May 31, 2015

Why I am personally pissed off about this ARC Selling business




If you were active in twitter about an hour ago, you would have noticed that there's a new drama brewing.

Someone's selling BEA ARCs in ebay!


It's common knowledge that Advanced Review Copies are not for resale. Especially since when you get the ARC in your hand, chances are the book is not released yet. Obviously, it's common etiquette to follow the simple requirement that you don't resale the ARC in any way.

 But, seems like some can't read the simple English print on the cover of the ARC copy saying

NOT FOR SALE.

Now this is not the first time that this kind of stunt has happened. Sometime back someone was selling them through instagram. Now ebay. Next they'll probably even try to sell it through Amazon and Book Depository. Who knows?

And I am quite pissed by this because do you have an idea how unfair this is to International bloggers?

I am not trying to boast here, but I have good blogging stats. Enough to request and receive an ARC from a publisher. But I've never received one.

Because I live far away.

And there are a lot of International bloggers out there who may not ever get the chance to receive a physical ARC, because they live too far away, and shipping costs a lot, so publishers are reluctant to send us copies.

You may hate me for what I am going to say now, but here's what I think.

They should stop handing out ARCs to random people at events like BEA.

Just because they live in the US, and just because they can attend such events, unlike people like me around the world who simply can't afford to travel all over to the US and attend the event, I don't think publishers should just simply give them ARCs.

If you're giving them out to random people like these, who then go on to sell them in online stores, what's the whole point in us INT bloggers sending publishers requests and working hard to improve our blog stats so we'll fit into your requirements?


When I heard about this particular drama, I was boiling in anger. Because some random person could go to BEA and get an ARC of a book that I am dying to get my hands on and sell it to someone else even before it's released. 

Call me jealous. I don't care. This is not about ARC envy. I am not jealous of the people who genuinely deserve to get those ARCs, I just think that it's totally unfair that you hand out these ARCs to people who don't even respect the basic etiquette of ARCs,

What do you guys think?
Is it fair that random people can get access to ARCs?
What is your opinion on the ARC selling business?

May wrap up

Saying that my May was eventful will be huge understatement:)
A lot happened in this month, in the blog,my life and let's wrap it all up and admit the unbelievable truth that we're entering the sixth month of the year!



What I Read

Scarlet by A.C.Gaughen
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Vicious by V.E.Schwab
Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
Laird of the Mist by Paula Quinn
Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
Born in Sin by Kinley McGregor
Lord of Desire by Paula Quinn
Firelight by Kristin Callihan
Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

What I Posted

Reviews


Discussion posts

Some fabulous bloggers stopped by to share their opinion on book blogging and speech freedom

I shared a few tips on how to discover your reviewing style

A Little Bit of Everything



Others


Around the Blogosphere

Chiara asked whether you can be an author and a book blogger at the same time?

Aimee lists the three problems that any reader can relate to

Kelly talks about plagiarism

Nicole feels annoyed when she repeatedly sees the same guy on different covers

Jeanne wrote a pretty informative post about twitter

Jillian tells us why contemporary is her favourite genre

Jules make a list of the things that bloggers do behind their laptops

Cait makes a top ten list of the occupational hazards of being a bookworm

Nova shares a beautiful personal post

Melanie talked about leaving characters and books behind

Val discussed about translating books

Mel shared a pretty hilarious post on how to book blog
(Please don't take her tips seriously:))

Faye says that we need more ordinary love interests in fiction

Jess posted a beautiful and insightful post on being free in her speech

Bookish and Blogging Community News

1. I myself had some important blogging announcements this month.
First of all, I got a new design,thanks to the lovely Hazel, which I am completely in love with and celebrated it with a giveaway!
Which reminds me that it's time to announce the winner!

drumroll......

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the same post, I made another couple of announcements, check it out!

Then, recently, I finally admitted to myself that I need a co blogger. If you're interested, check this post out!

2. Aimee is going to organize blog tours for free!
Here's her announcement

3.Cait celebrated her fourth blogoversary with a fabulous giveaway and by answering some questions.

4.#RandomYAParty! Faye and I randomly decided to have a twitter party one fine day and it was a blast! We may do it again today, so stay tuned by 8.30 A.M. EST.


