[Blog Talk] Why short blog posts are making your blog mediocre (In teenage angst and not smart techie)

Trigger Warning: It’s unpopular opinion time.

They say quantity doesn’t equal quality, but when it comes to your blog posts and/or book reviews, that’s more often than not bullshit.

Despite having several opinions on the matter, while researching for this post, I stumbled accross a lot of complicated stat and keyword based articles regarding the subject. And guess what? They’re needlessly complicated and none actually talk about the human aspect of the matter. So let me break it down in angsty, teenage sarcasm and explain why shorter blog posts are not attracting as many people  and not search engines. I will address statistic based arguments as well at the bottom of this post, broken down into simpler terms so you can spend more time blogging intelligently, and less time trying to figure the intelligent part.

So let’s face one stone cold fact about blogging:

Blogging is only for people who have something to add to the conversation.

We’ve all been here: Starting our book review with a couple of our previous notes and post prep. You fight yourself on whether to allow your post to drag on for that precious wordcount, or if you keep it short and sweet, because people are coming to you to find books to read, not waste their time reading your content instead. Right?

Wrong.

The truth is, being able to convey something that is interesting, new, and will blow your mind in a short amount of words is an art form and only for intelligent people. Most of us don’t really have time to be artists or smart geeks. It’s just how it goes.
In consequence, the most you’re going to be able to get out of keeping it short and concise is a good premise summary, your general opinion on whether you liked it or not and if it is worth buying. Theoretically, this is fine and what a book blog should ideally look like… Except that’s what more than 50K book bloggers out there do as well. Because it’s not something that takes a lot of brain power per se to type, the truth is anyone can do it ! Many think this is the beauty of blogging, an average Joe can do it, but do remember that’s another 49,999 average Joes you’re competing with…

You need to bring in new opinions, new provoking discussions, new food for thought so your readers can leave your blog and take something with them. This is why I’m so adamant on my book analysis and rants. It’s not for everyone, but it’s my style and it’s what I’m bringing to the table.

However, short blog posts don’t just stop on book blogging, but rather this goes out to everyone. So let’s take a few moment to educate ourselves on what’s happening with your concise-post blog and how to optimize yourself.

If you’re a blog who’s niche centers around short blog posts, you’re probably lame.

Who writes short blog posts? Mmm… Daily life bloggers? You know, those people who didn’t make it into Reality TV and instead record they’re lives for posterity on a blog. Check the grand majority of their follower counts, it’s low. No one really cares about your life unless you’re a celebrity or a personality.

Travel blogs need to travel in the first place, which takes money, and the grand majority of us bloggers are broke, so.

Seth Godin? Haha, newsflash people, Seth Godin is a genius and you probably aren’t, but that’s ok. The grand majority of us truly aren’t either. The thing is, blogs that focus on short posts are either boring, simply because people don’t like stories that don’t include near death experiences, accidents, explosions or how to become a millionaire in ten days, or one of a kind gems. You need to stop— You’re not Seth Godin, he’s the exception to the rule. But you’re the rule incarnate.

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Readers find longer content to be of a higher quality, and are most likely share and bookmark it in the promise of looking smart.

As a blogger, you’re making a promise to your reader that your content is inherently better, otherwise you’re asking for charity and not readers. The basic premise should be to deliver quality content so people have a reason to visit your blog instead of the countless others. So why give out something anyone out there could do?

In order to acquire credibility, no one who just got into blogging should be writing less than 1,500 words per post. You want to sound as smart as you can as fast as you can, it builds credibility and come back followers. Don’t split posts just to post more often,  get intricate subjects and go in depth with them. Book blogging gives you excellent options for this, considering a book is in its smallest is 50,000 words long. It’s a lot of material to work with, and everyone always has a different take on their experiences with books!

Most bloggers just don’t write long content.

This doesn’t make it the standard, it only sets up wrong expectations.

A lot of bloggers have the mistaken idea that the more frequent you post, the more exposure you get. While this is true for more seasoned bloggers who have a wide base, doubling our content as amateur bloggers just isn’t worth it in the long run. At this point, it is more effective to write content people value as worthwhile. Shorter posts don’t do that to you.

Bloggers are simply not writing much, a lot of bloggers out there are lazy. But you’re not. Write more, stand out from others. It speaks about effort as well.

You’re not Buzzfeed. You’re not Millionare’s Digest.

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Taking from my point above, churning out content just for the sake of churning out content isn’t the way to go. You need to trust your readers are intelligent and smart people, looking to be educated or to hear your opinions. You don’t need to draw people in with the promise of a quick read (Those popular 1 minute read/ 3 minute read titles).

I don’t know about the rest out there, but I don’t find any of these corporations neither authentic nor genuine.

Don’t strive to be like them.
Because first of all, strive to be you. Genuine, opinionated you who people know exist. You’re tangible, you’re real and that makes you relateable. There’s nothing relateable  in multi million dollar companies who have stopped caring about the quality of their content and instead focus on only click bait and frequent entertainment.
And because second of all, companies like those know what they’re doing. The truth is neither you and I know exactly what we’re doing (yet). They have huge teams behind them, backing them 24/7 and churning out content like machines. Meanwhile, you’re probably only you, a few other co-bloggers or friends at most. Do the best you can

Supporting your claim has impact.

