YALC 2017

The end of July means only one thing, one of the most anticipated events in the UK book blogging calendar! YALC; Young Adult Literature Convention. Held alongside LFCC; London Film and Comic Con.

This was the first time I’d ever gotten to attend YALC and it was all incredibly last minute, only buying our tickets two days before the day we were due to go!
Due to work commitments, my friend and I went on the Friday; the first day of the convention so it wasn’t overly busy, which was nice. We spent so much time just perusing every stall and loading ourselves full of samplers and little goodies. Everyone running the stalls were all so approachable and lovely and seemed genuinely excited about the books. It was really easy flowing conversation.


YALC Tip #1
As a first-timer, I didn’t realise that it probably would’ve been better to plan our day out, a bit of preparation never hurt anyone. There was so much to do and see, not just within YALC but with LFCC as well. You can get a tad lost in the shuffle.
Look up beforehand which authors you’d like to meet – as some are only signing on certain days. Have a peek at what panels interest you and which workshops excite you and plan your day around these.

YALC Tip #2 
Do some shoulder workouts beforehand. Ok, I’m joking but definitely be prepared for an aching shoulder at the end of the day. I saw people hauling around mini suitcases which if you’re planning on purchasing a lot, might be something to think about.

YALC Tip #3
Be Twitter aware. Sign in to the free Wi-fi, carry a charging pack and turn on notifications from publishing houses. Those exclusive, limited ARC’s are usually announced via Twitter and it’s a first come first serve basis.

YALC Tip #4
Don’t get disappointed when you don’t get those limited ARC’s and indulge yourself looking around the stalls; almost all are handing out badges/stickers/posters/samples/sweets and these are all free! At the end of the day, YALC is about all of our love for books, and sure I would’ve enjoyed getting my hands on a couple more ARC’s but just the atmosphere itself meant my tickets price was instantly worth it.

Things to know
As much as I thoroughly enjoyed my time at YALC, and will definitely try my best to attend next year. Everything can always be improved upon, and some of the formats for ARC giveaways didn’t entirely sit right with me.
The whole run here and get your ARC, or the first to arrive and do/say something gets an ARC, makes me incredibly uncomfortable. Although I might be a person who is able I do find these somewhat exclusive as not everyone is able to do these things, for whatever personal reasons they may have. And 15-year-old Katy would definitely not run around and yell/perform as that would send chills through her at the very thought.

Otherwise, I had a genuinely wonderful, if not totally exhausting day and by the sounds of it, the entire weekend was full of excited, happy book lovers with multiple appearances of a certain Benedict Cumberbatch.

 

Did you go to YALC this year? What were your thoughts? Do you plan to go next year?

 

 

 

The July wrap-up.

July. The month I took away to re-evaluate and restart. It was very much needed and I was completely burnt-out. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write. I was in a proper slump. It was not a fun time.
So I turned my attention to other hobbies/past-times; video games, tv shows, gym, etc. It really helped refocus my mind, and whilst I still couldn’t sit down and write, I did manage to push through my reading slump. And I really really got back into reading. Without the pressure of reviewing everything I was reading (well, mostly), I powered through a lot of books on my ever-growing TBR.
In the end, I ended up reading 7 books! My very own mini victory.

Books Read;

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller | Hot Mess – Lucy Vine | One Of Us Is Lying – Karen McManus | The Dry – Jane Harper | This Savage Song – V. E. Schwab |
Our Dark Duet – V. E. Schwab | Wilde Like Me – Louise Pentland

My favourite of the month would definitely be Our Dark Duet; it was emotional, it was thrilling, it was heartbreaking, it was e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I loved loved loved this duology and thought they were both written so perfectly.
My least favourite would probably be Hot Mess, although I enjoyed it, it just had some real competition! It was a fun story that I found surprisingly relatable, the lead character really resonated with me in some ways. I also love reading contemporaries set in England because I love recognising names/slang/places/brands.

Overall, it was a great month for reading as I enjoyed every single book I read. It was also quite a varied month of reading too; I enjoy mixing up the genres I read as it keeps them all quite fresh and I never get bored of a particular one.

Books To Read;

I’m not one for setting strict TBR’s. I am very much a mood reader, and I don’t often read two books of the same genre in a row, I always like to mix it up as I mentioned above.

But I do have a couple of books that I want to get to this month at least so I guess I’ll tell you about those.

Alex, Approximately – Jenn Bennett | The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater 
Salt To The Sea – Ruta Sepetys

I have awaited Jenn Bennett’s new book for ages, as I loved loved loved Night Owls (The Anatomical Shape Of A Heart for U.S readers!). So, when this at last came into the bookshop on my last shift I knew it would be one of my last discounted purchases.

I, also, finally purchased The Dream Thieves at long last, as much as The Raven Boys wasn’t my most favourite, I did love the characters, just not the lacklustre plot, so I do really want to see how they progress, it just wasn’t at the top of purchase list.

Last month I got my hands on Between Shades of Gray, a very very lucky charity shop find, and it broke my heart. The way the author wrote just broke me and left me wanting more at the same time. Perhaps I’m just a glutton for punishment.

 

So there’s my potential TBR, but definitely not guaranteed. I make no promises, although I do plan on starting Alex, Approximately today, so that’s a start.

Back to blogging – a life anecdote.

And I’m back in the blogosphere once again! After a longer hiatus than I anticipated, to recuperate and re-evaluate, Ardent Attachments is back online.
As much as I didn’t really want to take time away, I definitely think it was what I needed; no pressures, no worrying. It was a welcome break that helped me get my brain into the right headspace.

I just want to thank you all so much for the lovely, lovely messages you left on my hiatus post. Though I haven’t responded individually (I will!!), I read them all and they really revitalised my love for both blogging and the community.
Honestly, y’all are great, I appreciate all of you.

So, it’s time to get back into the blogging game, with new features, bigger and better content, and an all around rejuvenated Ardent Attachments!

Thank you, and let’s get back to blogging, shall we?

Katy, x

 

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!

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

A discussion: Anxiety in YA & beyond – representation and relatability.

I haven’t done a discussion post on my blog in a while, and the idea for this one has been floating around in my brain for awhile. It became especially prevalent recently, as a string of book that I read had a main character that suffered from different forms of anxiety. It’s becoming a far more frequent occurrence in YA and beyond these days. And for that, I am so thankful.

For a very long time, I didn’t realise that the thoughts going through my head, and the emotions that I had been feeling were basic signs of anxiety. I’m not even that old! It’s not as though I didn’t know what anxiety was, and it was definitely (and finally) getting talked about more, becoming ever so slightly less taboo. However, I just never put two and two together. I never really spoke to anyone  – a red flag in itself. And although my anxiety isn’t as debilitating as I’ve known others to be, it still affected me and my day-to-day life. I skipped out on many a social event through the fear; fear that I’d just be left out, fear that no-one really wanted me there, fear that I was really just a pity invite.
These thoughts still plague me now, at 24. I still struggle even though I have the most solid of foundations beneath me. I still struggle, and that’s okay, I’ve come so far.

Whilst in this period of my life I found sanctuary every Saturday morning in our city library. What I didn’t find in my haven – was anxiety represented in any of the books I read. I never saw myself there. It may have existed in books I never read, who knows there are a lot of books in the world. It may have existed in adult fiction, but I rarely ventured there, I still don’t now that I’m classified as a fully-fledged adult. All I know is that it didn’t exist in the books I read, but this is changing.
Although everybody’s anxiety is different – any form of positive representation is welcome. That small slice of relatability might mean the world to someone. This representation hopefully means that more people will recognise anxiety for the mental health issue it is. This representation hopefully means that someone out there, feeling lost and alone, might recognise themselves within the pages. This is what I have found myself doing more and more in recent reads. I have found myself amongst the pages.

I saw myself in Steffi from A Quiet Kind of Thunder. I saw myself in her minute actions that might be over-looked and her feelings.

“And then it happens. The panic. It’s slow at first, creeping through the cracks in my thoughts until everything starts to feel heavy. It builds; it becomes something physical that clutches at my insides and squeezes out the air and the blood.”

I saw myself in Libby from Holding Up The Universe. I saw myself in her fears and her worries.

“It is 3:38 a.m., and the time of night when my mind starts running around all wild and out of control, like my cat, George, when he was a kitten.”

I saw myself in Cather from Fangirl. I saw myself in her isolation and her escapism.

“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)”

I saw myself. I saw my anxiety. Nowadays, using the phrase my anxiety is somewhat empowering and not half as scary as it used to be. These books helped me there. These books helped me be empowered. And more and more are getting published. These aren’t the only books that helped me, however, they are the three that instantly stuck in my mind whilst writing this post.
I really hope authors continue to positively represent mental health in YA and beyond. As the smallest similarity could be the reason someone gets the help the need. It could be the help someone needs after a bad day. It could be the reason someone realises they are not alone.

You are not alone.

Please know, you are not alone.