Let’s Talk… Working and a Blog

Hey guys! Today, I wanted to talk about how I manage to work full time and manage a blog. I chose to create a blog because I wanted an outlet to finally discuss something that I have loved my entire life: books. But I’m not going to lie, sometimes it sucks. No one prepares you for the amount of time you need to read, then write about it, then plan everything, and then on top of that handle all your other responsibilities. With that being said, I want to encourage anyone who is afraid to take the leap to hear my journey, and why I think it is all worth it.

So let’s start with reviews. Most audiobooks are about 8-10 hours long. If I chose to read them in print/ebook, then that number would be halved. So essentially, each review takes a minimum of 4 hours of research reading the book so I can make (what I consider) an adequate representation of the book. When I first started, I posted reviews the same day I finished the book. That is great and all, but I was then posting 6 reviews one week and 1 the next. There was no consistency in my work and I felt pressure whenever I wasn’t reading as much. So I switched, posting reviews twice a week unless for a special occasion. Making that switch has made my life so much easier in the long run, but harder in the moment. At the point I am making this post, I am two weeks ahead on posts. But it is still inundating looking at all the weeks I still need to fill and create content for. Because I actually put on paper the days that I am planning to post, I have to really think long and hard about how I am going to do that.

But I am making this post about work, so here is what I will have to say: I need the break. I listen to audiobooks while I work, but I also am constantly busy. I don’t have the time to think about posts for June 11th, I can just listen and fulfill my job. Work more than anything has been a way for me to find a solace in my always thinking mind. I happen to work a job that leaves me physically drained, but does not mentally tire me. Books are a way for me to come home, kick my feet up, and give my brain the workout that it needs.

But I owe work so much for all the successes I have had with this blog. Those successes include a new computer, an Audible account filled with books, a paid ad on Facebook, and all the book subscription boxes I have used (speaking of, I found more boxes to try out so out with the old and in with the new. Expect a update let’s talk in a few months). Moving forward, ya’ll probably will notice that I mention it here or there, but that’s purely because my work is part of who I am.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Writing Reviews

When it comes to writing reviews, I GOT OPINIONS (does this surprise anyone?). There is nothing that I hate more than going on to Goodreads, seeing a review for a book I want to read, and either I can’t read any of it because it is all spoilers or they literally say nothing that a reader really needs to know about the book. I sat down and made a list of things I try to cover when I write reviews, so here goes nothing.

  1. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, WRITE THE SYNOPSIS ON THE BACK OF THE BOOK. Oh my God, this gets on my absolute nerves. Make it personal. Maybe what the author thought was most important out of the book isn’t what you took away as the reader. I also don’t want to read 3 reviews that are all phrased exactly the same way. AND Goodreads posts the synopsis. We are in 2019 people, have your own mind and your own thoughts. Okay, PSA over. But truly, make your review your own.
  2. Write about what you like and what you don’t like. You don’t have to completely degrade a book you hate (at least I hope I never have done that), but don’t be afraid to give your opinion. That’s the whole point of writing a review. Just be confident in your ability as the reader, and people will respect your review. It’s that simple.
  3. If you are going to give spoilers INDICATE IT. I am not about writing a review and giving spoilers. I do everything I can to be as vague as possible so I don’t ruin the story. With that being said, sometimes you have to give a spoiler in order to say your opinion. That’s totally fine, just let the reader know that “hey, btw, this is a spoiler” so that the reader can decide if they want to read that opinion or not.
  4. Be honest. Nobody wants your review if you aren’t being honest. I don’t care if I am being paid a million dollars for a review, I would rather keep my integrity than give you all a recommendation to read something I don’t stand behind.

I hope this helps someone live out their dreams as much as it has helped me live out mine. If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Fredrik Backman

Wow… what an insane week! Firstly, a thank you to all the people who have stopped by, read my words, told me they will read him in the future, or just happened to come across my page. I am so proud of the work I have put into this week and the content that I have created. Thank you for making it worth it.

