How do you start your 500th post? I keep re-writing this introduction hoping, that something profound and perfect would manifest, but it looks like the pressure is getting to me! Even after seven years, 293,989 words and, 2358 cups of tea, I still struggle to accept that this little blog has grown into something I can confidently say I’m proud of.
My blog has journeyed around the world, pushed me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to so many incredibly supportive people who continue to support me, even when it takes me weeks (and sometimes months) to reply to your comments! Whoops!
Not only has this blog grown, but I’ve grown with it. Seven years ago, sixteen-year-old Amy and her best friend Eleanor started sharing their bookish thoughts with the world, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ll be forever grateful to those two teens, and I don’t think they’d ever expected this site to grow into the platform(s) it is today. I occasionally read some of my old reviews and cringe at all the cliches, but I don’t have the heart to remove them. They’re full of the same bookish enthusiasm and genuine passion that I still embody and see throughout the blogging community daily.
My confidence, creativity, and writing have evolved massively, and over these past twelve months, I’ve witnessed myself becoming an entirely different person (in a good way!). I’m writing posts that I enjoy writing, exploring unique concepts and letting my creativity run wild, and I honestly couldn’t be happier with my progress. Admittedly this journey hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, I’ve had to prioritise my mental health and take a much-needed step back, but I’m like a boomerang, I’ll always come back!
This blogging journey started as a hobby but has grown into something that feels like a second job. It’s hard work but worth every second. Every notification, like, comment, tag fills me with so much joy, and it’s heartwarming to know that someone enjoyed the content I produced. It’s exhausting, and I’ll regularly come home and jump straight onto my laptop to start writing, but without this creative outlet, I’d be lost. One of the most important lesson’s I’ve learned from my experiences is that it’s okay to miss an upload. No one is going to unfollow or forget about me! I used to post just for the sake of posting, worried that if I didn’t stick to my schedule that I would fail. It’s clear to me when I re-read those posts that my heart wasn’t truly in it and that something was missing.
In all honesty, it wasn’t until I sat down to start writing that I noticed this would be my 500th post, but fate has a funny way of bringing things together. As many of you know, I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, so here’s me telling you to GO FOR IT!
It’s been nearly two months since I posted on this platform, and I will admit there was a second that I contemplated letting this blog go, but then I asked myself what I loved about blogging? I love that I combine my creativity and imagination with one of my biggest passions, as well as connecting with a group of like-minded people who share my love for books. It sounds cliche, but blogging is the perfect escape. I’m able to let my thoughts roam free, and it’s a platform that fuels my creativity and confidence.
My biggest piece of advice for creating content is to let your creativity run wild and to write about what you want to write about, not what you think others would enjoy or what would be ‘popular’. I love it when I read a post and, you can feel the enthusiasm and passion transcend through the page. Those are the posts that gift me with the best reading experiences. And I know it’s cliché, but just being yourself is the key to an incredible blogging experience, have fun with it and let your imagination free.
This time last year, I completely changed the way I looked at blogging, I discovered my blogging identity and found a new sense of energy for this platform. I have my ‘Reading Like a Fictional Character’ series to thank for this renewed love for blogging. I wanted to try something different, so I combined two of my loves; read-a-thons and Gilmore Girls. That post unlocked something within me and the way I blog. I don’t think I’ve written a single book review this year, and that’s perfectly fine! My blogging style has changed, and although I don’t read as much as I used to, that doesn’t stop me from sharing my thoughts and getting involved with the bookish community.
I know I am the worst person in the world at replying to comments, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t see them. Every notification fills me with so much joy and never fails to bring a smile to my face. I can’t praise the blogging community enough, everyone is incredibly supportive, and I still find it crazy that even though we’ve never met we’ve all established a friendship that I cherish. I know I say it a lot, but thank you to every single one of you, for your love, support and endless enthusiasm.
Anyway, this is my 12 Days of Blogmas 2020 announcement! The plan is to post festive and fun content every other day in the lead up to the big day! I’d love to publish something every day, but working in retail during one of the busiest time of the year makes that almost impossible! I’ll be channelling my inner Christmas elf, running around selling presents and working throughout the night making sure that everything is stocked up and perfect. But not to worry, I’ve got the spreadsheet ready and have got some really fun and Christmassy posts coming your way so keep your eyes peeled!
I completed blogmas last year, and had so much fun with it that I thought I’d challenge myself again! I’ve been a bit absent recently and I hoping that blogmas will get me back into the blogging spirit and more involved with the blogging community! These past couple of months I’ve take a step back to focus on myself and I’m now in a position where I feel more confident and excited about the future and what’s to come! I’ve also been using this time to focus on my bookstragram (@afangirlsopinion), it’s certainly been a learning curve but one that’s taught me so much and got me involved with another wonderful community! My plan is to do something similar and festive over on bookstagram, so feel free to follow along!
My two biggest tips for anyone participating in blogmas is to first get organised! Blogmas can be hard-work, but the challenge is definitely worth it! One way to make it easier is to plan out your ideas, I’m a sucker for spreadsheets or a good old to-do list, anything that helps me stay on top of all my posts! And the second tip is to ENJOY it, its called the most wonderful time of the year for a reason! Don’t worry if you miss a day, the whole point of blogmas is to help get each other in the Christmas spirit and to have a bit of fun!
If you’re also participating in blogmas then please leave a link to your blog in the comments below, as I love following along and reading other peoples blogmas posts!
