book review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson | 3 stars!

an enchantment of ravens.png

30969741._UY2123_SS2123_[1]An Enchantment of Ravens

by Margaret Rogerson

read in March 2018

format: e-book (through

This is a spoiler-free review!


Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.


I’ve been interested in reading An Enchantment of Ravens ever since it was released. So many of my friends love this novel and I’m very keen to read more fantasy standalones. Sadly, this was a typical 3-star read: it was by no means bad, it just didn’t do much for me.

At first I was really enjoying this story. Isobel is a clever protagonist who is persistent, but not foolish. I was also getting some anxiety vibes from her, so that was relatable! I loved learning more about her Craft and the fair folk. There were also plenty of funny moments! As the story progressed, however, the world-building fell apart for me. At times, I had no clue what was going on. It’s as if Isobel understood more than the reader, but she didn’t explicitly state what she thought even though the story was from her point-of-view, so I was confused.

It’s no secret I am not a huge romance reader – especially ones about allocishet characters – so that’s probably one of the reasons why I didn’t fall in love with this novel. I didn’t dislike Rook and Isobel’s chemistry, but there were no swoon-worthy moments for me either. That said, there was an amazing scene in which Isobel teaches him about consent and I wish other authors would pay attention to this as well.

content and trigger warning for some ableist language (unchallenged), self harm (as a part of faery magic), descriptions of maggots and decay, blood, physical injuries

An Enchantment of Ravens wasn’t a memorable read for me. That said, I am convinced readers who enjoy reading M/F romances featuring faeries will enjoy this much more!


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ARC review: The Radical Element – edited by Jessica Spotswood | an enjoyable diverse and empowering historical fiction anthology!

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Afbeeldingsresultaat voor the radical element anthologyThe Radical Element

edited by Jessica Spotswood

read in March 2018

release date: March 13th, 2018

format: e-ARC

This is a spoiler-free review!


To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced whether you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they’re asking you to join them.


I received an e-ARC from Candlewick Press through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

Though I haven’t read A Tyranny of Petticoats yet, I was interested in reading this “sequel” nonetheless. I’ve been meaning to read more anthologies and when I learned the feminism was intersectional, I had to request an ARC!

I won’t summarize each short story, but I will write a review for each work individually.

1. Daughter of the book – Dahlia Adler

★★★★ | This was a great short story to start off this anthology with. the main character is Jewish (#OwnVoices representation) and is torn between wanting to receive education and the expectations of becoming a “good” wife.

content/trigger warning for mentions of slavery

2. You’re a Stranger Here – Mackenzi Lee

★★ | This was my least favourite of the entire anthology. I didn’t like the writing: not only the dialogue, but the narration as well was written with an accent (from Liverpool). It was very confusing and inconsistently done.

That said, I appreciate the author’s note because I indeed wasn’t aware that Mormons were persecuted.

content/trigger warning for death/murder, the persecution of the Mormon church

3. The Magician – Erin Bowman

★★★ |The main character in The Magician is a girl of colour (probably Mexican) who cross-dresses as a boy in order to be able to work. She is cisgender and trans people aren’t mentioned.

I really wanted to know what happened next and hope her dreams will come true!

content/trigger warning for domestic violence, sexism, blackmailing

4. Lady Firebrand – Megan Shepherd

★★★★★ | When I started reading Lady Firebrand, I was hesitant. I was afraid the white protagonist was going to be a white saviour. Thankfully, that was not the case (in my opinion) and this ended up being my favourite short story of the entire anthology! The main character is disabled (in a wheelchair) and I was really invested in the story.

content/trigger warning for slavery

5. Step Right Up – Jessica Spotwood

★★★ |The protagonist in Step Right Up is queer and this is one of the stories I remember best. That said, I don’t understand why Spotwood decided to glorify the circus in her short story, even though she mentions how problematic it is in her author’s note. Why not challenge the animal abuse and treatment of disabled people in the text?

The “sideshow freaks” are considered positive representation in Step Right Up. It is said that it doesn’t matter who you are, but as long as you can make people stare and clap, you’re family. I personally disagree with that and think disabled people were being ridiculed and seen as something grotesque.

content/trigger warning for ableism, ableist language, circus animals (all unchallenged)

6. Glamour – Anna-Marie McLemore

★★½ | The writing style in Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore didn’t work for me. The format if this e-ARC wasn’t perfect (there was no white space between the different paragraphs) but it only caused problems in this short story. I was confused and apparently missed a ton of information, since I only learned while reading the author’s note that the love interest is a transgender boy. Additionally, this was the first story in the anthology to include fantastical elements, which only added to the confusing.

That said, I appreciated what Glamour was about. The main character is Mexican but uses magic to appear white and thus increase her chances to be successful as an actress.

content/trigger warning for racism, alcohol, ableism (challenged), PTSD, kissing and mentions of sex

7. Better For All the World – Marieke Nijkamp

★★★★★| The main character in Better for All the World is autistic, which is #OwnVoices representation. This was a very powerful short story about mandatory sterilisation. It’s a topic that isn’t discussed often, but I think Nijkamp did an absolutely wonderful job! I’m definitely interested in reading more of her work in the future.

content/trigger warning for ableism (challenged)

8. When the Moonlight Isn’t Enough – Dhonielle Clayton

★★★½ | When the Moonlight Isn’t Enough is the second and final short story featuring magical elements. It’s set during World War II and deals with the question whether black people should risk their lives for a country that has treated them so badly.

content/trigger warning for racism, World War II

9. The Belle of the Ball – Sarvenaz Tash

★★★½ |I liked the main character in the Belle of the Ball and her love interest – who is a Latinx boy – was adorable as well.

content/trigger warning for sexism

10. Land of the Sweet, Home of the Brace – Stacey Lee

★★★★★|Lana was a wonderful main character; I was really rooting for her! Her mother is of Japanese-Portuguese decent and her father is Chinese. I own one of Stacey Lee’s books and I certainly want to pick it up soon!

content/trigger warning for racism

11. The Birth of Susi Go-Go – Meg Medina

★★ | I liked the Cuban main character, but the story wasn’t as fleshed-out as it could’ve been.

content/trigger warning for sexism, slut-shaming

12. Take Me With U – Sara Farizan

★★★★ |The main character was a refugee from Iran. There were two sapphic side characters. I really liked this final short story and wouldn’t mind reading more books about Iran.

content/trigger warning for sexism, racism, ableist language (unchallenged)

I enjoyed the vast majority of these short stories, so I would definitely recommend this anthology! There is tons of diversity among the protagonists and authors, though it doesn’t cover every single marginalisation (e.g. no trans main character, no Native American representation, etc.). This was already obvious from the introduction, in which ‘cisgendered’ is said instead of ‘cisgender’.

That said, this feminist historical fictional anthology about girls who feel like outsiders or who are radical within their communities is definitely worth picking up!


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book review: A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin | I need The Winds of Winter NOW!

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Afbeeldingsresultaat voor a dance with dragons coverA Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, book 5)

by George R.R. Martin

read in March 2018

format: paperback

This is a spoiler-free review!


I am finally caught up with this series! Though a Dance with Dragons wasn’t my favourite instalment, I need the Winds of Winter in my hands ASAP!

I understand why Martin made the decision to have most of the events in book four and five take place at the same time, but it didn’t work for me. The majority of A Dance With Dragons was spent travelling and describing meals. Only after seven hundred pages the book picked up.

Additionally, there are more male protagonists than female ones in this book and that’s not my cup of tea. It’s no secret that I hate Tyrion Lannister, so that’s definitely one of the reasons why this isn’t my favourite instalment in the series. Can he talk to women without imagining having sex with them and objectifying their bodies? Here are two quotes that illustrate why I detest him:

“Wait for me abed. Naked, if you please. I’ll be a deal too drunk to fumble at your clothing. Keep your mouth shut and your thighs open and the two of us should get on splendidly.”

The only part of you that interests me is the part between your legs, he almost said.

He is not the only character who objectifies women though. Why does George R.R. Martin feel the need to describe what every girl and woman’s breasts and nipples look like?! I love the female characters in this universe, but they are definitely written differently from the male characters and I’m not here for that.

Furthermore, because I was bored during the majority of this book, I was bothered even more than usual by the unnecessary violence. I long for an adult high fantasy series with good political intrigue that doesn’t feel the need to glorify violence.

That said, I am nonetheless very happy I read this book and I especially love discovering the differences between the books and the TV show adaptation. This series makes me fall in love with characters I otherwise not always root for – I loved the chapters from Dany’s, Selmy’s and Melisandre’s point-of-view – and introduces me to so many compelling characters that aren’t featured in the show, such as Jeyne, Quentyn and Aegon.

content and trigger warnings for graphic descriptions of physical injury, graphic descriptions of illness and death, rape, lack of consent, sexism, anti-intersex slurs, cissexist language, slavery, torture, mentions of animal abuse, animal deaths and much more.

Though a Dance With Dragons wasn’t my favourite instalment in this series, I am so happy I read it! I hope The Winds of Winter will be released soon, because these stories are far from over yet!


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ARC review: Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack

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TakeYourMedicine-f.jpgTake Your Medicine

by Hannah Carmack

read in February 2018

format: e-ARC

release date: March 5th, 2018

This is a spoiler-free review!


Alice “Al” Liddell is from Echola, Alabama. She leads the life of a normal teen until the day she’s diagnosed with vasovagal syncope – a fainting disorder which causes her to lose consciousness whenever she feels emotions too strongly.

Her mother, the “Queen of Hearts,” is the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line and a bit of a local hero. Yet, even with all her skill she is unable to cure her daughter of her ailment, leading Al into the world of backwater witchcraft.

Along the way she meets a wacky cast of characters and learns to accept her new normal.

Take Your Medicine is a southern gothic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


I received an e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review!

I admit I was a bit hesitant when the author approached me asking whether I wanted to receive an ARC. I was afraid this book was going to include the “magically cure a disability” trope. Even while reading, that was one of my main concerns. I shouldn’t have been so worried because there is no magic involved in Take Your Medicine. Al, the disabled main character, merely tries out holistic medicines.

I wouldn’t say this is a retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland though. Besides the characters’ names, I wouldn’t have noticed. Additionally, Take Your Medicine is a contemporary novella, not a fantasy story. It’s safe to say that wasn’t what I had expected. Throughout the book, I thought she would tumble down a hole and end up in Wonderland.

In my opinion, novellas must be difficult to write. I enjoy reading them from time to time, but I’m never completely satisfied. I guess it’s impossible to write a fully fleshed-out story in such a limited amount of pages. Take Your Medicine is no exception. My e-ARC ended at 80% (the rest was an excerpt of the author’s debut) and it took me by surprise. It didn’t seem like Al’s story was over yet.

The writing was pretty good, with the exception of the dialogue, unchallenged ableist language and some inconsistencies. The Southern accent took some time getting used to since it was inconsistently done (one time they would talk “normally”, the next with a Southern drawl) and at first, it seemed as if only the black characters talked that way.
In the first chapter, Al mentions ‘her dark hands’ while working in the garden. A couple of sentences later, however, she is wearing gloves… I know this isn’t a big deal, but inconsistencies like this pull me out of the story.
Furthermore, I have no idea why this is set in 2010. Once again this isn’t very relevant to the plot, but it seemed so random.

As mentioned, Al and her mother are black. The author isn’t black and neither am I, so I can’t decide whether the representation is good or not. The main character has been diagnosed with vasovagal syncope, which results in her fainting often. As far as I know the representation isn’t #OwnVoices, but the author does have IBD, so she must know a thing or two about chronic illnesses.

There is a F/F romance in Take Your Medicine which is #OwnVoices because the author is queer. That said, as a queer reader, I felt like the relationship was barely there and therefore wouldn’t recommend it to others as a queer book. If you erased those five-ish lines, you wouldn’t have known there was any chemistry between those female characters.

content and trigger warnings for ableist language (unchallenged; e.g. “crazy”), seizures, fainting, snakes, kissing without explicit consent, animal deaths, physical injuries

I absolutely adore the cover of Take Your Medicine and I enjoyed reading it. That said, I can only rate it three stars because I don’t see myself actively recommending it to others.


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book review: They Both Die At the End by Adam Silvera | ‘a thoughtful novel about life’

they both die at the end.pngAfbeeldingsresultaat voor they both die at the end coverThey Both Die At the End

by Adam Silvera

read in February 2018

format: hardcover

This is a spoiler-free review!


On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.


Writing this review is so difficult because I don’t know where to begin. They Both Die at the End made me sad, but it didn’t make me cry. I didn’t love the first half of the novel, but I found the message of the third and fourth parts beautiful. This truly is about life, rather than about death.

The first two parts were very slow. I wasn’t motivated to continue reading, so it took me over a week to read this. Having said that, the final two parts were redeeming. The tension increased and even though I knew better, I started to care about these characters.

Mateo is queer (gay?) and Puerto-Rican (#OwnVoices representation) and Rufus is bisexual and Cuban-American. There is also diversity among the side characters.  Mateo’s chapters were definitely my favourite. He is so precious, so pure. I absolutely adored him. I also related to him because I’m not living my life, I’m just existing. That’s exactly why I can’t rate this book less than four stars despite not absolutely loving it: it made me think about my life and if I got a call like that, or someone I love. I really admire the concept of this novel and wouldn’t mind reading more books like it.

Though I ultimately didn’t cry, the story did move me. We got hints of how they might die throughout the novel and it broke my heart! On the one hand I wanted to find out what happens, but I didn’t want their stories to end.

I find it hard to compile a list of trigger and content warnings for this book because Adam Silvera’s work is heavy. There are numerous mentions of death, suicide, etc. but some are only mentioned once and briefly, so I don’t know whether they’re worth including. Either way, do research beforehand because this book definitely gave me anxiety. Additionally, a lot of ableist language is used and it isn’t challenged.

content and trigger warnings for mentions of drowning, suicide, suicide attempt, animal death, death by childbirth, comatose, fire, mentions of guns, ableist language (unchallenged), mentions of sex (M/F, no details)

I was bored at times while reading They Both Die At the End, but I would ultimately still recommend this novel because it’s about celebrating life. It’s really sad and stressful at times, so keep that in mind.


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book review: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao |’dull and predictable’

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Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Forest of a Thousand LanternsForest of a Thousand Lanterns

by Julie C. Dao

read in February 2018

format: e-ARC/audiobook

This is a spoiler-free review!


An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.


I received an e-ARC from Penguin Young Readers Group through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

My ARC request of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns got approved on the release date (October 10th, 2017), which explains why I didn’t read it beforehand. Though I received an ARC, I actually ended up listening to the audiobook.

This novel has received some mixed reviews from my friends and sadly, I’m one of the people who didn’t enjoy this. It’s certainly not the worst book I have ever read, but I personally liked nothing about it. The only reasons why I continued it are 1) because I received an ARC and 2) because I hoped it would get better, since there was plenty of potential.

First of all, I didn’t find Xifeng a compelling main character. Throughout the book she becomes a villain, but there was still an inner conflict. One minute she would embrace her powers, the next she would feel guilty and conflicted. I really didn’t care about her struggles, especially because she was so inconsistent. I’d rather read about a villain who is unapologetic than one who keeps going back and forth. I even found myself rooting for her rivals because if they’re going to be evil, I want them to be good at it and embrace it!

Additionally, Xifeng was incredibly vain. I understand why beauty is important to her, but everyone who she doesn’t deem attractive is treated like shit. She calls injuries and scars “disfigurements” and acts as if they’re the end of the world. As a reader who has scars in her face, I didn’t appreciate that. Furthermore, I don’t think her characterisation excuses the large amount of ableist and anti-fat remarks.

