Simple Smile Saturdays! (Feb-1)

Allo m’dears!

Last weekend HannahHelt and JLArmentrout were (lovingly) making fun of me. They said that I “get excited over the simplest things” which is totally true. I have two theories about life -maybe more but I don’t remember what they are at the moment- and they are as follows:

1.) Everyone should have three hugs a day to let them know someone cares.
2.) It’s the simple things in life that make life worth living.

So thanks to those two, I’ve had my own personal brain-child. From now on I will try to post something “simple” that I get excited over just to show you that the smallest things really do make you smile :0)

To start, you get to see none other than… socks!

In honour of Valentine’s Day here are just two of my heart-patterned socks. I think I got the red one on the left last Valentine’s Day, and I got the purple pair as a Christmas prezzie this past year. As you can see, I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, but on my feet!

Loving socks is weird, I know, but when I had a school uniform I only saw white or navy tootsies everywhere I went. After transferring from that school (not because of the socks) I refused to wear solid coloured socks for years and, also, a lot of people started giving me really kewl socks for Christmas.

What simple things made you smile today?

Book Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Have you read my review on the first book of this trilogy? The Summoning

Warning: May Contain Spoilers

Synopsis: Chloe manages to escape the Lyle House with a few of her newly found friends. They have discovered that their “powers” were because they had been part of a science experiment that genetically altered them.  Oh, and Chloe is constantly followed around not only by ghosts but by animated corpses because she keeps accidentally raising the dead.

Character Development: Chloe keeps growing as a person, becoming stronger and more self-reliant while still knowing when to ask for help (or at least she’s trying). Everything that happens makes you grow as a person, makes you grow-up, and Chloe is slowing learning to accept who she is.

Publisher: Unlike the first book of the Darkest Powers Trilogy, The Awakening was not published by HarperCollins but by Doubleday Canada. You can tell the difference not just by checking for the company logo, but just by looking at and touching the book.

Cover: While Doubleday stayed in keeping with the original cover image – a girl holding a jewel that has a touch of spot varnish to make it shiny- that is where the similarities stop. The Summoning cover has a matte finish, which gives a rougher texture and feels a bit unusual to someone not used to it, plus the title and authors name are embossed (raised text). The Awakening, while it is not glossy, it has a smoother finish that feels a bit more satin-like. The author and title are also shiny –gilt, I believe?- but not embossed. (If you want to check, run your hand over the inside of the cover, you will feel indents in one book but not in the other.)

Pages: Another difference is the cut of the books, both the cover and the pages. The Summoning cover is what you would expect of a trade paperback, while The Awakening has a paperback version of a dust jacket. Also, The Summoning has perfectly squared edges while The Awakening has unevenly cut pages. If you look closely at the pages, you can see a pattern as to the width of each section, but the intent is to mimic an old book. These types of pages look great but are a bit harder to turn.

Quote: “This is my normal now.”

The Verdict: Didn’t you listen the first time? Go. Read. The. Trilogy!

What cover style do you prefer? Matte, satin finish, or glossy?  Do you like a perfectly squared novel, or ones with rough-cut pages?

Previous Review: The Summoning

Teaser Tuesday (Feb-1)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading Share the title & author, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!

Nothing to Lose by Norah McClintock

“They have beady, black, evil little eyes… And their toenails, or whatever you call them, can be as sharp as razors.”

“There were two angry marks on his back, faded, but you could tell they had been deep when they were made.”

Books In My Mailbox (Feb-2)

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

It’s the first Sunday in February, and I’ll actually be posting an IMM on the right day!  I usually go to the library every other Friday and so I have gads of books out that I’m hoping to read without getting behind on my school work… *glances over at assignments that must be completely by monday*

In this IMM photo, I only included one book if I have multiple from the same author or series. This is partially because I now have more books from the same author that I didn’t when I took the original picture last week. It is also because I didn’t want to try to cram it all into one photo and I didn’t want to take more than one photo either.

Frewin Jones -> Destiny’s Path
Kelley Armstrong -> Frostbitten and Waking the Witch
Norah McClintock -> Picture This, Masked,  and the ten Robyn Hunter Mystery series

 

 

Previous IMM: Feb 1

The Truth about Book Bloggers

I have just finished reading Catherine Ryan Hyde‘s blog “About Book Bloggers“. She made some really good arguments about why bloggers are a good thing. I was attempting to crafts a short reply, but I’ve always been a littel bit wordy, and so my response is long enough to be a blog post.

I’ve only been active for five days and already I have been hearing some disgruntlement about book review bloggers. I mean, how terrifying is it to be told that you’ll never be accepted into the publishing industry if you say anything remotely negative about a single book? I have thought about becoming a writer, and I definitely want to be an editor, but the thought of being blackballed from the world I love most is frightening to face.  I was beginning to think that I started writing at a really bad time, and maybe I shouldn’t at all,  but –thanks to Catherine’s post- I now know that it is only a few people who are coming to their own conclusions without looking at both sides of the argument.

So, as a newbie, here is my take on the debate about the truth behind book bloggers…

1) Reviews don’t sell books?
Once I started reading book reviews, I now have a To Be Read list around a hundred books strong. At the moment I can’t afford to buy any books -school tuition and living expenses sadly must come first- but I make note of the books (on goodreads) to either buy them at a later date or beg my library to purchase a few copies or both. If I do read the book through the library first and really like it, I will still buy it so I can read it again and again, whenever I want, without being on the library waiting list. Two+ sales (my library never just buys one copy).

Add to that I will of course tell all my friends and fellow bloggers about an awesome new book and they will look for it themselves or ask about it at their library. If they like the book, they will tell their friends, and their friends will tell their friends, and… so on.  Guaranteed multiple sales right there, and not just from my immediate circle, but all over the world.

2) Just want ARCs?
Book bloggers do reviews because they want to share their fabulous finds. When they get started, like me, there are no ARCs. In fact, there may never be ARCs for any blogger, it’s not guaranteed.

First a blogger has to establish a following, because there is no point in the reviews if no one reads them. Well, other than for your own enjoyment, but it does lessen the sales factor. Most bloggers will get a few of their friends and maybe some strangers subscribe, but unless they network like crazy they may never be large enough to get the attention of publishers and authors.

Next, they have to contact publishing houses and authors to ask for ARCs in order to review them. Some bloggers don’t want ARCs and so never make contact. Some don’t have the nerve and will just hope they are noticed. Some do contact the pub houses and authors, but get told no or are not told anything at all. And lastly, sometimes bloggers get the ARCs they asked for or are asked if they would like an ARC which is a real accomplishment for any blogger.

Third, a lot of bloggers do giveaways of said ARCs so that they can share what a wonderful book it is and get more hype out there. Trust me, contests are a big hit with everyone. Because the original blogger really liked the book themselves, they go out and buy a copy. Even if they don’t give away their ARCs, a few of them still buy the book when it hits the shelves to support the author. And it’s not just ARCs that are the prizes in these contest: it’s older books, ereaders, posters, stickers, tshirts, and all sorts of other swag. Bloggers aren’t about wanting ARCs, they enjoy anything to do with their passion.

But the biggest reason that bloggers would want an ARCs is simple. IT’S A BOOK!

3) Should not post bad reviews?
Everyone knows that there is no such thing as perfect in this world. If a blogger always wrote how great all the books they read are and said nothing bad about them, you’d be skeptical and stop going to their site. You know that all things have a little bit of both good and bad in them.

A blogger should discuss both aspects in each book, because telling the truth will build trust, and if your readers trust you then they will go out and buy the books you’ve reviewed. Even if you post about why you didn’t like a book, it is completely biased and the reader might decide that what you don’t like is something they would like.

Besides, don’t PR agents say that there is no such thing as bad publicity? People are weird enough to go out and buy whatever gets dissed just to see what the big deal is. I’ve heard of more people saying that they did not read a book, because of all the good publicity it got and wanted to avoid it all. So maybe it’s possible that a negative review can sell more books than a good one… It’s something to think about, anyway.

Conclusion:
Authors and publishers should want book bloggers to have ARCs and post honest reviews.  The companies wouldn’t be making ARCs if they didn’t realize that this form of free publicity works. Pub houses can only afford up to one dollar per book they print towards promoting it. That’s not a lot, you have to admit.

