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?

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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. 😉

Blog Hop: Why I Write

This blog hop was started by Katy at Folly and Bloom and the aim is to find out more about bloggers and what makes them tick. I was tagged by the lovely Dorristhelorris – many thanks!

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Why Do I Write?

There are a lot of reasons why I started this blog, and why I write in general, but I guess they all add up to the same thing: I like it.

The only part of school I enjoyed was writing. I even quite enjoyed writing essays. Whenever we were given a topic to write about I was off, no questions asked. My best friend at the time used to give me a weird look and ask how I did it. How did I start writing straight away? How did I know what to write? How could I just think of something on the spot and have two pages written before she’d even finished a sentence? I still don’t really know the answer to that, but I used to say just write whatever comes into your head. Simple.

I think I’ve always loved writing stories. My mum found some of my infant school books a few years back which prove that I’ve always had a good imagination (and been a little weird).

See if you can decipher them…

Not much has changed...still writing rubbish stories, still can't draw, still want to be a lovely young princess in a dig castle...

Not much has changed…still writing rubbish stories, still want to be a lovely young lady princess in a dig castle…

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As for this blog. I mainly started it to improve my writing. Obviously, I love to read, and I’m a firm believer that the more you read, the better you write. So I wanted to start reading a bit more seriously, and keeping a record of what I love and hate in a book. I also wanted to get into the habit of writing everyday.

I always blame this blog on the fact that I’ve barely written any fiction since starting it, but to be fair I was always pretty rubbish at that. I’d have short bursts where I’d write non-stop in all my spare time, but then never finish what I started.

I’m still working on finding a balance between blogging and creative writing.

What am I working on?

Apart from all the usual blog stuff, I’m currently working on my Horror October month. I did a horror-themed month last year too, when I was relatively new to blogging, and it seemed to go down a storm. It was totally off the cuff last year, so this time I’m actually planning it and hope to have some amazing guest posts and features.

In my almost non-existent creative writing time, I’ve started editing the YA novel I wrote when I was at uni. It’s a complete mess, to the point where I don’t know if it’s salvageable, but I really want to try. Until last month, I hadn’t looked at it for about three years!

Anyway, it’s set in a fictitious village in Shetland and is about two brothers who are being pursued by Odin as he believes they can help him destroy the world of the living. Their arrival in Shetland, where they plan to hide, turns a young couple’s lives up-side down.

How does it differ from others of its genre?

There are so many book blogs out there that it’s hard to say what’s different about mine. I like to cover all genres, but YA is my favourite so I can’t help featuring that genre a lot. I like to think I bring my own personality to it, which makes it unique to me. And I don’t own a reading device! BOOKS, PEOPLE!

If we’re talking about my messy novel, I guess it’s your average YA paranormal novel with a few twists. When I started writing it, Twilight hadn’t happened yet (the two brothers have all the characteristics of vampires, but they’re not- it’s a long story. A messy novel-length story), and Norse mythology wasn’t being used much in fantasy. Both of these things are quite popular now, which is good and bad. But, at this rate, it won’t be finished for another 10 years anyway so I don’t have to worry about the marketplace right now.

How does my writing process work?

Hmm. Well, it differs.

For reviews I used to write notes as I went along to make writing them up easier, but I felt like it made them too clinical. Now I simply read the book and if I like a quote or want to remember something I’ll note down the page number, but other than that I just go ahead and write exactly what I thought of the book a day or two after finishing it.

I try to encompass the feeling I got when reading the book, but without it just being OMG I LOVED IT SO MUCH. And as I said earlier, I think it’s really important to think about why you loved or hated whatever it is you’re talking about.

I used to write most of my blog content during the working day (and by that I of course mean lunch time if my boss is reading this), but as my days have got busier, and the blog has grown, I have to set aside a good few hours at the weekend, and a couple of week nights to write all the posts for the following week. I could probably do it all in one night if I didn’t procrastinate so much. And by procrastinate, I mean watch TV.

This post has made me realise how much I want to add in at least one night a week for editing my novel, or writing new things.

Will there ever be enough time?

Thanks so much to Kelly from Dorristhelorris for tagging me.

I’m tagging Amanda from Amanda’s Nose in a Book, who does it all – blogs, writes and crotchets! And Mishka from A Writer’s Life for Me, who is the author of romance books in a variety of sub-genres, including Prophecy of Stones that I’m due to review soon (I haven’t forgotten!). 🙂

Gone Fishing!

I’m taking a break, guys.

I’m going home tonight to celebrate my Nan’s 80th birthday – on a narrowboat! And then my mum is coming back to London with me to visit, and go to Wimbledon. Excited.

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I did mean to schedule some posts but I haven’t found the time so I’m just going to take a wee break. I haven’t really been reading much lately anyway, due to life and the tennis.

I’ll reply to any comments/emails after I’m done celebrating Nadal or Murray winning Wimbledon.*

* I just jinxed it didn’t I?

Also, Happy Birthday to my favourite Di! Sometimes I make her get drunk and write guests posts for me. If you want to make her birthday even better you should check out her awesome new tote bags and enter her Birthday Giveaway HERE.

Happy Birthday to Me!

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I can’t quite believe it’s been a whole year since I started this blog but so it has. I’ve had the best time reviewing books and spouting nonsense, and long may it continue!

I just wanted to say a huge thanks to everyone who has read and commented on my posts, to all the authors & publishers who have provided me with review copies, promo material and guest posts, and to the book blogging community in general for making me feel instantly welcome!

Looking Back…

When I realised that Lipsyy Lost & Found was approaching its first milestone I thought I’d have a look back at my earliest posts…and woah, what a difference a year makes. It’s slightly cringe-worthy.

I’m pretty pleased with progress of the blog – not that I have anything to compare it to (and I’m sure other blogs have done much better) – but over the year I…

  • Gained a readership of over 1,100
  • Exceeded 300 WordPress followers
  • Got invited to Emma Donoghue’s book launch
  • Hit 10,600 views and 1,880 comments

Not too shabby.

Looking back on the old posts, as cringey as it was, did make me realise some things though. Mainly that it was nice to have no structure. Over the year, as I’m sure many bloggers do, I’ve become much more structured with my posts, but in the beginning I posted what I wanted, when I wanted.

If I was reading a book and wanted to post about it before writing a review, I did. If I didn’t want to write a proper review I didn’t. That’s a bit trickier these days as probably 65% of the books I’m reading are either ARCS from Netgalley or direct author requests which require a proper review, but I really miss feeling like I can read and post whatever I want.

Going Forward…

In the future I really want to take the pressure off and concentrate on posting what I want, when I want rather than trying to stick to a schedule. I’m also going to introduce Currently Reading posts which I think I did in the very beginning just for something to post, but I really like introducing the book I’m reading before actually doing a review.

And for reviews themselves, I don’t really stick to a structure anyway, but reading the first couple that I did made me realise that the time constraints might have suppressed my personality in the writing a bit, like this first review I did of Soulless. I kinda really like the post-its…maybe that should be a thing!?

Anyway, I’m chuffed that people are reading, and continue to come back, so a HUGE thanks to you all. If you have any insights or opinions on what I’ve just said about going forward, or about Lipsyy Lost & Found in general, pleeeeeeeease leave a comment. You know it makes me happy!!

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Now, where’s that cake???

Friday Feature: We Need to Talk About…

…reviewing books in a series.

What happened to #1???

What happened to #1???

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. In a similar way to how I find reviewing 5-star (or in my case 5-Unicorn) books difficult, I find reviewing individual books from a series just as difficult.

I’m wondering this as I try to write a coherent review of Monsters of Men, the final book in Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking Trilogy. But I’m not even talking about trilogies here. They are hard enough, but what about say a book #6 or #10 in a series? How do you, as reviewers, tackle those? I tend to get vaguer with every sequel I talk about!

Here are the obstacles as I see them:

1. Spoilers: It’s pretty much impossible to review one of the books with enough depth without giving away any spoilers from any of the previous books. Depending on the complexity of the series of course, but it can be impossible to mention anything plot-wise that will not give away something that you wouldn’t want to know if you hadn’t read the previous books.

2. Content: And then there’s the actual content of the review. Do you give an overview of the story so far each time, or do you just concentrate on that one book? If you don’t give any background, will what you say even make any sense?

3. Audience: Which brings me to wonder if only people who have read, or at least started the series, will want to read the review? I must admit – I do it. If bloggers put one of those handy ‘about’ bits at the start of their review and it says ‘Series so and so’ #4′ I probably wouldn’t bother reading the review. I might see if it gives the name of the first book to check out, but 9 times out of 10 I wouldn’t read the main body of the post. Don’t get me wrong, blog stats are not the be all and end all for me at all. But what’s the point of spending time writing something and posting it on a public outlet for no one to read it. That’s why we blog right? Especially if you do that for 8 books that the majority of your readers won’t read.

Luckily for me, I am pretty rubbish at sticking to series. I have to be really engrossed by them read every book just because I don’t like to read the same kind of things back to back, and when I take a break from a series to read something else I usually forget to go back to them…and by the time I do remember I don’t feel the same need to read the next book any more. Madness, I know.

One I do want to continue with though are the Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead. I really enjoyed the first book and I’m waiting for the next one to arrive. Early days yet, but if I do end up reading the whole series I’m wondering how to tackle it. I know I won’t read them all in one go so it could be forever until I finish them if I wanted to review the series as a whole. Or do I just do mini-reviews (I think I like this idea the most – anything to save a bit of time)…?

So I ask you lovely blogosphere…have you come across any of these obstacles? And, if so, do you have any tips to share?

2014 Challenges & Goals

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions but I’m definitely jumping on the bandwagon in setting some reading/blogging challenges for myself this year. It’s nice to have goals, right?

1. Goodreads Challenge/ Yearly Goal

I have set my yearly book reading goal this year at 70 books. My average always used to be around 60 but since I started blogging it’s increased a bit. As this will be my first full year of book blogging I thought I’d really try to challenge myself.

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Lauren has read 1 book toward her goal of 70 books.
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2. TBR Pile Challenge.

I have a ridiculous amount of (print) books on my To-Be-Read pile. Like seriously. And obviously it’s constantly growing too so taking part in this challenge hosted by Bookish is a no-brainer. Click on the image below to visit them and find out more about the 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge or to sign up!


 

3. Rereads

One of the things I haven’t managed to do since starting up this blog is reread some of my favourite books and I really miss that. So I am challenging myself to reread at least 10. I’ll post more about this soon and might even do a poll so you guys can help me decide which ones I should reread (mainly because I know I’ll find it really hard to pick just 10).

4. Series

I am completely rubbish at sticking with series of books and I don’t want to commit too much by saying I will complete all the unfinished series I’ve been reading because I know that’s just never going to happen. But, I have singled out a few series that I’ve been enjoying and challenged myself to finish them by the end of the year. I CAN DO THIS!