It’s My Birthday! Book Tag

It’s My Birthday! Book Tag

It’s my birthday this month, and forcing you to read my favorite books this tag seemed like a great way to celebrate. πŸ˜‰ I stole this tag from MyBookWorld24, and it seems to be originally created by Antonia’s Always Books. Thanks to both of you, and I hope your birthdays were fabulous. πŸ˜‰

Let’s get into it!

Birthday Cake: a book with a plot that seems cliche, but you adore it anyway

If you just read the blurb, Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant would look like a cliche, but adorable and swoony YA romance novel. Except that’s part of the point and the story contains much more growth and beauty in addition to the cute storyline. πŸ˜‰

Party Guests: your most anticipated book release for this year

Ahhhhhhh! Toni Shiloh’s The Love Script is pre-ordered and waiting for me to gobble up the second it drops. πŸ˜‰

Birthday Presents: a book that surprised you with how much you loved it

A Curse for Christmas by Anna Christine, hands down. I tend to excessively research books before I buy them, but I went into this completely blind and adored every moment. Absolutely worth it, and I’m on the campaign to get everyone to read it. πŸ˜‰

“Happy Birthday” Song: a book that certainly deserved all the hype it got

Ignite by Jenna Terese. I don’t often enjoy very hyped books (*has a lot of triggers*) but I’m so glad I went for this one because it knocked my socks off. πŸ‘πŸ‘

Happy Music: a book with some very beautiful and truly memorable quotes

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, absolutely. I probably talk about this book far too much, but I don’t care. πŸ˜‰ It broke my heart, mended my soul, and taught me there are no rules for writing.

Getting Older: a book that you read a long time ago, but you think you would appreciate more if you read it as a more mature reader

Also The Book Thief. πŸ˜‰ I just know there’s more in there for me to discover. πŸ’–

Sweet Birthday Memories: a book that kept you incredibly happy during a sad or demanding period of your life

I can’t remember a specific time, but the series Kate’s Case Files by Sarah Holman. I always gravitate toward reading them when I need something to cheer me up or draw me out of a reading slump. πŸ˜‰

There you are! Thanks for celebrating with me. πŸ’–

10 Tips for Running a Book Table

10 Tips for Running a Book Table

I ran a book table at a vendor fair this past weekend. πŸ‘€ (“For the first time in foreverrrrrrr!” 🎢) And it was pretty fun and went pretty well. πŸ˜‰

I thought I’d share some pictures under the guise of sharing tips with y’all. πŸ˜‰ Mwahahaa.

1. Order stock early!

I’ve had a few scary events where my books have arrived literally the day before, and I won’t let that happen again if at all possible. If you’re ordering through KDP, I recommend giving yourself three weeks at minimum for the books to print, ship, and arrive. If you’re ordering during a busy season (mid-summer and holidays seem to be the worst) or this is your first run of this book so it may not go smoothly, go ahead and give yourself even more time. You won’t regret it. πŸ˜‰

The view from behind the table…

2. Pack yourself an emergency bag!

That’s extra change, pens, tape, scissors, granola bars, anything you (or your helpers) are possibly going to need. If this is an all-day event, bring something to do for the slow moments. πŸ˜‰

3. Bring a cashbox.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but this will help you keep track of different bills and feel more secure about your earnings.

4. Use book stands.

I like to get mine from the Dollar Store. They literally last forever, and you can buy a large quantity if needed. They add more visual interest to your table, and if you have display copies people can flip through, it’s even better.

✨ Branding ✨ lol

5. Think about your pens!

Are you going to be signing books? Pick pens that are easy to use, don’t smear, and last for a long time. I love using silver Sharpies for this. Or if you’re not personalizing, you can pre-sign all your books at home.

6. Price stickers aren’t necessary.

But they can look extra professional. πŸ˜‰ This time I went with a picture frame “menu” just for ease and cost reasons. Sometime I’ll get myself some gorgeous reusable stickers. πŸ˜‰

I was selling cupcakes too because I like to complicate things… πŸ˜‰ (Photo credit: Emma)

7. Choose packaging wisely!

If this is an all-day or outdoor event, you may want to provide customers with packaging to protect their new book. Whether that’s a bag, tissue paper, Kraft paper, etc…. And cute packaging that shows off your branding is kinda a bonus. πŸ˜‰ I chose tissue paper which it ended up being wayyy too windy for. πŸ™ˆ

8. Step it up with business cards!

These are actually pretty easy to make,(especially with templates from Canva) and print at Staples. Don’t include so much info it’s cluttered, just the basics like your name, where to follow you, where to find/buy your other books, etc.

