Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Want To Read Before 2019

Top Five Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey @GingerReadsLainey and she has passed down the torch to Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. For more information and for future topics you can check out the goodreads group.


This is actually my first time doing a Top 5 Wednesday, but the topic really inspired me so I decided to give it a go! I haven’t done a TBR list of any sort in a while, so here we go: five books I would like to read before the end of the year. And yes I know it’s Thursday, but I’m trying to be slightly more active on this blog these days, and this seemed like a good idea!

In no particular order:

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

I actually received this one when it was released and I didn’t have the chance to read it yet (I read Our Dark Duet instead…) I heard many great things about it, and hopefully will get to read it soon! Once I finish my current read (A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney) would be a great time to start it actually.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

As soon as I heard that Hank was writing a book, I knew that I had to read it. Since it was released I also heard many great things about it, which made me want to read it even more!

Revenant: The Undead King by Rachel R. Smith

Revevant is the new sequel to the Records of the Ohanzee series by Rachel Smith and I absolutely LOVE this series, so obviously I want to read the new instalment. It’s just that, you know what they say, so many books, so little time. But hopefully I get to read that one before the end of the year!

Lions Can Always Learn To Roar by Charlotte Anne Hamilton

Adding another sequel to the list! This one follows Lambs Can Always Become Lions, a F/F retelling of Robin Hood which I absolutely loved. For some reason, I still haven’t gotten around to reading that one, but I am really excited about it.

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Condé

This book is based on real life events; and it deals with witches as well as racism and sexism. I am dying to read it, I heard it was really a masterpiece, and it’s been sitting on my shelves since September, so hopefully I get to read it before 2019!


That’s it for today, five books I really want to read before the end of the year! I hope I actually get the time & chance to do so. And thanks for reading anyways!

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Finding Baba Yaga: My Review

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Full title: Finding Baba Yaga: A Short Novel in Verse
Author: Jane Yolen
Genre: Fantasy, Poetry, Retelling
(could a blend of literary genres be more perfect that this one?)
Release: October 30th 2018
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

trigger warning: parental abuse

When I heard about this book, I knew it was right up my alley. I love retellings of Slavic mythology, and I hadn’t read any poetry in a while, so it was a perfect opportunity.

The story:

It follows the narrator, Natasha, a teenage girl who is abused by her father and decides to run away from home. After starving and wandering through the woods, she is taken in by Baba Yaga, the infamous witchy character from Slavic Mythology.

My thoughts:

I had read mixed reviews about this book before it was even released, but I absolutely loved the concept, so I knew I had to give it a go and see for myself. I didn’t go in with very high expectations, but I did love it!

I can only describe Finding Baba Yaga as the perfect blend between Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente and the poetry of Amanda Lovelace in The Princess Saves Herself in This One, and I am here for it. It works well as a story in verse as it does follow a story in chronological order about a girl who is abused by her parents and rescued by Baba Yaga when she runs away from home. The story also features Vassilisa the Beautiful, Prince Ivan and Koshei the Deathless, all beloved characters from the slavic mythology. So it is partly a story, and it is partly a retelling, but it is also an ode to strong women, through both the character of Baba Yaga, and the narrator herself. This book is feminist all the way, and I love it. I have to admit I have a soft spot for feminist poetry (I have already mentioned Amanda Lovelace, but I’m also thinking about Rupi Kaur here) and this book just did the trick for me when it came to this beloved topic of mine, so if that is also something you like, then I can only recommend Finding Baba Yaga.

Overall, this book was a pleasant surprise. It was right up my alley, which was all the better since I hadn’t ready any similar book in a while. Five Stars, it was also a quick read, and I would definitely recommend it.

October Wrap Up

 

Books I read this month:

Lights of the Amalou vol.2, 3 and 4 by Claire Wendling and Christophe Gibelin
⭐⭐⭐

Terada Katsuya + Kim Jung Gi, Illustration Book ⭐⭐⭐

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ⭐⭐⭐ (review)

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (review)

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp ⭐⭐ (review)

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (review)

The Kong Crew vol.2 by Eric Hérenguel ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Release by the end of the year!)

