Friday Feature: We Need to Talk About…

…reviewing books in a series.

What happened to #1???
What happened to #1???

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. In a similar way to how I find reviewing 5-star (or in my case 5-Unicorn) books difficult, I find reviewing individual books from a series just as difficult.

I’m wondering this as I try to write a coherent review of Monsters of Men, the final book in Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking Trilogy. But I’m not even talking about trilogies here. They are hard enough, but what about say a book #6 or #10 in a series? How do you, as reviewers, tackle those? I tend to get vaguer with every sequel I talk about!

Here are the obstacles as I see them:

1. Spoilers: It’s pretty much impossible to review one of the books with enough depth without giving away any spoilers from any of the previous books. Depending on the complexity of the series of course, but it can be impossible to mention anything plot-wise that will not give away something that you wouldn’t want to know if you hadn’t read the previous books.

2. Content: And then there’s the actual content of the review. Do you give an overview of the story so far each time, or do you just concentrate on that one book? If you don’t give any background, will what you say even make any sense?

3. Audience: Which brings me to wonder if only people who have read, or at least started the series, will want to read the review? I must admit – I do it. If bloggers put one of those handy ‘about’ bits at the start of their review and it says ‘Series so and so’ #4′ I probably wouldn’t bother reading the review. I might see if it gives the name of the first book to check out, but 9 times out of 10 I wouldn’t read the main body of the post. Don’t get me wrong, blog stats are not the be all and end all for me at all. But what’s the point of spending time writing something and posting it on a public outlet for no one to read it. That’s why we blog right? Especially if you do that for 8 books that the majority of your readers won’t read.

Luckily for me, I am pretty rubbish at sticking to series. I have to be really engrossed by them read every book just because I don’t like to read the same kind of things back to back, and when I take a break from a series to read something else I usually forget to go back to them…and by the time I do remember I don’t feel the same need to read the next book any more. Madness, I know.

One I do want to continue with though are the Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead. I really enjoyed the first book and I’m waiting for the next one to arrive. Early days yet, but if I do end up reading the whole series I’m wondering how to tackle it. I know I won’t read them all in one go so it could be forever until I finish them if I wanted to review the series as a whole. Or do I just do mini-reviews (I think I like this idea the most – anything to save a bit of time)…?

So I ask you lovely blogosphere…have you come across any of these obstacles? And, if so, do you have any tips to share?

2014 Challenges & Goals

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions but I’m definitely jumping on the bandwagon in setting some reading/blogging challenges for myself this year. It’s nice to have goals, right?

1. Goodreads Challenge/ Yearly Goal

I have set my yearly book reading goal this year at 70 books. My average always used to be around 60 but since I started blogging it’s increased a bit. As this will be my first full year of book blogging I thought I’d really try to challenge myself.

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Lauren has read 1 book toward her goal of 70 books.
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2. TBR Pile Challenge.

I have a ridiculous amount of (print) books on my To-Be-Read pile. Like seriously. And obviously it’s constantly growing too so taking part in this challenge hosted by Bookish is a no-brainer. Click on the image below to visit them and find out more about the 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge or to sign up!


 

3. Rereads

One of the things I haven’t managed to do since starting up this blog is reread some of my favourite books and I really miss that. So I am challenging myself to reread at least 10. I’ll post more about this soon and might even do a poll so you guys can help me decide which ones I should reread (mainly because I know I’ll find it really hard to pick just 10).

4. Series

I am completely rubbish at sticking with series of books and I don’t want to commit too much by saying I will complete all the unfinished series I’ve been reading because I know that’s just never going to happen. But, I have singled out a few series that I’ve been enjoying and challenged myself to finish them by the end of the year. I CAN DO THIS!

Back to Normality!

I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like I need a massive push to get back to normality after the (happy) disruption that Christmas and New Year had on my blog. I never really meant to take so much time off but I couldn’t pull myself away from family, friends, the pub, or the TV so I barely got any reading done either.

I feel so far behind! There were loads of end-of-year things I meant to do, and I’m behind on my ARCs but I am going to spend this week really trying to catch up. I promise!

It was also my Birthday on Sunday which I was dreading but actually turned out pretty good. I should probably change my About Me page too as I’m not nearly 30 anymore. SOB.

Anyway, I just wanted to say Happy New Year to you all, and here’s to a great year of blogging and book ranting.

 
Currently Reading:

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Like any girl who is loved by her family, Abigail Nussbaum loves to chase butterflies, enjoys lying on her back looking for shapes in the clouds, and happily teaches young children to make daisy chains.

In the eyes of certain people, however, Abigail has committed a heinous crime. The year is 1940; the place is Poland; Abigail happens to be Jewish.

Along with half a million other Jews, Abigail and her family are evicted from their home and forced to live in the bombed out ruins of Warsaw, the Polish capital.

Although a handful decide to fight back, is the uprising strong enough to save Abigail’s spirit?

Blog Talk: The average time-span of a Book Blogger?

