Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Fictional Witches!

Hello lovelies! I had planned to do a fun little Halloween-themed post and then I saw that the theme for today’s Top Ten Tuesday was a Halloween Freebie! So I’m linking up and sharing some of my favourite fictional witches! Let’s take a look, shall we? πŸ˜€

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Glinda and Elphaba from Wicked


It is a dream of mine to see this show live – though I know it wouldn’t be the same as seeing these two original leading ladies. I love that Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth are such good friends in real life and I think they embody the wicked witch and the good witch so perfectly. And they’ve both got an incredible set of pipes.


Sabrina from Sabrina the Teenage Witch


Sabrina was always an idol of mine. I just thought she was the coolest. I even subscribed to her magazine where you got make-up and accessories free with each issue! Honourable mention to Aunt Hilda who was also fabulous.


Mildred Hubble from The Worst Witch

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I feel like I’m showing my age here… Did anyone else watch The Worst Witch as a kid?! I used to love putting it on after school. Though of course, I read the books as well πŸ˜‰


Frances and Jet Owens from Practical Magic

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Practical Magic is one of my absolute favourite witchy movies and while I love the main characters, it’s the two aunts that steal the show for me. Midnight Margaritas, anyone?


The Halliwell Sisters from Charmed


Sorry any Prue fans but I wasn’t too bummed when she got replaced by Paige. I loved everything about this show: the 90s soundtrack, the sisterly bonds, the romances, the one-liners… And I’ll be totally honest, I have a girl-crush on all three of these women to this day. Please don’t even talk to me about the remake; they should have left well enough alone.


Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Confession time: I was WAY late to the party with BTVS. I wasn’t introduced to the Buffy-verse until I was at university. But Willow was one of my favourite characters right from the start and I loved following her character arc. Plus, what Joss Whedon did for the LGBTQ+ community with this character was fantastic.


Rowena from Supernatural


I thought Rowena was a great addition to Supernatural. A mad Scottish witch whose son is the King of Hell? That can only make for great tv! Rowena definitely provides some comic relief at times too.


The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus


I watch this movie EVERY HALLOWEEN without fail. It is tradition. Sarah, Mary and Winifred are too fabulous.


Regina from Once Upon A Time


The original wicked witch revamped! Regina was a key figure in Once Upon A Time from the very beginning and I loved her character development. Got to love a good anti-hero.


Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series


It took me a minute to decide who from Harry Potter should feature on this list (there are so many amazing witches in that series!) I finally decided on the original badass who was there from the very beginning and whom I was nicknamed after at my old job.

So those are some of my favourite fictional witches! Do we have any favourites in common? I’d love to know your favourite Charmed one or Sanderson sister! xsignature (2)

My ‘Pick Me Up’ Playlist! Tag

Hey guys! So I’ve got a bit of backlog of tags that I’m trying to start working through. Some of them (like this one) I can’t even remember who tagged me so I do apologise and please let me know if it was you! I’m going to try and do a tag every Sunday for the foreseeable future, so that I stop putting them off!

I love this idea of sharing my ‘pick me up’ playlist, songs that make me smile or put me in a good mood. As you all know already, music is a huge part of my life and I firmly believe that it can influence our mood in a big way.

Here are some songs that never fail to make me feel happy!

Queen – Breakthru

You didn’t think I’d make a playlist post and not include Queen, did you? I thought I might as well get them out of the way first πŸ˜‰ I could have picked the obvious Bohemian Rhapsody which also never fails to make me smile but I wanted to highlight a lesser-known song. I love the punchy baseline in this one and the cheery chorus with its 80s summer vibes. Plus, how can you not smile at Freddie gyrating around on top of a train?!

Pentatonix – Sing

I love Pentatonix and their amazing acapella sound. This song is one of my favourites. It’s so catchy and impossible not to join in with. I also have very happy memories of driving along the west coast of Scotland in the sunshine, blasting this.

Simon & Garfunkel – Cecilia

I used to have this song on cassette tape (I know!!) It’s one of the first songs I ever loved.

