Let’s Talk… Going Blind

Hi Internet! Recently, I have been starting my posts by saying that I am going into this blind. That seems like a strange concept, even for me as I am writing it, so I wanted to explain why I choose to do that a lot of the time:

When you read a synopsis, the author is literally advertising their book. Every author wants to make money off this project they spent months and sometimes years of their lives on. For that reason, they will tell you all the good parts of their books that will draw people in without completely giving away their book. Even if those good parts are really far into the book. I have been burned by too many synopsi to read them before reading a book I already planned on reading.

When it comes to Once Upon a Book Club books, I already know I am going to put in the time to read them. I don’t want a spoiler for what happens 300 pages into a 450 page book, nor do I want to be sitting on the edge of my seat for a plot event that will happen late in a book. So I let the gifts take me through the book, knowing that the insane want for the gift will get me to read the book.

As for other books, I won’t read synopsi if it is for an author I like, a book that is important for the blog (*cough, cough* The Night Circus), or a book that has been getting a lot of hype. I would rather be surprised on my own time than for that moment to get spoiled. Also, since I have been running this blog, I have been telling you what happens in the story. I don’t want what the author thinks is important to affect what I think is important.

So, I don’t. I would rather go in blind. Fun fact: not as scary as that sounds.

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’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Reading for Yourself

Thank you guys for everything! I think I start every post with an Oscar speech, but I genuinely feel so grateful to talk about something I love (and have people read my thoughts). Last week, I took a break. I am pretty sure that it is the longest break I have taken since planning posts for the blog, so this was a pretty big deal for me. The first thing I did? Picked up a book. When I started reading, I knew I wouldn’t be posting a review. I didn’t want to think about how I felt or thought throughout the process of reading, I just wanted to enjoy it. Here’s what I learned:

  • Reading is fun. Sometimes this blog can feel like a chore (flashback to the last week of Nicholas Sparks), and reading can feel like a job. Well, more like an internship because I don’t get paid, but you get it. Sometimes it is nice to not have a timeline, a pressure, or a review to think about. Just picking up a book and reading is enjoyable. That was what started me doing this blog, and that is what I stand behind as I read.
  • I don’t read enough memoirs. I read The Hidden Power of F*cking Up by The Try Guys. If you know me, you know that YouTube is a huge part of my life, and I love watching The Try Guys thanks to their humor and wit and ultimate fails. What I didn’t know: they are people, too. They have feelings and families, fears and frustrations, and that I am not so different than them. I have read 1 memoir for this blog, and as great as that one is, I feel like I should have more. Fiction is great, but people are real.
  • Taking a step back is not giving up. When I was finishing the last week of Nicholas Sparks, I could not stop thinking that I needed a book for Tuesday. And to be honest, I had one ready. But then I would have had to push myself for Thursday. And then the next Tuesday. And while I know that I could have probably kept up with the demand, I wouldn’t be able to breathe. There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself, just like there isn’t anything wrong with reading 2 books on your weekend vacation. But sometimes, we need a mental health day. I turned mine into a much needed week.
  • Positivity over negativity. I was starting to get real negative. Since he followed a set pattern in his books, I had to start nitpicking Sparks. And wouldn’t you know, I began to ignore the parts I liked in order to find things I couldn’t. Taking time to realize that “hey, I don’t like where my brain is at right now” and changing it, means that I can go into the next book with a better attitude.

So yea, I needed this. And you guys probably do, too. Books can be a form of escape, and by taking the time to read for yourself, you learn more about yourself. Keep in mind that you still need to read those books for class or that handbook for work, but you also desperately need time to read that book for yourself. So take the time, you’ll be surprised how badly you need it.

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’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Romance

Pull out the candles and the Marvin Gaye, because we are talking romance tonight! Well…. it’s the morning, and I’m talking about the genre, not the concept, but you get the idea. Romance can mean a million different things, and even the Audible romance package has to separate romance into “levels of steaminess”. And yes, that is 100% real. From Fifty Shades of Grey and the After series to All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Fault in Our Stars and to everything in between, let’s talk about some tips and tricks I have picked up on reading in the romance genre:

  1. Find a book that can pace the love story correctly. There are a lot that have a really slow build up to then rush the actual romance part of the book. And of course, there are books that do the exact opposite. If you are going to write a romance novel, keep the book moving while still telling the story you are trying to tell.
  2. Smut is smut. It bothers me to no end when people judge other people on their smut (things I never thought I would write when my grandmother will probably read this). We all have different things that interest us, and it is not my business to judge another person for their sexual reading habits. If you don’t want to read smut, then don’t read smut. But if you don’t want to read smut, then don’t judge someone else for reading it. (Hmmmm… that argument sounds familiar, doesn’t it)
  3. Take a chance on a new book. There are a lot of authors who specialize specifically in the romance category (*cough, cough* Nicholas Sparks), but there are a lot of authors within the category that have similar styles. Be willing to explore, there’s a lot in the genre.
  4. Love isn’t always black and white. Sometimes the romance is about loving yourself, finding yourself, or finding a home. We all love The Notebook type romances, but romance is also about falling in love with the person you are.
  5. Keep in mind what is important to you. I have always said on this blog that health is incredibly important to me, but for other people it is about how quickly the romance develops, the types of people (or monsters thanks to Twilight), or even about writing style. while I always say you should keep an open mind when picking a book, don’t sacrifice what’s important to you in order to read a book.

If you keep all these ideas in your head, you will find what you want in the genre. 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’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Reading a Series

Hey guys! Happy Saturday from me to you! Today we are going to talk about what you should be looking for in a series!

So let’s say that you found a book that completely kept your interest, and you learn that it is in a series of more than 2 books. At what point do you invest or at what point do you walk away? Here a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you still interested? Did the second book keep you as entertained? That may seem like a completely obvious question, but I think as a reader, we sometimes get caught up in the idea of a series that we power through a not-so-great series just to say we read it. Both the Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies come to mind. Despite their phenomena, the third books of both series were downright criminal. (Don’t think so? Come at me.) Solid reminder that everyone perceives books differently, so what may be a good series to you could not interest your best friend and vice versa. Take time to explore.
  • Who are you reading it for? I find myself in this position a lot because I often am reading books for the purpose of posting it here. Reading books for you makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable than reading for any other reason. I think we all felt that when we had to read Scarlet Letter in high school, but we were able to read the entire Harry Potter series in a week. (Just me? That’s cool.)

When it comes to how to read a series, here are a few things I have picked up:

  • Take breaks. You may not think it is necessary, but give yourself some time. Trust me. Let each book sink in. The more you take in from the first book or so, the more meaningful events are going to feel in the last books. Listen to your brain on this one, not your heart.
  • Don’t watch the movies. If there is a movie out, don’t watch it. Not only will it give away the ending for the book, but often the movies incorporate “easter eggs” for the ending of the series. Just stick with the books until you finish it all.
  • Keep an open mind. Don’t go in with an agenda. If you let the series take you where you need to go instead of every review on the planet, you will enjoy the experience a whole lot more.

I hope this helps any of you and happy reading! 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’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Reading Goals

I am someone who always sets reading goals for myself. For as early as 5th grade when I told myself I would read 100 books during summer vacation to telling myself I would read 150 books this year, I have always set my goals high. But here are some tips and tricks I have picked up along the way about setting and keeping your reading goals:

  1. Make it realistic. To be fair, I am totally not listening to this one (although I am way ahead of that goal, so how unrealistic is it?), but it is super important. The whole purpose of the goal is to set something that you can reach, so keep in mind your capabilities as a reader. If you don’t have the time, then don’t put pressure on yourself to make the time. Keep it light.
  2. Make it fun. The second it stops being fun, you won’t want to keep with it. You will be amazed how much easier a goal is when you want to do it than when you have to do it.
  3. Keep updated. That’s as simple as making a list or a count. Find ways to track how far you are in your goal, how much you have left, whatever you need to do to feel good. But knowing where you at gives you the chance to either feel better or tell yourself to read a little more.
  4. Treat yo’-self. If you hit a milestone, give yourself a reward. Or even if you get to a certain part of a book. However you want to do it, give yourself encouragement. Also let your friends and family know so that your successes can be theirs too.

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’ll 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… 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!