5. So many good releases this month! ACOTAR was probably the most buzzed around book of the month, along with Wrath and the Dawn , Ember in the Ashes etc. I myself only read one May release - Nowhere But Here- and before anyone does, I CALL DIBS ON RAZOR!

6. BEA 15. Though all I could do was sit at home and wallow in self pity with a tub of ice cream, it was still amazing to see everyone having a blast!


7.We book bloggers had a love fest in twitter! It was totally random, and inspired by a few tweets, everyone started to shower love for their favourite bloggers, and it was really heart touching to watch it! *sniffles*

8.Nova started an awesome project called "You are appreciated"!


Tweets of the Month

Of all the things to learn from The Book Thief, this is what Cait learned:)

The woes of an International book lover

Maggie Stiefvater shares some words of wisdom

We have managed to make Sarah J.Mass cry!



Personally, my May!

1. School started! I actually wanted to write a post about my first days of Advanced Levels, but I never got the chance to.
I was actually a bit nervous about school because I will be joining a new class and going to get a new bunch of classmates. But fortunately, my new classmates are awesome! Well, not all, obviously, but I managed to make a lot of friends, especially a girl who was a hard core fan of Game of Thrones!;)
Other than academics, I also rejoined my school debate club - which is a huge passion of mine!
Overall, school's been awesome, but exhausting:)

2.My room is being renovated! Right now, everything's a mess:), but I am getting new furniture- new bookshelves!- and am going to pull off all the posters of my pre teen years obsessions *shudders* and put up new ones!

3. I am pretty happy with my blog stats! May has been a generous month when it comes to pageviews:), and by the end of the fifth month of blogging, my blog has almost 14,000 site visitors!
Yay!




So there you go, that was my May!
How did your month go?

May 30, 2015

I am looking for a co blogger

All of you guys know that I started Advanced Levels two weeks ago.It feels amazing to be back in school after six months, but to tell the truth, it's not easy. Apart from school work - which is getting tougher as this is A/Ls, I am also part of hundred clubs and unions - which frustrates me but I love them all the same:), so I am really finding it a bit hard to manage blogging like I did before.

This made me come to a decision, and it was not easy to say the truth, As the title clearly suggests, I am going to get a co blogger, and I thought about this a lot, because this means I have to share my baby with someone else, but came to the decision that I have to do it.

And I have a few requirements, conditions for my co- blogger. I know I might sound a bit snobby here, but any blogger will be possessive and protective of their blog and I really want to make some things clear beforehand.

  • I am asking for a long time commitment. If you're not sure about this, or going to drop out after 6 months, please don't apply!
  • You must post an original content at least once a week. And that excludes memes and blog tours.
  • You're welcome to post anything you want - reviews,discussion posts,personal posts etc.But please consult me before you sign up for blog tours or start doing memes, because I don't do them often here at Chasing Faerytales
  • You can use Chasing Faerytales' stats for getting ARCs.
  • You must have a twitter handle! Twitter brings a lot of pageviews for my blog and it's a great platform to meet other bloggers, so if you don't have one, please make one.
  • Read my review policy and let me know if you want any changes in the genres that are reviewed in this blog, but please no Erotica, religious or spirituality,self help and MG books! 
  • I use Disqus as my commenting platform, so please create an account and learn how to use it.
  • Atleast for the first few months, consult me before you publish a post.
  • Commenting back is a must! Cherish the comments you get for a post, and please return the favour!

If you're ok with these requirements, drop me an email at mishmanixon@yahoo.com with the subject as "co blogger" and include these things.

1.Name and country
2.If you already own a blog, name and link
3. Age and what you're currently doing
( So that I can understand how tight your schedule is)
4. Social media links.
5. Do we know each other?
6.Why do you want to join Chasing Faerytales?
7. Links of you reviews. I need at least one positive and one negative.
And if you can, links to two discussion posts.
8. Do you think that we can work together?
9.Random stuff about yourself, so I can get to know you.
10.Any requirements you have for me?

I close the applications by the 15th of June.

P.S- Thanks to Melanie's post on co blogging, which inspired me to finally go on to take the step to look for one.

