How To: Bookstagram

Hey everyone! Over on Instagram I post photos of books; what I’m reading, what I hope to read, books I think are pretty, that kind of thing. I’ve had my bookstagram account for a little over a year and in that time I’ve accumulated some tips and tricks on how to be a successful bookstagrammer, or even how to make your account more known! I don’t have the most followers, hell one of my good friends has 20,000+, but I thought some of you out there might want to know how to better your account, or get it started! (NOTE: this is just what works for me, you don’t have to follow each of these steps to the dot! With a little bit of fiddling, you’ll work out what works best for you!)

1. Choose a background 

I’m currently using my wooden table as the background for my photos, but I’ve used multiple bed sheets as covers in the past. Try to choose something that won’t clash with books you’re trying to take photos of! This can be hard sometimes, as some backgrounds will look better with some books than they do with others. I tend to stick to one background, but one of my absolute favourite bookstagrammers @annreads changes up her background to suit whichever book she’s photographing. Just work out what works for you!

Processed with Rookie Cam

2. Take photos with natural light 

I ALWAYS take my photos with natural light. I find the quality of the photos comes out better and the overall product ends up looking better. Try to also take your photos at the same time everyday so that you have around about the same amount of natural light in your photos! I find this makes your feed look nicer and cleaner.

Processed with Rookie Cam

3. Choose a filter

Choosing a filter is always hard. I don’t even know how many times I’ve changed mine to be honest. I tend to go with filters that make the books colours stand out, or that compliment the book well and doesn’t make it look weird. The current filter I’m using is “Ruby” on RookieCam but I’ve previously used C2, F2 & HB1 on VSCOcam. There are other apps to get filters on, such as Afterlight, but I prefer the free apps.

Processed with Rookie Cam

4. Interact with other bookstagrammers and stay active

I’ve made some really great friends over the past few months because I started interacting more with my followers/people I follow. People love knowing that their followers aren’t just ghost followers, or people who just scroll through and like all the photos they come across on their dashboard. It takes only a minute out of your time to make a quick comment on someone’s photo, even if it’s just to tell them you think it’s a nice picture. You never know, that kindness could go a long way. People also like when you regularly upload photos. It doesn’t have to be every single day, even one ever 2 days is great, but try not to leave weeks between your uploads. (If you have important things going on then obviously that’s fine! Some people also only have time to upload every few weeks, but I know most people I know prefer when the people their following are active).

Processed with Rookie Cam

5. Caption your photos

I love reading people’s captions because I feel like I get to know the person a lot more. I tend to use emoji’s a lot to express my feelings the way words sometimes can’t. You might also want to try asking questions in your captions to get the flow of talking going! I know I find it easier to comment on peoples photos when they’re asking a specific question. Captioning photos is a great way for you to get to know your followers a little more and for your followers to get to know the type of person you are!

Processed with Rookie Cam

I hope this has helped some of you, and I hope if you’re thinking of joining bookstagram you do! There’s a whole amazing community out there, and I promise we’ll make you welcome!

Thanks for reading!

Taryn xxx

Favourite Reads of 2015 (So Far)!

Hey everyone! I know people generally post this a a midyear kinda thing, but since I didn’t have my blog then I’m posting it now!

So far in 2015 I’ve read a total of 53 books! My Goodreads Reading Challenge goal was originally 50, but once I surpassed that with 3 months of the year to go, I changed it to 65. I’ve read a myriad of books from different genres, but it seems most on this list are fantasy. These aren’t in any particular order until we get to the top 3!

10. Never Never #1 & Never Never #2 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher 

24378015 neverneverpart2

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

9. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder 

200px-Poison_Study

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

8. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga 

735be78aaf4e19f1f35b44bc0cd7740f

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

7. Split Second by Kasie West

15792316

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

6. Asking For It by Louise O’Neill 

asking-for-it

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

5. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

17399160

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

4. Alienated by Melissa Landers

13574417

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

And now we have it… my Top 3 Books of 2015 so far:

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An-Ember-in-the-Ashes

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

2. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay 

16151178

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

1. Falling KingdomsRebel Spring &Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

12954620 16000044 17342700

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

There you have it! My favourite reads of 2015 so far. Let me know if any of these are in your favourite reads of 2015 so far, or tell me which books are!

Thanks for reading!

Taryn xxx

Blogger Award: The Encouraging Thunder Award

Firstly, I’d like to thank Lia so much for nominating me for this award! I’m relatively new to the blogsphere and you’re the first person to nominate me for one of these; thank you so much!!

The rules for The Encouraging Thunder Award are simple:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post the encouraging thunder logo
  • Mention your purpose in blogging
  • Nominate others for the award

encouraging-thunder

My purpose in blogging

I’m a fairly new blogger; my blog has only been up for a few weeks. I started blogging because I want to share my love of books with everyone, and connect with people who share this love. I’m sure over time my purpose will change, or maybe not, only time will tell. I want to be able to promote books, whether I liked them or not. I want to be able to discuss with other bloggers, and I want to know that my opinion of a book may sway someone to buy it. I want to know that my opinion matters to someone whether it be another blogger or an author. But mostly, as I first stated, I want to be able to share my love of books with everyone and hopefully connect with some other wonderful bloggers who share this love. I’ve already made a few friends through this book community, whether I knew them through Instagram prior to starting this blog or not. I just blog because I love to share my thoughts and opinions on books and I blog because I like it.

I’m going to tag a few of my friends, and some people I don’t know very well but wish to get to know in the future!

Alyssa {Alyssaisreading}

Ava {Bookishnessandtea}

Cherry {Read Forevermore}

Cintia {Reflection of the Books}

Cristina {My Tiny Obsessions}

Erika {Librostagram}

Giovanna {Bookcoma}

Thanks for reading!

Taryn xxx

Book Review: Everything, Everything

18692431

Book: Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: YA Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Find this book on Goodreads

Characters 

I had a few problems with our main character Maddy which is the reason this got only an average rating. Madeline is one of the biggest “special snowflake” characters I’ve ever read about in a YA novel, and trust me they’re everywhere. Madeline is half Afican-American, half Japanese and she suffers from Severe Combined Immune Deficiency. I have to admit though, it’s great to see a bit of difference in some YA characters, but I don’t know. I found Madeline to be extremely stubborn and naïve. Of course she’d be naïve not having lived in the real world, I understand that, but holy moly. Maddy literally takes everything her mother says at face value and doesn’t question anything. I don’t know why this annoys me so much, I think it should just be common sense to questions things people say. I didn’t mind the love interest, Olly. Although I personally hate parkour so I was instantly turned off by that (no offence). I loved Carla, and obviously after the plot twist I didn’t particularly like the mother.

Plot 

The plot of this book was relatively fast paced, and I did enjoy the storyline. The Hawaii chapters were by far my favourites! I had already been spoiled on what the plot twist was going to be, but I’d sort of guessed it even if I hadn’t known. I felt like that kind of cheapened the story. I’m glad there was a “happily ever after” but I just feel cheated after that twist.

Writing

The writing in this was very easy to read and extremely gripping from the beginning. The little drawings and lists added throughout the novel also added to the experience.

Overall thoughts and recommendations

Whilst this isn’t my favourite YA contemporary novel of all time, I can understand the hype. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes John Green or Morgan Matson.

Thanks for reading!

Taryn xxx

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish Habits I Want To Quit

toptentuesday

Hi all! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the BookishEach week they provide a topic and you pick (generally 10) bookish things that fit this topic! For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, The Broke and the Bookish posted multiple variations of this topic and I chose Bookish Habits I Want To Quit 

1. Buying more books than I read 

One of my biggest problems that I need to stop doing is buying so many books and reading so many less. Book buying bans generally don’t work for me, so something I’m thinking about doing in the future is allowing myself a “read 3 books buy 1 book” kinda ban. Hopefully this will bring down my TBR!

