may wrap up – everything I read last month

A mini reading slump hit me last month, and I found myself unable to commit to a book. I finished a lot less books than I did in the previous 4 months, but that’s okay! Reading is a hobby, after all, and shouldn’t come with pressure. Let’s talk about what I managed to read in May, shall we?

Death Note Black Edition Volume 2 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★★
The first volume of these black editions left me pleasantly surprised and wanting to continue the series, which is exactly what I did at the start of May. This might be my favorite Death Note volume yet. It was absolutely brilliant, and I ended up devouring it.

Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence – ★★★★.₅
You knew Holy Sister would end up in the wrap up, didn’t you? I fell in love with this series last year, and was both excited and sad to read the final book in the trilogy. I have to admit that it was a lot shorter than I was expecting. While I still adored it, I prefer the first two books in the trilogy over the conclusion. It seemed a little bit rushed at times, and I just wanted a tad more from the romance. It’s still a 4,5-star read though. If you haven’t picked up the trilogy yet, please do so.

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 3 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★
Aside from Death Note, I’ve also been endlessly fascinated by Fullmetal Alchemist ever since I started the manga this year. I think the first volume is still my favorite, but I really like every volume I’ve read so far!

Death Note Black Edition Volume 3 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★
After the brilliance of the second volume, I had to continue with the manga as soon as possible. Death Note is so compelling! I find myself glued to the pages whenever possible. Volume 3 wasn’t as great as volume 2, but I don’t think it’s possible to be as great or better than the second one.

Death Note Black Edition Volume 4 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★
Once again, after finishing volume 3 I immediately picked up the next one. I was absolutely devastated at something that happened in this one, let me tell you. I might never be the same again.

Death Note Black Edition Volume 5 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★
After the devastation of volume 4, I was hooked. I immediately bought the remaining two volumes and devoured them. I don’t love this volume as much as the early ones, but it’s really incredible to see the characters’ journeys. Light has come from a arrogant high school boy into an adult with the largest God complex I have ever seen. It’s fascinating!


Death Note Black Edition Volume 6 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★.₅
This finale had me stressed to the max. I didn’t even know how I wanted it to end. Good vs.  evil – who should win? I’m very satisfied with the conclusion to the series, even though I’m a little sad the story is over. I’m definitely watching the anime adaptation soon.

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart – DNF
There you have it, my first DNF of the year. The Sacrifice Box is a YA horror novel of which I received an ARC at YALC in 2017. I know, I got a copy almost two years ago and still hadn’t read it. After 200 pages, I still couldn’t care less about the novel. I wasn’t attached to any of the characters, wasn’t interested in what the evil actually was, or how they would survive what was happening to them. I simply didn’t care, so I decided to put it down.

Apparently, May was the month of manga for me. Or maybe it was just the month of Death Note? I fell into a mini reading slump at the start of the month, and manga is a great way to try and crawl out of the slump. If you have any manga recommendations for me, I’d love to hear about it! There are so many on my to-buy list, but I can always use more!

Have you read any of these books? What did you read in May?

try a chapter part 1 (in which I try to decide whether to keep these books)

I’ve seen a few videos recently in which people read the first chapter of a book to decide whether they’ll keep the novel on their TBR shelves or whether they’ll donate it instead. There are a few books on my shelves I bought because they were cheap or on sale, ones I’m not sure I’ll ever get to. So I decided to do a “try a chapter” post myself!

As I don’t want to make this post incredibly long, I’ll split it up. I have 10 books to reach a verdict on with me, so they’ll probably fit nicely in two posts. Let’s get started!

the boy with the porcelain blade

the boy with the porcelain blade

“The first in an ornate yet dark debut fantasy series, set in an original and beautifully imagined world, and populated by unforgettable characters.”

my thoughts on the first chapter

I was a bit terrified the first chapter wouldn’t be very telling, as this is a fantasy series. Fantasy novels often require a fair amount of chapters of set-up so the reader can get used to the entirely new world they’ve just been dropped in.

