Goodreads/Book Blogging ~ A place full of What The Fuckery?!

Note:  I would just like to preface this post by saying that it is NOT my intention to lump the whole community in with the bad behavior of a select few, I needed to vent/discuss my feelings on the events that have taken place in the months since I started blogging.

When I first started book blogging back in January, everyone said that Goodreads.com was a great resource and that it was relatively drama-free and was just chock-full of Awesome.  Well in the beginning that may have been true.  But now I can not say the same thing.  Same goes for the book blogging community as a whole. Relatively drama-free and chock full of Awesome.  In most cases I agree with that 100% but recently there have been some cases where I feel that a small minority are making a mockery of the community as a whole.

Right now, I feel that Goodreads.com has turned into an online, book reader’s version of High School.  Complete with the “Mean Girls” and some pretty juvenile behavior lately.  I don’t know about anyone else but High School SUCKED for me and as a result of all this bad behavior on Goodreads I have become increasingly disappointed with the book blogging community.  To the point that there really hasn’t been much content here on the blog, because it’s depressing being THIS disappointed in a portion of a pretty vast community.

Recently, it seems that there is increasing tension between authors and reviewers/bloggers.  Blogger’s have taken to posting “reviews” that not only attack the book but also the author, which in turn leads to author’s behaving badly and attacking the blogger and blogger’s in general.  Then there have been all the plagiarism issues that have been coming out of the woodwork recently.  Then throw on a health dose of miscommunication which blew up into a full-blown clusterfuck and in my honest opinion you’ve got a giant shitstorm that could have easily been avoided.

I just don’t understand it.  When I was growing up I was taught the “Golden Rule,” do unto others that you would have others do unto you, and it seems that in book blogging that “rule” doesn’t apply to some people.  I don’t know if it went out the window because we’re on the ‘net and because the ‘net is such a vast impersonal place we think “hey who’s really gonna find me?” when we fire with both barrels?  Or if some on thinks because they have such a “huge” following that they can just go all “devil dog” on someone or something?  I don’t know if people just “forget” that behind every book and screen name there is an ACTUAL person with ACTUAL feelings when they post some of this nasty stuff.  But like I’ve stated before it’s depressing and very frustrating seeing all this negativity.

Personally, and I could be totally off base here, I think that the bad behavior of a select few is starting to reflect poorly on the community as a whole.  Sure, drama sells books, but I really don’t see why author’s/publisher’s/agent’s would want to put themselves in that position willingly?

Anyway, I’m going to jump off my soapbox now.  I’ve told you what I think of the recent event’s that have taken place in the book blogging community now it’s your turn to tell me what you think.  I’m open for discussion this issue but let’s keep it friendly please.

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The Birth of 2 Blogs

I’ve decided to break my book reviewing up into 2 blogs (ought to be interesting).  I will continue to blog all things: Young Adult(Paranormal, Fantasy, Dystopian, PNR), Romance (Paranormal, Paranormal Erotica), Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Steampunk and Dystopian here on J.R. After Dark.  My new blog will contain reviews in the following genre’s: Contemporary YA, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Romance (Contemporary, Suspense, Historical) and Westerns.  That blog is called J.R.’s Bookcase.

Please forgive the mess.  I’m in the process of moving all non “After Dark” genre’s over to the new blog and removing them from this blog. 

Have a great day!

The One Where I VENT!!

You know recently in the book blogging community there has been a fair amount of drama.  Authors saying that we book bloggers “suck,” bloggers saying that Authors and certain books “suck,” bloggers comparing certain paranormal YA books to Twilight and various and assorted other drama.  I hate drama, it’s unwanted stress and yet it seems that certain people in the blogosphere seem to get their “jollies” from it.  I didn’t get into book blogging to partake in a boat load of drama, I got into book blogging to share my love of books with other like minded people.

Which brings me to my vent…..

It is REALLY and I mean REALLY starting to piss me off that the drama llama’s, that what I call the peeps who seem to get off on causing drama, are out in force again. This rounds victim happens to be E L James’ book Fifty Shades of Grey. APPARENTLY, this book started out as a Twilight fan-fiction. After some editing and re-working it was released as it is today.

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)
For me personally, I don’t give a flying fig if it started out as a Twilight fan-fiction. I read a book and base my opinion on the book that’s in front of me…NOT the book/fan-fiction/etc. that it may have been or been based on. Isn’t that what we as book bloggers do?  Base our opinion of the book on what is currently is, NOT what it might have been? What makes the situation that much more frustrating for me personally, is that their are people on Goodreads who are yet AGAIN writing scathing, tacky and in my opinion classless “reviews” of this book.
You know, when I was growing up my mother always told me things like “do unto others that you’d have others do unto you” and my personal favorite “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  I guess if your going to review books either professionally or as a blogger that last one is harder but it IS possible to write a negative review without tearing apart an author or a book.  I see it everyday when I go through my google reader.  IT CAN BE DONE!
I guess I better post this before it turns into a novel.  Again, I sit here and wonder when are we going to get back to the books?  Why is it so hard to yet AGAIN take the high road?  Why do the minority have to make things so much harder for the majority?

The Great Book Buying Ban part 2

A few weeks ago I posted that I would not be buying or checking out anymore books until I had read a certain number of books that I already have.  Yeah, well I FAILED on that one totally.  I’m Failing on my Fail Boat.  After going over my IMM’s for the past couple of weeks I am pretty disheartened by the number of books I’ve added to my TBR Mountain.  I don’t know the exact number off the top of my head but it’s entirely way to many.  So now that I have officially ticked myself off I’m putting myself on a book buying ban for REAL.

So my goal is to not buy anymore books until the end of March.  This does NOT include the titles that I have pre-ordered.  I never count those against me.  I’m pretty sure my bank account will thank me for this too.

Wish me luck.  I’m going to need all the luck I can get!

Discussion Post ~ Your thoughts on my new review style

Good morning everyone!

I’m still pretty new to book blogging and I’ve been doing a lot of surfing through other book blogger’s blogs looking at the ways that they compose their reviews.  So far I have learned that EVERYBODY does it differently.  I decided that I wanted to do something different with my review style as well.  I think I’ve come up with a review style and format that is hopefully informative as well as written in a manner that will help prevent unintentional spoilers (hopefully.)

New Style Example

So I’m looking for you input on my new style. As you can see with my new style I’ve also moved the placement of my rating in hopes that readers will read through to the end of the post.  I’ve seen in some recent discussion posts that some people confessed to reading only as far as the rating, which is going to be a discussion post of its own.  Do you like that I put why I read the book, what I liked, didn’t like and my overall impression of the book?  Do you like the new placement of the rating? Is there anything that you would like to see added to my reviews?  Anything you think should come out? 

Discussion Post ~ Book Buying Habits/Patterns

Today’s discussion post is about book buy patterns/habits. Me, my book buying patterns/habits are pretty simple. I am pretty predictable when it comes to book buying. The book section at stores like Walmart and Target call my name….Since I work at a Target, the book section calls my name 9 hours a night 4 days a week. If a cover trips my trigger I’ll pick it up and read the back. If the synopsis of the book trips my trigger, there is a VERY good chance that the book will end up in my cart. There have been times when I have gone into either store with the intention of buying only the things on my list and leave with those items AND a bag full of books.
 
Another store the I spend a crap ton of money in is Barnes and Noble. I’m a B&N junkie. I just can’t help myself when I walk into a Barnes and Noble. On a recent trip I left the store with 2 of their giant shopping bags FULL of books.
 
I also like to shop the book section at my local goodwill/savers (which is the Easter Seals thrift store). I’m usually pretty lucky when I shop there. I LOVE the fact that I can buy a couple bags of books and spend LESS than what I would have spent on a couple of new books. I’m not real picky. I’ll read a new book or a used book.
 
I’ve just started using my local library again. With the economy the way it is I’m trying (and sometimes flounder with) to curb my book buying habit. My library itself has a pretty good selection but my library system ALSO has this nifty cool program where you can order books from other libraries who participate in the program. LOVE this system! In the last couple of months that I have been using my public library I have literally hit the mother load on more than one occasion. LIKE last Saturday for example. I stopped in because our automated library voice called and said I had an item in….Turns out, I had a total of 10 items in.
 
