Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hello, Friends!

Hello, friends! I am still around, even though my last post was last week. Quite a few of you have commented on my review of (Don't You) Forget about Me, and I know I still need to reply to your comments as well. Some of you may have been looking for Bookish Rounds the past two weeks, but I don't think I'm going to get to the post tomorrow. I may very well get to one next week, with three weeks worth of news, but for now I would say don't expect anything.

September to March of this past year has been tough for me. I can't give you a thousand concrete reasons for why that was, since it's sort of like that pop song which claims that you're lost without knowing that you are. You might have noticed some of the effects: I stopped posting as frequently and I stopped commenting on your blogs. I pride myself on those comments, on making them long and like we're in conversation as much as possible, but when you're trying to hold onto yourself, there's not much you can give to others in return without feeling, somehow, worse than before, like you don't have enough to give. In fact the only reason I had kept up with my blog was because my thought process was something like this: I will not lose this too. I made it to three years. I celebrated. I've learned so much from having this blog -- I've read so much more, I've met great friends, I've discovered a lot about publishing and the workings of the YA community -- and I'm grateful for every minute of it. But from March to now, I've been pondering about this blog and where I will take it from here.

I had a lot of great ideas. New features, new posts, lots of things. I remember back in December, when I'd first finished The Winner's Curse, I was like: "yeah, I'm so going to contact Marie Rutkoski and tell her how awesome this book is, and hey, why stop at her? Why don't I contact all those 2014 and 2015 debut authors? (Because I know that I'd like to keep an eye out for what's to come). Did any of that happen? No. If I did that, blogging would be like my full time job. As it is, I've managed to read ahead a little and have a couple of reviews scheduled in advance so that I wouldn't have to worry the week of, which is exactly what I had to bookish rounds. There have been times when I've started working on them at 7:00 p.m. and am still working on them at 4:00 a.m., and I've thought: who the **** cares? Obviously the jaded thought of someone very tired, but I can't deny that that jadedness has permeated into my reality and my vision of the future. Will I have the time to continue doing this? Do I want to spend my free time working on my blog? Is this half-in, half-out approach working for me and is it doing anything for my audience?

I'm moving to the east coast next week. This has been consuming my thoughts for the past couple of months. Last minute things I want to do, people I want to see. How little I know about where I live and how I'd like to give people recommendations for things to do, but probably wouldn't be able to say a whole lot. How I don't want that to be the reality of where I'll live soon. And in terms of this blog, too: what books I'll be able to bring with me, whether I'll be able to read them all. So think of the time spent on this blog: at least eight hours on bookish rounds; two hours to write my reviews unless they're mini reviews, but those still take about an hour; maybe five to six hours to read the book that I plan on reviewing that week. That's about fifteen hours a week. SIXTY hours a month. How much of this time can I spend doing other things???? I miss talking to all of you, and sixty hours a month is without me even doing that! WHUT.

Am I quitting? NO. But am I reevaluating? YES. Something I've been considering doing is splitting the bookish rounds up by sections for each day (cover reveals on monday, etc. etc.) or doing that, but keeping it the same post, editing it each day that week, so that people can return on like Friday, and see in its entirety if they'd prefer to wait. Maybe that's the way I should've been doing it in the past but *shrug*. I have a bunch of review books, but maybe clump them in a couple of posts together and stop doing reviews after those run out because I want to read all the old books I have too.

So anyway, that's what's on my mind re: this blog and why you haven't too much of me in the past or right now. But to end this post on a positive note, let me tell you what else came up recently!

I went to the Ruin and Rising launch party with some friends. Last year I went to the Siege and Storm launch party -- and that was basically my first bookish event -- so it seemed like a good way of preparing to leave, of saying goodbye. You can read more about the details over on Instagram, and I'm really excited to eventually sit down and read Ruin and Rising (as of late, I've also not even been able to concentrate on reading o.o). I brought a ton of books with me to lend to my friends, who I'd all gotten addicted to YA :). This, I like to call, #ProjectRecommendations.

