I’m Alive!!! (An Update) #IRL

Hi Everyone!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since May! I really didn’t mean to fall off the face of the earth but that’s kinda what happened.

Basically, work went completely crazy because my colleague left and what was already a very hectic job turned into an impossible task. And then – unrelated to my job woes as I had been looking for new opportunities before the madness started – I got an interview for a new job, and I got it!

So I recently left the prison library (at a terrible time that made me feel very guilty), to become Library Manager of a local public library. Hurrah!

While all of this was going on, my landlord sold his/my house, so I had to start looking for somewhere to live. So yeah, it’s all been a bit mad and this blog was the last thing on my mind.

But things are starting to calm down. The first week as a Library Manager has been good, if not slightly overwhelming in terms of having so much to learn. And I move house next weekend. The end is in sight.

Overall, I’m really happy with the big life changes so far, and hope everything settles down enough for me to decide on whether to keep this blog going, or to maybe start a new one to promote my library? I’m not sure of the rules on that yet (as I was never allowed to do one for the prison library for obvious reasons), but it would be nice to carry on book blogging and be able to promote what we do at the same time.

I will keep you posted. I’ve really missed being part of the book blogging community – I feel so out of touch – so I hope to be back soon in some way or another.

Keep reading!!

Lipsy xx

 

 

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Discussion: Where’s the support? #Blogging

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Guys, I’m so angry with WordPress that I’m thinking of jumping ship. I couldn’t post all last week and I wasted the whole weekend trying to fix it. I sought help from WordPress Support and on Twitter and they were so useless and uninterested that it really riled me up. Fellow bloggers were a lot more help than they were.

I know it’s a free platform, but you’d think they’d have some support in place, that y’know, actually supported its users. What if this was a blog that’s an actual business!? I certainly wouldn’t be making a living right now if that was the case. RAGE.

I don’t want to stop blogging but when you loose confidence in the platform you use, it makes you just want to pack it in. And choosing a new platform, when I’m so familiar with this one just seems like a chore.

I’m still not sure what to do – for now it seems to be working again, but for how long!?

Has anyone else had issues like this? What did you do?

We Need to Talk About… promoting books to teens #Discussion

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We Need to Talk About…is my new discussion post where I ask the blogosphere (that’s you guys) for opinions/advice/rants on anything from ‘how do some bloggers read so many books?’ to ‘how do you rate books?’. 

This week I want your thoughts on teen magazines and why they don’t seem to have book review sections…

A few weeks ago I was in my local large newsagents and decided to have a look through the teen magazines to see if any of them featured book reviews, and I didn’t find one. I was completely shocked! Sure, some of them promote good body image and safe sex practices which is good, but not one of them promoted reading. Considering how huge the YA market is, that really confuses me.

Many of you will know by now that I work in a prison library. Part of my job is to promote reading to reluctant readers and I get to see first-hand the undeniably strong links between crime and illiteracy. So many of the guys in prison that can read, read only non-fiction and when I ask them why they don’t like fiction, the general consensus is because ‘it’s not real’, ‘too unbelievable’ and they ‘can’t follow it’. I wonder why they’ve never enjoyed a good fiction book and why they can’t see what a great escape (pun intended) from prison life it could be. 

There seems to be a lot of focus on reading to babies and children which is vital too, but where do teens get their love of reading from if it hasn’t already been passed on? I’m not knocking schools at all, but I never wanted to read anything the school set me, and reading definitely wasn’t seen as cool. I went through a good few years of not reading because I thought my friends would think I was sad or a geek or whatever. 

One thing sticks in my mind though. I remember that one of the popular girl magazines that me and my friends read religiously often had a free book attached. I still have my copy of Secret Vampire by L.J Smith from that. And that one little freebie made reading cool again. 

Looking at today’s teen (11+) magazines, it saddens me that they don’t seem to promote all the amazing things going on in the YA book industry. 

Is it simply because the internet has taken over and is a better place to promote reading and bring fangirls (and boys!) together? Or are magazines missing a trick here? Maybe they think reading isn’t cool but endless make-up ads are. It’s sad if that’s all that sells. 

What do you think? Should books be featured in teen magazines more? Or do you think they are and I’ve just not seen the right ones? Do any of you write YA reviews for magazines?

Lazy Saturday Review: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira #YAreview

I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot and writing and more on my general feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

bookishlyTitle: Bookishly Ever After
Author: Isabel Bandeira
Series: Ever After #1
Format: Digital ARC, 416 pages
Publication Details: January 12th 2016 by Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

Review

Oh, this book!

I was totally into it at first. I think any book-lover would find it hard to resist the premise of Bookishly Ever After, but unfortunately my initial love for it was short lived.

I liked that Phoebe is flying the flag for ‘kooky’ introverts. I liked that she’s a geek and OK with that. What I didn’t like was the painfully drawn-out he likes me, he likes me not… OMG he text me and so on and so on.

On one hand I had totally lost interest by about half way through, but for some reason I couldn’t stop. I did feel compelled to find out the outcome of all the will-they-won’t-they whiny teen angst, so I guess it was successful in that way, but I’m sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy the journey, or where the journey led. It was very bland for me.

I would like to say however, that I’m not really the target audience and I do have a love/hate relationship with contemporary YA at best. If I’d read this when I was in school, I probably would have empathised with the characters a lot more. It also didn’t help that the advanced readers copy I received was really distracting with missing words, jumbled up sentences and ADVANCE COPY plastered all over it. I really tried not to let that influence my feelings towards the book, but it made what was, for me, a slow-paced book even more tedious.

This won’t put me off reading other books by Bandeira in future; I enjoyed her fluid writing style, but not the story.

unicorn rating 2

 

 

Friday Feature: James Frey and the Goodreads Trolls

I am really starting to get annoyed about the Goodreads trolls. I’m a book blogger so I guess I take reading and reviewing books seriously to a degree, but man, some people need to chill the fcuk out.

I’ve personally been involved in two incidents thus far. Firstly, I said in a review that a book was ‘vampire erotica’ and someone felt the need to tell me that it was in fact paranormal romance. I didn’t particularly take offence to the correction, but it was worded in a way which annoyed me. And I just thought why bother!?

The second incident, however, really ignited the rage in me. I requested a book from Netgalley without realising it was the second book in a series. We’ve all done it, right? I didn’t enjoy the book very much, but I put it down to that fact, and made that clear in my review. I even made a point of saying that people shouldn’t be put off by my 2/5 rating.

Someone took offence to this and decided to leave this lovely comment:

I also received this book as a giveaway. Knowing it was a SECOND book, I bought the FIRST book and read it BEFORE I received the other book. It is NOT FAIR to rate the SECOND book so low because YOU did not take it on yourself to READ THE FIRST BOOK BEFOREHAND!!! It is NOT the author’s fault that you walked into the mist in the middle!!!”

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Alright Sarah, Jeeze. Funnily enough, once I pointed out exactly what I’d said in the review I didn’t hear another peep out of Sarah. And the best thing was that the author got in touch and asked if I’d like her to send me the first book to find out how the story began. She obviously didn’t have as many issues with my review as Sarah did.

What does this have to do with James Frey? I hear you cry. I’m getting to it, bear with me.

The other thing I hate about Goodreads is when people leave ‘reviews’ or comments on books BEFORE THEY’VE EVEN READ THEM. I mean, why? You can’t have an opinion until you’ve at least started the book, right?

And that’s what brings me to James Frey.

Oh James Frey, I do love you. I know that a lot of people don’t though, for various reasons, and that’s fine. But is there really any need to fill the Goodreads page for his upcoming book with such vileness. Go take a look.

So it sounds a bit like The Hunger Games? What doesn’t. And while we’re on the subject do these people really think THG was an original idea? REALLY? Battle Royale, anyone? The Long Walk? The Running Man? Gah.

And no one seems to mention the whole concept of this series, probably because they have no idea about it. Each book is a piece of a puzzle that will link up to a Google map, incorporating social media into a global treaure hunt. Kind of a modern version of the Masquerade hunt. It’s explained better here.

I think it sounds awesome, but whatever.

So to sum up: I love Goodreads, BUT CAN YOU JUST STOP. You know who you are.

An Unfortunate Series of Events….AKA Fangirling Fail

Regular readers will know how excited I was to get my hands on The One (The Selection #3). Excited might be a bit of an understatement. I was gagging for it, fangirling over it, waiting for Maxon to arrive at my door, AND I’M STILL WAITING.

Let me tell you the story…

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The One, was due to be released on May 6th. I pre-ordered it from Amazon, mainly for ease and because I knew it would be cheaper than if I went to Waterstones (the only bookshop in town). Oh, and also because you could send off for a The One keyring with your pre-order receipt. Yes, I am 12 years old (I’m not really).

I knew it wouldn’t arrive on the day it was released. I expected that. But I did expect it the week later, at the latest. It did not arrive. I was sad.

I was even more sad that EVERYONE WAS POSTING REVIEWS OF IT (not that it’s you lovely people’s fault of course) and I had failed to even get a copy.

So I tracked my order.

Not Yet Dispatched, it said.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT! I said.

Expected Arrival Date: 17th June, it said.

WTAF, I yelled.

Cancel, I pressed. It will be in the shop, I thought. Amazon is clearly just being rubbish.

It was now about 10 days since The One was supposed to have been released. So I ventured into Waterstones. Nothing. I tried not to sound too distraught when I asked the nice Waterstones girl if they knew why it wasn’t in stock yet. She looked at me a bit weird when she typed it in, can’t blame her. I could pretend it’s for my imaginary 8 year old girl, I thought – it’s plausible – but I resisted.

It’s been pushed back, she said. It’s not out until June.

Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I wailed inside. I probably shouldn’t have cancelled my Amazon order, I thought.

I was not happy. But what can you do.

So, America (the country, not the character!) and who ever else managed to get a copy, I hate you all. And I haven’t read any of your reviews in case there are spoilers.

But, you know what? IT’S ALL OK, because we are also getting a prequel!!! Eeeek. It’s not due until December, but clearly, I’m getting used to waiting for things!

There’s always a silver lining. Let the fangirling commence.

PrintBefore America Singer’s story began, another girl came to the palace to compete for the hand of a different prince….

Don’t miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series. This prequel story takes place before the events of The Selection and is told from the point of view of Prince Maxon’s mother, Amberly. Discover a whole new Selection with this inside look at how Maxon’s parents met—and how an ordinary girl named Amberly became a beloved queen.

Dear Netgalley….

…You have been an invaluable service to me and my blog. You have allowed me read an abundance of books before their release date. You are extremely easy to use, and have asked for little in return – a review.

However, if you ‘archive’ one more book BEFORE the publication date so I can no longer download it, and therefore can not read and review it, we are going to have words. This has been the second time in as many months that a book when originally requested, had no archive date set. And then, at least one week BEFORE the publication date you have suddenly archived it, making it redundant.

It’s not just the missing out on reading the book itself, it’s more what it is doing to my NetGalley profile. I now only have a 60% feedback to approval ratio. That can’t be good can it? Can I dispute it?

Answer me, Netgalley Gods!

Sincerely Annoyed,

Lipsy