Middle Grade Book Recommendations

A long time ago, along with other book bloggers, I started organizing middle grade book readalongs, centered at first on Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but the idea died down month after month, and I got busy with life and other things. What didn’t die is my love for middle grade books. In the midst of a two months long confinement, I just celebrated the fact that I HAVE BEEN WORKING AT THE BOOKSTORE FOR A YEAR NOW! And I’m in charge of the kidlit/middle grade/YA section, which means that I got the chance to discover and read more middle grade books this past year! And this rekindled my love for middle grade books. Some I would probably have read anyway, and some I discovered by chance and fell in love with. Which is why, today, I’m here to share all the love that I have for middle grade books!

I’m obviously not going to talk about Percy Jackson, even if I just binge read Heroes of Olympus, because it’s all I’m talking about these days, and I wanted to share my love for OTHER SERIES that also deserve it ♥ (Have I mentioned how excited I am that Percy Jackson is finally getting the TV show it deserves?)


Without further ado, here are seven middle grade books(eries) that you should check out!

City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab

Okay so yes, I know I just said I wanted to share the love about authors and books I don’t talk about all the times, and I KNOW I talk about Victoria Schwab a lot. But hey, it’s worth it. Her books are amazing. The Cassidy Blake series is about a young girl whose parents earn a living by talking about ghosts. They have written many famous books as “The Inspecters” and are now having their own TV Show, which means they’re going to travel to cities famous for their ghosts. They talk about folklore and history, and are not necessarily believers. Cassidy probably wouldn’t have been a believer either, if not for the fact that… her best friend is a ghost. Jacob has been hanging out for the past year, ever since Cassidy almost died. And now they are going to be thrown into cities populated by dangerous ghosts. First Edinburgh, then Paris… And the third books, which will be released next March, is going to be set in Venice!

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet #1) by Roshani Chokshi

This one is another series in the making and I am OBSESSED with it. I have yet to read the third book, but to be perfectly honest with you, I’m waiting for the paperback version to be released because I want it to match the rest of the series… Anyway. This one does have a special place in my heart, obviously because I loved it. The story is fun, action packed, with awesome characters. But also because I managed to sell it splendidly at work, and I will forever be proud of it. Spreading the love, one book sale at a time! Anyway. Think Percy Jackson, except it’s hindu mythology. On a bet, Aru opens a magical lamp in her mother’s museum. And suddenly, she finds out she is the reincarnation of a famous hero, and she has ten days to save the world, while traveling across the US. These books are excellent, and I will never stop recommending them.

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

A contemporary book for a change! Nowhere Boy is absolutely precious, and I’m so glad I decided to give it a go. Throughout the book, we follow two books who despite the fact that they have nothing in common, end up sharing a house in Brussels. Max comes from the US and his father has been relocated to Belgium for one year. He has to attend school in French despite his not speaking a word of it, and left all of his friends behind. Needless to say, he is less than happy about it. Ahmed fled Syria with his father. He lost him on the way, and ended up seeking refuge in the basement of a house in Brussels. One night, they meet, and the boys become friends. It’s a beautiful book about friendship in the face of adversity, that also deals with important topics such as the refugee crisis. And of course, I would definitely recommend that you check it out ASAP.

The Strangers (Greystone Secrets #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

This one is another fantasy book series that I believe is underrated. I’ve seen the first two books I mentioned around quite a lot on Bookstagram, or Book Twitter, but I haven’t seen this one much except for when I actively look for it. But I’m here to say: if you like middle grade books, then you should definitely give this one a try. The second book in the series has been released in early April and I have yet to read it. Here’s the premise: one day when the come back from school, the Greystone kids come across an odd piece of news. Three kids have gone missing, and they share their names, as well as age, and exact birth dates. The coincidence becomes even bigger when their mom disappears the next morning, leaving behind her a few scattered clues, and abandoning them in the care of a woman they barely know. So of course, they try to piece it together, and what they discover is even bigger than anything they could have foreseen, and much scarier… I’m not going to say anything more, but I LOVED the plot twists in this one, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel!

Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain by Zac Gorman

Just like The Strangers, I came across this one unexpectedly, because I received an ARC copy of the French edition at work. And I’m so glad that I decided to give it a go! It’s full of dark humour and irony for a start, and I am always here for that. It’s a story about friendship, and girls standing up for one another, which again, I am here for. Thisby is in charge of feeding the monsters of the Black Mountain, and checking up on them regularly, so that it remains what it is supposed to be: an attraction for wannabe heroes who want to earn some glory. From the get go, I loved the twist on classic fairytale like stories. One day, Iphigenia, the princess and heiress to the throne comes to visit with her brother. When the prince goes missing, the two girls set up on a quest among the half destroyed mountain to save him, facing on their way more monsters than they possibly could have expected. This book was fun and original, and featured not one but two badass female characters. There’s also a sequel called Thisby Thestoop and the Wretched Scrattle, and I can’t wait to check it out!

