Sunday, August 27, 2017

Reviewing Burn-Out

So apart from the rare scattered post, you haven't heard from me in a long time. The simple fact is: I'm very burned out from blogging. I did it intensely for a solid four-five years, and then suddenly I just found I couldn't do it anymore. The ability to conjure words for reviews disappeared and even the massively easy-to-assemble meme posts became a chore. My love for reading didn't go away, but my love for discussion did.

I thought that by focusing on the video aspect of The Reading Hedgehog would help - and in some ways, it did. Book hauls and reading wrap-ups were still fun, though I never have found a satisfactory way in which to video reviews. And it seems like every time I try and get back into book blogging/Youtubing, the energy for it dissipates very quickly.

So what changed? And how do I get back into it? Well, like I said: I mostly just got burned out. I grew tired of constantly analyzing every single book I read; I got tired of feeling pressured to read new books by a certain date so my review could still be relevant. And I got bored with my review format. I forgot what it was like to read a book simply for the fun of it. But there's something else keeping me from getting back into book blogging, and I'm not entirely sure what it is. Oh sure, I've told myself that I'm simply too busy to do it anymore, but that's a lie. I am very good at prioritizing things and making time for what I want to do. I still buy lots of books and I still have opinions on them - very heated opinions. However, the joy of sharing it with the book community simply isn't there anymore and I don't entirely know why. I've never been one to shy away from expressing my opinion, whether or not people will agree.

So for anyone out there - blogger, reader - who has had this happen to them: what do I do? What can I do to regain that passion and interest and energy I once had for book blogging? Because while every time I think about having to write reviews I feel immediately tired, a very large part of me still misses it horribly. The Reading Hedgehog never got much reader feedback, but even so I took comfort and joy in knowing my quiet followers were still there, reading what I had to say and either agreeing or disagreeing in their minds. ^_^ I miss the reviews, the author events, the weekly memes, getting excited over upcoming releases. So if any of you have any suggestions on how I can get my book blogging mojo back - please, please, please share. Because I miss all of you a lot. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cover Reveal: Scars of War (Modern Tales of Na Fianna #3)

The Reading Hedgehog is proud to officially reveal the cover for the upcoming third book in the Modern Tales of Na Fianna series by Hazel West! I've always been a big fan of these covers, with their simplistic and classic "warrior adventure story" feel. But this cover is probably my favorite yet! Please join me in welcoming the newest addition to this awesome tale of brotherhood, modern warriors, and classic faery magic! 

Also be sure to leave a comment to be entered into a giveaway for ebooks of the first two books in the Modern Tales of Na Fianna! Leave your email address or visit Hazel's blog on August 23rd for the announced winner. Remember, if you leave comments on multiple blogs, each one will be counted as an entry, so your chances can double!

Scars of War
(Modern Tales of Na Fianna #3)
by Hazel B. West
Publication Date: August 31, 2017
Add it on Goodreads: 


After the events on Samhain Eve things have calmed down for High King Eamon and his Fianna. The Unseelie Court is under new rule, and Eamon is happily married - and with an heir on the way! But just when it seems like things couldn't be better, reports of changelings keep coming into the BPAFF (Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk). With the risk of children being changed out in their cribs, especially when a royal heir is weeks from being born, Eamon enlists the help of Aeden Mac Cool, Commander of Na Fianna, and Cassandra Whalen, Director of BPAFF, to deal with the threat before it escalates. Riots, Faerie rebels, and road trips with the King of the Unseelie - it's just a typical day, right?

Links for More Information!

Check Out Modern Tales of Na Fianna!

Scroll down for an excerpt from Scars of War! And be sure to check out the other blogs to read even more excerpts from the upcoming third book in Modern Tales of Na Fianna!

Excerpt from Scars of War

We could hear the shouting by the time we got onto the front step, sounding like a very disobedient child. I rang the doorbell and waited with an antsy Rory until a frazzled woman answered the door.
“Mrs. Dempsey?” I inquired, reaching into my coat to pull out my badge as Rory did the same. “I’m Director Whalen of BPAFF and this is my assistant Mr. Cahill. We’re here about your son, Tomas.”
“Oh! Thank you so much,” the woman said, obviously relieved as she stepped aside and ushered us in. “You would not believe the trouble this whole ordeal has been. And not knowing where poor Tom is, I can barely stand it. I didn’t expect you to come yourself, though, Director.”
“I was in the vicinity,” I told her as we were led into the kitchen and offered coffee. “If you could tell us a little about what happened, ma’am?”
“Well, it was a week ago today,” Mrs. Dempsey said as she rummaged for something in the fridge but eventually gave up. “I’m sorry, we seem to have run out of cream, it’s that creature you know.” She sighed, running a hand through frizzled red hair. I couldn’t exactly blame her, though I didn’t like hearing the way she said ‘creature’. Faery children were just like ours, simply not meant to be accustomed to suburban human environments. 
“Why don’t you take a seat,” Rory told her quietly and led her to a chair at the kitchen table and sat her down before we joined her. As Rory sat he pulled out his pad to take notes on the case.
“So it was a week ago?” I asked, getting her back on track.
“Yes,” she nodded. “I wasn’t sure what to think at first after Tomas—or not Tomas—ate practically everything in the pantry for breakfast that morning. But it wasn’t until that night I really suspected, what with him seemingly going crazy. Peter, my husband, was the one who thought of it first, but poor Donnie, my other son, I think he knew. They’re twins you know, and twins are like that. He hasn’t been taking it well, I’m afraid, he’s currently hiding in his closet. Peter is trying to keep the creature occupied for a while to see if we can get it to calm down.”
“I’d like to see the changeling,” I told her.
“Be my guest,” Mrs. Dempsey said and stood to motion Rory and me through to the parlor.
I saw a similarly frazzled man playing jacks with a small child who was cackling loudly and making a point to be as rambunctious as possible. The house was frankly a disaster, but I tried not to notice, knowing that Mrs. Dempsey was likely embarrassed about it. Mr. Dempsey looked grateful as he saw Rory and me come in.
“They’re from the Bureau, dear,” Mrs. Dempsey informed him. 
“Thank the saints,” he said.
The changeling stood up and stuck his tongue out at me and Rory. His clothes were disheveled and torn and his hair was wild and sticking up from his head in sticky clumps that looked like they had been shampooed with honey. Maybe they had.
“I’m hungry!” he whined. “And I wanna play, play with me!” He ran forward and kicked Rory in the shin.
“Ow! Cass!” he complained hopping on one foot, but I ignored him, crouching down to snag the changeling child before he could run off.
“Come here, you little rascal.” I took out my shamrock pendent and touched his hand with it, instantly dispelling the glamour that had been concealing his true form. It revealed a Fae child with forest green eyes and pointed ears sticking out from beneath the shaggy black hair. He blinked, looking at me with wide eyes before they watered and tears started falling down his freckled cheeks. He tried to get away, but I held him tightly.
“No, no, you’re not going anywhere, wee one,” I informed him. “We’re not going to hurt you. Now, come here and talk to me. Do you know where you came from, who put you here?”
He shook his head firmly. “Don’t remember. They’ll be angry!” he started crying harder and I stood, picking him up and settling him on my hip.
“It’s alright, don’t worry about that right now. Are you sure you don’t know where you came from? Where they took the little boy who lives here? The real Tomas?”
He shook his head vigorously. I refrained from sighing. “Alright, well, let’s get you somewhere else.” I turned back to the Dempseys. “We’ll be back later to look around a little more after we take this one somewhere more suitable.”
“Will you be able to find Tomas?” Mrs. Dempsey asked, wringing her hands.
“Hopefully soon,” I assured her.
“But it’s very unlikely he’ll be mistreated,” Rory assured with a smile. “Faeries usually take very good care of the human children they change. They’re highly sought after in the Courts.”
The Dempseys didn’t look entirely reassured by his words, but there was little else they could do. None of us mentioned the fact that neither Court was taking children right now—at least as far as I knew. I carried the Fae child out to the Land Rover and sat him between Rory and I while I drove back to the BPAFF station. The secretary looked surprised to see the child with us.
“Is there anyone in town who will take in a Fae child for a while until we can get him back to Dublin?” I asked her.
“Of course, Mrs. O’Toole will take him. She runs an orphanage here in town and takes in both human and Fae children. Here’s her address.”
“Thanks,” I said, handing Rory the paper she had written it on.
“Did you find the boy then?”
“Not yet, but we’re on our way to do that,” I told her.