Fairyloot June 2021 Unboxing

This unboxing is very very late as I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus for a little while, but since I had already taken the photos before I hurt my shoulder, I thought I would still post my unboxing and share what was inside Fairyloot’s June box now that I am getting back into blogging again!

The theme for June was ‘Animal Companions’ and I have to say I love books that have animal companions in them, so I was looking forward to this box. Let’s see what was inside!

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Let’s Talk Bookish: What Truly Makes a Blog Hiatus

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. It’s been a long while since I took part in this meme for various reasons, and I am excited to be back!

This week’s theme comes at a very relevant time for me, as I have just been on a hiatus from blogging. It’s been a… difficult… year for me. In August I injured my shoulder so had to step away from blogging for a long while. In September I moved house, and then in October I got COVID and was unwell. So I only posted twice in August-October. I’m hoping to get back into blogging more now, but may still not be as active as I used to be, for the sake of my health.

A hiatus is an extended period of time away from blogging and sometimes they are necessary e.g. because of health or personal life. But I think they can also be important for our mental health. It’s easy to feel a lot of pressure to post regularly, so a hiatus can be a good way to reset and recharge.

I find myself worrying about not tweeting enough, not interacting enough, not blog hopping enough, not posting on my blog regularly enough. It’s not healthy to feel constantly pressured in this way. Being ever present online is exhausting. But there seems to be a growing expectation for us to be always accessible online, whether that’s on a blog or on Twitter or Instagram. Everything moves at such a fast pace, that it feels like if you’re not present enough online, what you do share can disappear, and if you’re not around often enough, you’ll be forgotten.

Although my hiatus was for health reasons, I thought it might help my mental health as well, and help break myself from that self-pressure and expectation. But I’ve found myself returning to those thoughts, worrying about whether I’m active enough, even though I should be putting my mental and physical health first, something that is important all the time, but especially during what has been a tough year for me in my personal life.

Taking some time away from blogging and social media has made me take a look at my relationship with these platforms and whether or not they are good for my mental health. I love being part of the blogging community, and being part of the writing community on Twitter makes me feel inspired and encouraged to keep writing. Being part of these communities can be wonderful and positive. But it can also be bad for mental health. I need to accept that, as a chronically ill person who suffers with fatigue, I just can’t be ever present online. And I need to stop trying to be. I’m here because I enjoy it, because I enjoy writing, because I enjoy chatting to people about books. Shedding the weight of pressure and expectation is difficult, but it’s something I need to try and do.

How do you feel about taking a hiatus? Do you feel pressured to post regularly? Chat with me in the comments, I’d love to know what you think.

Book Review: Among Thieves by M. J. Kuhn (audiobook)

Among Thieves by M. J. Kuhn

Genre: Fantasy

Publishing Info: Audiobook by Simon & Schuster Audio 2021

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:

In just over a year’s time, Ryia Cautella has already earned herself a reputation as the quickest, deadliest blade in the dockside city of Carrowwick—not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name.

For the past six years, a deadly secret has kept her in hiding, running from town to town, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster—the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. No matter how far or fast she travels, his servants never fail to track her down…but even the most powerful men can be defeated.

Ryia’s path now leads directly into the heart of the Guildmaster’s stronghold, and against every instinct she has, it’s not a path she can walk alone. Forced to team up with a crew of assorted miscreants, smugglers, and thieves, Ryia must plan her next moves very carefully. If she succeeds, her freedom is won once and for all… but unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are nearly as selfish as she is, and they all have plans of their own.

Among Thieves has been pitched as perfect for fans of Six of Crows, and it has a lot in common with that work which many will enjoy, namely a ragtag crew from a criminal gang taking on a massive heist. The novel follows five POV characters as they are forced to work together, each with their own secrets and agendas. While I enjoyed Among Thieves, it didn’t quite keep me turning the pages the way I had hoped, especially for such a short, fast-paced Adult fantasy. 

In the opening chapters, we’re introduced to our main characters – Ryia, Tristan, Nash, Ivan and Evelyn. Three of these five characters had very similar backstories – they are on the run and their real identities are a secret that none of the others know. This similarity made it difficult to remember who was who at first, and also meant their stories didn’t feel unique enough to hold my interest.

The plot moved fast, was engaging, and the stakes were high. Inevitably, all their plans for the heist go wrong, and they have to adapt. Some parts kept me guessing, others felt a little too predictable.

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