February (and birthday) 2017 book haul!

Hello everyone! I got so many more books in February than last month! It was my birthday on the thirteenth, so some books were gifts and others I bought with the money I received! I’m very proud that I’ve already read some of the books I’m going to mention below.


all featured photos are my own!

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Paperbacks

The BFG by Roald Dahl

When I was a child, I read some books written by Roald Dahl. That was many years ago and those were Dutch translation. I really adore these editions by Puffin (I’m obsessed with watercolour if you hadn’t noticed yet), so I decided to get The BFG, especially because has been adapted into film and I prefer to read the source material first.

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu

I honestly don’t know about this graphic novel, besides that is was recommended by a bunch of people lately, including my favourite BookTuber Thoughts on Tomes. The author is a woman of colour (her grandparents are Chinese [source]) and I’ve heard it features disability representation!

This was a birthday gift from my friend Luke and it looks absolutely beautiful! I’m not the biggest fan of graphic novels – I never connect with them as much as I do with books – but my expectations are high!

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Complex is shelved as a graphic novel on Goodreads, but that is not correct. I don’t mind though; like I’ve said, I prefer books anyway. Some of the characters are Asian Americans, just like the author, so this sounds like another great #OwnVoices book! I also got this one as a birthday gift ๐Ÿ™‚


hardcovers

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: the Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Originally, I didn’t plan on getting the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I didn’t understand why that was necessary, since you can just re-watch the movie instead. But I saw that book everywhere on my Instagram feed and it looked so pretty! So my dad gave it to me for my birthday! It’s been a couple of months since I’ve seen the film, so I might read this one soon. I hope it won’t take me too long to finish it though ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

The World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

This is another birthday gift from my father! He recently started watching Game of Thrones and he knows how much I love it – especially the books – so he gave me this beautiful book on the history of Westeros. I also got a gorgeous poster covered with quotes from the TV show!

I’m currently reading A Dance With Dragons, so I hope to read The World of Ice and Fire once I finish that one.

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

I’ve been meaning to get We Are the Ants for months and I finally have it! I instantly started reading it and ended up loving it. You can read my review here! It is an #OwnVoices story about a gay boy named Henry. This book deals with a lot of serious topics such as bullying, suicide, depression and sexual assault, yet it still managed to be funny and heart-warming. I’m very much looking forward to reading this author’s other books.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

I’m very happy that I got so many #OwnVoices books in February. Under Rose-Tainted Skies is about a girl named Norah – absolutely adore that name – who struggles with agoraphobia, as well as self-harm, OCD and depression, though I’m unsure whether those parts were #OwnVoices. Anyway, this is another book I read right away, but I unfortunately didn’t love this one as much as I loved We Are the Ants. Though I am very happy this book exists, especially for people with mental illnesses, it couldn’t keep me intrigued. I would still recommend it though! You can read my full review here.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery and A little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I’m not going to lie: these were cover buys. I have no idea what these classics are about, nor am I very interested in reading them. I was doing so good with buying books I wanted to read right away, but I caved when I saw these ones ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Has anyone read Anne of Green Gables and/or A Little Princess yet? Do you think I’m going to like them?

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

I don’t really know much about On The Edge of Gone, but @novelparadise (who you should definitely follow if you aren’t yet) loved this book and I trust her judgement completely! I’ve added so many diverse books to my TBR thanks to T’s recommendations ๐Ÿ˜€ All I know is that On The Edge of Gone is very diverse: the main character is biracial and autistic and her sister is trans. Once I read it, I will provide you with a full list of all the representation in this book.


Funko Pops

Finally, I also bought two Funko Pops! in February: let’s welcome Ariel and Tina to my collection! This is my second Ariel Funko Pop! and even though I am not the biggest fan of Tina, I do love the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts universe, so I decided to get it while it was cheap.


Which books did you get in February? ๐Ÿ™‚ Do you like this slide-show I made, or do you prefer my previous book hauls?

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โ˜† You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads! โ˜†

Under Rose-Tainted Skies: an enjoyable #OwnVoices story

under_rose-tainted_skies.pngUnder Rose-Tainted Skies

by Louise Gornall

read in February 2017

format: hardcover

spoiler-free review!


I’ve heard You don’t look mentally ill at least a half a dozen times in the past four years, a couple of those times from my former friends. I blame the media, stereotyping “mental illness” and calling every murderer since Manson crazy. People always seem to be expecting wide eyes and a kitchen knife dripping with blood.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is about Norah who struggles with agoraphobia and OCD. The premise of this is similar to Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, but without the ableist representation (you can find more information about that here). This book is an #ownvoices story because Louise Gornall, the author, is also agoraphobic. Two reviewers who struggle with mental illnesses similar to Norah’s agree that the representation is accurate (as you can read here and here).

This book also deals with self-harm, eating disorders and depression, so be aware of that in case that triggers you. I did find the descriptions of self-harm and fainting relatable.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for me to love this. Contemporary romances are not my favourites and Under Rose-Tainted Skies is no exception. Thankfully, however, there was no instalove and mental illness isn’t “cured” once the characters fall in love.

Furthermore, I didn’t love the writing style. Because of Norah’s mental illness, she gets distracted easily during conversations. Which interrupted the conversations quite often. While I completely understand why the author did that, it wasn’t enjoyable to read. Once I finished a chapter, I put the book down for several minutes. This book just couldn’t keep me intrigued. I also spotted some spelling mistakes and things didn’t add up. Luke’s phone was being fixed, yet he was using his phone to talk to someone. This didn’t cause any major problems while reading, but I did find it annoying because it occurred more than once.

My main complaint has to be the lack of female friendships. Girls are called “chicks” multiple times and Amy, the only female character we learn about besides Norah’s mother, is basically described as a rich, blonde, popular bimbo. Naturally I understand that Norah doesn’t allow a lot of people in her life, but I would think that the internet could be a solution for that. If she were to make friends with people online, perhaps that wouldn’t trigger her agoraphobia.

Even though I didn’t love this book, I’m thankful it exists. The quote I used at the beginning proves there are stigmas of mental illness, so it is important that books represent it in an accurate way. Still, I wish more books focussed on recovery instead of primarily the struggles that are caused by a mental illness. Books like Under Rose-Tainted Skies end on a positive note, but the rest of the book is filled with anxiety, depression, etc. Which is okay, because those stories have to be told, but I wish there were as many books out there that focus on recovery. I’d for instance rather read a book about someone who is recovering from anorexia than someone who struggles with it throughout a book and only seeks help at the end.

conclusion: Under Rose-Tainted Skies is an enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with mental illnesses or people who want to read an accurate portrayal of one.


โ˜† You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads! โ˜†

‘My Life in Books’ tag

Hello everyone! Today, I’m doing the ‘my life in books’ tag! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find who created this, but naturally, the credit goes to the creator. I wasn’t tagged by anyone, but I still wanted to do this.

BOOK FOR EACH INITIAL

I’ll just pick seven random books that I own/have read:

  • C โŸถ Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  • H โŸถ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  • E โŸถ Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • L โŸถ Legend by Marie Lu
  • S โŸถ Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  • E โŸถ Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  • A โŸถ Ash by Malinda Lo
AGE โ€“ COUNT ALONG YOUR BOOKSHELF

mockingjay

The 22nd book on my shelves is Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins!

BOOK THAT REPRESENTS A DESTINATION YOU WOULD LOVE TO TRAVEL TOO.

hp

Obviously, I would love to visit Hogwarts. Unfortunately, I still haven’t received my Hogwarts letter yet – I’m 22 years old, so I doubt it’s going to happen – so I might have to settle for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter parks instead. I live in Belgium though, so I don’t see that happening any time soon either (or ever ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ).

FAVORITE COLOR

You will probably see a lot of blue books on by bookstagram! Though I never buy books for a particular colour, that colour is probably my favourite (but I love pink, mint and black as well).

boy_in_the_striped_pyjamas

FONDEST MEMORIES OF
dream-thieves

There are multiple books I could choose from, but The Dream Thieves is probably my all-time favourite book. As you know, I love The Raven Cycle and the second instalment in particular, because it focusses more on the characters instead of the mystery and fantasy. When I think of this book, I think of summertime in Henrietta. I honestly have no idea when or where I read this one, because it is so atmospheric and you have the feeling you are really there.

The first time I read The Dream Thieves, I actually didn’t want to finish it! Obviously, I’m very glad I did ๐Ÿ˜€

MOST DIFFICULTY READING

agot

I don’t think A Song of Ice and Fire is hard to read, but I do find it difficult to find time to read it! All the books in the series are HUGE and I am a very slow reader. I feel so much pressure to constantly read and review books, so I pick up smaller books instead. Reading multiple books at the same time doesn’t work for me, so I really have to devote myself to these books in order to finish them.

Having said that, I absolutely love this series and really enjoy reading them. As intimidating as it might be, I want to read more adult high fantasy series once I’m finished with this one.

asking-for-it

As for a book I think is really going to be difficult to read, I have to go for Asking for It by Louise O’Neill. This book is about a girl who gets raped and that’s the reason why I want to read it, but at the same time I don’t. Because I know it isn’t going to be enjoyable. That book is going to piss me off. But it’s such an important topic at the same time!

WHICH BOOK IN TBR PILE WILL YOU GET THE BIGGEST SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT FROM?

outlander

Besides A Song of Ice and Fire, I also want to read the Outlander series, though I haven’t finished that one either because the books are so huge. The main reason why I want to read this series, is because of Claire. I watch the TV show and I love her so much! Most readers say Jamie is their favourite, but I have some problems with him. Let’s call him a problematic fav ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, I’ve only read one hundred pages in Outlander and that was last summer! I already own the majority of the books in this series, so I really should continue it. Who am I kidding though? That’s not going to happen anytime soon!


โ˜† You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads! โ˜†

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)

a_feast_for_crows.pngA Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)

by George R.R. Martin

read from August 2016 to February 2017

format: mass paperback

spoiler-free review


Words are like arrows, Arianne. Once loosed, you cannot call them back.

I started A Feast For Crows back in August, but hadn’t picked it up in months! Which is entirely my fault, since I always think I can read these books while reading others as well. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for me. Ten days ago, I decided I had to finish this book and I absolutely devoured those final 600 pages I didn’t get to last summer.

A Feast For Crows is quite different from its predecessors. This one focusses on the Lannisters in King’s Landing, the Martells, Sansa and Arya Stark, Brienne, the Greyjoys and Samwell. I absolutely loved that Martin decided to focus on particular story-lines instead of giving us bits and pieces every arc in the series.

But because I got so used to these characters, I’m afraid I am going to miss them! Hopefully, the next book does not only focus on Tyrion, Jon and Dany, but on other characters as well. Knowing myself, I’ll probably start A Dance With Dragons right away, because once I am invested in these books, I can’t stop thinking about them. Though I really shouldn’t, because I don’t want to fall behind on my reading challenge!

I was so happy that we finally got chapters from Cersei’s point-of-view. In the books, she is much more brutal than in the TV show adaptation, but I love her nonetheless. I’m already dreading reading about Tyrion in the following books, because I absolutely loathe him. I hope Cersei will remain a protagonist as well. And I also enjoyed the Jaime we got to see in A Feast For Crows. I love the theory that he is the valonqar and I can definitely see it happen in the books.

We are also introduced to Dorne and the Martells. I absolutely loved Arianne and I -once again- hope this wasn’t the end of her story-line. Their story is so much better in the books than in the adaptation; trust me!

Multiple point-of-views don’t work for everybody. I admit that I struggled with the chapters about the Greyjoys, because they are such vile and sexist men. Except for Asha Greyjoy of course! I adore and admire her and wish more chapters focussed on her instead of her uncles. Still, I think Martin writes multiple point-of-views perfectly. Each protagonist has a very distinguished voice. I love that you could tell when a chapter was from Arya’s POV, because you really get the feeling as if you are listening to a child, which she is, though you might forget because of all the horror she has witnessed.

