Why do Bloggers Care About Their Statistics?

This week is gonna be filled with super important exams for me, but right now my brain is overflowing with blog post ideas that beg to be written???? I really hate my brain sometimes.

Anyways, I made a blog post a few weeks ago about comparing your blogging statistics with other bloggers’. In that post, I mentioned that I always get jealous of how well other blogs are doing stats-wise. That got me thinking about why we even care about stats in the first place. (I know there are a few lucky people out there who don’t care about their stats, but I’m not one of them and I don’t think you are.) Aren’t we here to talk about books? Why does the amount of engagement we get on our posts matter? I narrowed it down to a few reasons, and today I’m gonna share them with you!

We put a lot of effort into our blogs, and our stats are the fruit of our hard work.

Planning what you’re gonna say in a post and getting all the words out takes a lot of time and brain power. I, personally, have to edit a lot to cut out unnecessary phrases because I love to ramble.

Don’t even get me started on formatting. The WordPress block editor can be such an asshole sometimes, and it’s so annoying when you have a clear picture in your head of what you want a post to look like, but WordPress just. Won’t. Cooperate. Ughhhhhh.

Additionally, a lot of bloggers, myself included, design graphics for their sites and posts. And if we’re writing a post talking about a book or multiple books, searching for their covers and including them in our posts, along with their links and whatnot, is extremely tedious for something that your readers will probably just glance over.

I haven’t even mentioned the other factors that affect blog growth, like blog hopping, promoting on social media, etc.

Bottom line, it takes a lot of time and effort to run a blog, and nobody wants their hard work to go unrewarded. For most people, the reward comes in the form of statistics.

We want to engage with more people.

I feel like the reason most of us started our book blogs was to talk about books with other people. Stats indicate how many people are engaging with our content and reading what we have to say.

We also want to scream about our favorite books so that more people will read them. How can people add them to their TBRs if nobody is reading our content?

Malka @ Paper Procrastinators actually wrote an insightful post a while ago about why they enjoy looking at their stats page. It highlights why looking at stats can actually be encouraging. Malka stated that they are happy even if a post just gets ten likes or four comments, because it means that their post generated engagement.

Stats show us what’s working and what’s not.

Maybe you’re experimenting on what time of day works best to upload. Maybe you’re unsure of what blog posts you want to write, so you’re letting your followers decide through your stats. Stats show us what posts work and which don’t.

Stats are a factor that publishers, blog tour hosts, etc. consider.

Isn’t that why we have to put our stats and follower counts on our Edelweiss and Netgalley bios? They help publishers decide whether they want to send you a free review copy of your anticipated release or not. People who have larger audiences have a higher chance of being granted access to advanced reader copies (arcs) because publishers want more people to be exposed to their books. They can’t just hand out free copies to anyone, sadly.

Blog tour hosts also consider your stats if you’ve signed up for a blog tour. Along with whether you’re an own voices reviewer or not (for books that feature diversity) and your capacity to give a convincing review of a book, site views also have to be taken into account. It’s a blog tour after all. The goal is to promote the book and help it reach a larger number of people.

And there we have it. All of the hypothetical reasons why bloggers care about their stats. What I realized while writing this post is that stats aren’t demons as long as we don’t allow them to be. Who would’ve thought?

I’d love to chat with you in the comments! Is there anything I missed? How do you feel about statistics? Any tips on how to stay away from WordPress and social media because you have to study? (Asking for a friend, who is me.)

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston || the Feeling When a Book Lives Up to the Hype

History, huh? Bet we could make some.

Publication date: May 14th, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Age group & genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with an actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex/Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family and state and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: Stage a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragrammable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations. It raises the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Content Warning/s: sex scenes (mildly explicit), talk of anxiety, talk of loss of a loved one, homophobia (challenged), talk of racism, (minor) talk of sexual assault, a situation that could be interpreted as an outing

*I am a book depository affiliate, and will receive a small commission with no additional cost to you if you buy through my link. As I am a teen book blogger based internationally, the extra money would be a great help.

This book is the most hyped new release of the year, hands down. I remember when the rave reviews first started trickling in at the beginning of the year, which was unfortunate because my small following at the time meant that everyone else but me was able to read an arc of this book.

Luckily, I won a giveaway for any book off Book Depository, so I requested a copy of Red, White & Royal Blue. Unluckily, I live in the Philippines, so books ordered online take about a month to arrive at my house. Seeing everyone rate this book 5 stars all the while I was waiting for my copy to arrive was excruciating, but I more or less survived, and the wait was so worth it.

Red, White & Royal Blue follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, the son of the United States’ first female president. He’s had a rivalry with Henry, Prince of Wales, for a long time, and an altercation between them at a highly broadcasted event sends both their PR teams into a panic. To solve the problem, a fake friendship is arranged between them, but this quickly turns into a real one, and then something more.

Alex’s rivalry with Henry is one-sided, and it’s mainly there for comic relief. If you’ve read this book, you’ve got to have noticed that Alex’s contempt for Henry doesn’t run deep. People who read this book expecting enemies-to-lovers will probably be disappointed. And as a fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, I probably would’ve been disappointed as well, if McQuiston weren’t so skilled at building relationships!

The first 50-70 percent of this book follows Alex and Henry as they fall in love and build friendships with those around them. The last part follows the 2020 US presidential election as it comes to a head. I loved the first part because it’s where most of the fluff is concentrated. However, it was the last part that solidified my surety that I would rate this book 5 stars.

This book makes so many nods to our current socio-political issues, like racism, misogyny, homophobia, the Trump administration and so much more. Anyone who’s ever faced oppression will find their struggles represented within this book, from Zahra’s dedication to keeping a female president in the White House, to Alex, Oscar and Rafael’s struggle with being Latino politicians, to the homophobia that Alex and Henry face from the media. But inside this book’s pages, McQuiston creates a happy ending for everyone, and that hit so close to home for me. I think this is the book that’s come the closest to making me cry.

Besides the fact that this book tackles so many modern issues, it’s also steeped in millenial culture. Twitter, Instagram, and various entertainment sites are incorporated in such a realistic way. Alex and Henry’s friendship also starts because they start sending salty text messages to each other, and that’s exactly how I see two 20-something-year-olds falling in love in this day and age! Admittedly, if I weren’t a member of Gen Z, I would get the references a lot more, but this book wasn’t written for me. Millenials, this is your book.

🌿 Alexander Claremont-Diaz– Biracial (Mexican and white) First Son of the United States, member of the White House Trio, who discovers that he’s bisexual. He’s a golden boy through and through, but he sometimes acts without thinking and puts too much pressure on himself. The author also confirmed that he has ADHD!

“Straight people, he thinks, probably don’t spend this much time convincing themselves they’re straight.”

🌿 Henry Fox-Mountchristen-Windsor– A Prince of England, who has known that he was gay since he was a child but has to hide it. He also suffers from depression due to the early death of his father. Deserves the world.

🌿 June Claremont-Diaz– Older sister of Alex and second member of the White House Trio. A bad-ass journalist, incredible sister, and probably the most normal out of the friend group.

🌿 Nora Holleran– Bisexual and a genius with numbers. What even is her character? She’s so weird and spontaneous but in the best way possible. For context, here’s a snippet of a conversation between Nora and Henry in a group chat:

irl chaos demon: I’m going for, like, depressed lesbian poet who met a hot yoga instructor at a speakeasy who get her super into meditation and pottery, and now she’s starting a new life as a high-powered businesswoman selling her own line of hand-thrown bowls

HRH prince dickhead: Bitch, you took me there

🌿 Ellen Claremont-Diaz– The first female president of the United States, who is definitely not a perfect mother, but tries her best anyways. She’s so supportive of Alex’s sexuality, even though his relationship with Henry could possibly jeopardize her campaign. (THAT POWERPOINT THOUGH.)

Though the sex scenes in this book leave some things to the imagination, make no mistake that they’re new adult level sex scenes. Surprisingly, I wasn’t bothered by them, even though I usually hate reading sex scenes. The lovely Laura Herondale, who I buddy read this book with, also pointed out that the fact that the sex scenes focus less on sex, and more on what Alex and Henry are feeling, sets it apart from books that fetishize m/m couples.

Also, the emails between Alex and Henry! Reading them cleared my skin. I love that Alex and Henry sent each other quotes from the correspondence of past best friends who were probably secretly in love. For example, Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens, and Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok.

Overall, I adored Red, White & Royal Blue just like everybody else did. Its characters were hilarious, and their antics made me chuckle more than once. The plot was a nice blend of comedy with social commentary. And if you pick this book up, you won’t just get a romance, you’ll get a story of hope.

The Verdict: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Have you read this book? Do you plan to? Are romances usually your thing? (They aren’t mine, but I loved this!)