2. Sticking to genres in my comfort zone

I’ve recently started a book club with 12 other lovely ladies over on Instagram, The Reading Rebels in which we’re trying to choose a myriad of genres to read from so we can challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zones. I’m so bad when it comes to genres; I generally stick to YA, which is a habit I want to kick. I really want to start reading some Adult novels (I have read a few) and some other genres I generally stay away from, like non-fiction and horror.

3. Buying the whole series before reading the first book

I have honestly lost count on how many times I’ve done this! However, generally when I do this I end up liking the series…. but anyway. This is definitely a habit I want to quit before I buy an expensive series that I end up hating!

4. Avoiding classics

I’ve never read a classic! I don’t know what it is, I have a couple of them, I’ve just never read them! I think its because I always relate classics to school, and I’ve never read a book for school that I’ve actually enjoyed.

5. Reading reviews of a book I KNOW will spoil me 

I have a really bad habit of spoiling myself when it comes to books. I don’t like surprises. I just want to know what I’m in for. But ugh, this is something I need to stop doing! It doesn’t necessarily ruin a book for me, because I don’t know the events that happened around the spoiler, but still. (NOTE: even though I sometimes spoil myself for books, I do hate when people don’t put spoiler warnings on reviews they post because there are some books out there I don’t want to be spoiled on!)

6. Avoiding Harry Potter 

Okay, you got me. I haven’t read HP! When I was younger I started reading the first book, but my sister was reading the book ahead of me and was a slower reader than I so I stopped reading them and kind of… never went back to them. Turns out, we actually lost the first book, so I went out to buy it and still haven’t read it. I’m sure I’ll get to it soon!

7. Buying a series to match when I already have the other books 

This is mostly in reference to HP actually. As aforementioned, we lost the first HP book and I went out to buy it again. However, it was a different edition to all the other books I had in the series, and I liked this new edition much better so I then bought the 2nd and 3rd to match. I haven’t gone out to buy the rest yet and I’m not sure I will, but I need to not buy books I already have because I see a better cover!

8. Reading books <600 pages

I have a bad habit of avoiding books if they’re more than 600 pages! They intimidate me, and I find myself procrastinating them for months! I hope to read Outlander, Game of Thrones (just the first book) and Mistborn by the end of this year though!

9. Not finishing series where I enjoyed the first book

This is a very bad habit of mine! I have quite a few series (Legend trilogy by Marie Lu, Lux series by JLA, Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin, Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer to name a few) that I’ve read the first one or two books of the series and loved them, and never got around to reading the other books, when I own them! One of my 2015 Bookish Resolutions was to finish the series’ I started last year… But that didn’t really happen

10. Reading books I’ve just bought over books I’ve owned for months 

I always tend to set myself a monthly TBR of books I’ve had on my shelf for months I’ve been wanting to read, and then I accumulate new ones and read those first! I just know if I keep reading the new books over the old books, I’m just never going to get to the old books, and my TBR will just keep growing.

Let me know in the comments some of YOUR bookish habits you want to quit!

Thanks for reading!

Taryn xxx

Book Review: Firsts

I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review thanks to St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley 

23480844

Book: Firsts

Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Genre: YA Contemporary

Expected Publication: 5th January 2016

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Find this books on Goodreads 

Characters 

I personally found Mercedes, or Mercy as her friends call her, relatively hard to relate to. She made some very very silly mistakes that I just couldn’t see myself making, hence why I couldn’t relate to her. I was waiting from page one for the whole thing to blow up in Mercy’s face and the fact that she was so naïve and gullible as to assume she had complete control of the situation was a little laughable. I also couldn’t relate to her because of her as a person. She pushed the people around her away that cared about her (Zach mostly) which infuriated me throughout the entirety of this novel. She was bitchy, she was manipulative and sometimes she was just plain dumb. However, I did feel sympathy for her after what happened. Whilst I certainly would never treat anyone like that, the way she was treated doesn’t surprise me at all. And the fact that she thought it a good idea to sleep with multiple girls’ boyfriends, whether she thought she was helping  them or not, just seemed too idiotic to me. I wasn’t sure what to think of Faye. She intrigued me from the moment she entered the picture but I can’t say I wholly liked her character. I think the only characters I really liked were Angela and Zach, both of whom were lied to and walked all over for majority of the book.

Plot 

The plot was extremely predictable. Everyone can guess just from reading the description of the book pretty much exactly what was going to happen. I liked that we finally got to find out what happened with Luke, although that was kind of predictable as well. I have to admit, the plot was still good, though.

Writing 

Writing comes easily to Flynn. I had no problems devouring this book (to my standards anyway) and the ease with which Flynn wrote this is definitely why it was so easy to read. It’s relatively light and fluffy, but serious when it needs to be.

Overall thoughts and recommendations 

I did enjoy this book, despite the flaws I found. I would recommend this to anyone who likes easy to read contemporaries that explore a few deeper themes.

Thanks for reading!

Taryn xxx

Book Review: Asking For It

*WARNING: SPOILERS*
asking-for-it Book: Asking For It

Author: Louise O’Neill

Genre: YA Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Find this book on Goodreads 

Characters 

There were literally only 2 characters in this entire book I liked; Conor (the boy next door) and Bryan (Emma’s brother). Emma was unlikeable from the very beginning. She was judgemental, she was bitchy, she was narcissistic and she was just plain rude, as were all of her friends, however, it wasn’t hard to sympathise with her. I think it was a great tactic using a very horrible character as someone we are supposed to feel sympathy for, and let me tell you, it worked. It was absolutely disgusting the way the characters treated Emma after she was raped and the fact that people actually treat rape victims like that makes me so so mad. Her parents were horrible people who cared more about what other people thought of them than the safety and well-being of their children, and actually CONGRATULATED Emma when she dropped the charges against the boys. What? The friends were all horrible as well, and didn’t even ask for Emma’s side of the story (however Emma did brush aside her friend Jamie’s rape so I can understand why they did what they did). Conor was a sweetheart who Emma treated like shit; honestly I don’t know what he saw in her. I think the scariest thing is, the characters, no matter their horrible flaws, were real. I literally know people in real life who are like this. It’s rare to come across characters that really feel real, and I think O’Neill did a spectacular job of creating characters we related to, whether we liked them or not.

Plot 

The plot fell a little short for me. From the beginning, I didn’t really know where O’Neill was going to take us plot wise. I expected the incident to be in the first couple of chapters and the rest of the book to be about the repercussions of rape and the following trial. The repercussions followed, however I was disappointed there was no trial. I do however find this more believable, as most cases of rape either aren’t successful or accusations aren’t put forward in the first place. I think theme wise O’Neill has written an extremely important novel, and the exploration of consent, rape culture, victim-blaming and the affect social media  has in today’s society was very thorough and (for the most part) very real. (I don’t believe the pornographic images of Emma would have stayed on Facebook but anyways…) I kind of wish O’Neill had written about a trial, however the point she was trying to get across is still very easy to understand through this plot.

Writing 

This book was hard to read, not necessarily because of the writing, but because of the issues raised and explored throughout the novel. I feel O’Neill wrote eloquently and in a sophisticated manner and that it really is true that “O’Neill writes with a scalpel.” I like that O’Neill didn’t sugar coat anything; her writing was raw and sharp, it was real.

Overall thoughts and recommendation 

I really enjoyed reading this book and would certainly recommend this book to teenagers 16+ (NOTE: this book is NOT for younger readers). Definitely an important message being explored, and it’s definitely something we need to be talking about.

Thanks for reading!

Taryn xxx

October TBR!

September was a pretty great reading month for me so I’m really excited to jump into October! I have my final exams at school during two weeks of October, so I’ve only set myself a few books to read but I’m really hoping to finish all of these. I also got approved for my first ever ARCs so I’m hoping to read at least 2/5 of those! 

12048690_867540743361458_1038710550_n

The physical books 

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE APB

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 

I’ve always wanted to read an Agatha Christie book (I have a mild love for crime fiction) so I thought October would be the perfect month to read it!

23346358

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

 I’m so so excited for this one! The Accident Season was chosen to be the October BOTM for a book club I host with 12 other lovely ladies, The Reading Rebels. I’ve wanted to read this book for so long and now I finally have an excuse to! Another book that October seem the perfect month to read it in; this ones set in October too!

23253921

Demon Road by Derek Landy 

I’ve wanted to read this ever since my good friend Kate (@infinitelynovel on Instagram) read and loved this! I’ve heard so much about it since and I’m sure I’ll love it!

asking-for-it

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill 

Yet another book I’ve heard from Kate (@infinitelynovel) that she read and loved recently. Can’t wait to read this one! Seems right up my alley.

The ARCs 

9780373211753_BB

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley 

*source: I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review thanks to Harlequin (Australia) via NetGalley.

23480844

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn 

*source: I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review thanks to St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley.

Thanks for reading!

Taryn xxx

September Wrap Up

12080978_867439026704963_742236501_n

I’m pretty happy with the amount of books and which books I read this month! I read a total of 7 books altogether; 5 physical books and 2 ebooks. (All book titles are linked to their Goodreads page)

Physical books 

17342700

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes★ ★ ★ ★ ★

An-Ember-in-the-Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir★ ★ ★ ★ ★

UntilFridayNight

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines★ ★ ★

9780857986474

Risk by Fleur Ferris★ ★ ★ ½

TROUJLH-hb-cover

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness★ ★ ★ ★ ½

eBooks 

24378015

Never Never Part One by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher★★★★½

neverneverpart2

Never Never Part Two by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher★ ★ ★ ★ ½

So glad I had such a great reading month. I really enjoyed majority of the books I read, and September having been a relatively busy month for me, I’m quite happy with the number of books I read too!

Thanks for reading!

Taryn xxx

Book Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

TROUJLH-hb-cover

Book: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: YA paranormal contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Find this book on Goodreads

Characters 

I quite liked the diversity of the characters in this novel. Our protagonist, Mikey, was loveable and sensible; he was by far my favourite. I feel as if most characters were likeable, however at times I really questioned what it was Mikey saw in Henna; she was annoying, she made some extremely stupid decisions, and she totally messed with Mikey’s head. Apart from those characteristics on Henna, I really liked reading about the rest of the characters.

Plot 

Now, going into this book I had no idea what to expect. Coming out of this book, I’m amazed. I love how easily Ness crafted this world with the indie kids. I loved the parallel plot lines, though I can’t say which I liked best. I would have loved to read about the indie kids, but I really enjoyed reading about the “normal” kids too! I was a little worried going into this book, as I’d read other reviewers saying this book was very boring and didn’t really have a plot, though after reading this I have no idea how anyone can say that. This wasn’t exactly fast paced, but it wasn’t slow paced either.

Writing 

Patrick Ness never fails to blow me away with his writing. He writes with such charisma and wit that you can’t help but love it. His writing  is humorous, even a little post-modern in this novel as it seems for much of the novel that our narrator Mikey is talking straight to us. Patrick Ness is honestly just a genius.

Overall thoughts and recommendation

Patrick Ness has done it again. He never fails to amaze me with his sheer brilliance at crafting an amazing story. I would definitely recommend this to existing Patrick Ness fans, but also to those who aren’t sure about him but want to read one of his books!

Thanks for reading!

Taryn xxx