Category Archives: Miscellaneous Bookish Stuff

Witchy Reads

witchy-readsI’m not a fan of horror stories, so you won’t find a lot of them on my blog – and I certainly haven’t read enough of them to be any sort of authority. The fact is that in Slovenia, we don’t traditionally celebrate Halloween. We do observe All Saints’ Day on November 1st as well as Reformation Day on October 31st (both are holidays), but dressing up in costumes is reserved for February, when Pust happens. Nowadays, people sometimes do Halloween parties but that’s more an excuse to dress in skimpy costumes and get drunk – nobody actually thinks about why the holiday is there to begin with. Eh.

Halloween isn’t just about ghosts and serial killers, though, even if the movie marathons run at this time of the year tend to lean in that direction. It’s about witches, too, and witches just so happen to be my favourite supernatural creatures!

Samhain being one of the most important holidays for witches past and present, this time of year is especially appropriate for reading books about witches. And I’ve read a fair number of them! These are some of my favourites (in no particular order).

  • The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle. Yeah this is one of those books I keep pushing on you folks. It’s a great seasonal read, if you haven’t tried it yet, maybe I can convince you: go read my review and another gushing post I wrote about it.
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I don’t know why I never reviewed this one but it’s pretty damn fantastic. I’m planning on re-reading it soon as I recently re-read Fangirl, too.
  • Half Bad by Sally Green. This is a trilogy and I just read Half Wild – but I still have to read the last one. I like the story a lot though it’s a bit darker than your usual paranormal YA.
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Okay so maybe I wasn’t as impressed by this one when I re-read it recently (I still have to review it) but it’s a good blend of historical facts, romance, and mystery, plus the witches are pretty badass, so it deserves a spot on this list. Again, it’s a trilogy and I have to finish it.
  • The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab. This is her debut and also the first of her novels that I read – before I even started blogging (this is totally an “I read Schwab before she was cool” moment lol). I love the fairytale feel of this one, it’s haunting.
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik. One of my all-time favourites. Seriously, I’ve now read this book at least five times (I translated it into Slovenian so it’s sort of a must) and it’s still great. Books that can be read multiple times in the space of one year are rare indeed and this one is fantastic.
  • Book of Shadows by Kate Tiernan. Ohh, I recently re-read most of these. I first read them when I was about… 13? Maybe? Anyway, I bought the first two books when we were in the US, actually, and fell in love. I was seriously interested in Wicca for a while because of them!
  • Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling. Obviously.

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Tell me your favourite witchy reads! I need more seasonal recommendations. 

Do you dress up for Halloween?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

Currently Re-reading

re-readingI think I’ve complained several times over the years that Goodreads still doesn’t have a re-reading option. It’s one of the reasons I don’t set a Goodreads reading goal – I re-read a lot and those books never count towards my book goal.

I’ve talked about re-reading before (most recently here) – I return to the same old stories because it feels like coming home, it feels like meeting old friends. So when I’m in the mood for something comforting, I often turn to these stories that I’ve read and loved before. I always discover something new, each reading is different because I’m different. I’m in a different mood, at a different stage in my life.

This isn’t really a discussion, just a post that will be updated as I re-read books because I want to keep track of that somewhere. Also, if you’re looking for book recommendations, all of these are probably a good idea, since I’ve read them more than once. I won’t go listing every book I’ve ever re-read, just those I re-read recently (say since the beginning of the year) and then I’ll try to keep it up to date in the future. The links go to my reviews.

Currently re-reading: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

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Books I’ve re-read 

2016

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Do you re-read a lot? Or at all?

What are your favourite comfort re-reads?

I’d love to hear from you! :) 

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

My Summer TBR

summer-tbr

I know summer has officially begun already and I’ve even spent a week at the seaside (which you probably realized if you’re following me on Instagram) but then I read Jolien’s post, in which she featured a number of great books she wants to get to this summer, and I thought I’d do something similar – both to keep myself from buying any more books (I own all but one of these already) and to remember I have fantastic reading to look forward to, even if I’ll be stuck in Ljubljana for most of July.

