September 11th, 2001: 20 Years Later

I can not believe it’s been twenty years since this horrible day. They say you will remember exactly what you were doing on this tragic day. I can agree with this to an extent. I know that I was a sophomore in high school. I was in class when the teacher turned the tv on so we could all watch what was happening. I can’t tell you what class I was in. I can’t even tell you I fully comprehended what was going on. The rest of the day was a blur to me. I understand now that I’m an Empath. I didn’t know that at the time. I felt so overwhelmed with pain and emotions that I couldn’t think straight. I watched the news obsessively until the events stopped being talked about nonstop. To this day, I still can’t watch the news.

I asked some friends to share their stories with me. I am fortunate to have been given three beautiful stories. I hope you enjoy them.

Michelle Hoffman:

I was up and having breakfast with my dad because his car was in the shop, so I was giving him a ride. We were watching TV and saw the first plane hit. Thinking it was an accident, we left the house and started on our way. By the time we stopped to get his morning paper, the second plane had hit and we knew it wasn’t an accident. My mom was terrified and didn’t want him going to work because his job was right next to LAX and she thought more attacks might happen. He insisted, so I took him the rest of the way. It was amazing to see how people pulled together to get things accomplished that day and though I didn’t like what made it happen, it gave me hope that people can be good, regardless of who they are helping.

Roxy Sterling:

Do I remember where I was at the moment the horrible injustice hit our country? No. I was in college and I believe I was studying away and not near any sort of media outlets. I remember finding out later that afternoon as I was leaving to drive somewhere. I remember what happened the rest of the day and the days following. I remember people coming together to help each other. I remember our country mourning together the lost loved ones even if we didn’t know anyone directly. I remember how it didn’t matter who we were or our beliefs because we were united. That is what I remember. I just thought about and time has changed and there are very few people in my life now that was in my life 20 years ago. I hope today of all days we can forget about all of our differences and remember what brought us together 20 years ago on this day and the following ones.

Dreama from TikTok.

@dreamastiktok

To honor the ones we lost, we talk about how we lost them. We continue trying to heal through the pain. #wwywtwst #alanjackson #nineelevenmemory

♬ original sound – Dreama’s TikTok

Death and tragedy are a part of life. It’s a sad reality that we face. Just remember that together we can heal. Together we can overcome hatred. Together we are not alone. I’m sending you all hugs and love and positive vibes.

Follow me everywhere: https://linktr.ee/StarsBooksAndTea

Confessions About Burnout and New Plans

I think this blog has been a long time coming if I’m being honest with you all and myself. I’m posting things that don’t really matter to me because I feel I have to. I’m attempting to force myself to write when writing doesn’t really bring me joy or excitement. I love writing, but sporadically. I don’t really care about writing on an every day basis. I don’t want to make writing a living. That being said, I’m officially changing up my schedule. Thank you all for your understanding. I will post some past blogs I miss that I actually enjoy. My reset starts completely over tomorrow.

Blog Schedule (All Times in EST):

10 AM: Promo Posts. I don’t get these as often as I used to, but I still get them and I’m still willing to post them. So this section will remain on the schedule indefinitely. Even if there are weeks or months in between an actual event.

2 PM: Personal Blogs. I’ll be posting personal things. Things I enjoy. Answering questions. Photos I took. Coloring projects I made. You name it. I really hope you enjoy. (Note: These posts will be both book and non book related.)

6 PM: Book Meme: This will be exclusively for blog related memes. I’ll be picking the ones I love the most.

10 PM: Non Bookish Content: This will be anything non book related things. It was originally going to be memes, but I decided to just make it Non bookish content entirely.

Schedule (some things are still the same and will be only copied and pasted):

Mondays:

Readathon News: I’ll discuss the readathons going on during the week and ow I feel about them. I will also list my TBR for the readathon or each readathon. If none are scheduled or I’m not hosting my own, this blog will be skipped for the week.
Mailbox Mondays: I absolutely love book mail. It’s my favorite type of mail to get. I may not always post for this. It depends on if I get mail during the week or not.
Monday Mondays: I’ll be sharing music I’ve been vibing with over the week or just random music facts I’ve learned through the week. It will be switched up depending on how much music I’ve heard. Or what has inspired me.

