Top Ten Tuesday: Books On Your TBR From Before You Began Blogging

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Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is all about the books that have been on your TBR for forever and a day before you began blogging. I actually find this really interesting because before I began blogging and joined the book community, I didn’t have a huge pile of books that were waiting for me to read them.

But here are some of the books that WERE on my TBR and may or not be anymore.

1 . The Hunger Games. Yup, that’s right, I still haven’t read this hugely popular series. It’s been on my TBR since the movie was announced and, well… I’ll get to it someday. I really enjoy the movies, and I know the books are awesome, I just need to read them.

2. Vampire Academy. I’ve given up on reading this series. It was a series I went to right after Twilight back in the day, and I only got up through part of book three before I stopped. I don’t plan on picking this one back up so sorry to those who loved this series.

3. Pride and Prejudice. Despite loving this story, I still haven’t read it! Blasphemy, I know, but when I read Sense and Sensibility (several months before I started blogging), I just felt like the language was difficult and the styles were just so different from what I was used to that I was nervous to pick up this one. But I will!

4. Harry Potter. FIVE THOUSAND YEARS IN THE DUNGEON. I know. But I’m working on it! I’m on Goblet of Fire, and it’s a beast of a book, but I find that when I’m reading it goes by quick? Magic, man.

5. The Mortal Instruments. AGAIN, THE DUNGEON. I’m on book five now, but I’m reading TMI and TID in order of publication, so I’m on Clockwork Prince… It’s confusing, I know, but I’ll finish it one day!

6. The Chronicles of Narnia. In my defense, the bind up of all of the stories is ginormous, and I just couldn’t bring myself to read all of them. And again, the language and style of the books are so different from what I’m used to that I find it hard to adjust sometimes. One day I’ll read these! I have read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe back in school and I really liked it (back when I was eleven or something), but I haven’t read any others.


These are the big ones that I started or wanted to start pre-blogging days, and as you can see, I’ve finished none of them. It’s been two years since I first started blogging and I haven’t even touched any of these books. So sad.

(Also, did you notice the color scheme for the second group of books? Green and yellow are really pretty together!)

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What books did you start back in the day and never finished? Are you joining me in the dungeon? How high up on your TBR have you placed these books or are you like me and just say, “I’ll read them one day?”

Am I A Reader?

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Recently there was a lot of drama going around the book community, mostly on the Booktube community, where a content creator made a video belittling Booktubers because they “wear makeup” and that they go to events like Book Expo America (BEA) and Bookcon, and that they don’t read certain kinds of books or book titles, or that all of them only go to get the same eight books. I’ve seen a lot of rebuttle going around, as well as some positive vibe hashtags floating around Twitter, but I watched a video by JBookLover who touched on this topic of am I a reader?

So, let’s start with the basics of what makes a reader:

  • You read books.

That’s it. Quite simply put in the very basic scope of things, this is what makes you a reader. You read books. Many of us in the book community are extremely passionate about books and, yes, it can and often does become more than just a hobby for some of us.

Some people get it in their minds that you have to read a certain amount of books to be declared a reader, or that you have to have read all of the great classics, or that you have to own a certain number of books, or only read a certain genre, or any number of things.

But really, you don’t. You can do whatever you want when it comes to being a reader.

You only like to read mystery books because you love the thrill and trying to figure out who did what on your own? Awesome!

You like to organize your shelves by color and even double stack because, let’s be honest, you don’t have shelf space and you need to fit them somehow? Do it!

You prefer to read eBooks and listen to audiobooks over reading physical books because of the ease of space and the convenience of carrying around a device that can hold thousands of books? Super!

You enjoy going to book signings, book events, wearing makeup (or not), doing Booktube, Bookstagram, Booklr, tweet about books, AND you have a book blog? Great!

All of these things do make you a reader, but also so, so, SO many other things make you a reader. It doesn’t matter if you’re male, female, or however you identify yourself. It doesn’t matter if you like wearing makeup or not or whether or not you read a lot or a little.

The fact that you read is enough to call yourself a reader.

I know that sometimes you may feel pressured to read certain books because everyone seems to be reading the same books, or to read a certain number of books to keep up with everything being published that you’re interested in, or that you need to have already read and liked every classic ever, but really?

What you read is enough.

So am I a reader? Hell yeah I am. I’ve always loved to read. I love Young Adult, adult, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, first person perspective and third person perspective, and more, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I meant to discuss this earlier this week, but I’ve been crazy busy, so I apologize that this post is so late and that I’ve barely posted all week. But I thought that this topic was important to discuss, so here we are!

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What do you think about this topic? Did you ever assume that you needed to read certain books or have certain requirements in order to call yourself a reader? Have you ever been to BEA or BookCon or any kind of book event? How were they?

