Tag Archives: personal

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

Remember Self Care is Important Care

Remember Self Care is Important Care. Cheesy I know. But there is a lot of things going on in the world and more and more I hear and see about people struggling personally. This is not to say that I don’t have personal struggles as a woman, who doesn’t speak about her personal feelings for the sake of others and constantly put others first and puts a whole lot of pressure on herself, I experience my share of breakdowns, panic and anxiety attacks.

But as of late, I am becoming aware that self care isn’t simply buying my favorite food and a stack (yes a stack) of new books. It is so much more than that. It is breathing, letting go, saying no, curling under the blankets, your spouse, friend or parent. It is that hot bath you’ve been promising yourself, its calling your sister to find out what she’s cooking for dinner. Self care is not only doing what you love or even like at certain times a week but everyday.

I put a lot of myself into everything I do, especially for other but lately, I’m taking a step back to focus on me and those I love (because my self care isn’t self care without me being all into my family). I’m breathing a little bit more and its making things easier to deal with.

BUT let’s not make this all about me. Sharing my thoughts is actually leading to book/literature related self care that I would recommend you keep in the back of your mind because you may not use it now but it will be there for you later.

So listed below are fiction and non-fiction books that I believe apply to this conversation as well as a unexpected surprise I came across recently.


While on twitter, I came across @ajscribes (Amber Jane) and she is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Core Magazine. How does this relate to the self care post? Well The Core Magazine is a digital magazine created to promote self care and wellness. When I tell you, this magazine is amazing… its amazing. What caught me was the preview of their November issue. So I purchased their first issue and I am thrilled and excited to see what comes next.

This is needed because it devotes pages to self care and not just a paragraph. I hope that this helped you because talking about it help me. So I pray that your overcome your struggles no matter what they. Just remember Self Care is Important Care now go drink some water.



The Frustrated Reader: Let’s Talk about Race

Race not diversity. Because those are two different things and diversity will be talked about at another time.

What makes this topic for me frustrating are two main ideas on two levels: the publishing end and the writers, who decide to talk about race through their characters. For African American writers, no matter what the genre is your book will be listed as African American and placed in an African American section. For instance, Octavia Butler is one of the queens of Sci-Fi but you will only find her book in the African American section of a library and not the Sci-Fi section.

This is an issue that needs to be addressed if the literature world is ever going to deal with race. It shows that African Americans are not only good enough to stand with White authors. It’s not a fair race when some of the competitors get a mile head start. Although this is a publishing issue, a lot of authors are unaware of this (yes, there are some who don’t care but I care). It is obvious how to fix this but it isn’t going to be fixed unless more authors care.

Frustration number 2:

What gives me the right to talk about the struggles of a Hispanic person if I am black? I have not been Hispanic a day in my life, so why I would I do that? I have an issue with this because although a story may be fiction it still holds truth relevance and a connection to the reader. By being Black, White, Indian, Hispanic, Native American anything other than my defined race no matter how much I study I cannot write about an event or a person’s feelings about their race and their struggle if I have never experienced it.

And let’s be clear, if you’re writing about faeries, animals or any kind of inanimate objects, you’re not talking about race. Race and its issues are only talked about with humans.

The way to fix this is to be conscious as a writer that you cannot write about everything and the attempt should not be made. As a reader, I want to be able to connect with the character, especially when it comes to issues regarding race. Reading about something and writing about is not the same as writing your experience through a character. If you are writing about a black person getting into a fight over being bullied for their dark skin, it isn’t going to be an accurate portrayal because it is told through you as a non-black person looking at it. This is something authors need to understand. Trust me when I say readers can tell and authors do matter.

Characters shape the author and their viewpoints, so it is important that authors new and old to be conscious of writing about race.



My Summer Reading

Summer Summer Summer Time!!


It’s the time for the beach and for some people like me massive amounts of reading. I love to share; so here is my summer reading list. I may not hit them all and there will probably be extra ones that are not on this list. So check out my goodreads for further updates.

1. When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

2. Defy the Dark by Sandra Mitchell

3. GloomCookie by Serena Valentino

4. The Gates by John Connolly

5. Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

6. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente

7. In One Person by John Irving

8. Flowers in the Attic by V.C.  Andrews

9. Rapture by Susan Minot

10. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

11. Finding Sky by Joss Stirling

12. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

13. Autumn Rose by Abigail Gibbs

14. Faerie After by Janni Lee Simner

15. Hector Finds Time by Francois Lelord

16. Timekeeper by Alexandra Monir

17. Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women by Nura Maznavi

18. Now is the Time to Open Your Heart by Alice Walker

19. Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho

20. The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma