The Language of Thorns (No-Spoiler) Review

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“Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this dark and enchanting little book. โค Collecting six different tales taking place in the mysterious world of the Grisha, it’s a great read for fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology and/or her original Grisha Trilogy. Even if you haven’t read Bardugo’s other works and simply enjoy dark fairy tales and folklore, this book is for you.

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I swear, Bardugo’s books just keep getting prettier and prettier. Each page of this book features an ever-expanding illustrated border with lovely artwork relating to the story at hand. As the tale progresses, the border reveals more and more clues relating to it, and each tale is followed with a beautiful two-page illustration to wrap things up. So no peeking at those pictures before you read the actual story, guys! ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you’ve read your fair share of folklore, myth and fairytales, you’ll no doubt pick up on the many inspirations for the stories contained in this book. With several nods toward Greek myth, fairy tales of the Grimm, Anderson, and Perrault variety, along with a hint of Aesop’s fables, you’re bound to feel some sort of nostalgia while reading. I know I sure did. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Another nice point in this collection of stories is the diversity, along with the many strong female characters. Bardugo manages to create a variety of characters and tell compelling stories with each of her tales, despite some of them only being about 50 pages, give or take.

Fun Fact: For those of you who have read Bardugo’s other works, you mayyyy just pick up on a certain character in one of the stories that we’ve seen before. I’m not gonna say anything specific here because spoilers, but I see what you did there, Leigh Bardugo. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The six tales included in The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic are as follows:

Ayama and the Thorn Wood

The Too-Clever Fox

The Witch of Duva

Little Knife

The Soldier Prince

When Water Sang Fire

I really enjoyed reading each of the tales along with their accompanying artwork. Bardugo’s writing shines as she lends her voice to such a classic form of story telling all while putting her own fresh spin on things.

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“You’re Not Good Enough” Book Tag

Despite that bleak-sounding title, this tag is actually a lot of fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ I saw Birdie Bookworm’s post with it and couldn’t resist giving it a shot. The rules of the game go as such: you pick 30 characters from books you’ve read and write those names down. After that, you randomly select 2 of those names for each of the questions. At this point, you’ll use what you know about each of the characters to pick who you think is the best answer given the specific question presented. Pretty easy, right? Since I like reading graphic novels/comics so much, I’m including characters from those as well as regular novels. Alrighty, now that we’ve sorted out the rules, let the games begin!

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You only have one more spot on your spelling bee team, who would you pick to complete your team?

Sevro au Barca (from the Red Rising trilogy) VS. Zaphod Beeblebrox (from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Huh, funny how both characters came from science fiction novels. Well, this one is definitely no contest. In a match of intellect I am absolutely going to have to pick Sevro over the outlandish Zaphod Beeblebrox.

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Both characters want to kill you, which one would you kill first so you have a better chance of surviving?

Katniss Everdeen (from The Hunger Games trilogy) VS. The Darkling (from the original Grisha trilogy Shadow and Bone)

Damn, I would prefer not to be on the bad side of either of these characters, but I’d say I’d rather not have to take on the Darkling over Katniss. I’ll take my chance with Katniss and her arrows in this case.

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You’re on the Bachelor/Bachelorette and you’re down to these two characters, which one are you going to give your rose to?

Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) VS. Temple (from The Reapers are the Angels)

Yeaaahhh, I’m going to have to say I’ll go with Atticus Finch on this one. I’m not looking to woo any underage girls, no matter how good at killing zombies they might be.

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You’ve been chosen for the Hunger Games, who would most likely volunteer in your place?

Maika Halfwolf (from Monstress) VS. Melanie (from The Girl with All the Gifts)

I would have to say Melanie. She seems way more likely to take one for the team and go into the games willingly to protect someone, especially if she cares about them. Maika on the other hand is a lot more jaded and would probably just let me go into the games to die.

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You’re stranded on an island, which character would you sacrifice to engage in cannibalism?

Esther (from Giant Days) VS. Molly Grue (from The Last Unicorn)

Ew. lol I’m not looking to turn cannibal any time soon, but logistically speaking, Molly is more scrawny and wiry if I’m remembering right, so probably not that great to eat. If you’re going to stoop to eating people to survive, might as well eat someone that is a little more tender like Esther. Sorry, Esther!

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You’re the next DC/Marvel superhero (with your own tv show, of course), who is your sidekick?

