Let’s Talk Bookish: Predicting Trends

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This week we’re talking about trends! This is a topic I suggested and now I have to come up with something to say about it I’ve realised it’s quite a hard topic! Though I do find looking at trends quite interesting. I’ll mostly be talking about YA since that’s what I have most knowledge about.

There are some genres that always seem to be popular, like fantasy and retellings, but there can be trends within them. Some genres are really popular for a time, and then fade away as the market becomes oversaturated and readers’ attention move on to something else.

Over the past years, I can think of two particularly big trends. After Twilight came out, there were so many vampire and werewolf books in the YA section. Everywhere you looked, there was paranormal romance. I read a lot of these books because they dominated the shelves when I was growing up, but I wasn’t a fan of a lot of them. Then there was the dystopia faze, with books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, Delirium and many, many more. This was more my thing as I love science fiction. But I found a lot of the books in the paranormal romance and dystopia fazes were dominated by the same kinds of tropes and got quite repetitive.

With both of those trends, I think the issue was that a lot of those books were just a bit too similar. And because there were so many of them, eventually people moved on to something else and those genres kind of fizzled out. Dystopian books just don’t seem to get published as much in YA these days, which is a shame because I think it’s a really interesting genre. YA books have changed a lot since the dystopia boom, and I’d love to see what new and diverse authors might do with the genre.

As for future trends, dark academia seems to be coming up big. It’s not a genre I really read, but I keep seeing it popping up on Twitter, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a lot of these. Also, with The Great Gatsby coming out of copyright this year, I expect there’ll be an influx of retellings.

I’d love to see a boom in YA science fiction. Not dystopia, but space operas and other subgenres of science fiction. At the moment, there aren’t loads of YA sci-fi books out there, and it’s hard to get YA sci-fi published. I’ve loved the YA sci-fi I’ve read, like Illuminae, Aurora Rising and Defy the Stars, and would love to see more of it out there.

With the pandemic putting a bit of a spanner in the works for the entire world, it will also be interesting to see how that effects trends. Will we see an influx of pandemic/zombie/apocalypse books? Or do we want escapism? Do we want something fun like rom coms?

Trends can be a great thing, as they can really uplift certain books and put them in the spotlight, but that also means that other books don’t get as much attention. And it can be tempting to read whatever is trending, but I think it’s important we read what we enjoy, not just what’s popular! But if what you love is popular, then I guess it means you have a lot of books to choose from…

What trends have you noticed? Do you think trends are a good thing or a bad thing or neither? Chat with me in the comments!  

Let’s Talk Bookish: What Makes a Book Beautiful

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

Ahhh book covers! They say not to judge a book by it’s cover, but often the cover is the first thing we see, and does impact our first impressions of a book. There are so many different styles and attractive covers definitely draw the eye. But aside from the aesthetic of the cover, I think it’s also important that it reflects the content and mood of the book as well.

While simplistic covers can be really effective, I do love a cover that has a really striking illustration. I’m really glad a lot of covers have moved away from photographs of people to illustration-based covers. A lot of the photo-based covers just look so similar, and beautiful artwork is so much more eye-catching to me. I remember when YA covers were dominated by girls in dresses. Almost every book had a fancy dress, which was really pretty, but made almost every book look the same, and often they were wearing a dress on the cover for absolutely no reason at all. I much prefer when covers convey what’s inside the book, and to see characters represented more accurately, and with more action-poses (if relevant of course) than just models lounging around in dresses.

One of my favourite illustrated covers is Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, which was illustrated by Tran Nguyen. The composition of this artwork is simply stunning. The main character’s pose and the flow of the fabric around them just makes it really dynamic. But it also really captures the book as Maia is a tailor. It incorporates her magic scissors, and the fabric Maia is holding is decorated with the sun, moon and stars, which are the materials she must sew three magic dresses from. The more I look at it, the more amazing details I notice which reference back to the book!

I really like it when a book series has a really satisfying set of covers, where you get to see a different character on each one, or which really conveys the evolution of the story and characters over the course of the series. For example, the new Daughter of Smoke and Bone covers with art by Peter Strain that came out last year work really well together as a set. I also really like them because they’re unique and stand out, as well as being beautiful.

