Category Archives: Amber’s Rambles

What I Want To See More Of In YA

I’m getting back into the swinging of blogging again, so I thought I’d do an easier post. This will be in my Amber’s Rambles feature! For the first time in forever.

I love how wide the Young Adult genre there is, there’s contemporary, historical, fantasy, science fiction, romance, etc. Sometimes though, I wish there were more widespread aspects. Therefore, here are some things I would love to see more of in Young Adult Fiction.

~Social Class~

I want to see more lower income characters and I want to see how that affects their life. I’ve been in some interesting positions where at times, I was at a higher social class than my peers. Though during this time, I had no idea we were “high” lower class because I thought we were middle class. Imagine that for a second. Then there have been times when my family was at a lower economic class than some of my peers, but still have money for things such as books, albums, etc.

Money is an interesting thing. It’s even more interesting to see how it does or doesn’t affect people. In a lot of Young Adult books, I’ve noticed that at least one character lives in a wealthy area, this character is generally pretty popular, but generally doesn’t have the happiest home life. Money doesn’t buy happiness, of course.

I’d love to see how money can affect a teen’s day to day life. How they interact with friends, if they can go on field trips, if they buy that CD that all their friends are listening to, how often do they go out, do they go out, are their friends knowledgeable about the MC’s financial condition? (Replace Condition).

Or even, did they eat this week? Do they have their electricity on? What do they have to go without? Do they buy new clothes for school every year or do they generally wear the same thing every week?

I want to see all of this.

A great book that dealt with a lower income class was I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios and it was so lovely. It was the first time I actually saw a book that dealt with a family in a non-middle or high class setting regularly in the book. Another book I read was Eleanor and Park which was the actual first book to see poverty in but it didn’t go as deep into as I wish it had.

Backlist:

Eleanor and Park I'll Meet You There More Happy Than Not

Frontlist:

The_Possibility_Of_Somewhere This Is The Part Wher You Laugh

~Racial Diversity~

This is really picking up in YA the last couple of years, but it’s mostly in fantasy. For some strange reason. And deals with retellings. I’d love to see more racial and ethnic diversity in a Contemporary novel.

Specifically, I would love to see more multi-racial main characters. I’m half white, 1/4th Native American (Potawatomi Prairie Band Nation, to be exact) and 1/4th Puerto-Rican. As someone who is mixed, I hardly ever see that portrayed in fiction. Characters are generally only one race or biracial, but never mixed races. I think it opens up a lot of stories for identity and how others see you. It can have a big affect on how you view the world too. (Neither example is mult-racial).

Backlist:

Pointe Written In The Stars

~College Setting YA~

And I don’t mean what New Adult is right now, which is all about sex and relationships.

There’s a ton of fantasy in YA and that is what a lot of people read because they seek that adventure, excitement and the way it just takes them out of the world. Well, for some people, like me, college is their fantasy, it is their escape. Usually though, there’s only the Senior year of high school or the summer before college covered.

Frontlist: 

Wrecked Summer_Skin We_Are_Still_Tornadoes All_The_Feels 

Backlist:

Fangirl

~Religion~

I’m a Christian and as a Christian, I would love to read a novel that had a Christian as a main character. A main character where Christ actually ruled their life and who they were. If this were a “mainstream” book, that would be nice too. As in it has an author that doesn’t write categorical, genre “Christian Fiction”.

I’m into reading about other religions too, so I’d like to read books with characters that follow Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc. I think it’s interesting to see how your beliefs affect your actions or how you deal with things.

I’d love to see a character discovering their religion or what their belief system too since I think that’s incredibly rare in Young Adult, from what I’ve read.

~Intersectionality~

I’d love to see the intersectionality of various marginalization. For instance, a character of a marginalized race who also has a disability. A character with a disability who lives in a lower income area. A story about a Muslim who isn’t CISHet and how that would impact them. I would like to see this in fantasy as well.

Frontlist:

When The Moon Was Ours

Backlist:

More Happy Than Not ShadowshaperWhen Reason Breaks Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe On_The_Edge_of_Gone Not_Otherwise_Specified Tell_Me_Again_How_A_Crush_Should_Feel If_You_Could_Be_Mine Fans of The Impossible Life

~Sports~

I would love to see more girls in sports, specifically “solo” sports like snow boarding or drag racing.

As well as gymnastics, ballet, dance, ice skating, track, cheerleading, tennis, surfing, swimming. . .

Frontlist:

Tumbling Defending_Taylor Shiny_Broken_Pieces

Backlist:

Tiny Pretty Things Just Like The Movies This Is Where It Ends The Girl Who Fell

~Daydreaming~

I daydreamed a ton in school, especially middle school. That is all I ever did at lunch. I never find any real daydreamers in YA at all. It makes me sad.

~Female and Platonic Friendships~

I would like some that don’t deal with trios (such as The Night We Said Yes and Emmy and Oliver) with one of the characters not being gay. Because guys and girls can really just be friends.

I’m always up for more friendship heavy books with girls as well.

Frontlist:

This_Adventure_Ends Going Geek Run_Kody_Keplinger

Backlist: 

Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants Pretty_Little_Liars Just Like The Movies Roomies Emmy and Oliver

~Family Driven Fiction~

Something in the vein of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Next To Normal and Our Town in particular.

Dark, dysfunctional and a bit sad.

I like twisted family backgrounds and home lives that aren’t exactly the greatest.

Oh, I would also love something like the child/parent relationships in Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars!

Frontlist:

Ripple Cuckoo Still_Life_With_Tornado A_List_Of_Cages All_In_Pieces 

Backlist

I'll Meet You There


So, what are some the things you would like to see in YA? Do you know any books that deal with these topics that I didn’t mention?

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The Piracy of eARCs

Hi everyone! Welcome back to Amber’s Rambles, my feature where I discuss bookish topics.

Last week I discussed a lot about justifications on buying and selling ARCs. For the majority of the post, I was for the buying and selling of ARCs. I said then that I would be bringing up a more important issue, in my opinion.

The More Important Issue?

The_Piracy_of_eARCs

Now that I’ve said what I have to say about buying and selling ARCs, it’s time to switch the focus over a bit.

Every few weeks I see authors talk about how google results show unpublished electronic ARCs of their books up on pirating sites or sites that have their books.

I think this is a more important topic because piracy is becoming more and more common. It started with music in the early 2000s, expanded to movies, games, software, ebooks  and is now hitting eARCs. I suppose it was only a matter a time before eARCs came along, but I had hoped it wouldn’t.

This is an issue for a few reasons:

Distribution:

eARCs are only distributed to bloggers, librarians or booksellers, so when an eARC shows up on a piracy site, it is someone from the community that has done this. eARCs are widespread, once it is out there, it is out there. There’s no way of recovering it, no matter how many times you may report the link (if possible) or find it deleted.

Lost Sales:

This DOES cause lost sales. Unlike someone who may buy an ARC of a book along with a finished copy, a person who downloads an eARC seems unlikely to buy a physical copy if they can just download it. Once you purchase an ARC, it’s a one time purchase, once an eARC has been uploaded online though, there’s little to be done with it.

These lost sales can be really important, especially for under-the-radar authors that aren’t being boosted by bloggers, booksellers, etc. An unknown debut author could suffer from a lack of sales and end up being dropped from their publishing house.

Viruses:

You could also call this one “karma”. 😉 This is more on the pirate’s side than the authors. If they go to download an eARC from a website, a lot of times there are viruses and no actual book. This is horrible. One could say they deserve it, but I think there are different reasons people may pirate books, that I won’t get into right now.

I think a lot of peole have this “now” mentality, when something is out or even before it’s out (ALA, leaked albums), people are in the hurry to get it right. that. second. They don’t want to wait and who can blame them? I was never  patient person, so I can relate. However, distributing eARCs is so wrong because they were given to you by publishers who decided you were a good person to have them, with the faith that you would use them as they were intended and not leak the eARCs online where many can download them.

~Overall~

I think piracy is a bigger issue because of how widespread it’s impact is. It can directly link to lost sales, which causes authors to not be successful in addition to the publishing houses. It disrespects the authors and publishers by releasing an ARC they were given access to before it was published.


What do you think of piracy of eARCs? Have you thought about it? Have you seen authors discussing it on Twitter?


Buying & Selling ARCs: Is It Ever Justifiable?

 

Official graphic

Why do you always say what you believe?

Every proclamation guarantees

free ammunition for your enemies.

(Non-Stop, Hamilton)

 

Hi book blogosphere!

 

It’s a rare moment, I’m going to be doing my Amber’s Rambles feature which I have not done in forever. I have a plan for changing that later this month. If you don’t know what Amber Rambles is, it’s basically my discussion feature where I discuss bookish things and such.

 

~Introduction~

Anyway though, that’s not what I’m posting about. I’m going to be discussing a topic that has been making the rounds. Again. This happens fairly often in the book community. The topic at hand are ARCs. Buying and selling them, to be exact. This will be a two part post. In the first part I’ll discuss buying and selling ARCs and in the second part, I’ll talk about a possible bigger issue.

 

I’m sure we all know what ARCs are by now, but if you do not, they mean Advance Reader Copy.

 

There are several ways of getting ARCs. A somewhat common way, if you’re a blogger, is getting them through various publishers. This can involve requesting a book and then it being granted to you, being sent unsolicited copies, if you’re so lucky, blessed or full of contacts. 😉

 

Lately there have been several tweets and blog posts about the buying and selling of ARCs. I am going to go ahead and say right now that you probably won’t agree with me and that is fine. I’m used to being the black sheep and I have no problems with it at all. All my opinions will probably be very taboo in which case, well, I warned you. Hate the sin, love the sinner.

 

In this discussion, I will bring up various instances where I think buying or selling ARCs is okay. In addition, in a second discussion post that will be happening next week, I’ll bring up what I believe to be an even more important issue at hand.

 

So you call me amoral,

a dangerous disgrace…

(Your Obedient Servant, Hamilton)

~Let Me Lay Out Some Basics~

  • Yes, ARCs do cost money to make. Yes, ARCs do cost more to make than finished copies because they give nothing (monetarily wise) back to the publisher.
  • The primary focus is to build up anticipation for the book and work as publicity.

 

~The Age of ARCs~

Okay, so, a lot of people see ARCs being sold on Ebay and their immediate thoughts are “Oh my gosh, that’s ILLEGAL, EVERYONE REPORT THEM”, then they take screenshots and run to Twitter. This is a completely valid response. If the ARC is recently released or even UNRELEASED, I definitely think the posting should be removed.

 

On the other hand, let’s say it’s like a…Catching Fire ARC, a book that’s been out for about seven years now and is part of a very popular series.

 

Do I think that’s wrong? No, not really.

 

Why?

 

Because it’s a highly anticipated ARC, it’s from a beloved series and whoever would buy the ARC has probably bought at least one full set of The Hunger Games (yes, all three books), if not MULTIPLE sets. Don’t look or act surprised.

 

Now, let’s say the book is Harry Potter instead.

 

Yes, the first Harry Potter book. The ARC all the way from the 90s, let’s say someone has that up on another third party site like Abebooks. Would you be so quick now to say “Hey! They shouldn’t buy that ARC! ARCs are for PUBLICITY”?

 

Well I would hope not, the book’s been out for almost twenty years, the publicity is over. The most intense Harry Potter fans have several sets of Harry Potter. Do I think it’s horrible if one would want to buy an ARC?

 

No, no I don’t. Heck, I haven’t even read the series and I’d buy an ARC of Harry Potter if I had that kind of money. According to Ebay.com, they’re going for around a few hundred.

 

There comes a time when an ARC goes from being a marketing tool to being a piece of memorabilia and collectible. Whether a book sales a lot or it becomes a movie, I think ARCs do eventually go from being something made for publicity to something more.

 

~Not For Sale~

So we all know that on ARCs it says “Not For Sale”. Guess what? I don’t believe that is talking about random people selling ARCs to each other.

 

Granted, I don’t think it’s right for someone to sell an unreleased ARC of The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski, seeing as it is not published.

 

I am about 99% sure that is a legality sign for physical stores such as Barnes and Noble, Target or Walmart to not sale an ARC.

 

One of these reasons is because it’s not yet published and the other reason being that it’s not exactly a final copy. Why would a bookstore sell an uncorrected copy with mistakes?

 

I don’t believe that, unless the book has NOT been released yet, it’s talking about third parties.

 

-My Analogy-

I came up with an analogy for this earlier when I was discussing this very subject with some friends.

 

My analogy was this, you know how you go to Walmart and some edible products, let’s say, crackers, and they’ll be sold in a bundle and say “Not for individual sale”?

 

Okay, so let’s say you go ahead and buy all the crackers from the store, but then, you turn around and sell them for individual sale.

 

Now, the crackers clearly state that they’re NOT for individual sale, however, you, as the owner of the crackers may do whatever you wish with them. So you decide to sell them. You gave the crackers purpose, you bought those crackers at their value, you didn’t steal them and now you’re selling them. And that’s perfectly within your right to do so.

 

While I know this isn’t a flawless analogy by any means, it does make things a little clearer, no? Yes, with the crackers you are buying them, but still, what if they were given to you and you sold them? Would that be bad?

 

It’s the same with ARCs, you read an ARC, you really like it (Or you don’t), you put a review on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, whatever media of choice and then you decide to sell it. Now, it’s an already published book. Your ARC has served it’s purpose, it doesn’t have to go around and around for the rest of it’s existence having it’s sole purpose be for “publicity”.

 

Let’s say you already read an already published ARC and you have reviewed it so you in turn decide to sell it on Abebooks. It gets bought by someone who’s a fan of the book, they in turn write a review for it, thus, spreading the word and publicity for the book. Was their purchasing the ARC all bad? No, they helped get the word out. The situation does get messier when this is done with an unpublished book, which I do condemn.

 

~The Legality of It~

There is no legal action that can be taken against anyone who buys or sells an ARC. There is also no indication of any legal binding of contract between whoever first receives an ARC and what they do with it.  Publishers don’t do anything to guard against ARCs being sold before or after publication. There’s no legal agreement or contract between the publisher and reviewer either.

 

It’s not illegal. It’s just not. There are no legalistic consequences for selling or buying ARCs. You won’t be fined and you won’t be placed in jail. At the worst, you’ll be blacklisted from publishers and probably publicly shamed in the book blogosphere.

 

Is it crappy to sale an unpublished book? Yes, it is. DO I have problems with that? For sure. But do I have problems with a 2 year old, 5 year old, or 20 year old published ARC being sold? No. Not at all.

 

~The Moral Ethics~

Let’s be honest, it’s more of a moral issue than a legal issue.

 

As bloggers, librarians and booksellers, it’s especially frowned upon to sale ARCs. A book lover like us shouldn’t be participating in such acts, right? I don’t know if I really agree with the ethics, sure, like I’ve previously said, I have problems with people selling unreleased ARCs, but I don’t if it’s an already published book.

 

Of course, if you have requested a book from a publisher or they send you an unsolicited ARC, should you automatically have the right to sell it? Most likely not.

