recommendation: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

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Everything I Never Told You

by Celeste Ng

read in October 2017

format: paperback

spoiler-free review!

(synopsis)


“He pushed her in. And then he pulled her out. All her life, Lydia would remember one thing. All his life, Nath would remember another.”

I absolutely fell in love with Everything I Never Told You. It’s probably my favourite read of 2017 so far, if not of all-time. I can’t believe I owned a copy of this book for over two years before I picked it up.

After the death of Lydia, this family falls apart. We learn more about their past, but also what they’re going through after this tragic event. Every single character in this novel is flawed, but they’re not unlikeable. I really cared about Nath, Lydia, Hannah and Jack in particular.

Though you can tell this family loves each other, they only love certain versions of one another. This is a book about people who feel unloved, and perhaps that’s why I loved reading Everything I Never Told You so much.

James’ parents were Chinese immigrants, so his children with Marilyn are of mixed race. It was very interesting to learn more about Chinese immigration to the United States and how mixed-race children and interracial couples were treated. It broke my heart that James felt ashamed of his parents and his heritage (e.g. not speaking Chinese to them anymore, ignoring them at school), all because people made him feel different.

Besides racism, this book also deals with female emancipation. It was very interesting to read about Marilyn’s struggles and how she unfortunately pushed her daughter to be someone she didn’t want to be. Interactions within a family are so complex and I think this book portrayed that perfectly. Like I said, you could clearly tell this was a loving family, but they made a lot of mistakes as well. Having said that, that doesn’t excuse the emotional and physical abuse, but I truly believe these characters changed towards the end of the novel.

The writing was very good. The author kept adding little pieces of forewarning, so I couldn’t put the book down (e.g. “Later, none of them will remember how the day passes, only numbed blur, overshadowed by all that would happen the next day“).

Everything You Never Told Me made me cry multiple times. This novel felt so real, as if these characters really exist. I definitely want to pick up Little Fires Everywhere soon.

content and trigger warnings for: racism, emotional and physical abuse, drowning, death, cheating, under-age drinking, ableism (“What if it’s some crazy? Some psycho kidnapping girls?” and “You’re crazy”) and mentions of suicide.


Everything I Never Told You is one of my favourite books of all-time. I fell in love with these characters, each flawed, but not unlike-ably so. This book deals with racism, female emancipation and grief and I cannot wait to read more of Celeste Ng’s work. I would recommend this beautiful yet heartbreaking story to everyone.

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review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

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the vegetarian.pngThe Vegetarian

by Han Kang (translated by Deborah Smith)

read in October 2017

format: hardcover

this review contains minor spoilers!

The Vegetarian is a short book about a woman named Yeong-hye, who suddenly decides to become a vegetarian after having a nightmare. This novel is divided in three parts, each narrated by a different person close to Yeong-hye.

The first part – named The Vegetarian – is told from the perspective of her husband. I instantly disliked him. Their marriage is convenient, rather than romantic. He says a lot of insensitive things (such as ableist remarks about mental illnesses) and rapes his wife repeatedly.

Yeong-hye‘s brother-in-law is the second narrator. This part was named The Mongolian Mark. I didn’t like him either. Both of these men yearn for their sister-in-laws and he rapes his wife as well.

His obsession with Yeong-hye knew no boundaries. He leaves his five-year-old son all by himself at home because he wants to go and watch the video tape he made of Yeong-hye. If his wife hadn’t called him first, he wouldn’t even have told her he left the child alone at home.

There are multiple sex scenes in this book, which is only 188 pages long. In each scene, there is a lack of consent, no protection is used and it revolves around penetration. I mean, it can’t be healthy to put a penis covered in paint inside your body…

Characters don’t need to be likeable, but when they are problematic, I want it to be called out on the page. And that didn’t happen, except perhaps by In-hye, Yeong-hye‘s sister, but only briefly. Each narrator had their flaws, but these two men in particular disgusted me. Though this book is supposed to revolve around mental illnesses, a lot of ableist remarks were made.

