Repeat After Me

It’s easy for us to get bogged down with things that don’t matter. In all honesty, I know it’s the reason why I had a tough time in 2018. Finding a balance between life, family, and self-care has always been a daunting task. The trick is to not only declutter our own spaces, but also our day to day activities. If you know what your priorities are, it will be easy to have a structure in your schedule. But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about the things that I need to remember so I can avoid having a repeat of 2018. I’ve been blogging since 2011, and every year I worry about the little things that deter me from enjoying my hobbies again. Things like book review deadlines, acquiring the latest hyped-up book, hauling books every week just so I can show everyone my recent acquisitions. And most of all, I got caught up with comparing my reads, my followers, my popularity with everybody else. Last year, it got to a point when I would go for weeks at a time without checking my blog. All because with every day that passed by without a post, the heavier I felt about it all. So I just ignored it all together.

Somehow, I lost sight of what it means to have an outlet for my thoughts, opinions, and emotions. I may know a few people who are just as crazy about books as I am, but they’re far and few in between. My blog, besides being an outlet for my opinions, is also a way for me to reach out to the world and connect. And even if my blog is tiny, somewhere out there, it will find a way to someone beyond the far reaches of my imagination.

  • My blog is a hobby.

It’s a place of creation; a place where my mind gives birth to something spontaneous, and even artistic. Ideas that are not forced. Ideas that come as naturally as breathing. It’s also a place where ideas can die but in a natural progression as in life. And that’s okay and perfectly acceptable. Above all else, it’s a hobby. One that I should enjoy and not treat as an obligation.

  • I cannot/will not apologize.

Sometimes, we get caught up in pleasing others or fitting in with the majority that we lose sight of who we are. It’s the same thing when we review books. Don’t apologize for your opinions. Don’t get into the habit of looking over your shoulders to see what everyone else is doing. YOU DO YOU.

  • R E S P E C T

Respect others as you would respect yourself. And the only way to do that is to be honest with yourself and your audience. Take pride in what you do but never ridicule others for their choices and opinions.

  • You are not in a race/competition.

Envy is a deadly sin. One that prevents us from enjoying what we love: reading. Forget about the bloggers that are getting ARCs and new books left, right and centre. Worry about the books that are left unattended on your shelves. Compete against yourself. Beat your previous goals. Challenge yourself to read books that you wouldn’t otherwise read. But don’t give in to pressure. Don’t let anybody else dictate what you should read.

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Life Lately: November

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Hey, guys.

How’s it going? This month-end recap is coming to you early.

I had the worst stretch of book buying binges in the last couple of weeks, you guys. Book Outlet, as cheap as their books are, is not a very good place for people like me. One with no self-control whatsoever. As of this writing, three boxes have shown up on my doorstep. I was able to discreetly hide the first box that came from my husband, but not so much for the second box when our post man delivered it straight to his hands. Sigh. It’s out of control. I might have to do this thing they’re doing on YouTube where they cull their collection by donating or selling it online. I’ll show you what I got one day (maybe).

So. November. I had a slow reading month on account of November 8. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then, good for you. I envy you for being spared from knowing what went down. I read 10 books in total. Though I should say I read 11 because A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara clocked in at 800 pages which should really account for two books instead of one. But I digress. I tend to gravitate towards my comfort reads when I’m having a tough time so you can tell I struggled a lot this month since I read 4 Sandra Brown Books. On the night of the election, after I shut off social media and any coverage on TV, I went and re-read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I knew I was going to need reinforcement and that novel, though, it didn’t completely alleviate the depression, at least helped for a bit. So thank you, Sally Thorne.

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(Sorry about the formatting. I have very little patience today. Lol.)

I was relatively absent from blogging this past month because: reasons. I barely wrote any reviews and barely did my rounds. December might be a slow month as well as we head into the Holiday season. But I’m looking forward to the small break during Christmas.

I used my Instagram picture for this post because I want to give you a fair warning that you might see a vlog post here once in a while. I shot my first video yesterday (3 times) but I think I’m going to re-shoot because I look like an awkward spazzing moron. Sigh. So, you know. Get ready.

Thanks for reading!

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Life Lately

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Sigh.

With the unfortunate news of the FBI Director’s attempt to influence the American election, the changes Book Expo is about to implement, and the rumors that HarperCollins will only be sending physical ARCs to Booktubers and Bookstagrammers, this past weekend can only be summed up in one word: it sucked. Now, before I get people riled up, I don’t care all that much about BEA ridding of the book blogger con altogether, nor do I care about the ARCs that I wasn’t getting from HarperCollins in the first place. I only care that the book bloggers’ role in the publishing industry is being marginalized and underappreciated – disrespected, even.

Some of us have been doing this for years. It’s become a responsibility and a job most of do not get paid for. We do our part to keep the hype machine running. So the exclusion stings. Last week, Jenny of Supernatural Snark decided to leave the book reviewing blogosphere, and I’m not gonna lie, after the weekend spent feeling sorry for myself, and questioning whether or not it’s even worth the effort anymore, I’ve been contemplating on following her footsteps. It’s not because of the ARCs, never that. After all, HarperCollins don’t even know I exist and I certainly didn’t start blogging because of them. It’s just…it really hurts to feel rejected.

I think it stings more because the last time I attended BEA, there was a panel on the popularity of book tubers who basically said readers would rather watch book tubers than read blog posts. And this past weekend, it hurts to come to terms with the fact that a publishing house such as HarperCollins in one way or another gives that claim some credence.

But we are a resilient, forgiving bunch, aren’t we? We are also not revengeful. We’re not going to quit buying their books just because we want them to feel the same sting of rejection. At the end of the day, we need to recognize our reasons for blogging in the first place. If you’re like me, I use my blog as an outlet. I have things to get off my chest which just happens to be feelings – good or bad – over a book. If my opinions helped someone decide to buy, borrow, skip a book, then my job here is done. And that’s all I have to say about that.

OCTOBER

I’ve had a slow month but I’m about 7 books away to reaching my Goodreads goal of 150 books for the year. November, I think is going to get even slower. I feel like I need to reevaluate this book blogging thing. I’ve been feeling uninspired lately, anyway. I want to find a steady ground so I can decide what I want to do once and for all. I don’t think I’ll ever stop reading, but I feel exhausted and burned out. I’ll keep y’all posted.

BOOKS READ IN OCTOBER

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I hope you’ll have the best of November, dear readers.

How was your October?

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INBOX / OUTBOX: June Rewind

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Hello.

July! My gosh. June just came and went like a flash. I swear it was just yesterday that I was ruminating about May and how pathetic I did for the month. June was definitely a change of pace – reading and blogging wise. As of this writing, I’m at 20 books for the month and I’ve managed to do some advance postings right up to the second week of July. I could keep going if I want to participate in some weekly features but I got sidelined by a case of summer flu. It sucks. I missed a couple of days of work and I’m hacking like a crackwhore who smokes about 2 packs a day. Anyway, I only have three more books to review then I’m caught up. But even with the great reading streak I’ve been having, the health of my TBR is not getting any better, I’m afraid.

INBOX

  1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  2. Savage Song by V.E. Schwab
  3. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  4. Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  5. Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  6. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  7. Summer Skin by Kristi Eagar
  8. I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
  9. The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker
  10. The Fireman by Joe Hill
  11. Smoke by Dan Vyleta
  12. We Were Never Here by Jennifer Gilmore
  13. My Lady Jane by Hand, Brodi, and Ashton
  14. You Knew Me Well by Nina Lacour and David Leviathan
  15. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
  16. What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle
  17. Hear by Robin Epstein
  18. A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink
  19. Wanderlost by Jen Malone
  20. The Summer Before War by Helen Simonson
  21. The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish
  22. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
  23. Sing by Vivi Greene
  24. This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer
  25. Assassin’s Heart by Sara Ahiers
  26. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
  27. Appealed by Emma Chase
  28. Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez
  29. Sometimes It Lasts by Abbi Glines
  30. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
  31. Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump by Aaron James
  32. The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
  33. Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid
  34. Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
  35. Everything I Left Unsaid by Molly O’Keefe
  36. The Truth About Him by Molly O’Keefe
  37. Radiance by Grace Draven
  38. The Talented Mr. Rivers by HelenKay Dimon
  39. Boy Meets Boy by David Leviathan
  40. The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan
  41. Burn Down the Night by Molly O’Keefe
  42. The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones

OUTBOX

  1. Eligible by Curtis  Sittenfeld
  2. The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone
  3. The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
  4. The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon
  5. The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
  6. The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones
  7. Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid
  8. Truth or Beard It by Penny Reid
  9. Burn by Paula Weston
  10. The Truth About Him by Molly O’Keefe
  11. Everything I  Left Unsaid by Molly O’Keefe
  12. Radiance by Grace Draven
  13. The Talented Mr. Rivers by HelenKay Dimon
  14. Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump by Aaron James
  15. This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer
  16. Opportunity Knocks by Alison Sweeney
  17. The Bourbon Kings by JR Ward
  18. Appealed by Emma Chase
  19. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  20. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

TBR DIFFERENTIAL: +22

Yikes. Anyway, I’ve also managed to write reviews for most of these books aside from the last four (go me).

If you notice that the blog has been suffering from a case of an identity crisis lately, well, it’s not all in your head. I tried to change the look of my blog but it turns out I’m as useless as ever when it comes to that kind of stuff. Twice, I lost my commenting platform – both WordPress and Disqus. So I had to upload another design and kind of tweak it. I’m so sorry for the cringe-worthy look at times. I’m hoping that I can find someone kind enough to help me fix it. I’ll pay in kind words and promise you my fealty till the end of times. In short, I’m too broke to pay. So you know, I can like, tell everyone how awesome you are. *winks*

So I hope you’re all enjoying your summer so far. I know a few of you have taken breaks from blogging and I’m kinda hating you for it (kidding. I don’t really hate you. Mostly, I’m jealous). I have no life so blogging is the only thing I look forward to. I don’t have to yell at you to pick up the dirty laundry or put the toilet seat down. Or tell you for the fucking last time that our garbage day is Wednesday so you bring it out then so we don’t have two-weeks’ worth of filth reeking in our garage. Wait. Where was I?

Have a great summer!

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Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 179

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On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duvis | A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison | Unbecoming by Jenny Downham | The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi | A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas


Belated Happy Mother’s Day to all of you! I hope you know how much your existence is very much appreciated. The world will literally stop dead on its tracks without all of you. Who will find all the missing socks, shirts, pants, sense of humor, and heads if all you lovely people aren’t around? It was a normal day for me. No day off to speak of, but that’s totally my choice. If I have to wait for anyone to do the dishes, do the laundry and clean the house, we will all live in a pig sty. Also, I don’t tolerate clutter and messes all that well, so I’m the one who suffers the most if the housework gets neglected. I did all that and managed to schedule some posts on the blog.

Good news! My cast is off! Good Lord. You can’t imagine how good it feels to have it off. On Wednesday night, as I was getting ready for another night of itchy, smelly, restless sleep, I consulted with my cousins (who are nurses, btw) and asked them if Urgent Care would take my cast off if I told them I’m 60% sure I have gangrene on my foot (long story that involved a metal chopstick). They said it’s probably not advisable but try anyway. I went there at 8 at night and eventually got seen at 4 in the morning. I was determined. I figured  I can’t do another week of this smelly hell. So I sat there and waited. I didn’t get much sleep, so I called in sick on Thursday. It feels soooo good, you guys! I’m still walking a little daintily, but anything is better than being in a cast.

My Mother’s Day celebration is pretty much what we’ve been doing every year. Husband takes me to the bookstore, I get to play queen for a day or two, then it’s business as usual. We had lunch on Saturday and had a backyard barbeque on Sunday. All in all, a great weekend. There was a moment of sadness there because it was our first weekend without the choice of heading to the lake. But it’s time to move on and I’m helping my husband cope with that. Anyway, I hope you all had a great weekend.

READ LAST WEEK

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I had such a weird reaction to this book. My review will be up this week. I’m slowly getting into the groove of things again, so expect more posts from now on…or not. Lol.

Have a great week, everyone!

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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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