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Finding Diamonds in the Rough

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Finding Diamonds in the Rough: Going Forward

I’ve gone through a number of phases when it comes to book blogging and what I want to read. Back before I started blogging, I only found out about new series if they caught my eye in the bookstore. My parents and I read a lot of the same books, so if one of us found a series that was awesome, we would all read it. However, that meant that we then ran out of recommendations for each other it seemed, or maybe they just didn’t want to share what they were reading sometimes!

Once I started blogging, I was exposed to this whole new world of books in the YA genre. I was skeptical at first, but Angelya convinced me to give Under the Never Sky a try and I’ve slowly read more and more YA since I hear about them from other book bloggers. Book blogging also introduced me to the idea of advanced copies, which meant that I suddenly had a lot of motivation to keep track of upcoming books so that I could request them. I also found out that *gasp* Goodreads had information about the publication date of nearly every upcoming book!

This realization and book blogging in general started me on the hype train of doom: trying to read every new release that people were geeking out about. I wanted to be able to join in the conversations about these super popular series, so I tried to read and review as many of them as I could. This marked a shift in what books I was reviewing, since previously I had been reviewing a lot of older sci-fi and fantasy and now I was reviewing mostly recently-published YA.

At the same time, I was starting to get approved for early copies, but of course not of the hyped up books. Instead, I was reading advanced copies of small-publisher and back-list books if I requested them (since those were the ones that were easier to get if I did request, and I requested a lot). This was cool in some ways since I found books I wouldn’t have otherwise, however sometimes the quality definitely wasn’t there. I have also now ended up in the situation of not having time to read the hyped books that I do want to read, though I’m just going to fit them in through my mad time-turner skills >.>.

Fortunately, I’ve now started getting picky with which books I request since I’m at the point where I can get most of the books that I request. I obviously also have this amazing ability to purchase books I’m excited about after they are published! However, being picky means that I have to decide what my criteria are for what I’m picky about! And therefore I’ve been thinking about what I ideally would like this blog to be about as far as what books I review. Would you like to know what I’ve decided? :D

What I’d really like reviews for On Starships and Dragonwings to focus on are diamonds in the rough. I’m still going to read (and probably review) the well-known books that I’m excited about. Hopefully my perspective on them will be illuminating and then we can discuss them. However, I think that my favorite thing is discovering an amazing book that no one is talking about and getting to share it with you. I want to take on the somewhat intimidating burden of wading through all the sci-fi and fantasy books that are coming out all the time and finding the awesome ones that you might not have heard. I’m still hoping to fit in older books (that perhaps are also diamonds in the rough) and I think that I’ll be better able to do that now that I’m more picky about new releases ;-). 

So what do you think? Are you up for this adventure? To be honest, I’m not sure how much you’ll actually notice any changes on the blog, since I’ll still be reviewing sci-fi and fantasy of all age ranges. Perhaps, though, they’ll be ones you haven’t heard of more often?

Do you prefer reviews of hyped books that you’ve read and can discuss with me? Books you haven’t heard of but can add to the TBR? Reviews of books that aren’t that great so you can stay away?

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. I love finding and reading “diamonds in the rough”, for both new and old books. Mixing it up is great. There are only so many times you can read a review for a hyped book and get excited about it. But to discover an awesome read that is already available is exciting.
    Sarah recently posted…Review: WakeMy Profile

    • That is so true about books that are already out! I’ve been trying to not post reviews too early so that people can go out and buy a book right away too, though that hasn’t been an issue lately with how behind I am *fail*

  2. Alyn Yang says:

    I love finding out about older books. Lots of diamonds there. Every now and then I just like going to the library and looking at some of the older books. I like how GoodReads also recommends books based off of what we have read.

    • So true, I loved to go through the stacks at the library when I was younger. I should really try to do that more these days!

  3. I love diamonds in the rough . I would love to read the reviews !!
    Roro recently posted…Review : THE RIVERMAN BY AARON STARMERMy Profile

  4. I could go either way. Personally, I like to do a mix of both reading the hyped books and giving some indie books a shot. Your blog is currently one of my few sources of fantasy and sci fi recommendations, so most of what you write about will always be news to me even if it is something more popular and I like that :)
    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…The Impaler LegacyMy Profile

    • Oo, that’s cool to know! I definitely agree, I couldn’t give up reading the hyped books completely since they are hyped for a reason! I’ll just be trying to pull in more backlist and small pub books I think ;-)

  5. For me, I prefer reading reviews of books that I haven’t heard about. When every single blog is posting a review for the same book in the month of release, there’s a 99% chance I won’t open those reviews. Just because I know what most of them are going to say ‘ermagerd this was amazing’ etc etc.
    But what I do like seeing is older books, or titles I haven’t heard of. One of my favourite things about the blogging community is discovery, and I think your diamond n the rough idea is great. Hopefully we can all discover some amazing new reads from it. :D
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Book Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

    • Haha, they could hate the book too I suppose ;-) But that’s good to know about your preference for reading reviews you haven’t read yet!

  6. We made our feature on our blog (Forgotten Friday) to fight against this. New books get so much coverage when they hit, but after a few years, they tend to get skipped because the hype is gone. I find that I like reading outside my usually boundaries and it has improved the quality on our blog.

    I like the idea, Anya! You tend to read a lot of books, so featuring the special books is a great idea.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Graphic Novel Review: Sailor Twain by Mark SiegelMy Profile

    • Didn’t I see a comment from one of you that you tend not to like your Forgotten Friday picks lately? ;-) I’m also hoping to find those small-pub or smaller marketing budget books that come out to very little fanfare ya know? Basically just everything that aren’t the super hyped books, hehe.

  7. Lately I’ve had a lot of fun reading library books that no one else is talking about in the book blogging world (or at least isn’t currently or that is not ALL over) – it’s fun to discuss books that everyone is reading and being part of the group experience – but it’s also fun to bring those “diamonds in the rough” to people’s attention too. I’ve had fun both ways – although it does get old sometimes seeing the hyped books on EVERY blog! So I really like your “diamond in the rough” idea – I think you’ll enjoy it more!

  8. I love this idea! While I enjoy reading reviews (on occasion) for hyped up new releases, it’s usually an older gem that catches my eye, since I’m not seeing everyone raving (or ranting) about it; it makes it stand out more, despite not being in the spotlight on as many blogs!
    Kelly recently posted…Pretty Little Discussion: Seeing RedMy Profile

  9. You know I would love to see you review and read more lesser known books. Heck which is funny because that is what I’m starting to feel like I want to do. I was like that as well – feeling the hype wanting the highly sought after books but more and more now – I just want to read what I want to read and not pay attention to the hype. Its hard to do though.
    Tabitha (@Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Honor’s Knight by Rachel BachMy Profile

  10. Yes! This is exactly the sort of thing I look for. I mean, sometimes it’s nice to join the hype for popular books, but really, I just want good books. Whether they are popular or not, doesn’t matter! Also, reading unpopular diamonds gives you something to recommend. (;
    Great post!

    • Exactly! I’m sure that I’ll end up with not so great books plenty since there is the “rough” part of “diamonds in the rough”, but hopefully I can help my readers find the good ones ;-)

  11. I like to read most about books I haven’t heard before (let’s call them diamonds in the rough) and books I am intrigued to read by cover/summary etc. I think it’s important to have a direction for your blog, maybe I am wrong, but I think it will attract more people with that kind of taste. I like to read your blog because I already find/read some fantasy books I haven’t heard before I am looking forward to more!
    I always plan to switch to just reading and reviewing fantasy books, since there are so many I wish to read, but always sinhy covers change my mind. I hope you stick to your decision. :)
    Dragana recently posted…Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve ReadMy Profile

    • Yey, that makes me happy to hear! I think I’ve been sort of veering in this direction for a while and just recently put it into words where I’m going, haha.

  12. I can’t wait to see what amazing books you can find. I already dread the growing of my TBR!
    Jennifer @ Live to Read, Love to Read recently posted…The Sunday Post!My Profile

  13. I think that sometimes when we see the same review over and over again about the same book it gets tiresome. I find myself passing those reviews by. On my blog I have always read what I want. I don’t worry about what’s coming out. I would like to recommend the Dark Sword Trilogy to you. ;)
    Angie recently posted…The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King Pop Up BookMy Profile

  14. As much as I love hearing your thoughts on the hyped new releases (and will look forward to seeing more), I think moving to a more selective reading set is a good idea. There’s a slew of simultaneous reviews for every hyped release, and, with a few exceptions, I usually know whether I’ll read the book based on the synopsis/cover alone.

    I definitely like comparing opinions and reading experiences on books, but I also like hearing about “diamonds in the rough” and books that look great, but aren’t. So maybe a mix of all three? :)
    Kel recently posted…Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (2 stars)My Profile

  15. I can totally identify with your progression of requesting too many, becoming dissatisfied with what you are getting to read and deciding to choose the books you’re excited about. My netgalley score is something like 30% because of the early phases! Choosing to request and read only those new books that you’re interested in is easier said than done when there are soooo many great books coming out all the time, but I wish you good luck with your plan :) One of the great thigs about reading lots of blogs is that you do get a chance to discover new titles that you might not have otherwise picked up!
    Angelya recently posted…Podcast Episode #4: We’re Back!My Profile

    • I’m so glad I’m past the NetGalley overrequesting phase! Though I now have a bunch of good books through NG that I want to read since I hadn’t expected to get approved D:

  16. I like it. I always look for titles a bit more out there myself. Though from a blog standpoint new released of hyped books always are bigger traffic pulls; at least that is what I have found.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Steampunk Review: ‘Iron Jackal’ by Chris WoodingMy Profile

    • Hehe, that is something I love about your blog Nathan! Interesting, yeah I guess that does sound right from thinking about my traffic patterns, though I would have to do some heavy analysis to know for sure if my traffic agrees ;-)

  17. I’m such a huge book junkie that I love to see more of the so called “diamonds in the rough” because it means I can add more to my ever growing must read list!
    Becky recently posted…Divergent Trilogy by Veronica RothMy Profile

  18. Since I skip a lot of reviews because I’m afraid of spoilers and I don’t want my own opinions influenced by someone else’s review, I’m a little on the fence regarding your last question. I love the reviews of books I’ve already read (most of which, since I’m still trying to catch up after years of not reading, are the hyped new releases) because I can discuss the book with you! But I also like hearing about the lesser-known works that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

    I know a lot of bloggers feel the same. The only way around that that I can think of is a recommendation feature, like Renae Recommends at Respiring Thoughts. You could still do your reviews, but maybe once a week, or monthly, you could list the books that you’ve found that you’d recommend and pitch them to your readers?

    It’s hard finding that balance, I think. Because like you said, it’s great being able to push the hidden gems on other people, but from my own research and discussion posts, a lot of people just don’t read reviews for books they haven’t heard of. It’s something to think about!

    Either way, Anya, I’m looking forward to seeing what you decide. I do wish more blogs would look at the lesser known titles instead of focusing so much on ARCs and upcoming releases. There are plenty of great books in the backlist!
    Nikki @ The Paper Sea recently posted…On CommentingMy Profile

    • That’s a good point Nikki! I guess I have a hidden hope that even if people don’t read the full review for a book they haven’t read/heard of, it might still get on their radar through me posting the review? I frequently won’t read an entire review because I don’t want to bias myself etc, but I will then be aware of the books existence where I wasn’t otherwise?

  19. I think this is a great idea Anya! I love finding new books I’ve not heard of before though it is hard to squeeze them in. I’ve been trying to figure out which books I tend to enjoy the most and having trouble with it. As always I’m excited to see what you have in store for us!

    • Haha, I hear ya Kristen! For now I’m going to be trying to find review books to request that aren’t the main ones, since then they still fit in the schedule ;-)

  20. This is exciting! Being somewhat new to the genre I think it is a fantastic idea to have a diamonds in the rough type feature because honestly the new books get SUPER EXPOSED and the older books you can find for a dollar which is much more my jam. I follow many blogs and honestly I skim if it is a new book because if it is something that has peaked my interest and the blogs I follow all think it is great then it will end up on my Goodreads list quickly. However, I definitely don’t want or need half my reader devoted to the one book. I also love the idea of the lesser publicized books because I know that there must be a TON out but you never hear much about them.

    • The overfilled reader is a problem of publishing dates too, I used to stress about getting posts up right on publication date, but if everyone else has the same book featured, it just gets lost in the crowd D:

  21. LeKeisha Thomas says:

    Although, I do enjoy reading a good review for well known books, there’s nothing like me finding out about books that aren’t highly publicized. I love that you are helping expose those type of books. I read a lot of books that don’t have high exposure, and I find them on a few blogs. So blog on! I’ll be here for the ride!

  22. One of the things I love about Book Blogging is finding the diamonds in the rough. I agree it’s easy to get caught up in the new release geek out sessions. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately too.
    Jen recently posted…Blue Notes by Carrie Lofty #BlogTour #GuestPost #BookReview #GiveawayMy Profile

  23. Yes please. That is exactly what I want to see. I am the Book Pusher in my circle so finding new books (that weren’t continuations of series I love – authors are the ones who need Time Turners so we get more books) is always difficult. I used to spend hours on Amazon looking through recommendations, but the Amazon AI is not as good as a detailed review from a real human. Thank you for sharing!


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