SO I WENT ON A TOO LONG HIATUS

So this post is an apology of sorts I guess, at one point during the last few months I went through a period of just not wanting to post – I would use the excuse of exams, I really would, but my real AS level exams totalled to a small number of 3; and started and were over with before I even knew it… As for mocks, they did add a bit of stress to the whole ordeal, and they’re not over yet – and yet I’m still writing this post so clearly… I really can’t blame school for my hiatus. shame.gif

At points I wished to have a slightly psychotic nun above me forcing me to do a metaphorical blogging walk of shame, but I didn’t and so  I dragged my absence out a little more than I intended to.

And honestly, at the start of it all I didn’t expect it to last so long, but I’m also not going to lie – at some points I didn’t expect to be returning at all. It seemed as though all the joy was sucked completely out of reading and blogging followed suit. And voilà! It resulted in a very demotivated Ola and no new content on the blog…

 But with time I discovered that I didn’t have to limit myself to the books I had been given to review (and often prioritised over books which I actually wanted to read for my own personal satisfaction, because y’know – logic) and discovered a new genre that it turns out I actually really like reading,  which is not only good because it helped me get back into reading, but because it involves medical and scientific books it will also help me with my chosen career path – so it basically did a very good job at killing two important birds with one stone.

Speaking of medical books and medicine, I might post a review of the books I come across from that genre here and there from now on, and I might start documenting my own journey into the medical world, as long and as complicated it may get – but who knows, maybe someone out there will relate to it, maybe it can help someone. But most importantly, I’d like to have something to look back to.

But of course, I am not about to forget the real reason for which this blog was created, to share my passion for reading – and now to share my journey to refinding and refueling that passion. I did come up with some ideas for an original series of posts that I might do at one point or another which will allow me to get my creative juices flowing – which is also something I’ve greatly missed during my leave.

In basic terms, I want this blog to feel like something that I actually created again, and not something pieced together from posts I was in a way, obliged to do. I think I’m ready to come back to this blogging thing, but this time – it will be on my own terms.

A huge thank you to those who stuck around during my little blunder – I will try my very very best to not disappear without a warning again.

“Per Aspera Ad Astra”

Red Rising, Pierce Brown

The NetGalley Book Tag

Hello, hello – I think it’s time to take a wee break from reviews so here’s something a little different – even though it may be a tadddd late from the original creation of the tag.

I was (slightly indirectly, but tagged nonetheless) tagged by Kayla @Kdrewthebookworm so a big thanks for that, I do like these questions. And this tag is the original property of Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads  -make sure to check out both their blogs if you get the chance!


The rules:

  • Link back to the tag’s creator (Kourtni Reads)
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you
  • Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
  • Tag a few people to do this too

 Autoapproved: Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they’re about?

From my all-time, long-running favourites most probably Jennifer L. Armentrout, although I will also read anything that Pierce Brown writes and honestly cannot wait until the release of their next books.

Request: What makes you want to request a book that you see on Netgalley?

I’mma say something that will probably hurt a lot of bookworms out there – I judge books by covers and titles… if a book doesn’t have an impressive title and an even worse cover, chances are I will not pay it attention. So I do have to agree with Kayla on this one. These are necessities for me to actually notice a book in the first place. Of course, I will then read the synopsis to see whether it sounds like something I might like to read… but the preliminary actions sort of take priority here.

Oh, I might also check if it is something written by an author I loved previous works of, of course – that tends to be the case more often than not nowadays.

Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?

I definitely do try to review everything that I am given the opportunity to on NetGalley, but unfortunately, sometimes some reviews tend to end up a lot shorter than others mainly because I may not have been able to get into the book enough to be able to form any more solid thoughts. I also, for the most part, review everything on my blog as well (or at least the longer, better reviews that is). However, my actual feedback ratio has only just hit 53% because I made the mistake of requesting too much when I first signed up to NetGalley – so a little tip to anyone starting out… don’t do this, you’ll most probably lose interest in a lot of the titles before you actually get the chance to read them. 

Badges: If you could create your own badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?

Um… ummm….. Can I get an effort badge? Like an A++ for effort sort of thing? That’d be quite nice.