If you have a relationship with this publisher, it’s an even bigger offense to sell an ARC that they gave you with the belief that you would do right by them and NOT sale it.

 

However, if you decided to sell it after its publication date or many years down the road, that’s a different story then. If you have reservations about this though, then you most likely shouldn’t sell an ARC.

I think it comes down to your intent on selling an ARC. Are you offering it up for charity? If so, then I think that’s great. I’ve seen bloggers sell ARCs or donate ARCs for a cause which people spend money on. If your intent on selling an ARC is just for what you can get out of it (a ridiculous amount of money) then that’s a bit more less ethical.

If you’re going to a conference such as ALA and BEA and grab a bunch of books that you’re not going to read and only want to sell them, then I have a big problem with that.

As for buying, it’d be great if the only people that bought ARCs were the people that would purchase a finished copy or a collector of the ARC. I know that’s definitely not the case though. A lot of people would rather just read a book months in advance and they’ll pay big money to do so.

 

~Things To Consider~

I decided to make a few bullet points of things you may like to consider.

-Promo CDs Example-

In 2011 there was a court decision on whether or not the selling of promo cds in record stores was breaking a copyright law or not. The court had ruled that it was legal and no consequences would be done. People who buy promo cds would most likely be buying them for collections, much like those who would buy an ARC by a beloved author. I know that ARCs are different from promo CDs, but both of these objects are created for promotional purposes. Of course, when the CD comes out and the book is published, neither is relevant much more.

 

Selling promo CDs are protected based on the “First Sale Doctrine”, this doctrine says that if you legally acquired a CD, you’re able to do as you please with it. I think the same can and should go for ARCs. If a publisher sends you an ARC or someone else sends you an ARC, I believe it’s yours to do as you wish with it. Whether that’s reading it, reviewing it, selling it, using it for firewood, trashing it. . .

 

-Secondhand Buys-

There are a lot of secondhand type stores, from thrift stores to Good Wills to used bookstores and stores that sell used CDs or DVDs such as Vintage Stock, it’s not uncommon to see things be sold once they’ve served someone a purpose.

 

I don’t see a big problem in someone purchasing an ARC from a thrift store. Let’s say you ran into The Mortal Instruments in a thrift store, there’s a good chance you would buy those ARCs, even if just to stop someone else from buying them.

 

The money from secondhand buys doesn’t go to the artist, record label, author or publisher from a secondhand buy, but they’re not looked down on. I know this isn’t a perfect example given the fact that with ARCs they aren’t intended to be sold in the first place.

 

~Potential Future Exposure~

While researching for this topic, I came across an interesting blog post by author, Scott Sigler who discussed the selling of his own ARCs.

 

I think ARCS being sold secondhand could bring future exposure.  If you were to come across an ARC in a bookstore, it could bring more exposure a year later, after the book has been published and ARC reviews have settled down than the ARC originally did.

 

-The Ownership-

If you refer back to my legality point, I mentioned that publishers don’t have a binding contract to make sure a blogger, librarian or bookseller doesn’t sell their ARC.

 

However, much like a book’s takeaway for a reader, the author of the book loses the right to tell the reader what they think about the book is wrong. The author doesn’t have the license to tell their readers how to interpret their book. Similarly, when a publisher or author sends someone an ARC, they lose ownership of it and give away their right to control what the receiver may do with the ARC.

 

Once an ARC is given away to someone, the publishers lose rights on what anyone does with that ARC, as long as it’s not selling it in a first party store.

 

A friend came up with these next two analogies which I loved and had to use. I acknowledge that in both of these cases, you may know very potentially crappy people.

It’s like if you made a painting for a birthday present and you give it to someone, you can’t make sure that person never gives away or sells that painting. Of course, you give that painting to a person trusting that they wouldn’t betray you in that way.

 

Another analogy is if someone were to send you a gift in the mail, let’s say it’s a blender. A year later, you’re tired of this blender, you haven’t used it or it just sucks, so you decide to sell it somewhere. At a yard sale for instance or on Craigslist. You sell it and make a profit even though you didn’t buy it to begin with. You legally acquired this blender and it’s your legal right to sell it.

 

~Non-Mutually Exclusive~

A lot of people in the book blogosphere and the publishing company make people out who buy or sell ARCs to be completely horrible people with no moral compass at all. I don’t think that’s true for one second.

 

People will say “Oh, well the publisher paid for that book to be made” and “Oh, well they took out of the author’s pocket”, the publisher part is true, the author part is not.

 

Revert back to my last point. If Person A has read and reviewed the book and sells it to Person B who also reads and reviews the book, then the book has served its purpose. Let’s please not act like ARCs are these everlasting publicity tools. They’re not. Look at the Harry Potter ARCs. After it was 2000, that ARC for publicity was over. By the time the series was finished, it was collector’s item.

 

So, the difference between ARC buyers and finished copy buyers?…

 

The two buyers are not mutually exclusive. If someone bought an ARC, it doesn’t mean they would never ever buy a finished copy and “Omg, the author lost out on the sale!”. No. That’s not the case and it’s most certainly not the rule in these matters. We need to stop acting like people who buy ARCs are intentionally trying to cheat the authors out of money. Most likely they’re buying finished copies and want the ARCs for their collections. Of course, for the majority of people, that would still be seen as bad. Personally, I think it’s fine.

