Archive for the ‘Feral Friday’ Category:

Feral Friday – Aussie Bibliophiles: are we shallow, impatient, tight or patriotic?

Hi everyone! It is time for another Feral Friday!

Feral Friday is more of an opinion piece… and well, lets be honest, I am full of opinions. But this time, I included yours, and would like to here more!

Are Aussie bibliophiles shallow, impatient, tight or patriotic?

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Feral Friday – Rating unread books on Goodreads

Hi everyone! It is time for another Feral Friday!

Feral Friday is more of an opinion piece… and I certainly have an opinion about this topic! It really does make me feral.

When people rate books on Goodreads when they haven’t read the book.

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Feral Friday – #booksfortrade is an ARC parade

Hi everyone! It is time for another Feral Friday!

Feral Friday is were I discuss a topic, issue or question that is drives me crazy. So here is the latest issue that is sending me feral.

Desperately seeking ARCs on #booksfortrade

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Feral Friday – Authors Signing ARCs

Hi everyone! It is time for another Feral Friday!

Feral Friday is were I discuss a topic, issue or question that is drives me crazy. So here is the latest issue that is sending me feral.

Is it okay to ask an an author to sign an ARC/proof

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Feral Friday – Hating Bookstores

Hi everyone! It is time for another Feral Friday!

Feral Friday is were I discuss a topic, issue or question that is drives me crazy. So here is the latest issue that is sending me feral.

How could you hate a bookstore?

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Feral Friday – What to do with ARCs

Hi everyone! It has been awhile, but I have had a lot of bookish thoughts and questions running through my head lately, so I thought it was time to bring back Feral Friday!

Feral Friday is were I discuss a topic, issue or question that is drives me crazy. So here is the latest issue that is sending me feral.

ARCs – What do you do with them?

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Feral Friday – 5 Star Horrible Books

It’s Feral Friday! And I want to talk about ‘5 Star Horrible’ books

I have recently decided upon a new rating: 5 star horrible.

You know those books that are so heart-breakingly amazing that they are horrible. The ones that rip out your heart and smash it to pieces, and you loved every second of it?

The book when someone asks “How was it?” Your immediate reply is “It was horrible. I loved it!”. (more…)

You know, YA and comics aren’t all that different…

If you’re a regular reader of YA novels, the thought of reading comics might seem foreign or even unappealing altogether. Being a reader of both though, I think there’s room to enjoy both if you wanted to. A few of my girlfriends are similar to me in that they love comics as well as YA, and I sat down to have a think about why this might have been the case. There are more crossovers between YA and comics than I think people realise.

  • YA narratives play like a movie in your mind as you read. Comics are the visual element on paper.
    I’ve read some incredible YA books that open up your imagination as you read them – Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Iron Fey Series, the Soulstice series to name a few. In many ways, this is how comics work. Narrative and illustrations. Only, the illustrations are on paper, and you can visually see the world the author is trying to convey for you. This cuts down on a lot of the narrative when it comes to “world building”. In many ways, comics have an advantage of being able to jump straight into the story itself because they don’t have to work as hard to set it up.

 

  • Just like YA series, comics have series too
    Some of my favourite YA series have 3 books in the series (or more!) or sometimes even spin off series. Comics aren’t disimilar. Comics usually tell a bigger story one chapter at a time in a single issue released usually on a monthly basis. So over 12 months, you’ve read 12 “chapters” if you will. Usually most comic companies will take these “chapters” and pop them into a hard cover book (or volume) in with about 6 or 7 chapters combined in one to create a whole story. I usually buy most comics this way, in a collection or volume where I can then read all of the “chapters” together and enjoy them. And just like some of my favourite YA series, some of these volumes have huge cliffhangers too!

 

  • Both are stereotyped and often misunderstood
    I think the perception is that comics are always based on superheroes or all slapstick. Likewise when I’ve told my adult friends that I read YA novels, I’ve had many people say ‘Oh, like Twilight?’ because they just don’t understand.Both YA and comics have a lot more to offer, which leads me to my next crossover…

 

  • Both YA and comics don’t limit themselves to the here and now with titles ranging from contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, superpowers, romance, thriller, and supernatural themes.
    What attracted me to YA originally was that the books were exciting and had plots that were complex (trying to explain some of these plots to my non-reader friends over the years has been fun! Lol) and unique and challenge your imagination with all kinds of weird and wonderful storylines that you often don’t find in adult fiction.

As such, I thought it might be a nice guide to comics if I posted a recommendation post. For instance, if you liked These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner then you’ll probably enjoy the comic series Saga Volume 1. I am working on a pretty epic list of comics for next week! I’m also working on a series of other posts for those of you who might be interested in comics and more importantly, where do you get started? They can be overwhelming, but if you know what to pick up they can be incredibly enjoyable, fun and addictive!

Keep your eyes out – these will be weekly features for now as we try and diversify Book Nerd Reviews a bit. Whilst we’ve always been traditionally a YA book blog, I think most of you will see I have been transitioning more to comics for the last 12 months whilst Kristy has stuck with YA books.

With this in mind we’ll be looking to broaden our audience with both comic fans and YA fans alike sharing the same space. We may get some YA fans opening their minds to comics and likewise, we may get some comic fans understanding what YA is all about as well. I’d like to think that we’ll offer a bit of something for everyone all the same!

Feral Friday – Are well known authors are holding back new authors?

It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.

This week, we’re asking if well known authors are holding back new authors?

Kristy’s say:

The interwebs has gone crazy since an opinion piece titled “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It” was posted on Huffington Post’s ‘Huffpost Culture’ (the article can be found here).

Now, I won’t go into a lot of my thoughts on this opinion piece, such as why was JK Rowling targeted and other authors were not, or why shouldn’t adults read Harry Potter, or why would someone criticise books they haven’t read yet… but, this opinion piece is largely focused on issues of “Big Name” writers who get hype and market space, whereas lesser known authors do not, and if suggests that maybe “Big Names” should move aside, or stick to their own genre?

My thoughts on this: NO! DEFINITELY NOT! These well-known authors have worked extremely hard to get where they are!!! The result of their hard work and dedication is the fact that readers become fans of theirs and their writing, and publishers are more willing to put more money into marketing their upcoming books – all of which results in more sales! To suggest that is unfair and that a well-known author should to step aside to allow new writers enter the game is ludicrous. To say that these big authors need to “give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe” is both disrespectful and naive.

The fact that these authors create mores sales is the most important factor when it comes to the publishing industry! These “Sure Thing” authors are who have paved the way for lesser established authors. They have worked hard, they have proved themselves, their value to readers, and value to the publishing industry. Without these “Golgomath” writers, the publishing industry would certainly be a lot smaller today (and therefor far less likely to pick up new authors).

And I don’t believe that these well respected authors are hindering other new authors at all. Naturally if you are in a bookstore and you see a book written by an author you know you like, you are far more likely to pick it up than the unknown one next to it. But, hey, that’s the payoff for many years of blood, sweat, tears and rejection. I am guessing that authors who think that it is unfair that an author can sell millions of books just because their name is on the cover, would not be complaining if the author selling all these books was themselves. So why should anyone who has reached the top ever step aside, or be told to stay in their box. They should keep striving for new goals, try new things, do whatever they want to do! And they should be able to do so without being told they are holding back others!

So, J.K. Rowling is dominating the market? And that’s not fair and she should step aside to let other author have a go??? Well, who stepped aside for her she got rejected by approximately a dozen publishers? Or when in 1997 her first book was published with an initial print run of only 1000? Oh, that’s right… no one! She worked hard, was persistent and created her own success. And yes, that may have resulted in The Cuckoo’s Calling becoming an over-night sensation, but that’s the benefit of working your way up to being a “Big Name”. She earned that! And the right to write whatever she wants to!

Stephenie Meyer did not step aside for Cassandra Clare. Veronica Roth did not give Samantha Shannon “room to breathe”. Nor did David Levithan step aside for John Green… but yet, these authors and MANY other authors, have managed to become successful authors on their own accord – they have worked hard and proved themselves, and now, we are able to experience lots of “Big Names” across all genres. And thank goodness for that!!

Authors should not feel intimidated by “Big Names” – they should see that as the bar has been set and try to reach it! Write more, write better, grow, learn, take a chance, keep trying!!! After all, “Big Names” didn’t become big overnight!  Yes, well-known authors get a lot of hype and publicity – but that is a result from their proven success… which at the end of the day is due to their talent, not because there was an opening the market!

 

Melissa’s say:

If big authors just stopped writing once they were famous and made way for the unknown authors – where would the challenge be? What standards would the unknown authors have to live up to?

One of the best things about being a reader of YA fiction is that we are absolutely SPOILED for choice right? We have incredible books to choose from by some of the worlds best authors. Why on earth would we want them to step aside to make way for the unknown authors?!

In fairness authors like J.K. Rowling, John Green, Suzanne Collins, Cassandra Clare, Stephanie Perkins (don’t make me go on and on, because I will!) made it to the big leagues when they too at some point were unknown authors. And despite this, their talent for writing and story telling was so strong that it catapulted them straight to the top. That’s how it should be. If you’ve got the talent – you too will break through.

I think the author of the article that Kristy posted actually comes across as a bit selfish and insecure. By rights, if Lynn Shepherd was so talented and so good herself, she wouldn’t feel so threatened about well known authors continuing to write. If she was a lover of fiction like us, she would indulge in all of the choice we have as readers and these books would inspire her to write better so she too one day will become a household name.

I’m not pointing these things out to be nasty. I just think the very notion is ridiculous that someone is too famous and is hogging the limelight, so out you go – no more writing for you! In 2014 are we really saying this? Of course not. It’s one struggling authors opinion. My advice is to write books that people want to read.

 

 

Do you think “Big Names” should step aside and give someone else a chance? ? Let us know in your comments below!

Feral Friday – Reading outside of your comfort zone

It’s ACTUALLY Saturday, and I am really sorry for the late post guys! But Kristy and I had a really good discussion this week and so even though I am late I wanted to share this post still.

This week, we’re talking about reading books that take us out of our comfort zone:

Kristy’s say:

Comfort zones are funny things aren’t they? We create reading comfort zones because we think it will ensure that we read things we will enjoy – but in fact, it restricts us from reading things that we may really enjoy. But even knowing this, it doesn’t mean it is easy to leave our comfort zones. My comfort zone was always speculative fiction. I love escapism; I love the fact that you can incorporate paranormal or fantasy elements into a storyline set in this world, or in a completely different world. I love the magical elements to paranormal and fantasy, something that is not possible, but yet, somehow seems possible. I love being transported into a world that is different to the one I live in, where my imagination can soar and I can dream of a different world.

So when one of my best friends recommended Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, I was hesitant. Contemporary books were not within my comfort zone, and at the point I didn’t want to read something that wouldn’t transport me into another world. Plus, at that time it was also a self-published title, and I had no experience with self-published books. But something about it intrigued me, and I picked it up – and absolutely loved it! And when another of my best friends insisted that I read The Fault in Our Stars, it was so far out of my comfort zone that I didn’t want to read it. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust my friend’s judgement, it was more to the fact that contemporary books were not within my comfort zone, and one involving cancer was so far out of my comfort zone, that it had its own postcode. And even though it took me a while, I did read it, and wow – what a fantastic book this is (as most of you know)!

