The Upside of Unrequited: my favourite contemporary!

the_upside_of_unrequited.pngThe Upside of Unrequited

by Becky Albertalli

read in March 2017

format: e-ARC

spoiler-free review


Actually, I don’t even hate my body. I just worry everyone else might. Because chubby girls don’t get boyfriends, and they definitely don’t have sex. Not in movies—not really—unless it’s supposed to be a joke. And I don’t want to be a joke.

I received an e-ARC from Penguin Random House UK Children’s through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

I have no idea where to begin. I absolutely love The Upside of Unrequited! For a while now, I thought I had grown out of Young Adult contemporaries. But I was wrong. Despite the fact that that the formatting of my e-ARC was absolutely horrible, this book is quite possibly the best I have ever read.

First of all, I want to thank Becky Albertalli for including so much diversity in her novels. The author’s second novel is about a fat Jewish girl named Molly, but her story isn’t defined by that. That’s the kind of representation I want to see more often, especially in this genre! This isn’t a story about a girl who is bullied for being fat and Jewish. This is a story about a girl who happens to be fat and Jewish.

Cassie, Molly’s twin sister, is a lesbian. Her girlfriend is a Korean-American pansexual girl. The twins’ parents are two women, Nadine being a black lesbian and Patty being a bisexual woman. Molly once had a crush on a trans guy. Molly is on antidepressant and it is completely normalised. There is no dramatic reveal of why she is taking them either. Asexuality is mentioned as well. Even though some of these things are only talked about briefly, at least they are mentioned and normalised. Trans, asexual and pansexual people exist and Albertalli respects that! Unfortunately, that cannot be said of many other books, even when they take place in our world and day and age.

If anyone is doing Diversity Bingo 2017, you can read this for ‘practising Jewish MC’ and ‘MC with an under-represented body’! Becky Albertalli is Jewish, so this is an #OwnVoices novel!

I also love that the author learnt from the mistake she made in Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. I absolutely love that book, but a character said that bisexual women and lesbians have it easier than gay men because guys think it’s hot. That’s not true. Fetishisation doesn’t mean acceptance. Anyway, Becky Albertalli could have decided never to mention queer women ever again after being called out. Thankfully, she decided to do better by featuring tons of queer women in The Upside of Unrequited. Some allies would have said “Well, at least I tried. I didn’t mean any harm.”, but Albertalli actually listened to us and hired sensitivity readers to get the representation right in this one.

Clearly, I love how diverse this book was. It does not only feature great representation, but also wonderful feminist moments! I could provide an entire list of bad-ass quotes for you, but you should buy the book when it is released and see for yourselves! Furthermore, the book is also incredibly sex-positive and even mentions that sex and “losing your virginity” doesn’t have to involve a penis.

Even though it has been a couple of years since I was a teenager, I don’t think I have ever related to a character as much as I related to Molly. Even when she doesn’t have the right to be angry, you completely understand why she feels that way. She is so incredibly human and real. The praise on the back of my copy of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda says the following:

“Are we absolutely certain that Becky Albertalli didn’t just steal the diary of a hilariously observant teenage boy?”

The Upside of Unrequited felt just as genuine and realistic. Becky Albertalli writes teenagers perfectly!

I would recommend this book to everyone. Even as an adult, this book is incredibly relatable. I have scars on my face and because of problems with my spine, pelvis and legs, I don’t walk like most people do. When people tell me “Oh, your scars look much better today.” or urge me to pay attention to the way I am walking, I feel exactly like Molly felt in this moment:

So, I should be used to it. Still, it always throws me a little bit when people say stuff about my body. I guess I want to believe no one notices I’m fat.

Even though this is a completely different situation, I have tears in my eyes because it means so much to me to read about someone who faces similar struggles. This book is incredibly funny and heart-warming as well. I never thought fluffy YA contemporaries were my cup of tea, but I was clearly wrong!

In my opinion, The Upside of Unrequited is even better than Albertalli’s first novel! Oh, and to all my fellow Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda fans out there: there may or may not be a cameo in here… 😉

Normally, I am a very critical reader, but The Upside of Unrequited was a perfect novel. The only criticism I could have, is the under-age drinking. I don’t really mind, since drinking is legal in my country when you turn sixteen years old, but it’s literally in every YA contemporary these days. As a teacher, I’m always hesitant whether I should recommend books to my pupils that promote that.


conclusion: The Upside of Unrequited is probably my all-time favourite contemporary! Even though it was cheerful and funny, I have tears in my eyes because this novel meant so much to me. I will definitely buy a hardcover when this book is released on April 11th and would recommend everyone else to do the same!

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

the Blogger Recognition Award

Blogger Recognition Award.pngHappy Sunday, everyone! I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by I Am a Book Drunkard! Thank you so much for the nomination! I couldn’t find who created this award nor did I find badge, so I created one myself 🙂

Award rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select other bloggers you want to give this award to.
6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

How romweasley started:

Back in September 2015, I started a BookTube channel. But I found filming videos and especially editing very time consuming, so I quit after posting only a handful of videos. In July 2016, I discovered that many people blogged about books as well. I’ve been active for quite a while on Goodreads and Instagram, but was looking for another way to talk about books. And blogging is perfect for me. It’s not as stressful as filming videos and it’s easier to connect with people.

Advice for new bloggers:

Well, I’m not a popular blogger myself, but there are some things I am passionate about while blogging:

  1. Always be honest. Don’t be afraid to talk about a book you disliked, even when many people love it. I get sad when I see people put a disclaimer at the beginning of a negative review. People have to learn that disliking a book does not mean that you dislike the readers who like it. So, speak your mind and don’t apologize when you express your unpopular opinions.
  2. Read books by diverse authors and/or about diverse characters and follow marginalised people on social media, including WordPress. Use your voice to talk about things that matter. Blogging should always be fun, but it can also be a platform to bring about change. Not everyone might like your message, but at least you are doing something good for this community.

My nominations:

Of course, you don’t have to do this tag if you don’t want to!


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

Searching Saturday: Important Topics (4 March)

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

4th: Important Topics
Reading books about important topics is… important. How intelligent of me. Which topics are important to you? Which topics would you want to know more about? Which topics would you want others to know more about? Search for books that discuss a topic that is important to you. What classifies as ‘important’ is completely up to you!

Each week, I discuss one book that I added to my TBR thanks to the topic. Since January, all my Searching Saturday posts feature diverse books and/or diverse authors.


Paperweight by Meg Haston

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Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn’t plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.

How did I discover this book?

emmmabooks posted a video on YouTube with recommendations for books that feature eating disorders. Paperweight was one of the books she mentioned.

Why did I add this book to my TBR?

I noticed The Bookavid wrote a raving review on Goodreads (which you can read here) and I always trust their* judgement. Apparently, this book is an #OwnVoices story, which makes me much more excited to read this! Eating disorders are a very delicate subject and I wouldn’t want to support something with inaccurate representation.

(* I couldn’t find The Bookavid’s preferred pronouns so I use ‘they’ pronouns to be safe.)


Have you read this book yet? Did you like it? 🙂

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

ARC review: Noteworthy

31447601Noteworthy

by Riley Redgate

read in February 2017

format: e-ARC

spoiler-free review!


I received an e-ARC from ABRAMS Kids through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

Noteworthy was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, so I am very happy this book didn’t disappoint! This is a very enjoyable Young Adult contemporary and much more original, fun and entertaining than a lot of other books I’ve read in the genre. Though the general course of the story is quite predictable, this book still had me gasping out loud multiple times!

Jordan, the main character, is Chinese-American, just like the author. She’s also bisexual, though I couldn’t find out whether that part was #OwnVoices. Jordan grew up poor: her father is in a wheelchair and her family can’t afford the hospital bills. The main character’s best friend is a lesbian and has “curves you could see from three blocks away”, though the reader never meets that character. A lot of the Sharpshooters’ members are diverse as well. Nihal is Sikh and gay and he was probably my favourite side-character: too pure for this world! Though I have to admit I completely missed that Isaac is Japanese-American and Trav is black.

I absolutely love that the cast of characters was so diverse. Jordan’s story isn’t about being Chinese-American. Her story isn’t about being bisexual. That’s not a bad thing! My life doesn’t revolve around my bisexuality either. But if you pick up this book thinking it’s going to focus on the representation, you might be disappointed.

If anyone is doing Diversity Bingo 2017 like me, you can read this book for ‘book by author of colour’ or ‘LGBTQIA+ MC of colour’. Like I’ve said, I’m unsure whether this book is #OwnVoices when it comes to bisexuality, so I don’t know whether it qualifies for ‘Bisexual MC (own voices)’. EDIT: Some people told me that this is indeed #OwnVoices for bisexuality as well!

Talking about the bisexuality: I love that Jordan is in a relationship with a boy. If books feature bisexual representation, they always feature F/F relationship. It’s great that the author shows that Jordan’s sexuality is just as valid, even though she is dating a boy.

Noteworthy features a lot of amazing quotes, which really reflect how educated Riley Redgate is. No, I don’t always think that what a character says, reflects the opinion of the author, but there are so many quotes about equality and feminism in this book, there’s no way Redgate doesn’t feel the same way. Anyway, here are two quotes I really loved:

There was something deeply screwed up about that attitude. There is no world where “you’re wrong” is an acceptable answer to “this hurts.”

With so many queer kids at Kensington, people sometimes got weirdly comfortable, like they had a free pass to say anything they wanted about sexuality. I guess it was tempting to stick a rainbow-colored “Ally” pin on your backpack and call it a day, as if that were the endpoint, not the starting line.

Jordan cross-dresses in order to join the Sharpshooters and it is made very clear in the novel that she feels uncomfortable doing so, because she is using resources for trans people. Which once again shows that the author did a lot of research and handled every topic with a lot of respect.

Finally, there is some under-age drinking in this novel and some of the side-characters smoke weed, though readers don’t witness that. Still, I am disappointed that every YA contemporary I have read lately features drug and alcohol use, but zero mentions of sex. I find it more realistic that teenagers have sex than do drugs.

conclusion: Noteworthy is the reason why I continue to pick up Young Adult contemporaries, even though I tend to dislike those books most of the time. The setting is very unique: the boarding school stands out among other high school contemporaries. I will definitely read other books by Riley Redgate, as she proved to be very educated and well-researched. Make sure to get a copy on March 2nd! I sure will!

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February 2017 Wrap-Up

Hello everyone! I hope February was a wonderful month for you! Today, I am going to talk about all the books I read last. I read quite a lot of books. Which actually says a lot of how I’ve been doing, mentally. When I read a lot, that means I am neglecting my responsibilities because I need an escape from reality. And that’s when I turn to books. On the other hand though, I really enjoyed all the books I am going to mention below (except for the first one), so that’s also a reason why I’ve been reading more!

wrap up.png

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (review)

Actually, I finished Three Dark Crowns on January 31th. But because I had already posted that month’s wrap-up by then, I decided to include it in this one. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed in Three Dark Crowns. It started out so great and I thought it was going to become one of my favourite books, but the romance is the main reason why I ended up hating this book. By the end of the book, we still don’t know who the new queen is. So there is a possibility I’ll pick up the sequel.

The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis (review)

The Melody of You and Me is a New Adult novella featuring a pansexual main character and the love-interest is a lesbian Filipino. I loved the diversity in this one and want to read more New Adult books because of it! Yesterday, the author send me an ARC of The Paths We Choose and I’m so excited to read it!

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (review)

Even though We Are the Ants deals with a variety of heavy topics such as sexual assault, depression, suicide, etc., I absolutely loved this book! I binge-read it so I probably won’t remember what happened in it in a couple of weeks, so I definitely plan on reading this book again one day!