Shows I’ve been watching:

Suits, The Good Place, Elite, Riverdale, Doctor Who, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Movie of the month:

Before I Fall

Currently reading:

A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney

Tess of the d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy

Goodbye Perfect: My Review

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This is the third book by Sara Barnard that I read, and as usual, she did not disappoint. She has a way of writing about families and friendships that really gets to me every time, and I think her books really stand out in the YA scene. In Beautiful Broken Things, she addressed friendships and mental illness. In A Quiet Kind of Thunder, she presented us with a main character who had selective mutism, and one who was deaf. She also portrayed beautifully the family relationships as well as the friendships throughout the book. This year, she was back with Goodbye Perfect, this time featuring a main character who had been adopted, watching the situation unravel as her best friend ran away.

Title: Goodbye Perfect
Author: Sara Barnard
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Release: 2018
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The story:

Eden has always been the one with an edge. When you don’t get good grades, you gotta have an attitude if you want people to thing you’re fine with it. Her best friend Bonnie was the one who cared about exams, who planned her revisions months in advance, who was an A star student, one the teachers considered a good influence on Eden. So when she runs away with her mysterious boyfriend right before their GCSE, everyone expects Eden to know where she is, and who she is with. But Eden didn’t know, and suddenly her world is losing its balance. She always thouhgt Bonnie was her best friend, and best friends don’t lie. How could she hide something so huge from her?

My opinion:

I absolutely love the fact that Sara Barnard always addresses sensitive topics in her books, and once again, she did it wonderfully. The characters and the story were extremely well-written, and I loved the family dynamics between Eden and her mom, as well as with both her sisters. Her storyline with Connor was also very sweet. She was a unique character, and one I really empathised with.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I am delighted to say that I went into this book not really knowing what to expect, only that I had to read it because I loved Sara Barnard’s previous books. I knew the story would be about friendship, and I really like where it went.

Now since you’ve seen the spoilers warning, you have been warned and I can proceed without second thoughts. The fact that Bonnie ran away with her teacher was something I completely did not expect but it gave the story a very serious dimension which I am totally here for. It was really fascinating to confront her point of view when she talked to that of Eden – and everyone else for that matter. But most importantly it was interesting to read from Eden’s perspective because she felt that what her friend was doing was wrong but she still wanted to help.

I loved reading about her relationship with her older sister Valerie, it was extremely realistic, and very satisfying to see them getting closer by the end of the story. It was also a sweet touch to see how much Eden loved gardening, and how important it had become in her life through her adoptive parents.

But back to the whole Bonnie adventure. The word “grooming” arrives quite late in the novel, but it’s clear that is exactly what happened, even if Bonnie doesn’t see it – and she’s the only one who doesn’t, in facts. Both girls are extremely  realistic, in terms of Bonnie being so sure she is in love and living the greatest story of her life, while Eden is sceptic but still trying to help her best friend, while struggling in her relationship with her mother and her apparently perfect older sister. Even if the tone of the main plot was serious, the book was super refreshing because it was different from anything else I have read before. (And have I mentioned how sweet Connor and his family are?)

Now (more spoilers) I really liked the ending because it is proof that even when you try your best, it’s not always what people see. Valerie did try her best, and her choices where probably what she deemed the safest (and I have to agree with her). I was impressed by all the twists, and how she ended up siding with Eden before being “betrayed” by the police. And in the end, the fact the police tracked them allowed Eden to not bear the guilt – the only way I could see this unfolding was with the police catching Bonnie and Mister Cohn, and if they hadn’t followed Eden, maybe she would have decided to call them? But since she wasn’t aware that they were being tracked, she is free of that guilt, and I thought it was beautiful as well as realistic. And while I’m talking about the end, it was heartbreaking that Bonnie would refuse to talk to her again, but also realistic, and the fact that this experience brought Eden and her sisters closer really warmed my heart.

So overall, I was really impressed by this book. It went where not a lot of authors would dare to, and did not romanticize one bit the relationship between Bonnie and her teacher, and I’m clapping for that. (And yes, I totally refuse to call him Jack). Once again, Sara Barnard managed to write a YA book that is both sweet and serious, and I can’t wait for her next release! I feel like my review didn’t do this book justice, but if there is one more thing you need to remember, it’s that this book is proof that it is possible to write stories centered mainly on friendships, and that’s beautiful.

The Versatile Blogger Award | 2018 Edition!

I was tagged by Bri’s Book Nook to do the Versatile Blogger Award, thank you so much dear! Since the last time I actually did it was in 2016, I decided to do it again, because a lot has changed since then.

It is possible that other people also tagged me for this Award, if so thank you, and I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner… Here is my answer! I also realised I haven’t done a Blogger Award post in quite some time, so I decided I might as well give it a go this time. And before I really get into it, I also wanted to make a small life update post at some point soon-ish, so this will do the trick!

Here are the rules:

• If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award!
• Thank the person who gave you the award.
• Include a link to their blog.
• Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
• Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
• Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself!

Here are my answers:

#1. If you don’t know that already, I am a French book lover, and I will soon turn 23. I’ve had this blog since 2015, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

#2. I graduated from college in July and I have a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature. I never thought I would say that, but I actually really miss uni!

#3. I am currently doing an internship in a publishing house, and shipping (sketch)books all around the world

#4. I tried to do NaNoWriMo in 2015 and 2016 and didn’t go through until the end, which is why I didn’t even attempt it last year. However, this time I’m really planning on doing it, and not giving up!

#5. I’m not quite sure what I want to do with my life, and I’m not quite sure where I want to live, but what I know is that it has to be a big city where there are things to see and do. And by that, I mean book events. I just moved to the countryside for my internship, and every time I see a new book event happening in Paris it break my heart, because I wish I could be there. In addition, I weirdly miss public transports and wish I didn’t have to take my car every time I want to do something, including my laundry.

#6. For the past few years, I have been struggling with depression (on top of my anxiety). However, I am feeling better and I have now officially stopped taking my medication. It feels so good to see the end of the tunnel. Honestly when I started taking them, I thought it would be for the rest of my life. And yet here I am!

I have also recently written an article about my mental health on Marie’s blog @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books if you’d like to read more about it!

#7. I love traveling. So far this year I have been to Germany (Berlin and Baden Baden), Belgium (Brussels), Austria (Vienna and Salzburg) as well as Slovakia (Bratislava). It’s something I have always loved doing, and never grow tired of. I also love traveling alone because it makes me feel so free, it’s amazing! I’m not sure what my next destination will be, maybe Heidelberg or Amsterdam, or somewhere else, who knows… I can’t wait!

Enough about me, for the last part of this post I’m tagging some blogs (not 15 because I don’t want to bother that many people) I discovered recently, feel free to do the tag or not, and have a wonderful day!

Clara @ The Bookworm of Notre-Dame

Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams

Beth @ Reading Every Night

Kat @ Novels and Waffles

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Thanks for reading!

The Kite Runner: My Review

Title: The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release: 2003
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The story:

Following the span of a few decades, the story centers on Amir from the streets of Kabul to his immigration and his life as an adult in the United States. Amir was the son of a rich Afghan merchant, and grew up with the son of their servant, Hassan. The two got along really well until Amir made a decision that would change both of their lives and cut him away. As Afghanistan turned to civil war, Hassan and his father moved to Peshawar in Iran, and then to California, where they built a new life together. But one day, a phone call brought back the past to him, and changed his life once again.

My opinion:

This book had been on my TBR for quite some time now, and I’m SO GLAD I finally read it. It definitely belongs on the list of books that changed my life. I had heard many great things about it – even my mom had recommended it to me – and I was a bit scared that I would be disappointed, but oh boy I was not. Emotionally, this book was so much more than I could ever expect.

I listened to the audiobook version, which was narrated by the author himself, so that was definitely a plus to the reading experience!

crying more

[an accurate representation of me after I finished The Kite Runner]

Basically, the book evolves around friendship and family, race and class, and it’s both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. It deals obviously with Amir’s relationship with Hassan, and how the choices he made towards him affected his life as well as perspective on things. But there is also a great chunk of the book where Hassan is not really preseny (except, of course, in the back of Amir’s mind). The story also evolves around Amir’s complex relationship with his father, and later, the blooming relationship with his wife, which turned into a steady, loving relationship that never failed to melt my heart. It made me lose hope in humanity and gain it back right away. It was a hell of a ride and I cried way more than I would ever admit, but it was totally worth it.

The main character is flawed but deeply human. He makes bad decisions as a child, but at the same time you can’t really put all the blame on him. The society he lives in is messed up, and some of these betrayals decisions are also about his own survival in such a world. He also perfectly manages to redeem himself, and overall is very realistic in my opinion.

There are two things I loved above anything else (three if you add Amir’s wife) and the first is how much I learnt about Afghanistan while reading this book. I have to say, I came into it knowing pretty much nothing about it. But while reading I learnt about its culture, and it’s recent history which was fascinating – albeit a little alarming. I also learnt about Islam, which I always enjoy. It’s something I am working on, and it’s always a great surprise to learn about it in books & TV shows. There are also a few bits of the intrigue that take place in Iran, which was also interesting. The second thing is the amount of crazy plot twists in this book. Some may have seen things coming but I totally did not and that made the story all the better, especially towards the ending, which piles up revelation after revelation when it’s not rudely breaking me in a thousand pieces of tears.

Overall, this book was really intense and well-written. It also contains some fascinating villains, great characters and many plot twists. There is so much more I could tell you about it, but so far my review didn’t really contain spoilers and I don’t want to ruin that. All you need to know is that it is a hell of a ride, and a bit of a tear-jerker, but also an amazing, fantastic story which will most likely make you think a lot. I will definitely be reading other books by this author!

Thanks for reading, and if you have any similar story to recommend, please do so!

Authors I Would Like To Meet

I was thinking about all the authors I got to meet this year, and how amazing that was, and then it got me thinking of other wonderful authors I wanted to meet. But first of all, I have to admit that I was really blessed this year because I got to meet so many of my favourite authors.

Earlier this year, I attended the Paris Book Fair and met Sarah Dessen, Victoria Schwab, Marissa Meyer and Tatiana de Rosnay who are all among my absolute favourite authors, it was surreal. I also got to meet Diana Gabaldon and that was very impressive. In addition I attended book readings at Shakespeare and Company, and got to meet with both Reni Eddo-Lodge and Olivia Laing.

Last year, I also met with Rainbow Rowell at the book fair, as well as Annie Ernaux who is one of my favourite French authors. In 2016, I saw both James Dashner and Michael Cunningham, again at the Paris book fair. And back in 2015, I got to see John Green in Paris, while he was on his tour to promote the Paper Towns movie. That was also one crazy afternoon, and it was so great. I thought this would never happen, as he was one of my absolute favourite authors, and I am so lucky I got to see him that day. Anyway, back to the topic.

The original list of authors I absolutely wanted to meet would have included John Green, Victoria Schwab, Sarah Dessen and Marissa Meyer, so this year really feels like a huge success in terms of that!

But without further ado, here’s a list of some authors I would love to meet:

1. Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. I just love her books so much, it would be such an honour to meet her. And I probably wouldn’t know what to say but whatever.

2. Sandhya Menon, author of When Dimple Met Rishi. She seems like such a wonderful person, I loved her books, and I also really like following her on twitter, and I think if I met her I would probably cry, but you know, in a good way.

3. Rupi Kaur, author of Milk and Honey. She is such an inspiration to me, both in terms of writing and life in general.

4. Adam Silvera, author of History is all you left me. He is one of my latest author discoveries, and I just fell in love with his books. I also really like following him on twitter, and I would totally love getting to see him in real life!

5. Patrick Ness, author of The Rest of us Just Live Here. I actually read More than this a few years ago and only came back to his work this year, which only just confirmed what an amazing and inspiring author I think he is.

I would also love to meet with some authors I chat with on Instagram, including Freedom Matthews, Claire Marie Lucas and Rachel R. Smith, fingers crossed it will happen one day!

And I’m now waiting for March because that’s when the next Paris book fair will take place 😇 Anyway, that was random, thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day 😘