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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Winter Biannual Bibliothon 2018

Hello lovely people~ So, fun announcement to make! I’m joining in the Winter Biannual Bibliothon! Not only that, but I’m also one of the blog hosts this round! Very exciting.

bbib2018hosts

Dates of the Readathon: January 20th-26th

My Host Date: Wednesday, January 24th

All information about the challenge I’ll be presenting to you will be posted on midnight January 24th, so you’ll have the full day to go for the challenge and do you best with it!

Here are the lovely hosts that will be participating in this year’s readathon. This year there are the main Booktube hosts, Instagram hosts, as well as blog hosts, so please check them out!

Main Hosts

Emmmabooks | Brittni’s Book Find | Kellys BookSpill | Little Red Reader | The Booktube Girl | Little Book Owl | Dylanthereader5

Instagram Hosts

Brooks_books_ | Readbyrae | readbyamanda | charlottelupin | coffeecocktailsandbooks | bookish.army | the_daily_bookstagram

Blog Hosts

Reader Rayna (me) | Victoria @ Latte Nights |Sam @ Will Read for Booze | Jen @ Fire Whiskey Reader| Cody @ The Bookworm in Me | Gabi @ Be A Bookish Gal | Laura @ Laura’s Literary Letters

Each host will have a different date, so be sure to check out all of the hosts’ pages to see what they’re doing for that day of the week.

So, as I’m a host I definitely want to attempt to take part in the reading challenges – at least what I can. I’m busy taking a class and trying to figure out my life, but I’m going to do my best to participate!

Check out the Reading Challenges Video for more information, but here are the reading challenges:

READING CHALLENGES:
1. Read the group book: OTHERWORLD by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller
2. Read a sequel
3. Read a book you’ve never heard of before
4. Read a book about mental illness
5. Read a book that was mentioned in another book/movie/show etc.
6. Read a book under 200 pages
7. Read a backlist title

You can double up on challenges (i.e. read a book that’s 200 pages and about mental illness), but you cannot triple up on challenges.

TBR

  • Eidolon by Grace Draven – a sequel and a backlist title (was published in 2016).
  • The Space Between Stars by Anne Corlett – a book I’ve never heard of before (I just got the book on Jan. 6th)
  • Saga, vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan – under 200 pages

That’s all I’m going to put down just because I know that I don’t have much energy to do things outside of my norm lately so I’m just going to aim to read these two books for the challenges. If I finish one of these books before the readathon, then I’ll just update this post with a new selection.

I hope you’re all excited and will participating this round! Check out Biannual Bibliothon’s twitter for fun things!

Mid-Series Cover Changes

Let’s talk about this topic that every bookworm ever either hates or doesn’t mind.

I mainly want to talk about this because of the recent blow up over Renee Ahdieh‘s duology of Flame in the Mist because it’s getting a mid-series cover change to have covers with people on it. Of course a huge part of the discussion was because it was a POC that was added to it, but… I honestly don’t know how to respond to that other than the book is literally a retelling of Mulan. A Chinese woman. A person of color. What else is she supposed to look like, a fish? (Also, yes I’m aware that this is based in Japanese culture, but I’m just saying.)

Anyway.

Okay, first of all let’s discuss these covers aesthetically speaking.

In my 100% honest opinion? I really like these covers. Not only do they feature a female POC who (I believe) is the main character of the story (I haven’t read it yet), but the colors and details around the cover are very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The cherry blossoms around the edges are representative of east Asian culture, which this story is inspired by. And then the twin dragons on the second cover in the shape of a heart? Dragons are also a large part of east Asian cultures.

But again, I want to state that I have NOT YET read the first book in this duology. I do not know the significance of the dragons, but I am assuming it has to do with a love interest in the story.

I also want to state that I don’t know the whole story as to the backlash that these particular covers are getting because I haven’t been very up to date with book Twitter lately (which is largely where I get my bookish news), so I apologize in advance for that.

My one caveat with the cover is her expression that she uses. I get she’s supposed to be all serious and stuff, but I kind of wish there was a different expression on each cover, which could bring more life to it. Other than that, I’m fine with it.

