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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

I’m sure this will excite some people. The cover is very pretty, but I don’t think that’s enough to make me read it. Unless it includes more Uriah. Yes, I will read this just for him. He’s hilarious.

I’m sure this will excite some people. The cover is very pretty, but I don’t think that’s enough to make me read it. Unless it includes more Uriah. Yes, I will read this just for him. He’s hilarious.

#uriah    #divergent    #four    #new    #trilogy    #stories    #goodreads    #harpercollins    

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

hiddenreviews:

Original post here. Wendy blogs at The Midnight Garden.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to say since this announcement went live, and I almost said nothing—because at this point, it seems obvious this Feedback thread, like countless others before it, is pretty futile anyway.

I want…

#opinion    #goodreads    

Monday, 23 September 2013

Goodreads Censors Reviews and Personal Shelves During Banned Books Week

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Dear Readers,

It’s time we got into the gritty subject of censorship. This is an open letter to all readers (authors, Goodreads staff, and members are obviously included). I say all readers, because do even mean those of you unfamiliar with Goodreads and its drama, for lack of a better term.

Readers, I don’t mean to teach you some of the facts of life, but I just want to briefly (this didn’t end up being as brief as initially planned) mention a) censorship, b) freedom of speech and its limitations, c) Banned Books Week and d) hypocrisy.

a) Censor — v. [with object] examine (a book, film, etc.) officially and suppress unacceptable parts of it. (Oxford Dictionary)

Filter — v. [with object] a fancy web-based term for partial censorship. (Me)

Quality Control — n. the activity of checking goods as they are produced to make sure that the final products are good. (Merriam Webster)

The essential point to take away from these terms is that while censoring is synonymous with filtering, quality control is neither of those, unless we view Goodreads as a product, rather than just a social media platform.

Okay, so let’s say Goodreads is this free “product.” What is the target market? It’s for reviewers and literary lovers to discuss books (and authors), so I’d wager all readers. However, “quality control” via the review guidelines suggests a specific group within those readers. SOME authors, the compliant (they may not know what’s happening at all), and offended fans of authors.

b) Freedom of speech is an international human right. Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that “e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

However, in any country, the freedom of speech has its limitations and restrictions, especially in regards to "respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals." (UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 999, p. 171, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3aa0.html.)

All of that being said, my personal opinion is that I should not judge a book by its author. I don’t like to get personal about authors within my reviews, but I will use some blatant shelving labels as I see fit. This is my opinion regarding MY OWN REVIEWS AND NO ONE ELSE’S. It is none of my business what another reviewers methods are, just as it is none of my business what their sexual orientation is. Maybe I think it’s blatant and I can identify it right off the bat, but that doesn’t mean I should criticize them for it. The only difference is that reviews are OPINION pieces, while sexuality is something you are born with (though I’m sure I could argue nature versus nurture here, but that’s completely off topic).

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Another issue is that Goodreads staff really want us to stay on the topic of the book, rather than the author. I have written a number of reviews that sort of go off on a tangent. Will GR make its way around to removing these reviews? The greatest part about this is that GR’s Customer (Don’t) Care director has made it appear a lot worse than I initially thought (other than the deleting without notifying bit):

We recognize that not everyone is going to agree with our approach. People have different - and often quite strongly held - viewpoints about what should and should not be allowed in a review. We’ve had suggestions that no GIFs should be allowed, reviews should be limited to 300 words only, reviews should only be allowed if you have read the book to the very last page, etc.”

You know what this says to me? Goodreads has actually considered these suggestions. 

c) Banned Books Week was founded in in 1982 by Judith Krug and is most notably sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA). Many people recognize Judith as an advocate for uncensored literature, free speech, and confidentiality of personal library records. You, reader, may not know that while she also fought for our right to read whatever we may choose, she also fought against the Children’s Internet Protection Act, as web filters often blocked educational material on healthcare, sexual education and social matters (Krug, Judith F. (2000). “Internet and Filtering in Libraries: The American Experience”. IFLA journal (München : Verlag Dokumentation; British Library Serials) 26 (4): 284.).

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Judith Krug was a fucking star.

Goodreads has incredibly poor timing to deliver their amended guidelines to patrons of the site in time for Banned Books Week. This is especially a travesty in the face of Judith Krug’s lifelong fight. And for that alone, Goodreads has lost so much credibility as actually being for BOOK PEOPLE. It’s almost as if it’s being run by staff that have no idea what matters to people passionate about reading. They are slowly becoming just another social media site I can live without.

d) Hypocrisy — n. the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense. (Oxford Dictionary)

Double standard— n. a rule or principle which is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups. (Oxford Dictionary)

Goodreads has deleted reviews that detail the author or the author’s behaviour, unless within a review for a memoir or biography (or, I suppose, book that features an author). They did not follow through on reviews with positive remarks about an author’s behaviour or complimentary shelves about authors. I also mentioned above that part of GR’s argument for deleting author-centric reviews is that it’s not on the topic of the actual book being reviewed, yet they will not delete off-topic reviews that mention very little about the book or writing at all. This is GR’s double standard.

Do you remember that minute group of authors, offended fans and the compliant I mentioned at the beginning? This is to appease them.

You may be wondering, reader, what the point of this extremely tl;dr rant was.

It should offend you to learn that you have the right to read what you want, but you do not have the right to express what you want; to write what you want. 

