Tea and Milk and All Things Silk

October 21, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous 12

I’ve been logged out of my own blog, so I figured it’s probably time for a new post. Alyssa created the milk tea tag ages a while ago and – in true Vlora fashion – I decided to do it months later. You’re welcome, creators of tags who would have run their course without me bringing them up once the bandwagon has long derailed, caught fire, and crashed into a mine wall. (Why a mine? Because I was on a 4D motion ride last week and the experience imitated driving through a mine in a wagon, which made me think of Gringotts at the time, but NOW whenever I hear wagon I think of mines. I didn’t say my head makes sense.) (Also, by “derailed, caught fire, and crashed into a mine wall” I mean that it is lovingly remembered and has its own Walk of Fame star.)

Tea: the foundation of your reading life

This one’s easy. I’ve read the Harry Potter books more times than I can count (I mean I probably could count it, because despite what my old math teacher thinks I can actually count all the way up to the double digits, but let’s not go there). They have a special place in my heart; Hogwarts is home; no need to call me Sir, Professor; yadda yadda. I’d show you a picture of my HP books, but some of them don’t have a spine anymore, and we’re working on building up their self-esteem at the moment.

seasonally appropriate Hogwarts gif

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The Amazing Post Is Not On Fire

October 9, 2015 books, fun, reviews 10

Hello reader,

In this book is a world. A world created by two awkward guys who share their lives on the internet!

We are Dan and Phil and we invite you on a journey inside our minds! From the stories of our actual births, to exploring Phil’s teenage diary and all the reasons why Dan’s a fail.

Learn how to draw the perfect cat whiskers, get advice on what to do in an awkward situation and discover which of our dining chairs represents you emotionally. With everything from what we text each other, to the time we met One Direction and what really happened in Vegas…

I remember exactly how I discovered Dan and Phil. It was a day like any other on YouTube, and I was watching one of Hank Green’s Sims videos. A lot of people in the comments mentioned these Dan and Phil guys and their owl slide. I had absolutely no clue what they were talking about, but for some reason I was probably procrastinating, I decided to check it out. Fast forward to 5 a.m. and I had watched the entirety of Sims 4 with Dan and Phil. There were about 12 episodes at the time. Despite my lurking on Hank’s gaming channel, I don’t usually watch gaming videos, but these were hilarious. I found out Dan and Phil have YouTube channels other than their gaming account, so I took a look at those as well, but it was more of a cursory glance, and videos like the photo booth challenge don’t really make me stick around.

A couple of months later, I randomly took another look okay fine, I was probably procrastinating again, and that was that. I watched videos like Existential Crisis, I Talk to Myself, Fandoms, and I Mumble, and had one of those OH MY GOD FINALLY SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS ME I’M NOT THE ONLY PERSON WHO DOES THIS moments. I know, I know, you’re never the only person who does this, but sometimes you need some equally weird person on the internet to remind you of that. Dan was that person, which is my excuse for spending an entire day doing nothing but watching his videos.

If you’ve read this far, you might be asking yourself okay, Vlora, but why the eff did you write all of this without even having gotten to the review part of this post yet? and you’d have a good point. I realize not everyone is as obsessed with YouTube as I am, leave alone these two tight trouser aficionados in particular, but I need you to understand something: I really wanted this book to be good. I feel fairly neutral about all the YouTube book deals, and the only book by a YouTuber (apart from John Green) I’ve read was Connor Franta’s, which I didn’t particularly like. I read Dan and Phil’s book the day it came out.
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Music, Interviews and Social Awkwardness

October 4, 2015 miscellaneous 15

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What’s New?

What do you mean I haven’t updated in weeks. Are you sure you didn’t just get stuck in a tumblr spiral and now it’s suddenly two weeks later than you thought? Yeah, I had a feeling.

Things have been semi-busy what with the internship and rewatching about a hundred YouTube videos, but I thought I should probably pop in here to give you this incredibly exciting update on my life. y’all can hear my sarcasm even when I’m writing, right? Okay, good. Alright, let’s check my calendar reminisce to see what I’ve been up to! Last weekend, I was at a live broadcast of a local event for the radio, and I did a few interviews with the participants. At first I was a bit out of my comfort zone, but then I got more used to it, and I think I did fine!

