Uncertainty, the Future, & More

Well, hi guys. How’s it going? I’m sorry I haven’t posted in months since the Biannual Bibliothon, but I just wanted to stop by because I think I owe it to my readers to let you guys know what’s going on in my life.

I had decided to stop blogging altogether.

Yup. I had barely any time to blog at all last year and I just wasn’t really in the mood to continue on. I wasn’t keeping up with my pace, the majority of what I read was comics online which are hard to track for reading and reviewing purposes, and I was just dealing with a lot of mental and emotional stress, which I still am.

Let me break it down for you:

  • My mom has early onset dementia. She was diagnosed almost two years ago with it and my husband and I have been living with my parents since. We are… not happy here. Our mental, physical, and emotional well-beings have had such a strain put on them that we find it very hard to enjoy anything that we used to anymore. For me, one of those things is reading physical books. I had no problem reading comics because they’re images and short dialogues, so it was easy to handle for my brain. But actual books? Unless I was hooked it was near impossible.
    • In case you are wondering: some days are better than others for my mom. My dad is handling it in his own way. I am handling it my own way. My husband is, too. Just one day at a time because that’s literally all we can do.
    • The next point will explain this one more as to why we haven’t done this but, my husband and I need to move out. We need a space of our own to be able to make a living for ourselves. It’s very hard to do that here, and now we live almost an hour away from where we work where before we were 10-15 min away. It makes a huge difference.
    • The result of this has made me very tired and unable to bring myself to do anything these days.
  • I’ve been taking an online course to become TEFL certified. This means I’m becoming certified to teach English as a second language. My goal is to teach in South Korea by the end of this year, 2018. I’ve got my six hours of teaching time left of my practicum before I can turn in my paperwork and become officially certified.
    • Now, with this, there’s a whole new level of stress. I would love to teach in the EPIK program in South Korea, which is public school teaching. There’s a ton of great benefits for teachers and all of that, which is great. But, there’s a snag: I can get an E-2 visa for teaching, but my husband, who I would bring with me, would have to get a spousal visa and under said visa he would legally be not allowed to work. That’s fine, whatever. Contracts are usually for a year anyway unless I like it there and want to stay longer and maybe he can get a different visa, I don’t know.
    • Anyway, this is its own headache. The fact that I’d have a dependent lessens my chances of being hired. It doesn’t mean I won’t be – there’s still a potential that I will be – but it still makes it harder, and then I don’t know that I’d qualify for all of the benefits. So. Yeah.
    • I am trying my best to be optimistic, but the closer I get to completing my certificate and actually applying to the recruiter, the more nervous and worried I get.
  • I tried to focus on art last year, which was great! I was creating a lot, but it kind of… faded away the last few months. I’m finding that I get frustrated in the sketch stage, even when I know it’ll be better later on. Oh well. I’ll work on that.
  • I still would love to be a published author and share my stories with the world, but… *sigh* the book and publishing world have been on FIRE lately and now everything is just very intimidating. If I don’t include enough of this I’m a bad person, if I include too much of that I’m a bad author, like… it’s so intimidating nowadays. I think it’s great, 10000000% amazing, that people are fighting to be seen and heard in their stories. But if I am comfortable writing my characters the way they appear in my head, and that offends someone, then I end up the bad guy? I don’t know, guys, it’s just so scary now. I know I shouldn’t look at it that way, but that’s just how my mind perceives it.

So yeah, those have been some of the big stressors in my life and it’s just been one shit year, let me tell you… Of course there were good times and good things that happened and stuff, but I need to share these things with you.

This brings me to my next point:

I do miss blogging.

Part of me does miss blogging and reading like crazy and diving into these worlds and having these open discussions with people and seeing book hauls and tags and discussions and just the joy that reading once brought, including blogging.

But after last year I had decided that I wasn’t going to do this anymore. I was just going to stop posting and let the views and conversations fade away, because what else could I do? Like I said before: I don’t have the time or energy to be as active as I once was, and I miss doing it.

I miss talking to you guys and sharing thoughts on books and doing reviews, tags, side posts, etc. It was all fun and it was such a big part of my life for the last few years.

