Tag: New Adult

ArmchairBEA 2013: Keeping it Real & Children’s/Young Adult Literature

Posted June 1, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 13 Comments

armchairBEAWhat do you mean by “keeping it real”? Does this come back to ethics or are we talking about relating to our audience? Like I said when I ranted a little about authors and ethics, I try to be transparent and talk about what works for me and what doesn’t. I want people to read my blog and get my honest opinion. Sure, I get ARCs and sometimes it feels like the publisher stops sending me books because of a bad review but I think that is just my imagination. The publicists I’ve talked to that work in the book industry have told me that they don’t have a problem with bad reviews, it is about getting exposure to the book and they know that some people won’t like it but at least the book is getting talked about. Now if you are talking about writing material that will keep readers coming back for more then I’m probably not the right person to ask. I like to review all my books and write bookish posts on topics I’ve been thinking about, I love comments but I’m not too worried if I don’t get any. I’ve said this before, this is just a way for me to express my passion for books and if I get readers, that is just a bonus.

So now let’s move on to Children’s/Young Adult Literature; genres that I often struggle with. First of all, children’s books like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Little Prince are wonderful philosophical novels but I don’t know how to write a decent review for them. Then you get great picture books like I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen which I love and want on my bookshelf but when it comes to the book blogging world, I don’t know how to approach them in a blog. I have a love/hate relationship with Young Adult books, I want to enjoy them and for some I have but I really want more from most of them. I’m really getting sick of all the dystopian and paranormal YA novels but people love them and good for them, I’m just personally over them. I know erotica is the new big thing but I think YA (and maybe even NA) will remain big sellers in the book world.

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Banner by Nina of Nina Reads and button by Sarah of Puss Reboots


ArmchairBEA 2013: Blogger Development & Genre Fiction

Posted May 29, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 26 Comments

armchairBEADay two here at Armchair BEA and we are talking blogging and genre fiction. This could be interesting; I can’t wait to see what people say about both topics. When it comes to blogging I take this serious; it’s not that I want to become a professional and earn money (sure that would be nice but I want to treat this as a hobby, I’d love to get paid for doing what I love but I’m happy to have fun) I just like things organised and looking good. I’m not entirely happy with the way my blog looks but I think I lack the coding and graphic design skills to fix it so I leave it the way it is. Now when it comes to blogging platforms, I’m an elitist and think a self published wordpress blog is the only way to go; it is the only way to be flexible and professional. I’ve also recently discovered this amazing plugin thanks to The Oaken Bookcase which has been a book blogging lifesaver (after the hours spent going though older posts to fill in the information) so if you are on wordpress.org check it out.

Last year I wrote a Top Tips for Book Blogging post as part of Armchair BEA but think time I think I would just like to share my goals for this blog which should lead into the talking about genre fiction. This blog originally started as a way to document my reading journey, I’ve always thought my target audience is me and any other readers are just added bonuses. Now I want to be a literary explorer, I don’t want to get tied into only reading one genre, so before I started this blog I started a Goodreads book club also called Literary Exploration  in which we try to read different books in different themes and genres. Now this is all voted on so sometimes I think the book club can get a little stuck on reading cannon books but it is a lot of fun and still takes me out of my comfort zone. This led to the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge where we challenged people to read a book from different genres. This has had such a positive result that I think it will become a yearly challenge (with some fine tuning) and I hope it will continue to push people out of their comfort zones.

Now I like to read literary books but I do enjoy some good hard crime (hard-boiled and noir) but as a literary explorer I have to force myself to read all genres. I really struggle with Fantasy (not so much urban fantasy), Romance, Erotica, Chick Lit, Paranormal and Young Adult fiction but I really try. I think it is important to be willing to try other genres because there are always great books to experience and if we are not willing to try we end up missing books that could become our next loved book. A recent example of this for me was The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu, I expected Young/New Adult but I got so much more for the book.

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Banner by Nina of Nina Reads and button by Sarah of Puss Reboots


The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu

Posted May 4, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Young Adult / 0 Comments

The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani BoianjiuTitle: The People of Forever Are Not Afraid (Goodreads)
Author: Shani Boianjiu
Published: Hogarth, 2012
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Lea, Avishag and Yael grow up in a small town on the Israel/Lebanon border leaving normal teenage lives. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid tells the story of these three normal Israeli girls from passing notes in school, talking about boys to turning eighteen and being conscripted into the army. Winner of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” authors to watch list in 2011, Shani Boianjiu’s debut novel is a coming of age novel unlike any before. Growing up in this intense war torn world changes everything, even for three normal teenage girls.

First thing I would like to say is I was hugely impressed with The People of Forever Are Not Afraid, I never expected to find a New Adult novel that offers so many different elements. While this seems to be marketed as a Young/New Adult novel, I think this is because the old “coming of age” formula seems to go hand and hand with these two genres. Though this is so much different; these three girls are plucked from their normal teenage lives, put into the army and forced to grow up rather quickly.

There are some really interesting themes throughout this novel. Firstly there are the major themes of growing up as an Israeli girl and conscription, and Shani Boianjiu is the voice of experience here; at the age of 18, she entered the Israeli Defence Forces and served for two years. So you get the sense that maybe this novel is semi-autobiographical but not knowing much about the author I wonder which of the three girl’s best resembles her. Though I have a feeling that Lea, Avishag and Yael all have an element of Boianjiu in them; I like how she has the three different personalities within the book to help show the how war really effects a person.

This brings us to the theme of War; while for the most of the book they are living in a perpetual state of war, the conflict between Israel and Lebanon still puts them into real danger. Though the reader has to ask themselves if eighteen too young to deal with war; they are still in a state of self-discovery when they are thrown into such an extreme situation. I know it is part of their heritage but when you talk about war and even RPG children (“children who tried to shoot RPGs at soldiers and ended up burning each other because they were uninformed, and children”) you really have to wonder how old is old enough to deal with war.

Finally, the book looks at the influence western society has on the Middle Eastern culture; I’m sure girls thought about boys and sex but there is a definite changing that comes through in the novel. References to Dawson’s Creek and Mean Girls and the whole attitude towards relationships (breaking up every week) and sex really feels more like something from an American teen drama than an Israeli town. I don’t know much about their culture but I know enough about pop-culture and the difficulties that western society has on Muslim and Jewish heritage to notice this real culture clash.

The People of Forever Are Not Afraid really is an interesting New Adult novel; it is smart and thought provoking and yet it’s really funny as well. I remember the cheesy lines made me chuckle like the idea of a mother not wanting her daughter to have a party because she was worried that her friends will break her hymen. All these elements seem to work together to produce a novel that is both easy to read and unlike anything I’ve read before.

I was never sure what to make of The People of Forever Are Not Afraid but I’m glad I had a chance to read this novel. It’s a debut novel that shows us that Shani Boianjiu is an author to watch in the future. It’s not without its flaws, the repetitiveness got to me a little but in the end all the good aspects of this book outshined any problems. It’s the type of novel that made me want to turn back to page one and start reading it again. I’m not a fan of Young Adult and New Adult novels in general but I can’t help but recommend this one to all readers.