Hello everyone, long time no see! Due to a tough semester and especially our finals at university, we’ve both been pretty inactive in terms of reviewing and blogging. However, during our most stressful month, a lovely message reached us: Jasmine over at Reading With Jax aka Life Of A Simple Reader has nominated us for the Liebster Award! Not only is this award a great means for bloggers to discover other blogs, it’s also a way to recognize the effort that goes into creating and actually running a blog (because it sure doesn’t stop after the groundwork, yikes). When it started out, the Liebster Award was awarded to blogs with less than 2000 readers, but apparently it has become so popular, that this number has been lowered to 200 readers – in other words, either “newbie” or simply less known blogs. Our blog is not even a year old (look how he’s grown, though! Our smol son!), so the fact that someone who likes and reads our blog has nominated us for such an award is the dream.
First of all, we’d love to extend our warmest thanks and tightest hugs to our dear fellow blogger for doing us the honour of nominating us for the Liebster Award! Jasmine is a lovely person with whom we both love to interact in the book community. We love her blog for its diverse posts, ranging from reviews to tags, and for its simple but neat and easily navigable layout. You should definitely check out her own blog as well (link featured above) 🙂
So, we’ve been nominated, but now what? Well, the Liebster Award involves a certain set of rules which are to be followed if nominated or as a new participant.
- Thank the person who nominated you.
- Answer the 11 questions they gave you.
- Nominate 11 blogs.
- Give them 11 questions to answer.
Our answers to Jasmine’s 11 questions
- What does blogging mean to you?
Chantal: We’re starting off with a deep one. I could write a whole essay on this but basically, blogging is an extremely important part of my life. It allows me to share my love of reading, to get to know new people, to communicate with others who understand where I’m coming from when I rave or rant about a book. But it’s also meaningful in other parts of my life. I am proud to meet people in my “real life” and say that I’m a book blogger, that there are people out there who care about my opinion and take the time to read my (often very long) reviews means so much to me. Blogging has helped me build my confidence and become more outspoken and open in my everyday life. And it has also helped me through some really dark time, so I will forever be grateful to have found this community <3
Nina: When I started my first sloppy, three-line review on GR, I never thought I’d one day refer to myself as a book blogger. To me, blogging is a means of restructuring my thoughts on a book and thinking about its content in-depth, but it’s also a form of creativity and expression. I’ve noticed that I use both blogging and bookstagramming as a means of emotion regulation, so it also has a more personal component to it, as Chantal has already implied. Blogging involves working side by side with my friend and co-blogger with whom I started this blog, which I love! It has opened so many doors to the book community, be that through reviewing, discussing, gushing about anticipated reads, or even just posting photos of books on our Instagram account.
2. Which book series that has a promising beginning but ends up terribly for you?
Chantal: I had to really think about this one and I admit that I don’t have an answer for this that fits perfectly, mostly because I am the literal worst at finishing off series. I just always lose interest halfway through. But a duology where I loved this first book but was quite disappointed by the sequel is The Wrath and the Dawn. The Rose and the Dagger certainly wasn’t terrible, but it just wasn’t as engaging and well-written as the first one.
Nina: I loved both Blood Red Road and The 5th Wave but both of these series ended with terrible final instalments in which everything went to shit, so there’s that.
3. Which book changes your life tremendously?
Chantal: Uff, this is so difficult! I don’t think there are any books that truly changed my life in a big manner, however, there have definitely been novels that have impacted me in a positive or negative way. The Twilight Saga made me discover my love for YA for which I am grateful, but the series also had a terrible impact on my development and part of me wishes I had never read it. The Mortal Instruments series and the Precious Stone trilogy (Ruby Red) changed the way I engage with books and were the first novels that made me fangirl, have OTPs and fictional crushes. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is the reason I discovered Booktube which lead me to Goodreads which eventually lead me to blogging.
Nina: Well, you might find this answer lame and stereotypical, but Harry Potter got me into reading after my mother had thrown hundreds of books at me which I hadn’t finished or even started. After that, I started devouring the local library. A book that may not have changed my life but certainly my perception of it is Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. I had a parent suffering from severe depression at the time, and this book’s main character struggles to keep her life from imploding when her mother falls mentally ill with depression, so this book made me understand that it was alright. It was alright to have one of your parents not get out of bed in the morning. It was alright to be mad at the other parent “for not doing something”. It was alright to feel sad and angry at the same time. Saving Francesca validated my troublesome feelings as a young teen, so in a way, I guess it did change my life.
4. If you had a chance to dine out with your favorite author, who will it be?
Chantal: I know it’s cliché but I would have to say J.K. Rowling or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Neither I would consider my favourite author (though I have read and loved the books I’ve read from them) but I just find them such inspiring personalities in other ways as well. I would love to get some personalised life advice from them, haha.
Nina: I’d definitely crash Chantal’s night out with the aforementioned authors, because Rowling and Adichie know where it’s at. However, if I had to pick a different author, I’d probably go with Melina Marchetta because I need to know how she hits the right tone with mental health in each and every of her books. Or Leigh Bardugo, so I could convince her that we needed a Nina-and-Nikolai centred book sooner rather than later.
5. Which fictional world/place would you want to live in?
Chantal: The Harry Potter world is a given. I would love to live in DoSaB’s mystic Prague or gorgeous Morocco. If it was only a short expedition Mistborn’s Luthadel and The Lies of Locke Lamora’s Camorr would be really cool to experience. Other candidates would be Khorasan from TWatD (the food!) and the world of Uprooted. Also, I would give my little finger to be able to travel to the island of Thisby in November, the little island in The Scorpio Races, and see the water horses race.
Nina: A Darker Shade of Magic‘s Red London and what Chantal said.
Chantal: Red London, YES!
6. Who are your favorite OTPs?
Chantal: The older I get and the more I read the less OTPs I have. But some big ones are: Sydney and Adrian from Bloodlines, Karou and Akiva and Zuzana and Mik from DoSaB, Ronan and Adam and Blue and Gansey from the Raven Cycle, Laurent and Damen from the Captive Prince trilogy and Achilles and Patroclus from The Song of Achilles.
Nina: Chantal has a point. I’d say have an equal amount of OTPs, though, but I’m just less fangirly about them, because apparently adulthood makes you lame and boring. To most of Chantal’s OTPs, I’d add Kestrel and Arin from The Winner’s trilogy, probably all the couples from Six of Crows, Rhy and Alucard from the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, and Sophie and Luca from the Blood for Blood series.
7. What’s your most anticipated book this year that disappoints you?
Chantal: The Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh hands down. There are others, but this one I had really high expectations for and it ended up being a two star. Very disappointed.
Nina: In addition to Flame in the Mist which couldn’t meet my expectations, I was so disappointed by Caraval by Stephanie Garber. The hype created a bubble ready to burst with this one.
8. If you could change ONE thing about a book, what and which book will it be? Why?
Chantal: I would change the ending/second half of The Upside of Unrequited. This is a book I have simultaneously so much love and disappointment for. I related to Molly so much and adored the first half but really didn’t like the message that was sent in the end and the whole book ended up being a bit cliché. I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to spoil anyone who hasn’t read the book.
Nina: I’ll have to go with a more generic answer for this one. I’d probably change every character’s fate who has ever suffered a cheap, pointless death which does nothing for the book except creating a shock effect.
9. What are some of your all time favorite books?
Chantal: I mean, we are literally on mine and Nina’s blog here so it’s the best place to find some of our favourite books (for example in our monthly recommendations). But a very condensed list of some of my favourites are: The Raven Boys, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Winner’s Curse, Vicious, And I Darken, The Final Empire, The Likeness, Everything I Never Told You, All The Light We Cannot See and The Child Thief.
Nina: Some I do not have in common with Chantal are Still Alice, Saving Francesca, Six of Crows, Inferno (sequel in the Blood for Blood series), Prince’s Gambit, and Golden Son/Morning Star. And basically all the seven HP books, though I think that goes without saying.
10. Do you read fanfiction? Why or why not?
Chantal: No, I don’t read (or write) fanfiction. To be honest, it’s something I’ve always been interested in but just never fully understood or got into. With all the books on my shelf I just prefer reading published novels that I know will be of high quality and I’ve rarely felt the inclination to read more about a book/series. But if you have any recommendations for great fanfiction that you think I would enjoy, feel free to leave it in the comments!
Nina: I’m with Chantal on this one!
11. What’s your reading challenge/goal this year? How’s it going so far?
Chantal: I set my goal to 50 books this year as in the previous two years, but while I largely exceeded this number in 2015 and 2016, I’m not sure I will meet my goal this year since I don’t have any extended holidays. I’m currently 2 books behind schedule so we’ll see, but as a whole it’s been a pretty bad year for reading and blogging unfortunately 🙁 But hopefully it’ll get better in the second half of the year!
Nina: I set my goal to 50 books as well. In the face of my last year of uni before I graduate with a Master’s degree (holy crap?!), I thought it wise to tone it down a bit. I’m currently 4 books behind schedule, as exams like to fuck up my reading schedule, but I hope to get back on track during the summer, even though I’ll be busy working on my thesis and applying to post-graduate jobs. Oh yay.
Our nominations for the Liebster Award
Finding blogs who met the criteria for this award proved quite the challenge. Disclosure: We relied on numbers of followers on Bloglovin’, WordPress, or directly on the blogs to estimate the number of readers.
❀ Anna from Meet The Book World – our dear friend Anna aka Alienor has created a new blog specifically for translated and diverse reads!
❀ Eri from Airy Reads – Eri has been running her blog for a while but her beautiful pastel-coloured blog deserves more recognition! She has also just launched a project in support of Asian YA authors and authentic Asian rep called Asian YA.
❀ Silje from Booksy Tea Time – Silje has just recently created her own blog and reviews in English and Danish!
❀ Nina from Just Add A Word Book Blog – Nina runs such a neat and pretty blog! (She also has a great first name, just saying?!)
❀ Tilda from tildareads – Tilda’s blog relies on a simple style but is neat and easily navigable, and she posts great and diverse content!
❀ Lucia from Reading is My Breathing – Lucia’s blog is pretty and easy to read and she always leaves thoughtful comments and writes great reviews!
❀ Amy from Read. Dream. Live – I had the fortune of meeting Amy at YALC last year and she is such a kind person and her blog is beautiful (also very active on Instagram)!
❀ Elise from The Bookish Actress – Elise approached Nina about blogging this spring and, two months later, her newbie blog was born! Its layout really puts an emphasis on the reviews!
❀ Rachael from rachaelrexds – Rachael’s blog shines in bright colours and she focuses not only on books but also on movies and other lifestyle topics!
❀ Belinda from bookstorm reads – Belinda’s neat and tidy blog features book reviews but she also actively participates in Diversify the Verse and talks about writing!
❀ Bentley from Book Bastion – Bentley has been running his blog since February of this year and it looks absolutely remarkable! Loved browsing through his posts which are organised in a cool pattern! (Also, can we get some cheers for a male book blogger?!)
Our questions for you
- 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?
- 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?
- Have you met any fellow bloggers and reviewers in real life? If yes, describe your experience!
- Which genre do you hardly read books from at the moment but would like to read more of?
- What are your top 3 bookish pet peeves?
- 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!)
- Related to one of our recent blog posts: Can you name three characters whose characterisations describe you well?
- What are your favourite bookish friendships?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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!
We hope you enjoyed this post and though we would have loved to nominate all the cool blogs out there, we had to stick to the one’s that (we hope!) met the criteria of the Liebster Award. If you were nominated, we understand that you might not find the time to create an extensive blog post, but if you do, then we hope you have loads of fun writing, nominating, and responding to our carefully assorted questions 🙂