Let’s chat about where I’ve been, blogging slumps, and how to get out of them

I think all bloggers can agree that blogging slumps are awful, I mentioned in my April wrap up that I was in a one and I’m happy to say I that after two months I’m finally out of it! I have been for almost two weeks you might be wondering why I’ve haven’t really been around. There’s a couple of reasons, this post is mostly going to be an update telling you those reading, I’ll also be sharing some tips on how to get out of a blogging slump.

First I’ll tell you what’s been going on, I haven’t been around because while I love blogging I needed a break from it. I really needed to sort some things and just needed time to focus on some of the things happening in my life. Taking a brake gave me more time to read and for the first time in a year I spent more time reading then I did talking about books. That’s part of why I haven’t really been around for the last to weeks I was busy. It was nice to have more reading time but I really missed interacting with you guys, I’m happy to be back and excited about all the posts I have planned I’m more excited about blogging then I have been in months. I have been writing and scheduling a lot of posts, and I’m really excited for you to read them.

Now it’s time to move on to the hopefully helpful tips on dealing with the dreaded blogging slump. I’ve never done any kind of advice post so I’m a little nervous about posting this.

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1. Look for inspiration: My first tip is my advice to anyone whose running low on blogging inspiration.  Try asking someone for ideas or read other blogs. I often find inspiration by reading my favorite blogs another idea is to go to the bookstore! Often just being surrounded by books makes me think of things to say about them. This is also good advice for anyone in a reading slump often being in a bookstore or library reminds me of how amazing books are and can help you to discover a great new book.

2. Force yourself through it: A lot of time when I’m struggling with writing a post or thinking of an idea it helps to write an easy post like a wrap up, weakly feature, whatever you consider to be easy or quick to write. Writing something that doesn’t require me to think up an idea often gives me the motivation to write something that does.

3. Take a break: Take a step back from blogging and hopefully in time you’ll find motivation and excitement to come back to your blog.  I’ve found that blogging slumps can be tied to reading slumps so maybe try focusing on getting out of that and you’ll get out of your blogging slump as well. Last year I didn’t read much there where months when I only read two books and since reading gives us our ideas it my blog suffered for it.

Untitled design (4) Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have any tips, I want to know how do you deal with blogging slumps?

 

Discussion: Romance in YA

If you’ve been following me for a while you most likely know that I’m not the biggest fan of romance, I mention this often today I’m going to discuss it in more detail. I used to be less critical of romance and found myself shiping the character a lot more often then I do now. My opinion towards romance changed rather abruptly for a while every romantic sub plot big or small annoyed me, now it’s usually just kinda there I don’t usually care much about it. The biggest reason for my distaste towards it is that I grew tired of it being in everything, it’s hard to find characters who get to be happy and single. 

Romance is kinda just expected to be in every YA book, it’s aggravating how it’s tied with the genre YA is known for being filled with unrealistic romance, love triangles and insta love are the norm. Often the romance is unnecessary, I have read a lot of books that would have been better without romance. Books where it’s thrown in and isn’t even important to the story or well done. I don’t know why so many authors feel the need to throw it in it doesn’t have to be in every YA book,it’s actually only in recent years that’s it’s become so common. 

Based on what I’ve read on the history of YA and lists I’ve looked for of romance free YA I’ve come to believe that that YA without romance didn’t become rare until about ten years, ago maybe less. A lot of the popular books that helped make YA into the phenomenon it is today didn’t have any romance or very little. Examples are, The Giver, Sabrial, Speak, The Book Thief and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. All published before 2008 and all frequently appear when I search for YA without romance, along with other older titles. I’m not sure when or why all the love triangles started popping up all the time, at least love triangles seem to be becoming less popular, thankfully. 

I have read a whole eight YA books with absolutely no romance and I’ve been actively looking for them for the last two year. I’m sure there’s more out there then I know exist, I wish they happened to be more popular because at least it would make them easier to find, finding them in difficult. Most of the romance free lists also have books with a little romance mixed in and that’s not what I want, plus there seems to be the same ten books on every list. I’ve also noticed that the books without romance tend to be on the younger side of YA and are very light reads. I guess most people start dating when their around sixteen but I’m eighteen and have never had a boyfriend so not everyone does. 

letschatWhat do you think, do you think there’s a reason it’s so common? 

