Miscellaneous

How Many of My Favourites Have You Read? + Activity Update

There is a meme going around on Twitter with a bingo card that you fill with your favourite books, and people can mark how many they have read. I thought it was really fun, so I decided to share my card over here as well. Feel free to comment with what you think of these books, or what your own favourites are!

myfavs

Other than that, this is a quick update to say that I’m still incredibly busy with university (and everything that comes with it, including student work, extra lectures, conferences, etc.) and I’m constantly stressed over not doing enough. Not really the right headspace for reading books, and especially not for writing reviews or coming up with fun posts to hare with you, unfortunately…

Thus, I’ll likely post less content in the upcoming weeks. I’ll try my best to pick up the pace and do at least two posts a week eventually, but for now I’ll just post whenever I finish a book I liked or have some time.

I’d love to hear what all of you are reading while I’m suffering over here!

~ Alexa

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Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG | What’s On My Bookshelf?

Uni has only just started, and I already feel dead inside exhausted, so reading isn’t going too well. Unfortunately, this also means a lack of reviews queued, so… time to do some book tags, which are both fun, and generally take less time than reading + reviewing a book! Also, I got a couple of great books lately so maybe I can include them here.

This book tag was created by Emily from Wicked Good Reads.

A Library Book

Lesbian Studies: Setting an Agenda

I originally went to the library to pick up A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, but in the end I left with three books – one of them was Orlando also by Virginia, which I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and the other one was Lesbian Studies – Setting An Agenda by Tamsin Wilton, because… how can I not read that?

A Book You Got As A Gift

Run

I got Run by Kody Keplinger, a F/F book with a blind protagonist as a gift years ago, and… I still haven’t read it. I really want to get to it soon for the Lesbian Book Bingo, though.

A Childhood Book

Az anyu én vagyok

I actually just unhauled many of my childhood books because we moved houses – I know, I know, getting rid of books is awful, but unfortunately books are pretty heavy and carrying boxes full of them up two stories is not fun. We still have plenty of books left though! A childhood book I kept is Az anyu én vagyok (I am Mom) by Gábor Nógrádi, which is a really fun middle-grade novel about a mother and a tomboy daughter who switch bodies for a short time and have to walk in each other’s shoes. My copy is also  signed by the author! This is actually paired with another book by the same author where a father and a son switch bodies, but I did unhaul that one.

A Magical Book

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe

I haven’t read The Dream-Quest of Vellit Boe yet, but from the cover and the title, it definitely seems like a magical book. I admit this was a bit of a cover buy, but also it was in the SFF section and it’s apparently award-winning, so I’m sure it’s great.

A Romantic Book

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

My first thought was actually A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole, one of the best romances I’ve ever read, but I don’t have it on my bookshelf, so… Oh! The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler. It’s a book I rarely talk about even though I loved it. It has a wonderful romance where I’m kinda in love with both people, subverting/questioning gender roles, mermaid folklore, twin sisters, mystery, and so many great things.

A Steamy Book

A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1)

I don’t actually read steamy books and I certainly don’t have them on my physical bookshelf where my parents can see them… I do have a few ebooks, though. I recently finished A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole, and while I enjoyed it less than A Duke By Default, I still love it and it definitely has steamy parts.

An Old Book

A birodalom visszavág (Csillagok háborúja, #5)

My copy of the Empire Strikes Back is super old, mostly because it’s actually my father’s copy that I claimed for myself. It’s very loved and treasured, though.

A Book That Makes You Happy And/Or Laugh

Úriemberek ​kézikönyve: a bujaságtól az erényekig (Montague testvérek, #1)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue made me laugh so many times, and having a Hungarian copy of it makes me incredibly happy. It’s still rare to see LGBT books in Hungarian bookstores, and we don’t have an LGBT section, so you won’t actually know it’s that unless you already know the book.

A Book That Makes You Emotional

Assassin's Creed: Black Flag (Assassin's Creed, #6)

“when i thought about it i goggled at the sheer bloody guts of it. the courage it must have taken for her to do what she did. and i tell you, my sweet, i’ve met a lot of extraordinary people. some bad. some good. most of a mix of good and bad, because that’s the way most people are. of all of them the example i’d most like you to follow is hers. her name was mary read. i know you won’t forget it. bravest woman i ever met, bar none.”

Okay, so obviously Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag is based on the videogame and mostly has the story, but it still counts. They both make me hella emotional, but in slightly different ways. The book doesn’t have the music and the visual montage that made me cry at the end of the game, but it has plenty of Edward’s own narration, and one of my favourite quotes that doesn’t appear in the game at all.

A Book Whose Ending You Dislike

9...8...7 (Rémálom könyvek, #1)

I remember when I read 9… 8… 7… (and its sequels) as a teen, and the ending had a really cliché plot twist, and I nearly threw the book across the room. Fortunately, the author has actually written two endings and I was more happy with the other one. (Also, those covers are still super creepy. You didn’t have to go that hard, dude.)

A Book You Wish Had Illustrations

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

Any book is better with illustrations! But Every Heart a Doorway (+its sequels) could especially use them. I’d really love to see an illustrated version.

A Book Or Genre You Love To Read On A Rainy Day

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

I know rainy days sound romantic in theory, but the weather pretty much never has an effect on my reading preferences, so… Maybe All Systems Red, because I’d love to read it anytime.

Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG | The Hayley Kiyoko Book Tag

The Hayley Kiyoko book tag was created by Mahana from thesapphicbiblio (which is a blog I can’t believe I haven’t been following before), which is all about sapphic and/or F/F books! I originally saw this tag at sapphicsolace.

I read a lot of sapphic books, although strangely not many of them reach the true “favourite” status. Also, the beginning of this meme was somehow easier than the second half, but I still enjoyed it.

GIRLS LIKE GIRLS

Saw your face heard your name/Gotta get with you/Girls like girls like boys do/Nothing new

your favourite sapphic read?

I’m going to pick The Queen of Ieflaria, since I love the Chameleon Moon but my biggest favourite characters/ships are mostly male or enby.

The Queen of Ieflaria

FEELINGS

I over communicate and feel too much/I just complicate it when I say too much

your favourite sapphic couple?

“He sets a fire, our wings burn. We all fall down. But that’s not how the story ends.”

I’m going to pick Celeste/Radio Angel from The Lifeline Signal, and I would love to squee about them but everything else I say would probably be spoilery.

The Lifeline Signal (Chameleon Moon, #2)

GRAVEL TO TEMPO

I’ll do this my way/Don’t matter if I break/I gotta be on my own

your favourite sapphic protagonist?

One of my favourite protagonists is Xandri from Failure to Communicate/Tone of Voice, who is also bisexual and polyamorous.

Tone of Voice (Xandri Corelel Book 2)

SLEEPOVER

But at least I got you in my head, oh yeah/At least I got you in my head/In my head/Sleepovers in my bed

your favourite (best) friends to lovers romance?

One book that I enjoyed but rarely talk about is Time Will Tell by M. Ullrich, which has a really sweet second-chance romance with two best friends. My main problem with the book was that the blurb made me expect a time travel story, when in fact it’s a contemporary book, with the time travel only occuring towards the very end. In other words, I got a completely different book than I expected, and this frustrated me even if the book was otherwise good.

Time Will Tell

WANNA BE MISSED

I wanna be held, fragile like glass/’Cause I’ve never felt nothing like that/Say you can’t walk/Can’t talk, go on without me

a book you need to reread?

I kind of plan to re-read Not Your Sidekick before I go on to the third book (that isn’t out yet), but I didn’t re-read it before reading the second one and there was a neat summary, so I’m not sure. Still, it’s a fun book.

Not Your Sidekick (Sidekick Squad, #1)

MOLECULES

So what should I do/All that’s left is molecules of you/Tried to rearrange/Did you feel that everything was strange

saddest character death?

More like “character death that made you the angriest”, because I definitely felt more rage than sadness. But it’s gotta be the one in Down Among The Sticks and Bones.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

LET IT BE

‘Cause I believe we’re the ones who had it all/I believe we just had to learn to fall/I miss you, I/love you, so it’s really hard to see/Yeah, we just got to let it be

saddest couple breakup/separation?

