Showing posts with label Let's Chat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Let's Chat. Show all posts

Why I Missed Out on BEA and Other Life Events

Friday, June 19, 2015

I've gotten a couple comments and tweets from fellow bloggers asking where I've been and why I missed out on BEA when I said I was going to go, so this is a post that will answer your questions. Take note that this is a very personal post, and it's not really all that bookish. But this is life and not everything can be about the goodness that is books.

The Semester is Finished! What Now?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Phew! This semester is finally over. I am free of academic obligations for the next 3 months... well, sort of.

I decided to write a personal post about what is going on in Amanda-Land since the last couple months I have been in and out of the blogging world. Some of you might have noticed that I have been a little absent on Twitter, on my Blog (yeah, I hate when I miss posting), or commenting on your blogs. Or ya know, maybe you didn't notice and I only wish you had! ;)

Anyway, grad school has been kicking my tail! I took three really hard classes this semester, and that's seriously all I've been doing... just so you all know, grad school is VERY different from undergrad, and even though it's a bit more enjoyable, it's ten times harder. The last month and a half I have been writing research papers and working on presentations and studying for finals; needless to say, my blogging life has thus been demoted to the back burner. 

But now that the semester is over, I can focus more on blogging, at least more than I have over the last month and a half. That's not to say that my life isn't wicked busy at the moment, because it so is. That being said, I would like to update you guys on what you're going to see this summer!

You Read YA Lit?

Friday, April 24, 2015

"You read YA lit? Isn't that, like, for teens? Aren't you a legit English major?"

I feel like this topic has been written about countless times. I think I may have even written over it before, but I was recently asked what kind of books I generally read by one of my graduate classmates in the English department. I told them that I really enjoy reading YA lit. They looked at me like I just shattered all the respect they had for me.

For some reason, there is this pressure as an English literature academic that makes students think that all they can read and enjoy are the classics and canonical works deemed worthy by society to fit into that very small fraction of the world's published books. If you enjoy your run of the mill crime novel, or God forbid, Nora Roberts book, you are doing a disservice to the field of literary studies, which honestly is a sad way to live.

Putting that little snippet aside, this semester I have been taking a YAL class. It counts toward my 20th and 21st century literature requirement, and it has been one of the most eye opening experiences.

Clean Reader and the Looming Problem of Censorship

Friday, April 10, 2015

I found out that a new app made the rounds in the reading community sometime in the past couple months called Clean Reader. This is what the official page says about the app:

Clean Reader prevents swear words in books from being displayed on your screen. You decide how clean your books should appear and Clean Reader does the rest.

I know many people might have different opinions on this topic, so before I begin stating mine, I want to recognize that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and this should be a safe place to discuss things like this that affect the way readers and writers engage with texts.

The Warning Labels that Should Accompany Books

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sometimes, I think my reading life would be so much easier if certain books came with warning labels. Sometimes I'm not prepared emotionally for a really good book. Or books wreck me so thoroughly that I become a book polygamist afterward not finding a book that lives up the amaizingness that was the book that tore up my emotional abilities. Therefore, I think books should come with warning labels.

So I've decided to label a couple of books with my own warning labels:

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover 

Do NOT read in public! This book will make you blush fiercely and cry buckets of tears.

The Healing Power of Binge Reading

Friday, March 20, 2015

Today I would like to talk about the healing power of binge reading, because yes, I swear that binge reading has magical properties that simultaneously wreck you and heal you!

I will generally binge read a series at the most inopportune times, and I find it's because I desperately need an escape. Last February was just that. I read the entire Vampire Academy series (6 big books) in two weeks, while I had a full-time job and just launched my book blog. Talk about crazy. But I binged the series at the perfect moment that I needed a way out of real life problems. 

Obviously, when you binge read an entire series that most likely means that you are extremely invested in the characters' lives, which ultimately will wreck you in ways you never though you could be wrecked. But there's also something about doing nothing but reading and entire series one right after the other. 

For me this just recently happened with reading the Shatter Me series. I actually had to read Shatter Me for a paper I was going to write for my YA grad class. I fully intended to read it the first day of Spring Break and not worry about the rest until after I wrote my paper. 

Well... that didn't happen. I read the entire series in three days, and IT. WAS. GLORIOUS.

There was something so healing being able to read and not have to worry about anything (because I had a few days to write the paper) and my family was cool enough to let me hole up in my room and devour books one right after the other!

