I’m Alive!!! (An Update) #IRL

Hi Everyone!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since May! I really didn’t mean to fall off the face of the earth but that’s kinda what happened.

Basically, work went completely crazy because my colleague left and what was already a very hectic job turned into an impossible task. And then – unrelated to my job woes as I had been looking for new opportunities before the madness started – I got an interview for a new job, and I got it!

So I recently left the prison library (at a terrible time that made me feel very guilty), to become Library Manager of a local public library. Hurrah!

While all of this was going on, my landlord sold his/my house, so I had to start looking for somewhere to live. So yeah, it’s all been a bit mad and this blog was the last thing on my mind.

But things are starting to calm down. The first week as a Library Manager has been good, if not slightly overwhelming in terms of having so much to learn. And I move house next weekend. The end is in sight.

Overall, I’m really happy with the big life changes so far, and hope everything settles down enough for me to decide on whether to keep this blog going, or to maybe start a new one to promote my library? I’m not sure of the rules on that yet (as I was never allowed to do one for the prison library for obvious reasons), but it would be nice to carry on book blogging and be able to promote what we do at the same time.

I will keep you posted. I’ve really missed being part of the book blogging community – I feel so out of touch – so I hope to be back soon in some way or another.

Keep reading!!

Lipsy xx

 

 

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Having a wee resty!

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Hey guys, after the madness that was Horror October, I’m taking a little break until the end of November(ish).

I’m hoping to use that time to refresh, read anything I feel like, and although I’m not officially taking part in NaNo this year, I’m also hoping to do a bit of writing. Wish me luck.

I’m still going to post This Week in Books on Wednesdays and have one blog tour to honor, but other than that I will catch up with you all in December!

Be good  😉

Lipsy x

Discussion: Where’s the support? #Blogging

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Guys, I’m so angry with WordPress that I’m thinking of jumping ship. I couldn’t post all last week and I wasted the whole weekend trying to fix it. I sought help from WordPress Support and on Twitter and they were so useless and uninterested that it really riled me up. Fellow bloggers were a lot more help than they were.

I know it’s a free platform, but you’d think they’d have some support in place, that y’know, actually supported its users. What if this was a blog that’s an actual business!? I certainly wouldn’t be making a living right now if that was the case. RAGE.

I don’t want to stop blogging but when you loose confidence in the platform you use, it makes you just want to pack it in. And choosing a new platform, when I’m so familiar with this one just seems like a chore.

I’m still not sure what to do – for now it seems to be working again, but for how long!?

Has anyone else had issues like this? What did you do?

Patrick Ness Release Premiere @ Curzon Soho – Be more LA, YA! #BookLaunch

Last Wednesday was the premiere launch event for Patrick Ness’ new release, Release, and I was there (not to rub it in or anything), but yayyyy!

For any of you who don’t know, Patrick is the author of several (amazing) YA books including The Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, and A Monster Calls which was adapted for the screen recently. He also penned the BBC series Class which has ties to the world of Doctor Who.

The night consisted of an on-stage interview with Patrick, a Q&A with the audience, and a signing. We also got pretty amazing goodie bags (see bottom of post) not to mention the new book a week before its release. *Happy Dance*

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© Alex Dimopoulos for Walker Books

 

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© Alex Dimopoulos for Walker Books

 

Before I get into some of the topics discussed, let me just say that it’s all paraphrased by me as I didn’t take notes, and my memory is pretty terrible at the best of times, never mind after a tipple or two 😉

Firstly, Patrick discussed  the new book, Release, which is a day in the life of Adam Thorn, ‘the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything.’ 

Patrick talked about being sick of reading gay YA books where the climax of the relationship is two boys holding hands under a tree. It’s not real. Real teenagers have sex. Yes, even gay ones. A great discussion about sex in literature ensued, with Patrick saying that he needed a book like this as a teenager; where gay sex is portrayed in a tender, sweet, and honest way. For books to omit loving, gay sex is damaging. Teenagers think there’s something wrong with it (them), and they turn to other things to explore like porn and Grindr.

He talked about hating the phrase ‘coming to terms with your sexuality’, explaining that he doesn’t think it’s something you have to come to terms with because it’s just who you are. It’s the world’s problem if they can’t handle that. Feel the fear, but do it anyway.

 

 

The discussion about how LGBTQ teens are represented in literature then turned to a broader look at diversity, and Patrick talked about his (many!) nephews and nieces, many of whom are mixed race and multi-cultured. And that’s what the world looks like, if that isn’t represented in books, then it’s not realistic.

Diversity shouldn’t be a tick list, but if that’s what it takes to make sure all people are represented then so be it. He talked passionately about the importance of stories being a mirror. I can’t remember who he said the quote came from but it was that in all good stories, the protagonists are like mirrors – all readers should be able to see themselves in the character – but I whole-heartedly agree with him when he said that it’s only people who are always represented who think everyone can see parts of themselves in characters. And that’s why he didn’t hold back in this book, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Recognising yourself in a story is magic… and the world is screaming out for more diverse stories, just look at Angie Thomas’ current success with THUG.

