Tag | War and Peace Newbies Tag

Folks, I’m doing something foolish – that’s right, I’m going to try to read War & Peace again. I tried back at the start of the year and failed after 220 pages… basically, I hit the war bit and had no idea what the eff was going on or who any of these people were and, well, that tends to put a girl off reading.

Now, as you may or may not know there’s a War & Peace summer readalong happening in the next few months and I’ve decided it’s the final push to get me to try again. I was enjoying myself when I was reading it bizarrely, but I just lost momentum and got stuck. I’m really hoping that the added moral support of a readalong will help me to push through the confusion and make it to the end this time (or at least to make it to further than I got before).

What has this got to do with Tag Thursday, I hear you ask. That is a very good question. In short: Laura from Reading In Bed has planned War & Peace readalong of her own especially for newbies to the Tolstoy tome – like me! It will be starting in the first week of July running through to mid-September (perfect timing for me) and she’s also created the War and Peace Newbies Tag so all participants can get to know one another. All in all, I think it’s a great idea so I’ll be doing the tag today whilst I’m her pledging my allegiance to the flag readalong itself. So, without any further ado, let’s get on with the tag…

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Tag | Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

Folks, it’s Thursday again, and we all know the drill by now, right? It’s time for another Tag Thursday! I saw this tag over on (can you guess?) the lovely Thrice Read and, as the middle of the year is quickly creeping up on me, I thought it was high time to do this tag and reflect on how my reading has gone in this first half of the year. All in all, I think this year’s reading has been good so far but let us ponder some more searching questions and see, shall we?

Question 1 – The best book you’ve read so far in 2017

Based purely on star-ratings (and discounting re-reads) it would be the following: Wishing for Birds by Elisabeth Hewer, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, How To Stop Time by Matt Haig, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill. All brilliant for their own reasons and come highly recommended from me. (And no I couldn’t pick just one because that would be like making a parent choose which child was their favourite!)

Question 2 – Your favourite sequel of the year

Definitely A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. As the final book in a trilogy, it made me feel ALL THE THINGS and it was as equally hilarious and heartbreaking as I have come to expect from Schwab’s writing. It all turned out alright though in the end, didn’t it? I’m still not over it but it’s ok, we’ll get through it together.

Question 3 – A new release that you haven’t read but really want to

It depends entirely on what constitutes as a “new release” I think so I will chose two answers: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor which actually was released back in April (I bought it then, I just haven’t got to it yet) and the recently released The Gender Games by Juno Dawson (which I have heard so many wonderful things about but haven’t bought yet).

Question 4 – Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Definitely the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s my favourite of the Harry Potter films and quite possibly of the books (I used to say my favourite was OotP but, on re-read, I think POA has the edge) and I’m really excited to see how it is depicted visually.

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Tag | Summertime Madness Book Tag

Welcome one, welcome all, to another Tag Thursday!

*a moderate round of applause*

This week, I was all excited to bring you a summery tag since Britain was enjoying a spate of bizarrely nice and rather apt weather… the emphasis here is on the word was because, true to form, it has now turned rainy and windy and not at all summery. (Seriously, today, I experienced 3 weather conditions at the same time – blinding sunshine, wind, and storming rain – PICK ONE!) Still, let us all have our delusions as I bring you the Summertime Madness Book Tag. Quelle surprise – I found this tag via the lovely ladies over at Thrice Read so be sure to check out their blog too. Let’s dive into the tag…

1. Show a book with a Summery cover! i.e Sun, Beach etc.

I don’t have very many summery books, since I tend to read fantasy, but I think these contemporaries below do fit the bill for sun-drenched, summery looking covers:

  

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and We Were Liars and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by e. lockhart – so summery that it hurts that it’s actually raining outside now and I want to dive into all of these books instead.

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Tag | My Life in Books Tag

You know the drill – it’s Thursday, time for another Tag Thursday etc. etc. I was somewhat struggling to find a tag this week, so I went onto some of my favourite blogs and discovered this short-but-sweet tag courtesy of Stephanie at Adventures of a Bibliophile. This is the My Life In Books tag and let us all just get going on the tag because life is short and there are books to get reading!

Find a book for each of your initials.

E – (The) Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
L – Longbourn by Jo Baker
B – Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Count your age along your bookshelf: What book is it?

I’m 24 and my 24th book on the top shelf of my bookshelf is *drum roll please*… The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Pick a book set in your city/country.

I’ve only just (relatively speaking) moved to Liverpool and no one writes books about the town I’m actually from so… let’s just broaden that to books set in England so that I have many to choose from, though I’ll at least try to stick to picking a book about the North of England. I’m going to pick North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell because Milton is totally Manchester.

Pick a book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to.

There are so many places I want to see, but Italy is pretty damn high on my list – y’know, on account of wanting to see Venice before it completely sinks. So the book that represents that (and that lodged this desire to see Italy in my younger, pre-teen brain) is City of Masks by Mary Hoffman, the first in her Stravaganza series. It’s about a boy who is able to travel to an alternate history version of 16th-century Venice when he falls asleep holding a Venetian diary.

Pick a book that’s your favourite colour.

Well I have two favourite colours – one is lime green, for which I choose Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre (because the spine is horrendously bright and it’s glorious), and the other is teal so I choose All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (whose cover is just stunning).

Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

Matilda by Roald Dahl probably? This also ties into my obsessive rewatching of the film when I was a child. Imagine, a girl who reads so much and finds herself the odd one in the family because she does so, then finding herself valued and appreciated by a teacher who then nurtures her love of reading and education. No I have noooo idea why that appealed to me.

And then all of the Harry Potter books, obviously, but I feel like that’s a given for the majority of my generation.

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy… the “peace” bits with the society stuff I’m fine with, the war bits are incomprehensible to me because my knowledge of history is shockingly bad, especially military history.

whispers I finally shelved this book as ‘put aside for now’ which really means ‘I don’t want to DNF this indefinitely because then I’d have to re-read like 300 pages but also by the time I get around to trying it again I will definitely have forgotten what happened in those first 300 pages’.

Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?

See above? But, for another answer, I suppose… Moby Dick by Herman Melville or perhaps The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – both are long and complex, I’m told, but rewarding if you stick with it. Someday I hope to have the drive to do just that but, until then, I’ll continue to just mention them in tags like this.

That was it – that was the My Life in Books tag. If you are reading this and feel the urge to do this tag then, please, by all means consider yourself tagged by yours truly! If you do the tag, please link to it in the comments below as I am nosy and would love to see your answers.

NB: After writing this tag post, I realised that I actually did this tag before, back in 2015, (click here to view) but my answers are different so that’s fun to realise that my take on these questions has changed since then!


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Tag | Feelings Matter Book Tag

It’s Tag Thursday time everyone! (Have we made fetch it happen? Is “Tag Thursday” an accepted feature on my blog?) That means I bring you my weekly tag post and this week’s tag (as is so often the case) comes courtesy of the lovely ladies at Thrice Read whose post you can see here, and who have also reliably informed me that the original tag video can be viewed here. This week’s tag is called the Feelings Matter Book Tag.

lotoffeelings

What book made you feel confident, either about yourself or your life?

In a strange way, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I was hitting an uncomfortable period in my life where I felt lost leading up to graduating from university and not knowing what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and The Interestings helped me to realise two very sobering things: that some people “make it” based on nothing more than sheer dumb luck and that some people might look as if they’ve “made it” and are doing so much better than you but you have no idea what is going on behind that veneer of success. We’re all just mostly floundering along in life – it’s time more people admitted it openly and this book kind of did.

What book made you feel sympathetic or sympathise greatly with the characters?

I tend to read fantasy so, um, not so much with the sympathy with characters off gallivanting on quests. However, it is skillful of a writer to make you feel sympathy towards a character with which you have precisely zero in common and who maybe don’t deserve sympathy (cough Cersei Lannister cough), but let us stray from that avenue of thought and back to the question. One thing that does stick in my mind is how much this quote hit me, from It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane and I still remember it, a year later: “Instead of trying and failing, Delia never tried. She told herself that failure was inevitable and she’d only look silly in the process. It was fear, cloaked in rationalisations and self-deprecation.” Girl, I feel you.

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Tag | The Reader’s Questionnaire

Tag Thursday time, folks! This week’s tag comes courtesy of my friend Liz whose post you can see here, and it’s called The Reader’s Questionnaire. Pretty simple but here are my answers to some bookish and readerly questions, because we all need to know that kind of stuff of every self-respecting book blogger.

1. What is your favourite book?

That’s a tough question to ask any reader, and for the first question up… at least buy me a drink first before pulling that out…

No, seriously though?

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Persuasion/Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling… bit of everything really. I’d probably say Rebecca if pressed though. I need to re-read it soon just to check it’s still my fave.

2. What are your goals? For the year? For your life?

Goals, what goals? (See my recent post entitled ‘Feeling Goalless’ for more info.) Although, to be fair, I did make New Year’s Resolutions (as seen here) so even though I’m terrible at coming up with bigger, more important life and career goals, I do still set pointless and breakable resolutions every year. So, you know, I’m trying.

3. Are you a writer? If so, tell me about your work.

Writer is a very optimistic way of describing my creative endeavours. Not to blow my own trumpet but I was pretty good at researching and writing essays at university – I never really had that much trouble putting together words and sentences that made me sound vaguely informed.

As for the more creative sort of writing, I used to forum roleplay in Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and NYC-based forums – not all at the same time, obviously, that would have been quite something – but don’t much anymore (yes, I miss it). Because of this background, I’m good at envisaging characters and character building and putting together dialogue, but I’m less good at fleshing out worlds or plot lines, since these were nearly always dictated by the forum’s initial setup or spontaneously decided. I’ve tried NaNoWriMo previously and never got very far because of this tendency – I need to work on that because I actually really enjoyed my story idea.

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Tag | Book Buying Habits Tag

I saw this tag post over on Emma’s blog, A Dreamer’s Library, and I thought I would give it a little go on this fine Thursday afternoon since it is Tag Thursday after all (yes I’m still trying to make it a thing, shush).

Perhaps doing this tag will also make me re-evaluate some of book buying habits in the process because, let’s face it, I buy too many books considering the rate I consume them at – but I like having my own little library, so sue me. And whilst you’re preparing to sue me… let’s see about this tag shall we?

1. Where do you buy your books from?

Honestly? Amazon. I’ve completely been swayed by the lure of Amazon Prime delivery (the TV is a nice added bonus) and it’s just so quick and convenient. I feel slightly bad when I do order from Amazon but I’m just not financially in a position where I can buy hardback new releases at full price from an independent bookshop, and I won’t feel bad for choosing an alternative for now. I tend to order used books a lot from Amazon too, or else buy them from Oxfam bookshops which is slightly better on the moral front in my eyes.

Although I occasionally allow myself to splurge and buy books from Waterstone’s now that I have a big and very lovely branch easily accessible to me in Liverpool One.

2. Do you ever pre-order books and if so do you do this in store or online?

I don’t think I’ve ever pre-ordered a book in-store but I do know my grandma used to pre-order the Harry Potter books for me from book 5 onwards, to make sure I always had a copy waiting for me on release day. How sweet is that? But if I am in charge of the pre-ordering I tend to do it via Amazon… more accurately, I usually end up pre-ordering then the day before release day my book still hasn’t dispatched so I end up cancelling the pre-order and re-ordering it so it will be delivered the next day. No I don’t know why Amazon is so slow with pre-orders sometimes but I don’t really trust it anymore to actually get a book to me on release day. The only things I’ve really pre-ordered have been my auto-buy authors’ next books, i.e. Samantha Shannon and V.E. Schwab.

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Tag | Reader Confession Tag

Another week, another Thursday dawns, which means it’s time for another tag! I saw this tag over on Thrice Read (don’t I seem to start all my tag posts saying that?) and I couldn’t resist doing it myself, so let’s just get started on the Reader Confession Tag.

Have you ever damaged a book?

Not intentionally. I may have slightly ripped a page corner or creased a spine or two in my time as a reader. I also dog-ear pages to my heart’s content now so I mean… I guess some people consider that ruining a book?? I’m kind of not sorry about it any more though – they’re my books, I’ll do what I want with them. And I’d much rather be able to enjoy a book fully and annotate or dog-ear to my heart’s content – if I want a pristine copy I’ll buy it new and in a fancy edition but if it’s just for reading’s sake then yeah I “damage books”.

Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?

I don’t think so. The only books I ever really “borrow” are from the library and handily they put those protective plastics covers on them so it’s nigh-on impossible to really damage them. I haven’t yet borrowed a book from my friend Liz but I’ll be sure to be considerate when I do.

How long does it take you to read a book?

Depends entirely on the book. If I’m really invested in it and it’s about 300-350 pages then maybe 3 or 4 days, if it’s a long fantasy book or a classic I need to take my time on then it could take me closer to 10 days. That being said, it definitely just depends on the book and not necessarily the genre because I’m pretty sure I finished a re-read of A Gathering of Shadows in like 2 days and it’s easily a 500-page book.

Books that you haven’t finished?

I’ve definitely DNFed books, more than my DNF shelf on Goodreads would suggest. Some just fall of my radar and then I come across them months later at the back of my bookshelves and remember I was reading them at some point because there’s a bookmark left in there. My most personally shameful DNF is probably Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene or John Milton’s Paradise Lost, both of which I enjoyed but never actually read to the end. (My MA was in early modern literature, just so you have some context as to why it’s remotely embarrassing to have not completed these books!)

