Time for another tag! I have been delighted by the discovery of this blog post containing a list of 100 intriguing bookish tags, which I mean to explore in the coming months: there are many interesting topics and I encourage you to take a look. Many thanks to Book Reviews and More for this very comprehensive list!

So this time around it’s…. reading habits!

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading? 

Well, a comfortable couch is always the best option, even better with my feet propped up on an equally comfortable footrest, but I also do a good deal of my reading in bed, because I can’t go to sleep if I have not “consumed” a few chapters of my current book.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Since I turned digital the question has become moot: e-readers remember the place where you stopped reading, and also allow for specific bookmarks and even virtual, non-damaging earmarks, but when I pick up a physical book, a bookmark is the only way to go, because earmarking pages is anathema for me. Lacking anything better I can always use a random piece of paper, but I own a good number of bookmarks, either proper ones or cards advertising my favorite tv shows.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

In a perfect world I would try to stop at the end of any given chapter, but there are always things like phone calls or other interruptions that steal me away from a book, so it’s always a matter of good intentions meeting real life… 🙂

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Both. A cup of tea while reading is always good company, but I have been known for reading while eating as well: while I was still working, the lunch break was the perfect opportunity to move forward with my current book if I was eating by myself instead of going out with co-workers. Now that I am retired, well, the sky’s the limit!

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

Music yes, it can offer a good background while reading, provided that it’s just music and not songs with lyrics that tend to be distracting: classical music is just perfect for reading. No TV though: I either watch it or read a book.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

One at a time, indeed, even though there are times when I think that if I had two heads I could read double the number of books…

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Any place is good for reading! I am in the habit of bringing my trusty e-reader with me when I know I might face some long wait like a doctor’s appointment or a queue in some public office. During last spring’s lockdown I used to bring the reader with me when going grocery shopping, to help pass the time while queueing outside the supermarket. Books can make time fly, indeed!

8. Reading out lout or silently in your head?

Silently of course. Can you imagine the utter madness if we all took up the habit of reading aloud?  😀

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages? 

No reading ahead, I don’t like spoilers, even self-inflicted ones, while I do sometimes skip pages when I encounter long descriptions of battles, for examples, (unless they are very well written), or when any given section fails to hold my attention and I want to get to the more interesting parts.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

Much as I try to treat my physical books with the care and respect they deserve, it might happen – particularly with well-loved and much-read books – that the spine gets marred with vertical creases (my copy of the LOTR being a case in point), but it’s more a matter of a book being handled often rather than mistreated…

11. Do you write in your books?

On physical books I do sometimes underline more significant sections with pencil (taking care not to press the pencil point too heavily on the page), while with e-books underlining is a risk- and harm-free option of course 😉

Now it’s your turn: what are your reading habits? Jump in and share them!



As my first tag of the new year, I’ve chosen this one from the handful of topics I’ve collected over time from my fellow bloggers. And I’ll start with a momentous confession: yes, I’m addicted to books, I hoard them and gloat over them like Gollum over the Ring. So what? 😀

Ok, now to the real questions of the tag…

Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

I had high expectations for this SF story, but in the end it did not work for me as much as it did for the majority of my fellow bloggers who read it, so we had to part our ways a little past the halfway mark.

Which book is your guilty pleasure?

Guilty? Why should there be any kind of guilt attached to reading? Tsk! 😀

Which book do you love to hate?

It’s possible that the DIVERGENT fans here will in turn hate me for this, but this is one of the novels that started my uneasy relationship with YA and ended up giving the genre a bad name from my point of view. The world depicted here made little sense to me and I felt a strong antipathy for the main character, while the story felt too imbued with clichés to be enjoyable.

Which book would you throw into the sea?

No book deserves this fate, and the fact that I don’t like a book does not mean someone else could not enjoy it, so instead of committing a book I don’t like to the sea depths, I would prefer gifting it to someone who could appreciate it.

Which book have you read the most?

That would be either Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RINGS or Herbert’s DUNE: in the past (before book blogging compelled me to keep moving forward) I re-read both several times, always enjoying their different, but equally compelling, stories.

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

Mmmm… that’s a difficult one: people who would give me books as a present know my tastes, so it’s highly improbable that they would choose a book not in line with them. Putting hate aside, let’s say I would not be pleased to receive a book I already own.

Which book could you not live without?

All of them?

Which book made you the angriest?

