2 Years On! | 10 Reasons I Love Blogging

I've now been blogging for two years… which is only kinda INSANE. And I thought about what I wanted to do to celebrate this, and I eventually decided to just write a post about why I love blogging so much. So, here are ten reasons I love blogging:

1) I've met so many amazing bookish people
Bookish people are awesome, it's official. I'm not going to list everyone (that would take forever!) but if you're a bookish person who I talk to loads, chances are you fall under this point!

2) Blogging has improved my writing
Compare my old posts from back in 2012 to my current ones and you'll notice the change in writing is dramatic (although, please don't read my old posts because, in retrospect, weren't great!). Blogging has helped me develop a writing style and I've found writing posts has became natural to me. Even now, as I'm writing this, I don't have to think about what comes next! For me, this is perhaps the most valuable asset I've gained from blogging.

3) I've read books I previously wouldn't have heard about
Blogging has introduced me to so many new books that, if I was not a blogger, I 100% wouldn't have known about. Perhaps that's just because blogging has encouraged me to read more reviews, but, I also hear from publishers about new releases and my Twitter feed is FULL of upcoming YA and adult novels.

4) There are ACTUAL people who read my ramblings 
It feels very odd to type this, but I have hundreds of followers, thousands of comments and hundreds of thousands of page views. Woah. Of course I'd still love blogging without all these stats, BUT, it is cool to know that there are ACTUAL people reading my reviews and random ramblings. I mean, given the amount of time I spend on this blog, it definitely makes everything seem worthwhile.

5) Blogging Inspires Creativity
I'm a creative person (as I hope I've demonstrated through some of my posts) and blogging is the perfect outlet for this creativity. I'm constantly striving towards creating original content and towards making each post more interesting that the last!

6) I've Created Content I'm Proud OF
A couple of posts I'm incredibly proud of writing are: My Daughter of Smoke and Bone reviews (#1, #2, #3), If Books Were Cupcakes, Which Classic [Graphic], YA Dystopias [infographic], Harry Potter Name Etymology & Why I Read Fantasy.

7) Blogging Introduced Me to Graphic Design
I'm by no means a pro graphic designer (far from!) but I really enjoy messing around with my blog design and graphics. One of the best parts of settling down to write a blog post is designing the graphics for it. And, given the fact that before blogging I was pretty much incapable of designing any image, this is one of the aspects of blogging I love the most!

8) I Get To RAMBLE About BOOKS
Books, just books. Books, books, books. I start this blog so I could talk non-stop about books and that's pretty much what I've achieved. BOOKS.

9) Blogging is fun. 
Just everything about it makes me smile. There's just something within the combination of chatting to bookish people and chatting about books that makes everything so FUN. I really enjoy blogging and – obviously – that's one of the reasons I love it.

10) Blogging Has Made Me Love Reading EVEN MORE
I wouldn't be blogging if I didn't love reading, but I can't blogging has made me love reading even more than I thought humanly possible. And I think this is because, whilst I'm reading a book, I know that once I'm finished I'll be able to ramble non-stop about the said book.

So that's it! There are ten reasons I love blogging! Do you blog? Why do you love it? If you don't blog, why on earth not?! And also, if you're reading this post, thank you for popping by my blogging across these past two years (even if this is the first time you've been on it!).

WRAP UP: August 2014

August was a great month – mainly because I spent the majority of it in Italy! I also discovered nutella ice cream is a thing (!), read a ton of books (a ridiculous amount) and had a small break from blogging (because I'd scheduled posts for while I was away). Here's my wrap up:

Books I Read This Month
  1. Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières
  2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  3. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  4. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
  5. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
  6. The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry
  7. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  8. Deathless by Cathrynne M. Valente
  9. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  10. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
  11. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
  12. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  13. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  14. Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
  15. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
As you can see, I read a LOAD of books this month. This is why it should be holidays all year round. Plus, all of the books I read were brilliant (mostly because I was saving all the books I was really anticipating for my holidays).

