My Bookish Notion & Templates

How I'm Using Notion to Track my Life in 2020 
As I am sure most of you have noticed, Notion has completely taken the book community by storm, and I was so very impacted too! I have always loved being organized to the point where I have made lists of different lists! But I feel like I have never found an online organizational system that was all encompassing until I found Notion! (All credit to my favorite banshee May!) 

You can do close to anything with Notion, and I mean anything! I truly do not have words for how much it has helped me visualize all the book content I’m producing, but it also has helped me see the areas that I can do better with, while also helping me organize the tasks I still need to complete! (I am very much not a rep or being sponsored by Notion, I just truly have fallen so in love with their services!) But because a lot of people on bookstagram expressed interest (and asked a lot of questions) when I showed my Notion journey, I figured I would write up a blog post completely devoted to my bookish Notion, and showing you everything I’ve created so far! 

♡ As for question I get asked a lot…
Yes, it is completely free! There are accounts that you can pay for, but everything you’re about to see that I’ve done is 100% free!  
You can create and edit on any desktop regular window, but I do prefer playing around in the app that I downloaded for PC 
If you make a group Notion (like for my book club) you need to have an shared email / google account for everyone to use! 
You can customize so many different templates created by the community and make them your own and for your own needs and wants! (I will link some of mine and some of my favorites down below!) 
There are so many different views and ways to look at your tasks and information, and it can feel a little overwhelming! But again, the more you use the website, the more comfortable and confident you’ll get with swapping between them to visualize things differently! 
I do prefer dark mode and full pages! (I keep swapping fonts though!)
You can use gifs for headers and icons! (All my headers move!) 
My biggest tip is to get all your information plugged into your pages and then try to make them more aesthetic! 
You can click on the 6 dots and move the blocks around to make columns (this truly took me 24 hours to understand I’m still embarrassed!) 
Yes, I am still going to keep using my Google Doc Spreadsheet for organizing all of my books, and reading, and end of the year charts! 
Using Notion has helped me be comfortable with the new WordPress editors block functions so very much and I recommend it for that alone! 

I am in no way a pro at using this app yet! But using it this last month has truly changed how I am organizing my life with work, books, and even book clubs! I am still learning so much, but I just wanted to share my progress (and love) so far! And I think it would be kind of cool if I did another one of these posts in a year, or half a year, to see how much has changed! But without further ado, please enjoy the fruits of my end of 2020 digital organization! 

♡ My Notion Pages ♡

My Homepage — with all the links and tasks I currently *need* !!
My Content Calendar is my Favorite, truly! Template Below!
My Readings Page (very much a prep for 2021 and incoming ARCs)
Rowena’s GTD (get things done) Template that I crafted for my needs
Rowena’s Weekly Agenda (I love her “3 things a day” method)
Dragons & Tea Book Club Homepage

♡ Template Links ♡

Made by Me: 
Bookish Content Calendar Template
Monthly ARC Reading Template

Templates I Use: 
Rowena Tsai GTD
Rowena Tsai Weekly Agenda

Made by Maëlys:
Books Homepage

I hope you all enjoyed this post, and I hope you found it helpful, especially if you are just starting out with Notion! My biggest tip is truly to just play around, and you will learn so much and get so much more comfortable, while also learning the things that work for you and your organization needs! Also, these templates would have helped me so much while starting out, truly! So I hope you are able to get good use out of them for your bookish (and life) needs! Also, please share with me your Notion pages, I would love to see them so very much! Happy reading and task list completely, loves! 

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3 Mini Reviews | Star Daughter, Alloy of Law, & Girl, Serpent, Thorn


Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar 

Reviews you should check out: Fanna’sAnandi’sSara’s

“She was nothing but the words of a story, one tale weaving imperceptibly into the next. She was the loom that wove the tapestry. She was the tapestry that joined all things.”

