Doughnuts: made the easy way!

photo credit: slightly everything via photopin cc

When I’m not reading, blogging or doing homework, I’m cooking. Cooking is a lot like reading and writing: it brings ingredients together to create a single dish that tells a story of flavors, family, friends and experiences. And just like with books, you don’t have to be the creator. Sometimes we’re all just looking for a little eye candy. So here’s a little food for thought!

I don’t know if you all know this, but I’m a total foodie. A foodie is “someone who has an ardent or refined interest in food.” Cooking is all about discovery for me – seeing which ingredients work well together, what flavors can be created, and what new foods can be tried. So now I’m bringing this discovery to TGR!

Every Monday I’ll be sharing a new food find, recipe, and of course, some eye candy.

This week: doughnuts

(Yes, I spell it “doughnuts.” It really, really bugs me when I see it spelled as “donuts.”)

So, I’ve been on a bit of a doughnut kick. And in this kick I’ve learned a new trick. (Oh man, I rhymed.) Check this out:

Talk about easy!

Thank you, Pinterest!

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8 Responses to “Whip it Up Mondays! {13} – doughnuts made easy.”

  1. *snorts* It must be spelled doughnuts, huh?

    That looks like a really easy way to make doughnuts! 🙂

  2. Liz. R says:

    I am trying to find out if these are sold in England, they look amazing and so easy to make! If not, I will just have to go out and buy some, you’ve got me craving doughnuts now :P.

  3. OMG!! I used to make these alllll the time!! They really are super tasty and fluffy. 🙂

  4. Cialina says:

    I admit it… I am IMPRESSED.

Cooking tips: prep.

photo credit: slightly everything via photopin cc

When I’m not reading, blogging or doing homework, I’m cooking. Cooking is a lot like reading and writing: it brings ingredients together to create a single dish that tells a story of flavors, family, friends and experiences. And just like with books, you don’t have to be the creator. Sometimes we’re all just looking for a little eye candy. So here’s a little food for thought!

I don’t know if you all know this, but I’m a total foodie. A foodie is “someone who has an ardent or refined interest in food.” Cooking is all about discovery for me – seeing which ingredients work well together, what flavors can be created, and what new foods can be tried. So now I’m bringing this discovery to TGR!

Every Monday I’ll be sharing a new food find, recipe, and of course, some eye candy.

This week: cooking tips

Cooking tips don’t always pertain to the actual cooking of things. Sometimes tips are also essential for prep work. Here are two quick tips to make your cooking experiences just a little bit better.



Ever go to cut an onion, only to be reduced to tears and burning eyes? (It’s all right. It happens to all of us.)

Did you know there’s a way to prevent that, though? That’s right. You don’t have to cry!

Here’s what you can do:

1. Put the onion in the fridge or freezer at least 20-30 minutes before planning to cut it.

2. Quickly rinse the onion (peeled) in water, then chop.



Garlic is amazing, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to smell like it for quite some time.

Here’s how to get the potent smell off your hands:

1. After chopping the garlic, rub your hands on a stainless steel utensil.

2. After chopping the garlic, wash your hands with lemon soap or lemon juice.

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8 Responses to “Whip it Up Mondays! {15} – cooking tips.”

  1. I have heard that onion trick!

    Also, I like garlic. Mmmm…. garlic.

  2. Liz. R says:

    Is it odd that I usually don’t cry cutting onions? I do sometimes but most of the time I’m fine. I wonder why…maybe different types of onions have different effects? And garlic is amazing but the smell left on your hands is annoying. Will definitely be using those tips!

  3. Nikki Steele says:

    What a fun one! I actually have a pair of old swimming goggles I use when cutting onions because they make me tear up so badly. I have to use them covertly as my husband can’t help laughing when he sees me in them.

    Another quick garlic tip if you don’t have a garlic press is to slice the clove thinly, sprinkle a bit of salt over it, and then mash it with the back of a fork. The salt makes it easier to break the garlic up.

    • Alissa says:

      😮 I like that tip! Especially because I don’t have a garlic press. Will be using in the future! Thanks, Nikki. 🙂

Quinoa veggie burger (recipe)

photo credit: slightly everything via photopin cc

When I’m not reading, blogging or doing homework, I’m cooking. Cooking is a lot like reading and writing: it brings ingredients together to create a single dish that tells a story of flavors, family, friends and experiences. And just like with books, you don’t have to be the creator. Sometimes we’re all just looking for a little eye candy. So here’s a little food for thought!

I don’t know if you all know this, but I’m a total foodie. A foodie is “someone who has an ardent or refined interest in food.” Cooking is all about discovery for me – seeing which ingredients work well together, what flavors can be created, and what new foods can be tried. So now I’m bringing this discovery to TGR!

Every Monday I’ll be sharing a new food find, recipe, and of course, some eye candy.

This week: veggie burgers

Hello, I’m Alissa and I may be turning into a vegetarian.

All right – that’s not necessarily true. But I do love my vegetables, and lately I’ve been a severe quinoa junky. (That stuff is SO good!) So naturally if you put quinoa and veggies together, I’m going to start drooling. …Although technically I planned to post about another food find, after stumbling upon this recipe and giving it a go, I couldn’t resist; I had to share.

Do you see these beauties sizzling?

I had my reservations about making these, though. Years ago, when I’d decided to try going vegetarian, it was veggie burgers that stopped me from continuing a meatless path. Those premade, hard-as-rock patties were beyond unappetizing and finding this recipe brought back the memories of eating what might as well have been cardboard. But then I saw that they called for quinoa and I thought, How bad could they really be?

Not. Bad. At. All. (Of course this one looks way more picture-perfect than mine!)


veggie burgers

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 15 ounces can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a small pot, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, scallions, garlic, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, salt, and pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.
  3. Form mixture into four patties. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned, about 8 minutes per side. [note: I found that this made too much of the mixture for only four patties (I didn’t want them that thick), so I ended up with six instead.]


In the end, these were absolutely delicious. And hey – I didn’t have to feel guilty for eating two because they’re packed with protein!

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4 Responses to “Whip it Up Mondays! {14} – veggie burgers.”

  1. *drools* I may have to try these. They look delicious!

  2. Nikki Steele says:

    Looks amazing! I find myself swinging to vegetarian recipes lately too, especially with the heat.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (book review)

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him—the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target.

384 pages | Published: September 29, 2011 | Penguin Group


For a story that revolves around Jack the Ripper, I expected there to be many more Ripper moments.

The first chunk of The Name of the Star consists of serious build-up and character building, specifically that of Rory and her new life at boarding school. It’s a typical fish-out-of-water scenario.  That said, the characters are all memorable and realistic – especially the boys.  For once, it was nice to not have boys banging down any doors, standing outside windows with boomboxes, or going out of their way to get the girl.  Consequently, the romance took a back seat.  And even when it was prevalent, it was spontaneous and … awkward.  Really, all it did was get my hopes up very early on.

I never expected this story to take the turn that it did.  It kept me hooked, but dissolved into a letdown.  I never felt the urgency or terror associated with the Ripper drama. Instead of increasing in action, it dwindles, becoming a long history lesson. Between long monologues and recounts of past events, I fought to finish. The latter half of The Name of the Star feels as if it’s a separate story, woven together out of thin air.  I felt tricked, no longer understanding the story’s progression.  Had there been more answers to Rory’s questions, maybe I’d be satisfied as well. But I’m just left wondering how the story gets from point A to point B.

This is a good one if you enjoy mysteries that pull you in multiple directions.  It’s not entirely unpredictable, but more teasing than anything.  Don’t expect to be scared. It’s rather tame. Ultimately, I’m unsure what The Name of the Star tries to achieve.

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6 Responses to “REVIEW! The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.”

  1. Have you read any of Maureen Johnson’s contemp books? I’m curious how they compare.

  2. We Heart YA says:

    Really good review. We only read part of NAME OF THE STAR (then the library book was due back, haha) but we agree that it wasn’t completely… even/coherent. Like, we enjoyed it well enough, but we were never totally absorbed or emotionally engaged. We might finish it, just to find out what happened, but… well, we might just enjoy Maureen Johnson’s Twitter stream instead. 😛

    • Alissa says:

      Yes, exactly: never fully engaged. I wanted to be, so badly. But the story never added up.

      I think it’s worth finding out what happens. But if there’s a sequel (which I’m betting there is one already planned), I probably wouldn’t attempt it.

TGR’s 2nd blog birthday!

TGR’s 2nd blog birthday!


14 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion, News


It’s TGR’s 2nd blog birthday!

It really doesn’t feel like I’ve been blogging and managing a site for two full years. It still feels like I started just yesterday. To think that I’ve come this far, and gotten through all the ups and downs I’ve encountered, I’m proud. TGR may be young, but it’s not that  young.

In the past year, TGR has really grown:

It made the switch from Blogger to WordPress. (Guide here.)

It introduced a new feature.

Of course, as the sole operator of TGR, I’ve grown too in the past year:

I pursued a new project.

I took the time to appreciate what TGR has done for me, and thanked all of you in this wonderful community. (We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for each other.)

I met Sarah Dessen at my first-ever author signing.

And I’ve read some really  awesome books.


The thing about book blogging is that it isn’t solely about the books. In fact, a lot of book blogging is about the book bloggers. And this past year has been very kind to me in that department. I’ve not only met new bloggers, but also grown closer to those I met two years ago. Yes, blogging is a lot of work, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. And the friendships I’ve formed are irreplaceable. I don’t view those that I’ve met or gotten to know only as book bloggers; I view them as friends.We may live all over the world, but we’re still there for each other. They make blogging worthwhile.

So thank you, my lovely friends. I hope to read and share many more books with all of you.

One of the most important things I’ve learned this past year about blogging is that blogging is about giving back. And I don’t mean through giveaways. It’s about giving back to all the authors who consistently aid our never ending reading needs. It’s about treating each other with respect, and passing along good books. It’s about coming together and sharing knowledge.

It’s not about sacrificing your personal life, your job, or having fun. Book blogging isn’t simply what you make of it, but also who you make it with.

Happy birthday, TGR!

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14 Responses to “TGR’s 2nd blog birthday!”

  1. Happy 2 years! *throws confetti into the air* Your post is perfect <3

  2. Nafiza says:

    Happy 2nd Birthday to TGR. I feel like we’re raising toddlers. Hehe.

  3. Happy Birthday to The Grammarian’s Reviews! *does a birthday dance*

  4. We Heart YA says:

    Hear hear! And happy blog birthday! We’re so glad to be part of the party. 🙂

  5. Cialina says:

    Aw yay!!! Happy blog birthday, Alissa! 🙂

  6. Liz. R says:

    Happy second blogoversary! Here’s to another great year :). And a lot of book blogging is definitely about the bloggers – you meet so many nice people this way! I’m also very jealous that you got to meet Sarah Dessen.

  7. Anne says:

    Happy birthday! Good luck with your next year and I can’t wait to work with you more in the future!

Deadly Little Lessons by Laurie Faria Stolarz (book review)

Deadly Little Lessons by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Camelia’s junior year of high school is finally over…but her troubles aren’t. After she discovers a painful truth about her family, she escapes to a summer arts program in Rhode Island, determined to put family – and boyfriend – dramas behind her.

At the arts school, she gets caught up in the case of Sasha Beckerman, a local girl who’s gone missing. Even though all signs suggest that the teen ran away, Camelia senses otherwise. Eager to help the girl, she launches her own investigation. While reviewing the details online, she stumbles across a blog by someone named Neal Moche, a fellow psychometric. With Ben away, Camelia feels as if she’s found a kindred spirit in Neal. That sense of connection also makes Camelia realize how much she misses Ben, despite being committed to Adam.

But time is running out for Sasha, and Camelia will have to trust her powers more than ever. Will the lessons she has learned give her the strength to save Sasha before it’s too late?

336 pages | Published: December 18, 2012 | Hyperion Books for Children


I never really thought this would happen – giving anything in the Touch series less than four stars.  But, I digress.

If anything, read this for the romance.  It’s worth it, I promise.

Buuuuuuut, if you’re looking for more from Camelia, forget about it. This installment begins with a VERY CRUCIAL plot twist, which immediately takes you to the edge of your seat, but just as quickly pushes you back for the long haul.  Camelia doesn’t step up to the plate enough for me.  Again, I was left wishing for more character growth.  We’re given so many details and bits and pieces, but they don’t add up to anything.  She’s like a blank slate. And with the series being this late in the game, my expectations only become higher. And, needless to say, they weren’t fulfilled.

The mystery aspect is, as usual, enticing and invigorating.  It had me scouring each word for clues.  But, again, it takes center stage, rather than Camelia.  I went in hoping for a little bit more from our usual cast, and was sorely disappointed.  A lot of it is repetition, of Camelia trying to make sense of her powers and feelings.  While I understand that this is still a process for her, as the reader I needed more. Or some sort of change.  A different angle.

Just when the story starts getting good and showing signs of progression, it ends.  It’s as if the only real Camelia moments are saved for the beginning and ending.  For me, this is frustrating.  I needed to see the bigger picture, or the purpose of it all, throughout the story.  When everything hit me at the end, I still had unanswered questions and knew the characters no better than I did from when I started.

If these were meant to be purely stand-alone mystery novels, I’d be better able to forgo the lack of character development and interaction.  But they’re not.  Yes, they deal with stand-alone mysteries, but the overall arching plot revolves around Camelia.  And if she’s a dud, her story becomes a dud.

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2 Responses to “REVIEW! Deadly Little Lessons (Touch Series #5) by Laurie Faria Stolarz.”

  1. Liz. R says:

    Aw, it’s a shame you didn’t love this one as much as the others! The series does sound great overall though, and I’m really intrigued by the romance you mention. I might have to start this series soon – maybe in the summer when I have unlimited reading time! Fab review :).

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (review)

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

304 pages | Published: June 14, 2012 | Penguin Group USA, Inc.


Can I just say that Sam and Jase may be my new favorite contemporary YA couple? Really. Jase is the fictional boyfriend I’ve been looking for all along.

Fitzpatrick makes these characters sing. They’re so real and dynamic, always working with each other. I’ve never before seen so many characters flow together.

That being said, I think this plot attempts to tackle a lot, and succeeds in tackling half of it. From politics, to drugs, to sex, to best friends, to boyfriends, to exes – there’s a lot to be said. And most of the time, Fitzpatrick gets the messages across. But the latter portion of the book nosedives so fiercely and suddenly, and doesn’t have enough time to recover. I just wanted more, more, more. It left me feeling like someone stomped on my heart and tried to put it back to normal…unsuccessfully. The resolution feels like a cop-out. When it says “the bottom drops out of her world,” Fitzpatrick wasn’t kidding. In the turn of a page the story goes from a super high to a super low. (Keep tissues handy. Just in case.)

Nevertheless, be prepared to be captivated very early on, even though it’s strange at first. The plot points (although whacky later), are spaced in a way that’s so seemingly seamless and fluid.  You get from Point A to Point B to Point C without ever feeling as if something’s been done just to create this new niche in the story.

If anything, read it for the romance. Really. It’s too darn perfect. Everybody will want a Garrett.

I know I do.

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5 Responses to “REVIEW! My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.”

  1. Alissa. I am INTRIGUED by this book. INTRIGUED. (Also, I like romance. Like, a lot.)

  2. We Heart YA says:

    Oh yeah, we definitely do. 😉

    We felt very similarly too you on pretty much all fronts, and are glad to know we’re not the only ones!

  3. […] Reviews: Goodreads Tar Heel Bibliobabe: 5 of 5 Stars (@theelbibliobabe) The Grammarian’s Reviews: 4 of 5 Stars […]

Blogging for yourself.

Blogging for yourself: a response.


19 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion

Amanda posted a very thought-provoking post about blogging for you. At the conclusion of her post, she asked the following question:

What do you think it means to blog for yourself?

We all know how difficult blogging can be. We also know how easy it can be – sometimes seemingly more for others than for yourself.

The important thing to remember is that blogging isn’t a competition. I think sometimes we’re unaware we’re even competing, especially when first beginning blogging. When starting blogging, there’s always someone with more ARCs than you, a better layout than you, more credibility than you, more followers than you, more successful ideas than you. But guess what? That’s always going to be the case, especially if you’re comparing yourself to others and/or trying to measure up to them.

Blogging for you means measuring up to yourself. At its basis, book blogging revolves around book reviews. And book reviews are your own thoughts. Would you sacrifice your thoughts on a book to measure up to someone else’s? I sure hope not. So if you wouldn’t sacrifice your reviews, why would you sacrifice the rest of your blog?

When I started blogging, I sacrificed personal aspects of my blog. After a few failed meme attempts, I decided to scrap my ideas and stick to all the other popular memes out there. This resulted in many blogging slumps and no significant increase in followers. It took a full year for me to realize that this caused me to not blog for myself. I was blogging for others, for readers. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I scrapped participating in memes, started Whip it Up Mondays, got the courage to speak up by including more discussion posts, and co-run the Book Sessions. And since implementing this new blogging drive for myself, I’ve felt more successful than ever. I’ve met some really great people that have been there for me every step of the way. And they’re the best kind of readers.

When you blog for you, you’re happiest – you’re happy about you, about your blog, about how you blog, no matter your layout, how many ARCs or followers you have, or how many ideas/posts have “failed.” You haven’t failed if you’re being you.

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19 Responses to “Blogging for yourself: a response.”

  1. I do blog for myself, but also for the social aspect, hence I do a weekly meme post with some discussion questions, etc.

    • Alissa says:

      That’s an interesting way to look at it – that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. And I think you’re right, too. There are MANY social aspects to blogging. (Although I suppose some could be doing those social aspects purely because others do? Or in a way that isn’t representative of themselves?)

      • Blogging for myself is not synonymous with being a blog island. Blogging for myself involves creating a community (because I don’t want to be ALONE! WOE!), and so by sticking true to that aspect, I am blogging for myself.

        It’s like… blogging for your own purposes. My purpose is to create community, so that’s what I do.

  2. We Heart YA says:

    Hear hear! Also, the way we think of “blogging for us” is, Are we writing posts that we would want to read?

    • Alissa says:

      Oooh, a very good point I wish I’d included. I could probably go on and on about that by itself, though.

  3. YES! Alissa, I think you nailed it. I see the SAME kind of behavior during Bout of Books. No matter how many times I say, “It’s NOT a competition” people invariably compare themselves to others. I don’t think they even realize what they’re doing, but I do believe it’s this tendency to compare ourselves that leads us to stray away from blogging for ourselves.

    Perhaps part of the problem is that we need something to measure our success. Looking at other successful bloggers is one way of doing it. However, I like to think that, rather than looking to others for success measurement, the best way to tell whether you’ve succeeded is to ask yourself: am I happy with what I’m doing? If you’re happy, you’re successful.

  4. Finding your own voice can be hard but isn’t it amazing how much more you enjoy doing this when you aren’t trying to please everyone?

    • Alissa says:

      It’s crazily amazing. I’d always known I was a little stressed about blogging before, but didn’t know just how stressed I really was. When I took a step back to do things my way, it wasn’t easy, but it’s proven to be a lot less stress-worthy.

  5. Liz. R says:

    This is a great post. It’s easy to forget about blogging for yourself, we’ve all done it. But you just have to remember blogging isn’t about getting hundreds of comments and things, it’s an outlet meant for you and what you want to talk about! 🙂

  6. I love this. It’s important to remember who you are blogging for and yes, it is very easy to compare yourself to others. I love how you ask, “Would you sacrifice your own thoughts…” and this applies to many things about yourself. Don’t sacrifice your integrity or your opinions. Great post!

    • Alissa says:

      I like that you said integrity because that encompasses all of the aspects, and it’s very important to maintain your integrity.

  7. […] Blogging for yourself: a response — Amanda @ On a Book Bender posed a really great question about what it means to blog for yourself. This was my response to her question. […]

On falling behind on blogging.

On falling behind on blogging.


19 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion

As many of you already know, I’m a college student (tackling senior year!). This probably means nothing to you.

But it means everything to me. They tell you college is what you make of it, and well…I’m making the most of it. My schedule is jam-packed. Between classes, work, homework and thesis-writing, I have little spare time in which I feel like doing anything productive. Seriously. I’m all about putting aside the computer and just…not thinking or worrying about stuff.

Because of this, I severely slack on my personal reading and blogging.

But this isn’t one of my typical apologetic, I’ll Be Back Soon! posts.

I was inspired to write this after reading Amanda’s post on the entitlement mentality.

Every winter break and summer, I put a lot of my time into blogging and reading. Not because I have to, but because I want to. After going months estranged from the community, I begin to crave that normalcy and friendship again. In short: I miss you guys! So I throw myself out there. I participate in read-a-thons, try new projects, become a Twitter-holic. In return, I get visitors here. I meet new bloggers. I expand my blog reading list.

Every time I go back to school, I lose visitors. With no new content to draw them in, TGR sits abandoned. The best I can do is offer occasional posts and comments, which is enough to stay in touch with those I’ve grown closer to, but not nearly enough to build and maintain new blogging relationships. Even knowing this, I still, at times, get that nagging entitlement feeling – the one that says, “They know you’re busy. They don’t expect posts. Surely they’ll keep tweeting you as if you’re still around.” Or, “Don’t worry about it. You’ve established a small following of readers. They’ll be here when you return.”

But the truth of the matter is…they’re not. You’re not. You don’t keep visiting a blog that isn’t putting out new content, no matter how often you used to visit. What’s the point in visiting a somewhat-deserted blog?

It’s not that I enjoy feeling entitled. It’s not even like I truly feel entitled. For me, it’s more about knowing I’ve put in so much work, and the thought of it going to waste really bothers me. No one wants their blog or presence to be forgotten, do they?

I don’t know how to manage my time. I have calendar plugins and personal notes to get myself to read and post, but I can’t get myself to ever sit down and do it during the school year.

Is there a way to fix this? Is there something I could be doing to get back on track, to keep blogging while at school? Help!

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19 Responses to “On falling behind on blogging.”

  1. Definitely put college first; your formal education and all the fun stuff. Maybe you could post, short ones if need be, about your classes, the books you’re reading, heck even review books you read for classes. Your posts and reviews don’t have to be long, just substantial. Could you manage one post a week or every two weeks? If not, maybe monthly?

    You could do discussion posts, as you have time.

    While you want to keep your readership up, and I understand that, don’t stress over it. Even if you can’t post regularly, when you’re online visit and comment on other blogs so you keep up those relationships and keep your name visible.

    Have fun at school and good luck!

    • Alissa says:

      I’m definitely putting school first, of course. (I’d be worried if I wasn’t!)

      But once a week might be doable. I’ll have to look into planning something like that. :]

  2. First of it, it’s not “entitled” it’s “addicted.” You’re addicted to the feedback of an active community, to the little footprints that get left in your stats that tell you you’re not alone in the universe.

    Welcome to the club.

    I used to have a boss who messed endlessly with the schedule on a paper thin staff, trying to avoid having to admit he needed more people. I had to tell him, “you know, no matter how much you rearrange it, you’ll never turn a bikini in to a burka.”

    Your time is a bikini. You can only cover so much. Cover the necessaries (including sleep!) and then cover something that makes you happy, and the rest can go get sunburned.

    Remember this about blogging — blogging is forever. All that work you put in still counts for something in the blog-o-sphere, especially in terms of search engines. When you come back to it, you may not have your audience, but you will have an easier time building a new audience. (And they will be interested in your old posts. They won’t care how old they are.)

    • Alissa says:

      I really don’t think I’m “addicted.” That’s a bit harsh of a word and carries a lot of negative connotations.

      But I love the bikini analogy! It’s a great way to think of it. And it’s important to remember that blogging is forever.

      • Oh, I didn’t mean to be harsh, but I was speaking literally — there is something literally addictive about immediate feedback. It causes chemical reactions in your brain. And it affects everyone. It’s not like being a addict.

    • We Heart YA says:

      Completely agree with Camille here! (And haha love the bikini analogy.)

  3. I don’t think wanting to see return on our hard work is being entitled.

    But you’re right: you can’t expect people to treat you like always when you’re not around. That’s not to say that we don’t miss you, though. We do. Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice for dealing with blogging and school. That was the reason I waited so long to start my own book big.

  4. And that should say book BLOG but my phone is stupid.

  5. Liz. R says:

    I wish there were a way to keep blogging while at school, but it’s hard. I’m trying to get more organised but there really just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve only been here a few weeks and I’m already feeling pretty overwhelmed by all the work! And I get what you mean about putting in the work and it sort of going to waste. However, I do also feel like I let everyone down when I take a break and abandon the blog for a while. Sadly, though, it has to be done. Education must come first.

    • Alissa says:

      LIZ! <3

      Granted, there are times when the work isn’t overwhelming, and that’s when I’m able to put out posts like this. But they’re very few and far between. I also feel like I’m letting people down when I don’t consistently post. But like you said, education has to come first. I just wish there were some way to find balance.

  6. […] (The Grammarian’s Reviews) asked what we do when life gets in the way of blogging. I know I need to work on this […]

  7. Nikki Steele says:

    I’ll be a bit contrary to the other posters, but in the same supportive way that they all are too. Yes, you should put school first, but (and this is a major but), from everybody I’ve seen graduate around me for the last few years (myself included), life gets inordinately busier after school than we could have ever imagined during school. It’s not to bust your butt or even draw on the entitlement thing. What it more gets to is priorities. I imagine you will always feel busy, but making blogging a priority every day or every week that works for you is at the bottom of it.

    Again, trying not to assume that you don’t feel overstressed or out of time. When that happens, it’s just that realignment needs to happen as well and you have to pick and choose those things that you can fit into a normal 24 hour day. If you need your blog and the community to feel sane, make an hour a day for it or two hours on Sunday nights, something to make it into a habit.

    Sorry for my longer response! We all feel ya. I have you on my Reader so I’ll definitely check back in when you have time to put up new content. Good luck!

    • Alissa says:

      Aw, thank you, Nikki. You make an awesome point! Blogging (and the community) DOES make me feel more sane. Making time for it really is the issue. Maybe looking at it that way will be better instead of worrying about scheduling specific posts. Like, before I can do that, I need to first make the time.

    • We Heart YA says:

      Also love and agree with Nikki’s point too: life is always going to be busy, and probably only more so as you get older, start a career, maybe a family…

      A couple ideas:
      – Once a week might be a good, reasonable goal.
      – Partnering. Do you have any friends or fellow bloggers that you’d be interested in having join the Grammarian’s Reviews team? With 4 of us, it’s much easier to keep regular content going, because we have a schedule, and if something comes up with one of us, one of the others can cover.

      • Alissa says:

        I’ve actually looked into partnering in the past, but I’m not looking to do that right now. :/

        I am, however, looking into attempting once-a-week posts.

Midway Musings {1} — The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa.

[To preface this post: Midway Musings is a new feature at The Grammarian’s Reviews in which I discuss my thoughts of what I’m currently reading and am around midway through.]






Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myths and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My name is Ethan Chase. And I may not live to see my eighteenth birthday.

397 pages | To be released: October 23, 2012 | Harlequin Teen


My midway thoughts:

I was recently approved on NetGalley to read The Lost Prince, and when I first downloaded it, I expected to be finished with it in three hours – tops. And yet here I am, barely halfway through.

So what happened?

Ethan Chase happened. Ethan is one tough cookie. Maybe too  tough, because I’m having the hardest time with his narration. I want to shake him! I want to pull him aside, shake him, and tell him it’s okay to not  be angsty all  of the time. I understand he’s a teenager. And I understand teenagers are angsty. But how many times must I read about how he’s upset that he thinks he’s ruined everyone’s lives?

At times I understand why he feels the way he feels, but at other times I’m at a loss. I’m hoping there’s some real change for him in the near future. Right now repetition is my worst enemy – from Ethan’s flip-flopping to Kenzie’s incessant “tough guy” name calling to the fey’s repeated warnings. To that list, I say, I get it. Please, let’s move on.

I think at this point it’s safe to say that I’m still acclimating to this story, which I’m dubbing “Meghan’s future.” It’s still strange to not have her around, and for Ethan to not be a toddler. Maybe if I can break free of the old mindset, The Lost Prince will shape up.

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4 Responses to “Midway Musings {1} — The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa.”

  1. Liz. R says:

    It’s definitely weird to think of Ethan as a teenager, especially as an angsty, angsty teenager! :P. I hope you start to enjoy this one more as you read on.

  2. elena says:

    I feel like a ping pong with my emotions on wanting to read this book. I have an aversion to spin offs so it didn’t really appeal to me, changed my mind when I saw the cover, but now I don’t think I’m exactly anxious to read it. It’s so weird to think of Ethan all grown up! I hope it gets better.


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