Kernels of Nonsense: Keeping Up with Comments

Kernels of Nonsense is an original feature on my blog where I talk about random bookish and blogging related topics. Despite the fact that I haven’t posted one of these in a while, I actually have a few sitting in my drafts. It’s just been a matter of finding the time to edit and finding where to fit them into my blogging schedule. Today I’m talking about something we bloggers don’t really talk about a lot. Comments! I’m talking the stress that comes with keeping up with comments, how time-consuming comments can be, and what I’ve ultimately decided to do at this point in my blogging journey.

When I first became a book blogger, I wanted my blog to emphasize engagement. I wanted other people to comment on my blog and I wanted to show support to them by commenting on theirs. I ended up signing a “bloggers commenting back” pledge to signal my commitment to commenting. You’ve probably seen the widget on my sidebar at some point. I’ve met so many great bloggers through my blog’s comment section and theirs. One of the most rewarding parts of blogging is the interaction we have with others and discovering like-minded people and those in general who make us think deeper about what we are reading. I’m at the point where I’m more likely to view a blog post’s success based on the number of comments versus likes or views.

I’ve always said book reviews are the number one hardest post to put together, but when it comes to time spent on my blog throughout the week, I spend the most time replying to comments and commenting back. It doesn’t feel so overwhelming when there are only 5 to 10 comments I need to catch up on, but there are times when I’m away from my blog for a couple of days and I accumulate dozens of comments. When you factor in the time spent creating posts and reading, there isn’t always a ton of time to get to all these comments. I end up putting off something else in order to make sure I stay up to date. You might have noticed lately that I haven’t been as committed to my comments section. I can go a week without getting to comments on a particular post and occasionally I haven’t replied at all. This is completely unlike me, but something I’m trying to let myself do more of.

Sometimes replying to comments and commenting back on your posts is the only “blog hopping” I get to do throughout a given month. I always feel like a bit of a bad blogger when I’m not initiating interactions with you, but sometimes it’s really difficult to find the time when all my free time is being sucked up by the various aspects of blogging. I wish I had more time to explore your book reviews, recommendation lists, discussion posts, etc. But time always seems to slip away.

So I’m going to be making the conscious decision to cut back on my commenting back. This doesn’t mean I won’t be commenting back. I will still be doing this, but I don’t want to keep stressing about it. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to catch up on comments and when a few days go by, I feel so overwhelmed trying to get a reply and blog visit plus comment in for everyone. If I don’t reply to comments on my blog, that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen them. I might end up resorting to the like button to show you I’ve seen you. I’m not exactly sure how this will all translate, but I do want you do know that I’m still committed to visiting back even if I don’t always do and even if I don’t reply to your comments here. I’m hoping this means I have more time to blog hop because it’s one aspect of blogging that I’ve always wanted to be better at.

I low-key worry about the bloggers who won’t comment on my blog anymore because they can no longer count on me commenting back on their blogs, but there is nothing I can do about that because this decision is about me and how much I believe I can handle.

Do you ever stress about comments? What’s your policy on commenting back? Let’s discuss in the comments.

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Kernels of Nonsense: 2019 Preorders So Far (Part II)


Kernels of Nonsense is a feature on my blog where I discuss random bookish and blogging topics. You may recall Part I of this topic (Kernels of Nonsense: 2019 Preorders So Far). I should have called it Part I from the get-go because I knew there was no way it would encompass all my 2019 preorders. And look, here we are again, because like I said, I love to preorder books. I’m also low-key into preorder incentives, especially character cards. You’ll likely see Part III of this post late summer/early fall because there are so many books coming out that I’m going to be so stoked for and that preorder button is just so hard to resist. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

1. The Moon Within by Aida Salazar (Preordered February 21, 2018/Release Date: February 26, 2019) I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of this one and it is now one of my favorite MG books. I loved how open and accepting this one was and Aida Salazar is the sweetest, so after I gave my ARC away, I preordered a hardback. I am so glad I did because the finished copy is so beautiful. The illustration on the cover is one of my favorites.

