Pondathon announcement !

Pondathon: The Quiet Pond's story-driven readathon. Image: Two swords with vines wrapped around it frame the words 'Pondathon', with three little forest sprites sitting on top. One forest sprite has a leaf on its head, the middle has twigs for horns, and the right has a mushroom on its head.

I’m so happy to announce that I will be participating in the Pondathon !

What is the Pondathon?

The Pondathon is a co-operative and story-driven readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of the Pondathon is to read books and collect points to protect the friends over at The Quiet Pond from the encroaching malevolent forces that threaten our friends in the forest.

Have fun participating in the Pondathon readathon by joining one of five teams, each with a unique way to collect points and signing up! You can also follow the story of the Pondathon as it unfolds, and participants can also complete ‘side quests’ during the readathon to collect extra points. The readathon takes place from January 24th 2020 to March 7th 2020. More information about the readathon can be found here.

Information about Joining the Pondathon

  1. To join the Pondathon, simply sign up anytime between January 18th 2020 to March 5th 2020.
  2. Choose a team, create your own animal character for the Pondathon and create a character card!
  3. Create a blog post, bookstagram post, booktube video, Twitter thread, or whatever medium you wish, with ‘#Pondathon’ in the title or your tweet. Share the character you have created and your character card!
  4. Link back to this post so that others can find this readathon and join in.

Share your updates on your blog/bookstagram/booktube and social media. You are more than welcome to tag @thequietpond or @artfromafriend on Twitter or Instagram in all your updates! We’d love to see all of the beautiful and awesome characters that you create!

My Pond Character

Here is my little pond character ! This design was made using Pixlr, which I’d never used before today and honestly I don’t know why because it’s amazing and I can’t believe I didn’t even know it existed, and the character card and art pieces made by @artfromafriend ! All the art there is amazing and you should definitely check out the Character cards of all the other participants !

My Pond Character is called Alexia, and she’s the Cocoa hoarder! Alexia is a soft beige cat who wears a flower crown and likes to make hot cocoa drinks for her friends. She is part of team Gen, and will do everything she can to help protect her friends, and the pond.


My Pondathon TBR

I haven’t planned a Pondathon TBR yet, but I’m planning on making one in the next week, before the beginning of the readathon. I’m hoping this will keep me motivated to read different books and not stay in my comfort zone too much !

Are you participating in the Pondathon ? Do you have a set TBR already ? Feel free to link it in the comments so I can check out the books you’re planning to read !

Until next time,

N.B.: This post was made using the template provided by CW @ the quiet pond !

2020 discussion challenge announcement

This is going to be an extra short post – one that will, hopefully, lead to some much longer posts in the future : I’m going to try to participate in the 2020 discussion post challenge, hosted by Nicole @ feed your fiction addiction and Shannon @ It starts at midnight !

There are 5 levels to the challenge, but I’ll be aiming for the first one, “discussion dabbler” : the goal will be to post between 1 and 10 discussion posts during the year !

This type of post isn’t my specialty, to say the least, so I’m aiming pretty low, but I’m positive this will be a nice experience for me and that pushing myself a little bit outside of my blogging comfort zone will be beneficial in the long run. I really want to create original content, and a challenge like this one might be just what I need to get the inspiration to do so !

You can see the challenge rules here, and there’s still time to sign up – registration is open until December 2020. The posts will be linked up in monthly posts on the organizer’s blogs, so go check the January link-up if you haven’t seen it yet ! I love reading discussion posts, so I’m looking forward to what other people will post this year !

Until next time,

January TBR and goals

Happy new year ! (Yes, I’m saying that to everybody I know and I won’t stop until the end of January) I hope you had a nice holiday season and a good time in this first week of 2020 🎉

Mine has been pretty good – I slept a lot, ate nice food, and went to a Van Gogh immersive expo in Montreal (this one) which was amazing.

