Book Talk,  Tags & BookTube

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Daydreaming Book Lover tagged me for my very first round of the Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks for the tag!

What is The Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How Does it Work?

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

On with my answers…

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

1. What advice would you give your younger blogger self?

Considering this blog and my latest attempt at “being a blogger” was only started at the tail end of May 2020, I hardly feel qualified to give “my younger self” advise in terms of this blog. With that said, this is not my first blogging rodeo. I’ve attempted to blog several times before this one, and I think I finally cracked the code, so let’s go with that route.

  • Book tours. Learn to write a good review, find the blog tour companies, and sign up. This really would have helped keep me consistent and given me a niche I could focus on a lot sooner.
  • Utilize link-up tools that make sharing on social media easier. Why did it take me until this October to notice that I could have my blog posts auto-post themselves to Twitter? Why did it take me almost another month to realize I could then copy & paste those auto-tweets for an easy starting point to re-share the same posts later?
  • Don’t forget to put all your non-tour reading deadlines in the same schedule chart as your tour stops, and record which dates you request when volunteering for a review stop on an upcoming tour rather than a promo or guest/interview spot so that you don’t end up with 6+ reviews due in the same week…

2. What do you hope for the future of your blog?

I want my blog to work for me. By that I mean I want to gain a large enough regular following (daily viewership) that:

  • I can start getting paid for (some of) my posts
  • The really big, notoriously exclusive publishers approve my ARC requests
  • People realize I’m also an editor and illustrator while they’re here on this site and hire me…

3. Your Top five favorite books you’ve read this year?

Oh gosh that’s hard! I did write a Top 20 Reads of 2020 list in two parts (tour reads posted here on this blog and other reads posted on the group blog) but I’ll try to pick just 5…

Legendborn
Legendborn Book One
by Tracy Deonn

Genre: YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 512
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

I reviewed this one in September with a rating of 5 stars, but I wish I could give it a million stars!

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With the Fire on High
by Elizabeth Acevedo

Published 7 May 2019
by Quill Tree Books
(a Harper Teen imprint)

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Page Count: 400
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

This one is also a strong 5 out of 5 stars!

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To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
by Christopher Paolini
Narrated by Jennifer Hale

Published 15 September 2020
by Tor Books / Macmillan Audio

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, First Contact
Page Count: 880
Audio Length: 32 hrs 29 min
Publisher: Tor Books / Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: 15 September 2020

Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds. Now she’s awakened a nightmare. During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope…

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Oh my goodness, this was by far my best audiobook of 2020, and I look forward to a time when I have the spare days to re-read this 880-page beast in print form. 5 Stars!

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Boy Queen
by George Lester

Published 6 August 2020
by Macmillan

Genre: YA Contemporary, LGBTQIA
Page Count: 396
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Life’s a drag until you try . . .

Robin Cooper’s life is falling apart.

While his friends prepare to head off to university, Robin is looking at a pile of rejection letters from drama schools up and down the country, and facing a future without the people he loves the most. Everything seems like it’s ending, and Robin is scrabbling to find his feet.

Unsure about what to do next and whether he has the talent to follow his dreams, he and his best friends go and drown their sorrows at a local drag show, where Robin realises there might be a different, more sequinned path for him . . .

With a mother who won’t stop talking, a boyfriend who won’t acknowledge him and a best friend who is dying to cover him in glitter make up, there’s only one thing for Robin to do: bring it to the runway.

Amazon USAmazon CA Amazon UK

5 big shiny stars for this drag queen’s coming of age story!

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Grown
by Tiffany D. Jackson

Published 15 September 2020
Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)

Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Count: 384
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Korey Fields is dead.

When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.

Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?

All signs point to Enchanted.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

5 stars for this extremely important read. Everyone needs to read this!

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4. What are your favorite tropes in fiction? And Why?

In romance I love the fake-real turn, particularly the subset where the deception is discovered and results in a fight but they eventually make up. Why? I really don’t know, I just do.

I’m not one of the vocal masses who are tired of “the chosen one,” but I do love versions of this trope where the chosen resists, or where the call comes much later in life than roughly 10th grade. Why? It’s more interesting when the chosen one answering the call is more skeptical and/or have lived enough life to know how to pick their battles.

5. Why did you decide to start blogging? 

I actually decided to start book vlogging back in May, hoping that a booktube schedule and following would do the same great things for my reading and writing habits that launching an art channel back in 2018 did for my art. Since I already had a website built on a blogging framework, it only made sense to also blog. Blogging won. Putting out a weekly blookish video feels like a lot of work. Putting out multiple bookish blog posts? Still work, but not nearly as demanding, and I love it!

6. What three bloggers inspire you?

The Bookwyrm’s Den consistently puts out content I really want to read, and I envy their library day job.

That Happy Reader is probably one of the most community-oriented book bloggers I follow. If someone’s commenting on my blog posts, it’s quite likely That Happy Reader. If one of my mutuals on Twitter is pumping up another blogger, it’s probably That Happy Reader.

Oceans of Novels is using their platform to leverage voices in publishing who are frequently overlooked. This blog features trans/NB, disabled and neurodiverse authors only, and I love that idea!

7. What’s your MBTI personality type? Or Enneagram Type?

E/I-NFJ. I’m an ambivert so E or I really depends on the day, and I’ve received different E/I results each of the handful of times I’ve done the Myers Briggs. NFJ is constant, though. ENFJ is often called “the protagonist” or “the giver” and INFJ is “the advocate.”

8. What is it that you enjoy the most about blogging?

I love the community aspect of sharing books with potential new readers and in turn discovering new books I might not have discovered otherwise.

9. Do you listen to music when reading or do you prefer silence?

While reading? I’ve got a reading playlist in my iTunes that just started as everything in my iTunes library and when I find something too distracting or not at all appealing for reading, I remove it from the list. It currently has 1.7k songs and would take 4.5 days to play through, and it’s a mix of pretty much everything.

10. Do you do any writing other than your blog?

I try to! I’m an aspiring author with both children’s and adult books in the works. I love science fiction and fantasy in particular.

11. Which one book has had a major impact on your life?

Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer was my introduction to adult level hard Sci-Fi and the book that started my obsession with everything this man writes. Don’t let the title fool you! This is not a religious book.

Two alien species are passing by Earth and decide to stop by, looking for someone who will join them on their quest. Both species come from societies where science and religion are interconnected; one cannot exist without the other. They’re fascinated to find a society where this is not true, and science and religion are in conflict.

A holographic projection of leader Holus shows up at the front entrance of a museum in Ontario and says “Take me to your paleontologist.” The paleontologist she meets happens to be dying of lung cancer, which puts him in the unique position of being a little more willing to walk away from the remainder of his life and join these aliens on their quest to find God.

God in this case is defined as the oldest being in the universe, presumed to have survived the big bang, and perhaps had something to do with it. They want to find this being, gaze upon it, and perhaps be noticed by it.

There’s also a subplot of religious extremists breaking into museums to destroy fossils, as they believe these are fakes and part of the athiest agenda to invalidate creation theory.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

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Tag, you’re it!

At this point I’m supposed to tag 11 bloggers to answer the 11 new questions I’m about to ask. I’ll be selecting the 3 bloggers I mentioned in an answer above plus 8 more blogger with recent new posts in my inbox, but if you come across this and you want to answer my questions, consider yourself tagged!

  1. The Bookwyrm’s Den (@srbetler)
  2. That Happy Reader (@ThatHappyReade1)
  3. Oceans of Novels (@oceansofnovels)
  4. One More Book (@1BookMore)
  5. dinipandareads (@dinipandareads)
  6. Reviews from the Stacks
  7. Bookish Luna (@BookishLuna)
  8. Storme Reads a Lot (@hybibliophiliac)
  9. Jessticulates (@_jessticulates)
  10. Linh Hermione (@linh_hermione)
  11. Books Are The New Black (@bksRthenewblack)

My Questions

  1. Is your blog in its current form your first blog, or have you had other blogging ventures in the past?
  2. What do you think is the most important piece of advise for a new blogger?
  3. Name a book you read (ideally reviewed on blog) this year that you think is criminally underrated and needs more attention.
  4. What’s more fun your you, blogging about books or sharing them on social media?
  5. Do you plan your blogging topics ahead of time?
  6. Will your blog schedule look different over the holidays?
  7. Give a shout out to a couple bloggers you follow.
  8. Do you participate in blog tours, and if so what are your favourite publishers or organizers to work with?
  9. Any big blogging, reading or writing plans for 2021?
  10. Do you also post bookish videos and if so where? (YouTube, Instagram, etc.) If not, have you considered it?
  11. Tell us about a genre you like (or at least don’t hate) but rarely read. Why not? Do you want to read it more? Can you recommend a book in that genre?

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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