Five Things That Make Me Fall In Love With A Book

I think about books a lot. But I also think a lot about why I think about books a lot, and that’s pretty much what led to this post. I know that reading is one of my greatest passions, but I wanted to finally work out why it is that some books can be read and enjoyed, and some can just hold on to a little piece of your heart and never let go.

With that being said, here are some of the things that will really make me fall in love with a book!


Beautiful description

This is possibly the surest way to ensure that I am going to adore a book. Beautiful, emotive and rich description has the power to remind me, instantaneously, why I love reading. If I am reading a book in which the language is beautiful, I am completely absorbed – there is very little that can be done to draw me out of that world in my head. This is possibly why I love fantasy so much, as what comes to my mind immediately when I think of description is sweeping mystical landscapes and glittering ethereal skies.

As an example of this, I don’t think there are any authors that I can refer to other than J. R. R. Tolkien and Sarah J. Maas (who’s surprised at this point?) I’m not exaggerating when I say that Tolkien’s use of language often has the ability to make me forget to breathe. He can craft a description that captivates every single sense, and I honestly think that sometimes they are just as vivid as if you physically saw the places he creates with your own eyes. Add Sarah J. Maas’ descriptions of her Night Court to the list, and you can begin to see why they are two of my all-time favourites.

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Believable protagonists

If there’s something that is frustrating to read about it is a protagonist that doesn’t act in a realistic way to the situations they are in. Take the fifteen-year-old YA hero who sneaks out of their house at 2am to meet up with the new guitar-playing boy in school that they’ve only known for twelve hours (maybe people do that? I never did). Take the hero of a fantasy or dystopia who has never fought in their life and is somehow a miraculous warrior within just a few days. I have no problem with characters doing unrealistic things like this occasionally, but it can just become so unbelievable and ruin a story for me when the character’s storyline doesn’t move forward logically, or when things just work out too neatly.

I love my characters to have some sort of moral ambiguity and a lot of doubts or fears to go alongside their journey, because that’s just realistic! I’ve always said that for me personally, good characters can compensate for an average plot, but average characters that I don’t care for can rarely make me want to stick through the plot. Three-dimensional characters are everything! Continue reading “Five Things That Make Me Fall In Love With A Book”

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A Trip Down Bookish Memory Lane

Books, more than many other things, have the ability to invoke feelings of nostalgia. I have always been a reader, and therefore throughout my childhood (when I had decidedly less study time and decidedly more reading time on my hands!) I accumulated a steady list of books that I adored. For a long while now, I’ve been wanting to take a trip down memory lane and go through many of my old favourites, and although this post took far longer than I expected to write as I went pretty deep down some nostalgic rabbit holes, I’m excited to share what I found!

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The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton (1939-51)

This is one of the earliest favourites that I can remember – my brother and I were read the tales of the faraway tree as long ago as I can remember, and this was over and over again. We just kept on requesting it! As soon as I could read for myself, I then picked up this book yet again to experience the story in which different magical worlds exist at the top of a tree through my own eyes.


Ginger Snaps by Cathy Cassidy (2008)

This is one of those books that I’m certain I read at the perfect point in my life – I was in year seven or eight, and therefore in the ridiculously awkward phase where you’ve just moved up to high school and are trying to fit in. The story follows the protagonist Ginger; a teenager who abandons her childhood comforts in favour of faking a persona so that she and her best friend can be the popular girls in high school. This concept is a common occurrence in high schools, and I felt as though Cathy Cassidy approached it in such an engaging way.

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Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (1952)

The story of the heart-warming friendship between Fern and Wilbur the pig was another one that I loved from a very young age. I remember absolutely loving the scene in which Fern saves Wilbur, and from that point on my heart was totally invested in their fates! Continue reading “A Trip Down Bookish Memory Lane”

Reflection: March 2018

In terms of both the number and quality of books that I read, March 2018 was my most rewarding month in as long as I can remember. I managed to read five books. Five! And two of them were by no means short! I’m so pleased with that total – largely because at the start of this year I said that I wanted to return to my passion (fantasy novels) and this month I started and fell in love with a whole new series! I also re-read a classic, dived into some non-fiction, and read a poem that I’ve heard referred to constantly but never experienced in its original form. Considering that in the past I’ve had to do quarterly Reflection posts due to the little amount that I’ve read, I’m very pleased… although this means that everyone is in for a fairly long post!

Without further ado, here’s what bookish goodness March brought!

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Books Read

Book #1: The Tempest by William Shakespeare

The first time that I read The Tempest, I was in my year nine English class and vaguely remember not really understanding the language but enjoying it anyway. Five years later, and I was presented with the opportunity to study it again. Unfortunately due to the lecturers’ strike at my university both my lecture and seminar on the text were cancelled, meaning that technically I didn’t have to read it, but chose to anyway because I love me some Shakespeare.

Overall, I really enjoyed this second reading. Shakespeare presents some very important themes of colonialism and power that I would have liked to have explored in further detail, while also maintaining the beautiful language that I’ve come to expect from his works. While not being my favourite of his plays that I’ve read, and having a potentially anti-climactic ending (although possibly that’s because I only seem to have read his tragedies…), I enjoyed the experience of delving back into this text and flew through it in one sitting!

Rating: 4/5 stars Continue reading “Reflection: March 2018”

Reading & Self-Care

I don’t think it’s any secret that reading is commonly portrayed as an ideal activity to do if you just need to chill out for a while. To me, and I think for many of us readers, it’s more than just that though – books are an integral part of my self-care “routine”, and something that I actively miss if I notice that I’ve gone a few days without.

