recommendations from my favorite genre (some more fantasy for you all)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, we’re talking about books from our favorite genre. For me, that’s fantasy. I’ll try to give some recommendations I think a lot of you haven’t read yet. Here are my picks for this week.

A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke
This fantasy novel is perfect for a cosy winter day. It’s a polar fantasy, in which the main character goes on a quest to the Goddess to save her village after the red lights in the sky appear. After all, red is a warning.

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco
I want more people to read this incredible Asian-inspired fantasy trilogy. It’s one of my favorite series, and I own them all in hardcover. If you know me, you realize that’s a big deal. I usually buy paperback only. It has witches, necromancy, betrayal, royalty, and battling kingdoms.

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova
I have seen quite a lot of people talking about Elise Kova’s Air Awakens series, but not necessarily about her Loom Saga. This is a new adult fantasy series in which the Five Guilds were conquered by the Dragon King. Ari is doing everything she can, as an engineer turned thief, to thwart the Dragon usurpers. It’s brilliant! By making this list, I’m also reminding myself to finally read the third book…

Dreamer’s Pool (Blackthorn & Grim #1) by Juliet Marillier
I’ve mentioned Juliet Marillier quite often, because she’s such an underrated author when it comes to fantasy. Dreamer’s Pool follows Blackthorn and Grim, who live on the fringe of a mysterious forest. Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance in exchange for freedom, and now she has to spend 7 years assisting those who need her help.

Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters #1) by Juliet Marillier
I’ve been in love with this series since I was a teenager, and I’m still urging people to read it to this day. The first book is the story of 7 siblings, 1 sister and 6 brothers, who have been cursed by their stepmother. The 6 brothers have turned into swans, and the only way Sorcha can save them is by weaving them shirts from weeds with painful thorns and not uttering a sound until she can put the clothes around their necks.

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
Out of all of Holly Black’s novels, I feel like I barely see anyone talk about White Cat. I absolutely loved this urban fantasy trilogy, so I’m boosting it here. The main character, Cassel, comes from a worker family (think maffia) and has conned his way into a fancy school. I’d suggest listening to the audiobooks of these, as they’re narrated by Jesse Eisenberg.

His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik
Once again, a popular author in the bookish community, but an frequently overlooked series. Temeraire follows Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire, during the Napoleonic Wars. Sounds epic, doesn’t it?

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
For those of you who are craving a graphic novel, I’d recommend Nimona. Nimona is a young shapeshifter who wants to become the sidekick of a villain. Together, they battle the good side! But is it really the “good” side?

Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers #1) by Rachel Aaron
Another urban fantasy for you all, and another dragon book! Heartstrikers focuses on Julius, the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan. He’s always looked down upon by the others because he’s a nice dragon. Dragons aren’t supposed to be nice. It has magic, dragons, ghosts, ancient feuds, evil, scheming and backstabbing, and everything you could ever want.

Sunbolt (Sunbolt Chronicles #1) by Intisar Khanani
A very underrated fantasy series to close off my list. Hitomi gets caught working for the Shadow League, an underground movement, by Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame and she’ll need every ounce of courage and magical powers she can summon to escape. Be prepared and buy the second book immediately, though, because the first one is very short and you’ll be left wanting more.

Have you read any of these books? Which fantasy novels would you recommend me?

My favorite audiobooks | #TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, I’m talking about audiobooks! I go through phases throughout the year. There are months in which I listen to quite a few audiobooks, and there are months I don’t listen to any.

I do believe that audiobooks are such a gift to readers all over the world for so many reasons. If English is not your first language, it can help you with pronunciation. Or if you’re learning a different language, it can improve your fluency, vocabulary and pronunciation. If you are always on-the-go and busy, audiobooks allow you to read while doing tasks such as cleaning, cooking, driving, working out, and more. That’s why I love them as well, multitasking. If you have a learning disorder like dyslexia, or have difficulty reading in physical format for any reason whatsoever, audiobooks allow you to consume the stories in a way that works for you. Don’t come at me with the opinion that listening to an audiobook is not reading, because that’s ableist and ridiculous.

Here are some of the audiobooks I’ve listened to in the past few years and would recommend to every single person in the world.

Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
I listened to this novella as an audiobook at the start of 2019, and absolutely loved it. If you aren’t used to listening to audiobooks, I would highly recommend starting with Binti. As it’s a novella, it only takes about 2.5 hours to listen to it – if you don’t change the reading pace. Robin Miles does a fantastic job bringing the story to life, and I’d like to listen to more of her narrations.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
A novel told in verse, on my recommendations list? Who would’ve thought. I don’t read much poetry or novels in verse because I tend to have difficulty connecting with the writing style. I’m not used to it, and it hinders the reading experience for me. That’s why I decided to listen to this instead of reading it myself. Jason Reynolds narrates it himself, which is truly a perfect choice. After all, he knows best where to put the emphasis and where to pause. I think that listening to this book made it much more of an emotional read for me, and led to it having a bigger impact than it would’ve otherwise.

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan
I listened to this audiobook while I was traveling last year. I find that audiobooks are perfect for traveling for me, because I tend to take trips on my own. If you think I should make a post on why I love solo travel so much, let me know! I could read this book while exploring a new city, and it was perfect. I know this book has some problems, but I had such a good time listening to it! It made me laugh out loud several times, and always managed to put me in a good mood.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t think this would work as an audiobook. This science fiction novel is told through different formats such as interviews, surveillance footage, official reports, and so on. How would that translate into audio? Wouldn’t you miss out on the true experience? I’m happy to say that the audiobook is an incredible way to consume this story. It was so immersive and captivating! It’s a full cast production, so if you’re worried about 1 person narrating different characters, this might be the way to go for you.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch
I’ve always been worried about listening to fantasy novels on audio. When reading a fantasy novel, it’s very important to have a good grasp on the world, history and magic to understand the book. I thought that listening to the audiobook would hinder the way I absorb that information. The Gentleman Bastard series was one of the first fantasy series I ever listened to on audio, and it was a fantastic experience. I definitely want to listen to more books narrated by Michael Page.

The Crown Tower (Riyria Chronicles #1) by Michael J. Sullivan
If you’ve been reading my blog posts for a while, you’ll know how much I love this series and world. While I read the Riyria Revelations in paperback version, I listened to the audiobooks of the prequel series. Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds, this series chronicles the start of Riyria – when Hadrian and Royce first meet.

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
I listened to this entire trilogy on audio, and I think that’s one of the main reasons I loved it so much. They are narrated by Jesse Eisenberg which has lead to me forever associating Cassel with Jesse. He has a very specific way of talking, and thus narrating, but it really worked for me. I remember listening to one of the books in the trilogy while on a trip to Dublin in 2016! The fun thing about listening to audiobooks while traveling is that I’ll always associate those books with wandering the streets of a certain place.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
I’m 100% sure I wouldn’t have loved this book as much as I did if I had read the physical copy instead of listening to it. The narrator brings Monty to life, and makes the dialogue, banter and sarcasm even better. If you haven’t read this book, I would highly recommend listening to it! It made me laugh, smile, and even snort at times. 10/10, would listen to again.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Another book I listened to while traveling last year. You see a trend here? I really should have read this book in 2017,  but I didn’t. I found it quite intimidating since so many people loved it and kept praising it. The audiobook seemed more accessible to me for some reason, and I didn’t feel as intimidated when listening to it. Now I’m convinced the audiobook is the best way to read this book.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Clearly, I couldn’t make this list without including Harry Potter. As for the audiobook, I highly recommend the ones narrated by Stephen Fry. I know everyone talks about the Jim Dale narration, but Stephen Fry is honestly the best narrator of Harry Potter.


Listening to more audiobooks is definitely something I want to do in 2019! I listened to more than before in 2018 too, but there’s always room for improvement. In a lot of these cases, listening to the book truly added to my reading experience and I don’t want to miss out on that in the future. Have you listened to any of these books? What are your favorite audiobooks? Who are your favorite narrators?

Books I have recommended to my friends and family

While everyone who knows me is aware of how much I love to read, I don’t end up recommending books to my friends and family often. Obviously, I’m not counting my blogger/vlogger friends in this list. I most certainly consider you to be my friends (looking at you, Lovelies), but we talk about books all the time. For the sake of this post, I am focusing on friends I’ve made outside of the bookish community, like at university.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This is the book I’ve recommended the most, I think. I made my mom buy a Dutch copy at a book sale, which she ended up loving. She then lent it to my aunt, who loved it as well. I’ve lent my English copy to one of my best friends from university, who loved it to, and lent it to her brother before returning it to me. I’ve become the official promoter of this book! It’s one of the best WWII stories I’ve read so far.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I don’t think I’d still recommend this book today. However, when I first read it I did absolutely love it. So I lent it to the same university friend I mentioned before, and she loved it too. I also think another uni friend read it because of my recommendation, and loved it.

