Random Musings by Frodosco

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15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 15

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 15

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Who are your book blogging mentors?

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet because if you go to my post for Day 3 on blogging BFFs it will be identical.

I learned my main reviewing style from the always amazing Annabelle at Sparkles and Lightning. I try to give her credit every so often when I stray too far toward copying her, and while I have since made a few changes to my style it was her blog that gave me the foundation.

You know those fun Hobbit Sized Reviews I mix in every so often? Those were inspired by the nicest blogger out there, Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer who does Coffee Pot Reviews. Hers run shorter than mine as I can never seem to cut it down to less than two paragraphs, but they definitely are where my Hobbit Sized idea came from. Again, I give her full credit, she’s freaking awesome.

Once in a while I’ll break things down into The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. While that isn’t an original way of doing things by any means, I did get it from Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy though Jennifer replaces “the ugly” with The Snuggly (to talk about the romance) and I kept it as the original cliched version.

This is not to say my content is a blatant copy/paste of other blogger’s styles and I just input new words for each book. I hope think that the alterations I make set my posts apart, but those incredible bloggers deserve credit for giving me a great foundation to work with. The rest of what you see on my blog is original to my brain (as much as it can be anyway) whether it is my design, banner, button, Pro/Con or Anthology breakdowns for reviews, and especially my rating system. Those are unique to me. However, when you ask who my bloggy mentors are? Annabelle first and foremost, Kimberly for the short and sweet, and Jennifer despite me not using The Snuggly are mine, but more than that they are my bloggy friends. Thanks as always for reading.

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15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 14

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 14

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Tell us your deal breakers.

For this challenge I’ll list a few deal breakers, first the positive then the negative, and try to shed some more light on why I buy the books I do!

The Good

  • Auto-buy Authors – This is something I will expand on in a future post but there are definitely authors I LOVE so much that if a book comes out by them it is instantly on my shelf (virtual or regular) because I MUST have it! It doesn’t matter if they change genres or even target age groups (MG/YA/Adult/etc.) I will love it! Some authors on this list: Ann Aguirre, Rick Riordan, Sarah-Jane Lehoux, Leigh Wilder, Zoe E. Whitten, Malcolm Gladwell & John Green.
  • Synopsis Seduction – If the summary on Goodreads/Amazon/etc. is so good that I literally HAVE to buy it. This has happened numerous times and I’m sure will continue to happen in the future. The genre of the book sometimes ceases to matter, it’s all about that beautiful tease that I can’t ignore. Recent examples of this: Insomnia by J. R. Johansson, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (not yet released) and Fade to Black by Francis Knight.
  • Pretty Picture Passion – That’s right, I do succumb to book covers every so often. I can’t help it! I want to be able to put it on my shelf (after reading it of course) and call it one of my pretties. My bank account doesn’t thank me for these but some are too tempting to resist. Often the book at least interests me a bit as well, but it is the cover that makes me click that buy button. Very recent examples of this: Black City by Elizabeth Richards and Ink by Amanda Sun.

The Bad

  • Painfully Putrid Picture – Yup, I’m a cover snob as much as a cover lover. If your book sounds interesting but the cover makes me want to gag or burst into laughing fits (for all the wrong reasons) it isn’t winding up on my shelves. I have a few books where the covers aren’t amazing but for the most part I love all of my beautiful books and to taint that with bad, poorly done or bland covers would be a disgrace. Have you seen Katytastic’s recent quickie bookshelf tour? That’s what I want my shelves to be like and this means I may miss out on a great story or two, but there are plenty out there for me to read and this helps narrow down (a little) what I buy.
  • Infuriating Instalove – If you follow my blog you know my feelings on this. I do check out reviews for the books I buy on most occasions and if I catch wind of instalove and it doesn’t fall under my author auto-buy list it will take a TON of other positives to make me actually buy the book. In the vast majority of cases this is a deal breaker.
  • Cardboard Cutout – Oh the summary sounds really familiar, the preview (if there is one) makes it seem just like book x that I just read and the reviews say it’s JUST LIKE books x, y and z? Forget it. If the book doesn’t seem original or is far too similar to another book I’ve read or heard about then I’m probably not reading this let alone buying it. I love so many books and I don’t want to read carbon copies of them when there is so much original content out there to explore!