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Are book bloggers too nice? 

This post was inspired by Krysta’s @pagesunbound amazing post about the unwritten rules of the blogosphere (she always has the best discussions!) she raised a lot of interesting questions I would like to address a few of them. Mostly the ones about book bloggers being careful not to be seen as argumentative and about the niceness of the community.birddivider-pg

Are book bloggers too nice?

I think book blogger are definitely too nice, yes it’s good to be nice in fact it’s the best thing anyone can be and generally it’s better to be too nice then not nice enough most everyone on here is so kind. I have never gotten a mean comment this community is amazing every single person who I have talked to is lovely. I’m sure there are rude book bloggers because there is always going to be those people who are rude for no reason and love to start drama. What I mean by the community being too nice is that it seems people are scared of hurting others feeling so they word their different or negative opinion very carefully or don’t say it at all. And this brings me to my next question…

Are we missing out on interesting conversations, because we’re afraid of being argumentative?

I have noticed that the majority of the comments I receive are in complete agreement, I would love to receive more comments from people who have a completely different opinion then me. I love seeing people’s different thoughts on books or various topics that’s part of why I love blogging. I think that by being afraid of coming across as argumentative were missing out on interesting conversations, were too concerned about being respectful of people’s opinions. Being respectful of people’s opinions is important but being respectful doesn’t mean you can’t share your differing opinion it just means not to tell them their opinion is invalid.

Are we too afraid of sharing unpopular/negative opinions?

Sometimes it feels like the whole internet loves this one book and then you read it and are sure you didn’t read the same book no way is this awful book the same one everyone else loves but somehow it is you say nothing though for fear of backlash. We read the popular books because we want to be able to join in on conversations about it but if you don’t like the book it feels like your all alone your not there’s someone out there who feels the same way. When someone does share a unpopular opinion they often apologize but you really do not have to apologize for not liking something it should be understood that it’s an opinion and not a fact some people get them mixed up and it’s aggravating.

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In conclusion…

We need to stop caring quite so much about offending people as long as you don’t insult them or the book they love then you’re not doing anything wrong. Of course if you didn’t like a book then sharing your opinion might be considered insulting the book but remember that there is a difference between saying “I didn’t like this book because…” and saying “This book is a load of crap how could anyone like it.” you can disagree with someone and not be rude about it. I think some people are too defensive we should be able to talk about harmful and problematic things without people becoming unreasonably defensive about their favorite book. You can love something and still acknowledge that it’s not perfect.

birddivider-pgWhat do you think? Is there anything else you think the book community needs to improve upon?

Equality in fantasy 

Today I’m posting something that I have been thinking about for a while now, and that is equality in fantasy and how in fantasy worlds there is hardly ever equality. There  is normally some sort of sexism, it can be simply the way the world is,  have lots of well written female characters or sometimes it’s the authors fault. And the inequality is because of the distinct lack of female characters or bad portrayals of them, therefore the misogyny of the author themselves.

I know that you should separate the person from the work but when it’s offensive in anyway then I can’t separate it and I don’t think you should not when it tends to mean that it is what the author believes. Lets get back on track and get to why I think these typical words need to change.random-musings-2The majority of high fantasy has a medieval world I feel like a lot of fantasy’s use the society in their world, to justify having hardly any female characters. The society of fantasy worlds tend to not treat women well, to keep them from reaching their full potential, making their own choicest do basically anything but look pretty. Having a world like this is not an excuse to not have female characters, yet there so often make dominated. I’m not completely opposed to medieval inspired worlds sometimes the authors still do a good job at empowering women by having them fight the patriarchy, but there are plenty of times where the opposite occurs. If you’re going to create a world with inequality do it right you can’t just throw things in or use them as excuses not to be inclusive.random-musings-3 There should be more books that have worlds where all genders and races have equal rights. Obviously your world can’t be perfect there has to be conflict but the bad guys can give you enough conflict to keep things interesting. It would actually be super cool and unique to have a world where people were treated equally there would be so many opportunities for badass moments. You don’t have to mold your fantasy world after the Middle Ages or any time period, female characters don’t always have to wear pretty dresses and not have basic human rights. You can let girls be knights let them be blacksmiths let boys be seamstresses and make it be a normal thing in that world. I want to escape into a world where everyone has equal rights a world that has characters that defy every stereotypebirddivider-pg

