Tag: Holly’s Annoyed

PSA: Authors, Don’t Spoil It!

Posted October 31, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 1 Comment

For years friends have been trying to talk me into watching Game of Thrones. My husband and I binge-watch shows regularly, but neither of us were really that interested in GoT. Finally, Ames and Rowena talked me into starting it.

Normally I’m all about spoilers. I don’t mind if I see or hear things about a show I’m currently watching or plan to watch (or books I’m reading or plan to read). My husband, on the other hand, hates spoilers. He won’t even watch the next episode preview because he doesn’t want to know.

We both went into GoT without really knowing anything about it. I didn’t pay attention to any of the posts about it over the years and neither did my husband. So I figured, what the hell, there are a lot of twists and turns, I’m going to avoid all spoilers. Y’all, it’s hard avoiding spoilers when you’re 6 seasons behind in a series and the current season finale is just airing, but I managed. I didn’t see a single thing that spoiled who lives and who dies, what intrigues were afoot, or anything else. It was like we were watching it in real time.

Until I read The Time in Between by Kristen Ashley. My husband and I had just finished Season 2, but there was a major spoiler for something that happens at the end of Season 3.

The spoiler was a huge one, detailing the events of one of the major events in the show (what happens at the end of “The Rains of Castamere” episode, aka The Red Wedding). And it was just casually mentioned on page as a throwaway comment. The hero and heroine were watching the show and bam, the hero throws out a major spoiler, no big deal (except it was a big deal, y’all! It really was).

Authors, please don’t spoil real-life shows in your fiction books. When I whined about this on Twitter, someone said “To be fair, that spoiler is four seasons old”. 1) I don’t care. A spoiler is a spoiler. 2) The show is still running, so there are a lot of people just starting it. 3) I avoided spoilers like the plague only to be innocently blindsided while reading a novel, ffs. That is not okay.

So, once again, here’s a friendly PSA from your local book blogger: AUTHORS, DON’T SPOIL REAL LIFE SHOWS IN YOUR FICTION NOVELS!


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Retro Post: The Chin Affliction

Posted May 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 10 Comments

This month I had to share with you Holly’s Chin Affliction. If anything, I think the Chin Affliction is even more prevalent today.

This was originally posted on November 17, 2009.

Have you noticed how active chins are?

“She thrust her chin out”

“Her chin came up”

“She lifted her chin”

You notice all the quotes I used above reference females. The Chin Affliction is most often used to showcase a stubborn and/or independent (though IMO many times these traits are interchangeable) heroine. The hero insults her and her chin comes up to show she isn’t intimidated. She faces an unfamiliar situation and her chin comes up to show she’s unafraid. She becomes angry and her chin thrusts out in challenge.

This is something that’s bothering me more and more lately. I like to call it The Chin Affliction. It bothers me because I feel like the moving chin is often an easy way for authors to show emotion. Her chin coming up symbolizes something, which takes some pressure off the author. Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever raised my chin in my life – not when I was angry or scared or being stubborn. It strikes me as a somewhat childish gesture, and frankly it annoys me.

Have you ever even noticed The Chin Affliction? Does it bother you? Is there something else that keeps cropping up that annoys you?

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STGrB: Keeping the Public Informed

Posted October 8, 2013 by Holly in Discussions | 1 Comment

slippery slope

Last year at RWA (2012) after the literacy signing, I sat down with Lynn and Blythe from AAR, Renee from Renee’s Book Addiction and author Jill Sorenson. We talked about many things, but one of our main topics was the STGrB site and what we can do to stop them. Sadly, there isn’t a lot. Because they’ve taken down the massive amounts of personal information they originally posted, things are sticky.

I suggested at the time we ignore them. Taking away their audience means taking away their power. Rowena said then that wasn’t going to work. They’d found a voice and they weren’t going away.  Obviously, since they’re still here a year later, that was definitely the case.

Last week, Goodreads broke my trust by deleting user reviews without notice, citing a “change in policy” as the reason and touting the line that they would no longer tolerate reviews of “authors” but only of the books they write. This, as you can imagine, set off the book reading community. Many users felt as I did, and decided to take their book reviews, shelves and ratings and go elsewhere. The most popular place to migrate seemed to be Booklikes.com. I’m not a huge fan of the Tumblr-like layout of BL, but I’m reserving judgement for now, since the site is still in its infancy. I’m sure it will grown and change, just as GR did. (GR Update: Goodreads never did make an official announcement about this review change on their main page or in their newsletter, but they do have a FAQ About Reviews and Shelves up on the site now explaining their new policy. IMO, they handled the whole thing poorly, and this FAQ doesn’t make me feel any better.)

