Armchair BEA Day 1 – Intro & Best Practices in the Online Book Community

armchairbea2

Hi there peeps! I totally forgot to set up my first post earlier for Armchair Book Expo! If you don’t know what this is, I participated in 2015 and last year and had a lot of fun, but basically it’s for those of us who are unable to attend the convention Book Expo America, but who still want to participate in talking about all things books with the community.

First up, the introductions!

  1. I am . . . Rayna!
  2. Currently . . . Answering these prompts and writing this post late! 😀
  3. I love . . . anime and manga, drawing, my husband, Christ, my friends, Kakakshi Hatake, 707, learning, and other things. Oh, and of course, books.
  4. My favorite . . . book? Uh, well, that’s very hard to choose, so I’ll say my favorite genre is fantasy and sci-fi! Okay, that’s two answers, but still…
  5. My least favorite . . . April Morning. So boring. I’m not into classics as much as I want to be.
  6. My current read . . . A Court of Wings and Ruin (and a huge list of manga that just keeps growing…)
  7. My summer plans . . . My husband and I are going to Disney World the last week of August! 😀 Otherwise, just working, hanging with friends, my birthday. That’s it.
  8. My buddy . . . my hubby!
  9. My blog/channel/social media . . . Well, if you’re reading this you’re on my blog, so…. But here’s my Instagram, Twitter, tumblr, and YouTube channel.
  10. The best . . . thing ever is being happy doing what you’re passionate about.

Alright, now that you know me a little better, let’s move onto the SERIOUS TOPIC.

Best Practices in the Online Book Community

So when I think of this topic, I think about many things. The prompt ranges from time management to social media exposure to ethical obligations and beyond. I think what I want to focus on is posting the content that you want to read.

When it comes to the online book community, there are many factors that go into being a book blogger: consistency, reading books (duh), reviewing, replying to comments, etc. And I think through a lot of that we can get lost and forget why we started to blog and why we wanted to talk about the books that we love.

Writing about the topics that you’re passionate about when it comes to discussions rather than joining the hype train (though there’s nothing wrong with that) can make the difference between a discussion that has a lot of potential and a lot of back and forth constructive commentary, to discussion that falls flat and doesn’t get any feedback on. It’s important to remember to state your own opinions without getting too full of yourself or of hurting others in the process.

It’s a delicate balance, but when you write about the things that you actually want to talk about, whether it be book tags or hauls or reviews or whatever, by you talking about it because you actually want to talk about it will not only have an effect on the way you write your post, but on your readership as well.

Your readers will understand you more and get to know you more, and they’ll also know that you’re being a lot more genuine in your posts than just by going along with the mold.

Talk about the things you want and don’t be afraid to do so. It’s your blog, your space, and you’re allowed to talk about whatever is really on your mind and heart. (Of course, if you have other obligations that you promised to do, you better make sure you do those, too.)

Let’s Chat! ^w^

Are you participating in Armchair BEA? What are some of the best book community practices you’ve picked up over time? Tell me all the things!

Armchair BEA 2016 Wrap Up & Giveaway Winner

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Made by Amber

Well friends, Armchair BEA has come to a close along with Book Expo America and BookCon. So sad, but it was just as fun as last year. I had a good time at the Twitter parties, discussing bookish topics, and overall seeing a small chunk of the community come together for something like this.

I definitely had fun talking about the fictional worlds I’d want to survive in and the ones I’d want to live in. Reality kind of sucks sometimes, so it’s always fun to imagine living in a different world – though I’m sure that, too, would suck after a while if there was a lot of chaos going on there. But I’d cope somehow!

I also enjoy talking about the importance of diversity in books and how there’s just not enough of it out there. Yes, some strides are being made – which is always a plus – but it’s not enough and I think the publishing industry needs to grow and expand and understand that we, as readers, as people, need it.

And then talking about other forms of reading, such as manga! I think that it’s a fun medium to read from and that it really can capture the emotions and the heart of a story.

