Hey all, Dani here.
Greetings! I usually like to do these monthly wrap-ups on the first of the month, but I had a couple post office delays with the delivery of my OwlCrate and a Book Loft package, so I decided I would wait one more day since the shipment tracking said I would get them both today. Thankfully they arrived a few hours ago, so I was able to put the finishing touches on the post.
April was actually a really good month on the being in home and watching shows, reading books, blogging, and playing Animal Crossing. Granted, it was also a lot more stressful in terms of going into work, and I have a feeling that it’s only going to get worse on that, as more and more people are deciding that they are tired of the restrictions of social distancing and now with mandatory wearing of masks, so they are taking their unpaid leave and just not dealing with it. Unfortunately it means those of us who are left have to work even harder, which is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. I’m now actually finding myself wishing that the factory would just close for a week or two until the manpower struggles lessen a bit, but I don’t think that will happen. It’s immensely frustrating. I don’t want to be there with everything going on, but I can’t afford to take two weeks without pay.
But today’s supposed to be a pretty nice day, so I think Damian and I are maybe going to go to a state park that has some pretty nice and wide hiking trails, so we can get outside and walk around a bit. We’re obviously taking our masks with us too. I bought some of Etsy, getting him a Slytherin mask and me a Ravenclaw one. I ordered a couple others but those haven’t shipped yet.
As usual with my monthly wrap-up, let’s start off by checking in on my overall goals for the year.
- Reading: I read 30 books in the month of April, 10 of which were manga volumes, two were re-reads, and three were novella length. Overall that takes me to 101 books read already in 2020. Still, I’d say that is a pretty good month of reading. I should probably count up how many pages that is. Okay, I did the calculations, and only counting finished books I read 8,707 pages in April…but really I’ve probably read a few hundred more if you include unfinished reads. Overall though I’m super happy with that. I successfully completed my requirements for the OWLs Magical Readathon, so all I have to do is pass the NEWTs in a couple months and I’ll be a Trader of Magical Tomes. I also participated in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, and that was a whole lot of fun. Plus, I am currently in the middle of the Calendar Girls Springtime Whirl, going until May 11th, so I’m hoping to read a few more books at least for it–I haven’t achieved a bingo yet, but I’m really just having a good time trying to read to fulfill random prompts.
- Blogging: It was the best month on my blog so far this year, and pretty close to being my best month in the history of Mousai Books, in terms of stats anyway. In terms of number of blog posts, this was definitely the best month overall…but I’m going to dial it back a little bit, because there’s no way I can keep doing like 10+ posts a week. It’s not sustainable for me right now. But I do still feel pretty good about continuing to have posts up pretty much every day. I wrote up 46 blog posts in the month of April, which is impressive, but it was also a whole lot of work. I did really enjoy the content though. I had a lot of books to talk about, and I especially enjoyed my National Library Week posts.
- Writing: Well, I wrote a lot of blog posts, though that doesn’t count on the creative writing front. I was all excited about jumping into writing my book and then the world went to crap and I can’t get in a good mind set to write, so I’ve focused my attention on reading, and more study of the craft of writing. So it’s progress, but it isn’t progress in a trackable form such as increasing word count.
- Conventions: Right now we are waiting to see what’s going to happen with Gen Con in late July/early August. It is a massive convention, so we’re expecting there to at least be a ton of restrictions. Lexington Comic and Toy Con ended up being postponed again, this time to June 18-21, and then it was just announced like yesterday that the 2020 convention is being canceled. But we both really want to work with Colorworld Books again, so we’re hoping that Cincinnati Comic Expo in September will still be good to go. My friends at Colorworld Books are trying to continue with their business as a digital affair, but 99% of the profits were made from attending conventions, so this has been a struggle for them. If you want to go check out their online store, that would be great. They have metal art prints and bookmarks, geeky t-shirts, and books. Oh, and you can use ConLife30 for 30% off of all metal, or CORONACON for 10% off any shirts. Oh, and they have actually started doing Colorworld LIVE convention style events just about every week. They gather up three or four awesome voice actors, hold a livestream panel, then a VIP panel for anyone who buys some signed merch, and of course you can get shirts, metal art prints, and more with characters these actors have portrayed. It’s pretty cool.
Okay, I guess I should start with wrapping up my time with the OWLs Magical Readathon. I was going for the Trader of Magical Tomes career path, which required me to read 4 books. I ended up changing one of the books from my TBR out because it was taking me so long and I worried I wouldn’t finish it in time. But, other than that, I was successful in reading all four books, so I’m ready to continue my Magical Tome training in the NEWTs later this year.
I’m also in the middle of the Calendar Girls Springtime Whirl, which is a bingo inspired reading challenge running from April 13-May 11. Once the reading challenge is over I’ll share a post with an updated bingo board covering all the categories I completed.
All right, let’s run through everything I read in the month of April. If I have a review up, I’ll also include the link back to that post.
