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Let’s Talk Bookish: Romance as a Subplot

Hello, lovelies!

I’m back this Friday participating in another Let’s Talk Bookish post, as always hosted by the amazing Rukky @ Eternity Books and awesome Dani @ The Literary Lion! For this week, our topic is:

Romance as a Subplot

This might be a controversial take (I have no idea, because I feel like romance gets a bad wrap sometimes?), but I fucking love romance.

I’m not sure what about it automatically elevates a story for me, but, if I’m reading a fantasy or sci-fi novel that isn’t marketed as a romance and then I discover there is a romance? My interest in the book is set to automatically increase, no questions asked. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been such a hopeless romantic and was single for most of my life, so reading was the only way I got that kind of connection. Perhaps it’s because the romance helps me connect with characters more and helps raise the stakes by giving them something additional to lose. Perhaps I just enjoy really well written chemistry and seeing characters navigate love? Perhaps all three.

But, I enjoy it–which is a good thing, since it seems like it’s a popular thing to include. I’m not sure really why it’s something that’s more common than a platonic friendship, for example. I would like to see a wider array of relationships (platonic friendships, rivalries, more misfit friendships!!) in books, of course. But I’m never going to complain when romance is added, too.

Now, something I will say about romance within the genres that I like to read (fantasy and sci-fi) is that I HATE when a book is marketed as a romance simply because a woman wrote it, so the assumption is that there must be romance, for that’s all women can write.

i just threw up in my mouth a little bit GIF by chuber channel

Obviously, women can write so much more than “just” romance (and there’s nothing “just” about writing romance, either!!). So that really bothers me. If you’re marketing something as a romance, that gives me different expectations and I’ll be frustrated, as a reader who likes romance, if this mistake is made and there actually isn’t any romance for a book marketed as such! And that’s on top of already being upset that an assumption was made on a woman’s behalf.

Now, does every book have to have romance? No, absolutely not! Of course there are fantastic books that have no elements of romance whatsoever. Yet, as someone who just really loves reading well-written romance, if a book happens to chose to have that, I’m going to be more interested. *shrugs*

I am so curious to see what everyone else thinks about this topic! Do you enjoy reading romance or is it something you’d rather avoid? What are some of your favorite romances you’ve read as subplots? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!

Cheers.

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Let’s Talk Bookish: The Care and Keeping of a TBR

Hello, lovelies!

I’m back this Friday participating in another Let’s Talk Bookish post, as always hosted by the amazing Rukky @ Eternity Books and awesome Dani @ The Literary Lion! For this week, our topic is:

The Care and Keeping of a TBR

I think this is such a fun topic, because this is something that I’ve tried to do in so many ways and definitely am always trying to do it a little bit better, because, as so many of us know and relate to (I believe, but if this next statement doesn’t resonate, please, TEACH ME YOUR WAYS), but TBRs are notorious for being out of control and impossible too control.

So, how do I try and wrangle mine? A few ways:

This year, I started using the AMAZING template from Kal @ The Reader Voracious to track my books online. I love the idea of having a notebook dedicated to my reading habits and my little personal library, but my handwriting is atrocious and I’m nervous about making this amazing catalog in print, only to lose it or get it ruined. I love Google Drive and how it’s connected to my account, instead of a device, and Kal’s template is INCREDIBLE. I love being able to track my stats, have graphs that I’m not talented enough to make, plus a reading spreadsheet and the planning calenadr for my blog posts?!

Honestly, Kal’s spreadsheet changed my life.

Thank U GIF by MOODMAN

I used to just track via Goodreads, but it isn’t my favorite because of multiple reasons:

  • Owned by Amazon, so already don’t like it
  • Not the most user friendly, especially on the mobile app
  • I’d always forget to update it

So, that last one is my bad (oops), but I mostly use Goodreads to track my reading progress in whatever book I’m reading currently and to post reviews to help out authors. I am also trying out StoryGraph, which I need to mess around with more, as I think I’m leaning towards abandoning Goodreads to use that more exclusively (though, I would still post reviews on both sites, as I know Goodreads still affects authors sales). I am also trying to get Notion sorted, after seeing it take Book Twitter by storm and am thinking about trying to emulate Kal’s spreadsheet on there, somehow? But honestly not sure if I’m talented enough, so…

A book gets the pleasure of making my TBR impossible by:

  • A gorgeous cover (honestly, I’ll add a book just because the cover is enjoyable to me, even without reading the back, because I’m a fool)
  • It sounds interesting to me or fits my tastes
  • It’s by a trusted author or recommended by a trusted reviewer
  • It’s published by Orbit 🤷‍♀️

Currently, if you look at my Goodreads, I have 349 books on my TBR. That number isn’t accurate, because there are plenty of books that I haven’t added yet that I’ve seen recently and I haven’t done a cull in a while (and I want to, especially since Goodreads makes it so difficult to update your lists, so a lot of books on there, I’ve prolly either lost interest in or forgot about). Even knowing that, I know I have way too many books on my TBR, since I own 162 books that I haven’t read it…

In A Box Reaction GIF

I am so curious to see what everyone else thinks about this topic! How do you track your TBR? Is it out of control or properly managed? Have you tried StoryGraph, Notion or use a different form of tracking? Are you as obsessed over Kal’s spreadsheet as I am? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!

Cheers.

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Discussion

Let’s Talk Bookish: What Makes You DNF a Book?

Hello, lovelies!

I’m back this Friday participating in another Let’s Talk Bookish post, as always hosted by the amazing Rukky @ Eternity Books and awesome Dani @ The Literary Lion! For this week, our topic is:

What Makes You DNF a Book?

This is such a great question, because I used to not DNF (did not finish or put a book down and stop reading, even without finishing it) books. When I was younger, it was because I didn’t realize that was an option. In school, I was forced to finish and read books I hated, so I guess the same logic slipped into my unconsciousness and I assumed you couldn’t do that for books you read for fun, either? 🤦‍♀️

The book community is actually who introduced me to the concept of DNFing, actually! And I’m so glad they did, because, as many people are probably aware, our TBRs are completely overwhelming even when we as readers are at the top of our games, so it’s no surprise that using that precious reading time to push through a book that you hate?

No Thank You GIF by The Dungeon Run

So, what makes me personally DNF a book?

Misogyny

Yeah, if a book can’t pass the Bechel test and women are only being used as damsels, plot devices for the male character, background servants or underdeveloped cuts outs, that’s going to be a hard no to me. Same for rampant sexism, female torture or excessive rape.

Schitts Creek No GIF by CBC

No Plot

If I’m 50 pages in and the book feels like it’s going nowhere, the characters make pointless decisions and everything feels nonsensical or pointless, that’s also going to make me wonder why I ever thought I wanted to read that book in the first place.

conan obrien GIF by Team Coco

Lack of Diversity

I haven’t DNFed a book for specifically this reason before (and I don’t DNF a ton usually anyway, since I’m pretty good at judging if I’m going to like a book or not!), but, ever since I started to read books that were ownvoices, inspired by Non-Western cultures, and featured BIPOC and LBTQIA+ casts, books that don’t have elements of this just seem…eh?

season 3 idgaf GIF by Black Sails

Poor Writing/Editing

This one gets me a lot, as a reader, writer AND an editor. But for the love of the gods, if I can’t read your book because it has so many typos and formatting issues, I’m not even going to waste my time.

eyeroll seriously GIF

I’m sure there are more things I could come up with, but to be honest, I have been working on writing blogs posts for this week for the past few hours and I gotta get some other stuff done. 😅 But, I am REALLY curious to hear what makes you DNF a book, so share your posts or your own thoughts in the comment below and have a great weekend!

Cheers.

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Discussion

Let’s Talk Bookish: The 3-Star Rating

Hello, lovelies!

I’m back this Friday participating in another Let’s Talk Bookish post, as always hosted by the amazing Rukky @ Eternity Books and awesome Dani @ The Literary Lion! I had a lot of fun joining in last month and am really excited to dive in this month, too, on a few of the topics! For this week, the topic is:

Is 3 Stars A Good Rating?

This one is an interesting one for me! As you can see on on Book Rating System page, I list 3 stars as a positive rating and believe it to be so. If I rate a book three stars (or gems, as I like to call it with my fantasy theme), it means:

3 Gems: Spotted a Dragon, But Still Sleeping on Tree Roots

This is one that I enjoyed. I didn’t regret reading the book. I had fun reading it, it was well written, without typos and formatting issues and the characters and the story were enticing. Did I fall completely in love with it? No. Will I probably read more by this author or continue the series? Absolutely!

3 stars

So, it’s that rating that is meant to mean that I enjoyed the book. I liked it and had a positive experience with it. I will continue reading the series, if it’s part of the series, and read more books by that author. However, it also means that, for me, it had enough negative elements that it kept me from loving the book entirely, which is why it didn’t move up to four or even five gems.

