Life Update: New Job, Reading Slumps, and More

So as you can tell, I haven’t posted in a while. There is a completely valid reason for that but I still feel like I have to explain myself so here goes: life got really busy. I hit a hardcore reading slump in September/October that I couldn’t get over – hence why it took me two months to read Gideon the Ninth. On top of that I started a new job at the end of October in addition to my current full time job. So yeah, it’s been hectic.

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First off, yay for new jobs! I recently accepted a part time position at Barnes and Noble which is where I now work in addition to my other full time job. Unfortunately, my full time job cut my hours (yayyy) and so in order to make up that loss, I got another job! And thankfully it’s at a place I’ve wanted to work at for forever.

Getting a second job isn’t always fun or easy but my coworkers have made the experience amazing. I’ve met other writers there who are working on AMAZING manuscripts that I can’t wait to read. Heard some funny and not so funny stories and found a group of people who love books as much as I do. Overall, it’s been an awesome place to work and I’m excited to help people find amazing gifts for their loved ones.

Plus that employee discount 😉

Besides that, I just recently got over a reading slump. I FINALLY finished Gideon the Ninth (FINALLY!!!) and read Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan in 24 hours. (Let me know if you want me to write a review for that – I feel like it’s been discussed a lot so I don’t want to be too repetitive). And I’m currently reading Sensational by Jodie Lynn Zdrok at the moment, which comes out in February 2020. I’m hoping that another slump won’t hit for a few months because if it does, I will scream. Not sure what I’m going to read next, probably Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan (aka, Wicked Saints 2) because I received it at YALLFest and hello, I have to read it after the mess that was Wicked Saints. After that, I have a lot of new releases and ARCs to read so hopefully I have plenty of reading material before the next major slump hits!

Along with a reading slump, I was also hit with a writing slump. Now that I work two jobs, I doubt I will get much writing done this month but I’m going to try. I bought a new calendar which will hopefully help me manage my time better but we all know there are no guarantees with that. And I’m excited for the Holiday season!

What are some major updates in your life? Any amazing news you want to share? Comment below so we can celebrate together!

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To DNF or not to DNF

To DNF or to not DNF? It’s a difficult question to answer sometimes and one I had to ask myself recently with Gideon the Ninth. I find myself refusing to DNF because by the time I come to the realization that I don’t like a book, I’m over halfway through. At that point, I feel like I have to finish it. I mean, I’ve come so far, so why not? And then of course there are those books that I cannot get through, no matter how much I want to, and I have to put it down.

With Gideon, it’s the case of good book – wrong time. Love the story and the characters but it’s not a vibe I can get with right now. I wish I could get through this story and enjoy it, but I find myself falling asleep and getting bored. It’s unfortunate really because I want to like it, but I just can’t.

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So how do you decide whether or not to DNF a book? Well, that’s a matter that’s up to you reader. What is your limit? Usually I say if I can’t get into a YA book within 100 pages, then I give up on it, because it’s not going to get better after that. Sometimes I’m wrong, but that’s usually the page limit of when awesome stuff should be happening. With Gideon the Ninth, it’s a longer, adult novel, so this page count method doesn’t typically work. For adult fiction, I give it until the 25% mark to see if anything interesting happens, and DNF if not.

Some people are against DNFing, and will not give up on a book at all. I have those moments as well, but I also don’t have time to read books I don’t like or I’m not feeling. I think that whatever works for you is what works best! If you refuse to DNF, then don’t DNF. If you can’t get into a story and DNF, then more power to you! – read something you’re gonna love.

What are your thoughts on DNFing a book? Are you for or against and what is your criteria to meet?

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Halloween/Fall Reads You Need to Add to Your TBR Now

I love fall. It is absolutely my favorite season out of the four and that means I read a lot of fall and Halloween related books during this season.

These books are top notch to put you in a fall, spooky vibe so if you’re looking for something to make you check under your bed an extra time, check out these reads!

1. Bone Houses

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Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

2. The Grace Year

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Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

3. The Tenth Girl

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Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

4. Gideon the Ninth

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The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

5. Tunnel of Bones ***

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Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.***

 

*** This is the second in a series – the first is called City of Ghosts

6. House of Salt and Sorrows

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Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

7. Spectacle 

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Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

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I am such a fan of horror, thriller, and spooky reads. Let me know which ones spark your interest this Halloween season! And if you have any recommendations, pass them here! I tried to focus on books published in 2019 – so let me know which other 2019 reads I missed.

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Making Assumptions About Books I’ve Never Read

I always find myself judging a book by its cover or even by the synopsis, which then determines if I read it, and I’m usually wrong. There have been so many times I have assumed what a book is about, then I read it, and I am so wrong! Like Serpent & Dove – was completely wrong about that book and what it was going to be about. So I’m curious how right I am in guessing the plot of a book based on its cover and title. Let’s see how well this goes . . .

Here are five books I’ve never read before, don’t know the plot, and I have to guess what they’re about. Let me know how right I am! All of these will be released reads so people will have had access to read/borrow them.

1.

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So I see a castle, a person wearing a robe, fire, and crows, and of course the title is The Merciful Crow. Based on all of that, I think this book is about a society focused around birds, specifically crows, who have magical powers or status. The magical people have become too powerful and now the world is ending (hence the fire and person standing with arms open). In order to save their world, they team up with the crows to fight back and … I’m not sure. There’s definitely a hierarchy though because of that castle. Maybe the royalty is ruining/ending the world?

NEXT!

2.

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So American Royals has a cover of a woman, wearing a beautiful shirt/dress, nice nails, and sunglasses. So obviously this book is about an average woman who falls in love with a prince/princess and is thrown into the world of royalty. She struggles to fit in, hates everyone, and almost leaves it all. Except her love is much too strong to leave and they eventually work it out – the end! I’m assuming this is similar to Crazy Rich Asians – which I shouldn’t assume, but that’s the only thing I could think of. Or its about royalty and their crazy, fabulous life! I’m not sure.

3.

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So obviously, the story is about someone inside their house. I would assume this a thriller novel or a murder mystery. I’m going to guess that this book is about a girl, a teenage girl, who is being stalked and has to hide from a murderer in her home. The entire book is a back and forth between present and past as she looks back on that horrible night. She may or may not be dead. Or I’m totally wrong and this is a slumber party novel! I guess we’ll find out!

4.

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Soooo I’m gonna go with clones. This is totally about clones and government control. You think you can choose your destiny and be your own person, but you’re actually a robot clone slave to the government who need you to be involved in a secret project. As they call the troops, you’re like, what the heck? I didn’t even know I was a part of this mess until now. All my friends are dying (cries). All I know about Kristoff books are that people die and most people cry, so I’m going with that.

5.

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So I know this is something about Russia/Russian myth? I think this is about a girl assassin in Russia who runs into a boy assassin and they have similar targets, but they can’t let the other person get it because if they do they lose money. Or maybe this is more magical, like blood magic stuff and they have to destroy the world? Based on the blood I know theres fighting and death in here, but I’m not sure exactly how it relates. And wicked could mean a lot of things, like they’re bad people or they’re wickedly good at what they do. This one is really hard because I genuinely have no idea. I think I’m going to go with more magic stuff mixing with the end of the world, but they kinda want to save it?

So how well did I do? This was embarrassing but still a lot of fun, so I hope you had fun with this too! Let me know what I may have gotten right and what I got absolutely wrong! Comment below what books I should guess next.

I tag Alexa over at Writing the Universe to do this challenge and let me know how it went!

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Writing Update #1

For those of you who didn’t know, and I assume that is almost all of you, I am writing a book. Multiple books actually. So far, I’m about a third of the way through one of my first drafts and it’s …. not going well at all. I think the biggest thing with writing, and specifically my writing, is that I have the beginning and the end in my head, but the middle? Nonexistent. Like completely not there. Which of course makes it difficult to write the middle and get to the ending I have envisioned.

So how am I going about fixing this issue?

By avoiding writing of course!

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I’m just kidding. I sometimes meet up with my friend Alexa from Writing the Universe to talk through plot holes, character develop, and overall writing issues. Last Monday we worked through the middle section I was trying to envision. Thankfully, we found a solution together that feels right for the book and it fits. Now I just need to write it.

Besides that, figuring out ages for characters is also incredibly hard. The book with the most progress has older characters, oldest being 25 and the youngest being 12. My main characters are 18, 21, and 25 with other 16-22 year old characters in there too. This is supposed to be a YA novel, but I’m worried people will dislike the fact that some of the characters are older. But I have to make them older or else it doesn’t work with timeline.

It also doesn’t make sense for the society to make them all 15-18 year olds unfortunately. The content and topics are still YA, and the main POV is of my 18 year old, but I still worry. At least Sabaa Tahir did it first with making Laia 18 and Elias 21 (THANK YOU).

After the brainstorm session today I also was pushed to start writing another book idea I have. This one has a younger MC (16) and its a really interesting premise. I’m so excited! The biggest thing I love about this is the Greek mythology included in it. I haven’t written anything with Greek mythology in it before, but I’ve been a Percy Jackson stan since 5th grade and I’ve been obsessed with the mythology since I was young.