Little announcement: I won’t be replying to the comments on this post or any of my other scheduled posts. I also won’t be blog hopping this week. I have extremely important exams that require all of my focus, so I’d rather not get distracted by WordPress or social media. Thanks for understanding, and I’ll get to your comments very soon! Much love!

Taking “Which Book Character are You” Quizzes & Reacting to the Results

Have you noticed something different??….. I changed my blog design!! Now was not the best time to do it because I’m in the thick of the school year and renovating a blog takes a lot of time, but when has that ever stopped me? Though I started changing it on Sunday, and school got suspended due to inclement weather on Monday, so it was meant to be!

I still really love my old layout with designs made by yours truly, but I realized that limiting my featured images to a few select pictures was limiting my content. My featured images from now on will be pictures taken from Unsplash with blog post titles over them. Also, besides changing my featured images, I also changed my blog header and WordPress theme! Hop on over to my blog to see the new look!

Little tangent aside, a long time ago, Arin @ Tomes of Our Lives tagged me in the Identity Crisis Book Tag, and I figured that now was a good time to do it so that I can attempt to tackle the mountain of tags I’ve been tagged in. Let’s get to it!

The Rules

  1. Take all the quizzes down below and record your answers somehow. I decided to just copy the text from each quiz and paste it into my post, but screenshots work too!
  2. NO CHEATING. You get one shot to take each quiz my friends.
  3. Use this post to give credit to the creator Loretta @ The Laughing Listener or tag her on twitter @LaughnListener so she can see everyone’s answers!
  4. Tag some friends to spread the fun!

Red Queen

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I got: Kilorn!

Did you forget about Kilorn? Well you shouldn’t have! He may not be the center of attention but he has stuck by Mare since day one and didn’t even hesitate to join the Scarlet Guard. Just like Kilorn, your loyalty and bravery are your most admirable qualities. Rise, Red as the Dawn!

I haven’t read this series nor do I plan to, so I don’t really know who Kilorn is. But I guess I’m not the center of attention? Though I can be sometimes! I think this has some truth to it though because I’m loyal and brave to an extent.

The Shadowhunter Chronicles

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I got: Charlotte Branwell and Mark Blackthorn!

You may be underestimated and some may count you out, but you’re a serious person when you need to be, and take responsibility very seriously. You’re incredibly loyal (though it may not seem like it at times), and your friends are lucky to have you.

I haven’t read The Dark Artifices yet, so I don’t know Mark Blackthorn’s personality traits. I will reread the books so that I can finally read Lady Midnight though!

Okay, what is with these quizzes saying that I’m underestimated and unnoticeable? Rude. Well, I’ve gotten called loyal two times so I guess I can forgive it, and I do take responsibility very seriously.

Throne of Glass

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I got: Dorian and Nesryn!

Shockingly, you’re an overwhelmingly sarcastic bookworm! You try to look on the brighter side of things, but your snarky sense of humor hides depths of concern. You’re probably the most responsible of your friends, as they know they can always count on you.

This test knows I’m a bookworm! It must be legit! However, though I’m sarcastic to an extent, I’m not overwhelmingly so. And I’m not the most responsible of my friends, that’s for sure.

The Hunger Games

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I got: Finnick Odair!

Handsome and charming, of course you’re Mr. Popular. You’ve worked hard to get where you’ve got to and you’re not letting anyone take it away from you. People may mistrust you sometimes but you know you’ll prove them wrong. Everyone benefits from having you around.

I’m flattered, but no. However, I do work hard to reach my goals, and I would throw hands if anyone tried to get in my way!

Harry Potter

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I got: Neville Longbottom!

You’re awkward and clumsy and hate being the center of attention. But you’re brave and big-hearted and people can always trust you to help them out in a bad situation.

I didn’t get Hermione or Luna, so I guess it’s time to cry. I’m pretty awkward, but I don’t hate being the center of attention per say. A lot of people I’ve met through blogging have called me supportive and kind though, so I guess it’s time to stop imagining myself as Hermione or Luna and embrace my inner Neville.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

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I got: Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court!

A prince of darkness with a heart of gold, you’re the most powerful High Lord in Prythian. Despite your smoldering good looks and mind-crushing powers, you still manage to make time to appreciate art and nature a few close friendships. You’d give your life for those you love, and sell your soul to keep them safe.

