Mug Monday & Bookish Happiness

Hello everyone and welcome to Mug Monday!

With everything that´s been going down in the book community lately, I think it´s time for a little happiness. Because all us book people need more happiness in our lives.

 

Happiness is a good book

 

`Happiness is a good book.` says Snoopy on one of my favorite Snoopy mugs. And he´s right- Happiness is a good book. But happiness is also many other things.

For me happiness is…

  •  Book blogging. As demanding as book blogging sometimes is- I still everything about it. I´m truly happy when I can share my thoughts, my ideas with others.

 

  • Connecting with others. I love to meet new people. Whether it´s through comments on my posts or on social media… I´m happy when I´m able to find new friends and connect with likeminded people. Communication is a wonderful thing.

 

  • The little bookish things. It doesn´t matter if it´s something as simple as a bookmark or a book sleeve… These things bring me so much joy.

 

  • Bookmail. I´m that person who´s on first name terms with the postman. Because he brings me happiness in a package. Author mail, amazon mail, letters, cards… I LOVE book mail.

 

  • Book related news. This could be a cover reveal for an upcoming release or other author announcements. I´m always happy when someone has something new to share.

 

  • Positive feedback. This is something that brings me immense joy: When someone gives positive feedback on my posts or on someone else´s post. It´s truly something special when a book blogger is able to make someone´s day, week, month.

 

  • Hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon. HEAVENLY!

 

Now to what makes my OCDs sing.  Happiness also is:

  • When the spine of a book doesn´t crack
  • When book cover colors match on my bookshelves
  • When a bookmark matches colors with the book I´m reading

 

What about you? What is Happiness for you? Shower the comments section with what brings you joy ( book-related or not ). ❤

 

Thank you so much for reading this week´s Mug Monday post. I hope you enjoyed. Have a wonderful Monday.

Many warm hugs,

XO´s

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Is There An Easier Way To Review Books?

I´ll tell you what – I struggle sometimes with writing reviews. There are days when I can sit down and write a colorful 2K word review for a 300 page standalone. Then I go through phases of painful reviewer´s block. I can´t come up with the right words to express my thoughts or feelings regarding a book.

You´d think I´d have the hang of this review thingy by now. I mean- 10 years should have taught me a trick or two. Weeeeell, it seems like I´m still winging things as I go.

My biggest struggle is review size/length. For some reason, I have this notion that reviews have to be a certain size to be considered a true review. I know, total bullshit. But I can´t help it. It´s like this evil pattern embedded deep in the recesses of my brain. Am I bothered by this? To be honest- Sometimes I am. Writing reviews should be as easy as breathing in air. All you have to do is lay down your opinion and hit that publish button. * sigh *  If only that were true.
During my book blogger years I´ve asked myself the same questions over and over again:

  • Is there an easier way to review books?
  • Should my reviews be lengthy or short?
  • If short, how short? If long, how high should my word count be?

 

This isn´t a matter of being insecure. This is me battling my perfectionist side. Thankfully, I´ve learned that book review size doesn´t really matter.

 

Review length is a matter of personal preference. 

 

It´s a question of how much information a reviewer wants to include in their reviews. Personality, style, emotions, and knowledge. Add all or only add a few. Do whatever the hell you want, right? Right. But there was still one question left unanswered. One I consider a challenge.

Is there an easier way to review books?

Because let´s face it – No one is able to pull a review out of their ass thinking hat. It´s tedious sometimes. And us foot folk don´t get paid for our awesomeness. There has to be a way!

