Let’s Talk Bookish: What Is A Good Ending?

I’m a bit tired today and of course I’m only writing this last minute… SO I’m sorry if I make zero sense and go around in circles 🙈

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on January 2021 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

What is a good ending?

(SUGGESTED BY RIAN @ DOGS AND BOOKS)
Examples: What are some books that had “good” endings for you? What are some books that had “bad” endings? What do you think makes an ending of a story satisfying? Is there anything you always hate in an ending?

WHAT MAKES A SATISFYING ENDING?

This is a great question and one that I honestly haven’t given very much thought to before and the more I think about it now, the more factors come up for me to consider. Are we talking series enders or are standalone endings or first-book-in-a-series endings? I mean, endings are endings (lol) but what I’m “okay with” when it comes to a first-book ending is obviously going to be different compared to what I expect from a series ender! I also think that some genres come with certain ending expectations, the most obvious being romance. I pick up romances for the HEA otherwise what am I reading the genre for? (It’s definitely not the angsty drama! 😂 ).

Since I joined the book community and started to really think about what works for me, I’ve come to realise that I’m one of those readers who like endings that give me an obvious sense of resolution. It doesn’t have to be “perfectly packaged” where everything is hunky-dory and 100% but at least the main issues are resolved, no lingering questions exist, the characters find some kind of peace, but most of all it just fits the story we’ve experienced. This “need” of mine to have a neat ending has changed a bit over the last year as I’ve started to feel less unsatisfied with open-endings as long as they fit the story.

One thing that I tend to hate is when endings are super abrupt AND open-ended. While I don’t think open endings will ever be a favourite, I’ve started to make peace with them. Then there are other times when the author ends the story so abruptly, usually mid-scene or at a half-formed thought, and it just feels so unsatisfying. Just thinking about it has me clenching my fist in frustration because WHY 😂

Another factor that determines what a good ending is for me also depends on where the author takes the final book in a series or the final parts of a standalone. I really dislike it when plots and character ARCs suddenly take completely different and unexpected directions that totally change the vibe of the story and results in a lacklustre or underwhelming ending. I also really dislike it when dramatic and traumatic events are used for shock factor in an ending especially when it’s (imho) unnecessary but will keep the dramatic plot going in a sequel.

BOOKS WITH ENDINGS I ENJOYED

If you’re not new to this blog, you’ll know by now my memory is like a sieve and I can hardly remember what I did last week let alone the endings of the many books I’ve read. Also, thankfully, most of the books I read do have satisfying endings (at least for me), so these are just going to be a few of the ones I enjoyed from books I read from the last couple years. I’ve also linked them to my reviews if available otherwise they’re linked to Goodreads.

The House in the Cerulean Sea // With or Without You // The Black Kids // Nevernight // With the Fire on High // The Silence of Bones // Verity // Final Girls // The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

BOOKS WITH ENDINGS THAT … *CLENCHES FIST*

Some of these (or maybe even all of these) are unpopular opinions of well-loved books. A few of these had the abrupt open-ended endings that are so not my jam:

  • The Toll: I was so saddened by this finale because we spent so little time with the characters that made me love this series in the first place. We follow new perspectives and characters that I never felt attached to and ultimately, this finale ended up being so disappointing.
  • Normal People: I loved this book but I hated this abrupt open-ending. Why Rooney do this to me? 😭
  • At the Edge of the Haight: Another abrupt open-ending that left me with unresolved thoughts/feels.
  • Restless Slumber: This was the second book in the Forutna Sworn series and I was enjoying myself until the ending of this book tanked it for me. Just… Why? I was so angry! Lol 🙈
  • Descendant of the Crane: This ending… Oh, this ending was so… not on!

What do you think makes a good or bad ending? What is something you hate to see in an ending? What are some endings you loved and hated? I’m curious to know what you think about this topic!

Let’s Talk Bookish: Why I Blog

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on January 2021 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

Why do you blog?

(SUGGESTED BY RUKKY @ ETERNITY BOOKS)
Examples: When did you first start blogging and why? What keeps you motivated to continue? Have you ever thought about not blogging anymore? What would make you go on a hiatus for forever? Do you have any specific plans for your blog this year, and if so, what are they?

STARTING ON A NEW ADVENTURE

Blogging is an activity that I’ve done for a long time. I kept a personal blog for roughly 6-7 years and I was a consistent blogger until about 2016, when my life went a little topsy turvy, and I stopped writing due to a lack of inspiration and because my life got really boring and I had nothing to say. 😂

I decided to start this book blog at the end of 2018, although I only started posting around February 2019, at the encouragement of my friends. I was pretty hesitant about it because I was worried about losing motivation (yes, before I even started!) and I questioned whether I’d even have anything to say that was worth reading. At the time, I was much more active on bookstagram but it was also because of bookstagram, and learning about ARCs and the book community that made me realise starting a book blog was something I could actually do.

TRUTH TIME:

Let’s be honest, I started blogging because I wanted access to ARCs and while that did happen, there were still plenty of barriers that I faced as an international blogger though that’s a post for a different day! 😅 I was also curious about this magical book community that I’d only dipped my toes into through bookstagram. I honestly don’t know how I never realised the community existed pre-2018, and looking back, I don’t know how I even found books to read in the first place. 😂 As dramatic as it may sound, starting this blog has added so much positivity to my life, and so while I started it because of the enticing ARCs, I’ve stayed on because of the community and how fulfilling blogging has been.

keeping ON

Having this blog has reminded me why I loved blogging in the first place. Creating and owning a space where I can just be my nerdy book-loving self while gushing about all the fantasy, romance and fictional lives that I read about, with other people who feel exactly the same, has added so much joy to my life. I know a lot of you can relate when I say that I don’t really have bookish people IRL, and so having this platform where I can engage without fear of being judged for reading romance or young adult/middle grade books as a 30-something woman, has been wonderfully freeing! This blog has also helped me deal with my anxiety and depression by giving me something to look forward to every day, and all of that is what makes me want to keep posting.

Engaging with the book community on here has also really changed how and what I read, and I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a reader because of it. I’m more intentional with what I choose to pick up, especially when it comes to diversifying the books I read, but also in stepping out of my comfort zone more often. I’m thinking a lot more and being more critical about what I consume and I love how it’s also impacted how I think and act IRL.

doubts and other negative thoughts

There are definitely days when I question what I’m doing running a book blog. The doubts about whether I have anything to say that’s worth reading still persists sometimes, especially because most of what I post isn’t “original creative content”. I do a lot of weekly memes mixed with reviews, and while I know it shouldn’t matter because this is my blog and if I’m happy with it that’s okay, but I have a tendency to self-sabotage through these kinds of comparisons with other more successful blogs. 😂

That said, it’s still fairly ‘early days’ for me and I’ll just be celebrating my two year blogiversary this February, so I haven’t given serious thought to not blogging anymore. I still really love doing it and there are only a few reasons I foresee that would lead to me going on a permanent hiatus, which would be because I lose interest in books ☠️, I become too busy to post regularly, or if I for some reason no longer feel welcome in the community.

grow, baby, grow!

I’m not really much of a “goals” and planning ahead person (lol welp), although I’m trying to do better with that this year. I do know that I hope to keep blogging for at least the next 3 years but I do want to take it one-year at a time because who really knows what’s around the corner! If anything, my goals for blogging this year include:

  • Continuing to regularly churn out content (daily, if possible)
  • Growing my blog to 800 followers
  • Trying new types of posts such as a ‘family reviews’ series (my dad just bought a bunch of NF over the holidays and my sister said she wants to read more, so if I can convince them to share their thoughts on a book–this might be a once-in-a-blue-moon situation–I thought it might be fun!)
  • Also trying: buddy read reviews, blogger spotlights, and author interviews.

And that’s a wrap! Why did you start a book blog? Have you always blogged or is blogging new to you? What would make you go on a permanent hiatus? Do you have any big blog plans this year?

Let’s Talk Bookish: Reading Resolutions (+ My Resolutions)

Hello, hello and welcome back to my first Let’s Talk Bookish of 2021! 😍 It’s been just over a month since I joined in the discussions for this weekly meme and I honestly didn’t expect myself to jump back into it so quickly this year, but I’m going with the flow! Since it’s my first LTB, I’m going to be answering last week’s prompt but as always, you can find all info down below including the latest and future prompts.


Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on January 2021 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks us about:

reading resolutions

(SUGGESTED BY M.T. WILSON @ THE LAST BOOK ON THE LEFT)
Examples: Do you set reading resolutions in the New Year? Are they helpful? Do you look back to see if you stuck to your goals? Do you ever feel pressured/stressed by these resolutions? Do you participate in the GoodReads challenge?

SETTING NEW YEAR READING resolutions GOALS

I have a pretty rocky relationship with resolutions and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who can say that. I generally love the idea of them and I love setting them but I’m also really good at not following through on them. 😂 I feel like ‘resolution’ is also quite serious a word to use when it comes to reading because it carries more pressure than let’s say the word ‘goals’. Does that make sense? Probably not…

But when it comes to reading I do set simple yearly goals and it’s something that I’ve always looked forward to doing! Honestly, prior to 2020 I only set myself one reading goal (Goodreads) but last year I took a bit of a leap and decided to add a few more to the list and I’m happy to say I did most of them 😊

are GOALS helpful?

Yes! I set these goals because they help to keep me motivated and I also use it as a reminder for what I want to do more. For example, the GR Reading Challenge goal helps me keep track of how much I’m reading but it also motivates me to actually keep reading. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they don’t like setting this goal because it makes it become too ‘competitive’ and while I do agree that some can make it that way, I don’t pay enough attention to other peoples’ numbers to consider it competitive. 😂 I like to challenge myself and see if I can read more than the previous year (so I guess in a way I’m competing against myself!) but I have fun with it and don’t put pressure on myself to do it. To keep the pressure low I also don’t set my goal way above what’s achievable (although of course it’s still a challenge!) and that’s totally okay too because I can add on to the goal as the year goes.

Aside from the Goodreads goal, last year I set myself additional bookish goals like “read more diverse, LGBTQ+ and own voices books” and then I found some reading challenges to help me keep track. I admit that when it came to challenges I did struggle (a lot) because (2020 but) I also felt more pressured especially if it was during a shorter time-frame. That said, it did help to keep this goal at the front of my mind whenever I had trouble choosing my next read.

Year iN REVIEW

One of the things I enjoy most about setting reading goals is looking back at the end of my year to see what I’ve achieved. While at times I have felt disappointed when I didn’t do as well as I hoped, I try to not let it get to me because reading is something I do for fun. It’s not a competition, I’m not going to be penalised if I don’t complete it, and once it gets to the point where I feel guilty or hounded by it, then maybe it’s time to take a break? 🤷🏻‍♀️

IT’S GOAL TIME!

On that note and speaking of goals, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether I want to set any this year and aside from the Goodreads Reading Challenge, which I think I will always set, I’ve decided to add a few more to my list again:

  • Read 150 books
  • Read more books by (South & Southeast) Asian authors
  • Read 50 books from my backlist and existing shelf (not including 2021 purchases)
  • Read 4 Non-Fiction books

What are your thoughts, friends? Do you set reading resolutions or goals? Did you set a Goodreads Reading Challenge goal this year? Do you find that setting goals helps your reading?

Let’s Talk Bookish: Rereading Books

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on November 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

rereading books

(SUGGESTED BY ARIA @ BOOK NOOK BITS)
Examples: Do you reread books? How often? Do you reread a series before reading the newest book? Is there a certain book or series that you always come back to reread? Do you count rereads towards your monthly/yearly goals? Do you feel guilty about rereading books?

Do i reread books?

As frequently as I go on about wanting to reread many books, especially the ones that are my favourites, I actually don’t reread often. Prior to the last two years I think I probably only reread one or two books a year or practically once in a blue moon. My memory is notoriously bad and I often can’t remember what I did earlier in the week let alone the details of books I read years ago, so I always intend to reread more; but with my ever increasing and already endless TBR I find myself feeling less motivated to pick up something that I’ve already read before.

I know many book lovers reread regularly for the comfort of knowing what comes next in a story, plus the fact that it’s a guaranteed win as it was such a joy to read the first time, and I totally get that. That said, I think part of the reason why I don’t reread so often is because I know what happens already and while I might’ve loved it the first time, I feel that takes a bit of the excitement away the second time around.

Aside from that, I think I also just like the idea of “preserving” how I felt about a book after that initial read especially if I really loved it. With rereading there’s always the possibility those feelings might change, and while of course sometimes it’s for the better, I think I prefer keeping those original feelings even if that means the finer details of the story/characters are fuzzy.


do i reread a series before the newest book?

Usually a good amount of time passes between books in a series and because of my awful memory, I know that if I pick up the latest without rereading (or at least recapping) the previous books, I won’t have a clue as to what’s going on! Though considering that my pile of unfinished series keeps growing because I say I’d like to reread the previous books, it’s a pretty good indication of how often I actually get around to doing it 😂 Oddly enough I only started wanting to reread series’ from last year, when before that I was fine with relying on recap sites to refresh my memory–I might struggle at the start but I’d eventually come around to (mostly) figuring it all out by the end. I’m quite tempted to just say “eff it” and pick up the newest book(s) for the series I have waiting in the wings, but I know I’ll come to regret that decision if I do it 🙈


REREADING THE ONES THAT GIVE ME COMFORT…

That’s not to say that I never reread or get around to rereading a series though! Last December, I reread the first two The Folk of the Air books before the finale came out. This is where that whole ‘changed feelings’ thing happened because I remembered adoring The Cruel Prince when I read it for the first time in 2018, but when I reread it those feelings changed… considerably! 🙈

I occasionally reread poetry/prose books, such as Lang Leav’s Memories, but my “go to” rereads are my favourite Austen’s: Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. For some reason, probably more sentimental than anything, I can keep rereading these two books over and over again and I’d still love the stories as much as I did the first time(s).


TOWARDS MY YEARLY READING GOALS & NOT FEELING GUILTY!

I find it kinda amusing how strict people are with what does and doesn’t count towards monthly/yearly reading goals 😂 If someone wants to include audiobooks, children’s books, and rereads towards their yearly count, then why shouldn’t they and why are you policing them about it? It’s not a competition and it will have zero affect on you and your reading goals! But I digress… 😬

I do count my rereads in my yearly goals because I’m still reading a whole ass book after all! Do I feel guilty about it? No. Do I feel guilty about rereading? Also no! As a mood reader I’m very much for picking up whatever fits my current feelings and if that means rereading something then I’ll go for it, and I encourage everyone to do the same! Of course, it might be slightly different if you’ve committed to reading something before a certain date, but I do find that if I really force myself to read anything I’m not in the mood for, it’ll only negatively influence my feelings toward it, and that’s not fair to either the story or the author!

What are your thoughts, friends? Do you reread books and how often do you do it? What are your “go-to” rereads? Do you also count them towards your yearly goal? Tell me all!

Let’s Talk Bookish: Pros and Cons of Book Blogging

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on November 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

This week is actually a ‘freebie’ and we could either go back and do a topic we missed or take a break. I decided to go waay back and do a prompt from September 2020!
Check out the other bloggers who already did this prompt too!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

the pros and cons of book blogging

Examples: What do you love about being a book blogger? What do you hate? What makes you stay in this community, and what’s one thing that could possibly drive you away? Do you feel appreciated as a blogger? Are book bloggers given enough credit?

IT’S A BLOGGER’S LIFE FOR ME

I decided to start my book blog after starting a bookstagram. I wanted a better platform for posting reviews and engaging with other readers, and while I was worried about starting another blog after the one I had for 15 years fizzled out, I found I really enjoyed talking about books and now here we are almost two years later!


there’s so much to love!

  • The community: The book community is truly the best! I’ve met so many amazing book lovers across the world and it has been so great to share our book loves and dislikes, and even tidbits about our personal lives. I don’t have (m)any book loving friends IRL, so it’s refreshing to be able to fully geek-out with people who understand why I’m freaking out over fictional events and characters in the first place 😂
  • Finding new favourites: I can’t even count the number of books and authors that I’ve discovered and ended up loving since joining the community. I’ve branched out of comfort zone more times than I can count and the result has almost always been positive. I don’t know how I used to find new books/authors before but there’s no going back now!
  • Sharing recommendations and getting others to try new books/authors: I’ve loved sharing my favourites on my blog and it’s always so exciting to see people mention that they’ve added books to their mountainous TBRs on my recommendation or because of a review I wrote. It’s a crazy incredible feeling especially when they love the book as much as I did! It kinda makes me feel like I’ve levelled up! 🤣
  • ARCs and Blog tours: NGL, one of the reasons I started blogging was because I wanted the chance to access ARCs! Who wouldn’t want to read the latest books before everyone else?! Then I discovered blog tours and discovered indie authors and got access to more new releases and well, the rest is history!
  • Becoming a smarter/better reader: Obviously it’s a process but I’ve definitely become a more conscientious and purposeful reader since I started blogging and that’s really thanks to the community. I never used to really pay much attention to what I was reading–I would just mindlessly consume for pleasure, and while I still do that, I’m also more critical of what I consume and I like to think its made me a better reader 😊

IT CAN GET HARD though…

As good as it’s been having a book blog and being part of the community, I’d be lying if I said it was all roses all the time.

