books I keep pushing everyone to read (are these books my brand?)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is actually “books I refuse to let anyone touch”, but I don’t really have any books like that. Are there books I would only lend out with specific instructions to take care of them? Of course. That really only goes for my illustrated editions of Harry Potter, though.

Instead, I thought I would talk about the books I keep mentioning over and over again on this blog. Ones that have been on countless recommendations lists. I saw this video go around on BookTube where people were talking about the books that are their “brand”, which are really the books everyone associates with those specific vloggers. It seemed like a fun video, so why not create a blog post around it? Let’s get into the books!

Let me know whether you predicted any of these books to actually be on my list! I would love to know whether this is all in my head or not.

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence
Ever since I read this book at the start of 2018, I’ve been pushing it onto everyone here. I’ve mentioned it countless times, because I still feel like not enough people have read it. It’s a character-driven story that is action-packed at the same time, and follows a girl called Nona who is training to become a Red Sister – a nun of battle, basically. Also, 98% of the characters in this book are female. YES.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
While The Secret History is an incredibly popular novel in general, I feel like I don’t see it mentioned that often in the bookish community. Maybe I’m simply not following the people who also adore this book? Either way, everyone should read it. I know it may seem like an intimidating and somewhat snobbish read, but I promise you it’s worth it. Instead of the classic whodunnit, this novel is more of a whydunnit.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This is one of the only books on my shelves I’ve actually lent out to people “in real life”. I hate saying in real life, but I don’t know how else to convey what I mean. I’ve lent it out to family and friends, and recommended the translated novel to those in my life who don’t read in English. Everyone I have recommended it to has loved it so far, which says something, right? It’s a WWII historical fiction novel about two French sisters during the German occupation of France.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I’m sure the majority of you are sick and tired of seeing me mention The Song of Achilles. Guess what? I couldn’t care less. I’m going to keep talking about it until everyone has read it. It’s a retelling of the Iliad through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles’ best friend and partner.

I Hear the Sunspot volume 1 by Yuki Fumino
I Hear the Sunspot is a very recent addition to this list, because I only read it two months ago. The reason I’m adding it to this list is because I know I’ll keep recommending this manga for years to come. It’s absolutely wonderful. I became obsessed with it immediately, and binge-read the three English volumes available at the moment – as well as the unofficial translation of the next issues out so far. I NEED MORE INFORMATION ON WHEN THE NEXT ONES WILL BE RELEASED. This manga follows two guys at university. One of them offers to take notes for the other, who is hearing impaired, in exchange for lunch. They quickly develop a friendship, and more…

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Once again, I’ve talked about this book so often. Duh, Jolien, that’s what this entire list is about… To this day, Radio Silence is one of my favorite YA contemporary reads. It’s quietly brilliant. It has a biracial, bisexual main character who creates fanart for her favorite podcast and becomes friends with the podcasts’ creator, Aled. There is no romance between them whatsoever, which is refreshing.

Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan
I feel like I haven’t talked about these books in a while, even though that’s probably a lie. Michael J. Sullivan is one of my favorite fantasy authors so far, ever since I read Theft of Swords in 2015. This series has all the fantasy tropes I love, and I’ve become so attached to the two main characters.

Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop
How many times have I read Written in Red since first picking it up in 2013? I’ve marked it as read 4 times on Goodreads, but I know I’ve done re-reads of it without adding it to Goodreads. This urban fantasy series is absolutely fantastic. It has a large cast of characters, but the author manages to make you feel attached to every single one of them. There really aren’t any characters I don’t have any feelings on. Either I love them, hate them, want to protect them, want to kill them, or want to be them.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards #1) by Scott Lynch
Once again, I feel like I don’t need to explain why The Lies of Locke Lamora is on this list. I have been in love with this series for years, and am (im)patiently waiting for the next book to be released. It’s about the Gentleman Bastards, who rob both rich people and other robbers. It’s magnificent.

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco
I feel like I haven’t screamed about this series enough, to be honest. I absolutely adore it, yet I never even reviewed the second book? I recently read the last book in the trilogy, and will be reviewing it soon. It’s Asian-inspired YA fantasy, and reminds of of The Name of the Wind. It’s told in two timelines: one in which the main character discovers she’s a bone witch (Dark asha), and one in which she has been exiled from the kingdom and is raising an army of dead monsters to proclaim war.


Did you guess these correctly? Are there any books you feel I shouldn’t have put on this list, or ones that I should’ve added instead? Let me know! I find the idea of a “brand” as a book blogger quite interesting, because I want to know which books you all associate with me. Which books are your “brand”?  I’d love to hear about it!

book-to-movie adaptations I would recommend | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic of the week is ‘page to screen freebie’ which means we can choose any topic related to adaptations. I chose to talk about 10 movie adaptations of books I’ve read that I actually enjoyed. I found this quite difficult because there are a lot of movie adaptations I haven’t watched, books I haven’t read of movies that I have watched, or just adaptations I didn’t like. Looking at you, Eragon. However, I managed to come up with 10 I really liked. Let’s get into it!

