Let’s Talk: The Types of Blog Posts I Enjoy Reading Most

As a book blogger, I’m always trying to come up with interesting and different post ideas to explore. However, I also have a selection of post types that are favourites of mine to write. But are the posts I enjoy writing also the ones I gravitate towards the most as a reader? Well, yes and no. On occasion, I do find that there are some types of posts I really enjoy reading from others which I find tedious to write myself. Then, on the flip side, there are posts that I like writing even though I know I’m unlikely to read something similar from another blogger. Bizarre, but that’s the truth. So, here are the categories of book blog posts that I find I enjoy/click on the most.

Lists/Rankings

Now, this is a type of post that I both enjoy writing and reading. From a reader perspective, it’s always fun to see how other bookworms rank or organise certain books (or things connected to them) in relation to specific topics. You get a lot of insight into the types of books, narratives and characters bloggers enjoy and there’s nothing like finding someone else who has the same favourites as you do. Even better, a lot of the time I end up finding new books to read because people have spoken so passionately about them or ranked them so highly.

Book Reviews for Anticipated or New Releases

When it comes to singular book reviews, I tend to only check out book blogs for those dealing with new or upcoming releases. Sorry, guys! Normally it’s because I’ve been looking forward to these books and am interested in reading a somewhat lengthier and more in depth review about them. I know this isn’t the best approach as it means I’m cutting myself off from potentially being introduced to some amazing backlist books I have yet to hear about. Unfortunately, it’s just the way I am. Despite often writing backlist book reviews for my own blog, I find that I usually source my reviews for these types of books in bulk through Goodreads (in other words, if you’d like to be GR friends, hit me up & I will happily read your backlist book reviews!).

Wrap Ups/Mini Book Reviews

Being someone with questionable patience and a short attention span at times (I’m flawed, I know), I really appreciate a good wrap up or mini-reviews post. I love getting a broad overview of what others have been reading and seeing people’s brief thoughts on a bunch of different books. I’m not especially picky when it comes to the types of books covered, but I do tend to click on posts which feature books I recognise. Personally, I always find writing wrap ups and mini reviews tough because once I get stuck into writing a review, the words keep spewing out. Luckily many bloggers are much better at this than I am.

Book Tags

Like lists, this is another post that falls under the ‘enjoy reading and writing’ heading. It’s purely because they’re so much fun and, again, give you insight into bloggers’ favourite things. Depending on the prompts, the way certain tags are answered can also encourage me add books to my TBR for particular tropes, character types or qualities that I would never have known about just by reading the blurb. Tags with quirky themes which link into my other interests are super enjoyable, too, particularly when they involve prompts that are tricky or different from the norm. Bonus interest points for when people try their hand at creating new tags.

Book Hauls & TBRs

My reason for enjoying these types of posts is extremely simple: I love seeing what other people are excited to read! There’s something so uplifting about seeing a stack of books that you just had to splurge on because they all sounded so wonderful or a list of titles that you can’t wait to get stuck into this month, hoping they’ll all be 5 stars. I especially enjoy when that excitement rubs off on me and I end up going out to pick up one of those same books for myself. Added bonus, these types of posts are usually quick, easy reads and great for when you only have limited time to check in with other bloggers.

Blogging Guides & How To Posts

I’ve been blogging for a few years now so I have a basic understanding about many of the things associated with it (emphasis on basic though, very basic). But, there are always so many new things for me to learn and others that I could improve or be doing better at. This is where the experience of other amazing bloggers comes into play. I love reading helpful posts with tips and guides on content, graphics, photography, SEO, and everything you can possibly think of that could assist me on my blogging journey. Blogging can be hard work sometimes and it doesn’t always pay off in the way you hope, so it’s great to find a post to assist you in better achieving your goals and making you feel a bit less stupid.


Everyone enjoys something different so I know not all of my most enjoyable types of posts to read will be the same as yours. What are your favourite types of posts? Are there any post categories that you actively avoid?

The Dark Academia Book Tag

In recent months my eyes have been opened up to the ultimate level of “coolness” that is dark academia. Clothes, music playlists, books, interior design, it’s all just so deliciously gothic and mysterious. And what better way to fully dive in than The Dark Academia Book Tag? This tag was created by *Emmie* and CarolynMarieReads on Booktube. So crack out your skulls, musty books, Greek philosopher busts and autumnal shades of tweed. We’re about to mess things up in the pursuit of higher knowledge!

I recently finished If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio which fits both dark and academia and loved it. There are a lot of similarities with The Secret History by Donna Tartt (which I also enjoyed) but still some big differences. I love seeing how bad decisions and secrets can lead people to completely implode over time. Plus, the way Shakespeare is woven into this book is very cleverly done.

In terms of “dark” movies, I really like The Silence of the Lambs and Se7en, and it’s fairly comedic but The Mummy sort of covers both dark and academia in a different way.

I’m not much of a poetry reader but I really enjoyed studying the work of T.S. Elliot in high school. My favourite among his poems is ‘Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’. It looks at things like social anxiety, isolation, insecurity, and inner vs outer life. It’s so wonderfully weird and melancholy, and there’s so much to unpack. I also quite like ‘The Hollow Men’ which deals with the aftermath of WWI. The last few lines of that poem, ‘This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper’ have stuck with me ever since I heard them for the first time.