Though STGrB stands for Stop the Goodreads Bullies, the site owners aren’t content to keep their hate and discontent focused on just that site. As soon as they realized they were losing a lot of their targets because GR deleted reviews, they started to make waves elsewhere. The first place? Booklikes.com.

Last week, I tweeted a screencap Rowena sent me of a quote from Booklikes.com owner that showed up on the STGrB website. Seeing his response there really disheartened me. I thought BL might be an acceptable substitute for GR, but I refuse to associate with anyone who supports or is linked to STGrB.

Over the course of the next few days, it came to light that Booklikes had no idea what the STGrB website was all about, or how it got its start. Which means they aren’t associated with them, which is all to the good. As a matter of fact, when the nature and terrible start of the site was shared with him, Dawid Paiskow, CEO and co-Founder of Booklikes.com, was horrified.

What I realized, upon seeing his reaction, is that ignoring them isn’t the way to go. The only way to combat a site like STGrB is to continually remind the community how they got their start, and why they aren’t a site anyone wants to associate with.

For those of you who aren’t aware, the STGrB site popped up last year in response to what the writers at the site claimed were reviewers bullying authors at Goodreads. To be honest, I have no idea if there actually were/are reviewers at Goodreads who bully authors. I’ve never seen any evidence of it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’ t happen. What I do know is that any credibility the site had was lost when they decided to combat the “bullying” by being bullies themselves.

Some of their first posts were profiles of who they considered to be the biggest bully reviewers. These profiles included the real names, addresses, kids names and places they liked to frequent of the reviewers in question. As you can see in this post at Gossamer Obsessions, STGrB went way too far in their zealous need to “stop the bullies”.

Her personal information has been obscured, but it’s still perfectly clear how much they posted about her (such as her name, her husband’s name, her favourite restaurant, and where she can be found at certain times of day) for everyone to read. The orange squares highlight pertinent phrases and evidence of the post’s date. The pink square indicates irony.

That screenshot was taken from their site in July 2012, as you can see by the calendar right there on their sidebar. You also know it’s from the early days of their site, because they still have buttons from anti-bullying organizations on the sidebar, something they were asked to remove when it became clear their intent was harm rather than education.

STGrB eventually took down the damning information (though screenshots and the internet are forever), but they continue to defame and harass those they consider “bullies”.  I haven’t visited the site since it first went up, because I don’t want to give them more traffic, but I’ve seen screenshots and posts they’ve written. It sickens me that a site with that kind of background would be given legitimacy by sites like HuffingtonPost or authors like Nathan Bransford.

For further information, you can visit stopthegrbullies.net:

This site has been set up to provide truthful information about the actual aims and operations of the so-called ‘anti-bully’ website, stopthegrbullies.com.

I would encourage all of you to share this information with your readers, friends, family members, social media followers, etc. The evidence against the STGrB website is too overwhelming to ingore. They aren’t an anti-bully website. It’s important they not be given any more legitimacy.

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How Goodreads Broke My Trust

Posted September 24, 2013 by Holly in Discussions | 24 Comments

GRI joined Goodreads in 2009. Prior to that, I didn’t keep a dedicated list of the books I read. I had a vague idea based on my reviews and my read shelf in my personal library (back then 90% of all my reads were print). Many of my friends tracked their reads each month and I wanted to do the same. That’s the whole reason I joined Goodreads and the whole reason I use it now.

On Friday, September 20, at around 11:00 am, Goodreads Customer Care Director, Kara, posted in the Announcements section under the Help banner: Important Note Regarding Reviews.

She states that after careful consideration, they’re revising their ToS and review policy and will be deleting reviews and shelves they feel don’t follow the “spirit of Goodreads”. These reviews/shelves are ones that review the author rather than the book. An example given of a shelf that wouldn’t be allowed is “author-is-a-jerk”.

I’m not necessarily opposed to a change like this at Goodreads. I think they made a mistake in not  addressing these types of problem at their inception. Like many others, I was initially surprised at how lax they were in monitoring the content posted there when I first joined. Then I got used to it and even came to expect it. Admittedly there has been a lot of negativity coming out of Goodreads lately. Authors abusing readers, readers abusing authors, etc. The sad fact is, the drama has ramped up so much many readers don’t want to even visit the site, much less review there. I think a policy change was needed after a group of authors created a website dedicated to “outing” reviewers and posting their personal information online, including phone numbers, addresses and places frequented by their families. Something needed to change, obviously.

What I am opposed to is Goodreads deciding to delete user content without prior notice. This is where Goodreads violated my trust. They started deleting content before they made their announcement and without notifying any of the users whose content was being deleted.

**Delete content focused on author behavior. We have had a policy of removing reviews that were created primarily to talk about author behavior from the community book page. Once removed, these reviews would remain on the member’s profile. Starting today, we will now delete these entirely from the site. We will also delete shelves and lists of books on Goodreads that are focused on author behavior. If you have questions about why a review was removed, send an email to support@goodreads.com. (And to answer the obvious question: of course, it’s appropriate to talk about an author within the context of a review as it relates to the book. If it’s an autobiography, then clearly you might end up talking about their lives. And often it’s relevant to understand an author’s background and how it influenced the story or the setting.)

They caught a lot of flak for the policy changes but stood their ground.

To clarify, we haven’t deleted any book reviews in regard to this issue. The key word here is “book”. The reviews that have been deleted – and that we don’t think have a place on Goodreads – are reviews like “the author is an a**hole and you shouldn’t read this book because of that”. In other words, they are reviews of the author’s behavior and not relevant to the book. We believe books should stand on their own merit, and it seems to us that’s the best thing for readers.

Again, I am not necessarily opposed to a change of this nature. But Goodreads made a major mistake when they deleted content without notice. They realized that and apologized, but stated the content could not be reinstated long enough to allow the users to export the reviews or change them.

One concern that has come up in this thread is that the content was deleted without those members first being told that our moderation policy had been revised.

In retrospect, we absolutely should have given users notice that our policies were changing before taking action on the items that were flagged. To the 21 members who were impacted: we’d like to sincerely apologize for jumping the gun on this. It was a mistake on our part, and it should not have happened.

While we misstepped by deleting them without advance warning of the policy change, the reviews still violate our review guidelines and can’t be reinstated. If we could, we’d love to retroactively export the content, but unfortunately it’s already been deleted. (Message 2704)

As the thread continues (3000+ comments and counting) Kara continued to respond to questions in a vague and somewhat condescending manner. I did not read all 59 pages (at the writing of this post), but I have grave concerns about the direction Goodreads is heading after reading some of Kara’s responses.

For example, when asked how Goodreads is deciding what shelf names are offensive, her response was:

We don’t comment publicly on individual cases, but in general, what we do is look at a shelf and see how it is used in context. In any case where we have decided to remove that shelf, we are confident that the shelf was being used in a way to review author behavior. (Message 2679)

So initially it was shelves with names like “this-author-is-a-jerk”, but when confronted with the deletion of a shelf named “hormel”, she admits they’re profiling shelves? That doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t like the idea that some nameless, faceless employee at Goodreads is looking at my shelves and deciding for me what I meant by naming/shelving as I did. The terms of the new policy are too broad. Users commenting in the thread are concerned about what they’re allowed to do and what they aren’t. I, too, am confused. Goodreads needs to be specific in what will and won’t be allowed.

The most glaring error on their part, however, is that there has been no official announcement about this policy change. They haven’t sent out an email to their members or made a front-page announcement. The only place this information is available is in the Help section under “announcements”. Goodreads has over 2 millions members and only just over 13,000 (at the writing of this post) have viewed that message. I don’t know about any of the other members, but this is the first time I’ve ever even visited the Help page. If I hadn’t been directed to the link by someone on Twitter, I wouldn’t have known about the changes at all. I’m afraid other members still don’t.

There are a good number of members who won’t care even if they do find out. But there are a good number who will. Why hasn’t Goodreads sent this to all its members?

Lots of people are jumping ship from Goodreads and heading over to sites like Booklikes, Libib and Library Thing.  I can’t say that I blame them. What about you? Will you be staying at GR and braving the stormy season ahead or are you moving your books and reviews elsewhere?

Here are a list of alternative sites. I’ve investigated most of these and admit I haven’t found one that’s as easy to use as Goodreads, but that could partially be because I’m not familiar with them like I am Goodreads.




The Reading Room

Booklikes (this is the site most readers are currently migrating to. The system is running really slow at the moment thanks to the influx)


Most of these sites give the option of importing your Goodreads library, including all reviews. I’ll update as I discover more sites.


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"Stop the GR Bullies" aka WTF is Wrong with People?

Posted July 13, 2012 by Holly in Discussions | 17 Comments

(for the record, the title of this post is a rhetorical question..I know there’s no right – or even good – answer to that question)

Warning: The following is going to be a long, rambling rant. Read at your own risk.

