Books I Want To Read Soon

I haven’t made a proper TBR in quite some time actually, but here’s a video talking about the books I would like to read in the near future! Hope you enjoy!

Currently reading:

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Wir Kinder vom Banhof Zoo by Christiane F.

On my TBR:

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Arab Queen by Güner Balci

One Of Us Is Lying: My Review

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(Left: US cover, Right: UK cover)

First of all, huge thanks to Penguin Random House UK for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. This doesn’t affect my opinion in any way.

Title: One Of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen McManus
Publication: June 1st, 2017
Genre: YA, Mystery/Thriller
My rating: ★★★★✩

The story:

The brain, the beauty, the crimminal, the athlete, the outcast.

Five students attend detention on a Monday afternoon, for something all say they didn’t even do. The thing is, before the hour is over, one of them is dead. Simon, creator of the school’s gossip app About That, died because of a peanut allergy, and the police seems to believe it was no accident at all. Indeed, the clues seem to lead to a murder, and soon, all 4 other students are put in the spotlight, and accused of having murder their comrade together. Especially since they were apparently Simon’s next target on About That, each one soon having their darkest secrets revealed.

 Is one of them really the killer? Or is the actual murderer on the loose and using them as scapegoat?

My opinion:

I saw a review of this book and immediately wanted to check it out, so I requested and received a copy from NetGalley. Thanks again to the author and the publisher for granting my request. This book was very clever and well-made, very fascinating. It is narrated through the point of view of Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper, the four students who get out of detention alive and all have something to hide, which leads to them all becoming murder suspects. They are what you can call unreliable narrators, hiding their secrets until the end when they can, and it’s something I really liked about the story. It just makes it more fascinating to read.

Overall, I felt like the characters were quite realistically depicted. They are in high school, they try their best, they make mistakes. In that extent, they were quite relatable. They also all had amazing characters development, which I absolutely loved.

Honestly, this book was fascinating and hard to put down. Every time a chapter ended, I had to know what would happen next. My only regret was that it was a little bit too cliché sometimes, but I guess that is also part of what makes this book what it is. Four students who have nothing in common, and are all high school cliché, entrapped into a murder case, trying to figure out who the real murderer is. Can they trust one another? They don’t even know it themselves.

I have to say, I had my suspicions as to who the real murdere was, and it turned out I was right. It was still very interesting to see everything unravel, and I have to admit, this book had some seriously interesting plot twists.

I won’t say more because I want to keep this non spoilery. But all I can say is that I definitely recommend this book!

Similar reads you might enjoy:

I don’t actually read that much mystery or thriller books, but when I do, I actually really enjoy them. This book kind of gave off the same vibe as Girl Last Seen by Anne Greenwood Brown and Heather Anastasiu, which is another YA Mystery/Thriller with crazy plot twists. So if you liked one of those, you might want to check out the other one! (Also you can check out my review here if you want to know more about Girl Last Seen).

One thing my parents did right…

My relationship with my parents is more complicated than I ever thought it would be when I was a kid. But we are working on it. The problem is, they are more on the conservative side when it comes to politics – and everything actually – while I clearly am not. They are very religious, when I can’t see myself going to church anymore, because of all the sexist and racist things I heard the last time I went there. Not to mention the fact that they are against gay marriage. And the fact that my mother once told me she believes feminism is not necessary anymore, as equality has been achieved. My own mother. It really breaks my heart.

However, I just stumbled across this text post on tumblr, and it made me realise that at least, they did this right when they raised me.

parenting

When I was a kid attending Halloween parties, my grandmother would make my costumes herself. And I clearly remember vividly two of the costumes I wore when I was very little: a clown costume, and a pumpkin costume. While all my friends would wear variations of princess or witch costumes, I was dressed up as a pumpkin. So here we go. My parents weren’t giving me cliché gendered costumes. And I think that’s beautiful.

I also remember vividly that while I was playing with my dolls and barbies, my little brother would get jealous, so my parents bought some for him as well.

One more memory is that of a Christmas morning, where he got an electric train, and we are both crouching on the floor playing with it. This picture is framed on the wall, in my grandmother’s house, and I really love it. In a way, it gives me hope, and I wanted to share this here.

This is important. Let your kids play with what they want. Don’t force gender roles on them. It can even create some funny, cute memories. I honestly believe that if I had been dressed as a princess for all Halloween and birthdays as a kid, I wouldn’t remember it. But I was dressed up as the most cute pumpkin ever, and I love this memory.

I just stumbled accross this post on tumblr and it brought back all these memories. I am so proud of my parents, and my childhood. Being a pumpkin (or a clown or a dinosaur or whatever) is super cool. Don’t be a cliché!

I hope you enjoyed this little story, and I hope you have a wonderful day! Feel free to share some thoughts it the comments!

Fledgling: My Review

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I was looking through the books I have read in 2017, to find topics for a new article, and I realised I haven’t made a review for Fledgling by Octavia Butler yet. This book was recommended by one of my professors last semester and I absolutely loved it. It was unlike anything I have ever read before, and I definitely recommend you check it out as well. I’ve mentioned it a few times here, but I haven’t made a proper book review, and this book more than deserves one. So here we go.

Genre: Adult Fiction, Sci-Fi, Afrofuturism
Publication: 2005
My rating: ★★★★✩

First of all, a few words about Afrofuturism, which was the topic of my class (taught by Adourahman Waberi, I reviewed his book In the United States of Africa here).

Basically, Afrofuturism is an artistic movment that started with music in the 60s and 70s, with artists such as Sun Ra. It is now also present in literature. It combines aspects such as science fiction and history, sometimes revisiting history with a more afro-centric perspective. I have read some afrofuturist books and they are always unique and fascinating. This was no exception.

The story:

The main character wakes up in a cave with no recall of her past life and what she is doing there. She is naked, and her entire body is in pain. She is hungry, and shows inhuman abilities. She looks like an 11 year old girl, but feels like so much more.

Little by little, she starts uncovering the truth of who she is: she is, in facts, a 53 year old Ina – or vampire if you prefer – and she was genetically modified, making her stronger than the rest of her family. She is able to resist the sun, and stay awake during the day. But people are after her for her abilities, and the whole Ina community is turning upside down.

Warning: May Contain Spoilers

My opinion:

I came into this book not really knowing what to expect, and oh boy, it was a hell of a ride.

At the beginning of the book, the main character has amnesia, so the reader just ignores as much as she does, which is super interesting. Soon, we realise she shows characteristics similar to that of vampires, however, she is different. She later finds out she is actually an Ina, and that vampires are a fiction inspired by Ina.  She has, in addition, been genetically modified to be stronger. She also discovers that her family has been killed because of the experiments they did, experiments that gave her a darker skin, which is more resisting to the sun.

Throughout the book, we see her insufferable need to feed, as well as her need to do the right things for the things she cares, and in honour of her lost family.

Ina are a secret to the society, except to the people they have chosen to feed, and who can live with them. These people are called symbionts, and every Ina needs several ones of them. They can also live longer, but they have to keep a secret. Ina live in big families, or communities.

What I really liked about this book is its very original take on the somehow classic literary theme that is vampirism. It is a perfect blend of fantasy and science-fiction – since we find out that Ina can be genetically modified. And more importantly, it raises issues of racism, as some of the Ina enemies to our main character want her dead because of her skin colour, because they consider that all Ina should be white caucasian as the territory they are originally from is in Eastern Europe (just like the image we have of Dracula). They consider her not pure, and not worthy of living, which led to the extermination of her entire family, responsible for this genetic modification.

This book is calling out on racism in a very subtle way in my opinion, as it is presented among a fictional community of fictional vampires, and yet, that doesn’t make it any less powerful. The actions of these Ina are cruel and undeserved, and yet also a very harsh representation of some real life people’s beliefs.

I had never heard of this book before my professor recommended it, and I have never read anything like it. And was fascinating, the world building is really amazing. It is a very clever and well-written book. I definitely recommend it.

Have you read Fledgling or any other book by Octavia Butler? Feel free to give your opinion in the comments, and recommend me books you think I might like!

May Wrap Up

So first of all, I can’t believe it’s June already, and second of all, I can’t believe I have read 14 books in May. As this video was already quite long, I haven’t made a TBR part, however I plan on making another video to talk about books I am currently reading and plan on reading soon. Hope you enjoy!

Books I read:

The Last Time I’ll Write About You by Dawn Lanuza ★★★★★
Poems by William Blake ★★★✩✩
Emil und die Detektive by Erich Kästner ★★★✩✩
All in the Family by Courtney LeBlanc ★★★★✩
Shattered Girls by Tyrolin Puxty ★★★★✩ (review)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli ★★★★★ (review)
Summer Crush by Six de los Reyes, Tara Frejas and Jay E. Tria ★★★★✩ (review)
Broken Wishbones and Empty Spaces by Pyrokardia ★★★★✩
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ★★★★★ (review)
Dear Martin by Nic Stone ★★★★✩ (review)
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka ★★✩✩✩
Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard ★★★★✩ (review)
Insel der Schwäne by Benno Pludra ★★✩✩✩
The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen ★★★★✩

Currently reading:

Wir Kinder vom Banhof Zoo by Christiane F.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
One of us is lying by Karen M. McManus

Additional reviews for this month:

Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Dragon’s Bane by Rachel R. Smith
Day 21 by Kass Morgan

Shows I’ve been watching:

The 100
Doctor Who
Sense8
Goblin
SKAM
RuPaul’s Drag Race

Overall, I’m also quite happy about what I’ve done on the blog this month, talking about books and subject that matter to me. I’m also reading more ARCs and review copies these days, and I’m really happy about this. I hope you enjoy.

The last thing I wanted to share is the fact that I have almost reached 400 followers on here, which is insane. Please, stay awesome!

Dear Martin: My Review

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First of all I wanted to thank the publisher, Random House Children’s, for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Title: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Release date: 17th October 2017
My rating: ★★★★✩

The story:

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, and has great prospects for college. But when he is put into handcuffs by a cop just because he is Black, and was trying to help his drunk ex girlfriend go home, he is hit by the reality of things: people will always judge him because of his skin colour. He starts writing letters to Dr King, to help clear his mind, and try to make good decisions.

Things escalate when the cop who arrested him is killed by his best friend’s cousin. Things escalate even more when he and Manny are caught into an altercation just because they were playing loud music in their car.

And there is Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous (and white) debate partner with whom he is spending more and more time until he realises he might have a thing for her.

My opinion:

This book has been compared with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas in the sense that it was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, so if you liked it, I would definitely recommend you read this one as well. This book was extremely powerful. An eye opener. And I think, actually, that everyone should read it.

The story is told through different media, first through a more classical narrative, mixed between Justyce’s letters to Martin Luther King, and finally, some extracts from the press. I thought it was a rather original way of telling the story, and it really matched the important themes. I thought it was quite fitting and overall, the novel is very well written. This is Nic Stone’s first novel, and she really achieved something amazing here. My only regret is that I wished it had been longer.

As to the story itself, it mixed prejudices at school, Black Lives Matter and unarmed teens unfairly shot by the police, as well as touches of interracial love, and all of this was well executed. I really liked both Sarah Jane and Justyce’s character, they felt very realistic and human.

As for the issues raised in this book, as long as they exist, they will never be talked about enough. It is very important to educated ourselves and raise awareness, and I believe this book does so in a very delicate, moving and accurate way, which is why I definitely recommend you check it out as soon as it is released, or as soon as you get the opportunity to do so!

At the same time, it is also a harsh coming of age story, with a character full of good intentions, who just has life getting in the way all the time, and still manages to keep his head out of the water. It was very interesting, but also heartbreaking to see Justyce grow through this story.

Another character important to the story that I wanted to discuss is Jared, your typical rich white boy, who believes equality has been achieved, when it comes to both racism and feminism. He is the perfect example of people who can get on my nerves in real life. If you read this book, he will probably make you think of someone you know. His main argument being that his friend Manny’s family his richer than his own family, so he just takes that and concludes that equality has been achieved. And that, my friend, is wrong. But was also a very clear, realistic depiction of society once again.

This book points out lots of things that are wrong in our society, and it does so extremely accurately. It is a well deserved reminder that we still have a lot to do to set things right. I hope you check it out, and enjoy it as much as I did. Please let me know your thougts on this book & my review if you feel like it! ♥

The Hate U Give: My Review

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With all the talk about this book, I had to pick it up, especially since it’s different from anything I had ever read before. And oh boy, it was amazing. Some books deserve all the hype they get, and even more. This is definitely one of them.

I finally finished reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and it was a lot to take in. This book is so powerful. A bit of a punch in the heart, and a well deserved one. It is definitely a book that will make you think, and realise how much we still have to do to make this world a better place. Well, at least, that’s what it did to me. And I think everyone should read it.

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication: 2017
My rating: ★★★★★

The story:

Starr lives two different lives. She lives in a poor neighbourhood where her father is a shop owner known by everyone. And she attends a fancy suburban high school. She always makes sure those two worlds never collide.

But when her best friend Khalil is unfairly shot by a policeman, and she is the only witness, the balance is about to be broken. Starr is teared between speaking up for justice and staying put to protect her life and that of her family.

But the media is describing Khalil as a drug dealer and a threat to everyone, when Starr knew very well that he was more than this, and that he was clearly unarmed that night. And as her community cries for the truth, she eventually has to come up with the right decision.

My opinion:

It’s a bit hard for me to gather my thoughts on this book, and I really want to say the right thing. At the same time, I also really want to talk about it because I feel like it’s important, so let’s get into it.

I picked up this book hoping for something mind-blowing, something life-changing concerning a topic I unfortunately don’t know enough about. And that’s exactly what I got. As a white, european student, I can’t say that I relate to Starr, the main character. However, what I can say is that reading the world through her perspective was an incredible experience. It made me realise how important her fight was. How much work we still have to put into this world. It is scary. But it is also so, so important.

The fact that we live in a world full of inequalities is something that I am concious of. And the fact that some people have the guts to still deny it really sickens me. This book is a jab, a reminder of how much work we still have to do.

The Hate U Give was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and deals with topics I have only seen on the news, topics which are dealt with from the inside, with the insight of a character who was the witness to such a horrible and unfair crime. Throughout the book, the reader sees how hard the situation is on her. She has been witness to a murder and the entire world seems to believe Khalil deserved it. When clearly no one deserves such a cruel death, especially not a sixteen year old unarmed teen.

I believe this book was extremely well written, complex and deep. It pokes where it hurts, and that’s why it is so important.

Please, read this book if you haven’t read it yet.

And please let me know if you feel like I should add or correct something in this blog post.