Comparing Notes

 

Hey all! This is it!!! The FIRST in the series, Comparing Notes.

I had this in mind for a couple of months, it was inspired by the fact my friend Neda and I both read The Fever King and had completely different reading experiences. It kinda made me remember that we all have varied tastes, even our friends! *Gasp* I know, it’s shocking haha.

 

Anyway, now time to introduce Neda!

 

Neda and I have been friends since about the time we were 11/12 years old and we’re now…old. We’ll leave it at that. Anyway, she has a Master’s in English and is currently a stay at home mom like me, and she also writes wonderful poetry. You can find her and her reviews here.

This first post will be a discussion format and so we are awesome enough to share are very candid convo about The Fever King, and remember, we both just have varied opinions and no matter what, we’re both entitled to them, with that, let’s start! Please note we both read this a few months back and were laughable in our recall of some details.

[**ATTENTION: SPOILERS, SPOILERS EVERYWHERE**]

Discussion Time

Me: We could talk about where you think the book failed and where I thought it excelled?

Neda: Yea, especially if there are different opinions on the same concept.

Like, what really sticks out to me is how angry I was when it was revealed that Dara is a mind reader. I think I would have liked it better as a reader had I been in on the secret…maybe? At least then Dara would have gotten a sympathy vote. Same thing with…. Calix? I meant the main character, not Dara.

Also, in that same vein, it would be a totally different story if Lee had given us both Dara and the MC’s POV. Totally forgot the name…


Me: Noam

And I get that, I am glad Noam wasn’t a mind reader and I kinda thought Dara was just not a sympathetic character until we got to know more of his background. I actually was a huge fan of Calix, I thought that he was the most intriguing character. I preferred Noam without Dara. I think that I really enjoyed Lee’s take on the powers, that they’re induced by fever, and I do really love how the ending is Dara escaping, not Noam, or together, I think it’s a nice change and I hope that means more Calix lolol.

Neda: I loved the take on magic too! Dara was cool. My favorite character in the book. I need to write fanfiction from his POV. Noam was stupid. Especially, when he was running out of the building after killing that guy, but then ran back in? Who does that?
Me: lol!! I agree, Noam made some questionable choices but I think that’s why I liked him, he was a kid who grew up as part of a protest/rights group so even though he was born in a not so good part of town he was actually quite sheltered and I enjoyed Lee showing the differences between him and the others of his ‘class’ they may have come from money but at least a couple of them have some huge family issues. I could see why you wanted Dara’s Pov.

Neda: I liked the way she handled class, or at least nothing bad about it stuck out enough for me to complain. I will say tho, all the non-Atlantians did look pretty naive compared to Noam as far as the reality of the dystopian world goes.

Me: Fair enough on that I think she could have spent more time giving us world building we got snippets but not enough to really grasp what was going on, like when they went out to help in the camp, that was great, I wanted more of that

Neda: Agreed. More world building probably would have fixed my second problem: Noam’s mission never seemed urgent. I mean, he had a good reason to want to take the government down, but really they didn’t seem that awful? I don’t know. I wasn’t sure whose side to be on because Noam was questionable at best, and the government was just there.

Me: Hmm I guess I found what the govt was doing to be repulsive enough, and I was conflicted on how to feel about Noam being willing to kill someone for it though Should have done more with showing what the govt is doing. Otherwise, it’s like an invisible enemy lol

Neda: I am pretty sure Noam was influenced to kill that guy.

I agree Lee should have done more with the government. Like those between chapter, scenes should have had more to do with the world before the current world.

How did they get there?
How many died?
How long did the whole process take?

Who was patient zero?
Me: I hope she dives into all this more in book 2, and I think he was 2 but it’s like partly genius and partly infuriating that you’re not 100% sure, and I don’t think Noam is sure either And I really want to know more about the world before like you were saying.

Neda: More world building would have made the book probably 4 stars. And she had a genuine way to cram all that information in without taking up chapter space. So much disappointment…..I never felt 100% sure about anything or anyone. It’s so frustrating. I can see the appeal of grey areas because nothing is ever black and white. But this is a fictional story, especially teen fiction, I should know who’s good and who’s evil.

