Monthly Wrap-Up: September 2019 ft. a 200 follower Q&A form

Hey hey hey!!!! Welcome back dear bookworms! Today I’ll be sharing with you my wrap up post for September 2019!! how is it almost the end of 2019 already??? how?? where did the year go?

So September was…I guess, a kind of good month? More meh than good, but still kind of good. I think I’ve gotten used to classes and blogging, and that’s great! But I didn’t write that many reviews, wasn’t that super active in the community, and I only read 6 books. Let’s take a deeper look below!


Covers are from Goodreads

So I read 6 books, which is better than the 5 books I read in August but not by much. I am now helplessly behind on my GR challenge, and I’m so disappointed. I’m actually contemplating doing my first monthly TBR so that maybe I’d read more if I had a schedule, or an idea of books that I can read. Let me know if you’d like to see that!!

I am also behind on reviews from August, so I’m hoping to catch up on those this month (October)!

Read This Month:

Key: * = Book for review | ^ = Review to come

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich // Rating: ★★1/2 One sentence summary:  An easy and humorous mystery, with okay characters.

*Against Their Will by Carolyn Courtney Lauman // Rating: ★★★★☆ One sentence summary: This was an incredible fast-paced debut, with great characters, and a captivating plot.

^A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman // Rating: ★★★★★ One sentence summary: A heartwarming story with beautiful friendships and a sweet grumpy man.

^Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim // Rating: ★★★★☆ One sentence summary: An interesting Mulan-inspired adventure in a world of magic with a determined heroine.

^Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco // Rating: ★★★1/2 One sentence summary: An okay mystery with a strong and complex heroine and amazing side characters.

^With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo // Rating: ★★★★★ One sentence summary: A sweet and uplifting story about family, friendship, food, and community.

Reviews completed (read in August):

Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong / The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling

Total Number of Books Read This Month: 6

Total number of reviews: 4


I did 2 tags, which is pretty low. But! I have a list of tags that I want to do, so maybe you will not see more of them this month!!

The Netflix Book Tag (Thank you so much Siobhan!)

Sunshine Blogger Award #2 (Thank you so much Kiera!)

Discussion Posts:

Let’s Talk Bookish – When An Author Has Gone Too Far

Let’s Talk Bookish – Is it bad if you don’t finish reading a book?

Let’s Talk Bookish – Should There Be A Standard for Book Reviews?

Let’s Talk Bookish – Things You Wish You Could Ask Other or More Experienced Bloggers

Great Posts From Around the Blog-O-Sphere:

50 Bookish Questions tag by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads (Guys. FIFTY questions. Grab a cup and go have a seat, because it was so nice reading all of Meeghan’s answers!)

Bookending Autumn 2019: ANNOUNCEMENT by Sam @ Fictionally Sam (I’m so excited to be taking part this October!! Be sure to check out Sam’s post to learn more about it!)

Hard Truths I’ve Learned About Book Blogging (& a few ways to cope with them) by Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea (This is an awesome discussion post written by the amazing Caitlin, and I’m sure we’ve all related to some of her points at least once or twice before.)

Do Contemporary Novels Ever Become Outdated? by Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall (I really loved this seriously in depth discussion by Kelly on contemporary novels.)

Anything Else?

I changed my blog’s design…again!! I actually had my previous design for almost 6 months which is amazing. I wonder how long this one is going to last, and I really hope I keep it for much longer.

My stats were pretty high in September, and I’m so happy and thankful to all of you who came over and read whatever I had to say!! Also, I’m kind of close to reaching 200 followers, and after being inspired by Caitlin’s post, I’m going to host a Q&A about me/blog when I also hit 200! (It was not intentional lol!! I just felt like my letter that I wrote last time wasn’t much, and I wanted to do something more fun, and I’d seen the idea of a Q&A somewhere else, and then I saw Caitlin’s post that she did earlier this year, and it seemed like a fun way to say thank you, so here we are!)

Thank you to everyone who is following me, and if you’d like, you can fill out the form below to ask me your question, and to give me feedback about my blog!! I would really appreciate it 💚

That’s A Wrap!

