Top 5 Wednesday: Children’s Books

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Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Samatha at Thoughts on Tomes. The guidelines and topics can be found on the Goodreads group.


“This can include Middle Grade (but try to recommend more than just Harry Potter and Percy Jackson!) Feel free to talk about your childhood faves or more recent reads.”

This is such a nice topic! I tried to remember the books I liked in primary school, and I came up with this list. (There are some great books by Croatian authors that loved as a child, but they haven’t been translated to English so I’ll leave them out of the list.)

1. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

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This is the first book I remember falling in love with. I loved all the characters, and it made me believe my stuffed animals are alive, too. XD I have two Eeyore toys, he’s my absolute favourite (and you can see one of them in the photo.)

2. The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen

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Image courtesy: Pixabay.com

When I was a child, I hated unhappy endings, but Hans Christin Andersen intrigued me for some reason. When I heard that the Disney version of The Little Mermaid is based on a story by Andersen,  and that it was actually a sad story, I was a bit disappointed, but also interested to know the original story. When my mother told me that The Little Match Girl was one of the saddest stories she’s ever read, and that she still couldn’t get over it, I had to know what the story was about. Anyway, among the many tragic stories that I (strangely) grew fond of, The Ugly Duckling actually had a happy ending, but it made me cry the most. I’ve always had a soft spot for animals. This story stayed with me ever since I first read it. What The Little Match Girl was for my mother, The Ugly Duckling was for me. (P.S. He’s not ugly, he’s ADORABLE, what’s wrong with you?)

3. Fear Street series by R.L. Stine

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Anything by R.L. Stine, really. I was a horror-loving child who was scared of everything. I’m not joking, I couldn’t sleep with my lights off for a very long time, but I was always attracted to horror. Crazy, I know. I would go to the library and borrow anything with R.L. Stine’s name on it, and my library had more Fear Street than Goosebumps books, so I decided to put Fear Street on this list.

4. The Paul Street Boys by Ferenc Molnár

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Paul Street Boys statue in Budapest. Photo from Wikipedia.

This is a book by a Hungarian author which was required reading for us in primary school. I read it again last year because I was working in a school and my students were supposed to read it, and I think it’s a very powerful, though quite sad book. Most of my students liked it, too.

5. W.I.T.C.H.

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I loved W.I.T.C.H. comics so much I tried drawing my own version of it. And I’m not good at drawing. XD This comic is so magical, and all the girls have their own unique personalities. They had amazing powers, and they fought agains evil, but they also had problems in their personal lives. I hated the animated series, though, because they changed the story and I couldn’t accept that. XD I’d really like to know if any of you have read this? Who was your favourite? Mine was Cornelia.

Honourable mention: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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I put this book as an honourable mention because I didn’t actually read it as a child, I’ve read it a few years ago, but I really loved it! And I think I would’ve loved it as a child, too. It’s just the right combination of creepy and cute. 🙂

Aaaand that’s it. So, what were your favourite childhood reads?


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Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Unlikable Protagonists

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Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Samatha at Thoughts on Tomes. The guidelines and topics can be found on the Goodreads group.


“People always tear down “unlikeable” protagonists. But tell us the ones you pulled for!”

When I saw this topic I was very excited. I love talking about flawed characters. But, then, I realized it’s actually hard to find 5 unlikeable protagonists that I love. :O This is what I came up with in the end:

1. Catherine Earnshaw (Wuthering Heights)

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I don’t think Cathy is unlikeable, but many people hate her, and I can understand why. Well, not completely… Did she make mistakes? Yes. Is she a horrible human being? No, I don’t think so. I think she was just very unhappy, and I felt sorry for her. And I liked her very much.

2. Rorschach (Watchmen)

Is Rorcharch a bad person? Absolutely. And yet, I found him very interesting and I felt really sorry for him. Having a horrible life doesn’t justify being horrible to other people, but despite being brutal, Rorschach did possess certain (questionable) ideals, and he followed them no matter what.

3. Carmilla (Carmilla)

She’s a vampire, a blood-sucking monster. But what can I say, I love vampires. XD And I actually think Carmilla kind of liked Laura. Who knows? We never heard her side of the story.

4. Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles)

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This is a cheat, because everyone likes Lestat. He did some bad things though, and you couldn’t call him a likeable person, um, I mean vampire. XD But I love him, and I love whiny Louis as well.

5. Severus Snape (Harry Potter Series)

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Snape is not exactly a protagonist, but I think he fits the theme well. Though many people love him, he’s not a really nice person. I completely understand people who hate Snape, and I agree with them. Yes, some bad things happened too him, but that doesn’t justify the way he acted towards Harry, Neville, and other students. Also, he was a Deatheater. However, I found him intriguing, and I have to admit I was happy that in the end he did something heroic. At that point, I kind of rooted for him, though I hate to admit it…

That’s it! Now, are there any character you like, though you feel that you should hate them? XD

 

Mid-Year Bookish Freak Out!

I really, really wanted to do this tag. It’s always nice to look back on the books you’ve read. So, though I wasn’t tagged, I decided to share with you some thoughts about the books I’ve read so far. Here go the questions:

1. Best book you’ve read in 2017 so far

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to read it… And now I really want to watch the series, too.

Another both wonderful (though also horrifying) book I want to mention is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Even if you’re not a vegetarian/vegan and you don’t even want to be one, I think you’d appreciate reading this book. It reveals all the horrors of factory farms – and they go beyong animal cruelty (as if that’s not horrible enough). I wrote a big post about this book, a sort-of summary, so you can read that if you want to know more about it.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017

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I’ve read the last two books in Tales of the Ketty Jay series this year, and they’re just as good as the first two. So much fun! And I don’t really like fast-paced books, but this series manages to be both fun and action-packed and feature some interesting, fleshed-out characters. Every single character has his/her own story and personality, and I fell in love with them, despite all of their flaws.

3. New release that you haven’t read but want to

Definitely A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I can’t wait to read it!

4. Most anticipated releases for the other half of the year

I’m actually not expecting a new release… I mostly read old books. XD

5. Biggest disappointment

Verland: The Transformation by B.E. Scully. It’s a vampire novel, and I’ve been searching for a while for a good vampire novel. This one, sadly, didn’t meet my expectations, though I really thought I would like it. It even has some good reviews on Goodreads.

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6. Biggest surprise

I did manage to find a good vampire novel! Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin is really great! It’s set in the 1850s, in the American South, and it’s quite different from other vampire novels I’ve read. However, it’s innovative in a way that doesn’s entirely turn its back on old, well-known vampire fiction. It’s my first novel by Martin, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.

7. Favourite new author (debute or new to you)

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Maaaybe Marie Brennan. I’ve just finished Memoirs of Lady Trent series today, and I immediately googled the author to find out what else she’s written. I was actually thinking about puttting this series as the answer to the 2nd question, but I liked the first few books a bit more than the last two so I decided not to. Despite that, this series is amazing and I would recommed it to everyone who would like to study dragons. I sure would! 😉

8. Newest fictional crush

I don’t have one…

9. Newest favourite character

Lady Isabella Trent and Natalie Oscott from the Memoirs of Lady Trent. They are both smart and brave women who oppose the patriarchal society they live in and follow their dreams.

10. Book that made you cry

I rarely cry, but The Princes Diarist by Carrie Fisher really made me sad… And it was also funny at times. Carrie Fisher was such an amazing person.

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11. Book that made you happy

Reading a good book always makes me happy, though I don’t read very happy books. XD

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far (or received)

Just look at those books in the answer to the 7th question. They are gorgeous and I love them! Those dragons! ❤

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

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I don’t need to do anything! XD Jokes aside, I want to read The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie and The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. Probably some other books by Atwood, too.

And that’s it. So, what are your favourites of this year so far? 🙂

The Blogger Aesthetic Award

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First of all, I have to then the lovely Rachel @paceamorelibri for this fun tag! ❤ You can see her post HERE. I have already done this tag some time ago, and you can see that post if you want to, so I decided to do something different this time – I decided to use just my own photos. I chose some which I think reflect my aesthetic the best. Hope you’ll like them! 🙂

The Rules:

  • Collect any number of images that you feel represent you as a person—your personality, aspirations, favourite things, anything at all that makes you you.
  • Put your chosen images together into a collage of whatever size and shape you find pleasing.
  • Share your masterpiece with everyone, in all the places.
  • Maybe nominate other bloggers as a way to tell them, “Hey, you, I think you’re awesome, and we should celebrate that awesomeness.”
  • Share these rules (and maybe the below tips, if you’re feeling helpful).

The Tips:

My Aesthetic:

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Since I already tagged some people last time, I won’t do it again, but if you want to do this fun tag consider yourself tagged! 🙂

Happy blogging, people!

One Lovely Blog Award

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I was nominated by the lovely Rachel @paceamorelibri for this award – Thank you so much! ❤ People, go check out her blog if you haven’t already! She’s great!

The Rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  • Post about the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate at most 15 people.
  • Tell your nominees they’ve been nominated for one lovely award.

Facts about me: 

Is it just me, or is it very hard to talk about yourself? XD Well, these are some facts I came up with:

1. I recently adopted two chinchillas! It’s the most important thing that has happpened to me lately and I’m so happy! 🙂 My country, Croatia, recently passed a law that forbids farming animals for fur (finally!) Our animal rights group, Animal Friends Croatia, helped the chinchillas find their new homes. Sadly, only one farmer actually gave his chinchillas for adoption. 😦 I hope others will follow. Anyway, I adopted two girls – Kira (Valkira = Valkyrie in Croatian) and Seffi (Persephone). Here’s a picture of Kira, on the day I adopted her:

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2. I LOVE to travel! I wish I had the means to travel even more. I also collect postcards.

3. And yet, I love being home. I’m not a very outgoing person, and I don’t like crowded places. I like spending time with the people closest to me. Or alone. Alone is also fine. I have my chinchillas and my books for company, so I’m never really alone. 😛

4. I’m a pacifist, and yet I’m strangely obsessed with swords. I actually own a replica of a medieval sword, my parents brought it to me from Spain. I just adore it, it’s one of my most prised possessions!

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5. Actually, I’m obsessed with all things medieval, from the very early middle ages to the Rennaisance. My MA thesis was on medieval literature and my professor was a bit confused by my choice. XD

6. I also love all things Gothic. This includes not only the literature, but also the subculture and music. I don’t consider myself a goth, I’m a blend of few things actually. XD But I do mostly wear black.

7. I have a poster of John William Waterhouse’s “The Lady of Shalott” in my room. I love the painting and the poem.

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And that’s it! I’ll nominate a few people now, but no pressure to actually do it. :*

Sophie @blameitonchocolate

Stuart @alwaystrustinbooks

@thequirkybooknerd

Chelsea @spotlightonstories

Azia @amwillisjournal

 

 

 

Get to Know Me Tag

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First of all, I have to thank dear Chris @readbychris for tagging me to do this! It’s always nice to get to know people better, and these posts are fun to do. So, let’s start, shall we?

Name: Irena

Nicknames: I don’t have a nickname… Irena is not that common name so I guess there was no need for one. It really bothered me as a kid, but I’m fine with it now.

Birthday: April 24th

Star Sign: Taurus

Occupation: Currently, trying to pass my teacher’s exam. XD I’m an English and Croatian teacher.


APPEARANCE:

Hair colour: It’s red now, but naturally I have that weird colour that’s not blonde or brown, but mostly grey. Mousy. XD

Hair length: About 10cm below my collarbones.

Eye colour: Grey-blue. Sometimes even a little bit green. It changes.

Best feature: Ummm… I’ll go with my eyes, I guess…

Braces: Oh, I had them for YEARS!

Piercings: None. I don’t even have my ears pierced. I pierced them when I was a child and there were some complications so now I’m scared of it and everything similar, such as tattoos! The holes are completely closed now.

Tattoos: I’d really like to have one! I think tattoos can be gorgeous. But, as I said earlier, I’m very scared of it. Maybe I’ll be brave enough someday… Now, I’d never get anything this huge, but I think this looks soooo lovely (link):

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Right or left: Is this a political question? 😛 Yeah, bad joke, anyway I write with my right hand (if that’s what I’m supposed to answer).


FIRSTS:

Holiday: I used to go on summer vacation every year with my parents, and I was very small on the first one so I don’t really remember it. XD We are lucky to live in a coastal town, and several beautiful islands are very close so it was easy to travel there and enjoy.

Best Friend: My brother was my first best friend. I was very sucky at making friends (and still am).

Award: Well, we had those “commendations” in primary school. Everyone who had As in all subjects got one at the end of the school year. Does this count? XD

Sport: I’m horrible at sports. Always have been. For a year I went to this kid’s club where we played all kinds of sports but I didn’t really like it so I gave up. In my defence, I’m doing yoga now. XD

Concert: I didn’t really go to concerts as a child. The only concert worth mentioning was the Iron Maiden concert, in 2008. It was so surprising that they came to our town (Split is not a really well-known location, if a band comes to Croatia, they usually hold the concert in the capital, Zagreb). Last summer they came back and it was as great as the first time. 😀

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FAVORITES:

TV shows: Unpopular opinion time: I don’t like to watch a lot of TV shows. Yeah, I’m weird. The thing is, they usually last too long and start to drag, and then I get disappointed… I do watch some, of course. My all-time favourite is Black Sails. Love that one to pieces! Nowadays I like Gotham. I liked Arrow but it’s not that good anymore. The one I really can’t wait to come back is Jessica Jones. 🙂

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Colour: Black. I know it’s not really a colour, but I don’t care. 😉

Song: Anything by Emilie Autumn. She’s the best. Then: White Flag by The Romanovs, Pain Looks Good on You by London After Midnight, Sleepwalking by The Crüxshadows, The First by Pink Turns Blue and many others. Oh, and the entire Queen of the Damned soundtrack! So vampire-ish! 😀

Emilie Autumn by Sopranino on DeviantArt

Restaurant: I don’t think I have a favourite…

Shop: Any nice bookshop. 😉 I don’t have a favourite clothing shop, I usually hate most of the stuff in the stores. XD

Books: I usually name Frankenstein as my favourite, but really, there are so many great books…

Shoes: I feel the best in a pair of black boots.


CURRENTLY:

Feeling: Eh… Fine. 😛

Single or Taken: Taken. My boyfriend is my best friend. ❤

Eating: Nothing. I’m thinking about going to the kitchen and having an apple. Actually, I’ll do it. Just wait for a moment, I’ll be back straight away….

Thinking About: Maybe I should’ve cut this apple in smaller pieces.

Watching: Nothing. I’m writing a post. XD

Wearing: Sweatpants and a shirt. Just regular “home” clothes. XD


FUTURE:

Want Children: Not really…

Want to be married: I want to be with my boyfriend, marriage doesn’t mean much to me.

Careers in mind: I would love to do something in publishing, but that’s almost impossible here. I would also like to study more, get an phD.

Where you want to live: Travel everywhere, live… Well, I don’t know. There are several places, but sometimes I also want to stay here.


DO YOU BELIEVE IN:

God: No…

Miracles: I believe in happy coincidences.

Love at first sight: No. You can’t love someone based on how that person looks, which is the only thing you know about them at first sight. Someone can draw your attention, and that can later turn into love, but only after you really get to know each other.

Ghosts: No. I will get scared if you tell me ghost stories, though. XD

Aliens: Yes. The universe is sooo big, I think there must be some other living beings out there.

Soul Mates: Depends how you define it… If you call someone you’re really close to your soul mate, that’s fine. I don’t believe in “predestined to find each other” kind of soul mates.

Heaven: No… I wish there was something after death, but I can’t make myself believe in it.

Hell: No.

Kissing on the first date: Well, it does exist, doesn’t it? XD

Yourself: Oh, I really wish I believed in myself more… I’m not a very confident person.


And in the end, I tag these wonderful people (and everyone else who want to do the tag!)

Ignitedmoth

Ellen@alittlebooklife

Ellie@bloggingfordopamine

Jackie@toomuchofabooknerd

Swetlana@readingthroughthenights

Top 5 Wednesday: Authors I Want to Read More from

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Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Samatha at Thoughts on Tomes. The guidelines and topics can be found on the Goodreads group.


This week’s title is quite self-explanatory. We all have those authors that we really, really want to read more from. So, let’s start with the list! These are listed in no particular order:

1. Terry Pratchett

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Terry Pratchett is an amazing author, and a very productive one. His books are fun and clever, they make you laugh, but they also make you appreciate Pratchett’s wit. Some also carry messages that I find very true and important. I love his books, and, luckily for me, there are many more for me to read. 🙂

2. Margaret Atwood

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The only Margaret Atwood book I’ve read is The Handmaid’s Tale. I know, that’s horrible and needs to be rectified! I recently bought a copy of Penelopiad, and I can’t wait to read it! The Odyssey from Penelope’s point of view? This has to be amazing!

3. Daphne du Maurier

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I’ve read four of her books, and loved all of them. Du Maurier creates such an amazing atmosphere, and manages to be both descriptive and exciting. That’s something I can’t help but admire.

4. Edith Wharton

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I loved The Agnocence and The House of Mirth. Of course I want to read more!

5. Elif Shafak

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Elif Shafak’s Honour is one of my favourite books ever. Her writing is just beautiful, and she portrays the characters and their feelings very vividly, making them seem real. The themes of Honour are not happy ones. It speaks about immigration, the clash of cultures, and honour murders. I think this is an important read, which manages to present different points of view without any kind of judgement. I absolutey want to see what else this amazing author has written!


All of the photos are from Goodreads.