Let´s Talk Trigger Warnings ( An Answer To The Tattooed Book Geek )

A post about a blog post I recently read from the awesome Drew @The Tattooed Book Geek and am too ashamed to leave a lengthy comment ( as I´m positive I´ll either blow up his comment section, his WordPress account or WordPress in general ).

Earlier today I spotted Drew´s post, Let´s Talk Trigger Warnings, published in a Facebook group and just had to drop my drill ( yes, I was drilling… making a greenhouse, y´all ) because I´ve become a new fan of Drew´s and will literally stop whatever I´m doing to read his blog posts.

Whatever you do I would advise you to read Drew´s post ( click here to read ) before continuing with mine as his post is a) much better, b) more diplomatic, and c) worthy enough to shower with chocolates.

While reading his latest update I couldn´t prevent the smile from growing on my face. Trigger warnings for books.

A subject many book lovers LOVE to argue over ( myself included ).

I think it´s hard to write about your opinion on the matter because the risk is just too high. You risk losing followers. You risk your reputation. You even risk friendships. But on the flip side – You might also gain new followers, your reputation might glow and you might make new / more friends if you state your opinion on controversial subjects. Either way- there´s no telling what´ll happen. Guess it´s only fair to try and see where your opinion will take you, right?

Where were we? Aah, yes, Drew´s trigger warning post. Right.

Before I start agreeing or disagreeing with Drew I think it would be wise to know where I stand on the matter.

Trigger warnings / warning labels do nothing for me. I´ll aknowledge them but they don´t sway my interest or reading choices. Trigger warnings of all sorts don´t influence my book purchase what so ever because I don´t care for them. In that fragile moment before buying a book I read the synopsis and already have a rough idea on what the story is about and piece the rest together. I don´t need to know more. Should a subject I don´t necessarily like pop up then that´s just the way it is. I have no one to blame. Not me, not the author, not the publishers or even the book itself.

Now, let´s cover up Drew´s points on trigger warnings.

On a Twitter post of his he asked if people included trigger warnings in their reviews.

I wish I had seen that Twitter post ( I didn´t because I suck at Twitter ) because I would have voted with “No”, I don´t include trigger warnings in my reviews and as Drew, I won´t start including them, either. I will give a vague description on what the book entails in my review ( e.g. It´s a dark romance with steamy scenes ) but I will not go out of my way and include a warning label for my reviews. Pick out what you like out of my review and decide for yourself. While many of the world´s population feels triggered… many also don´t. And everyone has the option to follow or unfollow me, depending on what my content did for the readers.  I won´t waste my time apologizing to sensitive / or triggered people for expressing my thoughts. Call me rude, crude, insensitive, mean… I refuse to walk on egg shells for the sake of likes or out of fear of not wanting to make someone suffer more ( the reason for that is below ).

Here´s the thing- I can´t tell the difference between someone who truly has a mental illness or suffers from PTSD and who just claims to suffer from it because they can´t tell the difference between a a dislike and an illness. I can´t smell through my laptop screen who´s just being sensitive or who´s truly struggling. Not everyone reveals their life story online and I don´t expect them to, either. I have no problem with the trigger topics Drew listed and I run my blog with what feels comfortable for me. I will voice my likes and dislikes ( e.g. I hate when religion is included in romance novels /I love second chance romances ) but I will not shy away from “trigger” topics. This is just me. I can´t speak for others. I think the main problem with this IS because it´s hard to tell the difference between just being sensitive and really suffering. My heart goes out to those who truly suffer but I have no sympathy for overly sensitive people who just don´t like a topic.

Authors these days include trigger warnings for a few reasons:

  • They want to prevent angry and potentially harmful reviews for their books. This can damage sales as many “civilians” ( non book bloggers ) just look at the star ratings and hardly ever read the review behind the rating
  • Because they can´t know who´ll be triggered by what and to what level they´ll be triggered. This is something authors need to realize that they can never win at. Whatever they include there will always be the 1 asshole demanding a refund or bashing a book for the tiniest issue THEY had.

 

And there are authors nowadays who include so many trigger warnings that it can almost be seen as a major spoiler.

“This book contains age gaps, adultery, alcoholism, sexual assault. Extreme graphic scenes.”

A field trip for me, as I´m a reader who actually wants these topics to be woven in to a story. Imagine my disappointment when I read about the age gap of 10 years ( 26 and 36 is not the end of my world ), the adultery turned out to be a simple peck on the cheek ( again, not cheating for me ), the alcoholism was a case of the Hero having a weekend drinking spree ( you are not immediately an alcoholic if you drink alcohol over the weekend ) and the sexual assault was the Hero farting the wrong way ( in my opinion ). And what about the extreme graphic scenes? Well, folding laundry can be graphic, too.

In short: The book was about a couple who lived and loved until he cheated, then he partied, tried to get back with the Heroine, was successful and they had steamy sex and remarried. The nutshell synopsis / trigger warning.

My point is- authors are often too careful for no greater reason. They want to play it safe because they don´t know who will be triggered when and for what reason. This is not the author´s fault. The problem is with the readers. Authors know this. Readers don´t. They refuse to see the difference between what Drew mentioned as Reality vs. Fiction.

To Drew´s question:

Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, all ages too and I’ll ask, do you think that age has any influence on the attitude towards trigger warnings? Do you think that older bloggers are less inclined to include trigger warnings in their reviews and have a different attitude towards them than, say, younger bloggers? Or, is the age of the blogger irrelevant?

Yes and no. I think it has a lot to do with age and generation and also a lot to do with one´s personal mindset. I´m an 80´s kid born into the military life. Without wanting to bore you- The first half of my life was anything but easy. Now, I´m 36 and can say that I don´t have the energy to deal with most of the shit younger bloggers deal with- ergo: the reason why I can´t relate to most younger book bloggers. Sometimes I sit here and read reviews and think “Please, find Jesus.” just because I can´t understand WHY certain topics ( usually the topics I consider to be peanuts ) bother them so much. But then on the other hand, I´ve met young book bloggers who are genuinely level headed, who publish really great reviews and give excellent explanations on their feelings and thoughts in a mature way. So, I definitely have a more of a “kiss my ass” attitude and that, in my opinion, has to do with a combination of the above. Lol

Trigger warnings genre specified? Pfft. Part of me wants to yell “YUPP! OVER HERE IN THE ROMANCE DEPARTMENT BIG TIME TRIGGER SALE. GET ALL FOR THE PRICE OF 1!”

Does anyone remember the case back in 1992 ( if you don´t remember then keep reading. I was 10 back then and still remember it as if it happened yesterday. My dad bitched so much about this )?

An older lady sued McDonalds because she spilled hot coffee on her lap. For me, that was an epic moment because even then I asked myself if the lady was unaware of the fact that coffee is hot. Coffee = Hot. Even older people know this. Which brings me to my point:

Readers of certain genres KNOW what type of book they´re getting themselves in to. They should NOT act surprised when something genre related pops up in the story.

YA – You´ll more or less be confronted with young adult problems. Stuff you wished you could still consider as a problem. Angst, love, drama…

Erotica – I really hate to break this to y´all… but there´s a 100% chance of sex being included in erotica novels. Lots of it. 3 scenes per chapter if you´re lucky. Don´t expect to find a greater purpose in eroticas. Very few have sex AND an actual story.

Romance – This is where all the fun can take place. Be prepared- you might be confronted with at least 2 trigger topics you react to.

Fantasy – This is where the gate is kept wide open because anything is possible for fantasy novels.

Horror – Boo!

Thrillers – Well, let´s see…. blood, death, suspense,…

A reader has a rough idea what they´re getting in to when picking a genre. Should a reader need more details then a visit to Goodreads has been claimed to be helpful.

I don´t think there are more trigger warnings for certain or specific genres. My wild guess is that all suffer from the same issue.

Now, to answer Drew´s final questions:

My thoughts on trigger warnings are: If you feel you need to include them then go ahead. Just ask yourself WHY and for WHO you are including the warnings. If you don´t feel the need to include them- even better. Do I think reviews need trigger warnings? Absolutely not. Entertainment needs no warning. Are trigger warnings important? HA! In some cases, yes. Other cases, no.

Here´s a small ( and sadly true ) example of  books that have a certain trigger warning but don´t need them.

LGBT, LGBT+…

I once had a heated discussion with a book blogger on her distaste for gays in romance novels. Look, this is not an issue of liking a topic or not. This is a matter of humanity. She wanted a warning beforehand to not be confronted with what she believed is a mentally unstable person.

Although we live in 2019 there are still youngsters who believe the LGBT community should be locked up and treated…. preferably with a cross and a priest. To demand a warning label for a book that has a sub character who´s gay just shows what type of person you are. You don´t have to like LGBT romance novels but you don´t have to voice your small minded and hateful opinion in your review and demand a trigger warning.

I would rather not read romance novels that have children included. And now that we know this, what are we going to do about it? What can I or you buy with this information? Nothing. The reason for my dislike is simple: I have kids. When I read I want to mentally escape motherhood for a few hours. This does not mean I´m triggered. It also doesn´t mean I´m giving a book with kids a lesser rating. And PLEASE- Do not think I don´t love my kids because of this. I´d just prefer to read a romance novel without kids involved. Nothing more. Nothing less.

 

Dear Drew,

I thank you loads for the awesome blog post you´ve written. I applaud you for being diplomatic in every way possible and for pointing out what the true issues are.

I agree with 95% of your post and am looking forward to read more!

PS: See why I couldn´t comment on your blog post? Lol

Keep it up.

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Bookmas Blogger Spotlight

Oh come, all ye faithful…

Join us in another Bookmas Meet The Book Blogger special!

I´m honored beyond words to be able to introduce you to another fantastic book blog. 

Let´s give a round of applause for  Book Twins Reviews!

 

 

I´ve had the privilege to interview Corina and Tijuana, the beautiful minds who run BTR and I have to say – I have a new appreciation for these book addicts. Corina and Tijuana don´t simply blog about books… They invest so much love in their craft. So much so that it puts me and others to shame * elegantly hiding face *

They´re quick. They´re on point.

They have style ( those Insta pics…. * fan girl moment * )

They´re just awesome.

And here´s the special moment I was granted with the awesomeness that runs the Book Twins Reviews blog.

I hope you enjoy.


 

interview


 

 

Morgana:    Ladies, I want to thank you so much for agreeing to undertake this interview. I know how stuffed your schedules must be with the holidays so close. And with all the December releases… Sheesh. I appreciate you taking the time for this. You´re awesome. Speaking of… How about we find a seat somewhere near a fireplace and make ourselves comfortable?

Corina:    What are we having to drink? Coffee, hot cocoa, tea, wine, shots or maybe cocktails? Whatever it is- I think I have enough in stock to last us a while. What about food? What should our go-to cuisine be for the evening?

Tijuana:    I’ll take a hot chocolate with lots of whip cream anytime, please!!! Especially if we are sitting next to a fireplace. And I’m a huge fan of Smörgåsbords and cheese and fruit platters.

I’m a coffee girl through and through. My favorite is cafe mocha with whipped cream. Yum! Like Corina, I’m a fan of finger foods as well.

 

Morgana:    Then why don´t we just squat down and feast on a Smörgåsborg and drink whatever Corina has in stock? As long as none of us has to move away from the fireplace.

 

flake

 

Morgana:    I´ve been following your blog for some time now ( especially your Instagram ) because of two reasons: 1 – I love most of the books you read / review.

2 – I love your blog concept. You send out positive vibes no matter what you feature. Which brings me to my question: Do you review and feature every book you read? Or do you skip a book ( for whatever reason ) and move on to the next?

 

Corina:    Thank you so much!!!

TJ and I talked about what kind of ratings we wanted to feature on our blog. And we came to the conclusion that we wanted to feature the books that we would want other people to read.

Rarely, it happens that a book annoys me so much that I end up reviewing it. At this point I really need to be careful about when I write my review. I made the mistake once and wrote the review right after I finished the book, and wowzer  – that one ended up being more like a rant than a constructive review…

But to answer your question, because I DNF so many books, I stopped reviewing those. There are two reasons why. When I DNF a book I don’t feel like only because I had a bad day or are fighting my way out of a book slump that the book wouldn’t have been loved by others. It shouldn’t suffer only because of my I-had-a-bad-day review. And there are definitely a couple of books in addition to my DNFs that I don’t review. Those are usually the just ok books. Not memorable enough, and I have just nothing to say about them.

Tijuana:    Corina’s answer is spot on! We have frequent discussions about ratings and what to feature on the blog. My belief is that only our favorites should be featured. While I don’t DNF books as frequently as my bestie, I wouldn’t feel comfortable featuring them on the blog. When I started blogging a few years ago, my intentions were to shout about books that I love, not  rant about those I don’t. That’s still, sort of, our motto.

 

Morgana:    Makes total sense. Sadly, I don´t go that route but I do admire you two for not reviewing your DNFs or the books you felt were just “okay” and for only featuring your favorites. I wish I had it in me to move on like that. ❤ 

 

flake

 

Morgana:    I think it´s great you review a variety of genres. I found that being a fan of YA, Contemp. Rom.  and Paranormal myself has helped me a great deal with reading slumps. Yupp. I´m a mood reader. Do you pick your next reads as they´re released ( or when you spot them ) or are you a mood reader, as well?

 

Corina:    Oh, I’m totally a mood reader!! But I’m also ruled by new releases. My favorite thing to do is checking the New Release tap on Goodreads. I’m getting really excited when I see what’s coming out next, and for many of those new releases I will drop everything and anything I’m currently reading. But I also agree with you, reading a variety of genres and in my case listening to audiobooks, has kept my slumps in check this year. None of my book funks lasted longer than a week. And I believe that’s mostly because I switch genres, listen to audiobooks in between and reread favorite books if nothing else entices me.

Tijuana:    I’m a hybrid in this scenario. I can definitely be a moody reader, but a lot of my reads are also determined by release scheduling, since the bulk of them are beta reads. Because of that, I like to schedule breaks in my schedule to read only what suits my fancy at the moment. Switching genres or from kindle to audiobooks is also something I love to do.

Morgana:    Would either of you be interested in marrying me? Lol. I´m dead serious. No long lasting reading slumps, scheduled breaks… It feels like we were made for each other! Although, I can´t do audiobooks. They drive me nuts. 

 

REFILLS!

 

Corina:    I’m all for refills. 😀

Tijuana:    I’ll have another☺️

Morgana:    Me too. And it looks like we´re going to have to draw straws or play rock – paper – scissors. I don´t see any of us willing to move to get refills.

