I’m back with a post! I’ve been kinda absent lately because of the state of the world and being busy with work so I’m here with a small WWW update. Not that I’ve managed a whole lot of reading since my last post.
I’m currently reading (albeit) slowly, Traitor’s Moon by Lynn Flewelling. Traitor’s Moon is book 3 of the Nightrunner series, which is an old-school queer fantasy that follows Seregil and Alec on their adventures. I love this series so much. It had been a while since I read book 2, so it’s been fun to be back in the Nightrunner world.
What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Proper’s Demon by K.J. Parker a few days ago. It’s a novella from Tor.com about a (very morally grey) exorcist. I gave it three stars, whilst it wasn’t mind blowing it was enjoyable to read and it was nice to be able to finish something in one go that didn’t need a while lot of concentration.
What do you plan on reading next?
That’s a very good question. Lately I haven’t been able to really plan on what I pick up because giving how finicky my mood has been when it comes to what I feel like reading, I haven’t stuck to a tbr or the sense of obligation will just kill my reading mood.
That said, I’m thinking of picking up The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant soon, since it’s a review copy and an anticipated read. Finger’s crossed it lives up to the hype!
Somehow another year has been and gone – seemingly in the blink of an eye and yet an eternity in other ways. I discovered some new favourites, got completely let down by some anticipated reads and then disappeared off the face of the Earth whilst finally watching The Untamed and reading the source novel, Mó Dào Zǔ Shī (still haven’t recovered from that tbh).
I set my Goodreads goal as 2 books this year so needless to say I completed it on the 3rd or so of Jan. I actually found that doing that really helped. The year before I had set my goal at 65ish and I found that added pressure and made me feel like I had to be reading instead of reading because I want to. I still struggled a bit with focusing on read at my own pace and picking up what I wanted to read – since starting this blog I’ve often felt like I needed to be reviewing books regularly (and therefore reading a lot) and like I had to stay up to date with the latest releases. So for the new year I am going to be focusing on reading for fun and whatever pace that may be rather than reading from a place of ‘shit I need to be writing and publishing blog content’ etc.
Disappointing Reads of 2019
I’m going to start with a couple of disappointing reads so that we can then move onto the good stuff and end the post on a high note.
First off and perhaps the biggest disappointment for me personally was Serpent & Dove. I was so so hyped for this one and had heard such great things about it. I had expected to love it based on that and the tropes – but alas it was a let down to put it mildly afskdf. My mini review.
Another one I was wanting to love but didn’t was We Are Blood and Thunder. It sounded so good but just left me feeling iffy. My review.
There were some great sequels out this year. We were blessed to get The Name of All Things – the sequel for The Ruin of Kings – in the same year book one released and it was amazing! Words cannot describe how much I love Kihrin, Teraeth and Janel. Next year we only get book three, The Memory of Souls but it’s going to be worth every second of waiting. My review for The Name of All Things.
I got to read The Electric Heir – sequel to The Fever King – this year and HOLY GODS y’all are not ready. It’s just so brilliant, I tried writing a decent review so many times but ended up just flailing with the amount of emotions it made me feel.My review.
I discovered more than a few new favourite books and authors this year.
One of the one’s I really want to highlight is T Frohock and her Los Nefilim books. I just love them so much – the characters Frohock created are *chefs kiss* Like I need people reading these books. I’m also really excited to read Miserere: An Autumn Tale. It’s a standalone not connected to Los Nefilim and I have no doubt I’ll love it as well.
My entire year was made when I was sent an arc of Docile by KM Szpara. I fucking cannot describe how much I love this book and his short stories. Like it’s so so good and I get jealous at everyone who gets to read them for the first time. My review for Docile will be up soon but know you have to read this.
Down the MDZS Rabbit Hole
The end of this year also saw me descend into hell – also as two weeks binging The Untamed (all 50 episodes) followed by a week binging Mó Dào Zǔ Shī (the book The Untamed is based on which is like 500k words long).
It wrecked me emotionally like?? I will never recover from this. This chaotic bisexual and his husband (THEY HAVE A SON!!!)are what make life worth living. Huge shout out to Silvia @ Silvia Reads Books– I’d had my eye on the show for a little while to check out but it was thanks to Silvia’s enthusiasm that I started it and then dived straight into the novel (which I might have missed out on the joy of discovering it without her). Definitely check out Silvia post that I’ve linked to if you’re keen to know more about MDZS and The Untamed – she does a great job explaining it.
It’s been a great reading year over all – there’s been so many great books, new discoveries and new obsessions. Who knows what the new year will bring but I hope it filled with even more wonderful books!
What your reading year been like? Discover any new favourites yourself?
Welcome to my first Bookish Discussion post! Every now and then I find myself ruminating on different things about books and all things related, so I’ve decided to create the Bookish Discussions post as a place to share them. It’s not necessarily going to be a regular scheduled series, I’ll post as the inspiration finds me.
For the first discussion I wanted to post some thoughts I’ve been having around rep searches (primarily run on Instagram) by bookish companies. I’d like to start out by saying this isn’t about one particular company or rant – more just a talk about the things I’ve noticed and have been on my mind. Full disclaimer I have entered rep searches and not been successful but this is not me speaking from a place of bitterness.
The main element that sparked this post is that most companies when they hold rep searches – somewhere in the announcement – will have something along the lines of ‘follower counts don’t matter this is about passion and creativity’ and ‘don’t be discouraged from applying if you’re a small account’. But here’s the thing – I have never seen a company actually apply this when picking rep.
No I’m not naive – I am aware that rep searches are a business-based decision. Obviously a company is going to want to maximise their reach and the more followers a rep has the more business you are potentially going to bring in. My issue is this – don’t say follower counts don’t matter if they clearly fucking do and you are never going to give a smaller account a chance(for the record I don’t consider follower counts above 1000 to be small).
An unspecified amount of time ago I entered a rep search for a local business. This was their first rep search and at the time I had already made multiple purchases from them (my follower count I believe would have been between 550-600). Now given they were an an emerging aussie business – as opposed to one of the establish UK/US big bookish companies a la Owlcrate etc – there weren’t countless entries so I had the opportunity to go through them after.
Here’s what I found: I was not the only one with a smaller account and had purchased items from the company and yet we were all passed over in favour of those with large accounts. I’m not saying buying from a company means you’re entitled to be a rep but this isn’t the only time or company I’ve seen this happen. And so if you are going to ignore people that support your business in favour of those with 5000+ followers why bother saying it’s about passion and creativity not follower counts? Surely someone who buys your stuff and loves it matters just as much as someone who hasn’t ever bought your stuff outside a rep discount but has a large reach?
It’s your business and you can do what you want but perhaps if you’re never going to consider people with under 5000 followers just drop the ‘follower counts don’t matter’ line. Otherwise you’re just going to get people getting their hopes up that maybe – just maybe – this time they’ll be chosen and yet they never are.
‘But Ashleigh if someone has a small follower count and can’t grow it they’re clearly not good at building a brand and creating content?’ Miss me with that bullshit because the reality of bookstagram is that no matter how passionate someone is, no matter how much work they put into it and how great their content is some people will never get the following they deserve. We can’t all be conventionally attractive white people, with a Nikon camera or latest iPhone and an ever-evolving fancy spread, getting book mail and arcs every second day. The reality is bookstagram is weighted in favour of those who are those things, in favour of those who have the money to be on top of new releases. It’s also fucking terrible are acknowledging this, instead liking to act as though it was all just hard work and there isn’t a strong element of privilege involved.
Not to mention that being a rep can boost someone’s following. I know I’ve followed people after discovering them through the company they rep for. It can be a mutually beneficial relationship.
My point in this post, I guess, is to say that whilst companies can run rep searches how ever they want, there’s something to say for a) given the smaller accounts a go and b) being honest – if you aren’t going to pick smaller accounts as reps why say followers don’t matter because it’s about passion? Because in my experience in bookstagram there are so, so many people with small followings that are some of the nicest people to interact with and are so passionate about what they do.
Hello hello! Another non-review book post without a six month interlude? Is this me committing? It looks like my commitment to diversifying the types of posts I publish is actually holding this time.
I was tagged by the every lovely Laura @ The Book Corps to do the 50 bookish questions tag and I’m going to jump right in!