Star Daughter is a beautiful story about a girl who is half human and half star, and she must go to the celestial court to try to save her father after he has fallen ill. And before she knows it, she is taking part in a magical competition that she must win!

This is also a story about art and all the different forms, and how sometimes music can be healing. Yet also about how much is taken from other cultures under the disguise of the word “muse”. This is such a beautiful story that is ownvoices for the Indian representation and the Hindu mythology, and I truly think it’s a bright and shining star *wink* in 2020 debuts!

If you’re looking for a story with some magic, some romance, some identity discovery, connections through our ancestors, beautiful and lush settings, mouthwatering food descriptions, and a whole lot of love on every page, I’d really recommend Star Daughter!

Trigger and Content Warnings: abandonment, lots of blood depiction, violence (cuts & stabs), captivity, hospitalization of a loved one, illness of a loved one, panic attacks, talk of kidnapping, and talk of loss of a loved on in the past.
4


The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4) by Brandon Sanderson

“Huh […] tea’s poisoned.”

Oh, I loved finally experiencing this next era of the mistborn world, especially in a city called Elendale (be still, my heart)! Yet, I was not expecting this book to start out with a very tragic murder plotline where the bodies are arranged in a very specific pose, and for the actual story to be taking place five years later where Wax is very much still grieving that night. And when the kidnappings start happening again, especially when these people being kidnapped are from mistborn family lines.

I also really love how mistborns are no longer a thing in this new day and age! At most people can have one alomatic ability and one feruchemic ability (twinborns)! And our main characters have some really cool and fun powers with these two abilities:

➽ Wax – pushes steel & can grow heavier and lighter
➽ Wayne – Can alter time & heals quickly (can also make great disguises, but unrelated to metals and powers!)

Overall, I really enjoyed this first installment in a very beloved universe! And I can’t wait to continue on! Also, I will forever be the biggest fangirl of a certain brother who is destined to continue his brother’s work. Okay, brb, crying.

Content and Trigger Warnings: murder, death, mention and threat of rape, kidnapping, gore, and violence.

4


Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

“She had read enough stories to know that the princess and the monster were never the same.”

Oh, I wanted to love this one so very badly! Sadly, most of the characters just felt so insufferable and their actions felt so convenient and questionable. This is ownvoices for the Persian mythos, and does star a bi MC (the author is queer, but I’m not sure what they ID as!) But this is a story about a princess who is cursed with a poisonous touch, and because of that she is constantly alone and locked away by her family because they don’t want anyone to know and she doesn’t want to hurt anyone on accident! That is, until she meets a boy named Azad who not only finds out but is not scared of her or her touch! You know, until bad things happen and her, her family, and her entire kingdom is in grave danger!

Now, this is where the insufferable MC comes in, because Soraya truly just makes the most questionable of choices, while the other characters just magically choose to believe her for progression of the story. Meanwhile, a demon girl named Pavenah is everything and I loved her with the sum of my being!

This had a lot of potential, and I liked the talk on power dynamics and imbalances a lot, but the story just never made me feel like there were any risks because they always conveniently worked out over and over again. Truly, even the villains in this book were the most trustworthy for no reason. Yet, I will say that I am very much in the minority with my feelings on this book, so maybe check out some other reviews! Also, I never want to read about convenient secret passages again either!

Content and Trigger Warnings: blood, gore, violence, captivity, & panic attack/anxiety depiction.

2


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The Lost Book of the White (The Eldest Curses #2) by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu | Drumsofautumn Review

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“You’re my heart, Magnus Bane. Stay unbroken, for me.”

My love for the characters and world of the Shadowhunters has manifested a long, long time ago and yet I feel like every time I read about them, they carve out an even bigger space for themselves in my heart.

The Lost Book of the White follows Magnus and Alec as they travel to Shanghai to get back the very powerful Book of the White that was stolen from their home. And on their journey they get support from the rest of the main The Mortal Instruments cast, Jace, Clary, Simon and Isabelle.
That said, there is spoilers in this book (and review) for basically almost all of the other Shadowhunter series and books and you should definitely be caught up with them before you go into this!

