Let’s Talk Bookish: What Makes You DNF a Book?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. For today’s topic, we’re talking about DNFing books. DNF stands for ‘Did Not Finish’ and is when you stop reading a book part way through.

I actually don’t DNF books. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t finish a book I’d started. I must have done years ago, but not for a long while. Once I’ve started a book, I’m in it to the end. Maybe this isn’t the best approach though. If I’m not loving a book, should I put it down so I can spend my time on a book I’ll like more instead? Maybe. But I just can’t seem to bring myself to DNF a book.

Sometimes a book can really pick up in the second half, and I end up feeling glad I didn’t give up on it early on before things got good, even though I didn’t enjoy it to begin with. I didn’t find the opening quarter or so of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo that engaging, but it ended up being one of my favourite series. Recently I read Shielded by KayLynn Flanders. I didn’t enjoy the first half much at all and possibly should have DNFed it. But I liked the second half a lot more, so I am glad I stuck with it, even though I didn’t love it overall.

The one time I can imagine DNFing, is if a book has just really bad writing. If the writing quality was really poor, I wouldn’t be able to get through it. Or if perhaps the book wasn’t what I was expecting or includes triggers I wasn’t aware of before I started reading.

I do sometimes give up on series without finishing them. Sometimes I only read the first book and decide I’m not invested enough to keep reading. Other times I read two or more books in the series but then if I don’t enjoy the sequels I won’t keep going with the series. Especially long series, when there is a bigger time commitment. I have to really love a book to read a long series. Whereas I’m more likely to persevere with a duology or trilogy if I’m interested enough to want to know how the story ends.

Do you DNF books you aren’t enjoying? What makes you decide to DNF? And are you ever likely to pick up a DNF and try it again in future? I’d love to know what you think so chat with me in the comments!

September 2020 Wrap Up

Well I managed not to have any new ailments this month so I suppose that is an improvement on the last couple of months. I spent a few days (safely) at my grandparents in Devon and it was really nice to just get away for a bit. Due to being at risk from COVID I’m spending most of my time in the house so it was good to have a change of scene.

I started off the month with an eARC of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue which was absolutely brilliant. I really loved it and I can’t wait to share my review with you very soon!

I joined in the readalong for Fairyloot’s July book which was Shielded by KayLynn Flanders. Unfortunately, I didn’t love this one that much. It picked up in the second half so I am glad I stuck with it, but it was only a 3 stars overall.

I finished Jane Austen’s Emma which I’ve been reading for the last couple of months. I’ve read two other Austens – Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility – and it was the recent adaptation of Emma which prompted me to choose it as my next Austen. I adored the film and I also loved the book.

As Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favourite books, I had high expectations for Strange the Dreamer, which is the opener of Laini Taylor’s other series. It did not disappoint! Strange the Dreamer is so imaginative and lyrical and heartbreaking and I loved it.  

I ended the month with another slightly disappointing one. I was lucky enough to win an ARC of Kingdom of the Wicked. I haven’t read any of Kerri Maniscalco’s other books but I was really excited for this one. As much as I wanted to love it, there were quite a few issues for me and I ended up writing a really long review of it!

This month I bought a few special edition books and also had some pre-orders arrive. Unsurprisingly I pre-ordered Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin. I also pre-ordered Legendborn by Tracey Deonn because it sounds amazing! Plus I ordered The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare. From Fairyloot’s August box I had Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar and Illumicrate’s August book was The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. Owlcrate had a restock of some past books in their shop so I got copies of Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson and The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd Jones.

I’m now halfway through my King Arthur retelling which is really exciting! I took a break from writing for a week when I went on holiday but I’m looking forward to getting back into it at full throttle next month!

What have you been up to this month? What books have you enjoyed? Chat with me in the comments!

Liebster Award!

Thank you so much to Krisha for nominating me for the Liebster Award! I was tagged a couple of weeks ago but didn’t have time to finish up this post before I went on holiday (a few days safely visiting my grandparents in Devon, which was lovely). Check out Krisha’s awesome blog here!

Liebster Blogger Award rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and give a link to the blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  3. Nominate between 5-11 other bloggers.
  4. Ask your nominees 11 questions.
  5. Notify your nominees once you’ve uploaded your post.

