. Passion Obsession Passion Obsession

Sunday, 31 May 2015

How To Manage Different Projects

So up until the beginning of this year, I never really considered myself a busy person. If I'm being completely honest with myself, I used to do the bare minimum to get along, whether it was work-related or uni-related, I wasn't a fan of working hard. 2015 came along and something just changed. I took on many projects and organised myself so that I knew exactly what I needed to do and now a typical day for me consists of around 13-17 hours of work and I often work six or seven days a week. When people learn that I've got a full-time job, doing a degree at University, run a blog and a youtube channel, do freelance copywriting as well as own, manage and edit an online magazine I frequently get asked how I manage to get everything done. 

1) Prioritise
When you're managing different projects, you need to prioritise which are most important to you. So for me, my full-time job is my number 1 priority as that's how I make the majority of my income. Secondly, my degree takes priority as I'm almost finished and education is very important to me. Everything else is ordered according to the importance so I know how much of my time to dedicate to each project. 

2) Learn time management
Managing so many projects means your time management must be on point. After you've worked out your priorities, time management will become easier. You'll know which projects you need to spend more time on and deciding how much time per day/per week you can spend on each will help you in the long run. Remember, it's not set in stone. If you decide you need to spend more/less time on something, you can always change it later. 

3) Become a master of lists
I use a life planner and two notebooks to plan everything I need. My planner contains dated daily pages and weekly view plans as well as monthly view plans that help me plan out deadlines and editorial schedules. These also help me work out how much time I need to be spending on each project. I then use two notebooks to plan out my to-do lists, as well as lists of books I need to review, posts I need to write and people I need to contact. My lists are endless and having them all in one place is the perfect way to make sure I get everything done. 

4) Use Evernote
When I decided to get Evernote, it was the best decision I ever made. I have the free version, although there is one you can buy - I'm not at the stage where I need to make a purchase yet. I have Evernote on my laptop, iPad and iPhone and it contains everything I may need wherever I am. So along with my physical notebooks that contain my lists, I also have some lists on Evernote, such as contact details of the contributors of my magazine. I also keep all of my passwords and account details on Evernote so if I'm ever out and about and need to access it, it's right there. 

5) Remember it can be hard, but it will be worth it
Whilst I used to be a bit of a slacker, I now thrive on being so busy. I spend a lot of time fantasising about the way I hope my life will be and I believe on manifesting your own dreams so long days and hard work doesn't scare me anymore because I know it will all be worth it. 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

I Launched A Magazine!

For a while, I've been toying with the idea of starting a book-related business and with thousands of options out there, I decided to settle on an online magazine focused on all things YA. After many hours of writing, designing and social media marketing, YA Love was born. We aim to be an online platform for all your YA needs: articles, reviews, news, short stories and giveaways. The website won't just be about books though, it's book-focused, but also has plenty of sections for TV and movie lovers too. 

If you know somebody who may be interested in YA Love then send them over to www.yalovemag.com - I would really appreciate it! We have a wide range of contributors who are producing interesting content on so many different things and we're hoping to expand our team so if you're a writer looking to build your portfolio - contact me at admin@yalovemag.com. 

I'm really excited about YA Love and have spent a lot of time, effort (and money) in making it exactly the way I want it to be. I hope all of you enjoy it as much as I do!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Life Planner Inspiration

I've always been a fairly organised person. I keep several hard-copy diaries and numerous digital calendars to keep track of all my different projects but it's sort of basic planning and I find it hard to keep up with so many different things. The other day, I was researching reviews of the Phillip Lim Pashli satchel on Youtube and I stumbled across Alexis aka MissTrechcoat's channel. Fast forward a few days and several hours of Youtube time, and I've just spent a ridiculous amount of money on a new planner and gorgeous accessories to go inside it. Who knew there was a whole community out there of people who love to create gorgeous planners?! I'm now obsessed and wanted to share some of my favourite planner accounts with you. 

Of course, as I mentioned above there is the amazing Alexis who not only does planner videos on Youtube, but makes content on how to be an entrepreneur, how to plan better and make the most use of your time. She also has her own shop where she sells planner-based things, she is a consultant for online businesses and is just an overall inspiration to me. 

Another new find for me is Alexa Golden - a Youtuber who does a range of videos from planner organisation to fashion and lifestyle. Her videos aren't as productivity-orientated as Alexis' are, but they're so fun to watch! 

Paper & Glam is quickly becoming one of my favourites, with videos about planning AND books - it's perfect for me. Her signature videos are bright, fun and generally gorgeous. If you aren't already subscribed to Lisa Marie, you should be. 

So I've been loving getting a ton of inspiration for my own planner whilst I'm waiting for mine to arrive. Do you have any favourite planner accounts? If you love to plan - what advice and tips would you give to a newbie like me?

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Books | April 2015 Releases

It's that time of the month again where I let you know the books I'm anticipating for the next month. I have a whole TBR bookshelf and a wishlist of over 200 books yet I'm still expanding those lists every day. Celebrating new releases and spending hours searching the new stories and gorgeous covers is one of my favourite things to do each month.  With Easter just around the corner, I'm looking forward to snuggling up with some good chocolate, soft pastel pyjamas and these new releases. 

