Discussion Post: Who Am I Blogging For?

BloggingFor

In some ways, thus post is a continuation of the one I wrote last week regarding blog posts I enjoyed as a non-blogger. Writing it made me re-evaluate why I started and continue to blog. According to WordPress, this will be my 100th post on the blog, so I wanted to recap and review my own journey as a blogger. As with all my discussion posts, I don’t have a concrete answer – but would love to hear your side of things, too!

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It goes without saying that I blog for myself first and foremost. I initially started this blog as more of a book journal, one that I never expected or wanted anyone to read. It meant that most of what I wrote was book reviews, they were a way for me to keep track of the books I read. It also helped motivated me to read more books – I went from someone who read maybe 2 books a month to a crazed devourer of 4 books a week! Continue reading “Discussion Post: Who Am I Blogging For?”

5 Signs Your Blogging Honeymoon Is Over (And How To Deal!)

Discussion-Honeymoon

Joey promised me a couple of months back that my boundless enthusiasm for blogging was destined to wane. While I initially dismissed this as one of those crazy, irreverent fiction he likes to spout – I have to admit he’s right! My honeymoon period is coming to an end – no longer is blogging filled with all things shiny and good. I have to -gasp- put effort into my hobby now. Do you suffer from the post-honeymoon blues? Check below for the symptoms.

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I. Most books you read seem a little lacklustre

Last week I DNF-d three books and wrote two 3-stars review. Now, my 3-stars reviews are usually quite positive, I aim to be nice and diplomatic – but I found myself exceedingly critical. I also felt I had little patience for less than stellar reads. I confess to having spent more time complaining about books on twitter, DM and Gchat than actually reading or reviewing them,

HOW I HANDLE IT:  I stopped reading review copies for a week and started reading books I’ve had lying around on my Kindle for a while. Sometimes I even read with no intentions of reviewing the book, which takes the pressure of needing to commentate on every plot point a bit more bearable. Once my reading diet is healthy with 4 to 5 stars reads, I’d go back to conquering that ARC TBR. I want to put myself in a frame of mind where I am constantly grateful about reviewing, rather than seeing it as a chore. Continue reading “5 Signs Your Blogging Honeymoon Is Over (And How To Deal!)”

Design Guide: 4 Apps for Design Success

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I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how I do my blog graphics and which program I use. In reality, I use a happy marriage of Photoshop CS5 + Freepik + Creative Market. However, I am well aware that not many people have access to Photoshop. Today, I’m listing out a few apps I’ve used in the past to create graphics, for these, all you need is a smart phone or tablet! They are great because:

  • They’re easy to use, no more reading tutorials on Photoshop for hours!
  • You’re able to work on your blog anywhere, you don’t have to be limited by lack of laptop or computer, this will appeal to all your dedicated bloggers!
  • They’re (mostly) free!

Click On The Heading To Be Linked To The App Store!
Blog-Graphics-Wordswag

Typography is one of my great weaknesses and I am trying to improve. With Word Swag, I can quickly whip up Tumblr worthy edits with time to spare.

PROS: Legible but aesthetically pleasing fonts, plenty of variety in terms of style, very user friendly. You can use both your own images or from a bank of photos with free royalty.

CONS: Some in=app purchases required, however there’s plenty of free content. Can’t add shadows or gradients to the text itself, limiting the variety of looks and sacrificing legibility at times. Limited to square crops. Continue reading “Design Guide: 4 Apps for Design Success”

Discussion: 4 Common Book Blogger Insecurities (And Why They Don’t Matter!)

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Today, I discuss things I used to, and still do, worry about as a book blogger. I’m my own harshest critic and I have so many insecurities about my style of blogging.  I also discuss how I got over them. I would love to hear your own thoughts and experiences!

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Being a book blogger is an expensive hobby, especially when you have to shell out for each book yourself. As a new blogger, I also felt that no one would want to read my posts unless I was reviewing the hottest new releases. After all, that’s what all the big bloggers I look up to are talking about!