I guess it would be A GAME OF THRONES: back when I started reading the series, in 2002, I knew nothing of GRR Martin’s penchant for killing off his characters with gleeful abandon, and a certain death by execution toward the end of the book left me angry, stunned and incredulous for quite some time. By now, I’ve learned not to grow too attached to characters…

Which book made you cry the most?

I don’t cry easily over stories, so I will have to mention instead one of the books that elicited the strongest emotional response in me, and I think it must be A BOY AND HIS DOG AT THE END OF THE WORLD, centered around the powerful bond between humans and these four-legged companions who “always walked closest” to us in the long ages of the world.

Which book cover do you hate the most?

Again, hate looks like too strong a word: if I must point the finger at a cover that doesn’t do justice to the contents, I have to mention a few illustration choices for Lois McMaster’s Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, like the one below, where Miles Vorkosigan is made to look like a child wearing grown-up clothes…

As usual, I’m not tagging anyone but if you have some confessions to make, here is your chance 😀



Thanks to Lisa at Way Too Fantasy I discovered this fun, Halloween-styled bookish tag, originally created by Naomi the Book Lover on YouTube. 

And now, let’s grab a few pumpkins and start with the questions!

1. Carving pumpkins – what book would you carve up and light on fire?

No matter how far from my tastes a book could be, I would never subject it to such a destructive treatment, so I will take the question as merely allegorical: no book need fear bodily harm from me!  One of the novels I deeply disliked was Veronica Roth’s Divergent: this was one of the books that fueled my distrust for YA, because it touches on all the tropes that give the genre a bad name – a sort of Mary Sue main character who fails to garner my sympathy; her instant attraction toward a mysterious, brooding guy; a world-building with some contradictions. Thanks, but no thanks…

2. Trick or treat – what character is a treat, what character is a trick? 

Speaking of treats, the first fictional name that comes to mind is that of Miles Vorkosigan, from the acclaimed Vor Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, which I revisited for last year’s SciFi Month. I love the series and I greatly enjoy Ms. Bujold’s style, but Miles is a character whose mention never fails to bring a smile to my face.   As for the tricky character, I really love to hate Dan Wirth, the evil mastermind behind every dark deed in the Donovan series by W. Michael Gear: he’s a downright psychopath, but he’s also craftily intelligent, which makes him both dangerous and intriguing…

3. Candy corn – what book is always sweet?

That’s an easy one: Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories series never failed to deliver a delightful, immersive story where magic and and alternate version of Regency England mixed quite well with just that touch of romance that even a grumpy old crone like me 😀 cannot object to, since it’s handled unobtrusively and with skill into the main narrative.

4. Ghosts – what character would you love to visit you as a ghost?

I hope that does not mean a bona fide, bedsheet-covered and chain-rattling ghost!  That said, I would not mind having a good chat with Jean Tannen, from Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards series: I would offer him tea and cake (pumpkin cake, at that, since it’s Halloween!) and ask him about his adventures – especially those not featured in the books, because I’m sure there are many more that the author did not share with us…

Drawing by Kejablank (Camorr Wiki)

5. Dressing up in costume- what character would you want to be for a day?

No need to think about that: Chrisjen Avasarala, from the magnificent space opera series The Expanse, written by James S. A. Corey. Avasarala is a formidable lady, a shrewd politician and a veritable force of nature who can handle difficult situations with flair and cuss like a veteran dockworker. The latter side of her character has been downplayed a little in the TV series, but she nevertheless came across as the ass-kicking force of nature I admired from page one.

6. Wizards and witches – what is your favorite Harry Potter moment?

The descriptions of Hogwarths: they were always so vivid, so cinematic, that once they were translated into the big screen it felt as if the film-makers had been reading my mind for the creation of such a truly magical, atmosphere-rich place.

7. Blood and gore – what book was so creepy that you had to take a break from it for awhile?

Stephen King’s IT: I’ve always read horror and never had any… adverse effects from any situation portrayed in the books, no matter how ghastly, but the brand of horror displayed in this book, evil’s choice to visit it on children, the claustrophobic feeling of many passages, did leave a deep mark on my mind. As I’m fond of saying, since then I’ve never, ever, looked at a storm drain in the same way as before, or with the blessed lack of unease I had enjoyed until my encounter with King’s novel.

There is still time until Halloween! Pick this tag and share your pumpkin-flavored book musings!



Time for another tag from the “supply” I’ve accumulated over the past weeks thanks to my fellow bloggers: I saw this one on Way Too Fantasy (thanks for the inspiration Lisa!) and it was too good to pass up. And of course it’s only fair to mention the original creator for the tag,  @The book raven 

And now for the questions…

No idea but in things: A book cover that perfectly expresses the novel inside of it

The Doors of Eden, by Adrian Tchaikowsky

Nothing says “portal” as the amazing image portrayed on this cover, and the novel is indeed a portal toward endless worlds and civilizations: if you’re looking for a good dose of sense of wonder, you need look no further.

Sugary sweet: A cover that is so sweet you want to give it a hug

Moontangled, by Stephanie Burgis

The covers for Stephanie Burgis’ novels are all amazing, but this one – from her latest book – wins the first prize: the colors, the flowing dresses, the total sense of magic come across delightfully loudly here.

The simple aesthetic: A book that stuns with the most minimalistic of designs

Artemis, by Andy Weir

The Moon is one of the starkest, more barren places I could think of, although it’s also a fascinating one, so the cover for this novel set on the Moon reflects perfectly that barrenness but at the same time the feel of mystery, adventure and danger at the core of the story.

Cover envy: A book cover you wish you had on your shelf but you don’t

Lack of space, among other reasons, compelled me to turn almost completely digital in my reading for the past few years, which means that the most beautiful covers of the books I own are visible only in black and white. One of the many amazing covers I would love to display on my bookshelf is this one:

The Tyrant’s Law, by Daniel Abraham

Travelling Abroad; A book cover that features a country outside of your own

Acadie, by Dave Hutchinson

Nothing portrays a country outside my own as the depths of space, and to represent that I’ve chosen this novella, whose cover shows an alien world, some ships orbiting it and what looks like space debris, or maybe a part of an asteroid field. Amazing, indeed…

Color wheel: A book that showcases one of your favorite colors

Half a War, by Joe Abercrombie

The red-gold-orange of flames over a dark background never fails to draw my attention, and this cover is one of the best examples of this combination. Very, very effective.

Switching gears: A cover change you absolutely adore

I tend to grow fond of the covers of the books I own, and yet there are some instances where a different cover ends up looking even better than the original one. The most recent case in point is the alternate cover for Bradley Beaulieu’s debut novel: the new image is infinitely more powerful and evocative than the one I’m used to.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, by Bradley Beaulieu

‘Oldie but Goodie’: A favorite cover of your favorite classic

Unsurprisingly, my all-time favorite, the book that will always have my unreserved love, is JRR Tolkien’s masterpiece, and among the myriad covers designed for this timeless book, the one I think of when it’s mentioned is the one of the copy of own: I love the colors, I love the sense of motions it conveys and above all I love that Gandalf is there with his powerful presence.

The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien

And the winner is: Which cover above is your favorite?

Given what I just said above, should you really ask? 😉

If you enjoyed this tag, jump in and share your covers!



And here we go with another tag post: I found this one on a search for interesting themes and my thanks go to Adventures of a Bookish Girl where this interesting tag was posted some time ago. And on with the questions!

If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to lunch, who would you invite and what would you serve them?

In my opinion, lunch with an author should be a fun experience, so I cannot imagine a more delightful guest than John Scalzi, whose wit and brilliance come clearly across both from his fiction works and from his blog posts. And adding his character of Kiva Lagos, from his Interdependecy series, would certainly turn the occasion into something quite memorable, if a little four-letter-words-heavy :-D. 

The two of them might very well enjoy my time-tested bacon-wrapped chicken legs: family and friends assure me they are quite tasty!

What book do you wish the author would write a prequel for?

While reading Pierce Brown’s Red Rising, I often wondered how society evolved into such a rigid class scheme and which events sent Earth’s history on the path that we experience in this saga.

Which two characters (not from the same book) would make a good couple?

Since I’m not very romantically-inclined as far as my reading material goes, I choose to interpret the term ‘couple’ a little more loosely and rather focus on a partnership rather than a love affair, and so I believe that  Murderbot (from Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries) and Brittle from Robert Cargill’s Sea of Rust could share an interesting journey: the former, with its distrust of human feelings, and the latter, with its longing for human company, might go on an adventure of  mutual discovery and understanding, learning more about their flesh-and-blood creators. And maybe watch together some episodes of Sanctuary Moon while they’re at it… 😀

If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them, who would they be and what would you tell them?

Oh my! That’s a difficult question for a number of reasons: first I don’t have just ONE favorite author, there are many whose books I would buy sight unseen, so mentioning just one for that oh-so-lucky subway encounter would be next to impossible. As for the one sentence I would be allowed to say well… knowing myself, I know that I would still be frantically ruminating on that, while I gather my courage, as the unnamed author left the car at the next station….

What book made you a reader and why?

Since I started reading at a very young age, and I’ve been told that even as a child it was far from unusual to find me with my nose in a book, it might be hard to name THE BOOK that turned me into a reader, but it would be a safe bet to name the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales, or Pinocchio… But memory does not help me very much on this one, sorry!

Your bookshelf just caught fire: show the book you’d save.

That’s an easy one: since I do practically all of my reading through e-books, there is no chance that my virtual bookshelf would be consumed by flames (and I have backup!!), but should that happen to the physical shelves where I store my paper books, I know I could grab, with a swift double move, both The Lord of the Rings and Dune. They have been with me for a long, long time, and I would hate to be parted from them.

Which dystopian world would you want to live in if you had to choose one? And why?

Dystopian worlds in general are not exactly pleasant places to live in, since they tend to represent a negative version of our future, so if I were forced to choose one I might set my sights on the world portrayed in the Daniel Blackland series by Greg Van Eekhout: in this version of future Earth power rests in the hands of wielders of bone magic, i.e. those who can extract magical powers from the bones of exotic and extinct creatures like dragons. Why would I choose it? Because it’s the kind of dystopian world where common citizens are relatively safe if they stay out of the power struggle, which – considering how things usually go in this kind of setting – is a considerable plus.

What is your most epic read of all time?

There are two, actually, and I’m still in the process of discovering them in their entirety: for a more classical approach to epic fantasy I would mention both John Gwynne’s series The Faithful and the Fallen and Of Blood and Bone; while for a touch (ok, more than just a touch…) of grim-darkness there is the First Law world created by Joe Abercrombie.

As usual, I’m not tagging anyone – no pressure! – but if you find this interesting, just jump in and share your point of view!  🙂




Thanks to Way Too Fantasy here is another fun, book-oriented tag post, originally created by @bookprincessreviews 

What this tag needs is for me to dust off my crystal ball and share the predictions for my…



This is an easy one: author Phil Williams – whose Sunken City novels I had the pleasure of reviewing – contacted me with the news of his next book, whose publication is slated for the second half of September.  Kept From Cages is, in Mr. Williams’ own words, a “fast-paced supernatural action-thriller” peopled with new characters but still tied to the Ordshaw world. My curiosity was quite piqued by his mention of “criminal jazz musicians” and I will start reading as soon as I finish my current book, which means in the next handful of days…



Another easy prediction: I was overjoyed in receiving the bi-monthly Orbit newsletter and learning that the new Age of Madness book from Joe Abercrombie, The Trouble with Peace, is included in the September/October NetGalley releases. There is absolutely no doubt that this will turn into a 5-star read as have all the previous Abercrombie novels I have enjoyed in the past.



Well… No one would pick a book with the foreknowledge that it will turn out into such a disappointing read – and picking up a book with so little promise, to say the least, would sound like an exercise in masochism, so I’m going to focus on my unwavering optimism and predict that there will be no such black marks on the next books I will pick up.



I will go with “character that seems really cool” and name Circe, from the protagonist of Madeline Miller’s novel with the same title: the book promises to deliver an new and interesting angle on the mythical figure who, according to legend, imprisoned men transforming them into pigs. My love of mythology goes back to my school days, so it will certainly be a fascinating experience to revisit this story from a different point of view.



To Be Taught, if Fortunate, by Becky Chambers: I have already acquire the first book from this author, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet thanks to the enthusiastic reviews from many of my fellow bloggers, but on a recent post I learned about this novella, that can be read on its own, and I decided to start the… experiment with a shorter work, so that my curiosity will be satisfied sooner.


It’s your turn now: wave your magic wands, peer into your enchanted mirrors, and let us know what your bookish future looks like!




If there is a Taggers Anonymous association I might need to go their meetings, because I seem to be addicted to tag posts lately 😀    I recently saw this one on Bookforager’s blog and I decided to give it a spin, so here is my take in this new bookish tag…


How do you keep track on your TBR list?

That’s easy – sort of… I do practically all of my reading in e-book format, so the books I still have to read are stored in a folder on my computer, and from there they are copied on the e-reader when the mood strikes me to read them. After that, they are saved on a dedicated USB drive that also works as a backup for the as-yet-unread books. Neat and dust-free! 😉

I have been thinking lately about listing my TBR books in an excel file, complete with the date they were added, so I can have a better idea of their “age”, but for now it’s still an idea…


Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

See above. Ebooks all the way!



How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Mood determines what I read next, I have no say in the decision process… 😀

Jokes aside, and unless I have a NetGalley ARC lined up (in which case I have to be mindful of the 54 days expiry date for the book), I take a virtual “stroll” through my stored files and choose the book that most appeals to me in that moment.



Name a book that has been on your TBR the longest.

Iain Banks’ CONSIDER PHLEBAS, his first Culture novel: the date of the file tells me it was saved there in 2013, the year before I started blogging. Shame on me!



Name a book that you recently added to your TBR list.

THE CITY OF BRASS, by S.A. Chakraborty: all of my fellow bloggers who have read the trilogy that starts with this volume speak highly of it, and I thought it was high time for me to see for myself. I have high expectations for this one…



Is there a book that’s on your TBR list strictly because of its beautiful cover?

Not really. A particularly intriguing cover might attract my attention, but it’s the synopsis that really closes the deal for me.



Is there a book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading?

Well, a wise person taught me that “always” and “never” are words far too binding to be used lightly, so I will admit that, right now, I don’t feel strongly motivated to read GRR Martin’s FIRE AND BLOOD: my disappointment at the way the ASOIAF saga was wrapped up in the tv series, and my lack of faith in Martin’s willingness to conclude the book series have cooled the initial enthusiasm in a considerable way.



Name an unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

I have no ARCs on my TBR as I’m writing this, but I’m looking with interest at Joe Abercrombie’s THE TROUBLE WITH PEACE, the second volume in his new series The Age of Madness. I enjoyed the first book so much that it finally drove me to read The First Law trilogy.



Is there a book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you?

THE WAY OF KINGS, by Brandon Sanderson: it would seem that I am the only person on Earth (and probably in the rest of the Solar System as well) who has not read a Sanderson novel. Please don’t shoot me!!!!



Is there a book on your TBR that everyone recommends you read?

Becky Chambers THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET: all of my fellow bloggers who read it are very enthusiastic about both this book and the others in the series, so I will have to start it one of these days, possibly sooner rather than later.



A book on your TBR you’re very excited to read.

James Islington’s THE SHADOW OF WHAT WAS LOST: other bloggers’ reviews hint at a very layered, very immersive story, and I’m waiting for the right moment to start it – since it’s a very hefty volume, I know I will need a distraction-free moment, so for now I’m biding my time, but still keep looking at this book with great anticipation.



The number of books on your TBR shelf.

Don’t make me count them, please! I might fall into an abyss of despair…



If you found this tag intriguing, jump in and share your TBR goodies!!!


In my newly-discovered enjoyment of book-blogging tags, I’ve seen this one pop up on several blogs I follow so I decided to thy my hand at it. After all, every opportunity to talk about books must be enjoyed, right?  😉



Looking at my five-star ratings, I would have to give this prize to Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy: I’ve come somewhat late to the party with this series, but I’m glad that the publication of the first book in his new saga inspired me to go backwards and enjoy learning about the “roots” of this world and the back story of its characters.




Since I mostly read SF and Fantasy, I’m going to nominate a best sequel in both genres, and the Oscar goes to…

Gareth Powell’s Fleet of Knives, second volume in his Embers of War saga

John Gwynne’s A Time of Courage, third and final volume in his Of Blood and Bone series



There are several of course – you all know the book lover’s lamentation about too many books, too little time, don’t you?  Anyway, just to mention one, I’m looking forward to Jade War, the second book in Fonda Lee’s Green Bone Saga.  It’s been sitting on my TBR for a while now, and it’s starting to look at me with some impatience…



Given my answer to the first question, I’m more than looking forward to Joe Abercrombie’s The Trouble with Peace, the second volume in his new series Age of Madness. Can you blame me?  😉



This dubious prize goes to Andrew Maine’s The Naturalist: from my fellow bloggers’ review I had come to expect an intriguing thriller but it’s clear that this book was not meant for me – once I started finding some inconsistencies in the story and the characterization I knew that the “magic” was lost and that this book and yours truly were destined to part ways…



The Institute, by Stephen King. I used to be a huge fan of the Master of Horror, but in later years I had been disappointed by some of his works and stopped reading them. When I decided to give this one a chance, on the strength of a very intriguing review from a fellow blogger (what would I do without you guys??), I discovered that the Master still has several aces up his sleeve, and that this book brought back the old enjoyment in his stories.