If you disagreed with my title and then ended up clicking this article because of that, then you surely were curious to see if my arguments for this subject held any weight. If you agreed with me, then you probably want me to back your beliefs with my opinions and facts. If I only provided you with bare bones content then you wouldn’t feel satisfied with your experience here.

That is exactly how I feel about most book review sites out there that only make you aware of the book they’re trying to advertise. Where’s the cleverly elaborated opinion? Where’s the backing to the reason of why I should read this book? Where’s the controversial point of view that’s going to draw me in into reading or? Or simply, why aren’t you enticing discussion to build your community?

Google said so. 

And in Jon Morrow’s words: Giving Google what it wants is smart.

Most articles out there will go on to explain that longer articles are favorable because SEO (Search Engine Optimization, to make it short, the algorithm that decides how high your blog will appear in a search result without paying to be bumped higher) ranks articles with more content higher on the search engine. Think of it, which of these two options would google rather hook you up with: The one that engages you for two minutes, or the one that engages you for twenty?

Long copy and search results

Data shows that the average word count of the top ten ranking pages on Google is found between 2,350 and 2,425 words. Google wants to provide a great service experience and substantial information that caters to a need. This is why longer content it valued when you wish to rank organically in Google searches.

But the fact is, while it makes sense to an extent, don’t get too hung up on this point. Before you go on believing everything you read on a blog that sounds fancy, make sure you always ask yourself:  What set of keywords does this apply to? and Is correlation the same as causation?

Studying your target search engine keywords is crucial, specially when you’re a SEO driven blogger. But do remember, and I can’t stress this enough, not to give a fuck about it unless you’re in any way relevant. I see many, many bloggers stressing their search engine results when they are still very little in size. Search Engine Optimization isn’t just based on your keywords or word count, because interaction and link backs to your site have a lot to say in the matter. Correlation is never equal to causation, a lot more comes to weigh in when it comes to your spot on Google other than blog post length. What’s worse is that because of the same amount of book blogs out there, it’s unlikely you will be making it on the Top 10 results of your search engine results for “Prodigy Mary Lu book review”.

Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t work hard toward the goal. Longer blog posts are barely the first step into an uphill battle. But it doesn’t mean you’re not going to make it.

Do you still wish to persevere with short content?

In that case simply keep it BRIEF which this helpful advice to remember from Copy Hackers.

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Now its up to you to educate me.

Tell me in the comments, what is your average wordcount length on blog posts and how often do you post? Is it working for you? Tell me why you think that is ! I’d love to hear your experience.

[Review] Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie – Maggie Stiefvater

“Do you ever get the feeling that something awful might happen?’ James asked me. . . I sat up. ‘I’m the awful thing that happens.”

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The beautiful second installment to Maggie Stiefvater’s musical Books of Faerie series. Great mythology and deadly fantastic faeries come together in a book that surpasses its predecessor with prose and characters. Despite being a sequel, it perfectly stands alone by itself. Some may mind this, some others like me won’t.

3.75/5 Stars
Recommendation: 
Those who enjoyed the first book will definitely enjoy this second one, those who didn’t enjoy Lament will find themselves liking this one much better. But might still not be their cup of tea. For those who enjoy musically rich books, unconventional characters and a fresher approach to romance. However, despite containing a rich story, the book doesn’t have a lot of substance either.

Ballad tells the story of Deidre’s best friend, the also musically gifted James Morgan as he sets out to follow his dreams in a private conservatory for musicians. Still hurt by Deidre’s actions from the previous book and her increasing distancing of him in favor of the world of Feys, James draws further into himself, only to attract the attention of a deadly Fey coming after his musical talent…

But Ballad also tells the story of Nualla, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Initial refusal from James’ only draws her further to him, and the soul scorching music they compose together leads into an unusual friendship and mutual admiration. Soon, they realize a lot more troubles lures behind the seducing world of the Fey, outside of Nualla’s murderous intentions…

In many ways, Ballad is everything Lament should’ve been without the allure that Deidre and Luke had. Ballad is a deliciously eeriee story that shows both sides of the seducing world of magic, dangerous yet motivated faeries. Both Deidre’s soul-fated love that went wrong, and James’ wrong love that led into a star-fated destiny.

While Luke and Deidre barely had any substance and chemestry in Lament, Ballad delivers two deliciously complex characters with sure and secure motivation, sharing such a frustrating chemestry that will make you want to scream and squeal all throughout its pages. James provides an often unseen and underrated voice in Young Adult fantasy and romance, sarcastic and rather crude commentary to life mixed with a breaking away of your typical, unrealistic lead that follows its romantic interest to dangerous distances only because the plot dictates they fall in love (Much like Deidre would previously do in Ballad’s predecessor, Lament).

In many ways, James narrating is very grounded in reality, pleasant and more realistic due to its sarcasm; which is a very pleasant breakaway from Dee’s femenine and much weaker narrative. Like any standart YA, her storyline was dictated on following the hot honcho with abs of steel. Meanwhile James story in Ballad dealt with many much darker themes and great moral choices.