However, this is where it gets complicated: despite believing that and rating my books as such, whenever I see someone else give a book three stars, I’ll usually find myself being a little bit more wary of the book, as if I know there is something I might not like, than if a book was given four or five stars; despite believing that three stars is a positive rating!

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Confusing, right? This also comes from someone who, very admittedly, using four and five stars quite often. I think this is in part because I am quite certain of what books that I enjoy and I’m able to tailor my reading experience in such a way that they are those kinds of reads, for me. But, I also admit that I’m quite easy to please, and it’s easy for me to fall in love with a book that’s written well and falls into the realm of fantasy, sci-fi and romance I traditionally love.

That said, if I don’t love a book, I usually am quite put out by it and fall more towards the one or two star rating, disliking it much more than liking it. So, I actually don’t give out that many three star ratings, if I’m being honest, because I’m more extreme, in that I usually either love a book or hate it. *shrugs*

Is that very helpful in answering this question? Probably not, which might explain why this rating can be debated a bit and seen as both a possible rating and a negative rating. And I’m sure, once my own books are published, three stars will become something so precious, I can’t imagine why I ever approached those books rated as such with caution.

I’m curious to hear what you think! Let me know in the comments below about your own rating system, if you use one (or, I’m always curious to hear why people don’t, which is also totally valid, obviously). Do you agree with my assessment above or do you have different opinions of the three star rating? Tell me below and thanks for reading!

Cheers.post signature

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Discussion

Let’s Talk Bookish: Online Personas and Book Blogging

Hello, lovelies!

Happy Friday! I know this week has dragged on a bit too much for me, so I am excited for the weekend, where I can hopefully recharge and relax a bit. It’s Friday, so time for a new discussion post! As always, Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion!

This week, the topic is:

Do You use an Online Persona for Book Blogging?

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Basally, this question is asking two main things: do you keep your book blogging and your personal life separate or do you let them veer together in the same space? And, do you think you should?

I’m super excited to dig into this, because I have a lot of Opinions on the matter and I’m curious to see what you all think, as well!

So, it’s quite obvious that I don’t separate my book blog from my personal blog. In fact, I first attempted to do just that by creating an entirely separate book review blog–because, I thought (and who knows why this is) that you weren’t allowed to be personal on your book blog or ever deviate from that. Who It thought made these rules is beyond me, but I wanted to be a “true” book blogger, so I made the attempt to run two blogs for about a year? Maybe a little longer?

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But, I found trying to manage two different blogs to be exhausting and not as enjoyable as just having one space to call completely my own, that shows almost every side of me. And I think that’s one of the main reasons I advocate that, if you are comfortable with it or want to do it, you should be able to have your book blog be more than “just” a book blog (though, there is nothing “just” about being a book blogger, for it takes a lot of work and dedication!); but also a space where you share more personal posts, if you want to.

For me, it’s what makes me the happiest. Of course, I love writing and talking about books, so a lot of my content is surrounded in that. But I also talk about my writing, personal posts including mental health struggles, looking for advice on navigating life and rants; as well as other reviews, like films or video games, and starting to share activism and advocacy work, as well.

I like having one space for all of this, because not only do my readers have a chance to get to know me more fully, but it feels less restrictive. My blog feels fully mine because I’m doing exactly what I want with it, even though it doesn’t look similar to many book bloggers content, because it just covers such a variety and opens up a very personal, very vulnerable window into the person behind the blog.

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Of course, I also think it’s totally valid to not share any of this and to use an online persona. It could be to protect yourself and your privacy or simply because you don’t want to share that much and I think that’s so, so valid. I think the biggest thing is you shouldn’t feel pressured into sharing what you don’t want to–just like you shouldn’t feel lesser if you decide to get more personal.

For, I will admit: there are times when I feel like I can’t claim the title of “book blogger” because, when people come to my website, they can just as easily stumble upon my most recent post being a rant about student loans or a discussion about my depression as they could find a book tag or a passion-fueled review. Sometimes, I feel like, because my content is so varied, that I’m a lesser book blogger because of it. I don’t truly believe that’s true, but the feeling is still certainly there.

Tl;dr: I think the blogger should have the right to choose what they want their blog to be and what they want it to include. I think you can still be a book blogger, even if you post personal content. I think you can be a book blogger and never veer away from anything bookish and you should be just as respected as someone who wants to share everything.

But, I’m curious to hear your thoughts! What do you think? Do you enjoy blogs like mine, who do share more content aside from book blogging-related material, or do you wish my blog stuck with just the book blogging aspect of it? Let me know in the comments below and, as always, thank you so much for reading!

Cheers.post signature