I loved being back with the original The Mortal Instruments squad so, so much. While they obviously show up throughout the newer books too and we always know what they’re up to, seeing all six of them together on an adventure truly made me feel so blessed.

“Jace rarely spoke of his feelings, but he didn’t need to: Alec could read them on his face. Jace had chosen Clary to love, just as Alec had chosen Magnus, and he would love her forever and with his whole heart.”

I also adored that we got to see a little bit of Magnus and Alec being domestic and the ever-worried dads, even when they are stuck in some hell dimension (as you are). Magnus and Alec having such an intense, beautiful, unconditional love for each other and their son made my queer little heart feel so very soft and warm. And I am especially happy about seeing that kind of representation in a YA book!

Other than Magnus and Alec, Simon in particular had a really interesting character arc in this story. Obviously Simon had an entire short story collection dedicated to him and his journey of becoming a Shadowhunter but this story takes place just a little bit after and we see how much the events that happened at the Shadowhunter Academy really shaped him. He is still very much dealing with processing what happened and understanding what it really means to be a Shadowhunter.

“Someone, long ago, had told Magnus that human beings could never love the way immortals loved; their souls didn’t have the strength for it. That person had never met Alec Lightwood, nor anyone like him, Magnus thought, and their lives must have been the poorer for it.”

I feel like this book in particular was such a testament to the skill of Cassandra Clare writing the most memorable characters, even if it is side or even minor characters. There were a lot of characters in here that might not get a lot of “screen time” but that we see over and over in the different series and throughout different times and I just love them all dearly and am invested in what they are up to every time.

And I just genuinely think that this is one of those things that Cassandra Clare very much excels at and that makes reading these series particularly fun and at times heartbreaking. Which, to be fair, Cassandra Clare definitely very much excels at too. Lord knows she has broken my heart several times in the past seven years that I have been reading her books and you know what – I thank her for it.

That said, I didn’t find myself all too invested in the storyline itself. I feel like there is an infinite amount of interesting things to explore in this world and this was definitely one of them but I just felt like the plot didn’t enthrall me much.

“Alec drew the strokes of the rune with attentive care, and Magnus felt the same wonder as he had years ago, the same calming of fear. On the eve of battle, amid the darkened spin of a strange infernal city: it made no difference where they were. They would fight and live and die together.”

But despite what people might think and say, I think that Clare constantly brings new and refreshing ideas and character arcs to the table. She established this world and these characters and I am glad she is still playing around with them, even the ones that are already well-known and loved because that is the aspect of this book that I appreciated the most.
Seeing Simon’s journey, who has been through so much, dealing with the repercussions to his mental health, or seeing Alec and Magnus together as fathers, are additions to this series that I deeply appreciate.

Overall, even though I gave this a 3-star rating, I have a lot of love in my heart for this book because I adore these characters and I always love following them on their adventures.

If you liked the first book, if you like this world, and/or if you miss the The Mortal Instruments cast, this comes with a huge recommendation from me for sure.
And the bonus short story (which was in the audiobook but sadly not in the library ebook copy I had) was absolutely beautiful too and showed me that I will never grow tired of just reading about these character’s well deserved happiness too.

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✨ Lea posts a review on Meltotheany every Friday! Read more of her reviews HERE! ✨

END OF SUMMER BOOK TAG

BookTagI believe this tag was originally created by Bookchanted!
But I saw Destiny @ Howling Libraries do it and thought it looked very fun! 

