A celebratory Q&A || my favorite non-romantic trope, the bookstores I want to visit again, childhood memories, and more!

Hi friends, and happy Friday!

A few weeks back, I asked all of you wonderful people to send in some questions to celebrate my birthday and my two year blogiversary. Albeit this post is coming out much later than I intended (is time even relevant anymore?), I had an absolute blast answering your questions. Another huge thank you to everyone that sent some in! Without further ado, let’s get into it!

If you could be any kind of paranormal creature (i.e. vampire, mermaid, faerie, etc.), what would you choose? – Margaret @ Weird Zeal

This is such a fantastic question! So fantastic in fact that I don’t know that I’ve ever given it much thought? I will admit though that mermaids are pretty fascinating, and they basically have the best of both worlds. I can only imagine how magical it would be to constantly swim around and float in and out of the beautiful and colorful tropical areas of the ocean, much less all of the other sea life I’d be able to see on the daily. I’d also be lying if I didn’t mention the allure of being a Siren-like creature. But then I think about the fact that more than 80% of the ocean has been unexplored, making it entirely unknown to us—which is absolutely terrifying and makes me want to never go near an ocean. I suppose, if we can assume that all mermaids are as friendly as the one Walt Disney coined and I can be guaranteed to avoid encounters with creepy sea animals not yet known to man, I’d be totally happy as a mermaid.

Your favorite non-romantic trope in fiction? – Lais @ The Bookish Skies

I will forever love a good found family. More often than not, in my experience, a found family is made up of characters that don’t quite fit anywhere else. Different from the rest of their society in some way or another, these characters somehow find each other through happenstance or strange circumstances. Found families have just the right amount of chaotic energy, which is of course balanced out by a lovely amount of sarcastic banter. There is just something so heartwarming about seeing characters find their place within a group of people they’ve chosen rather than the group of people they’re given.

What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about book blogging? – Anonymous

There are so many things to love about book blogging, but one of my favorite things about being a book blogger is connecting with other bloggers. I know that it sounds simple, but talking with another passionate readers about favorite characters and stories is a really fantastic feeling. Not to mention, I feel honored to be able to have connected with so many amazing bloggers and read their content on the daily. When someone talks about something close to their heart, it’s like a little spark of visible magic. I absolutely love it.

My least favorite thing about book blogging is, weirdly enough, finding the words in my brain to convey how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a writer’s block, but sometimes I find my vocabulary department lacking as I try to explain why I love a character so much or why a book wasn’t necessarily my favorite. I suppose it’s my inability to express my thoughts without just keyboard slamming my way through a post. And, when I struggle with finding the right words, my blog schedule is thrown to the side, with no consistency to be found anywhere. Essentially, it’s a snowball effect. I realize that this is all very vague, but it does make sense in my head—which is quite literally the problem here.

What’s a book you love that you wish more people talked about?
Margaret @ Weird Zeal

A recent read of mine, and a recent release, I really do wish people talked about Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas more often. The book stole my heart from its first pages, and it really does deserve some more love. The story is overloaded with culture, identity discovery, and a really adorable and heartwarming romance. Oh, also ghosts. It’s basically just about everything you could want in a book, in my humble opinion, and I would love to see more readers gushing about it!

*a disclaimer: this is an #OwnVoices book that is centered on a trans man. I cannot speak to its credibility as representation for the trans community as I am not in that community, but I have seen many reviewers that are and applaud its representation.

A genre you want to read more of? – Lais @ The Bookish Skies

Without a doubt, I really want to read more fantasy books and graphic novels. I’ve made a little headway on reading more graphic novels, but I still feel totally out of my element in that section, as well as the fantasy section. I also really want to read more classics, because I weirdly haven’t read that many, even as an English Literature student.

All of that’s to say, if you have any recommendations within these genres, please let me know!

Is there a 2021 release you’re especially excited to read? – Margaret @ Weird Zeal

Unsurprising to no one, I’m absolutely geeked and probably way too excited about Lore by Alexandra Bracken. In short, every seven years, nine Greek gods are sent to Earth and are hunted by descendants of ancient bloodlines. And, when you successfully kill a Greek god, you seize their divine power. Lore focuses on Lore after she fled the hunting scene and left it all behind. Sounds incredible, right? Don’t worry, I linked the Goodreads listing here so you can very easily add it to your TBR.

I’ve read the sampler and fell in love with the characters immediately, which is pretty on par with with all of Alex’s characters previous. I also have the digital arc burning a hole in my Kindle, and I’m quite literally counting down the days until I have the time to read it.

Also, yesterday, Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera announced the sequel to What If It’s Us, Here’s to Us, scheduled to come out next year??? I’m fine.

Which bookshop do you want to visit again? – Malka @ Paper Procrastinators

Ah, to spend the day wandering through the aisles of a bookstore. The dream, right? I’m lucky enough to have some fantastic bookshops nearby, but some of my absolute favorites are a little more out of reach and I would love the chance to visit them again.

For a few months two years back, I spent my summer living in downtown Manhattan in New York City. During that time, I discovered some bookstores that have basically been begging me to come back ever sense. Books of Wonder is right outside of Union Square and is stocked to the brim with children and YA titles. Not to mention, a good majority of them are signed. I also wish I spent more time exploring the historic Strand and Housingworks—both in Manhattan as well. Here’s to hoping I can visit those stores soon again!

I also came across the cutest used bookstore called After-Words in Chicago, Illinois, and I would love the chance to go back.

Top three musicals of all time? – Margaret @ Weird Zeal

Oh man. This is a big question. If I’m only allowed to pick three, I’m going to go with Wicked, Dear Evan Hansen, and Anastasia. (It physically hurts to not include Hamilton in this list).

Wicked was the first professional musical I ever saw, and it took my breath away. The effects, the costuming, the acting. It all amazed me, and I think that’s when I first began to appreciate musicals for what they were. Dear Evan Hansen though was the musical that truly started my now all-encompassing musical obsession. Something about Evan’s story really resonated with me in that moment and has stuck with me ever since. I also had a pretty fantastic experience seeing Dear Evan Hansen because I got to see it with one of my very best friends on her birthday. As far as Anastasia is concerned, I’m not quite sure how to describe this show other than magical. Your attention is grabbed the minute the first note pings, and “Learn To Do It” will forever be one of my favorite musical theater songs.

Like I said, it physically hurts not to include some other shows in this list, but these three were just really pivotal for me.

If you could choose to live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Lais @ The Bookish Skies

Despite the fact that I haven’t traveled anywhere outside of the United States (which is utterly pitiful), I really do think I would love to live anywhere in Europe. There’s something so fascinating about the idea of living in any one of those countries that really captures my heart. Generally speaking, the architecture in that area is gorgeous and the idea of being surrounded by that sheer amount of history? I also can’t even begin to fathom how incredible some of those museums have to be. Also, the simple fact that you can jump on a quick plane ride and be in a new country an hour later? Mind-blowing. For the sake of being more specific, I would really love the opportunity to live in Spain, The Netherlands, Greece, or the UK.

What is your favorite vacation that you’ve taken? – Malka @ Paper Procrastinators

One of my favorite vacations I’ve ever taken has to be when I flew to California a few years back for a family wedding. Born and raised in the States, I’ve never really spent much time on the western part of the country, and it was utterly fantastic.

Aside from the wedding that was the main point of the trip, my parents and I wasted no time in exploring Santa Monica, Long Beach, LA, Hollywood, and Disneyland. We spent our days as proper tourists: strolling along the Walk of Fame and moseying aboard the historic, and arguably haunted, Queen Mary. I’m not going to be superficial and call the City of Angels magical, but the way of life there definitely felt different than what I was used to, and I gladly welcomed that. It was a much-needed break in the middle of a crazy semester, and I loved absolutely everything we did.

Fun fact: the Santa Monica Pier stole my heart and inspired a short story I later wrote.

Could you share with us a favourite childhood memory? ❤️
Cherelle @ Cherelle the Bibliophile

One of my favorite childhood memories has got to be when we got our pembroke welsh corgi, Lacey. (Buckle up, this story ended up being a lot longer than I intended).

It was an average summer day in 2006, and my mom and I were having a little girls day, just the two of us. And, of course, what better way to spend time together than to head to the movie theater and see the smash hit Material Girls, starring Hilary and Haylie Duff. As the movie let out, we noticed there was a pet store in a nearby plaza and we had to check it out after recently losing our previous dog. We walked into the store, expecting just to look around, but a tiny three-month old corgi immediately captured our attention and stole our hearts. I’m fairly certain my mom had to drag me out of the store because I wasn’t ready to leave that precious girl behind.

We then went home and lived life as usual, casually mentioning the cute dog we saw over more general dinner conversation. After what felt like hours of negotiating, my dad’s will power broke and said “I guess we can all go in and look at the puppy tomorrow” followed up with “but we are not walking out that store with a new dog.” We love ironic foreshadowing.

Well, the next day came, and my dad couldn’t stick to his word, no matter how hard he tried. We sat in one of those little dog-play-cubicles in the pet store and played around for a bit, and my sister and I didn’t want to let the pet store employees take her back. In our playing with her though, she would not stop playing with our shoelaces. I kid you not, she untied all of our shoelaces within minutes of first meeting her. My dad eventually relented and agreed, we needed to take this sweet girl home with us.