I’m not so big on sculpture but I love art and frequently buy prints of pieces I really like. Just like with books though, I’d find it impossible to pick a favourite. So, a few of them are Almond Blossom & Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez, The Thames Below Westminster by Claude Monet and for something more modern, Leonid Afremov’s Alley By The Lake.

How do people pick just one for these questions? There so many beautiful feats of architecture in the world! I have three favourites: 1) Basílica de la Sagrada Família, 2) The Alhambra and 3) the Palace of Versailles.

Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

I’m not religious, however I have visited quite a few churches across Europe. The Sagrada Familia is easily my favourite. Those stain-glass windows are absolutely breathtaking. You stand in the middle of the room and it’s just a riot of colour and light. The carvings around the exterior of the church are gorgeous as well.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

The Alhambra has a long, complicated history which is why its architecture is so complex and varied. Upon visiting there, you can’t help but be amazed by the beautiful details on every wall, ceiling and doorway, especially knowing the limited tools that were available to create them compared to today. The gardens and views of the surrounding area from the fortress are divine, too.

Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France

With Versailles, it’s the sheer level of opulence. Every little detail manicured to perfection. Looking at the beauty and size, you definitely understand why the lower classes hated the French monarchy as much as they did. There’s gold all over the place. Even the floors you walk on are works of art. I can’t even imagine how many staff are employed to maintain it all.

Twelfth Night | Book by William Shakespeare, Dr. Barbara A. Mowat, Paul  Werstine | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

While I have some knowledge of Shakespeare, it’s only limited to certain plays (mostly Othello, Julius Caesar and Romeo & Juliet) so it’s a bit hard to know which lead I’d prefer to be. I’m also not much of an actor – the stage fright would likely kill me. However, I think I’d prefer one of the comedies (a tragedy is far beyond my capabilities). Something like Twelfth Night seems like it would be fun with all the romantic hijinks involved, plus I’d get to do some cross dressing, dueling and make plenty of confused expressions as Viola.

Alas, English is my only language. To all those multilingual people out there, I both envy and admire you. I did study French for a semester at University and didn’t end up continuing with it because of how intense the coursework was for such a short period of time, but I kind of wish that I’d given it a better crack now. Japanese would also be interesting to try out.

There are too many beautiful phrases from far too many talented authors to answer this question. Here are a few I love:

‘I am haunted by humans’ – The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

‘Sometimes reality comes crashing down on you. Other times reality simply waits, patiently, for you to run out of the energy it takes to deny it.’ – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid

‘Wasn’t friendship its own miracle, the finding of another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely?’– A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara

‘I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.‘ – The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller

“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.” – The Two Towers, J RR Tolkien

Animated gif about gif in Bellatrix Lestrange by Goddess

Um, so I can’t just die peacefully in my sleep? No? Okay, in that case I’ll meet my demise via Avada Kedavra or The Killing Curse from Harry Potter. Quite a few characters in the series meet their end this way – Harry’s parents, Sirius Black, Fred Weasley, Cedric Diggery, etc. It seems to be pretty quick and painless which is a win. A flash of green light and you’re gone.

Once upon a time, like everyone I suppose, I dreamed about going to Oxford. I love London and the University itself is just so beautiful and magical looking. There’s a great deal of history to it as well. Then, of course, I realised (a) how expensive it would be and (b) how difficult it is to get in. Trinity in Dublin is similarly stunning and I really enjoyed visiting there a few years back. I like the Gothic feel to parts of it and my goodness, the Old library is what bookworm dreams are made of. In reality though, I attended the Australian National University in Canberra.

If you want to murder someone successfully, it has to be poison. Something quick, easy and which comes off looking like a natural death. Anything else and you’re inviting too many potential opportunities for evidence to be created and used against you at a later date. However, if you can’t be neat about it and need to get rid of the body entirely, acid is the way to go. Yes, I’ve thought about this. From a fictional standpoint only, of course.

Hm, this is tough. My undergraduate major was in modern history so perhaps something related to English or French history? Otherwise, maybe English Literature. Honestly though, I don’t really have much interest in doing a PhD. I haven’t even paid off my undergraduate degrees yet!

While I certainly enjoy reading about stories based in Greek and Roman mythology, there’s no way I’d want to be a part of it. Those Gods are selfish, asshole-ish nightmares, constantly getting up in each other’s business and other people paying the price for it. Ancient Egyptian mythology, on the other hand, sounds awesome. I mean, sure, they had their problems as well (chopping your brother up into 42 pieces and scattering them across the land for your sister-in-law to find comes to mind) but overall, they’re a bit more stable. Plus they have some interesting concepts about death.

I have a lot of different fictional characters that I adore but there’s none I’d “die for” (Yes, I realise the question isn’t meant to be taken literally). Still, it’s hard to choose an ultimate favourite. There’s far, far TOO MANY. However, last October I did two posts in which I listed my favourite book characters by letters of the alphabet which you can find here & here.

