Mid-year thoughts…..

So it’s now the middle of June and almost halfway through the year and time, I feel, to take stock.

Many of the ideas I had on my 2018/19 post are still around, they’ve not worked quite as I’d hoped but that’s ok. One thing that did happen was my US trip and I did bring back a couple of books and lots of fabulous memories. I never imagined I would be comfortable this high off the ground or able to see this skyline with my own eyes but it happened and I will never forget it. The other skyline below was pretty impressive too…..

New York skyline with Empire State Building.
Manhattan at night from the Staten Island Ferry

It’s a bit tricky to take pictures on a ferry when it’s breezy but I’m happy with how this one came out.

I also had a random, impulse trip to Newcastle Noir for a day on the Saturday. It was great fun and I even found time to sneak off to the coast for an hour or so which was amazing and definitely blew the cobwebs away.

I’m typing this sitting in a cottage near Loch Lomond having a weekend to myself and enjoying a break from everything. I’ve been finding out more about myself recently. I always knew I was an introvert but now I know more about the type of introvert I am I’m hoping a few other things in my life will make more sense, for instance the fact that I work in a noisy place with almost 200 other people and can cope with that everyday.  I’ve realise however, particularly with so many changes having happened in the past year, that I need to be careful that I have proper time for myself, like this weekend for instance. There is no one here but me, a laptop and a pile of books, the nearest neighbours are birds, cows and sheep. I know this isn’t for everyone and some people won’t understand how I can be happy spending over 48 hours not physically talking to anyone but I can and I am sometimes.  Thankfully I also have an amazingly supportive partner who may not understand my need to do this but realises that I do need it and supports my decisions as he always has. Makes a huge change from my ex who would have had a completely different reaction to me doing this.

Anyway, back to the blog. I’m still sticking with one of my plans from earlier this year, I want to take part in fewer blog tours so I can focus on reading some of the books I’ve had sitting at home for too long. It’s been harder than I thought to do this but I think I’m improving. I’ve also decided to not take part in any tours in August bar the two I have already signed up for. For August I am going to read what I want and review that and see how that goes. I do have some tours in September onwards already booked but they will be getting kept to a minimum.

I’m hoping the blog will keep growing, I joined The Write Reads earlier this year and recently they shared a post of mine about why I blog. The responses I got to that post being shared were huge and lead to me getting about 4 times as many blog views one one day as I normally do so that was an amazing response. I’m going to focus on reading and reviewing and seeing if I can get my NetGalley percentage to a figure it’s never reached before. I’ve requested and been sent so many books from them that I really do need to make a dent in the big pile that I now have. So the second half of my year is going to be about reading, reviewing and trying to keep everything balanced. I’ve learned that stressing about things is a complete waste of time and uses way too much energy so I’m going to try and worry less about things.

Here’s to an interesting few months, lets see what the rest of 2019 brings, and if you’re heading to Bloody Scotland in September I’ll see you there. Can’t wait!











Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019

I’m not really into celebrating the new year but during that odd time between Christmas and New Year I was reflecting on how much has changed for me over the past 12 months. I stopped studying and changed jobs and while, on the surface, that doesn’t sound like a lot there was a lot of upheaval surrounding both of those changes. I went from doing 6/7 days a week at 50+ hours per week to 2-4 days and 14+ hours to 5/6 days and an average of 35 hours. The plan I started the year with went completely out the window and I never envisioned ending up where I am now. Don’t misunderstand, I like my new job, the pay and benefits are good and it gives me a good amount of free time (perfect for reading!) but I never expected to end up working in the industry I’m now in.

These changes have been huge for me on a personal level, my goals have vanished because they no longer apply and I have no plan or idea for my future. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have found a job I enjoy with a short commute and good pay but getting used to the rest of the changes in my life is going to take a bit of time.

Unfortunately this huge upheaval has impacted my blog. I had plans to have numerous authors on this year and while some of that was successful much of it wasn’t and I’m disappointed by that. I have managed to keep up with blog tours for the most part, if I hadn’t done any I would have read very little and as reading helps my stress levels and overall health, clearly this is something I want to ensure I keep doing. I am hoping to still have some authors on the blog in the coming year, I need more than an hour or two to properly sort things out but I’m hopeful it will happen soon. I’m also making some changes, some are minor and cosmetic and others less so. After a discussion with the lovely Kelly from LoveBooksGroup I am considering having a special feature for myself and blog tour guest posts, this is still in the pipeline at the moment. I’m changing my profile picture for twitter, Facebook and Instagram and having a general overhaul of the blog. I am also hoping to have a guest reviewer join me but this is in the early stages at the moment so we’ll see how it goes.

Because of last year’s changes I’ve also decided to take on less blog tour reviews this year. I will still do other tour posts but not as many reviews as I want to have a proper go at reducing my ever increasing to-read list and be able to read what I fancy more often than I have been able to of late.

I enjoy doing blog tours and they are important but as I get older I’m realising that I need to find a balance in my life that works for me and getting my to-read list and Netgalley percentage under control is going to go a long way to achieving that.

I haven’t made many plans for 2019 but my biggest one at the moment is my first ever trip to the US in April. I’m visiting Boston and New York and making sure I a) visit some book shops and b) have space in my luggage to bring a few books home. I’m so excited about this holiday, I’ve had to renew my passport because it’s been so long since I’ve been abroad.

In a bid to be better organised and make the most of my non-work time this year I’ve decided to try bullet journalling instead of keeping a normal diary. It’s off to an interesting start so we’ll see how it works out.

I’ve got some cracking books lined up for the beginning of the year, both tour reviews and ARC’s and also some reviews of books I read last year but haven’t yet reviewed. I’m thrilled and hugely grateful to all the publishers, blog tour organisers and everyone else who emails and sends me books. I never thought this would happen when I started my blog and while it may still not be the biggest blog out there but it’s mine, something I started from scratch and grew myself and that is what makes it special.

Despite the upheaval and changes in 2018 it still had a lot of good points and I’m hoping that now things are starting to settle down, there will be even more good things awaiting me in 2019. Time will tell.