Saturday, March 24, 2012

Money vs. Time

The two questions I've had since I began writing this blog and following other reviewer blogs is how reviewers choose books to review and how they manage their time doing so. 

Almost all review blogs I've visited have a Review Policy which details the types of books they will review (whether it be genre, length, series, or personal interest), a loose timeline of when their review will be posted, and where they'll post it (their blog, Goodreads, Amazon, anywhere else the author/publisher requests). 

But when do you say no? Even if you can read a book every two days, when does it become a chore? Personally, I can't force myself to read. Some bloggers say they dedicated time each day to reading, and if they can do it and enjoy it, all the best to them. Two or three weeks will pass where I won't pick up a single book, and it doesn't phase me. I have to be in the right mood to read a book. Sometimes, I'm in the mood for contemporary and others it's dystopian or paranormal, but I never try to make myself read when I just don't want to. Although there are weeks where I can read a book a day, staying up through the night and falling asleep only when I've read the last page or there's a big enough plot pause that I can wait until the next day to continue. 

There are a few blogs I follow that buy, borrow and win books every week, yet their review turnover doesn't seem up to par with how many they take in. I think this is one of the issues that most review bloggers face, because it's easier to say yes than no. It makes you realize just how many novels are published and how valuable reviews and reviewers are, when one book can be chosen over another - it goes to show what people are willing to spend time on. Because that's what it comes down to. Yes, novels cost money for the publishers and the customers, but the time that people devote to reading and reviewing is what can push that novel up to recognition. 

Money translates into time. If I buy a novel for $18 the first week it's released and I sit down and devote 2-5 hours on a novel, I am more likely than not to tell someone about that book. And weirdly enough, the worse the novel, the more people talk about it. At least that's what I've noticed. Negative reviews get infinitely more attention because people are quick to defend, which can spiral out of control even more quickly because of the phenomenon that is the internet. People are drawn to drama whether they want to admit it or not.

Even bad publicity is good publicity, I've heard many times. Doesn't matter if the talk is bad, just as long as someone is talking about it. And to be honest, even if I hear or read a negative review, it won't deter me from reading it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Review: Shatter Me - Tarereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (link to Goodreads)
Released: November 15th, 2011
Borrowed from the library*

Description from Goodreads:

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

HOKAY - *I was hesitant to get this from the library because I already have so many books on my bookshelf that I could be reading, but I decided to just go ahead and get it, since I could always return it. I hadn't read any reviews of it because I was turned off my the cover... a girl who's touch can kill you? Where's the fun in that? But after I scanned a quick review that said the story begins during her incarceration, I was hooked. (Stories about incarceration/asylums/prisons are intriguing!)

I finished this in two days, and I'm sad it's over. I definitely enjoyed reading this book because I wanted to learn more about the character and The Reestablishment that was taking over society in the story, and there were enough action scenes to keep the ball rolling, as they say. 

Since this is my first review, I'm just going to improvise a style and then hopefully over time it will become more fluid. I also don't know how else to review this without taking about plot points and character developments (but I'll learn!) so there will be spoilers... don't read if you haven't read yet! 

Review after the break...WARNING! Spoilers! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In My Mailbox (1)

IMM: In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren !

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby (link goes to Goodreads)
Released: March 20, 2012
Won a signed ARC through Goodreads First Reads!

Description via Goodreads:
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends and neighbors, allow me to change your lives! Step inside Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show! You’ve read about them in magazines, these so-called human curiosities, this tribe of misfits—now come and see for yourselves. We’ve got a gent as tall as a tree, a lady with a beard, and don’t miss your chance to see the Wild Albinos of Bora Bora! Ask Madame Doula to peer into your future (only two dollars more if you want to know how you’re going to die). 

And between these covers behold the greatest act of our display—Portia Remini, the strangest of the menagerie because she’s a ‘normal’ among the freaks, searching for a new beginning on the bally, far away from McGreavey’s Home for Wayward Girls, where Mister watches and waits. He said he would always find Portia, said she could never leave . . . 

Oh, it’s not for the faint of heart folks. If you’re prone to nightmares or you’ve got a weak ticker, you’d best move on. Within these pages lies a tale of abandonment, loss, misfortune for the rich and glory for the poor (and a little murder doesn’t hurt). It’s a story for the ages, but be warned: once you enter the Wonder Show you will never be the same.

