Category Archives: Say Anything

(REVAMPED!) Say Anything {12}

Hey everyone! So I’ve been scoping out some other blogs to get ideas on how to fancy up my own little piece of the book blogger world. I’ve always enjoyed my Say Anything post, because it gives me the freedom to kind of do a ‘freestyle’ post where I can talk about anything – book or non-book related! So I’ve decided to mix my own ideas with those of Smash Attack Reads Let’s Talk post, and For What It’s Worth‘s Book Blogger Confessions post. 
Let’s Talk {1} 
Have you ever been inspired to do something creative by reading about it in a book? Examples cooking, baking, trying a new food or drink, making jewelry, designing clothes or shoes and even bookish inspired vacations.

Hmm… thinking… thinking… does wanting to become a kick-ass super heroine that can take on the world and succeed not count? Darn. Okay, let’s see… (wow, this is tough! How can I flip through all of the books I’ve ever read to decide?!) …alright. Let’s go with vacations. Because of Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and the Revenants Series by Amy Plum, I want to go to Paris, France something fierce! Especially how Donnelly has her main character, Andi, travel through the underground catacombs. How cool is that?! And then I’ll choose Lisa Bergren’s River of Time series and my newfound love for Italy (present day and Medieval) that I now have! 

Book Blogger Confessions {1}
Have you added or considered adding additional reviewers to your blog? Why or why not? If you have, please share how you found the right match when bringing new people to your established blog. Did you encounter any problems? 

Oh yeah, I have definitely considered it. Why? Because being an adult sucks! There are all of these responsibilities like jobs and keeping your house clean and making dinner, and all those boring things that get in the way of blogging whenever I want to. So yes, it has crossed my mind to offer up guest reviewer (or permanent reviewer) spots. I haven’t done it yet though. Why? I don’t know. I think probably because I would be very picky in who I chose, and I might end up driving myself crazy trying to find someone with the exact same vision of my blog as me. We all know that isn’t possible – because everyone is different. I do think about what another reviewer could bring to the blog though; as far as making it the best it could possibly be. But the whole giving up power thing is definitely a toughy. Maybe some day I will take it more seriously, but for right now I enjoy being single on my blog 🙂

Happy Reading!
Laura

Say Anything {11} What is New Adult?

So I’ve noticed that there seems to be a new genre floating around lately. It isn’t quite Young Adult, and it isn’t quite Adult, so it’s being called New Adult. So what exactly IS New Adult?
Here’s what my sleuthing has turned up…

New Adult is aimed at anyone between the ages of 14 and 35, and tends to deal with themes that are typically too racy for the Y.A. genre, yet still encompasses the familiar tropes and narrative arcs of our beloved Y.A. [Source]. So what book would be an example of ‘New Adult’? Tammara Webber’s Easy seems to fit the bill to a T. With the main character reeling from a recent rape, the subject matter tends to appeal to a more mature young adult audience, which is exactly where the New Adult genre seems to be stepping into play. With it’s ability to handle deeper, and sometimes darker themes, new adult is giving us not-so-much-a-teen-anymore-YA-readers the ability to move seamlessly between genres without losing subjects that as adults we can better handle or dissect and understand.
My thoughts are this; I believe that labeling something New Adult isn’t going to necessarily deter or gain new readers. I think that it opens up some doors that have previously remained shut for Y.A. authors by giving a little bit more room to write more in-depth scenes that may deal with mature language or sexual themes – however, in my opinion I really do not anticipate it being much different than a regular ‘adult’ genre book – other than the main character may be anywhere from a high schooler, to a college student, to someone starting out in the world after high school graduation. I don’t think the new terminology will not have much of an impact on my reading or purchasing style, though, and I do not think I’ll be seeing “New Adult” sections coming to my local bookstore any time soon.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them.
Happy Reading!

