5 books with bisexual characters on my TBR

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Today I am going to talk about five books on my TBR featuring bisexual characters. Naturally there are more, but I decided to narrow this down to five. Because I am bisexual, I try to read as many books representing me as possible. I’ve – unfortunately – noticed a big difference between #OwnVoices books and authors who don’t identify as bisexual. I think all of the books I am going to mention below are #OwnVoices, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

These are in no particular order. I won’t go into detail much, as I like to go into books without knowing much.

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27 Hours by Tristina Wright

This book is set to be released in October and I am so excited to read it! Apparently, it’s filled with diverse characters and Tristina Wright is a wonderful person, so I already know I am going to love this, even though I am generally not a fan of sci-fi.

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

I also follow Tess Sharpe on Twitter and she seems like a wonderful person. I’ve been putting it off because it sounds like a very intense book and with my mental illnesses, I’m trying to stay clear from that for the time being, but I do want to read Far From You soon! As hard as such books can be to read, I generally love them as well.

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

I know NOTHING about this book, but it has received so much praise, I have to buy a copy soon!

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Before this book was released, everyone seemed to have read it already! It’s a F/F retelling of The Little Mermaid, which is one of my favourite fairytale!

I have to warn you though: This book might be harmful if you’re non-binary/ genderqueer/ genderfluid, so please do some research if you’re interested in reading this.

We Are Okay by Nina Lacour

I can’t believe I still haven’t read any of Lacour’s books yet! What am I doing with my life? I already own Everything Leads to You and I recently ordered a hardcover copy of We Are Okay, so I should pick one of her books up soon!


So these are some books featuring bisexual characters on my TBR. Feel free to recommend me some more books, preferably #OwnVoices!

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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! 😀

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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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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 cliché 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.  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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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’t  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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Bewaren

interview with M. Hollis!

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A few weeks ago, I read an ARC of The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis and I absolutely loved it! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing the author. It’s the very first time I’m doing this, so I hope my questions are okay 🙂

Welcome, Maria!
Lily, the protagonist in The Paths We Choose doesn’t label herself, and you have mentioned on your blog that you find it very hard to dig into your own sexuality and labels. Do you have any advice for readers who feel pressured to label themselves?

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I think labeling yourself it’s a different experience for everyone. I have tried to use a few labels so far and there are some that I identify more with but I’m not ready to declare loud and proud my label just yet. Finding my attraction to women took me a long time and it was a hard process but now it’s definitely what most defines me as part of my queerness. I hope one day I can talk more openly about this. Right now, I’m only out for a few close friends and I’m choosing to protect my identity until the day I’m sure I can really talk about it without worrying if someone from real life will find out.

Using a label can also be limiting for people who aren’t completely sure where they fall on the spectrum. Heteronormativity is damaging for many of us and plays a big part on our process of figuring out our identities. I’m making this choice now but tomorrow everything can change.

My advice for people who are still unsure is not to pressure yourself or feel like you don’t belong just because you can’t claim a label. We have our right time to do things after all. Just try to figure out if a label is what you need or if you don’t want one at all, like Lily. For some people, a label is something concrete and for others, it can be fluid. There isn’t a right way to figure things out, do what makes your feel safe and happy.

Which character from the Lillac Town series was your favourite to write?

So far, I’ve enjoyed writing both Chris and Lily’s POV. I think since Lily and I have the same personality it was a bit easier to get into her head. But I’m excited to write about Karen and Hope since they have very interesting stories.

I don’t think I can choose just one favorite! I love all of them so much. When you write a book, you have to really love this story and these characters because you’re going to spend a long time with them. Some books take years to be finished and if you get tired of it, you won’t be able to get it done. So, I learn to love my characters as they are. If I don’t like something I’m writing I just stop and try to think what I’m doing wrong that is bothering me so much.

Which songs should be on a soundtrack of the Lillac Town series?

I made playlists for each one of the books, here are some of my favorite songs:

The Melody of You and Me

  • Closer – Tegan and Sara
  • She will be loved – Leah Louise
  • Take me as I am – Au revoir Simone

The Paths We Choose:

  • Don’t Wanna be Your Lover – Vanessa White
  • Heart Won’t Forget – Matoma & Gia
  • Ingrid Michaelson – Maybe
 The Melody of You and Me and The Paths We Choose are both New Adult contemporary romances. Do you have any plans to write something entirely different, such as a fantasy novel?