I would also like to point out that I am very glad that they’re changing BOTH covers of the duology SO THEY MATCH. That doesn’t happen often with mid-series changes. It could also be for the release of the paperback, I’m sure.

Now let’s discuss cover changes.

I think a large part of the backlash for these covers above is because of the face added and a lot of people – including myself – generally don’t like people on the covers of our books unless it’s significant to the book itself. I mostly say this because I personally find that when people are on the cover they look cheesy as hell and it just kind of makes me cringe. But I can look past that if 1) the synopsis captures my attention, and 2) if I enjoy the book when I read it.

That being said, cover changes mid-series is a very frustrating thing for many readers. The main reason is because, with a cover change, the new cover won’t match the aesthetic of the original cover and therefore can make it look less aesthetically pleasing to the eye when looking at it on a shelf or for pictures or what have you. There have been many examples of this exact thing happening over time and now with social media being such a huge thing in the everyday lives of many people, it’s very easy to understand why people are so vocal about it.

One example I can think about is the Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis. The last book in this series had a cover change when it was being released in hardcover and thus didn’t match the same aesthetic as the other two books in the trilogy. And I have to say: I am not a fan of the change. It’s clunky. It’s very ridged, with many defined edges and just a look that isn’t very… nice.

As you can see, the first two covers are highly aesthetically pleasing. At least to me they are. The first two covers tell me a bit about what the story is about (and no, I haven’t read them yet but they’re definitely on my TBR as my husband has read them and loved them). They tell me that they’re about two teens, a boy and a girl, who are most likely facing dangerous circumstances and manage to find love among it all. It probably has some type of harrowing journey along with it, too. But the Shade of Earth cover? Yes, while it is aesthetically pleasing in its own right, it is just very… different from the original two. This one tells me that it’s like the Earth is trying to break through what mankind made. (Who knows? Maybe I’m right?)

Eventually the first two covers were remade to match the third cover. (And yes, the first book did have a cover change BEFORE matching it with the third cover, and that cover was… okay.)

But that is just one of the frustrating things about mid-series cover changes. My main question, especially with the example above, is: Why do you have to change to flow of the covers like that, especially when its the last book in the series?

Now I’ve seen many authors over the last couple of years talk about this very issue. They don’t have control over their covers. 99% of them don’t have control, especially in traditional publishing. So when mid-series cover changes happen it’s because the company or marketing department of that company thinks that it will be appealing to more readers to change the covers now to boost book sales.

Sometimes the books are selling very well, though, even without the cover change. Sometimes book sales drop after the cover change. It really all depends and no one can really determine what may or may not happen when this change does happen.

With that said, though, I’m not talking about when standalones get cover changes or when an entire series gets multiple cover changes over time because that’s an entirely different subject matter. (For example, the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo just got new covers and btw they’re gorgeousssss~)

Like this? This is fine. The original trilogy with the original covers were all released and have the same very aesthetically pleasing style, which is great! And to now have the trilogy repackaged in equally stunning covers is just simply breathtaking. As the books were already released and received a lot of love, this kind of change only fuels readers to want to buy these versions of the books for collectability purposes if they already own the books with the original covers.

But when covers are suddenly changed mid-series, it can be very disheartening for readers who love to decorate or show off their shelves. Some readers don’t care either way because they want the book to have the book and continue reading the series – which is totally fine!

And then you also get books that are different sizes when as they continue along in a series. Like, why? What purpose does that serve? Why are you keeping the cover aesthetic but now changing the size? When they’re on a shelf they’re no longer even and THAT can drive readers mad.

I think that mid-series cover changes can help some book sales, though. Sometimes a cover change can make a difference and a new cover design can be a good thing. Honestly, it really depends on personal preference.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

Tell me what you guys think of cover changes mid-series. Do you mind? Do you hate them? What’s one example of a GOOD mid-series cover change? What’s your least favorite mid-series cover change? Let’s talk about it!

New Years Book Tag

Hello beautiful people! Today I’m coming at you with a book tag~ I figured I haven’t done one of these in a while, and this one’s a fun one since it focuses on the new year and stuff, so here we go!

I saw this on Super Space Chick’s channel, so check out the video here!

