Saturday, November 10

Embracing my Negativity: The Books That Disappointed me in 2018

I had a fairly good reading year in 2018. I read a lot less than I'm used to reading but I don't think there was a single book that I hated? So I'll take that as a win! There were, however, quite a few books that fell just short of my expectations and left me feeling very disappointed. These are all books I was SUPER excited for that just... were fine.

Thursday, November 8

Anything but Books Tag

Personal posts are one of my favorite things to read on the blogs I follow - there's something fun in seeing behind 'the reader' part of bloggers. 

I've been trying to make my posts - including reviews, lists, recaps etc. - more personal, and I have some non-book related posts lined up for you, as well as (book related) discussions and other fun things that will show my personality more than reviews do.

To start off these, I've decided to share a totally non-book related post today, and what is more perfect than the 'Anything But Books Tag'!?

Tuesday, November 6

Beating the Backlist: Titles We Loved in 2018 & Titles We Still Want To Read

As bloggers who pay attention to book-twitter, goodreads and who read quiet a few blogs, Clare and I are quite conscious of new releases. That, of course, means that our tbrs are not only ridiculously long, but we also are filled with new releases that are a lot harder to ignore than backlist titles. To work on tackling more backlist titles, Clare and I both signed up for Beat the Backlist in 2018, and I'm pleased to say that it definitely motivated me to read more of my older titles.

To showcase that we'll both be sharing four backlist titles we loved and adored in 2018 and four that we still need to read. 

Saturday, November 3

Fireworks Book Tag

We are just two short days away from Bonfire Night - the last day standing between me and full on Christmas mode (just you wait). If you're not familiar with Bonfire Night it is a night on which we Brits confusingly celebrate the day parliament was almost blown up by blowing things up. What wonderful and sensible traditions we have. To celebrate I decided to try out the Fireworks tag!! You can find the original post here.

Thursday, November 1

2019 Book Releases I'm Already Hyped For

Hello friends!! Today's post is something I'm super-excited about posting, because while yes, this is a new release post, so it's not THAT outstanding, I'm trying an entirely new format that's supposed to be helpful to you and have most of the information you could need. I'm super-interested in what you think about this post, so let me know in the comment what you like/dislike about this format!! 

Wednesday, October 31

Happy Halloween & The End Spooky October

I feel freaking weird writing this post, because October seemed to flew by so fast that it feels like Spooky October has just started... but now it's ending!? Where the heck did the rest of October go!? I am confused. 

So, what exactly is this post, you might ask. It is, at it's core, a happy Halloween message to anyone who's celebrating - we hope you're having fun whatever your plans are for the night, or that you already had some Halloween shenanigans prior to the 31st. 

Besides that, I've brought you a quick summary - with links to all our posts!! - of what went down this Spooky October. And we've also selected the winner of our giveaway via rafflecopter, and have their name here with us!! 

Tuesday, October 30

Haunted Houses for Halloween: Top 10 Novels You Need To Read

Despite having been used in the horror genre for centuries, haunted houses remain a fascination of mine. The Conjuring and Insidious are just two horror franchises that utilize this trope... and have earned tons of money while doing so. For me, the haunted house's appeal lies in how sinister and stifling it is to be unsafe in the very place, your home in most cases, that's supposed to keep you safe.

Today, Clare and I have collected five-five haunted house novels we immensely enjoyed and would recommend - both to long-time fans of the trope and to those who want to dip their toes into haunted house stories.

*titles either link to goodreads or to reviews* 

Saturday, October 27

Dare You to Scare Me

This has been one of my favourite posts to work on because all month I've been immersing myself in Halloween-y movies and scares! I love being scared (weird right?) but I don't scare too easily so I, really scientifically, have been watching horror movies, alone, in the dark all month and been having just the best time. Here are some of my thoughts on them!

