Top Ten Tuesday: books that surprised me… in a bad way!

books that surprised me in a bad way.png

Hello, my fellow book lovers! Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in 2018. You can have a look at the future topics here! This week’s topic is:

March 13: Books That Surprised Me (in a good or bad way)

So today, I am going to talk about books that surprised me in a bad way. These aren’t necessarily bad books, but books I thought I’d enjoy so much more! I guess you could call this ‘books that didn’t live up to my expectations/the hype’ instead.

These are in no particular order. When you click on the graphic, you will be brought to the book’s Goodreads page. You can also read the synopsis there.

and then there were noneI actually enjoyed reading And Then There Were None, until the reveal happened. Though it took me by surprise, it also ended up ruining the book for me. It wasn’t as shocking as it could’ve been and since this is Christie’s most popular work, I don’t plan on reading more of her books in the future. You can read my full review here.

station elevenI didn’t hate Station Eleven, but I really don’t understand why it’s so popular. It seems as if I read a different book than everyone else! I guess its profoundness was lost on me… You can read my full review here.

a torch against the nightThis one breaks my heart because I loved An Ember in the Ashes. Its sequel on the other hand, took me several attempts to finish and dragged. Sadly, I don’t think I will read the rest of the series. You can read my full review here.

alice's adventures in wonderlandAlice in Wonderland is incredibly popular, so I really hadn’t expected to dislike this book as much as I did. It just didn’t make any sense to me, and not in an interesting way! You can read my full review here.

wonder woman warbringerI love DC, so I had expected to enjoy Wonder Woman: Warbringer much more. I found it pretty plain and predictable, which is unlike Leigh Bardugo’s writing in the Six of Crows duology. You can read my full review here.

the boy in the striped pyjamasThe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is another book that is incredibly popular, so I was surprised that I didn’t like it. I’m not Jewish so maybe I’m angry for no reason, but I truly didn’t understand the purpose of this novel. I didn’t like that it centred a privileged boy who remained ignorant throughout the entire book. I found that unrealistic and disrespectful. You can read my full review here.

the mark of athenaI enjoy reading Rick Riordan’s work, but it doesn’t live up for the hype for me. I know I am not the target audience, but there are plenty of middle grade and young adult novels I enjoyed much more. I cannot help but feel disappointed… Nonetheless, I still plan on reading his work. You can read my full review of the Mark of Athena on Goodreads.

So here are some books that surprised me in a negative way. Like I said, I didn’t hate most of these books, they just didn’t live up to my expectations. So please don’t leave comments saying “Oh, I’m sorry you didn’t like [insert book title]”, because this isn’t a list of my least favourite books, just disappointing ones.


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Down the TBR Hole #71-80

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Hello, my fellow book lovers. Today, it’s time for round 8 of Down the TBR Hole, which was created by Lost in a Story. From time to time, I go to my Goodreads’ to-read shelf and change the order to ‘ascending date added’. I’ll pick ten books on that list and decide whether or not they remain on my TBR.


On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

I watched the film adaptation a few years ago and wasn’t blown away by it. I remember that one of the female characters was raped and I don’t want to read a male author’s take on that.

verdict: remove from TBR and wishlist

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After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

Confession time: I’ve never read any of Neil Gaiman’s books. We discussed this novel in one of our English classes and I am curious to see whether this is indeed a good book to use in my classes. I don’t own a physical copy, but I have this one on audiobook.

verdict: remains on TBR and wishlist

ivory and bone.png

Two clans. Only one will survive.

The only life seventeen-year-old Kol knows is hunting at the foot of the Great Ice with his brothers. But food is becoming scarce, and without another clan to align with, Kol, his family, and their entire group are facing an uncertain future.

Traveling from the south, Mya and her family arrive at Kol’s camp with a trail of hurt and loss behind them, and hope for a new beginning. When Kol meets Mya, her strength, independence, and beauty instantly captivate him, igniting a desire for much more than survival.

Then on a hunt, Kol makes a grave mistake that jeopardizes the relationship that he and Mya have only just started to build. Mya was guarded to begin with—and for good reason—but no apology or gesture is enough for her to forgive him. Soon after, another clan arrives on their shores. And when Mya spots Lo, a daughter of this new clan, her anger intensifies, adding to the already simmering tension between families. After befriending Lo, Kol learns of a dark history between Lo and Mya that is rooted in the tangle of their pasts.

When violence erupts, Kol is forced to choose between fighting alongside Mya or trusting Lo’s claims. And when things quickly turn deadly, it becomes clear that this was a war that one of them had been planning all along.

I received a personalised singled copy from a friend and I am eternally grateful for that. Unfortunately, my reading tastes have changed in the meantime and I never consider picking this book up. I love historical fiction, but the romance is apparently very prominent in this novel and I’m not interested in that. I have access to the audiobook, but according to reviewers, the narrator doesn’t do a good job.

verdict: remove from TBR (but won’t unhaul it because it was a gift)

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Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

Every single one of my Goodreads friends adores The Name of the Wind. I really want to read more adult fantasy books, but I have my doubts that this is going to be cup of tea. First of all, I think the entire story is told from Kvothe’s point-of-view and I don’t  reading a lot of books by male authors, especially not ones featuring male protagonists. I’m afraid there’s going to be tons of sexism and unnecessary violence. Furthermore, the second instalment has received more mixed reviews and I want to make sure this series is worth continuing before I spend both my money and time on it.

verdict: probably remove from TBR and wishlist

the goldfinch.png

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

I have no idea what The Goldfinch is about and I’d honestly like to keep it that way. I am so keen to read Donna Tartt’s work; I hope 2018 is finally going to be the year!

verdict: remains on physical TBR


In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

I’ve owned both Truthwitch and Windwitch for over a year now, so I definitely ought to read it soon. A couple of years ago I would’ve picked this up immediately, but I haven’t been reading a lot of fantasies lately. Though this series has received mixed reviews, I definitely want to give it a chance.

verdict: remains on physical TBR


In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.

When Passenger was released, it received a ton of hype, but I haven’t heard much about it since. I didn’t even know it was a duology! That makes me more intrigued to pick this up though, since larger fantasy series are too intimidating at the moment. Furthermore, I haven’t read any of Bracken’s work yet, so I won’t go into this series with unrealistically high expectations.

verdict: remains on physical TBR

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Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…

Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love…

Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.

And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

I actually like this cover, so I’m disappointed this series has got TWO cover changes already! This historical fiction/fantasy series isn’t very popular, so my hopes aren’t high. Nonetheless I want to give it a chance because I love historical fiction. I own a hardcover copy and will see whether the rest of the series is worth it.

verdict: remains on physical TBR

theft of swords.png

There’s no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the murder of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it’s too late.

I was going to remove this book from my TBR, until I read some reviews. I don’t tend to read books by male authors, especially not fantasies because they more often than not objectify women, glorify violence, etc., but Michael J. Sullivan said the following about this series, which makes me intruiged:

“My goal was to write a book that was aimed at adults, but could be read by people of all ages. So to that end there is no sex, graphic violence, or explicit language.”

I don’t own the first volume in this series yet, but I do own the second one. I should purchase the first one soon!

verdict: remains on TBR and wishlist

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I haven’t touched a human in three years. That seems like it would be a difficult task, but it’s not. Not anymore, thanks to the internet.

I am, quite possibly, the most popular recluse ever. Not many shut-ins have a 200-member fan club, a bank account in the seven-figure range, and hundreds of men lining up to pay for undivided attention.

They get satisfaction, I get a distraction. Their secret desires are nothing compared to why I hide… my lust for blood, my love of death.

Taking their money is easy. Keeping all these secrets… one is bound to escape.

What if you hid yourself away because all you could think of was killing? And what if one girl’s life depending on you venturing into society?

The Girl in 6E has received many glowing reviews and I definitely enjoy thrillers from time to time, so I wanted to keep this on my TBR, but apparently the mental health representation isn’t good. I am sick and tired of reading stories in which mental illnesses are portrayed inaccurately as some sort of “plot twist”.

verdict: remove from TBR and wishlist


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5 star predictions: books on my TBR

five star predictions.pngLately, I’ve been seeing some Booktubers predict their future 5 star reads, which intrigued me to do the same. This was apparently created by MercysBookishMusings. I had expected it to be very easy because I buy each book thinking I’m going to love it, but a five star is still different from a four, so this wasn’t easy at all!

I decided to only have a look at my physical and Kindle TBR while making this list, and I afterwards noticed that almost all of these books are contemporaries. That’s no coincidence, because I’ve absolutely been loving diverse realistic fiction that is heartbreaking, yet beautiful and somehow still uplifting.

So here are five books I think I will end up giving five stars!

burial rites

synopsis: Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.