Me: Ah okay, I see where you’re coming from. I’m a huge believer in morally grey YA books, because the worlds are fiction but people are greyer in real life than in books, sometimes it’s nice having clear boundaries but I think it’s important to show that it’s not always easy to tell, because some teens can be susceptible of trusting people who are friendly, and if they can realize that those are not always the good ones, to keep up their guard, I think that’s useful.

Neda: Also, Noam bonded with the leader dude (more forgetting names) over their shared Jewish heritage. What is this, Batman v. Superman? That’s lazy writing. But more to your point: People who do bad things can have good intentions (See Thanos in the MCU as a prime example), and people who do good things can have bad intentions (see most characters in GoT, especially dragon lady). That’s a grey area that makes you think. If Lee had gone all the way with the character building, then, I think, she would have created something fun. But it’s just confusing.

Me: Hmm I guess I am seeing it as the first step, so I may feel more like you after book 2 if things aren’t looked into more!

Neda: Probably. I’ll read the second one because Dara, but I don’t have high expectations.

Me: fair enough man, fair enough

Neda: I think that’s everything I have to complain about.

So, we both still have not changed how much we enjoyed or didn’t enjoy the book but we did both realize the other had good points. I would say overall this was a very successful first Comparing Notes, the next one will be announced later on, but I’m really excited about it. Sometimes it’ll be a side by side comparison of reviews, sometimes we’ll be lamenting together on points we both didn’t like (or the opposite, cheering for what we did) and other times it’ll just be a chill discussion like this!

Supporting Authors & Supporting ‘Us’

This post I guess is more of just a discussion post, but I’d like to add that on any of my posts whether I say so or not, I want you to drop your opinions like they’re hot. Because I trust you all can be civil and I trust I can be civil so even if we disagree…it’s all gonna work out in the end…it’s when people endorse hurtful shit and say unnecessarily mean things that cause things to go out of hand.

And I’m not here to really say anything controversial today.

What I am here to say today is that the main reason I wanted to book blog is not just a love of books but it’s wanting to share that love, to share books that whether old or new are just amazing, and I think, deserve to be read by anyone and everyone who would be interested.

Most of us support authors in one way or another, whether we blog reviews of their works, tweet about their books, do preorders, giveaways, Instagram pics, Facebook posts, or just buy the book and leave a review on GoodReads/Amazon, or check it out from the library. When we do these things we are supporting these writers and that’s amazing.

It’s time-consuming.

It’s really time-consuming.

And it’s done out of love.

Sometimes we encounter books we don’t like, that’s life, and we are entitled our opinions, sometimes we don’t like them and it’s simply because it’s not to our own tastes, other times we don’t like them because they may actually be problematic in their content.

But that doesn’t mean we get to be silenced. And that doesn’t mean that because we have made ourselves approachable that we’re at everyone’s beck and call.

[And please remember this goes both ways, I love authors, I tag them in POSITIVE Reviews and in bookish content that includes them but I don’t expect them to respond, because they’re busy people with lives, I also don’t expect free books because I review things, and most of us do not have that expectation.]

As many others have stated, this is something we do on our own, and we also don’t do it for people to dig around the net for information on us..or you know…analyze our reviews. *stares* You know who you are.

It’s also not something to joke about.

In this day and age, we are constantly engaged with one another and there is constantly a trail of what we’ve done, it’s the internet, nothing ever truly disappears. You would think this would make people more conscientious about what they say but it seems the opposite has happened.

It’s now okay to email and insult someone who didn’t like your book, it’s okay to call them out because you think they’re the only ones who didn’t like your book. It’s alright to email saying ‘hey you, I didn’t bother to read your name or review policy but you should read my book even though it is not even listed as a genre you’ll consider reading.’ And somehow no one is supposed to call anyone out on this.

