Tips For A Reading Slump? | Book Confessions

Book confession time: I bought these books (The Daevebad Trilogy) in hopes to finally read and complete this series after constant recommendations and empty promises to myself. And guess what? I end up marvelling at these books and picking up a different book. 

I’m discovering that perhaps I love purchasing books more than reading them right now and I need an intervention! Why am I like this? 

So, I took my plights to Bookstagram and some booksta friends recommended me their tips:

 

Reading Slump Tips:

  • Reading is for pleasure. Read what you want when you want. Don’t force yourself
  • Try varying different lengths of books (graphic novels, light novels, novella, etc.)
  • Find a book that holds your interest, even if you flip through 10 books to find 1
  • Carry an e-book reader or Kindle app to read anywhere
  • Try an audiobook
  • Re-read favourites
  • Keep a page tracker

What are reading slump tips that work for you?

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How to Declutter Books

Books often hold sentimental value to a person. Whilst everyone is different and holds different priorities and motivations, there is often an emotional connection between reader and book. Sometimes people feel anxious at the thought of decluttering their book collection and that is totally understandable and valid. Purging books is a personal choice and journey. Before purging it is important to identify your intentions.

Why am I decluttering my books?

Why do I need to keep my books?

If you are a book collector and possessing multiple copies and/or special editions brings you joy—then that is important aspect to acknowledge. For example, “I keep books because I read and collect them. I love reading and owning books give me joy I love seeing my shelves full.”

If you are not too concerned with owning special editions and drowning in the number of books perhaps consider why you need to keep all the books. 

Before you begin the process, consider yourself and your collection.

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Decluttering books: The Process

Step 1: Give yourself a time frame

Remember, be realistic with yourself. Give yourself a reasonable time frame to do this process. Some people need to do declutter in one go, some need to achieve this over increments of time.

As much as I’d like to think I can achieve this in one hit, I know I won’t. 

Step 2: Look at your book collection and categorise your books to

Keep
Donate 
Sell

That’s it! These are the steps! Haha. But if you struggle with decluttering (like me) or unsure how to categorise your books, ask yourself the following questions:

Questions for categorising books

Is this a duplicate?

    • Unless you’re an avid book collector, most often you don’t need multiple copies of a book. Check for duplicates and decide which copy you want. For optimal results be ruthless with yourself.

Is this book still relevant to me?

    • How do you determine what’s relevant for you? You get to decide the parameters. However, an example of books that have lost relevance for me include magazines, textbooks, and travel materials that have lost its relevance due to being outdated, unneeded, or unnecessary. If the book does not serve a purpose, if it holds no value to you, perhaps you no longer need it.

Have I read this and/or will I read this again?

    • Books you haven’t read:
      • Set realistic expectations on yourself: will I truly read this?
        • If the answer is no, consider why you won’t read the book and decide whether there is a need or reason to keep the book. 
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  • Books you have read—will you re-read it?
    • First and foremost: books are meant to be read. Consider why you want to keep the book. A book’s initial purpose is to be consumed. If you have read the book then the book has served its primary purpose. If you want to re-read/share/happily gaze at the book then perhaps you can and should keep the book.
  • The “Just in case” books:
    • Consider if you were to lose this book—would this bother you? If not, then perhaps the book no longer serves a purpose for you.
    • Am I able to replace this book should I need it again? (For example, library copy, digital format, is this an out of print book?)

What do to with the books:

Donate or sell

  • Donate to:
    • The public library
    • Schools
    • Thrift stores
    • People you know who would appreciate the book

If it is difficult to let go of books remember this:

  • Do I have access to a library and if so, am I able to borrow this book?
  • Can I consume this book via digital format? Audiobooks and/or e-readers?
  • Why do I own this particular book?

If you do declutter books that gives potential shelf space for more books!

