2018 ranked | songs I’ve played on repeat part 2

Last week, I posted my first ‘songs I’ve played on repeat’ post featuring some of my most listened to K-pop songs of 2018. I realized it best to split the posts up when I tried to write down all the songs I feel deserve a place in this ‘2018 ranked’ post. I listen to music all the time, so I didn’t think it fair to only choose 10 songs in total. While I talked solely about K-pop last week, I’ll talk about music from other countries today.

Here are some more songs I kept playing last year! These weren’t all released in 2018, I just listened to them last year. Thank the universe I live alone so I don’t have to annoy anyone else by constantly listening to the same songs. 

Moulin Rouge – El Tango de Roxanne

I don’t know why I suddenly became obsessed with this song in 2018, since I didn’t even rewatch the movie. This song is just so epic, and I could listen to it again and again. Especially the part where everyone is screaming at the end and it’s just one powerful battle in your ears.


I know everyone got sick and tired of listening to Havana, but Pentatonix released their cover of the song in February 2018 and I absolutely adore it. I always love their songs because their harmonies are truly out of this world, but this one has stuck with me throughout the entire year.

BLØF ft. Geike Arnaert – Zoutelande

I know this song was released at the end of 2017, but even in 2018 you couldn’t go anywhere in Belgium without hearing this song on the radio. It grew on me, and I still listen to it every now and then. I also heard Zoutelande has seen quite the increase in tourism after the release of this song!

The Weeknd – Call Out My Name

Another artist who can do no wrong in terms of music, in my opinion. I don’t even know what to say at this point, because I’m sure absolutely everyone has heard this song before. If you haven’t, how is that possible?

Avicii – Feeling Good

This song was used in an episode of Sense8, and I had to look it up immediately so I could add it to my playlist. It’s an incredible cover of Nina Simone’s song Feeling Good, and the way they blended the song with the show itself was mind-blowing.

Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?

A song that’s 5 or 6 years old this time around! I don’t know why I suddenly started listening to Do I Wanna Know? again, but it happened.

Lady Gaga – Always Remember Us This Way

You knew I’d have a song from A Star is Born on this list, didn’t you? I watched this movie last year, and this song truly touched me. To me, it was the second most memorable song of the entire movie. Although a lot of people preferred Shallow, I thought Always Remember Us This Way was the right song to add to my playlist.

Lovers in the night
Poets trying to write
We don’t know how to rhyme
But, damn, we try
But all I really know
You’re where I wanna go
The part of me that’s you will never die

Matt Bloyd and Colton Haynes – A Million Dreams

Another song from a musical, I’m well aware. I actually prefer this cover by Matt Bloyd and Colton Haynes to the original. If you didn’t know, A Million Dreams originally comes from the movie The Greatest Showman, which I’d highly recommend watching if you haven’t done so already.

The Oh Hellos – Hello My Old Heart

I came across this song in a Spotify playlist with music ideal for calming baths – I can’t remember the actual title, sorry. I think this song is quite ‘old’ already since this video was posted in 2011 but I had never heard it before. It’s absolutely beautiful though.

Ariana Grande – God Is a Woman

Could I really make a list without adding Ariana Grande to it? While I’d say her song thank u, next was even more popular than this one, I’m quite partial to God is a woman.

There you have it! An additional few songs I kept on playing in 2018. It’s a mix of old and new songs, which I’m really happy with. Have you heard these songs before? Which are your most played songs of the year?

2018 ranked | songs I’ve played on repeat – K-pop edition

Obviously, this edition of ‘ranked 2018’ will be a bit different. I can’t post all the music I listened to in 2018 from my least favorite to favorite because the post would be endless. Just the thought of doing that gives me nightmares… Instead, I’ll talk about some of my favorite songs of the year! The ones I’ve played over and over again, and don’t seem to get sick of.

Not all of these songs were released in 2018, I just happened to listen to them during said year. I also didn’t rank them, so I guess this is an unranked episode of ranked.

When I started compiling this list, I realized just how many songs I’ve truly loved this year and knew I had to split this up in several posts… This is part 1: the K-pop edition.

NCT U – Baby Don’t Stop

The long-awaited comeback of Ten. Baby Don’t Stop and Boss are the songs that truly got me into NCT’s music. I wasn’t a huge fan of their previous songs, aside from Cherry Bomb, but this one absolutely blew me away. Ten and Taeyong’s chemistry is through the roof, they work so well together. This song came out in February 2018 and I’ve been listening to it ever since.


Like I mentioned earlier, Boss is one of the songs that actually introduced me to NCT. I’d heard of them before, but didn’t listen to them much. I knew from the first second of this video that this song would be more my style, and I wasn’t wrong. I finally learned the members’ names after Boss, and that’s when I fell into the black hole that’s called being a fan of this group.

EXO – Electric Kiss

I know that this is technically a Japanese release and album, but EXO is still a Korean group so I’m putting it in the K-pop category. I feel like so many people skip over Electric Kiss because it wasn’t a full MV/a Korean release but I absolutely love this song. It’s one of my favorites from EXO, to be honest. Plus, the dance practice is so satisfying to watch.

EXO – Love Shot

The comeback we’d been waiting for. I know they came back with Tempo after a year (more than a year?) and I do love that song as well. However, it’s not as catchy as Love Shot. This song got stuck in my head constantly after its release in December. Sidenote: can we appreciate how good everyone looks in this MV? But especially Kyungsoo. There, I said it.