All I can think about is that one viral tweet, where one account is holding a group of glittery black orbs and then someone quotes it saying that they’re Rhysand’s balls! If you were on Twitter at the time, you would know. I’m still dead. I also think this description has some truth to it!

The Raven Cycle

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I got: Adam Parrish!

You’ve had a rough life, and are determined to make it better on your own terms. You are driven by your own free will, and sometimes lose sight of the big picture with your fixation on change. However, you are one of the strongest people ever, and no matter what the change brings, you will endure.

That losing sight of the big picture bit really called me out. This may be the most accurate result I’ve gotten out of them all!

Twilight

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I got: Jessica Stanley!

The friend that everyone needs in their life, you must be Jessica! Sure, humans might not get to have as much fun as vampires, but you’ll show ’em how it’s done. You’re ever so curious, ever so friendly, and a little bit crazy — who wouldn’t want you as a BFF?

I’ve never read these books, but I know a few of the characters because how could I not. I’ve never heard of Jessica Stanley though.

Nah, I am not the friend everyone needs in their lives, even though I’m a little bit crazy.

The Cruel Prince

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I got: Taryn!

People may think you’re shy but you have secrets of your own. You have your own desires and will go after them, no matter what it takes.

Out of Jude, Taryn and Vivi, I think that my reaction to being taken to Faerieland would be most similar to Taryn’s. Pretty spot on! Also, I’m so excited for the finale of this series because I genuinely don’t know what’ll happen to any of the characters, most of all to Taryn!

The Lunar Chronicles

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I got: Jacin!

Personal guard and pilot for head thurmatauge in the Lunar Army. He has an abrasive personality and can be quiet and surly. He will do anything to protect the ones he truly cares about.

I am deeply offended. I’ve read this series and my least favorite out of all the main characters is Jacin.

I can be abrasive but only with certain people. But when I care about someone, I do tend to give too much of myself to them. This result is still fake though, and I refuse to accept it!

That’s the end of the tag! I think the most spot on one I got was Adam Parrish, which I am very proud of. And most of the quizzes said that I’m a good friend to have, so I’m really happy! Other than that, I don’t think these quizzes are accurate, but I had fun taking them. I’ll go ahead and tag Saoudia @ recs from ur friend to do this tag.

What character from any of these popular book series’ do you think you’re most similar to? Do you think the results I got were accurate? What book character are you most similar to?

July Wrap-up & Messy August TBR || “Time Flies” is an Understatement

I only have two moods: “time is sluggish” and “what the heck where is time going.” I most notably have the former during school, and the latter when I check the calendar and REALIZE THAT IT’S ALREADY THE END OF THE MONTH? It seems like I wrote my June wrap-up just a week ago! At this rate, I’ll be an old woman and I won’t even have realized it.

I started school in the third week of June, and July was my first full month in school. Naturally, I’m quite miserable because now I have less time to blog and read, but time is flying by so fast that I honestly think it’ll be my semester break in no time, even though October seems so far away right now..

Notable Life Stuff

🌿 I’m officially in school mode! I think I’ve finally accepted that the time for pleasure is over and I now have to study. Not gonna lie, my performance at the beginning of the year was miserable. I even cried a little because of how bad I was doing. *fingers guns* But thankfully, my failures taught me an early lesson, and now I’m actually putting in the effort–sleeping at 12AM as one does–and seeing results, even though my early mistakes have bogged my grades down to an almost irretrievable extent, and I really wish I could go back in time and fix them.

🌿 I rejoined my school’s ping pong team! I was in my school’s team for two years, but then I quit in the third year because the sport wasn’t fun for me anymore. I decided to join again this year, and the good news is that table tennis is becoming fun again. I seriously don’t remember getting this sweaty or sore from training though? Whatever–I like the exercise. But the bad news is that everyone else in the team has gotten better because they didn’t skip a year of training like I did, so my skill level is not the same as theirs anymore. It’s discouraging, but I’ll just have to work harder and bear the losses.

🌿 I made it to Round 2 of the Book Blogger Awards?? I already mentioned this in one of my posts, along with a bit of shameless self-promo, but I wanted to talk about it here anyways because it’s definitely a highlight of the month. I’m still in awe that people thought of me for their nominations and said such nice things?? The category I was nominated for is Best New Book Blogger, and I would shamelessly tell you to vote for me again, but sadly the voting form is now closed.

I’m not only excited because I was nominated though, but because so many blogs I love were nominated as well, and though I almost died having to pick who to vote for, I’m very excited to see the results!