May 28, 2015

Gothic London streets, sizzling romance and gripping mystery || Firelight by Kristen Callihan




















Title:Firelight
Author:Kristen Callahan
Release Date:July 29th 2014
Publisher:Piatkus
Synopsis:
London, 1881 

Once the flames are ignited . . . 

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . . 

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.


I have a huge soft spot for historical fiction. Something about the early times of Victorian Era appeals to me greatly, and I love it when young adult books are set in that period, especially if they are paranormal romance, so when Nuzaifa recommended Firelight to me and also let me borrow a copy, I was quite intrigued to start this mesmerizing read set in a twisted version of Victorian Era London.


Miranda Ellis is confused greatly when a mysterious and enigmatic noble man, Lord Benjamin Archer offers to marry her, as her family is practically bankrupt and devoid of their former glory. But something about Archer intrigues her greatly , and as she tries to understand her new husband, who always wears a mask to cover his disfigured face and sparks unknown feelings and desires inside her, both of them are swept into a thrilling , and action paced tale of mysteries, murders, revelations and magic.

What I loved most in this book is the writing. Kristen Callihan's writing is so vivid and descriptive and it often reminded me of Laini Taylor's writing in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I could totally envision myself in the dark streets of Victorian Era London as she beautifully describes the gothical, magical and exotic setting with her evocative storytelling.



Mud-think fog hung low on the ground, refusing to drift off despite the crisp night breeze. It never truly went away, ever present in London, like death, taxes, and monarchy. The ends of Archer's cloak snapped about his legs, whipping up eddies of the foul yellow vapor as his mouth filled with the acrid taste of coal, filth, and decay that was the flavor of London.
Then there's the characters. Both Miranda and Archer are wonderfully crafted characters with so much depth with compelling backstories. I loved how Callihan deals with the aspect of beauty in relation to these two characters.
“What is beauty or ugliness but a false front that prompts man to make assumptions rather than delving deeper.”
I admired Miranda's strength and spirit a lot, as she never feared or hesitated to master the art of swordplay in a time when such actions by a woman was frowned upon. 
I also loved her power - her ability to control fire- which was something that suited her a lot with her own fiery personality.


“Christ, Miri, murder and knife-wielding assassins aside, you are the greatest adventure of my life.” 
Archer was an enigma. He wears a mask to hide his physical deformity as well as an emotional barrier to hide his inner mental turmoil. But at the same time, it was easy to understand his hidden vulnerability and tender feelings which were brought to the spotlight, throughout the course of the story through his beautiful relationship with Miranda.
“You're collecting pieces of me, aren't you?" His voice turned thick as warm toffee, rolling over her skin, heating it. "A bit here. A bit there. Soon you'll set me out on the table, to try and fit me back together."

Ignoring the flurries plaguing her belly, she affected blandness. "I've only got the corners. But it is a start."

A warm breath touched her neck. "I believe you have the centerpiece as well.” 
The romance was just awesome. These two has such an amazing sizzling chemistry and sexual tension, so hot and passionate that I couldn't help but swoon and fan myself often:)
 “Their eyes met, and that spark of something hot and sharp ripped through her again. Awareness. It took a moment to realize, but that was it. She was utterly aware of him. Of the breadth of his shoulders, the deep even way he breathed, the force of his gaze. Bloody hell, but she we beset by the craving to touch him, testing the strength in those shoulders.” 

 “Know this, there is only one truth left to me." His trembling fingertips caressed her jaw. "That I love you." He said it again, his voice broken, his arms pulling her tightly against him. "I love you. The rest is darkness."

Her fingers curled around the smooth swells of his biceps. "Then let me be your light.” 

I love that Firelight gives equal amount of attention to both action and romance. While the romance is slow burning and sensual, the action was laden with mystery and a lot of darkness, so much so that there was never a moment that I was bored with this book.

Overall, Firelight is a story where The Beauty and the Beast meets The Phantom of the Opera with a vivid, gothic and mesmerizing writing and setting; strong, deep characters; sizzling hot romance; and fast paced action that I'll recommend to any fans of dark and twisted paranormal stories with a great couple with amazing chemistry to root for.

May 25, 2015

Let's have a cup of coffee!


Hi everyone!

I love tags and it's been ages since I did one, so I jumped at the chance quickly when I got tagged to the coffee book tag.