1) What was the last book you read?
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir aka lesbian necromancers in space!
2) Was it a good one?
It was! It did take me a little while to get into it and at one point I was wondering if I’d over hyped it to myself but I ended up really enjoying it, the ending in particular was amazing.
3) What made it good?
The characters. Muir created some absolutely fantastic characters and Gideon, in particular is snarky and ballsy and brilliant.
4) Would you recommend it to other people?
5) How often do you read?
I’ve always got a least one book on the go and I try to read a bit every day. Sometimes it’s more like every couple of days but definitely very regularly regardless.
6) Do you like to read?
Given that last year I read around 60 books according to Goodreads and have a blog where I review books I can confidently say I do love to read.
7) What was the last bad book you read?
That would be Across The Void by S.K. Vaughn (2 stars)
8) What made you dislike it?
It was just really boring – 50 pages in it had felt like I had read 1000 and there were still 400 pages to go. That and none of the characters were remotely likeable or compelling in anyway.
9) Do you wish to be a writer?
Yes, I’ve often had ideas and started to write things and dream of publishing a book, my problem is commitment and the fact that I get bored easily so I start stories but never finish them.
10) Has any book ever influenced you greatly?
A number and as soon as I read that question my mind decided to blank on every book I’ve ever read 😅
11) Do you read fan-fiction?
Absolutely! I love fanfiction, the skill of fanfic writers is astonishing. I read a lot of ‘fix-it’ fics for shows I’ve loved but hated the direction they took it or treated a character.
12) Do you write fan-fiction?
No, when it comes to fanfic I love to read it but never felt the urge to read any.
13) What is your favourite book?
See my answer for question 10 😅 To name a few; Runebinder, Amberlough, The Wicker King, The Fever King, Where Oblivion Lives, Captive Prince, Wolfsong, Docile, Godblind, The Ruin of Kings, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo……and the list continues
14) What is your least favourite book?
I tend to dnf books I don’t like/seek out the ones I do think I’ll love so I’m not one with a huge list of hated books but one of the most recent 1 star ratings was for All These Beautiful Strangers, just no.
15) Do you prefer physical books or reading on a device (like Kindle)?
I prefer paperbacks but read a lot on my kindle if its a book, in any form, I’ll take it!
16) When did you learn to read?
Fuck if I can remember 😅, probably when I was young – my parents did read to me/encourage reading so I would have been very young.
17) What is your favourite book you had to read in school?
I hated all the books I had to read in school asfhskjdfh
18) What is your favourite book series?
Most of the books I listed in the answer to question 13 are also series so Runebinder, Amberlough, The Fever King, Where Oblivion Lives, Captive Prince, Wolfsong, Godblind, The Ruin of Kings among others
Who is your favourite author?
20) What is your favourite genre?
Fantasy hands down – if I was only allowed to read within one genre for the rest of my life it’d be that
21) Who is your favourite character from a series?
Khirin D’Mon gets a shout out for this questions (from The Ruin of Kings). An ultimate disaster bisexual if ever there were – I love him.
22) Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?
Most of my favourite books will have done that, anything I can sink into for a few hours and forget myself and this world for a little while (they tend to be fantasy most of the time, but not always!)
23) Which book do you wish had a sequel?
Blood Divine by Greg Howard, I need more in that world!!!
24) Which book do you wish didn’t have a sequel?
This is obviously a personal opinion and I don’t plan on reading it when it comes out but I’m not sure why Enchantee is getting a sequel when it was so slow I feel like, depending on what book two is about, you could have cut a lot from book one and combined them because it was so damn slow.
25) How long does it take you to read a book?
Totally depends on the book and what my commitments are looking like at the time – I once finished a 900 page book in just over 24 hours, other times it’s taken a month to force myself to finish a 300 page book.
26) Do you like when books become movies?
Yes because I always like seeing this on screen even if it doesn’t match what I imagined. I do wish that more adaptions would be TV shows though because I feel like that’s a better format for books, and series in particular.
27) Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?
Eragon. It was one of my favourite early teenage years books and 13 years later I am still made at that fucking mess of a movie, I don’t think the people behind it even read the books just borrowed the names because it was bad. Bad.