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There Are No Heroes Here

September 23, 2015 books, reviews 6

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates–brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find–aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge–but who will be left alive at the end?

Superpowers? Villains? Old college roomies with a vendetta? I was sold the first time I read the blurb. Add to that the gorgeous cover, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. I’ve had more than enough time to reflect since I’ve read it now, so let’s dive straight in.
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Doing Things Exquisitely

September 20, 2015 fun, miscellaneous 20

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What’s New?

Gooood afternoon my squishy friends,

I hope you’re all well and swell. My week has been busy, but good busy. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been a little stressed, because I always had all the things I need to do for university at the back of my mind. I wasn’t doing them because of all the other stuff, but I still had this nagging feeling all the time. Because of this, I’ve decided I’ll concentrate on one thing – the internship – and somehow do all my university things after. So technically nothing has changed, but it’s making all the difference, because I can focus on what I’m doing instead of resenting the time it takes me to do it.

I recently read a story whose moral it was “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing exquisitely” (or something like that, I forgot where I read it exactly). Obviously it’s the same thing as “If things are worth doing, they’re worth doing well”, but exquisitely is a much more fun word to say and write, so I’m sticking with that one. From now on, I’ll try to do things exquisitely more often.

The Shiny

Well, well, well. I did not get books this week. I got something a little… bigger. I GOT A CAR. Okay, technically, I didn’t GET it. It’s not mine; it’s just borrowed for a couple of months. It’s the most unlikely thing to happen to me ever, but in short: a friend of my grandma doesn’t need it the next couple of months and somehow thought of me and let me borrow it for free. I only have to pay for gas, which is still expensive, but it doesn’t use much, so… EFF YOU PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. I mean… it’s important to be green and stuff. BUT EFF YOU. Just goes to show you never know what life throws at you, I guess. I can do everything so much faster now! Mucho convenient.

Tune of the Week

O… Saya by A.R. Rahman and M.I.A.

I was a huge fan of M.I.A.’s Paper Planes even before I watched Slumdog Millionaire, but that’s not the only song worth paying attention to on the movie’s soundtrack. The theme song (Jai Ho), for example, won a very deserved Oscar. Let’s focus on O… Saya for now though. I love how it starts out almost otherworldly and then builds up until M.I.A. comes in and nails her part. I feel like the music fits the lyrics, and the whole song is just perfectly restless. Awesome stuff!

What’s your favorite movie soundtrack? Do you have/make book soundtracks? What’s the most unlikely good thing that’s ever happened to you?

I’m linking up with the Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

sunday post


Children Horror Story

September 12, 2015 books, miscellaneous 24

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What’s New?

I’m not usually a participant in the TGIF crowd, but THANK GOD IT’S FUCKING FRIDAY. Actually I just wrote that and realized it’s Saturday now. That’s what kind of a week it’s been. Still interning at the radio and had to look after children, who were there on some sort of holiday program this week. Me. Children. Who in the hell would think I’m qualified for that? To be honest, they weren’t that bad, but even looking after well-behaved children is exhausting. I appreciate their enthusiasm though! It also seems I have to work Saturdays as well the next couple of weeks, so basically bye bye, term papers, you’re not getting a photo this week (that was a Germany’s Next Topmodel reference, do they do the photo thing on America’s Next Topmodel too?). I did get a compliment at the office I work at though, so that was cool. Also it’s all good, because it’s the weekend, and I have two free days and Possibly Good News That Are Not Confirmed Yet. I’ll keep you posted and until then I hope your week was amazing, and I’ll see you again SOON.

