Let’s Talk… Mountain Highs and Valley Lows

From as young as I can remember, I have always felt negative emotions to the extreme. When I was sad, I was crying every day, shoving people away, and/or completely hiding. When I was stressed, I was puking up breakfast in order to get my job done. When I was tired, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t really focus. Today I wanted to talk about how these feeling affect not only this blog, but also my life in general.

Let’s talk about being sad. At the end of the day, I am at some level of sad. Think of it like a callus, where eventually the painful blisters harden and you don’t notice the pains you were feeling earlier. At some point in my life, I reached a baseline of sad. I formed that callus. And as I have been going through these larger transitions to my life, I have either added to the callus or have tried to shave away at it. Since starting the blog, I have talked about how I am a lot happier than when I started. But over the past month or so, I’ve started to slip up. I have let everything eat away at me, and my negative feelings about my body, my friendships, and my world in general have begun to creep into my day to day life.

Now stress. I have done a very good job of keeping up with posts for the blog, but since I switched to a new position at work, I have been unable to listen to books as I am working. And while I was working a job that left me physically drained and mentally awake, I now work a job where I come home and I feel like I need to be active physically, but the last thing I want to do is pick up a book and read. But for the month of September, all I really needed to read was the BOTM books this week and I got to Wednesday still needing to read 2 books. And I was STRESSED. I began pressuring myself to read, forcing myself to do something that I used to love doing, and I was mentally drained. It is not healthy to force yourself to do anything, even if you like to do it, and I. FEEL. IT. I am probably going to be changing posts in an effort to lower the stress I have been feeling.

As for being tired. There is very few times in my life where I am not some level of tired. We all went through the stages in college of staying up all night in order to finish a paper when we really should be sleeping so our mental health is okay. At this point in my life, I realistically need to sleep on a consistent level, and more or less 7 hours a night. I currently am getting about 6 hours, so yea, I’m tired.

Now that we are talking about some lows, let’s talk about some highs. I have you guys. I have consistency in my life. I am working a job that I am up for promotion for. I am moving. I have so many amazing things in my life, and I need to start appreciating those things more. My mountains are really low compared to where I want to be, but I am proud of all those high moments I have felt.

So why am I telling you this? I want you to understand that I am a person too. I feel the same things that you all feel. I am just as broken as the next person. I struggle, and I have to find a way to get myself out of the rutt I have found myself in. If I can do it, you can too! So let me know how you get out of this, and if you ever need to talk, you know where to find me!

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… The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Okay, so this is awkward. Normally, Once Upon a Book Club books are not the same books as Book of the Month, but of course, this time it is. Since I already read the book, I felt like I should at least share the gifts with you guys! So let’s talk… the gifts from my August 2019 OUABC box!

Page 56

Okay, so the drawing was awkwardly faded, but it is the drawing that Rowan finds in the nightstand drawer in her room at Heatherbrae House. The cord is a USB cord with 3 different types of cords so you can charge your phone (whether it is iPhone or Android) or your laptop (at least, it fits my thunder outlet for my Mac?). I’m also sure you can charge multiple items at the same time with the one cord, so it is efficient for traveling.

Page 213

I love this. If I drank coffee often, I would use this all the time, but thankfully my sister-in-law will be putting this to use! It is incredibly beautiful and of higher quality that the other mugs I have gotten from OUABC before!

Page 304

Honestly, I would love this if it were my initial. It is a very beautiful necklace (though a little big), but I probably will never pull it out of the box. So if you want a necklace with a ‘R’ initial, I got you fam.

Page 335

Okay, so I can’t really show you the gift because it essentially tells you the whole plot of the book, BUT it is literally the letter from the last 2 or so pages. This is the present that is literally just a printout for the box, and while it completely fits the book, I still wished that it was something else. But, here we are.

Sorry guys, if I would have known, I would have waited, but I am completely oblivious to everything right now, so I’m just going to leave you guys with a promise to do better! Until then, 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… 6 months

6 months. 6 MONTHS. That can’t be real. It has felt both like the longest time of my life and also like I just started yesterday. Since we started, so much has happened. I have done 2.5 author series, made over 100 posts, and reached over 300 people in 20 countries on 6 continents (still waiting for Antarctica!). I do not deserve the amount of love and support I have received, and I am so grateful.