Flaming Trees, the third part, is narrated by In-hye, Yeong-hye‘s sister. She was definitely my favourite storyteller of the three. For some reason, I thought The Vegetarian was a thriller, and I was hoping this book was going to end with Yeong-hye‘s brother-in-law’ and her husband’s deaths. In this final part, however, it dawned on me that this is not a thriller, but a book about mental illnesses. Yeong-hye is diagnosed with anorexia and schizophrenia.

In the end, we still don’t really know what happened. This entire novel is about Yeong-hye, but she’s not a narrator. Though the final part did redeem the rest of the book for me, it wasn’t enough. There were too many flashbacks instead of actually finding out what is going on. Admittedly, I am awful when it comes to metaphors, so I might have missed something.

Mental illnesses need to be represented in media more often, but as someone with mental illnesses, this book didn’t do me any good. It made me feel incredibly anxious and afraid of my mental health. This isn’t an uplifting read.

Because the author didn’t write an author’s note, I don’t know why she decided to write a book dealing with mental health. Because of that, I don’t want to condemn this novel, but I don’t appreciate how it’s about someone who is mental ill, but it’s told by bystanders instead of herself. That caused a lot of ableist remarks that aren’t helpful to readers with mental illnesses.

Furthermore, I found the representation a bit stereotypical. Yeong-hye would have sex with anyone as long as they’re covered in flowers, she acted so incredibly strange and the psychiatric hospital really resembles what we see so often in films.

Apparently, this novel deals with female autonomy as well, but there were so many rape scenes that weren’t called out on page. Maybe the author expects the reader to do that themselves, or maybe she doesn’t think it’s rape. I’d rather know for sure and that’s why I really wanted more commentary in the book itself.

CW/TW for physical and emotional abuse, self-harm, suicide attempt; animals are abused, killed and eaten; child abuse, anorexia, schizophrenia


Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy The Vegetarian. I wish I had known beforehand this deals with mental health, as this turned out quite triggering for me. Though I can deal with the fact that the narrators are unlikeable, I wish their problematic behaviour was called out on page. Having said that, I usually read Young Adult fiction, so maybe that isn’t done as much in Adult literary fiction.

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the Emperor’s New Clothes book tag

emperor's new clothes book tag.pngHello, my fellow book lovers! Today, I’m doing the Emperor’s New Clothes book tag! I was tagged by Flo @ Flowlessbooks. Thank you so much for tagging me ♥


question_1

the boy in the striped pyjamasThis seems to be my go-to answer, but I really don’t get the point of the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I read this novel last year and I still don’t understand why this perspective on World War II was needed. Anyway, I won’t go into detail again because I rant about this all the time, so read my review instead if you want to know why I think this book is overhyped.


question_2

daughter of smoke and bone.pngI was loving Daughter of Smoke & Bone, until the romance became the centre of the book. I want to continue this series, but I really hope Akiva won’t be as important anymore. I knew going into this novel that the romance was insta-love, but because the love interest was such a flat character who seemingly has no personality, I disliked it even more. You can read my full review here.


question_3

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Admittedly, Three Dark Crowns was a cover buy. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the actual content of this novel. I was promised a magical story filled with political intrigue and female rulers, but instead got a boring story filled with insta-love, love triangles and cheating. You can read my full review here. I was still planning to continue this duology because I was curious to see how it ended, but in the meantime, it has been announced that there will be four books in this series instead of two. Therefore, I won’t continue Three Dark Crowns.


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eliza and her monsters

Eliza and her Monsters wasn’t initially on my radar, but after hearing only positive things about it, I decided to buy a copy. I haven’t read this yet, but my expectations are high!

Honestly, there are so many other books I could’ve answered this question with, because I am easily swayed by the hype. Even when a book doesn’t necessarily appeal to me, I’m interested to find out why other readers love it so much.


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pretty girlsI have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Karin Slaughter. I’ve only read two of her books, but I already noticed she sensationalises sexual violence. As if rape isn’t bad enough, it has to be as gruesome as possible. I have a lot of issues with that. But in Pretty Girls, it did lead me to care much more about the mystery. The crimes were so horrible, I wanted to see the person who was responsible punished!

Anyway, Pretty Girls was definitely a f*cked up book. I felt physically ill at times while reading it, but it was such a good thriller nonetheless. You can read my full review here.


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There are so many tropes I could choose from. It’s the reason why I am sometimes so done with YA fantasies. A lot of books in that genre rely on the same tropes, which makes them so generic and predictable. One of the tropes I’m especially tired of seeing, is the special snowflake one. Our main character finds out at sixteen that she has special powers. Her family hid it from her all her life. But guess what? She’s much more powerful than everyone else! And she happens to be the missing princess everyone was hinting at throughout the entire book!

Though this trope could work well, it’s so incredibly overdone and has therefore become very predictable.


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Honestly, I think almost every book could use a little rewriting. As much as I love some books, it’s hard to find one that’s perfect. This is especially true when it comes to problematic content. Even one harmful line can really hurt a reader.

the raven kingOne book I would therefore rewrite is The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. I would leave out the racism and give the M/M romance as much attention as the M/F one. Actually, I found this final instalment very disappointing, so there is much more I could change! As much as I love The Raven Cycle, I agree with the criticism it has received.


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cursed child.pngMy most popular review on Goodreads is my review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I hate this “book” so much, there’s nothing redeeming about it. Just thinking about it makes me laugh, because I cannot take it seriously. It’s an insult to fanfiction writers to call this script fanfiction. The only reason why I’d want people to read this, is so we could laugh at how bad it is. I refuse to consider this canon and I will live my life pretending this doesn’t exist. You can read my full review here.


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Being a part of the book community on Instagram has made me realise that community is not all about books, but all about bookish merch instead. Maybe I’m just being petty because I can’t afford to buy bookish candles, bookish stickers, bookish WHATEVER; but posting pics of books isn’t good enough anymore, you need to own tons of merch to get noticed. People can buy whatever they want, I don’t care, but it’s too expensive for my taste. I’ll just stick to books and the occasional Funko Pops!


So this was the Emperor’s New Clothes book tag! If you want to do this tag, consider yourself tagged by me!

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recommendation: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

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written in the stars.pngWritten in the Stars

by Aisha Saeed

read in October 2017

format: hardcover

review contains minor spoilers!


It’s quite impossible to talk about this book without spoiling what it’s about. The synopsis itself spoils certain elements. But if you want to go into this book blind, you might not be prepared for how heart-wrenching Written in the Stars is. So my review will contain minor spoilers, but you will still be able to read the book afterwards.

Naila, the protagonist is thrust into an unwanted marriage by her family. The author’s note was absolutely beautiful and made me appreciate this book even more than I did. Aisha Saeed’s own marriage was semi-arranged by her family. Though her marriage is a happy one, there are many girls who are forced to marry someone. I hope Saeed will write an uplifting book featuring an arranged marriage someday, but I understand why she chose to write about a forced marriage instead in Written in the Stars. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many girls. I wasn’t really aware of that, so Naila’s story definitely needs to be told.

The story starts off in Florida, but it mainly takes place in Pakistan. The cultural aspects were very interesting. There’s even a glossary at the end, though I wasn’t aware of that until I finished reading the book.

Written in the Stars is very fast-paced and the chapters are short. I absolutely loved that, but at times, I do think some scenes could’ve been developed further. It sometimes seemed a bit clipped, like something was missing? Either way, you could read Written in the Stars in one sitting if you want to, but do be aware that the content is emotionally draining and heartbreaking.

Because it was so fast-paced, the amount of characters really confused me. It was hard to keep track of them. Furthermore, there were some things that just didn’t add up. Naila for instance leaves a note saying “By the well behind the house. Tonight.” without specifying an hour or without making sure the person she was meeting, knew where she lived!

