Random Bookish Thoughts: Book Ratings

random bookish thoughtsBOOK RATINGS. I saw a Twitter conversation a month or so ago about the ratings that bloggers and readers give to books. These ratings could be on Goodreads or on blogs. This person thought that if someone’s Goodreads ratings average was too high, they weren’t critical enough – and therefore their opinion was not valued in the community. They should not bother with book blogging or reviewing, because they were not actual critics of books. I didn’t even know how to formulate a logical tweet in response, so I let it be. And by let it be, I mean let it stew for months until I was able to come up with this post. But Taylor pretty much sums up my reaction:

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I think that’s bullshit. I should go without saying that all opinions can be valued as long as they are not particularly offensive, racist, sexist, etc. Who gets to determine if someone’s opinion is valuable or not?? Not some random guy on Twitter, that’s for sure. Let me back up a little bit and talk about ratings in general and my thoughts on them.

How I rate books on my blog

rating guideI use my little heart system here on the left to rate books. I DO use half-hearts (quite a bit, actually), as the bottom of the graphic shows. I don’t think it’s possible, for me at least, to give EVERY book I read a dead-set rating between 1 and 5 without any halves. The 5 heart rating is given to books that immediately get placed on my favorites shelf on Goodreads. This list includes books that are my all-time favorites. It also has the first book in a series to represent the entire series if I consider it to be a favorite. The highest heart value is obviously given to some of the best books I’ve read that have little to no things wrong with them. Books I really enjoyed but aren’t considered an all-time favorite for whatever reason are given the 4 heart range. Books that were pretty good but had some major flaws are in the 3 heart range. Books I really didn’t enjoy for many reasons are in the 2 heart range. Really terrible books that I should have DNF’ed are in the 1 heart range. I really don’t DNF books very often, so it would take quite a bit to give the book a 1/2 heart rating.

How I rate books on Goodreads

ratings GREveryone knows that Goodreads is a little pain in the ass that doesn’t allow for half-star ratings. We’re forced to round up or down. This is a big struggle for me considering how big of a proponent I am for half-star ratings! I have to come up with two distinct ratings for books so that I can put one on the blog, which is very accurate, and one on Goodreads, which is rounded up or down depending. I end up having to choose if the book is worthy of being rounded up or rounded down. I normally round UP unless the book really bugged me for some reason. For example, Lola and the Boy Next Door was given a 4.5 on the blog, but a 5 on Goodreads because C’MON it’s Stephanie Perkins. Conversely, Famous In Love got 3.5 on the blog and 3 on Goodreads, because the writing style and lack of characterization REALLY bothered me. I couldn’t imagine giving it 4 because it didn’t measure up to my other 4 star reads.The picture on the left shows my rating frequency on Goodreads and that out of the 213 books I’ve rated, almost HALF of them are 5 star reads. Why, you ask? Because I got my Goodreads in 2010 and got my blog in 2014. Any time I took the effort to rate a book before I got my blog was only if the book blew me away or if I hated it. Because I added so many books I read a long time ago, I had no idea how to rate the books. I don’t have ANY ratings for 74 of the books I’ve read. My data based on Goodreads is pretty skewed in the higher ratings because of that. I almost exclusively only rated books I loved, or a few classics I hated while I was in high school.

Rating history

Since I started blogging, I’ve rated 55 books on Goodreads and on the blog (a post that included a whole series review is considered “one book” here). Keep in mind the totals aren’t going to add up completely because of the series reviews, but you’ll get the idea. Here’s the ratings breakdown. Continue reading

November TBR List and Uppercase Box #2

Today I’m going to combine two of my monthly posts – my TBR list for the month and the Uppercase box I just received!

uppercase box

Uppercase box is a subscription service with two levels of membership. For the first level, you get an Expert Pick – this is a hand-selected book that the YA experts love and recommend. The Personalized Recommendation box, which is what I have, comes with a book selected just for YOU based on your preference quiz. The boxes are filled with:

  • A book, either chosen specifically for your preferences OR one that is generally recommended by an expert
  • A gift, like bookmarks, jewelry, totes, etc. (that obviously relate to books!)
  • A personal explanation of the book choice and other similar titles
  • Some discount codes for popular book-buying websites

Here are my goodies from the October box!