By stepping outside my comfort zone, I not only found two fantastic books, but I found books that proved to me that stories that seemed “too sad” or “too real”, can be just as enjoyable as any other book. Although they do create a completely different reading experience, this doesn’t mean they don’t transport you into their world, it just means that you are transported into a world with a different view. I found these stories can be magical, without “magic”.

Since then, I will admit that contemporary has become a permanent part of my comfort zone. I continue to read contemporary, and I actually find that these are a nice escape from my escape to paranormal/fantasy worlds. I like to mix it up a bit more now – this keeps stories with similar elements “fresh” and I don’t get fatigued by the abundance of magic, angels, ghosts, dragons, witches/wizards, faeries, demons, wolves, vampires, special abilities etc.

I continue to try to expand my comfort zone. I am trying to incorporate genres/sub-genres that I have always thought that I didn’t enjoy. I think the trick is to find that “element” that you enjoy. If a book in a different genre has an element that appeals to you, then there is a chance that you can enjoy it. For example, if you like romance, that doesn’t mean you won’t like sci-fi books. If you like humour, then does not mean you won’t like dystopian books. You just need to find that “thing” that will enable you to connect to the story.

My advice? Don’t focus on genres. Genres are not only restrictive, but they are getting more and more confusing with sub-genres and such (and what others believe fits in each category). You should just focus on the elements that appeal to you. Elements cross genre – romance, strong protagonists, supernatural creatures, action etc, can be found in many genres – and if you can find an appealing element in a book, then no matter what the genre or sub-genre, you may well find a new favourite.

Melissa’s say:

Some of the best books I have read have been books that have taken me outside of my comfort zone. In particular, I remember being THAT person who used to say that I didn’t enjoy sci-fi in general. Really tried my best to stay away from any books that even remotely looked like sci-fi because I guess I had a preconceived notion of what I was going to get when I read it, and I was bored just thinking about it.

And then there was Across The Universe by Beth Revis. Sooooo many people were talking about how incredible this book was. I held off reading it for the longest time, until someone told me I had to read it. I tried the stock standard “Oh I don’t do sci-fi…” and it really wasn’t until I was challenged really hard to read this book that I finally thought “Fine I’ll just do it to get them off my back”. And chapter 1 down, I was hooked!

By telling ourselves that we’re only into certain types of genres, we limit ourselves to some amazing stories that really open our minds and challenge our thinking.

I also used to do this with fantasy books. And then I read Incarnate by Jodi Meadows and was blown away. It even had dragons in it. And I hate dragons normally. I even liked them in this book. So just because you’ve not liked things in the past, I don’t think it’s a good enough reason to continue carrying on this way.

This is why I read comics, and sometimes post reviews of them (I’d like to post more this year). So many people say “I don’t like comics” and then I ask them what they’ve read to make them feel that way. You’d perhaps be surprised by the amount of people who turn around after saying that to tell me they’ve never read one. Then how do you know you don’t like them? Comics (or graphic novels if you wanna get technical) have story lines that are just as rich and involved as the books we love in YA (sometimes moreso). They’re just accompanied with images. Which I love. It’s something different, and if you pick up the right comic, it can have a really profound effect on you by reaching out to you in a way that sometimes novels can’t.

I still think it’s okay to have a favourite genre. Nothing wrong with that. I like dystopian and contemporary books the best. But every now and then I need something different. A different flavour if you will. I have stopped limiting myself. In actual fact, 2014 is the year that Kristy and I continue to challenge ourselves by reaching out for books we would not normally pick.

This year, I read my first ever Independent release (I always swore I would only read published books) in Backwards Compatible: A Geek Love Story by Sarah Daltry and Pete Clark. It was great!!

I also read It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, which was recommended to me, and not something I would normally reach out to read. Again, fantastic storyline and a book that I really enjoyed all the way through.

Maybe in 2014, you can challenge yourself to pick some books that you’d not normally reach out to read as well?

 

What book did you read that took you out of your comfort zone, and did you enjoy it? Let us know in your comments below!

Feral Friday – Fandoms Gone Wild

It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.

This week, we’re talking about fandoms and the crazy things fans do:

Kristy’s say:

Fandoms are great things – after all, they stem from passion about something (in this case books)… that is, until they cross a line.

Something that provokes that much passion in someone is a good thing, and to the most part, I think this something that should be cherished, but sometimes there are grey areas, and sometimes boundaries are crossed. Fandoms don’t have any set boundaries, but we are all obliged to stay within moral and legal guidelines. And sometimes, even those boundaries can be grey rather than thick black line.

I do understand being passionate about a book and author, to want to meet them, to want to know more about the world they created, and even want to get a tattoo that reflects how much a book has inspired me and touched me. But there is fandom, and then there is obsession. I think it is okay to fangirl over an author, but stalking them to the point where you find out where they live and hang around their house is going too far (this has happened to multiple authors). To be so involved in a series that you love everything about it is also acceptable, but I personally think that asking an actor of the movie adaptation to bite you crosses the line (this happened to more than one Twilight actor). And even though I love bookish tattoos, there are some that I personally think are a little too much (but tattoos are a very personal thing, so I won’t judge another person’s personal preference).

Like I said, I do understand the feelings these authors and books provoke, after all, I freely admit that I fangirl over Laini Taylor. I certainly would be a blubbering mess if I ever met her, however I would never go to her house hoping to “run into” her, and I certainly wouldn’t ask her for one her pets of her teeth (this will make sense if you have read Daughter of Smoke and Bone).

