Why I Will Never Use An Electronic Reading Device

I can already hear what you e-book lovers are about to say! “But it’s so much easier” you’d protest. “What if you’re traveling?!” you’d scream, “You have hundreds of books right there in the palm of your hand!”

Well, as a girl who happily lugged at least 10+ books (yes, mostly hard covers) back from her last trip to America, I can assure you, I cannot relate. Physical books rock my world and I will never use, buy or borrow an electronic reading device. You can’t make me and below are a few reasons why!

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Smelling The Pages

Yeah, ok, don’t act like you’re above it! If you’re an avid reader, chances are you either do, or have done this at some point. But I cannot help but fan through the pages of a book, my nose pressed right up against the edges, breathing in that glorious ‘new book smell.’ Although ‘old book smell’ also has its merits, it isn’t quite the same for me. Perhaps it stems from my very real love of book stores, who knows. Speaking of which…

Perusing Book Stores

Have you ever stepped into a book store and had the overwhelming smell of ink on pages greet your sense? Because I have and it’s amazing. Not to mention, buying physical copies of books from your local book store helps keep them in business. There is nothing quite like spending hours in a book store perusing the shelves for your next read, or, lets be honest here, the next book you’re going to throw on that ever growing TBR (to be read) pile that you may or may not get to before you die of old age or it falls and crushes you to death.

The Feeling

Ok, so I might be getting a little pompous about it all here, but come on, the act of getting more than half way through a book and being able to feel when the pages you’ve read get thicker than the pages waiting to be read is the best. I don’t want to be told what percentage of the way through a book I am. I WANNA FEEL IT. The physical act of turning the pages is perfection and I will not give it up!

Also, what bookworm do you know that doesn’t carry a book with them everywhere they go?! That comforting thud, thud, thud of the heavy book whacking against your side because your bag is now 10x heavier than it should be, is glorious.

Public Libraries

LIBRARIES! Aren’t they the best!? Whether at home or at a dedicated establishment, libraries are just THE BEST. But public libraries are special! Much like second hand book stores, it’s nice to ponder at who read the book before you! What did they think of it? Did they dog ear like a savage and not use a bookmark? Did they spill coffee or accidentally smear orange Cheeto dust on one of the pages? It’s like a murder mystery only without the murder! Unless someone does the aforementioned savagery to your personal home library books, in which case, I have a tarp and a shovel.

So you see, physical books are the best. I won’t deny that there are merits in using an e-reader, but they just aren’t for me! I won’t judge you though, go ahead and use your soulless brick. In all seriousness though, read on whatever you like! At the end of the day, at least we’re all reading, right?

3 Easy Steps To Ensure Your Children Grow Up To Be Readers

From the moment I found out I was pregnant I had visions of my child sharing my love of literature. They would be someone who would happily sit on my lap and let me read to them and of course someone who would, eventually, jump at the opportunity to be sorted into their Hogwarts House (come on Bub, be a Ravenclaw, just like your mother!)

So along comes my beautiful baby girl. A lot like Harry Potter in the respect that she looks very little like her mother and very much like her father, but hooray! She got my eyes! My daughter is still just a baby so she doesn’t understand what I’m saying, but I read to her anyway! Below are 3 easy steps I’ll be taking (and you can too) to ensure my daughter and any future children I have, grow up to love reading.

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Give Them Easy Access to Books and a Cosy Place to Read.

Whether the books are purchased and kept on a shelf at home or you take a walk to the local library and get yourself a library card, books should always be made easily accessible for your children! Reading shouldn’t be a burden, so having access to books is key to having children that want to read! I can vividly remember being taken to the library as a child and it certainly felt like a magical place to me! I am now lucky enough to have been able to create my own personal library at home that I add to every so often. So I guess taking me to the library worked wonders for my mother in sparking my interest in books!

Now, this part isn’t completely necessary, but I think it helps! Set up a reading nook! Somewhere that is cosy and quiet, where you can sit and read to your kids, or if you have older children, somewhere they can sit and read without interruption. There are some really wonderful children’s reading chairs on the market if you’re looking to make it extra special! One of my favourite children’s chairs is from IKEA. It can be found here.

Start Young and Make Reading Fun.

Make it an event, make it theatrical and make it fun! As I said, my daughter is only young so story time isn’t so much about the story as it is about mum making funny faces/voices while she holds up pretty pictures. However, despite not having a clue what I’m saying, she laughs, giggles and squeals! Making story time a time for laughter and enjoyment is something I strive towards. I want my daughter to associate reading with enjoyment and I believe that starts now, while she is young.

If you have older children, try putting an emphasis on using their imaginations! Maybe ask them what they think certain characters look like, or how they picture the landscape the author is describing! Making a fun discussion out of it and taking the time to share your thoughts is, not only a great way to bond with your kids, but also a way to make reading more dynamic and interesting! Reading a book can be as good as going on an adventure or watching a movie and it makes for great family time too!

Make Sure They See You Reading For Fun Too!

And lastly this step, to me, is the most important to ensuring children grow up to love reading. Now I know the saying goes “do as I say, not what I do” but how often has that ever rang true. Children are our mirror image and, especially when they are young, they learn by watching us. Our behaviours, interactions and how we communicate is what shapes them as people. By making time to read yourself, you’re showing your kids that it is important.

My daughter is only little, but it doesn’t stop me for putting a book in her hands for a few minutes while I read a chapter of my own book next to her. She doesn’t read yet of course, she would rather be chewing the corner of her book. But I’d like to think that eventually, as she grows up, she will see the joy I get from reading and perhaps emulate that herself!

Maybe she’ll even ask if we can read Harry Potter together, one can only hope! Fingers crossed!

Book Review: The Wicked King By Holly Black

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for the first book in this series: The Cruel Prince. You can find my spoiler free review here. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you do. It’s fantastic!

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Find it on Book Depository

Goodreads Synopsis:

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

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This book is going to give me such a hangover.

Have you ever had a book lull you into a complete sense of security only to have it rip it out from under you like some old woven rug with the very last page? BECAUSE I HAVE AND I AM NOT OK! This book wrecked me. To say I loved it just doesn’t feel like enough! I want to go back in time and stop myself from reading The Cruel Prince so that I wouldn’t have to deal with waiting a whole year for the last book to come out. The Wicked King was everything I had hoped for and maybe a little more.

The Wicked King picks up five months after the events of The Cruel Prince. Cardan Greenbriar, High King of Elfhame now resides on the throne. However, it is Jude Duarte, his mortal seneschal, who holds all the power! Jude has become increasingly distanced from her family and is well and truly caught up in the power she has over the King and his court. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is vying for the throne, while Jude and her Court of Shadows continue their scheme to keep Cardan on the throne until Jude’s younger brother, Oak, is old enough to take over.

This book was absolute perfection! Holly Black has such a knack for story telling that she honestly makes you feel that if you were to look up from the page, you’d be in Elfhame along side Jude. She takes the term “twists and turns” and knocks it out of the park! There were schemes on schemes on schemes and I was living for it. Jude and Cardan where EV-E-RY-THING! Their love-hate relationship  had me completely enthralled. The snide banter, sexual tension and slow unraveling of feelings was amazing. I quite honestly, wouldn’t have minded more of their interactions throughout the book. It was that slow development of trust for each other over time that was my undoing when I read those last few pages.

I am wholeheartedly invested in these books and it is going to take everything in me to not wail at the thought of having to wait another year to read The Queen of Nothing. So until then, you’ll most likely find me rocking back and forth, a copy of The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King in my arms, muttering hysterically about how much I love Cardan Greenbriar despite him being, in fact, rather wicked.

This book is very easily a 5 star read for me. The whimsical nature of the world of Faerie, the snarky, sexy character interactions and the seamless extension and execution of the plot all come together to create a truly incredible read. I need the last book, like, yesterday please.