Not to mention that Amin supposedly didn’t know that Naila was forced to marry him. She said so during the ceremony and her family had to force her to sign the document. Didn’t he witness that?

I think some reviewers are being too harsh on Naila. She’s not to blame for anything that happened. It’s completely understandable why she trusted her family. She never once annoyed me, so I was feeling very sorry for her. No one deserves to go through this. Though this story might be fictional, it’s – like I said – the reality for some girls.

I don’t think this book sensationalises or dramatises the traumatic experiences. Every character has layers; there are no villains who treat Naila badly just for the sake of being the villain. That brought another layer of realism to this novel.

The ending was great and stayed true to the vibe of the rest of the book. Though it might have been a bit rushed, I think the epilogue made up for that.

content and trigger warnings for (warning: contains spoilers!): forced marriage, physical and emotional abuse, being drugged against their will, rape, miscarriage


I absolutely loved Written in the Stars. I would recommend this to everyone, though be aware that this is not a fluffy read. I’d give this five out of five stars! I can’t wait to see what Saeed writes next!

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Spookathon TBR (October 16 – 22)

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Hello, my fellow book lovers! I never join readathons, nor do I post TBRs, but today is an exception! A couple of weeks ago, this year’s edition of Spookathon was anounced by my favourite BookTuber BooksandLala and you can watch the announcement here.

These are the five challenges:

  1. read a thriller
  2. read a book with a spooky word in the title
  3. read a book based on a childhood fear
  4. read a book with orange on the cover
  5. read a book that has a spooky setting

Since Spookathon is only one week long, there is no way I’ll be able to complete all the challenges. But because I’m a mood reader and like to have choices, I do have a TBR for each of these challenges.

I realise that the majority of these books feature white, non-disabled, allocishet characters. I usually read diverse books, but out of the titles I’m about to mention, I only own a physical copy of one. The rest I had to gather via the library, Storytel, etc. and diverse thrillers are unfortunately harder to find there. Sadly, I don’t have the money to buy every diverse book I want right now, so I had to make do with the options I had. 
a stranger in the house

synopsis: Why would you run scared from a happy home?

You’re waiting for your beloved husband to get home from work. You’re making dinner, looking forward to hearing about his day.

That’s the last thing you remember.

You wake up in hospital, with no idea how you got there. They tell you that you were in an accident; you lost control of your car whilst driving in a dangerous part of town.

The police suspect you were up to no good. But your husband refuses to believe it. Your best friend isn’t so sure. And even you don’t know what to believe . . .

The hosts will be reading Stranger in the House. I own this one on audiobook, so I might pick it up. Though I have loved some of the thrillers I have listened to on audiobook, I do wish I owned a physical copy. It’s never quite the same experience.

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synopsis: Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?

Back in Boston, Ted’s wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?

I had to check out a library book for my sister the other day, and I spotted The Kind Worth Killing at my local library. I’ve heard great things about this thriller and I can’t wait to pick it up!

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synopsis: Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.

Okay, I am totally cheating: though there’s orange on the cover, I have a different edition that doesn’t. But I borrowed this one from the library as well, so it’s not like I had much of a choice. I read two of Karin Slaughter’s books back in August (both on audiobook actually) so I know what to expect from her writing. I’ve been watching a lot of true crime series lately and I am looking forward to reading a book where the protagonist is a cop.

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synopsis: ‘Are you happy in your life?’

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he wakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before the man he’s never met smiles down at him and says, ‘Welcome back, my friend.’

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined – one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

I think Dark Matter is a spooky title because it sounds so gross. But if it’s the scientific dark matter, than this book sounds really strange, which I find intriguing and spooky as well. I have a copy of this novel on Kindle. the bazaar of bad dreams.png

synopsis: There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been terrified of ghosts. Some of these short stories include supernatural elements, so those will definitely pack a punch. On the other hand though, they might also traumatise me for life! It’s one of the reasons why I have never read a book by Stephen King before. This is my choice for ‘childhood fear‘ and I own a hardcover copy of this short story collection.

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synopsis: Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

Realistically speaking, however, I just don’t think I’ll be able to get to the Bazaar of Dreams. So my second choice for ‘childhood fear‘ is Bird Box because the characters in this book are being followed by something or someone. This is available on audiobook. You have no idea how many times I’ve dreamt someone was chasing me, but I was unable to lock the door properly!

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synopsis: When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper’s isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it’s the end of everything. For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it’s just another stop on a long and bloody journey. And they still have many miles to go, and victims to sacrifice, before their work is done.
For San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart, their trail of victims–women abducted, tortured and left with a seemingly random series of objects inside them–has brought her from obsession to the edge of physical and psychological destruction. And she’s losing hope of making a breakthrough before that happens.
But the murders at the Cooper farmhouse didn’t quite go according to plan. There was a survivor, Rowena’s ten-year-old daughter Nell, who now holds the key to the killings. Injured, half-frozen, terrified, Nell has only one place to go. And that place could be even more dangerous than what she’s running from.In this extraordinary, pulse-pounding debut, Saul Black takes us deep into the mind of a psychopath, and into the troubled heart of the woman determined to stop him.

My pick for ‘spooky setting‘ is The Killing Lessons. Just look at that cover! When reading the synopsis, I spotted ‘isolated farmhouse’, and that sounds very eerie as well. Out of all of these titles, I think I’m going to “enjoy” this one the most. I own a copy of this book on Kindle.


So this is my Spookathon TBR! I have a few back-ups, because I really struggle with planning what I want to read next. But I’m honestly excited to read all of these and I can’t wait for Spookathon to begin!

Have you read any of these thrillers yet? Are you joining Spookathon? Let me know in the comments!

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recommendation: Far From You

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Afbeeldingsresultaat voor far from you tess sharpeFar From You

by Tess Sharpe

read in September 2017

format: paperback

spoiler-free review!


“But my heart isn’t simple or straightforward. It’s a complicated mess of wants and needs, boys and girls: soft, rough, and everything in between, an ever-shifting precipice from which to fall.

I was nervous to pick up Far From You. I expected to love it, so I didn’t want to end up feeling disappointed. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case: I absolutely loved it!

This novel is raw. Sophie, the protagonist, is flawed, but I admired her and understood her actions. Far From You deals with many serious topics such as drug addiction and murder, and I loved that Sophie’s personality and behaviour reflected that.

The storyline is non-linear. Every chapter is followed by a flashback. Those were definitely intriguing, but sometimes confusing at the same time because they weren’t in a chronological order. Still, it was nice we got to know the characters more that way and I certainly understand why the author included them. They were very nice additions, though do pay attention to the time-line while reading.

Sophie is bisexual and Mina is a lesbian. There’s somewhat of a love triangle in here, but I didn’t mind. It felt very natural and it was very beautifully done: “If it hadn’t been for her, it would have been you.” Don’t worry, though, this author is bisexual and as a bisexual reader, I can tell you that these relationships didn’t rely on any harmful biphobic tropes.

Unfortunately, it took me almost two weeks to finish this novel. It’s not the book’s fault, but mine, because I haven’t been feeling well lately. But because of the abundance of characters, I was very confused at times. It was especially difficult to keep track of all the male characters with generic names such as Kyle, Adam, Jack, etc.

Before I read this novel, I wasn’t aware that it was a YA mystery. I thought the mystery was well done and I only guessed about one chapter before the reveal who was responsible for the crimes. Having said that, I would primarily recommend Far From You for the representation. Sophie is a drug-addict. She is disabled and has experienced chronic pain ever since being in a car accident. I prefer character-driven novels, so Far From You was everything I wanted.

content and trigger warnings for internalised queerphobia, drug addiction, murder, chronic pain, ableist language (such as cr*zy), d*ke, kidnapping and being drugged against your will


Far From You is an intriguing Young Adult mystery, but I especially loved Sophie’s journey. I’m very glad this novel didn’t disappoint me and I’m already looking forward to Tess Sharpe’s 2018 book releases.

