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!

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Kernels of Nonsense: I’ve Been Bad, Bad Book Blogger

Welcome to another edition of Kernels of Nonsense. Here I discuss random bookish and blogging topics and hopefully start a dialogue with you. As always, it’s the beginning of the year and so I am aiming to do more of these posts, but only time will tell. Today I’m discussing reasons why I am a bad book blogger. These are aspects of book blogging I often see other people excel at and in which I fall short. These are areas where I’d personally like to do better, but more often than not, I miss the mark. Hope you enjoy this self-deprecating post and maybe it will make you feel a little more comfortable sharing a few of your blogger failings with me.

1. I Suck at Blog Hopping

Do you know how much I appreciate the bloggers who consistently comment on my posts? I appreciate them so much. They make me feel heard and make me feel like I am doing something right as a book blogger. I try my best to always comment back and usually succeed. The problem is me initiating the interaction. There are days when I am exhausted replying to comments and commenting back or I’ve just finished putting together a post, and when I think about blog hopping, I have nothing left in the mental gas tank. I do manage to do some blog hopping throughout the month, but it’s never as much as I want to do.

2. I’m Not a Bookstagrammer or on Facebook, Nor Do I Have a YouTube Channel

Anyone who knows anything about book blogging knows that right now Instagram is the place to be. Way back when I first got into social media, tumblr became my home and though tumblr is all but dead, I still find myself using the app whenever I snap a few bookish pictures. I never made the leap to Instagram and now it feels too late. I also know I lack the talent, imagination, and time required to take good enough pictures for the place anyway. I am one of the few people who has never been on Facebook, not even for my blog. Booktubers are a big thing as well. Sometimes it feels like this is where publishers are willing to invest time and money and us traditional book bloggers get left in the dust. While I don’t think I’d be bad in front of a camera (that’s a lie; who even likes their face?), I am kind of a perfectionist and I can see myself obsessing over the little things in a video and then scrapping the whole thing because I’m so dissatisfied. I don’t know if I’m missing out not being on these platforms, but every time a publisher asked for numbers for these, I feel like I am.

3. I Don’t Interact Enough on Twitter

I actually do have a Twitter account, but I always feel like I’m not very good at it. Some people are so good at shouting about their favorite books all the time and I feel productive if I mention them once or twice. I’m terrible at interacting on Twitter as well. I do a decent amount (this is the lie I tell myself), but let me tell you, there are an innumerable amount of times where I have typed up a reply and then promptly deleted it. In fact, I often type up tweets and then end up deleting them. I have the most fun on Twitter when I do bookish chats, but it never feels like I do enough throughout the year.

4. I Don’t Come Up With Original Blogging Ideas Throughout the Year

You know those bloggers who are super creative and they have some incredibly unique series of posts going on at one time or another? How do they do it? Sometimes I’ve got nothing and it just feels like my blog is staying afloat with the same ol’ memes and reviews. I’d love to incorporate more original content, but I lack the graphic designer skills, I can’t put together a playlist because I’m still obsessively listening to only Hamilton, and any readathons or blog ideas I have crumble in my head at the very thought that no one will end up joining. Any original ideas I do have are just being recycled by me every year, so they aren’t new.

5. I Struggle All the Time With Reviewing

I’m like a little boat that keeps sputtering and sputtering and can’t quite get itself to move forward. Reviewing is something I really do enjoy, but it’s also the most difficult aspect of blogging in my opinion. I can put together a meme post real quick and even this post right here is taking less time than most of my mini-review posts. Perhaps it is because I am a perfectionist that I struggle so much with the reviews. Sometimes it’s that first sentence I can’t quite find the words for, other times I am lost trying to find the right words for a synopsis, and sometimes I just lack any kind of motivation required to write a full review. Mini-reviews have helped in this area, but I still kind of feel like a failure when I’m not pumping out a decent amount of full reviews throughout the month.

Bonus: A few blogging activities that I’ve always been interested in, but usually fail to join because I’m so good at being a bad book blogger – blog tours, readathons, author interviews, street teams, book conferences, and author signings.

Do these failings sounds familiar? Do you have any advice at getting better in any of these areas? Any blogging failure you’d like to get off of your chest? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Kernels of Nonsense: In Which I Tell You How I Really Feel…

Kernels of Nonsense is now a place for discussion posts and any assortment of other random book & blogging related topics I come up with. This post was inspired by Amber Elise @ Du Livre‘s confession post Blogger Confessions. If you haven’t gotten a chance to read her candid confessions, I encourage you to do so. It’s so refreshing to see another blogger’s unapologetic take on certain subjects. The point of this post is to get a little more honest than I usually am and help you get a better glimpse of who I am as most of these are views are ones I rarely ever share openly.

When I was first inspired by this idea, I started a list of things I wanted to mention on my phone and so much just spilled out of me. I had no idea I felt so strongly about so many things. As it were, I will probably do another post like this one in the future, so this is just a tiny glimpse into some of my opinions.

1. Let’s just dive in. I sometimes wonder if Leigh Bardugo will ever write a book that takes place in a different world than her Grishaverse. I love Six of Crows. It’s one of my favorite books. When everyone was celebrating a Nikolai duology, I was sighing heavily, knowing I would need to go back and finish the Grisha Trilogy, so I’m up to date on the characters (but do I really want to?) when I really just want to see what she can do with a different world. I have all the books in the Grisha Trilogy, but the more time that passes, the less interested I am in having to read them.

2. I get really anxious about authors following me on Twitter for several reasons. First, if I haven’t read their book and end up hating it, chances are much higher they’ll see my negative review even when I don’t tag them in it. Second, what if they stop following me for whatever reason and I happen to click on their Twitter bio only to discover that they have in fact unfollowed me? Now I’m left to wonder why…what did I do?…what did I not do?…is it me?…is it them?…why????!!!!

3. This has happened on several occasions. I interact regularly with another blogger, but then they end up going on a long hiatus or just drop off the face of the earth without notice. They are gone for like a year. I then clean out my feed, unfollowing these inactive bloggers, thinking they’re never coming back. And then BAM. They come back. And I feel really awkward following them again because maybe they’ll think I never followed them in the first place or that I unfollowed them at some point because I was annoyed by them. What do I do?

4. I once won a book through a giveaway and never received it in the mail. I didn’t contact the blogger because it wasn’t her responsibility, it was the publisher’s, but I’m still really bitter about it. Here’s the kicker. I don’t actually remember the name of the book. I know I added it on Goodreads when I won, but off the top of my head, I just remember it was about a friendship between two girls. Yet, I still remain bitter. I will take this bitterness to the grave.

5. I love the idea of having a coblogger. I think if I found the right person, we’d do incredible things together. A weight would also be lifted off my shoulders and I wouldn’t have to worry about the blog being sparse because this perfect coblogger would carry her weight. Her reviews would always be thoughtful and put together nicely. We could play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses and create incredible content. In reality, I trust nearly no one. My philosophy is if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. The only way it would be possible to have a coblogger is to have some kind of trial run where I could cut the strings at the end without feeling guilty (I will feel guilty because I want to be nice) because inevitably you’ll probably going to let me down (I know this because I’m really not nice).

6. Who decided enamel pins were the new thing? I have nowhere to put them and no real use for them. I think they’re okay, but I haven’t been caught up in the trend like everyone else. If I was a kid with a backpack, I could totally see the appeal, but as an adult, I don’t get it. Also, funko pops. I mean, they can be cute, but I can’t see myself spending money on them.

7. There is a really popular blogger who I see on my TL all the time and who rubs me the wrong way. I confess that the main reason is because they blocked someone in the community that I really respect and every time I see someone retweet them or like one of their tweets, I think about this. I should probably just mute them. Does this make me a horrible person that I just don’t think we’d get along well? I’m sure this person is nice enough, but I’m always thinking of how they blocked this other blogger because she asked them a question they didn’t like. Coward. That’s too harsh, isn’t it? I still think it though.

Have you ever made a confession post? Do you agree or relate to any of my views? Let’s discuss and feel free to share an opinion in the comments that you rarely ever talk about. I will only judge you a little bit.

Kernels of Nonsense: Giving the Feature Both More and Less Direction

Kernels of Nonsense was originally created as a discussion feature that once upon a time was posted twice every month. Back when I was a newbie blogger, I thought it would be a piece of cake coming up with ideas and writing a discussion post every two weeks or so. And I actually succeeded…for a while. But blogging is a really time-consuming hobby and when it’s paired with reading (another time-consuming hobby), things don’t always come easy.

Soon Kernels of Nonsense was only a feature I posted once a month and can you believe it? That even became something I struggled to do. Over the past year and maybe even earlier, my discussion posts kind of became an urban legend. In 2017, I only succeeded in posting four discussions posts. That’s a far cry from the twenty-four a year I had going originally.

I’ve wanted to be able to have more discussion posts on my blog, but wanting something and having the ability and time to do so are two different things. I’ve come to the realization that I may never get back that same kind of enthusiasm (and let’s be honest, I’m not really eager to get back the stress either) that accompanied those regular discussion posts. I no longer feel comfortable giving myself a strict schedule with said posts and I feel even less excited about making myself write when the words just aren’t coming. As a result, I’ve decided to revamp this feature a little.

Kernels of Nonsense will still be the home of bookish and blogging related discussions, but I also want to allow myself the freedom of playing around with the feature more. There may be times where I simply talk about five recent books I’ve added to the TBR, or the fact that I happen to hate a certain element on book covers. They won’t always be long discussions and sometimes they may be incoherent (I get a lot of my ideas when I’m suffering a bout of insomnia and I’m not exactly lucid during those times). But there have been blog post ideas I’ve had that never really fit any of the features or memes I have on the blog and I’ve had no idea what to do with them. Hopefully, this will allow me to finally get to these ideas.

Ultimately, I am hoping that this feature appears on my blog more frequently. I can’t promise it will appear every month or even every other month, but I want it to be there when I’m struck with an idea or I’m struggling with writing reviews (this is me right now, I’m just sort of feeling bleh about them) and I still want content on the blog. Funnily (I can’t believe this is an actual word), I feel like this new direction captures the essence of “Kernels of Nonsense” more than my original vision.