I actually couldn’t come up with anything for this? I can’t think of a F/F book with a breakup/separation that really left a mark, although that might be because I don’t read that many sad romances anyway.

WHAT I NEED

Sure I would kiss you, I lay you with you/You broke, no, I can’t fix you/I won’t, no, won’t diss you/But babe, yeah, might miss you/If you’re cold and needed shelter/I’d hold you

a book that you had high expectations for but was disappointed in?

How to Make a Wish has been on my TBR for the longest time, and it was one of the first books I bought that had an #ownvoices bisexual girl protagonist, but I just didn’t enjoy it that much.

How to Make a Wish

CURIOUS

I’m just on the floor, I’m like a model/Been looking through the texts and all the photos/But don’t you worry I can handle it

your favourite angsty romance?

Ice Massacre (Mermaids of Eriana Kwai, #1)

I’m going to pick Ice Massacre, although in the first book the romance hasn’t really happened yet… but that’s because of the number of obstacles these two have to face, so I think it counts as an angsty romance.

MERCY/GATEKEEPER

All I wanna do is cry/That’s all I wanna do/All I wanna do is cry/Bang my head, until I start to fly

your favourite sad book?

I’d say “messed up” describes it more, but Sadie is definitely sad as well. It also has a sapphic protagonist who has a very short thing with another girl that never goes anywhere because romance doesn’t fit into her quest. I wish we knew what could have been, if things happened differently, but that would be a very different book.

Sadie

PALM DREAMS

All the palm trees have the money/Watching from above the endless party/California, just a bad/dream/I won’t hang around until you want me

a sapphic book you think deserves more hype?

Uh, all of them, honestly? The Queen of Ieflaria definitely does, but I already mentioned it. So does Failure to Communicate, which has a sapphic protagonist but no sapphic relationship yet. Feel free to recommend me more sapphic books, especially sci-fi and fantasy!

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

6 Degrees of Separation: Bookish Girls, Magic Girls, Queer Girls in Love

6 Degrees Of Separation is a monthly meme hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest (seen at Foxes and Fairytales)

On the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

(ALSO: According to the post on booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme was actually inspired by a Hungarian writer, Frigyes Karinthy?! So I DEFINITELY have to do it every month now, no excuses.)

This month we begin with Mara Wilson’s memoir, Where Am I Now?.

One: Mara Wilson is a former child actress who is most known for her role in Matilda, a movie based on the book by Roald Dahl.

Two: I originally wanted to go on to another Roald Dahl book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but instead I chose to go with another bookish girl who realises at a young age that she can indeed do magic: Hermione Granger, from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

Three: Before I first picked up Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, it was recommended to me as “the Nigerian Harry Potter”. Indeed, it is about a young Nigerian girl who realises she has magic abilities, and starts studying under a teacher with three other kids.

Four: I loved Akata Witch, which is why I can’t wait to pick up the Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor as well. This one is sci-fi, which is one of my favourite genres.

Five: Another book that has a dark-skinned black girl/woman on its cover is Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. While I personally didn’t love this book, I still think it’s incredibly important for any black, asexual and/or biromantic youth.

Six: And finally, another cute contemporary romance with an asexual character is Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss! It also has panromantic, lesbian, Puerto Rican and ADHD rep.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Book Beginnings & The Friday 56 #1

Among the Glimmering FlowersFirst lines are your very first impression of a book, and thus, while they don’t always accurately predict how much you’re going to enjoy the book later, they are still pretty important. I want to start paying more attention to first lines, and that’s why I decided to join Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader. Book Beginnings is a weekly meme where you share the first line of the book you’re reading, and any impressions or thoughts it evokes.

It is also closely tied with The Friday 56 by Freda’s Voice where you share a line either from the 56th page or 56% of the book you’re reading. I will only be doing this to the books where I’ve actually reached either of those marks.

I’m currently reading 4 books on Goodreads, so let’s get to those first lines:

Selena didn’t believe in love at first sight.

I haven’t started reading this book yet, and frankly, I don’t find this first line very impressive. But the blurb and the title make up for the slightly clichéd beginning, so I still have really high hopes for this one.

Shout out to the dedication which you see even before the first line: This is for fat anxious queer girls.

