The Monthly Newsletter: January 2015

The Monthly Newsletter

Welcome to The Monthly Newsletter brought to you by the bloggers of Books and Ashes! Each month we’ll have a general update about the blog and what we’re expecting to happen in the next month. We hope you’ll enjoy this feature and tell us what you think! We’d appreciate the chance to get to know our followers 🙂

General Blogging

We added a bunch of new stuff to the blog over the last month and have started categorizing our reviews a little better. While we’re still working on that some of our reviews can now be found by their genre and age category. We figured it would be an improvement to just sorting through them by date and in alphabetical order. We hope you enjoy the easier convenience to looking through our reviews thanks to this!

The blog will be a little heavy over the next couple of months but after March ends we plan on relaxing a little and while there will be fewer reviews, we hope to add in new kinds of post to fill up the empty space!

Discussions of the Month

We didn’t post any discussions last month but there has been plenty of turbulence from bloggers to authors and bloggers to other bloggers. We saw several post about the “greedy blogger” who just wants ARC’s. Our favorite that we found was less on that and more about the obligation bloggers who request ARC’s have.

Let’s face the fact, if you request a book you are basically saying “If you give me a copy of your book I promise to review it!” and the publishing houses are expecting that review from you. If you just received an ARC meaning that you didn’t request it specifically then you’re not under any obligation to review a book. Likewise, here at Books and Ashes we both agree that any book you get in a giveaway, reviewing the book is entirely optional. But I’m sure the author would appreciate it! 😀

The other big thing we saw was Stacey Jay and her kickstarter backlash (just a general Google search but you can see it was sort of a hot topic). I can’t directly access the post anymore, but Stacey Jay (author of Of Beast and Beauty and Princess of Thorns) posted two post about this ordeal and one was a big, huge apology about how she was sorry that she offended people for making a kickstarter just so she could take the time off to write the sequel to Princess of Thorns that readers were (apparently) clamoring for. I haven’t read the book, but I do own a copy and personally I think the summary sounds stellar so I’ll be reading it in April!

Basically the backlash about her kickstarter campaign was she was openly honest about where the money would be going. She was going to take time off of work, and write a book. Now, I’m not sure about you but I’m sure we all need money to live. Money for food, regular people bills (like rent/mortgage, water, electricity, etc.), gas, and hundreds of other small things and really, money doesn’t just appear out of thin air. You have to work for it. Basically the reason the kickstarter was even started was because Stacey was dropped by her publisher because she wasn’t making the sales (i.e. money to cover over the cost they spent to make her book) and with people asking for a sequel she wanted to actually write it for them.

Now, she’s been dropped from her publisher but she still has regular people bills she needs to pay, she has food she needs to buy, and an assortment of other things money pays for. So she has a job to pay for all that, but she was willing to take time off to write this as quickly as possible. The kickstarter amount she was asking for was going to go to not only author-orientated bills (cover artist, editor, etc.), but since she wasn’t going to work she wanted to have some of that go to what makes human life livable in this day in age. And people got angry about that.

I’m just going to say that I find it appalling that she was being honest about her human needs and people were angry about it. It cost money to make a book, and it takes time. You can’t expect to get a book without paying for it (that’s called pirating ebooks/stealing physical books and that’s illegal) unless you get it from a giveaway or someone just gives them to you because they don’t want them anymore. You have to pay. I find it very honest that she wasn’t shady about it and not letting me know where my donation was going to go beyond general things authors need to pay for. I gave money to see this book be done because I knew people were wanting to read it, and I was happy to know I was helping someone with regular life things as well. We both gave money because we thought it was the right thing to do. So those who were angry with her honesty, I’m angry that you thought you had the right to bully her and tell her that she shouldn’t ask for simple human things to be met so she could write that book.

Shame on you.

/End rant.

The Monthly Writer

Writing? What writing? I did no writing this month besides for all the blog post.

Okay wait, I take that back I wrote the ending to my novel (shh, don’t cheer) and now I have to figure everything out between chapter one and the final scene. I know the general direction and the general points I want to hit but….I have other things I have to write this semester so this book is going to wait a long time. Should have taken the time to participate in NaNoWriMo at least halfway *angrily shakes fist at college*. If I didn’t need it, I wouldn’t go back. I value sleep and my sanity too much for college.

The Monthly Reader

Wow, other than what reviews we posted we read nothing besides stuff for school. There were a few post that we haven’t posted yet (we’re a little behind on them) but hopefully we’ll get caught up with those easily!

The favorites of the month were…

going down in flames bridges burned

One word. Dragon-shifters. That is all you need to know. And that the first book is full of snark and I absolutely loved it.

Last Month's Reviews

Covers lead to the review!

