Real-Life Brand Names in Books

Hello dear readers, I hope this post finds you well.

I came across the idea for this week’s post a few months ago when I was listening to/reading a book for a book tour I was participating in.

If you’re interested in the review for it, you can read it here: Crossing in Time by D.L Orton

If you like this discussion type post, make sure to follow me on social media for more!

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This post is nothing against the author or the book Crossing in Time. I thought it was decently written, but it just happened to be the first time I heard real-world brand names used in a book before.

Often mentioning brand names is much more subtle. In movies we rarely get any mention of them, but we see them subtly as part of the story. In books, at least in my experience, we almost never get them.

I don’t often read books set in our world. Many of the books I read are fantasy, so they are set in made up worlds.

When I was reading crossing in time, Walmart was brought up and I actually stopped for a second. On one hand I thought it was brilliant because you did a page’s worth of explanation just by using the word Walmart because everyone can imagine what a Walmart looks like.

You could debate whether or not it is a lazy storytelling device, but that is an argument for another day. Personally I think it’s a touch of brilliance if it is used in the proper type of story.

On the other hand though, I actually had to stop reading for a minute because I did not like my reality being used in this story.

It felt weird and made my skin crawl.

I had never experienced it before, but I knew right away that I wouldn’t like it.


What is your opinion on real-world brand names being used in books. Is it a lazy storytelling device? Does it make your skin crawl? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media!
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My Predictions for the Book World in the 2020s

Hello dear readers, I have a post that I’ve been wanting to write for a while for you today.

I was looking back at my childhood and remembering books and publishing from when I was a kid and how it has changed since then.

That got me thinking about what I think will happen in the next ~10 years in the publishing world.

These are just things that I think will happen. If I happen to be correct, then good for me, if I am not, then oh well.

What are your predictions for the book world? Do you agree or disagree with any of my predictions? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media!
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Physical Books

I don’t foresee any major change in this department. I think the printing of physical books has found a happy medium in terms of sales. There might be some spikes and some lows of people buying physical books, but it will more or less stay the same with maybe a small growth.

I find a lot of less serious readers prefer to have a physical book in their hands because they don’t see the need for an e-reader. A lot of book bloggers/tubers also seem to like getting their hands on physical books, though plenty like e-books too.


e-Books

I think the demand for e-books will continue to grow at a steady pace. It is becoming a much more affordable and portable way to read. If authors and publishers want to keep e-readers happy though, I think they will need to find ways to ensure more accessible files for their e-books, which brings me to my second point.

I think we will see more variety in types of e-readers. I think a few companies will develop their own version of a Kindle, with unique features specific to their brand, which will give readers cheaper options that might fit their needs/wants better. Two companies that I believe could pursue this path are Google and Microsoft, but also possibly an out of the blue small company that focuses solely on e-readers.


Audiobooks

Audiobooks will continue to grow and become more mainstream. Audiobook services will be easier to obtain for smaller authors, and audiobook narrators will be more sought after.

I think there will be more of a division between narrators though, with a small group of narrators being regularly sought after, and listeners will look for books by those specific narrators.

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Publishing

With the Black Lives Matter movement across the world, I expect to see better diversity in publishing. It’s not something that happens overnight, but I expect by 2025-7 we will see more equality between what peoples are being published. I expect there to be ups and downs, some being lower and higher based off of social upbringings, but for the most part we will see more equality.


Writing

I actually predict that writing will become less of a career path for many people. With the rise of technology and video games I think that young people won’t pursue writing as often since they won’t be reading as much.

What we will see a rise in is the number of non-white authors. I think as publishing better represents minorities, those minorities will see writing as a tangible career choice.


Adaptations

Already there are a lot of TV shows and movies that are based off of books and I think this will only continue to rise. The o only issue is that these companies too often re-make old content because they know it will make them money.

With more ideas coming from authors with a large variety of backgrounds, the entertainment industry will be forced to turn them into movies and TV shows.

I also think that books will start getting video game adaptations. I don’t see this becoming a regular habit until the late 2020s, but I think there is a lot of potential for really fun video-games that could become best-sellers if they are dated from books. Look at the Witcher Series for example.


Marketing

It’s tough to market books, there isn’t much you can do that would be new in my opinion. I think marketers will embrace certain styles of books, or books with certain voices and characters in them.


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Overall

I don’t see much of a change for the book world overall in the next 10 years except becoming more inclusive. We will see a change in stories and trends, but for the most part I don’t see things changing.

If I had to make one big guess, I would assume that the desire for YA content will be greater than ever. YA content is almost universally read so publishers will pursue it as a safe bet.


What are your predictions for the book world? Do you agree or disagree with any of my predictions? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media!
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The Avatar Blogger Award

Water. Earth. Fire. Air. I’ve heard stories about the old days, a time of peace when the Avatar Blogger kept balance between the Water Critics, Earth Reviewers, Fire Writers, and Air Readers. But that all changed when the Fire Writers attacked. 