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Like Aru Shah, this book is a part of the Rick Riordan Presents imprint that promotes books featuring all different kinds of mythology and cultures. That’s pretty much everything they have in common… Well, except for the fact that I also loved them both. Dragon Pearl is a standalone sci-fi/fantasy book featuring creatures from classical Korean mythology, except that it’s set in space. Think something like Gu Family Book or Arang and the Magistrate* meet Star Wars. Min comes from an old family of gumihos, who live on a distant planet. Nobody really knows about their origins, because foxes have a bad reputation. Because, you know, they can shapeshift. When her bother goes missing, and is accused from treason, she runs away from home with one goal in mind: find him, figure out what happened, and clear his name. The book is full of action, and had a very strong vibe of “middle grader saving the world” vibe which I absolutely loved. If you want to check out more middle grade fantasy books, but are too afraid of starting a series because you know you won’t finish it, then this is the thing for you!

*Two of my favourite sageuk kdramas, the first one featuring Gumihos aka shapeshifting nine-tailed foxes, and the second one being about ghosts.

Wings of Olympus by Kallie George

Last but not least, a book about Greek mythology that isn’t written by Rick Riordan (yes, they do exist!) This one is set up in ancient Greece, and follows Pippa, a girl who loves horses, and who is an orphan. One day, she is selected by Aphrodite to take part in a pegasus race organised by the Gods, an event that only takes place every hundred years. It’s an incredible honour, but her pegasus has a mind of its own, and the other kids look down on her because they come from wealthier backgrounds. And honestly, who would take Aphrodite seriously when it comes to winning a competition? She is the goddess of love after all. But Pippa is strong-willed, loves her pegasus Zephyr with all she has, and his determined to win. Its a beautiful book about friendship, and I quickly fell in love with it. A sequel, The Colt of the Coulds, was released in April and I cannot wait to check it out.


And of course, I couldn’t end this article without mentioning one of my favourite reads of 2019, a middle grade book AND a Canadian Classic, yes I’m talking about Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. If you haven’t done that yet, do yourself a favour and go read this book. I don’t know why I waited so long. (And yes, I am also obsessed with the show Anne with an E. I’m still upset Netflix canceled it.)

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And with that, I’m done for today, and going back to reading!

10 Books on Scribd You Should Check Out

I am trying to spend more of my free time blogging these days because 1. I have a lot of free time because work is cancelled and 2. It’s more productive than watching Netflix (something else I have been doing a lot!) I also learnt than in our time of confinement, Scribd had decided to make its free trial period last for a month rather than a week (if I am correct) and proceeded to make an account immediately. While browsing, I decided to make this post.

Of course, not ALL the books in the world are available on this app. But it does have some great ebooks, and some great audiobooks as well, if it’s something that you like. I am currently listening to The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. And I have decided to share 10 amazing books that you can find on Scribd if you make an account!

(And no, this post is not sponsored or anything, it’s just a product of my boredom.)

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

It seems I have another great opportunity to rave about how much I loved this book, so I’m not going to miss it. Starfish is the story of a girl, Kiko, who is finishing her Senior year of high school and trying to figure out what to do with her future. She deals on the daily with anxiety, and deeply buried PTSD as well as micro-agressions from her mother. To me, this book was both beautiful and relatable. It shows a journey of getting better, but also describes the spiralling down process extremely well. It’s a book I will always cherish, and recommend.

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Probably my favourite release of 2019! The more I think about it, the more I realise that’s the case. Set in Kuala Lumpur during the riots of 1969, we follow the story of Melati, a teenager who got separated from her mother during the race riots, and is trying her to reunite with her while dealing with her OCD. It’s a wonderful story about people and how we need to be here for one another, set with a background of historical events that we should talk about more.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Another book that blew my mind. This one was published in 2017, and Nic Stone is currently working on a sequel which I totally didn’t see coming, but am now super hyped about. Through the story, we follow Justyce, who is a senior in high school, as he tries to unveil the truth surrounding his brother’s death, after he was shot by a police officer. This book is excellent, and eye-opening.

The Chaos of Longing by K.Y. Robinson

I thought I would also include one poetry recommendation, because they seem to have a large selection as well! (At least when it comes to the poetry that I like and enjoy? I haven’t seen it all obviously.) I read The Chaos of Longing a few years ago and I really liked it because it felt both beautiful and relatable. It’s nothing extravagant, a poetry that is a bit similar to Rupi Kaur, and Amanda Lovelace. But every author has their personal experience, so of course it’s also different. Anyway, if it’s something you enjoy, then I would definitely recommend this one.

And when it comes to poetry, I am currently reading Please Don’t Go Before I Get Better by Madisen Kuhn!