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(this question is actually horrible to answer)

Wish For It: What’s one book that you are absolutely dying to read?

iron gold cover

I need it, and I need it now… Right now – take my soul and I’ll bake you cookies on top of that.

 2017 Netgalley Challenge: What was the last book that you received as an ARC that you reviewed? If you’ve never received an ARC, what’s the last book you reviewed?

The newest ARC that I reviewed was definitely A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard, but the latest ARC review that I wrote was A Summer Like No Other by Elodie Nowodazkij because I am backlisting reviews back to like 2015 … because y’know, mistakes were made at the beginning and now I have to fix them.


I tag:

Anyone who wants to do this tag, because I know I’m quite late to the party and a lot of people have already done it – so if you do feel like doing it feel free to say that I tagged you!

Discussion: Blogging Burnout

SO this has actually been an issue of mine for quite a long while now and I guess that this post is also an update of sorts as well as a discussion.

I do not know why, or how, or when but at some point along the line I have started viewing this whole blogging thing as a chore more than anything else.

The enjoyment of it seeped out, leaving me where I am currently: unable to think of ideas for more original content (instead of just reviews, although those seem to be received quite well by my audience – so big thanks for that) and with very little will to blog at all – because without new ideas, is there really a point?

BUT for some reason I cannot bring myself to do anything about it – I’ve heard of people taking hiatuses to focus on their lives, and if  I was being honest I could probably do with one of those seeing as there are a lot of things going on at the moment. From deciding my entire future in the next 6 months and keeping my grades up to a high enough standard to allow me to pursue my aspirations in medicine, to my private life and all the issues that may arise in that from time to time, one could definitely say that I have quite a lot on my plate. And okay, maybe in retrospect this period of my life won’t seem at all that bad but currently, it is a lot to deal with and I can’t say I feel like I’m doing a good job balancing the whole thing.

And yet even with all that going on in the background, I still continue to write my blog – so maybe not all hope is lost in that respect. Although in recent days I have also hit a major reading slump to the point where it has now basically been two entire weeks since I touched a book…. which, uh… yeah doesn’t help the feeling of utter uselessness when in comes to this whole blogging thing.

So I guess the real point of this post was to open it up to you guys: have you ever experienced something similar to my situation, or maybe just a plain old blogging burnout? How did you deal with it – are there any tips that you would tell your past self now that could possibly help me as well? 

Happy Birthday To Me! (And To This Blog)

So it’s a Wednesday, which actually thankfully coincides with the day I post and the 2nd Blogiversary of this blog- making my busy, shit-storm (pardon my French but there was no eloquent way of putting it) last week of term slightly easier.

So it’s a Saturday now, and I haven’t wanted to post on here in a while. My absence, whilst probably only noticed by a few has been deliberate, in truth – I do not feel the desire to blog lately and this post is taking me much longer than it possibly should.  It was supposed to be posted on the 14th of December, and yet here we are, ten days later with it still in the editing stages.

I can’t actually believe it’s been two years since I first decided to post on this very website. It feels like much longer sometimes, but then others it feels like only a few months.

I guess that’s because over the last few months (or this year in general really) I’ve started taking the whole blogging thing more seriously, trying my best to keep to all the various schedules and blogging more etc. etc. with varying degrees of success – but I definitely put in a valiant attempt at the whole thing.

And I mean, that all counts for something…right?

Or at least it did.  Until pretty much now where I’ve started questioning it all.

But I mean, I cannot take for granted the things I have been able to do/ learn through blogging. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people; authors, publicists, booksellers, and bloggers alike and honestly it’s been a wild ride because I am an extremely awkward person when it comes to new people (to the point where my opening line once was “HI I’M RATHER AWKWARD AND KNOW NO ONE HERE SO MIND IF I HANG WITH YOU GUYS?” said in a slightly panicked/manic/crazed voice – but hey, no one judged which was great).