🌿 The welcoming ceremony for the members of my school’s paper happened! Last school year, I applied for my school’s paper and was very nervous about it–but I got accepted for some reason?? I’m still in shock now. The first meeting consisting of all the staffs happened early this month, and it was so fun! I’m really excited for more meetings and issues to come!

Books I Read

I read seven books this month, which is pretty impressive because that means I’m still ahead of schedule on my Goodreads reading challenge, and because I had school the whole month. But I was probably able to read as much as I did because I was slacking off studying-wise.. oops.

However, I put six books on my July TBR, and I read a grand total of *drum roll please* one of them in July!!! I seriously read seven books and not even two of them were from my 5-star predictions TBR. At this point, why do I even bother with a TBR when I can’t plan my reading to save my life? This was right after I did so well reading my “unrealistic” June TBR too. I think the key to success on my TBRs is me saying that they’re unrealistic and that I probably won’t get to them, only for my brain to surprise me and decide that it actually wants to read them.

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The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco– This book is a testament to the fact that 3-star ratings aren’t bad ratings. I still enjoyed it despite the confusing world building and writing that I didn’t click with. The world and magic system is so unique, and I’m excited to read the sequels because I think they’ll be a big improvement. I also want to see more of Tea and Kalen’s relationship! 🌟🌟🌟 [Read my review.]

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I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver– I finally read it! One of my most anticipated LGBTQIAP+ releases, and 2019 releases in general. The romance between Ben and Nathan is so cute, and it was so wholesome to see Ben finally find people who accept them for who they are. The writing was hard to get into at first, and the plot didn’t blow me away, but I highly recommend this nonetheless! 🌟🌟🌟.5

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Radio Silence by Alice Oseman– My initial plan was to read this during my senior year of high school so that I could get the most cathartic experience as possible, but my previously mentioned breakdown about school happened, so I decided to pick this up ahead of schedule. And friends, I loved it. Amazing characters who jump right off the page, are relatable and also lovable? Check. Phenomenal messages about school and the pressure put on students? Check. I initially rated this 5 stars, but decided to lower my rating because I think the pacing could be better, but you best believe this book lived up to its hype, and that I flew through its 400 pages like they was nothing. 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

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The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang– DECEASED. R.F. Kuang really did that to us, huh? I thought that her debut, the first book in this series, was strong but had some unpolished bits, but this sequel shows just how much Kuang has improved her craft in such a short amount of time. Naval battles are also given a spotlight in this book, and they’re epic and so clearly well-researched. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 [Read my review.]

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This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone– I picked this up on a whim one Friday after school and finished it on the same day because this book is really short. It’s an adult sci-fi featuring two women on two sides of a time war who slowly fall in love. The world building was confusing (though it was really interesting!), and I don’t think I connected with the main couple a lot (though their relationship development and back and forth letters are stunning!). 🌟🌟🌟.5

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston- I was so nervous that all the glowing reviews for this book would set my expectations too high, but I’m so happy that I was wrong! I love all of these characters so much, especially Alex and Henry, who start a heartbreaking yet wonderful forbidden relationship! But what I loved most about this book is that it portrays all the flaws in our world today–but it shows us that there’s still hope yet. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 [Review to come.]

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Check, Please! #Hockey, Vol. 1 by Ngozi Ukazu– THIS WAS SO CUTE. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. The art style is amazing. It’s not very colorful or in your face, but it’s so distinct and enhances the story so much. Bitty, the main character, must be protected at all costs. He bakes a lot and has a hopeless crush on the captain of the hockey team, Jack. Their relationship is so cute, and one scene between them made me (internally) squeal with delight! 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

Blogging

My three posts a week game is still going strong, and I think I may have posted four times in a week once but I’m probably wrong. I think my posts will dwindle a little since I’m starting to focus more on school, but I’m obsessed with consistency so we’ll see. My plan right now is to schedule all posts for the week on the weekend before, and I’m doing it, but just barely.

Clicking on the images will lead you to the post.

Most Popular Post of the Month

I’m so happy that this is my most famous post of the month, and also my entire blog so far, because I really needed to be reminded of all the things I said in it, and I’m so happy that it’s helping other people too.