Stray Kids – District 9

2018 was truly the year of Stray Kids. This group is so talented and hardworking, I can’t believe they only debuted last year. They’ve created some of my favorite songs, and the messages they put out to the world are wonderful. District 9 is a song that always manages to hype me up.

Stray Kids – Voices

Like I said before, the messages Stray Kids put out in the world through their songs are fantastic. If you haven’t listened to their music yet, please give this song a try. Don’t forget to turn on CC to read the English subtitles!

MONSTA X – Destroyer

In June 2018, I was lucky enough to see Monsta X in concert in Amsterdam. I can’t give you an MV of Destroyer because it wasn’t a title track and therefore doesn’t have one. However, this is one of my all-time favorite Monsta X songs. Partially influenced by I.M, since his rap verse in Destroyer is my favorite.

MONSTA X – Tropical Night

I wasn’t really aware of this song’s existence before going to the concert in June. When they performed it, however, the atmosphere and vibe the song created was so incredibly nice. I’ve been listening to it ever since, and it always puts me in a good mood.

DAY6 – I Need Somebody

If I had to choose 2 DAY6 songs to listen to for the rest of my life, I Need Somebody would be one of them. This song gets me every time. It never fails to make me emotional. It honestly feels like I’m listening to it for the first time every single time. Besides, the lyrics are so relateable.

DAY6 – I Like You

Before you ask, yes, this would be my second pick. I Like You was the song that made me a fan of DAY6. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times, and I’ll continue to do so for years. It’s just SO BEAUTIFUL.

DAY6 – Shoot Me

And finally, a 2018 DAY6 release. Shoot Me is once again very different than their previous songs. I feel like DAY6 changes the style and genre of their songs with every comeback, yet they never fail to sound like a ‘DAY6’ song either. They haven’t had a single comeback I didn’t love. I’m fairly certain they’re incapable of making bad songs.

iKON – Killing Me

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to Killing Me. I know that Love Scenario is their most popular song, but I don’t love it that much. Killing Me is more my style. If you haven’t listened to iKon’s music before, maybe give this one a go! Also, B.I looks so good in this MV. He truly is killing me.

Mamamoo – Egotistic

MAMAMOO is probably my favorite girl group at the moment. Their songs are catchy and beautiful, their harmonies incredible, and the amount of talent these women have is out of this world. Egotistic is one of my favorite songs from MAMAMOO, and I listened to it countless times in 2018. Can’t forget to mention how insanely gorgeous they all are. Girl crush right here.

ASTRO – Always You

Always You was quite a different release for ASTRO. The group tends to focus on more of a ‘cute vibe’ which is evident in their songs Baby and Crazy, Sexy, Cool. Their previous releases had been upbeat and adorable. Always You has a more serious tone, as it’s a message from the group to their fans. Thank you for waiting for us, I’m sorry we couldn’t be back earlier. Due to the problems the management of their company, Fantagio, had faced.

Chanyeol x Sehun – We Young

MORE EXO! Well, part of EXO… Chanyeol and Sehun came out with their own song last year, and I was here for it. This song is upbeat and fun, which is exactly what I needed. Don’t sleep on this release, everyone!


K-pop and Latin music combined their powers in Super Junior and Reik’s Otra Vez. Super Junior has been around for quite a long time, and here’s the reason why. They still make fantastic music!

ATEEZ – Pirate King

Rookies on the list! ATEEZ debuted in late 2018 with the songs Pirate King and Treasure. I absolutely love both debut songs, but I listened to Pirate King a tad more often. These guys are so talented, and I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for them. P.S. they’ve already released a new song Say My Name which is fantastic too. 2019 is clearly going to be their year.

Sunmi – Siren

Is Sunmi the only solo artist on this list? Well, she deserves a spot of her own because this woman is fierce. Gashina might be her most famous release but I adore Siren too. She came out with this song in September 2018, and it has been playing on repeat in my head ever since.

Big Bang – BAE BAE

Bae Bae might be the oldest song on this list, but I couldn’t not include it. Every K-pop fan has heard of Big Bang, the ‘Kings of K-pop’. While I was familiar with them and knew some of their songs, I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know all that much about them. I started listening to Bae Bae after going to The Rose’s concert in Berlin where they performed a cover of this song. It has such a good vibe! Never mind this weird af music video though. I’ll definitely rectify my past mistakes and learn more about Big Bang in 2019.

Obviously, I listened to a lot more K-pop songs than only these but I think it’s safe to say my 2018 was shaped by these songs. I’ll make a part 2 of this list soon where I’ll talk about the other music (thus not K-pop) I listened to in the past year. Have you listened to any of these songs? Who’s your favorite artist? Let’s talk about it!


2018 ranked | TV shows I watched

It’s time for my second installment of ‘2018 ranked’, this time focused on TV shows. Now, I’ll set some rules for this edition of ranked. I can only use TV shows I either completed in 2018, or watched a large chunk of last year. I can’t count ones I only watched a few episodes of, because I think that’s a bit unfair. I’ll add whether I’ve completed them or not after the title, so you’ll know. Let’s get to it!

Disclaimer: there are really no shows on this list I didn’t like at all. If I don’t like a show, I won’t continue watching it, and I surely won’t finish it. 

Rich Man, Poor Woman – completed
Out of all the TV shows I watched/completed, this might have been my least favorite one. Sorry, Suho! I certainly didn’t hate it, because I gave it around a 3/5 stars. I just didn’t feel much chemistry between the main characters, which is pretty crucial in a drama for me.