What has Goodreads done for its patrons other than exist for us to manipulate?

1. Bring the reading community together to discuss all things literary or AUTHORS. This is something you can do on any other site or blog. And we do.

2. A source of ARCs! But let’s not be melodramatic about this. I get the majority of my ARCs directly from those amazing authors and publishers we very much love when they’re not trying to convince us our opinions are incorrect. Quite a few blogs now host a slew of giveaways.  

3. E-book exchanges and sources. There are literally thousands of sites for this. I understand some authors cannot shift from Goodreads as easily, but neither should GR be the sole source for these things.

4. Organizing everything you’ve read or want to read. Hundreds of sites free and with a cost exist for this very purpose.

Unfortunately for GR, amazing book-related projects such as Oyster (Netflix for books) and BookLikes are picking up the slack in, what feels like, a intermediary format period for books (digital publications and alternatives).

Finally, dear reader, taking a stand against Goodreads and their poor choices is not about “sticking it to the man,” it’s about making sure your basic human rights are not slighted. It’s about fighting compliance and taking the moral stance, even when you cannot see yourself physically being affected. Your community is affected. If you can actively practice Banned Books Week, you can certainly take a closer look at websites like Goodreads. I’m not saying give up on Goodreads, I’m just asking "what have they really done for readers?”

Hidden Reviews?

#goodreads    #gr    #stgrb    #bullies    #harassment    #drama    #tos    #terms    #guidelines    #rules    #reviews    #books    #ya    #fiction    #literature    #literacy    #readers    #read    #shelves    #censor    #hypocrisy    #double standard    #oyster    #netflix    #judith krug    #ala    #american library association    #cipa    #library    #freedom of speech    

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey for Grade 5 and Other Updates

So a long time ago in a galaxy of shitty university times, I was studying science education and pretty much had resigned myself to become a math or science teacher (if not an archaeologist). But no longer! Anyway, in my editing course we’ve been looking at the Flesch-Kincaid readability scoring system for passages/books. I used to use this on every freaking thing I could lay my eyes on. It was brilliant. It’s not the most accurate equation for adult fiction, especially if the work has run-on sentences or falls under the genre of “chick-lit”. In any case, I decided I wanted to use it for the rest of my book reviews from this point on—allons-y

Here is the formula:

0.39*(number of words/number of sentences) + 11.8*(number of syllables/number of words) — 15.59 = readability score, as a grade level 

number of words/number of sentences is the Average Sentence Length (ASL): I usually choose about three to five sentences and do a word count for those. I do this three or four times before I’m satisfied by a mode number. I do not average out the numbers.

number of syllables/number of words is the Average Syllables per Word (ASW): I choose about two sentences for this, especially if they are excessively lengthy. I like keep it around 20-35 words. Keep in mind, you could even just use two and a half sentences or something. You’re counting words here, not sentences. I also take three or four of these calculations before I find an appropriate mode I can use. 

Also, before trying this at home, please remember your BEDMAS/PEMDAS rules. Brackets/Parentheses, Exponents, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.

As an example, here are my calculations for Fifty Shades of Grey, based on various passages throughout the book. 

0.39*14 + 11.8*1.3 = 5.21

So what does this mean? Simply put, the reading score for Fifty Shades of Grey is at a grade five reading level. This puts it on par with books such as The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan or Coraline by Neil Gaiman. It is important to note that the F-K score does not account for content and stylistic details of a book. While E.L. James’s masterpiece may be of a simplistic reading level, it is certainly not suitable for those of that level.

I have many calculations for middle school books that are actually at a level much higher than FSoG, but let’s not get into that…today. 

Instead, please waste your time on this extensive review of FSoG.

Adieu.

#5    #anti-feminist    #books    #caveman    #fifty    #five    #flesch    #fuckyeah    #goodreads    #grade    #grey    #intelligence    #kincaid    #lacking    #level    #literacy    #middle    #obtuse    #of    #offensive    #on    #poor    #readability    #reviews    #school    #sex    #shades    #simple    #whatever    #writing    

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Book on Trial #39: [We’ve] Reached [the end.]

Note: I’ll keep this short, unlike this book (not as bad as Insurgent though).

Spoilers are highly likely.

Title: Reached

Author: Condie, Ally

Keywords: Deserts, rebels, government, adventure, YA, teen, dystopia, love, friendship, disease, cure, society, rising, disappointment, betrayal, science, fish.

Recommended For: 12+

Rating: image

Sentence: I sentence Ally Condie to the same mundane existence as the Pilot.

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Review: 

I can’t say I disliked this book, but I also cannot say I liked it. While I had high hopes after the first installment, I came to realize very soon after that the books are drier than a pile of old bones…in a desert. There’s no humour in times of disease; no light at the end of this transition; no passion, though there’s art, its creation and appreciation.

I can’t feel for the characters because I barely like them. Xander and Indie might be the only two characters I felt comfortable enough to feel for. Everything about this book is nostalgic and annoyingly stuck on how people have failed.

So the Society is the Rising? Isn’t that the story with any extreme forms of government? They are both the same, even if they try not to be. (Although in this case the Society actually literally inserts itself into the Rising so it seems like a different government, but it isn’t.) 

The sad part is that Condie has so much to say that I can really appreciate. Choices; good, bad and the grey bits in between; rebellion, but also knowing when it should be about people rather than the war. It’s great in that sense, but things are not laid out completely. These are all half-baked ideas that could’ve been so much more passionate. 

On top of all that, the reader will remember bits and pieces of what Cassia has lost and can already conclude things for her even before she has, which is super annoying. Even without the full story, it’s easy to see that Cassia is focused on the wrong questions, and when she does get the answers, how do they help anything?

And I have to complain, how is Cassia not pissed at being used so much? She seems indifferent to me, and I don’t trust that. I do not trust a head Archivist that punishes their own trader for stealing, but gets away with it herself. I don’t trust a pilot that is not the Pilot everyone needs.

I liked the introduction of voting and Anna being a person for the people. But there was not much expansion. I think I’d be more interested in an expanded story/look at the people struggling to the Otherlands. I want to see the Otherlands. I want to read about the vanishings. I want more from Indie’s perspective. And Caleb. And the Pilot (as annoyingly unimportant as he was, in the end). These seem like interesting stories, while Cassia’s is all about her curing Ky and remembering.

The author’s words felt as empty as Xander, when he as faced by the judgement of Oker’s people. It feels like she was tired and so over this. But at least it’s sort of over. It was like the biggest okay guy moment ever.

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#reached    #ally    #condie    #book    #on    #trial    #gr    #goodreads    

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Too Many Books; No More Space!

I am going to let you in on a little secret…I have more books in my room than I safely have space for. Whenever I find my room is getting cluttered, packed, and stuffy, I try to clear off my floor and create a more efficient shelving system.

If you are using every flat surface in your room for books, including your floor, here is what I do in my time of desperation. Besides, your floor is for clothes (but actually not, because I am such a neat freak despite my pack-rat habits)!

What you will need:

  1. A clean bookshelf extension or short wooden shoe rack or anything that comes up off the floor and you can easily slide around.
  2. Newspaper or protective sheet (you probably wouldn’t need this with a short shoe rack).
Directions:
1. Lay down protective material or paper in the size of the shelf extension. In this case I used brown parcel wrapping paper. I don’t know why, but I had some. Place the shelf on top of the paper. Start shelving! 

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2. As you are stacking/shelving, keep the larger books at the bottom of the pile, but also keep the ones you are most likely to read first towards the front. Try to keep all sagas, series, trilogies together. You may see that I have not because the others are lost to the depths of my other shelving units.

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3. It seems strange that I started the stacking on top, but most of the books I have are in hardcover format. To protect the ones I like best (because I’m apparently a really pessimistic realist and recognize that something at some point might get damaged), I place them on the top of this extension.

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4. I’m not saying the ones at the bottom are less important, just less pretty or new. :D But anyway, I stack them the same because I like to make the most of the space given to me (I gave it to myself). I push everything bigger to the back of the shelf, and make room for small hardcovers and paperbacks up front.

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5. Ta-da! All full of the leftover books. You can even see the mass market paperbacks I placed at the bottom. On the side, where I had a little extra room, I added thinner books with their spines vertical.

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6. I thought I was done, but then I uncovered more books on a chair. I think these are all my ARCs and giveaways. Time to squeeze them in!

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7. Alright, so I added books in, rearranged them even, and placed my most immediate ones near the top and front. Three of the books in this photo aren’t even mine! I’m either borrowing and need to return it or I bought it for someone else. In between the front and second stack I have vertically shelved two books and placed three dust jackets. I remove the dust jackets out of habit when I’m reading or messing about with a naked book (sexy times). I usually just place them on my desk, but since I am always using my desk, I’ve got the books to hold them for me!

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Don’t have enough room for even this little guy on your floor? Have you tried your closet?

Top shelf:

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More of top shelf:

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And I used to use this fold-able hanging shelf for books, but it’s now being used for DVDs/Blu-rays. Keep in mind that though this shelf is strong, it won’t properly hold heavy hardcovers (on the inside the shelves dip down too much). I used it mostly for lighter paperbacks.

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Happy shelving!

#too    #many    #books    #no    #more    #space    #reading    #writing    #gr    #goodreads    #love    #dictionary    #heavy    #shelf    #extension    #ikea    #show    #rack    #paper    #protective    #diy    #do    #it    #yourself    #cloud    #atlas    #edgar    #allan    #poe    #diana    

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Book Review: The Raven Boys

Note: I’ve decided I do not have enough time for the book on trial layout for this really, really quick review I did on GR. I am working 45 hours per week and am back in school. Although it is online, it is decidedly time-consuming. So it’s lucky when I even post once a week.

There are sort of spoilers. Though the book spoils things from the beginning. Things we haven’t even seen yet! :D

I know many people love Stiefvater’s Mercy Falls trilogy, but I have to say that I am glad she has come out with these brilliant plot-focused teen books. They stray away from the wishy-washy (and lovey-dovey) nature of the Mercy Falls trilogy and become more about the characters and the story that needs to be told. I am a huge fan of The Scorpio Races, and now The Raven Boys. Seriously, Maggie, this shit is golden.

The funny thing about this first installment is that it actually is about its namesake. Four raven boys, all tousled, scarred and touched in different ways by a girl named Blue and this quest for something magical, and bigger than them. 

In some ways, Maggie’s storytelling reminds me of the late DWJ, which I highly recommended she take as a compliment (don’t even ask how much money I have spent gathering up her original UK firsts). DWJ would include romance, to be sure, but it wasn’t straightforward, and it wasn’t about creating a love triangle. It was a story that flowed out from somewhere deep. And my literary-god, do I love my damaged characters. Especially when I am so unfamiliar with their situation, but somehow the writing makes me feel enough compassion to actually be hurt when those characters are hurt. 

I know that is a lot of emotion, but I just feel like there is something about Maggie’s writing (mostly) that gets me and what I want to read. I don’t think this will be true of most people. I just think that everyone has some author’s writing that they connect with instantly, especially at a certain point in their life. Mine has always been DWJ and Neil Gaiman, but occasionally someone else will come along, and practically have me on a lead.

Now it sounds like a raving review (haha) for ONLY a four-star rating, but that’s only because I like to be honest (not usually, lol). I really, really love Maggie’s writing and the idea of this story, but I was not entirely satisfied with this book. But that’s okay, I suspect this trilogy will wow me in ways those damn wolves couldn’t. Ravens, ftw!

Also the ending was very reminiscent of Nevermore by Kelly Creagh with the whole creating Chainsaw bsns.

#maggie    #stiefvater    #raven    #boys    #book    #on    #trial    #review    #no    #time    #goodreads    #gr    #dwj    #neil    #gaiman    #young    #adult    #teen    #ya    

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Book on Trial #37: Stormdancer

Note: I can finally post this as the book is coming out this week! :)

SPOILERS TO BE HAD.

Title: Stormdancer

Author: Kristoff, Jay

Keywords: Telepathy, animal-speak, griffins, stormdancing, storms, teens, Japanese, steampunk, fantasy, girl power, tattoos, drunken mess, bar fights, emperor, Asian-influenced, samurai, anime, science, powers, clans, fox, thunderbirds.

Recommended For: 12+, fans of Harry Potter, steampunk, and commonly seen anime, ninja/samurai stories.

Rating: image

Sentence: I sentence Jay Kristoff to a stormdance-off. I suspect he will win.

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Review: 

Initial reaction: “I was reminded of AtlantisEonAvatar: The Last AirbenderHow to Train Your DragonCrouching Tiger, Hidden DragonGladiator, and The Hunger Games, over the course of this entire book (in varying degrees). But only in the best ways, which I’ll elaborate later.”

Let me start off by saying that this book is not perfect, nor do I demand everyone read it. I really enjoyed this book and you, whoever you may be, will likely read much about this book after it has been released. That does not mean you will like it. I really enjoy steampunk, but I don’t think all steampunk was really meant for me. Most YA steampunk actually sucks or isn’t what I’d consider steampunk (yes, my nose is all up in the air rejecting YA, even though I love it too) and it certainly is not meant for everyone to enjoy. 

Stormdancer is just the right amount of dark steampunk that I can get and nod at without argument. But Stormdancer is also many other things that I can easily get sick of; I do not normally read; and I watch and read too much of already so it’s overkill. That’s why I was impressed by how much I could stand some of the themes and aspects I had seen time and time again.

Kristoff takes things that are sorely overdone and then kicks them altogether into some sort of crazy-ass contraption of symbiosis. All the elements feed off each other and they make beautiful, stormy music; the conductor being Kristoff.

I will admit that the beginning was pretty slow until about eight or so chapters in. It’s the first book in a trilogy so I always allow this sort of lag for world-building and character development. But that does not mean the plot had not already rooted itself into the reader’s mind. 

I think what killed it for me was the complexity of Yukiko’s relationship with the green-eyed samurai. On the one hand, he is fucking gorgeous and he likes her. On the other, he is an awful, back-stabbing asshole (but there is probably more to it than that). Sure, there’s that almost love triangle that is so typical of YA these days, but there’s also sex. So fuck all y’all. Finally, something as realistic and impulsive as teens can be. And don’t you dare try to deny that. I’m not trying to generalize, I am just saying…okay, fuck it. I am generalizing. I used to be an impulsive teen, so I think I still (sort of) know.

Also, that last fight was pretty damn awesome.

Anyway, I do not want to really spoil this book as it is more enjoyable reading all of it play out. This would probably make a pretty decent anime movie or show, by the way. Just sayin’. There was Howl’s Moving Castle, yes, but there is also this (nudge, nudge Miyazaki).

#stormdancer    #kristoff    #jay    #teen    #ya    #steampunk    #griffins    #harry    #potter    #yukiko    #burou    #book    #gr    #goodreads    

Friday, 17 August 2012

Book on Trial #36: Dark Star

Note: I find my standards slowly decreasing and my like for these low standards increasing. It is the sad state of literature today. Who am I kidding? I read YA novel for the immediate satisfaction and lack of effect on the state of my thinking about my current life. I like that it is simple, dumb and fanciful. Idealistic about the future of the human race, even. I even like when it is dark, negative and tears are shed over the depressing nature of it all. I like teen books because they are unrealistic, much like Disney movies, and do not require me to think. On the rare occasions that they do, I am pleasantly surprised (or mightily displeased). So heed my warning, readers, though I gave this book a low rating, I still enjoyed reading it.

SPOILERS BELOW.

Title: Dark Star

Author: Frenette, Bethany

Keywords: Minneapolis, dark star, morning star, single mother, teen drama, best friends, powers, small community, demons.

Recommended For: 12+, fans of The Demon-Trapper’s DaughterIlluminate, and Hemlock.

