Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

I actually had a book review planned for this Friday, but I changed my mind because June and July are two crazy months for me, so I opted again for a book tag which suits this time of the year. Plus, I’m always happy to talk about the current state of my TBR pile.

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag was created by two book-tubers (Chami and Ety) and it comprises of fourteen questions, mostly regarding the books you read in the first half of the year. I read twenty-six books until now including the dnf-ed ones, so I think that I have enough material to answer properly to each and every question.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.

This year I wanted to read all the first instalments in the series I own because I plan to continue only the series or trilogies I’ve found unique and enjoyable to explore further on. For the best book I’ve read until now I choose The Essential Book Blog by Ken J. Howe, Saul Tanpepper, Michael Guerini and Cheryl L. Seaton, which is an easy yet informative guide for each new book blogger or newbie author and it teaches you anything from how to build your own blog, what your review should include, how to get traffic on your blog, how to get books and even how to earn money through your blog. Personally, I can’t wait to review this blogging guide and reread some of the sections in order to apply them to my blog.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.

 

At the beginning of this year, I promised myself that I will not be as generous as I used to be with the 5-star ratings and by far, there are just three books that had the wow factor I was looking for. The first 5-star sequel I rated in 2017 is Escape from Sudan, the 9th book in Mike WellsLust, Money & Murder series because I was on pins and needles while reading this book. It really was a roller-coaster of emotions for me and Elaine’s (almost impossible) mission through such a war-torn and dangerous country made my adrenaline levels increase.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I’m not very interested in new releases for now because I have a lot of unread books sitting and collecting dust on my shelves and many eBooks on my Kindle too; so I prefer to stick to those.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I read Mike Wells’ blurb for Panacea, the 11th book in the Lust, Money & Murder series, which is set in Ukraine and the book, is going to be released in September. This is the only sequel I’m excited to devour.

5.  Biggest disappointment.

Well, I have a few disappointments and dislikes reflected on my ratings and on my dnf-ed shelf, but the biggest one came from an author I haven’t read before. I’m sorry for the repetition, but I was extremely disappointed by Isabel Allende’s Zorro. How can a book about California’s famous bandit be so boring with so many info-dumps, lifeless characters and no hook? I loved the fact that Diego is mixed-race, but besides that, his friendship with Bernardo and how his father met his mother, I didn’t find anything of interest in the chapters I read.

6. Biggest surprise.

 

The biggest surprise was The Rocker Who Holds Me by Terri Anne Browning, a book which didn’t deal only with the dissolute lives of rock stars, but also with abuse, heartache and lack of communication. I really love it and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys rock star romances.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

My new favourite author is KK Allen who wrote Enchanted, the first instalment in The Summer Solstice. Besides her beautiful and visual writing, I enjoyed spending my time with her well-built characters, the plot was extremely interesting and the elemental magic blew my mind along with its complexity. The ancient wisdom passed on to Katrina is a combination of Greek myths and Wiccan beliefs. For those of you who are wondering, the review is coming soon.

8. Newest fictional crush.

Nik from The Rocker Who Holds Me might be a potential fictional crush because he is talented, caring and a very hot guy, but he makes Emmie suffer a lot. On the other hand, she is afraid to talk about her feelings for him.

9. Newest favourite character.

I’m currently reading The Lady of the Pier trilogy written by Effrosyni Moschoudi and though I root for both protagonists of the two alternating stories, Sofia Aspioti is very dear to my heart, not just because she is Greek, but she is also a book nerd, a hardworking student, an animal lover and she also writes poetry. She is shy and very cautious because she is aware that everything she does might reach her strict father’s ears, an overprotective parent who forbids her to stay out late or to do anything silly. Despite the restrictions that suffocate her life, Sofia longs for freedom and adventure especially after meeting Danny, an outgoing and non-conformist British tourist whose laid-back attitude makes Sofia fall for him.

10. Book that made you cry.

Though I’ve shed a tear occasionally when I read about Sofia’s kind and loving grandparents from Corfu who reminded me of my own, none of the books I’ve picked up in the first half of the year made me cry hysterically for a certain character or situation.

