On Giving Authors a “Second Chance” | Inspired by The Infernal Devices

Today, I’m writing a kind of different post for you all. I guess you could say it’s a discussion post -or maybe it’ll just end up being me rambling about authors and series to you. As you can see from the title, I was inspired to write this post after finishing The Infernal Devices trilogy, by Cassandra Clare. 

Here’s the thing. I have never made a secret of the fact that I am definitely not a fan of her The Mortal Instruments series (pictured above). I’ve only included the covers for the first 4 books, because those are the only ones I’ve read. I was really put off by this series (although I quite enjoy the TV show), and I feel like that’s mostly due to the characters. I didn’t connect to Clary, Jace or Simon. I wasn’t invested in their story. I felt like it was too dramatic -honestly, how many horrible/weird things can happen to two people?? Overall, I’m one of those people who feel like this series should have ended at book 3. 

I’m sorry if you love this series, but that’s just the way I feel. Now, flashback to 2013, when I read Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, the first book in her Infernal Devices trilogy. 

I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed the first book in this series. Yet I heard/saw a spoiler in a BookTube video on part of the ending (although it wasn’t all that much, now I’ve read it for myself). After that spoiler, I didn’t feel like continuing the trilogy soon. 

After reading that book, and deciding I didn’t want to continue soon, I read some pretty amazing books. 2013 was the year in which I picked up reading again. So when I thought about continuing the trilogy, I was hesitant. Here’s why. 

“I didn’t really like her TMI series -the drama, the characters, etc. And I’ve read so many amazing books since, my reading standards have increased so much. So I probably won’t really like the trilogy now. Plus, I already know that spoiler I saw…”

Those were my reasons for not continuing. Plus the fact that reading her books is so confusing. There are so many books and novellas set in the Shadowhunter world. IN WHICH ORDER DO YOU READ THEM? 

But then this thought crossed my mind. 

I really couldn’t care less if someone spoiled me for the ending of The Mortal Instruments. I’d kind of like to know how it ends, but I can’t be bothered with reading them. Yet I would be upset if someone spoiled even more of the ending of The Infernal Devices for me. 

So if I’d get upset at a spoiler, I must still be interested in reading it. Last week, I decided to give it a go, and pick up Clockwork Prince. I’m so glad I did. I ended up absolutely loving the story line and characters. In fact, I was invested enough to continue immediately with the final book, Clockwork Princess. 

Having finished this trilogy today (Sunday 29.05), I’m so glad I gave Cassandra Clare another go. True, her TMI series is not for me. But that doesn’t mean none of her books are -even if they are set in the same world. I ended up absolutely adoring the characters. I laughed, I was angry -and I even go watery eyes. I will remember some of these characters for a while to come, especially Jem. 

Yet here is my problem. I want to try and read more of her work, but don’t know where to start or what to do. For example, I don’t want to read TMI. Yet I need to know how it ends. I love Magnus, but I dislike the other TMI characters. So should I read The Bane Chronicles? The Shadowhunter Academy novellas? Lady Midnight? The only thing I know for sure, is that I’ll probably give the adult books she is going to write about Magnus a try. I do love Magnus. 


Have you ever given an author whose work you didn’t enjoy a second try? If so, did you end up enjoying it? Which author was it? And of course, if you have any advice on what to do with my issue on which of her books to read mentioned above, help me! 

Why I Don’t Understand The Term “Young Adult” Anymore

I have been thinking about this topic for quite a while, but I haven’t really made a post about it. I guess I was afraid people would take this post the wrong way? I want to say that I am not bashing YA books, or its readers. I read books marketed as YA often too, so I have absolutely no problem with the books themselves. What I do have a bit of an issue with, is the fact that it’s named YA (young adult). Hear me out. 

Apparently, according to the American Library Association defines the YA category as aged between 12 and 18. That is absolutely ridiculous to me. I would classify that as “teen fiction”. However, I guess that doesn’t sound as great? To start my reasoning as to why this should be called teen fiction, I’ll show you some definitions. 

AdultA person who is fully grown or developed or of age; a person who has attained the age of maturity as specified by law.

That right there says it all. A young adult is in fact an adult. A person who recently became an adult. To me, this should mean that young adult should be categorized as 18-25 (or so). Because that’s when you are of age, in the eyes of the law, and you need to start making the most important decisions of your life. 

You decide what you want to study. Which job you want. How to apply for jobs. How to live on your own. How to do the washing without shrinking or dying anything by accident. How to stay organized. Basically, how to adult. You need to learn all these things, because before you were most likely living with your parent(s). 

Being a young adult is about figuring out things on your own. And I know that high school can be a lot of work and stress. You won’t hear me deny that. But it’s NOT the same thing! Don’t get me wrong, but in modern society, there isn’t a single 13 year old who would be classified as a young adult. Gone are the days when you are an adult at 13 because you are married off at that age. You can’t do that anymore, because it’s against the law. Why? Because you are still a minor, and thus not an adult. 

I am now 21 years old. Although I’ll be turning 22 in September. I am about to graduate university. I have to start looking for jobs, and afterwards, a place to live. If I move countries, I’ll have to figure out all that paperwork. When I read a contemporary YA book, I want to read about women and men who are going through the same things. Yet I never can while reading YA, because that has now turned into teen fiction. 

Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against what I’d call teen fiction. It’s just so frustrating to me that the only times I can really read about someone my own age in contemporaries, it’s in a “new adult” book. I  like new adult. I do. But it’s usually about dramatic relationships and sex. Why can’t we have the YA topics too? We are also trying to figure out our lives! 

I am going to stop now before I write 10 pages. I’m just so angry about feeling forgotten. The adult fiction usually stars people from age 30-35+, and young adult barely ever reaches 18. Where are the 20-somethings? What do we get? 


What do you think about this? Do you feel like the categorization is right, or do you think teen fiction is a better word for it? 

Should I Read the Synopsis First?

Today, I’m going to talk about a topic I’ve been having mixed feelings on: reading the synopsis before starting a book. I both feel like I have to, and feel like I shouldn’t have afterwards. Let me explain.

I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD BECAUSE…

IT’S THE BEST WAY TO KNOW WHETHER A BOOK APPEALS TO YOU. Let’s be honest, most of the time when I read the synopsis, I can tell whether this is a book I’ll enjoy or not. Sometimes, I can tell by a few sentences in the synopsis that I won’t enjoy the book because of some tropes. How else would you be able to tell? Not from the genre alone, because there are many fantasy books I won’t enjoy. 

IT HELPS ME PICK A BOOK TO READ AS I’M A MOOD READER. I’ve discovered that the best way to figure out what I want to read at the moment is to read the synopsis. Then I can tell: Oh, I feel like reading this today. I guess I could remedy this by reading the first few sentences of a book?

I FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE STARTING A BOOK IF I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT IT’S ABOUT. This applies mostly to epic fantasy. I guess because there is so much unknown when you read an epic fantasy book: the characters, the world and so on. So I feel like with that genre, I need a foothold. I need to know at least SOMETHING before reading, otherwise I feel so lost in the first few pages. 

I FEEL LIKE I SHOULDN’T BECAUSE…

IT’S SO EXCITING TO JUMP INTO A STORY WITHOUT PREJUDICE. On multiple occasions, I’ve been a tad disappointed in a book because I was expecting something different due to the synopsis. For example, the book Raven I recently read and reviewed. The synopsis mentioned that Raven was a reaper, so I was imaging some Supernatural-style being that shows up to the dying to guide them. But in fact, it was more like an assassin with morals? I feel like I might have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t known that. 

IT CAN REVEAL WAY TOO MUCH. I absolutely despise reading a book and waiting for something I know will happen, to happen. Did you understand that? It seemed like a confusing sentence. But at times, I’ll read the synopsis which states: this character goes through this situation. What will happen? And then I’ll be 50% in the book and the situation still hasn’t occurred yet! DON’T PUT IT IN THE SYNOPSIS THEN! It drives me mad. Is it really that hard to keep a spoiler out of 1 paragraph?


Do you agree with my viewpoints on reading a synopsis? Do you read them, or not? I’d love to hear about it!

Can I Change My Rating, Or Should I Re-read?