I also learned time management, to a certain extent – I mean, I will still do school work the night before it’s due, but hell – I will not allow it to get in the way of me posting even if that means procrastinating both while having the title of a biology essay as well as an unfinished post draft open and unfinished in front of me for hours. But hey ho. I’ve managed to agree the two somewhat this year, surprisingly also around exam time when I learned to be slightly more efficient with my time use which is definitely a good thing.

 I guess I just hope that this learning curve will continue to extend, but it’d be nice if it only extended in the upwards direction and not in the squiggle it seems to have been doing these past few weeks.

I’m definitely thinking of minimising the amount of books I review from publishers, I’ve made mistakes when I first entered the realms of NetGalley, which is the greatest invention going really, but I honestly shouldn’t have requested all those goddamn books which I’m now not sure I really want to read which has actually landed me up in an uncomfortable reading slump over the past year at various points. I’m thinking of taking reading back to the few review copies I’m lucky enough to get given by publishers and the few books I really CANNOT wait to read till after release. Most importantly though, I want to go back to reading books which have been on my to-read for a while but have been shoved to the back of the pile by the review copies my request-happy, younger, silly self decided to acquire.

I’m hoping that the above will enable me to enjoy this whole thing more, perhaps even as much as when I first decided to take blogging on as a hobby after ditching my other ones (I used to draw and write a lot, but both of which I have decided to retire for a variety of reasons which I couldn’t possibly name). Because despite wanting to delete this site at times, I don’t think I’m quite ready to let it go yet, and both my metaphorical and physical voices of reason have tried (and succeeded I guess) to convince me to continue it, at least for a little while. To the voice of reason that actually reads these, thank you – I think I would have had many a regret if you hadn’t been there.

So I guess

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and to this blog, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to those who have been here throughout the last two years, and there are definitely a few- thank you for sticking by with my hectic attempts at writing my posts and let’s hope for a few more years of this whole blogging thing.

“If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.” 

-Anne Tyler

Writing Prompt: Describe A Person You Admire

I’m currently undergoing some sort of reading and blogging slump and it was suggested to me to try something a little different. A while ago in my English class, we were asked to write a piece on a person you admire, and me being the indecisive person that I am, decided to do it on authors – because why not nerd out in an essay if you’re given the perfect opportunity to? And I guess this post will be a slightly more reviewed version of that.

I cannot say if this feature will become a regular thing on my blog in between the usual reviews and general booknerdery, but this week I just couldn’t bring myself to write another review, so I’m sorry for anyone who has come here expecting this. I’m willing to take any criticism and comments on this particular piece, any ideas for improvement are welcome.

I will hopefully be returning with a review next week, but in the meantime – here goes nothing!

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When I met one of my ultimate, all-time favourite authors, I was disappointed.

Not because he was some grotesque, unpleasant person (because he truly was the opposite of both of those things; thankfully, I might add) but because he was… well – just an ordinary man dressed in equally normal jeans and a shirt who sounded much alike any other American I had ever come across.

And yet that didn’t stop me from becoming an incoherent, rambling mess when conversing with him on a pleasant night of ‘partying’ (if one may call a gathering of bloggers who ate flying saucers whilst discussing books and the like partying – if you can, then please invite me to more parties) in Central London.

Whilst ink had flown through my veins from a young age, begging to be released in the form of words on paper, I had never been able to achieve what my role models seemed to be doing with ease – creating something so alive and furiously vivid that it stayed in people’s minds and thrived on for long after they had closed the covers.

What more, allowing them to find themselves in the characters, so carefully crafted to give the transcendent illusion that they were not alone at that moment in time, or ever – making them realise that other people out there were struggling with the same problems and that there was a possibility that these issues could be overcome if they kept trying and stayed alive to see the sunshine at the end of the storm. That the end of one story didn’t have to mean the end of a beautiful series, and that any potential evil could eventually be overcome if enough sarcasm and wit and strength and friendship was applied.

If I was being honest, I would say that books had helped me too in that way, giving me the power to continue through life and dispelling the notion created by Disney that I would need a prince to come and save me, and making me realise that I, myself could achieve it.

