The Enchanted Sonata // The Nutcracker vs The Pied Piper

Author: Heather Dixon Wallwork
Genre: Fairytale retelling // Fantasy // YA
Goodreads rating: 4.08
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: to marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!) and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes on Christmas Eve, when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker.

Whisked away to his world—an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince—Clara must face a magician who uses music as spells…and the future she thought she wanted.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review. Also apologies that this is a bit late

The Enchanted Sonata is a retelling of both The Nutcracker and The Pied Piper of Hamelin. While I don’t remember too much about The Nutcracker, it’s a story I always loved (most likely because of that one Barbie movie. I’m pretty sure I watched it over and over again. I also had the dolls. I LOVED it) so I was excited to read a retelling for it, especially since I don’t often see one? Despite it being a popular ballet? And then combined with The Pied Piper? Sign me up!

I have to admit I was a bit bored at times, especially because the story isn’t just told from Clara’s POV, but also other supporting/minor characters. At some point we even get the villain’s POV. This all just took away some of the surprise, plus I didn’t really care for the minor characters? I’d much rather follow Clara and the Nutcracker, who’s dynamic I loved. I’m weak for cute banter okay? Their romance definitely put a smile on my face.

As for the worldbuilding, I was a bit confused. It felt like the story relied too much on the reader knowing the original fairytale of The Nutcracker without explaining why there are giant rats attacking the kingdom? The rats are also kind of an afterthought, as the real villain is The Pied Piper. 

I was also disappointed in how they found out how to defeat The Pied Piper. Clara is whisked away to The Nutcracker’s world through a fairy book, which tells the story of The Nutcracker. Once she’s all caught up to the present, there’s nothing there for her to read anymore, as she’s now part of the story. But then the book updates, and literally tells her how she will defeat The Pied Piper. It felt so cheap and easy, whereas Clara figuring it out herself would’ve been so much more powerful, especially because in the beginning she’s very motivated by impressing the pianist Johann. Speaking of Johann, I do love how Clara realises that she barely even knows him and that she was more in love with the idea of him than with him.

That said, The Enchanted Sonata is a fun and cute retelling, that I definitely do recommend! I loved the atmosphere and the relationship between Clara and The Nutcracker. Maybe it was a bit insta-love-y (I don’t remember it that well) but in this case I didn’t mind.

Have you read The Enchanted Sonata? Do you know any YA retellings of The Nutcracker or The Pied Piper? What’s your favourite retelling? Let me know in the comments!

Wrapping Up August and September and October And – // LOTS OF BOOKS

So it turns out that I never got around to wrapping up August, which means I’ve got a lot of wrapping up to do. On the personal front I already did that here, so this post will only focus on the books. Considering I’m wrapping up 4 months this might be a long one. I started this post in December, so now I also have to wrap up December but this will be long enough already so I’ll wrap up December at some point. Probably like June* 

* Just kidding. Hopefully

🐝 August 🐝

💛 Two Spells by Mark Morrison ⭐ – Really not a fan of this one despite its cool premise (a magical library and you can actually go inside the books? Sign me up!) but I was incredibly bored. Read my review here

💛 Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Loved this one! It took me a while to read this because of my stupid reading slump, but I have a feeling that if I were to reread this when I’m in the mood for fantasy, it would be a solid five star read. Political intrigue, interesting world building, a soft black bi boy who’s the leader of a gang and a naive girl who seems like a goody two shoes at first but is actually a very cunning? Yes please

💛 Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti ⭐ – So this was a major disappointment. I thought this would be a really powerful read about abusive relationships while also having a fun road trip on which they try to reunite two old lovers but well I got none of that. The writing was terrible, the abuse was barely touched upon, the characters were annoying, there was lots of (slut)shaming of other girls… It was just one big mess. Read my review here

💛 The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Queens of Geek is one of my favourite books, so expectations were very high. Luckily The Brightsiders didn’t only live up to them, it exceeded them by far. I think I might prefer Queens of Geek (although The Brightsiders is!! super gay!! gayer than QoG!!), as that one resonated a bit more with me, but nonetheless this was a very powerful and inspiring read.

💛 Sadie by Courtney Summers ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – It’s been months and I’m still not over Sadie. To quote my review: Sadie is not a happy story, but it’s an important one. It’s not just the story of Sadie and Mattie, it’s the story of all the girls in the world who end up dead or missing simply because they’re girls. Throughout the entire book I just wanted to cry, because even though the story of Sadie and Mattie is fictional, it’s so so real. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, I definitely recommend it. Read my review here

💛 To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy by Jenny Han ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I’ve wanted to read this trilogy for the longest time (pretty much since I finished it last year) and with the movie coming out, this felt like the perfect time to do so. I’m happy to say I loved this just as much as last time, if not even more.

💛 Ultra Maniac volumes 1 – 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Very cute and fun story about two best friends, one of them being a witch, which of course gets them in all sorts of trouble

🐝 September 🐝

💛 Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Lafleche ⭐ – Welp this was a disappointment. I was so excited about this one as it sounded like a cute yet important contemporary. The main character (half-French and Half-Chinese) wants to be a fashion blogger who fights for diversity and inclusitivity in the fashion industry. Ironically the book itself is barely diverse (apart from the MC there is a stereotypical flamboyant gay boy and a girl in a wheelchair, the latter being a very minor character) and I often even forgot that the MC was half-Chinese, while it was impossible to forget her French side since that was brought up constantly. It was also just not very well-written. Read my review here

💛 A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – ATPN had been on my shelf pretty much since it’s release, but it took me a while to pick up since I was a bit nervous about it. Since I love Cait’s blog, obviously I wanted to really love her book, but what if I didn’t?? Despite loving all of her writing snippets she shares?? Turns out I had nothing to worry about. ATPN is beautifully written and resonated with me so much.

💛 Scythe by Neal Shusterman ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Uhhh I honestly don’t remember that much? Maybe it’s because I read Thunderhead (the sequel) last month so now I’ve got that one on my mind. I do think this one was better than the Thunderhead though. I skimread Thunderhead a bit as I got bored and found it too long, whereas I wanted to keep on reading Scythe and find out what would happen next. Maybe Thunderhead suffers from second book syndrome? We shall see once the third one comes out.

💛 Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith ⭐⭐ – This one had potential, but unfortunately I think this still needed some editing. It didn’t really focus on the main plot as much as it focused on the MC pursuing different stories for the newspaper that didn’t add anything. If it had focused more on the backlash the school musical was getting for their inclusive casting it would’ve been a much stronger story. Read my review here

COMICS: Giant Days #41 and #42 // Lumberjanes #53 and #54 

🐝 October 🐝

💛 My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Yes hi this book broke me. Let it break you too! I promise it’s worth it. Although it can be triggering, so in that case you might not want to pick it up. My Whole Truth is a powerful look on rape culture, the justice system and sexism. I couldn’t stop reading but also wanted to stop at the same time. Thankfully the MC has amazing friends and a kickass lawyer that not only kept her going, but also me as a reader. There’s also a cute and beautiful f/f romance. Read my review here

💛 The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky ⭐ – Not much happened, flat characters, boring. Could’ve been an interesting Peter Pan retelling but nope.

COMICS: Ms. Marvel #29 – #34 // Halloweeen ComicFest 2017: Boom! Box’s Some En-Haunted Evening // Giant Days #43

🐝 November 🐝

💛 Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐⭐⭐ – I’m?? So disappointed?? I really wanted to love this one because?? So many bi women?? Plus magical?? Plus I read a short story written by McLemore… at some point in the past I have no idea if that was in 2018 or 2017 who even knows

am I right

Anyway! I loved that short story so I was even more excited to read Wild Beauty. But unfortunately it took me forever to read this, put me in a reading slump and bored me. There was a lot of potential and I guess it was beautifully written, but also I had no idea which cousin was which. I barely got to know any of the characters and didn’t really care for them either.

💛 The Echanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork ⭐⭐⭐ – This was cute! As a kid I really loved the story of The Nutcracker, which this is a retelling of along with The Pied Piper of Hamelin. The main couple had some cute banter which I’m a sucker for, but I was a bit bored at times and I wished we didn’t see through the eyes of so many characters, as that took away the surprise a bit. Full review coming soon as this was an ARC and I’m very late already woops

💛 Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I’ve wanted to reread this for the entire year so badly, and I’m so glad I finally got around to it. It was like coming home and I was filled with all these warm and fuzzy feelings until I got to The Titan’s Curse and all the not so fun things started to happen. I really want to reread Heroes of Olympus now as well but I’ve been spoiled for something that happens in The Burning Maze and now I lowkey don’t wanna reread HoO because it will h u r t

COMICS: Ms. Marvel #35 and #36 // Lumberjanes #55 // Giant Days #44 // Runaways (2017) #9 – #14

And that’s a wrap! It feels good to have FINALLY wrapped these months up, even though I’ve barely reviewed any of these books. While it’s a shame because I want to shout about my favourites among these, I also don’t want to pressure myself, especially with my burn-out. I can definitely see myself rereading them though, so I might review them once I’ve reread them. We shall see.

Have you read any of these? Do you share my opinions, or are you about to come for me because I hated on your fave?* Let me know in the comments!

* Pls don’t :(

When You Come Back From Hiatus But Then Basically Go On Another One djbshgs

I didn’t mean to?? And I don’t even really see it as a hiatus?? It’s just that I have barely any energy??

So in surprise to no one that knows me and my work ethic, I have a burn-out!!

I think it was about two weeks ago when I realised things were really not going well. Problem is that with my anxiety and PTSD I just didn’t realise that things were really escalating?? I’m so used to all the stress, palpitations, crying and all that fun stuff that it took me a really long time to realise that this wasn’t just the usual anxiety. So for now I decided to take a break from school and focus on my health. While I also wanna do lots of fun stuff (including blogging) I just don’t have much energy? So we’ll see what happens. I’ll blog when I feel like it, which hopefully will be kinda regularly? But I have no clue.

What a great way to end 2018!

Speaking of which, I will do wrap up posts! I just don’t know when. I think I was kinda late last year as well? Meaning I posted them this year?* sjajfg

* I looked it up it was in February dskng

So now you know why I once again disappeared. Hopefully I’ll be able to post again soon, or at least read some of your posts, because I really want to! Though I also kinda don’t because I’m just so exhausted. Don’t follow in my footsteps kids this ain’t it

So how are you all doing? Ready for 2019? Isn’t it weird how all of a sudden it’s almost 2019? (or maybe it’s already 2019 for you??) This year was so weird time-wise?? What even was this year

Hi I’m Alive!! // What I’ve Been Up To

I have a feeling I always use this gif when I come back from an unplanned hiatus? But it perfectly represents how I feel so it’s not like I’m being unoriginal. Just imagine me exactly like this. I’m even wearing Stitch jammies so it’s perfect.

SO YES HI I’M ALIVE.

Sorta. Barely? I’m getting there. While I’ve posted two reviews after Summer ended, I’ve mostly been MIA on here because, well, I’ve been busy and very exhausted to the point I got sick a few times. Fun times. But I’m back now? I’m going to take it easy, as I haven’t completely recovered plus I now have to do freelance work for school (I have to fill 200 hours!! Fun!! Can you hear me screaming!! I’m already so stressed again!!) so I don’t know how active I’ll really be, but we’ll see! I’ve really missed blogging and all of you so I really do want to be active more again, but I also have to think about my health and make sure I fill my hours.

Anyway, what have I been up to these past few months?

💛 I completed my internship! I did my internship at an art magazine and learned so much. Before this year I never realised I could pursue this interest in journalism, but now I know it’s one of the fields I’m interested in.

💛 I MET AND HUGGED HAYLEY KIYOKO AND I’M STILL NOT OVER IT 😭 Also her concert was amazing it was so much fun and filled with so much love and just?? The energy of everyone in the room singing (let’s be real more like yelling sdkjg) along to Girls Like Girls?? Iconic

💛 I also saw Janelle Monáe live and?? She’s so talented and underrated?? She put on a show as if she was performing at a stadium instead of a small stage?? Who even thought of giving her such a small stage like that she deserves better. Though on the other hand now I got to see her up close so I guess I’m also not complaning??

💛 Got to dress up as a Hufflepuff at work and got mistaken for Harry Potter multiple times like yes I’m wearing a pointy hat and a cape, and yes I’m waving a wand around and YES I know have the same glasses but I’m not Harry!! I don’t have a scar!! And he’s a Gryffindor!!

💛 I opened the door for some customers and went ‘Alohomora!!’ and got no reaction

💛 A customer (on a different day) called me suspicious??? I’m still so confused??

💛 I have no clue what else I’ve done?? Mostly I’ve just been busy with my internship and work, as my internship was four days in the week and then most of the time I worked two out of the other three days (one time even all three and I’m pretty sure I died and am now a ghost) So uhhh yeah I’ve pretty much been overworking myself rip

💛 Oh I actually got a library card for the first time in years! There’s a deal going on that you can get one for free with a Stadspas (literally: Citypass. You get one if you have a low income) and I ain’t saying no to that. I’ve also since learned that nowadays the library actually has quite a few books I’m interested in?? Including new releases?? I was shook.

So that’s it I think? I’m sure I had more to tell you guys but who knows maybe it will come up in future posts. I’m hoping to do a reading wrap up sometime soon about all the books I read, because surprisingly I’ve been reading quite a bit? Usually when I’m this busy I don’t read (except comics).

So what have you all been up to? Any posts that I HAVE to read? Let me know in the comments!

Mini Reviews // My Whole Truth and Hearts Unbroken

Hey look I’m alive barely I didn’t mean to disappear like that, but I’ve been really busy with doing both an internship and working at Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. I barely have any free time because of this, and during my free time I mostly,,, watch netflix and play video games I guess? I’ve been too exhausted to blog, that’s for sure. One day I’ll write a more detailed post about how I’ve been and what I’ve been up to, but I still don’t have the energy for that. The only reason I’m here now is because these books should’ve been reviewed at the start of the month woops

Author: Mischa Thrace
Genre: Contemporary // LGBTQIAP+ // YA
Rep: Fat sapphic MC, Japanese female love interest with two dads, f/f romance, black female lawyer
Goodreads rating: 4.03
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Seelie Stanton never wanted to kill someone. She never wanted to be invisible in her own family, never wanted to crush on her best friend Alyssa, and she definitely never wanted to know how effectively a mallet could destroy someone’s head.

But the universe doesn’t care what she wants. Shane Mayfield doesn’t care what Seelie wants either. When the former high school basketball star attacks her, she has no choice but to defend herself. She saved her own life, but she can’t bring herself to talk about what happened that night. Not all of it. Not even when she’s arrested for murder.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

Trigger warning: rape mentions

Oh where do I even start? My Whole Truth is heartbreaking, captivating and so so important. It perfectly captures sexism, rape culture and the corruption of the justice system. But despite the heavy topics, it wasn’t an entirely heavy read, mainly because Seelie has an amazing friend group. They aren’t perfect, neither is Seelie, but they’d go to hell and back for each other. They’re always there for her, no matter what. Even when some disagreements arise, they would never give up on each other.

My Whole Truth is definitely not for everyone, even though I didn’t find it very graphic, it’s still heavy. Knowing our society, it’s hard to stay positive while reading a story like Seelie’s. Just like her, I felt myself giving up hope so many times. But then there was Seelie’s lawyer, Cara, who’s smart, kickass and never wavers. She keeps believing in Sadie and never forces her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. She doesn’t know Seelie at the start of the book, but she’s ready to fight, just like her friends. In the end, she’s more like a friend or family than just a lawyer. Despite not having a great relationship with her mother, Seelie has found her family in her friends and Cara, which was beautiful to see.

Also the romance is adorable and I love it so much.

I honestly can’t say much more about My Whole Truth, except read it if you can handle it. I couldn’t possible do the book justice with a review, but I hope this mini review was enough to convince you.

Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Genre: Contemporary // YA
Rep: Own voices Native American (MC and family), Libanese male love interest, two minor sapphic characters who are in a relationship with each other (lesbian and bisexual)
Goodreads rating: 3.74
My rating: ⭐⭐

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

This one had so much potential. I definitely do encourage everyone to try this one for yourself, as my biggest issue was the writing, which is something that is very subjective. The writing was very passive and just really missed emotion and tension. Some terrible stuff happens to the characters but I didn’t really feel anything while reading the book. Because of the writing it was really hard to connect to the characters and the story.

I also felt like this story still needed a lot of editing. Like Louise and Joey are making their way to the lockers and we get a description of their entire route which was very unnecessary. Or random notes like in this scene:

”Daniel can’t cover his own meets.” [about Daniel becoming the school paper’s sports reporter]
Alexis, the news reporter, had just returned from the restroom. ”I’ll take it. I have an older brother who wrestled. The coach loved him.”
(The first meet isn’t until December anyway.)

I mean??? It completely took me out of the story. It felt so unnatural and it’s not relevant at all?

Chapters often ended in a way that didn’t really make me want to keep reading, nor did they start that way. I mean this is literally how one of the chapters start: ”A freshly microwaved pillow radiated heat into my neck and shoulders as my feet soaked in a copper basin of warm, seasalted water and Legally blonde played on the overhead screens.’ Or another great start: ‘Joey ran with a story tip from Alexis on injuries at the skate park’.

The romance was incredibly forced. We’re literally told that Louise likes Joey, but?? The characters talk as if it’s so obvious but it really wasn’t. There wasn’t really any build up nor chemistry. Also I uhhh kept forgetting they were dating every time I picked the book up. And I read each day until I had finished it, so it wasn’t like that much time had passed.

The book does cover a lot about what it means to be Native American and racism. The plot itself is good, just the execution not so much. Again, I definitely encourage you to try this one for yourself.

How are all of you doing?? Have you read these books or are you planning to? Let me know in the comments!

Bonjour Girl // This Review is a Mess But It’s Okay Because So Is This Book

Author: Isabelle Laflèche
Genre: Contemporary // YA
Goodreads rating: 2.82
My rating: ⭐

 

 

 

When Clementine Liu arrives in New York City to study at the Parsons School of Design, she knows that she’s found her place. It isn’t long before she meets her fashionista soulmate, the loud and charismatic Jake, and Jonathan, a dreamy fashion photographer who turns her world upside down.

Between schoolwork and glitzy fashion shows, Clementine launches a blog, Bonjour Girl, and her wit, originality, and flair quickly catapult the site to cult status. Unfortunately, this comes with a price: Clementine is faced with online abuse and public humiliation. In the midst of all the drama, she finds out that a classmate is not what she seems, and Clementine has to find a way to save both her reputation and Jake’s fashion collection.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

Welp, this one was a disappointment. I was SO excited to see I got approved for Bonjour Girl because:

💛 LOOK AT THAT COVER! Cute AND rep? Yes please
💛 A biracial (half-Chinese!) protagonist??
💛 It’s all about diversity in fashion and making a change??
💛 It just sounded like a cute contemporary on top of all of that and I LOVE CUTE CONTEMPORARIES THAT ALSO DEAL WITH IMPORTANT TOPICS YES PLS THANK YOU

So yes excitement all around. My first red flag was this quote:

Fashion is my religion, fashion is my salvation, and fashion is the way I roll. I don’t do conventional fashion; I’m quirky and different, I have a funny-looking button nose and lots of freckles, and I go my own way.

seriously why does this have the same energy as ‘my name is ebony dark’ness dementia raven way and I have long ebony black hair (that’s how I got my name) with purple streaks and red tips that reaches my mid-back and icy blue eyes like limpid tears and a lot of people tell me I look like Amy Lee (AN: if u don’t know who she is get da hell out of here!). I’m not related to Gerard Way but I wish I was because he’s a major fucking hottie.’

I wish I could say that things went better from here on, but… Yeah.

First of, for a book about characters wishing to promote diversity in fashion it’s… not that diverse. While Clementine is half-Chinese and half-French, her Chinese heritage is barely brought up, whereas we’re constantly reminded that she’s half-French. Other than that there’s a supporting character who’s both fat and gay (and of course stereotypically flamboyant) and a disabled girl in a wheelchair. Maybe I’ve forgotten another minor supporting character, but that’s really it. Clementine is constantly preaching to the reader about diversity and why it matters, but yet the book itself doesn’t really live up to that?

Then there’s the writing itself. There’s so much telling instead of showing, that it got really annoying. There were also so many unrealistic plot elements?? Like how most students solely wear black except for Clementine like?? Yes, at a fashion school everyone dresses the same. There’s also the fact that the ‘bully’ throws a gum wrapper at Clementine. WHAT COLLEGE-KID WOULD DO THIS. know people in college can be mean, I’ve seen it myself, but this. And there isn’t even a reason for her to do this? She’s just a ‘mean girl’.

What also really bothered me is the random uses of French, especially when talking to other people, who don’t speak French. At some point she even says an entire phrase in French, and then repeats it in English. It would’ve been realistic if she had started in French, but then switched to English because she realised she was speaking the wrong language. Of course, I’m not French so I can’t say much about this, but like Clementine I studied abroad in a country where pretty much everyone spoke English, so this felt very unnatural to me. I’ve screwed up, trust me, but not like this!* Also while some of the French you can understand by context, not all of it? Like at some point someone texts her ‘bien joué’ (this person isn’t even French by the way sdbjgh) and like,,, I literally only know what this means because of Miraculous Ladybug sjbgh

* Once I was saying goodbye to my American friend and I wanted to say both ‘bye’ and ‘doei’ (Dutch for bye, you pronounce it kinda like do-wee) but said boei instead. This still haunts me. At some point she also thinks (and her mom later on says it to her) ‘kick some derrière’ can some French person pls tell me if this is truly something they would say (I may or may not be looking at you Marie) because all I could think of was me saying ‘kick some kont/billen’ and sdjsbhd no

There are plenty of small things I could point out that were just ridiculous* but there are A LOT. So let’s continue on to my biggest gripe after the lack of diversity: everything goes so smoothly for Clementine. Like apart from the bullying (which I can’t say much about because my ARC had a problem with showing the tweets?? Some were cut in the middle and some didn’t show up at all? So I had to figure out from context what was being said) which,,, was like one girl tweeting some kinda mean stuff about her, everything went right. She got into a prestigious school, gets to live in a great appartment with her aunt (which she doesn’t have to pay anything for), gets a scholarship to launch her blog, meets a ‘great guy’ (at least we’re told he is he barely has a personality and the romance is so forced), immediately gets a new bff, her first blog post immediately does well and so do all the others that follow, by her second post she gets an offer from a fashion brand to send her samples and by the end she even gets acknowledges by frickin’ Anna Wintour?? Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, reads her blog?? Not only is all of this super unrealistic, she doesn’t even really work that hard for it? And NOTHING goes wrong? Not for her anyway. The worst thing that happens in the book actually happens to Jake. Oh! I forgot! She even gets picked to study abroad in China (when suddenly the author remembers that her protagonist is supposed to be half-Chinese) like,,, why though.

* At some point Jake takes her to an ‘ice cream parlour for grown-ups’?? what is this. Is this a real thing. I am confusion America explain. Why can’t adults go to regular ice cream parlours what is going on at that ice cream parlour for grown-ups what do they do there that makes it ‘for grown-ups’ I have questions

So in conclusion: not that well-written, too much telling instead of showing, incredibly unrealistic to the point that it got ridiculous, for a book that supposed to be about promoting diversity it’s not that diverse and it’s just funny how it’s IMPOSSIBLE to forget that Clementine is half-French (like at some point towards the end she even SAYS ‘I’m half-French’ like yes honey we know couldn’t have missed it!!) but quite a few times I forgot she was supposed to be half-Chinese, and uhhh.. I don’t remember where I was going with this. This review is a mess. Though it did make me wonder why I rated this two stars? Did I even say anything positive. Okay so if you’re reading this and wondering ‘but Michelle your review says 1 star’ it’s because I changed it dsjfbh

Bonjour Girl is out now so uhhh, give it a try I guess*

* That sounds sarcastic but seriously if you wanted to read this, don’t let my review stop you! You might have a very different experience than I did

Have you read Bonjour Girl? What do you think? Any books similar to this you’d recommend? ALSO WHAT IS AN ICE CREAM PARLOUR FOR GROWN-UPS IS IT REAL WHAT DOES IT MEAN

Has Contemporary Beaten Fantasy As My Favourite Genre?? + Recent Favourites

I’ve been meaning to write this post for almost the entirety of 2018 but,, you know,,

  

And who knows if I’ll even finish it writing now and actually get it up sometime this week! Maybe I’ll continue to procrastinate until the end of 2018 *fingers crossed you’ll be reading this at the end of August and not December*

Throughout the year I started to realise more and more that maybe my favourite genre has changed. To be honest, I already noticed last year that most of my favourite reads were uhhh *whispers* not fantasy

me @ me

But this year? I’ve barely even read any fantasy books and the majority of them I didn’t even like.

So far I’ve read 89 books (of which 43 are comics/manga if I counted correctly) of which 8 are fantasy, which is not a lot considering this used to be my favourite genre. Now, not all of the others are contemporary; there are a few historical books and one sci-fi, but other than that… It’s mostly contemporary. So you might be wondering what happened.

It’s not just that I disliked or felt neutral towards most of the fantasy books I read, I barely picked them up in the first place. There are several reasons for that:

💛 Contemporary is simply more diverse than fantasy

Fantasy is getting there and catching up, but a lot of fantasy is just… not that diverse, nor does it cover any important topics. Of course it’s fantasy so the latter it doesn’t have to do but personally I’ve really become more interested in books that cover important topics, which often leads me to contemporary books. Plus I just want more diversity in my books, which is found more in contemporary than fantasy

💛 The blurbs of new fantasy books often don’t excite me

Obviously there are exceptions (and if there was more marketing for the diverse fantasy that ARE out there/being published I’m sure this would change) but often I read a blurb and I just go ‘eh’. I don’t think that my love for fantasy has faded, because I still absolutely love fantasy, but a lot of the times I just don’t find the blurbs that special? Either this is a marketing problem or a lot of YA fantasy books are too alike. Again, obviously there are exceptions and maybe I’m just not looking hard enough, because contemporary has kind of stolen my heart?

💛 They’re so much easier to get into?

This may also be because I’ve been reading so much contemporary. I’ve certainly gotten used to contemporary’s pace which can make it difficult to get back into fantasy. It took me ages getting into Ace of Shades despite loving it and being incredibly excited for it, but oh my goodness my brain was so used to the pace of contemporary books that it kept going ‘WHEN WILL THE STORY START ALREADY’

These are probably the biggest reasons why contemporary has kind of beaten fantasy as my favourite genre. I say probably because hey, maybe there are other reasons I’m unaware of. Contemporary was already my second favourite genre, though if I look back it was already competing with fantasy. It’s just that because as a kid I mostly read fantasy, I always looked at it as my favourite genre, but if I’m honest I think it hasn’t really been that for quite some time now.

This has also snuck into my own writing. I always wrote fantasy, but my current WIP (which is also the one I consider the most important one to be honest) is a contemporary, which I never saw myself writing a couple of years ago. That said, I’m still writing and planning on writing more fantasy.

So now let’s talk about some of my recent favourites! I would love to share ALL of my favourite contemporary books I read this year, but then this post would be way too long. Let’s start with fantasy because there are only two sdgknjh

Fantasy

Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead

This trilogy is one of my favourite series as it has so many of my favourite things:

💛 Norse mythology: as a kid I was obsessed and I really mean obsessed. I knew so much by heart and read everything I could get my hands on. I even held a presentation on it in sixth grade that lasted like an hour and a half adkgjshd (yeah I was that kid) So when Rick Riordan announced he was going to do a series on Norse mythology? Well, you can imagine my excitement

💛 Soft protagonist who’s not that good at fighting but is a healer instead and loves his friends with all his heart!!

💛 A pansexual protagonist, a brown genderfluid love interest who’s absolutely badass, a Muslim Valkyrie, a blind elf and a black dwarf (plus a bunch of other cool supporting characters)

💛 The cutest romance with great banter

💛 Fun adventures like only Rick Riordan can write them

💛 Friendship!!

Basically read it

Ace of Shades

As I said before, I struggled getting into this one but that was not its fault. I absolutely loved Ace of Shades. It’s being compared to Six of Crows, which makes sense because it definitely has the same vibes, but I would advice to not think about that/compare it to SoC when you pick this up because Six of Crows is very hyped and Ace of Shades might not live up to your expectations then. I loved the worldbuilding of this one: there’s a lot to explain, but I never felt lost and there were no info-dumps either. Both protagonists were amazing: a black bi boy who’s the leader of a gang but really isn’t that ruthless and a seemingly nice and naive girl who learns how to survive in a town riddled with crime. I really wouldn’t consider this your typical fantasy, as it’s a lot more unique than that. There are also great friendships (between boys, girls and boys and girls) and it’s just a lot of fun.

Honourable mention: Over Raging Tides, a fun story about female pirates! Read my review here. Also I do expect Children of Blood and Bone to join this small list once I read it

Contemporary

Sadie

My most recent read and oh my did this blow me away. It’s powerful, heartbreaking and very intense, but also very worth it. Sadie follows Sadie as she looks for her sister’s killer, but at the same time it also follows West McCray, a radio show host who’s doing a podcast on Sadie, as in the present time she has gone missing herself. Following both of them, we try to fill in the blanks ourselves to figure out what exactly happened to both Sadie and Mattie, and what lead up to those events. It’s incredibly well-written and hard to put down, even though at the same time it’s also hard to read, as it shows how ugly the world can be. You can read my review here.

The Brightsiders

Another masterpiece by Jen Wilde. I was a bit nervous starting this one as Queens of Geek means so much to me, and how would this be able to live up to that? Well, it had no problem living up to it. I honestly don’t know whether I love this one or Queens of Geek more, but who says I have to choose right? The Brightsiders deals with so many important topics, while still being so much fun to read. It’s super queer, it’s empowering and I’d recommend it within a heartbeat. Full review to come soon (I hope help me I have so many reviews to write adkhgjhd)

Alex Approximately

I’ve already talked about this one in my mid-year book freak out tag as well, but hey it’s a recent favourite so let me shout about it again okay? When I started this I thought it’d be a cute story with the enemies to lovers and mistaken identities tropes, but it’s so much more than that. Both protagonists are dealing with their own trauma, which is not resolved by their romance. Instead they confide in each other and learn how to live with it. This made it a beautiful and meaningful story, whereas it was also really fun and cute. Read my review here.

I Was Born For This

My first Alice Oseman book and certainly not the last. I still haven’t reviewed this one because?? How?? I have no words.It’s very difficult to put how this book made me feel into words. I feel like everything I can say about it will feel so… superficial? Alice Oseman’s writing is profound and it wouldn’t surprise me if one day her work is studied in school (which it really should be). Maybe one day I’ll be able to actually review this, but in the meantime I’ll just shout at you: READ IT PLEASE

Anger is a Gift

If you thought I wasn’t going to shout about this book for the millionth time then THINK AGAIN. I don’t think I’ll ever stop shouting about Anger is a Gift, unless it suddenly gets the attention it deserves which so far it really doesn’t so… READ ANGER IS A GIFT. It’s an incredibly powerful story about police brutality, the corruption of the police and politicans, and racism. It’s also incredibly queer as the main character is gay and many of his friends are too. Do be careful though, as the violence is very graphic (more so than in The Hate U Give) and it only gets worse throughout the book, so stay safe.

I stuck to five favourites because I have way too many and this post was getting way too long, which again proves that contemporary has really become my favourite genre instead of fantasy. It feels strange to say contemporary is my favourite genre, as I’m used to saying it’s fantasy, but you won’t see me complaining.

Has your favourite genre(s) changed over the years? Do you prefer contemporary or fantasy? Which contemporary and fantasy books are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!