However, the first chapter of the boy with the porcelain blade was quite interesting. From what I can gather, this is an Italian-inspired fantasy novel about a boy called Lucien. He’s one of the Orfano, who are all marked. Lucien has entirely black nails. The first chapter is him mentally preparing for a Test, which I presume is swordfighting or fencing? Either way, I’m into it. Definitely keeping this one!


riders“Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.”

my thoughts on the first chapter

When I started this, I was fairly sure I would unhaul it after finishing the first chapter. I bought a translated copy of Riders a while ago in a sale, and hadn’t picked it up yet. I so rarely read books in Dutch anymore, and it’s clearly going to take a while to get used to. I think I’ll write a post in the future on why I seldomly read in my first language. 

At first, the fact that it was translated took me out of the story. However, by the end I was intrigued enough to want to continue. Surprisingly, I’m deciding to keep this book! Reading the first chapter made me more excited about picking this novel up than I’ve been since buying it.

the graces

de graces

Everyone said the Graces were witches. They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair. They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different. All I had to do was show them that person was me.

my thoughts on the first chapter

I can already tell from the very short first chapter that I will get rid of this.

It literally had an I’m-not-like-other-girls moment, and the female main character spent multiple paragraphs demeaning other girls. Might it be that this is related to the plot, or that she grows to be better? Sure. Still not interested in reading it, though. The first book of this experiment to be added to my unhaul pile! It had to happen at some point, I guess. 

the king’s last song

the king's last song“In the shadow of Angkor Wat archaeologists make an astonishing discovery: the memoir of Cambodia’s greatest king, preserved on leaves of gold for centuries. When the treasure is stolen, two ordinary Cambodians, a young moto-boy and a middle-aged ex-Khmer Rouge, join forces to recover it.”

my thoughts on the first chapter

Honestly, I couldn’t even finish the first chapter of this book. I picked it up during a library sale 3 or 4 years ago, which I apparently shouldn’t have. 

I do not get along with the writing style of this book. It was so hard to concentrate on, and felt so unnatural to me. I don’t even know how to explain why I dislike it so much! Sometimes, you come across an author whose works simply aren’t for you. Geoff Ryman is one of those for me. Added to the unhaul pile.

altar of bones

altar of bones“From the frozen wastelands of Russia, to the winding maze of Paris’s backstreets, from Washington D.C, through America’s mid-west all the way to San Francisco, THE ALTAR OF BONES is a gripping global thriller that spans the generations and unearths the dark secret behind one of the biggest conspiracies of all time.”

my thoughts on the first chapter

Another one I picked up during a book sale and promptly forgot about. After finishing chapter one, I’m absolutely kicking myself for that. I just read the prologue, and was so captivated by the story already!

I actually wanted to keep reading after the prologue, even though I had to a) write this section of the post, and b) go to sleep because I have to go to work tomorrow. I’m definitely going to read this book soon, because it was so compelling. If it wasn’t obvious already, Altar of Bones is going in the ‘keep’ pile!

My first ‘try a chapter’ post ended in me keeping 3 books and unhauling 2. Not bad, right? I’m so happy I decided to do this challenge. Not only does it help me weed out the books I’m not that interested in, it also reignites my excitement for books I had forgotten about.

Have you ever done this challenge? Have you read any of these books?


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.

i hear the sunspot 3

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.

Most anticipated releases for January – June 2019 | #TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, we’re talking about anticipated releases! Books you can’t wait to read, but will only come out in the first half of 2019. I have to admit that I’m a little bit less up-to-date with new releases lately, because I’ve been focusing more on secondhand books, backlist ones, and translated works from foreign authors. Anyway, here are the books I’m excited to read.

The Girl King by Mimi Yu – January 8th, 2019
This is a YA fantasy about two sisters, one destined to become the first female ruler of the Empire, the other destined to live in her shadow. Until their father declares their male cousin as the heir instead. Lu is determined to take back her birthright, while Min has to deal with the powers that awaken inside her. Who’s going to take the throne? I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS! I love everything about that synopsis, and I need to read it soon.

