Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is:

~Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader~

To make this week’s topic a little easier to answer, I am going to give 5 reasons why I love being a blogger and 5 reasons why I love being a reader.

5 reasons why I love being a blogger:

  • The sense of personal accomplishment. I have always loved to read. I didn’t need any urging to pick up a book. However, having a blog has not only made the reading part even more fun (if that is possible!) it has also given me a great sense of accomplishment to not only read books but to review them and to also share my personal opinions on them and other book related topics.
  • Blogging has given me an outlet to express my opinion. It has also been somewhat cathartic – being able to express my views honestly, without holding back, has released a lot of pent-up feelings of emotion, frustration and anxiety. I have not had the easiest time of it the last couple of years so having a medium to vent or release my feelings about something is hugely satisfying.
  • The social aspect: I love interacting with other like-minded people. Joining Goodreads certainly broadened my horizons and allowed me to connect with other readers but since starting this blog last August I have met so many bloggers who share the same interests as me. I have always been pretty shy, so at first it was quite daunting reaching out to other bloggers, but over the last few months I have had a lot of fun discussions and have hopefully made some new friends.
  • Blogging has really given me a chance to be creative again. Not just with how I choose to write reviews and what to say but also the design of my blog (took ages to find one that really worked for me – I was constantly changing my theme for the first couple of months!) and the content of my posts. I love when inspiration hits and I get an idea of what would make a good topic for me to write about. I am not much of a ‘planner’ (which is strange since I have OCD and that revolves around following various rules and routines). I am more of a ‘pantser’ – inspiration strikes and I usually just follow it through. Before I had my blog I had no outlet to express this side of my personality.
  • Following on from above, the fact that people are reading my thoughts encourages me to keep being creative. If I want to entertain or engage any of my followers (or potential followers) I have to keep this inspiration flowing. Knowing that I have an audience really encourages me to keep thinking up new ideas. I am forever jotting down potential topics and although many will never see the light of day, I love having that impetus there to keep the creative juices flowing (urgh did I really just say that – I’ve always hated that expression but nothing else seemed to fit!).

5 reasons why I love being a reader:

  • The most obvious reason is the sense of escapism that reading provides. Sure, a movie can let me escape my humdrum life for awhile, so too can listening to music, but nothing allows me to completely unplug the way a book can.
  • I also love getting swept up in a good book. I am primarily an emotional reader, I love to connect with a story and characters. I become very emotionally involved when I become invested in a book or series of books. I love that feeling of attachment. I once had a book mark that said ‘a good book is like a good friend’ – it has always been so for me.
  • Reading has greatly expanded my knowledge of the world. It sounds a bit trite but I do not think I would be the person I am today without books. I love learning and I really thrived in an academic environment. I think  I have the books I read as a youth to thank for this love of learning and academia. Reading is something I have always done for pleasure so it was never a hardship for me. Likewise, reading novels (any type really) is a way for me to keep this learning process going. I would hate to feel stagnant.
  • My vocabulary has grown immensely. There were a couple of years where I did very little reading and I found myself having difficulty really expressing myself. Now I feel much more verbose (some people might argue that this is not a good thing!) and find it easier to converse whether in written form or conversation. This links back to me being very shy which I mentioned above. Works have always been difficult for me due to near-crippling shyness (and maybe a touch of social phobia).
  • This is a biggie – to be able to experience new things. I live vicariously through my reading. One of my favourite books last year was Wanderlove. It was about a girl finding herself on a backpacking trip through Central America. I think it is very unlikely I will experience this myself (it is not impossible but I cannot see it happening for many reasons not least my OCD would make it extremely hard for me). I got to experience that wonder through the pages of the book and that is probably the most enjoyable thing about reading for me. I will never travel to Middle-Earth or Narnia. I will never go to Hogwarts. Yet reading the books made me feel as if I was there. It is a truly magical experience.

For more Top Ten Tuesday topics, check out the host site: The Broke and The Bookish

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Most Romantic Books You’ve Ever Read

valentine's day challengeHosted by Rachel at Parajunkee

Well this challenge looks like a lot of fun – too bad I’ve practically missed the whole thing! Ah well, never too late right?…Right?…Totally!

Here are my choices for the most romantic books I have ever read (in no particular order):

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Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

>>>

What are your most romantic reads?

