My top 5 least favourite books I read in 2020

Blog post where I talk about my five least favourite books I read in 2020.

Hello lovely reader! Last Wednesday I gave you my top 10 favourite books I read in 2020, and as promised in that post, today I’ll give you my top 5 least favourite reads of 2020. I know there’s always some controversy surrounding these lists, but quite frankly it’s my opinion and I can express that with freedom of expression and all, and if you don’t want to hear it, than don’t read this post.

Where there was a lot of change in my top 10 favourites of the year between my mid year and end of the year one, there’s not that much change on this one, which is definitely a good thing, so let’s go!

5. When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and Vaughn Bennett would never even cross paths. 

There’s nothing ordinary about Oakley. This bad-boy pop star’s got Grammy Awards, millions of fangirls and a reputation as a restless, too-charming troublemaker. But with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley needs to show the world he’s settling down—and who better to help him than Vaughn, a part-time waitress trying to help her family get by? The very definition of ordinary. 

Posing as his girlfriend, Vaughn will overhaul Oakley’s image from troublemaker to serious artist. In return for enough money to put her brothers through college, she can endure outlandish Hollywood parties and carefully orchestrated Twitter exchanges. She’ll fool the paparazzi and the groupies. She might even start fooling herself a little. 

Because when ordinary rules no longer apply, there’s no telling what your heart will do…

This book sounded exaclty like a book 14-year old me would’ve loved reading on Wattpad. However it turns out that you might not like the same type of books when you’re 20 as when you were a young teen. Lesson learned, and I’ll probably never read any new releases that sound like young me would’ve loved reading.

If you want to hear more thoughts about this one, I’m redirecting you to me entire review (it’s written in Dutch, but you can translate it at the bottom of the page) here.

4. Orpheus Girl by Bryenne Rebele-Henry

Abandoned by a single mother she never knew, 16-year-old Raya—obsessed with ancient myths—lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years Raya has been forced to hide her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are outed, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Upon arrival, Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to escape Friendly Saviors, and to return to the world of the living with her love—only becoming more determined after she, Sarah, and Friendly Saviors’ other teen residents are subjected to abusive “treatments” by the staff.

I read this book more towards the beginning of the year and I can hardly remember anything that happens in here, so that already says something. The only thing I can remember is that it had some questionable statements in there that were quite biphobic and transphobic.

Once again, for more in depth thoughts I’m referring you to my review here.

3. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

I’m so angry this book is on this list, because I really wanted to love it, but alas. Once again a lesson learned: I loathe romance heavy fantasies. There is so much I didn’t like about this book, that I’m redirecting you to Read With Cindy’s review, I agree with everything she says except I didn’t like the one scene she did like. Here is her review, but be warned, it’s spoiler filled.

2. Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan

Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.

Another book I had hoped to love, but is once again filled with homophobia, transphobia and a little bit of racism even though it’s cowritten by a black author. And one of the characters also just annoyed the heck out of me. I have a very long spoilerfree spoken review of this book in this blog post, where I also link some own voices reviews for the transphobia & racism.

1. Lie, Lie Again by Stacey Wise

All three women who live at 1054 Mockingbird Lane have secrets…and with a body at the bottom of their apartment building’s staircase, those secrets need to stay buried.

Sylvia Webb has a plan. And a potential Mr. Right. He’s sweet, simple, and dependably clueless about what she’s up to. The only thing unpredictable about him is his needy ex-girlfriend, who is this close to shattering Sylvia’s dreams. But Sylvia’s not going to let that happen.

Riki McFarlan has a good career and an amazing boyfriend who wants to settle down. If only she didn’t have feelings for her neighbor—who happens to be her close friend’s husband. With everything going so right, why is Riki flirting with something so wrong, so…dangerous?

This was my only one star read of the entire year of 2020, so it had to be my least favourite book of the year. Just thinking about this book frustrates the heck out of me. I have an entire spoilerfree review (and it’s quite long) of this book, you can read that here. But in short: this book just was not a thriller at all and it was pointless and boring.

And that’s it, sorry that this post is so repetitive of the mid year one I did. But to be honest, I’m quite happy I didn’t read many more books I didn’t like in the second half of 2020. Anyway, I’ll see you next week for another blog post!

Review: Secrets of the Starcrossed by Clara O’Connor

Premise

In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, two starcrossed lovers fight to ignite the spark of rebellion…

Londinium, the last stronghold of the Romans left in Britannia, remains in a delicate state of peace with the ancient kingdoms that surround it. As the only daughter of a powerful merchant, Cassandra is betrothed to Marcus, the most eligible bachelor in the city. But then she meets Devyn, the boy with the strange midnight eyes searching for a girl with magic in her blood. A boy who will make her believe in soulmates…

When a mysterious sickness starts to leech the life from citizens with Celtic power lying dormant in their veins, the imperial council sets their schemes in motion. And so Cassandra must make a choice: the Code or Chaos, science or sorcery, Marcus or Devyn?

My review – without spoilers

After reading several reviews I decided to DNF this book at the 50% mark because I was not enjoying it and based on the reviews the story wouldn’t develop into something I’d enjoy reading. I’ll be talking about the points I had written down whilst reading the book in this review, so you’ll still get a clear review of the story. My review will also explain why I put this book down.

If you read the synopsis you could guess that it’s quite a romance heavy book, however if you don’t like reading too much of a synopsis because it often times just tells too much, then you’re in for a surprise. You need to know going into this book that it’s romance heavy, or else you’ll be disappointed.

Even though this book is heavy on the romance, it also has a fair bit of different themes. Within the romance part we have a love triangle, soulmates, arranged marriage and starcrossed lovers. The story takes place in a science heavy world which is based on an alternate history of Europe where they’re basically still living in the Roman Empire, but it’s also quite heavy on British history. None of those world related themes are actually properly explained. There’s hardly any world building at all. The only thing about the world you get to know is that the citizens decide the fate of people who broke the law in an amphitheatre. That was very interesting to discover, but unfortunately you don’t discover anything else about the politics or the world. You don’t get to understand how the world or the politics in it work. But still the book manages to be very info dumping, but the type of info the book was dumping, was not interesting or necessary.

It just felt like the author wanted to add too much tropes and themes into this one book, that none of it was fleshed out or worked properly. Everything just lacked something. For example: the romance between Cassandra and Devyn. They’ve known each other for years but never really talked to each other. But all of a sudden they fall head over heels in love by talking once? And they’re excessively touching each other by the third time they’re talking. There was really just zero chemistry between the two and as a reader you don’t believe it or care for their relationship one little bit.

And then there’s Cassandra’s other love interest Marcus, the one she’s been betrothed since she was 12. Even though he played an obvious smaller role in the story, he felt like the most realistic and fleshed out character out of all of them. He was the only one I cared a little bit for. Even the chemistry between him and Cassandra was bigger than between Cassandra and Devyn, just because Marcus had more personality to him. And that really says something when the author obviously wants you to root for Cassandra and Devyn.

Once you discover Cassandra is supposed to be 22, Devyn 26 and Marcus 27, you’re blown off your socks because they, especially Cassandra and Devyn, act like 14-15 year olds. On top of that they, once again especially Cassandra and Devyn, keep changing personalities every single chapter. They seem to change their mind or the way they think about something and the way they act for no apparent reason. It’s just the next chapter and they act, talk and think in a different way, yep makes sense?! That also just makes the characters so unrealistic. For example: Cassandra is supposed to be the good, rich girl who always follows the rules, but then she discovers her world is not as good at it seems, so she starts rebelling. It was just that one chapter she is a rebel and the next she is goody-two-shoes again without an explanation as to why she changed her mind. It also just became so annoying and repetitive to constantly see her change from the rebel to the girl next door every other chapter. It made her a very unbelievable character.

And last, but not least, the narration style just felt really… awkward. There were these weird time jumps between chapters and they were never really explained. But then the characters would tell you what happened during the time we skipped. What happened to ‘show don’t tell’? Why not just show us what happened instead of letting a character tell us what happened? The characters would drag on and on and on when telling you what happened, so it really wouldn’t have made the book longer to just show the reader what happened without the awkward time jumps.

I still definitely think that if you like fantasy/scifi romance, you might like this. I just prefer my fantasy books to have a great world with interesting politics, and for the romance to be a very little part of the story, or even non-existent, I wouldn’t care. Unfortunately, I couldn’t judge whether or not this book had a great world and interesting politics, because it was never even explained.

*I was gifted an e-arc of this book by the publisher via Netgalley. Thank you very much. However, that doesn’t influence my opinion or what I wrote in my review in any way.*

My top 10 favourite books I read in 2020

Blog post where I talk about my top 10 favourite books I read in 2020.

Hello lovely reader! In today’s blog post I will be giving you my top 10 favourite reads of 2020. In August I posted a list of My top 10 favourite books of 2020 so far, so if you’re curious to see which ones made it onto my final top 10, you’ll have to continue on reading! In that post I did a number 1 to number 10 list, but now we’ll do a little countdown to keep it a bit more suspenseful!

10. Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another? 

Leave The World behind is definitely my favourite adult thriller I’ve ever read. It’s a short book, but it’s so interesting. You learn so much from this book, about internalised racism, how dependent the world is on electricity and a lot of other things. This is the only thriller I really forsee myself rereading one day.

9. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

In 2020 I learned that I really enjoy reading about fantasies set in contemporary worlds, and Cemetery Boys was one of my favourites within that category that I read in 2020. Especially considering this is a debut novel, this book is just phenomenal and very much a laugh-out-loud-and-sobbing-within-two-pages type book.

8. A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is the first repeat from my earlier list, so I’ll talk a bit more in short about this one (and every repeat). This book just has one of my favourite tropes, the ‘people destined to kill each other’ one and does that so well honestly!

7. Not That Bad by Roxane Gay

Cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay has edited a collection of essays that explore what it means to live in a world where women are frequently belittled and harassed due to their gender, and offers a call to arms insisting that “not that bad” must no longer be good enough.

Another repeat and hands down my favourite non fiction book ever. I really want to buy a physical copy of this book, reread it and annotate the heck out of it. If you’re taking away only one book of this list, let it be this one. Not That Bad is without a doubt the most important book on here.

6. Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

And here is the second fantasy set in a contemporary world. Witches of Ash and Ruin just has everything I love: witches, a contemporary setting, true crime, LGBTQ+ rep, mental health rep and so much more. It’s the perfect blend of my favourite things, so naturally it had to be on this list!

5. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Where I seem to love fantasies in a contemporary setting, I love fantasies set in a historical period at least equally as much. The Bear and the Nightingale won’t be the last one on this list with that setting… I read the entire Winternight trilogy this year but unfortunatley I didn’t love the second and third book as much as this first one, although they were still great books!

4. Arc of a Scythe trilogy

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own. 

The Arc of a Scythe trilogy is the only series that made it to my favourites list this year in its entirity and it’s also one of the only series I’ve ever bingeread, so I guess that already says a lot, eh?

3. A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth? 

Would you look at that, my favourite book from my previous list is ‘only’ in the third spot now. I still very much love this book and I never would’ve expected a YA thriller to be one of my favourite books ever that I keep recommending to everyone, but here we are. READ THIS BOOK!

2. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

I never would have thought I’d fall in love with The Starless Sea. Whenever I heard someone talk about it, it seemed like a book that just wasn’t for me. But oh, I was so wrong. I loved everything about this book and yes, it’s once again a fantasy set in a contemporary world, surprise!

1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

And here we have my favourite book of 2020. Just like with The Starless Sea I was very much scared to read this book because of the mixed reviews it got and me thinking from those reviews that I wouldn’t love this. But here we are. I can completely understand why this book is not for everyone, but I adored it so much. And look at that, it’s another fantasy set in both a historical and contemporary setting, are we surprised?

I can’t believe 2020 is over, and I especially can’t believe how much I read in 2020. Even though the year was as shitty as it can get, my reading was amazing and I couldn’t be more happy and thankful for that. However, of course there were some books I didn’t really like, you’ll see those in next week’s blog post!

Review: A Vow So Bold and Deadly (excerpt) by Brigid Kemmerer

Blog post where I review four chapters from A Vow So Bold and Deadly.

Premise

Warning! This synopsis contains spoilers for A Curse So Dark and Lonely and A Heart So Fierce and Broken!

Face your fears, fight the battle.
Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.

Fight the battle, save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.

As two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all.

My review – without spoilers

This will be a rather short review since I only read an excerpt of four chapters from A Vow So Bold and Deadly. So obviously it’s rather hard to write a review for only four chapters, but here we go.

When I read A Curse So Dark and Lonely, the first book in the Cursebreaker series, earlier this year I did really enjoy my read of it, but it wasn’t a new favourite. I was quite hesitant to pick up the second book, A Heart So Fierce and Broken, because a lot of people seemed to dislike it. However, when I did read it, I ended up loving it more than the first book. But I can see why you wouldn’t enjoy it, because it doesn’t really feel like a sequel to the first book. The reason for that is that we follow a different cast of main characters than in the first book.

By reading those four chapters from the third book I do have a feeling that this book will be a balance of the two main POVs from the first book and the two main POVs from the second book. I also have a feeling, and secretly hope, that this book will once again have quite a bit of political intrigue, like in the second book.

The only thing that I didn’t like about this excerpt is that the four chapters in it were not the first four chapters, but the first chapter of the four POVs. So I read chapter one, two, three and nine. I do understand why the excerpt had a chapter from each POV but I’d have preferred just the first four chapters.

I do have to say that reading the excerpt made me so much more excited for the release of this book. The entire series just reads so quickly, without knowing it you read a ton of pages in one sitting. If you’re looking for a fun, quick YA fantasy, then I can only recommend this series. And with the release of the third and last book so close by, you’ll be able to bingeread the series soon!