Leather bound or Cloth Bound Books

Leatherbound – they feel nice and they’re a lot more durable than cloth bound, as lovely as cloth bound are. Although, considering the animal impact of leather bound, if I could do faux-leather bound that would be good.

Dog-earing Pages or Highlighting Pages

Do I have to pick one? Because if neither is an option, I choose that. If I do have to pick, it’ll be dog-earing because the idea of highlighter potentially bleeding through the back of a page is giving me serious anxiety.

Sculptures or Paintings

Paintings. I’m not much of a sculpture person.

Piano or Violin

Piano. I adore a beautifully written and played piano piece that hits you right in the soul.

Films or Theater

I enjoy both but there’s definitely something magical about going to the theater. More of a special occasion than an everyday activity. I actually cried the first time I saw The Phantom of the Opera performed. It just feels so much more tangible happening in front of you.

Poetry or Prose

Prose. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t really read much poetry, or any really.

Museums or Bookshops

Bookshops, of course! I do enjoy a museum trip but I feel most happy and at home in my favourite bookshops.

Smell of Books or Smell of Coffee/Tea

I actually don’t drink coffee or tea but I love the smell of coffee. It’s so warm, rich and lovely. So, as much as I enjoy book scents, I’m surprisingly going coffee here.

Fountain Pen or Typewriter

I’ve never used either but I really appreciate the vintage look and feel of a typewriter. It would be fun to try one out.

New or Used Books

New. I know used are better for the environment and that they’re well loved, but I have a weird thing about perfect looking books. Cracked spines and bent corners are my nightmare.


Would you look at that, we got through without anyone accidentally or intentionally dying. Go us. I definitely get the feeling I’m going to be seeking out more dark academia books in the future to see how they compare to the ones I’ve already read. Are any of you fans of this genre? If so, what’s your favourite dark academia read/film/tv show?

Bookish Fun: 16 MORE Book, Reading and Author Related Facts

That’s right, it’s time for some more fun, bookish trivia! You guys seemed to enjoy my original version of this post back in January so much that I thought, hey, why not go for round two (it may or may not also be because I’m running low on posting ideas at the moment…but we’ll keep that just between us). Besides, who doesn’t love learning fun, useless facts perfect for bringing up during long, awkward silences?

Bookish Facts

  • ‘Tsundoku’ is a Japanese term which refers to a person who acquires reading materials with a tendency to let them pile up unread. They know me, they really know me!
  • While we’re on the topic of bookish language, ‘Bibliosmia’ means enjoying the smell of good or old books. I have to say, the smell of books is definitely one of the reasons I prefer physical books to e-copies. Gimme that mustiness.
Trump Words GIF by moodman
  • The Harry Potter books are some of the most banned novels in America due to religious complaints. Can’t have none of that nasty witchcraft potentially infecting the minds of the young now, can we?
  • According to the NOP World Culture Score Index, the countries which read the most on average per week are India (10.42 hrs), Thailand (9.24 hrs) and China (8 hrs). I think that’s more than even I usually read in a standard week! Go Asia!
  • Slate magazine conducted a study which revealed the most commonly used sentence in The Hunger Games trilogy is “My Name is Katniss Everdeen”, in Harry Potter it’s ‘Nothing happened’ and in the Twilight series it’s “I sighed”. The more you know, I suppose.
Green Tea Repeat GIF by Kim's Convenience
  • The longest title of a book has over 26,000 characters (!) and was published in Kyrgyzstan in 2019. If you’d like to see the full title (it is LONG, man), you can find it here.
  • Where the Wild Things Are was originally supposed to be about horses but when author Maurice Sendak began to draw the illustrations he quickly realised he couldn’t actually draw horses (I can relate – horse are hard!). As you can imagine, these eventually changed into the wild “things” we’re familiar with. Horses, can you even imagine?
  • The first draft of Lolita by Vladamir Nabokav was written on notecards. They had the entire text of the novel plus edits, additional notes and drawings. I don’t know about you, but I can feel the eye strain from here.
Squinting George Costanza GIF
  • I don’t know if I should label this a fun fact or a horrifying one, but Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James is the third bestselling book in the UK (it falls short only to The Da Vinci Code and, you probably guessed it, Harry Potter).
  • Back in 2008, the first ever Kindle sold out in less than 6 hours and stayed out of stock for 5 months. Also interesting to note, it only had about 250MB of storage. To put that into perspective, a Kindle Paperwhite today has 8GB. That’s certainly a lot more book space.

Author Facts

  • Sadly, Jane Austen’s novels were published anonymously until after her death. She was only identified as their author for the first time in a eulogy written by her brother Henry which was included in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously. Ah, the trials of being a female author.
  • Mary Shelley first wrote Frankenstein as part of a ghost story competition proposed by English poet Lord Byron while they were stuck in Switzerland following a volcanic eruption in Indonesia. The idea apparently came to her in a nightmare. Ahem, where is my literary gold dream, huh?
  • Danish fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen used to bring a coil of rope with him whenever he stayed in hotels, just in case a fire emergency required him to flee out the nearest window. Amusingly, if you visit his museum in Denmark they actually have some rope on display. I guess you can never be too prepared.
Be Prepared The Lion King GIF
  • George RR Martin still writes his books on a DOS machine using word processing software that was popular during the 80s. No wonder his fans have been waiting so long for the next book…
  • C.S. Lewis and J RR Tolkien became friends after they met at an Oxford English faculty meeting and each encouraged the other to produce their most famous pieces of literature. Tolkien even helped convert Lewis to Christianity, the themes & imagery of which are quite prominent in his Narnia works.
Best Friends Bff GIF
  • Last but not least, Shakespeare can be credited with over 1,700 words in the English language. A few of them are addiction, courtship, bloodstained and assassination. And people think millennials come up with a lot of new terms!