Other Posts

Reviews Posted

The set-up of this section is similar to Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall’s wrap-up’s, because whenever I see the photos of her past blog posts, I immediately want to click on them. Plus, nobody told me how therapeutic it is to find aesthetic pictures on Unsplash and put a blog post title over it. I hope you notice my effort and click on my posts. *wink*

Blog Posts I Read and Loved

This is the first month that I’m sharing my favorite posts of the month from other bloggers, like other bloggers often do, and I can’t wait to do this more! Sadly, I don’t have my phone with me right now, where all the blog posts I wanted to feature are saved, so I’m simply gonna go off of memory. Sorry if I left you out–chances are that a post of yours is saved and my bad memory failed you!

🌿 Mahana @ Sapphic Libary wrote this wonderful discussion entitled Are We Not Hyping F/F Books Or Are You Just Ignoring Us?, and this post should be required reading. Once in a while, someone on Twitter whines about how there are “no f/f books” or “not enough powerful f/f ships,” and Mahana addresses all of this in her post. You should immediately read it, read the f/f books she recommends and then follow her blog.

🌿 Arin @ Tomes of Our Lives shares how and why she annotates. This post is super helpful to beginner annotaters like me! Or you could find a fellow annotater if you’re a veteran!

🌿 Taasia @ Librae Paints Pages blessed us all with the ultimate summer reading list, featuring a whopping 50+ books from a wide range of genres. She reads so many books a month, and it’s really clear in this post!

🌿 Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall shares small things she loves in books, and this post was very relatable. Also, Kelly is quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers ever! Thank you so much for gracing us with your presence, Kelly!

🌿 Kat @ Novels and Waffles shares why she reads book dedications and her favorite ones. Honest to god, this post almost made me cry, guys.

🌿 Xandra @ Starry Sky Books shares strange reasons why she read Harry Potter. This post is so hilarious, and you have to get a taste of Xandra’s blogging voice and love for Harry Potter if you haven’t yet.

🌿 May @ Forever and Everly shares four things you shouldn’t feel guilty about as a book blogger. Like Kelly, May is quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers ever. Her blogging voice, blog aesthetic, blog posts and personality are amazing. Plus, she’s the hardworking host of the book blogger awards. Is there anything she doesn’t have to offer?

Books I Want to Read in August

Since I did really poorly on my July TBR, but I still want to read the books I put there very badly, the five books I didn’t read in July will be part of my August TBR. I also scheduled buddy reads for these books:

🌿 We Hunt the Flame (The Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal– Buddy read with Taasia! I’ve already started this, but sadly the writing isn’t clicking well with Taasia and she’s gonna be busy in August so I don’t know if the buddy read will push through. But I’m so excited to finally read this anticipated release, and so far I’m really enjoying it!

🌿 If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio– Buddy read with May! I have no idea when I’m gonna read this, probably when May decides to–I’m cool with any time. But this is supposed to be about a group of friends who perform Shakespeare but get a little too into it? And there’s murder involved? It’s compared to The Secret History a lot so I bet it’s good, plus I’ve never read anything like it!

🌿 Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno– Buddy read with Mahana and Elise! Hello, magical realism f/f that also tackles rape culture. I’m so excited to read you.. once I get it together and finish the 77329 books I’m currently reading and stop starting new ones.

🌿 Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson– Buddy read with Saoudia! This was on my July TBR, and it’s a new release that everyone has been raving about. I’ve already read the first chapter and it’s good! I told Saoudia we’d buddy read it once I finish one of my current reads, and I really need to do that, so I’m sorry for being such a mess, Saoudia!

However, I also requested/downloaded a bunch of e-arcs from Edelweiss that are releasing soon..

🌿 Gideon the Ninth (The Ninth House #1) by Tamsyn Muir– I feel like we all added this to our TBRs because of Melanie. And it was available to download, so I did the thing! I really want to read this before most people do, so that I can go in with less knowledge about the plot and less expectations. Ideally, I’d also review it before it releases, but that’s probably not gonna happen.

🌿 Crier’s War (Crier’s War #1) by Nina Varela– I requested and got approved for this a while ago, and then I signed up for the blog tour hosted by Karina and got in! I really want to read this early so that I don’t accidentally forget to read it before my assigned date. It’s f/f with the there’s only one bed trope, so sign me up!

🌿 How to be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters– The cover is so cute, and I love that the author recreated it on Twitter! I have wanted to read a book by Julian Winters for a while and this seems like a good place to start.

🌿 There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool– This is the one I know the least about out of all of these books, but it has a Six of Crows-esque summary from what I remember. It’s available to download on Edelweiss too, so go get your juice!

