Bookish

The Sunshine Blogger Award

UNFILTERED TALES

The lovely Kelly @ AnotherBookInTheWall nominated me a while ago for the The Sunshine Blogger Award.

I am steadily catching up with my blogging articles and getting around to answering her interesting questions.

There were fun to answer, thanks Kelly. 🙂

By the way if you don’t know Kelly’s blog yet, I recommend checking it out. I especially love her Wednesday Rambles series. ❤

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

  • Who was your favorite author as a child? 

pippyAstrid Lindgren and her Pippi Longstocking. I loved her other books as well but Pippi definitely stood out for me. 🙂

I enjoyed her character and all of her adventures. Even then as a kid, I was mildly obsessed with Scandinavia. 🙂

 

  • Which book/series makes you happy?

alchemistI love Tolkien’s the Fellowship of the Ring from the Lord of the Rings series. I recently discovered Katherine Arden – her books also speak to me heart.

For the guaranteed pick me up recipe, I will read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

  • What do you love most about blogging?

I love the blogging community.

When I started my little blog, I wanted to find an outlet where not only I could write about books but also where I could discuss them with fellow book lovers.

And I feel I find it and I am very grateful for that. ❤

  • What’s your favourite book genre?

I tend to read a lot of fantasy / YA books but I equally enjoy mystery, psychological thrillers, crime fiction, general fiction as well as non fiction. 🙂

I guess with the exception of romance books, I’m pretty much up for giving any book a go.

  • What’s a trope in books you actually enjoy, and why?

I tend to like the unlikely heroes.

That somehow stumble upon quests and have to grow in order to fulfil their destiny.

I love all those underdogs that are imperfect, and sometimes just can not win, but my heart goes to them regardless.

  • If you could visit a fictional universe for a day, where would you go?

Rivendell_-_The_HobbitRivendell in LOTR. Image credit

Because of its location, all those amazing elves and of course all those breathtaking views that place is guaranteed to offer.

When it’s on AirBnB, I’ll be the first one to book a place there. 🙂

  • Do you prefer to read on holiday out in the hot sun or inside on a cosy winters night?

IMG_0627I love reading in nature.

To me, hearing crickets whilst smelling sea air with a hint of pine in it on a warm summer evening = heaven.

I could not read in the hot sun though, I don’t like the heat.

For that reason, I would chose reading on a cosy winter night with a hot cinnamon tea whilst curled up underneath a warm blankie with my little fluffball (my dog) curled next to me.

  • What was the worst book you ever read?

Uhm… Twilight?

In all honestly, I have a very bad memory and tend not to remember those books I didn’t enjoy reading that much.

I have also learned to stop reading books when they are clearly not meant to be for me.

  • What Hogwarts house did you identify with?

With the risk of causing a riot amongst blogging community: I never cared much for Harry Potter.

Shocking, I know.

The books came out when I was an adult and I somehow never got into them.. that doesn’t mean I still can’t rectify that! 🙂 I have seen most HP movies so I am aware of the plot and characters but no idea there, sorry HP fans.

  • Who is your celebrity role model?

Oprah. I love her for her curiosity, compassion, bravery, love and generally for her attitude not to accept things as given and being willing to challenge / change them instead.

  • If your life, as it is up to this point, was made into a film what song would be playing during the end credits?

Come Away with Me by Norah Jones

 


My Questions

I enjoyed the questions I was given and I will reuse a few of those.

  1. Who was your favourite author as a child?
  2. Which book/series makes you happy, and why?
  3. Why did you start blogging?
  4. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
  5. What makes you love a book?
  6. What’s a trope in books that irritates you, and why?
  7. If you could have a coffee / tea / drink with one of your favourite fictional characters, which one would you choose, and why?
  8. What are your favourite places to read, and why?
  9. What question would you ask your favourite author, and why?
  10. What book’s / series’ ending made you upset, and why?
  11. How do you decide which book to read?

There you have it.

Now is the part where I should nominate 11 bloggers to answer my questions.

I will nominate everyone who got to read this post.

If you got as far as to this paragraph whilst reading the article, please consider yourself tagged.

I mean it, you are #tagged my friends. 🙂

You can either reply to some / or even all of my questions in the comments below or you can write a blog post about them (please, pretty please do!!!).

If you write a blog post, please let me know. I want to see your answers! 🙂

Fantasy

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

I have a confession to make. I want to be liked. I can be whoever I need to be for you to like me.

Why am I telling you this?

I don’t enjoy criticising. Trust me, the irony of starting a critical book review blog is not lost on me. I did it on purpose though. I want to push myself whilst battling those inner demons of mine. 🙂

With that said: DING DONG, DING DONG, a not so popular review coming your way.


wintersongWintersong is narrated by Liesl and follows her quest to save her sister Käthe, who is taken underground by the Goblin King.

“There is a law that for spring to begin, a life of a maiden must be given to the land. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth.”

If you are thinking of the film Labyrinth, you are on the right track.

It is a retelling of Labyrinth that was also inspired by the poem Erlkönig by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Who rides there so late through the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp’d in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.
“My son, wherefore seek’st thou thy face thus to hide?”
“Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!

~ Erlkönig translated by Edgar Alfred Bowring

Initially, I picked Wintersong because of its haunting writing. But sadly, this book was not meant to be. Don’t be put off by what I am about to say. This book has received many five star reviews and maybe I was just not its target audience.

Let’s break it down. I felt the entire book could have been summarised in a page. I felt, not much happened throughout the story.

Then there was Liesel, whom I found exasperating. She would fulfil her dreams via her younger, ‘gifted’ brother, whilst being envious of her ‘beautiful’ sister. She would not honour her own gift of music composing as she was afraid to be judged.

She was described as ‘plain’ – seemingly having a ‘character’ was not something she would recognise as necessary.

I guess I was supposed to like her as she ‘sacrificed’ herself to stay underground instead of her sister. Regrettably, I did not see her offering as a true sacrifice as she fancied the Goblin King and had an inner motive to stay.

She was jealous, judgemental, insecure and full of self-loathing. I would consider a character experiencing all of those traits intriguing as long as there was a growth potential. Liesel did not evolve, a missed opportunity perhaps, and for that, I found her tedious and annoying.

Let’s talk ‘real problems’, shall we?

  1. The romance between Liesl and the Goblin King troubled me.

It is below par to portray dangerous ‘monster’ men as romantic heroes.

“I am” he whispers, “the monster I warned you against.”
“You are,” I say hoarsely. “the monster I claim.” 

It may appear ‘thrilling’ to some but I have enough drama in my life without having to invite a monster into it, thank you very much.

In my opinion, such messages may influence someone into tolerating an abusive behaviour whilst justifying it as ‘oh, he/she is a monster now but he/she is ‘my’ monster’.

  1. Liesel’s radical transformation after she had sex bothered me.

BOOM BOOM BANG BANG, a girl has sex for the first time and suddenly, all her misery disappears as she becomes a happy ray of sunshine.

Not only did Liesel Elisabeth start feeling like a new person, she also finally saw herself as a woman. Something that could be interpreted as sex being a ritual into one’s adulthood. Such message irritated me, especially as this genre targets young adults.

Maybe it was just me, maybe I was in a foul mood, who knows. Sadly, Wintersong was not my thing.

Verdict:  Hot Beverage on Apple  (1/5)

Monthly Wrap Up

February Wrap Up

MonthlyWrapUp @ UnfilteredTales

Hello fellow readers,

Can you believe it?

We are in March already!

I know, I know… how very observant of me…. 😉

Still, how is it possible that this year is literally flying by. 🙂

Hope you all had two wonderful winter months and that, like me, you are ready for the Spring. 🙂

“Dear Spring, whenever you are ready, I will really appreciate your warmth and sunshine!! Sun With Face on Samsung Experience 9.0

For those interested, here is what I read in February:

 

YA / Fantasy:

Crime / Thriller:

Non Fiction:

February was a busy reading month.

What definitely stood out for me was both Heartless and The Smoke Thieves.

Both very different yet utterly indulgent reads I did not want to put away.

Unfortunately Wintersong was a bit of a let down despite its gorgeous writing.

What stood out for you in February? And did something disappoint you?

Here’s to another great month of reading!Books on Apple iOS 11.2

 

Fantasy

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

uprooted

Growing up in, then communist Czechoslovakia, my childhood memories are full of Russian and Slav folk stories and re-discovering some of them recently has been tremendous fun.

Side note: for Russian inspired fantasy novels, some of my favourites are:

How dare they to write such beautiful stories that caused me so many sleepless nights!! How dare they… 😊!!

Now without further ado, let’s have a look at Uprooted:

Uprooted is inspired by Polish fairy tales and it reminded me a bit of The Beauty and the Beast story.

The main character, Agnieszka (Nieszka), lives in a quiet village near the mysterious and highly corrupted Wood.

“There is something worse than monsters in that place. Something that makes monsters.”

The Wood is being kept in check by the Dragon, who is a wizard that demands a price for his service – a company of a village girl for ten years of her life since the age of 17.

The book begins with Dragon’s choosing ceremony held every 10 years. He happens to choose Agnieszka instead of her best friend, Kasia, rumoured to be taken instead. Agnieszka is then ‘trapped’ in the Dragon’s tower serving him and slowly learning magic.

I honestly loved most parts of this book. I thought the pace was wonderful, I loved that slow build up of dread and how wonderfully dark, borderline creepy, the atmosphere was. Battles were not romanticised and were described in a horrible, yet believable manner and Agnieszka’s character thoroughly suffered through them in a very realistic way.

“Yesterday, six thousand men had marched over this road; today, they were all gone.”

Agnieszka is this clumsy but clearly ‘special’ peasant girl that has intuitive magic inside of her that clashes with her teacher’s magic, which is based on studies and is backed up by science. I know this may annoy some, but I personally liked it. I rely on my Intuition (despite calling myself a scientist 😉) and I believe we all have a certain inner wisdom and letting it speak to us is not necessarily a bad thing….

Now let’s explore a few ‘problematic’ things:

•  Early on in this book, Agnieszka narrowly avoids being raped. This is when I started disliking the Dragon’s character. The way he suggested it could have been ‘her fault’ made me see red. I don’t mind twisted and torn characters, but I thought the Dragon was a real a$$hole and I just could not see anything likable about him…

.. which makes me move to my second point:

•  The romance part didn’t work for me. The teacher (moody, irritable, controlling) vs. his student (defiant, more talented and rebellious) dynamic was just… no thanks. Those two didn’t care for each other that much and the ending was just a bit weird.

What stood out for me was the Agnieszka and Kasia friendship. Those two were clearly in love with each other. Maybe, it was a platonic, fiercely strong friendship kind of love. But regardless of what kind of love it was, I really rooted for them. There was something special about them and I thought they complemented each other well and cared very deeply for each other.

Overall, I enjoyed this book despite those few points above.

It brought me back to my childhood and Novik’s skilful spread of dread was just phenomenal.

Verdict:  Hot Beverage on Apple   Hot Beverage on Apple   Hot Beverage on Apple   Hot Beverage on Apple    (3.5/5)