To me, stalking and having crazy requests (such as biting) are clear lines. But there are also grey areas when it comes to fandom. And those can be hard. Firstly there is how much do you tweet/email/Facebook your favourite author before you venture into the stalking category? And if your favourite author is one who does divulge personal information, you must also be careful in asking them questions about, or referencing, their non-writing life. These types of things can quickly turn from being a grey area to being in a no-go-zone. It is a fine line that you have to walk when it comes to communicating with your favourite author.

Another grey area relates to being so passionate about something, that you want all the information you can as soon as you can possibly get your hands on it. The most recent (and relevant) example is the recent leak of The Fault in Our Stars trailer. Trust me, I honestly do know why people were tempted to (or did) watch it. Sometimes the temptation is just too much – I understand that. I mean, knowing it’s out there just waiting of you? That is hard! I honestly don’t know where I stand on it (mainly due to the fact I understand how hard it was to not watch it). All I will say about this particular example is that I didn’t watch it as I really want to see this trailer in high quality. To me, the book is such great quality, that the movie should reflect that, and I want to see it in all its glory. But trust me, I am not judging any of those who did watch it, I don’t know if I could have resisted if it was my all-time favourite book to movie adaptation trailer.

All in all, I think it is great if you are a part of a fandom, or you are just a fangirl – that means that you are passionate about a book/series/author. I think it is great if you are so enthusiastic about a book that you buy the book (even multiple copies), tell everyone you know about it, go to author events, go to the midnight sessions (or premieres) of the movies, buy the special edition DVDs and pretty much everything else you can – but I urge all fans to be respectful to authors, their work, the publishers and the work of those involved in any movie adaptations. When it comes to knowing what crosses the line, I tend to go by this rule: If you would be embarrassed to tell your mother, if it could result in a restraining order or being arrested, then don’t do it.

Melissa’s say:

Fandoms can both be a blessing and a curse for authors I am sure. Obviously it’s something all authors love, since fans will buy your books and support your work and share the word to others about your books. So that’s the benefit right there. But do some fans maybe take things a little bit too far?

Firstly, I get being a fan. I am a fan of MANY authors and have fangirled when I’ve met authors before. But I am not the obsessive sort of fan girl.

I know Kristy has talked about this, but John Green is one of those authors that has a huge fandom. He has fans that watch every single one of his youtube videos with his brother Hank. They buy the merchanise, they support the same causes that John and Hank support. They tweet them obsessively, and last week – someone leaked the trailer to The Fault in Our Stars, and fans then continued to share this out.

Most of this is innocent enough, and for the most part pretty charming. But some of these fans (a percentage, not all), can be pretty intense about their love for an author, or book and I would think this is the negative side of fandoms. I know that a lot of these fans are maybe young and so they don’t realise how damaging their actions can be.

If we’re talking about things that have been leaked, this is not the first time this has happened. It happened to J.K. Rowling with the release of her final book being leaked online days before. I’m not a fan of Stephenie Meyer, but people will remember some years ago when the manuscript of Midnight Sun was leaked online. Both authors have huge dedicated fandoms.

In the instance of the Stephenie Meyer leak, it was the fandom spreading and sharing the manuscript online that ruined the experience for everyone else. She commented on her heartbreak about the leak in the following statement:

“I did not want my readers to experience Midnight Sun before it was completed, edited and published. I think it is important for everybody to understand that what happened was a huge violation of my rights as an author, not to mention me as a human being. …This has been a very upsetting experience for me, but I hope it will at least leave my fans with a better understanding of copyright and the importance of artistic control. So where does this leave Midnight Sun? My first feeling was that there was no way to continue. Writing isn’t like math; in math, two plus two always equals four no matter what your mood is like. With writing, the way you feel changes everything. If I tried to write Midnight Sun now, in my current frame of mind, James would probably win and all the Cullens would die, which wouldn’t dovetail too well with the original story. In any case, I feel too sad about what has happened to continue working on Midnight Sun, and so it is on hold indefinitely. I’d rather my fans not read this [leaked] version of Midnight Sun…It has taken me a while to decide how and if I could respond. But to end the confusion, I’ve decided to make the draft available here (at the end of this post). This way, my readers don’t have to feel they have to make a sacrifice to stay honest. I hope this fragment gives you further insight into Edward’s head and adds a new dimension to the Twilight story. That’s what inspired me to write it in the first place.”

Whether or not your a fan of Stephenie Meyer or not, it makes you think about things. Especially since this could potentially happen in the future when people get their hands on things they shouldn’t have access to.

There sometimes are repercussions when things are leaked online. This is why I won’t support the leak of TFIOS leak.. not that I think the movie won’t go ahead, but because it’s not the right thing to do.

What do you think of fandoms? Also, what are your thoughts on the leak of TFIOS trailer? Let us know in your comments below!

Feral Friday – ARC Envy

It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.

This week, we’re talking about ARC envy:

Kristy’s say:

I have previously said, and in most circumstances I stand by this, that I don’t get a lot of ARC envy. Sure, there are times where I see another blogger got a book that I would have liked, and there is a little twinge of envy and I think “oh, I really wish I had of received that” (after all, I am not a saint), but it only lasts a minute and then I move on to being happy that for the other blogger. So, generally, no, I do not get ARC envy.

But…. (there is always a “but”)

2014 is the year that the books that I desperately want to read come out! And so far this year I have experienced more envy over ARCs (or those who have access to a manuscript) than I have ever felt in my “bookish life” (even before blogging),, Don’t get me wrong, there are always books that I want to read coming out, but this year has 4 different categories. To break it down, the categories are:

  1. The books that I want to read
  2. The books that I really want to read
  3. The books that I really really want to read
  4. The books I am so desperate for that I would be willing to drop most of my morals to get hold of it.

Naturally, category 1 is something that is ever growing, and in this category I am really happy for other bloggers if they get an ARC and I don’t. Category 2 is where I am still happy for any bloggers who receive it, but there is a pang of envy. Category 3 results in me being happy for anyone who receives it, but I do have a higher and longer moment of jealousy (and quite possibly a pout on my face at the same time). Basically, categories 1-3 have a no or limited jealousy factor. And where there is a little jealous, it is brief and manageable and at the end of the day, I just hope that those who do receive the ARCs enjoy them!

And then there is category 4. This is a rare one (thankfully), but this category is where my jealousy peaks and all logic goes out the window, resulting in major pouting and wanting to throw a tantrum like a 3 year old that has just been told they cannot have a lolly. This category is one where I would be willing to do pretty much anything to get hold of an ARC (beg, plead, turn on the waterworks – seriously, very few morals would remain), and I would be jealous to the core of anyone who had an ARC.

Note: Although it is somewhat agonising that there are those rare books out there that you desperately want right now, but cannot get, I am actually glad that these books exist! They are truly special!

And this year there are 2 books coming out that fit into this category – and I have already experienced the illogical jealousy that goes along with those rare books in the category (I hope the fact that I recognise that it is illogical means that I am still somewhat sane). It will be no surprise to those who know me, or to regulars to Book Nerd Reviews, that the two books in category 4 are Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, and In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo. And even though both these books are not due out until April, I will freely admit I have already fallen victim to the green-eyed monster over these 2 books. And let me tell you, these bouts of jealousy are completely illogical, and when I am sitting here writing this, I know it is totally irrational, but at the time, I just cannot help it.

So, evidence of my ridiculous, totally crazy, illogical jealousy? Well, let’s start with Dreams of Gods and Monsters. Firstly, there are currently no ARCs available for this book, so I cannot be jealous of anyone who has received one – but my irrational envy still exists for those who have read the book! To my knowledge, this is limited to 3 people – Laini Taylor herself, her husband and her editor. Naturally I am jealous of Laini Taylor – she is phenomenal and she knows exactly what is happening inside this wonderful world she has created (more than we will ever know). Then there are the two other people, her husband and editor. And while I adore her husband, and it’s only natural that he has read it, and it is necessary for her editor to read the book (how else would it get to print), I am still insanely jealous of them! They know what has happened in this world and I don’t – how can I not be jealous of that?

And the next book is In the Shadows. I woke up this morning to see tweets that Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo have received (I assume very rare) ARCs of their book. Even though they are the authors/illustrator of this book, and they totally deserve to have ARCs of their own book, I am jealous that they (and I assume their partners/family/friends) get to hold and look through the book that I desperately want to get my hands on. And then I think about the other lucky people in the US who will get an ARC of this book – and I am already jealous of them! Even though (as far as I know), they don’t even have them yet! See – totally illogical – I am jealous of people who don’t even have it yet!

I am insane, right?

Although I am looking forward to a lot of category 3 books this year, with new titles from some of my favourite authors such as Stephanie Perkins, Colleen Hoover, Kiersten White (another title), Alexandra Bracken, Sarah J Maas and Maggie Stiefvater, and I may be a little jealous of those who do get those ARCs, it is really the category 4 books that will be cause the green-eyed monster to rear its ugly head. So, to those of you who do receive an ARC (or gets to read through personal connections or work in the publishing industry) of Dreams of Gods and Monsters, or In the Shadows, I want to say now that I am happy for you, I just won’t be able to say it at the time when I riddled with jealousy and sulking in the corner like a child who has been told they cannot have a puppy (actually, that’s a lie, you know that really ugly cry with sobs and snot and blubbering – that will be me).. but somewhere deep down, I am sure I am happy for you (I think lol). For those of you who receive ARCs in categories 1-3, I am also happy for you, but I should be able to tell you that after a short bout of pouting :)

I cannot wait until May so I can return to being my normal non-jealous self – and I will have read both of my most anticipated 2014 books – YAY!!! I will once again turn back into that person is happy for you that you received that ARC you really wanted… but until then, happy ARC reading to you all!

Melissa’s say:

Every now and then comes along a book that you’ve been waiting for – whether it’s a highly anticipated new release from your favourite author, or the next book in a series that you’re just DYING to read. And like Kristy, there’s lots of books out there that I want to read, and some I even really want to read. But there’s been a few books that I have been just hanging for! And those are the books that you’d love to be able to get an ARC for, but ultimately even if it doesn’t happen, you’re that guy that pre-orders the book anyway just in case.

There’s a few authors that I am a fan girl for to this degree – Gayle Forman, John Green, Stephanie Perkins, Lauren De Stefano and Lauren Oliver just to name a few! Anytime I see one of their books available through a publisher, I am like a moth to the flame to ask nicely if I can have a copy of that book.

Sometimes I am successful. I was able to read Panic by Lauren Oliver over 6 months before it was released!

And sometimes I am unsuccessful like Just One Year by Gayle Forman.

And it’s the times your unsuccessful that you just wanna roll up into the fetal position and cry a little. And just to clarify, I understand what a brat I must be sounding right now. That’s not my intention! I am usually a really good sport with arcs, and quite humble about them. I actually don’t request many because I don’t want to be seen as abusing any privlidges. But there are certain books I’ll go on a limb for (any of the authors above).

And when you aren’t approved for one of those arc’s it’s one of those moments where you’re so happy for others who are able to read and enjoy the story, but bitterly disappointed for yourself because you have to wait. And whilst some people will see this as a negative thing, it’s actually not. It’s amazing that books can harness our emotions in this way and make us want to read them so badly to the point where we almost act borderline crazy because we want to read the story so much.

Books like this are fantastic – because they make us passionate.

Everyone should have authors or books out there that they’d feel the same way as Kristy and I do – where you’d do just about anything to get your hands on it!