Additional tips:

define a specific a home to keep the books

get rid of books you don’t usually re-read

keep books you would want to re-buy again 

be deliberate and intentional with books you want to own

I write this blog mainly to myself as I don’t want to hold onto books that I don’t love nor hold any value to me. If you have any tips or pointers on decluttering I’d love it if you’d share them!

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ARCs I’m Excited to Read in February 2021 | Thoughts and Rambles

I must really thank the ARC gods because somehow I’ve been approved to read and review some of my highly anticipated reads this year. Here’s a few: 

 

Title: Hall of Smoke
Author: H.M. Long
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Pub date: 19 Jan 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I wanted to read this:
• Gorgeous cover.
• Intriguing premise.
• A warrior main character on a mission for redemption? YES, I WANT IN.


An epic fantasy featuring warrior priestesses and fickle gods at war

Hessa is an Eangi: a warrior priestess of the Goddess of War, with the power to turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream. Banished for disobeying her goddess’s command to murder a traveller, she prays for forgiveness alone on a mountainside.

While she is gone, raiders raze her village and obliterate the Eangi priesthood. Grieving and alone, Hessa – the last Eangi – must find the traveller, atone for her weakness and secure her place with her loved ones in the High Halls. As clans from the north and legionaries from the south tear through her homeland, slaughtering everyone in their path, Hessa strives to win back her goddess’ favour.

Beset by zealot soldiers, deceitful gods, and newly-awakened demons at every turn, Hessa burns her path towards redemption and revenge. But her journey reveals a harrowing truth: the gods are dying and the High Halls of the afterlife are fading. Soon Hessa’s trust in her goddess weakens with every unheeded prayer.

Thrust into a battle between the gods of the Old World and the New, Hessa realizes there is far more on the line than securing a life beyond her own death. Bigger, older powers slumber beneath the surface of her world. And they’re about to wake up.


Title: Spellmaker 
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
Pub date: 9 March 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I wanted to read this:
• Love the premise.
• MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE TROPE YES!
• Okay, time for a confession: I didn’t realise this was a sequel so I binge read the first book and LOVED it.


Dead wizards, stolen enchantments, and broken promises force a young spellbreaker out of the shadows in the next thrilling installment of the Spellbreaker series by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician.

England, 1895. An unsolved series of magician murders and opus thefts isn’t a puzzle to Elsie Camden. But to reveal a master spellcaster as the culprit means incriminating herself as an unregistered spellbreaker. When Elsie refuses to join forces with the charming assassin, her secret is exposed, she’s thrown in jail, and the murderer disappears. But Elsie’s hope hasn’t vanished.

Through a twist of luck, the elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey helps Elsie join the lawful, but with a caveat: they must marry to prove their cover story. Forced beneath a magical tutor while her bond with Bacchus grows, Elsie seeks to thwart the plans of England’s most devious criminal—if she can find them.

With hundreds of stolen spells at their disposal, the villain has a plan—and it involves seducing Elsie to the dark side. But even now that her secret is out, Elsie must be careful how she uses the new abilities she’s discovering, or she may play right into the criminal’s hands.


Title: The Shadow in the Glass
Author: J.J.A. Harwood
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Pub date: 18 March 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I wanted to read this:
• Because I haven’t read any Cinderella retellings, okay?
• I’m so intrigued with the wishes and the price to pay!
• Look at the cover. I would love that on my shelf.


Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.

A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern. 


Title: Ace of Spades
Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Contemporary
Pub date: 10 June 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I wanted to read this:
• A Thriller!! Based in school.
• LOVE the cover.
• The premise, the themes… I need it all.


An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice. Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light. Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power. Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game… 


Title: Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder 
Author: T.A. Willberg
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Pub date: 10 June 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I want to read this:
• Love the premise.
• MYSTERY! MURDER! MAYHEM!
• Have I pointed out the cover? Because it is so beautiful.


The letter was short. A name, a time, a place.

Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder plunges readers into the heart of London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a mysterious group of detectives recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning and gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped Scotland Yard.

