The Coffee Book Tag

I was tagged for the Coffee Book Tag by Elise @ The Bookish Actress! Thanks Elise!! I feel like I haven’t done a bookish tag in ages (my last tag was seasonal) so I’m glad to be doing this super cute tag! And like Elise, I adore the graphics, so I’m just going to use them, and I think they were made by Romie @ Romie We Deserve Love. And like Elise, I will also try my best to use books I’ve read recently, just so I can have some fresh answers!

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a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans

CRAIG HORNER, BRIDGET REGANCan I actually give a non-book answer? Because my perfect answer for this is the TV show Legend of the Seeker! I struggled to get into it at first; I think I watched the first episode like three times before something clicked and I kept watching and then I was obsessed! And even though it’s kind of a niche (and campy) show, the fans are super dedicated; there was a years-long fan campaign to bring the show back after it was cancelled, and the fandom (at least on Livejournal) was pretty large. Honestly, it’s a fantastic show if you’re into high fantasy; it’s two seasons of traditional fantasy tropes done with such charm you can’t help but fall in love.

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a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year

the bear and the nightingaleI’m gonna steal Elise’s answer and go with The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, for two reasons. First, it truly is one of the most wintery books I’ve ever come across; it takes place in the dead winter in medieval Russia so it’s all gorgeous descriptions of snow and frost and cold and bundling up. Second, I really, really, really need to get to the sequel! I think I’ve been subconsciously delaying it until winter, so that I can enjoy it in its proper season? I’ve had it on my Kindle for ages and ages, since it first came out, I think. I adored the first one so I can’t imagine another reason for my delay.

Capture d_écran 2018-10-23 à 10.41.34a favorite children’s book

Instead of being boring and answering this with Harry Potter, I’ll give you some insight into my childhood.

scared to deathFirst we have Scared to Death by Jahnna N. Malcolm (a husband and wife duo) about a trio of awful kids who terrorize their babysitters, until their parents find a fairly terrifying old woman named Ariadne to be their sitter. The kids are determined to scare her away, only they take things to far and end up literally scaring her to death, and she proceeds to haunt them. I read this book over and over as a kid because I loved how deliciously creepy it was.

fair in fifth gradeSecond is Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements, which is about Elsie, an overweight girl who has just transferred to a new school and struggles with bullies. The story is actually told from the perspective of Jenifer, who eventually befriends Elsie. As a fellow fat child, I related to this book so much, even if it’s not exactly a paragon of fat acceptance or anything like that. There’s this moment in the books hat’s stuck with me till this day – after losing a significant amount of weight, Elsie says, “I can see my shoes.” And her friends marvel that she was so fat she was unable to see her shoes when looking down. Well, friends, I have never in my life been able to see my shoes without sucking in my stomach, and to see that experience reflected in a book I was reading was rather cathartic.

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a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish

silent companionsMy most recent answer to this would have to be The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell. Though technically not a thriller in the traditional whodunit sense, it was nevertheless a creepy and thrilling read, with a central mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. I was also enamored of the gorgeous and atmospheric writing. And a pretty great main character who you truly care about.

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a book you see everywhere

26032825I’ll go with The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. In general Black is a prolific author, but I feel like she hasn’t really been on-the-scene since her Tithe series (which I never read but also saw all over). Now, it seems like all anyone can talk about is The Cruel Prince and the upcoming Wicked King. And OwlCrate is doing a limited edition Wicked King box! Anyway, I enjoyed The Cruel Prince very much, though I didn’t fall head over heels in love with it. Very much looking forward to the sequel!

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a book by an indie author (a shoutout)

creatures of will and temperEasy! One of my most recent reads was Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer! As I said in my review: “This book cleared my skin, harvested my crops, nourished my soul, and added ten years to my lifespan.” It features lesbians, fencing ladies, and demonic cults in Victorian London. It’s an absolutely wild ride from start to finish and I loved it so much yet I’ve literally never seen it talked about here or on Booktube.

when the sea is rising redHowever, I can’t resist also giving a shout-out to another one of my faves, When The Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen. This is such a deeply weird book, especially for YA. Like…it’s high fantasy, but with vampires? It’s really well-written and its plot actively flouts a lot of common YA tropes in some pretty unexpected ways. It’s also kind of convoluted and confusing at times but also super atmospheric? And its sequel, House of Sand and Secrets, does such a fantastic job at portraying a frayed and fractured relationship between two people. I really, really want to re-read this book soon!

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a book you were expecting more from

wicked comethHa, also easy: The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin. What a perfect disappointment. It was a book set up to be incredible, appealing perfectly to my tastes: lesbians in Victorian London getting to the root of mysterious disappearances. And yet it went so, so wrong. The characters were bland and boring, the writing was stilted and melodramatic, the pacing was terrible, and the plot was contrived. What a waste of a gorgeous cover and creepy title!

