Book Tag: The A to Z Bookish Survey

stack of books, Aspasia S. Bissas
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I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished the first draft of a new story set in the Love Lies Bleeding universe and inspired by true events! Details and cover reveal to come–make sure to follow or subscribe so you won’t miss out…

In the meantime, it’s always fun to take part in a book tag, and this one found its way to me via A.M. Molvik’s Ramblings

Author You’ve Read The Most From:

Isabel Allende. Love her work. Close second: Ilona Andrews, if only because the Kate Daniels series has so many books in it.

Best Sequel Ever:

I’ll go with Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. You can’t go wrong with more Alice.

through the looking glass, Aspasia S. Bissas
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Currently Reading:

The Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus (I’m trying to read more Classical Lit).

Drink Of Choice While Reading:

Water or tea, I guess, which are my drinks of choice most of the time anyway.

tea and reading, Aspasia S, Bissas
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E-Reader Or Physical Book?

Mainly physical books, but an e-reader is perfect for travel or commuting (or school–I wish I’d had one when I was lugging around textbooks every day).

e-reader or physical books, Aspasia S. Bissas
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Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Been Friends With In High School:

Marco Alisdair from The Night Circus, or maybe Klaus Baudelaire (A Series of Unfortunate Events).

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. It caught my eye in a secondhand shop and was the first book of hers I read. Now she’s one of my favourite authors.

Chile, Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende
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Hidden Gem Book:

Find a book by an indie author. Does the book’s description sound interesting? If yes, then enjoy that hidden gem!

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Aside from learning how to read, maybe it was the first time I read a difficult book and really got it.

Just Finished:

The latest (and it seems, last, alas) Kate Daniels book (Magic Triumphs) by Ilona Andrews.

so many books, aspasia s. bissas
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Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

If the story is interesting to me, I’ll read just about anything. That said, however, I have no interest in abusive relationships portrayed as “romance.” I’m also tired of dystopian fiction–I think we’re all getting enough of that in reality.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

Probably Ulysses (it felt like the longest, anyway).

Major Book Hangover Because Of:

The Good: Every time I finished a Harry Potter book, and ultimately when I finished the entire series.

The Bad: When I finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and was left wondering wtf I just read (Harry’s name might be on the cover, but this book does not deserve that title).

The Ugly: A series I finished not too long ago that was so bad I’m still reeling. I posted about it here.

book hangover, Aspasía S. Bissas
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Number of Bookcases You Own:

25 (which is one reason why I’m not a fan of open concept design–I need walls!)

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

I’ve re-read a number of books, but the one I probably re-read the most was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Every time a new book came out, I’d read the entire series again. Since Deathly Hallows (the last book) came out, I’ve re-read the entire series a few more times.

Preferred Place To Read:

Somewhere quiet and comfortable with good lighting.

reading in a cozy spot, Aspasía S. Bissas
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Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A Book You’ve Read:

Not a single quote, but a passage from Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews:

“In basic terms, a fractal is a system that doesn’t become simpler when analyzed on smaller and smaller levels….It doesn’t end….It can’t be explained by mathematical analysis, so humanity, as it so often does, declared it to be a mathematical curiosity and swept it under the rug. Except the fractal occurs again and again….Left to its own devices, nature defaults to a fractal. A human settlement is a fractal. It is a complex system with randomly interacting components that is adaptive on every level. The pattern of the evolution of a single cell to complex organism is a fractal. The way man approaches his quest for knowledge is a fractal. Think of it: biology, the study of living things. A simple concept…”

A straight line appeared on the floor.

“As man accumulates knowledge, the volume of information becomes too much. He feels the need to subdivide it.”

The line split into three branches marked with labels: zoology, botany, anatomy, then split again. Botany grew horticulture, forestry, plant morphology, plant systematics. Zoology splintered into zoological morphology and systematics, then into comparative anatomy, animal physiology, behavioral ecology…It kept building and building, splitting, growing, branching….

“And that’s the crux of our problem…Man can’t handle the chaos.”

I went in expecting a good story. I came away with insight into life, the universe, and the limits of the human mind (along with a good story). Not bad.

Fractal, branching fractal, the complexity of everything, Aspasía S. Bissas
Image via “Fractals in Nature,” Cosmos

Reading Regret:

That I didn’t keep a record of the books I read when I was younger. Not only have I forgotten the titles of books I read and loved (and will likely never be able to find again), but I’ll never have an accurate count of how much I’ve actually read.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

I can’t think of anything in fiction, but there’s a series of science books I started a while  back that I would like to finish (not going to happen anytime soon, though).

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

Not necessarily my top three, but three from my list of favourites (and I’ll try to stick to ones I haven’t already mentioned): Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer (graphic novel trilogy) by Van Jensen.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Reading. It doesn’t matter what or how or when–just read. Your life will be better for it–I promise. (But do yourself a favour and branch out a little–if you always read a version of the same thing, it’ll get boring after a while).

reading is magic, Aspasía S. Bissas
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Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

I don’t usually pay too much attention to new releases because I don’t mind waiting to get a book (I happily read books that are 10+ years old), but there are a couple coming out that I’m excited about: The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Elder, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, and Sacred Smoke by Amy Blackthorn.

Worst Bookish Habit:

Eating while I read, although I don’t do it much anymore. But I have stained a few books over the years (oops).