Thanks for the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury for tagging me! I love coffee and I love books so I am quite excited to give this tag a shot.

P.S- Check out Cait's post! She has some beautiful photographs to swoon over!:)




Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R.Ward

This is an adult paranormal series that's been on going since 2005! I am not a huge fan of long series, and this one has too much books to catch up with! Plus,The Black Dagger Brotherhood is not an easy series to get used to. There's a lot of violence, sex, angst, drama and too many main characters.
But it's really amazing at the same time.All I can say is, read the books at your own risk!;)





Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan

This book is cute! Not my usual cup of tea (or rather coffee:)),but I enjoyed it a quite a lot.The characters are quirky, realistic and I loved the whole concept of dares and scavenger hunts in this story.

Plus, it's probably the only Christmas story I've ever read:)


Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling

I refuse to call HP as a "children's book" but that series was my favourite as a child and it pretty much carved my entire childhood. The series will always be special to me,as the characters have inspired me and taught me a lot and has played a huge part in me getting through my pretty bitter pre teen years!  



  


Vicious by V.E.Schwab

This amazing book about villains and superpowers just hooked me right into the world and V.E.Schwab's writing is so addictive that I went all speed racer on the book and finished it in one sitting.
Btw, Go read the book everyone! It's awesome:).
Enough said.




A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J.Mass

Tell me the truth, are you even surprised to see this answer?:)
I mean, it's so overwhelming and incredible that ACOTAR is practically everywhere around the blogosphere. Sometimes I feel like I am the only lone person who still haven't read the book, especially when you guys go on to gush about the guys of the story - especially Rhysand:)







Sarah J. Pepper's books

This woman's books are brilliant yet painfully underrated.Her books are dark, twisted and really unique and original.
I'd totally recommend her twisted fairytale confessions series.







The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Aliens? Kick ass heroine? Rave reviews? 
When I saw this all, I expected quite a lot from this book.

Only to learn that it's a dragging story with a whiny heroine and a creepy romance.









Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead

This series and I have a love hate relationship to tell the truth. I was completely in love with the first four books, and then the last two let me down, badly.
I was so upset, and the books broke my heart, but still,I can't help but love them as they have given me my OTP - Adrian and Sydney.




The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein

This book is magical and the whole world building and characters and the way Morgenstein describes things are just plain awesome and beautiful.
The book is all about illusions and magic and that's exactly what you will experience when you read the story.








The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor's descriptions are so vivid and beautiful that you can't help envision yourself in the streets of Prague! I love Taylor's writing and the places and characters in this book has always made me visualize a distant magical land in my mind.












Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Truth to be told, I am not actually a huge fan of classics, and I've never liked the ones I read for school, but somehow I ended up loving Pride and Prejudice when I read it. I adored the characters, especially Darcy the quirky and wonderful conversations between different characters.








I tag

Kelly @ Diva Booknerd

And anyone and everyone who loves a cup of coffee with their book!

May 23, 2015

Learnt it the hard way #1 || Discovering your reviewing style

Hi my dear marshmallows!
First of all, in case you were wondering why I was MIA for about a week, I started school last Monday, and I am slowly getting used to being a school kid again. 
Well, anyway I am back now and I promise I won't disappear randomly again!:)

Anyway, so today, I am going to introduce a new feature. Learnt it the Hard way will be a series of posts where I discuss a few blogging quirks that I learnt the hard way:) I know I am not an experienced blogger genius to give you guys tips:), but I've seen my fair share in blogging and thought I'd share the things I've learned.

For the first post of this feature, let me tell you guys about reviewing styles, and how to find yours.


























As book bloggers, reviews make more than half of our blog content. The way we write our review,vary from person to person, from our structure to our tone, from the words we use to how we use them.

Truth to be told, it's a bit hard to find your own unique style when you start to write reviews.Our first reviews are horrible and embarrassing to look back:) But it's common. I don't think that anyone can write fabulous and awesome reviews on their first few tries itself. It takes time, and a lot of tries, and until you discover you own style, there'll be a lot of changes in the way you write them.

Here are a few things that might help you in finding it.

