Tag Archives: holly black

Year in Review: 2017

2017 was a year to be reckon with. Beyond the obvious, political environment, on a personal level, on all levels, this year was one that I would prefer to use as a learning lesson. So, just as warning, this will be a long post.


I reached my Goodreads goal of 200 books this year :D Super excited about that because not only did I not reach it last year but I hit constant book walls this year. Between books that couldn’t keep my interest, books that did not live up to the hype and my own expectations and finally books that were poorly written, my book year has been full of highs and lows.

However, I did hit some fantastic reads, some good reads and some pretty covers, that I want to share.

Fantastic Reads

Why were these books fantastic reads? They were engaging, diverse, honest and creative. The plot kept me on my toes, the characters had development and growth. The world, in which the story is set, felt real like opening my front door. Some of these reads fed my love of history and mythology, while other fed my love for a sappy love story. Either way, my fantastic reads of 2017 are highly recommended.

Good Reads

Why were these books good reads? They didn’t hit all of my points previously mentioned in Fantastic reads. But they did keep me engaged for most of the book and I loved the character. Also these good reads, have a very strong foundation and although not 5 Pickles perfect, I am happy to have read them and read the next book in their series if it applies.

Pretty Covers

What’s a year in review, if I don’t display some gorgeous covers. Some of these books I have read, while others I have not been able to get to yet. But aren’t they just beautiful to look at!


So as mentioned this year has been a unexpected force that put a lot of things in perspective. Firstly, I was able to visit my husband in Japan for two weeks and I was able to go to Dominican Republic this year as well. Both were amazing and it made me realize how attainable traveling can be, if you put your money in order. Because of these adventures, I have the wanderlust bug and actively planning a bunch of trips for 2018.

On a emotional level, I have been a mess. I have been missing my husband dearly and the toll of living on the other side of the world was heavy. It’s still heavy but it is much more manageable. We made celebrated two anniversaries this year. 6 years when we started dating or when I stopped being a butt and said sure (October 3rd) and 4 years when we said I do (December 6th). I tend to get a bit emotional when its comes to my Husband because when we met when I was emotionally and spiritually in bad shape. He stuck around even when I didn’t want him to. He means a lot to me and I can’t wait until his deployment is over and he is home for good.

On another note, school has been kicking my butt and the back and forth of if I should even keep going with my masters degree has been a unanswered question for months now. I am leaning towards banging out this final year (InshaAllah) but I am just not into this classes like I thought I would be. But I did better this semester, so hopefully I can keep that going.

I struggled a lot with past Tanya and current Tanya. Past Tanya was getting bored and tired of being in the past and wanted to explore some newfound freedoms, while current Tanya is not for that mess. But because of certain life changing decisions it was hard to stop those thoughts and move forward with the obvious right and better choice. Past Tanya has taken a step back and I pray that it will be for good. Because when I say she was a mess…smh just so messy.

I learned that self-care is needed not every once in a while but all the time and that it can take different forms. For me going to the library or bookstore, taking a bath and disconnecting from social media, have been the best methods I have learned and used a lot this year. I am still growing in this area because me and emotions aren’t the best of friends but I am proud of myself. I had less panic attacks than I did in 2016, so that counts right? Lol

On a second note, I saw my first ballet, went to a Harry Potter experience, watch old anime in a movie theater, met new people, started wearing lipstick, won a few arc giveaways and a bunch of other stuff. Although this year had some downs, the highs were highs but most importantly I lived and got to thank God for that everyday.

Social Media

As of today I have the following followers on each channel I run:

Instagram: viewsfromthe_desktop : 78 Followers

WordPress: motif by Tanya : 122 Subscribers 

Twitter: @motifink 408 Followers 

I have been participating in various twitter chats and hash tags. Social media is taking a lot of my time and I had made it my mission that every month, I will take a week vacation from it. However, despite the overload, I have been putting myself and Motif by Tanya out there and it is visible in the increase of followers. I even began writing monthly updates and topic specific blogs. During this year (2017) I forgot how much I enjoy writing and started making time for it despite my growing responsibilities. I love this renewal and in 2018, I tend to work on my writing more.

What Tanya Wants 2018

There are several goals I am reaching for this year, book related and in real life.

Book Goals:

  • Start posting regularly for Quick Five© interviews
  • Begin posting The Frustrated Reader© monthly
  • Clear out my arc queue on Netgalley
  • Attend book conventions and festivals
    • Book Con
    • Bronx Festival
    • Y’all Fest
    • Book Expo
    • Novateen Book Fest
    • Well Read Black Girl Fest
  • Begin posting on either Amazon or Goodreads
  • Start a YouTube channel

Travel Goals:

  • Baltimore
  • Bday Cruise
  • Seattle
  • Paris
  • Chicago

Personal Goals:

  • Pray 5 daily prayers on time
  • Quran reading
  • Learn Arabic
  • Start rockclimbing again
  • Learn to fence
  • Learn to bake bread and make a pie from scratch
  • Volunteer
  • Learn to drift & drive a stick

Professional Goals:

  • Begin freelance writing
  • Move up in my current company
  • Own a business

What Tanya Wants New Releases: January 2017

Now what can be a end of the year, beginning of the year wrap up without my anticipated reads for January 2017 :)

I do plan on participating in #unreadshelfproject2018 but with so many new reads I am waiting for this year, I am going to modify my goal. For every 3 tbr books, physical and digital, that I have, I will read one of wants. Sounds fair right :)

In Conclusion:

I know that this was a long post and it could have been several posts spaced out during the week but it was great therapy. What is that saying, speak it into existence? Not only am I doing that but praying first and foremost. Is this considered a new year’s resolution? Naw not really. Motif by Tanya is a book review and author interview website but it is also my baby that I put a lot of time in. It’s time to make her stand out and if that means showing a little bit more of me every so so then so be it.