Boys Over Flowers – completed
I would have loved this more if I had watched it years ago, like everyone else did. However, years ago I wasn’t even aware of the existence of K-dramas. Instead I watched it in 2018, after watching a modern, Chinese reboot of the story. As I don’t have the nostalgic link, and knew what would happen in the story already, I just didn’t fall in love with this.

I Am Not a Robot – completed
I actually truly enjoyed watching this show. The reason it’s not higher on the list, is that I had genuinely forgotten I watched it in 2018. To be fair, I watched it in January which is a pretty long time ago. I would still recommend it!

Between – still watching
The first show on the list I haven’t actually finished watching. This is a Taiwanese drama about a ‘sandwich girl’. Always stuck in between people and situations. The reason this is quite ‘high’ on the list despite not have watched it in its entirety is because I can relate to the main female character in her work life. The feeling of always being stuck between your boss and colleagues, wanting to do your work well, not really knowing how to say no to more work…

Uncontrollably Fond – completed
Did I ugly cry at the end of this series? You bet I did. I first started watching this because of Suzy, who plays the main character in this show. She’s absolutely fantastic in it, by the way. It’s the story of a famous actor and the producer who is making a documentary about his life. Except there’s way more to the story than that. Of course.

Read my full thoughts on Uncontrollably Fond here.

Something in the Rain – completed
Something in the Rain was one of the cutest shows I’d seen in a long time. It’s about a woman who reconnects with her best friends’ little brother when he comes back from the US. Instead of the little boy she remembers, he’s now a charming and kind adult, and they develop a wonderful relationship. I love the fact that this story focused on their relationship instead of their getting together. It showed a healthy, adult relationship and I can’t praise it enough.

Read my full thoughts on Something in the Rain here

Meteor Garden – completed
I’m still not sure where to put Meteor Garden on this list. I recognize that it has its flaws, like a lot of TV shows do. But it’s also one of the only shows on this list I’ve gone back and rewatched multiple times? Surely that means I love it, right? Anyway, this is a remake of a remake, and it’s still worth watching. It’s a Chinese drama set in college/university.

Read my full thoughts on Meteor Garden here.

Just Between Lovers – completed
The best way to describe this show, in my opinion, is quietly beautiful. It’s nothing showy or spectacular, but it managed to blow my mind anyway. It follows two people who have lost loved ones in the collapse of a mall – two survivors of the collapse, in fact. There’s so much hurt and grief in their lives, and both of them have so much love to give. I wanted to wrap these characters in a blanket and protect them from the world.

Read my full thoughts on Just Between Lovers here

Suspicious Partner – still watching
Another show I haven’t finished watching yet! I love it so much already though, that it deserves a top spot on this list. I think it’s the combination of a lawyer drama + murder + conspiracies + romance that drew me in here. I’ll gather my thoughts on the show later when I’ve completed it and write a ‘Thoughts on TV’ post on it, but for now all I’ll say is that I would highly recommend watching it.

Queer Eye – caught up
You knew this would be on the list, didn’t you? I binge-watched this show in about a week – yes, both seasons in a week – because I just couldn’t stop. This is so much more than a makeover show. If you somehow haven’t watched it, please do. I never thought I would end up loving it, because I don’t really watch much reality TV. I ended up giving it a try, binge-watching two seasons, and crying my eyes out.

You – still watching
The last show on this list I haven’t finished watching. I binge-watched the first 6 episodes of the show immediately after its release, because it was one of my most anticipated Netflix releases. I couldn’t really get in to the book this is based on, but the trailer of the show looked epic. The first episodes were incredible, and I can’t wait to see how the season ends.

Sense8 – completed
There’s no doubt in my mind that Sense8 was the best show I watched in 2018. I had seen season 1 before, but binged season 2 and the movie-length episode that finished the series off in 2018. Every single TV show on Earth should see this one as an example to be followed. That’s all there is to say, really.

This was clearly the year of Asian dramas. I’m going to try and balance my TV watching a bit more this year. I’ll still watch a bunch of Asian dramas, but I also want to watch others. There’s a Spanish show that has been on my to-watch list for ages, as well as a German one, and the hundreds of British/American shows on my to-watch list haven’t disappeared either, of course. Have you watched any of these shows? Which shows did you love in 2018?

2018 Ranked | movies I watched

I thought I’d create a series called ‘Ranked’ for the end of this year, as a mini wrap up of the movies and TV shows I watched this year. This post will feature all the movies I watched in 2018 (not just new releases), ranked from worst to best – in my opinion. I’ll start with my least favorite movie of the year, and work up to my favorite one. Don’t expect a huge post, I didn’t actually manage to watch that many movies this year…

DISCLAIMER: before I start getting any comments… I am not a movie critic. I rate the movies I watch based on how much I enjoyed them. Simply my opinion!

F.C. De Kampioenen: Kampioenen Forever – 1.5/5 stars
This was the only bad movie I watched in 2018… To be honest, the only reason I watched this is because my cousin and her kids had another free ticket and asked me to come along. F.C. De Kampioenen is a Flemish comedy TV show that has been on air for years (decades, probably). It’s not particularly great, although it is nostalgic at times. This was by far the worst I’ve ever seen of it which is why it got the last spot.

Deadpool 2 – 2.5/5 stars
I watched this one on the plane which was the perfect time for it. I adored the first Deadpool movie as it was exactly my type of humor and such a refreshing thing to watch in the world of superheroes. While I still loved those aspects of Deadpool, it wasn’t as refreshing the second time around. That’s why I gave it around a 2.5 stars. I still enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as the first movie.