11. Book that made you happy.

 

It’s hard to say that one of my recent reads made me feel happy, but You & Me Forever is a collection of romantic YA and NA stories written by eight authors including Megan Linski and Pamita Rao, a book that made me feel good most of the time because the short stories range from sweet to dark and they are easy to read especially while you are travelling. I highly recommend it for the summer.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I adore the new covers for The Lady of the Pier trilogy; they are so gorgeous and suit the novels perfectly with that beautiful and mysterious woman standing on the pier.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Besides the books mentioned above, I want to continue reading the two remaining novels from the Try a Chapter Book Tag and afterwards to flip through or even reread some classics I’ve read a few years ago, but I haven’t reviewed yet.

 14. Favourite Book Community Member

For now, I’ll give a shoutout to my best friend and awesome reviewer, Elena from eLitere.ro who has great tastes in books and movies. Check out her website and show her some love!

If you enjoyed this book tag, give it a try and leave your answers below in a comment or through a link to your blog or YouTube channel. Have an awesome weekend! See you next time!

Social Media Book Tag

Social Media becomes more and more part of our everyday life whether we like it or not. Nowadays, it’s really hard to picture our lives without it or the Internet as a whole. A while, my friend Elena from eLitere.ro posted her answers for the Social Media Book Tag which combines two things I enjoy: social networks and books, which were made to go hand in hand in my world. Without further ado, here are my answers to this fun little book tag.

Twitter – Your favourite shortest book

Well, that’s a bit tricky because my favourite books are not so short, but I’m going to say La țigănci by Mircea Eliade, which is translated into English as With The Gypsy Girls. It’s a paranormal novella that has elements of magic realism and it’s basically the story of a poor piano teacher named Gavrilescu who lives a plain and unfulfilled artistic life, but deep inside he longs for adventure and he is drawn to a mysterious house where strange things happen and times flows differently. This is one of my favourite works of Romanian literature and I would recommend it to any bookworm out there because Eliade was a great writer.

Facebook – A book everybody pressured you into reading

Of all the recommendations I get from my family, friends and acquaintances, the book one of my mum’s friends insists that I should read is Isabel Allende’s The House of The Spirits. I would gladly read it if it weren’t for two reasons: I’m not very fond of family sagas in general and the second reason is that I read Zorro which is written by the same author and I didn’t like it because the story drags a lot and it was a painful read.

Tumblr – A book you read before it was cool

To be honest, I’m quite the opposite. I watch many book-tubers, so I know what’s cool or trendy, but I prefer to go my own way and read a book because I’m interested in it, not because everyone else reads it. There are a few popular books I would like to try, but they aren’t on my top priority list for now. I own enough books to keep me entertained for the following years and I’ve signed up to some author newsletters to be noticed about their newest releases.

MySpace – A book you don’t remember whether you liked or not

I don’t think such a thing ever happened to me. I might forget the name of the characters or parts of the plot, but I usually remember if I read a book or not, even if I hated it.

Instagram – A book that was so beautiful you had to Instagram it

I don’t have an Instagram account, but I like to look at other readers’ bookstagrams. For me, every book is beautiful in its own way, so I don’t have an answer for this one. However, I’m going to take photos of the books I own for my book reviews and other tags.

Youtube – A book you wish would be turned into a movie

I would like to see Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells turned into a blockbuster or into a TV/Netflix series because it’s an action-packed espionage thriller full of suspense, twists, criminals and a badass female Secret Service agent. What else can you ask for? Even the series has a resounding title begs to be printed on a movie poster or to appear in a movie trailer.

Goodreads – A book you recommend to everyone

Hmm. there are a few novels I love to death, but I’ll switch to poetry now and recommend The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks because his poems are spiritual, they make you question everything you did in life and you become aware that less is more. I know that this isn’t a book for everybody out there, but Rumi is my favourite poet of all time and it will be very difficult for anyone else to take his place.

Skype – A book with characters that you wish you could talk to instead of just reading about

Now this one is actually easy because I would like to meet any character from Effrosyni Moschoudi’s novels The Necklace of Goddess Athena and The Lady of the Pier which is actually a trilogy I’m currently reading.  I would like to meet and hang out with Phevos, Ksenia, Daphne or Manos because I’m obsessed with myths and Greek culture and civilisation. Plus, they are kind and hardworking youngsters from whom I have a lot to learn.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, like or share it with your friends and if you want to play along, feel free to leave a comment with your answers or if you already have an article or a video response, please leave the link to your blog or video below. I would be more than happy to take a look.

Try a Chapter Book Tag

April has been an amazing reading month for me because I read ten (short) books, but they were mixed reads from the okay-ish to the most amazing ones. On the other hand, the beginning of May wasn’t that great because I enjoyed a single book and dnf-ed or even deleted two of them. Therefore, after two failed attempts to read two confusing cosy mysteries, I found myself wondering what book I should read next. Finally, I figured out that the best way to find out what book I’m in the mood for is by trying a chapter from a few books I’m interested in. I found the Try a Chapter Book Tag on Booktube, where you pick up five or more books you are excited about, read the first chapter of each book (including the prologue), you give your opinion about what you have just read and decide what book you want to continue reading. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? If you find yourself being in a reading slump or you just don’t know what to pick up next, feel free to give it a try. It’s actually useful, even when you want to get rid of unread books.

I cheated a bit because five books are too many for me, so I’ve picked up only four and those are:

  • You & Me Forever: A Sweet Romance Collection by Megan Linski, Pamita Rao and other six authors, which is a young adult romance anthology comprising eight short stories and a novella. I wanted to read something light and summery, so I thought that this book would do the trick.
  • The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb is the first instalment in Ms Effrosyni Moschoudi’s historical paranormal romance From this author I also read The Necklace of Goddess Athena, which is one of my favourite books set in Greece. I’m looking forward to reading this novel because I have a soft spot for Greece in general.
  • Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence is the first instalment in a historical romantic thriller series entitled The Troubadours Quartet and it is written by Welsh author Jean Gill. This book has troubadours, romance, political intrigue and it is set in Medieval France, after the Second Crusade. Therefore, it should be something up my alley.
  • The Treasure of Gwenlais is the first instalment in M. T. Magee’s young adult epic fantasy series entitled The Rienfield Chronicles, a story inspired by Celtic folklore.

Here’s what I have to say about each chapter I’ve read:

Check Mate by T. Ariyanna is the first short story in the You & Me Forever anthology. In the first chapter, Liz and her best friend Daisy chat on the phone about a foster child who has run off from the correction facility he stayed in. Liz is the daughter of the chief of police and she is frequently asked by her classmates about certain cases, but little does she know what fate has in store for her. After the assailant sneaks into Liz’s room and tries to hold her hostage, Liz shows her self-defence skills and frees herself. I liked the way she stood her ground and didn’t feel intimidated by the strange boy who seemed to be her age. The story is suspenseful and I’m really curious to read more.

In the prologue to The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb by Effrosyni Moschoudi, Sofia recalls a strange dream she had a night before. She was standing on the pier where she worked, but the pier changed its size and it seemed like everything around her changed, a terrifying storm broke and in Sofia’s place stood a woman dressed in black who looked pretty much like her. What does this dream mean, who is that woman and why she was in pain? Meanwhile, in the first chapter, we move from 1987’s Greece to 1937’s England, where Laura Mayfield’s story takes place. Laura moves to Brighton with her ill mother, Ruth, who needed a milder climate for her weak lungs. I think this story will be a slow read, but the writing is beautiful and I enjoy reading about alternating timelines.

In Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence by Jean Jill, sixteen-year-old Estela de Matin runs away from an abusive household, wants to start afresh and leave her old identity behind. On the road, she encounters Alénor of Aquitaine, the Queen of France, and her loyal guards, who were travelling from Carcassonne to Narbonne. They eye Estela suspiciously because she might be plotting a robbery with other bandits in hiding or she might be a thief because she carries a mandora, a musical instrument like a lute. After the queen orders the girl to play and sing a song, Alénor of Aquitaine invites Estela to come with them to the court. At first, this book was a little hard to get into because I don’t know that historical period too well, especially the politics, but the idea of a girl troubadour is something I’ve never heard of and I’m curious to read how Estela will get along with Dragonetz, the queen’s commander and her troubadour.

The Treasure of Gwenlais by M. T. Magee contains a prologue in which we are told who the most important characters are, which kingdom they protect or belong to, who are the enemies and which are the stakes of this first book. In short, Princess Laurel of Gwenlais is rescued from the claws of a monster by Caleb, Prince of Heathwin, “the Chief and Commander of the Sentinels who protected the two Kingdoms of Gwenlais and his own realm of Heathwin”. (Loc. 149) Meanwhile, the Sentinels lead by Prince Aiden gallop towards the village to kill the monsters (Rabkins) and to count the casualties. The first chapter is very long, so I paused when I came to a page break, but the novel is worth reading because it’s a high fantasy and it seems to have a complex world.

