Discussion: The Perfect Reading Spot (or: where I spent most of my time reading)

We all have that one spot where we love to read, or at least I do. Today I wanted to discuss what makes a spot the perfect reading spot, list my favourite spots and design my own perfect spot!

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What makes something the perfect reading spot

For the perfect reading spot you need a few things:

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor reading spotObviously: access to books, so you need to be surrounded by bookshelves! The only disadvantage is that if you can see all the books around you, you’re going to stare at them instead of reading them. At least, that’s what I notice with myself haha

 

 

 

 

AAfbeeldingsresultaat voor reading spot comfortable seat, something you can snuggle in, but not too comfy, because then there’s the “falling asleep” problem! For a comfortable seat you need pillows! Lots of them! And you need a backrest because I don’t know about you but when I read, I don’t want to sit up straight all the time!

 

 

 

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor reading spotLighting! Especially natural lighting, but that is a problem if you like reading at night, so good lamps are essential!

Silence, because I cannot read if people are talking! People disturbing me while reading by talking is so annoying, I can’t possibly focus! I do read with music though, so that’s not an issue, but it needs to be away from people!

 

 

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Where I read

When I read, which I do a lot, I read mostly on my bed. My bed is just really comfy, but the lighting is really bad. So I have a couple of other spots I love to sit and read!

At home, I mainly read in my bed, even during the day, but when I don’t read there, I sit in my beanbag couch. I don’t use it often, but it has cushions on it and it’s right next to my bookshelf so it’s perfect for reading! It’s also right below my roof window, so the light is perfect!

When I’m not at home, I read whenever I can. I don’t have my driver’s licence yet (hopefully by the time this post goes up I do), so my parents always drive. Which means that I can sit in the back seat of the car and read! Luckily I never get sick in the car anymore so I can read all I want!

Another favourite spot of mine is on the train. For my study, I have to travel by train a lot so on weekdays I travel about 2 hours each day. Doing homework on the train is quite hard so usually I read a lot!

For listening to audiobooks, my favourite place to do that is while cycling (which is not a place but you got the gist). Cycling is an activity I do a lot anyway (to university/to the train station/back home/etc) so it’s perfect to get some reading done!

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What my perfect reading spot would look like

For me, my dream reading spot would be a window seat (I think many of you can agree). It needs to be big and spacious, like: the size of a bed but with a rounded side. There needs to be cushions around the entire back of the seat and a lot of pillows! It needs to be soft and comfy, but of course I need some space for drinks (I wouldn’t want to spill on my books!).

Beside the seat there needs to be bookshelves! And a lot of them because I always run out of shelf space. Seriously, I just got a new bookshelf and it’s already full! So plenty of bookshelves it is!

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This post was in collaboration with Arhaus, which is a furniture store with the prettiest furniture so definitely go check out their site.

Where do you always read? What’s your favourite reading spot and what would your dream reading spot look like?

Blogger Newbie: Angela (@ Books of A Shy Girl) | Diversity & #Ownvoices

Today, I’m happy to invite Angela from Books of a Shy Girl to talk on my blog! I hope you enjoy her post!

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Tell us something about yourself: Who Are You?: Hi, everyone!
I am Angela, a Chinese girl who was born and has always lived in Italy. I’m a high school student who studies languages and I’m a bibliophile.
Since I was small, I liked reading. It is now my main passion and, since I wanted to share my opinion about books I had read, I decided to create a book blog: Books of a Shy Girl.
I know I’m not very good at reviewing since I started my blog a few months ago, but this is really important for me.
In fact, it took me almost a month to just decide the name and I chose it because I’m a very shy person.
My dream is to travel all around the world, learning new languages. visiting places that have a long history behind them and knowing new things about a folk.
I’m curious about everything and will probably annoy you with how many questions I have.
Other things I love are photography. listening to music, Mythology and milkshakes!

What is your blog about and what are your plans with it?: My blog is about books. I focus mainly on Young Adult, but I accept other genres if someone wants a review from me.
I’m trying to be more active on social medias and in the book blogging world, participating in book blitzes and blog tours.

Why did you start blogging?: As I’ve said before, I’ve started book blogging because I wanted to share my opinion about books I had read.
Before creating Books of a Shy Girl, I read other book blogs about whether reading a book or not.
Their amazing posts made me want to say my own thoughts about a book and, after a lot of time, I decided to finally create my blog.