Stephanie and I had the same thesis adviser. Two summers ago, we worked together in lab as a part of a research program at our college. In between waiting on Western blots and RTPCR and all the glories of the science world lol, we would read. I brought her many, many books. Once I brought her A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and the bags under her eyes the next day! Lol, I took over the conversation with our professor, that's for sure. Stephanie doesn't tend to like literary stories as much (loved Divergent and Insurgent, but thought Fire was too slow) and often likes either the really romantic stuff or action-packed / thrilling stories. So, based on what I had and what she'd already read from me, I brought her:
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • She also bought Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo.

Roxy was also a neuroscience major. We were on the same freshman trip, but for some reason, it wasn't until senior year when we'd really started talking, and interestingly enough we might have the least in common of these three people but we talk the most. Roxy probably share the most similar taste. She likes things to be a little less literary than me and seems a little less forgiving of a book (she confessed to not being to finish The Distance Between Us because the MC judges rich people harshly in the beginning... I told her that was the point, that the MC would grow. Her response: Ynrghhhh. And flailing hands.). She likes romances and action-packed things, but needs them to have logical plots/worlds (favors Legend over Divergent, for instance). Therefore I brought her:
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  • Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Leena and I must have run into each other so much as children without even knowing it (until college). She went to the school right next to my elementary school and the high school that some of my cousins attended. She went to the same khadarje (farmer's market) growing up and shares a lot of the same Middle Eastern habits/likes/dislikes. She and Roxy are huge Harry Potter fans. Like Stephanie, she seems to favor action-packed over super literary. Before I picked her up for the Ruin and Rising event, she asked me if I had anything scary and/or feel good. So I brought her:
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  • Pivot Point by Kasie West
  • Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
  • The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
  • Miss Peregrine's House for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

HOW WILL #PROJECTRECOMMENDATIONS GO? Your guess is as good as mine, but apparently Roxy could not put down The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen (which, incidentally, Leena and I had both read and loved in high school), Leena started Fangirl and said: "muahaha, she's so awkward" re: Cath, which I'll take as a good sign, and Stephanie loved Ruin and Rising, which I'm taking credit for because I introduced them all to Shadow and Bone.


Coming soon on the blog:
-giveaway of The Fever - Megan Abbott via the publisher or lit agency
-reviews & giveaways of sampler items I received at BEA
-reviews & giveaways of the few books I've managed to read since BEA
-bookish rounds next week, when I am waiting for my furniture to arrive lol

Talk to you soon, friends!


  1. Aw Christina. It sounds like you're in a not so great place right now. I feel for you. I'd say if you ever needed someone to talk to, you can email me, but I know that takes time. Even when someone has the best of intentions, to write an email and respond back every time they respond, it can be time-consuming and energy-sucking, and then it makes you feel bad because they know you mean well and yet you can't bring yourself to respond. So let me just say this: I hope you figure out what works best for you. <3

  2. I don't know why I'm such a mess right now (read: on the verge of tears), probably because I care about your cute little face, to put it lightly. I love bookish rounds posts and they bring so much new to my attention, but I want you to be happy and if you need any help whatsoever, you can always, ALWAYS ask me. And I think you just need to take a break from the reviewing titles and read whatever you want, whenever you want and just write mini reviews for every single book that made you feel something or makes you want to speak your mind; and if the feels are bigger, then a full review (because I love your 10 +/- ones). If you want to skype chat or anything, just tell me. And we're going to buddy read Dearly Departed, hopefully :) So that's a yay. I'm so happy that you got to do something fun again and go to this launch party. The Raven Boys and The Unbecoming are perfect for sharing--I hope Stephanie likes them a lot :) the romances and the stories in them are amazing so fingers crossed. IF I STAY. I HAS FEELS *SNIFFS* Romance. Feels. Ugh. And Roxy has a cool name =) LOLAAAAA!!!!! From what I've heard, Kendare Blake writes good horror so I hope Leena enjoys this :) Haha, take ALLLLL the credit, Christina :D And to finish this rambly comment off, I love you. I care. I miss you. I hope everything works itself out soon and in the mean time, if you need to chat, just know I'm here. *gives a massive hug*

  3. I didn't know that you weren't feeling okay, I'm sorry to hear that :( *big hug* It's good to hear you aren't thinking about quitting, but it seems like you need to take a step back and get things on track. Take time for yourself, sweet Christina. You can always shoot me a message if you feel like taking to someone.

