Notice to my followers

So I am thinking about changing directions. What I mean is I want to focus on Hot Chocolate & Books on well … books and the such, and not on erratically posted anecdotes.

While at the same time, however, I still plan on having another blog where the said anecdotes will reign supreme. Now, I’m considering hosting this one on another account, completely separating the two main blogs.

The reason being that I want equal exposure for both because as most of us will know by now that we have a primary blog people will visit when our names are clicked in comments and so any other side blogs will likely languish given if we haven’t made a space on the main blog to highlight them.

Another path would be investing time on my Gravatar profile, which I have, in fact, done already. You can add all your blogs like a little personal directory. Mine includes my photoblog, my writing blog (which none of you probably knew about) and a shared comatose blog with Peter Howorth, et al. I need to make a spot for those on HC&B in the future.

I digress. I am leaning towards divorcing Personal Blog from Book Blog completely. For one, it would be a sort of fresh start I sorely feel I need.

The makings of the Personal Blog is already in motion. If any of you folks are interested in following that contact me via the Contact tab up top.

This has not been a recent concept for me, actually. I’ve tried testing it out in the past but I’d hit a roadblock called “Identity Issues”. Two separate personas (essentially) has its drawbacks, yeah?

Also, I plan to redesign HC&B. A bit more minimalistic perhaps. Should I keep anything in particular? Or off with it all?

Thoughts? Questions? Advice? I’m all ears!

Thank you guys for being here, means a lot to me.

Devina

Why do you read?

An old shelfie

I’m curious, are many of you readers? By readers I mean do you read to live? Is it essential as the air you breathe?

If yes, to read to live isn’t the answer to my question though. Is it an escape from reality? A quest for knowledge and empathy?

These dead leaves and digitalized words open portals to other worlds that allow us to experience life as we’ve never known it. They keep ignorance at bay and encourage us to open our eyes to notice the world around us, to make you wonder “Who around me is going through pain and suffering and are they’re hiding it?”

If anything, they are our stout companions in our hour of loneliness and trouble. My reasons for reading are included above but I’ll list them properly:

  • to understand the choices people make and how they live with them
  • to learn as much as I can about foreign vistas without all the travel
  • to not be alone
  • to be informed
  • to become a better writer Continue reading “Why do you read?”

A case of split identity

I have serious shit to do, like work stuff with real consequences and do you know what I’m doing?

Guess. Take a wild one.

I think perhaps some of you know. When the deadline approaches like when Dean Winchester grabs pie … I procrastinate aggressively. I’ve gone and made myself yet another side blog, and I’m not talking about the writing one I made last month.

This one is purely for serious thought not related to books. But HC&B has been my base for six years now and spreading out content (of any nature) away from this blog tears at my mind little by little, yet I go and do it all over again.

*frustrated scream*

It’s not as if I have the f*cking time. There’s no problem with compartmentalizing overall, I guess. It’s me running a marathon with a fire on my head. I do not have good impulse control when it matters the most.

Therefore, it’s time for drastic measures. I’m enlisting one of my sisters to help me put all my books in storage, leaving my desk bereft and glaring. I’ve tried this in the past, goodness knows how I tried, but never quite managed to not leave a book. I’m fed up with myself is what I am.

I’ll just have to survive.

Halp, can’t read me books

I’m clenching my teeth as I type this. It’s April. April, for goodness sake and I haven’t got one book read. Well, that’s not true if you count the two volumes of the stellar webcomic OMG Check Please by the one and only Ngozi Ukazu (you guys can’t tell right now but this comic brings me to tears. Tears of pure joy. Like I’m literally tearing up at this moment because I just saw her latest episode and ugh! Check this shit out.)

Just a sample of my TBR box.

Ahem. As I was saying, that would technically be *squints* two books. Last year was a decent year at seventeen books (shadow reads are not counted *blushes*). Now, that count doesn’t sound very hot but it’s all quality over quantity and I realized maybe that’s what’s been putting me back on this year’s quota of a modest 18 books. What I’m going on about is that I’d decided I should be reading more non-fiction this year and I’ve started to take notes too. When I was going through Susan Cain’s Quiet (btw, I didn’t finish) I was beginning to see how little I was assimilating what I was pouring over, hence a special notebook for that stuff.