That’s it for this month. In total, I read 6 books, did 4 reviews, 2 books tags, and wrote 4 discussion posts (YAY!! Honestly, can you believe that I shied away from writing discussions before??). 2 of the books I read were 4 stars, and another 2 were 5 stars so that is great! However, I am still behind, by 10 books, on my reading challenge.

For October, I hope to read maybe 8 books, catch up on 5 reviews, and try to do maybe 4 or 5 BE Autumn posts. At the very least, I’m going to do 3.

And that’s it for this wrap-up! How was September for you? Did you get as much reading as you wanted done? Are you behind or ahead on your reading goal? Will you be taking part in Bookending Autumn? Should I do a monthly TBR post? Anything you’d like to share? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Let’s Talk Bookish – Star Ratings: Are they fair or necessary?

Hiya friends and welcome to Let’s Talk Bookish! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me (Rukky @ Eternity Books), where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Star Ratings – Are they fair or necessary?

I’d like to say a quick thank you to Zoe @ Zoe’s Library for letting me use the topic after she wrote a post on it! I think that star ratings aren’t very fair and they aren’t necessary, but they are much easier, and help save some time in a world where we don’t have a lot of time.

When I’m browsing Goodreads, I mainly pay attention to what a person rated a book. I also then read the first few lines of the review to get an idea about how much the reader liked it, before deciding to check out the book further, or move on.

Ratings are important to me, because they give me a quick analysis of what the general consensus, or what a single reviewer thought of the book. It’s a way to summarize the book, but it isn’t entirely fair.

Some argue that books are like people, and that they are an extension of the author, and I agree. But they aren’t actual living breathing people, so I don’t think it’s really wrong to rate it. It’s a number that can help the author tell whether people liked it or not, without them having to go read actual reviews, some of which won’t be very nice. I wouldn’t rate a person by a number (it’s kind of impossible to do that…), but books aren’t people.

Everybody, at least maybe once in their lifetime, has rated a book x and a half stars. But Goodreads doesn’t have a half star system, and so we are stuck with rounding up or down (GR get to work on this feature please!!). That can change the overall rating of the book and make it look positive, while readers actually didn’t really like it, but they rounded up to 4 since they were stuck at 3.5.

Another reason why stars aren’t necessarily fair is because some people rate books that they haven’t read, which, again, skews the overall rating. It becomes even worse, and at that point you can’t even trust the overall rating, or the individual rating without reading the review, when a lot of people have deemed a book horrible and they are all giving it 1 stars without reading it.

Could we live without star ratings?

Yes, we sure can.

Would reviewing be different?

Defintiely, because now you have to read the whole review to know if the reader liked a book or not.

Should we get rid of the rating system?

At this moment, I don’t think so.

I agree, the rating system isn’t the fairest, and it probably can never describe how much a person loved or hated a book accurately, but it does save us time, and kind of helps, at least for me, when writing reviews, because it reminds you of what made me pick a 2, or 3.25, or 5. I also use the star rating based on it’s definition (1=did not like, 2=it was ok, 3=liked it, 4=really liked it, and 5=it was amazing) so to me, the number is just really an abbreviation for my feelings for the book.

Honestly, I think that if the rating system was to be scrapped, we’d just end up substituting some other figure or picture to represent our feelings and we’d be back to where we started.

This Week’s Participants:

Vicki @ Diverse Fantasy Reads | Jane @ Blogger Books | Penny @ Read Yourself Happy | Kelly @ Books On the Brain | Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads Syl @ Books and Coffee

What do you think about the star rating system? Do you think it’s fair? If we were to stop using it, do you think we’d just end up substituting some other symbol/number in it’s place? Do you sometimes rate books that you haven’t read? Why? Chat with me in the comments below!!

Let’s Talk Bookish – Should There Be A Standard for Book Reviews?

Hi guys and welcome to Let’s Talk Bookish! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Should There Be A Standard for Book Reviews?

My dad suggested this topic, and honestly, it got me thinking, maybe there should be a standard, or a bare minimum requirement for readers who write reviews.

I think that with a standard, reviews will be more “regulated”, and there will be something to make sure that people don’t just write hurtful reviews that have no purpose or that attack the author when it should be about the book, or even glowing reviews, when this person has not read the book.

I know that there are a few rules here and there that people have created, but it would be much helpful, especially for new reviewers, if we collected all these rules and put them in one guide. I remember starting out and wondering if there are things that I should and should not do, or if it’s just, you’re free do whatever you want. It would have been helpful to have a standard or guide to help me out.

However, if there was a standard, I wouldn’t want it to stop people’s creativity. I’m not saying that the standard will have crazy rules like: it has to be between 300-400 words, written like an essay, discuss objectively the points, no negativity, etc. That would be annoying, and I’d probably be the first reviewer to quit. The reason I hated book reviews in school were because of rules that are similar to that. I felt they were more about the book, and not about what I thought about the book, so what’s the point in reading it if they don’t care whether I enjoy it or not?

I also love ranty reviews, just as much as everyone else, and I wouldn’t say we should scrap them because “they aren’t objective” or because “they are very scathing/negative”. To be honest, even in ranty reviews, there are still analysis’ of where the book went wrong, and what was not okay in the book, it’s just written in a more…angry way.

So no, if there were to be a standard, it should not cripple creativity, and it should not be mandatory, but I think that it would be a helpful guide for people who are just starting out.

This Week’s Participants:

Jane @ Blogger Books | Heran @ Be Frisky

And that’s it for this post! What did you think? Should there be a standard, or a guide? Were you also lost when you first started reviewing books? Did you dislike writing book reviews in school? Chat with me in the comments below!

Let’s Talk Bookish – Is it bad if you don’t finish reading a book?

Hi guys and welcome to Let’s Talk Bookish! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Is it bad if you don’t finish reading a book? (suggested by Jane @ Blogger Books)

Thank you so much Jane for suggesting a topic!!

*You can find all the LTB topics here!

To be honest, I don’t think it’s bad if you don’t finish reading a book, but I get why some might shy away from doing so. Sometimes, I try to push myself because “the book might get better”, or because “I want to give the author a chance”. Many times it just results in me being disappointed and angry, and sometimes the book redeems itself a little by the end.

If I don’t like a book at all, and I have better things to do, I will probably DNF, and I think it’s fine for anyone to do so.

What I won’t do, is rate a book that I haven’t completely read. I don’t think that’s fair for the author, because a star rating is for the whole book, not just the part that you managed to finish. You can review it, post your opinion on the part that you’ve read, but I don’t think it’s fair to give it stars, because that removes from the book’s overall rating.

This Week’s Participants:

Jane @ Blogger Books | Heran @ Be Frisky | Zoe @ Zoe’s Library

Ruqs @ Many Things Bookish | Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads

I’m sorry for the short post, but I don’t have time. I’m really hoping that I can get back on track this weekend and start blogging regularly again, so fingers crossed that I’ll make it!

Thank you again Jane for the topic suggestion! What do you guys think about DNFing books? Do you give books you didn’t finish a star rating anyway? Do you think that’s fair? Am I the only one who sometimes pushes herself to finish a book anyway? Chat with me in the comments below!

Let’s Talk Bookish – When An Author Has Gone Too Far

Hi guys and welcome to Let’s Talk Bookish! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: When An Author Has Gone Too Far – Do you think authors have a right to call out/attack reviewers because of negative reviews?

I had a certain author in mind when I chose this topic, and after a bit of research into the whole scandal, I’m kind of terrified to say what I’m going to say below. It also gave me a bunch of new topic ideas so that’s a plus! But I don’t know if I’ll sleep well tonight, so that’s a minus. But this is my blog, my space, and I want to try and explain my point.

*Note: I’ve added a page to my blog where you can find the topics for all the months. Check back around the last Sunday of each month for the next month’s topics.

