Saturday, August 27, 2016

#booksfortrade entitlement (and why it's a problem)

I have been planning to do a post on this topic for a little while now, but had actually been saving it for next Wednesday. I'm sure I'll wish I had some original content to post when next week gets here, but it seems like now is a very relevant time for this discussion. 

What is #booksfortrade?

Let me start with quick breakdown for those of you who might not be familiar with this hashtag! On Twitter there is a group of avid readers (mostly bloggers) who are almost constantly looking to swap books.

Some bloggers are trading ARCs, some trade finished copies, and some will even give books away for the price of shipping. Often (but not always), a wishlist is posted with the books that are for trade. Sometimes traders are willing to accept books that aren't on their wishlist, but many times only specific books will be accepted, especially in the case of very rare advance copies.

It's a good system! I've met a lot of really great people (and some not-so-great ones) and have made several really amazing trades! We help each other complete collections and a few are lucky enough to find those incredible ARCs that we're all dying to read! Many of us even keep an eye out for things that we know others are on the hunt for.

So why the post? 

Lately I have noticed a trend. People are using the #booksfortrade hashtag more and more to complain about what they are unable to get, rather than using it to search for things they can trade for. There have been a couple blog posts about this recently, which can be found by going to the tag on Twitter.

The main complaint seems to be that some traders are too stingy with the ARCs they're looking to trade. Certain users of the tag find the whole process disheartening and give up when they aren't able to get a coveted upcoming release or rare ARC. According to some, if a trade post is made, the original poster should be more open to books other than what's on their wishlist since they are looking to get rid of the books anyway. That seems reasonable, right?

Why I don't see it that way

Brittany's Book Rambles
I'll make my case with an example. There are a few ARCs that I really, REALLY want. (We call these unicorns.) Specifically, I would do just about anything to own the Grisha Trilogy ARCs.

Over the last few months I have seen people post these for trade. Do I actually expect to be able to get one of these with the books I have to trade? No, absolutely not!

While I do gaze longingly on the books I would love to have, I would never hold it against someone for not trading them to me. If someone posts these books, they are probably looking for something very specific and would only trade for that specific thing. I have absolutely no problem with that.

At the end of the day, someone else's property is not my property and being angry that someone won't give me something they own makes no sense at all. Yes, ARCs are free. But chances are, no one just walked up to that blogger and handed them a pile of books. They probably had to work for them (or spend a lot of money on a convention).

No one is entitled to ARCs

I do not see an issue with not trading for something you don't want. I have seen post after post about people being too picky. People feel that the owner of the book should be lenient about what they will accept. After all, people WANT the books they're trading!

Here's the thing: "I want it" is not a reason for someone to give you something they've (probably) worked hard to come by.

ARCs are hard to get. I never had anything worth trading until I finally got to attend ALA, over two years after Cornerfolds first came online. And here's a secret: I STILL don't normally get ARCs in the mail from publishers! I went to ALA, had the opportunity to get some cool things, read and reviewed the cool things, was lucky enough to make a couple great trades, and now I'm back to gazing from afar until the next time I get the chance to attend one of these events.

Things I will not do until then: harass people to give me ARCs because I want them.

Why this is a problem

Maybe you're thinking that this whole post is just one big rant, and maybe it is partially that, but there's something important I want to get to.

The people that have the super rare ARCs that you (and I) want have been working in the blogisphere for a long time, probably much longer than I have. Maybe you don't think it's fair that they have the books that you want, but what really isn't fair is putting them on blast for not passing them out like candy. The constant rants about how people are too stingy or won't trade even though they know you WANT IT SO BAD are unfair and they're making people uncomfortable.

Everyone has their unicorn. Most bloggers want to read books before they're unleashed on the world because we know about them before most other people do. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way and it's ridiculous to publicly shame people. Luckily for everyone, all of these books will be released soon and we can all read them together then.

#booksfortrade is amazing

The overwhelming majority of traders have great experiences with #booksfortrade! Every single day you can see people thanking each other for incredible, successful trades all over the world. It's unfortunate that some people think so poorly of the group of people that have made the tag so great!

Do you use #booksfortrade? Have you had a good or bad experience?
Let me know in the comments!
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Five times I shouldn't have judged by the cover

Confession: I absolutely pick books based on their covers.

Most of the time if a book is gorgeous it is 90% more likely that I will pick it up, even if the title is ridiculous. If the synopsis of a book doesn't catch my attention, the cover is the saving grace. We all know the phrase "never judge a book by its cover," and I'm thinking there's good reason for this. One too many times I have been deceived by book covers. Here are five covers that have duped me over the last couple years:

I'm honestly not sure what is even happening with this cover because it really doesn't have anything to do with this book. Then again, neither does the title, really. When you consider that the cover of this book used to look like this, it becomes very obvious that this was just a marketing ploy. I mean, it does look very, very like The Selection series covers, doesn't it? While the girl in a fancy dress certainly makes The Siren instantly recognizable as the work of Kiera Cass, it's unfortunate that it's so completely removed from the actual (albeit awful) plot.

Asylum... how I wanted to love thee. This book caught my attention for obvious reasons. It looks horrifying! In case you didn't know, I am a horror junkie and I'm always on the lookout for a book that will scare me so bad that I can't sleep at night. I haven't found it yet, but this cover made me think I would at least get a few chills. Instead, it ended up being a very young YA book about a boy who really wanted a girl to be into him. This was honestly closer to middle grade mystery than YA horror.