Cosmo Sheldrake – Come Along

I first heard this song on a tv advert and for some reason, I just really enjoy it? Every time I hear it, I feel like a child again and just want to bop along.

George Ezra – Budapest

Honestly, I could have picked any of George Ezra’s songs as I just love his whole vibe. But I decided to go with the first one I ever heard and still love to this day.

The Greatest Showman Cast – The Greatest Show

There’s a reason the soundtrack for this movie has been played to death on the radio stations: it’s so damn catchy! I love it.

Meghan Trainor – No Excuses

This song came out during a period of really lovely weather and I remember being in the garden at work one day and everyone dancing and singing. It’s a happy memory and I like being reminded of it whenever I hear this song.

Paolo Nutini – Pencil Full of Lead

I defy anyone not to dance to this song.

Jason Mraz – I’m Yours

This is just another one of those inherently happy songs, right? It’s sweet and catchy, and I’m yet to meet a person who doesn’t like it.

Melanie – Brand New Key

I discovered this song when I was at sixth form and became mildly obsessed with it. It just makes me grin like an idiot.

Noah & the Whale – 5 Years Time

The whistling, the ukulele, the harmonies – it’s just great.

Bellamy Brothers – Let Your Love Flow

An oldie but a goodie.

Jonas Blue ft. Jack & Jack – Rise

Another catchy pop song that gives me all the summer feelings. I love that flute!

Ike & Tina Tuner – Proud Mary

I am in no way condoning Ike Turner’s actions so please don’t see this that way. This is purely a shoutout to Tina. But I can’t be the only person who just has to get up on the dancefloor when this song kicks into gear? My shoulders take on a life of their own!

Rusted Root – Send Me On Your Way

Ending on this absolute classic because you’d have to be a soulless bean to not enjoy this one. Granted, I can’t make out half of what he’s saying. But what a tune.

Well, that’s my ‘pick me up’ playlist! I think I was probably supposed to stop at 10 songs but I kept thinking of more that I had to include! Hopefully this shows how eclectic my tastes in music are πŸ™‚ Do you like any of these songs? x

12 Books I MUST Read in 2019!

Hey everyone! I’ve mentioned before that one of my goals for this year is to read more of my backlist books. As part of this, I’ve made a list of 12 books that I have been saying for YEARS “oh I must read that soon” – seriously, I just never seem to pick these ones up and I don’t know why. So I’m making this post to hold myself accountable. By the end of 2019, I will have read all of these books!


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Perfume by Patrick Suskind

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

master and margarita

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

jonathan strange

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

girl with all the gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

white teeth

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

lake house

The Lake House by Kate Morton

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Here I Stand by Amnesty International


Flawed by Cecilia Ahern


Uprooted by Naomi Novik


Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Have you read any of these books? Which one do you recommend I start with? Also, I’ve floated the idea on Instagram of a readalong of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, as so many people seem to have it on their shelves but feel intimidated by its size. Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in?! x

Mental Health Monday: Beating the January Blues!

Hi everyone! I’m incredibly nervous today as this is the first post in a new feature I want to introduce to my blog this year! As well as regularly battling episodes of anxiety and depression, I am studying to be a counsellor – so my interest in mental health is STRONG. For a while, I’ve wanted to bring more mental health chat to the blog and I really hope it’s something you’ll get on board with – hopefully we can spark some good discussions πŸ™‚

For my first post, I’m going to keep it fairly light and talk about something many of us face after Christmas and New Year: the ‘January Blues’. After all the excitement of the festive season (spending time with friends and family, eating and drinking great things, giving and receiving gifts, and decorating everything with twinkly lights), January can seem especially bleak. Everyone goes back to work (if you were lucky enough to get time off in the first place), most people start some kind of diet or make some other resolution to get fit, drink more water, stop smoking or drinking, or generally become a better person. This puts a extra pressure on us at a time when we are already dealing with a lot. Many people can develop SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) as a result of the dark days and the cold weather, and people are often struggling financially due to the toll of excessive gift-buying and trying to stretch wages that they were paid before Christmas.