I’m not exaggerating when I say I cry at everything, from Christmas adverts to heartfelt goodbyes, I just can’t help it! So when the lovely Jessica @ The Awkward Book Blogger tagged me in this book tag, I knew it was one I had to do ASAP! I haven’t done a book tag in ages so I will admit that I added a few additional prompts of my own, the excitement and creativity was just too much for me to handle! One day I’ll write my own original book tag but right now I’ll just stick to adding the odd question here and there.
✦ Answer all the prompts with a book that made you tearful (on the inside counts) ✦ Link back to the original post ✦ Tag as many people as you want ✦ Drink some water
Foreign Film Cry: A book that was both beautiful and sad
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune. This was more of a happy-sad tears! This book is beautiful and really pulled on my heartstrings. These characters take you by the hand and whisk you away on a journey of self-discovery and an adventure filled with new friendships and childhood fun! This book deserves all the hype so be sure to add this one to your TBR if you haven’t already!
Grief-Stricken Howl: A book character that didn’t need to die (Spoiler Alert, duh)
Where do I start? Sirius Black, Leslie Burke, Finnick Odair, Beth March, Matthias Helvar. These deaths destroyed me the most and left me with a hole in my heart!
Horrified Wail: A book where everything went wrong just when things were going right
Hmmm, I wonder which book Amy’s going to pick? Of course I have to pick The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson! That book and its characters are total chaos, one moment things are going to plan and then on the next page Sanderson has thrown a major unexpected plot twist into the mix that causes mayhem!
Dry-eyed Shock: An ending that didn’t give you the closure you needed
I really struggled with this one, and spent a while starring at my bookshelves hoping that something would stand out! I hate endings. My problem is that I get too emotionally attached and invested with these characters and the worlds in which they exist, so when I finish that final page, I can’t help but feel lost and empty. I become apart of the story as it’s an easy and comforting escape from reality.
Childhood Wound: A book that related to events in your life
I see myself in both Nesta (ACOSF by Sarah J Maas) and Chloe Brown (Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert), both of them go through journeys of self discovery and development, and it’s these struggles that mould them into better versions of themselves. Nesta has taught me that it’s okay to show weakness and Chloe Brown has given me push I needed to make my own ‘get a life’ list!
Exhausted Tears: A book you were hyped about that you ended up hating
Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard. I blame myself for this one! As soon as I read the synopsis my expectations shot up and I convinced myself that this book was written for readers like me, it ticked every fantasy box! The world building in Realm Breaker was so intense that I felt that sometimes it overshadowed the characters and the storyline, I ended up getting so caught up with place names and all the different kingdoms that I wasn’t able to connect enough with everything going on. Nevertheless, I am in love with this band of characters and I’m utterly obsessed with Erida, she is such a complex and unique character and I’m curious to see where the story takes her.
No Tears Left to Cry: A book that destroyed you emotionally
Out of Love by Hazel Hayes. Hazel manages to capture the essence of a break-up and those final stages of a relationship beautifully, the entire novel is a treasure trove of powerfully meaningful quotes. Each turning off the page uncovers another delicate layer of intimacy, as we delve further not only into our protagonists relationships but our own. The first chapter will break your heart, and then you’ll spend the rest of the novel, alongside our narrator, tentatively putting ourselves back together and remising on the highs and lows of love.
Crying with Laughter: A character that had you in fits of giggles
Mark Watney from The Martian by Andy Weir. What’s funny about a man stranded on Mars? Nothing, but our protagonist Mark Watney makes the best out of a bad situation and will have you cracking up at every page. Every bit of his dialogue is hilarious, he always finds the most surprising and inappropriate thing to say, even in the direst situations!
The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman also had me in fits of giggles! Amie Kaufman is a mastermind when it comes to creating lighthearted and effortless back and forth banter! Again, I didn’t expect to laugh this much! I’m OBSESSED with both Kady/Ezra and Hannah/Nik and they’ve earned a spot on my favourite fictional couples list.
The Chris Pine Oscar Worthy Tear: The perfect book that deserves a standing ovation
I couldn’t help myself and had to include this GIF, just look at that perfect single tear! I’m currently reading These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong and I’m OBSESSED! It sounds cliche but even after the first page I knew this was a book I was going to love, the writing is beautiful and these characters already mean the world to me!
October is my favourite month of the entire year; I love cosy jumpers, pumpkin spice lattes and all of the autumnal vibes, plus it’s my birthday month, so that’s an added bonus! I’ve got a lot to look forward to this month, not only have a booked a cheeky weekend down in London but I’m also going back to EDINBURGH! Edinburgh is one of my favourite places in the entire world and I can’t wait to spend a couple of days exploring more of this beautiful city! One day I’ll live there, but right now I’ll just have to settle for a couple of days here and there!
I start every month with a promise that the next month would be better, that I’d finally sort my routine and break out of this horrible cycle of disappointment, and so far I’ve yet to keep that promise! Whoops! BUT this month will be different! I turn 24 this much and it’s about time I sort my life out and start focusing my energy back into myself. I’ve made a monthly to-do list and at the top of that list is to ‘get back into blogging’, it’s something that I’ve really missed and I can’t wait to bring some of my post ideas to life!
I want to say a HUGE thank you to all my followers (new and old!) for welcoming back into this community. I took a couple of months off for my metal health and it truly felt like a piece of me was missing. I find it crazy to think that I’ve never met any of you, but I consider you all some of you as great friends who always make me smile with your kind and lovely comments and positive energy! I wish I could give you all a huge cuddle, so here a virtual hug!
September Wrap Up
I didn’t read much this month, but what I did read completely blew me away and gifted me with a reading experience like no other.
The House on the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune – This book is like a warm hug, it’s wonderful. It completely surpassed my expectations and filled me with so much love and joy. Thank you to everyone who recommended this book, it’s quickly become one of my favourite reads of the year and if you still haven’t read it yet then I HIGHLY recommend you do, it’s beautiful.