2. The True Queen by Zen Cho  (Preordered March 8, 2019/Release Date: March 21, 2019) One of my favorite books I own is my hardback copy of Sorcerer to the Crown. It took me a long time to hunt down a copy that wasn’t going to cost me my first born. With this sequel, I preordered the paperback, but the release date kept creeping closer and I kept coveting the hardback. Decided to cancel my original preorder and splurge a little on the hardcover edition of The True Queen because I didn’t want to regret not getting it when it was so readily available (like I did with the first).

3. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo (Preordered March 9, 2019/Release Date: May 7, 2019) I have a mighty need for all the cute contemporaries starring PoC and Maurene Goo has become one of my go-to authors. I don’t think the synopsis tells us enough but I am getting a Roman Holiday kind of vibe where the reporter knows the heroine’s true identity, but she doesn’t know he knows and she gets a day to be herself until she finds out the truth. Such a bittersweet ending. Hopefully this one is more sweet than bitter.

4. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (Preordered March 9, 2018/Release Date: May 7, 2019) – My most anticipated 2019 sophomore novel is Elizabeth Acevedo’s With the Fire on High. The Poet X felt like a breath of fresh air and I am ready for more if her storytelling. It features a young mom, which I can’t recall every reading in a YA, trying to achieve her goal of becoming a chef. Is it weird that I’m super excited for the food descriptions? I’m excited for the food descriptions.

5. Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali (Preordered March 19, 2019/Release Date: April 30, 2019) – I feel like I need to scream more about how much I loved Saints and Misfits. You ever read a book and wish the character was real so you could be best friends with them? That’s how I feel about Janna. I am so excited that we are going to get a sequel, but before we do, Love from A to Z is coming out. It has charm written all over it and didn’t I say I wanted all the charming contemporaries starring PoC? I actually got offered an ARC of this and am currently reading and loving this one.

6. Nocturna by Maya Motayne (Preordered March 19, 2019/Release Date: May 7, 2019) Latinx-based fantasies are scarce, so when I learned about this one, I quickly added it to the TBR and have been dreaming about it ever since. This is Maya Motayne’s debut novel, Nocturna, and this year, I want to make sure that I am consistently supporting new Latinx writers (and also veterans) and buying their books is one of important way to do so. Also the cover is gorgeous and I want to desperately take pictures of it.

7. There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon (Preordered: March 19, 2019/Release Date: May 14, 2019) – Also high on my contemporary go-to list is Sandhya Menon. When Dimple Met Rishi is one of my very favorite contemporary novels. Menon has a way of making my laugh and smile and every time (every two times) I’ve picked up a novel from her, I’ve had a blast. I can’t wait to meet Sweetie and perhaps catch up a little on what Dimple and Rishi have been up to.

8. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno (Preordered: March 19, 2019/Release Date: May 14, 2019) – A contemporary that features a Latinx MC, involves curses, first love, and an emphasis on family? Yes, please. I got a hold of an ARC of this one and it was absolutely perfect. Contemporaries that manages to balance romance and family drama are always high on my favorites list. I can’t wait to share my review. Also, the preorder campaign for this one is so cute:

9. Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (Preordered: April 19, 2019/Release Date: June 4, 2019) – I have been waiting for this P&P retelling for more than a year now. It was released in Canada first and I’ve been hearing nothing but amazing things. Having read two other P&P retellings in the last few months has made me even more excited for this one and numerous conversations with Kaeley @ Spoilers May Apply finally convinced me to just give in. So I gave in.

Also note: I mentioned preordering We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal in my previous post. I ended up cancelling my original preorder and preordering the B&N exclusive copy instead. I’ve never done this, so this should summarize how excited I am for this one.

What’s the last book you preordered? How many books do you preorder in a year? Are you a fan of preorder campaigns? Let’s talk in the comments!

