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!

The End of the Year Book Tag – 2020

Can you believe we are at the stage of the year where tags like this make sense? I saw the End of the Year Book Tag over at Sofii’s A Book. A Thought. blog and she was happy to let me steal it. I know I am nowhere near my reading numbers from a couple years ago, but I am actually pretty content with what I managed to get to in 2020. Let’s see what the questions hold!

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

Beartown (Beartown, #1)     This Is How You Lose the Time War

I am currently reading Beartown (which I started in October but got busy and wanted to give more attention to) and This Is How You Lose the Time War (which is utterly confusing). Realistically, I think I can finish both of them, I just have to be willing to make the time now.

Do you have an autumnal (Spring) book to transition into the end of the year?

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2)

I have to say that I don’t really plan ahead my reading like that, or go for certain seasonal themes. I could see how people would like something more colourful for winter or so on, but I can’t say I’ve been looking into that. However, I still have Take a Hint, Dani Brown ready on my kindle, which is sure to warm my heart!

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Admission

First of all, I am not super aware of when books release these days. Secondly, I think most of the books I was curious about already released. For example Admission by Julie Buxbaum. I quite enjoyed that one and it got published at the beginning of the month!

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

This Is Not a Ghost Story Soulswift Normal People: The Scripts

Aside from the ones I mentioned above, I am not sure how much I will actually be able to manage. I mean … there’s like two weeks left of the year and I don’t think I have it in me to read five books in total. However, IF I miraculously make it, the ones mentioned above are on my priority list.
This is Not a Ghost Story was recommended to people who enjoyed the Haunting of Bly Manor and I don’t know in what aspect it will be like the show, but I was too curious not to check it out. Also, it has a stunning cover, isn’t too long and ties into me wanting to get out of my reading comfort zone more.
Soulswift is along the lines of theological-esque fantasy and I am very much into that.
Normal People: The Scripts is like the Fleabag scripts aka it is a hardcover copy of all the scripts from the show. I love-hated the regular book in a weird way, but I am still 100% obsessed with it, so, I figured it would be a great addition to my library.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite of the year?

There’s obviously no way to know for sure, but Beartown ticks all the boxes to become a favourite! It’s sports-related, has a tight-knit small town community, drama, beautiful beautiful quotes. I swear I have put so many sticky notes into that book already.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2021?

Ace of Spades

I don’t really make reading plans as much. I do intend to up my Goodreads Challenge from 30 (which I managed well this year) to 35 books. But I also saw the tweet below and the illustration and comparison to Dair and I am really into the idea of reading Ace of Spades next year!


I hope you enjoyed this! I have found myself liking tags that aren’t too long as of late, so I hope you liked reading it too. Let me know some of your thoughts on the tag or feel free to steal it yourself!

November 2020 Wrap-Up

November was A MONTH for me. I was glad that I had already finished my reading challenge for the year in the previous month, because I barely had the energy at the beginning of November to do anything. However, I did end up reading the following books:

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (Dash & Lily #2) Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily Admission

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

I still remember mentioning that I got a job last month. Well, I am not at that job anymore, but I also don’t want to talk about it. I think it’s just better for now.

Additionally to me having to get tested for Covid (I was negative, woot! woot!), my country went into a hard lockdown with all shops and restaurants closed (unless they can provide take out) for the second time. Weirdly, I think people aren’t taking it as seriously as the first time, which in turn makes me angry because it’s gonna drag out things even more. As much as all of them want to go back to “normal”, a whole lot of them refuse to do the bare minimum necessary to achieve that. But here’s to hoping the lockdown will have positive effects (in all ways except for covid testing results).

I have found myself in a really big life slump. Even after finding out that I might be able to get an extension for my Canada work permit, I could not motivate myself to do anything. It’s been a pretty arduous time for a lot of us and I know I am not the only one struggling occasionally, but it definitely didn’t feel nice. I didn’t draw. I didn’t write. I barely read anything. However, I DID create a tips and tricks post for watercolour art and if you haven’t checked it out, I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a look HERE.

If you have any specific questions about my process and art in general, I’d really love for you to post them in the comments of the tips & tricks post! I am more than happy to collect them and give it my best shot at answering them in a possible new post! (please don’t let it flop!!)