Do you know what? I’m not always offended when someone doesn’t address me by my name/blog name when they email, I don’t have an extensive review policy and so I’m very easy going, but I know others have very well laid out and in-depth review policies and for some reason no one bothers looking at them when they submit requests.

We join street teams, we share all the tweets about our fave books and authors and we are judged by numbers and engagement, we put in enough hours that if one added it all up, it wouldn’t be worth the occasional free book, and yet we have to deal with authors who get in our faces, respond to our unfavourable reviews and try to correct our opinions or talk about us like we’re not real people.

[Once more, this definitely goes both ways, such as people who tag writers in negative reviews, that’s a no-no, it’s not nice, and we wouldn’t like it if it happened to us.]

Maybe it’s easy to forget that someone is actually typing away at the keyboard behind Twitter, or on our blogs. But we are real people, we don’t want to be harassed or stalked online.

I will always support authors and writers, I will never stop, but I see others who get flack in our bookish community, and it’s hard to not get a bit ticked off.

So I’m here to say, I will always support authors.

But I will never support harassing/calling out/cyberstalking a book reviewer for simply stating not to like the book.

It would be very boring if we all liked and hated the same books, seriously, so boring. So, let’s be supportive of authors but authors…

Please, please be supportive of us. Stand up for us when someone else does this, remind them that the work we do is unpaid and can be very beneficial to authors.

Let’s all get along, let’s stand up together against prejudices, racism/sexism, and let’s not put each other down for having varied tastes.

Shoot me your thoughts, what have been your experiences? It doesn’t matter, author, book reviewer, bookstagrammer, drop your comments below

Gotta Get Down on Friday

As always, the infamous Rebecca Black song is stuck in my head so I invite it to be stuck in yours!

Late post today, we were doing adult things like looking at a house viewing and groceries. And the mini me is having a friend stay over [Seriously, I regret it every time I say yes, they stay up way later than this old lady and I can’t just let them go hay crazy so I have to stay up too.]

Oh that’s right, looking at buying our first place.

But as we house hunt we have to keep some important things in mind:

  • Bedroom that isn’t a broom closet for the daughter
  • Areas to walk the dog
  • That it can accommodate the necessary kitchen appliances (I’m not asking for a dishwasher, but I am asking for room for the fridge and freezer.
  • Carpet not from the 60s if it’s already at the top end of our budget
  • double glazing

And most importantly

ROOM FOR BOOKSHELVES

Obviously this last one is a serious issue, we are book hoarders of a sort and even though we regularly go through our books we still have so many that we cling onto.  There may be some un-hauling in our near future lol.

Homeownership has never been big on my priorities but as we get older we don’t really care to keep paying rent that’s higher than a mortgage, and we’ve been able to have enough to have a deposit otherwise we wouldn’t have much choice. This feels like a good step but I am seriously worried about having space for the books AND you know, us too hahaha.

Am I looking forward to moving?

A little.

We have to remember, I lugged those damn novels from Texas to Scotland and though I didn’t have to unload the boxes, I did pack them and move them from upstairs to downstairs in the house in Texas and then carried them about and emptied them here and there were so many.

So many.

And I hate the process of moving

I mean really dislike it with a burning passion. It’s so overwhelming. We have so much crap.

Anyway if we find a place to fit all our books, I’ll let you guys know, in the mean time expect some more non-review content tomorrow!

Book Reviewing: A Process

Hey all, it’s Saturday, you know what that means?

I revel in being lazy lol.

But also it’s the weekend for most of us, so yay for that.

Today’s post is more of a way to hopefully give you a laugh than an in-depth look at my process as my process is really…having none lol.

Step 1. Pick Which Book to Read Next

I look through my list to see which one is next to come out chronologically but sometimes it’s not that easy, there’ll be multiple ones coming out within like a two day span of each other. And so it’s just mostly a lot of me being overwhelmed.

 

Step 2. Read the Book I’ve picked

This is so much harder than it seems, the less time I have to read, the more pressured I feel. But pressured by who you may ask? Me. Myself. Oh, and I. Even though I can read most books in a day, I choose to worry over it until like 10PM and then I settle in to the actual act of reading.