I do occasionally use Amazon too. But the Amazon site is like me going into a Barnes and Noble….Bad news bears for my paycheck. So I try to forget that that website even exsists.
 
So here is the break down of my buying habit:
 
1. Public Library
 
2. Walmart/Target
 
3. Goodwill/Savers
 
4. Barnes and Noble
 
5. Amazon
 
My main problem when it comes to buying books is that I “have to have” the books that there is a lot of “hype” about. I don’t know why….but it sort of makes me feel like one of the “cool kids” I guess. Like for example there was a lot of “hype” around books like Shiver, Fallen, Beautiful Creatures, The Dark Divine and Hush, Hush to name a few. Of those 5, all of which I own, I’ve only actually read 2 of them. I guess for me I just can’t avoid the ones with all the hype!
 
Another “problem” (being funny when I say it’s a problem) that contributes to my book buying habit is the book blogging community. Y’all read and review all sorts of AWESOME books and I come across them and from what I read on my end it trips my trigger and it goes on my “I got to get my hands on it” list. Seriously…Y’all gotta stop! (again being funny)
 
While I was going through my google reader I found this post and I thought it posed several great questions. So I thought that I would post those questions and some of my own as well and see what you, my readers have to say. So here are the questions (the ones from the original post are in RED, and my own are in PURPLE):

Are you predictable when shopping for books? Do you have a shopping pattern? Do you always have a compulsive need to buy books or are you someone who likes books, but doesn’t always have the desire to purchase them? Do you buy the books that there are a lot of “hype” about or do you tend to avoid them? Do you tend to buy books that have had a lot of “mixed” reviews so you can formulate your own opinion? How much does the book blogging community contribute to your book buying habit/pattern?

Discussion Post ~ Let’s Talk about Genre’s

I was inspired by The Book Vixen’s post this morning about the genre’s she reads, the genre’s she’s interested in reading and those that she’s not so interested in reading.  And this got me thinking about the genre’s that I read and don’t necessarily review here on the blog.
Genre’s I read:
The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, #1)The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1)
Young Adult – I LOVE reading YA.  I know it’s more of a point of view to some but for me it’s sort of escape from my sometimes REALLY boring adult life.  I’m still feeling things out in this genre, trying to find out what I like and I don’t like.  So far I know that I’m drawn to the paranormal side of things, YA Dystopian’s, coming of age stories and a little bit of the more contemporary stuff.
The Last SurgeonWinter Prey (Lucas Davenport, #5)Delirious
Mystery/Suspense/Thrillers – I got turned onto this genre by a friend of mine who told me that I HAD to read Winter Prey by John Sandford.  I did, I LOVED it and now I’m hooked on the genre.  All three of the books that I have pictured I read and I LOVED.
Riders of the Purple SageThe Rider of Lost Creek (Kilkenny #1)Lonesome Dove
Westerns – We’ve always had a bunch of Louis L’Amour’s books around our house.  I always really liked them a lot.  Then I found my mom’s copy of Lonesome Dove after watching the TV mini-series and I yet another book I was hooked on.  Louie and Lonesome Dove are what sold me on this genre.
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1)Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)Darkfever (Fever, #1)
Paranormal Romance – The BDB is what turned me onto this genre.  I’m still pretty new to it but from what I’ve read of it so far, I LOVE IT!  GIVE ME MORE PLEASE!
I just realized how long this post was getting….So I think I’ll just list the remaining genre’s to keep this post from becoming a book itself. :)
Urban Fantasy – I’m REALLY new to this genre.  I can’t remember who but someone said that I should read the Mercy Thompson series.  So far Moon Called is pretty much all I’ve read in this genre but I really liked that book so it’s here to stay. ;)
Contemporary/Historical/Suspense (Romance) – I started off MANY moons ago with contemporary romance but have since branched out into these other two subgenre’s.  I mean a HOT Highlander in a kilt does it for me.  Also, guns, mystery, romance and hot Alpha males do it for me too.
Genre’s I DON’T read/DON’T read a lot of:

  • Extreme horror – I’m fond of sleeping, so scaring me to within an inch of my life doesn’t really fit into my reading style.
  • Poetry – My dyslexic brain just doesn’t process poetry.
  • Non-Fiction – I read this genre sparingly.  I recently read The Lost Dogs, it’s about the Michael Vick dogs and I LOVED it.  It has some sad parts but after reading this book there are a LOT of HEA’s and has made me re-think my stand on the Pit Bull breed.