Aside from covers, there are other details that can make a book beautiful, such as the finish of the dust jacket / paperback cover. I also love when I take a dust jacket off a hardback book and find there’s a design stamped into the naked hardcover! Books also sometimes get sprayed edges, which look amazing, especially when the edge colour matches the cover really well. 

And I thought I’d end this post with a selection of some other covers I absolutely love:

What cover styles do you like? What are your favourite covers? Chat with me in the comments!

Let’s Talk Bookish: Clichés and Tropes

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This week’s discussion is all about clichés and tropes, and it’s a topic that I suggested, so I’m looking forward to diving in.

A trope is an element that occurs regularly across literature and media, and could be related to plot, character, or setting etc. All books have tropes, but it’s how the author utilises them that makes each book unique. A cliché often occurs when a trope has been overused, or has been used too similarly too often. Clichés can be irritating because we see them so often, they have become something that makes us roll our eyes because it’s become so predictable.

Tropes are the backbone of literature. Identifying tropes can be a great way for readers to find new books they might enjoy, and they are great for marketers too. If a reader knows they enjoyed a trope, they can look for other books that have that trope. Examples of popular tropes include enemies-to-lovers romance, friends-to-lovers romance, the chosen one and the outsider protagonist.

I don’t often enjoy clichés, unless they are done in a tongue-in-cheek way. If I know what tropes I like and dislike, I know which new books to avoid and which to hone in on. Though I think I’m still learning what kind of tropes I enjoy, and some of it can be down to how the author has used the trope. I love it when an author takes a well-known trope and puts a really unique spin on it. But at the same time, the familiarity of tropes can also be very satisfying.

It’s also great to see tropes being told in different ways by diverse authors, whether they are AOC, LGBTQ+ or disabled. Tropes and cliches that we’ve seen told over and over again by straight, white, able-bodied writers can be told a totally different way by other authors who have a different perspective on those stories.  

Another thing I’d like to discuss is another angle to clichés, which lies in clichés/stereotypes around particularly groups of people in society. Some clichés can be harmful for marginalised groups. When clichés about race, sexuality, disability or mental health are used in literature or media, they often present an unrealistic view and can perpetuate harmful stereotypes. It’s important for authors to be mindful about these so they aren’t contributing to misrepresentation and misperceptions, which is just one reason why sensitivity readers are important.

To round off this discussion, tropes aren’t a bad thing. They are a vital part of a book’s makeup. They can be done well, and they can be done badly sometimes, but one thing I’ve learnt is not to dismiss a trope having read one book with it that I didn’t enjoy. Because there are so many ways to write tropes, that even if I didn’t like one book, I might love another author’s take on it.

What tropes do you love? Are there any you avoid? Chat with me in the comments!

Let’s Talk Bookish: Why Do You Blog?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is all about why we blog, so let’s hop straight in to the discussion!

When did you first start blogging and why?

I started this blog way back in 2012, which means I’ve been blogging for 9 years now, which I really cannot believe! For the first two years I hardly posted at all, but started posting more regularly in 2014. In 2019, I decided to revamp my blog with a new theme and give it a refresh which reinvigorated my enjoyment of blogging.

When I started my blog all those years ago, I think I was just looking for somewhere to share my love of books. I also loved writing and really enjoyed writing reviews, so that’s what my focus was on to begin with.

In the last two or three years I’ve started to get a lot more involved in the bookish community and I think it’s really made my love for blogging grow, as I’ve felt more part of something. For the first few years, I was basically just posting reviews into the void. I honestly actually didn’t realise there were so many other book bloggers out there too and when I started to discover and follow more and more other blogs, it made blogging so much more enjoyable.   

What keeps you motivated to continue?

Writing novels is my greatest passion. But writing of any kind brings me a lot of joy, so I do get a lot of pleasure from writing blog posts as well. Blogging gives me an avenue to flex my writing muscles away from my main writing projects.

