Armchair BEA: Keeping It Real, Fresh, and Fun & Kid Lit / YA

Sticker Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads)

Keeping It Real, Fresh, and Fun

It’s an interesting topic, because when you blog often, like maybe daily, it can get sort of repetitive for you and sort of repetitive for your readers. So this is how I keep it real xD

~ Content ~

I post daily, and I’ve been doing that for a while. I like keeping the blog active, and I like it being a bookish spot that gives its readers as much book info as it can. I like the idea of cruising through books or possible reads and telling people about what I think looks good, what might be cool – even if I didn’t have the time to try it out myself.

So I do book reviews, maybe 2 or 3 a week, 1 when at my slowest. At least one of them will be the #RAWBL book I’ve been reading for the previous week – these are books generally published last year or even before that, or series that have been going on for a while. This helps me keep track of older reads, and spotlight them too. Because there’s so much new stuff always coming out, and I feel it’s unfair to forget about the books already out. I try to read at least one a week, and talk about it. I also generally do one or two reviews of newer releases or ARC-s, because I can’t really resist the shiny new either.

Mixed in with reviews, I do book tour stops – mostly guest posts, but also book spotlights, excerpts and such. The books I choose to be a part of the tour for are books I’d wanna read if I had the time. I select them based on the same criteria I select books for reading – what looks tempting enough to try. This is my way of saying, hey, I don’t have the time to read this smexy thing, but it looks and you might have the time, so maybe try it out.

Aside that, I do the weekly #RAWBL of course, telling you this Saturday what I’ll read next week and review on Sunday, pretty much. These are usually the ‘older than a few months’ titles, my tribute to past published goodies.

I sometimes do a sort of blogger’s column a week, me ranting and spamificating on some bookish/book blogging topic. It’s the Book-o-Sphere Flutters, a newer feature that I started doing like a month ago, and we’ll see if I keep it up or not.

And then there are the memes and giveaway hops, what I call blogger-social activities. I usually do the #FF if I have the Friday free, because I just love it and I’ve been doing it on and off for a long time, almost since I started blogging. I do the giveaway hops rarely, mostly around some big holiday thing, my way of celebrating something by giving something – it’s a good way of celebrating. I also host giveaways mainly for tours nowadays, so if my readers feel like trying something they can enter here for it. I like free stuff, any hardcore reader does – we always have to read a budget and our reading needs always exceed that budget, lol.

So basically, my way of keeping blogging fresh for me and also for my readers (I hope!) is to do reviews of both older and new books, doing blogger-social activities that include fun Q&A’s or giveaways, talking about topics of interest to the community and trying to mention as many yummy-looking reads as I can. I have a schedule for doing all of this, follow some rules of my own, and it feels fresh and fun and exciting or I wouldn’t be doing it anymore. I hope it feels the same for my readers, and I try to keep that way by keeping the blogging fun to me.

I’m always very honest and not censor my thoughts or opinions, I express them freely and stand by them. I’m not conflictual though I will stand my ground when wronged, and I always do things that feel right and fun to me. That’s my rule of thumb on anything. My thinking is if I’m enjoying blogging then so will those who’ve been reading the blog so far or new readers.

~ Design ~

I’m a blog theme designed as well as a book blogger and, now, author. I do stuff over at Butterfly-o-Meter Designs and gt a kick out of it, I just love the pretteh in all its forms. This means that I can and do my own design for Butterfly-o-Meter Books. Or that I could, because we have a saying here that goes something like the show fixer will often have unfixed shoes – busy fixing other people’s, lol. I’m quite OCD-ish (eeeeveryone who worked with me on anything knows, lol) so I always see things I can improve, changes, optimize and so on. I’d been looking for a magazine-like Blogger theme forever, for instance; back when I was on WordPress, like 2 years ago, I had magazine style themes and loved them. There’s still something about my current theme I wanna change, but I’m mostly happy with it.