TBR

I’m planning January as a pretty relaxed month – I’ve got 5 classes this semester, and I’m looking for a job, so I want to be able to focus on work, and use books to relax, not to stress about ARCs or things I absolutely have to read before the end of the month.

With that in mind, I’ve still got a list of priorities when it comes to the books I currently have : 

  • Natalie Tan’s book of luck and fortune, by Roselle Lim

I’m so happy to have a copy of this book, I only heard good things about it so I’m expecting a fun and relaxing read !

  • Followers, by Megan Angelo
  • Don’t read the comments, by Eric Smith
  • Every other weekend, by Abigail Johnson

This book comes out tomorrow, so I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to review it in time before the release, but I’ll definitely post it before the end of the month.

  • Healthy as f*ck, by Oonagh Duncan 

This is the one I’m currently reading – I got this at my local library, and I’m feeling pretty meh about it, but not enough to DNF it so I’ll try to review it next week and see what my overall impression of it is.

I also need to give feedback on an e-ARC of Tweet Cute, by Emma Lord, which I read some time ago already, but didn’t get the time to write my review, so I’ll post it closer to the release date !

Goals

It’s January, and my September 2019 student loans haven’t come in yet, so the one big goal of the  month is to tackle that and see what went wrong. Other than that, I’m going to focus on school, reading, having fun and generally just having a good month. 2019 was rough all year long, so I’m just aiming for a better 2020.

What do you have planned for January ? Did you make a TBR ? Do you have ARCs you’re hoping to read this month ?

Until next time,

2020 bookish goals

Happy New Year everyone ! I’ve been away from home for the new year, spending a few days with friends, and I had a lot of fun ! 

I love new year resolutions, or goal-setting of any kind, really, so here’s mine for 2020 – I wanted to keep them simple and measurable, so it’ll be easier for me to keep going and not give up halfway through the year.

Personal life goals

1. Get a job – this one is quite straightforward : I need money to pay rent, food, and my telephone bill. I was hoping to get some student loans this year, but since my parents didn’t fill out the paperwork correctly and refused to send the necessary papers for my application, I never even got approved for the loans. Which means I need to pay everything by myself, and find money somewhere.

2. Save 900$CAD for a plane ticket to France – I didn’t get the chance to go home and see friends and family this year, so I’m doing that in 2020. My boyfriend and I are planning to go skiing for Christmas, near where his parents live in France, and see my family after the festivities. But for that, I need to be able to afford a plane ticket and a train ride !

3. Exercise 5 times a week – I got a fitbit this year, and it’s changed my last months of 2019 for the better. I’ve been way more active, walked a lot, ate and slept better… being more active helped with my mental health too, and with getting good grades at my university. In 2020, we’re exercising 5 days a week !

Reading and blogging goals

1. Goodreads challenge – I’m keeping it low pressure, and going for a reading goal of 52 books this year. I know it’s a manageable goal for me and for the rhythm at which I read, and I don’t want to aim for something higher as there’s a good chance that’ll just discourage me and get me into a reading slump.

2. Post more on bookstagram – I’d like to aim for a short goal of two instagram posts a month : since I mostly read ebooks, I have less opportunities to take nice bookstagram pictures, but I’d still like to try to get my bookstagram the way I want it to look like.

3. Request less ARCs – This year, I’ve struggled quite a bit to keep up with my ARCs. I did what new bloggers do when they discover what ARCs are : requested a bunch of them, struggled to read them all, let some get past due date for the review and felt terribly bad about it. So this year, the limit is set to 10 ARCs for the entire year. I want to focus more on what I actually want to read for fun, and what I truly appreciate reading.

4. Blog hopping – I haven’t blog hopped enough in 2019, and I definitely need to change that in the future, so the goal is to spend some time on it once every week. Nothing too time-consuming, but I really need to get better at that.

What are your 2020 resolutions ? Did you make any ? 

