Best Of… July 2018 @RachelAmphlett @bookouture

I had originally decided to include this new feature in my monthly wrap ups, but I just felt there were too many facts squeezed into one little post and the whole purpose of putting my favorite reads in the spotlight was lost. So this is me giving those favorites their well deserved extra attention! I had no new 5 star reads in July, but four titles were without doubt almost perfect. Lots of titles to choose from! But there can be only one the winner… So without further delay, July 2018’s favorite is… *drumroll*

Hell To Pay by Rachel Amphlett!! There was just no way I couldn’t not pick this title as my absolute favorite. I’m still kicking myself for taking this long to start the series, and book number four is without doubt the best one I’ve read yet. I can’t wait to continue with the series this month!

What I said in my review:

“As always, the writing is sublime, the plot well developed and the story definitely has some shocking surprises in store. ”

Hell To Pay might just be the best book yet, or at least the story with the most intensity of the bunch. Be ready for some very explosive plot twists and scenes! This one will leave you staring at the last page with your heart beating like a maniac. SO good!”

Click here for my full review


There were three more titles with a 4,5 star rating, funny enough all belonging to different genres this time. And all of them are without doubt excellent reads and deserve all the praise! Here we go:

What I said in my review:

“If you love a good road trip story with well developed and interesting characters, lots of sightseeing, funny moments, a dash of suspense and a dose of romance that is just right, you will love The Getaway Girls as well. ”

“Entertaining, uplifting, a pinch of suspense and a healthy dose of summer romance… This story will make you forget about your own problems for a while as you join the main characters on their journey.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“If you are like me a fan of WWII survivor stories, My Real Name Is Hanna is a must-read.”

“Well written, well developed, emotional, harrowing, heartbreaking and with a healthy dose of local customs and excellent descriptions of the setting… Oh yes, there is a lot to love in My Real Name Is Hanna.”

Click here for my full review 

What I said in my review:

“For a story that is ment for such a young audience, it is surprising just how much you will be able to relate to the underlying message as an adult.”

“The illustrations and easy and well written prose are to help kids understand and enjoy, but I truly think this is a story for all ages.”

Click here for my full review


Have you read any of these titles above? What did you think of them? What were your favorite reads in July?


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Month In Review: July 2018

I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s August already. I mean, August?! Where did the first seven months of 2018 go?! July wasn’t the best month with my mother in law passing away, and I had to take some personal down time after that. Winter has also been pretty nasty to me, as I’m still struggling with acute bronquitis, sinusitis or whatever it is (yes, I’ve been dealing with this since June, NOT funny). Hopefully the new tests will bring to light exactly what it is that has been bothering me so I can finally get rid of it.

Somehow I ended up reading a LOT during July, more than previous months this year… Although I do have to admit I read a few really short books and MG reads as well. But still, the page count doesn’t lie and I added a whopping 23 new titles to my read list. o.O And another milestone: I managed to make it to the magical 200 submitted NG reviews mark and now have that mythical 200 NG review badge on my blog! I still can’t believe I made this number after only two years of using Netgalley. Does it show my Netgalley addiction is out of control?? xD

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in July : 23
  • Total number of books read this year: 120
  • Total number of pages read in July: 6.480
  • Total number of pages read this year: 37.358

I somehow managed to read a lot last month, and while I didn’t have a new 5 star read, four titles were nearly perfect.  I did have more lowish reads than normal, but overall I’m still happy with this month.

JULY READS

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

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! – by Dr. Seuss // The Getaway Girls – by Dee MacDonald // Hell To Pay – by Rachel Amphlett // My Real Name Is Hanna – by Tara Lynn Masih

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

Harry Potter Y La Camera Secreta NO REVIEW – by J.K. Rowling // Prodigy – by Marie Lu // The Secret – by K.L. Slater // Crochet Animal Rugs – by Ira Rott // Attachments – by Rainbow Rowell // Misery – by Stephen King // Never Say Goodbye – by Richard Parker // Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops – by Jen Campbell

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

Het Jaar Dat The Wereld Op Zijn Kop Stond (The Year Of The Rat) – by Clare Furniss // The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker – by Kerry Wilkinson