The Shiny

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September 5, 2015 fun, miscellaneous 40

This meme is inspired by three things:

  1. You guys have been asking for more interactive content, and I LOVE interactive content
  2. I also love the book blogging community and finding people I have stuff in common with
  3. I used to be on livejournal and friending memes were fairly common over there

SO. This might be common in the “regular” blogosphere as well, but I’ve mostly seen it in fandom-related contexts. Even if someone else has done it, it’s not like one more is going to hurt. I’m not very active in the fandom community anymore, but I MISS all the fun comment fests, which is why I decided to start one myself. Without further ado, I bring you…

…The Blogger Friending Meme!

blogger friending meme

One of the best things about blogging is the interaction with other like-minded people. This meme is to actually find them and connect with them, so you can share your excitement. I’m most active in the book blogging community, but this is for every blogger who wants to participate. Here is how it works:

  1. Fill out the form below and post it as a comment. You can skip questions you don’t feel comfortable with, or add your own.
  2. Check out other people’s comments and reply to them if you feel like you have stuff in common. Check out their blogs and/or social media links!
  3. You can participate if you’re a blog reader and don’t have a blog, but it probably helps if you have some sort of social media presence, so people can connect with you.
  4. The number one rule of the internet obviously still applies: don’t be a jerk.
  5. Remember to check back to see more comments!

Before you go off and do your merry mingling: share that ish, tweet that ish, blog about that ish. This is only going to work if people know about it and participate, so make sure to get the word out. :)

Alright, I’ll start. LET’S HAVE A BLOG PARTY, PEOPLE!


Awesome Authors and a Bout of Productivity

September 4, 2015 books, miscellaneous 32

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What’s New?

Edit: I’m having a blog party! Check out my blogger friending meme :)

If you’re on twitter, you probably already know this unless you’ve been living under a REALLY heavy rock, but there’s some SERIOUS charity stuff going on over there. Patrick Ness, author of The Rest of Us Just Live Here (which has been on my to-read for a while now) and some other books, started a fundraiser to collect money to give to Save the Children for refugees, because he was tired of only tweeting about it. He offered to match the first 10.000 pounds, and then John Green jumped in and said he’d match the next 10.000, and suddenly it all gained momentum.

SO MANY authors (and Hank Green, but I hear he’s writing a book, so…) participated that we all raised 400.000 pounds (~600.000 dollars) in only 36 hours. Obviously this wouldn’t be possible without all the people who keep giving, so please consider stopping by and giving some money yourself – every little bit helps! I love when humanity actually does something good, and this makes me proud to be a part of the book community. If you’re also a nerdfighter, this whole thing kind of feels like Project for Awesome, but on twitter.

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Survey Results + Discussion!

September 3, 2015 discussion, fun, miscellaneous 19

GUYS. This is it! The post you’ve all been waiting for with bated breath, the post that’s gonna change it all, the post that… yeah, okay, I’ll stop. NO I WON’T I’M EXCITED. For my first blogoversary, I asked you to take a survey about this blog, and 15 of you participated – muchas gracias! I thought you might like to see a selection of the results, so I’m sharing them with you. To make this a little more interesting, I’ve taken it upon me to create some charts.

How often do you comment on my blog?

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Secret Life of- ME! PICK ME!

September 3, 2015 fun, miscellaneous 10

Hello my bloggly friends!

Shannon tagged me for The Secret Life of a Book Blogger Tag (at least that’s what I think it’s called? I feel like it keeps changing names), so I decided to let you in on some blogging secrets. And by secrets I mean the stuff I say publicly on the internet.

Let’s begin! (Whenever I type that sentence it sounds like Let’s Begin from Linkin Park’s Cure for the Itch in my head. I know, relevant information you need to know.)
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Rich Worlds and Great Sequels: The Immortal Crown

August 30, 2015 books, reviews 6

Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.

Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.

Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret. (Goodreads)

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Ou la la! Paris Shenanigans and Fiery Body Parts

August 29, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous 12

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What’s New?

Bonjour mes amis blogtastique!

As you might be able to tell by my pretentious greetings, I spent last weekend in Paris! Due to the internship and work I don’t have any proper holidays this summer, so when my mum mentioned she was going to Paris for a weekend, I latched onto her like the leech loving daughter I am. I had to venture out of the comforts of my home, but on the plus side, I saw some sights, learned some stuff and only almost got killed on the metro once. I did make a fool of myself trying to use the metro at first also, but at least I didn’t confuse French with Spanish this time, so I’m counting it as a success. I vlogged the whole thing, so take a look if you’re interested!

