Book Blogger Confessions: Blogging Slumps

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme run by Midnyte Reader and For What It’s Worth. Every first and third Monday participants post and discuss common frustrations to book bloggers. Link up your post on either blog and hop around to listen to and learn from your fellow bloggers!

This week’s question is:

We’ve discussed blogging slumps before but have you ever seriously considered throwing in the towel and quitting blogging? If so, what changed your mind? Did you discuss it with other bloggers?

Last year, and particularly in the latter half of the year, I wanted to quit. For all intents and purposes, given the amount of time I spent posting or commenting, I had quit. At the very least, I had mentally checked out from everything. I didn’t read as many books, I certainly didn’t review as many books, and mostly ignored the blog. 

I think I reached a point where the stress of juggling too many things all at once meant something had to give. As we all know, blogs are incredibly time-consuming. The more time I spent doing my many other activities, the less time I had to write up reviews, post blog entries, and even read. 

A lot of it had to do with second year blogging blahs. The high of creating it and push-push-pushing to get my name out there and draw in readers in that first year was novel and exciting. Last year I just didn’t have the energy to devote to it. Blogging lost its novelty and didn’t seem so fun and shiny. The pressure of watching all of the won, borrowed, toured, and bought books pile up in a never ending stream in my living room got to me. I would scan my list of NetGalley titles and feel nothing but overwhelming pressure – to read, review, post, cross-post, and submit back to the authors and publishers. 

I freaked out. Finally, after several months of doing nothing but feel guilty and sad about the whole sorry situation, I deleted all of my review titles, had NetGalley deactivate my account, and stopped signing up for tours and giveaways. Snip. Gone. Cut-off.

What finally forced my hand in whether to officially retire the blog was that my domain came up for renewal. I had to choose – if I renewed, it would be money poorly spent if this site sat here with no entries. If I didn’t renew, it meant deleting forever the entries, comments, and memories from my little corner of the web. It also meant that I may never get this domain back. The finality of that decision was too much for me. Luckily the New Year’s holiday was right around the corner, and as I fired up my Reader again, I noticed it was reading challenge sign-up time, and darn it, I wanted in on the action.

Challenge accepted. Once I started writing up challenge posts, my passion came flowing back to me. I loved putting up all my new widgets and the challenge page. I loved visiting everyone’s sites and participating in events. That’s when I finally realized how much I had missed this.

In some ways, I wish I had reached out more to my fellow bloggers during my slump, but I didn’t think they could give me any advice I didn’t already know. I knew I needed to better manage my time, get back in touch with why I started this blog in the first place, and take whatever steps necessary to make it fun again. I hope that as I begin my third year of blogging, I can stay more connected and less pressured. Without accepting review titles, I guarantee that I will only ever have to read what I want, when I want, with no pressure to finish a certain book by a certain date. This helps me feel the joy of reading again, and that joy translates into happier posts and comments.

I want to thank everyone who has welcomed me back to the book blogger community with such enthusiasm. I came back because I missed all of you and it feels great to reconnect. Now let’s go read some awesome books!

 

 

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Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (2)

Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge is where Tara @ 25 Hour Books and Amanda @ On a Book Bender recap and share blog events from the week, and talk about what they’re reading. Now they’re letting the rest of us join in the fun! Head over to Amanda’s blog if you’d like to participate and link up.

WEEKLY RECAP
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND UPDATES
  • Yesterday was the annual national event Free Comic Book Day. I dragged my husband to my local comic book store to pick up free books, and tried out a new store as well. I even got a book signed by the author, which was fun.
  • I sat through almost 8 hours of theater this weekend (The Iceman Cometh and CATS), plus saw The Avengers. I’m exhausted about watching stuff and paying attention.
  • I’m nearing the end of my migration to WordPress, thanks to Cialina at Paper Wings Design Studio.
  • Look for my Spring Blog Carnival game and giveaway tomorrow!
  • I continue to slog through two different manuscripts and waste many, many hours getting myself familiar with WP.org.
AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE
ODD SEARCH TERMS
  • design for game of thrones – not much help here, I’m afraid
  • fire stoning – Don’t mess with me!
BOOKS RECEIVED

Bought:

Cindy at Princess Bookie clears her personal bookshelves every so often, and puts the books up for sale. She posts a list and asks people to choose what they want and you name your own price. I rarely can resist her sales because she always has books I want. So I picked up 7 books on the cheap!

Rampant and Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
(Vicious unicorns for the win!) 

Rivals (The Ivy #3) by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

I own the first two books in the Ivy series (not that I’ve read them yet), so I wanted to complete my set. The Ghost and the Goth was highly reviewed by Small Review, and I trust her opinion.

Funny aside – My husband saw The Ghost and the Goth cover and immediately began making fun of me. Him: “You know, that cover makes it really hard for me to tell what the book is about. I think it must be something dark and serious. What’s it about anyway?”  Me: “It’s a really complicated metaphor. You wouldn’t understand.”

A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen 

Havoc by Jeff Sampson

For review:

  • Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin – Thank you NetGalley and Tanglewood!
  • Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier – Thank you NetGalley and Random House!
  • Dark Companion by Marta Acosta – Thank you NetGalley and Tor Teen!

That’s it for now. Have a great week!

Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (1)

Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge is where Tara @ 25 Hour Books and Amanda @ On a Book Bender recap and share blog events from the week, and talk about what they’re reading. Now they’re letting the rest of us join in the fun! Head over to Amanda’s blog if you’d like to participate and link up.

WEEKLY RECAP
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND UPDATES
  • I got assigned a spot on the Ruby’s Reads debate team!
  • I’m starting the process of migrating this blog to WordPress, with help from Cialina at Paper Wings Design Studio.
  • I bullied my way into a mini-NaNoWriMo for this week with fellow writer/bloggers Amanda, Kelly, and Hannah. We each set our own writing goals for the week, and now we’re going to try to meet them.
AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE
  • By far the biggest news this week was the plagiarism scandal involving The Story Siren. I watched the embarrassing horror show all week and have decided to no longer follow Kristi via blog or Twitter. I will continue to participate in the Debut Author Challenge because I care deeply about supporting new authors, but I will not be linking back to Kristi’s DAC page. I’ll also no longer be participating in IMM, but you can find bookish updates on this meme in the future.
  • Alexis at Reflections of a Bookaholic discussed a Favorite Childhood Character – Laura Ingalls. It brought back lots of fond memories for me.
  • Midnyte Reader gave an amazing day-by-day recap of the World Horror Convention!
  • In continuing efforts to torture me, Aylee at Recovering Potter Addict posted another Waiting on Wednesday from a Big Six publisher’s catalog.
  • The hilarious team at Forever Young Adult started a new series highlighting Dolly Parton’s greatest hits, and OF COURSE opened with one of their signature recaps – of Steel Magnolias!
ODD SEARCH TERMS
  • steampunk boston terrier – I’m sure this person was incredibly disappointed, but now I feel the need to turn my Boston into a steampunk mascot for the blog!
  • skottie young comic book brave – How this person wound up here, I have no idea.
  • talk bubble – Good luck with that.
BOOKS RECEIVED

Ebooks from the library:

Ebooks purchased:

For review:

That’s it for now. Have a great week!

Book Blogger Confessions: Spoilers

Book Blogger Confessions is a new(ish) meme run by Tiger at All-Consuming Media and Karen at For What It’s Worth. Every first and third Monday they post a new question to open up discussion about common frustrations to book bloggers. Link up your post on either blog and hop around to listen to and learn from your fellow bloggers!

This week’s question is:

Spoilers in reviews: Do you read them, do you include them? How do you describe (or avoid describing) spoilery parts of a book?
I generally do not care about reading spoilers, but I am super sensitive to people who vigilantly avoid them. It’s because I don’t have much personal animosity toward spoilers that I’m always paranoid I’m going to accidentally let one slip.

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to perceive what is a true spoiler. If it’s something revealed by reading a cover jacket, I’m not sure that’s a spoiler, but some reviewers hide sequel summary descriptions for fear that someone may happen across a spoiler. I don’t go that far. Most regular readers of this blog know the books I’m discussing, or at least know if it’s a part of a big series that they want to avoid for fear of spoilers.

That said, I’m also not out to ruin anyone’s fun. If people want to be surprised, they should be surprised, regardless of my thoughts on the matter. That’s why I don’t post spoilers – simple common courtesy. It may mean cutting short a review or dancing around an issue, but I always know at least one or two other bloggers who have read the same book, so I’ll take to Twitter or email if I really need to discuss a spoilery issue.

What do you do about spoilers in your reviews?

