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Monday, November 30, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015 - Day 16: Blog Tours or Independent Reviewing?

Today's Topic: Blog Tours or Independent Reviewing?

Personally, I prefer to do more independent reviewing.  The whole point of this blog is to have an outlet for my opinions on the books I read, be able to keep track of what I thought of the books I've read, and to provide reviews for authors who are hunting for reviewers to get their book noticed.

I do participate in blog tours from time to time although it just doesn't seem as important to me.  I'll often sign up for blog tours for authors who I have a good relationship with and have read their books (and liked them!).

I certainly don't have anything against blogs that are more focused on blog tours but personally, I find myself deleted a lot of those posts from my inbox without looking at them.  They just aren't as interesting to me as reading a review.  I really liked to know how people felt about a book rather than just learn about the book itself.  There are instances when I'll look at blog tour posts, but I usually find them just meh.

What's your opinion?  Do you read blog tours or do you skip over them?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015 - Day 15: Author Buddies

Today's Topic is: Author Buddies.

This topic is all about who my auto-buy authors are/authors who I follow religiously!

I have to say I don't really have any auto-buy authors.  I have auto-read authors, just not auto-buy ones.  The thing is, I really don't have the funds to buy a bunch of books and then not want to read them ever again.  So normally what I do, is I check out books from the library and if I like them and think I'd read them over and over and over and over, I buy a copy!  So I have auto-read authors.  Who are they?  Here are a couple:

Sarah J. Maas
Author of the Throne of Glass series and the A Court of Thorns and Roses series

Rick Riordan
Author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Kane Chronicles, and countless other series'

Josephine Angelini
Author of the Starcrossed series and The Worldwalker Trilogy

Shannon Hale
Author of Dangerous, The Books of Bayern series, the Princess Academy series, Book of a Thousand Days and more

Marie Lu
Author of The Young Elites series and the Legend series

Julie Kagawa
Author of the Talon series, the Blood of Eden series, and the Iron Fey series (and companion series The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten)

Kiera Cass
Author of the Selection series

Jennifer L. Armentrout
Author of the Lux series, the Covenant series, the Titan series, the Dark Elements series, and A Wicked Saga

Wendy Higgins
Author of the Sweet series and the See Me series

There you go!  I know, it's quite a list that's kind of female heavy.  I'm trying to find more books by male authors but so far I haven't found any that I'd follow to the extent I do these people.  I'm sure there's someone out there!

Who are some of your author buddies?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015 - Day 14: What Role Do Books Play In Your Life?

Today's Topic: What Role Do Books Play In Your Life?

I touched on this on one of the previous day's but let's get more in depth shall we?

Books actually do play a pivotal role in my life.  They're my stress management system: whenever I'm upset, I just read a book before I do something I regret.  They are the sole reason why I am such a mild-mannered and balanced person.

Books also serve as some of my knowledge.  I read both fiction and nonfiction as well as fiction that is drawn from the truth.  You'd be surprised how much you can learn from books if you'd only listen.  One of my favorite quotes from the Throne of Glass series is:

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.” 

Isn't it just perfect?

So there you have it!  Books are an integral part of my life and they aren't leaving anytime soon!

What role do books play in your life? 

Friday, November 27, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015 - Day 13: #FiestyFriday - How Do You Approach Writing Negative Reviews?

Today's Topic: How Do You Approach Writing Negative Reviews?

Yay another easy question!

As I said yesterday, I really don't like writing negative reviews but I will if they are necessary.  I'm not one to sugar coat the truth although I will admit that I try to see the good in everything (which is why there are so few books that I rate under 3 stars).  I do have a strategy though!

Whenever I read a book, after I finish I put together a list of everything that I want to mention in my review and all the points I want to make.  If there are more bad things than good things, it ends up being a negative review.  However, I try to put at least one good thing about the book in my review.  The author spent so much of their life on this manuscript and the least I can do (in my opinion) is to be courteous and acknowledge that they did try to make it interesting.

Especially if something is an R&R book, I'll be as courteous as possible.  If it is an R&R book, I'll try to have a conversation with the author and let them know in more detail what exactly I think went wrong and what I think they could do to make it better for other people to enjoy.  It may be a simple fact of missing information where the author thinks something in their head but they don't put it on paper and then the reader doesn't pick up on it.

I also make sure to always note in negative reviews that it is entirely my opinion and that someone else might enjoy it.  I say that in positive reviews but I try to make it even more clear in negative reviews.  The aim of this blog isn't to criticize everything with no feedback - it's to help both authors and readers and to provide honest and productive feedback.

How do you approach negative reviews?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015 - Day 12: #ThrowbackThursday: Favorite Book Review(s) That You've Written

Today's Topic is: Favorite Book Review(s) That You've Written.

Ho Hum.... this is really difficult because I've written a LOT of book reviews!  I'll link to three that I especially like!  I actually don't really like the negative reviews I write... Not entirely sure why that is but I just hate rereading them and writing them.  I write them and get it over with!  So anyway, here they are!

This book was just so amazing and I really liked how I tried to be really thorough while also not giving too much away.

This was just a fabulous book to end a series with and I really liked how I tried to structure the review so that I didn't forget anything.

I really liked how I structured this review into a list - it helped me to not forget anything and emphasize the things I wanted to emphasize!

So that's that!  This is just a really hard topic for me because I honestly don't like picking favorites!  I like all of my reviews (except for maybe the oldest ones...) and it feels too much like bragging for my tastes.  So anyway!  Do you have any favorite book reviews?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015 - Day 11: The Mind of a Book Blogger

Today's Topic is: The Mind of a Book Blogger.

My mind is kind of strange and can jump really quickly from trivial things to really deep questions about the universe.  Here's short overview of what I think about!

7 AM: .................  Do I have to get up right now?  I can sleep for at least 5 more minutes............

7:05 AM: ............. huuuungry.  Breakfast is definitely a good idea right now.

Haha yeah so basically all morning until about 9 AM I'm really out of it but still try to be present so I can socialize and all.  I usually think about what I have to get done before school that day or what I need to do during school.  And also making sure I have all the right notebooks with me for the day.

After lunch rolls around, I start thinking about what I have to do at home that night and if I have anything going on.  Normally I only have stuff after school on Monday's, Tuesday's, and sometimes Friday's although once in a blue moon there is something every day.

The last period of every other day of school is an ASR period which is basically a study hall where you can go to whatever room of the school you want to get whatever done.  Normally, I go to a computer lab or something and I start thinking about what posts I should start or if I should go through emails or spend my time doing homework.  I feel so much more productive at school so I try to get all my homework done before I leave school whenever possible.

At night is usually when all my weird thinking happens.  I'll read an article or a blog post and start thinking about space, or the space-time continuum, or the benefits and risks of genetic engineering, or whether or not color exists at all, or if we exist at all, or if other dimensions exist, or if the string theory is true.  Weird, deep stuff.  I actually really like thinking about deep questions rather strange questions like if penguins have knees or not.  I'm more of a big picture kind of person and whenever that topic is brought up it just annoys me for some reason.  A lot of people say I don't seem like a deep person but I guess there just aren't many people in the world that can discuss deep things like that that I've met.  Or maybe it's just people in my age grouping.  Anyway!

I feel like I got sort of off topic there...  I guess my point is, I don't spend a lot of time (or really any time) brainstorming for my blog or for my writing or for anything.  I'm more of a 'sit down and do it' sort of person.  The best ideas for me come when I sit down to do something and they just come to me.  Or perhaps I'm just not consciously thinking about it... it's all just stewing in my subconscious...  We'll never know!

What do you think about?  Do you do a lot of brainstorming for different projects?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015: Day 10: #TenOnTheTenth (even when it isn't the 10th...) - Top Ten Favorite Books

Today's Topic is: Top Ten Favorite Books.

This is probably slightly inaccurate because this is like asking me to pick a favorite child!  These are all pulled from my favorites list on Goodreads (see it HERE) which only consists of the books I've posted a rating for so far.  So it doesn't include any of the books I've read recently that I haven't written a review for yet!  But here goes nothing (in no particular order of course!).

What are you favorite books?  Do we share any?

Monday, November 23, 2015

R&R Review Monday: Our Souls To Keep by Gary Caruso

Our Souls to Keep #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"After seventeen-year-old Wake Reynolds agrees to trade his life to prevent the damaged soul of his suicidal mother from the fiery tortures of Hell, Satan strips him of his humanity and forces him to become a demonic collector of souls. With no memory of his human existence, Wake preys on defenseless teenagers until they willingly end their own lives.

After many years of loyal service, something inside Wake is changing. Images of a forgotten life, lost human emotions begin to emerge. As Wake struggles to keep these new sensations hidden, Satan orders him to corrupt the soul of a pregnant girl, Annemarie. Beautiful, gentle Annemarie. From the moment Wake sees her, she brings lightness to his blackened heart. If he chooses to defy Satan and spare the lives of Annemarie and her unborn child, his mother’s soul will writhe in Hell’s deepest pit for eternity. Annemarie or his mother? It’s a choice no one should have to make.

BookBlogWriMo 2015: Day 9: #MotivationMonday - How Do You Make Sure You Post To Your Blog?

Today's Topic: How do you make sure you post to your blog?

This is actually an easy prompt to answer!  I post to my blog because I feel like, by starting this blog, that I owe it to the authors that I've accepted R&R's from as well as you guys - the people who read what I write - to post something.  It's not that you make me feel obligated to post, it's just that I want to post good things for you guys if that doesn't sound too weird...