Hopefully you picked up at least one new interesting thing. Got any fun bookish or author related facts to share? I want to hear them!

Bookish Fun: 16 Book, Reading and Author Related Facts

It’s time for a few bookish, reading and author related facts. I thought this might be a fun post and something different from the usual parade of reviews, tags and top 10s I usually publish. Besides, you never know when you’ll get hit with a literary trivia question down at the pub. You’ll be thanking me when your team starts looking at you in awe.

BOOKISH FACTS

  • I’m never complaining about the cost of my book hauls again. The most expensive book ever sold was a scientific journal of Leonardo Da Vinci’s called The Codex Leicester. It was purchased by Bill Gates for $30.8M back in 1994. At least I know he would have made the money back quickly.
Harry Potter Wow GIF
  • The longest sentence in a book is over 800 words long (!!!) and can be found in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I don’t know about you, but I’d fall asleep long before ever finishing it.
  • Just in case you were wondering, three of the most read books in the world are The Bible (duh), Quotations from Mao Tse-Tung, and Harry Potter (the power of a boy wizard, folks).
  • The largest library in the world is the Library of Congress in Washington D.C, USA. It has over 168 MILLION books. My book loving, little heart just skipped a beat. Or two.
Beauty And The Beast GIF
  • Two banned book facts for the price of one: In 2015, Looking for Alaska by John Green was the most banned book in America, while Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carol used to be widely banned in China because of its inclusion of talking animals. Colour me confused.
  • There is an actual word to describe the fear of running out of things to read – Abiblophobia. I feel seen.
  • In Birmingham, UK, 2.5 million Mills and Boon books were pulped to create the top layer of the M6 toll road. Well, if you ever want to drive over some erotica, you know where to go.
  • In 2010, a cook book titled The Pasta Bible had to be reprinted due to a missed typo in one recipe calling for ‘freshly ground black people’ rather than ‘pepper’. I bet someone lost their job over that one…
Andy Samberg Jake Peralta GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine

AUTHOR FACTS

  • Before writing his novels, J RR Tolkien spent two years working for the Oxford English dictionary. Bonus: Apparently, his favourite phrase was ‘cellar door’. Your guess is as good as mine.
  • Dr. Seuss’s editor made a bet with him for $50 that he couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less. He won using Green Eggs and Ham which was exactly 50.
  • Sarah J. Maas first wrote Throne of Glass when she was only 16. At the time, it was a lot longer and contained plot points from books 1-4. She published it on Fictionpress.net before realising its issues and rewriting it closer to what she eventually published.
  • Stephen King holds the record for the author with the most books on the NYT Bestseller list at one time. In 1995, he had 4 on the list! Writer goals right there.
  • Brandon Sanderson originally had plans to be a doctor and only realised how important writing was to him during a break from his biochemistry studies as a missionary in South Korea. As soon as he returned home, he enrolled in English instead.
  • Charles Dickens had a secret door in his home through a bookcase. The shelves were full of fake books with bizarre names such as The Art of Cutting Teeth. Note to self: If I ever get a library, put a fake bookcase door in.
That'S Cool Scarlett Estevez GIF by Lucifer
  • Agatha Christie liked to think through  her stories while eating an apple in the bath. I mean, I haven’t tried this method but she was the queen of crime, so…
  • Amie Kaufman was introduced to Jay Kristoff because of her confusion over obtaining a US Individual Tax Identification Tax Number. Amie was told Jay could help her as he had recently had the same problem. She offered to buy him brunch and the rest is history.
  • Rick Riordan modeled Percy Jackson after his son Haley who not only has a similar sense of humour but ADHD and dyslexia. Bonus, Percy was originally written as a short story to entertain Haley who suggested that his dad turn it into a full book.
Aww GIF

Did you learn anything new? Because I certainly did. What’s your favourite piece of bookish or author related trivia?

Let’s Talk: My 2019 Book Burnout and How I Finally Sent it Packing

2019 has been an interesting year for me. I wish I could say it’s because I read more amazing books than any year before but, in reality, it’s because for a large chunk of it I was in the midst of a book burnout. Before this year, while I was very used to seeing the phrase ‘reading slump’ pop up around the web, I had yet to experience one for myself. Goodreads always seemed to be full of status updates of people lamenting how badly they wanted to read things and feeling unable to do so, and on WordPress I’d see blog posts labelled things like, ‘Tips for Surviving the Book Slump’, or ’10 Books to Beat Your Reading Slump’. At the time, I sat there going: That sounds like it sucks. I’m lucky that never happens to me!

And…here we are.

Now, Ashley, I hear you saying, that’s all good and well, but why are you calling this a ‘burnout’? How’s it any different from your average, run of the mill slump? That’s a great question and I’m glad you asked. When I say, ‘book burnout’ I’m not just talking about, oh, I had trouble reading a few books. I’m talking about slumpageddon! (Yes, I realise I’m being a bit dramatic. Just let me live). I’m talking:

  • Having trouble engaging with/enjoying books & reading them at snails pace
  • Being disinterested in buying books and unable to make it past the first two sentences of a blurb because IT ALL JUST SOUNDS THE SAME
  • Getting behind on my yearly reading goal and then having an existential crisis about the purpose of said goal
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the number of must read, new releases coming out that I need to cover in order to keep up with the book community
  • Being unable to muster excitement for many of these releases at all
  • Then remembering the number of popular books already released that I have yet to read and feeling crushed by that, too.
  • Taking multiple month-long breaks from blogging and bookstagram because the creative spark has disappeared. GONE. POOF.
  • Questioning the quality of the content on my blog and bookstagram and wondering whether it’s even worth continuing.

Do you see why book slump just doesn’t cut it?

Having reached December, I can safely say that I’m now in a much better place about all these things than I was six months ago. As you can see, I’ve returned to blogging, I’m posting the occasional bookstagram photo, enjoying reading again, and eagerly looking out for new exciting books to add to my TBR. I’ve even submitted in a few ARC requests. And now, you know what that means…it’s time for my very own version of the ‘how to beat the slump’ post! Here they are, my top tips on how to kick a book burnout (or slump) to the curb:

Try Something New

As it turns out, it’s very easy to get bored with books when you’re reading and writing about the same things over and over. Seems like an obvious one, I know. And it has an equally obvious solution: try books from different genres. While I love a good YA fantasy, after a while you do start to see recurring tropes, stories and characters. This is why it’s important to shake things up once in a while. Lately, I’ve tackled sci-fi, romantic contemporaries, thrillers, even some non-fiction(!), and not only have I enjoyed it, I’ve bought more. Better yet, for the first time in a while I’m genuinely excited to sit down and read both my usual genres and others.

Focus Your Excitement

With Goodreads on hand it’s very easy to get carried away adding upcoming releases to the to-read shelf, especially when the latest ‘it’ book seems to be showing up everywhere. The reality is, there’s only a short list of books that I’m genuinely super excited, race out to the shops on release week, for. To counteract my feeling of being overwhelmed it was important for me to work out what those books were. A few months ago, I did a Top Ten Tuesday post about my anticipated releases for the rest of 2019. While I could have padded out the list to reach the full 10, I instead ended up with only six and instantly felt better about (and even excited for) the next few months looking at it.

A Creative Break

There can be a lot of self-imposed pressure as a blogger/bookstagrammer. In a sea of talented creators, it’s easy to feel lost and get down on yourself. Trying to come up with content that stands out and still post regularly can be a challenge. This year I took some time off to recharge and when I was ready, I decided to spend some time writing and taking photos without posting. As someone who doesn’t usually have their posts prepared very far in advance, creating without posting was extremely liberating. Not only was I able to look at my work in isolation and feel confident about it, but I built up a decent library of posts, organised a schedule for posting them, and spent as much time editing and playing around as I liked. No pressure! I wrote more reviews, had fun, and remembered why I spend my time doing this. 

Lower Your Expectations

This was the simplest thing I did and it’s ridiculous that it took me so long. Reading goal stressing you out? Just lower it! That’s all! There’s no rule that says you cannot adjust your yearly reading goal as you go. When I first set my 2019 goal, it was based on my 2018 result, but lives and schedules change. In 2018 I was spending extra time on public transport and whizzing through shorter books. While The Selection and The Name of the Wind both count as one book, the time and energy which goes into reading them is vastly different. Sure, there may be readers out there easily able to read over 100 books a year but there’s no point stressing yourself out trying to keep up with them.

It’s OK to Netflix (And Other Things)

Another obvious one. Reading is a hobby. It’s supposed to be fun. If you don’t feel like reading, then don’t. Simple as that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to go do something else whether it be baking, exercise, spending time with a friend, or browsing YouTube. Nowadays, if on the commute to work I feel like watching the show I’m currently bingeing instead of reading, then that’s what I do! You do you.

Re-reading Faves

One of the problems I had during my burnout was a tendency to pick up books and within only a couple of seconds dismiss them as something I wouldn’t enjoy. A way of getting around this was to read something I already knew I loved and use the momentum from that book to read something new. This tactic didn’t always go as planned (I was still slow on my re-reads) but it was certainly an improvement.

Read Something Short, Light and Fun

After getting bogged down by more serious books, I found that reading a bunch of fun and easy-breezy romantic contemporaries in a row was a breath of fresh air. It also gave me some great reading momentum. Sometimes being able to switch your brain off for a while is a good way to jump start it. So, go out there, find your book version of a trashy reality TV show, and have some fun!


While book burnouts (or reading slumps) aren’t exactly fun, they do pass. Eventually. At the very least, I believe I’ve learned a few things from the experience that will hopefully prevent it from happening to me again. Or, well, at least not as hard.

Have you ever experienced a book burnout or reading slump? And if so, how did you get out of it?