Why It Doesn’t Matter:

  • Review copies are a double edged blade, not having them actually means you have more freedom to read what you want!
  • Even as a new blogger, you can sign up to get eARCs with great success from either Netgalley or Edelweiss. I got quite a few off Netgalley even when I was a fledgeling blogger with 5 posts under her belt.
  • There are plenty of other ways to access books: via the library, via trading e.g. #bookfortrades or #ausbooktrade, via borrowing from your friends.
  • The book will eventually be released! I was so envious of everyone who read Six of Crows early – I bought and finished the book last week. Does it make me any less of an ardent fangirl? NOPE.

Continue reading “Discussion: 4 Common Book Blogger Insecurities (And Why They Don’t Matter!)”

3 Months Blogoversary: Celebration + Freebies + Giveaway!

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Is it premature to celebrate a blog that’s only three months old? NEVER. I want to thank you all for the support you have given me so I have a couple of things to share:

  • Giveaway! You can win 1 book valued to up $25 AUD. Delivered by Book Depository (INTL) or an Australian trader of your choice (AUS residents)
  • Freebie:  Downloadable printable PDF of a bookish journal 😀 The beautiful Jeann of Happy Indulgence inspired this idea, as we are both CRAZY for stationery.  I am entertaining the idea of opening an etsy shop offering these and other bookish stationery/prints! I would love to know whether you are interested.
  • HUGS: You are all amazing, whether you are a regular commenter or perennial lurker! My first months blogging have been phenomenal thanks to all of YOU!

FIRSTLY; the free PDF so you can record all about the books you have recently knocked off the TBR pile!  I am working on an ARC version to share on another occasion! This is the stuff I wish to include in my possible Etsy store!
Free for personal use! Please do not redistribute or resell! 

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DROPBOX LINK (2.9 MB PDF)


SECONDLY, the giveaway! Since I know you all love those! ONE winner wins ONE book valued up to $25 AUD (our currency is so crap atm, fml)

RULES:  Open internationally. Runs until 13/10/2015, order delivered by Book Depository (INTL) or an Australian online store (Aussies).  Please check your country is eligible via Book Depository.

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY: CLICKETY CLICK!

The Secret Life Of A Book Blogger

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I’ve been seeing this float around on the blogosphere, and was really looking forward to doing this post. Thanks to the lovely Vane of Book With Chemistry for tagging me!

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How long have you been a blogger?

I started blogging on the 13th of June this year, so by the time this is posted my 3rd month blogoversary will be just two days away. It feels like I’ve been blogging for SO much longer, though. I salute everyone who’s been doing this for a year plus, now that I know how much time and dedication this hobby require. Continue reading “The Secret Life Of A Book Blogger”

Discussion: Canon Mary Sues & Gary Stus

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Silhuoette vector from Freepik. Click for link. Graphic designed by me! Tangent: I actually really like this look, I’m tempted to change my logo into something similar.

Mary Sues was once a term used exclusively in fanfiction for original characters who appeared to be self-inserts of the author.  Increasing, it’s being adopted to refer to canon characters in a demeaning manner as well. It’s often said in reviews that those effortlessly perfect protagonist, the flawless chosen ones, are often too flat for us readers to truly connect with.

However, the general public seems absolutely gripped with some of these infuriatingly faultless characters.  I also used to be quite disdainful of Mary Sues – but as I read reviews, I realise some of the characters I love are deem to be too perfect for others.

So, is perfection in books truly alienating? Or is it an acceptable form of escapism?

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i.e. the super obvious list of why we are turned off by Mary Sues & Gary Stus.

  • Everybody Loves Bella Effect:  Every single character in the book seem to be convinced of of how utterly special and endearing the main protagonist is, though she’s unbearably bland (sorry Bella lovers!  The movies & the ensuing drama between RPattz + KStew provided me many hours of entertainment, if that helps any).
  • The Inspirational Mockingjay:  I adore Katniss, and characters like her e.g. Darrow of Red Rising – however, it’s a little hard to swallow how easily these confused teens becomes the symbol / empower the resistance; succeeding where half a hundred competent adult in their universe have failed.
  • The Love Polygon Magnets: All of our protagonists, from Bella, to Katniss, to Celaena – either self-proclaimed plain Janes to drop dead gorgeous beauties – unfailingly attract at least two suitors.  Always the most beautiful men in the series, of course.  I have my hands full just keeping the attention of one dude, how am I meant to relate to this though?
  • The Chosen One:  Whether it’s The Boy Who Lived or The Prince(ss) Who Was Promised, everyone in these books seem to have a super special destiny.  At 25 I barely have my life figured out (FOR SHAME)!  Why do you have a prophecy telling you what you should be doing and where do I get one?
  • The Physical Perfection:  Red hair, green eyes, skinny-curvy, inhumanly beautiful, the list goes on, and you totally know what I’m talking about!  My dark hair-brown eye combination have never felt as inadequate as when I’m reading a fantasy book haha.
  • Aggravating Lack of Flaws:  Cute-clumsiness is not a flaw, Bella!  Your self-assured arrogance is also not really a fault, Celaena!  The problem with perfection is the lack of room for delicious character development, and we all love that stuff.

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i.e. Why it’s good to read about these magical flawfree characters once in a while.

  • Escapism:  Life is filled with enough mishaps as it is, sometimes it just feels good to see your favourite character adored and succeed in thwarting He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named for the umpteenth time.  Many of the popular franchises have very faultless heroes and heroine, so I know I’m not the only one who thinks this!
  • When There’s Good Writing:  There are some characters such as Kvote of the Kingkiller Chronicles, who for all intent and purposes should be a Sue, but I love them anyway because of how solid the writing is.  If the character excels in everything, yet still have layers to their narrative, I can accept them wholeheartedly.
  • The Gender Issue:  On the whole, I feel that female authors + female characters get a lot more flak for writing perfect heroines than vice versa.  E.g. Bella Swan is a perfect every girl, but I can name a dozen male equivalent from the top of my head that is similar in feel – but don’t get nearly as much derision from the audience.  I don’t think I should be ashamed to enjoy seeing heroine sparkle and excel as much as she damn likes!

Are perfect characters an instant turn-off for you as a reader?  If you have some favourite Stus and Sues, please share them below!

Book Review: Half A King

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

4-star

Title:  Half A King

Author:  Joe Abercrombie

Rating: 4/5 stars

Series?  Yes, 1 of 3.

Goodreads


This book has been on the radar for a while, with the last book of the series coming out in August, I finally take the plunge.  Short version:  I loved it!  Here’s why you will, too.

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A man swings the scythe and the axe, his father had said. A man pulls the oar and makes fast the knot. Most of all a man holds the shield. A man holds the line. A man stands by his shoulder-man. What kind of man can do none of these things?

Yarvi is the youngest prince of Gettsland, born with one crippled hand, he was trained for a life in lores and herbs rather than to rule.  When his father and elder brother are murdered, Yarvi – who was always told he’s only half a man – must step up and become a king.  Before he is able to appreciate the enormity of leading this warrior nation, he’s betrayed and sold into servitude (I admit, here my mind also wandered towards a Half A King/Captive Prince cross over, haha), and a whole different struggle begins.

1.  Complex Characters

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

My favourite thing about Half A King is definitely its cast of characters and how fully realised they all were.  Firstly, we have Yarvi: who rises above his disability and grows into his own person through the book by relying on his wit.  His rise in a society that values brain above brawns was so delightful to watch.  It also gave me warm fuzzies to see him make friendship in unlikely places and inspire loyalty in the least likely places.  Yarvi’s no typical hero, he had no strength of body nor bravado – but he’s a damn interesting one that you could really root for.  Plus, it helps that he’s totally hilarious! I like my men with a sense of humour.

‘Laithlin, the Golden Queen!’ She spoke the name like a magic spell. ‘They say she’s owed a thousand thousand favours, that a debt to her is a matter for pride. They say her word is valued higher than gold among merchants, because gold may go down in worth but her word never does.’

Aside from Yarvi, I also adored the many strong women featured in the story.  I loved Laithlin, Yarvi’s mother, bargainer extraordinaire in all her manipulative glory.  I loved Sumael and her unwavering sense of direction: both physical and personal.  I even loved pirate and slave owner Shadikshirram and all her swagger.  Can’t wait to see more of these awesome women in future installments.  Other side characters were also well developed, especially the friends Yarvi made during his days as the oarsmen.  Nothing is an especially interesting figure, but the less I say on that, the better for those who have not read the book.

Continue reading “Book Review: Half A King”

Tags: Blogger Recognition Award

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Thank you so much to the lovely Princessica of Books (edit: and Twins Turn Pages, just this morning, sorry it’s a scheduled post XD) for nominating me!  I am so behind on all my book tags, I will try and slowly get through them soon!

Here are the rules:

  • Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.
  • Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers.
  • Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night. That way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing!

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I have been a long time lurker of the blogging world.  Since 2009, in fact!  I had a blogspot account in those days, but I was very poor at maintaining it.  That blogging stint lasted a total of 1 month, and I had 7 blog posts to show for it.  Then I decided blogging wasn’t for me and was content to watch from the sidelines and just read reviews sporadically until June this year.  As my real life schedule freed up, I found I had a lot of time to read books and wanted a place to document and motivate myself to conquer the TBR pile.  Now that I’ve started interacting with the community, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop any time soon!

Here are my tips, but I am also a newbie at this, so take my words with a few tonnes of salt!

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Be yourself & Find Your Voice are the most often quoted comments in Book Blogging Tips 101.  There’s a good reason for that:  the internet is filled to the brim with book blogs.  Not only on WordPress, but also Tumblr, Instagram, Blogspot, Youtube, basically every corner you turn there’s a site dedicated to books.  What makes your review stand out from the other thousands about the latest dystopian hit/terminal illness bestseller?  The beautiful you!  That is why it’s imperative you find your style and be truthful to your readers.  It won’t happen overnight (and definitely hasn’t happened to me yet haha), but after writing a dozen reviews you’ll find your x-factor! Continue reading “Tags: Blogger Recognition Award”

Book Review: Snow Like Ashes

5star

Title: Snow Like Ashes

Author: Sara Raasch

Series? Yes. 1 of 3.

Rating:  5/5

Goodreads

Book Depository


Snow Like Ashes to the second YA fantasy I’m reviewing this week that’s likened to Game of Thrones.  I don’t agree, I think it’s more similar to The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta, which is another of my favourites.  Snow Like Ashes also manages to be unique with characters that I can root for, I LOVED it.  Here’s a few reasons why.

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1.  Vivid Setting

Oktuber was a maze of rickety barns and tents in maroon, azure, and sunshine orange, with the crystalline blue sky gleaming above, a sharp and beautiful contrast to the kingdom’s earth tones…Their skin glistened the same coppery brown as the leaves on some of their trees, only where the leaves were crinkled and dry, the Autumnians’ faces were perfectly creamy

There are 8 kingdoms in this world.  Four are Seasons:  with close links to magic that grants them only one season a year, thus they are named for these seasons.  Hot, dry Summer that are uninviting to our protagonist.  Cool, vibrant autumn with citizens of copper skin.  Spring, though lovely in name, is ruled by a dictator named Angra with powerful magic.  Finally, Winter, the lost kingdom of eternal snow – utterly destroyed by Angra 16 years before the start of this novel.  Furthermore, there’s four Rhythm kingdoms that undergoes the normal seasonal cycle.  We mainly got to see Cordella, a prosperous kingdom who’s chief exports are lavenders and princes that steals your heart.  All of these settings are described in beautiful clarity and reading about them was akin to a cinematic experience.   Continue reading “Book Review: Snow Like Ashes”