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A Reader of Fictions: April: Month in Review & Box Giveaway

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April: Month in Review & Box Giveaway

Some Changes on A Reader of Fictions:
Okay, so there are some big changes in the works right now, and I wanted to outline them without a whole post, so here goes.

Less Posting
I will be posting less, not because I'm cutting back on blogging, but because general consensus seems to be that more than one post a day can be overwhelming. I'm going to try to cut back to one post a day for a while and see how that goes. I might have to up to double-posting a couple times a week to get reviews up, but we'll see how it goes! This may change again. This is an experiment, and it's already begun. If you have thoughts on the change, let me know!

This doesn't mean I'm reading less. Just that I will not be posting the reviews I have as frequently.

Giveaways
In an effort to have more giveaways open to international readers, I'm changing up how I do giveaways. For now, I will be offering, so long as I can afford to, a giveaway copy (to be shipped from TBD) of the books I rate a 4.5 or a 5. If I have a month with a bunch of those, obviously, I will have to pick and choose at my discretion. I will be trying to give away a copy of books I loved that were sent to me free for review to support that author/publisher in their awesomeness, but, since I am funding these myself (I don't have ads or earn any money from this blog), I can only do so much.

All the ARCs and finished copies I read but do not keep for myself will go into a box. US readers only can enter to win said box. These will generally be books that I did not love, unless I receive duplicates. The winner, once chosen, may elect to receive all of the books or pick and choose.

Ratings
Also, I've updated my ratings scheme in my head. You might notice a slight change in ratings, particularly on the low end of the scale in the future, because I've solidified what they mean to me. To reiterate, anything 3 and above I liked to varying degrees (so do not tell me 3 is a negative rating, even if I do rant a bit in the review, because I still liked it) with books from 4-5 entering loved territory. Books receiving a 4.5 to a 5, I had an emotional connection with, so some books that get a 4 are essentially flawless but I just didn't bond with the MCs. Now, for the changes to the lower ratings:

2.5: This is pretty much the same. These are books that I can't say that I liked or disliked precisely. Generally, they were a bit uneven with some good elements and some bad.
2: Not for me. Books that receive 2 stars are ones that I think have merit, but that did not personally work for me, due to writing style, characters, subject matter, whatever.
1.5: Not very good. I don't have much positive to say about this book, aside from the fact that it didn't make me mad.
1: Might have had promise if it didn't make me want to punch the wall. From this month on, books receiving a rating of 1 made me angry, but do have something solid to recommend them, like good writing or plotting.
0.5: This book not only made me angry, but it was bad besides.

I'm an emotional reader, so it makes perfect sense for the bottom two ratings to be reserved for emotional reactions the way my top two ratings are. This does mean that my ratings when averaged will be lower, but I think they're a better reflection of my feelings and I'll know better how to rate the books I didn't like.

Reviews Posted in April:

4.5 Stars:
Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) - Leigh Bardugo

4 Stars:
White Lines - Jennifer Banash
Tuesday's Gone (Frieda Klein #2) - Nicci French
Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths #1) - K.A. Tucker

3.5 Stars:
The Calling (Darkness Rising #2) - Kelley Armstrong
The Rising (Darkness Rising #3) - Kelley Armstrong
One Plus One Equals Blue - M.J. Auch
Adorkable - Sarra Manning
The Sea of Tranquility - Katja Millay
Anatomy of a Boyfriend (Anatomy #1) - Daria Snadowsky
Anatomy of a Single Girl (Anatomy #2) - Daria Snadowsky
The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) - Rick Yancey

3 Stars:
Dear Cassie (Pretty Amy #2) - Lisa Burstein
House of Secrets (House of Secrets #1) - Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini
InterWorld (InterWorld #1) - Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves
Arclight - Josin L. McQuein
The Silver Dream (InterWorld #2) - Michael Reaves & Mallory Reaves
The Bronze Horseman (Tatiana and Alexander #1) - Paullina Simons
How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True - Sarah Strohmeyer

2.5 Stars:
The Shadow Girl - Jennifer Archer
The Essence (The Pledge #2) - Kimberly Derting
The Symptoms of My Insanity - Mindy Raf

2 Stars:
A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine #1) - Jaclyn Moriarty

1 Star:
The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones - Jack Wolf

0.5 Stars:
Sever (Chemical Garden Trilogy #3) - Lauren DeStefano

Other Pop Culture from April
This goes back to before April, but in deference to less posts, I'm adding my What I've Been Watching posts into the monthly round up. From now on, it shouldn't be so extensive.