I don’t know that I’m going to keep blogging, though.

Like I said: I do and I don’t. I want to share my reviews on books and have discussions and do all of these things again, but with so much uncertainty for my future (and my husband’s), I just don’t know if I can.

I know I can just post whenever I can, even if it’s months from now, but I don’t want you guys to think I’ve fallen off of the grid. When that time comes, I will do a proper goodbye, but for now?

For now, I think I want to keep going.

I haven’t come to a definite conclusion yet, but I do still want to share with you all. I want to read actual novels, not just comics, and dive back into the worlds I loved before. I still have books I need to finish that came out last year that I was anticipating, and books I started the year before that that I need to finish. It’s crazy, really.

So for now… I’m going to stay.

For now, I’ll keep going. Maybe this will spark what I needed back into my life. Maybe this will really help me to see what it is that I was missing. I don’t know, but I hope this helps.

I want to keep a kind of schedule? Maybe that will help me, I’m not sure. So, here’s what I’m thinking:

  • I’ll post once a week on Thursday to start. I have Wednesdays off and it’ll give me a good amount of time to get in some reading and other things to be able to prepare a post for Thursday morning (like what I’m doing now).
  • If I am able to get a flow back into my groove, then I will start to also post on Mondays so it’ll be twice a week. I think that will definitely be doable. If I want to post more in a week, I will. It’s my blog after all, so I can do what I want lol

I’m going to try that for now and see how it works for me.

Thank you all for being so supportive over the years, for reading my content, talking to me, and just being a great community. You’re all amazing and I wish you the best in all that you do.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books You’ve Read Because of Social Media

Hey beautiful people, welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by the lovely Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes. I always love talking about this kind of topic because 98% of what I read and buy is from seeing people haul them or recommend them on some form of social media. Here’s the topic:

September 27th: Books You’ve Read Because of Booktube/Blogging/etc. 
–Discuss the books you’ve picked up because you’ve heard of them in the online book community or platform you use.

I’m pretty sure we can all say at least five books that we’ve read because of people we watch/follow on YouTube, a blog, twitter, etc., so here are my picks for books (novels) and comics (because this is my blog and I do what I want).

Books

adsom

5. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Considering I just finished and reviewed this, this book is definitely on my mind. This was a hugely hyped book when it first came out, and subsequently the sequels were also super hyped, and I’ve gotta say: I get it now. It was such a great, fast-paced read, and I’m very excited to read the next two books soon. I don’t know exactly who I would’ve seen recommend this, but I know a lot of people did.

daughterofsmokeandbone

4. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

I remember watch Kat @ Katytastic one day (or several days) and how in a lot of videos she would talk about this book series. Well, I read it, fell in love with it, and this trilogy is in one of the top five spots of favorite series ever. So yeah, I’m super glad that I found this series when I did through Kat.

annaandthefrenchkiss

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER WAS RECOMMENDING THIS BOOK AT ONE POINT. Actually, the whole companion trilogy was being recommended because they were such cute romance YA novels that everyone was reading and loving and so I had to jump on board. And I agree: very cute. I still haven’t read the other two, but I’ll get there eventually.

myheartandotherblackholes

2. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

I remember Jesse @ Jessethereader talking about this book in several of his videos, and when I watched his review I knew that I would really like it. The subject matter is intense (trigger warning for suicide and depression), but those are also topics that are just near to my heart. I remember enjoying the read, though it was a tough one for me to get through emotionally.

shadowandbones

1. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Okay, I’m pretty sure I saw a huge rise in this book series everywhere, but I definitely think I picked up this series finally after watching Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes recommend it all the time. It’s one of her favorite series and as I’ve read the first two books in the trilogy, I’ve gotta say that I’m hooked (and love Nikolai <3). It’s a beautiful world with lots of danger and I love it.