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

This book was excellent, but it also has some trigger warnings when it comes to sexual assault, microagression ans islamophobia. That being said, it was beautifully crafted, and also, I believe, very important. It’s the story of Janna, a Muslim teenager girl who is growing up in a world where she has to grapple with her identity. There are people who don’t understand her for her faith, and her community who doesn’t understand why she hangs out with people who are not Muslim so much. And I thought that overall, the book was really well executed. I read it too long ago to voice my thoughts more precisely, to be fairly honest. But I do know that I loved this book. (And Love from A to Z is waiting somewhere on a book pile in my room!)

Random thought that occured to me: If you liked this book, and don’t know what to do with your time during quarantine, go watch SKAM.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

My new favourite book! It has everything when it comes to my favourite tropes. Boy next door, friends to lovers, instant fame, mutual pining… (And miscommunication because how else is a good book supposed to work out!) A YouTube channel that has created a modern retelling of Anna Karenina! So many things that I like in the same place. It even has excellent asexual rep, and I’m desperate for more. Do yourself a favour and go read this book.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Okay, I have to admit that the biggest reason Isla and the Happily Ever After is featured on this list is because I actually read it on Scribd, so I somehow had to repay to the favour by including it on the list (sorry, that’s how my brain works.) But also it’s my favourite in this trilogy, because Isla was the most relatable character out of them all. AND it’s also a book which includes a lot of traveling which is GREAT considering we are not allowed to go out, and travel is pretty much all I can think about these days!

The 100 by Kass Morgan

TV show set aside, I thought The 100 was a nice YA book. We have a post-apocalyptic setting, a bunch of teens that are set free in the wild, an (at first) invisible enemy (and a situation that turns a lot more complicated), as well as some good old enemies-to-lovers relationships which, I am sorry, but is the superior romance trope. It’s an easy to read book, which is honestly quite enjoyable and left me wanting for the sequel. Also, Bellarke is canon in the books.

Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Since I’m all about the YA romance tropes today apparently, this one has a very sweet friends-to-lovers relationship AS WELL as a relationship that has to stay a secret. It was hella cute, in true Kasie West fashion, and is the perfect cosy book to cuddle with these days!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

And last but not least, Ari & Dante. Another book that I will never forget. It’s an excellent novel both in terms of coming-of-age, and of accepting yourself. Do yourself a favour and read this one, if you haven’t yet.

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And that’s it for today! Happy reading, and stay safe. Take one thing at a time, self-care is also important these days.

Top 5 Wednesday: Retellings

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.

For this summer, there are no weekly themes, but this week I wanted to talk about retellings, since it’s been a while since I did an actual recommendation post about them! So without further ado, here are five of my favourite retellings…


 

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
a Cinderella retelling

Geekerella is both a Cinderella retelling and an ode to pop culture and conventions. It’s full of (fictional) references to nerd culture, which made me completely fall in love with this book. That and the fact that I may or may not be obsessed with Cinderella retelling. It was a fun, light book, with an amazing MC as well as adorable love interest, so if you’re into YA contemporaries that may or may not be predictable while being super enjoyable then this is the thing for you! (Full review)

The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller
a retelling of the Trojan war

This book was so beautiful, it’s one I will never forget. It’s mostly based on the Illiad, and tells the story of Patroclus and Achilles from their childhood to their undoing during the Trojan War. This book is truly a masterpiece. (Full review)

Lambs Can Always Become Lions by Charlotte Anne Hamilton
a Robin Hood retelling

Lambs Can Always Become Lions was the Robin Hood retelling I didn’t know I had been waiting for, and oh boy was it worth it. It features the best crew of characters, and I absolutely loved both Robin and Marian. I guess I have a weak spot for Robin Hood-like adventures, and the fact that on top of that, this one is a F/F romance? 👏 I 👏 am 👏 sold 👏 (Full review)

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
a Russian mythology retelling

Through the years, I am trying to acquire more and more knowledge when it comes to Russian and Norse mythology — and this book was such a good surprise when it came to it. It takes old tales if Baba Yaga and Vassilissa the beautiful, and spins then into a modern, dark contemporary tale. This book enchanted me. (Full review)

Izzy + Tristan by Shannon Dunlap
a Tristan & Iseult retelling

One of my most recent reads. Picture this: a modern retelling of the ancient story of Tristan and Iseult featuring a chess loving teenager as well as sent in the midst of some protests against police brutality. This book surprised me in many ways, and I would definitely recommend it! (Full review)


And that’s it for this week everybody! Please feel free to recommend me some of your favourite retellings as well!

Top 10 Books With Less Than 2000 Ratings

As I am not reading much this month, and do not have a lot inspiration these days, I am craving for new blog post ideas, so when I stumbled on the prompt of the last Top 10 Tuesday, I knew I had to write about it. The prompt was “favourite books with less than 2000 ratings on Goodreads” if I am correct, and I am HERE for all the underrated books, so here they are!


In no particular order:

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard
Genre: YA, Contemporary | 1168 ratings
Goodbye Perfect was one of my favourite reads of 2018. I absolutely love Sara Barnard’s writing, and how she always manages to deal with important topics in her books. In this one, the main character was adopted and struggles to find a place in her family, while at the same time, her oh-so-perfect best friend ran away with a teacher. This book was so beautiful and moving, I can only recommend it! (full review)

Mist & Whispers by C. M. Lucas
Genre: YA, Fantasy | 180 ratings
This was released in 2015 I think, and as soon as I read it, I completely fell in love with the universe Claire had created. It’s a story about a quest through different universe, that all began because the main character, Anya, wanted to save her favourite bookstore: what is there not to like? The story was full of great surprises and twists, and I am praying for a sequel to be released soon! (full review)

Inherited by Freedom Matthews
Genre: YA, Historical Fantasy | 110 ratings
A story about pirates! And a curse! This is the kind of book that made me think I should read books like this more often. I absolutely love pirate stories, and this one was no exception. It honestly made me cry, and hope for more. It was original, and set in a really fantastic universe with BOTH pirates and faeries. (full review)

Finidng Baba Yaga by Jane Yolen
Genre: Novel in Verse | 514 ratings
Finding Baba Yaga is a modern and inspiring retelling of the Russian fairy tale, written in verse and following the journey of a young girl who is taken in by the witch. As the story unfolds, we watch her grow. I really fell in love with that book; it was both beautiful and empowering. (full review)

Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror by Rachel R. Smith
Genre: YA, Fantasy | 314 ratings
The story follows Nerissa, as her parents are killed and she is deprived of her right to the throne. She is taken in by a secret society that has been watching over the royal family for years, and has to hide her real identity and dress as a boy. The story also follows a mysterious prophecy as it unravels, as well as some crystal magic. I absolutely fell in love with that universe. (full review)

All of This is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Genre: YA, Contemporary | 1548 ratings
This book was honestly brilliant. It was so unique, I’ve never read anything like it. It deals with so many important topics, such as abuse and toxicity. It can get a bit dark, as you watch the truth and the secrets unravel, but it was absolutely fascinating. I would definitely recommend it. (full review)

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews
Genre: YA, Contemporary | 1777 ratings
That’s yet another book that was something else entirely. A Thousand Perfects Notes deals with music, and growing up with an abusive mother. It is also a beautiful friendship story between Beck and August, a girl who is full of sunshine. It’s the debut novel of C. G. Drews (who you may also know as @paperfury on instagram and such), and it broke my heart and every possible way, and yet I can’t help but recommend it to you. Also, it has cake.

I’m Every Woman by Liv Strömquist
Genre: Comic book, Non fiction | 146 ratings
This book was so good! It is a series of different stories about fantastic women, in comic book format. I learned a lot, it was a really great book!

Thirst by Kerry Hudson
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary | 274 ratings
This is one book I will never forget. It’s a story about two people getting to know each other despite cultural differences. But more importantly it deals with human trafficking in our society today. I did cry while reading this book, but it was worth it, and I would definitely recommend it especially if you’re looking for something a bit different.

Scandalized by Tara Frejas
Genre: Romance, Contemporary | 76 ratings
This is a book for all my kpop fans! It’s an adorable story following a young Filipina who is manager to a kpop boys band. I loved the portrayal of the kpop industry in that one, and the romance was very sweet! (review)


And that’s it for today’s post, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed! Please feel free to recommend me some books that you think are underrated!

Sunday Recommendations: Books Around The World

At some point in this blog’s history, I used to share recommendation posts every Sunday, following whatever theme had come to my mind, but it’s been forever since I last did one. I’m not giving up on this idea entirely, and this week I wanted to share some recommendations of books set in various countries. I have already done this a few times, and the idea is that I will present you with seven books, each from a different country. (Check out part 1 and part 2 as well!)


Australia: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

Genre: YA, Conteporary
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

I read A Thousand Perfect Notes earlier this year, and as it turns out, I haven’t reviewed it yet, but I absolutely loved it! It talks about music, growing up, and is set in a small Australian town. For some reason, I always want to read more books set in Australia, and this one was a really good start, no matter how much it broke my heart. Still worth it. [TW: Parental Abuse]

France: The Years by Annie Ernaux

Genre: Non Fiction
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I feel like I haven’t talked about this book in forever, so it was time I did again. Les Années is a non fiction book following the life of the author from when she was born in 1940 to the present day, through her childhood, and adulthood as she became a professor, and then author. It deals with her own life, and how France evolved in the background. And it’s one of my absolutely favourite books. (Full review)

The Philippines: Scandalized by Tara Frejas

Genre: Romance
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Scandalized was a really lovely book set in between the Philippines and South Korea, where the main character came from, and where she lived and worked. This book was really adorable and unlike anything else I’d ever read. I would definitely recommend it to kpop and kdrama lovers! (Full review)

Afghanistan: The Kite Runner by Khaleed Hosseini

Genre: Contemporary, Literary Fiction
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Kite Runner is one book I will never forget, and also probably will make it to my list of best books I’ve read in 2018. In between war zones, it’s a story of father-and-son relationships, of growing up and accepting yourself, and of frienships. It will most likely break your heart, but it will be worth it, and you will find yourself transformed by the end of the story, which will take you through Afghanistan, Iran, the US and more. (Full review)

Yemen: Intisar’s Car by Pedro Riera and Nacho Casanova

Genre: Graphic Novel
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Few graphic novels read like a punch in the face (or the stomach) but this one does. Based on a true people, it describes the life of modern women in Yemen, in between progress and tradition. I learned so much while reading this book, and I need the sequel asap. (Full review)

Sweden: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Genre: Romance
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

This one doesn’t really take place in Sweden, but has a Swedish main character who moves to the United States, and was written by a Swedish author, so that made it enough for it to make it on my list. This was such a sweet, beautiful story about finding your place in this world, it made me really happy, and I can only recommend it to all book lovers. (RTC)

Japan: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Genre: Literary Fiction
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐/5

If you’re looking for a book that will take you through the streets of Tokyo, and the mountains of the Japanese countryside, then Norwegian Wood is definitely the thing for you. Warning: this book also deals with mental illness in ways that sometimes made me uncomfortable, but if it’s something that doesn’t bother you, then I can definitely recommend it, and the writing is very beautiful. (Full review) [TW: Depression, Suicide]


That’s it for today, thank you so much for reading, and feel free to leave your own book recommendations in the comments!

Sunday Recommendations: Diverse Non Fiction

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I used to make recommendation posts every Sunday at some point on this blog, but for some time, it hasn’t happened. Rest assured, some more are coming! I know I haven’t been very active on here lately, and I don’t have much of an excuse, but I’m not done with this blog quite yet, and here is a new selection of non fiction books I have been reading (more or less) recently, and would definitely recommend!

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This book is quite a must read in my opinion. It deals with what it’s like to be a person of colour in the United States, possible differences with other countries, and what it’s like to raise a kid when you want the best for them, though you know they are bound to face racism sooner or later in their lives. This book is an absolute beauty, and a must read in my opinion.

milk and honey and the sun and her flowers by Rupi Kaur

I couldn’t make a blog post about non fiction without talking about at least one poetry book, and if I had to recommend one poetry book to everyone, it would be either milk and honey or the sun and her flowers by Rupi Kaur. The author’s poetry deals with abuse and how to get over it, what it’s like to be a a woman of colour in the United States, her love for her mother, and so much more. Both those books are absolutely stunning and I devoured them.

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily Collins

In my opinion, mental disorders are a topic that should be major in non fiction today (along with race issues obviously, and feminism, who am I kidding). People should be more open about those, because no one is alone in there. This is exactly what Lily Collins does in Unflitered: she opens up about her eating disorders and all the mental problems she may have encountered throughout her life. Though a major topic, her book remains light and easy to read. It’s postive and an eye-opener: we need more positive books about mental and eating disorders!

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

This is the oldest book on my list, and one I have recently read for one of my classes. It’s quite short and extremely well-written and I would say it also qualifies as a must-read. Frederick Douglass was born a slave and lived as one until he managed to run away, and ended up becoming an anti-slavery advocate. His testimony about his life as a slave is absolutely heartbreaking, but we should not forget about our history, and this is why I think this book is so important.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Another very important book, first about what it’s like to grow up as a person of colour in a mostly white country and even more so about what it’s like to get cancer when you are in your thirties and finishing redidency. This book is a punch in the feels, but it is also extremely beautifully written. It’s a book I would definitely recommend — if you have a box of tissues hanging around.

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Again and again, we need more books discussing mental illness. We need more of them in fiction, but also in non fiction. As a person sufferring from depression and anxiety, I am craving for more of those books. They make me feel like I am not alone. You are not alone. In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher talks about her bipolar disorder, and her addiction to alcohol, and proves once again that I have all the reasons in the world to admire her.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

And last but not least, this is my most recent read, the book I’m shoving in everyone’s face right now. Every occasion is a good one for me to talk about this book. It is so important. Obviously, it’s talking about racism and how it is sadly deeply rooted in our system, whether we live in the UK like Reni Eddo-Lodge, or anywhere else in the world. What I really liked about it was how instructive it was. It explains patiently the situation, and uses many (often horrific) examples. This book is a must read.

Before I end this article I wanted to share a few lines of Why I’m No Longer Talkinng To White People About Race because I believe they are deeply important:

“I’m no longer engaging with white people on the topic of race. Not all white people, just the vast majority who refuse to accept the legitimacy of structural racism and its symptoms. I can no longer engage with the gulf of an emotional disconnect that white people display when a person of colour articulates their expreience. You can see their eyes shut down and harden. It’s like a treacle is poured into their ears, blocking up their ear canals. It’s like they can no longer hear us.”

And that’s it for today readers, thanks for reading my article, I hope you enjoyed it, and please feel free to recommend me more diverse non fiction in the comments!

Sunday Recommendations: Mystery/Thriller

I remember that when I asked you all readers for ideas for my recommendation posts, someone suggested mystery and thrillers, and I realised I don’t read that much in that genre, but I have managed to gather seven books for a Sunday Recommendations post, so here are some books you should definitely read if you are into mystery and thriller books!

I think that anyway, this kind of category is always a bit subjective. Here are a list of books that could fit in either or both categories, I hope you fill find something that fits your taste!

I meant to post this such a long time ago, but I never finished writing the article, so here it is, finally.


And Then There Were NoneAnd then there were none by Agatha Christie

MYSTERY/THRILLER

I couldn’t write this list without including an Agatha Christie book, of course. I have to admit, I haven’t read that much of her work, but I did read And then there were none several times, and I find it extremely fascinating and unique.


Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnGone Girl

THRILLER

I jumped into this book because of the hype, not really knowing what to expect, considering I’m not really into this genre, and I didn’t really read about it beforehand. And then, I really got into the story. It was incredible, fascinating, wicked, and so much worth all the hype.


Girl Last SeenGirl Last Seen by Anne Greenwood Brown and Heather Anastasiu

THRILLER

I requested an ARC copy of this book last year, because it seemed interesting, and oh boy, not once did I regret it. If you have loved Gone Girl, then you should definitely check this one out. This is about a girl who disappears, and then the blame falls on her best friend. It follows several people who were close to her, until the truth is unveiled in a schocking way… I will never forget this book!


When I’m Gone by Emily BleekerWhen I'm Gone

MYSTERY

This one is more of a mystery than a thriller. It is not about finding a dead body, or unmasking a murderer, but rather about a man, who lost is wife, and is slowly discovering how little he knew about her, through letter she wrote to him, and through new people he meets. Definitely a wonderful and beautiful read, and one of my favourite books of 2016.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

MYSTERY

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is another mystery book, and you have most likely heard about it, especially since the movie came out. Be ready to delve into a world of fantasy, following Jacob, who is trying to understand what happened to his grandfather, not only how he died, but how he grew up, and slowly realises that a lot of stories turn out to be true… For the best and for the worst.


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)

MYSTERY/THRILLER

A very creepy book you will love if you like mysteries and thrillers. Mara Dyer woke up in a hospital, and the last people who were with her are dead. Her parents decide to move, so she can start over, but weird and bloody things keep happening to her… Or do they? Mara is not sure if she is awake or dreaming… I have yet to read the sequel for this book, but I can already tell you that this one is amazing!


The ReaderThe Reader by Bernard Schlink

MYSTERY

In this historical mystery, we follow a young boy, who falls in love with a mysterious woman. One day she disappears. He meets her again, years later, while he is a law student, and she stands accused of war crimes she stubbornly doesn’t deny… Except Michael is sure there is more to it. Hannah is hiding something more, and he will find out what. This book is beautiful, moving and very interesting at the same time, I recommend it to both historical fiction fans and mystery lovers!


And that’s it for today, thanks for reading, and feel free to recommend similar books in the comments! I have written reviews for most of those books, you can find them in the search bar if you’d like, or read more about them on Goodreads. Have a great Sunday!

Sunday Recommendations: Winter Reads

Merry Christmas readers, and on this occasion, I will be sharing with you all some great winter & Christmas reads! I also made a video about this which you can find here. And in the meantime, here are my selections for this week’s Sunday Recommendations!

*****

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

hpAnd especially book 1 to 4. I couldn’t talk about Christmas without talking about Harry Potter, because Christmas at Hogwarts is such a magical event, of course I had to mention it. It always seems like the perfect occasion to read Harry Potter anyway, but I think Christmas is the most perfect one. Especially for the first book, because this is where Harry, who grew up with people who didn’t like hime, discoverse the true magic of Christmas, and gifts. The fourth one is also a great exemple with the Yule ball, obviously. Then the story gets darker, and it’s not that much of a Christmas read anymore. But if you have never read the Harry Potter series, what are you waiting for? Go pick it up and cuddle by the fireplace!

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)I believe The Lord of the Rings is another great series to cuddle by the fireplace. Winter sounds like fantasy to me, cuddling up with a great adventure, and of course, The Lord of the Rings is the perfect pick. I read them when I was in 8th grade, and I have to admit I have never watched the movies (I know, shame on me). But I definitely plan on doing that at some point. And I would also like to reread the books because I think I didn’t appreciate them to their full extent.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

img_20150529_221140I believe Narnia is another great fantasy and adventure that matches with the Christmas spirit, and especially The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is the second book in the series, and probably the most well known. It is the perfect book for winter, because at that point, Narnia is stuck under the snow, in the midst of a never ending winter… So of course it’s the perfect read for now. It just matches the Christmas spirit perfectly. Whether you dream of a white Christmas or not, I think Narnia is a wonderful read for winter and Christmas.

Let it Snow
by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

img_20151217_173838I believe Let it Snow is another perfect example of the perfect Christmas read, of course because it takes place on Christmas. Let it Snow is all about people going home for Christmas, and reuniting with the people they love on the longest night of the year. It is a very sweet book, which matters a lot to me because it is the book that got me back into reading two years ago. You might find it a bit cheesy, but honestly, it never gets too cheesy for me, and it’s a Christmassy book, so what’s the point if it’s not about love and sweet things like this? If you haven’t read it yet, I definitely recommend it as a Christmas read, or something you might give as a present!

My True Love Gave To Me
a collection of short stories collected by Stephanie Perkins

MTLGTMAnother book that you have to read during the winter, this one is a collection of 12 different short stories, all set around Christmas break. This is about people finding each other, and celebrating Christmas/Hanouka/New Year’s Eve together. I have to admit I didn’t enjoy all the stories, but you don’t have to read them all if you don’t want to! And that’s the good thing about short stories. For example I absolutely loved the first one, which was written by Rainbow Rowell… And many others. Honestly, this book is the perfect read for Christmas break, it has a bit of everything! (review)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

IMG_20160521_183625While I’m talking about Rainbow Rowell, I was about to mention Fangirl as a great winter read, and then I remembered that Landline is set during Christmas and Christmas break, so I believe it’s an even more perfect pick for this list. This book is probably one of my favourite 2016 reads, and I really recommend it anyway, but moreover, it’s the perfect time of the year to read it! If you want a contemporary, cheesy book, then that’s the thing for you. If you want a book with a Christmas miracle, then that’s also the thing for you. Unlike FangirlLandline is more of an adult fiction, with tads of magical realism, and I absolutely loved it. (review)

The Weaver’s Riddle by Claire Marie Lucas

the weaver's riddle 1An last but not least, another fantasy/adventure book which is also a perfect read to cuddle by the fireplace with a hot drink in my opinion. If you have read all of the books above, you may not have heard of this one anyway (which is available on paperback and kindle if you want to read it right away). This book is about a booklover (what is not to like?) who goes on a quest to save her favourite bookshop and is transported to a magical kingdom where all the women have disappeared. There, she realises she has to help those people, and also the mysterious boy-dragon who is their captive. One of my favourite 2015 reads, I definitely recommend it, and I cannot wait for the sequel!! (review)

*****

And that’s it for today! I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas, or a wonderful holiday if you do not celebrate it.

xoxo

Clémence

Sunday Recommendations: Retellings (part 2)

I did a part 1 a while ago, where I recommended some of my favourite retellings. I read more since then, and thought I would make a new post featuring more retellings, because I absolutely love this kind of stories!

*****

Song of Princes (Homeric Chronicles, #1)Song of Princes by Janell Rhiannon:
a retelling of the Trojan war

First book in an upcoming series, Song of Princes takes us back to the Trojan War, but unlike the Iliad and the Odyssey, it follows the Trojans and portrays (more or less) the Greeks as evil. It follows many of the original characters, and really goes in depth with each and every one of them. Beautful, sexy, and hard to put down, this book was fascinating and I can’t wait for the sequel. I just couldn’t put this book down. You can read my review here!

Intangible (Piercing the Veil, #1)Intangible by C.A. Gray:
a retelling of King Arthur’s story

First book in a trilogy, Intangible is a modern retelling of Arthurian legends. Peter, the main character, doesn’t believe in all the stories of magic and penumbra his father has told him while he grew up, until a new girl shows up at school, and he realises that fiction could actually be the truth, and there is more to his life than he ever expected. Especially when people believe he is the reincarnation of a legendary King. Full review here!

Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)Deathless by Kathryn M. Valente:
a retelling of the Russian tale of Koschei the Deathless

One of the most beautiful and fascinating books I have ever read. If you are into Russian folklore, then I would definitely recommend it! It will apparently also have a sequel, which is getting me really excited. Maria Morevna is waiting for the day a bird will fall down from a tree, turn into a handsome young man, and ask for her hand, because this is what happened to her sisters. Except when someone comes to marry her, it none other than Koschei the Deathless, the tsar of life. Deathless is a tale mixing folklore and Russian revolution, and it’s an extraordinary read.

The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath & the Dawn, #1)The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh:
a retelling of the Arabian Nights

If you haven’t heard of The Wrath and the Dawn, then where on Earth are you living? This book is an amazing, fantasy retelling of the Arabian Nights, following Sharzad, who just lost her best friend when she was called to marry the king and killed the next morning. Sharzad decides to take action and avenge her friend, so she volunteers to be Khalid’s next wife, planning to kill him as soon as she can, and first staying alive because of the stories she told him. But she hadn’t planned to fall in love with Khalid, who is much more boy and human than she ever expected… I loved this book, and you can read my review here!

Avalon HighAvalon High by Meg Cabot:
another Arthurian retelling

I read this book a very long time ago, but it seems to be one I will never forget. I always wanted to mention it here on the blog, and it seems like this is finally the perfect occasion. Avalon High is a modern retelling of the Arthurian legends, following the reincarnation of the original characters as they go to high school at Avalon High, fall in love, and overall recreate the original tale, while trying to give it a happy ending. If you like Arthurian stories and are up for a light read, then I would definitely recommend this!

HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer:
a Wonderland retelling

The most recent book on this list, and also Marissa Meyer’s newest release! Heartless follows Cath, a young noble girl whose only dream is to open a bakery. However, life has other things in store for her, and on the night the King is supposed to propose to her, she meets Jest, the new Court Joker, and realises that slowly, she is falling in love with him. But we all know that Cath will become the infamous Queen of Hearts, and that this story can’t have a happy ending… Review coming soon, this book was amazing!

The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwyne:
a Snow White retelling

In this high fantasy retelling of Snow White, the kingdom of Ravenspire is ruled by brutal, power-hungry Irina, who got rid of her husband and his family in order to stay on the throne. What she doesn’t know is that his chidren have survived, and are planning to take back what is rightly there. Things get complicated when the king of their neighbour kingdom, a half-dragon, plans to ask Irina for help, and she asks him for the heart of her step-daughter… A very interesting retelling, which I definitely recommend for fans of The Lunar Chronicles! Review coming soon!

*****

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this Sunday post! If you have any retelling to recommend me, please feel free to do so in the comments!

Sunday Recommendations: Books With Vampires

I am taking a class on Weimar Cinema this semester, and I recently watched Nosferatu, which reminded me than when I asked you guys for recommendations themes, someone suggested vampires… So here we go! I will include both books mainly about vampires, and books that include vampires in a more general supernatural environment. As it turns out, I haven’t read that many vampire books, but this was a really fun article to write nevertheless, so thanks for the suggestion! Hope you enjoy!

*****

Dracula#1 Dracula by Bram Stoker

I couldn’t write an article about vampires without mentioning this dense, dark and old classic, obviously. Dracula is the classical vampire tale, featuring the old count from Eastern Europe, who wants to get a beautiful house in England, and travels from his home to his new house in a coffin, to this new town where he will seduce beautiful girls and cause havoc with rats and mortal bites. This book is a dark, mysterious, complex tale, and a must read if you like vampire stories.

#2 Twilight by Stephenie MeyerTwilight (Twilight, #1)

Because if you are here for the vampire talk, I have to mention this one right? Whether you like it or not (and I have to say, I really enjoyed it when I read it, I even read it twice in a row the first time…) Twilight is the perfet example of a popular modern vampire story, where Bella, the clumsy, new girl in town falls in love with secretive and mysterious Edward, the handsome boy with the handsome siblings, who sparkles in the sun and turns out to be, of course a vampire…

The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries, #1)#3 The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith

An other very popular modern vampire story, which has also been turned into a TV show. I have to admit, I only read the first book in this series because I actually didn’t like it that much… But if you are into vampire stories, then check it out, what are you waiting for? The Vampire Diaries follows the story of beautiful, popular girl Elena, as she falls in love with the new boy at school, but meanwhile also gets entangled with his mysterious brother. And of course, they hate each other and have vowed revenge.

#4 The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine HarrisDead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)

This series is unique and excellent, in my opinion (though I have to admit I never finished it…) If you find Twilight or The Vampire Diaries too cliché, then I guarantee this is something you might like, because it is totally different – partly because it is intended for on older audience. Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in a small town, who can’t find a boyfriend because she can read mind, and it always gets in the way. But one day, she meets a dark mysterious stranger, and is driven into a world she didn’t expect to exist… Sexy and funny, again, this is something I definitely recommend if you are into vampire stories!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)#5 City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments is not essentially about vampires, but I thought I would mention it anyway. If you don’t know what this series is about (then first, where have you been living for the past ten years?) it basically follows Clary Fray after her mom gets abducted, and she discovers she can see things others cannot. And that is for a very particular reason: she is a Shadowhunters. And the world is inhabited by demons, creatures of the dark… And vampires, who become a bigger part of Clary’s life after they take her best friend Simon hostage.

#6 The Tara Duncan seriesTara Duncan and the Spellbinders
by Sophie Audoin-Mamikonian

I had to mention this French series in this article, because I will take any opportunity that I have to promote it on this blog… And of course because it features a great amount of vampires. Well it depends on the volumes of the series. But vampires are still present and important. Nice ones, evil ones, power hungry and blood hungry ones, desperate vampires, and presidential vampires…

Fledgling#7 Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

I have only read the first chapters of this one in one of my classes, but I really need to get my hands on the whole book because damn, that story looks interesting. Fledgling follows an amnesiac girl who wakes up in a cave. As she encounters civilisation for the first time (at least that she remember) she finds out that she looks around 12, though she feels much older. And the even stranger things is that she is craving for blood… This book is a mix between fantasy and science fiction, and it looks brilliant. If you have read it, I would love to have your opinion on it!

*****

And that’s it for this week, feel free to recommend your favourite vampire stories in the comments, and I hope you’re having a great weekend!