Paws for Thought > Book Tag

paws

Today I thought i’d have a go at something light and fun.  A book tag that I came up with that combines my love of dogs and  my love of books.  If you fancy taking part please tag me so I can see what books you come up with.  Let’s go:

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I’m going to start and conclude with the puppy and old faithful:

the pup

The puppy, illegally cute, will eventually grow into it’s paws and ears, will chew your shoes, possibly your clothes and the table legs and demand all your attention before curling up to sleep exhausted.

** The most recent book that you read and loved **

Well, I’ve been on something of a reading high just recently (long may this continue) but, the actual last book that I gave five stars to was A Dowry of Blood by ST Gibson.  Dark romance, broodingly gothic and a tale of obsession and control:

Dowry2

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retriever

The Retriever, intelligent, hard working hunters with a love of life believed to have originated in Scotland.

** A book that was carefully planned, clearly well researched and was intelligent and thought provoking **

This is another very recent read that I’m really happy to be able to cast the light on here.  Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by RF Kuang.  An ode to words:

Babel

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poodle

Poodle, the aristocrat of the canine world.  A proud and elegant athlete.

** A book with a beautiful cover **

Ahh, so many possibilities… I had to cheat and choose more than one.  (This was probably the most difficult prompt for me because I suffer from cover love so could have gone totally giddy and included MANY, MANY MANY, more covers, as it is I exercised remarkable constraint:

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Germanshepherd

The German Shepherd, an all purpose working dog, loyal and courageous.

** A book that gave you a strong case of the heebie jeebies.  You needed all your courage to pick this one up **

Old Country by Matt Query and Harrison Query – there’s some very creepy scenes in this one so beware.

oc

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Lakeland

Lakeland terrier, a ‘big dog in a small package’

** A book with great characters  **

The Empire’s Ruin by Brian Staveley – I love this book and can’t wait to read the next in series. I love Gwenna so much.

Empire1

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RottweillerRottweiler, descendent of the Roman mastiffs, playful and protective.

** A book based on ancient history **

I simply have to give a shout out to The Wolf Den and the House With the Golden Door by Elodie Harper because they’re just so good. This is a series that takes us to Pompeii and provides us with a glimpse into the lives of slaves and prostitutes. I am giddy with anticipation for what comes next.

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greyhound

Greyhound, gentle and independent, a dog that embodies the saying ‘form follows function’.  Bred for speed.

** A book that was fast paced and kept you racing to the end **

Black Tide by KC Jones.  This was such a great book to read. The writing was snappy and the tension was cranked up and it had a healthy dose of totally ‘out there’ cosmic horror.  This is a book that I would love to see adapted – it could be totally wicked, tense and scary:

Blacktide

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dachshund

Dachshund, these dogs are not necessarily built for speed but they are relentlessly persistent.  Quite often known as ‘the sausage dog’.

** A book that made you hungry – this is a book that you need to stock up on treats before you crack it open**

This is perhaps an unusual choice but I’m going to say Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney.  It has some of the most unusual food served at a party that I’ve ever heard of.  I’m not sure whether I’d love the food or not but I’m certainly intrigued.  And, this is a great read. Feeney starts out with a captivating hook, she then lets us run on the line enjoying the freedom to explore the remote setting and the histrionics of the Darker family before reeling us in to a climatic and dramatic grand finale.  An absolute must read imo.

Daisy Darker

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mixed

The  Mixed breed or “Heinz 57” as its sometimes affectionately known, this is a dog of indeterminate breed.  Generally speaking such dogs are believed to live longer and suffer less hereditary diseases and will you just look at that face. I have a serious case of ‘cute aggression’ coming on..

** This is a book with a bit of everything going on. Could be lots of different elements/POVs or a collection of stories **

This is a book that I recently read and will be reviewing soon. It’s one of those books that succeeds in blending elements such as science fiction, fantasy, romance and adventure.  Watch this space for my thoughts very soon.  A Gamble Of Gods (The Order Of The Dragon, #1) by Mitriel Faywood. 

AGamble

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french

The French Bulldog, enjoying great popularity at the moment. Playful and adorable and loved by City dwellers who have less space. 

** A book that is irresistibly cute **

I’m using this tag as much as possible to highlight my most uptodate reads and also included in that is the books I’ve been reading for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off Competition (for more info check out Mark Lawrence’s post here).  One of my Semi Finalists this year is Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons by Quenby Olson.  This book is positively delicious – it also fits into the prompt above about needing treats on hand when you’re reading – because cake is mentioned an almost indecent number of times.  This book is so good.  When I was reading I felt transported back to an almost Austen-ish world with bonnets and etiquette. And just look at the cute dragon.  Also the fantasy elements are included in such a clever way that even if you’re not usually a fantasy reader I think you’d be hard pressed not to be very pleasantly surprised.

MissPercy's

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The Portuguese Podengo, alert and independent.  A breed of hunting dog believed to have descended from dogs brought to Portugal by Phoenician merchants.

** A book that is a standalone **

Dyer Street Punk Witches (Ordshaw #7) by Phil Williams.So you’re probably scratching your head and wondering why I’ve included this book under my standalone prompt?  Well, although this is set in the Ordshaw world I can confidently say that you can read this book as a standalone. I only mention this because I quite often feel daunted when I see that I’m already so far behind in a very established series and to be honest it puts me off picking it up – which sounds crazy but it simply feels like such a huge commitment to catch up.  This was actually my favourite of the Ordshaw stories with new characters and an intriguing storyline.  Plus a fantastic kickass central pov and a banging cover.  Give it a shot, you might (more than definitely will) fancy returning to some of the earlier books as a result.

GTD Cover

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Cavalier

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the nobility of Dogdom with a silky coat, mild temper and graceful athleticism.

** A book with Kings and Queens or something historic **

So, back to my SPFBO endeavours.  For this prompt I’m using my other Semi Finalist. The Blood of Crows by Alex C Pierce. I had such a lot of fun with this one and the story is intriguing and compelling. Firstly, I’m a sucker for heists, secondly I love characters that manage to insert a little humour even though they’re in the middle of dire circumstances, thirdly I loved the magic and the way it feeds into the plot so easily and fourthly, there is more yet to come and it promises something I didn’t expect. I’m thinking of the ending and obviously I can’t elaborate. You’ll simply have to read the book.  I’m watching you AC Pierce!

Bloodof

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Finally.  Old faithful.  This is the dog that has been your steadfast companion over the years. Lies with it’s head on your foot so that it knows when you move, scents you out no matter where you are and waits patiently.  Is the first to greet you in the morning and the last at night and is always happy to see you.

** A book that you’ve read many times, you could pick this book up and just let the pages fall open to where they may and dive right in **

I have a number of books that I’ve read a few times but I think the one I used to pick up most frequently was Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier.  Having said that I realise I haven’t picked this up in quite some time so perhaps a reread is in order.  I love this author’s work and along with Rebecca have no hesitation in recommending My Cousin Rachel and Jamaica Inn. There are many more but those two always stood out for me.

Rebecca

If you enjoyed these prompts please feel free to take part.  I’m not tagging anyone but hope you’ll join in and would love to see your books.  Sorry if you don’t see your favourite pooch here – there are so many breeds and so I had to narrow it down somehow.

Also, for the cat lovers out there (of which I am also one), I have a lovely idea for a cat tag which I’m going to pull together very soon.

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The ‘Good Intentions’ Book Tag

Today I thought that instead of making a lot of resolutions that I have no intention of keeping (I just know I won’t so there’s no point in denial) I’d make a book tag based on some of the most popular best intentions.  I googled the top ten resolutions and the following tag is based upon those.  This is my Good Intentions Book Tag – after all you can have good intentions at any point in the year:

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Gym

Exercise more : This is a book that is a real chunkster, in fact you will need help to even pick this book up:

For my first good intention I’ve chosen a book that I haven’t read yet but would love to pick up soon because it’s all about vampires and I feel hungry for a book with fangs.  Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff – I’m looking at you.  This book (the hardcover at least), weighs in at a lovely 752 pages – the gauntlet is down.  I must read this book.  For this particular choice there are two covers – do you have a favourite.  I’m partial to the first in this case although what’s not to love about a dishy hunk with his shirt off?:

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novella

Lose weight : A book that is not a chunkster; a short story or novella.  A book you could probably read in one sitting:

In this instance I’ve gone for a book that I just managed to squeeze in towards the end of 2021.  Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M Valente.  This is such an unusual book.  I struggled at first to write a review because I didn’t want to give away spoilers – here is a snippet of my tangled thoughts ‘This is a strange tale that is strangely compelling. I had no idea what to expect and yet it managed to defy any expectations that my subconscious had secretly formed and it’s the sort of book that makes you want to read it again, and probably again after that, I mean a fourth read would probably help to pick up those few pesky clues you missed in your haste to reach the end.’  This is an author who manages to charm and delight with her evocative and fairytale-style writing and at just over 100 pages this definitely fits the brief for this particular ‘good intention’.

