Liebster Award #2

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these awards posts, but I was just tagged today by the wonderful Emily and this seemed like perfect timing.  I meant to finish like, three books this week so I’d have some more reviews for you all, but I seem to be unable to finish anything these days so here we are.  Hopefully I’ll catch up on my reading over the weekend.

Rules:

  • Say thank you to the person who has nominated you for the Award.
  • Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you
  • Nominate 11 people
  • Ask the people who you have nominated 11 questions

Emily’s Questions:

What’s a book you LOVED but have never reread?

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I mean… most of my faves!  I’m not a big re-reader.  But I’ll choose a book that I do intend to reread at some point, and say Milkman by Anna Burns.  This is a truly extraordinary book that I have waxed eloquent about quite enough, I think.  But I think it could absolutely benefit from a reread.

Is there a genre (or subgenre) you tried recently and realized you’ve been missing out on and/or should read more often?

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I read Human Chain by Seamus Heaney earlier this summer and it reminded me how much I love poetry when it’s done right, which obviously everything by Seamus Heaney is.  More broadly I need to read more poetry, but I do want to read more from Heaney specifically.

How often do you visit your local library?

Not as often as I should – especially given that my local librarian follows me on Twitter (hi, Marie, if you’re reading this).  I actually LOVE libraries, especially my local one which is very cute and cozy, but I’m just constantly overwhelmed by the amount of unread books I already own.  One of my 2020 reading goals is going to be to allow myself more room for mood reading, which will hopefully mean using the library more.  Oh, and I do use Overdrive quite a lot, especially for audiobooks.

What are your most and least favorite things (one each) about where you live?

Favorite – it’s a very safe community; i.e., I don’t even lock my house when I leave for the day.  (Also, I know that nowhere is truly safe from the mass shooting epidemic in this country, but I have to confess that the thought of moving to a big city has been giving me a lot more anxiety this year than it has in the past.)

Least favorite – there are so many contenders, lol, but I was just thinking about this last night as I was driving home from the grocery store unsure whether or not I had enough feta in my fridge to make the recipe I was making for dinner – I absolutely HATE how remote everything is.  The nearest grocery store is a 15 minute drive from my house (and there’s nothing closer – like, convenience stores are not a thing in my town), the nearest shopping mall is 1 hour away, the nearest Starbucks is on another planet, the nearest LUSH store is (literally) in a different country; I’m just sick of how inaccessible everything is.

Is there a book you want to read eventually, just to say you’ve read it?

Actually War and Peace was this book for me, and now I’ve read it!  So, I don’t know.  I’m sure there are plenty of others but nothing comes to mind immediately.  Oh I guess I do want to be able to say that I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s books?  As of now I’ve read one (1).  So.  I should get on that.  Also the Bronte novels.  Have read two (2).

What’s the best weather for an afternoon of reading?

Whether I’m reading inside or outside, SUN.  I am not a ‘curl up with a book and a cup of tea when it’s storming’ kind of person.  I mean, I am, in the sense that books and tea are what I do with my free time anyway, but that kind of weather isn’t ideal and romantic to me.  If it’s dreary outside, I just fall asleep.  I am like a plant that wilts without sunshine.

What book are you most anticipating with a far out publication date (or no date announced yet)?

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I’m going to go with the new Dyachenko book – Daughter from the Dark by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, translated from the Russian by Julia Meitov Hersey.  This is publishing on February 11, 2020 from Harper Voyager.  Vita Nostra was one of my favorite reads of 2018, and even though this one isn’t a continuation of the same story, it sounds absolutely brilliant.  Summary here.

Buddy reads or readathons, and why?

Buddy reads.  I’m really not a big readathon person (which is ironic, given that I just spent August doing WITmonth and am currently co-hosting a readathon).  I just find that the only readathons that really work for me are month-long themed readathons.  Ones where you try to cram in a bunch of reading in a smaller time frame just stress me out; believe it or not, I actually hate planning my life around reading; reading is something I do in my down time.

Anyway, that was all very anti-readathons, but I am also pro-buddy reads!  I prefer the kind of buddy read where you both loosely read the same book at the same time; I don’t love having to read a set number of pages per day.  But I love discussing a book with someone as we go along and comparing thoughts at the end.

If you had to write/blog under a pseudonym, what would you pick?

I have actually thought about this and decided that I would use my middle name and my grandmother’s maiden name for the most Irish pseudonym you have ever heard – Kathleen O’Connor.

Would you feel satisfied or disappointed to actually reach the end of your TBR?