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

I was really, really looking forward to Dash & Lily on Netflix and I am so happy that it didn’t disappoint. I already watched it through several times and it’s the reason I also finally read the sequels! On the show, Lily makes this puppet of Dash and it looks so funny and *drum roll* I have decided to give it a try myself and I now have it as a goal to recreate the puppet until Christmas.

I already have a lot of the materials, except for the hair, eyebrows and these floofy balls. I am not sure I am gonna get them until Christmas, but I will try and get as far as I can.

Also, in a desperate attempt to feel productive in some shape or form, I finished my MasterClass for TV writing with Shonda Rhimes as well as the Art of Storytelling with Neil Gaiman. They are both incredible instructors and have provided great course material even beyond the videos. I have to say, it’s easy to listen to them for hours though, they did a great job and it did make me feel just the tiniest bit more motivated to do something … even if I didn’t follow up on it.

MY OTHER POSTS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS


How was your November? Did you get into the holiday spirit a little bit with all the topical shows and movies releasing?

September 2020 Wrap-Up

So, the dreaded block editor has caught up with me. I have no idea if this post will work the way I want it to at all, but I am going to try my best? To everyone’s surprise, including my own, I actually have a lot to show for this first section of the monthly wrap-up. I always use it to talk about the books I have read and I have finished a total of SIX this last month. It’s certainly one of the higher outcomes this year!

Teen Titans: Raven Teen Titans: Beast Boy Dear Justyce (Dear Martin, #2) A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1) Watch Over Me The Black Veins

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above.

This month passed by rather quickly. I don’t even remember what I did for most of it. However, one of the highlights for me was the show Julie and the Phantoms. I did not expect to like it as much as I did, but it’s really so wholesome and sweet and the songs are real bops. If you want to check out the art I did for the show, you can always do so on my art instagram account (SO close to 400 followers there!).

I don’t know what else to tell you. I did continue with my MasterClass subscription after finishing the Natalie Portman acting class with the Shonda Rhimes class on writing for television. I got super interesting insights on Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, but also realised that Shonda works in specific ways that might not work for me. However, she did get me inspired to work on a novel with an actual outline and let me tell you, that’s rare! It could be beneficial for the upcoming NaNoWriMo though.

MY OTHER POSTS

VARIOUS TAGS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you all had a lovely September and are ready for the Spooktober season! I, for one, am glad that it’s a little more chilly outside and I get to wear layers again.

Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour (Book Review)

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 272

CW: parental neglect, emotional and physical abuse, grief, ghosts

Nina LaCour is one of my auto-buy authors and I don’t even need to read the blurb to buy her books. However, when I first heard about this one, I was immediately drawn to it. I knew that once again, Nina LaCour would create an impeccable atmosphere that would eventually emotionally wreck me – and that’s exactly what happened, but more about that later!

I see this book being classified as Young Adult and I’m not sure I would necessarily agree with that. Mila, the protagonist, is 18 at the beginning of the novel and turns 19 during the course of it. She goes to live on a remote farm, where she works as a teacher and helps with the harvest as well as Sunday markets. Her life and her struggles very much came from the past, and thus her younger self, but it still felt like it could have just as easily been classified as an adult novel. That’s not to say that I minded the more grown up approach, but I just think it’s something to be mindful of when you pick up this book.

There’s something about Nina LaCour’s writing that just transports me into a whole different world. Usually, rooted in a lot of trauma but still very much in reality, Watch Over Me was a surprise with its literal instead of metaphorical ghosts.

Had we been telling the truth, he would have said, The place where I’m sending you – it looks beautiful, but it’s haunted.
Okay, I would have said.
It will bring everything back. All that you tried to bury.
I understand.
It’s going to make you want to do bad things.
I have experience with that.
And how did it turn out?
Terribly. But I promise to do better this time.

Mila yearns for something in her life. I would say for a family, a place to call home and someone or something to belong to. In her desperate need to hold on to these new people she is meeting on the farm, feelings of jealousy and self-doubt creep in. While I understood entirely where she came from, it was such an intense longing tied to strong emotions on her part that it sometimes felt off-putting. That’s not to say that she was unlikable, but she surely contained multitudes behind her quiet and pleasant demeanor.

