your favorite books by Black/African/African Diaspora authors?
  • Who are some of your favorite Black/African/African Diaspora book bloggers, booktubers, and bookstagrammers?
  • What are some books by Black/African/African Diaspora authors that you are looking forward to that are releasing in the second half of 2020?

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SUPPORT BLACK LIVES

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We’re Gonna Talk About It #BlackLivesMatter

Hey, dear friends. I hope you are all well and safe and taking care of yourselves. I know it feels like the world is exploding, but I want to take a moment to remind everyone—especially my fellow Black folk—to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.

The past week and a half, two weeks have been particularly stressful for me as a Black American individual. Hell, the past lifetime has been stressful and difficult for any and every person who is African/African Diaspora. It’s so hard for me to put my feelings into words, not because I’m at a loss for words, but because I have so many words and emotions to get out that it seems impossible to do so coherently. Most of all, I’m tired. I’m just so very tired.

I’m still gathering myself, but in the midst of doing so, I wanted to take a moment to say the following:

I am a Black woman, point blank, period.

If you do not support Black Lives Matter or support it but only with caveats, get off my blog and unfollow me on all other platforms .

If you do not support ALL Black people—and I do mean ALL—including but not limited to:

  • Black people of all skin tones, from dark skinned to light skinned to fair skinned
  • Black people of all income levels, from low income to middle income to high income
  • Black people of all education levels (regardless of age)
  • Black people who you feel are “loud” or “aggressive”
  • Black people who are currently or have previously been incarcerated
  • Black members of the queer community
  • Black disabled people (neurodiverse and mental health disorder inclusive)
  • Members of literally any African/African diaspora group including (but not limited to) African, biracial/multiracial Black, Black American, Black NDN/Black Indigenous, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, Afro-Canadian, Black Europeans, African Diaspora Australian/Kiwi, Black Asian, etc.

get off my blog and unfollow me on all platforms.

If you want to get online and cry big ol’ boo hoo White person tears about all the “hate” and “bullying” you claim you’re seeing all over when in actuality all us Black folk are simply calling people out for anti-Black racist tendencies or straight-up anti-Black racism, get off my blog and unfollow me on all platforms. Because, lord knows, I certainly ain’t following your ass anymore.

And if you think supporting Black Lives Matter is a “political stance” and you don’t want to “talk politics,” get off my blog and unfollow me on all platforms.

I also expect to see y’all supporting Black folks not just in the moment and not just where moments of anti-Black violence come to the forefront of public knowledge, but long-term and with genuine interest. It is, to put it mildly, upsetting to see that it takes acts of anti-Black violence to get many people to acknowledge that Black folks and our endeavors even exist, and that’s all I’m gonna say on that.

I do not and will not tolerate hate or half measures or, for that matter, White tears or performative allyship. This is a line in the sand and I will not tolerate it being crossed.

I expect y’all, as individuals, to do better.

I expect us, as a community and as a society, to do better.

I expect everyone, as a world, to do better.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

I’m Joining The 2020 Discussion Challenge!

Hey, friends! How’s it going? I’m here to talk about the fact that I’m officially joining The 2020 Discussion Challenge!

The Discussion Challenge is a challenge run by Shannon at It Starts At Midnight and Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction. It is a year-long, annual event which challenges book bloggers to create more book-centric discussion posts. Each month, bloggers can link up their discussions on Shannon’s and Nicole’s blogs and comment on each other’s posts, all to be entered in a giveaway.

I’ve actually joined up with this challenge a couple of times in past years, and I always find it super fun! It’s a great way to get your work out there, get involved in the community, and make some new friends! I can’t wait to participate this year too!

This year, I’m personally aiming to reach the level of a “Discussion Dabbler” and to share one to ten discussion posts (which is roughly at most one post per month from here out). I already have some discussion ideas which I’m super excited about and I can’t wait to share them with you!

T E L L   M E   A L L   A B O U T   I T

  • Have you joined The 2020 Discussion Challenge?
  • If not, are you considering joining?
  • What’s your favorite discussion post you’ve read and/or written in the past half a year?

Life Lessons Lila Has Learned From Blogging

Hey, y’all, it’s Lila! I hope you all had a wonderful New Years, whether you were out partying or relaxing at home. 2017 was an…interesting…year. So here’s to hoping that 2018 knocks it out of the park!

