My Problem With Bookstagram

My Problem With Bookstagram |

I love bookstagram (bookstagram being bookish things on Instagram). I love posting book photos and I love talking to people about books. But there is one thing about it that annoys me. And that is the bookstagram aesthetic. You’ll probably know what I’m talking about. All those lovely flat lays featuring a book along with a fluffy blanket, maybe a cup of tea or a fancy bookmark (usually featuring some funny quote about reading). A candle or fairy lights and various other bits of ephemera that is somehow related to the book.

Now I should point out I love these photos, the thing that annoys me is I want to achieve that effect and can’t. I don’t have lots of fluffy blankets and candles and interesting things. I have a white sheet and some funkos. I don’t even really have bookmarks (unless you would count a train ticket as a bookmark). Now the thing that annoys me about this aesthetic is that I can’t achieve it with what I have so part of me wants to buy stuff so I can.

And that is totally ridiculous. I’m annoyed at myself more than anything because I want to spend money on things I wouldn’t normally buy so I can get internet karma. Those little hearts and comments aren’t worth the money I would spend on those accessories. But I want my photos to look as good as possible and part of me thinks that spending money on stuff would make them look better. Which is silly. Really silly.

Edit: After writing this post I spent £2 on a packet of die-cut snowflakes just to use in Instagram photos. I’ll show myself out.

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Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Goldenhand by Garth Nix |

Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Format: Hardback
Published: 4th October 2016
Book Depository | Goodreads

Lirael is no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian. She is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with Dead creatures to battle and Free Magic entities to bind. She’s also a Remembrancer, wielder of the Dark Mirror. Lirael lost one of her hands in the binding of Orannis, but now she has a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic.

When Lirael finds Nicholas Sayre lying unconscious after being attacked by a hideous Free Magic creature, she uses her powers to save him. But Nicholas is deeply tainted with Free Magic. Fearing it will escape the Charter mark that seals it within his flesh and bones, Lirael seeks help for Nick at her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier.

This is not going to be an impartial review. The Old Kingdom series has been one of my favourite book series since I was about 8. So you should really know that before reading this review. But you should also know that I was genuinely terrified to read this book incase it didn’t live up to my expectations.

Okay so if you haven’t heard of the Old Kingdom series before this is a set of fantasy books set in a world where one part of the world is like normal 21st century and the other half is magic. It has this really interesting magic system where magic is literally drawn in the air. The whole series focuses on the current Abhorsen, this is a necromancer tasked with protecting the world from dead creatures and various other bad things.

I should point out that the magic system is my favourite thing about this series. First of all you have the charter marks (magic) that can be used and imbedded into things to give them magical properties (swords for example). We have dead things that can come back from the dead and a necromancer who has to protect everyone from the dead things. They do that with a series of magical bells that can control the dead things. And there is the fact that death is an actual place the necromancers, it’s explained as being a river but there are various levels to ‘death’ which people go through before finally arriving at the ‘ninth gate’ where they die the final death.

Goldenhand is the fifth book in this series and it is a direct sequel to Abhorsen which was the third book (the fourth book was set 500 years before the others). The thing you have to understand is Abhorsen was released in 2003 and I read it around then. So I have basically been waiting 13 years for this book. I’ve been waiting so long for this book I basically gave up hope of there ever being a sequel to Abhorsen. So I had extremely high expectations for this, not only because I’ve been waiting a long time for it. But this has to come after the huge finale in Abhorsen which saw the main characters destroying literally the most evil thing to have ever existed in this universe. And I’m amazed to say it lived up to those expectations.

I really don’t want to give away any spoilers for this book and series as a whole and thats difficult to seeing as how it’s the fifth book. But here are my favourite non-spoilery things about it.

The main character is a strong independent woman who don’t need no man (this could be said about the whole series). Okay so this book is about her falling in love but thats okay because we have seen Lireal grow as a character over the last two books and she went from being a shy librarian to a kick ass necromancer who literally saved the universe. Even the whole falling in love thing is fine because it fits with her story. This love isn’t something that came out of nowhere, Nix was hinting at it in the last book. And it fits with her growing up and learning how to cope with her new role.

Even after 5 books the dead still feel scary. In these books the dead are basically zombies that are repelled by water. They take lots of different shapes though are sometimes actual dead bodies whose spirits were brought back to life by a necromancer. Over the last 5 books there have been numerous times where our main character was being chased by some type of dead creature and that could start to get a little boring because you always know it’s going to be okay in the end. But Nix still manages to make those moments scary and you actually fear for the characters life.

The stories all tie in together. Even Clariel which is set 500 years earlier ties into the storyline set during the current restoration. The short story from To Hold The Bridge sets up a place in this book. Even the story world book day story The Creature In The Case ties into the series as a whole. Thats the thing that makes me want to go back and read the full series all over again every time a new book is released because there are always little nods in the other books to whats happening. I don’t know if Garth Nix puts those things in intentionally for future books or if he goes back later and try to tie things into his new book. But either way it always makes rereading the series fun.

Basically you should read this book if it even slightly sounds like something you might enjoy. These are technically young adult books because they are about young people learning to grow up. But you can enjoy them at any age. In fact I think that is the best thing about this series. I loved it as a kid and it still holds up when I reread them as an adult.

I’ve just written all this and realised it’s more a review of the series as a whole rather than specifically Goldenhand. But it’s so difficult to review because so much of it is based on previous books.

Anyway here is a reading list if you want to get started out on the series:

To Hold The Bridge

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Killing My TBR

Killing My TBR |

I have recently realised that I have a crap tonne of unread books on my shelves and I think I need to do something about that. So what I have decided to do is post every month about the exact number of unread books I currently own and you guys get to yell at me if it has gone up.

My current stats are: 187 total unread books

Split into: 145 physical books and 40 ebooks. 

My goal: 10 books.

And I’m going to reduce this by:

Not buying so many books

Kind of an obvious one to start with. My whole problem is I’m buying more books in a month than what I’m reading. During the summer I committed to buying 1 book for every 3 books I read and that seemed to work really well so I will start that again.

Request less books on Netgalley

This is the really big one. Not that I have been requesting many books on Netgalley, the problem is I don’t read/review all the books I get so then end up sitting on my Kindle for months and months.

Not get caught up in hype

This is one of the big problems about book blogs/ book tube. Sometimes there is a book everyone starts talking about and you feel you need to read it because everyone else is reading it. I really try to not get caught up in all the hype but it has happened a few times this year that I’ve bought a book purely because everyone is talking about it.

Get rid of unwanted books

I don’t mind donating or selling my unwanted books. I do a big unhaul at the start of every year. But I usually like to finish the book before I get rid of it which means I have many half finished books that I don’t particularly like and also don’t want to get rid of because I haven’t finished them.

I haven’t been doing my usually monthly wrap ups for a while now since I hadn’t been reading much over the summer. But I am bringing them back and will be changing up the format slightly. I’ll still do my book reviews but I’m going to do a mini wrap up of what happened on the blog and in my life and as part of that will update on how my TBR is getting on. Hopefully.

If anyone else wants to join in you totally should. Let me know in the comments.

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Can I Really Do This?

Can I Really Do This? |
More playing with a scanner in class today. Its actually good fun.

I am finding myself becoming increasingly frustrated with my CFS. I have so many different things I want to be working on just now (some of which I’m actually getting paid for) and I can’t because I’m so tired. This is mostly because I’m back at college and college work is more important than my personal projects. But it’s annoying because my CFS affects how much I am able to do day to day and week to week.

And it’s now at the point where I’m seriously thinking about whether I can do this as an actual career. For a long time I thought that doing some sort of freelance work would be the best. I thought it would be easier that way to work around my varying health. But now I’m starting to realise that having CFS could actually make working freelance even harder. The college course I’m on is set up almost exactly how you would find it in an actual design studio. We don’t have specific classes we have projects that we are given a specific amount of time to work on. This may be a week or it could even be a month.

But this means that getting the project finish for the hand in date is really important because thats how it would be in the real work. You can’t go to an actual client and be all “sorry the work wasn’t finished on time cause I had a sore throat”. But the thing is you can kind of do that in college, you’re not really supposed to but you can. And my CFS makes hitting those deadlines really difficult. But it’s something I have to do cause thats how it will be in the real world.

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Hogwarts In Minecraft

Hogwarts In Minecraft |

So I was talking to Tasha recently about Minecraft because she read a book set in Minecraft and that reminded me of that time I tried to build Hogwarts in Minecraft (if you haven’t heard of it before Minecraft is a survival/creative game where you can build and make lots of different things).

Hogwarts In Minecraft |

This was a project that I spent maybe 2 years working on and I really enjoyed it because it was so difficult. Part of the problem was that the actual Hogwarts layout changes quite a bit as the Harry Potter series went on (I based my castle on the movie version of Hogwarts because thats the iconic castle).

Hogwarts In Minecraft |

The whole design of the castle is really interesting, most of what you may consider iconic parts were actually added in Prisoner of Azkaban. In particular the clock tower and massive wooden bridge (that got blown up quite spectacularly in Deathly Hallows).

I don’t think this is a project I’m ever going to finish but I had so much fun with it because I got to add in all the tiny details. I got to build Firenze’s classroom and make it look it it was outside. The kitchens are under the great hall and the tables in the kitchens are directly under the tables in the great hall. I built Fred and George’s swamp in one corridor and hidden away there is a memorial to Dobby.

Hogwarts In Minecraft |

I even built the Chamber of Secrets (yes you do enter through the girls bathroom) and there is actually a hidden tunnel in the giant statue’s mouth (which takes you to a library because it’s almost fanon that Salazar Slytherin has a hidden library in the Chamber of Secrets). And of course there are many many hidden passages because that’s just the sort of thing you want in a magical castle and Minecraft makes it easy to do.

Hogwarts In Minecraft |

And then there was that one time my best friend decided to blow it up because of course he did.

Hogwarts In Minecraft |

If you were waiting for a moment to call me a nerd that time is now.

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