October Wrap Up

This has been a weird month for me, because I started doing a couple of things in my free time¬†other than reading, so I feel like I’ve read less than normally. I still did read 8 books + 1 novella, which is not bad at all! Also, I gave 5 stars to almost of them ūüėģ so I consider this a VERY good month of reading.

Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

I read¬†Shadow and Bone¬†as my last September book, so I was marathoning the Grisha trilogy and I ¬†read S&S and R&R in October. I had bought these three books before the summer because I was planning to read Six of Crows and I really wanted to read all the books in the Grisha-verse in the correct order. This turned out to be one the best decisions I’ve made, as I will explain soon.

 

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Well, these are by far high up in my “All-time favorites” list. I have no words to describe how much I loved these books. The characters, Ketterdam, everything was in a simple word¬†perfect. In retrospect I’m so glad that 1) I didn’t read SoC when it came out last year, because I would have died if I had had to wait for the next one, 2) I read the Grisha trilogy before, despite many people saying it wasn’t necessary. It’s probably not extremely necessary for the first book, but if you venture into¬†Crooked Kingdom and have not read the Grisha trilogy, you’ll really miss out on some very emotional/nostalgic moments.

The Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo
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This is a short novella, a prequel to the Grisha trilogy, that sees the Darkling as a still young boy, trying to deal with his power. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to read it, but if the Darkling has captured your heart, you might want to (beware: feelings and nostalgia will ensue).

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylordaughter-of-smoke-and-bone-series

I¬†loved this series so much. I read the first two books last year, but never got to the third one. This year I really wanted to reread those two and finish the series, and I’m so glad I did. I’m still speechless about the sheer beauty of it, but I’ll try to write a series review here on the blog soon. In the meantime, you can check out my individial reviews on goodreads:¬†
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Days of Blood and Starlight
Dreams of Gods and Monsters

The Fairy’s Assistant¬†by¬†Sasha L. Miller

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Can we take a moment to appreciate this beautiful cover? I was sent this book for reviewing, so I’m going to be talking about it in my next post.

That’s it for this monthly wrap-up! It’s really nice to look back and see how just one month ago I was a really different person than I am now, and how the change can happen just through books. Isn’t that wonderful?¬†ūüíĖ

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25 Bookish Facts About Me

I saw this tag on a couple of blogs and BookTube videos and I thought I’d join in on the fun! Also it seems like a good way for you to get to know me a bit better. I couldn’t really find who the creator of this tag is, so if you know please let me know in the comments so I can edit this post and link to them.
Here we go:

