Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill: How Toxic Is Too Toxic?

only ever yoursFreida and Isabel have been best friends their whole lives.

Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions—wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative—life as a concubine—is too horrible to contemplate.

But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain perfect becomes almost unbearable. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty—her only asset—in peril.

And then, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

Freida must fight for her future—even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known… 

First published: 2014

Content warning: eating disorders


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Why The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker Made Me Angry

‘I heard him before I saw him: his battle cry ringing round the walls…’

When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She goes from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the godlike warrior Achilles as a prize of battle. She’s not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long, bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters.

As told in The Iliad, the Trojan War was a quarrel between men. But what of the women in this story, silenced by their fates? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead?

In this magnificent novel of the Trojan War, Pat Barker summons the voices of Briseis and her fellow women to tell this mythic story anew, foregrounding their experiences against the backdrop of savage battle between men. One of the contemporary writers on war and its collateral damage, here Pat Barker reimagines the most famous of all wars in literature, charting one woman’s journey through it, as she struggles to free herself and to become the author of her own story.

First published: 2018

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April Wrap-Up: Camp NaNoWriMo and the Magical Readathon

April Wrap-up

Usually, I feel like the months simply fly by, but the start of April seems like such a long time ago! I had quite an ambitious plan for April: I was going to participate in the Magical Readathon and try to write 30,000 words for the novel I’m working on during Camp NaNoWriMo. Those two events happened to be in the same month and instead of being sad about having to choose one of them, I decided to do both. Spoiler: I only succeeded at one and failed quite spectacularly at the other one. But that’s okay because we’re all about having fun here at Books Baking and Blogging, and I did have a lot of fun! So much so that I decided to tell you all about it. I don’t normally write wrap-ups, but I figured this month deserved one!

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Why On the Come Up by Angie Thomas Is Worth the Hype

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

Published: 2019

on the come up

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Mini Reviews: February Wrap-Up

While January seemed to go on for ages, February felt like it was over in a heartbeat. I blame it on those three days we didn’t have. I didn’t read as much in February as I did in January, but I did have a ton of fun reading! I read what is now a new favourite classic, and I finally read Landline, which had been sitting on my shelves for a good long while.

I also really enjoyed doing these mini reviews wrap up style last month, so I think I’m going to keep on doing that! Although, I’ll still be doing occasional full-length reviews for books I really have a lot to say on (I’ll be finishing On the Come Up by Angie Thomas later today – you can bet I have a lot to say about that!).

Anyway, on to the books!


Landline by Rainbow Rowell ★★★⭑☆ (3.5)landline

After my fantasy-heavy rotation in January, I really felt like reading a light contemporary novel at the start of February and Landline was the perfect pick. Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite writers, but I have to say I’ve loved her YA novels much more than her adult ones. Fangirl and Eleanor & Park are both favourites of mine, but Attachments and now this one, while definitely enjoyable, weren’t that memorable to me. I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing, especially her dialogues and she also writes amazing characters. They’re always interesting and Georgie and Neal in Landline were so well-rounded and vibrant. I loved getting to know them and their relationship better throughout the book. It was a wonderful, flawed, realistic love story. Apart from the magic phone – that’s the one thing that just didn’t really do it for me.

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Monthly TBRs: Yay or Nay?

Monthly TBR - yay or nay_

As most of you will know, setting monthly TBRs (To Be Read) is a thing in the book blogging world. I love seeing what other people plan on reading that month, either on Instagram, their blogs or YouTube. It’s always fun to see people get enthusiastic about books they really want to read.

I rarely ever set monthly TBRs for myself, though. However, lately, my feelings on TBRs have changed a little.

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Mini Reviews [4]: January edition

jan 31 - january wrap up (1)

The first month of the year is already over! Well, I say “already”, but January definitely felt like it was longer than 31 days, didn’t it? Have we uncovered a conspiracy here?

One of the reasons why I think January was longer than most months is that I managed to read six books this month! That’s pretty crazy for me – even though two of the books were graphic novels/comic books. It was a wonderful month, reading-wise, and I figured a good way to update you on all the books I read is by doing another round of mini reviews.

So, since we’ve got six (!) books to get through, let’s get to it!

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10 Books I Want to Read in 2019

tbr 2019

I’ve seen a lot of people make lists of their most anticipated books coming out in 2019. I love seeing people all excited about new books! Some of them have me doing a happy dance as well (On the Come Up, anyone?), but I have to admit I’m not very up to speed on what books are coming out when. I’m still trying to get to books that came out in 2017 (and way before that).

In other words: I tend to be more of a backlist reader (backlist = books that haven’t come out recently). That doesn’t mean that I’m not excited about (finally) getting to read some of the books on my shelves, though, so I figured I’d share with you the ten books I’m most excited about reading in 2019.

Let me tell you; it was hard to keep it to just ten! There are easily twenty books on my shelves I would love to be reading right now. I also kind of told myself I need to read more of the books that are already on my shelves before I can go out and buy a ton of new ones. There are a couple exceptions, of course. Some books you just have to get, ya know? There’s no way I’m instating another book buying ban – that’s no fun!

Anyhow, let’s get to my list!

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What’s Happening in 2019?

what's happening 2019

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s January 2019 and what better time to reflect on how things are going and what I want to change or keep doing in the new year than now, right?

At the start of 2018, I wrote a post about how I most of all wanted to have fun. Reading, baking, and blogging are my hobbies, so I didn’t want them to become a chore or something I felt like I had to do. I’m pleased to say that worked out quite well! I didn’t pressure myself into reading a certain number of books throughout the year – instead, I just read what and when I wanted and that resulted in me reading 50 books, which is 15 more than last year. Quite a good outcome!

The whole “keeping it fun” thing did mean that I didn’t post on the blog very regularly. I often didn’t have the energy to write new posts after a day of work and sometimes I just didn’t feel like it in the weekends or on my day off. There were times when I felt bad about that, but mostly I just let it go. I really enjoyed the posts I did write, and that was much more rewarding than putting up half-hearted posts just for the sake of it.

Which brings me to what’s going to happen in 2019.

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Looking Back on My Reading in 2018

My Reading in 2018

It’s the very last day of 2018 and what a year it’s been! Actually, I’m not in that much of a reminiscent mood this December. The year had its definite highs and lows, but I don’t really feel like dwelling on them, so I’m not going to! I’m excited for 2019 and I’ve got a lot of plans, but we’re going to talk about those in another post. One thing I do love looking back on is the things I read in a year, so that what’s were going to do today!

I’m going to look at Jamie/The Perpetual Page-Turner’s End of Year Book Survey for inspiration, but I’m not going to do the whole thing because it’s long and I only have an hour before having to get ready and leave for New Year celebrations #oops.

So, let’s get to it!

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