So many books hit the shelves each day without people knowing anything about them, because there is no money to advertise. Book bloggers ask for no compensation for their time, and if they manage to get a free book out of doing something they love? Well, they deserve it. They are getting word out about your books and doing everything in their power to promote your sales and all because they just love reading.

So, please, play nice.

 

 

Previous Blog: And so it begins

Book Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Warning: May Contain Spoilers

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

Synopsis: If Chloe knew what puberty would bring, maybe she wouldn’t have wanted it so much. Chloe is fifteen, and, with puberty, she sees her first ghost and it lands her at the Lyle House. While the group home is supposed to help teens learn to deal with their “illnesses”, Chloe slowly learns that the other kids are just as special as she is… and that maybe Lyle House isn’t all that safe for teens with a talent like hers.

Author: I adore Kelley Armstrong. Not only is she a wonderful author, but a Canadian! Kelley has a writing style that allows you to read her books over and over again, without becoming bored. This is my second time reading the Darkest Powers trilogy and I love it just as much as I did the first time.

Character: Chloe is the main character and makes for a believable teen. No fifteen-year-old girl doesn’t question when puberty will hit, though she is a little more wishful than I ever was. Chloe also pretends to have a crush on one of her male friends just to satisfy her BFF’s boy-crazy requirement that every girl have a love interest; it isn’t unusual for a teenager to lie in order to fit in.

Plot: The story basically surrounds the Lyle House; being sent to, living at, and trying to escape the group home. Chloe has to meet with a psychiatrist and tries to believe the doctor because it would mean going home, but eventually Chloe refutes the mental illness and tries to run away. Normally, you shouldn’t be in denial about any psychological problems, and running away never solves anything. But sometimes, the adults have it all wrong, thus leaving you with no choice.

Quote: “You think I have schizophrenia… I’ve seen A Beautiful Mind.”

The Verdict: Read it. If you have read it, read it again.

What would you do if you could see ghosts?  Have you ever considered running away from a bad situation?


Waiting On Wednesday (Feb-1)

This will not be a usual occurrence, therefore here are some of the books I anticipate most for 2011!  Some of these books are already out, but I have to wait until I can either afford to buy them or the library gets them in.

XVI
By Julia Karr
Genre Dystopian
Publisher Penguin
Available January 11th, 2011
Nina dreads her sixteenth birthday. It is when she’ll be branded with “XVI” and is proclaimed available to be preyed upon by men. Before her birthday arrives, Nina’s mother is murdered and tells Nina a very important secret…

Across the Universe
By Beth Revis
Genre Science-Fiction
Publisher Penguin
Available January 11th, 2011
Amy is frozen cargo aboard a spaceship, Godspeed, heading for a new planet three hundred years in the future.  But fifty years too soon, Amy awakes not due to a computer malfunction, but attempted murder. If Amy doesn’t find out the truth about the Godspeed then her family will be next to die, and, unfortunately, Amy is in love with her lead suspect…

Timeless
By Alexandra Monir
Genre Paranormal
Publisher Random House
Available January 11th, 2011
Michele is forced to move across the country to live with grandparents she’s never met after a tragedy strikes.  In the huge, old mansion she finds a diary that sends her back into the past of 1910, and there she falls in love with a man she has seen before only in her dreams. As Michele struggles to balance her contemporary life with her trips into the past, she also has to race against time to save not only her own life, but her heart.

Delirium
By Lauren Oliver
Genre Dystopian
Publisher HarperCollins
Available February 1st, 2011
People used to think love was a good thing, but now scientists have found the cure to “deliria” and, by law, everyone who turns eighteen must undergo the surgery.  Lena had always looked forward to the day… that is, until she fell in love with only three months to go.

Angelfire
By Courtney Allison Moulton
Genre Supernatural
Publisher HarperCollins
Available Feb 15th
Horrifying nightmares and vague memories of evil beings attacking her have haunted Ellie for a long time. When Ellie turns seventeen, her powers awaken and Ellie finds herself on the frontlines of a war between archangels and the Fallen.  Ellie begins to hunt the reapers who are after human souls and starts to uncover the secrets of her past lives…