Anyhoo, with the beginning of 2018, I’m entering my third year of book blogging! I know it’s cliché to say, but I really can’t believe it! It feels like just yesterday I was just beginning this journey! I can’t believe that I’m fully out of the “baby blogger” phase and now fully into the “toddler/young child blogger” phase, haha! I’m so happy to have stuck with doing this and so proud of the fact that I did stick with book blogging, considering that I wasn’t in a great place when I first began. It’s been a treat to watch this blog grow and especially to become friends with all of y’all!

I figured that to celebrate, I’d take a moment to reflect on the life lessons that book blogging has taught me. I think the nice thing about hobbies is that they often teach you things that you may not even notice while you’re off having fun. Blogging is just the same as any other hobby in that manner. And when I paused to look back on my blogging journey, I was surprised to see that it’s taught me quite a lot. Let’s take a look…

1. Take what you have and do the best you can with it. 

Story time! Y’all know that I make edits. I have a Tumblr devoted to my edits. It was how I first got into blogging. With over 1200 followers, including some of my favorite authors, I’d say I’m fairly successful. Now here’s a confession: until 2017, I didn’t use PhotoShop. I used all free tools and apps to make my edits. Having done this taught me a valuable lesson: it’s not how much you have, it’s what you do with what you have.

2. A little creativity goes a loooooong way.

For me, blogging is  all about how far I can stretch my creative limits. How can I take this and make it that? How can I take a single idea and turn it into a series of posts? How can I take my other passions and give them a bookish spin? These are just a few of the questions I face that lead me to get pretty creative with what I’m given.

The nice thing about creativity is that you don’t actually need a ton to create something really cool. Just a teeny-tiny little bit of creativity can turn something ordinary into something totally extraordinary. Though I’ve always seen creativity as an incredibly important part of my life, blogging has taught me to always keep a dash of creativity in my pocket so that I can sprinkle it over every aspect of my life.

3. Fake it ’til you make it.

Oh, you thought I knew what I was doing? HA! You adorable little ducklings!

Got-game-of-thrones-30871520-500-235

anigif_original-grid-image-4396-1504271842-6
^basically my conversation with myself everyday

Well, I’m flattered that some of you may think that I know what I’m doing, but…I have a confession for y’all: I have no clue what I’ve been doing and I’ve been winging it this entire time. But hey! At least I’m having fun, right?! And that’s all that matters!

See, I happen to have learned a little secret: no one know what they’re doing–we’re all just completely faking competence and confidence 24/7.

When I began blogging, I thought there was this magic formula that successful book bloggers had figured out. But now I know that most likely they’re just going with the flow and letting it take them where they need to go.

But then why do they look so competent and confident? Well, that’s where the “faking it” comes in, friends 😜

4. Taking the chance and saying “hi” will get you friends most of the time.

No one’s gonna be your friend if they don’t actually know that you want to be their friend. And letting them know that starts with saying hi.

It may not seem like it due to its online nature, but half of blogging is really just socializing. Whether it’s through commenting on posts or interacting on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, getting your blog out there and feeling like you’re a part of a community (versus feeling like you’re just screaming into the void) requires making some friends.

I remember how awkward and shy I was as a baby blogger. I didn’t comment on other bloggers’ posts and I barely responded to comments on my blog–I just didn’t know what to say! Naturally, I got pretty lonely. I came to realize that I just was gonna have to put myself out there and start a conversation with someone. I’m not gonna lie–it was awkward at first. Not everyone you talk to is someone you’re gonna click with immediately, if at all. But if you keep at it, eventually you’ll find people who you connect with. Admittedly, I’m still working on this (for an extrovert, I suck at making friends online)–but now I’m not so afraid to just get in the game.

5. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I’m not gonna lie: I’m not a perfect blogger. In fact, in my opinion, I’ve “failed” at quite a lot of things when it comes to book blogging. But it’s something that I love doing, so I get up and try again. Through unplanned hiatuses and features that taper off into the unknown because I can’t keep up with them, I have yet to give up on book blogging as a whole.

Here’s the thing I’ve come to realize about book blogging and life in general: 95% of the time, your first try at something is going to be complete and total crap. Hey. Don’t look at me that way, I don’t make the rules here. Anyhoo the second part of that realization is that even though your first try probably isn’t going to be flawless, practice makes perfect (or, at least, as close as us humans can get to perfection…but that’s a whole other philosophical tangent). Learn to get comfortable in failing and to never let it stop you if you’re going after something that really speaks to your heart. And also–learn to laugh at yourself. Trust me, it helps.