So I’m always looking for things to improve, always trying to clean up my content ie sidebars and footer (always fail to come up with super-clean slinky version I’d want, lol!), often changing something about the presentation of the blog. Sometimes I do radical changes, but I got some items that I keep so even if I do change the structure many of the visuals remain the same. The header chick, for instance, is a newer addition, and I might edit her some with time, do holidays-specific outfits or accessories for her, do holidays specific blockquotes or such. I do these things because they’re fun, they bring an element of new, and it makes me feel like the blog is more alive. Because living things change, evolve, right?
So when I fiddle with the theme, I do it because I love doing that, and I hope to come up with better and better presentation of content for my readers.

Kid Lit / YA

I’m not a fan of Kid Lit. I don’t read MG stuff, adventure stuff. Meh. I used to read those things when I was a kid, like 6 or 7 yo maybe – you know, the fairytales with dragons and white knights and kings and whatnot, The Nevereding Story kind of thing. I loved it, I have the translated version of the book in fact (I’m the only one I know who has it, lol). But I was into that in the first grades, meaning 7 – 11 yo. Closer to the 7 part of the interval though, around 11 I was already sort of not into that kind of read anymore. I wasn’t into any kind of read from that age on to about high school, because what sounded interesting to me was “fit for considerably older kids” and what was fit for my age simply didn’t stir my interest.

That kind of story line still doesn’t really stir my interest. They’re fun reads, I’m not saying they’re not. But I don’t really get into them anymore and haven’t done so in a good while. I read Harry Potter, for instance, and it was well done, but I didn’t have my heart int the story because I just didn’t get emotionally involved in the story like I might have done at say 8. It’s a greatly done series, and I admired its technical qualities so to speak, but that was about it. To me that kind of action is MG and it’s an area I’m not interested in.

I loved to read Jules Verne when I was around the 11 – 14 age, for instance. That’s what kept me interested in that interval. In my mind, you’re a kid until about 14 (when you get your first ID card where I am), then you’re a teenager until you’re 18 (when you legally fully become an adult), and from that point you’re an adult getting older, lol. See what I’m talking about with the age thing?

I am interested in YA now, but for me YA means character of at least say 16 – 17 and more adult than teenager-ish characters, or I just don’t respond to the story. My kind of YA is The Fault in Our Stars, or Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series, or Kady Cross’s Steampunk Chronicles series, or R.L. LaFevers’s His Fair Assassin series. What I mean is, aside me obviously loving steampunk lol, is that I like YA where the character is actually an adult in younger disguise, really. Because to me these main characters read like adults, they’re just set in a 17 yo body or whatever. So it’s not the teenagerish vibe I respond to, but the more adult one or something borderline in between.
Which is why the perfect ground for me is New Adult, the YA-like presentation – first person narrative, very active plot, lots of dialogue, young main character but an adult doing adult things and dealing with adult stuff.
But there’s a catch there, and that is where I am you’re officially an adult at 18 from all points of view. So what’s a YA borderline NA character in a U.S. book, in my mind via my culture, that’s pretty much a legal adult already. So I respond to these reads a bit differently than U.S. readers, maybe, since you guys have a more nuanced transition from teenager to adult. 🙂

But anyway, here a few of my (admittedly few) Kid Lit reads – they were that way to me, you might label them different, lol:

And my YA likes (putting the latest book of the series):

Looking these over, I seem to be more of a Sci-Fi/Steampunk fan than I realized I was, right? And it seems to have started at a young age, too 😀
I won’t list the New Adult titles because they feel lower adult not upper YA to me, but since it’s kind of on the fence between the two I’ll mention the fabulous titles:

If you want my take on it, these two are not upper YA but lower NA, meaning NA would go from say 18 to a 25-ish main character, respecting the best of YA practices: 1st person narrative, lots of dialogue, lots of action and tension, couples with adult best practices like: sensuality (to outright hotness, they’re adults!), freshly adult issues (college -or not, not everyone goes to college I’m sure you agree-, seeking/having a job, first real ie serious relationship, discovering their selves and embracing that, being independent, maybe pregnancy related things – women tend to have kids in that age group around here). That’s my understanding of NA. It’s NA – a new and fabulous thing merging the best of YA and A worlds 😀


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