He urges everyone to write their story. If you are not mirrored in the books you read, write that story. Don’t ask permission. Write anyway. Writers don’t just write. They write anyway.

We were then led to the age old YA Vs Adult fiction debate. His definition for the genres was so perfect it made me jaw-drop:

 

YA tends to be about exploring boundaries. Adult tends to be about being trapped by those boundaries.”

 

The book snobbery surrounding YA was mentioned and I loved Patrick’s response. He believes it shouldn’t be a battle. YA shouldn’t be fighting against Adult Lit. There is good stuff everywhere. If you can’t admit that there’s good stuff in other genres you sound like a cult leader (LOL!). His analogy to LA always being slagged off by New Yorkers cracked me up too. Does LA give a shit what NY thinks? Nope. LA says ‘no worries man, come on over and have a good time anyway. Maybe you’ll leave with a different attitude.

Be more LA, YA. Be more LA.

While I agree with him completely, I do get exasperated having to explain the Young Adult genre to people. I work in a prison library and I’m constantly trying get prisoners to engage with reading. I think YA would be perfect for them, but they look at me like I’m mad. But why would you/I read that? It’s for children. Sigh. But no more, I’m going to be more LA, too!

There was lots more discussion, but those were my favourite parts. I’ve also been left with the need to read Mrs Dalloway, and Forever by Judy Blume -both of which inspired Release, and both of which have passed me by.

After the talk and Q&A, my friend Dora and I (and the other 200 -that’s a guess- people) queued to get our books signed. And this is where I feel the need to apologise. The queue was long. I had plenty of time to come up with something great to say to Patrick Ness as he signed my book…

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© Alex Dimopoulos for Walker Books

I could have told him what I’ve just told you about being more LA at work. But no.

I could have told him I loved The Rest of Us Just Live Here so much because it reminded me of a Buffy spin-off show concentrating on the minor characters at the school who aren’t in the know about Buffy and the Hellmouth. They witness all the weird shit, but aren’t let in on the big secret. But no.

I could have asked him how he could possibly enjoy redrafting more than getting the story down initially. About how I splurge out all these stories but find it impossible to transform them into a not-hot-mess. But no.

What did I say,  Readers?

I said *dons voice of stupidity* are you bored yet? I mean really. What a Knobular. I can only apologise. Patrick was of course extremely sweet regardless.


Thanks to Walker Books, Waterstones and Curzon, (not to mention the wonderful Patrick Ness himself), for putting on such a great night!

Photographs my own unless otherwise credited.

 

 

 

Blog-Life Crisis: To Blog or Not to Blog? #Discussion #Blogging #Bloglifecrisis

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Lipsyy Lost & Found is coming up to its fifth anniversary (in May). Which is a bit mad! It’s mostly been a joy, but it’s also felt like a burden at times and I’ve just emerged from what appears to be my annual slump/crisis/blog-meltdown.

I always like to take some time off at the end of each year and start of the next but every time I do I have this sudden feeling of relief and freedom which leads me to wonder if I want/need to keep the blog going.

Does anyone else have these melt-downs?

I’m completely aware that the pressure I feel is all self-induced but that doesn’t make it any easier. This year has been my biggest slump yet, and I was very seriously considering not coming back for so many reasons which I’m sure will resonate with many of you too…

The grand ole issue of time: 

This has always been a problem and always will be for those of us with full time jobs & commitments. I started the blog when I had a very boring office job and could work on it during the day. I haven’t had that luxury for three years now so all of my blogging (including reading/commenting on other blogs) takes place in the evenings and at weekends.

Also the more I blog, the less I can read and the less I can read the less I can blog…and I won’t even get started on writing – which leads me to…

What am I really achieving apart from unnecessary stress? Sure, getting free & advanced books is nice and all the other little perks that come along with book blogging but I really started the blog because I wanted to take reading more seriously. I was in desperate need to get a job I was passionate about, so I thought having a book blog would look good when looking for publishing/bookselling/library jobs (and I was right – it did, and I did and…see full circle!?)

But that wasn’t my only aim. I also wanted the structure of writing every day. I dreamed of being a journalist for years, then, whilst studying, I decided I preferred creative writing. After years of trying my hand at a few stories here and there it became obvious that I needed to improve on a myriad of things to ever hope of getting published. I hoped that reviewing books would force me to think about what makes a good story and why, and improve my awareness of story structure and language. I think that maybe it did at first. Back when I put a lot of thought into reviews and what I was reading. But I feel like I’ve just been churning them out lately, trying to get through as many books as possible and rushing through reviews.