2014-10-29 22.21.47I’ve heard great things about Rebel Belle and was always on the fence about whether or not I’d like it. The “southern” aspect didn’t appeal too much to me because I’m a northern girl, BUT I lately have fallen head over heels for the Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kenneally – which is all about the south! Lisa writes, “Because you enjoy paranormal reads, I knew this on was for you. It’s got a high school contemporary feel with some southern sass.” Sounds perfect for me! I’m now VERY excited for this read.

The accessory is a mockingjay bracelet in honor of the Hunger Games movie coming out this month! Such a cute little bracelet! It’s the kind of thing I’d like to own but would never go out and buy myself. I’ll definitely be wearing it when I go see the movie 🙂

tbr listLast month I did a pretty terrible job of keeping to my TBR list, as usual. (Why do I even try to make these lists work??) From my selection of October books, I did end up reading 4 books. I REALLY wanted to get to the Throne of Glass series but I keep putting it off because I’m afraid of burying myself in an intense series at the moment. Here are some of the books I really hope to get to for November! (Some of them I NEED to get to, because they’ll be due back at the library before I know it)

november tbr

Random Bookish Thoughts: Growing Pains

random bookish thoughtsGROWING PAINS. If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you’ve probably noticed a lot of changes. I’m trying to figure out what works best for me, my personality, my reviews, my followers, etc. I’ve changed around the format for a lot of posts/memes/reviews because my blog is still having growing pains. I only started this blog in July and so far the results have been pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. In four months, I’ve gotten 3,600+ paigeviews, 700+ comments, and 180+ followers between WordPress and Bloglovin (not to mention the ones on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, etc!). I’ve been trying hard to make my blog the best it can be for you guys, for myself, and, if I’m being honest, for publishers! I’m hoping to get more ARC approvals and book mail in the near future. I would be interested in hearing some of your thoughts on my formatting, and I’ll go into some of the changes/formats I’ve tried to initiate recently.Adventure Time Cool animated GIF

Types of Reviews

This has been the major area of frustration for me. I started this blog with just writing one long paragraph review, but started noticing other bloggers were splitting them into sections; I gravitated towards that because it made them a lot easier to read. I could even skim it if I really wanted to. So now, I’m trying to figure out the types of reviews I want to use, how to keep all of the fonts consistent, and make sure the posts are readable. I have four general types/lengths of reviews:

  • Regular Review – This is my standard review, where I share the most information about the book and my thoughts. I break the review into sections for the overall plot and story, the characters, the writing style and flow, who should read it, and a final thought.
  • Mini Review – I recently started up this kind of review because I think some books just lend themselves to that format. I can get all of my positive thoughts out in one paragraph (“What worked”) and leave the negatives to a second paragraph (“What didn’t work”), with a general wrap-up at the end that gives my overall feelings.
  • 200 Word Review – This is for when a book was pretty average and I find that I just don’t have a lot to say about it. I can quickly go over the good and bad while making my recommendation if you should bother with it. Some books just don’t give me a lot of feelings that I could work with.
  • Book Buddies Review/Discussion – These are coming soon! In them, instead of traditionally reviewing the book, I’ll be partnering with one of my Book Buddies to have a discussion. We’ll talk about a lot of the aspects we’d put in our reviews, but have a more fun version where we both share our opinions and work off of each other.

I kind of like working with this format but am still struggling with what information to include in the basic information section at the top. Do people care about the publisher? (Of course I put that in for ARC posts)  Do they want the Buy links in addition to the Goodreads? There are too many things I could include, but there are so many things I’m honestly too lazy to deal with!Cute animated GIF Continue reading

October TBR List

I’m pretty bad at sticking to my TBR list – even when I specifically put the books in order on my “To Read First” shelf. I tried my best to organize by what I want to read, since I don’t have a lot of books right now with deadlines that need to be read. (Although that could change, of course.) Here’s my somewhat flexible TBR list for October. These are the top 30 books I plan on reading or will be reading in October!

october TBR* Those of you who have read the Throne of Glass series — would you recommend reading the Assasin’s Blade book of novellas first?? I’ve heard mixed thoughts on this!

The Book Blogger Test Tag

book blogger testWhat are your top three book hates?