1. Read a lot of reviews, observe the styles, but don't copy them.

Go read a lot of reviews, so that you might get an idea on what kind of style is closer to you. Some write long, detailed, critical reviews. Some write funny and quirky reviews filled with gifs.
You'll also notice that each reviewer has their own structure and style.

Reading these will give you an idea on how to write your own reviews.But that doesn't mean that you can copy them. Please don't. Your style should be unique,not something you copied off from another reviewer.

For example, my reviews are critical.I deeply analyse things, and give my views on characters,plot,writing style,world building,action etc. I give my overall view on the story and say to whom the book might appeal to (fantasy lovers, mythology geeks etc.) 

In a totally contrast way, some write these awesome long,funny reviews. Best example is Cait . Her reviews are hilarious and amazing!

2.Experiment your own style. Drop those that doesn't work and develop the ones that do.

Go try your best on these different styles you observed. If you think that one doesn't work for you, just drop it. When I started reviewing, I thought that funny reviews are the best, and attempted to write like that. It took me some time to realize that I can't connect to my own writing and that it sucked:) So I started experimenting. I tried a lot of styles, changed my structure often, and it took me about one and a half year to end up in the style that was comfortable to me.

3. A lot of things will influence your style.

I myself am a Literature student. Which strongly influences my reviews, as I analyse and see things deeply in books and review them as I do at school with my text books. Likewise, you might have a lot of personal quirks that may influence in your style. For example, if you are a sarcastic person by nature, then of course, it can reflect in your style.

Speaking of sarcasm, please don't force it in your reviews. I've seen a lot of reviewers trying too hard to be funny and sarcastic in their reviews and that it's so obvious that it's fake.Be yourself in your reviews.

4.Tweak your structure often.

Until you end up with something you're comfortable with. Until I created Chasing Faerytales last December, I kept on tweaking my reviews in Goodreads, that when I started reviewing in my blog, I had a proper structure that was my own. You'll realize the one that suits you and your writing style,and reviews will have their happily ever after:)

My structure goes with a banner I make for the book,a small introduction,a tiny summary of the story,and my critical analysis of the overall story and execution and finally end it up by stating to whom I'll recommend it to.

From what I've noticed around the blogosphere, Kelly gives her own short synopsis and summary for the book before she starts her reviews,and her reviews are really informative and beautiful. Nicole writes her reviews in lists,two lists stating what she liked and disliked.Aimee includes a segment called book porn in her reviews where she posts photos of the books she read.Jamie wraps up her whole review in a single sentence and puts it in a post it note at the end of all her reviews.

Likewise, invent your own structure. And until you find it, keep tweaking.

5.Go take a look at your old reviews.

It's embarrassing but inevitable!:) When you read your old reviews,you'll realize your mistakes and it will help you to correct them. And sometimes you need to ask others' opinions to know what is wrong with your reviews, because it's hard to find faults with something that we wrote ourselves. Make surveys, ask for your friends opinions and find out the flaws in your writing and improve them!

So that's how I discovered my own style which I am comfortable with.
How did you do it?
Have you ever felt like you should change your style?
What kind of styles do you admire?
Feel free to leave me a comment.

May 17, 2015

Book Blogging and Speech Freedom || A Collab Post


So,you guys are probably wondering why I am suddenly using big words like "Speech Freedom". And connecting it to book blogging. I mean, we can say anything we want in our blog,right? So of course, we have Speech Freedom!


That's where I have second doubts.

Let me break this into some simple examples.

Have you ever hesitated to post a negative review for a well loved book by a well loved author in fear of offending fans?

Have you ever stayed silent during a drama in the blogosphere just because you think you side with the wrong person and that may cause controversy?

Or have you ever hesitated to comment on a popular bloggers' post, disagreeing with what they said, in fear that you might not get into their good books?

If you have, then,that's exactly what I am talking about.

As much as I love book blogging and love how much freedom we have to say whatever we feel, sometimes I can't help but notice that there a few limitations when it comes to expressing our views and opinions.

I firmly believe that everyone has the right to say whatever they want. But sometimes,we do need to be careful with our words. 

Because if you ask me, Speech freedom is like punching. As long as you stay a bit vague, and punch the air, it is completely alright. The moment you hit someone's face directly, you are violating the freedom.

So since this post is about speech freedom, I wanted to know what some other bloggers think as well.

Without further hesitation, let me hand over the blog to a few fellow book bloggers, who shares their own views about the subject.



First of all,let's ask the opinion of the mighty world dominator in training Cait:) ( @ The Paper Fury )

I think, sometimes, the amount of "freedom" we have as book bloggers depends on the amount we CARE what everyone thinks of us. Are they tied together? Well...I think so. I hate offending people and causing arguments, buuuut, at the same time I'm pretty comfy in my own views. Everyone thinks differently. (I can't force everyone to be right like me...okay! I kid! I kid!) 

I've never felt like I couldn't say something because everyone would glare. As book bloggers, do we have to do what everyone else is doing? NOPE. A big reason I love blogging is that it's essentially MY space and I can decorate how I like. I've had opinions that are vastly different to the popular vote. If I think the opinion is important, I'll go ahead and post about it. If I think it'll just create arguments and it isn't really a big deal? I'll skip. If you have a well thought-out opinion and you've considered more than one angle: I totally think you have the right to voice it. 

Hazel (@ Stay Bookish) says that it's our choice!

Having freedom is having the power to act the way we want to. I do believe that we have freedom of speech as bloggers. We can talk about books endlessly and no one’s here to stop us. I know it may not seem like it because we tend to filter ourselves when we write negative reviews or sometimes we hold back sharing an unpopular opinion because we're scared of backlash. 

The thing is, to do so is our choice. That’s what matters- we can choose to curse as much as we want to on our blog or we can choose to skip rants and be more constructive. It’s completely up to us. So by all means, do what you want and say what you want on your blog. 
But take note: always do it wisely.

Nara ( @ Looking for the Panacea) thinks that we book bloggers have enough speech freedom!

Personally, I feel like we do have freedom of speech. Whether it’s a negative review, or a  discussion post disagreeing with popular opinion, the blogging community tends to be pretty accepting of any opinion one has to offer. To give an example, last year, I wrote a post confessing how I don’t really mind if there isn’t diversity in YA. Clearly, this is pretty contrary to what most people think, and when I published the post, I was expecting a lot of “wtf, mate” sort of comments. Surprisingly, at least half of the comments I received were actually ones that agreed with me to some degree. (I should probably clarify here that it’s not that I don’t want diversity, it’s just that I don’t really care if it isn’t present.)

I have to admit that book bloggers can be very touchy in general, overreacting at the slightest comment on Twitter, and blowing things out of proportion…but we can also be the kindest, most supportive people out there, and I feel like you should never be afraid to express any opinion, be it unpopular or not: unless it’s an opinion that attacks a person. We see these messages all the time: don’t attack the author, criticise the book. Don’t attack the blogger, dissect the review. Seems obvious, I guess.

So yes, other than that, go ahead and write whatever the hell you want to write.

Rachel (@ A Perfection Called Books) tells us her views on whether we have to agree with popular opinion.

I think it's a tentative balance. We are all entitled to our own opinions, yet for some issues I feel if you go against the crowd you'll be shunned or fought with. For example: ARC envy. People recently complained that bloggers shouldn't "brag" and post so many pictures of ARCs. While I firmly opposed this, I love seeing pictures of ARCs, I know some who felt otherwise and voiced their opinion on Twitter. I saw lots of discussions turn nasty and people incredulously wondering how these readers could hate ARC pictures. We must be careful what we say for some things are frowned upon in our community. We tend to pick a side on some controversy/debate and the outliers, the ones who feel otherwise, might be hesitant to speak up for fear of backlash. I know that's happened to me before! 

There are definitely some faux pas to avoid and acts of blogger decorum in blogging that must be upheld. 

I think bloggers are fine with people who disagree with them on certain bookish tastes/reviews, TV shows, bookish-related discussions etc. If it's a drama problem that's plagued the bookish community though, it's best to play the appeaser or just have no comment. Examples: Stacey Jay controversy (I tried to stay out), ARC envy (turn, tail, and RUN from the discussion!) 

I know you probably won't agree with me, but I'm Amity through and through. Peaceful and easygoing. I just don't see the point in arguing over something when we'll all have unswayable opinions. What will arguing do about it?!

Nuzaifa ( @ Say It With Books) share her thoughts on the few instances when blogging turns ugly.