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As I’ve already said, I am a Chinese girl in Italy.
I’ve been bullied and I am a victim of racism. I think in all countries there are those people who don’t want foreign people to live in the same land as theirs, or don’t like the difference in body and culture.
I was and always will be hurt by their mean words.
I was probably traumatized when I was a child as I am not anymore that outspoken and extrovert little girl I once was. Now, I’m a really shy high school girl who is too self-conscious of herself. I don’t like crowded places and I prefer staying at home reading a book and watching TV or helping my parents at work, rather than going out on Saturday nights.
This is probably why I don’t have many friends. But better few than many fake friends, right?
However, there’s a good thing that racism has brought with it. My love for foreign countries, my love for learning new things about different cultures, my love for speaking other languages. In fact, I consider myself a Cosmopolitan person, this is, if you search the meaning of the world in the dictionary, you will found the following meanings:
– free from local, provincial, or national ideas, prejudices, or attachments; at home all over the world.
– belonging to all the world; not limited to just one part of the world.
I am a “citizen of the world”, I prefer explaining when someone asks who a Cosmopolitan person is.
I don’t divide the population in Chinese, Italian, Russian, homosexuals, people of color. I see only humans, people who have feelings, who cry, who laugh, who hurt, who smile.
In the last few months, I have been highly active on Twitter and I started following #ownvoices and #DiverseBookBloggers people.
These people are not ashamed of who they are or of their heritage. People such as @theshenners who promote LGBTQ+ and Diverse books.
It’s thanks to her and other people that I decided to read more #ownvoices books, because in the world there are more than 7.5 billion people. That’s a lot!
And every one of us is different than the other.
We need more books that represent us, with our thousands of facets, our own fears, our own diversity.
Read more, be kinder, spotlight diverse books!
#WeNeedDiverseBooks!

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I loved reading this post and I am really happy to feature Angela’s guest post! If you also enjoyed this go follow her on twitter, facebook, instagram, goodreads or google+ or contact her via email (booksofashygirl@gmail.com)!What are your thoughts on this topic?

What are your thoughts on this topic?

(Mini) Reviews: Illuminae & Solitaire

I have read so many books during my vacation that I wanted to review some, so this will be the first two books I’ll review. I normally barely ever review books that have already come out or were not sent to me for review, so this is a bit different for me. Enjoy!

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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Illuminae is just like everyone has ever told me it would be: a wild epic ride, space ships, a little romance and a hell of a lot of danger. What made Illuminae so special to me was the fact that you only get to know the characters via other people’s observations, diary entries, chat conversations and objective descriptions. And yet, even though you don’t really know the characters, you love them. Kady and Ezra are smart, determined and above all very funny. Seriously, I have laughed so many times while reading this book.

“Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.”

The format is definitely unique but it does take a little getting used to. In the beginning, I also listened to the audiobook, but it started bothering me because it took so long! I switched to the physical edition and loved it much more! Still, some parts of the formatting I didn’t enjoy much compared to other parts, but it does look stunning! The art and the design are amazing.

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.”

Overall, despite some minor things I didn’t like, I LOVED IT. Especially the last 100-ish pages. I flew through them! It was terrifyingly real, heartbreakingly sad, hysterically funny, amazingly creative. I would recommend 100%. Read it!

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Solitaire by Alice Oseman

In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.81czqpilo2l

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t.

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I had such high expectations for Solitaire. I read Radio Silence a few months ago and loved it so much! It became an instant favourite. So when I started Solitaire, I expected to love it, or at least like it. Sadly, I couldn’t stand the main character much. She was so negative about everything. I get that some people just are like that but sometimes I really couldn’t. I just couldn’t. She was a) offensive, b) rude and c) insensitive. This might be a minor spoiler but her brother has gone through self-harm and suicidal episodes and so she knows very well what it’s like, but still, she goes around (she never said it out loud) saying that she’d like to shoot people and that they just can die and stuff like that. THAT’S SO NOT OKAY. I do not condone this, okay. It’s never okay to shoot people or hurt them.

“I think you should know that I make up a lot of stuff up in my head and then get sad about it. I like to sleep and I like to blog. I am going to die someday.”

Beside this, the story was quite enjoyable. I really liked all the side characters, I loved Charlie and Michael and the others. I thought the Solitaire idea was fun, though I guessed the reveal at the ending wayy before it happened. I really liked the fandom and media references. I am giving this book 3 stars because I just can’t give it more with the main character being so horrible.

(ps. for a book that isn’t a love story, it surprisingly has romance in it :/ )

Down The TBR Hole v2.0 (yes, it’s back)

So if you’ve missed it in some way or another, this winter I started this meme I called Down The TBR Hole. Now, months later the blogging community has seemed to have picked it up and I’m still baffled by the large number of book bloggers now taking part in it (even though I haven’t posted about it ever since I got through my tbr).

Down The TBR Hole is a meme that revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I’m going to give this another swing, but this time going through my someday-maybe shelf. I have several shelves on my Goodreads, one of which my to-read shelf, on which I put all the books I really want to read (it’s about 25 books right now) and for all those books I’m not 100% sure I put them on my someday-maybe shelf. It has gathered dust for a while now and I think it’s time to go through it and sort it all out! I’m going to give myself three options: move to to-read shelf, delete, or keep on someday-maybe shelf.

Continue reading “Down The TBR Hole v2.0 (yes, it’s back)”

Discussion: About Cover Judging & Comparing Book Covers (and titles) Dutch vs. UK/US

I love book covers and I love judging book covers (and nobody dare shame me for it). Sometimes I buy books based on their covers (or at least check them out), sometimes I don’t read a book because I hate the cover. I have books on my shelves I haven’t read yet because the cover really turns me off (*caughs* Graceling *caughs*).

Today I wanted to do a little fun post in which I compare some of the UK/US covers to the Dutch editions, because sometimes I really don’t understand why they made the changes they did. And sometimes I love the Dutch cover more! If you didn’t know it yet, I am Dutch, so I come across Dutch translations quite often.

But first, I wanted to talk a little about cover judging and cover changes!

Continue reading “Discussion: About Cover Judging & Comparing Book Covers (and titles) Dutch vs. UK/US”

Blogger Newbie: Raine (@ The Raine Spectrum) | How To Deal With Anxiety

Today I’m happy to share with you, Raine’s tips on how to deal with anxiety. I know there are a lot out there that has to deal with this so I hope you find this helpful. I give the word to Raine!

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Tell us something about yourself: Who Are You? I’m Raine!! I am a total geek and gamer. I love reading novels, comics, textbooks, anything I can get my hands on. My favorite games are FPS or questing. My Hogwarts house is Slytherin, and my best friends are Hufflepuffs!!!

What is your blog about and what are your plans with it? My blog ( @therainespectrum ) is about my journey through mental illness, my eating disorder, daily thoughts that I have, poetry, random reviews, pro-feminism, body positivity, pro-equality, and support for anyone who needs help. Really it’s just my ramblings, but my main goal is to channel my problems into artistic and creative ways, and to teach others how to do the same. I want to show them that normality is possible when nothing feels okay.

Why did you start blogging? I started blogging because I wanted to help people. I have been obsessed with superheros for like ever, and they’ve inspired me to help. Because I don’t have superpowers, I’d always wanted to bring joy to other people and help them in the little ways. I want to show people that everyone is beautiful and we all deserve the same opportunities, because nobody deserves to feel worthless or lesser.

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Anxiety can strike at any time, and it always sucks. It makes you irrational and frustrated. It’s so easy to get rid of that feeling, but it feels impossible to want to get rid of it because it is consuming.

Step 1.
Firstly, you need to breathe. If you aren’t breathing, it’s easier to panic. When you are in control of your breathing, think of something that makes you happy. Step 2.

Step 2.
Make a list of things that make you feel better. Do these things. Go through that list when you’re feeling anxious. For example, on my list, I have
1. Wash face with warm cloth
2. Drink a glass of cold water
3. Stretch
4. Write a short story and/or sketch a picture
5. Sing a song with my sister
Doing these things really help me, and I suggest that you try, because your list might prove helpful to you, too.

Step 3.
Call a friend. Sometimes talking to people makes things better, even if you don’t feel like talking to anyone. Having a friend is a lot better in the long run, rather than pushing them away in a moment of unhappiness.

Step 4.
When I am hungry, I get so irrational, it’s not funny. My family calls it “hangry”. Therefore, eating always makes me feel better. Even if it’s just a strawberry or some grapes. So, if you’re like me, and get hangry , then eating will definitely help.

If you want to feel better, the first thing you have to do is take control of the situation.

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I hope these tips were helpful and interesting to read! Thank you Raine for them! If you liked this post or want to read more like them, go to Raine’s blog here and follow her!

Review: City of Strife & City of Betrayal: diverse fantasy about politics and friendship

I had the opportunity to read the two first books in the Isandor / City of Spires series by Claudie Arsenault (you might remember her from her guest post a while ago). As I am completely into diverse fantasy right now (and probably until the end of the world tbh), I was really glad to have gotten the opportunity!

I will mostly mix my opinions of both the books, since they were both quite similar in build-up and characters and things like that. So this is a double-review! There will be no spoilers!