Only the Avatar Blogger, master of all four blogging elements could stop the ruthless Fire Writers. But when the world needed them the most, they vanished. A hundred years have passed, and the Fire Writers are nearing victory in the war. 

Some people believe that the Avatar Blogger was never reborn into the Air Readers, and that the cycle is broken. But I haven’t lost hope. I still believe that somehow, the Avatar Blogger will return to save the book world!


The journey to become the Avatar Blogger has been long. You have had to answer the questions to four different tags; Book of Water Tag, Book of Earth Tag, Book of Fire Tag, Book of Air Tag.

If you have completed all four, then congratulations, you have officially completed your training and have become the Avatar Blogger.

There are no questions for you to answer. All you must do is go and spread your wisdom and teachings. Announce to your followers of your success and share with them all you have learned.

If you have not done so yet, feel free to put the Avatar Blogger Award logo onto your blog for all to see!


If you have not been tagged in any of the four different tags, let me know and I can send you the questions you will need to answer.

Otherwise, creating the tag was a lot of fun. I enjoy the world of the Avatar, and doing research on the different nations made a few sleepless nights go by easier.

The tags haven’t taken off too much just yet, but I’m hoping things will pick up soon!

Sabran IX Berethnet: A Queen of Legacy

Hello my dear readers. After many weeks of putting it down to finish other books, I finally finished The Priory of the Orange Tree.

This isn’t a review of the book, that will come some time in the future, hopefully soon. Instead, I want to analyze one of the main characters that stuck out to me during the book; Sabran IX, the ruler of the Queendom of Inys.

Some of these opinions might be seen as controversial, and if you agree or disagree with me, we should talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media.
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She’s Flawed

My favourite thing about Sabran is that she is far from perfect and confident. She is very much a flawed character, and that is what makes her story so much more interesting.

She is a young Queen, but a strong ruler.

She has her fears about having children, and pursues immortality instead. She has fears that plenty of young women have.

Childbirth can be a scary thing for anybody, even a queen. If the power of immortality was at your fingertips, wouldn’t you think of pursuing it too?

Samantha Shannon, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree

She’s Conflicted

Sabran has lived her entire life with other voices in her head, making decisions for her. She is the Queen, but she’s had advisors and other nobles limiting her freedom of thought.

Because of this, we see her doubt. We see her unsure of herself when she has a moment of privacy that the reader gets to explore. On the surface, she is a strong, more than capable queen. When we can tear wear the tough exterior, she is scared, she is unsure, she is exhausted.

It can’t be easy being a Queen, and when you’ve had a parentless existence like she has, you can imagine how lonely it can be.


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She’s Romantic

Marriage is one thing Sabran tried to avoid when she was young. She didn’t want to marry, she wanted to be immortal instead.

When love finally comes her way, it’s as if she dives into it head first. She opens herself up to it, and she enjoys it. All of her fears are put to the side, and she accepts the beautiful things that love can bring.

That’s when her world is torn apart.

Sabran finally accepts love. She realizes the good it can bring, and how happy it can make her, and then it is ripped from her.

Her husband and her child are taken from her. The two things she was terrified to go through with were torn from her, her fears come true.

The emotional and mental destruction that would bring on anyone. She spent years avoiding them, and it is almost as if her fears made it a reality.

When Sabran realizes her feelings for Ead, it’s as if her pieces are put back together, slowly, but much stronger.

Cover from Goodreads

She allows herself to feel again, despite all the pain and fear it has brought her.

This time, she finds the love of her life. She finds her other half, and even when she falls into more emotional moments, where Ead is in danger, she keeps a strong head and does what needs to be done.

She may love Ead, but she knows when she needs to be a lover and when she needs to be a fighter.


She’s Strong

It’s never directly stated, but it seems like Sabran’s ancestors have always suffered from depressive episodes.

It’s fairly well known, and Sabran experiences a few throughout the book.

What I like about her, is that she comes back from these dark moments, and she steps up when the time is right.

A thousand years of “destiny” and “prophecy” are on Sabran’s shoulders. She believes she is the sole reason that the end of the world is alive. She believes if her lineage ends, the Nameless One will rise and destroy the world.

When a High Welters, the strongest of the dragons besides the Nameless One, comes to her doorstep, she doesn’t hesitate in confronting it. She knows she could die with one swipe of its tail, but she confronts it as if she could kill it with her gaze alone.


She’s Wise

As we make it further into The Priory of the Orange Tree, the entirety of Sabran’s religion is tested more than once.

The truth to the origin story of her religion is proven wrong, and then wrong again.

Despite this, she is understanding, and she is open minded. She could remain ignorant, sticking to her beliefs of what her and her people have been taught for hundreds of years.

It would be the easiest thing for her to do, but she is willing to accept the truth to it all, and learn from it.

Fan art of Sabran IX from the PotOT Wiki

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Sabran’s character is far from perfect. She’s a bit of a bitch at times during the start of the book, but as we get to know her more and more, we understand why.

We understand her thoughts and actions more and more, and we realize she is an amazing character.

Sabran is definitely my favorite part of The Priory of the Orange Tree. She provides a wonderful emotional thread to the story, and it’s always refreshing to have a character that acts with her mind and heart, instead of just her heart.

Fan art of Sabran IX from the PotOT Wiki

What did you think of Sabran IX? I’d love to talk about her, or this book in the comments, or on social media.
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I’ve Almost Reached My 2020 Goals…and it’s only May. Also…a future giveaway!

ALLLL the way back in January, I set some goals for myself on what I wanted to achieve for my blog in 2020. Some were social media based, some were more content based.

I’ll sum them up quick below, but if you want a refresher, read my 2020 Goals here.

If you want to chat about all things book related, make sure to follow me on social media!
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Goals – SOcial Media/Reading

I keep track every Sunday of the progress of my social media channels, so here are the goals and the current standings of each of them.

12 Books Read6 Finished (though I have two more that are halfway done and don’t expect this to be too difficult.)
325 Twitter Followers304 Followers (I expect I’ll hit 325 by the end of the month)
150 Instagram Followers131 Followers (This might take longer, but I should have it met soon!)
25 Facebook Followers16 Followers (I’m not totally sold on Facebook yet, but its slowly growing)
300 Blog Followers232 Followers (The furthest of my social media goals, but I am growing at a steady pace and don’t expect too much issue with this one.


I’m not trying to brag or anything, but I have been increasing my social media presence in different ways, and I have been seeing results.

I don’t imagine I will meet all the goals by the end of May, but I expect to have most of them reached by the end of June or July for sure.

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GOALS – Content

I wanted to explore more content for my blog, so I came up with some goals for myself for that as well. Again, here are the goals and their current status.

Host 2 giveaways (one for Christmas and one for hitting 300 followers)
Haven’t started, but I have plans for a Christmas one floating in the back of my head. Might hold off on the 300 follower one until I reach all social goals.
Host 1 contest for writers
Rough planning has commenced but nothing concrete.
Have 5 collaborations with authors or other bloggers this year
Already at 3 and have a few in mind to get started on soon.
Create a blogging award (not specifically for book bloggers)
Not done, but in the early stages.
Create new look for this blog
Done and I like the new look!
Create a blog mascot
Has changed slightly, but it is “done.”
Make significant progress on my bookHave done significant planning and writing has commenced.

Not as far along on the content goals, but I am making good progress seeing as its only the fifth month of the year.

Once I hit all of the social media goals, and one or two more of the content goals, that’s when I’ll host a giveaway. I have a few ideas in mind but nothing set in stone yet.

Literary Showcase: Canada Edition

Hello my dear readers, I have a new recurring post idea that I want to start today.

We all know how many books are out there. I mean every day there seems to be another book being released, from another brand new author.

With this recurring post, I want to highlight some books that are written in certain countries around the world, as well as some authors you should check out.

I want to give less well known and indie authors a chance for the spotlight, as well as highlight the fact that they were written in certain countries.

Since I am a maple syrup blooded Canadian, that seemed a good a place as any to start with some featured books.

I’ll likely only give you a few books and a few authors per post, but depending on the country there may be a few more or less.

If you think of any other authors or books that need to be featured, let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message on social media.
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Aubrey McKee is the the first in a series of five autobiographical novels by Alex Pugsley. Aubrey McKee tells the story of a boy growing up in 1970s and 1980s Halifax. The second novel, which follows the narrator’s arrival in Toronto as a young man, is forthcoming. 


In the novel How a Woman Becomes a Lake, it’s New Year’s Day, and in a small fishing town called Whale Bay a woman goes missing. Vera had set out on a walk with her dog, and her husband Leo took their boys on a boat to write their New Year’s resolutions. In the weeks that follow, Vera’s absence sets off a chain of suspicion within the town. After Leo moves south, the detective investigating the case becomes obsessed with the missing woman. 


In Mysterious Dreams of the Dead30-somethingMike Shintani decides to address the mysterious circumstances of his father’s death when he was 15 — after perishing in a plane crash, Mike’s father’s body was never found. Mike finds a diary written in Japanese, which sets him on a pathway to finding out the truth of his father’s mysterious life. 


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Samra Habib is a journalist and photographer. Her first book, We Have Always Been Hereis a memoir about her childhood in Pakistan, arriving in Canada as a refugee and coming out as a proud queer Muslim woman. Habib is also the creator of the photo documentary project Just Me and Allah, in which she travelled the world to document the diverse stories of LGBTQIA Muslims.


