Category: Let’s Discuss

Sep 24
I’m a Judge for the 2019 Cybils Awards!

I’m a Judge for the 2019 Cybils Awards!

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I’m excited to announce that I’ve been selected as one of the round two judges for this year’s Cybils Awards in the category of Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction!! What are the Cybils Awards, you ask? Well, they are officially the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards (I’m assuming the I in the acronym was added to make it a name that flows better). As you can guess from that name, this is an award given by the book blogging community. This is the group’s stated mission (via their website): The Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious. The awards have been around since 2006,… Read more »


Sep 18
Fun with Spam #8

Fun with Spam #8

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I’m excited to say that spammers have figured out ways around those pesky checkboxes in the comments section, and I now have plenty of new material for these spam posts again! So… It’s time for a new installment of Fun with SPAM, where we peek into the abyss of the Spam folder to find a few gems and imagine … what if I were really going to reply to these random crazy comments?  Take a look at what I might say: Fantastic put up, very informative. I wonder why the opposite specialists of this sector don’t understand this. You must continue your writing. I’m confident, you have a great readers’ base already! I put up with a lot, let me tell you. I have no idea why my opposition doesn’t understand all the brilliant points I’ve made! They’re obviously just jealous. This book blogging world is cutthroat. But you have inspired… Read more »


Sep 12
Top Ten Books on My TBR that Terrify Me

Top Ten Books on My TBR that Terrify Me

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I know I’m late for TTT this week, but I love this topic, so I thought I’d just post a Top Ten Thursday instead (I mean, it still uses the same acronym, so it works, right?) Top Ten Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why (AKA Top Ten Books on my TBR that Terrify Me) Oh, I have plenty of books I’ve been avoiding for various reasons. I will do my best to puzzle out why! I realized that I basically just could have put my list for The Official 2019 TBR Pile Challenge here (I include the list in my monthly wrap-up every month). I specifically chose the books for this challenge because I’d wanted to read them for FOREVER but had been putting them off for one reason or another. I’m happy to say that out of… Read more »


Aug 24
Updating the Blog (a Little) and I Need Your Opinions! Let’s Discuss.

Updating the Blog (a Little) and I Need Your Opinions! Let’s Discuss.

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If you read my recap of the SCBWI conference I went to, you know that one of my takeaways was that I really need my name to be more prominent on my website. Because of that, I’ve decided to add it to my header. BUT when I added my name, I felt inspired to possibly make another little change …   What do you guys think? I thought it might be fun if my fox girl looked a bit more like me since my name is going right there next to her. And now that I have my purple highlights I thought, why not include them? (Yeah, I know, if I really wanted to capture my current look I’d shorten her hair too, but I’m not doing that.) I’m still sort of on the fence because the yellow-blonde hair really pops, and I’m wondering if the brown blends in a… Read more »


Aug 15
That’s a Wrap! (My Wrap-Up of the SCBWI 2019 LA Summer Conference)

That’s a Wrap! (My Wrap-Up of the SCBWI 2019 LA Summer Conference)

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Hey, everybody, I’m back! I’ll confess that my brain feels a bit like pudding after all the amazing things I learned at the summer SCBWI conference—I think I need to give it all a little time to set. But so much wisdom was shared, and I’m feeling reinvigorated when it comes to my writing, which is always a good thing. I thought I’d share some highlights from the conference. This is just a tiny taste of everything I learned and experienced there. Inspiring Keynote Speakers: M.T. Anderson – He talked a lot about taking the familiar and making it unfamiliar and vice versa, and reminded us that the strangeness we seek is all around us. In our writing, we should show the world the invisible, what only we see. Darcey Rosenblatt – She told us about her incredible learning journey through SCBWI and how it has affected her career. Christian… Read more »


Jul 17
Goodreads’ YA Books Lists: 2019 Edition. Let’s Discuss.

Goodreads’ YA Books Lists: 2019 Edition. Let’s Discuss.