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a book or series that was both bitter and sweet, but ultimately satisfying

the city of brassI have to go with City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. It’s not every day that a book comes along and rips your heart out like that one did mine. I still remember lying on my bed, holding in a scream as I read the conclusion and wanting to tear my hair out because I didn’t have the sequel. Like, this is a book that does not play and does not hesitate to fuck with its main characters; by the end of the book the two main characters were both screwed in every way. Also, the main relationship in the book is like…your standard bad-boy-who’s-an-asshole trope which I normally hate but for some reason??? It absolutely killed me in this book?? I shipped this harder than I’ve ever shipped any book pairing ever before. But in the end it was so absolutely satisfying to read such a well-crafted fantasy book with such dense politics and plotting.

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a book or series that is quietly beautiful

we are okayI read Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay in a single day, and I was sobbing on the inside by the end of it. It’s a short but atmospheric book about love and grief and friendship, aka not my usual thing at all, but there’s something about the ever so simple way it’s written that renders it heartrendingly beautiful. The entirety of it mostly takes place on a college campus during winter break, when most if not all the students are gone. The descriptions of the snowy, abandoned campus and how that is reflective of the main character’s lonely and bleak life was…so well-done. It’s just one of those things that makes you feel things so powerfully.

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a book or series that makes you dream of far off places

the drowning cityI’m gonna give a shout-out to another indie-ish author, because a book that makes me dream of far off places is The Drowning City by Amanda Downum. The titular city, Symir, is a hybrid of various Southeast Asian cities strung together by canals. The world itself is entirely gender neutral, with woman in high ranking positions and no one batting an eye. Reading it for the first time I remember thinking what a breath of fresh air it was to read something that wasn’t your standard medieval Europe setting with Historically Accurate Patriarchy™ thrown in.

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favorite classic

Uhhhh I’ve really only just started reading classics like…late last year? And so far I’ve had lukewarm experiences. I really want to like classics but I’m just struggling to connect with them in the same way I connect to modern-day works. There’s just such a different style of narratives in most classics that keep you at arm’s length…I’m still enjoying reading all these classics and finally being in the know, but I haven’t yet come across anything that I would deem a favorite. I’m probably gonna read Dracula next so here’s hoping that becomes a favorite of mine!

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pace amore libri / lost purple quill / i have thoughts on books / callum


Fall Tag!!

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice (or 5000 times) how much I adore autumn, so this tag is perfect for me. I found it on embuhleeliest‘s blog!

🍂 The Fall Tag 🍂

Which two things tell you that the Fall season has begun?

The weather!!! I hate summer with a fierce and fiery passion, so I very much look forward to autumn weather. I love when the weather turns crisp and chilly and you have to start layering and covering up with heavy blankets. Also, the foliage! Few things are more beautiful than the vibrant red-orange-yellow colors of fall foliage.

What are your plans for this Fall season?

Well, I’ve already been to Salem, MA. I also plan to read a lot of Gothic books. And I want to host a horror movie marathon with some of my friends the weekend before Halloween. Other than that, I just want to drink lots of warm beverages and cozy up in bed.

Silent nights or windy ones? 

Windy! I love when the wind is literally howling and you’re inside, curled up in your blanket and just listening to the storms outside.

Cold rain or heavy fog. What do you enjoy more?

Hmm, well, I really enjoy thunderstorms (that Gothic Aesthetic), but generally I’m only a fan of rain if I’m indoors. But fog also has a very Gothic Aesthetic, so I’m torn!

What three things do you love about the season?

Autumn is the season of my heart, my soul. I love everything about autumn; the wardrobe of coats, woolly socks, oversized sweaters, and boots, cinnamon-and-pumpkin spiced everything, dreary skies, apple pies, curling up with hot chocolate, Halloween, gorgeous foliage colors, chilly weather, pumpkins, candles, apple cider, apple orchards, pine cones…I’ll stop, but I think you get the point. Autumn. I love it.

Literally, autumn just makes me so, so happy.

What three things do you hate about the season?

Um, literally nothing except that it’s over TOO QUICKLY.

Share your best memory for the Fall season?

I just spent a very autumnal weekend in Vermont with friends, which was absolutely incredible. We went apple picking, toured an abandoned college campus, visited tons of bookstores, went to a cider mill, and generally just enjoyed nature.

What is your favorite scent for the Fall season?

This is difficult! I love the smell of apple pie, but if we’re talking candles I really like the semi-sweet yet fruity pumpkin scent. I don’t know. I can’t describe it. I also love that cinnamon/nutmeg smell!

What is your favorite Fall movie?

