Wow. That´s how long my Book Box on Instagram lasted. Pretty inpressive, if you ask me. I thought I´d give up much quicker. But I set a goal and I even reached beyond that goal. Now…
It´s time, though, to slowly send the old book box into retirement and let the new generation take over.
But before I introduce you to the new addition let´s take a moment to appreciate the old one.
Old and beaten but still wonderful. When I started out taking pics with this box it still had 4 removable legs.
Now, the box has one leg missing ( it´s somewhere in the field in the next village ) and 2 legs broke off. The box now has one remaining leg.
I will miss using this box. Not so much the fact that it´s a real pain in the ass to carry it around ( because, it truly was a tad bulky and didn´t fit into any backpack or bag ). No. I´ll miss using this for creativity purposes.
The box will stay a part of my deco in the house.
As for the new kid on the block…
It´s much smaller. Much handier. It fits in all my bags and doesn´t take up half the space in my car trunk.
The box itself is smaller than a large paperback book. But don´t worry. I wasn´t planning on stuffing a book inside the box anyways.
Morgana´s Book Box on Instagram is getting a tiny make over with this little cute baby.
Isn´t it cute?
The little inscript on the lower left corner? IT WAS ALREADY THERE! * faint *
As if some higher power wanted me to put the first book box out of it´s misery. And besides, a million ideas flooded my brain when my eyes caught this little gem. A win / win for me 2x over.
Normally, I dislike replacing stuff with new things ( because if it´s not broke, there´s no need for a replacement). In this case, though… It was kind of necessary.
So, there ya have it. Be sure to stay tuned for more, new Instagram features with and without the new book box.
If you haven´t already then just click here and say hi.
So, it´s been a little over a year since I started my Instagram project- Morgana´s Book Box.
During my Insta – year I´ve learned many things about Instagram.
The algorithm is the cause of all evil
Bookstagramming ( Book + Instagram = Bookstagram, Book blogger on Instagram = Bookstagrammer ) is tough
A year ago I had a mission to grace the pic – world with my idea of book promotion.
And in that year I´ve seen alot, met many wonderful people and… well, I´ve basically seen pics. Wonderful pictures, crappy pictures… Pictures that made my nose wrinkle and pictures that had me rolling on the floor, laughing.
Instagram is a fun place to hang out.
My grande plan to make the book world a prettier place slowly died down around September ´17. The idea to present a new kind of book promotion became harder and harder with each week. I gained followers but it seemed like those numbers weren´t really that interested in my content. Or they were but the algorithm made it hard for them to see my features. Either way, it sucked.
Don´t get me wrong- I had ideas. I still have them. It´s just that book blogging doesn´t seem to function over on Instagram. Fun bookish stuff? Absolutely. But actual book blogging? Not so much.
I had a slight feeling that my book box idea was getting old.
As much as I wanted to, I couldn´t stick to one theme. It was time to expand my horizon.
Try out new ways to promote books. Because, that´s what I do, right? I book blog.
Besides, I´m pretty sure no one is interested in the bomb that went off in my kitchen or the unmade bed in my bedroom.
So, here are my new book features, sans book box.
Inside a book. I like open book pictures. They look cool no matter what book you use. A huge plus point is the little snippet you give from a featured book.
4. Flowers. Another indoor feature. Since it´s freezing cold outside and nothing is blooming I´m stuck with working with fake flowers. Not all too terrible. I quite like the flowers after using 6 filters.
Author´s and social media – One can´t really live without the other.
When an author starts out the first thing they need is to become a public figure. And what better way to become a name ( with or without a face) than on social media? There is no better way because, believe it or not… Social media is where half of the magic happens. Social media is, also, where an unimaginable amount of people spend a lot of their time.
And when an author is great at mingling with the common foot folk then social media is a blessing.
But have you ever stopped to think for a second about what exactly happens behind the scene´s? Does an author have to use all social media available for exposure? What does an author have to do in order to become known? Question after question….
The ugly truth is- Author´s cannot avoid social media. It´s nearly impossible. If they do try to avoid any social platform then there´s a high chance no one besides family and friends will ever get to read an author´s work.