I also love interacting with fellow book lovers and I think I would miss the community aspect of blogging if I were to stop. Since I’ve been more involved in the community, I’ve also discovered so many books and authors that I might not have known about if I hadn’t been reading people’s blogs, so I love that aspect of blogging too.

Have you ever thought about not blogging anymore?

I have had some breaks, for example when I was at uni I had periods where I didn’t post much because my coursework had to come first. I’ve been blogging for so long that I can’t imagine not doing it anymore!

What would make you go on a hiatus for forever?

Probably life circumstances. I can’t imagine choosing to stop blogging completely. I can imagine having breaks from it, whether that be because of health, or just needing a rest from it, or having other life pressures. But I can’t imagine stopping blogging forever unless life got completely in the way and it wasn’t feasible to continue.

Do you have any specific plans for your blog this year, and if so, what are they?

Last year I posted way more than I’ve ever done before, so I would really like to keep that momentum up and keep posting regularly.

How long have you been blogging for and what made you start? What do you love about blogging? Chat with me in the comments!

Books That Surprised Me in 2020

I love writing these end of year posts! It’s fun to look back at what I read during the year. Today I’ll be talking about some of the books that surprised me in some way.


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This is the first book in the Illuminae Files series which is written in an unusual epistolary format. The story is told through emails, messaging, security camera footage, and files, which are knitted together to tell the narrative. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the format, but I actually loved it! It was such a unique way to tell a story and I was hooked all the way through. There’s plenty of action and I was completely gripped. I gave this book 5 stars and I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did.


The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

This book wasn’t on my radar at all but I received it in Fairyloot’s February box. Having read the blurb, I wasn’t sure it was really for me, but decided to join in the readalong and give it a go. So, I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed it! I loved Alessandra’s character, the scheming and the romance, even though some of it was a bit predictable. I gave it 4 stars as it wasn’t flawless, but this was unexpectedly a new favourite read for me. I wouldn’t have picked up this book if not for Fairyloot, so I am really glad I got that box!


A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I looked at this book in Waterstones so many times before I eventually picked it up (that cover and shimmery spine definitely catches the eye!). There was a lot of hype around this book and I’m not massively into Beauty and the Beast retellings, so I wasn’t sure I’d like this one. However, I was surprised to find that I loved it. Harper is one of my favourite characters. She’s so fierce and fearless, but also kind, and I really appreciated the disability rep as she has cerebral palsy, and there aren’t many disabled characters in books, especially ones who go on adventures in YA fantasy. This book is also surprisingly dark at times which I really liked.  


Burn by Patrick Ness

I was expecting to like this book. I mean, it has dragons in, so I was already sold. But Burn was surprising in the sense that I really wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, and it was even more amazing than I had imagined. I don’t want to say too much because if you haven’t read it yet I feel like this is the kind of book you want to go into not knowing too much. Dragons in Cold War era America sounds really bizarre, but it really works. Patrick Ness did a great job with this book and I would thoroughly recommend it.


What books surprised you this year? Did you read any you weren’t expecting to like but ended up loving? Chat with me in the comments!  

Books I Want to Read in 2020 – did I read them?

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a blog post about what books I wanted to read in 2020. So now I’m going to look back and see how many of them I actually read!

Links will take you to my reviews!

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas – I wanted to make some progress with this series as I loved the first two books. I read The Assassin’s Blade and Heir of Fire this year, so this one is a definite yes.

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas – I also wanted to continue this series and I did, as I read A Court of Wings and Ruin.

Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse – I read Crooked Kingdom, which I absolutely loved! But I still need to read King of Scars.

Fear by Michael Grant – It seems to have been taking me ages to get through the Gone series. Fear is the fifth book and I had planned to read it in 2019 but didn’t get round to it. But I did read it in 2020!  

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu – I really wanted to finish this trilogy but just didn’t get round to reading this one. It’s high up on my list for 2021 though.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – Yep I read this one and loved it! And I also read the sequel, Lord of Shadows.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – Another yes, and I’m looking forward to reading Unravel the Dusk next year.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – I read this one and the sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken too.  