Rating: image

Sentence: I sentence Bethany Frenette to life as a mime trapped in a real box, because that is what this kind of first-person perspective does to a reader.

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Review: I will keep this review short since I read this book in about an hour and a half. This was a fast read because there was not much to it. This uses a recycled plot and recycled “surprises”.

For those who liked the feel of The Demon-Trapper’s Daughter, this book can provide that. It’s a small, close-knit community of people with power called the “Kin” who are likely ruled by some sort of council or elders or someshit I’ve heard before. They are responsible for the safety of Earth or the large city they reside in and murders be happenin’ all over the place (more than usual for the amount of demons they deal with regularly). So hide yo kids, hide yo wives and hide yo husbands, ‘cause they cuttin’ errybody’s ankles out hurr!

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Something goes wrong and naturally the “daughter” or MC of this goddamn story must meddle because she is curious as fuck and the only real part of her personality is her incessant questioning, which is also a recycled trait.

The MC gets hurt/learns the grisly details behind her mother’s “crime-fighting” and gets ragged on by not only her mother, but her obviously to-be-lover. Daddy issues, much? He follows her around, protects her, annoys her, clearly checks her out and then pretends to be an oppressive jackass (actually, I don’t think he was pretending), when everyone should know she’s going to do something stupid that’ll get her hurt anyway.

Everyone she goddamn knows/has heard about is some sort of “Kin” or part-Kin and pretty much the only surprise is that she isn’t the Remnant (this everyone-might-be-Kin bit is very similar to my everybody-might-be-a-lycan complaint about Hemlock).

Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m complaining so much if I said I liked it. The answer is simple: I expect more and better from the next book; I expect more romancing; and I expect a Remnant to be found. Also Iris. Let’s get this Iris plot twist all untangled.

The reason I was able to stand this book was because the writing wasn’t awful, there was a baking-cake-fight scene and possibly the cutest, clumsiest kiss scene. That’s it. Now frak off.

I’m exhausted and I’m still goddamn reading The Rise of Nine.

#books    #review    #ya    #young    #adult    #reading    #reads    #on    #trial    #mime    #wtf    #dark    #star    #bethany    #frenette    #plums    #goodreads    

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Bad Reviews, Defamation, Reviewers Reviewed

Edit: So it seems some Goodreads members aren’t getting that I’m totally biased based on the fact that I support most of these reviewers. If I have not listed proof for each reviewer’s “crimes” (against humanity, according to the geniuses at STGRB), it is because their claims suck ass and I can’t find shit worthy of analyzing anyway. This is not meant to say these reviewers (“GR Bullies”) are guilty of the offenses listed; just to summarize what I think STGRB has against them and why it is invalid. 

I’m going to start off by saying that this is an extremely long analysis of the website http://stopthegrbullies.com (I do not in any way support them or their cause; I am just checking out their claims). After reading plenty of horror stories about these fellow GR-ers posting a full profile for those who they deem “GR Bullies” on their website, I had to check it out. I mean, come on, they’ve got a real live lawyer on their side (who cannot possibly be misinformed or idiotic [/sarcasm]).

Since I’ve been on their site recently they have removed addresses, full names and phone numbers from the public view, but that doesn’t mean what they found is not unofficially passed around their council of “justice”. This movement against “GR Bullies” has been founded by GR stalkers and bullies, ironically.

So I decided to review the basis of their judgment and recursive logic to gang-bully back. This will include an in-depth analysis of some of the more negative reviews of the bullies they have flagged on their site.

Here are their qualifications for GR Bullies:

1. Harassment
 
To irritate or annoy persistently to the point of exhaustion or a state of torment (most common definition I could find). It does not mean that bugging someone is legally harassing them. Harassment by computer involves cyberbullying and only one count, rather than two, of stalking (much like StGRB).

Now, with reviews it is tricky as you can be harsh in a review without harassing the author. If the author feels harassed or tormented, then I suggest that they pull themselves together and get in another line of work.

2. Humiliation
Abasement of pride leading to submission, lowliness, or feeling less than you are.

Fortunately, humiliation is not illegal, otherwise my family would be in prison as well as friends who didn’t realize they were embarrassing me. Not that it happens often, but sometimes you can’t help but feel bad. I think this would also be linked to self-esteem issues.

Now bullying to cause intense humiliation is horrible, yes, but negative reviews exist for practically everything (especially on the internet). There is bound to be something that humiliates the recipient of the review if someone did not like their product or writing or work of art. 

Even if a review is deliberately created to humiliate the author him/herself, it is not worth fretting over and defending yourself against. If the review exists to humiliate then why are you pushing yourself to face your hecklers, only to be humiliated more for comments you made in the heat of the moment?

3. Insults/5. Name Calling/7. Verbal Attacks and Abuse 
 
An expression meant as an affront, put-down or degrading effect on the recipient.

Insults against one’s race, culture, sex, orientation, religion and beliefs/opinions should be unacceptable. People are who they are and should not be defined by the above categories.

An insult in a GR review often entails negative judgments on the book being reviewed or what the author could have possibly been thinking. Insults are usually expressed in frustration or disappointment (especially with writing).

Authors may not be equipped to handle insults because of the soft, cushion-y and sheltered processes they went through with their publishers, editors and agents.

4. Gossip (Libel, Lies and Defamation)/10. False Rumours/11. Destroy Reputation with Lies
Casual conversation reporting unconfirmed details about other people. This includes outright lies and the negative affect on a person’s reputation, professionally or otherwise. Gossip can be oral slander or written libel.