Thursday, October 25

Damsel in Distress!? Nah, She Isn't - Badass Female Characters I Adore

I've made some new friends at uni this semester, and as I was talking to one of them, she said something that pissed me off, namely that she dislikes books with female characters. Now that confused me - I mean, female characters are amazing, and they are hardly the same, or even similar to each other, right? Obviously, there are some I dislike or even can't stand - but to write off all female characters because she disliked one or even a couple? What. The. Fuck.

Thankfully, further discussion clarified her issue, which wasn't with female characters, but that generally speaking the romantic subplot is heavier in female-led novels than male-led ones, and she really dislikes romance. Which is valid!! But still, our chat had me thinking a lot about female characters, which is how this idea came to me and the fact that it's perfect for Spooky October only solidified my desire to write it. {See our Spooky October opening post with a giveaway here.)

Now, I'm obviously not saying the female character type who is far from being a damsel in distress is the best type. It is one type that I love - but I also love some soft characters, some that could be considered a 'damsel' because they might need a push to save themselves, or they might require help etc. as most of us do. So yes, enjoy this list of ladies who will save themselves but do expect different female character centered lists in the future!!

Tuesday, October 23

Deliciously Devil: Top 10 Villains I Love

Villains are the ultimate guilty pleasure. Whether we love-to-hate them or hate-to-love them they capture our imaginations in a way heroes very seldom do. Today's Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl was such a perfect Halloween theme! My picks are a mix of vilains I love (who kinda maybe have a point?) and villains who are so cruel and hateful and yet I love reading them anyway! 

Saturday, October 20

{mini reviews} YA psychological thrillers and mysteries

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

Thursday, October 18

Monster Mash

I've decided to pit some of the characters I read this year, against a random assortment of monsters and paranormal activity to see just how well they'd survive. Or just how well I think they'd survive because this is in no way scientific. That said I did use a very scientific number generator to choose each characters monster just to stop myself from playing favourites.

Saturday, October 13

Sawkill Girls; The Gorgeously Creepy Halloween Must Read

38139409Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.
He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.
Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.
Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

Thursday, October 11

A Guide To Movies & Shows For Halloween (for the scaredy-cats and horror fans alike!)

Creepy horrors, mysterious movies and supernatural tales are an essential part of October in our house... but who am I kidding??? These are my favorite movies all through the year, even during Christmas, which means that I'm pretty well-versed in these genres.

Thus, I thought it'd be useful for some of our readers - maybe you included? - to flood you with some recommendations! I made sure to include as many type of titles as possible - you'll find truly creepy horrors, gory movies, thrillers, mysteries and even animated movies and shows. Basically, I have something for everyone here, so I'm VERY excited to see your reactions! 

Titles link to IMDb. 

Saturday, October 6

{mini reviews} adult psychological thrillers

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Thursday, October 4

Halloween Recommendations For All Fear Levels

Do you love Halloween but don't enjoy horror so feel like you're missing out? Or do you just want more recommendations for books that you should not be reading at night? I've put together some of my favourite Halloween reads with a helpful fear rating out of five!! 

Tuesday, October 2

Authors We Would Love To Plot A Creepy Novel With

I am so darn excited to put out today's post, because this is our first official Spooky October post, and damn, Clare and I have been working hard on these, and it's NICE to finally put something out!! 

Well, okay, originally, this is a Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) topic, but we've put our own little spin on it, so it feels like its ours too. At least on some level. Maybe.

ALSO, if you're wondering what Spooky October is?? Fantastic - here's a link to our opening post where you can (1) learn more about the event, (2) enter our INT giveaway! ISN'T THAT AMAZING!? 

Khm, but now, we should finally get to today's post where we've shared 5-5 authors we'd love to plot a creepy novel with. There are authors from multiple genres here, so even if you don't like horror this list might be something you enjoy. 

Monday, October 1

The Official Start of Spooky October 2018 + INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY

It's the 30th of September when I'm drafting this post - yeah, I'm totally working on this last minute, which is KILLING the well-organized part of me, I tell you - and I couldn't be more hyped for it to go live on the 1st of October. Why?? Because this is the OFFICIAL OPENING OF SPOOKY OCTOBER 2018. 