  1. Folding down page corners / dog-earring
  2. Folding the book in half so the cover gets all bent (I wish I had a dollar for every time I scolded friends who did this to MY books I lent them)
  3. People who shame others for reading YA when you’re not technically in the “age group” — read what makes you happy!!

Describe your perfect reading spot.

I’ve shared my 10 favorite places to read in the past, but I think my overall ideal reading location would be somewhere outside in the shade with lots of pillows and blankets, a perfect temperature outside, with a coffee (or a margarita! or a beer!) next to me.

Tell us three book confessions.

  1. I hate cover reveal posts on blogs. I’m sorry! I’m just sick of seeing the same cover over and over again. If you post more promotional things than reviews, I just don’t see the point.. If it’s your most anticipated read of the coming year and you’re excited about the cover, that’s perfect, but otherwise I’ll skip right by that in my feed.
  2. I think I’m starting to prefer my Kindle to real books. I know, I know. I really do love the feeling of holding a REAL book in my hands, but it’s so much easier to hold a Kindle. Plus I can read in the dark!
  3. I went through a book dry spell for quite a few years. College was just not conducive to reading for me, unfortunately. Now, I’ve read more books in the past five months than I’ve probably read in 2010-2013 combined.

When was the last time you cried during a book?

Literally this week. At my desk. At work….. Second Chance Summer slayed me.

How many books are on your bedside table?

I have one book in my purse (whichever book I’m currently reading, or my Kindle if that’s where the book is). Otherwise, I have my two Kindles and two library books on my bedside table at this very moment.

What is your favorite snack to eat while you are reading?

Honestly I don’t really like to eat while reading. Coffee is my absolute go-to, especially if I’m reading in bed in the morning. I can read and eat if I’m using my Kindle, but otherwise I don’t really do it. Something I can easily eat with my hands that isn’t messy!

Name three books you would recommend to anyone.

  1. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – so many family, first love, best friend feels all rolled into one.
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky – super classic for me.
  3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – anyone who doesn’t get COMPLETELY addicted and drawn into this book is crazy!

Show us a picture of your favorite shelf on your bookcase.

I just put up my new bookshelf so here’s the whole thing (bottom of post). Most of my books are still at my parents’ houses. Sorry for all of the pictures blocking the books… We haven’t found a home for the pictures of us yet in our new apartment!

Write what books mean to you in three words.

  1. Escape – books are a great way to escape from your own problems or escape into a new fantastical world
  2. Connect – they’re a great way to connect to other bloggers, readers, and authors; being in the book blogging world has made my life so much more exciting and full of (sometimes free!) books I normally wouldn’t get around to reading
  3. Necessary – not being in the middle of a book feels so wrong; I can’t believe I was able to go so long without reading during my college years… books are a necessary part of life at this point!

What is your biggest reading secret?

I rarely take notes when I read, even though I will definitely regret it when I write my review! I hate being distracted by the idea of writing something down; it makes it feel like homework instead of fun. Sometimes I’ll jot a note down in my phone or save it into the review’s draft on WordPress… That only happens if I don’t think I’ll remember it, or if I worded something so perfectly that I don’t want to forget it.

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Now I tag YOU for the Book Blogger Test Tag!

Random Bookish Thoughts: Blogging Schedule

random bookish thoughtsToday’s Topic: Blogging Schedules!

Random Bookish Thoughts, a “meme” that (ironically, based on today’s topic) has no real scheduled posting day. Any time I think of a random bookish topic, I’ll share my thoughts on it. You’re encouraged to join me in the comments if you have any thoughts, too!

Do you have a blogging schedule, or do you post whatever, whenever? What’s your schedule look like if you have one? How often to you post reviews vs. memes/other topics?

I started this blog without any intention of creating a schedule for myself. I joined in on a weekly meme for each day of the week (aside from weekends) because I wasn’t sure what to post. You’ve heard my thoughts on weekly memes before. I like them – I think they can help inspire you to post when you normally may not cover that topic or even write on your blog for the day. Everyone’s responses are different and interesting; it brings people together. Aside from those memes, I posted reviews whenever I happened to write them; I posted other recommendation lists whenever I was inspired to. Now that I’m entering the third month with my blog, I have definitely created a blogging schedule that I (mostly) follow. I like to post every day on here, even if it’s just the daily meme or a recommendation list.

weekly blogging schedulemonthly blogging schedule

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