Comics

youjin

5. You Jin by Fujoking

I spend a lot of time on Instagram (like… way too much time lol) and this popped up in the explore section several times when I was just browsing photos. So when I read it (not on Lezhin’s website), I really enjoyed it. It’s a boy’s love (BL) story and though I can’t really remember everything that happened I do remember that I read it all and liked it and wanted a bit more.

ratqueen1

4. Rat Queens by Kurtis Wiebe

This was probably one of the comics I picked up when a lot of people on YouTube were reading it and recommending it. It wasn’t necessarily my cup on tea from what I remember, but it wasn’t bad either.

royalservant

3. Royal Servant by Master Gin

This was another one of those reads that popped up a lot on Instagram and so when I read it (again, not on Lezhin until later chapters when I actually discovered Lezhin), I was hooked. The content can be sensitive sometimes, but the plot is getting better the farther along it goes and I’m actually really invested in it now.

sirenslament

2. Siren’s Lament by quimchee

This one wasn’t actually recommended to me via social media (but Rayna, this T5W is about–) SHH, I KNOW! It was actually recommend to me in person by my best friend, and since reading it I’ve been reading it faithfully every week since (or when there’s a new update because sometimes authors have to take breaks, too, you know?). It’s a really cute and beautiful series. (Not all cute, some of it is funny or intense or mysterious.)

sagavol1

1. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Okay, this comic was recommended everywhere on YouTube and it’s actually one of my favorite comic series I’ve read. It’s very intense and violent and sexually explicit, but it’s still a good story. Also, I’ve owned the 7th volume for months now and haven’t read it yet. Like… what am I doing with my life?


I could go on and on about books and comics I’ve read because of social media, but these are the first five that came to mind. Honestly, would I even have read any of these books without being a blogger and being on social media as much as I am? Probably not. I’m so thankful for the ones I have read and so glad others like them as well.

Honorary Mentions

shatterme redqueen fallingkingdoms darkfever

 

The Future of My Blog & Upcoming Changes

Well hello everyone. How are you all? I haven’t blogged in almost a month and it’s been kind of nice to be away from the blogisphere, I’m not gonna lie, but it also felt weird because I’ve been blogging steadily for over two and half years, and to suddenly stop felt so foreign to me, but I think it was definitely needed.

I’ve seen it said and heard many times that once something, like YouTubing or blogging or even reading, isn’t fun anymore, that you just stop doing it or you need to change something about it so it becomes enjoyable again.

I’m going to be honest here: I’ve read one novel (text-based book) so far this year. One. That’s it. But, I have read a bunch of manga (picture-based books) this year, which has brought me more joy than a regular novel has. And you know what? I’m 100% okay with that. I’ve been a huge fan of manga since I was 12, and I stopped reading for a while, so to get back into it as much as I have? Yeah, that’s a great feeling.

Anyway, that’s an entirely different topic, so let’s just talk about what I wanted to talk about today:

What is the future of this blog going to look like and what changes do I have in store?

I’ve been thinking about it for a while now and I’ve talked it out with my husband and other people, and I’ve come to this conclusion:

  1. I’m tired of just talking about books and book related topics. Don’t get me wrong, books will always be part of my life and this blog, BUT…
  2. I want to talk even more about my other hobbies and passions and likes and interests than before. I want to review anime episodes (because I’ve been watching a LOT of anime lately) and I want to review movies like the live action Beauty and the Beast (which was A-MAZ-ING) and I want to talk about art and my emotions including depression and I want to talk about my desire to travel and conventions I want to go to and cosplay and so, so much more.

It’s not that I’d stop reviewing books or talking about book related things, but I’d be introducing and talking about a LOT more than JUST books on this blog.

And honestly? It’s my blog. I can do whatever the hell I want with it.

If I want to talk about all 76 of my emotions that I felt while watching the first episode of season two of Attack on Titan, then I’m going to do that. If I want to review a manga series like I’ve done in the past, I’m going to do that. If I want to discuss a video game, an art project, or whatever, then I’m going to do that. If I want to do a regular novel review or discussion or tag post, then I’m going to do that.

As this is my own small corner of the internet, I want to include what I love here. This used to be my happy place for a long time, and that changed somewhere along the way. I’m not happy with the content I’d been producing and I want to be able to discuss and do more as a result.

So, what are the upcoming changes that will affect the blog?

Other than what I stated above, I’m contemplating doing a few things:

  • Changing the layout/design of the blog.
  • Changing the name of the blog, as well as the URL.