We are so blessed that George R. R. Martin is able to write all these bad-ass female characters! In my opinion, they are so much better than the men and I absolutely love that!

Unfortunately, I don’t remember much about the first three hundred pages of A Feast For Crows because I read those so many months ago. At least I’ve learned that I should binge-read this series instead of reading other books on the side. Yes, it’s intimidating to devote all your time to these big books, but in my opinion, you’ll enjoy them much more that way!

conclusion: I absolutely loved reading A Feast For Crows and I cannot wait to pick up the next book in this series. Hopefully, it won’t take a long time before The Winds of Winter is released! Even if you have seen the TV show adaptation, I would absolutely recommend reading the books. They’re much more in-depth and still surprising, because the TV show doesn’t always stay true to the source.


โ˜† You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads! โ˜†

We Are the Ants: loved it!

we_are_the_ants.pngWe Are the Ants

by Shaun David Hutchinson

read in February 2017

format: hardcover

spoiler-free review!


โ€œI could write my name across the sky, and it would be in invisible ink.โ€

I knew I was going to love We Are the Ants before I had even picked it up and I am so glad it didn’t disappoint! I’ll probably order Hutchinson’s other books right away!

Before you read this novel though, I have to warn you: it’s heavy. This book deals with suicide, depression, bullying, sexual assault, etc. It was very intense. Sometimes, I had to put it down for minutes or longer because it became too much.

As usual, I find it hard to express what I loved about this. Honestly, I find it much easier to write reviews for books I didn’t enjoy! Anyway, I thought We Are the Ants was -except for the aliens- very relatable: the family dynamics (as messed up as they may seem), the mental illness…

Every single character is flawed and as realistic as that is, I tend to dislike characters who aren’t likeable. That’s not the case in We Are the Ants though! I cared about most of the characters, especially Henry, Diego, Audrey and Zooey.

I absolutely hated Marcus though. I know about internalized homophobia, but that doesn’t excuse the things Marcus did, in my opinion. At times, it even seemed Henry was more forgiving of him than of Diego and Audrey!

As much as I loved this, this book wasn’t flawless (is anything though?). Like I’ve said, We Are the Ants can be very triggering and in my opinion, it erases bisexuality. When a character mentions he has an ex-girlfriend, Henry thinks he can’t possibly be into him, because he assumes he is straight. Later on in the book, the character says the following:

“I like people, not the parts they have. Well, I mean, I definitely like the parts, they’re just not why I like the person.”

First of all, I don’t like the idea of sexual orientations being linked to genitalia. That is transphobic. Second of all, that explanation wasn’t necessary at all if he had just had the character say something along the lines of “I’m bi/pansexual”.

I’ve read a lot of contemporaries lately that feature rape attempts/sexual assaults. While I do think it’s important to discuss that topic, I think it is often used for shock value instead. Of course I am happy that Henry told the police someone attempted to rape him, but the author didn’t discuss this very heavy topic any further.

Towards the end, the on-again/off-again relationships started to drag on for me. Though I understood the characters’ reasons, I wanted them to make up their minds already!

conclusion: Damn, I’m sorry this review is so shitty. Apparently, I’m not used to writing positive reviews! I absolutely devoured We Are the Ants and I will surely read this again someday. Though this book deals with some heavy topics, it also made me laugh and cry happy tears.


โ˜† You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads! โ˜†

T10T: books I liked less than I thought I would (21 February)

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:

February 21: Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would (recently or all time)  or you could do something like books I liked more/less than everyone else.

I am going to talk about books I liked less than I thought I would. Not all of the books I mentioned were bad (I even rated some four stars), but they certainly didn’t meet my expectations. As usual, these are in no particular order.

febuary_20_books I liked less than I thought I would_x.png


Vicious by V.E. Schwab (review)

I did not finish Vicious. When I read it, I was in the middle of my exams and the characters constantly talked about the paper they had to write, which only made me feel more stressed, which is not the reason why I read books. Furthermore, the protagonist was quite unlikeable and I’ve learnt that those characters and I don’t get along. Which is very unfortunate, because some of my friends and my sister absolutely loved this book.


The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (review)

The premise of The Rest of Us Just Live Here sounds amazing: the book isn’t about the “chosen ones”. Sadly, I didn’t like the execution. It read just like any other contemporary novel, which was not what I had expected. I think I would’ve liked it more if it had actually taken place in a fantasy setting. Either way, I’ve read three novels written by Ness already and didn’t love any of those. Not that The Rest of Us Just Live Here, More than This and A Monster Calls were bad, but they didn’t do anything for me, unlike other readers.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (review)

To say I didn’t expect to dislike Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is putting it mildly. I already own multiple copies of this book, which is a terrible idea when you haven’t even read it yet! I did not like this novel. I had no clue what was going on: it was complete and utter nonsense, but not in a good way.


The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (review)

I absolutely love The Raven Cycle. Lately, I’ve been learning more and more what isn’t so good about it (lack of POC, racism and LGBTQ representation through the white straight gaze), but I cannot help but continue to adore this series, even though I can certainly address its problematic aspects as well.

Anyway, I wouldn’t say I love The Raven King though. That book was one of the biggest disappointments of 2016. Sure, some very great things happened in TRK, but overall, it missed the charm  the other books in the series do have. Maybe I’ll feel differently once I re-read it, but I doubt I will ever love this instalment as much as the others.


You by Caroline Kepnes (review)

This is another book I just couldn’t finish. Though I want to read more thrillers, I cannot stand characters like Joe. He was absolutely disgusting. I normally don’t judge other readers, but I seriously do not understand how some people root for that guy. Sure, your favourites can be problematic, but Joe took it to the next level.


Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (review)

I actually quite enjoyed Falling Kingdoms, though there were already some things that bothered me. Which only got worse in the second instalment. Even though I read over 75 percent of Rebel Spring, I couldn’t finish it.


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (review)

Just like The Raven King, this was the final instalment in one of my favourite series. So maybe my expectations were too high. Though I can honestly say that Crooked Kingdom was better than The Raven King, I still didn’t love it. There was much more action than in Six of Crows, and while that is amazing, the twist and turns became somewhat predictable after a while.


The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (review)

My sister wanted me to read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and after about a year, I finally picked it up. Unfortunately, I didn’t like – might even say ‘hated’ – it. The story is set during World War II and the protagonist is a German boy whose father is in charge of a concentration camp. I am not Jewish, but I find this narrative incredibly offensive. Bruno, the main character, stayed ignorant the entire time. Sure, he is still young, but even until the very end, he has no idea what happens to the people in the camps, or why they are even there. I honestly do not understand what this book was trying to teach us. No, I don’t necessarily think every World War II story has to be about a Jewish character (proof: I absolutely loved Salt to the Sea), but I don’t think it’s okay to set your book in World War II and have readers believe it was impossible for Bruno to know what was going on. It excuses what happened to so many people and claims that the German citizens didn’t know about it. Which is untrue.


Girl Hearts Girl by Lucy Sutcliffe

I didn’t know anything about Sutcliffe before reading this book, but I was still interested to read this because it is a diverse non-fiction book about a lesbian woman. I had expected it to be similar to We Should All Be Feminists, which is an essay, and Girl Hearts Girl is unfortunately a memoir. But even if I hadn’t thought that, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this. Sutcliffe says some biphobic things and in my opinion she is also arophobic and transphobic. Though, since I am neither aro or trans, I can’t judge that aspect as good. I was going to read this for Diversity Bingo, but I don’t think I should recommend a novel that 1) I didn’t even enjoy and 2) might potentially be harmful to some readers.


Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (review)

Illuminae was the second novel I read in 2016 and it was one of my favourites. Gemina, on the other hand, I couldn’t even finish. I don’t read science-fiction often and I had no idea what was going on. I wasn’t even interested in continuing it, though I still managed to read 260 pages. But at that point, I had to admit I didn’t care about the series anymore. Furthermore, the heteronormativity started to annoy me: whenever a man and woman were having a conversation, they started flirting. It was so annoying and awkward. I no longer want to support Jay Kristoff either. If you are wondering why, just read this well-written post!


Which books did you like less than you had expected? Do you agree with any of my choices? (scheduled on January 28, 2017)

โ˜† You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads! โ˜†

The ‘I Messed Up’ Book Tag

Today’s tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire and is called the ‘I Messed Up’ book tag!

A Character Appearance You Misread or Imagined Differently?

I’m terrible with character appearances. Which might be very problematic, because I could completely miss that a character is e.g. a person of colour. Because I want to read more diversely, I try to pay attention to this, but it is still too easy for me to skim over those descriptions. On the other hand though, if it’s so easy to not spot, maybe the author should’ve tried harder to make it more obvious.

Having said that though, that’s no excuse for e.g. whitewashing characters. Whenever I see Inej drawn as a white woman or Nina as a skinny girl, I age twenty years.

Anyway, as for character appearances I completely misread, I have to go for Juliette from the Shatter Me series. I imagined her as this very short girl of colour, but that’s not at all what she actually looks like in the books.


A Character Name That Youโ€™ve Been Pronouncing Wrong?

Once again, I pronounce so many character names wrong. It is very hard to know how they have to be pronounced though. Even the most simple names, like Matthias from Six of Crows, I mispronounced. That’s because some Belgian kids are also named Matthias, but the pronunciation in English and Dutch is different.


An Overused Trope That Is Your Guilty Pleasure?

When books feature female friendships, the female side-character is often much more confident than the main character. She is beautiful, flirty and sex-positive. When those characters are appreciated and not being ‘slut-shamed’, I absolutely love them! In contemporaries, those girls will be bullied or be the bully, but fantasies often treat them much better.


A Clichรฉ Character That You Like Better On Screen Than Reading About?

I think characters who are sarcastic. I’m sarcastic, but when I read about such characters, I often find them plain rude.


A Word Or Phrase That You Learned Because of Its Use In Books?

Since English isn’t my native language, I’ve probably learned much new vocabulary while reading. Though I can’t think of any words or phrases in particular. Thanks to the book community, I’ve also learned so many new words, such as ‘gush’, ‘ARC’, ‘haul’, etc.


Have You Ever Read/Not Completed A Required Reading Book For School?

As an English teacher who wrote a thesis on books which can be used in the classroom, it is probably not best to admit that I have trouble finishing required reading. Even in college, I didn’t read all the books I had to discuss for my English courses. One of the books I had to read was Pride and Prejudice, but I couldn’t finish it. I don’t enjoy classics and especially not romances.


How You Ever Skipped (Or Wanted To) A Chapter From The Point Of View Of A Character You Werenโ€™t Interested In?

Yes, but I’ve never actually skipped them. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I struggle reading about characters I do not like. Even when they are intentionally anti-heros or even villains, I will probably not like the book because of it (hence why I didn’t finish Vicious by V.E. Schwab or You by Caroline Kepnes).

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is one of my favourite books, though I didn’t enjoy reading about Alfred. Thankfully, those chapters were very short.


Have You Ever Cancelled Social Plans To Read A Book?

Honestly, I rarely have social plans. Some people might find this sad, but I’d rather stay at home and watch TV or read a book than go out. That’s just not my cup of tea.


(scheduled on 30 January 2017)

โ˜† You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads! โ˜†

Searching Saturdays: Abandoned Genres (18 February)

Searching Saturday was created by The Night is Dark and Full of Books and you can have a look at the topics here. Its goal is to discover new books every week! This weekโ€™s topic is:

18th: Abandoned Genres
Oh those poor abandoned genres, so sad. We should give them some love. Search for books within a genre you usually donโ€™t reach for. Challenge yourself to find something you are actually interesting.

