bookstagram – a beginner’s musings.

Hiya everyone!

Okay, so about a month ago I decided to recycle an abandoned Instagram account I used to use when I was an awkward 13-year-old who still believed in the Power of Fandom and said words like SuperWhoLockian and other such embarrassing things. I thought it would be cool to show you all some of my photos and walk you through some decisions I made in regards to username, theme, content etc, in case anyone was looking for pointers, or general advice!

Screenshot (14)So this is a quick look at my ig!


  • You can see I used the same username (narrativedreaming) as I do here and on tumblr!  purely for #brandconsistency lol. Seriously though, I think if you’re considering being on the internet in multiple places (i.e. a blog, an Instagram, a twitter/tumblr)  it would probably be a good idea to avoid massive differentiations in username, just so that people can find you wherever you are!
  • I didn’t use an underscore as that seems to be really unpopular and just generally not a good idea. If you’re struggling to find a nickname, the generic (but by no means boring) username seems to be @*yourname*reads. So mine would be @esmiereads, which is coincidentally a name I seriously considered using for this blog! Usernames with the word ‘book/s’ are really common as well, surprise surprise! This is definitely not a bad thing either – some of my favourite blogs use this idea v effectively!


  • okay so you can probably see that my photos all have filters on them. This is to help build up a theme and a sort of recognisability, i.e. hopefully soon people will be able to recognise my photos because they look like mine.
  •  I use the VSCO app for editing and applying filters to the photos taken on my phone. (…I spend a disproportionate amount of money on books and as a result, sadly do not have any left for cool Nikon cameras and the like. But my pictures seem to turn out pretty good quality-wise, and it means I don’t have to transfer them to a computer and then on to my phone, so honestly, I’m not complaining!)
  • Word of Warning: there isn’t much point in filtering your photos if you’re gonna use a different one each time! If you’re going for vintage vibes then use filters that bring out the whites and browns and golds. If you want a minimalistic black and white theme, then stick to it! That’s not to say you can’t change your theme at any point. Just don’t change it every other day, is all I’m saying!


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  • okay so this one is super fun and really good for giving you inspiration when you’re struggling for #inspo
  • challenges are super fun! for example I’m about to start an April Bookstagram Challenge that looks a little like this:

Screenshot (19).png

  • and I recently posted a photo for a tag challenge called ‘favourite title’ where you post a photo of the book that bears your favourite title on the front and then tag some other bookstagrammers/friends to do the same!

moving on….


Screenshot (18)


If you’re good at something use it to your advantage!

  • example: I’m really into lettering/calligraphy at the moment and I’ve always loved to doodle and draw! So I decided to put these hobbies to good use, and make a quote page for Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and then use it as a fun prop in a photo! Some other cool ideas I may be trying in the future and then subsequently blogging about:
    • making my own bookmarks
    • mixing my own book themed candles
    • buying some pretty fairy lights (apparently a near essential item)
    • and some other stuff I will keep you all updated on!

Props/what do you put in your photos? Some guidelines:

  • Is the prop the same colour as the book in the picture? Use it.
  • Is the prop the same colour as your general theme? Go for it.
  • Cup of coffee/tea/iced beverage? Hell yeah, put it in.
  • is it aesthetically pleasing? In the frame it goes.
  • Is the prop itself a reference to a scene in the book? !!!definitely include it!!!
  • You get where I’m going here.
  • Literally anything can be used as a prop. The more the merrier.
  • Anything.
  • Go hunting around your house, or even local dollar stores/markets and you will find something!
  • have a cheeky stalk of some popular accounts and try to find things similar to what they’re using! Although!! if you are taking photos that are heavily inspired by another account make sure to credit them by tagging them in your caption.

And lastly remember to have fun! It sounds disturbingly cliché, but as enjoyable as the bookstagram experience has the potential to be, it also has the potential to be draining and stressful. Please don’t waste brain space and precious time worrying over follower counts and number of likes etc, etc. It’s not worth the angst and general anxiety.

Also use hashtags! they make a world of difference, here are some useful ones;

#bibliophile #bookstagram #bookish #bookworm #bookaddict #bookphotography #booknerd #bookaholic #books #book #reading #reader #igreads #yalit #yalovin #yabooks #instabooks #instablogging #bookblogger #igdaily #igstyle #ilovereading #ilovebooks

I hope this has been at least a little bit helpful and/or informative!

If anyone has anymore questions or tips to share, don’t hesitate to comment!

esmie x



Why I won’t be finishing ‘The Diabolic’ by S.J. Kincaid

It’s not often that I don’t finish a book. I usually make a point to always get to the end, but I just couldn’t with The Diabolic. I really, really tried but I just had too many issues with it.

The world building was lacking in depth, which was unfortunate as I usually love sci-fi/dystopian books. The author just gave a lot of things that already exist more complicated and harder to pronounce names. (The upper class/aristocracy was renamed ‘The Grandiloquy’ for crying out loud) The mechanics behind space travel and the experience of it were given (sarcasm warning) a whole paragraph.  The overall effect was confusing and my efforts to keep family names and political affiliations straight in my head often pulled my focus from the narrative.

Our main character, Nemesis, was a study in contradiction and not in an introspective, profound way. She simply defied the very premise of the book.

“A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.”

“Diabolics weren’t people.
We looked like people, to be sure. We had the DNA of people, but we were something else: creatures fashioned to be utterly ruthless and totally loyal to a single individual. We would gladly kill for that person, and only for them.

That was the description given of the inhuman, cold, born-and-bred killer that Nemesis was supposed to be. She was an antihero thrust into the role of hero. Only looking out for herself because to die would mean causing the suicide of the one girl she had sworn to protect. The whole point of Nemesis’s existence was to be emotionless and emotionally removed from all situations. She was supposed to be incapable of about 99.9% of the emotions she displays at one point or other during the half of the book that I read.

The writing was another major issue for me. I really don’t want it to seem like I’m bashing the author, but it was monotonous and boring. Like, super boring. There were perhaps one or two sentences that made me sit up and take notice, but other than that… it really wasn’t anything special. I couldn’t get into it at all, and most of the characters were extremely one dimensional, with maybe the exception of Sidonia. It is possible for brilliantly nuanced and amazingly written characters to carry a weak plot. I’ve seen it done. It’s harder for a great plot to buoy along flat, insubstantial characters, but sometimes it happens. Unfortunately, this book barely had glimpses of both.

The senseless, unnecessary violence, was also a big no for me. I do understand that this aspect is subjective and will vary from reader to reader, but having someone skin themselves alive?? When it furthers the plot in no way??  I understand that killing is Nemesis’ only purpose in life, but when it’s not even her that does a lot of the killing one begins to question the point of it. Honestly, the time spent describing the graphic violence could’ve easily been spent fleshing out the characters so that the reader actually felt something other than vague pity for a few of them.

That was another one of my issues. I felt absolutely zero connection, sympathy, empathy or even faint dislike towards the majority of the characters. Nemesis as a first person narrator had the potential to be very interesting. I just don’t feel like the author really took the concept and ran with it. There are so many moral and ethical discussions that could have been raised but just weren’t? The fact that Nemesis’ ‘love’ for Sidonia was chemically engineered could’ve been touched upon?

That being said, there were some cool aspects to the book. The prince Tyrus for example. The crazy heir to the Empire. He was quite intriguing, but I have been told that all elements of intrigue vanish quite soon after the halfway point at which I stopped. I would also bet my life savings that him and Nemesis end up together, which surely should be impossible as she is a Diabolic… The whole idea of their creepy religious cult was vaguely interesting but again, not enough to keep me going.

The cover is pretty, though.

If your looking for an easy read, then read it, sure. It won’t provoke many feelings or any existential crises, but might be interesting for some. Tell me what you think if you get the chance.

esmie x


☆☆☆☆☆ (0 stars –  DNF)






poetry and pancakes pt i

So I got some free time this weekend (shocker) and decided to read the widely acclaimed, much recommended and extremely photogenic ‘milk and honey’ by Rupi Kaur.

It was an emotional journey to say the least.

Official Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

This anthology will tear you limb from emotional limb and then carefully, exquisitely, put you back together again in the most devastating way possible. This book is an earthquake under your skin and, yes. It moved me to tears more than once. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The anthology is in four parts; the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. Each section is focused on a different part of the poet’s life.

The hurting tells the story of a young girl, turned woman, who learned ‘to quite down cause my opinions made me less beautiful.‘ It’s a story of family, and how sometimes family just isn’t a good enough apology. There are mentions of rape and sexual abuse. They are not glossed over or made pretty or neglected in favour of the aesthetic. They are written about poignantly, yet unflinchingly. Where there is an overall theme of hurt and pain and a stifled voice, there is an undercurrent of defiance and bravery, and it’s magnificent.

The loving tells the story of, well, love, and how devastatingly easy it is to fall hopelessly into it;

‘I know

I should crumble

for better reasons

but have you seen

that boy he brings the sun to its

knees every


The breaking paints a vivid portrait of a messy, messy breakup and the subsequent emotional fallout. It’s not about the screaming-and-chair-throwing-breakup it so easily could’ve been, though. It resonates with a quiet, powerful melancholy and, at times, an anger that feels like a gathering storm. A storm barely kept in check by the iron will of the speaker.

Lastly, the healing. Perhaps the most uplifting section of the whole anthology, it’s all about self love, and the ability to grow despite the sadness of the past weighing you down. It shows that the trials of life don’t have to make you hard and bitter. ‘to be soft is to be powerful’.  It felt like a love letter to female kind and an ode to our strength and power.

Overall, I believe this worthy of the all the hype and anticipation. It lived up to all my expectations and then surpassed them. I will be pressing a copy into the hands of all my friends and family. Read it and weep.

esmie x

★★★★★ (5 starred review)