The question that I think most people are thinking: Why this guy? The truth: I found this guy about a year and a half ago on Goodreads. Beartown was one of those books that was immediately recommended for me, and I said “I’ll get around to it eventually”. Eventually became a year, and I was looking for books to listen to on Audible (because you can never have enough), and chose Beartown. I am so thankful I made that decision.

I first listened to Beartown in December 2018, and I have never stopped loving him since (in a completely platonic, I-have-never-met-you-but-I-will-have-your-babies-if-that’s-what-you-want type of way). I immediately jumped into Us Against You right after, and in January 2019, I listened to A Man Called Ove. Somewhere in all that I also read Deal of a Lifetime and And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. I didn’t read Britt-Marie Was Here or My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry until I decided to make this week a thing.

Immediately, I knew this guy was legit. He found a way to talk about the world while still keeping humor and often times a childlike perspective. Speaking of, at some point this week I said that his stories often read like children’s books. Unless you are completely comfortable with your kids hearing curse words in their bedtime stories, maybe don’t read the novels to your kids (if I remember correctly, the short stories are clean, but don’t quote me on that). I don’t think I have read any of his stories that I haven’t had moments of laughter mixed in, even when the content is extremely deep and heavy. He’s just that good.

Writing-style-wise, I never felt like his books drag. If you read a lot, you know that so many books end up dragging in the middle and you have this moment where you decide if that drag was worth the reward. I never felt that drag, so the pay off to me was always more than worth it (how many more times can I say drag?). My one knock to his style is that he tends to say “oh btw, this book is going to feature someone dying” and so the whole time you sit there like “is this the time?” only for him to remind you AS SOON AS YOU FORGET so that you are on the edge of your seat again. As someone who reads a lot, I gotta give the guy credit, he kept me entertained, even if there were moments where I wanted to slap his stupid little face (P.S. I have no idea if he has a little face, and I also don’t know the IQ of his face) for teasing me like that. If that is the only knock you get as a writer, then I think you are doing something right. But that’s just me.

And look man, I make the rules in this joint, so I have been trying to find ways to still be authentic to why I wanted to start this blog while still finding ways to encourage viewership, and he was it. Thank you guys so much for sticking with me this week and my obnoxious amount of posts, and in turn, if there is ever an author you want me to focus on in the future, I got you (I’m probably going to regret that later). If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on Twitter/Facebook/ Instagram @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Guilty Pleasures

You ever become an incredibly anxious ball of sad that just needs a pick-me-up book? Welcome to my world, where I sometimes struggle to get going, and just need a little palate cleanser. Hence, my guilty pleasure books.

So I specifically have one (Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler) on the blog already because I wanted to talk about something so outrageously silly after the really heavy book before it.

Guilty pleasure books are books that I really love to read repeatedly, but am not that proud to talk about how many times I have read it.  Let’s be real, we are more than comfortable to talk about The Fault in Your Stars over and over (planning to work on a review soon!), but we don’t really talk about those books that we don’t think have a public following or acceptance behind it.  Hence, guilty pleasure.

If you are an avid reader, you really really REALLY need at least 1 guilty pleasure book.  Just find something that helps you get back into the active mind to read.  Thanks to the extreme number of books I read, I have quite a few, but you don’t need any more than 1.  Find your guilty pleasure book that helps you center yourself in the book universe.

Now that I sound like I just went to church, I would love to see which books you consider your guilty pleasure! Feel free to leave a comment or find me on my social media.  Also, feel free to e-mail me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog if you would like to talk privately! And as always, I will see you all at the next book!

Let’s Talk… My Mental Health

Hello Internet! It’s been a while! If you follow me on Facebook (which why don’t you?), you know that I had to take a break for my mental health. However, since I have this platform, and the opportunity to talk about it, I wanted to talk a little about my mental health as I know it (especially since I use you all as a type of therapy). Let me preface by saying that I have never been formally diagnosed with anything. I have been treated for panic attacks and migraines, but I have never been diagnosed with a chronic mental health illness. With that being said, I have suffered from panic attacks as early as 13, I have shown depressive symptoms since I was 12/13, and I have suffered from migraines since I was 19/20.

My panic attacks are normally caused by social situations. I will have panic attacks before an important day (like first day of class or work, or an interview), when I feel like I am a disappointment or failure, or when I am in a tumultuous situation. My panic attacks feel like there is someone or something sitting on my chest, making it impossible to breathe. In my fight or flight response, my eyes begin to water, and I begin to hyperventilate in order to get the required oxygen my body thinks it is not getting. In order to calm myself down, I start counting breaths. My panic attacks also affect my stomach. I will get that butterfly feeling, and sometimes the stress is enough that I will actually get sick. For about 6 months or so in college, I took a very mild form of anxiety medication to try to help this situation. I ultimately got off of it because the weird feeling I had on the medication didn’t feel worth it for the amount of panic attacks I had.

Depression is a difficult one for me to talk about. I never was formally diagnosed or treated for depression, so I feel uncomfortable labeling it as such, but I have had symptoms since I was a kid. My symptoms are something that I am very insecure about, so I choose not to talk about it that often. But I do feel like I need to mention it just to cover all the bases (can you tell I’m feeling really paranoid about talking about this?).

Migraines are very much a part of my life. I am light sensitive, so driving at night is often a scary concept for me. I don’t get migraines often enough to be chronic, but I did receive medication in college to try and help deal with them. My migraines are either right above my left eye or right behind my right ear. I can’t really focus on anything but the pain when it happens, so I try to find ways to minimize the pain until I can sleep, which is my universal cure for migraines. I will use Excedrin migraine (not sponsored but feel free to send me some), ice, heat, or a mixture of two or more of these in order to get asleep.

For the past two weeks, I have been suffering from normal headaches that have prevented me from reading at the level I normal do. I took a step back and focused on myself and my mental health, which was the reason for the break. I have been reading and listening again and discovered that those headaches are not coming back for now so I am going to keep going and see what happens from here. I am going to be planning posts out a little better so that I have some type of idea as to when to post, and what to post, while also giving myself some breathing room if for whatever reason I’m not reading as much.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Let’s talk… Starter or Finisher?

I went out to lunch with my best friend (hi Shelby!) and she brought up this question: are you a starter or a finisher? We talked about it a little bit, but I felt like I wanted to talk about it on here, so here we are.

I am a finisher. There, I said it. If you know me, you know it kills my soul to not finish a book I started, even if I absolutely 100% hated it. I feel like, by not finishing the book, I don’t give it the full opportunity to wow me, and that just isn’t fair. My best friend is a starter, if the book doesn’t impress her within the first 50 or so pages, she’s out.

I also see the future. I mean, not really because I have zero psychic abilities, but I have dreams that I can see for myself. I dream that this blog will become something more. I want to get to a point where I have more than my best friend and grandmother stopping by, where people can come and talk about books and feel accepted, even when they give an alternative viewpoint. I also dream of writing a book, of being a chemist, of being a mother/wife (not in that order). But I see so much more out of my life, I see the end goal, and I guess I never realized how much groundwork goes into those dreams.

But I am starting (hehe) to realize that I want to be a starter. For the past few days, I have been saying the phrase “I am more.” To me, that means that I am more than my past, that I am more than my mental health, that I am more than my job, that I am more than the box people put me in. I am more. I have started to write, started to think about my next steps, started to make my dreams a little less dream-like.

So when it comes to being a starter or a finisher, I want to be both. I refuse to let those labels define me as a person. But let’s be real, I will always be a finisher when it comes to books. That is a promise I will always give to you guys. I won’t give up when the going gets tough, I will always try to get through the book (is that sacrilegious to say?) in order to give you a review. And let’s be real, I think reviews are always better when you completely hate the book. Just me? Oh well!

If you have any thoughts or ideas, or just want to tell me which one oh are, feel free to leave them in the comments. And as always, if you have any questions and would like to talk to me personally, e-mail me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. I’ll see you all at the next book!

