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

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

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

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

These are in no particular order:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What are some of your bookish turn-offs?

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Bewaren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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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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T10T: most unique books I’ve read

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

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

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

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We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

(Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery)

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

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

(Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery)

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

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

(Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery)

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

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

(Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery)

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

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

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

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

(Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery)

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

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

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

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

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

No matter the cost.

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


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

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Bewaren

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T10T: fandom freebie

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

April 4: Fandom Freebie — top ten fandoms I’m in, 10 reasons X fandom is the best, must have merchandise for x fandom, etc. etc.

For years, I was very active on Tumblr. I still run two main blogs (harheyquinn and romweasley) which both have 10k followers and a booklr. I never thought I’d be able to quite Tumblr, it was such a huge part of my teenage years. Lately, however, I kind of lost interest in the site. It’s hard to find people who have the same aesthetics as I have and when e.g. TV shows are on hiatus, Tumblr gets quite boring. Anyway, over those many years, I joined multiple fandoms. And I’m going to talk about those today!


CHELSEA FC

I used to run a Tumblr dedicated to Chelsea Football Club. I live-streamed every match and believe it or not, there was an entire fandom dedicated to football run by teenage girls. But at a certain point, we couldn’t stream videos at home anymore, and when I wasn’t able to watch the games myself, I lost my interest. I still low-key root for CFC though 😉

Disney

I also had a blog dedicated to Disney. I love watching those animated movies and once again, you probably cannot believe how big the fandom was! But I was much more a fan of the Disney movies from my childhood than the newly released ones. Furthermore, all the graphics and gifs were very bright and colourful and I my aesthetic is black and white. So I decided to turn that blog in a multifandom one, which is now called harheyquinn.

Harry Potter

Before you freak out: I’m still very much a part of the Harry Potter fandom! But I’ve also lost interest in that blog. Even though I have quite a few followers, there is no interaction. Because no material is released (actually, because the new Harry Potter material SUCKS), there isn’t much to talk about. I’m so thankful for that fandom though: I decided to re-read the books because of it!

Supernatural, Teen Wolf, The Walking Dead…

These are all series my sister practically forced me to watch. When I started those, I really enjoyed them! I joined the fandoms, posted gifsets on my blog… But I am not going to continue watching any of these series. They are very problematic and just not my cup of tea anymore. I gave up on so many TV shows this year. Even shows I thought I absolutely loved, but didn’t even miss when I didn’t watch the latest episode as soon as I could. There are truly only a handful of TV shows left I’m really invested in.


What are your past fandoms? Like I’ve said, I’m still in some of these fandoms, I’m just not as invested in them as I used to be. I dedicate my time to the book community now instead 🙂

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Bewaren

T10T: read in one sitting theme (21 March)

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

March 21: Read In One Sitting Theme: ten of the shortest books I’ve read, top ten books I read in one sitting, ten books to read when you are short on time, top ten books that will make you read the whole day away, etc.

I’m going to talk about some of the shortest books I’ve read. I’m not going to include any graphic novels or comic books.

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We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ➳ 52 pages (review)

I read We Should All Be Feminists last year and I absolutely loved it. I ended up buying three copies! Unfortunately, the author made some very transphobic comments a couple of weeks ago. She said that trans women are trans women, implying that trans women aren’t “real” women. You can read more about that here. She recently published another book, but I obviously won’t be reading that one.

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn ➳ 64 pages (review)

Gillian Flynn is definitely an auto-buy author for me. I’ve read all of her books, except for Gone Girl. But I’ve seen the film adaptations multiple times already. While I thought her three other books were okay, I’m always certain I won’t be able to predict the twists and turns. Anyway, I read The Grownup in 2015 and quite liked it.

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell ➳ 96 pages (review)

This one is less than one hundred pages, yet Kindred Spirits still managed to annoy me! Gabe, the male character, is the embodiment of what I hate about male nerds. He believed the main character was a “fake fan” because she is a girl and popular in school. I own every Young Adult novel Rainbow Rowell has written, but I have no desire to read Carry On and Fangirl. I read Eleanor & Park when I was younger and loved it, but now, I would definitely notice the racism and other problematic aspects and therefore absolutely hate it.

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant ➳ 103 pages (review to come on Thursday)

Coffee Boy is a cute M/M New Adult romance with a trans main character! I’m cisgender, so whatever I have to say doesn’t matter at all, but I loved that Kieran, the main character, didn’t always pass. When trans people are represented – which is, let’s be honest, almost never – they often pass easily, but that isn’t the case for a lot of trans people. Obviously I don’t love the fact that people use the wrong pronouns, all I’m saying is that it’s not they get represented as well. Anyway, I’d totally recommend this novella!

The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis ➳ (review)

The Paths We Choose is another novella I’d recommend! M. Hollis writes such cute, diverse F/F New Adult romances. I loved this one even more than The Melody of You and Me. I can’t wait to read whatever Hollis writes next!


Have you read any of these books? Do you have any diverse short story or novella recommendations for me?

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Bewaren

T10T: spring TBR

Hello everyone! Top Ten Tuesday was on hiatus for a couple of weeks, but it’s finally back!  It was created by The Broke and the Bookish and you can have a look at the future topics here! This week’s topic is:

March 14: Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

I’m going to talk about five books that will be released this spring (from March till May) which I’m dying to read! I have no idea when I’ll get to read these, but if I could afford it – which I can’t – I’d buy all of these titles as soon as they are released. Anyway, these are in chronological order:

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You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner (synopsis)
release date: March 7th

You’re Welcome, Universe is about a Deaf Indian-American girl named Julia. Apparently, this book includes illustrations! I don’t really know much more about the plot – I like going into books not knowing much about them – but it’s definitely going to be the first time I read about a Deaf character!

Queen of Geeks by Jen Wilde (synopsis)
release date: today!

Last year, I read a novel published by Swoon Reads and I had to DNF it because it was (in my opinion) quite biphobic. Still, I want to give this publisher another chance because I’ve heard nothing but positive things about Queen of Geeks. This is #OwnVoices, because the author is autistic and bisexual!

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (synopsis)
release date: April 11th

I already read The Upside of Unrequited (I received an ARC) and I absolutely loved it! It’s probably my all-time favourite contemporary. I’ll definitely buy a hardcover when it’s released and might re-read the book as soon as I can get my hands on it. You can read my full review here!

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember (synopsis)
release date: May 4th

A F/F retelling of The Little Mermaid? Featuring a fat bisexual main character? And a gender-fluid Loki? Yes please to all of that! My expectations are high and I really hope The Seafarer’s Kiss won’t disappoint! I doubt it could though, since it sounds absolutely amazing!

When Dimple Met Rishi by  Sandhya Menon (synopsis)
release date: May 30th

When Dimple Met Rishi is about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. I’m so excited to read this. Because I live in Europe, I was taught that arranged marriages are a system of oppression and unhappiness. I think this book is going to be eye-opening for Western readers. We frown upon arranged marriages, yet we consider shows like Married At First Sight to be okay. I have my own problems with that show and I also think it’s incredibly hypocritical to judge other cultures who do the same. Anyway, I cannot wait for this book to be released!


These are five spring releases I’m very excited for! I easily could’ve gone for ten, but I’m very busy at the moment and shouldn’t even be writing blogposts right now. Which books are on your spring TBR?

P.S. All the books I mentioned above are diverse!

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

 

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 week’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.

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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)

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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 week’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 😮 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.

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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 Drüskelle. 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 Drüskelle 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 🙂 (scheduled on 31 January 2017)

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T10T: Books I Wish Had More/Less X In Them (7 February)

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

February 7:  Top Ten Books I Wish Had (More/Less) X In Them (the original idea came from Andi who suggested top ten books I wish had more kissing which I thought could be fun but also realize it might not be everyone’s thing! Could also be top ten books I wish had more diversity in them or top ten books I wish had less violence in them or less romance focus in them or top ten books I wish had more dragons in them. IDK! Have some fun with this one!)

Sorry for the very vague title! I couldn’t choose just one topic to focus on, so this post will be divided in two parts:

  1. books I wish had less romance in them;
  2. books I wish had more diversity / less problematic representation in them.

Because those are two things I’m very critical of while reading. When a straight romance is too prominent, it can easily ruin the entire book for me. 

Because it is my goal to read more diverse books, I also have to point out when it isn’t done right. Some of my favourite books feature no or harmful representation. And there is no shame in admitting your favourites are problematic: you can still love something and be critical of it at the same time. However, I think there is also a distinction that should be made here: some books feature problematic lines and if the author hadn’t written that sentence, the book would’ve been better. And then there are those books who are build on racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. And as much editing as you’d like to do, it will always remain problematic. Both are harmful and we should not make light of that. But when I say my favourites are problematic, I hope they don’t belong to the second category.

Anyway, let’s get started! As usual, these are in no particular order. and as usual, it is hard to limit this to merely ten books 😀 By the way: not all of the books I am going to mention are bad! Some of them are actually my favourites! But even though I like them, I can still be critical of it at the same time.


Books I wish had less romance in them

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1. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

I was completely loving Three Dark Crowns, up until the point multiple relationships started to become more important. Especially because everything went so fast. One chapter, two characters meet, the next, they’re kissing and saving each other’s lives.

