When I first started looking up book reviews and creating my own website, I found your reviews on The Fantasy Hive and images on Instagram. How did you get into reviewing books online, and how long have you been doing it?
It all started a few years ago when I was recovering from an illness and I needed a creative outlet to keep my mind occupied. I was browsing instagram and saw that people were posting pictures of books and as I already had a love for reading I thought it would be a great idea to join bookstagram and also share the books I love. I never expected many people to interact with me or even like my posts, I’ve always been more into the adult fantasy genre and back then YA fantasy was the most popular. However, I began to get a following, people liked my recommendations and I began to be part of a community.
A year or two later I joined Twitter and started interacting with other bloggers and publishers, I also started reviewing my first ARCs. Then I was asked to join The Fantasy Hive, which of course I was thrilled about!
You must have met many authors, reviewers etc. online – How have you found being a part of the book community (across all the platforms)?
Honestly, I love it! I feel like I’ve found my people!
The first author I ever interacted with was John Gwynne, I was reading The Faithful and the Fallen and I desperately wanted to tell him how fantastic I thought his books were. Then Petrik (Novel Notions) encouraged me to send him a message on Goodreads, so I did. To my complete surprise he replied and I was over the moon at how nice he was!
From then on I’ve not been shy about interacting with authors on Instagram, Twitter and now Tik Tok. I’ve gained so many close friends amongst book bloggers too. Some of which I chat to on a daily basis.
What makes you pick up a book? Is it the cover art, the author, premise…?
A combination of things really. If it’s a favourite author, I’ll pick up their book happily knowing very little about it. If a cover catches my eye, I’ll look up a synopsis to see if the story appeals to my tastes. I’ll also pick up a book because others have recommended it to me.
When did you start reading? And what books/series did you read over and over again?
Ever since I can remember I’ve always been a big reader, I was absolutely obsessed with fairytale books when I was young, but I’d pretty much read any book my parents bought me or my teachers gave me. English Literature was my favourite subject and I had a wonderful teacher who really encouraged my love of reading, she’d even order books from magazines for me.
This will surprise absolutely nobody but it wasn’t until a friend of mine recommended reading The Lord of the Rings that I became obsessed with the fantasy genre. I’ve read the trilogy (my edition is split in three) several times over the years and it still remains special to me.
What are your favourite books/authors?
Ok, so my favourite recent reads are: The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty – this is out in Feb but everyone needs to preorder it because it’s a superbly entertaining read! I’m also reading The Riyria Revelations by Michael J Sullivan and the first two books are fantastic old-school high fantasy. The third book is shaping up to be my favourite. I’ve also really been into cosy reads lately and Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett was sooo good!
As for my all time favourite authors, and I’ll narrow it down to my top five, they would be: Tolkien, John Gwynne, Brandon Sanderson, Alix E Harrow and Shannon Chakraborty.
You post LOTR Memes on Sundays (which I love and genuinely look forward to!) – How did this start and where do you find all those memes?
Lord of the Rings Meme Sunday was not originally my idea. It was done by a bookstagrammer called Peter (peer105 on Instagram) and I just loved it so much that I started doing it too! I firstly asked him if it was ok, and I made sure to choose different memes to the ones he shared so I was never copying him.
They’re all from Reddit or Facebook. Honestly, searching for those memes each week is such fun!
What do you like to do outside of reading and creating content online?
I like being creative, so I like scrapbooking and learning new crafts. I also love films and series, so if I’m not reading I’m watching something. I’m currently part way through Alice in Borderland season two and it’s really intense.
Who are your go-to content creators?
Petrik from Novel Notions has been a good friend right from the beginning. He’s a phenomenal champion of books and authors.
Beth, she’s our brilliant editor of The Fantasy Hive and I love being part of a team with her, she’s definitely my best friend. We have fantastic buddy reads together too!
I have a lot of fabulous friends on Instagram too who create the most beautiful photos. There’s too many to name individually and I’d hate to leave anyone out but they know who they are!
Two more close friends I have to shoutout though are Mili (bookish_mili) and Caitlin (tldr_bookreviews) who I met on Instagram and we now have regular video chats where we talk about what we’re reading but also about life.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to start a Bookstagram/BookTok/Book Review website?
Be genuine and kind. Read lots and shout about the books you love as much as you can. Tag publishers and authors in positive reviews, reach out to them and let them know why you love their books. Don’t be a dick and tag them in negative reviews and don’t harass them either. Again, be kind!
If you could be any fantasy character, who would you be and why?
Good question! Erm, probably Emily from Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries. She’s an introvert like me, socially awkward too, but I think it would be fun to spend my days just traveling around the world searching for magic Folk.