Hi all! Before I say anything more, I realize you’re probably looking at me a questioning brow raised, and you’re thinking: What the hell are you doing here, Nina? Shouldn’t you be on hiatus?
To which I reply: it’s nice to see you too, dear friend.
And of course I’m on vacation, and it’s true I’m still on a looong hiatus (I won’t be fully back until the beginning of August, sadly), but I’ve resurfaced a bit, blogging from my iPhone because I don’t have my laptop with me (so please excuse any technical difficulties), and I’ve briefly popped back up on the World Wide Web for a little [big!] something: Nina and Chantal from Every Word a Doorway have nominated me for the Liebster Award!
And if you STILL have a questioning eyebrow raised, though now for a different purpose, allow me to answer your question: the Liebster Award is a way for bloggers to meet newer blogs and give a virtual high-five to others in acknowledgment of all the effort that goes into typing and organizing and designing the time-consuming things that are our blog children. It’s generally given for new or lesser-known blogs, originally under 2000 followers. JustAddAWord is a baby blog that hasn’t even turned 1 year old yet (it will in a few weeks; July 16, if you’re curious), so thank you thank you thank you for Chantal and Nina for nominating me and my little toddler blog child! <3
And while we’re on the topic, if you haven’t checked out their blog, Every Word a Doorway, please do! Aside from the gorgeous design of the site itself, the content is both fresh but familiar, and the fabulous Chantal’s and my bookish name-twin Nina’s reviews are friendly and professional. Thank you both!
The rules of the Liebster Award are quite simple, and once nominated, they are as follows:
1. Thank the person who nominated you, introduce them, and provide a link to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions they provided you with.
3. Pick 11 other blogs to nominate them for the award, and provide an additional 11 questions for them to answer.
And now to answer the 11 questions posed to me by Chantal and Nina:
1. Do you keep your blog’s content strictly book-related? If not, what other topics do you like to blog about? If yes, have you ever entertained the idea of featuring non-bookish content?
Hmm.. I consider books my top-interest, so I wouldn’t probably be very excited about much else. I’ve briefly once considered starting an art-based blog, where I talk about my paintings and other’s paintings and paint in general (yes, guys, I’m an artist).. but books do take precedence. Plus it’s called JustAddaWord, not, you know, JustAddaDabofAcrylicPaint.
*frowns at the name ‘JustAddaDabofAcrylicPaint’*
It just hasn’t got the same ring to it, I guess.
2. Do your posts consist more of reviews or more of diverse posts, such as discussions and tags? Which kind of post do you prefer doing?
My posts are 98% reviews, honestly. I’d like to, scratch that, I’d love to do other posts, like discussions and interviews (I feel bad when I turn down an interview offer, but I’ve had to ) and blog tours (oh, how I’d love to do a blog tour) and all that, but I just don’t have the time, unfortunately. Between my college courses killing me and other responsibilities chasing me, it’s quite easy to feel overwhelmed, but I’m determined to not give up blogging, even if my posts are only reduced to simple things like reviews and the occasional wrap-up posts.
I try to at least fit a post a week, two posts if I’m lucky, but I’m playing with my schedule and fitting things in and taking others out, and hopefully, I’ll be around more.
3. Have you met any fellow bloggers and reviewers in real life? If yes, describe your experience!
Oh, I’d love to! I actually know many bloggers in Texas, if not Houston (but guys, Texas is HUGE, and so is Houston, so it’s not a sure thing). I do, however, like to make the road trip to huge bookish events like the annual Texas Teen Book Festival in Austin (if you’re going this year, let me know!), where hopefully I could meet my blogger friends in real life!
