Tag Archives: Books

Shadow and Bone Trailer: Thoughts & Theories

Hi everyone! With Rule of Wolves getting out before release day as well as the full Shadow and Bone trailer being leaked early, there’s been a lot of excitement in the Grishaverse this past week. Having seen the full trailer which has given us a lot more of an idea as to how the two series Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows will be adapted, I thought I’d share my thoughts and theories. (I will be going into detail about the plots and characters from Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows so warning for mild spoilers!) For brevity from now on, I will be referring to them as S&B and SoC. *Cover photo is from Shadow and Bone Netflix*


So, before the release of the trailer, there was a lot of confusion on how these two series were to be adapted in one show. They are separated in time and space with S&B being set in Ravka while SoC is set in Kerch (among other locations) years after S&B. However, SoC does utilize flashbacks in order to tell each of the character’s backstories, including how Inej became a member of the Dregs and how Nina and Matthias meet. 

Being the namesake of the show, S&B has seemed to be the focus, with some kind of a prequel to the story of the Dregs in SoC. With the full trailer, it has become more evident how they plan to do this. I am crediting this to my friend Karli who sent me audio messages pointing this out after watching the trailer when I was still too excited to think coherently. 

The trailer moves from S&B clips to SoC clips with Kaz saying “she’s real” to Inej. It seems that at the Crow Club perhaps Per Haskell (?) is giving a mission to the Dregs to bring him Alina for “1 million kruge.” The clips at this time show Kaz, Inej, and Jesper who we know from SoC are already working together. In a few of the clips, it looks as if Kaz may be dressed in a Ravkan guard uniform and in another, it looks like a Ravkan flag behind Inej (heist time?). This also explains why Wylan, who has a large part in the novel SoC would not be cast yet, as he is the final edition to their crew.

Though Nina and Matthias have been cast, we have not seen too much of them except for a still of them sitting in a snowy location covered with furs. This would work with their flashback scenes from SoC where they must survive together after the shipwreck. There is a quick shot of Matthias in what looks like a cell which I initially associated with them breaking him out of Hellgate, but to work with this timeline, it could just as easily be the end of the flashback when Nina sends him there. So instead of the heist that they embark on in SoC to the Ice Court, it seems as if Kaz, Inej, and Jesper are on a heist to Ravka to find Alina.


While this is definitely a bit different than the original events of the books, I am excited for it. I like the idea of a prequel for the SoC characters as it goes along with their storylines and doesn’t interfere with what happens later on. Essentially, we are just getting more screen time with them! I also have faith in the changes they are making to the show as Leigh Bardugo has been heavily involved and I trust she knows what to do in her world to make this work. 

Although I am not as attached to S&B as I am to SoC, I am really loving the visuals, casting, and everything we have seen with the series so far. I can’t deny that it looks SO GOOD. Even though it is an interesting plot, I remember finding it a bit slow at times, so I think the visuals of the show and (addition of the crows) will leave me enjoying it a lot! With the show coming out on Netflix in just over 2 weeks, you bet I will be counting down the days until I can Netflix party it with my friends.

How are you feeling about the upcoming show? Any other thoughts or theories I should hear? Let me know! 🙂

The post Shadow and Bone Trailer: Thoughts & Theories appeared first on Procrastireader.

Reading Update: (How my March is going)

Hi friends! In this post, I will be chatting about what I have read recently along with what I hope to read next! So far, I’ve had a great reading year (I actually am 4 books ahead of schedule on my Goodreads goal!) I have definitely spent most of my free time doing 1 of 2 things: reading or scrolling on BookTok… This has resulted in me not watching many shows lately, but honestly I have really been in a reading mood and loving it. Being further involved in the book community has really made me passionate and excited to find new amazing books to read and talk about! In the past, with school, I have often gotten into big reading slumps worrying about work and not having enough time to open a book. However, I realized that just trying to stay consistent and taking a bit of time out of the day (at breakfast, before bed) gives me a much-needed break and escape! 

