What makes me pick up a book?

 

orangutan list

Well, the simple answer is that it is book shaped and contains a story 😉 Just kidding! I have all sorts of *actual reasons* (beyond just that bookworm impulse to see books and shout GIMME!!!)

book love belleCover Love! I’m just gonna get this out the way first because a) we all do it and b) I’m as guilty as the next person 😉 And boy this can set off the book lust!

 

book loveA sexy blurb– naturally. As I’ve mentioned before, I can be tempted to read pretty much any genre, and a compelling blurb will definitely do that.

 

Yall of youou guys! It’ll come as no surprise that I take reviews very seriously. I definitely pay attention to what other bloggers are reading/what I might have missed/what’s lived upto the hype. Speaking of which…

 

book pusherRegular peer pressure also works. As much as I like to tell myself it doesn’t, hype can definitely push me towards a book. And that’s not the only type of browbeating that can get me on board. Nagging family, friends, a persistent librarian, a list titled “must read before you die”, a throwaway comment… if someone insists loud enough that I should do more reading, who am I to argue? 😉

 

choose booksAlso, I can’t resist books by my favourite authors. I mean this one’s self-explanatory- if I love a book by an author, I’ll keep coming back for more 😊 I could say the same for genre, but I think I get a bit more specific there…

 

dragon gifMythical creatures capture my attention! But most specifically DRAGONS! Granted, this can be hit or miss, because let’s just say I’ve been burned before 😉 Still I can never resist hoarding shiny new dragon books!! And it’s not just magical creatures that tempt me…

 

magicMAGIC will always lure me in! Beyond all the creatures, I can’t get enough of the worlds, the quests, the spells… I am here for it all!! The whisper of magic will have me intrigued; a bold new fantasy system will make me want to shout from the rooftops! Although, I’m not gonna pretend to have the most discerning palate all the time- a good banana is a good banana no matter where it’s been imported from 😉 While I do appreciate a little different, I’m gonna be happy if you put that banana in a banana split or banana bread 😉 (jeez that might be the worst analogy I’ve ever used 😉) Point is fantasy is my jam, whether it’s something wildly different, or something samey done well.

 

lily and jamesRomance– errr yeah I’m gonna admit to being one of those readers who prefers a hefty dose of love in my literature. Though I won’t say I need it in everything I read, a little romance is always a plus for me 😀 Speaking of romance, I can never say no to a few…

 

Beloved tropes– aka romantic tropes I die for. I absolutely adore hate to love and fake boyfriends in particular- and they’ll definitely have me reaching for a book!

And finally…

shameIt’s been on my tbr so gosh darn long that I’m beginning to feel guilty… although this isn’t always the most compelling reason 😉 (see all the books on my tbr I’ve failed to read glaring at me).

 

So do you relate to any of these? What makes you pick up a book? Let me know in the comments!

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I confess: I am an audiobook convert!

 

audiobook2

Hallelujah! I have finally found a “new” bookish way! And I’m here today to share these all-mighty teachings with you! (although no doubt many of you have heard these reasons before 😉) Here are the reasons I have finally caved and started listening to audiobooks:

mood reader 1More reading time! Ever wanted just a bit more time to squeeze in books? This totally works! Audiobooks, it turns out, are perfect for multitasking. Admittedly, you may want to do something that requires minimum brain function, like hoovering or washing up, because if it’s a good audiobook you may feel the need to stop (people who cook and don’t burn their dinner while listening to a great audiobook need to tell me how they do that 😉 ) Plus, if you’re really pushed for time, you can speed them up- result!

 

are you not entertainedSo entertaining! While audiobooks have always had some great narrators, I swear I’ve found more modern audiobooks have a lot of added bonuses to keep us readers on our toes- they have music and multiple narrators to create a more immersive experience. Some genres and stories work brilliantly in this format, such as my recent reads Daisy Jones and Sadie.

 

read-fastSqueeze in more learning. The way I’ve been using audiobooks for the longest time is to listen to non-fic. It’s never been my favourite genre, but discovering I could listen to non fic while I work was a gamechanger for me.

 

 

baboon glassesGreat for your eyes! If you don’t have the best eyesight (like me)/just need to give your eyes a rest, I’d definitely recommend giving audiobooks a go. One of my favourite times to read is before bed- however sometimes I’m too tired to focus, so regretfully put aside the book… not anymore! People had been telling me about this benefit for ages, but I hadn’t really listened and now I wish I’d done it sooner! 

 

reading anywhereListen on the go. So admittedly, I have walked and read before- but now I can do it safely! Without the risk of being run over! PRAISE BE BOOKISH GODS!

 

piles of booksDoesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! Beyond audible (and various other sites), there are libraries and beyond that are apps like Overdrive. Discovering that you can get library ebooks and audiobooks on Overdrive/Libby was a complete revelation to me. I didn’t know about this resource for ages (cos I’m a dinosaur apparently) so for the handful of you that are as clueless about technology as me, if you have access to a library, check to see if you can get access too. 

And that’s all for now! I hope I’ve convinced a few of you to step into the dark side *ahem* I mean the light… This is pretty new to me, so do any of you have tips on where to get audiobooks? Or reasons you love them too? Let me know in the comments!

Books set in the UK that have a special place in my heart

 

orangutan list

Hello all! So, after my little trip, I’ve been feeling a little Wanderlust… but since I can’t go far at the moment, I thought it might be fun to take a (digital) bookish trip round the UK, stopping off in places that are special to me. I was completely inspired by Book Nook’s brilliant interpretation of Top 5 Tuesday, so I highly recommend you check that out!

Confessions of a Justified Sinner– this is not only one of my favourite gothic books, it’s also strongly evocative of Scotland. To me, this captures the creepy atmosphere better than any other book. One of my favourite parts is a particularly chilling scene set up on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh- in fact, I remember reading it when the mist came down over the city and only seeing the peak just rising above it and thinking “this is a little too real”. Soooo moral of the story is beware the devils in Scotland 😉

Peter Rabbit– like Book Nook, I had to pick this one. Beatrix Potter reminds me of the Lake District, possibly the most beautiful part of England. I went there as a child and I have fond memories of the magic of the place, especially as it felt like stepping into Potter’s world 😀 Also, Beatrix Potter understands that the way to a reader’s heart is through their stomachs 😉

The Hobbit– this may seem an odd choice for people (including me) who grew up with New Zealand as Middle Earth- BUT since Tolkien actually based his descriptions on the English countryside, I felt it was very apt for this list. Particularly as I distinctly remember the first time I read the Hobbit, then going for a walk in some woods near where I lived and (bearing in mind I was a child at the time) running delightedly yelling “wow this is Mirkwood!!”

A Darker Shade of Magic– cos I’m a Londoner and all of these Londons are perfection. Yeah, it’s not by a British author, but that doesn’t matter. No one could have captured the city more authentically! (well, aside from the magic 😉)

Peter Pan– I mean, I’ve got to include this, it’s one of my favourite books. Plus, he’s rather a famous resident in Kensington Gardens.

La Belle Sauvage– keeping to the realms of fantasy, I could hardly ignore Lyra’s Oxford. Northern Lights was hugely influential on me as a child and I can tell you Oxford definitely reminds me of Pullman’s novels!! (or, technically speaking, his books remind me of Oxford- but shh I won’t tell if you don’t 😉)

Return of the Native– really, I could’ve chosen any of Hardy’s books to represent his Wessex, but this one felt fitting for its heightened romanticism. If you do fancy going in search of Hardy’s Wessex, then you won’t actually have to look so hard- head down to Dorset and you’ll find many of the spots in his novels (and his life). I was lucky enough to do a tour once with school and highly recommend it!

Frenchman’s Creek– Du Maurier has always been the queen of making her landscapes feel like another character in her books. And I could easily have chosen the moors in Jamaica Inn or the memorably dreamlike Manderley in Rebecca, but none are so special to me as the rugged Cornish coastline depicted in her Frenchman’s Creek. I can easily picture the smugglers and spirit of Cornwall from all the descriptions she snatches in this book. I adore it.

And finally…

carry on

Carry On– I have no idea if Rainbow Rowell has ever been to Watford, but it is the most hilarious thing that she chose it as the place to set her HP parody. Intentional or not, it’s bloody hilarious.

So, have you read any of these? And what are your favourite books about your home country? Let me know in the comments! 

Let’s have a quick spring fling… fluffy fun books!