4. Which genre do you hardly read books from at the moment but would like to read more of?
Hm. I haven’t read dystopian is a LONG time (ever since the trend fizzled out in 2014), and the latest book I’ve read of that genre is VE Schwab’s This Savage Song (but let’s be honest here: I’d read anything and everything Schwab), but I don’t see myself wanting to read more dystopian now. It’s a bit of an overused, slightly cliché genre. It belongs in the History of YA Museum, and nothing more. #SorryNotSorry
But thrillers. THRILLERS. There are hardly any YA thrillers out there, and I just think: with how awesome a picture they make in movies, I’d love to actually be in the mind of a runaway ex-convict or something, dodging gunshots and stealing getaway cars. It’d be like seeing what Jason Bourne is thinking while everything around him goes to hell (yes, I know the Bourne stuff were books before they became movies, but I don’t read adult books *shudders* ), and that is simply INSANELY COOL. But I get it: that’s probably the hardest genre to write. But it could be done, right?
(If you have any good YA thriller recs, kindly yell at me in the comments. I’m all ears.)
5. What are your top 3 bookish pet peeves?
Ooh, I simultaneously like and hate this question. Because on one hand, I could answer with the classic annoying stuff, all of which I do hate deeply, mind you, such as love triangles and dues ex machina and all that, but there are others. Others that crawled from the depths of hell itself and live to torture me. Such as, and in no particular order:
* Solving non-magical problems through magical means: okay, this just screams UNPROFESSIONAL to me. It’s simply a cop-out. And I don’t want to give examples, because of the obvious threat of spoilers, but guys. Guys. This irritates me to no end. And is wholly unconvincing.
* Locking the girl up while the love interest goes to war to “keep her safe”: Haha, NO. This is simply demeaning and insulting, and is in no way romantic or sweet or gentlemanly or any other sappy nonsense you want to throw at me to defend this trope. Few things rile me to this degree, but this trope does. Muchly.
* Random side-POVs that add exactly 0.001% to the storyline: Yeahh.. no. I hate this technique a whole lot, but unfortunately, authors are fond of throwing in random characters into the mix (yes, I’m looking at you, Maggie Stiefvater, and the randomness in The Raven King). The only authors to ever pull this technique off are Schwab and Bardugo, and only them.
6. If you read YA: Is there a disliked YA trope you secretly like? If yes, which one? (Yes, it won’t be a secret much longer, sorry folks!)
Okay, I really really like this question. I mean, yes, y’all are going to end up hating me when I answer.. but hahaha yes I do like a hated YA trope. Which one? Forbidden love.
But before you bludgeon me with those pointy hardcovers you’re holding in each hand, let me explain: yes, forbidden love makes for quite a trashy and weird relationship, but the plot. The story. The tension, and the punishment looming over them both. It’s kinda like knowing the ending won’t end well, but you read anyway. And this amuses my inner evil soul, and I like it.
7. Related to one of our recent blog posts: Can you name three characters whose characterisations describe you well?
Oh, I’ve seen Nina and Chantal’s post on this prompt, and I really liked that idea! But while it’s a bit difficult to describe myself by myself, this question seems too fun to pass up. So here goes:
* Kestrel Trajan, The Winner’s Curse
Kestrel is and remains my top female lead of all time, and the reason for this partly stemms from the fact that I could personally connect with her. Kestrel is the daughter of a talented general, and while she loves her father deeply, she sees herself as a musician more so than a person of war, and she walks the tightrope between doing what she loves and not disappointing a person she loves. And I relate to this father-daughter dynamic. Also, Kestrel is deceptive and a bit haughty and not so good with a weapon but crazy smart, and she listens more than she talks. The second, third, and last apply to me as well, so it’s no wonder that I could relate to Kestrel so much, and feel as invested in her story as I was. I need more books about her, please and thank you, Marie Rutkoski (whose writing style is the gorgeous-est shade of gorgeous I’ve ever read).
* Kell Maresh, A Darker Shade of Magic
Aside from Kell being my ONE TRUE LOVE OF EVER (I adore this little idiot so much, it’s probably a problem, but I don’t care), I also feel as if his characterizations could fit me as well. Kell is a troubled, quiet, shy redhead magician who permanently frowns and I just.. <333
Why is Kell on this list? Read this quote with me, if you please:
“Standing there on display was painful enough. Now came the truly unfortunate task of socializing.”
– A Gathering of Shadows
This appeals to the little introverted side of me so much.
