Thursday, 28 August 2014

Discussion Post: Reading Slumps


Today I shall be discussing the dreaded, despised, abominable reading slumps. Most of us, if not all of us, have gone through them. We find we're reading the words but we're not taking them in, reading one page feels like a chore and we begin numerous books before chucking them to the side because we might as well be reading another language. When this happens, I know I've hit a reading slump.

I don't know what causes reading slumps for you guys, how you know you're in a reading slump or what helps haul you out of it, but this is what personally happens to me. I'm actually currently in a pretty bad reading slump, so I thought writing about it now would be fitting and hopefully I'll follow my own advice :')
   
1. If you've read too much
I actually think I'm currently in a reading slump because I just finished Bout of Books and generally after I've read a lot at a time I fall into a reading slump. Sometimes your brain is just telling you to take a break, even if you don't want to, sometimes you have to!

2. A lot of other things consuming your time
I recently started Cambridge home-schooling and I have a lot of work to do. When I have more work than usual I also fall into a reading slump because I've already done so much work in one day, my mind can't concentrate on reading, even though it's something I really want to do. If you're really tired as well after a long day, you won't be able to read as you'll most likely fall asleep within reading a couple of pages!


3. Sometimes you just don't feel like it
There are some days where I just don't feel like reading, I'd rather play piano or go to a friend or draw. Remember, it's okay if you don't feel like reading, it's for fun and it's a hobby, so if you don't feel like reading, take a break instead of forcing yourself to read if you're not in the mood to. I often feel guilty if I don't feel like reading because I, in a way, feel as if I'm betraying my bookish self? It's ridiculous, but I do often feel bad if I don't feel like reading. I often have to remind myself that, although reading is probably one of my most favourite things to do, I also have other hobbies and it's great to participate in those as well.

Of course, there are no set cures for reading slumps, but this is what has helped for me and for other readers.

1. Re-read a favourite 
This is what most people find helps them out of their slump. I was once in a pretty bad reading slump and then I read Divergent and I mostly beat the slump. When re-reading a favourite book, you remember how much you loved the characters, the storyline, the writing and it'll hopefully get you back into your reading groove!

2. Visit a bookstore or a library
This is probably what works best for me! When I'm in a slump and I visit a library or a bookstore and get some books, I get so excited to read the new books that it snaps me out of my slump! I was once in an extremely bad reading slump, I visited the local bookstore, bought me two books and it really helped me! It didn't help for my already huge TBR pile though...


3. Watch BookTube
Ahh BookTube! BookTube is a fantastic way to help get a person out of a reading slump. When you watch videos on new releases, or reviews or anything bookish, it always makes a person get excited for reading all over again! Some of my favourite booktubers are PolandBananasBooks, KatyTastic, Little Book Owl, Jesse the Reader, Kassidy Voinche, ABookUtopia and The Book Basement! Their videos are fantastic and are great to watch whether you're in a reading slump or not!

4. Talk to your bookish friends
Whenever I need to talk about reading slumps, books, reading or anything really, I go talk to some of my bloggy buddies! We talk about what we're reading, what we've just read etc, and that also encourages me and helps me break out of my reading slump

5. Take a break
Sometimes you just need to take a break. I took a break for two days and this morning I woke up and I was like, "I really feel like reading", and I got some of my book read! 

6. Don't compare yourself to other readers
There are some readers out there who manage to read 20 books a month, I am not one of those readers! I take my time with reading, and I prefer reading a book over two days instead of finishing it in a couple of hours. If you're also a slower reader, don't compare yourself to people who manage to read a book a day, every day. If you try to read as much as other people, you're going to eventually start skimming the pages and having to read over them again and you'll turn it into a race and won't enjoying the reading experience. Reading is not a competition, it is a leisurely hobby and it should be treated as one :)

7. Do something else
This is similar to tip #5. If you have been reading for a while and your brain is growing foggy, go for a walk, grab something to eat, go on the Internet, sometimes our brain needs a change.

8. Read a different book
It's often that the books we are currently reading put us into a reading slump! If you are reading a book and you're struggling to get through it and it's taking you days to read it, honestly, try another book. I once got a book out of the library that I was really looking forward to reading, however, I really couldn't get into it at all. Reading a chapter took me an hour and I couldn't connect to the book whatsoever, eventually I decided to DNF it and pick up another book which I finished within a day. Don't be afraid to DNF a book if you're really not enjoying it, you might just not be in the mood to read that book and you can always go back to it!