Furthermore, I absolutely love that this book features multiple strong female friendships. At the same time though, I wish the author had included some F/F romances as well.  I just find it very heteronormative that all characters are straight. Some of them even fell in love when they were merely eleven years old!


2.  The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

There are multiple reasons why I didn’t continue this series. But one of my main reasons has to be the romance. Everyone was attracted to everyone. There are certain relationships you know are going to happen because it they are typical for every  YA fantasy, yet the author kept dragging them out. I wanted a bad-ass fantasy universe. Instead I got lovesick teenagers.


3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

At first, I praised the books for the female friendships. We don’t see that enough and I loved it. But as the story went on, the other female characters ‘disappeared’: Cinder only had interactions with Kai anymore. I did like the pairing at first, but the prince really started to make me angry: he couldn’t take no for an answer! No means no. It doesn’t matter that Cinder was lying about the reasons why she said ‘no’, he should have accepted her answer either way.

Everyone seems to love this series and I really want to continue it (because I’m an idiot and already bought all the books in the series), but I’m afraid this is mostly praised because of the romance, whereas that is something I’m often not a fan of in books.


4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Once again, there are multiple reasons why I won’t continue the Red Queen series. Even though I read this back in 2015, when I had just started reading regularly, I could already tell that this book wasn’t the most original one. Most Young Adult series have love triangles, but this one even has a love square! And I wasn’t exactly a fan of any of the pairings.


5. The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Oh boy, apparently, I don’t finish a lot of series! Because I won’t continue with this one either. Once again, for various reasons. Adelina, the main character, seemed sexually frustrated! Whenever a boy touched her, she got a tingle or a warm feeling. I cringed at those scenes, it was ridiculous.


books I wish had more diversity / less problematic representation in them

All of the books I am going to mention below, are some of my favourites! Like I have said though, I can still be critical of it. When people point out these books include problematic representation or none at all, I listen. Don’t get personally offended. You can still like them! Just admit they aren’t perfect, that’s all.

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1. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Cycle is one of my favourite series. A lot of the people who I follow on Twitter, do not feel the same way. And that’s fine. I’m still going to re-read this over and over again. At the same time though, I can admit that this series and Maggie Stiefvater in particular aren’t perfect. The Raven King features harmful Asian representation, as you can read here.

The LGBTQ representation isn’t the best either. I absolutely love that the characters’ sexual orientations aren’t a big deal (I prefer that to books which revolve around it), but I wish Stiefvater had included the word ‘bisexual’. It’s as if writers (also of TV shows and films) are afraid to use that word!

Furthermore, this series is often recommended by straight cis girls who do not care at all about the rest of the LGBTQ community.  Fetishising M/M romances is not okay! If you are disgusted by F/F relationships but love reading about M/M ones, you are a part of the problem.


2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Everytime I dare mention the lack of diversity in the Harry Potter series, it causes a shit-storm. If you disagree with me, there’s no need to let me know. I won’t change my opinion. I’ve done a lot of research on this topic and I listen to the critique it has received from people of colour, gay men and other people who are poorly -or not at all – represented in this series.

Normally, I try to explain why I say this about Rowling and my favourite series, but I feel as if many people don’t even bother reading what I have to say. For those of you who are interested though, there are plenty of articles that provide more information, such as this one.


3. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I absolutely love The Song of Achilles and didn’t release it was problematic up until a few weeks ago. So I apologize if I recommended this book to you and it hurt you. I really do. So what I am about to say next is a huge spoiler for the book, but if you are familiar with the Iliad, you already know what is going to happen in The Song of Achilles. This book features the ‘bury your gays’ trope. Too often, gay characters (but also other LGBTQ characters) don’t get happy endings, but get killed off instead. And that could hurt people.


4. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

I won’t even get started on Game of Thrones, the TV show adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire. That show is high-key problematic. I still love it though, but damn. Anyway, A Song of Ice and Fire features multiple bisexual characters, but it’s something many people don’t realise, which might mean that the representation is barely there. Either way, as far as I can remember, there are barely any characters of colour.


5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I’m talking mostly about the TV series here, since I’ve only read 100 pages of Outlander. But I don’t remember ever seeing a person of colour in that show! And the only queer characters are the villain. It’s been a couple of months though so I might be wrong, but if you forget about the representation, that isn’t a great sign either.


Well, this was a controversial topic. Please don’t be personally offended and please don’t try to fight me on this. Even if you didn’t find something problematic, doesn’t mean no one else is allowed to be hurt by it. (scheduled on 30 January 2017)

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