With all of the paperwork finalized and her accessories picked out, we already knew what we would name her based on her shoelace escapades. Everyone always says that they have the best dog, but Lacey truly was the best.

my sweet angel, for your viewing pleasure.

What is one important thing you have learned in the last year that you would like to share? 🙂 (happy early birthday queen!) – Melany, @readingrapunzel on Twitter

Thank you, Melany!

As generic as it sounds, I think one of the most important things I have learned in the last year was that it’s okay to take time for myself. It’s been two years since I’ve graduated college (yikes), and I very much got stuck in the mode of well if I’m not doing anything traditionally productive, so I’m not living a productive life. And, no one talks about it, but once you graduate from any form of formal education, it’s pretty common to feel lost. There are no adults telling you what to do or when to do it. You don’t have a set schedule everyday. The real world is so different than the one we grew up in. And, when I wasn’t spending my time doing the things I was taught to do for 18 years, it felt like I wasn’t using my time wisely. Because of that, I pushed myself more than I should have. I wanted to do this, I wanted to do that. And when I wasn’t doing either of those things, I felt lazy. Frankly, I felt pretty darn useless.

Spending another year in the “adult” world made me realize though that I have to take time for myself, even if that means not always working on something. I realized I needed to give myself some grace.

Granted, I’m definitely still working on this daily. Just because I’ve learned something, doesn’t mean I’ve quite perfected it yet.

What is your favorite food? – Malka @ Paper Procrastinators

I’m not quite sure that we want to consider it “food” in and of itself, but I will happily smother tzatziki on just about anything. Essentially, it’s a cucumber and yogurt sauce, which I ironically don’t like either food, and is usually served with Greek or Mediterranean dishes. There’s a Greek restaurant near me that serves a chicken shawarma with rice, grilled vegetables, hummus, and tzatziki, and I could salivate just thinking about it.

I will also add though that I am very much a pasta gal, through and through (see below).

What is the best meal you’ve ever had? – Malka @ Paper Procrastinators

I feel as if I need to confess that this question was weirdly difficult for me? Although, in all of my brainstorming, I kept coming back to one Italian restaurant near where I live. I also should probably confess that if I am served complimentary bread at a restaurant, and it’s good, my serotonin levels are instantly boosted.

All joking aside, I visited this restaurant for the first time with my very-Italian relatives who insisted I needed to try just about everything on the menu. They ordered aràncinis, which are essentially fried balls of rice with marinara sauce, for the whole table to start off, even though we had quite literally already stuffed ourselves with the bread. For my actual meal, I went with a really simple pesto pasta that was more glorious than what should be allowed. Then, we ended the meal with slices of lemon cake and cannolis, both of which I would probably die for. It was definitely a lot of food—so, so many carbs—but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about that meal often.

This post definitely got WAY lengthier than I ever intended. Thank you for reading it, and thank you to everyone who sent in questions!

So, what do you think? What paranormal creature would you want to be? What 2021 book are you excited about? What was your favorite vacation? Let’s chat!

16 thoughts on “A celebratory Q&A || my favorite non-romantic trope, the bookstores I want to visit again, childhood memories, and more!

  1. Yay! I enjoyed reading this! For some reason my question I guess didn’t have a name as I’m the anonymous question 😂 But I get what you mean about not being able to find the words to write posts… I have a review I still need to write and I have NO idea what I want to say! At some point I’ll hopefully get it some words out!
    I enjoyed reading the story of getting your dog! So cute! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! They can be the worst! I finally was able to write my review… but man, the struggle was real. I wish all my reviews could just flow out of me – some books I’m like I know exactly what I want to say, whereas others I’m like uhhh ‘it was good?’ 😅

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhh great post Lauren!!! These questions and all your answers were so much fun to read 🥰 Although I admit it was excruciating to not see Hamilton on that list of musicals…. although I can’t disagree that those three shows are absolutely gorgeous 😍🥺 And omg Lacey is adorable — that childhood memory is so precious!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Abby! You are so sweet! And believe me when I say that not including Hamilton was probably one of the most difficult things for me to do within this post. Hamilton definitely holds a HUGE part of my heart, and I don’t want to discredit it – narrowing it down to three was near impossible! And thank you! She definitely is. Thanks so much again for reading!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved reading this so much!! And once again, happy late birthday ❤

    For what it’s worth, I think you would make a fantastic mermaid. And found family is absolutely the best trope!! I’m very excited for Lore also, since I’m always down for more greek mythology and Alexandra Bracken, and OF COURSE I cannot wait for the sequel to What If It’s Us 😀

    I would love nothing more right now than to go wander around Books of Wonder or the Strand or Housingworks and getting excited finding signed books 😭 Ahh, simpler times. I’m sorry for giving you such a difficult question with the musicals but I approve of your answers, and I agree about DEH 😉

    AHHH your story about getting your dog is SO cute I’m dying!!! And your advice about taking time for yourself is very real and definitely something i’ve been trying to learn lately too…

    Thanks so much for answering my questions and have a wonderful next year of life and blogging!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! Thank you Margaret; and thank you so much for sending in your fantastic, fantastic questions! And your reassurance in my mermaid abilities is oddly heart-warming. I will definitely be over here just not-at-all patiently waiting for Lore. I’m VERY excited that you’re excited!

