Tag Archives: YA books

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

Quick Five© with Sherry D. Ficklin

Courtesy of Sherry D. Ficklin
Courtesy of Sherry D. Ficklin

Name: Sherry D. Ficklin (@authorsherry)

Website: http://www.sherryficklin.com

Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Excitement is going through my veins right now! Introducing

Ms. Sherry D. Ficklin!

Why am I so excited? Because she wrote one of the best books I have read all year (Queen of Someday), which I reviewed (Click Here).


You are a full time writer. Did you do any jobs before then? Teacher? Customer Service? Why did you decide to write full time?

Clean Teen Publishing To Be Published Oct. 7, 2014
Clean Teen Publishing
To Be Published Oct. 7, 2014

I had my fair share of jobs before I started writing. My favorite was telemarketing for a luxury resort time share. #Sarcasm #KillMeNow

I had always been a writer growing up and into my early 20’s. then I quit. Had a family and a real job. But when I left work to raise my kiddos, I found I had time to do it again. It really took off after the birth of my last baby. Once she was in school and I could go back to a 9-5, I was already hooked on writing bad publishing. it’s like a drug.
What inspired your latest book “Queen of Someday”? Most importantly, what inspired Sophie?

I had been doing a lot of research into the Romanov history for my other novel, Extracted. When I found the story of Catherine/Sophie, I was mesmerized by her. It wasn’t until later when I decided to write it. Honestly, I didn’t know how a traditional historical fiction (which you almost only see in adult novels) would play to YA readers. But I went for it anyway. Why not? And so far so good.


Clean Teen Publishing Published April 1, 2014
Clean Teen Publishing
Published April 1, 2014

How important is it to have a strong female lead?

I think having a strong lead, male or female, is vital to a good story. There is nothing I hate more that a boring, wimpy MC. That said, I think that’s what fascinated me about Catherine/Sophie. She was nothing, nobody. But she overcame every single obstacle they threw at her and eventually, she ruled an entire country–and she did it really well. To me, that kind of inner strength should be celebrated.


What is the most important aspect of a YA book? Why?

Again, it all goes back to character. A boring character in a great story will still fall flat, but a great character can carry off even a weak plot most of the time. I think that’s true of any book. But YA, in particular, is refreshing because you get to see a period of time when a person really start to grow and discover themselves and the world around them. It’s in those formative years when we make our best and most brilliant mistakes, and those mistakes shape us.

Finally, what sort of impact do you want to leave in the Young Adult genre?

I don’t write books to make points, or to enlighten, change lives, or create drama. I write so readers can escape with me to somewhere amazing, beautiful or terrible, so they can get a respite from the every day. Experience first loves and first losses all over again. I write to entertain, pure and simple. If I have entertained you, then I’ve done my job.