The Pond Gets Loud: 8 Book Bloggers Share Their Experiences of Balancing Blogging and Life – Part II

Bao the round corgi, barking loudly. Text underneath says: The Pond gets LOUD; 8 book bloggers share how they balance blogging and life, part two

Happy Monday friends! ✨

Welcome back to The Pond Gets Loud – a ongoing feature where book bloggers share their experiences. The aim of this series is to provide book bloggers – including Booktubers, Bookstagrammers, and so on – an opportunity to share and be more open with their experiences.

The current The Pond Gets Loud series hopes to shine a light on the incredible work that book bloggers do and the amount of work they do by sharing their honest accounts of what the average week of being a book blogger looks like. Read More »

Update on The Pond’s New Friends – We’ve Found Co-Bloggers!

The moment you enter the Pond’s magical boundary, you see Xiaolong hurtling towards you, as fast as her little feet can fly.

“Friend!” she exclaims, coming to a rough stop by your feet. “I have the most amazing news!”

Xiaolong the pink axolotl wearing a purple upside down hat, giving you the thumbs-up.You greet Xiaolong and ask her about her good news. You have become quite acquainted with Xiaolong’s bursts of energy and enthusiasm, but she looks particularly excited today. Now you’re curious!

She gives you a big thumbs-up! “We’ve found new friends to join us at The Quiet Pond!”

Read More »

Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram – A heartfelt and charming story about a teen’s journey to Iran, mental illness, and family

TEXT: Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Adib Khorram. IMAGE: Two boys, one on the left with faded hair and wearing a leather jacket and one on the right with short curly hair wearing a beanie, overlooking Iran. On the top-right, a stamp of Xiaolong the pink axolotl, with the text: REVIEW BY CW, THE QUIET POND.

Summary:

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.

My review:

Darius the Great Is Not Okay might have made me weep openly on the bus, but it was also an effortless favourite. I adored this book; adored it for its wonderful and genuine explorations of biracial identity, our bonds with people, and living with mental illness. This character-driven story tells of Darius; a Persian-American teen who follows his family to Iran to visit family that he has only ever met through Skype. There, he navigates unfamiliar familial landscapes, meets the enigmatic and charming Sohrab, and discovers what it means to be Darius and Dariush.

Read More »

The Pond Gets Loud: 8 Book Bloggers Share Their Experiences of Balancing Blogging and Life – Part I

Bao the round corgi, barking loudly. Text underneath says: The Pond gets LOUD; 8 book bloggers share how they balance blogging and life, part one

For once, the Pond is not quiet. It is loud.

Bao the round corgi, with his mouth open wide, barking, and mid-leap through the airWhen you investigate the source of the noise, you find Xiaolong trying to soothe Bao, the corgi that she adopted last year. But no matter how many pets and treats that Xiaolong tries to give him, Bao will not stop barking!

Before you can ask Xiaolong what’s wrong, Bao cranes his head to look at you and jumps out of Xiaolong’s arms and runs up to you. He’s stopped barking. Xiaolong looks a little perplexed.

“He came back from visiting some friends and he kept barking! I think he wants us to read something. It must be important.”

At this, Bao nudges the fat envelope tied to his collar. You crouch down, remove the envelope from Bao, and tear the flap open. Inside is a bundle of handwritten letters!

“What’s inside, friend?” asks Xiaolong. She is petting Bao, who is now quiet and splooting, and seemingly placated after you opened the envelope.

You hand one of the letters to Xiaolong and unfold another to read for yourself. And together, you begin reading the letters.

Greetings, friends. Welcome to The Quiet Pond!

I expect that we may get a lot of new friends and visitors today, so warmest of welcomes to you. My name is CW, and I am the blogger behind The Quiet Pond. You have just met Xiaolong, my Keeper of Magic at The Quiet Pond (here she is pictured on the right), and her pet corgi, Bao. (If this is your first time at The Quiet Pond, I hope you have some time to explore the Pond a little. I hope you enjoy your stay.)

The context

Today’s post means a lot to me.

Very recently, there were some discussions around the book blogging community regarding the value of book bloggers. Read More »

The Rise of the Empress Series – A Juxtaposition Between Good versus Evil; In Which the Good was Great and the Evil was Boring

TEXT: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Julie C. Dao (left); Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, Julie Dao (right)

The Rise of the Empress duology was a thoroughly unexpected series, and, even more unexpected, was that reading these two books reminded me of two important things. First, sometimes your expectations are completely wrong and that you should check them at the door. Second, that it’s not always a bad idea to give a series a second chance.

The Rise of the Empress duology written by Julie Dao consists of two books: the first is Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and the second, which takes place years later but centers on a different character (and thus can be read as a standalone if the reader wishes), is called Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix. As a whole, the Rise of the Empress duology is an East-Asian reimagining of Snow White, set in a fantasy world inspired by the Far East.

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