How To Host A Bookstagram Giveaway

Chances are if you’ve been on the Bookstagram community a while, you’ve seen people hosting giveaways! A “giveaway,” for those who don’t know, is essentially when you host a mini competition with the prize being something bookish! To make things easier, when I host a giveaway, I’ll usually make the prize a book from Book Depository to the value of, say, $20 Australian. Giveaways are a great way to expand your follower base and get your content seen by a wider range of people. Please note however, that they are not a necessity and you are under no obligation to host a giveaway. But if you are interested in hosting one and have no idea where to start! Below are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way!

Giveaway Rules

All giveaways have rules! You aren’t exactly giving something away for nothing, you’re offering people the chance to win something if they follow a certain set of rules to enter the competition. For the sake of not getting too in depth, I am going to assume you already know the basics of how instagram works! A common set of giveaway rules would be as follows.

1. You must be following me, do not follow to unfollow later.

2. Like this post.

3. Post about the giveaway in your stories and remember to tag me.

4. Comment “done” on this post when you’re done! (This is an important step as this will be the list you use when choosing your winner)

Some people then go on to create another list of optional requirements that will allow an entrant to gain more entires into a giveaway. Some of these include things such as

1. Tag some Bookstragam friends who might be interested in this giveaway, each person you tag is an extra entry.

And

2. Share this giveaway post to your feed and tag me for an extra entry.

I would also recommend having a look at some of your favourite Bookstagram accounts and see if they have hosted any giveaways, look into what kinds of rules they applied and mix it up to suit you.

Be Aware Of What Hashtags You Use

When hosting a giveaway on Bookstagram, you want your target audience to be other book lovers. People who aren’t going to unfollow you as soon as your giveaway is over! Because this is the case, you need to be very aware of what hashtags you’re using and try not to be too general with them! Instead of just tagging your post with #giveaway, try using #bookishgiveaway or #bookstagramgivaway. This allows you to target your preferred audience, instead of people who aren’t really interested in books and only want free stuff. I could even argue that hashtags aren’t necessary if people are posting about your giveaway to their stories. This gives you a far more organic “word of mouth” reach without having to worry about hashtags. Another way around this is to include a disclaimer in your giveaway that only Bookstagram accounts can enter.

Choose Your Winner Fairly

When it comes to choosing a winner, I believe you need to be as fair as possible. I find taking the time to be thorough with your entires is of the utmost importance. Once you have your list finalised, you are then able to input the names into a random name picker (you can google this and you’ll find plenty)! I find this to be the most efficient and fair way of choosing a winner without it being influenced by myself. After this, I check that the winner has satisfied all the entry requirements and if it looks like they have, I announce the winner on my stories! Once they reply I get them to check out the book depository to see what book(s) they would like and I have it shipped to them! This could very well be the most important step! Follow through with the giveaway guys!

In my time on Bookstagram, this has easily been the most effective way to gain a following, however I would suggest keeping your giveaways to a milestone or special event. If you host too many, it may get a bit tiresome for you and your followers!

Happy Bookstagramming! You can find me on Instagram @readingsumpton.

14 Years Later: My Thoughts On Twilight By Stephenie Meyer (Chapters 1-5)

Please note: due to the large amount of commentary I seem to have on this book so far, I have decided to split these blog posts into parts! Chapters 6 through to 24 will appear in later blog posts.

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It was the year 2005. my hair was black and I wore more eyeliner than anyone ever should in their entire lifetime. I lived in skinny jeans, hoodies and converse sneakers. I was fifteen years old the year Twilight hit the shelves and it was really the first YA novel I ever read. And let me tell you, I was obsessed! I was in love! It was all encompassing and true!

I have since watched the movies of course, the nostalgia gets the better of me at times and although the acting is subpar and the idea of a 100+ year old vampire being attracted to a teenage girl does send up some red flags, I still, somehow, enjoy them for what they are. I have not however, picked up these books since those fateful teenage years all those moons ago. So here it is, I have challenged myself to reread Twilight. Yes, only the first one, I’m not some masochistic lion, you guys.