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requesting e-ARCs: tips and tricks

requesting e-ARCs.pngHello, my fellow book lovers. I’ve been requesting e-ARCs* since March, and I thought it might be nice to share some tips and tricks with you, based on my experiences. I am by no means an expert, but I wish I had know the following when I first started requesting them.

*e-ARCs are digital advance reader copies, so books you read for review before the release date

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You can request e-ARCs on Edelweiss and Netgalley. My requests have yet to be approved on Edelweiss. Though I also get plenty of rejections on Netgalley, I do get lucky there much more often. I also find it an easier site to navigate.

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When you first join the site, you’ll want to request as many titles as possible. Don’t do that! What if you get approved for all of them? You’ll never have the time to read those. So don’t go overboard while requesting e-ARCs. Even though the chances of getting approved for all of the titles are slim, you may not want to spend all of your spare time reading ARCs. There are plenty of other books you can read in the meantime, just have a look at your bookshelves!

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I personally find this the most important piece of advice. Only request titles you are genuinely interested in! There’s an abundance of books on both Edelweiss and Netgalley and you might discover some great books through them. But do some research beforehand and make sure the book you’re requesting is something you’d actually read. Trust me, I have some e-ARCs of books that were released months ago, that I still have to read. I had requested them because I’ve heard of the books somehow, but once I got approved, I wasn’t actually excited to pick them up.

Your feedback ratio is the amount of approved e-ARCs you actually reviewed. So if you keep on requesting e-ARCs, but don’t actually read them, your feedback ratio will go lower. And that’s not good, because publishers want to make sure you will actually review it. That’s why it’s so important to only request titles you’d want to read.

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The second ARC I got approved for, was the Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. I was over the moon! It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and though I had only just joined Netgalley, I got approved for such a great book! Surely, I would get approved for other great titles as well, right?

Well, I was wrong about that. Even much smaller publishers decline my requests. There’s no way of telling when you’ll get approved and when you’ll get declined. It really doesn’t matter whether the author is famous or not, whether the publisher is big or not… All you can do is try, but there are no guarantees.

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That leads me to piece of advice no. 5: don’t take it personally when you don’t get approved. I really struggle with this one. Sometimes, I have the feeling everyone got approved for a certain title, except for me. It makes me wonder whether I’m doing something wrong, whether my blog isn’t good enough. As difficult as it is, you can’t doubt yourself. Requesting e-ARCs should be fun, instead of making you feel bad about yourself and your work. So when you see everyone got approved but you, pick up another book instead and think “well, it’s their loss!”.

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This is an obvious one: you have to write honest reviews. If you didn’t like it, write that in your review. Though this is a simple piece of advice, it might be something you struggle with when you first start requesting ARCs. Because what if the publisher sees your negative review and never approves you again?! If they do that, the publisher is very unprofessional. Furthermore, whose approval means more to you? The approval of your fellow readers, or the approval of some publisher who probably never visits your blog anyway? This is something you especially see on BookTube: “you’re the only one who’s honest!”. Though it’s possible some readers enjoy every single book they read, people will notice whether you’re honest or not.


These were some pieces of advice if you want to start requesting e-ARCs! If you need any more help or have further advice, feel free to leave a comment 🙂 I hope this post is going to be useful!

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Down the TBR Hole #31-40

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Hello, my fellow book lovers. Today, it’s time for round 4 of Down the TBR Hole, which was created by Lost in a Story. You can have a look at the previous rounds here. From time to time, I’ll go to my Goodreads to-read shelf and change the order to ‘ascending date added’. I’ll pick ten books on that list and decide whether or not they’ll remain on my TBR.