If anything I would change it to “Rayna Reviews” or something so I can keep the RR logo, but I also might not even change it at all. I’m still a reader, and reading and books will most likely still be my primary focus for the blog, but I just wanted to let you all know of just what I’ve been thinking and why I haven’t been around almost all year thus far.

So thank you all and I hope to still see your lovely faces around even with the changes.

Let’s chat! ^w^

What do you think of the changes? Do you care that I’m going to be introducing these things into my blog? What are your thoughts? Talk to me!

Love-a-thon 2017 – Get to Know Me

2017-love-a-thon-graphic

Hello lovely people and welcome to Love-a-thon 2017, hosted by these lovely ladies: Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books, Cee @ The Novel Hermit, Kristin @ Super Space Chick, and Mel @ The Daily Prophecy. This is a two day weekend event that I also took part in this event last year and I’m SO excited to be doing it again this year! There’s so many awesome posts planned over the next couple days with some Twitter chats and blog hopping involved.

If you don’t know what Love-a-thon is, it’s a way to show love to all of the awesome people in the book community! So whether you have a blog, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube channel, it’s about spreading the love and sharing some positivity to those in this awesome community.

So without further ado, here’s the questionnaire for this first post of the event!

An Introduction to You and Your Blog

  1. What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from?
    • Hey, I’m Rayna and I’m blogging from Massachusetts in the United States!
  2. Tell us your history with reading. Were you always a reader? Were you a reluctant reader? Was there a book that convinced you to become a reader?
    • I’ve always been a reader, actually. Not when it came to books I was required to read in school, though, because I never found any of them to be interesting (except for one, which was A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb). I’d always want to get books, even if I never read them, because let’s be honest, my book hoarding tendencies started when I was a smol child. I think the book that really made me become a reader was the Twilight saga by Stephenine Meyer. I know it was a series that was kind of the pinnacle of reading for many people, but it really got me wanting to read more and more books. I didn’t really do so until 2014 when I joined the book community, though.
  3. How did you get involved in the online book community?
    • I had been watching a lot of Booktubers for months at the point that I joined. So I decided, “Hey, I can do this, too,” and I made my YouTube channel (which seems to have since been abandoned… I prefer writing than speaking. Maybe I’ll revamp it one day.). My first blog post was my review for the Divergent series. No introduction, no “this is what I want to do with this blog,” just me jumping straight into a book review. It’s cringey to think about it now, but I’m so glad I took the leap to join this awesome community.
  4. How did you choose your primary platform (blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc)? How did you come up with your blog name?
    • I’m so creative… I’m like, “Omg, how am I going to come up with a name?” And so I was thinking and thinking of clever names, but the only one that stuck in my mind was “Reader Rayna.” Look at that alliteration. #original
  5. What’s your favorite thing about the online book community?
    • Everyone’s very open and so willing to make friends. I think a lot of us feel isolated in our personal lives because it’s very hard to find like minded people – readers (active readers, mind you) – to talk about books and fandoms and squee over characters about. I love that about this community and that we strive to be better every day when it comes to topics and what we read and how we read it.
  6. What sort of posts can readers expect from you?
    • I do a little bit of everything, really. I do tags, reviews, discussions, wraps ups. I even include writing posts (because I’m a writer, too) as well as occasional posts about my hobbies other than reading.
  7. What book genres do you talk about most?
    • Have you heard of this epic genre called fantasy? Yeah, that’s my favorite genre to read. I love magic and I love anything that’s not the real world, because let’s be honest, this world is scary. Not that fantasy worlds aren’t scary… hell, more often than not they’re scarier. …you know what I mean.