I love read-a-thons and one of my favourite things about them is picking my TBR based on the different prompts, so I think each month I’m going to set myself a few challenges rather than a selection of books I probably won’t read! I’m very much a mood reader with a huge TBR who also struggles with making decisions (that’s the Libra in me), so it’s no surprise that I don’t ever stick to structured monthly TBR’s! I’m ready to change things up and try something a little different! I’m also really behind in my Goodread’s reading challenge (12 books to be exact!) so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
Read something spooky: It’s spooky season! It wouldn’t be an October TBR without a few frightening reads!
There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins, White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson, Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, Wilder Girls by Rory Power, The Chalkman by C.J. Tudor
Read a book off my ’25 books challenge’: Alli @The Book Giraffe shared 30 books she wanted to read in the 30 months before she turns 30, so I thought I’d make my own list of book I want to read before I turn 25!
Keep an eye out for a post coming soon!
Read a book about witches: I’ve just started re-watching Merlin and I’m really craving a bit of magic, specifically books that involve witches and sorcerers!
Windwitch by Susan Dennard, Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin, The Bone Witch by Ron Chupeco, The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow, Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Read a book off my out-of-control TBR: My TBR is embarrassing and I’m not allowed to buy any more books until I sort it out and get it under control! The problem is that since joining bookstagram I’m constantly seeing great book recommendations that I can’t help but add to my Goodread’s shelves!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Hello, I’M BACK! I took a much-needed break last month but I’m happy to be back to blogging and catching up with everyone (and my GIANT TBR). A lot has happened over the last three months, and it’s funny how things can change in an instant. Last month I was the happiest I’d been in a long time, but the universe had other the plans and threw me a curve ball!
Ironically, it was during this heartbreak that I learned how much I was loved. I have the most incredible network of friends, family and co-workers who showered me with love and who continue to make me smile even when I’m at my lowest. It truly surprised me and I never expected so many people to care and I’ll be forever grateful for everyone who made me laugh through the tears and for all the cuddles!
As many of you know I also started a bookstagram earlier this month and again the love and support I’ve received since starting my account is incredibly overwhelming! Everyone has been so nice and welcoming and it’s easily one of the best decisions I’ve made all year! I just can’t believe its taken me this long!
Although my confidence has been knocked massively, I’m happy to say that things are getting better and I’m excited to see what the rest of the year has in store for me! Reading and the blogging community has always been my escape and I’m ready to start investing in myself and some much needed ‘me time’!
Anyway, my point in all of this is the importance of love. Writing these monthly posts are my way of spreading a little bit of appreciation because everyone needs a little bit of love in their lives and it’s my way of giving back to a community that has shown me endless support. I missed last months post so I’ve gone a bit mad with my recommendations, I just couldn’t help myself, so I hope you all enjoy and that you find some more incredible blogs to follow!
I love it when bloggers share extracts from their WIP’s, I get so excited and I’m constantly in awe at the work and creativity they share. J @Midnight Book Blog shared a beautifully haunting extract that gave me chills and now I need more!
Alice @Love for Words is creating a bookish box full of surprises for their best friend and I think is such a wonderful idea that I might have to do myself!
I’ve been in and out of a reading slump for a couple of months now and the wonderful Zoe @Reading by the Moonlight came to my rescue by sharing some great tips that have really helped, so thanks you! It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who struggling through a long reading slump!
One of my favourite series to watch on YouTube is Vogue’s 73 Questions, so when Kristin @Kristin Kraves Books posted her answers I knew I was going to love reading it and enjoy getting to know her a little more! I also have Simply the Best by Noah Reid on repeat most of the time, and would love an invite to the her dream dinner party with Jane Austen, Tiffany D. Jackson, and Kate Winslet!
I can always rely on April Lee @Booked till Midnight to write incredibly creative and fun posts that never fail to make me smile! She shared a great on post on how likely characters from her recent reads were to be eaten by lions, and if you looking for a good laugh then check this one out!
I spend an unhealthy amount of time watching TikTok and Reels, and I’ve found so many new book recommendations from them. Elli @Ace Reader read some of TikTok’s most recommended romances and shared some great mini reviews too!
I’ve been blogging for over six years now and I’ve definitely learned a few things but at the same time I’m constantly learning new things every day! @The Passive Bookworm just hit her one year blogging anniversary (yay!) and shared some great lessons she’s learned whilst running a book blog!
I’ve just scheduled a Netflix Book Recs blog post (so keep your eyes peeled for that), but if you can’t wait then definitely check out Maddie @Inking and Thinking book recs based on popular TV shows and movies series! Her recommendations are spot on and perfect is you’re looking for your next read.
Another one of my favourite posts this month was Cherelle @A Bolt out of the Book Marvel movie book recs! I’m obsessed with the Marvel-verse and reading so this post was the perfect combination of the two!
Surprisingly I didn’t take any books with me when I moved to university because I knew I’d would be buying lots of them for my degree and I’m always curious to see what books people bring with them! Taylor @Planty of Pages has the best taste when I comes to picking books, and I’m a little jealous at how perfect this TBR is!
Jade City by Fonda Lee has been on my TBR for wayyy too long, and I’m constantly hearing good things about this series! @Book A Fiction shared their glowing review and it’s convinced me to finally start reading!
My TBR for the rest of 2021 is INTENSE! Nikaarika @Clouded Galaxy Reads also shared 21 books they want to read before the end of 2021 and it was nice to see a few favourites on that list too!
