T5W: Authors I Want to Read More From

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Top Five Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Thoughts on Tomes ! Visit the Goodreads group if youโ€™re interested in joining! This weekโ€™s topic is:

April 26th: Authors You Want to Read More From
Talk about some authors that you’ve only read one or a few books from, and you NEED to read more!

I’m only going to discuss some authors who have already published multiple books, but I haven’t read all of those yet. So for example, you won’t see Becky Albertalli on this list, because I’ve already read both her released books already ๐Ÿ˜‰

These are in no particular order!


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Rick Riordan

I say this every single month, but I’ve only read Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I definitely think I would enjoy these books more if I were younger, but I want to read his series nonetheless.

Riley Redgate

I read an ARC of Noteworthy by Riley Redgate a couple of months ago and I loved it! Important topics such as feminism were discussed and I think that tells a lot about an author. Therefore, I really want to read more books by Redgate!

Leigh Bardugo

I’ve only read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I really enjoyed the duology and I want to give the Grisha Trilogy another chance. I picked Shadow and Bone up in 2015, but I wasn’t in the mood for it back then.

Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea was my favourite book of 2016, so I definitely have to read Ruta Sepetys other books! I’m studying to become a history teacher, so obviously, historical fiction novels are my cup of tea. Yet I never actually pick up that genre, so I have to change that soon!

Ashley Herring Blake

I also received an ARC of How To Make a Wish a couple of weeks ago and I would recommend this book to everyone! That book was written for me: bisexual MC with an unconventional/dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship.

Suffer Love, Blake’s first novel, is about a girl whose father cheated on her mother. And guess what? That’s – unfortunately – also very relatable material for me.


There are many more authors that could’ve made it onto this list, but it’s Top Five Wednesday after all. Which authors do you want to read more books from?

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T10T: Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and you can have a look at the future topics here! This weekโ€™s topic is:

April 25:ย  Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book – tell us all your book turn offs!

Oooooh, this is going to be a controversial topic! But guess what: I love expressing my unpopular opinions. I’m going to talk about reasons why I don’t want to read certain books. Of course, never say never. If a book receives a lot of hype, I might make an exception.

These are in no particular order:

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Y’all know that I am very opinionated, especially when it comes to problematic books. What you see in this screenshot below, is something I would never, ever say:

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The Black Witch is a racist, ableist and homophobic book, yet this is an actual screencap I took from Goodreads. I can’t believe that this person still wants to read this book “to see for themselves whether it is problematic”, even though a review (which is over 8.000 words long!!!) explains why this book is absolute trash. To make matters worse, this person wasn’t even interested in reading this book UNTIL she found out it was so problematic.

By the way, if an author is problematic, I won’t be interested in their books either. Of course, there are some exceptions like J.K. Rowling, but I will still be vocal about why they are problematic.

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Unfortunately, almost every single book features an allo cis straight white boy. Often he is the love interest. Though I’m going to focus on them as the protagonists right now. I’m so happy the majority of the books I read feature female protagonists. Just thinking about a book with a allo cis straight white boy as the protagonists makes me roll my eyes. Especially when they are written by male authors, those books tend to be sexist and problematic. And when I don’t like the protagonist (even when we’re not supposed to), there’s a 90 percent chance I won’t like the book.

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I’ve already talked about this a few weeks ago, but I think the YA fantasy genre lacks originality. I’m absolutely not looking down on the genre – it’s one of my favourite genres – but authors have got to stop using the same tropes over and over again. This might work for younger readers, but when you’ve read a number of YA fantasies, you know the drill already. The books become predictable and hard to distinguish from one another. You’ll notice this looking at the titles alone. I recently saw an amazing Tweet (though I can’t find it ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) about how similar titles have become. Good luck finding one without queen, rose, kingdom, witch, blood, etc!

I can live with it when the story is diverse, e.g. a clichรฉ F/F romance. At least the rest of the story hasn’t been done ten times already.

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Call me superficial, but when a book has a very ugly cover, I’ll be hesitant to buy it. Most e-books are incredibly overpriced, so I prefer to buy physical covers.

Recently, however, it has been brought to my attention that it’s often marginalised authors who get ugly covers (e.g. Warcross by Marie Lu), which leads to them selling even fewer copies. As much as I want to put a stop to that, I’m not exactly thrilled about spending my money on book covers I don’t even like. I do, however, hope that publishers will take this into account and realise they have to treat their marginalised authors better.

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This one comes with a bunch of exceptions, but generally, I don’t read romances. I’m talking about M/F romances with allo cis straight white characters. I hate it when I’m reading a synopsis and I suddenly read something along the lines of “But then [girl name] meets [boy name]. Even though they’re enemies, they feel drawn to each other” or some crap similar to that. Obviously, in a YA contemporary you might expect this, so this especially bothers me in YA fantasies. Some YA fantasies are actually YA romances set in a fantasy world. And I’m not here for the latter.

You also won’t see me pick up any Adult or New Adult romances anytime soon. The only ones I read, are the diverse ones. I’ve had some bad experiences with that genre (sexism, slut-shaming, etc.) so I’m staying clear from it when it only features allo cis straight white characters.


What are some of your bookish turn-offs?

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Bewaren

huge book unhaul!

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Happy Sunday, fellow book lovers! A couple of weeks ago, I decided I wanted to get rid of some books. I never knew how to do that – as not a lot of people read English books in my country – but the lovely Laura (@ Green Tea & Paperbacks) added me to a Facebook group for Dutch and Flemish readers, so I was finally able to unhaul these books.

There are various reasons why I’m getting rid of them: I have no interested in (re)reading them, I read them and didn’t enjoy them or they are problematic. Since I’m getting rid of over 40 books (!!!), I won’t go into detail about each of them, but I’m merely going to show you which ones I’m unhauling.

Some books have already been sold, but most haven’t. So if you live in or near Belgium and are interested in any of these books, feel free to let me know!

For a long time, I never thought I’d unhaul books. I want a big library and didn’t care that I didn’t like or don’t want to read some of the books on my shelves. Even though I still find it hard to get rid of them, I’d rather spend the money I earn by selling them on new books instead of keeping them just because.


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I read this trilogy back in 2015 and never plan on re-reading it. I didn’t like the last two book in this series, so the only reason why I kept them, were the covers.

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I only read City of Bones and tried to read City of Ashes, but I couldn’t stand Clary. And since she’s the protagonist of The Mortal Instruments, there’s no way I’d get through it.

To be honest, I have no interest in reading Cassandra Clare’s other books either. If I were ten years younger, I’d probably enjoy them, but I’m not, so: goodbye! ๐Ÿ˜€

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I enjoyed Maas’ series when I read them in 2015, but I won’t continue either. I never plan on picking up another one of her books again. It’s especially her fans I struggle with. They can’t seem to take any criticism and while these series don’t interest me anymore because they’re so heteronormative, misogynistic and white, the fans definitely have something to do with it as well.

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It has been YEARS since I’ve read If I Stay and I instantly knew I was never going to pick up the sequel. Even though it ends on a cliffhanger, I didn’t care to find out what was going to happen next. I didn’t hate If I Stay, but it never appealed to me. I don’t plan on reading another Gayle Forman book because of it.

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I’m mostly getting rid of some YA contemporaries (goodbye, John Green!) and some series I won’t finish.

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I didn’t realise I was getting rid of so many unread books. But truth be told: I won’t read these. I’ve had some of them on my shelves for years and have no interest in reading them.


Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that I’ve got rid of all the problematic books on my shelves. I for example didn’t unhaul the Outlander series and my hardcover copies of The Bone Seasons series, because I’d lose too much money selling those. I’d never be able to sell them for a decent amount, so I’m keeping those for the time being.

How about you

Have you ever unhauled books? Do you see any shocking choices on my list? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments!

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T5W: favourite LGBTQIAP+ reads

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Top Five Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Thoughts on Tomes ! Visit the Goodreads group if youโ€™re interested in joining! This weekโ€™s topic is:

April 19th: Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads
Talk about your favorite books that feature LGBTQ+ characters or are by LGBTQ+ authors.

