Bookish posts

My Favorite Books About Books

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In my opinion, nothing can quite capture my love for books like a story that has books as one of its central themes. Even as a child, I loved books, but there was no one in my immediate surroundings who shared that love.

Luckily that has changed! But because of that, I started seeking out books that explored this love for books within the stories, and some of them ended up being my favorites!

Schermafbeelding 2018-05-10 om 17.08.30The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. If you know one thing about me, it’s that The Shadow of the Wind is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s gorgeous, flowery writing, Barcelona setting and coming-of-age story will never be boring to me. This book, and the entire series, revolves around something called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. This library is tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Our main character Daniel gets a book from this cemetery, and completely falls in love with it – something we can all relate to.

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Inkheart
by Cornelia Funke. Oh boy, do I remember loving this series as a kid. Inkheart is the story of twelve-year-old Meggie. Her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service. Inkheart is a middle-grade (or Young Adult on the ‘young’ side of the spectrum) novel, but don’t let that stop you. The story is complex and the characters are well fleshed out!  Continue reading “My Favorite Books About Books”

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Book reviews

Book Review: The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

The Fact of A Body

Title: The Fact of a Body
Author: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Pages: 326
Genre: True crime, memoir
Publication date: May 16th 2017 by Flatiron Books

The Fact of a Body is one of those books that is hard to categorize: it’s part memoir, part true crime book. A disturbing story about the murder of a young boy – but also much more than that.

It’s hard to say where this story starts and where it ends. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, and she thinks her decisions and opinions are clear. She is against the death penalty. She does not want anyone to die. As the daughter of a lawyer, this is an opinion she has lived by ever since she knew what it meant.

But then she dives into the case of Ricky Langley, a pedophile and child murderer convicted of the murder on six-year-old Jeremy Guillory. She hears his voice, sees his taped confession, reads his files. And the moment his faces flashes on the screen Alexandria knows: she wants Ricky Langley to die. She is shocked by her reaction, which only makes her dig into this case deeper.

We unravel the story of Ricky, which is written in a way that it feels like a novel. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich used all the files and documents she could get her hands on to reconstruct his life. And although no facts have been altered, the author – as she says it – ‘layered her own imagination on the bare-bones record of the past to bring it to life.’ 

And as we unravel the story of Ricky Langley, we also unravel the painful story of Alexandria herself. We get an exceptionally intimate account of her childhood, about the sexual abuse and loss she dealt with at a young age, and about how her family dealt with these dark secrets.

Through her story, we learn how Alexandria’s past impacts her present. How the things she has been through affect her view of Ricky and the law in general. This impactful story rattled my insides, it made me feel sick and unsettled after I finished it. Yet it’s also one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.  Continue reading “Book Review: The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich”

personal · Wrap ups

April Wrap-Up: The Books I Read, My Favorite Blogposts And Life in General

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It’s kind of cliché to start wrap-ups with ‘I can’t believe the month is already over!’ but that’s really how I feel about April and about 2018 in general. I only have three big classes left of this school year , and then that’ll be over as well. Spring is here (although in The Netherlands, that means mostly rain…)

I used to never do wrap-ups, but I would like to change that. I enjoy reading wrap-ups that go a little deeper, like how Through Prose Tinted Pages does them. Their wrap-up includes a life update as well as awesome blog posts they enjoyed this month. So that’s what inspired this post!

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I read six books in the month of April, and I DNF’d one.

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The first book I read was Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. This book, which is about how a 10-year old boy deals with the loss of his father, was a reread for me. And once again, my heart was crushed. This book is a little jarring and confusing the first half, but everything wraps up nicely in the second half. Four stars.

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Then, I finished A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. This is the third book in the Shades of Magic trilogy (I reviewed A Darker Shade of Magic here). I LOVED THIS BOOK. I loved the characters. I loved the writing. I loved the romance. The story wraps up really nicely and the ending is very satisfying. I cannot wait to try more of V.E. Schwab’s books. I gave this five stars.

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Then, continuing my spree of reading emotional books, I read Everything I never Told You by Celeste Ng. It’s about the death of Lydia, the favorite child of the Chinese-American family this is about. It’s beautifully written and it deals with some very interesting and important topics. Such as interracial relationships, racism, sexism, grief, neglect, etc.  I gave it three stars because I felt like an observer in the story, and could never really connect to the characters.

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Next I read and reviewed Chatterbox by Sandy Day. This is a self-published poetry collection that the author sent to me for review. The poems in this collection explore a world of bewildering emotions ranging from sadness and terror to anger and enlightenment. The collection, divided in four different parts – Chattering, scattering, craving and knocking – guides you through all of these emotions. My full review can be found here. I gave it four stars.

