Sunshine Blogger Award, Kind Of

I was nominated by Evelyn @evelynreads and by Laurel @thesuspectedbibliophile (thank you!)

I know there are rules about asking questions yourself and tagging people, but I know this is never going to get published if I try to do that (yay anxiety) and I’m already late, so this time I just decided not to.

Evelyn’s Questions

Your top three reads of the year?

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine, Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear, Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. Apparently, I like adult SFF that makes me think about how I could never put together something like that? If you want to know about the other ones, here they are!

34510711._sy475_Worst read of the year?

I don’t want to give more blog time to the least favorites I’ve already talked about, so: I agree with pretty much every single early review of Infinity Son by Adam Silvera. That book is… bad. There’s no other way around it, and I don’t think the author is ready to write fantasy at all. It didn’t make my list just because I feel bad putting a book that isn’t even out yet on there.

What author do you own the most books of?

Do ebooks count? If not, Cassandra Clare because I bought all her books (that were out at the time) in 2015 and haven’t gotten around to giving them to a friend who wants them far more than I do yet (they were what I wanted at the time, but they’re not what I want now, so they’re going). If yes, I’m not sure.

Top three authors?

Ever? Yoon Ha Lee, Anna-Marie McLemore, and I would have said Leigh Bardugo, but I haven’t read her two newest releases, so maybe… Elizabeth Acevedo?

Describe your favourite bookstore?

It’s the Feltrinelli in my city, and there’s not that much remarkable about it apart from it being the biggest I can easily reach, but: there’s someone who is in charge of the graphic novel display and routinely puts new queer/feminist/diverse graphic novels in full view. This doesn’t happen in the rest of the bookstore. Whoever you are, I see you and appreciate you.

36373688Favourite quote?

“The presence of atrocity doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold. You’ll arguably be better at dealing with the horrible things you have to witness, or even to perpetrate, if you allow yourself time to do the small, simple things that make you happy. Instead of looking for ways to destroy yourself.”
Yoon Ha Lee, Revenant Gun

Also the quote that finally convinced me to get over my weird guilt (ah, Catholic upbringing, never fail me) and put together an efficient mute filter on twitter.

Being on the internet means knowing all of the world’s tragedies, constantly, and since my usual reaction is being paralized in a “I can’t be happy, people are dying” state, I want to remind myself that it actually helps no one and actively hurts me, so this is also a reminder of what I want from my life in 2020.

What city would you love to travel to one day?

The only thing I can think of is a town: Corniglia. I’ve seen Monterosso and Vernazza, I should see this one someday as well, hopefully in a day with less tourists who don’t know that you can’t walk with flip flops in the notoriously thorny Mediterranean shrubland.

Favourite animal?

My answer changes from day to day, but today the first thing that comes to mind is that bobtail squids are really, really cute.


(Euprymna berryi, by Rickard Zerpe, CC BY 2.0, cropped)

Favourite fictional creature?

I can’t think of any specific example right now. Do magical foxes count? Everything fox.

Favourite posts to write?

My posts about favorites at the end of the year. I read all year hoping to have a great line up, and for now it has always been true.

Any goals left for the year?

…it’s not anyone’s fault but mine that I’m always late when it comes to this kind of thing. My reading plans for the last weeks of 2019 were blatantly ignored by me, but at least real life was good. For 2020, my only real goal is trying to find a balance between reading, blogging and everything outside the booksphere, and if I can, read a little more sequels.

Laurel’s questions

Why did you start book blogging?

In Italian, December 2015. In English, September 2017.

What are your favorite parts of book blogging?

I think being exposed to other people’s opinions, especially people who you could have never met without the internet (from so many other countries, for example) is a great thing and has made me an infinitely better reader – not because I read more or read objectively “better” books, whatever that means, but it has taught me to appreciate things I would have never thought about before, and helped me find great books I would have never reached for.

What are your least favorite?

Most discourse. The way some like to pretend personal likes and dislikes make a person more or less moral, as if liking the right books could excuse bad behavior, and pretty much every single thing that happens on book twitter.

What advice do you have for new book bloggers?

I’ve been on all three sides of the ARC thing:

  • can’t get any ARCs because of circumstances I can’t influence (blogged in my first language, INTL reader, minor so no netgalley/edelweiss at all)
  • can get some eARCs, so I read and review them (for most of this blog’s life)
  • could get ARCs but won’t get them (me right now)

and honestly? They aren’t worth it. If you have any way to do so, keep reading without deadlines, even more so if you already have some form of anxiety. You will read less, because you’ll have less options to get free books, but consider: that might not be a bad thing.

Also: learn how to build distance between your personality and book taste. Social media likes to kick up disasters over nothing, so I really don’t recommend getting into this if you don’t have anyone to talk to – whether from real life or other corners of the internet – that isn’t involved in the book community, especially if you’re a teen. There are times in which you will need someone to help you put things into perspective.

What makes you want to read a book?

I honestly don’t know? There are a lot of factors at play and I put together a series of posts about that (Judging Before Reading; most of it is more than a year old, so some thing have since changed) but there are more that I don’t understand or haven’t thought about yet.

What were your favorite reads of 2019?



What books were your least favorite of 2019?

Also here, if you want to know, but I feel like lists of least favorites don’t have that much value in the end.

What books lived up to the hype? Which didn’t?

What is hyped and what is not is difficult to determine for me, because sometimes books that are really hyped and talked about in my circle of friends (The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics, The Perfect Assassin) are actually mostly ignored by the community at large. So I’m only going to talk about objectively hyped, often-talked-about-everywhere books, and only 2019 releases or this list gets too long. Oh, and I won’t talk about books I’ve already included in favorites/least favorites list, that would be too obvious.

  • Lived upSorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (such a fun time), This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (just beautiful), Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (best ending of the year)
  • Didn’t: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (I was so bored), Wilder Girls by Rory Power (missed potential), House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (how was this published in 2019)

What are your favorite tropes and why?

The obvious one: hero/villain sexual tension, because it’s the best way to make a book’s conflict at the same time 100% more fun (I just find it really funny. There’s usually terrible decision-making on at least one part.) and 100% more painful. More emotions, which is after all what we all look for, if not always in the same shape.

One I haven’t talked about as much but is definitely one of my favorites is resurrection as an inciting incident. Stories with resurrection solving things aren’t really my thing (religious aftertaste? Deus-ex-machina aftertaste? I don’t know), but stories in which resurrection jumpstarts the problem? They can be really good, if the author isn’t just using it as a cheap out-of-nowhere way to reintroduce the villain: for it to work, it has to already have been established as a possibility long before the end of the first book, or the first book has to begin with it, ideally. If these things are all true, I usually have a lot of fun with the story.

35297390Who in the book world (blogger, youtuber, bookstagrammer, author, friend, etc.) inspires you the most?

I don’t really have an answer for this? There are many people whose bookish content I love and many I love interacting with, but I try not to see anyone that way – I know how it feels like if you do and then that person ends up behaving badly on twitter.

What is one book that helped you through rough times (or taught you something valuable?)

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente during my hospital stay in May 2018. I wasn’t that lucid so I remember it only in flashes, but it’s the kind of book that is somewhat nonsensical anyway, and really funny, so it was perfect.

I feel like half of this post was me being annoyed with book twitter, but who isn’t annoyed with book twitter?


Sunshine Blogger Award #3

I was tagged by Elise @thebookishactress. Thank you!

The Questions, The Answers

What color do you wear the most?
For most of the year, greens and grays. In summer, I’m either some combination of white and blue or a walking rainbow. There’s no in-between.

What’s your favorite episode of your favorite TV show and why?
I don’t have one, I have never watched a TV show. I don’t like watching anything that is on a screen and there are reasons for that that I don’t want to explain right now. (In one word, it’s anxiety.)

Pretend you work in a book store and are asked for three staff picks. What are they?

I’m not sure how staff picks work (I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen in an Italian bookstore?). Are they just three books I like or three books I like that fit some specific criteria like “published recently, not that hyped but could appeal to a large audience”? I’m going to chose three books that fit option #2 because if I only had to choose three books I like I wouldn’t know where to start. So, my picks are:

  • This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow, a YA contemporary which should be just as popular as Far From the Tree, with its focus on reconnecting (through music!) and healing. Also, it’s f/f and it has ownvoices black rep…
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark, a steampunk novella following two paranormal investigators and a haunted tram car in Cairo. Very atmospheric and it has a great message (it’s alt-history post-colonial fiction that talks about historical feminist movements).
  • Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore: it may not be my favorite McLemore but it didn’t get half the hype it deserves. It’s a “Snow White and Rose Red + Swan Lake” retelling about sisters and the way women are pitted against each other, categorized as either “good girls” (princesses) or “bad girls” (witches). It has two gorgeous romances, latinx and trans representation, and (of course) beautiful writing.

What book first made you feel really seen?
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I could joke about it making me feel seen for the wanting to kiss and also kill the villain element, but that’s not the main reason. The main reason is Alina Starkov. I haven’t seen people mention it before, but what stands out the most to me is how tired she is. So tired that she kind of hates other people when they try to interact with her, so tired that she barely eats and looks sick, and wasn’t that my high school experience
The way this book alternated “can use magic, eats, is happy” with “too tired to eat and interact, constantly bitter” was… my life. Even though I’m definitely not magical and even though Alina’s powers aren’t an intentional metaphor for an illness.

Put your phone on shuffle and find a book that matches the song you got.

Girls Like Girls by Hayley Kiyoko? Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler because of the coming-out-as-a-lesbian part and overall light mood, The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown because of the steal-mediocre-and-toxic-boys’-girlfriends part.

Book to movie adaptation you’re genuinely excited for?
I… won’t watch them? But I’m glad The Sun Is Also a Star is getting adapted, even though I don’t love how they cast someone who is almost 30 to play a teenage boy. But I probably was never going to watch it anyway. I mean, I still haven’t seen Love, Simon and I really was interested in that one.

Choose one book for each season.

Spring: The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton, because it has a beautiful atmosphere, it’s full of life but hasn’t completely left winter behind, and because it never seems to end.
Summer: The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz, even though this book is actually set in spring-to-early summer. However, it talks about moving on, liminal spaces, and feeling removed from reality even though you’re being the most you that you’ve ever been. Those are very summer-y feelings.
Fall: When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore, because of the gorgeous atmosphere and… basically everything about the book is fall.
Winter: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. Sad, slow-paced, quietly beautiful, lonely? That sounds like winter to me.

Dump-him-challenge: What love interests do you think are just deeply, deeply overrated?

Most of YA fantasy male love interests are so mediocre I can barely tell them apart, and some of those who stand out, do so in a bad way (…Rhysand. No, I never liked him). However, in those cases the problem wasn’t the love interest, it was the whole book, so I don’t feel like it counts?
I also don’t like Cardan. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the romance in that book (I don’t have any problem with intentionally toxic romances and I think that’s what this is), but I can’t imagine anything more unattractive than a bully. I really don’t get it, and I usually understand the appeal of messed up romances.

Favorite Netflix original series?
(See above.)

What’s your current most anticipated release for this month?

I’m writing this post in February, and the current answer is Ann Leckie’s The Raven Tower. I haven’t heard a lot about it but it’s apparently about godhood and has trans characters in it. However, by the time this post will be up, this book will already be published. My most anticipated March release was A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine… which I’m currently reading. My most anticipated March release I haven’t read yet is The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley: she wrote one of my favorite books, The Stars Are Legion, and now she’s back – this is going to be so weird. I can’t wait.

What’s a situation in your life that you’ve learned a lot from?
It’s not that there aren’t any, it’s that I can’t think of one I’m comfortable talking about on the internet. On a not too serious note, I can say that a situation I learned a lot from was reading bad fanfiction at 15. What did I learn? Well, I couldn’t find that sort of thing in Italian, so… the English language.

My Questions:

  1. What was the last book you rated three stars, and why?
  2. Do you read short fiction?
  3. A book you’re anticipating that isn’t getting much hype?
  4. Have you ever felt like a book/its writing was manipulative?
  5. A trope you don’t like?
  6. Is there anything (like a trope, a setting, or a specific subgenre) that recurs often in your favorite books?
  7. Two random non-bookish facts about you?
  8. A book whose premise was better than the actual content?
  9. What’s the weirdest book you’ve ever read?
  10. Supposing that plot and characters are both well-written, which do you value more in fantasy: atmosphere or a well-defined magic system?
  11. Is there anything you wish was talked about more in the book community?

I’m tagging [don’t feel obligated to do it!]: Silvia @SilviaReadsBooks, Caro @Bookcheshirecat, Ngọc @ReadWithNgọc, Sahi @MyWorldofBooks, Marie @Drizzle&HurricaneBooks.

Which YA fantasy love interest is the most overrated?



Sunshine Blogger Award + Liebster Award

I was tagged by Silvia @silviareadsbooks and Ashley @bookishtales. Thank you!

Sunshine Blogger Award

What was your favorite book as a child?

The Scions of Shannara quartet. Better than the original trilogy, and gave me “Walker Boh”, also called “the Dark Uncle”. (According to en.wikitionary, “dunno” is the closest translation of the Italian word boh. 10-year-old me found it really funny.)

Do you get reading slumps? How do you get out of them?

