Evermore Book Tag!

I wasn’t actually tagged for the Evermore Book Tag, but I saw it over at my friend Stephanie’s blog Adventures of a Bibliophile and felt like it would be fun to do. In all honesty, I always vibed more with evermore than with folklore, so, coming up with books to fit song titles should be fun!

RULES!

  • Link back to the original creator’s post: Ahaana’s at Windows to Worlds
  • Tag at least 5 people
  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post!!
  • Feel free to use the graphics from Ahaana’s original post/or mine, but please credit back because they took a lot of time and effort to make (:

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Soulswift by Megan Bannen (Book Review)

Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Page Count
: 480

Honest question: Why has no one told me about this book before!?!?

I’m definitely not the most up to date person when it comes to book releases, but after reading the marvel that is Soulswift, I can whole-heartedly say that this book deserves more attention. I’m going to do my very best to not spoil anything for you, while still trying to convince you to pick up this book in the near future!

First off, I want to point out that Soulswift is a standalone fantasy, which is a rare bird to come across anyway (pun fully intended). So very often, you have to brace yourself for multiple volumes to release over an extended period of time to get to your conclusion, but somehow Bannen managed to pack a fully formed story, neither rushed nor dragging, into this one single book. I am in awe of that woman’s writing!

Stories about faith, even made up ones, are never easy in my opinion. There is such a fine line between religious fanaticism that feels harmful and a naivete towards the world and other beliefs that might be frustrating and annoying at times (although it didn’t feel annoying to me here), but offers great potential for growth. Bannen allowed us to draw our own conclusions, hearing different aspects and exploring the various angles. It felt very natural for the world she created and I loved that I knew that there were always going to be three sides to the belief system: Gelya’s version, Tavik’s story and the truth.

Why should I worship something that cares so little for me, or for you?

As I moved through Soulswift, I found myself attached to Gelya and Tavik more and more. Their enemies to friends to lovers dynamic and banter was endearing like nothing else, but they were also great characters on their own accords. They both have to overcome a vast amount of prejudice and yet their bond is so strong and frankly beautiful. You will weep for these characters, without a shadow of a doubt, because they are so strong and dedicated and devoted. By the end, it’s just a question of who to.

Aside from really enjoying the religious aspect, the created world and the characters, it was the small things that made this novel stand out for me. It challenged gender norms and stereotypes without throwing it in your face, but rather letting the characters question their world view through dialogue and realistic situations. For example, I cannot recall another Fantasy novel where a character got her period while on the road, which wasn’t dismissed here, but also not made into this awkward big deal. I really appreciated that!

Life and Death
All things in balance.

Why wouldn’t this book be for you?

Aside from the topic of faith, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, be it fictional or not, the ending isn’t something every reader will love either. I’m fully in the camp “a good ending doesn’t mean a happy ending”, but if you seek a story that will leave you warm and joyful, this is not it. I’m not saying it ends it utter devastation, because everything makes sense and is very beautiful in its own way, but also tragic. So very tragic and sad. I cried.

fly, little soulswift, fly

Fazit: 5/5 stars! 100% one of my new all-time favourites!!!


Could I convince you to take a look at Soulswift? Was it on your radar before? Let’s talk!

The Guilty Reader Tag!

I thought I had dealt with my reading guilt a while ago (Do I read enough? Do I read the right books? etc. etc.), but then I got tagged by the Orang-utan Librarian and found myself really intrigued by the Guilty Reader Tag. It was originally created by by Chami @Read Like Wildfire and I cannot wait to dive into this with you! Let’s see if I will be judged guilty or not.

One. Have You Ever Re-Gifted A Book You’ve Been Given?

I have not! At least not that I can remember. I donate and sell my books and let some select friends and family choose out of the books I want to give away in case they want to read anything, but I don’t believe I have re-gifted anything on purpose.

Two. Have You Ever Said You’ve Read A Book When You Haven’t?

What would be the point of doing that?

Okay, so … I might have done that back in school in a way. I often skimmed books that I didn’t like, but I never claimed that have read something I did not read even one sentence of. I maybe, just maybe, have said that I finished something I haven’t. That definitely has happened. But in a social setting, again, what’s the point?

Three. Have You Ever Borrowed A Book And Not Returned It?

There were definitely moments where I had borrowed my cousin’s books (we share a very similar taste when it comes to reading) and I maybe wanted to keep them, but I don’t think I ever did. I would not want to not get my books back, so I wouldn’t not return something either.

Four. Have You Ever Read A Series Out Of Order?

That is actually something I am guilty of! It wasn’t on purpose, but I was standing in line at the bookstore to pay for what I had selected, when there was this table with a new book being promoted. It wasn’t really obvious that it was a sequel and because it mentioned Oregon (which was appealing to me, because that was shortly after my semester abroad in Oregon), I felt compelled to read it.

So, to speak more plainly, I read Where She Went before If I Stay. Did not really feel that weird though to be honest.

Five. Have You Ever Spoiled A Book For Someone?

Yep, a couple times accidentally and other times because I was asked to just tell them and I had checked beforehand if that was okay with them. I don’t mean to spoil anyone, like I don’t go out of my way to make sure I ruin someone’s experience, but sometimes you just gotta talk about stuff.

Six. Have You Ever Dogeared A Book?

Nope, I don’t like to do that. If it’s your book and you want to dogear a page, by all accounts, go for it!! It just feels like a crime when I think about doing it to mine.

Seven. Have You Ever Told Someone You Don’t Own A Book When You Do?

I can’t recall a specific book this happened with, but I might have just to not have to lend it to anyone. I have made bad experiences with people who borrowed my books. Like, they came back drenched and torn and it’s my nightmare.

Eight. Have You Ever Skipped A Chapter Or A Section Of A Book?

Oh, 100%! Sometimes certain passages in a book are just boring and mind-numbing, but you also don’t want to give up on the story entirely? The solution is to just skim-read. It really speeds up the process and I simply do not have the brain capacity for super detailed meaningless descriptions. They are not for me.

Nine. Have You Ever Bad Mouthed A Book You Actually Liked?

This entire post sounds like my memory is getting really bad, but I just can’t remember doing that. Maybe I haven’t? Sometimes I just also think that opinions and tastes change and something you’ve really liked before can turn into something you dislike later on and maybe in that context, I have bad-mouthed a previously beloved book? But I don’t know. I am going to go with no.

THE VERDICT

4.5 out of 9 … so I am neither entirely guilty nor free of guilt. This fits my chaotic persona so well.


Hope you enjoyed this little excursion into my reading habits. If you want to do this as well, CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The SIMS Book Tag

Okay, so, how do I say this? I have been tagged for the Sims Book Tag all the way back in 2016/2017 by the lovely Cristina @My Tiny Obsessions and Loreva @La Book Dreamer and it really took me 4-5 years to actually post it. Why? I don’t know, but be aware that my shame is endless.

It’s just that I have recently gotten more into the Sims again, owning way too many expansion packs and add ons for that game than necessary and then I saw this still lingering in my drafts. I gathered, if I don’t do it now, I might never get to it. So, in the spirit of better late than never, I hope you do enjoy the following post!

**click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads**

THE ORIGINAL SIMS – THE BEST AUTHOR DEBUT

The Field Guide to the North American TeenagerI’ve mentioned this book so many times, but I just had so much fun with it? The Field Guide to the North American Teenager isn’t one of those stories with a finite end, but you still feel very satisfied with the outcome. It’s self-aware and funny and snarky – just immediately endeared me to check out all future releases by Ben Philippe.

Read my review here.

THE GRIM REAPER – THE SADDEST CHARACTER DEATH (SPOILER!!!)

I have mourned so many characters at this point, it is very hard to describe the absolute worst and saddest character death to me. However, I still very clearly remember the first (and therefore utterly devastating one), which was Dustfinger from the Inkworld trilogy. In case you haven’t read it, I am not going to talk about his fate in detail, but he will forever remain one of my all time favourite characters. He deserves the world!

SIMS GETTING STUCK – A CHARACTER THAT JUST GOT IN THE WAY

Don't Tell a SoulI’d like to think that most characters serve a purpose in a story, so, I am having a hard time coming up with someone who was really in the way. However, I feel like Maisie from Don’t Tell a Soul was someone who definitely complicated things in several situations. If she didn’t feel the need to constantly intervene, I think some events might have run smoother.

Read my review here.

SIMLISH – A BOOK WITH AMAZING WRITING

Beartown (Beartown, #1)Beartown just had absolutely amazing writing. There is a kind of omniscient narrator type voice and yet you always know which character you are currently dealing with. Ensemble casts, especially of that size, are never easy to handle, because it’s tricky to keep it all balanced, but Backman knew what he was doing. I’ve literally marked so many sentences in that book, it was a thing of beauty.

Read my review here.

EXPANSION PACKS – A SERIES WHERE THE BOOKS KEEP GETTING BETTER

I don’t know why this was the first book series that came to mind, but I am just going with my gut here – I think the Magicians books actually got better over time. It’s been a while, but I believe the second book was my favourite, but the third was still better than the first one, so it totally counts.

Read my reviews for The Magicians, The Magician’s Land and the Magician King.

SIM ROMANCE – THE WORST CASE OF INSTA-LOVE

A Pocketful of CrowsPhew, I tend to avoid books that insinuate insta love, so again, not easy to answer. (Yes, apparently I am going to say that about every single prompt.)

Okay, so, I didn’t review this book on the blog, because I really didn’t enjoy it, but A Pocketful of Crows was a very fairytale-esque story and had the main character and the love interest fall for each other in the most cliché of ways. It was immediate, it was founded on neither one of their qualities and just annoying, but thankfully that romance didn’t last. The real downfall of the book was the overall message for me though, because it suggested that you were right in exacting revenge upon people who wronged you.

CHEATS – A BOOK THAT WAS ENTIRELY UNREALISTIC

Famous in Love (Famous in Love, #1)Sometimes I think I can’t play the Sims without cheats anymore. Am I the only one?

Anyway, let’s talk books again. As someone who works in film and TV, I just didn’t find Famous in Love very realistic. Does that mean it’s not a fun and entertaining book? Of course not, but it’s just not how things would likely play out. And I will forever prefer the too-soon-cancelled TV version of this tale (which also wasn’t 100% authentic, but closer?).

Read my review here.

NEEDS FULFILLMENT – A CHARACTER THAT MADE ALL THE WRONG DECISIONS

AdmissionALL the wrong decisions is quite the heavy accusation. I think that Chloe from Admission made a lot of mistakes by not making very many decisions on her own. There’s no way she didn’t know that something was off, but by going along with what she was told to do (deciding not to speak up), she made all the wrong moves. I did enjoy that they didn’t glorify or redeem her actions entirely, but just explained how they came to be.

Read my review here.

ERROR CODE 12 – A SERIES THAT STARTED OFF WELL BUT WENT DOWNHILL FROM THERE

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Uhm, I don’t know? Divergent?

I thought the premise and concept was cool and I really enjoyed it in the beginning, but Allegiant? No, thank you. That book set itself up to fail in my opinion and it just felt kind of lost overall. Would have much rather prefered a different path for the series.

THE SIMS VORTEX – A SERIES THAT COMPLETELY ENGROSSED YOU

I’ve not spoken about this series in a long time, but RED RISING IS RIGHT THERE!! I feel bad for just staring at the brick of a book that is Dark Age on my shelf, but I am scared. These characters mean so much to me and they are in constant peril. I don’t know what kind of spell Pierce Brown put on me, but he has me heart and soul invested in this series. (check out a post I made about why the original trilogy is so great here)

Read my review of Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star and Iron Gold.


I TAG THEE

Since it took me so long to do this post, I don’t want to put anyone else on the spot. And I also genuinely think that a lot of people have already done the Sims Book Tag at this point, but if you think “hey, this is for me!”, then CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED!


Do you play the Sims? Do you have a favourite expansion pack? Let’s chat!

My Year Abroad by Chang-rae Lee (eARC Review)

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Page Count
: 496
Release Date: February 2, 2021

Further synopsis taken from Goodreads:

In the breathtaking, “precise, elliptical prose” that Chang-rae Lee is known for (The New York Times), the narrative alternates between Tiller’s outlandish, mind-boggling year with Pong and the strange, riveting, emotionally complex domestic life that follows it, as Tiller processes what happened to him abroad and what it means for his future. Rich with commentary on Western attitudes, Eastern stereotypes, capitalism, global trade, mental health, parenthood, mentorship, and more, My Year Abroad is also an exploration of the surprising effects of cultural immersion–on a young American in Asia, on a Chinese man in America, and on an unlikely couple hiding out in the suburbs. Tinged at once with humor and darkness, electric with its accumulating surprises and suspense, My Year Abroad is a novel that only Chang-rae Lee could have written, and one that will be read and discussed for years to come.

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: parental abandonment, suicidal ideation, mental illness, forced labor, forced sexual intercourse, sex work

Let’s get it out of the way. Unfortunately, I was not the right reader for this book.

I had been very eager to pick up this novel, because of my own experiences abroad. Be it during my formative High School years or later on in life, every time I went to a different country for a longer period of time, I learned something about the world, about people and most importantly myself. No matter where I stayed, it changed me and taught me valuable lessons. I cherish those experiences and thought it would be a great connection to this story. But no matter how hard I tried, I constantly found myself losing interest.

Told between alternating timelines of now and the adventure that got Tiller to his present situation, I couldn’t always quite make the connection between the different scenarios. I felt that the story was disjointed and didn’t evoke the emotional effect I had hoped for. The journey abroad and its aftermath were so important, yet Tiller doesn’t even leave his country until about 40% into the book.

While everything Tiller describes has a purpose, it’s still hard to follow him as he finds value in situations you wish he had never gotten into. I don’t think anything ever goes smoothly when you set out for something potentially life-changing, but where he found himself along the way was among the worst that could happen. There are some clear themes around parenthood, taking action (which Tiller does very late in the book, mostly being an inactive protagonist who things happen to rather than someone who makes things happen – but that’s all part of the journey!) kinship and the privilege of certain opportunities. And yet, I still couldn’t always grasp the fondness for certain people and experiences I would have rather never thought of ever again, while Tiller had them on the highest of pedestals.

Ultimately, I think that this style of writing just wasn’t for me. I can see many literary fans rejoicing in the details, but I found myself drifting off mid-sentence as the descriptions became ever more elaborate and lengthy. In general, this book was just too long, offering pages of minute details of various foods and drinks or other things, just information on top of information, but not the connection to me as a reader I really sought. I am certain others will be able to appreciate Lee’s craftsmanship and skill more than I could. 

Fazit: 2/5 stars! Unfortunately, My Year Abroad failed to capture me.


Have you spent some time abroad? What was it like for you? Can you see yourself picking up a book like this?

Book to Screen Adaptations 2021

I feel like I am often skimming on the book content for the blog, but have plenty of movies and TV shows to talk about. In an effort to combine those elements, I wanted to share with you a post about 2021 book to screen adaptations. This list is neither complete nor have I read all the books the material will be based on. However, I am known for liking my movie covers and reading books once I have seen trailers, so, I want to share some that I found interesting.

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Don’t Tell a Soul by Kirsten Miller (eARC Review)

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count
: 384
Release Date: January 26, 2021

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: parental death, sexual assault/rape, drug/substance abuse, mentions of suicide, mentions of non-descript mental illnesses, gaslighting, parental neglect

I’ve been slowly but surely drifting into a territory of picking up one book after another revolving around what sounded like haunted houses, but with a much more complex stories underneath. I am not quite sure what draws me to these kind of books, but Kirsten Miller managed to create a wonderfully creepy ambiance reminiscent of gothic classics. There’s an unease in the house and especially in the beginning, you have no idea what to expect from it. As often as the people of Louth keep saying that they don’t believe in ghosts, it still seems like something is off about the manor.

People say the house is cursed.
It preys on the weakest, and young women are its favorite victims.
In Louth, they’re called the Dead Girls.

When you first meet Bram, it becomes instantly apparent that something bad has happened to her. Even without knowing the details, you just know. That girl has built up a wall of defense a mile high and while that was completely understandable considering her history and upbringing, it still felt irritating during some earlier points in the story. The way she went from starting to like and warm up to people to completely distrusting them and looking for weapons to defend herself in case of an emergency could give you whiplash, although I again want to stress that it makes sense because of her past. But still, as long as you don’t know her, it makes it hard to warm up to her entirely sometimes. Her reasons for wanting to be in the manor so badly kind of eluded me at first, because I did not completely understand her obsession with what happened, but then this also gets explained and uncovered. I think one of the main objectives with the book is to just stick with it and things will eventually get resolved.

Aside from Bram, there was an assortment of interesting characters, all keeping you on your toes the entire time. I feel like we could have gotten to know a couple of them better, but with Lark’s wall up, you get most of your information through second-hand gossip and later confrontations. Trust is a scare commodity in Louth, especially with so many girls having vanished and/or died in the small community over the years. However, my initial feeling for most people was correct, which either made the novel predictable or my gut instinct is just rocking.

Overall, I enjoyed many of the twists and was far from guessing everything. I felt a certain distance to the characters and the story for a long time, but it did all come together in the end. Some might say it came together a bit too conveniently, but I didn’t mind that too much. Just be prepared for a story full of gaslighting and people blaming mental illness for all sorts of things, without anyone being diagnosed or actually having a mental illness in some cases. It can easily rub you the wrong way, but is a huge part of exposing who the good and bad guys are in this story.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! A whirlwind of a resolution!


Have you heard of Don’t Tell a Soul? Do you plan on picking it up? Let’s chat!

My Most Anticipated Books of 2021

Let’s be real, I am not the most up to date or book focused blog anymore. There’s just always so many releases and aside from me just not having a lot of time to read, who can keep up with so much new stuff? Backlisted books have been my friend and I like that I can talk about pretty much anything on here no matter the topic, but there are a couple reads I am really excited for this year and that I am looking forward to. No clue if I will actually get around to reading them, but I will be on the lookout for copies. So, why not share them!?

Anna K: Away by Jenny Lee (Anna K #2)

April 27th


How the mighty have fallen. Anna K, once the golden girl of Greenwich, CT, and New York City, has been brought low by a scandalous sex tape and the tragic death of her first love, Alexia Vronsky. At the beginning of the summer, her father takes her to the other side of the world, to connect with his family in South Korea and teach his daughter about her roots. Is Anna in exile? Or could this be her chance to finally figure out who she really is?

Back in the U.S., Anna’s brother, Stephen, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are falling even more deeply in love. But when Lolly learns about unexpected consequences from Stephen’s cheating the previous year, she has to consider how much she is willing to forgive. Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, and her new boyfriend, Dustin, are thinking about having sex together for the first time. And Bea, Vronsky’s cousin, is having her own romantic and sexual awakening, though she hasn’t forgiven her ex-BFF, Anna, for her role in Vronsky’s death.

Anna K was one of my top reads of 2020 and I cannot wait to see it continued, especially how Anna will deal with her grief and heartbreak.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

May 4th

Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those committed to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.

What first drew me in was definitely the cover, but I love a good story about siblings and family and the setting sounds intriguing as well.

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé 

June 1st


When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

This book is often described as Gossip Girl meets Get Out and honestly, how could that not grab your attention!? Also, the author was a Dair shipper when they watched Gossip Girl and so was I and I see great promise in all of that.

Better Together by Christine Riccio

June 1st


Jamie’s an aspiring standup comic in Los Angeles with a growing case of stage anxiety.
Siri’s a stunning ballerina from New Jersey nursing a career-changing injury.
They’ve both signed up for the same session at an off the grid Re-Discover Yourself Retreat in Colorado. When they run into each other, their worlds turn upside down.
Jamie and Siri are sisters, torn apart at a young age by their parent’s volatile divorce. They’ve grown up living completely separate lives: Jamie with their Dad and Siri with their Mom. Now, reunited after over a decade apart, they hatch a plot to switch places. It’s time they get to know and confront each of their estranged parents.
With an accidental assist from some fortuitous magic, Jamie arrives in New Jersey, looking to all the world like Siri, and Siri steps off her flight sporting a Jamie glamour.
The sisters unexpectedly find themselves stuck living in each other’s shoes.

I know that Christine’s first book (Again, But Better) wasn’t ALL THAT, but I’d like to give her writing another chance. Also, this time, I’ll be more prepared for the magical aspect, which totally threw me off in the last book.

For the Wolf by Hannah F. Whitten

June 15th

The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.


As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.
Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.
But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

I am honestly surprised too that this is the only Fantasy book on the list so far. I usually go for that genre more than I do for contemporaries, but maybe I’ve gotten pickier?

Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins

August 3rd


Fake boyfriend. Real heartbreak?

Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star…until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating—it could end her career.

Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy—not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William—and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?

This book releases on my birthday and COULD NOT sound anything more up my alley. Fake relationship. Set in the world of gliz and glam. I am already head over heels into this!

I hope you enjoyed this little excursion into my anticipated reads. I am sure there’s even more sequels I am going to look forward to during the year, but yeah. What are some books you are excited for? Let’s chat!

My Top 10 Books of 2020

I do these rankings every year and I enjoy them so much as a kind of closing ritual for the old year. I have no idea if you are even interested in my thoughts on all this stuff, especially since I am not certain I even know how to describe my thoughts sometimes, but I hope you still enjoy this series of lists and rankings in the upcoming days as well!

First things first, not all the books I will mention were 2020 releases. I managed to read 40 books, which is a great feat for me, but I don’t even know if there had been that many new releases among them to fill a list. Either way, let’s get started.

**Click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads**

10. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)

I am fully aware that not everyone likes this series and I am perfectly fine with that. I just adored the twisted nature and the religious aspects of it. I would never claim that it is perfect, but it spoke to certain elements I enjoy in a series. Maybe it does say something though that I put the first book on this list and not its sequel Ruthless Gods … I was not happy with all developments there.

Click HERE for the review!

9. Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily

The original Dash and Lily book has always been a “childhood” favourite of mine. I don’t remember when exactly I read it, but I had such good memories of it regardless. With the Netflix adaptation emerging and me enjoying it a whole lot, I finally decided to pick up the sequels. At first, I didn’t have the best of times with Twelve Days of Dash & Lily, but with this part, I really felt for the characters again. Especially the topic of being disappointed by the things you had always envisioned for yourself as well as some really good anxiety rep warmed my heart with relatability.

Click HERE for the review!

8. Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Dear Justyce (Dear Martin, #2)

When this sequel was first announced, I wasn’t sure if it was strictly necessary? I thought Dear Martin was a perfectly fine standalone book, but with Nic Stone’s explanation for the sequel and the fact that I had the privilege of reading it ahead of its release quickly changed my mind. Dear Justyce is perfectly capable of standing on its own and was a great addition in Stone’s bibliography. Also, it will forever be just a very timely book.

Click HERE for the review!

7. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)

Adult romance books were never really my kind of genre, especially not the smutty ones. I am not trying to put shade on those books at all, I just personally never really cared for the physical descriptions etc. Nevertheless, I had such a fun time and cannot wait to continue with the romantic adventures of the Brown sisters. Talia Hibbert has created an array of amazing characters here.

Click HERE for the review!

6. This Is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes

This Is Not a Ghost Story

This Is Not a Ghost Story was a last minute addition to the list. Earlier this year, I had actually read a similar-ish book (Watch Over Me at least felt akin in vibes now that I had time to think about it some more – what is it with me and ghosts this year?) but this one felt like an overall better experience. It was funny, creepy and still made you think. I am still not 100% on board with the end, but that’s life.

Click HERE for the review!

5. Anna K by Jenny Lee

Anna K: A Love Story (Anna K, #1)

Me, the person who has never read or watched any Anna Karenina related content, loved this book. I really was so very tempted to seek out some more about the source material. I just do like my modern day retellings, I suppose.

Click HERE for the review!

4. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Tweet Cute

Tweet Cute was easily one of the cutest and sweetest books I read in 2020. I do enjoy a good online rivalry, lots of talks of food (especially grilled cheese) and the You’ve Got Mail vibes this presented. Maybe not the deepest of stories, but that’s not always what I want and/or need in a good read anyway (because it entirely depends on my mood).

Click HERE for the review!

3. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

I just love this book. I like the way you feel out of place at a new school and especially when you come from a different country. I adored the main character’s snarky personality and I liked that it was more of a snapshot of a time in their lives rather than a finite story.

While we’re at it, I just also want to give a huge shout out to the author’s 2020 release Charming as a Verb! Both books are definitely worth the read!!

Click HERE for the review!

2. Beartown by Frederik Backman

Beartown (Beartown, #1)

Sports. Community. Trauma. Grief. Struggle. Love. Family. Kinship. There are few topics that Beartown DOESN’T touch and I was an emotional wreck reading it. Definitely will go down as one of my all time favourite books.

And I want a movie of it. Like SO bad!

Click HERE for the review!

1. Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People

Okay, so this is my absolute strangest pick of them all, because … I did not enjoy reading this book. The style of writing was irritating. The characters weren’t even likable half the time and I was not on board with so many of their decisions and yet … it’s the ONE book this year that did not let me go. Maybe it has something to do with the show also invading my mind and me ordering the hardcover copy of the scripts, but still. Something about the story of Connell and Marianne wouldn’t let go of me and that is the sole reason it deserves to be so high up this ranking.

Click HERE for the review!

Honorable Mention

Aphrodite Made Me Do It

I don’t review poetry collections on the blog, although I quite enjoy them every now and then. I just don’t have the sophistication and words needed to describe anything that goes through my head when I read them, so, I just wanted to make sure I had a little section where I got to highlight at least one of the poetry books I enjoyed this year. Aphrodite Made Me Do It was personal and like a conversation. Not long at all, but still hard hitting in parts.

 


Have you read any of these books? What did you think of my picks and where I ranked them? What is a book you loved reading this year? Let’s chat!

This Is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes (Book Review)

Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count
: 288

CW: suicidal ideation, depression, mental health decline, grief

When I hear the phrase “this is not a ghost story”, my mind immediately goes to the latest installment of the Haunting series – Bly Manor. So, it came as no surprise when this book was recommended to me as the perfect complimentary read. However, once I started I more and more got Hill House vibes from it (a menacing house working against you, rapidly declining mental health). Then again, it doesn’t seem like either one and yet would fit into the series really well … that is, if you were focusing on just one 17-year-old girl instead of a large ensemble cast. But I digress.

This Is Not a Ghost Story is written in a stream of consciousness/inner monologue style that immediately made Daffodil (the main character and our narrator) endearing to me. She is chaotic, daydreaming, binges conspiracy theory documentaries on Netflix all day and manages to not move from her bed unless strictly necessary. Human contact? Who needs that!?
While I adored her voice, because it helped lighten some of the creepier scenes with a tinge of humour, I could also see a couple people struggling with it. The way I see it is that it’s one of those things that’s either totally your thing or not at all.

As you all well know, I don’t really do horror. OR I mostly only do horror light, so, this worked really well for me. The title already says it, it is not a ghost story. It sure feels like one at times, but there’s a lot more to it that just keeps unraveling and tricking you. This book is for all the people who hear a creepy noise and deliberately ignore it until no longer possible. It’s for all of us who will try to explain away the most illogical and impossible things like there is any kind of rationale to it.

The only thing I am kind of grapple with is the end. It’s not that it doesn’t make sense. It really does, but I am not sure if it feels right? Some have described it as lackluster, which isn’t even my issue with it. I am just uncertain about the involvement of a certain someone in getting Daffodil into this situation in the first place. It just does not sit right with me entirely, but maybe … maybe that is just not for me to understand. As Daffodil said, there’s not yet words for some things you want to say.

In the end, I did pick up a horror-esque book on purpose and … I enjoyed myself! A LOT! I have really ventured out of my comfort zone a little bit this year and I am really proud of that. Maybe this book isn’t perfect, but I am basing this rating on how much it entertained me and I more or less inhaled This Is Not a Ghost Story.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Still trying to come to terms with the ending, but overall I really enjoyed this!


What are we thinking? Would you pick up this book? Let’s talk in the comments!