 

~Instances Where I Think Buying ARCs Is Okay~

  1. When you’ve already read the book and bought a finished copy.
  2. When you want to collect all the books of an author’s work.
  3. If you’re an ARC collector in general
  4. If you ran into it in a thrift store.
  5. If you read the book and you’re a big fan of it, by all means, go on Abebooks and buy it if you want.
  6. I think it’s okay if you’re selling the ARCs for charity or buying them for charity. I’ve seen this done with authors and bloggers before.

 

~Alternatives To Buying/Selling ARCs~

Of course, if you’d rather not buy or sell ARCs, but still would like to obtain them or give them away, you can…

  • Borrow from a friend
  • Donate to a librarian who will read it and decide whether or not to buy an ARC or use it for another purpose.
  • If you would like to donate ARCs, there is an awesome program called ARCs Float On which lets you know what teachers/schools will accept ARCs for their libraries, then you decide how to do the shipping/drop-off.

 

~Conclusion~

Hey, I have not been shy

I am just a guy in the public eye

(Your Obedient Servant, Hamilton)

 

So, to conclude my post, I am okay with people buying or selling ARCs. There are conditions when I find doing so is wrong, but there more times when I think doing so is okay and even encouraged, in the case of charity. Next week come back to see what I think is a bigger issue, in my opinion. What are your thoughts on buying or selling ARCs?

 

~Sources and Other Things of Interest~

On ARCs, Ethics and Speaking Up

The Fine Line: From Marketing To Memorabilia 

‘For Promotional Use Only – Not For Resale’ — Oh Yes It Is 

Music Collectors Can Rejoice: Promo CDs Are Legal To Sale

Fool For Proofs: The Advance Reading Copy Trade 

The Turds In The Publishing Punch Bowl 


I Read The Fault In Our Stars In A Strip Club

Late in the winter of my twenty-first year, I decided a strip club was the perfect place to read The Fault In Our Stars, a book that would be heartbreaking, but poor naive me had no idea. In reality, a comfortable bed surrounded by ice cream to help the inevitable pain with a cat to snuggle with, would be the perfect place to read such a book. I’d love that as much as everyone. That’s just not the truth. This is the truth. Poor, naive Amber.
Sorry.
Yes, you read the above correct. No, I am not joking. Yes, I’m aware of how that has to be the WEIRDEST place to ever read that book. Well, I guess I didn’t JUST read it in the strip club, but I definitely read the majority there actually I think I did!
Okay, so let me explain how this all happened exactly. A few years ago, it was 2012 because that’s the year TFIOS came out, I had a cousin that worked in said strip club. Every once in a while (except more so), she’d drag me out there with her and like the amazing cousin I am, I went. If only I could smack myself and say “No, don’t do it!”.
Before you all freak out, let me tell you, I stayed in the bar area the entire time.
You: “So Amber, you didn’t just read TFIOS in a strip club, but you read it at a bar area INSIDE a strip club”,
Me: Why yes, my dear, understanding, non judgmental reader, I did. I needed something to do guys, it was like, read or just sit there and I’d already did that too many times. Way. Too. Many. Times. *cue smacking*
You: “But wait! Because that book is such a heartbreaker, you were in the perfect place to drown your sorrows, right?!”
Me: Wrong, dear reader, I did not drink as I read. One, I didn’t know it was going to be sad, two, because it was expensive and three I was most likely lacking cash anyway.
So after the millionth time at the club, I decided I needed something to DO there, because you know, it’s a strip club! What in the world would I have done there? Oh, sit there, that’s right. 🙂 I guess there’s always the obvious answer, but that’s certainly not my thing. 😉
I’d gone to Barnes and Noble a week or two before this particular time. I can’t remember when exactly I had heard of The Fault In Our Stars, as I (unfortunately) didn’t join the bookish community. I just remember seeing this book, possibly vaguely hearing about it on a site called Mibba and the New York Times best seller sticker (and the fact it was autographed) attracted me to it! I didn’t have money for it then, but I would a few days later. So I did what any normal person would do, I hid the autographed copy behind the others and came back a couple days later and bought it.
As for the club….the lighting was dim, seriously dim. Back then, I didn’t have my precious  Kindle Paperwhite with a built-in light(<3), so I was forced to make words out with terrible lighting! It’s okay though guys, the nice bartender turned the light towards me so I could read it! Thanks nice bartender.
As I read TFIOS, I listened to Sara Bareilles amazing album, Little Voice while doing so. It was amazing. If I’ve ever talked to you about TFIOS, I may have mentioned how I totally was NOT feeling it. I didn’t care for Hazel or Gus or the way they were talking. Slowly though, they won me over. Completely.
Halfway through the book, the album, Little Voice, had long ended by then and I was stuck on the last song, “Gravity”. By this time, Hazel and Gus were going on a certain trip and it just seemed perfect to have the song on repeat during it all. I ended up never turning the repeat button off and just listened to “Gravity” for the remainder of the book. It is for this reason that I will forever associate The Fault In Our Stars with “Gravity” because the song is perfect and it fits and come on, you get it right?
Stars, universe, GRAVITY. You have to get it. Please get it. Also, go listen to “Gravity” and tell me that song doesn’t make you think of The Fault In Our Stars, it can’t just be me.
Anyway, then the ending happened and like Hazel, I couldn’t believe it was already the end! WHERE WAS THE OTHER PAGE? IT COULDN’T END LIKE THAT, COULD IT? I flipped back and forth over the last few pages, sure (or at least HOPING), that I had to be missing something. But no, I was not missing a thing. It had ended and “Gravity” was still in my ears and I wanted to throw the book and cry. I may have cried. Just a little! 
I believe I told my cousin “This book was so sad”. If I didn’t, I was definitely thinking it.
I know, it sounds insane. Hopefully. 🙂 That’s my story of reading The Fault In Our Stars, it was definitely memorable. I believe we have a choice in where we read our books. May it be a strip club, a park, a coffee shop or our rooms. I’m quite satisfied with my choice, readers. I hope you are too.
Our favorite books (or even our not so favorite books) all have stories behind them, right? We can generally remember where we read them at and the impact they had on us. Unless that’s just me and I’m weird. 😉  Surely that’s not the case though.
Would anyone be interested in a new feature that has guest posters share the stories behind the weirdest places they’ve ever read a book? And as a teaser, let me know the strangest place you read a book at, without the story though! If you’re interested in this, you can comment below, tweet me, or fill out the contact form! If a lot of people are interested, I’ll send out an email to those interested with information. 🙂
This post is the seventeenth edition of Amber’s Rambles.

