Bookish Hello Tag

I’m back from my very well-needed blogging break! I think I’m going to write a longer blog post about why and how I took the break, but for now, it’s time for the Bookish Hello Tag!

This tag was created by The Book Piles! It was inspired by the BookTuber Newbie Tag (Brenda) and the This Or That Tag (Tea and Parkbacks). I’m super excited to take part in this tag because I recently relaunched this book right at the end of December and I think this is a great way to reintroduce myself to the blogging community!

Bookish Hello Tag

Did you start out loving or hating reading?
I’ve always loved reading! Both my parents worked in libraries when I was a child (they met through the library!) so books were a huge part of my life growing up, and this continued into my teenage life. At 16 I decided I wanted to pursue English Literature into a degree and I’m now in my second year of my undergraduate degree in English Literature with Creative Writing!

When and why did you start reading?
As I said above, books where a huge part of my childhood. I’ve always been reading – I don’t remember a time before books. They’ve been present in my life since I was born.

Do you read a variety of books or stick to a common theme?
I love fantasy and sci-fi, but I also like some thrillers and contemporary young adult. I don’t like having strict rules about what I’ll read.

Where and when do you read? On the couch in the morning?
I don’t have a set time or place but if I don’t read elsewhere during the day, I will usually make sure to read at least a bit before bed. I got out of this habit for awhile but I’m working at keeping in the routine of it because I notice my sleep is much better when I read before bed.

Binge or slow reading?
When I have the patience to binge read, I prefer to binge read, but this isn’t always possible. I definitely spend too much time doing things other than reading and it annoys me, but I sometimes get stressed at the thought of reading for university and it puts me off reading.

Do you like reading in your native language or do you try reading in any languages you are learning or have learned?
I only speak/read English.

Do you prefer individual or group/buddy reading?
Definitely individual. Reading can stress me out and anything competitive like this makes me not want to read. Even thinking about getting stressed about reading is making me feel stressed.

Do you lend your books out to lots of people or only close friends?
Only to close friends. I rarely have any reason to lend my books out, especially now that I’m older. The only books I really share anymore are university books.

Do you use bookmarks or random objects and pieces of scrap paper?
Yeah, definitely. University books I already know will get turned into well-loved, messy copies so I fold the edges, but my own books I use whatever is close to hand as a bookmark.

How do you manage your TBR? In piles, on a shelf, or through a list?
Goodreads ‘to read’ shelf. I have a handful of books I haven’t read scattered through my physical bookshelf but I very rarely buy books that I’m not going to immediately read. I don’t have much shelf space, and I don’t have the money to justify buying tens or hundreds of books that I might not like.

What do you hope to bring to the bookish community?
I like to think that studying books gives me a better ability to talk about books compared to people who are new to objectively reviewing books. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with reviews in GIF form, but I don’t personally I enjoy them and I like to be able to explain, long form, how I feel. I think blogging about books develops how I’m able to talk about books in my essays and university life – that is the dream, anyway.

I’m someone who very much doesn’t fit that mould of having the perfect life or being the popular kid. I don’t think I ever will be the popular kid, but as I get older – and especially with everything that happened to me over 2018, which I don’t want to talk about on the blog – I’ve realised that popularity means nothing if you aren’t being true to yourself.

What is the meaning behind the name of your social media account?
I used to be Novellique, the meaning of which I’ve explained before, but I started a Tumblr blog called LottieIsWriting – which was intended more as a writing blog than a book blog – but the name stuck and I started using it more and more. The Novellique name felt claustrophobic to me and so I decided there was no better time to change my site name and address!

How did you discover the bookish community and why did you pick the platform you are currently using?
I think when I joined WordPress I found a lot of book blogs that linked between each others in posts, but I was on the edge of the community for a long time and it wasn’t until I found discord groups and people on twitter when I relaunched the blog that I really found people to connect with. If you’re one of the people I’ve spoken to since being LottieIsWriting, thank you for being here!

Why do you like reading?
I love being able to experience things from other perspectives and being able to explore emotions or situations in a safe way. It is a great form of escapism that is a lot less stressful that storytelling gaming or other mediums where I have to pay attention to a lot, or make a lot of decisions. The story is already set out and there is something comforting about that certainty.