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30977572A hundred and thirty years have passed since Arathiel last set foot in his home city. Isandor hasn’t changed—bickering merchant families still vie for power through eccentric shows of wealth—but he has. His family is long dead, a magical trap has dulled his senses, and he returns seeking a sense of belonging now long lost.

Arathiel hides in the Lower City, piecing together a new life among in a shelter dedicated to the homeless and the poor, befriending an uncommon trio: the Shelter’s rageful owner, Larryn, his dark elven friend Hasryan, and Cal the cheese-loving halfling. When Hasryan is accused of Isandor’s most infamous assassination of the last decade, what little peace Arathiel has managed to find for himself is shattered. Hasryan is innocent… he thinks. In order to save him, Arathiel may have to shatter the shreds of home he’d managed to build for himself.

Arathiel could appeal to the Dathirii—a noble elven family who knew him before he disappeared—but he would have to stop hiding, and they have battles of their own to fight. The idealistic Lord Dathirii is waging a battle of honour and justice against the cruel Myrian Empire, objecting to their slavery, their magics, and inhumane treatment of their apprentices. One he could win, if only he could convince Isandor’s rulers to stop courting Myrian’s favours for profit.

In the ripples that follow Diel’s opposition, friendships shatter and alliances crumble. Arathiel, the Dathirii, and everyone in Isandor fights to preserve their homes, even if the struggle changes them irrevocably.

(this is the synopsis of the first book, not the second)
City of Strife is the first installment of the City of Spires trilogy, a multi-layered political fantasy led by an all LGBTQIAP+ cast. Fans of complex storylines criss-crossing one another, elves and magic, and strong friendships and found families will find everything they need within these pages.

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It took me a while to really get into the first book. This book features a lot of perspectives and for me, that was quite hard. In the first part of the book you get constantly introduced to new people and keeping up with everything was a bit of a struggle. Sadly, that also slowed down the story overall. However, after the beginning, it did pick up and a lot of things started happening. To my tastes, it could have been a little more fast-paced but that’s just a personal preference. In the second book, I did not have that problem, because I already knew all the characters, so therefore I enjoyed the second book more from the start.

“He found reasons to grin even when there were none, in defiance of the never-ending hardships and the world beating down on him. Maybe if he smiled enough, the happiness he projected would stop being a lie and coalesce into the truth.” – City of Strife

The story is about a city (duh) and the city is lead by a group of noble families. Some of the characters are part of this family and some aren’t and you can get to see the situation from many eyes. There is danger and intrigue, but this story is mainly about family and friendship. The characters form strong bonds and care so much about each other. I loved seeing them come together and especially in the second book, where almost all the characters get to know each other. In those final hundred pages of the second book, I have laughed with them and cried with them. They were amazing.

There are a lot of characters in this book, and I could write pages and pages about all of them, so I will only focus on my favourites. My favourites are definitely Cal and Arathiel. Cal is aromantic and he is just very sweet and kind and caring. He loves his friends and would do anything for them. Arathiel is the outsider in the story. He is strange, mysterious, quiet but also very caring. Besides these characters there were plenty more amazing ones. Hasryan and Vellien would get a shared third place on my favourites ranking, because they deserve to be mentioned. I could relate to so many of the characters in very different ways and I loved that they were all so different from each other.

“Arathiel is a warm blanket: simple, reliable, soft. He’s the friend you kind of forget, but when it really matters he’s there. Leaping of bridges to save your neck from the noose, even though you expect nothing of him.” – City of Betrayal

I cannot end this review before discussing the amazing diverse representation in these books. There were characters of almost every sexual orientation you can imagine and there were characters of different descents and different skin colors. I loved in particularly, Cal’s aromanticism because usually aro characters are described as unfeeling or cold and Cal was the absolute opposite. I also really enjoyed the non-binary/enby representation (because whenever I read about one of those characters I just can’t help but love them).

“You can’t always choose your fights. Some battles need to be fought, whether you want to or not — whether they can be won or not.” – City of Betrayal

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For the first book, my rating is 3,5 stars. But after writing this review, I am really tempted to move up my rating for the second book from 3,5 to 4 stars but I think I’m going to just leave it in the middle: 3,75 stars! What I loved most about these two books was the representation of diverse characters and the characters in general. The only thing that could have been improved, to my opinion, was the pacing of the first book. It took me a long time to get into the story (mainly because I struggled with the many perspectives), but after that it was great. I would definitely recommend these books if you like political fantasy, I don’t know if that is a genre but oh well