Recently one of my reader and fellow blogger messaged me to share her views about one of my discussion posts. She mentioned that she did not feel comfortable expressing her thoughts on the blog's comments section for fear of causing a controversy. Her stance on my post was opposite to how the majority (including myself) felt. This honestly shocked me. But really, it shouldn't have. 

How many times have we woken up  to mob style attacks, Mean Girl-esque attacks, cyber-bullying and straight up stalking on our Twitter feeds? 

Is it any surprise that blog readers hesitate to openly share their personal views for fear of sparking controversy? And God forbid, a witch hunt. 

The ugliness isn't always this direct. Sometimes, it a couple of mean-spirited passive aggressive tweet from an established blogger in response to a post you just published. All because I dared write a post sharing my views.

Joey ( @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts) ended up ranting about the whole issue.
(Not that I complain:))

Let’s begin with a story.

A while back, I left a comment on a meme post and was put on blast by its author, their friends (emphasis on plural), and was sub-tweeted that I was:  “putting down another blogger” and it was “wrong of me to judge how they choose to blog” (among other comments). Now was that really my intent? I didn’t think so. I even asked other bloggers to review the comment and they thought my choice of words could have been misconstrued. (Of course, they could have been biased.) Either way, I replied back and apologized for not wording my thoughts “correctly” (?) with no reply to follow. I left it alone after that.

I’m sure this issue has seen another day in the blogosphere but it calls for attention the ease of misinterpretation; how even a slight nuance in wording can change the tone or message. More importantly, however, is how quick the wildfire of judgment can spread in determining the degree of defence needed to counter the feeling of being attacked. Fact: it is much easier for extremes to be amplified if it holds a negative connotation as opposed to one that gives praise. Why? Because no one enjoys shit being disturbed when it’s happening to them.

This raises an important question: should you ever feel afraid to comment with opinions that [willingly or unwillingly] go against the grain of the message?

I would hope that regular readers to my blog know that I encourage criticizing and being criticized as to inspire debate. Yet as much as I put myself into the content, I maintain my thoughts at an arms-length distance which I feel some bloggers don’t. This isn’t to say that the essence of personality is lost but that it acts like a barrier giving me the opportunity to step-back and transparently ask “Okay, this individual agrees/disagrees with me. Why is that?” Note that it isn’t wrong to feel emotionally attached to your thoughts—it is by and large an extension of you—but realize that there’s a difference in your person being attacked and having your opinions criticized.

When you sign up to be part of any publicized social community, you’re opening the possibility to be put under the microscope of scrutiny. What you do with these opinions is completely up to you but I find it disingenuous to be a blogger who acts on freedom of speech through book reviewing, discussions, memes, and what-have-you only to dismiss interpretations of that other than your own. To reiterate: you do not have to agree with alternative ways of thinking but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be open to give them thought. I just don’t think you can have it both ways.

But what if you can’t even get to the point of opening that voice?

There may be times when you have something to say but fear the dissonance of your voice in a collective channel of unfamiliar noise. I hear you. It’s tough to throw your opinion out there especially when it’s of the unpopular variety. It’s even tougher to digest that there are those who will police your thoughts, often dismissing it as a lesser voice for reasons of “credibility”.

And that to me is completely bananas.

This manifestation of blogger egoism begins when you receive your very first statistical up-vote; be it a follow or a view, and inflates into something toxic. It’s inescapable and something all bloggers face: a self-fulfilling quantifiable truth of popularity equating to credibility (and otherwise, authority). However, it can be extremely counter-intuitive when this balance of power governs the need to “do-right” onto others to inform or suggest corrective ways to think or proceed in the blogging community (without the openness for interpretation). Know that I am not short-selling bloggers helping other bloggers as less than what it is because tips are always appreciated but it becomes an issue when popularity justifies the standard to which readers ought toperceive a thought.

That to belong means you should follow the hype.

That to enjoy blogging means you should model yourself after other successes.

That to have a voice means you should rarely think for yourself.