The Vampire Diaries, seasons 1-3


Because of the cult following, I decided to return to this show which I DNFed back when it first came out while I was in grad school. Let's just say that I can tell why I quit watching it initially. I really hate pretty much all of the characters, especially Stefan and Elena, ESPECIALLY Stefan and Elena when they're together. However, season three actually got interesting, with the introduction of morally ambiguous vampires who are not in love with Elena. Yay! Of course, I also got into the show right at the end of the last season currently available on Netflix. Sigh. My favorite characters: Caroline and Klaus.

What's Up?


This is one of the weirder kdramas I've watched. What's Up? follows a bunch of freshmen studying musical theater in college. It's sort of like Glee kdrama style, which means random musical numbers, only with the added bonus of such kdrama staples as teacher/student romance, cancer, a friendly ghost, and dark pasts. The show is made even more absurd by its sampling of themes from RENT and Les Choristes. While I did get some joy from watching it, I can't say I'd really recommend it.

Shut Up, Flower Boy Band


Yay! Another kdrama that I just want to hug and love forever. This one came highly recommended by Laura Moss, and, at first, I was like why the eff did she love this?, but I gave it a couple of episodes and all became clear. Basically, someone had to be hit by a bus and then the show stopped just being about boys punching each other and showing off their manliness, all while wearing guyliner and leopard print of course, because, duh, Korea. Anyway, once that person dies, the show is awesome all the way through the solid finale, a rare find in the kdrama world. Also, there are a couple of SUPER adorable couples who I ship so hard.

Felicity, seasons 1-2


Honestly, I think this show is sort of horrible, but it is a bit addictive. I spend a lot of time laughing about how it's basically New Adult by today's standards, though it worked just fine as a teen show back in the day. I would like this way more if the whole thing weren't a love triangle between Felicity, Ben, and Noel. Both guys have done such annoying stuff just by the end of season two that I want her to go find someone else, and I doubt that's happening. There's also a lamentable lack of hot boy on this show, though that can also be a plus as the actors look like real people. On the whole, there's just been too much jumping the shark sort of stuff, all of which makes the show campy, as opposed to a remotely realistic depiction of the issues in a student's life. Entertaining, but not what it should be. I will be finishing out the show, but I doubt I'll ever watch it again.

Panda and Hedgehog 

Guys, I didn't expect much from this but it turned out to be so adorable. Also, it made me the hungriest ever, because it's about pâtissiers, aka people who make cake for a living. This show is so funny and sweet, almost entirely light-hearted, until the last few episodes when the looming drama reared it's ugly head. Also, this love triangle is actually handled well, with the girl making her decision pretty quickly, actually telling everyone, and settling happily with her chosen guy. Woo!

Monthly Box Giveaway:
Now for the first of the monthly box giveaways! This is open to US readers only, but there will be more international giveaways on A Reader of Fictions in the future. You can win any or all of the following books:


Since I read in a wide range of genres and didn't like all of these books, the winner has the option to ask for all of these or as few as one. Anything not claimed by the winner will go into Cuddlebuggery's Little Blogger Big Ambitions, donated to the library, sold (if it was a finished copy I purchased), traded, or gifted, so don't feel bad if you don't want them all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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20 Comments:

Blogger Faye M. said...

That kdrama (Shut Up, Flower Boy Band) sounds interesting! :D I'm hesitant to touch kdrama usually because they're always so over the top! >_< But seems you recommend this one, maybe I'll give it a try :)

And happy that you're going to have more international giveaways! Mainly because I'm outside the US, so that menas I can join the fun now, too! :P

May 1, 2013 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Make sure you give it a couple episodes for that one character to die, because he makes everything awful somehow. Kdrama may not be for everyone, but seriously it gives me feels like nothing else.

Yay! There will probably be slightly less giveaways overall, but I'll be making my faves accessible to everyone, TBD willing!

May 1, 2013 at 9:03 AM  
OpenID tigerlilyrachel said...

I've just started watching TVD in the past few weeks as well. I love it, but I think that makes total sense for us because we definitely have varying tastes in regards to each other. I'm watching it really slowly because I don't watch tv, so I'm only on season one. Everyone's raving about Klaus and Caroline, though, so I am anxiously awaiting the day where I get to see that couple.

I like your idea of posting less frequently. Not because I don't like your posts or anything because I TOTALLY DO, but my reader has been so filled up lately and the more posts in it, the less I feel like reading them.

