Mars Girls – Mary Turzillo Blog Tour; guest post & giveaway!

Hello world! Today I have something new and exciting for you on my blog. My first ever feature on a blog tour, featuring a giveaway for an eArc of the book!
Today you will get to read a guest post by the author herself, Mary Turzillo.

Goodreads Synopsis

MarsGirlsCover_776xNanoannie is bored. She wants to go to clubs, wear the latest Earth fashions, and dance with nuke guys. But her life is not exciting. She lives on her family’s Pharm with her parents, little sister, and a holo-cat named Fuzzbutt. The closest she gets to clubs are on the Marsnet. And her parents are pressuring her to sign her contract over to Utopia Limited Corp before she’s even had a chance to live a litte. When Kapera—a friend from online school—shows up at her Pharm asking for help, Nanoannie is quick to jump in the roer and take off. Finally an adventure!

What Nanoannie and Kapera find at the Smythe’s Pharm is more than the girls bargained for. The hab has been trashed and there are dead bodies buried in the backyard! If that wasn’t bad enough, the girls crash the rover and Kapera gets kidnapped by Facers who claim her parents are murderers! Between Renegade Nuns, Facers, and corp geeks, Nanoannie and Kapera don’t know who to trust or where to go. Kapera only wants to find her parents so they can get to Earth Orbitals and she can be treated for her leukemia. Nanoannie wants to help her friend and experience a little bit of Mars before selling her contract to the first corp that offers to buy it.

Life isn’t easy when you’re just a couple of Mars Girls.

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Blogging hiatus – a life anecdote.

If you read my last post (that’s very kind, thank you!), you would’ve read that I am going through a blogging burnout of sorts! I just do not have the motivation to review/write blog posts/be active in the community right now.

So, I think it’s time I take a step back. I don’t envision it lasting more than two weeks, I’m still actively reading a lot, and I have a post planned for June 6th, so I believe that to be my re-introduction into blogging.

I’m thankful for all of you that take time out to read my posts when they pop up in your reader. Thankful for all of you that follow my tiny space on the internet. Please bear with! I just need to hit reboot and refresh.

Positive vibes to you all.

Katy. x

A discussion; blogging burnout – what to do when it all gets to be too much.

Please excuse the audaciously long title, but my creative juices are running dry. Although, perhaps the title gave that away.
So, another discussion type/life post coming your way ladies and gentlemen, something that I’m going through this very moment; blogging burnout – when it all gets to be too much.
I’m sure, like me, blogging is not your number 1 priority in life. You adore it, don’t get me wrong, but you’ve probably got school/college/university work, or a job (or 2!) that’s either part-time or full-time. Then there’s all the reading you need to catch up on, your TV shows, your films, your music. You may have other hobbies and interests, besides your blog, so you have to fit that in too.
And sometimes, there’s just not enough hours in the day, and it all becomes a tad overwhelming.

That’s where I am right now, that’s my headspace. Overwhelmed, overworked, and just exceptionally tired. I love blogging, I love that this outlet is available and for the most part, free. I love that I am able to combine my passion for writing, with my passion for reading. And I definitely still can’t get over the fact that people legitimately read this blog. It blows my mind everyday. I couldn’t be more grateful that people, even somewhat, value my thoughts and find my posts on the spectrum of decent.
Yet recently, it’s felt more like a chore to blog. Perhaps I’ve simply put too much pressure on myself, which wouldn’t be surprising. But the need to put content on my blog has taken away some of my enjoyment of the act of blogging. I still get into grooves where I can get lost in the post I’m writing, but other times I’m sat staring at blank screen willing the words to appear.
I scroll through all your posts, but in reality all I want to do in curl up with my dog and binge-watch Netflix whilst eating terrible food. Although even that will lead me to worry I’m putting too much weight on and should probably join a gym and there I am, heading down a dark spiral. That dark spiral will lead me to question why I even run a blog and that I might as well delete it now and save myself the hassle. Honestly, I exhaust myself.

I always wish there was a reason for all of this but your mind can be your biggest enemy. I’m sure I’m not the only one to experience this internal struggle, the monologue that incessantly digs at you and never knows when to shut the fuck up.
So how do I get out of the whole I dig myself?

First of all, I cuddle my dog. He’s soft and warm and incredibly gentle in nature, and my favourite to snuggle with.  I’ll step away from my laptop for awhile, I’ll walk said doggo (he’s name is Barney and he’s a Spaniel mix in case you wanted to know) and tune out the world. Maybe I’ll sit downstairs with my Mum or cuddle up with my boyfriend and forget that I even run a blog for awhile. I’ll ensure I’m in a positive mental state before I even glance at my laptop. Then when I do inevitably glance that way, I’ll pick up a book. The subject that caused this all to begin. Once I remember just how much I love reading, how much passion and drive I have for writing, how much inspiration and creativity I surround myself with everyday, suddenly, that weighted feeling that comes with looking at WordPress, doesn’t feel so heavy anymore.