Kernels of Nonsense: 2019 Preorders So Far


Kernels of Nonsense is a feature on my blog where I discuss random bookish and blogging topics. It’s my goal in 2019 to put together more of these posts and hey, this is already my third one this year. I recently was trying to figure out how many books I could preorder in 2019 without feeling like I had a problem. Turns out, I think I have a problem. I love preordering books and I don’t think I’m ever going to stop. I often use gift cards I get for my birthday or Christmas to preorder, so it always feels like I am giving myself lots of little gifts throughout the year at no cost to myself. Here’s a little secret, sometimes I buy myself gift cards to use for preorders so I’m not taken by surprised later on when I inevitably forget I used my debit card to buy them. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but my guess is a pretty big chunk of my book buys throughout the year are preorders. We are only a month into 2019 and I have already got a good amount of preorders lined up. So today I thought I’d share with you my 2019 preorders so far. As you can see, I like to get a head start on my preorders, taking advantage of those holiday deals that come around every year. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

1. The Wicked King by Holly Black (Preordered November 22, 2018/Release Date: January 8, 2019) – I was pretty sure I was going to preorder this one as soon as I finished The Cruel Prince. I was really good at picking this one up right away too, motivated by the need to avoid spoilers and a buddy read, I started this the day after its release. After finishing The Wicked King, I can pretty much guarantee I will be preordering the third novel.

2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi  (Preordered November 22, 2018/Release Date: January 15, 2019) – I preordered this way back in November because Roshani Chokshi (that’s it, that’s my reasoning) and I am beyond excited she is starting a new series. I ended up reading an eARC of this one because I forgot I signed up to be a part of the blog tour, but that did not lessen my excitement to finally get my hands on a copy of this one. I could just stare at the cover all day.

3. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Preordered November 26, 2018/Release Date: February 26, 2019) – I got a really really really good deal on this one from Target. It’s my most anticipated 2019 debut. This is one of those occasions when you don’t know someone personally, but you’ve followed them on Twitter for years and are just so happy for their success. I can’t wait to get to this one.

4. Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard (Preordered December 10, 2018/Release Date: February 12, 2019) – You might have seen my ARC review of this one (click here!), but before I got my hands on said ARC I had preordered this one. I have been waiting two years for this book. I fell in love with these characters with Truthwitch and Windwitch and have been counting down the days for when I get to return to this world. I can’t wait for everyone else to read this third installment. I’m already thinking about the fourth book.

5. The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton (Preordered December 10, 2018/Release Date: March 5, 2019) – I can’t praise The Belles enough. I loved how subtly creepy this one was. I knew it was about how deceptive beauty can be, but Dhonielle Clayton took it to a whole new level and after that ending, I am desperate for The Everlasting Rose. Also, look at how gorgeous this cover is. Both these covers deserve to be framed.

6. Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhouse (Preordered December 28, 2018/Release Date: April 23, 2019) – If you had any doubts about my love for Trail of Lightning, let me extinguish them for one right here. I don’t know how Roanhouse did it, but when I was reading Trail of Lightning, it felt like the kind of book I’ve been waiting my whole life for. The first book I bought after receiving Christmas gift cards was Storm of Locusts. The only way I will survive the wait is by rereading Trail of Lightning.

7. Internment by Samira Ahmed (Preordered: January 5, 2019/Release Date: March 19, 2019) – There’s always that ongoing discussion about which writers should tackle which subjects and I’m usually on the side of #ownvoices because as much as I’d like white writers to write more diversely, I’m convinced that publishing thinks having white writers writing about PoC characters means publishing is becoming more diverse (just check the numbers in kidlit when it comes to how many books with PoC characters are written by authors of color vs. white people). Another author who will remain nameless wrote a book about a teen girl who finds a way to overcome prejudice by helping a Muslim teen escape the government’s internment camps. This author is white and it is this blogger’s opinion that anything dealing with Muslims in concentration camps (which if you have taken the temperature of Islamophobia in this country isn’t as implausible as one might believe) should be written by a Muslim author for several reason. One of which is authenticity, but another is they are more likely to avoid centering the white gaze and playing into a white savior narrative. That was the long answer, but in short, I will be supporting this #ownvoices book instead.

8. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Preordered: January 20, 2019/Release Date: May 14, 2019) – Have I mentioned how much a sucker I am for the enemies-to-lovers trope? It makes me all weak in the knees. I was going to wait a little longer to decide whether or not to preorder this debut, but every time I see something on the TL about it, I get more and more excited. I just gave in to all those feelings. Sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind.

Do you preorder books? What persuades you a book is worth preordering? Which 2019 books have you already preordered? Let’s talk in the comments!

Kernels of Nonsense: Favorite Four-Star Reads of 2018

Welcome to another addition of Kernels of Nonsense, where I discuss random book and blogging related topics. With all the end of the year lists that came out, I always feel like we miss out on giving credit to books that might not have earned five stars from us, but which were nonetheless amazing four-star reads. In my experience, there are certain four-star reads that might have been five-stars if I had picked them up at a different time or ones that I could potential rate five-stars upon a second reading (at the end of 2018, I picked up Naomi Novik’s Uprooted again, originally a four-star read for me, but after this reread I had to bump it up to five-stars). For this post, I’m listing my ten favorite four-star reads of 2018. This was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be because there were some amazing four-star reads in 2018. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

1. Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova’s Brooklyn Brujas series has incorporated so many things that I love with Latinx characters, magic, and sisters at its center. With Bruja Born, Córdova hit her stride, writing a sequel that managed to improve on the first. I am eagerly awaiting (2020?!) the final book in the series.

Read my review of Zoraida Córdova’s Bruja Born.

2. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Marie Machado has a truly unique voice. Her short-story collection Her Body and Other Parties was thought-provoking, eerie, and sometimes shocking. There is an adaption underway for this one and I cannot be more exited to see these stories on screen.

Read my review of Carmen Marie Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.

3. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

S.A. Chakraborty’s debut The City of Brass has some of the most vivid world-building I’ve come across. It was also one of the few adult fantasy novels I picked up in 2018 and gave me a hunger for more. I cannot wait to pick up the sequel to this one which is currently on its way to me (hurry up, mail!)

Read my mini-review of S.A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass.

4. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles is as stunning on the inside as it is on the outside. Clayton managed to appeal to all of my senses with her luscious prose and posed some interesting questions when it comes to how much value we place on beauty. If you haven’t gotten to this one, do so quick, the conclusion to this duology releases in only a couple of months.

Read my review of Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles.

5. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

I think Lily Anderson is one of those rare writers who can write pretty much write anything. I loved both her previous contemporary novels (The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You and Not Now, Not Ever), and when I heard about Undead Girl Gang, which features a fat, Mexican, Wiccan MC, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

Read my review of Lily Anderson’s Undead Girl Gang.

6. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

If I had to make a list of the most epic novels I read, Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone would be high on my list. This is one of those books that I think will be credited with ushering in a new age of fantasy novels.

Read my review of Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone.

7. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

I buddy read N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season with Annemieke @ A Dance With Books and am so glad I did. This book has some of the best world-building I’ve come across and it’s partially told in second-person POV and to my surprise, I kind of loved it. I still need to continue this series, but hopefully soon.

Read my mini-review of N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season.

8. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

More people need to pick up Courtney Alameda’s Pitch Dark. A combination of horror and scifi, this novel left me wanting more. I really enjoyed both of this novel’s leads and wouldn’t mind revisiting this world again.

Read my mini-review of Courtney Alameda’s Pitch Dark.

9. The Bear and the Nightingale by Kathrine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden was one of the most beautiful books I read in 2018. It’s one of those fantasies that I was completely swept up in. It takes its time unfolding, but once it does, it’s a really lovely story.

Read my review of Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale.

10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince impressed me on so many levels. I actually picked this one up twice in 2018, buddy reading it at the end of the year with Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories. I loved reading about this cruel, but beautiful Faerie world, but fell in love completely with the ambitious Jude.

Read my review of Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince.

Have you read any of these books? Which 2018 four-star reads really stands out to you? Let’s discuss in the comments.