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

Joining The Pre-Ordering Wagon

I have never been hyped about a book enough to warrant even thinking about preordering it…

 I know. I know. Awful, flawed human being that I am I have just never sat and thought “hmm, that book is going to be absolutely amazing, I can tell already let me just go on Amazon/TheBookDepository/Waterstones.com and….” yeah, no – that has never happened.

I mean, of course, I do read ARCs that are at times incredibly amusing and I can tell that the proper edition of the book will be amazing, and I can tell that it will eventually end up in my little collection (by little I mean spanning approximately half of my bedroom wall) and yet I was never tempted enough to pre-order it early, even when there were numerous mentions of SWAG and other benefits… Pre-ordering? Not for me.

Or so I thought…

Until this mother trucker came along:

strange the dreamer

Image credits to Hodder & Stoughton

 

Could I resist the blue sprayed edges? The gold foil? The premise of the book?

Absolutely not. I didn’t even try – I knew I had to have it the moment I first lay my eyes on it, and I was going to do anything to get it too (and I mean anything).

This sudden newfound resolve to acquire the book by any means necessary wasn’t helped by the fact that I found out I’d have the opportunity to meet the author on her UK tour, this just fueled my excitement even more, because I’d get to meet the creator of some kick-ass books. I’m currently on a re-read of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and am planning to read the other two in the trilogy as well as Strange The Dreamer before seeing her – perhaps big goals for someone who barely reads anymore, but we can dream – eh?

So yes, I have finally gotten rid of my prejudice towards pre-ordering books AND I’m going to an author event (which is a rare occurrence, usually happening somewhat biannually?) both of which I’m really excited about, so that’s something I wanted to share.

Have you read any of Laini Taylor’s works?  Better yet, have you been one of the lucky few to read Strange the Dreamer early? Are you also going to meet her (I’ll be going to the London event if anyone is going too) or have met her in the past? Drop me a comment 🙂

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? 

Inkitt for Android

So for quite a while now, I’ve been aware of and have sort of cooperated with a company called Inkitt.  The idea of Inkitt really intrigued me, a publishing house ‘ruled’ by readers? It sort of blew my mind. I can’t say I have used it very much at present, but I am definitely looking forward to doing so in the future.

But when I received an email with the news that Inkitt was looking for people to spread some very exciting news for them – I immediately counted myself in because I honestly think it’s such a brilliant idea that more people should be aware of.  I was in no way shape or form reimbursed for this post, I’m simply trying to spread this message in hope of reaching more readers and helping authors realise their dreams of becoming published.


THE INKITT APP BRINGS THOUSANDS OF NOVELS BY INDIE AUTHORS TO ANDROID

Inkitt empowers readers and publishers to discover world’s next best sellers

BERLIN, JANUARY 7, 2017: Inkitt, the world’s first readers and data-driven book publishing house is introducing an Android app for phones and tablets, globally available from today.

Inkitt’s iOS app became available back in November and was well received by users: The app was not only featured on the US App Store but also on numerous other App Stores around the world, as well as on the front page of Product Hunt, ranking in the top 10 in Tech.

Inkitt for iOS featured as a top Books app in the US App Store

Following the warm welcome by the iOS community, and in order to meet the demand of their own fast growing user base, Inkitt is now bringing their digital library with thousands of novels by emerging authors to Android devices.

“It was a great reward to see Inkitt featured as a top app in numerous App Stores around the world and receive such great feedback from users” says Inkitt’s Founder and CEO, Ali Albazaz. “Readers were really excited about the iOS app but kept asking when we’re launching on Android too. We heard them, worked really hard and today we’re bringing Inkitt to Android devices. All readers will now be able to discover tomorrow’s bestsellers on the go and read great novels by upcoming authors wherever they are.”

Inkitt for Android – 4 key features:

  • Access to thousands of novels from all fiction genres: fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, horror, romance, drama, action, adventure, YA and more
  • Personalized reading suggestions: hand-picked novels based on a reader’s favorite fiction genres
  • Customizable look to match user preferences (e.g. font size, color combinations)
  • Online/Offline: readers can save novels to their offline library to access them anytime

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Beyond being a platform connecting aspiring authors with book lovers, Inkitt’s mission is to become the world’s fairest publishing house: Its in-house developed algorithm analyzes reading behavior to determine the potential of a novel to become the next bestseller. Using this unique data-driven approach, Inkitt wants to ensure that great works by new and talented writers never again stay in the dark.

Since July, Inkitt has published 7 novels: Catalyst Moon: Incursion by Lauren L. Garcia (Fantasy), Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan (YA Romance), I Was A Bitch by Emily Ruben (YA Romance Mystery), Esper Files by Egan Brass (SciFi) and Caged by Onaiza Khan (Psychological Thriller),  King’s Lament by Lilia Blanc (Fantasy Romance) and Three Fat Singletons by J.M. Bartholomew (Humor Romance), six of which became bestsellers on Amazon.

Inkitt for Android will be available to download on Google Play from the 7th of January 2017


About Inkitt

On the surface, Inkitt (www.inkitt.com) is a platform where aspiring writers can share their novels and inquisitive readers can unearth fresh content. But under the hood, we are democratizing publishing: The Inkitt algorithm analyzes reading behavior to predict future bestsellers. In other words: if readers love it, Inkitt publishes it.


MEDIA CONTACT

marvin@inkitt.com

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

happy birthday to me.gif

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

“I Dare You” Book Tag

 

i-dare-you-book-tag-graphic

I made my own graphic for this tag, I hope the lovely creator of this tag doesn’t mind.

 

Hello, hello!