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Top Reads of 2013

I must apologise once again for not having posted in some time. I have been going though some tough times in my personal life which has not given me any real time for blogging. I am hoping to rectify this at some point but for now, here are my top reads of 2013.

10: Angelfall by Susan Ee

angelfallSo many people have raved about this book I half-expected it to be a complete disappointment. Luckily (for me) it turned out to be an exciting, adrenaline-filled rush of a book – one I simply could not put down. Penryn was a great protagonist and I really ended up loving Raffe, the ‘fallen’ angel who becomes her companion when Penryn has to save her younger sister Paige from the clutches of a group of angels intent on harming her. 

9: The Tied Man by Tabitha McGowan

tied manThe Tied Man was an enthralling, unnerving and intense read. I felt positively battered when I got to the end of this book but it was well worth the emotional turmoil it put me through. This was a very dark read but was also incredibly emotionally satisfying.

8: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

speechI thoroughly enjoyed Speechless and thought its overall message was a positive one. Protagonist Chelsea learns the hard way the damage passing on a seemingly harmless piece of gossip can cause. Seeing her go from being a rather thoughtless, unlikable character to one with remarkable strength and courage was a joy to read.

7: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

sweetThis book gutted me. I think it is one of the most heart-breaking books I have ever read. Managing to be both bleak and yet somehow hopeful – this book has stayed with since I first read it. This was my first Sara Zarr novel – it will definitely not be my last.

6: If I Die by Rachel Vincent

if i dieI loved the whole Soul Screamers series but this entry (book 5 of 7) was my favourite. This is where the stakes are truly raised for protagonist Kaylee Cavanaugh. When Kaylee discovers what fate awaits her, she finds herself turning to an unlikely source for help and comfort (and as a total fangirl of this pairing I couldn’t help but squee at this development!!). This was my favourite book series read this year and If I Die was the most exciting and emotional installment.

5: Dark Space by Lisa Henry

dark spaceLisa Henry is a new author for me. I was totally blown away by Dark Space – a truly fantastic space opera saga (and I am overjoyed to find out a sequel is now in the works!!). It was creepy and intense and had an almost claustrophobic atmosphere (being set primarily in a space station on the edge of alien territory) yet at the same time it managed to convey a sweetly compelling love story. The protagonists Brady and Cameron are two very different young men but the bond that grows between them was lovely to behold, even if there was an overwhelming sense of impending doom clouding their developing romance.

4: Sins & Needles by Karina Halle

sinsKarina Halle was another new discovery for me this year. Sins & Needles was the first book written by her that I read. I immediately tore through Karina Halle’s entire back catalogue once I had finished reading this.  Although overall I think I may prefer her Experiment in Terror series, I was totally sucked into this book and I loved the main character Ellie Watt. Her flaws made her seem all the more real and relatable to me (also Camden is one of the hottest love interests I have ever read – definitely my book boyfriend of the year – move over Adrian Ivashkov!!).

3: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

jellicoeI had a bit of a Melina Marchetta book fest last year. I read all of her catalogue – except for this book – which I had heard from reliable sources was the best of all her works. I could not convey eloquently enough in words just how brilliant this book is. I would urge anyone who has not already read this to seek it out. It is a fantastic, beautiful, if somewhat initially confusing read. I saved it for a time when I most felt I needed to read it – and the book did not disappoint.

2: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

wanderloveI adored this book with the strength of a hundred fiery suns. I stated in my original review that it is probably one of the best, if not the very best, YA novels I have ever read. I loved the story of Bria, a young girl who finds herself on a journey through Central America, and her friendship and eventual romance with Rowan, a young wanderer she meets on her travels. An evocative and inspirational book – I could not put it down. When I finished reading I almost wished I hadn’t read it yet so I could discover it all over again.

1: Suicide Watch by Kelley York

suicideThe number one spot was a close call for me but in the end I had to go with Kelley York’s Suicide Watch. This book has left a lasting impression on me and I have actually re-read it several times already this year. This book made me feel – it completely and utterly captivated me. It manages to be both depressing yet completely uplifting at the same time. Suicide Watch is a truly beautiful story that will haunt me for a long, long time.

Honourable mentions:

These books just fell short of my top ten but were exceptional reads that I would wholly recommend:

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Crush by Laura Susan Johnson
Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater