Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

OK, maybe we are a little over the mid-year mark but who cares. I haven’t blogged in months so I’m throwing out the rules whilst I find my mojo again.

And right now, I’m feeling all the mojo in books. That and I watch a fair amount of BookTube videos and this tag has been doing the rounds on there, so I decided to steal it for my own personal gain.

And you know what, I don’t have any complaints. Would you believe it? A tag post that has relevant questions, a functional title and doesn’t make my soul weep for what is left of humanity. Yes, my friends, I have found a tag post and I found it in the solace of books.

Today is a good day.

Let’s get started!

And because I actually wrote this post at the mid-year mark, I have also included a selection of “progress reports” to bring the post into the here and now.

1. Best book you’ve read so far.

29939230The Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I couldn’t wait for this book to be released in February and as soon as it was delivered to my Kindle I gobbled it up and loved every second. Top notch series. Would read again.

Runner up: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. More top notch-ery.




2. Best sequel you’ve read so far.


Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I could have gone for The Conjuring of Light for this, but in the interest of variety, I’m going for Crown of Midnight instead.

Having read the entire Throne of Glass Series this year, I can safely say this is my favourite one. Jolly good read. Shame about the rest of the series going a bit downhill afterwards though.

Runner up: The Conjuring of Light… Or if I have to pick something different probably another of the Throne of Glass series (Heir of Fire, that’ll do).

Turns out, I haven’t read that many sequels this year.



3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

32718087Behind The Mask: A Superhero Anthology by Various. 

It’s been a while since I read an anthology and this one sounds like something I’d really enjoy. I just need to pick it up and start reading it.

Runner up: Hunted by Megan Spooner. Because Beauty and The Beast retellings are my jam.

Progress report: Still haven’t read either. 


4. Most Anticipated release for the second half of the year.

34128219La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman.

Because I loved His Dark Materials so I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to get back into that world.

Runner up: Renegades by Marissa Meyer. Because humans with superpowers are also my jam.

5. Biggest disappointment.

31938963A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

It wasn’t that it was bad. It’s just didn’t live up to my expectations and that hurt my feelings.

Runner up: I have far too much choice for this question. I feel like every other book I have read this year has been a disappointment. But if we’re naming and shaming, I’m going for Beastly Bones by William Ritter. We could have been friends, but you ran out of witty humour and I can’t forgive you for that.


6. Biggest surprise.

26114523The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Because despite the somewhat slow and boring start, in the end you had me hanging on to your every word in the hopes of a happy ending that never happened.

Runner up: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. Because surprise can go the other way too. The internet said you were great. That’s the last time I take advice from the internet.




7. Favourite new author.

Is it frowned upon to say that I don’t really take notice of the author when I read a book. If a book is particularly good I might check out other books by the same author but more often than not, I couldn’t tell you who wrote the book that I’d just finished, because it’s just not something I take notice of.

8. Newest fictional crush.


9. Newest favourite character.

Again, not something I go in for. I don’t know, I just don’t care that much.

10. Book that made you cry.

None so far. Unless you want to count the tears of my soul from all the disappointment that has been this reading year.

11. Book that made you happy.


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Because there’s nothing better for your book-ego that a 600+ page book that you can read in about two days because it has been wrote in a strange multimedia format instead of prose. Boosting my ego, that’s the way to my heart.

Runner up: The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. Which I am still working my way through but there’s something feel good about some quality Sherlock time.


12. Favourite book to film adaptations you saw this year.

Um, none.

Well, I did listen to Beauty and The Beast on audiobook and then watch the new Disney re-make. That’s something. I’ve also been reading some Sherlock Holmes and watching the BBC’s Sherlock. That’s something too.

That sounds like an answer.

13. Favourite review you’ve written this year.

I’m quite fond of all my monthly wrap-ups. Between the great book discussions I get to have in the comments, the Show Us Your Books link up and my witty jokes, what is there not to enjoy about them.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received).

This one and this one are alright looking.

Pass. Again, another thing I don’t really care for in a book.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

If I’m being pedantic, I’d say there are no books that I need to read before the end of the year, but there’s plenty that I’d like to read. There’s audiobooks I want to get to, stand-alones that I’d like to check out, series to start, series to continue or finish and anything else that tickles my fancy.

Let’s go the whole hog for the final question and make a completely unrealistic list of book goals!

Series I’d like to continue with.

Progress report: I have finished The Thief’s Daughter and A Symphony of Echoes, I’m also half way through The Assassin’s Blade.

Series I’d like to start.

Progress report: have started none of these. 

Stand-alones I’d like to get to.

Progress report: likewise. Have read none of these.

Audiobooks I’d like to listen to.

Progress report: The Lost Hero has been listened to and enjoyed. 

Am I going to get around to all of these? Absolutely not, but a girl can dream.

You know, I might do some more of these book related tag-things. Just for the funsies. I’m getting into waffling on about books. But tell me, what’s been your biggest disappointment and biggest surprise of the year?