Canva template + own aesthetic + Staples print center = voila!

9. Be strategic with your booth decor.

Choose items that add visual interest, practical use, or aesthetic to your brand/books themselves without being cluttered. This can be a huge way to set your booth apart from the others and encourage customers to check it out. πŸ˜‰ It’s also pretty fun.

Some decorations are mine, some are my fabulous mom’s.

10. Personalize thoughtfully!

And finally, if you’re personalizing books and want to ensure you get the customer’s name right, have them write it on a scrap of paper for you to copy.

I hope you enjoyed seeing a peek into my booth and get to do one of your own sometime! πŸ’–

My MBTI in Books

My MBTI in Books

MBTI, aka the personality typing system that some of us (*looks around innocently*) never grew out of obsessing over and still find the best way to describe ourselves. It’s really quite fun. πŸ˜‰

I’m an INFJ. *awkward finger guns* *disappears*

If you’re unfamiliar, here’s a good explanation of this type…

(I just love how those last two are a contradiction. *glares into the void*)

Before I get into the books that remind me most of these types, here is an obligatory meme dump just because they crack me up.

I knew they forgot something 😭
It’s either a terrified “What’s up?” or the kind that means “Tell me everything so I can heal you–take this snack and blanket–this is a safe space”.
Too true. And if you take it the wrong way, yes sometimes we aren’t paying attention and absolutely repeat your questions back to you…

I love being an INFJ, and every time I go on a meme or research spree, I end up feeling even more understood in all my awkwardness. πŸ˜‚

But now to the real blog post, books that remind me of being an INFJ. πŸ˜‰ (Click on the titles to see my reviews.)

Introvert — The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This book has such a quiet soul, tuned in to observing people and loving them in all their humanity but definitely from afar. It also gives me autumn vibes, which I feel like is the season we introverts thrive most.

Intuitive — The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This book is such a beautiful feast of metaphors, journeys through thought, and adjusting the way we all look at the world, that it seemed to fit this category perfectly. ❀

Feeling — The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I included this one entirely because of the main character Rainie. He’s always got a gut feeling and works his best to understand and follow it. It also helps that I adore this series. πŸ˜‰

Judging — Annie’s Life in Lists by Kristin Mahoney

This book is literally written in lists, a.k.a. the most orderly story ever, so there’s that. πŸ˜‰

There you go! Thanks for reading this zany peek into my personality. πŸ˜‰

Does your personality type share any of these categories? And have you read any of these books or are you currently adding them to your TBR? πŸ˜‰

For Sale: A Menagerie of Pre-Made Book Covers

For Sale: A Menagerie of Pre-Made Book Covers

I have a cover design problem; maybe you have a solution.

You see, I love designing them for absolutely no reason (although commissioned covers are fun too). Whenever I’m bored during a movie, waiting for something, or just randomly have a design idea, off I pop to Canva and I’m doodling up something.

Because of this, I have far too many cute covers without stories, and that’s where you come in. Would you be willing to buy one of these? Maybe there’s one that fits your current WIP, or a book that needs a design refresh, or one holds your next idea…

If you’d like to “rescue” a cover from the depths of my files, here’s how it works.

  1. You browse through and fall in love.
  2. Notice the letter and number on the caption.
  3. Fill out the Google form with that number and your info.
  4. I contact you, we do PayPal or CashApp, I customize the title/author name, and it’s all yours.

Simple as that. πŸ˜‰ Let’s get to the covers…

These covers are ones that were more simple for me to make, and I’d like to offer them for $5 each.


This is my mid-tier flight of covers for $10 each.


And these are my top-tier covers for $25 each.

25E (author name fake)

I’m also currently offering custom ebook covers for $25 and an added back cover (to any cover you purchase) for $15.

If you’ve made it this far, here’s the Google Form where you can order.