Summer Bookish Bingo Final Update

(Hover over for original). I think I did pretty well – I only missed off three!

Blog Posts Written This Month

1. Putting Together My Holiday TBR
2. DISCUSSION: I Am a Mood Reader
3. REVIEW: We Were Liars
4. 10 Reasons to Read Mistborn
5. BOOK COVER LOVE: All-Time Favourites
6. MINI REVIEWS: August 2014
7. BOOK HAUL: August 2014
8. DISCUSSION: The Value of Creativity
9. REVIEW: Deathless

For the most part, I'm happy with the quality of the posts I wrote this month. My favourites of which being my discussion about 'The Value of Creativity' and '10 Reasons to Read Mistborn'. Although, the majority of posts I wrote this month were ones scheduled for September…

Blog Posts I Loved From Other Blogs
Hawwa posted her review of Code Name Verity
Lucy sorted characters into Hogwarts houses
Kelley posted about writing in margins
Mel listed her top ten books she's not sure she wants to read
Georgia shared some books she picked up this month
Sandra discussed illustrations in books
Stacey showed us the books she has picked up recently

How was your August? I have to say, in terms of reading/blogging, mine was pretty amazing.

REVIEW: Deathless

Deathless is a book like no other; it's a remarkably seamless blend of Russian folklore and history, stained by blood and lust, breathed to life by a master storyteller. Deathless has no boundaries: the narrative a ghostly whisper, the theme of love flowing throughout like cold, running blood, the writing a mellifluous melody. Deathless is one to be treasured.

Author: Catherynne M. Valente | Publisher: Corsair | Pages: 352 | Source: Bought |
Goodreads | Amazon |

Child of the revolution, maiden of myth, bride of darkness.

A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and he is Marya's fate.

Koschei leads Marya to his kingdom, where she becomes a warrior in his tireless battle against his own brother, the Tsar of Death.

Years pass. Battle-hardened, scarred by love, and longing for respite, Marya returns to St Petersburg - only to discover a place as pitiful as the land she has just fled: a starveling city, haunted by death.

MY THOUGHTS: Set against the backdrop of Stalinist St. Petersburg, our story begins to uncurl. But Deathless isn't just one story. Whilst the book is deeply rooted in the tale of Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless, it branches further than that, each leaf a different element of Russian folklore. Within Deathless, Valente has reearthed an old tale in a way that it has never been told before.

Whilst Deathless reads like a fairytale, complete with the romance between Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless, it's coated in darkness, sprinkled with pain and anguish. Valente pushes the theme of love to its limits and the end result is one to marvel at.

And the writing style is so apt for a tale of such divine beauty. Textured, poetic, incomparable in its style: the writing is definitely a highlight. Valente's style is so distinct and unusual that Deathless really is one-of-a-kind.

"'We're home,' Marya sighed. 'This is home'
But Ivan went white and trembled in his long grey coat. He looked at the blood fountains gurgling and spraying. He looked at the braids lying along the eaves, the chapels with their skin doors and bone crosses, the gate of antler and skulls. He looked at the black domes of the Chernosvyat looming before them, all shadows.
'This is hell,' he whispered. Marya saw his hand twitch, longing to cross himself, keeping his fingers still for her sake alone – and she liked that, that in his horror he still wishes to please her.
"No, no, it's not like that. This is the Country of Life. It's all living, see? The blood and the skin and the bone and the fur. It's all alive. Nothing here is dead, nothing. It's beautiful."

Whilst Deathless won't be the book for everyone, I recommend to anyone and everyone who wants to read a fantasy novel that really captures the spirit of both Russian folklore and 20th century Russia. And that's it – I have no words left. I just wish I had written this book.

Favourite Quotations:    
“Let the truth be told: There is no virtue anywhere. Life is sly and unscrupulous, a blackguard, wolfish, severe. In service to itself, it will commit any offense. So, too, is Death possessed of infinite strategies and a gaunt nature—but also mercy, also grace and tenderness. In his own country, Death can be kind.”
“Magic does that. It wastes you away. Once it grips you by the ear, the real world gets quieter and quieter, until you can hardly hear it at all.”
“Chyerti—that’s us, demons and devils, small and big—are compulsive. We obsess. It’s our nature. We turn on a track, around and around; we march in step; we act out the same tales, over and over, the same sets of motions, while time piles up like yarn under a wheel. We like patterns. They’re comforting. Sometimes little things change—a car instead of a house, a girl not named Yelena. But it’s no different, not really. Not ever.”

In One Word?
You can probably tell from reading any of the quotations featured throughout this review that Deathless really is a special tale.

DISCUSSION: The Value of Creativity

When asked if I'm a creative person, I don't hesitate to say 'yes'. I strive towards being creative simply because creativity is a trait I value highly. And, whilst I'm not overtly wacky and original in a Luna Lovegood-esque way, I'm not shy when it comes to being as creative as possible.

Since a young age, I've dedicated a lot of time towards writing, doodling, sketching, painting, journalling and – of recent – blogging. Why? First and foremost, because I enjoy it, but also because creativity seems, to me, a necessity. And, if you were to ask me where its value lies, the easiest way to answer is this: where would we be without it? We'd have no books or art, no films or plays, no architecture, no fashion, no blogs, no photography… we'd have very little of any worth. And, to me, that's where the value of creativity lies.

Yet, despite the theory of stripping away all things creative to see what's left, creativity isn't physical. Creativity isn't an object. Creativity can't be touched. And yet it can be channelled into physical form through so many different means. Anything can be original, any task completed in a quirky manner with a small dose of creativity. And, to me, that's where the value of creativity lies.

And yet, you don't have to ration out creativity. You can't 'use up' all your creativity or be 'too creative'. Creativity is boundless. And, to me, that's where the value of creativity lies.

So, how much do you value creativity? Would you say you're a person who strives to be as creative as possible?

BOOK HAUL: August 2014

I didn't get as many books this month as I usually do, mostly because I was on holiday so didn't buy any. Plus, I already had a ton of books from the library so I didn't get from there either. So most of these books were sent for review. Here goes:

A LOVE LIKE BLOOD by Markus Sedgwick
I love Markus Sedgwick's books – they're just my cup of tea. Midwinterblood was wonderful (dark, blood-streaked, enigmatic) so, naturally, I can't wait to delve into his latest release. Also, I'm intrigued that this is his first adult novel – I'll definitely be reading this soon.
Anticipation factor: | Thank you to Mulholland Books for my review copy

I'll admit, this isn't my usual kind of read. BUT the concept is fascinating. As someone who owns a lot of well-loved, dog-eared, scribbled in books, I can't help but agree that sometimes it is the physical book itself that tells the better story. Plus, books about books? I think I'll enjoy this.
Anticipation factor: | Thank you to Hodder for my review copy

HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas
I did squeal a bit when I unwrapped the parcel to find this! If you've been reading Feed Me Books Now for a while, you'll know I'm a fan of this series. I mean, assassins, plot twists, royal balls, fantastic characters, mysteries – come on, it's got everything. I really, really cannot wait to delve into the latest instalment in Sarah J. Maas' series.
Anticipation factor: Thank you to Bloomsbury for my review copy

BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent
I stole borrowed this one from my mum & I've already read and loved it. Easily a new favourite historical fiction novel and one of my favourites historical fiction novels from 2014. Seriously, you need this book in your life. Meticulously researched and written with flair – I loved it.[Review coming soon].

I requested this book for review for one particular reason: I've yet to see any ratings or reviews of it. Sometimes, when you've read a lot of reviews of books, your views can be tainted, so, I thought it would be refreshing to go into a book with a completely clear mind.
Anticipation factor: | Thank you to Hodder for my review copy

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?