Props to Chami and Ely for the original creation.


The Furry Friend Tag

Between the last time I mentioned anything about this hairy beast, my many-months long blog break and now, it’s safe to say that Hairy Beast has grown quite a bit.

It’s time to chit-chat about her some more.

So without further delay, I present to you, the most original of ways to talk dog: The Furry Friend Tag.

1) What is your pet’s name?

Borders Make My Day Partner Around the World. Or “Moxie” for short.

We only use her obnoxious name for official items of business such as registering to vote and renewing her driving licence.

2) What kind of pet is it and what breed?

Dog. 100% dog.

Border Collie. 100% too.

Born and bred from a dainty mother and a hairy beast of a father.

3) How long have you had your pet friend?

As of right now, seven months. Seven long and hard months filled with stress, tears, numerous threatenings about being sold to the sausage factory, unsolicited dog advice in multiple languages and, occasionally, some laughter and smiles.

4) How did you get your pet?

Breeder. And that’s that.

I’m aware this risks opening a juicy can of worms and that’s OK. I just didn’t fancy bogging this post down with that kind of talk, the comments, however, that’s a free for all. Go nuts for doughnuts down there if you so wish.

5) How old is your pet?

Nine months. Almost spot on actually.

6) What are the nicknames that you call your pet?

Nicknames include: Mox, Dog, Dog-Face, Moxieke and puppy-tje – for a Flemish spin on things – as well as a collection of more unsavoury terms.

7) What are some quirky things about your pet’s personality?

One. Dog-Face is gullible enough that I can convince her that the worming tablets are a treat for high five-ing me.

Two. Dog also enjoys a bit of fly chasing despite rarely managing to catch said fly. Unless the fly is on the window, then she cracks it over the head with a paw and eats him. No questions asked.

Three. When Dog-Face is in doubt of how to get something you have, it’s time for “try everything and hope something sticks”. The pattern is usually sit down, lay down, sit back up, maybe try a half hearted attempt at rolling over, sit back up again, sit pretty, wave a lot and then just go back to laying down and moaning loudly. If there something she can grab nearby, she might even grab that and throw it at you.

Four. It is paramount that one must bark at least once when placed in her pen in the evening. It is important to always double check to see if the new rule of “when Moxie barks, Moxie gets” has finally been added to the list. It hasn’t.

Five. The day we do the food shop, is always the best day of the week. Inspecting the shopping is a serious business and always includes licking anything that is frozen and nibbling the ends of the spring onions. Sometimes we accidentally mistake the limes for new balls and they get a little battered before finally making it into the fridge.

8) What does your relationship with your pet mean to you?

Now that is a loaded question. I’d be lying if I said it meant all things wonderful to me, because it doesn’t.

It means a butt-load of hard work. It means putting up with strangers who feel the need to call out to my dog whilst we are walking, who blatantly ignore me when I ask them not to pet her or to at least approach her in a calmer manner, or just putting up with children who like to follow us as we walk around the park. It means a butt-load of stress on top of the hard work. It means always taking two steps forward and anywhere from three to fifteen steps back. It means unrealistic expectations, bouts of comparison-itis and feeling like you might just want to throw in the towel altogether.

Sometimes it means booking a spontaneous trip to the In-Laws for two weeks and leaving dog and husband at home so you can wash the dog smell out of your clothes and attempt to get a new perspective on life.

Sometimes this relationship with your pet is the worst thing ever. Sometimes it’s alright though.

Other times it’s going out for a family walk on the weekends. Or it’s watching furry-four-legs over here climb up on logs and sit there looking oh so pleased with herself. It’s watching her dive under the waterfall to get soaked but refusing to walk through puddles on the path. Maybe it’s getting your feet warmed whilst she sits next to the desk chair or better yet, getting a dog tongue in the ear because nothing says “I’m glad you’re home” better than a wet-willy.

Sometimes I envy those people and their dogs that I see calmly walking by. Sometimes I spend far too much time focussing on all the things my dog can’t do rather than all the things she can. Sometimes I see only problems, other days I see a future of family hikes and photos of my dog sat on things.

Who knows. Our relationship is complicated, but at least it isn’t boring.

9) What are some of your favourite past times with your pet?

Hands down, long walks and dog training.

I can give or take snuggles on the sofa, I actually prefer her to sit under my desk at my feet whilst I’m doing things. Or laying calmly  on “bed” whilst I prepare dinner or clean up the kitchen. I like the company of a dog that lays quietly out of the way.

That’s why training and long walks are where all the fun happens.

Disappointingly, this tag provides me no place to waffle on about all the irrelevent (and relevant) commands and tricks I’ve taught Dog.

I’ll just mention a few here because it always makes me smile to tell people of the silly things I have spent my unemployed life teaching my dog to do.