Annihilation – 3.5/5 stars
To be honest, I really enjoyed watching this movie! The only reason it’s quite low on this list is because I watched a lot of great movies in 2018, and I kind of forgot I watched this last year. I had read the first book in the trilogy this is based on before the movie, and I think this is a great adaptation. If you haven’t seen this movie, please do! Be prepared to feel like you’re hallucinating for the last 15 minutes though.

The Greatest Showman – 3.5/5 stars
Another one I watched on the plane. I really enjoyed this movie, far more than I expected to. When I saw how much my friends loved this movie, I was kind of flabbergasted. It just didn’t seem like the type of movie I’d enjoy. I decided to give it a go while stuck on the plane, and was pleasantly surprised. I still listen to the music today.

A Star is Born – 4/5 stars
Finally, a movie I watched in theaters! What has become most apparent from making this list, is that I really need to watch a lot more movies and go to the theater more. I even have one 200m away from my apartment! I went to see this one with two friends, and really liked it. I didn’t love it as much as everyone else seemed to because I found the first 20 to 30 minutes really awkward, but overall it was a fantastic movie. Lady Gaga absolutely killed it.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – 4/5 stars
One of the long-awaited YA adaptations. It’s safe to say it did not disappoint. This is one of the most adorable and wholesome teenage romcoms I have watched in a long time, and one I will definitely watch again.

Raw – 4/5 stars
If any of my Twitter Lovelies are reading this they might be confused as to why this is so high on my list, as they witnessed my experiences watching this first-hand. Listen, do NOT watch this movie while eating. Take it from me. You’ll have to throw your food away. This is a horror movie focused on a vet student who starts craving raw meat. It’s absolutely horrifying to watch, yet the movie is completely brilliant. Genius, but disgusting.

Crazy Rich Asians – 4/5 stars
Yes, this is really high on my list because I absolutely ADORED that movie. Another one of the very few I watched in theaters. It was everything I wanted from an adaptation, and I can’t wait to watch the sequels. Someone give me some news on the movie sequel.

Love, Simon – 4.5/5 stars
Some people might wonder why on Earth this is one of my favorite movies of the year. Well, because I loved it. I walked out of that theater feeling so much lighter and happier. I was smiling for hours. I was a happy bunny for ages, thanks to this movie.

Train to Busan – 5/5 stars
I probably shouldn’t have watched Train to Busan a month before actually getting on a train to Busan… This is a South Korean zombie movie, and it is by far my favorite zombie-related media I have ever seen. If you’re a fan of horror or zombie stories, please watch this. You probably already have, but just in case you haven’t. It’s so good – this coming from someone who isn’t very fond of zombie stories.

Bird Box – 5/5 stars
I watched this movie quite recently as it was released on December 21st. I didn’t read the book this was based on, Bird Box, but I saw it appear on quite a few horror recommendations list during Halloween time. All I can speak for is the movie, and it was fantastic. It managed to make me feel tense and uncomfortable the entire time. Sandra Bullock provided us with an incredibly performance. This might be my favorite one of hers I’ve seen in a long time.

After making this list, I added a new goal for 2019 to my list: go to the theaters/cinema at least 10 times. I really need to watch more movies. There are so many on my to-watch list, and I never actually watch them. Embarrassing… I also seem to really like horror movies, which I never would’ve guessed, to be honest. Have you watched any of these? What were your favorite movies of the year?

December in the life | Life wrap up

Every month, I make two wrap up posts. One focused on the books I read, and one focused on the other important things in my life: things I did, music I listened to, and movies and TV shows I watched. So let’s talk about December one more time

what i watched black

I watched Bird Box pretty much as soon as it was released on Netflix. I had never read the book, but seen it mentioned so many times in the online bookish community. The trailer was fantastic, so I decided to watch it without reading the book first. Cue the horrified gasp from every other book-lover out there. This movie is phenomenal. I was on edge the entire time while watching. I think this may be my favorite performance by Sandra Bullock, ever. If you haven’t watched it, please do so!

I also started watching You, the TV show adaptation of Caroline Kepnes’ novel. I tried reading You ages ago but DNFed because I just wasn’t interested enough. I’m about 6 episodes in right now, and loving the TV show! One I’ll definitely finish watching soon.

Lastly, I also continued watching Suspicious PartnerI haven’t finished it yet (think I have about 6 more episodes to go on Netflix) but I’m really enjoying this K-drama so far!

what i did black

I feel like December was such a long month for me. The majority of the time I spent looking through job ads and applying, going to interviews, and so on. Looking for a job in marketing and communication is an exhausting thing, but I’m not willing to give up.

However, I did do some fun things as well! I went to Baiersbronn with my parents for a few days, as a short holiday before the Christmas craze began. If you’re unaware, Baiersbronn is a small village in the Black Forest in Germany. It’s absolutely beautiful. We hiked a bit, spent an afternoon in the sauna and swimming pool, trudged through the snow, and went to a Christmas market. It was great.

I then celebrated Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family and New Year’s Eve with my dad’s side. It was a lot of fun! I got to relax, spend some time with my family, eat good food, and have some drinks. And get some presents. All in all, not bad right?

what i listened to black

Yes, I’m back with more K-pop. I’m sorry, okay? I just love it so much. Actually, I don’t know why I’m apologizing for this. I guess it comes from people always dismissing it or laughing at me? Who cares. I like what I like.

DAY6 – Days Gone By
I haven’t met a DAY6 comeback I haven’t liked. Seriously, I love all of their music. This one is very different than their other songs so far, but it’s been stuck in my head all the same. I’m actually going to their concert in Amsterdam in January, and I CAN’T WAIT.