  • It’s time consuming. No matter what anyone tells you, making posts takes a lot of work and eats up a lot of time! Even if I was better organised and actually scheduled ahead of time (cough), I’d still probably spend a big chunk of my free-time on it. I work full time so I mostly work on my blog before/after work or during work breaks, but a lot of my spare time does go toward blogging, including engaging with others! My friends/colleagues who know I have a book blog always comment on how it’s like a second job (albeit a very enjoyable one) and they’re not exactly wrong!
  • The pressure. I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to constantly be reading, churning out content and engaging with others in order to “stay relevant”. It’s not a competition but it can feel like it sometimes when everyone is trying to read more, review more, engage more, etc. All of this obviously comes as part of having a blog but at the same time, it does get overwhelming and can lead to serious burn outs too!
  • Kissing that hard earned money good-bye. As an international blogger, I don’t have access to the majority of ARCs or a library, so 90% of the books that I read are bought out of pocket. Plus, I rarely get book gifts because my family doesn’t believe I need more 🙄 While I’m happy to be discovering new books my savings certainly don’t feel the same way 😂 I’m really thankful to have a steady job that allows me to indulge in this increasingly expensive hobby and I do know how lucky I am!

FEELING APPRECIATED AS A BLOGGER…

I never put much thought into whether or not I’m appreciated as a blogger because I do it for my own enjoyment. It’s a topic that I’ve noticed frequently come up on socials when bloggers share how little they feel appreciated compared to bookstagrammers, booktubers and book-tokers (or whatever they call themselves). But it’s something that I personally try not to think too much about because it’d probably stop me altogether. 😂 There are definitely good days when stats don’t matter and those really bad days when I question what the hell I’m doing, but I do think it’s all part of the process. I don’t believe that people on other platforms don’t also feel the same way sometimes!

2020 has been a rough as year and reading and book blogging has really helped me push through the tough times, so right now my hope is that I won’t stop blogging anytime soon? Being part of the community and engaging with others really gives me the motivation to keep doing what I’m doing, and I’m still loving (almost) every minute of it! 😉

So, what. do you think about book blogging? Do you feel the same way about the pros and cons I listed? What do you love most about book blogging? Do you feel appreciated?

Let’s Talk Bookish: When It’s Time to Hit the Breaks!

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on November 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

WHEN ARE READING BREAKS A GOOD IDEA?

(SUGGESTED BY LYDIA @ LYDIA SCHOCH)
Examples: Do you ever take breaks from reading? What causes you to take a reading break and how long are they typically? When would you recommend reading breaks to others? Do you think reading breaks help you to read more in the long run?

Do you ever take breaks from reading?

Just like with anything, I do think it’s good to take a break from reading every now and again. A break doesn’t necessarily have to mean taking a week or month away (and it also doesn’t necessarily mean putting a stop to perusing books in general 😉), but as a mood reader I find it really helps when I can’t settle on what to read next!

What causes you to take a break and how long are they?

Thinking back on when I’ve taken breaks, I’ve noticed that they’ve all pretty much been unplanned and I took them for various reasons. My most recent break, which happened at the start of the pandemic, was actually the longest I can recall taking and I ended up not really reading anything for about 1.5 months? And I mean I actively didn’t pick up a book during that time. This was mostly because of Animal Crossing LOL. 😂 But I know I’m not alone in saying that the pandemic stress really got to me at the beginning! Other times, I’ve taken weekend or sometimes week long breaks if I really got into a TV show that sucked up all my spare time. I don’t watch a lot of Netflix/TV so this rarely happens but when it does I zone hard on it 😅 I’ve also taken one day breaks a few times especially if I have a slight book hangover and I want to take a breather before diving into whatever I choose to read next.

When would you recommend reading breaks to others & are they helpful in the long run?

Obviously it’s pretty subjective. If you feel you need to take a break, you should definitely do it. As a mood reader, I find taking breaks helps me when nothing I pick up can hold my attention. Putting books aside for a little while does help me to feel refreshed again and eager to get back to reading. Also, as I’ve become more critical of what I read, I find that even when I’m reading something that’s not really heavy or intense, like a romcom, my mind is still always constantly buzzing, analysing and finding things to critique (if anything) and after a while, it does get pretty tiring because then everything feels unenjoyable. At that point, it does wonders to give yourself a break and let your mind rest!

I would recommend taking a break when:

  • Can’t decide what to read or are experiencing a book hangover, especially if it’s a big one!
  • You feel overwhelmed or stressed out about reading
  • You just feel like you need it–whether it’s because you’d rather watch TV or you want to game or whatever it is you want to do. Just do what’s best for you!

So, what do you think? I know that reading is a form of escapism for many of us, but do you ever take reading breaks? How long do they last for and do you find that breaks help you in any way?

Let’s Talk Bookish: Romance as a Sub-Plot

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on November 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

ROMANCE AS A SUBPLOT

(SUGGESTED BY DANI)
Examples: Why do you think romance is the most common subplot? Do you think romance subplots take away from the main story, or add to it? Do you prefer stories without any romance in them? Is romance better as a subplot or as a main plot?