And here is what I’ve decided:

After reading the chapters and prologues, I decided to read Check Mate by T. Ariyanna because I like the suspense and the story is pretty short. Then, I think that I will choose Ms Jean Gill’s novel because I want to know what happens to Estela at the French royal court and how the past will influence her future.

A Song Title Book Tag

Hello, dear readers! A few days ago I was browsing through my newsfeed when I found an interesting book tag that I wanted to share with you. There are 10 song titles and you have to choose a book you’ve read to match a certain criterion. Here is my list of books and my argumentation for each criterion.

1. Guns N Roses “November Rain”

 Pick a book with a sad/tragic ending

Dumnezeu s-a născut în exil/ Dieu est né en éxile/ God Was Born in Exile by Vintilă Horia. Though it is an apocryphal journal of Latin poet Ovid’s exile on Scythian shores, the writing style is so intimate and poetic that it makes you empathise with Ovid’s suffering, longing for Rome and long-term journey to self-awareness. I won’t say how the novel ends, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth.

2. Queen “Another One Bites The Dust”

 Pick a book with a lot of killing in it

Song of Roland/ La Chanson de Roland as any ancient or medieval epic, it has betrayal, hatred, a lot of violent scenes and killings in it. After reading the first half of the book, you feel as if you could sense the smell of death.

3. Britney Spears “Oops I Did It Again”

 Pick a book you’ve read more than twice

Ciuleandra by Liviu Rebreanu is definitely one of my favourite books. I’ve read it three times and I’m sure I could never get tired of it, due to the social, psychological and pathological issues tackled in this novel. It is also fast paced, so it won’t take long to explore it.

4. Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here”

Your most anticipated book

I don’t have a most anticipated book because there are many classics and genre fiction books I want to read. However, I would like to explore someday The Clash of Civilisations by Samuel P. Huntington which deals with conflicts between the Western and Eastern World, their cultures and beliefs in post-Cold War era.

5. Florence and The Machine “No Light No Light”

 Pick a book that was just so bad you’d like to lock it away in a dark corner and never look at it ever again

Basmul Prințesei Repede-Repede by Emil Brumaru and Veronica D. Niculescu is a book I would definitely lock away because it had puerile erotic content mixed with fairy-tale-like adventures. I’m sure that the poet and the writer tried to create something out of the ordinary due to the alternation of poetry and prose, but this experience was a waste of time for me.

6. Skylar Grey “Final Warning”

Pick a book with a kickass protagonist you wouldn’t want to piss off

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë has a badass protagonist with whom you wouldn’t want to mess. Heathcliff is loyal to the ones he loves, but if his trust is shattered to pieces, he becomes obsessive, revengeful and merciless. Though Heathcliff is sometimes cruel and heartless, he is one of my favourite male characters.

7. My Chemical Romance “I’m Not Okay…I Promise”

Pick a book that deals with a hard topic

Disgrace by J.M Coetzee is a novel that deals with serious topics such as the post-apartheid era in South Africa, the vulnerable state of women in a male-dominated society, rape, violence and racism.

8. Linkin Park “Breaking the Habit”

Pick a book that you read that was outside your comfort zone but you still enjoyed

The Satyricon by Petronius it’s a book out of my comfort zone not because of the sexual and LGBTQ content, but because it shows the how elder masters used teenage boys as their sex slaves and little girls are ‘initiated’ in becoming priestesses in Priapus’ Temple. However, overall the book is hilarious and sometimes grotesque in a manner that inspired Rabelais’s works.

9. Troye Sivan “Happy Little Pill”

Pick a book that makes you happy

Pride and. Prejudice by Jane Austen is an enjoyable book about an important problem that kept the minds of girls and of their parents preoccupied for centuries – marriage. Yes, this novel makes me happy that I didn’t live in that era. Well, besides that, what can be funnier than a love-hate relationship à l’anglais?

10. Ladyhawke “Dusk Til Dawn”

Pick a book that you read in one night/one sitting

Confessions of An English Opium-Eater by Thomas de Quincey was also a book out of my comfort zone, not so much for its theme, but because of the erudite writing style mixed with Latin and Greek terms. Though the beginning was not too appealing, the protagonist’s journey from addiction to recovery and the depictions of his hallucinations kept me reading for hours and hours – from dusk to dawn and beyond.

How would your list look like? Feel free to write it in the comment section below.