1. How many books are you planning to read in 2018?

I did this last year with my Goodreads goal and I’m also doing it this year: setting my goal to ONE book. That’s right. One book. I want to have zero pressure as my life is crazy and with a lot of planning and other things that are going on this year, I don’t want to focus on reaching a number, especially with how I’m mainly been reading comics and I can’t exactly keep track of those on Goodreads. But I will be reading novels this year because where I feel like last year was the “year of comics and manga,” this year will still be that, but I’m definitely feeling like reading regular novels, too.

But for a more “serious” goal, I want to aim for 10 novels. Again, little pressure, but I’m very busy with a lot of things this year.

2. Name 5 books that you didn’t get to this year but want to make a priority in 2018.

Okay, I know I listed six books instead of five, BUT I didn’t get to any of these in 2017 and I REALLY WANTED TO, so I’m going to try to read all of them sometime between now and summer. At least, that’s my goal.

3. What genre do you want to read more of?

I’m always up for fantasy as it’s my all time favorite genre, BUT I’d love love love to read more Science Fiction this year, whether adult or YA, or even comics! If you have any awesome sci-fi recommendations for me, please let me know!

4. Name 3 non book related goals for 2018.

  • To complete my course to become TEFL certified (teach English as a second language) and teach English in South Korea by the fall/winter of this year!
  • Which includes getting all of the paperwork done. All… of… the paperwork… *cries*
  • Learn at least one new dance every month, whether it be from a Kpop band or a cover dance or whatever! I need to get more active and start really thinking about my health more. So this is the generic “health” goal lol

5. What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read?

*stares at shelves*

I don’t know which to choose.

6. One word that your hoping 2018 will be:

Adventurous!

7. Tag a friend!

I’ll tag all of you peeps because, well, I never know who to tag in these sections lol


Let’s Chat! ^w^

What’s one non-book related goal you have for this year? I’d love to hear about it!

Favorite Reads of 2017

Happy New Year beautiful people!

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Wow, I almost forgot how to do this thing it’s been so long lol

Well, today I wanted to share with you my favorite reads of 2017! I read a lot (A LOT) of comics this past year and so this is all pretty much comics except for a couple exceptions. Let’s just jump into it! P.S. this list is in no particular order.

Comics

kingsmaker

King’s Maker by Haga and art by Kang Jiyoung. Oh. My. GOD I LOVE THIS SERIES. Season 1 just ended and I need Season 2, like, now please. Please? This series is so good and it deals with different themes like love, hate, political turmoil, death, life, ahhhhhh it’s so good. And THE ART!? The art is beyond gorgeous! Please go read it over on Lezhin if you haven’t already.

somethingaboutus

Something About Us by Lee Yunji. This comic series was incredibly cute and realistic and I just loved reading it. There was angst and there was romance and there was friendship and it’s just so good read iiiiiiit. It’s actually completed so you’ll be able to read it from beginning to end if you want.

hadomae

Hadomae by Choenamsae. This is more 18+ for the reading spectrum, but it’s a comic series about a man with a foot fetish, and I never in my life thought I’d read something about that, but here we are. It’s a pretty addicting series and it’s still ongoing, which is awesome. The main character is kind of ditzy and there are times when I’m like, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?!” But, now she’s kind of taking control and I’m like, “Yaaaaassss~” So, yeah. And things are getting steamy. >>

Webtoons

iloveyoo

I Love Yoo by Quimchee. Guys. Please. Go read this series. It’s still ongoing and it’s SO GOOD! It’s funny and witty, but there’s also a lot of serious moments, and I’m still trying to figure out the mysteries of some of the characters’ pasts and it’s just so good. It’s updated weekly, and you can read it for free, so check it out!

mydearcoldbloodedking

My Dear Cold-Blooded King by lifelight. This is such an interesting historical series with romance, blood, assassins, royal court drama, humor, and more. It’s also very beautifully drawn, especially the landscapes. If you haven’t checked this one out, you really should. It’s so good!

sirenslament

Siren’s Lament by instantmiso. Season 1 just ended and glremgwgnkrnrt is it February yet, because that’s when Season 2 starts and I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NOW. It left at such a huge plot point that I’m just like, “HNNNNNGGG GIVE MEEEEE” so yeah. But it’s a story about sirens and how one girl, Lyra, was kissed but didn’t fully turn siren and there’s a lot of humor and romance and a love triangle kind of and it’s so good!