Rosie_The_Blogger

I’ve been doing this blogging thing since May, so just under 7 months, and I still consider myself pretty new to it. I’m constantly coming across things that I feel I should be including on my blog, and spotting things that I can improve on, such as the quality and volume of reviews, keeping more up to date in the book world, and ways of making my blog look better. For me, it’s a work in progress (as is trying to read quicker!!). Some things work, and some don’t, but I’m just enjoying sharing my book-geek, fangirling ways with the blogosphere.

Because I still feel like a Newb at this, I always just assumed that most of the blogs I follow and love have been around for much longer than mine, and are more established, experienced sites. But more and more lately I’ve been seeing ‘6 months’ or ‘1 year’ anniversary posts or ‘I hit 100 followers’ posts and I’m always surprised that those blogs haven’t actually been going for very long. Which led me to wonder two things:

1. How long is the average time-span for a book blogger?

There’s no doubt about it, book blogging is a lot of work. A lot more work than I was expecting, so I guess it’s not surprising that people would start them up and realise that they just don’t have the time, or will to continue.

2. What is the key to longevity?

Like I said, I’ve been enjoying blogging a lot, and quite soon after I began it just became part of my life. But it is hard to keep motivated sometimes. With working full-time, blogging, and trying to have a social life, my own writing has well and truly taken a back-seat so I do sometimes think what is the point? I just hope the pros (free books, writing practice…) continue to outweigh the cons (too many hours in front of a computer, lack of sleep…).

So I ask you, lovely Bloggers: How long have you been blogging/ How long do you think the average time-span for a book blogger is? And what keeps you going?

And go!

Blog Admin Update & Currently Reading

A few more changes/updates to the blog:

I finally added a Review Policy & Contact page (and got a new gmail account solely for blogging purposes) and updated my TBR page. Hurrah! I’m getting there.

There are more changes I want to make to my sidebar but at least the important things are done, so I’m feeling pretty smug with myself.

I’m off work sick today (having a nightmare with my Wisdom teeth!) so I’m trying to cheer myself up with this beautiful picture book I just got approved for from NetGalley. It’s so cute!

cover38691-medium

It’s Christmas, and two tree decorations – cardboard prince Rudolph and clothes peg fairy Rosalind – are discarded for being too shabby. Christmas Eve magic brings the toys in the cupboard to life, and when they discover their two friends are not on the tree, they search for them. However, while they are away, a Fouly – the exact opposite of a Christmas Fairy – sneaks in and hides. Unaware of the evil creature’s presence, the toys return with Rudolph and Rosalind, who have also been transformed, and they all help prepare a festive feast. During this the Fouly steals Rosalind’s wand and uses it to kidnap Father Christmas… Rudolph and Rosalind go to rescue him, but they must first seek out Santa Lucia for the one thing Foulies hate the most: the Lucia Light.

Their mission takes them to the Fouly Castle, but they are captured and confronted by Malicia the Fouly Queen. Using the Light, they defeat Malicia, free Father Christmas and return home. But the Fouly follows, seeking revenge, and – backed by a fierce Holly Army – the battle for Christmas begins… Will the Fouly be defeated? Will Rudolph and Rosalind be thrown away, or will the gratitude of Father Christmas help them regain their places at the top of the tree?

The Prince, The Fairy and The Fouly is a charming adventure story which combines all the elements of a traditional Christmas tale with a variety of characters and situations that highlight the battle between good and evil.

Resplendent with beautiful black and white illustrations, it’s the perfect bedtime story for children aged 7+ in the run-up to Christmas, and an ideal stocking filler. Its large format and presentation make the book ideal for emergent readers.

Title: The Prince, The Fairy and The Fouly
Author: Jim Fitzsimmons
Details: E-book
Publication Date: November 4th 2013 by Troubador Publishing Ltd.

How Many Unicorns?

As mentioned earlier, I’m doing some long overdue blog admin this weekend.

Changes thus far:

I finally got round to creating a proper rating system for my reviews. I’ve also included the criteria on the sidebar and added my NetGalley Member button. Yay.

My Unicorn Ratings!

unicorn rating 5/5 Unicorns: Just Amazing!

 

unicorn rating 4 4/5 Unicorns: I loved it!

 

unicorn rating 3 3/5 Unicorns: I really enjoyed it but something was missing.

 

unicorn rating 2 2/5 Unicorns: It was OK but I had some issues with it.

 

unicorn rating 1 1/5 Unicorns: I wasn’t a fan; I might not have finished it.

Blog Admin in progress!

blogadmin

This weekend I’m doing some much needed blog admin. On my agenda is a proper ratings system, compiling a review policy & contact page and updating my TBR list. And in between all that I’ll be watching some Christmas films. Oh hello Lazy Weekend, how I love you!

In the mean time I thought I’d leave you with this…

One of my favourite WordPress functions is seeing what search terms have brought people to my blog. Some of them really crack me up. Here are some recent ones that made me do a LOL.

  • What a douche
  • Dorian Throne of Glass groin
  • Does the movie Catching Fire have curse words in it?
  • Were so hot friday (????)
  • Fiction book woman see’s her mum stabbing someone from treehouse daisy.
  • Hot Tucks

Share your good ones with me!! (Leave a comment 🙂 )