I love a good old rant and @Words on Fleek made my day with their post about things YA authors do that just irks us! This was such a fun read that had me nodding in agreement and dying with laughter, so be sure to check this post out if you need something to brighten your day!
I’m currently planning a trip to Cambridge and the lovely Aisling @Aisling Hamill Books has very kindly provided me with a detailed list of some of her favourite bookshops, a list that will be the perfect guide for my upcoming trip!
Trying to juggle a full time job whilst applying for other jobs and maintaining a healthy social life and a consistent blogging schedule is a bit overwhelming, so any advice is always welcome! Andrea @Andrea’s Book Corner shared some great and really helpful tips on how to be a book blogger when you have no time, and this post was exactly what I needed!
It sounds bizarre but I regally think about what books I’d bring with me if I was stuck on a desert island and the lovely Becky @Becky’s Book Blog shared her list of book she’d want to bring is she was ever stuck!
Morgan Matson is one of my go-to favourite authors, her books are always so adorable and fun! If you’re trying to decide which one of her books to pick up then definitely check out Christy and Claire @I’m All Booked Up post where they ranked all of her books! Although I agree with most of their ranking but I do think that Amy and Roger deserves a higher place on that this, that book is a classic!
I love a good-old roadtrip, and recently took one up to Scotland! Rachel @A Bookworms Paradise got really creative and compared some recent reads to roadtrips, and I’m so in love with this idea! This was such a fun and unique post, and all of Rachel’s comparisons were spot on!
I’m very happy that I won’t be duelling Erin @Reading on a Star anytime soon, as we both luckily share the same excellent taste when it comes to bookish tropes! Like Erin I’m a sucker for a pirate trope so any recommendations would be wonderful!
A post that made me smile (and very hungry) was Jessica @ The Awkward Book Blogger post where she replaced weapons on book covers with food! I’m still howling at ‘Queen of Kebabs’ and ‘A Gathering of Corn Dogs’!
I’ve been meaning to read some more classics and Ellie @Eleanor Sophie Writes shared 10 Classics to Try if you Like SFF! This post was exactly what I needed and it was nice to see some favourites like Frankenstein and Flowers for Algernon on the list!
As I mentioned previosuly my reading this year hasn’t been great, and reading everyone’s wrap ups from the first half of 2021 has definitely given me so much needed enouragement to get back into reading. Sophie @Me and Ink shared her wrap up and I loved how she structured this list into tiers!
I’ve recently fallen in love with audiobooks, and I’m always on the lookout for recommendations! Lotus @Pages of Starlight must have heard me and shared a great list of 6 worthy audiobooks to listen to and I couldn’t help but add a few of these of my TBR!
It was only since last year that I completed my first re-read for personal enjoyment (rather than for university exams!) and I loved the whole reading experience. There are some books that I’m too scared to read again because I’m worried that I won’t love them as much, Line @First Line Readers shared the books she’s scared to re-read so be sure to check this post out too!
I’m always on the lookout for book recommendations, and Em @Em and Her Books shared a great list of suggestions for romance readers! I’ve been on a bit of a romance kick recently so this post was exactly what I was looking for, thank you Em!
Another post I really enjoyed was Alli @The Book Giraffe’s list of 30 books they want to read in the 30 months before they turn 30! I am obsessed with this idea and this post has inspired me to create my own list of books I want to read before I turn 25!
I swear I’m the only person who hasn’t read Atlas Six yet, and after reading Sanah @Stories & Stardust interview with author Olivie Blake, I knew had to order myself a copy ASAP! I loved this little chat and I look forward to going back and reading more of these questions when I finish reading it! If you’ve already read Atlas Six then I highly recommend you check out Sanah’s incredibly detailed and enjoyable post!
The incredible Sofii @A Book A Thought always gives the BEST book recommendations! I’m a huge fan of magical realism and just magic in general, so Sofii’s post on 5 star worthy magical books was right up my street! This list has something for everyone and I guarantee you’ll find something to add to your TBR!
It sounds weird but I really enjoy reading bad reviews of some of my favourite books, some of them are really funny! Cherry @Letter to the Lost also reacted to one star reviews, and now I really want to read We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal! That book has been sitting on my shelfs for wayyy too long!
I’m a sucker for a good cover and the lovely Ally @Ally Writes Things shared some beautiful book covers that’s she’s just not interested in reading! I’m constantly drawn to pretty book covers and Ally’s post has inspired me to start a little bookish art project!
I can always rely on the wonderful Stephen @Stephen Writes to share thoughtful and enjoyable discussion posts, his recent one being about the beauty of paratexts! These little bits of gold are usually overlooked but they’re some of my favourite parts of a book!
I love seeing other peoples predicted favourites posts, they’re always so much fun and I enjoy comparing our TBR’s! Beks @The Little Fiction Fox shared 5 books they think will be new favourites and I 100% agree with all their picks especially Jade City and Skyward!
One of my favourite style of posts to read is when other readers share some of their most loved quotes. The wonderful Maria @The Character Study shared some of her favourite quotes, and I had to add a couple of these to my quotes jar!
I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.
I always enjoy @Kira Jeanette’s writing updates and they always encourage me to start writing again! I’ve broken out the ideas notebook and all the abandoned files on my laptop and I’m give this whole writing thing another crack!
I recently read We Were Liars in one sitting and there’s just something really satisfying about finishing a book in one go. @Novels and Teacups shared 6 books they read in one sitting and this list has encouraged me to finally start reading All The Light We Cannot See! That book has been sitting on my shelves for years and I think it’s about time I see what all the fuss is about!