mygiantnerdboyfriend

My Giant Nerd Boyfriend by fishball. This slice-of-life webtoon is sooo funny and sooooo relatable and it’s just awesome. Go read it. Like, I keep seeing myself and my husband in all of these and I’m just like, “HOW ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT US!?” It’s so funny.

crushed

Crushed!! by Himalyaa. This is a more mature webtoon, but it’s a BL one that I’ve been really enjoying. It’s still ongoing and it’s got a love triangle, drama, lots of swearing, a bunch of sex, and just a lot going on. It’s really good though!

For complete thoughts on the comics and webtoons I’ve read, check out my review!

Books

I’m still slightly in denial that I read actual books this year. I think it was around three books? lol Anyway.

adsom

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. This high fantasy novel is set in an alternate London with multiple alternate Londons and it’s a very good, very addicting read. At least it was for me. I thought that the world still has so much to be explored and explained, so I’m really glad there’s sequels in the series. (I mean, obviously there’s sequels, Rayna, it’s a trilogy.) But yeah, if you want more of my thoughts, check out my review!

radiance

Radiance by Grace Draven. I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did, but it’s seriously really good! It’s about a mixed species marriage and how each species thinks the other is ugly and everything the other does is horrible, but by the marriage of these two individuals who start out as friends and then lovers, it was seriously so addicting and good! I love the super slow burn romance and how there’s political intrigue and how there’s also a lot of cultural things in both the societies. I really liked it. If you want my complete thoughts, check out my review!

Manga

I’ve also read more manga this past year than I have in a very long time, so yay for that!

asilentvoice1

A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima. I read this complete series (7 volumes) earlier in 2017 and it’s one of my favorite manga series of all time. It’s about a deaf girl and her struggles with being bullied, and about the bully, who ends up getting bullied himself and becomes very lonely. It’s about their lives and his trying to make up for what he did to her and it’s just so good. I seriously enjoyed it and I really recommend it. Check out my review for all my thoughts.

tokyoghoul1

Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida. Guys. GUYS. Go read this series. I still haven’t read the last volume because I’m in denial that it’s over, but it is SO. GOOD. And bloody. Very bloody. But it’s a dark series about ghouls and how they live among humans and how one boy is a half-ghoul and it’s just so. Good. Ahhhhhh. Check out my Spring Reading Wrap-Up for more thoughts.

noragami1

Noragami by Adachitoka. THIS. SERIES. IS. AMAZING. I know I keep saying this, but seriously, I love this series! It’s about a god named Yato and how he’s not really a big god, but there’s Hiyori who can see him after an accident happens and there’s lots of humor, very subtle romance (JUST CONFESS ALREADY), and lots of drama between the gods and stuff. If you want more of my thoughts, check out my Spring Reading Wrap-Up.

imadoki1

Imadoki! Nowadays! by Yuu Watase. As Yuu Watase is my favorite manga author, I’m probably biased, but as this was also a reread for me I knew what to expect and I still love this series. It’s a high school drama that follows a group of five people teens just trying to go through life, together or not. It’s really good. Check out my review for more thoughts.

blueexorcist

Blue Exorcist by Kazue Kato. This series is one that I’ve followed the anime before reading, but it’s still an awesome manga series! It follows twins Rin and Yukio who are the sons of Satan. Rin has outward appearances of a demon and also the blood, while Yukio is more like their human mother and doesn’t show any traits and doesn’t really have the trace in his blood. It’s a manga about Rin’s struggles to become an exorcist (which demons can’t do because, well, yeah), and it’s a very epic action/fantasy manga series. The anime is really good, too!


Alright, I think that’s everything! I’ve read the equivalent of probably 100 books in 2017. It’s crazy to think that I read that amount, but it’s mostly in comics and webtoons (which I also never thought I’d be so into lol). According to Goodreads, I’ve read 68 novels in 2017. Of course it can’t count the amount of comics I’ve read, so yeah. It was my best reading year thus far, so let’s see what 2018 brings.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What were your top three favorite reads of 2017? Has many novels did you read? How about comics or manga? Let me know!