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Tag | TBR Tag

Today I bring you a tag! Originally created by JessicaMarie493 I believe (Who created this, was it you? Let me know!), I spotted this tag over at Thrice Read and thought I’d give it a go myself. I have a shameful amount of books on my TBR considering that I don’t read nearly enough in a week/month/year to keep up with it. To say that it’s ‘optimistic’ is a diplomatic way of putting it – ‘unrealistic’ would be a better word. So, hey, why not do a tag that makes me come to terms with this ridiculousness and do something about it. Enough with the reasoning, let’s get onto the TBR Tag!

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Short answer: I don’t.
Long answer: My Goodreads TBR shelf is getting faintly ridiculous because I use it to track any fleeting interest I might have in a book that I see on blogs or BookTube. So the word ‘track’ is probably quite generous.

2. Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

Mostly print, in fact I tend to forget that my e-book collection exists until I remember to charge my Kindle or have a look at the app on my phone. I really need to work on getting my physical TBR read before I can even think about my e-books.

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Mood, mostly, or I’ll be on a roll with a series or with a particular genre. Right now, that’s fantasy. I’ve also recently created a TBR Jar which should help me with forcing me persuading me to pick up some books on my TBR that I might not have got to otherwise. Although my TBR jar just made me me start reading Smoke by Dan Vyleta which was not the point because I definitely don’t need help in picking up fantasy novels to read.

4. Book that has been on your TBR the longest?

According to Goodreads, it’s The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien. I probably went through a phase of adding all my books to Goodreads and my Tolkien cubby hole was the first I added probably. No, I still haven’t even made an attempt to read it.

6. A book you recently added to your TBR?

In terms of my Goodreads to-read shelf I recently added Jen Campbell’s upcoming release The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night, a story collection which promises a modern take on fairytales featuring magic and mermaids and spirits and I mean why wouldn’t you want to read that?

7. A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill seems like a pretty apt one that I also recently added to my TBR. It has been longlisted for the Baileys Prize though so I suppose it’s not a solely shallow reasoning but, I mean, I know very little about the premise of this novel and yet it’s still on my TBR. Mentions were made of The Night Circus, the twenties, circus acts, and a hotel and I went ‘yeah, that’ll do’.

8. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

If I never planned on reading it, it probably wouldn’t be on my TBR – no, that’s a lie, I’d like to think it’s not still on my TBR but the truth of the matter is that it’s been a long while since I actually did a cull of my Goodreads to-read shelf. (Actually doing this tag has made me think I should probably do that cull, so thanks for that, tag!) In terms of a physical TBR, I’m pretty sure I’ll never actually get around to Villette by Charlotte Bronte. My friend and housemate Liz tried to read it a few months ago and said it was slow going. After reading Jane Eyre, I don’t really rate Charlotte Bronte enough as an author (controversial opinion??) to struggle through reading her novel for the sake of reading all her books so I’ll probably never pick it up. C’est la vie.

9. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

Can I say the next book in The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon even though I don’t know when it’s going to be released? I just finished the third book, The Song Risingyesterday and oh my god I need the next books, stat!

10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte is definitely a book I’ve been recommended multiple times, directly and indirectly. I’m sure one of these days I’ll get around to it, especially since I now own a lovely Penguin English Library edition, but today is sadly not quite that day.

11. A book on your TBR that everyone has read but you?

Hmm maybe George Orwell’s 1984? I’m pretty sure I got quite a way through this book and enjoyed it but I don’t think I properly finished it and I marked it as ‘did not finish’ on Goodreads – the fact there’s some sliver of doubt there makes me think I probably skim read the end because I needed to know what happened but didn’t actually read it all due to time constraints or some other equally pathetic excuse.

12. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

All of them? No, as far as physical books go I am still dying to read Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven King, the fourth and final book in The Raven Boys series. However, I am forever conflicted – I want to read this book so badly and I also never want to read it because the reading of it would mean that I run out of Raven Boys books to read anew. It’s a tricky dilemma that I’m sure many a bookworm will empathise with.

13. How many books are in your Goodreads TBR shelf?

Ouch. Right, let me preface this by again mentioning that I really need to do a long overdue cull of my shelves on there… 1022 books. I know, I know, it’s terrible and unrealistic, shhh, don’t look at me!