9. Begin a book that you've really been looking forward to
When I was in a slump a couple of months ago, I started reading City of Lost Souls and as soon as I began reading, I could just feel the slump dissipating. If you read a book you've really been looking forward to, or a book from your favourite series, that will definitely help! Because I was familiar with the world and the characters, I could easily become immersed. I wouldn't recommend starting a really dense book or one that covers heavy stuff, as you might rather want to go for a shorter book that will make you feel more accomplished once you've finished it and encourage you pick up more books to see if your slump is over.

10. Don't stress
I know there have been times where I've gotten stressed when I'm in a reading slump. Some of the things that go through my mind are:

 


I stress about all the books I could've read in the time I've had my reading slump if I didn't have my reading slump, I stress about book review deadlines etc. BUT, if you have a tendency to stress, like I do, remember that we read and blog FOR FUN and if we're stressing too much and not enjoying ourselves, perhaps a little hiatus is needed!

I hope these tips help you guys and that you'll soon get out of your reading slump! 

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 - Day 7 Update!

Bout of Books

Bout of Books has sadly come to an end! I hope you guys all had a fantastic time during the readathon - I know I did! I'm really proud of myself! Here are the goals and the TBR pile I previously posted:

   My Goals: 

  1. Read 3 books
  2. Read at least 500 pages
  3. Comment on at least five different "update" posts
  4. Participate in one or more of the challenges

      TBR Pile:

  1. Geek Girl - Holly Smale
  2. Lullaby - Amanda Hocking 
  3. The Maze Runner - James Dashner
  4. Paper Towns - John Green
I read 4 books (go me!), I read 1,278 pages, I visited five or more update posts most days and I participated in one challenge, that being The Book Scavenger Hunt! I'm really proud of that as I wasn't expecting to read so many pages with all the schoolwork I have.

I deviated slightly from my TBR pile. I read Geek Girl and Lullaby, but then I also read Geek Girl: Model Misfit and Goth Girl by Chris Riddell! I was hoping to read The Maze Runner and Paper Towns but unfortunately I didn't get around to them! I absolutely LOVED the Geek Girl books and I couldn't put them down - urgently need the third one! Lullaby and Goth Girl were both alright...I was expecting them to be better, though.

Overall, I'm really proud with the amount I read! It's not much compared to others, but for me I completed and went above my goal, so yay! I'm really looking forward to the next Bout of Books, as they're always so much fun to participate in! :)

Monday:
Number of pages read today: 307
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 307
Number of books read in total: 1

Tuesday:
Number of pages read today: 253 
Number of books read today: 0, but I almost read a whole book!
Number of pages read in total: 560
Number of books read in total: 1

Wednesday:
Number of pages read today: 160
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 720
Number of books read in total: 2

Thursday:
Number of pages read today: 268
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 988
Number of books read in total: 3

Friday:
Number of pages read today: 17
Number of books read today: 0
Number of pages read in total: 1,005
Number of books read in total: 3

Saturday:
Number of pages read today: 133
Number of books read today: 0
Number of pages read in total: 1,138
Number of books read in total: 3

Sunday:
Number of pages read today: 140
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 1,278
Number of books read in total: 4
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Bout of Books 11.0 - Day 6 Update!

Bout of Books

Today I was still busy but I managed to squeeze some reading time in! I didn't finish Lullaby by Amanda Hocking, but I got about halfway through before I fell asleep! Hope the readathon is going well for you guys :)

Monday:
Number of pages read today: 307
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 307
Number of books read in total: 1

Tuesday:
Number of pages read today: 253 
Number of books read today: 0, but I almost read a whole book!
Number of pages read in total: 560
Number of books read in total: 1

Wednesday:
Number of pages read today: 160
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 720
Number of books read in total: 2

Thursday:
Number of pages read today: 268
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 988
Number of books read in total: 3

Friday:
Number of pages read today: 17
Number of books read today: 0
Number of pages read in total: 1,005

Number of books read in total: 3

Saturday:
Number of pages read today: 133
Number of books read today: 0
Number of pages read in total: 1,038
Number of books read in total: 3

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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 - Day 5 Update!

Bout of Books

Yesterday was a terrible reading day for me, as I had so much school work and a friend came over. I only managed to read 17 pages of Lullaby by Amanda Hocking. Here's hoping that tomorrow will be a better reading day!