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

Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator – by Roald Dahl // Turtles All The Way Down – by John Green // Champion – by Marie Lu // Slaughterhouse-Five – by Kurt Vonnegut // Thin Wire – by Christine Lewry // Broken Dolls – by Sarah Flint // Click’d – by Tamara Ireland Stone

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

Run And Hide – by Alan McDermott

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

Kids Of Appetite – by David Arnold


I haven’t joined a lot of challenges this year so far, mostly because I decided to focus more on ‘fun’ reading and less on goals I have to complete. Things are going way better than planned! I actually finished both my Goodreads challenge and the Beat The Backlist challenge in July already! I won’t be changing them to a higher goal, but I’ll keep adding my progress. I’m really close to completing When Are You Reading? as well. I still haven’t found a title for the last era though (1600-1699). Ive made great progress with the Reading Through The Centuries challenge as well and I’m hoping to finish that one in August since I already have a title lined up.

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… I finished my fifth and final series so that’s another goal done! I also managed to finish read my second (modern) classic, so one more title left to go now. And even better: I both read a Spanish and Dutch read last month, crossing those goals off as well! I’m really happy about that. My NG ratio is also quite stable and well above the 80% mark; I’m definitely going to try and keep it that way. As for the rest of them: I’m still deciding which will be my 800+ pages book, and I’m pretty sure my TBR goal will be hopeless unless I unhaul some books. Rereading will have to wait until next month, but I’m hoping to complete the classic and international author goal by the end of August.

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 3 (modern) classics (rereads don’t count) 2/3 (Murder On The Orient Express // Slaughterhouse-Five)
  • 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 1/2 (Harry Potter Y La Camera Secreta)
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 300 books and keep it that way415/300
  • 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) 9/10 (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))
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year 5/5 DONE!!
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% currently at 95%
  • Reach 5km running! 2000m/5000m

Happy August and Happy Reading! 


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January-June 2018: The Numbers

Call me a nerd, but I do love my graphics posts! I first started properly keeping track of my reads in Excel back in 2016, making it possible to finally put together some graphics. I’ve done a bunch of ‘The Numbers’ posts over time, including my 2016 and 2017 posts, and it has been revealing interesting things about my reading habits. So why stop? 😉 This post will be al about the first six months of 2018. Let’s talk nerdy and see what my numbers were like, shall we?

First of all some quick facts. In the first six months of 2018 I have read no less than 97 books with a total page count of 30.832 pages; an average of about 318 pages per book. If I keep this up in the second half of the year, I will be able to match my reading numbers from last year, even though my page count is slightly lower so far. The average rating is 3,63 stars, which is actually the exact same rating as last year even though it included two 0 star ratings (DNF). No less than 28 books had a 4,5 or 5 star rating and 29 books received a rating 3 stars or below… Which means I enjoyed reading about 70% of the books during the year. Not that bad at all, even though the number is lower than previous years. Another fun fact: 60 of the 97 books I’ve read so far were actually ARCs; about 62% of the total. Way more than I was aiming for, but I do hope to be able to read more of my own books in the secound half of 2018.

And now some graphics for those who like them as much as I do. 😉

This graphic above explains exactly why my average rating ended up being quite high… About 54% of the books I read last year had a 4 star rating or above! And only 15% received a 2,5 star rating or below, so all in all I’m very happy with this one.

I already knew I hadn’t been reading a lot of Middle Grade in 2018, so I’m not at all surprised by this graphic. It does show that I still read more Adult than YA, which is probably mostly because I’ve been reading a lot of ARCs and I mainly request mystery/thrillers. 😉

One of the things I’ve been trying to do is read more books by male authors, because somehow I always seem to be reading more books my female authors (even though I never base my choice of books on the gender of the author). Sadly the percentage decreased by 7% since last year! I really have to step up my male author game in the second half of 2018.