Until next time,

Five 2020 new releases I’m excited about

Hey ! I haven’t been here in a while, mostly because of the final exams at the beginning of December, but also because I took a week off from – well, from everything, really.

I’ve been on holiday for a week now, and I spent that week at home, sleeping, reading, playing Stardew Valley (the latest update is so nice) and catching up on all the good stuff I like to do / see when I’m not busy studying every single hour of the day.

So now I’m back, with a few end-of-the-year blog posts – and today’s post is about five of the 2020 new releases I’m most excited about !

This Coven Won’t Break – Isabel Sterling

In this gripping, romantic sequel to These Witches Don’t Burn, Hannah must work alongside her new girlfriend to take down the Hunters desperate to steal her magic. Hannah Walsh just wants a normal life. It’s her senior year, so she should be focusing on classes, hanging out with her best friend, and flirting with her new girlfriend, Morgan. But it turns out surviving a murderous Witch Hunter doesn’t exactly qualify as a summer vacation, and now the rest of the Hunters seem more intent on destroying her magic than ever.

I read the first book in December (or at the end of November, maybe ?) and I just can’t wait to see where this story goes ! I got attached really fast to all the characters in the first novel, and loved the way magic was described in it.

This book comes out in June 2020, and you can find it on Goodreads here

Unravel the dusk – Elizabeth Lim

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

The first book, Spin the dawn, was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, and one of my favorite ones too – It’s one of the very few books I actually preordered this year ! I’ve already preordered this one, as soon as it was available to do so, and it comes out in July 2020 – if you haven’t read Spin the dawn, there’s still time to do so before grabbing a copy of this !

You can find it on Goodreads here. (Also, the cover is gorgeous !)

We used to be friends – Amy Spalding

Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties.

This one just looks super fun. I’ve been wanting to read more stories about friendship-breakups, friends who grow apart, that kind of thing, and this book seems like a nice fun read ! It comes out in January 2020, so hopefully I’ll get my hands on it at the beginning of the year !

You can find it here on Goodreads.

The city we became – N.K. Jemisin

Every great city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got six. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

I loved N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, so when I spotted this book coming out in March 2020, I had to put it on my list ! I’m really excited to see what this will have to offer – it’s shelved as urban fantasy on Goodreads and I haven’t read a lot of good urban fantasy novels, so we’ll see how this goes !

The wolf of Oren-Yaro – K. S. Villoso

Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart. Her upcoming marriage to the son of her father’s rival heralds peaceful days to come. But his sudden departure before their reign begins fractures the kingdom beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, urging her to attend a meeting across the sea. It’s meant to be an effort at reconciliation, but an assassination attempt leaves the queen stranded and desperate to survive in a dangerous land. With no idea who she can trust, she’s on her own as she struggles to fight her way home.

I looked at the cover of this one, and knew I wanted to read it. The synopsis only confirmed that. From the reviews on Goodreads, this is a very character-driven story, with a main character who lives up to her title of “The bitch queen” – and you know what ? I think I’d actually like to read a story where the main character is, indeed, an asshole. Let’s see what this one has to offer.

What are your most anticipated 2020 releases ? Did you add any of those books to your 2020 TBR ?

Until next time,

November wrap-up

November was a pretty productive month, after all !

Let’s see what I managed to get done in those 30 days of running around everywhere and checking things off my to-do list :

Books read

  • Only Mostly Devastated – you can find my review here
  • Bird brain – reviewed here
  • Eff this ! Meditation
  • Everything isn’t terrible – reviewed here
  • Out with the ex, in with the new – reviewed here
  • Girl, wash your face
  • Girl, stop apologizing – these two actually pleasantly surprised me – it didn’t start really good,but I appreciated the second one much better than the first.
  • The 5 am club – Gave it an honest chance, but I definitely didn’t like it.
  • Red, white and royal blue – review coming up in December, when I find the time for it!
  • Hyperbole and a half – I DNF’ed this one, it just wasn’t for me at all

I’m also halfway through the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, but life is pretty hectic right now so I’m not sure I’ll manage to finish it before I have to give it back to the library. We’ll see!