Monday:
Number of pages read today: 307
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 307
Number of books read in total: 1

Tuesday:
Number of pages read today: 253 
Number of books read today: 0, but I almost read a whole book!
Number of pages read in total: 560
Number of books read in total: 1

Wednesday:
Number of pages read today: 160
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 720
Number of books read in total: 2

Thursday:
Number of pages read today: 268
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 988
Number of books read in total: 3

Friday:
Number of pages read today: 17
Number of books read today: 0
Number of pages read in total: 1,005
Number of books read in total: 3

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Friday, 22 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 - Day 4 Update!

Bout of Books

Hi guys! Yesterday was a pretty good day for me but I don't think I'll have that much this reading time this weekend as I'll be busy, so that's unfortunate! How is Bout of Books going for you? :)
Monday:
Number of pages read today: 307
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 307
Number of books read in total: 1
Tuesday:
Number of pages read today: 253 
Number of books read today: 0, but I almost read a whole book!
Number of pages read in total: 560
Number of books read in total: 1
Wednesday:
Number of pages read today: 160
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 720
 
Thursday:
Number of pages read today: 268
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 988
Number of books read in total: 3
 
I finished Geek Girl: Model Misfit by Holly Smale and I LOVED IT! I NEED the third one in my life. Like, now. I'm really proud of myself for reading almost 1,000 pages and I hope that I'll be able to read another book this weekend!
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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 - Day 3 Update!

Bout of Books

Hi guys! I hope the readathon is going well for you all, and if not, that's okay! You still have quite a few days to catch up :) Unfortunately, yesterday I didn't have a good day for reading due to only finishing all my work stuff at 5 and having to practise piano and do some other maths stuff afterwards, but I'm hoping that today I'll be able to get more reading done!

Monday:
Number of pages read today: 307
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 307
Number of books read in total: 1

Tuesday:
Number of pages read today: 253 
Number of books read today: 0, but I almost read a whole book!
Number of pages read in total: 560


Number of books read in total: 1

Wednesday:
Number of pages read today: 160
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 720
Number of books read in total: 2

On Wednesday I finished the last 41 pages of Geek Girl by Holly Smale and then I started the second book, Model Misfit, and I read 119 pages of that, resulting in reading 160 pages! I'm hoping to finish Model Misfit tonight or tomorrow as I don't know if I'll have time to finish it with the amount of work I have.

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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 - Day 2 Update!

Bout of Books

Hi guys! Hope you are all having a wonderful bookish week so far! Unfortunately, Tuesday wasn't as good a day as Monday because I had a lot of things to do, but I'm hoping that today will be better!

My goals for the readathon were to:
  1. Read 3 books
  2. Read at least 500 pages
  3. Comment on at least five different update posts
  4. Participate in one or more of the challenges
I can gladly say that I have almost finished my second book, I've surpassed 500 pages, I commented on quite a few update posts yesterday and I've participated in one of the challenges! YAY ME FOR BEING PRODUCTIVE!

 photo 1tumblr_lgp6q5NhE21qcjtu8o1_500_zps684a8c2b.gif

Monday:
Number of pages read today: 307
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 307
Number of books read in total: 1

Tuesday:
Number of pages read today: 253 
Number of books read today: 0, but I almost read a whole book!
Number of pages read in total: 560
Number of books read in total: 1

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Review - A Murder Most Unladylike - Robin Stevens

Murder Most Unladylike (Wells and Wong, #1)Title: Murder Most Unladylike
Series: A Wells & Wong Mystery
Author: Robin Stevens
Genre: Middle-Grade, Young Adult, Mystery
Publication: June 5th 2014, Corgi
Pages: 324 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to RandomStruik for sending me this in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 5/5 CUPCAKES!
Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't, really.)
But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident - but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there's more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.
Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?


I received this book in the mail sometime last week and it was quite an unexpected parcel, although I was very excited, I was somewhat wary as well. I'd heard amazing things about it and I'd seen it circulating my social media feed with positive things, yet I was apprehensive to read it as I don't generally read murder mystery books. Because they're generally gory and I am a well-known sissy when it comes to things like that. However, I decided to channel my inner Tris and read it. I was pleasantly surprised. The story was quaint, the characters charming and the writing extremely gripping with a hilarious and wonderful narrative voice. When I reached the end of this book, I was achingly disappointed as I loved every single moment spent reading this book!