Armchair BEA 2016 Day 3: Beyond the Books & Blog

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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:

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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

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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?

Love-a-Thon 2016

 

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Hey guys! So I signed up for this cool little event called “Love-a-thon.” It’s an event hosted by Alexa (AlexaLovesBooks),  Cee (The Novel Hermit), Hazel (Stay Bookish) & Mel (The Daily Prophecy) who are all wonderful bookish ladies. Love-a-thon is all about spreading the love in the book community and taking the time to recognize a lot of people whether they blog, Booktube, bookstagram, booklr, are an author, or whatever platform they may share their love of books on. It’s all about positivity and love.

So for this first post of love-a-thon, I’ll be posting my answers to a questionnaire! Here we go:

QUESTIONNAIRE

  1. What’s your name? Rayna!
  2. Where in the world are you blogging from? Massachusetts~
  3. How did you get into blogging in the first place? I’ve had other blogs before, but this is my first real blog that I’ve actually stuck to for longer than a year. I got into it because I stumbled upon Booktube. I actually made a Booktube channel before starting this blog here, but I’m so much more a blogger than a Booktuber. It’s much easier for me to write words than to speak them. And honestly, I just wanted to share my love of books and make friends who also love books along the way.
  4. How did you come up with your blog name? I was trying to come up with something clever and “Reader Rayna” just stuck with me. It rolls off the tongue, right? Alliteration~
  5. What genre do you read and review the most on your blog? I mostly read Young Adult books as well as review them. I’m branching out more and introducing more adult titles, but my primary focus is definitely young adult.
  6. What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews? I do various types of discussion posts each month, as well as recommendations, book hauls, tags, memes such as Top Ten Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday, wrap-ups & TBRs, as well as other fun things like movie and TV show talks and reviews. I also started to introduce writing topics on my blog as well.
  7. Best blogging experience so far? I think when I really started to notice people looking at and actually liking my content. I recently just got the most views on a blog post and it made me overjoyed to know people actually want to know my opinion on a topic. It makes me feel loved and welcome in this community.
  8. Favorite thing about the blogging community? Everyone’s wicked friendly and supportive! People are always willing to talk to you and the best part is being able to find other blogs and people with the same interests.
  9. Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2016! The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh, The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater, TOG 5 by Sarah J. Maas, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, and A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir.
  10. Name the 5 books you want to read this 2016 that you didn’t get to in previous years! The rest of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (I’m on book 4), Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, the rest of The Mortal Instruments & Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, and the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (totally cheated because of series, heheheheeheh).
  11. What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read? A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. It’s one of my favorite books of all time and I don’t know if it was popular back when it came out about ten-ish years ago, but I think that it’s a beautiful story and one everyone should read.
  12. Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF? Kenji from the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. He’s sooo funny and goofy, but he really loves and cares for his friends. I think he’d make a great BFF.
  13. Which book boy or girl would be your book boyfriend/girlfriend? Kaden from the Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson is just… *sigh* I love him. He’s cunning, sure, but he’s smart, kind, strong, multilingual, and just an overall badass. I love him. Again.
  14. Who would you recruit for your apocalypse squad (5 characters max)? Ooh, this one’s a toughy… I think I’d choose Aelin from the Throne of Glass series because she’d kick butt, Juliette from the Shatter Me trilogy because she could protect us long range, Vin from the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson because if we have metals she could catapult us away, and Hermione from the Harry Potter series because we need some brains for this operation.
  15. Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests? I enjoy playing video games, particularly first person shooter and role-play types like Final Fantasy, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, etc.; I also enjoy writing (I mean, I graduated with an English Professional Writing major, soooo…); I like hiking, but not hardcore or anything, just for relaxation and exercise purposes; I love whale watching – so fun!
  16. Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for? Nothing, really… Unless it’s essentials that I need, I try to not shop. Or food. Food is good.
  17. At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing? Oh God. Um. Well, recently I became quite the fangirl of the K-pop group EXO, so I’d choose them and their song “Call Me Baby.
  18. Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book. Too many to choose from… But, I think I’d love to see the Starbound trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner made into films. I think it would be so neat to see these characters come to life and to see them try to fight to survive and stuff.
  19. What would your dream library look like? Books. Books as far as the eye can see. Honestly, I’d be happy with a full wall of bookshelves.
  20. Author you want to meet and sit down to tea with? It’s too hard to choose just one, but if I had to pick, it’d be Sarah J. Maas.

That’s it for now! Let me know which author you would sit down to tea with and what song is your song that you’d be jamming out to. I’d love to know! See you for the rest of love-a-thon!