Vivian Shaw.  I read two of her books in the UF series focused on Dr. Greta Helsing, physician to London’s supernatural creatures, and I enjoyed them immensely: I would never have thought that an author would make me feel sympathy for mummies or ghouls, but Ms. Shaw managed that with very little effort!  🙂



Sorry, I’m too old and crusty for crushes of any kind…



Sand dan Glokta, from Joe Abercrombie’s First Law, which gains the third mention in this meme and shows that I might be just a tiny bit obsessed with this world…. Glokta is the opposite of the inspirational character: he’s crippled, embittered and earns his living by being the master torturer for the King’s inquisition, but he’s also gifted with a sarcastic sense of humor and a strong sense of self-mockery that went a long way toward endearing him to me.



I don’t cry easily, so it would be hard to fill this bookish slot, but I can mention a book that held a big – and somewhat unwelcome – surprise for me concerning a particular character: John Scalzi The Last Emperox, the final volume in his Interdepency saga. And no, I was not expecting THAT Mr. Scalzi, not at all…



Network Effect, by Martha Wells, the fifth installment in her Murderbot Diaries: it made me happy because every new story about Murderbot is a joy, and because it was a full-length novel instead of the previous novella-sized works – and of course more Murderbot always gives me a chance to celebrate.



None so far, but hope keeps me going…




Since I read ebooks, I have a chance to look at the actual covers only when search for them online: my e-reader does not do colors… so far, the covers I found more intriguing have been those for Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet and for Moontangled by Stephanie Burgis.  I love the first because that background fire against the darkness in the foreground is very dramatic, and the second because those gorgeous dresses and the color combination are a feast for the eyes.



Far too many for the time I have, far too many…


Join the fun, let’s freak out together! 😀



I’ve become addicted to these book tags recently, so once I saw this one at Suzy’s Cozy World I decided to try my hand at it: bookish fun is the best kind of fun after all!

Let’s dive in…


PAST VILLAGER: Who is a character you found when you were younger that still has a place in your heart?

That might very well be the lady Jessica, from Frank Herbert’s DUNE: where I was always captivated by the concept of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, I loved how she would defy her training and the Sisterhood’s goals out of love for her mate and her son. Given the time in which the original Dune was written, Jessica represents a breakthrough in the depiction of female characters.

This art concept of Lady Jessica comes from Mindofka at Deviantart.

BLATHER’S BLATHERINGS: Recommend a historical fiction book that you think everybody should read.

For this I will need to go back several decades in my reading history and mention the amazing books from Finnish author Mika Waltari, starting with The Egyptian and moving on to The Etruscan and The Roman: although the details of those stories have become quite blurred by time, I remember them as very engrossing reads and as fascinating windows on the depicted cultures.

CELESTE’S WISH: What is a future book release you wish you could read now?

That would be, without doubt, the ninth and final book of The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey: this book has no title yet, nor a publication date, but I’m beyond curious to see how the authors will wrap up this amazing space opera series, although I will be very, very, very sad to bid my farewells to the characters I have come to appreciate and love.

TIMMY & TOMMY: What is your favorite sibling relationship in a book?

Even though they are not related by blood, Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen, as the only two surviving members of the thieves’ family built by Father Chains, are as close as brothers, not just in spite of their differences but because of them, given that their personalities compensate for each other’s faults. Their ties of brotherhood and the rarely expressed but very strong bond of love between them is one of the best features of their story.

THE EASTER BUNNY: A popular book character that you’re not a big fan of.

I will have to risk the ire of many of my fellow bloggers here but I have to point my finger at Mark Watney from Andy Weir’s The Martian: I found the overall tone in the chronicle of his survival on Mars to be too cheeky and frivolous to really endear the character to me, and while I could understand the need to keep his spirits up in a very dire situation, there was not enough introspection to balance out the flippancy. For once, I found out that the movie was better than the book in this respect…

NOOK’S LOANS: An author you’d give all your money to.