Say Anything {10} Goals for 2013

I try to set goals every year for reading. How many books, what kinds, what I hope to accomplish book/blog wise, etc.
This year, I set a goal to read 100 books. As I started falling behind, I reexamined my goal and set it to 65. This is a better number for me to achieve, and I should be able to accomplish it with no problem. That being said, like anyone else who loves reading, I want to read more than that next year! So as of right now, I am going to set my 2013 Read Books goal at 75. 
Last year I said I wanted to break into more genres that I typically do not read. I was successful in getting myself more acclimated with the fantasy/high fantasy genre, but I didn’t get into the steampunk genre like I wanted to. So for 2013, I again will attempt to tackle steampunk!
I am going to participate in the Debut Author Challenge again this year. I started the challenge over at my old blog, but when I started The Little Pink Book Boutique I lost my steam on that challenge. So this new year I will participate again and complete it. My goal is 20 books. My list and more info on the challenge can be found here.
So far these are the goals I have set. I’ll post more as this year comes to a close, but this is what I have at this point. 
What are your goals for 2013?
Happy Reading!

Say Anything {9}

One thing that can ruin a book for me is…

“Dialogue”

I was recently handed a book to read that the person who gave it to me thought I’d really enjoy. From the snippet on the back cover, I agreed that it sounded like something right up my alley. I’m not going to name the book, but it was set in Seventeenth Century Scotland, and is chock full of mysticism. I read about forty pages before I set the book aside, and started my decision on whether to finish the 400 or so pages or not.
When reading a book, there are certain things that I can overlook if the book is overall enjoyable. If the world-building is lackluster, or the character development isn’t as strong as it could be, those are generally things I’ll look past. If the writing isn’t so great but it’s still an enjoyable story I’ll generally keep truckin’ along. The one thing that tends to be a deal breaker for me though, is the dialogue.
The issue that I had with this book, and which I find mostly happens with the historical fiction genre, is that the dialogue is not believable. People spoke differently in the 1700’s so if you’re reading a book and the characters talk like we do today, it makes it hard to take seriously. A great example of dialogue fitting perfectly in a historical fiction novel would be Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. She writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read. 
Sometimes it gets hard as well when after each dialogue the author writes, ‘She said.’ or ‘He said.’ In my opinion, this is the chance for the author to really relay the emotion behind the character’s words. If two characters are fighting, it’s better for the dialogue to be spoken and then say something like, ‘She screamed.’ followed by maybe, ‘as her face turned red and she stalked the length of the room, anger swallowing her up.’ Again, I am not an author (writer, yes. Author, no.) so this is just my personal opinion. 
Is there something that you tend to consider a ‘deal breaker’ when reading?
Mwah!

Say Anything {8}

Topic: Rating Books on Goodreads

My Thoughts: So I’ve been contemplating writing a post on this topic for awhile now, and finally decided to just go ahead and do it already! Since you cannot do 1/2 stars on Goodreads, I tend to stay away from giving them out on my blog because I like to stay uniform across the board. If my blog gives a book 4 stars, then my Goodreads will reflect 4 stars as well. If there is a discrepancy, I will explain why both on my blog and in my Goodreads review. Sometimes I’ll round up/down on Goodreads, depending on my personal feelings about the book I’m reviewing.

The reason I follow the above is because I rely heavily upon Goodreads to determine whether or not I will read a book or pass on it. It also determines if I’ll buy or borrow (from the library) the book. Typically, if a book is above 4.00 I will buy it. Anything from 3.75-4.00 I may borrow it, or buy it if I just cannot wait for the library to get it. And subsequently, anything below 3.75 generally I will borrow it or pass on it. This is just my own personal formula for choosing books.

Because of my ‘Goodreads Formula’, it upsets me when the following occurs:

1. An author rates their own book 5 stars.
2. Someone rates a book based on their anticipation of it (when they haven’t even read the book yet), and not on their personal thoughts after reading the book.

I understand that an author is super excited about having their book published, and feels that it is worthy of 5 out of 5 stars. That’s completely understandable. However; it’s not fair to readers who use the Goodreads rating to decide on whether or not to read a book. Not that the Goodreads method is perfect or anything, because really you’re just giving a general rating, but I feel that an author rating their own book skews the true rating from the rest of the reading population.

I also disagree with people rating a book just because they are excited for it to come out. There have been tons of books that I’ve been super duper psyched for and there’s so much buzz around the blogosphere that it’s all anyone is talking about – and then I finally get the book and… it’s not a 5 like I anticipated. So how can you rate a book with a perfect rating if you haven’t even read it yet?