It is not possible to fall off a pony gracefully. I had not particularly set out to prove this either way, but I had fallen off the recalcitrant beast regardless.

Now, this is definitely an intriguing first line. The book starts with a very specific and kind of funny statement that suggests personal experience, and the falling off the pony vs the wording already gives us an idea of Felicity’s personality and narration. As far as first lines go, I love this one.

A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1)

Sender: LikotsiAdelele@KingdomOfThesolo.the
Subject: Salutations from the Royal Family of Thesolo

Dear Ms. Smith,

I hope that my letter finds you well. I, Likotsi Adelele, assistant to His Royal Highness, have sought you out high and low over the last few months, at the behest of the most exalted—and most curious—Prince Thabiso. He has tasked me with finding his betrothed, and I believe I have succeeded: it is you.

So, this is more than one line, but since it’s an e-mail I think it’s kind of special. We already know from the blurb that the main character, Ledi keeps receiving e-mails from this woman who claims she is betrothed to an African prince, and if only she could verify her identity by sending copies of her ID… Of course, Ledi thinks it’s a scam. I find the concept hilarious, and I loved the e-mails at the beginning of the book.

Page 56

“It’ll go in the garbage if we don’t eat it. I try to take leftovers and give them to the homeless when I can. It’s technically illegal, but I hate seeing good food thrown away.”

I find this line great because it tells us a lot about Naledi, and also capitalism unfortunately.

The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) are Creating a Gender RevolutionFebruary 17th, 1962: Toronto, Ontario. In the hospital, the doctor, in the usual way, tells my unwed mother, “It’s a girl.” Fifty-five years later, I bear both the psychological scars of the effects of the branding of me as a girl and eventual woman and the wrenching separation from my birth mother.

This is a beginning that tells a lot about the book’s topic and feeling. It’s not an easy book, but an important one, and I love that it already makes it clear that this time, the author writing an academic book about trans people is actually trans as well. It’s not something I’ve seen a lot while researching for my thesis.

Page 56

Initially, Alicia stood up to him, telling him that his remarks and jokes were wrong and that he should stop, but the teacher responded by asking her if she was transgender. This question put her on the spot, and she backed down.

Again, this is not an easy book. It’s a book about real experiences of transgender people, and the feeling of sitting in a classroom powerless as the teacher makes fun of people like you is all too real. I’m lucky that I’ve never been asked if I’m queer when I speak up, because I know that I’d just freeze. Even if I wear visible queer pins at uni, being put on the spot like that is awful.

**

That’s all for today! Overall, these were some pretty good first lines.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG | 90s Movies

Hey there! You want to see me do a book tag based on movies I’ve probably never seen? Cool, here we go.

Jokes aside, I’m horrible at movies – if you say a classic or popular movie that is a “must-see”, there is a huge chance I’ve never actually watched it (even if I know what it’s about), and a pretty decent chance that I’ve either never heard of it or don’t know much other than the title.

For this reason, I’m going to do this book tag that I saw on Kristin Kraves Books, and I’ll also tell you if I’ve seen the movie the prompt is based on.

SHE’S ALL THAT
[ know the title, never watched ]

NAME A BOOK COUPLE THAT IS AN ODD PAIRING BUT THEY STILL FIT PERFECTLY

A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2)

A Duke by Default has a pairing that is sort of “opposites attract” – a younger, sociable woman who is an expert on social media, and a more traditional, older grumpy Scottish man who makes swords. But damn, this was one of the best romances I’ve ever read.

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU
[ have watched ]

A BOOK/SERIES THAT YOU HAVE A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH

Saving Raphael Santiago (The Bane Chronicles, #6)

I have completely left The Shadowhunter Chronicles fandom for multiple reasons long ago, and frankly, I don’t like to talk about it. I am not planning to read the new books, and I didn’t even feel the urge to read the “Malec trilogy”. And yet, certain characters like Raphael, Ragnor or Magnus still live in my heart, and Raphael in particular is incredibly important to me.

