I am going to stop being a book blogger.

Content warnings: In this post I reference bad mental health, addiction, materialism, consumerism, hoarding, (creative) burn-out and compulsive behaviour.

I have been struggling a lot lately and at this point it has become so bad that I just want to stop being a bookish creator full stop. Reading has been a place of comfort and enjoyment for me for year, and so has being a bookish creator, but it got tainted. The book community isn’t exactly healthy, my hobby became my (unpaid) job, but I also started falling quite deep into a creative burn-out and I created and wrote for the sake of posting something, without real motivation and inspiration. It took away the joy I felt reading and creating.

Though I love reading and talking about books, for a time I have been debating whether I can reasonably stay in this community and be a content creator in it, and I the answer is no to both points. I already took a step back from my public Twitter account, but now I have decided to stop being a book blogger and take it easy on the creative front to truly take care of myself. My love for being a blogger and reviewer simply is not big enough to outweigh the lows I have been at, and those lows are becoming worse and more frequent as time goes on, and I have to continue my journey doing something that actually makes me feel good and I can keep up with without burning myself out regularly.

I don’t want to stop being a creator, because being a creative and a writer are things that are a part of me. But being a bookish creator has been suffocating and restricting for me. It takes so much time to keep up with the newest and hottest books, let alone creating content around it, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. And as everything is just books, books, books in this community, there is so little room for anything else while I am so much more than just a reader and lover of books. My attempts at branching out never worked out the way I wanted them to, so I mostly got discouraged to share that part of myself and just gave up on it at the cost of surpressing that part even further.

But aside from my personal creative struggles, there is another big reason why I need to stop book blogging, and take a step back from bookish content creation and the book community altogether. With the way the book community functions, I started to pick up a lot of unhealthy behaviour and I need to axe that out of my life, and my previous attempts over the last few years all failed or made my situation worse, so I need to remove myself from the root atleast partially instead of being completely surrounded by it and tailor my online spaces more seriously.

I am going to say it outright: I have been addicted to buying books. I am happy that it’s past tense now, but I am still not healed from it and my relationship with buying books at all is still not healthy and it’s incredibly hard to not relapse into that behaviour. In the book community you can’t escape book hauls, or people talking about buying books, or them showing of their pretty shelves, or hype around a book that basically says ”If you don’t read this book, then…”. It resulted into me buying all the popular books, buying new releases everyone talked about I wouldn’t have bought otherwise, buying pretty books to fill my shelf and what not. So much of my money went to books, I became a hoarder, I was unable to part with books and I started to cave in under the pressure of owning all those unread books I didn’t really want to read to begin with.
I started trying to put myself on book buying bans, but as it’s basically stopping cold turkey, I either caved in and bought books anyway, or when the ban was over I bought more books than I would have during that period of time anyway. It only built on the guilt and pressure I already felt, eventually making my behaviour even more unhealthy.

I was also really affected by how the community treats how much you read. Think about the the glorification of those outrageously high Goodreads reading challenges and people reading dozens of books in a month, but also about people feeling the need to apologise for lowering their goal of the year or having only read a few books that month in their wrap-ups, or only reading small books to get a higher number titles in.
Even though I love reading as a personal habit, as it makes me feel relaxed and helps me sleep, it became an unhealthy fixation to read every day and to read a book every X days, and if I failed to do that, I felt like I failed as a reader and a bookish content creator. I actually started min-maxing my reading for the sake of getting that reading done, not because I enjoyed it or wanted to read. No, I did it to have a +1 on my reading goal. The amount of times I was reading a Webtoon and closed the app because I thought it was a waste of time, or read a book instead of an anticipated TV series is much higher than is considered healthy.

The moment I truly admitted to myself that what I am doing is not healthy and that I need to take care of myself, I just dropped reading altogether. Dropped it like a hot potato. And I haven’t really been missing it even though it has been a few weeks now. I am not gonna force myself to pick up a book again, I am going to wait until the moment I am eyeing my bookshelves and just pick a book I want to read right that moment. I love reading, but I need to heal my relationship with books and be able to read a book without stressing about the review and what content I can make out of it. I need to be able to return to reading just for the sake of enjoyment and my want to read that story and nothing else. I deleted my reading challenges from Goodreads and Storygraph to help with this, but that’s just step one.

The hardest thing I had to decide to put myself on a road of healing and towards making creating fun again, is the decision to stop being a book blogger. To just quit what I am doing right now completely and not put another attempt in transitioning and go for a fresh start. The reason why it is so hard is because I don’t hate what I do, I am fucking proud of what I accomplished in the last four years, and it felt like I was throwing away years of work. But if I am continuing my creative road in a fresh way, I need to close this chapter. I had a good ride on this blog and I don’t regret a second of it.

Where I am going next, I truly don’t know and that’s okay. I just let my creative well fill up in it’s own pace and see what is gonna come out of it. It’s a freeing decision to just not know and find out along the way. I am not gonna disappear, I will still be online and if you keep following me on my socials, you’ll know what I am up to.

I don’t see this as an end, I see this as a new beginning, and I look forward to where this road takes me.

Love, Esmée

Happy publication day to JUDGEMENT DAY by Josie Jaffrey! | Mini author Q&A + my first thoughts

Today is the book birthday of the newest book in one of my favourite book universes and I am all here for it. Judgement Day is the sequel in the Seekers-series and it’s all about a bisexual vampire detective trying to solve murders by other vampires. It has all the best parts of vampires and urban fantasy, with a bunch of LGBTQ+ characters and a banger of a story.

The Seekers-series is chronologically the first series in the Silverse, the universe where these books take place in (The vampires are called Silver). I really love this series in particular, as it’s an urban fantasy and still takes places in the normal modern world where vampires live in the shadows. The other two series are more apocalypse and post-apocalypse and have completely different vibes to it.

To celebrate the release day, I want to share my part of the mega interview with the author and my first thoughts on the book itself!

Also, to coincide with the release, May Day (book one) is just 99p and Killian’s Dead (prequel short story) is free!

Order a copy on Amazon | Add to the Storygraph and Goodreads

Content warnings: General warning for violence/murder. General warning for blood/gore, including blood drinking, description of injuries, dead bodies, forensic investigation, detailed autopsy. General warning for sexual content (consensual). Pressure to take part in kink during otherwise consensual sex. Blood drinking as sexual/pleasurable behaviour. Some swearing (up to and including ‘fuck’). Use of drugs and poisons, including drugged drinks. Mention of child neglect. (Source.)


My first thoughts on Judgement Day

I started reading this book not too long ago and even though I can’t present a full review just yet, I can share some of thoughts on the book so far.

At the moment of writing this I am about 20% into the book and I am loving it so much. A big part of the first book was spend establishing the Silver in modern day Oxford, and where Jack Valentine fits among them. But as this is the sequel, we could jump right into what’s up and it’s amazing. Jack truly is a disaster bisexual and as a vampire, where sexual attraction and partners are a lot more animalistic than with humans, it’s just pure chaos in the best, most entertaining way possible.

And as for the case the Seekers are investigating in this book, it’s so good. The good old ”someone was murdered, but there was no way in or out the building/room” is probably one of my favourite murder-mystery tropes. It also happened in this really old library; it has all the right things for me to get even more excited.

I love this book so much already, and though I am not far enough in to make any proper predictions I’d like to share here, this book is already on par with all the other books in the Silverse I have read. Full review to come when I am done!

RELEVANT REVIEWS: Killian’s Dead (Seekers #0.5) // May Day (Seekers #1)


My part of the mega interview with the author, Josie Jaffrey:

Q: Which authors have most influenced your writing?
A: The big one at the moment is NK Jemisin. I love her writing. I love the brutality and humanity of the worlds she creates, and the way those things are so perfectly balanced against each other. I wish I could write like her. I’m sure I have plenty of subconscious influences too. I listen to Nigel Planer’s narrations of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels every night (I’m a chronic insomniac), so I’m sure Pratchett creeps in there sometimes.