All of this because of tattooed corpses of trees…

So when I met the creator and mastermind behind a particularly beautifully crafted tale, I was  disappointed, for I had expected a god-like giant of a being, possibly with a golden aura radiating around him and a pet Pegasus at his feet for ease and convenience of travel. And definitely not a human being who spent the night chatting away and answering each of our weird and wonderful questions with patience and care, whilst making everybody present feel welcome. (And looking back, I am in a way sure that this disappointment was for the best, for I think that the internal screaming would have reached dangerous levels had it been otherwise).

Despite these differences from the concept created by my imagination, I could simply not deny the fact  that he had still created the world that I had gotten lost in, a world that had open my eyes to new possibilities, a world that made me challenge some ideas I had not had the courage to do so previously, a world that had made me cry, and laugh – sometimes simultaneously in a strange flurry of emotions. Most importantly, he created a world that has stayed with me since then, reminding me of its words of wisdom such as “Per Aspera ad Astra,” in times of difficulty and need and comforting me with the knowledge that for the most part, whatever happens , the most important things in life will turn out all right.

Why do I go MIA?

(and some tips for the  unlucky souls who take exams) 

So lately (and previously) I’ve pretty much been AWOL for weeks at a time… BUT – this time, I am proud to say I had a legitimate reason for not posting; namely a French exam derek hale - dramatic sigh

which I may or may not have actually procrastinated preparing for until it was basically too late. But hey, they say hope is a very good thing to have and I guess in this case; me hoping for a good grade despite studying for about two days worked ( ***Disclaimer: I do not recommend you do this or even try to  – it is a bad habit end usually ends in a lot of stress which you have to agree is better to avoid. So please start looking at whatever you have to study for AT LEAST a few days or so before the actual date of the exam unless you like pulling frantic all-nighters.***)

Fortunately for me, it turned out alright and I came back home smiling like a complete idiot with the knowledge that I could parle français enough to get me an A* which is amazing, all things considered.wahey

So, because of my obvious exam handling prowess (note: heavy sarcasm) I decided it might be a good idea to share a few tips which actually work for me when studying for an exam and some based on my own mistakes during previous exams despite it not really fitting in with my bookish theme…

5 exam tips that may be useful to you based on my experience:

  1. So I am a hypocrite in saying this but REVISE, seriously, take some time and prioritize revision, because it is important and it does help in whatever subject you may be studying whether it be history, English Lit. or languages. ALWAYS make sure to actively revise any notes you have taken – reading doesn’t always work for people; try different ways of revision and find the way which work for you – I found a useful list of ways to revise here.
  2. CHECK ANY RESOURCES YOU ARE GIVEN IN THE EXAM; extra loose sheets, that kind of thing – unfortunately speaking from experience, I managed to lose a lot of marks because I did not think to turn over a sheet we were given; which my nerve-wrecked brain assumed was rough working paper- and who needs that when there’s plenty of space inside the exam itself, right? WRONG. There was two questions on the back of it… with easy marks which would have brought my grade up had I done them. Luckily, I did that in a mock exam; but it was a lesson that has stayed with me…
  3. DO NOT DO ALL-NIGHT REVISION SESSIONS – unless you are a vampire, ghost, some supernatural creature and/or do not sleep for whatever reason. Your brain will need to rest. Do not try to make excuses and say you’ll just “drink some coffee/ energy drink” and you’ll be “fine”. Because it very rarely works out very well and you might end up with an even worse grade than you would have had you gone to sleep instead of staying up all night trying to study.
  4. EAT. Whilst it may not seem like a good idea to your queasy feeling stomach. Your brain will need more food than usual due to increased activity. Of course, try to make this food relatively healthy – but who am I to judge if you choose to eat a tub of ice-cream or an entire bar of chocolate to treat yourself whilst revising, because it is hard work.
  5. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. If you say you can, you most probably will. Know what you want to achieve, aim high and do not listen to people who tell you otherwise because at the end of the day, even if you don’t reach that sky-high target, you’ll still be pretty damn high and you should be proud of that.

And that’s that I guess. I hope at least a few of these are relatively useful.

Do you have any exam-handling tips/ tricks that you use? Feel free to share them below 🙂

“There is No Elevator to Success. You Have to Take the Stairs”

Jody Hedlung