Teresa Wong’s first book Dear Scarlet is a moving graphic memoir about the author’s experience with postpartum depression. Written as a letter to her eldest daughter, Wong offers an honest and tender account of motherhood, family and mental health.


Do you know of any other Canadian authors or books in the making? Let myself and my readers know by leaving it in the comments, or share it with us on social media.
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The Hunger Games vs. Divergent

Hello dearest readers, today we have a matchup for the ages! Two very popular YA series pitted against each other.

On one hand, we have The Hunger Games series, the other the Divergent series.

Both series will go head to head in a battle of five different categories, but only one series can come out on top.

If you have any ideas for a future vs. battle, let me know in the comments or on social media.
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The World Before the Books

The world of the Hunger Games is a small dystopian nation split into 12 different Districts, each responsible for producing a certain resource. Meanwhile, each of the 12 Districts needs to give a tribute each year for the Hunger Games – a battle royale mainly used for entertainment, but also to make the Districts submit to the government.

Divergent on the other hand is a relatively happy society. People are sorted into one of five different factions based on their personality. There are outliers called “Divergents” that present multiple characteristics for the factions. We find out later that they are in a sort of experiment and are being watched and their memories reset if needed.

This Round Goes To: Hunger Games.
Though I think Divergent has a better premise overall, it takes too long to learn they are being observed. We don’t get to find out till the final book. Hunger Game’s concept is going right from the start, so they take this round.


The Story

The Hunger Games focuses on Katniss surviving her hunger games, and another one, and then leading a revolution to overthrow the government. It has a nice progression to it, and there are only minor hints of the story being too ridiculous.

Divergent focuses on Tris as she trains to become a member of the Dauntless faction, her living with her Divergent nature, and then fighting in a civil war, before finally discovering she has been living in a social experiment.

This Round Goes To: Divergent
I loved the thrill that was the Hunger Games, but it didn’t explore the grittiness enough, and Katniss was more along for the ride than being a key player. Tris was a key player from the start, and though she had a lot of help along the way, she was never a background character in the story.


The Characters

The Hunger Games had a lot of interesting characters, some with some captivating backstories. We didn’t dive too deep into them, but when we did they were some of the best parts of the story. They were often damaged, hardened characters, and they played a key role in the story.

Katniss herself was a great protagonist in my opinion. She had a good depth to her, and I think she was a nice perspective for a YA Dystopian novel. She wasn’t the perfect protagonist that we too often get from YA novels. She had her flaws, she had her emotional struggles, but we got to see her get through them.

Divergent didn’t have a broad character list. Yes, we got to see a lot of different people while Tris did her thing, but they all felt like the same person. To me it felt like you could mold a few characters together and the story wouldn’t be lost at all.

Tris was Divergent, so we got to see her struggle with that reality, and her need to hide it from society. She had some depth to her, and she was a strong part of the entire story. She didn’t really take a back seat and let others tell her what to do.

This Round Goes To: Hunger Games
There was more diversity to the entire character list. Though both protagonists were a great part of both stories, the range of characters was what put Hunger Games through to win this round.

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The Ending

I’ll be honest. I hated the end of the Hunger Games. I felt like it was too rushed, and we didn’t get to flesh it out fully. I don’t think the characters got the justice that they deserved (Finn). I will admit that I am glad it wasn’t an entirely straightforward ending. With Prim’s death and Katniss killing the District 13 leader, I don’t think a lot of characters were expecting it to end that way, but it felt like the ending wasn’t true to the story, and the characters were just sort of left to deadlines and publisher’s demands.

Divergent wasn’t much better for me. Another series where I didn’t like the ending. I was fine with them all being a part of an experiment, and Tris dying in the end, but again the ending didn’t feel complete. Tris ends up dying, which isn’t common for YA novels in my experience, but she did have a change of perspective which is even more rare.

This Round Goes To: Divergent
The only reason Divergent wins this round (just barely) is because of Tris’ death and her change of heart. I liked that Katniss didn’t live happily ever after, Tris dies when she finally realizes she was in the wrong. I liked that a series wasn’t scared to kill its’ protagonist, so Divergent takes this round.


The Popularity

The Hunger Games was immensely popular with a lot of audiences, and the series seemed to take the world by storm for a few years.

Divergent, though seemingly popular with a younger audience, didn’t seem to get as much hype, though I think it was deserved.

This Round Goes To: Hunger Games


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The Winner: Hunger Games!!!

I think this was a close battle, despite Hunger Games taking the crown. They were both great YA series, and both had good and bad things about them, but Hunger Games pulled through because of the worldwide popularity it seemed to gain.


Do you think Divergent should have won, or is Hunger Games deserving of the crown? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media.
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