      Right?? It was such a treasure to find those signed books, especially because so many weren’t marked as signed. The musical question was quite literally the most difficult question to answer, but I’ll let it slide I suppose. 😊 Evan Hansen who?

      It’s definitely one of my favorite childhood stories, never mind the fact that it’s one of the stories I remember the most details of because of my inability to remember anything. And yes! It’s something I’ve realized and definitely need to be better at about actually giving myself time.

      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!


  4. lauren, your content is ABSOLUTELY still relevant. thank you so much for answering my questions!

    i think mermaids are fascinating creatures as well and i definitely had my fair share of pretending to be one after bingewatching H2O: just add water, hahah. like you, though, i’m pretty scared of the ocean, so i’d probably choose another creature. i’ve always been fascinated with werewolves, so i’d probably choose that. though i’d like to be like the werewolves in twilight or wolves of mercy falls, where they completely take up a wolf form, rather than being the awkward in between that just looks terrifying, hahah.

    as someone who loves found families so much i was not surprised at all this was your choice!

    it’s also shocking to me that you struggle a lot with vocabulary when expressing your thoughts, because i’ve always thought of your posts to be so eloquent! i guess we really can not see how much effort was put behind a review, but i just want to let you know that your hardwork is definitely paying off! i remember loving your post about the percy jackson books because you were able to express a lot of thoughts and feelings i’ve always had but had never found the words to say.

    sci-fi to me is a genre i’d like to read more of, along with a couple classics that i’ve always been too intimidated to give a chance to.

    AND ABSOLUTELY ALL THE LOVE POSSIBLE TO DEAR EVAN HANSEN! i’m glad you’ve had such a great experience watching it. it’s definitely one of my dreams to be able to watch it one day, as evan’s story and so many of the songs resonated deeply with me when i first listened to it.

    (and pls lauren let’s move to the europe together, the netherlands look lovely and i think at least 12 times a day about how amazing it would be to just live in one of those town houses by the water and ride bikes everywhere, lol).

    i loved your memory of your dog so much! i hope you’re having a great day & again thank you so much for answering my questions!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lais, you are always so kind-hearted, I could cry with your comments. Thank you for always being so sweet and genuine! And thank you for sending in questions!

      By mentioned H20: Just Add Water, you flung me straight back into my childhood. I somehow always forget that that show actually happened. A werewolf is a fantastic choice! Something about being as mysterious as those werewolves you mentioned is weirdly appealing.

      Found families really are just something special, and I’m happy to hear your feel the same! They will steal my heart always.

      Do you hear that? That’s me crying about how nice you are. Honestly, thank you from the bottom of my heart for saying that about my posts. I’m so thrilled to hear that you think I’m able to get my point across well, especially with that Percy post. As I said, I get stuck in my head a lot of word choice, so hearing that really means a lot. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

      Sci-fi seems so fascinating! I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever read a strictly science fiction book. And I agree with classics – they can be very intimidating!

      Dear Evan Hansen is just really next level, right?? I hope that you can watch it one day soon as well! The soundtrack, as you said, is an experience in and of itself that resonates with you, and I really do wish that you can see all of that in person as well. It will definitely tear your heart out.

      PLEASE! Honestly, I’m so down for moving to Europe. And oh my gosh, you just described the dream living in one of those houses. It’s just so STUNNING.

      Thank you again, Lais! I admitted to having difficulties finding words in my posts, but I’m having difficulty finding the words to explain why your kindness means so much to me! Thank you!! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pesto? Lore? Found family?

    Lauren, I need to know why we’re lowkey the same person because YOU ARE SO VALID. Also Lacey is TOO CUTE. Love seeing dogs alongside bookish things. All book things are better with pets.

    And happy belated birthday and blogiversary!! Here’s to many more! 🥳

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AH! Pesto, Lore, and Found Family Tropes are all pretty fantastic though, so while we are most likely the same person, we really just have Fantastic Taste. Also?? I couldn’t agree more – pets are just the absolute best.

      Thanks a million, Meaghan!! ❤


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