So what do you think of my deal breakers? Do you share any of them or are you the complete opposite? What are your deal breakers? Let me know, I’d love to check them out! ^.^ See you tomorrow for the last day of the challenge!


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 13

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 13

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Describe one underappreciated book EVERYONE should read.

There are SO many books to choose from for this challenge (as I’m sure all the bloggers participating in this one are saying) so it is very difficult to just pick one, but I’ll go with the first one that came to mind. The book is Thief by Sarah-Jane Lehoux which you can pick up from Amazon for only 99 cents!

Thief is primarily a fantasy book. You see elves featured a decent amount, though the dark elves are arguably cooler than their light counterparts if you ask me. There are also goddesses and pixies as well as a variety of other lesser used creatures which you’ll have to find out more about by reading the book.

Thief is headlined by Sevy, a kick-ass heroine who is easily one of my favorite characters in any book I’ve ever read. She’s that classic bad-ass on the outside and softie/sweetheart on the inside, but don’t let her know I told you that. She started from nothing, literally growing up on the streets and was stealing to get by until she runs into the other main character, Jarro. Picture your typical nice guy in your head, that’s Jarro, only he’s a gang leader. How does a guy like that end up in a gang? You’ll have to read the book to find out! I’m such a tease. ^.^

The book is action packed with displays of the fantastic, battles, rescues and grand adventures, the book has it all. There are also elements of romance that fuel a lot of the book’s plot but it melds perfectly with the rest of the story. Pain and loss are acutely felt by the reader, or at least by me, and the desire to see Sevy reach a “happily ever after” becomes just as big of a drive for us as it is for Sevy and the other characters in Thief.

I can’t say much more without spoiling major bits of the book so I’ll just say that I loved it and you should definitely read it. Fantasy fans this is a must read for you. Action junkies you too. Oh and sweet romance lovers make sure to check it out as well. Really just anyone who loves a good book needs to read Thief. What underappreciated book should I check out that you love? Why is it so amazing? Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 12

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 12

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: How do you fight blogger fatigue?

Not particularly well is the honest answer here. In the short time my blog has been up (less than a year) I took a hiatus twice and they were both a bit lengthy, particularly my last one. I had legitimate reasons for taking them, but regardless I don’t do well when I’m crazy fatigued. However, on a day to day level there are a few tactics to keep blogging from becoming dull or tiresome, though they’re pretty obvious. Diversify.

  • Try a different post than you are used to: If you constantly post the same type all the time (say like me with reviews) you may get bored or lose interest with blogging. It’s repetitive and, especially in the case of reviews at least for me, time consuming and a lot of effort. So try a meme, write a random post about whatever or if you just have all the emotions post a couple gifs, tell your followers how much you love them and then collapse. No one will blame you.
  • Read a different genre: Another obvious tip but this is my main way to fight the reading/reviewing process from becoming stale. I try to change up the genre at least a bit every so often to avoid getting stuck in a rut. This of course goes out the window when I have deadlines or am so in love with a series that I MUST READ IT NOW (to avoid explosions of bookishness) but after the deadline books I move to a different genre or book I was really looking forward to.
  • Change up your format for whatever type of post you write. For me this again goes to reviews and I do try to change my format every so often. Usually it’s a breakdown of the book by major category with a summary at the end to explain my overall feelings. However, I sometimes do the Hobbit-Sized reviews which are usually lighter and a bit more fun rather than my analytical approach, or I’ll do it in some type of list format if it feels more appropriate (anthologies especially) and for me that works.

How do you avoid blogger fatigue? Are you very successful or does it still get to you sometimes? Do you never have any blogger fatigue due to how awesome it is to interact with the blogging/bookish community? Let me know! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 11

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 11

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Show off 5 of your best blog posts!