In my opinion, this is the most serious of accusations against “GR Bullies”. It is one thing to be name-calling (see “Insults”) and an entirely inappropriate thing to be making shit up about authors you don’t even know. That being the case, it is also inappropriate to be making shit up about reviewers you don’t even know (or read).

6. Ganging Up/8. Using Friends to Attack
 
A group of friends or people “in arms” who band together for mutual defense and profit. Generally these gangs or band of not-so-merry reviewers are aiming their defenses and attacks at someone singled out for a difference in opinion or trolling.

Often, in the case of Goodreads, troops are not rallied, but latch on to the side they support of their own accord. Especially if the members don’t really know each other IRL or are just fans of one of the GR reviewers.

Unless the reviewer specifically tells their friends or followers to defend them or act on their behalf, responsibility of the reviewer or “GR Bully”, in this type of situation, is nil. Sure the folks ganging up are making the reviewer look like a bully, but if they are not doing the bullying themselves then there is no proof of anything except that they hold to their opinions and have some dedicated followers.

Unfortunately, trolls and authors that try to “defend” themselves against a bad review fail to see the smaller aspects of the bigger picture. Yes, they are being ganged up on, but not all of those individuals ganging up are of the same opinion or loyalties. One could be ganging up on an author based on their flagrant disregard for the audience’s opinion; another could be ganging up with others simply for the misuse of the word “chagrin”.

You don’t know what you don’t know and do not assume you do.

9. Bully Reviews
 
So this is basically their entire premise. I’m not sure why it’s part of the rules, which are so redundant I’m convinced they don’t really know what their issue is, so I’ve decided “bully reviews” are just mean and offensive to people’s egos. The only legitimate offense they have taken is to defamation.

12. Trashing Books for Revenge 
 Inflicting harm on someone or a book belonging to a particular author who has wronged the “GR Bully” in some way.

I assume this is associated with ganging up and getting friends to hate on books that they haven’t even read. I would equivocate this with authors or friends of authors telling people to vote down, multiple times, on negative reviews of their book on Amazon or Goodreads:
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Examples of infamous harsh reviews:

"Sentimental rubbish… Show me one page that contains an idea"— Odessa Courier on Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, 1877.

"Monsieur Flaubert is not a writer" — La Figaro, 1857.

"We do not believe in the permanence of his reputation… our children will wonder what their ancestors could have meant by putting Dickens at the head of the novelists of today."— Saturday Review, 1858.

Mandingo is racist trash, obscene in its manipulation of human beings and feelings, and excruciating to sit through in an audience made up largely of children, as I did last Saturday afternoon.” —Roger Ebert, 1975. 

"I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it." —Roger Ebert on North, 1994.

"GR Bullies" and Dangerous Reviews

Note:I’m taking some of these bits out of context, so you’d have to read the entire review to understand what the reviewer is ranting about or criticizing.

1. Archer/Cuddlebuggery:
Out of the 60 or so reviews I went through, these were the closest I got to harassment, but they seem more honest than a constant pain to the author (unless we’re talking about the authors’ egos). 

  • Honestly if Melissa Douthit can get a book out there… anyone can, it is that poor. The descriptive language of a nature so simplistic that I am at a push to remember a book that was so generic that didn’t have a dog named ben as the main character. The preface is so condescending it’s painful.”—Archer communicating what appears to be disappointment in style and level of writing skill (much like myself on Twilight or The Da Vinci Code).
  • I honestly do not know what else to say other than Meyer had not only managed to successfully destroy the vampire culture, but has also destroyed lycanthropy as a paranormal condition with the introduction of her paedo-wolves later in the series. I say steer clear and read a good vampire story… namely pretty much anything by Anne Rice, hell even the 1995 Horror Spoof, The Vampire in Brooklyn, got it more right than this. It’s drivel and should be stricken from existence.”—Archer communicating distaste for writing, content, lack of content and overall message of the book.
  • I feel fucking awful. And it is thanks to this shitting book. I DNF’d at 61% because I literally couldn’t take any more of this… awful… just plain bad… terrible fucking book.
    Look at that blurb… Look at it. How fucking awesome does that sound?” —Archer communicating disappointment.
  • Archer also has some opinions on the Jamie McGuire debacle, which obviously was an over-reaction on the part of the author. There is no reason to flip out over a few negative reviews. So what many people do not like romance stories between obsessive, abusive stalkers and a really naive girl?
2. Autumn Rosen:
Could not locate reviews, but found samples of things, again, taken out of context. I was more interested in her review for one Carroll Bryant. 
  • Brainless drivel from the queen of plagiarism. Total crap, shallow repetitive writing and boring, could not get past page one." on Fifty Shades of Grey.—Although I see Autumn Rosen’s POV, I could never support the claim of plagiarism. I handle those kinds of accusations with the utmost care. Once accused, even if untrue, it could stick anyway.

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I have checked other sources that inform me that the under-aged victim is actually 18, so I’m not sure how much I can agree or disagree with Rosen, but my opinion on the matter is not what is important. Bryant may be accusing her of libel, though he was found in the wrong and banned, but it doesn’t help his case when he speaks for himself rather than via lawyer:

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He seems pretty level-headed in the above post, but notice below his attitude and language takes a disgusting turn.

