Random Chat: Where Do You Read?

Where Do You Read?

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

Besides snuggling up at home, my favourite places to read…

dsc_0353

… are definitely…

dsc_0308

… near nature.

dsc_0336

But the fact is I will read anywhere.

And I mean anywhere

dsc_0301

Regardless of whether there are people around or not, I always take my book with me.

Do you do this as well or is there any situation you can think of that you will not take your book along?

And where do you prefer to read?

Random Chat: Samplers

What makes a good blurb?

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!

So I noticed sometimes Netgalley has samplers up for grabs and I am sure other sites do as well.

I wondered if this is something you do – read samplers, or otherwise read the first chapters in a book.

Does this influence if you buy the book or not?

Since the large majority of the books I get are ARC from Netgalley I prefer to read the entire book but I would love to hear your thoughts!

Random Chat: YA and NA

What makes a good blurb?

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!
I came across this article a few days ago while browsing facebook and it prompted me to post something I have been mulling over for ages now:

Author Claims YA Does Not Exist

It links to the following article: There Is No Such Thing as the Young Adult Novel.

I am not sure if any of you have noticed, but I don’t have YA as a book genre in my blog. Quite frankly, the notion still baffles me. I am not even sure if I fully understand it, because I have seen it defined accordingly to the characters age and also to the audience’s age. It seems that the latter prevails, or at the very least a mixture of the two.

While I can understand that it may make books easier to find, defining a book by age categories seems extremely restrictive and I have found that the same formulas get used over and over again.
Ever since the YA genre came out, I cannot seem to find, for instance, a fantasy book I enjoy. Sure, there is New Adult now as well, but I cannot seem to relate to either the writing or the topics in books classified as such. On the other hand, if I pick up a YA book I am usually faced with much of the same teenage dramas, romance and, at times, tantrums.

I thoroughly miss a solid fantasy novel with characters I can relate to and which does not necessarily include romance. Something that presents a new world, one that is unique but makes sense and utterly enthrals me in the story. I cannot seem to find that anymore and I am convinced it has gotten worse since these categories were released to public.

What do you think? Have the YA and NA categories done more good or harm to the book industry, in terms of quality of books, not marketability?
Do you find any of the points I made make sense?
Tell me everything!

Random Chat: On Kindle Cases & Reading Habits

On Watching TV

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

Wow, it has been a while since I did one of these, huh? Actually, exactly 6 months to the day! What a coincidence.

So, I confess I am one of the numerous women whose bag is much too heavy. I have been getting some nasty back pain and my posture has actually been affected, so I figured it was time to do something about it. I took loads of stuff off and still, it weighed a ton!

I tried taking my Kindle out and the change was dramatic.

So what could I do about this?
Buy a new, lighter case, of course!

To me it is very important that I am able to read without using my hands, which means the device needs to stay in a vertical position. Cases that allow that and which can be shipped to Portugal are more difficult to find than you’d think.

Also, they are pretty expensive, especially with shipping costs added. So I figured I would go to this site which has pretty cheap stuff and free delivery, and from which I had ordered before and was pretty happy with what I got.
I searched for quite a while and the closest thing I could find was this origami case:

It wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I had seen them around and figured the material would be as flimsy and not last long. Also, it looked sort of unstable.

Well, I bought it, got it about a week ago and I was right. The cover already does not close properly. Actually, it never did from day 1:

Worst of all, my Kindle does not go into sleep mode when I close it!!

It just stays there wasting battery unless I manually put it into sleep mode and it isn’t really completely protected…

So, what I am wondering and what I would like to chat with you about is:

Do you figure there are better origami cases out there and should I have gone for a more expensive/brand one?

Do you know of other alternatives to origami cases that will allow my Kindle Paperwhite to stay vertical?

Do you have similar reading habits or do you find it just plain weird that it is this important to me for the E-Reader to stay up?

Personally, I love reading while I eat and also while in bed. My third favourite place is the garden where one of those pictures was taken, it’s near my workplace and I get to go there during my lunch hour.

What are your favourite places to read and how do you read? Do you do other stuff while reading, are you always holding your book/device, etc?

Random Chat: X-Files Comeback

On Watching TV

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

The X-Files were one of my favourite series of all time.

I still remember a couple of scenes and the way they made me feel. I could not wait for the next episode and, at the same time, I was frightened.
Mulder and Scully made one hell of a team, that’s for sure.

I did not watch all the seasons so I still have no idea about all the mystery and especially what happened to Mulder’s sister, but the mystery and conspiracy theories were definitely part of the series’ charm for me, not just the horror and investigative bits, which rocked.

Now it appears they are being brought back. The new X-Files premiers on Tuesday here in Portugal, not sure when elsewhere in the globe.

Are you intending to watch this new series? Or do you think it has had its time?

I have to admit, I am curious. At the same time, I don’t think it will be the same.
The last episodes I watched and one movie (I believe there were more) felt forced.

I am pretty sure I will at least watch the first episode if I am able to.

Feel free to check out the article below, from someone who has watched the first three episodes:

‘X-Files’ Reboot Brings Back Mulder, Scully And The Search For Truth

Random Chat: On ARC Quality

What makes a good blurb?

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

If you follow my blog fairly often, you know I am a big fan of Netgalley. I am extremely grateful that so many publishers showed interest in my reviews and allowed me to read and write about their books.

That said, I have to ask…

What the heck is up with Netgalley ARCs these days???

The last half a dozen books I requested have come up without table of contents, no separation whatsoever between chapters, weird spacing between lines and paragraphs and now even random numbers in between and broken words:

1

So today’s random chat is:
HOW DOES THE QUALITY OF AN ARC AFFECT YOUR READING?