What have I read so far this month? 

A way I’ve been keeping up with reading this semester, is by taking a class in which the required readings are all YA books. I have binge-read a few of the books now and I was happy to have an excuse to keep reading because “it’s homework!” The last book I finished was Jack of Hearts and Other Parts which I powered through as it really had me hooked with the mystery!

Another thing that has kept me reading is the casual book club I started with Kayla and a few of our other friends. Every week, we have been picking a page amount to read up to and discuss over Zoom or FaceTime. So far, we have just finished our third book, The Song of Achilles. This one had been on my list for a while and I have seen non-stop raving about it on BookTok. I did enjoy it but I think as I was familiar with the story from The Iliad, I just didn’t find it super heartbreaking and didn’t cry as many do while reading it! Still, I really enjoyed reading from Patroclus’ point of view and the action scenes like Achilles’ fight against the river god Scamander was really cool. It is a fast-moving book which I felt almost would’ve been better to read in a few sittings rather than drag it out as we did for the book club. However, I am looking forward to discussing it with my friends! Overall, I don’t think I fell in love with this book, but it was definitely worth the read. Miller has a very clear and beautiful writing style and there are so many iconic lines I have seen quoted from the novel, which were cool to finally read.

What am I reading now?

Currently, I am trying to get back into New Moon by Stephanie Meyer. I started it a few months ago, witnessed the most dramatic chapters I’ve ever read in a book, but only got about 100 pages in. To be honest, I’m not super into it at the moment compared to how I was reading Twilight... Maybe the fact that it’s a longer book and right now there isn’t as much of a hook as there was in book 1. I think I will try to power through though because something might interest me soon and I’d hate to DNF it. Also, during the reading break Kayla, another friend, and I watched Twilight over Netflix party which ended up being a lot of fun, so we are hoping to do the same for New Moon!

What am I reading next?

It was my birthday this month, so with the birthday money and Indigo coupon I received, I was bound for a book haul. I picked up a few titles from the store including Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare which has been a highly anticipated read for me since I read and LOVED the first book Chain of Gold, and of course it had to end on a cliffhanger! I definitely want to get to Chain of Iron ASAP (before I accidentally spoil myself on Twitter), but I might wait until the end of the semester as I did with Chain of Gold so I can read it over a few days. A book haul will be up soon on my BookTok, so follow me there to see what else I picked up!

I also have been dying to start reading All the Young Dudes which is a Harry Potter marauder’s era fanfiction by MsKingBean89 (or possibly Taylor Swift? There are some theories), which I learnt about thanks to TikTok. However, it is 500K words and there is a high chance I may become obsessed with it, so I have been waiting until I have a little more time to start it (which will hopefully be soon)! In book club news, it sounds like we will be picking up Little Women next which I have been wanting to both read and watch for a while!

And that’s pretty much it! With all these books, let’s hope I can keep this reading bug in me going. Soon, I hope to participate in a 24-hour readathon or some other fun challenge, so stay tuned!

How has your reading month/year been going so far? Let me know in the comments below!

The post Reading Update: (How my March is going) appeared first on Procrastireader.

Song Lyrics as Books

Hi friends! This post is inspired by Drizzle and Hurricane books who came up with the idea! I knew I would have a lot of fun with this, as I often have narratives and images come to my mind while I’m listening to music. Without further ado, here are some song lyrics I think could be turned into books!

Overdrive – Conan Gray

Only met on the weekend
Said I'm not catchin' feelings
Oh, I guess I lied
Divin' off of the deep end
I can't think of a reason
We should take our time
Yeah, I know you're a stranger
But I'm likin' the danger
Of the "I don't know"
Don't give a fuck about labels
Throw thе dice on the table
And just let 'em roll

This book would be about a girl who meets someone who she instantly falls for. They get along really well and the book follows their adventures as they get to know each other. They would be chatting about school, friends, their likes and dislikes, going on walks, late-night drives, and creating art together. It would be about being stuck on the rush of their feelings and not thinking about the challenges that might come up in their relationship. The twist, in the end, would be as these relationship doubts start to creep in, the girl wakes up and the readers realize that she’s just been daydreaming the entire time. This was actually my interpretation when I first heard the song and I was so happy (and a little sad) when I watched the music video which is very similar. 🙂

Chiquitita – ABBA 

Chiquitita, tell me the truth
I'm a shoulder you can cry on
Your best friend, I'm the one you must rely on
You were always sure of yourself
Now, I see you've broken a feather
(How it hurts to see you cry)
(And how it hurts to see you sad)
I hope we can patch it up together

This would be a story about two best friends who finally reunite after being apart at two different schools. When one friend visits, she sees how her best friend is actually struggling a lot and a shell of the person she used to be. It would be about how people’s images online are often not an accurate portrayal of real life. It would be a story about these two friends uplifting each other and forming a stronger friendship.


Sometimes – Phonovisions Symphonic Orchestra 

This is not a particular song lyric, but more of a vibe from listening to the song! Whenever I hear this song (on my study playlist) I end up a bit distracted, imagining a fantasy book with a scene that takes place in a fancy dining club. The main characters are on a mission to stop something before it’s too late while the performance goes on. (are they the good guys or bad guys? Let’s go with morally grey)

Say It – Maggie Rogers 

I knew it when you looked my way
That I'd be begging you to stay
I couldn't say it to myself
I couldn't say it to myself
I felt it burning in the way
I held on when you pulled away
I couldn't say it to myself
I couldn't say it to myself
I couldn't say it
I couldn't just say it

This would be a slow burn friends-to-lovers book, but it would be mostly dealing with the denial of their feelings for each other. I think a story from both points of view would be really great to catch that mutual pining. They start hanging out more together outside of their friend group, but aren’t really sure what it means for them.


Cough Syrup – Young the Giant

If I could find a way to see this straight
I'd run away to some fortune that
I, I should have found
By now
I'm waiting for this cough syrup
To come down, come down

This would be a story about two people in a relationship that has turned toxic. While the protagonists knows it, they have a hard time accepting that it should end as this person has been such a big part of their life. 

Wolves – One Direction

In the middle of the night when the wolves come out
Headed straight for your heart like a bullet in the dark
One by one, I gotta take them down
We can run and hide, ain't goin' down without a fight

This would definitely be a fantasy, enemies to lovers book where the characters have to run away together. The main characters realize that they’ll do anything in their power to keep the other safe when their lives are in danger. 

There are so many more songs/lyrics that would make great books but here are a few! Do you agree with any of these or maybe see them differently? Can you think of other lyrics that would work well for a book? Let me know! *Cover photo from Canva, other photos from on Pinterest*

Review: I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

I Wish You All the Best

It’s just three words: I am nonbinary. But that’s all it takes to change everything.

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hi everyone! Today, I’ll be talking about a book I recently read and loved: I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver. This was another book I read for the gender, sexuality, and women’s study course I am taking this semester focused on YA books, but it had actually been on my to-read list since it was released in 2019. So far for the course, I’ve read Cemetery Boys (read my review here) and The Black Flamingo which was great, but I have to say I Wish You All The Best is my favourite so far. I am usually not big on contemporary books, but I truly adored I Wish You All The Best. It had me so hooked that I finished it in about a day! Something I really enjoyed from this book was the mental health representation (which I talk about more in this review) and the ways in which I was able to relate to Ben. I recommend it for any YA lover, as long as you are aware of the content warnings: (Ben being kicked out of their house after coming out, misgendering, anxiety disorder & depression) With all that in mind, I braced myself to read a sad story and while it is sad, it is more than just a “sad story” and ends on a positive and hopeful note.

Why I enjoyed I Wish You All The Best so much:

(Warning for some spoilers as I discuss details from the plot!)

Ben’s internal monologue:

One reason I love reading is because of the way I am able to connect well with characters by reading their thoughts, unlike in shows or movies. This was absolutely the case with IWYATB. I felt like Ben was a lot like me because 90% of their thoughts stay in their head and they usually say about 10%. There were a few times I was reading their response to someone asking a question and I’d have to remind myself that the quotation marks were only on the first part and the rest were their thoughts. I think without being able to read Ben’s thoughts, a lot of their growth and character arc would not be understood the same. 

Their age:

 I like to say that I don’t have one favourite book, just a bunch of books I read at the perfect time, and while that’s a bit cheesy I think that it is true. Ben is 18 which as a recently turned 20-year old (whattt?) I am able to relate to as that wasn’t that long ago for me. I think this is a really interesting age for change because one is leaving the often tightly controlled environment of high school for university or time off school which allows them a lot more freedom. So with that in mind, I was able to find ways I related to Ben or used to and could imagine how they might change in the future. One thing I related to was Ben always downplaying their accomplishments when Nathan would compliment their artwork.

But I don’t think he realizes how difficult it can be to forget all the mistakes when I know they’re my fault. When I know I should’ve caught them. “It’s hard to be proud of something you messed up, even if everything around it is perfect.”

I remember doing this a lot in high school and even though I’ve mostly broken out of it, I find myself doing it in my self-talk from time to time. I guess being able to relate to Ben’s actions just made it very real to me, and also made me think of how a sequel to the story would be great to see how Ben is able to grow more comfortable in their identity after leaving high school and going on tour with Mariam. (I just learnt there is actually a short story that takes place after IWYATB, so I will be reading that ASAP)

Also, this age factor really highlighted how shitty it is for many LGBTQ+ teens who are not able to be themselves because school is often not a safe place. Another thing I thought of was fashion and developing a sense of style which I think goes under a big transformation after high school. I had worn a uniform all through high school, so at first actually having to dress myself for university was a little daunting, and it’s only now that I feel I have been able to develop a sense of style. In Ben’s case, they have a chance to start anew though there is still a lot of societal pressure preventing them from dressing how they would like to and Hannah mostly does their shopping. I’d love to see how their style evolves in a potential sequel… (Hey Mason Deaver??).

The mental health representation:

From reading lots of YA specifically fantasy, more often than not characters go through some type of trauma. However, they do not often get helped or have this treated, even in most of the contemporary books I’ve read. I Wish You All The Best was completely different in that Ben attends therapy as well as takes medication for their anxiety and depression. I think this is a very positive view on treating mental health which is something I needed to see represented in a book. The novel really captures Ben’s anxiety right from the beginning pages as they plan to come out to their parents, as well as in their interactions with people where they often wonder if they are telling them the truth, and they often apologize for things they don’t need to. Dr. Turner usually catches on in these moments and provides Ben with reassurance, which is sometimes all they need. It also seems realistic as Ben is not magically healed or anything, but instead finds ways to cope throughout the novel. 

Sibling relationships:

I think I loved Hannah and Ben’s “sib” relationship the most. It definitely wasn’t perfect but I’m glad they had the scene with Dr. Turner where they were able to finally talk about how her departure 10 years before affected Ben. Though a terrible situation led to it, I am glad they were able to rekindle their relationship and both leave their shitty parents behind. I love how Hannah and Thomas became Ben’s new “parents.” Also, Hannah helping Ben come out to Dr. Turner, and the painting nails scene both got me good.

Nathan & Ben (good ol’ friends to lovers)

Watching Nathan and Ben’s relationship develop was beautiful, but painful at the same time with Nathan often unintentionally misgendering Ben. I really got hooked reading to find out when they would finally confess their feelings (I was like this boy obviously likes you… I mean after that Troye Sivan song moment, are you still questioning it?) and for Ben to come out to Nathan. I really enjoyed reading about their relationship and how supportive Nathan was of Ben as a friend and finally, as their boyfriend. 

If you’ve also read I Wish You All The Best, I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings in the comments below!

Review cover photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash

January & February Wrap Up

Hi everyone!