So I thought I’d make a list of some little things we can all do to keep our spirits up in this most miserable month of the year!

*Please note that, while I am in the process of completing my diploma, I am not yet a qualified health professional and all advice given in this post is based on things I have personally found helpful at times. This post is not intended to replace the recommendations of qualified doctors or therapists.*

Reset Your Sleep Pattern

December is party season and the many late nights and subsequent lie-ins can result in your sleep pattern being disrupted. Although you may not feel like it, getting back into a good sleep routine can really help keep your mood up as the new year gets under way. Not only will it help when it comes to going back to work, it will just generally help you to feel like a functioning human if you’re going to bed at a reasonable time of night and getting up before lunchtime. If you’re a night owl like me and struggle to get back into a routine, try practising good sleep hygiene: drink decaf tea after 6pm, try not to eat too much in the evening, limit screen time before bed and keep your room a reasonable temperature (I’d say on the cool side).



Eat Some Fruit and Vegetables

I’m not saying you have to go on a diet. Resolving to lose weight in the new year is something that irritates me no end – this is the kind of change you can make at any time and, as I already mentioned, we shouldn’t be putting extra pressure on ourselves at an already stressful time! I do, however, recommend getting some vitamins into you. Christmas is notorious for the amount of fatty, sugary foods we ingest; everyone is allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast in December, after all! Change it up and get the sweetness you crave from a piece of fruit. Have your leftover ham and turkey with a salad. Your body will thank you.



Get Some Fresh Air

Many people, myself included, are inclined to hibernate during the winter months. It takes a lot to entice me out of the warmth of my house when it’s freezing and miserable outside. Yet I always enjoy a walk in the brisk January air and end up feeling energised after pushing myself to do it. I know that a lot of people have a tradition of going for a New Years’ Day hike and I think that’s a great idea – but even a short stroll will give you a boost after that weird period between Christmas and New Year when you just don’t have a clue what day it is.

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Start a Gratitude Journal

If you struggle to stay positive in January, a gratitude journal can really help. At one of my lowest points a few years ago, when I was confined to my house with agoraphobia, I needed as many little reminders as possible that there were good things in my life. I got myself a little notebook and decided to write down three things at the end of each day that I was grateful for. They didn’t have to be huge things; it could be my little cousin telling me they loved me, it could be a really great song, it could be the sight of a rainbow through my window. Appreciating the little things helps to change your mindset and make you feel more positive overall.



Raise Your Self-Care Game

I’m a firm advocate of self-care at any time of year but particularly in January! It’s important to take care of yourself and still give yourself little treats, to combat any feelings of depression.

Some self-care ideas:

  • Take lots of relaxing baths with gorgeous-smelling bubbles
  • Light some candles and put on a face mask
  • Book yourself a massage or a manicure, or an appointment to get your hair done
  • Buy yourself a lovely new jumper or pair of shoes
  • Reread a favourite book or watch a favourite movie
  • Create a playlist of songs that make you feel uplifted and listen to it regularly
  • Do some spring cleaning (a tidy environment = a tidy mind! Or so they say hehe)


Well, those are my tips for fighting the ‘January Blues’! I really hope you guys find this post interesting and informative – I’d love to chat with you in the comments if you have anything at all to say!

Is this kind of mental health post something you might enjoy seeing on the blog? And are there any particular topics you would like me to cover? Please let me know if you have any suggestions! x

2018 Non-Bookish Favourites!

Hey friends! I love seeing what everyone enjoy besides reading so I wanted to do a quick post highlighting some of my non-bookish favourites from this year πŸ™‚

Movies & TV

I didn’t watch a whole lot of stuff in 2018 as I really was making reading my priority, but I had a few standout viewing experiences.

The Greatest Showman: I gave in to the hype because EVERYONE at work was singing these songs and they were pretty catchy. I’m thankful that this movie definitely lived up to the hype! It’s such an empowering story with a great soundtrack and I really think this one will stand the test of time. Yes, it’s a bit corny but we all need a little of that every now and then, don’t we?