I feel a bit conflicted about this week’s topic. On the one hand, I absolutely love that we get to recommend diverse books. But on the other hand, I’m afraid I’ll see the same books over and over again: The Raven Cycle, Six of Crows, A Darker Shade of Magic… and problematic and harmful books. I understand, because I was like that only a couple of months ago, but I’ve learnt so much and I really hope people will discuss books that aren’t already very popular and do research so they don’t recommend any harmful books.

Lately, I’ve become much more open about my sexual orientation. I’m still closeted in real life (only two people know I’m bisexual) but reading about characters that you can identify with is so important. It’s also nice to see that more fluffy books featuring LGBTQIAP+ characters are being published. We deserve happy endings as well. We don’t constantly want to read about characters who are being bullied because they aren’t allo cis straight (or white, for that matter).

Anyway, there are many more books I would recommend! I’m going to pick five books from the books I’ve read in 2017 so far. As you know, these are in no particular order.

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (review)

Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

I read Queens of Geek at the beginning of April and I loved it! One of the main characters is a bisexual Chinese Australian woman and the love interest is a queer black woman. It was probably the most relatable portrayal of bisexuality I’ve read so far. I completely related to Charlie’s experience and it’s no surprise this is an #OwnVoices book (for the autism representation as well)!

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (review)

Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

Even though I read an ARC of The Upside of Unrequited last month, I already want to re-read it! I plan on buying a hardcover copy soon. This is my all-time favourite YA contemporary novel. I love this book so much. The queer representation isn’t #OwnVoices, but I loved it nonetheless. I love how some characters were queer without their story revolving around that. Someone wrote a review saying that such representation is superficial, but I disagree. Just because I’m bisexual, doesn’t mean my life revolves around my sexual orientation.

Anyway, I absolutely adore Becky Albertalli. She also wrote Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, which features gay and bisexual characters. I’m so surprised when people haven’t read or don’t even own this book yet. Everyone has different tastes, I know, but sometimes, I cannot help but think that some readers intentionally avoid books featuring LGBTQIAP+ characters. And that’s not okay.

Anyway, I do have to warn you that Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda could be harmful for queer women. Simon, who is gay, says things are easier for lesbians and bi girls because men think it’s hot. Fetishisation doesn’t mean you are accepted. Having said that, I’m glad that instead of ignoring queer girls, Albertalli decided to include multiple queer female characters in The Upside of Unrequited and used sensitivity readers to get the representation right.

The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis (review)

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The Paths We Choose is the sequel to The Melody of You and Me and I enjoyed it even more than than the first instalment. M. Hollis (who is queer!) writes such cute and diverse F/F novellas and I cannot wait to get my hands on the final version of The Paths We Choose.

I did an interview with the author at the beginning of this month – which you can read here – and she is so incredibly nice.

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (review)

Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

At the beginning of this post I said queer people deserve to read books featuring LGBTQIAP+ characters that have happy endings and don’t feature tons of bullying and harmful language. We Are the Ants is not such a book. It’s very heavy, because it deals with topics such as suicide, depression, bullying, sexual assault, etc. Still, I loved this book, but be aware that it could be triggering. However, I am amazed that Shaun David Hutchinson still managed to make me laugh out loud multiple times.

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant (review)

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Coffee Boy is a M/M romance featuring a trans protagonist and a bisexual love interested. This book is #OwnVoices for the transgender representation. I really enjoyed reading about a trans character who doesn’t always pass. Of course, I didn’t not enjoy the micro-aggressions and transphobia Kieran had to deal with, but I do think it’s very important to also represent trans characters who don’t always pass, who can’t afford or don’t want to have any surgeries.

There was one sentence in this book I found biphobic, but other than that, I highly enjoyed this novella. I know a lot of people are probably going to recommend If I Was Your Girl today, but I sadly cannot do the same. I never talk about this because I don’t want to criticise a book about a trans character written by a trans author, but I read this book back in November and it still hurts me whenever I think of this book. In my opinion, it’s biphobic, but I don’t know whether my feelings are valid because no one else has mentioned that in their reviews. As great as the trans representation was, I’m very wary of recommending it because I don’t want this book to hurt anyone else.


I got a bit carried away there at the end . What are some of your favourite LGBTQIAP+ reads?

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T10T: Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want To Read A Book

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and you can have a look at the future topics here! This weekโ€™s topic is:

April 18: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

What intrigues me to pick up a book? What kind of books grab my attention? That’s what I’m going to talk about today! As usual, these are in no particular order.

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I hope you’ve noticed in my reviews and monthly wrap-ups that I’ve been reading diverse books more often than I used to. Some readers are worried that diversity doesn’t guarantee quality, but I disagree. I’ve loved almost every book I’ve read this year already. Of course, I’m primarily talking about books written by marginalised authors and #OwnVoices books, not books with problematic representation.

When a book has received mixed reviews because of the pacing, writing style or subjective things like that, I’m still going to read the book if it’s diverse. I always wonder whether those books are actually mediocre, or whether readers are more critical of diverse books and authors. I’m afraid it’s the latter.

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I think the lack of originality is definitely an issue in the YA Fantasy genre. Even the titles are starting to sound similar: thorns, roses, witches, crowns, queens and blood can be found everywhere. And look at these covers:

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I can’t even be bothered to read the synopsis of some of these YA fantasies because the titles and covers alone are so generic.

Therefore, I’m instantly intrigued by books that sound and looks unique. I hate it when you read a synopsis and you can already tell which tropes the book is going to include.

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There are some books that I can already guess I won’t like, but I’m still contemplating buying them because of the covers. If you’ve read my book hauls, you know I sometimes buy books without having any intention to read them. I definitely have to stop doing that, but sometimes, it’s difficult to resist beautiful covers.

Wink Poppy Midnight and Caraval are two examples of books I’m 99% sure I wouldn’t like, but are still on my Amazon wishlist because of the covers. Hopefully, I will be able to resist buying those solely for their covers.

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Everyone has those authors you’d any book by, regardless of what it’s about! The first auto-buy author that comes to mind for me is Becky Albertalli. The Upside of Unrequited is my favourite book and I loved Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda as well!

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I follow so many amazing people on Twitter and when they love a book, I’ll add it to my TBR without even researching what it’s about. I’ve added so many romance novels to my Kindle because of this, and that’s not even a genre I read often (or ever)! But I trust their judgement completely.

I’ve bought tons of books thanks to Novel Paradise’s recommendations. Whenever T enjoyed a book, I instantly add it to my TBR ๐Ÿ˜€


What are some things that will instantly make you want to read a book? I bet I could’ve added many more “turn-ons’ to this list, but I’m feeling uninspired today ๐Ÿ™‚

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Book Chat: books I won’t read

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Today, I am going to talk about some books I won’t read. A couple of months ago, I created a ‘not interested’ shelf on Goodreads (you can have a look at that shelf here). Its purpose is to keep track of problematic books, which I therefore won’t read. Since there are already over twenty books on that shelf, I won’t discuss them all today. I decided I’m going to talk about the most well-known ones and will hopefully be able to convince you why you shouldn’t support these authors or books either.

If you want to read these books for yourself because you refuse to believe what others have said: I don’t care. I’ve made up my mind that I won’t read these books, so don’t try to convince me that I should.

Anyway, let’s get started! These are in no particular order.

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Love Is Love: a comic book anthology to benefit the survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting

Love Is Love is a comic book anthology dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting and the LGBTQ community. That sounds great, so at first, I was very interested in reading this. Unfortunately, this anthology was written by and for allo cis straight people, instead of the audience it’s supposed to be aimed at. Love is Love is an absolute mess: it’s is trans-, bi- and aphobic and much more and therefore fails to honour the victims of the shooting.

Make sure to read Mason’s and Leah’s reviews for more in-depth information.

The Graces by Laure Eve

The Graces has received a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads. While a lot of readers complain that this book is clichรฉ and dull, The Bookavid seems to be the only one who discusses the blatant racism, misogyny, ableism, homophobia and biphobia. Niral, the antagonist in this book is the only person of colour. She spreads a rumour that a side-character is a lesbian, because in this book, that’s apparently a horrible thing to be.

I could go on, but you should read The Bookavid’s review instead.

