For some people, a love of reading develops later on in life, but I’ve always loved reading. I’ve been wanting to write this post for ages now, but I’ve never got around to it. Finally, I’m going to reminisce on my reading life so far!
I’ve always been extremely intellectual, reading massive tomes right from the start. Just kidding… Here I am pretending to be all clever, sporting this beast of a book, but I doubt I could actually read it… Maybe I’ve always enjoyed simply being around books!
When I was really young, my favourite books were Bob the Builder themed, and I still have them to this day, although they’re in an awful state – ripped, chewed and god knows what else!
I, Lucy Powrie, blogger behind Queen of Contemporary, hereby declare that I will…
1. Write with passion
I want to write with full belief in the topic I’m talking about and convey that passion.
2. Share the love
Sharing the blog and book love is one of the things I love most about blogging. It’s why I want to put more of a focus on other blogs that I love and really help to showcase other people. I also want to work hard at commenting on other blogs, and interacting more on Twitter with new people.
3. Banish all resentment
There can be a lot of jealousy in the blogging community and I HATE it! Jealousy is one of the worst things ever and I’ve really managed to stop getting so caught up with other people’s achievements lately, and it’s so freeing!
4. Be weird, be wonderful
I want to share my little quirks and the things that make me “me” because I’m not a perfect person and I don’t want to be!
5. Carry no weight on my shoulders
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll probably know just how much I struggle with pressure, and I don’t want to do this anymore, because there’s absolutely no need for it!
6. Inspire, aspire
I want to inspire other people but also be inspired myself.
7. Embrace new opportunities
I want to be adventurous and try out new things because it’s so much fun, and it’s easy to just get used to one thing and stick with it until it’s overdone. This will happen no more!
8. Reflect, reflect, reflect
Reflection is so important to me because it means that you get to evaluate what’s working and what’s not and change it accordingly. It means you’re constantly progressing and working on new ideas, which I think is a fundamental blogging tool to have!
9. Focus on the positives
Negative Lucy, be gone! I can get quite negative sometimes which is a bad blogging formula!
10. Remember your roots
I think it’s important to remember that we all started from 0 followers and, no matter what, you’re just doing this for fun!
I’m hoping that following these will make for a much happier blogging experience, and maybe I’ll do an update post a few months down the line. Wish me luck!
Do you have a blogging manifesto, or any rules you’ve set yourself? Tell me yours!
Do you know that feeling when you read a book and you’re a bit numb after reading it because you have no feelings on it at all? I hate that feeling. I hate pouring my time into a book, only for it not to deliver anything at all.Luckily, Starring Kitty made me feel the complete opposite.
Starring Kitty is pretty much one of the best books you could ever wish to read, and I don’t ever say that lightly. Instead of writing five pages worth of comments, I’ve decided to do a graphic to explain just how perfect Starring Kitty is.
In my head, I have a checklist of things that make a book absolutely perfect, and I know many people have something similar. Above is a not so cool version of the thing in my head.
Number One: Diverse Characters
Check one for Starring Kitty! Diverse characters is something I expect in all novels because we live in a world where THERE IS MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF PERSON WALKING DOWN THE STREET. We have racially diverse characters, illness is portrayed perfectly, and even more that I’ll leave a surprise for you if you haven’t read it.
Number Two: Loveability
Yes, I totally just made that word up, but I’m hoping you understand what it means. For a book to become a favourite of mine and one I will love unconditionally, it has to be so loveable it feels like my own child. Check two for Starring Kitty! It has a quality that just makes it amazing, which I’ll discuss in further points.
Number Three: Feminism
It’s pretty much a given that if a book has a feminist character(s) then I will love it and rate it five billion stars. It’s something we still don’t see enough of and I really want that to change. It’s so important that young girls read books with characters that they can admire and aspire to be like, and feminist themes and characters are the best of the best.
Number Four: Realistic Situations
Being a teenager myself, I often struggle to find books that feel like the things going on are actually happening to teenagers, and are realistic enough that you don’t have to think twice about them. I felt like Starring Kitty could happen to me – the school experiences were similar to my own, the friendships similar to my own. I’d even go so far as to say it is THE MOST realistic novel I’ve read about characters my own age.