Today, I have a question for you. Or a discussion? I guess that depends on how you look at it. I keep Excel files on my reading, because I like to feel organized. So last week, I was really happy to see that I had managed to review every single book I had read in 2016. Isn’t that great? I reviewed everything! The euphoria and pride was out of this world. But then I opened a different Excel tab called “books to review from 2015”. Yes, I had 28 books I read in 2015, I had never reviewed. I wanted to take on the challenge and start writing reviews on those too! Then I encountered a problem… 

I didn’t agree with my ratings anymore.

For example, the Falling Kingdoms series. I read book 1-3 last year, but never reviewed them. When I looked at my ratings, I gave them a 4.5, 3.5 and 4. Because at the time, while I didn’t love them, I did enjoy them. However, when I think of them now, I consider them more 3 to 3.5 star books. Here’s where my question comes in: can I just change my rating, or does that warrant a re-read first? Here are some of the arguments. 

I should re-read first because…

As it’s been a while since I read them, I am only basing this on memory. But what if I just forgot a lot of stuff I enjoyed? What if time distorted my view, and I really did enjoy them that much? I feel like I should re-read them because it may be unfair to rate a book simply based on distant memory. 

At the time, that seemed like the right rating for them. So without re-reading, how can I really say that I’m 100% sure I’d enjoy them less now, or rate them lower? I can’t be 100% sure of that. 

Basically, it feels like the only honest way to change a rating. How can I base it on a distant memory, or say that I believe I’d feel differently now? 

I shouldn’t re-read first because…

Let’s be real, I don’t have time to re-read each novel. I’m hesitant about quite a few of my previous ratings, but I simply can’t find the time to re-read them all.

Even if it’s distant memory and I can’t be 100% sure, if I can sum up reasons as to why I’d change my rating, shouldn’t that be enough? Let’s keep with the Falling Kingdoms example. Now, I think that it wasn’t really that captivating as I have no burning desire to continue the series. I found some of the characters boring, and others creepy -and not in an interesting way. Overall, I think it is massively overhyped -although it’s definitely not bad (don’t shoot me!). Shouldn’t all those reasons be enough to change my rating? I don’t feel like re-reading them all, just because I believe I wouldn’t enjoy them as much. 


So, what do you think? Should I re-read first? Should I just change it? Should I mention in the review I’ll write that I’ve changed my ratings? Make a comparison between just-finished-rating and a-year-later-rating? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and maybe you could even help me out of my dilemma.

Does My Mood Reading Affect the Format I Read In?

I have four formats I tend to read in: hard copies (either from my shelves or the library), audio books, using my e-reader or using the Kindle app

I have always known I am a mood reader. That’s the biggest reason I don’t make monthly TBR piles. I already know it won’t work and I’ll end up having read none of the books on my list. I’m trying to do seasonal TBRs because then I have about 3 months to read 10 book, and even that never works out. And I have learned to love that quality in myself. It’s how I keep reading fun, because I never know what I’ll pick up next -or which gem I’ll discover next. 

However, when I looked at my 2015 reading in my Excel sheet (yes, I do keep those) I noticed a trend. Several trends in fact. I went through periods of reading almost exclusively in one format. For example, in August 2015 I listened to several audio books in a row, while I hadn’t listened to any before. I didn’t read any physical copies in between or any digital copies either. Then I went through a phase of reading several books on my Kindle app. Again, I didn’t read any other formats during that phase. At the moment, I’m going through a hard copy phase. I don’t want to pick up a digital copy or listen to an audio book.

I never noticed this trend in my reading before. But I think it even gets to a point in which I won’t pick up a certain book because I don’t feel like reading said format. How can a format affect my reading so much? I do love all 4 formats I use. Yet sometimes, I can’t get myself to pick up a digital copy. I just want a physical one. 

If I’m not in the mood for a certain format, I usually can’t get myself to concentrate on it. For example, if I’m not in the mood for an audio book but force myself to listen to one, I discover after an hour that I haven’t retained anything from the story. At all. If I read a Kindle book when I’m not in the mood for it -like right now with A Gathering of Shadows- I can’t get myself to pick my tablet back up once I’ve put it down. I’ve been looking forward to A Gathering of Shadows for about a year, yet I can’t get myself to continue reading it. Just because it’s on my Kindle app, and I want to read a physical copy right now. 