 

flake

 

Morgana:   Now let´s get down to the nitty gritty: You´ve mentioned in your About Me that you squeeze out as much time as possible to read / always with your nose stuck in a book. I´m imagining you doing all kinds of things just to be able to continue a story you can´t put down. How far would you go to finish an awesome read? Would you hide? Read while cooking / cleaning / being stuck in traffic? Feel no shame, ladies, because I´m constantly hiding from the people who curse themselves my loving family.

 

Corina:     I’ve actually turned into a kind of hermit the last couple years – lol. I often rather stay home than socialize, because of that my weekends are mostly dedicated to reading, bookish browsing and photography. I’ve been known to read in the bathroom. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, trying to hide from my mother who wanted me to do homework. Nowadays it’s just a habit. But I definitely read at work, during lunch break, in the car, in a line at a store, post office, airport – actually anywhere and everywhere. Having a kindle has changed my life.

 

Tijuana:    I have absolutely no shame! Yes! I will hide from my husband and kids. That late meeting at the office, could very well be the last couple chapters of a book I can’t put down. I’m also a huge audiobook fan. I listen to books constantly! While I’m driving, cooking, cleaning, having a bath! You name it and I’ve probably tried to do it with earbuds while listening to a favorite book!

I’ve tried Corina’s tactic of hiding in the bathroom, but kids have no boundaries.

 

Corina:    OMG I totally forgot about audiobooks – lol!!! Doing chores, especially laundry and listening to books is the BEST thing EVER!!!

 

Morgana:     Tijuana- I agree. Kids have no boundaries. Mine are old enough to know better and STILL think the bathroom is the livingroom instead of Mommy´s only room she can lock herself in. LOL. Corina-  YES! Bathroom reading was a necessity that´s become a habit ( and sort of still a necessity. It´s not mom anymore who´s bugging. It´s the people who ask a million questions through a keyhole now ). I feel you ladies. Love your answers. I still can´t understand the audiobook love, though. You´ll have to sell that one to me another time. 

 

flake

 

Morgana:    You´re really active on social media. You have your blog, a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram…. Where do you enjoy hanging out the most when you´re book blogging?

 

Corina:    At the moment Instagram is my medium. I love the combination of photography and books. Both of those – photography and reading – have been my most passionate hobbies for years now. Being able to combine them has been a real joy so far. And the bookstagram community has been just amazing.

Tijuana:    Having a partner is key for us. While Cor is primarily on IG, I manage our Facebook presence. That’s really helped us choose a focus we’re most comfortable with. It also allows us to have fun IRL!

Corina:    I agree with TJ. Having a presence on all these social media platforms stretched us too thin, so we chose the platform we love most and share the rest. It really works for us.

 

Morgana:     There´s so much truth about being stretched too thin when it comes to working all social media platforms. It amazes me when I see other bloggers work everything around the clock. I always wondered how they do it but am glad to know there are book bloggers out there who only concentrate on what works best for them. Good job, ladies! ❤ And yes, having a partner is KEY, otherwise you´d over work yourself. 

 

flake

 

Morgana:    From one book blogger to another: Can you tell me what turns you on and what turns you off while reading? Is there a particular trope that annoys you / one that you love?

 

Corina:   Lol – I HATE drama!! That’s why I have such a hard time with YA novels. And there is a certain writing that doesn’t work for me. I think TJ calls it flowery, overly descriptive. I’ve also noticed that I don’t care what trope it is as long as the writing is witty, smart and engaging. It’s really all about the writing at this point. But, just to put it out there, I LOVE office and sports romances. Forbidden and jerks do it for me too – lol. Same as enemies to lovers – I love the tension in the air when enemies turn into lovers.

 

Tijuana:    I’m not picky at all! I like so many different genres and tropes. As long as the writing is good and the book was edited well, I’ll read it. Being an English Major, nothing turns me off more than poor editing and grammatical errors.

 

Morgana:    YES! The writing is mandatory. If a book is poorly written / has too many errors then there´s really no use in continuing. A shame, really. Flowery, overly descriptive? Never heard that one before but I do like it  * wink *. BTW- High five on the enemies to lovers trope! So with you on the tension bit. Forbidden is a close runner up! Love those, as well. 

 

flake

 

Morgana:    We know you love to book blog. Anyone who spends time on your blog can feel your devotion. But tell me: What is it exactly you love about book blogging?

 

Corina:    Hmm…. I think the idea of being able to talk about books is what makes this entire endeavor of being a book blogger so great. I would be a professional book reader/blogger if possible – lol.

Tijuana:    Reading has always been my passion! But blogging for me is more about the relationships I’ve been privileged enough to nurture. I’ve met so many amazing people over the years. Some of them are now my closest friends. That’s what I love most about this journey.

Corina:    This is so true…. We wouldn’t have found each other, or having this amazing friendship without starting our own blogs and deciding to merge. I’ll be always grateful for having TJ as my partner. Our up to 7 hour long phone calls are proof enough – lol.