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (review)

I read the first three hundred pages of A Feast for Crows back in August and finished the rest of the book – over six hundred pages! – this month. Because of the point-of-views, it is quite different from the previous books in this series, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope I will enjoy A Dance With Dragons as much, though I doubt it since I think Dany and Jon are a bit overrated (especially in the TV show, not as much in the books) and I absolutely hate Tyrion.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall (review)

Norah, the main character in Under Rose-Tainted Skies, struggles with agoraphobia, OCD, depression, a possible eating disorder and self-harm. This book discusses a lot of serious topics, so be aware of that if that might trigger you. Having said that, all of this was dealt with very respectfully. You could definitely tell the author knew was she was talking about, especially because some parts were #OwnVoices. You might compare the premise of Under Rose-Tainted Skies with Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, but without the ableist representation (and a mental illness instead of a disease). Anyway, I enjoyed this book, but I can’t say I loved it. Still, I would absolutely recommend this!

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (review to come on Friday)

Noteworthy was my very first ARC (which I received from Netgalley) and I completely loved it! I always say that I don’t like this genre anymore, but I was wrong: I enjoyed all the contemporaries I read this month and I am absolutely loving my current read The Upside of Unrequited as well.

Anyway, Noteworthy was incredibly fun, original and diverse! While reading, it became very obvious that the author is well-educated on topics such as sexual orientation and gender, so I definitely plan on reading more books by Redgate in the future!


Diversity Bingo 2017 progress

Just like last month, I read multiple books that qualify for Diversity Bingo:

  • Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake ➳ book by an author of colour (Blake was born in South-Korea)
  • The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis ➳ pansexual MC (the author doesn’t identify as pansexual, but I explain in my review why I still added The Melody of You and Me to my Diversity Bingo sheet)
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson ➳ own voices (I’m 99% sure I read somewhere that Hutchinson is gay) and MC with an invisible disability (because Henry has a mental illness)
  • Under Rose-Tainted Skies neuro-diverse MC & own voices (the author is agoraphobic, just like the main character) and MC with an invisible disability (agoraphobia, OCD and depression)

However, because I had problems with Three Dark Crowns, I won’t add it to my progress. I plan on reading plenty of other books by authors of colour anyway this year.

My Diversity Bingo progress is not at all final. I was going to publish an updated version of the Bingo sheet, but I think I might save that for December. Some books qualify for multiple categories and when I dislike a book, it doesn’t feel right adding it to the sheet.


Posts I uploaded in February

Top 5 Wednesday
Searching Saturday
Book tags
Top 10 Tuesday
Book haul

Which books did you read in February? Do you like the infographic I made? 🙂

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

February (and birthday) 2017 book haul!

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


all featured photos are my own!

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Paperbacks

The BFG by Roald Dahl

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

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

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

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

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

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


hardcovers

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

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

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

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

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

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

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

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

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

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

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

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

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


Funko Pops

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


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

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

Under Rose-Tainted Skies: an enjoyable #OwnVoices story

under_rose-tainted_skies.pngUnder Rose-Tainted Skies

by Louise Gornall

read in February 2017

format: hardcover

spoiler-free review!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

‘My Life in Books’ tag

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

BOOK FOR EACH INITIAL

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

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

mockingjay

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

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

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

FAVORITE COLOR

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

boy_in_the_striped_pyjamas

FONDEST MEMORIES OF
dream-thieves

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

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

MOST DIFFICULTY READING

agot

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

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

asking-for-it

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

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

outlander

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


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

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

by George R.R. Martin

read from August 2016 to February 2017

format: mass paperback

spoiler-free review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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We Are the Ants: loved it!

we_are_the_ants.pngWe Are the Ants

by Shaun David Hutchinson

read in February 2017

format: hardcover

spoiler-free review!


“I could write my name across the sky, and it would be in invisible ink.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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