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Annihilation is by far one of the weirdest movies I have seen in a while. While I liked the book, I have to admit I enjoyed watching the movie more. I’d highly recommend seeing it, if you haven’t already! Prepare to feel like you’re hallucinating for the last 15 minutes though. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Martian by Andy Weir
Listen, I loved reading The Martian. It’s a science fiction survival story with a good dose of humor – a combination that’s quite difficult to nail. I was terrified that the movie wouldn’t be able to reach the same level of enjoyment for me, but I shouldn’t have worried. While it wasn’t as great as the book, it was a fantastic adaptation.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
I don’t think I could ever make a list of favorite movie adaptations without putting The Lord of the Rings on it. These remain some of my all-time favorite movies, and I regularly rewatch them.

Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I haven’t watched the Narnia movies nearly as much as I have The Lord of the Rings, but they are still solid movies I’d recommend. Well, I don’t think I necessarily have to recommend these, because surely the majority of you have already seen them. This is a case in which I watched the movie before reading the book, and would highly recommend watching the movies instead. Not that the books are bad! The movie is just great.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians was one of my most anticipated book-to-movie adaptations in a long time. I listened to the audiobook while traveling, and absolutely loved it. Combined with the fact that it was the first Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast in decades, I was excited. I went to watch the movie in theaters with my friend, and we both adored it. I had read the book, she hadn’t. She did borrow my copy of the book afterwards though, since she wanted more time with the characters. Would highly recommend!

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
I honestly didn’t think I would love this movie. I never watched this movie growing up, or read the book, for that matter. I ended up reading the book a little while ago, and watching the adaptation immediately afterwards. They’re quite different but I loved both story lines.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
I think this is a given, no? I watched the movie adaptation of Jenny Han’s series immediately after its release on Netflix, and thought it was so adorable. I’ve only read the first book in the series, and I don’t think I’ll continue. I will, however, continue to watch the movies as they come out.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I think The Hunger Games is another series that’s always on best book-to-movie adaptations, and I agree with that choice. I haven’t actually watched the Mockingjay movies, but the first two were incredible. Especially Catching Fire.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I mentioned Love, Simon in my 2018 ranked post – movie edition. I watched it last year in May, and fell in love with it. It’s absolutely adorable, and I found myself smiling like an idiot throughout the majority of the movie. If somehow you haven’t watched this one yet, please do. I promise you’ll feel happy afterwards.

Het Engelenhuis by Dirk Brack – movie is called ‘Bo’
For my last choice, I went with a Belgian book and movie. I read Het Engelenhuis (the Angel House) as a teenager, and watched the movie when it came out in 2010. This is the story of a young girl who grows up in a poor family, and decides to start earning some money by becoming an escort like one of her friends. It quickly spirals out of control and she ends up in prostitution – all while being controlled by her “boyfriend”. She goes to juvie, and that’s where a big part of the story takes place.



Have you watched any of these movies? Which adaptations do you love?

characters that remind me of myself | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I knew this week’s topic would be difficult from the moment I read the prompt, because I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction novels in which the main characters are genius, courageous and impulsive people, which I’m definitely not. However, I’ll try my best to look for some characters that remind me of myself. Here are my picks for this week’s TTT!

 

Jasnah – The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson
While I was reading The Way of Kings, there was one passage in particular in which Jasnah reminded me of myself. In her world, being an atheist is unthinkable – people can’t understand the fact that Jasnah does not believe. Devotaries come to her all the time, trying to convince her of the fact that their religion is true. I’m not saying that I deal with this all the time. It’s not like every person I know is trying to change my religious beliefs – or lack thereof. Even still, I’ve always been very conscious of the fact that neither I nor anyone in my family really believes. I’ve never been able to find reason within religion, yet I’m not completely opposed to it either (if that makes any sense).

Leah – Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
I know that a lot of people were disappointed in this novel because they disliked Leah. I, on the other hand, saw a younger version of myself in her. Yeah, Leah wasn’t the nicest person. She held grudges for ridiculous reasons, and often felt left out by her friends – even when there was really no reason for it. That’s exactly what I was like as a teenager too. Am I proud of that today? No, of course not. I’ve grown as a person, and so will she. That doesn’t mean that we have to erase our pasts, and the mistakes we made though.

Filippa – If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
A few years ago, I came across this Tumblr post that really stayed with me. It was someone talking about how they always felt like the one additional person in a group, the one no one would really miss, or everyone would talk over at times. The one who always ends up walking alone when the sidewalk isn’t wide enough for everyone to walk side by side. I have always felt like that as well. I know that in many cases, that wasn’t actually true. In my mind, it was though. That’s why Filippa reminded me of myself in If We Were Villains. She’s someone who is easily overlooked, but doesn’t miss anything herself. She observes everything and knows it all, yet people don’t notice her.

He watches her leave, then asks, “How much does she know?” “She knows everything.” He frowns, eyes nearly disappearing beneath his thick brows. “People always forget about Filippa,” I add. “And later, they always wish they hadn’t.”

Elle – Geekerella by Ashley Poston
The reason why Elle reminded me of myself is not as deep or philosophical as the last one was, so don’t worry. I simply relate to Elle’s love for Starfield so much. Growing up, I adored Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Eragon. I still do. Becoming immersed in fandom was a huge part of my life, just like it is in Elle’s. I can also relate to her hearing news of a (new) movie adaptation and being wholly displeased with it. looking at you, Eragon.

Sylv – This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Unfortunately, this is quite a sad pick. If I remember correctly, one of Sylv’s immediate family members has dementia. While I can’t relate to having to take care of a family member who suffers from the disease, I do know what it’s like to one day see a person you love so much and have them not recognize you.

Frances – Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
One of the reasons I appreciate this book so much is because of Frances. I was over the moon to finally read a contemporary YA novel in which the main character is an introvert who would rather stay at home and immerse herself in her favorite stories, podcasts or hobbies than go partying. Even better, Alice Oseman shows us through Frances that if you are an introvert, you don’t need to change that integral part of you to have meaningful friendships and/or a happy and fulfilling life.


Like I mentioned earlier, it was very difficult to find characters in books I loved who reminded me of myself. I did manage to find 6 fictional people I feel a true connection with though, which is a surprising amount. I think I prefer to read about people who are very different from me. Escapism, right? Have you read any of these books? Are there any characters that remind you of yourself? 

10 books that made me think | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re talking about thought-provoking or inspirational books. I decided to go for 10 books that made me think, ones that sparked a discussion within me.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Probably a novel that will be on many people’s lists, but I couldn’t leave it out either. There’s a reason this book is so popular. Not only is the writing incredible, but it’s a brilliant look on the Black Lives Matter movement, and why there’s still such a long way to go in battling racism.

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee & Susan McClelland
Yes, this book makes you think because it’s a memoir of someone who escaped North Korea. He describes his life as a child, a poor orphan, in North Korea and what he had to do to survive on the streets. However, his life before escaping and his eventual escape aren’t the parts of this book that truly made me think. At the end of the book, Sungju Lee talks about what the world needs to do to prepare for a reunification, especially what South Korea and the West need to do. We always talk about how North Korea will have to adapt, but we always seem to neglect our duty when it comes to helping people integrate.

Night by Elie Wiesel
Another memoir, I know. Elie Wiesel is a survivor of the Holocaust, and this is a record of his memories of being deported to Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Honestly, it’s terrifying, brutal and awful – and a book everyone needs to read. It’s very short, so there’s no excuse not to pick it up.

Those who kept silent yesterday will remain silent tomorrow.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Time for a more light-hearted pick. One of the reasons I love Radio Silence is because of its discussion on education. Alice Oseman addresses how university isn’t the best option for everyone, and definitely isn’t the only way to a happy and “successful” life. I feel like we need to talk more about that here. I don’t know how we are all expected to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives at 18, but that’s basically how the world works in the West.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
The whole premise of this book is to give voice to the women affected by war. In the story of the Iliad, we never really talk about the fate of the women of conquered states. Their voices are always silenced. This novel is told through eyes of Briseis, and made me realize how skewed our vision of history truly is. We only tend to hear the side of the victor. History is so subjective, and I can’t imagine how many millions of voices have been silenced.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
This was such a funny, quick read yet it was thought-provoking at the same time. The story revolves around a woman who has been working in a convenience store for the past 18 years. It talks a lot about fitting in with society, how we perceive anyone who is different as abnormal or weird, and how quick we are to judge others. It’s such an interesting read!

Naoko by Keigo Higashino
Naoko follows a man called Heisuke, whose wife and daughter were in a traffic accident. His wife passes away while his daughter ends up in a coma. When she wakes up, however, she claims to be his wife and knows things about their life together only his wife would know. Yet she’s stuck in their daughter’s body. This book made me think so much! What would I do were I in Naoko’s, his wife, place? What would I do if I were in Heisuke’s situation? There are so many dilemmas and grey areas in this situation, and it was endlessly fascinating.

