8 Series To Binge Watch After You Read The Raven Cycle

It’s been almost two weeks since I finished The Raven King, the last book in Maggie Stiefvater’s beautiful and magical The Raven Cycle. If you haven’t read The Raven Boys and its successors, I urge you to go out and pick it up right now. The series follows a group of teenagers who live in the fictional small town of Henrietta, Virginia. In search of a Welsh King, the group discovers that Henrietta is more magical than they ever dreamed, but the powerful magic also attracts dangerous elements and creatures to the town too that they must face.

If you’re like me and still hung up on The Raven King, here are eight amazing televisions series you can binge-watch right now to quell the longing. Similarly to The Raven Cycle, all of these series have fantastic characters, beautiful world building, and more magic than they can contain. (Black Mirror focuses more on technology and science, but science is magic. Some of the devices the writers came up with could be right out of the Greywaren’s dreams!) Yes, I have actually watched all of these shows and I love every single one of them immensely.

Keep reading to discover your next favorite show.

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5 Great Books That Will Inspire Wanderlust

The following post is a guest post written by the lovely Caroline from Culture Coverage. In the midst of my hiatus while traveling, I thought this would be a fitting piece to post now! Enjoy!

One of the most beautiful things about books is their power to transport you to another place, time or even universe. Through the adventures of others, we can vicariously explore worlds that often don’t even exist. However, unfortunately sharing these epic journeys with our favorite characters often gives us our own case of itchy feet.

These five enchanting novels are not only excellent reads; they are also sure to give you severe wanderlust. Encapsulating both the spirit of travel, with an actual physical journey, each of these books is sure to have you packing your bags, buying tickets and jetting off into the horizon.

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Top Ten Tuesday #2: Most Underrated Books

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic was Top Ten Books With Less Than 2,000 Ratings. I altered it a bit to my Top Ten Eight Underrated Books.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
↳ Read more at Goodreads.
“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.

 

 

 

Pitch Black by Steven Sidor
↳ Read more at Goodreads.
It’s Christmas Eve, and Vera Coffey is on the run. She doesn’t know the men who are after her. She has never seen them before,but she has seen the horrors they visit on people who don’t give them what they want. Vera has something they want badly. She’d give it up if it weren’t the only thing keeping her alive. With a thriller so fast-paced that it’s impossible to let go and an ominous sense that everything is destined to go wrong, Pitch Dark is an intense read from a master of suspense.

 

The Hollow City by Dan Wells
↳ Read more at Goodreads.
Michael Shipman is paranoid schizophrenic; he suffers from hallucinations, delusions, and complex fantasies of persecution and horror. That’s bad enough. But what can he do if some of the monsters he sees turn out to be real? Who can you trust if you can’t even trust yourself? The Hollow City is a mesmerizing journey into madness, where the greatest enemy of all is your own mind.

 

 

The Pigman by Paul Zindell

↳ Read more at Goodreads.
When sophomores John and Lorraine played a practical joke a few months ago on a stranger named Angelo Pignati, they had no idea what they were starting. Virtually overnight, almost against their will, the two befriended the lonely old man; it wasn’t long before they were more comfortable in his house than their own. But now Mr. Pignati is dead. And for John and Lorraine, the only way to find peace is to write down their friend’s story – the story of the Pigman.

 

I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
↳ Read more at Goodreads.
John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential. He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

 

 

The Complete Perseopolis by Marjane Satrapi
↳ Read more at Goodreads.
Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland.

 

The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
↳ Read more at Goodreads.
Ghetto-born, Winter is the young, wealthy daughter of a prominent Brooklyn drug-dealing family. Quick-witted, sexy, and business-minded, she knows and loves the streets like the curves of her own body. But when a cold Winter wind blows her life in a direction she doesn’t want to go, her street smarts and seductive skills are put to the test of a lifetime. Unwilling to lose, this ghetto girl will do anything to stay on top.

 

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharpe
↳ Read more at Goodreads.
SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Note: I’m aware this novel is very popular because of the movie, but I don’t know a lot of people who have actually read the book. I urge you: READ THE BOOK!

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June Rewind: Book Haul, Reviews, & Recap

Okay, I’m going to attempt to do my first ever wrap up post which consist of books I received this month, a recap of posts from this month, and a little lifestyle update (i.e. just talking about my boring life), and a little look into what’s ahead for July, including my tbr.

Book Haul

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First, let’s start with all the physical books that I picked up or were sent to me this month. I grabbed the Harry Potter: The Creature Vault when it was on sale at Book Outlet. It’s SO beautiful. I can’t wait to be able to take beautiful pictures of it with the rest of my Harry Potter books and merchandise. Then, I got Hamilton: The Revolution, or the Hamiltome, from eBay for only $18. I’m in love with it. Yes, I have been practicing all of Angelica’s scenes.  I bought Friday Night Lights, L.A. Candy, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines, The Darkest Evening of the Year, and Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation from the thrift store for a whopping $4.50.  Not pictured, but I also picked up The Square Root of Summer on sale at Target. Last, I received five physical books free from authors and publishers for review: The Killing Jar by RS McCoy, Gifted by J.A. George, and Just A Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre;  not pictured, Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine.

It was also a great month for my Kindle. I bought a ton on Amazon because there were so many great sales and I received a lot of e-ARCs from NetGalley.

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e-ARCs From Netgalley

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3 Reasons Why You Should Read The Killing Jar

Happy Book Birthday to RS McCoy’s The Killing Jar! You can pick up her new sci-fi romance at Amazon and other booksellers today!

Author: RS McCoy
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Release Date: June 28, 2016

Blurb: Earth is dying, circling the drain on life support. The future of the human race depends on space exploration, but they’re running out of time. Parasitic insects are systematically killing the best scientific minds but no one knows why.

Mable Wilkinson is the last hope to figure it out, she just doesn’t know it yet. For years, her resourcefulness, intelligence, and penchant for problem-solving have put her at the top of a very short list of researchers, only she doesn’t want to be part of it.

Cast out at sixteen, Mable wrote off the problems of the world long ago. Now, her focus is on Hadley, her adopted little sister, and teaching her to survive in the cut-throat underground. Instead, both Mable and Hadley fall into the hands of the program’s recruiter, Silas Arrenstein, and he’s determined to have one of them. Mable can join up with the man and program who killed her brother, or she can leave Hadley to the same fate.

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Hamilton Book Tag

Thank you to Melanie over at It’s A Bookish Thing for tagging me in the Hamilton Book Tag way back in March. (I know, right? I’m such a terrible blogger.) Anyway, like most of America, I’m straight #Hamiltrash. Go ahead and throw me in the gutter. I’ll never apologize for my obsession. If you have somehow avoided this amazing musical, I urge you to stop depriving yourself of greatness. After that amazing sweep at the Hamil…Tony Awards and in celebration of finally purchasing my very own ticket to see the play, I’m more than motivated to do this post. Without further ado, here are my book picks for the Hamilton book tag. I’ll leave you to it!

THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS: Book world you would put yourself in…

The Raven BoysIf I could exist in any book world, I’d find myself at 300 Fox Way. I love the world that Maggie Stiefvater created in The Raven Cycle. I love all the characters. The things about The Raven Cycle world is that it’s not an apocalyptic or dystopian. It’s very grounded in reality, but with just the right touch of magic.

THE SCHUYLER SISTERS: Underrated female character…

infernaldevices

Cassandra Clare is without a doubt one of the most famous authors in the young adult fantasy realm right now, but most of the attention and adoration is given to The Mortal Instruments and Clary, however, I feel that Tessa [Gray] from the Infernal Devices is the absolute most badass and strong female in the whole Shadowhunter world. I’ll admit that when I first started reading the series, Tessa was a bit irritating because she was really proper and lady-like in Victorian times and she’s just, “Oh my God. A girl in pants! THE HORROR!” I was like, “Stop.” But she quickly turned into a super warrior and unlike Clary, she does what she needs to do for the good of the world and Shadowhunters. She doesn’t risk the lives of millions just to save one person she loves.

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D.K. Stone’s Top 5 Writing Tricks

Today, Danika Stone, author of the recently released mystery novel Edge of Wild (Stonehouse Publishing) and the upcoming young adult contemporary novel All the Feels (Macmillan), joins the blog to help inspire and guide all of you aspiring writers out there. Keep reading as Danika shares her top five writing tricks!

Everyone likes to give advice. (Writers even more than usual!) We just don’t like to follow it. So when I was asked to write a post on my top five writing tricks, I really had to think about what  was going to say. What works for me won’t necessarily work for everyone. But there are little things that may translate.

Writing can be a solitary, difficult process, but it’s so incredible when it comes together. This is how I survive to that point:

1. Be a slave to schedule.  The only way to write fifty thousand words is to sit down and write fifty thousand words. Make a plan (a page, a paragraph or a scene a day) and don’t let yourself stop until you reach it.

2. Your first draft is terrible times a million. Accept it. Move on.  I wish I could tell you some secret to writing better or faster, and not having to edit it a hundred times over, but if there is one, I don’t have it. (Go ask Stephen King.)

3. Forget that the process will ever end.  You may write this book, query it, and get nowhere. You might write a first draft and have it picked up by an agent the next day. Worrying about which one will happen hinders your process. Just. Write.

4. Hone your skills by helping others.  You are short of time. I get that. (I really do!) But helping others by beta-reading, copy-editing and otherwise assisting doesn’t just help them, it helps you. You see what works and what doesn’t, and your writing is polished without even picking up a pen.

5. Trust that you can.  Don’t listen to those people who tell you to ‘be rational’. Don’t believe the haters who rip apart your stories. Forget all the rejections. Writing is hard enough without letting your own brain belittle your love of words. So force on the rose-colored glasses and fake it until you make it. You really can be anything you want because you’re the one writing the story.

Trust me on that. You CAN.

D.K. Stone

Biography:

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both adults (Edge of Wild, The Intaglio Series and Ctrl Z) and teens (All the Feels). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada. Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

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Top Ten Books I Don’t Gush About Enough!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week I present to you a list of ten books and series that I loved, but I don’t talk about nearly enough! Have you read any of these novels? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

10.) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye

“…the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.”

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

Rating: 5/5
Comment: I’m not a huge fan of classics, so I was a bit skeptical going into The Catcher in the Rye, but I absolutely fell in love with Holden Caulfield. He’s a poster boy for the misanthropic, angst ridden youth of the world, which means he’s a character I could fully relate to when I read it.

09.) Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Shiver

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Rating: 5/5
Comment: Shiver was the first novel that I read by Maggie Stiefvater and it instantly catapulted her onto the list of my favorite authors. The world of Mercy Falls is so beautiful, and the characters, whether in human or wolf form, inspire you to love them or hate them. One of Maggie Stiefavater’s gifts is writing completely intriguing novels that are merited completely on character development and little to no major action. Not to say that nothing happens in this series, because it does, but nothing really happens…if that makes sense. Shiver is the first in the trilogy, followed by Linger and Forever. Sinner, which features two characters from the series, is a companion novel.

08.) Prodigal Son (Frankenstein #1) by Dean Koontz
Prodigal Son

Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein — the author’s first literary series — is a nightmare-inspiring, modern-day retelling of Mary Shelley’s 1818 horror classic. Coauthored with Kevin J. Anderson, the first installment in this four-volume saga pits a reanimated giant and two tenacious police detectives against the demented scientist who created him.

It’s no surprise that Deucalion, at almost seven feet tall and with half his face a mangled ruin, spent time as a European carnie sideshow attraction nicknamed the Monster. After enjoying several peaceful years at a monastery in Tibet, the introspective and enigmatic giant receives dire news: The man who created him centuries earlier, Victor Frankenstein, is inexplicably alive and living in New Orleans under the name of Victor Helios, a wealthy business owner and philanthropist. When Deucalion vows to leave his Tibetan sanctuary and destroy the man who created him, he soon realizes the critical magnitude of his mission — Helios is in the process is secretly creating a new race of posthumans to take over the world!

As is par for the course in many fiction sagas, readers should be prepared for a cliff-hanger of monumental proportions at the conclusion of Prodigal Son. Koontz and Anderson, however, masterfully set the table for a virtual feast of hideous twists and turns, nightmarish monstrosities, and nonstop action in upcoming installments. Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein, in which a man transforms himself into a monster and a monster learns what it’s like to be human, is an absolutely brilliant rendition of the Shelley classic — a horror tour de force.

Rating: 5/5
Comments: Dean Koontz’s take on Frankenstein is amazing! All three of the original novels in this series are thrilling and action-packed. I loved Decaulion, I loved the detectives, and I even was quite fond of Frankenstein himself and his grand delusions to take over the world. There are actually 5 novels in the entire series, but I wasn’t as big of a fan of the last 2 but they’re still worth reading if you decide to jump into this series.

07.) The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Pigman

When sophomores John and Lorraine played a practical joke a few months ago on a stranger named Angelo Pignati, they had no idea what they were starting. Virtually overnight, almost against their will, the two befriended the lonely old man; it wasn’t long before they were more comfortable in his house than their own. But now Mr. Pignati is dead. And for John and Lorraine, the only way to find peace is to write down their friend’s story – the story of the Pigman.

Rating: 4/5
Comment: “You don’t remember what people do, you remember how they make you felt.” That’s the best description I can give for this book. To be honest, I do need to read it again. This was a dreaded assigned reading in high school, but I remember being deeply engrossed and loving this novel back then, even though I don’t remember why or what happens.

06.)The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapri
The Complete Persepolis

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

Rating: 5/5
Comment: The Complete Persepolis is actually a graphic novel and it’s an inspiring and entertaining autobiography of Marjane Satrapri’s life. It is a definite MUST READ. I love Satrapri’s voice and her strength.

05.) Pitch Dark by Steven Sidor
Pitch Dark

It’s Christmas Eve, and Vera Coffey is on the run. She doesn’t know the men who are after her. She has never seen them before, but she has seen the horrors they visit on people who don’t give them what they want. Vera has something they want badly. She’d give it up if it weren’t the only thing keeping her alive.

The Larkins have known the toll violence takes on a family ever since they were trapped in a madman’s shooting rampage. They’ve been coping with the trauma for nearly twenty years. Now, on a cold and lonely winter morning, Vera collapses at their roadside motel. And she’s brought something with her. Together they’ll have to make one last stand against an evil that has followed them further than anyone could’ve imagined.

With a thriller so fast-paced that it’s impossible to let go and an ominous sense that everything is destined to go wrong, Pitch Dark is an intense read from a master of suspense.

Rating: 4/5
Comment: Pitch Dark starts off at a slow pace, but it’s ridiculously intriguing and it begs you to keep turning the page to find out what happens. It’s very suspenseful and everything you can ask for in a good horror novel.

04.) My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking
My Blood Approves

Teenager Alice Bonham’s life feels crazy after she meets Jack. With his fondness for pink Chuck Taylors and New Wave, he’s unlike anyone she knows. Then she meets his brother, Peter. Even though he can’t stand the sight of her, she’s drawn to him. Falling for two guys isn’t even the worst of her problems. Jack and Peter are vampires, and Alice finds herself caught between love and her own blood.

Rating:3/5
Comment: It’s no secret that I love Twilight, and if I had to recommend any series to another Twilight lover, it would be the My Blood Approves series. This is another series that I devoured in only a few days. Is it a masterpiece? Absolutely not. But as with Twilight, there’s just something about the characters and the story that sucks you in and won’t let you escape.

03.) The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
The Spectacular Now

SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.

Rating: 4/5
Comment: Holy crap! I LOVED this book! I can’t even remember now why I didn’t give it 5 stars. I may need to adjust that rating. Anyway, I picked up The Spectacular Now because the movie was getting such rave reviews and I really, really wanted to watch it, but not before reading the novel. This thing broke me! It’s so beautiful and funny and heartbreaking. It’s worth mentioning, the movie was a huge disappointment after finishing this beautiful novel.

02.) Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas, #1) by Dean Koontz
Odd Thomas

“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.

Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different.

A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares, and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

Rating: 5/5
Comment: I could not recommend this series enough!!! Odd Thomas is one of my all-time favorite characters and my heart won’t even let me finish the series because I have a feeling it doesn’t end well for him. Odd is an extraordinary young man with a unique and hilarious voice in spite of all the danger and weirdness that he goes through on a daily basis. I love his adventures, the characters, and the villains and ghouls in all of these books. I would definitely recommend heading to your local thrift store or used book store and picking all of them up.

01.) I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver, #1) by Dan Wells
I Am Not A Serial Killer

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat—and to appreciate what that difference means.

Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Dan Wells’s debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.

Rating: 5/5
Comment: I actually talk about this series a lot, but I still don’t talk about it enough! I LOVE JOHN CLEAVER! I’m super excited because the I Am Not A Serial Killer movie debuted at the 2016 SXSW to rave reviews which means that it will probably find a studio home sooner rather than later, and more people will finally find and read this amazing series. It’s refreshing to have a leading man who’s not perfect or saintly and defies all the norms of a typical young adult protagonist. John Cleaver isn’t the anti-hero that the world needs; he’s the anti-hero we deserve.

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Bookish Tips: Beautiful Bookstagram Staging

Most young bookworms, like myself, are fascinated with bookstagram and booklr. The sheer amount of accounts that pop up daily is astounding, and I say the more, the better. The great thing about bookstagram is that almost no two accounts are the same. Even though you may see a plethora of the same books, everyone’s staging is unique. If you’re looking to start or improve your bookstagram photos, here’s a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

FIND A NATURAL LIGHT SOURCE

Have you ever taken a photograph outside and been absolutely amazed at how crisp and professional it looks? Well, natural lighting creates the same effects for your bookish photos too. If you can, go outside and take pictures. If you’re like me and live in an apartment in the big city, you may not have the space to go set up outside, so open up those windows and let the light in. (If your window is obscured by another tall building, again, like mine, you’ll get the best natural lighting between noon and 3 when the sun is the highest.)

Take a look at the two photos below. The first I took late one day after work. I really wanted to keep up with my daily book challenge, so I sacrificed natural light and did my best by turning on all the lights in my apartment. The second photo is a reshoot that I took the next afternoon, using natural light near an open window. It’s the same books, same props, same background, and I even arranged the books and props almost identically. Look at the difference. The first photo is yellow and dark and grainy, while the second photo is very light, crisp, clean, and colorful.Artificial vs Natural Lighting

CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND

Background is a little more simple. My personal favorites are either the torn out pages from an old poetry book, or a plain white background. Most bookstagrammers have a theme and they stick to it. I say try out a bunch of different themes and eventually you will find something that you love. My feed is a reflection of me, which is code for, “It’s a mess.”  But it’s my mess, and I love it.

SET UP YOUR PROPS AND STAGING

The last key to staging a beautiful photo is choosing what props you will use, or maybe you’re going to keep it clean and simple and have no props. Popular props include flowers and candles, bookish related mugs and pillows,  postcards, artwork, and art supplies. It really is amazing the things that bookstagrammers use as props though. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find beautiful things. All of my flowers are artificial bouquets purchased from the Dollar Tree… actually, all of my props come from the Dollar Tree or Target’s One Spot. I really try to buy items that I can and will use in my everyday life and decor, not just as props for a photo (notice that my candles have been lit).  If you are using props, especially a lot to get the messy effect like I use, try to make your props and books as cohesive and coordinated as possible. If there’s red books in the photo, I like to use my red and white flowers and props. If there are yellow books, or yellow accent in the book covers, I like to use my yellow flowers and props–you get the idea.  If you are using a background with a bold pattern or color, it’s really going to make coordinating your books and props harder though, so keep that in mind.

Most importantly, follow other bookstagrammers and booklrs that you admire. Take note of their techniques and try to emulate [but not steal] their style. Remember, to have fun! Bookstagram is a great place to make friends and discover new books. Try not to focus too much on your follower count and likes because that will just make you crazy! Bookstagram is like a field of dreams: if you post it, they will come.

 

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