From reading some of the other blogs that are participating in this challenge it seems like this is one of the harder ones, and I can understand why. It involves tooting our own horn, something a few of us either aren’t especially good at or don’t really like doing. Share an awesome new book? Heck ya! Talk about a cool new author about to debut? Love to! However, get us to say how awesome we are and some of us clam up so tight you need the jaws of life to pry us open. In my case I just wasn’t sure which posts I thought were my “best” and sifting through my reviews (really the only ones worthy of consideration, I’m not going to pick a meme post after all) was the only way I could think of doing it. So, these may not be the best, but I liked how they turned out for one reason or another.

  • Day 70: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger: Let the horn tooting begin! (Not a phrase you hear every day…) When I did this review I was still coming off that natural high you get after reading a book you know has become one of your all time favorites. Giving it less than five smiling Frodos wasn’t even an option in my head. So maybe it was the book’s awesomeness seeping into my review, but I felt like this was one of my better ones, especially out of the positive ones (which for whatever reason I have more trouble with than the negative). I’m happy with how my writing was at the time, the flow of the review and if someone were to read it I would imagine this could push them right over the fence they were on and make them read the book. I give Etiquette & Espionage, and Gail Carriger of course, full credit for the quality of the review, without her amazing piece I couldn’t have so many great things to say. ^.^
  • Interview with Sarah-Jane Lehoux: What’s this? A non-review post? Of course! You thought this would be all about me? I loved doing the interview with Sarah-Jane. Coming up with those questions and trying to be original wasn’t easy for me since this was my first attempt at an interview on the blog and I didn’t have any stock questions to fire off. Somehow they seemed to be a lot of fun for her to answer and the answers she gave? Interesting, informative, hilarious and a bit snarky, which pretty much sums Sarah-Jane up too. Seriously though, this was just a blast and I’m so glad we set this up (especially because I almost backed out of it due to nerves) and would happily do it again.
  • Day 59: The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton: While I don’t enjoy torching a book  because I know how much work goes into it, sometimes I have to. This was one of those times. The reason why this makes my “best” blog posts is because, while it wasn’t necessarily my most fun to write, I felt the review I did was actually pretty good. Humor was incorporated seamlessly, the analysis was strong and I didn’t trip over my own words (which I have a tendency to do at times). Also, the review gives a potential reader of my blog a good idea of elements in books I really don’t like and if they don’t mind them or even, in fact, like them then they know our feelings toward books probably won’t mesh well. Conversely, if you hate what I hate, you likely will love the elements I love in books too. The review just worked despite having to be harsh at times. I tried to be constructive, attempted to bring up what few positive elements I could drag out of this piece, but overall it was mostly just a Hulk smash of negativity.

  • Day 46: END: An Apocalyptic Anthology: This wasn’t my best review in terms of writing quality, it was short and not overly detailed because of the novella length stories and the breakdowns were simple, though not bad. So why does this make the cut? Impact. If you’ve followed my blog (especially long enough to see this many posts which I LOVE you for) you’d know I work with Angela Kulig on a semi-regular basis. Essentially whenever she has something new come out you’ll see a review here. Which makes it even crazier when she told me that this post was a major factor in her continuing to write. At all. I was floored because, especially at this point in the blogging experience, I didn’t think I had much impact at all. Small time blog and fine with it my reach wasn’t great so at most I’d impact a reader here or there and be fine with it. For this to happen…I’m still stunned.
  • Dewey’s 24hr Read-A-Thon: Why is a readathon post one of my “best” ones? I just had so much FUN! Dewey’s 24hr readathon was the first I ever took part in and kindled my love for them which at this point is borderline obsessive. I loved every aspect of the 24hr experience. Participating in sooo many challenges, reading three books and a novella all of which I enjoyed and tweeting with all of the other participants, again something completely new to me at the time, is an experience I’ll never forget. It is one of the longest posts I’ve ever done and yet reading through it again was an amazing treat for me. *hugs Dewey’s*

So there you have it, my five “best” posts! Honorable mention goes to “Review: Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson” because it was my first real review and my the first giveaway win I ever had on the blog. I feel that reading those five posts is a pretty good summary of what kind of blogger I am. Really the only thing missing is a Frodo’s Hobbit-Sized Review, but you can’t include everything. There is the high points, the very low, the impactful and the joyous. I hope that my content in the future can leave me even a fraction as happy as I am after looking back over these posts. Thank you so much for reading and feel free to share your thoughts on any of the posts or your own top five! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 10

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 10

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: How do you choose what book to read next?

