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?

Beautiful Covers: White

Hey, remember this weekly thing that I was doing and I only had the color white left to do? Yeah, I don’t know what happened! But, here it is! The last color for Beautiful Covers that I’m going to talk about. I love covers and seeing what publishing companies and their teams can come up with, and I definitely haven’t been disappointed.

Today’s color: white.

White is a beautiful color and it can really make other colors stand out against it. It can mean the difference between a sleek looking, well put together cover, and a hot mess.

1 . The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


I got the special anniversary edition specifically because of this cover. I’ve never read the story, but I really want to because so many people love it, and as soon as I saw this cover I just knew that I NEEDED it. It’s really beautiful in real life and it has a really cool texture.

2. The One by Kiera Cass


These covers are all beautiful, but this one is definitely my favorite. I love how it looks like a wedding dress and how the dress bunches and has curls and stuff. It’s so lovely.

3. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson


Awesome female power! This is a book about being able to see colors with the magic of breath (not what you breathe), and so I love how the cover alludes to that detail from the book. (Yes, I got the UK cover specifically because it’s way lovelier than the US version.)

4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon


I’ve loved this cover since I saw it: how there’s nothing up top but everything down below. There’s so much color and vibrancy and it hints to a lot of allergies people have and what the main character has. It’s really lovely.

5. When We Collided by Emery Lord


Okay, this is more of an off-white kind of color, but I just love this cover, okay? The splashes of color make it stand out more and the “handwritten” title looks playful and fun against the background. So pretty.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

I can’t believe Beautiful Covers is coming to a close! For now, anyway. I’ll probably do more in the future for different categories, but I thought that this was a fun little thing to do and share some of my opinions on some beautiful covers out there.

What are some of your favorite white covers? Do they have any splashes of color on them or are they all white?

Beautiful Covers: Black

Hey peeps, welcome to another Beautiful Covers! I’m working my way through the rainbow, so check out the rest of the colors when they come out over the next several weeks! This is the second to last week I’ll be doing for colors, so I hope you check back next week for the last color.

Today’s color is: black!

Black is a tricky color because it can mean totally different things to many different people. It can mean darkness and despair, nighttime, mystery and secrets. I think black covers are quite gorgeous in their own ways, especially when combined with accent colors.

1 . Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Can we just appreciate this cover for a moment? LOOK AT IT. That wing! Those hidden buildings! The font! Everything about this cover screams gorgeous and I think that it’s an eye catcher. Plus, the pages are edged in black, too, so bonus points for that.

2. Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman


Okay, I know this is mostly orange/brown/yellow, BUT it has an undertone of black, so I’m including it here. I love how the colors and shapes and font pop against the dark background and how it really holds true to the theme of a Western without being too over the top.

3. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp


I think this one is a very powerful cover because when you know what the content is about you can make the connection of the shattered pieces of chalk alludes to the characters in the book. I think picking the plain black background with the colorful pieces was an awesome design choice.

4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


I love this cover so much, ahhhhhh. Again, I love how things stand out against the black background and this is no different. The silhouettes of the two main characters looking back at one another, and then the circus in between… lovely!

5. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer


I love this cover, I’ll admit it. I think that it’s simple and stands out against the crowd. When it first came out I thought that it was stunning and that it really piqued my interest. I still think it’s lovely and a good design for the first book as it kind of alludes to what’s “forbidden.”

And there you have it for this week! I actually had an easier time picking out black covers than I did any other color. Weird.

Let me know some of your favorite black covers and what you think of my choices. Do you like it when images pop from a black background, or are you more into the subtle side of things? Let me know!

Beautiful Covers: Orange

Hey peeps, welcome to another Beautiful Covers! I’m working my way through the rainbow, so check out the rest of the colors when they come out over the next several weeks!

Today’s color is: orange!

Orange is a fun color that I think really brightens and livens up many things, and so here are some of the covers I think are lovely with orange:

1 . Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins


I love, love, LOVE these covers so much. Each showcases a different part of the world and I think that it does so in a classy, simple way. The orange hues really reflect what sunsets probably look like on the golden coast, so this is just lovely. Plus the typography is sleek and clean.

2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


This cover is not only pretty, but it’s really cool because when you remove the dust jacket there is a lot of writing on the cover and it looks wicked cool. I’m a sucker for nebulas and clouds and such, so this just speaks to me. Plus, space.

3. Fire Falling by Elise Kova


CAN WE JUST APPRECIATE THE BEAUTIFUL ART ON THIS ONE? Because wow, I love this cover so much. I love that it showcases Vhalla and Aldrick and that it shows their personalities in this book really well. The oranges in this cover are much more toned down and subtle, but still there as it shows Aldrick’s fire power around them. And the typography and everything about it is beautiful.

4. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas


Celaena is bae. I love this cover and this book because ALL THE FEELS. OH MAN. But also because the covers for these books are so perfect: they always show Celaena as a warrior on the front, and her more formal side on the back. The fire colors on this cover really kind of reflect what happens in the book because there’s a lot of chaos that ensues, for sure. I think the stance she has is strong and that it speaks to who she is.

5. Firelight by Sophie Jordan


Now, I know a lot of people don’t like faces on covers, but I love this cover so much! This whole trilogy, really, is very lovely and I think that the way it shows Jacinda (the main character) on this cover is awesome because it’s a story about dragons and she is a dragon, so having the scales on her face is a great way to show what she is. I love iiiiiit.

So there you have it for this week’s Beautiful Covers! I almost completely forgot about it as I’m trying to post every Thursday on a new color, so… yeah. But I didn’t miss it!

Let me know some of your favorite orange colored covers and what you think of my choices!

Beautiful Covers: Red

Hey peeps, welcome to another Beautiful Covers! I’m working my way through the rainbow, so check out the rest of the colors when they come out over the next several weeks!

Today’s color is: red!

Red is a color of passion, of power, and one that I love. I think that it’s a beautiful color on its own, so to have it on a cover just makes it that much more beautiful.

1 . The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh


I think that this cover stands out because it’s like it’s giving us a glimpse of what’s inside, that there’s a mystery behind what’s going on on the surface. I think that it’s definitely representative of the book itself, and the design is different and lovely among YA books.

2. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas


I love this series and this cover because each cover shows some form of Aelin in it, whether it be with an outfit, her hair, the weapon she uses, etc. In this one it shows Aelin with shorter hair than previous books, and the specific sword that’s mentioned in the book. Plus that red background is just to die for!

3. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo


Though I have yet to read this trilogy, I have always adored the covers for it. It’s beautiful, curving typography stands out against the bright background, and the structure and phoenix I’m sure indicated something significant in the book itself.

4. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade final for Irene

I’ve always loved this cover and I think that it deserves a spot because of the simplicity of the design, but how detailed it actually is. The artist paid attention to detail with roads and the two Londons, and then the typography compliments it. So lovely.

5. Winter by Marissa Meyer


Each of these covers is stunning, and Winter is no exception. I love how the covers always focus on one aspect of the main fairytale retelling of the story and that it always stands out as a red against the purple. I think that this one is definitely one of the prettiest because of the glow around the apple, of the little designs around it, of the hand, the typography. So much went into this simple but brilliant design.

So there you have it for this week’s picks! I don’t know why, but I feel like I keep struggling to find books that I’ve read or will be reading that have beautiful covers lately. Hopefully that’ll change because there’s only several colors left!

What are some of your favorite red covers? Do any of my choices stand out to you? Let me know!