Whispers Wishful Thinking Spiral Arrgh! Hydro Unstrung Atlantis Rising Hunters and Creators Origin of Angels Leaving Tracks jack templar monster hunter OtGDYCover Unnatural Selection front Just Perfect Birth of a Destiny Raven ward against disaster bridges burned Child of Brii Counteract Dewi and the Seeds of Doom The Rule of Three

Challenge Updates

105 Challenge

One month into this challenge and I’m super excited to see how far I managed to get last month! Here’s the categories (again) for this challenge!

14. Books I’ve Never Read Set Outside The U. S. A.

13. 2015 New Releases

12. Indie Books

11. 2014 New Releases

10. Review Books (Ebook Or Physical)

9. Popular Books I’ve Never Read

8. Re-Reads (Standalone Or Series Starters)

7. Dystopian Novels I’ve Never Read (But Really Wanted To)

6. Books I’ve Been Told To Read

5. Jane Austen Novels

4. Books Based Off Video Games/T. V. Series

3. Books I’ve Won in Giveaway’s

2.  Series Read&Re-Read (3+ Books And Completed)

1. Book That Is 500+ Pages (New or ReRead)

Now, let’s get crackin’ and see where I stand in relation to all these categories!

Books I’ve Never Read Set Outside The U. S. A.: 0/14

2015 New Releases: 4/13

Indie Books: 9/12

2014 New Releases: 9/11

Review Books (Ebook Or Physical): 0/10

Popular Books I’ve Never Read: 0/9

Re-Reads (Standalone Or Series Starters): 0/8

Dystopian Novels I’ve Never Read (But Really Wanted To): 2/7

Books I’ve Been Told To Read: 0/6

Jane Austen Novels: 0/5

Books Based Off Video Games/T. V. Series: 0/4

Books I’ve Won in Giveaway’s: 0/3

Series Read&Re-Read (3+ Books And Completed): 0/2

Book That Is 500+ Pages (New or ReRead): 0/1

Not too shabby. 24 out of 105 books already is a very strong start! I have a sneaking suspicion it won’t be rising that quickly the rest of the year, but we shall see! I’ve also almost finished my Indie and 2014 categories, which I didn’t expect to fill out so fast! I didn’t realize that I had so many to read.

24/105

NetgalleyEdelweissChallenge

My goal for this challenge is

Platinum (75 books)

Currently I’ve read….nothing. I have yet to pick up any of those ARC’s from these places and read them. But, with new releases coming up next month I’m really hoping that I’ll tack a few into this category! I’ve at least stopped picking up the “Read Now” in NetGalley but HarperCollins (while I love the publisher and all their great books) seems to not mind my whimsical requesting spree I went on and requested about thirty books, of which over half were from them and almost every single one of them from HC (except for like, two) were approved. I love HarperCollins, but sometimes my whimsical requesting sprees should be ignored. There isn’t, however, a way to retract request three hours after I do so and then call myself an idiot for doing such things.

Current count for this challenge

Edelweiss

0/57

NetGalley

0/56

Challenge

0/75

IndieFever2015

I don’t have a set goal (there are no “real” goals) but I’m going to try and read as many Indie books as possible. I read nine last month, which isn’t too bad really!

9/?

2015 Goodreads Challenge

So, thirty-one books in one month. Unsurprising that we managed to read so much, but at this rate we’ll finish by June! We’re slowing down with reading and such after March though so after all that we may take a little longer to hit 170. I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll reach over 230 books though…..

31/170

The Month Upcoming

It’s packed full of reviews and a bunch of new reveals and stuffs! There’s some pretty great books coming out that I’ve been waiting to read so I’m super excited to be reading them. And my most anticipated book of the year now that I’m aware it’s being published next month.

HLyons_THL_eBook02_450x675

I am so so so very excited for this!!!!! Eeep I can’t even contain my excitement to read this! I absolutely adored the first book and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this! I’m literally searching Amazon every day waiting to see it come up. I’m hoping I can pre-order it so that I have a hard copy to enjoy, but I’d gladly wait until the 26th to order it!

I really wish you guys could see how excited I am for this, I can’t wait for more brilliant writing from Heather Lyons. I haven’t read her Fate books yet, but I’m hoping to collect enough cash eventually to buy the first one and venture forth from there. SO many books to buy and only enough cash to buy some of them. I totally wish I was a billionaire so I could buy books for myself and other people. I love spreading my love of books, it is the one thing in the world that I know always makes me happy (besides food, oh my god I love food).

Some other books I’m going to be reviewing that are coming out this month include All That Burns by Ryan Graudin, The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes, and Dearest by Alethea Kontis just to name a few! I have at least one ARC review coming up for a book coming out next month, but there might be another? I’m losing track of publishing dates even though I have a schedule for posting for the reviews. Oops? :O

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