*I received an e-arc of the excerpt via Netgalley, but that doesn’t influence my opinion in any way.*

December wrap up (2020)

My december wrap up, so blogpost where I talk about the books I read in December 2020 and some statistics.

Hello there lovely reader! Today it’s time for my december wrap up. So I’ll be talking about all the books I read in December and some statistics. I managed to read 10 books in December, which I’m really happy about! Let’s get into the statistics.

Those 10 books were a total of 3558 pages, or in other words the average page count for a book I read in December was 356. That also means I read 115 pages per day, which is a lot honestly! The average rating I gave out in December was 8.2 out of 10 which is quite high for me, it’s my highest monthly average rating this year (together with February). So it was quite a good reading month quality wise!

Format wise I read five physical books and listened to five audiobooks. All of the audiobooks I listened to via Storytel and for the physical books three of those were books I bought myself and two were from the library.

And then lastly for the genres I read: four contemporaries, two fantasies, one thriller, one dark academie, one poetry collection and one science fiction. For the targeted audience I read one middle grade, five young adults and four adults.

Now it’s time to list all the books I read in December, which rating I gave them (out of 10) and if I have a review for that book, it will also be linked here!

  • Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam – 9
  • A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer – 8
  • The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden – 8.5 – review online 10-02
  • The Furies by Katie Lowe – 8
  • More to the Story by Hena Khan – 8.5
  • The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde – 7.5
  • In At The Deep End by Katie Davies – 8.5 – review online 14-07
  • Punching the air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam – 8
  • Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman – 7.5 – review online 10-02
  • Clean by Juno Dawson – 8

My favourite read of the month was Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam. However I don’t think it will end up on my favourites of the year list (which might be my next blog post, who knows hehe), because I read other books in other months that I enjoyed more. So even though I didn’t read any new favourites, I still had such a good reading month quality wise, so I’m really happy with that!

I can’t wait to see what my reading in 2021 will bring!

My 2021 reading goals

Blog post where I talk about my reading related goals for 2021.

Hello there lovely reader! And welcome to the last post of my end of the year content. I can’t believe 2021 is just around the corner. 2020 may have not been the best year in general, reading wise it was the best year of my life. But more on that next month (or year) with my beginning of the year blog post series! Now it’s time to finish off 2020 by talking about my 2021 goals that have to do with reading.

Goodreads reading challenge

So for the past four years I had a Goodreads reading challenge that challenged me. In 2016 I started reading more and more and discovered Goodreads. Since I only discovered it like half way through the year I didn’t make a challenge then. But I did make one in 2017: to read 50 books. Since I only just surpassed that with 54 books, my goal for 2018 was also to read 50 books. But then I discovered audiobooks and read so much more, I ended up reading 78 books in 2018. So my goal for 2019 was to read 65 books, because I didn’t want to stress myself out too much by putting it too high. I surpassed that goal by reading 76 books in 2019. And then I thought why not challenge myself a bit more, so I put my 2020 goal at 75 books. When I put down that goal I could’ve never imagined the amount of books I would end up reading. I read over 100 books this past year, which is crazy for me.

Now you’d think I would want to challenge myself again. And I really do, but I don’t want to stress myself out. 2021 will be a very non-typical year for me. In the spring semester I’ll be doing a 10 week full time internship and I have to write a Bachelor’s paper. In the autumn semester I’ll be starting a master’s degree. My year will just be so unpredictable, that I’m not going to put my challenge too high. I decided to go for 55 books. I would put it at 52, for one book per week of the year, but I absolutely hate numbers that can’t be divided by 5 so I’m going for 55 to stretch it a bit. And we’ll see what my reading brings. Who knows, maybe I’ll read 100 books again, but this way I’m not putting pressure on myself to read.

Finish book series

I do feel like it’s a bit of a trend, but I’m really not good at finishing series. For some reason I always start a new series to then never continue on reading it, even though I really want to. I’m currently in the middle of 22 series I still want to continue but simlpy haven’t or couldn’t because I’m waiting for the next book to be released.

So it’s my goal to finally finish some of those series. Knowing me, I’ll still also start a bunch of series in 2021, so I’m hoping to end 2021 with 15 book series on my currently reading list. It’s an ambitious goal, but I really need to learn to finish series.

Change my book buying habits

I want to change my book buying habits in two different ways. Let’s start with the type of books I buy. So where to start? I’m trying to build some sort of a system to decide which books I should and which I shouldn’t buy. And I think I’ve finally come up with one that I’m going to be happy with, so I’ll be trying it out in 2021. Basically the rule is that I can only buy books that I can’t find anywhere. Sounds vague, so let me explain. So basically I have three ways to access books right now that are not my owned books:

  1. I have my library which has a great collection and it’s free so yay!
  2. I have a Storytel subscription and there is an amazing selection of audiobooks on there. They also have quite a few ebooks.
  3. I’m thinking of also adding a Scribd supscription. That’s also an audiobook and ebook service. I might try it out for free for two months and see if it adds a lot to my reading or not.

So those are three places where I can access a whole lot of books for free or hardly any money. But still I sometimes buy books that I can access via those places. So my rule is going to be that I can only buy books that I can’t access through the library, Storytel or Scribd. However, there are two exceptions.

Number one is my favourite authors/books. Basically I am collecting the books by my favourite authors and just my favourite books. I want to own those books because they mean so much to me. So I’m still allowed to buy my favourite (authors’) books and if I read a book that I end up loving (for example through the library) then I’m also allowed to buy a copy of it.

The second exception is related to language and preference. I prefer reading books in the language they were originally written in if I can understand that language. And I also learned that I can’t really read fantasy books as audiobooks because I just end up being confused and I can’t follow the story. So to give an example: I want to read the Ember in the Ashes series, which is an English series, but my library only has the Dutch translations. Storytel does have the audiobooks for that series in English, however it’s a fantasy series, so I know I won’t be able to follow it properly as an audiobook. So I’m allowed to buy the Ember in the Ashes series once I intend on reading it soon.

That’s also just going to be quite a general rule: only buy books when I intend to read them soon. I own a lot of books I still need to read, so there’s no need for me to buy a whole lot of books that will just end up sitting on my shelves for years.

Next to that I’m going to try to buy ebooks instead of physical books of the books I can’t access via any of the previously listed options, except from the books I’m collecting of course. I just bought a small tablet that I’ll be using as an ereader so I can quite easily buy ebooks wherever I can find them and I won’t be limited to only one website.

Now onto habit number two I want to change. That change is all about where I buy my books from. In the past couple of years I’ve been trying to find the cheapest places to buy books because I’m a broke college student. However, those places are not always very ethical. So in 2021 I’m going to try to not buy any books from Amazon (two expection, will talk about it later on) or Bol.com or any other mass retailers. I’ve discovered two amazing local bookshops around me and we also have a super good bookstore chain here in Belgium that I still want to support.

However, in 2021 I will still be a broke college student so I still want to find good deals on books. Especially on for example the books by my favourite authors that I’ve already read. I don’t really need a brand new copy of those books. So I can buy those second hand. There are a lot of places where you can buy books second hand: via Facebookgroups, Vinted, in second hand bookstores and even on Amazon. However, I’m going to try my very best to not buy any second hand books on there.

And the last exception on not buying from Amazon is other people’s wish list. If I want to buy someone a gift from their wish list, I will still do that.

And that’s it on my 2021 reading goals. I hope to see you all again next year on my blog!

Top 10 books I want to read in 2021

Blog post where I talk about the ten books I really want to read in 2021.

Hello there lovely reader! It’s time for post numéro two in my end of the year ‘series’. Today I will be listing the 10 books that I really want to get to in 2021. I won’t be including any 2021 releases, because I already made a blog post about those last week. You can find that here, if you’re interested. So no let’s get into the 10 books I need to read in 2021!

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

I honestly don’t really know what it is about this book, but I have such an urge to read it. I haven’t read any other books by Matt Haig but I just need to read this one. Maybe it has to do with the fact that it made so many readers cry?

The Secret History by Donna Tart

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 their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

I have fallen in love with every dark academia book I’ve read so far. The Secret History is a classic in that subgenre, so it’s a given that I have to read it soon. I’m always here for a good dark academia.

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Powers

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Wilder Girls by Rory Powers is one of my favourite books, so I preordered Burn Our Bodies Down from the moment it was announced, but I still haven’t read it. And it’s been almost half a year since it was published. This year Rory Powers is not coming out with another book, so I have time before she releases her newest book in 2022 to read this one.

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

Warning: synopsis contains spoilers for the previous books in this series!

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough lies. They’re more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward’s Island, far from the city’s bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten–ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them face-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they’ve ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation–a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

I adored the Diviners and Lair of Dreams and tried reading this one in February of this year. However, I fell in a reading slump so I only got around 100 pages in. So it really is time to read this one and then move on to the final book in this quartet, so I can tick off another series of my “currently in the middle of” list.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

I’m always on the look out for more fantasy books with quite some political and/or religious intrigue, those are my favourites. This book series always pops up in recommendations when I’m looking for those type of books, so I’m really excited to read it!

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

It is the summer of 1940. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. Although her quicksilver talents with a needle and commitment to mastering the perfect hair roll have been deemed insufficient for her to pass into her sophomore year of Vassar, she soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg’s charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses.

Exile in New York is no exile at all: here in this strange wartime city of girls, Vivian and her girlfriends mean to be free, to get up to no good, to drink the heady highball of life itself to the last drop. And when the legendary English actress Edna Watson comes to the Lily to star in the company’s most ambitious show ever, Vivian is entranced by the magic that follows in the wake of this true, true star.

But there are hard lessons to be learned, and bitterly regrettable mistakes to be made. Vivian learns that to live the life she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new.

Multiple readers have compared this book to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. And if you know me, you know that’s my all time favourite book. So naturally I have to read this.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

Once again, I’m always looking for more fantasy series. I don’t think this one has a lot of political intrigue, but what sold me on this series is that the characters really feel the consequenses of their actions. For example when they’re badly hurt, they actually have to recover and you see that happen in the book. Which is something I miss often in fantasy. Sometimes characters are stabbed nearly to dead but they still can walk around two days later like it’s nothing, and stuff like that really bothers me. So I’m curious to see how Samantha Shannon wrote that in this book!

Horrid by Katrina Leno

Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.

As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….

Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?

This just sounds like such a good, spooky book. And the cover gives me Wilder Girls vibes, so I need to read this! Because good YA horror is something I’m always looking for as well.

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

People kill people. Guns just make it easier.

A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?

One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?

Ever since I heard about this book, I’ve been so intrigued by it. However, it’s written in verse, which was not something I had read when I added this to my TBR early 2019. Now I know that I can really love books written in verse, so 2021 will be the year where I finally read this book that has been intriguing me for almost two years now.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

If there’s one book I haven’t heard a single bad thing about, it’s this one. Everyone seems to love it. And I have to admit it sounds so amazing, so I’ll have to give it a try in 2021 to see what all the fuss is about.

And those were my ten books I really want to get to in 2021. It’s a mix of books I own, books from the library, audiobooks and books I need to buy. So fingers crossed I’ll get to all of these in 2021!

Don’t forget to also share a book or multiple books you really want to get to in 2021!

My most anticipated book releases of 2021

Blog post where I talk about my most anticipated book releases of 2021.

Hello lovely reader! It’s time to kick off my end of the year content. For the rest of the month I’ll be making blog posts about 2021, and then in January I’ll be wrapping up 2020 on my blog. Let’s start off with my most anticipated book releases of 2021!

I have compiled a list of 14 book releases for 2021 I’m super excited for. I’ll be listing the books in order of publication date. Enjoy!

You Have a Match by Emma Lord – January 5th

When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.

When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents—especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.

The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.

I read Emma Lord’s debut novel Tweet Cute at the beginning of 2020 and it was one of my favourite YA contemporaries of the year, so of course I have to try out her new book as well. It seems like Emma Lord writes unique YA contemporary stories, which is something I’m always looking for.

Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson – February 2nd

When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani’s birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He’s perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery. In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.

I’ve read two books by Renée Watson before: Watch Us Rise and What Momma Left Me. I wasn’t a big fan of either of those books, however they had elements that I liked and they were not badly written. Love is a Revolution seems to have the elements that I liked from her previous books, so I hope I’ll love this one.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers – February 23rd

With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.

This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.

In New York, she’s able to ignore all the annoying questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.

I’m always here for adult contemporaries and this one just sounds like so much fun. Grace, the main character, also sounds a bit like me, except for the getting married in Vegas part, of course.

Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab – March 2nd

Where there are ghosts, Cassidy Blake follows…
Unless it’s the other way around?

Cass thinks she might have this ghost-hunting thing down. After all, she and her ghost best friend, Jacob, have survived two haunted cities while traveling for her parents’ TV show.

But nothing can prepare Cass for New Orleans, which wears all of its hauntings on its sleeve. In a city of ghost tours and tombs, raucous music and all kinds of magic, Cass could get lost in all the colorful, grisly local legends. And the city’s biggest surprise is a foe Cass never expected to face: a servant of Death itself.

Victoria Schwab is one of my favourite authors, so I just have to read everything she publishes. This is also my favourite middle grade series and the two previous books were just so much fun. I simply can’t not read this.

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi – March 2nd

Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.

On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying.

I read Emergency Contact by Mary H.K Choi earlier this year and it was one of my favourite contemporary reads of the year. Ever since that moment I’ve had her other book Permanent Record on my TBR and now I can’t wait to read this, because it sounds exactly like a book I would love.

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales – March 9th

Darcy Phillips:
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?

I adored Only Mostly Devasted by Sophie Gonzales, so I just have to read this book as well. I hope I’ll love it as much, but it already sounds like an amazing book!

