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?

November wrap up (2020)

Blog post where I talk about my November wrap up, so all the book I read in the month of November and I also gove some reading statistics.

Hello lovely reader! November was a special reading month for me, because I managed to read my 100th book of the year, and that’s crazy for me. Also, how is it the last month of 2020 already? I don’t know if I should be happy that this shitshow of a year is almost over or that I should be scared for what 2021 will bring… Anyway, we’ll be able to discover that later on, now let’s get into my November wrap up and some reading statistics from this past month.

So in November I managed to read 10 books. Looking back on this month, I can say that it was a very mixed one. I read a combination of short and long books and had a combination of books I loved and books I really didn’t love. In total I read 3,238 pages in November, that means I read an average of 108 pages per day. The average rating for the 10 books I read in November is 7.2 (out of 10), which is on the lower end for me. Usually I have an average rating of 7.5 or higher.

I also had a very mixed reading month format wise. I read two audiobooks, three ebooks and five physical books. I listened to those two audiobooks via Storytel. Then I read three books that were gifted to me for review purposes (one ebook and two physical books) and the remaining five books I had bought myself.

Genre wise I also had quite a mixed reading month in November. I read one classic, one fabulism, one graphic novel, one contemporary, one poetry collection, one literary fiction and four fantasy novels. For the targeted audience I read three adult books and seven YA books.

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 favourite read of the month was The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue without a doubt, although the Starless Sea and Hallo Nu were also amazing reads that can possibly make it to my favourites of the year list.

And that’s a wrap on my wrap up! I’m curious to see what my reading will be like in December!

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.