I’ve been on the internet a long time now. I started lurking on message boards, forums and chatrooms in the late 90’s. I started posting regularly in the early 2000’s and I’ve been a member of the online blogging community for almost 7 years now. I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous shit in my day*. Especially in the reader communities. Pettiness, jealousy and rudeness. Friendships ruined and backstabbing and immaturity at its worst. From adults. From grown-ass women who should know better.

Readers – myself included – sometimes have a sense of entitlement when it comes to books. Is it because we spend our hard-earned money on them? Maybe. Is it because we invest our time and energy into reading them? Probably. Is it because we become emotionally invested in them as we read and we don’t like to be disappointed if and when? Almost absolutely. Does that make it ok that we feel entitled to say what we want about the book? Eh..I think the answer to that is subjective, but I’m going to say yes.

Yes, I feel like I have the right to criticize a book I read – whether I bought it, rented it, borrowed it or was given it for review – because that’s what it was put out there for. To be read (or not). To be enjoyed (or not). To be shared (or not). To be talked about (or not). When the author wrote that book, did she write it solely for herself? So no one would read it? Talk about it? Share it? If so, why did she publish it? The fact of the matter is, once it’s put out there for public consumption, it’s out there for public consumption. Good or bad.

Relatively speaking, we’re the good girls in the romance review blogging community. We don’t get involved in most of the online drama, we don’t often pick fights with authors or readers, hell, most of the time we don’t even pay attention to the kerflulffles going on around the ‘net. It’s not because we don’t care what happens in our community, and there have been times we’ve gotten involved. But for the most part we’re busy living our lives and don’t feel the need to dedicate what little free time we do have to pursuing the latest dramas.

But sometimes. Man. Sometimes I just can’t not get involved. Sometimes I see something that makes me want to scream and pull my hair out. And sometimes I see shit that makes me sick – absolutely sick – to be part of this online “community”. I’ve reached that point today.

Look, I get that sometimes reviewers grate on the nerves of authors. I get that someone not loving a book stings. Even the most well-adjusted person can FREAK THE FUCK OUT when he or she receives a negative book review. I get that. I really do.

But, as a book reviewer, I don’t think about that when I write a review. I don’t think about the author at all. I think about the book. The book I spent my dollars on. The book I spent hours of my time reading. The book I became emotionally invested in. I don’t know the author. I (probably) haven’t met her. I don’t know what she’s like in real life. I don’t know her favorite color, or what she likes to eat for breakfast in the morning. I don’t know if she has kids or a family. I don’t know if she’s a stone-cold bitch or has a heart of gold. And honestly, I don’t give a fuck. Because I’m not reviewing the author. I’m reviewing the book she wrote. Then published. So I could read it.

Let me repeat: I’m not reviewing the author. I’m reviewing the book.

It used to be that the author vs reader/reviewer thing went down on Amazon. Then it moved to the bloggers as we tried to establish our place here on the web. Then into the young adult community. I saw a new drama go down in YA-land on a weekly basis there for awhile. Now it’s shifted to Goodreads. I don’t know why. I really don’t. The arguments on either side aren’t new. Reviewers are assholes. Authors are assholes. Someone is always behaving badly. Right?

But lately the tone has turned.. vicous. Readers are afraid to post honest reviews on Goodreads because 9 times out of 10 the author will check it out. And comment. And send her cohorts to comment. And pretty soon what started out as a review of the book – whether good, bad, snarky or whatever – has turned into war.

And then it goes too far. Currently, a group of people (or maybe just one person? dare I say author?) has taken it upon themselves to avenge the poor authors who are getting slammed at Goodreads by mean-girl reviewers. How are they doing the avenging? By dedicating a website to “exposing” the reviewers, Stop the GR Bullies. Posting personal information about them, including real names, where they live and pictures of them.

I…I have no words for this kind of behavior. I don’t understand how posting a bad review about A BOOK on the web opens a person up to have their personal information posted or to being attacked on a personal level. As I said, when I write reviews, I’m not thinking about the author. Because I’m not reviewing the author. I’m reviewing her book. If a website popped up reviewing my review, well..that would be one thing. But a website dedicated to “outing” these reviewers makes me sick. Just sick.

But I’ll tell you something. Seeing things like that might sicken me, but they won’t stop me from reviewing. I’m still going to write reviews for books I hate. And for books I love. I really hope the rest of you will do the same.

*I’ve also seen some pretty amazing shit. The community rallying around someone who had a loss, supporting great causes and sharing a mutual love of reading. Just so you don’t think there’s no good in the bloggy world.

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