    You are great in recommendations, Cruel beauty & The Raven boys & Ruin and rising (although I still haven't got my copy) :D I think your ProjectRecommendations will turn out to be a success.

  4. I'm sorry to hear that you're confused and not feeling that great. I hope everything works out for the best and if you ever want to talk, hit me up! :) I think Project Recommendations is a great idea and I can't wait to see what else is in store. I'm so happy to hear that you're still staying around but don't let the stress get to you! We'll still be here even if you do take a break.

    On a side note, I love the East Coast! Welcome, welcome! :)

  5. Hey, Asti! I'm okay right now :). It wasn't great in that September-March time, but now things are a lot better. Thanks for the well wishes & the email offer and I'm extending the same to you. Send me an email anytime! And if that's not what works best for you, I'll send lots and lots of virtual hugs and mentally so you don't feel that pressure :).

  6. :) definitely buddy read! I don't want to give any of those up for sure!
    Hahaha, If I Stay - I gave Roxy that because we saw the trailer before The Fault in Our Stars and she said it seemed depressing, so she best understand the celebration of life and the FEEEELSS.
    Siiri, you are awesome and I love you and <3. I hope your Midsummer's Eve turns out well!

  7. I covered it pretty well in September-March on social media or just ditched social media because it wasn't what I needed. But I am better - just, as you say, need some time for myself and to decide what to do next.

    I HOPE SO. I AM BUGGING STEPHANIE ABOUT CRUEL BEAUTY NOW. And awww, your copy of Ruin & Rising isn't here yet? I hope you've been able to avoid the spoilers out there!! And I'm crossing my fingers it'll arrive soon :)

  8. Ah, yes, well, I think the stress of blogging isn't really there (and that's why, er, I haven't been fighting to write posts and read review books lol), but the stress of "oh no, don't let the 3 year project go away" is and we'll see what comes next. It's not so bad. And yay!! I hope the east coast will work out -- thanks for the lovely welcome :).

  9. That is good to hear :) It makes me sad when I know that a close blogging friend isn't in a good place, but I'm happy to hear you are doing better. We're here for you no matter what you decide to do!

    I HATE BOL (Dutch online shop) Pre-ordering clearly doesn't work and I even paid double the price.. Should have go with TBD after all. Oh well. So far, I have been able to stay away from any spoilers. I'm almost scared to say that out loud, because I don't want to call any bad luck, haha. I'm less active on Twitter now, just in case.

  10. Blogging can be so time consuming, I would never have believed it before I got knee deep into it. I'm glad to hear you're not quitting though, Christina! I completely understand quitting review books (I keep trying to kick the habit) so I can focus on the books I've actually paid money for and are gathering dust around my house. That's awesome you got to go to the Ruin and Rising launch party! I purchased a Kindle copy but haven't started it yet. I was planning on starting it immediately in case of spoilers but I've been able to stay away from them so far. lol

  11. I know how it can feel when blogging starts to take up your life--especially when other stuff is going on. You always know where to find me if you need to vent about anything. <3

  12. I noticed that my e-mail box is void of your Round Ups, and I miss them, but I want you to take care of yourself, first and foremost. I know that I will still be here. I hope everything goes well with your move.

  13. I'm so sorry to hear you're going through a rough patch. I hope things turn around for you very soon. I hope all goes well with the move. I live on the east coast too... we rock over here, just sayin'. :) Best of luck to you, hun! Keep your head up and keep smiling!

  14. Hello, friend! :) Ohh, I didn't know you stopped enjoying blogging... that's so sad. I really love your blog so I hope you'll get your blogging mojo back soon. *hugs* You're so dedicated (I mean, 8 hours on one post!!! *speechless*) and just AWESOME BUT blogging shouldn't feel like a "job". Ever. So do what you need to do! Take a break, cut back on posts, split up your bookish rounds, etc. Or just change up things a bit ;) I'm sure things will change for the better.

    Good luck with the move and your #PROJECTRECOMMENDATIONS!