Tuesdays:

Weekly Featured Book: I’ll discuss a book that is really important to me at the moment. Whether I recently read and loved it or I found out about it and am excited to get my hands on it and read it.
Top Ten Tuesdays: This one is one of my favorites to do every week. They have a topic every week and we post about our top ten favorite books involving the topic.
FitReaders: From what I gather from this one, you do a recap of your exercise from the week before and discuss your goals for the upcoming week. It looks like you can also add if you’ve gained or lost weight as well. It seems like just the blog I need to light a fire under me!

Wednesday:

Weekly Colorist Projects: I’ll highlight four coloring projects I’ve worked on during the week before. This will be skipped if I hadn’t worked on coloring at all for the week. I’ve skipped this a lot lately. Hopefully I’ll get back into coloring more soon.
WWW Wednesdays: This right here is definitely my favorite meme to do every week. You discuss the books you’ve read, the books you’re reading, and the books you’ve recently finished. It’s one of the easiest and most time consuming to build. I love it!
Top 5 Wednesday: A weekly challenge for book bloggers, vloggers, and book lovers, hosted by Lainey and Sam. The goal is to choose their top 5 picks for the week’s given challenge. Find out more on the  Goodreads group page!

Thursdays:

All About Audiobooks: I’ll be spotlighting an audiobook that I listened to during the week that I’ve really been adoring. There may or may not be repeats with this blog.
Thursday Quoteables: I’m recently getting into highlighting quotes more. I add them to my reviews and so on. So every week, I’ll pick a book and share about four quotes from it. On Holidays, I’ll try to do more themed quotes from multiple books. There will always be four quotes total.
Thankful Thursday: I was originally going to do a meme I found, but I just couldn’t find any excitement in doing so. Instead I want to do something different. I’m going to talk about the things I’m thankful for for the week. I’ll choose up to four things I’m thankful for every week. I’ll do this every week even if I only write one thing.

Fridays:

Weekly Game Chat: I’ll post my gaming progress for the week every week. This may not be posted some weeks if I didn’t do a lot of gaming. It really just depends on how packed my schedule is for that week.
The Friday 56: I can’t remember where I found this meme. I couldn’t find enough information to run on to credit them. I also made it my own and kind of ran with it. I really enjoy doing it. Go to page 56 or 56% into a book and write a sentence or a few sentences on that page and write your thoughts on it.
On This Day: I’ll be posting a few fun little things that happened on this day in history. I’ll also add my own commentary to the mix as well.

Saturdays:

Author Spotlight: This blog segment will begin on June 5th. I’ll pick an author out every week and give a run down of their books, their upcoming books, and who they are as a person. If they allow me to, I’ll also include a chapter of one of the books of their choice. First author on deck is RK Phillips.
Saturday Stars: This is a very fun meme to do. You showcase a character from a book and tell the book or series they are from and why they are your star for the week.
Weekly Book Reviews: I will give a brief review over the books I finished over the week and my rating on them. Most will be short reviews, but some may be longer than others.

Sundays:

Book Photo Sunday: This is where I share four Instagram photos I’ve taken during the week of books or promo posts. There are some weeks that I won’t have anything posted. I’ve had weeks I don’t take any photos and don’t have any promos that I’ve posted.
Sundays In Bed With: I’ll post about the book I plan on reading that day or one that I’m already reading for the day. I include a paragraph on my thoughts on the book I’m reading. Whether it be about the book itself or the part of the book I’m reading.
Cinema Sunday: This meme doesn’t look like it’s active anymore. I’d like to pick it back up as well. It doesn’t like there’s anywhere I can tag. I’m not intending to steal the idea from whoever created it. I just want to run with it. I think you talk about your favorites. What I plan to do is just talk about any television show or movie I’ve watched during the week instead. This may be skipped if I haven’t watched anything.


