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.

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

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 a joy 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.

Optimists Die First Review

General rating: ★★★★
Diversity rating: ★★★ (contains: POC, LGBT+, disability; please correct me if I am wrong because it could be that I forgot/misremembered)

When I saw this title, I just knew I needed to read this, and I don’t even know why. I am an optimist, so dying first wouldn’t have been the best thing, but I’m glad I did pick it up!30335388

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Beware: Life ahead.

Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group could derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk. . .

Optimists Die First is about Petula (I keep forgetting that name), who is a hard-core pessimist, in every situation she sees danger. She suffers from anxiety since her little sister died tragically. Petula blames herself for her death and now makes it her absolute priority to stay alive, because she is the only child her parents have left. But in her trying to stay alive, she forgets to actually live. Her live consists of school and YART sessions, which are group therapy meetings in which they do arts and crafts. Petula has been a crafter since she was young but now hates the meetings.

One day a new boy comes in school and he has to be his project partner and also is in the YART sessions. His coming shakes up the entire group, which normally never talked outside meetings. Jacob (I can’t seem to remember any names from this book..) has been in a car accident and lost part of his arm and two of his friends. Now he has a bionic arm and a broken mind.

I loved the characters and how real they felt, they weren’t perfect, they had flaws and that made it only more realistic. My favourite character was Petula, her negativity ruled her behaviour and her fear was felt grounded. There was a lot of character development which I loved! Jacob was also a very grey character (neither good nor bad), which is always very interesting to read about. The characters felt so realistic and relatable, which is a huge plus!

“Optimists believe things will always work out for the best. Optimists live in a rainbow-coloured, sugar-coated land of denial.

Optimists miss warning signs.”

There were some other smaller things that I loved about the book. I loved the filmmaking aspect of this book, I don’t know why, I just really liked it. I also loved the cats! Even reading the dedication: “To all the other crazy cat people. You know who you are.” really made my inner cat lover laugh.

I did not see the plot twist coming, which is not usually the case. Most of the time you can already see where the story is heading before it is actually heading there. I can’t say what happens but I really liked the way it was resolved and how everything came together in the end.

I give this book 4 stars because of the characters, the heavy but interesting topics and of course the cats 🙂 I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Nicola Yoon’s books and contemporary books with a heavier undertone.

** I received this book via NetGalley and the publisher, but my opinions are all my own**

The book will come out February 27th 2017.

The Sixth Event Review

General rating: ★★★
Diversity rating: ★★☆ (contains: POC, minority, partially takes place in non-western world)

Imagine being 18, a freshman in college and one day the world ends. You see the world end in front of your eyes before being killed yourself. And then when you feel the world slip away you open your eyes and you’re back in your childhood room. You are 16 again and are back in high school. Everything is exactly as it was 2 years ago.

Yeah. That’s the kind of crazy this book is.

The Sixth Event by Kristen Morie-Osisek 9200000063066059

Eighteen-year-old Raquel isn’t eighteen anymore…

During Raquel’s first semester of college, she witnesses the end of the world, only to wake up in her old room at her parents’ house two years in the past. Even worse, it seems she’s the only one who remembers—until Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always thought was a loser, tells her he remembers the catastrophe.

Before long, they both discover new abilities. They’re able to understand any language and teleport through time and space. If Raquel and Chris can figure out what caused the end of their world, maybe they can stop it.

Even though the premise is a little crazy and the rest of the story is too, it’s fun and weird and you constantly find yourself wondering what will happen next. AND WHY??? Because this is so crazy and you just need to know how and why this is happening.

The story was a little unbelievable, with all these weird abilities Raquel has, and with some other things I can’t tell you about because that would be a spoiler. But I found that it was a weird mix of unrealistic and realistic (because there was some science background to it, but at other points there was none). I like it when they explain how something is possible, even though it is very impossible, which they did not really do for the most part.

There were a lot of characters and I couldn’t really tell them all apart, and therefore they were not as memorable as they could have been. I would have loved to see less characters (because seriously what is the use of all of these characters?) and get to know them more. The two main characters Raquel and Chris were great characters, but I would have love to see more of them. I did think it was very interesting to see how your life can change in 2 years and when looking back, how different you would have acted if you were the same person as you were today.

The ending was a little rushed and I didn’t quite understand what was going on, but for the main part, it was really enjoyable to read. It sounds like I’m really just mentioning bad things but it really isn’t a bad book. The love story was cute and I found it to be quite realistic, compared to some other YA books. It’s a book that will confuse you and make you yearn for more.

I am giving this book 3 stars because even though it was enjoyable, it was a little too weird. I would recommend this book if this review made you curious because I think that was what made the book good: the constant wanting to know what’s going to happen and how and why.

** I received this book via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a review, this did not affect my opinions in any way**