28) Which movie has done a book justice?
Even though I’ve enjoyed some I don’t think any stand at as having done them justice, I tend to view adaptions as completely separate from the books to avoid the disappointment if its bad *cough*Eragon*cough* – I learned from that mistake.
29) Do you read newspapers?
I almost never do.
30) Do you read magazines?
I didn’t as a kid, these days not so much. If I do at all it’s either Frankie or Pepermint so I’m at least not losing braincells.
31) Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?
32) Do you read while in bed?
No, I get sleepy if I do ajkfbhskjd
33) Do you read while on the toilet?
34) Do you read while in the car?
Sometimes but I mainly drive myself these days so I don’t much anymore – since I do enjoy living for all it’s complications.
35) Do you read while in the bath?
36) Are you a fast reader?
Definitely and with a book I am really, really enjoying absolutely.
37) Are you a slow reader?
Only if I’m really hating the book.
38) Where is your favourite place to read?
On the couch next to the window, with the sunshine and a cat!
39) Is it hard for you to concentrate when you read?
If there’s background noise it can be – if some one has the TV on I have to move to a different room or stop.
40) Do you need a room to be silent while you read?
Very close to it!
41) Who gave you your love for reading?
I’m assuming my parents since they were always encouraging.
42) What book is next on your list to read?
I’m a mood reader so it’s often in flux but a few I want to get to soon are; Miserere by Teresa Frohock, There Will Come A Darkness by Katy Rose Pool, The Poppy War by RF Kuang, The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht, The Priory of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.
43) When did you start to read chapter books?
I literally don’t remember much about anything I was doing under 13 so I’m assuming a fairly average age.
44) Who is your favourite children’s book author?
I loved the Lioness Rampant series by Tamora Pierce as a kid (though thats more middle grade).
45) Which author would you most want to interview?
Anna Stephens and the interview would consist of the question WHY????? about Bloodchild.
46) Which author do you think you would be friends with?
I don’t know I always get shy thinking about talking to authors ajfhsjf
47) What book have you reread the most?
Captive Prince is probably the most read, and Vampire Academy when I was younger.
48) Which books do you consider ‘classics’?
There’s your standard old time-y classics (which tend to be heavily bigoted in some or all ways) but I think there’s some more recent books that should be considered classics for what they bring.
49) Which books do you think should be taught in every school?
Definitely The Hate U Give and just about any book that isn’t the awful old ones they make you read in English and pretty much guarantee kids will hate reading.
50) Which books should be banned from all schools?
Given that banning books generally comes up around diverse books I don’t really think banning books is a good thing but some of the racist ones can go tbh and here’s hoping John B*yne’s transphobic book is never taught in schools.
It’s been a little while since my last non-book review/waiting on Wednesday post – since early July in fact – woops 😅
It seems every few months I commit to doing a wider variety of posts and then proceed to not do anything about it….until now! This ‘Five Star Book Predictions’ post is inspired by the very wonderful Jami @ jamishelves – click on the link to see her post.
The idea behind this is to pick five books from my tbr I believe could be five star reads, so read on to find out which books I am hoping will be new favourites!
The Empire of Gold by SA Chakraborty
The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper sit among my favourite books. The ending of The Kingdom of Copper left me on tenterhooks to find out what happens next. Given how much I loved the first two books, I can’t see this one being any different even if it does destroy me.
Another trilogy drawing to a close, with Bloodchild continuing on from Godblind & Darksoul. I fucking love these books. They are intense, brutal and so so good. I barely survived Darksoul and to be honest I don’t think I’ll even survive Bloodchild but I will love every single minute of it.
Honestly I’ve been excited for this for a while now and I have a feeling it’s going to be amazing. Witches, enemies-to-lovers, the book being a chonky boi, a ridiculously beautiful cover – it’s all there.
Kihrin is my smol disaster bi son and I just need him, Teraeth and all the others back in my life. The Ruin of Kings is one of my favourite books and Lyons jumped onto my favourite authors list with this book. I have no doubt The Name of All Things will be a masterpiece.
Most of these are to-be-released titles so next time I check in once I’ve read these, I might do some already released ones. Are you excited for any of these? What are some of your five star predictions?