My Final Thoughts: Obviously people are going to do what they want when it comes to rating books. I’m really a nobody in the entire scheme of things, but I like to keep things real. Therefore if I haven’t read a book yet – I’m not rating it. If I mark a book as DNF – I do not rate it, but write a review on why I didn’t finish it. To me, this is the truest way to represent my thoughts and feelings on a book in a way that will benefit others who are trying to decide whether or not they want to read it.

How do you feel about rating books? Let me know!

Say Anything {7}

What Books Would I Read if I Lived in a Different Decade?

One of my favorite types of books to read, are those that incorporate time travel. So this gets me to thinking,  if I was in a different decade, or even century, what books would I be reading?

I created this list using the ever-awesome listopia feature on Goodreads.

The 1980s

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
     Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining fertility, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s “saying” the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. “To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable.” Forty years later the stories and history continue.
With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.
The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) – Anne Rice

Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now Lestat is a rockstar in the demonic, shimmering 1980s. He rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his terrifying exsitence. His story, the second volume in Anne Rice’s best-selling Vampire Chronicles, is mesmerizing, passionate, and thrilling.

MY THOUGHTS

Since I was born in the 80s, I don’t really have much that I read back then that didn’t involve mostly pictures and just a few words per page in the way of, “See the cat. The cat is brown.” lol. Unfortunately I’m not to sure on what YA was out at the time, so the 3 I chose are adult-fiction. So just looking through the top part of the page on Goodreads I pulled out the first three that really stood out. The Handmaiden’s Tale would be awesome to read, as I adore dystopian and it makes me curious to see what the world that Atwood created is like. Each decade had its own problems, so would the dystopian of that time take on the problems of the 1980s world, rather than what we are accustomed too, today?

I chose The Joy Luck Club because it’s such a good movie! So I have no doubts that the book is as good, or better!

The Vampire Lestat is really a given, lol. Vampires, check. Amazing author, check. So why have I not picked this one up? I actually think I own a few of the books of this series that I’ve picked up at random book sales…hmmm…

So what books would you choose from the 1980s?

Happy Reading,
Laura

Say Anything {6}

Writing A Review When You Didn’t Like (or Finish) A Book

Everyone is different. Some people like one type of writing style or genre, while other people don’t. It’s not a bad thing, but sometimes when you really don’t like a book, you just can’t wait to tell everyone why you didn’t like it, and sometimes we forget that the author probably put A LOT of hard work and love into that book. So how do you write a review when you didn’t like the book but have to remain respectful?

Easy. Here’s How.

I Didn’t Like The Writing Style.

What you want to say: “Um, did this author even finish high school? Hello, run on sentences and awful dialogue!”

What you should say: “The writing style was simplistic and easy to read; but left me hoping for a bit more depth and dimension.”

Key point: While you may not have liked the author’s writing; someone else might. Therefore the best thing to remember when writing a review for a book you didn’t like, is to put a positive spin on your negative thoughts. Referring to the writing style as ‘simplistic and easy to read’ is not insulting, and gives your followers an idea of how the book will read. Also, stating what you would’ve preferred (i.e.: more depth/dimension) lets your followers know what you like, and if they share your taste then they know what to expect from the book.

I Hated The Main Character.

What you want to say: OMG! The main character is so stupid!

What you should say: “Flawed and imperfect, the main character found him/herself in many situations that left me wondering how they would get out of it.”

Key point: Character development can be one of the most difficult parts of writing a book. A lot of times the character plays out in the writer’s mind like they are real, but when put on paper they fall a bit flat. Compile an image of the character in your mind with a ‘good/bad’ list. What was a positive about the main character? What should they work on? Write out what you did/didn’t like about the character, just remain respectful. It’s easy to do!

What the %#$^ Was That Ending?!?!

What you want to say: “Uh, how did this book even get past the editor and make it to publishing?

What you should say: “If you like unexpected endings, twists, turns, and cliffhangers then this one’s for you!”

Key point: You might hate the way the book left off, but some people out there enjoy gigantic unexpected endings that leave them guessing, wondering, and thinking about the book long after they’ve finished it. Without giving away the ending, spell out what worked and what you’d have preferred instead. It’s a good way to start conversations with your followers who’ve read it already.

Final Thoughts

So what I’m saying here is this… whatever you write will be read. It will be read by your followers, and possibly even by the author. Imagine writing mean, hateful things about a book… and then get a comment from the author on the review! EEEK! Now, I’m not saying you should lie, or write fake reviews. Nope, like I said not everyone will like every book out there. But if you keep in mind the old, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, it’s easy to remember that you should remain respectful. If you spent time pouring your heart into a book, having it published, and then reading a review where the person completely tears you a new one, well as you can imagine that won’t feel too good, right? Right.

So how do you write a review for a book you didn’t like?

Happy Reading!
Laura

Say Anything {5}

What I Do When I Hit A Book Slump

It happens to everyone at one point in time… you read a super amazing book, and just as you finish and scan your bookshelves for your next read… nothing looks good! Or maybe it’s not even that nothing looks good, but that you just can’t get into the book you’ve chosen!
I’ve been there so many times, and each time seems to be more frustrating than the last!
I know some bloggers keep a schedule of books to read, so they already know ahead of time what book is next. I can’t get myself on that type of schedule, because different times call for different genres! For example, right now I’m reading 3 books of completely different genres! A historical romance – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon;  Contemporary Romance – Bed of Roses (The Bride Quartet #2) by Nora Roberts; and YA Paranormal – Shade (Shade #1) by Jeri Smith-Ready. Each was randomly chosen, and each fulfill a different craving at this time.
So what happens when no matter what, nothing sounds good? I take a break. That’s the best thing to do. Step back, assess the sitch, and wait for a book to call out to you. If nothing you personally own is doing it for you, hit up the library!
So what are your tips for overcoming a book slump?

Happy Reading!
Laura

Say Anything {4} Blog Tips

So for this installment of Say Anything, I decided to share some of my top blogging tips that have helped me out the most since starting my new blog here at The Little Pink Book Boutique. I handle this blog completely different than my previous blog, and I believe that these things have made my life easier, and hopefully my blog more successful!
I hope to hear some of your top blogging tips in the comments below, as well!
Utilize the Schedule Feature for Posts

There were days where the last thing I wanted to or had time to do was get online and post something. Especially when I had no clue what to post. The best feature possible for those of us who like to procrastinate, or find their mind a big, blank mess when you really need to get something posted, is the schedule feature. I now have a good month of posts done in advance and scheduled, so nothing can get in the way of posts going up! And if there is big bookish news in the meantime, just post as needed! It’s saves lots of time and worrying.

Every Blogger (and Blog) Is Different and Unique

The hardest part of starting a book blog, is seeing other blogs that are more established, have more followers, and get tons of ARCs. Really, it can be disconcerting if you allow it. So the key thing to remember is that your blog, just like you as a person, are unique and individual. You will not do things exactly like other bloggers. Your blog is going to be what you make of it. If you choose to keep it simple and stress-free, then you might not pay for a custom layout, and you might not request ARCs or galleys, and that’s okay. Blogging is supposed to be fun, and it’s so easy to start feeling like it’s a part-time job. When it gets to that point, you have to stop and re-evaluate why you’re blogging. If you take the fun out of it, you’re going to burn yourself out. So take a step back, take a deep breath, and just have fun!

Utilize Twitter

I still do not use Twitter like some other bloggers do. I find it sometimes overwhelming and confusing, but a necessity nonetheless. Twitter is a great way to follow your favorite authors and interact with them. It’s an ideal way to find out about great giveaways too, and get to know other bloggers. Twitter also suggests other people to follow, so it’s easy to find new bloggers, blogs, and authors you may not have otherwise found.
Find A Few Blogs You Enjoy, And Really Visit and Get To Know the Blog and Blogger

The best thing you can do to find friends is to be a friend. You might follow 200 blogs, but find a few that you really like; whether it be because you share similar reading interests, or you really like their writing style or blog layout. Let them know you’re a new blogger and really enjoy their site. Most are willing to befriend you, and even take you under their wing and offer guidance.
Do Unto Other Blogs and Bloggers as You Would Like Them to Do

It’s the old adage, do unto others as you would have done unto you. Want followers? Follow others. Want comments? Comment on other blog posts you like! Be respectful, be courteous, and be yourself. Make a list of what you want your blog to be and how you want others to treat you, and do that yourself. Live up to your words!

