review: body positive power | where has this book been my entire life?

body positive powerTitle: Body Positive Power
Author: Megan Jayne Crabbe
Published in 2017 by Vermilion
Genre: nonfiction
Rating: ★★★★★ – a new favorite

We’ve been convinced that happiness is something that only comes once we hit that goal weight, get those washboard abs, shrink ourselves down and change every part of ourselves. We believe that our bodies are the problem, but the truth is that our bodies are not the problem. How we’ve been taught to see them is the problem… it’s time for us all to stop believing the lies, and take our power back.

With her inimitable flair, whip-smart wit and kickass attitude, Megan argues for a new way of seeing ourselves, and a world where every body is celebrated. Where there is no such thing as a ‘bikini body diet’ and 97% of women don’t hate the way they look. 

A powerful call to arms as much as it is inspirational and practical, this book is the life-changing answer you’ve been looking for.

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At the start of the year, I was having a rough time with my body image. I didn’t feel happy in my body, didn’t feel beautiful, and felt like I needed to hide. I don’t know what sparked the sudden increase in body image issues, but it was having a severe effect on my mood and life. I felt down so often, and didn’t want to go out. One of my bestest friends recommended me this book, and I decided to give it a try. It’s not like I had much to lose, right? I listened to the audiobook of Body Positive Power, and I can’t even properly portray how much Megan helped me. I know I’ll buy a physical copy of the book someday, so I can read it again and mark the parts most helpful to me.

I’ve been following Megan on instagram for a long time, and she has helped transform my feed into a positive space, rather than one based on guilt and envy. I knew she had written a book, and had added it to my to-read list ages ago, but for some reason never picked it up. I’m glad Inge reminded me of its existence, and urged me to read it.

Ever since reading this book, I’ve been doing so much better. I’ve started to love my body once again, even though I still have days where my confidence takes a dive. I’ve started to buy more colorful clothing again, clothes I’ve always wanted to wear instead of those I felt like I should. I’m smiling again, going out with friends more, and doing things I’ve been putting off for ages.

I can’t thank this book enough. While not everything in it applied to me, obviously, I still found every sentence Megan write helpful. No matter what your situation is, or how you feel about your body, I think you could gain something from this reading experience. 

If you’re worried about some of Megan’s experiences triggering you, especially with regards to eating disorders, you should know that she included content warnings throughout the book. If a particular passage that could be triggering to some comes up, she includes a warning first, and states where you can start reading again if you need to skip it.

I think everyone should read this book. Just saying. No matter how you feel about your body, you could gain something from Body Positive Power

review: the outsider | my first Stephen King in a decade

theoutsiderTitle: The Outsider
Author: Stephen King
Published in 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: mystery, horror (adult)
Rating: ★★★★ – really liked it

When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man.

Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day.

As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King’s propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear.

Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?

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Prior to reading The Outsider, I’d only ever picked up one Stephen King novel – The Eyes of the Dragon – and that was about a decade ago. I know he’s an incredibly famous author, and everyone who loves horror and mystery novels has read his works, but I’ve always avoided reading his books. Why? One simple reason: they’re so intimidating. I never know where to start when an author has a vast amount of works written, and King is no exception to that. When I was browsing the shelves at my local library a while ago I noticed The Outsider, and the red cover immediately caught my attention. I decided it was finally time to give this famous author a chance.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading The Outsider. It’s the story of a little boy who was murdered, the Little League coach accused of his murder, and the detectives on the case. There are so many witnesses who saw Terry with the boy right before it happened, and the evidence pointing towards him is overwhelming. The detectives decide to make a statement with Terry’s conviction, arresting him in front of the entire town. However, Terry has an iron-clad alibi. Yet the witnesses don’t lie. Was he in two places at once?

I have to admit that the first 100 or so pages of the novel are quite slow. It takes a while for King to set up the story and characters which results in a less than exciting start of the novel. Especially if you’ve read the synopsis of the book as that already tells you what the book takes quite a while to set up properly.

Once we got past that set-up part, though, I was completely invested in the story. I was so hooked! It honestly felt like I was watching an episode of one of my favorite TV shows from university in my head – I won’t say which one because I feel like that might be a little bit of a spoiler.

While the first half of the book took me a while to read, I absolutely flew through the second half. I didn’t want to put it back down, because I just HAD to know what happened next. I became attached to the characters, even though I didn’t agree with them all the time.

I also laughed out loud multiple times at the Tr*mp references King makes…

This book convinced me to pick up more of King’s works. I do think that there are spoilers for the Mr. Mercedes series in here though. There’s a character from those books who shows up in The Outsider, and they talk about a case they worked on and what happened. When I read the synopsis of Mr. Mercedes, I felt like I already knew what would happen because I read this book. I’m still excited to pick them up though.

I’ll definitely give King’s works a try from now on, since I really enjoyed reading The Outsider. Have you read a lot of his books? Which ones would you recommend?

review: the silence of the girls | the Iliad, by Briseis

the silence of the girlsTitle: The Silence of the Girls
Author: Pat Barker
Published in 2018 by Hamish Hamilton
Genre: retelling
Rating: ★★★★ – really liked it

The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, which continues to wage bloody war over a stolen woman: Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war’s outcome: Briseis. She was queen of one of Troy’s neighboring kingdoms until Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles’s concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army. Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war–the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead–all of them erased by history. 

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The Silence of the Girls is one of those novels I added to my to-read list immediately after hearing the synopsis. I didn’t care about reviews, awards, or anything along those lines. I would pick it up, even if I’d heard nothing but terrible reviews. Which I didn’t, so don’t worry. Why, you ask? This novel is a retelling of the Iliad through the eyes of Briseis. It’s the story of the Trojan War, told by the women affected by it. The ones who never really got a voice, and were practically erased by history. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?

A little while ago, I put in an acquisition request for The Silence of the Girls at my local library. I’m happy to say it was approved, and pretty soon afterwards, I was notified that the copy had arrived and I could pick it up. I got it, read it in only a few sittings, and returned it because someone else had already reserved it after me.

I’m not sure how to accurately convey my feelings on this book… On the one hand, I really loved it. I think it gave us a chance to read about the not-so-glamorous side of war, and it confronted us all with the slavery and rape that was so common for the women of a “conquered” city. On the other hand, the second part of the book introduced a new POV that I just didn’t understand. I really don’t know why it was placed in this book.

The Silence of the Girls is a really confrontational read. While the story of the Trojan War, and any war for that matter, is told so often, we never seem to talk about the fate of the women in the conquered states. The men end up dead as they form too much of a threat. But the women? Why kill them when you could use them? They’re given to the soldiers as a prize, used as slaves, prostitutes, nurses, and so on.

Briseis is given to Achilles as a prize, and we follow her story from the moment the highborn women are gathered in the palace as their city is being attacked. I don’t really know what to say about her journey and what happens to her, because I think that either you already know, or you want to go into this book not knowing.

Her perspective is incredibly fascinating. She hates the Greeks because they sacked her city and killed her family. But she spends so much time with Achilles and Patroclus, that she starts seeing them as humans instead of monsters too. She hates them, but she’s also aware of the fact that her fate is nowhere near as bad as that of the other women – which doesn’t make her suffering any less, by the way.

While she becomes friends with some of the women, there’s also a friendship between her and Patroclus. He has always treated her with kindness – and not just her. He’s Achilles’ counterpart, the one who keeps his feet on the ground. But how can you truly be friends with the people who murdered the ones you loved?

What I think this author achieved incredibly well is pointing out all the little details that showed how little women’s lives truly mattered. There’s a certain scene where Achilles is talking about giving Briseis to some another warlord to appease him. Everyone knows that guy treats the women under his “care” horribly, and she is standing close to Achilles when he announces it. He doesn’t seem to realize that she’s a human being, capable of understanding the circumstances he’s putting her in, nor does he care. She’s a possession after all. These little things, the offhand way in which he talked about her, make it clear how irrelevant the women’s lives truly were to the men.

However, I couldn’t really bring myself to give this novel a full 5 stars either. No matter how brilliant and confrontational it was, I think there were 2 missed opportunities.

I’m kind of sad that Briseis was the only woman who truly had a voice. From the synopsis, I assumed it would be told from a multitude of women in the Greek camp, all in different situations. Briseis would have been the main POV, yet I was expecting there to be others too. While Briseis’ view does give us an insight into the life of a “captured” woman in a war camp, she was still a highborn woman and lived a life with more “luxuries” than others. I think there could have been so many more experiences told in this novel, and I’m sad I didn’t get to see any of them.

I also didn’t understand why Achilles was given a perspective in the second half of the book. If the whole point of the novel was to give a voice to the silenced women, why put the man at the center of the story again? When his perspective was added, Briseis’ was pushed to the back once again. It made part of the book feel somewhat pointless to me, since she ended up being silenced once again.

I do think this is an absolutely fascinating read. I would highly recommend it to everyone, but be aware it doesn’t shy away from describing the women’s circumstances. It’s important to talk about the lives we so often gloss over when talking about history and famous tales, and The Silence of the Girls gives some of these people a voice once more. Although I do think there were some missed opportunities in this book, I think it’s a novel worth reading for sure.

Have you read The Silence of the Girls? What did you think of it? 

spoiler-free review: the wicked king | preferring the sequel to the first book?

the wicked kingTitle: The Wicked King
Series; Folk of the Air #2
Author: Holly Black
Published in 2019 by Little, Brown and Company
Genre: fantasy (YA)
Rating: ★★★★.₅ – loved it

I won’t provide a synopsis, as this is the second book in a series and I don’t want to spoil anyone. If you want to check the premise out, you can click on the title or the cover of the book, which will take you to the Goodreads page.

You can also read my thoughts on the first book, The Cruel Prince, on my blog. I’ll go over some of my thoughts on the first book in this review too, as it’s relevant to my explanations, but you can read a more detailed version here.

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If you’ve read my review of The Cruel Prince, the first book in the series, you’ll know I was left somewhat disappointed by the novel. I certainly didn’t hate it, but I was bored throughout most of the book. Nothing really happened until 75% into the story, and it made the pacing feel somewhat off. As I had borrowed that book from my local library, I wanted to do the same for the sequel. I put in an acquisition request, got approved, and picked The Wicked King up a few weeks later.

I’m so happy to say I enjoyed the sequel far more than I did the first book. I had no issues with the pacing of this story, and the predominant themes of The Wicked King are somewhat more up my alley.

This entire novel is basically made up of scheming. As the faerie world thrives on power, political intrigue and backstabbing is all in a day’s work. In The Wicked King, Jude is participating more and more in the scheming of faeries. She’s reached a certain level of power, and now needs to do everything she can in order to hold her position. I adore stories that focus on strategy, politics, and scheming, even though they can seem a lot less plot-driven to others. That’s why I think this sequel was more up my alley than the previous one, because we were always looking at all the players on the board, what has been happening, who could gain from it, and so on.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.

I was also far more intrigued by the characters in the sequel. I feel like we didn’t truly get to know anyone in the first book, including Jude. In The Wicked King however, I had more of a grasp on their characters.

I’m absolutely fascinated by Jude. I find myself rooting for her all the time, even if that means cheering her on as she kills someone. She’s not a good person, and she owns it. She’s ambitious, smart, and realistic which is everything I’ve ever wanted in a main character. Basically, she’s a Slytherin and I’m in love with her. What I liked most about her is that Holly Black made her smart and cunning, but not all-knowing. She was able to outmaneuver so many people and faeries, but was caught off guard at times too.

I was also horrified to discover I started to like Cardan. I mentioned in my review of the first one that I wasn’t sure how to feel about the tension between Cardan and Jude, as he treated her so horribly for years – and that having an abusive past does not excuse you from abusing others. But while reading The Wicked King, I actually started to like him. Do I think he’s a good guy? Definitely not. Am I still rooting for him? Yes. I actually sort of felt like a proud mom by the end of the book, which is so odd.