Here are a few of the many places where author´s can hang out:
There isn´t really an end to the profitable social media list. With time, each social media site will celebrate their highs and suffer from lows but that still doesn´t change the fact that they´re still necessary. Author´s need to be where the crowd is, right?
But, where, exactly, is the crowd?
I don´t have an aswer for that question. Rumor has it that it completely depends on the genre. Some say it´s better for a paranormal author to spend all their free time on Facebook, and others say Twitter is the place to be for romance writers.
Many authors swear on Instagram being fully Fantasy, Young Adult/New Adult…..
But that´s just absurd because
There hasn´t been an actual study done on the topic.
Social Media platforms are not bound to genres / books. They´re for everyone.
No one and nothing can support that rumor because it´s different for everyone. Every author, every reader has their own thoughts on what works where.
There´s no true formula on which social platform´s the best.
There are a few author superheroes that make us believe they have it all figured out, though. Maybe they do know a few tricks on how to work social platforms. Maybe they develop 8 arms when the moon hits it´s peak. ( Okay, okay. That was unnecessary. But I often can´t help what pops into my mind.)
Unless an author has a wonderful team of minions who´re willing to help, there´s no way an author is able to be everywhere, at the same time. Aside from the miracle worker authors- I´ve noticed not all authors use every platform available. They use what works for them the most.
Some authors focus on Facebook and Twitter. Some work the Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest mill.
Some even go through the efforts over at Youtube and upload book trailers, reading sessions, etc. Writers have become creative in alot of ways and it´s often really cool to witness.
My verdict on what social media is the best for authors is:
Everywhere! Meaning: Every platform is a good place for a writer because it doesn´t depend on where the most people are- It depends on which platform an author feels most comfortable with.
If Facebook works for an author- great.
Instagram? I´m on board with that.
The key isn´t to chase after the crowd. Author´s aren´t door to door salesmen. The key is getting the crowd´s attention.
Which brings me to my next point:
When a writer has their prefered social media platform where they´ve already grown roots.. It´s not wise to think all the work is done. Especially when the love gushing over a certain book has died down ( a painful fact author´s have to come to terms with ).
When the hype is gone, the fan base will cool down. Only a selected few hardcore book activists will stay. What then? Is it time for an author to move on and write something new? Perhaps it´s a better idea to stick with one book and find other ways to promote it? Maybe find more hardcore book activists?
This is where social media can be an author´s best friend.
Every platform is filled with book lovers from all corners of the book world. But what a few aren´t aware of is that Facebook and Co. are also filled with book clubs, book / author groups that offer wonderful extra´s for author´s and readers. Book people like to hide in groups where they can share their latest reads with fellow readers.
Let´s say the hype for an author´s book has died down. Comments slow down. Likes vanish. All the people who have been super supportive have disappeared into thin air. ( Don´t believe it doesn´t happen. It does. Every. Damn. Time. ) It´s a crucial moment. Even devastating because an author depends on likes, follows, shares, etc. Once the interaction slows or stops it can make authors doubt themselves and their abilities.
When that happens it´s time to take the next step. It doesn´t matter which step. It´s the action that matters. Preferably immediately. If an author doesn´t take matters into their own hands then no one else will.
No matter how many blogs support a writer with posts and graphic quotes or honorable mentions…. Blogs and fans don´t own the author´s work, therefore, their hands are tied.
Of course, there are author´s who depend on blogs and fans to do all the dirty work promotion but that´s a different bedtime story for another night.
Author´s who want exposure and want their names to stay in people´s minds need to stay in the picture.
You cannot imagine how often I´ve seen certain books on social media. Sometimes it´s annoying when I see the same book over and over again ( especially after I´ve read it ) But that´s not the point. It´s the fact that the book is still around… even a year after publication date. Why is that?
Because author´s use their tools. They don´t fully rely on others to get the job done. They´re always on the look-out for new groups and games they can participate in so they can introduce their book to new readers. They collide with other authors.
They make it look like they never sleep.
It all ALWAYS boils down to the same point. Work the self-marketing mill as if it were your religion.
Social media is a warped place but it CAN be very useful for authors if they use their platforms well.
Get to know your social platforms. Learn to use them.
NOTE: This doesn´t just apply to authors. This article can be very helpful for book bloggers as well.
Bookmarks. One of those things you can´t live with or without.