So where do we go from here? One of the things I am trying to do is reach out to other platforms. My social media has been lacking for a while, and I think it is time I start to get better at it. Along with that, I am going to be working on putting out a secret project, so expect that in the upcoming months. Otherwise, I am going to keep putting out posts, and hopefully ya’ll will continue to stop by and hang out!

I am going to also be doing holiday posts as we enter Halloween and December (I am going to do my best to not make it all about Christmas. If there is literature about Hanukkah or Kwanzaa that you would like me to read and review, let me know on social media or through email!). I am considering an advent calendar series of posts, which I will obviously be altering as it fits my schedule. Announcements will go out when I have a clearer idea.

I am going to continue to come up with as many new ideas that I can, but I will always be open to hearing your thoughts or ideas. This is just as much for me as it is for all of you, so please 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… Taking a Chance

I am scared. There, I said it. If you are anything like me, then you understand how scary it is to put yourself out there. And I’m not talking about just public speaking, I’m talking about saying to any old stranger that may come across it that I am terrified of life.

From as young as I can remember, I have been alone. And I’m not saying that for sympathy, I am saying it to make a point. I have, since I was in single digits, been afraid to live. Afraid to go out and make friends. Afraid to see what life had to offer. I am scared. And that’s embarrassing.

When I started the blog, I tampered down that fear. I said, “screw it, let’s do this” and I thought that if I got started that the fear would just go away. And don’t get me wrong, I am nowhere near as bad as I used to be, but I am still scared. I still reread posts, say that I am doing an awful job, try to read myself to death so I can put out as much content that I think will attract people as possible, and put myself through hell in order to put off an air of “I got my life together”. But I don’t. I’m still trying. I took a chance, and I’m taking chances everyday with this blog, and I wanted to share what I have learned along the way.

Firstly, you have to start. That’s normally the hardest part. Take the leap of faith. Ask the person of your dreams on a date, apply for that job you don’t think you can get, just try. The worst thing you can do is fail at that point. It is better to know. Hindsight is always 20/20. “Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back”-Babe Ruth

Secondly, consistency is key. Maybe that is only talking about this blog at this point, but put in the effort. I could post 1 review every 3 months, but then people wouldn’t keep me in the back of their minds. The hope is that because I post SO much and I produce content that I am proud of, I will get support. And that has worked some days, and completely failed others. The days were I get no views are hard, because I know how long it took me to get that post out, but that just makes me want to do better next time. “If at first you don’t succeed/ Try, try again.”-William Edward Hickson, Try, Try Again

Thirdly, be innovative. Don’t completely niche yourself. Try new things. I have constantly been trying out new things that I can A) talk about on the blog and B) use for the sake of increasing viewership of the blog. If you aren’t moving, you are stuck. So keep trying. Take another step towards where you want to go. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” -Conrad Hilton

So go out. Take the risk. It is better to fail and experience life, than to never try. In the words of Steve Jobs: “We had everything to gain. And we figured even if we crash and burn, and lose everything, the experience will have been worth ten times the cost.”

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… Bedtime Stories

Since I was a little kid, I have struggled with the concept of falling asleep. I remember trying to go to sleep at 8 years old and going to my dad’s office yelling that I couldn’t do it. Counting sheep never worked, watching TV kept me more awake, and nothing I did seemed to fix my problem. As an adult, I still can’t seem to get to sleep at night, and I am still trying to figure out what I need to do to get some ZzZ’s.

A lot of the adultier adults in my life said that they read books before they go to sleep and that that action is the routine they need to fall asleep. And let me tell you, it doesn’t work for me. Maybe it would be a better option for someone who doesn’t read all the time, but I am not in that category. And funny enough, I will take a nap while reading, but something in my brain doesn’t let that happen at night. I don’t know man, I’m weird.

In my bedroom at home, I run a fan that is incredibly loud (my family dubbed it The Wind Tunnel), and with the TV on, I can fall asleep. But when I am not at home, and not surrounded by white noise, I can’t block out all the thoughts and ideas that run through my brain right before I sleep.

