Discussion: Why I Still Love Twilight

twilightsagaIntro:

Hating on Twilight is pretty popular – more popular these days than liking it. A lot of book bloggers have written about how they used to love Twilight but have since learned better or grown out of it. And that’s fine – your tastes change throughout your life. But while I may not be as obsessed as I was when I was younger, Twilight will always have a place in my heart – I still love it.


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The Problem With Twilight:

People hate on Twilight these days for a multitude of reasons.

Because it started a vampires and werewolf trend, because it got more popular than “more worthy” books, because its objectively not wonderfully written, because teenage girls liked it and people like hating on the things teenage girls like. Because it started the YA movie fad.

Pick your poison – I think people just like being crabby.

Twilight isn’t the objectively best written. There are cringe-y moments (Jacob’s imprint, Bella’s “helpless girl who needs a boy” portrayal etc.) but its hardly the worst written or most problematic book to reach this popularity, let alone one existence.


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My History with Twilight:

I read Twilight in the fourth grade – when I was 9 or 10 years old. I read the entire saga that year. My grandma bought me the first book for Christmas because my cousin, a year older than me, loved it. My grandma thought I might like it to.

(My grandma already had an established history of buying me books for Christmas. She bought me the full Harry Potter series when I was 7 (second grade) 0 I trusted her judgement. She bought me the full Ms. Peregrine’s trilogy for Christmas this past year.)

So because she bought me Twilight, I read it. I had no idea what it was about, but I loved it. Made me mom buy me the rest of the books. Read those too.

I got sent to the guidance counselor’s office at one point because they were concerned about a 9 year old reading such mature content, they called my mom and everything. But since my mom was cool with it they had to let me continue reading – even if I got my book taken away a few times for reading during class.

I made my dad rent the movies that were out so far – and made him watch them with me. He hated them – but watched all five. I had all the shirts, posters, and necklaces. I made all my friends read the books and started a shipping war among the fourth graders.


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The moment where I am Bella and Bella is me.

Twilight and Me – Now:

I’d thought my obsession had calmed down. I reread the books in 7th grade – in full for the first time since in 4th grade I skipped all the “weird” (read “sex”) parts – no matter how mild Twilight really is, I was 9 the first time through. The second time around I was firmly Team Edward – the first time I’m pretty sure my loyalty to Jacob was entirely based on the fact that Taylor Lautner was Sharkboy.

But cue the release of Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined and I had it in my hands and read within the week.

I haven’t read the whole series in years – but Twilight itself remains a comfort read for me. The movies are “I’m sick and want to be entertained without thinking” movies.


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Final Thoughts:

I don’t have it in me to hate on Twilight. Flaws and all.

Part of it might be history and rose-tinted glasses rather than objectiveness – but who cares? Enjoying things is nice, reading is meant to be fun. Something doesn’t have to be objectively good to be enjoyed or liked – why do you think people love lifetime movies?

I just don’t see the appeal of critiquing the flaws in every detail of something I once loved – so I just won’t.

Allow yourself the rose tinted glasses sometimes.


What do you think?

Did you like Twilight?

Do you still like it?

Why or why not?

Let me know!

Guest Post: Reading and Success by Andrew Rocha

“Some books leave us free and some books make us free.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 


While reading and success can seem like they are completely different, they are actually quite related. Many people who are considered ‘successful’ are known to be avid readers.  So how are these two seemingly different things intertwined?

Reading a book is like listening to someone during a conversation. When we are listening to someone, we are giving them our attention and learning the story they have to share.

Some people read for fun, or to escape from reality by diving into the realm of fiction. Others use reading as a way to seek advice from the experts.

Either way, reading helps us become successful. No matter the reason for reading, we are gaining knowledge from the words on the page. We learn new words and are exposed to various different writing styles. Best of all, this can all happen from the words written by people who we have never even met, who live overseas, or who have already passed away. Books serve as a time capsule in which we can find their message and learn from it at any point in our lives. Books are a great investment, as they can contain extremely valuable messages presented at very small cost.

As a writer, reading is extremely important. It’s my way to learn from the those who have more experience than I do and to get inspiration on what to write about, and even how to live my life.

Some people find reading boring. If you see yourself in this group, try finding a book about something you are interested in.  Give the book a fair chance and see if it brings joy to your life. You might not find every page fantastic, but we need to be able to read the pages in order to sift through the text and find the gold. The nuggets of inspiration and excitement make it all worthwhile. If you don’t feel like you have the time to read, try reading just a few pages each day. Even just 10 pages a day can add up over time.

If you are looking for some new reads, consider checking out some of my favorites.


 

Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard

Motivational trainer Brendon writes a story about second chances. Not only does this book have a fun storyline, but it incorporates important life lessons, and makes the reader think about their own life. It’s a book that kept me entertained from beginning to end.


 

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Have you ever had a mentor or someone who you went to for advice? While memoirs aren’t typically my style, this one is definitely an exception. Author Mitch Albom shares a story about an older man named Morrie, and the wise lessons he has to pass down. This tear-jerker will warm your heart, and inspire you to consider what’s really important in life.


 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

This historical fiction novel shares the life of two sisters during World War II in France. Even if history is not one of your main interests, Hannah quickly gets the reader interested, wondering what will happen next. The special story in this book gives you a unique perspective on war, family, love, and resilience.


 

Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

 

In an era where we are surrounded by materialistic goods, Marie Kondo helps us take a look at this, and helps us filter out the excess clutter that typically brings us stress and dissatisfaction in order to bring room for happiness and meaning. It’ll make you reconsider what you think you know about tidying up, and reconsider what is really valuable in your life.


What’re some of your favorite books?

Let us know in the comments!


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Author Name:
Andrew Rocha
Author Bio:
Andrew writes for Successful Steps and strongly believes that life is full of lessons to be learned on a daily basis. His passion for personal development and success stems from the desire to be happy and make the most out of life.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things I Want To See More Of In YA

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Anyone can participate and its a lot of fun, so I highly encourage it!

Let me know if you’re a part too!


Today’s Prompt:

May 9Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist – things you want to see more of in books — tropes, a time period, a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a certain plot, etc. All those things that make you think I WANT MORE OF THIS IN BOOKS!


1 – Involved Parents

Something that happens in virtually every YA novel, no matter the genre. The parents are absent. In fantasy, this generally means dead or conspicuously missing. In contemporary, this means their existence is ignored until the main character is grounded to create drama.

Kids go where they want, when they want, never seem to go home or get caught doing stupid things. Parents just aren’t involved in their kids lives and while unfortunately that is the reality for some kids, it certainly isn’t the most common reality.

The only YA books I’ve seen where the parents role an important role, are ones why the parents are terrible – and if thats the focus of the book you’re writing, if thats the story. Then perfect! All is well!

But don’t make your protagonist a well-rounded character with a good home life, with parents who never talk to them. And not every fantasy heroine needs to be an orphan. Let them have families!

2 – Protagonists That Don’t Live Up To Western Beauty Standards (Where That Isn’t The Focus Of The Plot)

Every YA protagonist is beautiful, and they either KNOW IT or think themselves as plain until a love interest expounds on their beauty. But generally, they are always thin, pale etc. Always adhering to western beauty conventions.

Give me different races and ethnicities. Give me different fashions. Give me unique hair and eyes – or very,very generic ones.

Give me ugly protagonists, protagonists with disabilities and scars. Acne. Different body types. Like a real person, like a real teenager, the ones the protagonists are meant to be embodying – in stories why their looks aren’t the focus.

Why can’t a chubby girl star in a fantasy? Because she’s only ever in contemporaries angst-ing about her weight – like in “Dumplin'” – the entire arc is her accepting her body type. And its a great story, its a great message. That doesn’t mean it should be the only arc afforded to those character types. (Sorry, I got a little heated)

3 – Diverse Sexualities That Aren’t The Plot’s Focus

Diverse reading is a big topic now. And now is when more books featuring lesbian/gay/bisexual characters are coming out, with all sorts of different portrayals and representations. Which is great.

But overwhelmingly these characters star in contemporaries where their main, or even entire story arc revolves around their sexuality. Coming to terms with it, coming out, etc. If they are afforded a place in a fantasy, it is a side characters.

I’d like contemporaries and fantasies with non-straight protagonists whose sexualities aren’t the focus, you can be gay and still have a life not centered on it, you can be a part of another plot.

4 – Asexual Characters

Or any diverse sexuality really, but as I’m ace, I’d love to see more ace characters (especially with the awful erasure of Jughead in Riverdale making me want to stab things).

Here is a list of books with ace characters I found. – As you can see, its pretty sparse, and most of the time its not even explicitly stated. (That’s why I’m dying to get my hands on Tash Hearts Tolstoy).

5 – Books With No Romance

Virtually every YA book, be it contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, or what have you is wither romance centered or has a romance sub-plot. Why?

