TBR | January 2023

Hello everyone!

This year I decided to bring my TBR Lists again, so today I’m bringing you my TBR List for January! I’m very excited to bring these TBR Lists again because it helps a lot with giving some structure to my reading and reading goals for the year.

So, without further ado, here are the books I’m planning on reading in January:

  1. The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner
    Recently I’ve started rereading “The Mazer Runner” series again and right now (the time I’m writing this TBR List), I’m almost done with the second book, “The Scorch Trials”! I’m very excited to read this series again, and I’m planning on listening to the audiobook for the third book this month.
  2. The Kill Order (The Maze Runner #0.4) by James Dashner
    So I’m not only planning on reading the third book, but the first prequel as well! I’m listening this as an audiobook as well.
  3. The Club by Ellery Lloyd
    I recently bought this book because it became popular here in Portugal! I’m excited to read this one and see what it’s all about. It has been a while since I have read a thriller, so this will be the first one I’ve picked up in a while. Hopefully I’ll get to read another book from my physical TBR!
  4. Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa
    Another book I bought that has been on my physical TBR for a few months now. It’s a fairly small book, so I think this will be great motivation for me to start the year!
  5. #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
    I started reading this book last year, and I’m planning on finishing in January. This will be my ebook of the month! We’ll see how that goes.

And there you have it friends, my TBR list for January. I hope you liked this post! Let me know if you read any of these or if you have any recommendations.

Thank you for reading, have a great day!

Merry Christmas!

Hello friends!

I just want to take a few minutes to wish you all a merry Christmas! I hope you are spending the holidays with the ones you love, surrounded by tons of love, warmth and great food! Most importantly, I hope you have a lot of fun during this magical season, and who knows, maybe Santa will bring you a few books that have been on your TBR list for a while 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful festive season. See you in the next post!

My Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2023

Hello friends!

With a new year right around the corner comes amazing new releases.

I’ve been wandering around Goodread for some inspiration for this post, but I admit it wasn’t easy. There weren’t a lot of book releases I was excited about, so I did some digging on some of the authors I adore. So after some time, I found 8 books that I want to read that will be released in 2023!

So here are the books I found! Let’s get into it:

1. Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The author Silvia Moreno-Garcia caught my attention with the book “Mexican Gothic”, and when I saw this synopsis I got a very similar feeling. It also fits the genre since it’s a Mexican historical mystery novel, so I’m very curious about this one!

Synopsis:

“Montserrat has always been overlooked. She’s a talented sound editor, but she’s left out of the boys’ club running the film industry in ’90s Mexico City. And she’s all but invisible to her best friend, Tristán, a charming if faded soap opera star, though she’s been in love with him since childhood.
Then Tristán discovers his new neighbor is the cult horror director Abel Urueta, and the legendary auteur claims he can change their lives—even if his tale of a Nazi occultist imbuing magic into highly volatile silver nitrate stock sounds like sheer fantasy. The magic film was never finished, which is why, Urueta swears, his career vanished overnight. He is cursed.
Now the director wants Montserrat and Tristán to help him shoot the missing scene and lift the curse… but Montserrat soon notices a dark presence following her, and Tristán begins seeing the ghost of his ex-girlfriend.
As they work together to unravel the mystery of the film and the obscure occultist who once roamed their city, Montserrat and Tristán may find that sorcerers and magic are not only the stuff of movies.”

2. Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

I became a fan of Rachel Lynn Solomon when I first read “The Ex Talk”. I just thought the book was super creative for a romance, and now I want more. That’s the main reason why I added this one to my TBR for next year!

Synopsis:

“A ghostwriter and a struggling actor help each other on the page and in the bedroom in this steamy romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling author of The Ex Talk.
Chandler Cohen has never felt more like the ghost in “ghostwriter” until she attends a signing for a book she wrote—and the author doesn’t even recognize her. The evening turns more promising when she meets a charming man at the bar and immediately connects with him. But when all their sexual tension culminates in a spectacularly awkward hookup, she decides this is one night better off forgotten.
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Her next project is ghostwriting a memoir for Finn Walsh, a C-list actor best known for playing a lovable nerd on a cult classic werewolf show who now makes a living appearing at fan conventions across the country. But Chandler knows him better from their one-night stand of hilarious mishaps.
Chandler’s determined to keep their partnership as professional as possible, but when she admits to Finn their night together wasn’t as mind-blowing as he thought it was, he’s distraught. He intrigues her enough that they strike a deal: when they’re not working on his book, Chandler will school Finn in the art of satisfaction. As they grow closer both in and out of the bedroom, they must figure out which is more important, business or pleasure—or if there’s a way for them to have both.”

3. Borrow My Heart by Kasie West

I mean… it’s a Kasie West book, no more explanations needed. And apparently this is a series, so bonus points for that!

Synopsis:

“When a girl overhears a guy getting verbally destroyed by his friends for being catfished, she jumps in to save the day—and pretends to be his online crush. A young adult romance from the critically acclaimed author of Places We’ve Never Been.
Wren is used to being called a control freak. She doesn’t care; sticking to the list of rules she created for herself helps her navigate life. But when a cute guy named Asher walks through the door of her neighborhood coffee shop, the rulebook goes out the window.
Asher is cute, charming . . . and being catfished by his online crush. So Wren makes an uncharacteristically impulsive decision—she pretends to be the girl he’s waiting for to save him from embarrassment. Suddenly she’s fake-dating a boy she knows nothing about. And it’s… amazing.
It’s not long before Asher has her breaking even more of her own rules. But will he forgive her when he finds out she’s not who she says she is? Wren’s not so sure. . . . After all, rules exist for a reason.”

4. Heartstopper: Volume Five by Alice Oseman

I love this series so much! As you can see, this book still has no cover because I feel like there are a lot of things that are not defined around this book – probably between the editor and author. I’m super excited to read the conclusion to the series, and hopefully this will be released this year like Goodreads is promising!

Synopsis: 

It doesn’t have a synopsis yet, sorry!

5. Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire

Another series I fell in love with from the start and I’m very excited to continue reading. If you have never read it and you love fantasy series, this is a must. The best part is that the books are fairly short!

Synopsis:

“A young girl discovers an infinite variety of worlds in this standalone tale in the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Wayward Children series from Seanan McGuire, Lost in the Moment and Found.
Welcome to the Shop Where the Lost Things Go.
If you ever lost a sock, you’ll find it here.
If you ever wondered about favorite toy from childhood… it’s probably sitting on a shelf in the back.
And the headphones that you swore that this time you’d keep safe? You guessed it….
Antoinette has lost her father. Metaphorically. He’s not in the shop, and she’ll never see him again. But when Antsy finds herself lost (literally, this time), she finds that however many doors open for her, leaving the Shop for good might not be as simple as it sounds.
And stepping through those doors exacts a price.
Lost in the Moment and Found tells us that childhood and innocence, once lost, can never be found.”

6. Five Survive by Holly Jackson

Another book I’m very excited about is a new release coming from the amazing Holly Jackson, titled “Five Survive”. I added this to my TBR for the author once again, because I fell in love with the “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” series. I’m very excited to see what this one is about!

Synopsis:

“The brand new unmissable crime thriller from Holly Jackson, best-selling, award-winning author of the Good Girl’s Guide to Murder trilogy.
Eight hours.
Six friends.
One sniper…
Eighteen year old Red and her friends are on a road trip in an RV, heading to the beach for Spring Break. It’s a long drive but spirits are high. Until the RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere. There’s no mobile phone reception and nobody around to help. And as the wheels are shot out, one by one, the friends realise that this is no accident. There’s a sniper out there in the dark watching them and he knows exactly who they are. One of the group has a secret that the sniper is willing to kill for.
A game of cat-and-mouse plays out as the group desperately tries to get help and to work out which member of the group is the target. Buried secrets are forced to light in the cramped, claustrophobic setting of the RV, and tensions within the group will reach deadly levels. Not everyone will survive the night.”

7. Snow & Poison by Melissa de la Cruz

As you probably know by now, I’m a huge fan of fantasy retellings, so when I saw that Melissa de la Cruz is going to release a Snow White retelling, I immediately added this to my 2023 TBR!

Synopsis:

Raven-black hair, red lips, and skin as white as snow—Lady Sophie has led a sheltered life. . . . But that tale ends here.
Duchy of Bavaria, 1621. The palace is abuzz with excitement. The widowed Duke Maximilian is marrying a lady named Claudia, and at last, introducing his daughter Sophie to Bavaria’s high society.
At the ball, Sophie charms the dashing Prince Philip, heir to the Spanish throne. But as days pass and Sophie and Philip fall deeply and dangerously in love, the king of Spain orders Philip’s return home and his engagement to a princess.
Heartbroken, Sophie finds comfort in Claudia. But might the rumors of her stepmother’s dealings with magic be true? And when conflict between kingdoms puts a target on Sophie’s back, can a vanished witch be the key ally she needs? A new tale begins: one where Sophie must shield her heart, fight for life life, and protect her home.”

8. The Wake-Up Call by Beth O’Leary

Another book from Beth O’Leary means another book to add to my TBR. She writes amazing romance books, and I’m sure this will not be an exception! 

Synopsis:

“Two sworn enemies. A failing hotel. One chance to save the season…
It’s the busiest season of the year, and Forest Manor Hotel is quite literally falling apart. So when Izzy and Lucas are given the same shift on the hotel’s front desk, they have no choice but to put their differences aside and see it through.
The hotel won’t stay afloat beyond Christmas without some sort of miracle. But when Izzy returns a guest’s lost wedding ring, the reward convinces management that this might be the way to fix everything. With four rings still sitting in lost property, the race is on for Izzy and Lucas to save their beloved hotel – and their jobs.
As their bitter rivalry turns into something much more complicated, Izzy and Lucas begin to wonder if there’s more at stake here than the hotel’s future. Can the two of them make it through the season with their hearts intact?”

And there you have it friends, these are a few of my anticipated releases for 2023. Like I said, I found these because I did some digging on some of my favorite authors, but other than that I was having a hard time finding books I’m interested in reading.

Tell me about you, do you have any books you’re excited to read? Let me know so I can search them up!

Have a great day, see you in the next post!

Review | Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

“A man who finds his masculinity threatened by a powerful woman is no man at all,” he says. “You want someone who lifts you up, not tries to bring you down.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: tough parents, survival skills, exiles, swimming lessons, sabotage, trials, challenges, fears, strange stones and evil gods.

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: To win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year—or die trying.

This book was cute! It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Tricia Levenseller’s stories (mostly) because of her strong female main characters, and I was not disappointed once again!

So the author describes this book as a young adult “viking-inspired” story, and that’s exactly what you’re getting here. Don’t go into this thinking this is true to viking mythology, because you will be disappointed. It’s more of a fun and young approach of vikings! I personally think this worked out very nicely and it had a lot of fun fantasy elements that made the story interesting.

As I was saying in the beginning, I’m a big fan of Tricia’s books for a number of reasons. I love her main characters because they are very fierce, intelligent and strong, and I love reading books with great leads! In this case, the main character is Rasmira and she checks all of the boxes! She’s strong, independent and even the boys of her village fear her and her skills! Love that! 

Another thing I loved was the book theme. I think this is the first time I read a book inspired by vikings. And I also liked that it was fantasy (it’s more of a light fantasy kind of book though). The scenery was inspiring and very easy to picture. The writing is good and fast-paced, but I definitely feel like things slowed down a little from about halfway through the book. The first half was very exciting and had a small plot-twist that made my chin drop! That was very unexpected, and I loved that! It was hard to put the book down after that.

Like all of this author’s stories, we get a romance! The romance was okay, but I wish it had developed a little more. Still, I loved both characters (Rasmira and Soren) and I thought they were cute together. Outside of the romance, I also loved Iric! I admit I wasn’t super fond of him at the beginning because he seemed a little too rude for my own taste, but he quickly won my heart after I realized how wounded he was.If you’re considering reading any of Tricia Levenseller’s books, I would have to recommend “The Daughter of the Pirate King” duology because it’s my all time favorite from this author… but this viking-inspired story is nice too. It was fun and a breath of fresh air!