X Marks The Spot

Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

The Wars by Timothy Findley

Your Latest Book Purchase:

The last book I got was an e-book, The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana.

latest book buy, Aspasía S. Bissas

ZZZ-Snatcher Book:

Last Book That Kept You Up WAY Late:

Unfortunately it was the last book in that series I ended up hating (see “Major Book Hangover,” above). I was almost finished the book, so I decided it was worth losing sleep to find out how it all concluded. I spent most of the night reading (there was more left than I realized) and then I was so upset at the horrible decisions the author made that I couldn’t sleep at that point if I tried. I stayed awake all night, reading and then thinking about how much time I wasted on such an awful series. I would really like that sleep (and my time, money, and peace of mind) back.

books, Aspasía S. Bissas
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What’s the last book you bought? Have you lost any sleep lately to stay up reading? What’s the 27th book on your shelf? Share your answers in the comments below, or leave the link if you post this tag on your own blog 🙂

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

PS: It’s your last chance to take advantage of Smashwords’ summer sale and get Love Lies Bleeding at half off. Don’t forget Blood Magic–always free!

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, You Can Still Cope with Summer

how to beat summer heat
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Toronto is going through its usual series of summer heat waves, where temperatures reach well into the 40s (104F+). It’s hot, it’s sticky, it’s miserable. There’s an inescapable burning orb in the sky, buzzing insects in your face, and a pervasive smell of fake coconut (AKA suntan lotion, which is actually one of the pleasanter smells one encounters at this time of year). Summer can be rough, even intolerable, for a lot of people. Being of Greek descent you’d think I’d love the sun and heat. You’d be wrong. Born and raised in Canada, I’m far more tolerant of low temperatures than high ones, but even my ancestors had a word for people like me:

Ancient Greek Word of the Day: κακοθερής (kakotherēs), unfitted to endure summer heat (via Tumblr)

So what do you do when you and summer just don’t get along?

  • stay inside as much as possible during the day
  • when you have to go out, hats, parasols, and sunscreen are your friends
  • if it’s hot and you can’t cool down at home, the library is perfect (by the way, Love Lies Bleeding is now available at the Toronto Public Library! If your local library doesn’t carry it, ask them to start 🙂 )
  • movie theatres, coffee shops, museums, and art galleries are all good places to cool off for a few hours
  • look for nighttime entertainment and activities, such as concerts and festivals
  • reading is always a good (and portable) option. You’ll find endless articles about beach reads, but check out this article on alternatives to beach reading for sun haters.

Thank you, not you meme

 

Are you looking for books featuring characters that avoid the sun as much as you do? I’ve got you covered:

Ebook sale on books by Aspasia S. Bissas

Get Love Lies Bleeding for only $1.50 (seriously!) until the end of July–and don’t forget your FREE copy of Blood Magic.

How do you feel about summer? Share your thoughts in the comments…

Cheers,
Aspasía S. Bissas

beating the heat
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July E-book Sale

Ebook sale on books by Aspasia S. Bissas

Looking for your next great read? Head over to Smashwords and get Love Lies Bleeding now for 50% off! Love Lies Bleeding, a novel about delusion, obsession, and blood, that one reviewer called “abominably good!”

Don’t forget Blood Magic, a free story in the Love Lies Bleeding universe, about choices, transformation, and retribution.

E-books not your thing? You can also get Love Lies Bleeding in paperback at most online booksellers, including many independent bookshops (see full list here).

The sale is on until 31 July. Thanks for supporting indie ❤

 

Can’t Get You Out of My Head

woman reading books
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Almost three months ago I started reading a book series that I’d been meaning to get to for a while. I’d read the first book in the series years ago, but decided to re-read before (finally) continuing with the rest of the books. Although I remembered liking it at the time, I noticed a lot of issues while reading it again. A lot. Still, the main character was a good one, the story was compelling and had promise, and I already had the rest of the books. I was going to read this series.

You may have noticed I’m not mentioning the author’s name, series name, or book titles. That’s because I do not recommend them. I don’t want anyone else thinking they couldn’t possibly be that bad and deciding to find out for themselves. Don’t waste your time on these, guys. I finished the series about a month ago and can’t stop thinking about it–and not in a good way.

I am bothered. I’m bothered on a personal level as a human, on a “customer” level as a reader, and on a professional level as both a writer and editor. That awesome character from the first book? Diminished into mediocrity. It’s six books of her being chipped away at until there’s nothing left. The compelling story? Bogged down in excessive fact spewing and repetition, unnecessary/superficial side characters, and ridiculous/pointless/nonexistent plot lines. The promise the story had? Disappeared without a trace. Besides that, the end of the series was so unbelievably infuriating I still can’t get over it. It actually left me feeling personally betrayed. I’ve never so wanted to contact an author and ask them wtf they were thinking.

What do you do when something you despise gets stuck in your head? As a reader it’s difficult not to get emotionally invested, especially over the course of six 500+ page books, one of which was actually decent. As a human who needs to get on with life, though, that kind of attachment is a problem. How do you let it go?

I’m still not really sure. I can tell myself it’s “just a story,” but that doesn’t help much. It’s a story that was also an emotional investment, time investment, and an actual financial investment too, since I bought the books. But it wasn’t an investment that paid off in any way. Maybe the best thing to do is to focus on the good parts: the character’s strong beginning, the one book in the series I enjoyed, and the intellectual curiosity inspired by the setting. Maybe I should take heart that even though the author gaslit the main character (and, by extension, tried to gaslight the reader), I didn’t fall for it. That might not have been the case had I read all the books when they first came out. Maybe appreciating the little wins in a giant fail is the best–and only–way to move on.

blur close up focus ground
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How about you? Have you ever felt betrayed by an author’s choices? Have you ever disliked a book/series so much that you couldn’t let it go? How did you deal with that? Share in the comments.

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas