lists

Must Read: My Top 10 Books with Strong Female Leads

I don’t know about you, but I love a well-developed, strong female main character. As a woman myself I love the positive representation. Below are my top ten fantasy books with strong female leads.

  1. Selene from The Olympus Bound Series
    by Jordanna Max Brodsky. I’m in love with everything about this series, but I think Selene is definitely what sold me to begin with. Selene in the fallen goddess Artemis. She strong, tough, and a little emotionally distant at times. I kinda want to be her.

2. Zélie from Children of Blood and Bone from Tomi Adeyemi. Zélie is one tough cookie. She has grown up where her people are oppressed, but instead of giving in she fights all the more. Mentally, physically, and magically strong. A role model for us all in a lot of ways.

Art by Megan Ward. Find it here.


3. Jude from The Wicked King by Holly Black. This girl has been fierce her whole life and though she may be scared at times she doesn’t let that stop her. She’s Queen of Shadows and usually a step ahead.

Art by Wictorian_art. Find it here.


4. Alina from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. Alina, weak and sickly until she allowed herself to use her power. If that isn’t a metaphor for us all I don’t know what is.

Art from Golden Rose. Find it here.


5. Laia from An Ember in the Ash by Sabaa Tahir . She started out scared and a little helpless, but for those she cared about she accomplished some truly daring tasks.

Art by Tpiola. Find it here.


6. Agnieszka from Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Agneiszka might be a bit of a mary sue, but she came from nothing and then she saved her kingdom. It was dark, but she makes it.

Art by Taryn. Find it here.


7. Meg from The Others series by Anne Bishop. Meg is not what I would consider physically strong, but she’s a strong female lead nonetheless. Meg like most of these ladies has been through a lot, but her force will and kindness alone make her a great pick for this list.


8. Wren from Girls of Paper and Fire. She’s the last remaining member of a special warrior family. Physically and mentally strong. She’s a powerhouse.

Art from Laya Rose. Find it here.


9. Fatima from The Bird King. She goes from concubine to runaway to leader. A hard choice in order to save a friend. She doesn’t have a lot of physical strength, but she has a strong will.


10. So many women in How long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin. Normally I wouldn’t put such a vague answer here, but there are just so many strong women throughout this anthology that I feel like I would be doing all you readers a disservice by not mentioning them.


What about you? Do you agree with the list? Do you have any other strong female leads you really enjoy?

wonder wednesday

Wonder Wednesday: The Traits of a Great Character

Happy Wednesday my lovely readers. This week I’ve been wondering a lot about what makes a great character. I watched Avengers: End Game this past Friday and I’m a huge Iron Man fan, but it’s hard for me to really pinpoint what about him I love so much. So, maybe all of you can help me think about characters and what in particular makes them so great. What, in your opinion, makes a character great? Now, I don’t necessarily mean a character that is morally great although that might be part of what draws you to a character. What I really mean is what makes a character so real that you can’t help but thinking of them as a real person/being?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Advice

Beginning Bloggers- Pros and Cons for blogging

Hello everyone, so I’ve been blogging for officially for a few months now. Wow, the time has flown. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve really enjoyed and what has been a bit of a struggle with book blogging. I decided to share it with you incase you’re interested in getting into book blogging or just need to know that you’re not the only blogger experiencing the struggle and rewards.

  1. The Community (pro #1) – I’ve just begun to really start interacting with the book community and everyone is so friendly and fantastic. I don’t have a lot of friends who enjoy reading or have time oddly enough and this has really given me an outlet to start talking to those of you who have similar interests. It’s so warm and great!
  2. Time Commitment (Neg #1) – A blog that is updated approximately every other day or even a couple of times a week is a huge time commitment. Writing is fun, but the moment you give yourself a schedule there’s personal pressure. Now, you don’t have to keep a set schedule, but realize that if you want to new people to chat with you on your blog a set schedule I’m finding is optimal for at least getting your posts seen.
  3. Broadening of horizons (Pro #2) – I began this blog to talk and discuss particular elements of fantasy books. Mainly, characterization, world building, and diversity. I know what I enjoy for characterization and world building, but I hadn’t really been looking for any diversity. It wasn’t intentional, but I was reading books about all white characters almost all the time. I don’t think reading those books are a problem, but what was the problem was assumed there weren’t other types of stories out there. I didn’t think the problem was me. I just thought people weren’t publishing different stories. Well, I was dead wrong and now I’ve start to realize and really explore more diverse books. I must say that they’re amazing!
  4. Remembering stuff ( Neg #2) – I like to say I have the memory of a goldfish. I read a lot of books and do a lot of stuff. It’s really difficult for me to remember a large amount of detailed information. This is mainly important because I want to create a lot of lists. People love lists and they’re also very helpful for people who want to read a particular type of book. So, in order to remember books and characters well enough to create lists I takes notes. This really slows down how quickly I can read and can dampen the enjoyment I have for reading.
  5. Patience (Pro and Con #3) I list this as a pro and a con, because it really is for me. I have been slowly building a blog following, but it’s been slow going. This is a con, because as I mentioned I want to talk with other book lovers and the more people you have following you the more likely you are to have a discussion about something you’ve posted. It makes sense. However, it’s also a pro. I think instant success can sometimes make people (or at least me) lazy. It takes me time to write what I feel like is good content and even then sometimes it goes up before I feel like it’s 100% ready. There’s no problem with taking your time and I think that’s an important lesson on it’s own.

What do you think? Have you experienced these as well? Are you concerned about them?

wonder wednesday

Wonder Wednesday: The blogging community

Hello lovely readers! I hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday! Today I was wondering how you participate in the blogging community particularly the book blogging community. Do you participate in reading challenges, do you do lots of blog hopping, or are you someone who prefers to just read a blog or two in your spare time? Do you participate in the community in a way I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear your responses!

wonder wednesday

Wonder Wednesday: Where do you get your books?

Hello lovely readers and happy Wednesday! Today, I’ve been wondering where everyone finds new books that they want to read. Do you find all of your book while browsing the shelves of Barnes&Noble, searching for highly rated books of Amazon, through friend recommendations only, or something different?

I can’t wait to here all the places that you find new and great books.

Advice

Beginning Book Bloggers- ARC 101

Hello lovely readers, I hope the day is treating you well! Today I want to talk about ARCs. ARC stands for advance readers copies. This is probably one of the best perks outside of the book community itself to book blogging. It is where you get free copies of a book with the understanding that on some platform you will leave a review. As a lover of books this is amazing! However, it’s also really easy to overwhelm yourself if you’re not careful. In this post I’m going to discuss general ARCs stuff and also some precautions about what I call the ARC trap.

Where can you get ARCs?

NetGalley– my favorite site. Full of professional publishers

Edelweiss+ – also full of professional publishers. Haven’t personally used.

BookSends ARC – sends you an e-mail with ARCs you can choose. Very small selection. The deadline to read is usually very short compared to other sites.

Reading Deals – the first place I ever got an ARC. They’re very clear on book review expectations and etiquette which was nice, but their selection isn’t very good.

I’m sure there are even more than this, but these are the ones I’ve either heard of or used myself. You can also always personally ask the publishing company or author for an ARC though with no following and limited experience you probably won’t have much luck.

How do I get approved for ARCs?

This is the golden question. For smaller companies that handout ARCs like BookSends and Reading Deals anything you request you can usually receive no problem. Fairly straight forward. I’m not really familiar with Edelweiss+ so honestly I can’t really speak for that website, but I’ve heard a lot of people use it so I wanted to include it. NetGalley is where I get all my best ARCs from. It’s a great site! Now, NetGalley is hub for a variety of publishers that receive your requests and then either approve or deny them. If you look at the publisher’s preferences you will see that almost every publisher has the right to approve or deny your request basically just because they want to. However, there are some things you can do to really improve your chances. 1. You need a platform. I’ve been approved when all I had were Amazon and Goodreads accounts, but it’s not the best. A platform such as a blog really tells the publishers that you have a following and that you’re taking this seriously. You don’t even need a large following so don’t worry about having tons of followers! 2. You need to keep an eye on your feedback ratio. Your feedback ratio is the number of books you’ve given reviews for compared to the number of ARCs you’ve received. Some high profile bloggers may be able to get away with low ratios, but starting out I’ve found a low feedback ratio tends to be why I get denied a book.

Beware the ARC Trap

What is the ARC trap you ask? It’s when you requested lots of ARCs, think you didn’t get approved for any of them, and so request more only to later get approved for all of them and then you have six or more ARCs and limited time to read everything. Plus, your feedback ratio is now horrible. Now, if you’re thinking that’s oddly specific then you’d be correct. This has happened to me multiple times and I don’t want it to happen to you. It puts you under a lot of pressure that you don’t necessarily need or want to be under. Publishers are very busy and probably receive hundreds if not thousands of requests for books every day. It can take a publisher anywhere from a couple days to a month to see your ARC request. I didn’t realize this at first at it put me under a lot of pressure to quickly read a lot of books that I didn’t necessarily have time to read. I would encourage you if you’re just starting out as a reviewer to only request one or two books at a time. Most publishers are kind enough to e-mail you that they have denied your request for their ARC so you should usually know if the publisher has seen your request or not.

ARC Etiquette

So, I would say there’s definitely some ARC etiquette I would personally recommend that bloggers/reviewers follow. If you are getting a free ARC it’s important to remember that the author and publisher are giving you a gift. They worked very hard on it and probably put in a lot of love. What does that mean for you? You need to actually take the time to read the book. Don’t skim it, don’t give up on it even if you don’t like it. Read it. Now, there of course can be an occasional exception. I have DNF-ed one ARC, but that should be a rare occurrence. Once you’ve finished it, give a thought out review. It is 100% okay to give an ARC a bad review. Honesty is the best policy my friends and if you’re not being honest then you’re not helping anyone. But, if you’re going to give a single star to a book then there needs to be a reason just like if you gave it five stars. This is part of why you were given the ARC in the first place. Honor that responsibility.

Transparency is also important. If you were given an ARC it’s important to make sure you let readers know you received it as a free ARC. This has personally never changed how I feel about someone giving a review for a book, but again I think honesty is the best policy and letting readers know is a good trust builder.


Does that answer all your ARC questions? Were there things I didn’t cover? Let me know what you think!

wonder wednesday

Wonder Wednesday: Enjoyable Blogs

Happy Wednesday everyone! This week I’ve been wondering what attracts you to a blog? Is it the layout that appeals to you? Is it the content, and if so, what content do you really enjoy? Do you prefer blogs to have a set update schedule or are you okay with people updating whenever? Like always I’ve been skimming through blogs though not as much as I usually do and I see some blogs with okay content with thousands of followers vs bloggers who have content I really enjoy with only a couple hundred. Is it a time spent blogging? The longer you blog the more followers you inevitably you get? I would love to know your thoughts not only to help my own blog, but so that others can read and improve their own blogs.

Have a lovely day and I look forward to hearing from you!