The Book Reviewing Tag

Reviews are a staple of the majority of book blogs, but that doesn’t mean that all bloggers review books in the same way. Since I’m always interested in knowing how other bloggers approach the reviewing process, I was pleased to discover the book reviewing tag, created by Fatma from the blog The Book Place. It is all about how we write reviews, the books we choose to review and how we evaluate our own reviews. There are eight questions that I tried to answer succinctly.

 

What’s your review writing process like (do you write notes somewhere, make annotations, highlights, etc.)?

I’ve been following the same review writing process almost since I started blogging. I always write notes on a notebook or, if I’m not at home, on my phone at the end of each reading “session” about the things I don’t want to forget to mention on the review of the book I’m reading – initial plot points, writing style, personality of the characters, quotes I liked, etc. This makes writing the review itself (usually the day after I finish the book) easier, since I then only have to connect all the notes in a coherent way, plus write an introduction and a conclusion. The proofreading process takes sometimes as long as writing the review, since I keep getting prepositions and other things wrong. But it’s all part of the joy of not having a blog in my first language. Continue reading

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Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

The mid of the year is just around the corner, so this is the perfect time to start reflecting on our reading year. I’ve recently watched Lauren from the YouTube channel Lauren and the Books doing the Mid-year Freak Out Tag and decided to answer the questions as well, although, if everything goes according to plan, I’ll read more books in the second half of the year than in the first and, therefore, the best may well be still to come.

 

  1. Best book you have read so far this year

One by One in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden is probably the best book I’ve read this year so far. Through a story of a grieving family, it paints a picture of the Northern Irish society during the Troubles. As the book goes back and forth in time, the fascinating characters come to life.

 

  1. Best sequel you’ve read so far this year

I’ve only read one sequel so far – The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb. It is the second book in The Liveship Traders Trilogy, which is set in a world where the figureheads of ships become alive, because they are made of wood with magical properties. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from ‘Our Wives under the Sea’ to ‘Hotel Iris’

It’s the beginning of the month, which means that it’s time for another chain of books. Six Degrees of Separation is a bookish meme created by Kate from Books are My Favourite and Best. Every month Kate chooses one book to start the chain and we just have to select other six, each connected in some way with the previous one.

For April the first book is Our Wives under the Sea by Julia Armfield, which I haven’t read yet, though I enjoyed her collection of short stories Salt Slow. In her debut novel, Miri is happy that her wife, Leah, has returned home from a deep-sea mission. Leah is struggling, however, as that mission has not ended well.

The title of Julia Armfield’s novel reminds me of the short story collection Diving Belles by Lucy Wood. The main character in the first tale, which is memorably atmospheric, goes under the sea on a diving belle to see her husband. The sea is, in fact, a recurring element in many of the stories featured in this collection. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from ‘The End of the Affair’ to ‘Catch the Rabbit’

I’ve been meaning to take part in the bookish meme Six Degrees of Separation, created by Kate from Books Are My Favourite and Best, for a long time. This month I’m finally joining in, despite being (fashionably) late! What does it consist in? Every month Kate chooses a book and we just need to add other six, each having a link to the previous book in our chain.

This March, the initial book is The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, which I don’t know much about, as I haven’t read it. Set in London during the Second World War, it seems to be about an affair gone awry. After Sarah ends her relationship with Maurice Bendrix, he hires a private detective to follow her.

Another book set during the Second World War and that I also haven’t read yet is Transcription by Kate Atkinson. In 1940, the 18-year-old Juliet Armstrong starts working at an obscure department of the MI5, whose purpose is to monitor fascist supporters. Continue reading

The Book Design Tag

When a book I’m interested in is published wrapped up in a beautiful cover, I cannot hide my excitement! I know that what truly matters is the text inside. However, an appealing cover, gorgeously designed, is always a more than welcome extra. As soon as I watched the Book Design Tag on Lil’s Vintage World YouTube channel, I knew that I had to answer the questions myself. How could I miss another opportunity to share and showcase some of the most stunning books that I have on my shelves?

 

  1. A book you bought primarily (or completely) because of the cover

I bought The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton solely because I fell in love with its gorgeous cover that tries to replicate a cabinet house. When I finally read it, I loved it so much that the first post I wrote for this blog was a review about it, although I had finished it a couple of months previously.

 

  1. A book you want to buy that has a beautiful cover

There are so many stunning books on my wish list that it isn’t easy to pick just one. So, I decided to mention the last beautiful book I added to the list of those I want to buy at some point in time – The Haunting Season. It is a collection of ghost stories written by various authors for this particular purpose. Continue reading

New Year Book Tag

January is well underway, so it almost feels as if the appropriate time to muse about what we expect from the new year has already passed. However, when I saw the New Year Book Tag on Lauren and the Books YouTube channel, I couldn’t help but wanting to answer the questions myself. Do you remember when I hardly ever did tags? Those days seem to be progressively coming to an end.

 

  1. How many books are you planning on reading in 2022?

As I mentioned in the post about my bookish resolutions for 2022, I’m planning to read 35 books, a number higher than in 2021, but in line with previous years.

 

  1. Name 5 books you didn’t get to in 2021 that you would like to read in 2022.

I didn’t read as many books as I was hoping to in 2021. Some of those that I hadn’t the time to read but that I definitely want to pick up this year are: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey, O Círculo Virtuoso by Maria Isabel Barreno, Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb, and The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld. Continue reading

The In or Out Book Tag

I haven’t finished as many books during the second half of the year as I was hoping for, mainly because I DNFed a couple that I had spent weeks reading to no avail. For that reason, I have written fewer reviews than I was expecting to. As I still want to publish six posts every month, I have been trying my hardest to come up with ideas for other types of bookish content.

When I was close to decide not to write a post today, I remembered seeing the “In or Out Book Tag” on Fatma’s blog, The Book Place. Originally created by Rick MacDonnell on YouTube, it’s about our likes and dislikes regarding tropes, general characteristics of books, and reading habits. Although I’m terrible at coming up with answers for book tags, I thought it would be interesting to do this one.

 

  1. Reading the Last Page First

Out! Why do people do this? I can’t fathom why someone would want to know the ending of a book without having yet discovered what it truly is about or been properly introduced to the characters. Continue reading

The DNF Book Tag

This month I’ve DNFed two books in a row! So, when I stumbled across the DNF book tag on Fatma’s blog, The Book Place, a couple of days ago, I immediately decided to do it as soon as possible. It was originally created by Gunpowder, Fiction & Plot on YouTube and, as the name indicates, it is all about the reasoning behind deciding not to finish books.

 

  1. Do you DNF?

Yes! Not that many years ago, I would force myself to finish books I was not enjoying, but then I started asking myself ‘what is the point?’. There are so many books I want to read, it’s better to give up on books I’m not liking and to pick up another one that may become a favourite.

 

  1. If you do DNF, does it count for your finished books for the month?

That has never happened, because I tend to decide not to finish books relatively early on. In theory, I would only count them as read and rate them with 1 star if I had DNFed them almost near the end. Continue reading

Last Ten Books Tag

A week ago, I saw the Last Ten Books Tag on Marina Sofia’s blog (I couldn’t unearth who the original creator was) and decided to give it a go, although I don’t tend to do tags very often. I always struggle to come up with answers for numerous of the questions asked on tags for some reason, so forgive me if my replies are not particularly remarkable and insightful.

 

Last book I gave up on

This one is easy! I gave up on War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy early on in January after reading less than ten chapters. In 1805, Anna Pavlovna organised a soirée where various characters discussed not only their lives, but also Napoleon and his political and military movements. I just couldn’t memorise whom any of the characters were or their connections with one another. For that reason, I lost all interest in this massive novel, which I had been meaning to read for years.

 

Last book I reread

After deciding not to finish War and Peace, I figured that it was a good idea to read an old favourite. I reread Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and loved it as much as the first time around. The dystopian society it portrays is well known for its telescreens and being ruled by the Party, whose face is the Big Brother. Winston, the main character, works in the Ministry of Truth, where he rewrites past information. His life gets progressively more complicated as he becomes involved with Julia. Continue reading

The Inside and Out Book Tag

I’ve been meaning to write about some of my reading preferences for a long while, but I was struggling to turn my ideas into a coherent blog post. This week a solution presented itself when I discovered the Inside and Out Book Tag, thanks to Marina Sofia and Elisabeth van der Meer. Unfortunately, I don’t know who is the original creator of this tag. Though I don’t do tags often, my answers to the majority of the questions are just what I was interested in writing about.

 

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

It depends on the book. Some blurbs just give too much information away, while others fail to entice me into reading, since they don’t properly explain what the stories are about. I like a blurb that arouses my curiosity without spoilers. Some Portuguese editions, for example, have appalling “summaries”, as the only information they provide is a quote from the book and nothing else.

 

  1. New book: what form do you want it in? Be honest: audiobook, eBook, paperback or hardcover?

Paperback! It’s my favourite format by far. Very rarely do I buy hardbacks, because they are too heavy, usually more expensive, and I don’t like dust jackets. I only go for hardbacks in case I have been waiting for the release a book in a series for a couple of years, or when their covers’ design is far more appealing for some reason. I found the hardbacks of Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet eye-catching, since they only have a small dust jacket, for example. Audiobooks and eBooks are not for me, as I have a terrible listening attention span when I’m not taking notes of what is being said and I don’t like reading long-form writing on a screen. Continue reading