Not everyone dates in high school. And almost no one finds their true love in high school. And honestly, in all that world saving, is a boyfriend your biggest concern?

Mind you, I love romances, I love the romance subplots. But do they need to be in every book? We can’t just have strong, complex friendships? Friends that live and die for one another? Complex character interactions not revolving about romance?

Is it just me? Because I’d like to see some books without romance.

6 – Redeemable/Complex Villains or Morally Grey Protagonists

I’ve mentioned before that I love the arc of a redeemable villain, because I love the complexity of those characters. Not all evil people are actually evil, and if they are, they often didn’t start out that way. I’d love to see more stories with villains who, even if they aren’t redeemed, have their convictions fully explored. Or even stories from the villain’s point of view – where we’re rooting for them (Think Dr. Horrible or Invader Zim type thing).

Give me unreliable narrators that keep me guessing on who to trust, on what to believe – not knowing who to root for to win.

Morally grey protagonists whose ends justify their means, or so they believe.

It’s more interesting than the generic good-to-the-bone arch-type protagonist every fantasy/action story gets these days.

7 – Retellings of Lesser Known Source Material

Adaptations and retellings are EVERYWHERE in YA. And I love them, love seeing new takes on old favorites. But you can only retell Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast so many times before it gets old.

Don Quixote would make a great YA retelling. Or what about Aesop’s fables? Or one of the less common Shakespeare plays like “Midnight Summer’s Dream” or “Twelfth Night” – all would make great retellings that people won’t know by heart before they’re even picked up.

8 – Magical Realism

I love magical realism, because I like cross-genre fiction. Like contemporary sci-fi. Theres a million different ways to combine things and it isn’t very common to do so.

I want dragons in the real world. Modern day witches. Superheroes going to high school. Soulmate stories. Love potions in chemistry class. Give me time travel.

If its a fanfiction trope, it probably falls under magical realism and I probably want it in YA.

9 – Diverse World Building In Fantasy

I love fantasy. But lately, a lot of fantasy world have begun to feel repetitive. Similar world/caste/magic systems, all mono-cultured.

I want new fantastic worlds. New mythologies and lands and magi systems.

Multiple systems and cultures within the same world.

Maybe a story with different factions having different views on who exactly IS the chosen one.

That would be new and interesting.

There are hundreds of cultures in human history to draw from – no need for the constant use of anglo-saxon culture – while I enjoy it, I also learn enough about it in school.

Give me ancient Greece or Meso-american inspired! Something!

10 – Subverting of Tropes

After a while, tropes get dull, especially when authors rely on the selling of the trope and rather than using it as a single aspect of the story, make it the entire story.

So I love the novels that subvert the tropes, as much as I may love some of them. Like “The Love Interest” which is basically satire of every YA love triangle there is. Or, “The Rest Of Us Just Live Here” which flips the entire “Chosen One” arc. I love that sort of thing.


Do you agree with my list?

Which do you want to see more of?

Are they any you disagree with?

Do you do TTT?

Let me know down in the comments and drop me a link if you do!

 

Guest Post: Meeting a Favorite Author by Chantelle Griffin

Thank you to Sam for letting me on her blog. A couple of years ago I ticked a major item off the bucket list. For anyone who has ever been a big fan of an author I can truly say that it never occurred to me that I would meet mine. I met Garth Nix the author of ‘Sabriel’. By chance Garth Nix and Sean Williams had planned a writers retreat in the area. Garth contacted a local bookshop in advance and arranged a book launch.

The Books

One of the very first books I bought was ‘Sabriel’, the original edition. It was hiding in amongst all these paperbacks with dark covers. There was this little book with a drawing on the front and a bright purple background. It had an interesting blurb on the back. The story had me hooked. When my sister found out she borrowed it and never gave it back. I eventually bought another copy.

The Book Launch

I am fangirling just thinking about it. It was a fantastic moment being able to meet the author of a book I read and re-read. Garth Nix and Sean Williams were launching their new book they had written together. They both took the time to answer any questions and talk to people. It was an event that I could never have imagined.

The Author

I waited in line first and told Garth about my sister taking my first ‘Sabriel’ book. When it was my sister’s turn to have her book signed Garth it held up, opened it and said it was an original. So now my sister has an original ‘Sabriel’ signed by the author. I will treasure my signed copy which sits in the middle of my bookshelf. Have you had the amazing experience of meeting one of your favourite authors?