1. What’s your favourite thing about book blogging?

I love getting to interact with other people who share the same love for books I have! I also love writing blog posts and putting down my thoughts about books.

2.Which book would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island all on your lonesome?

Ooh this is a really tricky question. I think I’d want a long book with reread potential, since I don’t know how long I’m going to be stranded for. So, I think I’d pick The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. I’ve been wanting to reread it for ages as I feel like there’s so much content to absorb.

3.How do you feel about books that end on a cliffhanger?

When a book ends on a cliffhanger, it makes me so desperate to read the next book! If the next book is already out, I love a cliffhanger ending, because it keeps my excitement for the series up. But if I have to wait for the next book to come out to find out what happens next… ahhh!

4.What is the essential factor in whether or not you’ll enjoy a book?

I think a variety of factors come into play here. For me a book has to have a good balance of plot and character. If a book focuses on characters but has no plot, or focuses on plot but I don’t care for the characters, both of those are not great scenarios. The writing style is also important for how much I’ll enjoy a book.

5.Do you have any hobbies besides reading and what are they?

My biggest hobby is writing! I’ve been writing for more than ten years and have finished 5 novels. I’m currently working on my sixth and am planning on trying to get one of them published sometime soon! I also love photography, though I don’t have as much time for it anymore now I’m working full time.

6.Who is your favourite villain and why?

I honestly don’t think I have a favourite villain… None in particular are coming to mind for me… I don’t tend to have favourite characters in general. I think I tend to remember the stories more than the characters themselves, if that makes sense.

7.Is 3 stars a good or bad rating?

I actually recently wrote a whole post on this! I would usually consider 3 stars a good rating. If I give a book 3 stars, I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it.

8.Do you have any bookish and/or blogging goals that you really want to accomplish?

I recently achieved my Goodreads goal to read 30 books in 2020! Because of the pandemic, I’ve had more time at home to read. So I would really like to reach 50 books by the end of the year.

9.What movie can you watch over and over without getting tired of?

Stardust! It has such a good blend of fantasy, adventure and fun!

10.Do you like book series, or do you prefer standalone reads?

I like standalones because you can feel satisfied to have read a story beginning to end. And if you didn’t love it, at least you know how the story finishes without having to pick up another book. But, what I love about series is getting to see how characters change and develop over a longer period of time. I feel like I can get to know and connect with characters more when we see them for more than one book.

11.If you could live any place in the world, imaginary or not, where would it be?

I feel like I’m overthinking this question! I’ve grown up living in the same small town and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. There are lots of imaginary places I’d like to visit, but I’m not sure I’d want to live there!

My questions:

  1. How did you get into blogging?
  2. What is your favourite book trope?
  3. Do you like a happy, tragic or bittersweet ending the most?
  4. What book would you most like to see adapted to a film or TV show?
  5. Which author have you read the most books by?
  6. What is your favourite book series and why?
  7. Which authors do you auto-buy when they have new books out?
  8. How do you decide what rating to give a book?
  9. What is your favourite genre?
  10. What genre do you not usually read but would like to try?
  11. What is the best book you’ve read in 2020 so far?

Nominees:

Nicole @ Nicole’s Book Thoughts

Abby @ Beyond the Read

Amena @ Nerd in New York

Erin @ The London Faerie

Julie @ One Book More

Elaine @ Elaine Howlin

Alyssa @ A Lovely Book Affair

Let’s Talk Bookish: Is 3 Stars a ‘Good’ Rating?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. For today’s topic we’re talking about ‘Is 3 Stars a ‘Good’ Rating?’.

When I rate a book 3 stars, I think of it as a good rating. I rarely give 5 stars. So far this year I’ve read 32 books and I’ve only given 5 star ratings for three books, and last year I read 20 books and only gave one 5 star rating. Maybe I’m too harsh? I don’t know. For a book to be 5 stars it really has to blow me away. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to leave me with a certain feeling, I have to have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars. So therefore, the majority of books I love get a 4 or 4.5 star rating. Then the books I loved but not quite as much as the 4 star books get a 3.5 stars. And the books that get 3 stars are ones I enjoyed but didn’t love. I rarely give 1 or 2 star reviews, partly because I’ve been lucky so far while I’ve been blogging that I haven’t read many books I didn’t like.

