We Need to Talk About… ARCs #Discussion #BookBloggers

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

When I first started blogging -over three years ago( !)- I used to do a lot of discussion posts, and I never meant to stop, but somehow it just happened. Hopefully, with the introduction of this regular post I’ll get back into the habit. I have so many burning questions and ideas to get opinions on, so please get involved!

This time, I want to talk about ARCs

There are two very different things that have been bothering me about ARCs:

  1. Do You Count ARCs as books you own?
  2. Why are some ARCs formtted so badly?

1. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. In my monthly round-up posts I do a breakdown of the books I’ve read into books I own or have borrowed, as well as which format I read – paperback, hardback, or digital, and I never know whether to include ARCs as books I own or not.

What do you think? Do you count ARCs as books you own? 

I kind of feel like ARCs should only ever be ‘owned’ by the author & publisher, and that we as bloggers get a sneak peak before anyone else can own that book. So going on that theory I guess I should include them in the borrowed books bracket. But that would just confuse people, right?

2. Bad formatting of ARCs can seriously dampen the reader’s enjoyment of it, I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me. I always try my very best to not let it affect my opinion of the book, but sometimes ARCs are so bad they’re impossible to read…why are they released like that?

I mean, I understand spacing issues and typos and all of those things that might not have been picked up on on early edits, but for example, I recently read one where there were no capital letters at the start of sentences, or hardly any punctuation which made it really hard to read.

At first I wondered if maybe that was a style choice by the author because surely the original manuscript would have had capitals and full-stops? But it really wasn’t the kind of book that would do that on purpose.

So what I don’t get is what happens to manuscripts that alters them so much when converted into an e-book format? Insights, anyone?

What bothers you about ARCs? Let’s rant….

 

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?

Di & Lipsy do…Divergent

For those of you that don’t already know, Di is my YA BFF and when we get together we get a bit carried away ranting and/or swooning over our latest reads. We are not allowed to discuss The Hunger Games in public, or watch Twilight in the cinema because we get into trouble. A lot.

Our latest joint YA adventure was DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth.

If you want to read an actual review of Divergent, you might want to go elsewhere…but this is pretty much everything you need to know! Oh, and if you haven’t read Divergent, there aren’t any huge spoilers here, but continue at your own risk.

DIV

Did you have any preconceptions/expectations of Divergent before you started it?

DT: I was given my copy by a friend who sold it to me as “The Hunger Games but with guns and stuff” so this is pretty much what I was expecting. I’m still not sure if that was my take-away from it though.

L: I saw so many bloggers rave about it but I never really thought it would be that good. I knew it was Dystopian so expected it to be like THG, because everything is these days!

What do you think of the cover? (It’s sooooo much better than The Hunger Games & TMI covers, I think)

DT: I think it’s shit, but it might just be the version I have. Why is it holographic!?

L: What is wrong with you, what’s not to like about a holographic cover!?? It’s better than these atrocities:

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hunger-games-uk 

 

Overall concept:

L: I thought it was imaginative in places (the fear simulation for one) but too similar to other recent dystopian YA. Factions/Districts/Casts…enough already!

DT: The fear simulation bits were pretty good. I am not sure what I make of the idea of “factions” I think this reminded me more of The Selection than The Hunger Games, [yeah me too!] I think it’s interesting that a lot of books are starting to sort us into categories in our dystopian, shitty futures, in different ways. I think I quite liked the way it was done in this book but I basically think the Dauntless were obviously set up to be “the cool kids” right? Ooh they all wear black and jump off trains they are so DANGEROUS.

L: Yeah I think the idea behind Dauntless was a bit thin. Their Manifesto was pretty ridiculous. I think Roth just really wanted a reason for people to be tattooed & pierced. But I’m OK with that, it was hot.

DT: The Erudite made me think of FRINGE. You know the bald guys, they were well Erudite. [HAHAHAHA yes, THE OBSERVERS!] I also like that I have no idea how to say any of the names of the factions out loud and I also had to look them up online because I couldn’t remember any of them. Nice one.

L: I can only remember Abnegation, Erudite and Dauntless, what were the others….

At one point I was kind of expecting President Snow to pop up and start sending Mutts into the simulation tests….


DT: Let it go, it’s not the Hunger Games!

😦

What Faction….

A) Do you think you are most suited to?
DT: DAUNTLESS OBVIOUSLY BECAUSE I AM AWESOME AND WEAR BLACK ALL OF THE TIME AND HAVE TATTOOS.
L: Naturally! I think I would be a bit rubbish at being Dauntless, but it’s still the one that appeals the most. They hang out wearing black and getting drunk. That is already my life.

B) Would you want to choose?
DT: Weirdly I did find myself thinking this while reading the book which is something I didn’t do with The Selection or The Hunger Games (although for the record in The Hunger Games I would choose district 12 because even though they are starving and stuff they have the best clothes, I really love the whole coal miner/lumberjack look (read: Hemsworth). I think I would probably choose Amity because then I could have a pony. Except I’m not sure how I feel about being happy ALL OF THE TIME.

L: AMITY…I’d forgotten about that one. Are they just really nice? No offence Di, but you couldn’t be Amity. Being happy all the time? Hahahaha as if! And while we’re talking about clothes, why does the Divergent poster have them in Hunger Games wetsuits? Just wrong. IT IS NOT THE HUNGER GAMES.

HGPosters

Divergent-poster
 

 

Characters:

What did you think about Tris? (I hate that she called herself Tris btw. I don’t like it)
DT: Tris is a shit name. At first I really hated her and I thought I was going to give up like I did with Uglies, but it turned out to be OK, we made peace. There was some pretty H.O.T making out on a train segments I totally spaffed over, and she was pretty great towards the end.
L: Yeah it took me a while to warm to her too, but she was pretty badass in the end.

We obviously have to talk about Four:

L: I thought he was a great love interest for Tris, but I only found him hot until he started calling himself Tobias. (What’s wrong with me?) I have a pretty sexy-in-my-pants image of him. Obviously, I have casting rage where the film is concerned.

DT: I TOTALLY ONLY THOUGHT HE WAS HOT AT THE END AS WELL!!![No! I thought he was hotter BEFORE we found out his name is Tobias. That really put me off!] Do you think it was when he took his shirt off and the hot tattoos etc, whatttt![That was pretty fit though] In the film he is hilariously being played by the guy that died in series 1 of Downton Abbey – MR PAMUK hahaha, he is not hot at all. Sad times! I quite liked him as a character as well but thought his whole story line was pretty obvious. NO SPOILERS.

L: It was really obvious, but I was OK with that. He’s damaged. That’s hot. I have no idea who that actor is, but he’s deffo not how I pictured Four.

Christina: What happened to her!? Oh, she’s going to be heartbroken when she finds out about Will. Sigh.

DT: I DON’T REMEMBER ANY OF THIS I was way too jetlagged and really should have read it again before answering these questions, but I am trapped forever reading THE HOST which is THE MOST DULL BOOK EVER.

L: Take that back!!!

Caleb?
I’m hoping he will have a bigger part in the next one too. I think he’s gonna end up being pretty awesome.

DT: WHO THE FUCK IS CALEB?
L: You are RUBBISH.

Favourite Part/Scene?

DT: Hot make out scene on the train, blates.
L: Blates.

What do you want from the next book?

L: I’m scared to read it in case it is rubbish.
DT: Yeah I’ve heard loads of really bad things and I really don’t know if I want to read it. Except that I obviously do, and obviously will.
L: I’m not going to buy or anything, but you are clearly going to lend it to me, right. RIGHT???

I give Divergent all the Unicorns. Take them all!

unicorn rating

Di has an awesome photography blog called Icefloe. You should it check it out!

Related: Di & Lipsy do…The Selection