This was actually my first time writing contemporary romance for New Adult! My favorite genre to write is paranormal but I also like to explore apocalyptic worlds and retellings. I’ve written a little bit of everything.

I don’t think I’d write a whole fantasy novel because it’s a genre I don’t read a lot. But I do have a few short stories in my drafts involving dragons. I just love writing about vampires, ghosts or about magic worlds.

There’s a YA that I’m working on for a few years now and I’m finally writing down about this society of girls in a boarding school that I really hope to get published. It’s an interesting story and probably my favorite so far.

Almost all the characters you write, including the side characters, are queer women. And I absolutely love that! Do you ever plan on writing e.g. a bisexual woman who’s in a relationship with a man? Or do you prefer to write F/F romances?

Again, finding out and accepting my attraction to women is all new to me. If you told me years ago that my first published stories would be Femslash I’d not believe you at all! So writing this is part of my healing process. I love writing about women falling in love with other women and I have no shame in that. I’ll keep doing it for a really long time, no doubts.

I may consider writing M/F with LBTQIA+ characters one day, but I don’t know when or if that’ll happen. My priority is to keep writing F/F and that’s what I’m comfortable writing right now.

What’s your biggest dream as a writer?

This may sound so little but I just hope to be able to support myself with my writing so that I can keep writing. It’s not easy to write and it’s not easy to make enough money in this area. But I’m going to keep writing and trying to bring stories that’ll make people happy.

 Why did you want to become an author? Did you feel like there was a lack of F/F romances, and did you want to change that?

I have answered this a few times now, but I always loved creating stories and had my dreams of publishing them one day in the future. Writing F/F is something still new to me. Fanfic helped me a lot and it’s where I started to explore both my sexuality and my character’s experiences as LBPQ+ women. At some point last year, I just had this moment where I realized I couldn’t see myself or my friends sometimes in books being published with F/F content so I decided to add my voice to it.

I’m trying to publish stories in Portuguese here in Brazil because we don’t have many of these yet and it can be hard to find an audience. But my friends who don’t speak my language wanted to read my things and they told me I should just start publishing something that they could read. So, it was a surprise to have readers so interested in my stories in English. I’m still getting used to it.

I think there’s so much to explore and I hope more of us bring their own stories because many intersectionalities are still lacking. There is never enough of F/F. Maybe someday we can reach a point where every person will be able to open a book and find themselves in stories but for now, we need to keep working and making space for everyone.

You’re not only an author, but you also design book covers. What cover designs are you jealous of?

I love the cover of The Unforgettables by GL Tomas, it’s such a fun and original concept. Also, Not your Sidekick by C.B. Lee has a beautiful cover art!

How do you come up with the titles? Do you find it a difficult process?

Titles are literally the hardest part for me. I’m just not good at them and I’m jealous of everyone who can come up with a title right away. Everyone else seems to do it better than me. For The Melody, it was way easier because I knew I wanted the music to be the important part of the story for the two protagonists. The Paths took me a longer time. First, because the original titles I wanted were being used by other authors (including one of my friends!). I played around with a long list of titles, sending them to my many betas until we decided on this one.

Which author had the biggest impact on you?

Catherine M. Wilson wrote this trilogy called When Women Were Warriors that is mainly a story about a matriarch society. It’s such a beautiful love story full of wonderful and complex women. I remember reading these books recently and thinking I was dreaming because it was everything I ever wanted to read.

Has a reader ever reached out to you and told you that you changed their lives?

I think “changed their lives” may be too much, but I definitely received a few messages from readers telling me how much they love my stories and how much these characters mean to them. It’s always a nice surprise to get these.

Something that caught be my surprise was how many young people related to Chris dropping out of college. It’s one of the things people seem to like more about the story. I wasn’t expecting that it’d mean so much and I’m glad I included this now. No one should stay in a major they hate or get into a university just because other people are doing it. We should be able to follow our dreams and to live our lives in our own time. We are so young when we have to choose a career for the rest of our lives and it shouldn’t be like that. It’s okay to change your mind, it’s okay to take a little longer to figure things out.