I have to admit I find this sort of thing extremely distracting and have trouble focusing on the story.

I have even postponed reading books which look like this, prioritizing ones with proper formatting, where I can read the text easily and navigate the book quickly.

Are you having as much bad luck as I am? Any idea why the quality of ARCs has declined?

Have you had other experiences of the sort outside Netgalley?
I have had a few of these from authors as well, so it is not just Netgalley. It is just more noticeable there because the quality of their books used to be great.

Does it influence your enjoyment of the book?
Tell me everything!

Random Chat: What Is a Good Review?

What makes a good blurb?

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

Thanks to Chris, I came across this post. The author of it writes about what it is like to be on the other side when dealing with a review – as an author instead of a reader. I have often wondered what that would be like, so figured it was time to post about it and see what you fine folks think.

Today’s random chat is:
WHAT IS A GOOD REVIEW?

First of all, regarding the post I linked, I agree with most of what the author wrote, except for his ‘golden rule’:

One last thing (and this is a “Golden Rule,” as far as I am concerned): If you can’t give at least a 3-star rating for a book, on a scale of 1 through 5 (or, in academic parlance, a C), then it’s best not to post a review at all. My rationale for that is that anyone who devotes anywhere from six months to a couple of years writing a book, deserves, at a minimum, a passing grade of C, or a 3-star rating for their effort alone. Anything less is an insult, and that violates the “no personal attacks” thing.

I have to say that, as a reviewer, I found it difficult not to take offence when reading this. As far as I am concerned, everyone is entitled to share their opinion as long as it is done in a civilized manner, with no intent to offend or hurt anyone. Every single time I have given a 1 or 2 star review, I can honestly say that is what I have done. At least tried my best to; obviously I will be annoyed at wasting my time, but it is never personal. To me, reviewing a book is exactly the same as reviewing any other product. I will state what I liked, what I did not like, and why – period.
So reading that what I take such care to do – so thoroughly explaining why I did not like a book -, putting me in the same bag as all those This book sucks!!! sort of opinions and whatnot is insulting and constitutes as a personal attack is incredibly disappointing, to say the least. I can honestly say I have never tried to hurt an author’s feelings – on the contrary, more often than not I will say that just because this book did not work for me that does not mean other people won’t like it -, and I can surely say the same for the incredible amount of fine reviewers I have met since I started reviewing the books I read.

Now I would like to stress that I am not posting this with any intent of bashing this author; as I said, I did agree with most of his post and I think he makes great points. It’s just that I believe several people may agree with the part I quoted, and so I wanted to both have my say and find out what other people think about this.

While I can understand why an author would say something like this, as far as I am concerned, two main things:

1) Not everyone that takes 6 months to a couple of years to write a book should have done it. Not everyone can be a writer. Just because you put a lot of effort into something does not mean it is good. If it’s your passion, fine, go ahead and do it, and always try your best, but you should have no expectations. That goes for pretty much anything in life, in my opinion.

2) You are never going to please everyone. While another person loved a certain thing, someone else will hate it. That happens with every single thing in life! I am not going to feel offended because, say, someone did not like my cooking. Should I make it personal just because I put so much time and effort in it? Hell no. I may be disappointed, but so what? I know some people will say that is not the same, and they will be right, but the principle is the same: take it and move on. That’s life.

Let me start with the obvious: Personal attacks are pointless and only speak ill of the reviewer. However, a low rating does not mean that a review is bad, if it is well explained and justified. As far as I am concerned, all authors need to be prepared to receive 1 and 2 star ratings as much as 3, 4 and 5 ones. Giving a low rating is not a matter of rudeness or lack of respect, but of honesty. If we didn’t like the book, then we will not give it 3 or more stars just for the sake of not hurting the author’s feelings. It is a matter of respect towards the other authors whose work we have read and thoroughly enjoyed.

Now, onto what makes a good review.
Again, this is a matter of personal opinion so, if you think differently, please don’t be offended.

I see a lot of reviews where roughly 80% of the text describes in detail what happens in the book. That is not a good review in my book. I don’t want to know what happens in the book, I want to discover it as I go. If the blurb does not give a good idea of the book, then summarize it. Briefly. Only enough to get a clear picture of what one can expect from it.

I do, however, want to know what feelings and thoughts the book awoke in the reader. Did he or she like it? If so, why? What did they think of the writing? Was it easy to follow the story, did it flow well? Were the characters multi-dimensional, and could you see them grow throughout the narrative? Is the world well-developed? Were the plot twists predictable? Did the reader experience any emotions? If so, which?
I want to know those things in detail so that I can know if I would enjoy the book or not. Often times, the issues that the reviewer had with the book are things I would find annoying myself, so that’s when I know if I would like it or not and that is what will ultimately help me decide if I will get the book – not because I know the story beforehand.

Something that should be obvious – NO SPOILERS!!. The very least people can do is clearly tag them (I do that by changing font and background colour, so people who want to view spoilers will have to highlight the text). Please, don’t give away major plot twists. It totally ruins the experience.

And that’s about it, other than not writing something too big, but I am guilty of that myself. I do proofread and edit my texts several times before posting, but everything seems important for one reason or the other. Because of what I wrote above, I think some things will appeal to one reader more, other things to different readers.
I guess low rating reviews will naturally be longer, since I try my best to explain why I am giving it.

Anyway, I try to do these things in my reviews, though I will be the first to admit I may not always succeed. Not on purpose, though!


With which points of this post do you agree and disagree with?
What do you feel makes a good review?
What do you think I should do differently in my own reviews?

Please share your thoughts in the box below!