WWW Wednesday | 20.11.19

I realised recently that the last time I did a WWW Wednesday was back in June so it seemed like a good time to change that. As always, this meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and asks you to answer the three Ws – what did you recently finish, what are you currently reading, and what’s up next?

I feel as though I waited forever for this to come out. The Nevernight Chronicle is one of my favourite book series so I had high expectations for the final entry. In the end, it wasn’t what I expected. For the first time since the beginning of book 1, I feel as though the pace dragged quite a bit, maybe because of the travelling? There was also more repetition than I would have liked and I’m still questioning certain plot choices. Overall though, it was alright – still Nevernight with the usual amount of violence, drama, romance, magic, gore and sass. I enjoyed the introduction of some new characters, the bonding between Mia and Jonnen was cute, and the ending was mostly satisfying. Could it have been better? Probably, but ah well.

Another book I’ve been eagerly awaiting like a kid on Christmas morning, and I somehow managed to score it the night before release day (woo!). At this point, I’m about 30 or so pages from the end but for something that’s only just over 300 pages, it’s not saying much. Why is the damn thing so SHORT??? I’m not even trying to read it quickly and yet, here I am already. The Queen of Nothing hasn’t felt as twisty, dramatic, and exciting as The Wicked King did, and the major plot complication did kind of make me kind of go, well, okay…Still, I’ve mostly enjoyed myself.

After two fantasy reads, it’s time for a YA contemporary to break up the stabbing (as fun as it is). I’ve been wanting to read this follow up ever since I finished Letters to the Lost a few months ago and now it’s finally the time. I’ve only got a few more books left until I reach my revised reading goal and I think I’ll breeze through this one. It won’t be a light & fluffy type of contemporary if the first book is anything to go by, but I’ve heard some great things. Some people have even said that they liked More Than We Can Tell better than LTTL. Excitement!


How’s your reading been going lately? Finished anything exciting or is there something you’re dying to jump into very soon?

Breakfast and Books: The Pancake Book Tag

I love pancakes. LOVE THEM. Maple syrup, lemon & sugar, Nutella, all of it. Load me up and then get ready to wheel me out the door when I’m done. Breakfast food is the best, honestly. So, how could I possibly resist doing a pancakes themed book tag? I can’t. It’s impossible. This sweet tag (along with the ridiculously cute pancake graphics) was created by Becky over at Blogs of a Bookaholic and which I stumbled across thanks to another breakfast lover, Kat at Novels & Waffles. All this food talk is making me very hungry…

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The Rules

  • Link back to the original creator (Becky @ Blogs of a Bookaholic)
  • Feel free to use any of the pancake graphics in your post, or create your own!
  • Tag 5 other people at the end of your post, and let them know you’ve tagged them. 

The Pancake Book Tag 1
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I have to agree with Becky on this one – while I wasn’t head over heels for the characters and plot in Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus (it’s certainly very…different), the writing is beyond lovely. I’m not usually one for flowery descriptions or phrases that attempt to be deep and profound, but some of the lines from this book are just beautiful. Reading it is, well, to quote the book itself, “Like stepping into a fairy tale under a curtain of stars.” As a book about a magical and mysterious circus, the fantasy of the writing is perfectly suited to its story.


The Pancake Book Tag 3
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Kvothe from The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is the first character that comes to mind on this one because he’s sharp in both wit and temperament. Intellect wise, he’s basically a prodigy, especially where it comes to magic and music. However, it’s his wit and snappy tongue that get him in to trouble when he reaches university. Pissing off the sons of wealthy nobles with a lot of pride and influence is not always the best idea… But hey, at least it’s entertaining: “I even started a few rumors that were pure nonsense, lies so outrageous that people would repeat them despite the fact that they were obviously untrue.”


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God, I love pancakes & nutella..*drools* There are a few books that are for sure comfort reads for me (usually YA contemporaries), but this time around I’m going with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Honestly, that whole series in general is the sweetest, most easy-breezy, comforting set of books. And so quick to finish, too! Lara Jean is such an adorable protagonist and, despite their issues, I love LJ and Peter together. Even the side characters are loveable. It just gives me all the warm fuzzies.


The Pancake Book Tag 9
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The Wicked King by Holly Black – the book hangover was strong with this one. I guess that’s what happens when you sit and do nothing else but read for hours on end until the book is over and then have to remember what you normally do with your life. I was so excited for this release and hooked from start to finish. Then it ended on a big twist and I was like….what. I have to wait a year to get the next one? Brain does not compute. Why. Why. Why.


The Pancake Book Tag 6
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I’m going with one of my faves, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid for this prompt. Indulgent? Check. Feels? A million times check. I flippin’ love this book. Its such a dramatic ride and it really manages to hit you in the guts at several points. Despite its many issues, I can’t help being intrigued by the gliz and glamour of old school Hollywood, which is what drew me to this book originally. Plus, I can never resist a well developed romance, even when I know it’s going to break my heart to pieces.