Normally, a bookmark is made out of a simple strip of card, used to mark a page in a book so a reader knows where he/she left off. But bookmarks come in all materials, shapes and sizes, these days.
All you have to do is spend some quality time on Instagram and you can find tons, if not more, Insta-feeds from super creative people who make gorgeous, personalized bookmarks or you can do what I usually do * hides face in shame *: Use whatever is close by as a bookmark.
Seriously- I feel slightly ashamed of my bookmark substitutes. I´m 35. I should have figured out by now that toilet paper isn´t the right choice to mark a page but I still do it. I spend so much time on Etsy that I could easily order a few of those fab page markers.
It wasn´t until I decided to dust off my bookshelves when I noticed I had all sorts of weird objects sticking between book pages. I mean- I knew I used toilet paper. But the rest? * snorts * Totally slipped my mind that I used anything flat and within my reach. As I emptied my books I collected some awkward treasures ( including chocolate someone hid behind my books. But that´s a story for a different time).
A bookmark. I have hundreds of bookmarks. If I could only remember where they all are.
2. Piece Of Ribbon. As a mom of 2 girls I have all sorts of glittery girly stuff flying around the house, even ribbons. You can never know when you need to work one into a braid or give a newly wrapped gift the last touch. A piece of ribbon can also be used as a bookmark!
3. Photos. The large rectangular object on the top of the pic is a photo ( turned facedown due to privacy reasons). I can´t, by all that´s fluffy and pink, remember when I used that as a bookmark.
4. Toilet Paper & Kleenex. This is no surprise to any reader. You take your book with you to the bathroom. It´s normal. I have a stack of books right next to my towels.. But when you don´t want to put your book down, not even when nature calls, you take your book with you. That´s just how it works. Toilet paper has more than one function! Kleenex is just as great. Lol.
5. Hair Accessories. I must have been super desperate to use a bobby pin, a rubber band and a hair clip as bookmarks.
6. Post-It Notes / Strips. Those are my favorite and I usually use them when I´m not in that much of a hurry. Since I have them sticking all over my house I just walk by and grab the closest one and stick it in my book.
7. Chewing Gum Wrapper. Not totally unusual or uncommon for me to find gum wraps in my books. I chew a lot of gum, day and night. And I don´t just take a piece out and chew it for hours…. No. I´m a 5-at-a-time kind of girl. I found lots of gum wrappers on bookshelf cleaning day.
8. Receipts. I usually throw receipts right away because they´re unwanted evidence * howling with laughter *. There are a few times I do keep them but they always end up as a bookmark substitute.
9. Clothes Pin. You could pay me and I still wouldn´t be able to remember the moment when I used that. Whatever possessed me to use a clothes pin? It´s not even practical. Just as useless as the chocolate I found hidden behind my books.
10. Pocket Calendar. It was laying on the table. It was either that or use a pen to mark the page I was at.
11. Triangle Ruler. Yeah. The girls leave their stuff on the table and mommy uses it as a bookmark and blames the poor kids for losing her stuff ( parental fail at it´s finest. The shame is unbearable ).
12. Paperclip. Useful in so many ways. For me, a paperclip is like a swiss knife. Always have one in my pocket and purse and you can use it for everything, especially as a bookmark.
My advice for fellow book addicts? Use real bookmarks. That´s what they´re there for. It´s the sole purpose for a bookmark to be wedged between pages. Don´t be like me. Don´t use whatever you can get ahold of.
Speaking of bookmarks…. Here´s a shout out to some amazing creative Insta-people who make wonderful decorative bookmarks that´ll make your reading experience lots more enjoyable!
Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
I have two book titles for you.
Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games.
Add a hint of Breaking Dawn and a sprinkle of the Oscar line „ After all, tomorrow is another day.“ and you don´t have to read `A Court of Thorns and Roses`by the #1 NYT bestseller, Sarah J. Maas, anymore.
Now, brace yourselves. This is going to be a long review with minor to major spoilers. Shall you prefer not to be spoiled then I highly advise you to leave and come back after you read the story yourself.
For weeks I´ve had to look at the rather unflattering book cover of `A Court of Thorns and Roses` on Instagram. Every Insta-blogger insisted on getting on my last nerve with this book. With what reason? Because, D´uh…. it´s an awesome book ( so everyone said).
