most anticipated releases of 2020, part one

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a Top Ten Tuesday post, hasn’t it? It’s still being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and you can find all the information on the weekly posts here. This week, everyone will be talking about their most anticipated releases for the first half of 2020. So, what are mine?

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
I have never read an Anna-Marie McLemore book, but all of their novels are on my to-read list. Literally all I know about this book is that it has shoes that make you dance until you fall down dead. Sounds like an epic read to me… Plus, look at that cover! The covers for their books are always so gorgeous.

Release date: January 14

Nottingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood by Anna Burke
Nottingham is on today’s list because it’s an LGBTQ+ retelling of Robin Hood in which Robin is a woman. Does that not sound like everything you’ve ever wanted in life??

Release date: January 21

Ink in the Blood (Ink in the Blood #1) by Kim Smejkal
I first clicked on this book because of the cover. It just screams “tattoo” to me. Combined with the tagline “one performance can change your destiny”, my curiosity was piqued. Apparently, this book includes tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater. It’s also marked as an LGBTQ+ book, although I have no idea what the rep in this book will be.

Release date: February 11th

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
Any N.K. Jemisin book will make it on my most anticipated list, because she writes the most incredible SFF books. This novel is about 5 New Yorkers who must come together to defend their city. In this world, every city has a soul. NYC has got 5. And every city has a dark side… THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD. Give it to me already!

Release date: March 26th

Queen of Coins and Whispers by Helen Corcoran
Another fantasy novel, of course. This is my list, after all, and I make no excuses for choosing my favorite genre. Queen of Coins and Whispers follows a teenage queen who inherits her uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, and brings a new spymaster into the fold. Another LGBTQ+ novel on the list, and unless I’m sorely mistaken, another f/f read.

Release date: April 6th

The Silence of Bones by June Hur
To add some variety to this list, I added The Silence of Bones. This is a historical fiction and mystery novel, two genres I want to dive into more. It’s set in Joseon in 1800 (Korea), where a young girl needs to assist the police in the investigation of a politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

Release date: April 21st 

Fence: Rivals by C.S. Pacat
I’ve been waiting for the next Fences story for ages, so this one definitely makes the most anticipated list. If you haven’t read these graphic novels, I highly recommend them. It’s got friendships, competition, fencing, enemies to friends (to hopefully lovers), and everything you could ever need.

Release date: May 19th

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
The title and cover alone are enough to land this book on my to-read list. The synopsis is the reason it ended up on my most anticipated list though. “When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.”

Release date: June 9th

The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna
I know I mention this constantly in this post, but this cover!! It’s so gorgeous. The Gilded Ones is a West-African inspired feminist fantasy, in which Deka goes through the blood ceremony that will determine whether she becomes part of her village or not. Only, her blood runs gold – the color of impurity. Then she becomes a warrior? I don’t know, it just sounds too good to be true.

Release date: May 26th

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
It’s kind of embarrassing of me to put a Zen Cho novel on this list if I’ve had one of her books for years and still haven’t read it, but I’m sticking with it. The synopsis got me with the first line: “A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there.” I’m in. I’ll buy a copy. Immediately. Then I saw it described as a found family wuxia fantasy, which truly solidified its place on my list.

Release date: June 23rd


These are 10 of my most anticipated reads for the first half of 2020! I’m definitely going to make a part 2 – and possibly 3 – of this. I had such a hard time narrowing it down to only 10 as there are so many exciting books being published!

Which books are you looking forward to?

my favorite reads of 2019

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen these favorites before. That’s because I made a thread of my favorite reads of 2019 on there because I couldn’t find the will to actually write a blog post about it. For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, don’t wish to, or don’t have a Twitter account, here’s my list compiled in a blog post.

These are in no particular order! I couldn’t pick a favorite from these whatsoever. I adored all of these books for different reasons, and they all deserve an equal place in my list. Let’s get started.

The City of Brass (Daevabad #1) by S.A. Chakraborty
This fantasy novel brought back my love for the genre. It’s such an atmospheric and captivating read! I ended up binge-reading the book in only a few sittings simply because I didn’t want to put it down.

Here’s my description of this book on Twitter:
⭐ made me fall in love with fantasy novels all over again
⭐ couldn’t put this down, I was attached to it until it was done
⭐ gorgeous, atmospheric, fantastic

Fence volumes 1, 2 and 3 by C.S. Pacat
Did I read all three volumes in one go? Yes. Have I been desperate for the next volume ever since? YES. This is an adorable series about a boy who competes to join the fencing team at a private school so he can become the best and show the father who left him for a new family. It’s got adorable friendships and what I’m hoping will become an epic romance.

Twitter description
⭐ fantastic group of characters
⭐ boys fencing team and competitions
⭐ slow-burn romance
⭐ LGBTQ+

A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert
I’m so grateful to Destiny for putting this author on my radar, because I hadn’t enjoyed a romance book as much as I did this one in a long time. This restored my faith in the entire genre. Yes, it’s that good.

Twitter description
⭐ comic book/webcomic creator and Chris Evans (more or less…)
⭐ #ownvoices
⭐ black, plus-sized, autistic main character
⭐ healthy relationships and communication, yes!!

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
I can’t believe it took me so long to read Noteworthy because it might be one of my all-time favorite YA contemporaries. It’s about a girl who disguises as a guy to join the all-male a cappella group in her school because she can’t get the lead role in a musical as an Alto 2. There’s SO much to love about this book, and I’ll gladly redirect you to my full review of it.

Twitter description
⭐ girl disguises as guy and joins all-male a cappella group
⭐ Chinese-American, bisexual MC
#ownvoices
⭐ discussion of gender/sexuality

I Hear the Sunspot by Yuki Fumino
The reason I fell in love with manga this year. I saw this series on an app (translated) and proceeded to buy paperbacks of it immediately, then binge-reading them all. I screamed about this series to literally everyone, and if you haven’t read them yet PLEASE DO.

Twitter description:
⭐ made me fall in love with manga
⭐ LGBTQ+ contemporary
⭐ disability rep: hard of hearing MC
⭐ so adorable!!
⭐ got way too invested in this and stayed up too late to read it

The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch #3) by Rin Chupeco
I know I’ve been talking about this YA fantasy trilogy for literal years, yet here I am doing so once more. I won’t stop until everyone has read it. This Asian-inspired fantasy series centers around a girl who discovers she’s a Dark Asha (“bone witch”) when she accidentally raises her brother from the dead.

Twitter description
⭐ the finale I’ve been waiting for!!
⭐ made me cry on public transport
⭐ catch me rereading this soon
⭐ if you haven’t read this Asian fantasy about a bone witch, what are you doing??

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba
After reading I Hear the Sunspot, I wanted to truly dive into the world of manga. And what better way to start than by reading some of the most iconic manga in existence? Death Note did not disappoint whatsoever. I binge-read all the volumes, was absolutely glued to the pages.

Twitter description
⭐ binge-read the entire manga
⭐ teenager with God complex, killing people by writing their name in a notebook
⭐ watch him spiral out of control
⭐ what is right or wrong?
⭐ L!!

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
After tackling Death Note, I jumped over to Fullmetal Alchemist. Once again, I absolutely fell in love with the manga and read the entirety of it in a matter of months. I’m quite proud of that accomplishment, as there are 27 volumes of FMA!

Twitter description:
⭐ also binge-read the entire manga
⭐ adorable brothers
⭐ characters you will become too attached to
⭐ alchemy!
⭐ just two boys trying to get their bodies back

The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang
THIS NOVELLA! I’ve already recommended it to multiple people who have added it to their list of books to buy. While this is not a novella that is entirely unknown, it hurts me to see so few people in the bookish community mention it. Maybe I’m just not following the right people? Anyway, if you want an SFF read and LGBTQ+ representation, you need to pick this up. J.Y. Yang is brilliant, and I will read everything they write.

Twitter description:
⭐ EPIC fantasy novella
⭐ people born without gender, confirm gender themselves whenever it becomes clear to them
⭐ twins!
⭐ rebellion
⭐ literally everything you could ever want

Our Dreams at Dusk volume 1 by Yuhki Kamatani
An #ownvoices LGBTQ+ novel from a non-binary author? Sign me the hell up. And look at that artwork!! I don’t even know what to say about this manga because I’ve only read a few volumes and feel like it’s far more character-centered than plot-centered. All I can tell you is that you need this in your life.

Twitter description:
⭐ LGBTQ+ manga
⭐ about a boy finding a safe space
⭐ exploring gender and sexuality
⭐ adorable!! gorgeous drawings!!
⭐ author is non-binary

Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller
This YA contemporary novel made me so angry. I was hurt and filled with rage and indignation. This is the story of a girl in the US who discovers she’s pregnant and wants to get an abortion. She can only do so with legal permission though, which she doesn’t receive. Abortion is illegal in her state, prompting her to go on a road trip with friends to get the procedure.

Twitter description
⭐ heartbreaking coming-of-age story
⭐ girl has to go on “roadtrip” to get an abortion
⭐ friendship
⭐ such an important read!!

The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang
I put off reading this fantasy novel for quite a while because I was intimidated by it. I knew I’d probably end up loving it, but wasn’t sure whether I was ready for that. That sounds absolutely ridiculous, I know, but I hope at least one of you can relate. I should never have put this one off because it was incredible.

Twitter description
⭐ fantasy novel inspired by China/Chinese history
⭐ engrossing, captivating and mind-blowing
⭐ brutal
⭐ main character who is neither good nor bad

The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles #2) by Patrick Rothfuss
I finally did it. I read the first book in the series in 2015, then decided to put off reading the sequel for so long I forgot what happened in book 1, making me even more “scared” to continue reading. As this is the favorite series of one of the best people in my life, I decided it was time to buckle up and re-read the first book so I could continue the series. I read them quite quickly, considering the size of the books, and ADORED THEM. This series is SO GOOD.

Twitter description:
⭐ epic sequel to an already incredible first novel
⭐ keeps taking me on a surprising journey
⭐ too attached to the characters already…
⭐ can’t recommend it enough


Those were my favorite reads of 2019! Have you read any of these books?
Which books made your favorites list?

What I plan on reading in January

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m sure you neither noticed nor cared that I have been gone for a while, so I’ll keep the explanation short. In 2019, I lost my passion for blogging somewhat and started exploring other areas of my life, including workout classes, language learning, a buys full-time job and a lot of traveling. While I am still doing all those things, I caught myself making reading plans again lately.

Even though I haven’t blogged in a while, I’ve still been reading. Mood reading, that is. Now, I find myself wanting to try challenges, TBRs and more again. So here I am, in January of 2020, writing a blog post. I won’t promise that I’ll post regularly again.

Last year, I fell in love with the “Wheel of TBR” videos on Cody’s channel. They give her direction to read yet allow her to pick the books to fit the given prompt at the same time. I decided to try the same for the first month of 2020. As I’ve been reading less the past few months, and have a busy month ahead, I decided to spin the wheel 5 times.

1: read an #ownvoices book

how to be remy cameron

Spin 1 gave me the prompt to read an own voices novel. Since I recently bought How to Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters, I figured that’d be the perfect read to kick off the year. I adored the author’s previous novel, Running With Lions, and can’t wait to read more of his work.

Synopsis
Everyone on campus knows Remy Cameron. He’s the out-and-gay, super-likable guy that people admire for his confidence. The only person who may not know Remy that well is Remy himself. So when he is assigned to write an essay describing himself, he goes on a journey to reconcile the labels that people have attached to him, and get to know the real Remy Cameron.

2: randomized read

de vrouw die door het vuur gingThe second spin of the wheel ended up on “randomized read” which means I have to go to my Goodreads TBR shelf and sort the books at random. The first one to pop up is the one I have to read.

The book selected was De Vrouw Die Door Het Vuur Ging by Manda Scott. This is a translated version, the original (English) title is Into the Fire.

I was a tad discouraged when I saw this pop up, because this book seems absolutely huge. I know Goodreads says it “only” has 500 pages but for some reason it seems like a lot more to me.

Synopsis
February 2014: Police Capitaine Inés Picaut is called out to investigate a blaze in the old town of Orléans. This is the fourth in a series of increasingly brutal arson attacks, and at the centre of the conflagration lies a body. 

September 1429: Joan of Arc is in the process of turning the tide of The Hundred Years’ War. English troops have Orléans under siege, and Tomas Rustbeard, the Duke of Bedford’s most accomplished agent, finally has her in his sights. But he knows that killing ‘The Maid’ – the apparently illiterate peasant girl who nonetheless has an unmatched sense of military strategy and can ride a warhorse in battle – is not enough. 

3: read your highest rated book

words of radianceWhen spin number 3 landed on “highest rated book”, I wanted to jump out the window. Why? Simply because I knew that the highest rated book on my shelf is Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, the sequel to The Way of Kings.

Remember when I mentioned I had a busy month ahead a few paragraphs ago? Yeah. Apparently, now I have to find time to read a 1000+ page book too.

I am really excited about this book though. I adored the first novel in the series and I can’t wait to find out more about the world and get to know the characters better. I’m already way too attached to everyone we met in book 1 (especially Kaladin). I’m also secretly happy this TBR made me pick this up because I don’t want to wait 5 years before continuing the series.

4: pick a short read

silver in the woodThank you, wheel, for blessing me with a short read after putting Words of Radiance on my list for the month! I’m so grateful.

In the same order in which I purchased How to Be Remy Cameron, I bought  Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh. The perfect choice for this prompt, as it’s only 112 pages long. I was already quite excited to read this, and then I saw it on Destiny (Howling Libraries) favorite reads of 2019 list…

Synopsis
There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

5: read a classic

little womenAnother prompt that terrifies me… To be honest, that’s the point of using the wheel: encouraging me to pick up the books I’ve been putting off for a while or might not pick from my shelf on my own.

I actually only have two unread classics so my choices were limited. After hearing so many people rave about the new movie, I decided to go for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

I have never read this book nor have I watched an adaptation of the story. I’m excited to find out what this book is actually about!

Synopsis
Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.


That’s it! Those are the books I’m hoping to read this month. I think the wheel was a tad unkind to me, leaving me with these long books to finish, but I’m genuinely excited about all these reads. I hope I’ll have a good reading month with these picks.

Have you read any of these books? What are you planning to read in January?

what I read in October, a monthly wrap up

Are monthly wrap ups the only posts I’ve been writing for months? Yes, they are. I want to keep you all up-to-date with my reading, even though I’m going through a) one of the busiest periods of my life, and b) an incredibly long and stubborn blogging slump. I’m not in a reading slump at all! I just seem to forget I own a blog, and haven’t wanted to write a post in months. Sorry… I’m hoping that by letting my life take its course and focusing on other things at the moment my passion for it will come back. I don’t want to force it. Either way, here’s what I read in October!

Shortcake Cake vol. 4 by Suu Morishita – ★★★.₅
Like I mentioned in September’s wrap up, while in Tokyo I stayed at a hotel that allowed you to read as much of the manga on their shelves as you wanted. I started the Shortcake Cake manga during summer when I bought the first two volumes. This is a series I enjoy, but don’t love. The art is incredibly cute, the story is sweet, but there isn’t much to make this stand out from other manga.

Anonymous Noise vol. 1 by Ryōko Fukuyama – ★★★.₅
Another one I borrowed from the hotel’s shelves. This is the story of a girl whose best friend moves away/disappears one day, and she grows up looking for him. Then she meets another guy, they write songs together as they grow up, and he disappears too. She’s convinced that they will come back once they hear her voice. This was a fun introduction into the world, but I couldn’t stop cracking up every time she sang. Why is she opening her mouth so wide and why can the entire world hear her? Does she have supernatural lungs??

Shortcake Cake vol. 5 by Suu Morishita – ★★★
Same story as volume 4, to be honest. It was enjoyable but not very memorable. I’m glad I had the chance to read it though! I think I will continue the manga as it gets released because I’m invested now but it’s definitely not a priority purchase.

Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty vol. 1 by Megumi Morino – ★★★
You guessed it, another volume I read while staying at the aforementioned hotel. I didn’t know what to expect from this manga at all. We follow a young guy who doesn’t want to go to university but wants to work instead. His father agrees to let him help with his job in the hopes of dissuading his son. The boy ends up working a part-time job at the mansion on the hill, where he meets the mysterious daughter of the house. While reading, I was afraid this was going into a weird direction with mental illness but then it turned into something supernatural (and not related to mental illness at all) and I was relieved. Once again, will probably continue but not a priority.

Waiting for Spring vol. 1 by Anashin – ★★★★.₅
A manga that has become a priority, however, is Waiting for Spring. I absolutely loved this first volume about a girl who accidentally befriends the popular members of the basketball team at her school. It was funny, adorable, and everything I wanted. I need to buy the volumes so I can continue soon!

The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang – ★★★★★
After finishing all that manga, I finally managed to read a novel as well. On the plane home, I finished The Poppy War, which will definitely end up on my favorite reads of the year list. It was brutal, captivating and fantastical, and I can’t believe it took me so long to read it. I want to read the sequel so badly but the paperback isn’t available anywhere… Be aware of all the content warnings for this book, though! There is an extremely brutal scene in here. You can find those content warnings in a lot of Goodreads reviews.

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing – ★★★★.₅
I sent in an acquisition request for this book to my local library, and was ecstatic when it was approved and the novel arrived. This is the story of a married couple who like to kill women together. It’s such a fascinating read, especially as we read from the perspective of the husband. How he both loves the “hunt” and abduction, yet hates how scared his daughter needs to be when she goes outside. This book was quite predictable and I wasn’t surprised at any point, yet it didn’t detract from the reading experience at all. I would highly recommend this book if you want to venture into thrillers.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – ★★★.₅
I’m not sure how to rate Descendant of the Crane, to be honest. I really enjoyed reading the book, and sped through it. Clearly, I was captivated by the world, characters, and story. Yet there’s quite a lot about the book I didn’t enjoy. It was very predictable. At times, I knew that a certain action from the main character would end up biting her in the ass in a specific way, and I was always right. Another aspect of the book I didn’t like was how passive the main character is. While I don’t think that every female leader or main character needs to be a sword-wielding assassin or brilliant strategist, I would hope that they at least have some agency throughout their story. I’ll keep it as a 3.5 for now. I’m curious to see what Joan He will write next!


What did you read in October?

what I read in September, a late wrap up

I’m aware that I haven’t posted anything but a wrap up or tbr since mid-July, and for that I apologize. I mentioned in July that I wouldn’t post much for a while because I’m both overwhelmed with life and have lost some of the blogging magic.

I do want to keep sharing what I read with you all, despite the blogging slump, which is why I’ve been posting wrap ups every month. Let’s ignore my prolonged absence for a bit and talk about the books (manga, really) I managed to read in September.

Shortcake Cake vol. 3 by Suu Morishita – ★★★.₅
I started reading this manga in August, after buying copies of the first two volumes. I quite enjoyed them, but didn’t fall in love with the story or characters. The sentences are chopped up so much that the dialogue doesn’t flow at all. However, the hotel I was staying at in Tokyo was the Manga Art Hotel, and they (obviously) had a ton of manga you could read for free. Shortcake Cake was also available! I decided to continue the manga as I did like the first two volumes. I feel the same way about the third volume as I did the first two though. I like it, but I don’t love it.

Escape Journey vol. 1 by Tanaka Ogeretsu – ★★★★
Escape Journey was also available at aforementioned hotel, and looked pretty interesting. It’s a second-chance m/m romance set in university, which just seemed perfect to me. This could have been a 4.5 or 5 stars if it weren’t for the completely unnecessary rape scene (and the fact it was written by a woman even though it’s an m/m romance). While I would advise you to be careful with the scene I just mentioned if that is triggering to you, I did enjoy this volume overall. It’s very smutty though, so please keep that in mind!

Sweet Blue Flowers vol. 1 (omnibus edition) by Takako Shimura – ★★★★
I went from a smutty m/m romance to a sweet, adorable f/f one with Sweet Blue Flowers. It follows two girls who rekindle their old friendship when they start taking the train to school together every day. While they go to different schools and have their own friend groups, they take the train together every day. It has so many sweet moments, multiple LGBT+ characters and relationships, and I absolutely loved it. The only reason this didn’t receive a higher rating is because I felt like I needed a diagram or chart to keep up with the different characters and their relationships. It became so confusing after a while! Would highly recommend this manga if you haven’t read it already!

That’s it. That’s all I managed to finish in September. I know, I barely read anything! To be fair, I was traveling for almost half the month, and work was crazy right before leaving. I also started taking classes once a week last month which only added to the hectic schedule. I’m quite happy with what I managed to read though. I’m happy to have discovered some more manga.

What did you read in September?

August in the life, a personal wap up of the month

I skipped July’s personal wrap up post, but I’m actually on time for my August post. Am I proud of myself now? Absolutely. If you’re unaware, in these ‘in the life’ posts I talk about the movies and TV shows I watched, the music and podcasts I listened to, and the things I did in the previous month. Let’s get into it.

what i watched 19

I only got around to watching Queer Eye season 4 in August, even though it was released in July. I absolutely loved this season, it might be one of my favorites so far. If you, for whatever reason, haven’t watched Queer Eye yet please go change that immediately.

I also started watching a K-drama called Fight For My Way. So far, I have seen 8 of the 16 episodes, and quite like it. I hope to finish this series in September!

what i did 19

August was quite the month for me! I started it off on an incredibly high note. I went on a trip to Berlin with one of my wonderful friends, and we went to the Stray Kids concert there. It was absolutely epic and indescribable. You best believe I will be buying tickets if they come to Europe again. They are fantastic performers. I will be going on a trip to Seoul and Tokyo with the same friend in September and October, and I can’t wait. I always have a fantastic time with her. We actually had to get up at 3AM on a random Saturday in August to buy tickets to the Studio Ghibli museum in Tokyo because that’s when the online ticket sale started and they sell out so fast!

August truly centered around rekindling my friendships. After the trip to Berlin, the lovely Alessandra and her boyfriend went on a city trip to Belgium and visited Ghent (where I work). I’m so happy we got to catch up because I truly missed her! I also had a lovely dinner with two of my uni friends, who I hadn’t seen in too long.

As for my family, in August I spent a weekend at my parents’ house, watching their cat while they were on holiday. I truly enjoyed spending a weekend alone in my childhood home. The following weekend, I made a brunch spread for my mom so we could celebrate her birthday together.

In my post where I talk about my absence on this blog, I also mentioned starting a new gym membership. In August, I tried out multiple different group classes aside from the regular workouts and found some I really enjoyed. I took a Zumba class (which I’ll definitely take again), a BodyAttack one (which I’ll also take again but was so hard) and a CrossFit Fundamentals class (which is for “beginners” but nearly killed me and ripped the skin off my hands). I’m having fun discovering the place! I’ve already planned for some more new classes in September.

what i listened to 19

music

SEVENTEEN – Hit
I really didn’t like this song at first, but grew absolutely obsessed with it a few days later. Weird, right? The performance of this song is completely insane. I have a never-ending amount of respect for SEVENTEEN.

ITZY – Icy
I’m really liking Itzy’s songs so far! They are so catchy, and I love the messages behind them. I can’t wait to see what the future brings these girls.

The Rose – RED
Honestly, The Rose never disappoints. Their songs are always epic. I was quite surprised by the tone of this one though. It’s far happier than their previous ones. Can’t wait to see this live at some point.

EVERGLOW – Adios
Does the way they pronounce “au revoir” kind of bother me? Yes. Do I still think this is a bomb song? Absolutely. The MV is pretty amazing too!

ONEWE – Regulus
I. LOVE. THIS. SONG. My love for ONEWE just keeps on growing and growing.

podcast

Mobile

I’ve been listening to Potterless while doing chores this month, and it’s been fantastic. If you haven’t listened to this podcast yet, I’d urge you to give it a go. It’s hosted by Mike Schubert, a 25-year-old man who is reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. He discusses a few chapters per episode, and always invites a Harry Potter fan onto the podcast so they can talk about the chapters together. It’s so much fun! While I adore the HP series and have done so since I was a child, I do acknowledge that it has its faults and problematic parts. This podcast never fails to make me laugh, it’s so funny.


That was my month! How was August for you? Did you do anything fun? Watch any good movies? Listen to some fantastic music? Let me know!

Curse breaker looking for a job | N.E.W.T.s wrap up

The end of August marks the end of the #newtsreadathon2019, a month-long readathon hosted by Book Roast. I love the magical readathons because a) they’re Harry Potter themed, and b) they truly push me to read more or to pick up books that I’ve been putting off for a while.

August was such a fantastic reading month for me! I finished 17 books (and manga) and DNF’ed another one. First, let’s talk about the books I read to pass the NEWTs I need to become a curse breaker.

curse breaker exams

ancient runes

A > Shortcake Cake vol. 1 by Suu Morishita – ★★★.₅
I really enjoyed the introduction to this cute manga. As usual, it’s an incredibly quick read, and you’ll find yourself glued to the pages until you’ve reached the end. While it was an adorable volume and I enjoyed it enough to continue the manga, I don’t like how the sentences are cut across panels. It makes the reading experience a tad choppy.

E > Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin – ★★★
I was quite disappointed by this finale to the Wolf by Wolf duology. I read the first book a few years ago, and remember really liking it. Here are my thoughts in a nutshell: I find the story line itself very fascinating but the way Graudin tried to make it clear to the reader that the characters were German grated on my nerves. I wrote all about it in my mini Goodreads review.

O > The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton – ★★.₅
If this wasn’t the disappointment of the month. When I first got this book (4 years ago), everyone was raving about it. The Miniaturist is such a praised novel, and I’d been putting it off for ages. I should’ve just listened to my instincts and unhauled it because this book was a) not what I was expecting based on the synopsis, and b) boring as hell.

arithmancy

A > Shortcake Cake vol. 2 by Suu Morishita – ★★★.₅
After finishing the first volume I immediately continued with this one which resulted in me not remembering where the story of one ends and the other begins. Anyway, just like the first volume it was cute and fun, yet the sentences were way too short.

E > Mango Summer by Agay Llanera – ★★★
I would recommend Mango Summer for those of you looking for a cute adult romance novel. It feels a little bit like reading a romcom set in the Philippines. The pacing of the book was a tad off and I didn’t love the writing, but it was a solid read still.

O > The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus #1) by Jonathan Stroud – ★★★★.₅
I bought this one secondhand last year after realizing how much Annemieke loves this author, and figured this readathon was the perfect time to pick it up. I absolutely loved this book. It was so engaging and captivating, and I couldn’t stop reading. What’s truly fascinating about this novel is that it’s partly told in third person and partly in first.

charms and DADA

Charms A > Our Dreams at Dusk vol. 1 by Yuhki Kamatani – ★★★★
Another manga volume I breezed through. I really wish I had bought more than just the first one though, because I really enjoyed it. It’s the story of a boy struggling to love and accept the fact that he’s gay. He meets a group of people going through a similar thing. One of the things I loved most about this story is discovering that the author is non-binary (and loves dogs). I’m so happy to support LGBT+ authors and mangaka!

DADA A > Contagion (Contagion #1) by Erin Bowman – ★★★.₅
I got this one from the library, actually. I’ve seen a few people mention it before, and it seemed like an interesting concept. However, I wasn’t fascinated enough to buy my own copy immediately. Imagine my surprise when I spotted it in my local library. It was quite a captivating read. I really enjoyed this YA scifi/horror story, and I’ll definitely read the sequel!

DADA E > Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition vol. 5 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★★
I truly adore FMA. That’s all I have to say.

other exams I took

care of magical creatures

A > All the Young Dudes – ★★★★.₅
There’s no actual cover for this one because it’s a fanfiction available on AO3. Now, I know what you’re thinking. We’re counting fanfiction now? Honestly, this one is on Goodreads which is the qualifier for the NEWTs but it’s also 526.969 words long. That makes it good enough to go on the list, right? I absolutely adored this fanfic, and it might be one of the best Remus Lupin/Sirius Black stories I’ve ever read.

E > Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller – ★★★★★
Another epic read. I read this in one day. I can’t even describe the rollercoaster ride my emotions were on while devouring this book. Anger, sadness, happiness… I felt it all. If you haven’t read this YA contemporary novel yet, fix that right now. This story is about a Texan girl who is driving hours out of her way to find pills to get an (illegal) abortion, as abortion has become illegal in Texas.

charms and DADA

Charms E > Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition vol. 6 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★
I sped through these bind-ups in August even though they’re all 500+ pages.

Charms O > Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition vol. 9 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★★
I can’t believe I finished this manga in August! I can’t believe it’s over! I wasn’t READY YET.

DADA O > To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo – ★★★★
Another library book I really enjoyed. I’d seen some of my favorite bloggers give positive reviews to this YA fantasy centered around a siren who kills princes and a prince who kills sirens. Did I love it? Yes, I really did! It was a fantastic read, and I can’t wait to see what Alexandra Christo will write next.

transfiguration

A > The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate #1) by J.Y. Yang – ★★★★.₅
I put off reading this SFF novella for ages which I’m now kicking myself for. It blew my expectations out of the water. If you’re looking for diverse SFF to add to your to-read list, go for the Tensorate series of novellas. I promise they won’t disappoint.

E > Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition vol. 7 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★.₅
Like I mentioned before, I flew through this manga in August. I think I read over 2000 pages worth of FMA alone.

O > Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition vol. 8 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★★
The final 6 volumes of this series were so captivating! It was all came to a close in an epic manner.


That’s it, everything I read in the month of August! I did DNF one book, which was The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. 20 pages in I knew I wouldn’t like it, so I decided to just let it go.

I managed to pass all the exams needed to become a curse breaker and I’m so proud of myself! I will graduate Hogwarts with an Outstanding in Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, and Transfiguration as well as an Exceeds Expectations in Care of Magical Creatures. Not a bad resume, in my opinion!