 

Step 3. In Between Reading Take Copious Notes

I take notes to help me be more critical when writing my review. At least that’s what I’m telling myself I’ll accomplish by taking notes. More often than not I just suck at taking notes as well as writing up reviews.

 

Step 4. Finally Finish Reading!

I’m pretty good at this step haha, once I finally get into a groove with a book I’ll break it up over one to three days into a few sittings just so I don’t get too bored or distracted unless the book is really gripping.

 

Step 5. Writing up the Review

At this point I begin to sit there and look over my notes and stare at the laptop. It’s a hard process for me who really just is like ‘I liked it. It was good.’ I never feel I’m qualified enough to write up a review for you all lol.

 

Step 5A. Forget Everyone’s Names and Have to Look Them up

I don’t know why this happens to me, I’ll remember like one person’s name and it probably won’t be the person I’m actually wanting to write about at the moment so then I have to go back and look.

 

Step 6. Finish Writing Review and Publish it

I sit there, proud enough of it to just throw it at you all, knowing I finished.

 

Step 7. JK. It’s Never Done. Pick Another Book

 

And there you have it, book reviewing, a process!

 

Toodles guys!

Crap Critiquing Skills

I’ve been thinking about my ratings lately.

I love how people toss them out or definitely have an actual system.

I don’t, my three cups of coffee for a thriller or fantasy means it was pretty good, not great.

Three coffees on a poetry book means it was probably a bit boring at parts.

2 coffees is usually not great, sometimes I give things higher ratings if I think that it’s more enjoyable for a target audience I wasn’t included in. Like let’s face it, I’m not 16, but sixteen years old me might have loved it more, and if that’s the case, up the rating goes, who the hell am I to judge if a YA book is good for YA or not?

[UNLESS I think it’s harmful, or just does not promote something important for teen girls, such as when a book uses pop feminism to somehow put down other kinds of girls. That’s not cool. That’s not how it works. Okay, different tangent for a different day but there you have it in miniature so you know where I’m coming from! Don’t teach girls and boys abusive relationships are cool, don’t teach boys it’s not okay to cry, and don’t make it seem like makeup doesn’t make you a genuine person and I won’t hate your novel lol]

I also tend to just enjoy so much. Again unless it has issues that I realize, and sometimes I don’t’ realize something is an issue because I’ve never thought of it and I have to look to my fellow readers/writers/bloggers for support and learn and grow, I tend to just give books good ratings.

So, really, the fact of the matter is, I am crap at critiquing.

But is that a huge problem? Hmm maybe, maybe not but book blogging has forced me to think of my reviews more as I’m writing and before I post. I want to make sure I at least attempt a pros and cons list when I can, to show readers things that may not suit them despite my positive review but sometimes I just don’t have that much to say about the book! However, I promise guys, I really am learning as I go. So maybe it is a huge problem and a lot of you are like ‘Haley why do you love everything’ but I am trying to be more objective.

I also know that when I do remember (even if it’s after a review has gone live) I do try to post content and/or trigger warnings. NOT so much on a book whose plot clearly states this is gonna be dark, such as like say a thriller about serial killers told in the first person. But if it’s a book that’s like ‘oh yes a mystery, let’s see what happens’ and then boom gore upon gore, then I do try to remember to let you all know. So again, growth. Things I didn’t usually think about before have to be on the forefront for me. Because I know sometimes I appreciate the content warnings if I’m not expecting a book to have anything in gross detail. For me, people can’t really give trigger warnings for my sorts of triggers but I do try to remember things I think will generally be good to warn ahead, violence, deaths, drug/alcohol usage, abuse of any sort, but if you ever see a book you think should have more warning to it, please let me know, I’ll always appreciate that.

I’m about to write up my Crown of Feathers review and I know I’ll be warning about animal deaths and such, I don’t want someone to pick up a book because of me and be traumatized, that’s not my goal for those who are kind enough to read my blog.