According to my blogoversary survey results at least half of you don’t know that I also have a YouTube channel, so clearly I need to get better at relentlessly shoving it in your face. Kidding, I’ll try not to, but my fingers might slip from time to time. Speaking of, I’m loving all your feedback (and demands for cake), so I’ll be discussing the results in a bit, but I figured I’d wait until next week to give more people the chance to fill it out. If you haven’t yet and you’d like to please feel free to head over there and let me know what you think!
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Faith: Suits Mid-Season Finale Review

August 28, 2015 reviews, tv shows 2

Let’s talk about Suits. I thought I reviewed this show before, but it must have been on another blog in another time (either that or I didn’t tag it right, but who could be bothered to search), because I didn’t find it in my reviews section.

This gif has no relation other than that it’s from the show, but I’m finding it hilarious.

I love the show as a whole – the characters, the cinematography and set design and the plot are all on point – but I just watched the mid-season finale of Season 5 (what is it with these stupid mid-season finales?? I don’t want to wait until January!), so that’s what I’ll mostly be talking about.

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August 18, 2015 miscellaneous, psa 26


I didn’t even search for cake, I swear. It was destiny. Exactly one year ago today, I posted on this blog for the first time. I finally stuck to something for once in my life, yay! I mean it’s only been a year, but I’m probably not going to disappear anytime soon. Mainly because I already paid hosting for the next two years.

I know everyone and their mum is hosting a give away for their blogoversary, but I’m poor, and I need my money to buy books and chocolate. Instead, have a survey! YAY SURVEY. Okay, I realize not everyone is as excited about surveys as I am, but I’d still appreciate it if you helped me out and answered a couple of questions about this blog to help me improve my site.

A huge shout out to everyone who’s reading my blog. I love your faces, and I truly appreciate your time. I loved getting to know you a little the past year, and I look forward to talking to you in the year to come!

How long have YOU been blogging? Anything you’d like to ask me? Now’s your chance! Did I forget anything in the survey? Let me know below!


Birthday Bash and Books

August 16, 2015 books, miscellaneous 14

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What’s New?

It was my birthday this week! I celebrated with my friends last night, which was awesome. I had a bit of a rough week, so I really enjoyed having drinks with them and just hanging out. It was great, and I got some cool presents as well. I also had a family thing today. Sadly, not everyone could come, but we still had cake for a small army, so it was okay. I brought some over to the neighbours, because I need them to continue accepting ALL THE PACKAGES ALL THE TIME instead of secretely plotting my murder I’m such a nice person.

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Sharing is Caring …And Also Scary as Hell.

August 12, 2015 miscellaneous 14

I’m going to do something a little bit different today.

You might or might not have heard that Shannon from It Starts at Midnight, Inge from Bookshelf Reflections and Kayla of The Thousand Lives are hosting an event called Shattering Stigmas at the moment. Shattering Stigmas is all about being open and honest about mental health issues, and each of these three have shared their respective stories.

If you want to take a look, here they are:




I’ll be honest with you guys. I wasn’t sure whether to write this post, because I use my real name on this blog and anyone can find it, whether I’m comfortable sharing or not, be it a potential employer or someone I know personally. However, I think it’s incredibly important to talk about these things more openly than we’re doing right now, because it’s not something to be ashamed of, and the one thing that always makes everything worse is thinking you’re alone with it. Since that’s the spirit of this event, it inspired me to share.

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Crazy Person On Air!?

August 8, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous 26

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What’s New?

I started my internship at the radio this week. The start was a bit rocky due to some organizational issues, but I got into it the last couple of days. I’m mainly helping with this live show about local news and event tips (and some music) that they do, and I have to produce two segments for that each week. I was on air for the first time yesterday, and it was really fun! I thought it would be scarier, but the fact that it’s a small station, and you’re not actually talking in front of people who are physically present makes it easier. Plus, there’s a structure to the show and you have your text prepared, so you don’t have to improv everything.

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So Many Awards I Can Start a Grammy Chessboard

August 5, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous 8

Okay, it’s just two, so it would be a very small chessboard. Also, neither of them is a Grammy, which frankly surprises me, considering my immense musical talent. Yes, it’s going to be one of those posts.

Will Smith references aside, I really was nominated for the Liebster Award and the Creative Blogger Award a while ago. Mallory and Verena nominated me for the Liebster Award, Rachael nominated me for the Creative Blogger Award, and Alyssa kindly nominated me for both at once. All of these date back to April or May, and I actually had to Google to find the posts again. In my defense, I’m lazy.

A huge THANK YOU to all of you; I really appreciate that you apparently find something you like in between all this rambling. <3 Alright, let’s do this!
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Free Books (Just For Me, Don’t Get Too Excited)

August 1, 2015 books, miscellaneous 28

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What’s New?

This week I…

  • caught up on Teen Wolf and Suits (both awesomesauce)
  • had a veeery minor skin surgery on my head that led to some stitches and self-indulgent reading time
  • recorded but didn’t edit a new video
  • talked to my teacher about a term paper subject and
  • read The Rosie Project and a play for uni

I’m starting an internship at a small local radio station on Monday, so wish me luck! I’m going out with some friends later on, and then I’ll try to actually get term paper related stuff done tomorrow. I probably need more luck for that than for the internship. There’s just always something better to do, isn’t there? Also, my first blogoversary is coming up! I can’t believe it’s already been a year! I’m not sure whether I’ll do anything for it yet, but if you have any suggestions, let me know. :)
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Gendered Books

July 31, 2015 books, discussion 20

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.


I went to the bookstore yesterday. Now usually this would be a celebratory experience. And it still was (yay, new books!), but while I was there I found something that irked me. Irked me quite a lot that is. So naturally I had to share it with you.

Standing before the English section (because obviously I can’t be bothered to read books in my first language, that would be ridiculous), I saw a book that sparked my interest. It was called “End of Time” and – thinking it might somehow be related to Doctor Who – I pulled it out to take a closer look. It turned out not to be Doctor Who related at all, but a German/English mixed-language book for English learners. Which is an awesome concept. EXCEPT. Right there on the cover it said “Boy Zone”. Apparently it was mainly targeted at teenage boys. I remember similar marketing concepts from my childhood, books mainly targeted at girls that were mostly about first love and growing up.

My Opinion

Now I know a lot of products are randomly and unnecessarily gendered. But given the role books have played in my life, gendering books just seems like a bit of a personal insult to me. I understand that marketing theory can’t stress the role of defining target groups enough, but for fuck’s sake people. I don’t believe in binary genders, and I’m of the opinion that gender is mainly socially constructed (of which this is a prime example really), but let’s just for a moment neglect that debate. Why the fuck is scifi only for boys? Why is there a “chick lit” genre? Why the hell can’t we all just accept that stories are stories and can be enjoyed by all genders alike? Yes, I’m aware that you can just buy the book anyway, but I’m operating under the assumption that a lot of people wouldn’t, especially teenagers who tend to be more insecure of their identity and self-worth and would often be sujected to bullying.

In the case of this book, there is a clear label on the cover defining it as a book for boys, but often the label is in our minds. If you show someone The Princess Diaries and Maze Runner, there’s no doubt which one would be considered more of a girl’s and which one would be considered more of a boy’s book. It’s just absurd to me that we’d limit good stories this way. It’s like saying Harry Potter can only be enjoyed by children or YA literature holds no worth for people who are older than the target group. A great story is a great story and a shitty story is a shitty story. C.S. Lewis said “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Similarly, a story that can only be enjoyed by one gender is not a good story. It also doesn’t exist, because the problem doesn’t lie with the story, it lies with society’s understanding of for whom it is acceptable to read it.

I know that this is a well-known and frequently discussed problem, but evidently it’s still a problem. It extends far beyond books – I’m often perplexed when I watch a movie and someone comments it’s a movie for men rather than women, because there’s action in it or it doesn’t primarily focus on romance. A lot of the time the thought never even occured to me. I feel inadequate when I’m more interested in a game night than watching Sex and the City. And I’m not saying I don’t enjoy things targeted at women. I absolutely do. I just don’t exclusively enjoy them, and I think that is true for everyone. “Educating” people that it’s more acceptable for one gender than another to like certain kinds of stories or do certain kinds of things makes me incredibly sad, because a lot of people will miss out on great books and experiences or feel ashamed that they’re enjoying them. It also simply just pissed me off, and writing is my tool to deal with my emotions, so there ya go.

Your Turn!

What’s your take on this? Do you think it’s okay to gender products in the interest of marketing and sales, or do you think it’s unnecessary? Have you come across gendered books before?