Oh the pretties, how they call to me! The difficulty is trying to decide on which beautiful book to dive into next and sometimes it seems like there is no rhyme or reason to my choices. However, that is not always the case! So how do I choose what book to read next?

Scheduled Posts – This is the most obvious and easy. If I have a blog tour coming up, review scheduled for a specific date or some other event where a book needs to be read by a certain time then those books tend to be the ones I read right away. Recent Examples: Maven and Shudder (Blog Tour) as well as Water & Chaos (Book Release)

Obligations – These are books that I have received for review either through the author or something like ARCycling. I don’t have specific deadlines for these but I feel guilty if I wait too long to read a book I requested so I do my best to read these as soon as I can. Recent Examples: Blind Spot, Beta and Blood Winter (ARCycling) as well as Wicked Intentions (Author Gift for Review)

Readathons – I can’t get enough readathons and love participating (as much as I can) in each one. Some of them are themed and so I’ll read specific books that fit that readathon. Recent Examples: My Sister’s Reaper (Debut Readathon)

Peer Pressure – Yes this does happen from time to time. Bloggy friends of mine know I have a book that they love and push me to read it sooner then I might otherwise. This isn’t a common one but it still occurs. Recent Examples: Invisibility

Randomness – If I’m not participating in a readathon (at least not one with a theme) and don’t have any obligations or scheduled books often I’ll just choose whatever looks the most interesting or appealing to me at the time. This can be because of a pretty cover, a genre mood or any other of a variety of reasons. Recent Examples: Invisibility (Too awesome sounding to not read any longer) as well as Peter the Wolf, In the Dark and Drain Me Dry (Learned about the new authors and had to check out their pieces)

So there you have it! The method to my book reading madness has been unleashed! What are your reasons for choosing your next book? Is there a process or is it completely random? Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 11 all about my best blog posts! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 9

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 9

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Why do you blog about books?

This is something I touched on in challenge #7 when I spoke about my blogging quirks. Most of my posts are reviews, for a variety of reasons but mostly because I feel (and have been told) that they are the most helpful for authors. Will I do them in conjunction with a blog tour? Absolutely. Regardless of whether the review is part of something or just because I want to share my thoughts about the book the goal is to bring the book to a wider audience. This is true for both positive and negative reviews. If I loved a book I want more people to read it that may not be aware of the book or might be on the fence on if they want to read it. Conversely, if I am not a fan of the book I’d like to explain why so that other people can potentially avoid that one and spend their valuable time reading something else.

This is especially the case with indie authors. They work so hard to garner even a tiny fraction of what the “big boys” get and if I can help share their book to just a few people that wouldn’t have heard of it otherwise then it’s more than worth the time and effort spent. Plus, blogging has allowed me to connect with these authors when I likely wouldn’t have otherwise so I’m reading pieces I wouldn’t otherwise as well. Examples of some fabulous authors I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise and that I reviewed a piece (or a few) for: Zoe E. Whitten, Leigh Wilder, Angela Kulig, Larry Kollar, Starla Huchton, Sarah-Jane Lehoux as well a bunch more.

The community. The book blogging community is just incredible. They’re intelligent, helpful, caring and willing to deal with each other’s obsessiveness, insanity and frequent squees. The joy I see in book bloggers when they are talking about a book they just read that they loved, a book they are super excited to get or really anything book related is like no other group. It’s infectious and uplifting how the community supports its fellow members through seemingly everything. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

It’s freaking FUN! I get to talk about books all the time and people actually talk back to me about the ones they loved or their thoughts on whatever, how great is that?! I use it to participate in readathons which are always a blast (marathon reading + twitter chats + giveaways + challenges, heck ya!). Plus I get to record my progress and see how much I’ve read whenever I’d like, and with pretty cover pictures included! Plus it is (hopefully) helping my writing and helping me to understand what I like/dislike in books so that if when I write my own I’ll know what to look out for or what to utilize.

So that’s why I blog about books! Why do you do it? What parts are your favorites? Let me know and thanks for reading! ^.^