Ah, how I adore this movie.

So, what exactly is this post if it's "just" an opening post -

(1) short summary of what Spooky October is 
(2) some info on this year's posts
(3) the giveaway link & details

See, short and sweet - there's literally no reason you want to miss this post, hmm?

Saturday, September 29

Books So Wholly Unique We Can't Think Of Any Like Them (but we WANT more!)

When I think of fiction, the first thing that pops into my mind is endless possibilities. Throughout the years, there have been an unthinkable amount of novels written - you could bring up any genre + topic, and there would be people able to recommend something to you within those limits. Basically, were you to point to a book, and say "I want more like that!" you'd be hit with a ton of recommendations. 

That being said, Clare and I could easy think up some titles that are so special that we could not think of any like them... but we'd love to hear your recommendations if you have them. Without further ado, let's get into these. 

Saturday, September 22

How To Read More Than Ever Before - Tips To Ace Your Reading Goals

Is your goal increase the amount you read? To read more than ever before? Fantastic, you came to the right place! Today, I'm going to share a couple of tips for reading more, hoping they'll be as helpful for you as they are for me. 

But before that, let me just clarify that the amount you read is entirely up to you - you can be an avid reader if you read 5, 10, 40, 100 or 300 books a year. The amount really does not matter as long as you're doing something that - hopefully - makes you happy, or benefits you in some way. SO, this post is in no way to make you guilty for not reading "enough" - what the fuck is enough anyway? - but to mention some tips that could help you in squeezing in some reading time. :)

Thursday, September 20

Books That Get Mental Illness Right

I have severe depression and anxiety, so reading books that cover mental illness can be a real mixed bag. Sometimes its super comforting and makes me feel like I'm not alone. Sometimes, its just straight up triggering. These are some of the books that made me feel so very seen and I want to promote the heck out of them! 

Saturday, September 15

Movie Adaptations Better Than Their Books

I'm so used to saying "the book was better" that this sounds wrong, but sometimes - the movie is just better than the book. It happens! And here are my favourite movies that are better than the original book! 

Thursday, September 13

{Royal Rantings} Do we judge female characters harsher than males?

There’s no question, female characters are held up to different standards than male characters

Take Wuthering Heights, which is one of the most outrageous and baffling example of this. Cathy, an unarguably spoiled and selfish brat, gets hated on a lot more than Heathcliff, who is verbally and physically abusive, controlling and manipulative, ready to destroy just about anyone for his “revenge”. It makes my stomach roil when the same readers who call Catchy horrible names actively romanticize Heathcliff. 

I have so many thoughts on Wuthering Heights, which we're not going to get into today, because this post was not meant to be on in-depth analysis of classics. Instead, I'll be concentrating on fiction from more recent years, with special emphasis on fantasy, and anti-heroines. 

Tuesday, September 11

{Mini Reviews} Fantastic Underhyped Novels

As a bookworm, it is one of the worst feelings in the world, I tell you, to love an author and their work so darn much... but not see much buzz around them. 

I'm passionate about getting these titles out there, and so I'm incredibly pleased with today's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) topic - hidden gems. To make this post more special, I opted for sharing 3 mini reviews, plus a bunch of novels I've already reviewed.

Saturday, September 8

The Perfect Horror for the Fall: The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz

"How ironic would it be, he mused, if David were to go missing and the only record of his stay here was a breathless recording of his weird experience upstairs? He would become an even truer successor to John Weir: another skeptic claimed by the spirits he was attempting to debunk."

When David Caine, a celebrated skeptic of the supernatural, is invited by an old friend to spend a month in “the most haunted house in Virginia,” he believes the case will be like any other. 

But the Alexander House is different. Built by a 1700s land baron to contain the madness and depravity of his eldest son, the house is plagued by shadows of the past and the lingering taint of bloodshed.

David is haunted, as well. For twenty-two years ago, he turned away the woman he loved, and she took her life in sorrow. And David suspects she’s followed him to the Alexander House.