Late one night in April 1958, a filing assistant for Miss Brickett’s named Michelle White receives a letter warning her that a heinous act is about to occur. She goes to investigate but finds the room empty. At the stroke of midnight, she is murdered by a killer she can’t see—her death the only sign she wasn’t alone. It becomes chillingly clear that the person responsible must also work for Miss Brickett’s, making everyone a suspect.

Almost unwillingly, Marion Lane, a first-year Inquirer-in-training, finds herself being drawn ever deeper into the investigation. When her friend and mentor is framed for the crime, to clear his name she must sort through the hidden alliances at Miss Brickett’s and secrets dating back to WWII. Masterful, clever and deliciously suspenseful, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a fresh take on the Agatha Christie—style locked-room mystery with an exciting new heroine detective at the helm.


Title: She Who Became the Sun
Author: Shelley Parker-Chan
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Pub date: 22 July 2021

GOODREADS LINK HERE

Why I want to read this:
• Okay, let’s first establish the cover is gorgeous.
• A reimagining of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty? NEED.
• AHHH the synopsis is giving me Red River vibes and I need it.


Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.

To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything

“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.


Have you noticed a similar pattern with how I pick my books? Why am I so drawn to pretty covers?

What entices you to pick up a book?

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2021 Reading Goals | Thoughts and Rambles

My 2021 Reading Goals

  1. Be more intentional with reading

What does being intentional mean for me? It means to purposely take action that is important to me. Being intentional is a personal experience. For me, rather than focus on x number of books read per year, I want to consume more books that bring me joy, inform, and challenge me.

What does that mean? I want to be more conscious of the books I choose to read and spend time and money on.

Books that bring me joy: books that make me think and feel (both positive and negative)

Books that inform me: where I learn something new and/or build upon existing knowledge

Books that challenge me: books that confront me, or is from a perspective I’m not familiar with, or aspects I’m ignorant of.

  • I want to read more backlist books (books that aren’t new releases)
  • I want to finish series I liked
  • I want to read more books I own

I don’t want to read or purchase books due to the hype if it doesn’t genuinely interest me.  Life is too short to fill my time and energy on books I’m not keen on. Which leads me to my next point.

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  1. Develop a regular reading routine

My next point stems from being intentional, but it still stands on its own. Everyone is busy. Reading time is limited. Reading often takes our leisure time. And with today’s society, time is our most precious currency. I’m too broke to spend my time on things that don’t serve a purpose or be wasteful with it. Therefore, developing a regular reading routine may be extremely beneficial.

  • I aim to read at least 10 minutes a day. Ten minutes. In the greater scheme of things, it’s not something too big but it’s a realistic goal with my schedule. I can easily read in my break/time off/commuting. Plus, ten minutes doesn’t put a big pressure on me to achieve such things.

Shouting to the void that I want to have a regular reading routine is all fine and dandy but I need to have tools or an approach to ensure I achieve such goals. SooOooo…

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  1. Keep a consistent reading journal

Reading journals don’t need to be aesthetic. There, I said it! And I must continuously remind myself of this: READING GOALS DON’T NEED TO BE PERFECT AND PRETTY, DAMN IT. I’ve constantly struggled with keeping a reading journal due to me wanting to make it aesthetic rather than useful. And ugh I hate being a perfectionist, but I’m working on it.

What does a Reading Journal consist of? Anything you want. Reading journals are a testament of what you want in regards to reading and books.

What I will include in my reading journal:

    • Book Log (Information such as: Title, author, publisher, etc.)
    • Bookish thoughts
    • Book review or reading response
    • Reading Challenges
    • Book lists (bucket lists, books I love, TBR, etc.)

I want to incorporate a consistent reading journal because of the many benefits. Benefits of a reading journal include (but are not limited to):

  • Greater focus on reading and being intentional with my time and reading goals
  • More meaningful and better reflection on what I read and learned

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  1. Read owned books

Of the 115 books I own (not including duplicates), I have read 26 books. 26 out of 115. Meaning, if this was a test I would fail. My reading rate is 22% of the books I currently own. I have unread almost 80% of my owned books. I need to do better.