I've made a commitment to you all and the authors and I really don't like letting people down.  My personality is one where I want the best for people, no matter the personal sacrifice I have to make.  That and I just really enjoy talking to you all!  Blogging allows me to simply say what I can't say to the people I know in real life because no one I know really reads like I do.

If I really don't feel like posting, I tell myself that I have to.  It's as simple as that.  And unless I have a really good reason, I'm not taking a hiatus.  It's just unacceptable to me.  And anyway, if I want to try to write for a living, I'm going to have to get good at writing through all of the doubts, you know?

Sorry I really don't have any good advice for you guys... I'm just a super disciplined person...  For better or for worse!

Do you talk to people in your non-virtual life about your blog or your reading?  What do you do when you're feeling unmotivated?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015: Day 8: #SuperSunday - What Makes A Book Blog Work?

Today's Topic is: What Makes A Book Blog Work?

The best I can do for this prompt is to simply tell you how I keep this blog running!

Blue Eye Books has only been a thing for about a year and a half and it's really a small miracle that it's still here!  I'm such a procrastinator that some authors are probably kind of upset with me for taking so long to read their books.  All I can say in my defense is that I have a LOT of stuff going on in my real life right now and in the past year so it's been difficult to put together quality reviews for authors that deserve them.

So how is Blue Eye Books still alive?  I like to think it's persistence but honestly, it's probably mostly me being stubborn and wanting to help all of those authors out there that want to have their books known to the world.

Here's a list of everything I do on a weekly basis that keeps this blog up and running!

1.  Review writing.  This is the staple of any book blog and it's the backbone of mine.  You may have noticed that I'm getting away from the memes a bit and back to my roots as a book blogger.  I really love writing reviews and I read a LOT of books so I'm in no shortage of material!  It's the time element that gets difficult.  A lot of times, I'll read a book twice - the first time for overall feelings and enjoyment and the second time for key moments and actually remembering the entire book as well as writing notes.  That whole process takes about 4 hours total.  Then comes writing the review.  I can actually put together an entire review post in about 30 minutes.

2.  Email.  My email inbox is crazy.  I get about 100 emails on any given day with 60 that are in there as reminders to myself.  Yeah... I'm really not that organized when it comes to task lists.  People keep telling me I need to create a task list and just go down the list but that just doesn't fit with me.  If I send an email to myself, I'll actually see it every time I open my email and I'm constantly reminded.  I subscribe to almost every blog I follow through email so I'm sure to visit them.  I love reading other people's posts and commenting so that usually takes an hour and a half every day.

3.  Updating the review list and currently reading.  I usually do this once a week (normally on Sunday's).  I'll update the review list by adding reviews that were published that week as well as updating my currently reading with whatever book I'm reading at the moment.  I can't update it every time I start a new book because I would be changing it every two days and as I said before, I usually go back and reread books anyway.

4.  Designing new graphics and learning to code.  I've been wanting to change my blog design for a while but I don't know enough about code yet so I've been taking an online course through Khan Academy to learn coding along with my school work.  However, I can design new graphics for new features on the blog through Canva so I usually do that a couple times a month.  It normally takes me about 30 minutes to design a new graphic if I already have a picture in my head of how I want it.

5.  R&R's and author coordination.  This includes responding to R&R requests, blog tours, and other things involving speaking to authors and publishing companies.  I've actually cut off R&R requests for the moment until I finish my list and I've only been signing up for the bare minimum of blog tours because of my major time issues.  So for now, this is really only like 30 minutes a month.

The life of a book blogger does take some serious work but honestly, if you really love doing it all, it doesn't feel like work.  The fact that I have to do college essays, scholarship essays, school, NaNoWriMo, BookBlogWriMo, and research projects really takes up my time and is the only reason I've been really behind this year.  Senior year is more crazy than I anticipated!

How much do you put into your blog?  Is it worth it to you?  What are the biggest things you do as a blogger?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015: Day 7: Favorite/Least Favorite Things To Read About

Today's Topic: Favorite/Least Favorite Things To Read About.

You know, I actually don't really know what to write for this!  Honestly, I read just about anything.  Hmm, maybe I'll talk about my love-hate relationship with different topics in books.

1.  Main character death.  So I recently have read a couple of books where the main character dies.  In all fairness, it was a perfect fit for their characters and a great fit for the story.  It doesn't mean I love reading about it though.  I find that to be one of the most heart-wrenching things when a main character dies.  Even when a supporting character dies.  I love that the author is courageous enough to basically kill off a part of themselves in their writing to stay true to the characters but it just tears my heart out!