The Library Is Your Friend

If I didn’t have my local library, my blog would never be half of what it is. My library has a great, user-friendly website that easily allows me to request hardcover or e-books of released or soon-to-be released books. This will help you keep up-to-pace with other bloggers who receive advanced copies of the hottest new books, if you want to feature the newest books without having to buy each one. The only downfall I’ve stumbled upon, is that there are others out there waiting for the books too, so a lot of times I cannot renew a title that has just released; leaving me to adhere to the 2-week borrowing time frame. But it’s an option I greatly take advantage of.

Pick A Meme or Two and Participate

Memes can be a great way to network your blog. You want to only pick a few to participate in, maybe up to two or three per week. Some great memes are Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish; Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine; and In My Mailbox hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. These blogs allow you to “link up” your post so others who participate can find and visit you. This is a great way to find new blogs as well, and the more you comment, the more comments you’ll receive, and the more traffic you’ll get to your blog.
The reason that it’s best to limit the number of memes you post per week, is because you want to keep yourself in your blog. If you only participate in other blogger’s posts, your readers won’t get to know you, the person behind the blog. Balancing your memes with your own, personal posts will create a great experience for your readers.

Look for future posts with more great blogging tips.

Happy Reading,
Laura

Say Anything {3}

Why It’s Important to Step Outside of your Reading Comfort Zone

Truth be told, had I never picked up Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, I might not even be here today. I mean, how does someone make the transition from chick-lit to YA Paranormal? Well, it all started with a black cover featuring two hands holding an apple. From there, the rest is history.
It was a Saturday and I was at Target. I needed a new book, and a friend had been raving about Twilight and it’s sequel, New Moon was coming out soon. So, with boyfriend breathing down my neck to hurry up and make a decision…I finally picked it up and carried it to the checkout.
I believe I devoured Twilight in somewhere around 48 hours. After that, I devoured New Moon. And then…I was hooked. Knowing Twilight was my “break-in” (to the YA genre) novel makes me feel cliche or even like a statistic, because really, who hasn’t read it and declared it a work of genius! But since my first reading Twilight days, I’ve expanded my ‘Books I’m Willing to Read’ genres. From vampires to faeries, contemporary YA to time travel and reincarnation I was on the go, taking a road trip through the shelves of the YA section of my local (R.I.P.) Borders.
I never would’ve stumbled upon the wonderful world of YA Book Blogging either had I not come across Goodreads, and then the lovely website The Book Smugglers. When I say I spent hours on both of these websites, I am probably still not even close to the honest truth. Some days I wish I could count the time spent online looking up reviews, new books to read, and now blogging myself.
So I got pretty comfortable reading about vampires, and then werewolves, and faeries but then something else happened. Two something’s really; the first being Matched by Ally Condie and then Wither by Lauren DeStefano. These two books were my entrance into the dystopian genre. Once I finished these books, I’d moved on to what is now the genre I’d call my favorite. When it came to Wither, I was just in love with the cover. I’d seen the positive reviews piling up on Goodreads, but the synopsis was like nothing I’d ever read before. I found the premise pretty interesting and it had grabbed my attention, but I wasn’t ready to purchase the book yet. So, I got on the website for my local library and requested it! When the book came in and I was at the library picking it up, I stumbled upon Matched. My only time in the dystopian genre was limited to what I’d read in high school, such as Fahrenheit 451; and movies I’d watched with boyfriend, like Logan’s Run. Had I never glimpsed and then fallen in love with Wither‘s cover (Thank you, Miss DeStefano for not disappointing me. Beautiful cover, beautiful story!) then I can’t think of where I’d be right now reading-wise, that is. And where I once started reading mainly chick-lit, I really don’t devour contemporary YA as I thought I would. I do read it, mind you, but not often. Stephanie Perkins has won my contemporary-YA Romance heart though with Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. 
So since we’ve established that I’m happy and comfy in my own little YA-Paranormal part of the world, there are a few genres that I’m still uncomfy in. Those would be: Zombies and Steampunk. And really, you would think loving dystopian as I do, that I would love Steampunk too! The idea fascinates me, so maybe I just haven’t read the right book yet (Let the recommendations commence….NOW!) because really, you never know when you’ll find your next favorite book!
What are your thoughts?
Happy Reading!
Laura