The Leavers Blog Tour

The last few books I’ve read have really not captured my attention, so much so, that I’ve already DNF’d 3 books this year. Happily, Lisa Ko’s The Leavers has been an exception, which is pretty lucky because I’m part of the blog tour. Check out the banner below to see other blogger’s reviews!

One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her.

With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. They rename him Daniel Wilkinson in their efforts to make him over into their version of an “all-American boy.” But far away from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother’s disappearance and the memories of the family and community he left behind.

The Leavers had me hooked from the start. The book has been frequently likened to Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and while yes, there are similarities with the adoption storyline and themes of identity, I want to look at The Leavers in its own right.

First of all, the cover is incredibly eye catching. I usually read books on my Kindle so miss out on pretty covers but when The Leavers fell through my post box and I unwrapped a beautiful burnt orange book, I was so excited to read it. One huge tick already!

I really loved this book. Admittedly I judged the book by its blurb and was a little worried that the content may make the book a heavy read. But, I was so wrong. I loved the shifts in narrative, from Deming as a young boy, to present day Daniel and Polly’s perspective. The book dealt so beautifully with the themes of immigration, identity and finding that sense of belonging.

This is an incredible book, particularly for a debut novel and I’m so excited to see what’s in store for Lisa Ko.

Rachel x-x-x

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April Showers

April has been a month of happiness and weirdness and sadness and stress and love.

Finally I am bursting with a need to write. My creative juices have been zapped by an endless mountain of assignments, lists and job applications. As a result my blog has been a little dead of late, something that I’m hoping to change however sporadic the posts may be. I have felt disillusioned with blogging recently. Everything has already been said, Instagram is “the thing” now and while yes, I like it, it doesn’t give me the satisfaction that blogging does. For the last few weeks or months (it feels like I’ve been away forever), I have been worried about getting back into the blog world, worried that I am speaking into the void, that my posts are for no one. But on reflection I’ve realised that my posts are for me.

I have never written to impress or for views, it doesn’t interest me, but nor do I want to ever say that I am a “writer”, not a blogger, as though there is some kind of hierarchy. For a long time I pondered how I could be part of the blogging community without really feeling part of it. I don’t have a niche, I just write about the things going on in my brain and I like reading about the things going on in other people’s brains. But most of all I love the feeling of writing a post and getting a comment from someone saying “I feel like that too,” no matter how mundane the subject matter.

Life right now is hectic right now. University is ending, I need to nail down a job and a flat and move to the other side of the country, amongst a million other life things. But blogging is what has got me through all the previous stresses of the past few years. For a time I have been cautious to pour my heart out into my blog, to share how I’m really feeling, to take risks in my content. But I want to get back there.

So we can debate whether blogging is dead and decide which new platform is going to steal our attention for the next few months but for me, right now, blogging is well and truly alive.

Rachel x-x-x

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Not That I Could Tell Blog Tour

Drinks in hand, a group of neighbourhood women gather around a fire pit to enjoy a rare child-less Saturday night. Giddy with freedom, they drink too much, share secrets they wish, perhaps, they hadn’t, and enjoy getting to know each other better.

The single newcomer. The imperfect mom. The new-born parents. The military wife. The almost divorcee.

Come Monday morning, one of them is gone.

As a police investigation launches, the women will band together and ask whether they should have noticed that something was amiss.

But how well can you really know your neighbours, when appearances can be so deceiving?

 

Since falling in love with Big Little Lies, I’m always on the lookout for anything similar. Think: a group of women in suburbia with a mystery. That’s exactly what Not That I Could Tell gave me.

I really enjoyed this book. I’ll admit that for the first fifty or so pages I struggled to get my head around the who was who and honestly felt that we could have done with a couple fewer characters. However, once I had a handle on who everyone was, I really got into the book.

The novel was paced in a way that made it easy to read but didn’t feel rushed and by the last few chapters I simultaneously wanted to finish the book and didn’t want it to end.

I love female focused novels that aren’t your average ‘chick-lit,’ and Not That I Could Tell really ticked those boxes for me.

It’s a great book for any fans of Liane Moriarty fans and definitely a good summer read.

Follow the rest of the tour below!

 

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Twitter Etiquette and Why I’m Sick of the Blogosphere

I’ve been a little down on blogging recently. I thought it was a lack of motivation or that I had nothing to say but I’ve noticed it’s actually more about the blogging community. Feel free to eye roll because goddamn how many times do we bloggers get on our high horses about this?

I started blogging a little less than two years. In that time my blog has gone from being solely about mental health to more of a mix of lifestyle, mental health and general wellbeing with the odd book review for good measure. I’m so pleased and grateful for how my blog has grown over the last two years. I never imagined that anyone would read it let alone be publishing blog posts out to 5,000 Twitter followers.