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas – March 23rd

When children go missing, people want answers. When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.

Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.

First of all: this sounds like a dark and twisted retelling of Peter Pan and what more could you want? Secondly: that cover is gorgeous! And lastly Aiden Thomas is such a good author, I can’t wait to pick up this book of his.

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo – March 30th

Warning: synopsis contains spoilers for basically every book in the Grishaverse!

The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.

The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.

The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.

I just can’t wait for this book! Leigh Bardugo is also one of my favourite authors, so I also need to read everything she comes out with, but also the cliffhanger King of Scars ended on… I need answers!

She’s Too Pretty To Burn by Wendy Heard – March 30th

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot―full of adventure―and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.

Do I really need to tell you why I want to read this book after reading the synopsis and seeing that beautiful cover? It just sounds perfect, okay? Also, it’s inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, and I love that book!

The Anti-Relationship Year by Katie Wismer

Johanna Palmer is very much over relationships. After a scarring experience her freshman year of college, she’s decided she would much rather have something fun than something serious.

Her best friend Miller has seen it all—the tears, the parties, the drunken phone calls at four in the morning when she needed a ride. In fact, there might be several things Miller saw that Jo herself can’t remember. Things Miller can’t forget.

With the whirlwind of senior year underway, Jo just wants to move on, get her degree, and land her dream job. But her past might not be as easy to outrun as she’d hoped.

I’ve been a fan of Katie Wismer’s YouTube for years. She has published three things so far: two poetry collections and a YA contemporary. One of the poetry collections I absolutely adored, the other one wasn’t really for me. Her YA contemporary was an enjoyable read, but not a new favourite. However, this sounds completely up my alley, so I’m super excited to read it.

Anna K. Away by Jenny Lee – April 27th

Warning: synopsis contains spoilers for Anna K.!

How the mighty have fallen. Anna K, once the golden girl of Greenwich, CT, and New York City, has been brought low by a scandalous sex tape and the tragic death of her first love, Alexia Vronsky. At the beginning of the summer, her father takes her to the other side of the world, to connect with his family in South Korea and teach his daughter about her roots. Is Anna in exile? Or could this be her chance to finally figure out who she really is?

Back in the U.S., Anna’s brother, Stephen, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are falling even more deeply in love. But when Lolly learns about unexpected consequences from Stephen’s cheating the previous year, she has to consider how much she is willing to forgive. Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, and her new boyfriend, Dustin, are thinking about having sex together for the first time. And Bea, Vronsky’s cousin, is having her own romantic and sexual awakening, though she hasn’t forgiven her ex-BFF, Anna, for her role in Vronsky’s death.

Anna K. was such a fun and ridiculous read. But I did feel like it ended a bit abruptly so I’m happy that there’s a sequel that will hopefully provide me with some answers.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – May 25th

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there. And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Look, Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favourite authors. And this synopsis gives me some The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo vibes, which is not only my favouirte book by her, but also my all time favourite book. So needless to say I can’t wait to read it.

Small Favours by Erin A. Craig – July 27th

Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.

As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.

I’m always waiting for more standalone fantasy novels and I loved House of Salts and Sorrows by the same author, so I can’t wait to dive into this book!

Untitled by Holly Jackson – no publication date

This is the third book in the A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder series. I read and adored the first two books, so obviously I need to also read the third one. The previous two books were published in April (the first in 2019, the second in 2020), so I’m hoping this one will also be published in April, but we’ll see!

Et voilà, that was it for my most anticipated book releases of 2021. I’ll probably make another one of these posts towards the middle of 2021, because most of these books will be published in the first half of the year.

Definitely tell me your most anticipated release for 2021!

Recensie: Hallo Nu van Jenny Valentine

Boekenrecensie van Hallo Nu van Jenny Valentine.

Waar gaat het over?

Jude gelooft niet in de liefde, noch in magische ervaringen. Tot hij Novo ontmoet, hij is pure magie…

“Deze bomen. Dit huis. Dit begin. Ik sta aan de kant van de weg en neem het allemaal in me op en hoop en hoop. En voor de zoveelste keer vraag ik me af of dit leven een soort begin heeft, wie dat bepaalt, en of het ooit, ooit zal ophouden.”

Mijn recensie – zonder spoilers

Wanneer je Hallo Nu begint te lezen, valt de schrijfstijl meteen op. Het is op een lyrische manier geschreven, maar ook niet te overdreven. Alles is nog steeds erg duidelijk en je moet niet hard nadenken om te weten wat er staat of wat de auteur bedoelt. Het is altijd fijn om eens een YA te lezen waarvan de schrijfstijl niet te simpel is, het is leuk om een beetje uitgedaagd te worden door de manier waarop het boek geschreven is.

Terwijl je leest, voelt het ook aan alsof het hoofdpersonage het verhaal aan jou aan het vertellen is. En niet op een manier waarop het lijkt alsof hij het verhaal gewoon neerschrijft en jij dat toevallig leest. Nee, het voelt echt aan alsof Jude het verhaal specifiek aan jou aan het vertellen is. Die manier van vertellen is erg verfrissend en vernieuwend, zeker voor een YA boek. Daardoor leest het boek ook zo vlot, voor je het weet ben je er al doorheen.

Dat je het boek zo snel uithebt, zal zeker ook wel komen doordat het een kort boek is. Hallo Nu telt ‘slechts’ 159 bladzijden, maar eigenlijk stoort het niet dat het een kort boek is. Je hebt niet het gevoel dat het verhaal te snel gaat, wat wel vaak is bij korte boeken, of dat het langer moet zijn. Het was de perfecte lengte.

Hallo Nu is een boek dat je met gemak in één keer uitleest. Dat komt onder andere doordat het boek aan de korte kant is en door die frisse schrijfstijl. Maar ook zeker doordat je zo geïntrigeerd bent door het verhaal. Je moet weten wat er als volgende gaat gebeuren, daardoor is het altijd moeilijk om een boek neer te leggen.

Het enige nadeel aan het feit dat het boek wat korter is, is dat je minder een band opbouwt met de personages. Daardoor heeft het ook minder invloed op je gevoelens wanneer er iets ‘ergs’ gebeurt. Je voelt dus wel minder mee met de personages wanneer zij emotioneel zijn.

Het grootste pluspunt van Hallo Nu, en de reden waarom je verliefd kan worden op dit boek, is het magische realisme. Als je daarvan houdt, dan moet je dit boek echt lezen. Moest je het niet kennen, magisch realisme betekent dat het boek zich afspeelt in de ‘normale’ wereld, onze wereld dus, maar dat er toch fantasy-elementen inzitten. Zulke boeken zijn altijd intrigerender om te lezen dan ‘gewone’, hedendaagse boeken doordat je zit met die clash tussen de echte wereld en magie.

Het is fantastisch om te lezen hoe in Hallo Nu het concept tijd in vraag gesteld wordt. De auteur speelt echt met tijd, en dat is iets dat je niet vaak leest. Dus nog eens zo’n vernieuwend, fris element dat niet veel voorkomt in (YA) boeken.

Als je dus op zoek bent naar een fris en vernieuwend YA boek met een vleugje magie en je wel geïntrigeerd bent door het concept tijd, dan is Hallo Nu helemaal geschikt voor jou, en ga je er misschien wel even veel van houden als ik. Ik gaf dit boek uiteindelijk dan ook 4,5 sterren.

*Ik heb een recensie-exemplaar van Hallo Nu gekregen van de uitgever, dat heeft echter geen invloed op mijn mening. Alles wat in deze recensie staat, zijn mijn eigen gedachten. Hartelijk bedankt aan LS Amsterdam & VIB Young Adult om me een exemplaar van dit boek op te sturen.*

Themed TBR: trying out classics

Blog post where I read and review three classic novels.

Hello reader! Today’s blog post is my monthly themede TBR.  Now what are these themed TBR blogposts? It’s easy: for these blog posts I pick a certain theme and read books within that theme. The theme of this post is to try out some classics. I haven’t really read that many classics in my lifetime, let alone enjoyed them. There’s actually only one that I liked: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I think that mainly has to do with the fact that I didn’t went to school in an English speaking country, so we never had to read the classics that everyone reads in the US or UK. However, I still want to give some a try and see if it’s something for me.

So that’s what we’ll be doing in this blog post! I picked three classics that I think I would enjoy and I’ll review those books in this blog post. But, and that’s the fun part of the blog post, my reviews will be little podcast type vlogs. I will not only give you my final thoughts on the books, but also the thoughts I had whilst reading them. So it’s a bit like a reading vlog, but it’s just my voice. Now let’s get into the books I read and their reviews!

Book one: Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov

Humbert Humbert – scholar, aesthete and romantic – has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady’s gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love.

Book two: Animal Farm by George Orwell

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned –a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

Book three: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited – they went there.

After the war, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire pursues wealth, riches and the lady he lost to another man with stoic determination. When Gatsby finally does reunite with Daisy Buchanan, tragic events are set in motion.

I hope you enjoyed this themed TBR post! This is actually a monthly thing I do on my blog, so if you’re interested in any future themed TBR posts make sure you follow my blog! They’ll also always be posted on the second Wednesday of the month.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Or are any of these still on your TBR?