CLUELESS
[ saw gifs, never watched ]

A CHARACTER THAT IS TOTALLY CLUELESS BUT YOU LOVE THEM ANYWAY

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)

My first thought for this was actually Harry Potter, who is definitely clueless and oblivious to the point that it’s funny, but I’m actually sort of neutral on him. My second thought was Murderbot, who is sort of clueless about (neurotypical) human interaction and the “whys” of many things, like hugs and eyecontact and such. I don’t feel like either of those are a perfect fit for this prompt, but I can’t think of anyone else.

TITANIC
[ have watched ]

NAME A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

How to Make a Wish

The latest book to make me cry was How To Make a Wish – it was a much heavier and more tense read than I expected, but I genuinely cried at the end.

AMERICAN PIE
[ heard of it, never watched, no intention to watch ]

A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH

Not Your Sidekick (Sidekick Squad, #1)

I’d say both The Murderbot Diaries and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, but they were both used for other prompts in this meme, so I made myself pick something else. Rick Riordan’s books also make me laugh, although lately I’ve been feeling like their magic is slipping away from me. I also really enjoy the Sidekick Squad series, with many fun superhero adventures.

CAN’T HARDLY WAIT
[ never heard of it ]

A BOOK WITH A CRAZY PARTY

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1)

Can a party get any crazier than the one in The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue? It doesn’t only end with Monty fleeing from a bedroom naked in front of the party guests, but also kicks off the plot that leads them around the world and nearly gets them killed several times. It all starts at that party.

CRUEL INTENTIONS
[ heard of it, plans to watch maybe ]

NAME A CHARACTER YOU CAN NEVER FULLY TRUST

Loki: Agent of Asgard, Vol. 1: Trust Me

I don’t think this one needs an explanation tbh, but it’s part of his charm. I adore MCU Loki and his relationship with Thor with all my heart, and I haven’t read many Marvel comics, but I love how Loki’s genderfluidity appears there and wish it appeared in the movies. But damn, that doesn’t mean I trust him.

DRIVE ME CRAZY
[ never heard of it ]

NAME YOUR FAVOURITE “BOY NEXT DOOR” OR “GIRL NEXT DOOR” COUPLE

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Okay, so I sort of understand this concept, but I couldn’t really think of anyone? I get that it’s supposed to be a sort of normal/sweet person (right?), but I mostly read fantasy and sci-fi, so “normal” is relative. My first thought was actually Henry and Charlotte, who are very sweet, and definitely normal compared to Will’s bullshit.

SCREAM
[ heard of it, never watched ]

A BOOK WITH A MEMORABLE VILLAIN

loki.png

What do The Seafarer’s Kiss, The Ship of the Dead and the Marvel Universe have in common? I already listed one version of Loki above, but they/he has many versions and interpretations, and yes, many of those versions are villains. Above are two books where Loki is indeed the villain, but a very complicated, tricky, entertaining and memorable villain. (That being said, I can’t wait to read more books where Loki is the protagonist instead of the antagonist. The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris seems promising.)

THE CRAFT
[ never heard of it ]

NAME A BOOK WITH WITCHES

Spellbook of the Lost and Found

This is an odd one out on this list because it’s a book I haven’t read yet, but it’s the first thing I thought of when I saw witches, and I’m really intrigued.

~

Movie tally: Out of 10 movies, I have seen 2, and I have never heard of 3. Yep, that’s about what I expected.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG |Anonymous Bookaholics

Hello yes I’m stealing this tag I saw on Avery‘s blog because I love book tags.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT BUYING NEW BOOKS?

Having… new books to read? I’m not really sure. It certainly gives a temporary burst of happiness because I feel like I treated myself to something nice. Buying physical books and touching the new covers and putting them on my shelves on display is great, but also I mostly buy ebooks.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU BUY NEW BOOKS?

I think I usually buy at least one book a month, but most of these are ebooks that are either on sale or very cheap, between 1-5 dollars. I can’t really afford to spend more than that on books, but I like to buy a physical book at least once every 2-4 months. It also depends on how much money I earn, which is pretty irregular (but honestly I’m usually broke).

Odakint ​sötétebbBOOKSTORE OR ONLINE BOOK SHOPPING – WHICH DO YOU PREFER?