King of Scars (Nikolai #1) by Leigh Bardugo – January 29th, 2019
Who’s surprised this is on my list? Absolutely no one. It’s been a long time since I’ve read the Grisha trilogy in which Nikolai first appears, so maybe I’ll re-read that next year before picking this one up. Anyway, he was one of my favorite characters, so I’m happy he gets his own books now.

Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness #1) by Robin Lafevers – February 5th, 2019
I can’t tell you how excited I am to return to the women trained at the Convent of Saint Mortain. I read the His Fair Assassin series when I first got back into reading a few years ago, and absolutely loved it. Medieval times + nuns + assassins + court intrigue = happy readers. Now we’re returning with Sybella, and I’m so excited! This is another one in which I’ll probably have to re-read the first three books because it’s been so long.

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie – February 14th, 2019
I have absolutely no idea what this is about. All I know is that this is what the Goodreads synopsis says,

Listen. A god is speaking.
My voice echoes through the stone of your master’s castle.
This castle where he finds his uncle on his father’s throne.
You want to help him. You cannot.
You are the only one who can hear me.
You will change the world.

The Shadow Glass (The Bone Witch #3) by Rin Chupeco – March 1st, 2019
I reread the first book in the series in 2018 so I could go into the second one with a fresh mind. Now, I can’t wait to read the third one! This series is so good. If you enjoy YA fantasy, especially ones with a slower pace that are character-driven, you’ll probably love this one.

A Place for Wolves by Kosoko Jackson – April 2nd, 2019
I don’t know much about this book other than it being an LGBTQ+ historical fiction novel. That’s really all I need to know to add this to my list. I guess I’ll find out more in April (or a few months later, because I never have my shit together like that).

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – April 2nd, 2019
Descendant of the Crane is a Chinese-inspired fantasy about a princess who’s always shirked her responsibilities, until her father is murdered and she has to rule the kingdom. I also believe she does some illegal things to find out who killed her father!

Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence – April 4th, 2019
This might be my most anticipated release of the year. I adore this series, and I’ve been dying to read the third book. If you don’t know, this series follows Nona who starts training at the Convent of Sweet Mercy. She wants to become a Red Sister (Sister of combat), but even as an 8-year-old she has managed to make some powerful enemies. The cast of characters consists of like 98% women, and it’s glorious.

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala – April 23rd, 2019
This story follows Esha, who moonlights as the rebels’ assassin called Viper. All she wants is revenge for what was taken from her during the royal coup. Her latest assignment? Taking down general Hotha. You all know I’m present when there’s a fantasy novel about revenge, assassins, and rebels.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – May 14th, 2019
‘Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king.’ Remember what I just said about assassins and fantasy? I’m excited!

I can’t wait to read these 10 books. Someone hold me accountable and make sure I actually read these in 2019! I’m hoping to, because they all sound epic. What are your most anticipated reads for the first half of 2019?

2019 reading predictions

Every year so far, I’ve made a post on my reading goals for the coming year. Today, I’ve changed that post from goals into reading predictions. I feel like the word ‘goals’ only makes me feel pressured, and leaves me disappointed when I don’t reach them by the end of the year. The predictions, on the other hand, are just fun. Let’s talk about 2019!

I’ll read around 70 books

I started tracking the amount of books I read per year in 2013 through the Goodreads Reading Challenge. It’s the easiest way for me to keep track of what I read, as I tend to update my Goodreads often. For the first few years of doing this challenge I read about 140 books a year, which I only achieved because I was a university student and read when I’m stressed.

Ever since graduating, I’ve read somewhere around 70 books a year. I think 2019 will see the same trend as well. There are months in which I read 15 books, and months in which I don’t read anything. That’s what works for me at the moment, and doesn’t stress me out.

