Category Archives: Discussions

Using The Library [Discussion]

I have loved the library for as long as I can remember. I mean, there is so much to love about free books and other resources as well. I used to spend a lot of time on the computers because I did not have a computer when I was growing up. I would enjoy the time I was able to utilize the library in so many ways.

Now with a lot of libraries closing, many bookworms are left wondering what they are going to do. I would say if you can, support local bookstores. Use Libro.fm. To support local bookstores as well to get your audiobooks. Support the resources you have in whatever way you can.

I know all libraries are different, but I am going to talk about the library resources I have and will be using while they are closed so I can still be the most supportive patron as possible.

Enjoy the library books you have, but make sure you return them when this is all done. We all want to be able to keep using these books and such, and it would be sad if people would take advantage of this. So make sure you return the materials you have when it is safe to do so.

My library is closed for now for the safety of community. I understand this because it is a local suburb library, and it is often filled with tiny humans and elderly people. I completely understand this, but I will miss it while it is gone.

What my library offers:

Libby:

Libby is Overdrive, but simple. It has tutorials to use, and it tells you when holds are ready. I find it much easier to use than when I used Overdrive for a short period of time. It also offers lucky day reads where you can read popular books with no hold time, for a whole week. I have seen a lot of good titles on there. Libby also has different hold times depending on how popular a book is. I have had to wait a long time before, but I like how there are 10 holds and you are told when the material will be available.

Hoopla:

I love Hoopla so much. It is all of the popular books and movies and shows you wanna watch and read. There is music too. Since I live in a big city, there are only four holds a month so I savor them. Hoopla has a lot of popular titles with no wait and they are all checked out to you for three weeks. You can listen to music, watch movies, read new books, and listen to audiobooks you normally would have to wait for. I am sad when I use up all of my holds, but it is a great resource I highly suggest to use if you are able.

I’m pretty sure my library also offers some type of digital magazine checkout, but I have not looked into that yet. Since I have all of the time in the world now, I am going to do so and will provide an update about what it is like. I would also be willing to talk more about these library resources and how I use them if people are interested so please let me know if there is any value in me doing a series about that.

Let’s Talk About ARCs [Discussion]

I did a post a few months ago talking about how ARCs are helpful and yet can hurt. I thought I was also going to end up reading less of them, but this did not happen. I said I would only be doing like one or two a month or stop requesting them. This did not happen at all. I ended up getting way into NetGalley all over again, and I have so many pending and to read.

I even joined this thing called ARCpocalyse, where you are supposed to like get all of your ARCS read in a timely manner. It’s been a cool way to meet friends and see how other people are doing, but it hasn’t worked out in the way I anticipated. But that is just fine with me. I know sometimes reading plans can change. I just ended up finding a lot of books I wanted to read so I just have not been able to stop.

I know ARCS are a good thing, but also sometimes not. I am very lucky to get the ones I do, and I am so grateful to every publisher who gives me the chance to read books early. It is one of my favorite things. I was even auto approved by a publisher, which I never expected. I hope I will get lucky more and more with this, but I am still so happy with what I am getting at this point.

I just want to say that ARCS are great, but they can also be bad. I think they can be bad when they are not given to the right people. I know that books need hype and promotion, but I think just always giving them to the big name people misses out on chances to make those books really mean something. I admit I have had back listed ARCS, but I have tried my best to stay on top of everything. But I have seen people who have so many that they never read them and just like sell them. I think there are some ARCS that should be going to like teens, POC, and those in the LGBTQIA community. There are so many people who deserve them, and I just get sad sometimes about how it seems like it can be unfair. But that is just how the world works and sometimes we have to do more for changes.

I am so thankful for all of the ARCS I receive, and this will never change. Here are just a few things I learned the past months of being a book blogger and the whole thing about ARCS:

  • Update your NetGalley stats regularly and make sure you update all the places you talk about books all of the time.
  • Share photos on Instagram and tag the publisher. You can also share in your stories.
  • Be concise in your bio and talk about the genres you read.
  • Be honest in your reviews,
  • Favorite your fav publishers so you know when books you may like are coming your way.
  • I still don’t understand how Edelweiss works.
  • ARCS are a privilege, but don’t stress yourself out.
  • Just try to have fun with them.

I am not sure why I wrote this, I just think I wanted to talk about my weird thoughts about ARCS. What are your feelings about ARCS? I would love to know all about them. Please share all your thoughts about them with me below.

Being A Reader [Discussion Post]

I have not written a discussion post in a long time because I tend to think I lack anything interesting to say, but the idea for this post came to me earlier today when I saw a friend talking about whether or not he annotates books. In this case, he does which I think is just fine. I just wanted to have a chance to share my thoughts about what it means to be a reader to me and touch on some of the silly things people say about those who read or don’t. Forgive me if this post doesn’t make a lot of sense. I am typing this the night before it goes up with my mind on the audiobook I want to finish and debating about whether I should pop open another sparkling water, as those are my vice. Much better than soda though I will never turn down a cherry coke. But I digresss. Time to talk about my thoughts on being a reader.

I don’t remember a time when I did not read a lot. I mean, my grandma taught me how to read when I was three and it has a been a lifelong love affair with books since then. I got my love of reading from her, no doubt. I remember her always having a book with her when she was on the couch, along with a cup of coffee. She still has many books to this day, and I enjoy sharing with her books I finish.

But I have been a big reader my whole life. I read all of the time though t know there was a time when I was not reading as much, but it started again when I was in high school. I would get so many library books and read them all. My life was just reading and being at home. I never like drank or did any of those things you see in the movies. It has always been books for me.

Books saved my life. They got me through the death of my mom, they helped me survive an abusive relationship i stayed in way too long because I did not know any better. They helped me survive my pregnancy and the hard road I had postpartum. They help me survive the mental illness I deal with and help me to survive so I can raise Ever.

As I write this, I have read 51 books this year. I have read ebooks, comics, graphic novels, audio books, physical books and baby books. I have read so many books that sometimes I’m afraid I will become a book. Weekly library trips are my favorite because we do not have the funds to buy books. Ever is able to get to read many books and enjoy other perks the library has to offer. I am also going to be checking out a kindle from the library when we take a vacation soon. I read whenever I can and use any form of reading because all of it is reading.

I just want to say being a reader is about enjoying books. The number doesn’t matter. Nor does the format. All books and forms of books are reading. Audiobooks are real books. Graphic novels are real books. Comics and manga are real books. The only thing which matters is you enjoy what you read. This is what I have learned about being a reader. You just have to enjoy it in any way you want, and you are a reader. Never let anyone telll you otherwise.

I hope this post helps someone or just reminds you to enjoy what you are reading. I would love to hear all about your reader journeys and anything else you want to talk to me about. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I am so grateful to be a part of the reading community. And I hope you know I am glad you are a part of it too.

How I Find Time To Read

I’m a full time stay at home parent to a 9 month old. I’m busy, just like all parents. I have stayed at home since before the baby was born, I don’t know what it’s like to work and have a kiddo. I just know what I’m used to. Plus, I understand not everyone has the same schedules regarding what they do and how their kids behave. Just a disclaimer this is what works for me. I’ve read almost 20 books this year so far, hence I just thought I’d share what I do.

  • I just read really fast

There’s not really any magic to this, and I’m not sure how to give tips on reading quicker. I’ve seen random things online, but I’ve just been a quick reader my whole life. I consume manga super quick, I listen to audio books on 2-3x depending, and I just read books speedily. It’s useful, but I can’t really share on how to do this when I’m not even sure how I learned, I did learn to read when I was 3.5 so maybe that’s why.

  • I read multiple books at once

I usually have an audio book, an e book, and a few physical books going on. I do different genres so there’s no overlap. Having multiple books seems to assist me in getting done faster.

  • I started listening to more audio books

I started using Libby and Hoopla for audio books. The selections are awesome. I have used Audible Escapes and Scribd, but I don’t listen to enough audio books to justify even paying for a single service. The library apps are free, and I can support the library which is one of my favorite things to do. I know some people use them on their commutes, doing chores, and exercising. I listen on 2-3x depending on the book because otherwise it goes too slow for me.

  • I read when the baby is in bed

This isn’t rocket science. When he’s napping or asleep for the night, I read. Sometimes it’s an audio book while my partner plays a game or watches his shows on Hulu. I try to take advantage of this uninterrupted time to read because it’s relaxing, and I know the baby is asleep so there’s no worries for the time being.

  • I read while the baby plays

My 9 month old is pretty chill. Unless he’s hungry or needs to be changed, he does his own thing. He plays on the floor with toys and watches his videos all day. I know screen time is supposed to be like the worst for babies, but he seems to love having the music on so I just leave it. He’s not like a television zombie so I’m not worried, but like… we all parent our own way.

  • I read in bed when I have insomnia

This is when ebooks come in handy. I have NetGalley books, random free books, or I use library apps. I spend a lot of time reading in bed, using my phone. I plan to get a kindle to make it better on my eyes. I, thinking a paper white or oasis. I haven’t decided yet.

And these are all the ways I read the books I do. This year at the time I’m writing this, I have read 20 books. I must be doing something right!

What are your tips to be more productive with your reading time? I love new tips and how to read even more, please share with me.

ARCs… helpful yet hurtful, in my opinion. [Discussion/Blogtober]

These are all my own thoughts and opinions. Everyone has different experiences so if you have different thoughts, I’d love to discuss them.

I’m going to talk about these points as well as my own complicated relationship with ARCs. First, let me show you what’s currently on my NetGalley TBR:

I’m finally happy with my tbr on NetGalley because I went through a phase where I was requesting way too many, and it was overwhelming. Especially when I didn’t like the books a lot or felt pressured to read them quickly since I was approved for a few which all came out the same day. These are all books I’m looking forward to reading and writing good reviews on.

And this is what I have pending:

I’m still waiting on these 7 books. The longer I’m waiting, the more I’m wondering why I even wanted them in the first place. Honestly I think there are two books on there I really want at this point… Love, Unscripted and A Good Girls Guide To Murder. The rest were part of binge requesting I now regret. The other books don’t make me excited. I wish there was a way to just cancel requests and just create a system so if you cancel, you can’t request again. It’s better than leaving a reader waiting and wondering if they will be chosen. I hate the am I good enough for this book game? It’s wearing thin, and it hurts me. I’m sure it’s not great for other readers either.

Yes, I was declined for 33 books. It’s a discouraging number, and I end up feeling like I am not good enough when I am trying my hardest. I understand publishers need to promote books and do their jobs, but I have been trying so hard with my blog it feels like I’m a failure when I get rejected. This makes me not want to read, and I don’t think this should be so tough on my reading. But it is. Reading should be fun, and I’m putting unneeded pressure on myself for a hobby I’m supposed to love.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about ARCs recently… especially because of posts from Morgana at Morgana’s Book Box and Jess from Fiction No Chaser.

Each post brought up some interesting points for me. Specifically, I want to bring up points from each because these posts were very thought provoking for me.

In regards to Morgan’s post, the points which really resounded with me were:

  • The NetGalley trap and how you end up with a huge TBR pile.
    • This has done so much harm to me as a reader since I decided to go back to blogging. I thought I needed to read all of these books and write the best reviews so authors and publishers would love me. Then I would have an amazing blog, and I would be so happy. All I did was place a lot of stress upon myself and made reading A chore. I am constantly stressing about how much time I have to read and how hard it is to finish books I don’t like so I don’t end up with lower ratios.
  • ARC policy and having to give a review.
    • I know ARCs are voluntary. But I end up feeling like I have to write a huge review to make the publisher or author happy. Sometimes I don’t have a lot to say about a book, other times I don’t. I end up stuck in this trap of forcing myself to write a good review even when I didn’t enjoy the book because the author sent me the book or because I don’t want to hurt my chances for approval. Especially when you are approved right before the release date and there seems to be even more pressure to get it done.
  • All the reviews that begin with I received this book in exchange… etc.
    • I am guilty of doing this too because it’s supposed to be done because of rules. I understand this. It just makes reading reviews less enjoyable. I wish there was a way to just send a thank you via NetGalley to both parties so reviews can stop being weighed down by this. I’ve grown so sick of writing in this my reviews, and I don’t even want to look at other reviews when this is all I see. I want to just send an email privately to say thank you instead of this whole writing in my reviews and causing me to not want to write reviews, which is something I enjoy doing.

With the post from Jess @ Fiction No Chaser, I really liked her points about:

  • ARCs can be very overwhelming.
    • This is all about NetGalley again. I like how you can request a lot, but I think there should be a limit. That way, you can actually get through all the books you need to and enjoy them. Otherwise it’s just getting them done by the pub date and either rating them low or writing a fake review just so you can keep up. It’s not good for anyone.
  • NetGalley and its ratio system
    • The ratio system is tough. It causes readers to either plunge down because of too many requests…or you just write poor reviews to keep it up. I feel way too much stress when I lose my 80% badge and then stress until it’s back. This takes away my joy from reading. I am sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
  • eARCs… preference for them, how they should be available worldwide, and the harm of poorly formatted eARCs.
    • eARCs are easier for me. I can have them on my iPad or iPhone so I can read anytime or place, which is convenient. I also like how easily they can be accessed versus paper ones. Paper ones usually make me sad because I would see more popular people get those sent to them or at events. I understand these people have influence and work well to help promote books, but it’s hard when you don’t have the influence to get those books or the money to go to events. EARCs are accessible for everyone. That’s why they should be available all over the world. They are a lot of readers and they all deserve access to books, not just some people. Some people can’t afford books, and this gives me them a way to read. Poorly formatted ARCs just make me annoyed. I got a few from Harlequin, and I was shocked since they are since a big publisher. If you want your product to do well, take the time to do proper formatting so your readers can enjoy the book and not give it a lower rating for an easily fixed issue.

I’m curious to know what everyone’s thoughts on ARCs are. If you love them, awesome. Or if you feel like me, let me know. This is an interesting topic I’d love to talk about. I’m sure everyone can bring a different perspective to the table, and I would love to delve into all sorts of thoughts about this topic. Let me know below. And thank you once again to the people who inspired me to write this. You can find their blogs above. Be sure to check them out.

Until I rant about books again,