These are the books I’m hoping to read this summer (I’ll be crossing them off the list as I finish them):

  1. Half Wildhalf-wild-sally-green by Sally Green – this is one of those books that would otherwise languish on my bookshelf for a while. I got my copy from a friend and even though I’ve heard that this second part of the series isn’t as good as the first, the third is supposed to be fantastic.
  2. The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano – I have a Slovenian translation of this one and it’s supposed to be very good. I have no idea what it’s about (if you know, don’t tell me) but my mom recommended it so it’s bound to be good. (read in August)
  3. Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis – this one isn’t out yet (four more days to go!!) but I have a preorder, because duh, it’s Shalvis. (read in June; unsurprisingly)
  4. Torn by Jennifer L. Armentrout – this is the second part of Armentrout’s New Adult paranormal romance series, coming out in July. I’m buddy reading it with Danya and Becky because Armentrout’s paranormals are our weakness, and we’ll be reviewing it soon after. (read in August)
  5. Rebel of the Sandsrebel-of-the-sands-hamilton by Alwyn Hamilton – I bought this one on a whim because it had a gorgeous cover (I saw the paperback in a bookstore in Vienna) + Alicia recommended it. It’s been sitting on my shelf for three months now and I really need to get to it, even if it means starting a new series instead of continuing an old one.
  6. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison – I got this one because it’s a standalone and so many bloggers I trust have raved about it. The paperback I got is tiny compared to some of the fat fantasy tomes on our shelves. (read in July)
  7. Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier – as Daughter of the Forest was one of the best books I read in 2015, this is long overdue. I finally ordered a copy and will get to it soon. (read in July)
  8. And I Darken by Kiersten White – this is the only ARC on this list. It’s one of the few I requested in these past few months because I’m trying to be better at that (YAY for a 81% ratio on NetGalley!). I think this might be my next read since it comes out on June 28! (read in July)
  9. The Wrath and the Dawnwrath-and-dawn-renee-ahdieh by Renée Ahdieh – I picked up an e-book of this one when it was a Kindle deal, though I love the cover and it would look great on my shelves. Oh, well, I guess I can’t have everything… I also heard the second (and final) part is very, very good, so I’m intrigued!
  10. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch – the only reread on this list so far. If you remember, DJ and I started a read-along of the entire series a while ago – I just managed to read Red Seas under Red Skies this past week (I’m waaay behind schedule). So we have two months to tackle The Republic before The Thorn of Emberlain is published in September!
  11. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – I’ve heard nothing but great things about this one + I have an e-book already, so it’s high time I read it, I think. (read in August)
  12. No Good Dragon Goes Unpunishedno-good-dragon-goes-unpunished-aaron by Rachel Aaron – okay, this is ARC #2 on my list. Did you see that? I GOT AN ARC of this one!! I was contacted by the author (or rather her husband) personally because I reviewed (and loved!!) Nice Dragons Finish Last and One Good Dragon Deserves Another. Woop! I am super excited to read what adventures await Julius and Marci (and other amazing dragons). (read in August)
  13. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – ugh, the classics. I made some resolutions this year about reading more classics, so I’m putting dear old Jane on my list. It’s high time I read this story and the tiny, gorgeous edition with golden leaf edges is staring at me accusingly from my bookshelf (I moved it to a more visible position recently).

Well, I think this is quite ambitious. If I succeed in reading all of these, it’ll mean a significant dent in my general tbr pile and make me a very happy blogger indeed.

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What will you be reading this summer?

Have you read any of these and should I make those books a priority?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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Author Addiction: Roald Dahl

author addiction

It’s the first Monday of the month and we’re back with Author Addiction! This is a monthly feature here on Of Dragons and Hearts and on A Fool’s Ingenuity, Becky’s wonderful blog. You can also check out my previous editions with Rainbow RowellJill ShalvisJane Austen, Robin Hobb, Tessa DareSarah MacLeanLaini TaylorVictoria (V. E.) Schwab, Sarah J. Maas, and Jennifer L. Armentrout.

This will be the last Author Addiction post for a while. No, don’t cry, Becky and I are just out of common authors to write about so we each picked a freebie for this month. But we decided to collaborate on another monthly feature in 2016 – we’re currently discussing details (it’s all very hush-hush … by which I mean that we haven’t thought of a name yet). Anyway, stay tuned for something new and fresh in January and enjoy our last fangirly moments.

It’s ROALD DAHL’s turn for me – my favourite author of children’s books. I know Becky is writing about Neil Gaiman, so go check out her post (I liked Stardust and The Graveyard Book but haven’t read any of his adult stuff so I can’t do an AA post about him, sadly).

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matilda-roald-dahlI usually start these Author Addictions by saying how I encountered the chosen author. With Roald Dahl (1916-1990), I simply have no idea. I think it must have been my mom picking up Matilda or James and the Giant Peach at the library. And then she read them aloud to my brother and me, it was our nighttime ritual for years. Anyway, these were all translations, of course, and we slowly worked our way through The WitchesThe BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was a bit older when we read Revolting Rhymes, which is a collection of fairy tale retellings (poems, really) and it’s great.

My all-time favourite is still The Witches. It’s absolutely horrifying and if you have a young kid at home you might wait until s/he’s about 10 to read this. I don’t know. But I did love it as a kid and I loved it later when I re-read it. And it features a great relationship between a boy and his grandmother, who’s an amazing old lady. In fact, Dahl’s books have no shortage of great female characters – both young and old. Matilda and Sophie (from The BFG) are great girl characters with actual agency!

skin-roald-dahlI am currently slowly working my way through the originals of Dahl’s works – being a translator means I’m always curious about how the translations compare to the originals. I finished The BFG a couple of days ago and I have to say I don’t envy the translator who did this one. I’ll have to check out a copy of the translation and look at it now, but I remember enjoying it very much as a kid. It’s full of made-up words, wrong uses of set expressions and horrible puns – it must be a total pain in the ass to translate even though it’s really quite a short text.

Later on, when I was at the university, I also picked up Dahl’s short stories for adults. Now if you know how trippy, revolting, and fantastic his children’s books get, you multiply that by a hundred and add some murder and dark humor, you get these wonderful tales. I read Skin first, but Kiss, KIss is also great. I think I managed to read most of his short stories, in fact, I was quite obsessed with them for a while. I wish I could write like that.

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Ahh, so what makes Roald Dahl’s writing so wonderful? I think it’s a combination of a wicked sense of humor, total disregard for authority figures, and a good dose of craziness. I think you have to be sort of nuts to write stuff like that – but in a good way, you know? :) I know I’ll be reading his books to my kids – when they’re old enough.

I don’t usually talk about the writers’ lives outside of their writing but here’s a fun fact about Dahl: he was a pilot in the British Royal Air Force in World War II.

If you’re not into reading children’s books (though his really aren’t your usual kind-hearted fairy stories), I highly recommend you pick up his short stories for adults because they are amazing.

Don’t forget to check out Becky’s post! :)

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Have you read any of Roald Dahl’s books? Or watched the movies, perhaps?

Who’s your favourite childhood author? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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Author Addiction: Rainbow Rowell

author addiction

It’s the first Monday of the month and we’re back with Author Addiction! This is a monthly feature here on Of Dragons and Hearts and on A Fool’s Ingenuity, Becky’s wonderful blog. You can also check out my previous editions with Jill ShalvisJane AustenRobin HobbTessa DareSarah MacLeanLaini TaylorVictoria (V. E.) Schwab, Sarah J. Maas, and Jennifer L. Armentrout.

I know posts have been a bit thin on the ground lately (life is rearing its ugly crazy-cool head and we’ve been travelling and also we’re moving next week so it’s pretty hectic right now) but Author Addiction is the one regular post I haven’t missed this year yet so I’m not about to start now. I’ll soon be back with reviews for the wonderful books I’ll be mentioning in this post (and others, too), but let’s focus on the awesomeness that is RAINBOW ROWELL, please.

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eleanor-and-parkMy first encounter with Rainbow Rowell was when a friend of mine (a real-life friend, even, not a blogging buddy!) told me about Eleanor & Park and that it was being translated into Slovenian. I really liked that book. I gave it a glowing review and it stayed with me as one of the best books I’ve read in 2014. I loved the 80s setting, the feeling that the characters were real and the fact that it put my insides through the grinder. I love how Rowell wrote a romance that is so much deeper than your usual teenage story. It’s not a comedy, it’s not even a very happy story, and yet it conveys this hope about life and love and growing up. It made me think about mix CDs I made (and received) in high school and the feeling when you like a boy and you’re afraid to touch his hand for the first time. <3

fangirl-rainbow-rowellThis beautiful characteristic of Rowell’s work, this mashup of really adorable romance and real-life problems that don’t overwhelm the general feeling of giddy, bubbly excitement is probably my favourite characteristic of her novels. Her books make me feel good. And not just in the fluffy romance-reading way, I always feel like I’ve done something really great when I read her books. It’s hard to explain.

I read Fangirl next and fell in love. Hard. Check out my review for more articulate feelings (or not) but let me just say that this book has made it into the top 5 books I’ve read in 2015 and I think also my top 20 all-time favourites, because it’s so good. Cath is a great character and I loved following her story, and Levi is such a cool guy but he’s also flawed and I just … I just … ahhh go read this already. Seriously. If you know me at all you’ll know that I’m not usually inarticulate or overly gushy but I’m in full gush-mode when it comes to Fangirl. I think this might be the perfect novel to start your Rowell adventure if you’re new to her work.

attachments-rainbow-rowellQuickly following the amazingness of Fangirl, I read Attachments, which is an adult novel (both E & P and Fangirl are YA stories, though Fangirl is actually more of a NA), and became convinced of two glaringly obvious facts: a) Rainbow Rowell is a genius and b) her books and I were meant to be. I haven’t reviewed this one yet but I will soon and it’ll be another one of those sparkly reviews, that’s for sure. I know Lincoln is actually slightly creepy if you think about it but he’s such a clueless individual it’s really hard to hold it against him. Eh, what can I say, I like weirdoes.

Rowell has another adult novel, Landline, which is the only full-length novel of hers that I haven’t read yet. I’m slightly wary of starting it because it didn’t get really great reviews (I remember reading a couple of them last year) but I’ll definitely be reading it sometime soon, as soon as I come down from the high that was Carry On.

carry-on-rainbow-rowellNow, if you’ve read Fangirl you’ll know all about Simon and Baz and the story of Carry On (and if not, you should probably read Fangirl before you tackle this one). Here, too, I was pretty worried about the story not meeting my expectations, which were pretty high, I admit. But it did. Oh, it did. I loved reading about these two wizards and though I’ve read mixed opinions about it, I fell through it in two days, unwilling to put it down. I’ll be reviewing this one soon, too.

So yes. Rainbow Rowell is absolutely amazing and I’ll be eagerly awaiting her next brain-child, consoling myself with Landline in the meantime, and hoping against hope for another Simon & Baz or Cath & Levi or Eleanor & Park story (not really, I loved the conclusions, I’d just enjoy hearing about them from time to time, like you cherish news of old friends). Treat yourself and go read something of hers and then we’ll chat, yeah?

You can find Rainbow on: twitterinstagramher webpagegoodreads.

And don’t forget to check out Becky’s post!

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Have you read any of Rainbow Rowell’s books? What did you think?

Do you ever feel like a book was MEANT for you? (Or is this too selfish an emotion for you?)

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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Author Addiction: Jill Shalvis

author addiction

It’s the first Monday of the month and we’re back with Author Addiction! This is a monthly feature here on Of Dragons and Hearts and on A Fool’s Ingenuity, Becky’s wonderful blog. You can also check out my previous editions with Jane AustenRobin HobbTessa DareSarah MacLeanLaini TaylorVictoria (V. E.) Schwab, Sarah J. Maas, and Jennifer L. Armentrout.

all-i-want-shalvisBecky and I decided on another romance writer for October, it’s JILL SHALVIS – the author of many amazing contemporary romances.

Dear readers, I nearly forgot about this month’s feature. I admit, work has been crazy lately, but I CAN’T pass up the opportunity to fangirl about Jill Shalvis, because she is, hands down, my favourite contemporary romance author. Choosing her for October seems lucky, too, because she has a new book coming out tomorrow – I preordered All I Want already and am fully expecting to spend my Tuesday curled up with it.

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simply-irresistibleSo one thing Becky and I always discuss in these posts is how we first got to hear about the chosen author. And all I know is that I picked up Simply Irresistible as a Kindle deal and liked it enough to read the second book in her Lucky Harbor series. And though I only gave Simply Irresistible a 3.5 rating (Why, though? I really liked it…), the series did prove to be irresistible, for lack of a better word, as did the rest of Shalvis’s work.

I love the small-town romances she writes. I love the characters that pop up in every book – the quirky neighbors, the town busybodies – and that we always get a glimpse of “old” couples in sequels, like we’re checking in on their lives. I always wonder what happens after the wedding, after the exchange of the professions of love, and Shalvis does this admirably.

Her novels are exactly the right kind to unwind and feel good after a long day because I never find myself rolling my eyes at the story, the characters or the overall message, which is something that’s been happening a lot lately. I dislike silly heroines, I dislike asshole heroes, and Shalvis has never committed this faux-pas, making her one of the rare romance novelists who deserve this claim. Her characters (both male and female) are strong, independent individuals who work hard at deserving the happily ever after they eventually get. And I love that! Because life is seldom bump-less and it’s good to read about relationships where the drama isn’t of the fake kind. srcek

I haven’t reviewed all her novels (I blew through them way too fast for that, oops!) but I did write about the Wilder series and Second Chance Summer, the first in a new series she’s writing. If you’re interested in reading her novels, you really can’t go wrong with the Lucky Harbor series but if you’re intimidated by its length (I think there are 12 novels so far?), have a go at her Animal Magnetism series, which is also very cool.

I feel like the first book in each series was actually my least favorite, which circles back to the fact that I like knowing the characters. Shalvis sets up the new town in the first installment, giving us a glimpse of the family/work environment where the rest of the series will take place, so it makes sense that with each book, we get more attached to the setting and characters. I’m saying this so you’ll give book 2 in a series a try even if the first one doesn’t necessarily floor you. :)

Find Jill Shalvis on: her web pagetwitterinstagramgoodreads – pinterest.

And don’t forget to check out Becky’s post!

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Have you read anything by Jill Shalvis? Which series/book is your favourite?

Do you like small town romances at all? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)