Comfortme

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Eat healthy : A book that is good for you.  This is a book that made you feel so happy that you wanted to give it a big hug:

Now this was a struggle because I could have gone for a number of books for this particular intention.  There are a lot of books over the years that I may have waxed lyrical about (*ahem, Lord of the Rings*) so I thought I’d choose something unexpected.  Unexpected because although I loved this book I don’t think I’ve banged on about it anywhere near enough.  The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow is a beautiful book.  It’s a book that overwhelmed me with feelings.  The writing is lush – I kid you not – and it gave me that feeling, I’m sure you all know what I mean, where it felt like the author had written this especially for little old moi!  (Also, talking recently of ‘cover catnip’ – will you just take a look at this gorgeous cover:TenThousandDoors

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BusyBees

Fulfill your ambitions : A book that has a lot going on.  Plenty of different threads, points of views and action but everything eventually comes together in a very satisfactory fashion:

Again, I had a few books that I could have used for this one.  Books that feel so busy that at first they feel like they’re going to overwhelm you with their ‘busyness’.  The book I’ve eventually chosen is a book I loved.  There is plenty going on here but it’s all so good and the imagination on display is absolutely outstanding.  The Empire’s Ruin by Brian Staveley (#1 Ashes of the Unhewn Thrown).  This was already on my ‘best of‘ list but I couldn’t help using it for this particular prompt because it has a slew of wonderful characters, a fantastic plot and it really does take the reader on a voyage of discovery.

Empires

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TheSimpsons

Spend more time with the family : A series of books that you love and that has developed more than you ever anticipated:

I had a few series of books that I could have used for this.  Series where you come to love the characters over the course of time.  Good examples are the Harry Potter series of books where the characters literally went through school as the series progressed, The Toby Daye books are another fine example as are the Sookie Stackhouse books but eventually, I couldn’t help myself.  I had to go for the Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs which I’m now waiting for the next release (#13)(I’ve not listed all the covers for this one but below are a small selection:

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Tick off an item from your bucket list : Reduce the tbr.  Choose a book from Mount TBR that you would like to read this year:

This is an easy one – well, I say that but I’m actually going to include two books here that I’m really keen to read –

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant.  I’ve seen some excellent reviews for this one and I’m excited to read it.  

And, December Park by Ronald Malfi because I read and loved his latest book Come With Me (in fact it’s on my ‘Best of’ list this year and so I wanted to check out some of his earlier books.

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Save money : A book that was an absolute bargain – you would have to be crazy in fact not to have bought this book:

The Hollow Places by T Kingfisher is the last bargain I bought for Kindle at only £1.99.  It sounds amazing and I can’t wait to pick it up.  Here’s the blurb:

A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel.

Pray they are hungry.

Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become.

HollowPlaces

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IMG_8029Get Organised : A book with a glossary, maps, useful words, lists of people – this book is one helpful book, it wants you to know ALL the things and it’s not afraid to use footnotes and other devices to help you do so:

Again, I could easily have used Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings here because he certainly provides a lot of additional information.  However, I’ve used another book that I read a few years ago and that really stood out to me because of its use of footnotes.  I confess that this method of writing doesn’t always work for me but on this occasion I just went with it and the additional information added a perfect extra level of detail to the story – although I confess I didn’t read all the footnotes *hangs head with abject shame*.  My book is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Strange&amp;Norrell

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IMG_8024-1Start a new hobby : A book that is outside your comfort zone.  Perhaps everyone was raving about this book, maybe it was over-hyped, you hesitated to pick it up in fact, but when you did – you loved it:

Finally, a book that is outside of my comfort zone.  To clarify, for the most part I read SFF, I also like to read a little crime/thriller/horror and also some history.  So, I’m not really going to include those in books that fall outside my usual reading zone.  I’ve gone for romance.  I could have actually kept this within the fantasy genre and opted for the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon but I’ve decided to go for something different.  The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.  I loved this book when I read it and still have lovely memories of it – it would be interesting to reread it actually to see if I still feel the same way.

Thebronze

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That’s my top ten Good Intentions Book Tag. 

I’m going to tag a few bloggers but, obviously, no pressure at all to take part.  Also, if you’re not tagged but would like to take part please feel free to join in and drop me a link so I can check out your answers.  Here’s to good intentions for 2022.

Books, Bones and Buffy 

The Bibliosanctum

Space and Sorcery

Powder and Page

Bookforager

Cupcakes and Machetes

Confessions of a YA Reader

Greg’s Book Haven

The Bookworm Chronicles

Way Too Fantasy

Evelyn Reads

Dab of Darkness

Pages and Tea

The Captain’s Quarters

Brainfluff

Lexlingua

The Critiquing Chemist

One More

Bookertsfarm

Book Den

 

 

 

Sunshine Award 2019

I very rarely take part in award posts these days – primarily because I forget I’ve been nominated if I’m going to be completely honest, but I was pleased to be nominated by Medieval Otaku and I like the questions so I thought I’d give this one a try.  So, firstly, my thanks for the nomination and let’s press on with the Q&A.

Here are the rules:

Sunshine blogger award.png

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so that other people can visit them – affirmative
  • Answer the 11 questions put to you by the nominator – done
  • Nominate 11 bloggers of your choosing and provide them with a new set of 11 questions to answer – no and yes.  I’m not going to nominate anyone but suggest that if you’d like to have a go at these questions then feel free
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts – see above
  • List the rules and display The Sunshine Blogger Award logo within your post or on your blog site. – done.

To the questions – and don’t spare the horses:

1. Are you fluent in a second language or studied enough to understand basic conversations in one or more?

Sadly, no.  I do have what I call ‘tourist’ French.  I can make myself understood, ask for directions, order a drink, but, I usually go into a bit of a spin if then somebody thinks I can understand and starts conversing with me at great speed.  I have a little bit of Italian and a little bit of Spanish and I am also trying my hand at Portuguese – but it’s very early days.

2. What is your favorite American comic strip?

This is a tough question – I think I would have to go with Peanuts.

Peanuts

3. If you had to live the rest of your life in another country, which would you choose?

This would probably be somewhere with a slightly warmer climate than the UK – and maybe with less rain.  Spain, Portugal, Greece.  Difficult to pin just one down.

4. What is your favorite city?  Or do you hate/love metropolitan areas so much that you can’t choose one?

I have a number of cities that I love. Paris and Venice immediately spring to mind.  Plus I love Granada.  But, if forced to choose I think i’d have to say Paris.  I had such a fantastic time there, it’s a beautiful city and there is simply so much to see.  Great food, fantastic wine, amazing atmosphere.  Art, riverside walks or boat trips, markets.  I’ll stop there.

Paris at night.jpg

5. What is your favorite manga?

Well, unfortunately manga is not something that I really watch – not because I don’t like it, just I don’t really watch a lot of tv and then when I do I tend to binge watch a whole series.  I’ve watched plenty of anime and love the Studio Ghibli films.

6. What manga or light novel are you reading currently?  Or, what novel are you reading now if you’re reading neither of those two?

In terms of light novels I did start Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series and I’m really enjoying that and would like to complete the series at some point.

7. If you could have any book or movie remade into an anime, which would it be?

I have two suggestions for this one.

GirlWith

Firstly, The Girl with Ghost Eyes (The Daoshi Chronicles #1) by M.H. Boroson.  This is a fantastic book and I think it would be perfect for adaptation and here’s why:

It’s the end of the nineteenth century in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and ghost hunters from the Maoshan traditions of Daoism keep malevolent spiritual forces at bay. Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned Daoshi exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes—the unique abil

ity to see the spirit world. Her spiritual visions and the death of her husband bring shame to Li-lin and her father—and shame is not something this immigrant family can afford.

When a sorcerer cripples her father, terrible plans are set in motion, and only Li-lin can stop them. To aid her are her martial arts and a peachwood sword, her burning paper talismans, and a wisecracking spirit in the form of a human eyeball tucked away in her pocket. Navigating the dangerous alleys and backrooms of a male-dominated Chinatown, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer’s ritual summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.

With a rich and inventive historical setting, nonstop martial arts action, authentic Chinese magic, and bizarre monsters from Asian folklore, The Girl with Ghost Eyes is also the poignant story of a young immigrant searching to find her place beside the long shadow of a demanding father and the stigma of widowhood. In a Chinatown caught between tradition and modernity, one woman may be the key to holding everything together.

Secondly,  Julie Kagawa’s Shadow of the Fox series – which is also proving to be a great series packed with imagination.  The synopsis is below:

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

8. Is a zombie or vampire apocalypse more frightening to you?

Definitely zombie.  They just give me the creeps massively – plus vampires are not totally stupid – they know they can’t kill us all because we’re meals on legs.  Hey, they might even be tofu eating, sparkly vampires who just want to get along with us humans.  You never know.

9. What counts as your most controversial post?

Haha – I’m not sure if I’ve had a really controversial post.  I do take part, as a judge, in the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off competition and some of these posts can be quite highly anticipated – particularly when choosing a finalist.

10. Do you ever write a draft of a post with pen and paper before typing it up on the computer?

I used to do this but very rarely these days.  It was more note keeping than anything else but I just tend to open a draft document and make notes there.  I do keep lists of my upcoming reads and tend to carry around a notebook with all things book related plus lots of sketches and doodles.

11. Are you more of a tea or coffee person–or neither one?

I drink both.  Coffee in the mornings – to wake me up. Usually two cups but no more after that.  Tea in the afternoon.  Coffee keeps me awake at night.

Thanks again for the nomination.