Unique Blogger Award

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I have a quick, fun little post for you today! The lovely Ellie @bloggingfordopamine nominated me for the Unique Blogger Award, and asked some interesting questions. Now, it’s time for me to answer.

First, the rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them 3 questions.

And here are my answers:

1. I have so many books I’m looking forward to reading this year. What’s your most anticipated 2018 read?

It is (or actually was) Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie, which is now my current read. And it’s great so far, I’ll definitely write a post about it soon. Another book I really want to read is The Sagas of the Icelanders, a collection of old Icelandic tales and sagas. It’s a huge book, but I’m sure it will be worth my time.

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2. When I was younger, I was obsessed with Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and now that I’m older, I have even more admiration for her character. Are there any childhood favourite characters that you appreciate even more now that you’re older?

I can’t really think of one specific character for this question, but the characters from Winnie-the -Pooh as a whole really mean a lot to me. I loved then as a child, and when I reread the book I realized just how wonderful they are. They are all flawed – Piglet is always anxious, Eeyore is depressed, Pooh doesn’t understand what’s going on most of the time… But they are all supportive of each other, and accept their friends the way they are. For example, they try to mae Eeyore happy on his birthday, but they don’t expect him to change and instantly stop being sad. And they say the sweetest, most innocent things. Oh, I just love how pure those books are.

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3. My blog has changed so much since I started it. What was the topic of the first ever blog post you wrote?

My first post as a silly “introduction”. Not really interesting. XD And the first real one was about my favourite books of all time. I guess I could do a new one, since there are some books that should definitely be added to the list.

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Now, here are the questions I came up with:

1. A monster breaks into your home! (Gasp!) But it’s not a very dangerous one, don’t worry. It’s just lost, poor thing. It can easily be scared, and then it will go into the wild and live happily ever after. But you need to scare it. The only thing that comes to mind is to throw a book at it, because you’re standing next to your shelves. You obviously don’t want to throw and possibly destroy a book you love, so you grab a book you don’t like and you don’t even know why you still have it. What book do you choose?

2. You’re walking down the street, minding your own business, and you find a magical lamp. (You now it’s magical because it sparkles. Or something.) And what do you do – you rub the lamp of course. You know how these things work! And, yes, a genie comes out and says he’ll give you any superpower you want.
“But, I thought I was supposed to get three wishes!” you say.
“I’m the genie, I know how this works! You get a superpower!”
You shrug and accept the offer. A superpower is still great. Which superpower do you choose?

3. I’ll keep this one shorter, I promise. XD Now, you have superpowers, but you still need help because you’re new at the whole supernatural thing. Which character (from a book or tv show) would you choose to be your partner and best friend?

Now I will nominate some people, but if anyone wants to answer these questions, feel free to do it. I’m interested to hear your answers. 🙂

Anna @mybookishdream

Chelsea @spotlightonstories

Lola @lolaetlavie

Sarah @dragonsandzombies

Jewel @foxynerdyrebelle

Naty @natysbookshelf

Luna @bookishluna

Izzy @thinkingandinking

Maniacal Book Unicorn @maniacalbookunicorn


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My Top 10 Books of 2017

top 10 2018

The time has come to look back on all we’ve read in the last year. Or not. Totally up to you.

I did look back, and decided to compose this list. It’s in no particular order, because I’m too indecisive, and the books are quite different one from the other so I would never be able to rank them. I’ll just put some similar books next to each other. Also, I’ve written posts abut some of these books, so I the title is clickable, you can go read the post. 🙂

The first two books that I’m going to mention are vampire books. I really wanted to find some interesting vampire books, especially after I was a bit disappointed by Prince Lestat, and in the end I managed to find these two which made me really happy.

1. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

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I’ve never read ASOISAF. And I’m not sure I ever will… But this book made me realize that George R.R. Martin is a great writer. The book is set in the 1850s USA, and it’s historical fiction as much as it is paranormal/vampire fiction. I loved the way Martin used the vampire legends, and made them his own, without straying too much from the source. It’s also a book about how dark humanity is, how prejudiced people can be, and just how capable they are of committing horrible deeds such as enslaving other people. It was a great read, and much more than a vampire novel.

2. The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverly Lee

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I would never have heard of this series were it not for Instagram, because that’s where I met Bevery Lee. So thank you Instagram! The series is very atmospheric, and the characters are interesting. It follows a boy, Gabriel, but also quite a few other characters – some of them supernatural. I don’t want to reveal too much, since I’ve read the first two books (the third is not out yet) and I might spoil everything to you, but if you want a good supernatural novel, I think this might be it.

Now let’s move on to my favourite fantasy book (trilogy, actually) of this year. I haven’t read that much fantasy this year, but this series was so good it made up for this lack of fantasy reads.

3. The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

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This is the last book in the series, and the reason I put this one on the list is because I feel like it’s always hard to end a series in a really satisfying way. I loved the first two books, but the way everything ends is perfect. All the characters are very flawed, and nothing is sugar-coated or romanticized. I liked that the writing was slow-paced, and that the author focuses so much on the inner struggles of the characters, besides everything that is going of in this fictional world. Inquisitor Glokta is my favourite. He’s far from being a loveable character, but I love reading his snarky inner monologues. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy lovers!

The next three books all feature magical elements, but in a subtle way. They are fantasy combined with historical fiction.

4. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

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Daughter of the Forest is a retelling of the fairy tale “The Six Swans”, but it’s also so much more than that. The Germanic tale, collected by the Grimm brothers, is in this case set in Ireland and Britain and interwoven with Celtic mythology and folktales. It is magical, but it also feels very real; the fantastical and the historical creates one whole, one wonderful story. It is also a story which speaks against war and the hatred of others. And it’s wonderfully written. I enjoyed this book immensely!

5. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

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If a book is set in the Middle Ages, I’m immediately intrigued. If the Middle Ages are actually described in a more historically accurate, and less clichéd way, I fall in love with the book. Yeah, I’m simple like that. XD But this book is so well written, atmospheric, and mysterious. The characters all have a story to tell – literally and figuratively. They are all hiding something, and they are all lying about something. The story revolves around finding out the truth, and the destructive power of lies. Again – both literally and figuratively. The book is also inspired by the Canterbury Tales, since all the characters set off to a journey together in hope to escape the plague. It’s a great read, and I’ll definitely read more Karen Maitland’s books.

6. Bright Air Black by David Vann

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This one is not really historical fiction, but a myth retelling. It’s the story of Jason and Medea from Medea’s point of view and it’s just perfect. Brutal, but perfectly so. I loved diving into Medea’s mind. She’s a sorceress, a devotee of the witch-godess Hecate, and her powers and brutality really show in this book, but at the same time it’s hard not to find simpathise with her. The book is written so well, it feels like it transports you to a different world.

In the end, I have some literary fiction (I guess) books, with no magic, or paranormal.

7. Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss

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This novel is historical fiction. It’s set in Victorian England, and follows mostly female characters and their struggles to become more than society allows them to be. The main character, Ally, want to become a doctor. She’s focused on her cause, the fight for equal treatment of women and men in medicine, and become the best person she could be. Her perfecionism becomes a great burden, and she suffers from what I presume are panic attacks. She’s also under constant scrutiny of her mother who is trying to save suffering women, young prostitutes, and the poor, but is at the same time too harsh on her daughters. She wants them to know that they live in abundance while others suffer, and does it in a rigid, adamant manner. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s Ally’s sister May who seems to conctantly find a way to disobey her mother’s restrictions, their father the painter, and his friend who constantly hangs out with the girls… So many interesting relationships, and human struggles in one book.

8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Well, you’ve all heard of this one, so I won’t talk about it too much. I should have read it earlier, but I’m so glad I finally did. And the series is great, too!

9. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

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You need a little patience for this one, but it’s worth it! The psychological portrayal of characters is amazing! The story mostly follows Maggie and Tom Tulliver, a brother and sister, and their relationship since early childhood. The novels also speakks of the expectations that the women of the time had to meet. The protagonist, Maggie, is strong and smart, but the society she lives in makes her ignore both of those traits. The biggest tragedy of this novel is the fact that she could’ve achieved so much, but was not allowed to. There are also some great side characters, especially poor Philip who is constntly judged because of his physical appearence. This book is truly a classic.

10. The Woman Destroyed by Simone de Beauvoir

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I talked about this book recently. It’s one of the last books I’ve read this year, and it’s amazing! It’s a collection of three stories, and every story follows daily life of a woman who is going though something bad in her life. None of these women are perfect, but the emotions and thoughts expressed in these stories are so raw and sincere, it really feels like you’re reading someone’s diary.

And that’s it! I hope you had a great reading year and that the next one would be even better! What are some of your favourite books from last year? If you did a similar list please feel free to link it to me, I’m really interested to read those posts! 🙂

Currently Reading: The Woman Destroyed by Simone de Beauvoir

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Everyone’s heard of Simone de Beauvoir (or at least everyone should have). She’s mosty known as a feminist, social theorist, and political activist. She’s the author of The Second Sex, a book on women’s opression which became one of the most important feminist works.

Simone de Beauvoir was also a fiction writer, though her works read almost like memoirs. The Woman Destroyed is a collection of three long stories, and so far I’ve finished the first one, “The Age of Discretion”, and since the description says all of the stories deal with similar themes, I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts of this story, before reading the others, as an introduction to de Beauvoir’s fiction.

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“The Age of Discretion” is written in first person, and it follows the intimate thoughts of the unnamed main character. Both the main character and her husband are intellectuals, she’s a writer and he a scientist. Their conversations are interesting and at times philosophical, as is the entire story. “The Age of Discretion” is, therefore, a quite erudite read, but at the same time it’s very sincere and human. It deals with everyday thoughts, insecurities, selfishness, and vanity. It’s about those little thoughts we have, but never dare express. Thoughts that belong to us, even though we don’t want to admit it.

Maybe it was during those moments, as I watch him disappear, that he exists to me with the most overwhelming clarity: his tall shape grows smaller, each pace marking out the path of his return; it vanishes and the street seems to be empty; but in fact it is a field of energy that will lead him back to me as his natural habitat: I find this certainty even more moving than his presence.

The story deals with the main character’s relationship with her husband, her son, and her own self – the past and the present, the constant change and passing of life. When it comes to her husband, she ponders on many questions. Does he still love her? Is he tired of her? Would another woman have made him happier? She cannot answer those questions, and sometimes her insecurities create more problems. She thinks too much which leads to misunderstandings.

The relationship with her son is even more complex, since he decided to take a past she did not intend for him. She feels he had made a mistakke, and cannot accept his decisions. She wants him to be a different man than he is now, and it’s hard for her to accept that. He decides not to be a professor, not to become an intellectual, and she acuses him of being greedy and only thinking about earning more money. Was that the real reason? It’s hard to tell, but for the main character it’s a great disappointment. She is watching her son become the kind of person she despises. He is not the person she tried to shape. He is his own person now, not a reflection of her ideals, and she feels that she’s losing him.

He will turn into a stranger.

The main character also struggles with her work, as her new book gets bad reviews. She sees that she’s getting old and fears she can no longer produce anything fresh and important. The world around her is changing. She is changing.

The sight of the changing world is miraculous and heart-breaking, both at the same time.

The “discretion” from the title really captures the tone of the story well. This story is mostly about things left unsaid, things we presume, though sometimes falsely, and things we are afraid to admit to ourselves. Expectations versus reality. It’s a wonderfully written story of human nature, without sugar-coating, but, in the end, still somewhat hopeful. It also shows how fragile we all are, how full of doubts.

What is an adult? A child puffed with age.

I feel like I don’t have to emphasize that I really liked the story, but, yes, I did, and I’m looking forward to reading the other two in the collection. What do you think? Have you read The Woman Destroyed? Are you interested in reading it?


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The Fall for Books Tag

book tag

Soooo, Autumn is almost over, and I still haven’t posted this tag. I haven’t posted anything lately, actually… I won’t go into details, but, you know, life happened, and I just needed some time away. Another reason is that, even though I really want to go back to writing this blog, I’m just not feeling very inspired at the moment. I want to make this blog better, but I’m not sure how, so I just stopped writing. Anyway, let’s do this fun tag and hope for the best, shall we?

Thank you dear Rachel @paceamorelibri  for tagging me, and I’m sorry it took this long. :*

THE RULES

  • Please link back to this post so I can see your answers!
  • Have fun!

One of the first books you fell in love with:

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. That’s the first book I remember falling in love with. The characters were plush toys which talked, and I was obsessed with plush toys (I still am, to be honest). What child doesn’t want their plush toys to come alive? My favourite was Eeyore. Sad little donkey stole my heart forever.

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A book you knew you were going to love from the first page

There are a few, but the last book I fell in love with from the very beginning was Bodies of Water by Sarah Moss. This book deals with many important topics, mostly the position of women in Victorian England, but it’s also very subtle. It is full of details, emotions and thoughts of the main charater(s). This is the first Sarah Moss book that I’ve read, but I will definitely read more.

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A book you didn’t think you would love as much as you do

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo. I’ve read it for college, and I expected it to be good, but I didn’t expect it to become one of my favourite books ever. It’s so sad, but the author also makes some jokes which was unexpected. I just loved everything about this book! P.S. The Disney film is different, of course, and much happier, but it’s still the darkest Disney film. And I think it’s really underestimated!Just listen to the villain, Frodo, singing Hellfire. It’s terrifying and amazing!

The character who will always have a place in your heart

Well, I already mentioned Eeyore. XD So for this question I’ll say Sorcha from Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, because she’s the first who came to mind. I loved her. And, also, some Harry Potter characters, of course.

Character you love on the page, but would never want to meet in real life

I usually really like flawed characters, though I’d probably not like them in real life. Now, my favourite character from comics EVER is Poison Ivy. I just adore her! But, in real life, she’d probably be very terrifying. That’s why I love her. 😉

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Literary couple you will ship until the day you die

Lestat and Louis from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. I mean, who doesn’t ship them, right?

An author whose writing style you fell in love with

Daphne du Maurier, definitely. She is able to draw me into the story and create a wonderful atmosphere. I just wish I could write like that, create something that would truly make the readers feel what the character is feeling, and experience the world of the novel.

A book recommended to you by a friend/family member that you quickly fell for too

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini was recommended to me by a friend, and I loved it. It was so heart-wrenching and wonderful. The author actually dedicated it to Afghan women, who suffered so much throughout history, and are still suffering. He tells the story of two women, and I just can’t say who I liked more.

Piece of book-related merchandise that you had to own

I actually own more comics merchandise than book merchandise. I have two Spider-man and two Deadpool T-shirts, and this Spider-man mug. I also have a tiny Kafka mug, which is for decoration, not to drink from.

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An author whose works you love so much that you auto-buy/borrow their new releases

I really can’t think of one… Most of my favourite authors are dead. XD But I assume Sarah Moss might become one of those. Han Kang, too.

And that’s it! I’ll tag a few people now, and I hope you’ll have fun with the tag (bot no pressure to do it if you don’t want to). 🙂

Anna @mybookishdream

Beatriz @booksnreviewsohmy

Amanda @acourtofbooksandlove

@bookowly

Lana @lifeinwordsandlyrics

Julie @juliedavide


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Top 5 Wednesday: Book Covers I’d Live In

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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 is a great topic! I’ll just start showing some lovely covers, straight away! 🙂

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone illustrated by M. Kay

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Well, we’ll just get this out of the way because, of course, I need to have a Hogwarts related book cover on this list. Everyone wants to live there. I (still) don’t own any of these editions, but I think they’re gorgeous! This is the entire illustration. Just look at this!

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2. The Wordsworth Classics Edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

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It just looks so peaceful. And such a gorgeous view! Also, I really wish I could paint, but I’m very bad at it. Maybe I could learn?

3. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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How pretty is this, ha? Barcelona, here I come!

4. These editions of the first two Vampire Chronicles books

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This is how I would live if I ever became a vampire. (There’s still time, I might.) I mean, what’s the point of being a vampire if you don’t live in a big creepy house, right?

5. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

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So, I get a gorgeous mansion with this one? Ok, I’m gone, bye!


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Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Aren’t Set In/Inspired By The Western World

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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.


* Talk about books that are set outside of the Western World (so outside of North America and Western Europe) or if they are SFF, books that aren’t inspired by those places (so no medieval setting fantasy!) *

Sadly, I’ll have to cheat a little bit in this one… And I say sadly because it’s quite embarrasing that I’ve read so little books that are not set in the Western World. This has to change! So, since some of these books are not entirely set outside of the Western World, I decided to make a list of more than five books. Actually, I made a list of five and then an additional list of three fantasy books or books with fantastical elements that aren’t set in our world, but are inspired by a non-Western country. Here are my picks:

 

Books set in the real world

1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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This is quite a cheat since most of the book is set in the US, but part of it is also set in Nigeria. It also speaks about race and being a black woman in the Western World, so I think it is an important read.

2. Honour by Elif Shafak

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Another book that doesn’t quite fit the theme, but parts of this book are set in rural Turkey. It also speaks about immigration and being treated as “The Other”, but it also speaks about the problems people face in rural Turkey, about religious fanaticism and how easily it can be spread. It’s a powerful, painful read with no idolisation. And Shafak’s writing style is beautiful. I can’t wait to read another book by her.

3. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

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This graphic novel is not entirely set in Iran, because it too deals with immigration. I learned a lot from it, and I highy recommend it to everyone.

4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

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This book is absolutely wonderful! And so sad. It deals of two Afghan women whose lifes get intertwined. As Hosseini himself said, it’s a tribute to all the Afghan women who suffered so much. Just go and read it!

5. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

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This book is so different and mystical that it almost feels like it sould belong to the fantasy category. It’s an interesting portrayal of South Korean society, and a story of a woman’s desire to find herself despite the said society and it’s norms.

Books set in a fantasy world or with fantastical elements

1. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

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Pyramids is a stand alone novel within Terry Pretchett’s Discworld series, and it is mostlx set in Ankh-Morpork, a land which is inspired by Ancient Egypt. Terry Pratchett’s books are fun and clever, and this one is no exception.

2. Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

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This book is set in the real Ancient Egypt, with the addition of some supernatural elements. Queen of Kings is a bit strange, but I liked it, though to be honest I’ve read it a long time ago so who knows what I would think of it now. XD In the book, Cleopatra doesn’t kill herself but instead makes a deal with goddess Sekhmet who then possesses her body. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but interesting.

3. Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan

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While the main character on these fantasy novels is from a country based on Victorian England, in each book she travels to a different part of the world. For example, in the Tropic of Serpents she travels to places based on African countries, later on she travels to places based on The Middle East etc. The books also touch upon the subject of colonisation, which is something I was very happy to find in books about dragons.

What are some of your favourite books that are not set in the Western World? I’d really appreciate your recommendations! 🙂

The Liebster Award

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The lovely Rachel @paceamorelibri nominated me for the Liebster Award and her questions seemed very interesting so, of course, I decided to do this! Thank you so much Rachel! ❤ Let’s do this!

The rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the person asked you.
  • Nominate 11 people (comment on their blog to let them know).
  • Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions.

Q & A:

1. What’s your dream vacation?

I love to travel! So going anywhere where I haven’t been before would be great for me. But, at times, I just really want to stay in bed and relax all day. XD So, both is fine. Yes, I know contradict myself. To quote Walt Whitman:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

2. How do you take your coffee (or tea)?

I hate the taste of coffee (yes, I know I’m in minority here), but I love tea. I take it with just a bit of lemon juice, no milk or sugar. 🙂

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Image from: Pixabay.com

3. What’s your favorite kind of blog post to make (e.g. book reviews, monthly wrap ups, Top 5 Wednesday/Top 10 Tuesday, etc)?

I just recently started doing Currrently Reading posts, and I really like those. I think they are my favourites at the moment. I also like Top 5 Wednesday posts, though I sometimes skip them. It really depends on the topic, not every topic will suit everyone.

4.  Have you met any of your internet friends in real life?

No… They live far away. XD

5. If you had to blog about something other than books, what would it be?

Food, maybe. I really like making healthy deserts, but I’m a total beginner so I don’t know how helpful my blog would be. XD

6. What’s the best movie you’ve watched so far this year?

Split was amazing, it was the first one that came to mind because it was so memorable. I had nightmares after seeing it. XD But I loved it so much! Sadly, I still haven’t seen Wonder Woman, but I definitely will. I think I’m going to love that one.

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7. Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?

I’ve been to many lovely places, but I think nature leaves the most powerful impression on me. And I really can’t choose between Scottish and Irish nature. Impossible…

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This is one of my favourite photos from my trip to Scotland. 🙂

8. Do you name your car(s) and other inanimate objects?

I don’t have a car, but we named my mother’s car Bubi. XD And all of my plush toys have names, of course. They need names. This is not debatable.

9. Which blog that you follow do you think is the most similar to yours?  In terms of, ‘if you like my blog, you should also follow ____.’

Oh, I really don’t know… There are so many lovely book blogs here on WordPress… And I’m not sure which ones are the most similar to mine. But I would definitely recommend all of the people I tagged at the end of this post.

10. Favorite season?

Autumn! Summer has just started and I’m already kind of sick of it. It too hot here in Croatia. Yes, we can go to the beach (I hate beaches, but I like swimming in the sea. XD), but that’s the only positive side of summer. Temperatures above 30°C are horrible.

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Image from: Pixabay.com

11. Are there any genres that you refuse to read?

I don’t really like crime fiction. Finding out “who did it” is just not interesting enough for me, though some people might find that weird. I also don’t like romance books. It’s fine if romance is a part of the book, but not if it’s the entire book.

My questions:

1. What is your favourite period in history (the one you find most interesting)?
2. If you could be a fictional character for a day, who would you be and why?
3. What is your favourite TV show at the moment?
4. What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2017? (Or at least one of the best, I know it can be hard to choose.)
5. Do you have a favourite toy, from childhood or now? (Yes, I still buy toys for myself.)
6. Who are some of your favourite villains?
7. Which superpower would you choose to have, if you could?
8. What is your favourite snack?
9. If you had to choose, would you rather become a vampire or a werewolf?
10. Pirates or ninjas? 😛
11. Share a quote you really like!

I nominate:

@bloggingfordopamine // @mybookishdream // @natysbookshelf // @mia215 // @bionicbookwormblog  // @shannonpaigewaters // @spotlightonstories  // @readbychris // @dragonsandzombies // @blameitonchocolate // @quillsblog

As always, you don’t have to do the tag, of course. No pressure. 🙂