The Paths We Choose will be released on April 6th. You can pre-order a copy here! The Melody of You and Me is available in paperback and Kindle, which you can find here. I absolutely recommend these novellas!

Thank you very much Maria for allowing me to interview you!

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Winter 2017 reading update!

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Hello, book lovers! Today I am going to talk about the best books I read this winter and let you know how my Diversity Bingo 2017 progress is doing. I know, I know, March isn’t technically winter, but I am going to talk about the books I read from January 1st 2017 to March 31th 2017.

The Books I read

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During the first quarter of this year, I read a lot of great books. There were only two I didn’t enjoy: Girl Hearts Girl and Three Dark Crowns. I also didn’t finished one novel, See You in the Cosmos. I would recommend all the other books I read!


My Five Favourites

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli ➳  review
Amazon | Wordery | Book Depository

The Upside of Unrequited was hands down my favourite book I read this winter. I loved everything about it and can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy. I’m so protective over this book. Whenever I see someone who didn’t love it, I cannot help but disagree so much. The Upside of Unrequited is definitely one of my all-time favourite books!

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson ➳  review
Amazon | Wordery | Book Depository

This book deals with very heavy topics such as suicide, depression, bullying, sexual assault, etc. Still, We Are the Ants was a heart-warming and funny read. I definitely had to put it down from time to time because it was emotionally very consuming, but I certainly plan to re-read We Are the Ants one day.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate ➳ review
Amazon | Wordery | Book Depository

It was Noteworthy by Riley Redgate that made me realise that I do like Young Adult contemporaries, I just wasn’t reading the right ones. Noteworthy was the very first ARC I’ve ever read and I plan on getting a finished copy once it’s released!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ➳ review
Amazon | Wordery | Book Depository

The Hate U Give is probably going to be on everyone’s favourites lists. It absolutely deserves the hype it has received. Just like We Are the Ants, it deals with a very serious topic (police brutality), yet Angie Thomas still managed to write a heart-warming and funny book. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin ➳ review
Amazon | Wordery | Book Depository

It took me forever to read A Feast for Crows, but once I dedicated my time to it, I loved it! I was planning on reading A Dance with Dragons right away – actually, I’ve already started it – but once again, I’m neglecting this series and reading shorter books instead. I’m hoping to include the fifth book in my Spring wrap-up, so please make sure I read it!


2017 Reading Challenge

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I want to read fifty-two books this year (one book a week) and I’m pleased to see that I’m ahead of schedule. I’m so happy I’ve loved nearly all the books I read so far and I’m not behind on my challenge. Let’s hope it stays that way 🙂

Having said that, I’m (hopefully) going to graduate in June. Which means that I have no idea what is going to happen then. I don’t know whether I’ll find a job right away, so I don’t know whether I’ll have time to read…


Diversity Bingo progress

I’ve read 14 books so far, and 12 of those fit in a category of the Diversity Bingo sheet. Some books fit in multiple categories, so the progress below is not at all final. If you want to know which books fit in which category, you should check out my monthly wrap-ups!

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I didn’t enjoy Girl Hearts Girl and Three Dark Crowns so I definitely plan on reading other books for the categories ‘diverse non-fiction’ and ‘book by author of colour’.

I’m very surprised that I already completed 1/3 of the challenges. I didn’t expect to succeed in Diversity Bingo, but since I’m doing so well and keep buying diverse books, I definitely want to complete the entire grid by December!


Did you like this reading update? It’s the first time I’m doing this and I’m wondering whether it adds anything to my monthly wrap-ups. Is there anything else I could talk about in these quarterly updates?

How many books did you read in January, February and March? If you’re doing Diversity Bingo, how much progress have you made?

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Diversity Masterpost

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Hello everyone! For a while now, I’ve wanted to read more diverse books. I joined Diversity Bingo and that has been a great help. I’ve been following people on Twitter who advocate for diverse books and that thanks to these wonderful people, I’ve been introduced to many novels I had never heard of before. Whenever they post a list of recommendations, I send it to myself so I can have a look at it later. But then I started thinking that those recommendations might be useful for other people as well. That’s why I decided to create this masterpost.

All credit goes to the people who created these posts. I’m merely combining them on my blog. Do research beforehand. Be careful you don’t read something that might potentially harm you. If you know a book features problematic representation, let me know and I’ll delete it from the list. I didn’t have the time to go through each book individually.

