Mid-Year Freakout Tag

I did this tag last year and had a ton of fun with it. So, I guess it is time to make it an annual tradition! I’m still not quite sure where the tag originated, but I’ve seen it all over on a bunch of blogs. If you know where it came from, feel free to tag/link them in the comments. I can’t believe the year is already halfway over. Even more surprising, I can’t believe I already read 91 books in the first half of the year. That is only nine away from my goal for the entire year! So, I’ve got plenty of great options to choose from for this tag.

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Most Anticipated July 2022 Book Releases

It’s almost a new month, which means it is time to look forward to new books being released! July is much quieter than usual for me. There are only three books I’m really looking forward to this month, which is probably for the best because August is going to be WILD with all the new releases coming out. Without further ado, here are the top three books that I am looking forward to the most next month!

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Initial Impressions & Pub Day Spotlight – In the Shadow of Lightning

Happy book birthday to In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan! I initially planned to share my review for this book today, but I’m not finished with it yet. So, I thought I’d do a quick post about my initial impressions so far and then get back to reading.

Goodreads Synopsis

Demir Grappo is an outcast—he fled a life of wealth and power, abandoning his responsibilities as a general, a governor, and a son. Now he will live out his days as a grifter, rootless, and alone. But when his mother is brutally murdered, Demir must return from exile to claim his seat at the head of the family and uncover the truth that got her killed: the very power that keeps civilization turning, godglass, is running out.

Now, Demir must find allies, old friends and rivals alike, confront the powerful guild-families who are only interested in making the most of the scraps left at the table and uncover the invisible hand that threatens the Empire. A war is coming, a war unlike any other. And Demir and his ragtag group of outcasts are the only thing that stands in the way of the end of life as the world knows it.

Initial Impressions

I’m approximately a third of the way through the book, and I like it a lot so far. The world feels gritty and the magic system is fascinating. I almost always enjoy stories where the magic is a natural resource that is running out, and this one is no exception. There’s plenty of murder, mystery, and political maneuvering alongside the intensifying warfare that has gripped the empire and its neighboring city-state. The characters are all complex with interesting backgrounds and personalities that are slowly being uncovered layer by layer as the story progresses. Overall, the setup in the first third of the book has been great, and I’m really looking forward to what will hopefully be an epic payoff in the end.

My Favorite LGBT+ Books Since Last Year’s Pride

I really enjoy reading, reviewing, and spotlighting mostly queer books during Pride. However, I also read a ton of LGBT+ books throughout the year. In today’s post, I wanted to highlight my favorite books with LGBT+ characters that I’ve read this past year since the last Pride month. These were all five star books for me, and I loved each and every one of them. There’s a wide range of genres represented here with the intention that the list will hopefully have something for everyone. Initially, this was going to be a list of five, but I couldn’t narrow it down even close to that number. So, instead you get my 15 favorite LGBT+ books/series that I’ve read since last year’s Pride.

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Spell the Month in Books – June 2022

Hello, everyone! I have seen this challenge floating around and have been wanting to participate for a while. So, I decided to jump in and do it this month. I’m not a huge fan of the theme for this month because I don’t really read classic books all that often. Instead of doing the theme (favorite classics), I’ve decided to spell the month using books from my TBR that have LGBT+ main characters, in honor of Pride month. The challenge and linkup are hosted by Jana at Reviews From the Stacks.

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Meet the Book Blogger Tag

Hello, everyone! Today I’m doing a book tag. I feel like it has been forever since I took the time to do one of these. So, I’m kind of excited about it! Thank you to Dini @ dinipandareads for the tag!

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who tagged you (See above)
  • Mention the creator: Lauren @Lala’s Book Reviews
  • Tag as many (or as few) people as you’d like
  • Have fun and get to know one another!

Introduction

INTRODUCE YOURSELF

My name is Chris! I’m in my mid-30’s, and I love books and all things reading, which shouldn’t come as much of a shock since this is a book blog. 🙂 I’ve lived my entire life in Louisiana, and even though the state ranks last in almost every good thing out there, it isn’t all bad because there is good food and interesting culture. I’m currently a house husband, which gives me plenty of time to read. However, I’ve got four degrees and have worked in multiple fields, including biomedical research and mental health. I’m just lucky to have an awesome partner with a lucrative career that allows me a lot of flexibility right now.

SOMETHING MOST EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW…DO YOU HAVE ANY PETS?

I do! My partner and I have four pets. The first is a golden retriever and lab mix named Shelby. We’ve had her the longest for over 11 years. She’s getting up there in age (like us…lol), but she’s still a puppy at heart. We also have a lionhead rabbit named Pancakes. He is super cute and super fluffy, but he loves to chew through EVERYTHING. So, when he’s out of his cage we have to watch him like a hawk. We’ve lost a lot of cords and furniture to his nibbling. I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t been electrocuted by this point since he’s been at it for almost ten years. Finally, we have two cats, Meesum and Cash. Meesum is the friendliest cat you’ll ever meet. Cash, on the other hand, is a bit of bitch, especially to other animals. They are both incredibly needy and revolt with incessant whining if they do not receive the required amount of snuggles per day. Here are some pics because I know that is what everyone will want…

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DRINK?

I feel like this was covered pretty thoroughly in my post from earlier this week about my Top 5 Drinks for Reading, but the short version is any type of Dr Pepper.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON?

Winter. I love the cold and being able to bundle up. There’s nothing better than curling up in a blanket to read a good book, and I can only do that comfortably in the winter because of how hot it is during the rest of year. I also just really hate the heat and humidity here in Louisiana, which is present pretty much the entire year except for a couple months in winter.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL TALENTS?

Not really. Unless you count being super uncoordinated. I’ve never played an instrument or been great at sports. I’m unable to carry a tune. So, I can’t really think of anything.

Blogging

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START YOUR BLOG?

I started my blog in March 2021. There were quite a few reasons I started blogging. I’ve always loved to read, but I don’t really have any close friends that read as much as I do. So, I wanted to join a community of like-minded people with similar interests. I also had recently quit graduate school because of the pandemic and my battle with cancer, and I needed something constructive to do with my time. Finally, I wanted free books. lol. I’m not afraid to admit it. Although, it has definitely backfired because I spend way more on books now than ever before even though I get lots of ARCs. I blame all the other bloggers for that because they make me notice books I never would have considered before.

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WISH YOU KNEW ABOUT BLOGGING WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED?

I wish I knew how addictive and time-consuming it would be. The amount of time spent reading, writing posts, and interacting with others is a lot more than I ever expected. I’ve always been fairly obsessive when it comes to work of any kind… I’m a bit of a workaholic. So, if I’m not careful, blogging has a tendency to take over my life. There have definitely been times where it has started to feel more like a job or obligation. I’m wary of that because this is supposed to be for fun. When I start noticing those feelings creeping in, I do my best to switch something up or force myself to do something else for a while. It took a while for me to recognize that I don’t have to post every day or respond to every comment immediately, and I almost closed the blog down because of it. These days I just try to have fun with it, and I wish I had been less stressed about numbers and self-imposed deadlines from the beginning.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST PART ABOUT BLOGGING?

The hardest part about blogging for me has been keeping up with everyone else’s stuff. I feel constantly bombarded by notifications, and it stresses me out because I want to read everything and support everyone. I’m also a super shy and introverted person by nature, and it makes interacting with others, even through a screen, incredibly exhausting. So, I’m usually super picky about what I comment on or interact with to keep from getting overwhelmed. If I interact with your blog/posts in any way, especially a comment, know that I love your work because that is a super rare occurrence.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST REWARDING PART OF BLOGGING?

The books. I’ve found so many books I would have never read otherwise, especially a lot of great indie books. So many, in fact, that I’ll probably die buried under my massive TBR pile. Oh well. Surely there are worse ways to go.

DO YOU WRITE YOUR POSTS AHEAD OF TIME OR WRITE THEM THE DAY OF POSTING?

I’ve changed my mind about the special talent. I think it will have to be procrastination. lol. I’m always waiting until the last minute to get things done, including my blog posts.

Reading

WHO ARE YOUR TOP 5 FAVORITE AUTHORS?

This is such a tough question to answer! I love the work of so many authors, but if I have to narrow it down to five, I think I’d pick these awesome people:

  • TJ Klune
  • Fonda Lee
  • Adam Silvera
  • Claudia Gray
  • Alice Oseman

WHAT GENRE DO YOU READ THE MOST?

I definitely read more fantasy than anything else. Although, I also read quite a bit of LGBT+ YA.

WHAT GENRE SURPRISED YOU BY HOW MUCH YOU LOVE IT?

Romance. I didn’t think I’d ever really enjoy this genre that much. I refused to read it for the longest time, but now I love it and always try to include at least one romance read a month. If the romance is LGBT+, fantasy, and/or historical, I’m almost guaranteed to love it.

WHICH POPULAR BOOK DIDN’T LIVE UP TO THE HYPE FOR YOU?

The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman. This book was all over Twitter back when it came out last year. It seemed everyone only had good things to say about it. I didn’t like it very much. I thought it was boring and found the main character to be super annoying.

WHO ARE SOME POPULAR AUTHORS YOU HAVEN’T READ?

There are so many!!! These are just a few that I have on my bookshelves but haven’t had a chance to read yet:

  • Holly Black
  • Chloe Gong
  • Brian McClellan
  • Sarah J. Maas
  • Jim Butcher
  • R.F. Kuang
  • Pierce Brown
  • Olivie Blake
  • Brandon Sanderson
  • Lev Grossman
  • Tracy Deonn

WHAT UPCOMING RELEASE ARE YOU EXCITED TO READ?

Once again, there are so many!!! Here are some of the ones I’m looking forward to the most:

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE READING?

Nope. Anything with noise makes it really hard for me to concentrate while reading, which means no music or TV playing in the background.

WHERE ELSE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE?

Twitter: @biblionerdrflxn
Goodreads: biblionerdrflxn
Tumblr: @biblionerdreflections (I rarely do anything extra besides my WordPress content here)

Tagging

I don’t think I’m going to tag anyone specific in this one. If it looks like fun and you’d like to participate, consider yourself tagged. Just be sure to link back to this page so I can see your post!

Exciting Announcement About BBNYA 2022

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is short but very, very exciting. I’m happy to announce that I’m a panelist for the 2022 Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award! I’ve been lucky enough to participate in the blog tours for some of the past participants and winners, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a panelist myself this year. I’m looking forward to reading lots of fantastic indie books and getting to know some new bloggers as part of this process. If you would like to learn more about this competition, you can visit the BBNYA website. Sign-ups are still open for both panelists (until May 14th) and authors (until May 28th). So, if you fall into either category and want to participate, be sure to sign up soon!

Badge created by Jenn @JennieLy from Jenniely.com