“Kell had always been a fan of silence.”
– A Conjuring of Light
But here’s the thing: Kell can be sassy when he wants to, and has the perfect comeback waiting, and has the tendency to have the last word. I like to think I can be annoying sarcastic as well. But he also will do anything for his family, and would kill for his brother, and I appreciate, and relate, to this so much.
* Richard Gansey III, The Raven Boys
Gansey is determined, and kind, and a natural leader. While I may or may not be kind (that’s for other people to decide, honestly), I do understand the thrill in chasing something you’ve always wanted to achieve, and leading the group, while a bit daunting and kinda scary (the responsibility that accompanies it can be terrifying), I get it. I do. Gansey is basically the parent, or the only voice of reason, within the Gangsey, and I know how weird it feels to be the one reminding everyone of the rules or to be careful and such, but me and Gansey do it anyway. I so so relate to him.
Additionally, I, too, want to drive a Camaro (though a more modern one, and I want it to be white or blue). Plus, (and this was a bit scary in its accuracy), it is mentioned that the mint leaves he always keeps in his pocket are from a mint plant that his mother reminds him to take, correct? I’m not kidding when I say that my mom tells me the same thing. The SAME. THING. Except, it’s not a mint plant, but a bag of Wintergreen Halls that I’m required to keep in my bag on pain of death. (In fact, I’ve got one in my mouth right now as I type this, believe it or not.)
It is scientifically proven that Richard Gansey III is, in fact, an AU version of Nina Shannon. #DontDenyMeThisFact
8. What are your favourite bookish friendships?
Hmm. I’ve got a couple or so. (Or 6 or 7 or 676).
* Nina and Inej, Six of Crows: I love these two so much because yay to female friendships! I like how they stand up for each other and trash talk the boys behind their backs and save each other’s lives in exchange for a promise to take the other out for waffles with apple syrup. Bless them both.
* Kell and Rhy, A Darker Shade of Magic: BROTHER RELATIONSHIPS FTW. Because obviously. There’s nothing I like more than sibling dynamics, because understanding one another before the other even speaks while bickering and driving your parents insane is one of life’s greatest things, I tell you.
* Chloe and Ivy, Things I Should Have Known: More sibling relationships! Featuring two sisters, this time. Chloe is the younger sister, and Ivy is the elder, and the two have such a special bond, it’s heartwarming. Plus, Ivy has autism, and the way Chloe is proud of her and treats her well is something I haven’t seen in YA books of this type in a long, disappointing while.
* Kate and August, This Savage Song: Because starting out as enemies and slowly becoming friends only to be hunted across a city of monsters is my kind of friendship, apparently.
9. If you could pick a form of magic (for example, wandlore, powers, coats that transform to 1000 different coats, …) you’ve seen in literature, which one would you pick for yourself?
Oh my god IVE BEEN PREPARING FOR THIS QUESTION. And it’s a no brainer (and I have to elaborate even though it’s mentioned in the question itself): I’d get the fabulously precious thing that is Kell’s coat. Because having a coat that changes into a new one every time is turned inside out is a) genius b) stylishly classy and c) has made me hate all my other clothes because I’d literally trade ANYTHING for one. Anything. Plus, it’s Kell’s, and I think we’ve already established that he could do no wrong in my eyes (and it’s not like I mentioned him in 3+ of these questions. But I’m not sorry.)
10. Have you ever given a book a positive review due to having received an ARC and/or book from the publisher or because it’s really popular?
Of course not. And besides the fact that doing so would not only be dishonest but would be plainly unfair, let it be known that, like any other book blogger, I receive tons of ARCs and books from publishers all the time. If I were to give every single one of them 4 or 5 stars, then you wouldn’t see a single low rating from me. Yes, I rate books I didn’t like lowly, and send the review to the publisher anyway. I don’t care what the publisher thinks so long as I’m honest.
And if the book’s popular, but I don’t like it? I rate it accordingly. Believe it or not, I kinda like having an unpopular opinion every once in a while, because it proves us reviewers aren’t clones with the same mind.