The Color Project by Sierra Abrams

I won’t read The Color Project because of the author. Sierra Abrams made a Twitter thread last year in which she discussed how platonic friendships are much more important than queer representation. She refused to accept that her favourite book series queer-baits and said that people shouldn’t headcanon characters as queer because once a male character has been with a woman, according to Abrams, they can only be heterosexual and certainly not bisexual.ย  She even said that Adam Parrish from the Raven Cycle was straight in the first book, which is incredibly biphobic.

I haven’t seen a lot of people talk about this and I am begging everyone to not read this book when it comes out. I will do everything I can to spread the word on this, but I can’t do it all by myself.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

I unfortunately owned Nevernight, but once I found it is racist, I unhauled it. It’s one thing to appropriate the culture of Indigenous people, but to refuse to listen to criticism… I’m so done with Jay Kristoff. He’s one of the reasons why I won’t finish Illuminae Files either. On top of this, he also wants to read racist books to see for himself whether or not they are racist. So this white man actually thinks he can judge racism better than people of colour!

The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty

Another book with the dark-skinned aggressor trope. What is up with all these racists books?! Anyway, though The Traitor’s Kiss is marketed as a Mulan retelling, it absolutely isn’t. First of all, it’s whitewashed. Secondly, the villains are people of colour. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this author supports The Continent by Keira Drake, which is another racist book (I will get to that soon).

Besides the racism, this book is also misogynist as there is an abundance of girl-on-girl hate.

Here’s my proof: x, x and x.

The Continent by Keira Drake

This review explains the racism in The Continent. Apparently, the release date of this book has been delayed to make revisions. That doesn’t mean anything, however. Harlequin Teen is also going to publish The Black Witch, which is yet another racist book. Harlequin Teen continues to promote that book on social media, even though it has received plenty of complaints by readers. So I don’t see how they are going to do better with The Continent. Clearly, this publisher doesn’t care about marginalized teens and continues to offer a platform to racist authors.

Furthermore, I think there are certain levels of problematic. Some books feature harmful lines. If those lines would’ve been taken out, the book would’ve been fine. Then there are some books that are build on harmful tropes. And The Continent sounds like the latter to me. No matter how much editing they do, the book is going to remain problematic unless they rewrite the entire thing.

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

I won’t go into detail, since there is a review over 8.000 words that explains why The Black Witch is harmful. You can read it here. This book is not only racist, but also ableist and homophobic. Read this blogpost for prove that these kinds of books hurt teenager. It’s not “just fiction” and that’s why you shouldn’t support this book or author.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The chances of me reading The Hating Game were very slim to begin with. It doesn’t sound like it would be my cup of tea. But after reading this thorough review, I’m certainly never going to pick this book up. I’ve only seen raving reviews, but The Hating Game is fatphobic, racist, ableist and sexist. I don’t want to say I told you so, but those are the exact reasons why I don’t read (New) Adult romances anymore unless they are written by diverse authors and/or feature diverse characters.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

I didn’t include the cover of Carve the Mark in my banner because it’s very triggering to some people. Ever since some bookstagrammers decided to recreate the cover on their arm and therefore romanticise self-harm, I have trouble looking at the cover myself. As you certainly know by now, Carve the Mark is not only ableist, but also racist. You can read more information about the racism here. I decided to unfollow everyone who continued to support Carve the Mark. I’m sad I lost some friends over this, but I can’t handle it anymore that some people don’t care about hurting others. When did reading a book become more important than supporting other – and especially marginalised – people?

Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot

Sad Perfect is a book about a girl with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). This reviewer, who struggles with eating disorders, found this book triggering. Furthermore, the author did not research this topic, as you can read in this interview. Just because her daughter had AFRID, doesn’t make the author an expert on this. This is not an #OwnVoices book! This book is written in second person, so I can totally imagine how harmful this book must be for people with eating disorders.

I also didn’t include the cover of this book as it can also be triggering for some people.


It’s absolutely appalling that this list includes less than half of the books on my ‘not interested’ shelf. On top of that, all these books were released in 2016 or 2017 (or will be released shortly). It saddens me that there are so many harmful books out there. Even though some readers continue to boost diverse authors and/or diverse books, problematic books are constantly being released.

You know what disgusts me the most, though? That there are readers who initially weren’t interested in these books, but once they found out they were problematic, they decided to add them to their TBRs.

Please, do not support these books and authors as they are incredibly harmful for some readers. Instead, I suggest you have a look at my diversity masterpost and pick up some diverse books instead.


How about you

What are some books you won’t read because they are problematic? Like I said, there are many more books on my list, but I’m not opposed to adding even more. We have to protect each other and discuss why books are problematic.

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review: Flying Lessons and Other Stories

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flying lessons and other stories.pngFlying Lessons and Other Stories

edited by Ellen Oh

read in April 2017

format: hardcover

spoiler-free review!


Buy this anthology on Amazon, Book depository or Wordery!

Flying Lessons and Other Stories is probably the first anthology I have ever read. As expected, I wanted more from each story, but I enjoyed them all nonetheless! This anthology features diverse stories written by diverse authors and I plan to read more books by them. It definitely focusses on diversity of ethnicity and race, which is great. But diversity also means LGBTQIAP+, mental health… representation and there wasn’t enough of that.

I absolutely love how all these stories were heart-warming and positive. The experiences of a child of colour are probably different from those of white children, but that doesn’t mean all these stories have to deal with racism and bullying. So make sure to get this anthology in the hands children!

I’m going to discuss each story separately. I really liked the writing styles and how distinct they all were! Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of middle grade novels because the characters sound juvenile, but that wasn’t the case in Flying Lessons and Other Stories! The writing was understandable for children, yet enjoyable for adults as well.

1. How to Transform an Everyday, Ordinary Hoop Court into a Place of Higher Learning and You at the Podium by Matt de la Peรฑa

The main character in this story is Mexican American. The writing style was very unusual: 2nd person perspective and mostly future tense. But it totally worked and I was sad when it ended so soon!

2. The Difficult Path by Grace Lin

The Difficult Path is probably the one that made me want more the most. I’d definitely read a full length fantasy or historical fiction novel by this author. It seems to take place in Asia, though I don’t remember whether that was exactly specified. Perhaps it took place in Taiwan, where the author’s parents are from.

3. Sol Painting, Inc. by Meg Medina

This short story features Latinx representation. was a bit disappointed because I thought there was a mystery element going on – I had the feeling as if the brother didn’t go to that school, because of the way he behaved – but that wasn’t the case.

4. Secret Samantha by Tim Federle

Secret Samantha was one of my favourite short stories!

5. The Beans and Rice Chronicles of Isaiah Dunn by Kelly J. Baptist

I also very much enjoyed this one, but it was too short!

6. Choctaw Bigfoot, Midnight in the Mountains by Tim Tingle

It’s an absolute shame that this was probably the first fiction story I’ve read featuring Native Americans (Choctaw, to be more specific). Therefore, I really wanted to love it, but I couldn’t follow the story. Because a tale was told by a family member, it was mostly tell instead of show. I also had a hard time remaining concentrated during the action-packed scenes.

Having said that, as soon as I finished Choctaw Bigfoot, Midnight in the Mountains, I did some research to find out more about Choctaw. So the author definitely succeeded in motivating people to read more stories about Indigenous people.

7. Main Street by Jacqueline Woodson

Main Street is about a girl who’s mother passed away from cancer and who’s best friend is black. Even though I thought it was too short, I really liked some of the things that were mentioned (e.g. about white people touching a black woman’s hair and how that’s not okay), so I’m very interested to read more by this author. At first, I thought it was odd to have a white characters discuss racism, but somehow, it worked just fine.

8. Flying Lessons by Soman Chainani

Even though I didn’t think Flying Lessons was the best short story in this anthology, it certainly is the one I remember the most. So maybe I did love it more than I’d thought. It features Indian representation (and maybe queer representation?). Even at 22 years old, I related to the protagonist. I’m as afraid as him to make friends. I had tears in my eyes.