That’s all and good but I … *sighs* I am officially an adult now so I have work, but I daydream waaaay too much and I procrastinate which eventually means I’m chasing my own ass finish stuff. Naturally, the only time I can read is late at night but since there’s a lights out policy at home I can only read on Kindle. And that brings up two other problems 1) the books I want to read aren’t digital so I need light and 2) and when I do read on the thing I’m a cranky mad woman the next day.

But my current problem is more pressing. I can’t read anything proper. I have a decent to-be-read pile with some interesting choices *sighs sadly* I can’t … read. Continue reading “Halp, can’t read me books”

The Little Fears get published!

The following is a reblog from Little Fears, a fellow WordPress site that’s guaranteed to make you snort hot beverages or simply laugh out loud. Without fail, there’s an amazingly creative illustrated pun every day brought to you by actual little fears like Spectre, Hydra, Yuffie, Serpent and the gang. Peter Edwards, the Illustrator, has a book in the works that’s full of January’s entries and I am so excited! Go on over there and see what the fuss is about.

You noticed the decrease in grammar and spelling mistakes right? We had an editor attack our tales. I have been asked on social media if I am going to release the Little Fears as an art book. Well, yes, I will. In a couple of months time I hope to release the Little Fears in full paperback form. But for that, good grief did I need an editor.

Slightly exciting in the mean time though, Little Fears – January. The collected Little Fears tales of the first 3 months. Currently on pre-order, available from the 22nd of March.

£2.99 for the UK on Amazon.co.uk

$3.65 for the USA on Amazon.com

I get about 70p per sale due to image size and bandwidth used on Amazons end. So if you fancy having us on your tablet or kindle, you can help fuel the illustrator on cups of tea.

If you want to wait for the paper edition, I can tell you it will be closer to £10 due to the colour images, and will be available in May.

If you just want to support the Little Fears, you can also head over to our Patreon page, where for as little as $1 a month you can contribute to Hydras food bill.

Thank you for being a wonderful audience and allowing me to indulge in my scribbles and stories on the internet.

Book review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Rated it: 5 stars

I reread this gem last year and the feels are still incredibly strong. Long story short this is a coming of age story of teenager Aristotle (told entirely in his point of view) during the 1980s set in El Paso, Texas, and spans two years.

The summer was hot and humid, the rain was like a veil into different emotional dimension I kid you not. And the birds, well they were there crapping on people in a real way. Oh, just read the thing and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s raining as I’m writing, and usually when it does I’m reminded of my summer boys.

And I’ll be straight with you, dear readers, this is a novel I cannot formulate a coherent sentences worthy of a decent review so I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for this mass of fangirl babble. Ari was at the awkward age where he’s coming to terms that his body is changing, he’s occupied with thoughts of his veteran father who’s in another world most of the time. Added to that he’s somewhat obsessed with an older brother who he barely remembers. 

He meets the soft spoken and bookish Dante (one of the cinnamon-iest cinnamon roll I’ve read so far) one day at the pool. A loner by choice, Ari begins to find his company an education.

The friendship that grows between these two … it’s simple yet it’s not. For better or for worse they change each other. Simply by being there they challenged themselves with facing the hard questions, the kind of questions that makes them realize just how vast and painfully tangible the universe possibly is.

What I loved

  • Sáenz didn’t mince words, let me tell you. When I first read it I was confused and uncomfortable but then I got it. This was Ari’s voice: raw, undiluted and straightforward. Also the writing gets poetic, which I expect from a book with a guy named Aristotle in it. Not that he’s poetic. Hmm, well he does get poetic but he doesn’t think he is.
  • Ari. I like him. A lot. Full of angsty pubescent emotions, foul mouthed (as much as a fifteen year old can be in YA), a natural born smart ass, and an actual decent human being. Cute too, did I mention?
  • Dante, another smarty pants. He’s the yin to Ari’s yang. Gentle, fierce, kind and forever curious. If I recall correctly, he has identity issues with his Mexian ancestry, having not been immersed in it as much as Ari. He’s terribly brave when it comes down to it.
  • The parents Continue reading “Book review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz”