Best of… May 2019 @Orendabooks @nholten

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 a LOT of fantastic reads in May, all worth mentioning so brace yourself for a long post. But there was one title that stood out above the rest, an easy choice for this month’s favorite. Did you guess already which one? Without further delay, May 2019’s favorite is… *drumroll*

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech!! I can’t believe this is only my first experience with her work, but it most definitely won’t be my last. What an absolutely fantastic read!

What I said in my review:

“The writing style is absolutely wonderful of course, but it is the characters who steal the show in Call Me Star GirlLouise Beech should receive an award for being able to create such fascinating characters that are both flawed, strong and essentially unlikeable, but are able to win over your heart anyway.”

“Subtle twists and turns are incorporated in such a way that builds the tension and suspense without even realizing it; throwing new shocking information at you before you are getting comfortable with what you already know.”

Click here for my full review

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Month In Review: May 2019

May turned out to be another busy month and I’m actually surprised that I was able to read the amount I did. I’m still not sure how that happened! I won two Instagram giveaways (first time that ever happened!) and they arrived in time for the bookhaul post I shared on Saturday. A spoiler of what I got below together with my crochet puppy Manchee.

But May was basically mostly about baking for me, as I had promised to prepare all the desserts for our niece’s fifteenth birthday (similar importance as a ‘sweet sixteen’ in the US). Things were going to be kept informal, but I wanted to make a variety of sweets anyway… Since I love baking in the first place, and it was a great excuse to try new things. 😉 Below a few photos! The first is of a three-layer birthday cake I made from scratch, which definitely came out better than expected even though it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. On the right a variety of cupcakes with buttercream decoration (banana-chocolate, coconut-pineapple and vanilla-cream cheese flavored). Below a photo on how part of the dessert table was set up, where you can see the other things I made including fudgy brownie bites with mint buttercream, brownie and vanilla cakepops and Argentinian alfajores (sandwich cookies with dulce de leche) in three different colors.

I definitely had a lot of fun making all of these, although I ended up exhausted after four days of baking. xD And with the weather being pretty shitty and cold, I ended up catching a virus that same night of the birthday and I’ve been struggling with the flu ever since. Fingers crossed it will be gone soon! I definitely see lots of curling up under a blanket with a steaming cup of tea or coffee in the near future.

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in May: 23
  • Total number of books read this year: 113
  • Total number of pages read in May: 7.234
  • Total number of pages read this year: 37.184

May turned out to be a pretty good reading month. Not only did I get a new 5 star read, but I also had a further 7! books with an almost perfect rating! Four books did end up having a very low rating and sadly I had another DNF, but overall I’m still happy with the books I was able to read.

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January-April 2019: 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 20162017 and 2018 posts, and it has been revealing interesting things about my reading habits. So why stop? 😉 This post will be all about the first four months of 2019. Let’s talk nerdy and see what my numbers were like, shall we?

First of all some quick facts. In the first four months of 2019 I have read no less than 90 books with a total page count of 29.950 pages; an average of about 333 pages per book. This is way more than I expected and if I keep it up I will actually break my 2018 record… Although I don’t think that will actually happen. The average rating is 3,55 stars, which the same as in 2018 so I guess not too bad. No less than 19 books had a 4,5 or 5 star rating and 30 books received a rating 3 stars or below… Which means I enjoyed reading about 67% of the books during the year. Not that bad at all, even though the number is lower than I would have hoped. Another fun fact: 37 of the 90 books I’ve read so far were actually ARCs; about 41% of the total. This is really close to my goal to keep that ratio below 40%, so I’m quite happy with that!

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 had a 4 star rating or above! About 16% received a 2,5 star rating or below, which explains why my average rating isn’t that high either. Still, I’m definitely happy with these numbers.

I already knew I haven’t been reading a lot of Middle Grade, but I really should try to get a few more titles in… And it shows I still read more Adult than YA, although the amount of YA titles did go up a little compared to 2018.

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, things are even worse than in 2018… I really need to step up my game here.

I’m surprised to see I’ve been discovering way more new authors than reading books by authors I’ve read before in the first four months of 2019… Not a bad thing necessarily, as I love discovering new authors, but I want to go back to old favorites in the upcoming months as well.

These numbers are not a surprise as I normally prefer reading the original story, but with a lot of languages I don’t exactly have a choice. 😉 It’s interesting to see what a whopping 7% or 6 books were actually translations so far this year!

I thought it was interesting to keep track of the author nationalities… The mayority of my reads were between UK and US authors (no surprise here), but I’m happy to see quite a few other countries on here as well.

This is what the previous graphic looks like on a map! The countries in orange represent the nationalities of the authors I was able to read so far in 2019.

And here is another map, this time around of the different settings I managed to travel to with the help of the books I read during the first four months of 2019. In case you are wondering how I’m able to create the maps; I’m using this page.

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!). I like how most other dominant genres are well spread out though; it looks like I read a truly eclectic mix of books during the first four months of 2019.

A new graphic! I decided to start keeping track of the POV in each story… And a surprising amount of stories ended up having more than one POV where both genders are represented.

This average rating graphic is quite a shock… Although I’m aware a lot of genres have received lower ratings. It seems I have been super lucky with my historical fiction reads which received a whopping 4,08 rating. Next up is fantasy with another excellent 3,86 rating… Mystery/thriller/crime still did good with a 3,67 rating. Science fiction/dystopia and non fiction/memoir were really low with a 2,71 rating and 3 rating respectively. I’m actually quite shocked by the lowish ratings of the genres in general, but I guess it’s due to two DNF (0 rating) and other low reads I sadly had in in the first four months of 2019.

It turns out I’ve been reading even more stand-alones than last year! I’m not that surprised though… 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 2019 though.

Finally an improvement! I joined the Beat The Backlist challenge again to help me read older titles, and it seems to work… 34% of the books I picked up were published in 2016 or before, and a total of 64% of the books were published before 2019! I seem to be able to finally balance out those ARCs and backlist titles better.

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’m happy to have read more longer books compared to 2018! A total of 18% of my books had over 400 pages.


Tired of numbers yet? I know I am! That’s it for this post… Happy reading everyone!


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Best of… April 2019 @peterswanson3 @amazonpub @theravenangel

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 April, but I did have three titles that came pretty darn close and all three were fantastic. Picking just one winner was so SO hard! But I did it, so without further delay, April 2019’s favorite is… *drumroll*

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson!! I’m definitely happy I joined the @criminallygoodbookclub on Instagram and read this story… It doesn’t happen often that a story manages to surprise me this much. What a read!

What I said in my review:

Before She Knew Him is well written, suspenseful and has an enormous plot twist bomb towards the end that will leave you with your mouth hanging wide open.”

“This story also packs a HUGE surprise you won’t see coming at all… And I love it when a story is able to mislead me so well I actually yelled ‘WHAT?!?!’ when I stumbled across the reveal. If you enjoy the genre, Before She Knew Him is definitely a story not to miss.”

Click here for my full review


Two other stories received an almost perfect rating, one historical fiction read with a hint of the surreal set in Mexico and the other a mythology retelling set before the Troyan War. In the order I’ve read them:

What I said in my review:

“With an air of the writing style of Gabriel Garcia MarquezThe Murmur Of Bees tells us the story of a wealthy land owner family and how the appearance of the mysterious Simonopio both saved and changed their lives forever. The writing is lush and wonderful and will truly transport you to a different time and country… It’s a story of love, joy, sadness and desperation; a story of different generations, family and a country damaged by war and the 1918 influenza outbreak. ”

“Both Simonopio and his bees and the folklore tales incorporated into stories are incorporated in such a way that they create a perfect balance with the rest of the plot and they give The Murmur Of Bees an unique touch. The result is a complex and enchanting story and a journey any fan of the genre will enjoy undertaking.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“I loved the fact that the story doesn’t focus on just one character, but instead offers us multiple views and stories to treasure. This givesSong Of Sacrifice a multidimensional and rich feel and definitely added to my positive experience with this story. Gods and humans alike play a role in this story, and I think descriptions and historical setting are spot on.”

Song Of Sacrifice is part of a series, and book one doesn’t actually get to the point of the Troyan war yet, but reading about the (lesser known) years leading up to the war is just as fascinating. Fans of historical fiction and Greek mythology retellings will love spending time with this story.”

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 April?


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Month In Review: April 2019

April turned out to be a busy month and I’m actually surprised that I was able to read the amount I did. It was a month of ups and downs, especially with Delilah Bard being missing for no less than eleven days before she returned to me safely… I wasn’t really motivated to read or blog during the days she was gone and it shows. On the brighter side, I had a lot of fun with the O.W.L.s Readathon this year (the Twitter events were such a great bonus!). I hauled a huge stack of books, something that doesn’t happen too often and it also means I’m now in dire need of a new bookcase. xD We also celebrated my hubby’s birthday and visited friends out of town, so it wasn’t all bad. The weather is definitely getting worse though; I see lots of curling up under a blanket with a steaming cup of tea or coffee in the near future.

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in April: 19
  • Total number of books read this year: 90
  • Total number of pages read in April: 6.630
  • Total number of pages read this year: 29.950

April turned out to be a pretty good month. I didn’t get a new 5 star read, and four books ended up having a very low rating, but overall I’m still happy with the books I was able to read.

APRIL READS

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

The Murmur Of Bees – by Sofia Segovia // Song Of Sacrifice – by Janell Rhiannon // Before She Knew Him – by Peter Swanson

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

The Blue – by Lucy Clarke // The Dare – by Carol Wyer // How To Walk Away – by Katherine Center // Little Darlings – by Melanie Golding // The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society – by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows // The Book Woman Of Troublesome Creek – by Kim Michele Richardson // The Murder On The Links – by Agatha Christie // Romanov – by Nadine Brandes

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

Across The Universe – by Beth Revis // Five Feet Apart – by Rachael Lippincott

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

Release – by Patrick Ness // Final Betrayal – by Patricia Gibney

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

The Silver Ladies Of Penny Lane – by Dee MacDonald // The Wolf Border – Sarah Hall // These Broken Stars – by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

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

Fun Home – by Alison Bechdel


I joined more challenges than initially planned in 2019, but I feel all have doable goals that shouldn’t take too much work to finish. Things are going way better than planned so far! I’ll need to keep an eye on the Reading Through The Centuries one though because it’s going to be tricky to get enough new years in otherwise. But it looks like the other challenges are well on track without even trying. Not bad at all. 😉

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… Things are going better than expected, although I failed to get my ARC/backlist title ratio below the 40% limit. I’m hoping to get below the limit again in May, but I’m not sure if it will be doable with the ARCs I have pending… My TBR pile in general is pretty hopeless as well, but at least I’m well on track with my TBR jar picks, so that’s something. xD Also, I’m going to try and finish my Dutch read of the year in May.

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 3 (modern) classics (rereads don’t count) 3/3 DONE!! (The Painted Veil // The Big Sleep // A Wrinkle In Time)
  • Complete at least 10 series (rereads don’t count) 4/10 (Anastasia Phoenix // The Conqueror’s Saga // Women Are Some Kind Of Magic // Fire And Thorns)
  • Reread at least 2 books 2/2 DONE!! (The BFG // Harry Potter Y El Caliz De Fuego)
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 450 books and keep it that way600/450
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages 1/1 DONE!! (813 pages; Colombiano)
  • Keep ARC/backlist title ratio below 40% 41,1%
  • Read at least 2 books in Spanish 1/2 (Harry Potter Y El Cáliz De Fuego)
  • Read at least 1 book in Dutch 0/1
  • Read at least 15 international authors and/or translations  7/15 (Mala Vida (France) // The Painted Veil (France) // When Dimple Met Rishi (India) // And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer (Sweden) // The Courier (Norway) // The Travelling Cat Chronicles (Japan) // The Murmur Of Bees (Mexico))
  • Read at least 10 TBR jar picks 4/10 (The Insect Farm // The Shattering // Be Frank With Me // Tell The Wolves I’m Home)
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year 5/5 DONE!!
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% 95%

Happy May and Happy Reading! 


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Best of… March 2019 @paperfury

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 not one, but TWO new 5 star reads in March, and both were absolutely fantastic. Picking just one winner was so SO hard! But I did it, so without further delay, March 2019’s favorite is… *drumroll*

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews!! (aka Paperfury) I can’t believe it took me this long to pick up her debut, and I’m still kicking myself because it completely blew me away. I can’t wait for my pre-order copy of her new book to arrive; any day now! (crossing fingers and toes)

What I said in my review:

“The power of A Thousand Perfect Notes is in its characters. Both Beck, August and Joey are so easy to love; you will adopt them straight away and your heart will ache for them as the plot evolves.”

A Thousand Perfect Notes will make you laugh and cry and the characters will stay with you for a long time. It’s a fantastic contemporary read which balances happy moments and a romantic interest with a thousand musical notes and a dark twist.”

Click here for my full review


Like I mentioned, I had one other 5 star read in March (The Travelling Cat Chronicles). A further six books received a 4,5 star rating (one a reread), but I’ve decided to only include three of these to avoid this post from going on forever. I loved all six though! But the other three above stood out just a tiny bit above the others. In the order I’ve read them, starting with my other 5 star read :

What I said in my review:

The Travelling Cat Chronicles is the perfect book for anyone who enjoys being around cats. It’s so easy to relate to this wonderful story!”

The Travelling Cat Chronicles is a fantastic read I could see myself reading over and over again.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

Rene Denfeld did a fantastic job combining the different elements, waving them together in such a way that will leave you speechless by the time you reach the final page. ”

“The writing, the magical realism, the characters, the contrast of the fantastical and brutal reality… It’s true that The Enchanted is not for everyone, but the right person will be just as enchanted as I found myself to be.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“I’ve become an instant Jane Harper fan. What a fantastic read! The setting, the writing style, the plot and character development: I found each element to be extremely well executed and I can see why this debut has received so much love”

“The author did a fantastic job of setting the right atmosphere for this story and portray what the weather and lack of rain can do to a whole town.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“With this new story she has once again proven to me she belongs on my list of favorite authors. What a read!”

“A truly unique rock ‘n roll story that is ready to rock your socks off.”

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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Month In Review: March 2019

March turned out to be another busy month where I celebrated my birthday, filled my shelves with new books and ordered some more and where I finally stepped up my Bookstagram game. The weather has been going crazy down here, going from heat to rain and cold weather and back again… Preventing us from going on another camping trip and resulting in me having to prepare the garden for winter early. Bad weather did mean I was able to read a lot more than expected… And I’ve been having fun preparing for this month’s Magical Readathon as well.

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in March: 24
  • Total number of books read this year: 71
  • Total number of pages read in March: 7.811
  • Total number of pages read this year: 23.320

March turned out to be an excellent month and I definitely read way more than anticipated. I managed to get two! new 5 star reads and a whole pile of other excellent reads as well… I did have another DNF, but with only three books with a rating below 3 stars in total I’m calling March a success.

MARCH READS

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

A Thousand Perfect Notes – by C.G. Drews // The Travelling Cat Chronicles – by Hiro Arikawa

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

And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer – by Fredrik Backman // The Bones She Buried – by Lisa Regan // The Enchanted – by Rene Denfeld // The Dry – by Jane Harper // Harry Potter Y El Cáliz De Fuego (reread) – by J.K. Rowling // Daisy Jones & The Six – by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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

The Secret Child – by Caroline Mitchell // The Courier – by Kjell Ola Dahl // Verity – by Colleen Hoover // Wicked Saints – by Emily A. Duncan // We Are Of Dust – by Clare Coombes // Wolfhunter River – by Rachel Caine

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

The Fever King – by Victoria Lee // Then She Was Gone – by Lisa Jewell // Tell The Wolves I’m Home – by Carol Rika Brunt 

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

Here We Are Now – by Jasmine Warga // Smoke And Key – by Kelsey Sutton // I Know You – by Erik Therme // Every Exquisite Thing – by Matthew Quick

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

The Fourth Courier – by Timothy Jay Smith // 99 Percent Mine – by Sally Thorne

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

Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution –  by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo


I joined more challenges than initially planned in 2019, but I feel all have doable goals that shouldn’t take too much work to finish. Things are going way better than planned so far! I’ll need to keep an eye on the Reading Through The Centuries one though because it’s going to be tricky to get enough new years in otherwise. But it looks like the other challenges are well on track without even trying. Not bad at all. 😉

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… Things are going better than expected! I managed to reread my second book of the year (also counts as my first Spanish read) so that’s one less goal to worry about! I failed to keep my ARC/backlist title ratio below the 40% limit though, but that is no surprise because I have a huge pile of ARCs pending. My TBR pile in general is pretty hopeless as well, but at least I’m well on track with my TBR jar picks, so that’s something. xD

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 3 (modern) classics (rereads don’t count) 3/3 DONE!! (The Painted Veil // The Big Sleep // A Wrinkle In Time)
  • Complete at least 10 series (rereads don’t count) 4/10 (Anastasia Phoenix // The Conqueror’s Saga // Women Are Some Kind Of Magic // Fire And Thorns)
  • Reread at least 2 books 2/2 DONE!! (The BFG // Harry Potter Y El Caliz De Fuego)
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 450 books and keep it that way580/450
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages 1/1 DONE!! (813 pages; Colombiano)
  • Keep ARC/backlist title ratio below 40% 40,8%
  • Read at least 2 books in Spanish 1/2 (Harry Potter Y El Cáliz De Fuego)
  • Read at least 1 book in Dutch 0/1
  • Read at least 15 international authors and/or translations  6/15 (Mala Vida (France) // The Painted Veil (France) // When Dimple Met Rishi (India) // And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer (Sweden) // The Courier (Norway) // The Travelling Cat Chronicles (Japan))
  • Read at least 10 TBR jar picks 4/10 (The Insect Farm // The Shattering // Be Frank With Me // Tell The Wolves I’m Home)
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year 5/5 DONE!!
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% 94%

Happy April and Happy Reading! 


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