Thank you again for all your support and encouragement. The comments on my blog make me feel amazing and important. I look forward to many more interactions with all of you. Side note, I’m also considering letting TikTok goes as well. I’m not fully sure on that.

Follow me everywhere: https://linktr.ee/StarsBooksAndTea

200 Followers!!!!! Thank you!

It happened! I am so happy! I am so blessed for all the support! I want to take the time to recognize some of my biggest supporters! Please follow them if you aren’t already!

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

TheGeekishBrunette

OneBookMore

SHALINI’S BOOKS & REVIEWS

The Chiddicks Family Tree

Fazila Reads

These blogs have been amazing with support through all this time! I’m humbled that they chose to follow my blog and I’m so grateful for all of their likes. I have made a bookmark folder with their blogs so I can check on their blogs periodically. I can’t wait to see this folder grow.

Thank you again for all the support! I hope that you will continue to love my blog as you do now! Next goal: 300!!!!

Let me know if you want to see a special blog from me and your request!!!!

Explanations And A Tik Tok Book Review

I’m going to start this blog to say that I have started a new schedule. I’m in the final stage of training. It will officially be over on July 7th. Then, I start my new schedule. Last week was very draining. I wasn’t expecting the overwhelming call flow that I experience on a daily basis.

When I got off work, I completely got off the computer. I had every intention to get on and schedule blogs. I was just so drained. I barely even read. I mean I got on TikTok a lot, but it’s easier to handle TikTok videos.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting blogs I had scheduled for last week and will be scheduling all posts for this week. I may start scheduling my blogs once a week from here on. I haven’t decided yet. I also may be replacing some of the blogs for something else. I haven’t decided that either. If I’m being honest, I really need help. I just don’t know how I can go about asking.

I’m very behind on reading right now. I’ll catch up. My plan is to use the rest of this week to read during my free time. One of the biggest changes I am strongly considering making is making all video book reviews. I made a video review for Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard. We’ll see how it goes. Thank you everybody for being so patient with me.

And now for the review:

Part 1:

Part 2:

View this post on Instagram

Book Review Part 2: Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard

A post shared by Nikkie Dunton (@starsbooksandtea) on

Addiction, RACISM, And LGBT Pride

First of all, I want to state that I will not be posting a WWW Wednesday this week. With everything that’s been going on in my life and the world around me, I really haven’t read all that much. I feel scattered. My heart is broken. I’m an Empath. I feel drained almost every day these days. The only thing keeping me together is staying in my house.

Happy Pride Month. I am bisexual. I’ve known I was bisexual half of my life. However, I didn’t come out until four years ago. My fiance helped me come out. He made me realize that I wasn’t a horrible person. He also helped me realize that those who don’t want to be around me are going to leave no matter what. My happiness with myself is worth more than my stress to be somebody else just to make them happy.

I have battled with my feelings. Mainly because I’ve never had a real girlfriend. I know what I feel though. Hoping to meet the right girl one day. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to do so. I’m so blessed that people stood and keep standing up to make that possible. I’m blessed to be able to be open about who I am.

I’m going to talk about something that I really need to get off my system. I really am not going to get into too many details that would give too much away. It’s for the safety of my family. Somebody close to me has battled an addiction to drugs my entire life. When I was little, I thought if I just thought about it enough, they could stop. As I got older, I found ways to feel like I was at fault for their choices. I also started understanding the truth behind addiction. It’s a hard thing to fight. That’s why I’ve chosen to stay clean most of my life. Once I realized I was starting to get dependent on alcohol, I quit. But I digress.

My dream finally came true. The person actually quit. They seemed to be taking recovery very seriously. They even got clean for a few years! YEARS! Sadly, this person lost their battle a month or so ago. My heart felt broken. I didn’t understand. I still don’t. Especially with what we have going on right now. I spent the first part of the relapse worried that they were going to get sick. Or killed!

That worry has quickly turned to shock and anger. As time goes on, I really just want this person to be put away. For their safety and my family’s safety. They have stolen cars. They have stolen televisions. They have stolen computers. One of which hasn’t even been paid off yet. Anything to get more money for the next fix. I’ve spent so long being silent about this. For respect of those I love. I just can’t anymore. Something has got to be done. I love this person. More than I will ever explain, but at the end of the day, I have to acknowledge that isn’t enough.

Many of you know what’s going on currently in the world around us. More innocent blacks are continuing to be killed. Others and their allies are being attacked for standing up to the injustice of it. I’m ashamed that I’ve never openly spoken about it before. I’ve always felt that it’s easier to just keep the peace. Keep quiet about things. I have family that are set in their ways and they always will be. It’s a sad truth. It’s also sad that I feel embarrassed to have ever felt they were heroes in my life. I don’t anymore. I see how full of hate they are.

As usual, when Black Lives Matter comes up, everybody is quick to say All Lives Matter. Which, I’m not going to lie, is true. But somebody made a video on TikTok that helped explain it in really amazing and easy terms. We all sit at a table. Everybody gets food but Bob. Bob says he’s hungry. Somebody at the table looks at him and says that we’re all hungry. Bob says but I didn’t get any food. I deserve food. The person responds with we all deserve food. As they eat their food. Yes. Everybody does deserve food, but that doesn’t change the fact that Bob doesn’t have any in the present moment. In order for all lives to matter, black lives have to matter first.

I was raised to believe that I should sit down and shut up. I was told that my opinion didn’t mean anything and that it wasn’t warranted. Nobody wants to hear or cares about what I say. I let it drag me down for a long time. I’m not going to do that anymore. I may be 33 years old, but I don’t think it’s too late to stand up for what I believe in.

That’s all I have to really say right now. I hope that I will be able to get back into reading fully. I am even going to try to start writing more. If anybody wants to see that again. I’m sorry that I won’t be posting a WWW Wednesday. I’m not sorry about posting this though. I try not to overwhelm everybody with personal things, but now and then I feel it’s needed. Thank you for reading this all the way to the end. You have no idea how much that really means to me. I am constantly battling my depression and anxiety. Knowing I have supporters truly helps. Stay blessed.

Small Announcement

I made some minor adjustments to my blog schedule. Mostly it is just wording, but there are some things that I moved around a bit. I removed Willow’s Book Chat for now. I didn’t want to leave anybody hanging for weeks that I blanked out a topic to talk about. I replaced it with a “Free Day” blog to talk about anything and everything I’m interested in. Here’s the link to check out the new blog schedule:

https://willowwritesandreads.com/blog-schedule/

I also won’t be posting anything for the rest of the week with the exception of book reviews and book tags. If I’m tagged in anything. I just got a new job and I have some things I need to get in preparation. I have a lot of paperwork and a drug test. It’ll be fun. I’m excited. I’ll resume blogs on Monday. I may do a Reading Wrap-Up on Sunday. I haven’t decided yet. If that’s something you want to see, let me know!

I’ll also be participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon this Saturday! Anybody else do readathons? Let me know if you’re joining so I can follow your progress! I applied to be a moderator of the event for an hour. I haven’t heard anything back, so we’ll see.

Happy reading everybody!

The Blogger Recognition Award

I was nominated for The Blogger Recognition Award by Kitty Marie’s Reading Corner. I’m not too familiar with this award since I am fairly new to the serious blogging world. But it seems to be a project for bloggers to help lift up other bloggers. I am all for that.

Thank you Kitty for the amazing nomination. I’m truly humbled. You are a far more advanced blogger than I am, but I appreciate that she sees me as worthy of a Blogger Award.

THE RULES

  1. Thank the blogger/s who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

How I Got Started

Back in 2013, I was feeling very lonely. There wasn’t a lot of readers in my area I could talk to. That I knew of anyways. I met some readers online and they changed my life forever. I discovered online parties all about books. And reviews! I could share my thoughts of books online! It was amazing! I was empowered. I wrote my first ever book review in September of 2013.

I’ve had many blog names before this trying to find one that fit perfectly. In 2015, I created the pen name for myself Willow Star Serenity. It was one of my best decisions. At one point I had a blog called Willow’s Thoughts And Book Obsessions. I wasn’t ever fully happy with this blog name. It was wordy and not really fun.

A couple months ago the name Willow Writes and reads just hit me. And I knew it was the name for me. I did what it took to make my blog official. I’m not branching out and attempting to network with other blogs. Every day I learn and grow. I’m not advanced, but I’m doing what I love. Talking about books!

My Advice To New Bloggers

  1. If I can advise ANYTHING, it’s to be yourself. Post about what you love. I know it seems easier to follow the fad or the latest “viral” things. But unless it’s something that makes you happy, this won’t make you happy for long. Personally, I love to post about authors and books. I love to write reviews. It’s what keeps me happy and keeps me posting! Some people may want to blog about traveling or cooking or anything! The point of the matter is it has to make you happy in the end of the day. If that shows in your blog, the readers will follow.
  2. Interact with other bloggers. Interact with the community that you’re wanting to blog about. If you want to gain interest, you have to show the people that you’re there. You don’t have to be totally extroverted to do this. It may make the process a lot easier. But in time, it will come.
  3. I know I’m only supposed to post two pieces of advice, but I feel this one is important. Please be patient. Things take time. You’ll learn and you’ll grow. The readers will follow. Circling back to Tip #1, be yourself. If you are true to yourself and your blogs, your readers will be true to you. Give it time.

This is the part where I’m supposed to nominate 15 people. As I’m new to the blogging world, I don’t know 15 people to nominate. Maybe one day I will. Until then, if you are reading this and you are a blogger, feel free to tag yourself! All I ask is that you put the link to your blog in my comments so that I can read and share it! I’ll also follow your blog if I’m not doing so already!

Happy Birthday Audiobook Obsession

All week long I’ve been racking my brain to figure out the best kind of post to honor Audiobook Obsession for their first birthday! I mean these ladies put in a lot of work to make these tours and reviews possible. They are amazing, intelligent, and highly organized. So they deserve a high praise anyways. Especially on special days!

Then it hit me. The best way to honor their birthday is to share my own personal story. I can’t tell you how long I’ve worked with AO. I can’t even tell you how I came to join it. What I can tell you is that it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Through AO, I discovered one of my favorite narrators of all time. Her name is Sarah Puckett. She’s incredibly talented and incredibly humble about it. I’ve also branched out and listened to books I’d of never listened to before. And that’s not evening mentioning that I got to meet two of the sweetest ladies of all times! They are amazing and I will happily work with them as long as they will let me.

If you love listening to audiobooks as much as I do, I would seriously consider giving them a chance. You’ll discover new authors and narrators. You’ll discover a great community that treats you like family. They have a review group and a tour group! I’m happily an active member of both.

Happy birthday Audiobook Obsession! I’m proud to be a part of your beautiful community. Krystyn and Brandie are some of the hardest workers I know and I will always happily consider myself a part of their team and community!

Here are links for their pages:

Like their page here:

https://www.facebook.com/AudiobookObsession/

If you’d like to become a reviewer, join here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AudiobookObsessionReviewGroup/

If you’re a blogger who participates in blog tours, join here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AudiobookObsessionTours/

Introduction

Hello! My name is Nicole. I prefer to go by Willow Star Serenity in the book world. I chose the name in 2014 and it’s stuck. Sadly, many other names I’ve chosen have not stuck. That’s okay though. I’ve recently discovered one that works great for me. Willow Writes And Reads. It suits me completely. This blog will be all about books and writing. I’ll post reviews, author interviews, book related content, and my writing. For the most part, there will be no set schedule. However, I will have some posts set for certain days as to not overload my blog on a certain subject too close together. I look forward to interacting with you all! Please feel free to leave your links and I’ll follow your blog as well!