Defacing books vs keeping them perfectf

Before getting into this decision I want to quickly explain the new phenomenon of defacing books what it means is to decorate the cover of a book. The difference between it and annotating is basically defacing = drawing on books primarily the cover while annotating = writing, highlighting and underlining. Maybe that was obvious but since I’m using both words and they are different in my eyes I wanted to make it clear what I mean when I use each one.

Now onto the discussion…

I obviously love books and I believe all books are special as does the whole book community but are bookworms to stingy about the condition of their books? What I mean by this is that a lot of people like to deface their books and almost every time someone posts a picture of their defaced book someone is appealed by it. I understand why marking up precious books would be appealing but people can do what they want with their books. I know the title says defacing books vs keeping them perfect but there there shouldn’t be a debate (I just didn’t know what else to call this) you should just do whatever you want.

I had been waiting to annotate my books for about two years and I finally worked up the nerve to do it! And it’s honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made. There’s a million copies of it that are in perfect condition but now my copy is unique. Annotating got me thinking about how much we value books as objects and about the people who take it as a personal insult when someone draws or writes in books. I get wanting to keep your books in good condition but I also think that some people are missing out and that some people need to be more open minded. I want to tell you why I think old marked up books that have been read twenty times can be prettier then new ones.

I love new books they smell good and being the first person to read something is special, I just also think rereading that book for the tenth time can be just as or even more special. Looking at my copy of Pegasus that has pages falling out reminds me of when I was twelve and just discovering the magic of books. My mom’s paperbacks of the first four HP books have dozens of cracks in the spines they have been read countless times by multiple people, they have been the source of numerous conversations. The content of the books people love tell you something about the person, if you pay attention. The book as a object can tell you something too it can tell you if it made them cry, how many times they read it and if the person annotates it it can tell you even more. I like old books it’s like they have two stories the actual words inside them and the history of everyone whose read it.

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Now it’s time for you to tell me your thoughts on defacing books, have you ever done it? Do you prefer new books or old ones? I think there both great. 

Variety in the book community

One of my 2017 reading goals is to read wider range of books, I want to read lesser known books try some different genres and like a lot of people I want to read more diversely. My goal is to mix things up and insure my blog features a variety of different and diverse books. One thing that inspired this is seeing certain books all the time mainly A Court of Mist and Fury it has been all over the internet since it’s release in May and I have gotten majorly spoiled.

I have seen so much acomaf that it now annoys me every time I see anything about it. It feels like the internet has read it for me it’s told me practically everything what’s the point in reading it anymore. I’ve had similar experiences with other books it has been better since I deleted my tumblr I’ve been spoiled a lot less. But I’ve never felt like I know everything about a book I haven’t read until acomaf.

When I see one book all over the internet it gets to the point were start avoiding it I even stop reading reviews for it because I’m just tired of seeing that book and I’m way less inclined to read it. It sometimes feels like the internet only talks about the same ten books. I have seen a few others saying similar things about popular books being daunting they have become scary ever since I started blogging, I get scared that I wont like it and be one of the only people who doesn’t.

I know popular things tend to be popular for a good reason I used to read hyped books almost exclusively but lately I haven’t had much luck with them and I find them to have a lot of tropes and aspects I don’t like or feel are overdone. Hyped books and me just need a break from each other I won’t be reading a lot of them this year some of them look to interesting to not read. I’m not going to completely stop reading bestsellers but I won’t be reading that many of them.