Online shopping, for multiple reasons. Many English books I’m interested in haven’t been/won’t ever be translated into Hungarian, and I generally prefer to read books in English if they were originally written in English. When I go into bookstores here at home, I usually try to look for Hungarian authors – or maybe books by foreign authors that I’ve never heard of. That’s how I found the book I’m currently reading, which is a sort of dark/weird sci-fi by a Hungarian author.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOKSHOP?

We used to have a bookstore line here called Alexandra, which is my name, so that was my favourite by default. (I even got a little poetry/quote book from them on my name day once.) Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist anymore. We have two large bookstores currently, but my preference between them is pretty much “whichever’s closest”.

DO YOU PRE-ORDER BOOKS?

I very, very rarely do, which is why it’s such a miracle that I pre-ordered TWO books this month. Maybe I should do it more often, mostly because by the time the book actually arrives I’ll probably forget about it, so it’s a nice present from past-me. That being said, Book Depository (where I usually order from) takes like 3 weeks to ship so I wouldn’t get them by release date anyway.

DO YOU HAVE A MONTHLY BOOK BUYING LIMIT?

I don’t really have a set monthly limit, but if I bought several books recently then I tell myself not to buy any more for a while. (And then usually break that promise. Not always thought.)

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2)HOW BIG IS YOUR WISHLIST?

My Goodreads TBR is consistently between 900-1000 books, but let’s face it, I’ll probably never buy all or even half of those books. My Book Depository and Amazon wishlist have a couple hundred titles, but even those are unlikely – mostly, they are just long so I have many to choose from.

WHICH THREE BOOKS FROM YOUR WISHLIST DO YOU WISH TO OWN NOW?

It doesn’t matter because I have so many books to read that I wouldn’t get to them anytime soon tbh. But I wish The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy was out already, and I wish I could actually afford Beneath a Sugar Sky. Also, A Prince on Paper, but that one doesn’t even have a cover yet.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG | Mulan Book Tag

Okay look I wasn’t tagged in this but I love Mulan and I love book tags. I saw this on Scorpio Book Dreams and it was created by Kirsty and the Cat Read.

Reflection – A book cover that doesn’t accurately reflect what the book is about.

The Deep EndWhen I picked up The Deep End, I knew that it had a lesbian protagonist with a wife, and I sort of knew from the blurb that it’s going to be a mystery around the main character’s missing sister. But hey, the cover has a nice blue sky and a pretty woman in an orange blouse, so surely it can’t be that bad, right? Probably a romantic novel mixed with some mystery. I also expected the main character to be younger, maybe in her 20s or early 30s, although I admit her age is difficult to tell on the cover without her face.

Well, I was wrong. While the main character is married, this is not a romance at all, and the mystery went deeper and became more and more twisted as the book went on. In the end, the cover didn’t really influence my enjoyment of the book, but it definitely made me expect a different kind of story. That being said, I’m not sure what cover would have been more accurate.

A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2)Mushu – A character with a lot to prove.

Portia in A Duke by Default certainly has a lot to prove: not only to her parents and family, but to herself as well. She is nearly 30, and yet she has no stable career as she moves from one exciting project to the next. Her parents don’t take her passions seriously and would rather she stayed working at the family company, but they don’t truly trust her enough to think she can do it. They contribute to Portia’s low self-esteem and make her doubt herself and constantly compare herself to her sister.

I loved this book, but I admit that the parental pressure was sometimes difficult to read about. Still, Portia proved just how amazing and extraordinary she is.

The Poppy WarI’ll Make a Man Out of You – A character who develops a lot, or a book with some kick-ass training scenes.

When I read this prompt and started hearing the song in my head, the book I immediately connected it to was The Poppy War. While the Poppy War is historical fantasy, it is based on real historical conflicts in Asia, specifically the second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking. It also takes place first at a school where they train soldiers, and later in a group of special soldiers with magical abilities. Rin has to train herself and her skills in both group, and she goes through a lot of development during the years described in the book, so The Poppy War has both a character with development and kick-ass training scenes.

I loved the Poppy War, but you must be aware before you pick it up that it’s a brutal novel that deals with genocide, war, rape, drug addiction and other topics. The main character might be a teenager, but it is far from a YA novel.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)A Girl Worth Fighting For – A ship you will defend until your last breath.