When I read a LaCour book, I often associate it with very strong emotions of my own. While Everything Leads to You wasn’t all happy, I still associate a warmth and admiration for it due to its setting being in film. With You Know Me Well, I had found one of my favourite feel-good-books and We Are Okay drowned me in a world of sorrow. Watch Over Me is a bit harder to categorise. I could have easily read it in one sitting, it is poetic and beautiful and flows nicely. But something about it is also very eerie and strangely tied to a sense of dread, sorrow and grief. It made me sad to the core and sometimes I cried at passages that didn’t even seem so sad.

“Do you like it?” Julia asked. But I didn’t know what she meant. All I saw was the deep blue-green water, the white foam against dark rock. The wildflower-studded cliffs, and the tall grasses in the wind. “Because it’s magnificent,” she said. “But I don’t like it. It scares me.”

There is no explicit romantic storyline in this book! While there are hints that a character may be attracted to more than one gender, it is not discussed or a focal point of the story. Although, the relationships Mila forges and nourishes are definitely worth talking about. To me there are four worth talking about here (without giving away too much):

  • Her mother and Blake: the trauma she has to face on the farm mostly stems from them. There is guilt and relief, sadness and so much strength that was bred in that relationship. It’s what’s really haunting Mila.
  • Terry and Julia: they are basically the parents Mila never had and always wanted. They have taken in over 50 kids and fostered them, which put them on a pedestal in Mila’s mind.
  • Billy and Liz: as I said, there’s no romantic storyline, but I feel like there was definitely an air of possibility for a throuple here as Mila seems to be attracted to both of them and fantasizes about them.
  • Lee: Lee is Mila’s 9-year-old student and anchor during her first weeks. She feels like they are both outsiders in this family and she clings to him tightly. I often felt torn about their relationship, because I loved how close they grew, but I also hated the emotional baggage she put on that kid sometimes.

“I’ll never leave you,” I said to him. I closed my eyes. I felt his body relaxing, heard the slowing of his breath. “You’ll have to grow up and leave me first.”

Sometimes I didn’t realise just how much time had already passed on the farm. It went from days to weeks really fast and I think that’s why I sometimes struggled with the depth of attachment the characters already had to each other. When I turned that last page, I wouldn’t have been able to give you a timeline at all. However, I did feel like I had just been on a journey with Mila. I didn’t understand everything that had happened, but I doubted that she did either. The farm is a magical place that only becomes the bad kind of haunted if you let it.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! I feel like I just went on a whimsical journey of sadness and grief.

Do you plan on reading Watch Over Me? Have you read other books by Nina LaCour? Let’s talk!

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power (eARC Review)

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count
: 352

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

CW: death, murder, arson, vomiting, unplanned pregnancy

I was supposed to read this book about two months ago, before it’s release in early July, but it was a struggle getting here. I want to start by saying that I have not read Wilder Girls and therefore had no expectations concerning the author’s writing style or way of storytelling. All I thought this would be was a family drama, which it was in part, but there is definitely so much more to it that I feel like I didn’t sign up for.

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts for a while now, but can’t seem to make sense of it all yet. I think my main issue was that I went into this book thinking I’d get a twisted tale of a torn family, but really, it was more along the lines of horror? Those of you who know me, realise that in 9 out of 10 cases, I would not pick up a horror book on purpose and it was off-putting here as well.
I was prepared for an otherworldly, thick with the scent of buried secrets atmosphere (which Power manages to create quite well), however, I was not prepared for it to be so decidedly not our world in the end. When you start this novel, the characters take some getting used to, but it seems like we are here, in our reality. It takes almost half the book to come to the conclusion that you are not and at that point you are just confused.

This book features queer characters, a strained family relationship, a rural/small town setting – all factors that would usually entice me to read a book! So, why exactly didn’t it work for me?

Burn Our Bodies Down is told through the inner monologue of the main character Margot. She is a strange girl with very intense mood swings, something that didn’t always make it easy to follow her thought process. We get snippets of her personality as well as a bit of exploration of her sexuality (is she a lesbian? bisexual?), but it all gets dropped in favor of the “mystery” of the plot. And that mystery is really all that kept me propelled to keep reading, because I surely wasn’t able to connect or like any of the characters very much. I wanted to know how it would be resolved. I had my guesses early on and even though at that time, I had still thought this was just regular reality, I was right. That just added to me not feeling very satisfied by the pay off, because what else could it be?

Before I end this review for good, I just want to say that I saw a lot of people enjoy this book. It’s probably a very me-thing that I didn’t and which I mostly base on the inability to connect to any of the characters while reading. I highly recommend you check out varying reviews if you are still unsure whether you want to read this book or not.

Fazit: 2/5 stars! This was not meant for me.

Have you read this book? Do you want to? Have you read Wilder Girls? Let’s talk!

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag 2020

I have not done this tag regularly, but a lot of my friends are apparently way more devoted to (book) blogging than me and are blessing my timeline with their takes on the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag every single year, which is a look at our reading so far! So, I wasn’t technically tagged this time around either, but I saw so many people do it, that I just decided to join in on the fun (as I tend to do bi-annually). I have seen the questions vary a bit, but simply went with the ones I used in my 2018 version of this.

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ YET IN 2020

Normal PeopleI didn’t give Normal People the highest rating, but it sure is the one book that just sticks with me. I’ll just go about my day and be reminded about it in some way and then find myself thinking about the characters for hours again. It sure has made an impact. (Read my review here)

BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2020

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)I haven’t read very many series this year so far, which thankfully makes answering all the easier. I read both the first book in the series, Wicked Saints, as well as the sequel, Ruthless Gods, in 2020 and I have no regrets. I don’t know what exactly it is about these books that fascinates me so much, but I am having the time of my life getting tortured by them.

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

A Song Below WaterAlright, let’s not pretend that I am not always perpetually late to the party when it comes new releases. I almost want to call myself the queen of backlisted reads, but that would also not be entirely correct. I just don’t keep track of when things release, but just trust that I will find the right stuff eventually?
Anyway, I want to read A Song Below Water! I mean, yes please, set it in one of my homes away from home (Portland, Oregon) and fill it with sirens. I am so here for that!

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Watch Over MeThere are a couple, but not a huge amount, of auto-buy authors out there for me. Nina LaCour is someone I’d read anything from. Give me a shopping list and I’d gladly take it. However, we are getting lucky and will have another emotionally charged and character driven release of hers coming up this year – Watch Over Me! I seriously cannot wait!!

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Again AgainIt wasn’t the worst thing on the planet, but I really expected more from Again Again by E. Lockhart. Having read several of her previous books, this was such a letdown in comparison. Something about it just didn’t connect. (Read my review here)

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Anna K: A Love Story (Anna K, #1)Describing why this was a surprise is a little difficult, but having neither watched or read Anna Karenina before and associating with an old-timey classic had me surprised how much I liked Anna K. But it was always obvious to be set in modern day and just be a fresh take in general, so I don’t know why I was a bit nervous? (Read my review here)

FAVOURITE NEW AUTHOR

Ben Philippe totally charmed me with his Field Guide to the North American Teenager and had me fall in love with his easy-flowing style of writing. He has another book scheduled to release later this year (Charming as a Verb) and yet another one for early 2021 (Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend) and I am just here for all of it. I am so glad I picked up his book!

Ben Philippe (Author of The Field Guide to the North American ...

NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

Sorry to have to double down on an answer, but I kind of fell hard for Connell from Normal People. He was quiet and kind, genuinely just wanting people to like him and being afraid of what others might think of his choices. Sure, he had his flaws, but that just made him more real. The fact that they cast him perfectly in the TV adaptation with newcomer Paul Mescal was just the cherry on top.

NEWEST FAVOURITE CHARACTER

I don’t make character aesthetics (except for my own peeps) very often these days, but Darlington from Ninth House got one. That means A LOT in my book! I just like charming boys with the potential for darkness they don’t want.

There’s a lot of other characters I liked too, such as Serefin from Wicked Saints, Madison from The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, Pepper from Tweet Cute … I am bad at picking faves.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

Tyler Johnson Was HereI don’t think I cried because of a book this year yet, but Tyler Johnson Was Here had me close to tears multiple times. The subject matter is bound to do that to you for sure. (Read my review here)

BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

Tweet CuteTweet Cute made me so happy. I found it during my peak obsession with Bon Appetit videos, so, the food component, twitter feud and flirty banter was EVERYTHING to me. The characters were so funny and I just had a great time with that book. (Read my review here)

FAVOURITE BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION

I watched Little Women this year and even if I haven’t read the book, it’s my favourite adaptation and film and overall story. I just love it with all my heart.

FAVOURITE POST YOU HAVE DONE THIS YEAR

I loved doing a series of posts where I talked about which book, movies and TV shows I made you watch and read. It reminds me that what I am doing here isn’t just shouting into the void, but actually talking to people and sharing interests. It warms my heart every single time.

MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT THIS YEAR

Aphrodite Made Me Do ItExcuse me while I lust over the cover for Aphrodite Made Me Do It. Poetry collections often have the prettiest designs! Obviously, this book is also great on the inside, but I find the cover to be a real eye catcher.

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

If We Were VillainsDark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5)As always, I continue to work on the physical copies I have at home. There’s books that might remain unread on my shelves forever, but some I REALLY want to get to this year are If We Were Villains and Dark Age. Let’s hope that Dark Age doesn’t actually take me the entire year …

I TAG THEE

I tag whoever wants to do this as well! YOU!!!


What did you think of my answers and the general mid-year reading recap? Let’s chat!

The Changeup by Nicole Falls (Book Review)

Publisher: Self-published
Page Count
: 144

CW: explicit sex scenes

Lately, a lot of conversations have centered around black pain, but there are also many stories of black joy out there and we should talk about them as well! When I saw the cover of this book and read the blurb, I was immediately reminded of one of my all time favourite sports dramas on TV, Pitch (seriously, if you haven’t watched that show yet, it’s SO good! It’s now streaming on hulu and if it makes numbers we might get another season even after FOX cancelling it). Having a black woman make it in Baseball is just always something worth writing and talking about. There was no way I could pass up on this book based on that alone and I am glad I read it, because it was such a cute story.

As you could likely tell from the very short page count, this is a fast read. You accompany Geffri on a whirlwind of a summer where things just get progressively more awesome for her. It’s rare for me to read a book where the main character has to face so few struggles, but I am definitely not complaining. It’s refreshing to not be confronted with unnecessary drama and miscommunication, but just a wave of support and good things happening.

I loved how deep it went into Baseball sometimes. While I enjoy the idea of this particular sport, I don’t know heaps about it, but I never felt overwhelmed or confused by anything I was reading. Obviously, I cannot attest on how accurate any of it was, but I could sense a deep appreciation and fondness for the sport, which makes me think that the author knows what they are talking about.
Geffri had that really special talent and I liked when we went a bit into how she struggles with praise and pressure as well. She seemed so cool and collected most times that those moments grounded her. I think we’ve all felt like that sometimes and stood in our own way.

Being singled out for excellence always caused me to put undue pressure and stress on myself which ultimately led to me being … where I was currently – plagued by doubts of whether or not I could really pull this off.

Another thing that was really cute, were the various relationships. I feel like some things were teased only and could result in spin-off books, but maybe that’s just the vibe I was getting. Geffri had such a great group of friends and such a deep and loving relationship with her very supportive dad. I loved that for her!

Again, I am sorry for comparing it to Pitch, because I do realise it’s very much its own story, but it’s really just a huge compliment from my side. Geffri and Noah, with their competitive flirtation, definitely gave me Ginny and Mike vibes (if Mike hadn’t been a slightly older white dude). There was mutual respect and common ground that would have likely been a great base for a friendship, but those folks were just too darn attracted to one other to keep their hands off each other. The progression of Geffri and Noah’s relationship was pretty quick, but not in an uncomfortable or rushed way. Sometimes you just hit it off with a person and while it got steamy, they also just talked a lot and got to know each other, so I have no quarrels with that at all.

There really isn’t that much more to say. I liked reading this story and I think we can all need something that is just so effortlessly positive in our lives every now and then. While I do think that it could have gone into depth more in certain areas had it been longer, I have no regrets in picking it up.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! If you enjoy happy romance set in the world of sports, this is for you!

Do you think this book might be for you? Were you as obsessed with Pitch as I was back when it first aired? Let’s chat!