Hmm, you know, I’m not especially big on movies! Generally I just try to watch something spooky!

What is your favorite Fall color?

Okay, so I really love the deep and vibrant shades of red, but I have to give a shout-out to orange! It’s so underappreciated but it’s such a brilliant neon color and the shades range from bright jewel tones to burnt orange. Lovely!

What is your favorite dress code for the Fall season?

Lace-up knee-high boots are a must, usually paired with leggings, a dress, and a hoodie/oversized sweater. I also loooove cardigans in fall colors (I’m wearing an orange  cardigan right now) and I adore blanket scarves through, tragically, I don’t actually own any at the moment. For my at-home outfit, thick PJ pants, an oversized sweater, and fluffy socks.

Do you believe that the Fall season should be the wedding season?

YES, why do people have weddings in the summer where you’re going to be drenched in sweat? Think of all the gorgeous colors and decorations!

What are your most liked drinks in the Fall season?

I love Starbucks’ Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte, and I really want to try the hot version. I also drink tea with milk!

Haunted house or haunted corn maze? 

Um, both?? They each have their own fabulous aesthetic and I need to experience both!! I’ve never actually done either one, tragically…

Wool or knit sweaters? 

I’m not sure what the difference is, but a quick google search makes me think I like the look of knit sweaters better. But it probably depends on the sweater style.

Which moisturizer is your favorite in the autumn season?

So, I usually use Bath & Body Works moisturizers in the summer, because they smell fruity and are light-weight, but in the cold I usually need something more heavy duty, so I alternate between Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie Frappe Body Lotion and Shea Moisture’s Argan Oil and Raw Shea Butter Lotion with Frankincense and Myrrh. Both smell divine and they’re very moisturizing! And for my hands I just use Nivea, because it doesn’t have a strong smell and I don’t like when my hands smell like anything.

Apple pie or Pumpkin Pie. What’s your favorite?

Apple pie! It’s my favorite dessert and I make a mean apple pie! I’m actually not a huge fan of pumpkin pie. Like, I’ll eat it if it’s there, but it’s not something I would buy myself.

October or November? 

October! I like November too but it seems to me that a lot of the autumn spirit deflates after Halloween.

Do you dress up for Halloween?

I wish! I dressed up a few times when I was younger (I was Cleopatra and some sort of prairie girl I think?), but I can’t really afford to spend so much money on something so frivolous now. When I’m more stable, though, I’d love to throw a costume party and dress up in an outrageous Victorian-themed ballgown or something.

What do you feel at the end of the Fall season?

Really sad and deflated. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas too, nearly as much, but the passing of fall means the holiday season is close to being over…then we pass into January and February, which are freezing but don’t have any holiday aesthetic to cheer you up or distract you from the cold. Plus by then all you have to look forward to is spring, which is just gross hot weather and then the Suffering that is summer.


The Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshine blogger

I was nominated by my friend Rachel for this a while back, but I finally have a chance to do it!

Rachel’s Questions:

What’s the worst book you had to read for school? It’s a tie between Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and some short story collection by Ernest Hemingway whose title I can’t even remember because I did my best to wipe it from my mind. I understand the appeal of The Scarlet Letter and I get why it’s so important and significant, but something about it just came off so dull and dry to me. Then again, this was back in high school, so perhaps I would feel different if I read it now. Hemingway, however, I wouldn’t go near with a ten-foot pole. He’s awful. He wrote a whole short story about some dude going fishing! Why??

Within your own country, where would you most like to visit that you haven’t already been? California!!! I’ve been obsessed with California for a looooong time. While I don’t think I would like to live there anymore (too hot and sunny and there’s one too many wildfires and droughts for my liking), I definitely still love the California vibe and I think it’s a beautiful state. There’s just something about it that’s so compelling to me. One day I’m going to do a road trip along the coast of California, from San Diego to the Redwoods!

What’s the best first line of a book you’ve ever read? Ironically, the best first line I’ve ever seen belongs to a book I DNF’d, and that book is Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister. It begins like so: “It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent, Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.” That line is SO GOOD. I think I’m going to give Red Sister another chance sometime next year; perhaps I just wasn’t in the right mood for it? Everyone loves it so much and I keep hearing so many excellent things about the second book.

Runner-up to this question is The Heart’s Invisible Furies, which begins like so: “Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.” Hilarious.

Do you have any tattoos and do you want any? No and no. I have nothing against tattoos but I am SO indecisive and changeable that there is no way I could pick a design that I would love forever. Plus I hate the idea of having something on my skin f o r e v e r. I don’t like permanence.