Last year, I fell down the rabbit hole of purchasing new releases and hyped books and bought the books before having a change to read them. Whilst I love supporting authors, it was unsustainable for both my shelf space and wallet.

I want to bring my reading rate of up to at least 50% of book I own. Meaning, whatever number of books I own I will aim to read at least half of that. I want to be intentional with what I purchase and own. A books true purpose is to be read and damn it, I will fulfil my books dream!

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  1. Declutter the books

I know there’s a saying “you can never have too many books”. And that’s true. However, for myself, I don’t like the idea of owning books I don’t plan to read. Therefore, I’d like to keep that shelf space free for a book I would like rather than owning a book just for the sake of owning it. I want to consciously curate my shelf space with books I love and am genuinely interested in.

It’s already past the middle of January and I’ve already purged 7 books I don’t plan to read or have already read and didn’t love. Yay! Progress, not perfection.

I know I can’t speak for everyone, and different people enjoy books differently. That’s okay. I just need to set realistic boundaries for myself and shelf space.

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Do you have any reading goals? If so, what are they? Let me know!

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Bad Book Buying Habits Anonymous | Book Confession + Haul

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Welcome to the Bad Book Buying Habits Anonymous. When was your last bookish purchase? I’ll start. Hi, I’m Joy and it’s been 0️⃣ days since I’ve last purchased a book.

Now, I may say buying second-hand books ‘don’t count’ but that doesn’t detract the fact I’m still running out of shelf space. 🙈 Anyway, rather than shame my book habits I wanted to display my latest book haul. We all know I’m always touting that I want to read more science fiction and thrillers. Well. I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and loving it. 😁

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What’s was the last book you bought/borrowed?

I’ve pre-ordered A Deadly Education and Kingdom of the Wicked and I’m planning to buy Raybearers later this week. I’m excited for both as they all sound so promising (plus I’ve so many positive reviews about Raybearers).

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Waterstones Mail | Book Hauls

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Hope everyone has been well. Given this whole situation, I’m fully aware of how we (okay, I mean myself) have taken full advantage of online shopping.

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Anyway, props to the postal workers because I’ve received some book mail today. (I may or may not have obsessively checked the tracking every day since ordering but that’s not the focus here haha). Thankfully, I’ve managed to fight off temptation and reduce my original total of eight books down to four. Progress. Now, I’ve never worked in Waterstones, but I’ve ordered four books, paid for postage for one package and have been receiving each book one. By. One. (Insert privileged crying here). As of today, I’ve received two books. I’ve received the last book of a series (haha) and a standalone.

My anticipated book haul:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (1/3 of Winternight series)

The Winter and the Witch by Katherine Arden (3/3 of Winternight series)

Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris (standalone)

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (standalone)

Okay, I’ll be honest. I usually prefer UK covers over the US version and that definitely was the case for The Bear and the Nightingale. AND! Because vain Joy just had to purchase the UK versions, I disregarded the fact that the middle of the series was out of print. LOL. I usually prefer to have one type and one copy of a book/series but that usually isn’t the case. Have a gander of my The Folk In The Air trilogy: two copies of two of the books (first and last book) but!!! Again I’m missing the second book??!! I am noticing this reoccurring pattern here…

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Okay. Let’s ignore my terrible shopping habits and marvel at the two gorgeous books!

 

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#ARCAugust Attempt |Book Thoughts

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Oh no. I think I developed a new bad habit and it’s in the form of constantly requesting titles on Netgalley. What’s Netgalley? Netgalley is a website where you can request Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) of books in exchange for reviews and raising awareness/sharing the love. My little eager heart has been requesting all these amazing books and I know there are various posts recommending you to NOT request away. And yet, here I am…

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I am unsurprised and unimpressed with myself haha. (Why am I like this?)

Does anyone have any specific criteria as to what they do and don’t request? Because I need an adult. How do I control myself?

