Top Ten Tuesday: Tropes/Themes I Despise

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week I will make a list of 10 books, authors or other bookish things surrounding a certain topic. This week, we’re talking book turn offs. Or the tropes you dislike. So let’s get into it.

I couldn’t immediately think of 10. So instead, I made a short list of things that really make me run in the other direction as fast as possible. Most of these you can usually make up from the synopsis. 

Bigotry and harmful rep // With this, I’m talking pretty much everything racist, ableist, sexist, etc. No, no, no, no, no. I don’t have the time to read your petty and disgusting thoughts. I’m backing out as quickly as possible. 

The mysterious boy who shows up to tell you you are a paranormal being // Strangely specific, right? But you know what I mean (hopefully). When the female main character has always felt like she was different, and then strange things start to happen. And then this mysterious boy suddenly turns up, starts to follow her and tells her she’s a paranormal being. WAIT WHAT??? If anyone did that to me, I’d be running away as fast as I could. Nope. Nope. Nope. 

The teenager who doesn’t take advice from anyone // I can’t tell you how much I fucking despise this. I understand wanting to form your own opinions and decisions. But you can still do that while listening to what others have to say! This happens quite a bit in YA fantasy, when the main character is convinced they have to do something. Everyone tells them: hey, that is not a good idea for the following 45557455 reasons. Then they do it and one of their friends or family members get killed. Afterwards they are surprised that everything went wrong. WHY? EVERYONE TOLD YOU IT WOULD. 

Teacher-student relationships // Who’s freaked out by this? ME. 

Short sentences. Of. Only. One. Or two. Words // I REALLY INTENSELY DISLIKE THIS. It makes the story feel like a halted confession instead of a flow of words. It makes it nearly impossible for me to connect to the character, or to feel like I’m moving along in the story. It makes me feel like I’m a fish trying to swim upstream. 

Unhealthy relationships // I’d like to think that I’ve grown a lot in the past years, and have learned to actually see the problematic aspects in (fictional) relationships. That I have learned to separate that from how cute the author makes the story seem at times. Now, I do notice. And I despise. There is no need to romanticize someone being manipulative and abusive, whether that’s physically or mentally. I have read books in the past that I’ve loved, and now know are really unhealthy. No more though. Let’s talk about healthy relationships more.

Horror about spiders and clowns // What’s that cloud over there? It’s me, leaving a dust trail running away as fast as I can. Clowns really freak me out. There is just something intensely creepy about that painted face. I feel the same way about people in those adult-sized suits used for advertising. Freaks me out. Also: spiders. HAHAHAHA NO. 

Announcement: A Mini Hiatus?

It’s been a while since I’ve had to write a post like this. About a year, I think? Maybe a little less. I’m here to announce a (mini) hiatus I’ll be taking for the next couple of weeks.

Why am I taking a hiatus?

I’ve mentioned in my previous wrap ups that I’m moving soon. That soon is coming up fast, and there is just so much to do. Aside from my job, and the move, I’ll also be taking driving classes the next couple of weeks. For now, all of this is just a bit much to juggle. Especially as my weekends are also filled with family get togethers: Easter, birthdays and pretty soon a “lentefeest” celebration (which is basically like the non-religious version of communion?). 

When I have that much to do (and so many people to see), my mental health is the first thing to suffer. So I’m actively taking a step away from my blog and channel for a while so I can focus on feeling okay.

Will there be no more posts from me?

I still have a few posts scheduled, so those will obviously be going up. And I might be inspired to write a review, and want to post that one immediately. So you’ll probably still be seeing some posts go up. It just won’t be the usual amount at all. I might be inspired, and write. But I might just also take a break. 

When will I be back? 

At this point, I can’t give you a precise date. I’m moving in the first few weeks of May, and that’s also when the family get-togethers and the driving lessons (+exam) are. So I might be back in the second half of May. But I might also need some time to recover from that hectic period and only be fully back at the end of May or the beginning of June. I quite honestly don’t know. 

Don’t worry though, it won’t be complete silence on here. I will try to update you all once in a while so I don’t feel completely out of touch. 

Will I still be active on social media?

Yes. I’m not taking a social media break. At least, not right now. So you’ll still be able to find me on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads! I will still be reading, so I will posts updates on there. Especially Goodreads. I update my reading religiously there, you know that. 


A big hug from me, and I will talk to you next time. Whenever that may be. 

Top Ten Tuesday: What Will Make Me Want to Pick Up a Book Instantly?

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week I will make a list of 10 books, authors or other bookish things surrounding a certain topic. This week, we’re talking about the things that make us want to pick up a book. Favorite tropes, I guess you could call this?

Heists & Cons // The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch // I love intricate heists and cons, so if that’s what’s mentioned in the summary, I will buy it. I don’t just mean Locke Lamora by this. Other great examples are: Six of Crows, The Legend of Eli Monpress, and Heist Society.