But I had some problems with the language that was used. Some if it seemed iffy:

  • “It’s like a chromosome of fun I didn’t get”. I instantly thought of Down syndrome when I read this description, so I really think the author could’ve used a better way to express that the protagonist doesn’t have fun often.
  • “g*psy bangles” I’m absolutely not certain whether this is offensive, but I do know that g*psy is considered a slur. I don’t know whether it’s harmful in this context, but I wanted to warn you nonetheless.
9. Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents by Kwame Alexander

I really liked the way this was written, but there was a bit of blackmailing going on and I didn’t like that. Hopefully, that part of the story wasn’t real, as the protagonist said he took some liberties with the truth.

10. Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push by Walter Dean Myers

This story features a disabled character. It was very short! I don’t know whether it was because of the writing or the pacing, but I sometimes struggled with knowing what was going on.


Conclusion: Flying Lessons and Other Stories is an anthology filled with diverse short stories. It has given me hope that I shouldn’t give up on middle grade novels, as I absolutely loved the writing style in this one. I plan on re-reading this in the future, as I honestly have already forgotten what most stories were about (as you can tell by my “reviews”). But I definitely want to read full-length novels by most of the featured authors!

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T10T: most unique books I’ve read

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and you can have a look at the future topics here! This weekโ€™s topic is:

April 11: Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books I’ve Read | Some variations: top ten unique sounding books on my TBR, top ten most unique books I’ve read in X genre, etc

So today, I am going to talk about some of the most unique books I have read! As you know by now, these are in no particular order!

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We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

(Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery)

At first glance, We Are the Ants might seem like your average YA contemporary. But it absolutely isn’t. Somehow, Hutchinson managed to combine aliens with very serious topics such as bullying, suicide, depression, sexual assault, etc. Still, the book managed to be heart-warming. Please be aware that it might be triggering, so read my review to make sure you won’t get hurt!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

(Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery)

I don’t even have to go into detail. You know why The Hate U Give is unique and why it receives so much praise. I’ll admit that I haven’t read a lot of books by black authors yet, but I loved how unapologetically black THUG was. This book wasn’t written to make white people feel comfortable. This book is brutally honest and isn’t afraid to express the anger people feel, even though so many white people might disagree with it. Furthermore, I think it’s incredibly brave that Thomas wrote a book about a problem that hasn’t been solved yet. And unfortunately won’t be solved anytime soon, as long as Trump is in charge.

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

(Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery)

I love reading Young Adult fantasies, but I think it’s hard to find ones that are unique. Most of the time, they’re easy to predict, because the majority of the books feature the same tropes: special snowflake, lost princess, love triangle, enemies-to-lovers trope… I could go on. I’m definitely not looking down on the genre, but I do appreciate authors who don’t stick to those “rules”. Six of Crows already starts of in a unique way because of the big cast of characters. Furthermore, it’s impossible to predict what is going to happen next!

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

(Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery)

No list is complete without me rambling about The Raven Cycle. This series is definitely my problematic favourite (some racist things are said, as you can read here). Unfortunately, Stiefvater’s next book doesn’t seem to go down a different road. I’m very disappointed, because she said she was going to feature more diversity in her books.

Anyway, The Raven Cycle is probably the most unique series I have ever read. There’s nothing like it. It’s incredibly atmospheric, the characters are very realistic and you have the feeling as if you are really in Henrietta while reading it. I won’t rest until I find another YA series that doesn’t rely on tropes as much as so many other YA fantasies do.

So unfortunately, this series is problematic. I don’t think it’s of the same degree as Carve the Mark or The Black Witch, but be aware of it if you want to pick this series up.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

(Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery)

The premise of Every Heart a Doorway is so unique. Just read the synopsis to see for yourselves:

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now sheโ€™s back. The things sheโ€™s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss Westโ€™s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancyโ€™s arrival marks a change at the Home. Thereโ€™s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, itโ€™s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

I highly enjoyed Every Heart a Doorway and I want to re-read it soon. Still, I was kind of disappointed when I finished it… It started out so strong, but the ending didn’t deliver. Having said that, I would recommend this novella, especially because it features a asexual main character and a trans side character!


What are some of the most unique books you’ve read?

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Bewaren

Book chat: How do I write reviews?