So I guess what I’m saying is, thank you all for putting up with me being on a steep learning curve. I may be crap at critiquing but I’m always going to better myself for you all. However I think we’ll just have to all accept that I’m too easygoing with books, I just tend to like what I read. [Except for the time I don’t, and then I turn into a very salty and smarmy book blogger].

Thank you all, promise I’ll keep trying to grow.

Toodles

Book Vs. Book. Vs. Book

Title catch your eye?

If you follow me on twitter you may have seen me having a small rant about people being elitists about their mediums of reading.

Let’s take a look at this conundrum:


I just chose this book at random and it’s on my tbr so you know, there’s that. But that’s not the point.

One of these is the Kindle edition cover, one is the paperback edition cover, and one is obviously the audible’s audio version’s cover. I say obviously because it says performed by the author on the last one and it’s literally the only picture with any sort of difference. But do you know what?

All 3 have the same damn content.

Let’s let that sink in.

All 3 have the same content. They’re all the same BOOK.

Okay, most of you didn’t need this repeated a second time because I know a lot book people aren’t elitists (or rather I hope so, please don’t shred my hope guys lol).

As someone who loves sniffing pages like some weird teen trying to get a high from spray paint, I know where people are coming from when they say they prefer real books.

As someone who travels frequently and has a lot of times to just whip out her phone or eReader to read, I understand where people are coming from who prefer their electronic readers. [When I’m talking about books that aren’t eARCs I read mostly physical but I utilize my Kindle(s) A LOT.]

As someone who has had to do a crap ton of driving in her life, I can understand why people would want audiobooks. [They’re the only method of reading I don’t use, but, uh, that’s not because I’m ‘above’ it, that is just my preference]

So, seeing people in Twitter being like:

O,h I could NEVER trade my real books for a KINDLE, why would I ever want to do such a horrible thing?

I’m sorry, but quite frankly, get bent. Your method of reading isn’t any better and people have their reasons, some people don’t have access to physical books so they may not even prefer a Kindle or an audible but it’s the only method of reading, and what, you’re going to make them feel bad?

How about being sincere? ‘I’d like to know your reasons for preferring an audiobook or Kindle, as someone who prefers physical books, I’m curious to know.’

And guess what? No one needs to have a reason to prefer a reading medium. they might just like it more, and that alone is enough.

Some people can’t read on screens and guess what they don’t need to be harassed, and some people can only really get into reading by listening to audiobooks, and guess what, anyone being harassed is just not going to be as eager to share their love of reading and how utterly crappy is that?

And I know it seems like I’m singling out people who prefer physical books, I’m not.  It is just that unfortunately, in MY case, on my twitter these are the only ones that pop up but don’t you get me wrong if I see any other reading medium elitist, I’m going to give them hell too.

Everyone is allowed to have their preferences but no one is allowed to belittle another for their preference. You don’t get to act pretentious, you don’t get to sit there laughing at their ‘poor choice’ because that just makes you look like a big twat-nugget. Oh yeah, I went there. Pardon my language.

I’m just really irritated this week and this just was a bit of exasperation for me.

The world needs more readers, by any means possible, a world filled with book lovers is the kind of place I want to be and that means we just need to stop being picky about what kind of readers they are.

Do they use a nook? Great!

Paperbacks only? Fantastic!

Still rockin’ the audio CDs? Hell yea!

And you know, just so we know that at some point I’ll tackle this too:

Do you love smutty romances? I will hunt down Harlequin-esque novels for you

Comics/Graphic Novels/Manga only? Great, let’s talk shop, give me your recs.

Nonfiction? My god do you even exist lol? Because I could use people to talk nonfiction with

You get the point, if I did this with all the genres we’d be here until we look like this:

I guess at the heart of my little rant, what I really want to make clear is, please, PLEASE don’t put others down for how they choose to enjoy books, and please, please, PLEASE, if you have been put down, know that it’s not right or okay, that you’re still a reader and you are very valid to the book community. [And if you are ever made to feel bad, you send them to me, I shall politely and firmly tell them they’re being an ass]

Go forth and read!!!