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? 😄 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. 😄

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. 😄 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

 

 

 

Inside & Out Book Tag

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First of all, thanks to Anna@mybookishdream for tagging me to do this. It was really fun! 🙂 Anna has an amazing blog, I truly recommend you all to check it out!

I know I wasn’t as active lately, but I just had so many things to do… I also adopted two chinchillas a few days ago and they have to adapt so I’ve been very focused on them. I don’t want the introduction to be too long, but I’ll explain a bit more at the end of the post, if anyone’s interested.* So, let’s get to my answers:

1. Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

Well, it really depends, there are all kinds of summaries. I don’t think they give up too much information, but sometimes they can be misleading, which I find annoying. There are also some books with no information about the story whatsoever, and that’s really horrible. How am I supposed to know if I want the book or not? 😄 Solution: Google. But it’s still annoying. Why not put at least a teeny-tiny description?

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2. New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?

A nice paperback. I prefer paperbacks to hardcovers, but I don’t like the really small ones, with tiny letters. I have nothing against e-books, but if I really like a book I want to have a physical copy. And audiobooks are just not for me, sadly. I cannot concentrate on them at all, my mind just wanders off. Physical copies are just the best. 🙂

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3. Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean?

I do sometimes underline a quote I like, but that’s mostly it. Lately, I decided to start writing down my thoughts on Goodreads, so we’ll see how that goes.

4. Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

I don’t care about the gender of the author. Why would I? And wouldn’t that be a bit sexist? I read the books I think I would enjoy, that’s the only criteria.

5. Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Oooo, reading the last page… I used to do that a lot when I was a kid, though it’s not really a logical thing to do. 😄 Sometimes I would get nervous something would not go the way I wanted it to, so I’d read the last page in hopes it will console me. I’m sure you know thet feeling. When you read something and it makes you anxious…

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6. Organised bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

Organised bookshelves. I’m running out of space so they’re not as organised as I would like them to be. The way I arrange my books may seem random, but it makes sense in my mind.

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7. Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

I haven’t. I can be drawn by the cover, but I would never buy a book without checking what it’s about. I’m not that rich. 😄

8. Take it outside to read, or stay in?

Stay in, definitely. I rarely read outside. I like to spend time in nature, but I’m not the kind of person who takes a book, sits on a bench, and reads. I like to be at home, preferably in bed.

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And that’s it! I will tag some people, but of course, don’t feel obligated to do the tag. 😉

Sarah @betweenthepages

Marie @marieslibrary

Shanah @bionicbookwormblog

@ignitedmoth

@ardentattachments


* My country, Croatia, recently passed a law that forbids farming animals for fur (finally!) Little, fluffy chinchillas are safe now. A local animal righs group is now trying to find people to adopt the chinchillas. 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). They are beyond adorable, but still very scared, poor babies…

Books and Hot Tea Got a Redesign

I wasn’t sure if this needed a post, but in the end I decided to do it. I’ve been trying to make my blog look better for a while now, but it never turned out the way I wanted it to. Now, I think I’m quite satisfied with it, though I’m not very good at this stuff. 😄

First of all, I want to introduce you to Sheila the owl, my new mascot. 🙂

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Sheila was a template I found on pixabay.com (a great place to find free stock photos!) and then I just adjusted her colours. Owls were always a symbol of wisdom (and bookishness – if that’s not a word it should be) so she is perfect for this job! Sheila will be featured in my memes, such as Captured Moments and Quote for Thought. I also created a banner for the Top 5 Wednesday posts since I’m planning to do these regularly (maybe not every Wednesday, but most).

I am also planning to introduce a new monthly meme called In First Person, which will be posted every 1st day of the month. In these posts I will talk about a theme that I found interesting that month, something new I discovered, and mostly about things that are not related to books, because sometimes I want to talk about some other things as well. Once a month will be enough for that I think. This is Books and Hot Tea after all. 😉

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This means I will also be following a certain schedule:

  • On Mondays I will post a Quote for Thought or a Captured Moments post – in case I go on a trip or somewhere interesting. Sometimes, a tag/award post will be posted on Moday instead of those memes – if there is one to do.
  • Wednesdays are reserved for Top 5 Wednesday.
  • On Thursday, Friday or Saturday I will post a piece of writing (Twittering Tales and more).
  • In First Person will be an additional post.

So, this means posting three days a week. Well, at least for now… We’ll see how it works. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. Sometimes, I might skip a post or so.

I’m also using a new theme – Misty Lake. I’m very satisfied with this one!

And that’s it! Happy blogging, people! 🙂


 

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. 😄 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. 😄

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?

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. 😄

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! 😄 (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… 😄 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. 😄 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. 😄 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. 😄

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.

Anonymous Bookaholics Tag #amreading

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Hi, bloggers! Once again, I haven’t posted in a while… I’ve beeen quite busy. But, now, the lovely Nicole from Sorry, I’m Booked tagged me to do this fun tag, and I had to do it. Thanks, Nicole, so much 🙂 Let’s start!

My name is Irena and I’m a bookaholic. Here are my answers:

What Do You Like About New Books?

Everything! 😄 I like the excitement you get from getting a new book, especially if it’s a book you’ve been wanting to read for a while. And the smell! New books smell amazing. 😉

How Often Do You Buy New Books?

It depends. Now, when I have a job, I buy more than before, becuse I can. 😄 I’m actually not an impulse buyer, so I don’t often get carried away.

Bookstore Or Online Shopping — Which Do You Prefer?

I love browsing thrugh the books in a bookstore, but bookstores here suck. 😥 So, unfortunately, online shopping is the only way for me to get the books I want. Especially if I want to read them in English, not in translation. I don’t like reading translated books if I can read them in their original language.

Do You Have A Favorite Bookshop?

Well, as you can see in the previous answer, not really… There is only one bookstore that I like, but it’s not that great… When it comes to online shopping, I order books from Book Depository.

Do You Pre-Order Books?

Very rarely. Most of the books were already published when I read them. 😄 I guess people mostly pre-order books from series, because they can’t wait to see what happens next, but I don’t read many series, so this doesn’t really apply to me.

Do You Have A Monthly Book-Buying Limit?

Not really. 😄

Book-Buying Bans, Are They Something For You?

As I said, I don’t really have a problem with over-buying. (Is that even a word?) I don’t like to pile up too many books, and having a huge TBR pile. So there’s no need for me to be on a book-buying ban.

How Big Is Your Wish List?

I have about 200 books on my Goodreads TBR, but I’m sure there’s even more on my mind. 😄

Which Three Books From Your Wish List Do You Wish You Owned Right Now?

Just three? This is hard… 😄
Let’s say: Fudoki by Kij Johnson, Nothing Like the Sun by Anthony Burgess, and The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell (though it’s the first in a series, so I’d have to get the others, too. ;)).

In the end, I have to tag a few people. So, if you want to do it, I’d be happy to hear your answers: JeanyjanezMistyThat Weird Brown Girl , Genie Reads

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