  1. I can never read more than one book at the time. Really, I don’t know how people can have multiple books on their “Currently reading” shelf without actually only choosing one to read to the end and DNF-ing the other ones.
  2. I mostly read e-books. I plan to get all my favorite series in a physical format later on, but for now the only physical books I read are ones that we already have at home or that I might borrow from friends.
  3. I forget plots so easily it’s ridiculous. It doesn’t matter if I loved the book or I hated it, I’ll forget most details very, very soon. I mean, I obviously remember the idea of the book, but whenever I see someone remembering very specific details about books they’ve read years ago I have to wonder if there’s something wrong with me. However, I never¬†forget the general atmosphere of a book/movie/videogame or my emotional response to it.
  4. I tend to read names of characters/places “the Italian way” unless I know the correct pronunciation.
  5. I love reading big chunks of a book. I’m not really one to read two chapters and then move on do something else, because I know that if I do that I’ll enjoy a book much less. I really need to be completely inside a book, and that means reading at least 1-2 hours without interruptions. That might be difficult sometimes when life gets busy, because usually¬†I’d rather postpone¬†reading than read only a little bit knowing I’ll have to do other things soon.
  6. I spent one summer (I must have been 14 or 15) only reading Harry Potter books 1 to 5 (all the ones that were out and translated at that time). Whenever I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix¬†I would go right back to¬†Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and marathon the series again. Summer breaks are 3 months long here in Italy, so I don’t even know how many times I must have read those five books. Too many.
  7. Speaking of Harry Potter, I’ve still¬†never read it English, so often I see names of creatures or items from the series online and I have to google what they are in Italian because, well, I only know the Italian names for them.
  8. My current favorite genre is fantasy, specifically high-fantasy. That might still change in the future, and sometimes I do get a bit fed up of fantasy (something easily fixed by reading the occasional¬†contemporary novel), but so far I’m really enjoying this trend.
  9. I’m such¬†a¬†mood reader. That’s why I don’t join reading challenges or book clubs. If I don’t feel like reading that specific book at that specific time, there’s no way I’ll enjoy it.
  10. I don’t have a problem lending my books if I trust the person,¬†but since I mostly read e-books, that’s not something¬†I can really do. However, I now own two Kindles, so I’m considering lending the older one to my best friend so he can read a selection of my books I made for him.
  11. I’ve never listened to a full audiobook (I’ve only listened to two chapters of¬†Empire of Storms, chapters 17 and 18…if you’ve read the book you know what I’m talking about).
  12. There are a few very specific things that are like plus points¬†if I’m reading a fantasy set in a different world. For example, I love when characters from different places within that fictional world have different accents/languages and those accents are described. It is just a really realistic thing to mention and I actually get annoyed whenever there’s a big world map and different characters talk and there’s never any mention of how they sound.
  13. My favorite places to read are on the couch or at the beach. I cannot read in a car or bus because I get motion sickness, but I really enjoy reading on trains or planes.
  14. Everyone in my immediate family is a reader, regardless of their degree of education.
  15. I only started reading fanfictions this year, and even now I don’t really read many. The first ones I¬†read were¬†about Captive Prince¬†and since then I’ve also read a couple of #Pynch and #Wesper ones. Also, I recently started writing my own Captive Prince¬†fanfic and I’m loving it.
  16. Sometimes it feels like I like secondary characters more than main characters. I usually take this as a sign that the author is doing a great job.
  17. If I like a¬†series, I need to marathon it. Sometimes I don’t buy/start a book that I want to read because I know that the last book in a series is coming out soon, I’d rather wait a couple of weeks/months and then read the whole series back to back.
  18. Ironically, one of the worst presents I received in my life was a book. Not only is it the second one in a series I haven’t read, it was also a “recycled present” and inside was a pen-written dedication to the person that gave it to me. Like, this person didn’t even bother to open the book that was gifted to them and just gave it to me for my birthday. I don’t mind getting used books but at least be honest¬†about it.¬†Instead they made it look like it was a thought-out gift when it was all but that. I’m still pissed off about it if you can’t tell.
  19. One book was actually dedicated to me! My grandpa wrote a few books about pedagogy, and one of his books was written while I was in elementary school and many of the things he wrote about in it were taken from my experiences with my teachers at the time. So he wrote his dedication to me: “To Silvia, affectionate granddaughter and heroic schoolchild” (this is obviously a translation and it makes more sense in Italian, forgive me but I suck at translating).
  20. I enjoy reading series the most, and I read the standalones on my TBR mostly between two series, especially if the one I’ve just read stole my heart and I feel book-hungover.
  21. For the past three years I’ve mostly read books in English, but I also read in Italian (obviously) and German. Whenever I read something I try to read it in its original language, so even if sometimes I find better deals for Italian translations of books, I still buy them in English because I think the reading experience is better that way.
  22. I still didn’t read any graphic novel. Actually, that’s not true, but I haven’t read any lately. I used to read a lot of¬†Asterix¬†comics when I was little, and probably something else too that I can’t remember. But I’d love to read some more adult ones. I have a few on my TBR (Death Note, Saga,…) but I still didn’t get to them.
  23. I need quiet when I read, especially if the people around me are speaking Italian and I’m reading in English (or German). My brain just can’t!
  24. Popular books I haven’t read include: The Little Prince, The Hunger Games,¬†Twilight, Divergent, and many more.
  25. I generally don’t listen to music while I read, However, I recently started to listen¬†to book playlists if the author creates them, and I find they really add to the atmosphere of a book, but I just can’t be bothered to choose my own music because I don’t know if it will fit the book or not. The most recent playlist I listened to is Leigh Bardugo’s¬†Six of Crows playlist and I’m obsessed with it. I found so many great songs/bands that I wouldn’t have otherwise and it just made my whole¬†Six of Crows¬†duology experience so much more enjoyable (as if the books themselves weren’t enough!)

Consider yourselves tagged if you haven’t done this already!

#T5W: Favorite Spooky Settings

Welcome back to #T5W!

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that¬†Lainey¬†started and I discovered through the lovely¬†Samantha‘s videos. I absolutely loved the idea of joining the group and making my own lists. If you’re interested you can join the¬†goodreads group¬†to get the topics for each week.