I will continue to update this masterpost because this is obviously not a complete list as new diverse books are constantly being released!


ownvoices

  • 11 #OwnVoices reads of 2017 by Barnes & Noble (x)
  • YA books about POC by POC by The Bookavid (x)
  • 10 books by transgender authors featuring trans characters by The Guardian (x)

lgbtqia

  • books with LGBTQIA Asian protagonists by Read Diverse Books (x)
  • 12 LGBTQ contemporary romance novellas by LGBTQ reads (x)
  • #queer52 reading challenge by YA Interrobang (x)
  • books with bisexual characters by Two Book Thieves (x)
  • books with F/F romance or LGBTQ+ female characters (x)
  • Twitter tread of LGBTQ+ books by shellyrambles (x)
  • most anticipated LGBTQA YA books of 2017 by Barnes & Noble (x)
  • 2017 YA about girls who like girls by The Bookavid (x)
  • 13 Upcoming 2017 YA Books About Boys Who Like Boy by The Bookavid (x)
  • Thread of books with bisexual characters by Bookishness and Tea (x)
  • Thread of books with pansexual characters by M. Hollis (x)
  • 10 books by transgender authors featuring trans characters by The Guardian (x)

poc

  • books with LGBTQIA Asian protagonists by Read Diverse Books (x)
  • 10 diverse books by YA authors of colour to read in 2017 by Teen Vogue (x)
  • YA books by Asian women by The Bookavid (x)
  • YA books by black women by The Bookavid (x)
  • Asian 2017 YA and MG books by Airy Reads (x)
  • 10 brown BookTubers to watch by Shanna Miles (x)
  • 2017 Books Written by Authors of Color by The Book Voyagers (x)
  • African, African-American and Caribbean 2017 releases by African Book Addict (x)

disabilities

  • YA books by disabled authors by The Bookavid (x)

muslim

  • 26 authors of Muslim decent by Entertainment Weekly (x)
  • Muslim representation in books by Word Wonders (x)
  • A thread of upcoming YA books in 2017 with Muslim protagonist by The Tales of Two Readers  (x)

mental health

diversity bingo tbr en recommendations

more recommendations

  • diverse books with less than 100 ratings on Goodreads by Maria Hollis (x)
  • diverse YA books releasing in 2017 by Aimal Farooq (x)
  • The bookish diversity link list 2017 by Diary of a Reading Addict (x)
  • 12 diverse short story collections and anthologies by Read Diverse Books (x)
  • 100 works of fiction and non-fiction, all about feminism by Book Riot (x)
  • 60 diverse books to look forward to in 2017 by Bookishness and Tea (x)
  • books by Latinx authors by The Bookavid (x)
  • A small list of diverse romance books by The Book Voyagers (x)
  • 50 already released diverse books on my TBR by Bookishness and Tea (x)

If you want to add a link to this list or if I made any mistakes, let me know and I’ll take care of it! I hope this list is going to be useful for many readers 🙂 Thank you to everyone who contributed!

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Bewaren

Bewaren

2017 goals: Diversity Bingo, Book Hauls and more!

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:

January 4th: 2017 Goals
These do not need to be reading goals specifically, they can be any goals you want to talk about. Reading goals, blog/channel/instagram goals, personal goals…anything!

I was planning on doing this topic anyway, so this is great! Every year, I have some new plans (such as book buying bans) and I often fail miserably. This year, I am set to graduate and I will have to go job-hunting. So I have no idea what 2017 is going to bring and how that is going to affect my reading. That’s why my goals are going to be pretty safe and manageable. Anyway, let’s get started!


Goodreads Reading Challenge

reading_challenge

Last year, I lowered my reading challenge twice. I planned on reading 70 books, but only managed to read 50. Which is odd, since I read more in 2015 though I only started reading often that summer.

Because I don’t want to set myself up for another disaster, I plan on reading 52 books in 2017. That’s one book a week and though I know I won’t be able to do that (because I plan on reading big books such as A Dance with Dragons as well), I hope to read more during the summer than in 2016.


Diversity Bingo 2017

As I have mentioned a few times before, I want to read more diverse books. I already tried in 2016, but I especially need to do more effort to pick up own voices. So, I thought it might be a good idea to join Diversity Bingo 2017, which was created by a bunch of awesome people on Twitter (who you should definitely follow!).

I already know, however, that I will never be able to complete the entire square. Thirty-six books is a lot! I also plan on re-reading the entire Harry Potter series and The Raven Cycle again and have other books on my TBR which don’t feature diversity. And that is very unfortunate. But I simply can’t afford to not read the books I already have on my shelves and get tons of new ones. However, I’m not talking about books that include harmful rep though, such as Carve the Mark or The Continent. I will never read those. I will continue to use my voice to aim for more diversity and hope it becomes the norm, even when I don’t read diverse books all the time.

Having said that, instead of reading 36 books in order to succeed in Diversity Bingo 2017, I plan on buying those books instead and I will read them whenever I want to. Just because I don’t read them in 2017, doesn’t mean I don’t want to support those authors.

Another reason why I won’t pressure myself too much, is because I am a mood reader. The majority of those books are contemporaries and I’m not the biggest fan of that genre anymore. I’m not saying there isn’t any diversity in other genres, but of the research I’ve done so far, the majority were contemporaries.

Anyway, I hope this doesn’t sound as if I am coming up with excuses not to do Diversity Bingo 2017. I really want to join and I urge you to check it out as well. I just know that whenever I feel pressured to read something (even when it’s a book I’m excited for!), I tend to enjoy it less. I can’t really explain it, but it’s the reason why I couldn’t enjoy mandatory reads in college either.

Yikes, I hate how I sound right now. All I want to say is that I am going to do Diversity Bingo, but I know I won’t be able to complete the entire challenge, due to the books I already have on my shelves which lack diversity.

P.S. I have zero spare time at the moment due to my exams, so I haven’t been able to do much research yet to decide which books I’m getting for Diversity Bingo 😦


Book Hauls

As I’ve already mentioned, I’m graduating this year. I’m currently living at home, but when I have a job, I’d like to move out on my own. Therefore, I think it might be wise to keep track of my spendings, more specifically the amount of money I spend on books.

In the past, I’ve tried to limit my book hauls plenty of times. I tried ‘read one, buy one’ and ‘only x amount of books a month’ but that hasn’t worked for me.

So I need a new system to limit my spendings. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!

Though I’ll try to keep track of the money I spend on books and merchandise each month, I doubt I’ll be able to do that for a long time. I can already predict it is going to be through the roof and I am going to give up on it because it is too depressing. Still, I want to try.


2017 TBR

I never post TBRs. I’m a mood reader, so I never know what I am going to read next. I’m not going to post a list of the books I want to read in 2017 either. Sure, there are plenty of books I plan on reading, but who knows whether I will actually get to them.


WordPress

I created this blog in July 2016 and I plan on doing it for a very long time! I really enjoy expressing my opinions this way (and feel much more comfortable doing this than Booktube). I will continue to post regularly – you can have a look at my posting schedule here – and if you have any feedback for me, that is always welcome!

So please, if there are posts you’d like to see more or less of, or you have any other kind of feedback, don’t be afraid to share it with me 😀


☆ You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads! ☆

book chat: triggers and sexual content (in Young Adult fiction)

I’m back with another (perhaps controversial) book chat. Just like my previous two book chats, this is a reaction to some of the things I have seen in the book community. I’m just expressing my own opinions here and don’t want to convince anyone that I’m right. This is just my take on sexual content and triggers. Because I mostly read Young Adult literature, I am going to focus on that genre.


1. sexual content

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a tweet by Jay Kristoff (author of Nevernight, co-author of The Illuminae Files), in which he said something about sexual content in Young Adult and how it was okay. I’ve been looking for this tweet for about half an hour now, but I can’t find it anymore! So don’t quote me on this, I don’t remember exactly what he said. Anyway, I agreed with what he said. Teenagers have sex, so why not include it in books?

But then I started thinking how younger people read YA as well. Young Adult is a proposed age range, from 12 to 18. There are no strict rules. I’m 21 years old and I read YA, so there are plenty of children who read the genre as well. And I don’t think they should have to read explicit sex scenes.

Let’s talk about the Throne of Glass series for example. I haven’t continued this series myself, but I know there is explicit sexual content (in the fifth book?). When I say explicit, I mean graphic sexual scenes, describing male genitalia. And you know who does marketing for Empire of Storms? Bloomsbury Children! Granted they do say it contains mature content somewhere on their website, but they still advertise it on their Twitter, without any warning:

empire_of_storms

So yes, if you specifically go looking for information, you will be informed that it contains mature content. But if you go to the book store, order the book online… you don’t know that. And as far as I know, there is no warning on the book either.

When this series started, it didn’t feature any mature content (as far as I can remember). But now, it does. So young readers who start this, suddenly have to stop in the middle of the series because it is not appropriate for them anymore, whereas the first books were.

Imagine if an author started a series about twelve year olds. Each year, the author publishes a new book and the characters are one year older. By e.g. the fifth book, the characters start having sex and the content because more mature. Just because the characters age, doesn’t mean the readers do. Just because it takes five years for a series to be finished, doesn’t mean it takes five years for readers to finish it. So writers can’t except their readers to mature alongside their books.

Look, I’m not opposed to sexual content in books. I actually hate it when authors are very vague about it and I don’t know whether or not the characters actually did something. But I know there are some people who don’t like reading such graphic scenes and I don’t think it’s appropriate for young readers either.

Therefore, I think there should be a warning on the book that says more about its content. Years ago, I bought The Naughty Girl’s Book Club. As you can tell by the not-so-subtle title, this was an erotica (very, very mild though, I have to say after reading). On the back of the book, there was an ‘erotic reading guide’, which indicated how much trills, drama, love and sex there was in the book:

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Wouldn’t it be useful if Young Adult novels had guides like these as well? Obviously not describing the book’s trill levels, but indicating the amount of violence, sexual content…

I’m currently writing my thesis on diversity in YA. So for me, it would be useful if I knew beforehand whether or not a book is classroom appropriate. Yes, if I do plenty of research I might find some information on it, but I still think guides like these could do a lot of good.

When doing research on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I discovered a website for parents where others write reviews on what they should know before they allow their child to read a book. And to my surprise, the fact that two boys hold hands and kiss was mentioned in the same sentence as bullying, blackmailing… I can’t believe this has to be said, but LGBTQ representation and characters are not mature content!!! Parents would never make others aware that two straight people hold hands in a book, so it is not okay to mention that when talking about two boys. I was absolutely disgusted by that parent’s review, so I had to mention this here as well.


2. triggers

A couple of weeks ago, an author (I don’t know who, but I can guess) said trigger warnings could be spoilers. The reading community was outraged, and rightfully so. Sometimes, sexual abuse is used as a plot twist in New Adult. But some people get triggered by that. If someone has been raped, of course they might not want to read about that, so they should be warned beforehand! Obviously, there are other triggers besides sexual abuse as well.

By no means I am implying that sexual content and triggers are the same. But I just proposed the guide for sexual content and I think the same kind of system could be used when talking about triggers. I doesn’t have to be a ‘guide’, but I do think triggers should be mentioned on the back of a book (or in the summary you find on e.g. Goodreads).


I’m certainly not implying that books shouldn’t feature sexual content or topics that could be triggering to some. However, I do think readers should be warned beforehand. If one does a lot of research, they might find out on themselves, but I don’t think that should be the case. Mentioning it in the blurb or putting it on the back of a book might be enough.

What’s your opinion on this?

Book chat: Should we keep negative opinions to ourselves?

Today, I want to discuss whether people can express their negative opinions. In my very first book chat, I discuss whether fans are allowed to be critical. So this book chat really stems from that, but I will focus on people who clearly dislike – or even hate – a book (series).

Example 1: A Court of Thorns and Roses and Throne of Glass

Anyone who is active on social media, will have noticed all the drama surrounding the Empire of Storms release. Some people received an early copy and weren’t happy at all with what they read.

People who express their negative opinions, have been called ‘petty’, ‘problematic’ … and ‘should just read what makes them happy and shut up about what they hate’. Don’t they realise that some people put a lot of time and money into that series? If they don’t like it, they have the right to be disappointed and express their opinions. Just because you like it, doesn’t mean everyone else will. That is literally impossible.

I understand why people don’t like seeing negative reviews on their favourite books and series. I have been there. I have de-friended people on Goodreads because they hated my favourite books and I really disagreed with them. But, I still allow them to express their opinion. I would never write a comment on their review saying they are wrong, they don’t appreciate good writing… Whenever people say that to me, I will probably only dislike the book more. I don’t think anyone has ever read those comments and thought: “Oh, you know what, they are right. I love the book now”. I actually consider writing comments like that petty, not disliking a book and being vocal about it.