Vanity Fair: At first, I wasn’t really interested in the ITV adaptation of Thackeray’s classic, having never read it. However, the more I saw the adverts, the more intrigued I got. I ended up loving the sarcastic humour of Becky Sharp and enjoyed the show so much that I requested the book for Christmas. And my wish was granted! I will be reading Vanity Fair in 2019.

Bohemian Rhapsody: I’ve always been a fan of Queen’s music but this film has ignited a full-on obsession in me. Seriously, I am now listening to a Queen song every day just to get my fix. Nobody say a bad word about Freddie Mercury or I will fight you πŸ˜‰


I’ve already mentioned that I’ve been alternating between Queen’s Greatest Hits and The Greatest Showman OST. But I did listen to some other stuff this year too πŸ˜‰

George Ezra: Ezra has released some cracking tunes this year. Many of them are, for me, tied together with fond memories of summer days at work, taking the young people I support out for daytrips.

Pentatonix: I’ve loved Pentatonix since I discovered them a few years ago but there was a period at the start of this year when I had their album on repeat in my car CONSTANTLY. I gave them a rest for a few months… and then started listening to their Christmas albums haha. They are so talented (though I’m still devastated that Avi left!)

Kodaline: I also went through a bit of a Kodaline phase in the middle of the year. I just really love the harmonies, as well as the cute stories they tell in their songs.


Shrek the Musical: This year, the company of Shrek the Musical did a UK tour and I went to see them on opening night in Belfast. The show was uproariously funny, with some very catchy tunes.

Disney on Ice: I also got to relive my childhood this year by going to Disney on Ice! I took my young cousins and it made a lovely family memory that I will cherish.

Buying a house: It amazes me that this time last year, I went to view a couple of houses to get an idea of the market/housing prices etc. I stumbled upon a house that I loved and decided to pursue it – and in April this year, it became mine! I love living by the sea.

Starting my diploma: Another big development in my life this year was that I was offered a place on a counselling course. This came totally out of the blue as I hadn’t expected to go back to studying until Autumn 2019 but it was too good an opportunity to turn down. I’m so glad to be making progress towards my career goals!

What were some of your non-bookish highlights this year? Did anything take you by surprise? Do we share any favourite movies or music? Let me know in the comments! And if you’re a Queen fan, please join me in my obsession! πŸ˜‰ x

Harry Potter 10 Years On: The Chamber of Secrets

Hey everyone! I’m continuing my reread of the Harry Potter series and today, I’m bringing you my thoughts on book two: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets! Once again, please proceed with caution as there may be some spoilers in this post…

Initial Thoughts…

Oh wow. I was only 5 when this book came out!

The Dursleys are actually vile.

I forgot how much amazing stuff was in this book! Dobby, the flying car, the Whomping Willow, the mandrakes…

Love getting to see more of Mr and Mrs Weasley!

Aah I remember de-gnoming the garden in the playstation game, it was great fun!

Lockhart really is ridiculous.

Ugh the deathday party, I always found this bit boring.

I laughed far too hard when Lockhart said “I remember something very similar happening in Ouagadougou”!

Surely it would have made sense to find out the way to the Slytherin common room before taking the Polyjuice potion? Then they wouldn’t have wasted so much time?

Really though, I love Hogwarts but what kind of school would stay open when kids are being attacked left, right and centre?!

I didn’t find the spiders nearly as creepy when I was younger… *shudders*

Nothing will ever be as mind-blowing as that twist at the end.

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Thoughts Upon Finishing…

I always say that this is my least favourite book in the series. I think it’s because it’s in that in between stage of still setting up the world and not yet being into the full swing of the overarching plot. Even so, there are so many amazing things that are introduced in this book! Some seriously awesome details.

And it’s the start of the backstory! Rowling’s foreshadowing is sublime and her overarching plot is really so clever. I obviously never recognised it when I was younger but when you know what’s coming down the line, it’s fascinating to see the clues Rowling laid right back at this early stage. Like, she actually comes out and tells you what’s going to happen in the last book but you don’t recognise it because it’s hiding in plain sight.Β 

Plus, this is the book that gives us Dobby. So damn precious. I can’t wait for more of the house elves. I also love that this book continues to show Hermione’s worth; seriously, Harry would get nowhere without this girl. As amazing as her character is in the films, she is even better in the books. I love her character growth.Β 

I can’t wait to read book three (my favourite!)