Today I decided to try something a little different, I was tagged in the “I Dare You” Book Tag by Kayla @ KDrewTheBookworm, a tag originally created by Lena @Bookfandom1001. Thank you so much for the nomination! And for those reading, be sure to check out their blogs.

Here are the rules:

-You must be honest 

-You can’t not answer a question 

-You have to tag at least four people 


1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest? 

Honestly, I have some books I got within weeks of being born somewhere on my shelves, but they are rather hidden behind the multitude of novels I have collected over the years, so it is probably something rather Polish, most probably some sort of book of the fairytale variety.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

I am in the process of reading Six of Crows by the lovely Leigh Bardugo, after having finished Black Waters by India R. Adams this morning. I will most probably be reading Crooked Kingdom right after I am finished with Six of Crows.

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

This year’s example of a book that followed the its-not-you-its-me-2

pattern that I don’t often get to experience is definitely Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz, you can read what bothered me about it here , but I do realise that I was amongst the minority when it came to opinions on this particular novel.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

Most probably The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I had started it before, and each time gave up miles before it was finished; so I think it’s safe to say that it will reside unfinished on my shelves.

5. Which book are you saving for retirement?

Must I really think that far ahead? Can I say a re-read of Twilight? I think it’ll be interesting to see what old, frail (this one’s a joke, I still want to kick butt once I’m retired) me thinks of Bella and her antics. If that answer is not legitimate enough, I can’t think of any other one – sorry!

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

Lemme tell you a story… On a bright winter’s morning, 12-year old Ola thought it’d be a brilliant idea to read the last page of The Fault in Our Stars. One might think that it was a brilliant idea, surely nothing could go wrong? Could it? Could it??? I was young and naive, and boy was I in for a surprise. Needless to say, I don’t read the last pages of books since that incident.

7. Acknowledgements: waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?

I think that acknowledgements are somewhat a necessary part of novels,  but I do find that I am much more likely to read author’s notes than acknowledgements as those usually provide me with more information on the books which I had just read. Although I find the acknowledgement part of books a lovely thank you to those who supported their creation.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Uhm, I think it’s safe to say I’d be at least a wee bit dead if I traded places with most of the characters I love and admire. Could I change places with any of JLA’s girls, though? I mean, they go through some awful things, but for the most part, they come out unscathed and almost all of them are badass. Sign me up!

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?

I think I will forever associate The Woman in Black with my English teacher…. whom I honestly had a rather turbulent relationship with. Two years of studying said novel managed to completely ruin it for me.

10. Name a book you acquired in an interesting way.

Daylighters by Rachel Caine was borrowed from my friend… until she decided that it’d be better for me to keep it, as it looked rather at home with its predecessors on my shelves.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

I can’t say that I have. I don’t tend to let go of my books once I have them, much like a labrador and a tennis ball – you want my books you’re going to have to chase me around the garden in circles. All jokes aside, I lend books to people, but if I want them to have a copy of a book I deem worthy of their possession, I’m more likely to give them a fresh copy which they can enjoy .

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?

All the books on my Kindle have travelled far and wide with me, across borders, towns, cities, villages, seas. I think we get the gist by now. So the answer is too many to name individually without you falling asleep.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high secondary school that wasn’t so bad two years later? 

Honestly, I still either despise the books I was forced to read as part of the curriculum (another reason as to why I dropped English at A Level, I didn’t want to ruin any more novels for myself by having to study them repeatedly), or I found them alright, like Tuck Everlasting, I honestly think  that book was the best book our school forced us to read, followed closely by Private Peaceful… both of which were read in Year 7 – which tells you how long I have despised required reading for, given that I am currently in year 12.

14. What is the strangest item you’ve found in a book?

Apart from all sorts of bookmarks, all I’ve found in books I’ve borrowed from places like the library was a plethora of questionable stains and possibly the most exciting bookmark of all which was made of dried flowers and dated back to the last century, it was rather remarkable.

you look so beautiful salad fingers.gif

15. Used or brand new?

I prefer to buy new books because I have a thing about broken spines and dog-eared pages and sometimes used books have both and my soul dies a little each time and so I just prefer the pristine condition in which I can buy books from bookstores and isn’t this such a long sentence. If someone read that sentence out loud, they would have probably died from lack of oxygen, I apologise for the lack of punctuation but I think it illustrates the mental turmoil that causing harm to books causes me.

16. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

I’ve read bits of Inferno and The Da Vinci Code, but I’m not particularly into those sorts of novels at present. I will most probably finish both books and perhaps read more of his works with time.

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

I think that TFiOS was definitely a case of this, I cried more at the film than I did at the book. There have been a few more, but I feel like I’m already committing sacrilege by admitting that so I’ll just go now. Moving on.

18. A book that should have NEVER been published.

I agree with Kayla and Lena on this one, such an awful question to demand a blogger to answer, but I am going to have to say any book that is racist, homophobic, sexist or downright rude about anything (unless it is aimed to look down on such outlooks) should not have a right to be published.

19. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?

Yes, Heartless by Marissa Meyer did a wonderful job of making me hungry with all the descriptions of the cakes made by Catherine…. I wanted to try all of them.

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

I have some trusted reviewers with whom I usually agree on bookish opinions, so most probably those. But I am usually willing to take any recommendations from anyone really, as long as the book sounds vaguely like something I might want to read.


I tag:

It’s okay if the aforementioned people do not wish to participate in this tag, but I would love to see their responses!

Do you largely disagree with some of my opinions? Or maybe we share an unpopular opinion? Have you read any of the books I have mentioned -or perhaps you want to recommend any of your reads? Tell me in the comments below.