Things I Look For In Books – Tropes I Love / Blogtober Day 26

I never used to think about what kinds of things I liked in books. I would only think in terms of genres- I like dark contemporaries, urban fantasies, romance novels, etc. But recently, I started making a list of things that I’m usually drawn to in books (or reasons that I tend to rate a book 5 stars).

Some of these are tropes, some are just other random elements- but you’ll get it! This is also a bit similar to Kayla’s (@Booksandlala) video, so check that out, too.

đź–ŠMorally grey characters

A character who makes questionable choices but also has a good reason for it and is sometimes an ass but has gone through it in the past? Give it to me. I love characters that you’re not sure if you’re supposed to hate or love. Or a character that you know you should hate but you actually feel bad for. One example of this is The Cruel Prince. I personally am not the biggest fan of this book, but I can totally see the appeal to Cardan. I mean, the title says it all- he’s cruel. But then we see parts of his life behind closed doors, and there’s a little bit of tragedy there.

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đź–ŠBoarding schools

This is my all-time favorite setting. For a book. For a movie. Whatever it is, I love it. There’s just something so eerie about boarding schools. I just recently talked about this in a post where I gave book recommendations based on tv shows. Sanctuary Bay is such a good book, and it’s the one I mentioned. Another example is Truly Devious, which I also loved (and still need to read the rest of the series). There’s also Wilder Girls, which I LOVEd. And, of course, Harry Potter, which is probably one of the most well-loved series in the book community- and outside of it, too, for that matter.

đź–ŠFlowery writing

The Starless Sea. The Night Circus. That’s it. That’s all I have to say for this one.

Ok, JK.

I love beautiful, poetic prose. Words that are so beautifully written they give you goosebumps. Maybe this is just the poet in me, but it’s almost vital to an all-time favorite book for me.

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đź–ŠUnreliable narrators

This is such a good plot twist. Probably one of my favorites. I feel like this reveals too much in a story, so I won’t list any specific books. But there’s something so cool about a book convincing you that the main character is in the right and then BAM! You find out they are actually a pathological liar. Or they kept something super important from the reader. I would love to write a book with an unreliable narrator one day, but I feel like this is something so hard to do.

đź–ŠPlot Twists

This is similar to the unreliable narrator (which is a type of plot twist, oftentimes), but I just love really good plot twists. When endings can actually surprise you, but also make so much sense for the story, it’s one of the best feelings. It’s just so satisfying, even if the book ends on a cliffhanger.

One example is Every Last Word. I really didn’t see the plot twist the first time I read it, and it still haunts me to this day. Looking for Alaska? That plot twist broke me. There are so many more that I also want to read (and many that I added just because I heard they had good plot twists).

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What do you think? Do you like any of the same tropes as me or do you have totally different ones? As I was writing this, I also realized I have so many other ones, so I might have to do a part 2 for this in the future.

Until tomorrow!

Jessica

On Mood Reading- A Discussion / Blogtober Day 22

I have always called myself a “mood reader.” When it’s spooky season, I want to read all of the dark and scary books. In the summer, I go for contemporaries. Sometimes I’m in the mood to only read fantasies for an entire month, and sometimes I can’t even decide what mood I am in, I just know that every single book I start I’m not in the mood for.

But this has become a problem. I always set TBRs for myself and then I don’t follow them. Or I have an ARC I need to read before publication, but I don’t feel like it’s the “right time.” I can’t even tell you how many books I’ve picked up only to read a couple of chapters and put them down again. I’ll get to it another time, I tell myself. And then I never do.

I’ve actually been trying to train myself to stop being a mood reader, which sounds weird, but it’s working.

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This month, I decided I wanted to ACTUALLY read all of the books on my TBR. Out of the 7, I’ve read 3 of them, and I’m in the middle of 2 more. I forced myself to pick them up and start reading them regardless of the fact that I wasn’t “in the mood.”

And guess what? I LOVED them and couldn’t put them down once I started. Not being in the right mood had nothing to do with my enjoyment of the book because if a book is good, I’m going to like it no matter if I read it in July or December.

Along with this, I realized that I need to keep my TBRs each month small and manageable. This way I can get through the books I have to read that month, but I still have room to pick up others I want to read at the moment. This month’s TBR was a bit ambitious since I’m in school and have a lot of assignments to do. In the future, I’ll probably keep my TBRs at 5 books. That’s a little over 1 a week.

Obviously, if I’m not liking a book on my TBR, I’m not going to force myself to finish it. I am all about DNF’ing books. And yes, sometimes I’m still going to put down a book simply because I’m not in the right mindset for it. But, I’m hoping that by training myself a bit more, I will be able to hit deadlines faster, finish all of the books I’ve intended to read, and maybe even discover some new favorites along the way!