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For their celebration of YA Week, Goodreads once again created a few lists specific to YA. Last year I analyzed these lists and compared them to my own reading, and I thought that was a really interesting exercise. Thought I’d do the same again this year. CLICK ON THE CATEGORY HEADINGS TO SEE THE LISTS ON GOODREADS. 100 Top YA Books: This is an all-time list that Goodreads came up with using books that are most often on shelves and their ratings (it was updated for 2019). I’ve read 54. (Which happens to be the exact same number I’d read from last year’s list, though the books have changed slightly.) I have 17 of them on my Goodreads TBR (down from 19 last year). 11 of these I own but haven’t read yet (up from 10 last year). 17 books aren’t technically on my TBR, but I probably plan to… Read more »


Jul 15
Bookish This or That Tags (x2!)

Bookish This or That Tags (x2!)

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I first saw these two tags over at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures and thought they looked like fun. So why not combine them into one This or That Tag? I actually did ANOTHER This or That tag a couple of years ago, so feel free to check that one out too! The creator of the first one is Ayunda @ Tea and Paperbacks. This or That? Reading on the couch or on the bed? Both, but if I have to choose, I prefer bed. I even lay down in the middle of the day and read sometimes. Male main character or female main character? I tend to read more books with female MCs, so I guess I prefer them? Sweet snacks or salty snacks when reading? Sweet snacks always trump salty ones. Always. Trilogies or quartets? Trilogies. I mean, really, I think duologies are awesome. First-person POV or third-person POV? I… Read more »


Jul 04
Why Don’t Illustrators (and Cover Artists) Get More Attention? Let’s Discuss.

Why Don’t Illustrators (and Cover Artists) Get More Attention? Let’s Discuss.

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Artist vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com Recently, I added a field to my review template, and I wondered why I’d waited so long. I use the UBB plugin from Nose Graze (that’s a referral link, by the way), and there’s a field right there for Illustrator. One I’d never added to my template. Why had I been ignoring it? I think it comes down to the fact that we rarely think about the illustrator unless the book is a picture book (which I don’t typically review on the blog), so I didn’t even really think about adding this to my review template. It wasn’t until I reviewed a middle grade book where I specifically commented on the adorable illustrations that I realized the issue. Suddenly a light bulb went off in my head: Wait, why haven’t I credited this person anywhere? The phenomenon was not entirely my fault—the book… Read more »


Jun 25
Why I’m Weird Tag

Why I’m Weird Tag

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This tag was created by Dellybird, and I was tagged by Renee @ Renee’s Bookcase. Thanks for tagging me! Basically, we’re just supposed to list ten things that make us weird. Not too tough, considering I have plenty of weird quirks (just ask my kids—they make fun of me for them all the time). Why I’m Weird I sing nonsensical, made-up songs constantly. They usually involve puppies (’cause puppies are just awesome). Often, they’re sung to the tune of random worship songs. I think this might be somewhat blasphemous. (“How great is my puppy? Sing with me, how great is my puppy? And all will see how great, how great is my puppy.”) I also have crazy catch-phrases that I say often. I wrote a post about this once. I try to keep them mostly contained to my family, but sometimes I fail. For years, my kids (and my oldest’s… Read more »


Jun 18
How Often Do You “Randomly” Visit New Blogs? Let’s Discuss.

How Often Do You “Randomly” Visit New Blogs? Let’s Discuss.

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Recently, I’d found that I wasn’t visiting as many blogs as I used to. I have a solid group of blogger friends who come by my blog and I visit them back regularly, but I was rarely visiting any other blogs, and I started to feel like my blogging world was getting a bit myopic. Especially since, over time, some of my blogger friends have (sob!) stopped blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT complaining about the folks who hang out with me all the time (I love you all!), but it’s a great big book blogosphere out there, and every once in a while I notice what a tiny sliver I’m interacting with. So I’ve decided to make an effort to expand my bookish world a little. Here are a few steps I’m taking (each of these on an occasional basis): Visit posts that my friends have linked to. This… Read more »