All The Songs I Associate With Books

Amber’s Rambles is a feature where I talk about different topics relating to books and blogging.
Good evening everyone! I hope your evening (or day, depending on where you are) is going great!
You have probably noticed that I love music between my sporadically posted Musical Monday posts to my Monthly Recaps and Looking Forward To: posts that contain a ton of music. For tonight’s post I am going to be discussing something that I’ve wanted to from the very beginning, but never got the chance to. 
You may have heard that Leila Sales book “This Song Will Save Your Life” hit bookshelves in paperback format. While I haven’t read this book, I know it is extremely music heavy, so obviously, I’m just crazy about the idea. So in honor of This Song Will Save Your Life, I figured tonight would be the perfect time to do this post.
I am going to be discussing….songs that I associate with books. I have done three full length playlists for books (All The Bright Places, The DUFF, and I’ll Meet You There). However, sometimes there are books that I can’t actually create entire playlists for or I think of songs that completely fit a book or situation perfectly.  This post is dedicated to all those songs.
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars

Gravity by Sara Bareilles
Illusionary Light by Sarah Blasko
Ah, Gravity. The song that set everything off. Story time! When I first read The Fault In Our Stars, I read it to the album of “Little Voice” by Sara Bareilles. Halfway through the book, I had already finished the album and started just repeating “Gravity”. This is just a song that, I don’t know, when I think of it, I think of TFIOS. It just fits it so perfectly for me.
Illusionary Light is another song that I feel like it could have just been MADE for The Fault In Our Stars. Even though it was not. Haha. If you only listen to two songs from my post, make it those two! Also, I’m just really really really hoping someone feels so strongly about the two as I do regarding TFIOS.
 
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park

All of Me by John Legend
Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House
Rude by MAGIC!
Story of My Life by One Direction
I’m sure I know more songs than that, but for now, these are the only ones that stick out. I’ll now go through them a little.  Don’t Dream It’s Over was an immediate song that came to mind with Eleanor and Park. It definitely fits the ending and I just get kind of sad but hopeful when I hear it.
Eleanor’s kind of a standoffish character who can be unlikeable at times, so I thought of Rude. 🙂 Even though I totally didn’t know all of the lyrics at the time. Story of My Life is just a really youthful song that really fit Eleanor and Park for me. As for All of Me, well I loved how Park accepted Eleanor despite how she looked or what she thought of herself.
 
How to Win At High School by Owen Matthews

How To Win At High School

Loser by Beck
 Lonely At The Top by Randy Newman
It’s Money That I Love by Randy Newman
Complicated by Avril Lavigne
In the beginning, there is a ton of talk about the main character, Adam being a loser. After I finished HTWAHS, it came to mind. Then it gets to extremes with It’s Lonely At The Top and Adam’s no longer a loser, but due to his actions and behavior, he is very much alone. It’s Money That I Love fits his situation perfectly when he gets so money crazed. Finally, I chose “Complicated” because Adam ends up complicating EVERYTHING. 
Finally, although I already made a playlist for All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, these three songs made me think of the book after I’d already finished it:
Hold On by Tyrone Wells
A Beautiful Place To Be by Tyrone Wells
Make It Through by Tyrone Wells
Well this was fun! Let me know what songs remind you of certain books, characters or scenes. I would LOVE to hear them all. ❤

Cleaning Out The Feed(Reader)

Amber’s Rambles is a semi-regular feature at YA Indulgences where I talk about various topics involving books, blogging and the book blogging blogosphere.
Tonight I am going to be talking about Blog Feeds. I use BlogLovin’ while I know others use Feedly. I love BlogLovin’, it keeps all the blogs in on place, I can organize them, I can create collection and it marks a blog “Read” for me after I click on it. I can also save posts, which I love. So it’s basically a win for me. . .
Mostly.
I don’t know about you guys, but when I started book blogging in July, I followed anybody and everybody. What I mostly started following though were big blogs and a lot of my following incentives was “If I follow them, I get an extra entry for this giveaway”. 
Yes, I was that person. 
It didn’t really matter if I had never before seen the blog in my life. It didn’t matter if they were posting NA, which I’ve never read. I followed them no matter what.
On the other hand, I didn’t just follow blogs with giveaways or “big” blogs.
If I saw a post I liked, I would follow that blog without really examining it at all. 
And then I started following music blogs, fashion blogs, photography blogs, art blogs, random lifestyle blogs. You can imagine how chaotic my feed is when I don’t “filter” it in the different folders I currently have.
Of course, this caused a few problems to occur.
Number One:
I don’t know who I like!
The book blogosphere has gotten massive, if I do say so myself. This makes it a bit hard to keep up with the blogs I like. For example, that saving post plus I mentioned above? Yeah, if I think about a past post I liked, I won’t know who it came from. This causes me to not be sure who I like.
This is causing me to go through every. single. blog. on my feed and put them into different categories, which I’ll get into later.
Long point, short: I DON’T KNOW WHO I LIKE ANYMORE. I’ve followed so many blogs I can’t remember why I followed them, which brings me to….
Number Two:
I’m sorry, who are you again?
I can’t remember who people are, chances are if I’ve talked to you on Twitter, I’m now following your blog (or will be, perhaps). This leads to me kind of forgetting who people are and again, me not knowing what blogs I like.
Number Three:
Loss of Comment Love
The bloggers/blogs I do love don’t always get commented on! 😦
When I’m checking my blogs, I generally just go in alphabetical order, so if you’re in the Y’s (like me, I really should have thought this whole blog title through), chances are I won’t ever get to you unless I make it a point to….
check blogs in reverse alphabetical order! Which I have done before. 
The bloggers and blogs I love have a mix of names with their titles expanding from As to Is to Ls to Ts to Ys.
I can only check so many blogs in a day. 😦 So I don’t always check my favorites out.
Number Four:
I avoid my feed. 
Seriously guys, there are just so many blogs on it and I get too intimidated to even try to comment on any. 😦 I almost created a “FAVORITE favorites folder….
Number Five:
I get to organize!
I now have to go through my feed and unfollow and categorize blogs. I don’t want to, hahaha….
Now this brings me to my point of this post. Over the past couple months, I’ve worked on getting my Feed cleaned out because it is a GIANT mess. If you don’t know, I am participating in Bloggiesta and one of my goals for the weeks was to participate in a mini challenge. I seriously thought about blowing this one off because this specific one is….
Andi from Estella’s Revenge has some ideas on how to Organize your Feed Reader.
Of course, I was only going to blow it off because….why do something this week that I can procrastinate and do some time in the distant future? Ha. It’s like this post was meant just for me. Andi’s post has motivated me to organize my feed reader, which obviously, you guys know I SERIOUSLY need to do.
Andi gave the great tip of organizing the blogs into different folder based on when you can read them. For example, folders for everyday reads, weekday ones,  weekends and a folder for blogs we think we want to follow forever. Or for the long haul. 🙂
I thought I would discuss how I am going to organize my feed reader into different folders. 
Right now, I have the basic folders of:
Book Blogs (Any blogs not in my favorite blogs folder)
  • Fashion Blogs
  • Favorite Book Blogs
  • Music Blogs
  • Random (Yep, this is where all those lifestyle, random article blogs are, as well as whatever I followed without giving too much thought…)
I have added these new folders so far:
  • Possibly Unfollow
  • Weekends (Blogs I’m not sure if I’m interested in)
When I get done with this, I want to only have these folders (for book blogging):
  1. Everyday Faves (My favorite blogs)
  2. Weekend Wonders (Blogs I’m not sure about following)
  3. New To Me (New blogs I’ve discovered and aren’t sure about following)
  4. Possibilities  (Possible blogs to unfollow due to different genres or loss of interest)
Looky, look, see, four nice blogging folders. Four of them. Don’t they look all organized? Yeah, I haven’t gotten that far yet, ha.
Yes, I do have a specific folders for blogs I will unfollow, my feed is that out of control….
This is definitely going to take a bit of time to do, at the moment I am currently following…
BlogLovin

Oh, look at that!

751 blogs. Oh! Progress! I thought it was like 981, I have been unfollowing some blogs though 😦 as I’ve been cleaning out my feed.
So, this was such a fun post to do. Let me know what feedreader or system (bookmarks, lists, etc.) you use and how you keep your “reading of the blogs” in control.
And repeat with me: I will NOT follow all the blogs. I will NOT follow all the blogs.
Did you repeat it? Great!
Feel free to give me any tips or, you know, similar experiences you’ve had with following blogs. 🙂

When Life Interferes. . . (Amber’s Rambles #16)

This is Amber’s Rambles, a feature where I discuss bookish or blogging topics. It is typically posted on Thursdays, but may be posted on other days as well. To see past posts, you can go here.


Ok, I can’t believe I’m writing this.

This has been a blog post I have been wanting to write forever. I think I’m posting it now because life is interfering now. 

As bloggers, we know there are times when we can’t read/blog/comment because of “life” and it’s interference(s). I just wanted to write this to talk about when events or just regular stuff happen, we find ourselves being unable to read or blog or comment because of it.

Actually, I think this post is going to go a bit different than that.  If you follow me on Twitter, chances are you’ve seen a tweet such as “Rescue me” or “Why don’t any of you live closer?…”. Of course, I always put some sort of smiley emoticon afterwards because I don’t want anyone on Twitter to actually think 

“Wow, that girl is actually asking strangers on Twitter to “rescue” her.”

Because it sounds weird, right? It sounds needy.

If you don’t know already, I live at home, which consists of my parents, sister and grandma. If you have read my weekly recaps or monthly recaps, you may have noticed I always talk about this “family drama” going on, but I never go into details. I’m not going to go into details now either. 

The point is, when this “family drama” goes on, it generally doesn’t involve me, it involves people among my family, but not really me. Although it sometimes does. However, it’s a huge stress cause to me. When it goes on or after it finishes, I’m completely drained emotionally and physically. If I had a blog post I wanted/planned to do that day, you can assume I’m not doing it.

Because I can’t. I don’t have the mental or physical energy or mental or emotional mindset to say “Okay, I’m going to blog anyway”. 

It basically cripples me from doing anything. Even things I enjoy. This is why you may have seen me not post for a week or more, which I’ve done a few times. Because I can’t even think of making a post and I can’t even imagine going through blogs and reading and commenting on them. It’s too draining for me. I think the reason I’m posting this today is because, yes, family drama has started up, the typical sort and yes, before this I was going through this exact mode I’m talking about. That’s why I barely blogged last week, it’s why it taken me longer than a month to write a blog post for another blog. It’s why I haven’t commented  or visited on anyone’s blogs, not really (I’m sorry about that, by the way).

And i’ve honestly wondered “Is this depression? This state I’m in?”.

I know, it sounds like I’m over-reacting probably. “Amber, you can’t call yourself depressed because you’re stressed about home”, but then there’s more to it… This has gone on for years, I’m 23 now and I’ve been this way since I was 14 or 15. 

I randomly (or not so randomly in the above case) go through these modes where I’m self-loathing, wanting to die, extremely sad and overall just….messed up. That’s the only way I can describe it. Nothing has to cause it, I’ll be okay and then ten minutes later, everything will just fall apart in my head and it all seems so pointless.

Does that make sense?

I don’t want to call myself depressed. I know there are actual people out there, I’ve even encountered a couple here in the blogosphere, that suffer through it. But if it’s not depression, I don’t know what it is. 

I tell myself it can’t be depression because when I was at college for those two years, I was mostly happy. Mostly. I didn’t have too much stress when I was gone. 

Of course, you’ll see me tweeting on Twitter and having conversations with people. I ask myself “You can tweet and you can talk to this one friend and you can enter contests online. How are you depressed? You wake up and get online. You can have a semi-full conversation with your parents. You can get excited over something”.

So do I not suffer depression since I’ve gone through happy periods of time? Are those things I mentioned above “happy periods of time”. Do they mean I’m not depressed? I don’t know the answer, but I really wish I did.

 

This happens when nothing’s wrong with my life. Am I just over-emotional? Is it because I’m….not all there? Have I just not fully grown up yet? I don’t know any of the freaking answers. Maybe nothing’s wrong with me, but I don’t know. 

This is what Merriam-Webster says the definition of depression is:

2:  an act of depressing or a state of being depressed: as

a :  a pressing down :  lowering

b (1) :  a state of feeling sad :  dejection (2) :  a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies

c (1) :  a reduction in activity, amount, quality, or force (2) :  a lowering of vitality or functional activity

Would i say I suffer from those things? Yes, however, I will never self-diagnose myself with something as serious as depression.

I guess what this blog post is about is how…life interferes whether it’s jobs, children, our families, or classes. We generally can’t stop it. It interferes out of the blue, we can plan something blog-wise only for it to not happen the way we want it do. Regardless of it’s a physical cause or a mental cause.

When life interferes for me, I don’t want to read or blog or comment on blogs. I don’t want to do anything really. Except sleep.

I hope no one takes offense to me using the term depression. If you think I described depression wrongly or didn’t take it seriously, I didn’t mean to. I really didn’t mean to. I don’t take this lightly at all.

When life interferes for you and you find yourself unable to read, blog or comment, whether by uncontrollable force or you feel like you “can’t”, what do you do instead? Do you have coping mechanisms? Have you ever found yourself in the same spot? Can you relate with this sadness? Let me know.


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