Number Five: LGBT
This is one I don’t want to make too much fuss about because, you know what? It doesn’t matter. I don’t want to compare the romance in Starring Kitty to a non-LGBT one because that wouldn’t make any sense. I love how it felt normal, as it should do. It just felt right, and I loved that!
Starring Kitty can be read by absolutely anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, or usually read books like it. You will instantly fall in love with it, just as I did.
What can I say about Solitaire that will convey my thoughts on just how perfect it is? I’ve been eagerly anticipating reading it for months now and so I started it as soon as I opened the parcel containing it.
Solitaire tells the story of Victoria Spring, whose hobbies include sleeping, blogging and drinking diet lemonade. Tori is a pessimist and prefers her own company to spending time with others. Things used to be different: she had friends and her brother, Charlie, was okay, but now things are different. When things start happening around the school, harmless pranks which then turn into something bigger, Tori is left wondering who’s behind it – who are Solitaire, and what are they trying to achieve? – and also trying to live with her own inner struggles.
Solitaire is a gorgeous and breath-taking debut novel, which, in my opinion, rivals the likes of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Seeing as though Catcher is one of my all time favourite novels, it’s no surprise that Solitaire is now also a part of that list.
Filled with fandom references and incredibly realistic to teenage life, Solitaire is a book that every teenager will relate to and a book many adults will also love because of its realism and ability to just understand life on so many levels.
One of the reasons I loved this novel so much was that I felt as if I was the person in Tori’s head. It scared me in a way because so many of my own feelings were reflected in the writing. Tori, the protagonist, gets me and that made it so special to read.
Tori is juxtaposed to Michael Holden, the male protagonist in Solitaire. Before you think it, Solitaire is by no means a love story. Solitaire is a life story, and by that I mean that Solitaire captures life perfectly – life isn’t a love story, is it? Life is so much more than meeting someone and madly falling in love with him or her. I loved that about Solitaire and it’s what sets it apart from your typical YA novel.
Written from the heart, I believe Solitaire will be one of the biggest debut novels of 2014. You certainly won’t want to miss out on reading it!
Book in a Tweet: If you’re a teenager, or have ever been a teenager, this book has been written just for you: You’re not alone.
If you liked …. you’ll love this!
John Green – love The Fault in Our Stars? Mad about Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns? Solitaire easily rivals it!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Full of fandom references that will put a big smile on your face, Solitaire deals with the same feelings as Fangirl but is possibly even better!
Lucy Recommends… is a feature aiming to persuade you to read a particular book, genre or series.
This time I’m going to be featuring the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi, which I think you should all read. There are many mixed reviews, so it’s not everyone’s type of book, but I do see more positive than negative reviews.
Even if you don’t read the trilogy, you’re going to want to own the books because they’re so gorgeous. The trilogy starts off with Shatter Me, then Unravel Me, and finally Ignite Me. The books get better and better as they go on and Tahereh Mafi has written one of my favourite trilogies.
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
Shatter Me is similar to The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and the main character, Juliette, isn’t able to touch anyone. It is set in a futuristic world where everything is dying and the country is set into different sectors. Something that sets the books apart is the way they are written: there are parts of the book crossed out and we can tell that Juliette isn’t completely sane from this. Mafi writes in incredible prose though and there are so many beautiful quotes I could pick out.
Another major pro is that all three books have been released. Ignite Me, the final book, was released earlier this month and, boy, was it amazing. I was so nervous because I wasn’t sure how it would end, but everything was wrapped up nicely and I was incredibly happy. All three books took my breath away and I cannot wait to see what Mafi brings to the table next. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be amazing.
Have you read the Shatter Me trilogy yet? Are you planning on doing so?
I’m a sucker for gorgeous books, I really am. There’s obviously not a problem with this; I do tend to judge books by their covers before I read them, but sometimes something overcomes me and I need to buy more and more copies of books. One is never enough!
If you’ve watched any of my YouTube videos, or seen pictures of my bookcase, you may have noticed some of the multiple copies on my shelves. A question I’m frequently asked is: ‘Why do you have three copies of The Fault in Our Stars?’ That is a very good question indeed. My answer? I have no idea! I just can’t help myself. My first copy was the one I originally read, and I then found another copy in a charity shop for a very good price. I just couldn’t resist! And my final copy was my Grandma’s, which she no longer needed after reading it. I have a best copy, one to lend out, and one I shall be doing something with, which I will tell you all about in a future post.
Recently I also picked up two more of John Green’s books, which I have already read and loved. In my defence, they have been re-jacketed and the new editions are so beautiful and hug-worthy.
The Paper Towns on the left is the older edition, the right the latest. The differences between the two are striking, but I love them both. The earlier version incorporates the idea of the ‘paper towns’ on the maps, whereas I like the paper elements of the latest cover. Both really capture a core part of the book.
The older version of Looking for Alaska is on the left, the latest on the right. I prefer the latest because of it’s simplicity but also because it stands out so well. It’s also very shiny. I do really like the older version, but there’s just something about it that stops me from loving it unconditionally.
A problem I had when I got my new bookcase was if I would be able to fit all of my Stonewylde series into one ‘pod.’ Luckily, they all fit perfectly! This is the series I have the most copies of: in total I have –
3 copies of Magus of Stonewylde
2 copies of Moondance of Stonewylde
2 copies of Solstice at Stonewylde
2 copies of Shadows at Stonewylde
2 copies of Shaman of Stonewylde
The books are my favourite series and have a very special place in my heart. The first three books were originally self-published so have different covers and the content is a little different. I borrowed the first three from the library originally and then bought them when they were published by Orion afterwards, and then I found the first self-published book by chance and was gifted the second and third. The fourth book was originally published in hardback and I also bought it when it came out in paperback, and I have a best of the fifth, and another copy just because it’s my favourite. I’ve met the author, Kit Berry, twice now and so quite a few of my copies are signed, and I must re-read them all soon!
Finally we have the victims to my obsession… Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell!
I originally read an e-ARC in spring 2013 and it immediately became one of my favourite books, and then ordered the US hardback in November because I just couldn’t say no to myself. The US hardback is amazing, and I think I slightly prefer it to the UK paperback, although the paperback contains graphics from Noelle Stevenson, or Gingerhaze, who is behind the cover, and an interview with Rainbow Rowell and bonus Simon Snow content. The paperback is decoration, whereas I know I’ll definitely be re-reading from the hardback, or my e-ARC where I have colour coded everything.
Do you collect multiple copies of books? Let me know your collection below! If you don’t, why not?
You may have seen me talking on Twitter about the importance of supporting your favourite blogs, and I wanted to expand on that here.
With the rise of popular platforms such as YouTube, blogging is being overshadowed. With YouTubers who talk about books, or ‘booktubers,’ gaining tens of thousands of subscribers, it can sometimes feel disheartening when most blogs only have a few hundred or less.
So why should you support your favourite blogs?
For a start, you supporting your favourite blogs will most likely encourage more content. That’s a bonus for you, right? Readers also encourage better content and inspire the bloggers themselves. I know I wouldn’t be here writing this post if it wasn’t for all of you. That doesn’t mean I take you all for granted, but I know the interactions between us spurs me on and I’ve met some of my best friends through blogging. I’m a much happier person because of it. Whether you’re a regular reader of a blog, or have just stumbled across it by chance, you’re helping out.
Without readers, blogs are empty shells. Us bloggers need readers to help coax the chicks out of the shells and this is what produces the content you see on the blog. That’s not to say blogs without tons of followers are bad, because most of the time the opposite is true: there are many blogs that deserve a lot more recognition.
Why do I blog? I love blogging. Even though I leave sometimes, I’ve always come back. I’m tied to blogging now. It’s become such a big part of me because I’ve met so many people and because I love talking about books. It makes my day when people say they’ve chosen to read a book because of me, or want recommendations. Even a simple comment or tweet can turn a bad day into a really good one. You have the ability to do that, every single one of you.
So what can you do to help support your favourite blogs?
You can follow your favourite blogs, and there are so many different ways to do this. There will be the right one for you so you don’t miss out on the blog’s posts. You can also leave a comment. Did you know that you only have to leave an email address and a name to comment on this blog? It’s not very hard! Even simple comments, with just a few words, are greatly appreciated because they show that you’ve read the post and have reacted to it in some way. And even just viewing posts, typing the blog URL into your browser or clicking on a link, really helps. Even if you don’t want to leave a comment, you can still tweet the blogger and tell them you loved their post.