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zao – Yes, I read this at the beginning of the year, though I don’t remember it that well now.

The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman – I really enjoyed The Devouring Gray but didn’t get round to reading the sequel this year.

The Damned by Renée Ahdieh – No didn’t get round to this one either. I also decided I want to re-read The Beautiful first.

I’m quite happy that I managed to read quite a few of the books from my list! Hopefully I’ll get to the rest in 2021!

How about you? Are there any books you planned to read this year but didn’t get to?

Let’s Talk Bookish: Reading & Blogging – Their Effect on Writing

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

This is a really interesting topic but I’ll probably only be writing a short post as I’ve had a really busy week and had a migraine at the weekend so I’m feeling a bit behind on everything!  

Have you sometimes felt that as a reader, you should also be a writer or vice versa? Do you think that a desire to write is connected with a love of reading? What motivates you to write?

I’ve actually been a writer way longer than I’ve been a blogger! I started writing short stories when I was about 10 and by the time I was 12/13, I was planning out epic fantasy series! And I’ve never looked back. I’ve written six novels now and I’m hoping to start sending one of them out to agents next year, fingers crossed!

I do think there’s a weird expectation, especially from people who are more outside the book world, that people who read will also like writing too. Which isn’t the case. Maybe people who love reading love writing too, but not everyone.

Most writers probably also love reading. I mean, it makes sense right? I often see advice that says to be a good writer you need to read a lot. And while that is one of those generic pieces of writing advice that doesn’t feel that helpful, I have actually found my writing has improved so much over the last couple of years as I’ve started reading a lot more. Reading more has really helped me grow as a writer.

What I love about writing is getting to use my imagination, to come up with stories and worlds. I love to disappear into the worlds I’ve created. I’m not sure I can say what motivates me to write, I think it’s just that love of stories and using my imagination. When I write I’m transported to another world, and everything around me just fades away, and I get totally in the zone. Writing is like breathing for me, I really couldn’t imagine life without it.

As a book blogger, do you ever feel discouraged about publishing a book because you know how readers & bloggers can react to books/authors?

Like I said above, I’ve been writing and dreaming of being an author since before I became a blogger and part of the book community! So that’s not something that discouraged me. I think it’s important to remember that not every person is going to love every book. Your book might not be for one person, but it will be a favourite of someone else.

Do you think that authors can be book bloggers as well, or that they’ve crossed the imaginary line between authors and bloggers and therefore are not like other book bloggers anymore?

I hope authors can be book bloggers as well! I so desperately want to be an author, but I’d love to continue with this blog as well when I hopefully one day reach that dream of becoming an author!

Are you a writer as well as a reader? Have you ever thought about writing a book? Or are you happy to stick with being a reader? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Let’s Talk Bookish: The Writing Styles of Classics and Contemporaries

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is all about rereading books!

Today’s topic is all about the writing styles of classic and contemporary works. This is such an interesting topic! I did English Literature with Creative Writing at uni and had to read a lot of classics as part of my course.

Do you prefer reading classics or contemporaries? What differences do you notice between the two?

I generally prefer reading contemporary books. They often have a faster pace and are more relatable. I’m also a big scifi and fantasy fan, and those genres have grown a lot over the years. But I do like reading a classic from time to time.

Classics can feel slow and hard to get through, and the language can feel archaic to us, because we don’t speak or communicate in the same ways. Language and the way we use it has changed.

Literature has evolved both in terms of content and style over hundreds of years, and the way we read and consume books now is very different from in the past. Literature is informed by the times in which it is written, whether consciously or subconsciously on the author’s part. I think some of the reason people can struggle with getting into classics is partly because of the writing style, but also because they can be hard to connect with. They were written for the people reading them in that present time. Someone three hundred years in the future was not the author’s target audience. However, many classics explore themes and issues that we can still relate to today, and that is part of what makes them a classic.

Classics are also seen as kind of ‘highbrow’, old and stuffy. But that’s just the style of the times they were written in, and many of them were popular books of the time.

