When the World Feels Like Sh*t, Read These Books

The world can be a pretty sh*tty place sometimes. We only have to check our Twitter feeds or turn on the nightly news to hear about more death, more injustice, more reasons to make you feel like you should just give up and curl into the foetal position. But just because things are tough, that doesn’t mean we can give up. In fact, we have to fight harder than ever before to make our voices heard and stand up for what’s right.

It’s certainly not easy, and even though we’ve come so far, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. But in these difficult times, sometimes we just need to escape into a fictional world for a little while. Being constantly switched on to the disturbing and sickening news we’re bombarded with on a daily basis is known to take a toll on people. And that’s why I think so many people find solace in books, and shows, and movies.

One of the most important things about fictional worlds is that, more often than not, they depict stories about overcoming evil and fighting for what’s right. In these dark and uncertain times, we need these kind of stories. We need to be reminded that there is always hope. Friendship and love will outweigh hatred and fear. We all need to be reminded of that at times.

So I’ve compiled a list of book recommendations for when the world feels like sh*t. Because let’s be real: it so often does. Pick up one of these books, get lost in the pages, and you’ll find yourself coming out the other end a slightly different person to when you started it. Whether it’s a realisation that you matter, or that you have the power to be heard, each of these books have messages that we need now more than ever.

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on…that’s who we really are.” — Sirius Black

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YA Books with Deaf Representation

Isn’t it just the best feeling when you read a book and go YES. That’s me, right there on the page!? There’s nothing quite as exciting as feeling seen in a novel. It can be because of a character’s ethnicity, or sexuality, or even something small like a character quoting The Office or shipping Quirrelmort like you do (#1 Quirrelmort shipper right here). Seeing a part of you in a book is one of the things I love most about reading, and as a queer cis white woman, I’ve been lucky to see myself represented on the page in a lot of what I read.

REPRESENTATION IS IMPORTANT, Y’ALL. I’m sure as fellow bloggers, I don’t have to tell you that twice. But one of the aspects of representation that I believe we need to see more of in YA is disability representation—and the spreading of awareness for books with disability representation that we already have available to us. So today I just wanted to shine a light on some of the books featuring Deaf characters that I’ve read recently.

Of course I have no place to say whether the representation in these novels is accurate or how well these characters are written, but I do hope that if you’re looking for more books with hearing impaired representation this list helps you out! I really enjoyed all of these, and I’m definitely on the lookout for more books starring Deaf protagonists. Hit me up with all your recommendations!

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Top Five Contemporaries of 2019 (so far!)

If you’ve glanced at my blog for longer than ten seconds or know me on social media, you’ll be well aware than I’m a massive fan of contemporary YA. It’s definitely my favourite genre out there. Sure, I love a good fantasy story, and yeah, thrillers are pretty cool too, but nothing makes me want to curl up with a mug of tea and a book on a chilly afternoon quiet like a cute contemporary does.

As we’re halfway through 2019 already (umm, excuse me? where did my year go?), I thought it was the perfect time to share my top five contemporary reads of this year so far! There are still a ton on my TBR that I need to get to before the year’s over, and I’ve got a massive stack on preorder, but these are just a few that I’ve absolutely loved from the first six months of the year.

If you’re looking for a new contemporary novel to pick up, I highly recommend checking out these ones right here!

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10 Weird Bookish Things Non-Readers Don’t Understand

There’s a lot of bookish things that non-readers just DON’T UNDERSTAND. Whether it’s your family giving you weird looks when you scream with excitement about the arrival of a preorder, or if it’s dropping bookish drama into conversation with friends and getting blank looks in response, it can be both frustrating and hilarious. So I’ve decided to list my top ten things non-readers are completely oblivious to!

1. Book-Themed Candles

I absolutely love book-themed candles. I love searching for candles that are inspired by my favourite books and characters, or ones that just include some of my favourite scents. But you know what? My family just DOES NOT GET IT. “Why would you want a book candle?” they say. “You can just take a book off your shelf and smell it. Why do you need to buy a candle?” BUT IT DOESN’T SMELL LIKE BOOKS, OKAY?! Or even the ones that have a hint of that “old book smell”, it’s always coupled with other things. Like pine. Or coffee. Or roses. And my family just… doesn’t get that.Read More »

How Queer YA Changed My Life

It’s a well-known saying that books have the power to change us, and I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. Some of the most important things I’ve learned, not only about myself, but also about the world around me, has come from books.

Book have taught me that I’m not alone in whatever I’m going through or whatever I’m feeling. Books have taught me to be brave. Books have taught me how to stand up for myself, and believe in myself, and learn to love myself—flaws and all.

And most importantly, books have helped me realise that I am indeed hella queer, and they’ve helped me not only come to terms with my sexuality, but EMBRACE it. Be PROUD about it. And I think that’s a really important thing. I have YA to thank for that.

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Sorting My Recent Reads into Hogwarts Houses

I’m absolutely OBSESSED with sorting people into Hogwarts Houses. One of my first questions when I’m getting to know someone new is “what’s your Hogwarts House?”, because I really feel like it gives you a snapshot of a person and what they might be like. As a Slytherin, I’m well aware of the bad reputation we have in society (WE’RE NOT ALL EVIL, I SWEAR), but I just loooove finding out how my friends and my colleagues have been sorted. I also love hearing what people’s Myers-Briggs type is, but less people know that than their Hogwarts House. *sigh*

And you know who else I love categorising into Hogwarts Houses? Characters! Especially the characters I write about in my own novels. Right now, I’m working on one with a Hufflepuff whose love interest is a Gryffindor, and I’m having so much fun with it. So today I decided to sort my recent reads into Hogwarts Houses, inspired by Christine @ polandbananasbooks‘s epic video where she did a similar thing! If you’re looking for a new novel to pick up based on your Hogwarts House, I definitely recommend these ones!

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Romantic YA Reads

I don’t know about you, but my favourite genre of YA at the moment is the romantic contemporary sort. Give me a YA contemporary any day and I’ll love you, but give me a cute, swoony romance? I’ll bake you a cake every day for a year. Give me a queer, cute, swoony romance?! I’LL BUY YOU A PLANET. No joke. Take your pick. Personally, I’d go for Saturn.

So today I wanted to share reviews for some of the romantic YA books I’ve read recently, as well as provide you with a list of all the upcoming cute contemporaries you simply must add to your TBR. Your bank account may be over in the corner quietly sobbing, but hey, sacrifices have to be made. Be warned that your heart might also be sacrificed to the bookish gods because of all the feeeeeels. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Always be prepared to have your heart ripped out when your OTP is having relationship problems.

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YA Books for Music Lovers

I absolutely love books that have some kind of music element in them, whether the protagonist be in a band, or they find solace in music, or anything like that. There’s just something so comforting about characters being passionate about the same things as you are, right? And I adore listening to music — especially when I’m reading.

So today I thought I’d share some of my favourite books that you should definitely check out if you’re a fan of any kind of music! There’s characters who enjoy pop music, to those that are into rap, and even some that play classical pieces. Something for everyone!

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I Was Born for This

Y’all are definitely sick of me saying this, but I LOVE ALICE OSEMAN. She’s one of my favourite authors of all time (and yeah, she’s definitely my favourite contemporary YA author), so how could I not include I Was Born for This in my post?! This is a book about fandoms and music and mental illness and friendship, and it honestly… brings a tear to my eye every time I think about it. JIMMY. ANGEL. AHHH. Seriously, this book is perfection. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me swoooon… oh my goodness. If you haven’t read anything by Alice Oseman yet, please do check out her stuff!Read More »

How to Get Over a Fictional Death

YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER JUST DIED. Now what? How are you meant to keep on living without them gracing this planet with their presence (well, on the pages of books or on screen at least)? How can you ever get over such an emotional experience that’s ripped someone away from you too soon? And most importantly, how are you expected to keep going about your regular life when you just feel like staring at a blank wall for 39 hours and listening to sad songs on repeat?

WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE. There are just times when your favourite character dies and it feels like your heart has been ripped in two. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE HEARTBREAK A FEW WORDS ON A PAGE CAN CAUSE. So today I’m going to offer up all my tips and tricks for overcoming a fictional death! Hopefully these five step will give you a little bit of solace in these dark times. My deepest condolences.

Step 1: Cry. And then cry some more.

Sometimes you just have to let it all out. There, there. Seriously, there’s times like these when you just have to sit on your bed — or public transport, or at work… deaths could hit you anywhere — and just let the tears stream down your face. People might stare. Once you start, you might not be able to stop. Give yourself the permission to take some time off work / school / adulting and just CRY. Better out than in, as Shrek always says. Holding in your tears and trying to get on with your life might result to breaking down in the middle of a supermarket (trust me, we’ve all been there). So just… sob to your heart’s content. Read More »

Cooking, Curses, and Cute Contemporaries | MINI REVIEWS

IT’S TIME FOR SOME MORE MINI REVIEWS! I’ve read some pretty great books recently (and some meh ones too, but shh, let’s focus on the positive), so I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done just reviews on my blog, so I hope you’ll find some new releases to add to your TBR if you haven’t got to these ones already! ENJOY!

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Making Friends with Alice Dyson

YAAAAS. I loved this one! I’m always a massive fan of #LoveOzYA contemporaries, but THIS ONE was particularly outstanding! I just related to the characters so much and loved the reluctant friendship, and it was just perfect. I LOVED the banter between Alice and Teddy, and ahh, they were just ADORABLE! This is the kind of book you need in your life.

Alice Dyson knows what she’s going to be doing in her last year of high school. Her plans consist of keeping her head down, studying, getting good grades, and — it goes without saying — not mixing with the most notorious trouble-maker in school. But Teddy has other plans. After a viral video throws Alice into the unwilling centre of attention, Teddy refuses to leave her alone. Great. Making Friends with Alice Dyson is a story about rumours, friendship, and discovering who you really are.Read More »