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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Currently Reading: The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

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“Life—the way it really is—is a battle not between good and bad, but between bad and worse”
― Joseph Brodsky

I’ve just reached the end of Before They Are Hanged, the second book in this trilogy. Overall, I really like this series, and I can’t wait to see what the finale brings!

There’s a lot to like about this series. The writing is slow-paced, which I think is a good thing. Instead of writing many fight scenes, the author really focuses on the characters – and they are all amazing and interesting. The narration is third person subjective, and we are given the story through the perspective of several characters, all of them unique. This doesn’t mean the plot is boring, not at all. There is figthing. And spirits, magic, strange creatures, torture. There’s mystery and problems to solve.

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The characters are, in my opinion, the greatest asset of this book. They are unpredictable, flawed, and very real. All of them have their own story, their own personality, and very different motivations. Neither of them is perfect, but they aren’t evil either.

Logen Ninefingers is a notorious man, perceived by many as a savage – and with a good reason. And yet, there is certain kindness and innocence about him. Sometimes, he gives very good advice, which proves he’s actually quite clever.

“Doing better next time. That’s what life is.”

– Logen in Before They Are Hanged

Jezal Luthar seems like a perfect knight. But he is vain, sometimes almost stupid. And yet, strangely likeable.

Bayaz is a wizard. The most famous one. Wise, yes, and powerful, but there’s also something dark about him.

Glokta in an Inquisitor. A torturer. He grew cruel and bitter after the painful events that had made him a cripple. But he is also smart and his snarky comments are, in my opinion, the best part of the book.

“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”

– Glokta in The Blade Itself

Ferro is a wild woman whose only purpose in life is revenge. She trusts no one. She shows kindness to no one. But there’s much more to her than what meets the eye.

There are many more interesting characters in this book, all of them layered and well-developed. All with a story to tell. What more to say? This is an amazing fantasy series, and though I’m not finished reading it yet, I think I can recommend it to all fantasy lovers.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?


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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? 🙂

In First Person: Update

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In First Person is a monthly meme here on Books and Hot Tea. Every first of the month I talk about a certain lifestyle topic I’m passionate about. Feel free to leave comments and chat with me!


Yes, I know the first day of June was yesterday, but I’m not too late. XD Anyway, I wanted to write this In First Person post as a little update on the last few weeks of my life. As you may have noticed, I wasn’t very active lately, so first I’ll explain why.

The Teacher’s Exam

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That’s how I decided to call it anyway, since I don’t think there is a correct translation – the literal one would be “professional exam” but it sounds silly. Let me explain, or skip if you don’t care. Here, in Croatia, we are actually being prepared for working in schools in college, if we choose to. After graduating college, we’re supposed to have an apprenticeship in school. And after that we have this horrible, stressful exam. Not easy to become a teacher, ha?

Anyway I passed the exam! Yaaay! I cannot even explain how stressful it was. It’s a three-part exam: the written essay, one lesson in front of a class you’ve never seen before, and an oral exam. I spent two months studying for it, and now it is all done! After I finally passed the exam, I felt happy but quite drained. And that’s why I took a little break from this blog. Hopefully, I’ll be back now. 🙂

What I’ve Been Reading

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Yes, this is me. XD

This is a book blog, after all, so let’s talk about books! Of course, I didn’t have a lot of time to read, but I managed to squeeze some reading into my schedule. The most important news is that I’ve finally read The Handmaid’s Tale, and I even wrote a little post about it. It’s such an amazing book, and I’m definitely going to watch the series.

After that, I read Verland: The Transformation by B.E. Scully, and, sadly, I was very disappointed… I had really high expectations for this vampire novel, but it was not atmospheric at all, and I expect vampire novels to have a nice, gothic atmosphere. Also, there was this cringeworthy romance that I just couldn’t stand… Earlier this year I’ve read Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin, and if you want to read a vampire novel, I’d go with that one. This was my first book by Martin (no, I haven’t read ASOIAF, sorry) and I loved his writing. A different vampire novel, but not in a way that it goes too far away from the source (though what the source really is could be discussed).

And then, I read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I liked this book, but for some reason I expected more… The ending was really, really good, though. And I loved this quote:

Chiron had said once that nations were the most foolish of mortal inventions. ‘No man is worth more than another, wherever he is from.’

And now I’m continuing with The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan. I’ve mentioned many times before that I love A Natural History of Dragons, so it was high time for me to finish the series. I’m so happy to return to this world! And all the dragons! 🙂

Future Plans

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First of all, I want to write more posts on this blog. I plan to write more about the books I’m reading, which I didn’t really do so often before. I don’t usually write reviews, I prefer to concentrate on one point I found interesting, but maybe I should try to write some reviews, too. Mostly, I think I’ll stick to the Quote for Thought posts.

I also want to get back to writing fiction. I’ve neglected it a bit lately… And I want to keep my Instagram (or should I say bookstagram) account alive, and to make more use of Goodreads. I’ve been using Goodreads mostly as a list of books read and to-be-read, but now I decided to connect with some people and even write reviews from time to time. It’s also a great place to write down interesting quotes as I read. And last, but definitely not least, I hope I’ll find a job soon. XD

And that’s all from me for now, hope you’re having a great Friday! Read you soon! 🙂

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Polarizing Books

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There are certain books that people seem to either love or hate, with no in between. For this Top 5 Wednesday, I was supposed to chose 5 of those books that I like. Honesty, I’m not completely sure if these fall into this category, but from what I’ve heard I think they do. Also, some of these are not really favourites of mine, but I don’t hate them as some people do.

Let’s start!

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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I love this book and it’s one of my absolute favourites. I know a lot of people who share these feeling, but I’ve also come across a lot of people who kind of hate it… Which makes me a bit sad… Those people often say that characters are unlikeable, but I think the part of what makes this book great is the flawed characters. I did come to care for them, in spite of their flaws.

2. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

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I can understand why some people don’t like this book. It’s not a pleasant one to read. But I still loved it! I already mentioned it in a post about my favourite villains – the way it’s written is just amazing!

3. Medieval sagas

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I don’t think this is a case of love-or-hate, it’s more like: some people enjoy these sagas and others don’t read them at all. I loved The Song of the Nibelungs (or the Nibelungenlied), The Saga of the Volsungs (Völsunga saga) and I loved Beowulf. There’s just something about these stories that fascinates me. I’m kind of a medieval geek. XD

4. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

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You don’t read books like this for the wonderful prose, you read them for the fun and mystery. I was still in high school when I read it and I found it very interesting then. I also liked Angels and Demons. It was a perfect fast-paced summer read.

5. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

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I didn’t know which book to choose next, so here’s one I don’t actually like, but I don’t hate it as much as some do. Twilight is a book that really gets a lot of hate and a lot of love at the same time. And yes, it’s not a book I love, but I did like it when I first read it (this was also in high school) and I wanted to know what would happen next. The books get worse and worse as the series progresses, that I have to admit, but the first one wasn’t that bad.

So, do you have any thoughts about these books? I’d like to hear from you! 🙂

 

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?

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. 😉