I truly can’t believe that summer is officially over! But I’ve read so many good books, and I have truly had a very good summer all things considered with this world! But I’m also so ready and excited to move on to a new season, and read more good books, and heal more, and just… be even more happier (hopefully)! But I hope this book tag brings you a little happiness, friends! ☀️🍂

1. What was your favorite book this summer?

45857086. sy475

You know, this was a harder question that I thought it would be, because I have honestly had such a blessed reading summer, but I think the answer is truly The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang the more I think about it! But Night Shine by Tessa Gratton is right up there competing with the spot! 💖

2. What was your least favorite book this summer?

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Whew, okay, let me go hide under my covers, and I almost put The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel for this one, but the more and more this year goes on, and the more and more people are just ignoring the problems with Loveless by Alice Oseman, the more and more it becomes my least favorite book of this summer.

3. What book do you wish you read this summer?

I truly think I am going to love The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth, and the cover and vibe feels so summery to me! But thank to Lea (and their amazing review!) I hope to read and love this one asap! 💓

4. What was your favorite classic you read this summer?

No, listen, I am closing my eyes and looking fully away. But the closest thing to a classic I’ve read all summer is Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins. You get it? Like, a modern classic. Goodbye.

5. Did you stray into a different genre and pick up a new and exciting book?

I feel like I always say that I just don’t like reading books with historical settings for the most part, and I feel like it’s very apparent to me with historical romances! But apparently I just needed the sapphics to win me over with The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics (Feminine Pursuits #1) by Olivia Waite! 💕

6. What was your favorite movie adaptation this summer?

No, listen again, I have to be honest here and say with my full chest this answer is also Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins, because I truly experienced the biggest serotonin boost watching this with Maëlys & Lea!

7. What was your favorite new book release?

Wow, blessings to be able to hype Night Shine by Tessa Gratton after all! Truly my favorite Summer 2020 book release! I hope you all pick it up! 💗

Okay friends, I hope you enjoyed! I feel like I haven’t done a book tag since coming back to blogging, so this was extra fun to write up! Please tell me what’s your favorite book from this last season! Or what book you’re looking most forward to this new season! I hope you’re all having happy reading and I love you! 💕

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3 Mini Reviews | The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics, Dragon Unleashed, Ice Planet Barbarians


The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics (Feminine Pursuits, #1) by Olivia Waite

“We thought we were separate satellites, but we aren’t. We’re stars, and though we might burn separately, we’ll always be in one another’s orbit.”

I really loved this a lot! I especially loved all the different kinds of reclaiming in this story! Maybe all it took for me to fall in love with a historical romance was sapphics in STEM (and art)! Who would have guessed? :]

This was so feminist, so queer, so healing, and so beautiful. And I loved hearing these girls talk unapologetically about how so many other women’s ideas have been taken all throughout history by men who then take the credit, too.

Trigger and Content Warnings: domestic abuse in the past, sexism, misogyny, talk of colonization, and talk of loss of a loved one in past.

4


Dragon Unleashed (Fallen Empire, #2) by Grace Draven 

1.) Phoenix Unbound ★★★★

“What must it be like to be loved this way? So devotedly that the person you parted with cried at your absence before you even left?”

Oh friends, this was such a disappointment for me, especially after loving the first book in this series, Phoenix Unbound, so much! Dragon Unleashed does read as a stand alone, and in this world magic is outlawed! That is why it is so important for our main character, Halani, to hide that she has earth magic, especially since it helps her family who are traveling traders. Yet, when her uncle finds a bone that she can tell will bring nothing but pain to them, he refuses to listen. And that bone happens to be a dragon bone that our other main character, Malachus, needs because the magic holding his dragon-self inside this human form is quickly waning.

Action and romance ensue, well, they ensue extremely slowly over these 400 pages. I was highly anticipating this one, and I always feel like good fantasy romance is hard to find, but I have enjoyed everything by Grace Draven in the past! But I just felt such a disconnect from this book for so many reasons (so much miscommunication, very questionable disability representation, the most long-winded banter), but also because it truly was so very boring for the first 90%.