 

Do you get jealous when others receive ARCs? Is there (or was there) a particular ARC that desperately want to be approved for? Let us know in your comments below!

Feral Friday – Marketing Material Controversy: The Fault In Our Stars

It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.

Fans of The Fault in Our Stars have been eagerly awaiting any news regarding the movie that is due to be released in June 2014, and today they received payment for their patience, with the release of the first official poster for the movie.

And fans are divided… here is the poster, and below our personal opinions on the first official promotional material for The Fault in Our Stars movie.

This week, we’re talking about the poster that divided fans:

Kristy’s say:

I like it. I think it is fitting to the storyline, honours the characters and I think that it brave, bold and (although some strong disagree), I don’t believe it is inappropriate or insensitive.

There are 2 major important features to this movie poster. The first being the image, and the second being the tagline. So, I will address those separately.

The image: I love this image. I think that it is beautiful and sweet, but yet not romanticised. I loved the fact that the studio have done an amazing job at revealing the sweetness of this story, but they do not shy away from the fact that this is not some sappy Hollywood love story where everything is perfect. Hazel’s oxygen tubes are clearly visible, and I love that. It shows that there is something different and unique about this story, and that there are real issues involved, where the main storyline is not focused on a young couple where the biggest problem is that the girl has a male best friend who is love with her or paranormal creatures are trying to kill her. In general, I think this image is real, and shows the true emotion and storyline of The Fault in Our Stars.

The tagline: “One Sick Love Story”. Now, I will admit, that when I first saw that, I thought “WHAT? NO!”. But, within a few seconds, my mind started whirling around with different thoughts and I quickly decided that I liked it. To me, there are many aspects to this tagline, and I think this one is actually fitting of the storyline on many levels. Firstly, there is the bluntness: this is one aspect that I enjoyed about the book – Hazel and Gus don’t shy away from illness and reality – they stare their challenges in the face while dealing with them, and they don’t sugar-coat anything. Secondly, there could be a humorous side to it that both main characters would appreciate. And finally, it really depends on which words you focus on: if you focus on “one”, this shows that this is one story, that there are many stories out there that involve love, dedication and illness. If you focus on “sick”, well that would depend on if you take this literally or as slang, ie: you could take it literally as illness and that this story/movie focuses on illness, or you could take it as slang term and that it means cool, interesting or awesome. And finally, if you focus on the words “love story” then you get the true meaning of this tagline.

Basically, while the shock factor is there, I do like it. But I also understand why some would not. I think those who haven’t read the book would dislike it, as without thinking about the characters or storyline, this would seem inappropriate. And for those who have read it, well that camp is divided. Some feel that it fits perfectly, others think that it is extremely inappropriate, while others are withholding any judgement until they actually see the movie. However, I will say, I am disappointed they didn’t use a quote from the book as the tagline – out of all the wonderful things John Green wrote in The Fault in Our Stars, there was surely an appropriate, and meaningful quote, that could have been used instead.

John Green himself has said that while he had nothing to do with this tagline, he personally likes it. He believes this tagline fits the character of Hazel, by saying “I found it dark and angry in the same way that Hazel is (at least at times) dark and angry in her humor”. He also goes on to say “I like the tag line because it says, literally, the sick can also have love stories. Love and joy and romance are not just things reserved for the well.” I agree with John Green on this one, as to me this was an important message of The Fault in Our Stars (and I always thought that he was brave to write about this subject in such an honest and raw way).

John is also impressed with the image as well, we have very similar opinions on this matter “A major Hollywood studio released a movie poster in which the female romantic lead has visible evidence of her disability, which is damn near unprecedented, and I’m thrilled they put her face — and her cannula — on the poster.” Now that I come to think about it, it is rather unprecedented – other movies I can think of that involve illness as a focus don’t show too much of that in the promotional posters. Stepmom shows the main characters staring into the distance, Philadelphia shows close-ups of the main characters, of which Tom Hanks’ character seems to be in perfect health, Now is Good (the film adaptation of Before I Die) also shows the main character looking in good health. The only one that I can think of that came close was My Sisters Keeper – where it shows the young girl at the bottom blowing bubbles – but in saying that, she is wearing a beanie, so, without knowing the storyline, it could be just a girl wearing a beanie.

But, at the end of the day, like it or hate it, kudos must go the marketing people of The Fault in Our Stars movie – this tagline certainly has people talking (which at the end of the day, is their goal).

Also, for those of you who do like this poster, you can buy a copy of it from the Project For Awesome website for $25 USD, or a signed copy for $125 USD (signed by John Green). Profits from these sales go to Project For Awesome.

Melissa’s say:

I do believe my exact words when Kristy messaged me this picture was “One sick love story?! Really?!” To be honest, I think this is probably one of the first times Kristy and I have ever disagreed. Outright, I am going to say I completely respect everything Kristy has said, and in some cases I actually do agree with the points made.

But I am going to be really blunt here – I think it’s really tacky. I think it’s a little bit of shock and awe tactics, and I think John Green is such a good storyteller, that it seems like it’s cheapening the movie plot unnecessarily. That is my opinion anyways, which I realise probably won’t be popular with everyone.

The image, I adore. I think they nailed that 150%. I love everything about it. I love the affection and sweetness between Hazel and Gus without it being OTT. There’s a real tenderness and caring for each other shown in that picture, which is so on point when it comes to their relationship. I applaud the movie studio on including Hazel’s cannula on the poster as well.

The movie isn’t necessarily focusing solely on someone with cancer, it’s more a story about two people that fall in love (and one of them happens to have cancer). I think it was definitely the right decision to include it in the image as it clearly tells the potential viewer who hasn’t seen the trailer or read the book that this is a love story and the girl is sick – although the crass tagline will tell you that too. ;)

The tagline I think is really the polarising part of the movie poster. And I completely understand both sides to the argument to be honest. I agree that it’s actually something I could hear Hazel saying. But I think as a reader, we have that wonderful thing called context. We already love Hazel for her bluntness and for her personality throughout the novel. So when she’s angry or sarcastic, we get it and we understand where she’s coming from. Context is the big thing that the general average person looking at this poster is not going to get from a 4 word tagline. And whilst I don’t think it’s going to shatter the Earth into two pieces with it’s controversy, I do think it’ll continue to divide people.

Then again, what do they say in the media business? As long as it gets people talking, who cares? In the end, it’ll drive people to talk about the movie, and that is free publicity for the movie company – good luck to them! :)

The Fault In Our Stars opens on my 30th birthday too! June 6! Eeeeeee. :D I might just have to postpone the party to go and see this one…

What are your thoughts on the poster (image and tagline)? Let us know in your comments below!

Feral Friday – Buying Books For Other People

It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.

Christmas is quickly approaching, and it is nearly time for us to play Santa’s little elves and get presents for all those who have been naughty and nice (we don’t discriminate against the naughty here at Book Nerd Reviews).

This week, we’re talking about buying books for other people:

Kristy’s say:

Tis the season to go shopping! And when it comes to buying presents, books are something that I normally get people. And I do this for multiple reasons:

  • If I have to go shopping, then I want it to interest me (I hate shopping).
  • Most of friends are readers.
  • I think it is fantastic to give someone a book – so they can relax, be transported into another world, be entertained and maybe find something they can really connect to.  Not many other things can provide such an experience (and such value for money).
  • Because a lot of the people I buy for are interstate, and if I buy them a book, I can get it delivered directly to them (saves on postage, as online retailers are normally cheaper  than sending myself – or free postage).
  • Because I love sharing great books, I love talking about books and I love hearing about others experiences with books (a totally selfish reason really).
  • And basically, I love getting books – so I am pushing my wants and wishes onto those I care about most :)

But, as much as I love giving books, it can be one of the most difficult things to do as well. There are two main things to consider when buying someone else a book: what are their reading tastes, and do they already have it/already read it.

Reading tastes is something that is pretty easy – if you know someone well enough to buy them presents, you probably know them well enough to know what type of books they like. As the people I buy for mostly like the same books that I do, I tend to buy books for others that I have liked/loved myself (for example, in 2011 I brought pretty much every one Daughter of Smoke and Bone). But when it comes to close friends, this does not always work – as when friends read a really great book, they tend to tell each other and end up buying/reading it before you get the chance to buy it for them. This is when I fall back on books that I haven’t read yet, but are high on my TBR pile or wishlist (once again, only helpful if the person you are buying for has the same taste in books as you).

But, knowing if someone already has a book you are considering buying can be somewhat harder. This is where Goodreads can come in handy for some people. Some people (and I certainly am not one of them) have very well sorted Goodreads shelves, so you can see what they already have, or what they want. But for those who don’t organise their shelves on Goodreads, it can be a lot harder.  So what can do about those people? Well, you have three options, snoop, guess or ask. Snooping through their bookshelf will tell you what someone already has (if you can do that without flying interstate or looking like a total stalker). Guessing is a bit of a gamble as they may already have the book you buy for them. Or you could ask – the downside to this is then the person will know what you are getting them (Or, it could completely backfire on you and they won’t tell you what books they want – I admit, I am one of those who don’t answer that question; it makes me feel that if I answer then the other person is obliged to buy me something, and I don’t expect anyone to buy me anything).

But, as troublesome as it can be, I still think books are the best present you can get someone. Go ahead, buy your loved ones a book (and, if you happen to buy some for yourself while doing it YAY!).

Here are some of my tips for buying books for other people:

  • Obviously, try to buy one they don’t already have.
  • Buy a book that you think they will like. Remember you are giving them a present to bring them joy, not to give them the burden of feeling obliged to read a book they aren’t interested in.
  • If you are buying them a sequel, try to find out which edition they have of the previous book(s) so you can get them the matching sequel.
  • Remember their format preference – if they prefer hardcovers or paperback, try to get them what they like.
  • If you can afford it, a boxset is a lovely present. They are pretty, and complete, and overall, a wonderful present.
  • If you need to post the present, consider buying it from an online retailer and get it sent directly to them reduce postage costs.
  • If you are stuck for ideas, ask around – ask your friends for their favourites, ask at a bookstore, ask a librarian, ask a blogger, rummage around Goodreads and check out your favourite bloggers’ reviews and recommondations. There are so many great books out there – you will find one!
  • Have fun with buying the book(s).
  • If all else fails, buy them a gift card/voucher for their local bookstore.

I hope you all have fun book-shopping for some lucky recipient – but more importantly, I hope you all get piles of books this x-mas!

Melissa’s say:

Sorry mine isn’t going to be as amazing and comprehensive as Kristy’s post was! I have a lot going on at the moment, but didn’t want to miss out on the post. :)

Honestly, I wish I had more bookish friends. I have a few friends that love books like I do, but they’re certainly not the bulk of my friends. But for my fellow bookish mates, I love the idea of buying them books for Christmas. Books I think are such a personal decision that you invest your time and interest in, and I feel a lot of pressure when I am buying them for others! I always want to do really well – and I feel like there’s a lot riding on it when they open the present to see what books you chose. I tend to stick with books I’ve personally read and loved – but that’s not always the case! I am not always a great gift giver, but as much as I hate to say it – vouchers do make a great back up option if in doubt.