I can’t wait to pick up this historical fiction novel! I’ve heard so many positive things about it. I actually had my eyes on a hardcover copy, but I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I settled for the e-book while it was on sale.

wild beauty

synopsis: Love grows such strange things.

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.

Because EVERYONE loves it, I am nervous to pick up Wild Beauty. It’s not unusual for me to keep postponing reading hyped books because I don’t want my expectations to be too high and set myself up for disaster.

I’m not familiar with magical realism, so I don’t know what to expect from this novel to be honest.the secret history.png

synopsis: Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

Back when I was still active on Tumblr, everyone who loved The Raven Cycle adored The Secret History as well. So I’m expecting this to be a five star read but I am definitely intimidated by the hype, which is why I still haven’t started this novel yet even though I’ve had it on my shelves for YEARS.

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synopsis: Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves?

I won’t read Girl Out of Water anytime soon because this seems like the perfect summer’s read and it’s the middle of winter right now. All my friends love this book and considering how much I’ve been loving contemporaries lately, I don’t think Girl Out of Water is going to disappoint.

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synopsis: Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

I don’t think I’ve ever given a middle grade novel a five star rating yet, but I’m very hopeful that’s going to change soon because I have a ton of diverse middle grades on my TBR! Amina’s Voice sounds sad yet heartbreaking, which is something I tend to love. I’m also very keen to read more books featuring Muslim protagonists, so I can’t wait to pick this up!

This was much more difficult than I had anticipated! If you liked this post, I could do a variation of it in the future, e.g. 2018 releases I expect to rate five stars.


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T10T: backlist TBR books I NEED to read in 2018

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Hello, my fellow book lovers! Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in 2018. You can have a look at the future topics here! This week’s topic is:

January 9: Ten Books We Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To (and totally plan to get to in 2018!!)

When I rearranged my bookshelves a few weeks ago, I noticed some books have been on my shelves for YEARS, but I never feel inclined to pick them up. I don’t want to get rid of them because I’m somewhat interested to read these books, but I’ll really have to push myself (unlike the other books on my TBR).

That’s why I made this ultimatum: if I don’t read the books on this list in 2018, I have to unhaul them! Without including the amount of books in each series, there are thirteen books on this list, so if I read about one of these books each month, that’s manageable.

In no particular order, here are the thirteen books I have to get to in 2018!

a torch against the nightA Torch Against the Night is the second book in the An Ember in the Ashes series. I really loved the first instalment, but I’m struggling with the sequel. As much as I want to read it, I keep putting it down for months whenever I do. If I don’t read this soon, I’m afraid I’ll have to give up on this series.

update: I finally finished this a few days ago. Review to come!

winner's crimeI read the Winner’s Curse back in 2016 and I really liked it, even though it’s not something I usually tend to enjoy. I immediately ordered the order books in the series, but I clearly haven’t continued it yet… It’s been almost two years so if I don’t read it know, I probably never will.

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The Book Thief was one of the first English novels I ever bought. I got it around the time the film adaptation was released, which is a LONG time ago. I tend to enjoy historical fiction, so I hope I’ll love this one.

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I don’t know much about the Night Circus and I’d like to keep it that way until I read this novel myself. It has received so much praise! Everyone constantly compares any novel featuring a circus to this one, so it must be good. The only reason why I haven’t read this one yet, is because I own a mass paperback copy and I don’t like reading those. I want to get a hardcover copy, but they’re so expensive and rare!

peculiar children.pngI’ve owned this book for over two years, yet have never been in the mood to pick it up. Still, I want to know what the hype’s about. The same can be said about a lot of the books on this list, actually. I’m not convinced I’ll love it, but the hype has me intrigued.

the bone season.pngA couple of readers have mentioned that The Bone Season romanticises slavery. Unfortunately, I already owned the first two books and had pre-ordered the collector’s edition of the third before I found out about it. I know this sounds incredibly selfish, but unhauling three hardcovers – including a signed collector’s edition – would mean I’d lose money. So even though I’m not interested in reading this series anymore, I want to read the first instalment and decide whether or not this series is worth continuing.

When a book or author is called out for being problematic, I usually remove it from my TBR immediately. That’s what I did with  Nevernight for example. But I cannot help but think about the money I’d basically throw away. I’m sorry for prioritizing money, but I’m currently unemployed, so can’t just keep on unhauling unread hardcover copies.

shadow and bone.pngI started reading Shadow and Bone in 2015, but I wasn’t in the mood for it. Even though I’ve been spoiled for this series, I want to give it another chance because I really like the Six of Crows duology and am interested in reading all of Bardugo’s books.

scarlet.pngEven though I thought Cinder was rather meh, I want to continue this series for two reasons: 1) I own the entire series already and 2) it’s immensely popular!

the secret history.pngI started The Secret History one night a couple of summers ago, but when there came no end to the first chapter, I decided to put it down. I haven’t picked it up since! I have the feeling I’m going to love this novel, so I really ought to read it in 2018.

the lost heroThough I didn’t fall in love with Percy Jackson and the Olympians, I still want to read all of Rick Riordan’s books. Perhaps I will read this series on audiobook.

the darkest minds.pngI have mixed feelings about this series. On the one hand, I want to know why everyone loved it a few years ago, but on the other, I’m afraid this is going to be terribly trope-y.

a dance with dragons

A Song of Ice and Fire is one of my favourite series, so there’s no way I’m getting rid of this book! But I can’t deny that I constantly postpone continuing this series because I am intimidated by its size. I know it’s going to be incredibly time-consuming, but I’ll have to read it eventually.

red rising.pngI don’t tend to love books with male protagonists written by male authors, but because I own the first and third book in this series (I know, I’m a weirdo, why haven’t a bought the second instalment yet?) I want to give it a chance.

So these are the books I have to read in 2018! Obviously there are plenty of other books on my TBR, but these are ones that have been on my shelves for years and I never consider picking up.


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#ReadingGoals: 2017 follow-up and 2018 goals

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Hello, my fellow book lovers and a HAPPY NEW-YEAR! I hope 2018 is going to be filled with wonderful moments and books 💗

At the beginning of 2017, I shared some reading goals I’d like to achieve. Today, I am going to check how that went and am going to talk about my 2018 goals as well!


1. 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge


My goal was to read 52 books, or approximately one book each week. 2017 ended up being my best reading year so far, with a total of 85 books! Though it was a good reading year, it absolutely wasn’t a good personal year for me, which actually explains why I was able to read so much.

2. Diversity Bingo 2017

I’ve been reading diverse books for over a year and I absolutely do not regret that decision. I’m very satisfied with the books I’ve been reading an purchasing, which is why I don’t feel to bad for not posting an update of my Diversity Bingo sheet. First of all, it was too much work to figure out how to complete each square, because most books fit in multiple categories. Furthermore, I’d have to purchase books to complete it and I wasn’t able to do that.

So while I won’t do Diversity Bingo again, that doesn’t mean I won’t read diverse books anymore.


1. 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge


This year, I plan on reading 52 books again. My life is very unpredictable at the moment, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to read a few months from now.

2. bookshelves: more read than unread books

Because I’m reading diverse books, I’m not picking up ones that have been on my shelves for years. I’m planning on unhauling a bunch, but there are other books on there that I am still somewhat interested in, such as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
A couple of weeks ago, I rearranged my bookshelves and separated my read and unread books. I was surprised when I noticed that I haven’t read most of the books I own! This is absolutely something I will have to work on in 2018!

3. variety of genres

2017 was the year I fell in love with young adult contemporaries again. As much as I love that genre, I do want to read a larger variety in 2018.

So these are my 2018 reading goals! I’m not being too ambitious, so hopefully, it will be a successful year. What are some of your reading goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments!


T5W: 2018 wishlist

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Hello, my fellow book lovers! Top Five Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Thoughts on Tomes! Visit the Goodreads group if you’re interested in joining! This week’s topic is:

December 27th: 2018 Wishlist
Looking forward into the new year, this is a list of the types of books you’d like to see more of in 2018! Try to avoid actual titles, and discuss themes, genres, or tropes you’d like to see more of in the new year!

Honestly, this week’s topic isn’t an easy one because I don’t plan to change the type of books I read in 2018 (besides reading more adult fiction). I will continue to pick up diverse books as I have been doing for the past year, so I didn’t want to write an entire post about that.

Anyway, this wishlist is in no particular order.

1. books inspired by recent events

I love reading books that seem timeless. I remember when I first read Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, I was afraid that the book was going to have an “expiration date” because of the many pop-culture references. If specific pop-culture references or current events are mentioned in a novel, it might be lost on readers who read the book a few years after it’s released.

But you cannot deny that these past few years have been very eventful, significant even for what our future might look like. Take the treatment of Muslims or the Black Lives Matter movement, for example. I am very keen to read more #OwnVoices books exploring current events. The Hate U Give did it in 2017 and I know that books like Tyler Johnson Was Here and Love, Hate & Other Filters will be just as meaningful in 2018.

2. uplifting mental health representation

This might be a bit controversial, but you have to understand where I’m coming from: I am mentally ill. I am in therapy as we speak, but that is a slow process and not as easy as I had expected.

So reading books that represent characters with mental illnesses can often be very triggering for me. Therefore, I want more books where instead of only following a character living with a mental illness in a dark, negative way, we also follow characters who are getting help and are perhaps recovering.

I know that’s not always realistic, I know it’s not always possible. But it’s what I need. The only thing that keeps me going is that I believe that I can get better with help. I can’t do it by myself and I need that hope.

To be honest, I am a sucker for heartbreaking books, but when it comes to sad mental health representation, I can’t handle that at the moment.

3. more standalones

I could probably count the amount of series I have read in 2017 on one hand. Especially in the fantasy genre, I wish more standalones were published. I find duologies a good compromise, but in the case of Three Dark Crowns, for example, a popular series is often extended and I HATE THAT! I 100% understand why authors do that. But as I reader, I hate it. I was going to pick up One Dark Throne, but I no longer will because the series has been extended to four instead of two books.

Because the fantasy genre in particular is lacking standalone novels, I’ve barely read any in 2017. I do have some on my TBR that I really want to get to such as The Epic Crush of Genie Lo and there are series I want to start like The City of Brass and The Bone Witch, but I can’t deny that I almost always prioritize standalones.

Admittedly, contemporaries have become my go-to genre, which is something I hadn’t expected to happen. I certainly want to pick up more diverse fantasy novels in 2018.

4. less allocishet romances

Yes, I’m cheating because this is supposed to be about what we want more of, but I can’t deny that I am tired of so many books including an allocishet romance. This year it has bothered me less because I read a lot of books featuring queer characters, but especially when reading backlist books, this bothers me to no end. Allocishet romances can absolutely ruin a book for me.

I would be fine with no romance at all as well. Give me some kick-ass ladies who don’t have to end up with that arrogant dude they hated at first, please!

5. more authors expanding their horizons

We often put authors in a certain box. When they’ve written YA contemporaries before, we expect all of their book to be YA contemporaries. So I am absolutely living for authors who do things we wouldn’t immediately expect them to do, which seems to be very popular in 2018! Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • collaborations, e.g. What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
  • not only Young Adult, e.g. Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed and Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
  • anthologies, e.g. Toil & Trouble and Fresh Ink

So these are some things I will certainly keep my eye on in 2018. What genres, tropes, etc. are on your 2018 wishlist? Please let me know in the comments!


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T10T: my holiday gift wishlist

holiday wishlist.pngHello, my fellow book lovers! 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:

December 19: Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings (If you celebrate a different Winter holiday, adapt this topic to fit it!)

My dad asked me to send him a wishlist and I sent him a list of these books. I won’t receive them all and knowing my dad, he’ll probably give me the Harry Potter-related books 🙂 But my birthday is coming up in a few months, so I’ll most likely ask for the rest of the books then. Although I really need some more bookshelves as well, I simply don’t have any space left in my room!


synopsis: Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

I borrowed Homegoing from the library – it was one of the only diverse books there – and I absolutely fell in love with it. I love historical fiction, especially ones that shape me as a history teacher. I’d like to get the hardcover copy of this beautiful novel because I definitely plan on re-reading it. I can’t wait to read more multi-generational stories because of this one.

You can read my review here.

far from you

synopsis: Nine months. Two weeks. Six days.

That’s how long recovering addict Sophie’s been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong – a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.

Forced into rehab for an addiction she’d already beaten, Sophie’s finally out and on the trail of the killer—but can she track them down before they come for her?

Far From You did not disappoint; it’s one of my favourite reads of the year! I own a paperback copy, but it really doesn’t look good on photographs, so I’d like to have a hardcover instead (even though the covers look very similar).

Read my review of Far From You here.

upside of unrequited

synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

I fell in love with the e-ARC of The Upside of Unrequited and have re-read this novel already by listening to it on audiobook. I own a paperback copy thanks to the amazing Romie We Deserve Love so it’s probably unnecessary that I want to own the hardcover (especially since the covers are the same!) but I have this thing were I prefer hardcovers these days, especially when I plan on re-reading a book.

Anyway, you can read my full review here.salt to the sea.png

synopsis: World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the “Wilhelm Gustloff.” Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people adults and children alike aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Salt to the Sea was my favourite read of 2016 and it’s another historical fiction novel that means a lot to me. My paperback copy is damaged (the cover is dog-eared, such DRAMA), so I’d really love a hardback of one of my favourite books.fantastic beasts and where to find them.png

synopsis: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander’s classic compendium of magical creatures, has delighted generations of wizarding readers. With this beautiful, large-scale new edition illustrated in full color, Muggles too will have the chance to discover where the Runespoor lives, what the Puffskein eats, and why shiny objects should always be kept away from the Niffler.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief and J.K. Rowling’s international charity, Lumos, which will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, one can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore.

I read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them last year but didn’t love it, so I wasn’t planning on getting this illustrated edition. Until I watched a video and saw how beautiful the illustration are! Besides, I think some kind of concept art should’ve been added right from the start, because I had a hard time visualising these fantastic beasts without them.

harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban.png

synopsis: Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts is full of new dangers. A convicted murderer, Sirius Black, has broken out of Azkaban prison, and it seems he’s after Harry. Now Hogwarts is being patrolled by the dementors, the Azkaban guards who are hunting Sirius. But Harry can’t imagine that Sirius or, for that matter, the evil Lord Voldemort could be more frightening than the dementors themselves, who have the terrible power to fill anyone they come across with aching loneliness and despair. Meanwhile, life continues as usual at Hogwarts. A top-of-the-line broom takes Harry’s success at Quidditch, the sport of the Wizarding world, to new heights. A cute fourth-year student catches his eye. And he becomes close with the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, who was a childhood friend of his father. Yet despite the relative safety of life at Hogwarts and the best efforts of the dementors, the threat of Sirius Black grows ever closer. But if Harry has learned anything from his education in wizardry, it is that things are often not what they seem. Tragic revelations, heartwarming surprises, and high-stakes magical adventures await the boy wizard in this funny and poignant third installment of the beloved series.

I’m collecting these illustrated editions of the Harry Potter series and since I haven’t bought this edition of Prisoner of Azkaban myself yet, I thought it’d be a great Christmas gift!

So these are the books on my holiday wishlist! Like I said, I can already guess which one’s I’ll get, so I’ll just put the other ones on my birthday wishlist instead 😀


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the TBR book tag

TBR book tag.pngLast month, I rearranged my bookshelves for the millionth time, but I decided to place my read and unread books in different bookcases because I was getting bored of my previous arrangement.

The results shocked me: I own many more unread than read books! I’ve owned many books for YEARS, but I also cannot stop hauling them. In 2018, I absolutely want to make sure my pile of read books becomes bigger than my unread ones.

I write Down the TBR Hole posts regularly, but those don’t actually help me pick up books from my TBR. It’s a great way to keep track of the books on my Goodreads want ‘to read’ shelf though!

So today, I am doing the TBR tag, which was created by A Perfection Called Books. I wasn’t tagged by anyone. I will mainly be focussing on my physical TBR shelves, because I am determined to tackle those this year!

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I own many books, but not that many that I can’t keep track of them anymore. When in doubt, I have a quick peak at my bookstagram account and my book hauls.

I don’t have a spreadsheet or anything dedicated to my TBR. Maybe I should make one though, because it’s probably is only going to get bigger and bigger.

2. Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

I don’t buy ebooks except when they’re on sale. So my physical TBR is certainly much bigger than the one on my Kindle.

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Lol, I don’t. I am a massive mood reader and never know what I want to read next. I can stare at my shelves for hours after finishing a book, yet nothing grabs my attention. I’ve tried writing monthly TBR posts, but I find it hard to stick to them.

If anyone has any advice for this problem, let me know in the comments! I feel like I’ve tried so many things to tackle my mood reading problems (such as a TBR jar), but nothing has helped so far.

4. A book that has been on your TBR list the longest

the book thiefI’ve owned a paperback copy of The Book Thief since 2013. I like reading historical fiction, but whenever I look at my shelves, I forget this one’s there. I own the audiobook as well, so maybe I should give that one a shot?

5. A Book You Recently Added To Your TBR

you bring the distant near.pngEverything about You Bring the Distant Near sounds right up my alley. I love multi-generational stories, I enjoy multiple point-of-views and I am so keen to read about these diverse characters!

6. A Book In Your TBR Strictly Because Of Its Beautiful Cover

the nowhere girlsI’m really trying to be better about this and only buy books I am genuinely interested in. Honestly, I don’t think I own any books solely because of their covers, but they can definitely convince me to make the purchase when I’m in doubt.

After buying the Nowhere Girls, I learnt that this book about rape culture isn’t very intersectional. But because I paid money for this, I still plan on reading it.

7. A Book On Your TBR That You Never Plan on Reading

I am planning to unhaul a bunch of books, but because of my anxiety I haven’t got around to it yet.

I recently read Outlander and The School for Good and Evil and those weren’t  enjoyable experiences. Unfortunately, I own the rest of the series as well, so I feel pressured to read those. But let’s be honest though, the chances of that happening are very slim. I’m not interested in reading something I won’t enjoy, especially not when these series keep expanding!

8. An Unpublished Book On Your TBR That You’re Excited For

Just one?! So many amazing books are set to be released in 2018! One of the books I am very much looking forward to is What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera! These authors are amazing, so I cannot wait to see what the book is going to be like.

9. A Book On Your TBR That Basically Everyone’s Read But You

daughter of smoke and boneWhere do I start? I feel like everyone has read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy already, whereas I read the first book in 2017 and have yet to continue the series. I didn’t love it, but I am intrigued to continue it. I, however, don’t own the second and third book yet, so who knows when that’s going to happen?

10. A Book On Your TBR That Everyone Recommends To You

the long way to a small angry planet.pngI’ve heard nothing but positive things about The Long Way To a Small, Angry Planet, so I have no idea why I haven’t picked it up yet! Maybe I am intimidated by the hype? I’ve had this book on my shelves for quite a while, so I’d really like to get to it in 2018.

11. A Book On Your TBR That You’re Dying To Read

little fires everywhere.png

I am looking forward to reading so many books I recently acquired, but Little Fires Everywhere is on the top of my list. I read Everything I Never Told You in October and it’s one of my favourite books of all time. I really hope Little Fires Everywhere won’t disappoint, because my hopes are high!

12. How many books are on your TBR shelf?

I currently have just under 500 books on my my Goodreads want ‘to read’ shelf , so I’m hoping my Down the TBR Hole posts will prevent that number from growing even more.

So this was the TBR book tag! Consider yourself tagged by me if you want to do this as well 🙂

Do you have any advice on how I can tackle my physical TBR? Let me know in the comments!


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T5W: Characters on the Naughty List

Characters on the Naughty List.png

Hello, my fellow book lovers! Top Five Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Thoughts on Tomes! Visit the Goodreads group if you’re interested in joining! This week’s topic is:

December 13th – Characters on the Naughty List
These can be villains or just characters you don’t like!

a game of thronesI’ve said this many times before and I will say it again: I HATE TYRION LANNISTER! My annoyance started when I realised everyone adores this man, but why? He doesn’t do anything! He thinks he’s smart, but his enemies outsmarted him a lot. He thinks he’s funny, but the only people who want to be around him, are people he pays. He thinks he’s rich, but that’s all thanks to his family.

Especially when I started reading the books, I couldn’t look past his problematic nature. He is a rapist; wanted to sexually assault under-age Sansa Stark, but only stopped because she was crying and that’s not “sexy”; fantasises about having his sister severely hurt and raped; etc.

Tyrion Lannister reminds me of those male authors who write long paragraphs when having a conversation with women, but without any substance whatsoever. They think they’re better than everyone else, but in reality, no one likes them because they’re honestly not that interesting.

simon vs the homo sapiens agendaIf you haven’t read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda yet, here’s all you need to know (by the way, these aren’t spoilers because it literally happens in the very first chapter): Martin discovers Simon has been emailing a boy nicknamed Blue and blackmails him: if Simon doesn’t make Martin look desirable to his friend Abby, Martin is going to out Simon to the entire school.

But noooo, Martin isn’t homophobic you guys, because his brother is gay! *sarcasm* UGH, I hate Martin so much! I love Becky Albertalli’s writing because it’s so honest and realistic, and Martin is no exception. This dude genuinely thinks he’s a nice guy and ultimately feels victimizes by the entire thing. Thankfully, his behaviour doesn’t go unchallenged.


If you’ve read my review of Outlander, you know how I feel about Jamie Fraser: he’s an abusive rapist! I don’t want to rant all over again (read my review if you want to know how I feel) but I absolutely fail to see how he is so many people’s book boyfriend.

I don’t care whether he gets better, at the end of the day, he’s never going to apologise for his past behaviour anyway. He always ends up telling a sad story in which he pretty much blames Claire for what happens, and then she apologises to HIM!

daughter of smoke and boneLook, I don’t care enough about Akiva to hate him, but I certainly would’ve enjoyed Daughter of Smoke & Bone more without him. I usually like dual POVs, but even after reading his chapters, I still don’t know what his personality is like. Going into this, I knew there was going to be instalove. I thought I was prepared, but it was even worse than I had imagined. I’m so disappointed because forbidden romances are usually one of my favourite romance tropes! But it didn’t work for me because Akiva is such a flat character and I don’t see why they’re attracted to one another, except for their beauty. But like I said though, I don’t feel as strongly about this character as the others on my list.

the school for good and evilThere were many things I didn’t like about the School for Good and Evil, but it might have been a more bearable reading experience without Sophie. She is convinced she is good because she is beautiful, but she is such a horrible character and throughout the book, she remains selfish. Agatha and Sophie share a platonic true love’s kiss, but seriously, am I supposed to believe these two are best friends when Sophie threw Agatha under the bus time and time again?

So these are some characters I dislike and could live without. All with the exception of Martin are supposed to be likeable, so this list might be a bit controversial.

Which characters are on your naughty list?


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T5W: bookish things I’m a Grinch about

Bookish Things You're a Grinch About.png

Hello, my fellow book lovers! Top Five Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Thoughts on Tomes! Visit the Goodreads group if you’re interested in joining! This week’s topic is:

December 6th – Bookish Things You’re a Grinch About
Since being a grinch is a funny thing, try not to make this serious topics that make you angry (like lack of diversity or abusive relationships in fiction, etc) as this is supposed to be more of a petty bookish things you hate. This can be stuff about covers, dumb tropes, etc. Have fun with it.

Thankfully I read the description first, because I already had a bunch of serious topics in mind. So today, I am going to talk about some petty bookish things I hate, but try not to repeat things I have said in previous posts, like cover changes and movie tie-in book covers.

1. real people on book covers

the brightsidersTake the cover of The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde, for example. I love that the colours of the bisexual flag were used, but I’m really not a fan of this cover. I just don’t like real people on covers, okay?! There are some exceptions (like Tyler Johnson Was Here) but bad covers are a dealbreaker for me. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll buy a physical copy, even though I am dying to read this book once it’s released.

2. overused tropes

Most tropes can be very interesting (like the missing princess, the chosen one, etc.) but my problem is that they are so overused, it has made a lot of Young Adult fantasy series incredibly predictable. When a missing princess is mentioned, it’s not that hard to figure out that our protagonist – who happens to be an orphan – is the one they’re talking about.

Like I said, those tropes aren’t bad, but they’re predictable. And more often than not, they’re only revealed towards the end of the book, whereas the reader knew all along. And then you have to read the rest of the series to discover the aftermath of that reveal… meh, I just don’t have the patience to read books like that anymore.

3. disappointing conclusion

I am very difficult when it comes to the end of a book series. I want some heartbreak, but I don’t want it to be predictable (e.g. Crooked Kingdom). I want things that were mentioned earlier on in the series to be addressed (e.g. The Raven King failed doing that). It’s just incredibly disappointing when you invest a lot of your time in something, and the finale is a let-down.

Yes, I do realise that finales must be incredibly difficult to write. But as a reader, I can’t say many final instalments have really satisfied me. Perhaps that’s why I prefer to read standalones these days.

4. overhyped books EVERYWHERE

When looking for bookish merch, when asking for recommendations, when checking out book awards, etc. the same books tend to pop up each time. I sometimes feel very disconnect from the Bookstagram community in particular, because my reading tastes are completely different. It’s so tiring that after so many years, the same book series are still shoved down your throat, just because the authors can’t seem to put an end to it.

Additionally, I wish the community talked more about books that aren’t Young Adult fantasy series. Some readers e.g. refuse to read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas because they don’t like to read contemporaries. Well, that’s fair I guess, but if you only read those overhyped YA fantasies, you are missing out on a lot of great things.

5. books with promising starts that go downhill

Name something more disappointing than picking up a book thinking it’s going to be a 5 star read, only to end up hating it. Why do bad things happen to good people?! I’m just kidding, but it’s still incredibly frustrating.

So these are some bookish things I’m a Grinch about. Honestly, I could’ve added many more things to this list, but I tried to keep it as light as possible 😀

What are some bookish things you are a Grinch about? Let me know in the comments!


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