November goals

So, how did I do on my November goals ? Well, it’s not a win on each and every one of them, but it’s not bad at all !

✅ Read 4 books off my TBR

❌ Post 10 times on my blog – I only posted 7 times, but that’s still way better than I did at the beginning of the year, so. Still a win.

✅ Keep exercising – I did kick-boxing, and even some jogging !

✅ Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night – More or less

✅ Keep studying even without exams

❌ Get a job – Not yet. I’m not giving up, though.

✅ Form new relationships

✅ Post more on bookstagram – IG stories totally count, right ?

✅ Buy less takeout coffee – I still bought some, but definitely not as much as last month ! (Saved a lot of money, too)

❌ Write something – I procrastinated doing this one for the whole month.

Life in general

This month was pretty busy, and in doing so, was also pretty stressful. I had a lot of trouble staying on top of things, even though all my exam results were amazingly good and nothing terribly bad happened – I kept having this vague fear that something bad was about to get here, and that I only had moments to prepare. Not a good feeling.
However, good things still happened : those exam results, for example!

I also went to the Montreal book festival. I got a weekly pass so I could go to all the conferences I wanted to go to, and I had a lot of fun!

I also updated my reading goals on Goodreads! I had planned to read 40 books this year, but I checked that goal in November, so I moved it up to 50 for a challenge – we’ll wee if I can get to that before the end of the year!

Until next time,

Top ten Tuesday : I don’t understand Thanksgiving

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s theme is a thanksgiving freebie – and I’ll be honest with you : I don’t understand thanksgiving. I get that it’s a North American tradition, apparently very popular and seemingly important in US and Canadian culture, but I just. Don’t get it.

I’m french, and I emigrated to Canada a few years ago : we don’t celebrate thanksgiving in France, but people do celebrate it (a lot) in Canada, and it confuse me to no end. So here’s a list of 10 9 things I just don’t get about thanksgiving :

The dates are different every year

Thanksgiving doesn’t have a set date – it gets moved around, in a 28-years cycle. Which doesn’t really make any sense to me : why not pick a day, and make it at a set date every year ? It’s a bit confusing to have to google on which day this specific holiday takes place. (Also, apparently, US presidents can change the date, too ? Or do they just announce it, and not set it ?)

The dates are different between the countries

This year, in Canada, thanksgiving was celebrated on October 12. And it’s set for November 28 in the US. Why ? A lot of media from the US is also distributed in Canada, so for the past week or so we’ve had ads about thanksgiving, TV segments, journal articles and blog posts about thanksgiving… when for us, it was more than a month ago !

Football games

So, apparently, a thanksgiving tradition is to watch football or baseball games with your family. What I don’t get is : why football specifically ? Why not tennis games ? Swimming competitions ? Readathons ?

The turkey pardon

What have the turkeys done ? Why do they need to be pardoned ? And why do they sleep in a hotel ? (Also, who chooses the turkeys ? Is there a turkey-to-be-pardonned contest ?)

Cinnamon

I’ve checked some thanksgiving recipes, and I’ve got one comment to make. It’s about cinnamon. Why is there a ton of cinnamon in every winter-inspired American dessert ? It’s not even that good, and there’s usually way too much so you just can’t taste anything in those desserts other than just… cinnamon.

Parades

I’ve been to a Christmas parade, and the very concept of the Christmas / Thanksgiving parade baffles me. I just don’t understand what there is to parade for. The only parades I’ve been to when I was a kid were Mardi Gras parades, where everyone at school wears a nice disguise, walk down main street, and the parents watch and clap from the sides and take pictures of their children.

Family reunions

As someone who doesn’t live near most of their family, big family reunions aren’t really possible for me. Most of my family lives in France or in other European countries, so they can’t really take a plane ticket just like that and come visit, especially during the week. So I haven’t really had the opportunity to have the traditional family reunion for thanksgiving yet. It does sound good, though !

Shopping

So this is apparently a difference between the US and Canada : in Canada, since the date is different (see points 1 and 2), it doesn’t fall right before Black Friday, which explains why it’s not as closely associated with shopping as it is in the US. However, I still find it weird that people go shopping after the holiday. For me, it would make much more sense to go shopping for gifts for your loved ones before the party, not after !

The whole concept of giving thanks

Maybe it’s because I’m not religious enough, or maybe I’m a terrible person and I’ve been doing this wrong all along, but the idea of giving thanks for the good things in your life on one specific day really bugs me. I try to thank people whenever I can for the good things they do and say, and to communicate to my loved ones how much I appreciate them all year long. Having a set day to do it feels a bit… “fake”, maybe ?

What are your thoughts on this topic ? Do you have any specific thanksgiving traditions in your family ? Feel free to share them in the comments section !

Until next time,

Short reviews : 3 NetGalley ARCs

I’ve recently reviewed a few ARCs on NetGalley that I really liked, so I thought I’d put the reviews up here too ! They’re pretty short, since I didn’t try to lengthen them a lot for Goodreads and NetGalley, so I’m making a post with the three together.

Bird brain, by Chuck Mullin

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In this extremely relatable, honest and funny book, Chuck Mullin talks about depression, anxiety, self-care, and other aspects of everyday life in a very touching way.

As a person who’s suffered from depression and anxiety for a long time, this book felt very real in its portraying of what you feel (and don’t feel) during these times. I’d definitely recommend this to people who would like to understand or empathize more with a loved one who has suffered / is currently suffering from mental illness, and to anyone interested to learning more about this.

Publication date : November 19, 2019

Out with the ex, in with the new, by Sophie Ranald

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was a very fun read for a day off – I picked it up on my way home from he university, and ended up reading it over the weekend and enjoying it a lot ! You get attached pretty fast to the main character, Gemma, who over the course of the book kind of “grows up” as a person and starts to become more independent, discovering things about herself, what she will or won’t stand for in life, etc. The settings, the Youtube and vlogging spheres, are interesting and well described by the author, and it doesn’t fall into the “everything is perfect a fame is amazing” clichés.

Also, I hated Jack, the boyfriend-ex-boyfriend, from the moment he appeared on the page, and I was 100% rooting for Gemma and her “living my best life as a revenge” plan. Just saying.

Publication date : December 3, 2019

Everything isn’t terrible, by Kathleen Smith

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

As a psychology student, I picked up this book by curiosity, and I was not disappointed. I really like reading books on this type of topic, and this one was very instructive and organized. It’s not a book that will teach you how to cope with extreme anxiety or trauma situations, but it will help you manage small to medium amounts of anxiety in your day-to-day life, deal with anxiety-inducing people, and be more mature in your interpersonal relationships.

I would recommend this book as a gift for someone who has problems with anxiety that don’t necessarily need them to go through therapy but that still bother them on a daily basis.

Publication date : December 31, 2019

Did you read ( and review ?) any of these books ? Would you be interested in reading them ? Let me know in the comments !

Until next time,

ARC review : Only mostly devastated, by Sophie Gonzales

Finally, I’m writing this review I’ve been meaning to write for the past two weeks !

I’ll be honest and say that I asked for an e-ARC of this book without actually thinking I’d get one, and then… I did. I truly didn’t expect it, so I immediately downloaded it and read it in the subway on my way to and from class (really fast, because I just couldn’t put it down !).

Only mostly devastated is a fun, LGBTQ+ themed, YA contemporary romance with a 2020 release date, written by author Sophie Gonzales.

Synopsis

When Ollie meets his dream guy, Will, over summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself one prince short of a fairytale ending. To complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country—Will’s school—where Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship. But as Will starts ‘coincidentally’ popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

It’s time to admit something to you : I’ve never watched grease, ever.