Disappointed.  I don’t want a TBR of zero.  I always want to have more books to look forward to.

Pet pictures! Or a picture of your favorite real-life creature from anywhere in the world.

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These are my lil babes – Percy (grey, a menace) and Lily (black, an angel).  They are indoor cats who are only allowed outside while supervised.  They are very sweet and very spoiled.

I tend not to tag for awards that I’ve already done more than once (plus Emily tagged all of my friends already, lol!) but if you enjoy these questions and want to answer them either in a comment or in your own post, go for it!

Happy Friday, friends x

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The Sunshine Blogger Award #6

I was nominated by the wonderful Callum for the Sunshine Blogger Award, which I’ve done quite a few times now, but his questions were great so I thought I’d go ahead and do it again.  Also, apologies that I don’t always do these awards posts when I’m tagged in them, but I am always incredibly appreciative!

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Callum’s questions:

Which author that you haven’t read yet are you most excited to try?

Ooh great question.  So many!  Sarah Moss, Laura Purcell, Sarah Perry, Colin Barrett, Colum McCann…

What’s the best book you read before you started blogging?

I suppose I have to go with my go-to answer for favorite book, which I read when I was 18 (I started blogging when I was 24, I think), Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

What book do you most want to see as a movie/TV show?

I think In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne would make a fantastic film.

Which genre do you want to explore more of?

Graphic novels.  I recently read Sabrina by Nick Drnaso which I ended up really enjoying, and I’d enjoyed Fun Home by Alison Bechdel in the past, so I’d love to check out more of this medium.

Is the Hogwarts House you’d want to be in the same as the one you think you’d actually be sorted into?

I think so!  I had a major crisis over this a few years ago – I’ve pretty much identified with Ravenclaw since first reading the series, but toward the end of college I was getting so burnt out with academia that I was starting to feel like my claims of loving learning and knowledge were fake.  But after graduating I’ve been realizing that I still do love to learn and analyze and discuss things, just not in that setting (at least, not at this point in my life).  Anyway, I’ve always wanted to be in Ravenclaw, I think I’d be a little heartbroken if the hat said anything else.

Do you have any pets?

I sure do!

These are Lily and Percy and they are my best friends.  (They’re indoor cats and only allowed outside when supervised.)

Are any of your ‘real life’ friends big readers?

It’s funny because at this point, my main group of ‘real life’ friends are actually people I met online a decade ago… we’re coming full circle.  Anyway, most of my friends do like to read on occasion.  The biggest non-blogger reader in my life though is my mom; she doesn’t read quite as much as I do but she still consistently reads around 60-80 books a year and we’re always sharing recommendations.

What read has been your biggest pleasant surprise so far this year?

That would probably have to be The Pisces by Melissa Broder.  Hannah posted a glowing review so I was tempted by it even though it didn’t seem like my kind of book at all, but I decided to request it from Netgalley on a whim and see what happened.  I got approved about 2 minutes later, read it, and fell in love with it.

What’s been your most disappointing read of the year so far?

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry.  Everything about it seems like my kind of book (contemporary Irish writer, LGBT representation, literary historical fiction, Man Booker longlisted, depressing, blurbed by Kazuo Ishiguro… COME ON) but getting through it was like pulling teeth.  It’s one of only two books I’ve rated 1 star so far this year.

Who’s your favourite music artist?

I usually say my favorite band is Pearl Jam, but my music tastes are all over the place, and ‘artist’ implies a single person rather than a band, but that’s harder for me… David Bowie, Thom Yorke, Sia, Troye Sivan, and Ben Howard all come to mind.  Who knows.

If you could live in any country other than the one you live in now, which one would it be and why?

Honestly, anywhere on earth is better than the US.  I’ve lived in Italy and really loved that experience, but I’m not sure I’d want to live there again.  But then again, the familiarity would be nice… But, I also really love Belgium and Germany.  And the UK.  So, one of those places.  I am indecisive.

My questions:

  1. What’s the worst book you had to read for school?
  2. Within your own country, where would you most like to visit that you haven’t already been?
  3. What’s the best first line of a book you’ve ever read?
  4. Do you have any tattoos and do you want any?
  5. If you watch booktube, who’s your favorite booktuber?  If you don’t watch booktube, what’s your favorite thing to watch on youtube?
  6. Which classic do you think more people should read?
  7. What would you consider the most overhyped and the most underhyped book you’ve read in the last year?
  8. Would you like to work in the publishing industry, or do you prefer to keep books and reading strictly a hobby?
  9. If you’re a writer, which author’s style do you think is most similar to your own?  If you’re not a writer, which author’s style do you connect with the most as a reader?
  10. What’s your least favorite book cover?
  11. Who’s your favorite actor/celebrity?

