Unhauling Books & Being Okay With It

Hi peeps, so today I wanted to talk about something I recently did, which was unhaul books (duh, obviously judging by the title), but I also want to talk about being okay with unhauling books. I know a lot of us can get attached to the aesthetics or the potential for a story or whatever reason we might have of keeping those books, but let’s be real: are you actually going to take the time to read it in the future? Or are you just being stubborn?

So, I’ve unhauled a lot of books in the last two years. Last summer I brought five reusable shopping bags full to the brim with books that I knew I wasn’t going to read and brought them to my local library (to the surprise of the librarians at seeing just how many I had brought lol). And I’ve just recently unhauled another 44 books from my shelves that I’m going to donate again. Forty-four. Crazy!

This included signed books I’d gotten from book boxes, and ones that I knew I wasn’t going to get around to reading anytime soon in the near future – or ones that I just lost interest in completely.

It also included books on my shelves that I’ve had for YEARS. Like. College days. (I graduated from college four years ago now, so it was even sooner than that.) It included both young adult and adult books, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, and fiction.

And you know what?

It felt good.

I have been staring at my shelves for a while now just overwhelmed with not only the amount of unread books I had (at the time, including audio and e-books, it was around 260+, but this also includes long manga series), but with just how cluttered my shelves were getting. I asked my husband for another tall bookshelf for Christmas so I can better display my books and use up less space (I’m using three small bookcases and one large one).

And to be honest, when I looked at some of these books, I didn’t even remember having some of them. I tried reading premises and seeing if I was at all interested, but I found myself not interested anymore.

And you know what? That’s okay.

I know a lot of us like to “hoard” books for many reasons. Some of you lovely people out there are extremely fast readers and can keep up with the amount of books that you get, while some of you are slower but still love to collect.

And there’s nothing wrong with this! I want to make it perfectly clear that I am NOT bashing anyone for having an excess amount of books or for not unhauling some or anything. If it makes you happy and comfortable, you keep doing it!

What I am saying is: if you’ve been thinking about unhauling but you’re wary for one reason or another, just do it! *insert Shia Labeuof meme here*

It honestly feels amazing.

Not only do I have more shelf space (CRAZY), but I have more peace of mind of not feeling so pressured to read all of these books I set myself to read once upon a time.

I kept books that I’ve read and loved, that I know I’ll read, or ones that have sincere sentimental value to me (one book I’ve kept since middle school and read in 9th grade and still love even though I haven’t read it since then).

Sometimes doing these kinds of things can really be helpful mentally. If you’ve been feeling like you’re overwhelmed by your shelves, take a good look at them and really ask yourself if all of those books you have are really going to be read or if you’re just keeping them for later (even when you know you probably won’t read them). Maybe it’ll help you.

Let’s chat!

Have you unhauled any books recently? How did you feel about it? Does the thought of getting rid of any of your books hurt you to your core? Let me know!

Fan Fiction Galore & Why You Should Read Some

So, as I briefly mentioned in my last post, I’ve been reading – and writing! – a lot of fan fiction lately. Like. A lot, a lot. I’ve kind of slowed down, though, but I still find fan fiction to be a very interesting genre.

What’s fan fiction?

Simply that! It’s a work of fiction based on characters or a setting from a published book that fans write their own story on, either with those characters or in that setting.

It’s all non-canon and really just fun bits of story for the fans to enjoy and divulge theirselves in when the story is over.

What kind of fan fiction is out there?

Well, there are various websites dedicated to fan fiction, such as:

And many more, I’m sure. But what kinds of stories of fan fiction can you find out there?

Pretty much if there’s a fandom for something, there’s bound to be fan fiction for it, such as:

  • Book/manga/comic fandoms: Harry Potter, the Mortal Instruments, My Hero Academia, etc.
  • Video games: Final Fantasy, League of Legends, etc.
  • Movies/TV: Arrow, Supernatural, etc.
  • Celebrities/Real People: BTS, EXO, etc.

If you have a favorite of anything you can probably find a fanfic or two written about the characters from that series somewhere, which also means you can most likely find your favorite ships that may not be canon in those other forms of media.

There’s the soft, fluffy kind of writing that gives you all the warm fuzzies and makes you want to snuggle your dog close to you, and then there’s the hard smut that makes you heated and want to take a cool shower. But don’t be fooled: not all writing is well done, just like a book would be. Some stories have no plot, some just have horrible grammar, and others are just a mess and why do they exist?

But when you do find those gems? Oof, be prepared for the rabbit hole you’re about to fall into.

But doesn’t it take away from the original at all?

Not at all! There have been instances that I’ve heard of where the fanfic is better than the original, but that’s not always the case at all. It’s really just a fun and engaging way to keep the hype of the fandom thriving, to reach out to a community of likeminded people, and to just have fun.

The whole reason I got into one of my favorite anime/manga pairings, Bakugo Katsuki x Uraraka Ochako (aka Kacchako) from My Hero Academia, was because of fan fiction. I just happened to be scrolling through the tag on tumblr one day and saw someone post the next chapter to their story there. I’d never read fan fiction before that day, and boy was I sad I hadn’t done since then because WOW was it good! The writing was very atmospheric, very well done, and just had you wanting to read the next chapter and the next chapter without stopping.

That fanfic is “Two Black Dots” by Tharros. I highly recommend it if you’re looking to either get into the pairing or just as a way to see what fan fiction is like.

Through this work, I found many others like it that were written well, had a fun and engaging story, and brought me closer to the community as a whole. That’s how I found a bunch of friends that I’ve made in recent months, and even why I started to write my own fan fiction!

Here’s a few more recommendations of Kacchako fanfics:

I could link some dirty stuff, but I’m not going to. You’ll have to find that on your own lol

Writing fan fiction is…

Fun. It’s so fun! Seriously, I get to take these two characters (or more or less), whom I love, and have them engage with one another in a situation that I’ve cooked up in my head and that’s just so incredibly amazing to me. It’s like I’m writing my own personal stories, but just borrowing the characters and setting/world from someone else.

Of course I would never claim these characters to be my own. Their not, and I don’t want that kind of responsibility for such a huge series right now, haha!

But I’ve found something in writing fan fiction that I hadn’t expected to: happiness.

I had forgotten the joy of writing and how bringing a smile and happiness to other people could really just make me feel fulfilled. That’s why I mostly write fluff pieces that involve cute romances, flustered bad boys, and brave sweet girls. Seriously, it’s great.

Here’s a few of my favorites that I’ve personally written:

  • Show Me More – (ongoing series) In this pop idol AU, Bakugou Katsuki is still hellbent on becoming the number one hero and proving to himself and Japan just what kind of hero he can be. That is, until one day when he saves Uravity, a pop idol sensation that he really likes (but would never admit publicly) from a drunk man at his favorite ramen shop that everything begins to change. But will his goals be so affected from this chance encounter that he loses sight of what he’s craved most in the world since his childhood?

    As for Uraraka Ochako, living lift as an idol was something she had been doing for years now – and she loved it. She was finally able to provide for her family and make so many people happy with her music. But the longer she’s in the spotlight, the more she longs for a quiet life outside of it. She just wants to live a life where she isn’t constantly being hounded by paparazzi or having to please everyone around her. So when she meets a grumpy-faced young man at a ramen shop she snuck off to without anyone knowing, she could have never guessed how much her life would change as result.

  • Puppy LoveBakugou gets hit by a quirk that can turn the person hit with it into any animal or object the person who hit them with it desires. Well, they turned him into a Pomeranian and he is NOT having it. Plus, someone has to take care of him until the quirk’s effects wear off in about a week, but who’s going to take care of him? Certainly not any of his friends. But then Uraraka offers and he figures it’s better than the alternative. But while in this form he realizes a few things about the brunette that he hadn’t been willing to admit before.
  • I’m HereA group of villains attacks the facilities in which Melissa Shield works, causing a lot of destruction in the process of their endeavors, including injuring Melissa. One particular streak of green lightning comes in to save them all, but can he? And what can Melissa do to try to help, if at all?

To check out the rest of my works, you can check them out here!

Overall, I can’t believe I never gave fan fiction the chance until several months ago when I just happened upon that one link on tumblr. Since then, I’ve been supporting my friends by reading their works, writing my own, and just having a lot of fun with it.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

If you haven’t checked out any fan fiction before, what’s stopping you? You should really try a few and see how you like it. It’s fun to see what people can come up with outside of what the author originally did in their work. Let me know in the comments about your thoughts on the topic!

10 Things I’m Thankful For

Hi peeps! So today is Thanksgiving here in the United States, so I wanted to talk about some of the things that I’m thankful for this year. It’s been a year of ups and downs, but I still have plenty to be grateful for.

  1. My husband. He’s always with me through thick and thin, and he’s my biggest supporter. I don’t know what I’d do without him.
  2. My best friend. She’s always got my back and is always willing to have girl time – even with her new baby!
  3. The opportunity to teach overseas. I’ve been working with a recruiter for the past few months to be able to teach English as a second language in South Korea. I don’t have a job lined up yet, but I have all of my documents ready and I’ve been applying to various positions through the recruiter, so I’m hoping that early next year I’ll be able to take this opportunity.
  4. Having experience teaching. I took a class that started in December of last year and completed in April of this year to get my certification to teach English as a second language, and it was a very interesting course. Part of it was needing to get field experience teaching, which I was able to do at a local college in my state with a really great teacher and students. This helped to give me just a glimpse into what the teaching world is like and what I can expect when I do it.
  5. Kpop. Okay, this might sound like a silly one, but I’ve been into kpop since about 2015 when I discovered groups like Big Bang, SNSD, BTS, EXO, Monsta X, etc. This year, however, my love for kpop has grown and is pretty much all I listen to in my spare time (or lo-fi music). There’s been so many people I’ve grown close to as friends because of it, and there’s also been a lot of songs and groups that have just stuck out and my love for them has grown exponentially. I never knew how much I could love a group or their music, and yet, here I am.
  6. Kacchako. If you don’t know what My Hero Academia is, it’s a manga series by Kohei Horikoshi that was also turned into an anime and it’s just SO GOOD. And like anything there are ships that can happen within the series and within the fandom. One of the fandom (unofficial) ones is Kacchako (Bakugou Katsuki x Uraraka Ochako). I don’t really know how it happened, but one day I was just like, “I love them,” and discovered fan fiction that then lead me to tumblr and found the tag for it that then lead me to a discord server where I’ve made a bunch of friends and where I found a lot of happiness the last few months. It actually leads me into my next point:
  7. Writing fan fiction. I have written SO MUCH this year, it’s incredible, and most of it has been fan fiction. I’ve written a bunch of one shots on Kacchako, as well as other ships from the series, and have received a lot of positive feedback which just makes me feel so over the moon. If you’re interested in reading any of them, you can check out my works over on Archive of Our Own (AO3).
  8. BTS concert. I got to see one of my favorite kpop groups perform live in Canada for their Love Yourself concert tour and it was such a great experience. I took a crapton of photos, and my husband and I got to meet some friends we’d made, which was great. Seriously a great experience.
  9. My parents. Though things are still kind of hard, I’m thankful that my parents are able and willing to help my husband and I when it comes to house hunting. Not only did we receive a nice down payment amount from them (which they’d been saving for a long time for just that reason), but they’re willing to help in whatever way they can. Though we didn’t end up finding a house this year, we hope to in the future.
  10. The internet friends I’ve made. Seriously, I’m so grateful for all of the friends I’ve made this year. They’ve mad me smile and laugh, we have discussions about things, we’re there for each other to talk if needed, and they’re all just wonderful.

I’m glad for a lot of things that have happened this year, but these are just a few of the things that I wanted to highlight.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What are you most thankful for this year? Let me know in the comments!

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.

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!