Review | The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Jason Fung

“But diet and exercise are not fifty-fifty partners like macaroni and cheese. Diet is Batman and exercise is Robin. Diet does 95 per cent of the work and deserves all the attention; so, logically, it would be sensible to focus on diet. Exercise is still healthy and important—just not equally important. It has many benefits, but weight loss is not among them. Exercise is like brushing your teeth. It is good for you and should be done every day. Just don’t expect to lose weight.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: human studies, vinegar, processed carbohydrates, fibers, calorie restriction, hormones, easy recipes, sugars, intermittent fasting, sleeping hours and meal planning.

Everything you believe about how to lose weight is wrong. Weight gain and obesity are driven by hormones—in everyone—and only by understanding the effects of insulin and insulin resistance can we achieve lasting weight loss.

In this highly readable and provocative book, Dr. Jason Fung sets out an original, robust theory of obesity that provides startling insights into proper nutrition. In addition to his five basic steps, a set of lifelong habits that will improve your health and control your insulin levels, Dr. Fung explains how to use intermittent fasting to break the cycle of insulin resistance and reach a healthy weight—for good.

I read this book a while ago, but I couldn’t write a review right after finishing the book because I wanted to let the teachings sink in first.
I want to start this review by saying I was a little scared of going into this knowing it’s a medical book. I was afraid of not fully understanding the author’s message because of the (possible) use of medical and technical language. My fear quickly vanished after reading the first part of the book: the author addresses this concern and says he wrote the book in a way that everyone could understand, because this is a book intended for everyone interested in the subject, no matter their background and education. And it was true. I went through this book quickly and I absorbed the information easily.
This was a life changing book for me. I’ve struggled with overeating and being overweight for a few years now, and I’m always looking for new information and new things to read on the subject. This was a very important read for me because I learned a lot and I applied a lot of the teachings to lose weight… and guess what? It worked perfectly! I still have weight to lose until I reach my goal, but I’m happy to say my habits have changed and I’ve lost a lot of weight so far!
Ok, now back to the book: what makes it so amazing? To me it was the fact that the author uses A LOT of human studies to back up every claim. This book is full of references to relevant studies on human behavior. It’s the kind of book that you will definitely take something from, even if you’re an expert in the subject because he covers a lot of areas. Not only does he explain what works and what doesn’t for weight loss, but it uses a lot of proof to back it up. For example, one of the things you’ll read in this book is the fact that calorie restriction does not influence weight loss. Another big thing is that what makes us gain weight is the unbalanced hormone levels. These two simple facts were very surprising to me, but after reading about the science behind it and the studies made on the subjects, I gained a new (and life changing) perspective which is now a huge part of my successful weight loss journey. I’m also very thankful for the author to end the book with a conclusion for what we should do for weight loss.
I cannot explain how important this book was in my life. I’m truly grateful this doctor took the time to explain all the science behind it for us to lead a healthier life. This is an amazing book and an essential read with anyone struggling with losing weight! I already added to my TBR list the other two books from this author: “The Cancer Code” and “The Diabetes Code”. Definitely recommend this one, it’s probably the best book I’ve read in 2022.

Review | The Book of Gothel by Mary McMyne

“Blessed is the snow that hides my path. Blessed is the lie that saves a life. Blessed is the woman who helps her kind.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: tall towers, a protective circle, memory loss, black curls, tailored dresses, figurines, true love, daggers, witches, fainting spells, golden eyes, midwives, wolf skin, rare fruits, true love and brave young women.

Everyone knows the story of Rapunzel in her tower, but do you know the story of the witch who put her there? Mary McMyne’s spellbinding debut reveals the truth behind the fairy tale—the truth they never wanted you to know, as only a witch might tell it.

“Smart, swift, sure-footed and fleet-winged, The Book of Gothel launches its magic from a most reliable source: the troubled heart. Mary McMyne is a magician.”—Gregory Maguire, NYT bestselling author of Wicked

Germany, 1156. With her strange black eyes and even stranger fainting spells, young Haelewise has never quite fit in. Shunned by her village, her only solace lies in the stories her mother tells of child-stealing witches, of princes in wolf-skins, and of an ancient tower cloaked in mist, where women will find shelter if they are brave enough to seek it.

When her mother dies, Haelewise is left unmoored. With nothing left for her in her village, she sets out to find the legendary tower her mother spoke of—a place called Gothel, where she meets a wise woman willing to take Haelewise under her wing. There, she discovers that magic is found not only in the realm of fairy tales.

But Haelewise is not the only woman to seek refuge at Gothel. It’s also a haven for a girl named Rika, who carries with her a secret the church strives to keep hidden. A secret that reveals a dark world of ancient spells and murderous nobles, behind the world Haelewise has always known.

“McMyne’s shimmering debut… is a sprawling epic, full of magic, love, and heartbreak. Fans of Circe and The Wolf and the Woodsman will devour this taut, empowering fairy tale.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

I don’t know what it is about retellings, but I just love them with all my heart! Especially when they are about well-known “villains” and their backstory. We all know about Rapunzel’s story and how she was stolen by a witch and kept locked in a tower. But in this book, we get a backstory for the witch who stole her: the infamous Mother Gothel. She was just a “normal” girl who wanted to live her life and who wanted to be with her best friend Matthäus… but she is far from normal. Her village sees her as a witch, and when her mother dies and her father abandons her, she has no choice but to run from the village and seek refuge in the Gothel tower. This is just the gist of it, because there’s a lot going on in this story so if I were to describe everything… we would be here for a while!
I’m very surprised this is a debut novel, because it’s absolutely stunning and well written. Every single element of this book created a beautiful and immersive reading experience. I would describe this book as young adult fantasy, but it definitely matures as the story goes, so keep that in mind if you decide to pick it up. It’s nothing too graphic (in my opinion), but it definitely talks about more serious topics as the book progresses.
There’s a bit of romance in here, but it’s not the main focus of the book. The focus of this book is 100% the main character’s development. It’s a coming-of-age story with a touch of feminism, folklore and paganism.
I was surprised with the way the story ended, regarding Rapunzel. I don’t want to spoil anything with this review, but I was hoping that the end would make a connection to the well-known story of Rapunzel. Still, I was pleased and it was a very satisfying ending!
Fortunately for me, I believe I read this at the perfect time of the year: Fall! This is a very cozy read, and I highly recommend reading it while it’s cold outside. Grab a blanket and a cup of tea/coffee and enjoy this masterpiece! I just love how original, creative and inspiring this story was! If you like retellings, this is definitely a must-read!

10 Books I would love to find under the Christmas tree | 2022

Hello friends! 

I hope you’re doing well and I hope you are excited for the holidays. I sure am, and that’s exactly why I’m having so much fun writing these Xmas posts!

Last year I wrote a post titled “7 Books I would love to find under the Christmas tree”, and I thought it would be nice to keep the tradition alive! It is also a way for me to share with you a few books that have been on my radar for the last few months.

This year’s version is not 7 books, but 10! I was planning on doing the same number, but I honestly couldn’t reduce the list – and trust me, I tried! There are so many amazing books out there that I still haven’t picked up, so the list got a little longer for 2022.

Enough chit chat, let’s get into it! Here are 10 books I would love to find under the Christmas tree:

1. It Starts With Us (It Ends With Us #2) by Colleen Hoover
I mean… is there any question on why this book is in this list? Not only Colleen Hoover is one of my favorite authors of all time, but I loved the first book in this series – “It Ends With Us”. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t supposed to be a duology/series, so I’m curious to see what this book is about. To be completely honest with you, it’s only a matter of time I’ll get this one – gifted or not!

2. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Another book I would love to get my hands on is “The Daughter of Doctor Moreau“. The reason why this is on my wishlist is simple: I read “Mexican Gothic” and I was obsessed with it. I really wanted to read this new Silvia Moreno-Garcia because it seems like the book has a similar vibe to it. It’s also historical gothic horror themed, and I’m so here for it!

3. Realm Breaker / Blade Breaker (Realm Breaker series) by Victoria Aveyard
I’m super curious about this new Victoria Aveyard fantasy series! Some people say it’s a duology and others say it’s a trilogy, so I don’t know exactly how long this series is. Either way, I would be more than happy to get the two first books. *wink wink*

4. Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West
A new Kasie West book always means “new addition to my TBR”. Kasie West is one of my favorite authors of all time, so the fact this book is here is self-explanatory.

5. Not Here To Be Liked by Michelle Quach
This is a pretty random addition to my wishlist, I admit. With that said, I’m still curious about this one. Some people compare this book to Moxie, but I haven’t read it so I wouldn’t know what that means. The story sounds cool and the cover is gorgeous, so why wouldn’t I want to read it?

6. Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie
I’ve been wanting to pick up this book ever since it came out. Fortunately this was published in Portuguese, which I thought was awesome! But for some reason I never actually bought it. I would be super happy to find it under the Christmas tree!

7. Blade of Secrets (Blade of Secrets series) by Tricia Levenseller
Tricia Levenseller is one of my favorite authors as well and this is one of the books I still haven’t picked from her. I think this is the first book of a duology (or maybe a trilogy?), and I’m very curious about it. I love her strong female characters! I’m definitely picking this up sooner or later.

8. Twisted Love by Ana Huang
The reason why I added this book to my wishlist is because there is so much hype around this series! I have friends who recommend it to me all the time, so I got curious. Another good thing is that this was also translated to Portuguese, so I’ll try to get it in the future to support Portuguese editors.

9. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
I don’t know a lot about this book other than it’s super popular among fantasy readers. I believe this is a mythology book, which is a genre I always love to read about!

10. House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas
And the last book on this list is another book I’ve been wanting to read for a while! The newest fantasy series from Sarah J. Maas grabbed my attention since the day it was announced. For this reason, I’m also going to get this one in the future… gifted or not. 🙂

Great books, right? I really want to pick these in the future, and I hope I’ll get to (at least some of) them in 2023! Of course, I have more books I would love to put my hands on… but we would be here all day if I kept writing!

What about you? What books do you hope to get this Christmas? Do you have a bookish list for Santa ready? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading!

Review | Bossman by Vi Keeland

“Don’t focus on the what ifs. Focus on what is.” 3/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: desks, new job opportunities, ongoing investigations and homeless men.

Reese
The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business—his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business—and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us—telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?
Then again…

What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?

Not gonna lie, this wasn’t the most memorable book ever, but I found it entertaining in the end.
To be completely fair to the book, this is probably a “me” problem. The reason for this is because I don’t really care about the boss/employee trope in romance, so that’s probably why I wasn’t super invested in the story. For this reason, I think it’s important to take my opinion of this book with a grain of salt.
I had a hard time connecting to the characters, especially Reese. She kept punching Chase away all the time and for no reason, so that got old quickly. I thought Chase was a little better because he had more of a personality, but in the end both characters felt a little flat for me. Fortunately, I think the backstories helped a little with this, especially with the Peyton situation! I wish they had more chemistry and the romance was developed more to make the story better.
I just felt like something was missing in this book. I wanted more. I thought it was entertaining for the most part, but it felt kind of average to be honest.

Recommendations | Middle Grade/Children Books I Loved!

Hi friends!

I hope you’re doing well and you’re having a fantastic day. Today I’m bringing you another round of recommendations: Middle grade and children books!

I don’t pick from these two genres very often, but when I do… I get invested in the stories! I’m currently reading an amazing Sophie Anderson book, and that is what inspired this post!

If you have young kids and want to read them good stories of bravery and adventure, this is the recommendation post for you! Or if you’re like me and just want to read something magical and fun, this one is also for you!

Let’s take a look at the books then:

And here they are! You have two classic books that I loved and three (fairly) recent books… either way, these are amazing and I would always recommend them. So let’s go through them individually!

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Starting off strong with the amazing classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl!

This is a middle grade that everyone should read at least once in their life. This book is special, wholesome and incredibly magical – basically everything you would want in a fantasy middle grade book! This was my first ever Roald Dahl book, and let me tell you: I completely understand why his books are so popular.

It’s a book that teaches kids to be humble, behave and be good to others. Not only that, but it’s incredibly fun! The characters are amazing and quirky and every single one of them serves a very specific purpose in delivering a message.

I highly recommend it if you never gave it a try. Also, if you are a fan of the movies, you definitely need to read it!

Synopsis

“Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Gold Ticket from Mr Willy Wonka! I shake you warmly by the hand! Tremendous things are in store for you!

One miraculous moment changes Charlie Bucket’s life forever.

A boy who only gets to eat cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner finds a Golden Ticket that will take him into Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory.

Joining him on the tour are four horrible blighters:

Augustus Gloop – a great big greedy nincompoop, Veruca Salt – a spoiled brat, Violet Beauregarde – a repulsive little gum-chewer and Mike Teavee – a TV addict.

With a chocolate river, crafty squirrels and mysterious Oompa Loompas, Mr Wonka’s chocolate factory is the strangest, most magnificent place Charlie has ever seen.

What other surprises are in store for the lucky ticket winners?”

2. The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

The second recommendation I’m bringing to you today is “The House With Chicken Legs” by Sophie Anderson. Let me tell you something about Sophie Anderson’s books: they are middle grade perfection! To me she is the best middle grade writer, hands down.

This book in particular blew me away with how amazing it was. I can honestly say this is probably my favorite middle grade of all time – so that’s saying a lot! Not only was the story beautiful and full of magic, but it was written with a solid story with great meaning. Definitely check the synopsis below to see what the story is about! As a nice bonus, you get a lot of references to Russian culture, so I’m happy to say I learned a thing or two.

The illustrations that appear alongside the story are amazing and capture beautifully the essence of the story. The book wouldn’t be the same without them and I’m glad she worked with such an amazing artist to bring the story to life!

I highly recommend it if you like a good story with depth and meaning behind it. I can’t stress this enough: if you like middle grade books, you need this in your life!

Synopsis

“All 12-year-old Marinka wants is a friend. A real friend. Not like her house with chicken legs. Sure, the house can play games like tag and hide-and-seek, but Marinka longs for a human companion. Someone she can talk to and share secrets with.

But that’s tough when your grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead into the afterlife. It’s even harder when you live in a house that wanders all over the world . . . carrying you with it. Even worse, Marinka is being trained to be a Yaga. That means no school, no parties–and no playmates that stick around for more than a day.

So when Marinka stumbles across the chance to make a real friend, she breaks all the rules . . . with devastating consequences. Her beloved grandmother mysteriously disappears, and it’s up to Marinka to find her–even if it means making a dangerous journey to the afterlife.”

3. Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson

Another Sophie Anderson that I think is worth mentioning is “The Castle of Tangled Magic”. 

This is such a cute book! It has a very creative story that you’ll want to keep reading until you’re finished with the book. 

What I liked the most from this book was definitely the lessons behind the story. Lessons such as “belief is a very powerful thing” and “magic is everywhere” are only a few of the lessons this book teaches. The characters were amazing and I loved that even though they were all so different, they worked together to help Olia (the main character).

Saara Soderlund is the illustrator (once again) and she did an amazing job with this book. It really brought the story to life!

Another cool thing about it is that it is themed after slavic folklore! So that was another fun aspect of the book.

It’s beautifully written, full of details and magical touches! You can tell the author really took her time with this book, because you can feel the love through the pages. Definitely worth picking it up!

Synopsis

Magic and whimsy meet in this Howl’s Moving Castle for a new generation from the critically adored Sophie Anderson, author of The House with Chicken Legs.

Twelve-year-old Olia knows a thing or two about secrets. Her parents are the caretakers of Castle Mila, a soaring palace with golden domes, lush gardens, and countless room. Literally countless rooms. There are rooms that appear and disappear, and rooms that have been hiding themselves for centuries. The only person who can access them is Olia. She has a special bond with the castle, and it seems to trust her with its secrets.

But then a violent storm rolls in . . . a storm that skips over the village and surrounds the castle, threatening to tear it apart. While taking cover in a rarely-used room, Olia stumbles down a secret passage that leads to a part of Castle Mila she’s never seen before. A strange network of rooms that hide the secret to the castle’s past . . . and the truth about who’s trying to destroy it.”

4. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Another book I want to share with you today is “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barhhill. I found this story to be very magical! It made me dream because it’s told like a fairytale and you get completely immersed in this fictional world. It is a very atmospheric book because the author does an amazing job on awakening your senses – I swear I could almost hear the birds chirping, smell the woods and feel the magic from the moon!
The characters are adorable, and I promise you will fall in love with every single one of them! I loved how there were two cute magical creatures added to the mix (who worked like companions to the lead), a sweet witch and a magical grandmother everyone would want in their life.
It’s definitely a story that makes you dream and takes you to a magical place. It’s targeted as middle grade, but it’s really a beautiful story for every age!

Synopsis

“Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. 

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.”

5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

And to finish this list with a bang, I’m bringing you another amazing classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”! If you don’t know, this story was inspired by a little girl named Alice Liddell who Lewis Carroll liked to tell stories to.

So how would I describe “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”? In a nutshell: this book is the definition of childhood, nonsense and craziness. I can confidently say that I’ve never read a book like this, and I completely understand why it became so popular among people of all ages.

I highly encourage you to read this book, no matter how old you are. It is a beautiful story that reminds you of what it was like to be a child. When you are a kid, nothing really matters and nothing is taken seriously, as it should be. It’s a remarkable piece of art and I definitely recommend it.

Just a piece of advice: if you can, get a copy with the original illustrations from John Tenniel!

Synopsis

“On a drowsy afternoon by a riverbank, a young and distracted Alice follows a rabbit into a fantastical underground world that grows curiouser and curiouser. Dared, insulted, amused, and threatened by a succession of anthropomorphic creatures, the indomitable Alice falls deeper into a swirl of the imagination where logic has no place.

Referenced, resourced, analyzed, and embraced since its publication in 1865, Carroll’s masterpiece of the irrational has inspired such varied artists as Walt Disney, Marilyn Manson, Jerome Kern, James Joyce, and Tim Burton. It stands as one of the most extravagantly and ingeniously absurd works in the English language.”

And there you have it! These are some of my favorite middle grade/children books. I hope you found this recommendation post interesting and I hope you found yourself some new books to read! As usual, I’m always looking for book recommendations so let me know if you have any for me!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I hope you liked what I had to share with you today. I’ll see you in the next one! 🙂

Review | Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

“It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don’t fit that mold. Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is, the better. Awkwardness should be a requirement.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: band t-shirts, Harry Potter references, blackmailing, friendship, an old couch, eyeliner, surprise bands, cheerleading uniforms, waffles, teenage hormones, Oreos, Tumblr, good music and a lot of emails.

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

This was a cute book! I have some good things I really want to point out:
1. The writing style. It was very easy to read, especially because of the slang. Their dialogs were very realistic and relatable. This is not a “formal” book, and I’m glad it’s not because the characters gained more dimension.
2. (…speaking of) The characters. I honestly feel like I was put in their high school during this book. All the characters felt realistic. Not just because of the way they spoke, but also for their attitudes and feelings. A great example of this is the first time Simon went to school after Martin posted on Tumblr that he was gay. The fact that he went to his locker and everyone was acting normal (until the douches appeared, of course) felt realistic.
3. Simon’s perspective. I really loved how close I felt to Simon. Being in his head and seeing his struggles made me realize how lucky I am. It was great to see a different perspective on this subject, and I was so happy he finally got his well deserved happiness at the end!
See, the thing is… even though it’s a good book, I didn’t think it was anything extraordinary. I know it deals with a (yet) sensitive topic and it was great to see how Simon dealt with positive and negative attention, but other than that… It was a very simple contemporary book. I enjoyed it!