Below are my thoughts on Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. 14 years since I last read it.

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Chapters 1-5

If you haven’t read or watched Twilight, you’re probably the luckiest person in the world and if you have read or watched Twilight, my condolences. Here is a quick synopsis for the aforementioned luckiest people alive.

Bella Swan is your super average teenage girl who has decided to move to a town named Forks to live with her father, Charlie. She goes to school and meets a family of vampires. She falls in love with one of them. Ridiculousness ensues. 

So to start with, it appears, in my opinion, that Bella Swan is a wet blanket of a human being who is so self involved and self deprecating that it makes me want to gouge my own eyes out so that I won’t have to read one more word about how badly she “doesn’t want to be noticed” or how she “doesn’t communicate well.” Not to mention I couldn’t help but liken her to a freshly born calf, tripping over its own legs with the amount of times she references her clumsiness!

Now I tried to enjoy the first five chapters, I really did! But not only was Bella completely unlikable, but there was also quite a few times the author used words and phrases that could only be described as problematic. Some of these gems are as follows.

(Regarding Bella’s father, a police officer, no longer removing the bullets from his gun when he gets home)

“I guess he considered me old enough not to shoot myself by accident, and not depressed enough to shoot myself on purpose” 

and this zinger

(Regarding Edward talking to Bella)

“He enunciated every syllable, as if he was talking to someone mentally handicapped”

Eeeeekkkkk….

There was also a point where Bella actually thinks that her too pale, white skin will cause her to be noticed and ridiculed. As a white woman myself, I’m not even going to touch that one, but it certainly reeks of ignorance. Now not only is Bella extremely self conscious, she also comes across as extremely pretentious! At one point, the character Jessica is trying to befriend her and she literally thinks the following:

“I couldn’t remember her name, so I smiled and nodded as she prattled about teachers and classes. I didn’t try to keep up.”

Wow. Just, wow.

Bella is so incredibly self involved that all she really cares about is how everything around her is going to impact her life. She has little to no care for anything other than herself. Oh. Well, that is until Edward Cullen makes his appearance. In which their first interaction quite literally only involves him “glaring down” at her, no words are exchanged at all. But from that moment on, she is infatuated. She is so ridiculously emotionally involved that she then starts having all these weird dreams about a guy she’s known for maybe a month and for most of that time he is actively trying to avoid her. But hey, he’s hot right? That means it’s ok when he’s being a jerk! Edward eventually decides he doesn’t want to stay away from her anymore, however he makes a point of constantly telling her that he isn’t a good guy and that she should be scared of him. (GIRL, RUUUUUN!)

But again, he’s like, so hot right?

Chapters 6 – 10 coming soon. Whenever I can bring myself to continue reading this garbage.

Book Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Find it on Book Depository

Goodreads Synopsis:

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

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There is always a sense of trepidation when knowing you will be reviewing an absolutely stellar books sequel. All too often the first book in a series is the most compelling to me. Unfortunately, that’s exactly how I feel about Thunderhead. It seems rare that I find the second book in a series more than just a “bridging novel.” Thunderhead didn’t give me the same gripping, intense love that Scythe did and I am finding it hard to pinpoint exactly why it feels that way. (Speaking of which, If you haven’t already, and would like to read my spoiler free review of Scythe, you can do so by clicking here.)

Thunderhead picks up a year after the events of Scythe. We are introduced to new characters from the get go, which felt a little bit like “starting fresh” rather than a continuation of the original plot. I understand that these characters, one in particular, will have a bigger role in future novels, however I just felt that Thunderhead was, for lack of a better word, a little boring for the majority of its pages. It took me at least 200-300 pages into a 500 page novel before I started to enjoy the book as much as I did with Scythe. I never felt that “drive” to keep reading like I do with so many other books.

