My Most Anticipated Books of 2018

I realize this is not exactly the most original topic to write about, I’ve seen about a hundred post like this one but you guys told me on twitter to write it so here I am! My list of most anticipated releases consists mainly of V.E. Schwab books (which sadly do not all come out this year :P) but I have plenty of others too! Most of these are from authors I’ve read before, that is because I tend to wait a little until there are more reviews so I can make up my mind about others. Anyway, let’s get into it!

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Review | The Sacrifice Box: I was not prepared for this

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart is a YA horror book (whelp) with its fair share of gruesome murderous ehm… things? animals? corpses? and gore, but also with a fun cast of teens!

dividersynopsis

30048202Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box forever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they’ll never visit it alone; and they’ll never take back their offerings.

Four years later, the gang has drifted apart. Then a series of strange and terrifying events take place, and Sep and his friends understand that one of them has broken the pact.

As their sacrifices haunt them with increased violence and hunger, they realize that they are not the first children to have found the box in their town’s history. And ultimately, the box may want the greatest sacrifice of all: one of them.

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Review | All The Ways To Here: A Super Cute f/f Romance about Family

All The Ways to Here is the second book by Emily O’Beirne I read and it’s the second book in this contemporary series about Finn and Willa. I loved the first one and now again, I loved the second.

This review can contain spoilers for the first book, but I’ll try to avoid them as much as possible. If you’d like to read my review on Future Leaders of Nowhere, check out my review here.

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Discussion: Diverse Things I’d like to see more in books

Diversity is really important to me, and to many others as well and I feel like there is a rise in a number of diverse books coming out. This rise is, I believe, quite a direct result of the increased attention in the bookish community. Diverse bloggers and readers speak up about their opinions and publishers are picking up on that.

I believe that pretty much every single person is diverse in a way. Maybe not in skin-tone or sexuality, but if you look closely enough, something about you stands out of the crowd, even if that is a small thing.

What I see from my perspective as a reader is that a lot of the diverse books are either diverse in sexuality-representation or POC (people of colour)- representation. There are, however, a lot of other ways in which a book can be diverse still forgotten. And I want to discuss a few of things I’d like to see represented more (or just random ideas).

  • Blind and deaf people in general, but one thing I’d love to see is a deaf and a blind person becoming friends. It seems so impossible, but that’s just why I’d like to see it. Wouldn’t it be super interesting to see how they could communicate?
  • Multiple Personality Disorder. I’d love to read about this thing because it’s so intriguing and it would make an awesome book. Imagine, a person having different roles in the same book and how they all come together. It would make an awesome mystery book, but it could work wonderfully in contemporary as well.
  • Contemporary set in a non-western society. Since I’ve started keeping track of how diverse I read, I’ve noticed how few books I read that are set not in the US or Europe. I’d love to read more about different cultures and it doesn’t even have to be all about the culture, a “normal” book set in Israël (or wherever) would be awesome as well.
  • Aro-ace (aromantic, asexual) representation. This is for personal reasons very important to me (I consider myself aro-ace). I know they are out here somewhere, but I haven’t read a single book yet with (good) representation. I also feel like if there is representation, aroace or aro or ace characters are the cold uncaring characters that are the side-kick to the story.
  • A book about a gender-less society. Doesn’t that sound amazing? I just want it to be like sci-fi or dystopian and there are no gender roles and all that, it would be so interesting!
  • Bi girls, but more importantly boys. I feel like bisexual boys are out here in the world but they don’t speak up? For some reason, bi girls are way more accepted in society than bi boys. I’d love to read about a character dealing with this. And also pansexuals! I’d love to read more about those.
  • Different religions. I am not religious, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to read about idk a Jewish ninja? A Muslim scientist? A Christian witch?
  • Genderless/non-binary/transgender characters. I mean, I love how there’s a series about a transgender superhero (Dreadnought) but I need more! I love badass non-binary characters that are like “f*** gender roles, who cares, I’m just me”. (If you love those characters too I recommend reading In The Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers, Sam is just awesome! Also read this if you don’t love those characters though 😛 )
  • Disabled characters that are not “fixed”. I feel like very often characters who are disabled are either fixed or written out of the story? Like, what is that? Disabled people can still live a good life, okay?

So overall, I do really like the increase in the importance of diverse books but there are so many things not yet covered with the books that are out and popular right now. I think there is a lot of potential in diversity, potential that is not yet uncovered with these books. I would love to see more diversity in both contemporary but especially fantasy, science fiction and dystopian. There is a lot that diversity can add to a story and it is a pity if the writer doesn’t use it.

What would you like to see more in books? Any recommendations perhaps?

Review | Future Leaders of Nowhere: A+ Characters & LGBT romance

General rating: ★★★★
Diversity rating: ★★ (lgbt+: lesbian, bi; POC: indian)

Future Leaders of Nowhere is a novel by Emily O’Beirne. It is a YA, contemporary, LGBT, super cute story which is a lot of fun to read. The book is divided into three parts, the first part is written from the perspective of Finn, the second is written from the perspective of Willa and the final part alternating between them.

33849121Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’Beirne

“Finn’s solid. Not in body, but in being. She’s gravity and kindness and all those good things that anchor.”

“Willa’s confusing. Sometimes she’s this sweet, sensitive soul. Other times she’s like a flaming arrow you hope isn’t coming for you.”

Finn and Willa have been picked as team leaders in the future leader camp game. The usually confident Finn doesn’t know what’s throwing her more, the fact she’s leading a team of highly unenthusiastic overachievers or coming up against fierce, competitive Willa. And Willa doesn’t know which is harder, leaving her responsibilities behind to pursue her goals or opening up to someone.

Soon they both realise that the hardest thing of all is balancing their clashing ideals with their unexpected connection. And finding a way to win, of course.

I loved the characters in this book and their development throughout the entire story. Willa and Finn are both very different people and at the same times in many ways the same. They are very intelligent girls with a drive for success. They are complex and very realistic, you just want to get to know them in real life, and it kind of feels like you already do by the time you finish the book.

Both of them get chosen to be a team leader at the Camp for Future Leaders where they both partake in. Both get chosen for different reasons but the result is the same, an entire group of people is counting on them to lead them to the best path possible. During the story, you get to know the characters on a very personal level, you get a look into their heads and how they see the world. The characters go through difficult situations and learn a lot from their experiences, and from each other.

“Have you only liked guys?”
“No. I like people.”
“So do I.” Willa grins. “They just happen to be girls.”

The romance is absolutely swoon-worthy, it’s just too sweet. It made me read for hours into the night and I just didn’t want to put it down. Willa is a lesbian and Finn is bi, and it felt like the most natural thing in the world, it didn’t feel forced in any way and I just don’t know what else to say, it’s just wonderful.

Because that’s the trouble with being smart. You can only fool yourself for so long.

As you might have noticed, the best part of this book was definitely the characters. It is quite hard to write a review when there’s just nothing to complain, it was just really good. I am giving this book 4 stars, but I don’t really know why I’m not giving it 5. It was cute, sweet, realistic, wonderful and definitely a book you want to read. I recommend this book if you like LGBT+ books, sweet romance and/or contemporary.

Review Rabiah: The Gift: A surprisingly great romance fantasy with a badass protagonist

I was contacted by the author Lisa Lagaly to review her first book in the series about Rabiah. Rabiah: The Gift is a fantasy story about (obviously) Rabiah, she’s the daughter of the head of her clan, she’s a fighter and is the best at what she does. Tristan is the son of the king of her enemy, the heir to the throne. Then the two of them find themselves in battle, this is where the story begins.

Rabiah: The Gift by Lisa Lagaly34237683

Rabiah is a simple Clan girl. Giftless, friendless, but talented with weapons. She fights and dresses like a boy. Defeated in battle, she prepares herself for death. It doesn’t come. Instead, she finds herself in a position she never imagined tied heart and soul to the enemy. It is not easy being a Princess in a country where Clanspeople are slaves, you’ve suddenly developed strange powers, and someone will do anything to put his own daughter on the throne, even make deals with demons.

First of, obviously this book is a romance novel. I don’t usually read romance novels, but because it wasn’t very clear from the synopsis that it was, I did give it a try. And actually, I’m really glad that I did! I don’t usually enjoy romance but this one was somehow different, it was incredibly fun and enjoyable to read. I found myself reading with a big smile on my face almost the entire time. 

The relationship in this book starts off very strangely, and it completely threw me off and from the first page I got drawn into the story and I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen next. I guess I could tell you the start because it’s only the first few pages, but I’d like to keep it a mystery, because I’d hope you’d feel the same way as I did.

The characters charmed me from the second I met them and during the book that love only grew. Rabiah is an incredibly strong female character, she has this calmness to her, I can’t really explain. She definitely stands apart as a character, she looks different and has a different background than the other characters, but she stays true to herself, and I can only admire that. In the beginning, I thought Tristan was an idiot (and to be honest, he is a little), but he is a caring and honest person, who is willing to do anything for the ones he loves and for the kingdom.

Beside the main characters, who were obviously awesome, the side characters were even better. Especially Owen, Owen is just the best. Owen is Tristan’s friend and he’s funny and kind and above all not afraid to tell Tristan he’s an idiot. While writing this I just couldn’t help but smile, and that says a lot.

The story takes place in a world where the clans are fighting the kingdom (which’s name I forgot), there’s a war going on, which was really interesting to see. The world has magical aspects, which were really cool. There were healers and magical bonds and demons.

As much as I loved this book, there were some minor points I didn’t like. The most important one being the insta-love. As much as I hate it normally, this time it wasn’t that annoying, I actually kind of liked it?? Strange… but still I would have loved to see more development of the relationship. The second thing was the build-up of tension, during the first third, I got really into the story and there was a lot happening, during the second part, that action/tension suddenly went down a lot. There was a lot of meeting people and things like that, but it felt like it wasn’t working towards anything anymore. During the last part, luckily, they returned to that build-up of tension that I loved so much during the first part.

Overall, I’m giving this book 4 stars, which is because it was such an enjoy to read. It made me feel all happy and gushy, and though there were things that were less amazing, those were only minor things for me. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves this type of fantasy. It reminded me a little of The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson, because of the strong main character, the magic system and the world it was set in. It has a similar vibe to The Remnant Chronicles, so if you liked those books I would recommend you’d check this one out!

**I received this book in exchange for a review from the author (so thank you!), this did not influence my opinions in any way**

Discussion: The importance of bully-representation, 13 Reasons Why, & recommendations

Trigger warning: suicide, bullying.Afbeeldingsresultaat voor 13 reasons why

5 minutes ago I finished watching the final episode of Thirteen Reasons Why, the new Netflix series. And if you haven’t yet, I will recommend you to watch it. Not because it is such an amazing series, or that the actors are great, or that the storyline is so intriguing. No. Because, it is one of the most important things I’ve seen all year. As someone who had to deal with bullying myself, seeing this series get so much attention… I can’t even describe how it makes me feel.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, Thirteen Reasons Why is based on the book by Jay Asher (which I’ve read at least twice), and is about Hannah Baker. Hannah Baker made 13 tapes on which she explains why she decided to end her own life. It is about the aftermath of the horrible events that lead her to make this decision.

A couple of years ago I heard about this girl who made a video saying she was going to kill herself, the video went viral and the girl was found dead. I found myself crying at night, simply for the fact that that girl found life so horrible that the prospect of dying was better than to survive another day.

It hurts me so much, that still in those 10 years since Thirteen Reasons Why came out, this is so powerful and especially necessary. That still people don’t see how or why their words and actions affect other people. The weak, who are hunted like they’re not worth any good words. The strong who use their words to put themselves above others.

This issue, the bullying is not solvable just by making the victims stand up for themselves. As a victim myself, I know how it feels like you have nowhere to go, no safe space, no-one to turn to. Even if there are people around you that are willing to talk, going to them is such a huge step. Therefore the only solution is to make the people around them aware, aware of the consequences, aware of the pain. This isn’t an issue that is easily solvable but it must come from us, from all of us.

This series is a step in the right direction. It shows how poisonous it can be, how easy it is to do the wrong thing when you want to do the right thing, how a word, an action can hurt. We need to talk, and make this issue approachable, make ourselves approachable. If you are dealing with this, talk, to me or to someone that you care about. Find help, find a shoulder to cry on, I know it’s hard, but if we don’t change society and it’s ways, this is possibly the only way.

Recommendations

If you want to read more about this topic I will highly recommend reading the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Wonder by R.J.Palacio. If you want to watch something, I will definitely recommend the Netflix adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why (2017) and the movie A Girl Like Her (2015). I will trigger warn you, Thirteen Reasons Why contains not only bullying and suicide but also sexual assault and rape.

This series is real and it hurts, but it’s important.

What is your opinion on this topic? How do you think we can solve this issue? Is representation in movies and books the way to go? Do you have any recommendations?


This is the first post in hopefully a long series of discussions about books, blogging, real-life issues and representation.