Well there we have it folks that was the TBR Tag, what fun! For once I will officially tag a few people because I need to get better at doing that:

Stephanie from Adventures of a Bibliophile
Michelle from Book Adventures
Sarah from Reviews and Readathons
Kelly from Kelly’s Rambles
Laura from Reading Sanctuary
Cátia from The Girl Who Read Too Much

If any of the above ladies would like to complete the tag, please do! And if you’re also reading this and you want to do the tag but I didn’t tag you, psh, consider yourself tagged! Basically all of you should do this quick little tag so maybe I won’t feel quite as ashamed about how many books are on my TBR… 


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Tag | Burn, Rewrite, Reread

Welcome to a fun little tag called the Burn, Rewrite, Reread tag. This is just like the Kiss/Marry/Cliff game (cough Shag/Marry/Kill for the older among us), but book-related! I was tagged by Liz @ Travel In Retrospect (surprise surprise) and so I decided to give it a go.

Rules

  • Randomly choose 3 books (Tip: Use the “Sort > Random” option on your Goodreads’ Read shelf.).
  • For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread (a lot like Kiss, Marry, Kill).
  • Repeat until you completed three rounds (or six).

Basically grab a list of your books (I used my Read shelf on Goodreads), grab three numbers, and then decide which of the three you’d rather burn, rewrite, or reread. Simple, right? Let’s go!

Round One

assassinsapprentice howtobeawoman henryv

Re-read: Henry V – William Shakespeare
I adored reading Henry V for the sake of discussion in class, I assume that’s because I enjoyed it full-stop, but you can never be too sure, so I’d like to re-read it to check. The adaptation which was part of The Hollow Crown TV series didn’t hurt matters at all.

Re-write: How To Be A Woman – Caitlin Moran
I can’t say there is anything specific I’d want to re-write about Caitlin Moran’s memoir, I just wouldn’t want to burn it either. I suppose I could re-write it to be longer??

Burn: Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
I really did not get along with the pacing or writing style of Assassin’s Apprentice which is such a shame as I was constantly told I would adore Robin Hobb’s fantasy series. If it were in a different setup it would be a ‘rewrite’ for sure, just a shame it has been drawn alongside two things I loved.

Round Two

lotr deathlyhallows winnerscurse

Re-read: The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski
I remember enjoying this first book in the Winner’s trilogy but I never actually continued with the series. I plan to do so this year but I really need to re-read the first book before that can really happen, as I remember next to nothing about the book.

Re-write: The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
I love the films – who doesn’t? The books can be extraordinarily dull. I wouldn’t dare to presume I could re-write anything as good as Tolkien could, he was an amazing world builder and writer (and just intellect in general) but I would perhaps re-write a couple of scenes to make them more readable *cough* The Council of Elrond *cough*

Burn: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling
It took me weeks to finish this book. Now, was that because it was the last book in the series so I knew I would never get anymore of the world of Harry Potter, as far as I was concerned? No, it was because a lot of things happened that I’d rather had not happened. People seemed to die for the sake of it and I’m still not over a lot of them, nor have I forgiven JK Rowling, so I suppose if I had to burn one of these three great books, it’s gotta be the book that killed off so many beloved characters.

Round Three

renaissanceutopias crookedkingdom colourpurple

Re-read: Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo
Forever until the end of time I will want to constantly re-read the Six of Crows duology. As soon as I finished the series I immediately wanted to re-read the two books. Everything about Bardugo’s Grishaverse is incredible, from the characters to the world-building to the development of both, they’re just amazing, and I will always recommend it to lovers of fantasy and heists alike. If my constant re-reading could also magically change a couple of small things that happened, that would also be a nice bonus.

Re-write: The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
I had to read this book for A Level and I can remember… well not a lot of it, if I’m honest. I’m told it’s practically a classic, and it is an important book to read if you’re interesting in reading diverse fiction but, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style. Don’t get me wrong, the writing style fulfils the purpose of the novel, I’m sure – I wrote many an essay about that – but it doesn’t change the fact I might have liked the novel more if it had had a slightly different narrative style.

Burn: Renaissance Utopias and the Problem of History – Marina Leslie
I had to read this for a university essay about (surprise surprise) Renaissance-era depictions of “utopia”. Whilst I find utopia an interesting concept, it was still a book of essays, so you know, not the most enjoyable of casual reads. I suppose I’d have to burn it since I would never re-read it unless I suddenly had an urge to re-write my essay also which, you know, considering I’ve graduated, isn’t likely. I am still interested in the concept of utopia and dystopia though so… hey, not all ends up in flames.

Well that was a bit of fun, and I was mildly surprised at myself for burning Harry Potter! If you’d like to join in on the fun yourself and do this tag then, please, consider yourself tagged by moi. If you have a Burn/Rewrite/Reread post of your own please do link it below because I’d love to see it!


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