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Hello, my dear followers! It has been a very long time since I did a book chat, so today I wanted to talk about the way I write reviews. When I read other people’s reviews on Goodreads and WordPress, I notice how different they all are. Some people use a lot of gifs, other people’s reviews are merely one sentence, there are those who have very elaborate rating systems, etc. This is not a “how you should write” reviews posts. This is merely a discussion about the different types of reviews and the way I write them. Anyway, let’s get started.

First of all, I think it’s safe to say that my reviews are elaborate, especially when I dislike a book. My review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for example is over two thousand words long, and it easily could’ve been a thousand words longer! I always want to explain why I liked or disliked a book.

Talking about disliking books: I find it so much easier to write reviews for books I hated. When that’s the case, I list the things I disliked. Even when I love a book, I will mention the problematic aspects in my review. As a result, my reviews always seem to focus much more on the negative aspects, rather than the positive.

The thing I struggle with the most while writing down my thoughts, is the order. I never know whether I should start with the positive or the negative. I think that’s my main issue I have to work on.

Some people write a synopsis. For some, that counts as a review. I don’t do that. If anyone wants to know what the book is about, they’ll have to read the blurb. Most of my reviews are definitely meant for people who have read the book, or at least know what it is about.

This year, I decided I no longer want to rate the books I read. In my opinion, star ratings are quite superficial and subjective. And like I’ve said, my reviews are elaborate, so they convey my opinion much better than a rating. Furthermore, I’m reading more diverse books this year. Even when I didn’t enjoy something (for personal reasons, not problematic aspects), I don’t want a low rating to put people off from reading the book themselves.

Having said that, I’m still rating books on Goodreads and Netgalley. My reviews didn’t get nearly as many likes anymore when I stopped rating the books I read. I put a lot of time and effort into them, so naturally, I’d like for people to read them. And when I review ARCs on Netgalley, I think it’s almost mandatory to rate them. But I won’t over-think the rating anymore. When a book isn’t problematic and I very much enjoyed it, I’ll probably rate it 5 stars even when it isn’tย  my new favourite book. No more half ratings for me.

I don’t include any gifs or images in my reviews. I don’t enjoy to read those kinds of reviews, so why would I write my own reviews like that?

At the end, I always write a conclusion. It sums up how I felt about the book and says whether or not I would recommend it.

How about you

What kind of reviews do you write? And which ones do you prefer to read? Do you have any advise for me? I’m very interested to learn more about your reviews, so let me know in the comments!

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review: Queens of Geek

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queens of geek.pngQueens of Geek

by Jen Wilde

read in April 2017

format: paperback

spoiler-free review!


Queens of Geek is a perfect book. There’s nothing I disliked about it. At first glance, this novel might seem predictable, but it absolutely wasn’t. I would recommend this quick and fun read to everyone!

First of all, this book is so diverse. Taylor is fat, has anxiety and autism spectrum disorder. I very much related to her insecurities and anxiety. Charlie, the other protagonist, is bisexual and Chinese Australian. The way she describes her bisexuality is probably the most relatable portrayal I’ve read so far! It’s exactly like my experience. Alyssa is a queer woman of colour and (I think) Jamie is Latinx.

It’s very hard for me to like male characters and M/F romances. But Jamie blew me away. I absolutely loved him. I was even rooting for him and Taylor to get together. That is so unlike me! I always have a hard time thinking of book boyfriends, but if Jamie were a couple years older, he’d definitely be on my list!

Normally, I’m not a fan of geek culture. Though I’m probably a geek myself, I can’t stand them most of the time: “I’m so awkward because I read comic books and like superheroes, no one else at school understands me. Girls are fake fans, because they only watch it because of the hot actors.”. Thankfully, Queens of Geek was not at all like this.

I love it when authors don’t shy away from topics such as fatphobia and misogyny. I think it says a lot about the author, so I definitely want to read more books written by Jen Wilde.

If you’re doing Diversity Bingo like me, this book qualifies for bisexual MC (own voices), neuro-diverse MC (own voices), MC with an under-represented body, LGBTQIA+ MC of colour and MC with an invisible disability.


conclusion: Queens of Geek is one of the most relatable books I have ever read. On top of that, it is diverse and fast-paced. I would recommend everyone to pick up a copy if you haven’t yet!

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