The first thing is always – do they already have this?! Because I have a goldfish memory and I am not great at remembering the books people tell me they want to read or have bought! Eek! But I think Goodreads can be a really useful tool sometimes when looking at the books people want to read. I know I have hundreds of books on my To Read list, and I am not the most organised when it comes to my list, but I think if you see it, you get the gist. And I think lists are really telling about what books people want to read, so it certainly gives you a nudge in the right direction. You can’t usually go to far wrong picking a title from their list. I do also love the idea of a nice boxset as a Christmas present.. books all presented in a neat little package!

A few years ago for a friends birthday I bought her The Hunger Games books. And I don’t know who was more excited… haha She had heard me talk about them for ages but hadn’t read them. But I was really excited to give them to her – I wanted her to enjoy them, but more than anything, I was dying to have a really good conversation with someone about the series finally! At that time, my friends hadn’t read the books, and I was busting to talk to others about it. So there’s always a selfish benefit in there for you too. :)

 

Do you like giving books as presents? Do you have trouble picking which books to buy? Do you have any book buying tips to share? Let us know in your comments below!

Feral Friday – Possessive males in YA

It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.

This week, we’re talking about possessive males in YA:

Kristy’s say:

I think there is a fine line between demonstrating feelings and being overly protective or possessive, and I think that a lot of books blur (or cross) that line. It may be that because I am *ahem* older, that sometimes when I read books, I don’t find the things that a male lead is doing are appealing – in fact, sometimes I find them appalling. But yet, others swoon over the same things that make me cringe.

Naturally, as a girl, we would all like it if a guy showed a little bit of protectiveness. For example, if another guy is showing some interest, we don’t want the male in our life to be “yeah, whatever” and completely dismiss it. We want a guy to be “hold on buddy, back off” – but in saying that, we don’t want them to go all psycho possessive either. We may want their opinion or help on how to deal with a situation, but not to manipulate us into thinking or doing something, to take away our decision or to lie to us. We want their help, support and understanding – not to take control and treat us like an incapable toddler.

There are some things in books (and not just YA) that honestly makes my skin crawl. I detest overly possessive and over-protective male leads – it doesn’t make me think “isn’t that sweet” – it makes me think “get the hell away from this guy”. If a character is breaking into a house to watch them sleep, I don’t think “yeah, follow them in the woods alone”; I think “quick, go get a restraining order”. I don’t think the male lead he is being protective if he telling the protagonist who she can and can’t be friends with, I think he is being abusive. I don’t think that a paranormal creature is protecting the girl he loves if he is deliberately withholding information (or god-forbidden physically withholding her), I think he is emotionally manipulative, overly possessive sociopath – I just don’t buy the “he was only protecting me, and he knows what he is doing because he is paranormal” mindset – and yes, this goes for the non-paranormal aspect as well.

In real life; if it seems like he wants to kill you – that’s not romantic – that’s a psychopath! If you think he may be dangerous – don’t try to save him, he needs professional help, or to be locked up, and you should be running for the hills! I don’t think it sweet if a guy tries to control your thoughts or actions. I don’t think it’s love when he tells you can’t be friends with another guy. I don’t think it’s romantic when I am being watched without my knowledge. I don’t find it adorable when he takes away all my options to make a choice on my own. So, if these are the things I would desperately try to avoid in real life, why would I like to read books that contain these things? I would much prefer to read about a mutually respectful relationship rather than one where every action depends on one of the characters. Relationships, while not always perfect, should be about fun, love, respect, honesty, laughter and support – not wondering if what you are doing will be okay with your partner, or how they will react. Young love is what it is – it is all consuming – but it doesn’t have to be emotionally abusive. So why do so many books have to be about one character pandering to another? Why is it so appealing when a guy would physically abuse another guy because he asked the girl out? Can’t a good story be about a guy and girl, who like/love each other go through their story without having to control the other, or beat up someone else, or anything else that might actually deserve a restraining order, or actual criminal charges.

 

Melissa’s say:

There are two things that annoy me in YA, and I think to a certain extent, they are interrelated.

The first thing that annoys me in YA are girls that seek out damaged men thinking that they’ll be the one to ‘fix’ them. I talked a little bit about this in my review of Unbreakable by Kami Garcia posted yesterday and so it’s fresh in my mind. But I think to a certain extent authors need to understand that younger females are reading these books, and if they’re making these types of toxic relationships seem more romantic and beautiful because a girl fixed a broken man, then I think it’s setting unrealistic and bad examples for younger generations perhaps. I am not saying it’s an authors duty or job to only write about good relationships, but I do think they need to be mindful about how this could be conceived by younger people.

Which leads me into my second pet peeve in YA and that is male characters that are possessive over the female characters. I understand as females some of us are looking for a strong male who will take the lead and “look after us”. But there’s a line between being sweet and caring and being dominating and possessive.

In particular when a girl has two male love interests, and the two men are fighting each other for the girl – it annoys me. I get where they’re coming from and where the romantic sentiment is (lets face it, we all wish we had guys fighting over us), but it annoys me that they don’t seem to care all that much about what the girl wants. It’s very selfish and I fear that making young girls think that this type of drama is romantic is not realistic at all. Having jealous men around you using you as a tug of rope isn’t sweet at all.

This is the reason why I like strong kickass female protagonists so much. I am by no means a feminist, but I am 29 and have lived a little, and so maybe what I used to think was hot or romantic as an 18 year old has now changed because I see things a bit differently. But being a strong female is an incredibly powerful thing. And I love books that feature female characters who are strong, who aren’t pushovers, who make their own decisions and don’t rely on a man to come and save them. I think we need more of this and less weak females who let a man tell them what to do and who they can see.

 

Does anyone else see what Kristy and I are talking about in YA books? Do you agree with us, or are we over reacting? Let us know in your comments below!