Favorites

  1. Favorite food? Beverage?
    • Favorite food: mac and cheese foreverrrrrrrrr!
    • Favorite beverage: probably milk or apple juice.
  2. Favorite color?
    • Pink~ I like almost any shade, but my favorite is baby pink and a blush pink.
  3. Favorite things to do apart from reading?
    • Hey, didn’t I just mention my Hobby Corner posts? But to put it simply: play video games (OBSESSED with FFXV), drawing, writing, listening to music. I love to be creative, pretty much.
  4. Favorite tv shows?
    • YURI!!! on Ice, Haikyuu!!, Your Lie in April, Oremonogatari!
    • Non-anime related: Arrow, Flash, Penny Dreadful, Agents of SHIELD.
  5. Favorite movies?
    • The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Moana, Inside Out, all things Disney (pretty much), Harry Potter series, Pirates of the Caribbean series.
  6. Favorite musical artists?
    • HAMILTON. I know it’s not a musical artist, but WHERE ARE THE REST OF MY HAMILTRASH OUT THERE!?
    • Otherwise: Owl City, Lindsey Stirling, BTS, Girls’ Generation, Disney songs for daaaaaays.
  7. Favorite places to shop?
    • Barnes & Noble. Duh. I also like maurices. As for independent bookstore: Brookline Booksmith.

Book Talk

  1. Favorite childhood books?
    • Stellaluna, fairy tales (not Grimm, I’m not sure what kind it was, but it was based off of Grim brothers), science books (they were kid friendly kind). [No, Harry Potter is not on this list because I haven’t finished the series yet for the first time– I KNOW. I’m working on it.]
  2. Favorite books read in the last five years?
    • Um. Well. That list would be ginormous. Here’s a few: Illuminae, Fangirl, Throne of Glass series, ACOMAF, Starbound trilogy, Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, The Raven Boys saga, An Ember in the Ashes.
  3. Favorite genres?
    • FANTASY~ YA or otherwise. I also enjoy urban fantasy, historical fiction, romance, contemporary, science fiction.
  4. Underrated book, series or author you love?
    • I don’t know if it’s underrated, but the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa was my favorite series at the pinnacle of my faerie obsession stage in life. I haven’t finished the last book, The Iron Queen, but I need to reread the trilogy and see if I still love it.
  5. A book you want to see made into a film or tv show?
    • ^See above. Also, I’d love to see Fangirl be made into a film. It would be so cute!
  6. Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book BFF? Book family?
    • Oooh, the fun questions are coming out! Okay, book boyfriends: Aeduan from Truthwitch and Kaden from The Remnant Chronicles. (How am I not thinking of more, I don’t know.) Book girlfriends: Helene from An Ember in the Ashes.
    • Book BFF: Karou and Zuzana, who are also BFFs in the books and I need them to be my BFFs IRL.
    • Book family: The Weasley’s because who wouldn’t want to be part of their family?
  7. Books you want to read in 2017?
    • All of them.
    • …seriously.

Alright, that’s it for this first post! I hope to see a lot of you in this super fun and awesome event and I can’t wait to go blog/channel/insta/twitter hopping! Have fun!

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Are you excited for this event? What are you most looking forward to? Also, what’s your favorite independent bookstore? Have you ever been to one? Who’s your book boy/girlfriend? Tell me all the things!

Reading & Blog Goals for 2017

Happy New Year everyone! Aren’t you glad 2016 is over? I’m excited for the new year because it means new beginnings, and I’ve never felt more genuinely excited for new beginnings since this year. I don’t know what it is, but I’m just anticipating what this year could potentially bring. I’ve already talked about my writing goals for this year, so now let me talk about my reading and blog goals for 2017:

Reading Goals

  • Read at least 30 books.
  • Finish several books on the Beat the Backlist Challenge. I think this is a great challenge to really cross off those books that have been on my shelves 5ever.
  • Read more diverse books.
  • Finish the Harry Potter series, dammit.
  • Read more adult books (not there’s anything wrong with YA, I just want to read more adult things).

Blog Goals

  • Comment on more blogs! I know I said this last year, but I want to keep it up because I have commented more this past year, but not as much as I’d hoped.
  • Maybe change the way I review. My review style has been transforming slowly the longer I do reviews, so it’s a natural progression kind of thing. I like my review style, though, so this one’s just kind of an optional one.
  • Have fun with what I’m doing.

I honestly don’t have that many goals that I want to achieve this year in reading or blogging because I just want to enjoy my time doing both, which I think is the most important thing of all. As long as I’m doing that, then everything else can fall into place afterward.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What do you hope to accomplish reading wise? What about you blog? Are there some things you definitely want to tackle this year?