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P.S. If you would like to know more about me I have a little WordPress blog at chantellegriffin.com.

Guest Post: Writing A Pitch by AM Blaushild

Guest post by AM Blaushild (https://amblaushild.wordpress.com), a book reviewer (https://crowdefeatsbooks.wordpress.com), and author of Angel Radio (https://amblaushild.wordpress.com/books)


Many readers are aspiring writers themselves, and it feels like nearly everyone I’ve met has mentioned they one day dream of publishing a book. I’ve been lately surprised by how little anyone seems to know about the publishing industry, even those who want to get in on it, and wanted to share some quick suggestions on writing a good query letter. Or more specifically, the pitching aspect of it.

Queries are pitches, both for you and your book. And they need to be good. Agents and publishers get too many to count, and only have so much room.

For agents, taking on an author is a large commitment, and they often can only handle so many. A small-press publisher can only afford to sign a few books a year. It is a tight, tight race, made suffocatingly so because you’ll never quite know what you’re up against.

Sometimes books aren’t taken because of trends in the market, or coming changes- your great book about dragon warfare in egypt might be given up on because a mediocre dragon warfare in rome book is currently in the pipeline. A dragon book you’ve never heard of which had a lot of money put in it may have recently flopped, and publishers are nervous to take on anything similar. Maybe the dragon genre is dying out, or too niche. Maybe they just signed a book about dragons, and you have bad timing.
It’s rough, but that’s how these things work.
A good pitch:
-Is selling your book, not talking about it
-Highlights what matters, leaves what doesn’t
-Immediately to the point
-Short
-Thoroughly proof-read
One thing to highlight: A query is the whole ordeal, a query letter, while the pitch is specifically the part about the book. Will cover later on.
Here’s the thing. Publishing is a business. Agents are funny little go-betweens in the business, taking advantage of the breathing room. Both are in it to make money. They will not publish something out of goodwill, or because you seem to really care about it. They will publish what they think will sell, or have lasting appeal, or perhaps simply because it’s the kind of thing that wins awards.
So you need to embrace this, a little bit. You need to make your book sound like something that will sell. Consider your book: what makes it unique? What makes it appealing? X meets Y, my eternal enemy, is a popular format for pitches because of this. Romeo & Juliet meets Die HardShadow and Bone meets Battlestar Galactica. I don’t know, I’m making these up as examples. Publishers eat them up because they sell your book in two tiny, recognizable chunks. I have two manuscripts I’d sum up as ‘Fangirl meets Supernatural‘ and ‘Catcher in the Rye meets Shadowhunters‘. Is that really true? Ish. But it’s close enough.
What matters to you doesn’t always matter to publishers, or even readers. I might really like that my egyptian dragon novel (yes, we’re sticking with that example) features an asexual MC, and want to gush about how important that is. Even a line about this would be too long, and honestly, a direct mention too much for a query.
Why? A line about diversity could work, but romance is the biggest genre of fiction by far, asexuality is a rarely discussed sexuality (they might not know what it means!), and you simply don’t have the space for it. If you’re applying to an lgbt press, you would want to mention it- they would know and care (you probably shouldn’t gush, though). If you’re trying to land in the mainstream, don’t mention it. If it comes up in the manuscript, they will learn about it then. Unless the story is directly about being asexual, it’s not a relevant detail.
It’s important to highlight what matters, and leave what doesn’t, but that can be hard to figure out sometimes. My Egypt Dragon Asexual book: let’s say it has a lot going on. A gay subplot! A lost princess! Magical powers! Ten types of dragon! War! Aliens! A big reveal that it takes place in the future, not the past! What the hell do you highlight when the plot is complex?
Well, you have to leave some things out. Even big things. Even if it feels like a lie. You’re selling the story in a very small place, and bending the truth a bit doesn’t hurt. Using hypotheticals makes this hard, so we’ll jump to something real, and almost as insane sounding-
The Ascension is a manuscript of mine, about a girl who goes on a quest to awaken her country’s patron god with her best friend, and later a thief they meet on the way. But at the mountain, the thief runs off to awaken the god himself (fulfilling his own local quest), and the god actually turns out to be a monster. And everyone dies, but they’ve been immortal since setting out (linked to the sky god’s life force), and then the MC is saved by an alien god of another planet, and chosen to become a god herself. And she starts to lose emotion as she gains strength. And the monster is still running around destroying the world, too. And her BFF/her both have a crush on the thief.
Sounds bonkers, right? There is a LOT going on. Here’s my pitch:
A teenage girl is sent on a quest to awaken her patron god in a deadly local tradition, but in doing so catches the eye of someone grander: The sky god, actually an alien, who wishes to turn her into a god. However, before her powers can properly develop, her two friends accidentally awaken an ancient monster bent on destroying the world, and it’s up to the increasingly inhuman Aster to stop it.
I did just throw that together, so it isn’t perfect, but it’s a good example of what I mean. Technically, the sky god doesn’t notice her because of the quest, and the thief is not one of her best friends, nor do both her friends awaken it, nor is the timeline quite true to canon. But the essence is there, and it frames the story in a cleaner, more appealing narrative than it actually is.
Pitching basics should include the genre (fantasy, but with aliens!), the main character (A teenage girl, her two friends), what they want (traditional quest/be a god), what’s in the way (giant monster/’increasingly inhuman’ implies this will be a future conflict), what are they going to do about it (stop it). A few fun details, too: ‘deadly local tradition’ isn’t very exciting in canon, but does sound like it might be interesting. ‘catches the eye of’ could imply some fun romance, even if it doesn’t. Neither are lies, but they make it sound a lot more intriguing, and step one of landing a contract is getting your contact to read your manuscript.
Most pitches are like this. I usually write full book-blurb style pitches and work down from there, and some (often publishers as opposed to agents) prefer this method. There still should be little excess detail.
Hey, here’s another example- the pitch I used for my book, Angel Radio:
Erika is the last human alive. It’s been weeks since the angels- strange creatures of eyes and wings- arrived and brought with them the death of everyone she ever knew. leaving her to wander her desolate hometown. But the angels have something sinister planned for the world they have emptied, and when a strange radio broadcast sends Erika into the world, she’ll need all the strength she can muster just to survive.
Looking back, I’m fairly embarrassed by my query, but it worked. You ever see mainstream books that are startlingly bad? Yeah. Unless you’re on the inside, you never really know what is going on in the book business (but usually, yeah, it’s about the market, and money).
Oh, and a last point: of course, make sure you avoid any and all errors spelling and grammar wise. These people are hoping you’re a competent writer, and if there’s one mistake, a particularly overloaded agent may have no problem passing on the rest of your query.
 
That about covers a really rough guide. Pitches should be about a paragraph in length. Check with agency sites/publishers before, but my rough guide to pitches is
1. Hello hi
2. Here’s my book right off the bat
3. More info, like wordcount, listed genre, whatever. expanded deets.
4. About me
5. thank you very much
It should be short, about a page. Don’t list anything about yourself that isn’t relevant, but if you have nothing relevant, still try to say something. Otherwise it just looks like you forgot. If you’ve been writing for a while, that works. If you’re doing a book about science and are a scientist, bring that up, or maybe if it’s about mental illness, mention your own struggles. Don’t spend too long here, or get too personal. Business, unfortunately, is business.
Publishers will generally take more than agents. I’ve had many that directly want a full summary of the book, a longer bio (smaller ones especially enjoy if you have good social media/means to advertise, as they have lesser budgets/reach). These things are specified.
A good conclusion to this? I’d scroll up and read my short list again. Here’s what not to do, I suppose:
-Have too much detail (often loses focus of what the main ‘plot’ pitch is)
-Have not enough (makes it sound bland)
-Too personally involved (‘this book means everything to me’)
-Too self confident (‘fantastic, amazing’ just about any adjective you put on character stuff, world, pitch. Use more open ones. You might call a world ‘vast’ instead of ‘incredible’)
When you have a lot of unseen competitors, you can’t assume anyone will want to put up with you. In theory, being passionate about your work is fantastic! In practice, you may come off as a dolt. And it helps to remember: there will always be more besides you, hoping for the same thing.
So turn in your best work!

A M Blaushild is a writerreviewer, and enigma.

March 2017 Wrap Up

 

Finished Books:

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus – 5 Stars

New Americans by Geoffrey C. Scott Harrison – 4 Stars

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do…But You Could Have Done It Better – 3 Stars

I didn’t finish many books this month, life has been hectic. School and everything is hard now that the AP tests are only a month away, and I have ACT next week.

I’ve read 19/80 books for my Goodreads challenge, putting me at 24% and “right on track”. No need to panic…yet.

(Reviews for all of the above are written and scheduled.)


Started Reading:

The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde

These are the books I stared but didn’t get to finish. They’ll be finished for April.


Posts:

NetGalley Review: Waking In Time

Netgalley Review: Superman Science

Published Poetry Spotlight: The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock by TS Elliot

Quote of the Week: #6

Poem: Sagan’s Apple Pie

NetGalley Review: Strong Is The New Pretty

General Study Tips and Tools

Throwback Thursday: V for Vendetta Final Five Page Essay

Quote Of The Week: #7

Study Guide: SAT / ACT / Subject Tests

The Who Am I Tag

St. Patrick’s Day Tag

Book Review: How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast – Live Action

Study Guide: AP Calculus AB

The Cringeworthy Book Tag

Study Guide: AP English Language and Composition

Book Review: The Princess Saves Herself In This One

2016 Year In Review Tag

5 Fidget Toys I Want To Try

Study Guide: AP Chemistry

The Nintendo Book Tag

Songs I’m Listening To This Month #1

Discussion: Reviewing Long After You Read The Book

I published 23 posts this month…that seems a little ridiculous, but alright.

Including 6 reviews and 5 tags done from my seemingly-never-ending backlog of reviews and rags.

I say thats pretty solid.


Life:

I have an absolutely INSANE amount of posts, from reviews to guests posts etc. scheduled for April. I won’t be around much – between AP crunch time, my cousin’s birthday, the fact that I need to sleep…Well, you’ll get me back in midMay. Though I still try and have time to comment/respond etc.

I have mock exams every Saturday of April except the 8th when I am taking the ACT.

I am going to the Panic! concert April 15th. Woo!

I’ll try and keep up with wrap ups, I’ve never really done them before, I think they’re a good idea…

My plans for the blog, after all the school craziness, is so make new graphics, maybe improve the theme/layout, and get on a consistent schedule as well as catch up on all the review copy TBR reviews and my tags. But those are summer goals.

Discussion: Reviewing Long After You Read The Book

One discussion I’ve seen around recently is one whether book bloggers should review books they read a while back – rather than more recent reads.
 –
Personally, I’ve read a lot over the years.
A lot.
I also read faster than I can review usually, and I read a lot of books before I started reviewing them.
 –
So the question is, you can still review books long after you’ve read them, months or even years later? Should you?
 –
I think it comes down to the person, based on your memory and your personal review writing style, how detailed you are if you think you can review a book upwards of a year later.
 –
But I don’t see anything wrong with it, though maybe it should a a disclaimer like “I read this over a year ago, some details are a bit foggy”.
 –
I talking about it, because I want to start backlogged reviews, books I read in the last year or so that I never got around to reviewing, books I read before I started my blog, etc.

What do you think?
 
Is that something we should be able to do, especially when you’re in a reading slump and have no new books to review?
 
Or do you think it’s kind of deceiving to review a book that’s had its flaws dulled by time?

Discussion: Review Copies/ARCs

Review copies are the holy grail of book blogging.

And while I might not be the best source of information on how to get them, as I’m rejected more often then not, I have received a fair amount of them, so I thought I’d give my two cents.


First things first: Before you go requesting books, make sure you can handle it.

Have a system in place to keep track of everything, or you are going to lose your mind.

  • My preferred way of keeping track is a word document.
  • Every book sent to be is written in, along with who sent it/where I got it from, the format, the release date, the date the review is needed by, the title and author, and any requests by the person who sent it to me for the review.
  • Then, anything due in the next month is highlighted for urgency.
  • Physical copies do not leave my desk if I’m not reading them to make sure they stay in my mind.
  • Review copies take precedence over my own books.

Its how I do things.

Find something that works for you.


Before Requesting:

Before requesting books, make sure your blog is running smoothly. You don’t blog to get free books, you get books because you blog well. Remember that.

If you barely post, no one will send you anything. If your content/reviews or terrible (I don’t mean negative, I mean terribly written), you won’t get anything.

  • Post consistently (once a day, once a week, doesn’t matter).
  • Post good content.
  • Make sure your blog is easy to navigate.
  • Have a contact page/email somewhere it can be found. If, like me, you don’t want your personal email online, make an email just for blog contacts like I did.
  • HAVE A REVIEW POLICY. You can see mine here.

 


Where To Get Review Copies:

There are a couple different ways to get review copies.

You can:

  • Go to book fairs and conventions.
  • Wait for a publisher/author to contact you.
  • Email a publisher with a request.
  • Join a blog tour.
  • Join an ARC site like Netgalley, Blogging for Books or Edelweiss.

Book fairs and conventions are great, but if your like me, you have no means to get to them because they are far way/expensive.

Next option: wait. I have been contacted by a few authors (generally self published) to review their books, so it does happen. This is why its important to have contact information and a review policy page. But if this is the only thing you do, your not going to get many books.

Emailing:
The next section is all about this.

Blog tours:
Blog tours are GREAT. You get your blog acknowledged by other bloggers, and you all get to share in the excitement over the same book. I’ve joined two blog tour sites:

I like them both, and have joined blog tours and book blitzes on both. You can always do some research to find tour sites that fit your tastes. But if you want in on the big name book tours (which I have no experience in), I’d say your going to need some groveling and patience.

ARC Sites:
I don’t know what else to call these, but you know what I’m talking about.

This is where I get most of my review copies.

My personal favorite is Netgalley.

Netgalley is a site where any book blogger can sign up. They have both READ NOW and Requestable titles, most prerelease, some old, of all genres. The better your review ratio, the more likely you are to be approved by a publisher, so you are encouraged to actually post your reviews. All books are e-books though, so you either need an Ebook reader or a computer with Adobe Digital Editions installed.

Blogging For Books is also good. This site has both print and ebooks, but you can’t request another book until the review of the last one is posted. Selection is pretty limited, but they have some good ones every once in a while.

The other one I mentioned is Edelweiss, which a lot of people like but I don’t really enjoy using. Its frustrating and not easy to navigate, but go try it out if you’d like.

 


Emailing Publishers:

If you have the guts, you can always email a publisher asking for an ARC. I’ve done this twice. Once, I was ignored. The second time, I got the book. Really, it depends on the publisher, the book you’re requesting, and whether you have enough followers to make it worth the money to ship you the ARC. Don’t get discouraged, your not going to get every book, but try, eventually, you’ll get one (or a lot!).

Just make sure to thank the publisher when you do get a book, post your review on time, send them links, and NEVER be rude about not getting approved. You want to build relationships, not end them.

You are never entitled to an ARC. Don’t act like it.

Here’s a sample email of what I use when emailing publishers. If it helps you., let me know!

Sample Email:

Hello,
My name is Sam, I’m a book blogger and I’d like to request a review copy of:
Book Title
ISBN:
Expected Publication Date:

You can see my blog here: Link
My blog has X followers, and that number seems to be increasing steadily.
I get, on average, between X views a month, and an average of about X unique visitors a month.
I also share my reviews on Goodreads, Tumblr (where I have X followers), and Twitter.
(Info about me/my blog/why I blog)
I want to review BOOK TITLE because ………..
If you want to see some of my other reviews, here are some that I am quite proud of:
  • Links
I also have a review policy page: Link 
This page will give you more in depth information for what you can expect of my reviews.
I also have a directory of my reviews, if needed: Link
I understand you get many requests for Arcs, and that all cannot be answered. But, if you are interested here is my information:
Name 
Shipping Address
My email is X and if it is more convenient for you, I also accept e-arcs.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding my request.
I thank you for your time and your consideration.
Best,
Sam

Other Helpful Resources:

 


So, thats all I have for you today.

If there’s anything I didn’t cover you’d like me to cover, let me know!

Any discussions or topics you’d like me to talk about, any questions you have, shoot them over to me, I’m happy to help/answer in any way I can!

Did this help you? Do you have any thing to add/share? Let me know!

Discussion: On Discussion Posts

So…I haven’t done a discussion post in a long time. I haven’t done much of anything that wasn’t a quick scheduled review or tag in a long time. Though, to be fair, school is hard, I love this blog too much to just let it keep failing by the wayside (which is why I’ve writing this instead of doing AP Calculus homework because I hate derivatives).

Logical conclusion?

Tell you guys what I’ve been up to, why my posting has been sporadic at best, and my plans for the (near) future.

Then, were having a little meta-talk on discussion posts, their role in book blogs, the good, the bad, and the arguably too many ideas in my drafts folder. If you only came for the discussion and don’t care about my personal ramblings, scroll until you hit the pink header.

 


What I’ve Been Up To:

Really? Just school. 4 AP classes, 2 honors courses, 5 honor societies/clubs, an officer position, and the general stress of junior year makes it hard to find time to write, because when I do have time, my brain feels like mush and all I want to do is watch tv and sleep. I haven’t even been reading. Which brings me to…

Why My Posting Has Been Sporadic At Best:

Aside from the school/time factor, I’ve also been in the BIGGEST READING SLUMP to hit me since maybe middle school. A combination of stress, and perpetually fried brain has made me, well, not really ant to read a lot.