Thursday, September 6

The Best Story Apps Reviewed

For whatever reason I am addicted to those mobile story games. It's literally just reading with the occasional choice but I cannot stop. I've downloaded quite a few and I wanted to have a look at which of them is worth your time and which really, really aren't!

Tuesday, September 4

Bingeworthy TV Shows

Hello friends - due to some issues, today's post is going up late, but we're so excited for y'all to see it & chat with us about it, because it features an obsession we besides reading: tv shows

Following the topic of today's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl), we've brought you 10 of our favorite tv shows that are screaming to be binged. So lay back, and enjoy the ride - from gruesome to humorous, you'll find all kinds of shows here. 

Saturday, September 1

Five Books That Will Help You Love Classic Novels

I did this all backward and was reading Classics as a kid (like seven/eightish) and then only discovered YA and MG when I was almost out of my teens. I've always excelled at bad timing. I grew up in a house where my love of reading was encouraged but we definitely had way more old books than new. Since I love these books still, I wanted to make a post talking about the best books to get you into an otherwise pretty daunting category of fiction! 

Thursday, August 30

Our July & August Favorites + News About the Blog

The fact that we're already at the end of summer is ri-damn-culous, I tell you... My semester is starting in eleven (!!!) days, and to say that I'm not ready to say goodbye to my vacation would be the understatement of the year. (Also, how weird it is that 2018 is ending in four months?? I feel like it's just started.)

But anyhow, as it's the end of August - there's one more day, but shh - Clare and I are here to recap our month... well, months, because we've grouped July and August together. 

The post couldn't be as detailed and info filled as usual, because it'd have been way too long, but to make up for that, we have some news about The Regal Critiques mixed in there, and while not all of it is good, we have some super-exciting stuff coming up that we cannot wait to share with you. 

Tuesday, August 28

Books That Should Be Required Reading

As an avid reader, I believe literature is an important part of our education... but the required reading list sure is imperfect, if you ask me. At least in my case, it definitely was. Throughout high school, there was one required read I remember enjoying, and a ton I just didn't care about.

I understand why classical novels are the norm - and I'm a fan of many a classical author, like Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens or Salinger - however, in many cases, it is the novels of today that have the power to make kids want to read more, want to debate current topics, and to feel seen.

Today, Clare and I've brought you some more recent (= 21st C) novels that, we believe, would be helpful for high school kids to have as required reading. 

Saturday, August 25

The Musical Theatre Book Tag

I've been feeling very down lately, and if there is one thing that never fails to perk me up its Musicals (also disaster movies but that's a whole different discussion). So I thought I'd combine my love of Musicals with my love of books and have a go at the Musical Theatre Book Tag which was created by SomethingLikeLydia!

Thursday, August 23

A Journey of Nothing, of Hope, and of Kindness: Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?

Received in exchange for an honest review from Usborne Publishing UK.

Trigger warning: depression, self-harm, sexual abuse and suicidal ideation.

Tuesday, August 21

Books To Fight Your Way Out of a Reading Slump

When in a reading slump, what kind of books do you recommend? 

Clare: Usually re-reads actually. Romances work perfectly, I just need to remind myself what I love most about reading whilst reading something that takes as little of my energy as possible!! 

Vera: Short, fast reads with a happy ending, and (if possible) a book you're fairly certain you'd love. Also, for those who enjoy rereading, I highly recommend picking up one of your favorite novels, that always works for me.

*click on read more to find specific examples from us!*

Saturday, August 18

MINI REVIEWS: Horribly Hyped Books I Did Not Like #UnpopularOpinions

The hype, as we call it in the book-blogging community, is a scary thing. Yes, it can help you find your new favorite - perhaps, pushing a book at you that you would never have read otherwise. But it can also push books at you that you'll detest. And the worst? You'll be suffocating in the hype afterwards, being one of the few who did not care for said book. *shudders*

The latter is what happened to me in the case of the following books, and it's noooot a pleasant feeling, so if you agree with me? FEEL FREE TO RANT IN THE COMMENTS, I like rants. 

