Review: Juliet Takes a Breath comic

Book review of the Juliet Takes a Breath comic by Gabby Rivera.

Premise

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But don’t worry, Juliet has something kinda resembling a plan that’ll help her figure out what it means to be Puerto Rican, lesbian and out. See, she’s going to intern with Harlowe Brisbane – her favorite feminist author, someone’s who’s the last work on feminism, self-love and lots of of ther things that will help Juliet find her ever elusive epiphany. There’s just one problem – Harlowe’s white, not from the Bronx and doesn’t have the answers. Okay, maybe that’s more than one problem but Juliet never said it was a perfect plan…

My review – spoiler free

Juliet Takes a Breath is one of my favourite YA feminist fiction novels. It’s a very important story, so I was super excited to see it being adapted in a comic. Especially because it’s really a story you want to see everything of. So a comic sounded like a perfect adaptation.

To start off it has to be said that the art style of this book is just perfect, to be honest. Over the course of the book we see the main character Juliet in a few different cities and every city has its own colour scheme. However, all the colour schemes fitted together so well. It still looked like it was one thing and not multiple little things, if that makes sense.

If you know this story well or if even you’ve only read the novel once, the comic might just be a nice extra and not a necessity. The novel is of course an entire story, very well fleshed out. However, the comic didn’t feel like that. It might just be the case of this type of story just working better as a novel instead of a comic. Or it might be because of other reasons.

One of those could be that the plot feels very rushed and quick in the comic, and it doesn’t in the novel. We seem to jump from one day to another week without a problem in the comic. That just didn’t really seem to work and could be quite confusing if you haven’t read the novel.

The way quite a few words are written was also rather annoying. If you prefer to read books or comics written in “perfect” language, then this one might not be the one for you. A lot of words were written in the way they’re pronounced with a certain accent instead of the way they’re supposed to be written. For example: nuthin’ instead of nothing and yer instead of your.

However, Juliet Takes a Breath still stands as one of the best YA feminist fiction novels with a very important message: more inclusive feminism. I still really recommend this story, I just recommend you pick up the novel instead of the comic. However, the comic was still very enjoyable and I gave it 3.25 stars.

*I received an e-arc of this book through Netgalley. However, that doesn’t influence my opinions or anything I’ve written in this review.*

Recensie: When It’s Real van Erin Watt

Waar gaat het over?

Popster Oakley is hot en heeft miljoenen fans. De paparazzi smullen van zijn escapades. Maar als Oakley nog serieus genomen wil worden in de muziekindustrie, moet hij iets aan zijn imago doen.

Wie kan hem daarbij beter helpen dan de doodgewone Vaughn? Ze hoeft zich alleen maar voor te doen als zijn nieuwe vriendin. Maar Vaughn vindt Oakley maar een arrogante sukkel. Oké, hij is hot, maar denk maar niet dat zij voor hem zal vallen.

Mijn recensie – zonder spoilers

Het was eindelijk nog eens tijd om een cheesy new adult boek te lezen. When It’s Real is dan ook perfect als je in die mood bent. Of als je zoekt naar een Wattpadachtig boek dat fanfictie vibes geeft, dan lijkt deze ook perfect. Maar is dat ook zo?

Het begin van het boek is erg intrigerend en spannend. Je wil weten wanneer en hoe Vaughn en Oakley elkaar gaan ontmoeten en of ze al meteen als een blok voor elkaar gaan vallen. De schrijfstijl van het boek was zeker ook een meerwaarde in het begin. Er waren veel omschrijvingen, maar ook niet te veel. De balans was juist goed zodat je alles helemaal voor je kan zien, maar je ook niet geïrriteerd raakt omdat er te veel beschrijving is. Het boek leest ook, zeker in het begin, erg snel. Voor je het weet heb je al een hoop pagina’s gelezen.