This week, I will be talking about all the books I read during January & February and what I rated them. So far, 2021 has been a great reading year for me and I am excited for the books I am planning to read next!

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I actually have written an in-depth review of this book that you can find here if you want to know more about my thoughts! While it was enjoyable, there were some parts that just fell flat for me. I read this book with a few friends including Kayla at Musings of a Middle Child and discussed it in our little book club over FaceTime! It was definitely worth it for the fun discussions we were able to have.


Parachutes by Kelly Yang

Rating: 5 out of 5.

To be honest, half of why I picked up this book was for the pretty cover catching my eye at the library and I was pleasantly blown away by the story! It follows two girls, Claire, a parachute – a student sent to study in America from China by her wealthy parents – and Dani, her host sister whose financial situation is a lot different. In the beginning, the book reminded me a little of Crazy Rich Asians, but while the story is quite different, it is still an interesting look at privilege, family, and power. The synopsis also relates it to Gossip Girl, and I could definitely see fans of the show loving this.

This book surprised me with how fast-paced it was despite being almost 500 pages, and I found myself flipping through it eager to learn what would happen. The book takes place in alternating POVS which I am a sucker for, especially when their stories coincide! If anything, I would have liked to see more of the relationship growth between Claire and Dani, but it was still really interesting to see how their separate stories and situations intersect.

TW: This book touches on sexual assault and rape so that is important to be aware of before reading (there is a trigger warning at the start of the book). I really admired the strength of the author who wrote a lot of the book using parts of her own experience which she outlines in the author’s note.

This was truly an incredible read and I would recommend older readers who are aware of the trigger warnings to pick it up!

The Secret History

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I mentioned this book in my dark academia post! This was the second book I read with my book club. The Secret History is richly detailed, which made it a bit of a longer and more difficult book to discuss, but it was really beneficial to be able to discuss some of the more complex concepts in the book!

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a super quick and easy read which was needed after finishing The Secret History! Read my thoughts on this book in my review here!

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’m always a little hesitant to pick up classics, but I am glad I gave this one a chance! It was fairly easy to read and understand, plus the intro in this edition of the book gave a lot of context for the novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a really interesting look at vanity and narcissism. I also just loved the supernatural elements of the painting. As soon as I can, I will be watching the movie with Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray. I’ve seen so many Marauders fan edits on Tik Tok with clips from the movie as a young Sirius and I’m dying to actually watch it!

Julie and the Phantoms: The Edge of Great

Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1 Novelization by Micol Ostow

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I think I’ve mentioned my love for the show Julie and the Phantoms on here a few times already… So obviously when there was a novelization of the show announced, I needed to buy it. I was super excited when it arrived and it was still a fun read (basically like rewatching the show but reading), but there were too many good parts left out that it ended up being a disappointment. (I can’t believe they called it “The Edge of Great” then only alluded to that scene!)

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Black Flamingo follows Michael a mixed-race gay teen who finds his place in his university drag society. This novel is unlike any that I’ve read before as it is told in verse. As I am taking a poetry class at the moment, it made me more conscious of the pauses and spaces in the text and the additional meanings this brought to the story. Michael being a poet himself in the book made it feel like a natural choice for the novel, it couldn’t have been told in a better way. While romance is an element in this coming-of-age novel, I personally really liked how it didn’t take away from the focus of the book which is identity and the importance of a sense of self.

Here is a Book Tok video in which I rate all these books with the help of Hannah Montana’s singing:

How has your reading gone so far this year? Have you read any of the same books as I did?

The 9 Books I’ve Read in Self-Isolation: March Reading Wrap Up

In the past couple weeks I’ve have been self-isolating, and in order to keep myself entertained I’ve been 100% keeping up to date with ALL of my school work! Oh wait, no, sorry. I have actually been keeping up to date with about 0% (maybe 1%?) of my school work. What I’ve actually been doing is reading a lot of books and watching some movies and binging some TV. However, today I’m going to be focusing on the books that I’ve read. Mainly because there are 9 (NINE!)