Secondly, I found the plot predictable. I’m usually a huge fan of political intrigue, but not a single plot twist in Forest of a Thousand Lanterns surprised me. In my opinion, that’s because of the way the side-characters were portrayed. The female characters dislike Xifeng or she dislikes them, whereas the male characters are the only ones who she can trust. She didn’t have a single female friend! Every obstacle was dealt with in the same manner. I didn’t care about any of the characters or their feelings.

Because I felt indifferent about the characters, I also didn’t care about the romance. Neither of the romantic relationships in this book were developed well, in my opinion. This ties in with Xifeng’s conflicted feelings: we know she cared more about herself than these relationships, so it was hard to believe as a reader that they would upset or sadden her.

Finally, I also struggled with the fantasy elements. They were so confusing and difficult to follow! Admittedly I don’t like listening to fantasies on audiobook because of this, but I also blame the writing style. I couldn’t visualise the fantasy elements nor the action scenes, so I ended up not paying attention…

That said, I’d like to include some reviews by Asian readers since this is a East Asian fantasy retelling, so my opinion as a white, European reader shouldn’t matter as much as theirs. (2 stars and 5 stars)

content and trigger warning for physical abuse, gore, murder, animal deaths, blood, mentions of suicide, sexism, slutshaming, one fade-to-black sex scene, ableism, ableist language, anti-fat remarks

Sadly I didn’t enjoy reading Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. The sequel Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix features Jade whom I find more intriguing, but since I didn’t like anything about this novel, I doubt I’ll give it a chance. I’d rate this two stars because it certainly isn’t an awful book, but I wasn’t a fan.


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#ContemporaryAThon book review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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Afbeeldingsresultaat voor an american marriageAn American Marriage

by Tayari Jones

read in February 2018

format: audiobook

This review contains minor spoilers.


Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.


An American Marriage has received a lot of praise – it was even selected for Oprah’s book club – but sadly, I had some problems with it. I wanted to love this book, but reading it made me uncomfortable and mad at times.

This novel is about a black man named Roy who is sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit. An American Marriage doesn’t explore the racism in the American justice system as much as it explores marriage and love. Perhaps that’s why this novel didn’t move me; I can’t relate to the intricacies of marriage.

First of all, I didn’t like how Roy was falsely accused of raping a woman. I understand that black men are sometimes accused of crimes they didn’t commit, but with #MeToo happening, I don’t think we need even more opportunities to doubt victims. I wish the author had chosen a different crime.

I listened to the audiobook and I found the choice of narrators odd. The chapters from Celestial’s point-of-view were narrated by a woman and the ones from Roy and Andre’s by a man, yet their letters were narrated by the same person. Additionally, the letters created a distance: we were told about Roy and Celestial’s lives, rather than witness what happened to them ourselves. Years would pass, yet it didn’t feel that way as a reader because the letters were read back to back.

I can appreciate complex characters and situations, but once they cross a certain line and I can’t root for them anymore, my enjoyment falters. Sadly, that was the case in An American Marriage as well. The majority of the readers mention they didn’t like Celestial, but I have to disagree. In my opinion, Roy was the manipulative one. I can understand where he’s coming from, but only to a certain degree. There were double standards in their relationship that I consider sexist. Warning, what I’m about to discuss, contains spoilers! Roy is allowed to sleep with another woman. Celestial on the other hand, who told him she didn’t want to be married to him anymore, is portrayed as the “bad guy” because of her relationship with Andre.

Additionally, the sex scenes made me very uncomfortable. I found two sex scenes in particular manipulative and coercive! Begging someone to have unsafe sex is not okay! Begging someone to “do their duty as a wife” is not okay! Ultimately there is no rape on the page, but it made me incredibly scared and it wasn’t challenged enough, or at all.