I did wonder what the point of Locke in this story is. Is there actually a reason to have him in the novels, other than create tension between the families and couples? I also want to say that I absolutely hate Vivi. There, I said it. I think she’s selfish and naive to the point of hurting others, without even realizing how her behavior is affecting others in a negative way.

Before I end this review, I’ll quickly say… THAT ENDING. WHAT??

Surprisingly, I truly enjoyed reading The Wicked King. I wasn’t enamored by the first book in the series, so I didn’t have the highest expectations for the sequel. Unexpectedly, I ended up loving it! It’s filled with strategic plans, politics, scheming, murder and power plays, which I absolutely adore. If you were slightly disappointed by The Cruel Prince, I’d still recommend giving this a try. You might end up pleasantly surprised!

Have you read The Wicked King? What did you think of it? Have you ever enjoyed a sequel more than the first book?

March in the life | personal wrap up

As always, I’m making a separate monthly wrap up to discuss the movies and TV shows I watched, the music I listened to, and the things that happened to me in the past month.

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So, March… It was quite the interesting month!

I started the month off by getting two wisdom teeth extracted, which wasn’t very fun if I’m being honest. I didn’t read or do much in the 10 days following the extraction, which is why I ended up watching so many TV shows last month. Be warned, the next section of this wrap up will be long!

In more exciting news, I got a new job! I started on the 18th, and I’m really happy about it. I was definitely nervous on my first day, but it’s been such a good experience so far. Obviously, it’s time-consuming, and I expect I won’t be watching many shows or reading many books in the coming weeks. That’s okay though. I watched plenty in March…

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The only movie I managed to watch in March was Arrival, but it was definitely a hit. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a movie so thoroughly, and it truly took me by surprise. I know people had been screaming about it for years, but I somehow thought it wasn’t one for me. How wrong was I? It was brilliant. A new favorite for sure!

I also watched the entirety of Coffee Prince, which is arguably one of the most famous Korean dramas ever. It has the girl-disguises-as-boy trope we all happen to love, but it’s a tad deeper than most shows that revolve around the topic. I loved this show far more than I expected to -see, there’s a trend here- especially since it’s now about 12 years old. Either way, you can read my full thoughts on the show in my review, here.

I also (finally) started watching La Casa de Papel. This show has been on my Netflix to-watch list for absolute ages! I’ve seen 7 episodes so far, and I’m hooked. Once I start watching, I can’t seem to stop. It’s so intense, and I’m invested in all the characters already. I’ve been putting off continuing the show, because I haven’t had much time the past few weeks, and know that once I start watching, I’ll end up glued to the screen for hours.


I also watched Romance is a Bonus Book in March, a Korean drama I’ve quickly fallen in love with. I already knew Lee Jong-suk was one of the most beautiful men ever, but I truly enjoyed his acting in this show. I also loved Lee Na-young in this drama, as she portrayed such a refreshing and fun woman. Truly, Kang Dan-yi is a woman I’d like to be friends with. Thanks to Netflix and the enormous backlist of Asian dramas I want to watch, I haven’t watched a show where I had to wait a week for an episode in ages. I saw this one on Netflix though, and couldn’t resist. All too quickly, I had caught up with the show and had to wait for 2 new episodes every Tuesday. You best believe I binged those ones as soon as I possibly could.

I also watched the Flemish show called De Luizenmoeder, which is an adaptation of the Dutch show of the same name. If you translate the title literally, it makes The Lice Mother. It follows the mothers of a group of elementary school children, and the staff at the school. It’s absolutely hilarious, and I binged it in one weekend. I did watch the Flemish version instead of the original Dutch one, because I am Belgian (and Flemish) so it’s far more relatable for me.

Inbetween all that, I watched season 3 of SKAM France. You may know that I’m a huge fan of the original SKAM, a Norwegian TV show about the lives of a group of teenagers from the same school. I haven’t really been interested in watching the remakes, because I already know the story and think no one can really top the original actors. HOWEVER, I fell into the French remake somehow, and watched the entirety of season 3 – Elliot and Lucas’ story. I love it. They’re the first ones to come close to the original Isak and Even. Sometimes, I can’t even tell who I prefer more. I think they’re incredible actors, especially Axel Auriant – who portrays Lucas/Isak.