Very Good Lives The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination.pngLook, I absolutely love the Harry Potter series, but I do not support J.K. Rowling. I don’t want to get into it because she’s the author equivalent of a queen for some people, but I have no interest in reading one of her speeches.

verdict:  remove from wishlist

the queen of the tearling.pngI don’t know much about the Queen of the Tearling. Either people seem to love or hate it. Apparently, it contains a lot of political intrigue, so that definitely sparks my interest. I’ve been looking for books similar to A Song of Ice and Fire. Fantasy isn’t necessary, I just want to read a good book with royalty filled with twists and turns.

verdict: remains on wishlist and TBR

a darker shade of magicI feel very conflicted when it comes to V.E. Schwab’s work. So many readers – including my sister – love her work, but I cannot support this author. A few months ago, she made some aphobic comments and as far as I know, she never genuinely apologised. Furthermore, I couldn’t even finish Vicious. So on the one hand, I’m interested to find out what the hype’s about, but I don’t think this is going to be my cup of tea.

verdict:  remove from TBR

illusions of fateI just read the synopsis of this one and it’s very clear this is a M/F romance. Even though magic intrigues me and this is a short book, I doubt I’d end up loving it.

verdict: remove from TBR

the rose & the daggerI read the Wrath & the Dawn back in 2015. So I definitely have to reread that one if I wish to pick the sequel up. I remember enjoying it, but I can’t help but think “Chelsea, it’s a romance???”, because I usually really don’t enjoy that. I think I’ll just re-read the Wrath & the Dawn first and then decided whether I’ll read the Rose & the Dagger afterwards.

verdict: remains on physical TBR

brokeback mountainBrokeback Mountain is only fifty pages long and I have access to the audiobook thanks to Storytel, so I might as well pick this one up one day. Even though I loved the film adaptation when I watched it a few years ago, I don’t think I’ll love this. People keep saying this is a gay love story, but aren’t they bisexual? And if that’s the case, this is the prefect example of the cheating bisexual trope :/

verdict: remains on TBR

the murder complexI was convinced this was a YA mystery, until I read the synopsis. Apparently this is a YA dystopia series? Well, that’s definitely not something I tend to read.

verdict: remove for TBR

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Though I want to read more mysteries, Dare Me has received more negative than positive reviews from my Goodreads friends. And I definitely want a thriller to pack a good punch, so I don’t think Dare Me is what I’m looking for.

verdict: remove from TBR

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Theme of this week’s Down the TBR hole? I don’t like M/F romances. So I doubt I’d enjoy These Broken Stars. Furthermore, this is a sci-fi series, and I really struggle with that genre. Though this book has received many positive reviews, I don’t see myself ever pick it up.

verdict: remove from TBR

the carrie diaries.pngI bought this book when I started re-watching Sex and the City a few years ago. I thought the show was empowering and filled with feminist moments, but it’s so incredibly problematic. I had to stop watching it, so I don’t have any interest in reading the books either.

verdict: remove from TBR


I’m proud of myself for removing so many books from my TBR. Do you think I made any mistakes in my verdicts? Let me know in the comments!

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T5W: books featuring witches on my TBR

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Hello, my fellow book lovers! Top Five Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Thoughts on Tomes! Visit the Goodreads group if you’re interested in joining! This week’s topic is:

October 4th: Books Featuring Witches
So there is a topic later this month about paranormal creatures, but 1. witches aren’t creatures and 2. they deserve their own topic. These can be “witch books” or books that happen to feature witches as characters, whether they are main characters or side characters.