The main characters from Scythe, particularly Rowan, didn’t get much airtime until later in the book which was upsetting because his chapters where the ones I found most compelling. And although we are specifically told that certain characters serve a bigger purpose in the corrupt world of the Scythes, it’s not really explored all that much in this novel and again, felt like a set up for the following book. There was however, a couple of great moments throughout the book. Times where I did find myself on the edge of my seat or being blown away at how well the author can turn us in circles before we know what’s really going on! But like I said they were few and far between or were towards the end of the novel.

The “Thunderhead” itself is described as being essentially like the “iCloud” of today but has advanced enough to become a conscious being, which acts as a virtual “mother” so to speak, to the Earth and its inhabitants. I did enjoy this books exploration into how drastically humanity relies on technology, a sentiment that resonates with us even in reality, and what happens when that technology can no longer sit idly by when the corrupt begin to disrupt the peace and order it has maintained.

I will pick up the next book, if only because the last two hundred-ish pages were action packed enough for me to want to see what happens to these characters. We are left with quite a cliffhanger and some really brilliant and tragic revelations. I just wish I could have felt that same intrigue for more than just the last half of this book. That is why I’ll be giving this book 3.5 stars.

Bookish Gift Guide For Readers

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Ringing in the new year means a whole host of birthdays once again coming our way. I have often found it hard to find the perfect gift for certain loved ones in my life, but when it comes to bookworms, I’ve got you covered! So if you have a book lover in your life, why not try to find them something they will really love! Below are just a few ideas of gifts that every bookworm will be ecstatic to receive!

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Bookmarks

Save your book lover from using a receipt, business card or tissue as a bookmark! There are plenty of beautiful bookmark companies out there! Ink and Wonder is just one of these many companies, but it is easily my favourite! They have created what they call a “woodmark” which is made of very thin, ethically sourced wood. They have a whole range of beautifully vibrant and incredibly designed products, not just bookmarks, including tote bags, enamel pins and stickers!

Game of Thrones Woodmark from Ink & Wonder

Book Sleeves 

Chances are your bookworm carries a book with them everywhere they go. This often means throwing said book into their bag or even onto the back seat of their car! Book sleeves keep their books safe when they are on the move! A quick google search will have you covered in this category! There are plenty of beautifully handmade book sleeves on Etsy! A couple of wonderful book sleeve companies  I enjoy are Bookbeau and Thumbelara!

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Bohemian Book Sleeve from Thumbelara

Bookish Candles

I know what you’re probably thinking! “Candles? Really? That’s what I buy my mother when I don’t know what else to get her!” But these candles are different! They are themed! Themes usually range from different books/series to things bibliophiles love (like bookstores, cafes or the great hall from Harry Potter)

If your book lover is also an avid instagrammer (or bookstagrammer) candles also make fantastic props! A few of my favourite candle companies include Flick the Wick, Spark and Sparrow, In The Wick Of Time and Alchemy and Ink!

The Raven Cycle Candle from In The Wick of Time (Owlcrate exclusive)

A Book Subscription Box

A book subscription box is a monthly subscription, delivered to your door, full of amazing bookish content, including a book! This is on the pricier side, especially if you choose to subscribe for longer periods of time! However, one off purchases are available and it’s essentially a “lucky dip” for book nerds! Owlcrate, Fairyloot and The YA Chronicles are just a few of these fun boxes!

A Coffee/Tea Mug

Give me the name of one book lover who doesn’t enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while they are reading?! I’ll wait!

Seriously though, you can’t go wrong here! Especially if you find out if they have a particular book or series they absolutely adore and you find a mug that coincides with that book! I received the below Harry Potter themed mug in an Owlcrate subscription box and have been in love with it ever since!

Harry Potter Mug (Owlcrate exclusive)

A Reading Journal

a reading journal is a fun way for bookworms to track and plan out their reading for the week, month or even year! There are a lot of beautifully designed journals and a quick google search will have you on your way! A journal is a far more intimate and personal way for your book lover to track their reads as opposed to sites like Goodreads.com (which I also love)!

So there you have it! If you have a book lover in your life and you have no idea what book to buy them next, why not skip buying them a book or voucher all together and get them some fun bookish merch!