Die manier van schrijven werd wel ongeveer het hele boek volgehouden, maar het verminderde wel wat eens de eerste 70 à 80 bladzijden voorbij waren. Daarna werd de schrijfstijl was kinderachtiger. De personages waren ineens precies een pak jonger dan ze eerst leken. Het leken soms echt bekvechtende kleuters, en daar kan je moeilijk van genieten. Zeker als je ervan uitgaat dat het een new adult boek is. In young adult kan je dat nog iets meer tolereren, maar bij new adult toch niet.

En het ging van kwaad naar erger naarmate het boek vorderde. De twee jongens, Oakley en W., zijn allebei echt eikels. Er is geen properder woord om hen te omschrijven. Ze zijn allebei enorm respectloos tegenover vrouwen, zeker W. Maar Oakley ook hoor, alleen is dat bij hem meer in zijn gedachten dan luidop. En het ergste is dat ze allebei aan het einde van het boek nog steeds eikels zijn. Weinig tot geen vooruitgang dus, jammer.

De manier waarop Oakleys perspectief geschreven is, is ook echt storend. Er staan verschillende woorden en uitdrukkingen in die wat wringen. Vooral dan het feit dat er zo met zelfmoord plegen gegooid wordt. Zo heeft hij minstens drie keer iets gezegd in de zin van “Ik zou nog liever zelfmoord plegen dan dit of dat doen.” Dat is een uitspraak die echt niet door de beugel kan, zeker als er geen tegenspraak op komt door bijvoorbeeld een ander personage om duidelijk te maken dat zoiets niet kan. Teleurstellend dat zulke uitspraken nog gepubliceerd worden.

Wanneer je aan When It’s Real begint, weet je eigenlijk al hoe het gaat eindigen, net zoals elk ander boek in hetzelfde genre. Toch stoort het bij dit boek om de ene of andere manier dat er geen enkel verrassingselement in leek te zitten. Als je in het midden van het boek de epiloog leest, zou je nog niet gespoild zijn, want je weet toch al exact wat er gaat gebeuren. Opnieuw teleurstellend.

Als je al iets “ouder” bent, ga je je tijdens het lezen wel verschillende keren afvragen of je niet al te oud bent voor dit type boeken. Of misschien heb je gewoon al te veel fanfictie gelezen op Wattpad in je jongere jaren om nog te kunnen genieten van een boek dat die vibes heeft. Dus ondanks de ietwat expliciete seksscènes misschien toch meer een boek voor young adult? Of toch de iets oudere kant van young adult.

When It’s Real begin je te lezen omdat je een feel good boek wil lezen waarbij je de wereld even kan vergeten. En dat is het ook, maar door de eerder genoemde punten is het toch moeilijk om er volledig van te genieten.

Jammer genoeg kreeg dit boek slechts twee sterren van mij.

*Erg bedankt aan het beheer van Young Adult België om me dit boek cadeau te doen. Dat heeft echter geen invloed op mijn meningen en de dingen die ik geschreven heb in deze recensie.*

My five favourite standalones

Hello there lovely reader! Today’s blog post is another top five one, this time around I will be talking about my five favourite standalone books. I actually really like standalones, because they’re less of a commitment than series. The books on this list are my favourite standalones from varying genres, expect for fantasy, because I plan on doing a seperate blog post for that in the future. So now let’s get into the list!

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is my favourite book ever, period. I’ve read this book twice now, and I’m usually not that big of a rereader, and I still want to reread many more times. I broke down both of the times I read this book. It’s such an emotional book, and you wouldn’t really expect that when you start it. The characters in this book just feel so real because they are flawed and even a bit annoying. It really feels like you’re reading an actual biography and not a work of fiction. Honestly it’s just a perfect book and it has a special place in my heart. So if you haven’t read it yet, this is me forcing you to read it.

If you’re interested in more of my thoughts, I wrote a review of my reread in January of this year. You can find that review here.

2. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrande

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.
He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

Sawkill Girls is a YA horror with slight paranormal vibes. That just sounds amazing on its own. It’s been a while since I read this book, but I still remeber not wanting to put it down. I needed to know what would happen next. It’s just such an intriguing story. I don’t want to say too much more because the synopsis is already long enough and I don’t want to spoil you.

One last thing: if you liked Wilder Girls, I’m pretty sure you’ll also love Sawkill Girls.