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Terms like “stupid little fucking bitch” and “self-serving bitch” sound threatening and absolutely abusive. I swear like a trucker and I am fucking offended by the trash he’s talking. Even if Rosen was in the wrong it is uncalled for and makes Bryant seem like a woman-hating asshole.

3. Jane Litte:
 The only controversial review I could find was related to the blow up in early 2012 by Jamie McGuire the author of Beautiful Disaster. All the rest of Jane’s reviews negative or not are highly detailed with quotes and comparisons to other books and parts of the same book. She pays attention to the little details to a fault, because honestly, her reviews are too long and I need to skim. In short, I find not even a moderate amount of heckling.

For Beautiful Disaster, Jane actually gave it 3 stars and a pretty good review. I found instead that after McGuire lashed out at a reviewer, Sophie, Jane decided she wouldn’t stand for that kind of crap.

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This all seems pretty tame to me. Except McGuire seems to over-react to whatever Jane tweets at her. Now Sophie takes a stand against McGuire for the rights of women and not having to be with someone ten times worse than Edward Cullen. I am so with her on that, except I don’t let my feelings on the subject always cloud my judgment for reviews. I have not read Beautiful Disaster so I am unaware of the author’s feelings on the relationship or her “voice”, which usually reveals the attitude towards it all. Authors do not always condone what they write about and we, as reviewers, cannot assume they do unless they expressly say they do. Sometimes you can tell by their “voice”, but even then a story is a story and I do not believe in censorship.

  • Jane also accused Cass’ “friends” of being unable to hold an honest opinion about her book based on Roth’s comments about up-voting good reviews of The Selection. I would classify this as a personal attack on the author and an unfounded accusation against the authors fans, friends and people that genuinely like her book without being coerced.
  • Jane claims one historical romance author has not done her research. Okay. This is too lame to be mad about. She also claimed the author of Spoils of War promotes rape and pedophilia. Again, even if this is the content of a book, the author does not necessarily condone what they are telling you in their story.

4. Kara:

  • Put When Destiny Knocks by Heather M. White on the DNR shelf in support of her friend, Andrea Thompson, who was called a douche by the author because she gave her honest opinion, based on experience, about the setting of the book. I associate the author’s indiscretion with her young age and…oh wait, she’s only a year younger than me. I think this falls under one of the GR Bullies categories. NAME CALLING.
  • Most of her reviews are positive or not as negative as the other reviewers listed so I couldn’t really pinpoint any bullying on Kara’s part.

5. Kat Kennedy/Cuddlebuggery:

  • Involved in the rallying against authors sending emails to their fans to boost their ratings on Amazon.
  • One decent blog went onto report that “there is nothing unprofessional about an author asking her fans to like positive reviews”. Apparently Kat is in the wrong here for assuming this is an abuse of the system.
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    I am starting to see a pattern. Anyone that is offended by bad reviews does what they feel was done to them (bullying, rallying fans to up-vote or down-vote), whether it is a legitimate claim or not. The result is a lot of controversy because authors become involved in the rating of their own books and the reviews on it, basically. I mean, if the author wants to control all that shit, why don’t they just review their own book and leave the rest of us out of it completely? They may look mentally unstable, but at least they’ll always only have to look forward to their own positive up-voted review and nothing else.

    So I guess it’s okay for me to ask my friends to up-vote all the positive and negative reviews I like, right? Maybe I’ll even ask them to down-vote all the positive and negative reviews I disagree with on the interwebz. Yeah, that seems fucking legit.

6. Lissa:
 I cannot find a single fucking thing that ties Lissa to any author blow ups. She is an author herself and friends with many of the Cuddlebuggery crew, but if that’s all then I am deeply unimpressed.

That being said, if someone knows something I do not, please send me stuff.

  • Lissa wrote a bad review of author Melissa Douthit’s book The Raie’Chaelia, who is apparently the founder and master”mind” behind STGRB. Doushit (or whatever the fuck her name is) then proceeded to troll like no one’s business (except it was) and created multiple accounts to give low ratings for Lissa’s book, as well as higher ones to her own. Doushit either quit GR or was kicked off for the achievement of ultimate douchebaggery, at the same time as all her friends with gang-up-and-plot-against benefits.
  • Screenshots to come! 

This something I found on the topic of Lissa:

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As far as a I know Lissa did not outwardly ask anyone to up-vote her book over Twitter. She did not call negative reviewers assholes, bitches or douches. On Goodreads fans did not get a message telling them to up-vote the book or positive reviews.

The website GoodReads Follies is really great at calling out hypocrisy without any proof. If Kiera Cass’ husband (or wife, I do not care or know) wrote a positive review for her book, I’m pretty sure no one would give a rat’s ass. In fact, if her agent wrote a great review, I would still not care. Asking fans and followers to up-vote or openly saying over Twitter that you need to like all the positive reviews to make the negative reviews get off the top of the page is not the same thing.

If GR Reviewers are making negative comments about personal friends and family writing biased and positive reviews for an author’s book(s), then I wholeheartedly support the claim of hypocrisy.