Thanks for looking at my art! πŸ˜‰

My Adventures in Library Loot

My Adventures in Library Loot

I recently shocked my husband by how quickly I can find and collect a huge stack of new library reads. πŸ˜‰ It’s a skill born of years of bookwormness, and I’m just waiting for the chance to somehow save the world with it. πŸ˜›

It’s true though. The library is my weakness. Especially the new releases section and the middle-grade fiction. I’ve been keeping an eye out for two books I’ve been wanting to read and just put in a request for them. The others are mostly ones whose covers caught my eye or the name just sounded really, really intriguing.

My new favorite bookmark in one of my new favorite library finds. πŸ’–

I’m not sure which ones I’ll read. Every book goes through a rigorous process is chosen by mood, content levels, and concept/adorable cover. If it doesn’t pass those or I run out of reading space at the moment, chances are it’ll be sent back unread.

That’s okay though. The important thing is that I stacked them and brought them home. πŸ’–

The Stack
I’ve Been Thinking About Medication in Fiction

I’ve Been Thinking About Medication in Fiction

I love a good dystopian or sci-fi book. I gobble up stories of people quietly pushing to change the world, holding on to their humanity, and looking for beauty in the broken.

Recently, a common aspect of these stories was put into another light for me, as I went down a journey of diagnoses, a million questions, and a few different kinds of meds.

In The Giver, pills remove emotions. In Matched, and its sequels, pills calm, nourish, and ultimately control (though more in an addiction metaphor). In an episode of Doctor Who, a young girl goes off her meds to hear the universe and save the day.

Some of my favorite fiction can end up coming off really anti-medication. Which is great for a story, but not so good for my brain when I’m already feeling like a messy science project. πŸ™„

Am I suppressing a part of myself? Removing emotions or problems or discomfort that should exist in my life? Managing the emotional pain that makes me a creative person?

I know the answer to these questions is no–I’m actually better able to express and care for myself because of my medication–and I’m grateful every day for how it has literally saved my life.

But sometimes the tropes do get to me. πŸ˜‰

So as I continue to write stories, many of them sci-fi/dystopian, I hope to be more thoughtful in my portrayals of this area of life.

My Top 5 Books for Black History Month

My Top 5 Books for Black History Month

Happy Black History month, y’all! I thought I’d share some of my favorite books that have exposed me to culture and history through the power of story. πŸ˜‰

And as a person with Jewish heritage, I know what it can feel like to have all the available stories reduced to your greatest historical traumas, so I tried to include little-known time periods or books centered on Black joy for a breath of fresh air. πŸ˜‰

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker

I really enjoyed Hidden Figures (and researched the true story afterward), so I was delighted to come across this beautiful picture book biography of Katherine Johnson. I enjoyed the look into her childhood, the amazing illustrations, and the timeline in the back that shared even more details of her life than either the book or movie could fit. I think this is a great introduction to an American hero and inspiring woman. πŸ˜‰

The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Brenda Woods

This was my first introduction to WW2 history outside of European wars, resistance fighters, or homefront stories. The racism and challenges Black GIs faced after coming home from war shouldn’t have shocked me but set in this “idyllic” little town from the perspective of a privileged main character, everything was put into stark perspective. This was definitely a tougher read, but I credit it with “gently” introducing me to less well-known Black history and making me realize there was a lot more I needed to research.

Empowered: How God Shaped 11 Women’s Lives by Catherine Parks

We’ve all heard about Joni Eareckson Tada, Corrie Ten Boom, and Elizabeth Elliot, women of faith who’ve made a great impact on the world and our history, but this collection of short biographies took it even further, including and focusing on Black and Asian women whose stories often go untold. I really enjoyed reading about their lives and how God worked so powerfully through them. I also found all tough topics to be addressed respectfully and age-appropriately, so this is definitely one that could be great for young readers.

The Trouble With Love by Toni Shiloh (and sequels)

I discovered this romance novel mainly through the adorable covers and a desire to read more diversely. I fell completely in love with this swoony, creative world, the strong female friendships that took center stage (sometimes even over the romance!), and the deep spiritual themes that were naturally included. Let’s just say I binged the series as it released and am now a forever fan. πŸ˜‰ *has one of her newest books sitting on my shelf and another pre-ordered* πŸ˜‰

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

I found this book totally by accident when I stumbled upon the author’s Instagram and completely fell in love with the aesthetic. The second book was just releasing, so I of course hunted down the first and gobbled it up. It’s seriously cute and completely lives up to the nerdiness of the cover. A writer MC? With a soft, baker boy love interest? Sign me up! The representation of her anxiety actually helped me recognize and accept my own, so I’ll be forever grateful for that. I have the second book her from the library, and the author’s latest has me severely tempted. πŸ‘€

For more book recommendations, check out Toni Shiloh’s Instagram reels and this blog post by Nadine Keels.