Bloggers seem to have this almost-invincibility complex where they rarely see themselves at fault under the veil of a “critical opinion (and I say that with the utmost use of air quotes). With conflicting interests in perception, it often derails from being about the substance and can be considered more an attack on the individual making that opinion. This isn’t a pessimist’s view in saying that the community is laden with toxicity but rather in the face of polarizing thoughts, equanimity doesn’t seem like the go-to trait. I will say that there is no feeling similar to the satisfaction of being right or affirmed. However, there is rarely anything discrete in this community. We are students and teachers, and we are on this wildly interpretive journey together—me on this side of the screen, you on the other.

So take everything you read here and anywhere else with a grain of saltIt does not matter if you are a newbie, a seasoned pro, or are just a passing thinker, you should trust in your voice—in “you doing you”—and take every positive and negative in stride and own the experience in a way that best helps you sleep at night. There is no cookie-cutter way to be yourself and you should never feel marginalized into thinking otherwise.

Be a blogger, be you, and be true; the rest [I hope] will surely follow.

Now, I invit you guys to say what you think about this whole subject?
Do you think that we don't have enough speech freedom, or that what we have is enough?
Feel free to let me know, because after all, this post is about saying what you want:)

May 15, 2015

Prophecies and supernatural quests || The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater







Title: The Raven Boys
Author:Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date:September 18th 2012
Publisher:Scholastic
Synopsis:
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Anyone who knows my reading tastes knows that I love me some intense,complicated and intricately crafted storytelling when it comes to my books.The Raven Boys' synopsis screamed all of this, and I knew I am going to love this book even before I read it. Plus, Maggie Stiefvater has a huge fan following, and some of the bloggers I know are die hard fan of hers, *cough* Cait *cough*, and I was so tempted to read at least one book by her, which made me take up Raven Boys.

P.S- Plus this book is released on my birthday! Which explains why it is so awesome!:) 


Blue grows up with a bunch of psychic women which results in her being not a stranger to prophecies, tarot card readings and mythology. When she encounters a group of boys, who are on a quest to find the ley lines inspired by Welsh mythology, she joins them, and The Raven Boys is their journey full of mystery, revelations and a lot of awesomeness.
“My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”
The best thing about this book, at least for me, are the characters.I am a huge fan of character driven novels and if you are too, you'll love this book as well.Raven Boys has such developed, beautifully crafted characters with a lot of depth. To tell the truth, some might find it overwhelming to have too many main characters to get used to, but all of them are great in their own way, so that won't be something to complain about either:)
“The fact was, by the time she got to high school, being weird and proud of it was an asset. Suddenly cool, Blue could've happily had any number of friends. And she had tried. But the problem with being weird was that everyone else was 'normal'".” 
Blue is a quirky wonderful girl with her short hair and addiction to yogurts.Gansey is the interesting and intriguing leader of the Raven Boys, who has a thirst to discover the Ley lines.Noah was the quiet, adorable, silent boy in the sidelines. Adam was a conflicted character who is often driven by his pride and insecurity. And Ronan- my favourite- is a damaged,broken guy who brings out ravens from his dreams and someone I really wanted to know more about.
“Ronan didn't need physics. He could intimidate even a piece of plywood into doing what he wanted.” 
Stiefvater's writing is addictive.She writes in third person and there's a magical and lyrical quality to her writing that I adored.Plus she also had a way with grabbing and keeping the reader's attention,so much so that, I finished this book in one sitting, as I often do when the writing is so addictive for me to take a break.
“When Gansey was polite, it made him powerful. When Adam was polite, he was giving power away.” 
I also loved the whole use of Welsh mythology. I am a huge fan of myths of all kind, but Welsh is something I've never heard of, and Stiefvater's take on it was brilliant! I found it unique and utterly mesmerising and something I want to explore more as the series progresses.
“The king sleeps still, under a mountain , and around him is assembledhis warriors and his herds and his riches. By his right hand is his cup,filled with possibility. On his breast nestles his sword, waiting, too, to wake.Fortunate is the soul who finds the king and is brave enough to call him to wakefulness, for the king will grant him a favour, as wondrous as can be imagined by a mortal man.” 
Overall, Raven Boys is a beautiful book. It's perfect for any urban fantasy fans, who also prefers strong characterization, wonderful writing style and unique concepts. I really enjoyed this original and fabulous tale,which lived up to the fact that anything that comes out to the world on September 18th would be amazing!;)