The Pancake Book Tag 4
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Ah, Baz. You start out so rude and potentially murderous only to turn out to have the hots for the chosen one. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is such a bizarre yet fun book and Tyrannus Basilton “Baz” Grimm-Pitch is easily one of the best parts. He’s all like, why yes, I may have tried to kill you on more than one occasion, potentially stole your girlfriend and constantly acted like an ass for about six years, but I am in fact sensitive, possess a traumatic backstory, currently dealing with my vampirism, and very much in love with your blue eyes and bronze curls Simon Snow. Winner.


The Pancake Book Tag 5
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The plot in The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton definitely kept me guessing, mainly because it’s so intricately done and tricky to pin down until the last third or so. There’s just so much happening with all the different timelines and characters. For large chunks of the book, the main character is even more confused than the reader is. Still, it all manages to come together in the end. This book is surely one of the more creative mystery stories I’ve ever read. It’s nice to read something that isn’t really predictable from the get-go.


The Pancake Book Tag 7
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A weird choice considering I haven’t read past book 4, but for some reason my brain keeps flashing it up – Aelin & Rowan from the Throne of Glass series. When Rowan was introduced in book 3, I was still hung up on Aelin & Chaol so I was sitting there going, please, please don’t become a romantic thing (even though I could see it coming from a mile away). But, then the idea grew on me over Queen of Shadows. Since then I’ve seen a lot of snippets, recaps, and discussions of the later books and I think that if I actually finished the series I’d be very much on board with the ship because of how loyal they are to one another and how much crap they go through together.


The Pancake Book Tag 8
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Don’t worry, Becky. I’m not much of a fan of Peanut Butter either, except for Reese’s Peanut Butter cups weirdly enough. Anyway, ugh Marcus Farrar from The Ember Quartet by Sabaa Tahir takes the cake (or pancake) on this one. The guy just makes my skin crawl and for good reason. He sexually assaults slaves, hurts people for the pleasure of it, and just murders as he likes. I can’t say too much because of spoilers, but Marcus does some seriously messed up stuff during the series, especially during book 2 – A Torch Against the Night.


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I may have had a few problems with The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi but the characters were not one of them. In fact, they were the best part! And they’re so fabulously diverse. We’ve got Algerian-French, Indian, Filipino-Spanish, Polish, and Haitian-French covered just in the main cast alone. There’s straight characters, bi characters, curvy characters, skinny characters…ahhhh…it makes my heart do a little happy dance. They’re all so quirky and brilliant, and create this perfect little found family. If only more books achieved this.


Annnnnnndddddd…now I’m dying for pancakes. Why do I do these things to myself. *cries* Speaking of which, are you guys team pancakes or team waffles? I think I prefer pancakes but I absolutely love both. Give me a breakfast smorgasbord, pretty please.

I’m going to do my usual no tagging thing but if you love pancakes and feel like giving this tag a go, I strongly recommend it. I had a blast. Just make sure you eat beforehand!

Books I’d Like to Read Before the End of 2019

It’s November and, despite my constant state of denial, that means 2019 will very soon come to a close. I still have a few books left to read in order to reach my revised (and far less stressful) yearly reading goal but, of course, so many books that I somehow haven’t had the time to get to this year. Here are a few of the ones I’m hoping to tick off before the year is done.

Darkdawn (The Nevernight chronicle 3#) – Jay Kristoff

Even though I’ve recently re-read the first two books in this series and I’ve been anxiously waiting for this book for about 2 years, I’ve been weirdly putting this off. Typical. Maybe I’m worried about being disappointed? Or maybe I just don’t want it to end? Either way, I want to hit this up before 2019 ends.

More than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost 2#) – Brigid Kemmerer

I read Letters to the Lost a few months ago and really loved it so buying this follow up was a no-brainer. The book follows a great side character from the first book and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I just haven’t made the time yet. Plus, there’s nothing like a good YA contemporary for the warmer seasons of the year.

Educated – Tara Westover

Over the past year or so, I’ve started to broaden my reading genres to include the occasional biography-memoir type book and, to my complete surprise, I’ve enjoyed myself. Educated has some absolutely amazing reviews and generally sounds like a great read. I’ve read the first couple of chapters and would really like to not only get properly stuck in but finish it off before the end of the year.

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air 3#) – Holly Black

Yes, this book won’t be released until November but I’ve included it on my list because I know that there’s no way I’ll be able to resist reading it the moment it comes out. I can’t wait to see how the series ends and where it goes from the dramatic end to The Wicked King. Not long to wait now!

Spin the Dawn (The blood of stars 1#) – Elizabeth Lim

While at the worst point of my book burn out this year, books like Spin the Dawn lost a lot of their appeal and kind of blended into one giant, YA fantasy blob. Now that I’ve started to come out the other side, it’s begun to interest me again. Project Runway meets Mulan, apparently. I’ve heard good things about this one so it’ll be nice to cross it off my list, especially since I bought it in hardback!

Iron Gold (Red rising 4#) – Pierce Brown

At this point, I feel as though this book has been on my TBR lists for as long as I can remember. I’d really like to finally knock it off the pile before the end of the year, if only to get rid of one of the chunkier unread books in my bookcase. The question is, whether I need to reread the first 200 or so pages I read earlier this year or just continue on through. Hmmm…

Girl Made of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now but only just got around to buying it the other day. Girl Made of Stars deals with some really heavy and important topics (mainly sexual assault and rape culture) and is supposed to be fantastic yet heartbreaking. By the size of it, I expect it to be an easy one to fit in over the next two months.