So you might be asking, what does this have to do with books? Well… what if I told you, you are never to old to be read to sleep? At the ripe old age of 23, I have been read bedtime stories for the past few nights, and I’m not mad about it. I use a meditation app called Calm. Within this app, they have meditations, sleep body scans, and bedtime stories. You get to see how long the story is, which story you want, and the app will close out after the story ends. I genuinely don’t know why someone wouldn’t use that service, except for the price. If you use the app religiously, it is worth it, but otherwise not so much. (This is not an endorsement of any kind. But Calm, call me.)

But in general, hearing a story from someone who is so confident and calm is incredibly relaxing. And while I wouldn’t recommend listening to a scary thriller book (speaking from experience), I totally recommend listening to a soft read before going to bed. Audible also offers an option where you can choose a sleep timer for however long you would like. So try it out. You might find out that a bedtime story is all it takes to get a few ZzZ’s!

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… Book of the Month

Welcome back everyone! When I first started this blog, I was reading (almost exclusively) Book of the Month (BOTM) club books. For those of you that are unaware, BOTM is a service where they pick 5 books that are coming out that month (or soon after). You get to choose at least 1 of those 5 books for your box (with a maximum of 3), and they ship it to your door. So essentially, it is a service that gives you an ARC every month.

I found this service in May of 2019. I was at a job where we were sitting around A LOT and I wanted something new to read. My first ever BOTM selection was Small Country by Gaël Faye, and I haven’t looked back since. I learned some tricks along the way (mainly to save your credits as much as possible by buying the add-ons out of pocket) and I track BOTM books rather religiously.

At the time of writing this post (August 9th, 2019) I have read 56 of the 80 books that have been offered by the service since I began using it. I have read books from most of the genres (even the ones I don’t like), and since the inception of this blog, I have been trying to share my thoughts on them with you guys.

As I am trying to both increase and systemize the content I create, I wanted to put emphasis back on BOTM and its roots on the blog. So this is the official announcement: I am going to be attempting (and let’s be real, attempting is the only word to describe it) to make the final FULL week of the month BOTM week! Meaning: that Monday through Friday, there will be reviews at 5 PM EST of the BOTM picks for that month! I hope you guys are as excited as I am, and I hope to see you all there!

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… 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… Riley Sager

A mini-author post, coming at you! Okay, so normally I would read everything written by the author, but this isn’t a normal situation. Riley Sager is the pseudonym of of Todd Ritter (author of Death Notice, Vicious Circle, Bad Moon, and Devil’s Night), an author whom I have never had the pleasure to read. He has listed on his Goodreads that the reason for using the pseudonym was due to publishing issues under his actual name.

I first heard about Sager through Book of the Month. In my third month with the program, The Last Time I Lied was given as an option. I did not choose it, but I did purchase it from Amazon with the expectation to read it at my first chance. In my July 2019 box, I chose Lock Every Door. Realizing that the only book by Sager I didn’t own was Final Girls, I immediately purchased it, and then because I literally own 0 self control, I bought both books on Audible.

When it comes to his style, I have noticed that he chooses characters that suffer “survivor guilt”. In Final Girls, each girl is the survivor of a terrible massacre that is heavily perpetuated in the media. In The Last Time I Lied, Emma is the lone survivor of a cabin in the woods when everyone disappears. And finally, in Lock Every Door, Jules is the lone survivor of her family.He also uses this survivor guilt to heavily influence the thought process throughout the plot.

He also likes to throw up smoke screens in his stories. While that can be a great tactic, he sometimes overuses it to the point where you can detect it. And when the happens, it takes away from the overall story. He also finds ways to surprise you at the end that leave you completely stunned. He clearly has found his niche in the thriller genre.

As of August 2nd, 2019, he does not have a next list date for his next book, but he seems to be releasing books every July. I will definitely be looking out to see when his next book comes out!

Side note: According to his Goodreads, Final Girls has been optioned for a movie, and The Last Time I Lied has been optioned for a limited series. Quick searches show that other than purchasing the rights, little has been done to get either project off the ground.

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… The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Is it a cop out to make a Let’s Talk about a book? I wanted to talk about this book since I read the Caraval trilogy yesterday (you should totally click on that link!). Almost all of the reviews on Goodreads for Caraval were about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and their extremely similar themes. I wanted to see how similar they are, so I got myself a copy of The Night Circus, and here’s what I have found out:

First: a synopsis. The Night Circus is the story of a game. When Celia and Marco are young, her father and his mentor, respectively, bind them together for life. They are required to showcase their talents in magic until eventually their magic outweighs the other. The playing field, a circus that is only open at night. Eventually, Celia and Marco fall in love, causing them to lose interest in playing the game. Other members of the circus who know about the game begin to push for the game to be finished, causing mayhem within the circus. Now, Marco and Celia must figure out how to fix everything without taking everyone out in the process.

  1. Caraval is easier to read. The Night Circus jumps around in time which makes it difficult to keep up with what is happening within the story. There is also almost 10 characters that we follow around throughout the story, which is difficult to keep up with as well. Caraval stays consistently in time with one character. Along with that, The Night Circus is difficult to read because the language fits the late 1800s/ early 1900s time period of the setting. There is no exact date associated with Caraval, but they tend to speak modern while the characters are in un-technological society.
  2. The idea of a “night circus” is different for the two stories. You ever hear about creative writing classes where they start with the same sentence, but everyone makes their own story? It feels a lot like that. Caraval’s night circus is really a game, which only lasts for a select number of days. They do not look like a normal circus, but rather an area that you have to explore in order to solve a problem. The Night Circus is about a “real” traveling circus, so there are tents, acts, etc. that consistently lasts for decades.
  3. The love stories are completely different. Caraval, the love story is a gradual progression of not liking to now I love you. In The Night Circus, the binding connects them from a young age, so they feel that level of connection from the moment they meet.

Obviously, the idea of a “night circus” is a connection in itself, but I think the two authors took their own spins on it. They are too different stylistically for me to see the connections people have discussed on Goodreads (or to pick sides). Neither story would be a book that I would normally pick up for myself, so I might not have the greatest opinion on this. At the end of the day, I recommend Caraval for someone who wants a young adult book with a magical adventure. The Night Circus is a more adult book that has a much heavier influence of magic and less of the adventure.

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… Walking Away

Hey guys! This one is a more serious post, but it is a post I think I am ready to make. I am not walking away from you guys, don’t you worry, but I am walking away from things that do not make me happy. And here’s why you should, too.

At the beginning of this year, Netflix put out a series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and while I have never watched the show, I know that the gist is to find the things that make you happy and keep them, while letting go of those that don’t give you that feeling.

When I started reading for fun, I realized that I never liked to leave a book unfinished. I will power through a book, even if I completely hate it, for the sake of giving a book a chance. But that feeling isn’t healthy. Let what I just said settle in for a moment: I literally torture myself by reading books I don’t like for the sake of giving everything a chance. Why should I? Now I have the blog, but I still always have the option to walk away, and I never take it. And that feeling of being stuck continues to weigh heavy on my mind, to the point where negative feelings begin to affect my daily life. That’s not healthy, and I need to learn to walk away.

About 2 weeks ago, I began the process of downsizing, which is HUGE for my hoarding tendency. The hardest thing I have had to do is choose which books I wanted to keep on my shelf and which ones I wanted to walk away from. And while I won’t bore you with the specifics, I will tell you that I got rid of an entire shelf full of books. I did not cry, I did not feel like I lost a limb, and I got rid of books that could make someone else happy. Walking away never felt so good.

As for my life, I have been thinking A LOT about happiness. There are people in my life that I do not associate good feelings with anymore. And while our past may be great, my future should be, too. The biggest lesson I have learned in life? There is no shame in choosing yourself. We associate negative words like “selfish” to that action, but why shouldn’t we be a little selfish? Why should I feel guilty about choosing me? Why should I have to constantly feel negative feelings so that they can feel happy?

A million things change when you choose to be happy. You start to smile more, laugh more, and feel more. Complaining goes down, and positivity goes up. There is no shame in choosing yourself, and there is also nothing wrong with being a little negative. But I am someone who has let negativity eat away at me, and I AM DONE.

So I am walking away. I am walking away from the stress, frustration, and ultimate negative feelings of staying in a situation I am not happy in. I am walking away from the fear of being alone. I am walking away from the fear of missing out. I am walking away from the fear of trying something new. I am walking away.

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!