I like writing reviews better for underrated books or books that have been out a while I feel like there’s more to say I haven’t seen a dozen reviews already and I can hopefully introduce my followers to a new book. Variety just keeps things interesting it keeps things from becoming boring so I’m gong to seek out and promote unique and underrated books. I do actually follow a lot of bloggers who post about underrated books I’ve never heard of most of what I was talking about mainly applies to twitter and instagram. Although I have noticed that most of the big book blogs and booktubers only read popular books.

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Does seeing a book everywhere bother you,or does it make you want to read it more? What do you think we can do to increase the verity in the community?

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The thing about unlikeable characters 

We’ve all read a character who makes all the wrong choices who makes you want to throw the book across the room. For me that character is Emma Woodhouse she’s very frustrating but I liked her arc even if I kept telling her what to do and what not to. And getting annoyed when she didn’t listen. I didn’t like Emma half the time yet I liked the plot which was all caused by her actions. This brings me to this question do you have to like the protagonist? I think that as long as you enjoy getting frustrated by them. And as long as they actually change by the end of the book then I can enjoy a book without liking the main character.

The important thing is that the characters aren’t flat that their complex. You don’t necessarily have to like their actions or think their good people just understand them. No matter how unlikable the protagonist is you should be able to understand why they do the things they do and hopefully sympathize with them. I used to think that in order for me to love a character I had to relate to them but that’s definitely not true. I can’t relate to most of my favorite characters. I can’t relate to any of the characters in Six of Crows yet I think their all great and Kaz is a good example of an unlikable character. I’ve seen a few reviews of Six of Crows were the reviewer seemed to think that liking Kaz meant you agreed with the awful things he does. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why people think that likeking a character means you condone their actions. 

I think Snape is a good character but I don’t like him he’s a wonderfully written character but he does some awful things. He’s certainly not the kind of guy you’d name your kid after. Liking a character doesn’t mean you condone their actions loving a villain doesn’t mean you think their right. So why should liking a very flawed character like Snape or Kaz mean you think they were in the right.

Okay back to the main point of this discussion I like characters who are very obviously flawed I think their more interesting and realistic. They have some of the best development or at least should it’s annoying when a character is almost completely unchanged by the end of the book. The characters who makes mistakes have to learn from them the thing is all their mistakes and flaws make them feel more real. I do have to like the character it’s just that I like unlikable characters as in characters who are hard to like or who I have a love hate relationship with. I do also love characters who are good people so I don’t know that there’s one quality that makes a character my favorite, other than being well written of course.

How do you feel about unlikeable characters?

A Rant about BEA 

There’s been a lot of criticism towards Book Expo American recently and rightly so they changed there policy making it harder for bloggers and booktubeers to get in. Tckets are now 300$ that alone makes it impossible for a lot of people who can’t afford the 300$ plus costs of travel to NYC and food. They also made it so you have to have two job references a lot of bloggers are teenagers and college students and both of these things hinder them from going. I understand that you can’t let just anyone in to BEA there should be restrictions but it should be more assessable to bloggers.

I don’t think Publishers’s realize how important book bloggers and YouTubers are there so many books I’ve read because of the internet. It’s the reason I read three of my favorite series’s and it’s the reason I read so much because it keeps me excited about books. And they do this without getting paid sure there’s the occasional sponsored post but they don’t get paid much (if you want to know more about this you should watch this video from Emmmabooks). These people who passionately talk about books for free and influenced so many people to read more and buy certain books deserve to go to BEA. The publishing industry needs to appreciate these people more or it’s going to end up hurting the industry.

As someone who wants to work in publishing and is becoming increasingly aware of how hard it is to get into it this debacle frustrates me. I didn’t have any hope of going this year any way but now my hope of going eventually is almost nonexistent. I wish that they would have a panel at Yallfest about getting into publishing or something to help people learn more about the industry.

Realizing your fave is problematic / Analyzing The Mortal Instruments

This post was inspired by Crit your faves a amazing blog event created by Read at Midnight that encourages you to acknowledge the problematic aspects in your favorite books and look at them through a more critical lens. This is no way means you have to stop loving these books, just acknowledge harmful tropes or themes they may have.

I missed the sign up but it gave me an idea so I figured I’d still go ahead and post about my problematic fave. You should definitely go check out all the posts from this cool event there’s a lot of good ones.

my-problimatic-gaveThe Mortal Instruments is one of the most addicting series I’ve ever read I flew through the first three books and loved them then I read the fourth book and I didn’t really like it I think the series should have ended with City of Glass.

I didn’t notice most of the problematic aspects when I first read it but I was thinking about it recently and there’s a lot of problematic things, a few harmful and all to common tropes. Although there are still plenty of good things about the series as well.

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The mean girl trope. Izzy didn’t like Clary and I don’t remember if it’s ever explained I think it was literally just there for drama and that’s stupid. I would have loved for the books to focus more on Izzy and Clary’s relationship but sadly they hardly have any moments together.

Jace is a jerk. I remember him saying a lot of mean things to everyone, okay I could be a little wrong on this I’m not sure if he said anything mean to Clary but I know he insulted Simon and Simon is my favorite. I remember not liking Jace and wanting to slap him. I get annoyed with the whole if a boy is mean to you it means he likes you thing it’s all to common in YA like I said I don’t think that’s exactly the case here but why would you want to date someone who’s a jerk to your best friend.

They thought they were related. This really grosses me out I knew they weren’t related but they didn’t know that, and yet they still kissed even though they thought they were kissing their sibling. And almost all Clary thought about was how much she loved Jace and how hot he was. Honestly Clace is so problematic, for one thing they don’t have a lot of meaningful conversations they spend most of their time kissing or thinking about kissing. This is especially problematic considering they thought they were related for a book and a half.

Clary forgets about her mom. In the beginning of the book Clary’s main goal is saving her mom but she quickly stars caring more about Jace than her mom. And when she does save her mom she yells at her when I first read it I understand her anger but while I still get why she’s mad at her mom I personally would hug my mom whom I hadn’t seen in months. I would talk to her not yell at her her, Clary and mom are supposed to have this amazing relationship but the books don’t spend a lot of time showing you that.

Despite all of those things I did enjoy the writing, loved the humor and liked the majority of the characters my problems mostly with clace and the lack of female dynamics I enjoyed most everything else. I’m also a big fan of the TV show partly because it deviates from the book they cut out the mean girl trope and Clary hugs her mom instead of yelling at her.

What are your problematic faves? What do you think of this series, and it’s TV show?

Should you post reviews for books you don’t finish?

There is so many books in the world it’s a little overwhelming sometimes and with so many amazing books out there I don’t want to waste time reading bad ones, or even books that are just okay. I almost never read a book without reading a review first I want to know if I’ll like it of course you can never know for sure but if a blogger I trust gives a book a good review it jumps to the top of my TBR.

I always give a book at least fifty pages to grab my attention if it doesn’t then I stop reading it. This year my average rating has been four stars and the reason is I DNF (did not finish) books more often, I used to hardly ever do it I also used to read more books I didn’t like. I know some people don’t like not finishing things because they just have to know how it ends but I like it because if I don’t like the first fifty pages then I’m probably not going to like the rest of the book.

There is one exception to not finishing books and that is arcs if you requested a arc then you owe it to the publisher or author who sent it to you to finish it and review it. If you didn’t ask for the arc but are on the publishers mailing list then it’s okay to DNF the book but I think you should consider hosting a giveaway there’s probably lots of bloggers who want it and who might like it more than you. Arcs are very limited and there for the purpose of promoting a book and a giveaway can do that just as well or maybe better then I review.

There’s been some debate about whether or not you should post reviews for books you DNF, I think it’s fine as long as you say you didn’t finished it and maybe even say how far you got. If you didn’t finish a book then I think it’s a pretty good indicator that you didn’t like it, I normally still give the book two stars instead of one because there could be some other things about it that I might have liked. I’ve never posted a DNF review because I just don’t feel like I have enough things to talk about, I probably only read about half the book or less and for me that’s not enough content to write a full review on.

Do you DNF books? Have you ever posted a DNF review, or do you think you shouldn’t post reviews for books you don’t finish?