H'OKAY - So I got this in the mail on Monday and I couldn't wait to start reading it, and I'm about 1/4 of the way through it. Disclaimer: I do this weird thing where it takes me a while to read books sometimes, and even though I take long breaks from reading a book, it's more or less because I'm so overwhelmed with the book that I need time to take apart what I've read and pick through it in my mind. (This is a habit that I picked up from being an English major in college... I've learned to dissect and distinguish every little detail in a story)
Besides me being weird... so far this book is fabulous and I intend to finish it very soon. Review to come!

Released: September 27, 2011
Won a signed copy through Goodreads First Reads!

Description via Goodreads:
Jacob Clark has just returned from the world of Eklaron, where he frustrated the evil plans of the Lorkon and returned the magical Key of Kilenya to its rightful owners. His quest is far from over, though—Aloren is trapped in Maivoryl City by the Ember Gods, and Jacob can't return to save her until he receives the potion that will protect his team from the corrosive influence of the Lorkon.

Balancing between this new world and his own proves tricky. Not only has he started his first year of high school, but his magical abilities are bringing him too much attention. He feels pulled by both sides, hoping he'll figure out his special powers to save Aloren in time.

H'OKAY - I got this amazing little beauty in the mail today, and despite it being the second book in the series, (the first being, The Key of Kilenya) I was still interested in reading it. I had looked at the information for the first book and no matter how many stories that are about a dystopian universe, I'm always interested in when a character from contemporary times finds themselves in a different universe along side theirs. It makes me feel like it's possible and I'm always intrigued at how authors come up with new and innovative ways to explain how they found this time/parallel universe "rip". Since this is the second book in the series, I decided to get the first book on my Kindle, so the review for this one might take a little longer, because even though the author, Andrea, offered to send me an outline of what happened in book one, I'd much rather read it so I can get the full experience!

Happy reading !!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Let's talk about Goodreads

And how awesome it is! (Goodreads)

I only joined the site maybe 3 or 4 months ago, but boy does it have a lot to offer authors/readers! Not only are you able to keep track of your personal reading accomplishments in the form of currently-reading, to-read, and read (which makes keeping track of the bazillion of books I read quite handy), you can also become a fan of author's goodreads pages which allow users to comment about their favorite books, see when authors update their blogs/twitters/facebooks with new stuff, and learn more about them (most of the authors update their own profiles quite regularly).

But another really great opportunity Goodreads offers its users is the Giveaway section. I stumbled on this by accident and I am SO GLAD I DID. Pretty much what happens is publishers/authors/whoever else has access to books, they offer one of their books (whether it's the first of the series because the sequel is out soon) or it's the sequel which doesn't come out for weeks or months and they want to get their novel out there, or there are signed copies available that they want to giveaway. Sometimes they offer ARC's (Advance Reading Copies), sometimes it's a Galley (a bound/unbound version of a formatted novel printed on computer paper) and sometimes its the finished copy of the book, whether it has been published yet or not. The main objective for these Giveaways are for these books to get to readers before or during the books release so that in return for this awesome (DID I SAY FREE?) gift, the winner(s) will in turn write reviews on the novels Goodreads page.

While some of the novels are kind of obscure, they offer novels of all genre's from self-help to YA to memoirs. At the moment, there are about 33 pages of giveaways, with each page having about 15-25 giveaways you can enter. Entering for these giveaways is as simple as selecting a shipping address (for the book to be sent to) and agreeing to the terms of the Goodreads Giveaways (which are very easy to follow). I think it's pretty awesome of the authors/publishers to do this, and in order for it to continue happening, the winners are encouraged to write honest reviews (minus spoilers for the books not published yet) so that the novel gets a good amount of publicity from readers who are the target for these novels. I mean, how many times have you read a publishers description of a book and after reading it thought, "eh... I wouldn't go so far as saying it's the top 10 book of this year"?? It's because they want you to read it, and while they may think it's awesome, it's ultimately up to readers to discover this for themselves. So reading reviews by other readers/Goodreads users like myself, it's easier to see if I'll find a novel interesting enough to pick up. For the most part, even novels with the worst reader reviews are still enjoyable, but it all depends on who's the reader!

SO... the reason for this whole post comes down to the fact that over the past couple of days, I have won 4 giveaways... 2 novels are yet to be released and the other 2 are currently available in bookstores. If you do happen to win, (if you enter as many giveaways as I do, you're bound to win at least once), shipping takes about 4-6 weeks, depending on who's shipping the novels (usually the publisher) and when I receive mine in the mail, I'll be doing a very happy happy joy joy post with pictures included. :)