I get one every summer, and I don’t get out of it until the heat goes away. One thing that helps me is to never read too many books of the same genre back to back.

What’s the one book or series that made you fall in love with reading?

I don’t have one; most of my reading until middle school was nonfiction about animals. I still have far too many books about dinosaurs.

What are your thoughts on ebooks?

Without them, I wouldn’t have a blog.

Are you more of a fantasy or a contemporary person?

Fantasy, but lately I’m not liking YA fantasy that much anymore (have I read too much of it or am I just unlucky?). My feelings on contemporary haven’t changed, but I didn’t love the genre to begin with.

Who’s your all time favorite author?

Yoon Ha Lee. Mass murder magic math in space is what I didn’t know I always wanted. I own a copy of Conservation of Shadows, and I haven’t read it yet because I’m the worst.

Do you read audiobooks? Why or why not?

No. Because:

  • my attention span for listening is terrible. (“Listening” includes both audiobooks and whatever the teacher is saying when I’m in class. It’s bad.)
  • my English just isn’t that good.
  • I have grapheme-color synesthesia. I don’t have sound-color synesthesia. I remember character names by their colors.

First person or third person?

I like both – it depends on the book, but if you want to use something the main character already knows as a plot twist [e.g: MC was the killer all along], use third person. Hiding this kind of things when you’re in first person (= in the character head) is cheating your reader.

Plot or characters?

Characters, but if you’re not writing magical realism, slice-of-life contemporary (*) or something that is intentionally weird, you should also have a solid plot.

(*) All the slice-of-life SFF stories I found were very, very boring.

Heroes or antiheroes?

Antiheroes – all my faves are murderers.

Single point of view or double/multiple POV?

Depends on the story! But while I almost never think “this story needed more points of view” (Want by Cindy Pon did, though), I think that nearly every Victoria Schwab book needed less PoVs. I really didn’t need to spend so much time in Osaron’s head.

Liebster Award

Has there ever been a book that you DNF’d right away? And which one?

Many of them. I usually read the first chapter/the ebook preview before buying a book. If I don’t like the preview, I stop reading and remove the book from my TBR. I did this recently with Everless by Sarah Holland (felt really generic) and The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale (just wasn’t into it).

Does the cover of a book strongly influence whether or not you will buy the book?

Buy? No, I have very few physical books and the cover doesn’t matter that much, but it does influence whether or not I will even give a chance to the preview (if a book has a generic cover, I’m less likely to check out the synopsis and add it to my TBR…).

What is one book that you wish you could reread for the first time?

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. I don’t know what I would think of it if I read it today without the influence of nostalgia (it’s one of my favorites since 2015) and knowing what will happen next (I want to reread it, but I remember too much of it, so I probably won’t).

What book do you wish to be turned into a movie?

None, but I want to know how a well-done adaptation of Catherynne M. Valente’s Radiance would look like (answer: really meta. It would be a film adaptation of a book about filmmaking?).

What is your current favorite TV show? And why?

I don’t have one (I don’t watch them).

How many books have you read so far this year

Around 20.

Has there ever been a book in which you immediately knew was going to be a favorite?

I knew my favorite book was going to be a favorite before I read it.
I read two short stories set in the Ninefox Gambit universe and I couldn’t stop thinking about them for two weeks. Then I read the book despite all the reviews that told me it was too complicated, and to this day I still don’t get why people think this is complicated (also: it’s basically fantasy in space and it does not become hard sci-fi just because you found it hard to read!).
If you want some far more unreadable sci-fi, I recommend Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (90% worldbuilding and infodumps) and Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente (what happened? Don’t ask me), for different reasons.

What has been your favorite read of 2018 so far?

If I don’t count rereads, I don’t have one. It’s a tie between Darkling by Brooklyn Ray and American Panda by Gloria Chao, but neither of them was a full five star, so I can’t really call them “favorites”. If I count rereads, The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

What book trope do you love? And why?

Any kind of trope or situation which forces the book and its main character to walk on really morally questionable ground. Well-intentioned extremists (Warcross), when the villain is kind of right but also not (Shadow and Bone), when both sides are wrong in different ways (Strange the Dreamer). Because “the heroes are good but use questionable means and the villain is certainly wrong” (Six of Crows) gets boring sometimes.

What book would you recommend everyone to read?

I don’t have one. Everyone looks for different things. Also, the “important” issue books are all US-centric and while I think they can be interesting to read anyway, they’re not actually that important when your country deals with said issues in a different, still not good way.