We see a lot of character development throughout the book, though nowhere near as good as Maggie’s future works with the Raven Cycle. Both Nuala and James change because they meet each other, they  perfectly shake up the world’s they belong to and leave behind a firey, delicious mess. Both Dee and James are perfectly shaken up as well, both still struggling to cope with the events of the last book, James more able to look past it than his best friend. It is interesting to follow their development from the last book in this new and independent storyline, and despite Deidre’s character arc resulting farther and farther from James.
One of the biggest criticisms of this book is Dee’s attitude, selfish, bitchy and entirely self centered, despite her being rarely seen throughout its pages. However, this is also a very pleasant break from regular YA and their resilient heroines. Dee is a sixteen year old girl who lost her boyfriend to mythical creatures she can barely understand and is not forced to carry on with her life as usual despite going through a wild and world-shattering summer. Recovering from supernatural creatures attempting to murder you and then attend school is a rather difficult thing to do, kids. Also: No Luke in this book 😦 So fair warning for those like me who were hoping for this hot honcho with abs of steel.

However, Dee’s most interesting development happens through the texts we see her typing to James (despite never sending them) about what’s going on on her side of things and how Luke is fairing and how her life and sanity are slowly going down the drain. Each text keeps you hooked chapter to chapter and excites you for the third book to read its resolve… If it were only published. Sigh.

The biggest criticism I have for its book is the lack of closure we experience regarding Dee and its switching first person POV, though the last part isn’t very bugging to many others. I read Lament and Ballad back to back, and was rather disappointed to find Dee’s storyline not to be developed since I was still hung up on her and Luke. I find it more than perfectly okay, and great even to decide to switch storylines to a great character such as James while hyping up Dee’s and Luke’s continuation by keeping us in the dark about Deidre. However, more than 8 years later and we still haven’t gotten the third book, I feel a bit sad, cheated and craving for some well deserved closure from these characters.

But in the end, it’s also endearing as hell. James does get his unconventional yet very, very happy ending and that blesses me.  A really good book.
Perhaps this is still my bias regarding this series, but so many years later and I still can’t wait for the third book to be out. Perhaps someday Maggie will be pulling Requiem out of the back burner.

“Death smells like birthday cake.”

Here is some fanart I did of James and Nuala titled: “The Horned King’s March”

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“The Horned King’s March- Nuala & James

And make sure to watch how I drew it right here !

[Fanart] Before & After: The Horned King’s March— Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Six or Seven years ago, my favorite author gave me words of encouragement.

This happened back on the year I first started drawing, which coincidentally is the year I began reading. This was thanks to Maggie’s “Books of Fae” duology, to which at the time I grew obssesed with. I was very convinced I was great for some reason at the time, and thus I decided that my art deserved to be put on shirts. This is the art I made and sent to Maggie Stiefvater on 2011:

Little Hime, yes I know.
While writing my Ballad book review yesterday, I decided to look for these just for the sake of nostalgia… It just happened not to end there, and I had a huge urge to make a redo sketch of Ballad’s shirt (the one that’s not on me) for my review like I had previously done for her Raven Cycle Books— Except it didn’t quite stay as a sketch this time.

So thus, I present you the final product, six years later. Thanks to the lovely encouragement of my favorite author. It meant the world to me Maggie ❤

“The Horned King’s March”

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I recorded a Speedpaint with my 5 hours of process ! Be sure to check it out if you’d like to see how and I did and feel like supporting me !

While certainly no longer her best works, Ballad is most certainly one of Maggie’s most underrated works ! Be sure to go grab it and give it a read, because it’s certainly still one of my all time favorites.

Now I know it isn’t exactly a carbon copy, but in the original Nuala was supposed to be placed behind James… I just didn’t know how to do that when I was 11. I thought the image held more power if she wasn’t directly visible, as Nuala’s entire character consists on being the muse that guides talent’s to their demise. Simply felt like it held more power the way it is. I also didn’t understand symbolism very much when I was a child, and my mind guiltily focused more on: OTP ! Than the actual book’s beautiful symbolism… My own take on it with James & the Horned King in this piece.

An actual review of Ballad should be out tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are a few more screencaps of my work ! Thank you very much, and enjoy !

[Wishful Endings] The Raven Cycle – Gansey is Glendower Theory & Adam dies

“Have you ever wished to be able to spend if only a few more minutes with your favorite series?”

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Hey there! And welcome to Sweet and Unholy’s Wishful endings! Today Part 2 of me revisiting Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle! I’ll be posting a couple of theories regarding this series, including a new, updated and in depth analysis of why Gansey is in fact Glendower along with my personal wishes on how I wish the series would’ve actually ended.

Like always, click Read More for the theory and spoilers ahead, sweet kids !

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[Wishful Endings] The Raven Cycle – Adam is Evil Theory

Do you ever spend more time theorizing about a book than what you did reading it?

This series is for you then. Today I’ll be trying something slightly different, and that I would enjoy to be repeating in the future ! A couple of book theories smashed together and what in my opinion would’ve the perfect ending for The Raven Cycle Series (The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily Lily Blue & The Raven King)

This theory post will be rather short ! However, keep in tune for tomorrow when I return with the second half of my theory at great length.

Now beware. Spoilers are obviously ahead !

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[Book Talk] How to handle a romantic subplot (And accepting their cold, harsh realities)

I blog about YA novels.
I like to think I write YA novels.
Thus, I criticize novels of the same genre and enjoy writing about the writing process.