Are there specific genre’s that you stick to?  Which genre’s do you tend to avoid? Do you have any book recommendations for me?

The Great Book Buying/Library Ban!

It is time!  Time for the Great Book Buying/Library Ban.  I’ve been going through all my books and deciding which ones get to stay and which one’s I’m going to be donating and I have come to the conclusion that I NEED to stop buying books or borrowing books from the library until I get my numbers down to a manageable number.  I went so far as to create a LibraryThing account just for my TBR Mountain (that’s my screen name on there too theTBRMountain) and just going through my Nook (that’s all I have up there so far is my e-books) I have 55 books so far and I’m only about 1/2 way through my Nook library.  I haven’t even started going through my bound books yet, so yeah that number is going to skyrocket.

 So I am setting a couple of goals for myself.  My goals are….

1.  I will not buy (I have pre-ordered a few books so they will not count against me) another book until I have read 20 E-Books and 20 bound books from my TBR Mountain.
2.  I will not check out any library books until June 1, 2012.

Have you ever been on a book buying/library ban before?  How successful were you?

Discussion Post ~ Authors VS Bloggers

I’m new to the book blogging community and one of the first major things that I came across shortly after joining our loverly community was the recent drama pertaining to less than glowing reviews, authors behaving badly because of said reviews and agents suggesting only “liking” the positive reviews.  Basically, the Drama Llama’s are out in full force again.  I don’t like it and I want no part of any author that “low blows” the consumer.  After reading about the situation on several blogs it has gotten to the point that I have actually created a “Black List,” it even has it’s own page on the blog.

I have decided that I will no longer put money towards authors who maliciously attack book bloggers because they happen to post their honest opinion of a book that they have read.  You can apologize all you want but the fact of the matter is you attacked the consumer, the person who is out buying not only your book but other books as well.  There are a TON of authors out there and more than enough books to go around.  Not to be rude but even authors are replaceable.

I was pretty conflicted when I read Maggie Steifvater’s blog post about the situation. Yes, she made many good points that I agree with but then there were the points that I felt belittled the work that put in on my blog.  At points in the post I felt that Maggie was saying that only professional reviewers, literary publications and things of that nature are the only way to go.  That book bloggers only post blog posts about books.  That our content doesn’t even come close to a “review.”  I love reading another book blogger’s opinion of a book.  I’d rather read a book blogger’s review than a long lengthy diatribe in some literary magazine.  Honestly, from what I’ve been reading and seeing in comment sections as a result of Maggie’s post, many book bloggers believe that Maggie wouldn’t be where she is without book bloggers.  Oh and just to throw this out there…100% of the books that I purchase are because of a review I read on a book blog OR from family and friends.  I’ve never read a literary magazine and I NEVER will.

I feel that as a result of all the drama that has been circling around these negative reviews it is going to cause a lot of new book bloggers to post only positive reviews.  I think that defeats the purpose of book blogging.  To me the purpose of book blogging is to post your honest opinion of the books your reading…The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.  If you don’t love a book a negative review done correctly (i.e. no personal attacks, cussing, nasty animated .gifs) can be a helpful tool to an author, or it should be anyway.

In regards to all the bad behavior I’ve been reading about.  I think that the Golden Rule should apply here…You know…Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.  I bet there would be considerably less drama if bloggers, authors and agents alike remembered that.  At what point are we going to get back to the books exactly?  Why is it so hard to take the high road?

Did you know about the drama?  What are your thoughts on the subject?  Do you think that book bloggers are reviewers or are we just bloggers who post about books?  Have you ever “Black Listed” an author?  Have you ever read a book based on a bad review?

Links:

Parajunkee’s “What is a Review?” post…Contains many links to reviews that are part of the drama.

A&E Kirk’s “Do Book Blogger’s review” guest post…Contains more links to more sources.