Confessions of an Addict [45]: My Bloglovin’ Habits

I’ve used quite a few platforms for following blogs over the years. It’s only recently that I found the best one to use. I am a big fan of Bloglovin’ because it’s so easy to go through my feed. Today, I’d like to talk about MY BLOGLOVIN’ ETIQUETTES. And just to be clear, this is not the general rules. These are MY RULES. So before anyone gets affronted, let’s just establish that first and foremost.

I  don’t discriminate.

If you’re not a book blogger and you follow me, I follow you back. I feel like if you’re nice enough to seek me out and follow me, the least thing I could do is to see what you’ve been up to as well. In the last few months, I’ve been getting followers that are from the beauty and fashion blogosphere. I enjoy reading or watching their how-tos. Outfits of the day posts are fun because I get ideas on how to dress on my own in the morning. Haha. Putting makeup on, though, is a different story. There are not enough tutorials in the world to teach me – I’d always end up looking like Ronald McDonald’s sister. It’s a big world out there with lots to see, learn and experience. So I try not to limit the things that I read from day to day. Though I must say that if you are a fashion and makeup blogger, you’re probably wondering why I don’t contribute much to your post by commenting. Well, let’s just say that I’m an idiot when it comes to those two points of interest. And any comments I may add would be assinine. But hey, keep doing you and ignore me.

I don’t follow blogs.

That is to say,  I don’t follow blogs unless I know the blogger or they follow me first. I know that’s kind of contradictory to my first statement, but let me clarify that. It’s not snobbery, per se. But it’s a matter of laziness. I don’t sift through Bloglovin’ members and decide to mass-follow every single book blogs around. But if you follow me, you can guarantee I’ll follow you. How to keep me as a follower, however,  depends entirely up to you, really.  Some bloggers are under the misconception that creating a readership base begins and ends when you gain followers. It doesn’t. You actually have to work for it. In the same way that you want to know people are reading your blog posts, you need to let them know you appreciate their well-thought out opinions on things. Which brings me to the next guideline:

 I believe in reciprocity.

I am the kind of blogger who generally reciprocate on comments left on my posts. Even if I’m not following your blog or vice versa. Blog relationships are formed through a series of back and forths. I don’t wait for new followers to comment on my posts. In fact, on the same day you follow me, I check your blog and comment on your newest post just to establish a communication between us. It’s my way of saying, thanks for following.

I comment once and disappear.

But if you don’t send me a hey back, you probably won’t be seeing me ever again. That’s just the way my ball rolls. This is what happens to new followers who don’t reciprocate my initial contact. I only have time for bloggers who read my posts. I feel like there are a lot more people out there who appreciate what I write, so if you can’t give me the time of day to comment back, chances are, I’m not coming back to read your posts. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. I’ll always be loyal to bloggers that I personally know and with whom I’ve developed a rapport over the years. I also appreciate those people who take the time to say hello on any social media platforms. I’m not that active on Twitter or Facebook, but when I do pop on there once in a while, say hi to me. I’m the loser-looking girl in the corner nursing a rootbeer. I can name a few bloggers that I interacted with on Twitter that I’ve become a loyal reader of their blogs.

I believe you.

We’ve all been there. When we only have time to draft posts, but not enough to visit blogs.  And this is where establishing blogger relationship is so important. Because when you say real life is kicking your ass at the moment, I will believe you. When you say you need a break and I say that I’ll be here, you can bet your last chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, that I’ll be here waiting for you.

What about you? What’s your Bloglovin’ Personal Rules and Etiquettes?

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Confessions of an Addict [44]: Finishing Unfinished Books

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It’s always been a problem of mine; a sickness that I can’t seem to find a cure for. I’ve read this meme somewhere about all the things you shouldn’t waste your life on and one of those is forcing yourself to finish a book you don’t enjoy.

But I’ve always had a hard time giving up on a book. I’m scared that once I start, my finicky standards would win out and I’ll be stuck with an entire bookshelf of unfinished books. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have over 25 books with bookmarks hanging out of them. And the pressure is building.

ETERNAL OPTIMIST OF THE LITERARY KIND.

I have a whole slew of reasons why I started then stopped. Not in the least of which is out of boredom. I have no qualms giving up on a book that doesn’t hold my interest. But therein lies the crux of the problem. I am an eternal optimist when it comes to books. I like to give them a chance even if the writing is subpar or the story isn’t quite as exciting or interesting as I first thought it to be. I believe in my ability to pick a good book (some days).  I believe that once upon a time, there was a reason why I bought that book. I am a firm believer of reading the full book then giving it the review it deserves – good or bad. But I end up with a shelf-full of unfinished, bookmarked books.

HOUSE OF BOOKS

One of the things that add to this conundrum is that I live in a house full of books. As in, I have books everywhere: bedroom, living room, hallways, kitchen. Most of the time, I pick up a book whenever I find myself in any random room in my house. I start them, put them down, and voila! Another unfinished book in the pile.  And since the TBR is reproducing like rabbits, there are always new books arriving at the scene. Who could resist picking up the new, shiny thing? Sometimes, I think I have an undiagnosed attention disorder. Because I can’t focus on one thing before I move on the next.

SO WHAT DO I DO?

In the words of a certain ice princess, I need to learn to let it go. I will give these books one more try. Every night, I’m going to pick up one book from my pile. If it holds my interest, I’ll read as much of it as I can. And if not, I’m going to have to learn to let shit go. I can’t hold on to these books like they’re my lifeline, or that I owe it to the universe to finish them simply because I started them. I need to learn to stop feeling guilty over missed review deadline or hating the book that was sent to me for review. Because if it’s not there, it’s not there, you know?

AUDIBLE IS OFFICIALLY MY BFF

My new employers don’t mind it if I’m listening to a book while I’m working. So in the event that a book in my pile actually grabbed my attention, I’ll download a copy of it if my budget allows it. I’ve never been one to shy from owning duplicate copies (and editions, for that matter) of a book, so if it’ll help me curb this growing problem, hell yes, I’m downloading that sucker!

These little tips are not only for my own gain. I’ve shared it with you if you are having the same problem. Let’s hope I’ll practice what I preach and finally finish these books in my pile! Wish me luck. 😀

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Confessions of an Addict [43]: Guilt

In a world full of books, a reader can feel incredibly guilty about a lot of things:

  • Guilt for reading books that are more “brain-candy” than “brain-food”.
  • Guilt for falling in love with a character that you would, in normal circumstances, abhor ten-folds.
  • Guilt for completely missing the deeper message about the book because you were more focused on the smoldering eyes of a man who looked fantastic in an Armani suit.
  • Guilt for comparing your sex life with those of the characters’ on any given Erotica book (Oh don’t judge. I’m sure we’ve all been there, too).
  • Guilt for not being sympathetic to a character’s plight because of your inability to empathize with their situation (just what kind of monster are you?!).
  • Guilt for not fully appreciating an author’s world-building skills because you simply don’t get the Fantasy genre or the sterile environment of a Sci-Fi space odyssey.
  • Guilt for feeling jealous because someone had written the story you wished you had written.
  • Guilt for whenever you share the popular opinion over a book is another step towards obsolescence (to quote Murakami, “If you only read the book that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone is thinking.”).
  • Guilt for writing a bad review on a book that was sent to you by the author/publisher/publicist (this one is a doozy).
  • Guilt for not reading fast enough (fuck the TBR shelf!).

And these are just some of the many guilt that burdens us, readers. Let’s not even talk about the guilt we all feel as bloggers. Lordy. That will probably require a two-part post.  I’m a Catholic. The very foundation of our religion is based on guilt. We’re taught that if we don’t follow the Holy Rules, we’re doomed to eternal hell. We’re taught that if we don’t love our brethren as God love us all, we’ll never see the Gates of Heaven. So you see? I know a thing or two about guilt.

But how do you deal with all these feelings?

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Not a damn thing.

Unless you want to hate blogging and the very reason why you started blogging altogether (BOOKS, man. Books), you’re gonna want to check that guilt by the door. Because life is too damn short to care about what others will think about you. Honesty and credibility are important traits to have before you go on and decide to be a keyboard warrior. We are our own persons. Who cares if you like popular fiction? Who cares if pirates and ladies with heaving bosoms are the kind of kink you adore? Trust me when I say, guilt is what will suck the life out of the very thing you love. So go on, child. 

Don’t sell yourself out.
Don’t sell yourself short.

Be the best version of yourself without lying through your teeth.

Because the most important thing is that you don’t change the way you are just to please everybody else.

Source: FEELINGS

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Confessions of an Addict [42]: Hard Decisions

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As most of you would know, I’ve been plagued with so many upheavals in my life lately. From walking away from a job for 14 years to failing at a couple of placements, let’s just say, it’s been rough. Well, here’s another that had been so difficult to make.

Last weekend, we decided to put up our cabin for sale. It was a sad day, but I felt like we had to do it so we can stop worrying about having mortgages when an emergency comes up. I also wanted to simplify our life,  but I don’t know where to start.

The short list according to this article, is to identify what’s important to me and get rid of everything else. That’s easier said than done. You know what I have a lot of? Books, man. Books. I’m sure I’ll work my way to that sometime. For now, I’m looking at the big picture. Big, as in the second home. As much as it’s a wonderful place to have, it is a financial heavyweight that we never had to think about before I quit my old job. But now that I’m starting over again, I thought we needed to reprioritize. It took me days of instigating dialogues with my husband because he wanted to hold on to it as long as we can. Thankfully, he saw some sense in my latest epiphany.

We had some great memories in this place. Lots of family gatherings, camping, great pictures and laughter. But all good things must come to an end. I told my husband that this is really not the end of our dream. It will take us a few years, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be right on track again if we are disciplined enough. I know have to declutter my life, my house, my closet. But I thought I’d start with something as big as an extra mortgage.

Next up: Clothes, designer shoes and purses. Welp.

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Confessions of an Addict [40]: Tantric Reading

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Tantric reading: a state of stupefaction, hypnosis, and immersion in the printed word.   When the real world just fades away and the novel transports a reader to a time suspended, and they become witnesses to an event unfolding before their eyes. Some books have this wondrous ability, and  some books can pull time in a taffy-like motion that all a reader want to do is to go back to that moment before they picked up that book in the first place.  Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve had the time and dedication to just sit in one spot and read for hours.

According to Guiness World Records, the longest time a person has spent reading is 113 hours and 15 minutes. He read 17 books from 13 different authors in one sitting. That’s reading aloud. I wonder if he had any voice left after his attempt? This had me thinking about how nice it would be if we had no distractions in life. If our kids aren’t coming to us constantly with demands that we feed them, or help them find a missing shirt or socks? Or that we all have the capabilities to ignore all the basic body necessities such as eating, drinking and going to the bathroom?

Indeed, it would be easy, isn’t it? If we don’t have responsibilities or if life is one big vacation? This week, I’ve been trying to do just that. Unfortunately, none of the books I brought with me is holding my attention. It is now fourth day of my vacation. I have not finished a book. But I’ve not lost all hope. Today, we’re driving back to the city where I’m more comfortable reading in my bedroom.

I suppose there are so many factors for achieving that reading zen. But real life is one big distraction. It’s almost impossible to say, ” I read this book in one sitting”. Like, literally ONE SITTING. Where you don’t move from your spot to go have a drink of water or use the bathroom facilities. Unless you’re hooked up to an IV and sporting a comfortable caterer, I suppose all you can say is, “practically in one sitting”.

When was the last time you were in a “reading nirvana”?

 

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Confessions of an Addict [39]: Where Have All My Bookmarks Gone?

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It always happens. You could’ve sworn there was a book mark in there somewhere. But as you’re about to mark your page, the blasted bookmark is gone.

Do you use the nearest thing to you to mark your page? Do you ever wonder where your bookmarks go? To someone like me, bookmarks are like socks that go missing in the wash. They just disappear into the thin air. I had a moment of Eureka last weekend when I was trying to find a bookmark and couldn’t find any.

Today, I’d like to talk about the books sitting beside my bed. Those that I’ve started and have been reading off an on for a while now. In total, I have found that I’ve marked a total of 19 books during the course of a few months. Nineteen bookmarks marking where I left off. Admittedly, I can’t even begin to tell you what was happening in the books when I last picked them up, and I probably have to start over with some of them. Okay, most of them.

There could be a multitude of reasons why I start and stop in the midst of a novel. Sometimes, I just lose interest. Unfortunately, I’ve lost the will to read some of them. I suppose you can consider this my “set-aside-for-now” pile. And the reason why I haven’t DNF’d a book yet this year. I’ve not entirely given up, but I’ve set them aside for now because I refuse to give up. Incidentally, this list also includes the books I’m reading now. So I guess you can say, I’ve got 16 books on my set-aside pile.

My interest flits from the one book to the next. Nowadays, my reason is usually because I have to read something for review before I could read something for pure pleasure. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing because the books I get for review are books that I actually want to read in the first place.

The problem is, there are books being published every week. And every week that these books are left fermenting beside my bed is another week when a most-anticipated novel gets published. In other words, the further along they sit in the bottom of the TBR pile.  I do feel like I should make an effort at least. Perhaps use my credit from Audible to listen to them if I can’t get to them  right away. For now, I’m going to try my best to add at least one of these books in my On the Night Table post until I read all of them. Either way, this is such a bad habit I need to break.

  • OBASAN by Joy Kogawa, Chapter 3, page 28.
  • EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon, page 197 of an ARC paperback.
  • LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE by Gina Ciocca, page 73 of an ARC paperback.
  • INFINITE SKY by C.J. Flood Chapter 11, page 85 of an ARC paperback.
  • WAIT FOR YOU by J. Lynn Chapter 9, page 90
  • AND THE HIPPOS WERE BOILED IN THEIR TANKS by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs Chapter 4, page 41
  • THE RAVEN by Sylvain Reynard Chapter 10, page 85
  • BLACK CITY by Elizabeth Richards Chapter 8, page 63
  • THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB by Will Schwalbe, Seventy Verses on Emptiness, page 28
  • THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS by Ann Aguirre Chapter 5, page 49
  • THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US by Lauren Myracle Chapter 3, page 47
  • THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas Chapter 9, page 160
  • GLORY IN DEATH by JD Robb Chapter 2, page 45
  • PRINCESS OF THORNS by Stacey Jay Chapter 4, page 43
  • THIS IS A CALL [The Life and Times of Dave Grohl] Chapter 3, page 69
  • CHE by Jon Lee Anderson Chapter 5, page 75
  • THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP by Nina George Chapter 7, page 47
  • THE NEW NEIGHBOUR by Leah Stewart Chapter 7, page 31
  • THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty Chapter 8, page 83

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Confessions of An Addict [39]: Falling Behind and May Reads

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It’s June 1st! Almost halfway through 2015, y’all. The passing of time is always a such a surprise to me. I can’t figure out why. Perhaps it’s because January doesn’t seem like forever ago, but just mere days. Here we are, six months to the day.

May was a good reading month. Not quite as great as April was, but I’m still way ahead of my reading goal. I’m working on my 95th book of the year (reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell). I read 17 books and am currently 33 books ahead of schedule. I didn’t quit on any books this month (hasn’t since 2015 started), but I did have a couple of 1-star reads.

I’ve been stalling writing a review for An Ember, mostly because I know it’ll be a scathing, ranting one. I really don’t have the energy to expend on writing a negative review at the moment. So perhaps it will remain unreviewed on the blog.

I finally started my quest on catching up with In Death series by J.D. Robb, and I’m happy to say that I’m glad I decided to take up this endeavour. It’s fantastic! I’ve read quite a few wonderful books in May, but if I had to pick the best one, I have to say it’s Made You Up by Francesca Zappia. I don’t have a review written for it yet, but I promise to post it some time in the next few days. Here’s the rest of the books I read last month:

Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind on the blogging front. I’ve drafted only one post for next week this weekend. I usually have the week planned ahead of time, but I had quite a busy Saturday. I’m also a little behind on commenting. Please bear with me!

In other news…

I’m going to make a concerted effort to curb down purchases next month. I’m hoping there won’t be too many good books coming out in June. I’m also going to take advantage of my relationship with a few publishers who know my existence and perhaps request books that I absolutely want to read instead of always resorting to “panic-request”. Also, I’ve been really good with my Net Galley books, so perhaps I’ll take advantage of that one as well.

As a result, you may only see one or two Hoarders post this month instead of weekly. I think that if I train myself to do a monthly haul post instead of weekly, I will be able to avoid bookstore shopping every week.

June Releases I’m excited for:

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The Charley Davidson Series Giveaway is still running. It will be over tonight, so enter if you live in the States!

Happy reading, and have a great week, everyone!

 

 

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Confessions of An Addict [38]: Surviving the Weekends

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Spring is in the air!

…so are the allergens that pester me at this time of the year. Sigh.

I’m so excited for the warm weather, y’all. This means we can at least enjoy the cabin for the entire weekend instead of just one night like we do in winter. I’ve always loved it there. Lately though, it has put a damper on my weekend blogging. I used to be able to bring my laptop and my trusty rocket stick for internet connectivity. But since Apple  upgraded their software to Yosemite, I haven’t found one that’s compatible. I guess the rest of the world hasn’t quite caught up yet.

I’ve been trying to make excuses not to spend the entire weekends at the cabin for this very reason. Saturdays and Sundays are usually the time that I allot for doing some advance postings. Because I don’t have an internet at the cabin, I’ve been finding ways for us to only stay for the Friday night then go home first thing on Saturday. I know that’s horrible, and selfish of me, but it has come to a point where blogging is a fun hobby instead of a chore. I crave it, even. That’s not sad, is it?

However, all is not lost. This past weekend, I discovered the magic of writing my thoughts on a notebook. I’ve got to admit that I have not tried this method before. (Yes, yes, I’m a little late in the game). Who knew how productive the practice could be?! I’m telling you, I’m a changed woman. Which is funny to me because this is hardly cutting edge stuff to most of you, most likely.

I’ve never been one to write and read at the same time (still not a fan), but I find it easier down my thoughts soon after reading the book. It used to take me days before I’m able to write a review, but with this new thing, words just come easy.

Tomorrow is the start of a long weekend for us, Canadians. This means, I might not be able to visit y’all until Monday. I’m going to try and convince my husband to go home Sunday afternoon so I can get some writing and blog hopping in – wish me luck, but I’m pretty sure he wants to stay until Monday. I never thought I would come to this point of my short blogging life when it had become fun again. I think that’s all thanks to you, wonderful people who continually visit and leave wonderful comments on my posts. You are the best motivators! If I haven’t thank you yet, I’ll say it now: Thank You. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Besides reading, what else do you do to survive the week/weekend?

 

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Confessions of an Addict [37]: Hoarders, and Silencing that Voice in My Head

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A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson | Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer | Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon | The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien | City Love by Susan Colasanti | Lord of the White Hell 1 & 2 by Ginn Hale | The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West | Rook by Sharon Cameron | The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Adieh | Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen | We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen


It has been a terrible, terrible week.

Do you ever get those little bursts of determination once in a while? The one that gives you the gumption to finally take control of your finances that’s currently on the tailspin? Yeah. That was me two weeks ago. I told my husband that if I ever ask him to go to the bookstore with me, I give him permission to tie me down to a chair. That didn’t work, obviously.

I went to the bookstore twice this week and this is the result. Three of these books were sent to me by the wonderful people of Random House Canada and the rest is courtesy of my hard-earned money. I love and hate weeks like this. When I’m overcome by this uncontrollable urge to go to the bookstore and spend money. Full disclosure: I spent almost $200 this week on books! Ugh. I hate myself. Hate. Hate. Hate.

Sometimes, I can get away with telling myself that buying used books is for a good cause (depending on where I buy them), and that I’m not the only one benefiting from my purchases. While that may be true, it really does not help me cull my book-buying binges and hoarding tendencies. This week, my hunt for more Nora Roberts/JD Robb books continues, but of course I usually end up with more than a couple…or six among other authors I just can’t resist.

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The problem is, how do I quiet that voice in my head that tells me there are new books coming out this week? Books that I just have to read? How do I not give in to the call of excitement/hype over the next ‘big thing’? Truth is, it’s tough. Book bloggers are excellent marketing/sales people. We are excitable people whose enthusiasm over a book is contagious. We are a tempting lot. It doesn’t take much for me to get suckered in. Mere mention of potential fictional crush and I’m foaming at the mouth.

I found that it is easier to give in that it is to deprive ourselves. “YES” flows out more smoothly out of our mouths and uses less of a force than the word, “NO”.

Confessions of an Addict is where I share the nuances of what it’s like being a book hoarder lover. Sometimes, I’ll share some tidbits of helpful tips. But most of the time, this is where I ask for your help. I think it’s fair to say that the latter is the case in this instance. I don’t know how you guys do it. I don’t know how you discipline yourselves into NOT buying a book.  At this point, I will subject myself to physical restraints just so I can skip a book shopping expedition. Someone needs to cut off my financial resources. Unfortunately, I can’t depend on my husband for that one. That man does not know the concept of the word, “no”. And I know that I’m probably not going to get any sympathy from some of you, but I just feel like if I can’t come to you, my fellow bibliophiles for help, who else could I turn to?

Oh the struggle. The struggle is real.

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