And now the giveaway winner!

Thank you to everyone who participated! I’ll be sure to have another giveaway in a couple of months, but for now, here is the winner:

Congratulations to…

MONICA @ MONICA FASTENAU

I will send you an email regarding your win and choice of book from The Book Depository.

Let’s Chat! â‰§â—¡â‰¦

Did you participate in Armchair BEA? What were your favorite parts? Did you attend BEA or BookCon? Tell me all the things!

Armchair BEA Day 4: Surviving Fictional Worlds & Giveaway

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Made by Amber

Today’s talk is all about surviving fictional worlds: ones we love, hate, and everything in between. Fictional worlds can be dangerous, but that’s not going to stop us from dreaming of living there with the other characters we love, right? So today’s chat is all about that. And I’m pretty excited because OH MAN. THE FEELS.

 

Some of the questions we were asked to think about were: Which fictional worlds would you want to live in? Which worlds do you never want to dive into? Which worlds are you content to stay behind the glass, so to speak, rather than wishing to dive through the page? And once you get there, what would you do?

Let’s start with the easy one: which fictional worlds would you want to live in?

My blanket answer: any that Sarah J. Maas writes.

I KNOW. But guys, the worlds she writes are large and expansive and beautiful, even if they are dangerous. I’d particularly want to stay in Prythian in the Night Court from A Court of Mist and Fury for several reasons…

Other worlds I’d want to live in:

  • Truthwitch‘s world & I’d want to be a threadwitch. Even if I can’t see my own connections to people, I think I’d like seeing others connections.
  • Eretz from Daughter of Smoke & Bone because WOW. Chimera and angels and all sorts of interesting things to see! I just hope I wouldn’t, you know, get killed.
  • Kingdoms of the Remnant from The Kiss of Deception. Particularly Venda because that part of the world just seems so mysterious and wild. Plus, my bae, Kaden, lives there.
  • And, you know, Hogwarts. Because duh.

Those are just a few of the worlds I’d want to visit, even if crap goes down there often.

Which fictional worlds do you never want to dive into?

I’d honestly say any dystopian world because there’s a very real chance that our world could turn into something similar one day and I’m just not ready for that.

Which worlds are you content to stay behind the glass, so to speak, rather than wishing to dive through the page?

Hmm… I think maybe the Shadowhunter world because although I do enjoy the characters and everything, I don’t know that I’d want a showdown like what happens in the books. That just seems a little too much for me. (And yet I’m willing be in worlds with CHIMERA. Like, what even is my brain?)

And once you get there, what would you do?

Probably find one of the characters I’d know and try to become friends with them. It might end horribly, but at least I can try!

Giveaway

Oh man guys, when was the last time I did one of these? Feels like forever ago, but we had the option of hosting a giveaway on our own blogs and so, because I love you all, I’m going to do just that!

So what you’re entering for is a purchase from The Book Depository for a book up to $15USD. If it ships to your country, then you are eligible to win. Meaning, yes, this is international!

The giveaway will be running from today, May 14th, until May 17th at 12AM EST!

Click Here for the Rafflecopter Giveaway! Closed!

WordPress doesn’t let me have the actual widget in posts, unfortunately, so just click the link and be sure to follow the rules!

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What kinds of worlds would you most want to avoid? What about ones you’d want to stay in? Would you want to switch lives with a character or live your own life? Let’s talk about all the things!

Armchair BEA 2016 Day 3: Beyond the Books & Blog

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Made by Amber

Welcome to day 3 of Armchair BEA! If you don’t know what Armchair BEA is, it’s a way for those of us who weren’t able to make it to Book Expo America (BEA) to meet with a lot of other fellow book lovers and talk about a lot of bookish related things!

Today’s topics are all about looking beyond the traditional format of the media we consume and create. So think about novels: those are pretty traditional. But what about manga, comic books, webcomics, etc? And when it comes to looking beyond the blog, do you participate in book clubs, take classes, meticulously maintain your Goodreads profile? So these are kind of fun topics to think about and talk about, so here’s what I’ve got:

Some of my favorite alternative forms of novels are manga. I first got into manga back when I was about 11 or 12 years old, my first manga being Tokyo Mew Mew. I loved it and how fast I could read it, plus the art was very lovely. For a while now, manga hasn’t had as much of an impact on my life as it once did, but I do go back on occasion and read some. I love seeing the stories unfold visually and how everything is so detailed.

Some of my favorite manga:

I’m very much into the shoujo type of mangas that are targeted toward girls because of the romance. I love romance so reading about it and seeing visuals of it? Oh yes, I’m in love. Plus, manga really influenced my drawing style. I’m not super awesome at it like some people, but I can get by with my chibis.

Here’s some of my chibis, which you can find more of on my deviantART page:

kameiko___gaiaonline_by_vampiressamilia-d71bpfbellle___gaiaonline_by_vampiressamilia-d6xe01u

chaostrooper___gaiaonline_by_vampiressamilia-d6xim6lkid_quality___gaiaonline_by_vampiressamilia-d768cq0

Honestly, that’s the biggest one that comes to mind. Manga is just one of those things that I think I’ll always cherish, even if I don’t read it all that often anymore.

As for looking beyond the blog and ways I talk about books outside of this blog is my Booktube channel and my Instagram. I find that these are very awesome ways to talk about books because you can engage visually and orally, or you can take a cool photo and ask questions and find likeminded people that way. I honestly love Bookstagram because it’s so cool to see so many talented people taking pictures of books! And then Booktube is just awesome because it’s an entire community of book lovers creating content on YouTube and it’s just… My heart is filled with happiness.

Other than that, I don’t really talk about books outside of my blog and Twitter and social media. I don’t really have the outlets to talk to people about them. I think it’s so awesome to have book communities online as they bring so many people together.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What are some different ways you read books, or different types of books? Are you into comics or audiobooks or graphic novels? And as far as talking about books outside of blogging, do you do it anywhere? Bookstagram, Booktube, book clubs, etc? Let me know!

Armchair BEA 2016 Days 1 & 2

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Made by Amber

Hey peeps, I’m joining in on Armchair BEA once again this year! If you don’t know what that is, it’s a way to join in all of the bookish fun from home while Book Expo America (BEA) takes place. I, like many others, couldn’t attend, so this is just a fun way to join in somehow! Since I totally forgot about this event with all of my excitement yesterday (more on this to come in my wrap up), I’m starting a little bit late. But that’s okay!

Day 1: Introduction & Diversity in Books

So the first day’s fun things include an introduction, so, here’s some things to know about me:

  1. What name do you prefer to use? Rayna is perfectly fine.
  2. How long have you been a book blogger? It’ll be two years in July. Crazy!
  3. Have you participated in ABEA before? Yes, last year!
  4. Do you have a favorite book? If you can’t pick one, then pick your most favorite of this moment. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas is DEFINITELY my favorite right now.
  5. If you could recommend one book blogger, who would it be and why? I’d recommend Dani @ Dani Reviews Things because she’s so upbeat about so many things, and she gives really well written reviews and topics. She’s a very nice person!
  6. If you could create a playlist that reflects your bookshelf, what would be the first song on the playlist? Man! I Feel Like a Woman by Shania Twain. I’m not even kidding. I’m pretty sure 97% of my shelf is by female authors with female main characters who kick ass in some way. WOMAN POWER, WOO!
  7. How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason or not at all? I try to group my books into sections… like, my top shelf is some sci-fi and favorite fantasies, contemporaries… The next shelf is some favorites, the next is more fantasy, then more sci-fi/fantasy, then Harry Potter, urban fantasy, and more fantasy. Then the next is contemporary, lots of mix, but mostly fiction and contemporary, manga & comics, vampires, then a mix. Just look at the picture (this isn’t all of my books, just so you know, and it’s overflowing….):IMG_3143
  8. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far through your reading this year so far? I think I’ve learned that I’ve become a little tougher when it comes to rating books and I try to really think about it more. I’ve also learned that I’m very, very passionate about certain books and my feelings about them. I think that tends to reflect in my reviews, and I love that.