Do you have any favorite books about Black history or Black joy? Recommend them in the comments. πŸ˜‰ My TBR thanks you.

Some Very Bookish Updates ;)

Some Very Bookish Updates ;)

Guys, I’m getting more and more excited by the day. 😍 It finally hit me today, after a video call with my fellow anthology authors, that this is real!

AHHHHHHHH!!! I’m here to spill all the details. πŸ˜‰

First off, we have a blurb…

Nyree moves when she loses her job, hoping to reconnect with herself and her grandmother in time for Easter, but when she stumbles upon a hidden garden, she discovers just how much she’s been missing.
The Prayer Garden by Kelsey Bryant, inspired by The Secret Garden

Felicity goes out of her comfort zone and invites Adam Moore to Easter service, but their business rivalry has him ready to prove her evangelization wrong.
Lilies and Thorns by Abigayle Claire, inspired by Romeo and Juliet

Samuel is haunted by his past and unsettled by the present, but as the Easter season begins, Ellie could show him what his future could be.
An Easter Canticle by Sarah Holman, inspired by A Christmas Carol

Addie hopes for a fresh start when she and her family move to the mountains to live with Grandfather, but some wounds seem too deep to heal, even at Easter.
Addie’s Mountain by Kate Willis, inspired by Heidi

Four classic-inspired Easter stories full of hope, faith, and the miracle of resurrection.

And we have a release date–March 1st, 2023–which also means it’s AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER! *happy dance* We’ll have some pre-order goodies available soon to boot. πŸ˜‰

And if you’d like to be part of the launch team (maybe get an ARC of one of the stories? πŸ‘€), you can sign up here.

Wow, that was a lot. I hope your week (and this new month!) is going well. πŸ˜‰

*disappears back into cave* *temporarily*

The In Or Out Book Tag

The In Or Out Book Tag

While my braincells recuperate from pounding out a book, I thought it’d be fun to do an “easy post” and snagged a tag from Laura Tisdall at this blog. πŸ˜‰ (EDIT: Since my first wasn’t clear enough, I’ve added Laura’s name. And the tag was originally created by Rick MacDonnell on his YouTube channel you can view here.)

It’s time for me to give my stances on some common bookish pet peeves, mwaha. Let’s get started!

1. Reading the Last Page First

OUT. If I run across a spoiler, the harder I try to forget it, the worse it sticks, so I’m veeery careful to not read ahead. (Not that it’s never happened.) πŸ˜‰

2. Enemies to Lovers

OUT, most of the time. I don’t generally like books with a lot of conflict or drama, and when it’s in a romantic setting it can end up leaning into some pretty disrespectful or abusive tropes sometimes. 😦 I do enjoy it when characters have a flirty, good-fun rivalry though.

3. Dream Sequences

OUT, but just because I’ve been tricked by them way too many times. πŸ˜‚ I do think they have their place, especially in fantasy if they’re visions of sorts, but if it’s used to mess with readers… thumbs down.

4. Love Triangles

OUT, (unless you’re the Matched trilogy and I’ll give you a pass). It comes back again to my dislike of drama, but I also find it easily leans into leading people on, feeling possessive, or cheating tropes which are not my cup of tea.

5. Cracked Spines

IN, though I’m not sure if I could bring myself to do it. I do really enjoy it when a used book is already broken in–it just makes reading so comfy. πŸ˜‰

6. Back To My Small Town

IN, and Toni Shiloh and Chautona Havig use this trope in the cutest ways.

7. Monsters Are Regular People

IN. Do we mean like the world of Monsters University or a friend is a hidden mermaid in the real world? Cause I like both. πŸ˜‰

8. No Paragraph Breaks

OUT. *gags* I need these for my brain!