Yesterday, I started Not If I See You First, and hopefully, unlike the multitude of books I’ve started and put down in the last few months, I get through it. I’m loving it, but, especially with AP Lang, reading feels like a colossal amount of effort, especially since i’m about 50 books behind on my reading challenge (yes, thats how bad my reading slump is).

Plans For The (Near) Future:

In no particular order:

  • Find some time to schedule posts, so when THIS happens, I have something to fall back on.
  • Actually plan my birthday, which is in A WEEK and I still haven’t invited my friends over because of a-fore mentioned poor time management.
  • Not die of stress.

Really, I’m trying here. I also signed up to be a blogger for some different blog tour sites recently, so be on the lookout for some stuff with that!


On Discussion Posts

Now, I LOVE reading discussion posts, and I love writing them. I like sharing my opinion and reading the opinions of others. That is, after all, what blogging is about. Recently, the bookish-blog discussions floating around are about the role of YA as literature, and on diversity and representation in fiction. Both of which I’ll be sharing my own thoughts of in the coming weeks.

Love them or hate them, discussions are a part of the book blogging community. Some people are all about them, some people post sporadically, and some people are practically allergic to them, but there are here to stay.

Now, the discussion posts I hate are the ones that feel like the author didn’t care, where they felt they HAD to give their opinion, even if they didn’t particularly want to do so. I also hate the animosity of it sometimes, with people jumping at each other’s throats for posting “unoriginal” discussion, or even just for having a different opinion. I hate that is stops people from writing what they want, for sharing the opinions they have.

I started writing this a while back, and lost my steam. But I feel quite strongly about this. I love discussion posts, I wish more people wrote them.

On the subject of discussion posts, I have a bunch of them in my drafts/ideas folder. Which ones would you guys most like to see?

  • On Reading Nonfiction
  • Branching Out From YA
  • The “Right Age” For YA
  • Best and Worst of Book Covers
  • Age Appropriate Books
  • Diversity In Books
  • New Release vs. Back-Log Books
  • Reading Slumps
  • Bookshelf Organization
  • On Book Tags
  • Objectivity In Book Reviews
  • Reading Multiple Books At Once
  • Series vs. Standalone

These are the discussions in my ideas folder. Tell me which ones you’d like to see! And if they is any topic you’d like to see my thoughts on, a discussion you want me to jion, or any other idea for me, leave me a comment done below telling me, I’d be happy to write about it!!

 

What do you think? Join in the discussion! What do you think of discussion posts!

Discussion: Audiobooks

Audiobooks are much debated in the book community. Some people swear by them. Some people hate them. Some love audible. Some love overdrive. Some people debate the merit of certain narrators over others. Some people don’t think they count as real reading. Some people disagree with that idea.

My own opinion is that, as a concept, audiobooks are great. They let people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to read the chance to (either because of time or other obligations). You can listen to books, “read” while you clean or drive or whatever. I do think audiobooks count as “real” reading despite what some people may say.

But… I still hate audiobooks. Personally at least. I’m all for the existence and listening to of audiobooks (my dad listens to audiobooks all the time in the car). But I just can’t do it. Audiobook bother me too much.

For one thing, I read at quite a fast pace, so I could read most books faster than the audiobook would take to play.

For another thing, I can’t follow with an audiobook. I get distracted easily, and I am not an auditory learner usually. I forget details almost immediately when I’m just listening (which is why I actually have to read the textbook for class because being talked at doesn’t help me). I just cannot focus on audiobooks, I prefer to physically be reading a book.

Also, I hate listening to other people’s inflections on dialogue. I like imagining character voices for myself, and I can’t do that with an audiobooks.

These are just some of my problems with audiobooks. I don’t mean to hate, I just wanted to explain my own stance on them. I’ll probably get use to them and end up loving them one day. But for today, I just can’t.

Case in point, my dad listens to audiobooks all the time. I’m usually in the car with him when he does so I’ve heard enough, it just bothers me. I can’t even really remember which books he listened to. He listened to Game Of Thrones (the whole series) and I heard many a death scene. Still, because it was an audiobook I cannot remember a single thing I heard on the audiobook. The only audiobook I LIKED listening to was The Making Of The Princess Bride because different actors/people involved read different parts and it was non-fiction not a story, so I focused a lot more on it. I liked that. But I still won’t listen to audiobooks regularly.

 

Does anyone else share my opinion on audiobooks? Or do any of you really love them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!