Inevitably, this will not be the last time this happens, but I know, I’m in such an open community, the book blogging world is courageous and understanding and I’m happy to be a part of it. I also want everyone to know that you are not alone, blogging is first and foremost, a community, one with people always willing to listen. Sometimes venting to an unbiased stranger is incredibly relieving.

And if blogging really does get too much and you need to step away. Then step away. Honestly, your blog will still be there when you get back. Even if it’s not blogging that is the cause of your negative head-space, your stress, whatever, letting go of some of your everyday pressures can do wonders.

Blogging burnout happens to all of us, it’s just writers block plus the networking and the planning and all the other activities that come as part of the package. It’s important to remember that it does happen to all of us, and it’s not that big a deal as your mind may make it out to be! Because I sure know mine makes it’s feel like such a big thing.

What are the ways you deal with blogging burnout? What are your go-to tactics to help you on your way to back to blogging? Please share away!

An ARC review: Countless – Karen Gregory

I think I’ve gotten to a point a lot of book bloggers can relate to; I let my NetGalley ARC’s build-up and just sit there, on my shelf. It’s terrible, I know they’re there, but when they’re somewhat hidden on my kindle, and I can see all my physical books sitting pretty on my shelf, you know what is more likely to get picked to be read next.
But May is the month I tackle those ARCs! This journey begins with Countless by Karen Gregory.

For those sensitive to eating disorders, especially anorexia, here’s a warning as those are the strongest themes in this book.

Goodreads Synopsis

CL-KGIs there anything that’s concerning you?’ Felicity says. ‘College, home, boyfriends?’ Though she’s more or less smiling at this last one.

I don’t smile. Instead, I feel my face go hot. Silence stretches as wide as an ocean.
When I look up, Felicity has this expression on her face like she’s just seen Elvis. Slowly, she leans forward and in a gentle voice I’ve never heard her use before she says, ‘Have you done a pregnancy test?’

When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time …

Heartbreaking and hopeful by turns, Karen Gregory’s debut novel is a story of love, heartache and human resilience. And how the things that matter most can’t be counted. Perfect for fans of Lisa Williamson, Non Pratt and Sarah Crossan.

Apprehensiveness aside, I was really surprised by this book. Surprised by the heart-breaking realness of this book. It doesn’t gloss over any aspect of the harsh realities that surround these incredibly taboo subjects. Both eating disorders and teen pregnancies come with a stigma – ones that author Karen Gregory explores within the pages; she does not shy away either. She tries and tries to show to us, the readers, that there is more than just what we see on the surface. And I for one, came away from this book with a greater knowledge and understanding that I didn’t have before.
To say I enjoyed the way Karen Gregory never beat around the bush seems like a bad word choice – more like I was in awe of it. Never once did shew romanticise or glorify the situation Hedda, our main character, was in.

Hedda was a very torn character. From the very first time we meet her, you know this book is not going to sunshine and rainbows. She lies, she plays up to the character she’s made for herself, and yet, we see the insecurities that plague her, the numbers she counts for comfort and control.
I don’t think I’ve read such an honest insight – it was genuinely heartbreaking to read. To go through Hedda’s struggles and internal arguments, her battle with her eating disorder that she calls Nia. This entire book from beginning to end is Hedda struggling and as bleak as that sounds, it’s also very, very real. Nothing, not even a potential love interest, nor her own child will magically fix Hedda because that is real-life. Only you can fix you, and you need to want to fix you.
Hedda showcases a kind of strength, I personally don’t see often in YA. Sure, she has no superhuman abilities, she’s not heading to war, nor does she have the fate of a nation/kingdom/country/world on her shoulders. But it’s a strength that is so real, so tangible, you can almost see it. It’s the kind of silent strength that’s underappreciated. She’s t r y i n g, and that in itself is half the battle. I was so invested in Hedda, I was rooting for her the whole way through.
There is genuinely so much more I could write about Hedda, but you truly should experience her story yourself.

The impact of this book still had me reeling long after I’d finished it, even when I’d moved on to another book. It definitely is a book that doesn’t leave you, not for a while – it’s one that has me talking about it constantly. A book that, despite it’s bleakness, I believe it’s one that many should read. Just to get into that headspace, which yes, is completely terrifying but is one that is nothing but complete and utter reality.

This book is something very different; there is barely any romance, there is not much of a happy ever after, there is no big hallelujah moment. And that is why this book makes the impact it does. because most lives do not have those things by 17, mine sure didn’t. You don’t magically get better, you have to fight, and struggle and fall down and pick yourself up again.
I, wholeheartedly, recommend this book.

 

 

T5W #15: Books as event/party themes.

Oh, what a creative topic! I missed out on last weeks topic through my own incredibly bad memory. But I’m back again, with this weeks T5W! This week we’re talking about books that would make a good party/event theme.

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group now run by Samantha at Thoughts On Tomes. Where you are given a topic to post about every Wednesday; simple. You can find the link to the Goodreads group here.

So time to get my thinking cap on, let’s get down to it.

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A review: Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer was one of the first books I received via my workplace as an advanced copy – so there was lots of excitement from me upon getting my hands on this absolutely stunning book!

