Reading wrap up # 1 / January 2018

Since January I have been reading a lot more than I used to. This may be because I mostly read romance. I can’t keep up with my wrap ups so I have decided to split them up. I hope you enjoy this format, please leave your opinion in the comments down below.

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Addicted & Calloway Sisters by Becca & Krista Ritchie / Series Review *no spoilers*

*Reading order & my ratings for each installment*

FAVORITE SERIES I READ IN 2017

 

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TOP 10 favorite books (standalones & series) / 2017

Favorite Standalones of 2017

 1. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

★★★★★

I loved this book so much that I read twice this year. We follow Vanessa, an assistant (and many other things) to the top defensive football player called Aiden Graves. She has been working for him for 2 years without any recognition. He is very closed off and drives her crazy. She has bigger dreams and decides to quit her job and starts her dream job. One day Aiden shows up at her door asking a huge favor that could also help her if she accepts.

I fell in love with these 2 characters. In the beginning, Vanessa doesn’t take any BS from her former boss. She wants him to treat her as a human being. Aiden slowly starts to get attached to Vanessa and their chemistry was off the charts! Mariana Zapata’s slow burn romance was done perfectly. The audiobook is also amazing!

 

 

2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

★★★★★

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

France,1939, Vianne Mauric says goodbye to her husband who leaves for the front and she stays in her village with their daughter. Vianne is forced to take in a Nazi soldier and suddenly her every move is under scrutiny. We also follow Vianne’s sister who is much younger and how she deals with WW II. These sister are very different from each other. Vianne tries to keep a low profile because she doesn’t want to endanger her daughter on the other hand Isabelle is ready to fight back. Isabelle joins the Resistance.  The story is very complex because it combines 2 strong but very different characters who have the survive under different circumstances. We get first love, friendship and sisterhood in its most raw and emotional times. This book will not leave you the same way when you started. You feel like even women where fighters through WW II and I felt very empowered.

3. A l’ombre de nos secrets by Lily Haime

★★★★★

How can I do this book justice? It’s impossible. One of my favorite French authors combined 2 of my favorite things. A forbidden M/M romance and WW II. I am a sucker for anything WW II related. We follow Julien, a 19-year-old boy who lives on a big farm, he inherited from his parents. We follow a close-knit group of friends/family. Their farm is invaded by the Germans and they are forced to live together. Engel, a soldier from the Wehrmacht, grows close to Julien but their relationship is so forbidden. I can’t describe to you how strong my feelings were when I read this book. You’ll feel so conflicted and it will tear you apart. This story is so complex and beautiful for different reasons that I don’t want to spoil. This book is sadly enough not translated yet but I really it will be in the future.

 

 

 

4. How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

★★★★★

We follow Grace who moves a lot around with her unstable mother. Grace and her mother move in with her mother’s new boyfriend. She is emotionally trapped because she can’t leave her mother but her mother isn’t responsible at all. I almost screamed multiple times with frustration throughout this book. I couldn’t believe that Grace’s mother was so blind. Grace meets a girl called Eva, who pulls her into her adventures. Their friendship slowly blossoms into something beautiful and so raw. I felt like I was Grace and my world opened up with her. This F/F romance was beautiful and so strong. I can’t wait to read an other book by her. This book made me cry buckets.

 

 

 

5. Kulti by Mariana Zapata

★★★★★

Mariana Zapata obviously became one of my favorite authors of this year. After reading Wait For It and The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, I tackled Kulti which came close to being my favorite book by her. When Sal ,female football player, discovers her new coach is the man she worshipped when she was younger. He is older than her and got married so she had “break-up” with him but after a week of him being her coach she doesn’t understand want she saw in him. Reiner Kulti is a quiet asshole who she hates. Their hate-to-love relationship was slow but so gooooodddd. Their banter really made this book for me. There is also a strong family bond which I immensely appreciated. Mariana Zapata’s female characters are so refreshing because I often dislike female protagonists in NA but her protagonists are strong and hilarious in all of her novels.

 

 

6. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

★★★★★

I decided to read the Host this year because I used to be a HUGE fan of Twilight. I didn’t have high expectations but I re-discovered things I love from Stephenie Meyer. She created an interesting where aliens aren’t really bad. She creates very endearing characters and close-knit communities that you can’t help to grow attached to. Her writing is easy and her story is cheesy but I loved it! Melanie’s body has been taken over by a host called Wanda but Melanie refuses to fade away. Melanie fills Wanda’s mind with images of her community so Wanda is “forced” to find out where they are situated. Wanda isn’t welcomed into the community because these humans are scared she’ll give their location away. Jared (Melanie’s boyfriend) treats her horribly. She is accepted by Jeb and Jamie (Melanie’s brother). Wanda helps the humans to raid supermarkets and grows close to Ian. There is this strange “love triangle” but not really. The different dynamics and bonds really made me feel close to everyone. Not a book for everyone but I really loved it!

 

Honorable Mentions (standalones)

Favorite Series of 2017

1. Addicted to You/Calloway Sisters series by Becca & Kristie Ritchie

I read mostly this series in 2017 but I finished it in 2018. I had to put this series in my list because it finally made me read again in the second-half of this year. There is a clear pattern in my favorites, I love close-knit friend groups and this series contains a very close friend group. These series are intertwined with each other and can’t be read separately. It’s my favorite series of all time. It combines a lot of different characters and their struggles. I really recommend just reading this series without knowing too much. This series gets better with every book.

2. Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) by Cassandra Clare

OMG, Lord of Shadows was such a perfect sequel with a horrible cliffhanger. Everything I say about this sequel is a spoiler so I’ll be brief. I can’t get over this beautiful family/friend group. We finally get everyone’s POV, so we get a lot character development. Relationships are tested and unlikely friendship blossoms. This was explosive and it will be a torture to wait for the next installment.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Galilée & Archimède (L’effet Papillon) by Lily Haime

This duology follows Alexandre, a teenager, who lives with a homophobic father and a mother who doesn’t stand up to him. His father is verbally and physically abusive and so when Alex meets Jamie this becomes a problem. Their passionate and forbidden relationship is so heartbreaking and beautiful. Lily Haime’s writing style is poetic but not pretentious. I fell in love with this duology but this hasn’t been translated, sadly enough.

 

 

 

 

4. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

This was such a great discovery for me! I discovered the Shadowhunter world this year and it was an amazing experience. I read last year TID and TMI beautifully compliments each other and I love how Cassandra Clare intertwines her series.

 

Disappointing & Worst Books / 2017

1. Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

★★★

This NA had a promising synopsis but the story and characters fell flat. It was supposed to be a Cinderella-inspired romance, a 24-year-old waitress and single-mother saves a hockey icon called Brett Madden from a car accident. Catherine is trust into the spotlight but wants everyone to forget what happened and doesn’t want to reveal her identity because she had her fair share attention in her little town in the past. Their relationship only starts after 70% into the book. Catherine obsesses over the media and their relationship was suddenly rushed at the end. This has such a strange pacing that didn’t fit the story at all. Very disappointed because this could have been a new fave.

 

 

 

2. Geekerella by Ashley Poston

★★★

I had the same expectations for this book as Until It Fades. It was pitched as a YA Cinderella-retelling and I felt underwhelmed after reading it. A relationship can feel only natural if the characters have real contact. The “communication” between the 2 characters are through 80% of the book based up on text messages. It’s one of my pet peeves. I feel like an author is ‘lazy’ when they only use text message as a means for communication. It doesn’t give a lot of depth to the characters. I liked other parts of the story but the story began way too late for me.

 

 

 

 

3. The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons

This was supposed to be a magnificent conclusion to the “great” romance between Alexander and Tatiana. This conclusion ruined to whole trilogy for me. There are some problematic aspects in the first 2 books but this book was riddled with problematic stuff. I don’t understand how this was published, honestly I am baffled.

Alexander cheats on Tatiana and blames is on her. He verbally and physically abuses her and constantly tries to get her to quit her job so she could have more kids. He pushes her to do things that she doesn’t want to do. Alexander was horrible in this book and I was disgusted and felt very uncomfortable reading the book.

 

 

 

 

4. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

★★★

There was so much for this book so I placed my expectations pretty high, of course. The story and characters were bland and interchangeable. Not one of them stood out for me. The story and the magic were only on the surface and nothing had any depth. Very lackluster!

 

 

 

 

 

5. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

★★

This novella left a bad taste in my mouth. Levana is horrible character with no redeemable qualities. She has a crush on her guard so she decides to manipulate with her power her guard after his wife death. It made me very uncomfortable and there is also a ‘rape’ scene which is not properly addressed. I couldn’t belief that Marissa Meyer wrote this book so I hope she redeems herself with Renegades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

★★★

I overall really liked this book but the hype gave the readers way too high expectations. My main problem is Monty, the main character. He was very egocentric and only complains about his problems. He was so blind to his friends’ problems. His self-centered attitude ruined a little bit the story for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

★★★★

It wasn’t a horrible conclusion but it was a pretty big disappointment. I didn’t like a few things happened. Some character development felt forced and it seemed like she forced some diversity into her book. Some battle scenes were a little lack luster and overall I didn’t feel a lot chemistry between the characters like in the previous book.

Finally Fall / Book Tag

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!

★★★★★

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo has such a vivid setting (it’s also one of my favs). Six of Crows has a vivid setting inspired by Venice and Amsterdam. I also speak Dutch so I enjoyed how Leigh played with Dutch words and places. When you read Six of Crows, you can not imagine yourself there with the crew.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

 

★★★★★

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, explores grief and loss with its complicated layers. Adam doesn’t pretend to have the “remedy” or “solution” to grief. He shows in a realistic way how dealing with grief can be messy. How people are complex and not perfect while dealing with their conflicting emotions. He doesn’t try to sugar coat anything and makes you feel every emotion with the main character called Griffin. Griffin has to deal with the death of his ex-boyfriend. Griffin makes a lot of mistakes along the way but that makes him real and relatable. Silvera successfully managed to explore the heavy topic, grief.

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, is a book I read on my own when I was 13 years old. Her autobiography is in every Flemish library on display. So one day with school I decided to read her biography. I don’t know if I grasped every detail but I do remember learning a lot of WW II (in Holland) and how her family was affected by it. I read almost every famous WWII biography after that and taught myself a lot by reading books, watching documentaries. I became obsessed and still am to this day. I am currently watching a 6 episode series on Canvas about kids from the collaboration. I would highly recommend it for my Belgian readers out there.

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.

The Blackthorn family from The Dark Artifices, is one of my favorite fictional families and I would love to be part of it! (from the Shadowhunters)

5. The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

sorry guys, I am lazy to this shit.

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

I had a hard time finding a book for this but I finally found something that could fit this question. The Saga series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples is narrated by the couple’s newborn.

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.

I had to change this question so I could answer this question with one of my favorite book. Elle s’appelait Sarah or also known as Sarah’s key. This book follows 2 story lines that intertwine with each other throughout the story. The author talks about a dark & taboo subject : France’s collaboration with the Nazis. It’s a dark part of France’s history that isn’t talked about often because it’s so well hidden. Sarah is a ten year old girl leaving in France, one day she is brutally arrested by the French police but before the event, she manages to lock up her brother and hide him from the police. She gets deported and separated from her parents. This story is not for the fainthearted out there but definitely a story I recommend. The movie is also amazing!

8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

9. Fall returns every year: name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is an old favorite that I would like to reread in the future. It’s also the perfect fall read!

10. Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: share your favourite cozy reading “accessories”!

  • a fire
  • burning candles
  • coffee/tea
  • a warm & cozy blanket

If anyone has done this tag, please comment it down below so I can check it out!

Original creator’s video