  15. Everyone needs a break from time to time. We understand. I also kind of love that you're just reevaluating and doing what works for you. Your new project sounds kind of awesome, too. I hope everything works out for you with the move and just everything. You're just such an awesome person and I miss your spectacular comments, but you do what you gotta do and don't worry about us. We'll be fine until you figure things out. And so excited to hear you got to go to the R&R release party. And jealous. Super duper jealous. :) I think you'll enjoy the book; it was a really well-rounded finale. Anyway, good luck with everything and lemme know if you need anything!

  16. Aw Christina. I really thought you were just busy, and I hate that you haven't been feeling great for the last few months on top of that. If you ever want to talk about anything (or need to talk in the future), I am always around! I do understand your points though. I reevaluated the whole blogging process towards the end of last year, after feeling quite distanced from everything I was doing, and I have to say, it's made such a difference. I hope you can work something out and find an approach that suits you better. We'll always be around regardless of how often you post. :)

  17. Aww, I didn't know you were going through a rough patch. I hope you're doing better and I think it's great that you have decided to reevaluate your blog to do what's works for you. We'll all be here no matter what you decide to post and how often so no worries! Oh, and your project sounds fun!

  18. It's really common to need a break, and no one should blame you for it. Blogging should never be a huge pressure on you, and if you really don't think you can handle it, you could always cut down on some of the posts, or maybe choose someone to be a blog contributor so that you could still have consistent posting but alleviate some of the stress.
    Whatever you choose, we readers will still always be supporting your decision.
    Good luck with your evaluating :)

  19. Yeah! It's really time consuming and I actually haven't even had time to read a book besides 1 audio lately so now I'm back to wondering how others get everything done and so timely :O. "I completely understand quitting review books (I keep trying to kick the habit) so I can focus on the books I've actually paid money for and are gathering dust around my house." -- EXACTLY. Especially since I seem to be a book hoarder and/or have no self control re: buying books. Yay!!! I hope your Ruin and Rising experience has been good thus far, if you started it, and if you haven't, I hope you are still spoiler free!

  20. Thanks, CJ. Same thing back at ya :). I'm going to look at your snippet today, I think, and get back to your email!

  21. Thank you! Yeah... I should've done the bookish rounds before I left because now getting the motivation to do them... hahah, well, we'll see. Thanks for all your support, Lyn :)

  22. Hahah, the east coast IS awesome. Both coasts are awesome. The move has gone well, and things are good for me - just was off before :). Thank you so much! I hope you're doing well too!

  23. Hmm, it's not really that I've stopped enjoying blogging? It's more that it's hard finding the time. Before it was one of the only things that kept me going in a sense because it was rout and routine, but now I have to find another way to fit it into that routine. Lol especially with the 8 hours/job bit ;). Thank you so much, Cayce! Project Recommendations went really well - they all LOVED most of the books :D :D

  24. Thank you :D. Maybe from now on I ought to just be a better commenter rather than focusing on my posts anyway. It's the people that are awesome. Plus books, but the posts can get so lengthy :O. Definitely still reevaluating but coming back... still not sure I want to let go of the bookish rounds yet tho :O just because I now feel so behind on things... hmm.... Anywho, R&R was a good book! I'm glad that you loved Ruin & Rising as well. Thanks for all your support, Jen, and the same back at ya :)

  25. Thank you, Sam! The same to you as well. We sort of discussed reevaluating blogging before, right? I remember you mentioning it and me being like: 'nooo, Sam, don't leave' and you reassuring me otherwise ;). I'm still in that distanced mode, though it's strange because I don't want to get rid of some features like bookish rounds, but undoubtedly they take so much time and they contribute to that feeling. Argh to the cycle!!! I'm glad you find an approach that's suited you :).

  26. Thanks, Aylee! You've done a great job balancing grad school and your work with your blog and I totally admire how you're doing it because I'm clearly not doing that as well :O. I need to adopt your style ;). My project was fun! And very successful - almost all the books were a hit with my friends :D

  27. I wish I had a blog contributor, but it's hard to do it when my blog name does not easily allow or justify that ;). I'm definitely cutting back on my posts though, so it's not as many hours as it's taken in the past. Thanks so much for your support, Frances!


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