2.  The classic science-fiction/fantasy storyline.  Okay, maybe this is just me but it seems like 50% of the science-fiction/fantasy books I read follow a very similar storyline.  Let me lay it out for you:

Girl in regular world meets 'different' guy.
Guy ends up being from supernatural world.
Girl ends up being the 'chosen one' or the 'special one'.
Guy introduces Girl to the new world.
Girl falls in love with Guy.
Dramatic things occur.
Girl and Guy end up together in a happily ever after.

It just annoys me!  And what annoys me even more is that in NaNoWriMo, that's pretty much exactly what I'm doing!  I don't know, maybe it's like the universal Hero's Journey and it's inevitable but I really hate reading books with the same storyline.

3.  Books with ever-changing rules.  I just don't like this at all but I totally understand how it happens.  You're writing a fantasy or science-fiction novel and all of a sudden, your characters are in a tough spot and you have absolutely no idea how to save them but it's vital that you do.  The solution?  Add new capabilities to a hero's weapon that weren't there before and were simply 'hidden' or 'didn't have enough power to work'.  Just define what a weapon or item does and leave it at that!

4.  The larger topic of aliens in general.  Honestly, I have a weird relationship with books with aliens in them.  On one hand, nothing ever seems original in them.  On the other hand, it's really cool to read about other beings from other planets and there's only so much you can do with it.  This is a genre that can go both ways for me but because of that, I'm always leery of it.

5.  Realistic Fiction.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  This is a genre that I love from the bottom of my heart but I also hate.  Mostly I hate the fact that a lot of realistic fiction I read centers around romance.  It's like there's no other topic worth exploring in the world!  If you know any good realistic fiction books that aren't solely about romance, please let me know the titles because it's driving me insane!  I really love all the books I read from this genre (for the most part) but sometimes it just gets so repetitive and boring!

I'd better cut it off there before it gets too long!  Maybe I'll think about this topic a little more and do a discussion post later.  What are some topics in books that you have a love-hate relationship with?

Friday, November 20, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015: Day 6: Favorite Book Quotes

Today's Topic is: Favorite Book Quotes!

Oh my this is a hard one.  I have so many!  I'll do my most recent favorite quotes because otherwise this post could get really long really fast.  If you'd like to see the full list, click HERE.

“But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.” 
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis

“You look terrified. Does this scare you?”
“More than anything.”
“Because I didn’t bring my mints.”
“And now the real answer . . .”
“Because I’m afraid that once you catch me, the game’s over.” 

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

“You make me feel three times the rush of skydiving or bungee jumping... I felt the biggest rush of my life when you said you love me.” 
Breathe, Annie, Breathe - Miranda Kennally

“My sparrow, she flickers and wakes and sings and sings. ” 
Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

“Day, the champion of the people, the one who can't bear to see those around him suffer on his behalf, who would gladly give his life for those he loves.”
Champion - Marie Lu

“So the good prince was a murderer and the evil queen wasn't a witch after all.” 
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness

“Oh, I'm sorry," Chubs said, 'apparently the middle of my sentence interrupted the beginning of yours. Do continue.” 
Never Fade - Alexandra Bracken

“Hello," Lilly said."Movie. Of your life.You were portrayed as shy and awkward."
"I am shy and awkward," I reminded her.
"They made your grandmother all kindly and sympathetic to your plight," Lilly said."It was the grossest mischaracterization I've seen since Shakespeare in Love tried to pass off the Bard as a hottie with a six-pack and a full set of teeth.” 
Princess In Waiting - Meg Cabot

“But—I’m leaving.”
Not without me.” 
Trial by Fire - Josephine Angelini

“Names made a thing real.” 
The Invasion of the Tearling - Erika Johansen

"Pain only disables the weak."
The Invasion of the Tearling - Erika Johansen

“I walked over to Osten, who looked like he was itching to climb on something.
“What are you up to today?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Go find the Selected guys and ask them awkward questions. Report back.”
He laughed and went running.
“Where’s he off to?” Dad asked quietly.
The Heir - Kiera Cass

“Maybe the princess could save herself."
"That sounds like a pretty good story too.”
Fairest - Marissa Meyer

That's all I'm going to include in this post!  There are only quotes for the books I've posted reviews for because I always go through and like quotes while I'm writing my review.  So no Queen of Shadows yet (the review is taking so long to write!) but soon!

What are some of your favorite quotes?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

BookBlogWriMo 2015: Day 5: #ThrowbackThursday - Favorite Childhood Books

Today's Topic is: #ThrowbackThursday - Favorite Childhood Books.

Haha I have so many of these!  I suppose I'll define childhood as up to age 13.  Here's a list of some of my favorite books from back in the day!

I loved a lot of Dr. Seuss books but this one was by far my favorite!

There you have it!  As you can probably tell, I was obsessed with animals and loved books that centered around animals.

Have you read any of these books?  What were some of your favorite childhood books?
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