The “Chosen One” // Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling // Whether it’s an actual prophecy or someone with a special skill almost no one else has, I’m here for it. I know this trope is overused, and can turn out awful at times. But I have to admit I still adore it. Other examples include: Lord of the Rings, Eragon, Mistborn, Percy Jackson, The Bone Witch, A Darker Shade of Magic…

Prophecies // Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan // I just realized this while typing the previous trope, but I actually love stories centered around a prophecy! I love trying to figure out how it will turn out according to the prophecy, or trying to decipher the ambiguous verses. Other examples include Harry Potter, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, …

Training/Magic Schools // Carry On by Rainbow Rowell // I think this is a trope many of us love. Being trained or taught at a school always has this fun vibe to it! Other examples: Harry Potter, The Exiled Queen, Night Angel, … 

Girl Disguises as Boy // Paladin (Paladin #1) by Sally Slater // I don’t know where my love for this trope comes from, but I absolutely adore it. Maybe it stems from watching She’s the Man? Other examples: Eon, A Game of Thrones, Leviathan, The Lord of the Rings, Scarlet.

Thieves and Assassins // Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan // I love stories on thieves and assassins and mercenaries, mostly because of the characters. Morally grey, and so interesting. Other examples include Night Angel, Throne of Glass, Seven Realms series, the Alchemists of Loom, Grave Mercy, … 

Dragons // Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers #) by Rachel Aaron // I adore dragons, and I want to read every dragon story. Ever. They’re just so majestic, and powerful, and intelligent. Other examples include: A Game of Thrones, Eragon, The Alchemists of Loom, The Hobbit, etc. 

Diverse reads // The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli // I’ve really been trying to make an effort of reading more diversely, no matter the genre! Other examples: The Song of Achilles, The Best We Could Do, Cinder & Ella, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Bone Witch, Six of Crows, Radio Silence, Him, etc. 

WWII Historical Fiction // The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah // I have read a bit of WWII historical fiction, and I always want to read more. It’s not too long ago that it seems so far removed to me, yet it’s also a period in which a lot of what happened has been forgotten already. Other examples: The Book Thief, Salt to the Sea, All the Light We Cannot See.

Serial killers // I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #) by Barry Lyga // I have been intrigued by serial killers for years. I guess it all started when I started watching Criminal Minds? I’ve read a few true crime books over the years, but I also really enjoy mysteries and thrillers centered around serial killers. Other examples: Black-Eyed Susans, The Surgeon, Faces of Evil, Career of Evil. 


Those are 10 themes and tropes I will always want to pick up! Tell me, what are your favorite themes? Which books would you recommend me based on these 10 themes?

Weekly Wrap Up | April 16th, 2017

what i read 80c8b0

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz // DNF // I DNFed this book at about 62%. I’ve explained all of my thoughts on it in a review though so if you haven’t seen that yet, you can find it here. 

Assassin’s Quest (Farseer #3) by Robin Hobb // ★★★★★ // A #TomeTopple read! I adored this book. It has gone on to my favorites-shelf immediately. I really want to read more about Fitz and the Fool, but I’ll have to wait and read the other series first so I don’t read them out of order. 

The Spy by Paulo Coelho // Read in translation: De Spion, translated by Piet Janssen // ★★★★ // I picked this up because I saw Bree (Bree Hill on YouTube) talk about it. I had never really read anything about Mata Hari, so I wanted to give it a go. I adored the writing! It was beautiful, and I wanted to highlight so many passages. I didn’t though, because I have a library copy… But there were so many aspects of her life that were completely glossed over and unexplained. I couldn’t give it more than 4 stars because of the unanswered questions, but I also couldn’t lower my rating because I did adore the writing. 4 it is.

what i watched 80c8b0

Season 4 of Skam has started, and I am all in. I’m still sad international fans have to go to such lengths to be able to watch it, but I also truly love this show. I think it is my favorite show, to be honest. This is by far the most honest, realistic and beautiful show on high school teenagers I have ever seen. Season 4 is all about Sana, and I am 100% for it. Sana is the Muslim girl wearing a hijab in the picture above. I’m just loving her perspective so far, and I think this season will teach me a lot about her -but also about Islam in general.

in real life 80c8b0

What happened in real life? 

I’m getting ready for my move in a few weeks. Because I don’t really have any vacation days, I pack up slowly during the weekends. Yesterday, I put all (fine, MOST of) the books I’ve read into boxes… I can’t put my unread ones in yet. I know I will never be able to read them before the move, but what if I want to read a specific one and it’s already in a box?? No. 

We’re celebrating Easter today with my dad’s side of the family, and tomorrow with my mom’s. Lots of family celebrating going on! And chocolate. Obviously.


That was my week! How was yours? Did you read, watch or do anything fun?

(DNF) Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

the-inexplicable-logic-of-my-lifeThe Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Rating: DNF at 62% – N/A
Goodreads

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.

Synopsis: Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

review

Before I start with my thoughts on this book, I want to say this: I would still recommend you pick this up. There is a sore lack of diverse and #ownvoices books out there, so I want to support each one being published. This one is no exception. Benjamin Alire Sáenz is also the author of one of my favorite books ever, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I beg you to pick that one up if you haven’t. The biggest reason I didn’t get along with this book was the writing in this particular one, but that is so subjective. So please, give this a go still. I don’t want my review to scare any readers off. 


I was insanely excited to read this book. Like I said, Ari and Dante is one of my favorite books of all time. That book really gripped me, and I was so emotionally attached to both of the characters. Needless to say, I was over the moon when I got approved for this copy. 

First, let me start on what I liked about the book. 

I liked that this book talks about family. The family dynamics were so beautiful, and it made me smile. Salvador was adopted by his father, a Mexican-American guy. Salvador himself is white, but hates it when people say that because it makes him feel like he’s not actually part of their family. Which of course, he is. I really like how that raises some questions, at least it did for me. How someone can still be strongly immersed in one culture, and identify with it. That culture and ethnicity is not always the same, and how they are validated differently. Salvador’s father is an amazing guy, and I want to hug hum forever. I also liked seeing his extended family, such as his mima. Yet this book also included families that weren’t so good, and in different ways. Some are emotionally distant, and others have left their kids to raise themselves. 

I liked that this book wasn’t a romance story, but rather one of self-discovery and friendship. Again, friendships are so important to most people, whether “in real life” (I hate that saying) or online. Sam and Salvador have been friends for years, and that’s a beautiful thing to me, to see how much they care about each other. 

I liked the diversity here. Well, I didn’t like it, I loved it. I adored reading about Sal’s mima teaching Sam how to make tortilla’s from scratch. I loved watching Vicente (Sal’s dad) make tacos when he was upset. It’s the routine things of your life that calm you, and I found this truly amazing to read about. Then there is diversity of sexuality in here. Sal’s dad is gay, and so is Fito (one of Sal’s friends). I really enjoyed how it showed how comfortable they are with their sexuality, which unfortunately still isn’t possible for everyone out there today. Yet I also think it is important to show the awful side of being “different”: the rude comments, for example. Unfortunately, most LGBTQIA+ people have to deal with this, and I think Sáenz did a great job adding it to his novel.

Those are all reasons for you to read this book. Which is also why I still recommend it to you. But I have to be honest on my blog, and state the reasons I decided to not finish it. 

I didn’t like the writing. The sentences were extremely short, and constantly repeated themselves. Honestly, some sentences consisted of only one or two words. And that choppy writing took me out of the story. I find it hard to relate to a character when this type of writing is used, because it doesn’t feel like I am reading his thoughts? It feels more like Sal is a robot, and I’m reading what he observes. Because the writing was so hard for me to connect to, it also made it harder to connect to the characters. This story is about Sal’s life. It’s not plot driven whatsoever, it’s entirely character-centered. And for me, getting through a character driven book without being attached to anyone is impossible. 

I didn’t like some of the things Sal said or did. I had seem some reviewers state that some of the sentences in here were quite problematic and offensive, which made me curious. After all, it’s an #ownvoices book. I do know that diverse books can still be offensive! No one’s experiences are the same after all, and I was wondering how I would think of this book. And I have to agree that some sentences here were problematic. Such as “for a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight”. What does that even mean? Or “One of the great things about Sam was that she didn’t throw like a girl.” NO, NO, NO. And there was also the moment Sam says that Sal “is not like other guys”, which is basically the male equivalent of “you’re not like all the other girls”. I despise it. And lastly, I don’t like how this dealt with attempted rape and sexual assault at all.

Edit: As Cee stated in the comments, I can’t really pass judgment on the sentence ‘for a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight’. This is an #ownvoices book, and can’t speak for Benjamin Alire Sáenz’ experiences, nor the meaning of this sentence. For me, as a straight person, this sentence is hard to understand and seems offensive. I have read quite a few reviews on this book, but I don’t think I have found an #ownvoices review. If you have read this book/sentence, and understand his experiences/what he means by this, I would love to talk about it with you. Or if you have seen a reviewer/the author explain! 

I didn’t like Sam. I know, I just said that I loved the fact this book is centered around friendship. And that’s true. I just don’t think their friendship is entirely healthy? She basically badgered him until he told her everything, even things he didn’t want to talk about. I also feel like Sal’s personality got lost in hers. She was pretty much the only think he talked or thought about. You can be great friends without being so dependent on each other… 


It’s safe to say that I personally felt disappointed by this. For all the reasons I mentioned above. Yet I’d still say to give it a go. Not just because I want to treasure diverse and #ownvoices books. But also because this author wrote one of my favorite books ever, and I don’t ever want to forget that.