This Month in Books: March 2017 #TMIB #MarchReleases

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March has been a weird month. I spent most of it in a reading slump and watched a lot of TV instead. Bad Book Blogger! IRL I went home for a weekend to surprise my mum for Mother’s Day which made her happy, won tickets to a 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer party sponsored by the Syfy channel and Fandom which made me very happy (I was in heaven), and took a few days off work which was nice.

March 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 14 (+ 3 from previous month)

Books Read: 4 (-1)
All the Good Things ~ Clare Fisher
Girl in Disguise ~ Greer Macallister
The Invisible Hand ~ James Hartley
King’s Cage ~ Victoria Aveyard

 
The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (2/4); Crime/Thriller (2/4); Fantasy (2/4)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (2/4); Digital (1/4); Hardback (0/4); Paperback (3/4) / Owned (1/4); Borrowed (0/4); For Review/proofs (3/4)

Most Surprising: All the Good Things
Most Disappointing: King’s Cage
Most Exciting: Girl in Disguise
Most Swoon-worthy:  Hmm…King’s Cage I guess…
Most Beautifully Written: All the Good Things

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 22.03.17
  2. This Week in Books 15.03.17
  3. Lazy Saturday Review: The Rest of us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Promos, Guest Posts and other Highlights

Awards

 

 

 

TBR Shelf Update

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Earlier this year I decided I HAD to do something about my physical TBR shelves. Each month I’ll be doing a quick update to see how I’ve done. See my original post here, and my updated TBR list here. 

Previous TBR Count: 85

Books Added: 0!

Books Read: 1

Remaining: 84

That was my month, how was yours?

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? 

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. 😉

Challenges: 2014 Results & 2015 Goals

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Last year was my first full year of blogging, and like most book bloggers, I set myself some challenges. So, how did I do?

Hmm…not that great, but not toooooo bad either.

Here are the goals I set myself and how I did:

The Goodreads Challenge/ Yearly Goal

Goal: 70 books
Outcome: 71 – Success!

You can see the full list here.
 

The TBR Pile Reading Challenge

The idea of this challenge was to read some of the older books on my shelves that I never got round to – so I made a rule that only books I’d had for over five months counted. That was a mistake.
Goal: 11-20 books
Outcome: 7

Rereads Challenge

I wanted to make time to reread some of my favourite books. These are the ones I chose:

    1. Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1) by Phillip Pullman
    2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
    3. Peter Pan by J.M Barrie
    4. Sunshine by Robin Mckinley
    5. The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey
    6. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger
    7. The Gates by John Connolly
    8. – 10. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne CollinsGoal:

Outcome:2 (The Shame!)

Series

I wanted to finish the following series:

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Status 01/2014: Book 3/5
Status 01/2015: Book 3/5

The Akasha Series by Terra Harmony
Status 01/2014: Book 1/4
Status 01/2015: Book 1/4

The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
Status 01/2014: Book 1/3
Status 01/2015: COMPLETE!

So, a mixed bag! It could have been worse I guess.

2015 Challenge

I’m going for the minimal approach this year.

1. Goodreads Challenge: Upped to 75

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Lipsy has
read 3 books toward her goal of 75 books.
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2. Reread Challenge: I still want to reread all of those on the list so I’m going to continue plucking away at that one.

3. TBR Challenge: This time, I’m going to make a list of all the books I have sitting on my shelves (which I will publish at some point) and just see how many I can get through. Whatever I don’t pick up, I WILL take to a charity shop at the end of the year.

Good Luck to us all!

2015 Goals/Resolutions

I know it’s a bit late, but I had two weeks off at the start of the year and missed all of the end of year/start of year stuff so expect them in dribs and drabs over the next week or so!

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I’m not one to make resolutions really, but I do have some goals this year:

1. Find a good job (sounds simple right?).
2. Be more organised, especially with blogging. I’m want to post less at the beginning of the year to build up some content so I’m not always behind or get bogged down when life gets busy.
3. Request less ARCs and read more of the books on my real-life shelves.
4. Promote my etsy shop!
5. Go to the dentist/doctors more – take care of myself better (I already went to the dentist – woo me)!
6. Save money (after I’ve found a job of course).
7. Change the look of my blog.
8. Work on more original content – less memes!

I think that about covers it!

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???

Dear Netgalley….

…You have been an invaluable service to me and my blog. You have allowed me read an abundance of books before their release date. You are extremely easy to use, and have asked for little in return – a review.

However, if you ‘archive’ one more book BEFORE the publication date so I can no longer download it, and therefore can not read and review it, we are going to have words. This has been the second time in as many months that a book when originally requested, had no archive date set. And then, at least one week BEFORE the publication date you have suddenly archived it, making it redundant.

It’s not just the missing out on reading the book itself, it’s more what it is doing to my NetGalley profile. I now only have a 60% feedback to approval ratio. That can’t be good can it? Can I dispute it?

Answer me, Netgalley Gods!

Sincerely Annoyed,

Lipsy

Friday Feature: Why are good reviews so hard to write?

For my first proper Friday Feature– a weekly post in which I’ve decided that basically anything goes – I want to get something off my chest.

Why is it so hard to write good reviews?

I don’t know why, but when I LOVE a book, like seriously love it, I find it really hard to construct a decent review.

Is it just me? Is it because I’d rather slag something off than think about what I liked about it?

It’s easy to have a rant, whether it’s a good rant or bad one, but to seriously review a book you’ve loved is pretty daunting. Take Twilight for example (yes, you’re allowed to snort in derision), I love it and I’ve read it a really embarrassing amount of times, yet I completely agree that it’s trashy, often derivative and full of really unattractive character traits.

I might agree with a lot of the bad press it gets but I still love it and I have no idea why. So I’ve never written a review of it. (It is however one of the books on my Rereads Challenge so you can laugh at my attempt at some point!)

So guys, I’m opening it up for discussion, feel free to tell me if I’m just weird:

Do you prefer to write good or bad reviews (I’m guessing most of you will say good reviews, because you’re all so lovely), and which do you find easiest to tackle?

Blog Talk: The average time-span of a Book Blogger?

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I’ve been doing this blogging thing since May, so just under 7 months, and I still consider myself pretty new to it. I’m constantly coming across things that I feel I should be including on my blog, and spotting things that I can improve on, such as the quality and volume of reviews, keeping more up to date in the book world, and ways of making my blog look better. For me, it’s a work in progress (as is trying to read quicker!!). Some things work, and some don’t, but I’m just enjoying sharing my book-geek, fangirling ways with the blogosphere.

Because I still feel like a Newb at this, I always just assumed that most of the blogs I follow and love have been around for much longer than mine, and are more established, experienced sites. But more and more lately I’ve been seeing ‘6 months’ or ‘1 year’ anniversary posts or ‘I hit 100 followers’ posts and I’m always surprised that those blogs haven’t actually been going for very long. Which led me to wonder two things:

1. How long is the average time-span for a book blogger?

There’s no doubt about it, book blogging is a lot of work. A lot more work than I was expecting, so I guess it’s not surprising that people would start them up and realise that they just don’t have the time, or will to continue.

2. What is the key to longevity?

Like I said, I’ve been enjoying blogging a lot, and quite soon after I began it just became part of my life. But it is hard to keep motivated sometimes. With working full-time, blogging, and trying to have a social life, my own writing has well and truly taken a back-seat so I do sometimes think what is the point? I just hope the pros (free books, writing practice…) continue to outweigh the cons (too many hours in front of a computer, lack of sleep…).

So I ask you, lovely Bloggers: How long have you been blogging/ How long do you think the average time-span for a book blogger is? And what keeps you going?

And go!