Perhaps the most widely accepted phenomenon on Young Adult culture is the Romantic subplot in novels, to the point I have witnessed many readers come to demand this when it comes to a criticizing point of a novel. The grand majority of author indulge us, after all, the majority of the YA audience and I are starry eyed teenagers who dream of their first kiss and desire enthralling romances to sweep us from our feet. Reaching out to books for that isn’t sinful, but the cheap way a lot of authors and big releases handle it nowadays very much is. Continue reading

[Review] Unspoken – Sarah Rees Brennan

“Listen to me. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what any of this means. But I know this much. It doesn’t matter. You’re not one of them. You never were. You’re not theirs. You’re mine.”

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Forest deep, silent bells
There’s a secret no one tells
Valley quiet, water still
Lynburns watching on the hill
Apples red, corn gold
Almost everyone grows old.

A gripping mystery for those looking for a magic filled, rural tale of a town with too many secrets and an unpredictable match who can read into each other’s minds and the world was very wrong to let them come together.

3.75/5 Stars 
Recommendation: For those looking for a page turner and a compelling read, but don’t expect so much so as real logic to the actions but still get a lot of relatability with the characters. Good thrills in exchange for a mystery that’s way too convenient and a book that’s a bit too on the nose with its humor.

Imagine what it’s like never being alone.
A voice that knows you and speaks through your thoughts, a familiar presence that has accompanied you ever since you were born. A someone who speaks loud and clearly and brings you comfort, a voice that only you can hear. Now imagine it’s a boy.

Jared has been there ever since Kami was born, while the people in their lives have tirelessly worked to convince them neither is real. But things very much change the day the Lyburns move back into town and Jared practically knocks at Kami’s door.

Kami is an avid and intrepid reporter in the small town of Sorry-in-the-Vale who suffers from teenager who wants to change the world YA syndrome. Despite living in a small town where everyone knows each other, she can’t help but to live with the haunting dread of the secrets that plague every corner of her city and she knows the Lyburns that lived by the woods are at the heart of all of this.  Now they are back into town, people are getting murdered and her relationship with Jared is getting all too complicated.

Some fairy tales sound better when they remained concealed in our imaginations.

This book is too much, it’s just too much and its nothing at the same time- It tries to rebel and go against many classic YA tropes while tightly sticking to them at the same time, to the point where I can’t tell what’s going to happen anymore. I’m not too sure if that’s good or bad, but I suppose its the later because of how fickle these characters feel in nature. Kami is truly an unreliable narrator, and because of her rapid thoughts and switches it’s hard to keep track of motivations, allegiences and who is what and why, to the point it sometimes may just become confusing.

I have very mixed feelings on how this play with tropes was approached, but I’m still glad some was attempted to be addressed and didn’t fall too hard on its face… Where the author was going with said play though, is what I really don’t know. The book also comes with inclusions of what began as a love triangle, spun around and then again I’m left not being sure if that was for better or for worse. One thing was certain and that is that it was practically infuriating in the begging.

The book is also way too convenient, to the point I feel like I’m throwing the world “mystery” lightly. It’s like one of those frustrating mysteries that get conveniently solved because of that one huge incriminating piece of evidence left at the crime scene by the killer. Leads are left out open in the air and go by days without pursuing them —because Brennan was much too busy giving spotlight to annoying love triangles, since that’s the stuff that matters in YA, right?— and it would have no sort of impact in the story. In fact nothing, and I mean nothing made any sort of impact in the long run. Not character decisions because they (mostly Kami) would change their mind at least multiple times per chapter, no tantrum thrown by any character (mostly Jared) or horrible deeds said and done would be forgiven in the matter of one chapter and sometimes maybe even two to act as if nothing ever happened, no terrible secrets uncovered would ever change anyone’s mind or make them act any more wary around this obviously dangerous town. The characters stayed flat and unswaying throughout what was basically the entirety of the novel (with the exception of the final few chapters) and that made it hard trying to ground this novel in reality.

Don’t get me wrong though, if you liked anything like The Caster Chronicles, you will certainly enjoy this book.  The truth is this book isn’t very pretentious in the long run and doesn’t pretend to be (many) things it’s not. While not being the most intricate or fascinating read, this new series is a real page turner that will grip you from beginning to end. It’s not that long either, so it’s a very fast and exciting ride from its beginning to the end. A fair warning however, the book practically feels unfinished. There was a terrible cliffhanger slapped into the ending that is completely INFURIATING and may end up angering you for days on end if you were already fully immersed in the story.

“The Lynburns built this town on their blood and bones.”

“That was their first mistake,” Jared said. “They should’ve built a city on rock and roll.”

The humor is great though. Which is something I often find my YA reads to be lacking (and why I might be such a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater in the first place) and this book was very close to making up for it… The issue is its downfall is the humor as well, just it’s too much and it often enough ruins the tone of the book. The characters find themselves using humor through many of the more serious scenes, and while that helps alleviate some of the well pent up tension it also killed the entire eeriee and gothic mood that it was going for and detatched the reader from any sense of urgency or emergency. If you’re any like me, I actually appreciated it a lot because it almost made the novel self aware and it keeps me from taking it too seriously… In which case this review would be much harsher than it actually is. Perhaps if I graded this as the angsty, Gothic romance the book’s presentation and synopsis made it out to be we’d be in a whole other level…

“Jared told her he used to be an exotic dancer in San Francisco.’

“My body is a gift from God,’ Jared said gravely. ‘Except for my hips, which are clearly a gift from the devil.”

Spoilers ahead and down bellow kiddos ! (Click read more)

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[Book Talk] Ways to get cheap books for international bloggers

Let’s take a moment to get real.

Being a blogger is an expensive little thing, isn’t it?
And apart from the fact I live in Mexico, where despite no one reading books are still more expensive than anywhere else, I also happen to live in the middle of nowhere where I can only have books shipped in. Or perhaps like me, you’re only interested in reading in English and live in a non-English speaking language… The dilemma is hard.

So here’s some sources where I’ve learned to get my books as time goes by, and I hope it can help y’all some.


Waterstones Marketplace:

Waterstones

http://www.waterstonesmarketplace.com/

In short, Waterstone’s is one of the biggest book shop franchises in the UK. I found it while getting dropped over on Trafalgar Square for over two hours and simply fell in love ! I made friends with one of the shop clerks who saw me approaching with 11 books in my arms… She laughed, helped me out and let me know of this amazing website while she charged me my total.

The UK is fantastic as it is when it comes to books because I can find the majority of YA for simply 8  pounds ($10 dollars), no matter the book length which to be was a miracle as it is. However, it gets better.

Waterstone’s owns a website known as Waterstones marketplace to find used books or hard-to-find prints. I can find from new YA releases to used copies for .90 cents of a pound ($1 dollar) each ! All online ! Don’t believe me…?
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I recently purchased this entire book list for only $23 dollars ! It’s 18 books in total ! I will be posting my entire bookhaul when they arrive. Truly a great deal !

After that, comes shipping of course… Shipping to the UK is less than a dollar for each book, I believe. Personally? I ship them over to my family in France for around 4 pounds each, but a 5 pound book is still a huge joke ! This webpage is perfect for those who live in Europe and want some cheap and quality English books !

PRO TIP: Always order from the same shipping house because then the shipping (to Europe) will decrease to only 3 pounds per book. You’ll be saving a lot of money !


Book Depository:

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https://www.bookdepository.com/

Book Depository has going for itself what Waterstone’s most fails at. Every single book your order from this website comes with free shipping all over the world. See but the magic doesn’t really only end there, because here is my favorite part: Most of these books come heavily discounted from what they’d ever be in my country. For example, take A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas.

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Anywhere in Mexico this hardback would be found at 760 pesos ($42 dollars) and this is the types of prices I have come to accept throughout my life. Can’t ever have them shipped from the USA because its just gonna result more expensive when it comes to the shipping. Here’s where book depository works magic:
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A Book Depository version of ACOWAR’s hardback can be found for 439 pesos ($24 dollars). That is almost half the original price I’d find in my country. Not to mention again, the shipping is already included !

The best part is that Book Depository’s books are constantly moving and getting on sale, at the moment, there’s a couple of discounts in more of Maas’ books that are constantly going up.

Instead of taking months like some other sites, my Book Depository Books have arrived in less than two weeks almost every single time ! A big recommendation, and certainly a huge must have for international bloggers looking to read in English


Audible Premium:

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Allow me to break some common misconceptions about Audiobooks because these Godsends are just simply so convenient ! It is certainly not coming with that adoring smell of new book or going to take any place in your bookshelf you can admire, but hear me out because these are life savers !

Audiobooks are amazing to fill in for those gaps in our lives where we can’t physically hold a book. I put on my audiobooks when I am walking to class, taking the bus to work, back home, on errands and even listen to them at work on slow days ! They’re a great distraction and its really easy doing other everyday activities while listening to them.

Alright, now back to Audible. Audible is an amazon shop where you can browse through thousands of audiobooks for admittedly a higher price than regular books. However, an audible membership costs you 14 dollars a month and comes with one free credit per month. I read the entire Throne of Glass series that costs around 40$ dollars per audiobook and comes with over 24+ hours of audio all for free by getting an audible membership and waiting for my free book per month, apart from the HUGE discounts you can find on other audible titles when having a membership. The first month is entirely free, so I would recommend getting your free book and checking out if Audiobooks are your way (which I assure you will be the case). Trust me, for $14 dollars a month, the experience of a good and long audiobook is more than worth it.

PRO TIP: If you cancel your audible membership and state that the price was too high in the reasons, it will cut the price in half for three months ! Meaning you can get three months of audible membership for only $7 dollars a month !


For the Spanish-speaking YA readers:

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A couple of years ago I was part of a Readers∞ group on Facebook for Spanish readers. During my stay there, I was gifted a huge PDF library of translated books sitting on my drive.

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This is like half of it, because otherwise the file would be too huge to upload- I’ll gladly hand them over to those interested ! I bought physical/ e-copies of all books I enjoyed and I recommend doing the same thing to support the authors.

Some of these are actually in English too so you can always drop a comment to find out what I have and all ! If you speak spanish or are interested in getting my full collection, reblog this post on your blog and drop me a comment with your email and I’ll forward these over ! It’s pretty much only YA/NA back from 2012 and forwards because that’s what the peeps read back then. I totally forgot I had these ! But I hope someone else will be able to enjoy them.

And you? Do you have any other tips on how to get cheap books for those not fortunate enough to live in the USA? Make sure to share !

Atte. A blogger in need 🙏

[Review] Beautiful Bastard – Christina Lauren

“You know, it’s a good thing you got that big dick to make up for that mouth of yours.”

16102004 Sorry fellas, couldn’t very much help myself with the quote. It’s just this happens to be the book quality we’re dealing with here.

1/5 Stars
Recommendation: For those easily pleased readers looking for a hot, possessive, rich bad boy fucking a blank slate’s brains out in a novel that’s more porn than two pages of plot. Interesting enough, but not for those who are looking for something pertinent our of their reads or a relationship with any sort of substance to at least root for. Normally I’d precede by saying this novel was simply not for me or it won’t be for everyone but…. It’s bad, it’s just bad #UnpopularBookOpinionTime

This is where NA is headed down, kiddos.

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If anyone has been keeping up with any of my past reviews, it’ll turn out rather obvious that this is very unlike what I’d normally seem the type to read. (I think this is turning into a pattern at this point, christ) And that’s because I’d like to say it is ! For once I will be skipping the how I got this and will just explain this was an e-book gift who’s cover guiltily drew me in (Should’ve known better at this point, I know) and I ended up guilty-pleasure reading to pass the time. Ended up not being a pleasure in the least bit, so now allow me to explain why.

Normally this is the point I’d go on to explain the plot, and I wish I could just leave it at “There’s none” and we’d leave it at that, but since I do appreciate as readers, here is how it goes. Edward Cullen  Bennett is rich and a very successful business owner who might as well be laundering money if he’s staying that rich AND doing absolutely nothing around the office than sexually harassing his employees and then engaging in said sex with them. Bella Swan Chloe Mills the personality lacking yet very sexually appealing assistant who happens to work for Bennett. He’s attracted to her, he can’t explain why. She’s can’t stand his guts, she still thinks he’s sexy as fuck. They banter, they argue, they call each other names and then they make love. That’s the story.

I suppose the rest of the plot sort of simply revolves around us admiring how much they can fuck around the office without being caught or ever talking to each other. I’d like to think they never really interact outside of fighting because the authors realized just how little chemistry both characters in fact possessed and instead came to the cheap and lazy conclusion that fighting = sexual tension. Ps Dear Authors: This is not the case, please bother writting good chemistry between characters. Many, many do it right.

See the worse part of this book is that the only thing it has going for it are its sex scenes— or the characters thinking about the next time they’ll be having sex, and it’s just bad. I’m really saddened to say that. They drag on, and on, and on and they’re just so repetitive to the point yo’d get a better reading experience if you were to read the first 100 pages and then skip all the way to the final chapter. This book might as well also serve as an antology of Bennett’s recorded obssesion with panty ripping; every time they’d have sex he’d make sure to ruin her clothes to the point it was boring and frustrating.

Oh, also, I felt her up her in an elevator and was hoarding her shredded panties in my desk drawer. Creeper.

As if Chloe being okay with all of her clothes constantly ripped and expensive lingerie constantly damaged wasn’t ridiculous enough, let’s not fucking forget Bennett also then proceeded to keep those used, ripped panties in his desk drawer. At the office. Because that’s not going to leave a weird stench all around the room. But don’t let the quote fool you, this book isn’t in the least bit self aware of how ridiculous it is. It really takes itself as a serious, empowering and sexy love story of what happens when an alpha male meets an alpha women.

After panty shredding, we were also introduced to button popping just to increase the sexy level. Don’t drop your panties ladies, Bennett might end up keeping them. Ruining clothes is only hot the first time it happens. Then it’s just like some cheesy frat guy crushing a beer can on his head because he can. OH AND! Let’s just not forget the incredibly obnoxious dialogues during the sex scenes, the only time they ever talked and it was absolutely baffling. 

And listen, for such little plot, you would at least enjoy it if the characters that move the story were at least developed but that doesn’t seem to be the case either. Bennett is a much more charismatic version of Christian Grey (that in his defense, seems to have come before the entire hype of 50SOG took the world like a storm) that every character in the novel seems to agree only has the redeemable quality of being hot. And trust me, I love me some emotionally abusive characters, possessive jackasses, who want to bend over and break you. I don’t consider myself that special, yeah, I do get totally mixed up in that. It’s just that me as a reader, I demand remotely redeemable or at least complex characters. I want to know who they are, and what they are and why they are and they are so I can root and feel for them. If I have a villain type character I’m supposed to fall in love with, I need reason, not the typical tropes we are awarded. We’re really only supposed to like Bennett because he’s hot and the sex scenes. It’s infuriating.

The worse part has to be some of Bennett’s unreedemable attitude. He blames Chloe for not being able to keep it in his pants and takes responsibility for his actions, as rapey as they can end up being. Could be good, I could like it, but its just terribly handled. He goes to the point of calling Chloe a tease because she happened to be wearing a dress he deemed “virginal” and thus was found himself forced to fuck her. Quality writing people.

Oh but, let’s actually get to the quality, which is normally one of the first things I tend to talk about but… I needed to get more important things off my chest first. My first impression upon finishing this novel is just the way it was written like fanfiction:

I.e.
The bland cookie cutter characters that star this novel and the baffling forgettable side characters that only exist to bring the main characters together. Or apart.

➜ There is no thought or care put into the writing. Words are only used to describe what each character is doing or thinking, but its all poorly written and straightforward. There’s no beauty in the artform, no sort of clever humor or relatability to the characters. It might as well simply be a script or the transcript of a movie written in a book.

➜ The drama. Oh my God, the drama.
He stalked her, (Hello Edward Cullen) she got angry and then they had makeup sex. He treats her like shit, she gets reasonably angry and they have angry sex that then leads to makeup sex. It’s the entire novel. Jesus fucking Christ we could’ve cut the run time of this book by at least half. This book is literally only sex scenes tied together by some bland, cookie cutter relationship drama. Oh and at the end of the book they fall in love. Great, one less sociopath roaming the streets because one more stupid book protagonist fell in love with them.

