Beyond the Blurb | Dealing with Authors Who’re Offended by Reviews

I think we bloggers all worry about this situation. Some don’t mind. Or others believe criticism from authors is a right of passage. I haven’t hit that mark yet. And I don’t know when it’ll occur or what I’ll do. But one incident I saw on Twitter simply hit a nerve with me.

Because of my journalism education, I’ve witnessed and read truly horrible things online. But I’ve mainly felt comfortable in the book community. Yes, I stay away from certain fandoms and readers who love to rip them apart. I don’t see the point. Nor do I involve myself in that kind of negativity or obsessiveness. But I never expected to see an author of colour attack two bloggers who gave a low-rating review. I won’t name names since I promised Satou and Santiago from Inkish Kingdoms. But the way the author handled the situation didn’t sit right with me.

So how do we confront authors who criticize our reviews and possibly even attack us directly or indirectly? Do we address the issue or the author? Or does ignoring the problem help? Perhaps, both choices are viable options, depending on the issue. But here are some tips if you run into an online spat:

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Beyond the Blurb | Should We Panic over or Be Ecstatic for Book Adaptations?

Calling all Grisha and stabby babies!

Who’s ready for another discussion post?! The day has come. GrishaVerse is hitting the small screen! And all the Grisha fans let out a collective scream around the world. I clearly heard it. And I couldn’t stop myself from doing the same. Having Nikolai and Kaz sharing the same screen is almost too hard to fathom.

Now, I could rave about this news. And a part of me would like someone, preferably one of my bestie bloggers, to sedate me until we see the cast. I don’t know how I can handle the wait. Can you? I doubt anyone can.

But one little negative thought wiggled in my giddiness: the dreaded “what if the Netflix screws this adaptation up?!” feeling. Yes, I’m stirring the pot. But I’m generally curious to see how people feel about movie adaptations, particularly this one. So should we freak out and be the happy book lovers who’ve been waiting years for this chance? Or are we setting ourselves up for possible disappointment?

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Beyond the Blurb | How to Survive a Stressful Holiday

Perfect timing, right? You may be heading to your in-laws’ house soon. Or you may be dragged to the compulsory holiday get together, but you want anything but. But mental health can take a nasty backseat when Christmas arrives. So how do you manage life with the holiday bustle? For my next Beyond the Blurb, a discussion series, I want to talk about some tips on how to survive the upcoming festivities.

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Beyond the Blurb | What Should Readers/Bloggers Do When Authors Are on the Attack?

It’s time for another Beyond the Blurb! For my next post in my discussion series, I may step on some toes. But when has that thought scared me?

Just when you thought the book community and industry were past the Faleena #CockyGate scandal, another one hits. This time, a relatively new author Tomi Adeyemi, who wrote the hotly anticipated Children of Blood and Bone, accused Nora Roberts—yes, that Nora Roberts—of stealing and profiting off of her book title. Mind you, you can’t copyright a book title. So there will be many variations of one. But nonetheless, the dreaded “react before you think” illness you all know as pre-tweeting struck the Internet by storm. And the YA community still has some learning to do.

How do we bloggers and readers handle this situation? Frankly, I thought common sense would prevail, but this is the Internet, where everyone is offended, everyone harasses other people, and everyone believes the mob mentality is simply fine to participate in. But even if you’re not influencers (hello, there, I welcome you to the club), you, and we all, have an obligation not to fuel an already inflamed situation. Again, how do we address this negativity? Here’s how:

 

Stop Believing That Attacking Other People Is Okay

Let me be clear: it isn’t. And it’s borderline harassment. Online bullying causes real harm to people. If they have a mental, intellectual, or physical illness, you will exacerbate said illness. And in the Internet age, we’re connected to the net 24/7. When you have a huge following, many readers will see your message. And they’ll react in a way that you may not anticipate. You’re responsible for the message you give them. Do not be the kindling wood to the fire. Do not ignite a problem you’ll have no control over.

 

If You See It, Stop and Address It

It’s 2018, and yet here I am, giving this kind of advice. I never knew I’d reach a new low, but the book community always amazes me. But am I surprised by this mob mentality? Not really. We people as a society feel empowered when the mob is on our side. But when the problem is reversed, we see society for what it truly is: cold, cunning, and cruel. Tomi had the responsibility of owning up to her mistake immediately and imploring her 53,000 Twitter followers to follow suit. But she didn’t. Instead, she allowed her readers and followers to attack Nora, who never deserved this negative treatment. There was no mention of stopping the attacks.

 

Support the Other Author (If Warranted)

As a journalism grad, I’ll always need to see every side of the story: Side A, Side B, and the truth. So do your research. Yes, Tomi made a rookie mistake, but she didn’t own up to it though. Some followers may beg to differ because of Tomi’s last tweet on the matter:

She didn’t admit that the onus was on her. It was her mistake. Nora, on the other hand, explains the issue differently though:

“This foolish and false statement has damaged my reputation. Vicious and ugly accusations and names have been tossed at me when I did nothing but write and title a book.”

And Nora also states that she wrote and delivered the manuscript to her publisher one year before Tomi published her own work. Sometimes, finding the truth is difficult and ugly. I didn’t want to believe it. But you need to find out who needs the protecting, not blindly follow your favourite author.

 

Think before You Tweet

Please, blogger friends and fam, don’t let me get away with foolish tweets or other posts. If you think I’ve done something wrong or inappropriate, let me know, discuss your issues, and enlighten me. Yes, I’m still learning as a blogger and a human. I’m still delving in complicated fandoms and series, so I may not realize or even know there are problematic topics at hand.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I can support an author who pulls off this stunt, which I find sad since her debut novel is one book I’ve been hoping to read.

 

So what are your thoughts on the Tomi and Nora spat? How do you think bloggers and readers should handle this situation? Do you think Tomi should have done more? Let’s chat!

Beyond the Blurb | Books with Nonbinary, Genderfluid, and Trans Characters

Morning, everyone!

One negative aspect of politics is how politicians use their ideology as a way of completely wiping out the great strides LGBTQ+ people have made. Earlier last weekend, the provincial Conservative party wanted to talk about excluding transgender identity from sexual education. This topic is extremely heated right now.

I never knew this hatred would hit a new low in my province. But unfortunately, Ontarians decided to vote in a bigoted man who believes religion and conservative views should reign supreme. Does he sound familiar? Thankfully, for now, he has backed down from that rhetoric. So how to combat it? Well, you stand up against it.

Now, I have read many books with gay and lesbian characters, not with trans, genderfluid, or nonbinary characters though. But I want to change that. Trans, nonbinary, and genderfluid characters and authors deserve their time and their recognition. A literary revolution is occurring, and we should give our time to explore more diverse stories. So for my next Beyond the Blurb, my weekly/monthly discussion post, I want to highlight LGBTQ+ books you definitely should read.

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Beyond the Blurb | The Struggles of Blogging with a Mental Illness

I always stay honest with you, my readers and fellow bloggers. With my discussion posts, Beyond the Blurb, I like to bring up the tough and also hushed up topics, try to find solutions, and connect with you. You all know I have several mental illnesses. Yes, unfortunately, I have more than one. And I never thought they would affect my blogging. But they do on a constant basis.

This topic is rather personal. Mental illness will follow you even if you think it’s disappeared. And I’ve allowed it to control my life. I’m finding help and getting treatment. But sometimes, I struggle with mine, and I don’t always reach out to bloggers who comment on my blog or like my posts. I apologize for not connecting. I’m not ignoring you; I’m simply fighting my own mind.

I often find solace in helping others who struggle with the same problems. So here are tips to find a balance between blogging and mental illness:

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Beyond the Blurb | Addressing Sexual Assault in YA Books

 

For months, I psyched myself out of writing this post. A part of me doesn’t want to address the topic. But I’m committing more harm than good. So, for this week’s topic for my weekly/monthly discussion post, Beyond the Blurb, I want to address what the pros and cons of sexual assault in YA books are and why we need to keep talking about it.

As I write this post, I want nothing more than to delete it and keep quiet. But I can’t. Sexual assault is a difficult and intense topic to discuss. So I’ll admit this now: I’m a survivor. And my scars still haunt me. My demons still control who I am, even if I want to fight back. I will spend the rest of my life healing. So you can easily guess that sexual assault in any book is difficult for me to read. However, let me be clear: it’s 2018, and we people (and readers) need to stop ignoring assault.

So how widespread is sexual assault? Here are some US facts from Teen Help:

  • 42% of female rape victims were assaulted before they turned an adult
  • 1 in 5 men have been assaulted
  • 28% of male rape victims have been assaulted before turning 10-years-old
  • Teenagers will account for half of all reported sexual abuse
  • Teenagers (between 16 and 19) are 3.5 times more likely to be the victim

Unfortunately, many assaults will go unreported. Our society has allowed predators to go free because victims must “think about the impact of the accused,” there “isn’t enough evidence to prove it,” or the “accused isn’t credible enough.” But we don’t think about the repercussions of the survivor. So when you see these statistics, we cannot keep ignoring the issue. So I commend YA authors addressing assault in their books. But here are the reasons why writing about it is so important for survivors and possible future victims:

It shows the survivors that they aren’t alone

You don’t know how crucial this point is for survivors. When they’re assaulted, they’re isolated and feel as if no one will understand their pain, shame, fear, and anger. But they aren’t. As much as 50% of all women will be assaulted. Let that number sink in. We all know that literature often reflects our society. So a character’s story may show them they truly aren’t alone.

It creates a platform for survivors to finally talk about their assault

One reason why survivors never report their assault is due to the shame they face. Sexual assault kits and procedures are invasive and can possibly revictimize them. But when they are given the opportunity to open up and to address their past, you give them the chance to heal. If a character who was assaulted opens up about their pain, that choice may give survivors the strength to come forward.

It allows them to cope with their assault

For years, I wanted to ignore my past. I didn’t want to acknowledge it. If I did, then I’d have to admit that I was assaulted. But when more character arcs addressed sexual assault, I was able to open that door, let out my pain, and finally cope with my feelings. And I’ll forever be indebted to the authors who have helped me with my demons.

 

But when there is a positive in a situation, then you’ll always get a negative. So what are they?

The author may open up unhealed wounds or reach out to a much younger audience

You must allow survivors to come to terms in their own way. Many do not want to think about what has happened to them. And not every teenager who is the target audience for YA will face sexual assault. They may not understand yet.

The author may use sexual assault in the worst way possible

Please, authors, do not use sexual assault as a trope. It isn’t. It’s a real and dangerous life-altering event. Don’t use it as a way to make the character stronger. Because getting assaulted doesn’t make survivors strong at the beginning. They’re utterly broken. It’ll take years for them to harness that strength.

The author may have caused more harm to survivors

You cannot force survivors to confront their pain if they’re not ready. And if you do, you may hurt them more. Imagine being assaulted, then forced to deal with it. Why do you think court cases are so agonizing for them? Reliving their assault is hard enough. Being forced to remember what has happened, when all they want to do is to get lost in a book, may have negative effects on them and readers. So that’s why trigger warnings are so important. Use them.

 

So what are your thoughts on sexual assault in YA books? Do you think that including it in these books will help or hinder victims? Is it appropriate for the intended audience?

I’d love to see what you think on the matter.

Beyond the Book | Bad Bookish Habits I Can’t Break

Hey, book fam!

I’ve needed this weekend much more than I thought I did. Don’t you just need a weekend with uninterrupted reading? That would be heaven.

With my last book tag, I answered one question about bad bookish habits, and that thought has stuck in my head ever since. For this week’s discussion topic, I want to tackle the dreaded bookish habits we all do, even if we hate ourselves for doing so. Here are my picks of bad bookish habits I can’t seem to break:

 

Not walking past a bookstore

The only time I walked past one was when I didn’t have money or my credit card. But any other time, I cannot resist the temptation to walk in, breathe in that glorious bookstore smell, and find my next read. I’ll be 80-years-old and still walk through those doors.

 

Reading ahead and spoiling the entire book

WHY. MUST. I. DO. THIS?! I used to hate when I pulled this stunt off. And now? Meh. But I’m starting to regret it a lot since I’ve spoiled enough endings that I shouldn’t even bother reading the bloody book. 😐

 

Buying books and never reading them for months

I forget quite a few books I’ve bought. And some of them still sit on my shelves, waiting to be read. But do I get to them in a timely manner? Clearly, not. Or I wouldn’t complain about it. Now, I have a high physical TBR pile that threatens to overtake whatever dwindling room I have on my bookshelves.

 

Worse yet, wanting to catch up on series but realizing the sequel is coming out soon (like next week/month)

Let me see how many hands shoot right up when reading about this habit. Yeah, I’m horrible and forget to read sequels until the next one is out. I don’t know how this trend occurs, but it’s been sneaking up on me lately. And I feel I’m swamped with so many sequels.

 

Not DNFing books that bore me

You see, this habit is slightly tricky. I was close to DNFing Lifel1k3, but I fell in love with it about 100 pages in though. Sometimes, not DNFing is a good thing. However, I have wasted hours with books that didn’t deserve my time. But I’ll always give the book the benefit of the doubt, even if I want to pull out my hair.

 

Not writing reviews right after finishing the book

Am I the only blogger who struggles with this problem? I hope not. Unfortunately, I have several—and yes, I mean several—reviews to write, but I’ll just start reading a new book and forget about said writing. So the reviews pile up, and I feel pressured to catch up. So I’m in a constant state of frustration when it comes to these posts.

 

Reading my book and forgetting to pay attention to friends and family

I’m horrible with that. I truly am. And my family and friends have caught me not paying attention to them. And I feel guilty when they do. But you know how reading is though. You get so focused on a book that you forget about the outside world.

 

So now you know my bad bookish habits. What are yours? Do you have similar ones like me? How do you break them, or do you simply let them control you like mine do? Let’s chat! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic!

Beyond the Book | Badass Female Leads Deserve Equal Respect as Males

Hey, everyone!