EXO – Love Shot
Two EXO comebacks in one month? YES PLEASE. I think I might like this even better than Tempo. The “na na na” gets stuck in your head for days, I’m warning you.

ATEEZ – Treasure
In October, I became obsessed with ATEEZ’s song Pirate King. This month, I fell in love with Treasure instead. I find their songs, choreography, and music videos quite impressive considering it’s their debut.

Now we’ve taken a look at my life throughout the month of December! Tell me, what did you do? Did you watch a great movie or show? Did you listen to any fantastic music?

December wrap up | what I read in the last month of 2018

It’s that time, everyone. The moment in which I discuss the books I read in December, the ones I closed 2018 with. I made that sound really dramatic, when in reality it’s nowhere near that exciting. I purposefully picked a quite low (for me) Goodreads Reading Challenge so I wouldn’t feel stressed at the end of the year. Enough babbling, let’s just talk about the books.

As always, the title will take you to Goodreads. 

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn – 3/5
I’ve wanted to get back into reading thrillers and mysteries for a while, and this one happened to be a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for 2018. Since I had seen so many raving reviews on it, I decided to give it a go. To be honest, I’m glad I got it from the library. Reading this felt similar to reading The Girl on the Train to me. I think this was just fine, but nothing special. I wasn’t intrigued or captivated by the mystery at all. Mostly, I was just annoyed that we were reading from the perspective of an alcoholic middle-aged woman once again. Are there no other ways to create tension and the absence of memories? No other ways to make a female narrator unreliable?

Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman – 5/5
I have to admit that I was surprised by how much I loved this book. For some reason, I felt like this wasn’t going to be for me and that I wouldn’t like it as much as everyone else seemed to. I started listening to the audiobook when I had a 7-hour train and bus ride ahead of me, and fell in love with it. I couldn’t stop listening! If you are one of the few people who haven’t read this (like I was), I’d urge you to listen to the audiobook. It’s full-cast, and simply fantastic.

The Woods Vol. 1: The Arrow by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas – 3/5
I saw the first volume of The Woods on Scribd and wanted to give it a try since I’d seen some people on BookTube talk about it. It’s about this high school that suddenly gets transported to a different planet. People are obviously trying to figure out how they got there, why it happened, and how they’ll survive from now on. I like the concept and think that the story itself is fascinating, but there were some things that bugged me while reading too. Everyone seems to know random things they shouldn’t actually know, and there’s absolutely no explanation for it. They also used way too much emphasis in there sentences, like this.

The Fifth Season (Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin – 5/5
I don’t really know how to explain the story-line of this book, or why I loved it so much. All you have to know is that this is a fantastic SFF novel with a very unique setting and magic system. The author also switches to second perspective at times, which is jarring yet incredibly fascinating at the same time. Go read it!

The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson – 5/5
I DID IT! I read this giant 1200-page long book and it is no longer staring at me from my unread shelf! I’m so proud of myself. I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that I absolutely loved this book. I haven’t read a single Brandon Sanderson book I didn’t fall in love with. This one is no exception. I know I’ll be continuing the series soon – as soon as I buy the sequel.

Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan – 4.5/5
A few posts ago, I talked about the books that had been on my shelves for yearsPromise of Blood was one of those. That’s why I was so adamant on finally reading it. I ended up really liking it! I find it different than a lot of the other fantasy books I’ve read because you follow a 60-year-old field marshal as he overthrows the monarchy and kills the Royal Cabal (mages). The shift to a male narrator, and one that isn’t a teenager or in his early 20s, was intriguing. The magic system was fascinating too. There are different types of mages. The Privileged (mages who can manipulate the world through the Else), Magebreakers (who cut off the Privileged’s access to the Else) and Powder Mages (who can manipulate gunpowder). Would highly recommend!

I read this for the Magical Readathon: Christmas at Hogwarts readathon.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee – 3/5
I was so disappointed in this book. The first book in the duology, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, was one of my favorite books of 2017. I loved Monty’s voice, his humor, his relationship with Percy, and the adventures they went on. I was hoping to love Felicity’s story just as much, but unfortunately I didn’t. I think Felicity is extremely judgmental, the kind of “feminist” who judges other women for making choices she thinks are beneath her. That judgment never really went away, even though she was confronted by the other girl who pointed out how hypocritical she was being. I also don’t like how she talked about her brother and his relationship with Percy…

Night by Elie Wiesel – 5/5
Night is one of the books I read in 2018 that had a big impact on me. It’s an autobiography (translated by his wife) describing Elie Wiesel’s deportation to and survival in Auschwitz-Birkenau. It’s heartbreaking and difficult to read at times, but it’s such an important book. I think this is a book everyone should have to read in school as well, since it’s only like 120 pages. We can’t forget what happened in WWII, especially now the number of concentration camp survivors is decreasing.

ouran high school host club vol 1

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 1 by Bisco Hatori – 3.5/5
Ouran High School Host Club is one of the first anime series I’ve watched and finished. I say that as if I’ve watched a lot of anime. I haven’t. It’s something I’m looking to change in 2019. Anyway, I quite enjoyed the anime and wanted to give the manga a go as well. I really liked it! The only downside was that the panels are sometimes so busy and full that it becomes hard to tell what’s going on. I’ll probably continue the series, but it’s not that high on my priority list – especially since I already know what happens.

That’s it, my last few reads of the year! As I’m writing this on December 31st, I’m reading Attack on Titan Vol. 1 by Hajime Isayama but I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it before the end of 2018. I don’t really have much time to myself today. I hope you had a wonderful December, and I wish you a happy 2019!

My favorite books of the year | best in books (2018)

It’s time for my most anticipated blog post of the year. Even though it’s already 2019 and I’m really the only one anticipating its release. Anyway! Today, I’m talking about my favorite books of the past year. I didn’t create this list with a specific number in mind. I simply went through the books I read in 2018 and picked out the ones I truly loved, and I still think about today. Not every book I gave 5 stars will be on this list. I can’t really explain why that is, but I hope you’ll understand. These are the BEST books I read in 2018 – not necessarily released in the past year.

Titles of the books/series will take you to the Goodreads page.


This year I fell in love with Mark Lawrence’s writing. Specifically, his Book of the Ancestor series. Red Sister was one of the first books I read in 2018 and it completely blew my mind. It’s a series about assassin nuns, spy nuns, and magic-wielding nuns that focuses on Nona. When the books start Nona is very young (around 8 I think) and you watch her grow up and train at the Convent of Sweet Mercy. It’s SO GOOD. After loving the first book, I was afraid Grey Sister wouldn’t live up to my expectation. Color me surprised when I ended up loving it just as much/even more than I did the first book. I can’t wait for the release of the last book, Holy Sister.

Read my review of Red sister here.
Read my review of Grey Sister here.


This book caught me by surprise. I picked it up on a whim at the library because it was described as ideal for fans of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. You may know that said book is one of my all-time favorites, so reading that made me take it with me. It blew my mind! It was so good. I had never heard anyone talk about  If We Were Villains before, although I’ve seen some more reviews pop up in the past 6 months. If you don’t know what this is about, it follows a guy called Oliver who just served 10 years for a murder he may or may not have committed. The victim? One of his conservatory friends. They all attended the same elite conservatory where they studied Shakespeare. Seriously, read this.

Read my review of If We Were Villains here.


I can’t count the amount of times this book was recommended to me before I bought myself a copy. It was on every science fiction recommendation list. It was on every LGBT+ SFF recommendation list. After reading it, I can see why. This is a very slow-paced science fiction novel, focused more on character development than action. You follow the crew of the Wayfarer as they take on a big job – they tunnel wormholes through space. If somehow you haven’t read this, please give it a try. Even if you don’t like science fiction!

I was going to link my review here, but then realized I never actually wrote one. Oops.


Prepare to feel your heart break in a million little pieces while reading this novel. If you don’t know, this is an adult fiction book set in Korea and Japan spanning 8 decades. It follows multiple generations of a Korean family as they try to survive in trying times. I’ll just say it now: not many good things happen in their lives. This is a SAD book. But it’s absolutely brilliant at the same time. Plus, it’ll teach you some of Korea’s history as well as their relationship with Japan – during and after its annexation of Korea.

Read my review of Pachinko here.


I think this book left such an impact on me because it’s the first romance book I’ve truly loved in a while. It’s centered around Stella and Michael. It has an #ownvoices autistic storyline as Stella has Asperger’s and the love interest, Michael, is Vietnamese-Swedish. It’s sweet, sexy and absolutely wonderful. I read it in the span of a few hours on the train because I just couldn’t put it down.

Also didn’t write a review of this one apparently. Get yourself together, Jolien.


This is an autobiography I picked up at YALC during the summer, and I knew I wanted to read it as soon as possible. In Every Falling Star, Sungju Lee describes his life growing up in North Korea and his eventual escape from the country. It pretty much reads like a YA fiction book, and I had to keep reminding myself that his actually happened to him. As a child, he lived in Pyongyang and had a pretty pampered (and indoctrinated) life. Until his family was forced to move to the countryside and exiled into poverty. Sungju Lee ended up alone on the streets at age 12, stealing and begging to survive. It is a book everyone should read. I especially enjoyed hearing his thoughts on what the West (and South Korea, China, etc.) should do to prepare for an eventual reunification of Korea.

Read my review of Every Falling Star here.


I know everyone already read this book in 2017 but I didn’t, okay? I’m apparently a procrastinator like that. Which is odd because I don’t tend to procrastinate much in other aspects of my life? I listened to the audiobook of The Hate U Give which I would highly recommend. I don’t think I need to say too much about this, as I’m certain most of you have already read it.


I didn’t think I would ever read this book. I know everyone and their mother raved about this YA science fiction novel, but it just didn’t seem like a book I’d enjoy. I randomly decided to read it on a day I had to spent about 7 hours on public transport because the audiobook was available on Scribd. I’m so glad I gave it a chance! It was absolutely epic, and the audiobook is one of the best I’ve ever listened to.


Last year, I read two books from her Inheritance series and absolutely loved them. When I realized that everyone raves about this series, Broken Earth, in particular I knew I had to read it too. This book was phenomenal. I don’t quite know how to talk about it without spoiling anything, so I’ll just say this has become one of my favorite SFF books and I need you all to read it too. It’s probably best to go into it knowing as little as possible so you can discover everything by yourself.


I finally conquered this giant book! It was worth every second. Once again, I don’t know how to explain this story to you all… It’s a high fantasy novel told through multiple POVs. It’s got magic, battle, royalty, schemes, assassins, long lost legendary Knights, and epic swords. Honestly, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.


I’m ending my list with my most recent read on here, and the one I’ll be thinking about for months/years to come. This is a short autobiography in which Elie Wiesel talks about his deportation to and life in Auschwitz-Birkenau. It made me feel like vomiting at times, because I find it so hard to read what humans put other humans through. But it’s important to read books like these, and talk about them, especially in these times. Not only is fascism and hate on the rise again, the number of concentration camp survivors is dwindling. We can’t forget their stories, and need to remember it happened only a few generations ago.