➜ 
The poorly handled worldbuilding. There’s no world, there’s just some office that who knows how stays afloat and the one place they go to have a business trip in. It’s not bad if it doesn’t really matter where your novel takes place for it to make sense, but make sure it takes place somewhere as if grounds your novel on reality. You should always make sure your character inhabit a place, not for the place to conveniently work around your characters.

There is just so little care put into this book as a novel with a plot more so than just nice porn to entertain the fans. It’s just like a fanfiction you read online… And here’s the best part ! Upon reading and doing some research, I actually found out Beautiful Bastard used to be a Twilight Fanfiction once entitled The Office that eventually became p2p (As if that one scene of Bennett fantasizing about watching Chloe sleep wasn’t telling enough, HAH !) and honestly… It’s just so sad about the current quality demanded when there are so many great Wattpad published stories out there. Ahhh… The unfair life.

Well anyway, kiddos ! No story to even spoil here so no spoiler section either. Managed to rant without spoiling, look at that. I certainly do not care about reading any of the four other books in the series, so I won’t be continuing this series. Though if you really wish to know, here’s more or less how it goes:

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So what are your thoughts on this entire P2P and PWP phenomenon ?

Are you a fan of these type of guilty pleasure novels? Leave your thoughts before !

[Book Talk] How Multiple POVs are ruining your story (And how lazy of an author it makes you)

YA novels are composed by many different aspects and formulas that make them the genre that they are, young protagonists, complex (and often pointless) love subplots or triangles, dystopian type societies… And one component that I very often see and very much throughoutfully despise: First person switching Point of Views.

If you didn’t skip your middle school literature classes, you surely are aware of what a narrator is: The voice who tells the story and the determinant of the point of view. If the narrator is a full participant in the story’s action, the narrative is said to be in the first person. A story told by a narrator who is not a character in the story is a third-person narrative.

But narrators do so much more than just telling your story, as the type of narrator you use can do so much more for you. YA novels tend to focus on the likability of their main characters (often turning their protagonists into Mary Sues, sigh) while doing the least amount of work possible and thus it has become a very common occurrence for these types of authors to choose first person narratives because of several advantages they always wish to exploit:
The spoon feeding of your main/secondary character’s ambitions, thoughts and motivations through letting them explore their thoughts.

The cheap shot at immersion with your readers by allowing them a generic character. Because of how hard it is for main characters to describe themselves without sounding like they’re roleplaying on Omegle (F, 20, brown hair and green eyes) most authors avoid giving characters a clear description of themselves and more of a blank slate personality that’s described through other characters (“But MC! You love going to the movies with us ! Are you really going to pass on hanging out to help rescue animals instead?”)

An overplayed phenomenon in romance oriented YA is this precise blank slate main character who attracts the handsome, new bad boy in school and he finds himself unnaturally drawn to her. This is nothing but lazy play for uncaring readers— Your reader projects onto the main character and swoons as her love interest is here to sweep her off her feet and thus become too busy fangirling over how sexy the love interest is and how much you root for him. (Bonus points if you thought of any novel that wasn’t Twilight, because I could easy list a few many, many more)

It’s cheap, its lazy and its such an over used YA trope.


The bias of first person narrators, as the stories are filtered through their brains and emotions. Thus, making it easier to be able to quickly flag characters as “Good guys” and “Bad guys” without having to spend any time developing them as to us to figure it out by ourselves.

The unbelievable ease by which first person narrators are able to dump exposition on you without having to resort to the intelligent pacing and logical cohesion of explaining the world as events unfold and make it properly that third person forces you to do.

If the novel is thoughtful or intelligent enough to include some good mysteries or complicated plot twists, a character’s musings are a simply way to spell out what’s going on and move on without allowing the reader to discover it for themselves.

Now at this point, I have only spent some time describing why I think a first person narrator is lazy— Not even mentioning the more obvious disadvantages like self-indulgent novels can become within the narrator’s emotions by overreaction and making everything about themselves, the limiting POV by not being able to create action where the character isn’t present, making perspective and perception on the bigger picture almost impossible, the lack of focus and inability to work on secondary subplots as you’re only focused on one story thread, the unreliability of the narrator because of the bias of its brain (which in cases this can be worked wonderfully into a novel, but this is what I call a literary device for non-lazy authors) and the extra time needed to be spent figuring out the narrators voice without being out of character: Alas, a “creative” mind like Tahereh Mafi’s Juliette using heavily complex and scientific terms in her descriptions. Then again, just like Mafi, many YA authors don’t care for this later point and tend to ignore it all together.

But notice how I mention the “limits” of what a first person narration can do to your novel, and backtrack on the immediate thought that’s plaguing your head: “But Hime ! That has a very easy solution !” And it does ! It’s precisely the object of this essay this fine morning: Multiple Person POVs.

If you haven’t clued in into what they are just yet, allow me to explain. Multiple Person first person POVs is a phenomenon that occurs when you narrate a tale in first person, and then switch up the character narrating most commonly when entering a different chapter i.e. Maria narrating chapter one, and Pancho chapter two and Pedrito chapter three and switch back, back and forth. Surely, this phenomenon solves many of my aforementioned problems like: The limiting view of only one person’s bias now extended to multiple, the new found ability to throw some focus and spotlight into other character arcs and subplots and the convenience to narrate situations that are going on outside the main character’s perspective.