At the same time, I fell so completely in love with Warner it was kinda scary and the story wrecked me in the best way possible while also healing me and allowing me to be completely consumed by a wonderful story.

After binge reading, I feel like I'm on this high, this super amazing moment where there's no such thing as a bad book and that fictional worlds are all amazing and magical and everything's at your fingertips. I know that sounds really weird, but that's what binge-reading (and enjoying the binge) feels like to me.

Have you ever binge read an entire series? 
What series? Did you enjoy it?

North Texas Teen Book Festival Event +GIVEAWAY

Friday, March 13, 2015
So let's chat about one of the best bookish events I've ever been to: the North Texas Teen Book Festival.

This festival was put on by the AMAZING people who work at the Irving Public Library as well as many other people and companies who supplied either time or money to make sure that this event ran smoothly.

There were well over 50 authors at this event and about 5000 attendees. Talk about a packed house, y'all! And it was amazing!

Needless to say, it was glorious! I got to meet up with some amazing friends, bloggers, and authors. So let's start from the beginning. Me and a couple of my college friends got a hotel together but we decided since we were in Dallas for a book event, why don't we do something bookish like go to Barnes & Noble on a Friday night... because that's just what you do. 

It just so happened that A.G. Howard, author of the Splintered series, was signing at the B&N in Frisco.

We all got our book signed and met up with the wonderful ladies, Katie from Polished Page-Turners and Mary from Mary Had a Little Book Blog. You guys, these ladies are downright fabulous! If you don't already follow them, you DEFINITELY should!

That evening, Mary surprised me with the most amazing gift I've ever received for my birthday:

That's right! She snagged an ARC of ACOTAR from one of the publishers at the event who was setting up for NTTBF the night before!

You guys, I screamed in the middle of Barnes & Noble and did a happy dance. I actually very nearly cried I was so stinking happy. So to Mary, THANK YOU! You are an absolute gem!

I'm still not over it! I've already finished the book and it was so dang good I just can't wait for the next one and it's going to be at least a year and half! Cue the future tears and feels fest!

That evening we all got some dinner at IHOP and chatted it up. Have I told you how great these gals are? Because they are seriously awesome!

Needless to say, that night I got only a little sleep seeing as there was absolutely no way for me to go to sleep with ACOTAR merely feet away. So I started the book that night. heh! ;)

Comments and the Dreaded Spam Word

Friday, March 6, 2015
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So as a blogger, we all love receiving comments from our readers, but what we don't like is spam.
Spam is the bane of a blogger's existence for good reason.
I feel like spam can take on many different forms. It can take on the normal "Click here for free RayBan sunglasses!" or it can take on a "Cool post! You should check out my latest post!"

I think you know which one I'm going to talk about. And I'm mostly targeting this post to the young bloggers out there, because most of our seasoned bloggers know better than to do this. But I think if you comment, you should always leave worthy comments. Comments that invite discussion and response (much like what I talked about in this post a few weeks back).

So I want to talk about when it is appropriate to link your blog or post in comments.

Retellings and Why I Struggle With Them

Friday, February 27, 2015

Over the past few years, I have had MAJOR difficulties reading retellings. I've read several over the past few years, and even more during my time as a book blogger, but it seems like most of them fall flat. Then there are those two or three books that completely blew me out of the water, I loved them so much!

But I think I figured out why I struggle with retellings, and it comes down to a single word:

I have found that the more original the story, the more I love it. Now when I say original retellings (yes, I realize that it's a slight oxymoron), I mean books that use same themes but a drastically different kind of plot.

Take for instance Rosamund Hodge's books Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bound. The first is a Beauty and the Beast retelling that actually pulls most from the original tale and not the Disney version, but in the end she completely changes the tale to fit her world. And Crimson Bound is a a mixture of retellings: Red Riding Hood and The Girl With No Hands. She pulls only slightly from both of those tales and weaves her own very original story, characters, and plot. 

I think there in lies the difference in retellings. You can even use that in the Lunar Chronicles. It's the same. Though Marissa Meyer uses Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel, there is no argument that her books are very original.

So I think that's my problem. If I read a retelling that is so common or predictable, I lose interest completely; it's the originality of the narrative that grasps me.

So what about you? Do you struggle with reading retellings?

Obligation in the Book Blogging Community

Friday, February 6, 2015

Today I want to talk about a subject that may or may not hit close to home:

Obligation in the book community

This is rather vague, I admit. It could relate to a number of things, but I want to talk about how you decide to run your blog and the self-pressures that come with that, even going as far as requesting and receiving ARCs and how there's a bit of a difference between being given books and receiving books that you have requested (but that's going to be next week's topic of conversation...YAY!). 

So first, let's tackle the pressures that visit book bloggers and invade their dreams at night. I've heard the word obligation thrown around in comments on my blog and in conversations on Twitter. I know as bloggers, we feel like we are obligated to post every day, or obligated to respond to all comments, or obligated to comment on all the blogs, or obligated to read the latest books to feel like your blog can keep up with everyone else's blogs, etc.

Those are all valid. So hear me say this: your feelings are valid and I completely understand them. 

Now throw them out the window.

DNFing in 5 Easy Steps

Friday, January 30, 2015

I've realized that I have a big problem DNFing books. Like... a MAJOR problem. If I'm far enough into a book, I will not put it down no matter if I absolutely hate it. So I've decided to write a post about DNFing to help not only me but you guys too!

1. Have an out.
This is the first and probably most important step. You need to make sure you have a page number or percentage in mind that you will decide to DNF once you get to that point. For some people, they like the Rule of 50, or even 69. And you ebook readers generally have a percentage between 15-25%. 
Pick a number that will work best for you and stick with it!
No compromising the number later!

The Unspoken Rule of Comments for Comments

Friday, January 23, 2015

Over the year I have been contributing to the book blogging community, I have discovered an unspoken rule, especially to the younger bloggers (and by younger, I mean year-old blogs or less). 
Unspoken Rule: comment for comment. 
 It must have been a BIG faux pas of mine, because I have never really participated in this rule much. Some of your who comment all the time on my blog have probably noticed that I rarely comment on yours, I'm sorry. I most likely follow your blog, but I despise commenting just for the sake of commenting. I feel like when you comment you should have something to contribute to the discussion and not just "good review!". So unless I have something really good to say, I won't comment.

If We Were Having Coffee [2]

Friday, January 16, 2015

If we were having coffee... I would tell you that I'm very happy with where I am in life. Last time I wrote a post like this, I was very disappointed in life, in people, in circumstances, in my job... everything, but I am in a much better place now. I'm not in the job I was before. I'm back in school, finally pursuing the Masters degree I wanted for so long. Something about school puts me at ease and challenges my mind. Yes, it's stressful, but it's sooooo worth it.

I would ask you... How do you feel about where you are in life?

If we were having coffee... I would tell you how excited I am about my blog! I feel like the new layout I got represents a different chapter that is going to be all my own! It will only ever have my name on it. I'm sole owner, and I can do whatever I want. I don't have to ask my co-blogger or anything. It's very freeing. I'm also finally in a place where I'm happy with everything that is on my blog. Over the past couple of months, I have gone through all of my posts and have cleaned out a lot of the ones that I either didn't like or didn't want on my blog... then somehow ended up losing a month an a half of discussion posts on accident -bummer. Anyway, I'm super proud of my blog, and I'm really excited about what this next year has in store.

I would ask you... Do you blog? What do you like most about the content your are posting?

Why I don't participate in many book tours

Friday, January 9, 2015
The journal shown above is for sale at my Etsy store.

Let me preface by saying that I am in no way condemning blogs who do post a lot of blog tours and content like that. All opinions on this post is purely my own, and are not meant to make others feel down or embarrassed for the choices they make.

I received a comment a couple of weeks ago on my post about being a more productive blogger. She said that she enjoyed blogs that produce more original content rather than blog tours and cover reveals, and other posts of that nature. That sparked an idea for me. 

I realized that I actually don't post many blog tours or author posts, and there's a reason behind that. I personally feel like blog tours and things of that nature can sacrifice good quality, original content if posted in large quantities. I personally don't want blog tours to clog up my blog to where that's primarily 40% of the content I post. I don't want people to remember me for that kind of content. I want them to remember me for good discussion posts, solid reviews, and engaging conversations.

That's not to say that I don't post blog tours. I do (actually, I'm posting one this next week), but I'm very selective on what tours I choose to be a part of. I generally like to choose blog tours that I have either read the book or I am very interested in reading the book. For instance, I fully support Compulsion by Martina Boone; therefore, I have participated in a blog tour, an interview, a giveaway blast, and a review, but I have only done so because I truly enjoyed the book. In that case, I feel like I am supporting a book and author who I know and have read and can do so in a way that I truly know what I am supporting. 

What do you think about blog tours and posting that content on your blog?

What's New in 2015 at OS&B

Friday, January 2, 2015

There are a lot of changes coming in the new year, some of which you can already see! I mean look at my so very pretty design by Stephanie at New Chapter Designs! I'm kind of obsessed with it. Besides that awesomesauce, I am making slight and subtle changes in the new year, and for those of you who are interested, this is where you will get the down low:

Writing Meme
So I might have mentioned possibly thinking about a writing meme. Most of you know that I'm a writer, and I truly enjoy writing YA books. Well, I also love helping people in the writing field, I guess that kind of goes with my wanting to become a professor.

Well, anyway, this meme is titled: Tips & Tricks. I figured I would go with simple rather than overly wordy. Tips & Tricks will be a bi-monthly meme, so every other Sunday I plan on posting about the tips and tricks I've found throughout the many years I've been writing.

I'm honestly very excited about this. There's a lot I want to say about writing, and I know a number of bloggers who also write, so my hope is that we can help each other through this crazy writing journey.

Steps to Becoming a More Productive Blogger

Friday, December 26, 2014
This post is inspired by Andye's post from Reading Teen. She mentions some of the same points, but others are purely me. Check out her post for her 11 steps.

New Years is closer than ever, and with that, comes New Years resolutions. And if I know the blogging community like I think I do, I'm sure I will find a few people who want to become  more efficient and productive bloggers in the new year. Taking that in mind, I've decided to write a few steps that will help you become a more productive blogger!

In Which I Answer 10 Questions

Friday, October 24, 2014

So I haven't been blogging for all that long. There's a lot of things you guys don't know about me, so I figured I would answer some fun questions that aren't just surface level. I got some of these questions from this blog and this website, so these questions do not belong to me exactly; I'm just using them.

1. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
Of course, we have to start with a bookish type question. I'd have to say The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller. I've been putting these books off for at least 6+ months.

2. How old would you be if you didn't know your age? 
As much as growing up kind of freaks me out now, I think I would be about 28. Right now, I'm 24, so that's kind of weird for me to say. But I feel sometimes, like I'm much older than I am, like I've lived a lot in the past two or three years.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Book Blogger

Friday, October 17, 2014

Today, we are talking about the seven deadly sins of a book blogger. We've all committed these terrible sins at one time or another. *There are Harry Potter spoilers in #5 just so you are aware!*

1. Blog Envy
It's simple. I look at your blog, and I think if only I could afford the $200 layout with all the bells and whistles, I would be flying high among the book blogging gods, and my blog might look just as good as yours.

2. Book Shaming
I'm sitting on the bus or the train, or biding my time in the waiting room and I see you take out Twilight and shamelessly gorge on its terribly constructed plot, and snub my nose at you, because you obviously don't know the difference between good and bad literature.

3. Laziness
Should I blog today? Oh, I have so many reviews and memes to write. Le sigh. How about instead, I binge watching all of Once Upon a Time, The Blacklist, and then add Merlin in for good measure because five seasons of episodes just weren't enough.

The Books that Made Me Who I Am Today

Friday, October 10, 2014

I was recently inspired by a buzzfeed article that I read a couple weeks ago, and decided that what we read can also become a definition of who we are as a person, not just personal preference. Looking back, there are a number of books that have affected me greatly and made me who I am today. I can definitely say that I would not be the same having not read these books.

1. The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce. I will forever be grateful to this amazing woman, because not only was she the one that really made me love reading, but she was my first taste of true feminist fiction. Strong heroines who could kick butt and take names. Women, who despite everyone telling her she couldn't, they actually went out and did better than the guys. As a middle schooler, not knowing who I was, reading this book gave me more confidence and just a general love for YA literature.

I Must Confess...

Friday, October 3, 2014

I must confess... I have been the worst book blogger ever. I am in a majorly terrible book rut. I haven't finished a book (that wasn't for school) in a full month. I'm in the middle of three books right now, and all of them are great, but I'm just not reading them.

I feel like this is a situation where I would tell a book, "It's not you, it's me."

I am currently on track with my reading challenge on goodreads, and believe it or not at one point I was 15 books ahead of schedule FIFTEEN!!!!  Now look where I am... *sighs heavily*

Ever since Heir of Fire I've been barely getting by, but let's be honest, it started before that. Ever since I started school, I haven't been reading near as much. There are just so many things to do!

So tell me, have you ever gone through a reading rut? If so, how did you conquer it?
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