Armchair BEA Day 4: Fictional Worlds + *Giveaway*

May 14, 2016 in Armchair BEA, Bookish Posts, Closed Giveaways

Day four? How did that happen? Today we are talking all about fictional worlds.



We all know that sometimes, the worlds we love in fiction can be dangerous. Which fictional worlds would you want to live in? Which worlds do you never want to dive into? Which worlds are you content to stay behind the glass, so to speak, rather than wishing to dive through the page? And once you get there, what would you do?

I love a good fictional world. A novel where the world-building is so good you can almost feel it, taste it. You become absorbed in the cultures of the fictional world, the way of life, the politics, the magic, the danger, the customs. Sometimes when I visit a new world I’m just completely in awe of the author.   So let’s take a wee rundown of some of my favourite fictional worlds.

The Way of Kings

Brandon Sanderson’s world, Roshar, in The Stormlight Archive series is absolutely breathtaking. He is one of those authors that leaves me in awe. The level of detail in this world is incredible, and yet not overwhelming. From weapons to the history, from flora and fauna to social rankings – Roshar has it all.

Would I want to live there? No, I’d never survive!


Obviously, I can’t talk about fictional worlds and not mention JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. It’s just the most incredible world, with so much detail and variety. It’s stunning.

Would I want to live there?  I could totally live The Shire or Rivendell (during peacetime of course).


Another glaringly obviously addition to this list but Westeros and the surrounding territories is one of my favourite worlds to get lost in. I’ve read the series through twice and I *so* want to read it again but I’m determined to wait for a publication date for Winds of Winter (yes, I know, I’ll probably be old and grey by then!)

Would I want to live there? Erm… yes and no. Yes because, dragons (as long as they were on my side) and no, because, well, that place is lethal!

Shadow and Bone

Leigh Bardugo’s Ravka in which both The Grisha Trilogy and the Six of Crows duology are set. I believe that Bardugo drew inspiration from Russia for this world. As with the other worlds in this list, I can completely visualise it, smell it, taste it, feel it. Her world building is beautiful, her characters are amazing and I cannot say enough good things about these series.

Would I want to live there? No, I’d definitely die in The Fold.


A world where human lands and Fae lands are separated by a magical wall. The Fae lands are split into courts – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Day, Night and Dawn, with each court being ruled by a High Lord. I love this world, the whole concept of it. A Spring court where it is perpetually Spring, just sounds so appealing to me. Sarah J. Maas never fails to immerse me fully in her worlds.

Would I want to live there? I’d love to live somewhere where it’s constantly Spring, but knowing the danger that lurks in this world, I think I’ll just stick to being an outsider looking in.

Ok, so I promised myself I wouldn’t exceed five. I honestly could go on all day. I did do a Top Ten Tuesday with my favourite worlds last year some time so if you want to check that out, click here.

There are times I become so absorbed in a world that when I put the book down and return to reality I can’t stop thinking about it. I find myself thinking in terms of that world. Does this make sense? Does anyone else do that too?

ABEA 16 Giveaway

To celebrate fictional worlds, and Armchair BEA in general, I’m hosting a wee giveaway.  You could win a fantasy book of your choice, up to the value of £10 (pre-orders included). This giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY as long as The Book Depository ships to your location.

To enter just use the rafflecopter entry form below. You can do as many as the entries as you so wish and some are available daily.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

I’m not sure if I’ll manage to join in tomorrow, so just in case, I wanted to say thank you to you all for stopping by this week! A huge thank you also to the Armchair BEA organisers who have, once again, done a fantastic job.

If you want to join in with Armchair BEA check out this post for all the details on today’s discussions, twitter party and Instagram challenge.

Armchair BEA Day 3: Beyond The Books

May 13, 2016 in Armchair BEA, Bookish Posts

It’s day three already! This year’s Armchair BEA is flying in. Today we are discussing other ways we enjoy novels, beyond the traditional.



Beyond the traditional form of the novel, what are your favorite alternative forms (graphic novels, audiobooks, webcomics, etc)? Do you have any favorite works within these alternate forms? How do you think the changing format affects the reading experience?


In all honesty, I don’t tend to venture beyond the “traditional form” of a novel very often. I really want to get more into graphic novels, but I’m kind of overwhelmed and have no idea where to even begin. As a teen I adored the Asterix books – I was obsessed, completely obsessed. When the new Asterix and the Missing Scroll came out last year I could not control my excitement!

Asterix and the Missing Scroll


But Asterix aside, I’ve not really ventured any further into graphic novels. I have Persepolis sitting on my bookshelves right now and I intend to get to that soon.

Do you have any graphic novel suggestions for a newbie?

I’ve recently taken to reading in a serial format too. I posted about Serial Reader a few months ago. It’s a free app that releases 20 minute chapters of classics to you daily. It kind of allows you to read many classics as they were originally released – in serial form. I think I explain it a bit better in the original post ;D


I’m also currently enjoying my weekly installments of Belgravia by Julian Fellowes. The entire book will be released in July I believe, but you can sign up to receive weekly episodes of the book. It’s available as an app and you can choose to either read it or listen to it. Currently I’m listening to the episodes online. There is a charge for this though. I think it works out at £9.98 in total.


Talking of listening to books, I do of course use Audible too. Our local library service doesn’t yet have the Overdrive service so I turn to Audible’s Daily Deals to get my hand on audiobooks. You don’t need to be a subscriber as such, you just need the free account and you can make the one-off purchase. I posted all about the Audible daily deals here. If you’re new to Audible though they do a free trial so be sure to check that out.

Do you have any recommendations for “alternate” forms of reading?

If you want to join in with Armchair BEA check out this post for all the details on today’s discussions, twitter party and Instagram challenge.

Armchair BEA Day 2: Aesthetic Concerns

May 12, 2016 in Armchair BEA, Bookish Posts

It’s day two of ABEA! I really enjoyed finding new blogs and getting to know bloggers yesterday. Thanks to all who took the time to stop by my post. Today’s topic is Aesthetic Concerns – Books and Blogs.



How often do you judge a book by its cover? How often are you surprised by what you find? Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type? How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside?

I can’t deny the fact that I am a sucker for a beautiful book cover. Add in some deckled edges and I’m sold.

ABEA Beautiful covers

I most definitely have things I like in a cover and things I really dislike. Generally, I’m not a fan of covers that feature people, like models. I don’t know why but I just don’t like it. That said, I have, of course, read books with such covers and enjoyed them, a lot. However, I’m just not drawn to them. Does anyone else feel the same way?

As for matching the covers in a series, I absolutely do like them to match. Admittedly I have some that are a combination of paperbacks and hardbacks, but if I had the money I’d make sure they were all the same.

One thing that does bug me though is when the first book in a series comes out in one size of paperback and the rest come out in a different size….

Grisha small

When I see these books on my shelves it bugs me enormously, but I’d rather spend money on a new book that I haven’t read rather than making my series all match.

As for the cover relating to the actual words within the book, I definitely like there to be a connection. Sometimes you pick up a book and don’t “get” the cover. But I love it when you’re half way through and the penny drops and you realise the significance of the cover artwork.

How do you feel about book aesthetics?

As a book blogger, in whatever form that takes, branding is important. Your colors, your fonts, your style of review, all of these things come together to make the “brand” of your blog – something that makes your reviews and posts and websites, all your various content, immediately recognizable to the people looking for you. What do you do to create a brand on your site? Do you think about these things?

Honestly, this is perhaps something I should consider more than I really do right now. I do like to keep a colour theme that fits my blog header. I also tend to use the flowers in my blog header as my avatar online, with the exception of Twitter as I do like to see a face behind a name.

How do you create and maintain your ‘brand’?

That’s all for today! If you want to join in you can find all the info for today, including Twitter Party time and Instagram challenge over on the ABEA website.

Armchair BEA 2016: An Introduction

May 11, 2016 in Armchair BEA, Bookish Posts

Last year I participated in Armchair BEA for the first time. I enjoyed it so much that I’m back for my second year! It was great to connect with different bloggers from around the world so I’m excited for ABEA 2016!


Before we get started, you may be wondering what Armchair BEA is, so let me try and enlight you. BEA is the Book Expo America. This year it’s being held in Chicago, and it’s an event where publishers, authors, bloggers and book lovers in general, come together to discuss all things bookish!

Obviously, not all of us can go to Chicago to attend, so Armchair BEA is a virtual event that allows book lovers from across the globe to join in on the fun. Last year I discovered some fab new blogs that I’ve been visiting regularly ever since. There are also great discussions to be had, Instagram challenges and Twitter parties. For the full agenda click here.

I don’t know how many days I’ll be able to participate but let’s get going with Day One – an introduction!


1. What is the name you prefer to use?


2. How long have you been a book blogger?

I’ve been blogging in general since 2010, although strupag only came into being a few years ago. My first blog was doing quite well but it was too demanding for me and my illness, so I took a step back and just started focussing more on book blogging when I moved to strupag.

3. Have you participated in ABEA before?

I participated last year for the first time and loved it! I ‘met’ so many fellow book lovers, new-to-me book bloggers and loved joining in the online conversation.

4. What is your favourite genre and why?

In the past I might have struggled to answer this as I kind of dot about from genre to genre. However these days I’d have to say that fantasy is my favourite. I love jumping into new and different worlds, escaping from reality and being absorbed in a fantastical setting.

5. If you could recommend one other book blogger, who would it be and why?


That’s an easy one – Cait from Paper Fury! Oh my goodness, that girl is brilliant! She has her own very unique blogging style and her passion for books is so evident. Also, she’s bloomin’ hilarious. Honestly, I can’t drink my coffee while reading her blog – there have been too many coffee explosions because of that lady!

6. If you could create a playlist that reflects your bookshelf, what would be the first song you choose?

The Imperial March from Star Wars – I think that kind of reflects my gargantuan TBR pile looming over me!

7. How do you arrange your bookshelves?

Alphabetically by author. Although I’m running out of space and so I think I’m going to have to rethink my book storage.

8. What is the most interesting thing that you’ve learned through your reading this year so far?


I mentioned that I adore fantasy, I really do. However I also enjoy reading fiction that is founded on fact. I enjoy reading fiction by an author who draws upon their own experience when they share a story. So for me, the book I’ve learned the most from this year so far is Shtum. You can find my review here, but basically, it’s about a father whose son is profoundly autistic. The author draws upon his own experiences with an autistic child. It’s a truly eye-opening, emotional read and I definitely recommend it.

So there you have it, a wee introduction. If you fancy joining in with ABEA then check out the website – everyone is welcome! Be sure to check out the link-up for Day One too so you can ‘meet’ other participants.

Armchair BEA, Day 4: Books to Movies *Giveaway*

May 30, 2015 in Armchair BEA, Bookish Posts, Closed Giveaways

Today is the last post for ABEA. I’ve really loved my first ABEA experience. It’s been so much fun, I’ve discovered lots of new blogs and “met” loads of lovely bloggers. So I just wanted to say take a wee second to say thanks to everyone involved.


Armchair BEA


Today we’ve been asked what books we’d like to see made into movies or tv shows. I picked out six, then took to google and found out that four of these are “in development” and one has been “optioned” for a TV show.

So here are six books I’d love to see on the big screen…

note – clicking on the cover will take you to the relevant Goodreads page.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – this is the first book in The Gentleman Bastards Sequence and a film is apparently “in development”

The Lies of Locke Lamora


The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – this is also “in development”

The Invention of Wings


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – the first book in the Grisha trilogy – yeup, this is apparently “in development” too

Shadow and Bone


The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett – apparently this has been optioned for TV



I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes – the internet tells me this is “in development” too

i am pilgrim


A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – the first book in A Darker Shade of Magic series but can be read as a stand alone. I think I dreamt that this had been optioned for film as I can’t find any mention of it online. Film folk – get optioning!

A Darker Shade of Magic


To thank you all for your awesomeness during ABEA I’m giving away one of these books.

ABEA Giveaway

The winner will get to choose one of the titles above, and the giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY as long as The Book Depository or Wordery ship to your location.

To enter simply fill in the rafflecopter entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Be sure to check out today’s ABEA linky to find out which books other bloggers would like to see adapted to film. You never know, they may have a giveaway for you too!

Which books would you like adapted to film or TV series?