3. Wilder Girls by Rory Powers

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Honestly, Wilder Girls is just such a unique book and I still can’t believe it’s Rory Powers’ debut novel. It’s a YA horror/dystopian. I don’t think this book is for everyone, definitely not if you’re squeamish about bodies and body gore. So be warned: the horror element in this book is bigger than it seems from the synopsis and bigger than in Sawkill Girls. However, if you can stand that, please read this book! The writing and atmosphere is done so well and it’s also a book you just can’t put down.

And of course my recommendation also goes the other way around, if you liked Sawkill Girls, you’ll also love Wilder Girls!

4. The Power by Naomi Alderman

All over the world women are discovering they have the power.
With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain – even death.
Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they’ve lost control.
The Day of the Girls has arrived – but where will it end?

The Power is just such an intersting study of our world. Not only does it discuss what would happen if only women suddenly had a sort of superpower, but it also forms very precise critique on our modern day society. Everything in this book just feels so realistic, mainly because you get a few different perspectives from all over the world. It’s just a must read if you like feminist fiction like The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

5. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Just like with The Power and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, everything in this book feels so real. It feels more like you’re reading someone’s lifestory than a work of fiction. Beware this book is not an enjoyable read nor is it easy to read. Still, this was a hard book to put down because you want everything to be alright in the end because you feel so much for the main character. This is once again a debut novel, and it’s hard to believe this is a debut because it’s so well written. If you can handle reading this book, I can only recommend it, but don’t read it if you think it’ll be too hard.

And that’s it for the list already. I’ve read so many more great standalones, it was really hard to choose only five books. I might make another blog post in the future with more standalones that I’ve loved, because there are just so many!

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to tell me (one of) your favourite standalone(s)!

Themed TBR: reading books by trans* authors

Blog post where I read and review three books written by trans* authors.

Hi there lovely reader! Today’s blog post is my monthly themed TBR post.  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 books by trans* authors. I always actively try to read diverse books, or books written by diverse authors. And these themed TBR posts can really help me with that. Since I read three books in the same theme, I can really read some diverse books.

I noticed that I started to have quite a few books by trans* authors on my TBR, so I thought why not make a themed TBR post about it? I use the written form of trans* because it entails the entire trans* community and thus is more inclusive. Now let’s get started, shall we?

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle…

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

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.

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

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? Definitely let me know!

October wrap up (2020)

October 2020 wrap up: blog post where I talk about all of the books I read in October 2020, including statistics.

Hello lovely reader! It’s that time of the month again, here’s another wrap up. Just like every month I’ll be talking about all the books I read in the month of October and which rating I gave those books. On top of that I’ll also be giving some statistic regarding my reading in October. So without further ado, let’s kick it off with the stats!

I’m not really sure how I did it, but I managed to read 11 books in October. At first I thought it was because I read a lot of short books, but I still read a total of 3,637 pages, which is the third most amount of pages I read in a month this year. On average that’s 331 pages per book. So quantity wise it was a good reading month, but luckily I finally had a good month quality wise as well. My average rating out of ten for the month of October is 7.9!

For the format of the books I read in October: I read six physical books, three audiobooks and two e-books. Look at me making a dent in my owned TBR! I listened to the three audiobooks via Storytel. Then for the other books I read one book from the library, two books I had bought myself, two books that were gifted to me by family or friends and three books that I was gifted for review purposes.

Genre wise I had a rather diverse reading month, which is something I always like. I read one thriller, one graphic novel, one poetry collection, two classics, two contemporaries and four fantasy books. I read mainly books that are targeted towards young adults, namely seven. I also read one book that falls in the middle grade age range and three adult novels.

Now it’s time to list all of the books I read in October, which rating (out of ten) I gave them and a link to a review, if I have one.

My favourites of the month aren’t very hard to decide. My favourite physical reads (also counting e-books) were Cemetery Boys and Animal Farm. My favourite audiobook was Other Words for Home. Animal Farm and Cemetery Boys definitely have a chance of ending up on my favourites of 2020 list!

And that’s it, another month has gone by. I can’t wait to see what my reading in November will be like. Here in Belgium we’re in another lockdown, and last lockdown I read a LOT. So let’s see if I also read a lot in this second lockdown…

What was your favourite read of October?

Recensie: De dingen die ik nooit kon zeggen van Roxanne Wellens

Boekenrecensie van De dingen die ik nooit kon zeggen van Roxanne Wellens

Waar gaat het over?

Voor elke onbeantwoorde liefde.

Voor elke partner die zich opzijgeschoven voelt.

Voor iedereen die vlucht naar plekken met minder scherpe randen, zoals games, drank, drugs, of de liefde.

Voor elk gemis, elke schreeuw en elk gebroken hart.

Voor alle zonnebloemen.

In De dingen die ik nooit kon zeggen brengt de 21-jarige Roxanne Wellens een ingetogen en gevoelige mix van poëzie en proza. Haar bundel is een ode aan de eerste grote liefde en het ondergaan van het eerste liefdesverdriet, maar stipt in de kantlijn ook de thema’s van verslaving en gaming aan.

Wat vond ik ervan?

De dingen die ik nooit kon zeggen was de eerste Nederlandstalige poëziebundel die ik las. Ik moet toch zeggen dat erg aangenaam verrast was door hoeveel ik uiteindelijk van dit boek genoten heb.

De eerste helft van het boek gaat vooral over de relatie van de auteur met iemand die een gameverslaving heeft. Dat deel van de poëziebundel was nogal repetitief. Alle gedichten leken een beetje hetzelfde, of brachten toch zeker dezelfde boodschap over. Dat was wel jammer. Desondanks waren er nog steeds een hoop mooie gedichten.

Het tweede deel gaat meer over onzekerheden en de nasleep van een gebroken relatie. Dat deel was absoluut prachtig. Ik kon mezelf dan ook heel erg herkennen in die gedichten. Uit dat deel heb ik verschillende gedichten aangeduid zodat ik die snel terug kan vinden om steeds opnieuw te lezen.

Roxanne Wellens heeft zeker een talent met woorden, wat je wel nodig hebt om goede poëzie te kunnen schrijven. Ze weet welke woorden mooi bij elkaar passen en hoe ze haar boodschap met de juiste woorden kan overbrengen. Ze weet hoe ze mensen emotioneel kan maken met haar woorden.

De dingen die ik nooit kon zeggen is niet je klassieke moderne poëziebundel. Dat lijken vaak gewoon quotes die van Tumblr of Pinterest geplukt zijn en in een boek gegooid zijn. Maar bij deze bundel voel je dat het echt vanuit iemands hart geschreven is en erg persoonlijk is. Bovendien zijn het niet alleen van die erg korte gedichten, maar voornamelijk wat langere gedichten en ook gewoon soms lappen tekst. Dat type poëzie verkies ik van moderne poëzie, boven de korte gedichten die opgeknipte zinnen lijken.

Over het algemeen raad ik De dingen die ik nooit kon zeggen zeker en vast aan. Vooral aan mensen die al graag moderne poëzie lezen of mensen die dat eens voor het eerst willen lezen. Ik ga alleszins al zeker Roxanne Wellens’ andere boek eens uitlenen van de bib om weer te genieten van haar emotioneel rakende schrijfstijl.

Review: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Book review of Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco.

Premise

Two sisters.
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

My review – spoiler free

This was my first ever time reading a Kerri Maniscalco book and I was not disappointed at all! I ended up giving it a 4.25 stars, and here is my review.

You almost immediately fall in love with the magic system in Kingdom of the Wicked. It’s not the type where they have a wand and can just do basically anything without any consequences. No, in order to do a spell, a witch has to gather certain objects or things, and doing a hard spell can have consequences, just like doing a ‘forbidden’ spell. It was very refreshing to read that type of magic, it just feels more realistic in a way.

The whole demon realm/world is also super intriguing. We don’t get to know a lot about it in this book, but I’m certain we’ll learn a lot more in the next one. The demons’ magic also worked a bit in the same way as the witches’ magic, so it also had consequences and they also needed certain things in order to do magic. And that was once again nice to see, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ had the same restrictions.

The way this book is written, however, leaves you with some conflicted feelings. On the one hand it was a very well written book, that reads quickly & easily, but still didn’t have an oversimplified writing style. The balance was just right. But on the other hand, I feel like the book could have used one more round of edits (I read an arc, so maybe it had), especially the action scenes. Often times in the midst of a ‘fighting’ or action scene it was described as ‘I did this, and then this, and then this happened, and then I saw this and that made me feel this.’ Which reads a bit amateuristic, especially because you know Maniscalco can write proper action scenes, she proves it with half of the action scenes in this book.

Another ‘issue’ isthat you don’t really feel for the characters. This book deals with a lot of grief and emotional scenes. And even though the way Emilia feels about all of it is written so beautifully, with the exact pretty words, it doesn’t make you feel anything. Or at least, it didn’t make me feel anything. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why that is, but it is a pitty nontheless.

Going in to this book I was bit afraid, because it has the enemies to lovers trope. And if there is one trope I absolutely can’t stand, it’s that one. I even prefer love triangles over enemies to lovers. And just like almost every other enemies to lovers I read, I didn’t believe this one either. When the two enemies/lovers where in the middle of yet another fight, that read the same as any other fight they had, I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. Especially when then all of the sudden the main character had the urge to kiss the other character, where did that come from? Why do you want to kiss him? Why do you care so deeply about him all of the sudden? It came completely out of nowhere and thus was totally unbelievable.

The pacing of the book was just right throughout the entire thing. Except for the second to last chapter. That one was way too action pact. Too many things were happening in a short period of time, which made it all feel very rushed. Luckily the last chapter saved the day. That chapter was just pure perfection. I don’t think the ending will be for everyone, but I loved it. It didn’t have a cliffhanger, but was still quite an open ending. And now I can’t wait to read the sequel!

Whilst reading this book, I was reminded a lot of my reading expierence with Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, and that is one of my favourite books. So I definitely think that if you liked that one, you’ll also like this one!

Five Halloween book recommendations

Blog post where I list five Halloween book recommendations, or books that are perfect for around the Halloween time.

Hello lovely reader! In today’s blog post I’ll be talking about five Halloween book recommendations. So these are five books that I think fit the Halloween vibe perfectly! I’m not really someone who reads according to the season, so some of these books I didn’t read around Halloween time, but they just give me the Halloween vibe. And since I know a lot of people do like to read according to the seasons, I decided to make this recommendations post. I tried to put five different type of books on here, so there will be at least one book everyone on the list. But without further ado, here we go!

A Good Girl 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?

If you’re looking for a fun YA murder mystery, than this is the book for you! This one has some creepy scenes, but even if you’re a bit faint of heart, you’ll still be able to read this one because it doesn’t have anything too scary in it. The whole murder mystery part of this book just gave me the Halloween vibes, and one scene in particular could’ve come straight out of a (soft) horror film.

Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeill

WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.

When seventeen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one?

Murdertrending is perfect for fans of the YA genre who are looking for a horror film disguised as a book. When reading this book I could really see all of the scenes happening as if it were a horror film. This book does have some rather graphic murder scenes, so I don’t think it’s for everyone, but if your a fan of the horror genre, or you want to dip your toes in to it, then this is the book for you!

Sawkill Girl by Claire Legrand

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.
He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

Sawkill Girls really is a book unlike any other book I read, so it’s hard to compare it to other books. However, if you’re a fan of mysteries, true crime and a hint of the supernatural, then I think this is the perfect book for you! To top it all off, this book also has some great LGBTQ+ rep!

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.

When you think of Halloween, you can’t not think about witches. So if you’re looking for a book about witches, then you can stop looking now. Witches of Ash and Ruin is the perfect combination of witches and true crime. A combination that might not seem right, but is something you really need in your life!

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Wilder Girls might not be the perfect book to read in the midst of a pandemic, or it can make the reading expierence even creepier, it’s up to you. This book is for people who like soft horror, but who are also not squimish about body gore. Wilder Girls is a truly unique book that will give you the chills.

That were my five Halloween recommendations, I hope you’ll enjoy reading these books! I had a harder time than I had expected choosing the books for this list, so I might to another one of these in about a year, when it’s Halloween time again.

I’d love to hear your Halloween reading recommendations as well!

Review: How To Be Ace by Rebecca Burgess

Blog post where I review the graphic novel How To Be Ace by Rebecca Burgess.

Premise

Brave, witty and empowering, this graphic memoir follows Rebecca as she navigates her asexual identity and mental health in a world obsessed with sex. From school to work to relationships, this book offers an unparalleled insight into asexuality.

My review – spoiler free

Since this is a review for a, rather short, graphic novel, this won’t be a long blog post. But don’t worry, on Wednesday, you’ll get a full length post!

How To Be Ace definitely offers you a personal insight on what it’s like to be asexual. Especially growing up in a time where asexuality wasn’t a well-known word and where you didn’t have pages upon pages on the Internet filled with information about being asexual.

Even though this is a very personal graphic memoir, it really applies to a large part of the asexual community. However, asuxuality is a very personal experience, everyone experiences it in a different way. It is lovely to see that, even though it’s such a personal memoir, it still shines a light on different experiences with asexuality. That was definitely a bonus point for this graphic novel.

A less good point for How To Be Ace is that it doesn’t really give you what it promises. You get promised a personal story about asexuality, but it was more the authors personal life story, with the focus on asexuality. So there were a couple of chapters where there was hardly any talk about asexuality, which was a pity.

Another pity about How To Be Ace is that it read kind of jumpy. Sometimes you had a row of comics about a certain topic, and then it jumped to another topic. That transition felt a bit weird and sudden from time to time. There were also some moments where a certain subject was introduced, to then never be touched on again. And that leaves you with some questions about that subject.

It also just has to be said that the art style in this graphic novel is so beautiful. The writing however, wasn’t always as readable as I would’ve liked. My eyes had a really hard time reading from time to time.

Nevertheless, this is a really informative and fun read. Especially for people who don’t know a lot about asexuality yet, or who might be discovering their own sexuality.

A special thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an e-copy of this graphic novel, in exchange for an honest review.

Themed TBR: reading 2019 ARCs!

Hi there lovely reader! Today’s blog post is my monthly themed TBR post. 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 2019 ARCs. So when I discovered Netgalley in 2019 I requested a ton of ARCs on there, and also downloaded a few of the free ones. However, I never got around to read all of them in time. So I still have three 2019 ARCs that I own, but haven’t read yet. So that’s what I’ll be doing for this blog post!

I’ll review those three ARCs for you. 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 book, but also the thoughts I had whilst reading the book. 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 1: They/Them/Their by Eris Young

In this insightful and long-overdue book, Eris Young explores what it’s like to live outside of the gender binary and how it can impact on one’s relationships, sense of identity, use of language and more.

Drawing on the author’s own experiences as a nonbinary person, as well as interviews and research, it shares common experiences and challenges faced by those who are nonbinary, and what friends, family and other cisgender people can do to support them. Breaking down misconceptions and providing definitions, the history of nonbinary identities and gender-neutral language, and information on healthcare, this much-needed guide is for anyone wanting to fully understand nonbinary and genderqueer identities.

Book 2: Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer

Bestselling and award-winning author Trista Mateer takes an imaginative approach to self-care in this new poetry and prose collection, Aphrodite Made Me Do It. In this empowering retelling, she uses the mythology of the goddess to weave a common thread through the past and present. By the end of this book, Aphrodite make you believe in the possibility of your own healing.

Book 3: Not Hungry by Kate Karyus Quinn

June is fat. June also has an eating disorder, but no one sees. When she doesn’t eat, her friends and family think they see a fat girl on a diet, not someone starving herself. When June’s secret is found out by Toby, the new boy next door, she is panicked. Then she learns he also has a secret. Everyone has their own little lies.

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 novels? What did you think of them? Or are any of these still on your TBR? Let me know!