Let’s Talk… 1 month

Holy poop sticks! Has it really been a month? You guys are fantablulously amazing, have I told you guys that before? Thank you so much for letting me live out this dream!

This blog started as a therapy mechanism to help me cope with new stressors in my life. Now I see so much more out of this, and it is because so many people I know and love have encouraged me to keep loving this dream out. Thank you!

Just to give you a little idea of how much viewership we have been getting: I have had over 100 people interact with the Facebook page, had over 100 views on this blog, been found through search engines, reached 4 different countries (including US), and have posted double digit reviews.

For fear of this sounding like an Oscar speech, I’m going to talk about my favorite review. (Cough, cough, go check out Ghosted by Rosie Walsh) My very first review (is it bad my first one is my favorite? Ah well, it’s only downhill from here!) is so incredibly whimsical and fun and me. I just want this to feel like I am talking to my best friend over a Frappuccino about the book I just read. I think that so many reviews lack a personality, and I want you to feel like not only a person wrote it, but that someone you can imagine in the room (and hopefully you don’t hate?) wrote it. I try to connect not only myself, but you guys, to the book. That’s what books have always been, a connection between myself and this other world, and I want to make you guys part of that connection too.

Soooooooooo…. you might be asking “what’s next?” Well, let (clap) me (clap) tell (clap) you (clap’s Friends theme). Okay, I’m done, I promise (clap clap). Okay I lied. Anywho, I am going to be continuing to post Let’s Talks, but I am going to be changing them up a little bit. Out of suggestion (thanks Shelby), I am going to be posting about a particular genre and what exactly makes a good book for that genre in my eyes (hair flip), about my favorite authors and what I think they do really well or really bad, while also keeping some random Let’s Talks about things that I think matter in the book world or matter in relation to this blog. BTW, I am going to be asking you guys in a poll on Facebook about how I should go about some of my ideas, so stay tuned on there!

But I also want this to be about you guys. I now have a Facebook page Elizabeth’s Bookstore, a Twitter (@elizabooksblog) and Instagram (@elizabookblog), and as always I have my e-mail elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog, so if you would like to reach out or hear about what is going on in my life, check out those social media. You can also always comment on one of my posts if there is something you want to see on this blog. I can’t promise I will do it, but I am open to suggestion. I want this to be about you guys too, so please let me know! In an effort to wrap up, I will say thank you for everything and I will see you all in the next book!

Let’s talk… Writing

I think that anyone who loves to read has thought of what they think is a gold mine idea. For me, I’ve had a few. The question is, will I write?

The honest answer is I hope so. Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but hopefully one day. But I’ll let you in on a secret: I have literally no idea what I am doing.

While I have a few ideas, based on some pretty intense dreams, I am so incredibly out of my league when it comes to putting pen to paper. In a lot of ways, I hope that by posting to this blog, I will start to feel more comfortable by the way I write and will start writing more.

Ever since I was a little kid, I have always been able to spout out mathematical equations, but failed to say my thoughts in words. I have always come up with insane stories (flashback to 3rd grade me who wrote the “true story” of how my dad had a robot twin who was also a baseball pro, I got an F on that assignment), I just never felt encouraged to really use them. The only time I use the made up stories in my head now is in lies, and boy, am I good at that. Does that make me a bad person? Oh well!

While everyone talks about writer’s block, I feel so inundated (see I paid attention during English class) with every single thing that goes on in my head. But as a snob, I truly want to produce something of great value.

Who knows? Maybe in a while I will be someone you see on the New York Times Bestseller chart. Until then, you are stuck with me here.

If you have any thoughts or ideas about how I should get into the habit of writing, feel free to let me know in the comments below. Or, if you would like to talk to me through e-mail, reach out to elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. Until then, as always, I’ll see you at the next book!

