17 Things That Make Me Want to Pick Up Your Book

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I definitely have my fair share of bookish weaknesses.

I think we all do, of course. We all have our preferences that make us want to pick up a book, and I thought it’d be fun to share my own! I guess you could say this was inspired by that old Top Ten Tuesday topic, but it’s not really a tie-in? So enough confusing you, let’s get into it!


i don't believe you

1. An unreliable narrator. Any mention of reading about a main character that I can’t trust makes me super excited. I just really enjoy wondering if they’re telling the truth or if they’re lying or if I can trust them. Some people are tired of this trope, but I just can’t get enough.


2. Promises of “twists and turns.” Okay, this is totally cheesy, but when a thriller or horror novel promises me that it’ll be a twisty ride, I can’t help myself! Onto the TBR it goes.


3. The story’s told using flashbacks. Some people totally hate flashbacks, but when I’m told that a book is going to be told in the present and the past, I NEED THE BOOK. I love that type of story-telling everywhere – in my books, in my shows, in my movies. So, just enjoy it in all formats.


4. It’s like “insert favorite book here” or “insert favorite author here.” Obviously, these are usually marketing ploys, but I can I resist myself when I’m told that the book is a combination of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo? Or if it’s like The Hunger Games? No, no I can’t.

character portrait

5. It’s a character portrait. I don’t know why, but I really love it when a book observes a certain character and what happened over their life to make them the way that they are. I’ve seen this done a lot in literary fiction, and it always interests me. I don’t even know why.

excited 2

6. It takes place in a small town. Did you say that the book takes place in a small town filled with secrets? Because if you did, I AM THERE. I feel like I’ve just read so many of these types of books and fallen in love with them all, and now they’ve become my favorite thing.


7. The characters are anti-heroes. I LOVE ANTI-HEROES. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they really villains? Is it weird if I love them? Anti-heroes are just so endlessly interesting that I’ll be sold on your book if I know that there’s a gang of them.


8. It’s about missing people coming back. This has been a recent trend in thrillers, and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with it. It’s one of the few tropes that you can do so much with that it never really gets old. And I just really like the idea of having to awkwardly adjust back to your normal life after being away from your family for so long.

dark fantasy

9. It’s a dark fantasy novel. I’m already deep in love with fantasy, but if it’s a dark fantasy, COUNT ME IN. Bring in the anti-heroes and the villains and everything to do with them.


10. It has a magic system. I absolutely love magic in my books, whether it’s a fantasy novel or just some good old magical realism. I emphatically blame Harry Potter for giving me this obsession.


11. It contains an awful family with lots of secrets. For some reason, I just really love stories where some rich family is at the center of it, pretending to be perfect, and then some event upends their persona and spills all these secrets. It’s just so interesting to me. AND I’m nosy, so I always want to know what those secrets are.

game over

12. There are some sort of games going on. I don’t care how many times I read a summary that is clearly trying to cash in on The Hunger Games and its popularity, I just love the idea of people having to compete in some sort of games. It’s just so much fun and always manages to keep me on the edge of my seat!


13. The world is split into two (or more) different sections. I know this usually makes zero sense and people are tired of this type of story, but I’m always intrigued and I’ll always add it to my TBR. I don’t care how cliche it is, it’s just my favorite thing to read about.


14. There’s a curse. Who caused the curse? Why are they cursed? Are they actually even really cursed? What does the curse entail? Can they get rid of the curse, and if so, how? I don’t know, but I’m definitely going to find out!

creepy woods

15. There are creepy, creepy woods. Because I obviously need more reasons to be convinced to never go camping. But, seriously, this type of setting is one of my favorites in thriller and horror because there’s just so much mystery and uncertainty. Points if the book mainly takes place at night.

I've found my people

16. It promises to be a quirky, weird book. Because I’m weird and into really weird things, so if the book is also weird or has a weird sense of dark humor I enjoy, then that obviously means that that book is meant for me.


17. It has something to do with cults. For a while now, I’ve been really interested in cults. How they start, how they grow, how people even manage to get involved with them in the first place when the leader is CLEARLY out of his damn mind. So I really like observing characters in that type of setting, whether it’s them just living in a cult or even realizing what’s wrong with it and escaping.

Let's Chat

What makes you pick up a book? Do we share any of the same things?

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54 thoughts on “17 Things That Make Me Want to Pick Up Your Book

    • Yes, I love it! I’ve had hits and misses, but the hits were SO GOOD, that it was worth it! I didn’t like Only Daughter or The Lost And The Found, but The Stranger Game and Good As Gone were brilliant (I know there’s one more, but I’m blanking on what it was ugh). I thought the trope was really dumb until I found out that it actually happened in real life! Totally forget the documentary, though! πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yeessss to number 6 and 17! I think those two go hand-in-hand quite well! I love learning about real life cults so ofc I’m gonna love reading about fictional ones too. Just started Gather the Daughters which has a cult vibe to it πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to admit I’ve gotten a bit fed up of the whole unreliable narrator thing and the comparisons to other books are a bit of a turn off. Give me quirky and original.

    If you’re looking for recommendations Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon fits a lot of your criteria. Family secrets, unreliable narrator, flashbacks….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, so many people hate comparisons, but I really don’t mind! I’ve read original books that compare themselves to others and unoriginal books that don’t claim to be like anything, so it’s never been something that’s bothered me.

      I think I have one of her books on my TBR! I don’t know if it’s that one, though, because I know she has another book coming out! I can’t remember the title of one of them! πŸ˜‚


  3. I totally 100% agree with you in everything! I love unreliable narrators and mysteries with flashbacks! I found them incredibly intriguing and addicting, and also creepy woods (even though I’m a scared little nugget!).
    Also antiheros and a well done magic system.. gimme!!πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m right there with you on most of these. Except I don’t like books told entirely in flashbacks/alternate every chapter, but I do like flashbacks here and there. otherwise it gets to be a bit too confusing for me. I am such a sucker for any dark fantasy books though, but there aren’t enough of them?? *cries* One thing that always makes me pick up a book is when I’m told there’s strong sibling/family relationships and friendships!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love books where flashbacks alternate! I read them mostly in thrillers, which is probably my favorite genre, so it might be different for others! AND THERE AREN’T! It totally sucks. 😩 Ooh, that’s interesting! I’ve never really cared for that much, but that’s probably because it’s more of a contemporary thing, and I don’t like contemporary much!


  5. CRAP ARE YOU ME. πŸ˜‚ I TOTALLY love unreliable narrators, flashbacks, family secrets, ANTI-HEROES OH MY GOD, magic stuff, cults, games, and DARK FANTASY YESSSSS. Obviously, if these things aren’t done right, I don’t like it, but when executed in the right way, it’s just AMAZING. ❀ And if there's a book that includes all of that, I NEED IT IN MY HANDS RIGHT NOW.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was an interesting list. I think it really gets you to stop and think about which you agree with, and which ones you don’t. Of course, any of these are amazing when done well, but that goes without saying. I will admit though, that I really don’t like #4 (Insert author/book name), and I especially like #5 (Character portraits).
    And I was wondering–have you ever read any of Brandon Sanderson? He mostly writes fantasy, but he has some very interesting magic systems in his books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s definitely true! I have the opposite of this list coming out next week, and still, even if a trope I don’t like is done well, I don’t really mind it! I love character portraits! There’s a book called Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent coming out next month that deals with that topic, and it sounds SO GOOD!

      I haven’t! I’ve had a couple of his books on my TBR for so long, though! πŸ˜‚


      • Oh good! Some of them are really quite excellent–particularly the Stormlight Archive series. I’m just wishing he’d write them faster. Pretty sure I’ll be a grandparent before they’re done.

        Interesting! I’ll be looking for the follow-up post!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love flashbacks too! I don’t get why people are so against them. Like any other storytelling device, if they’re done well, it’s an amazing experience.

    And curses!!! My favorite are curses that are passed down through families.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, definitely! I’ve never understood it either! They really keep me interested while I’m reading, especially if what’s happening in the past has some sort of crucial moment that I don’t know yet! It’s my weakness! πŸ˜‚

      Yes, I definitely haven’t read too much about curses (which I hate that I haven’t), but that’s always so interesting! I love any sort of concept where something is passed down among families!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. YESSS unreliable narrators and antiheroes are the best! just in general when a book gives you trust issues, it really makes you think and makes everything so unpredictable πŸ˜†

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes, I totally love books that are untrustworthy! They always give me the biggest plot twists, like when I read Gone Girl for the first time (it was one of my first thrillers), and I was just like, “WHAAAT???” πŸ˜‚ I love guessing what’s going to happen even though nine times out of ten, I’m totally wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great list… My own Novel ticks off a lot of those boxes, so reading through it got a grin out of me. It looks like we have very similar taste!

    The book I’ve just completed has its own magic system (although very subtle in the first book), the main characters are a mixed group of anti-heroes and the real-deal heroes, flash backs galore etc etc etc. I’ll stop there before it looks like I’m self advertising! (which would be hugely pointless seen as the books still in the editing stage and may not ever get published for all I know).

    Anyway, great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, gosh, I thought you were commenting on my latest post, and I was confused for a second. πŸ˜„

      Ooh, that sounds so great! 😍 Is it weird that I got excited at “flashbacks galore”? πŸ˜‚ It sounds really good, so I hope everything works out with your book and fingers crossed, you might get published someday! πŸ˜„

      Thank you so much! πŸ˜„


      • Ah sorry! I’m relatively new to WordPress, so I might have posted the comment incorrectly Hah.

        Thank you =]

        If you fancied having a peek at my work, I’ve just published part of the first chapter on my blog… I’d love to know your thoughts? Unfortunately the flashbacks don’t begin until the introduction of the second character a little way further in, but I’m planning on releasing up to this point in the hopes of gaining some constructive criticism.

        Liked by 1 person

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