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: 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!

Let’s Talk Bookish: Reading Resolutions

2021 has arrived! And my first post of the year will be a Let’s Talk Bookish discussion. Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This week’s topic is Reading Resolutions and this was actually a topic I suggested, so let’s get stuck in!

Do you set reading resolutions in the New Year? Are they helpful?

I haven’t set myself any formal reading resolutions in the past. But I usually have a goal of a number of books I want to read and a general resolution to read more which has varying results!

This year though I think I might set some more specific goals, such as finishing or continuing particular series, and identifying some books that have been on my TBR for years that I really need to get round to.

I think resolutions can be helpful, and that’s why I’m thinking of setting some this year. Especially with a growing number of books I want to read and having more time to read at the moment, I feel like I’m just going to end up flailing around in a sea of books (literally and metaphorically).

Do you look back to see if you stuck to your goals?

Although I don’t set a specific TBR for myself, I do usually have some books in mind at the beginning of the year that I want to read, so I do like to look back and see how many of them I actually ended up reading. I also do track how many books I’ve read throughout the year and whether or not I’m going to hit my goal.

Do you ever feel pressured/stressed by these resolutions?

I think I’ve often been put off by the idea of having specific resolutions as I didn’t want to feel pressured by them. This year I think I’ll set some loose resolutions, but not be too strict with myself about it because I don’t want it to become a stressful thing.

Do you participate in the GoodReads challenge?

Yes! I have to admit I do get a bit obsessed with checking my progress and working out if I’m going to reach my goal in time. Sometimes I feel like it could potentially suck the fun out of reading when I’m always thinking about how many books I have left to read in the year. But at the same time, I do enjoy having a goal. I usually set something that is a challenge, but is still actually realistic, otherwise I would get stressed out by it.

Do you like setting reading goals or resolutions at the beginning of the year? I’d love to know what you think so chat with me in the comments!

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: How Many POVs is Too Many?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This week’s Let’s Talk Bookish is a freebie so I decided to look back at topics I’d missed from previous weeks. Today I’ll be talking about POVs!

I have to say I love books with multiple POVs. They don’t work for every story, and I do enjoy single-perspective books, but I just love getting to see inside multiple characters’ heads. I like both reading and writing multi-perspective stories, especially when there’s a large cast who aren’t necessarily with each other the whole book. Seeing what different characters are up to and how their stories come together in the end is so satisfying to me. It’s also interesting seeing how different characters view situations, especially if they come from different backgrounds, have different morals etc. Especially in fantasy, seeing different perspectives can really build on the world as well.

I wish there were more books with more than one or two POVs in YA. A lot of YA books seem to focus on one protagonist, or switch between two, and I often wish I could go and explore what other characters are up to as well.

I do prefer third person over first person when there are multiple POVs. It’s really difficult to pull off two or more distinct first person voices in a book and it can get confusing and jarring. It can be done really well, but I think it’s quite challenging for the writer.

It is important when having multiple POVs for there to be enough time to properly develop each of the POV characters, and also to make sure each of their stories are interesting and unique and actually adds something to the overall plot. Sometimes extra POVs just don’t seem necessary, but sometimes you really couldn’t do without them and it would be a totally different story without multiple POVs. There needs to be a purpose behind it, and each POV needs to drive the plot. They need to carry the story forward in some way, and also have their own arc. There can be too many POVs if they don’t all have a purpose.

What do you think about having multiple POVs? Do you enjoy these types of books, or do you prefer to have just one POV? Is there such thing as too many POVs? Share your thoughts with me 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!