Let’s talk… ARCs

While I am not talking about baseballs (can you tell I’m excited it’s back?), I am talking about Advanced Reading Copies. If you haven’t figured out, I love to read, and it makes reading a little more special to be chosen to read an ARC. I have read “advanced copies” many times before through subscription boxes, but I have only been chosen to read one once. Here’s that story:

I have only been asked to read an ARC once, and it was subsequently the most exciting and nerve racking experience I have had with books. While I love to read, I am incredibly critical about the book you put in front of me (surprised?). The last thing I wanted to do was get sent a book, absolutely hate it, and lie to all the people who saw my review on Goodreads. There was a power to reading an ARC that my anxious little self couldn’t begin to process.

Thankfully, I loved the book. It was by an author I had read before and enjoyed, and while it was not what I had initially expected, I wasn’t absolutely devastated. But I felt the ending was super rushed and the whole story fell a little flat to me because of it.

When you get chosen to do an ARC, you are expected to give your honest review. But nobody would want my honest review of anything. So I simply said, this book is great, but the last 30-40 pages felt rushed, but I love this author. I hoped that by glossing over my critique that I might encourage the publisher to say “hey, this gal is swell, let’s have her read more.” FYI, I never got to read more. But this inherent fear that if I hide my true thoughts, then I might succeed in life is an issue, and I recognize that.

By starting this blog, I promise that I will be completely honest, even if it puts me or an opportunity I have received in a bad light. And to any publishers out there, hi, let me read your books!

If you have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments. And as always, if you have any questions and would like to talk to me personally, e-mail me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. I’ll see you all at the next book!

Let’s Talk…. Where Have I Been?

If you might have noticed, I took a quick hiatus from posting. I am 100% okay, and I’m not really sure you can call it a hiatus when I have only been doing this for 2 weeks, but I needed to take a breather. I have been going through a lot of things mentally, and while I am not going to be too upfront about it, I will talk a little about what is going on.

Firstly, if you have no clue who I am, know that I just got a puppy. And when I say puppy, I mean a 3-month-old spit fire Golden Retriever who I love very much, but who also finds every single one of my buttons to push. On top of that, we have a 1-year-old Golden Retriever at home, and boy do they like to play. Some days I feel like a WWE ref instead of a dog mom, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Secondly, I have been on the low end of my anxiety. And that is totally normal, sometimes I am really high and sometimes I am really low. In order to cope with those emotions, I have needed to put my mind on other things, specifically on creative projects and not so much on reading. Let’s just say, I do not need to worry about Let’s Talks for a while. With all that being said, I am going to be posting reviews shortly.

Thirdly, you might already have noticed if you came from Twitter/Facebook, I’ve stepped up my game with this blog. I honestly want someone to read this, and while I am so incredibly humbled by my family and friends who are reading this, I kinda want more. I am just a mess of a person who loves books, and I guess I started this because I wish I had someone like me when I was in some of my darkest moments of my life. However, if you don’t know anything about me, know that people absolutely terrify me. I am the person who orders online so I don’t have to go to the store, the person who gets books sent to my house instead of going to my local bookstore, etc, etc. Adrenaline got me this far, but that fear completely crashed on me. Again, totally normal, just need time to cope.

But fourthly, and more importantly, I am really struggling to get into the next book. Even listening to books at work just isn’t cutting it right now. I have recently re-kindled my love for AJR (not sponsored, but would 100% love to meet them instead of taking their money), a pop-band who focuses on spoke-step, a type of dubstep. That makes them sound so millennial, but think of them as the Beach Boys of my generation. Basically what I am trying to say is that my mind is going to music right now and not books. Reading this way, where I crank out a book every day just isn’t realistic in the long-term. And while I hope to get into a routine of posting reviews 2 or 3 times a week, I am just getting over that honeymoon phase and finding my center again.

SOOOO… basically, I will be back soon! AND… as a sneak peek, the next review is going to include scavenger hunts, Cinderella’s castle, and some chipmunks! If you guys think you know the book or just want to give me some encouragement, leave me a comment. And as always, if you would like to talk to me privately, feel free to e-mail me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog! Until the next book!