Next Year in Havana – Chanel Cleeton

I only recently discovered this book and ever since my mind keeps bouncing back to it, which is a good indication I’ll crack and read it soon. It sounds dramatic and very summer suitable. For some reason I’m also getting Evelyn Hugo vibes – two timelines, romance, Cuban characters, and a girl in a gorgeous dress on the cover. Now if only I can find a copy without the annoyingly printed Reese’s bookclub sticker.

Which books are you hoping to finish before the end of 2019?

WWW Wednesday | 19.09.18

It’s time for another  WWW Wednesday or as it should be titled, ‘Ashley has yet to upload anything to her blog this week and this is an easy, last minute post’. Successful blogger, that is clearly (not) me. This meme, hosted by Taking on a World of Words, requires you to answer three simple questions: 1) What did you just finish? 2) What are you currently reading? and 3) What will you read next?

Recently Finished

35820405My Oxford Year – Julia Whelan | Goodreads

I picked this one expecting it to be some light, fluffy chick-lit featuring a romantic Oxford setting and a sexy literature professor as the love interest. Tick to the setting and double tick to the hot professor but NOOOOOOO to the light and fluffy. About half way through, the book flips in tone with the reveal of a big secret about the male lead.  I quite liked both Ella, our American protagonist, and Jamie, her British romantic interest, and the chemistry between the two is great. BUT man, this book broke my heart a little. The ending isn’t exactly sad in and of itself but thinking about what will happen after it definitely leaves a bit of a hole in the chest. Still, I liked that the book encourages you to pursue your passions, and reinforced the idea that while not all things last forever, it’s important to make the most of them while you can.

Currently Reading

30653853The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli | Goodreads

Yep, after putting it off for ages, I’m finally doing it. After missing out on my light and fluffy with My Oxford Year, I definitely needed it going into this one. As in Becky’s other books, the characters feel realistic and there’s a lot of diversity but I’m not as in love with them as I was with those in Simon. There are a few things about the plot that are bugging me but a lot of it I can narrow down to teenagers thinking and acting like teenagers – things that seem so important at that age, really aren’t in the overall scheme of things. I definitely relate to Molly a lot though and it’s nice to know I’m not alone in a lot of the self-confidence issues I have. Even some of her thoughts feel like somebody secretly copied and pasted them straight from my head. I’m almost finished, should be done tonight. Here’s hoping for a cute ending.

Up Next

29386918Wildcard (Warcross 2#) – Marie Lu | Goodreads

Yes, yes, I know I’m supposed to be following my sister’s TBR list for this month and I promise I’ll go back to it but I just can’t resist reading this book. It’s FINALLY out! YAYYYYYYYYY! I’m a little excited, can you tell? I almost jumped for joy when I found it a few days earlier than expected at the book store. I’ve seen some mixed reviews from those with ARCs so far, so I’m slighty concerned but hopefully it’s for nothing. I really enjoyed Warcross when I read it earlier this year so fingers crossed this one lives up to it. It’ll be good to spend some more time with my gal Emika again. Looking forward to seeing her kick some more virtual ass.

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What’s your current read & what’s up next?

Ash

August TBR: NEWTs Magical Readathon

July is done, my OWLs readathon is complete, and I’m ready to move on to a newer, bigger challenge – the NEWTs readathon. Like last month’s readathon, this, too, is a Harry Potter themed readathon and hosted by G @ Book Roast. It’s based around a set of wizarding exams taken by Hogwarts students during their schooling. While the OWLs are taken in fifth year, NEWTs are completed in seventh, and just like this readathon, they’re supposed to be tough.

RULES

  1. To win the readathon you must pass two NEWTs and achieve an Outstanding grade in at least one of them
  2. Subjects work in tiers and each level must be unlocked in turn to reach an Oustanding grade – the passing grades are: Acceptable, Exceeds Expectations, and Outstanding.
  3. You may only attempt NEWT subjects previously completed during the OWLs readathon (unless you’re doing NEWTs without having done OWLS – then you just pick & choose).

I “passed” 9 OWLs in July so I had a lot of choice in selecting NEWT subjects. I’ve ended up setting TBRs for 5 of them – Arithmancy, Charms, Transfiguration, Ancient Runes, and Defence Against the Dark Arts. There are three books for each subject, meaning 15 in total. Don’t worry, this is massively ambitious for me. There’s no way I’ll get even close to finishing but what can I say? I love having choice. So here is my exciting (for me at least) looking TBR for the month ahead:

NEWTs TBR 2

I’d actually planned on reading Circe during OWLs but after realising I wasn’t that keen on the NEWTs challenges for the subject I allocated it to, I decided to push it back to August. I’d say it fits the ‘charming cover’ requirement very well. I’m determined to read it this time!

I expect to get through Arithmancy very quickly as I’ve picked three YA books that all happen to be fairly short in length. Great for powering through a readathon.

Enough blabbering, wish me luck!

What are you planning on knocking off your TBR pile this month? Anyone else planning on undertaking a readathon?

Love Ashley