7. Lucy:

  • Negative review for Beautiful Disaster was flagged and attempted to be buried, although it is a legitimate review (and a good one). 
  • Defended Wendy Darling against Kiera Cass’ agent, Roth, claiming that though Cass did not call Darling a bitch herself she still took part in “screwing with the rankings”. She also threw around the name of Leigh Fallon, infamous for her screwball nature as well.
  • Recognized as a “minion” and part of the “GR Bullies” pack. Apparently a coward and extremely negative (though that remains to be seen, IMO).
  • I did not find anything to support the claims made by STGRB, especially after they threatened her and had people locate her physically and by phone. This woman was harassed and exploited by the so-called heroes of GR. If that is what a hero is I’d rather gut myself and be eaten by a hundred starving pigeons.

8. Ridley:

  • Accused by a GR community manager and others of reviewing author Cassandra Duffy, rather than the book itself. I am not sure if this is true since it has been deleted. Not that it matters to Cassandra though, she’s rolling in dough:
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  • Spat this out in a rage when his review of the author, rather than book was hidden from the book’s page: ” This author is a piece of shit who doesn’t respect the ground that we reviewers walk on. She had the fucking temerity to express an opinion that we don’t FUCKING agree with, and I really really regret that I could only get 200 of my closest GR buddies to shelve her book as a bratty-author-to-avoid because, like fucking 1200 would have been much better. But I did get a lot of them to blog about her and Twitter about how shitty she is and just let everyone they know that you should avoid this author at all costs because I think she’s a shitty meanie. [lather rinse repeat several times] Oh, and I hated the heroine’s first name.”

    I think the above just goes to show that some reviewers make other reviewers look bad too. And I don’t mean the part about the author not respecting reviewers, because that is actually true. It’s the part where she says she regrets not influencing her friends’ choice to read the book. I mean, sometimes I do that too, but I’d never stop a friend from reading what they want to. In fact, if I hate a book I usually want to know whether my friend hates it too (sometimes they do not and I feel like I need to show them the light).
  • Attacking James Austen via Twitter. Pretty sure she be trolling, dudes. And it’s kinda hilarious.

9. The Holy Terror:
She does fairly decent reviews, I think all the drama revolves around the fact that she lives up to her chosen name.

  • Accused of attacking James Austen for fun, with the help of Ridley. I saw plenty of out-of-context posts, so I feel uncomfortable posting them up here without more information, especially because they don’t actually appear to be bullying anyone. They appear really horrid out of context, but it just looks like your basic trolling and encouraging authors to behave badly so they can catch them at it. Internet trolling is something I feel authors should be taught about and guard themselves against by ignoring rather than calling some random reviewer a “retard”, which is misplaced (since he mixed Kat Kennedy up with The Holy Terror and Ridley) and politically incorrect. 
  • I have nothing else on The Holy Terror because her reviews are fine by all standards and it seems to be the comments after that get her in trouble with the StGRB crowd. Or something like this:
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    They are talking about sex scenes in a book and I don’t see anything wrong with that, so I’m not sure why this was screen-capped, in fact. 

10. Wendy Darling:
I actually find this the most absurd accusation of “GR Bullying”. I do not agree with Wendy on some books/reviews, but I absolutely enjoy every last word of them. She’s eloquent and puts down books in the nicest way. Seriously.

So what if she didn’t read all of The Selection? She clearly stated she hadn’t and her review was based on x number of pages she read.

  • Many of Wendy’s friends accused Kiera Cass of calling her a bitch, when it was really her agent. The fact of the matter is Wendy did not ask her followers and friends to attack Cass, just like Cass did not ask her fans to attack Wendy. 
  • Melissa Douthit is the worst of bullies, in this case. In fact, she used whatever pathetic stalker resources she had and got the dish on Wendy, revealing her identity to the public. The information may have been taken down, but the damage has been done. This hard-to-believe-she’s-human woman should be sued. Wendy is predatory? Please, this is absolutely unacceptable:
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  • After all this craziness, I’m quite proud Wendy is still reviewing on GR. She is not letting the bullies get to her (as much as before), like some authors let reviewers get to them.
11. Amber:
  • Recently added to STGRB due to her unacceptable (STGRB standards, of course) resistance to the updated review guidelines (which were enforced before actually being made clear) and whether they will be featured on the first part of the book’s page.
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  • These seem like legit concerns to me and Amber deciding not to trust Goodreads is her own prerogative (I too support open and honest platforms with little censorship). I don’t get why STGRB have to get their panties in a twist if she decides she doesn’t want to use Goodreads anymore or if she opposes the mods’ reasoning.
I would just like to remind readers that I am biased as I enjoy most of these reviewers. I do not always agree with them, which is important to me as I feel less influenced by their opinion. It is also important to remember that even if you think a reviewer is bullying you it is not okay to bully back. Just report them and if your claim is legitimate you should be in the all clear.
I am really excited to go through the authors that have behaved badly. I will likely review these claims at a later date. This blogger made a great point that seems to wrap all this up nicely “if criticism is bullying then all writers choose to be victims”.

Here are some great blogposts that people should read about handling bad reviews.

Bad Reviews, I Can Handle Them and So Should You

Bad Reviews and Goodreads

Bullying and Goodreads

Stop the STGRB Bullies (awesome name too: STSTGRBB :’D)

#accusations    #books    #bullies    #cass    #claims    #controversy    #cuddlebuggery    #cyberbully    #darling    #defamation    #false    #follies    #goodreads    #holy    #hypocrisy    #kat    #kennedy    #kiera    #lucy    #peter pan    #reader    #reading    #ridley    #selection    #stgrb    #stop    #terror    #the    #things    #wendy