Morgana:    7 hour phone calls? * falls off chair * WOW! * composing myself again * You´re absolutely right about the bonding, Tijuana. And I can totally see you both going all professional in this blog business. You´re already professional with blogging on the side. ❤

 

flake

 

Morgana:    If I could grant you 3 wishes (book related or not )… What would you wish for and why?

 

Corina:    Having my own library is on the very top of that wishlist. Who doesn’t want a cozy room, filled with books, a fireplace, a big cozy chair and all the time in the world to read? That get’s me right to the next wish – being able to read for a living. Hellooooooo!!! That would be a dream come true for me!!

And of course, all my friends being bookworms would be the icing on the top. But being on bookstagram, having TJ as a blog partner and being part of this amazing book community, having the chance to meet YOU and chat books,  takes care of that.

 

Tijuana:    I’m leery of wishes. Weird I know 😂😂

 

Morgana:    Naaaw ❤ I agree, Corina. And thank you. I´m glad I met you as well 🙂 Tijuana- Then I will gift you a life long vacay on Bora Bora with a hut just for books. 🙂

flake

 

Morgana:    Is there something you´d like to see more of in the book blogging community?  Are there things that annoys you about the book blog world?

 

Corina:    I would love to have more bookish meetups. Local or international, anything really. It’s a great feeling to be around bookworms. There is some drama I could do without, but we are all just human, authors and readers included.

Tijuana:    Honestly, no.  I love my circle of blogger friends. They’re like an extension of my family and I enjoy interacting with them daily.

 

Morgana:    Wouldn´t that be great to have more bookish meetups? I´d love for that to happen more often. Drama – Meeh. It´s there. Can´t seem to function with or without it. Lol. Tijuana- I love how you see your blogger friends as extended family.

 

flake

 Morgana:    As a book blogger, our main purpose is to recommend books ( or not recommend them, depending on the book, or course ). And with all the classics still making their rounds… Do you see some of the modern day books we read and review becoming timeless classics one day? If so, which books do you think will still be around in 100 years from now?

 

Corina:    That’s a good question, and not an easy one to answer. Of course the first book/series that pops into my mind is Harry Potter, I remember reading it 18 years ago, and teenagers 20 years later just start picking it up. I’m actually rereading it the first time since publication. I also hope that books like Wonder by R.J. Palacio and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas will be read and talked about in 50 or 100 years. I’m pretty sure fantasy books like the kind from Brandon Sanderson (Stromlight Archive) will endure the times. I’m not sure about romance.

Tijuana:    I’m extremely impressed by Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Garth Nix’s Abhorsen Series.

Morgana:    I think both of you could be right. I have a gut feeling Wonder and the Lunar Chronicles will still be around in the future ( Although I haven´t read the Lunar Chronicles. I´m just speculating) And Harry P. will, without a doubt, still be around. 

flake

 

Morgana:    I´m not going to be THAT cruel person and ask what your favorite book is. So, I´m going to be sneaky and flip the question around so that it doesn´t sound so painful. Lol. Is there a book (s) you can´t imagine not having? Let the name sharing parade begin!

 

Corina:    Lol – well done!!!!

Kate Daniels (by Ilona Andrews) will always be books I can’t live without.

Wait for It and Winnipeg by Mariana Zapata

Scoring Wilder by RS Grey

Fatal series by Marie Force

The Search by Nora Roberts

Like Us series by KB Ritchie

Look the Part by Jewel E Ann

Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O’Connell

Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat

 

Tijuana:    The Abhorsen Trilogy is usually my standard answer. Also, A Separate Peace. My favorite contemporary romance hasn’t released yet, but you’ll HAVE to read it when it does — The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

 

Morgana:    OMG! I have my eyes set on The Kiss Thief! I´m just burning to get my hands on that one. January can´t roll on fast enough. I´m writing the rest down. All these titles are gonna make me a poor church mouse * holding back my sob *

 

flake

 

Morgana:    What are you reading now and is the book something you can recommend right away?

 

Corina:    Let’s say the last book I read that I would highly recommend is Fatal Invasion (book #13) by Marie Force – I would recommend starting at book ONE. This series reliably gives me 5 star reads every single time.

I also finished Jock Rule by Sara Ney and The Ex Effect by Karla Sorensen – both were very enjoyable and I would recommend them both to anyone that loves sports romances.

Tijuana:    Corina will wring my neck for this, but I’m in the middle of a Kristen Ashley reread.🙈 Rock Chick Redemption! And yes, I highly recommend it. This series is one of my most read and all time favorites!

Corina:    LALA – I’m not hearing this!!!!!!

Morgana:    BUT I NEED TO HEAR WHAT TIJUANA HAS TO RECOMMEND!!!! Continue, dear. I´m all eyes and ears. * writing all titles down* I love Kristen Ashleys books. The rest I´ll have to check out. 

 

flake

 

Ladies, our time has come to an end ( Making a pouty face because, we need a little drama for the sake of… drama ). Thank you loads for taking your time to share your thoughts with me / us. It´s been great chatting with you. We definitely need to do this more often.