This one is partly my fault and partly the fault of a vague synopsis. Based on the cover and the little I knew about this book, I expected the story to be all about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the greatest maritime tragedy in history. While it may be morbid, I enjoy reading shipwreck and disaster novels, so I really expected to love this one! What I didn't realize was that Salt to the Sea was much more about the journey to the ship than the shipwreck itself and I'm really glad it was. There's no way I would have been able to connect to the characters at the same level had this just been about a ship sinking. +1 for vague synopses!

Well, this cover has a ton of issues that I found out about after I read Across the Universe, mostly having to do with the male main character, but I won't go into those. I don't know what exactly I was expecting based on this cover, but I can tell you that I definitely thought I'd be getting a romance of epic proportions! Instead I ended up reading a book about a creeptastic, borderline stalker relationship between a girl who has no idea what is going on and a guy who is keeping her in the dark for his own selfish reasons. I guess some people were really into this romance but I definitely find the cover and description to be misleading.

Here is yet another book with a cover far more scary than the contents. I mean seriously, I had to take the dust jacket off a couple times and put it up because it was giving me the creeps! I thought I was going to be absolutely terrified reading the short stories in Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, but... nope. Although many of the stories were still really good, most of them were unsettling or creepy at best. Listen publishers! If you're going to slap on a cover that gives me nightmares, please make sure the stories on the inside live up to it!

I showed you mine, now show me yours! 
Which book covers have deceived you for better or worse? 
Let me know in the comments!
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #108: As I Descended by Robin Talley

Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:

As I Descended
by Robin Talley
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

From acclaimed author Robin Talley comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair. 
I had never even heard of this book until I saw Du Livre's review recently and now I can't wait to get a copy! A Shakespeare-inspired story with a haunted school?? Um, absolutely! I'm hoping this one is as good as it looks!

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #110: my pre-blogging TBR

Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Books That Have Been On My TBR Since Before 
I Started Blogging That I STILL Haven't Read Yet

Before I started blogging I read significantly less than I do now. I also didn't really understand Goodreads and got most of my book recommendations from the library so I often came away with a TBR list that was WAY bigger than I could ever finish. (That's really not much different than now, actually.) Here are ten books that I've wanted to read since before I was a blogger but still haven't been able to get to!

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Living by Matt de la Peña
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Audiobook review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Narrator: Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Broadway Books
Add to Goodreads

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 

I must live under a rock because somehow I made it two and a half years after the release of Gone Girl without seeing a single spoiler. I picked this book up when I got a chance to listen to the audio and expected to be totally blown away by it. Although I didn't know what it was about, I did know that everyone was obsessed with it for awhile and that there was supposed to be a huge twist! The hype was real with this one.

Just in case you also live under a rock, this book is about a woman who goes missing and whose husband does not exactly look innocent in the midst of the search for her. Amy is a New York native who has been dragged to a small town with her husband, Nick, somewhat against her will. Their marriage has been bumpy for awhile and neither of them are as happy as they used to be. Then she disappears.

This story is told from the perspectives of both Nick and Amy, part of it using flashbacks from Amy's diary. From the beginning there's doubt about whether or not Nick is innocent in the disappearance (because it's always the husband) and both narrators are pretty unreliable. Throughout this book I wasn't entirely clear what I felt for the characters. It was obvious who the author was setting me up to sympathize with, but I didn't care for either Nick or Amy at any time during this story. Both irritated me in different ways from page one, but I'm thinking that might have been intentional. Still, it's hard for me to enjoy a book completely when I can't connect to the characters at all.

The most important part of Gone Girl is the story, though. Or at least, that's what I expected to be totally wowed by. I most enjoyed the investigation and trying to figure out what all of the clues meant. Maybe it's because I knew that there was a huge twist coming, but I wasn't that shocked when it actually did come. I can't say I predicted it exactly, but I also kind of saw it coming, even if I wasn't sure what IT was. There were times when I was surprised, but overall I expected a lot more from a book that I only know about BECAUSE it's supposed to be completely mind blowing.

My biggest letdown with Gone Girl was the pacing. I understand the need for flashbacks and I liked the way the story was structured in different parts, but it was incredibly slow. If I hadn't been listening to the audio, I may have given up early on. Both Nick and Amy slowly meander through their narratives discussing minute details of their lives way too often. I don't know why, but I expected a much more quickly paced story with more surprising twists and turns and I definitely wanted at least one character to connect to.

Overall, Gone Girl was just okay for me. I know that a lot of people LOVED it, but unfortunately I just don't think this is the book for me. I did enjoy the story, but I had enough problems with it that I just can't call it a good read.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weekly recap: 6/14 - 6/20

My Super Exciting Life 

Well, this has been an unexpectedly busy week. My brother left on Monday and I expected a fairly relaxed few days, but it was not to be. Instead, my husband and I decided to start house hunting and everything has been a whirlwind ever since! Luckily, I think some of the madness is behind us and hopefully I'll be around the blog a bit more next week! I'm also hoping to visit some new blogs next week, so leave your favorites in the comments and I'll check them out!

I actually did have some time to read this week and was able to finish Stalking Jack the Ripper and Gone Girl! While Gone Girl was not the mind blowing experience I'd expected, I did enjoy it. The next day I watched the movie and definitely didn't like it as much. Has anyone else done both? I spent last night watching Edward Scissorhands for the first time in probably 15 years. I had pretty much forgotten everything about it and the feels!! I. Did. Not. Cry.

New Books


In Case You Missed It

Monday ARC review of A Torch Against the Night
The topic was books set in space for Top Ten Tuesday
On Saturday I discussed when life gets in the way of bookish things

This Week I Read


Upcoming Reviews

I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
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