Phew, this post took a while to make, so if this flops, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I hope you all have a wonderful August!

What are some interesting things that happened to you in July? Is time flying by really quickly for you as well? Favorite book/s you read in July? What are you gonna read next month? What are you looking forward to next month?

Review: The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang || From Good to Amazing

This was what the balance of power looked like now. People like her waved a hand and millions were crushed within the confines of some elemental disaster, flung off the chessboard of the world like irrelevant pieces.

Publication date: August 6th 2019

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Age group & genre: Adult grimdark fantasy

Synopsis: The searing follow-up to 2018’s most celebrated fantasy debut – THE POPPY WAR.

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

The sequel to R.F. Kuang’s acclaimed debut THE POPPY WAR, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect.

Content Warning/s: rape, infanticide, war themes, graphic violence, graphic depiction of injury, racism, drug addiction

*I am a book depository affiliate, and will receive a small commission with no additional cost to you if you buy through my link. As I am a teen book blogger based internationally, the extra money would be a great help.

This review does not contain any spoilers for both The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic. You can find my review of The Poppy War here.

The Dragon Republic was the first arc I ever got approved for! I was a very small blogger when Edelweiss granted me access to it back in April, so you can imagine my surprise! I honestly can’t think of a better first arc approval.

As you probably know, The Poppy War came out last year to some criticism, but generally glowing reviews. However, I predict that The Dragon Republic’s reception will be far better than its predecessor’s, because it is far better paced, plotted and written.

My biggest complaint about The Poppy War when I read and reviewed it was that the pacing was off, but this certainly isn’t the case for The Dragon Republic. I will admit that it’s much slower, and it stays like that for the entirety of the novel. But war and political maneuvering come in, so you find yourself turning the pages despite the pacing.

The Dragon Republic starts out on a very hopeless note, but shockingly, the hopelessness lessens as the book goes on—not enough for the characters to be happy because I don’t think Kuang knows how to write happiness, but enough that I was willing to continue reading without my sadness for the characters’ situations weighing me down.

More war occurs, and Rin and her team of fellow shamans are roped into it. Reading the naval battles, land skirmishes, and political intrigue unfold is a truly unique experience, and the extensive research that went into writing them is clear in every line.

Also, THAT ENDING. I and almost all of the others who have already read this book were completely destroyed by it. I obviously can’t say more, but I’m just telling you to prepare yourself (even though that’s probably impossible).

The worldbuilding is expanded on even more in this next installment. We get to meet the Hesperians, who are the Caucasians of this world. The Hesperians blatantly view the Nikara as an inferior race, because of their smaller eyes that can “see less,” slower technological advancement, and polytheistic religion. They simply view the Nikara, especially the shamans who call on vengeful gods for their powers, as experimental subjects. Kuang uses the Hesperians to make stunning social commentary. There are so many parallels to the real world in her work that it’s nearly impossible to enumerate.

She once said on Twitter that none of the characters have a moral compass except Kitay, and this couldn’t be more true. All of the characters are flawed to say the least, but it’s hard to blame them for their choices when we can see what war is putting/has put them through.

🌿 Fang Runin– Rin might not be my favorite character, but I admire her nonetheless. She’s the definition of morally grey, and her saga is a privilege to follow. Also, Rin and Sarana?? Tell me I’m not the only one who sees it!

🌿 Chen KitayMy love for Kitay grew ten times bigger in this book! He’s been through so much, but still manages to be the most decent character in the series. He and Rin’s relationship makes my heart soar. Their friendship trumps every romance that could ever come out of this series.

🌿 Yin Nezha– [REDACTED] [REDACTED]

🌿 Su Daji– The Empress’s snake goddess, poison-tipped needle-throwing martial artist aesthetic is iconic. At her core, Su Daji is simply an extremely powerful woman who’s been faced with a country she has no idea how to rule. She’s the ultimate villainous girlfriend, and I can’t wait to see more of her.

Overall, The Dragon Republic proves that this series is a must-read grimdark fantasy, and I’m so happy that it’s one written by an Asian woman. Sadly, The Dragon Republic doesn’t get any lighter than The Poppy War, so please read the (numerous) content warnings before going into this sequel/series. However, The Dragon Republic was a vast improvement from the first book, and I highly recommend it.

The Verdict: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I received a free e-arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes may be subject to change.

Have you read any of the books in this series? Do you plan to?