 

orangutan list

It’s been a hot minute since I talked about purely cutesy reads- in fact, the last time I talked about fluff and nothing but fluff was 2015! So I think it’s safe to say that list could do with a little updating. I know I’ve definitely read more sappy reads since then.

the hating game

The Hating Game– let’s start with something that has hate in the title, shall we? 😉 If by chance you haven’t heard of this book, don’t be deceived by the title, this is one helluva of the sappy, rewarding, funny read AND I LOVED IT.

night of cake and puppets

Night of Cake and Puppets– it’s no secret I am a MAJOR fan of Laini Taylor’s- but I don’t feel like I go on about this book enough, because it is less in the fantasy category and more in the OH MY GOODNESS THIS DELICIOUSLY SWEET BOOK JUST MADE MY HEART MELT! So yeah, I think it’s a good contender for this list 😉

love and gelato

Love and Gelato– speaking of sugary things- this has all the ingredients of a fun contemporary! Ice cream- check! Romantic Italian location- check! Love- double check!

180 seconds

180 Seconds– I don’t feel like I mention this book enough, but it takes the MEET CUTE/love at first sight trope to a whole different level. Unexpected and surprisingly emotional, this is one romance that will capture your heart in record time.

simon vs the homosapien agenda

Simon Vs the Homosapien Agenda– everyone that’s read Albertalli’s modern romance must surely know how perfect it is for this list! It scarcely needs introduction at this point- so if by chance you haven’t checked it out yet, definitely push it up your TBR, cos you won’t be disappointed! And be sure to check out the movie as well if you’re not quite satiated!

carry on

Carry On– while this does have a satirical edge, Rowell is the master of CUTE romance and this has all the best components of a fun read. And with the second book coming out this year I COULDN’T BE MORE THRILLED!

ForbiddenWish_BOM.indd

Forbidden Wish– I really should talk about this book more, cos it’s a perfectly charming Aladdin retelling. Beautifully told and delightfully romantic, this is a lovely YA fantasy.

nimona

Nimona– yes, this may technically be a book about a supervillain BUT I can safely say this delivers on the fun, humorous side enough to qualify for this list! Plus, I defy you to not fall in love with spunky, bonkers, hilarious Nimona!

anne-of-green-gables

Anne of Green Gables– would you believe that 4 years ago I hadn’t read this gem? Naturally I had to rectify that and I’m glad I did! While it does have some dark themes (which the Netflix show decided to run with much to its detriment) Montgomery lends such charm to her writing that all you come away feeling all warm and fuzzy inside (but also a little heartbroken).

secret countess

The Secret Countess– keeping to more classic of cuteness, you can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned Eva Ibbotson book! Now, I’m often biased and name this one since it’s my favourite- but that shouldn’t mean you rule out any of the others! They’re all perfectly gorgeous, gilded with the same fairy tale feel and worth picking up.

So have you read any of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments! 

Blogger Love in Books!

orangutan list

Is it just me, or do any of you get a jolt of recognition when there’s bloggers in books? Either main characters or those starring in more of a side role- it’s so fun to see some blogger rep in books! Here’s a quick list:

obsidian

The Lux Series– Katie is a surprisingly fun and relatable character- and I’ll admit, a large part of that comes down to her being a reader AND a blogger. I mean, that’s so cool, right? (hehe okay, maybe just in our circles, but you know what I mean). What I like even more is how the number of her followers aren’t made a big deal of- but it is a big presence in her life (and Damian, when he starts to get cuter in the second book, recognises how important it is to her aww).

eliza and her monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters– technically Eliza has a webcomic, but I *adored* her character in every sense, because it was so relatable. From her online presence to her creating stories from scratch to her social awkwardness, she was a down to earth heroine and a lot of fun to read about.

serpent king

Serpent King– funnily enough, Lydia in Serpent King had a blogging persona that I took a while to warm to. But once I did, I appreciated her all the more because my conflicted feelings made her feel all the more real. Plus, this is an amazing book- you should go read it!

geekerella

Geekerella– the heroine is a blogger again here- woot woot! Beyond this just being about fandom, which is already a super entertaining premise, this also delved into the world of blogging a little.

cinder and ella

Cinder and Ella– yes, another Cinderella romance, BUT this also involves living on the internet AND I love the idea of blogs bringing people together PLUS it’s also good so why not? (I’m giving away my Cinderella obsession again 😉 ) I don’t know what it is about Cinderella-types, but apparently they’re obsessed with blogging and I’m for it!

So, have you read any of these? Do you have any tips on books that feature bloggers? Let me know in the comments!

Books with Tropes I Like

 

orangutan list

So a couple of weeks back, I did a post about tropes that don’t bother me (and some I even like) and Katie @Never Not Reading requested that I do a follow up with recommendations in each of the categories. And since I am nothing if not accommodating, I obliged 😉 Althoughhhhh, I have to be honest, this might not be the most comprehensive list in the world, since a fair amount of the time I pick up books with these tropes, they disappoint. Either way, here are some books I did enjoy:

Forbidden Love

Gotta admit, this was the easiest category to do- there are just so many!!! And I love them all!! (most of the time 😉 )

Fake Dating

Ah this was the toughest. Truth be told, ever since I picked up To All the Boys, I’ve been trying to find more in this category, but a lot of them fall flat. Still, there are some good ones out there if you know where to look 😉

Enemies to Lovers

I had so many for this, but I decided to split them up so that there would be some for my other fave trope…

Secretly a sweetheart

Yeah there’s a lot of overlap with Enemies to Lovers here! These two tropes go hand in hand for a reason!

Descent into darkness

Annnd basically every other Shakespearean tragedy 😉

Redemptive arcs

This was another super popular one in classics- maybe because it is a classic! (oof- that joke was painful- I’ll see myself out)

Rags to riches/Cinderella stories

Is it just me or does this happen more in movies? I could think of a gazillion rom coms with this and for some reason it was a struggle to think of more than a few books! (I also think someone’s going to tell me at least one in the comments that I’ll be kicking myself for not remembering).

Do you like any of my recs? Or do you plan on checking any of these out? And do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

Books that I thought were one thing… but turned out to be something totally different

We’ve all seen the big claims on book blurbs:

“THE NEXT HARRY POTTER AND HUNGER GAMES COMBINED!”

We’ve all seen the hype online:

“THE BEST THING YOU WILL EVER READ”

I know I’ve complained plenty about hype and books I’ve been disappointed with over the years. And yet, I don’t think I talk enough about the times when I’ve read a book that was just a little miss-marketed. It doesn’t mean the book was bad per se (in fact there are some good books on this list) but that I was sold something *totally different* to what it actually was. So today, I’ll be sharing some of those bad boys:

orangutan list

Caraval-150x225Caraval– oh gosh this book really disappointed me. It’s not a terrible book buuut it was way too overhyped. Basically it never should have been described as the *next Night Circus*- and that thought actually inspired a piece with the lovely Trang@Bookidote eons back about how books are marketed.

 

lonely hearts hotelLonely Hearts Hotel– it often seems to be describing a book as like Night Circus that does it a book in for me (so much so I now often avoid books with that moniker) cos this book was given that label too. And if you want to read/enjoy book, you need to get that notion out of your head RIGHT NOW! This is about as far from Night Circus as Lolita is from Carroll. They’re not even in the same genre. And I also feel like I could have done with the warning that this contains a lot of (not always well handled) abuse.

burn for burnBurn for Burn– I actually enjoyed this book for the most part- but one thing that threw me and was totally left of field is the supernatural element. This series is generally marketed as YA contemporary… and it’s not exactly that.

 

girl on the trainThe Girl on the Train– here’s another time that a book was killed by the hype. Frankly, this isn’t a bad thriller, but the only comparison you can really make with Gone Girl is that it has “girl” in the title and it’s in the same genre. Otherwise, the two never should have been lumped together.

 

Legend_Marie_Lu_Book_coverLegend– I really like this author, however I wasn’t totally blown away by her first book. That’s because it distinctly said on the blurb that it was “inspired by Les Miserables”- and perhaps that’s the case- nonetheless it should have been left off the marketing because the two stories have basically *nothing* in common! (okay, there are some parts if you really, really look for it, but it’s not exactly obvious!)

stagsStags– now this one isn’t so much that the blurb or marketing did anything wrong. Rather, Stags simply didn’t live up to the promise of the opening line. It’s more than a little frustrating to have the narrator confess to murder at the start and then have that not come true in the slightest- it made me feel cheated and like I’d picked up the book under false pretences.

And BONUS…

eleanor oliphant is completely fineEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine– this is actually the one time on this list that I was pleasantly surprised, cos I picked this book up thinking it had *contemporary romance vibes* (especially given where it was placed in bookshops) and it’s not that AT ALL- but in a good way- cos this book is awesome 😉

 

So have you felt let down by a book blurb before? Have you been promised something that a book hasn’t delivered? Or have you been pleasantly surprised by mismarketing? Let me know in the comments!