Each week, I discuss one book that I added to my TBR thanks to the Searching Saturday topic.


salt. by Nayyirah Waheed

synopsis

Salt is a journey through warmth and sharpness. This collection of poetry explores the realities of multiple identities, language, diasporic life & pain, the self, community, healing, celebration, and love.

How did I find it?

Recently, more and more people have been reading this. I think I heard about it first in one of Riley Marie’s videos, who is one of my favourite BookTubers!

Why did I add it TBR?

I don’t read poetry. Ever. So this definitely qualifies for this week’s topic. Lately, poetry has been receiving more and more praise in the book community, thanks to poetry collections such as The Princess Saves Herself in this One and Milk and Honey. Even though I never thought of picking up poetries before, I am interested to find out what the hype is about. Especially since all the titles I mentioned, are about feminism.

Salt. and Milk and Honey are written by authors of colour. The latter, however, apparently romanticises rape, so be careful with that. Since I haven’t read any of these poetry collections myself, I can’t provide further warnings.


โ˜† You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads! โ˜†

 

The Melody of You and Me

the_melody_of_you_and_me.pngThe Melody of You and Me

by M. Hollis

read in February 2017

format: e-book

spoiler-free review!


It has probably been over a year since I’ve read a New Adult novel. I wasn’t aware that The Melody of You and Me is New Adult before I picked it up, but it has convinced me that I should pick up the genre more often, because this was a lot of fun!

Like I’ve said, The Melody of You and Me is definitely New Adult. There are some explicit sex scenes, but I thought that was a good thing. We need to read more about sex-positive women. Furthermore, female masturbation is normalised.

Even though this is only a novella, it discussed some important topics, such as the concept of ‘coming out’, pansexuality, racism, etc. I very much appreciated this, even though it was only briefly.

Personally, however, I wish the main character Chris explained why she identifies as pan instead of bi. Because I can’t decide how to label myself, and I had hoped this book could’ve helped me with that. Unfortunately, it didn’t, but that doesn’t mean the representation is any less meaningful.

Anyway, so besides our main character who is pan, the vast majority of the female side characters are also queer. On top of that, Chris’ roommate is Cuban-American and Josie is of Filipino descent. And as far as I can remember, there were no male characters in this book, which didn’t bother me at all!

It always bothers me when someone comes out and the other person reacts with “Oh, of course I knew”, but I couldn’t put into words why it irked me so much. And this book finally did!

โ€œYou knew?โ€ Josie sounds incredulous.
โ€œOh my God. Yeah, of course I knew. You are twenty years old, and you have never had a boyfriend,โ€ Jessie exclaims.
Cringing inside, Chris feels the need to interrupt and correct her, but Josie is faster than her. โ€œThat has nothing to do with my sexuality,โ€ she starts. โ€œSome people never date boys or people from other genders but are still attracted to them. There are lesbians who date boys before understanding the roles that heteronormativity tries to force them into.โ€

Because this was a novella, everything developed a bit fast and was predictable, but that’s only normal when you have to tell an entire story within 100 pages.

Even though this isn’t written by a pansexual author, I am still going to consider this ‘pansexual own voices’ for Diversity Bingo 2017. The author explains here why this book is still worth reading, even though it isn’t own voices!

conclusion: The Melody of You and Me is a very enjoyable and diverse read: almost all the characters are queer and some of the side-characters are people of colour. I definitely want to read more novellas like this one in the future!


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T10T: love is in the air! (14 February)

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:

February 14: All About Romance Tropes/Types — top ten favorite hate-to-love romances (from books or movies or tv), top ten favorite (or least favorite) instalove romances, favorite slow-burn romances, favorite starcrossed lovers, etc. etc. Can go so many ways with this one).

I am not a fan of romance. A book might be completely amazing, but the romance could easily ruin it for me. I’m not talking about romance featuring LGBTQ characters here. There are only so many books out there with queer characters, I won’t dismiss them just because it’s a romance. Actually, I love reading those kind of stories, because they make me happy. I’m not only talking about M/M ships here! If you only support gay male characters but no F/F relationships, you need to rethink what you are doing.