This is my main issue at the moment. A lot of the joy has been stripped away. I feel like I’ve created a monster and lost sight of what I wanted to achieve. Before I knew it a hobby turned into a second job, and without the outcome I was hoping for. The all-important time issue has meant that I’ve been posting without editing, reviewing without thought and reading without enjoyment. Which is all a bit pointless really….

However, after a month of really thinking about it and weighing up the pros and cons I realise that I don’t want to give up my little blog, or give up on what I wanted it to achieve. I do think my writing style has improved, and will continue to improve with this blog. I would also miss all of you fellow bloggers who I am forever inspired and entertained by.

And so, the conclusion I’ve (finally) come to is to carry on blogging, but a little bit differently. 

  1. Restrict ARCs/ review requests to one a month leaving time to read what I want to read when I want to read them.
  2. Only reviewing a book when I have something to say: There’s nothing worse than trying to frantically get reviews done when you don’t really have anything to say about it anyway. I may do a summary of books that didn’t warrant a comprehensive review but I won’t be forcing myself to write them for everything I read.
  3. Quality not quantity: This is the big one. I mean it as far as reading and posting goes. No more power-reading! And posts will be written in advance and edited.
  4. No more self-imposed pressure: It’s hard not to get click-happy on Netgalley and to say no to review requests when you like the sound of the book but NO is my new friend. And if a book doesn’t get reviewed on time? Tough!
  5. Introducing new content: I have a lot of other things going on in my life that I love, such as my vintage bookshop on Etsy, my work in the prison library and my own writing (which I hope to do more of with this new approach to life- LOL) so I would like to include those on my blog more instead of just posting memes and book reviews.

What do you think, can it be done?

 

Join the discussion, leave a comment…

Why do you blog about books and what keeps you going?

Do you ever want to give it up?

Do you have any advice for bloggers like me who love blogging but find it difficult to fit into a busy life schedule? 

An Over-Due Apology (and what’s coming up)!

It’s confession and apology time here at Lipsyy Lost & Found.

I’ve completely neglected review requests over the past year. I mean, I knew I was really behind, but I recently did some much needed blog admin and went through all my emails since I started blogging and realised just how many requests I accepted and never followed through on.

Authors, I’m sorry. I hereby apologise for being so rubbish!

But, I’m here to make amends. August & September will now be Review Request months.

Here’s what you can expect to see over the next few months…

Wonder Light ~ R.R Russell

I read and reviewed the second book in the Unicorns of the Mist series when I downloaded it from Netgalley, not realising it was book two. After seeing my review, the author asked if I’d like to read the first book to get the full story and of course I accepted but then never got round to reading it. Bad blogger!

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Release Date: 7/05/13 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Date Received: 15/05/2014

Deep in the heart of a mist-shrouded island, an impossible secret is about to be discovered.

Twig is used to feeling unwanted. Sent to live on a pony ranch for “troubled” girls on a misty, haunted island, Twig is about to discover the impossible — someone who needs her.
Jolted awake from a bad dream, Twig follows the desperate whinny of a terrified horse out to the stables. There in the straw is a bleating little scrap of moonbeam. A silver-white filly with cloven hooves and a tiny, spiraling horn.

A baby unicorn.

Now Twig knows what secret is hiding in the island’s mist: the last free unicorn herd. And a mysterious boy named Ben who insists that this impossible creature is now Twig’s to care for. That she needs Twig’s love and protection. Because there’s something out there in the deep, dense shadows that’s hunting for them…

My Soul Immortal ~ Jen Printy

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Release Date: 15/02/14 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Date Received: 20/08/2014

An endless love, for an endless price.

Jack’s immortality is exposed when he prevents a liquor store heist, forcing him to flee to protect his secret—a secret not even he understands. But when he meets Leah Winters—a mirror image of his decades-lost love, Lydia—his very soul is laid bare. He begins to question his sanity. Is she real, and if so, what does that mean for Jack and his secret?

Jack’s not the only mystery man in town. A stranger named Artagan hints at knowledge Jack is desperate to possess. But can he trust Artagan, or does the dark newcomer harbor deadly secrets of his own?

As Jack’s bond with Leah grows, so does the danger to her life. Jack must discover just how much he is willing to risk in order to save the woman he already lost once.

Grunge, Gods and Graveyards ~ Kimberly G. Giarratano

Kimberly did a wonderful Halloween playlist for me to post as part of last year’s Horror October, and I didn’t return the favour by reviewing her excellently named debut novel. The Shame!

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Release Date: 31/05/14 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Date Received: 13/09/2014

Parted by death. Tethered by love.

Lainey Bloom’s high school senior year is a complete disaster. The popular clique, led by mean girl Wynter Woods, bullies her constantly. The principal threatens not to let her graduate with the class of 1997 unless she completes a major research project. And everyone blames her for the death of Wynter’s boyfriend, Danny Obregon.