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan
This is one I am currently lending out to my friend! We watched the movie together in theaters and she really loved it. So did I, by the way. I brought my copy of the first book for her so she could give the book a try as well, since they do differ in certain aspects.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
I lent this to a friend as well, during university. It took some convincing for her to give it a try, which is understandable given the topic of the book. If you’re not aware, it’s about a brother and sister falling in love. The idea grossed both of us out, but the book itself is fantastic.


Those are the 4 books I have recommended to my friends and family! Not a lot, I know. I’m sure I’ve recommended other books too, but these are the ones I’m sure they actually read after my recommendation. Have you read any of these? Which books have you recommended to your family and friends?

 

Wintry Reads | #TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re talking about cozy/wintry reads. These are all books I loved, and think are perfect to read in winter. During winter, I tend to curl up with a big book I can really lose myself in. If that’s you as well, these books would be perfect for you!

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence
I love to read fantasy, especially in winter. I started this series in the beginning of 2018, and fell in love with it. It follows Nona who is taken to the Convent of Sweet Mercy to train and become a Sister. She has her heart set on being a Red Sister – a Sister of battle. Basically, it’s assassins, nuns, female friendships, and watching them grow up. The majority of the characters in this series are female.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I feel like this book is a wintry read for multiple reasons. First of all, it is set in New England and partly in winter which makes for a wonderfully fitting atmosphere. Second, this book requires you take your time to read it. Usually, I’m a quite fast reader. With The Secret History, I had to learn to read slowly and take my time with it. Which is perfect because it gets dark so early you might as well curl up and dedicate a few hours of your evening to this novel.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Maybe I associate this book with winter because I read it in December? Anyway, this is a historical fiction novel set during WWII, and it follows the lives of two French sisters. I don’t know why I feel like winter is a perfect time to read historical fiction or heartbreaking reads, but there you go. This is definitely one of them.

Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Like I said before, winter is the perfect time for long fantasy books (in my opinion). Obviously, I couldn’t make this list without putting a Brandon Sanderson novel on it. Warbreaker is one of my favorites, and it gets mentioned far less than the Stormlight Archive series or the Mistborn novels.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch
Another fantasy novel that will require quite a bit of your time. When I first started this series, it took me a while to get into it. Once I did, however, I flew through the rest of the book – and series. The perfect book for a cozy weekend inside!

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
I chose this book for the same reasons as some of the previous books. It’s a fantasy novel you can truly lose yourself in, provide you give it enough time and attention. Middle Earth is the first place I think of when choosing a fictional world to escape to! However, Tolkien’s books can be quite slow to read because he uses a lot of descriptions and incredibly long sentences. Once again, the perfect book for a night in front of the fireplace.

Running With Lions by Julian Winters
A much lighter read than the ones I’ve recommended so far! This is an adorable story about Sebastian who goes back to summer training camp and sees his childhood friend, Emir, again. His feelings might not be entirely those of a friend. It’s wholesome, cute, wonderful and will make you feel so happy.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
I have no idea why this feels like the perfect winter read to me, but it does. It’ll warm your heart in these cold, heartless times? Yeah, let’s go with that. It’s one of my favorite science fiction books so far, and the characters are top notch.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Another WWII book! Read this if you want to cry. Then watch the movie and cry some more.

This Mortal Coil (The Mortal Coil #1) by Emily Suvada
This book is perfect for winter because after reading it, you’ll want to retreat to a cabin in the middle of nowhere and avoid human contact for the rest of your life. It’s about a virus that breaks out in North America, and causes you to eat other humans until the virus makes you blow up. The moment it blows up, it infects everyone who breathes it in. The scary part is that the virus was probably created by humans (by accident) after tweaking genes too much. It’s scarily realistic.


These 10 books are perfect for long winter nights in front of the fireplace. Have you read any of these books? Which books would you recommend as wintry reads?

Binge-worthy tv shows and movies | top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Queer Eye // I actually binge-watched this show myself, which doesn’t happen very often. But I watched all 2 seasons within a few days because I couldn’t stop myself. This show is so fantastic! I usually don’t like ‘reality tv’ because it’s so needlessly dramatic and negative, but Queer Eye actually has a very positive vibe.

Sense8 // One of my favorite shows, ever. If you haven’t watched this, go do so right now. It’s about a group of people around the world who are suddenly reborn as sensates, which means they can communicate with their mind. It’s not so much talking, as they can visit the other, lend their skills to the other, etc. They kind of share a mind, yet retain their own personalities at the same time. I LOVE THIS. Also, this series has: a trans woman playing a trans character, a Korean woman protraying a Korean character, Hispanic actors portraying Hispanic characters, an Indian woman portraying an Indian character, a German guy playing a German character, etc. THIS IS HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE.

Just Between Lovers (or: Rain or Shine) // This is one of my favorite K-dramas I’ve watched so far. It’s a very emotional and interesting story, especially because the main characters have been through so much pain in their lives. Also, Lee Junho is a beautiful, beautiful man.

Skam // Another one of my favorite series. This is a Norwegian tv show about teenagers living their life. Each season focuses on a different person within the group of friends. This show is definitely binge-watch material! Season 3 is my favorite, just saying.

Stranger Things // Another show I binge-watched too. I don’t think I need to explain my reasoning behind this choice because I’m fairly certain everyone has watched this already.

Mindhunter // This was a quite interesting show on serial killers and the start of the profiling unit within the FBI. I actually read the book this show is based on years and years ago, and remember being utterly fascinated by it. I think this is an incredible adaptation, and I wonder when the next season will be out.

The Lord of the Rings // Who is surprised? Absolutely no one. Yes, I know these movies are so incredibly long and that binge-watching them takes some serious commitment. I don’t care, you should still do it. In fact, I might dedicate a day in the coming weeks to binge-watching Lord of the Rings again. It’s been too long since I’ve seen the movies.

Harry Potter // Once again, no surprise and no explanation necessary. You just have to watch them, preferably immediately after each other.

iZombie // I really love this show! No spoilers though, because I haven’t caught up with the latest season yet. When I first started watching it, I watched one episode after the other. I think it may be my favorite zombie-related story so far! I actually saw Rahul Kohli and Rose McIver at London Film and Comic Con in July! 

Agent Carter // Guess who is still bitter about this show being cancelled? ME. This show is so good, you’ll want to watch it in one go. Yes, Peggy Carter. Yes.


Those are 10 shows and movies I think everyone should (binge-)watch.
Have you watched any of these? 

Do you have any recommendations for me?

Jolien Recommends: Difficult/Taboo Topics

I’m here for the first time in a while with a recommendations post (and video)! I thought I’d talk about 5 books I’ve read in the past few years that deal with some difficult or taboo topics.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma // This is the most taboo topic of all 5 books. If you don’t know, this book revolves around Lochan and Maya as they fall in love. The problem? They’re siblings. This book broke my heart. I know this is a difficult topic. Even thinking about falling in love with my brother makes me nauseous. But this book is worth picking up. It really is worth reading.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers // I’ve talked about this book quite frequently ever since I read it a few months back. I absolutely adored it. This is the story of Romy, a teenage girl and rape victim. This book made me both angry and sad. Courtney Summers wrote an incredible book. This should be required reading in every school because it not only deals with rape and trauma, but also with slut-shaming and victim-blaming.

Down From the Mountain by Elizabeth Fixmer // I read Down from the Mountain in 2015, so it’s been a while. But I thought this was a really interesting book about Eva, who was raised on the compound of The Righteous Path. So it’s a fictional story set in a cult.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp // This Is Where It Ends revolves around a school shooting. The entire story covers only 54 minutes, but I felt every single emotion on the planet while reading it. 

V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram // Maybe a weird choice to some? But I think that sex and virginity are still not talked about enough. And we still don’t respect other people’s choices enough. You want to lose your virginity at 16? If you are ready for it, that’s fine. You want to wait until you’re married? THAT IS FINE TOO. You know what? As long as it is your choice, every decision is FINE.


Those are my 5 recommendations of books that deal with topics that are either taboo, or not talked about often enough. Have you read any of these? Do you have any to recommend me?

Top 5 Wednesday: Books for Hufflepuffs!

Hi everyone! I’m back with another #T5W today, and the topic is books for your Hogwarts House. If you don’t already know, I’m a proud Hufflepuff. So here are my recommendations! As always, you can find all the Top 5 Wednesday information in the description box of my video.

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling: 20th anniversary Hufflepuff edition
  2. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch
  3. Quiet by Susan Cain
  4. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  5. Plant Power by Lisette Kreischer