I love love. I might come off as a little bit cynical or jaded when it comes to love in real life, but deep down I’m truly a hopeless romantic 😂 It’s pretty obvious how much I love the romance genre because when you take a peek at my Goodreads, my read list is full of it! I feel like when it comes to romance though there are a lot of people that seem to take issue with it and don’t like it in their stories, especially when it comes to YA, but perhaps that’s because it’s always there whether it’s “needed” or not.

Why is the romance sub-plot so popular?

I never gave it much thought before and I’m not really sure why… But perhaps it’s because at one point or another romance is something that many readers can relate to whether they’ve experienced it themselves, or they’ve seen others go through that experience. Or maybe it’s also those happy and heartwarming feelings that romance brings? I think it’s also probably the easiest device for authors to use to endear readers more to their characters and to make them more realistic–although whether its well done or not is another thing!

does a romance sub-plot take away from the main story, or add to it?

As I mentioned at the start, I’m all about the love and while before I would’ve said “romance makes everything better” *cough* I now think that it really depends on the story and how well the romance is written. If written well, the romance doesn’t take away from the main story but successfully adds to the character arcs and increases the stakes (in a good way). Maybe it’s because I read a lot of YA fantasy and contemporary but I feel like, more often than not, they always have a romance sub-plot that often doesn’t feel needed. It doesn’t necessarily take away from the main story, but it also doesn’t add anything. I think it’s really easy for romance to over-take the main story though, and I’ve seen it happen quite a few times. It gets tedious when the MC ends up constantly thinking about romancing their love interest, then they start making ridiculous non-sensical decisions, the love drama gets too intense, and then it basically ends up not being fun anymore. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Do you prefer stories without any romance in them?

There are times that I feel the author throws in romance because it’s expected and that’s when I find myself getting frustrated with the romance sub-plot. This is especially the case when the romance feels forced or when the romance exists ‘for the sake of having romance’. So I never thought I’d say it but I’m starting to prefer stories without the romance sub-plot in them! *Gasp! I know…* That’s not to say I won’t read fantasies or other genres without romance in them, but it’s also okay for those stories to just be fantasy or historical without romance. That said…

romance as the main plot for the win!

Let’s be real, I’m still all about the romance. I love the feel-good and heartwarming vibes that romance brings to a story. I love to swoon and giggle at the romantic (and steamy) gestures between our love interests, and I don’t think any of that’s gonna change anytime soon. But if I do go looking for romance, I’m going to seek it out in stories where romance is the main plot, whether it’s historical romance, contemporary romance, or romantic fantasy, because too often lately the romance sub-plot leaves me feeling more than a little “meh”.

So, what do you think? Is the romance sub-plot a yay or nay for you? Do you think it takes away from the main story? Do you prefer your stories without romance in them? Keen to hear your thoughts!

Let’s Talk Bookish: What is the meaning of diverse books?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on October 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

what is the meaning of diverse books?

(SUGGESTED BY RUKKY)
Examples: We talk a lot about diverse books and reads, but what really makes a book diverse? Are books written by authors or about characters from Eastern Europe (Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary, etc) considered diverse? Would you consider a book set in Spain about a Spanish main character diverse? Why or why not? Does diverse mean characters or authors from South America, Asia, and Africa, or from different religious, sexual, ability, etc backgrounds only?

This is a great question and very relevant topic as more readers continue to look for diverse books, and as more diverse books also get published. I’ve been trying to consciously diversify my reads for a while now and 2020 has been my most successful year doing that! I’m a little intimidated about answering this week’s prompt because I think there are quite a few layers to the topic, and I don’t feel comfortable going too in-depth as I’m not that “knowledgeable” about it. But this post is about sharing my thoughts, so I will do that and hopefully I make some sense and don’t come off as (too) uniformed or ridiculous!

defining diversity

Diversity (noun)
: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : VARIETY
especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.

: an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities

Diversity as defined by Merriam-Webster

HOW DO I CLASSIFY DIVERSE BOOKS?

When I think about diverse books, I immediately think of stories with characters who are marginalized, BIPOC, and/or LGBTQ+. Or are written by authors of colour or LGBTQ+. I also count books that have representation for different religions, ethnicities, mental health, disability, and chronic illness (among other topics) as diverse too. However, I only classify books as diverse when:

  • The main characters are BIPOC/LGBTQ+. I don’t consider it diverse when you have one or a few side characters that fall into these ‘categories’ but are barely represented. But I don’t consider stories written by authors of colour or LGBTQ+ authors as diverse if the story focuses on mainstream “straight and white” characters.
  • Same as above, the rep should concern or be focused on the main character(s) and is not used or identified as a minor sub-plot or anything like that.

is there a line and where do we draw it?