A Murder Most Unladylike is the first book in a middle-grade mystery series that I'm sure is going to be a major success. It takes place in 1934, Deepdean School for Girls, a boarding school nestled in the English countryside and our two protagonists are two girls who attend the school: Hazel Wong, a thirteen year old girl from Hong Kong and Daisy Wells, a proper English Rose with a lord as a father and they have been best friends since they first started at Deepdean School for Girls. Daisy loves mystery novels and devours them, so she decides to set up her own secret Detective Society, with only her and Hazel as the members. It's a bit hard for them to have a successful one, seeing as not much happens at the school. But then one day Hazel stumbles upon the dead body of her science teacher in the gym and when she returns 5 minutes later with Daisy, the body is gone. Shocked and shaken, Hazel fears for what happens next but Daisy is ecstatic, it's just the thing that she's been waiting for – the Detective's Society's proper case! And so they begin the hunt for clues, trying to solve the case before the the murderer strikes again...

This book was utterly incredible and I honestly cannot think of one single thing to fault it on. The characters seemed so incredibly real and had such distinct personalities, the mystery was dead-on perfect (yes, pun intended) and the writing was of the kind that completely grips you and you find yourself feeling as if you were indeed actually there, experiencing this hair-raising adventure. Everything added together made this book such a charming, wonderful, refreshing book to read.

I'll first off start with the characters who I LOVE! You know when you're reading a book and it truly feels like you've become best friends with the characters? That is exactly how I felt whilst reading this book! The characters are so realistic and so likeable! We have Hazel Wong who was sent to England by her father who went to an English boarding school himself and was determined to do the same for his daughter. I loved Hazel, she had such a wonderful narrative voice that was honest, funny and smart. She was more mellow and thought things through beforehand, contrary to Daisy who, although a fantastic detective, didn't think things through which often caused them to be mislead. Daisy is energetic, stubborn, extremely clever and inquisitive. I adored Daisy! I loved how she was always enthusiastic about things and how she would hide her detective novels that the Matron was always confiscating and how she would always be on the lookout for things. They both had their flaws, Daisy will not accept being wrong about anything and Hazel shouldn't have given into Daisy's demands when she didn't see fit but I still loved them regardless of that.

I also loved the girls' friendship! It's rare to come across books these days that have meaningful friendships in them, but Daisy and Hazel were prime examples of that. I loved how they're complete opposites yet they balance each other out. Daisy is extremely clever when it comes to solving mysteries, as she devours mystery novels and it is mentioned that her uncle is a spy, yet she often thinks that she is always right and lets her feelings for other people influence whether or not she thinks they are guilty or innocent. Hazel helps balance that out with her with her approach that makes her think things through very clearly as well as detaching herself from her personal feelings on the suspects. I thought it was adorable when Daisy would refer to Hazel as Watson and how they would have their detective meetings in the airing cupboard after toothbrushes, but Daisy made it seem professional. Their friendship definitely was tried and tested but they made it through when they acknowledged, and tried to correct, their faults.

The storyline was fantastic, extremely fast-paced and I never once found myself losing interest. With some of my recent reads, I would find myself sometimes getting distracted and checking my Instagram or Twitter but with A Murder Most Unladylike my attention was entangled in a vice-like grip throughout the whole book. I would've loved reading this book in one day, but unfortunately my copious amount of schoolwork wouldn't give into my bookish wishes. What I loved about A Murder Most Unladylike, is that the chapters were also quite short, giving it a more suspenseful, quickened atmosphere. I found myself flying through the pages and finding myself repeatedly saying, just one more chapter. 

The mystery aspect of this was incredibly well mapped-out and now that I think about it there was definitely some foreshadowing that led to the revealing of who the guilty culprit was. It was incredibly well done and I didn't suspect who it was until the girls finally started coming to the conclusion themselves. I loved how Robin Stevens wrote it, as it truly felt as if I were going right along with the girls themselves on this journey. I was as shocked as they were when they discovered new things and it honestly felt like I solved the mystery with them every step of the way. I love it when an author writes so fantastically that it truly feels as if you are transported to the world in which the characters we are currently reading about are inhabiting. I loved how this book also wasn't predictable and I was honestly shocked by the clues that were dug up towards the end. It was quite a twist.

The writing was flawless. It's gripping, it's funny and the language used and makes the book feel more old-fashioned and as it's set in the 1930s, it makes the story extensively authentic. I loved the uniqueness of this novel and the charming writing and I can honestly see this series being the new Nancy Drew.

A Murder Most Unladylike is an exquisite, flawless novel with humour, mystery, plot twists and spectacular characters who you will utterly adore! This book was extremely entertaining and I was either gasping from shock or chuckling at the amusing things that Daisy and Hazel would get up to. There were some intense scenes that sped up my heart rate and had me thoroughly distressed for the characters. I loved the whole storyline and everything about this book. I highly recommend it to all book lovers as I think anyone, regardless of their age, would enjoy it.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!