Today’s topic obviously goes hand in hand with Halloween, which is a huge thing in the US and other countries. Where I am we don’t really celebrate it. Well, some people do because, let’s be honest, sometimes any excuse is good for partying. But it’s definitely not a big tradition and we¬†definitely don’t spend the whole month of October preparing for it.¬†ūüéÉ

Regardless, I didn’t want to miss out on this T5W, and I do have some creepy settings in mind. I’m not a huge fan of reading things that creep me out because I know I will have nightmares, so most of these settings are not from specific books I’ve read.

  1. Graveyards: in real life I really love graveyards. With daylight. I don’t know, I find them so peaceful and quiet. But in books and movies, people usually enter¬†graveyards at night and…well, spooky things happen. The last graveyard I read about in a book was in¬†The Raven Boys, but I admit I didn’t find it too scary.
  2. Creepy forest: I think this comes more from horror movies (The Blair Witch Project¬†anyone?)¬†than from books, but a creepy forest is one of the most terrifying settings I could think of.¬†ūüĆ≥
  3. Haunted house: I don’t believe in ghosts or anything supernatural, but a good book/movie has the power to let you forget your beliefs and really think that¬†yes, there’s a ghost in there! The last series I read that had kind of a haunted house theme was¬†Bad Girls Don’t Die¬†by Katie Alender.
  4. Military dictatorship: okay bear with me. This is probably more scary than spooky, but it’s really something¬†that I had to include here. If there’s a military government/state/thing, obviously something has gone very wrong, either in that country or in the whole world. One of the scariest things about this scenario for me is the presence of a curfew. I don’t really know why, but I find the idea of a curfew really creepy. It’s not that you’re not allowed to go outside at a certain time, but it’s the¬†why. Brrr. I’m getting scared just by writing this.
  5. Alien invasion: I know this is more an event than a setting, but what I really mean is the setting of a post-alien invasion world, which is one of the things that scare me the most. Aliens to me are scary in a very matter-of-factly way, because despite us not having found any yet, there’s¬†no way we’re the only planet with life in it. They’re not necessarily the green-skinned monsters you might have seen in movies: they might only be as tiny as bacteria, and the chances¬†our civilizations will never meet are high, but the whole scenario of that potentially happening has me spooked out like nothing else does.¬†ūüĎĹ

What are your favorite spooky settings?

 

 

Multiple PoVs?

Around this time last year I was reading the same book I’m reading right now –Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. Back then, a few new and weird things were going on¬†in my life, and that’s when The¬†Great Reading Slump of 2k15 happened. I never got to move on to finish that series until now, and I’m enjoying it a lot.

But that’s not what this post is about (I’ll post a series review as soon as I read the third book). As I was reading this morning I started thinking (you know that weird state of mind where you¬†are reading, but you’re also¬†thinking, and by the time you realize you’re doing both you have to go back one page or two because you have no idea what you’ve just read?) -I was saying, I started thinking of how my reading experience has changed in the past year, as I’ve changed too, and I realize I now enjoy some things in books that I didn’t before, and I’m much more aware of why I like the books I do.

Specifically I want to talk about multiple point of views.
Until last year, I’m pretty sure chapters from¬†different PoVs than the main characters’ were met with a little bit of annoyance from my part. Not that I eventually¬†didn’t enjoy them, but the thought was always there, “I wish this chapter was still from the protagonists’ PoV”.
Throughout this year my perception has changed a lot, it seems, to the point where I’m almost annoyed at going back to the protagonist(s)’ PoV. I can’t say it’s always like that, but I think if a book is done right, the secondary characters’ PoVs can be in a way the most¬†interesting ones.

One recent example of this is¬†Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. The¬†Throne of Glass series started moving heavily towards the multiple PoVs structure since book three,¬†Heir of Fire, and so far each book gets more¬†multiple-pov-y¬†than the previous one. Needless to say this is now one of the things that make me love this series so much. But I was almost annoyed every time the chapter went back to Aelin’s PoV, and I think of the reasons is because I feel like her character, after five books, has stayed pretty much the same. Not that she didn’t have any character development, on the contrary. But she stayed consistent to her personality, her I’m-going-to-do-everything-myself-without-telling-anything-to-anyone, and as much as I love her and care about her (I’m not even going to pretend like that’s not weird, but that’s what we book lovers do), I found myself enjoying discovering new things about old characters’ personalities or way of thinking, or just getting to know completely new characters, much more.
The same can be said about the¬†Daughter of Smoke and Bone¬†series, especially in this book I’m currently reading, where many new PoVs are added to the two main ones of book one.

I would like to know: am I the only one that feels like this? Do I have to add it to my weirdness list?