Q: What type of scenes do you like/hate writing?

A: I love writing romance scenes, by which I don’t mean sex scenes (those are sometimes tough), but the dramatic scenes where the love interest does something that unconsciously reveals their feelings for the protagonist, or the protagonist finally kisses the love interest even though they can’t be together, or two people who are pretending not to fancy each other have to share ONE BED. I love all that stuff. It’s so much fun to write. I love romance.

On the flipside, I hate writing action scenes. They’re boring and complicated and you have to remember where everyone’s limbs are, which can be tough when there are a lot of people fighting at once and they’re moving fast. For that reason, I try to keep my action sequences short. I find them boring to read too, so although they’re sometimes necessary, I don’t drag them out longer than I have to.

RELEVANT POST: Cover Reveal | Judgement Day by Josie Jaffrey (Seekers #2)

Q: Looking back on your writing career so far, is there anything you would have done differently?

A: I’m sure there are things I could have done differently, and that I would do better if I were to do them again now, but I’ve learned from the whole experience, so I don’t regret any of my writing decisions. Each story in the Silverse is a brick in a larger edifice and I’m fond of them all in their own ways, even if some of my earlier writing makes me cringe a little in retrospect.

Q: Do you have favourite books in the Solis Invicti & Sovereign series?

A: In Solis Invicti, definitely The Price of Silver, because of the romance storyline (I love the love triangle and Sol is just amazing in this book), but also because of the main plot. A human uprising in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and a vampire takeover is the stupidest idea in the world, but of course it would happen. Unrest breeds unrest. I really enjoy the crunchy tension between the various different factions in this book.

In Sovereign, probably The Silver Queen, because it’s the book where Julia finally escapes from the Blue. The more I write, the more I realise that I’m writing the same story over and over again, and it’s all about escape. To me, that escape feels like a transformation, like a butterfly from a chrysalis. Until Julia removes herself from the oppressive regime under which she’s been living, she has no idea who she is. Going out into the Red allows her to test herself, but it also allows her to understand the reality of the place she’s come from: it has no power over her. That’s the moment when she really breaks free.

Q: In the Seekers series, Jack works as part of an investigative team. Are we going to see them in future books?

A: Definitely! Not only will they all have their own side-plots in future Seekers books, but they also turn up in the other Silverse books: Naia is in the Sovereign series and Cam is in basically everything because I love him.

More parts of the mega interview:
ForBooksSake / The Great Book Escape // Bibliphile Ramblings: Part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4


Author bio

Josie is the author of nine self-published novels plus short stories. She is currently working on a range of fantasy and historical fiction projects (both adult and YA), for which she is seeking representation. Ultimately, she hopes to be a hybrid author, both traditionally- and self-published.

Josie lives in Oxford with her husband and two cats (Sparky and Gussie), who graciously permit human cohabitation in return for regular feeding and cuddles. The resulting cat fluff makes it difficult for Josie to wear black, which is largely why she gave up being a goth. Although the cats are definitely worth it, she still misses her old wardrobe.

Josie Jaffrey Website.jpg

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

[Blog Tour] First Chapter Review | Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

I have received this review copy for free. My opinions are my own.

I had the amazing opportunity to receive an ARC of Becky Albertalli’s newest book for this blog tour, something plenty of people probably are jealous about. You probably won’t believe me that this is the first Becky Albertalli book I have touched. Yes, I am serious, but honestly, I think that will make this first chapter review even more interesting.

Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.

As this book started with a rather short prologue, I also read chapter one for the occassion, and it was very hard to stop reading once I got going. Right away the writing style is flowing nicely, gripping you into the setting and interesting you in the characters. Kate and Anders are quite obviously best friends and together they are super chaotic. They fell in love with the same dream-guy at camp, and instead of fighting eachother over it, they just swoon together as it’s just temporary, right? Until he shows up at their first day of school.

I just know that chaos will slowly unfold from chapter 2 and onwards. These two kids obviously make all their communal crushes work under controlled circumstances, but now they already mentally said goodbye and closed off any potential of that crush becoming more and suddenly the guy is back in their life unexpectantly.

I can really see why people love Becky Albertalli’s work from just these two chapters alone. The writing is really nice and easy to follow, and just the vibes the characters give off immediately made me root for them. With most first chapter reviews I am either really impressed about the premise or curious for what comes next, but I actually love this book so far. I always try to keep my reviewer-side up front with these types of post, but reader-me just took over because of the pure joy I experienced. I look forward to reading the entire book, which probably will be soon.

Goodreads | The StoryGraph | Affiliate link: Bol.com

Content warnings: Alcohol use (underage drinking), Bullying, Divorce (past), Homophobia (brief mentioned), Profanity, Transphobia (past, brief mention). (Source.)

Cover Reveal | Judgement Day by Josie Jaffrey (Seekers #2)

I just started the ARC of Judgement Day, the sequel to May Day, a few days ago and today I get to reveal the beautiful cover! I have been a Silververse fan since 2018 and it feels surreal that now in 2021 I am a regular reviewer and a cover revealer for the new books.

Anyway, we are here for the reveal of Judgement Day‘s cover, so I am not going to drag this on much longer. So without much further ado, here it is….

*drumroll*
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Cover Art: Josie Jaffrey

Vampires don’t get happily ever afters.

Jack Valentine finally has her shit together. She has a great job, great friends (well, one at least) and a girlfriend whom she loves, even if she can’t work up the courage to tell her that yet. Unfortunately, she also has an archnemesis who’s about to punish her crimes in the worst possible way: by making her spend time with him.

Which she could cope with, maybe, if she didn’t have problems at work as well. When the body of a human judge is found in a locked library, there’s no denying that she was murdered by one of the Silver – by a vampire – and the evidence points worryingly close to home. If that wasn’t bad enough, some of Jack’s least favourite people are opening a new blood bar in Oxford with questionable motives. For Jack and her team, it’s becoming increasingly hard to separate allies from enemies.

With conspiracies on every side, the simmering tensions in Silver society are about to come to a head. As usual, Jack intends to be right in the middle of it. She does like it when things get messy.

Judgement Day is the second book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, a queer urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.

Pre-order Judgement Day (Seekers #2), out on May 6th, 2021!

Add to the Storygraph and Goodreads

Content warnings: General warning for violence/murder. General warning for blood/gore, including blood drinking, description of injuries, dead bodies, forensic investigation, detailed autopsy. General warning for sexual content (consensual). Pressure to take part in kink during otherwise consensual sex. Blood drinking as sexual/pleasurable behaviour. Some swearing (up to and including ‘fuck’). Use of drugs and poisons, including drugged drinks. Mention of child neglect. (Source.)


You see the back of the head of a young woman in the left corner. The background is red and you see the Magdalen’s Great Tower in Oxford as the background,
May Day, Seekers book one
You see the profile of a young woman in greyscale on the right. In the background you see the line art of the Radcliffe Camera building in Oxford with a violet colour.
Judgement Day, Seekers book two

I might be biased for the cover as the background is my favourite colour, but I really love it and I think it really compliments the cover of May Day. I am always super impressed by the covers of Josie Jaffrey and they are in such a unique style. All the Silververse books are in a similar style, making them match, but each series has their own touch, setting each series apart.
I am enjoying my read of Judgment Day so far, even though the story only just got started. I can’t wait to share my review and celebrate the release on May 6th with you.

If you are into stories about vampires with extended vampire-lore and powers, without the sparkling, the Silververse-books are the books for you. The Seekers-series is a queer urban fantasy series, led by a disaster bisexual vampire-detective. I honestly love Jack Valentine, she is stubborn and knows what she wants, and I missed that in the year since I read May Day. I highly recommend this series, go check it out.

My reviews of Josie Jaffrey’s books:
Seekers: Killian’s Dead (Seekers #0.5) // May Day (Seekers #1)
Sovereign: Ungilded (Sovereign #0.4) // The Blue Empress (Sovereign #0.5) // The Gilded King (Sovereign #1) // ➢ The Silver Queen (Sovereign #2) // The Blood Prince (Sovereign #3)
Deluge: The Wolf and the Water (Deluge #1)
Standalone short stories: Ring the Bell


Author bio

Josie is the author of nine self-published novels plus short stories. She is currently working on a range of fantasy and historical fiction projects (both adult and YA), for which she is seeking representation. Ultimately, she hopes to be a hybrid author, both traditionally- and self-published.

Josie lives in Oxford with her husband and two cats (Sparky and Gussie), who graciously permit human cohabitation in return for regular feeding and cuddles. The resulting cat fluff makes it difficult for Josie to wear black, which is largely why she gave up being a goth. Although the cats are definitely worth it, she still misses her old wardrobe.

Josie Jaffrey Website.jpg

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

[Blog Tour] Review | The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2020 competition.
All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.

Out of all three books I read for the final round of the contest, this one was by far my favourite. I was pretty pumped to see it had won, as I personally think it was rightfully deserved rightfully deserved it.
The Lore of Prometheus is a dark story exploring trauma and fear in combination with supernatural powers rooted in said trauma. The quick storytelling over less than 300 pages really keeps the tension present without exhausting your attention span. I was so hooked by this thriller, as it keeps you on the edge of your seat making you feel the mental strain the characters are experiencing.

In previous thrillers I have read, it’s often death and murder keeping you on edge. The Lore of Prometheus really goes for the psychological thrill. There are a lot of heavy topics in this book, and I advise you to check out the content warnings below, that together with the plotline make you feel discomfort and on edge, giving a lot of depth to the book. All of it was done delicately and respectfully, and none of the heavy topics felt like they were thrown in purely for shock value, which I personally appreciate a lot.

My only minus about the book is that you are following two points of views throughout the entire story, and even though their narratives line up rather quickly with setting and goals, it took a bit too long for my taste for them to meet and really become one story. I experienced that as a downside, but the quality of both POV’s was good enough for me to not be too bothered by it.

I know I haven’t said much about the plot, but that was intended, as even the slightest spoilers can take away from the ride this book takes you on. I really liked it, though it was very intense at times and had to take a breather.
I would highly recommend you to check out The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King, especially if you like supernatural powers and evil scientists.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My reviews of books by this author.

Goodreads | The StoryGraph | Affiliate link: Bol.com

Content warnings: Alcohol use and alcoholism, amputation, blood/gore, bodies, body horror, car accident, death, dying, drug use, forced captivity (kidnapping), guns, hospitalisation, medical procedures, murder, needles, PTSD, serious injury, smoking, swearing, terrorism, torture, violence, vomit, warfare, weapons.


About the author

Graham Austin-King was born in the south of England and weaned on broken swords and half-forgotten spells. A shortage of these forced him to consume fantasy novels at an ever-increasing rate, turning to computers and tabletop gaming between meals.

He experimented with writing at the beginning of an education that meandered through journalism, international relations, and law. To this day he is committed to never allowing those first efforts to reach public eyes.

After spending a decade in Canada learning what ‘cold’ really means, and being horrified by poutine, he settled once again in the UK with a seemingly endless horde of children. To date he is the author of five novels, drawing on a foundation of literary influences ranging from David Eddings to Clive Barker.


About BBNYA

BBNYA, the Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award, is a competition for indie authors (both self-published and published by small indie presses). Our goal is to give underappreciated, lesser-known authors a chance to gain some recognition without being overshadowed by the big names, but also show the world the power of book bloggers!

The contest will be judged by a large and diverse panel of book bloggers from all around the world. The panel will put the books through several rounds of judging based on a wide set of criteria. As each round goes by, we will announce the results – until finally, we arrive at our finalists. After further intensive reviewing, we will choose our favorite and declare it the ‘’Book Bloggers Novel of the Year’’!

The winning author will receive a whole bunch of prizes, as well as the honour, recognition, and vindication of being our winner and the endorsement of book bloggers. You can read all about the prizes for the winning author and top finalists here.


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