Notes:
It is a middle-grade book, but there was some mention of LGBT at one point and the girls played with an Ouija board, which I felt quite uncomfortable about. So if your child wants to read this book, it does contain that, but nothing is described in too much detail and the spiritual scene was short :)
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Bout of Books 11.0 - Day 1 Update!

Bout of Books




YES BOUT OF BOOKS IS HAPPENING! Bout of Books definitely has to be one of my favourite blogging events and I always have SO much fun when I participate! Below are the updates for Bout of Books Day 1!

Monday:
Number of pages read today: 307
Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read in total: 307
Number of books read in total: 1

The book I read was Goth Girl by Chris Riddell and it was a mix of writing and illustrations so I whizzed through that. I then started Geek Girl and got to 83 pages, making my total amount of pages equal to 307! YAY! I also participated in The Book Scavenger Hunt Challenge and I will be hoping to visit at least 5 blogs today!

I'm really proud of the amount of pages I read and hopefully I can keep this up! :)
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Friday, 15 August 2014

Stacking the Shelves #67

Stacking the Shelves

Helloooo! I hope you guys have all had a FANTASTIC week and that you'll have an even FANTASTICER (pretend it's a word) weekend filled with cake and BOOKS!!!

I had quite a good book week! I got a couple of books out at the library, my parents bought me some books (never happens as apparently I have too many, pfft) and I got some to review! Squeeee!

Books Bought:

I FINALLY GOT CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE AND LOOK AT THAT COVER, IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL! *strokes book* As you know, I wasn't keen on continuing the series after I read City of Fallen Angels but then I read City of Lost Souls and I just fell in love with the books all over again! So excited to read it :') I'm waiting for a weekend where I'm completely free though, so I can just sit and read CoHF for two days straight. I know, I'm a genius. I also got Lullaby and I am so excited to read it as I LOVED Wake! Thank you parentals :')

Review Books:
I'm currently reading A Murder Most Unladylike and I'm not very far in, but I'm really enjoying it so far! Homeroom Diaries looks interesting and I'm excited to have received The Shadow's Curse, the sequel to The Oathbreaker's Shadow so that I can read them one after the other :)

Library Books:
EEEEK!!! I FINALLY GOT GEEK GIRL! I have heard endless good things about Holly Smale's books from my fellow bloggy buddies and I am SO excited to read it as I think it's right up my alley :) I also got the last two books in the Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt trilogy which I ended up loving! My review is here, if you would like to read it. I also checked out Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer again as it's one of my all-time favourite books and I felt like re-reading it. If you haven't yet read it GO READ IT NOW.

LOOK AT THE PRETTIES!


You're WELCOME.

This is my book-haul! Super excited for all of these! Have you read any of these and if so did you enjoy them? Leave the link to your Stacking the Shelves post below! :)
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Cover Reveal - Who We Were - Christy Sloat


Cover Reveal:

Who We Were
A Contemporary Romance Novel
 By Christy Sloat

Christy Sloat usually dives into the paranormal realm when it comes to her books. She gave us; The Past Lives Series and her bestselling trilogy, The Visitors Series. One night she was trying to sleep and ignore the idea of a book that was beginning to haunt her. She threw off the covers and decided to write the layout of Who We Were, a novel about a young girl who finds out how one simple alteration in her summer could change her life forever.

Sloat wrote the book in under three months and is very happy to be able to say she has added a contemporary romance to her line up of books.

Here is the long awaited cover for Who We Were. Get the standalone novel September 15th published by Anchor Group Publishing. http://anchorgrouppublishing.com/ Find out more about Christy by clicking here

 About Who We Were:
Displaying WWWebook.jpg
“Who we were had washed away with the summer. Who we are was yet to be seen.” Summer school at Alcott High was only supposed to gain Sadie Peters extra credit, nothing more. Her goal wasn't to make friends, or gain the attention of the most popular football player, yet she managed both. Her life was cruising along on course ... until that summer. Could a simple stint in a different school change her identity completely and introduce her to love for the first time? How would that affect her relationship with Lily, her best friend? Hopefully their friendship was strong enough to make it through the tumultuous summer. Sadie learns that great things come with change, but sometimes memories of the past are hardest to part with.



The Book Goes on Sale:
 September 15, 2014

 Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

What do you think of the cover? Tell us in the comments!
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