There are actually readers who have cancelled their pre-orders because of the spoilers they have read. I think it is completely okay to dislike something you have not read yourself. Spoilers can give you an idea of whether or not you will like it. Readers shouldn’t ‘suffer’ reading through something they know they won’t like, just to please others.

And that is exactly the reason why I won’t continue Sarah J. Maas’ series. I have only read the first books in both series and The Assassin’s Blade. But, based on what I have heard, I will not like how it continues. I don’t like the idea of an author completely destroying one character in order for readers to fall in love with another. I think that’s a cheap thing to do. To be clear, I based my opinion on what fans have said as well, not only haters.

The book community should not be all moonlight and roses. I think it can learn a lot from those negative opinions. Even if you love Sarah J. Maas’ work, you have to admit that they are filled with straight white people. So it’s a very good thing people are vocal about this. While I don’t like shipping drama, people should be honest about their pairings and admit it is problematic or even abusive if that’s the case. Actually, whenever people talk about her series, they only talk about the romance. And because I am tired of reading about straight couples, I’m not planning on continuing her series.

So yes, I think it’s okay to dislike something you have not actually read yourself. However, don’t rate before you read! Don’t give a book one star because you know you’ll hate it. But also, don’t rate a book five stars because you know you’ll love it! Even if I have read 75% of a book, I don’t rate it when I DNF it.

I actually wrote a ‘review‘ on A Court of Mist and Fury, explaining why I wouldn’t read it. And I received lots of hateful reactions. So, yes, people who love something, can be very nasty as well. Let’s not pretend as if it’s a one way street.

It is clear that I am advocate of expressing your opinions, both positive and negative. However, I do not think it is okay to attack others, to disagree with others on their own post/social media, to threaten the author… And I can’t believe that even has to be said.


example 2: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was the very first book I gave a one star rating. I am a huge Harry Potter fan, but that script completely butchered all of the characters and the plot was all over the place. It was actually hilariously awful: I couldn’t take it seriously, even though the play was obviously trying to be.

I won’t go into detail, but you can read why I hated it here. In my first book chat, I came to the conclusion that people can critique their favourite books and still be as much as a fan as others. I still consider myself a Harry Potter fan, even though I hated Cursed Child. As usual when someone expresses a negative opinion, I received hateful messages. Saying I am not a true fan because I didn’t rate something written by J.K. Rowling five stars (newsflash: it wasn’t even written by her), I shouldn’t judge the script without watching the play… Reactions like these are the reason why people are afraid to be honest. Right now, I don’t really care anymore when people say I am not a ‘real’ fan, because I know that’s not true. But a couple of months ago, it would have hurt my feelings.


Example 3: shadybooktweets

Shadybooktweets is a Twitter account where people can anonymously share their opinions on books. I know quite a few people who have blocked that page because they think people should stop wasting their energy on negativity. I follow @shadybooktweets and while I am not going to pretend all confessions are acceptable, a lot mention diversity (POC, LGBT…) and I obviously support that, because books still lack this.

However, as usual, there is some shipping drama, back and forth arguments… And that’s definitely its downside. But I cannot help supporting a platform that also allows people to be honest that books, even their favourites, lack diversity. And maybe the people who blocked the Twitter page don’t want to admit that.

Just to be clear: I do not agree with every confession posted there. Some are quite nasty (e.g. attacking certain booktubers) and I do not condone that. But I like the idea of a place where people can express their (negative) opinions. And since people are afraid of expressing them openly – out of fear of being attack – they have to turn to that account. For the record: I have never posted a confession there and I don’t plan to. I just like to read them, even though I strongly disagree with some.


So, should we keep our negative opinions to ourselves?

No, we shouldn’t! If people are allowed to constantly praise books, people should be allowed to dislike it as well. Negativity does not necessarily have to be a bad thing.

Nevertheless, people should still be civil (though I could say the same to people who love something) and not attack others or the author.

What is your opinion on this? I am curious to read your thoughts because there are so many different opinions when it comes to this topic. Please know that this is my own opinion and I am not attacking anyone.