The other day I was making notes in my reading log for my next review when I noticed a little box on the lower left corner. A little feature I have been using all along but never gave much thought about.

smiley

 

A simple rating system. Rate the plot, the characters, and ease of reading. Then to sum everything up you give your overall opinion via smiley.  This doesn´t even take a minute out of our day ( if we allow ourselves to not overthink much and analyze everything ) to do and can also be easily used as book reviews. If you ask me, I think this is brilliant. I´ll tell you why:

  • Some people misunderstand reviews. I know- Unthinkable but true. Some reviews are very wordy and not everyone´s native speaking language is English. I can see why some would have questions.
  • They´re wordless. Sometimes words can hurt. Whether intentionally or unintentionally… there´s bound to be an author hanging on that one word a reviewer used to describe the book/their feelings.
  • Most of the world is familiar with a smiley rating scale– Everyone´s most likely been confronted with a 3 point or 5 point rating scale at a young age so there is a global understanding of what a sad face, a neutral face and a happy face means.
  • They´re quick. Some people take days to write a review. Imagine how much time could be saved by using this system. This would give reviews a whole new meaning and reviewers the chance not to dwell on sentence structure, repetitive words, etc. Plus, using smileys saves time. We live in a fast-moving environment where many of us don´t have enough hours in our day to get things done.
  • They´re spoiler – free. I know many people who don´t read reviews out of fear of bumping into a spoiler. You could avoid any minor or major spoiler by using the smiley rating system.

 

Sounds wonderful, doesn´t it?  For a book blogger, sure. Of course, there´s always a flip side to brilliant things. This system might work wonders but it´s entirely reviewer friendly. We save time. We hardly have work with a review. But what about the consumer? The people who depend or rely on reviews? Future book spoilers aren´t a problem with this system but what about the emotional aspect? That slight push that seals the book purchase deal? Smileys can´t give a reader authenticity. They symbolize emotions. They don´t glow with personality.

So, I guess the idea of using this quick book blogger friendly rating system as reviews is out of the question, huh? Still, wouldn´t it be nice? In an ideal world, we´d be able to use this system AND help the consumer. Sounds so good.

 

Since we don´t live in a perfect world I might as well change the question to:

Is there a more efficient way to write a review that still helps the consumer?

Hmm… Here´s to 10 more years of coming up with an answer!

OR (!!!) I might just test this all out and see how it´s received. Hmm….


 

Let´s chat: What are your thoughts on review size? Which do you prefer to read: long or short reviews? What´s your take on the smileys? I would love to read your thoughts!

 


 

As always, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed.

 

XO´s

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Goodreads-The Bookish Amusement Park

 

`Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Our mission is to help people find and share books they love.`

 

That´s what it says when you check out the About Goodreads page. Not too bad, huh? It sounds really promising if you haven´t spent time there before. Readers get a social cataloging website where they can search for books and reviews for specific books. With over 25 Million registered users it´s T.H.E. P.L.A.C.E to be for book people.

Unfortunately, not everyone likes Goodreads, myself included. Although, that´s not true. I would like Goodreads more if things were different. Possibly a little less aggressive?

 

 

While I do believe Goodreads is a blessing for readers, reviewers, and authors I also believe the website is not worth it anymore. Amusement parks are only amusing until you get tired, right?

 

Since I´m a dedicated member of the romance novel committee ( I just made that up. There´s no such thing as a romance novel committee ) I can only speak for how things are in the Goodreads romance, women´s fiction, contemporary romance, Young Adult, New Adult, and Paranormal romance department. I´m positive every other genre has its issues as well.

 

 

So, why am I not a fan of Goodreads? Have a seat while I unwrap 9 years worth of Goodreads experiences…


 

#1   The Overstuffed Website

 

Goodreads is filled with all kinds of fun things for readers and authors and whoever else wants to visit. Book groups, giveaways, author interviews, book quizzes, etc. The website is designed to make a book – lover´s day, week, month by fulfilling their bookish needs. You don´t need a blog or a FB group. Goodreads will keep you busy for a while should you have time to spare. I like to compare Goodreads with my smartphone. There´s no possible way I´ll ever be able to use every feature available. But hey- at least I have the options, right?

I find cluttered websites non-user friendly.

 

 

#2   5 Star Reviews From The Super Supportive Cheerleaders

 

There are major differences when it comes to reviews. Did you know that? I didn´t when I first started out. Without getting too technical I´m going to narrow the different types of reviews down to two types. There are reviews for:

  • potential readers/people looking for their next reads
  • authors

A review can´t be mistaken for anything other an opinion on a product. Personally, I´d prefer to read a review that´s aimed towards helping people pick their next reads. It´s more consumer friendly.

What I won´t do anymore is read reviews that have been written more for an author than for the reader.

You know, the ones written by super fans who want to please the author by always leaving a shining review. Yeah, those reviews don´t do anything for me aside from driving me up the wall.

How do I know if a reviewer wants to please an author? By reading their reviews. It´s easy to spot the emotionally charged cheerleaders.

Do I trust the opinions from super fans that are also close to authors? Absolutely not. If a new release by a self – published author already has 25 + 5-star reviews on Goodreads ( all neatly published close to one another )  then you can bet your ass I won´t believe whatever praises they have for said book. I´m a burnt child. I learned my lesson.

Nice try, bookish squad.

 

 

 

#3   The Option To Flag

 

In an ideal world, we´d all have civilized exchanges. We´re far from perfection and Goodreads is no exception.

What Goodreads offers is the option to flag a review or a comment.

`If you believe a review contains a spoiler, spam, or other inappropriate content, you can flag it to our attention. Our team carefully reviews flagged items on a case-by-case basis, and we take action only on any items that violate ourReview Guidelines.` Taken from the Goodreads Help page.

 

Weeeeeell, some people take this too seriously. Which can be a good thing. I´m all for flagging the things mentioned above. It´s just that some Goodreads users have quick fingers and short tempers. And Goodreads sometimes acts like a submissive husband wanting to avoid conflict.

Reviews and/or comments sometimes get flagged because of disagreements. Some individuals ( authors, fans, fellow bloggers ) become so emotionally invested that they take great offense in the smallest things and end up clicking the flag button just because they feel attacked.

This is definitely a misuse of the flag button. Of course, there´s no ignoring the reviews that deserve to be flagged but in most cases, it´s not the reviewer who deserves to have their review removed.

I´ve had a few of my reviews taken down by Goodreads. And I wasn´t able to do anything about it, either. Goodreads punished me although I didn´t do anything wrong.

I upload reviews to help indecisive readers. I don´t upload reviews to please the fanatic fan base or authors.  Unless you see a review or comment that condones

 

  • pedophilia
  • animal abuse
  • racism
  • theft
  • any violation against humanity
  • any of the mentioned above

 

then, okay. Flag away. But otherwise, you have no right to flag a Goodreads user. Stop flagging users for stupid reasons. Learn to walk away.

Fun Fact: I was once in a book group where someone got offended by a Goodreads review and actually rallied a few other members to head on over to “bring her down” by viciously flagging `her`.  I left that group and drank a whole bottle of wine that night. To be honest- the supposed evil review was actually a genuine one. Very helpful. * sigh * *mumbling ( vicious cunts ) *

 

 

#4   The Wild Creativity

Seen and be seen.

I know I´ve been preaching about how important it is to be creative in the book universe. The best way to be seen or make an impact is by giving yourself that special something that no other book blogger has. The golden rule is- There are no rules. Just set your creativity free. Watch it grow and represent you in the best way possible.

But there´s a fine line between showcasing creativity and being the Las Vegas Strip after the sun sets.

The romance department on Goodreads is so damn colorful it often hurts to take a peak. You´re bombarded with tagline graphics, picture quotes, book blog banners, graphics for ratings, and gifs. Sometimes you see all this before you´re able to read a review. Sometimes all this is skillfully spread out throughout the review.

I remember wanting to check a book ( incl. reviews ) out and thinking:

“Where the hell is the review?!” 

Again – This is not a bad thing. I´m sure some folks like this form of creativity. Personally, I think it´s overkill and unnecessary. Less is often more.

 

 

 

#5   The Non-Review Review

 

You search for a book on Goodreads and find the book you´ve been looking for has 50 reviews. 15 out of those 50 are just comments ( sometimes with ratings ) that look a lot like this:

“So freakin´awesome the author published another book!”

Or, they´ll post a gif parade, showing how excited they are or how happy they feel for the author. THIS. IS. In. The. Review. Section.

Hey, I fully agree with these people. It IS awesome the author finally published that long-anticipated book. My only question is: What´s to gain from a comment like that in the review section?

These non – informative posts do nothing. Absolutely nada.

I have mixed feelings about these types of posts. Who the hell are they for? Certainly not for the people who´re looking for actual reviews. This is weird on so many levels.

 

 

#6   The One Place To Bash An Author

 

Just when you thought it couldn´t get worse…

This is probably the saddest point from all- When authors and their books get ripped to shreds on Goodreads. It truly breaks my heart to read a review about how an author is incapable of writing and that they should hang their dreams on a hanger.

Listen, I´m a nitpicker. Give me a book from a self-published author and I´ll find you at least 5 things that need improvement. But sometimes you gotta draw a line. I review books. I´ll mention what I liked and what I disliked. And if I come across a book that´s too chaotic for my taste then I´ll contact the author in private ( how this can pan out is a whole other bedtime story ).

Many reviewers shit on giving constructive feedback ( something that could help a writer improve their skills ) because of their anger and head straight for the bashings.

And boy, there are some vicious people out there. As a book blogger, I can understand a reviewer´s frustration. But I can also imagine what these reviews do to writers, especially to the ones who´re just starting out.

The key is to find a middle way to deal with a book you don´t like. Show respect towards the author but still, stay true to yourself and your opinion. It´s not that difficult. Breathe in. Breathe out. Eat chocolate or take a nap before going on Goodreads to ruin an author´s dreams.

For some reason, these reviews don´t get flagged. Either the author doesn´t care or he/she is too busy crying in a dark corner.

This needs to stop.

 


 

The funny part about this post is: I could have just posted this gif and you would have had a good idea of how I see Goodreads.

Goodreads – The Treasure Island of social media.

 

As always I´m not referring to everyone or every genre. Should you feel comfortable on Goodreads then… More power to you. I´m just not that into Goodreads anymore. I´ve seen enough, heard enough, and have been through enough myself.

Now that I´m an in – and – out Goodreads user I can say my life really is much easier. I ignore negative comments for my reviews. I mingle with other Goodreads users as little as possible ( unless I know they´re following my blog or I´m following theirs ).

I would like to point out that everything in this post has come from my personal observations and experiences. What I endured, or have been told about and was able to confirm, doesn´t necessarily mean Goodreads is a hopeless case. It´s not the websites fault. It´s angry, frustrated, bored, and probably unloved individuals who cause these problems. These are the people who make Goodreads look like a virtual war zone.


 

Let´s chat! Do you use Goodreads? What are your thoughts on the website? Let me know in the comments below. 


 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you enjoyed.

Much bookish love,

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I Spied With My Bookish Eye: Catchy Book Covers

`I need to check something out at the book store really quick.`

 

Only someone with immense self-control would ever say that. I don´t have self-control when it comes to book stores. In fact – I wouldn´t be able to keep a straight face while saying that. Twelves words – All a lie.

I´ll have you know, though, that my last book store visit was truly a quick visit. I was on a tight schedule and only had an hour to spare. Better than nothing, right? I agree. * waiting patiently for your approval * Besides- I truly just wanted to check a few books out.

So I rushed through the aisles and let my eyes scan through the rows of books. I figured that there would be a book cover that would catch my attention. There had to be. There were actually two covers!

This is what caught my attention.

 

 

 

`City Of Girls` by Elizabeth Gilbert and `Stay Sexy & Don´t Get Murdered` by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark.