Danny, a gorgeous musician, stole Lainey’s heart when he stole a kiss at a concert. But a week later, he was run down on a dangerous stretch of road. When he dies in her arms, she fears she’ll never know if he really would have broken up with Wynter to be with her.

Then his ghost shows up, begging her to solve his murder. Horrified by the dismal fate that awaits him if he never crosses over, Lainey seeks the dark truth amidst small town secrets, family strife, and divided loyalties. But every step she takes toward discovering what really happened the night Danny died pulls her further away from the beautiful boy she can never touch again.

Prophecy of Stones ~ Mishka Jenkins

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Release Date: 31/07/14 by Smashwords Edition
Date Received: 18/08/2014

The bond of love can conquer all, but only if it is accepted.

Prophecy states that three champions imbued with the best virtues of the mortal race: heart, strength and soul, will be the ones to save them all from an enemy which threatens to steal the life from their world and those who live upon it.

These three, along with their scribe, his bond mate, and an overly sarcastic oracle, must set off on a journey which will take them through forest, city, swamp and mountain. On this quest they activate the magical stones which charge the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Tildar and his cult of Dwell.

Yet the closer they draw to journey’s end, the more it seems that it is not the evil which will be their downfall, but the fear of a champion unwilling to accept the bond of their destiny.

Prophecy of Stones is a tale of adventure, love and magic.

This Crumbling Pageant ~ Patricia Burroughs

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Release Date: 6/05/14 by Story Spring Publishing
Date Received: 25/05/2015

Get ready to be swept away into a dark fantasy series that combines swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance and plot-twisting suspense in equal measures.

Expect to hear more about Persephone Fury.

A lot more.

England, 1809. As fashionable Society streams toward London for the start of a new social season, they are unaware of a hidden magical England existing alongside. The Magi cathedrals are temples to the old gods. Reigning on their throne is not poor mad George, but the ailing King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon. But their wars are no less deadly.

The Furys are known for their extraordinary music, their powerful magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. But the Furys have their secrets as well, none so dangerous as the daughter whose Shadow magic spills from her, unchecked. Unless her powers are concealed, she’s not only ruined in Society, but marked as a target for those who would use and abuse her magic.

Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and a good marriage for this frightening daughter is desperately needed. On the night of her debut, her world comes crumbling down around her when she is abducted from the man she loves by the man she most loathes.

Evil powers circle, calling her to the destiny foretold at the moment of her birth, drawing her to the source of her power, to the one place she can finally be free.

By embracing the Shadows.

Persephone is ruthless, devious, and clever, but when confronted with the truth, she must make horrifying choices.

Can she defy destiny and seize her own fate?

Fancy any of these??

New (ish) Year, New (ish) Schedule!

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One of my blogging goals for this year is to be more organised (I can only hope). So I’ve laid out a rough weekly schedule which I’m going to try and stick to.

Review days won’t necessarily always have a review – depending on how much reading I’ve got through – but when I do have a review to post it’ll be on one of those days.

Monday: Review Day

Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday

The hugely popular meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish in which they pick a different topic each week.

Wednesday: Review Day; This Week in Books

This Week in Books is my weekly round-up which started out as the WWW Wednesdays meme but which I have now tweaked to my own format since the host cancelled it (it has since returned but I like my post). This post includes what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next; What I’ve added to my shelves and wishlist (linking up with Stacking the Shelves), and the book I particularly can’t wait for (linking up with Waiting on Wednesday).

Thursday: Guest Post/Promo Post/Blog Tour or Bookish & Not so Bookish Thoughts

I will try to post any guest posts including author interviews, book promo posts or blog tour posts on Thursdays. If I don’t have any lined up I’ll take part in the Bookish or Not so Bookish meme, which is a really fun way of having a weekly rant about books and life. I really love that meme but my life isn’t interesting enough to find enough things to talk about every single week.

Friday: Friday Feature

Features can include spotlights of my favourite books & authors, book trends such as this one, cover love… anything goes really. I’m going to try my best to get at least 3 of these out a month.

Saturday: Lazy Saturday Review or Shop Post

I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy and concentrate less on the plot and writing and more on my general feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

Shop posts will look at any new activity going on in my Etsy Vintage Book Shop; new books I’ve found, any I’ve sold and my favourites on the shelf.

Sunday: Off/Free

Other Regular Posts:

Monthly Round-up – Hopefully posted at the end/beginning of the month. This post also includes the following month’s hot releases.

Coming Up – Where I simply discuss the books I have lined up to read and review.

Discussion Posts/Polls – Getting the blogosphere engaged in a bookish discussion needs to happen now and again.

Di & Lipsy Do…– A collaboration with my YA BFF Di in which we have a rant about a book we’ve both read. You can call them reviews if you want…but most people wouldn’t. 😉