Somehow, my first thought for this prompt was Kaz and Inej, which is interesting, because… I don’t really ship Kaz and Inej romantically? I adore them both as separate characters, and I love their dynamic, but I prefer to see it as a strong platonic relationship and have Inej and Nina be in a romantic relationship instead. However, this doesn’t change the fact that they are important to each other and depend on each other, and if the end of the first book is any indication, there will indeed be a lot of fighting for this girl in the second book.

Shout out to Portia and Tavish from A Duke by Default, because I’d die for that ship but I already mentioned them at another prompt. + Every ship in Chameleon Moon, including Evelyn/Danae/Rose, and everyone Regan is dating, although there are no girls involved in the second one.

Huns – A book/character that gave you the creeps.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?The woman that raised Rin in The Poppy War, for sure. I can’t remember her name, but she was awful. The king in The Seafarer’s Kiss is also awful, but somehow he didn’t truly scare me or “gave me the creeps”, so he’s not the best pick for this prompt.

This is a little different, because I’m picking a nonfiction book, but Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? already gave me the creeps at the title. Back in the 1980s, Jeanette Winterson wrote a novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. The main character in Oranges is called Jeanette and a lot of her life is based on the author’s true life as growing up as a lesbian in a religious home, but much of it is still fiction. In Why Be Happy, a truly nonfiction novel, the author explains why she chose to write that first story as fiction, and that explanation definitely made me shiver. And in the end, isn’t reality the most scary thing?

And I suppose that is the saddest thing for me, thinking about the cover version that is Oranges, is that I wrote a story I could live with. The other one was too painful. I could not survive it.

I wrote her in because I couldn’t bear to leave her out. There was no Elsie. There was no one like Elsie. Things were much lonelier than that.

Tone of Voice (Xandri Corelel Book 2)Mulan – Your favourite bad-ass female protagonist.

Wait, hold on. What do you mean I’m supposed to pick just one?

  • Evelyn, Rose and Danae, especially Danae when she punched a tank
  • Esofi and Adale both, especially Esofi when she fought a duel in a dress
  • Xandri, pretty much always, but somehow I’m thinking of the first contact scene with the Psittacans, and every time she makes first contact
  • Portia, also pretty much always – she’s a multitasking queen that I aspire to be like
  • Eelyn, because I loved Sky in the Deep and just can’t bear to leave her out

tagging: nobody at the moment, but feel free to do it and tag me in it, I’d love to see your answers!

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG | The Book Blogger Test

I was actually tagged by both Avery and Louise, so I guess now I have to do it. (Love you both!)

THE RULES:

1) Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
2) Answer the questions asked on this post.
3) Nominate and notify some peeps. 5 preferred.

1. What are your top 3 bookish pet peeves?

  • There’s this specific type of paper some books are made of that really irritates my fingers and I hate it, e.g. the paperback I have of Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher has it
  • Love triangles when you could have just polyamory (even worse if it involves cheating, double worse if it’s treated casually/like it’s no big deal)
  • All the main characters pairing up, e.g. there’s 6 mains and they form 3 couples (even worse if it’s all allocishet ships, but tbh it still annoys me if it has one queer couple, like in Six of Crows or The Mortal Instruments. let some people be single and happy! double worse if they all marry and have kids in the epilogue.)

Like Louise, I took this question to mean the smaller, “petty” things and not serious issues. I could talk about those as well, but not here and now.

2. Name a perfect reading spot:

Honestly? I read mostly ebooks on my laptop, and even when I read a physical book, I’m usually at my desk. I like reading outside if the weather is nice, but it’s difficult to find a spot that’s both comfortable, allows me to see the text, and the sun isn’t in my eyes.

The Host3. Give 3 reading confessions:

  • I once bought a second hardcover copy of The Host just because the dust jacket had the actors from the movie and I thought (still think) that they were hot. My mom wasn’t impressed.
  • Back when I was 8-10, either the 5th or 6th Harry Potter book was coming out, and I went to a midnight release with my mom and didn’t go to school the next day. I also openly told this to the journalist who wanted to interview me because I was one of the youngest there.
  • I don’t remember the plot of half the books I read because my memory is horrible. My Goodreads notes/quotes help sometimes.

4. When was the last time you cried during a book?

First one that comes to mind is the Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts, and it had to do with the Chimp dancing. If you read the book, you might understand.

5. Number of books on your bedside table?

I don’t have a bedside table, but my desk is near my bed I guess? Right now it has no books on it because I organised it the same day I’m writing this post, but before that it had the Warrior anthology by Ink & Locket Press. Again, I mostly read ebooks, but I actually read some physical books from my shelf lately… I just put them back already. (Note: my desk does have multiple textbooks, notebooks and two colouring books on it, but I didn’t count those for this question.)

6. Favorite reading snack?

No specific reading snacks. I drink a lot of water? I usually don’t eat while reading (anymore).

7. What are 3 books you’d recommend to anyone?

The Queen of IeflariaThis is tough. I love recommending Chameleon Moon (sequel: The Lifeline Signal) because I love the world, but I realise the number of characters and the pacing can put people off. I also tend to recommend The Queen of Ieflaria (F/F YA fantasy with princesses), because I absolutely loved it, but I know for a fact that some of my friends don’t read fantasy. I want to recommend Failure to Communicate (sequel: Tone of Voice) more often because it is a very underappreciated sci-fi book with an amazing #ownvoices autistic bisexual protag, loveable side characters, future polyamorous relationship, and many well-developed alien species.

Oh! Bonus pick because it’s not queer, but A Duke by Default has a Black heroine and an older, Scottish/Chilean love interest, and it’s one of the best romances I’ve ever read.

(Shout out to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which I loved and would definitely always recommend, but so does everyone else so you’ve probably heard about it by now.)

8. Provide a picture of your bookshelf:

I have two! They’re twins. The one on the left has older books that I don’t really touch anymore (including compulsory reading for elementary school + some books that actually belong to my parents but I have more space). The one on the right has my more recent books, including two and a half books dedicated to English books. The queer books are mostly in one cluster. And yes, I do own the entire Harry Potter series twice – the Hungarian editions are on the left shelf and the English ones are on the right.

9. How much do books mean to you in 3 words?

Fun, Escapism, Validation. Many people talk about how reading or books changed their lives and I always feel awkward because I don’t feel it’s /that/ important – but it is definitely a hobby that I enjoy, and when things are tough, it’s great to pick up a book where queer people can live happily.

10. Biggest reading secret?

I had to look up what deckled edges are and also I don’t think I’ve ever seen them used. Hey, this is unfair, there was already a “confessions” question! I’m really not sure what else to say here. I could list a few popular/hyped books I was unimpressed by but I don’t want to spread negativity.

I tag: nobody at the moment, but if you do it, feel free to tag me so I can see it!

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Hungarian Covers of Popular Books

In many cases, Hungarian publishers (and many international publishers) simply borrow the US or UK cover of a popular book for their translations. However, I came across some Hungarian covers that don’t seem to match any other editions, and I decided to share these with you. Some are really pretty, others are… not so much. I’m curious what you all think.

 

Looking for Alaska & Paper Towns by John Green

Yikes – just, what is up with that first Looking For Alaska cover?! The second one is still… interesting, with what appears to be a reaper floating around. The minimalist style of the second Alaska cover and the Paper Towns cover seems to be a series – I found the Abundance of Catherines and The Fault in Our Stars in this style as well.

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I actually like this cover at first glance, except… is it just me, or does that girl look much older than 16? Still, the black cover with the girl on it reminds me of the UK cover, and I like how the purple goes with the white.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

Okay, so I actually adore this cover. Look at how beautiful it is! I actually love the original cover as well, and I didn’t recognise this one before I typed it into Goodreads, but the Hungarian cover made me want to read it even more.

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman

Another one I love. It’s very similar to the original, and yet different. I should really re-read the original trilogy before picking up this one, but I’m curious what else happens in the world of Lyra.

Rengeteg

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

You can’t see it on the picture, but I saw this in a bookstore, and the golden parts are actually from a different, shiny material. I absolutely love this cover, and I would have bought it on the spot if I didn’t already own a copy. (I can’t afford to buy double copies, unfortunately. Maybe one day, when I’m rich…)

What are some of your favourite covers that are not from the UK or the US? Or some of your least favourites?

~ Alexa