Peace and Blessings, Ya’ll <3

Impatiently Waiting For: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
TBP Jan. 2, 2018
384 Pages

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.- Goodreads

NetGalley Review: Doctor Who: Lights Out (Doctor Who 50th Anniversary E-Shorts #12) by Holly Black

Puffin Published Oct. 23, 2014 EBook
Published Oct. 23, 2014

This is a short story featuring the 12th Doctor in part of series to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.

I have never watched Doctor Who. So when I saw this book I decided to give it a try and see if I enjoyed the Doctor.

If this is your first time like then be aware it doesn’t give you much insight at all about the Doctor and the amazing things he does. In this short story, the Doctor is the side character and the main character is someone/monster that he saved a long time ago.

I was surprised that the Doctor wasn’t the focus but then again Black is known for doing things differently so this different point of view shouldn’t have surprised me.

This wasn’t a bad story but I felt it would have been better longer. There is not enough story, enough conflict, or even emotion for me to really feel attach to the characters or even the plot.

The story was simple, slightly predictable, lacked passion and a bit of creativity. I wanted more of everything and would have been completely okay if it was longer. This short story felt more like a beginning of a story than a completed piece of work.


2 Pickles.



What Tanya Wants: September 2014

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J Mass: Celaena learns the truth about herself and must decide to fight for herself or continue to be a slave to those she has grown to love.

Trial by Fire (Worldwalker #1)  by Josephine Angelini: A girl wishes to disappear and is sent to a “New Salem” and discovers her other self.

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang: Most popular girl at school has a breakdown and tries to kill herself.

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy #3) by Sarah Rees Brennan: Final book to the indecisive Kami in a weird love triangle trying to defeat the most powerful wizard in Sorry-in-the-Vale.

Lullabies by Lang Leav: A collection of poetry involving love and loss (the author has been really hyped so I am curious)

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare: Holly Black is a master at creepy stories so of course I am going to read this book even if she was simply an editor.

Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

I love Holly Black but did not love this book.

   Little, Brown Books for Young Readers     Published Sept 3, 2013           432 Pages
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published Sept 3, 2013
432 Pages

Tana’s world includes vampires. It also includes a place called Coldtown in which all vampires, found and caught, are sent to live.  This is also a place where humans wanting to turn can go. Ultimately, most people in Coldtown never leave.

Tana wakes up one day after a party in a bath tub with all her dead classmates surrounding her. Left is her infected (bitten by a vampire) ex-boyfriend and an unknown vampire that seems to cause more trouble than good. Abandon by her father for assuming she’s been bitten, hunted down by the police for being at the party, Tana goes to Coldtown as her last hope.

The author creates a new myth for new vampires. If you don’t drink human blood for 88 days then you will not become a vampire. This is the whole concept of the book. Tana watched her mother go through these motions and ended up getting her killed. So in a chance to redeem herself Tana fights tooth and nail to make sure her ex does not drink anybody’s blood even though it risk her life and others around her.

I didn’t like this new myth even though it was creative. It takes away from the vampires we all know and love. Same ways Stephanie Myers made them sparkle; it just takes away from the true monsters they are to be supposedly.

What I thought was unbelievable was how Tana was running around with two vampires and didn’t get eaten alive by them. Don’t get me wrong her ex tried but he was a just turned vampire with that much control not to bite her? Really?

Finally, Tana was passed out in the tub in the bathroom are you saying that those vampires that took out a whole graduating class couldn’t sense her? I mean I guess she was that drunk? I’m not sure but I wanted a better reason for why she was missed.



Don’t forget to like & Share :)

Book Review: The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black

Holly Black is officially my favorite author.

       Big Mouth House    Published April 1,2010                212 Pages
Big Mouth House
Published April 1,2010
212 Pages

In her first collection of short stories Holly Black brings readers a range from vampires, werewolves, faeries and other supernatural beings. This short collection also gives readers a preview/idea of her latest book “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” which despite the title it was a pretty good read.

“The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” is the only story that left you wanting more. It brought out my curiosity because I wasn’t expecting vampires and I honestly have no idea why I wasn’t expecting vampires. I think the characters were a bit weak but I am going to chalk that up to it being a short story.  But this story leaves quite a bit of questions so I am interested in the actual book.

 “In Vodka Veritas” is a story in which a private schools’ Latin class put a spell on their peers at a school prom. This story was also the weakest story in this collection. It really lacked in development of the main character and it lack follow up. She led you on (which is a good thing) but fell short in making you in love with the story.

“The Poison Eaters” is also another story that didn’t quite work out for me.  It truly was a short story in every sense and didn’t leave any questions as in whom what or why. Everything was answered but it didn’t leave much to the imagination.

Over this entire book get 9 out of 10. For the first time, I actually found a book that is both well written and creepy . . . so very creepy.



Tania Lasenburg is a communications major that plays video games and cyber stalks Gym Class Heroes. Follow her on twitter @mrztanyapickles