If you watch booktube, who’s your favorite booktuber?  If you don’t watch booktube, what’s your favorite thing to watch on youtube? I used to not see the appeal of booktube at all, but now I’m obsessed with it! My favorite booktubers are: kat @ paperback dreams, madi @ the book pusher, jean @ jean bookishthoughts, emily @ possibly literate, and sam @ thoughts on tomes. I also watch lots of videos about curly hair care.

Which classic do you think more people should read? I’m not the best person to answer this question because I’ve only very recently started to read classics. I despised them in high school and I was of the opinion that they should be nixed from the curriculum. Now, I’m actively trying to read more classics, especially Gothic classics. So far I haven’t come across anything that’s felt life-changing, though.

What would you consider the most overhyped and the most underhyped book you’ve read in the last year? For the most overhyped book, it’s a tie between V.E. Schwab’s Vicious and Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone. Both were decent books (though the former is much better than the latter), but in my opinion way, way, way overhyped. Underhyped is a more difficult question to answer, because I’ve actually spent this year reading a lot of popular, hyped books…hmm…maybe If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. It’s not obscure, but in my opinion it doesn’t have the fandom it deserves.

Would you like to work in the publishing industry, or do you prefer to keep books and reading strictly a hobby? I used to want to be an editor, but I don’t anymore. I like the idea of being on the periphery of the publishing industry as a book blogger and potentially an author one day, but I don’t think I would ever actually want to be in the industry as an editor/agent/publicist/etc. It feels like it would be a stressful industry to work in and the sort of place where you bring your work home a lot. Plus I think if reading became work, I wouldn’t love it as much anymore.

If you’re a writer, which author’s style do you think is most similar to your own?  If you’re not a writer, which author’s style do you connect with the most as a reader? I am a writer, and this is such a difficult question to answer! It’s gonna sound weird and arrogant, but oddly enough, it’s Victoria Schwab’s writing that I connect with most. Or at least, that I feel like I try to emulate, whether successfully or unsuccessfully. Could this be the reason why her books never wow me as much as they wow everyone else? I just feel like there’s something about her style – simple, yet solid, limited 3rd person POV with a vague air of omniscience – that reminds me of how I write, or how I try to write. Even when I’ve been rejected from things (short story venues) I’ve always been told my writing is clean and engaging, and I think that’s one of my better skills (plot………leaves a lot to be desired lmao).

What’s your least favorite book cover? I have two answers for this! First is the actual worst cover I’ve ever seen that belongs to a book I haven’t read, called A Mad, Wicked Folly. It literally looks like a badly photoshopped forum sig tag from 2008. My second answer is all of the new covers for Libba Bray’s Diviners series. I mean, going from this to this? Dear God, why??????

Who’s your favorite actor/celebrity? I’ve been obsessed with Nina Dobrev for like ten years, since I first started watching The Vampire Diaries. I think she’s a fantastic underrated actress and I also think she is so goddamn beautiful I can’t handle it. I also adore Natalie Dormer and Jasmine Cephas-Jones.

I’m going to nominate Inside My Library Mind, Lost Purple Quill, and Life of a Literary Nerd. I’m……lazy so I’m not gonna come up with my own questions but use the same questions Rachel asked me!


Wrap-Up: September 2018

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (★★★★☆)
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab (★★★☆☆)
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (★☆☆☆☆)
  • The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss (★★★★☆)


Ha. Well, this has been kind of a dismal reading month for me. In my defense, however, I spent the first two weeks on vacation in Egypt, and then a week after I came back I went up to Vermont to visit friends, and work got really, really busy because the school semester has started, I had to finish up my Fulbright application and submit it, and, oh yeah, grad school started up again, so that’s been a thing too! Anyway, it’s been a mixed to average reading month, with some fun reads but no particular stand-outs.

In general, September has flown by. Again, I spent much of it on vacation and adjusting to the start of the semester, so I didn’t get much of a chance to do anything at all besides that (and editing my manuscript for #DVpit, which is in about two weeks!).

I am currently reading:

Okay, so regardless of how I feel about The Raven Boys as a novel, the fucking writing, guys. The writing is so gorgeous and atmospheric. I keep re-reading whole paragraphs because they’re so beautiful. Like. Incredible. This book gets a whole extra star rating because of the writing, to be honest. I only just started The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, but I can already tell I’m going to love it; it’s got a very creepy, malevolent aesthetic going on. I also picked up The Straight Mind mainly because I was interested in a couple of Wittig’s essays, namely, The Category of Sex, One is Not Born a Woman, and The Straight Mind. I’ve read them, so I’m actually not sure if I’m going to read the rest of the book, because to be honest, it is extremely dense and academic and I’m just not that interested in the other essays.

Nothing else to report. Like I said, it’s been a whirlwind of a month, but it’s October now, so I’m looking forward to reading all of my delightfully creepy Gothic reads.