An example of a wildly hyped book that fell flat for me? None other than Stephanie Garber’s Caraval, unfortunately. My disappointed review is here, if this post of mine bored you and you want a new screen.
11. Besides reading and blogging, do you also engage in creative writing? If yes, what kind of writing do you like to do? Tell us more about your projects!
Oh my goodness, YES. I love writing my own stories, and I like to think I’m good at doing so. I mostly write short stories for no eyes but mine or my family’s, but this year, I’m taking a creative writing course and am trying my hand at writing a full novel. It’s still just a baby idea that’s not fully fleshed out yet, and I’d love to talk more about it once I write more than a few chapters down. All I can say now is: it’s a retelling of a well-known classical novel, it’s high fantasy, it features magic and swords and clocks and paint, and it’s narrated by three different characters. And it’s more than a little daunting to pull off, but I’m getting there.
And now, I give you my 11 nominations for the Liebster Award:
[Please note: While looking up each blog and seeing if they fit te criteria for this particular award, I considered number of followers (mainly) through Bloglovin’ or WordPress. I hope I came in pretty close, if not fully accurate!]
* -Fafa from Fafa’s Book Corner: Fafa is so kind and easy to talk to, and her reviews are always on point.
* -Frankie from A Thousand Lives of Frankie Lovely: Frankie is funny and awesome and her reviews have their own unique flair. Plus, she loves ADSOM a bunch, and I. Relate. So. Much.
* -Fadwa from Word Wonders: Fadwa’s blog is so pretty and her discussion topics are so so interesting.
* -Salmah from Salmah’s Bookshelf: Salmah is really friendly, and her blog is really cool (that header, though! It’s gorgeous.)
* -Chloe from Quoth the Book Lover: Can I just say, I love the blog name? Because I LOVE THAT BLOG NAME.
* -Marie from Marie’s Library: Her blog is so neat and pretty, and her reviews are both straight-forward and thoughtful!
* -Swetlana and Sandra from Reading Through the Nights: I love their thoughtful discussion posts, and the blog layout is super-cool.
* -Amylee from The Book Lagoon: Guys, if I was ever to be asked about the gorgeous-est blog ever, I’d pick this one.
* -Michelle from Magical Reads: Her blog has so many diverse posts: reviews and discussion posts and blog tours!
* -Saowbia from Ever the Reader: The design and posts are so precise and neat!
* -Rachael from Rachael Rexds: Her blog is so creative and dynamic. And the design!
I’ve picked 11 questions to ask my nominees (these took me kinda forever to write, so I hope you enjoy answering them), and they are:
1. If you rated by a checklist, what would be the number one quality you look for in a book for it to be enjoyable?
2. Do you believe in not judging a book by its cover? To what extent does first impressions affect your reading choices?
3. If you could have dinner with 3 authors (dead or alive), which ones would you pick?
4. Which genre do you read most of? Least of?
5. What are your top 5 bookish pet peeves?
6. Print book, ebook, or audiobook? What are your thoughts on the other two?
7. Do you use bookmarks? If so, do you make or buy them or simply use a tissue or receipt or your cat’s tail?
8. This might be a weird one, but: Do you judge books by their authors? For example, if an author is an evil villain that feasts on the unborn (or some other negative that’s a bit more grounded in reality), does that affect your enjoyment of their book?
8. Does every book require a romantic subplot? Does it detract from the main storyline, or is it crucial in terms of character development?
9. Three book ideas that you’d love to read but have never been written yet?
10. How do you feel about rating a book before it’s published and without having an ARC? For example: if you love the author, do you automatically give all their upcoming releases 5 stars? If the author has done a controversial thing, do their works deserve automatic 1 stars?
11. Which series do you which could’ve ended differently? (Without spoilers, if possible.)
Thank you for nominating me, and thank you for ready this quite length post! I hope you find the time, if nominated, to answer my questions. And I did so very hope that I could pick more than just 11 blogs to nominate, because there are truly wonderful blogs out there!
And now, I must return to my hiatus cave, but I shall emerge (or try my hardest to), fear not.