If you are doing this, let me tell you one hard truth: Your novel most likely reads like fanfiction.

Those who have spent their years in Wattpad surely understand what I’m saying. There isn’t anything more distracting than beginning a novel and first thing reading the character’s name on top of your page. It is very, very off putting.

It’s lazy, and when not developed properly, really brings out the amateur in a writer. You might think that many readers of YA don’t mind this, and that is the cold hard truth, but there are many other writers and readers out here that still value writing as an art form and not as a self indulgent check-list of how to get a best seller. Put effort into what you do. 

Dual POVs are the most common occurrence of this phenomenon, and usually indicate a clear romance between both parties. This is by far the easiest and the laziest because it avoids having to go through the trouble of really giving each of your main characters a voice: One is a boy, and one is a girl. They do boy girl things until they encounter each other and then think about each other when they are apart. Fun.

Problem arises when the same lazy author I’m describing attempts to add a third or more POVs into the story and everything goes down into a shit show. If you’re not taking the time to give your character voices, then you will most likely turn your lazy cop out into an unpleasant read. Characters will become nothing but names blending into each other you will force your readers to have to constantly remember to tell them apart (A big problem I encountered with The Thousandth Floor but still gets half a pass because the story sort of premised revolving around these five characters- It was just done very, very incorrectly).

Narratives who do this tend to become very convoluted between every minor character and major character that they book switches to. Authors tend to forget the main point they were trying to make and get derailed between the myriads of new character thoughts, and motivations, and glances into their brains that are simply not needed in the story. You’re spending less and less time with the main characters that the reader came in for in the first place. In fact, the biggest pitfall that authors using this system fall with is very simple:

The simple possibility of ending up with readers liking one POV dramatically more than they like the other. Imbalance occurs between POV characters who are given equal amounts of time on the page and the experience becomes tedious and unpleasant.

Most authors who do this switch and jump between characters only to make sure they cover every piece of action away from the main character and I am tired to say this, but it is simply a cheap cop out that doesn’t push the writer to find a creative way to present all the information it wishes to convey through their book.

So enough complaining, what would you do?

Third person is my go to answer.
It doesn’t mean my personal stories are all written in third person, but allow me to explain why I would always recommend going for this style.

It forces you to be creative.

Not only that, but you can very well achieve the same advantages from a first person perspective with a third person perspective, along with several other advantages.

Most writers choose to include elements of first-person points of view by mentioning character thoughts and feelings without using ‘he thought’ or ‘she felt’ next to italicized text. This allows for more intimacy whilst maintaining different perspectives and helps break down the distance between the narrator and the characters. In fact, through the third person can still think, feel and experience, but so can other characters.

I believe writing is all about the subtleties, about showing and not telling and third person can work wonders for multiple POVs without even feeling like a multiple POV. Here’s some examples on novels who did it right and novels who did it wrong and why

Novels who did it right:

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The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Cycle series tells the story of 5 boys looking for sleeping King in the magical, rural Henrietta. Each chapter opens on a third person limited view focused on a different character. Each book discretely changes main character focus by giving one of the 5 characters more screentime than the others. This is barely noticeable, making it a very subtle and pleasant change. Nevertheless of a great plot, the story is also very character heavy and fully immersive. I perfectly know each and every one of these complex and intricate characters, I’m familiar with their voices and characters and switching their focus to each other was pleasant and almost unnoticeable ! … All achieved through the third person.

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On is a multiple first person POV novel that just did it right. The novel doesn’t take itself too seriously in its plot and its mostly character driven. This story in fact depends on it constantly switching out narrators for us to really understand what was going on in characters heads as that was the important part of the novel, not what was going on outside of them and in the plot. As the plot was their feelings, their emotions, their thoughts… A really amazing read that almost didn’t bother me with the constant narrator switch (as I really couldn’t bring myself to care for the bits with the Mage, Nico or Ebb, all minor characters that resulted distracting to me).

Novels who did it wrong:

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Pure by Julianna Baggott

Is also an ever jumping first person multiple POV novel that constantly distracts itself by distancing itself from the main two characters and showing distracting, minor characters POV.

It also suffers from another of the aforementioned problems where for a good 100 pages of the book, one of the main characters is completely insufferable and his chapters result bland and heavier to get through.

 

 

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The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

Because this book is all about a web of character driven drama, the first person multiple pov approach to it should be making sense. But it is the lazy and effortless way its written that makes this bad, for the characters lack voices of their own or any sort of distinguishing features other than their names. It makes the reading tedious and just hard and complicated to keep up with who is who. It’s like having homework on a Friday.

 

 

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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

The book is completely incoherent— It is a duality that begins as a third person POV when following Akos, but turns into a into a first person POV when following Cyra, the second main character. It is distracting, frustrating and beats any sort of advantage from using third person or first person as a narrator.

Akos is a blank slate and to make it even worse, his story is told through third person as if we weren’t emotionally disconnected enough as it is because the author refused to convey his feelings and character through action.

So ! What do you think?

Are there any other books you’d consider did the third-multiple person POV right? Or more rants about who did it wrong and resulted distracting? I’d love to get more thoughts and examples !