Someone needs to define the word `awesome` to me again because ( and I quote the brilliant comedian Dylan Moran )
`Mountains and rivers and the fact that I´m still breathing is awesome.`
This story? Not so much.
I´ve avoided this book for a very long time and succeeded in ignoring the Instagram features as well until one fine day….
I decided to go book shopping. Mind you- it´s one of my favorite pastime activities, even if I never walk out with a book, I still love to find out what´s new, etc.
I saw this.
This had me thinking.
I read at least one hundred online reviews, all outstanding and love gushing towards the story. I was nearly blinded by the million insta-feeds for this book….NOW I was seeing tiny, short book recommendations for the one book I´ve been avoiding for so long.
I must have looked like a lost, helpless fool because a sales woman walked right up to me and asked if I needed any help. I thought „ why not“ and asked her if the book was really as good as the recommendation stated.
15 minutes later I was exhausted and caved. I bought the book. An hour later I was at home and opened the book.
I, involuntarily, choked on my own gum.
A map…. of Westeros? Oh, for crying out loud. Really?
Isn´t it funny how Prythian looks like Westeros. And Westeros looks like the UK.
But wait….this gets better. The UK lacks of something significant.
A wall. * faint * For anyone who has read or even heard of the great wall of Game of Thrones… it´s up north where there´s constant cold weather. The wall keeps the bad guys out.
Now look at this and tell me the author wasn´t “inspired” by this idea.
Someone was not in a creative mood that day, huh?
Can you imagine how my mood shifted from suspicious to curious and then dropped to being annoyed? I hadn´t even started reading the dang book and already, I wanted to wrap it up in nice paper and gift it to my neighbor.
But I didn´t. Instead, I read the damn thing from start to finish.
And while I read I had quite a few discussions on the side with people who hadn´t read the book but who had read Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games. Screenshots were sent back and forth, comparing the names of the characters from both books, scenes from the books, etc.
A name from A Court of Thorns and Roses: Hyburn
A name from Game of Thrones: Qyburn
That and the map and the wall. I had a feeling the Wildlings from GoT were the humans from ACOTAR. Both parties bothered by what was beyond the wall until both realized there´s a mutual enemy who had to be dealt with. ( I JUST SPOILED THE PLOT)
If I thought my annoyance couldn´t get any worse, I was wrong.
But the story of ACOTAR shifted. My hopes for a unique story reappeared.
A poverty-stricken family, suffering for the next meal was introduced. Two sisters and their father, huddled in a beaten cottage waiting for the youngest family member, Feyre, to come home from hunting so they wouldn´t have to starve to death.
Not bad, right? I thought it was a nice change to read about a poor family struggling to survive.
What wasn´t so nice was- The characters. Although poor, Feyre´s family were spoiled little shits, whining after their long lost wealth and not accepting their future.
The beginning felt cold. It felt clinical. Emotionless.
Meeh. It was weird.
But things changed for the family after Feyre killed and skinned a wolf during her hunt. It was the one event that changed everyone´s lives forever.
Normally, in Game of Thrones, killing someone / something would result in being beheaded but in this one…. Feyre wasn´t executed for killing the wolf / Faerie ( yes, Faeries could shapeshift. Who would have thought, right? I didn´t know Faeries could bite like vampires, either, yet it happens in this one.). Instead, Feyre was given a choice. To go and live with the Faerie in the faerie land beyond the invisible wall or die on the spot.
Tough and easy choice if you ask me. Of course, Feyre walked into a new future. A future with food and probably share a nice fluffy bed with an elf Faerie, to pay for her crime. Without much of a fight Feyre left her hungry family behind and walked into a better future.
Fast forward- Feyre falls for the Faerie who took her and lives for months with him as his guest.
( Insert Disney´s Beauty and the Beast song, Be Our Guest )
She learned to love the lands she once so hated and was sent back due to highly confidential faerie business.
What a buzz kill, right? Fall in love after planning so many escapes and hiding knives and being 80% of the time bitchy… only to be told she needs to go back home. The hateful efforts all for nothing. * snorts *
But wait- before Feyre was sent on her way, the Faerie Lord, Tamlin ( the Hero ) took it upon himself to give her a few last minute shags before he patted her bottom and waved a white laced hanky after the carriage.
