Ten Tips to Write Better Book Reviews

May 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we list our top tens!
See, the thing is, I'm someone who needs clear-cut defined instructions and goals when I set out to do something. So having a freebie post this week really doesn't help, y'all. I just spent the entire day trying to figure out what to write, and finally settled on helping out all you poor souls who try your hands at having a book blog and don't know how to write book reviews. With gazillion years of book blogging experience under my belt, plus over a thousand reviews in my archives, I figured it was about time I shared my expertise with less experienced mortals.

So, book reviews.

Book reviews are to book blogs like ketchup is to french fries. You need to load them on SO MUCH, so that all you can see is a sea of red (aren't I clever with my analogies & alliterations? *pats self on back*). Or reviews, in this case.

And without further ado, here are my little pearls of wisdom!

Authorial Intent & Responsibility

May 16, 2015

This is a post that I've been meaning to write for a very long time, and a recent bad experience with a book finally acted as the catalyst. Also, this post contains way too many questions, and too few answers, just so you know. I am a very confused person.

I was really enjoying the last book I was reading until I came across a small bit that really took me aback:
"Ladies first."
Right away I wanted to throw my glasses in the nearest trash can and yank my ponytail down. Chivalry makes me want to be the kind of lady who deserves it.
[Before I elaborate further, I just want to note that I'm not going to mention the book's name, because this is not a hate post, and the book isn't the point of this anyway. I simply want to speculate on a few things.]

First of all, what does that last sentence even mean? That only gorgeous women who have their shit together are worthy of chivalry? That simple, normal women who aren't put together all the time don't merit common courtesy? That if you are the recipient of some chivalry you're supposed to immediately assess the ways in which you can improve your appearance so that you *deserve* it? So that... what? You can thank the guy with your appearance?

In a world that's becoming increasingly materialistic and shallow, and placing undue value upon physical attractiveness, is it really a good idea for a book to reinforce the idea that looks are everything? Is that the kind of message that a book targeted at young adults should convey? Aren't young girls faced with enough pressures to fit the narrow definition of beauty that the world has these days?

Ten Books I'll Probably Never Read

May 5, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we list our top tens!
This week we're discussing books we'll probably never read. Admittedly, I thought this would take me a long time to compile but surprisingly, there are a number of books that I'm pretty sure I'll never read. And here they are. Do feel free to dissuade me of this, though, if you think they're worth a read.

2015 Rewind: 1 of 3

May 4, 2015

Rather than do a monthly or weekly recap, which would never work for me because I never have anything to say (I highly doubt I have the dedication to maintain something like that either), I figured it would be interesting to look back every few months and see what's been going on in my life, which is why Rewind is now here.

For The Love of Reading

April 30, 2015

desperate times call for desperate measures
The wanderings of a mind that is wont to ponder. Check out past Between Bookends posts here!

book monster [/bʊk ˈmɒnstə/]
someone who has a voracious appetite for books and is best known for being a serial reader, often consuming multiple books at a time

I think I can safely say that I (along with almost everyone who's part of the book blogging community) am and have always been a book monster.

I read my first book when I was around 3; it was a dictionary. I graduated to Famous Fives in first grade, at the same time when we were having hour long 'reading periods' at school, during which we were given Ladybird Read It Yourself books. Try imagining reading a 10 page book in under 5 minutes and simply staring at the teacher for the next 55 (or until someone else finished a book and you could trade, which would take ages). It was so so bad.

Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

April 20, 2015

Title: Things We Know By Heart
Author: Jessi Kirby
Publication date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Goodreads TBD
After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they're connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.
Things We Know by Heart is the first book in a long time that I read at a stretch, without losing interest in between. I've either been taking forever to read books, or dropping them to pick up later and starting another book, or simply avoiding books in general lately. So this book has been such a relief! I still love books! In three words, I'd describe this book as 'emotional, introspective, and beautiful'.

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

February 8, 2015

Title: Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publication date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Orion
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Goodreads TBD
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
In an alternate universe, I would read Red Queen before I read Red Rising by Pierce Brown, and see if this book still feels like a really long ride of déjà vu.

Mare Barrow is a Red, the menial workers who slave for the Silvers, the super humans with superpowers and actual silver blood (sound familiar till now?) Once they come of age, if Reds are not apprenticed to anyone, they are conscripted and sent to fight an army in the borders of the land. Mare is on the verge of turning 18 and isn't apprenticed, so she's resigned to joining the army just like her three older brothers.
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