This prompt included a few guiding questions that really made me think whether I would classify certain reads as diverse. For example, if I read a book about Eastern Europe, is that considered diverse? I think if it’s set there and the story is about a straight white character, then no, I wouldn’t. But what if it’s about religion or ethnicity—would I consider it diverse then? I think I probably would because it includes people from different backgrounds. What about a book set in Spain with a Spanish cast—is that diverse? It made me think about a book I read earlier this year called Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. It’s set during the Spanish inquisition period but in an alternate reality, and I considered it diverse because Cordova is AOC and the characters, including the MC, were diverse.

As I write this I realise that perhaps how I consider books diverse is pretty simplistic? But ultimately, I do think it’s subjective because I don’t believe diversity can be so neatly packaged into a box where it means exactly the same thing for everybody. There are many factors to consider, including our individual backgrounds and experiences, and it also depends on the book/author too.

Is it enough to consider a book diverse if it teaches you about different people, cultures, etc.? Is it enough to consider it diverse if it broadens your world view?

Sorry, I know I haven’t really answered anything in this post and it’s mostly just a bunch of brain blah and word vom that I’m not even sure makes any sense–but it has definitely got me thinking!

Now I’m really curious to know what you think. What makes a book diverse in your opinion? Do you think it’s a strict definition or do you think it’s subjective? I’m keen to know your thoughts if you’d like to share them with me!

Let’s Talk Bookish: The Care and Keeping of a TBR!

I know I’m posting a bit later than Friday, but better late than never? Maybe?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on October 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

The care and keeping of a tbr

(SUGGESTED BY LYDIA @ LYDIA SCHOCH)
Examples: Do you maintain a TBR physically, online or both? How do you decide which books get to go on your TBR? Do you ever “prune” your TBR to remove old books, how do you decide who stays and who goes? How big is your TBR currently?

WELCOME TO TBR Mountain: LEVEL 1,165

But that gif is literally me maniacally laughing on top of TBR mountain because… My current TBR on Goodreads is currently at 1,165 books and I haven’t even counted my actual TBR.

*takes a second to pause*

👀 👀 👀

*by the way, if anyone wants to be friends on Goodreads you can find me HERE!*

WHERE DO I KEEP A TBR?

GOODREADS

So we already know I keep a TBR on Goodreads and that’s probably my most complete list. Although I first signed up for it in 2012, I only started using it properly in 2018. I did make my way onto the site now and again before then but I guess the majority of the books have been added more recently…

But let’s be clear here…

My Goodreads TBR is a combination of books that I own and books that I wish to own, so I definitely haven’t spent all the money to purchase 1K+ books. Trust, I’d be dead broke otherwise! But I still find this number on Goodreads astonishingly and embarrassingly large. You can say I have a very good relationship with the “Want to read” button. 😂

THE ACTUAL TBR (PHYSICAL + DIGITAL)

Of course, I also have my “actual” TBR with all the books I own (physically and digitally). But I don’t have a proper record of all these books so I don’t know how many still need to be read. It’s a lot easier to keep track of my physical TBR without any kind of file (most of the time) as I can see what’s on my shelves, but books on my digital TBR tend to disappear into the void until I remember them at random.

HOW DO I CHOOSE WHAT GOES ON MY TBR?

Seeing as my GR list is over 1,000 books, I guess you can say I’m not very discerning when it comes to adding to my TBR? 😂 Here’s how I usually decide:

  • I read the synopsis. If it sounds good or like something I’ll enjoy (which let’s be honest it usually does)
  • I check which of my friends have added it to their list (if any).
  • I then check if any of them have reviewed it, then I’ll quickly skim through a review or two.
  • If no one I know has read/reviewed it, I’ll skim through the first few ratings and reviews to decide whether it’s a go or not.

It’s not an overly complicated process. My taste in books is quite eclectic and it doesn’t take much to pique my interest. Although I do mostly read YA SFF and contemporary romance, I don’t limit myself to any particular genre. A lot of people do stick to their tried and true/comfort zone genres (and that’s cool) but I quite like bouncing around because who knows where I’ll find my next favourite, right?!

going ‘down the tbr hole’

If you can believe it (which you probably can) my GR TBR last year was actually bigger than it is now. When I felt desperately in need of a way to motivate myself to cull the list, I decided to do the “Down the TBR Hole” meme on a weekly basis. For this meme, I’d look at 10-20 books on my TBR and kick off anything that didn’t sound appealing anymore or books that might still sound interesting but I know I’ll never actually buy a copy of or read anytime soon.

I admittedly struggled to kick anything off the list at first but I know realistically I won’t be able to buy all of the books, especially with even more releases piquing my interest with every year that passes. I was doing a pretty good job of shortening the TBR and managed to kick off about 250+ books (maybe even more) until I stopped doing it because I was too busy doing other things… 😬

I rally think I’ll take time to sit down at the end of 2020 (or maybe in 2021) to do a proper clean up because I know there are plenty on this list that I can get rid of, I just really need to make time to do it! My TBR feels more than a little disorganised and I definitely want to take better control of it moving forward!

How do you manage your TBR? Do you find it easy to cull books from your list? Do you get rid of physical books you don’t want to read? What do you do with the digital books you own and are no longer interested in? Curious to see how everyone manages theirs!

Let’s Talk Bookish: What makes you DNF a book?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on October 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us:

what makes you dnf* a book?

(SUGGESTED BY RAFAELA @ THE PORTUGUESE BIBLIOPHILE)
Examples: Is there a specific trope you can’t stand? A plot twist that will make you drop instantly? How many pages do you usually give a book to capture your attention? How many books do you give a series before deciding if it’s worth your time? Do you count books as read on Goodreads if you DNF them?

*DNF = Did Not Finish

Learning to DNF

Prior to 2020 my answer to this question would’ve been: I don’t DNF books. It wasn’t because I avoided books I knew I wouldn’t enjoy (lmao please I’m not that smart) it was more that I always thought “maybe it’ll get better”. But I also felt a lot of guilt at the thought of DNFing a book. I’ve never had a problem understanding why people decide to DNF, I just couldn’t figure out how to not let the guilt get to me. But after years of working up to it, I finally did it!

So far in 2020 I’ve chosen to DNF 4 books. I know that’s not much for regular DNFers, but for someone who would normally force myself to finish a book, even at the risk of putting myself in a reading slump, it’s an achievement! Is it still hard to DNF a book? Yes. Do I still push on for longer than I “should” because I’m fighting the guilt? Probably. But I’m slowly letting myself be okay with deciding that a book isn’t for me. It’s a WIP. Baby steps and all that, you know?

reasons to dnf

But what makes me decide it’s time to abandon a book? NGL, I’m still working out what does and doesn’t work for me. There are tropes I don’t like but coming across disliked and overused tropes isn’t enough reason for me to DNF (currently anyway). It might make me roll me eyes and dislike a book more but unless I can’t stand another minute of it, I’ll keep reading. Looking back on the books I’ve DNF’d this year I’ve found some common reasons for why I put them down:

unlikable characters

Having likeable characters is a big draw for me and I find it so hard to get through a book when I can’t stand the main character, or even worse all of the characters. Even in plot driven books, characters are key to feeling invested in what happens in the story. This also applies to how a character speaks — some dialogue is just so cringeworthy I can’t take anything seriously.

all tell, no show

This is especially the case when it comes to romance. I get insta-lust and fiery sexual chemistry, but don’t tell me it’s love and expect me to believe it just because you said so. I want to see what makes a character so loveable and I want to see why these they’re good together (outside of the bedroom!).

nothing makes sense

When I say this it’s more about the world building and info dumping. If you dump a boatload of information on me and I’m still confused about how things work after reading a good chunk of the book, I’m gonna have to reconsider finishing it.

i dread the thought of picking it back up

The reason why I’d dread picking a book back up probably has to do with a combination of all of the above, plus some other things like slow pacing or awkward writing. But once I start making excuses to avoid continuing a book, it’s a good sign I’ll probably DNF it.

how much do i read before deciding to dnf?

Based on my (limited) experience with DNFing, I tend to read up to 30% of the book before deciding it’s not for me. Again, it’s not a hard and fast rule but I like to give it a proper shot before putting it down otherwise the guilt would eat me up.

do i count a dnf as ‘read’ on goodreads?

I don’t count DNF books as read because, well, I didn’t really read them. As of right now, I still haven’t marked the books I DNF’d on Goodreads but I’d probably make a shelf for them whenever I get around to it. I also don’t count them as part of my weekly or monthly wrap-ups, although I mention if I have DNF’d something.

Do you DNF books? What are your reasons for DNFing a book?
Or do you struggle to DNF books? Why don’t you DNF?