But in a way I yearn for the days when I had a couple of hundred people following me because I know that I was braver with my content. I was happier to tweet my opinions because I wasn’t scared of people smacking me down in an instant. The other day I was out with a blogging friend for coffee and we talked about how we often felt scared of posting things online in case they offended someone or triggered an argument. As a quiet person, the internet has given me a platform for sharing my opinions. It has given me a place to be able to articulate my feelings before saying them, to discuss differing opinions with others and most importantly to learn from others. But in recent months, social media, Twitter in particular, feels like a breeding ground for anger, wild goose chases and hostility.

There appears to be a belief on the internet that “calling people out” is okay. It’s an almost daily occurrence on my timeline that someone will post a tweet, someone else will take offence, share it around, and before you know it, the whole blogosphere is talking about ‘drama’. Then of course, the buzzword ‘bullying’ will crop up and there’ll be yet more #drama about whether it is or isn’t bullying and why and why not we shouldn’t be throwing that term around.

What happened to polite discourse? When did we all turn into animals lashing out before re-reading to see if you’ve misunderstood or if someone has just made a throwaway comment. Twitter is a great platform for educating people and if I said something offensive then I’d be more than happy for someone to correct me on it, politely, preferably in a private message. Not retweeting the comment with a eye roll emoji and an explanation as to why it shouldn’t have been said.

Nobody is perfect and we all say things online that we shouldn’t. But sometimes we say things online that we didn’t even know we shouldn’t. There’s a fine line between pointing something out to someone and going out of your way to embarrass and upset someone in return. And the blogosphere just doesn’t seem to be getting that balance right.

People shouldn’t be scared to post their opinions, or to post anything in fact. Sometimes I spend far too long editing a tweet to make sure that it can’t be misconstrued into something that will upset someone. Maybe you could say I shouldn’t be so bothered about it. Why am I getting into such a tizz over the possibility of someone reading my tweet and being offended by it? But right now, for me, it’s not really about that.

It’s about this gang mentality of taking sides where sides don’t need to be taken. I really don’t think any one person should be telling anyone else what to do or say or believe. Sure, we can suggest that a specific tweet might be taken the wrong way but going around thinking everyone needs educating because they don’t share your opinion is patronising, not to mention rude.

This was basically a big ramble because I don’t have any answers except to say maybe we could all try to be a little kinder and not jump to conclusions so quickly. Because that’s the only way I can see the blogosphere improving its community right now.

Rachel x-x-x

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The Art of Trying

Recently I’ve been inspired by this video by Dottie James. My introspective nature adores change. I love fresh starts and seeing progress and plotting out achievements in notebooks. But the perfectionist in me struggles with these things. One of my worst traits is my belief that if I can’t do something to its maximum then I don’t want to do it at all.

I’ve tried time and time again to make changes to my life. To exercise every day, to eat better, cut down on caffeine and a million others things I’d love to change. But, whenever I’ve made a start, I’ve been set back by one second of failure.

I constantly preach that it’s alright to miss a day or to fail but I know that I don’t really believe that. And I find it really hard when I’ve set myself a daily task and one day I just don’t have time for it. But watching Dottie’s video got me thinking. In her second video she goes back over her weekly and daily goals and sees how many times she achieved them and how many times she didn’t.

It’s not about succeeding every day. It’s not about berating yourself over not doing them. It’s just about trying.

This outlook has really changed the way I look at my own growth. At the start of the year I set myself 100 goals for the year (I was clearly feeling incredibly motivated at this point!). Some were tiny and some were much bigger but looking at them now, I can see that I’ve barely done any because 100 goals was far too overwhelming. So I’ve reassessed and set myself 3 big goals with lots of little sub-goals.

Saying Yes

I tend to play life safe. I don’t take big opportunities because I’m scared of failure and I rarely put myself “out there” in case of rejection. Honestly, I’m just really sick of being nervous of the outcome getting in the way of me doing things. So now I’m actively seeking out opportunities and living life a little bit more.

Saying No

This goal is all about me-time. I often say yes because it’s easy. Big surprise – this ends up meaning I spend a lot of time doing things for other people that I don’t really want to do.

Health

I’m the first to admit that healthy living is often a bit of a fad for me. I go through phases where I eat well and exercise but when motivation slips these good habits fall straight off the radar. I’m also terrible for forgetting to take my B12 tablets (sorry Mum!) and I could definitely just look after myself a bit better.

Although I’ve made some small goals in each category, I mostly just want to enforce that I want to live my life better. There are going to be days where I don’t do things and that’s okay. Because really what I want to practice is the art of trying. Change will come from that.

Rachel x-x-x

 

 

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A Love Like No Other: A Year of Coffee

We all know I’m quite the coffee fan. While I was decluttering my computer I decided to have a little count of all the coffees I went out for and took photos of last year. Let’s just say I could have saved a small fortune if I didn’t have this caffeine hobby…

Coffee makes me happy. I like to drink it alone. I like to drink it with friends. I like that it wakes me up and makes me feel warm. I like the nutty, bitter, smoothness of it. Sometimes I think my body might potentially be more coffee than it is blood but anyway, here’s a selection of some of the big and small moments of last year, all celebrated with a cup of coffee.

 

Rachel x-x-x

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