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What are your thoughts on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? x

2018 Resolutions Recap and 2019 Bookish Goals!

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are relaxing with some great books today πŸ™‚

Last year, I combined my favourite reads of the year with my review of my 2018 bookish goals. However, the post ended up miiiles long so this year I’m separating them – you can expect my top reads of 2018 soon! But for now, let’s see if I stuck to my 2018 bookish resolutions!

2018 Goals

Allow myself to reread

I’m pleased to say that I have reread 15 books this year, including starting my first reread of the Harry Potter series in ten years! I’m planning to continue with this in 2019 as I really love returning to old favourites and remembering what is so wonderful about them. I’ve already got a big list of books I want to reread.


Read more of the Discworld series

Ok, I majorly dropped the ball on this one. I only read one Discworld book all year! It was genuinely a case of ‘so many books, so little time’. I’m probably not going to have this as an official resolution again next year but I will keep it in the back of my mind when choosing my reads because I really do want to make progress through Pratchett’s epic series.



Read predominantly from my own bookshelf

I knew I’d failed this one but I didn’t realise quite how spectacularly. I’m actually ashamed at how few books I read from my own shelves. The majority of the books I’ve read this year were either review books sent to me by publishers or books I was enticed into buying. I didn’t think I was doing too badly but it turns out even if you’re buying backlist titles, they still count as new additions to your shelf. Who knew?


In 2018, I participated in the Pop Sugar challenge for the third year in a row. Towards the end of this year, I actually decided to give up on the challenge because I just wasn’t interested in reading books purely to tick off challenge prompts. The decision caused me a lot of angst, as I am such a perfectionist and hate to quit on anything, but I think I made the right call. I won’t be doing the challenge in 2019; instead, I’ll be focusing on getting through some of the backlog of books I’ve acquired in the last 3 years.

Goals for 2019

Read more books with mental health rep

I make no secret of the fact that I have my own mental health struggles, as well as working in the mental health sector, so I’d love to explore how more authors represent mental health in their books.


Conquer my fear of big books

I didn’t read very many long books (over 500 pages) this year but the ones I did read ended up being some of my favourite books of the year! I’ve got a few larger books sitting on my shelves that I’d really love to try in 2019; I’m definitely in the mood to immerse myself in a chunky tome.



Read more from favourite authors

I have a strange habit of discovering an author I love and subsequently avoiding their books because I don’t want to run out! So I’m going to try and stop being ridiculous in 2019 and read more of the books I’ve collected by favourite authors. Some examples include Leigh Bardugo, Patrick Ness, Susanna Kearsley and Christina Henry.


Try some non-fiction books

I’ve always had a fear of non-fiction but I know there are some fantastic titles out there. I’m looking to ease myself in with a few memoirs and book-related titles first, before tackling some heavier subjects that I’m interested in.


rainbow bookshelves home library

Of course, my main goal in 2019 is to read some of my backlist titles. I may need the help of a challenge such as ‘Beat the Backlist’ or ‘The Unread Shelf Project’, but I’m determined to get my TBR under control!

This year, I set my Goodreads goal at 100 books and managed to beat it quite significantly. Next year, I’m planning to set it at a lower number in order to allow myself to read some of those tomes I talked about. And I want to get back to reading for fun, not just to beat a number!


What were some of your reading resolutions this year? Did you manage to stay on track? Let me know in the comments! x

2018 Most Anticipated Reads – Where Are We Now?

I recently enjoyedΒ Marie’s post about books she was anticipating in 2018 and whether or not she has read them yet. I thought it would be fun to do something similar myself and Marie very kindly said she didn’t mind! Make sure you check out her post after reading this one πŸ˜‰

As last year was the first year I became fully invested in keeping up with new releases, I was certainly anticipating a lot of books this year, particularly sequels/series finales. Let’s see whether or not I read my most anticipated books of 2018!


Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Hooray! The first book on my list is a hit! The conclusion to the Strange the Dreamer duology was my most anticipated book of the year; I had Muse of Nightmares preordered for months and there was no way I was going to let it linger on my shelf. And it was a complete masterpiece.



Fierce like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic

Oops, I’m slipping already. Wicked like a Wildfire was one of my favourite reads of 2017 so I was eagerly awaiting this conclusion to the duology. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out until later in the year, by which point I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of books I had to get through. So this one is still waiting patiently on the shelf for me. I’m hoping to reread the first book in the new year, closely followed by this one.



A Storm of Ice and Stars by Lisa Lueddecke

Another follow-up to one of my 2017 favourites (A Shiver of Snow and Sky), I was delighted when I found this in Waterstones a good two weeks before it was due to be released. I promptly bought it and then… didn’t read it. There’s still a chance I’ll get to it before December is over though, because I am living for those wintery vibes.



Shadowsong by S. Jae Jones

Are you sensing a pattern here? I loved Wintersong last year so I was desperate for this sequel. However, negative reviews quickly started pouring in and some reviewers said that the Goblin King didn’t even feature prominently in the second book. So I keep putting it off. I really do want to give it a chance at some point though.


Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

The conclusion to Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands trilogy was way up on my list of anticipated reads. However, series finales scare me and I kept procrastinating on this one for fear that my precious children would all DIE. I am not ready for the pain.



The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Ok, I am a terrible person. My bestie bought me this one for my birthday waaayyy back in February and I still haven’t got round to it. I genuinely have no reason why? So many books, so little time? I know, it’s feeble. Must. Do. Better. This one is definitely on my priority TBR.


The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Finally, one I’ve read! The same bestie who got me The Hazel Wood was also kind enough to send me an ARC of The City of Brass. I was fully on-board the hype train after hearing all the rave reviews about it. Of course, I completely adored it and I’m so thankful I got to read it. Book two, The Kingdom of Copper, is now one of my most anticipated reads for 2019!



Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Yay, another one I’ve read! Caraval was definitely one of the most hyped releases of 2017 and I’m not ashamed to say that I totally rolled with it. Anything even vaguely to do with circuses/carnivals is my jam. I couldn’t wait to see where the story went next, with the release of the second book this year; I picked up Legendary this summer, fairly soon after it released.



Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

I’m sticking to my pattern – I don’t know, I guess I struggle to get excited about debut releases? Most of my anticipated reads tend to be follow-ups. After reading Love and Gelato with my book club in 2016, I was eagerly awaiting this second book from Jenna Evans Welch. I was dismayed when the original 2017 release date got pushed back to this year! But it was worth the wait and I really enjoyed breezing through this cute contemporary on a gorgeous sunny day at the seaside.



The Empress by S. J. Kincaid

Another sequel to a bookclub read. I actually surprised myself with how much I enjoyed The Diabolic and I was looking forward to the second book; unfortunately, I feel like the characters were all totally different people in The Empress and I didn’t like the direction the plot took. I don’t think I’ll bother reading book three.

The final score: 5 read, 5 unread

I think we can conclude that I am ridiculously bad at reading my most anticipated books. Though actually, I expected the situation to be much worse. At least I’ve managed to read half of this list; let’s just hope I can get to the others soon before the 2019 releases start piling up!

What were some of your most anticipated releases this year? Did they live up to your expectations? Did we share any anticipated books? Let me know in the comments! x

Discussion: Reaction to the Goodreads Choice Awards

Hey everyone! I wanted to get this post out sooner but life is kicking my backside right now. However, I’d still like to talk about the Goodreads Choice Awards and some of my initial reactions!

I’m a little nervous about this as I haven’t done many discussion posts up to this point – hopefully you won’t all hate me if your opinions differ from mine!


goodreads choice awards 2018


Initial Thoughts

So, my first reaction was outrage that one of my favourite books of the year, Muse of Nightmares, was not even nominated?! I’m pleased to see that plenty of readers obviously made their voices heard because now that we’re up to the semi-finals, Taylor’s masterpiece is indeed there. But initially, I could not believe that a book of such high calibre was not featured. Which leads me to…


What’s in a name?

It seems to me that some authors are guaranteed to be nominated for an award simply for who they are. (I’m not going to diss anyone here but I’m sure you all know which authors I’m talking about.) Sometimes I wonder at this because the books themselves are often of lesser quality (in my opinion) than ones that don’t even get nominated. Are authors guaranteed a nomination based on the number of books they’ve written or the size of their fanbase?

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Are the awards diverse enough?

Times have definitely changed and I’m delighted to see more authors of colour being nominated. However, with this being the 10th year of awards and Goodreads introducing the ‘best of the best’ category, it’s impossible to not look back and see the white-dominated group of past winners. As per my previous point, looking at these winners almost reads like a school yearbook, with the prom queens and jocks always coming out on top. And speaking of popularity contests…


Are we guilty of judging books by their covers?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m totally guilty of picking up books in shops because I’m drawn to their beautiful covers. But I would never vote for a book to receive an award simply because it looked pretty! Unfortunately, I usually haven’t read most of the books that are nominated in the Goodreads Choice Awards and so I abstain from voting, but I’m sure there are readers out there who (when they haven’t read all of the nominated books) might just vote for the book with the cover they like best. Surely, these awards should reflect the quality of a book’s writing or the importance of its themes, not just which cover looks nicest or which marketing campaign was most successful in building the hype?

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So those are my thoughts on the Goodreads Choice Awards! Do you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said? Do you think the awards are diverse enough? Is it all just a popularity contest? Leave me a comment and let’s chat! x


Discussion: What makes a 5-star read?

I do not give 5-star ratings easily. It takes a really special book for me to give that glowing rating – and then when I do, I get nervous! Did that book really deserve ALL THE STARS?! Are there problematic elements I missed? Am I being too lenient?

Most of the time, when I give a 5-star rating, it’s a gut feeling. If a book sweeps me along, I am prepared to overlook minor flaws. It doesn’t have to be perfect. BUT. There are definitely certain elements of books that I find time and time again are likely to lead to me giving a glowing review! (Take note authors, this is the way to win my heart…)


World Building

I read books primarily to escape reality so I want to feel like the world I’m escaping to is fully developed. When authors pay attention to the little details like political/historical backstory, local cuisine, religion/mythology, it makes me SO happy. Laini Taylor is my go-to example for amazing world building; her stories are so immersive because she thinks of all of these amazing details and really makes her settings come to life.

Examples of great world building…



Morally Grey Characters

I am all about the flawed characters. I cannot stand when an author makes their characters one-dimensional – a perfect female who can do literally everything, a villain with no realistic motivations who is just evil for the sake of it – no, thank you. I live for those characters who feel REAL, who have internal struggles and make mistakes just like the rest of us.

Examples of complex characters…




Yes, I am all about the tasty treats. This partially ties in with my point about the world building (because I honestly don’t understand when an author thinks their characters can go days without eating just because they’re on some magical quest. Like, give me all the snacks please.) So when a character actually eats something, I am 100% there for it. Even better if the author describes it in the most delicious way.

Some books with amazing foodie bits…




This has become much more of a thing in recent years and I am SO pleased by it. No more all-white heterosexual casts of characters; I am living for the representation of minority groups. This is perhaps the most important point on my list which is why I’ve left it ’til last; I am far more likely to give a book 5 stars if it has represented a diverse group of characters. But it has to feel genuine; none of this adding in a token gay character or a black side character who gets killed off.

Some amazing diverse books…


So there you have it! If a book has one or two of these elements, it is much more likely to get a high rating from me. If it has all of them, it’s a winner! Almost all of the books I have featured in this post I gave 5 stars – and the ones I didn’t came incredibly close and would potentially get that 5-star rating from me now due to the long-term impact they’ve had on me.

What aspects of a book are essential to you in giving a 5-star rating? Do we share any required elements? And if you’ve read any of the books I featured, what did you think of them?Β