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare — 4.5 stars
Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie — 5 stars
The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett — 4.5 stars
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Po Tse — 4 stars
The Queen of Raiders by Sarah Kozloff — 5 stars
Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane — 5 stars
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren — 4 stars
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle — 3.5 stars
The Library Book by Susan Orlean — 5 stars
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron — 5 stars
Hickville Crossroads by Mary Karlik — 4 stars
An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley — 4.5 stars
Fruits Basket Collector’s Edition Volume 4 by Natsuki Takaya — 4 stars
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman — 4 stars
Steering the Craft by Ursula K Le Guin — 4 stars
Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer — 4.5 stars
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone — 5 stars
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey — 5 stars
Fairy Tail Volume 8 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin — 4 stars
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer — 4.5 stars
Fairy Tail Volume 9 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars (review coming May 4, 2020)
Fairy Tail Volume 10 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars (review coming May 18, 2020)
Fairy Tail Volume 11 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars (review coming June 1, 2020)
Fairy Tail Volume 12 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars (review coming June 15, 2020)
Fairy Tail Volume 13 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars (review coming June 29, 2020)
Fairy Tail Volume 14 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars (review coming July 13, 2020)
Fairy Tail Volume 15 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars (review coming July 27, 2020)
The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold — 3.5 stars
The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren — 4.5 stars
Whew, that was quite the list of reads for the month. Seriously I had a lot of fun reading this month and definitely found some books that are contenders for my Top Ten Reads of 2020 from April to June, so that’s great. Unless something bad happens, I have a feeling that this will be my best year of reading in a long time.
All right, next it’s time for the book haul portion of things, starting with the OwlCrate unboxing.
I think I’m really going to enjoy putting together the Moony puzzle, and the book sounds rather interesting. Clearly I enjoy having another notebook, as those are handy to have around. Same with the tote bag. And Damian really likes the wooden phases of the moon banner, so I gave that to him to add to the decorations in his man cave. I actually do like the OwlCrate version of this cover better than the original. The people are a bit closer and bigger, and the cover has this wonderfully eerie glow to it, almost as if it is bathed in moonlight, which is great. Plus those sprayed edges.
And, before I get into the rest of the books for my monthly haul, I want to talk about some other purchases I’ve made lately.
The stickers I bought off of Redbubble and they are from a dozen different artists. A few of the stickers are for Damian (and he already put them up in his man cave) and the rest are going on my art wall collage. The metal art prints are from my friends at Colorworld Books, and I love the metal art, but it is not easy to capture their beauty in a photo because of the reflection of light. Maybe I’ll think of doing a little video of them in my Instagram stories or something. I might pick up some more art this weekend. We’ll see.
As part of the bookhaul portion of today’s post, I need to do a shout out to The Book Loft of German Village in Columbus, OH. After some requests on social media, they complied and decided to offer a Malamarkus Mystery Box. You pay a single price for the box, tell them in your order comments what genres you would like, and then they fill the box with items such as books, a tote bag, bookish pins or stickers, etc for you. I have purchased two of these boxes, and it’s really fun to get a package where you have no idea what books they will select for you. The first box I ordered I gave them the genres of Epic Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Manga, with a couple examples of authors/series for each. I loved the selections so much that I picked up a second box, asking this time for fiction that makes me feel like I’m playing Dungeons & Dragons.
What’s really fun about both of these boxes is that they ended up having books for both Damian and myself. In the first box he got Dr. Stone because he watches the anime and wanted to try the manga, and The Starless Sea because I already owned a copy. In the second box I gave Damian The Last Wish, Heart & Shadow, and The Shadow of What Was Lost, again because I owned all of them already. What is really funny is that I had just bought and received that last one from my Barnes & Noble order a few days ago. Oh, and Damian also got the tote bag because I already have one–in that exact same color.
Okay, now for the standard bookhaul segment of the post.
Along with picking up the two books in her Dasreach Council series that I didn’t have, I also was able to buy that lovely Beauty and the Beast stained glass cloth mask from author Josette Reuel as well. We are now required to wear masks while at work, and I wanted to have a selection of cloth masks instead of relying on the disposable paper ones they are going to hand out at work. Though I’m still trying to figure out a good/easy way to be able to get a drink while also working on the factory floor, because the masks make you overheat even faster and that means you dehydrate even more.
Finally I guess it’s time to talk May TBR. I am sort of participating in Moody May, hosted by Kathy from Books and Munches and Destiny from Howling Libraries, and the whole point of Moody May is to read whatever you are in the mood for, which is perfect for mood readers who don’t like TBRs. But I’m sort of a mixed reader, because I enjoy having a somewhat planned TBR and then picking up mood reads to supplement my reading. So, I have made a rather ambitious TBR, which will probably be supplemented by shorter mood reads.
See what I mean? This stack of books is massive. Why am I doing this to myself? Honestly it’s because I seem to pick up thick fantasy reads as the weather gets warmer. I don’t even know how many pages are in these 10 books. So, yeah, I was curious and checked and those ten books are 6,276 pages.
Now that doesn’t include the fact that I’m in the middle of three or four other books that are also around 500 pages each. What can I say? I do love a good lengthy read, especially right now when my weekends are not filled with running around or playing D&D for hours and hours.