1.) I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

This first book is actually one I read as part of a book club! It’s essentially a “soft sci-fi” which pretty much means it’s a contemporary book with some sci-fi elements mixed in. Following three teens on the journeys they each embark on after earth is contacted by aliens, telling everyone they have seven days until hey are put on trial. I enjoyed this book, but found myself disconnected from the characters due to the way that it was written. And the ending kind of feels like the author just stopped. That being said, I would actually recommend this to anyone looking for an “end of the world” type thing, especially seeing out current situation.

2,3,4.) Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy, Chain of Gold and Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare and others

The reason I have lumped these all together is because they are all part of a much larger series of books known to many as The Shadow Hunter Chronicles. Cassandra Clare has three (going on 4/5 now) complete series, as well as three short story compilations that follow characters known as Shadowhunters — humans with angel blood who fight demons. The problem with the three books I’ve read this past month is that I can’t really recommend them to anyone who hasn’t already read her books, because they do contain spoilers for her other series! That being said, I really enjoyed all three books and if you’ve read Clare’s other books and liked them, I would definitely suggest checking them out. And if you haven’t read any of her books, check out either The Infernal Devices or The Mortal Instruments first.

5.) A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

This is an extremely sweet as well as heart wrenching — but also warming — book. Following a young muslim girl who moves to a new town just one year after the 9/11 attacks. chronicling her year at a new school, the new people she meets, as well as the break dancing club she starts with. her brother. I really enjoyed this book, especially because I have never read anything with this subject matter. Being an own voices story, inspired by the author’s adolescence (break dancing and everything!)

6.) Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell

This book isn’t really a book, and is rather two (very) short stories compiled into two bindings. The first Midnights follows a girl who pines after her best friend and has to watch him kiss a different girl at midnight every single New Years Eve. And the second story, Kindred Spirits, follows a young girl who waits in line for the first movie in the new Star Wars sequel trilogy. And the trials and tribulations of sleeping outside a movie theatre for two days and with two people who don’t know — despite the fact that they share a love for Star Wars. Now I’m not a HUGE fan of extremely short stories like these, mainly because I’m an extremely character based reader. I love to get to know characters, and by the time I got to know these ones — the story was over. That being said I really enjoyed the second story, being a Star Wars fan myself. There were lots of cute little references mixed in that I was able to enjoy.

7.) In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund

This next book I read was yet again for the book club i’m a part of! inspired by the board game Clue, this is a modernized murder mystery. Taking place in a fancy boarding school and following the few students who get trapped in one of the school buildings when there is a horrible storm. The only way I can describe this book is fun. It’s extremely easy to read and gets it’s point across easily. My only complaint is the different points of view that it’s told in throughout the story.

8.) All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

This is an audio book that I ended up listening to as I cleaned my room one day. I signed up for the Scribd free one month promotion, and chose a book I saw a few people talking about online. Putting a modern twist on Agatha Christie novels mixed with The Breakfast Club. X teens are invited to a scholarship dinner with the mayor, but he never shows. With the door slamming shut and trapping them in the room, stuck with a bomb, a syringe, and a note saying: they have an our to kill someone, or everyone dies. Although, unfortunately I just don’t think it was for me. I had trouble believing the overall “reveal” and like many of the other books I read this month — I didn’t love the way that it was written.

9.) If We Were Villains by M.L Rio

The last book I read this month is one I have been DYING to read. Following the 7 teens that make up the fourth years of a very prestigious Shakespearean theatre program. It goes back and forth between their 4th year and ten years in the future when one of the students is being released from jail, for murder. I really really enjoyed this one. It is so pretentious, but that’s something I really enjoy — so if you get annoyed at 21 year olds who quote Shakespeare in everyday conversations it’s not for you. I will also say that I started to read this one day, tried to stop, but then ended up staying up until 3am so I could read the whole thing. But if you don’t like Shakespeare, this is probably not for you.