Reviewers have different ways of choosing star ratings. I seem to give ratings based on feelings, rather than any objective system. I don’t think there’s any right or wrong way to do it. If I’m torn about what rating to give a book, I think back to what other books I’ve read. For example, I’ll think about what other books I gave 4 stars, and decide whether I liked it more, less, or the same as those books.

I decided to look back at my reviews and see what books I gave 3 stars this year. Most recently was A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer which I liked but didn’t get the same enjoyment from as the first book in the series, A Curse So Dark and Lonely. I also gave 3 stars to The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White which I liked enough that I will read the sequel, but I didn’t connect with some of the characters as much as I would have liked and the writing style wasn’t to my taste. The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant, on the other hand, is beautifully written but the time jumps were a bit too jarring for me and there were a few other reasons I only gave it 3 stars.

If I’ve seen a book with a lot of 3 star ratings I will probably look more closely at the reviews before deciding if I want to read the book. Everyone has different tastes and some people might have given it a lower rating for an element that they didn’t enjoy, but which I know is something I love to read. I would be more hesitant to read a book with lots of 3 star ratings, but I would just do more research before making a decision.

Everyone can probably agree that 4 and 5 star ratings are ‘good’ ratings. But 3 stars is hovering in that strange middle ground. I can see why some people would see 3 stars as ‘bad’. For my own ratings, anything with 3 stars or more is on a scale of ‘good’. If I were to describe them in one word, I’d call 3 stars ‘good’, 4 stars ‘amazing’ and 5 stars ‘out of this world’.   

I’m really interested to see how other people respond to this prompt and whether there is a mixture of opinions. What do you think? Do you see 3 stars as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ rating? 

August 2020 Wrap Up

So August wasn’t a great month. I had an infection in my eye which got really bad. All one side of my face was swollen and I was in a lot of pain. I also couldn’t see anything. So I had a week off work, didn’t read for a week, didn’t do much of anything actually. Because the medication I take effects the immune system, when I get ill, I get really ill, and it also takes a while for me to recover. So even though my eye was almost better after a week or so thanks to antibiotics, I’m still recovering energy-wise.

I’m really hoping September is going to be a better month because I’ve not been doing great health-wise lately.

Because I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t read. So I ended up signing up for the Audible free trial and trying out audiobooks. I haven’t listened to an audiobook in years. I chose The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, both of which I’ve read before. The Northanger Abbey audiobook had a full cast and I quite enjoyed it as it’s one of my favourite Austen novels. I have to say that I much prefer reading a physical book, though I can see audiobooks having benefits.

When I was able to see again, I read Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee which was amazing. It’s a plot-driven YA fantasy with an intriguing magic system. It ended on a cliff-hanger so I’m really excited for the sequel!

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer was a really anticipated read for me as I loved A Curse So Dark and Lonely, but unfortunately I didn’t like it as much as the first book which was a little disappointing.

Finally, I read Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo which just blew me away. It was absolutely brilliant and I loved it even more than Six of Crows.      

This month I shared my book haul as a separate post because I ended up with so many thanks to winning a massive AtHomeYALC giveaway! You can see what books I got here.

Since I couldn’t see for part of the month and have been feeling pretty rubbish, I’m fairly happy with how much I’ve managed to write. I’ve written about 16,000 words for my King Arthur retelling and I’m nearly halfway through the book which is pretty exciting. My goal, so long as I don’t get ill again, is to finish it by the end of October. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to achieve that, but I’d certainly hope to have finished it by the end of November.

What have you been up to this month? What books have you enjoyed? Chat with me in the comments!

August 2020 Book Haul

I usually include my book haul in my monthly wrap up as I don’t usually buy many books, but I ended up with a massive haul this month thanks to a YALC giveaway! I’m really excited to read all these books! So let’s see what I got…

As part of AtHomeYALC, Hodderscape ran a competition on Instagram. You had to find 10 Pickwicks hidden in stories. I was lucky enough to be randomly selected to win the prize of 10 books! I really could not believe it when I saw the message. I’ve never won anything before! This is an amazing bundle of books. It was also lucky that I didn’t already own any of these and I’ve only read one as I had an eARC of Incendiary. I’m most excited for Girl, Serpent, Thorn as I’ve seen lots of great reviews for it and it sounds really interesting!

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan                

Emily Eternal by M. G. Wheaton

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

Light Years by Kass Morgan

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

The Extraordinaries by T. J. Klune

Amazingly, I also won two giveaways on Twitter as part of AtHomeYALC! I won an ARC of Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar from a Harper360 giveaway, which is one of my most anticipated releases of the year! I also won an ARC of Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco from Hodderscape, but that one hasn’t arrived yet as the ARCs were due to be printed this month.

I had a Waterstones gift card for my birthday so I also ordered a few books this month. I miss going in physical book shops! Although shielding is paused at the moment, I’m still being super careful and not going in shops.

Plus, I received Shielded by KayLynn Flanders in Fairyloot’s July box. I’ll hopefully be posting an unboxing of that this weekend.

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Midnight’s Twins by Holly Race

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

Shielded by KayLynn Flanders

I think I’m still stunned from winning that competition. It was amazing to open the box. It arrived while I was really ill so it was great timing as it cheered me up!

Let’s Talk Bookish: The Popularity of YA

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. I’ve not participated in this for a few weeks as I was ill earlier this month but I’m planning on getting back into blogging more again now I’m feeling better!

This week’s topic is ‘The Popularity of YA’. There is a lot to talk about here and there are some interesting questions in the prompt so this week I’m going to structure my post around some of those questions.

Do you like reading YA? Why or why not? What do you love/hate about YA books?

At the moment I do read mostly YA. I think some of the reason for that is I know what I’m going to get with a YA book. I can go into the bookshop and browse the shelves in that section and I can pick out books I think I’ll like. The Adult section is so much bigger and whenever I look there, I just feel a bit overwhelmed and don’t really know what to choose.

I mostly read YA fantasy and science fiction. What I love about YA fantasy and science fiction is that it usually has a pretty fast pace. I’ve not read as much Adult fantasy, but the ones I have read have been a lot longer and slower paced. I don’t mind a slower pace from time to time, but I find most of the time the faster pace and style of writing in YA books is more engaging for me. There are also a lot of white, male fantasy authors out there dominating those Adult shelves. This does seem to be changing and I intend to seek out more female and diverse Adult fantasy authors.

Another reason that I read a lot of YA is because I write it too. I love writing YA fantasy and sci fi so of course I want to read it as well. I’ve done so much more reading this last year and I feel it’s really helped my writing and also makes me feel more inspired.

What do you think is the most popular genre in YA and why?

YA does seem to move in trends. At one point paranormal was super popular, especially paranormal romance, vampires, werewolves and so on. Then dystopia exploded and was everywhere. That seems to have died down now and I’m not sure which genre is most popular at the moment. There do seem to have been a lot of popular fantasy series out in the last few years.

Should YA take up most of our reading (if it indeed does)? Do you think YA transcends the age barrier?

I don’t think there’s a problem with reading a lot of YA. While I mostly read YA, I do read other kinds of books too and I do like having a break from reading YA sometimes for some variety. The most important thing really is that people should read what they enjoy.  

One thing that does irritate me about attitudes to YA is that people can be condescending to adults who read YA. I’m in my 20s and I enjoy reading YA and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think some of that comes from misunderstanding what YA is and people seeing it as inferior, which is not the case. True, not all YA books are great, but neither are all Adult books.

I think YA can be enjoyed by people of all ages (well, teens and up!). People can relate to the way YA characters are trying to discover who they are and find their place in the world.

How do you feel about YA? Do you enjoy reading it? I’d love to know your thoughts, so discuss with me in the comments!

July 2020 Wrap Up

This month I should have been going to YALC! I was so looking forward to it so was really disappointed it had to be cancelled because of coronavirus. Instead there was a digital version of the event called #atHomeYALC which was fun! There were giveaways and panels and lots of other fun bookish things on Twitter and Instagram. Hopefully we will be able to attend YALC in person next year!

I had a great month for reading as I loved all the books I read! My first read of July was Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim which I really enjoyed. Next, I read Burn by Patrick Ness which was just so creative and unique. I never knew quite what was going to happen next. Plus it had dragons!