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So tell me, are you a mood reader? How do you choose your next read?

Jessica

Struggles of a Book Blogger

Being a blogger is hard. Being a book blogger is even harder.

There are a ton of expectations that come with being a book blogger, like buying/reading all of the newest releases, going to different bookish events, and getting a ton of ARCs from publishers. In this post, I have a list of the different struggles of being a book blogger that I have faced many times! I hope some of you can relate to them.

Keeping Up With New Releases

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New books are being published every. single. day. It is so hard to stay on top of all of the new releases from your favorite authors, plus books you’ve been dying to read by debut authors! It is just physically impossible to a) buy them all and b) read them all as soon as they come out.

Plus, I used to think that if I am not reading and reviewing the latest books released that I am an inferior blogger. But that is so not the case! You can read and write about any books you choose to!

Feeling Like You Need To Be Reading All The Time

When I read other bloggers’ wrap ups and see that they have read 10 books in a month, it can be really harmful. It is impossible for me to read as much as I would like during the school year, and sometimes I just need a break to watch some mindless tv shows instead of investing my time in focusing on a new world. This is an internal struggle I have with myself all the time.

I don’t need to be reading at all times to be considered a book blogger. It can be hard to believe that when you rely on reading new books for blog post content, but it is important to keep in mind.

Feeling Like Your Hard Work Isn’t Paying Off

There have been times when I neglected my blog and didn’t post for a week or more. However, I usually publish at least one post a week, which takes a lot of time. Each post requires a lot of planning, writing, photographing, and editing. It might seem like it is quick and easy to do, but it’s not.

It can be a little difficult sometimes when you put in a lot of effort into a post you are excited about and not see it do as well as you had hoped. It makes you doubt yourself and your blog. I always try not to let this bother me, but sometimes it can be hard.

Book Pictures Are Actually Hard To Take

Fun Fact: I used to write fashion/beauty posts. When I started book blogging, one of the first differences I noticed was that taking pictures for bookish posts is actually way more difficult. It is hard to come up with ways to make your pictures stand out and look different for each post.

There are only so many ways that you can angle a book, so it’s hard sometimes. I don’t want all of my posts to look the same, so I try to take unique pictures. That doesn’t always work out so well.

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Blogging can be difficult. It is draining and takes a lot of time. But, I love it so much, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. Please leave a comment down below if you can relate to these struggles! I don’t want to be the only one!

 

Standalones vs Series // Discussion

When it comes to books, I am definitely more of a fan of standalones. I have a really short memory, so I can not pick up a series and wait more than a couple of weeks to read the next book. I do like trilogies and duologies, but that is as far as I’ll go. Once a series is longer than that, I am very unlikely to continue it.

Why I like Standalone Novels:

  • No waiting- You don’t have to wait months (sometimes years) for the next book in a series to come out! Obviously this does not apply to older series that are already complete. However, starting a new release that is the first book in a series is pretty difficult. By the time the next book comes out, I have already forgotten the main characters’ names, let alone the entire plot.
  • Less cliffhangers- I hate when a book ends on a cliffhanger, even if it is part of a series. That’s because then I feel as if I am forced to read the next book, which is not something I want to feel. I want to continue a book not because of how it left off, but because I liked the characters and/or plot enough to continue it. I can’t say that there are no cliffhangers with standalones, because there are definitely some exceptions. BUT the majority of them have a nicely wrapped up ending, which leaves me as a reader very satisfied.
  • More Variety- You get more variety in stories when you read standalones because each book you pick up is completely different. With a series, you are (most likely) reading about the same characters and the same world, just with some differences in plot. I like change, I can’t be tied down to one set of characters for multiple books.
  • No fear about the second book being bad- I hate when I dedicate my time to a series but the second or third book do not live up to the standards of the first book. It is the absolute worst! And then it makes you not want to continue with the rest of the series, so it is just a huge mess.
  • More action- Standalones are typically a lot more fast-paced than series. This is because the author needs to fit everything inside a certain number of pages. They don’t include all of the extra, unnecessary details that drag on forever. I can not stand slow moving books, and with a standalone, I am less likely to get that.
  • Less time commitment- You don’t have to dedicate as much time to standalones because they are just one book. With a series, there is so much time involved in order to get through all of the books.

I can definitely acknowledge why people would prefer series. You can spend more time with the characters you fell in love with or with the world the author created. I think this also really depends on what genre you like to read. With high fantasy, you are more likely to get a series because the author needs to spend time describing and explaining everything. With contemporaries (which I prefer to read), it is easier to get everything said in one book.

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So, which do you prefer? Standalone or series? Let’s have a discussion on this in the comments!

Xo, Jess