I haven’t been reading a lot of fantasies lately, so instead, I’m going to talk about five books featuring witches on my TBR. Surprisingly, I actually own all of these already! These are in no particular order. truthwitch

synopsis: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Truthwitch is on my fall TBR. I’ve been meaning to start this series ever since it was released, so I really need to pick this up soon. On the other hand, however, the release date of the third instalment has been pushed back, if I’m correct. So in fact, I shouldn’t rush myself. the bone witch

synopsis: The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

The Bone Witch is on my fall TBR as well! I own the audiobook as well, but I think it’s best to actually read a complex fantasy novel myself. Apparently, this is kind of slow, but I’ve managed to read books like A Game of Thrones, so surely, I can get through this as well, right?labyrinth lost.png

synopsis: Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

I started Labyrinth Lost back in April, but because I was incredibly busy, I ended up DNF’ing all the books I was reading back then. I was really enjoying Labyrinth Lost, but I think I’ll have to re-read it before I pick this up again. uprooted.png

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood’s powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia – all the things Agnieszka isn’t – and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

Some readers absolutely love Uprooted, other really don’t. Fantasy standalones always peak my interests (I don’t  read many series lately), so I ought to read this one soon! the school for good and evil.png

The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

I received this trilogy for my birthday almost two years ago, yet I still haven’t started this series. Middle Grade is either a hit-or-miss for me, but the synopsis sounds so unique. And many readers, including adults, seem to really enjoy these books!


So these are five books featuring witches on my TBR. Feel free to leave a link to your ‘Top 5 Wednesday’ post below, because I really want to discover more books with witches!

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Summer 2017 reading update

summer.pngHello, my fellow book lovers! Autumn has officially and very clearly started, so today I’m going to discuss the books I read in July, August and September. Each season, I talk about how many books I read, my favourite reads (excluding re-reads), how my Goodreads reading challenge is going, etc.


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Last season, I read a total of 36 books! That’s a huge amount for me, so I am proud of myself. Even though the reason why I’m reading so much, isn’t something to be proud of. My depression and anxiety are getting increasingly worse, and I find my escape in books. Anyway, I won’t discuss each title individually as I post wrap-ups at the beginning of each month, so check those out if you’re interested to see which books I read.


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Choosing only three favourites out of 36 books isn’t easy. The majority of the books I read, were audiobooks. I feel ‘meh’ towards most of those, since I just can’t seem to focus on audiobooks as much as I do while reading a physical copy. But because of my mental health, it’s very hard to actually do the latter lately.

Well, I’m rambling again. Here are my three favourites read:

we are okayI was initially planning on DNF’ing We Are Okay, because I wasn’t in the mood for it at the time. Thankfully, I gave it another shot because this beautiful novel blew me away. It had been a while since a book made me cry like that. We Are Okay is a story about grief, featuring queer female characters and a bit of a mystery. You can read my full review here.

far from youI didn’t realise it before, but Far From You is a bit similar to We Are Okay, because it also includes queer female characters, a mystery and deals with grief. It was especially the main character Sophie that made me love this novel so much. My full review will be posted sometime this or next week! I already wrote it, but at the end of each month, my blog is swamped with blogposts!

pretty girlsHonestly, I have quite a lot of issues with Karin Slaughter’s writing. I read both Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter back in July and the sexual violence always has to be as gruesome as possible.

Having said that, I cannot deny that Pretty Girls blew me away. The mystery was very enthralling, original and unpredictable. You can read my full review here.

I plan on joining Spookathon from 16 to 22 October, even though I don’t usually do readathons. I’m very excited to finally pick up some more mysteries and thrillers!


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reading_challenge_summer_update

I already finished my 2017 Goodreads reading challenge! I planned on reading approximately one book a week, but thanks to all the audiobooks I’ve listened to, I’m very much ahead of schedule. Maybe this is a sign I should finally pick up A Dance With Dragons again? 😅


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This is where things get tricky. I find it very difficult to keep track of my Diversity Bingo progress. Some books fit multiple categories and for others, I have to buy more books in order to succeed. And sadly, I’m not supposed to buy many (or any, honestly) right now. So unfortunately I can’t provide you with an update today.

At the end of the day, I find it more important for me to read diverse books, instead of just trying to tick of the boxes. The majority of the novels I buy and read are diverse, so I don’t consider this a failure.


So this was my Summer reading update! What were your favourite reads last summer? How’s your Goodreads reading challenge going?

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