The cover for `City Of Girls` is, for me, more about the colors than anything else. I like the combination of a saturated pink and a cool teal shade. The feathers- Well, I´m not too fazed about them. Many book covers have decorative feathers. Many fantasy novels use feather images for their covers. `City Of Girls is historical fiction, though.  Who would have thought?! See how deceiving book covers can be? This cover could easily pass for a contemporary romance but it´s not. I totally love this.

The reason why I grabbed, `Stay Sexy & Don´t Get Murdered` was because of the stark contrasts. Black is always an eye-catcher. And when the title fills the cover, substituting an image, it´s an even larger eye catcher for me. I like these types of book covers because they´re not too revealing. You are forced to use your imagination. And with a title like that, your mind will most likely run wild. The story possibilities are endless. `Stay Sexy & Don´t Get Murdered ` is a non – fiction/biography I can´t wait to purchase.

Yes, I haven´t bought either of these reads. Not yet. Don´t you remember? I was in a hurry.  Ain´t no one got time to purchase books on a whim and on a tight book budget.

Maybe next month.

Would I buy these books based on the covers? I would.


 

What do you think of these covers? Would these book covers grab your attention? Let´s chat! ❤

 

Sending out much bookish love.

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100 Days Until RARE ´19 London

We´re officially scooting our way towards September, y´all! Only 100 days left until the RARE ´19 London book event!

In celebration for the 100-day mark, Sabrina @Brina and the Books I thought we´d reveal our unicorn authors! Our ultimate favorite writers who´ve put us through impossible emotional rides with their badass stories.

RARE ´19 London has announced 150 + participating authors from all corners of the romance genre. 150+!!

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What an impressive line – up

Personally, I´m not sure if I should weep with joy or feel financially screwed beyond repair. But we´re talking about books. Books I´d like to have.

Actual footage of me at an author´s table

So, who am I looking forward to meeting/see/say hi to?

It´s time to introduce my personal unicorn authors.


lesley

`Carnage` was my first Lesley Jones read and I can´t say I´ve ever read anything like it before. Brutally emotional in a crude and beautiful way. `Carnage` isn´t for the faint of heart, nor are the other books in the series ( check out my review here )

I met the author back in 2017 at the RARE Berlin signing and even got myself a signed copy of Carnage. I´ve put some extra $$ aside in case Lesley Jones is selling other books at the London event.

Monica

Monica and I go WAY back. I can pride myself by saying I was the first who created and hosted a book blog tour for her, back then, first book release `I surrender`. I´ve been a fan of the lovely and charming Australian author for the past 6 or 7 years and continue to be a fan of her incredible romances. She´s THAT good.

Since it´s hard for me to visit any book signings I hardly get to see any authors in person. Well, I made it my mission to meet Monica at the RARE ´17 Berlin signing. It was a mission accomplished. My hopes for the London signing? To finally spend all the cash I saved for the rest of Monica´s paperbacks ( should she bring any with her ).

Jessica

I did an actual happy dance in my living room when I saw Jessica Sorensen’s name on the attendance list. This will be my first time meeting the author. This will also be the first time I won´t need to purchase a book ( s ) at a fav author´s table because… I already have all her books. I might get a picture with the author, though. And maybe I´ll even get a chance to profess my undying love for her books. We´ll see…

Either way, I´m excited and I´ll probably won´t shut up about it anytime soon.


Of course, the list of must – meet authors is a tad longer…


A small list of 8 authors compared to the number of authors attending, I know. But this just means I get a chance to introduce myself to new authors and in return, see all the goodies they have for us desperate book loving romance readers. I seriously can´t wait.


Be sure to head on over Brina and the Books and see who Sabrina´s unicorn authors are for the RARE ´19 London event. Don´t forget to leave my book bestie some book love ( and virtual chocolate ). Drop a comment and leave her a like while you´re at it. ❤


Do you have a unicorn author? Whether he/ she is on this list or not… Share them in the comments down below. Let´s chat about our unicorn fav´s! ❤

I hope you all have a wonderful day. Don´t forget to share the book love.

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