Trigger and Content Warnings: talk of assault (unwanted touching), torture, violence, gore, blood depiction, captivity, kidnapping, mention of slavery, ableism (in a negative light), and talk of rape in the past.

2


Ice Planet Barbarians (Ice Planet Barbarians #1) by Ruby Dixon

“It wasn’t a monster come to eat me. It was this monster. Who’s come to eat me out.”

Let me start out this mini review by saying that I had less than 48 hours on my audible escape membership and the hype was real, okay? Basically, our main character, Georgie, wakes up and doesn’t know where she is, but she quickly learns that she has been abducted by aliens who are planning to sell her and a lot of other girls. Only one of them has a translating device attached to her, and basically you have to be quiet or else. Well, one of the newly abducted girls are not quiet and they quickly see what horrible things will happen at the hands of the captors. But the spaceship quickly is forced to land on some other planet and they are forced to wait for more aliens to come help them out, but the girls take this advantage to plan an escape.

And Georgie, being the brave and slightly horny character she is, decides to go looking for other life who hopefully aren’t kidnappers and rapists. And what better way to get to know a blue alien that reminds me heavily of male draenei in World of Warcraft than to have him go down on you for a little bit, even though you all can’t understand each other. And together they try to prove that you don’t need to speak the same language to try to help your friends and have lots of good sex along the way back to the abandoned spaceship.

Listen, this was a mess and I don’t get the hype, but to each their own, truly. 2010 Melanie was reading some real questionable shit, so you all do you and I support it. But 2020 Melanie just can’t read about the “you’re my mate now” storylines with a straight face, especially when they are with blue people who can’t even understand each other in the midst some some really traumatic shit going on. Especially when that magical bond (and more magical sex) saves lives.

I’m giving this two stars because it wasn’t offensive, I enjoyed trying to see them communicate with each other, and this audiobook made me laugh so hard it was a bit unreal (the rock sex is 100% going to stick with me for a while). Truly the hidden serotonin boost.

Trigger and Content Warnings: abduction, sex trafficking, drugging, rape, murder, gore, violence, and death.

2


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Top Ten Tuesday | Books On My Fall 2020 TBR

AutumnReleasesTBR
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

I truly cannot believe the Autumn Equinox is already upon us! This is always the start of my favorite time of the year, so I always want to be greedy and stretch it out, even if it might feel very different this year! But regardless of how wild 2020 is, I’m very excited for so many releases this autumn season! 🍁🍁

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2) by Roshani Chokshi
This Is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Over the Woodward Wall (Untitled #1) by A. Deborah Baker
The Ever Cruel Kingdom (The Never Tilting World #2) by Rin Chupeco
Skyhunter (Skyhunter #1) by Marie Lu
Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #3) by Jessica Townsend
Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz
The Archive of the Forgotten (Hell’s Library #2) by A.J. Hackwith
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air #3.5) by Holly Black

AutumnArcsIveRead

🍂 I’ve been very lucky to have been able to read some early ARC copies of some fall releases this year:

Well Played (Well Met #2) by Jen DeLuca
Vampires Never Get Old edited by Zoraida Córdova & Natalie C. Parker
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #1) by Chloe Gong 
The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang 
Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor


Also, this was my very first post written up in the new WordPress editor and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I feel like it took me twice as long and I kind of hate it, help me! But okay friends, I hope you enjoyed this little northern hemisphere seasonal recap of things I want to read and things I have read! Let me know an upcoming release you’ve read and loved or one that you are excited for! Sending you all my heart always, and happy reading! 🧡✨ 

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Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor | Blog Tour

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#AswanginPortlandTour
ARC Provided by the Author & Caffeine Book Tours 

Publication: September 29th, 2020 by Parliament House Press

Vampires of Portlandia is an ownvoices Filipino story about a young adult named Percival who is soon going to be in charge of taking care of his family, while also becoming the leader of what is left of the Filipino vampires! Right now, it is only him, his lola, his younger brother Roger, and their even younger twin siblings and they all fled the Philippines to hopefully have a safer life where they can live in hiding without anyone knowing what they are. But that becomes harder and harder when murders are happening more and more frequently, and it becomes easier and easier to tell that these acts are not being committed by mere humans.

We also get to see the Philippines in the past too, where in this story people are scared of children carrying a chromosome that spreads this disease. This very much impacted the poor during this time of panic and because of this, and the dire and sad means to control it, there are not many aswang vampires. This story also talks about Filipino politics from the past that mirror a world we live in today, where men of god wouldn’t mislead their country and their people, right? (And I’m always here for a story with a Manny Pacquiao manananggal joke, because valid.) But this past story laced throughout is how we get to learn about how Percival’s lola, Leones, is forced to leave the Philippines and becomes the leader of the vampires. And seeing her life and history is so important to understand what Percival is going to face while carrying this legacy. Especially when a civil war starts breaking out between the aswangs in Portland because of these murders.

Aswang generally means “Filipino monsters” and there are a vast different array of creatures that can fall under that word! But in this book we get to see five different types of aswang all coexisting in the same city, but trying to remain hidden. Vampires, werebeasts, ghouls, witches, and viscera. But we also get to see another kind of creature and let me just say there are few things scarier than the manananggal. This take for sure depicts them spooky, but I grew up hearing much darker tales that still give me goosebumps until this day. Hands down one of the scariest parts of Filipino mythos, and for sure one of my favorites ever. And with my full chest I am here to say that western vampires could never.

My favorite aspects of the story were the Filipino values and culture always at the heart of the story. Family means so much to Filipinos and the story always shines a bright light on that and what it means to respect your family members and being willing to do whatever it takes to help them and care for them and love them. Responsibility is also a big part of this story and something that very much also resonated with me because I am the oldest sibling (and cousin) of my Filipino family! I also really liked the depiction of grief in this story and how it can take so many forms. And how the weight of grief can feel so very heavy to carry, especially when you’re trying to carry it alone.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and it made my heart very warm to read it and give it a 3.5 star rating! Also, it made my tummy hungry for chicken adobo, pancit (my personal #1 comfort food), lumpias, and just miss home a lot. Oh, and I also really enjoyed the queer brewing side relationship in this book too! My only real complaint is that I felt like the pacing was a bit wild at times (like for the main romantic relationship and ending) and it made the events feel like whiplash at times! Also, there is a lot (and I mean a lot) of talk about the homeless and drug users in this story because they are the victims in this book and it just felt very repetitive and very bad, even when it was the villains doing it. But I still enjoyed this one and I feel very honored to have read and reviewed it!

Trigger and Content Warnings: murder, death, loss of a loved one, grief, blood depictions, and some very sus sentences about homeless people (even in a negative light).

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September 20
 celuna maria
 The Filipina Bookish
 Sinking With Books
September 21
 Book Geek Musings
 mel to the any (hi)
 The Youngvamp’s Haven
September 22
 Grim Reader
 Read With Katrin
 The Queen Reads
September 23
 Carpe Diem Chronicles
 dmcireads
 Reads in Heels
September 24
 Quilling Time
 She Reads Again
 The Little Miss Bookworm
September 25
 Enemies to Lovers Reviews
 Tami’s Bookish Corner
 Tomes and Thoughts
Check out all of the amazing ownvoices blog stops! ☕

About the Author

Jason Tanamor is the critically acclaimed author of the novels “Anonymous” and “Drama Dolls.” His new novel “Vampires of Portlandia” is a NA urban fantasy about Filipino folklore – aswang. His writings have appeared in more than 250 publications. He’s interviewed personalities such as Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Pete Rose, and Dane Cook, and has covered U.S. President Barack Obama. Tanamor currently lives and works in the Portland, Oregon area.


Author links
Author website Facebook | Goodreads Instagram | Twitter