Monday, January 06, 2020

Bout-of-Books 27

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are daily challenges, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For Bout of Books 27 information and updates, visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


Consider this my sign-up and updates post.

I have no goals other than to read, because I haven't read anything (not even fanfic!) this year, yet (Can you believe it? Then again, I did read A LOT last year.), and what better way to finally kick it off than with Bout-of-Books? None, I say. And I'm doing updates on my blog this year to bring it out of neglect.

Monday, 6/1/2020

Reading: Sins of the Angels (Grigori Legacy #1) by Linda Poitevin
Pages/words: cca 66 pages or 20%
Challenges/other: /

Tuesday, 7/1/2020

Reading: The Dandelion Girl by Robert F. Young
Pages/words: 11 pages
Challenges/other: My 2020 reading goals, you ask? To read as much or as little as I want and whatever I want. That's it. (Tweet.)

Wednesday, 8/1/2020

Reading: Sins of the Angels (Grigori Legacy #1) by Linda Poitevin
Pages/words: cca 9 pages (3%)
Challenges/other: /

Thursday, 9/1/2020

Reading: Sins of the Angels (Grigori Legacy #1) by Linda Poitevin
Pages/words: 33 (10%)
Challenges/other: /

Friday, 10/1/2020

Reading: Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh
Pages/words: 18
Challenges/other: Why, yes, I can't committ to a book, so I started a new one. I also threw some book recs out on twitter for today's One with a Book in It challenge.

Saturday, 11/1/2020

Reading: Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh, and a lovely little fanfic (unrelated)
Pages/words: 57, 1+ K of fanfic
Challenges/other: I had a blast participating in the twitter chat!

Sunday, 12/1/2020

Reading: Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) and The Cannibal Princess (Psy-Changeling #1.1) by Nalini Singh
Pages/words: 284
Challenges/other: I guess I did stretch my non-existent goals!

Wrap-up:

What I read: I finished Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) and The Cannibal Princess (Psy-Changeling #1.1) by Nalini Singh, The Dandelion Girl by Robert F. Young, and I also read about a third of Sins of the Angels (Grigori Legacy #1) by Linda Poitevin
Pages/words: 417 pages + 1+K of fanfic
Challenges/other: I did two challenges and joined in Saturday's twitter chat.

All in all, that's a lot more than I'd expected going in and this has been a great readathon-ing week!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

My Life According to the Books I Read in 2019

I've set a new record and read 115 books this year!

That offers a lot of options to fill out my-year-in-books-I-read end-of-year wrap up meme, created by Christine at The happily ever after, but it was still hard to find sensible answers. 

Describe yourself: Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

How do you feel: Broken by Nicola Haken

Describe where you currently live: Beyond Control by Kit Rocha

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole

Your favourite form of transportation: Master Class Linnea May

Your best friend is: For Real by Alexis Hall

You and your friends are: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

What's the weather like: Arctic Sun by Annabeth Albert

What is life to you: Overture by Skye Warren

Favourite time of day: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Your fear:  Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

What is the best advice you have to give: Love, in English by Karina Halle

Thought for the day: Love, Sincerely, Yours by Sara Ney

How I would like to die: Flash by Kit Rocha

My soul's present condition: Crossroads by Riley Hart

Have a great New Year's Eve and I wish you all a happy New Year, reading and otherwise!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Virtual Advent Tour: Santa's Train

Virtual Advent Tour is hosted by Sprite at Sprite Writes.

A picture of 4 wooden statues of two adults and two children on a glade by the river dancing while holding hands

I have always liked trains. And then, by a coincidence, I moved to live right along the railway. And I love it, especially in December when we get to see the so-called Santa's train.

For the past few years in December our national railways offer special rides in different directions across the country on a composition of a historic steam engine and old carriages, decorated with Christmas lights, with Santa and his elves aboard.


It is a great attraction, especially for families with children, but also for everyone else, even if you just watch it huff and puff by.


The steam engine was built during WW II for the German army's transportation needs (hmm, yeah) and was a part of reparations to our country. It is extremely gratifying that a tool made for our destruction was used to rebuild after the war and is now still used to bring joy. Choo-choo!


Monday, December 09, 2019

Virtual Advent Tour 2019: Winter Evenings

Virtual Advent Tour is hosted by Sprite at Sprite Writes.

A picture of 4 wooden statues of two adults and two children on a glade by the river dancing while holding hands

There is something magical about winter evenings when you are warm and comfy while it is freezing and windy outside. With the fire going and a hot beverage, it is nice to just be in comfortable silence and perhaps enjoy a good piece of poetry.

One such piece is a poem that hit me straight in the heart when I first heard it many years ago, a romantically melancholic, just like a Slavic soul likes best, and I had that instant 'a-ha' feeling of relating to it, for back then I did literally live in an old house in the middle of the marshes and cold, wild wind knocking on our shabby windows was a familiar visitor during many a winter evening while sitting by the wood stove with my grandmother.

I know it by heart in Slovene translation and it takes me straight back to my childhood whenever I remember it. Incidentally, its title is Winter Evening and it remains one of my favourite pieces of poetry. I am pasting it below with some imagery that reminds me of the 'olden' days. ;)

Winter Evening
by A. S. Pushkin


A brightly burning fire in a fireplaceO'er the earth a storm is prowling, Bringing whirling, blinding snow.
Like a beast I hear it howling,
Like an infant wailing low.
Now the thatch it rustles, playing
On our roof; now at our pane
Raps like someone homeward straying
And behighted in the plain.


Old our hut is, dark and dreary,

By a candle dimly lit...
Why so sad, my dear, and weary
At the window do you sit?
Is't because the storm is moaning
That so very still you keep?
Does your spindle's mournful droning
Put you quietly to sleep?

An isolated cottage in a snowy landscape at night with full moon shining
Come, O comrade solitery
Of this cheerless youth of mine,
Take a cup, and let us bury
All our many woes in wine!
Of a maid out by a river
Sing a little song to me
Or a tomtit, one that never
Leaves its home beyond the sea.


O'er the earth a storm is prowling,

Bringing whirling, blinding snow.
Like a beast I hear it howling,
Like an infant wailing low.
Come, O comrade solitery
Of this cheerless youth of mine,
Take a cup, and let us bury
All our many woes in wine!

(Translated by I. Zheleznova.)

Do you have a favourite piece of poetry that reminds you of winter and/or childhood? 

Thursday, December 05, 2019

I'm Still Alive

... and I'm still reading, too. Actually, I'll set a new record this year.

However, I don't know what to do with this blog. Hence, the nearly year-long hiatus.

I don't want to abandon it, but even just posting this reminds me of why I'd been struggling lately over the last few years and then vanished into this hiatus - all the signing out and in already takes s much energy. Not to mention other hurdles.

Blogger really isn't user-friendly. Or I've been spoiled by other platforms (*cough* tumblr *cough* - although that comes with its own set of problems). That and perhaps I burden myself with too high standards of what sort of posts both content- and format-wise I want to make. Maybe I should lower those.

I am thinking of maybe setting up automatic cross-posting from GR - or at least try it to see if it works satisfactorily. And/or doing monthly (or some such) recaps of my reading and watching exploits. I will have to mull it over some more and then decide.

But, first thing first, it is my favourite time of the year and that means Virtual Advent Tour! I will have two stops here on the 9th and the 16th, but do check out everyone else's stops as well, because people always share interesting things.

Monday, December 31, 2018

My Life According to the Books I Read in 2018

I've read a 100 books this year! That's a record!

So, plenty of material to fill out my-year-in-books-I-read end-of-year wrap up meme, created by Christine at The happily ever after. Or so I had thought, but I also tried to showcase my favourite books of the year while making sense and being more or less truthful, which turned out quite a challenging combination.

Nevertheless, here we go:

Describe yourself: Prisoner by Annika Martin

How do you feel: A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert 

Describe where you currently live: Creative Incentives by Kit Rocha

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

Your favourite form of transportation: Grounded by R. K. Lilley

Your best friend is: Promises by Marie Sexton

You and your friends are: The Dirty Ones by J. A. Huss

What's the weather like: The Hunger by Alma Katsu

What is life to you: Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

Favourite time of day: A Midwinter Night's Dream by Tiffany Reisz

Your fear:  A Royal Mistake by Elizabeth Davis 

What is the best advice you have to give: Archangel's Prophecy by Nalini Singh

Thought for the day: Victorious by Marie Force

How I would like to die: A Happy Death by Albert Camus

My soul's present condition: Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels 

Have a great New Year's Eve and I wish you all a happy 2019 with lots of good books!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Virtual Advent Tour 2018: Favourite Holiday Movies

I am again participating in Virtual Advent Tour, hosted by Sprite at Sprite Writes.


This year I decided to share some of my favourite Christmas movies, because who doesn’t like to bundle up in a warm blanket with some hot beverage of your choice and watch something sweet or funny or touching or all of the above combined?

The first Christmas movie that always comes to my mind and that I never find boring is the first Home Alone (1990) movie, mostly hilarious, but poignant at times.


Love Actually (2003) is all of what I mentioned above, funny and sweet, sometimes sad and thought provoking, and most of all simply showing the state of being human.


In While You Were Sleeping (1995), a lovely comedy about accidentally finding love and a family, the road to happiness is paved with good intentions and a few blunders.


Artistically well-made movies sometimes fail to emotionally resonate with me, but The Holiday (2006) is wonderfully heart-warming and fun story about finding love and friendship.


A tale of the Christmas truce of 1915, Joyeux Noel (2005) is a touching and poignant reminder that we are all only people no matter the artificial sides we choose to divide us.


What are your favourite holiday movies?

Sunday, December 09, 2018

The Dirty Ones by J. A. Huss

NOTE: The book reviewed contains themes only appropriate for those above the age of majority.

A group of students at an elite college is pushed into an unusual – let’s call it adventure in their senior year.

Ten years later someone writes a book about it that tells the truth. Or does it? As they reconnect to uncover the book’s author, they fall into a spiral of memories, intrigues, and convoluted relationships, both past and present.

The plot that unravels completely blew me away, in particularly the twist near the end. 

I can best describe The Dirty Ones as a psychological erotic mystery thriller, the least emphasis being on erotic, although it sure contains some filthy smut. But whatever you expect from this book, I promise you are going to be wrong. A good kind of wrong, though.

Overall, this world and story of this book are opulent, sensual, emotive, and above all very human and will certainly stay with me for a long time.

The Dirty Ones was my first book from J. A. Huss, but I will surely return to her for quality writing, vivid imagery, and fantastic storytelling.