Finally, the ending kind of ruined the novel for me. The epilogue was satisfying, but it didn’t make any sense considering what happened right before it?! It’s like the author had two endings in mind and decided to keep them both.

content and trigger warnings for mentions of statuary rape, sex scenes, mentions of rape, coercion to have unsafe sex, sex and kissing without (explicit) consent, slutshaming, abortion, ableist language, anti-gay remarks, physical violence, prison, heteronormative and sexist remarks (e.g. “a man needs a woman to take care of him”), mentions of cancer, mentions of death, grief, mentions of divorce

I wanted to love An American Marriage but mainly because of Roy’s sexist behaviour, I ultimately didn’t enjoy this. I give this novel three out of five stars because I was invested enough to finish it, but the third part in particular ruined the book for me.


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#ContemporaryAThon book review: Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson | a new favourite!

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Afbeeldingsresultaat voor piecing me togetherPiecing Me Together

by Renée Watson

read in February 2018

format: hardcover

This is a spoiler-free review!


Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.


In over a month and a half, I haven’t rated a single book five stars. I thought I  wasn’t in the mood to read and wouldn’t love anything, but after reading Piecing Me Together I realise that’s not true because I loved everything about this novel!

This book isn’t exactly underrated because it has won several awards, but I think it deserves a lot more praise than it has received. I love this book so much. Every character was complex and Jade was a wonderful protagonist. Her inner monologues were so on point; I love how she took others into account without sacrificing herself.

As usual I have a hard time writing a review for a book I love because all I want to say is I LOVE IT I LOVE IT, PLEASE PICK THIS UP IF YOU CAN! Piecing Me Together discusses a lot of important topics such as racism, racial profiling, poverty, sexism, etc. and it does so wonderfully. Seriously, whenever a character says something problematic, it is called out in the book (with the exception of cissexist language such as “men and women”).

Jade is black but she occasionally mentions the treatment of Native Americans in the United States as well. Usually they are excluded from conversations, so that was a really nice change.

I also adored the different types of family that are portrayed in the book (e.g. divorced parents). It definitely added another layer of authenticity.

content and trigger warning for racism, racial profiling, police brutality, ableist language, sexism, anti-fat remarks, one mention of drug use, one mention of cheating, slut-shaming, cissexist language

Clearly, I absolutely loved this book! I loved following Jade’s journey as a black, fat and poor teenager in the United States and I certainly plan on reading more of this author’s work! 5 out of 5 stars!


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book review: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore | good, but underwhelming

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Wild Beauty

by Anna-Marie McLemore

read in February 2018

format: physical ARC (thanks to giveaway)

This is a spoiler-free review!


For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.


I am sad that Wild Beauty didn’t live up to the hype for me. I had absolutely expected to love this, but I was also apprehensive because I’m not familiar with magical realism. There is nothing wrong with this novel, but I felt rather indifferent about it…

From the very first chapter, I was confused. I never grew accustomed to the flowery writing. I don’t like analysing the books I read, hence why I don’t read poetry and classics. I have the feeling as if I didn’t fully absorb the story because of this. I found myself skimming and re-reading sentences, which is really unfortunate.

My favourite part of Wild Beauty was definitely the characters. Fel was so precious and I’m usually not swooned by allocishet male characters, so kudos to McLemore! The bond between the Nomeolvides cousins was beautiful, though I would’ve liked to see more interactions with the mothers and grandmothers as well.

This book is filled with bisexual girls and there is also a gay male side character. We find out that these sexualities aren’t understood by everyone, but it’s not a big deal for these characters. They are unapologetically queer; there was no drama involved.

I am cisgender so I am not the best person to judge this, but I thought the book was a bit cissexist at times, talking solely about “boys and girls” in reference to romantic partners.

content and trigger warning for underage drinking, Christianity, scars caused by lashes, physical violence, grief, mentions of racism (challenged), mentions of anti-gay violence (challenged), cissexist language, kissing without explicit consent

Though Wild Beauty isn’t going to be very memorable for me, I would still recommend this book to others because of its diversity (queer and brown Latinx characters), the praise it has received and the fact that I did enjoy reading it. I definitely plan on reading this author’s other work and I hope I will get used to her writing style.


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