My Top 10 Books of 2016

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Hi people, and I wish you all the best in the new year! ❤ I came back from my trip to Austria and I’m planning to share some photos with you, but I took so many so I need some time to pick and choose. Until then, let’s get back to talking about books!

The start of a new year usually means making new plans for some new beginnings, but it is also the time when we reflect on the year that has passed. I’m not really the new-years-resolutions kind of person, but I do like to reflect on the books I’ve read. XD I was really looking forward to this post, since I had no idea which books I would choose before checking my Goodreads account. Yes, I was certain I would include a few books that immediately came to my mind when thinking about this post, but there are also some I read early in the year and almost forgot they were actually read in 2016. Let’s get to the list (in no particular order):

1. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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I read this one in January. I should’ve done it a long time ago. This is an epistolary novel told through the eyes of Celie,in her own words and broken language, but it also speaks about the lives of African-American women. It’s very sad, raw and real.

2. The Vegetarian by Han Kang 

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A strange book, in the most wonderful sense of the word. Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. That’s how the book starts. What follows is much bigger then anyone would expect. The book tackles so many issues, and all of them are hidden inside of a short, but amazingly captivating narrative.

3. Alice by Christina Henry

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Speaking of strange… This adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is extremely dark and violent, but I loved it so, so much. The way in which Henrry uses the well-know characters to make something completely new is done very well!

4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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Another book I should’ve read a long , long time ago… I’ve read some of Plath’s poetry, but this book always somehow remained one of those I wantd to read, but never actually did. I’m so glad I finally read it. Plath’s prose reads almost like poetry, and the emotions this book evokes feel very, very real.

5. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

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“Like a compass facing north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.”

Hosseini’s writing is beautiful, and his stories are very emotional. It hurt to read this. I cried. And I loved it. And amazing tribute to the suffering of Afghan women, and an interesting story as well.

6. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

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I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about Russian folklore, but I have read some Russian fairy tales. This novel takes them all, and mixes them into an interesting, strange, dark and often confusing story. Confusing in a good way. I loved this book! It was unusual, which is always good, unpredictable, and magical.

7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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This is now my favourite Gaiman novel. The world he creates in Neverwhere is wonderfully dark and fun at the same time, and the characters are intriguing. And the ending was great! Escapism at its best. XD

8. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

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Next two books on the list are graphic novels. I don’t read these as much as I should, especially since the two I’m going to mention were more than amazing. Persepolis is not only interesting, it taught me a lot about Iran, its history and present.

9. Watchmen by Alan Moore (Author), Dave Gibbons (Illustrator), John Higgins (Colorist)

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Yes, I should’ve read this a long time ago, too. Watchmen is an amazing graphic novel! It poses so many questions other superhero graphic novels don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I like superheroes, but this is so much more than a superhero story. It’s gritty, dark, and very realistic.

10. Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

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Now, something completely fun! I’ve read the first two books in the series this year, Retribution Falls and The Black Lung Captain, and I’m definitely going to read the next two soon. If you want a fun steampunk adventure with interesting characters you’ll love despite all of their faults – this is a perfect series for you! I mean – airship pirates! Who doesn’t want to read about airship pirates? 😉

Have you read any of these book? Did you like them, too?

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Want to Finally Read in 2017 #t5w

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Another Wednesday is here! This time, I’ll talk about some books I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, but for some reason still haven’t read. This list could actually go on and on, but here are the ones I plan to read next year. Hopefully…

1. Mort by Terry Pratchett

I’ve read six Pratchett’s books so far, and it’s definitely not enough for me… I’m actually a bit ashamed I haven’t read anything by him for quite a while now. I would like to start with the Death series next, and Mort is the first one.

2. Fudoki by Kij Johnson

This book sounds amazing! Every review I’ve read basically lists everything I like in a book. Now, this book is a bit expensive so I postponed buying it for a long, long time… But I will get it. Soon. 😉

3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 

Yes, I admit, I’m intimidated by the length of this book… But I really want to read it. Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is one of my favourite books, so it’s time I read this one as well.

4. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

I actually own the e-book of this novel, but somehow I always end up reading something else… I don’t now why. Fey, magic, fairy tales, Transylvanian woods… What’s not to like?

5. Anything by Robin Hobb

I should probably start from thee beginning, though. XD I’ve heard so many praises for her fantasy novels, I just have to read them! I’m really looking forward to these books. I don’t know why I haven’t started yet, but as all book lovers say: so many books, so little time…

So, let’s get back to reading, then. 😉

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Microfiction Challenge: The Red Tree

writingThis is my first time participating in Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge. When I saw the promt picture, by the artist Virginia Frances Sterret, I just had to make a story for it. I love it! 🙂 Just look how pretty it is:

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And now, here’s my story:

The Red Tree

Ayla had the magic beans and a plan.
Yes, she would have to defeat the giant, but she was ready for it. She had several tricks in her sleeve. With a wide smile on her face, she planted a bean in the ground. Ayla could already picture the gold and the jewels. No more hard work, no more rags, no more, no more…
It took just a few seconds for the tree to start growing. Did the ground move, or was it just her legs shaking?  Yes, the tree grew, but something wasn’t right.
A strange plant appeared before Ayla’s eyes, weak and wobbly. Its stalk was a dark, rotten red, all twisted and turned.

“You freed me,” the plant spoke. “So now, I will grant you three wishes.”

“Three wishes?” Ayla was confused. “But you’re supposed to take me up in the clouds, to the treasure.”

“Treasure in the clouds? I’ve never heard of such a thing…”

“Well, not exactly in the clouds… Anyway, I didn’t free you. I planted you,” Ayla was getting a bit annoyed. This was not a part of her plan. “And it’s genies who grant wishes. Or goldfish. Not trees.”

“That’s quite judgemental of you,” the plant sounded offended. “What do you know about trees, anyway?”

“I’m sorry…” Ayla sighed. “I’m just a bit surprised. Three wishes are a great deal!”

“I’m not sure I want to grant them anymore…”

“Oh, please!” Ayla wasn’t ready to give up on her dreams.

“Fine. What’s your first wish?” the plant sounded friendly again.

“Well, I want to be rich!”

“I try not to be prejudiced, but this is such a human thing to wish for. Riches. Always the riches. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with that.”

“Why not?”

“I’m just a tree! Money doesn’t grow on trees!”

“Well, what can you do?”

“I can grow fruit.”

A number of different fruits appeared. Yellow pears, blue grapes, red apples. Ayla sighed. It was obvious now that things don’t always turn out like the stories tell. She picked an apple, sat comfortably underneath the tree and tasted it. It was very good. She might never become rich, but she could at least make the best of what she had.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Villains #t5w

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My second Top 5 Wednesday post and I’m already in love with them. Such simple and fun posts! This week, we were supposed to choose 5 favourite villains. It was recommended not to mention any Harry Potter characters, since everyone would use those, and I agree with this recommendation. It’s better to find out about some new characters and books. My choices for this Top 5 are a bit unconventional, since I realized most of the books I like don’t really have a villain. XD

Here are my top 5:

1. Rachel (My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier)

Rachel is such an intriguing character, and throughout the entire book you keep wondering what her actual plans and feelings are. And the most amazing part is that after the ending you’re not even sure if Rachel was a villain or not. I don’t want to reveal too much (though maybe I already have) but the ending is amazing! 🙂

2. Lord Ruler (The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson)

It’s interesting to see how Brandon Sanderson makes a character interesting without actually letting the character appear too much in the book. Even the identity of Lord Ruler is uncertain for quite a long time. And yet, he affects quite a few characters in the book, who start to question their own motives and decisions in comparison to what he did. They even start to ask themselves if Lord Ruler did the right thing after all.

3. Patrick Bateman (American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis)

I like it when the main character is a villain! There are some books in which you don’t realize this until the end of the book, and it comes as a surprise, and your mind is blown, and it’s amazing! XD (I won’t name the books because that would spoil them completely.) Anyway, American Psycho is not that kind of a book. Patrick is obviously insane. And though some parts can be hard to read, I think that the novel is magnificently written. Patrick’s attention to detail and his perception of the world were very interesting, despite the fact that his mind is not a nice place to dwell in.

4. Carmilla (Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu)

I like Carmilla more than Dracula. Sorry, not sorry. This classic vampire tale always reminds me why I love vampires so much. Carmilla is so mysterious and intriguing, you actually want to believe she’s not evil.

5. Victor Frankenstein (Frankenstein by Mary Shelley)

Who is the villain – the monster or its maker? As someone said:

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Hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

P.S. I don’t actually do these posts in any particular order, it would probably make me crazy… XD So, these villains are all equally great to me, each in his/her own way.

 

Marry, Kiss, Cliff Tag

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This is going to be silly and fun! Thank you Misty for tagging me to do the Marry Kiss Cliff tag! ❤ You can all check out her post here. You should check out her blog in any case!

Now, let’s get started!

The rules are simple:

  1. Put names of characters (whatever sex you’re attracted to) written in pieces of separate papers in an empty jar or a pen holder.
  2. Shake the jar.
  3. Pull out 3 pieces of paper in each round and tell us which character you would Kiss, Marry, or Cliff!

I tried to mix some nice and some horrible characters, so we’ll see how this ends. There will be five rounds in my case, that’s how many little papers I cut from the piece of paper I had. XD Here it goes!

Round 1: Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles), Victor (Vicious) and Spider-man

As much as I love Lestat, I’m not sure I’d like to marry him. But I want him to make me a vampire. 😛 And that means I don’t want to cliff him and makke him angry. (Cliffing him wouldn’t kill him, of course.) So I guess I’ll kiss him, and we can be friends later. I would cliff Victor because I would definitely marry Peter Parker. Always marry Peter Parker! Hopefully, a villain won’t kill me.

Round 2: Ron Weasley (Harry Potter series), Elend Venture (Mistborn series) and Frey (Tales of Ketty Jay)

Well, first of all, I would kiss Frey. Again, not the guy I would like to marry, but I really like him so no cliffing. And now we have a problem… Elend always seemed very attractive to me, but I don’t want to kill Ron. Nooo! Then again, Elend kind of lost his attractiveness later on, when he became a king and stopped being buried in books all the time. So I’ll chose Ron, and cliff Elend. Sorry!

Round 3: Eli (Vicious), Rochester (Jane Eyre), Kell (Shades of Magic series)

Out of these three, I would definitely marry Kell. As much as I don’t like Rochester, I hate Eli’s fanaticism more, so I’d kiss Rochester and cliff Eli.

Round 4: Victor Frankenstein (Frankenstein), Koscei (the one from Deathless, not from folklore), Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter series)

Oh, come on! I can’t marry anyone! I’m in trouble whoever I marry! Frankenstein is egocentric and heartless, Koscei is basically the villain of Russian folklore, and Draco wanted to get Buckbeak killed! (Yes, that’s the thing I can’t forgive him.) And I can’t really cliff Koscei, he can’t die. Let’s just pretend this never happened, shall we? 😉

Round 5: Voldemort (Harry Potter series), Heatcliff (Wuthering Heights), Tyrion Lannister (ASOIAF)

Well, let’s pretend I can actually cliff Voldemort…  Why did I even write his name down? I’m crazy… Anyway, I’d cliff him after all the horcruxes are destroyed because I don’t want to just make him angry. If he falls, he has to stay down. XD I’d kiss Heatcliff because I definitely wouldn’t want to marry him, but I feel sorry for him and I don’t want to cliff him. So, that means I would marry Tyrion. XD

Hope this was fun for you! 😉

Now, I’ll tag a few people. If you want to do the tag, I’d be happy to read your posts, but of course, you don’t need to do it: NicoleBeatrizJenZezeeAnna.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Want to Re-Read

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I’ve found out about the Top 5 Wednesday group on Goodreads quite some time ago, and I always wanted to participate but never did… Now it’s the time to start doing it! Maybe not every Wednesday, but as often as I can. They have some very interesting ideas, just like this one.

So, here are the five books I’d like to re-read:

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1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

I loved this book! I’ve already read it two times, but I feel the need to re-read it. And soon!

2. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

I’ve read this book in college and it immediately became my favourite. And favourites have to be re-read. 😉 I don’t own a copy, though, but I’ll get it soon.

3. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

These books are so lovely, dark and cosy at the same time. I would definitely like to re-read them.

4. Just Kids by Patti Smith

An amazing book like this one has to be read many times!

5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

My all-time favourite, I’ll probaby read it many, many times more. 🙂 As you can see in the picture, the book is already very battered.

I hope I’ll have the time to actually read them all again in the near future. 😉

Twittering Tales: Abandoned

writingI came across Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tales challenge and it seemed so fun! So, I decided to participate. The idea is to write a Twitter-lenght story (140 characters or less). Here is my story for this week’s prompt image:

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Golf clubs were abandoned. When it came, money couldn’t save the rich. Wealth gave them no power anymore. They tasted the same as the poor.

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