( Note: that wasn´t how it exactly happened. The truth- He screwed her for the first time after he announced she had to leave and then immediately sent her back home to the human world. How romantic. Lol) Still a buzz kill, and we´re only halfway through the story. There´s more to come.
Being back home wasn´t as great as Feyre had planned it would be. She loved the elf Faerie, High Fae, Lord of the Spring Court, Tamlin, and wanted to go back and help him face whatever threat was on it´s way to destroy her pretty Lord. Because it wasn´t enough to be the most powerful Fae in the lands of Fae. It wasn´t enough having the ability to turn into a wolfish beast with horns to slaughter the evil. It wasn´t enough to be more beautiful than Prince Charming himself. He was a lost cause when he was taken.
Now, this was the point where I got excited again. Feyre, the former huntress, was going to help her beloved Lord! Back at the faerie mansion she found it empty, shredded and ruined beyond words. Feyre was too late.
Fast forward again- After the old maid from the fluffy mansion gave the „stupid human“ the truth and directions to where Tamlin was being held as prisoner she sprinted off to a place hidden under a mountain where an evil woman ( who´s name WAS NOT TO BE OUTSPOKEN in the first half of the book) held all Fae lords and their folk captive.
This is where the Hunger Games come in. I swear to God…. when the hand was raised in tribute to the fallen I couldn´t help but laugh.
So, Game of Thrones, a spark of Harry P. Now Katniss Everdeen?
The big question is- Will Katniss Feyre be able to save the one she loves and free the people of Prythian? There´s a book #2 and a book #3. You can figure it out for yourselves.
I mentioned Bella Swan above, remember? Yeah, everything became so „clear“ towards the end. * snorts *
The bottom line- The book would have been so much more enjoyable had the author used her own imagination instead of picking the good bits from other successful stories. I know writers can´t really reinvent the wheel ( to always come up with new things to write about) but a little creativity wouldn´t have hurt. There were quite a few fine written scenes I hadn´t recognized from other books that I actually enjoyed. The rest was just eye roll worthy.
The characters were 2 dimensional. Flat. They had less feeling than I have when it´s time for my monthly strawberry week. There was potential, though. I saw all sorts of great things happening for each character when I started reading. They just never progressed. How am I supposed to feel anxious about certain characters when they´re all emotionless? It´s impossible.
And if I ever read another „ she clicked her tongue…“ I´m gonna file a complaint. One that´s longer and more alive and colorful than this review.
Speaking of writing- The writing was… okay. Not what I would expect from a fantasy story. With ease I read through 416 pages of head-scratch-worthy info. Took me 2 solid days and another few hours to process the clutter I read.
Still- I haven´t completely given up hope. Rumor has it that book #2 is so much better. So much sexier ( so they say. Although I didn´t see much sexy schmexy in this one, so… fingers crossed). So full of everything fabulous. I´d like to be the judge of that myself. I want to see if Feyre will time travel through the stones of Craigh na Dun and meet a hot Highlander named Damie. The possibilities are endless.)
Despite my full rant I´m gonna go ahead and recommend this book. Why? Because I can see why so many people would love the story. If you haven´t read the books I´ve mentioned above then you might be able to enjoy the emotionless adventure ( if a reader doesn´t care for such important nonsense.)
I will say that if you ARE a fan of Game of Thrones or The Hunger games….stay away from this read.
I can see the appeal. But I don´t like it. It´s not for me. There are books out there that are more gripping with less obviously copied bits.
Would I reread this book? Probably not. I´ve got Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games on my shelves already.
The Cover – 2 stars ( It´s not my cup of tea. I find it dull.)
The Story – 2 stars( If the author had added more of her own voice instead of others then it might have been a 4 star read. There was a hint of romance but the rest was full of Feyre´s hateful thoughts. )
The Characters – 2 stars( Emotionless. 2D. Although each had alot to offer… nothing came through. A pity, really. But if I had to pick characters I enjoyed most it would be Tamlin and Lucien. I didn´t care much for Tamlin and Feyre as a couple. )
My emotional state after finishing this read- Confused. Worried I won´t get to see a fanfic in the other installment.
I´m giving `A Court of Thorns and Roses` ( A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas 2 out of 5 stars.