Book Blogger Confessions: Social Networking with Authors

Book Blogger Confessions is a new(ish) meme run by Tiger at All-Consuming Media and Karen at For What It’s Worth. Every first and third Monday they post a new question to open up discussion about common frustrations to book bloggers. Link up your post on either blog and hop around to listen to and learn from your fellow bloggers!

This week’s question is:

Social networking with authors: Do you interact on Twitter/Facebook/etc. with authors? Does it affect how you review their work or do you look at their books differently because you’re on friendly terms with them?
I do interact with authors on Twitter, but considering I’m such a rare tweeter anyway, it’s not anything that happens super frequently. The authors I interact with the most are those whose books I’ve read and adored (like @LisaTBergren), or authors who just happen to tweet a lot in general (like @LiaHabel and @TaherehMafi).

The big caveat here is that when I say I interact with these authors, I mean we’ve had a conversation or two. Which may have only consisted of a couple of tweets. With the exception of Lisa, I don’t think any of the authors I have interacted with via Twitter really know or remember me. And I consider that a good thing.

As a reviewer, who also happens to be a writer, I try to keep myself at a professional distance. I don’t go out of my way to contact authors. I don’t tweet at them when I post reviews, with the possible exception of major fangirl 5 star lovey ones. I prefer to stay under the radar, happily occupying my little blog space with warm bookish thoughts until one day (hopefully) this domain can be used to publicize my own work. I’m also incredibly shy, and feel like if I start tweeting at authors I’ll just annoy them. (I should mention that I’m focusing on Twitter because I don’t use Facebook for blog-related things.)

As for how it impacts my reviews, I think that in general I’m always worried about loving an author, but hating their book. For the most part, I limit my interactions to authors until after I’ve read their book. If I wasn’t a big fan of their book, I usually just quietly unfollow them. If I am a fan, I’ll keep following, and if the mood strikes, I’ll start up a conversation. I’m a cheerleader at heart, so when I read books that I love, I want to pump up their authors. I want to sing their praises to the world, and thank them for writing such amazing stories.

And I love that social networking allows us to do that.

Silly Sunday is back! – Shit [blank]s Say

Can you believe it’s been almost a year since I last did a Silly Sunday?! Yikes! Time to get back in the game. Life is too funny to go without giggles.

Today I’m caving to the Shit ___ Say meme, but only because I find it really, really funny. Frankly, I’m glad that @ShitGirlsSay spawned an internet craze of hilarious (and not-so-hilarious) knock-offs. The more the merrier.

If you haven’t seen the original, behold:

Shit Girls Say

“TWINSIES!”

There are two more episodes on YouTube, but the third one is not so great. I highly recommend Episode 2, though. “That poor dog needs water!”

As a book blogger, I can hardly ignore my own group’s contribution to the meme:

Sh*t Book Bloggers Say

Finally, in what I deem to be the most hilarious of them all, I give you:

Sh*t Nobody Says

If anyone needs help with that Papyrus problem, I can take care of that for you.

TGIF at GReads! (16) & Weekly Recap

This Friday blog hop is run by Ginger at GReads! (who also created this beautiful button). Every Friday you can answer a new question and recap your week. Click the button to join in!

This week’s question is:

Book Blogger Pride:
What do you take pride in when it comes to blogging?

I take pride in the quality of my reviews. I try not to slap something together just to get it up on the blog. I like taking time to reflect on what I’m reading, then putting my thoughts into a format that hopefully gives people an idea of what to expect from a book. I review so that people will want to check out the books that I’m reading, and enjoy them as much as I do!

*EDIT* Okay, everyone is writing such nice things that now I feel like the asshat who didn’t get the assignment. I’m the girl in Drop Dead Gorgeous who wore the Biggest Ball of Twine costume. So here’s my postscript:

I also take pride in the fact that my blog paved the way for me to meet some pretty amazing people and learn SO MUCH about YA fiction. Without this blog, I wouldn’t know half the stuff I do about the types of stories I like, who is publishing what books when, which authors go the extra mile, the generosity of readers, and how fawesomely individual we all can be while hanging out together in this cool little niche in the corner of the blogosphere.

That’s pretty damn amazing.


My weekly recap is inspired by the phenomenally talented, kind and generous Small Review. If you are not already following her, you are really missing out. Also, have I mentioned how much I love Cool Text? They’re the folks that allow me to make these cool (and simple) text buttons – for FREE!

If you’re a first time visitor, or just didn’t get the chance to stop by this week, here’s what you missed:

Reviews
INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows
3/5 stars
Debut Author Challenge

HOUNDED by Kevin Hearne
4/5 stars
First in a Series Challenge

SCARLET by A. C. Gaughen
5/5 stars
Debut Author Challenge
YA Historical Fiction Challenge

Enjoy your weekend everybody!

Book Blogger Confessions – Deadlines

Book Blogger Confessions is a new(ish) meme run by Tiger at All-Consuming Media and Karen at For What It’s Worth. Every first and third Monday they post a new question to open up discussion about common frustrations to book bloggers. Link up your post on either blog and hop around to listen to and learn from your fellow bloggers!

This week’s question is:

Deadlines for reviewing and blogging. Do you set them? How do you keep them? What do you do if you can’t meet a deadline?
I typically operate with soft deadlines, meaning when I accept a book for review, I calendar a date by which I want the review posted. I also enter it in a spreadsheet that tracks all of my pending review books, and prioritize the list based on the release date. Books with closer release dates get read first, as those are the dates around which I schedule my reviews.

These dates are not set in stone, however. The longer I blog, the more lee-way I give myself to push those deadlines back as needed. When I first started, I was incredibly rigid about my deadlines, but this led to me reading a lot of review books and very few pleasure books. This is a big reason (if not the reason) that I have stopped accepting review copies. I make an exception for NetGalley, because I have more self-control where those books are concerned, and I’ve made a conscious effort to only request books I know I want to read.

If I’m coming up on a deadline and I haven’t gotten around to reading the book, I push the review posting date back to a time when I think I’ll read the book. For a lot of my review copies, this has happened with embarrassing regularity, and it’s reached the point where I may have to contact the authors and tell them I can’t review their books.

Finding the balance between a blog made up entirely of review deadlines and one with a structure so loose that nobody cares to read it anymore is harder than I first thought. I thought deadlines would give me structure and allow me to plan my blog out to well-oiled machinery perfection, but what I ended up with was a joyless blog that consisted of lots of reviews and memes with little room for spontaneity. I have more demands on my time than ever, and blogging has taken a back seat. I still have a long list of books to read and review, but my posting schedule has more room on it now for interesting discussion topics that may come up or new memes I want to try without having to schedule them three months in advance.

Deadlines give me structure, but I can get a little crazy with them. I’ve found that without them, however, I tend to push everything off my plate and get nothing done. I’m still looking for that happy medium.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (2)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme run by Sheila at Book Journey, where we share the books we read and/or reviewed last week and what’s on deck for this week. Now Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts have started an offshoot for kidlit fans: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA. I just had to check it out!

Last week:

  • I finished Jodi Meadows’ Incarnate. I hate to admit it, but it didn’t live up to the hype for me.
  • I started, and abandoned, Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good book. I just don’t have time to read such a long book right now.
  • I started Kate Klimo’s Daughter of the Centaurs. I’m not loving it.

Plans for this week:

  • Read Hounded by Kevin Hearne.

    Atticus Oâ??Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years oldâ??when in actuality, heâ??s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

  • Start Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.

    In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

Yes, these are the same as last week. I didn’t have as much time to read as I thought! I did start Hounded today, and so far it’s amazing.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (1)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme run by Sheila at Book Journey, where we share the books we read and/or reviewed last week and what’s on deck for this week. Now Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts have started an offshoot for kidlit fans: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA. I just had to check it out!

Last week:

  • I finally finished the second book in the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series, When Gods Die. I was only able to read in brief spurts, late at night, and the heavy details in this historical novel made it tough to keep my eyes open.
  • I finished my first NetGalley book of the year, Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
  • I started Incarnate by Jodi Meadows.
  • I absolutely devoured Ann Aguirre’s Enclave. I read it in two sittings this weekend.

Plans for this week:

  • Read Hounded by Kevin Hearne.

    Atticus Oâ??Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years oldâ??when in actuality, heâ??s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

  • Finish Incarnate.

    Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why. Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone elseâ??s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

  • Start Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.

    In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

I’ll get some good alone time this weekend to read, so I’m hoping to make up some ground on my reading. It’s been a slow start in 2012, and some of these are library books due back at the end of the month. Read, Logan, read!