Blogging has been a huge part of my life and I’ve discovered so many new favourite books and authors from it. To celebrate 9 years of blogging Emma @Never Judge a Book by its Cover shared 9 favourite books she discovered from blogging! It’s nice to see a few favourites on this list as well as some new books that I couldn’t help but add to my ever-growing TBR!
Another one of my favourite posts from the past two months was Katja @Life and Other Disasters post about whether they were compatible readers with the gorgeous hunk that is Chris Evans!
I can always rely on Birdie @Birdie’s Booktopia for great book recommendations, and she’s shared the perfect list of 2022 diverse YA debuts to anticipate! I couldn’t resist adding all of these books to my TBR and I’m very excited to read these stories soon!
Georgia @Lost in Neverland always has some of the best reviews, and her review of Wendy Darling by A.C.Wise has me hooked! Georgia has loads of lovely book reviews so be sure to check them out!
For the past couple of years I’ve been dying to go to YALC but I haven’t got anyone to go with, and I did try and get involved this year but I just so busy with work! Luckily I was able to live vicariously through Rosina @Lace and Dagger Books who shared her experience with the virtual event!
I’m all about spreading the love and @24 Hour Book Blog has a great list of YA books that deserve more love! There’s definitely a few on this recommendations post that I’ve had to add to my TBR, so be sure to check it out!
Shadow and Bone, Catching Fire and The Mortal Instruments (film not the TV Show) are some of my comfort viewings and the lovely Aarushi @Aarushi Reads shared some adaptions she thinks are pretty good!
Now let’s take a moment to talk about Rukky @Eternity Books heartfelt and honest post about struggling with your identity as a blogger. I don’t think I’ve ever related to a post more, and it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in my struggles. I love blogging and although it’s taken a back seat over these past couple of months, it’s something that continues to bring me joy and something I love to pour my heart into, but it is a lot of hard work and pressure. There’s never any need to apologise for our absences or hiatuses, we all need to look after ourselves and do what makes us happy. The blogging community is such an incredibly supportive place and will always be there to welcome people back with open arms! There’s so much more I could say about this post, but I think it’s best if you guys check it out yourself and give Rukky some love!
FINALLY! This has been one of my goals for a while now and believe it or not, but it was my Dad who finally convinced me to step out of my comfort zone and go for it! I follow so many wonderful accounts that post stunning pictures, and I’ve been eager to try it myself, so here goes nothing! Yay!
As many of you know, I am quite an organised person, and have spent the past couple of weeks taking lots of pictures and trying my best to make reels all ready for the big day! I’ve already seen growth and change in the way I take pictures, and it’s been such a fun learning process, so I’m excited for what the rest of this journey has in store! I’m so proud of some of the content I’ve created, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone and to get involved with another wonderful community!
I want to say a HUGE thank you to my Mum and Dad for encouraging me to try something new, and for letting me go mad picking flowers from the garden to help bring these posts to life! I also want to say thank you to my sister and her endless supply of cosy blankets, and finally to my copy of Atonement by Ian McEwan whose pages I had to destroy to get the perfect shot!
It was a no brainer when it came to choosing the name, I’ve built a mini brand around my blog, and I want my bookstagram to be an extension of this platform, so I’ve gone with the classic @afangirlsopinion! This is another exciting step in my blogging and bookish journey, and if anyone’s got any tips for new bookstragramers and how to balance multiple platforms then please let me know!
My first post just went live, and it’s a little introductory post about me and my reading habits, and it would mean the world if you guys checked it out! I’m always searching for new bookish accounts to follow, so if you’ve got a bookstagram then please leave your username in the comments below, or if you want to then head over to Instagram and give me a follow, I’ll be sure to follow you all back!
So many of you have already been so supportive, and I wish I could reach out of my screen and give you all a big hug! All your kind words and love have been my motivation over the past couple of months, and I can’t express how grateful I am to be a part of such an incredible community!
In my last post I mentioned that I was in a bit of a reading slump and that I wanted to get involved with some more read-a-thons, and then as if by chance I discovered the perfect read-a-thon. Merlin is one of my comfort shows. I’m obsessed these characters and their adventures and you’ll regularly find me re-watching watching my favourite moments, except for the final episode as I don’t think I’ve yet to emotionally recover from the heartbreak.
I loved the show so much that I remember seeing an advert in the paper for Birmingham Comic Con where some of the knights (Percival, Mordred, Leon, and my one true love Gwaine) would be attending. This was a sign, so a friend and I booked tickets and travelled up to Birmingham to meet them! I’ve still got all their autographs, photos and the memory of our conversation that still makes me cringe a little, but nevertheless it’s a day I will never forget!
The read-a-long will run from 1st-15th August and is kindly hosted by Kat, Emily, Ro, Tazmyn and Kay, and if you’re interested in joining in with all the fun then be sure to check out the announcement video and Twitter page. The aim of the read-a-thon is to work through levels of wizardry by reading your way through different reading quests. There’s so much choice with theses prompts so you’re able to create and customise your own experience, and I just love how detailed and thoughtful each prompt is, it’s so creative!
I’m very much a mood reader so it’s possible that my TBR will change in the next couple of weeks but I thought it was best to go into this read-a-thon with some sort of plan! Let me know in the comments if you’re doing this read-a-thon and what’s on your TBR!
You come across a royal ass who challenges you to your first fight! To come out unscathed read an authors debut
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. This book has appeared on many of my monthly TBR’s and I think it’s about time that I finally ticked it off my list!
To win the tournament you must defeat a cheating opponent, read a book with a snake on the cover
Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin. I swear I must be the only person in the blogging community who hasn’t read this book yet! I already know that this book is going to be one of my favourites of the year, and I think it’s just it’s size that keeps putting me off! I also keep seeing loads of incredible fan art and everyone’s excitement for God & Monsters has given me that extra push to start reading!
Gwaine is in trouble at the local tavern. Be a good friend and help him out. Read a book featuring friendship
The House on the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune. Another popular book I still haven’t read! I don’t think I’ve yet to read a bad review so it’s fair to say that I’m going into this book with high expectations! Loads of you have recommended this book to me so I’m pretty confident that it’s going to be love at first page!
You have found the sword in the stone! To claim it and finish your quest, read a five star prediction
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint or Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber. I’ve been so excited to dive into both of these books and now is the perfect time to sit down and enjoy them!
As if my TBR wasn’t long enough, I thought I’d add to this overflowing chaos and emotionally prepare myself for all the incredible books that are being released later this year! A lot of these were already on my radar but there’s a few that slipped through the cracks and I audibly gasped when I spotted them on Goodreads!
Us readers are in for a treat this year, and this list has definitely given me some much needed encouragement to get through some of books on my TBR before it gets too overwhelming! I’ve definitely missed a few so let me know in the comments what new releases you’re looking forward to reading soon!
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould (August) – Not only am I’m obsessed with this cover but this synopsis is everything! I don’t usually read thrillers but I’m excited to see what mystery and spine chilling moments are lurking behind these pages.
The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad (August) – Another cover that I’ve fallen head over heels for! The Wild Ones is a brilliant feminist fantasy about a group of teenage girls endowed with special powers who must band together to save the life of the boy whose magic saved them all.
Fresh by Margot Wood (August) – There’s so much pressure to ‘discover yourself’ when your first start university or college, and Fresh sounds like the perfect and truly realistic coming of age story!
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee (August) – Another sappic dark academia adventure that sounds super dark and twisty! A Lesson in Vengeance is mysterious thriller about a boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past.
How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao (August) – Dark academia + murder mystery + Asian American representation = the perfect thriller!
The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith (August) – My TBR has been lacking in historical fantasy and Sasha Peyton Smith has come to my rescue with an immersive and magical adventure about a young woman who discovers she has magical powers and is thrust into a battle between witches and wizards.
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson (September) – I really enjoyed Rogerson’s Sorcery of Thorns, but I my only problem was that it was over too quickly, so I look forward to experiencing more of her incredibly imaginative adventures!
Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber (September) – One of my most anticipated reads of 2021 and I was beyond excited when I received the email saying that my request has been approved! I’m beyond excited to dive into back into the wonderful world Stephanie Garber has created and for opportunity to get to know Jacks a little better!
Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer (September) – I wasn’t a huge fan of Kemmerer’s A Curse so Dark and Lonely series, but this book sounds epic and striking similar to our own! Defy the Night focuses on a kingdom divided by corruption, a prince desperately holding it together, and a girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down.
Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn O’Neil (September) – I love the story of Anastasia and the Romanovs, so when I saw this book on Goodreads, it went to the top of my anticipated TBR. Plus that cover is beautiful and I need it on my bookshelves!
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (September) – Last year I fell head over heels for Sally Rooney, and she’s quickly become one of my instant-buy authors. I already know that I’m going to love these characters and I’m ready to be blown away!
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson (September) – Another instant-buy author, Tiffany D. Jackson knows how to create incredible stories and I’m eager to jump into this chilling YA psychological thriller and modern take on the classic haunted house story.
The Last Legacy by Adrienne Young (September) – I audibly gasped when I saw this book! We’re getting ANOTHER book set in the world of Fable and I’m beyond excited! When a letter from her uncle Henrik arrives on Bryn Roth’s eighteenth birthday, summoning her back to Bastian, Bryn is eager to prove herself and finally take her place in her long-lost family.
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Saenz (October) – It’s been years since I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and I can’t believe that we’re finally getting a sequel! Am I emotionally prepared for this book? No, but I can’t wait to be reunited with these characters!
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen (October) – I was lucky enough to receive an ARC for this book from NetGalley and I’m so glad I did because this book sounds intense! I’ve never ready any books by Margaret Owen but I’ve heard lots of good things about her Merciful Crow series!
The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker (October) – ‘Death is her destiny’, I’m sold! The Keeper of Night is a dark historical fantasy set in 1890s Japan, and follows Ren Scarborough, a half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami who has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries.
Bright Ruined Things by Samatha Cohoe (October) – Isn’t that cover gorgeous! I love the 1920’s and bit of Shakespeare so this book is right up my street!
A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow (October) – If you’ve been following this blog for a while then you know that I love a good-old fairytale and the wonderful Alix E. Harrow has created the perfect feminist reimagining of Sleeping Beauty!
Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper (October) – I’m getting all the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina vibes from this synopsis! Three scorned witches who make a vengeance pact to take down the warlock who broke their hearts at different times…only for two of them fall for each other instead. YES!
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca (October) – Another series I need to start! This series sounds super adorable, and who doesn’t love an accidentally in-love rom-com filled with Renaissance Faire flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights!
Our Violent Ends by Chole Gong (November) – I still haven’t read the first book in this series but I planning to next week for my read-a-thon! I’m pretty confident that it’s going to be a 5-star read and that I’ll want the next book in my hands ASAP!
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody (November) – The Hunger Games with a bit of magic? Um yes please! I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a villain and I’m excited to get to know these characters! And as if by chance I’ve just logged onto my emails online to find a successful ARC approval email, yay!
Gilded by Marissa Meyer (November) – It was only last week when I found this book on Goodreads, and I’m beyond ready for another Marissa Myer’s adventure! The Lunar Chronicles were one of my favourite series growing up and that woman is a machine when it comes to writing books! Once again Myer’s has reinvented another classic fairytale and returns with a haunting Rumpelstiltskin retelling, and if anyone wants to send me an ARC of this book then please let me know! *wink wink*
Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman (November) – I don’t think I’m emotionally prepared for this book! I have so many questions that need answering especially after THAT ENDING!
You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus (November) – Karen M. McManus is the queen of YA murder mystery so I already know that this thriller will keep me on the edge of my seat!
At the beginning of the year, I set myself some blogging and reading goals that I wanted to achieve and I thought now would be the perfect time to reflect on my progress so far! Once again this year has been far from normal, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m positive that things will start getting better soon! So far this year has been the best blogging year ever, not only have my views and engagement increased massively but I’m more confident and passionate about the content I love to create. I’ve become apart of such a loving and supportive community and I wouldn’t be where I am without any of you, so thank you. Anyway, here is my updated reading and blogging goals for the rest of 2021!
Goodreads Goal of 52 Books – At the beginning of the year I was smashing this goal, and although I’m still on track my reading has definitely taken a backseat. I think the problem is that I keep throwing myself into epic and intense fantasy worlds that are sometimes overwhelming so, and I cant believe I’m saying this, I think I need to take a break from fantasy books! I’ve just treated myself to a few romance books and I can’t wait to download some dating apps and wish for a romance of my own! If you want to follow along with my reading be sure to follow me on Goodreads @ Amy (A Fangirls Opinion).
Read Something Each Month that’s not ‘YA/NA Fantasy’ – I’ve tried but I just love fantasy so much! I am falling in love with romance books again, and I really want to star reading more memoirs/biographies so any recommendations would be wonderful!
Sort Out My TBR – Here’s the problem, I did clear out my TBR but like many other readers, I can’t resist buying new books and now we’re back at square one! One of my new goals for the second half of 2021, is to read all the unread physical books on my bookshelf before buying any more!
Post at Least Once a Week – I’ve had a few wobbles now and then but overall I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to stick to some sort of schedule! Having a dedicated and colourful spreadsheet has been a huge help, it keeps me organised and it helps me visualise my plans for the month, without it I don’t know where I’d be! I still need to find some sort of routine when it comes to balancing work, blogging and applying for jobs but for now I’m happy!
Invest in a Domain Name – Yes! It may sound silly but being able to type www.afangirlsopinion.com into my web browser will never fail to make me smile. These past 9 months have been some of the best months of my entire blogging journey, and I hope to bring that energy and creativity with me into the second half of 2021! Over the past months I’ve discovered my ‘blog identity’ and the style of posts that not only I enjoyed writing but others enjoyed reading and I once again feel proud of the content I’m sharing.
Start a Bookstagram? – This is something that’s been on my mind for a while now and I’m still undecided to whether I’m going to give it a go or not? I follow so many wonderful accounts that post stunning pictures and I’m eager to try it myself, so I might trial it for a month and see how things turn out.
Write at least 150 words a day for a year – A complete and utter FAIL! I don’t think I’ve written a single word this year, whoops! I’ve got a week off work soon and I’m thinking of treating myself to a little writing retreat and really focusing on getting my ideas out of my head and on to paper!
Along with my current goals, here are some of things I want to achieve by 2022!
Reach 1000 followers – It’s crazy even setting this goal, and it still blows my mind that there are currently 900 people who follow this little blog! Over the past nine months my follower count has increased massively and I’d like to think that because I see blogging as a passion rather than a ‘job’ and that I’m enthusiastic and proud of the content I create. I love blogging so much, it the perfect platform for me to let my creative juices flow and interact with so many wonderful and like-mined people! So if you like books and bookish inspired posts then join in the fun and follow along!
Be More Active on Social Media – Earlier this year I revamped my social media accounts and joined the wonderfully chaotic community that is booktwt. I tend to overthink my tweets and end up not posting them, so I want to make it my mission to get involved a little more!
Participate in More Read-a-thons – I LOVE read-a-thons, but I just haven’t had enough time to fully participate in them! I love basing my reading around different prompts and challenging myself with ambitious TBR’s! I’m participating in the Merlin read-a-thon at the beginning of August and I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a read-a-thon! Merlin is one of my comfort shows, so when I found this read-a-thon on Twitter I knew it was meant to be!
Do More Blog Hopping – One of my favourite things to do in the evening (aside from reading) is blog hopping and catching up on all the blog posts I might have missed. I’ve discovered so many new and amazing blogs recently and met some lovely people along the way, and it’s definitely something I want to dedicate more time to.
I didn’t expect so many people to relate to my July Wrap Up post, and it breaks my heart to know that I’m not the only one feeling like this. I mentioned in my last post that I felt like I’m constantly climbing a mountain. Every time I catch my breath and get things back on track, I fall and end up right back at the beginning, and it’s exhausting. So, I thought I’d spread a little bit of love and shout out some amazing posts this month!
Things have been a little quiet on my end recently, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been reading all of your incredible posts! I say this every month, but I love writing these posts and looking back at all the amazing content you create! The blogging community has always been a place of endless support, and these little posts are just my way of spreading that love and celebrating why I love the blogging community so much.
Anyway, I hope you all have a fabulous month and happy reading!
If you’re a beginner looking for adult sapphic romance recommendations let look no further than Althea @ Althea is Reading’s great list of picks. From novellas to popular tropes, there are so many incredible books on this wonderfully comprehensive list and I apologise in advance to your TBRs!
April Lee @Booked Till Midnight never fails to make me laugh with her posts, and this month she gave us some great book recommendations based on the weird things she’s been asked at the drive thru. Once again I’m obsessed wit this post and as someone who works in retail I can totally relate to some of these weird comments!
Ally @Ally Writes Things always gives the best book recommendations, and her recent post spotlighting Indigenous authors was just what I need! I’ve only read a handful of books on this list and I’m excited to add a few more of these onto my TBR!
Sam @River Moose Reads has combined two of my favourite things, Captain America and books! I loved this post so much and the fact that I’ve now got loads of new books on my TBR! One of my aims for the second half of the year was to do more read-a-thons and now I’m tempted to do a Marvel themed read-a-thon?
One of my favourite discussion posts this month was Phoenix @Books With Wings post about why aro/ace characters are important in books! I loved this post and I always find it rewarding when I learn something as well as getting some more great book recommendations! Representation in books, and seeing yourself reflected in a book, is super important, and can be so validating and empowering, so thank you Phoenix for such a fabulous post!
Another post I loved this month was Birdie @ Birdie’s Booktopia review of Malice by Heather Walter! There was so much passion in this review and I can’t wait to pick this book up soon!
Emily @Frappes and Fiction paired classics with popular YA books with some great recommendations. All of these pairings were spot on, and it was nice to see some favourites on the list!
Rachel @ A Bookworms Paradise shared her list under-hyped books which deserve more love, and I’m obsessed with this little series of themed recommendations! These little gems definitely deserve more hype so be sure to check this post out and gives these book some love!
Another post that taught me something new was Amanda @ Bookish Brews post about Climate Fiction (or Cli-Fi)! Our planet and the environment are two topics I’m very passionate about but I’d never thought to combine it with my reading preferences! I loved this post and all of Amanda’s recommendations, so be sure to check this post out!
I mentioned in my June wrap up post that I wasn’t having a great month, and Leelynn @ Sometimes Leelynn Reads post about books that feel like a much needed hug was exactly what I needed! I still haven’t read The House on the Cerulean Sea but seeing it on Leelynn’s list has definitely encouraged me to FINALLY pick it up!
I’ve been thinking of treating myself to a bookish subscription book and the wonderful Emma James @The Bookworm Girl has shared some of the best UK book subscription boxes! This is such a detailed list and perfect for anyone looking to treat themselves!
It’s no secret that I love Madeline Miller and Carly @ Carly Books and Ramblings shared a wonderful post about her reading experience when reading Circe and Song of Achilles and I couldn’t agree with her more!
I’m obsessed with Emma @Emma Elizabeth’s post where she rated Pride and Prejudice characters, and I couldn’t agree with her more! Plus it nice to find someone else who loves Mr Bennett!
The wonderful Maria @The Character Study shared a great list of 10 underrated Queer books that you need to add to your TBR! Maria is another blogger who gives the BEST book recommendations so be sure to check this post out!
I’m someone who loves looking at people’s reading stats, and the lovely Lila @Hardcover Haven shared a fab post where she reviewed her reading for the first half of 2021! Not only is this post is filled with loads of visually pleasing charts and graphs but it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my ‘reading funk’!
One of my aims this month is to read more romance and Thya @Wilted Pages shared the perfect post filled with loads of great recommendations to read this summer! Also can we please take a moment to appreciate how BEAUTIFUL their blog is, it’s stunning!
Vee @ Vee Bookish shared an incredible list of books by Trans and Non-Binary authors and I’m in love! This is such a wonderful project and perfect for anyone looking for some great book recommendations!
Jan @ The Doodle Crafter shared a fun discussion and recommendations post about trends in YA fiction and it was nice to see some different tropes and trends being discussed! I’ve only just realised that I’m a sucker for those individual characters synopsis, I can’t help it I just love a found family trope!
The lovely Ahaana @ Windows to Worlds shared a great post about her top 12 favourite young adult books, and what they mean to her! There’s just something about reader gushing about their favourite books that warms my heart and I couldn’t smiling! This post is filled with so much love, passion and detail and it even got me thinking of some of my personal favourites and what they mean to me!
Once again the wonderful Sofii @ A Book. A Thought shared some great tips for bloggers that were super helpful! It wasn’t until I read Sofii’s post that I realised that I was guilty of a couple of these things and that I needed to stop putting too much pressure on myself!
As an English Lit graduate, I fell utterly in love with Florence @ Miscellany Pages post about the 10 things she learned from studying Literature! What I loved about studying for my degree was the fact that I was surrounded by like-minded people who loved books and reading as much as I did and all the incredible books and authors I discovered. Like Florence, I also fell back in love with poetry and now I’m tempted to go back and do a masters, I just miss it so much!
Sumedha @ The Wordy Habitat also shared a really interesting discussion on whether book reviews were enough for book blogs. I don’t think I’ve posted a single review this year which is mad, but book reviews got me to where I am today and I always enjoying reading about people thoughts and experiences.
Be sure to have your snacks ready for this next one! Kat @Novels & Waffles shared 57 best YA books about food that will make you hungry immediately! I LOVED this post so much, there are so many incredible books on this list and now my TBR is filled with lots of mouthwatering reads!
Ana @ Ana Bookshelves Blog shared 6 YA books inspired by Cinderella and after reading this list it’s clear that I’m going to have to participate in a fairytale read-a-thon! I’m a sucker for fairytale retellings, especially Cinderella! There’s just something magical about this story that fills me with so much joy!
And finally the wonderful Stephen @Stephen Writes hit a blogging milestone with his 500th post and shared another thoughtful and creative discussion on the pro’s and con’s of historical fiction! It’s been a while since I’ve read any historical fiction, but Stephen has convinced me to add a couple more onto my TBR for July/August! Stephen is another one of my go-to bloggers for interesting bookish discussions so be sure to check this post out!