‘The classics’ also incorporates such a wide range of literature. I have read a couple of Dickens and they weren’t for me. But I loved Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and am also a fan of Jane Austen’s works. Then there’s the plethora of classic science fiction and horror. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a brilliant classic. Then there’s the modern classics from the 20th Century like 1984 by George Orwell and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. It’s okay not to like classics, but it might just be that you haven’t found the right kind of classic for you. There are so many of them out there!

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Let’s Talk Bookish: Rereading Books

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is all about rereading books!

Do you reread books? How often?

I very rarely reread books. I just don’t have as much time for reading as I would like, so I prioritise reading new books rather than rereading. There are so many books out there, though I know it will be impossible to read them all! It’s important to support new authors as well.

Rereading books is an interesting experience since you’re already familiar with the story, and I often find I discover new things I missed the first time around. So I do enjoy rereading and I would do it more if I had more time.

Do you reread a series before reading the newest book?

No, again because of the time issue, but sometimes I wish I was able to do this more! Especially since I often leave a big gap between books in series and forget a lot of what happened in the previous book! If I had more time this is probably something I would do. There are some series I want to reread in future, and I think then I would try reading them closer together.

I’m planning on rereading The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh before I read The Damned, since it’s more than a year ago since I read The Beautiful, and I read an eARC as well so I’d like to read the finished copy.

Is there a certain book or series that you always come back to reread?

Not really, but there are some I would like to read again sometime. The Hunger Games, Shadowhunters, Blood Red Road, Ombria in Shadow, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Shadow and Bone, to name a few. I’m sure in a few years’ time I will reread some of these!

Do you count rereads towards your monthly/yearly goals?

On the rare occasion that I do reread a book, yes I do, because it’s still reading, even if I’ve read the book before!

Do you feel guilty about rereading books?

I don’t reread much but when I do, I do feel guilty for neglecting all the new books on my shelves I haven’t read yet!

Do you reread books often? What do you enjoy about rereading? Let me know in the comments!

Let’s Talk Bookish: Romance as a Subplot

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is all about romance subplots and I feel like I’m going to have a lot to say about this one!

I think romance subplots need to strike the right balance. They can add to the story in a really great way, but when they come to dominate the characters’ thoughts it can get annoying. This is especially an issue in fantasy and sci-fi, where the stakes are pretty high, say for example there is some kind of world-ending crises, but all they can think about is their feelings. Of course, their feelings are still important, but focusing on the right elements of the story at the right times is so important. Romance can end up distracting the characters from the main plot too much, and that does frustrate me sometimes.

The worst thing about romance subplots is when they are thrown in for the sake of it. Sometimes romance subplots, especially in YA, feel like they are included just to tick a box because it’s become so expected for there to be romance. I can’t think of any I’ve read recently, but I remember noticing this in the past.

I like variety in what I’m reading. I do love stories with romance in them, but I do also enjoy reading books that don’t have romance, and are more focused on the plot, platonic relationships or family. We need more of these kinds of books! Or ones where there is romance, but it develops more slowly over a series rather than in the span of one book. Sometimes romances just seem to develop too quickly.

Another important thing for me when it comes to romance is reader expectations. I want to know what I’m getting myself into before I read a book. If a description doesn’t make it clear romance is the focus, I’m disappointed when the whole book is about romance, especially if I’ve picked it up because I’m looking for something without romance right then. And on the flip side, when a book is promoted based on its romance and then that content is lacking, that’s disappointing too. So I think expectations are important.

Romance can work as a main plot or a subplot, and I enjoy both. What I want to read depends what mood I’m in. So how the book is marketed and whether I go into it with the right expectations is going to make a difference to how much I enjoy it.

I do seem to have read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi books in the last couple of years in which romance plays quite a big part, especially in YA. However, a recent read that springs to mind is Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee, which I loved, and it didn’t have any romance in it! I could see there being some romance potentially develop in the sequel, which would be fine, but I really liked that the first book in the series focused on the plot and friendships. I would like to read more books that have less of a focus on romance, so if anyone has any recommendations do share them with me in the comments!