I tag anyone who would like to take part! Whether you’ve been blogging for awhile or you just started, this is a great tag to let people get to know you.

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This Week, I…!

I enjoyed writing last week’s Sunday post as a mini little reading wrap up for the week so, this week I’m experimenting a bit more with turning Sunday into a day to think about everything I’ve been up to in the week.

Last Week, I…!

Blog Posts Of The Week
Books Of The Week
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – I’ve finally finished it! I’ll be writing a review for it, so I don’t want to say too much about it here.
  • I’m starting The Best Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
Content Of The Week
  • NUROLOGY. I found a great YouTuber called Nurology who has really great videos about making changes to your life and promoting self-trust. I’ve written quite a few blog posts while listening to her talk – there’s something so inspiring about listening to someone who has figured out how to be sure of themselves.
  • ELLBAT. I’ve been watching her for awhile but in my never ending quest to improve my health, I’ve started using her workouts in combination with my fitness bands. It’s slow progress, but it’s better than no progress at all.
Songs Of The Week
Blogging Update

I’m taking a break from blogging for this week. I’ve been putting up and scheduling a lot of content recently and I need to give myself a break so I don’t burn out, especially with university looming so closely.

What have you been up to this week? What are you reading right now? What do you think of this kind of format? Let me know in the comments!

A Review of Neuromancer

Neuromancer was the book that started the cyberpunk genre and inspired films like The Matrix and Bladerunner. William Gibson invented the term matrix and the concepts he was writing about were completely unique, yet we now see them everywhere in science fiction writing. Although the process of reading it was tough at times, I’m glad I persevered – and studying Neuromancer only made me love it more.

Content Warning
I’ve begun to put content warnings on my reviews that list some of the sensitive or potentially harmful topics that are discussed in the book.
– references to prostitution/sex work and implied sexual abuse
– drug misuse (very frequent)
– violence and death

Neuromancer

World & Setting

I absolutely love the cyberpunk aesthetic and Gibson throws you in at the deep end, never pausing to explain why the world is the way it is – but I actually really enjoyed this style of writing, even if it was frustrating at first. The thought of a future where people enhance their own bodies with technology seems incredibly realistic to me, as does a future where the criminal underworld has access to extremely powerful technology.

Narrative

In a very simplified sense, Neuromancer is about a heist: but it a heist unlike anything we experience in the real world, because it is a heist in a cyberpunk setting, navigating a space of digital projection full of firewalls, AIs, hallucinations and the personalities of dead people. It is worth nothing that there are problematic elements of the way Gibson portrays non-Western identities, and in this respect Neuromancer is very definitely a product of its time. These elements would, I hope, be approached differently in a book written in recent years.

Characters

Molly is the biggest reason for my fascination with Neuromancer. She and Case effectively switch places; she takes on a role that is traditionally limited to men, the bodyguard for hire who is a living weapon while Case is confined to acting behind the scenes of the operation.

Overall

I loved Neuromancer and would encourage anyone with an interest in science fiction to read it! Neuromancer began the aesthetic and world that inspired many, many cyberpunk stories – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Bladerunner, the Matrix, Altered Carbon, and more. Getting used to the way terminology is used is challenging in the beginning, but once you immerse yourself in the world, it is really enjoyable.

Have you read Neuromancer? Would you consider reading it? Let me know in the comments!

My Writing Projects

There was a point in time when I used to talk about my writing all the time with The Writing Quest. I loved doing the series but it became stressful when I started to move between projects – I didn’t want to seem like I was completely abandoning the thing I was working on, but forcing myself to stick to a singular project at a time doesn’t work for the way I write at the moment. I get bored, and dissuaded, easily. So, instead, I have a variety of projects on the go at once.

In this post I’m going to walk through a brief description of each of my Works in Progress (WIPs). From biggest/oldest to smallest/most recent, they are: Goddess, Cyberpunk, Dragon, Cowboy and a handful of semi-formed ideas.