Hodor (from A Song of Ice and Fire) VS. Lord Maccon (from Soulless)

Okay, I adore Hodor and all, but I am going to have to say Lord Maccon. How could I pass up having a ruggedly sexy Scottish werewolf for a sidekick? I’m sure his alpha tendencies would cause a power struggle, but I think I’d be okay with that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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You’re a manager of an avocado admiring company, who would you fire for lack of communication skills?

Coburn (from Double Dead) VS. Angel (from My Life as a White Trash Zombie)

Heh, undead pitted against the undead. What an interesting turn of events. Well, I know that Coburn has one hell of a foul mouth on him and an attitude for days, so I suppose he might not be as great communicating with whatever sorts of customers or clients frequent “avocado admiring companies” overall. “The customer is always right” is sure to not fly with him, especially if the customer is a homicidal idiot like the ones he encounters in his book.

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You’ve just finished a book in which your favorite character dies, which character is most likely to comfort you?

Alice (from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) VS. Luther Strode (from The Strange Talent of Luther Strode)

Mmmkay, so on one hand we have a hulking ultra-violent killing machine, and on the other we have a small little English girl. Oddly enough though, I’m going to have to give this one to the massive beast of a man who can shove his fist straight through your chest. Luther has that sensitive side to him that keeps him from just becoming another ruthless maniac. He’s got heart, so I could see him comforting someone like that. Plus, Alice doesn’t see the point in books without pictures, so yeah, definitely gonna have to give this one up to Luther.

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Ugh, it’s High School. Who would most likely be part of the popular clique?

Isabelle Rossignol (from The Nightingale) VS. Kinsey Locke (from Locke & Key)

I would have to say Isabelle for this one. There’s nothing snooty about her character or anything like that, but she’s a girl that everyone deems to be beautiful and although there is SO much more to her character than just looks, that’s really all it takes for some people to be deemed “popular” in society. Plus, Kinsey’s got too many demons (literally AND metaphorically) to join the ranks of the popular kids at school.

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The day has arrived; you’re finally a year older! Who would have the nerve to forget your birthday?

Bilbo Baggins (from The Hobbit) VS. Jeremy Clovenhoof (from Clovenhoof)

Jeremy Clovenhoof. Without a doubt. The guy is literally the devil, so yeah, gonna have to go with Clovenhoof on this one.

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You’ve just found an upcoming BookTube star. Who would it most likely be?

Emily “with a Y (from The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls) VS. Arya Stark (from A Song of Ice and Fire)

Heh. Just the fact that both of these characters would have no access to the technology needed to become BookTube stars is funny to me. But, pretending that they did in fact have the technology, I would see Emily being more into that sort of thing than Arya. It’s been a long time since Arya had time for things like books.

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Sleepover time! Unfortunately, you can only invite one person. Who would you invite?

Gwen (from Spider-Gwen) VS. Inej (from Six of Crows)

Hmm . . . I think I’d have to go with Inej. I really liked her character in SoC. She seems like a really good friend in the story, too.

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Bam! You’re pregnant! Who’s the other parent?

Dee (from Rat Queens) VS. Marko (from Saga).

Well, that certainly escalated quickly. Both characters are awesome, but I’m gonna have to go with Marko. Added bonus: He’s already got that dad thing down since he’s got a kid. Major drawbacks: He’s got a bounty on his head aaaand I really don’t feel like getting my ass kicked by his wife (and awesome character/his soulmate) Alana.

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You’ve just written a super important text. Who would see it, but not reply?

Karou (from Daughter of Smoke & Bone) VS. Darrow (from Red Rising)

This is a tough one. Neither of them are really jerks or anything, but both of them feel like they have the weight of the world(s) on their shoulders, so I could really go with either or on this question. I think we’ll go with Darrow though since the technology in his story is beyond the point of simple text messages. He’d probably see my archaic form of communication and laugh.

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You’ve just woken up and it’s time for breakfast. Your mom and dad have been replaced by . . . who?!

Tyrion Lannister (from A Song of Ice and Fire) or Atticus O’Sullivan (from The Iron Druid Chronicles)

While it would be beneficial to have a powerful druid for a family member, Atticus is just too swoon-worthy of a character to be a parental figure. So Papa Tyrion it is.

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Like I said, I went ahead and did this tag after seeing Birdie’s awesome post, so if you think it looks fun, have at it! And let me know if you do because I’d love to read your answers. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

 

Fight Like a YA Girl Book Tag

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Books and wine make an excellent pairing, and this is something proven frequently over at the YA and Wine blog where you can find awesome wines to go with awesome books, fantastic reviews, and exciting posts about book/author-related events. I was thrilled to be tagged for Krysti’s newly created book tag about the many types of kick-ass ladies in literature. Big thanks to her for tagging me to do this awesome new tag! Now, let the ass-kickery begin!

THE RULES:

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Mention the creator Krysti at YA and Wine
  • Match at least one YA girl with each of the themes below.
  • Tag as many people as you like!

WARRIOR GIRLS:

Okay, it’s been a very LONG time since I read this book, but I’m going with the Slayer (named Sophie) from Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row (A Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel). Slayers are total warrior girls! ๐Ÿ™‚

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR MIND:

How could I not choose Hermione Granger for this category? I mean, c’mon, she was the brightest witch of her age. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR HEART:

Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Karou has a lot of heart, and love plays a large part in her story.

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GIRLS WHO ARE TRAINED FIGHTERS:

Virginia au Augustus (aka: Mustang) from the Red Rising trilogy. I nearly picked her for the “girls who fight with their mind” category since she is known to be highly intelligent, but she is also trained to fight with more than just her mind so here she goes!

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STRONG GIRLS OF COLOR:

Inej Ghafa (aka- “The Wraith”) from Six of Crows. She’s strong in every sense of the word, and she’s one of the many reasons I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom!

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT TO SURVIVE:

Temple from The Reapers are the Angels. She’s grown up in a tough, zombie-filled world, and she’s never known anything else.

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GIRLS WHO ARE WEAPONS MASTERS:

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy. Total pro with that bow and arrows. I wanted to list Inej and her trusty blades again for this, but I’m mixing it up with another girl and another type of weapon instead. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Fan art of Katniss by Me

GIRLS WHO DON’T CONFORM TO GENDER ROLES:

Okay, this series isn’t YA, but the young-but-fierce Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire immediately came to mind, so she’s who I’m going with. ๐Ÿ˜€

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GIRLS WITH KICK-BUTT MAGICAL POWERS:

Nina Zenik from Six of Crows. She’s part of the Corporalki order of the Grisha (a heartrender, to be exact), which means she has the ability to snatch the air from your lungs or even stop your heart if you’re in her line of sight.

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STRONG GIRLS IN CONTEMPORARY NOVELS:

Honestly, this isn’t really an area of reading I’ve explored, so I’m stumped for an answer. Here’s a cute puppy instead!

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SERIOUSLY FIERCE GIRLS:

Isabelle Rossignol from The Nightingale. This book really isn’t strictly YA, but I feel like Isabelle’s half of the story could be considered YA, and she becomes one hell of a fierce girl. Not through brawn, but through her determination and spirit.

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MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK WITH A STRONG LEADING LADY:

Wonder Woman: Warbringer! I can’t wait for this one to come out. ๐Ÿ™‚

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So, ladies & gents, there we have it. ๐Ÿ˜€ This tag was a lot of fun, so I’m tagging each and every one of you!! Let’s spread this tag like wildfire and promote the hell out of some badass ladies in fiction! Have a great weekend, folks! โค

The Happiest Reading Challenge: Updates

Just call me Scatter Brain McGee over here, because I’ve been meaning to (and forgetting to) talk about what I thought of Six of Crows after I read it! Oops! Shame on me, I know. As I’d mentioned before, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was my May book selection for the Happiest Reading Challenge I’m taking part in, started by super-friendly blogger, The Happiest Pixel.

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Cover and Author of Six of Crows.

Despite what my lack of a timely review might indicate, I was absolutely head over heels infatuated with this book! It was seriously never a dull moment with criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker and his crew. From start to finish this book kept me intrigued and guessing as it surprised me time and time again with twist after delightful twist.

As is a very important thing for me when reading a book, I also loved the characters. They’re quite the mixed bag, and Bardugo manages to hop from POV to POV effortlessly throughout the tale in a way that never seems jarring or off-putting in the slightest. I myself have absolutely no problem with books with multiple POV shifts throughout the chapters, but I know some people who do, and I doubt even they would have minded in this book. It flows very nicely.

I’ve talked before about how beautiful I think the actual book is with its black-edged pages and gorgeous cover, so I won’t get much into that, other than to say that the writing is just as lovely as the book itself.

I could just keep on going on about how enjoyable of a read this was, but I’m gonna keep it brief and say: If you like a good heist story and want to read a book that lives up to all the hype, this is a damn good one to go with. Can’t wait to read the next one.

So, that covers May’s part of the challenge, but what about June so far? I mentioned already that I would be reading The Lies of Locke Lamora for this portion of the challenge, but believe it or not, I cannot find where I put the book!! *GASP* Like, what the hell? Did it just sprout legs and bound off somewhere? There is a possibility that I may have taken it to my boyfriend’s and left it there, but as my brain has been busy forgetting to post about Six of Crows it also took on the task of forgetting to ask my bf about the M.I.A. book as well. Sigh . . . one day I’ll get it all together, but today is not that day.

In the mean time, I’ve begun reading Gail Carriger’s first book in The Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless.

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Cover and Author of Soulless.

I’ve already read andย reviewed the manga trilogy based off of this series of paranormal steampunk novels, so I knew what I was getting into already. And that is a witty historical fiction series set in Victorian England. I’m interested to see how the manga series (which was only three volumes) will compare and differ to the source material, which is five novels.

Those are my updates for the reading challenge so far. How’s your reading going at the moment? Into any interesting books right now?

May’s Book Pick For The Happiest Reading Challenge

I accomplished some really exciting things in April, so I’m feeling really good going into May. One of the many things I’m looking forward to in May is starting The Happiest Reading Challenge created by fellow blogger, The Happiest Pixel. The challenge theme for May is to read a book by an author you already love.

The first book to come to mind was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

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I became an instant fan of Leigh Bardugo while reading The Grisha Trilogy a few years back. So, naturally, I was quite excited when I learned that she would be taking us back to the enchanting but dangerous world of the Grisha.

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The three books making up The Grisha Trilogy.

Six of Crows is the first book in Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology. I actually have both of the books (the second book is called Crooked Kingdom) sitting on my bookshelf just waiting to be read. Let me tell you, these books are just absolutely gorgeous to look at. The first has black-edged pages, the second has red-edged pages, and both books have stunning hardcovers featuring a crow on them.

The Six of Crows blurb:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

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I’ve been hearing so many good things regarding this book, and I can’t wait to read it. Even more so since I have the second one on hand already in case of a cliffhanger ending. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Leigh Bardugo, I’m also really looking forward to her upcoming Wonder Woman novel, Wonder Woman: Warbringer. It comes out in August! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Reading Updates + Inside & Out Book Tag

Hey, there! So now that I’m back home and things have settled down a wee bit (for now anyway) I figured I’d post some quick reading updates, but then the lovely Irena (blogger behind Books & Hot Tea) tagged me for the Inside & Out Book Tag so I’ll just go ahead and blend the two things into one post! If you’ve yet to venture over to her blog I definitely recommend you grab yourself a nice cup of tea and head right on over. Don’t worry about bringing a book of your own though since she always has plenty of good ones to recommend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, let’s talk a bit about the most recent book I finished reading:

While visiting, celebrating, and marching in the name of SCIENCE this weekend with BFF an fellow blogger Cupcakes and Machetes, I did manage to squeeze in the time to read next month’s assigned reading for the book club I’m in. C&M had already read it and still had her copy from the library so I just went ahead and gave it a go. The book’s called Finding Me- A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed – A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings, written by Michelle Knight with Michelle Burford.

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The book really pulls you in right from the beginning. I honestly feel like I could have read it in a single sitting if I’d just been at home when I’d dug into it. The things Michelle and her fellow survivors went through at the hands of their captor are unspeakable and yet somehow this woman bravely recounts the horrific events that unfolded over the course of the 11 years she spent trapped and tortured in a mad man’s hell house. Not to mention, the hard and tragic life she led up until that point as well. I was in awe of the strength she had, not only to survive through all of it and be able to share her experiences with the world, but also for the incredible level of compassion she had and still does have for others despite the things that people have done to her throughout her life. I would highly recommend this book. It won’t be a pleasurable reading experience because of the terrible things these girls had to go through, but it is definitely an eye-opening one. Cupcakes and Machetes did a review of this book as well if you’re interested in reading another person’s take on it as well.

Now, onto the book I’m currently reading:

The next book I’ve started is so much lighter than the last one it isn’t even funny. I know I am incredibly late to the party on this one, but I’ve finally started reading The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time.

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The decision came during Easter, a holiday that always makes me think of my late grandmother on my dad’s side. I spent a lot of Easters at her house, as well as plenty of other visits, and I always remember seeing this book series on her bookshelf. For whatever reason I never wound up actually reading it though. Well, I recently found her copies of the books in a box of old books my parents had and I’ve decided to give them a read. Call it being sentimental if you will. They’re short books, not very long at all, but I’ve just begun reading the first, The Magician’s Nephew. I’ll probably review the series as a whole once I’ve finished it. I’ve only just gotten into it, but I hope it is a series that an adult can fully enjoy even if they don’t have the nostalgia factor of having loved it as a child. I hear C.S. Lewis is good for that though, so I hope that turns out to be the case. I love fantasy and fairy tales, so the odds are probably in my favor for it. If you’ve read this series, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Especially if you’ve read it as an adult. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Oh, and here’s the reading challenge I’m going to try to take part in for the rest of the year:

So, I was reading The Happiest Pixel’s recent post about her newly made reading challenge and I’ve decided to join in on the fun. It starts in May and then carries on each month through the rest of the year with one challenge for each month.

MAY: a book by an author you already love

JUNE: a book someone has recommend to you

JULY: a book published in 2017

AUGUST: a book set in a country that youโ€™ve never been

SEPTEMBER: a nonfiction book

OCTOBER: a book you chose for the cover

NOVEMBER: a graphic novel

DECEMBER: a book set around Christmas

I’ll post each month about the book I wind up reading for the challenge, so if you wish to join in with your own choice of a book that fits the challenge theme each month, the more the merrier! ๐Ÿ˜€ I think I even have my book for May already picked out. I love Leigh Bardugo, and I really enjoyed The Grisha Trilogy when I read it, so I’m finally going to venture into her latest duology set in the same world and read Six of Crows.

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So, those are my reading updates! What are you currently reading? What’s the latest book you finished? Do you ever do reading challenges? Lets talk books! And while we’re on the topic of books, here goes my stab at the Inside & Out Book Tag:

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1. Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

Hmm . . . well, it depends entirely on the book. It varies. I like when the summary gives me enough info to get me really excited to read it, but without spoiling anything for me in the process. Most books seem good about not doing that but I’ve seen a couple that do and it’s kind of a bummer when that happens. My biggest pet peeve is when there’s like no real information about the story on the inside flap or the back of the book. You gotta gimme something to work with here, people! lol

2.ย New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?

I usually go for paperback, but as long as the story is good I don’t normally fuss too much about the type of book it is.

3.ย Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean?

Ooh, this is a topic that can get pretty heated with readers. lol For me, it 100% depends on the TYPE of book it is. If it’s a fictional novel I never write in them. Ever. I keep it clean with those. However, and omg, I feel like people are going to come for me with pitchforks at the ready when I confess this, but some of my books I own are FILLED with notes as well as pages of highlighted and underlined text. Mostly my history books. Basically, if it is something I’m reading to learn about a certain topic, things are going to be highlighted and what were once clean, blank parts of the page will become littered with scribbled notes. Oddly enough, even in books I write in I still never dogear a single page. I might be reckless enough to write in them, but I am no monster.

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4.ย Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when youโ€™re deciding on a book? What if youโ€™re unsure of the authorโ€™s gender?

No way. Doesn’t matter at all to me. People don’t write their books with their genitals last I checked.

5. Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Not really. Maybe if it winds up being a book I am condemning to the DNF list. Then I might, I suppose. But I love when a book surprises me too much to risk ruining it usually.

6. Organised bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

Kind of both? I always keep books that are part of a series together, sorted numerically, but my book shelves are not alphabetical or anything. I do tend to keep types of books together, though, so there’s that. (Like graphic novels and art books in one area, novels in another, history books in their own place, etc.)

7.ย Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

I have a weakness for a damn good cover, but I still need to see what the book’s about before I give into it just based off of what it looks like.

8.ย Take it outside to read, or stay in?

I usually like to be cozy and inside when I’m reading, but I will read outside on occasion if it’s nice out.

Who do I tag to do this? Why, anybody and everybody who loves to read books, of course! ๐Ÿ˜€

So, that’s it for my book tag and reading updates! I’ve been trying to catch up here on reading everyone’s blog posts I’ve missed but it isn’t easy since I was out of town this weekend, so if you have a post I may have missed that you wanna bring to my attention please link me to it so I can be sure to check it out. I’d hate to miss anything of importance! Thanks! Hope you guys all had a great weekend! โค โค โค