#T5W Top Five Wednesday: Favorite Non-Canon Ships

Welcome to my first T5W!

What is Top Five Wednesday? It’s a book meme that¬†Lainey¬†started and I discovered through the lovely¬†Samantha‘s videos. I absolutely loved the idea of joining the group and making my own lists. If you’re interested you can join the¬†goodreads group¬†to get the topics for each week. There you can also share your posts when you’re done.

So this week’s topic is, as the title reads, Favorite Non-Canon Ships. Why are they non-canon? Because the author didn’t hear the readers’¬†prayers or because the two characters come from different worlds, franchises, etc.

I need to warn you that this list will contain SPOILERS¬†for Air Awakens, The Remnant Chronicles and the Grisha trilogy! So if you haven’t read them you should stop reading or risk coming across unwanted info! If you don’t mind finding out who certain characters don’t end up with or if you’ve read these series, go ahead!

Giving non-spoilery people a bit of space so their¬†eyes don’t wander where they’re not supposed to.

Hi.

Ready?

*points to the opposite direction* Wait, is that an unicorn???¬†ūü¶Ą

 

 

Okay, let’s do this.

(I want to point out that unless otherwise specified, I actually love the canon couples for these series!)

  1. Alina and the Darkling: when I went into the Grisha trilogy I had no idea what to expect in terms of ships. Eventually I ended up loving who Alina ended up with, but the first half of book one had me¬†needing the Darkling to be endgame. It will forever haunt me that it didn’t happen, and in my mind runs a full parallel Grisha trilogy where the Darkling is redeemed somewhere around the middle of book two and has a happy ending.
  2. Vhalla and Daniel: Air Awakens is one of my favorite series and one of the (many) things I love about it is how relationships are portrayed. I find Vhalla’s feelings so realistic and I feel like Elise Kova did a great job handling her relationship with Daniel. Daniel is madly in love with Vhalla and she knows it, and in times of hardship when she can’t be with the person she loves, she finds solace in Daniel’s friendship, and constantly asks herself how it would be to let herself love him and be with him. She second-guesses her actions and constantly wonders if she is taking advantage of him and recognize her weakness. Daniel is such a great person and he knows Vhalla’s feelings for him are true but also don’t match his own, and he still helps her without expecting anything from her. This is a perfect case of “couple that would have been perfect if another character wasn’t in the picture”.
  3. Lia and Kaden: oh man. This is the only ship I’m actually mad about. The Remnant Chronicles¬†series had me wishing for one of my favorite trope to become happen, the¬†hate-to-love¬†or to be more specific the¬†assassin-to-lover trope. Sadly, that didn’t happen, and I didn’t like how Lia’s relationship with Rafe evolved, especially in the third book, where he insults her and yells at her.
  4. Mia (Nevernight) and Manon (Throne of Glass):¬†now for some impossible ships! Oh man. Just imagine these two. They would totally kill each other. And then be one of the most badass throat-slitting couples and conquer the world. And Abraxos and Mr. Kindly would make the bestest of friends!¬†ūüź≤ūüźĪ
  5. Jesper (Six of Crows) and Ronan (The Raven Boys): Can you picture them????? I mean, it’s hard to separate them from their true love interests because they’re both perfect, but just try to think about it. Jesper would totally be into car racing and maybe would give up his gambling addiction for that. Which, I don’t know what’s worse honestly. But I feel like they’d overcome their weird habits and eventually live normal lives, or as normal as it gets on Ronan’s farm.

 

Favorite bookish fandoms

There are many books and series that I love and will stay in my heart forever, but I feel like some fandoms are more active than others, and there’s nothing I like more than to relive the feelings I had while reading something by seeing amazing fanart pieces or reading some¬†smutty fanfic. Here’s a list of the books whose fandoms¬†get me squealing¬†and gushing on twitter and IRL:

  • 51ab2bfjpusl-_sx332_bo1204203200_Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat: I love this fandom and it’s one of the rare cases when I can genuinely say “this is my absolute favorite”. There are amazing fanart pieces out there and I feel the need to always RT or pin them whenever I see some new ones. Moreover, I feel a real connection to other fans of this work, because I think it takes some sensibility, intelligence and open mind to appreciate it, as well as a more analytical approach to the reading experience. If I know you’re a fan of¬†Captive Prince, you’re already on my list of¬†humans beings deemed worthy of my (real or imagined) friendship. Just saying. Also, C.S. Pacat is an amazing woman and writer, and she always replies if you ask her something or even just mention her on twitter and tell her how much you love her work.