May 1, 2013 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Jenni @ Alluring Reads said...

I gave up on The Vampire Diaries after season 2. But I'm thinking that isn't right because I know I was still watching it when Klaus showed up and Caroline and Tyler became what they became, dunno when that happened. Anyway, you make me want to try it again if you got into it after all that. Love the new ratings hopefully it helps your display and sort out your feelings a bit better :)

May 1, 2013 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, I like Klaus and Caroline, mostly because they're the most interesting. The instalove of Stefan and Elena drove me crazy, mostly because they're both SO boring. Whenever they kiss, I throw popcorn at my TV and boo. (Okay, I don't, but that's what I would do if I always had popcorn and didn't mind cleaning)

Ha, I know how that goes!

May 1, 2013 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, I think that had happened by season two, but I watched them so close together that I don't really know.

Yeah, it's way better. I'm all sorted now.

May 1, 2013 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Faye M. said...

Oh, I know what you mean! I think Jewel in the Palace gave me shivers and made me cry a lot. The comedy romance ones... ._. Coffee Prince WAS cute, though. AND FULL HOUSE :D

May 1, 2013 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, you might like this one, since it's less romancey. I mean, there's some melodrama, but it's a lot grittier.

May 1, 2013 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Sinclair said...

Gahhhh! Noooo, you went over to the dark side (TVD)!!! LOL.

You new rating scale is very similar to my own considering I'm an emotional reader too. And wow! Look at all the books you've read this month. *bows*

May 1, 2013 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

That's nothing! You should see how much Renae gets through in a month. Besides, that's what posted, not how much I read. Haha.

May 1, 2013 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews said...

I love that you applied "DNF" to a TV show, and I love to hear that I'm not the only person to do it to TVD. I thought it was way too over the top and melodramatic. I keep thinking I'll try it again because of all the hype and how it fills up my Twitter feed every week, but I probably won't. Maybe if the show ever ends and its entirety is on Netflix.

You and Renae read way too fast. It makes me feel like a lump haha. I'm going to try to use that to push my through my GR challenge this year (though, to be fair, moving twice is kind of a time suck.) Also, I'm glad you'll be posting a little less often because I miss so many of your posts anymore.

May 1, 2013 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, yeah, I was super not impressed with TVD the first time, and I'm not much more impressed now. It was finally getting interesting though, so that was cool. I still hate the MCs, but Caroline and Klaus are awesome.

I'm slower this year. I was still half-heartedly trying to do my book a day thing, but now I'm legit just going for 300/however many feel right. Moving is the worst. No judgment.

May 1, 2013 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Lyn Kaye said...

LESS POSTING?! :(

May 2, 2013 at 12:08 AM  
Blogger April (BooksandWine) said...

I like these new changes -- it's kind of freeing to post less, to be honest. I am doing that now -- trying to decrease my weekend posts and it works because instead of scheduling reviews on the weekend, I schedule them for the week and am able to build a nice little cushion of reviews.

ALSO. I am watching The Vampire Diaries too, but am only on Season 2. Sigh. Team Damon all the way.

I like the new ratings explanations. Makes sense to me.

ALSO your new contest/giveaway ideas are legit.

May 3, 2013 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I'm not going anywhere, though!

May 3, 2013 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I mean I miss it, and my stats definitely took a bit of a hit, but if people prefer less content, why stress myself out to do ALL THE POSTS? I can always add more again later if I want.

See, I don't care about the main three at all, but if Elena has to be with someone, then Damon, because Stefan is the worst.

May 3, 2013 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

I'm a genius. One of my tweets linked to the wrong thing. The real tweet is here: https://twitter.com/msjessieee/status/330453298408734720

May 3, 2013 at 6:46 PM  
OpenID laurajmoss said...

I love this so much: "Basically, someone had to be hit by a bus and then the show stopped just being about boys punching each other and showing off their manliness, all while wearing guyliner and leopard print of course, because, duh, Korea."

May 7, 2013 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, thanks. Always good to know there are a couple of people who love kdramas and will get my nerdy flailing about them.

May 7, 2013 at 10:17 AM  
OpenID alibrarianslibrary said...

Those books all look so great! Many of them are new to me, but I kind of want to read them all lol!

And I so love the whole Klaus and Caroline story line. I'll admit, Elena and Stefan can be annoying at times, but I actually prefer them over the Elena/Damon ship. But I can't help it...I AM ADDICTED! lol

May 7, 2013 at 11:59 PM  

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