A new graphic! After seeing Tina mention it in her update post, I decided to start keeping track of whether the books I read are by new authors or authors already known to me. And I have to say this graphic was a huge surprise! I would have never guessed that more than half of the books I read in the first half of 2018 are actually by new authors: a total of 62% or 60 books. I guess it shows I do love discovering new authors… And reading a lot of ARCs does help as well. I’m looking forward to read some old favorites though in the second half of 2018.

The main genre is basically the most dominant genre I think each book belongs to. As always mystery/thriller/horror is the biggest group (there’s truly no surprise there for those who follow my blog!). What is a surprise is that I have picked up a significant amount of contemporary romance reads as well, since it’s not one of my favorites. It’s good to see both historical fiction and fantasy quite well represented as well.

This average rating graphic is quite a shock… Although I’m aware each genre has received a few lower ratings during the year. Mystery/thriller/crime is well on top with a 4,06 rating. Looks like I’ve been reading a lot of excellent thrillers so far this year! Fantasy comes second (3,63 rating) and I’m actually quite shocked by the lowish ratings of the other genres. Especially when it comes to (realistic) fiction (2,6 stars) and non fiction/memoir (3,17 rating), but genres I normally enjoy and normally receive a higher rating.

The series/stand-alone ratio has been almost the same as in previous years, and I’m actually quite happy with this. As much as I love reading series, I tend to neglect them with the result of a huge pile of unfinished series collecting dust. And there is no such problem with stand-alones! 😉 I do want to finish a bunch of those unfinished series in the rest of 2018 though.

Boy do I feel bad about this graphic! I joined the Beat The Backlist challenge and have other challenges as well to help me read older titles, and somehow only a meager 16% of the books I’ve read in 2018 are published in 2015 or before. Oops? At least the number of books I read that were published in the current year went down: now a 43% of the total. I guess it shows I’ve been trying to get rid of my backlist, but somehow a lot of them ended up being books published in 2016 or 2017. I guess it’s better than nothing though right?

Last graphic: as always most books I’ve read have between 300 and 399 pages, which seems to be a pretty good number and a  sign of a story that’s not too short and not too long. There are exceptions of course; some stories are just too complex to be told in under 400 pages… I do have to step up my game when it comes to reading longer books, because only a meager 13% of my books had over 400 pages.


Tired of numbers yet? I know I am! That’s it for this January-June 2018 review… Happy reading everyone!


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Best Of… June 2018 @bookouture @jdbarker @RachelAmphlett @Lisalregan

I had originally decided to include this new feature in my monthly wrap ups, but I just felt there were too many facts squeezed into one little post and the whole purpose of putting my favorite reads in the spotlight was lost. So this is me giving those favorites their well deserved extra attention! I had two new 5 star reads in June as well as five other titles with an almost perfect rating. Lots of titles to choose from! But there can be only one the winner… So without further delay, June 2018’s favorite is… *drumroll*

The Date by Louise Jensen!! There was just no way I couldn’t not pick this title as my absolute favorite. I read a lot of thrillers, but this story simply was something else!

What I said in my review:

“Fascinating, highly addictive and utterly absorbing! If you are a fan of the genre, you simply MUST try this one. Trust me, you won’t regret it.”

“Holy cow, what a read! I literally dropped everything I was supposed to be doing after reading the first few pages and couldn’t put it down until I reached the very end. Not only is the writing sublime, but the suspense is spot on and I’m always a sucker for the amnesia element.”

Click here for my full review


There was another 5 star read in June (The Border) and five further titles were given a 4,5 star rating. All of them are without doubt excellent reads and deserve all the praise! I’ve decided to include all six titles for honorable mentions, since there are two series involved as well. Here we go:

What I said in my review:

“I really liked how Steve Schafer isn’t afraid to state the hard, painful and shocking facts, describing to us in a realistic way how the teens have to run for their lives.”

“he writing style managed to put me under its spell and I couldn’t let this story go until the very end. Ever feel like putting everything on hold until you reach the final page? That is what happened while I was reading The Border.

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“Dark, gritty, twisted, disturbing, intense… Just keep similar adjectives going, and they will apply to this first encounter with the 4MK killer. What a read!”

