Hello Again

So the time to go back to school has come, and a week into my last ever year of school I have already decided that it’d be for the best if the day consisted of approximately 80 hours because there simply isn’t the time in a usual day to do everything that is required of me at this stage in my school career, whilst maintaining a stable sleeping schedule and generally fulfilling the daily tasks of a typical human being….

It is now December, and whilst most of the above still stands largely true, I have decided to finally complete this post. Which is more motivation than I have had in the last 5 months combined. This school year has taken a lot out of me – so much in fact that I haven’t touched a book since the end of August which I know is shameful and I should be totally ashamed. I have not had a worse time in regard to mental health than I am having right now. But I’ve also decided that that shouldn’t be able to prevent me from doing things I like doing.

Medical applications now in, I have also completed all my entry exams, which could have gone better admittedly – but I have also had the time and support to come to terms with the fact that they do not stop me from getting to what I want in life, which is a life full of the ability to help people on a daily basis. That stress being over, I expected my head to feel lighter – and I guess in some ways it does, but not blogging has been weighing me down.

So despite the immense sea of incredibly important exams that is now before me, I am going to try to read one book per week (or fortnight, because sometimes my brain can’t handle much more than too many hours of Netflix or naps).

And I know I’ve promised this before, I’ve promised to come back and read and blog time and time again. But this time I am not going to pressure myself so much – I’ve learned and I’ve come up with solutions to problems which have played a big part in my life in the last few months and this is one of these. Blogging isn’t my chore – it is something that I want to be able to do and come home to relax once in a while. Therefore I cannot promise a steady schedule – for I don’t believe that I will keep to it but I can promise to have something to say more often than once in a good few months.

I am also considering more seriously setting up a separate page about my journey into the medical world on this blog – and whilst I know that it wouldn’t appeal to all of my current audience – I know that you will all be understanding about it. And I hope that perhaps it’d help anyone on the same road as I am currently travelling because admittedly – I am not handling it as well as I thought I would be able to – and it isn’t an easy road at all.

So this is me, and my (grand???) return. I just hope this good-feel spell continues and I will be able to keep to it better this time.

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A Summer Half Gone Update

So I guess this is an update post of sorts, haven’t done one of these in a while.

I missed YALC this year, for those from the land across the pond whom may have no idea what it is (although I am aware that some people make their way here for it) , it’s basically the British equivalent of BEA, but it’s YA galore. So I missed that, mainly because I currently have a lot of dates with trying to persuade myself that it’s not worth giving up on the medicine dream, and trying to study for the upcoming 2 hour hell that I’ve booked to sit on the 18th of September; the hell is called the UKCAT, and is basically the test that most universities look for when distinguishing between candidates… And let me tell you, I do not want to see more circles and squares in my life or Venn diagrams for that matter.

But also because I just didn’t think I would be up for it life and self-wise – I’m generally struggling a wee bit when it comes to motivation, and I think the lack of posts on this blog illustrates that very well. I will, however, try to at least keep the Saturday posts going – I know I missed a weekend, but it was a busy weekend so I hope I’m forgiven.

Book wise, I actually haven’t felt the need to buy books in a while. I think the last title to appear on my shelves was Lord of Shadows which I didn’t even buy for myself… But I did receive City of Circles by Jess Richards courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton/ Sceptre which I’m very much looking forward to reading.

Overall, I can’t say this summer feels much like a summer at all, with various trainings, courses and now regular shifts at a local-ish hospice – I think that’s something I’m going to have to get used to as I transition out of the routine of school and enter “the real world” as some people like to call it.

So yeah,  this blog will not be abandoned – fear not. i'll be back.gif

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

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

April Wrap-up

MY LIFE THIS MONTH

This month has been…. difficult, both school and general life wise. I have been largely absent on social media at an earlier point this month because I was forced to give up my cats due to health issues and truly didn’t feel up for any form of social interaction because the grief (??? I don’t know what else to call it, so grief it is going to have to be) hit me like a freight train and it took a while to get myself back up.

School has been doing nothing to help the situation,  with the teachers reminding us at every second of the way that we have exams in 3 weeks which we CANNOT (note: this word is usually yelled at the class) mess up or our whole lives will be worthless… which is lovely to think about.