Goodreads Synopsis

STD
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

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An ARC review: Flame in the Mist – Renée Ahdieh

I can’t even begin to explain how shocked I was when I was approved for an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, this is probably my biggest title to date, so that’s quite exciting for me and my little space of the internet. And I had every right to be so excited – this book was everything I expected it to be, and so much more!

Goodreads Synopsis 

FITMThe daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

This review is spoiler free!

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Series I’ve yet to finish #1 (hint: there’s a lot)

Confession time, I am A-W-F-U-L at finishing series of books. Honestly, awful, I’ll read the first, sometimes the second book, then not continue them. I have so many unfinished series sitting my shelves; incomplete, alone.
It’s just not right.
Some of them I really, really enjoyed too! 4/5 star reads some of them and yet I still don’t carry them on, it’s an awful habit I have, and I don’t see myself breaking it anytime soon.

I am the worst.

So here they are – the top 5 series I’ve yet to finish #1 – because there’s too many for one list!

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T5W #14: Authors you want to read more from

Ah yes, my trusty post of the week where I don’t have to worry about coming up with the whole thing by myself, it’s nice to have this post every week so I know I#m always delivering some content at least! Top 5 Wednesdays are great and it is such an easy way to showcase so many people’s different opinions and ideas, I love reading them all every week.
This week we’re talking about authors we want more more more from! How to narrow down that list! Some authors manage to release a book a year (HOW THOUGH), whilst others release one every few and leave us salivating for more.

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group now run by Samantha at Thoughts On Tomes. Where you are given a topic to post about every Wednesday; simple. You can find the link to the Goodreads group here.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

Award tag time! I love doing awards as it brings with it a nice cosy feeling of appreciation that your blogging is being read, by one person at least!
Side note; I really like the name for this award, very fitting with the season and the fact we are actually getting some sunshine here in England as of late – even if it means consistent hayfever, that is a price I am willing to pay.

I was tagged by the lovely Jacquie over at Rattle The Stars, one of my favouritest blogs (yep, so loved that deserved that made up word!), so I feel supremely lucky to have been tagged by them.

R U L E S

1. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator.
2. Nominate 11 blogs.
3. Ask them 11 questions.

Q U E S T I O N S 

O N E – How often do you update your blog?

I aim for three times a week, with one of those posts being a Top 5 Wednesday, this is generally achievable unless I am behind on my reviews!

T W O – What’s the last book you bought because of its amazing cover artwork?

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor. It has the most dreamy (completely intentional, I am not sorry), artwork I’ve seen on both a dust cover and actual hardcover and inside page, I’ve seen in such a long time.

T H R E E – Favourite historical time period?

I really love reading about Ancient Greece, or anything influenced by that. Or Medieval – Tudor/Stuart Britain also.

F O U R – Most disappointing read so far in 2017?

Snotgirl, was undoubtedly my least favourite, it just wasn’t something that I particularly enjoyed.

F I V E – What did you do on your last vacation?

I went to Side, Turkey with my boyfriend! It was our first holiday together, so we just enjoyed the lovely weather and free bar, it was a great little getaway for us.

S I X – Pirates or Assassins? 

But what if they were both akin to Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag? I’ve read better books about assassins, watched better films and shows about pirates. If I were to choose, it would be assassins.

S E V E N – A series you used to love but don’t anymore?

I used to really love The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, but that’s definitely faded in the last few years.

E I G H T – What’s the longest book that you own?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling. It comes in at 870 pages, I believe this is the biggest book I own, unless I’m missing one!

N I N E –  Which book do you plan on reading next?

I’m very much a mood reader, but as I’m reading a contemporary right now, it will most likely be one of a different genre; so it will be between
– The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
– Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
– This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab

T E N – Unicorns or Mermaids

Ah, a much easier choice! Mermaids, as I’ve always wanted to be one!!

E L E V E N – Least favourite genre, why?

Uh, most smart-thinking types; sociology, psychology, philosophy. And the self-help/spiritual types. They are just not really my cup of tea. I read to escape – and these are far from escapist.

M Y    Q U E S T I O N S

  1. Are you a Harry Potter fan? If so, what house are in?
  2. What is your current read, and what are your thoughts on it so far?
  3. What is your favourite colour, and why?
  4. Are you a Disney fan? If so, what is your favourite Disney song?
  5. What songs are your current favourites?
  6. What do you think your next book purchase/borrow will be?
  7. Do you have a favourite flower? Or one that you just find pretty that popped into your head when you read this question?
  8. Do you have a pet? Alternatively, do you want one/more?
  9. Modern or historical settings?
  10. What books have been on your TBR list the longest?
  11. Tea, coffee, neither?

N O M I N A T I O N S 

  1. Hilary @ Ravishing Tales
  2. Ali @ I Wuv Books
  3. Chanda @ Chanda Reads
  4. Mish @ Bibliophile Mish
  5. Angie Elle @ Books and Beauty Are My Bag
  6. Breanna @ Pages Bound Together
  7. Angie @ The Bookish Feels
  8. Joanne @ YA Guitarist
  9. Karina @ Afire Pages
  10. Savana @ The Biblio Life
  11. Books Are All You Need