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I like to read broadly as much as I can, so I’m always open with genres but I can see myself falling into a hole of continuously requesting for books (and I kind of am already?). There are so many great books out there! I don’t want to overwhelm myself with all these commitments (but let’s be honest, I’m always overwhelmed haha). Also, I like to keep my ratio above 80% because lol it tells you to and my vanity likes the badge.

Anyway, I’m a temperamental mood reader, so here’s the plan: I’m going to join #ARCAugust. Or at least, attempt to.

In actuality, I had been planned to binge read all my ARCs and I happened to see a friend post they’re taking part in #ARCAugust so why not join?

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BANNER

Chosen Ones — April (the publishers threw a wishbone at me???? thank you??)

The Girl and the Stars 30 April (currently reading)

Dark Skies — 5 May (writing review help)

Santiago’s Road Home 20 June *date changed (writing review help)

The Midnight Bargain 13 October (just go accepted??? wow thank you)

The Tea Dragon Tapestry13 October (currently reading)

How to Break an Evil Curse13 October (currently reading)

The Stitcher and the Mute12 November (my foolish self didn’t realise this was a SEQUEL; currently reading the first one)

The City of Zirdai21 June 2021 (AGAIN my foolish self didn’t realise this was a SEQUEL; currently reading the first one)

 

TO DO LIST:

☒ Read book ☐ write review ☐ post review close to the published date

There are three steps!! Three! Yet why is this so difficult? Why am I like this???

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Anyway, how’s your reading going? Do you read any ARCs? Otherwise, how do you organise your reading?

 

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Book International Giveaway

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To celebrate my Bookstagram anniversary, I’m holding an International book giveaway where there will be two winners. One winner will win a book of their choice equivalent to $25 and another winner will be an Australian based person who will win a bookish swag pack (candles, book art, book prints, etc.). 

For more details, check out my Bookstagram.

For more details of my International Book Giveaway, check out my Bookstagram. Here is the post.

 

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Bookstaversary (Bookstagram Anniversary)

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Like many people, I’ve always enjoyed reading and then stumbled a little corner of the internet filled with fellow book lovers. I discovered Bookstagram, Booktube, and later, Book twitter and loved the concept of it. After many hours (possibly hours) of perusing Bookstagram and binge-watching Booktube, I decided to join the Book community. One year later, and who knows how much dollars spent, I’ve joined a beautiful community and filled the spaces of both my bookshelf and heart with amazing friends and books. 

I’ve made many book friends in the book community and they spark so much joy in my life. Not only do they hold bookish chats, readathons, but also go above and beyond and somehow sent me bookish candles for my birthday. How sweet and thoughtful! 

The candles my beautiful bookish friends gifted me included two candles—’Cardan’ and ‘Jude’. The two candles are inspired by the characters in The Folk in the Air trilogy (The Cruel Prince). The Cardan candle has a fruity aroma and smells so delicious! On the other hand, the Jude candle smells of cinnamon. Also, not only do these candles smell amazing, they are also gorgeous to look at!

Anyway, the past year has been truly amazing and I am so glad to have joined the online book community.

Bookstagram made me do it. Cruel Prince was the first book Bookstagram influenced me to read. This book is Illumicrate’s edition of The Cruel Prince. Also, look at the gorgeous candles my Bookstagram fam gifted me—aren’t they so pretty?

 

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Sneaking through the window | Book Rambles

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Hello, everyone! My apologies for being a little MIA here. As some of you may or may not know, I’m a frontline worker. More specifically, my specialty lies in critical care (ughh I hate saying that lol). I’ll be honest, given the whole situation in the world, I’ve been feeling quite discouraged. Other than what’s going in the world, work had been (and continues to be) tough and whilst I work with amazing people like with every job, things can be busy and/or overwhelming. Not only that, I had a situation that made me question a few things and as a result lost inspiration to read, blog, and go on Bookstagram.

My self-growth tbr

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