Lastly, I watched the entire third season of Queer Eye. Who is surprised? NOT ME. Once again, I love this show. The new season is no exception on that rule. It’s fantastic.

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Ready for the music section? Let’s go!

The Jonas Brothers – Sucker
Who is surprised? NOT ME. You know I’ve been listening to this song on repeat since March 1st, and I’m not apologizing for it. It’s absolutely fantastic. I think it leans more towards the music Joe’s been making with DNCE – and I love it. Can we also talk about the MV? It’s so beautiful, silly, and fun, and I’m so happy all their significant others are in it.

ONEUS – Valkyrie
I finally watched ONEUS’ debut song, Valkyrie, and consequently fell in love with it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to this song in March. It’s an embarrassing amount, for sure.

Jus2 – Focus on Me
GOT7’s music has always been hit or miss for me, but this sub-unit blew me away. I don’t know what I was expecting from a Yugyeom-Jaebum song, but it wasn’t this. It might be my favorite song of them so far? It’s so chill, yet demands your attention. The choreography is amazing, and can we talk about the editing in this video? Damn. I love the smoothness of this song, though, and can listen to it again and again.

MAMAMOO – gogobebe
It’s official, MAMAMOO is my favorite girl group. I love all their music. They’re such incredibly talented women, and I am filled with endless admiration. It’s silly, fun, and catchy.

Stray Kids – MIROH
Listen, Stray Kids is one of my absolute favorite groups. They’ve never had a comeback I didn’t like/love, and Miroh is no exception. I have to admit that I had to listen to it twice when it was first released, because the song is so overwhelming that I didn’t absorb anything on the first listen. Now, it’s been on repeat ever since its release. The entire album is filled with amazing songs though.

BTS – Persona (Comeback Trailer)
I usually don’t fall in love with BTS’ comeback trailers – don’t kill me. However, RM is absolutely fantastic in persona, and I’ve had so much fun diving into the lyrics. I wish this was on Spotify already so I could add it to my playlist.

That’s everything for March! Have you watched any of these shows, or listened to any of these songs? If you have any recommendations for me, I’d love to hear it!

March wrap up | everything I read last month

While I didn’t read as much in March as I did in January and February, I still had a pretty good reading month – aside from that one book, but we’ll talk about it later. As always, I’m sharing the books I managed to finish this month, and what I thought about them.

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
As you may know, I’ve been trying to read more graphic novels and manga in the past few months because I truly feel like I’m missing out on some great stories. Last year, I bought a secondhand copy of the first Fullmetal Alchemist volume. I figured it would be a great place to start, because it’s so famous. I absolutely loved it. Actually, I immediately bought volumes 2-7 on better world books… I want to continue the manga first before checking out the anime, because I want to story to surprise me in book-format – if that made sense.

Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg…and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders…even to kill.

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
I always feel weird rating nonfiction books. Does anyone else have that issue? Anyway, this is another book I picked up used, and it seemed like an intriguing read. The author, Barbara Demick, is a journalist who made news reports on North Korea for years. For this book, she interviewed 6 North Korean citizens (defectors) and follows their lives over a period of 15 years. This was published in 2009, so before Kim Jong-un became the Supreme Leader. She followed people from the same city, so she could get a clearer view on their lives from a number of different perspectives. It’s such an interesting read! Especially because she addresses that a lot of today’s defectors would return to North Korea if the government fell. They’d want to go back and help their fellow country men assimilate and get back on their feet.

In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years–a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population.

The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
I’ve recently revised my rating of The Cruel Prince. I originally rated it 3.5 stars but rounded it up to 4 on Goodreads. Looking back on it, that was a tad too generous. I had quite some issues with the pacing of the first book, because nothing really happened for the first 80%. I had no such issues with The Wicked King. I love political stories, strategy, and power struggles. This book was right up my alley, and I loved it so much. I can’t wait to read the third book! I’m glad I decided to give the sequel a try, even though I didn’t love the first one.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren – ★★★.₅ or ★★★★
Yes, I’m using an ‘or’ in my rating. I feel so conflicted right now, I don’t know how I feel about this book. For the first 75% of this novel, I was sure it would end up being a 5-star read. I simply loved it! It was adorable, funny, and sweet – and I do love me a soft boy. I was afraid at first that Hazel would become that quirky girl who is just so special, but it really didn’t feel like that. She just seemed genuine and 100% herself the entire time. But the last 25% of this book RUINED it for me. What was that? Why did you have to add one of my most hated tropes? It was NOT necessary at all.

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. Their loss. Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air. Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman – ★★ – really didn’t like it
Listen, I only made it through this book because a) Armie Hammer narrates the audiobook and his voice is fantastic, b) I shared the worst moments with some of my lovely friends so I didn’t have to suffer alone, and c) I felt challenged by this book and didn’t want to let it win by DNFing it. I watched this movie in 2017 and absolutely adored it. I HATED THIS BOOK. IT’S THE FUCKING WORST THING I HAVE READ IN A WHILE. I honestly felt violated while reading this. My brain needed to be submerged in bleach to erase the stain of it on my soul. Here’s my review of this novel, so your brain can feel like it need disinfecting too.

Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them.

I Hear the Sunspot Volume 1 by Yuki Fumino – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
I needed to cleanse my soul after finishing the book we shall never mention again, and I Hear the Sunspot seemed like the perfect manga to do so. I read this on MangaRock, which is an app where fans translate manga from the original Japanese. A lot of manga never get translated, so that’s nice. I did find out after finishing this that the first three volumes were recently translated into English and I’ve already bought them all. This was the most wholesome thing I’ve read in a while. It’s the cutest thing. I will scream about this manga forever, until everyone has read it. (Yes, I’m serious. I really will.) Here’s my review of the first three volumes! I manage to explain why I love it in more detail, and don’t give away any spoilers – don’t worry.

Because of a hearing disability, Kohei is often misunderstood and has trouble integrating into life on campus, so he learns to keep his distance. That is until he meets the outspoken and cheerful Taichi. He tells Kohei that his hearing loss is not his fault. Taichi’s words cut through Kohei’s usual defense mechanisms and open his heart. More than friends, less than lovers, their relationship changes Kohei forever. 

Bye Bye Liberty Volume 1 by Ayuko Hatta – ★★★.₅ – liked it
Bye Bye Liberty was another random MangaRock pick that I ended up liking. It’s a fun manga that follows a girl who has never had a crush nor been in love, and an immensely popular boy. It’s cute and funny, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. I also didn’t like how she went from ‘never have had a crush’ to ‘I might be in love with this person’ so soon. This could have been a chance to write about a demiromantic character, and it feels like a missed opportunity somewhat. I’ll probably continue the manga some day, but I’m not in a rush.

I Hear the Sunspot: Theory of Happiness by Yuki Fumino – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
I was in a rush to continue this manga, though, and ended up reading it immediately after my purchased volumes came in the mail. I devoured this series, and am so in love with it. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve written a review on the first three volumes that are published in English, which you can find here.

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I Hear the Sunspot: Limit 1 by Yuki Fumino – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
I didn’t love this as much as the previous two volumes mainly because I think it’s too short. The Japanese chapters that have been published in ‘Limit’ are far more than the ones in here, which is why I assume it’s called Limit 1. I don’t see why they were split up though. I continued reading the rest of the Limit volumes on MangaRock, and can I just say that a) I’m truly in love with this manga, and b) WHAT IS THAT ENDING? YOU CAN’T DO THAT TO ME.

That’s everything I managed to read in March! I barely read anything in the last two weeks of the month, but I think I had a pretty good month nonetheless. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What did you read in the past month? I’d highly recommend reading I Hear the Sunspot – and avoiding CMBYN.

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!


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 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 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?


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.


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 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.


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


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.


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?