Predicting my Rating for 5 Books on my TBR | How Well am I at Estimating?

I had this fun idea to predict my rating for a book before I read it, so that’s what I’m going to try to do today. I’m going to pick 5 books on my TBR that I want to read really soon, and I’m going to try to estimate what my rating will be based on the synopsis. And then, hopefully, after a month or so, I’ll do another post comparing my estimated rating to my final rating! I’m really curious to see how well I know my own reading tastes and how well I can predict what I will love and what I don’t. So let’s get started!

Continue reading “Predicting my Rating for 5 Books on my TBR | How Well am I at Estimating?”

Review: The Nowhere Girls | A must-read for every girl (and boy)

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed was a book I didn’t have very high expectations of. I expected to like it, because I like feminist books, but it was surprising me in every way. It was so good!

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28096541Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality. Continue reading “Review: The Nowhere Girls | A must-read for every girl (and boy)”

The Book Mashup Tag (original) | In which my brain has made a weird but wonderful thing

Many books have this little blurb saying “for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses and The Hunger Games” or something alike. I usually really like those kind of things but only if they’re accurate. And if they mention any of the cliché too-often-compared-to books, they might as well not do it at all.

However, they are really fun to play with, and that’s what I’m going to do today. This tag is created in the weird part of my sleep-deprived brain and works like this:

  • Choose 10 or more book titles (you can also play with tv series, movies or basically anything that has a story and characters)
  • Put them in a bowl/mug (or be lazy like me and just use a randomizer online)
  • Take 2 of them and mash them up!
  • You can take characters from one story and put them in the other, mix up the worlds, fuse the story-lines, anything is okay as long has it contains elements from both stories!
  • Write a (small) paragraph with the premise of your new mashed-up story
  • Go on until you’re out of titles!
  • Have fun! Go crazy!

I’m going to play with a bunch of very well-known YA books because it’s fun and everybody knows them at least a little.

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1. The Hunger Games X Six of Crows

 

The gangs of Ketterdam fight in an epic battle to the death to become the best of the city. All the gang leaders have to put forward their best and most cunning. Of course, the first of the Dregs to volunteer was Kaz Brekker, aka Dirty Hands. Not much later Katniss Everdeen of the Dime Lions, a smart bow-woman stood up to fill their spot, but only to save her sister Inej from having to participate. Inej is not pleased.

2. Illuminae X Red Queen

 

The Silvers and Reds lived in peace until the space ships attacked, only few were able to survive the mysterious attack. Among them, many Silver royals and a common Red girl pretending to be one of them. Throughout the flight, the Silvers take control, because only they can control the ship with their powers. The common Reds only realize before they do that the ship’s AI system is out of control and Kady, a programmer, and Ezra, a pilot, have to save the ship from disaster.

3. The Raven Boys X Radio Silence

 

Frances’ best friend, Blue, lives on the other side of the country, but seems worlds away. The only way they keep in touch is over through the internet. Frances, however, keeps hearing less and less of Blue and in order not to face her feelings for Blue (sorry not sorry) starts to obsess over the podcast Universe City. Little does she know, that Blue is making different friends, falls in love and is on the search for a Welsh king that may or may not even exist.

4. The Infernal Devices X Fangirl

 

Cath’s family of Shadowhunters had always been pushing her to train and become one herself. Cath, however, prefers to think up the most amazing adventures in the safety of her room. Only when a new girl arrives at the (dominantly male) institute, her life starts to shift. She’s dragged in the adventure to save the Shadowhunters, together with Tessa, from dangerous automatons and a creepy old man who should just shut up already.

5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children X The Kiss of Deception

 

When Lia escapes her arranged marriage, she hopes to find a simple life on a small island on the English coast. She doesn’t know, however, that the boy she was meant to marry is trailing her every step and even worse, a traitorous spy who turns out to be a wight (#spoileralert :P). With monsters around every corner on her journey, she finds home in a strange orphanage with even stranger children stuck in a time-loop.

6. An Ember in the Ashes X Harry Potter

 

When an owl showed up at Elias’ doorstep with his letter to Blackcliff Academy, the most notorious school for battle and magic in the middle of the desert, he can’t believe his eyes. His loyalty always was in the muggle world, but for his family’s namesake, he goes anyway. But then, he is also entered in the tri-wizard tournament and has to win from the famous boy who lived in order to be able to return to his muggle life.

7. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe X The Maze Runner

 

When Ari arrives at the Maze, his life seems to have taken a turn for the worse. He can’t remember anything but when he looks into the eyes of Dante, another boy in the maze, his heart aches. He aches to see the stars, which they can’t see at the Maze. Thomas, another boy at the Maze seems to gather the group to try to escape but all Ari really wants is to escape the maze that is his own mind.

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This went from a little crazy to psycho crazy, but this was honestly so much fun to do! I hope you loved reading it too! I am tagging: Eve, InsideMyLibraryMind, Jenn, May, Ilsa, Michelle, and uhhmm anyone who wants to do this! (I dare you!)

If you’re doing this tag, please link back to me and thank the person that tagged you! I’d love to see what you all come up with!

(Mini) Reviews: Illuminae & Solitaire

I have read so many books during my vacation that I wanted to review some, so this will be the first two books I’ll review. I normally barely ever review books that have already come out or were not sent to me for review, so this is a bit different for me. Enjoy!

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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Illuminae is just like everyone has ever told me it would be: a wild epic ride, space ships, a little romance and a hell of a lot of danger. What made Illuminae so special to me was the fact that you only get to know the characters via other people’s observations, diary entries, chat conversations and objective descriptions. And yet, even though you don’t really know the characters, you love them. Kady and Ezra are smart, determined and above all very funny. Seriously, I have laughed so many times while reading this book.

“Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.”

The format is definitely unique but it does take a little getting used to. In the beginning, I also listened to the audiobook, but it started bothering me because it took so long! I switched to the physical edition and loved it much more! Still, some parts of the formatting I didn’t enjoy much compared to other parts, but it does look stunning! The art and the design are amazing.

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.”

Overall, despite some minor things I didn’t like, I LOVED IT. Especially the last 100-ish pages. I flew through them! It was terrifyingly real, heartbreakingly sad, hysterically funny, amazingly creative. I would recommend 100%. Read it!

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Solitaire by Alice Oseman

In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.81czqpilo2l

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t.

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I had such high expectations for Solitaire. I read Radio Silence a few months ago and loved it so much! It became an instant favourite. So when I started Solitaire, I expected to love it, or at least like it. Sadly, I couldn’t stand the main character much. She was so negative about everything. I get that some people just are like that but sometimes I really couldn’t. I just couldn’t. She was a) offensive, b) rude and c) insensitive. This might be a minor spoiler but her brother has gone through self-harm and suicidal episodes and so she knows very well what it’s like, but still, she goes around (she never said it out loud) saying that she’d like to shoot people and that they just can die and stuff like that. THAT’S SO NOT OKAY. I do not condone this, okay. It’s never okay to shoot people or hurt them.

“I think you should know that I make up a lot of stuff up in my head and then get sad about it. I like to sleep and I like to blog. I am going to die someday.”

Beside this, the story was quite enjoyable. I really liked all the side characters, I loved Charlie and Michael and the others. I thought the Solitaire idea was fun, though I guessed the reveal at the ending wayy before it happened. I really liked the fandom and media references. I am giving this book 3 stars because I just can’t give it more with the main character being so horrible.

(ps. for a book that isn’t a love story, it surprisingly has romance in it :/ )

Review: City of Strife & City of Betrayal: diverse fantasy about politics and friendship

I had the opportunity to read the two first books in the Isandor / City of Spires series by Claudie Arsenault (you might remember her from her guest post a while ago). As I am completely into diverse fantasy right now (and probably until the end of the world tbh), I was really glad to have gotten the opportunity!

I will mostly mix my opinions of both the books, since they were both quite similar in build-up and characters and things like that. So this is a double-review! There will be no spoilers!

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30977572A hundred and thirty years have passed since Arathiel last set foot in his home city. Isandor hasn’t changed—bickering merchant families still vie for power through eccentric shows of wealth—but he has. His family is long dead, a magical trap has dulled his senses, and he returns seeking a sense of belonging now long lost.

Arathiel hides in the Lower City, piecing together a new life among in a shelter dedicated to the homeless and the poor, befriending an uncommon trio: the Shelter’s rageful owner, Larryn, his dark elven friend Hasryan, and Cal the cheese-loving halfling. When Hasryan is accused of Isandor’s most infamous assassination of the last decade, what little peace Arathiel has managed to find for himself is shattered. Hasryan is innocent… he thinks. In order to save him, Arathiel may have to shatter the shreds of home he’d managed to build for himself.

Arathiel could appeal to the Dathirii—a noble elven family who knew him before he disappeared—but he would have to stop hiding, and they have battles of their own to fight. The idealistic Lord Dathirii is waging a battle of honour and justice against the cruel Myrian Empire, objecting to their slavery, their magics, and inhumane treatment of their apprentices. One he could win, if only he could convince Isandor’s rulers to stop courting Myrian’s favours for profit.

In the ripples that follow Diel’s opposition, friendships shatter and alliances crumble. Arathiel, the Dathirii, and everyone in Isandor fights to preserve their homes, even if the struggle changes them irrevocably.

(this is the synopsis of the first book, not the second)
City of Strife is the first installment of the City of Spires trilogy, a multi-layered political fantasy led by an all LGBTQIAP+ cast. Fans of complex storylines criss-crossing one another, elves and magic, and strong friendships and found families will find everything they need within these pages.

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It took me a while to really get into the first book. This book features a lot of perspectives and for me, that was quite hard. In the first part of the book you get constantly introduced to new people and keeping up with everything was a bit of a struggle. Sadly, that also slowed down the story overall. However, after the beginning, it did pick up and a lot of things started happening. To my tastes, it could have been a little more fast-paced but that’s just a personal preference. In the second book, I did not have that problem, because I already knew all the characters, so therefore I enjoyed the second book more from the start.

“He found reasons to grin even when there were none, in defiance of the never-ending hardships and the world beating down on him. Maybe if he smiled enough, the happiness he projected would stop being a lie and coalesce into the truth.” – City of Strife

The story is about a city (duh) and the city is lead by a group of noble families. Some of the characters are part of this family and some aren’t and you can get to see the situation from many eyes. There is danger and intrigue, but this story is mainly about family and friendship. The characters form strong bonds and care so much about each other. I loved seeing them come together and especially in the second book, where almost all the characters get to know each other. In those final hundred pages of the second book, I have laughed with them and cried with them. They were amazing.

There are a lot of characters in this book, and I could write pages and pages about all of them, so I will only focus on my favourites. My favourites are definitely Cal and Arathiel. Cal is aromantic and he is just very sweet and kind and caring. He loves his friends and would do anything for them. Arathiel is the outsider in the story. He is strange, mysterious, quiet but also very caring. Besides these characters there were plenty more amazing ones. Hasryan and Vellien would get a shared third place on my favourites ranking, because they deserve to be mentioned. I could relate to so many of the characters in very different ways and I loved that they were all so different from each other.

“Arathiel is a warm blanket: simple, reliable, soft. He’s the friend you kind of forget, but when it really matters he’s there. Leaping of bridges to save your neck from the noose, even though you expect nothing of him.” – City of Betrayal

I cannot end this review before discussing the amazing diverse representation in these books. There were characters of almost every sexual orientation you can imagine and there were characters of different descents and different skin colors. I loved in particularly, Cal’s aromanticism because usually aro characters are described as unfeeling or cold and Cal was the absolute opposite. I also really enjoyed the non-binary/enby representation (because whenever I read about one of those characters I just can’t help but love them).

“You can’t always choose your fights. Some battles need to be fought, whether you want to or not — whether they can be won or not.” – City of Betrayal

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For the first book, my rating is 3,5 stars. But after writing this review, I am really tempted to move up my rating for the second book from 3,5 to 4 stars but I think I’m going to just leave it in the middle: 3,75 stars! What I loved most about these two books was the representation of diverse characters and the characters in general. The only thing that could have been improved, to my opinion, was the pacing of the first book. It took me a long time to get into the story (mainly because I struggled with the many perspectives), but after that it was great. I would definitely recommend these books if you like political fantasy, I don’t know if that is a genre but oh well

Review: Girls Made of Snow And Glass: an Enchanting Retelling of Snow White

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust is a retelling of Snow White. It is a YA fantasy story about Lynet and her stepmother Mina with magic and is about friendship and family and love and it’s just amazing.

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32768509Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairy tale

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.
Continue reading “Review: Girls Made of Snow And Glass: an Enchanting Retelling of Snow White”