Thursday, August 16

{Mini Reviews} Four 2018 Diverse Contemporaries

Recently, I've read quite a few spectacular novels - and knowing that I'll never have time to talk about each and every one individually, I have brought you a couple of mini reviews today. This time, I'm here with four diverse contemporary novels, all of which I adored a whole lot. 

This post includes books with characters of color and lgbtq+ characters, as well as a romance novel with an autistic heroine. Hope you find your next favorite here, or we can fangirl about these novels in the comments! 

Saturday, August 11

A Meticulous Exploration of Human Nature - How We Learned to Lie by Meredith Miller

Violence in the small, suburban town of Highbone, Long Island, is escalating, and best friends Joan and Daisy are finding themselves in the centre of it.
Joan has always been fascinated by the inner workings of living things: dogfish, eels, stingrays. But the more she sees of life outside her microscope, the more she realizes that people aren’t as easy to read as cells on a slide, and no one, not even Daisy, tells the truth.

Daisy’s always wished he had a family more like Joan’s, and that desire has only grown since his dad went to jail. But not even Joan can help Daisy keep his deadbeat older brother from putting everyone close to them in more danger.

When tragedy strikes too close to home, Joan and Daisy need each other more than ever. But no matter how hard they try, their secrets and lies have driven them apart. It’s only a matter of time before their friendship, just like their town, goes up in flames. 

Thursday, August 9

Flame in the Mist and Five-ish Disney Retellings I'd Eat a Cursed Apple For

Flame in the Mist: OK so it isn't actually a Mulan retelling necessarily. But there's no denying the similarities. Or the outright dedications to scenes from the film. I mean there is a literal scene where the men all sing about what they miss about women and our main character thinks "their minds". My tiny Disney loving heart was so happy.
The true brilliance of Flame in the Mist is in all its originality though. The characters are incredible and multi-layered and the plot is so twisty you'll get lost in it. I'd say like a forest of thorns but that's the wrong fairy tale... Also - if I were to get a proper Mulan retelling there'd have to be a Mushu character. 

Anyway, reading Flame in the Mist has got me thinking about what un-appreciated (or un-adapted) Disney stories really need their own YA retelling. 

Tuesday, August 7

Ten Series We Are Dying To Reread

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I personally love rereading for a multitude of reasons. The best of those by far is when I simply feel like revisiting a book or series, because it was too damned good to only read once. 

Even so, I have trouble committing to rereading series. There are always so many books I want to get to, and while I don't consider rereading in general a waste of time, I'll admit that rereading a god-knows-how-long series will take a long time. 

Thus, there are a ton of series that I adored when I first read them, would love to revisit them, but I'm not sure when that will happen, because omfg, why are there only 24 hours in a day!? Unfair as hell, if you ask me. 

Today, thanks to Heidi's wonderful topic-choice for Tell Me Something Tuesday, Clare and I brought you 5-5 of our beloved series we'd love to revisit.

why = why we loved it slash want to reread
possibility = the chances of us actually rereading

Saturday, August 4

How to Survive Conventions

As you might know, last weekend I attended YALC with my sister and had basically the best time. I saw Jason Momoa so many times we've agreed he's an honorary member of the family and has a standing invitation to Christmas. I met Sasha Alsberg who is basically the blogger who made me a blogger in the first place (and who was also the loveliest person I've ever met - no exaggeration), and Laura Steven who wrote my favourite book of the year - The Exact Opposite of Okay. And because I'm now obviously an expert on all things conventions I thought I'd write down my top tips! 

Thursday, August 2

Life Update - Still Alive and (Not) Blogging

Hello, you beautiful hooman beans! It's me, Ruzaika, and as my extremely creative post title indicates, this is going to be a general update on everything that's been happening recently and what to look forward to from me for the rest of this year. (Hint: not much!)