So when this book was described as “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless, inspired by Grease.”, as someone who hasn’t read or watched any of those references, I wasn’t expecting anything from it, because – well, because I just didn’t know what to expect. And I think that actually helped me enjoy this book more than some other reviewers who tended to compare it a lot to those references.

What I liked

Fair warning : the next paragraphs have some spoilers. If you don’t want to see them, feel free to skip until the end of the section.

For a YA romance novel, I thought this book tackled some heavy themes, and it hit me pretty hard. For example – Ollie has to stay in that new city to help a sick relative, and the themes of illness and grief are talked about in detail in a few chapters. This hit really close to home for me : this past year, one of my closest friends passed away after a long illness – the very same one that affects Ollie’s relative in the book, and a few months later, I lost my grandfather of sudden illness.

The character’s feelings and expressions of emotion in the book resonated with me a lot, and I had to take a few breaks at some points. This quote, specifically, felt so real to me that I had to stop and cry for some time before I could start again.

I lost it in the hallway. I pressed my back against the wall and sank to the floor, crying as quietly as I could. I didn’t want to be here in this house knowing [character name] would never be in it again. It was her house. We came here when we visited her. It’d been her house my whole life. This wasn’t right. None of it was right.

That quote echoes exactly my own feelings about grief, and about my personal losses, and I thought the author had managed an extremely just portrayal of what you can go through in that kind of situation.

The themes of fat-shaming and homophobia were also talked about in this book, and I really appreciated it.

What I didn’t like

I felt like some of the character’s relationships could have been developed a bit more – like Lara and Ollie, and Will and his friends. I also had some trouble getting over my initial dislike of Will on behalf of Ollie, even when the main character himself started getting over it.

Conclusion

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall, this was a good book for me. I really liked reading it, even if it wasn’t as lighthearted and fun as I expected it to be, based on the cover and the description. I’d still recommend it to readers of YA contemporary books without hesitation !

That’s it for today ! Until next time,

WWW Wednesdays #2

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted on Taking on a world of words, and it is a short recap of three regular reading questions : What are you currently reading ? What did you recently finish ? What do you think you’ll start reading next ?

I’ve been pretty lazy this past week and haven’t made as much progress as I hoped on my TBR, but I’m not giving up ! Here’s an overview of these past few days :

What are you currently reading

I’m in the middle of Rage becomes her, by Soraya Chemaly, and and e-ARC of Tweet Cute, by Emma Lord. I tried to get into tweet cute but didn’t feel like it recently, so I stopped at around 30% and switched to Rage becomes her, hoping I’ll be able to get back to the first novel when I’m done with that.

Also, I made a spelling error in my IG post and I’m too lazy to correct it. Sue me.

What did you recently finish

I recently finished reading Girl, wash your face, by Rachel Hollis, the 5 AM club, by Robin Sharma, and Everything isn’t terrible, by Kathleen Smith.

I was actually pretty disappointed by the 5 am club (it wasn’t what I expected at all, and not in a good way – I might try to elaborate on that later this week, if I can find the time), and I wasn’t terribly impressed with Girl, wash your face either – out of these 3, the only one I’ve actually had pleasure reading was everything isn’t terrible.

What do you think you’ll start next

I’ve gotten a pretty big library haul this week, so I’ve added some books to my TBR. I’m hoping to next get to Girl, stop apologizing, by the same author as the first one – I’d like to read both before I write a review of them.

I also have a library copy of Red, white & royal blue, by Casey McQuiston and one of Is everyone hanging out without me, by Mindy Kaling. I’ve heard great things about McQuiston’s book, so my expectations are a bit high and I’m wary of being disappointed, but I think I’ll have fun reading all three.

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write my reviews, but I just can’t seem to get to it this week… hopefully, I’ll manage to get at least one done before Sunday !

Until next time,