“Hooked from the first page? Check. More twistedness and new disturbing and horrifying killings? Check. A healthy dose of plot twist bombs that will leave you absolutely flabbergasted? Check. New insights in the backgrounds of the main characters? Check. Fleshing out of the previous plot while adding a LOT of new suspense and a very strong and promising base for an excellent third book? Check.”

Click here for my full review of The Fourth Monkey // The Fifth To Die 

What I said in my review:

“There is just something about the main character that makes it really easy to like her, and of course the whole mystery around what happened will have you intrigued. I’m rooting for Kay here!”

“Highly addictive, well written and a plot and plot twists that will keep you hooked until the very end! Oh yes, if you are a fan of the genre, you are missing out if you don’t read this series.”

Click here for my full review of Will To Live // One To Watch

What I said in my review:

“Lightning speed pace, excellent writing, dark, twisted, disturbing, suspenseful… Oh yes, this story will keep you in its claws and there is a lot to love here.”

“Imagine a war zone with plot twists bombs dropping on you, danger around every corner and no clue how to reach the ending safely… Trust me, Her Mother’s Grave is a story you won’t soon forget.”

Review will be posted on July 19th


Have you read any of these titles above? What did you think of them? What were your favorite reads in June?


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Month In Review: June 2018

I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that the first half of 2018 is already over. Poof. Disappeared. How did that happen, when it still feels like January? Winter is here… And it’s been pretty cold down here so far. One of the reasons I’ve been busy learning a new crochet technique and I made this rainbow bobble stitch cowl (among other things). ❤

The cold came with a virus though, and I’ve been under the weather for the last ten days or so of June. I guess being cooped up inside did mean I was able to read way more than I initially planned: a total of 19 books! And there were more surprises… Not only has It’s All About Books now reached the magical 100.000 page views mark ( ❤ ❤ ❤ ), I’m also reaaaaaally close to getting that mythical 200 NG review badge!! o.O

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in June : 19
  • Total number of books read this year: 97
  • Total number of pages read in June: 6.012
  • Total number of pages read this year: 30.832

I somehow managed to read a lot last month, and most of them were excellent as well.  I was able to add two 5 star read to my list of favorites and five other titles received an almost perfect rating as well. I did have a couple of other lower ratings, but overall I’m quite happy with last month.

JUNE READS

5 STARS: Absolutely and entirely mind blowing! I suggest you to pick up a copy now.

The Date – by Louise Jensen // The Border – by Steve Schafer

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

The Fourth Monkey – by J.D. Barker // The Fifth To Die – by J.D. Barker // Will To Live – by Rachel Amphlett // Her Mother’s Grave – by Lisa Regan // One To Watch – by Rachel Amphlett

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

What Happened That Night – by Sandra Block // The Perfect Friend – by Barbara Copperthwaite // Bad Romance – by Heather Demetrios

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

Bring Me Back – by B.A. Paris // The Silent Sister – by Shalini Boland // Saigon Dark – by Elka Ray

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

The Lost For Words Bookshop – by Stephanie Butland // The Upside Of Unrequited – by Becky Albertalli // When The Moon Was Ours – by Anna-Marie McLemore

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

The Map Of Us – by Jules Preston // The Year Of The Snake – by M.J. Trow

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

The Unbinding Of Mary Reade – by Miriam McNamara


I haven’t joined a lot of challenges this year so far, mostly because I decided to focus more on ‘fun’ reading and less on goals I have to complete. Things are going way better than planned! I’m almost done with both my Goodreads challenge, the Beat The Backlist challenge and I’m really close to completing When Are You Reading? as well. I still haven’t found a title for the last era though (1600-1699). I really need to start reading some classics for the Reading Through The Centuries challenge by the way because I’m quite behind with that one.

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… I managed to finish read my first (modern) classic, so two more titles left to go. I also managed to add three new titles to my list of foreign authors/translations… Note: I’m calling authors international when they were born in a non-English country (AKA UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, you get the idea). I also joined another challenge and completed my challenge goal! My NG ratio is also quite stable and well above the 80% mark; I’m really happy with that. As for the rest of them: I have actually finished my Spanish read a few days ago (which also counts as a reread, so two down), and I’m hoping to pick up my Dutch title in July as well. I’m still deciding which will be my 800+ pages book though.