To frankly answer my own question: No, I don’t think it’s fair or right for authors to call out or attack reviewers because of negative reviews.

Do I think that maybe the reviewer is at fault sometimes? Yes, maybe.

But that doesn’t mean the author should call them out. As far as I’m concerned, authors shouldn’t be reading negative reviews* to start with.

And that’s for several reasons. Here’s my main two:

1.I highly doubt it’s good for the author’s mental health or self-esteem to be reading about why someone hated a book that they wrote and poured their heart into.

2.Because reviewers and the bookish community in general will probably fly into a fit if the author does read a negative review, and then decides to comment because they are trying to protect and defend their hard labor.

That’s the truth. If I wrote a book now, I’d probably make my settings permanently show only 5, 4, and 3 star reviews so that I could sleep peacefully at night. I would not want to read that somebody hated it, that they thought it was trash, and that how in the world did it get published because that would just make me hate myself, or worse, hate the reviewer and then I’d do something stupid because I’m hurt and angry (even then, there is a zero point infinite zero one percent chance that I will do something stupid because I’m a chicken anyway).

So, in conclusion: Authors should not read negative reviews and should avoid them like the plague, and they definitely shouldn’t try to comment, or get aggressive about it, because that would make everything worse. Even calling them out is a passive aggressive way of attacking them, because that author’s fans will go and attack that reviewer for them, even if they never explicitly said they should.

*Note: By negative reviews, I mean reviews that are more of the ranting type. I think there’s a difference between a 1 star review that is calm and not attacking the book, and a 1 star review that is just ranting and disappointment about the book. The author could possibly learn from the former, but the latter, not so much.

Now for the controversial bit of this post (well, I think it’s controversial).

This author that I had in mind was one who I initially was horrified to find out that she had done what she did. I was even more shocked and disgusted when she wrote an article about it. Oh, and to ice the cake of my shock and anger, she was now including this article as an updated essay and was going to publish it in a collection of other essays 5 years later aka 2019.

But then I read a rather interesting article, and now I’m not as mad at her as I was before please don’t kill me.

This author is Kathleen Hale.

*quietly waits for all the memories to flood in and the shock to come back*

And for those of you who don’t know who she is: She wrote a YA book back in 2014, and after seeing a negative review by a certain blogger, she tracked them down, found out they were using a pen name, and decided to go confront her, but ended up not ringing the woman’s doorbell. And the whole community blew up, because she stalked the reviewer.

So, before you pound out a furious comment, hear me out okay?

First of all, I agree, she did do something wrong. As a reviewer, as a blogger, it scared me, and yes, I am still horrified that she did it, and then she confessed to doing it, wrote a whole article about it, and yet nothing happened besides an uproar in the bookish world.

But I guess that’s punishment enough.

Goodreads and reviewers in general can make or break an author. That’s just the way things are now. Take a look at another recent issue, the Blood Heir controversy. Because of a few influential reviewers and the ensuing uproar, the author pulled her own book. But thankfully it’s back. You can hear me rage about that here.

Now, back to Hale.

5 years after the initial uproar, she’s decided to publish a collection of essays including her infamous article, now called Catfish, that she wrote for The Guardian, telling about what she did. (The link leads to the article that she wrote back then)

Based on what I said above, as far as I’m concerned, she should not have read a negative review, and she should have definitely turned the other cheek if she accidentally stumbled across it.

But she didn’t. And everything that happened, happened.

I understand why Hale would do something like that. If we all take a second, I’m sure we all can understand and see why she did that. We all might not do it, but it is not a far fetched and absolutely crazy notion okay maybe it is. Someone attacked her debut, her baby, and she was hurt by that. And she chose a drastic method to avenge for this crime.

Okay, so you’re wondering, where’s the controversial bit? What is it that you’re so afraid to say?

Are you ready? Cause here it is: Maybe we are being too brutal, too hurtful about this whole fiasco and to the author.

No, I have not lost my mind, and no, I am not crazy. Well, last time I checked I wasn’t.

And if you don’t understand why this author/situation might be controversial, I ask that you take a look at the GR page for her new essay collection. I’ll even link it here to save you a few clicks. I’m sure, if you’ve taken a quick look, you can see that the general consensus is that there is no way ANYBODY is willing to come anywhere near this book. And that they are still really livid 5 years later.

But why would I think that maybe we aren’t being fair? Why would I think that we are being too harsh? Because this same anger that Hale is facing right now, that she faced since The Guardian article, is the very same one that we preach against on any normal day.

Spread love. Not hate.

Some of you may have been on #TeamBloodHeir from the Blood Heir controversy, and I can remember that my argument was, we aren’t giving the book or the author a chance. That we aren’t being fair. Isn’t that what’s happening with Hale now?

But I can’t compare Blood Heir and Kathleen Hale. For one, the former is a book and the later a person. Hale has done something horrible in the past, and she’s chosen to write about it again now, re-igniting the hate and anger all over again. And as far as I’ve seen, she still hasn’t apologized for it.

But I can compare her book, and Blood Heir. They are both books, with no crimes committed by them. One might say that Hale’s book is a collection of essays about herself, and so it can still be counted as the “author”, but it’s still a book, with 5 other essays about other topics.

It’s not right for Hale to portray herself as a victim, because she honestly brought this on herself. But it’s also not right for people to threaten her or threaten her family. But then again, she did the same to someone else, so I guess it’s karma. And some will argue that she might be making that stuff about being threatened up to try and be the victim Um, it’s not far-fetched at all to believe that she might have been threatened. Frankly, I’d be surprised if she wasn’t. But still, we should be better than this, better than her. But like the Buzzfeed article that spurred all this thinking of mine said, “Hell hath no fury like book bloggers scorned”. Okay, enough buts.

Ignoring her, not buying her book, stating that you will not read her book, yes I completely understand doing that. Not allowing her back into a community that she betrayed, I understand that. Giving 1 star reviews that is supposed to be used to rate a book, not an author – I don’t get that. The book could be good, the author…not so much.

Take A.J. Finn’s book, The Woman in the Window, for instance. People are still reading it, people are still rating it based on how much they enjoyed the book, but nobody’s talking about the fact that the author has done a whole lot of questionable things. And if you don’t know about this, here’s a long and detailed article about it.

This is an example of everybody reviewing the book based on the book, not based on the author, and that’s good.

Why can’t we do that for Kathleen Hale Is a Crazy Stalker? Why all the 1 star reviews of a book that hasn’t been read?

I’m hoping, and would really really like to think that gender has nothing to do with this, but one has to wonder. I’m seriously hoping that people just don’t know about A. J. Finn, but that seems a bit hard to believe, because things spread like wild fire in the bookish community.

This has gone off in a whole new direction, and I apologize, but I just had to get that in there too. I think I’m going to stop here, or I might continue on into a whole new topic that I want to save for another date. I’ve kind of already delved into this new topic, but shhh

Quick re-cap: I think that an author should definitely not read negative reviews, and should stay away from them like the plague, but I also think that we are a bit hypocritical when we attack authors for doing wrong things, and not giving them room to grow or giving their new books a chance. However, that doesn’t mean I condone or agree with anything Hale did. On the contrary, I think what she did was horrible. But we are also being a bit horrible about this as well, especially with the 1 star ratings for a book that hasn’t been read.

I like reading about controversies and others do too. It gets people talking. And the point of this is for people to talk, to give their opinions, so I’m nervous but excited to see what everyone thinks about this!

And if you’re still here with me after that long and unbelievable ramble (this post is more than 2000 words long!!), I just want to say thank you, you are amazing, and I’m so glad you made it out of my thoughts alive!!

This Week’s Participants:

Jane @ Blogger Books | Ruqs @ Many Things Bookish | Syl @ Books and Coffee

What do you think about authors who call our/attack reviewers? Do you think they have a right to be angry? What are your thoughts on the Hale situation? Was my post as controversial as I think it is? Did you know about the A. J. Finn controversy?

Discuss with me in the comments below!