The second part of day one is a discussion on diversity in books and the publishing industry. Whose voices do we see? Whose voices do we need more of? Where do we find representation lacking and what can we as bloggers do to address that? What about negative or stereotypical representation?

I personally have seen a lot more authors of color, religion, etc. start to become published more often, especially in the YA world. I think a lot of people anticipate for it, and I, for one, enjoy the author’s work that are published! I don’t generally look to see if an author is of a “minority” or whatever it may be, but rather if I’m interested in the story and characters themselves. But I do understand the importance and I think it’s fantastic that there’s more diversity being introduced more and more.

As far as lacking, I think it’s lacking a lot of things. Like, a lot. I’d love to read more about people of different religions, cultures, race, gender, sexual identity, etc. I think that as bloggers we can really voice our concerns on as many platforms as possible until a change is made.

And as for the negative and stereotypical representation: it’s always going to be there. I’m sorry to say, but it will be. Not everyone is of a like mind, or can be, for that matter. But we can still make leaps and bounds to erase it as much as possible.

Day 2: Aesthetic Concerns – Books & Blogs

This topic is all about how we look at books and blogs: pretty covers draw us toward the books, and pretty, clean, organized blogs make us coming back for more. But is that really all there is?

The Books: How often do you judge a book by its cover? How often are you surprised by what you find? Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type? How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside?

I don’t know that I judge a book by its cover, if I’m being honest. I seriously don’t! Okay, if a book cover is kind of hideous I’m just like, “What is that?” But I… okay, yeah, I judge. Shush. But sometimes I am surprised when it comes to books because they can have a really hideous cover and have some of the best content, and then some of the most beautiful covers are just…not good inside.

Oh man, I try SO HARD to make sure my covers match in some way, but I know that that’s not always the case. I love it when a series flows so, so nicely. But then sometimes the publishing industry just loves to see us readers squirm and change the covers mid-series. Like. No. But as far as the art matching the words on the inside, yes, I do think it’s important. Don’t have just random colors and big font. Try to make it look at least decent.

Some good examples of the art matching the content of the book:

Like, look at those covers. Not only aesthetically pleasing, but also matching to the content! I love it!

So yes, I do think that aesthetics are important, but they aren’t everything, necessarily.

The Blog: As a book blogger, in whatever form that takes, branding is important. Your colors, your fonts, your style of review, all of these things come together to make the “brand” of your blog – something that makes your reviews and posts and websites, all your various content, immediately recognizable to the people looking for you. What do you do to create a brand on your site? Do you think about these things?

I’m going to be honest: I don’t think about it super often. Like, I love the fonts I chose for my blog for the titles and the body of my posts. And I love my minimalist theme because I don’t want to be distracted by colors, personally, on my own blog. I’ve changed my banner and icon a couple of times, and I’m still not satisfied, so I think that’s one thing I’m going to change several times, probably.

I don’t know what I’d call my brand, actually. Simple? Clean? Long-winded? I try to make it easily accessible and organized to the best of my abilities, and that’s what I look for in my own blog. When I write reviews, I focus mainly on the characters because they’re, you know, the biggest part of the story. I then try to focus on the plot, or certain aspects of the plot where I can’t spoil things for people (at least not majorly).

As far as recognizability? I don’t know if when people see my blog they instantly think of it as being my blog? When I look at other people blogs, I notice colors or certain fonts or styles in which they write their posts, so I’m assuming it’s the same for people who read my blog?

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

So that wraps up the first two days of Armchair BEA! I’m sorry this is kind of late, but better last than never, right? Tell me all of your thoughts on book aesthetics, as well as blog aesthetics! Do you think about them often and do they affect what you pick up or look at? Also, what do you think about the diversity being shown in books and the publishing industry today?