Monday, April 30, 2012

~Spring Fling Giveaway Hop - May 1st to May 7th~

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop
May 1st - 7th
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Eve's Fan Garden

This is my FIRST time hosting a giveaway as part of a giveaway hop. I want to thank Kathy of I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for inspiring me to be part of one - since I see her so generously hosting so many of these.

Spring has finally graced us with it's presence, and the lovely weather is has brought with it is perfect weather in which to lay out in the sun, and read a fun book. What I have, as part of my prize giveaway is just the book you'll need to relax and unwind, as the lush greenery of Spring begins to surround you.

"Scrapbook of Secrets" (A Cumberland Creek Mystery #1) 

by Mollie Cox Bryan

A debut author presents the first book in a new scrapbooking-themed mystery series which features a small-town setting, quirky characters, and suspense that cozy mystery readers and crafters are sure to love. Original. Having traded in her career as a successful investigative journalist for the life of a stay-at-home mom in picturesque Cumberland Creek, Virginia, Annie can’t help but feel that something’s missing. But she finds solace in a local “crop circle” of scrapbookers united by chore-shy husbands, demanding children, and occasional fantasies of their former single lives. 

And when the quiet idyll of their small town is shattered by a young mother’s suicide, they band together to find out what went wrong… Annie resurrects her reporting skills and discovers that Maggie Rae was a closet scrapbooker who left behind more than a few secrets—and perhaps a few enemies. As they sift through Maggie Rae’s mysteriously discarded scrapbooks, Annie and her “crop” sisters begin to suspect that her suicide may have been murder. It seems that something sinister is lurking beneath the town’s beguilingly calm fa├žade—like a killer with unfinished business…

I assure you that this is an immensely enjoyable novel, so go ahead and make sure to enter my giveaway, by just filling out the Rafflecopter form below. Please MAKE SURE that you leave A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS in at least ONE of your entries, so that if you win this giveaway, I have some way of contacting you (since sometimes, the email addresses attached to your rafflecopter/Facebook accounts are not updated).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, make sure to check out the OTHER BLOGS in this Spring Fling Giveaway Hop. Now move along to the next blog, so that you can enter even more giveaways! I wish you the BEST OF LUCK, and THANK YOU for visiting - I hope you'll visit again, soon! :)


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Creative Juices Run Dry... Writer's Block & Blogger Burn Out!

The written word has always been my release. Words, spoken, can prove therapeutic too - but there is a certain languid quality of the written word, that makes it especially curative. And as such, writing has been my form of expression since a very young age. Thus, it comes as no surprise to me (or anyone who knows me, for that matter) that I chose to be a blogger, or that I write (vastly unfinished) novels. I began writing a diary when I was 12 years old, and continued chronicling my life for almost 9 years, at which time I had accumulated 6 volumes full of the drama that is my life. Unfortunately, I chose to discard those diaries at a certain point in my life as a symbol of releasing myself from my past. I know it was just a token act, that it would take a lot more than just discarding these personal journals, to get past my past (pun intended) - but the fact is, such is the hold and effect of words on me, the loss of which equates into a loss of worlds to me. 

I've really been struggling with myself for the past couple of months. With my conscience, with myself as a blogger and writer... with myself as a human being, really! 

For those of you who may have read my reviews, you know that they comprise mostly of how a book made me feel as a writer - and is never really about summarizing the book for my readers. Summaries and excerpts can be found on book websites, a blog is about opinions - so I focus on that. And I believe that is why it became so hard for me to pen reviews for the books that I've read. In addition to that, the books I read are almost always a representation of how I feel at a certain point in time. I mostly read Fiction, and contemporary fiction - with a healthy dose of YA novels, Mystery and Historical Fiction thrown in for good measure. Lately, my books have been seriously contemplative, or unbeknownst to me, have ended up being books that have led me to delve deeper into my own psyche. Books that, in my personal opinion, do not coincide with the kind of readership that I've accumulated.

For the past few months, I've found myself immensely lost when it comes to my writing. It is not just my blogging that has suffered, but my general writing, as well. Every thing that I've written in the past six months has been rife with banalities, and has been excessively stoic - I suppose it is so because I'm afraid to tap into the things that really matter to me. My interest in blogging began waning at the beginning of December, and my last proper blog post was around mid-December. For those who are followers, you may have noticed my absence - as for others, it may have gone unnoticed. But believe me, it did not go unnoticed by ME! I have writhed and agonized over not being able to write - even if it is merely just a review for a book that I have read. It is not as if I stopped READING, so why is it that I stopped WRITING? It pained me immensely, because there are publishers, authors, and other bloggers who depend on me, and yet it seemed like the part of me that has the capability to write, had shriveled up and gotten lost inside the maze of thoughts that were haranguing my brain. I know I should feel guilty, and I do - yet, I know that blogging was always supposed to be fun for me, something that enhanced my life, and not something that burdened it. Ipso facto, I'm working through my guilt to reach an understanding that I am human, before I am a blogger; and as such, I can only do so much.

For all those of you who may be wondering what led to this particular break in character - there is no definitive answer. For me, this breakdown has been a meandering road, that I've coasted along to get to where I'm at today. Most of you know that last year I lost my Paul Uncle, but what most of you may not know is that I lost another uncle, Noni (nickname for Adnan) this past February. Before I could even wrap up the process of my grieving for one uncle, another one exited my life. From December to February, life was a constant blur trying to nurse Noni Uncle to health, praying for his safety and life. February onwards, it was a struggle to try and learn to live my life without his love and support. I wish EVERY ONE in this world could have known him, for he was the kind of person, knowing whom could change your life. And I was lucky enough to be his niece... I cannot help but be immensely grateful for having had the chance to know him, and to be lucky enough to experience his love.

Now that I'm finally clawing my way out of my fugue, my thoughts still saturated with the loss of my uncle, I will undoubtedly be doing a post about him, so that I can introduce to you the man who played such an integral role in my being who I am today. But, also, it means that there will be more reviews, more giveaways, and more posts from me, as a blogger as well. I just want to apologize profusely for my absence, and I want to thank you for your patience. Although I've lost a lot of readers (I don't blame them), I thank immensely those who have not deprived me of their readership, and have stuck around. I would especially like to thank the following bloggers:

Michele of A Belle's Tales - Michele has been such a steadfast, and constant friend. Although we have never met, she has always been there for me, and has been immensely supportive in all my struggles and my journey. Even when I have gone completely MIA, and may not have returned her messages, she was always around to ask after my well-being. I consider her a true friend, not just a fellow blogger.

Shannon of Books Devoured - As I've mentioned many times before, Shannon was the person who encouraged me to write/blog in the first place. It was due to her encouragement that I even began my journey. And as I've deviated from it, Shannon has always been around. When I returned after my emotional loss, Shannon was around to provide comfort and support (and with the good news that she's going to be a mommy, again! Yay!!!). As a matter of fact, it was her post "Abandoned you for Buffy...and I'm not sorry" that got me thinking that I should pen an apology and explanation to my readers/friends.

Alli of Magnet 4 Books - Alli has always been such a sweet soul, and she is readily around on Twitter to ask about me, and make me smile with her cute musings. 

Omar Arshad & Sarah Hussain - Although not book bloggers, both bloggers in their own right, these two Twitter buddies of mine are always around to provide cheer, comfort and warmth. And although I haven't really discussed my emotions/problems with them, just knowing that there are there for me, in case I ever want to vent, means the world to me!

Neil Patel - Friend, and Twitter buddy, Neil has been one of my anchors through all this. He knows just when to make me laugh, and his constant zany texts keep me amused and away from receding into the shadows of my depression - but at the same time, he has been understanding, supportive and caring. Not just a comedian, but a true friend. Thank you, Princess...I love you. Werd.

And last, but not the least, my best friends:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Adeel  - my heart, my angel. the sun to my sunshine... 'nuff said. 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Fei - my sister, the Blackenese to my Blackistani.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Ayshan - my other sister, my Boobiez, my partner in crime, the one I always feel comfortable giving my "shit".

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Maatyce - the friend who serves as my personal punching bag, and he takes it like a champ! 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Chris - my Hamsum friend. We may not always see eye to eye (ok, we NEVER see eye to eye), but I'll always have love for him.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic James - the sweetest, most sensitive tough guy out there. A true gentleman, a complete sweetheart, and an insanely sexy man! 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Zohra - another sister, and the love of my life. However far, she is always near and dear to my heart. Proof that friends can truly become family. 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Mustafa - NOT my sister, and the other love of my life. LOL. He's the sweet man who always knows just the right thing to say!

Just today, a friend of mine, Baba, said to me "Well, you have us now. So I think you'll do fine." - with friends like these, how could I ever go wrong? These are the people who have been there for me, constantly, and are the loving and comforting hands holding me together, when I'm falling apart at the seams. They've provided hours on end of encouragement, been the shoulders I've repeatedly cried on, indulged my self-centeredness (yes, it's not a word, I'm aware - thank you!), and with their presence, have reminded me, that I'm not alone. Without them, it would have been impossible to retain ANY semblance of sanity. So my BIGGEST thank you goes out to them!

With that, I conclude my post - and I promise I won't go MIA, and you will hear more often from me! :) Toodlez for now...thank you for reading, and for being a part of my journey!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Choosing Ceremony: Team Amity

Choose Amity

I'm besides myself to announce that I've chosen Team Amity. Why Amity, and not one of the others? I think it might be superficial to merely say that Team Amity ROCKS (but, in all honesty, it does! LOL). The thing is, I honestly believe that without the nurturing environment that Amity provides, all the other efforts of the other factions would be rendered moot.

Now, that I've made my announcement - time for YOU to decide, where do YOU stand? Which team do YOU belong to? We'd love to have you on TEAM AMITY, so feel free to come to the AWESOME site - we have awesome giveaways! Check out this TEAM AMITY GROUP GIVEAWAY !

Also, don't forget to order your copy of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth, Book 2 of the "Divergent" Trilogy.