Goddess

Well, where do I start. This is the big, big novel project I’ve been working on for at least three years, probably nearly four. It is quite complicated and much larger than it should be, but it holds a special place in my heart. I want to eventually get a first draft together, but I’m not in the right headspace at the moment to even attempt it. I want to get better at writing, and planning, before returning to it. Ever had the feeling you’re not good enough of a writer to do justice to the thing you’re trying to write? Yeah, that’s why I’m stuck with this one right now. The last time I did some work on it I freed up some sticking points but I kind of want to leave it alone to brew for a bit longer before reattempting anything to do with it. I have so many Pinterest boards that I want to put together into one semi-cohesive sectioned board, so drop me a follow on Pinterest if you want to get notified of when that happens.

Cyberpunk

This one came from a piece I had to write from university and from all the sci-fi, robot and cyberpunk medium I was interacting with. It is a cyberpunk retelling of Alice in Wonderland and I love the idea, but because I put so much effort into it for university, I think it needs more time to develop so I can figure out how I want to form a proper narrative out of it. I’ve got a lot of ideas, but not enough to put together a cohesive outline.

Dragon

Ah, yes. This one. My current baby – Dragon is the thing I’m working on right now. It even has its own Pinterest board, here! I want to talk about this in another post. Maybe I’ll document some of the planning stages! I’m a real pantser when it comes to plot, setting, and… pretty much everything. All I can say is it is fantasy and there may be dragons.

The Leftovers

What kind of writing projects do you have at the moment? Let me know in the comments, and share the link to any posts you’ve made about your own writing so I can see what my fellow writers are up to!

How To Get More Blog Comments

So, you want blog comments? If there is anything that I’m sure every single blogger in the world can relate to, it’s the feeling of receiving a new comment on your blog – whether its your first, third or hundredth. When I relaunched my blog I knew that there was one thing I’d always been doing wrong – I’d forgotten, and neglected, the golden rule of blogging.

Say it with me, loud and clear: if you want comments, you gotta give comments.

This isn’t some kind of karma scheme. Commenting on someone’s post doesn’t mean the same person with necessarily comment back immediately, but the more people in the blogging community who take an active role in commenting, the more people will get comments! We all know this, but everyone is guilty of not always being that

I think one of the main problems is: we don’t know what to comment.

This is where this post comes in! I used my three years on-and-off blogging experience, and spoke to someone in my book blogging community, to produce a list of good things to say when you comment on another persons blog.

  • A simple ‘great post’ or ‘nicely written’. This is great if you’re new to the blogger and perhaps this is your first comment. Make sure to make sure it is genuine and change it up to avoid commenting the same thing over and over again.
  • Gushing about the books the posts mentions. The couple of bloggers I spoke to said they loved it when a commenter shared a similar love for the book or books they were talking about. Do you recognise the book, the series or the author? Tell the blogger!
  • Ask questions. This is a great way to get a conversation started. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated – pick any element of the post and ask them about it!
  • Mention you’ll add the book/s to your TBR! This shows you were convinced enough by their argument to consider giving the book a try.
  • Comment on something you learnt! Did you read an article
  • Address your favourite part of the post. Was there an element of the structure or the layout of the post that you liked?
  • Be specific. The more specific your comment is to that post, referring to books or topics they directly talk about, the more likely you are to form a conversation – and if you can form bonds with other bloggers, they will remember you the next time your post pops up on their feed.

I also want to talk about a couple of points that I, personally, avoid when I’m commenting across blogs.

  • Don’t comment with a spammy nature. If you repeat the exact same comment or phrase again and again, eventually people will notice and they won’t value your comments. You might also get blocked by spam filters.
  • Don’t push your own blog posts. I personally don’t leave links to my blog in my comment because I figure that if people want to read my posts, they will click through my profile and find it for themselves.
  • Don’t promote your own social media, unless they ask for it. The better way to connect with them on another social media website is to find their social media somewhere on their blog and then follow them directly, rather than posting a link and expecting them to click it.

I hope all these suggestions and ideas will help you go out and give more comments, and attract more commenters in return. Remember: nothing you comment will make the blogger feel anything but love and appreciation for you. Interacting with a post means you cared enough about the blogger and their hard work to give them something back, and it is a genuinely great way to get invested in the blogging community.

I challenge you to find a blog post with under five comments and leave the blogger a compliment or ask them a question! Then come back and tell me how it went.

Did you find any of this advice useful? Is there anything you would add? Let me know in the comments!

What I’ve Been Reading This Week!

We’re coming to the end of the first week of 2019, so I’ve decided to trial a new Sunday series where I talk about everything I’m reading right now.

Disclosure: I use Amazon affiliate links in this post, which means if you click through and decide to make a purchase, I receive a small commission

What I’ve Been Reading This Week…

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
Book cover, Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

I’ve just finished this and I want to put up a review some time soon! I absolutely adored reading this, from start to finish. Bonfire is about a woman returning to her hometown, tracking the disappearance of a girl after she and a group of her friends came down with an unexplained sickness. I don’t want to talk about it any more to avoid the chance of spoiling it. The only other thriller I have read before is Gone Girl and while the two books are very different, they both explore the darkest sides of human nature. I’ll talk about this more in my full review.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Image result for frankenstein mary shelley

I’m getting stuck into Frankenstein now and it is very different to what I thought it would be, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are a lot of gothic similarities with Dracula but I think I’m enjoying Frankenstein, judging by how I’ve felt about the first few chapters.

Orlando by Virginia Woolf
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It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything by Woolf so I’m finding the process of adjusting to her narrative style a bit jarring. Still, I think once I get into the flow of Orlando I think I’ll enjoy it a lot more! The only other book I’ve read by Woolf was Mrs Dalloway which, because it was based in London, I really enjoyed – so Orlando has a lot to live up to. I know absolutely nothing about the plot of the book and I’m kind of looking forward to just reading it without overthinking it.

Starting from next week I’m going to be starting to publish book reviews again, beginning with Neuromancer and Bonfire, so look forward to those.

What are you reading this week? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!

My Lazy 2019 TBR List

I was inspired to talk about my 2019 reading plans by the post Jess @ Beaucoupbooks made, called her Lazy 2019 TBR List. I have a very similar attitude towards TBRs – I don’t stick to them, and I don’t usually like making them – so this is a laid back approach to the reading I want to get done in 2019.

This list doesn’t include any of my university books for the second semester, which begins at the end of January.

I’ve decided to actually make a Goodreads shelf for my 2019 TBR and at the end of the year we can compare and see what books I actually read in 2019. Click this link to keep up to date with anything I add to the shelf along the way!

TBR in 2019

Electric Dreams by Philip K. Dick

Ever since I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? for one of my modules last year, I’ve had a copy of Electric Dreams that I haven’t gotten around to read. It seems appropriate to start this TBR list with books I already own and want to read. I think it is an anthology of short stories exploring our relationship with technology. A lot of the goodreads reviews reccomend reading it as a companion to the tv series adaptation of the same name, which I think I will do.

Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

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I got the first book in the Nyxia triad through Netgalley and was also given this, the sequel, earlier this year! I’m super excited to get around to reading it because I loved Nyxia and from the first chapter I’ve read of Nyxia Unleashed, it looks set to be keeping to its high standards. I have it digitally but once the full trilogy is released I will probably buy physical copies because can we take a moment to truly appreciate how beautiful the covers of this series is? I love everything about the design.

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

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Ever since I read the first book in this series by Kiersten White, I’ve been obsessed – I own the second book but I just haven’t had time to read the sequel yet mostly because of reading for university, the excuse I use for every single book that I’ve meant to read over the past year. In 2019 I am definitely going to read Now I Rise and if I don’t, you have permission to yell at me continually on Twitter until I do. I love the world building, I love the characters, and I can’t wait to see where the sequel goes!

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

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I’ve been a big fan of The Shadowhunter Chronicles since The Mortal Instruments was released – I started reading about six months before City of Heavenly Fire was released. I can’t wait for the next book, which will be the last book in The Dark Artifices trilogy. I probably won’t have time to read this for awhile yet because I have a lot of university reading, but I think waiting for the chance to dedicate all my reading time to it is a better idea.

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne

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I got a copy of this through Netgalley last year and it is another book I haven’t had time to read yet. I love Holly Bourne’s other young adult books and this is her first book in adult contemporary. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary usually, but alongside Alice Oseman, Holly Bourne is one of my select few contemporary authors who I enjoy reading. I have it on kindle so it will probably take me longer to get around to reading it than physical books, but once I have it downloaded hopefully it is something I can read on the go.

What books are you putting on your 2019 TBR shelf? Let me know in the comments!

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