Review Requests Open Again

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The review request window on Off The TBR is open once again! I’m referring to it as a window because I could shut it again at any time. If I do it will probably be for one of two reasons:

  • I’ve received too many requests and need to pause in order to get caught-up
  • Life has gotten too busy outside the blog and I can’t keep up with reading and reviews

Both circumstances should (hopefully) only bring a temporary window close.

I’ll be taking most of this post and copying it directly to my Review Request & Contact Info page as well as my Rating System page. So really this is an announcement and a copy of what you’ll see on those pages. Both will be updated prior to this post going live. Continue reading

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Rating Scale Update II

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Back in November I posted some thoughts I had about a Ratings Scale Update. Essentially I was discussing the fact most of my reviews are 4 and 5 stars and I hardly ever have anything less than that, and why I think that happens, and (most importantly for that post) that I was thinking of doing away with a rating score entirely with a list of reasons why.

That post generated a lot of feedback here on the blog as well as on Twitter. More feedback than I expected to be honest. All of it was good and appreciated. Some readers supported the idea of doing away with a rating and others felt I should keep it. Well I’ve been pondering those comments and the discussions we had, and in the end I’ve decided to keep a rating scale. Here are a few of my reasons: Continue reading

My Christmas Eve Reads: 2018

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Time for a re-post of my Christmas Eve reads entry from last year…

Christmas is filled with traditions. You know this even if you don’t celebrate the holiday. Here in the U.S. you can’t avoid the craziness of the nationwide offering to Mammon that is Black Friday and the entire shopping season during the run up to Christmas Day. The stores are filled with holiday items for sale the moment Halloween is over. And then there’s the Christmas music, because there’s always at least one person you know who wants to listen to nothing but Christmas music all day, every day, from Thanksgiving Halloween until Christmas day. There’s always one. If you do celebrate Christmas then add to that Christmas Eve services, family gatherings, Christmas dinner, office parties, gift exchanges, leaving cookies and milk for Santa, and opening gifts on Christmas morning. Traditions.

I have one particular tradition I enjoy as much, if not more than all the others. For the past ten Eleven years or so there have been two books I’ve read every Christmas Eve to my children. After we open Christmas Eve gifts (one gift per kid, another tradition for our family) we all gather together in our matching pajamas (cheesy I know), pile onto the couch by the fireplace, and as the kids snuggle up next to me I read… Continue reading

Update: 12/5/18

Hey everybody. I wanted to take a moment to give you a quick update on what’s going on with me and the blog.

THANKS!

First, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who responded to my Rating Scale Update post. So many of you left a comment either here on the blog, or on Twitter and each of you gave me some great feedback and left me with things to consider. I really do appreciate it. I’m still contemplating what I want to do in terms of whether or not to continue giving a star rating, and I may do a trial run for a few reviews to see how it goes.

THE DREADED CERTIFICATION EXAM

On Tuesday night I took the “final” exam for the certification course I’ve been enrolled in this fall. I say “final” because it’s the only test we’ve taken and it isn’t for a grade. This is just one of those preparatory courses to help you take the real exam later. Tuesday was a 90 question test and I have no real idea how I did. I’ll find out next week. But the good thing is the class will be over after this Tuesday. Woohoo! The bad thing is I still have to study for the real exam which will be twice as long. Did I mention before it only has a 57% pass rate for first time test takers? Yeah…57%. This is gonna suck.

I’m scheduled to take the exam December 31st. Between now and then I have work (obviously), family coming into town, have to clean house before family comes into town, multiple ballet performances to attend (to watch my daughter), and Christmas. At some point during all that I’ll be studying for the exam. All that to say I won’t be publishing much here on the blog until January. I may do some quick easy stuff like Waiting On Wednesday posts and maybe even some year end stuff like best of’s and ideas for next year, but don’t expect a review. It may happen but don’t count on it. Reviews just take more bandwidth than they probably should. Continue reading

Rating Scale Update

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I’ve really been thinking about how I rate books lately. It’s been gnawing at the back of my mind for a while because I’ve noticed how most of the books I’ve reviewed have been 4 or 5 stars. I think so far on the blog I only have one 3 star review and one 2 star review. If I’d have started the blog a couple of months sooner I’d have a few more three star reviews, but most would still be 4’s and 5’s. It’s the “why” of this that keeps bugging me and the inevitable follow-up questions, of whether I’m being too generous with my reviews and ultimately do I want to keep giving a score?

The other day I came across a Twitter thread where another blogger was discussing her defensiveness after someone commented on one of her reviews saying it was “stupid” that she had so many 4 and 5 star reviews. I chimed into the discussion and it turns out a number of us are in the same boat and their response was much like mine.

The more I think about it the more I realize the following: Continue reading

October Update II: Study Breaks And Halloween Reads

 

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This is just a quick update/addendum to my last October post – October Update: Study Breaks And Halloween Reads where I discussed how I was procrastinating and not getting much studying for my certification exam done this month. Instead, I was doing something infinitely more enjoyable…reading. Well I’d be lying if I said I changed my ways. I did study a very little, but I mostly kept reading which is what this post is about. I’m coming down with a little head cold so I won’t be putting a lot into this post but I want to get it up before we get any further into November.

Btw it’s raining outside, it just isn’t cold. I can’t sing the song if it isn’t cold and raining… Continue reading

October Update: Study Breaks And Halloween Reads

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It’s been a while since I last posted anything and I thought I’d give everyone a quick update on what’s been going on.

If you read my last post you’ll remember I was all excited about Self-Pub Fantasy Month and then that kind of fell by the wayside. That’s because I started a class to help me prepare for a certification exam for work. I work in Human Resources and I’m studying for the SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP exams(s). If I pass I’ll get some coveted letters after my name which in theory attests to the fact that I’m a professional in my career field. The exam (whichever I take) lasts 4 hours and costs like $400.00 and you can only attempt it twice a year. The CP exam only has a pass rate of about 67% and the SCP exam has a pass rate of about 57% so I need to take the class and all the reading (I’ve got four large books) pretty seriously. The class is three hours one night a week and then there’s all the reading and studying, the combination of which began to interfere with the latter half of Self-Pub Fantasy Month. I didn’t get to write the last two reviews I’d hoped to post or some of the additional things I wanted to do. I still plan on getting those reviews done…at some point.

This month though I’ve had a hard time focusing on the reading for the class. All I’ve wanted to do was read some fiction…which leads me to part two of this post… Continue reading