I’ll read more translated books

This ties in to the challenge I’ve set myself of reading a book from every country in the world. This means written by an author with that nationality. I didn’t set a timeline for the challenge, but it’s definitely something I’ll keep in mind the coming years. Since I only speak Dutch and English well enough to read a full novel/book, I’m going to read a lot more translated books than I have in the past.

reading a variety of genres

I’ve actually already noticed a difference when it comes to genres in my reading in 2017 vs my reading in 2018. In 2018, the vast majority of books I read were fantasy. In 2018, I read a wider variety of genres and decreased the amount of fantasy books. Don’t get me wrong, fantasy will always be my favorite genre. But there are so many other interesting books to discover, and I don’t want to limit myself so much.

I’ll get my physical TBR to around 75

I guess you could see this as a goal? Right now, my physical TBR is around 99 (as I’m typing this). I did read a lot more of my own books in 2018, but I also bought a few thanks to YALC and used bookstores. The good news is that most of the books I bought were heavily discounted. The bad news is that I feel like I’m never going to get around to reading some.

I think getting my TBR to 75 or 80 might be what I’ll achieve in 2019. I’ve become really good at unhauling books, going to the library more, and only buying books I am genuinely interested in.

the majority of my book buying will be secondhand 

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to new releases. But I’ve truly fallen in love with used bookstores in the second half of 2018, and I don’t see that trend ending soon. I ordered from Better World Books and got so many great books for such a low price level! Then I rediscovered Pêle-Mêle, a used bookstore in Brussels, too.

I’ve never been someone who needs her books to be in pristine condition, so I don’t really care about having books that look used. I actually break the spines of my paperbacks too (GASP) and like that it makes them look read and loved. Besides, I have found some really interesting books for such a low price!

If this does come true, it’ll save me so much money and help me towards reading a wider variety of genres and books I haven’t heard of before.

Those are my reading predictions for 2019! What do you think of goals vs predictions? What do you think your reading year will look like?

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!

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?

More books I’m getting rid of | book unhaul

I last did an unhaul in September, which you can see here, but I’ve culled my shelves some more. I did already get rid of some books between the last unhaul and this one, but I’ve given them to friends and can’t remember them at all. Oops! Anyway, here are some books that are leaving my shelves.

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Curse #1) by Marie Rutkoski
I read The Winner’s Curse in 2015, when this series was so popular in the bookish community. I’ve had the sequel pretty much ever since, and still haven’t read it. That tells me I have lost interest in the series, so I’m getting rid of it.

The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Curse #2) by Marie Rutkoski
Like I mentioned above, I have officially given up on continuing this series. While I have several series on my shelves that I started years ago and haven’t finished, this one simply didn’t excite me. When I hold it in my hands, I’m not excited to read it or get back in to the story.

The Gift (Book of the Pellinor #1) by Alison Croggon
I bought this during a sale in my favorite bookstore in Brussels (Sterling Books), and I still haven’t read it. Once again, when I look at it, I’m just not excited to read it.

Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
Another book I got during a sale! Can you see a theme here? This was 100% a cover buy because I couldn’t even tell you what this is about even after it being on my shelves for 3 years.

The Fallen Angel (Nic Costa #9) by David Hewson
I used to love this series as a teenager. It’s about a cop in Rome, who solves multiple murders and mysteries. While I would still pick up the books, I would start at the beginning of the series again. Besides, I can probably find these in Dutch at my local library.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I’ve finally given in. I’m never going to read this book. It’s been sitting on my shelf, unread, for 4 years now! I’ve already seen the movie… Besides, while the author is from Jackson (where the story plays out), she is white. I’d rather read a story on racism, the treatment of black women (and men), and slavery from a black author.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
I’m just never going to read this. I’ve already seen the movie (with Reese Witherspoon), and I don’t have any interest in reading the book too. Sorry.

His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik
No worries on this one! I accidentally bought 2 copies a few years ago, and I still haven’t gotten rid of the second one. So I’m doing that now. I will still have an unread copy of this on my shelves!

Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne
Another book I’ve actually already read. When I first read this series, I really enjoyed it. It’s about a 21-century-old Druid in modern day, trying to survive when gods are trying to kill him. However, there was a certain scene in the second book that weirded me out, and I’ve heard that the amount of sexism increases in the next books too. So I don’t want to read it anymore.

Hexed (Iron Druid Chronicles #2) by Kevin Hearne
Like I said, at first I really enjoyed this book. It’s fast-paced and funny. However, there’s a scene in here that really put me off. If you’ve read it, message me on Twitter!

Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles #3) by Kevin Hearne
This is the only one of the three I haven’t read. Like I said, I’m giving up on the series because the dynamic between men and women doesn’t seem all that great.

11 books that are leaving my shelves! Not bad, right?
Have you read any of these books? What do you think of unhauls? I happen to love doing them, and reading about other people’s unhauls!

Fall book haul | books I’ve bought in the past few months

I’ve collected quite a few books in the past 3 months. I don’t buy physical books often, instead making a few orders a year and buying books during specials occasions like YALC. I don’t know what came over me these past few months, but I’ve acquired quite a few books that I’d like to share with you today. I will say that most of these I bought secondhand, which means I didn’t spend all that much money on them. I’ve never been someone who needed their books in pristine condition, so buying books that have been read before and are possibly somewhat beat up doesn’t bother me.


While the majority of the haul is secondhand, I did buy 5 books new from Bookdepository.

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
I wasn’t planning on buying this until I saw it in their bargain bin. I believe this was around €4 for the paperback copy, which isn’t much at all. If I’m not mistaken, it’s a science fiction/dystopian novel set in the Arctic.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend
I read this as an e-book while traveling, and knew I wanted to own a physical copy. I absolutely adored this middle grade fantasy book, in a way I haven’t loved middle grade in a while.

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #2) by Jessica Townsend
I originally made an order with Bookdepository because of this one. I wanted to preorder the sequel, since I loved the first book so much. Am I a tad annoyed that the paperback version isn’t the same size as the first book? Yes.

Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians #3) by Kevin Kwan 
had to buy this one! I flew through this series, and have read it since buying a copy. I really enjoyed this series. I’m glad I finally picked it up.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
This is another book I bought because I saw it in the bargain bin, and it was like €4. I’ve always wanted to read a Gillian Flynn book, but not Gone Girl because I’ve already seen the movie. I quite enjoyed this dark mystery novel!


When one of my best friends was in town, or more accurately in the country, we went to a secondhand bookstore in Brussels called Pêle-Mêle. If you’re ever in Brussels, please visit it! They do have an English section as well.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
I bought a hardcover of this book, in perfect condition, for only €3! What a deal.

A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke
I haven’t heard anyone talk about this, but it sounds really interesting. It’s about a frozen island where the color of the sky has a meaning. A red sky is a warning.

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land
This thriller has been on my to-read list for a while, and it was €1.5 for a paperback copy in Pêle-Mêle!

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey
This science fiction series has been on my to-read list for a long time as well, even though I have no idea what it’s about. I do know it’s quite famous!


I made my first order on at the end of September, and I’m quite happy with my purchases. They are full of stickers, but I can deal with that considering the price point.

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
This is a retelling, sort of, of Jane Eyre in which Jane is a serial killer.

King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild
For those of you who don’t know, I’m Belgian. It’s unfortunate to say that we aren’t taught much about the colonization of Congo by King Leopold II of Belgium in school… I want to be more informed, so I’m reading this soon.

Black Butler vol. 1 by Yana Toboso
I’m starting some manga, everyone. I’ve always been intrigued by manga, so I figured I’d start with some popular series. These are pretty cheap secondhand too! I’ve already read this one, and know I’ll be continuing with it.

Ouran High School Host Club vol. 1 by Bisco Hatori
I’ve already watched the anime, and absolutely loved it. So I’m really excited to read the manga too!

Fruits Basket vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya
This is another incredibly famous manga, which means I have to give it a try.

Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s trilogy #1) by Jacqueline Carey
This is such a well-known fantasy series, especially on Reddit. As a lover of the fantasy genre, I can’t not read it.

Train Man by Hitori Nakano
I talked about this book in my backlist books I want to read for a Top Ten Tuesday. This just sounds adorable!

Night by Elie Wiesel
This is an incredibly short nonfiction book, in which the author talks about his experience in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

The Dinner by Herman Koch
This seems like an interesting novel. It’s set during a dinner with two families, and has something to do with a scandal/secret and the police.

Attack on Titan vol. 1 by Hajime Isayama
Another incredibly famous anime/manga I need to start.

The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller
I bought this because Olive (abookolive on YouTube) mentioned this in her books that are similar to The Secret History video.

Heir to Sevenwaters (Sevenwaters #4) by Juliet Marillier
This was so cheap! I adore this series, and want to start collecting it. I don’t think I’ve ever read the fourth book though.

Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 1 by Hiromi Arakawa
Same principle as the ones above, I want to read more manga so I’m starting with some popular ones to see what I like.

We Were There vol. 1 by Yuki Obata
This was a random manga pick. It was cheap, and looked interesting. I have to admit I don’t remember the synopsis anymore…

The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q) by Jussi Adler-Olsen
This is a Danish crime novel, and I’m so looking forward to reading it.

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus #1) by Jonathan Stroud
One of my amazing friends (Annemieke @ A Dance with Books) loves this series, and I have never read it. Therefore, I must change that.

I haven’t bought this much in a few months in a while! I’m genuinely excited about all of these though, and have already read some as well. Have you read any of these? Which books did you buy recently?

October reading wrap up

Can you believe it’s already November? What is happening? Where is this year going? Crisis moment aside, it’s time for me to talk about the books I managed to read in October! I read 5 books which isn’t bad, but not great either. I just feel like there’s so much to do and so many people to meet up with that I haven’t really had much time to read. Here are the books I managed to finish!

The Humans by Matt Haig – 5 stars
While I was in Jeju on my solo trip, I ended up getting stuck inside for 2 days because of a typhoon. The hostel I was staying at only had a few English books in their library, one of which was The Humans. I recognized it because I watch April from Aprilius Maximus’ videos, and she loves Matt Haig’s books. I ended up really loving it! It’s about an alien who has been sent to Earth to make sure a mathematician’s revelation never sees the light. He’s tasked with killing everyone who knows about the discovery, and getting rid of the evidence. It’s incredibly interesting to read about humanity through the eyes of a different species trying to blend in.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – 4 stars
My first ever Gillian Flynn book! I never read Gone Girl, because I had already seen the movie and thus knew what the twist at the end of the book was. I saw that Dark Places was on sale on Bookdepository when I was pre-ordering a book so I decided to add it to my order. I quite liked this book. It was really dark and quite unsettling. This is the story of Libby, whose entire family was murdered by her brother when she was only seven years old. Her mother, her sisters… Gone. Libby needs money, and comes across a group of people who are obsessed with killers and claim her brother is innocent. Is he?

Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon – 3.5 stars
I was really looking forward to this book because I had seen it described as Sons of Anarchy with female leads, as well as “a book about female friendship”. To be honest, I was a tad disappointed after finishing it. It was an interesting read about two young women who find themselves in tough situations, and how they taught themselves (and each other) to get out of them. However, I didn’t find their friendship to be very healthy, or really a friendship at all.

Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians #3) by Kevin Kwan – 4 stars
I finished the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy! I really enjoyed this series. While it’s not without its problems, I find the books funny, captivating, and addictive. I can’t really say much about this book because I don’t want to spoil the previous two, but it’s safe to say that you learn more about Nick’s grandmother, Su Yi, in this book. I wish there was a book about her entire life because she’s so fascinating!

Black Butler Vol. 1 by Yana Toboso – 4 stars
This is one of the first times I’ve ever read manga. I think I read a volume of Death Note before, but that was quite a while ago. A few months ago, I really wanted to get into the world of manga and anime. So I decided to buy some volumes secondhand. I finally received them, and gave it a try. I start with Black Butler, one of the most popular manga series (the anime is very popular too). I ended up really enjoying it! I’ll definitely buy some of the next volumes so I can continue the series.

That’s everything I managed to read in October! Have you read any of these books? What did you read in October?