How to Beat Boredom As A Bookworm

Do you have days when you don't know what to do? When you're just sort of zombieing around in a state of utter, utter boredom and feel like you're wasting your life? When you don't even feel like reading?

(You'd better, or I'm going to feel even worse.)
Never fear, bookworms! Right now, I'm on my summer holidays, which means that I am an absolute expert at fending off boredom in the most bookish of ways. I have ideas you can use at a moment's notice with access to the internet or maybe some books, and also some that might require some planning and - maybe - leaving the house. No, really. You should listen to me anyway.
You wouldn't want to end up like Sherlock now, would you?

Go to a bookshop and recommend reads to anyone who will listen

This, ladies and gentlemen, is excellent fun. And only a little bit creepy.

The first time I ever did it, I did not intend to. I was just looking to spend all my money as sacrifice to the reading gods. But when a woman came in with two young children and started looking for Percy Jackson books under J as if Percy was the author . . .

I had to say SOMETHING.

Then there was the time I was at the library and a (different) woman dragged her son over to me and asked if I thought he was old enough to read the Alex Rider book he had clutched in his hand. (I can only imagine that, since I was rearranging a shelf that was annoying me, she assumed a worked there.) It was surprisingly satisfying to tell her that, seeing as he'd read Harry Potter, he should be ok, but he was holding the fourth book in the series. I handed her the first one and made my exit.

I guess if you don't feel comfortable doing this, you could just go to the library or bookshop to read. Go ahead. Be normal if you dare.

Plan a party based on your favourite book

Pinterest will be full of ideas for you on this one. Just search "Harry Potter party ideas" or "Lord of the Rings party ideas" or pretty much anything else, and you will be swamped with snack recipes, ideas for decorations and party games. It's a wormhole. You will literally be lost in it for hours, to the point where everything is almost too entertaining. Plan costumes, party bags, and pretty much whatever else you want.

You don't have to actually have the party, of course. That's far too much work in my opinion (but then I'm a nerd who prefers planning things to actually doing them) and you actually need friends who won't stand in the corner reading a book the whole time.

Volunteer at your local library

There is literally no bad side to spending days when you would have been bored working at a library. I mean for a start, you're no longer bored, and you get to spend hours a day surrounded by books. Most libraries, especially small ones, are pretty much always in need of help thanks to the ever-present budget cut, so you're even helping keep afloat the library that is probably supporting your book addiction more than anything else. YAY for aiding the local community (but mostly yourself)!

I know, I'm a selfish and terrible human being. You don't need to tell me again.


I can't believe I'm saying this, but YALC, the UK young adult lit convention, is this weekend - and as of right now, they've still got tickets available! If you can get yourself to London, you can see over eighty authors (full list here), including Malorie Blackman, Holly Bourne, and Maggie Steifvater. There's also a full timetable of writing workshops, and an agent arena where you can hear talks about the publishing industry, or even pitch your work to an agent in a 1-2-1 session.

It's just occurred to me that you might be reading this after YALC 2016 has finished. (Poor you.) Never mind! There are all kinds of book festivals and conventions out there that you could go to. Just spend an hour or two researching online, and you'll forget why you were reading this post.

Set yourself a reading challenge

Sure. There are loads of challenges out there online that you could join in with, but where's the creative fun in that? Besides, some study somewhere has probably shown that humans are more likely to achieve goals they've set themselves.

Just to give you an idea, I've always thought it'd be fun to use a book tag, answering the questions with books on my TBR rather than ones I've already read.

You might not be all that surprised by Friday's post.

Make some bookish crafts

There's all kind of art that can show off your love of books.

Paint the first page of your favourite book on a wall! Make stickers to put in your books so everyone knows they're yours! Create as many bookmarks as humanly possible! Again, Pinterest is great at coming up with ideas for this, especially if you're willing to (take a deep breath here) cut up books and use the pieces for your art. No? Okay. *backs away slowly from rabid bookworms*

Or, if like me you have absolutely no artistic talent whatsoever, you could always buy some pretty things on Etsy and pretend you made them.

Organise your bookshelf

If you've ever even approached the great sparkly being that is Bookstagram, you'll notice that many people's shelves look like rainbows of impossible beauty. The secret? They're organised by colour.

But that's not the only way to go, you guys! Books can be shelved by author, by genre, by length or subject or even how much you enjoyed them. Go wild finding ways to make them look pretty, or easier to find.


While you're taking books off the shelf, do you think it might be time to get rid of some? WAIT, DON'T BITE MY HEAD OFF! I'm merely suggesting that you could make room for more? It's up to you, but Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf wrote this really awesome post on how to root out stuff you don't really need and then what to do with it afterwards.

In the comments: When do you normally get bored? What do you like to do to beat it? And are there any non-book-related things that help?
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A Thousand Pieces of You Review

As the daughter of two brilliant physicists, Marguerite Caine grew up surrounded by wild scientific theories, always encouraged to imagine the improbable or even the impossible. But when her father is murdered, Marguerite’s life is turned upside down. All the evidence points to one person – Paul, her parents’ handsome, enigmatic protégé. Before the law can touch him, though, Paul uses Marguerite’s mother’s latest invention – a device called the Firebird, which allows people to leap into alternate dimensions – to escape.
With the help of another physics student, Theo, Marguerite chases Paul through various dimensions, determined to avenge her father. Her parents theorised that people who have met in one reality will be likely to meet in another … that key moments will happen over and over, in different ways. But when Marguerite leaps into each new world, she meets another version of Paul that has her doubting his guilt and questioning her heart. Before long she realises that what happened to her father may be more complex, and more sinister, than she ever dreamed.
First off - why on earth is this the only book I've ever read about inter-dimensional travel? The whole premise is just so original and brilliant and has so much scope. 

Oh wait. Another book about dimensional travel wouldn't have the same originality, would it?

Because ... it just makes the book a kaleidoscope of different settings and genres - you know how much we all love a well-built fantasy world? Well this book has three. Three! I don't want to spoil anything for you, but I've never seen the inside of a Palace from a Sci-Fi book. Especially not a Sci-Fi book that has also given me a beautifully real contemporary setting with brilliantly individual characters, and a technologically awesome-

Urgh. No. The mere existence of any of these parallel universes is a spoiler. I really need to stop talking to you about them. What else can I possibly talk about?

Oh, I know. Characters. As a creative black sheep in a scientific family, I couldn't help but identify with Marguerite, the painter who grew up in a physics-saturated household. I usually don't like changeable characters, especially those with love triangles to deal with, but I guess we'd all be a little bit changeable if we had to jump into different versions of ourselves. It's a pretty good excuse, I'll give her that.

As for quiet, intense Paul and flirty, ever-so-slightly-arrogant Theo, the love interests, I'm so glad they were well-written. They were both developed to the point where I honestly didn't have a team - not to the extent that I was annoyed at Marguerite for her confusion, anyway. Plus the boys genuinely cared about each other - no thinly-veiled hatred that made the love triangle more of a V.

I'm really hoping you know what I mean by a love V because I don't know how else to explain it. 

Marguerite's family had all three things a main character's family need to be realistic and brilliant in a YA novel. 1) They existed and actually had some page time; 2) Her parents had tangible, multi-faceted personalities, and 3) they were actually properly individual.

Sorry, maybe my boundaries were unfairly low there. But you get my point about it being refreshing (not to mention downright AWESOME) to see a well thought-out and described family in non-contemporary YA, right?
Hmm ... plot. It was very twisty-turny, which I found majorly exciting - especially when combined with all the dimension-hopping - but it meant that the characters weren't working to a consistent goal the whole time. I barely even noticed, to be honest, but you might get annoyed by it, so consider this a warning if you get fed up with that sort of thing.

In conclusion: parallel universes = many many vivid settings from many genres wrapped up in one beautifully original package, and a love triangle I don't actually get frustrated by because the characters are all great. GIVE IT A SHOT, OKAY?

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The Keeper of Portals Review (In A LIST! How EXCITING!)

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

So ... V.S. Nelson's The Keeper of Portals releases tomorrow.

Yeah. Up until a few months ago, I didn't know what it was either - but I now know, ladies and gentlemen. It is a fantasy-adventure story about a pair of teenagers who discover not only that the world and everything within it is controlled by Keepers - from the Keeper of Buttons to the Keeper of Causality - but also that these Keepers are being kidnapped.

Which could result in, you know, the entire world crumbling in on itself.
It turned out that I rather enjoyed this, but I'm guessing you might want to know about my opinion in more detail, being the demanding little things that you are, so I made you a list review. Please enjoy it.

Things I enjoyed and would like to cheer about:
  • Isabel. ISABEL. I have so much love for her and her particular brand of 16th century sassiness - she's so brave and smart and incredible.
  • Also loads of girl power on Isabel's part. Huzzah.
  • It took me a while to warm to Martin, but once I did, I saw the truth. He is a cheeky, protective little cinnamon roll and I love him for it.
  • The whole book was just delightfully, unashamedly weird, as all good portal fantasy should be, and - although it took me a while to adjust - I ended up loving that uniqueness.
  • I JUST SHIP MARTIN + ISABEL SO HARD. Misabel? Isartin? I don't have a ship name, but at this point I don't particularly care. (As for whether or not I have canon, well. You'll have to find out.)
  • That ENDING. It HURT. In a frankly amazing way, of course.

Things I did not like so much, thank you:
  • It seemed to take forever to get going. The first two or three chapters seemed to be solely made up of Martin's internal monologue, and WOW it dragged. 
  • Obviously I don't want to say too much, but there were some magical powers involved. I've nothing against magic in general, and mostly it was fine? It just got overly convenient at times ... as you can imagine, I rolled my eyes a little.
  • Martin and Isabel were supposed to be about fifteen. They did not read like fifteen year olds. I don't know exactly why? Maybe it's because the plot and it's lovely wackiness feeling more middle grade? But at times I got confused and had to remind myself of their age.

In summary - don't go into this book expecting a full-blown YA fantasy, because that's not what it is. You'll be disappointed. But if you enjoy MG-style, wacky fantasy with historical elements, squeeworthy (and squeaky clean) will-they-won't-they romance, and kickass, loyal characters, you're in the right place.

If you would like a synopsis, here is one of those. Never say I'm not generous.
Everything in the universe is maintained by its own keeper, from the most insignificant insect to time itself. When 15 year-old Martin moves into a stately home that’s dangerously overhanging a cliff, he meets the Keeper of Portals and learns of the mysterious door at the end of his bedroom.
    One morning, Martin wakes to discover the Keeper of Portals is missing and the door at the end of his bedroom is open. Martin steps through the door to find himself in the 17th century where he meets Isabel, the house’s maid. Upon discovering two imprisoned keepers, Martin and Isabel gain the ability to control time and travel through portals. 
    After being attacked by hordes of brainwashed villagers, Martin and Isabel learn that the master of the house has a devious plan, one the keepers are powerless to stop. Martin and Isabel must jump between the present day and the 17th century in order to hide from the twisted master, avoiding past versions of themselves, as powerful keepers thwart them at every turn. But as items from the future begin to bleed into the past and the present day is plagued by malfunctioning portals, Martin and Isabel’s only option is to confront the master – the Keeper of Questions.
(via Goodreads)

In the comments: Do you like a list-based review, or do you prefer more traditional ones? Does this book sound like your sort of thing? Why or why not?
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