We’ve got the classics of course:

— sit, down, wait and come
— walk to heel (in a stay by my side and don’t wander off kind of way)
— let go/leave it (depending on the item, leave it is a unconditional “don’t touch it” command)
— go pee pee
— off you go (there’s no galavanting until I say so)
— bed (my generic, stay put on any blanket or mat until told otherwise)

We’ve got the semi-useful ones:

— get it (*points to item*, dog picks up item and brings it over)
— hold and bring it with you
— cover (because why not make down more complicated by getting behind my legs or under the bench we are sitting on)
— up, off and under (sometimes directions are needed)
— touch with nose (eventually she’ll be able to turn on the lights, but for now it also works to get her close to things she is unsure about and realise that they are just another stupid garden statue or a fire hydrant)
— go find Kris (AKA stop bothering me and go and bother Kris instead)

And we’ve got the totally pointless but no less fun ones

— sock (as in, please remove my socks for me)
— spin and twist (if you are going to turn, it might as well be in both directions)
— high five, high ten and wave
— middle (who doesn’t need a dog standing between their legs)
— back (take it from me, watching dogs walk backwards is always smile-worthy)
— get “Brian” (because there are times when I desperately need her to bring me a giant stuff broccoli)

There’s more, but I think I’ve buffed up my dog-ego quite enough for one day.

And done. Everything you may have wanted to know about Dog. Any more questions? Fire away! Maybe there’s a Dog-Face Q&A in your future if you ask enough questions. Oooh, possible Dog birthday post idea right there!


The Three Things Tag

Have I mentioned how much I think tag posts are ridiculous enough for it to become common knowledge yet?

I will mention it here again, just in case. Tag posts are ridiculous.

They are ridiculous in their subject matter, the amount of questions one is expected to answer, their never-ending internet presence and, my most hated aspect of them, their unrealistic hypothetical situations which you must choose from before you implode.

The day I come across a person whose only task in life is to choose between living in the desert with a racoon or staying in every Thursday night at their best friend’s grandmother’s house with no internet access, I will take everything back and proclaim my love for tag posts.

Until then, I shall live my life as a glutton for punishment and occasionally do a tag post here and there on the ol’ blog, for your entertainment and my pent-up rage. It is a win win for both of us.

What tag are we going for today? Today we are doing the Three Things Tag, stolen from Bev whose blog you are now obliged to visit to read her version of the same tag!

Let’s get started.

Q1: Three things I would never give up…

Hygiene, bananas and my camera. 

Q2. Three favourite vegetables…

Broccoli, cabbage and more broccoli and cabbage. I like my vegetables green.

Q3. Three shows I watched from beginning to end…

Originally the question also mentioned something about faithfully watching, but I took that out. So the question is now: three shows I’ve have watched all the way through.

House: well worth my time.
Dexter: worst. ending. ever.
Sherlock: totes great. Even on the third – cough, fifth, cough – time.

Q4. Three places I want to visit inside the US…

One of the many places where all the nature happens. Washington DC again. And a really big Whole Foods store where I can buy vegan stuff.

life as unusuals blog 3 days in washington dc

Q5. Three places I want to visit outside of the US…

Scotland, Scandinavia and New Zealand. That will do for today’s decision.

Q6. Three things I always have with me…

The clothes on my back, everything else has been left behind plenty of times but I never leave the house naked.

Three things I have most of the time are my camera, my phone and my husband. Oh and my dog, who is at least 10kg bigger than she was in that photo.

Q7. Three things that are always in my car…

Ha! I wish I had a car.

Let’s change this to: three things that are always on my bike…

My bike lock (gotta stop those thieves), my speedo-thing and that is it.

Q8. Three most recent phones calls were to/from…

The UK, the man who is coming to service my boiler – not a euphemism for Kris – and probably the UK again.

Q9. Three books I read and loved in college…

I never read books in college, unless we are counting the OCR revision guide for Biology, but somehow, I don’t think so.

Q10. Three most often used makeup products…

I was about to say that I never wear makeup anymore, but that is not strictly true. I bought myself some for the first time in about two years last month just because I fancied wearing it again. So far, I don’t have any firm favourites and chances are I never will, because it’s just not my thing. Saying that, I am enjoying it more this time than I ever did before so who knows.

Let’s just rewrite this question: Three most often used products…

I will keep it health / beauty related so it is not too unfair to the tag post.

My top three products are: coconut oil, Montagne Jeunesse face masks and Jason Aloe Vera Shampoo and Conditioner. All cruelty free and vegan, because that’s how I roll.

Q11. Three things that make me laugh…

Dogs, Belgians and my own witty jokes.

Q12. Three things that make me cry…

Stubbing my big toe, stubbing my other big toe and forgetting to put the soft plastics recycling out and having to wait another 5 weeks for the next collection.

And, end. That wasn’t all bad; being restricted to three things really inhibits my self-expression though. Next time, I am going with broad questions. If you have a tag post that you have done recently, or think I might like, leave me the link in the comments!