 

Corina:    Thank you so much for having us!! It was an honor and pleasure to chat with you. And as you now know, I could chat books all day long!!!

 

Morgana: ❤ The pleasure was all mine! We should do this again some time. 🙂 ❤

 

Morgana:    Okay. Who´s gonna put the fire out? Or should we continue behind the scenes and invite some book boyfriends over?  Do we need more drinks? Is this a sleepover? You know what? We have this amazing fireplace and no butler. This sucks.

 

Corina:    Definitely inviting book boyfriends over. Just wish I had a couple on speed dial…… need to get a couple numbers for next time.

Morgana:    Make it happen, chica! I´ll be waiting. * wink *


 

Thank you so much for taking your time to get to know Corina and Tijuana from Book Twins Reviews! Please make sure to show these hard working ladies some book love by stalking them on their social media! Leave them a comment, a like and be sure to follow!

 

Blog ♦ Twitter ♦ Facebook ♦ Instagram ♦ Pinterest 

Goodreads (Corina) ♦ Goodreads (Tijuana)

 

 

 

Don´t forget to leave a comment and hit that star button if you liked this post! 

Have a wonderful day filled with books and… books. 

Yours truly,

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Blogging Life: 5 Things I´ve Learned Since I Started Blogging

A huge THANK YOU to Danielle @ Books, Vertigo & Tea for not only revealing her own personal blogging experiences but also for inviting others to share their experiences as well. ❤

With her kind invitation to post on social media and tag her, I thought it would be a much wiser idea to use the space here instead of ending up in social media jail… again ( because I´ve seen the walls in social media jail once too often. It isn´t pretty. Not going back. )

 

I advise you all to hop on her to her blog and shower that woman with virtual flowers and love for her commitment and contribution to the book blogging community. She´s a gem. ❤

For months now I´ve tried to think of clever ways to create a post where I can reveal all my deepest thoughts and experiences I´ve had ( or still have ) in my 8 year blogging career…. I haven´t come up with a clever idea yet. I can´t come up with anything because most of my experiences weren´t positive ( yes, I´ve often fallen flat on my face in the blog learning process ). Mistakes have been made. Thankfully, I´m older but none the wiser but I have learned that….

 

  1. Dealing with people never was, is, and never will be…  always easy.

In the 8 years I´ve been book blogging ( minus the 1 year creative break ) I´ve had lots of interactions with authors, fellow book bloggers, followers and readers. Sounds overwhelming, right? It used to be. There was a time when I let many people run over me / my blog for the sake of the blog´s reputation. I used to blog professionally. And with that came hours of hard work and interaction. And because my blog was on a well successful professional path I let authors, fellow bloggers and readers do as they pleased. I became a people pleaser when in reality- I´m nothing close to being a people pleaser. Unthinkable now. It took me 5 years and a 1 year break to understand that I am my blog. No one else. While I have had the pleasure of interacting with beautiful people during by blogging years, there were many rotten eggs in my interaction repertoire. To this day I cross paths with rotten authors but I deal with them in the real, non pleasing fashion. Makes life so much easier for me.

Here´s a real Before & After scenario.

Before: 

“I didn´t like your review. Can you change it?” 

“What exactly needs changing? Maybe I can reword the review.”

After:

“I didn´t like your review. Can you change it?”

“Well, I didn´t like your book. Will you change it?” 

 

What I learned: You don´t have to bend over backwards to run a blog. Just take it all a day at a time. Deal with it or not. It´s up to you and no one else. Just enjoy what you do.

 

2. Reading Should Be Fun. Not A Chore.

This is probably one of the biggest mistakes I´m happy I´ve learned from.

Being a professional book blogger ( or a non professional one ) you have to read because reading is part of the book blogging deal, right? And with a blog consisting of 3 adult women, we were able to read & review at a quick pace. It sounds like a perfect plan but in reality it´s a mess. I´m a very organized person who goes by the clock. I always knew what I was capable of doing so reading 3 books a week and pushing reviews out was the least of my problems. My biggest problem was with the co-bloggers accepting arcs and not being able to keep their schedule due to life ( not life issues. Just life.) and I was there to pick up the pieces. Without fully comprehending the situation I was suddenly buried under a large pile of unread arcs and my own personal reads. This lasted over 2-3 years and during that time I had lost my love for reading.

“No, honey. I can´t go to the movies / have friends over for dinner. I have 2 arcs that need to be read & reviewed by Tuesday.”

That put a damper on my social life quicker than I thought it would. Reading was a passion turned into a chore. I let it happen. For the sake of the blog and it´s reputation ( which was at that point extraordinary )

Now, I read what I want, when I want, how I want. I hardly ever accept arcs now and always ditch the blog for a chance to have a date night with the husbutt. Because I want to keep my passion. I want to be able to get excited before opening a new book or anticipate the next chapter of my current read. Not dread it.

What I learned: Life is too short to fuss over the ( dare I say ) unimportant stuff,… like shoving arcs in an already stuffed schedule. Keep the passion going. Don´t kill it.

 

3. Reviews Are Opinions. Not An Academic Paper.

I have to laugh at this one because this was a short-lived struggle from my side. When we started our blog back in…. 2010…. we had no clue what we wanted to do or what direction we wanted to take. Should we keep it girly? Informative? How about the layout? Should we do simple or go all bling bling? Well, we winged it for a year then we decided to go pro. With that decision our reviews also changed. All of the sudden, my usually super laid back and loud mouthed friends were throwing huge words in their reviews. Sentences were crazy perfectly constructed. Guess what we all ended up doing? Super clean, polished reviews every author loved. Even I, the one who normally struggles the most with words, found it in me to publish a shining review.

Not even my own academic paper was as well written as my reviews were ( and that´s a tad worrying ). It took me all but 3 review rereads to realize that I was full of shit.

My friends were full of shit, too. I have a bachelor degree in chemistry. Not literature. What the hell was I doing with my reviews? Things needed to change. I went back to my usual review format. A full-blown emotional rant without big words.

I mean, sure. Authors loved our reviews. But what good is a review when it´s too professional? Shouldn´t a review just help an indecisive reader instead of confusing him / her?

What I learned: Reviews are only personal opinions that should state what or what not was liked about X book.

 

4. Stay Away From The Reading Mob

Bah. A point I easily slip back in to because the temptation is far too great- Interacting with the book mob. ( NOTE: there is no such thing as an actual group of readers who refer to themselves as the book mob. I lovingly nicknamed passionate nutcases that because calling certain readers nutcases isn´t nice )

When you´re a reader and you release your opinion to the public there´s always (!!!) someone who feels offended and immediately drums up more people who could also be offended and then you have a mob wanting to jump your throat. Wonderful.

 

 

As I´ve said- I´m not a people pleaser. I can take whatever people dish at me because I´m also one of those people who don´t give a shit ( tough cookie here. ) But back in the day when my blog was 1-3 years old I did care, for the sake of the blog. And it pained me not to defend myself OR my blog. Because people talk. Word spreads fast, especially anything negative. I didn´t want any negative light shining on what I´ve worked hard for.

I can´t recall the exact moment when the switch in my head flipped but I do remember thinking: Whatever I do won´t make a difference. If I say nothing then the mob will still attack me for my 4 star review ( Yes. Because the book they loved deserved nothing but 5 stars ). And if I do say something then they´ll still try to have a go at me. My final thought on the matter: Screw it.

So I attacked back. I had nothing to lose anyways. The real me came out and it felt glorious not to hold back and attack the book mob.

“You are entitled to have your own opinion on my review. Right now, I´m in no position to respond to your comment because I do feel that my time is wasted replying to people who can´t see the difference between their, they´re and there. I will gladly discuss my review with you once your issue has been worked on.”

I provoke, yes. But only when someone says crap like ” You´re a disgrace to mankind.” Who knew a 4 star review could evoke such strong feelings from a reader?! So, I have my fun. I know I shouldn´t, though. It´s never clever to stoop to their level. I, now, sometimes ignore death threats or hurtful comments. They´re not always worth responding to.
What I´ve learned: Despite the fun one can have with the book mob, it´s more wise to just ignore negative remarks and continue doing whatever you´ve been doing. They´re not worth it.

 

5. Finding Your Voice

Danielle has mentioned this point in her own post and I thought it was a very good point to address.

To find one´s voice isn´t easy. No, wait. It is easy but hard to hold on to. As my fellow blogger has mentioned: You read other blogs and get inspired. And… these blogs also influence you in a way and then POOF… you´ve lost track of your own mark. The slip is easy and before you know it you adapt a strange mixture of style that´s not entirely yours or anyone´s. And then you sit there, thinking about what horrible post you´ve written because it doesn´t match with the stuff you´ve already posted. The stuff that HAS your voice.

What I´ve learned: It´s okay to stray a little. It´s okay to try out new styles and add new features to your posts. If you read a rant-ish post on selfish authors and you can connect with that post then you´re bound to transport that same subtle emotional aggression to your own post. The only difference is- your words aren´t and never will be the same as the words from the person who inspired you ( unless you do a 1:1 copy. Then I can´t help you with that one. Lol )

This is a problem I had when co – blogging. I didn´t have a voice. It wasn´t possible. 3 ladies running 1 blog. That´s 3 individual voices running a brand. So, the brand had a voice. We didn´t. It wasn´t until I left my baby when I discovered how loud my own voice actually was. Whatever I posted wasn´t just the Divas Book Blog ( The old blog ) saying it- It was ME with my new blog.

What I learned: It´s okay. Whatever you do is, and always will be, okay. Unless someone points out to you that you´ve changed for the worse. Then it´s not okay anymore. Lol.

 

The Point Of All This

It´s okay to make mistakes. In fact- It´s mandatory to fall once in a while. What good could ever come out of being perfect and doing everything right from the get – go?

And although I´m older and have been blogging for what feels like 100 years  I´m still in the process of learning new things. I still make mistakes.

The only positive aspect of having so many book blogging years under my belt is- I can now truly pinpoint what it is I want to do with my blog.

In the 8 years I´ve organized and ran virtual book blog tours, I´ve visited many book signing events, acted as a PA for authors, ran social media fan groups / street teams, dabbled into editing, reviewed books for an online magazine, designed book covers, won awards,… I´ve done review videos and even took part in a book review podcast. I´ve been sued and blackmailed once.

And in the process I´ve met and befriended many wonderful people and made lots of emenies.

 

 

Trust me when I say: Been there. Done that. Bought the shirt. I´m done with being professional. I´m tired. lol.

I´m at a point in my life where I just don´t care about many things in the book blog universe anymore. I can easily say that I´m good with being a small blog that offers reviews and a little bit of random stuff on the side. I more than happy to maintain friendships with fellow bloggers rather than just adding them. Because THAT is what I care about. It´s what I actually love to do. I love to have a hobby that brings me ( and hopefully others) joy.

 

Phew! What a night. I´m totally exhausted from my little walk down memory lane. How about you? I can´t imagine you´ve been wide awake while reading through my major book blogging mistakes and what I´ve learned from them.

 

I will now leave you all with once nice piece of advice ( because I really can´t give you anything else. Books are making me poor, folks ). Don´t ever take any advice from me. 🙂 And, by God, do NOT think that my mistakes will be yours, too. I guarantee you that you will have your own battles to fight and you will find your own ways to success ( should that be what you´re looking for ).

Should you still have questions or would like to add your 2 cents to my 5 Things I´ve Learned Since I Started Blogging then feel free to comment below! Feel free to share your own experiences ( even if you´ve been blogging for only 6 months! ). I´m happy to share struggles or just chat! ❤

With that being said- I bid you all a wonderful day.

Share the book love, people!

Many hugs,

Morgana ❤

 

Mug Monday & Book Recommendation Talk

Hi and welcome to Mug Monday! The place where I love to feature my Mug of the Day and current read.

My current read is `The Birthday List` by Devney Perry. A book recommendation from a fellow book blogger.

mug monday & book recommendation

Book recommendations come in many MANY forms these days. I´m a fan of the classic face to face book talk but will definitely settle for the good old review reading. Instagram book recommendations are my least favorite because I often have to hunt a book description down after seeing a cover to my liking.

 

Now, I´ve slightly given up on book recommendations from friends and blog buddies. Not because the recommendations are crappy. Not at all.

The whole problem is, book recommendations and I have a love hate relationship.

Because let´s face it – When someone recommends a book they loved then there´s a 50 % chance of actually hating that very same book. Some recommendations are pushy. They´re the in – your – face – type. You let someone talk you into reading a book because THEY loved it so much. Then you read. Then you finish the book and wonder why you´re even friends with that person.

And then things become awkward.

You have to give your thoughts on the book to the same person who recommended the book in the first place.

If you´re like me ( which I truly hope you´re not because I´m extraordinarily weird ) then you won´t have any problems voicing your real thoughts to the people you love ( and to those you don´t love )

“I love you, Marlene. But promise me you´ll never recommend a book to me again.”

And my friend always replies with a..

“Pfft. You have no idea what a good book is.”

Touché.

It´s because books are a matter of taste. My friend´s taste differs from mine by a long shot. Always does.

On the other hand, though, I LOVE when someone recommends a book. I love it when the recommendation is made in a not so obvious way. Kind of like an unspoken “You have to read this.”  I love to listen to the passion and see the excitement in someone´s face when they talk about a book.

“The characters! You´ve never met such intense figures… And what they go through! Girl, you´re in for a ride with those.” 

It´s a one-sided conversation I fully enjoy. I just sit and listen like some kid hearing about Santa for the first time.

 

That´s exactly what happened with `The Birthday List` recommendation. I had time to appreciate the thoughts that were given regarding the book. I had time to see the appeal. I was allowed to become curious.

That where I think the main problem lies with book recommendations ( for me ).

It´s not just a matter of taste when it comes to book recommendations. It´s a matter of how the recommendation is delivered.

A pushy book recommendation doesn´t really give you time. It´s a “READ THIS NOW!” situation. Words like LOVE, AWESOME, FANTASTIC, BRILLIANT, LIFE CHANGING are thrown into a convo and you hardly have time to process everything because the only things that stuck were the words “READ” and “NOW”. You READ IMMEDIATELY and realize in the end that the book was okay but not as LIFE CHANGING as it was set out to be by your friend.

When the recommendation is subtle but at the same time passionate then you have air to breathe and time to appreciate the love coming from the other person.

Does this make any sense? * scratching head *

So, now you know about my book recommendation love / hate relationship.

What did we learn today? That my friends don´t have taste and neither do I.

Thank you for joining in on Mug Monday & Book Recommendation Talk.

I hope you enjoyed this post.

Much love,

Morgana xoxo