It feels so nice to have somewhat of a plan for now, but with enough wiggle room to not feel trapped. It actually makes me excited to write. And to give you all updates on my writing.

So of the two main WIP I have going on here is the word count so far:

WIP #1: 23,119

WIP #2: 656

I can’t decide which book I want to work on for NaNoWriMo in November, but we’ll see how developed each are when we get there.

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Tag: 20 Question Book Tag

So this isn’t cheating, because Sara over at The Bibliophagist tagged everyone who hasn’t done this tag yet, but no one actually tagged me. I don’t care, I’m still doing it! Join me in the revolution!

Here’s the 20 Question Book Tag!

1. How many books are too many in a series?
It really depends on the books for me. I usually say 4 is a good maximum number – unless you’re Sarah J Maas or Cassandra Clare. Then you can kinda do anything!

2. How do you feel about cliffhanger endings?

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This is my face when I get to the end of a book and there’s a cliffhanger. I love to hate them.

3. Hardback or paperback?

Hardback all the way! 99% of the books I have (excluding ARCs) are hardcover books – they’re a guilty pleasure.

4. Favorite book?

That’s like asking someone who their favorite child is. The expected answer is, I don’t have one. But obviously it’s Twilight.

Just joking – I have 5 favorite books for each subgenre, there’s no way I can make a decision on that. Lets just say Four Dead Queens, A Curse so Dark and Lonely, Throne of Glass, Diamond City,  Furyborn, and An Ember in the Ashes are my all time favorites as of right now.

5.  Least Favorite book?

This is tricky to answer because I can dislike a book now and love it later. This one I couldn’t love it even if you paid me, my all time worst is The Grapes of Wrath. I had to read this my junior year of high school and every other scene is a description of the desert. John Steinbeck likes to torture his readers and I thoroughly hated this book and still hate it to this day.

6. Love triangles: yes or no?

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Only if they’re done really well and actually have an importance to the plot/character development. Otherwise – nah.

7. The most recent book you couldn’t finish?

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Got 100 pages in and still couldn’t get into it. Put it down and still haven’t picked it back up.

8. A book you’re currently reading?

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I love this book so far. It just came out on September 3rd if anyone hasn’t discovered this book yet!

9. Last book you recommended?

Uhhhh I don’t even remember the book I read last week at this point – I’m pretty sure it was There Will Come A Darkness or The Grace Year.

10. Oldest book you’ve read?

Not counting biblical texts, Beowulf. 

11. Newest book you’ve read?

Diamond City because it doesn’t even come out until January/February of 2020.

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12. Favorite author?

Uhhhh again – favorite child question! There are so many authors I love and will love forever. I’ll put down Sarah J Maas, Cassandra Clare, Claire Legrand, Brigid Kemmerer, and Sabaa Tahir. And like 50 other amazing authors AHH.

13. Buying books or borrowing?

Buying because I’m selfish and want to keep them all.

14. A book that you disliked that everyone seems to love?

Hunger Games lol. Also never got into Illuminae…

15. Bookmarks or dog ears?

Bookmarks you monsters. Always bookmarks.

16. A book that you always reread?

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This whole prequel series I could read over and over again.

17. Can you read while listening to music?

No. I’m so easily distracted I would hear a song I love and start singing. Then all of a sudden its three hours later and I’ve sung the entire Waitress: The Musical and Hamilton soundtrack and my book is forgotten. So short answer: no.

18. One POV or multiple POVs?

Multiple because you know some awesome stuff is about to go down and multiple people need to tell the story so I can become attached to all of them and cry even harder! Also most fantasy novels now have multiple POVs and I’m all for it.

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

Usually over multiple days because I work, but occasionally one sitting if I have a few hours to kill and nothing distracting me.

20. Who do you tag?

Everyone because I love to include people. But Alexa from Writing the Universe better do this tag or I will be sad.

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I hope you liked this silly post, I know its a much needed diversion from the numerous reviews. If you liked this kind of stuff, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

What’s the Deal with Spoilers?

Spoilers. A divided subject in the book community. On the one hand, they take away from the joy and excitement that a person may have for a mystery box, ruin the surprise in a book, or ruin the fun of finding out who the killer is. On the other hand, limiting someone’s freedom of speech is not okay, and telling people they can’t post spoilers is not something that can always be dictated by others. I’ve seen some interesting arguments regarding spoilers, but I think it’s important to look at them and determine what is a spoiler and what should classify as one.

A spoiler, in my own words, is information about a topic or item that is not obvious public information and effectively ruins the surprise of arriving at that moment. For example, someone posting about how sad they were a character died, when it is not common knowledge this character dies because the book has just been released. Typically spoiling occurs when an item or information is brand new and not many people have had the chance to view it yet. But this is where it can get a little less clear. When does a spoiler end?

Different people have different opinions on when something is no longer a spoiler. Some people say a month, others say six months, some say a year, and some say never. This divide on when information is no longer a spoiler is tricky, and one of the biggest issue in the book community.

In most of the book groups I’m currently in on Facebook, moderators put a one month spoiler ban on new releases, meaning no reactions/reviews/memes/nothing can include information about the current book. After a month, the spoiler ban is lifted or modified. For some groups, spoilers can be shared freely now. In others, there is a warning that is required for others who may not have had a chance to finish what they are reading, informing them that the information shared is a spoiler.

One of my biggest pet peeves with spoilers is what I call the “I don’t give a fuck” or “idgaf” period. This is the period of time immediately after the release of a book where most people are currently reading it or have not read it yet, and others who have read it early or quickly suddenly spoil large moments with no regards for anyone else. This “idgaf” period is typically in the first two weeks range of a book releasing where most people haven’t even had a chance to receive the book yet. Seeing spoilers on a book or book box during this time is honestly irritating for me and many other people.

After a certain amount of time though, when does information stop being a spoiler? For me, I would say three months. That gives people a good amount of time to receive their book or subscription, crack it open, and see what’s going on. In three months, the people who are anticipating reading or seeing it will have a chance to actually do that, especially since not everyone has the free time to read whatever they want, whenever they want.

So if it’s common knowledge not to spoil information immediately after release, why do people do it? Well – I don’t know. It could be because they are excited to share their opinions, they don’t care that others have not read it yet, or they could be oblivious and not realize it’s a spoiler. Whatever the reason, these moments suck for many of the readers who haven’t had a chance to experience the moment for themselves, and taking away that moment is a crappy thing to do.

Now, here’s where the problem comes in: if there is no set timeline on when a spoiler is no longer a spoiler then confusion is bound to happen and so is aggression. This comes about in aggressive comments by people who are upset or personal messages sent that someone is upset they were spoiled. Now if a certain amount of time has passed, these remarks are no longer valid and the person who is upset is unnecessarily aggressive – and this is where the problem lies.

The spoiler band wagon can be overly aggressive, especially when a good amount of time has passed from the release and should no longer be a spoiler. If the book community sets a timeline, then we can avoid confusion and hostility about spoilers and promote a more positive reading experience for everyone.

Now lets talk etiquette. 

When coming across a spoiler, especially in the “idgaf” period, it’s important to let the person know that what they’re doing is wrong, but in a non-aggressive way. Yelling at people, calling them names, or being utterly rude is not the way to go about the situation. Not only does that make the other person defensive, but it can create a mob mentality and others will join in. Being upset about a spoiler is okay though, but being abrasive or rude is not.

When it’s after the “idgaf” period, we enter the “beware” period. This period is the remaining two and a half months after a release when a person may encounter spoilers and can still justify being upset. In this period, it is still other people’s responsibility to be courteous to others about spoilers, whether by not sharing them or giving a warning. At the same time, the closer to the two and three month mark, the responsibility should shift onto the reader who wants to avoid them. If that means avoiding certain pages or groups who might share spoilers, then avoid them.

If it’s after the three month grace period then the spoiler worry is no longer on the sharer. People are allowed to post reactions, memes, jokes, photos, and more regarding to the books that are out and it is not their job to warn others or avoid spoiling others anymore. While some may still be upset at being spoiled, it is no longer their right to complain about them – except in certain situations.

  1. Someone is aware you are currently reading a book and spoils a big moment for you either on purpose or on accident
  2. Someone posts a spoiler for a series in a group that is focused on one topic (ex. a spoiler for The Wicked King in the ACOTAR group).
  3. Someone spoiling a book in a group chat/comments where a person is asking for opinions/thoughts on if they should read said book

Those are the only situations I would warrant upset regarding spoilers after this grace period. Besides that – it’s fair game.

Now, this is all my opinion. There are people who warrant longer or shorter grace periods, depending on their reading habits and consideration of other people. This is where the consistency should come in. The book community should come together and decide what is the “idgaf” period, the “beware” period, and the “free game” period. Without these time constraints, it is difficult to justify and end this debate.

Overall, spoilers suck and being malicious in sharing them immediately after release is a crappy thing to do. But being rude to other people, even when upset, is also a crappy thing to do. And getting spoiled after a certain amount of time no longer is the person posting’s worry, but the readers.

I think it’s important to open up the debate, so let me know what your opinions on spoilers are and the timeline and etiquette you think is far!