Do you write discussion posts regularly? Do you ever struggle putting discussion posts together? Is there a new feature on your blog that you want to try out this year? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Kernels of Nonsense: Why I’m Reading Less in 2018

Kernels of Nonsense is a discussion feature here on the blog where I talk various book and blogging related topics. As my first discussion post in 2018, I’m talking about my decision to lower my Goodreads reading goal compared to last year.

At the beginning of 2017, I contemplated reading less than I had the year before, but folding under the pressure of setting a goal right away, I ended up aiming for the same amount of reads compared to the previous year. As 2018 approached, I once again began contemplating lowering my goal. The amount of books I picked up in a month took a bit of a hit during November and December of last year. I ended up reading only four books for each of those two months when I usually average around seven books. This didn’t exactly sit well with me, but I also learned something about how I approach reading and reviewing.

The decline of my reading efficiency during the latter part of the year had to do in part to the holidays. In theory, holidays should mean more time to read, but in reality it just means you have more time to do all the extra stuff you need to do because of said holidays. When I did have time to read, it was usually at night, but by that time, I would rather conk out than pick up a book. But I discovered something interesting. I kind of liked spending the extra time on a book.

If I’m on my game so to speak, I can finish a book in three or four days. Add an extra day that I spend writing a review and that pretty much means that I don’t have a whole lot of time to slack off in order to meet my goal for the year. In 2017, I ended up meeting my goal fairly early and so those two months I spent not reading a whole lot functioned as a bit of a reprieve from all that reading pressure.

When I only picked up four books in a month, I never had to force myself to try and catch up, reading 200 pages in a day because I neglected to read enough during the first few days. And it was nice. I went a couple of days not reading at all because I was so busy. I had more freedom when it came to reviews as well. I wasn’t scrambling to write one, so I could quickly move on to the next book.

You know what happens when you have more time to read and review a book? At least for me, I had more time to appreciate them. I had more time to think about these stories and characters. I had more concise and polished thoughts. I got more out of these books than I normally did when I spent less time with them.

My Goodreads goal for 2018 isn’t dramatically lower than 2017, but because I ended up reading more than my goal last year, I feel safe with a 65 book goal. If I only get to 65, I will be reading about ten books less which will give me more time to enjoy the books I do pick up.

Are you planning to read more or less this year? Do you feel like you get more out of a book when you spend more time with it? How do you handle the pressure to read so many books in a year? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Kernels of Nonsense: My Month of Mini-Reviews

Kernels of Nonsense is a discussion feature here on my blog where I like to discuss both book and blogging related topics. I wanted to take a moment this month and write about my experience with review writing in July.

If you’re been around my blog for the past month, you may have noticed that I’ve been posting mini-reviews instead of full ones. In July, wanting to get to as many books as possible, I decided that I’d write mini-reviews for all my reads. If you’re like me, you sometimes struggle to get through full reviews. Mini-reviews have been a saving grace for me. There’s always a book or two a month that I struggle with finding all the right words for and settling on a mini-review for them has taken loads of stress off my shoulders.

I ended up surpassing my usual number of reads in July and I credit the mini-review with this. I have a very strict routine when it comes to my reads and reviews. I know a lot of bloggers can wait some time after finishing a book to write the review and can even read more books in between finishing one and reviewing it. I can’t do this. I have to write a review for my last read before moving on. This isn’t always ideal when the words just don’t seem to come and I’m eager to move on.

In July, I felt like an incredibly efficient reader and blogger. After I finished one book, I was writing a mini-review almost right afterward and picking up my next novel a lot quicker. Not all of my reviews came out super easy, but because they were condensed versions of my full ones, I was able to get through them a lot easier.

If you were to ask me what’s the hardest post to write as a book blogger, I’d probably say the review. We all approach the review differently and I don’t have a set formula for how I write out my thoughts on a book. I take notes while I read and while this does help me when I’m looking for direction, sometimes all those thoughts and feelings aren’t easily expressed. I even struggle with taking notes when I’m just not feeling much of anything for a novel and knowing I have a full review ahead of me does not keep the pressure off. I’m always in the mind set that I need to come up with a good three or four paragraphs discussing the book in front of me. This isn’t always easy and sometimes I just don’t have the time or the motivation to do so.

Writing only mini-reviews in July felt like a kind of vacation. While reading, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I may not have enough thoughts to write a full review, I didn’t get antsy in between reads, and I ended up picking up more books than usual. I had a couple of personal things come up during July, so in retrospect, I probably could have read a couple of more books that month.

Will this change the way I approach review writing? Will you be seeing more mini-reviews from me? Not likely. I like the balance I’ve achieved, writing only one pair of mini-reviews a month. While I’ve said writing full reviews can be a struggle, it can also push me as a reader to dig deeper into the book I’m reading. I read for pleasure, yes, but I also want to get something from the experience and writing full reviews helps me to do so.

Do you write mini-review on your blog? Do you struggle with full reviews? How to you handle writer’s block when it comes time to write a review? Let’s discuss in the comments!