9. Multi-Generational Sagas

*whispers very quietly* out. They tend to rely on relationship drama too much for my tastes plus I don’t often have the attention span for long series, lol. *stares in standalone and trilogy fan*

10. Re-reading

IN, theoretically. I usually remember the plots of books too well to want to re-read them, but it can be really fun and comforting too, especially if it’s a book from my childhood.

11. Artificial Intelligence

IN, mwaha. I love almost all sci-fi tropes and the ways they can be used to explore themes of humanity, entropy, control, emotions, etc. I must write a sci-fi book someday…

12. Drop Caps

IN, they’re cute.

13. Happy Endings

IIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNN. They’re the best, followed closely by bittersweet and hopeful endings.

14. Plot Points That Only Converge At The End

IN, theoretically. I love a good, huge reveal, but a little bit of satisfaction along the way is necessary. πŸ˜‰

15. Detailed Magic Systems

OUT. *hides* I’m sorry, but I do not enjoy super technical world-building.

16. Classic Fantasy Races

IN. Elves, centaurs, merfolk are literally always cool?!

17. Unreliable Narrators

Hmmmm… 50/50. I’m not sure I’ve read many books like this? (Yes, I’m aware of the irony of this answer.)

18. Evil Protagonists

OUT. Nooo, I want to be able to root for you! 😭 If we’re doing a descent into madness or redemption storyline, mayyyybeee.

19. The Chosen One

IN, mostly. This one can be really fun and creative or bland and overused, lol.

20. When The Protagonist Dies

OUT. I don’t need my heart broken!

21. Really Long Chapters

OUT. Again, I need the divisions for my brain otherwise I feel like the book is dragging. πŸ™ƒ

22. French Flaps

IN. (This is when the cover of a paperback has a folded-over flap similar to a dust jacket, I believe.) Feels so fancy, probably because I’ve only seen the highest quality paperbacks with them. πŸ˜‰

23. Deckled Edges

IN. (I had to Google to be sure, but this is basically untrimmed pages.) Absolutely gorgeous, gives an air of “yes, this is an old, mysterious library”, and I just really love how the texture feels. ❀

24. Signed Copies By The Author

IN. It reminds me there’s a real human who poured heart into these pages and having so many author friends makes this even more special.

25. Dog-Earing Pages

OUT. Be nice to the little page corners. 😠

26. Chapter Titles Instead Of Numbers

OUT? I actually don’t pay attention much to headings, though, unless they’re particularly artistic or part of the theme of the book.

There we are. πŸ˜‰ This was so much fun to answer, and I hope you feel free to snag it and share your answers! πŸ˜‰

My Nostalgic Book Haul

My Nostalgic Book Haul

Recently my family was going through their books, and I got texted pictures of some they were planning to donate/give away. Looking through them brought back such beautiful memories, and I chose my favorites to keep and share with my own family someday. The oldest book here is one I first experienced almost 20 years ago and the newest are some I read in ebook or from the library and couldn’t pass up the chance to own.

I know it was a lot of work for my mom to take these pictures then sort out what I wanted, so I’m very grateful she reached out. πŸ’–

Here are the ones I chose…

  • The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, a smart, amusing, and helpful grammar guide
  • Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster, a newer copy and one I didn’t have in paperback (shocker, I know)
  • Word of Mouse by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, an adorable newer find
  • The Cats in the Doll Shop by Yona Zeldis McDonough, one of the sweetest WW2 books I’ve read from the library
  • Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine, a very inspiring book that helped fuel my love for writing
  • Cherokee Run by Barbara Smucker, my first introduction to non-resistance but I’m conflicted about the land-grab history and will be looking at it more critically πŸ˜‰
  • Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland, aka a book my parents bought for the family but mostly to help me with my writing (it made Kiera possible!)
  • Twinepathy by C.B. Cook, one of the greatest superhero books of all time and a favorite indie
  • At the Foot of Windy Low by May Justus, a book my oldest sister read aloud to me before I could even read πŸ’–
  • The Beautiful Culpeppers by Marion Upington, the most adorably unique book ever (a paper doll family?!)
  • Finding the Core of Your Story by Jordan Smith, another helpful writing book my parents bought

They also found my long-lost copy of The Book Thief which is going on the TBR for this year. πŸ˜‰

I’m enjoying the memories as I find shelf and closet space for them all. πŸ˜‰

Do you have a favorite nostalgic read?