There are several authors on my “automatic buy” list and there are too many of them for me to choose from, so I would find it very difficult to have to play the game of favorites here…

THE SISTERS ABLE: What is your favorite fictional family (found or otherwise)?

This is an easy one: for me THE fictional family is represented by the Fellowship of the Ring – a group of people united by a common goal and becoming closer than family through shared dangers. It’s a theme I encountered often in my reading, but the Fellowship was my very first example and they will always be at the top of my preferences.

IT’S A C+: What is a book trope you don’t like that keeps popping up?

Insta-love and love triangles rate very high in my catalog of tropes that tend to make me run for the hills at high speed, but there is one that annoys me to no end: a main character who looks unassuming and is shortly revealed as gifted with incredible powers, or who transforms from wallflower to hero/heroine practically overnight. What is otherwise labeled as “Mary Sue”…

THE WANDERING CAMEL: What is your favorite book set in a land far away from yours?

I will have to mention Dune again: what could be more fascinating than a world covered in endless deserts and scoured by killer winds, where you have to wear a specially designed suit to reclaim drinking water from your body and where giant worms roam the sands? Dune fired my imagination from the first time I read it, and it still holds a special place in it.

WHAT WOULD DODOS DO?: A fictional land you wish you could fly away to at any moment?

Middle Earth, of course! And the beauty of it is that I actually could do that, since we all know that it’s located in New Zealand… 😉



Image by Tanantachai Sirival @


We can always count on our fellow bloggers for inspiration on tags and memes to spice up our posts for this yearly fantasy extravaganza, and this one felt just perfect for me: it was originally posted by Imyril, who in turn was inspired by Dragons and Zombies and Little Book Owl.  Thank you all!

And now for the delightful prompts: I’ve decided to keep to the fantasy world that was my first love and is still the place where I left my heart – JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Every time I re-read the LOTR, The Hobbit or The Silmarillion, it feels like coming home, so I guess that a part of me still dwells there…


A fictional world that you would like to tour

One of the joys of reading Tolkien’s works is to look at the maps and follow the characters’ journeys across the land, so a tour of Middle Earth’s most famous locations sounds perfect – well, maybe I would leave Mordor out of the itinerary…. From the Lonely Mountain to the plains of Rohan, with a side visit to Lothlorien; from the ancient realm of Gondor to the safe haven of Rivendell and finally to the Shire, where my long travels would end in the comfortable (and well provided!) Hobbit villages.  I would not mind a visit to the mines of Moria as well, but I would need to be sure that it was not in the middle of the Orc season….

A specific place that you would like to visit

Given that the Elves are famous for their love of knowledge and music and everything gifted with beauty, a sojourn in Rivendell would be perfect: just think, from a book-lover point of view, what Elrond’s library might look like, and what cultural and historical treasures one might find there!

A character that you would like to meet

Gandalf, no doubt about it. The old wizard’s character is such an intriguing mix of wisdom, humor, cunning and gentleness, that a conversation with him would be nothing short of fascinating. And given that with him there is more, much more than meets the eye, I would like to try and inquire about his past and the events, both terrible and wondrous, that he witnessed.

An event you would like to witness

This was a difficult choice: there are so many amazing moments in Tolkien’s legendarium that would be worth a visit, but after some thought I decided for the riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum, because with hindsight it’s clear this is one of the pivotal moments in the history of Middle Earth, and one whose consequences would be far-reaching.

A sport/activity you would like to try

Not being very much sports-inclined, this answer might present some problems, particularly because I can’t recall any kind of sport activity ever being mentioned for Middle Earth – that is, unless one takes into consideration the “ramparts shield surfing” we saw a certain Elf practice at Helm’s Deep… 😉

(Although I’m not certain the Professor would have approved)

A weapon you would like to wield

Gandalf’s staff. It’s not exactly a weapon, but it turns out to be very useful in many circumstances as a powerful light or a fire starter, but particularly in Moria when our beloved wizard faces the Balrog with that oh-so-powerful “You cannot pass!!”.

An item you would like to use

The leaf-shaped pins Galadriel gives the Fellowship to tie their cloaks: as with all Elven-made objects they are a thing of beauty and carry with them the gracefulness of those who crafted them.



Your turn now… 😀