Anyway, so for today’s topic, I decided to talk about some M/F relationships I did enjoy! And I couldn’t find that many ๐Ÿ˜ฎ None of the relationships I am going to mention are my OTPs (except for the first one). It merely means that for once, I wasn’t actually bothered by the romance while reading these books. As usual, these are in no particular order.

February_romancex.png


Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar (Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo)

I’m a sucker for forbidden romance. Nina is a Grisha, Matthias is a Drรผskelle. I loved that they already had a sort of established relationship before the book had even begun. A lot of the relationships we read about in books, are about two characters who only just met. I don’t think that’s necessary.

Anyway, I do realise these forbidden romances can become problematic real fast. If you think about it, you can compare Nina and Matthias to a World War II story: she represents a Jewish person, he a German soldier. And that would be absolutely disgusting. I know there are books out there that romanticise these kinds of relationships and we really shouldn’t promote that. As for Matthias, however, he does redeem himself as soon as he learns to form his own opinion, instead of reciting what the Drรผskelle have taught him.

In the second book, we find out that Nina is bisexual and Leigh Bardugo has hinted that she will write a book about Nina in which she is going to explore her sexual orientation further (source)! Obviously, I’m already looking forward to that!


Kestrel and Arin (The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski)

I did not think I was going to enjoy The Winner’s Curse. The romance is very important to the story, but I completely binge-read this book back in April! In the meantime though, I still haven’t read the other two books in this trilogy. The Winner’s Curse definitely needs to be re-read before I pick up the rest of the series.

Lately, however, it has been brought to my attention that this relationship is problematic. The Bookavid wrote a great review and I really suggest you read it! Since I already own the other two books in this series, I think I am going to continue it, but I will point out the problematic aspects as well (by boosting others who have discussed it).


Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

If you haven’t noticed yet, I am very protective of Ron Weasley. Well, I’m protective of nearly all the characters in the Harry Potter series – I age ten years whenever people call Harry ‘whiny’ and ‘rude’ in Order of the Phoenix – but I especially have a soft spot for Ron in particular. Hermione is shipped with many different characters, such as Harry and Draco, and a lot of readers feel the need to discredit Ron while expressing their love for their pairing. Newsflash: you can say you like a character without talking shit about another.

Anyway, even though I am very critical of J.K. Rowling, one of the reasons being the lack of LGBTQ representation, I really like Romione. Hinny, however, not that much. There is quite a lot of sexism in this series, especially in the later books when the romance becomes more prominent. And I’m not here for that.


Gia and Bradley (The Fill in Boyfriend by Kasie West)

The Fill in Boyfriend does not at all sound like something I would enjoy. But when I read it back in 2015, I absolutely loved it. There was no insta-love. Instead, the book started with the ‘fake dating’ trope, which was a lot of fun to read about. If you are a fan of fluffy contemporaries, I’d totally recommend this one!


Kady and Ezra (Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)

The only reason why I still added this pairing to this list, is because I wanted to have a fifth one. While reading Illuminae, I was rooting for Kady and Ezra. They too already had an established relationship, and I liked that. Why I was hesitant to add them to this list though, is because Gemina tried to do the exact same thing, but between two different characters. While reading the second instalment, I noticed how heteronormative this series really is. Each time a male and female character interacted, they started flirting. Hanna, one of the main characters in Gemina, had a boyfriend, yet Nik, the other main character, constantly flirted with her and it was starting to piss me off. No means no. That’s one of the reasons why I won’t continue this series. I didn’t even care enough to continue it to find out about Kady and Ezra’s fate.


In hindsight, I should have made a post about LGBTQ relationships instead. I had to do tons of digging before I could come up with five F/M relationships I enjoyed, so LGTBQ relationships would have been 1) much easier for me and 2) much more important.

Which books without much romance would you recommend to me? Are you as critical of it as I am? Leave a link to your ‘Top 10 Tuesday’ post in the comments if you want ๐Ÿ™‚ (scheduled on 31 January 2017)

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