It’s All About Books

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itsallaboutbooks2017

IT’S ALL ABOUT BOOKS… Well, at least books have an important role of my life. They form a way to escape reality; for me to enter a different world. A place where everything is possible, only limited by the imagination of its writer. Like someone famous once said: ‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body‘.

I’ve been reading ever since I was three years old, devouring books by dozens at my hometown library. I continued reading all the way through high school, and later decided to study Spanish Language And Culture and read some more. A few years ago I started travelling, and that’s when the idea came up to start keeping track of the books I’ve read… Hence this blog It’s All About Books was born, with reviews of all the books I’ve been reading since November 2012.

Before I leave I would like to say that I’m always looking for new books to add to my TBR list, and I would love any recommendations you might think of. I’m trying to broaden my literary horizon, so I’m open to practically any literary genre… 🙂

ARC REVIEW: Love Looks Pretty On You – by Lang Leav

Title: Love Looks Pretty On You
Author: Lang Leav
Genre: Poetry, Contemporary, Romance
First published: January 29th 2019
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Finished reading: December 1st 2018
Pages: 224

“Don’t stay where you are needed. Go where you are loved.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


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I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Lang Leav‘s poetry bundles in the past, so I was drawn to her newest poetry bundle coming out next year as well. I know I don’t read a lot of poetry, but I like to step out of my comfort zone every once in a while and read something different. Unfortunately, I can’t say Love Looks Pretty On You turned out to be an entirely positive experience. There was just something about the writing style and tone this time around that didn’t manage to convince me completely. I found that the poems in Love Looks Pretty On You lacked proper cohesion between them and there was no absolute theme and obvious connection between all of them. Instead of the positive tone I was expecting from the title, there were a lot of negative feelings portrayed in the poems. Not bad perse, but not what I expected and somehow I wasn’t able to connect to most of the poems. I wasn’t too sure about the style and form of most of the poems and thoughts included. It wasn’t a bad read, but by no means her strongest bundle either.


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Month In Review: November 2018

I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s almost 2019. Seriously, where did 2018 go?! I’ve been loving the Spring weather though, enjoying the sun and preparing our garden for the summer months. It’s one of my favorite things to do whenever I’m not reading. The good weather also ment it was time for a big pending DIY project during the first week of December, something that didn’t affect my November reading of course but does explain why this wrap up is coming later than normal. 😉

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in November: 29
  • Total number of books read this year: 227
  • Total number of pages read in November: 9.617
  • Total number of pages read this year: 71.193

I somehow managed to read a LOT last month; more than I ever read before in fact. Although I didn’t get a 5 star read, did have two DNF and quite a few lower ratings… All in all not the best reading month I had despite the high number of books and pages, although I did find a few new favorites.

NOVEMBER READS

4.5 STARS: This one was almost perfect. Surely fantastic! 

The Cheerleaders – by Kara Thomas // The Liar’s Wife – by Samantha Hayes // Cold Dark Places – by Kylie Brant // The Great Alone – by Kristin Hannah

4 STARS: Wow, this was really good. Close to amazing!

Corner To Corner Crochet – by Jess Coppom // The Chalk Man – by C.J. Tudor // Every Note Played – by Lisa Genova // Daughters Of The Lake – by Wendy Webb // All Your Perfects – by Colleen Hoover // Her Final Confession – by Lisa Regan // Last Lullaby – by Carol Wyer // PLUS+ – by Bethany Rutter // Blue Blood – by Sara Blaedel

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

The Cruel Prince – by Holly Black // Children Of Blood And Bone – by Tomi Adeyemi // Hunting Annabelle – by Wendy Heard // A Woman Of War – by Mandy Robotham

3 STARS: It was a nice read, but not fantastic. 

River Bodies – by Karen Katchur // The Cottingley Fairies – by Ana Sender // The Wife Between Us – by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen // Babel – by Gaston Dorren // Heresy – by Melissa Lenhardt

2.5 STARS: I give this one the benefit of the doubt. Nothing too exciting.

The Burning World – by Isaac Marion // Educated – by Tara Westover

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

Elevation – by Stephen King // The Living – by Isaac Marion

1 STAR: Boy, this one gave me a hard time. Not a book to touch again. 

Girl, Wash Your Face – by Rachel Hollis

0 STARS (DNF): I didn’t even bother to finish this one. Either horrible or definitely not for me!

An Officer And A Spy – by Robert Harris // Not A Clue – by Chloe Delaume


I haven’t joined a lot of challenges this year, mostly because I decided to focus more on ‘fun’ reading and less on goals I have to complete. I had decided to update my Goodreads Goal anyway, but I should have aimed higher because I’m done once again. This is officially the year I’ve been able to read the most ever… Although quite a few were shorter reads. I have managed to complete the When Are You Reading? challenge in the first days of December as well, so even though it technically doesn’t count as November achievements it at least means I don’t have any pending challenges open for the final days of this year. 😉

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… No progress whatsoever in the final two goals, and I’m pretty sure the TBR one is hopeless. I’ve finally started with Outlander so hopefully I’ll be able to finish that one before the end of the month.

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 3 (modern) classics (rereads don’t count) 3/3 DONE!! (Murder On The Orient Express // Slaughterhouse-Five, The Mysterious Affair At Styles)
  • Complete at least 5 series (rereads don’t count) 5/5 DONE!! (The Conspiracy Of Us // Bad Girls Don’t Die // Embassy Row // The 5th Wave // Legend)
  • Reread at least 2 books 2/2 DONE!! (Harry Potter Y La Camera Secreta // Harry Potter Y El Prisionero De Azkaban)
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 300 books and keep it that way435/300
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages 0/1 (maximum 528 pages)
  • Read at least 1 book in Spanish 1/1 DONE!! (Harry Potter Y La Camera Secreta)
  • Read at least 1 book in Dutch 1/1 DONE!! (Het Jaar Dat De Wereld Op Zijn Kop Stond by Clare Furniss)
  • Read more international authors/translations (at least 10) 10/10 DONE!! (Stage Four (The Netherlands)/ Born A Crime (South Africa)/ Halfway (India)/ A Castle In Romagna (Croatia)/ My Sweet Friend (Belgium)/ The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter (Germany)/ The Letter For The King (Indonesia)/ The Air Raid Killer (Germany)/ My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry (Sweden)/ The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden (Sweden)/ Radiance Of Tomorrow (Sierra Leone))
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year 5/5 DONE!!
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% currently at 94%

Happy December and Happy Reading! 


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ARC REVIEW: PLUS+ – by Bethany Rutter

Title: PLUS+
Author: Bethany Rutter 
Genre: Non Fiction, Fashion, Photography
First published: February 15th 2019
Publisher: Ebury
Finished reading: November 27th 2018 
Pages: 224

“So let this book be a record of how far we’ve come, filled with people who know we have so much further left to go and are having so much fun getting us there.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Ebury in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I know, I know, you are probably as surprised as I am to see this title pop up on my blog. PLUS+ isn’t just a little out of my comfort zone, it’s waaaaaay out. But, as someone who has struggled with her weight her whole life, there was just something about this title that drew me in. I was in desperate need of both some body positivity and fashion inspiration, because let’s face it: it’s not easy at all to find good plus-size clothes out there that are affordable, look good and are comfortable as well. Although I wish PLUS+ would have had more text and more fashion advice handed to us by the different models futured in this collection, the forward was brilliant. The photos themselves are wonderful, showing the world us plus-size girls have the right to wear whatever the heck we want and that we don’t have to hide our body. Body positivity to the win! I admire all these beautiful women for not being afraid to show everyone there style and looking fabulous while doing it. And I definitely felt inspired by quite a few photos.


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2018 When Are You Reading? Challenge: DONE!!

It was getting a close call, but I finally managed to finish the fifth edition (and my fourth) of the WHEN ARE YOU READING? challenge! I had a lot of fun during the previous three years (click to see lists for 2015 , 2016 and 2017), and this year was no different… This challenge is hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about reading books either published or set in twelve different time periods… The perfect way of reading books of different eras!

Below a list of titles I read for each era (only one or two this time; including all read titles was just too much to keep up with). I have divided my reads into two categories: books by publish date and books by setting. When the setting is not specified or is roughly the same as the publish date, I will use this color.

This is what I read for the following eras:

  • Pre 1500
    # The Year Of The Snake – by M.J. Trow (1st century)
    # Jilliand – by Clare Gutierrez (800s)
  • 1500-1599
    # A Castle In Romagna – by Igor Stiks (1535/1948/1995)
  • 1600-1699
    # Girl With A Pearl Earring – by Tracy Chevalier (1660s)
  • 1700-1799
    # The Unbinding Of Mary Reade – by Miriam McNamara (1704-1720) 
    # The Poison Plot – by Elaine Forman Crane (1738-1739) DNF
  • 1800-1899
    # The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter – by Julia Drosten (1803-1822)
  • 1900-1919
    # All Things Bright And Strange – by James Markert (1917-1920)
  • 1920-1939
    # Murder On The Orient Express – by Agatha Christie (1926)
    # What Blooms From Dust – by James Markert (1935)
  • 1940-1959
    # Salt To The Sea – by Ruta Sepetys (1945)
  • 1960-1979
    # The Letter For The King – by Tonke Dragt (1962)
    # The Silent Kookaburra – by Liza Perrat (1970s)
  • 1980-1999
    # Born a Crime – by Trevor Noah (1990s)
  • 2000-Present
    # Barbed Wire Heart – by Tess Sharpe (2018)
  • The Future:
    # Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2044-2045)
    # Prodigy/Champion by Marie Lu (2132)

Have you read any of these titles yourself? Do you tend to read a lot of books set or published in different eras? Feel free to comment! 🙂


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YVO’S SHORTIES #66 – The Great Alone & Children Of Blood And Bone

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two highly popular books I’ve been a bit afraid to pick up, since hyped books and me don’t really get along… The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah turned out to be a huge success, while Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi failed to blow me away completely.


Title: The Great Alone
Author: Kristin Hannah

Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: February 6th 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Finished reading: November 20th 2018
Pages: 435

“All this time, Dad had taught Leni how dangerous the outside world was. The truth was that the biggest danger of all was in her own home.”


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After enjoying her other story The Nightingale in the past, I had high hopes for this one as well. I’ve heard lots of wonderful things about The Great Alone over time, and I’m glad to say I’m another one to join the fan club. The Great Alone is without doubt one of the best historical fiction stories I’ve read so far this year. I already knew the writing was going to be good, but that doesn’t take away I was overwhelmed by just how emotional, challenging and harrowing this story was going to be. The Alaskan setting is brilliantly developed and well described, making it feel as if you were discovering the island along with the characters. This setting was definitely a huge bonus! I also loved how the development of the setting reflected a development in the characters as well. The story is set in three different years (1974,1978, 1986), where we follow the same characters as Alaska changes them and things happen. Warning: The Great Alone is not a happy story. It is a story of survivors, emotional and hard to read. Trigger warnings are in place for abuse and violence… The development of the characters is excellent and makes them both feel realistic and easy to connect to. Especially Leni won over my heart easily (and Matthew of course!). Domestic abuse is a very difficult topic to write and read about, but I think Kristin Hannah did an excellent job of portraying it realistically. Did I feel frustrated sometimes by some of their actions? Definitely. But that doesn’t take away that I feel their situation was very realistically developed. There are a lot of difficult, sad and harrowing moments involved in The Great Alone, and I definitely suggest keeping a box of tissues close. But it is also a very rewarding read and I’m sure fans of both historical fiction and family dramas will love reading about Leni’s journey.


Title: Children Of Blood And Bone
(Legacy Of Orïsha #1)
Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: March 6th 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt And Co.
Finished reading: November 23rd 2018
Pages: 537

“You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasn’t keeping us alive. it was thinking we’d never fight back.”


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I wasn’t planning on reading this one at first. Hyped books and me don’t tend to get along, especially YA fantasy ones, and let’s face it: there has been a lot of hype around Children Of Blood And Bone. But there was just something about the cover and blurb that made me want to give it a go anyway. And while I do have to say that this first book of a new high fantasy series failed to blow me away completely, I can also understand the love for this story. In fact, I was going to give it an even higher rating before the appearance of the romance scenes… Which I felt were completely unnecessary and made me feel a little disappointed. The writing is good though, and I really like the idea behind Children Of Blood And Bone. While I did feel the many foreign sounding names and terms were a bit confusing in the beginning, they did add to the magical atmosphere. I admit I would have liked to see the worldbuilding a bit mor developed, with more details and sooner in the story to fully enjoy the setting. But the idea of the diviners and maji is fascinating as well as the different kinds of magic. The quest was a bit too simple to my taste, and the plot twists a bit too abrupt, but overall it was without doubt a very entertaining YA fantasy read with pleasant enough characters. They just didn’t really stand out for me.


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ARC REVIEW: A Woman Of War – by Mandy Robotham

Title: A Woman Of War
Author: Mandy Robotham
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: December 7th 2018
Publisher: Avon
Finished reading: November 30th 2018 
Pages: 352

“When you saw so much horror, destruction and inhumanity in one place, it was the simplest things that broke your resolve and reminded you of kindness in the world.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Avon in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I always have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction… As soon as I recognized the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp entrance I was able to see with my own eyes a few months back on the cover, I just new I had to read A Woman Of War. Although I admit I was a bit disappointed to not see that particular camp featured, there is no doubt that the author has a very interesting premise here. The plot of A Woman Of War is a proper fictional one and more a what if? story than one based on true events. It also shows some pro-Nazi characters in a very positive light; something you don’t see often in historical fiction, but also something I’m not sure how I feel about. The writing style flows and makes it quite easy to read this story rapidly despite the sometimes heavy topics and more graphic scenes. It shows that the author is a midwife herself, as there are detailed descriptions about women in labor and birth itself. The main character Anke is a midwife and her role is key in A Woman Of War. It brings forth a very interesting ethical and moral question: either Anke helping one of Hitler’s inner circle’s women during her pregnancy and betraying her own beliefs, or her refusing and being responsible for the death of her family. Seeing pro-Nazi characters in a positive light makes me feel uncomfortable and I could have done without the romance, but overall it was quite an interesting read. Anke’s flashbacks of her life before working as a midwife and during her time as a prisoner in Ravensbrück were a good balance to the more ‘fictional’ present narrative. Fans of the genre will no doubtly find A Woman Of War an interesting read.

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Anke Hoff used to work as a midwife in Berlin, but she was caught helping a Jewish woman deliver her baby and sent to camp Ravensbrück as a political prisoner and enemy of the Reich. Then one day she is called with the request to serve as the midwife of one of Hitler’s inner circle, with a clear threat that if she refuses or doesn’t do her job, her family will die. Soon after her arrival at the Berghof she learns nothing is as it seems, and she finds herself torn between her duty as a midwife and her hatred for the regime.

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There is no doubt that A Woman Of War offers quite an original take on a what if? situation that could have changed everything. I’m not sure what to make of the way the pro-Nazi characters are portrayed, but it is definitely quite unique no matter how you feel about it. The writing was solid and I especially enjoyed Anke’s flashbacks even though the parts set in Ravensbrück were quite brutal. All in all an interesting although a bit unorthodox WWII historical fiction read.


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ARC REVIEW: Heresy – by Melissa Lenhardt

Title: Heresy
Author: Melissa Lenhardt
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: October 2nd 2018
Publisher: Redhook
Finished reading: November 26th 2018
Pages: 384

“But you’ve always got choices, Grace. And every single choice you make ripples out through your life and every other person you meet.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Redhook in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I can’t even remember the last time I read a Western inspired historical fiction story, so I was really excited when I first saw Heresy. And it’s not just another historical setting with a Western vibe, because it follows a gange of female outlaws and that’s something you don’t exactly hear about every day. Unfortunately, somehow Heresy failed to grab me completely. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but the fact is that it took me a lot longer than expected to reach the final page, and I wasn’t enjoying myself as much as I thought I would. This slower pace made the story drag in parts, and this has a lot to do with the format of the story. Instead of a ‘simple’ storyline or even ‘simple’ POV switches, we have to learn the story about Margaret Parker through for example diaries, case notes and an interview with one of the gang members sixty years after the fact. In a way very interesting, but for me it didn’t really work in the end and it mostly made me feel that the story lacked proper cohesion. There were also facts being repeated and not everything was linear; again not a bad thing on its own, but it ended up bothering me. Don’t get me wrong, the story behind Heresy is fascinating and learning about a gang of female outlaws in the 1870s was a true pleasure. I just wasn’t completely convinced by the writing style or format, and with the story dragging in parts it wasn’t the easiest read. If you like slower paced stories and Western inspired historical fiction stories, you would probably enjoy Heresy though.

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Margaret Parker and Hattie LaCour never intended to be outlaws, but after they lose everything to a greedy neighbor their family is left without a penny. As women alone they only have a few choices, and they don’t see marriage or lying on their backs for money as an option. They opt for holding a gun. Together with a few others, they form the first and only all-female gang in the American West… And though the newspapers refuse to give them credit, their actions don’t go unnoticed. Will they finally have to face the consequences?

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The idea of a historical fiction read with a Western vibe about a gang of female outlaws sounded absolutely fascinating, so I’ve been looking forward to Heresy. While I still think the idea behind this story is fascinating, somehow I wasn’t able to enjoy the execution as much as I thought I would. Between the slower pace, lack of cohesion and parts that dragged, it took me a relatively long time to reach the final page. And while I rooted for Margaret and her gang, I also somehow just wanted to get it over with… And that’s never a good feeling. I do think this was mostly me though, so if you don’t mind a slower pace and an unusual format, you will probably enjoy this one.


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