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  • Throne of Glass and¬†A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: This is a much bigger and broader fandom than the previous one I mentioned.¬†I wasn’t sure I should mention it in this list because I feel like there are a few problems within it: from death threats sent to the author because of her latest release,¬†Empire of Storms, to fans not being willing to hear anything negative about the author’s work. The first I don’t even consider real fans, and the latter I think are just plain childish. No author or book is without flaws, and even if you find it perfect, you need to be able to understand that someone can still point out what works or doesn’t work for¬†them without it affecting the value of it. I myself adore SJM but I recognize there are some flaws within her books, and that’s okay. Those flaws exist and they don’t affect my overall reading experience. Ultimately I feel like most of the fans think the same way I do, and this fandom is such a big part of my daily online experience that I couldn’t not mention it here. The quantity and variety of fanart and tumblr posts and blogs is astounding and it’s a great fix for your book hangovers.

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  • Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: Another great fanart-filled fandom! I love how fans really focus on the amazing characters that Stiefvater created. This four-books series is indeed very character-driven and the protagonists feel¬†real in a way few other characters from other works do. The plot is by no means perfect, but my overall enjoyment while reading this series was so high that I couldn’t bring myself to care about the flaws. Like with Captive Prince, I feel like the fans are very sensitive people to really appreciate all the nuances of the single characters.¬†Again, amazing fanart too for this series and¬†MUST RETWEET ALL OF IT!

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  • Six of Crows¬†and¬†Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: Where amazing, well-rounded characters meet amazingly complex and beautifully written story. This duology¬†was just recently wrapped up and I also only recently read it. I found great¬†people in the fandom and again, I feel an instant connection with them. I’ve seen some seriously gorgeous drawings and read some pretty nice fluffy fanfic (especially about one particular ship).

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  • Air Awakens by Elise Kova:¬†This is a still small fandom, but it’s growing and it’s already quite big for being an independently published work. The story and the characters are so compelling that they’re bound to capture your heart and mind so that you won’t easily forget them. There are a few tragic events in this five-books series that seem to connect fans in that¬†I-know-how-you-feel-bro¬†kind of way. I plan to write a series review about this soon,¬†and I’m so excited for the¬†Golden Guard prequel series¬†coming out next month.

Now I would really like to know: do you have any book recommendations based on fandom alone?

My take on e-books

My house has always been full of books. In my parents’ house, we have one room almost only dedicated to books, with two long libraries completely covering two walls, a library in my room (where a lot of non-bookish things are stored, and also old school and university books) and a smaller library in the living room. My parents’ libraries are filled with classics, crime, sci-fi, horror books. I’ve read a lot of those, but when I discovered the the YA Fantasy genre, I just knew I was going to have to buy a lot more books. One easy and cheap way to do it was to get a Kindle and start reading digitally, and I think it was the best decision I’ve ever made. The main and immediate benefit was that it got me reading regularly throughout the year instead of just in summer. That doesn’t really really have to with the¬†format, but the fact that it was so easy to get new books I was excited about made it so I could come back home after a long day and read a book instead of spending pointless hours on Facebook. Some of the¬†added benefits of buying e-books are:

  • Again, the price: it ranges from free (most of the classics are) to around max. 9,99‚ā¨. That’s really cheap and if you’re on a budget it means you can buy more books than you would buying paperbacks or hardcovers;
  • Portability: no matter where you go, you can take your whole library with you;
  • If you’re a mood reader like me, you’ll find yourself discovering a book on goodreads and wanting to start it right now. If you order it in e-book format you can do just that without having to wait for the DHL guy to come to your house;
  • Same thing goes for preorders: your e-book will be delivered to your device at midnight so you can pull that all-nighter before your friends can even hope to start reading¬†it the next morning (they probably won’t anyway because¬†Poste Italiane¬†won’t deliver it on time);
  • You don’t have to hold the book open. No, I’m serious, I love reading paper books, and if they’re in hardcover it’s kind of easy to keep them open, but it’s so difficult with paperbacks and you end up ruining them. You don’t have to worry about that with e-books, and if you can place your device on a surface (I usually have it on a pillow on my lap) you can keep both hands free to drink that tea or eat those cookies. Or both.

A couple of things that I miss about physical copies are being able to go back (or forward) to a certain page easily and not being able to actually touch and look at my books.

I will get around to buying my favorites in a hardcopy version eventually. Since I’m hoping to move out soon (and go far away) it won’t happen until I’m all set in the new place.

What is your opinion on e-books?