Therefore (and for other, more personal reasons) I have been forced to abandon my Kindle and the ARC and other review copies which reside on it until the end of exam period – which for me happens to be on the 17th of June… 

I am probably going to have problems keeping to that, seeing as I miss it already, but I guess you will still be able to expect reviews of the titles that I own in paperback which I will be perusing my way through in the two months and back-dated reviews of the ones I have already read, as per usual because I need something to do to stay sane within that time, and blogging seems to be the most fitting candidate seeing as technically part of my English Language exam could end up being a blog post (which I am basically praying for seeing as it would be a Godsend).

All I want to ask for is a bit of patience meanwhile, and I definitely promise to try to minimise the impact that these exams will have on this blog.


MY APRIL IN BOOKS

READ: 18% of My Goodreads Goal (9 Books)

(which is surprising considering the looming VERY important exams…)

  • Blood, Ink & Fire  by Ashley Mansour
  • My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul (AND REVIEWED)
  • Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan (DNFs count… right?)
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord
  • Blue Waters by India R. Adams
  • The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
  • Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns
  • Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Currently Reading:

never tear us apart cover

Received/bought:

I received titles such as the first two titles of The Australia Trilogy by  James Smythe, Unrivaled by Alyson Noël, and  Love and Other Man-Made Disasters by Nicola Doherty.

I also bought myself copies of some books which I remember liking when I was younger such as Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, and  An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (which is actually probably my favourite of his books because it didn’t follow Green’s well-known and possibly overused formula as much as his other novels).

Of course I am hoping to buy more next month, seeing as I am also in the process of clearing out shelf space to be able to accommodate more of my pretties.

Have you read any of the books above? Or perhaps want to recommend any of your April reads for me to read this month – drop me a comment below :)

She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.

 

A *little* Update

So in the last week, I’ve probably read a grand total of 100 pages or so

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I know… I know… I should be thoroughly ashamed – 100 pages split in 7 days would mean I basically only read 14 pages a day… Which is appalling by my own standards (although in reality I read about 60 of those pages yesterday which probably makes the whole situation even worse).

How? You ask, how could you only read 100 pages in the space of 168 hours ? Well, you see – there are these things called exams and my school just happen to be obsessed with the concept of doing as many as possible whilst expecting us to achieve good grades.

that's impossible

Well apparently it isn’t… and so my usual quality reading time has been reduced to virtually nothing in the past few days because of 13 exams starting next Wednesday which is infuriating – but at least I’m hoping for my grades to make up for that and if they don’t … well I’d rather not think about how annoyed I would be, and the consequences that would follow (and only a part of those would be the effects of my wrath on the school, which would also mean unfortunate repercussions for me *shudders at the idea of attending the hell that the school decided to dub “Biscuit Club” – a club aimed at the delinquents students who fail to reach the standards set by the school under the pretense of giving them biscuits whilst they study *.)

But whilst there is that impending disaster, there are some good news as well :

 I’ve had the chance to become the editor of another blog after receiving an email from a friend from school asking me for help setting up her blog (because I’ve made sure that all my friends know I own one myself and I guess they think I’m good enough at this whole thing to be able to actually help them – which is a nice thought). So I’d like to say a big thank you to Libby over at the Freedom in Books Blog for giving me this opportunity – you may see some of my influence over there as time progresses.

I have also had the opportunity to use my blogging  skills in a practice exam – who knew it would ever come in handy? But it did, and the teacher who normally despises me said that my blog-post-style piece on a place that had stayed in my memory (the place being Auschwitz – because who doesn’t like depressing themselves in English class) was “beautiful” and “an honour to read”… which is sliiightly ironic seeing as I have never actually visited the place – despite wanting to for a while now. So I guess I have blogging to thank for the best mark I’ve achieved in English these past few weeks – which is also lovely.

I’ve also received a Press Release of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s upcoming novel Oblivion (Lux Series 1.5) – if you haven’t pre-ordered it yet, or even heard of JLA herself, I would totally recommend reading her books, her writing style is impeccable and never fails to bring me out of a reading slump – I really cannot wait to devour the book in all its entirety.

Speaking of books, I’m also hoping to go see the second part of the film adaptation of Mockingjay tomorrow, so keep me in your thoughts if you can because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to survive the onslaught of feels that will most probably attack me. I will probably incorporate a little spoiler-free review of that in my next post (or maybe even make it its own post – because the film looks like it may just deserve it.

Ending with some motivational words, and one of my favourite quotes when it comes to exam period and general incentive to do anything.

“Work hard until you no longer have to introduce yourself”

Unknown (if anyone knows the author – tell me in the comments below)