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohbe
I know, this might seem like an odd pick to a lot of you. However, I can’t help but put myself in Light’s position while reading this. What would I do if I found the death note? Would I use it? On the one hand, I could rid the world of criminals. On the other hand, who am I to decide who lives and dies? Does committing a crime automatically mean you should die? Is there a certain degree of brutality to reach before your life becomes forfeit? After all, not all crimes are equally as horrifying. It’s an interesting thought, and raised questions I still haven’t been able to answer.

Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
I find it incredibly impressive how thought-provoking Binti was, considering it’s a novella and thus quite short. In this science fiction novella, there’s a war going on between multiple species and the spaceship Binti is on gets attacked. This talks about how we don’t even try to understand other people’s culture, but take and steal what we can to put it on display as “exotic”. At least, that’s what I got out of this read.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
I only just finished this book but marked so many passages to tab later. Minnow Bly is a girl who grew up in a cult, and is now in juvie after attacking someone after her escape. The book challenged my view on revenge, justice, and punishment for sure. Is it acceptable to use violence to get out of an abusive situation? For some people, there really is no other option. In the end, it’s the victims who get punished. They did what they needed to do to survive, yet end up in jail. However, we can’t simply condone violence and murder either. It’s just such a difficult situation, and this is why I could never be a judge.


Have you read any of these books? Which books sparked a discussion within you?

the first ten books I reviewed on this blog | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is a bit of an embarrassing one, in my case, and it’s the first 10 books we ever reviewed. I decided to focus on the first ten reviews I wrote for this blog. Looking back on them, I’ll probably be kind of embarrassed about the things I wrote. I’ve (hopefully) grown quite a lot in terms of writing and expressing my thoughts in the past few years – since I started this blog in 2014. Anyway, let’s take a look at the books.

Break It Up by E.M. Tippetts 
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and felt obliged to write a review on it. Coincidentally, it happened around the time I started my blog in 2014, and this ended up being the first review I ever published on here. I’m honestly too afraid to read it, and I can’t imagine reading the book again either. It’s certainly not something I’d pick up today, but then again I didn’t buy it back then either.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
I always feel like I need to add a disclaimer when I talk about this book. Yes, I know it’s a story about incest. No, I don’t condone incest. Taking a step back from that whole discussion, this book is incredibly moving, emotional, and hard-hitting. Seriously, read it.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
Another book that I don’t think I’d ever pick up today. It’s a paranormal read, about a girl who dies of a broken heart and has to watch her family, friends, and ex-boyfriend go through the rest of their lives without her. She has to grieve too, before she’ll be allowed to move on.

The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5) by Rick Riordan
I think this might be one of the most popular reviews on my blog, to this day. Which scares me because I have no idea how eloquent I was in said review. I refuse to reread what I wrote years later and edit it, because that seems kind of dishonest. I don’t think I need to explain how much I loved this book, right? I adore Rick Riordan, and this conclusion to the series was fantastic.

Schizo by Nic Sheff
I think this might be the most popular review on my blog. I have no idea why because I’ve never seen anyone talk about it. I’m kind of scared about leaving this review on my blog, to be honest. I wasn’t a (very) critical reader in 2014, and this book focuses on a boy with schizophrenia. I don’t know how good the rep in it is, and it’s been too long for me to remember anything that happened in it. I know that the author was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but obviously that’s not the same.

Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter
I think this might have been the first book I was ever approved for on Netgalley. At this point in time, I remember absolutely nothing about this book other than it focusing on bullying.

The Paper Magician (Paper Magician #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg
The second book I ever got through Netgalley? Probably. Unlike with Every Ugly Word, I still remember so much about this series. I distinctly remember loving it, and flying through the first two books, being so sad I had to wait for the release of the third one. This is about a girl who becomes an apprentice to a paper magician, even though she always wanted to be a metal magician.

The Glass Magician (Paper Magician #2) by Charlie N. Holmberg
Like I mentioned before, I absolutely flew through the first and second book! I immediately reviewed both, because I wanted to share this fun, magical world with everyone else. I did read and review the third book when that came out too, but still have to read the 4th one.

The 100  (The Hundred #1) by Kass Morgan
I think I read this one because I’d heard of the TV show, and wanted to read it before watching the adaptation. I ended up thinking this book was simply okay. There were too many perspectives and too little time with each person, which ended up being not only incredibly confusing, but also created a distance between the reader and characters. I did love the TV show, however! I’m so far behind on it, but I love it nonetheless.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch
Finally, a book I still rave about today. I can’t believe I read this in 2014! I’m seriously due for a reread. This is one of my all-time favorite fantasy books/series, and I won’t stop recommending it to everyone. Thanks Top Ten Tuesday, for reminding me I need to read this book again.


Quite an odd collection of books, my first 10 reviews… I still love The Lies of Locke Lamora today, and consider it to be one of my favorites. I barely even remembered some – and had completely forgotten about others. Have you read any of these books? What were your first reviews? How long have you been blogging?

rainy day reads | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Fence by C.S. Pacat
I feel like graphic novels are the perfect rainy day reads. They’re usually easy to get into, and the illustrations truly help you get lost in the story. What could be better on a dreary day than Fence? Lose yourself in the competition between Nicholas and Seiji, and what I hope will end up becoming an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers story in the next issues.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
If you want to coordinate your mood with the weather, you might want to go for a bit of a darker and moodier read. If We Were Villains is perfect in that case. It’s the story of Oliver, who has just been released from prison after serving 10 years for a crime he may or may not have committed. It’s partly set in the present, where Oliver is telling the story to a former detective, and partly in the past, when the actual crime took place. Did he really kill his friend? If so, why?

Sadie by Courtney Summers
I chose Sadie as the perfect rainy day read because I can just imagine someone listening to the audiobook while looking out the window, staring at the rain pouring down. It’s such a moving and sad story, and I think it really suits the mood. Sadie follows a character of the same name, who goes on a hunt to find the person who killed her little sister, and a radio host personality who is making a podcast of their story.

The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend
If you don’t want to go for a moody or dark book, The Trials of Morrigan Crow is the one for you. As it’s middle grade, the novel is incredibly easy to get into. You’ll find yourself falling in love with the magic and wonder of Nevermoor immediately, trust me. Rainy days are perfect for discovering magical lands, don’t you think so?

The City of Brass (Daevabad #1) by S.A. Chakraborty
In case you want some escapism, but don’t like middle grade, you might want to go for The City of Brass. It’s one of the most atmospheric and captivating fantasy reads I’ve read in a while, and it’ll transport you from your rainy surroundings into the hot desert.

The Martian by Andy Weir
Want to get away from the rainy atmosphere of planet Earth? Well, the weather’s worse on Mars! You might be stuck inside, but at least you’re not left behind on a planet after a sandstorm.

Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer #1) by Robin Hobb
In my opinion, rainy days are the perfect time to truly get lost in a book, to immerse yourself in another person’s life. While most people expect an action-packed novel when they pick up Assassin’s Apprentice, that’s really not what the book is. It’s more of a character-driven novel, where we follow Fitz’s life from a little boy onward. Robin Hobb has mastered the art of creating a fantasy series with complex characters.

Illuminae (the Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
One more way to escape into outer space! I’d highly recommend listening to the audiobook of Illuminae on the next rainy day. It’s action-packed, funny, creepy, and captivating. It has a full cast narration, which makes it seem like a TV show in your head. It’s truly perfect for a chill day at home.

I Hear the Sunspot Volume 1 by Yuki Fumino
Are you more of a contemporary reader instead? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. It might be time to consider picking up the three volumes out so far of I Hear the Sunspot, a wonderful manga I need everyone to read. It’s a romance between two university students, who meet when one accidentally falls “from the sky” when the other is having lunch. It’s queer, it has a disabled main character and talks about hearing impairments quite often, it’s adorable, and it’s sweet.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
If you truly want to match the weather, you might want to go for a book that’ll leave you weeping at the end. Enter The Song of Achilles, a novel that made me cry my eyes out by the end – even though I already knew how the story played out. It’s a retelling of the Iliad through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles’ best friend and partner.


What do you think of my picks? Have you read them? Do they seem like good rainy day picks to you? What are your rainy day recommendations?

things that make me pick up a book | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re all talking about what makes us more likely to pick up a book. Certain buzzwords or tropes that’ll sell us on a novel immediately. Here are some of mine!

ASSASSINS

If you want me to pick up a fantasy book, add assassins to the mix. I don’t know what it is about assassins that I love so much, but I do admit it immediately makes me want to buy a book. And why wouldn’t it? Some of my all-time favorite fantasy novels revolve around assassins! Take Red Sister or Grave Mercy for example. Both have assassin nuns – which is a specific trope I’m even more fond of – even though Grave Mercy technically isn’t fantasy but historical fiction. Theft of Swords has a assassin-mercenary duo, and they’re some of my all-time favorite characters. Lastly, while Assassin’s Apprentice isn’t as action-packed as the others, it does follow a boy in assassin training.

CONS/HEISTS

Cons and heist stories are so fascinating, and I’ll probably buy every single (fantasy) book that has them as the main plot point. Apparently, I like to read about assassins, thieves, and liars. I sure hope that doesn’t say anything about me in particular. One of my favorite novels featuring this trope is The Lies of Locke Lamora. It’s absolutely epic. Of course, we can’t forget about Six of Crows, one of the most hyped YA books ever. I also really enjoyed White Cat, the first book in the Curse Workers series by Holly black. It’s an urban fantasy trilogy wherein people can use certain abilities through touch. The main character comes from a con family associated with the equivalent of the mafia in this world.

DRAGONS

Dragons are some of my favorite fantastical creatures, thanks to Eragon and The Hobbit. I read these books growing up, and although they feature very different dragons, fell in love with the stories and characters. In the past few years, I also discovered Nice Dragons Finish Lastor the Heartstriker series. It’s urban fantasy set in the US, where dragon clans are infiltrating every position of power. Only there’s no place for a nice dragon, is there?

NON-EUROPEAN FANTASY SETTINGS

I’ve been trying to pick up more non-European fantasy novels, because there has been a sore lack of them in the past decades. There are so many more wonderful worlds to discover other than medieval Europe, and I can’t wait to find more of them. Recently, I’ve loved The City of Brass. I’ve also been in love with the Bone Witch series for years, and am eagerly anticipating the release of the third book. Last year, I also read Girls of Paper and Fire which is an epic Asian fantasy novel with an f/f romance.

MURDER IN A GROUP OF FRIENDS

Okay, I swear I’m not planning on killing my friends. There’s just something so intriguing about one person dying in a group of friends and finding out who is responsible. If We Were Villains is exactly that. One guy went to prison for murder, but he may not have been the one to commit it. While The Secret History doesn’t exactly follow the same trope, since we know who is responsible from the start, it does have murder within a group of friends. Lastly, I also quite enjoyed One Of Us Is Lying. It’s not necessarily focused on a group of friends, but rather a group of students serving detention together. Still, the gist of the story is the same.

MULTIPLE POV HIGH FANTASY

Multiple POV fantasy stories are my one and true love. The amount of characters to love, worlds to discover, and relationships to unfold is truly astounding. I also find it helps to read a story through different eyes, because it changes the reader’s perspective. Brandon Sanderson is a master of the multiple POV fantasy novels, such as The Way of Kings and MistbornIf you haven’t read them yet, please give them a try! You’re missing out on so much. Another one of the most famous examples of this way of storytelling is A Song of Ice and FireTrue, at times it feels like there are too many characters and you can’t keep them straight anymore. That just increases my admiration for the author, who managed to create a vast world with numerous characters, and has to keep track of them all.

RETELLINGS OF MYTHS AND LEGENDS

There are so many stories I grew up hearing, especially the Ancient Greek and Roman ones. I’ve always been fascinated by them, and they were the reason I decided to study Latin in high school. Some of my favorite retellings include the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which I’ve loved for a decade now. I also fell in love with Madeline Miller’s writing in The Song of Achilles and Circe. Because of my love for Rick Riordan, I also learned a bit more of the Norse gods through Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

ENEMIES TO LOVERS

This might be my all-time favorite trope when it comes to romance. There’s something so incredible about the chemistry it brings forth. However, these don’t only happen in romance novels. In the dystopian Angelfall, there’s most definitely an enemies to lovers relationship between an angel and a human. One of the most well-known examples of this trope is Pride and Prejudice. It was one of the first classics I actually liked. Although there is a love triangle in The Kiss of Deceptionthere’s also an enemies-to-lovers side to it.

ANGRY WOMEN

Yup, you read it right. I love stories about angry women, preferably when they’re taking revenge. One of those angry women is Sadiewhose little sister was murdered. Courtney Summers has a way of writing stories, and All the Rage is no exception to that. It’s an incredibly moving story about a girl who was raped by the town’s golden boy. Lastly, we can’t forget about Jane Steelethe woman who has murdered quite a few men. Were they really so undeserving of death? I don’t think so.


Here are some of the tropes, buzzwords and aspects of a synopsis that will sell me on a book immediately. Are these tropes you love as well? Do you have any recommendations for me based on these? What are the buzzwords you love?

My favorite audiobooks | #TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, I’m talking about audiobooks! I go through phases throughout the year. There are months in which I listen to quite a few audiobooks, and there are months I don’t listen to any.

I do believe that audiobooks are such a gift to readers all over the world for so many reasons. If English is not your first language, it can help you with pronunciation. Or if you’re learning a different language, it can improve your fluency, vocabulary and pronunciation. If you are always on-the-go and busy, audiobooks allow you to read while doing tasks such as cleaning, cooking, driving, working out, and more. That’s why I love them as well, multitasking. If you have a learning disorder like dyslexia, or have difficulty reading in physical format for any reason whatsoever, audiobooks allow you to consume the stories in a way that works for you. Don’t come at me with the opinion that listening to an audiobook is not reading, because that’s ableist and ridiculous.

Here are some of the audiobooks I’ve listened to in the past few years and would recommend to every single person in the world.

Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
I listened to this novella as an audiobook at the start of 2019, and absolutely loved it. If you aren’t used to listening to audiobooks, I would highly recommend starting with Binti. As it’s a novella, it only takes about 2.5 hours to listen to it – if you don’t change the reading pace. Robin Miles does a fantastic job bringing the story to life, and I’d like to listen to more of her narrations.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
A novel told in verse, on my recommendations list? Who would’ve thought. I don’t read much poetry or novels in verse because I tend to have difficulty connecting with the writing style. I’m not used to it, and it hinders the reading experience for me. That’s why I decided to listen to this instead of reading it myself. Jason Reynolds narrates it himself, which is truly a perfect choice. After all, he knows best where to put the emphasis and where to pause. I think that listening to this book made it much more of an emotional read for me, and led to it having a bigger impact than it would’ve otherwise.

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan
I listened to this audiobook while I was traveling last year. I find that audiobooks are perfect for traveling for me, because I tend to take trips on my own. If you think I should make a post on why I love solo travel so much, let me know! I could read this book while exploring a new city, and it was perfect. I know this book has some problems, but I had such a good time listening to it! It made me laugh out loud several times, and always managed to put me in a good mood.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t think this would work as an audiobook. This science fiction novel is told through different formats such as interviews, surveillance footage, official reports, and so on. How would that translate into audio? Wouldn’t you miss out on the true experience? I’m happy to say that the audiobook is an incredible way to consume this story. It was so immersive and captivating! It’s a full cast production, so if you’re worried about 1 person narrating different characters, this might be the way to go for you.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch
I’ve always been worried about listening to fantasy novels on audio. When reading a fantasy novel, it’s very important to have a good grasp on the world, history and magic to understand the book. I thought that listening to the audiobook would hinder the way I absorb that information. The Gentleman Bastard series was one of the first fantasy series I ever listened to on audio, and it was a fantastic experience. I definitely want to listen to more books narrated by Michael Page.

The Crown Tower (Riyria Chronicles #1) by Michael J. Sullivan
If you’ve been reading my blog posts for a while, you’ll know how much I love this series and world. While I read the Riyria Revelations in paperback version, I listened to the audiobooks of the prequel series. Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds, this series chronicles the start of Riyria – when Hadrian and Royce first meet.

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
I listened to this entire trilogy on audio, and I think that’s one of the main reasons I loved it so much. They are narrated by Jesse Eisenberg which has lead to me forever associating Cassel with Jesse. He has a very specific way of talking, and thus narrating, but it really worked for me. I remember listening to one of the books in the trilogy while on a trip to Dublin in 2016! The fun thing about listening to audiobooks while traveling is that I’ll always associate those books with wandering the streets of a certain place.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
I’m 100% sure I wouldn’t have loved this book as much as I did if I had read the physical copy instead of listening to it. The narrator brings Monty to life, and makes the dialogue, banter and sarcasm even better. If you haven’t read this book, I would highly recommend listening to it! It made me laugh, smile, and even snort at times. 10/10, would listen to again.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Another book I listened to while traveling last year. You see a trend here? I really should have read this book in 2017,  but I didn’t. I found it quite intimidating since so many people loved it and kept praising it. The audiobook seemed more accessible to me for some reason, and I didn’t feel as intimidated when listening to it. Now I’m convinced the audiobook is the best way to read this book.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Clearly, I couldn’t make this list without including Harry Potter. As for the audiobook, I highly recommend the ones narrated by Stephen Fry. I know everyone talks about the Jim Dale narration, but Stephen Fry is honestly the best narrator of Harry Potter.


Listening to more audiobooks is definitely something I want to do in 2019! I listened to more than before in 2018 too, but there’s always room for improvement. In a lot of these cases, listening to the book truly added to my reading experience and I don’t want to miss out on that in the future. Have you listened to any of these books? What are your favorite audiobooks? Who are your favorite narrators?

books on my spring 2019 to-read list | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Once again, it’s time to talk about seasonal TBRs. As you may know, I have been making monthly to-read lists using prompts from a reading challenge. I only pick those at the beginning of the month, so I have no idea what will end up on my monthly to-read lists for the spring months. However, today I’ve picked 10 books I might be in the mood to read soon.

Fruits Basket volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya
I bought this manga volume last year, when I first decided to give manga a try. It’s an extremely popular series about an orphan girl who starts living with a family that has an ancient curse resting upon them. That’s really all I know, and it’s all I need to know.

The School for Good and Evil (School for Good and Evil #1) by Soman Chainani
I’ve had this middle grade fantasy novel on my shelves for a while, but I keep forgetting about it. I don’t read much MG, so this will definitely be a book out of my comfort zone. Middle grade novels tend to be quite quick reads though, which is something I’ll need in the upcoming months.

Maresi (Red Abbey Chronicles #1) by Maria Turtschaninoff
I picked this fantasy novel up during a book sale in January, and am so excited to read it. If I’m not mistaken, it’s about an island inhabited solely by women in a world where men get to make all the decisions and choices. It’s only 250 pages long, which is quite short for an SFF novel!

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
No, I still haven’t read this book. I know, it’s terrible of me. I’ve read both Out of the Easy and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys before, and quite enjoyed them. Thus, there’s really no reason for me to believe I won’t like Between Shades of Gray, which is a YA historical fiction novel centered around a Lithuanian family in WWII.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
I tend to read more YA contemporaries during the spring and summer seasons, as they’re often more light-hearted and cute. I’ve had this one on my Kindle for a while, and it seems like the perfect time to finally read it. I believe this is set in Tuscany, which simply radiates summer vibes.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman
I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this YA dystopian novel, and I really need to read it soon. I feel like I don’t have to talk about its synopsis since everyone but me has already read it.

If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Like I mentioned before, I tend to read more YA contemporary during the spring and summer months. If the Dress Fits is a book by a Filipinx author about a plus size girl who takes her friend to her cousin’s wedding as a fake date. Fake dating + Filipinx characters + plus size girl? Yes, please.

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
I quite enjoyed Sandhya Menon’s debut novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, and am looking forward to reading more of her work. While her first book followed a girl who loved to code, this one is about an aspiring filmmaker! I love ambitious women, and I can’t wait to see what Twinkle has in store for me.

Changeling (Order of Darkness #1) by Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory is well-known for her adult historical fiction novels, which I haven’t read yet. This is a YA historical fiction book, however, set in Italy in the 1400s. I’m going to be honest, I read the words ‘Italy’, ‘1453’, ‘heresy’, and ‘witchcraft’ and I was sold.

The Queen’s Poisoner (Kingfountain #1) by Jeff Wheeler
Do I know what this YA fantasy novel is about? No. Have I owned a digital copy of it for ages? Yes. The Queen’s Poisoner is one of those books I bought when it was a Kindle deal, and promptly forgot about. No more hiding on my digital shelf though, I am going to tackle this book soon.


Will I actually end up reading these 10 books during spring? Who knows. I truly hope so. Have you read any of these books? Which novels are on your spring to-read list this year?

Standalone books that need a sequel | #TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, I’m talking about standalone books I wish had a sequel. I have to admit that this doesn’t happen very often for me. I am in the middle of so many series, it feels overwhelming at times. Then there are so many series I still have to start too! Reading a standalone feels like a breath of fresh air.

Looking back at my 2018 reading habits, I did increase the amount of standalone books I read. Last year, I read 40 books that are part of a series, and 35 standalone novels. A pretty equal divide, right? I’m quite proud of that. I’ve really enjoyed discovering more standalone books. Sometimes, however, these books have such a mind-blowing ending that it does leave me wanting more. Let’s take a look at the 5 books I wish I could read more of.

 

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
This was the first book that came to mind when I first thought about this week’s topic. The ending in this book leaves you with so many questions, and I NEED TO KNOW. The author has already stated that she won’t write a sequel because this is where the story ends for her, but I honestly can’t deal with that.

The Humans by Matt Haig
The reason I’d want a sequel of The Humans is that I just loved reading about humanity through the eyes of an alien. It gives the author a chance to poke fun at our ridiculous customs, and point a finger at where we lack as a species – in a lot of places, really. It’s both humorous and thought-provoking, and I’d like more of it.

 

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama
Once again, I can’t tell you exactly why I need a sequel of this book because it’s kind of a spoiler for this one. If you’re unaware, this is Japanese crime fiction following a police detective assigned to the press office and an old kidnapping case that was never solved. There’s a certain part of this book that was never resolved. There’s mystery left to be uncovered, and I actually need to know what happened. Why won’t you tell me?

Sadie by Courtney Summers
I’m not sure whether I truly want a sequel for this book, or whether I just want to read more of Courtney Summers’ writing in this specific format. I know a lot of people were unsatisfied with the ending of Sadie, but I loved it. I honestly can’t think how else this book should have ended? I’ll be perfectly okay with there never being a sequel, but if one were to be written and released I’d definitely pick it up.

Naoko by Keigo Higashino
What is it with Japanese authors never giving me the answers I so desperately need? I don’t think I’d want a full novel as a follow-up to this book. However, I would love to read a novella from the perspective of Naoko/Monami, to answer some of the questions I have left and see what truly went on in their head. How do I explain this without spoiling anything? Anyway, a novella would be very welcome!


I know this is a Top Ten Tuesday post and I only mentioned 5 books, but I wanted to stay honest. Most standalones don’t need a sequel, and (in my opinion) would not benefit from one. These 5 are exceptions for me. Have you read any of these books? Which books do you wish had a sequel?