The first book and probably my most anticipated for April is The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey. Compared to the Mortal Instruments and Shadow and Bone series', The Girl at Midnight has pretty big shoes to fill. Underneath the streets of New York City lies a magic society who are kept hidden from humans by ancient enchantments. Echo is fierce and daring and enters the black market to pickpocket and steal from the human world. This YA urban fantasy sounds fast-paced and dramatic and I can't wait to get my little mitts on it on April 28th.

Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins is the second book in the Rebel Belle series, this book has such a gorgeous cover and looks like an exciting follow-up to the first one. I've yet to read the first one but if you're a fan of Rebel Belle, this new release out April 7th should already be on your radar!

All the Rage by Courtney Summers. A standalone mystery contemporary out 14th April, this book sounds like a fast-paced thriller that I can't wait to pick up. Kellan Turner is the sheriff's son who isn't as well-behaved as everyone thinks. When Romy discovers the truth about Kellan, she realises opening her mouth has cost her everything and she is branded a liar amongst her small hometown. Romy's only refuge is her part-time job in the next town along where nobody knows who she is or what she's done. When it comes out that Kellan has hurt another girl, Romy knows she must speak up again in order to prevent other girls getting hurt. This book sounds intriguing, twisty and looks at the shame of victims associated with sexual violence. 

Rogue by Julie Kagawa is the much-anticipated second book in the Talon series, I can't wait to see how things unfold for Ember and Dante, the teenage dragons living in the human world and pretending to be humans. If you haven't started this series, you should - do it before this new release on April 28th.

Finding Paris by Joy Preble. This new road-trip contemporary standalone is released April 21st and is marketed towards fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Speak. When Paris disappears, her sister Leo finds clues as to where she has gone. Unsure whether it is a game or something far more sinister, Leo begins to unearth the truth about her sister's disappearance. With secrets, a road trip and a missing girl, this book sounds like a super twisty romance novel. 

The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre is out 7th April and has been on my radar for a while. Sage is desperate to be perfect and has no problem hiding her past or darker sides in order to maintain the perfect image. When anti-social Shane comes into her life, her world is changed forever. Shane's dealing with a recent heartbreak, he just wants to be alone and play his guitar. But when he meets Sage, he realises that love doesn't fix everything and sometimes things must fall apart before they can come together again. 

Will you be reading any of these books? What are you most anticipating in April?

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Blog Tour | Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory


From award-winning author Daryl Gregory comes a thrilling and colorful Lovecraftian adventure of a teenage boy searching for his mother, and the macabre creatures he encounters.

Harrison Harrison—H2 to his mom—is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school. 

On Harrison’s first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife­wielding killer, and the Deep Ones, fish­-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources—and an unusual host of allies—to defeat the danger and find his mother.

Find the book: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

My Review

Harrison Squared impressed me more than I thought it would. The synopsis sounded interesting, but nothing special so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoyed this book. From the outset, a creepy atmosphere was carefully weaved throughout and I felt a growing unease with each chapter I read, and I loved it. I can't say I've read much Urban Fiction or Science Fiction but they are genres I want to get more into and this book was a nice little introduction to both.

Harrison as a character was like a lovable little brother, I wanted him to uncover the truth but at the same time I wanted to protect him. It may have been nice to see a little bit more depth to his character - we see his main struggle, we see him making a few friendships and his evolving relationship with his aunt, but there wasn't much more. If I had been in Harrison's situation, particularly all of the school scenes, I'd have reacted much differently and his suspicions and questions were slightly more played-down which didn't feel entirely realistic. I suppose this could be attributed to personality traits rather than a flaw in the character, but it was just a slight aspect I noticed about the book. Lubb was perhaps my favourite character in the book, with a cheekiness about him that I just loved reading about. There were a ton of other characters that added more to the story and each one felt valuable (even the creepy talking doll) in making the book what it was. 

In general, I really enjoyed this story. The events that unfolded surprised me and the secrets and lies were interesting to read about and kept me turning page after page. I'd love to read more from this world, particularly the school as the cult-ish vibe was a big part of why I liked this creepy book. I'd definitely recommend picking up this book if you want something a little bit different or if you want an entry point to Fantasy and Science Fiction novels. 

About the Author

Daryl Gregory is an award-winning writer of genre-mixing novels, stories, and comics. His most recent work is the novel is Afterparty (Tor, April 2014) and the novella We Are All Completely Fine (Tachyon, August 2014). His first novel, Pandemonium, won the Crawford Award and was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. His other novels include the Philip K. Dick award finalist The Devil’s Alphabet and Raising Stony Mayhall, which was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal.
Many of his short stories are collected in Unpossible and Other Stories, which was named one of the best books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. His comics work includes the Planet of the Apes series, and Dracula: The Company of Monsters series (co-written with Kurt Busiek). He lives in State College, PA, where he writes programming code in the morning, prose in the afternoons, and comics at night.

Find Daryl: Website | Blog |Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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