Am I the only one this happens to? Is this some extreme form of mood reading? Am I going to end up buying a book in every format, just to be sure? No, that would be so incredibly expensive, seriously. 

So here is my question: are you a mood reader? Do you read in different formats? If you do, does it affect your reading?

Why Don’t I Read in My Own Language?

This topic has been on my mind for quite a long time. Often, when people (in real life) ask me about my love for reading, they are surprised to hear that I only read in English. I barely ever read anything in Dutch anymore. I don’t think I’ve read a fiction novel in Dutch in years. I do have my reasons for this, but at times I do feel bad for ignoring novels in Dutch. Here are the reasons I read in English. 

I prefer to read books in their original language whenever I can. Obviously, that’s not always possible because I only speak a few languages. However, I prefer to read a book in its original language. I find that a lot can get lost in translation: jokes, witty banter, wordplay, etc. Those are all aspects of books that I happen to adore, yet they don’t do well with translation. It just so happens that almost all of the books I’m interested in reading are written by English speaking authors. 

I feel like I wouldn’t be able to review a Dutch book for my blog. My blog is in English,  yes. Most of my readers do not speak Dutch. And therefore, it would feel pointless to review Dutch/Belgian books? Even if I write the review in English, you’d still not be able to read it unless it got translated later on (which I don’t think happens very often). My blog is very important to me. Especially since I’ve had less time to read lately, I want to make it an objective to review every book I read.  

I feel more comfortable when I’m speaking (or reading) English. I know that sounds strange. After all, it’s not my first language. But I find it much easier to express myself in English. Explaining your feelings just feels so much more genuine in English. I don’t know what it is. 

But at the same time I feel so guilty at times. I feel like I’m abandoning Belgian writers. I feel like I’m disappointing my home country and language. I do love Dutch. It’s just that some things tend to sound really cheesy and weird in Dutch, while they’re normal or romantic in English. Maybe I’m not appreciative enough of Dutch. The one thing is that I would never read a book from a Dutch-speaking author translated. Like I said, I do prefer the original languages. 


Do you have this “problem” as well with your language? Or if your native language is English, have you read books that were originally written in other languages? 

Should I Always Mention Spoiler Free?

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about for a long time. When I write my reviews, they are always spoiler free. Even if it is a sequel in a series, I will usually write my reviews so you won’t get spoiled for the previous books. If it’s a sequel, I won’t even include a synopsis in my review posts because that’s already a spoiler to those who haven’t read the first book. 

I have noticed that when I review a book, especially if it’s a sequel in a series, I get more views (and thus more people reading my post) when I mention spoiler-free in the title. Yet I feel kind of silly doing so, because I always take care to be spoiler-free. So it feels redundant to mention it every time. It seems like a much better system if I just use the words “spoiler review” or “spoiler discussion” when I actually do include spoilers, so only people who have read the book would read it. 

When reviewing a sequel in a series, I often avoid saying anything about the plot, because that is an actual spoiler for the first book. I just describe the pacing, the characters (and their possible development), the vibe this book gave me, how much I enjoyed it, whether I’d recommend the series and so on. Yet I know that not every blogger chooses to do so (which is their right obviously). So to me, it is obvious that my review is spoiler free. But to readers, it may not be…

My point is, I feel silly adding the term “spoiler-free” to every review title. I would never write a normal review with spoilers, because spoilers are the spawn of Satan. Yet it seems that more people will read my review if I do add it… Shouldn’t every review be spoiler free unless explicitly mentioned? 

What do you think? Should I always add spoiler free to my reviews, even though they are ALWAYS spoiler free? Have you noticed the same trend in your reviews?

P.S. I have never written the word “spoiler” so often in 30 minutes.

Discussion: Being Too Independent?

I thought about this question while I was reading Sacrificed (The Last Oracle #1) by Emily Wibberley. I talked a bit about it in my review of the novel, which you can find here. There is so much more I wanted to say on the topic though, so I decided to make a full discussion.

The basic question of this discussion is: Can a character be too independent?

Let me talk you through my thought process.

INDEPENDENCE IS IMPORTANT. 

You will never see me denying this. I would definitely describe myself as an independent person. Throughout the week, I live on my own (well, I do have a roommate) and I enjoy the freedom it allows me. I love to cook for myself. To do the grocery shopping. To write out to-do-lists of what you actually have to get done during the week. I have a basic knowledge of repairing things, enough to mostly get by on my own when something breaks or stops working. 

I think all of this is extremely important. You should be able to take care of yourself! And I have always been proud of my ability to do so. If you drop me in a different country, I’ll get by fine. I maybe won’t speak the language, but I’ll make myself understood. It’s a good quality to have. Being self-sufficient has always been an important aspect of my life

I mainly read fantasy novels, and I have been noticing a trend in both fantasy, dystopian, paranormal and even contemporary books. Especially in YA. The main character is always described as fiercely independent. At first, I loved this. Imagine me reading on my couch, screaming: YES! YOU GOT THIS! And while I do admire a character who is able to defend themselves or achieve whatever it is they want to, I have a problem with characters who don’t or can’t seem to accept help from others. 

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO (BE ABLE TO) DO EVERYTHING.

This is a fact. No one is good at everything. It’s impossible. And that’s okay! That’s why we learn from others, why we ask for help. 

The trend I have been noticing is that the main character feels the need to do everything themselves. They are the hero after all, aren’t they? So they should save the world ALL BY THEMSELVES! No. 

You won’t be the smartest, fittest and strongest person in the room. Maybe you are really good at solving riddles, puzzles and seeing connections. Maybe you’re very good in combat or martial arts. Maybe you have the ability to stay calm under intense pressure. Maybe you are so charming you can talk people into pretty much anything. All those are qualities protagonists seem to have, especially in speculative fiction. But one person can’t be all of these! While you can be good at several things, it is pretty much impossible to be the best at all of them. 

ASK FOR HELP.

This is my main point. It bothers me that authors sometimes seem to believe they have to make their main character do everything by themselves. Asking for someone’s help, especially when that person is better at the needed skill than you are, is not a flaw. It is a good quality. As we can’t do everything equally well, we should surround ourselves with others who complement us. Who can add something to the table. And when a certain problem falls in their area of expertise, we should feel free to ask for their help. 

That is why I have always loved Harry, Ron and Hermione. We can all agree that Harry would not have survived his first year at Hogwarts without those two. Why? Because Hermione is incredibly smart, and loves to learn and read. She helps with logic, with knowledge. Ron’s loyalty and even his skill at chess helped Harry get to the Philosopher’s Stone. Harry always admitted that he wouldn’t have been able to do a third of the things he accomplished on his own. AND THAT’S OKAY! 

SET YOUR CHARACTER UP FOR SUCCESS. 

My point is that any character, and person, would fare so much better if they surrounded themselves with capable people, and accepted their help. No, you don’t need to save the world on your own. Also, you can’t. You’ll fail and everybody will die. Just because you were to proud to ask “how would you do this?” or “can you help me?”. Don’t try to be too independent. Don’t be stubborn and try to do everything on your own. Don’t make your characters do this. 


 What do you think? Can a character be too independent? Or is there no such thing? 

Discussion: Is Our Community Missing Out on Amazing Books?

Today, I’m writing a discussion post. It’s been a long time since I’ve done one but this idea has been stuck in my head so I finally decided to talk about it here. As I’m writing this introduction for this post, I haven’t decided on a title yet because I can’t quite find the right words. Maybe it will help to write this all out first though. 

This discussion is about our wonderful book blogging community -or the vlogging community if you will, makes no difference. There are many things I love about it. SO MANY. However, this one “consequence” of our amazing community has been stuck in my head. Namely, we all read a lot of the same books. Obviously, many of us read different genres, prefer different genres. But for each genre, there are books that we all read. The well-known authors that everyone would recognize, for example: 

  • Fantasy (adult): Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss
  • Fantasy (YA): Sarah J. Maas, Rae Carson, V.E. Schwab, J.K. Rowling, Maggie Stiefvater
  • Retellings: Marissa Meyer, Rick Riordan 
  • Romance: Colleen Hoover, J. Lynn, Abbi Glines
  • Paranormal YA: Richelle Mead, Jennifer L. Armentrout

You get what I mean? There are certain authors that we all read. I feel like somehow, we all manage to talk about a lot of the same books. And while that is an amazing thing for so many reasons (because then we can all gush about them!), I also feel like it’s kind of a missed opportunity. Because there are so many books out there. What if we are all collectively missing out on them? 

The main reasons I thought of this are:

  • When I go through my feed of all your wonderful blogs, I find myself gravitating to reviews of books I recognize. So I am unconsciously doing the same! Choosing to read about books I know, rather than getting to know those I don’t. 
  • In the past week, I’ve written two reviews on books that aren’t really well known: Before He Finds Her and Empire in Black and Gold. And it’s so sad to see that those are posts that almost no one seems to read. It’s always sad to see a review going almost unread. But then reviews on more famous books are read and sometimes commented on. 

So I find myself here: wondering how to change this, in myself as well. Because I’m definitely guilty of doing this too. How do I stop unconsciously choosing only to read about books I recognize, rather than get to know different books? And how do I get people to read a review about a book they don’t know? 

I love that we all read the same books because it means that when we find an amazing book, other bloggers read it too and we can all gush about the amazing-ness and hopefully have more people buy and read that book. But what about all of the books that aren’t as well-known in our community? How do we introduce them?


What do you think about this? Do you agree? If you’ve written a review about a lesser-known book, let me know so I can check it out and try to better myself!

Personal Post & Discussion | Anxiety about the future

Hi everyone! Today, I’m writing a personal post, which I think can also be looked at as a discussion. Why, you ask? I’m pretty sure that absolutely everyone has experienced anxiety about their future before. I firmly believe that discussing anxiety or something that stresses you out with others who have experienced the same can help you deal. So here I am, talking to you about the fears that have bubbled up in the past few months. 

So, last week I got some exciting news: I graduated and received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. YAY! I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already. Now, in Belgium it is usual to do a follow-up master’s degree immediately after finishing your bachelor. And I am doing that. However, I realized that the master for my degree only takes one year. So this time next year, I would have to start looking for a job. HOW TERRIFYING IS THAT?

Now, here are some reasons as to why I am so afraid of that next chapter in my life:

1. I don’t even know what kind of work I would like to do. With my degree, I can go in so many directions! I could work in a bank, which I don’t want to, work in any marketing, human resources or management departments and so on. There are so many options! How am I supposed to know which one is for me? I am going to do an internship this summer in London -which is SO exciting- and I’ll be working in the publicity department of a publisher. I’m so excited for it, and maybe it will help me decide on a course.

2. Then there is the big question: WHERE do I want to work? I don’t know. As some of you may know, I am born and raised in Belgium and still live there. However, I want to work in a country where English is the native language. I am quite sure I want to work in publishing, and English just feels more natural to me. I know that’s weird as Dutch is my native language. But there is just something about the English language that makes it easy to express yourself. I’m going to be honest: I would love to live and work in the US. If that’s not possible, I’ll happily take the UK though.

It’s the big question of where that gives me most of my anxiety. Because how do I even start looking for a job in the US? Should I move there first and then look? Or secure a job first and then move? And how does that work? Another thought that haunts me is why any American employer would hire me, while there are so many equally qualified people already in the US? I mean, English isn’t even my native language. ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS HAUNT ME. I’m on to my hopefully last year of studying and I haven’t figured out an answer to any of these questions. It scares the hell out of me every single day. 

I feel like there is so much pressure on young people. We have to decide in high school already where we want to take our lives. In Belgium, you have to choose between a certain set of set programs. For example, I took Latin for 1 year, then Greek-Latin for 1, than Latin-Science for 2 and finally Modern Languages-Science for the last 2. We kind of count 6 years as high school, from 12-18. When you have chosen a program, your courses are set. There is no choosing. However, now I have studied a bachelor’s degree in economics at my university. How was I supposed to know what I wanted at 12 or even 16. That’s a big decision!

So here are my questions for you. Have you ever experienced anything like this? I’d love to talk about it –but don’t feel like you HAVE to share, if you don’t want to. Do you have anxiety about your future? Or do you have any tips for me? Let’s talk about this, peeps!