So there we have it! the 9 books I read in March! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and healthy. If anything this is the best time for us to be turning to things like literature and film, as they help us escape the world outside.

The post The 9 Books I’ve Read in Self-Isolation: March Reading Wrap Up appeared first on [NOT SO] ELOQUENT EMMA .

Process Post 7 – Feedback

Peer reviews are daunting. Completing a review for someone else is difficult, especially when you’re not necessarily an expert on the content (blogging), or when you, yourself have a blog that will receive a review in return… in exchange for a grade. They are also challenging to read when you’re under scrutiny; will they like what I have to say? What will they think about my photos? Will the content of my writing be clear, offensive, engaging or just plainly boring? I feel this is one of the issues we face as bloggers (I’m calling myself a blogger now, apparently); personalizing a space to reflect yourself and your interests, then publishing it for the universe to troll, critique and destroy. Blogging is simple, but it is not easy. What you post, share or reveal is vulnerable to what others think, and what others think can be as destructive, like Cyberhate, which you can read about here,  as it is liberating, enjoyable and of course, democratic (see a variety of #Posiel posts debating this). I argue for.

For the latest review I received, I was delighted to attain significant positive feedback from Jill’s Book Blog, which you can access here, but also some constructive feedback that will greatly benefit ReRouted. In being transparent, of course I take delight in reading her humbling feedback, but I truly value her primary suggestion that images/photos within the posts would better serve the overall layout and theme of the blog, as well as make the reading more approachable and intriguing. With this in mind, the process in which I encountered this week was incorporating photos directly into the blog and process posts, which involved consideration of suitability for the post and aesthetics.

Because much of the photography on my blog is of myself, I wanted to balance the images with ones that are less personalized, but still reflective of the content and overall theme of my experience of change. I feel that my blog is very personal, so in seeking greater balance, I am enhancing relatability and hopefully broadening the appeal of my content by doing this. I have done a lot of thinking about how my writing is interpreted by others, but have neglected the idea for how images can or haven’t been doing the same. Brown University has a fascinating presentation on why people perceive text differently, which made me think, perhaps my text isn’t what I think, and if so, or even if it is, how do photos support either conclusion?

In consideration of images, I wanted to be cognizant of colour, size and focusing on finding relatively simple images that support the writing as opposed to detracting from it. Likewise, I wanted the images to be a part of the writing itself, so as the image itself can offer some greater context or meaning of the conversation. I want the image to be an anchor in the post that organically reveals some of the content. I feel this is important because for many readers, busy ones especially, as well as keyboard warriors on the prowl, photos provide a quick glimpse into what’s new, relevant and a part of my thoughts and life. I also took some of Jill’s advice in having the layout of images reflect that of the landing page; like an advent calendar, which is what I was kind of going for from the conception of this blog. Notorious blogger, Neil Patel has some great insights on selecting images which you can read here. Additionally, Shout Me Loud outlines several reasons why including images on your blog is valuable, which you can also see here.

There is still some general tidying-up that needs to be done to enhance upload speeds, function and layout. I have been working on paper to come up with something a bit more user-friendly and hope to make these changes soon. I’m hoping to implement some more major edits soon, as I would like the blog to be a little more polished. That said, Jill’s comments regarding her appreciation for the content and the theme or feel of the blog is reassuring that I’m on the right track… for some people at least. For others, they can go here for entertainment value.

I want to extend a kind thanks to Jill for providing such a positive and helpful review; I only hope that I offered her even half the same in return. As many people as blogs reach, the act of blogging can actually be quite lonely. You are trying to build a community, but the vacuum in which you do so is a cyclone within yourself and your own interests. Your reach is far in terms of potential, but you’re in isolation, behind a screen, sharing what it is that you find shareable. This in and of itself is intimidating – here you are, in front of the world, one in which can judge you without repercussion, offering your thoughts, feelings and fears. The blogosphere is yuge, but like the universe, there are many constellations and systems to discover, view and get lost in.