I read the third book in Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series – Heir of Fire. This series just seems to get better and better! I love her writing and stories.   

I just finished reading an eARC of The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow. I’ll be posting a review of that soon!

I received copies of Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee and The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna in Fairyloot’s June box which arrived a few weeks late. My Fairyloot edition of The Damned by Renee Ahdieh also arrived. The Beautiful was one of my favourite reads of 2019 so I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

This month I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo with my King Arthur retelling and I smashed my goal of 16,000 words! I wrote 18,552 words in July which I am super happy with. I’m loving working on this project so I’m excited to continue writing it.

How had your July been? What books have you enjoyed this month? Chat with me in the comments!

Let’s Talk Bookish: How Have Your Reading Habits Changed Over Time?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s theme is ‘How have your reading habits changed over time?’.

I have loved reading for a very long time and my reading habits have certainly changed. Before I went to university, I read quite a mix of books. A lot of YA but also some more literary books. Then when I went to uni to study English Literature with Creative Writing I didn’t have much spare time for reading outside the course material. So I read a lot of classics and literary fiction for those three years. I read some great books and I enjoyed my degree, but I did miss being able to choose what I read.

Then when I finished uni (3 years ago now!) I didn’t want to see another classic! I’ve read almost solely YA since then. I’ve also read mostly fantasy and sci-fi. I think having read so many literary and challenging reads during my degree, I just wanted to be sucked into a great story again. I just wanted to be swept up in a fantasy adventure.

Having spent 3 years reading as part of studying, it did take me a little while to get back into reading for fun. At first, I didn’t enjoy reading as much as I used to, because while I was studying it was something I had to do and I had to read particular books. Having the freedom to choose what to read again was great, but it did take me a little while to get back into it.

Over the last year or so I’ve got back into really loving reading for pleasure again and consequentially I’ve started reading more too. Having my love of reading rekindled again has been wonderful.

I’ve also done a lot of reading this year thanks to lockdown. Even though I’m still working full time (from home) I’ve had a lot more free time since I’ve not been able to go anywhere! I expect the amount of reading I do will go down again a bit whenever we finally get back to ‘normal’. So I’m making the most of the time I have to read and write.

I’m actually reading a classic at the moment though – Emma by Jane Austen. As I’ve read a lot of fantasy lately it is nice to read something different. There are a lot of classics I want to read, but I probably won’t read them that often. At the moment I’m reading about one a year. Maybe that will change though. It will be interesting to see how my reading habits have changed in a few years time!

Have your reading habits changed over the years? Has the kind of books you enjoy shifted? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Let’s Talk Bookish: Blog Scheduling

July has been a busy month for me so far! I’ve not been blogging as much as I’m taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo during July so I’ve been focusing on writing my novel. But today I’m back to talk bookish!

Today’s theme is ‘Blog Scheduling’. Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion.

When I first started blogging way back in 2012 (I can’t believe it’s been so long!) I didn’t have any schedule and I just posted randomly. I didn’t post all that often back then, but over the years I started posting more often. Last year I decided to make a schedule so it was easier to keep track of what I had planned and I’ve found it’s helped me keep up with blogging more regularly. I don’t post the same things on particular days. I tend to post a book review when I’ve finished a book and then written the review. I have a dated list of posts but I am flexible with moving things around.

There are a few memes I take part in but I don’t usually do them every week. I only usually take part if I feel I’ve got enough to say for the subject. For example, I take part in Top 10 Tuesday but I might skip a week if there’s no way I can think of 10 books for the topic. I also just don’t have time to write blog posts every week for all the memes I take part in. So I choose the ones I have the most to say about. I usually slot them all into my schedule to remind me what the prompts are and write something for them if I have time.

One of the questions posed in the prompt is ‘Do you think having a schedule is an important part of being a good blogger?’ and I think the answer to that is probably no. Having a schedule won’t work for everyone, I’m sure some people enjoy posting more spontaneously. I think having a schedule has helped me become a better blogger because it helps remind me to write blog posts and encourages me to do it more regularly. But that might not be the case for everyone.

Do you plan your blog posts? Or are you more spontaneous with your posting? I’d love to hear your thoughts so let me know what you think in the comments!