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The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas had been on my TBR for a while. This book takes an incredibly important subject matter – racially motivated police violence – and makes it digestible for a YA audience. I gave it three stars, which means I liked it. I thought the main character was very well done, her reaction to things seems very realistic to me. My main issue was with the writing. It felt very typical for a YA contemporary and therefore didn’t have much identity or distinct voice for me.

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The last book I finished in April is The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. This book is part memoir, part true crime story. We follow the author as she begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder. While working there she becomes obsessed with pedophile and murderer Ricky Langley, seeing parallels of her own life in his. This book was absolutely breathtaking, and I’m planning to write a full review about it very soon.

Then, there is one book I DNF’d..

Schermafbeelding 2018-04-30 om 15.03.46.pngThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This was my very first Stiefvater book and I DNF’d it around the halfway point. It’s not that I absolutely hated the story, it’s just that I couldn’t be bothered. I always say that I need to understand the motive of the characters to care about the story and that’s where this book completely fell flat for me. Some rich spoiled private school kids search for a Welsh King and somehow it has to do with psychic energy but like, why?  Continue reading “April Wrap-Up: The Books I Read, My Favorite Blogposts And Life in General”

Tags & challenges

Tag: The Unique Blogger Award (Why I Joined The Book Blogging Community and Unpopular Opinions About Harry Potter)

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As I’m in the middle of end-of-the-semester exams, I was thinking what to write next. I’m not gonna lie, my brain feels a little fried at the moment. So that means it’s the perfect time for a tag. Rita over at Bookish Rita tagged me in the Unique Blogger Award Tag, and she came up with some amazing questions to answer!

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– Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you;
– Answer the questions;
– In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award;
– Ask them 3 questions.

Without further ado, let’s get into the questions!

joining book bloggin

I’ve been blogging for a really long time – close to ten years at this point. I haven’t always blogged on this website. When I was much younger, I used to not know what I wanted with my blog. I constantly felt the need to restart it. For a while I blogged on Dalindcy.nl, then Dalindcy.com. Constantly searching for the type of post I was happiest to write.

Just a little while ago I changed my URL to BooksAndRants.com and it’s the happiest I’ve ever been with my blog. Reading is a lifelong passion of mine. I always was the thoughtful, introvert kid that spent family parties reading in a corner. I love reading about books, and I love writing about this passion. I kind of rolled into book blogging – for a while I just wrote about books next to other stuff (and I still do sometimes) but book blogging really is where my heart lies.

The book blogging community is also very welcoming. Seriously, I’ve seen so many communities online that are not welcome when it comes to newbies. There is a lot of gatekeeping online, and I am personally not a fan of it. I think our community does a great job at being welcome and inclusive, and I truly feel at home! Continue reading “Tag: The Unique Blogger Award (Why I Joined The Book Blogging Community and Unpopular Opinions About Harry Potter)”

Book reviews · Poetry

Poetry Review: Chatterbox by Sandy Day

Chatterbox sandy day

Title: Chatterbox
Author: Sandy Day
Pages: 132
Genre: poetry
Publication date: January 20th 2018 (first published July 2011)

Chatterbox is a poetry collection consisting of one hundred and ten poems written during a year of marriage disintegration. The poems explore a world of bewildering emotions ranging from sadness and terror to anger and enlightenment. The collection, divided in four different parts  – Chattering, scattering, craving and knocking – guides you through all of these emotions.

And this is exactly the part that I loved most about this collection. Every single poem brought it’s own little piece to the puzzle, adding to the overall story being told by the author. I myself have never dealt with divorce, but that made no difference in the relatability of this collection.

Each and every poem is a separate work, but they all fit into the bigger picture of dealing with loss, betrayal, abandonment, resentment and bitterness. And that’s what makes these poems so real – it reads like the author is finally speaking up after years and years of silence. Like the author is finally allowing herself to feel emotions that she wasn’t allowed to feel before.  Continue reading “Poetry Review: Chatterbox by Sandy Day”

Bookish posts

The Complete Guide to #Bookstagram: Getting Started, Taking Pictures, Gaining Followers And Other Advice

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One of my favorite parts of the book community is definitely Bookstagram. What is Bookstagram?  I know, I could hear you asking that question. Basically, Bookstagram is Instagram specifically for books.

You might have a personal instagram where you post pictures of the highlights of your life. The great food you eat, the cute kids you have, the fun parties you go to. Bookstagram is just like that, but we only post pictures of books. Because books are basically our social life. I’m not joking.

Today I’m going to guide you through the world of #Bookstagram. But before we get started, feel free to follow me over at @Books.andrants

Why would you want to use it?

Well obviously because it’s a lot of fun. But if you’re a part of the book community there are also some other benefits. But I still stand by the fact that fun is the main reason to join Bookstagram!

Promotion. Especially if you have a blog of BookTube channel, your bookstagram will be an extension of that. With Instagram stories it has become even easier! See it as a way to broaden your audience and reach people you normally wouldn’t reach.

Artistic expression and inspiration. Not gonna lie, bookstagram inspires me. Some of the people I follow make their pictures so incredibly pretty and it inspires me to try out different ways of creating my own photos, how edit them etcetera. Experimenting is the only way to grow!

Tips before you get started

I know you’re probably dying to post your first photo, but before we get there I want to talk about the things you need to consider before actually filling up that feed!

Pick a username that matches your blog or YouTube channel. Seriously, DO IT. It makes it so much easier for people to find you on instagram if they follow your blog and vice versa. Of course your username might be taken and you have to be a little creative. @Booksandrants was taken (grr!) which is why I have @Books.andrants. I also recommend a name that somehow makes it clear that you are a bookstagram, something with ‘book’, ‘page’ or ‘read’ in the title is always good.

Write a short bio. I know, I know, writing bio’s is the hardest thing ever. But at least put your name, and maybe where you’re from, what genres you like to read, your favorite authors or hobbies. I don’t know, get creative!

Add a link to your blog. You only get one ‘clickable’ link on Instagram (links in photo captions don’t work) so make it count!

Creating your photos

Finally, now it gets REALLY FUN. And also hard. There are a lot of different components to a good bookstagram photo, so let’s go over them one by one.

Your camera: I know what you’re thinking: Dalindcy, I don’t have a fancy ass DSLR camera to take photo’s with, so I will never be a successful bookstagrammer. Wrong. I have a DSLR and I still take half of my pictures with my iPhone 8. Of course your followers like good quality pics, but you do not need a $1000 camera to get there. With some editing, your phone pictures can look gorgeous.

Your aesthetic: you need to decide how you want your photo’s to look. Do you want to do flatlays or not? Lots of color or black and white? Do you want minimalistic photos or not at all. Or do you just not care and do you want to post whatever? There are no rules when it comes to book blogging, but I have noticed that accounts that have a specific ‘theme’ do get more follows. But make it personal!

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Above you can find an example of my feed: No, not all of my pictures are exactly the same, but they do fit together, which brings me to my next point! Continue reading “The Complete Guide to #Bookstagram: Getting Started, Taking Pictures, Gaining Followers And Other Advice”

Bookish posts

The Pros and Cons of Being a Mood Reader

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Do you ever scroll through your Youtube subscription page or Bookstagram feed at the beginning of the month seeing stacks of books with the caption/title ”This is my Monthly TBR!” And can you just not relate? Is it impossible for you to set a TBR at the beginning of the month and stick to it? Do you always end up reading other books? Congrats, you might just be a mood reader.

I am a huge mood reader and I recognize that it has its ups and downsides, which is what I want to discuss with you today.

Pros of being a mood reader

  • I almost never struggle to choose a book: In my reading routine post I talked about how I’m often already eyeing a few books when I’m about to finish one. Looking at my reading history, I often alternate between different genres because that’s just what I feel like reading. I’ll read a huge fantasy novel and then some light contemporary next.
  • Less DNF’ing: Because I am really in tune with my reading mood, I have a feeling that I know what I’m going to like at that specific moment. Because of that, I don’t often DNF books these days, even though I’m pretty comfortable with it. I almost always pick something that I can personally connect to at that very moment.
  • I read broadly: Not to say that you can’t read broadly if you set monthly TBRs or that this is the case for every mood reader, but because my reading moods are so out there (I’ll feel like reading a classic and a high fantasy or a memoir or whatever) I read very broadly, all the time!

Cons of being a mood reader

  • It’s hard to fit in ARCs: If you like reading a lot of advanced reader copies and you need to have a review up before a specific date, you might hate being a mood reader. If I read a book that I’m not actually in the mood for, it often lowers my enjoyment of that book, and that affects the review. This is why it’s sometimes hard for me to fit in ARCs and I don’t read them as often as I used to. I still really enjoy ARCs from time to time though!
  • My TBR will never end: because I sometimes am not in the mood to read anything on my TBR and I end up buying something else (or getting it from the library). I often end up enjoying that book, and I’m glad I read it even if it wasn’t on my TBR, but it does mean that my TBR shelf doesn’t think out as fast as I’d like to.
  • Mood reading can lead to a slump easily: I do switch around a lot, but if I get into the mood for a specific genre I pick up book after book after book in that genre, or I marathon an entire series. After that, I often get into a slump for that specific genre, or just a reading slump in general. I think mood reading can lead to a slump easily because it’s so easy to burn yourself out on a specific genre or just reading in general. You just feel meh about the genre and nothing excites you.

As we speak, I just finished the shades of magic series by V.E. Schwab and I think I’m kiiinda in a fantasy slump right now, time to pick up some contemporary..

Continue reading “The Pros and Cons of Being a Mood Reader”