My #TomeTopple TBR | August 2020 📚✨

From August 8th to August 21st, I’m participating in round 12 of Tome Topple, and I’m super excited about it! This readathon was created by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and its goal is pretty simple: you have to read books over 500 pages. I participated to this readathon for the first time in May, and I had such an amazing time, so I’m excited for this round.

I’m not quite sure whether I’ll have much time to read during the first week of the readathon, as I’m moving houses with my family on August 12th, but I’ve planned to read one of my tomes via audiobook, so I might still read one tome during that busy time. In any case, I’m super motivated for this round, and my TBR is realistic, so it should be okay. 🙌🏻

Here are the books I’m hoping to get to during this readathon:

🐉 The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

I’ve been waiting for the release of the UK paperback of The Dragon Republic for months, and it’s finally out this week, so it’s a sign for me to read it during Tome Topple! This book is the sequel to The Poppy War, which is my favourite book of the year so far, so I’m super excited to read it! This Asian-inspired fantasy series follows Rin, a war orphan, who aces the test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies and get into Sinegard, the most elite military school in the Empire. I’m hoping *this* might be my third five-star read of the year, fingers crossed!

👩🏿‍❤️‍👨🏿 Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I’ve only read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, but I’ve been meaning to get to her other books for such a long time, so it’s about time I read Americanah. This novel follows Ifemelu and Obinze, who are young and in love when they leave military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Ifemelu heads for America, while Obinze, unable to join her post 9/11, plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they then reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria. I’ve heard such high praise for this book, so I’m really looking forward to it!

🌊 Les Travailleurs de la Mer (The Toilers of the Sea) by Victor Hugo

Another book I’ve been meaning to get to for ages! I love Victor Hugo’s works, this one is one of the lesser-known, and is set on the island of Guernsey, where he was exiled during the Second Empire in France. I am fascinated by the island of Guernsey, and would love to travel there at some point, so I’m super excited about it (is this because of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? Absolutely). All I know is that this book is about fishermen or something? I’m not quite sure, but I’m really excited to find out, and to read more from Victor Hugo!

Are you participating in Tome Topple? What are you planning to read in August?

July reading wrap-up + favourites ☀️📚

July was a whirlwind of events and emotions, and somehow lasted forever. 😴

My family from the south of France came to visit for a week at the seaside, my boyfriend joined us, and we had such great weather: I spent a lot of time at the beach and taking part in family activities, which was fun. ☀️

Other than that, well… My parents are in the process of separating, so we are moving houses in August; we’ve been painting our new house for the past two weeks, and we have started to move our things. We’re properly moving in mid-August; a part of me can’t wait for that, the other is quite sad and is having a hard time processing things. On the bright side, my books are the first thing I moved to my new room, so it already feels a bit like home! ❤️

I’m quite happy with my reading month: as always, I mainly read fantasy novels, but also reached for romance, historical fiction and science-fiction. Here are the books that I read:

My favourite book of the month was The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty, the third and final book in the Daevabad trilogy (my second 5 star-read of the year!). It was everything I could have asked for from a finale: it was a whirlwind of emotions, and I adored everything, from the characters, the world, the plot, and so much more. I miss Nahri, Ali, and Dara so much, I can’t wait to reread the series again and again in the future. If you love fantasy, please read this series! ❤️

MUSIC // folklore by Taylor Swift

I’ve mentioned it quite a few times before that Taylor Swift has been my favourite artist for more than a decade, so I’m over the moon that she has released folklore (I was listening to Lover when I found out that it was happening, that’s even funnier)! I’ve been listening to it on repeat since it came out, I adore it so much, and it’s definitely one of the best albums Taylor has done (and it might be my favourite yet? I don’t know?). I have way too many favourite songs to list them all, but I’ll just say that it’s the album I needed right now, and it makes 2020 a lot better, suddenly. folklore era is going to be amazing.❤️

I *did* have goals for July, but considering what that month has been like… those goals were thrown out the window, and that’s okay. In August, we’ll be in the process of moving out, so I’ll be quite busy with that, but I still want to participate in this round of Tome Topple Readathon, and read some tomes. Other than that, I’ll be going with the flow!

How was July for you? Have you discovered any new favourite book? For people who are listening to folklore, what are your favourite songs in it?

Five fantasy series I finished this year and loved 📚❤️

most-beautiful
Hello There

At the beginning of the year, I made a list of all the book series I wanted to continue and/or finish in 2020, and I’m happy to say that as of July, I have finished nine book series and am up-to-date on quite a few!

I’ve talked about it in the past, but the thing is, I have a hate/love relationship with finales: more often than not, they disappoint me, in part because I have a lot of expectations, in part because writing a great finale can be really tough. Either way, finishing book series is a struggle for me, but this year, I am determined to get better at it, and so far, I am killing it. I even enjoyed reading every book in a series back to back, so I’m hoping to do more of that in the future.

Out of all the series I have finished so far this year, my favourites have all been adult fantasy series written by women, which makes me really happy, and I really wanted to recommend them, so that’s what I’ll do today!

The only two series I have yet to catch up on are the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier, and the A Song of Ice and Fire series by G.R.R. Martin, so I’m pretty pleased with myself! I’m hoping to catch up with them soon, but we’ll see.

So, without further ado, here are five adult fantasy series I have finished this year, and really recommend:

liveship-traders

The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb

I started making my way through Robin Hobb’s books in 2018, and I adore them so much. The Liveship Traders is the second trilogy in her long Realm of the Elderlings series; it is basically the pirate book series of my dreams, and while I finished this series in January, I’m still not over how much I loved it!

This fantasy series is one of pirates, talking ships, magic, sea serpents, politics, bloody battles, and it’s fantastic! It’s also a family saga, as it mainly follows the Vestrit family, whose liveship is about to wake, and I adored following all of them, as their plotlines were very different from one another. There’s also a pirate who lusts for a liveship and has plans of his own… This trilogy is amazing and I can’t recommend Robin Hobb’s books enough!

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The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

I was so engrossed in the Winternight Trilogy that I read it entirely in two weeks without taking any breaks, and it was so worth it! This trilogy is set in Rus’ and follows Vasilisa, who grows up listening to fairy tales and honouring the household spirits… until her mother dies and her father marries a devout woman, who forbids the family from honouring the spirits, which leads the crops to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune in the village.

The Winternight Trilogy is an enchanting and character-driven series based on Russian folklore, and I couldn’t get enough out of it. I adored Vasya, the main character, as well as Morozko, they both have my heart. I also loved the way folklore and magic were intertwined in the story. It’s a perfect winter read, and I’m hoping to reread it next winter!

blackthorn-and-grim

Blackthorn and Grim by Juliet Marillier

Juliet Marillier is one of my favourite authors, and what I really love about her books is that she has such a very evocative writing style, magic is in the air with every page you read, and each of her books feels like a fairy tale. The Blackthorn and Grim series is a slow-paced and character-driven book series inspired by Irish folklore, set in medieval Ireland, and it was so enchanting to read.

This series follows Blackthorn, a healer, who was wrongly imprisoned and has to make a deal with the Fair Folk to get out. Followed by Grim, a former prison mate, she settles on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help. Each book has a different mystery woven in folklore, so they’re mostly self-contained, but they all have spectacular character development for Blackthorn and Grim, so I became quite fond of their characters. I can’t recommend Juliet Marillier’s books enough!

books-of-ambha

The Books of Ambha by Tasha Suri

This duology was such an amazing surprise to me! Empire of Sand is set in a Mughal India-inspired world, where the Amrithi are nomads descended of desert spirits, who are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. This book follows Mehr, a nobleman’s daughter, who is an Amrithi, and has such power; she has no choice, but to go to the Emperor’s mystics and resist their cruel agenda… or the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance. Realm of Ash, the second book, set ten years after the events of the first book, follows Arwa, who is Mehr’s sister, and I loved it even more than the first one!

This duology has amazing world-building and characters, slow-burn romances, as well as spectacular endings, in my opinion (I cried so much because I adored the ending of both books). Both books are very engaging, so if you want to get more into adult fantasy, you should definitely check them out!

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The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty

Last, but certainly not least, I finished The Daevabad Trilogy this month, and I’m still thinking about it every single day. This trilogy is about Nahri, a con woman living in 18th century Cairo, who doesn’t believe in magic, until she accidentally summons a mysterious djinn warrior, who then takes her to Daevabad, the legendary City of Brass. 

The Daevabad trilogy has it all: it’s a Middle-East inspired fantasy series, it has complex grey characters, fascinating world-building, intricate politics, and so much more. I rated every book in this trilogy 5 stars, which I hadn’t done for any book series since 2016. I often mention that I got into a year-long fantasy reading slump after reading The City of Brass at the beginning of 2018, and honestly, this series shaped me as a fantasy reader. It is my favourite fantasy series, and I’m so glad it has gotten a lot of hype again, as the last book in the trilogy came out last month. If you haven’t read this trilogy yet, please do, it’s amazing! ❤️

Now that I’m caught up on quite a few adult fantasy series, I’m really excited to start new ones, so I might do a follow-up post to this one to talk about the ones I’m hoping to start as soon as I can!

How do you feel about book series: do you binge-read them, or struggle to finish them? What was the last book series/book finale that you really loved?

lots of love

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag | 2020 edition 😱❤️

midyear-freakout-2020

Hello There

As we’re in July, and officially more than halfway through the year, it’s time to do one of my favourite book tags… *drum rolls* the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! I always find that it is such a fun tag to do every year, so here I am, doing it again. This tag was originally created by Chami and Ely.

I’m a little late to the Mid-Year Book Freak Out party, as we’re already eight days into July, but oh well… better late than never, right? 😂

So without further ado, let’s jump right into it, so I can gush about all my new favourite books!

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♡ Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

My favourite book of the year (so far) is… *drum rolls* The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang! There are no words to express how much I love this book; I’ve already read it twice this year, and I can’t wait to continue with the trilogy. It’s a Chinese-inspired fantasy novel following Rin, a war orphan who aces a test that gives her the opportunity to study at the most elite military academy in her world, while the Empire is preparing for war, and it’s everything (to me, obviously).

empire-of-gold

♡ Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty by far! As I had rated the first two books in the Daevabad trilogy 5 stars, this finale was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I’m so happy to say that it was everything I could have asked for, and more. It’s one of the best finales I have read, I can’t stop thinking about it, and I’m already thinking about when I’ll do a reread of the trilogy next (I say that as if I hadn’t reread The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper in June to prepare for that finale… oh well). There are no words to express how much I love this trilogy. 💛

beach-read

♡ New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Everyone has been raving about Beach Read by Emily Henry since May, so I’m really looking forward to reading it this summer! This romance novel is about January, a romance writer, and Augustus, a literary fiction writer, who are spending the summer in neighbouring beach houses and used to be rivals in university. As they both suffer from writer’s block, they decide to switch genres, and help each other with research… of course no one is going to fall in love. 👀 I’ve only heard amazing things about this book, so I can’t wait to dive in!

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♡ Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

There are so many books I’m anticipating for the second half of the year, so it’s quite hard to choose… That being said, out of everything I’m excited about, A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik and The Burning God by R.F. Kuang are definitely at the top of my list (I really can’t pick between these two)!

Naomi Novik is one of my favourite authors, so I’m over the moon that she’s starting a new fantasy series. All I know about A Deadly Education is that it’s set in a magical school where monsters are lurking in the hallway, you have to teach yourself if you want to survive, and the main character has dark magic?! I can’t express how excited I am for this!

I also cannot wait for The Burning God, because it is the last book in The Poppy War trilogy, and The Poppy War is my favourite book of the year. Have I read The Dragon Republic, the second book in the series, yet? No, but that’s because I’m waiting for the UK paperback release in August… Whatever. Still, I already can’t contain my excitement for this, because I’m following the author on Twitter, I hope that it’s gonna be amazing, and it will probably break my heart, so!

court-of-miracles

♡ Biggest disappointment

The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I was over the moon to get an e-ARC of it! Unfortunately, it really wasn’t for me… The book kept trying to convince me of how amazing the main character was and nothing was really challenging for her, there were too many time jumps for me to care about anything and she had… three potential love interests. It was so promising, but I really disliked it… I’m sad. 😭

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♡ Biggest surprise

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer came out in March and as I had barely seen anyone talk about it, I didn’t know what to expect, but wow, it was the witchy book of my dreams! This book was everything I didn’t know I wanted: it blends modern witchcraft and Celtic mythology, it’s quite dark, it has a bisexual main character with OCD, as well a f/f romance I loved. I highly recommend it!

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♡ Favourite new author

I binge-read the Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden in two weeks in February and adored it so much, so I’m happy to say that Katherine Arden is my newest favourite author! This trilogy is inspired by Russian folklore, and Katherine Arden’s writing was so vivid and magical that I felt like I was in in Rus’ with Vasya, and this story truly felt like a fairy tale, which I loved. I have yet to read Katherine Arden’s middle-grade series, Small Spaces, but I’m so excited to read anything she writes next!

Side note: I only consider an author a new favourite if I’ve read at least two of their books… otherwise, I’d add R.F. Kuang to this list, but I’ve only read The Poppy War by her so far.😉

♡ Newest fictional crush

Well… I don’t have any new fictional crush, so let’s move on to the next question. 🤷🏼‍♀️🙈

rin
Indonesian cover of The Poppy War (100% the best representation of Rin)

♡ Newest favourite character

Rin from The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang!! She’s everything to me, she’s persistent, tough, stubborn, powerful, ambitious, and to be honest makes quite terrible decisions, but I’m in awe of her. She’s definitely the reason I love The Poppy War so much, Rin is such an interesting (but quite flawed) protagonist, and as everyone else says, she could step on me.

books-of-ambha

♡ Book that made you cry

Definitely Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri! These two books are part of an amazing Indian-inspired fantasy duology, and I got so invested in the characters’ stories that I cried a lot during the endings. I wouldn’t say their endings are necessarily sad, but I thought they were perfect for me, and because of that, they made me cry… a lot. I remember crying for 15 minutes after finishing Empire of Sand… Then I read Realm of Ash and it was even worse, it took me an hour and a half to get through the last fifty pages, because I was crying so much. This duology was such a nice surprise as well, and I really recommend it if you’re looking for a new adult fantasy series to read! 😊

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♡ Book that made you happy

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert made me so happy. This romance novel was such a delight to read, it has characters I love, and were amazing with each other. I loved that it had a dual perspective, that the characters really communicated with each other, and that any miscommunication was dealt with pretty quickly (usually in the next chapter or so), so there was no unnecessary drama. Moreover, there is an amazing cat in this book and I’ve been fancasting it as my own grey cat, Peter, so that was a great bonus! I’m currently reading Take a Hint, Dani Brown, which follows Dani, one of Chloe’s sisters, and this one makes me really happy as well. 💛

most-beautiful

♡ Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I mean… Look at the beauty that is the UK hardback of The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. The covers of this trilogy are the most beautiful. 😍

to-read

♡ What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I really need to read The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin as soon as possible! I’ve talked a looooot about The Poppy War in this post, so of course, I’m so excited to read The Dragon Republic, as it’s the second book the trilogy. The UK paperback is coming out at the beginning of August, so I’m really hoping to read it then (am I considering pre-ordering it? Why, yes.). I’m also planning to read The Fifth Season very soon: N.K. Jemisin is such a high-praised author among fantasy readers, I’m interested by many of her works, but want to start with this series. The synopsis is quite vague, but it sounds intriguing, and every book in this trilogy won a Hugo, so that’s a nice bonus.

What are your favourite book(s) of the year so far?

lots of love

My most anticipated book releases of this summer 📚☀️

grabby-hands

Hello There

This is it, summer is really here in the northern hemisphere! ☀️

With a new season comes a new list of books I’m anticipating, which makes me so happy, because I love writing these posts! As always, I’ll be talking about the books I’m anticipating the most for the next season, meaning the books I’m anticipating that are due to be released in July, August and September. I find it easier to track new releases on a shorter period of time, otherwise I’m scared I’d forget some of them, so that’s why I’ve been doing seasonal most anticipated book releases for a few years now!

So, without further ado, here are the books I’m excited for that will be released this summer:

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Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Published: July 7th 2020 by Flatiron Books

Genre: fantasy

Why do I want it? This Persian-inspired fantasy novel is about a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch, which sounds amazing! I also know there is a f/f romance in it and someone mentioned there were monster girlfriends (sorry, but that’s one of my favourite tropes)? I don’t need any other information about this book, I am so in! 😱

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Published: July 9th 2020 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Genre: contemporary

Why do I want it? Alice Oseman is one of my favourite authors, so I’m super excited about her newest book! Loveless follows Georgia, who starts attending Durham University with her best friends and is ready to find romance. However, she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people, but not for her and discovers herself more and more. This book is an aromantic asexual coming-out story and we so need more of those!

Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Brain Murphy

Published: July 21st 2020 by HMH Books For Young Readers

Genres: historical fiction, fantasy

Why do I want it? This book is a historical fantasy set in nineteenth-century Denmark, so considering how much I love Denmark, it was all I needed to get excited about it. It is about Marit, who uses magic to secure a job as a seamstress in the Vestergaard household. Marit’s father died in the Vestergaards’ jewel mines, so she starts to investigate what really happened, which leads her to a deception that goes all the way up to the king of Denmark. It sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it!

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Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

Published: August 6th 2020 by Gollancz

Genre: science-fiction

Why do I want it? Seven Devils is the first book in a feminist space opera duology following seven resistance fighters who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire, or die trying. The main character is the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire and faked her death! Her partner on her newest resistance mission is a mechanic and hotshot pilot who bears an old grudge against her! These two informations 100% got me. I really want to get more into sci-fi and this one sounds amazing, so I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

Published: August 11th 2020 by HarperTeen

Genre: fantasy

Why do I want it? This debut is a contemporary fantasy inspired by Hindu mythology, so that’s enough to get excited about! Star Daughter follows Sheetal, the daughter of a star and a mortal, who is used to keeping secrets, until her powers puts her human father in the hospital and she needs a full star’s help to heal him. To save him, Sheetal must go to a celestial court and take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate this stunning cover? I’m speechless. 😍

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

Published: August 25th 2020 by Wednesday Books

Genre: fantasy

Why do I want it? This book was pitched as The Phantom of the Opera meets Moulin Rouge. That’s all I need to know to want it. 😱 It’s about a group of magicians facing off in a competition to become part of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes. The competition becomes more and more dangerous as it goes along, so the magicians will be forced to reckon with their secrets and it just sounds amazing!

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Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Published: September 15th 2020 by Bloomsbury

Genre: fantasy

Why do I want it? I adored Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke when I read it two years ago, so I’m beyond excited that she’s releasing a new book! This one follows Piranesi, who lives in a house that he is always exploring… this house being essentially a labyrinth, with infinite rooms, thousands upon thousands of statues, as well as an ocean. It seems like a very whimsical read and I’m so ready for it!

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite, edited by Zoraida Cordova and Natalie C. Parker

Published: September 22nd 2020 by Imprint

Genres: anthology, fantasy, paranormal

Why do I want it? Here it is: I miss vampire stories a lot (not some of the most popular paranormal tropes, though), so I’m quite excited that a new YA anthology focusing on vampires is coming out! 🧛‍♀️ I first got interested in this anthology because Victoria Schwab wrote a short story for it, but anthologies are also the perfect way to discover new authors (I’m really interested in Zoraida Córdova’s and Rebecca Roanhorse’s works, for example), so I can’t wait to discover all of these short stories and new-to-me authors!

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

Published: September 29th 2020 by Del Rey Books

Genre: fantasy

Why do I want it? Naomi Novik is one of my favourite authors, so of course I’m over the moon that she’s starting a new fantasy series! A Deadly Education is set in a magical school where monsters are lurking in the halls and failure means certain death, which sounds super brutal, but really intriguing! The main character also apparently has dark magic and I’m so there for it! I got lucky enough to get an e-ARC of it (!!) and I can’t wait to read it soon! 😍

Are you excited for any of these books? Are you anticipated any book releases for this summer/winter?lots of love

June reading wrap-up + favourites 📚❤️

june-2020

Hello There

June has come and gone, and we’re already in July… which I’m actually pretty excited about, because I’m so ready for the summer! ☀️

To be honest, June was a tough month for me, and I’m quite relieved to be done with it. Still, I’m trying to focus on the positive as much as possible; to quote This Is Us, “There’s no lemon so sour that you can’t make something resembling lemonade.”

In June, we had some sunshine, I was able to spend time with my loved ones again, I participated in the #queerblackathon with my best friend, I went to the seaside and spent a week with my boyfriend (which was amazing as I hadn’t seen him since the beginning of lockdown in March). Overall, I had a lot of good things to focus on despite the bad, and I hope July will go in the same direction. 💛

what i read

For me, June was a great reading month in terms of genre diversity! I’ve mainly read fantasy novels this year, but in June, while I read my fair share of fantasy, I also reached for non-fiction, sci-fi, horror, romance and classics! I’m really proud of myself for that, I tried more things when it comes to fiction, so yay me! Here are the books that I read:

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My highlight of the month was Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, which really took me by surprise! As summer arrives, I sometimes get in the mood for contemporary and romance novels, and this one is so highly-praised, so I picked it up at the end of June.

It was such a delight to read and I adored that it had a dual perspective, as it made me love and relate to Chloe and Red so much. Their relationship was really well-written, the author managed to show how they ultimately wanted to be better for themselves first, then for each other and I really liked that. This book also has rep for chronic illness and while I can’t speak for that, I’ve seen many people say it was amazing rep! Last but not least, there wasn’t drama for the sake of drama, things were confronted pretty quickly by the characters, and I really loved that as well. I’m so excited to read Take a Hint, Dani Brown soon!

favourites

chromatica

MUSIC // Chromatica by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga released her newest album at the end of May and I have been obsessed with it, it’s pretty much all I’ve been listening to in June. I love the aesthetic of Chromatica, as well as the way the album was built, each part starting with an instrumental track. I adore so many songs in it, I fell in love with Rain on Me when it was released as a single, but I also adore Fun Tonight as well as all of the third part of the album, meaning Sine From Above (it’s my favourite of the album and it features Elton John), 1000 Doves and Babylon. Can you tell I’m listening to the album while writing this wrap-up? 😂

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VIDEO GAME // Animal Crossing New Horizons

My 14 y.o. brother bought the game three weeks ago so… I’m finally playing it! 🎉 We realised that we could each have our own characters on the same island (my brother is super into the Arrowverse right now, he named the island Lian Yu), so my three brothers and I are sharing the same island, and we’re having a lot of fun! I love Animal Crossing so much, it was one of my first games on Nintendo DS and I’m so thrilled to play the newest version of it!

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BOOKS // Rereading The Daevabad Trilogy

In preparation for the release of The Empire of Gold, the last book in the Daevabad trilogy, I reread both The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper in June and it made me so happy. This trilogy holds a special place in my heart and I often say that The City of Brass put me in a fantasy slump in 2018 because I loved it too much. I adore everything about this trilogy: it has complex world-building, characters who definitely don’t have it easy, but whom I love, as well as an amazing plot and endings that literally have me on the edge of my seat (the last 150 pages of The Kingdom of Copper are… a lot). I just started reading The Empire of Gold and I’m so excited about it. ❤️

Looking Ahead

I pretty much gave up on this category over the past few months, but I think that it might help me to use it again. So, in July, I really want to:

  • finish the two big work projects I have on the go (so I can enjoy August as actual holidays!),
  • get back into watching TV shows,
  • start playing the guitar again,
  • declutter my room,
  • breathe ❤️

How was June for you? What’s one positive thing that happened during the month for you? Have you discovered any new favourite books? 

lots of love

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Book review 💀🗝️

Hello There

A few months ago, I stumbled upon Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia on Goodreads and it instantly caught my eye: a stunning cover? gothic atmosphere? 1951 Mexico? I’m in. I have to admit I was a little bit worried about the horror part, as I’m easily spooked, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone a bit, so.

The most I ever did in terms of horror was watching Crimson Peak with my best friend on Halloween last year and we were both so terrified that we took turns watching the movie and explained the other what was going on during all the spooky scenes (in conclusion: we are babies).

So… did Mexican Gothic terrify me? Did I enjoy it? Let’s see!

mexican-gothic

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Published on June 30th 2020 by Del Rey

Genres: gothic, horror, historical fiction

Summary: An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic artistocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets…

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

While Noemí, a glamorous debutante, is an unlikely rescuer, she’s also tough and smart. She faces the English family and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable house is the family’s youngest son: he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past, for there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

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MY THOUGHTS ON MEXICAN GOTHIC

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Mexican Gothic was my very first book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and it certainly won’t be my last! While horror is a genre that I don’t usually reach from, I thought Silvia Moreno-Garcia did a good job at it and yes… I got terrified at some point.

From the moment Noemí arrived to High Place, the isolated mansion of an English family, I was so engrossed by this novel: it had such a deliciously gothic atmosphere and I couldn’t get enough out of it. Mexican Gothic is mainly set in High Place and its surroundings, the house coming more and more alive with every page as Noemí is exploring it, which made me almost feel the house’s walls closing up on me. Alongside Noemí, I felt like I couldn’t get out of the house and as I read the most chilling chapters at night, I really felt like I was there.

#crimson peak from Mr.&Mrs. Sharpe
Did I picture High Place just like Crimson Peak because it’s one of the creepiest mansions I know? Absolutely.   gif credit: Mr.&Mrs. Sharpe on Tumblr

Mexican Gothic is rather a slow-paced read, so getting through it might be a bit of a struggle for some readers, but I thought it was definitely worth it. Sure, the first half of the book could be a bit repetitive at times, considering both the main character and the reader had to be kept in the dark as they’re trying to figure out what is going on, but I think it did a really good job at setting up the scene.

I really enjoyed where the plot went in terms of reveals in the second half: it took turns I wasn’t expecting, which I loved, and it became really gross at some point, which wasn’t as much fun for me reading at night, but was suited to a horror novel I imagine (see trigger warnings at the end of my review). I couldn’t stop reading during the last hundred pages or so: still, I have to admit that it wrapped up a little quickly for me, but I really enjoyed that plot overall.

I adored Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing; I think that descriptions are definitely her strong suit: from describing Noemí’s outfits (she’s a socialite, so of course she has to be best-dressed for everything) to describing a creepy mansion and its surroundings, her writing was so vivid that I could picture very clearly everything that was happening, which doesn’t happen very often for me. Because of that, I even got spooked during some of the chapters taking place in the dark, as I was reading at night, and I was so engrossed in the book (I feel like I’m easily scared, but it rarely happens when I’m reading)! Honestly, I lived for every gothic element this book gave me.

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Me, reading the spooky chapters of Mexican Gothic.

I wasn’t completely convinced by the characters: they were a bit flat for me, as most of them were pretty stereotypical, though Silvia Moreno-Garcia did a great job at making me loathe the family, which was obviously the point. I could never quite bring myself to love Noemí, because I don’t think she had that much character development throughout the course of the novel. Moreover, I really disliked that the book had a very unnecessary romance towards the end: the last chapters would have had more of an impact on me without it. To be honest, I’d rather have the book focus on Noemí and her cousin’s relationship, as she went to High Place to rescue her in the first place.

Overall, I really enjoyed Mexican Gothic: it had an amazing gothic atmosphere and it spooked me during some chapters, plus the plot took turns I didn’t expect. I adored Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing when it comes to description, but I wasn’t as convinced by her characters and even less by the romance. I usually don’t read horror novels, so I don’t know anything about the genre, but I went into this without expectations and really enjoyed the experience. I’m really curious to read more of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s works now!

For those interested, Silvia Moreno-Garcia did a great interview on Goodreads for Mexican Gothic.

⚠️ highlight to see the trigger warnings for this book  [sexual assault, mentions of r*pe and suicide, murder, cannibalism, miscarriage, gore]

3-5-stars

Have you ever read horror books? Are you planning to read this book? Have you read anything by Silvia Moreno-Garcia? lots of love

Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR 📚☀️

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Hello There

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. On Tuesdays, you post a list of ten books that coincides with the week’s prompt.

Can you believe that summer is almost here, in the northern hemisphere? In a way, I’m so relieved that we’re almost halfway through the year, considering what this one has been like. Still, with new seasons come new lists of things I want to do, books I want to read, movies and TV shows I want to watch and so on, which is exciting!

I’m not really one to set monthly TBRs, but I like the idea of having seasonal ones. Because of that, I thought it’d be fun to do a Top Ten Tuesday again (it’s been quite some time!), as this week’s prompt is “Books on My Summer 2020 TBR”. So without further ado, here are the books I’m hoping to get to this summer:

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The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang — The Poppy War is my favourite book of the year so far, so I’m super excited to read its sequel! This Asian-inspired fantasy series follows Rin, a war orphan, who aces the test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies and get into Sinegard, the most elite military school in the Empire. The Poppy War was a very dark, but excellent debut in my opinion, so I can’t wait to read The Dragon Republic!

The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty — The final book in the Daevabad trilogy came out last week, so of course I’m planning to get to it as soon as my pre-order arrives! This series follows Nahri, a con woman in 18th century Cairo, who accidentally summons a djinn warrior and learns of Daevabad, a legendary city to which she is irrevocably bound. I adored the first two books in the trilogy and am currently rereading them, so I can’t wait to know how this story ends!

Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff — I only have one book left in The Nevernight Chronicle, so I’m also planning to finish this series during the summer! I adore assassins stories so much and Mia Corvere’s sure is among my favourites. I’m so excited to know what will be next for her, though I admit I’m a bit terrified this book will break my heart. We’ll see.

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The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin — I’ve been meaning to get to N.K. Jemisin’s works for the longest time, as she’s highly praised by so many reviewers I trust, and I’ll finally be doing so this summer! I’ll be starting with The Fifth Season, a dystopian fantasy, where a woman is looking for her son in a deadly and dying land. Every book in this trilogy was awarded the Hugo for Best Novel, which makes me even more excited to read them!

Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier — I binge-read Marillier’s original Sevenwaters trilogy last summer, so I’m looking forward to reading the second half of the series at last! This series is set in a world inspired by Celtic folklore, where the Fair Folk lives in the forest and everything feels like a fairy tale. Each book is the story of a woman from the Sevenwaters’ family, this one following Clodagh, whose baby brother was taken from his room, something unnatural being left in his place. I can’t wait to get back into this world, so hopefully I’ll buy this book soon!

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett  — I’ve been seeing this series everywhere among SFF book reviewers lately, so I’ve been super eager to get to it. Foundryside is about Sancia, a thief who has been sent to retrieve an object in a warehouse, only to discover it is an artifact of unimaginable power that could revolutionise magical technology in her world. I also know there is a f/f romance in the series, which makes me even more excited to read it!

summer-tbr-3

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi  —This historical novel is a family saga following the descendants of two half-sisters, across three centuries, beginning in 18th century Ghana and ending in America, until present day. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this book and I adore family sagas, so I’m looking forward to finally be reading it!

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie — I read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie three years ago, so it’s about time I read her other works, Americanah among them. This novel is about Ifemelu and Obinze, who depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West when they are young and in love. Ifemelu heads for America, where she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time, while Obinze fails to join her, plunging into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

summer-tbr-4

Les Travailleurs de la Mer (The Toilers of the Sea) by Victor Hugo — This French classic was written by Victor Hugo while he was in exile on the island of Guernsey and is about a fisherman on that same island, which is more than enough to get me intrigued, considering how much I love Hugo’s writing and how fascinated I am with Guernsey. As it’s set on an island, it also feels right for me to read it in the summer, so that’s what I’ll do!

Mary Anne by Daphne du Maurier — Daphne du Maurier is my favourite author and it’s been some time since I last read something by her, so I intend to fix that! This novel is about Mary Anne, a daring woman who becomes the mistress to a royal duke and provokes a scandal in doing so. This historical fiction is set in Regency England and was inspired by one of du Maurier’s ancestors, which intrigues me so much.

Have you read any of these? Do you have any reading plans for this summer?

lots of love

May reading wrap-up + favourites 📚❤️

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Hello There

As we’re in June, I’d like to start this post by wishing everyone a Happy Pride! 🏳️‍🌈

We’re already ten days into June and here am I, with a very late May wrap-up. I hope that you’re all well and are able to take care of yourselves as much as you can, in the midst of everything that is going on in the world. ❤️

I didn’t post anything here last week, but Black Lives Matter today, tomorrow and always. We still need to talk about it, being an ally to the black community isn’t a trend that lasts a week: it’s important to listen, educate yourself, donate if you can and continue supporting the movement in the long run. This link is really helpful if you need more information, want to sign more petitions, donate and so on. I know I need to do better and to educate myself, so I’m working towards that as well.

what i read

Overall, May was a satisfying reading month, I participated in the Tome Topple readathon, which focuses on reading books over 500 pages, and caught up on two book series! I enjoyed most of the books I read, which is great, but I also abandoned two books, so… Anyway, here are the books I read in May:

  • The Silence of Bones by June Hur, 3.5/5 stars
  • Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi, 3/5 stars
  • A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold by George R.R. Martin, 4/5 stars
  • Kingsbane by Claire Legrand, 4/5 stars
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, 3/5 stars
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (reread), 5/5 stars
  • Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri, 4/5 stars
  • Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, 4/5 stars

may20-fave-book

My favourite book of the month was Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri. It’s the second book in an adult fantasy duology set in a Mughal India-inspired world, which I found so fascinating: while the first book focused on magic that has to do with dancing and storms, this second book somehow focused on death magic and I always find interesting to read about death magic, so I really enjoyed that. I also adored the characters introduced in this book and just like with the first book, I got way too emotional over the ending, because it was everything I wanted. I love this duology so much. ❤️

favourites

may20-shows

📺 TV SHOWS // She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Killing Eve and Harley Quinn

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power ended last month and after seeing everyone rave about it, I finally started watching it and it makes me so happy. This show follows Adora, raised by the Horde, who finds a magical sword and becomes the legendary warrior She-Ra. After understanding how the Horde really is, she joins the Rebellion and fights alongside the princesses of different kingdoms. The show was created by Noelle Stevenson (who wrote and drew Nimona and Lumberjanes), it has major LGBTQIA+ representation and overall, it’s just the best.

The third season of Killing Eve continued airing in May and I loved it so much! This show is one of my favourites, I adore Villanelle and Eve and I couldn’t get enough of this season. I already miss it, I can’t wait for season 4 whenever they can film it, then release it.

Last but not least, the second season of Harley Quinn is still airing and this show is quickly becoming one of my favourite animated TV shows ever! I love everything it’s doing, how it portrays the characters and I laughed so hard when one of the episodes started by criticising dudebros. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are my absolute faves and considering everything that’s going on in the show at the moment, I’m hoping I’ll get what I want by the end of the season… After all, season 2 will end during Pride. 👀

city--of-lover

🎵 MUSIC // Taylor Swift City of Lover Concert

Taylor Swift has been my favourite artist for more than a decade now, so I was really happy that they released her concert in Paris for her newest album, Lover, on Disney+ in May! I was supposed to see her live in Belgium in June, but her tour was cancelled because of COVID-19, so I’m over the moon I still get to watch her City of Lover concert over and over! Of course, I’ve been listening to the live version of the songs a lot during May and I plan on learning to play Daylight on the piano soon (I started learning Lover on the guitar months ago, so!).

So that’s it for my (very late) May wrap-up! I hope that you’re all well and are able to take care of yourselves. ❤️

How was May for you? Did you discover any new favourite books? 
lots of love

Wrapping up #TomeTopple | May 2020 📚✨

tome-topple-wrapup

Hello There

From May 9th to May 22nd, I participated in the eleventh round of Tome Topple, which was created by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and I had a lot of fun! The goal of this readathon is to read books that are over 500 pages and I’m glad I prioritised some of my tomes during these two weeks. As I posted my TBR for it two weeks ago, I thought I’d wrap-up this readathon today, so I guess this post is a sort of wrap-up of everything I’ve read in the past two weeks.

For Tome Topple, I was planning on reading:

  • A Storm of Swords, Part Two: Blood and Gold by G.R.R. Martin
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Kingsbane by Claire Legrand
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (reread)

… which meant I needed to read 2,545 pages. So, did I manage it? 👀

tome-topple-tbr

🐉 A Storm of Swords, Part Two: Blood and Gold by G.R.R. Martin

> I started the readathon with this one and read it pretty quickly: it was so action-packed and I totally understood why A Storm of Swords is so many readers’ favourite book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series! It motivated to catch up on the series before the end of the year, so it was a success! I gave it 4/5 stars.

👑 Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

> I then moved on to Kingsbane, second book in the Empirium trilogy, and devoured it as well. It was so much better than Furyborn in my opinion, I cared a lot more for Rielle and Eliana, I loved how dark the story became (it’s the reason I was reading this series in the first place), I have a new favourite antagonist (everyone, please look away 🙈and considering that it ended on a big cliffhanger, I can’t wait to get my hands on Lightbringer in October! I gave 4/5 stars to this one as well.

🎨 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

> After that, I started reading The Goldfinch, and I was really excited about that one! Unfortunately, this book triggered my anxiety for days and I had to push myself to read it: I started with the physical copy, then switched to the audiobook, but really couldn’t get through it. Honestly, life is already scary enough as it is, so I decided to abandon it after 235 pages. I’ve felt so much better since I DNF-ed it, so I guess it wasn’t for me (though I loved The Secret History)!

🕊️ The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

> As the newest Hunger Games book came out during the readathon, I really wanted to read it straight away. Considering it’s 540 page-long, it fitted Tome Topple really well! It just came out this week, so I won’t say too much about it (there’s so much to say though!), but I enjoyed it overall. I thought the characters weren’t entirely believable in the beginning (though it got better by the end) and the pacing was a bit off at times, but I found Collins’ take on a villain origin story and the way she pictured the Capitol and its society very interesting (they’re the worst, I hate them so much). I’m still debating my rating, but I think it’s a 3-3.5/5 stars for me.

⚔️ The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

> Last, but not least, I reread my favourite book of the year and it was everything.

talented-brilliand-lady-gaga
me, rereading The Poppy War

The Poppy War is such a brilliant fantasy novel in my opinion, I find its characters and the world-building fascinating. In fantasy novels, my least favourite scenes are usually battle scenes, because I struggle to picture them, but while The Poppy War focuses a lot on, er, a war, I didn’t have any problem with that in this one, which rarely ever happens. That being said, this book gets very graphic towards the end and there a lot of trigger warnings for it because it’s set during a war, so it’s not for everyone! Still, I think it’s an excellent and powerful book, I gave it 5/5 stars and it was my favourite book of the readathon!

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In the end, I finished four books and read 2,549 pages (counting the first 235 pages of The Goldfinch) for Tome Topple, so despite abandoning one book, I read four more pages than planned (am I weirdly proud of myself? Absolutely)! This readathon was a success for me and I’m looking forward to take part in it again in the future! 🙌

What have you been reading lately? Are there any books on your TBR that you find intimidating?

lots of love