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In the past year or so, I’ve become very invested in self-care; usually placing it above pretty much anything else. I always used to think that every hour of the day not spent doing extra revision was going to mean I’d miss something essential and do worse on an exam, and would often feel guilty for not doing so. As soon as I realised that work without relaxation is not the way forward, however, self-care was brought to the forefront of my mind and my priorities.

Books provide the relaxation that contrasts the pace of daily life. One of my other greatest passions is mindfulness meditation and to me, reading is the physical embodiment of the mental state of clarity that comes with this. When I am reading, I am rooted firmly in the present (unless I’m reading historical fiction, ha!) – all I think of is the words on the page. While it doesn’t necessarily function in the same way as mindfulness in that you’re not focusing on what is happening directly in your own present surroundings, more often than not when reading your mind will be focused on one thing in particular – the words on the page – and that’s incredibly powerful.

That now being said, here are some thoughts on why I value reading so much as a method of self-care: Continue reading “Reading & Self-Care”

Reflection: February 2018

Another month has passed in 2018 – didn’t February seem to fly by? I managed to read two books this month, although admittedly I was a lot more ‘successful’ on the film front, after having watched five that I’d never seen before!


Books Read

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Book #1: Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

Had I as many souls as there be stars / I’d give them all for Mephistopheles

This was one of my assigned texts for uni, and one that I’d heard referenced on many occasions but had never experienced in its original form. Doctor Faustus follows the title’s namesake in the actions he takes after selling his soul to the devil, and the inevitable count down in years until he has to forfeit his life.

As a fan of studying Renaissance literature in particular, and especially dark tales, I was excited to read this one, and it didn’t disappoint. Doctor Faustus is incredibly ambitious in its challenging of religious expectation; pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable to be written and performed. Faustus is also a very complex character, with ambiguous motives and dilemmas all over the place, leading to a very interesting take on the concept of Hell and damnation. While I really enjoyed reading this play, and read it in one sitting due to its short length and relatively accessible language, I can only imagine how incredible it must be to see performed!

My only issue was that some parts were very confusing and made little sense: one scene featuring Helen of Troy and the Pope seemed particularly out of place. That being said, once I do some further analysis of it I’m sure the point will emerge and I will have one of those beautiful literary moments where everything just seems to come together and all you can do is shout about how much you love books and how much of a genius the author is.

Rating: 4/5 stars Continue reading “Reflection: February 2018”

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: A Review

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom. But with war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

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Genre: Fantasy

Year of Publication: 2016

Publisher: Tor (Pan Macmillan)

Page Count: 484

Spoiler-Free Review: Yes


As soon as this book came out in 2016, I knew that it would be the sort of novel that I would want to pick up. From the synopsis alone, we are treated to witches, power struggles, emperors and mercenaries – all things that are generally in the recipe for a pretty great fantasy read. Unfortunately for me, Truthwitch fell far short of most of my expectations, to the point where I seriously considered DNFing it on three occasions. As a whole, it was not without its positives (which is what I will go through last as I’d rather end on a high point), however I could not escape the fact that overall it was a confusing, disjointed and drawn out read.

The Negatives

1) The world-building was so confusing

One of the things that I love the most about fantasy is the fact that you can, as a general rule, expect to be greeted by a rich and developed world that the characters are forced to explore in order to find something/someone or escape something/someone. Truthwitch undoubtedly had that… I just don’t feel like I was ever let in on it.

From the very beginning the reader is bombarded with the names of languages, places and people without much explanation of them or their place in the story. From the beginning to the end of the book, I had to keep on flicking back and forwards to work out which empire was doing what, and whether or not they were on the sides of the protagonists. Even now, I’m still not too sure how each one fits together. On top of that, the descriptions of the actual history of this world were intermittent at best, so I constantly felt that I didn’t really know where anyone’s motives were coming from. This was undoubtedly the main reason I almost didn’t finish the book. Continue reading “Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: A Review”

Reflection: January 2018

Given that it is still February, I feel like I am at least slightly justified in still putting up this post. As the saying goes, it is always better late than never. With that now being said, I can talk about the books that I read in January! I had what I would class as a successful reading month – I read a total of three books, which is roughly consistent with reaching my goal of reading forty books this year. I also happened to enjoy all three of them!


Books Read

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Book #1: Beowulf by Unknown

This was the first of the texts assigned for my “Other Worlds” module at uni – a module that is as good as it sounds! Beowulf follows the exploits of its hero, Beowulf, as he attempts to free the hall of Hereot from the murderous presence of the monster/demon/general person they don’t want around, Grendal.

I know at least for me, I’d heard of Beowulf and had a rough idea of the general premise but didn’t really know any more than that when I first picked up this epic poem. All in all, I thought it was fairly good. I enjoyed the whirlwind-adventure style of it, and the gradual escalation in drama, but some parts simply made very little sense. I’m pretty sure that’s to do with the fact that we know virtually nothing about the author or what their intentions were, but it did make for a slightly confusing read. What perhaps made it more interesting for me was seeing all of the areas that clearly influenced J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing, especially with regards to the events in The Hobbit. Beowulf is therefore something I’m glad I’ve read, but something I’m doubtful I’ll ever read again.

Rating: 3/5 stars


Book #2: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Unknown

This was another text that I had to pick up for my course, and I am so glad we got assigned it! As a lover of fantasy and of Arthurian legend – at least after watching and loving Merlin! – I was very, very excited about this one, and thankfully it did not disappoint. This poem (that largely reads as a narrative) follows Sir Gawain of King Arthur’s court in his attempt to uphold a bargain after beheading a mysterious green knight. Continue reading “Reflection: January 2018”