6. Personality and originality take you far.

My favorite bloggers are generally my favorites because they’ve got personality. But here’s the thing: they’re not trying, they’re just being themselves. I’m drawn to them and their content because of their genuineness in being 100% themselves. Life’s like that too–the more you show off your own unique individuality and are genuine about it, the more genuine connections and relationships you tend to make. Being yourself also sets you apart from the crowd–in blogging and in life–and that in and of itself tends to attract great things to you.

7. Hard work pays off.

Blogging is effing hard, y’all. It takes a lot of time, energy, effort, and dedication. But it’s also really fun and rewarding if you love to do it. It’s especially rewarding to watch something that you put so much love into grow and develop. It just goes to show that hard work, dedication, perseverance, and love can result in a beautiful creation.

What life lessons have you learned from blogging? Are the lessons you’ve learned similar to mine? Or different?

Lila’s #BookBlogger Confessions

Got a secret, 

Can you keep it?

I don’t know the rest of the song…

But I’ll tell you a little secret

If you help out and sing along!

TADA!!!! The rhyme queen strikes again–mixing and matching song lyrics with her own original rhymes awwwww yeeeeeeeah! Ahem. Erm, anyhoo, back to today’s topic: secrets and confessions! Fun topic, am I right? Anyhoo, us bloggers all have our secrets we keep in the dark. Some of them are tricks of the trade, some are bad habits we just don’t want made public. But today, ladies and gents, this blogger will be confessing some of her precious secrets! I know, I know, it’s a sacrifice for me, but I do it to feed the masses of starving readers desperate for a big juicy bite of secret! That sounded…awkward. But that’s me in a nutshell for ya: awkward! Anyhoo, let’s get to the good bits you’ve been patiently waiting for! It’s confession time! Lezgo!

I typically write my reviews the minute I finish a book

I like to keep my emotions fresh and my memories sharp. For those two reasons I word vomit write my reviews almost immediately after I finish a book. I used to actually wonder over when the perfect time to write a review was. Should I write it right after I read the book and my emotions are fresh? Or should I write it after letting my feelings marinate for a while? I finally settled on writing reviews right after I finish books as I felt like that would be the most honest and accurate review.

I also put exactly zero planning into my blog posts

Yeah. That’s me: Master of Spontaneity. Or procrastination. You choose. Honestly, while I’d love to give a different reason, the reason why I put no planning into my posts is because I’m a mess. In my defense, I have really, really, cripplingly bad ADD/ADHD and I’ve never been able to get the hang of organization (anyone got tips for a newb on how to start out? they would be welcome!). So that means that when it comes to my blog posts, I’m almost always winging it.

I have experienced ARC envy

Luckily not of the viciously-angry-at-someone-for-getting-an-ARC-I-didn’t-because-I-think-they’re-undeserving variety. But I have been taken over by the green eyed monster once or twice. I wonder how others got something and what I did  wrong when it comes to getting ARCs. This was mostly when I first started out as a blogger and didn’t know the hoops. Now that I’m a pro (ha! *snort*), I don’t tend to get jealous. It helps that I’m a pretty chill person and don’t tend to get jealous very much. I’m also not on social media much (see the next #BloggerConfession for more on that), so that helps.

I’m crap at social media (but I’m learning)

I can’t Twitter. I never check my blog’s Facebook. Like, ever. I totally forget I even have a Pinterest for my blog. And Instagram? Let’s just say that while I can edit photos like a pro, my actual photo taking skills aren’t worth two buckets of warm spit. So I’d say that’s a definite “no” on the Instagram front. The ironic thing is I don’t have any social anxiety and I’m not shy. I’m ridiculously social in real life–I mean, I’m the girl you can’t get to stop making conversation with you (sorry shy folks who just want me to go away)! But on social media? I just have no clue how to do it. The truth is, I’ve always liked talking to people in person much better than talking to them using technology. I rarely talk over the phone or text or Facebook  people other than when it’s absolutely necessary. But I am making an effort for you guys! I’ve been trying to use Twitter and Instagram more often these days and hopefully I’ll get better at it soon!

I blog largely at night

The saying “your best ideas come before bed” holds true for me. Apparently I think best at 2:00 in the morning. Now granted, if I’m really tired, I go to sleep early and thus don’t blog that much. But usually I’m up til the wee hours of the morning, plugging away at it.

I still don’t really know what I’m doing…

Ah, so we’ve come to the real moment of truth here. The moment where I freely admit that I have no clue what I’m doing with this whole blogging thing. But y’all seem to like it, so I must be doing something right, right? Here’s the thing I’ve learned as an adult: no one knows what they’re doing. We’re all faking competence. And to me, that’s okay. Because getting to make it up as you go along is way more fun than having it all planned out!