Peer Review – 2

I had the pleasure of peer reviewing Jill’s Book Blog, which you can find here. From the onset, this is an engaging site, as it explores accessible reading, an aspect of publishing that the majority of the population is somewhat unfamiliar. Jill’s Book Blog is completely transparent; the creator offers insights and perspectives on the development and design of a blog through an access aide. As Jill articulates here, there are certain challenges one faces when visually impaired, with design in particular being an understandable barrier. As I am not overly committed to reading books, especially during undergraduate where we do have a high quota of readings, I was, at first thought, somewhat uninterested in the content of this blog; however, in exploring the pages and being introduced to the works under review, an appreciation was established and is hopefully reflected in this review.  Here, I have divided my review by examining the content, design and overall impression.

I find book reviews challenging. To take a relatively long piece of writing and condense it into a concise and engaging review is difficult, so I feel that Jill’s Book Blog tackles an ambitious topic, especially for a weekly update. Likewise, in attempting to reach her goal of 96 books in 365 days, time is of the essence, and here, she does this well. I find the writing to be clear, effective and brief, and despite this, she negates jeopardizing the offering of a polished summary and well-written opinion about the book. There are some minor grammatical errors that are revealed through missing commas and dashes, as well as some repetition, but overall the posts are strong and any wordiness can be reflective of the vernacular a blog can sometimes evoke. I appreciate Jill’s sentiment that “I feel like I have become stuck in the formal, uninventive, dry essay/assignment writing and organizing we have to do in University, that I perhaps lost my creativity and imagination,” and understand how the concept of blogging for a course is refreshing. One post that I found highly entertaining was this interview with Batman.  Using a strong sense of humor, playful language and clear objective of interpreting a novel through Bruce Wayne’s understanding of crime, Jill effectively entices the reader to explore the content afforded throughout her blog. I would like to see this extended with more links to other reviews or related-sites.

I like the design of this blog; it is simple, clear, focused and easy to navigate. I can’t really relate to the challenges in creating and maintaining the design via an access aide, but I can certainly appreciate the effort that was made to vocalize the desired outcomes. I like the black border, which in most cases I do not, but here it reflects the pages of a book. I am also fond of the number of tags for each post, as for me, when creators attribute too many tags, the page starts to look cluttered. There are two things I would like to see considered for alteration. First, I think that Jill has two important tag-lines for her blog; “Adventures of Accessible Reading” and “96 Books in 365 Days;” however, the latter is difficult to locate, and for me, is one of the interesting aspects of the blog. I would prefer to see it alongside “Adventures of Accessible Reading.” Also, I am not entirely fond of the main image of the lagoon and book waterfall. I appreciate the creativity of the books being employed as an abundant fall, but the image is somewhat unclear and too low of quality. I am also less enthusiastic about the type of image; I feel that the natural wonder-like photo does not really reflect the types of books being reviewed. This is of course, personal preference, but for me, I would like to see something different.

Overall, I like this blog. I found it incredibly approachable and accessible (pardon the pun), and unlike some opinion-based blogs, I feel that I truly learned something, or became interested in learning more about accessible reading. In fact, I would value further links to other resources outside of just the book, not just about the book itself, but how accessible reading is made available. I don’t need to read more about accessibility on this blog, but resources that are vetted by someone with a visual impairment would be interesting. Likewise, more links in general would be intriguing; I would like to know who Jill agrees with, disagrees with or what other books the focal one could be related to. One could also link to where to find the book, which I like about this book blog found here.

Jill’s Book Blog is a well-developed and organized site that provides visitors with approachable and strong synopses of various books. With some minor edits and slight alterations to some design aspects, this blog is very appealing and worth revisiting – for 96 days.

The Wolf Road, by Beth Lewis: A Review

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis Published by Crown Publishers, Penguin Random House Elka hasn’t had much luck in her life. Between the nightmare of the thunderheads that keep her awake at night, and the raging memories behind the locked doors in her memory, she can count the people she’s cared for on a single…