In my weekly/monthly discussion post, Beyond the Book, I like to address issues that not everyone will talk about. Or sometimes I just discuss random book stuff. You never know with me.

As you can tell by the title, I may step on some toes. I’m tackling this topic. Why? Lately, I’ve seen a lot of hate for badass female leads facing so much negative backlash. No, I don’t see this post as a feminist slant. The journalism student in me will always see both sides to a problem. It’s more of the double-standard I see in fandoms or on social media platforms. So here are some issues I can’t stand in the book community:

 

Apparently, a female main character can’t have a big ego

I see this problem all the time. She can’t be as ruthless as her male counterpart. A good example is Aelin Ashryver Galathynius and Kaz Brekker. Much of the SOC fandom adores this PTSD-ridden, complex, and cunning character. I know I do. He reminds me of my mental illnesses and the struggles I constantly face because of my trauma. However, I see other readers call Aelin a “bitch.” Isn’t she similar to Kaz? Can she not have the same ego, if not more, than he does? Clearly, I’m not so sure anymore.

 

If a man offers to help her through her pain, then she isn’t seen as strong

The first step I learned about healing is to let people in, let them help you, allow them to pick you up when you can’t possibly drag your broken soul off the floor. So if a female character can’t heal entirely without receiving help, then why is it okay to criticize her when someone (particularly a man) offers that help? Don’t we adore (and often rave about) when we see another male in a different series get the same support? Is that woman supposed to suffer alone and heal on her own? No. We put too much pressure on the image of an “independent” woman. Yes, being independent means that you should depend on your own. However, it doesn’t mean total isolation though.

 

If you support a broken, badass male character, then support her

Pretty self-explanatory, right? Nope. Or I never would have listed it in my post. You may not like how she heals. But you don’t tear down her journey.

 

She can’t cope the same way as a male or another well-loved female character

You all know I wasn’t a huge fan of A Court of Frost and Starlight. However, the scenes where Nesta shows how she’s coping with her fears, her past, and her trauma spoke to me. I slowly grew to like her as a character. I don’t like her lack of sisterly love for Feyre at the beginning. But her mental illness is shining through her tough exterior. And yet, here I am complaining about the fandom completely disregarding her illness. So people support Feyre, not Nesta.

Side Note: Yes, that may be because people hate Nesta and her past with Feyre. But the issue still stands.

 

I hope, in time, the book community will give more respect to these beautiful and utterly strong women. We can’t tear them down. We need to support them, no matter what.

 

So do you see what I’ve seen? What are your thoughts on the topic? Do you think the book community will change its view of female characters? What needs to be changed?

Beyond the Blurb | I Wish Authors Wouldn’t…

Hey, everyone!

Who’s hating Mondays and wishing the weekend can be extended another three more days? 🙋🏻 I just want more time to binge read. I’ve been getting into Heir of Fire, and I want nothing more than to finish it and start the fourth book. But life likes to remind me that I have obligations and must be an adult.

I hope I don’t get killed or hated for this post, but I’ve been wanting to talk about some topic for some time. And I know I’m not the only blogger who thinks of them. So here are my top five issues I have when authors do the following:

 

Kill Off Their Main Character

WHY. MUST. THEY. DO. THIS?! 😐 I understand the book is theirs. But it unnerves me to no end when authors fall on this play. I loathe this trope. As a reader and a writer, I can’t stand it, and it ruins my love for a series.

 

Heavily Hint at a Couple But Kill the Relationship

Again, this decision doesn’t serve the story. It simply hurts and divides the fandom, which will eventually fight over it. I know of several authors who have pulled off this trope off. Now, couples can always end and find new lovers. Great. The problem I take issue with is when authors ship said couple, then not explain why those two characters shouldn’t be together. Or worse: let the fandom argue over it.

 

Don’t Own Up to Their Mistakes

Does everyone remember the Cocky Gate brought to you by Faleena Hopkins? Yeah, I think everyone in the world knows who she is. I can safely assume that author has killed off her career when she decided to trademark the word cocky. And she didn’t own up to the problem. She basked in it.

Now, when these authors realize they’ve screwed up and try to fix the problem, they gain my respect. I won’t judge them. They’re human. But when they don’t, readers are left in the mess.

 

Attack Bloggers because of Their Review

One reason why I was hesitant to be a blogger is the backlash some bloggers face when they post their review. I’m a writer, and I used to be an artist. So I understand where authors come from. I understand how they can react to an awful review. However, once a piece is released to the world, there isn’t much they can do. Books will be reviewed. Stories will either be loved or be hated. And they should move on, which doesn’t always happen.

So what do you hate authors doing? Do you think we readers are too harsh on them? Or do you believe there’s a line authors shouldn’t cross? Let’s chat. I’d love to hear from you.