My favorite books of 2018. It feels weird to say that, and truly end this (reading) year! Have you read any of these? What were your favorite novels of 2018?

November wrap up | #theonereadathon + more

I’ve already shared my wrap up for The One Readathon with you all, which you can find here. I will add the books I read during the readathon here, but I’ll keep it short. If you want to know which challenges they all fulfilled, you can take a look at that wrap up. I did read some other books outside of the readathon that I wanted to talk about. I didn’t read a lot during November because so much has been happening in my life. Enough waffling, let’s talk about the books!

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye – 4 stars
It took me quite a while to read Jane Steele, through no fault of the book itself. I’ve been feeling a bit slumpy lately, and just had no desire to read. I think if I had read this book during a different time, it could’ve been a 4.5-star read. This is about a girl called Jane Steele, who loves to read about Jane Eyre. She’s also a murderer. You follow her from childhood through adulthood, and see how her life mirrors Jane Eyre’s – with murders. I loved the characters, the atmosphere, and pretty much everything about this book. I also found myself rooting for Jane as the killer, and had little to no sympathy for the victims. All in all, would highly recommend!

WomanCode by Alisa Vitti – 3 stars
I bought this book because I had seen so many people rave about it on YouTube and Instagram. This book is about cycle syncing, and adapting your life and food to your menstrual cycle. I was expecting something mind-blowing after everyone’s comments, but I was left disappointed. A lot of the things about your menstrual cycle I already knew (thanks high school biology specialization), and the rest just seemed common sense. Don’t push yourself to do HIIT workouts on your period, save those for your follicular phase when you have more energy. I mean, that’s just pure logic. I do want to give her food recommendations per phase a try, to see if it lessens my headaches and PMS. It also bothered me that she spent 50% of the book talking about how much of a genius she was and how this will change your life, instead of actually teaching you HOW to change your life.

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire #1) by Natasha Ngan – 4.5 stars
This was the first book I read for #theonereadathon, and I absolutely loved it. I didn’t have too high expectations, as I’d seen a lot of mixed reviews already. I have to say that it surpassed those expectations easily, and I ended up enjoying it immensely. I’ll write a full review soon, but I’d highly recommend this book.

The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black – 4 stars
I caved in. I wasn’t planning on read this, but the hype was so strong that I gave in. I didn’t want to buy a copy of this, mostly because I haven’t had much luck with faerie stories. Imagine how excited I was to see it in my local library! I did enjoy this book, but the second half of the book is what made this a 4-star read. The first half was more of a 3-star one.

HP and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling – 5 stars
Obviously, a 5-star read. I read this one for the rereading prompt in #theonereadathon! It’s a very short one, so I managed to finish it in only a few hours.

Wundersmith (Nevermoor #2) by Jessica Townsend – 5 stars
The easiest 5 stars, ever. In September I read the first book in the series, Nevermoor, and ended up loving it. It was the first middle grade book I fell in love with in a while. I knew I had to read the sequel as soon as possible, and the readathon seemed like the perfect time for that. I can now happily say that I enjoyed reading the sequel even more than I did the first book.

That’s everything I managed to read in November! I know it’s not a huge amount, but I’m still quite happy with it. What did you read this month? Have you read any of these books?

November in the life | what I watched, listened to, and did in the past month

November has come to an end, which means it’s time for another ‘in the life of Jolien’ post. I use these post to talk to you about the music and podcasts I listened to, the movies and TV shows I watched, and the things I did during a certain month. So let’s talk about November!

what i did (3)

So, November… Most of the month has gone to looking through job ads, applying for jobs, and going to interviews. It might be boring to you, but that’s the truth! I’m looking for a job at the moment, which takes up quite a lot of time.

I also spent some time with my family this month! We celebrated Sint-Maarten on November 11, which deviates from the majority of Belgium as they celebrate Sinterklaas on December 6th. I have no idea why the region I live in celebrates in November, but we do. We spent it with family, giving gifts to the little ones, drinking coffee and tea, and eating cakes and pastries. And chocolate. So much chocolate.

I also spent a lot more time with my parents and brother than I have in months. Especially since I’m home most of the time now, and have come back from my trip. Also because their cat, Oscar, is adorable… I live very close to my parents, and walk there most of the time. The past month it’s been nice to walk in the autumn/winter weather!

I met up with some of my university friends for the first time in a while! I went to the birthday party of one of my best friends, and got to meet her family and eats lots of Armenian food (which is fantastic, by the way). I also met up with some of my other wonderful friends for a housewarming party, some wine, and pizza.

Last but not least, I went to Berlin for a few days! I met up with a girl I met while traveling in Korea, and we went to see The Rose in concert together. It was so wonderful. I’m so glad I met her in Korea, because she is the kindest person and we actually have such similar opinions and tastes – especially in music/K-pop. It was lovely to see her again, the concert was incredible, and Berlin is a beautiful city. You can always go to my Instagram to see pictures from my trips.

what i watched

It was the month of K-dramas, apparently.

Uncontrollably Fond – 4 stars
I started off the month by watching Uncontrollably Fond, which follows a documentary maker shunned because she took a bribe, and a famous actor who is dying. She wants to make a documentary about him because she desperately needs the money. I really liked the acting, how the show talked about justice and the rich, and the main couple. I kind of disliked how long it took for them to get their shit together though. I’ll have a review for this show up later this week!

Something in the Rain – 4 stars
I watched this show because it’s about a woman dating a younger guy (her best friend’s brother), which I find really refreshing to watch! The guy was honestly the sweetest, and their relationship was adorable. The only reason I didn’t rate this higher is because I just don’t understand the conflict. Why was it so wrong for them to be together? Because he’s younger? Anyway, I would recommend this to everyone!

I can’t rate this yet, because I’ve only watched like 2 or 3 episodes. However, I’m enjoying it so far! It’s about a woman who can see the shadow of death, and a grim reaper who takes over the body of a dead detective.

Boys over Flowers – 3 stars (or maybe 2.5?)
This is such a cult classic when it comes to K-dramas! It’s on pretty much every must-watch list. I didn’t really love it. Mostly because I watched Meteor Garden earlier this year, which follows the same story line. They’re both remakes, I believe, only Meteor Garden is a Chinese show from 2018 while Boys Over Flowers is a Korean show from 2009. Since I already knew what would happen, I didn’t love it as much. Obviously, the 2018 version spoke to me more because it was modern. I also preferred the acting in that one, over the acting here – especially when it comes to the main female lead.

Suspicious Partner
I also can’t rate this yet, because I haven’t finished it. So far, I am LOVING it. I think this might be a 4.5 or 5 star show.

what i listened to

It’s time for the music section.

EXO – Tempo
EXO COMEBACK TIME!! I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for a new EXO album. I love this group so much. This song has been stuck in my head for the entire month, as it was released at the start of November.

ATEEZ – Pirate King
ATEEZ is a very newly debuted group, as their debut songs Pirate King and Treasure were released at the end of October. They were known as KQ Fellaz before their debut! I didn’t love Pirate King the first time I listened to it, but somehow I ended up listening to it over and over again until I was obsessed with it. I am looking forward to what these boys will bring next.

This is actually a song from 2015, but I had no idea it existed. I’m not very familiar with BIGBANG, aside from the extremely popular songs nowadays. However, The Rose covered this song during their concert, and I absolutely loved it! The vibe this song creates is just so relaxed yet hype. Ever since the concert, I’ve been listening to this song.

NCT 127 – Simon Says
I always need to listen to new NCT 127 songs twice, because the first time I’m always struck by how weird/different they are. The same goes for this one. I only fell in love with it on the second watch/listen.

The Oh Hellos – Hello My Old Heart
This song was on a random bathtime Spotify playlist I listened to, and I loved it so much I immediately added it to my own playlist. It’s so calming and beautiful.

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox – Gangsta’s Paradise
This was also on that bathtime playlist! I really liked this cover, and I’m definitely checking out more of their covers.

That’s the end of this very long wrap up of my life in November! How was your month? Did you do anything fun? Listen to any great songs? Watch some great movies or shows?

September wrap up | what I read last month

I know this post is so incredibly late, but I still wanted to take my time and talk to you all about the books I read during the month of September. I did participate in the Contemporary-a-thon, for which I’ve done a separate wrap up. If you’re interested in what I read during that readathon, you can find my post on it here: contemporary-a-thon wrap up.

In this post, I’ll only talk about the books I read outside of the readathon in September. Let’s get started!

Easy Prey by Catherine Lo – 1 star
I did not start this month off well… I first read Easy Prey, an ARC I picked up at YALC in July. I wanted to read it before it came out in October so I could write a full review for you all. I absolutely hated this book, which you may have guessed from the 1-star rating I gave it. I barely ever give 1-star ratings… There’s so much wrong with this book, I can’t possibly state it all here. You can read my full review here if you want to find out why I wouldn’t recommend this book at all.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – 5 stars
Such a big difference between the first and second book of the month! I should have read this last year, but I didn’t. I’m so glad I finally listened to the audiobook because it was phenomenal. If you are one of the people who haven’t read this yet, listen to the audio version! The narration is on point.

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir – 3 stars
Honestly, I was kind of disappointed in this book. I was expecting an epic fantasy inspired by the Roman empire, focused on a girl who is a slave and helping the rebellion. The parts of this book that I liked were exactly that: the parts talking about the Empire, about slavery, the brutality of conquerors, the rebellion… I really enjoyed that, especially how the author didn’t shy back from the brutality and cruelty of the Roman Empire. However, this was a romance with fantasy elements, and not the other way around. There was a love square/rectangle in this book. REALLY? You’re constantly in danger, about to die, your loved ones are being killed off, and all you can think about is 2 guys you’ve met for like 10 minutes? The same goes for Elias, by the way. I’m not sure whether I’ll continue the series.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend – 5 stars
I picked this book up because Lauren from Lauren and the Books was raving about this in one of her videos, and it seemed like such a wonderful read. I’m so glad I bought it! I ended up falling in love with this middle grade fantasy about a cursed girl. I already pre-ordered the second book which will be released at the end of the month!

China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians #2) by Kevin Kwan – 4 stars
I read the first book in the series, Crazy Rich Asians, during the contemporary-a-thon and really enjoyed it. I knew I wanted to continue the series as soon as possible, so I bought a copy of the sequel during a rainy day in Busan. I flew through this, and enjoyed it just as much as the first one. This has less of a focus on Nick and Rachel and focuses more on Chinese high society than on Singapore, but it was just as funny and interesting. I love the footnotes in this book. If you don’t like footnotes, you probably won’t enjoy these books as much, but I thought they were so interesting. I can’t wait to read the third book!

Those are the books I read in September outside of the contemporary-a-thon! Have you read any of these? What did you read in September?