I’m going to try to nominate people who Callum didn’t tag so I don’t overload you guys.  And, as always, no pressure at all to do this!

Nominating: Patrick, Hannah And Her Books, Sarah, Emily, Hadeer, Ally, Aurora, Jessie.

The Mystery Blogger Award #3

I was nominated by the lovely Hannah @ I Have Thoughts On Books for the Mystery Blogger Award, and I’ve done this one a couple of times but I really loved her questions so I couldn’t resist doing it again.  Thank you Hannah!  Everyone else, go follow her if you aren’t already, that is an order.

What is Mystery Blogger Award?

“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

3 Things about me

  1. I’m in Houston right now, not by choice.
  2. I prefer hot weather to cold weather any day.  I’m like a plant – I need sunshine to live.
  3. As of five minutes ago when I purchased the ticket, I am officially going to spend a week with my friend and her family in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving!  I am so excited, I’ve never been to an island other than England.

My answers to the questions:

1. What did you study at university or what trade did you learn?

I have a degree in Italian (which comprises studies of the language as well as Italian lit and Italian history) with a minor in Art History.  Ironically, I am very dispassionate about Italian literature.  I mean, I love La Divina comedia and the Decameron and some of the other classics, but modern and contemporary Italian lit, especially 20th century stuff, is something I dislike very strongly.  Calvino is not for me.

Anyway, I literally only ended up majoring in Italian because I switched my major from Linguistics at the end of my sophomore year, and if I wanted to spend a full year abroad in Italy I didn’t have enough credits to major in anything other than Italian.  I was only like 1 class away from majoring in Art History instead, which I would have preferred since that actually is something that I’m really passionate about, but oh well.  Your undergrad major literally does not matter unless you’re learning a specific trade.  When people ask what I have a degree in and I tell them they like to smirk and say ‘and what are you planning on doing with that?’  Absolutely nothing – my plan was to go to college and I did that.  Now I have a job in the industry I want to be working in.  What exactly is the problem here?

Sorry, tangent.  I’ve just encountered that a lot this week.

2. What was your favourite book growing up? And why?

I mean… I feel like saying Harry Potter is kind of a cop out, but that’s the honest answer.  I devoured each of these books as soon as they were released.

3. If you could live anywhere, where would you?

This is such a good question.  The reason I’m still living in Vermont is because I can’t decide where I want to live.  I would love to live in Europe eventually, probably somewhere in the UK, but that’s not very realistic right now as my family are US-based and I am a homebody.  I’m a city girl at heart, so in North America I can imagine myself living in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Providence, or Montreal.

4. What is the greatest place you have ever been?

I’m lucky in that I’ve been to many beautiful places and it’s so hard to narrow it down.  I think my answer has to be Bologna Italy where I lived for a year, it feels very authentically Italian compared to the more touristy cities, and imo it has the best food of anywhere in Italy.  And it’s gorgeous, I mean, look at it.  I love that city with all my heart.

Runners up include: Brussels, Berlin, Marburg, Verona.  I love Europe.

5. Which book has recently surprised you? (Either in a good or in a bad way)

The Pisces by Melissa Broder and The Idiot by Elif Batuman both surprised me in very good ways.  I hadn’t expected either of them to be so thought-provoking and stimulating (though in very different ways – I would not recommend these 2 books to the same person).

Also – the nonfiction of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recently surprised me in a bad way.  The lack of intersectionality to both of her feminist essays was a huge disappointment.

I’m not going to nominate anyone because I’ve done this one a couple of times and I’m so tired right now and can’t come up with very good questions.  I seriously need to just sit down one day and write a list of questions for awards like this.

The Unique Blogger Award

I was nominated for the Unique Blogger Award by the wonderful Steph who you all should really go follow if you aren’t already.

The Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you
  • Answer the questions
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award
  • Ask them 3 questions

Steph’s Questions:

What is the lock screen and home screen on your phone? (I’m just curious)

Ok…. listen…… there is something you all should know about me and that is the fact that I am unapologetic Colin Farrell trash.

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(My home screen is just one of the boring default iPhone ones, I don’t like a busy home screen.)

What’s something you were really into/obsessed with when you were a kid?

Horses.  I was That Horse Girl for a decade from ages 7-17.  I worked at a barn in exchange for free riding lessons, so I spent most of my time around horses.  My horse Tommy was a white Arabian and he was very pretty:

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What was the best birthday you’ve had?

I don’t know if this is actually The Best, but my 20th birthday comes to mind.  I was at school in New Orleans, and the weather was gorgeous (around 80 and sunny which even for New Orleans is good for March) and there was some basketball thing going on in the city (lol I am clearly not a sports person because I still don’t really know what it was aside from ‘some basketball thing’) BUT that meant that there were all these free concerts going on, so two of my friends and I took the streetcar downtown and saw The Black Keys for free.

My Questions:

  • Where’s the farthest place from home that you’ve traveled to?
  • What is your favorite fictional relationship?  Either romantic or platonic.
  • What is one food that your town/state/country is known for, and do you like it?

Tagging:

Hannah — Inside My Library MindSarahKristinChelseaHadeer

The One Lovely Blog Award #3

I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Sarah – thank you!!  Everyone go check out Sarah’s blog, she’s so lovely and has great taste in books and we also like all the same horror movies, so that has to count for something.

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The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15).
  • Include this set of rules.
  • Inform your nominees.

7 Facts About Me

1. Maybe people already know this, but in case you guys don’t….. a public service announcement!!  The ‘pace’ in my username is pronounced like ‘PAH-chay,’ not the English word ‘pace.’

2. I’ve apparently watched 60 movies so far this year and I have literally no idea how that happened.

3. I don’t believe in astrology at all because I am the most un-Aries person to ever exist.  I’m not competitive, I hate conflict, I’m kind of timid, I’m not very optimistic or loud or courageous… I can definitely be impatient though.  So at least I’ve got one Aries trait.

4. I have very bad luck with cars.  I have had the following misfortunes befall me: flat tire, running out of gas, car accident, being pulled over, having my car towed, having my car damaged by the truck that towed it… ironically I am a pretty decent driver??  This is all probably proportionate to how much I drive, which is definitely more than the average person.

5. Bagels are my favorite food.

6. My Myers-Briggs type is either INFJ or INFP….. I don’t think I’m necessarily one or the other 100%.  Whether I’m more J-type or P-type depends entirely on the situation.

7. The hardest reviews for me to write are the ones where I loved the book.  I end up feeling like I’m just using the same superlative adjectives over and over.  I struggle with this even more than reviews where I just found the book sort of okay.  Those tend to be easy for me for whatever reason.  (This fact is brought to you by: the ungodly long time it took me to write my ridiculously short review of The Absolutist.)

I’m not nominating anyone as I’ve done this award before and I’ve decided to only nominate on ones that I’m doing for the first time.  Anyway, thanks again, Sarah!

The Sunshine Blogger Award #5

I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by the lovely Lauren at Comma Hangover.  Go check out her blog – there’s a cute dog to be found in that post I just linked to!

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What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

The Rules:

  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.

Lauren’s Questions:

1. What constitutes a 5-star read for you? And what was the last book you read that met that criteria?

This is such a great question.  So, for me, I don’t hold all genres to the same criteria.  I’m not going to give a thriller I absolutely loved 3 stars just because it’s not the next Great American Novel.  And I know some people have really specific criteria while rating books, almost like filling out a rubric (whenever I see someone give like ‘3.82 stars’ I’m like, what does that even mean?!), but for me it’s more subjective.  But generally something like…

Literary fiction: Challenges me, makes me think, adds something new to the genre I haven’t seen before, characters who are realistic and flawed, lyrical prose.
Mysteries/thrillers: Keep me on my toes, are consistently fun and engaging, characters behave in believable ways.
SFF: Usually more character driven than plot driven, parallels with relevant real world issues, engaging prose.

I mean, I read across all genres, so I could keep going with this for a while.  Anyway, the last one that met this criteria was All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan, so, literary fiction.  It certainly ticks every box of the criteria I just listed up there.

2. If you had to describe yourself in the personality of three fictional characters (books, tv, movies all accepted) who would they be and why?

Sansa Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire (INFJish, idealistic but also practical, quiet, a bit of a rebellious streak but more subtle about it), April Ludgate from Parks and Rec (sarcastic, morbid, cares about things but doesn’t want people to know she cares about things), Marius Pontmercy from Les Miserables (awkward, very deeply uncool, Trying My Best).

3. When you are traveling, what is one thing that you would be lost without?

Hmm, good question!  I actually didn’t have a smart phone the year I lived abroad, and I traveled quite a bit both in and out of Italy, so even though my gut reaction here is to say my iPhone, I think I’d survive… I mean, paper maps exist.  So.  There’s that.  Let’s go with my glasses.  What’s the point of traveling if I can’t see??

4. If you could be a magical witch or wizard, or a prodigy at one particular skill, which would you want to be and why?

Oh, good question… I’d probably go with magic because then couldn’t I just make myself be good at things?  Like, I wish I were a really good singer, but there’s probably a magic spell for that, right?!

5. What are your top three books to read by the end of 2017?

Oh god…….. The Absolutist by John Boyne, An Arrow’s Flight by Mark Merlis, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

6. If a fictional character could cook you one meal, who would it be and what would they cook?

Li-yan from The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See can cook me a traditional Chinese meal and then make me a cup of pu’er tea.  I’ve wanted to try it ever since reading this book.

7. What is your favorite article of clothing?

Good question…. probably this navy blue sweater that I got at a Ralph Lauren outlet store a few years ago.  I wear it nearly to death every winter.

8. What is the best first line you’ve ever read in any work of literature?

“Rage — Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds,
and the will of Zeus was moving toward its end.
Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed,
Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles. . . .”

– The Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles.  I know you all are shocked.

9. How do you feel about reading classics? Are there any you feel like you want to read in the future?

They’re the worst… just kidding.  I love classics a lot.  Of course I want to read more in the future!!!  Hadeer recently mentioned doing a buddy read of Wuthering Heights next month, so that’ll probably be my next classic after I finish War and Peace.

10. Do you use bookmarks? Show us your favorites from your collection.

Yes I do, but I don’t have a particularly interesting collection, I just have about a hundred of the free Book Depository ones, as I get those at work all the time.

11. Do you prefer sweet or salty snacks?

Salty!!!  I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.

Since this is my fifth time doing this award, I’m not tagging anyone…. but if anyone wants to answer Lauren’s questions, which are great, consider yourself nominated!

The Mystery Blogger Award #2

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I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by the lovely Mischenko at Read Rant Rock & Roll – thank you!!!  If you don’t already follow her you absolutely should because she is super sweet and writes wonderful posts.  This is my second Mystery Blogger Award – first is here.

How Does It Work:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate up to 10 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Things About Myself:

1. I’m someone who can put a book down at any point and tbh I don’t fully understand people who are such sticklers about needing to get to the end of the chapter.  Like… what if it’s dinner time and you still have 30 pages left, do you just starve??  Do you never bring books with you to waiting rooms or places where you have a few minutes to read at a time??  Explain your ways to me???  (I guess YA lit tends to have shorter chapters, so maybe this is an adult lit thing?)

2. I don’t drink coffee but I do drink a ridiculous amount of tea.

3. When I ‘graduated’ elementary school (or whatever) I was voted ‘best handwriting’ in my class and it is a title I strive to live up to every day.

Five Questions from Mischenko:

1. Is there anything that you don’t enjoy about blogging?

Okay, so, 95% of the time I actually love writing reviews – I find it really helpful in getting my thoughts together and I just love talking about books.  That remaining 5% are times when I read a book and I just don’t really have anything to say, where writing reviews is a bit like pulling teeth – and whenever this happens to me it always seems to be with ARCs, i.e., books that I actually need to review.  So that’s always frustrating.  But I guess enjoying myself 95% of the time isn’t too bad.

2. What’s your favorite season and why?

Summer – I’m not a massively outdoorsy person but I still love being outside when it’s warm, and I like doing things like kayaking and playing tennis outside.  Also I love how green it is.

3. What’s one of your favorite reads this year so far?

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne.

4. What do you love doing most: reading, watching movies &TV, listening to music, or something else?

This will come as a shock to everyone, but, reading.  I mean… there is a reason I’m a book blog and not a film blog.  I hardly ever watch tv or movies… and I listen to music when I’m driving (admittedly that is quite a lot as I have a super long commute) but that’s pretty much it.

5. What are you most afraid of?

Okay, I’m a weirdo, but my biggest fear is actually vomiting.  I had a really traumatic experience with it when I was younger and have been emotionally scarred ever since.  (Not even really joking lol.)

My Best Post:

Okay it may not be my ‘best’ but I am actually pretty proud of my Fancasts posts that I did for T5W last week.


I actually think I’m going to skip the nominations on awards that I’ve already done before, because I can never remember who I tag in these things anyway, and coming up with questions is hard.  But if you want to answer Mischenko’s questions, consider yourself nominated!