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 3 (modern) classics (rereads don’t count) 1/3 (Murder On The Orient Express)
  • Complete at least 5 series (rereads don’t count) 4/5 (The Conspiracy Of Us, Bad Girls Don’t Die, Embassy Row, The 5th Wave)
  • Reread at least 2 books 0/2
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 300 books and keep it that way386/300
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages 0/1 (maximum 528 pages)
  • Read at least 1 book in Spanish 0/1
  • Read at least 1 book in Dutch 0/1
  • Read more international authors/translations (at least 10) 9/10 (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))
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year 5/5 DONE!!
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% currently at 96%
  • Reach 5km running! 2000m/5000m

Happy July and Happy Reading! 


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What I’ve Read During My Hiatus

From April 23rd to June 1st, It’s All About Books and me went on a Europe trip hiatus and we’ve kind of disappeared off the radar. But that doesn’t mean I completely went without books (like that would ever happen haha). Even with an intense travel schedule, I managed to read a total of 9 books during our trip. Mostly thanks to a few longer train rides and other travel time. No reading on the plane this time, because they had a LOT of new movies I watched instead (Despicable Me 3, Murder On The Orient Express, Pirates Of The Caribbean 5, The Great Showman…).

But what about those book titles I did read? Below a list of the nine books I managed to finish during my hiatus, each with a supershort opinion. Each one will have either a proper or Yvo’s shorties review coming up later this month of course.

Continue reading

Best Of… March 2018 @StMartinsPress @bookouture

I had originally decided to include this new feature in my monthly wrap ups, but I just felt there were too many facts squeezed into one little post and the whole purpose of putting my favorite reads in the spotlight was lost. So this is me giving those favorites their well deserved extra attention! In March, there was no new 5 star read, but I had a whopping seven! titles with an almost perfect rating! I’m going to be honest here and I was really close to cheating and just name all of them my favorite, but in the end I decided not to take the easy way out. So without further delay, March 2018’s favorite was… *drumroll*

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Hinton!! I was a really tough call, but after careful consideration it was this moving memoir that stood a little out over the rest of the titles.

What I said in my review:

“Powerful, infuriating, heartbreaking and with a dose of hope and forgiveness… The Sun Does Shine is one of the best true crime memoirs I have read to this date, and his story will stay with me for a long time.”

“The pure injustice of it all makes you want to scream, but both his case and experience is very well documented in this memoir and makes for a painful, but inspiring, intriguing and very powerful read. I’m truly impressed by his views on life and his ability to be able to forgive the unforgivable.”

Click here for my full review


Six other titles were given a 4,5 star rating last month, and it simply has been extremely hard to bring down that number further. In the end, I felt four titles stood out a tiny bit above the other two. The two titles not mentioned are still excellent reads and deserve all the praise! But this post is getting too long as it is, so I had to make tough choices… And with no further delay, honorable mentions go to the following four titles:

What I said in my review:

The Child Next Door is psychological thriller at its best. Just the right amount of tension, a rich plot and a healthy dose of twists and false leads, but also well rounded characters and a pace that is just right.”

“I was left staring open-mouthed at the last page because I just couldn’t believe what I just read.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“This newest installment has exactly the same high quality of writing, plot development, twists and the healthy dose of suspense and action I have become used to with this series. ”

“Fast-paced, suspenseful, intense and highly entertaining: Deadly Secrets and the DCI Erika Foster series in general is a must-read for detective thriller fans!”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“Boy, it was one heck of a ride… I found myself hooked from the moment I started reading, and this had a lot to do with the writing style.”

“The premise of The Good Twin is fantastic, and the execution without doubt lives up to expectations.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“I absolutely adored this story! I was in desperate need of something fun and entertaining to read and this book worked like magic.”

“The writing style is engaging, easy to read and has just the right pace to allow for well developed characters and an interesting plot.”

Click here for my full review


Have you read any of these titles above? What did you think of them? What were your favorite reads in March?


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