A - E, Allgemein, D, Reviews

Review: Darkdawn (Jay Kristoff)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 19 on My Book List 2021

”Fear was Can’t.
Fear was Won’t.
But fear wasn’t ever a choice.”

In honour of this buddy read being with the Yoongi to my V, the one and only Paper Plane Nomad, a fellow BTS ARMY and the one who accepted me as the V to her Yoongi, I shall only be using Tae (aka V of BTS) gifs in this review! Let’s hope I can pull this off and won’t get bias wrecked every 3 seconds. *lol*

This said: Let’s start with the actual review!

As third books in a series go this was actually a good conclusion. Well, mostly at least. There were a lot of things I really enjoyed and a couple of new characters that got introduced which I immediately took to, but there were also some things I didn’t like and that made this final book a less enjoyable read than its predecessors. So what exactly were my issues? Well, for instance I missed a central theme throughout the entire book. In comparison to the other two (assassin academy & gladiatii) this one just seemed to be all over the place. Yes, there was finally the darkin story we’ve all been waiting for since “Nevernight”, but aside from that we just had too many other threads that played into the main plot.

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Plus the ending was certainly not what I expected and it sort of fell flat for me. I don’t even know what I expected but it was something totally different than what I got. *lol* It kind of felt surreal? Idk how to describe it but after everything Mia went through I would have expected something more… epic? Okay, maybe it’s just me being weird?! XD

Or maybe it was me getting “eye-rollitis” whenever a certain character entered the page. *lol* I didn’t like that character and I sort of got angry every single time she opened her mouth, so I think that sort of animosity might have been another reason why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I should have. ;-P And speaking of characters: I think it’s about time to head to my character’s section because as you can tell I have THOUGHTS and FEELINGS and I really need to get them off my chest! Are you ready?

2

Welcome to my spoilery spoiler section, gentlefriends! This is going to be juicy so if you’re not ready to face the bitter truth you better don’t continue to read this. ;-P Take your lemonade glass and make yourself comfortable, this is going to take a while. *lol*

Mia:

”I am a daughter of the dark between the stars,” she replied. “I am the thought that wakes the bastards of this world sweating in the nevernight. I am the vengeance of every orphaned daughter, every murdered mother, every bastard son.” Mia leaned forward and looked the man in the eye. “I am the war you cannot win.”

Mia sitting on that damn throne of the pirate king and later on telling Tric that to wear a shirt would ruin her “Murderous Bitch aesthetic” is my new aesthetic! *LOL* This girl!!! I never saw that one coming and I swear Mia is the embodiment of a badass heroine. I read about a lot of badass heroines over the years but none of them ever came close to Mia Corvere. XD Even more importantly: With Mia Jay Kristoff created a really unique character that has no equal. At least I never saw someone as compassionate, ruthless, stubborn, vulnerable and fierce as her. Mia doesn’t try to be a man, she makes use of her female assets and works with everything she got. So she’s a character that doesn’t try to be cool, she just is and that with such an effortless grace that you can’t help but admire her for it. I want to marry her so bugger off Ash! *lol* ;-P

”Two pices of the whole. One is just … darkness. Rage. She hates the world and everything in it. All she wants is to tear it down and laugh as it burns. And then there’s the me who thinks there might actually be something worth fighting for in all this. And maybe something to live for after.”

Ash:

”See there you go.” She gifted the boy a wink. “A little bit of spit and fire, that’s what I like to see. But I’m fierier than you, Tricky. I’m quicker and I’m prettier and the girl we both adore ended up in my bed, not yours.” She drummed her fingers on her sword hilt. “I won. You lost. So stay away from her, aye?”

I really can’t with Ash! I just can’t! I mean look at this gif! This is literally me whenever Ash said something in this book!

I don’t like this woman and I just can’t forgive her for killing Tric. I know Jay Kristoff wanted us to dig her and Mia together because they both have some ruthlessness to them and a soft side, but quite honestly I never saw that soft side of Ash. Where Mia had some compassion, Ash was just mean and had a downright cruel streak. The things she said to Tric in here… I could have punched her in the face and I wouldn’t have regretted it even though I’m a pacifist. *LOL* Jay, how was I supposed to like this girl? She’s a witch and I think Mia deserved better than her! Someone that rubs things in the way she did with Tric is not someone I’d like to ship. #SorryNotSorry

And that half-assed attempt at a redemption arc also didn’t do it for me. Once again #SorryNotSorry To say it with my Yoongi’s words: I’m done with this! So done! XD

Cloud Corleone:

”Well,” Cloud Corleone sighed. “As my dear old tutor Dona Elyse said the year I turned sixteen, “Fuck me very gently, then fuck me very hard.”

Now there’s a character I loved! Cloud Corleone and BigJon were two amazing new additions to the cast and Cloud’s four-bastard smile really grew on me. *lol* I think after Sturmhond he’s my second favourite privateer. XD I just loved how he and BigJon flirted so shamelessly with Mia and Cloud’s serious backstory was quite something to take in. >_< I’m glad Jay invented him in this book and I would have loved to read even more about Cloud and his crew. Maybe one day Jay will indulge us with a novel or short story? You never know. 😉

Corleone tilted his head. “You mean to tell me you know who crews aboard my ship better than I, Hangman? When was the last time you set foot on my decks?”
“When I was ploughing your mother,” the captain growled.
“O, aye, she sends her regards, by the by,” Corleone replied without skipping a beat. “She told me to tell you she hopes you’re not still embarrassed. It happens even to the best of men, apparently.”

Mr. Kindly:

”… if you wish a dog who simply rolls over when you growl, bring eclipse with you. but i’ll speak my mind, if it please you …”
“And if it doesn’t please me?”
“… i’ll speak it anyway…”

This is actual footage of me when I read the scene in which Mia tells Mr. Kindly to go away. Like OMG!!! I couldn’t believe she told him to get lost and even though I understood why she was angry I really didn’t get why she blamed it all on Mr. Kindly. He was right to tell the gladiatii the truth and he was also right to let them decide themselves. The rift between Mr. Kindly and Mia hurt so much and if there’s one thing I didn’t like about Mia in this book then it was the fact that she turned on him. Despite everything Mr. Kindly was still loyal to her though and worked in the background so she could face Cleo and I really hope Mia appreciated what he did for her!!! Mr. Kindly is the best! ❤

”… i am a part of you, mia. before i met you, i was a formless nothing looking for a meaning. the shape i wear is born of you, the thing i became is because of you. and if i must do what you will not, so be it. at least you will be alive to hate me …”

3

Mia & Ash:

”If you wanted a snog in the hallway you could’ve asked.”
“Not asking,” Ash shook her head. “Taking.”

And here we go with another actual footage of me. *LOL* I can’t believe Jay went for a HEA like that! Like WHAT??!!! Jay will probably never admit it but deep down he might be a romantic after all. XD I already said it in “Godsgrave” and I’ll say it again: I don’t ship the Mash ship! Urgh! Ash is just a selfish witch and she doesn’t deserve Mia! Period! Alone that quote above. Yep, that’s my problem with Ash she just takes without ever asking and she’s ruthless and doesn’t seem to have any sort of conscience… at all! How am I supposed to dig a character like that? Plus she’s petty and super jealous as well. Not the kind of woman I’d want to have by my side. I still think we need more sapphic romances in books but I can’t seem to be able to like this one because it’s actually sort of toxic. If Mia likes a girl that will kill everyone who just looks at her: Okay. I personally hate jealousy in relationships so Ash is a no for me. Also and someone has to say it – you’re allowed to take out your pitchforks now – I think a HEA in which Mia would have spent the rest of her days with Jonnen and Mercurio would have been more realistic. Yes, I would have even been okay if Ash would have been with them. But she basically fights the entire book for Mercurio and Jonnen’s freedom just to end up on that Threelakes shore with Ash? Of all people! Why? It beats me! *shakes head*

”And while the press of Ash’s lips left Mia feeling almost dizzy, the thought of her touch even now, laying senseless and sated, sending warm and delighted pulses up her thighs, a part of Mia – the part Mister Kindly would have filled, most likely – was still suspicious of the girl in her arms.”

Mia & Tric:

”She was losing herself in it. The feel of him, the taste, the familiar shapes, carved anew by the Mother of Night. Falling down into the need of him, aching from the touch of him, wanting to forget and remember and for a tiny moment, simply enjoy being lost inside it, with him inside her.”

Haha! This gotta be the first time I’d have preferred a straight pairing over a sapphic one. *lol* But seriously, there was way more chemistry between those two than there ever was between Ash and Mia. I mean Tric basically told her that he had to rip his way back through the walls of the abyss to get back to her and that he gave up his place by the hearth just to be with Mia. Tric is too good for their world and it made me really sad to see that he came back for nothing. Also: Why throw a possible love triangle at us, Jay, if you don’t follow through with it?! I always thought love triangles were one of my pet peeves, tell you what, my new pet peeve are love triangles that are brought into existence and never play out. *lol* #TricDeservedBetterThanThat

He took Mia’s hand, pressed it to his chest, and she was astonished to feel a heartbeat, strong and thudding beneath her palm. “BUT I WOULD STRIKE A THOUSAND BARGAINS WITH THE NIGHT FOR ONE MORE MOMENT WITH YOU. I’D DIE A THOUSAND DEATHS AND DEFY THEM ALL, JUST TO HOLD YOU IN MY ARMS ONE MORE TIME.”

Ash & Tric:

”I’m sorry you had to go, but that’s just how it is! And I stabbed you friendways, in case you’ve forgot. In the front, not the damned back. I can’t undo it, so what the fuck do you want from me?”
“A HINT OF REGRET? SOME SHRED OF REMORSE? FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND SOME SMALL PART OF WHAT YOU TOOK FROM ME?”
“Remorse is for the weak, Tricky,” Ash said. “And regret is for cowards.”

I loved that dinner scene in which Tric finally called out Ash! *lol* She deserved it and her excuse of “I killed you because it needed to be done” is so weak that it would need two crutches to stand on its own feet! She needed to? Hogwash!! She just couldn’t stand that Tric won Mia’s heart fairly and because of that he had to go. Every time she rubbed in that Tric was dead and she was the girl at Mia’s side I got so damn angry! She kicked at someone who was already lying on the ground and that is behaviour I just can’t accept. That half-assed redemption arc totally didn’t work for me because of course she knew that he was a way better person than she’d ever be! Am I supposed to feel sorry for her now? She killed Tric and yes, she might feel remorse over it but the knowledge she’d feel remorse over it still didn’t stop her from stabbing him in the first place! She knew exactly what she was doing! So: #SorryNotSorry. Tric was a way better person than Ash will ever be!

”In truth, she’d always known it.
She knew what shed taken from this boy. She knew why. Extinguishing all he was and could have ever been. She knew how hard it must be for him, returning to a world so changed. To see the girl he loved in the arms of the girl who murdered him. And though he had every reason under heaven to hate them, to lash out in his rage and break everything around him, he remained true. Loyal to his love. Loyal to the last. That was the kind of boy he was.
That was the kind of boy she’d killed.“

Mia & Mercurio:

”Once he’d been fire. Breathed it. Bled it. Spat it. But now, the only ember that remained was the one he kept burning for her – that snot-nosed, stuck-up little lordling’s bitch who’d wandered into his shop all those years ago, a silver brooch shaped like a crow in her hand.”

I’m not ashamed to admit it: Mia’s and Mercurio’s relationship caused me to tear up multiple times. The love those two felt for each other was so true and ahhh when they parted ways… Mia is truly Mercurio’s daughter and Scaeva can jump in a lake! *lol* I really wish they would have gotten a happy ending and that Mercurio would know she’s still alive. I guess he’ll just have to live with the memory of her though because Mia is busy with Ash in that house at the Threelake shore. Me being bitter? Nope, no way! *lol*

”When everything else had been taken away. He gave me a home and he kept me safe when he had no reason under the suns to do it.” Mia looked up at the girl, eyes shining. “He’s familia. More familia to me than almost anyone in this world.”

Mercurio scowled, his ice-blue eyes welling with tears.
“Never took a wife,” the old man said. “Never had a familia. Didn’t seem fair in my line of work. But … if I ever had a daughter –“
“You had a daughter,” Mia said. The girl threw her arms around the old man and squeezed hard as she could. “And she loves you,” she whispered.

Mia & the gladiatii:

”And then Sid was running, catching the girl up in his embrace, lifting her off the ground as she squealed. Bladesinger collided with the pair of them, wrapping them up in her arms, Butcher staggered over, Wavewaker arrived like an earthquake, grabbing all four of them and roaring as he lifted them off the ground and jumped in circles.
“You magnificent little bitch!” Sid cried.
“Let me go, you great fucking lumps!” Mia grinned.

It was really great to see that found family together again but unfortunately that moment of peace and happiness was gone pretty fast! I can’t believe almost all of the gladiatii except of Sid and Bladesinger died. =(( Sid and Singer hooking up was a little random but I guess after everything they went through it was kind of logical as well. *lol* Still, Jay is a devil for killing them off. The way they all died? OMG! Bryn and Wavewaker quite literally died while having sex and Butcher was betrayed by the person he wanted to protect. Ouch! You did quite a number on them Jay! >_<

”Mia, you risked your life for us,” Sidonius said. “Everything you’d worked for danced on the edge of a knife. And still you gambled it all to see us to freedom. And now you’d stand there and tell us what we can and can’t do with it?”
“Damn right I do,” she snarled. “You owe me your lives? Go fucking live them. You want to give me thanks? Do it when you tell your grandchildren about me.”

Mia, Jonnen & Scaeva:

”Our familia had a saying,” Mia said. “Before your father destroyed it. Neh diis lus’a, lus diis’a. Do you know what that means?”
“I do not speak Liisan,” the boy growled.
“When all is blood, blood is all.”

Well, that was quite the familia. *lol* Jonnen was a really spoiled brat before he came to Mia so it was good to see that he changed for the better while being around her. Also that moment when she put him into his place when he was hostile towards Cloud and BigJon? It was such a typical thing an older sister would do. As for Scaeva? I hate that man! He actually had the gall to think he made Mia the person she is now??!! Also how he treated Jonnen! I mean he quite literally said “Obey me!” and killed Eclipse because she protected Jonnen. The fact Jonnen let it happen was a real betrayal but then again he was only a nine year old boy that was scared and Scaeva was his father after all… This said the ending was kind of … idk. It was supposed to be this epic battle but it kind of fell flat for me. It was just too much, you know? They were both too powerful and strong and that took away from the enjoyment. Like usually in a battle one side is always weaker and overcomes that weakness which makes for the suspense. In this case both of them were equal and so it got a little… boring? *lol* I dunno how to describe it but I hope you get what I mean. I’m glad Scaeva isn’t around anymore though. XD

”She had every reason in the world to be nothing but rage and hatred and misery. But he knew, as much as she tried to hide it, she hadn’t let life turn her cold. She loved with a heart as fierce as lions. Gave in a way that left her bleeding, but never broken. Because even with all she’d lost, all she’d sacrificed, all the hurt heaped upon her shoulders, she’d still come back.
She still came back for me.”

Scaeva gave a soft, bitter chuckle as he looked her in the eye.
“All you are? All you have become? I gave you. Mine is the seed that planted you. Mine are the hands that forged you. Mine is the blood that flows, cold as ice and black as pitch, in those veins of yours.”
He leaned back on the divan, black eyes burning into her own.
“In every possible sense, you are my daughter.”

”He’d been a hard man, no doubt. Never cruel, no. But heavy as iron. Merciless as the sea. Slow with praise, swift with rebuke, fashioning his boy into a man who might one turn rule an empire. Because always, his father had made it plain – despite his parentage, the throne would be something Jonnen must earn.”

4

“Darkdawn” was a good conclusion to “The Nevernight Chronicle” but unfortunately it wasn’t as good as the other two books. It had a couple of issues that kept me from giving it that fifth paw but I guess it might be just another case of the “it’s me, not the book” syndrome. *lol* Either way it was a very enjoyable read and I’m glad I buddy read this with my Yoongi! ❤

I hope you enjoyed my rather untypical gif review and I’m already looking forward to read the next book Jay Kristoff will throw our way. 😉

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: And I Darken (Kiersten White)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten
 
Book 17 on My Book List 2020
 

She sat beside his bed for a long while. Finally, she put a hand on his shoulder and whispered, “You are mine.”

If you’re looking for a fast paced book with lots of action and historical accuracy you better turn around and leave this review, because I can guarantee that you won’t get either of those two things if you start to read “And I Darken”. If you’re looking for a slow paced and very character driven story that has quite a unique setting and lives and breathes intrigues and machinations… Well, you’re welcome to stay! 😉

I really enjoyed this story because it was something different and even though there were some things you could argue about – for instance Lada’s full name being Ladislav which is definitely a male name that could have easily been changed into a female one – Kiersten White never claimed historical accuracy or well, I suppose just accuracy in that particular case. *lol* This book is placed in the genre of historical fiction after all and even though it borrows a few names and facts every now and then the story and the characters in it are clearly fictional. Just to put it out there as information for the people that might take offence when they read this. XD

And speaking of historical facts: Yes, Vlad II had two sons named Vlad (equivalent of Lada) and Radu who served as bargaining chips and were captives of Sultan Murad II. Funnily enough Mircea was actually Vlad’s elder brother and Radu (who was indeed called “Radu the handsome” or “Radu the fair”) was his half-brother. According to historical facts Vlad and his half-brother weren’t able to stand each other. Also Mehmed II (named Mohammed before he became the sultan) was actually Murad’s and Huma’s son. So there you go with the historical facts. History geek that I am, I probably could go into even more detail, but I’ll just leave it at that and talk about the fictional book instead. ;-P The history lesson is officially over now! You can breathe again. *lol*

2

So this is the moment when I welcome you to Edirne where machinations and plots are brewing as thickly as a Mercimek Çorbası. If you don’t want to be spoiled you better leave now! If not: Be my guest and eat soup with me. 😉

Lada:

”Lada had a sense for power – the fine threads that connected everyone around her, the way those threads could be pulled, tightened, wrapped around someone until they cut off the blood supply. Or snapped entirely.”

This girl is fierce, relentless, unapologetic and tenacious. And she’s driven! Driven by her love for Wallachia, her brother and yes, even Mehmed. I think I rarely met a bookish character that was so self-assured and knew exactly what it wanted. Lada wants to go back to her homeland and her deep love for Wallachia trumps everything else. I think she’s kind of similar to Aelin when it comes to this, only that Aelin’s Terrasen is more like a vague idea of something that used to be and Lada’s Wallachia is everything that’s out of her reach. She’s longing for her country and her people and she’s ready to do whatever is needed in order to get back there. But she’s also conflicted. So very conflicted. She refuses to give up on her religion, she doesn’t want to adapt to Ottoman customs and she fights against her tutor, yet there is one thing or rather one person she can’t seem to be able to refuse and his name is Mehmed. Throughout the entire book it felt like she was torn inside and I suppose she was. Between what she wanted and what she needed or craved for. I’m not sure the ending solved that problem but she made a choice and she’ll have to live with it. For better or for worse. >_<

”She had to be the smartest, constantly surprising and delighting him. She was terrified that the day she stopped amusing him would be the day he remembered he had no use for a daughter.”

”She kept a pleasant smile on her own, kept her hands loosely folded in her lap, kept control. Control was power. No one would make her lose it. And eventually the tutor would realize that she would let him hit Radu over, and over, and over.
And only then would Radu be safe.“

”On our wedding night,” she said, “I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”

”Why was she still here? What had become of the girl who was the daughter of a dragon? Was this it, then? Had she reached the pinnacle of her potential? A command of fifty men in service of a man she loved, who ruled an empire she loathed?”

Radu:

”Radu had gotten all the beauty their father had wished on his daughter. His eyes were framed by thick lashes, his lips full, his gentle curls kissed with a hint of Saxon gold.”

To say Radu is a precious cinnamon roll would be kind of insulting because even though he is, the Slytherin in him is still strong! *lol* I really loved that about his character because it made him so much more intriguing. There is this beautiful and sweet boy that knows exactly how to use his good looks and charisma to his advantage and he never even hesitates to do just that. As long as it helps him to protect Lada and Mehmed he won’t have any qualms about his actions. If I’d have to describe Radu in a brief sentence I’d say that he is: Beauty with a sting. XD But despite all his good cheer and easy nature he’s also a very lonely and insecure character which is easy to see whenever he’s around Mehmed. At first he doesn’t even realize that what he feels for Mehmed is love and once he figures it out he’s trying to suppress it. Because of his good looks and friendly nature he was always teased and I think the fact that he harboured feelings for his best friend only made it even harder to come to terms with himself. His father basically thought he was soft and worthless so it’s no wonder he’s super insecure about his feelings. Especially at a time like that and in a country where the Sultan has an entire harem of women. It’s no wonder poor Radu is lost and I’m kind of afraid of what will happen to him in book two. =S

”And then, seeing the relief shining in Mehmed’s black eyes, Radu knew what he hoped for: He hoped for the best for his friend. Regardless of what that meant for himself.“

”What had Lazar seen? What did he suspect? Could he tell simply by watching Radu that something was very wrong with him, when even Radu did not understand what it was? All he knew was that there was some light, some pull, some fire that Mehmed carried, and Radu only felt truly alive when he was nearby.”

”You have both been so busy learning tactics and studying battles, you have failed to see the truth of where thrones are won and lost. It is in the gossip, the words and letters passed in dark corners, the shadow alliances and the secret payments. You think I am worthless? I can do things you could never dream of.”

”I know it would help you, to have someone you could trust on that throne. And I want to serve you, to do whatever I can to help you gain Constantinople and be the sultan your empire has waited for. I will do whatever I can. But please, I beg you, do not ask this of me.”

Mehmed:

”The more I pushed, the more they looked the other way. My father never saw me, my mother could not be bothered to take so much as a meal with me. No one cared who I was or what I became.”

Dare I say it? Yes, yes I do. Don’t kill me but I think in comparison to the complexity of Lada and Radu’s characters, Mehmed was actually pretty… bland? *lol* Ahh it feels good to get that off my chest. XD I really don’t know why both of them fell for him because aside of his occasional kindness there is actually not a lot that speaks for him. He’s as spoiled as you’d expect the son of a sultan to be and even though there was an obvious effort to show that he was never loved by his father he still had it so much better than anyone else. Mehmed might not have been happy about his role but he still played it and used his harem to father children. I guess in some way he was as torn about this as Lada and Radu were about their allegiances, but this certainly didn’t stop him from seeking out his harem and for using his power as he saw fit. So yes, underneath it all he’s still spoiled and carries some sort of entitled arrogance with him. Which ultimately didn’t make him all too likeable in my opinion. I DID appreciate his efforts to protect his infant brother though and I was as heartbroken as he was when Huma arranged for him to be killed. T_T

”I want you to think of an amount you feel is fair but generous. It is important to me that your soldiers – and you – know that no one values you or can take care of you as much as I can.” Mehmed’s smile dropped off, his eyes becoming as shard as his tone. “No one can offer you what I can, and if anyone tried, it would be treason.”

”He knew then that his posterity, his wandering, homeless people, would rule the world. Is how far we have come not a testament to the truth of his vision? I have inherited that, Lada. It is a calling and a dream I cannot deny. The tree is mine to spread, and I must.”

3

Radu & Lada:

Radu nodded, snuggling into her shoulder. “Will you protect me?”
“Until the day I kill you.” She jabbed a finger into his side, where he was most ticklish, and he squealed with pained laughter.

In some way this is such a typical sibling relationship and then again it isn’t. I think everyone who has a brother or a sister can relate to the rivalry between those two and sometimes even to the animosity they feel at the beginning of the book. Lada realizing that she loves and cares about her brother deeply is something very typical for siblings. When you’re little they are always there and steal the attention from you, so you try to get some of your parents attention too, but the older you get the more you realize that the person you took for granted is very dear to you and that you wouldn’t want to miss them for the world. So regarding their early years this felt very relatable. Their relationship as they grow older is something entirely different though. Where normal siblings would have gotten along by then, Lada and Radu are still struggling. It’s obvious they love each other but at the same time they also kind of hate what they’ve become. Lada can’t forgive Radu for embracing their new home and Islam and Radu doesn’t understand why Lada is holding on to their old ways. This by itself is a pretty interesting dynamic and if you add Mehmed into the mix it gets even more complicated. At first it was their father that sowed the seed of discord and later on it’s Mehmed. Lada knows about Radu’s feelings yet she also knows that Mehmed has only eyes for her, and Radu is painfully aware that Mehmed only wants his sister and not him. Despite all that their bond is strong and when push comes to shove it’s Lada, Radu rescues. XD I really wish those two siblings would have talked more and that Lada would have explained why she let their teacher hurt Radu. *sighs* What being apart will do to their already strained relationship I dunno, but you bet I’m ready to find out. 😉

”But they were both silent in the shared secret of their escape, the truth that Mehmed could never know. Their secret was deeper and darker than the pool in the woods. Lada took her brother’s hand and squeezed it, a grip as painful as their new bond. They had betrayed Mehmed.”

”You – It does not seem like you. I never thought you could do something like this.”
Radu stiffened. “You may have been the one who stopped the dagger last time, but I am the one who will know before the dagger ever comes close to Mehmed.”

”You saved me,” she said.
“Of course I did.”
She shook her head. “Not when I was falling. When Ilyas had us both on the floor. You chose me over Mehmed.”
“You are my family,” he whispered. Lazar had been right, after all.

”She did not acknowledge it or the immense gratitude welling in his eyes. She owed him a debt. Nothing was more important to him than Mehmed’s trust. Perhaps it would have been kinder to break that trust and force a removal. Maybe then Radu could be free of the impossible love he carried. But she could not do that to him, not when it was so easy to take this blow on her own shoulders.”

Lada & Mehmed:

”Would you command me to stay? And if I refuse? Will you have me beaten? Whipped? All that and more I have faced in your father’s courts. I did not bow before your god or your sultan then, and I will not now. Why did you bring me here, Mehmed? I will not be ruled.”
Mehmed’s face fell. He lowered his hand, and the line of his back – so straight – curved. “I have never wanted to be your master. I have servants. And teachers, and guards, and a father who despises me. I want you … to be my friend.”

I think this relationship was doomed from the beginning because neither Lada nor Mehmed are able to change the way they are. Lada’s first and only true love is Wallachia and Mehmed is the sultan of the Ottoman Empire and has responsibilities he’ll never be able to escape. If Lada would have given in they might have had a chance but she’s too independent and stubborn to give up her dreams. Also I probably would have disliked her if she would have chosen Mehmed over everything she loves. If you break it down to the basics all Mehmed can give her is being one of many women to bear him children, always standing on the sidelines, designated to be nothing more than the shadow of the sultan. Lada has to go her own way and even though she had to rip out her heart in order to do so, she made the sacrifice willingly because she knew it was necessary. She’ll never be a docile wife and Mehmed should have realized this way earlier than he did. Their cultures and stances just clash too much. So I think this ship has sunk even though I doubt that we’ll have seen the last of them together. *lol* There’s still book 2 and 3 after all so I’m sure they’ll meet again eventually.

”And the harem, I – It is not real, Lada. I visit, and they flit about like phantoms, like paintings. None of them are real to me.” He paused again, placing a hand flat against the door. “You are the only real thing in my life.”

Mehmed blinked rapidly, then shook his head. “Lada, I was not talking about my son. Do you think he is the only thing here I value?”
“Then what?”
“You! I will not take you into battle! You have no idea what the conditions are like, no idea how many ways there are to die.”

”Say you are mine.” He trailed his lips down her neck. She arched into him, digging her fingers into his back.
“I am yours,” she whispered. The words cut like knives, barely out of her mouth before he stole them, sealing them with his own lips.

“Because thinking like that is the only way to keep from losing our minds.”
“What about our souls?” Mehmed whispered.
Before Lada walked out, she paused at the door. “Souls and thrones are irreconcilable.”

Radu & Mehmed:

Mehmed put a hand on his shoulder, his smile healing the hurt of Lada’s mocking. “I know what you meant. This pool is as old and as pure as that story, I think.”
“It will be ours, then.” Radu beamed.
“Our secret,” Mehmed agreed.

First of all I’ve to say: DAMN IT!!! How could Mehmed not realize that Radu didn’t come along with them?!!?? Like seriously!! He’s his best friend and he didn’t realize his absence until about an hour or so has passed?! WTH??  Poor Radu! T_T It broke my heart! As did Radu being in love with Mehmed. I was constantly wondering if Mehmed is even aware of it but considering that he didn’t even notice Radu was missing he obviously only has eyes for Lada. It’s like Radu is some sort of afterthought and I hurt for Radu because he deserves so much better than that. I still don’t know how I feel about Radu’s marriage with Nazira but I suppose in some way it will be good for them both. I mean Nazira can be with her maid Fatima and be happy and maybe she’ll be a good companion for Radu. Someone he can confide in when he feels lonely and lost. That he had to kill Lazar because he betrayed Mehmed made me very sad but I understand why he did it. >_< Still, Lazar was an old and trusted friend that only tried to protect Radu so that he died at his own hands was a cruel twist. =(( I wish I would have gotten Mehmed’s POV because I think some part of him is aware that Radu loves him and even uses it to bind him to his side… His POV certainly would have been helpful in that regard. *lol* And I don’t even know who that guard from Constantinople was that held Radu’s gaze for such a long time but I’m pretty sure he would have been way more healthy for Radu than Mehmed. XD I’m kinda disappointed nothing happened between those two. *lol* But I’m pretty sure sooner or later Radu will meet a guy that will reciprocate his feelings and hopefully he’ll be ready to take the leap. =) He deserves to be loved and I hope it will happen in book two. XD

”He wanted Mehmed to look at him the way he had looked at Lada.
He wanted Mehmed to kiss him the way he had kissed Lada.
He wanted to be Lada.
No, he did not. He wanted to be himself, and he wanted Mehmed to love him for being himself.

„Radu knelt beside Mehmed, putting a hand on his shoulder. Mehmed looked up in surprise, but whatever he was about to say died on his lips as he squinted at Radu. Without a word, he threw himself forward. He wrapped his arms around Radu’s torso and buried his face in his shoulder.”

”She is lovely and a good match. And you will still be here.” He stopped and looked up. A hint of fear mingled with the trouble behind his eyes. “You will still be here.”
“Of course.”
“I depend on you. I trust you as I trust no one else.”
Radu smiled, lifting a hand to his heart. “And I you.”

After she was gone, Radu held Mehmed as he wept, Radu’s joy at cradling Mehmed was like a kick to the stomach, overpowering and destined to linger with bruises long after it was over.
“Never leave me.” Mehmed’s grief-choked voice still rang with command.
Radu closed his eyes. “I will never leave you.” Mehmed was in his arms, but he knew Lada was the only thing in Mehmed’s heart.

4

Kiersten White took historical names and spun her own story around them and what a marvellous tale it turned out to be! If you like historical fiction and books with a slow plot and multifaceted, independent characters this one certainly will be for you. Add a little bit of love, jealousy, an LGBTQ rep and lots of intrigues and you’re all set for a while. ;-P

 
 

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Brigid Kemmerer)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 11 on My Book List 2020


”My father once said we are all dealt a hand at birth. A good hand can ultimately lose – just as a poor hand can win – but we must all play the cards fate deals. The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.”

So after reading “A Curse so Dark and Lonely” I was actually kind of surprised to discover that a lot of my favourite bloggers only rated this book 3 or 2 stars. I get that they are tired of “The Beauty and the Beast” retellings but I don’t get the low ratings. O_o In short: Yours truly is confused! *lol* Sure, there are a lot of retellings at the market right now and yes, ACOTAR is among them, but that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t good. Quite the contrary, in its own way it had quite a unique spin. Well, at least in my humble opinion it did. 😉

For instance Harper, the love interest, has cerebral palsy, the beast is no beast right away but slowly turns into one the more time passes, and even more interesting Rhen actually has a (best) friend. XD (Though I’m pretty sure a lot of people might disagree with me, when it comes to that last part.) Also there’s an evil sorceress that apparently has nothing better to do than to torment our MCs. Who doesn’t love a wicked witch? *lol*

Joking aside this was a lot of fun to read and it definitely kept me reading. Sure, you might argue that the jump from modern DC to Emberfall was quite sudden and jarring and yes, I’m the first one to admit that Grey (the side-character) was my favourite character in this book. Still, I might have not been as attached to Harper and Rhen as I was to Grey, this doesn’t mean that the book or its characters were bad though. Sometimes you just like the side-characters more and this is certainly one of those particular cases. (Come to think of it this seems to be a recurring thing when it comes to “The Beauty and the Beast” retellings. After all I loved Lucien and Rhys way more than Tam too. XD) Anyway, if you’re looking for a fast and entertaining TBATB retelling I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one too. 😉 And now that we got that out of the way, let’s jump right to my characters section!

2

Welcome to Emberfall where we always have autumn and it never gets cold. But that’s not all!  We also have a lot of amazing sights like for instance lots of spoilers, a beast, enemy troops and a super evil enchantress. Just like the spoilers you might want to avoid the enchantress though. *lol* This is a fair warning! If they get their hands on you I’m not responsible. ;-P

Harper:

”She wasn’t conscious. She wasn’t going willingly.” Her words are fierce. “And for the record, I’m not either.”

Ahh that fire! I really liked Harper right from the beginning. This is a girl that thinks on her feet and stands by her opinion! She is certainly no damsel in distress and I was happy to see such an independent character. Harper is ready to fight for her life and for what she thinks is right and she won’t back down just because of an evil enchantress and a curse. I think in some way that made her the perfect match for Rhen because she’s not broken and he actually needed a strong willed person like her. This said, I don’t know a lot about cerebral palsy but for me the rep was done really well. I liked that Harper was honest about it and that she considered herself to be lucky. Just like epilepsy, cerebral palsy seems to come with different characteristics and with a different severity for every person that’s affected by it and I could really relate to that. I’m really curious where Harper’s character will go in the next book and I can’t wait to see more of her relationship with Rhen.

”It affects everyone differently,” she says. “Some people can’t walk, or they can’t speak, or they have to use a wheelchair. I was a lot worse off when I was younger, so I had to have surgery to correct my left leg. I still have trouble with balance, and I walk with a limp, but I’m really lucky.”

”You are not angry about what Lilith has done?”
“Oh, I’m furious. But not about my face.”
“Then what?”
Her voice fills with steel. “I’m mad I missed.”

Rhen:

”I remember a time when my people feared the day I would come to lead – because I was seen as spoiled and selfish and not half the man my father was.
Now I am spoiled and selfish in another way, and no better fit to rule.”

Lord Vincent Aldrhen, Prince of Emberfall, son of Broderick, King of the Eastern Lands. Wow! That’s quite a long title, no wonder he goes by Rhen. *lol* Rhen was a very difficult character to gauge. I guess this is mostly due to him having to endure not only the curse but also the company of Lilith. At first I thought he was just reserved and cautious but the more I found out about him, the more I realized that he was thoroughly broken. He didn’t dare to hope that the curse could be broken and after so many years he was demoralized and resigned. Not even desperate, just done with the world and the curse. Well, and then Harper came along and gave him hope. I really liked that he always did what was best for his people and it’s no surprise Grey was so loyal to him. What Karis Luran told him at the end was quite a revelation though and I’m more than just ready to find out if it’s true. XD

”My lady, please – please know I meant you no harm. I meant your family no harm. I have tried everything I can think of to break this curse. I have tried to destroy myself. I would undo it if I could. I promise you.”

”This was my father’s kingdom,” he says. “This is now my kingdom. I may not be able to save myself – but I may be able to save my people.”

Grey:

Grey sights and gather up the cards. “You asked how I got her to play with me. As if there were some trick to it.” He wraps up the stack. “My lord, I did nothing. I sat down and asked.”

Ahhh my precious Grey! I haven’t been as enamoured by a side-character ever since I read ACOTAR and this says quite something! Lucien was/is so intriguing and Grey is too! XD For me he was legit the best thing about this book and I can’t wait to read “A Heart so Fierce and Broken” because I’ll finally get his POV! I loved that he was such a complex character yet at the same time he was so easy to be around. He took everything in stride and his loyalty to Rhen and Harper was amazing. ❤ This said I think that he suffered at least as much from the curse as Rhen did because he is a good person and to stand aside while Rhen was tortured by Lilith must have been pure hell for him. He’s compassionate and kind and he has some special brand of dark humour that was especially endearing. (at least for me it was. *lol*) In short: He’s an angel and an honourable soul and I really hope that he won’t suffer even more in the next book. I hate that Lilith and Karis Luran drove a wedge between him and Rhen and I really hope they’ll be able to talk things out in book two. >_<

”If His Highness allowed it, I would take her provocation by tenfold. I would fight her until I had no breath left to breathe.” His voice turns almost lethal, and in the dim light of the hallway, Grey’s eyes seem to darken. “My duty is to bleed so he does not. And now,” he says, “my duty is to bleed so you do not.”

”I speak too freely. This cursed drink has bewitched my thoughts.”

3

Harper & Rhen:

”Rhen,” she calls after me.
I pause in the doorway and face her.
“I’m not going to fall in love with you,” she says.
Her words are not a surprise. I sigh. “You won’t be the first.”

Mhmm… I know they are the two MCs that were supposed to fall in love but I didn’t really feel their relationship. If anything it was more some sort of friendship that formed between them and even though they were attracted to each other I never had the feeling that they were I dunno, head over heels? Truly, madly, deeply? *lol* But then again this was the same problem I had with ACOTAR. Only attraction just isn’t working for me and considering that they apparently fell in love by the end of the book their relationship was actually pretty chaste. I think the most outrageous thing they did was hold hands and brush lips. XD What a scandal! *lol* Sorry, my sarcasm is surfacing. ;-P I think what it comes down to, is that I missed the passion between those two. But maybe I’ll get more of it in the next book? *shrugs* One thing is for certain though, for the main MC couple their love story was pretty lukewarm and probably the only thing I didn’t like about the book. Let’s hope I’ll be persuaded and swept of my feet by them in the next instalment.

She studies me. “I never know when to trust you. Everything always sounds so calculated.”
I jerk back, stung.
“Until you said all that.”

”What will you offer to stop it? What will you offer for passage home?”
“Anything.” She draws a hitching breath. “God, Rhen. Any –“
“No!” My voice is sharp, and she jumps. I put a finger over her lips. “Never offer blindly, my lady. Not for your family. Not even for yourself. Certainly not for me.”

”I want so desperately to turn it into more, to see where this blossoming attraction will lead. But I have come close before. I have found this moment before. The only difference is that I have never wanted it so badly. I draw back, then press my lips to her forehead.
“I want to know it’s real, too,” I say.

”I’m sorry,” Harper whispers. “I’m sorry I didn’t break the curse.”
I lift a hand to brush the tears off her cheeks. Oh, Harper. I wish she had. Not because of the curse, or because of Karis Luran, or because of Emberfall.
Because I have fallen in love with her.”

Harper & Grey:

”I’m finding that Grey has a dark sense of humor hidden under the formality. It’s subversive. I like it.”

Haha! I really liked those two! And yes, in my opinion they had more chemistry than Harper and Rhen. Might have been due to Grey’s intensity though. *lol* Either way I enjoyed their friendship and it was such a natural thing. Like they were just honest with each other and appreciated each other’s company. Nothing about them was complicated and it was the easiness and their companionship that made their scenes together so nice to read. =) Also that scene at the inn! *lol* I loved that Grey just followed Harpers order and how surprised she was at what he did. Haha! One of the best scenes in the entire book. XD I’m not sure I like the insinuation of Grey being romantically interested in Harper though. For me they had nothing but a great friendship and that conversation between Grey and Rhen when they drank together didn’t sit well with me. It came out of nowhere and sure Harper is great but we all know she’s Rhen’s love interest so why insinuate a love triangle that will lead nowhere? Just for the sake of it? Nope. Not buying it. They will be friends and that’s it. ;-P

I look at Grey, remembering how he made faces at the children in the snow. “You’re good with kids,” I say. “That’s like the most … incongruous thing about you.”
“Is it?” he says, his voice dry. “Truly, my lady?”

I hold his gaze and refuse to look away. “Commander Grey. Prove how serious I am.”
Grey’s hand flicks out. The man shouts and drops to the ground. The hilt of a knife protrudes from his knee. Whoa. I have no idea what I expected him to do, but that’s even better.

Harper & Jake:

”You think I’m going to sit upstairs eating cake with Noah while you’re out risking your life?” he snaps. “Quit staring at me. I’m coming with you.”

Harper and Jake gave me all the sibling vibes! ❤ I loved their relationship and that they were so close. We might have only gotten them together near the end of the book but the few scenes they had were really wholesome and typical for siblings. The bickering, the conversations, the wish to take care of each other, their protectiveness, it was on point. Also I kind of liked that Jake had a bf and that no one was bothered by this. *lol* In fact Grey’s reaction was hilarious! The healer’s concubine. I’m still not over it. XD I can’t help but wonder what they’ll do now that they are stuck in Emberfall though. Harper was always supposed to end up with Rhen, but her brother and Noah came there by accident and I’m curious if they’ll stay in Emberfall or if Grey will return them to DC one day. Guess I’ll have to find out by continuing with the series. 😉

”No,” says Jake, speaking for the first time in a while. “Harper, you didn’t do this.”
“But I could have stopped it. I couldn’t get out of my own way –“
“No,” he snaps. “And damn it, for once would you listen to me? You didn’t curse him. You didn’t bring yourself here.” He takes a long breath. “You didn’t – you didn’t give Mom cancer. You didn’t force Dad to borrow money from the wrong people –“
“You didn’t, either,” I say to him. “But you still went to work for Lawrence.”
“I did what I had to do,” he says. “To give Mom time. To protect you.”
“Me too,” I say.

Then he smiles, a shadow of the old Jake, before life clobbered us all. “Mom would be really proud of you, Princess Harper.” He kisses me on the forehead, then heads back through the doors into the castle.

Lilith & Rhen:

„I cannot wait to see how your monster manifests this season,” she says. “Perhaps I will keep you on a chain and put you on display for my enemies.”
A sudden chill grips my spine. This is an outcome I have never considered.
“Would you like that?” she says, moving closer again. “Mine for all eternity, Prince Rhen?”

I rarely witnessed such an abusive relationship in a book and whilst Harper’s and Rhen’s relationship was super chaste the same couldn’t be said about Lilith and Rhen. That woman tortured him in every way possible, manipulated him, enslaved him, sexually and emotionally abused him, humiliated him and did everything in her power to make him submissive. >_< I felt so sorry for Rhen and it’s no wonder he gave up hope and was broken. Seriously, Lilith’s relationship with Rhen was such a harsh contrast to his relationship with Harper and the differences couldn’t have been even more pronounced. Which was most likely Brigid Kemmerer’s intention. An abusive relationship vs. a wholesome one. Still, I hated Lilith for what she did to Rhen and Grey and I really hope Grey managed to end her. Hopefully she won’t appear in the next book. Good riddance!

”Humiliation burns my eyes, my throat. When she breaks the kiss, relief nearly breaks me. I want to shove her away, but I am pinned to the wall. My breathing is rough and ragged. I cannot look at her. I can barely move. My hands are still in fists, my muscles so tense I am trembling. And hope that bloomed in my chest has now withered and died.”

Rhen & Grey:

”Are you prepared to die, Grey?” I demand. “Because that is all that exists at the end of this path. I am sure of it. This was never a curse to be broken. This is a death sentence. The true curse has been the thought that we might find escape.”

What they both endured and what they went through together… I think it’s safe to say that they aren’t just friends but actually brothers. (no pun intended, I swear. *lol*) They tried to keep it professional for so long but the longer the season proceeded the more they gave up on their formality. And I think that was good the way it was. After so many seasons it was about time they admitted that they are friends. You can’t survive things like they did without forging a bond and theirs is strong. I’m confident that whatever Karis Luran and Lilith threw their way … they’ll overcome it in the next book. They have too much history together and I believe in them. Grey might think he won’t be welcome at Emberfall but we all know that Rhen misses him sorely! So there’s that! I really hope they’ll meet in “A Heart so Fierce and Broken” and that they’ll finally be able to have the friendship they were supposed to have all along. =)

”I do speak freely, my lord.”
His loyalty should inspire me. It does not. I have done nothing to earn it. I find that I regret his oath.
“Leave me,” I say.
The door whispers shut. Grey has always been good at following orders. And for the first time, I wish he wasn’t.

”Your first order was to seal the borders. You sent word to each city to govern from within.”
I do not understand how he can speak of my failures as if they are victories. “It was all I could do.”
“You asked why I keep my oath. In that moment, I never meant it more.”
“I do not deserve your loyalty, Grey.”
“Deserved or not, you have it.“

”You are incorrigible. I have no idea how I put up with you for so long.”
I raise an eyebrow, more amused than anything else. “Is that the drink talking?”
The shadow of a wicked smile finds his lips. “You told me to speak my mind.”

4

“A Curse So Dark and Lonely” definitely lived up to its title. Some scenes were truly dark and I felt really sorry for the lonely MCs! XD In this case I’ve to admit that I loved the side-character more than the MCs though. Grey just stole them both the show and I was quite fine with that. ;-P Still, for another TBATB retelling this was as good as they come and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book. I’ve been told there will be Grey’s POV so I’m already pumped! *lol*

A - E, Allgemein, E, Reviews

Review: Empire of Storms (Sarah J. Maas)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”The world,” Aelin said, “will be saved and remade by the dreamers, Rolfe.”

So, it took me ages to start writing this review and truth be told I’m still not sure if I’m ready to do it. This book was the equivalent of a wild roller coaster, just with the minor and rather distinctive difference that there actually was no brake in the end. It felt like an amazing ride up until the moment the brakes failed and the entire waggon tumbled into nothingness!
And if you already think that my description is messed up: YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!! *lol* Because to read this book and especially the ending is even worse than any allegory I could come up with!! XD

I mean it! I’m still SO DAMN SHOOK and it will take me ages to recover from that book! Still, I really loved “Empire of Storms” and even though the ending killed me and left my mind reeling and my heart bleeding I probably enjoyed this way too much. Sarah can write and she proved it once again with an amazing book that left me gasping and wanting for more.

This time around not everything was sunny and nice though. There were some things I didn’t like because they were idk… just weird. *lol* I mean I get why love played a huge role in EoS and believe me when I say that I loved all the ships that developed throughout the series, in this fifth book some of the relationships seemed to be kind of dissonant though. Or should I rather say the timing for those relationships to develop was sort of improper?!

Or to put it even more bluntly: It’s abnormal how much time they spent with making love when the entire world around them is in chaos and war! *lol* Especially Aelin and Rowan. XD Just saying! Haha! You’d think they’d have more important matters on their mind but nope. Apparently horny fae males can do it everywhere. *lol* Ooops, did I just say that?! Young kids under 13 you forget that you ever read this, okay?! *smiles innocently*

So where were we? Oh yes, inappropriate timing and love. You all know me and know that I’m a sucker for things like that but this time around it all felt kind of forced. Like Sarah realized that this is the last book she can use to form proper ships and decided to do them all in one go! Don’t get me wrong, I loved those ships and I drooled over rooted for them with every fibre of my heart. Sometimes I just thought that it was happening way too fast and didn’t fit into the overall plot. That’s just my opinion though so don’t let this keep you from enjoying the book. =) It’s definitely worth reading!!! <333

1

”Morath is unleashing its horrors,” Lysandra said. “Maeve stirs across the sea. Two goddesses walk hand in hand with Aelin. More than that, Mala and Deanna have watched over her the entirety of her life. But perhaps it wasn’t watching. Perhaps it was … shaping. So they might one day unleash her, too. And I wonder if the gods have weighed the costs of that storm. And deemed the casualties worth it.”

2

I didn’t do one of my spoilery spoiler sections for quite a while so to all of you who just started to read my reviews: This is the part where I spoil the hell out of the book, everything I write about the characters is uncensored and pretty direct. So if you didn’t read the book and plan to do it: Don’t continue to read my review! This is a fair warning, you better don’t ignore it. I assume no liability. ;-P

Aelin:

”She looked over her shoulder. “To call in old debts and promises. To raise an army of assassins and thieves and exiles and commoners. To finish what was started long, long ago.”

OH GOSH!!! AELIN!!! That wonderful, stupid, brilliant and fire breathing bitch!!! I can’t even!! I don’t know where to start! I mean ARGH!!! I hated her so much for some of her actions!! I was angry because she didn’t tell anyone about her plans, because she was so egoistic and ordered them all around! I hated the way she treated Aedion and what she asked Lysandra to do and throughout the entire book I didn’t know whether I wanted to strangle or kiss her! Talk about A LOT of mixed feelings! *lol* But that ending?!! Oh gods! That ending was so heart-breaking! It all made perfect sense, all her scheming, plotting, lying and hiding things. Boy, did it hurt to read those last 50 pages… I don’t even want to know what is going to happen in the last book, it definitely won’t be pleasant for Aeling though. Poor girl, poor, poor, poor girl! *sobs* T_T

”I’m sorry,” Aelin said, shoulders curving inward, head dropping low as the tears slid down her flushed cheeks. “I’m so sorry.” How many years had those words been locked up?

Rowan:

”Even if Maeve had kept me enslaved, I would have fought her. Every day, every hour, every breath.”

I definitely liked Rowan in this one! After my slight disappointment of his portrayal in “Queen of Shadows” it seems like he found his way back to being an individual. I guess it might have helped that him and Aelin weren’t always together in Eos and this kind of gave him the opportunity to shine as the fierce fae warrior that he is. XD I’d have hated him to become just an accessory for Aelin because he’s actually a pretty cool character and I know that he can stand his ground. Yes, they love each other but that doesn’t mean he has to lose himself and everything that makes him him. So, yes, I admit it, I’m glad Sarah managed to get her act together. *lol*

”Sometimes I wish I knew every thought in that head, each scheme and plot. Then I remember how much it delights me when you reveal it – usually when it’s most likely to make my heart stop dead in my chest.”

Aedion:

”The fear of loss … it can destroy you as much as the loss itself.”

Mhmm… Aedion my precious bisexual Cupcake! *lol* I still love him so much and I still think he deserves the world and this even though he did a lot of stupid things I didn’t agree with! For instance treating Dorian like shit! I mean WTH?! Then again with a person like Aelin whose actions were always like some sort of punch it’s actually no wonder that he was always so grumpy! (Not to mention the thing with his father!!!) He would have deserved her trust and he didn’t get it, so I can’t blame him for being pissed. XD Especially after finding out about Aelin’s plans with Lysandra. Urgh! Still, given some time and a verbal slap from Lysandra he always realized his faults and tried to correct them as good as possible! He has the ability to listen to people and I think this is worth a lot! XD (Especially if you know Aelin… *lol*)

”He couldn’t explain why, but he wanted her there. She got under his skin so damn easily, but … Lysandra steadied him. Perhaps because she was something new. Something he had not encountered, had not filled with hope and pain and wishes. Not too many of them, at least.”

Lysandra:

”He was enslaved; he was tortured for months. Not just by his father, but by that thing inside of him. He was violated, and even if you cannot draw up forgiveness for stabbing Aelin against his own will, then try to have some compassion for that.”

Lysandra, the voice of reason! <333 I swear sometimes it felt like she was the only level-headed person in Aelin’s entire court! I loved that she talked back to the guys and didn’t even bother to be nice about it. I just love her! She’s one hell of a woman and I swear if she doesn’t accept Aedion at her side I’ll try my luck with her! *lol* (and with Manon but that’s another matter. XD) Lysandra was just amazing in this book and the way she fought? Boy, that woman is brave and fierce! Some of the best fighting scenes were with Lysandra and that’s just awesome! Finally a woman that truly knows how to kick people’s asses! Physically and verbally of course! *lol* <333 Gosh, what a woman! *shakes head and sighs deeply*

”I never had friends – not as I do now. And today on that beach, when I saw that fleet and thought it belonged to our enemy … For a moment, I wished I’d never met any of you. Because the thought of any of you …” She sucked in a breath. “How do you do it? How have you learned to enter a battlefield with your Bane and not fall apart with the terror that not all of you might walk off it?” Lysandra

Manon:

”Her grandmother’s creature – that’s what Manon was. It had never seemed like a hateful thing.”

I am so proud of Manon!!! I can’t even! She finally decided to follow her heart and even though it cost her dearly I’m still so damn happy that she chose HER path! I always suspected that there was more to her and when I found out that she is the last Crochan Queen my jaw kind of dropped to the floor! OMG! What a mean twist of fate. Poor girl, she was so confused, wounded and alone but she still didn’t give into her despair and I loved her for it! This woman is MADE (figuratively and literally speaking) of iron and I just can’t get enough of her. I LOVE. HER. SO. MUCH!!! <333 #WatchManonAndMeAsWeRideIntoTheSunset, #P.SWe’reTakingDorianWithUsToo ;-P

”And Manon understood in that moment that there were forces greater than obedience, and discipline, and brutality. Understood that she had not been born soulless; she had not been born without a heart. For there were both, begging her not to swing that blade.”

Dorian:

”The man fighting inside his father had kept the blow from being fatal. Dorian had possessed no such control, no such strength, when he watched the demon use his own body – when the demon had tortured and killed and taken what it wanted. Maybe his father had been the stronger man in the end. The better man.”

DORIAN!!! I’ll never get tired of loving this man!! Of all the guys that are part of this series he’s still my favourite and number one! Dorian is my precious cinnamon roll and nothing will change that! With every book I just love him more and more and I can’t wait to read “Kingdom of Ashes” because I know he’ll be great! There’s a dangerous and sexy edge to him now and boy, I’m living for it!!! <333 The only thing that worries me is that according to Elena it’s either Aelin or Dorian who has the strength to kill the Valg, because if that means one of them has to die in the end I’m going to be so pissed. Especially if it’s Dorian which is pretty likely since he has the keys now and is trying to finish what Aelin couldn’t. I mean damn! I swear if Dorian dies I’m going to cry for days. T_T He doesn’t deserve to die but Sarah always has her whipping boys (I’m still waiting for a happy end for Lucien!!! Dammit!!!) and I’m so afraid that Dorian will have to die in the end. =((( Please Sarah, don’t do it!!! Please!!! *sobs* #TeamDorian forever and for always

”I have seen death, and worse,” he said, those sapphire eyes frozen as he surveyed her from head to armored boot-tip and back again. “The death you’d offer is kind compared to that.”

Elide:

”Why?” And with all of Lorcan’s considerable focus honed in on her, with the way he’d glanced at her red-painted mouth, Elide wanted to tell him. About the tower, and Vernon, and her parents. About why, if she were to ever feel desire, it’d be a result of trusting someone so much that those horrors faded away, a result of knowing they would fight tooth and claw to keep her free and never lock her up or hurt her or leave her.

I finally got more of Elide and I have to say that I enjoyed every second of her POV. She’s such a clever, calculating and cunning woman! (The three C’s I love the most! *lol*) And I loved the moment she acted like Manon and actually managed to get rid of the Ilken! I mean how cool was that? This girl knows how to survive and I couldn’t help but love her for her strength. Still, I’m sorry for everything she had to go through and I really hope that she’ll find peace once the war is over. Deep down inside her she’s really broken and even though she and Lorcan are on bad terms right now I’m still pretty sure that he can give her what she craves the most. *sigh* Poor girl. =(

”Storms mean looking for shelter,” she murmured. “Shelter means being stuck inside with nothing to do but gossip. Gossip means news from merchants and sailors about the rest of the land.” Those eyes cut to him, dry humor dancing there. “That is what thunder means.”

Erawan & Maeve:

Those golden eyes simmered like hot coals. “Because destroying a symbol can break the spirits of men as much as bloodshed.”

I HATE THAT EVIL WITCH!!! If I’d have my way, I’d let her rot in hell! Next to Erawan of course! Gosh, I hate those two so much! They are horrible people and despicable and urgh I just want them to vanish! Someone has to stop them and they need to do it fast!! >_<

3

Manon & Dorian:

She’d forgotten how much taller he was. Face-to-face, Dorian panted as he stared down at her and breathed, “Hello, witchling.”
Some ancient, predatory part of her awoke at the half smile. It sat up, cocking its ears toward him. Not a whiff of fear. Interesting. Manon purred back, “Hello, princeling.”

THIS SHIP IS MY OTP!!! Forget Aelin and Rowan! Dorian and Manon are the real deal! I love them soo much and I couldn’t get enough of them. Their conversations were so awesome and I loved the fact that they were equal. They treated each other like equals and there were no discussions or arguments! They know what they are capable of and they are so honest it hurts! *lol* Also can we appreciate the tension between those two! GOSH! It almost killed me! They are such a power couple and even though their relationship seems to be more rough than those of the other couples they are still gentle with each other. <333 There is respect, there is love, there is a mutual understanding about who they are! WHAT MORE CAN YOU ASK FOR!? I LOVE THIS SHIP AND I’LL GO DOWN WITH IT! Period! ❤

”Not spared him. Rescued him.
He wasn’t a fool. He knew she’d done it for whatever reasons were useful to her. She was so alien to him as the warrior sitting at the other end of the boat – more so. And yet, that darkness, that violence and stark, honest way of looking at the world… There would be no secrets with her. No lies.”

”You could have made her suffer – you went for a clean blow instead. Why?”
“Because even with our enemies, there’s a line.”
“Then you have your answer.”
“I didn’t ask a question.”
Manon snorted. “You’ve had that look in your eyes all night – if you’re becoming a monster like the rest of us. The next time you kill, remind yourself of that line.”

Rowan & Dorian:

Rowan considered for a moment, and then said,” I have known many kings in my life, Dorian Havilliard. And it was a rare man indeed who asked for help when he needed it, who would put aside pride.”

This is legit the best bromance of this entire series! I adore their friendship so much! They understand each other and Rowan knows exactly how Dorian feels! Plus I love that he doesn’t underestimate him and that he trusts him to make the right decisions! And they seem to have similar powers, which is great because Rowan was able to help my precious boy to learn how to control his abilities! ❤ I really hope that friendship will last! =)

”Rowan knew most underestimated the sharp intelligence under that disarming smile. Knew that Dorian’s value wasn’t his godlike magic, but his mind.”

Lysandra & Aedion:

Aedion grinned. “Good to know I’m finally getting under your skin. Or is it skins?”
That staggeringly beautiful face turned positively wicked. “Careful, Aedion. I bite.”

They are definitely my second OTP! *lol* I still love their easy banter and I was so glad that this ship started to sail somehow! XD And let’s face it: Aedion telling Lysandra that he’s going to marry her was really one hell of an awesome scene! <333 I loved it! Those two can be so peaceful together, it warms my heart. They are both so fierce and loyal but they can be really tender and sweet as well. They are just perfect for each other… *sighs* And they are a slow burning ship which was a really nice change! Still, I want a kiss in “Kingdom of Ash” or even a hot sex scene. *lol* Yes, you read right, I have no doubt that with those two it will be as much fun as with Dorian and Manon! Haha! ;-P

”He hated Aelin for asking this of Lysandra, both to defend them and to secure the Mycenians to fight for Terrasen. Hated the people who had left such scars on the shifter that Lysandra was so willing to throw her life away.”

”The ghost leopard sat beside him, tail twitching, and met his eyes for a moment before she laid her enormous head on his thigh. In silence they watched the stars flicker over the calm waves, Lysandra nuzzling her head against his hip.”

Aelin & Rowan:

”This was what drove her out of her mind – this fire between them. They could burn the entire world to ashes with it. He was hers and she was his, and they had found each other across centuries of bloodshed and loss, across oceans and kingdoms and war.”

Is it just me or were they actually too much in this book? Their relationship became so corny and perfect that it was more than just a little unrealistic. I noticed this in ACOTAR and I’m seeing it here too, it’s just too perfect. They are so perfect together, that they lose their ability to shine as individuals and call me crazy but I really dislike that in books. The love of Aelin and Rowan is just so all-consuming it leaves no room for other things. And it’s come to a point where it’s so kitschy that I almost puked because of the constant sweetness overload. I know many people love them and they are their OTP but seriously, for me they lacked zest. Rowan loves Aelin no matter what she does and that just feels wrong. In a real relationship you argue, you scream and this even though or especially BECAUSE you love each other. 😉 Those two? Nothing. It’s just my opinion though so if you feel differently that’s okay as well. =))

”I love you. There is no limit to what I can give you, no time I need. Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will love you.”

Elide & Lorcan:

”I made a promise to protect you. I will not break it, Elide.”
She made to pull away, but he gripped her a little harder, keeping her eyes on him.
“I will always find you,” he swore to her. Her throat bobbed. Lorcan whispered, “I promise.”

What can I say? I always knew they’d become a couple. *lol* But I really don’t like how things came to an end between them. I mean he almost died for her but she is ignoring him now? Come on, give that boy a break! I know Elide feels bound to Aelin’s court but if she truly loves Lorcan they should find a way, right? Poor Lorcan, I only feel sorry for him right now and I think he deserves to be loved as much as Elide does. So please can you just get together again and give each other the love you deserve? *looks hopeful*

”Lorcan’s onyx eyes were unreadable as he scanned her face. And then he said quietly, “ I wanted to go to Perranth with you.”

4
Considering it all I really enjoyed “Empire of Storms” and thanks to my precious Gem this was another wonderful buddy read! =) The only reason I’m giving this four stars is the simple fact that some things felt kind of forced and therefore left me wondering. *lol* It’s just my personal opinion though. Either way, EoS was still an amazing ride and I can’t wait to dive into “Tower of Dawn”. =)) Gem, are you ready for book 6?
A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Clockwork Prince (Cassandra Clare)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten
 

”It is always better to live the truth than to live a lie.”

I love this quote because it sums up everything that happens in this book. There are many truths that come to the light of day and there are even more lies that are revealed and cause some damage. The difference between “Clockwork Angel” and “Clockwork Prince” always kind of astonishes me. While the first book is pretty slow and character driven this second book is all those things as well but it still feel so very different than “Clockwork Angel”.

For one thing, it’s way darker than its predecessor and we get a better understanding for all those characters and the struggles they have to deal with. They were already amazing characters on the surface but “Clockwork Prince” digs deeper than that and we finally get to see all of their different facets. Jem is more than just the kind angel everyone expects him to be, Tessa is more than the damsel in distress everyone believes her to be and Will is not the self-centred and arrogant scumbag he wants us to see. So if I have to name the difference between the first and the second book I’d say that this one goes deeper.

There’s more depth to the characters, the stakes are higher. Everything – from the storyline to the protagonists – is darker and more pronounced. There’s an urgency to “Clockwork Prince” that was never visible in the former book and it’s like an undercurrent that runs through the entire story. I just love how CC doesn’t only manage to capture my attention but also makes me feel so much with her characters. They are real people and my heart is bleeding for them. ❤

And before I write another essay (which I totally could! *lol*) I’ll go to my characters section instead and talk about all those wonderful feelings! ;-P

2

The London Institute is full of secrets and once you take a closer look you’ll not only discover the truth but you’ll also be spoiled! XD So if you continue on your way:  Stay alert and be aware that there will be spoilers at every corner! Continue at your own peril!

Tessa Gray:

”You didn’t think about him,” said Tessa. “But perhaps you should have. Don’t you understand he thinks you made a mockery out of what’s killing him? And you’re supposed to be his brother.”

I really love Tessa’s character arc! At the beginning of the first book she was naive and basically a damsel in distress but in here we see how strong she’s become. She fights for the people she loves and cares about, she talks back to Will and gives him a run for his money and she tries to help Jessamine even though she betrayed her in the worst way possible. Tessa is a really compassionate, brave and kind character and I’m not surprised both, Will and Jem, fell for her. Also it’s nice to see her take the initiative and to go for what she wants. She’s more determined and headstrong than she was before and I like it. XD It was difficult to see how she struggled with Nate’s death because no matter what he did to her, he was still her brother and she just couldn’t hate him. >_<

Tessa was unmoved. “I won’t know if I like it until I try it, will I?”
“I’ve never swum naked in the Thames, but I know I wouldn’t like it.”
“But think how entertaining for sightseers,” said Tessa, and she saw Jem duck his head to hide the quick flash of his grin.

”Do not mock him.” Tessa’s tone was sharp.
“Nothing is beyond mockery, Tess.”
“Jem is. He has always been good to you. He is nothing but goodness. That he hit you last night, only shows how capable you are of driving even saints to madness.”
“Jem hit me?” Will, fingering his cheek, looked amazed.

”He could never stay angry at you, Will; he loves you too well for that. I do not even think he would hold anger toward me. But this morning he told me he thought he would die without ever loving anyone as his father loved his mother, without ever being loved like that in return. Do you want me to go down the hallway and knock on his door and take that away from him? And would you love me still, if I did?”

Will Herondale:

„If I might make a suggestion,” said Will. “About twenty paces behind us, in the Council room, is Benedict. If you’d like to go back in there and try kicking him, I recommend aiming upward and a bit to the left-“

First of all I want to say how amazing that “throwing the apple and the dagger” scene was! *lol* There’s a nonchalance about this boy that is amazing! XD Yes, he can be super arrogant but in contrast to others he can back up his arrogance with truly remarkable skills. He has every reason to be confident. ;-P This said, I suffered so much with Will in this book! The entire thing with the curse from the demon Marbas was so heart-breaking and once he found out the truth… Oh gods! Just imagine living 5 years like that and then finding out that there was actually never a curse. To gain this kind of knowledge! It must have been so devastating! T_T When Will finally realized it and broke down I just wanted to hug him and make it better. >_< That poor, poor boy! Still, I’m glad the truth is out now and it was really good to see Will’s true self. The person he hid behind all those walls for so long is a truly beautiful boy and I can’t wait to see even more of him in the next book! <333

”What did they do?” Will’s voice rose. “What did they do? Nothing. It is me. I am poison. Poison to them. Poison to anyone who loves me.”

”Can you imagine it? Can you?” He raked his hands through his black hair, letting the tangled strands fall back into his eyes. “Never letting anyone near you. Making everyone who might otherwise love you, hate you. I left my family to distance myself from them, and that they might forget me. Each day I must show cruelty to those I have chosen to make my home with, lest they let themselves feel too much affection for me.”

”I feel myself diminished, parts of me spiraling away into the darkness, that which is good and honest and true – If you hold it away from yourself long enough, do you lose it entirely? If no one cares for you at all, do you even really exist?”

”You and I, Tess, we’re alike. We live and breathe words. It was books that kept me from taking my own life after I thought I could never love anyone, never be loved by anyone again. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them.”

„Will slid to his knees. His hands were locked across his stomach as if they were keeping his guts from spilling out. Five years, he thought. Five years wasted. He heard his family screaming and pounding on the doors of the Institute and himself ordering Charlotte to send them away. And they had never known why. They had lost a daughter and a son in a matter of days, and they had never known why. And the others – Henry and Charlotte and Jem – and Tessa – and the things he had done –“

Jem Carstairs:

”When Will truly wants something,” said Jem quietly, “when he feels something, he can break your heart.”

It’s kind of funny but with this reread I started to appreciate Jem’s character even more. Not that I didn’t already do that but with every reread I fall more and more in love with him. The first time reading the series it was only Will, but now my heart is beating for Jem as well. There’s just something about him! His innocence and kindness is charming and for him every relationship is built on love, trust and consent. He’s so damn pure I can’t even!!! <333 And to know that the drug he has to take in order to live will also kill him one day is … it’s just not fair. T_T Jem deserves so much more than this short life is able to give him and it hurts so damn much to know that he won’t get it. Every time I read about his struggle my heart ached even more! Every moment he showed his true feelings for Tessa I sighed. And whenever we got a glimpse of his fear I felt like dying. Jem’s impending death is looming over his head and he’s doing such a great job at trying to be brave. T_T My heart is breaking so much for this sweet, kind and gentle boy. *sobs*

”Please,” he said softly. His voice was husky. She recognized the emotion. It was shame. “I do not want you to see me on my knees, grubbing around on the floor for the drug that I need to live. That is not how any man wants the girl he-“ He took a shaking breath. “I’m sorry, Tessa.”

”What does it matter?” he said in a voice so low it was almost a hiss. “What does any of it matter? I’m dying. I won’t outlast the decade. What does it matter if the violin goes before I do?”

”She had assumed his kindness was so natural so innate, she had never asked herself whether it cost him any effort. Any effort to stand between Will and the world, protecting each of them from the other. Any effort to accept the loss of his family with equanimity. Any effort to remain cheerful and clam in the face of his own dying.”

”If I was harsh with you, it was because I cannot bear to see you treat yourself as if you are worth nothing. Whatever part you might at to the contrary, I see you as you really are, my blood brother. Not just better than you pretend to be, but better than most people could hope to be.” He placed a hand on Will’s shoulder, gently. “You are worth everything, Will.”

”I can offer you my life, but it is a short life; I can offer you my heart, though I have no idea how many more beats it shall sustain. But I love you enough to hope that you will not care that I am being selfish in trying to make the rest of my life – whatever its length – happy, by spending it with you. I want to be married to you, Tessa. I want it more than I have ever wanted anything else in my life.”

”His beauty did not blaze like Will’s did in fierce colors and repressed fire, but it had its own muted perfection, the loveliness of snow falling against a silver-gray sky.”

Mangus Bane:

”He was really going to have to do something about this annoying softhearted impulse to assist the desperate, Magnus thought. That, and his weakness for blue eyes.”

I really liked that Mangus was a bigger part of this book and I still love my warlock like crazy! I swear he’s the constant in every Shadowhunter book and since the thing with Camille didn’t work out it makes me so happy to know that he WILL find true love in the later books! ❤ Also can we take a second and appreciate his humour and the fact that he always interrupts people when things get too steamy? *LOL* He’s such a – sorry for the crude language but there is no other word to describe him – cockblocker. XD Haha! I mean Magnus interrupting couples before they can get it on is such a running gag. I loved the short nod at his weakness for blue eyes and the fact that he kissed Will just to make Camille jealous! Typical Magnus! Even if he’s going down, he’s going down with style! ;-P

”We’re well equipped to handle danger,” Tessa said.
Magnus eyed her bosom openly. “I can see that,” he said. “Armed to the teeth, as it were.”

”There is a soul under all that bravado. And he is really alive, one of the most alive people I have ever met. When he feels something, it is as bright and sharp as lightning.”

3

Tessa & Will:

”Tessa,” he said, holding out a hand to stop her.
She looked at him, wishing she could ask him to go back to calling her Miss Gray. Just the way he said her name undid her, loosened something tight and knotted underneath her rib cage, making her breathless.

Their relationship in this book just about killed me! I mean we all know they love each other, yet we also found out about the reason why Will is pushing Tessa away and the poor girl is so confused because she has no idea why he’s treating her the way he does. Everything between them is hot and cold and then right back to hot and cold again. They can’t find a middle ground. It’s either all consuming passion or it’s pure iciness. A huge part of that is due to Will’s fear of the curse and what it might do to Tessa and so we can only watch and suffer while those two make irrevocable decisions that tear them apart even more. To witness this was so painful and urgh I just wanted to jump into the book and tell them to be honest with each other. So unfortunately when the truth finally comes out it’s too little too late and their ship goes down, down, down… T_T After everything Will did to keep Tessa away it’s no wonder she went right into Jem’s arms though. >_<

”When he saw her, he wanted to be with her; when he was with her, he ached to touch her; when he touched even her hand, he wanted to embrace her. He wanted to feel her against him the way he had in the attic. He wanted to know the taste of her skin and the smell of her hair.”

”He would have given everything he had in the world and everything he would ever have, just to lie beside her in the narrow infirmary bed and hold her while she slept. Pulling away from her had been like pulling his own skin off, but he’d had to do it.”

”I don’t care,” he said fervently. “I don’t care.” His arms went around her, and he held her; she rested her cheek against the warm juncture of his neck and shoulder.”

Tessa & Jem:

She smiled at him. “How did you know just what I’d want to see?”
“How could I not?” he said. “When I think of you, and you are not there, I see you in my mind’s eye always with a book in your hand.” He looked away from her as he said it, but not before she caught the slight flush on his cheekbones.

So after Jem held back in the first book and gave Tessa and Will a chance to hit it off (which they didn’t); he finally decided to step out of the friendzone and told Tessa about his feelings for her. Which I adored!!! I mean here’s a man that says what he’s thinking! He’s so direct and honest with her it’s amazing! <333 I love their relationship and that they can talk about everything without holding back. The communication between those two is great and Jem is an angel! Seriously, he didn’t even expect Tessa to reciprocate his feelings and the fact that he didn’t makes him even more precious! I loved that we finally got to see Jem’s passionate side and it’s so cute that he always seems to lose control whenever he’s around Tessa. He can’t take his eyes off of her and everything he feels is plainly written on his face. XD This said, I was no huge fan of the ending. I mean I know Tessa is confused and Will finally telling her the truth must have been quite a shock. Still, the insinuation that she will stay with Jem because he’s going to die and she doesn’t want to hurt him left a really bitter taste in my mouth. She should love Jem for being Jem and not because he has a terminal disease. The way this last scene was written implied that she would gladly go with Will if she wouldn’t have accepted Jem’s proposal and I’m not okay with this. For some reason I never noticed this in my former rereads but it felt like Jem is second choice and I don’t like it. Jem deserves the world! He deserves everything! Especially a person that loves him for who he is! So yeah, I’m feeling kind of bitter about this but I hope that Tessa’s feelings in the last book will be genuine.

”James,” he said. “Ordinarily only Will calls me that.”
“I’m sorry –“
“No. Don’t be. I like the sound of it on your lips.”

”He gasped against her mouth. He must have been so sure she would push him away that for a moment he went still. Her hands glided over his shoulders, urging him with gentle touches, with a murmur against his lips, not to pause.”

”Every time you say that word, ‘friendship’, it goes into me like a knife,” he said. “To be friends is a beautiful thing, Tessa, and I do not scorn it, but I have hoped for a long time now that we might be more than friends.”

”I’ve never minded it,” he went on. “Being lost, that is. I had always thought one could not be truly lost if one knew one’s own heart. But I fear I may be lost without knowing yours.”

”She willed herself to melt into the kiss, to dissolve against him as she had done before. His mouth was soft on hers and tasted sweet, and his hand when it cupped her neck was strong and gentle. She moved closer to him, wanting to feel the beat of his heart.”

Jem & Will:

”Jem’s your parabatai. I’ve seen you with him. You love him, don’t you?”
“Jem is my great sin,” said Will. “Don’t talk to me about Jem.”

I really loved how nonchalant Jem was about giving Will a black eye! *lol* Heaven knows he deserved it so I don’t feel bad about it and I’m glad Jem didn’t either. Haha! Their relationship is still EVERYTHING! And I stand by my opinion! I still ship them! They have such a strong connection, they feel so close and their deep love for each other, it’s unlike anything I ever read! <333 To say they had it easy in this book would be a lie though. Both of them struggled with their personal problems, yet they always found their way back to each other. They would do everything to make each other happy, even if it means to let go of the one thing they both want more than anything else in the world. >_< I just can’t with those two. They are so gentle and tender with each other and you can see their love in every single action they make. To hear Will voice his feelings about Jem… it broke my heart. A love so strong shouldn’t be severed by death and it kills me to know that Jem is getting weaker. T_T Ahh I just love them so much! My two precious boys! *sobs uncontrollably*

Will looked at Jem thoughtfully. “I seem to have woken up with what they call a Monday mouse,” he said, pointing at the bruised skin under his eye. “Any idea where I got it?”
“None.” Jem helped himself to some tea.

”He owed Jem his life. He could not take from him the one thing Jem wanted more than anything else. Even if it meant Will’s own happiness, for Jem was not only someone to whom he owed a debt that could never be repaid, but, as the covenant said, someone he loved as he loved his own soul.”

”I would always have forgiven you,” he said. “I would have forgiven you if you hadn’t apologized. In fact, I wasn’t expecting you would. Tessa’s influence, I can only guess.”
“I am not here at her request. James, you are all the family I have.” Will’s voice shook. “I would die for you. You know that. I would die without you.”

”He is like me,” said Jem simply. “An addict.”
Will looked at him over their joined hands. “He is not like you. And you will not die like that.”

”What?”
“I said that Jem proposed to me,” she whispered. “He asked if I would marry him. And I said I would.”
Will had gone shockingly white. He said, “Jem. My Jem?”

Charlotte & Henry:

”I would change it if I could. Of all the people in the world, I did think you understood. You know – you know it isn’t just tinkering for me. You know I want to create something that will make the world better, that will make things better for the Nephilim. Just as you do, in directing the Institute.”

It’s so weird that both of them thought the other didn’t love them! They should have spoken more about their feelings and shouldn’t have assumed things but then again they are both not the kind of type to speak about their emotions so directly. No matter how openly they show their affection for Will, Jem, Jessamine and Tessa, they apparently never showed it to each other as well. So I’m glad they finally had that conversation and I feel so sorry that Jessamine betrayed them. She was like a daughter for them and all they got was scorn and betrayal. Poor Charlotte broke my heart when she gave Jessamine over to the Silent Brothers and to stand up to Benedict and to face all those other Shadowhunters couldn’t have been easy. I’m just glad her and Henry talked things out and are finally on the same page! XD

”You are not plain,” Henry said, his face still blazing. “You are beautiful. And I didn’t ask your father if I could marry you out of duty. I did it because I loved you. I’ve always loved you. I’m your husband.”
“I didn’t think you wanted to be,” she whispered.

”Jessamine has been with us since she was a little girl. It would have been too much for him, too much. He does not have it in him to be cruel.”
“Charlotte.” Tessa touched her shoulder gently. “Charlotte, you are not cruel either.”
“I do what I must. There is nothing to worry about,” Charlotte said again, and burst into tears.

Tessa & Nate:

”You couldn’t leave well enough alone. You had to pry into my business. Delighted to see me brought low, are you? What kind of sister does that make you, Tessie?”

I just hate Nate, okay?! This boy was so selfish and horrible! Every time he met Tessa he made sure to let her know how little he cared about her! What’s even worse is that he tried to give her a bad conscience for not going along with his plans. Like seriously! Are you kidding me? You blame your sister because she didn’t agree to being married off to an old lunatic who wants to use and hurt her?! URGH! I just can’t with Nate! I understand that Tessa is heartbroken because he died, he was her brother after all, but the things he did were just vile and if it would have been me I wouldn’t have forgiven him. Also Jessamine… why the freaking hell did she marry him?! She should have known better than that.

”My brother,” Tessa said in a barely controlled voice, “is a lying murderer, incapable of feeling. He may have married you, Jessamine, but he does not love you. The Shadowhunters have helped and protected me, as they have done you. And yet you turn on them like a dog the moment my brother snaps his fingers. He will abandon you – if he does not kill you first.“

4

I love this series and its characters with every fibre of my heart! ❤ It might have taken me four months to read this but that’s just because I savoured every single letter and sentence. XD The background stories were amazing and to read this was bittersweet. “Clockwork Prince” is a wonderful sequel and I can’t wait to read “Clockwork Princess”. I know it will destroy me, but my faerie heart is kind of looking forward to it. *lol*

P.S: That demon pox song, though!!! XD

 
 

Allgemein, Reviews, A - E, C

Review: Crown of Midnight (Sarah J. Maas)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

“Some things you hear with your ears. Others, you hear with your heart.”

To say Sarah J. Maas stepped up her game in the second book of her “Throne of Glass Series” most certainly would be the understatement of the century. No, scratch that, it actually doesn’t even get close to the truth. XD

I swear in comparison to the first book this truly was an action packed and suspenseful read! =)
Alone the many awesome fight scenes and the countless revelations throughout the entire book were already enough to cause my head to spin! Plus Celaena finally lives up to her reputation as Adarlan’s best assassin and actually kills people, which was amazing and involuntarily made me love this even more! *lol*

Yes, Sarah can write and her action scenes always had me at the edge of my seat. Once or twice I might have even been close to falling off of my chair, but that’s another matter for another day! ;-P
For now all you have to know is that ”Crown of Midnight” was an awesome read and that it was able to keep me on my toes and considering how many books I already read, this certainly should speak for itself. 😉

Since I don’t really feel like talking about the plot (you’ll read plenty of it in my characters section aka The Spoilery Spoiler Section anyway) I’ll do something completely mean and will only give you a few words:
Celaena, Chaol, Dorian, The King, Roland, Kaltain, Nehemia, Archer, missions, blood, death, creepy, magic, dungeons, books and let’s not forget about Fleetfoot!

There you go! *lol* Haha! Oh Jeez that’s so vague you’ll hate me! XD

Well, anyway! *smiles innocently*
Let’s get to my favourite section!

2

Do I still have to say it?! Yes? Okay! This is the aforementioned “Spoilery Spoiler Part” so if you don’t want to read quotes or spoilers or my crazy thoughts, you better stop now and never return. ;-P Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Celaena:

”Some days, it feels like another person did those things. And most of those lives I’m glad I ended. No matter the cause, though, it – it still takes away a little piece of you each time. So I don’t think I’ll ever forget them.”

Celaena is so kick-ass, I love her!!! We finally saw the relentless killer in her and I just couldn’t get enough of it! I thoroughly enjoyed all of the fighting scenes and the one with Baba Yellowlegs was definitely the best! XD I can’t wait to read more about those Ironteeth Witch Clans and I really hope they’ll be a part of the other books! Aside from the action I probably enjoyed Celaena’s character development the most. She’s no longer afraid to show her true self and she doesn’t only open up to Chaol but also to Dorian. I can’t say how much I loved all those new revelations about her and the fact that she’s fae took me entirely by surprise. I definitely didn’t expect that and I was like “WOAH WHAT?!!!” when I read it! I mean I always knew she had a secret and Sarah mentioned it often enough, I certainly didn’t expect it to be this kind of secret though!! *lol* I’m sure after the promise at Nehemia’s grave we can expect great things in the future and I’m so curious about Wendlyn; I immediately want to start with “Heir of Fire”.

”I failed him,” she said. “In every way that counted, I failed him.”
Another long silence, then a sigh. “Not in one way.” Chaol said. “I bet he would have wanted you to survive – to live. So you didn’t fail him, not in that regard.”

”I want you to know,” she whispered to the wind, to the earth, to the body far beneath her, “that you were right. You were right. I am a coward. And I have been running for so long that I’ve forgotten what it is to stand and fight.”

”The ship began moving. And Chaol – the man she hated and loved so much that she could hardly think around him – just stood there, watching her go.”

Chaol:

”She was a whirlwind of steel and blood. As he watched her cut through the men as though they were stalks of wheat in a field, he understood how she had gotten so close to touching Endovier’s wall that day. And at last – after all these months – he saw the lethal predator he’d expected to find in the mines. There was nothing human in her eyes, nothing remotely merciful. It froze his heart.”

Ahh Chaol! My problem child! *sighs* I don’t hate him, actually I like him, but ARGH!!!! He screwed up big time in this one and I just couldn’t believe what I read! I mean come on! You’re the Captain of the King’s Guard! You should be smarter than that!!! Seriously, in this book I really began to hate his loyalty to the king and it made me more than just angry that he never even thought about questioning the king’s orders! Chaol basically is the embodiment of the unthinking and unblinking soldier! Stupidly loyal to a fault!!! And that moment when he got kidnapped in his own domain? WHAT THE FREAKEDY FREAKING HELL?! Like: Are you kidding me!? I can’t help but wonder how he even became the Captain of the Guard. *lol* I’m so not impressed. Not at all! Plus he should have told Celaena about Nehemia, but he didn’t and that once again tells me that he still doesn’t trust her. At the end I felt kind of sad for him though. I mean he finally realised that he was blind and probably made the biggest mistake of his life. Unfortunately by then it was already too late to change anything about his misguided actions and he ended up suffering like crazy. Poor Chaol! =(

”Once, Chaol might have argued. Once, he might have protested that his loyalty to the crown was his greatest asset. But that blind loyalty and obedience had started his descent.
And it had destroyed everything.

”But when Celaena walked out, leaving that damning will behind him, he didn’t even make it to his own room. He barely made it into an empty broom closet before the sobs hit.”

”But he could do this for her. Even if he never saw her again, even if she abandoned her duties as King’s Champion and stayed with the Fae in Wendlyn forever – as long as he knew that she was safe, that no one could hurt her … He’d sell his soul again and again for that.”

Dorian:

”You have power in you, Prince. More power than you realize.” She touched his chest, tracing a symbol there, too, and some of the court ladies gasped. But Nehemia’s eyes were locked on his. “It sleeps,” she whispered, tapping his heart. “In here. When the time comes, when it awakens, do not be afraid.” She removed her hand and gave him a sad smile. “When it is time, I will help you.”

My charming and precious cutiepie!!! I love Dorian so damn much! He’s the best thing about the entire series and in “Crown of Midnight” he broke my heart. I suffered with him throughout the entire book and I really hate the idea that Sarah might make him a second Lucien. Neither of those two boys deserved what she put them through and I really hope she won’t continue to harm him in the next book. He’s just too pure for the world and he needs to be protected at all costs!!! Plus he’s amazing!!!

I love the fact that he has raw magic in him and I see so much potential for the next few books! Still, his loneliness caused my heart to ache and I felt really sorry for him. He’s so alone and no one is there to help him, yet his first thought when he discovered that he had magic was that he needs to find out if his brother has it too. He wanted to protect Hollin and that’s so damn sweet! <33 Oh boy, how much I wanted to hug him when he frantically tried to hide his research in the library or when he was looking for Nehemia and waited in front of Celaena’s rooms. All this anger and despair – He doesn’t deserve it!!! Sarah, please have mercy on him!!!
#TeamDorian forever and for always!!!!

”How long have you been yearning for him? Was what he really wanted to ask. Damn him for caring. Damn him for every moment he’d spent with her.”

”How about you spend a year in Calaculla, and when you’re done, you two can sit here and tell me about your plans for expansion.”

”Something invisible slammed into the creature, sending it flying into the wall with a crunch. Gods. Dorian didn’t just have magic – he had raw magic. The rarest, and deadliest, kind. Sheer undiluted power, capable of being shaped into whatever form the wielder desired.”

Nehemia:

”I won’t deny that you have suffered, Elentiya, but there are thousands more who have also suffered – and suffered more. And they do not sell themselves to the king to get what they, too, deserve. With each person you kill, I am finding fever and fewer excuses for remaining your friend.”

WHY SARAH!!!?? Why did you have to kill Nehemia? She was such a lovely character and I didn’t expect her death! When Celaena found out about the King’s intentions I really thought that she’d be able to safe her or would at least come just in time to exchange some final words with her. But no! We found a dead Nehemia and Celaena never got a chance to fix things between them. T_T I hate it that they had an argument before she died and I really don’t like the way Nehemia had to die. I mean she didn’t even get a fighting scene. We’re presented with a fait accompli, which sucked! Well, at least in my opinion. So there’s that! Can’t say I feel sorry for Grave or Archer though. They had it coming and they should have known better than to mess with Celaena. *lol*

”I have grown up knowing the weight of my crown. When the king invaded Eyllwe all those years ago, I knew that I would someday have to make choices that would haunt me.” She cupped her forehead in a palm. “I didn’t think it would be this hard. I cannot be in two places at once.”

”Nehemia was gone. That vibrant, fierce, loving soul; the princess who had been called the Light of Eyllwe; the woman who had been a beacon of hope – just like that, as if she were no more than a wisp of candlelight, she was gone.”

”But no matter what I did, Elentiya, I want you to know that in the darkness of the past ten years, you were one of the bright lights for me. Do not let that light go out.”

Kaltain and Roland:

”Sometimes,” Kaltain said softly, and Celaena paused. “Sometimes I think they brought me here. Not to marry Perrington, but for another purpose. They want to use me.”

I still don’t know what the king plans with Kaltain and Roland but whatever it is, it can’t be good! That thing in the dungeons underneath the clock tower was so creepy and I really don’t even want to know what else is locked up there! *shudders* There’s no doubt the King of Adarlan is up to something and I’m kind of worried about Kaltain’s fate. I have no idea where and how Roland comes into play, but I get the slight feeling he’s allied with the king. I mean yeah he helped Dorian but maybe that was all show? Who knows? I’ll definitely watch those two closely from now on. 😉

„They encourage the crows to fly past here,“ Kaltain murmured, more to herself than to Celaena. „And my headaches are worse every day. Worse and worse, and full of all those flapping wings.“

3

Celaena & Dorian:

”She deserved a loyal, brave knight who saw her for what she was and did not fear her. And he deserved someone who would look at him like that, even if the love wouldn’t be the same, even if the girl wouldn’t be her.
So Dorian closed his eyes, and took another long breath. And when he opened his eyes, he let her go.”

Those two!!! I know they had troubles at the beginning but the friendship that formed between them is so perfect!!! I’m so happy that they were able to settle their differences and I love Dorian for letting her go! This was such a powerful scene and I’m so glad they eventually managed to become friends again! I loved it when Dorian told Celaena that she will always have a place with him and that she could come to his dorms whenever she needed something. THAT is friendship!!! THAT is trust!!! Oh gosh, I really hope Sarah won’t crush this again! *lol*

”Their eyes met and held. A line stretched taut between them – a moment of trust, and a promise of answers from both of them.”

”But looking at Dorian as he smiled at her, this prince who was smart and thoughtful and kind, who inspired good men like Chaol to serve him …
Celaena wondered if Nehemia’s impossible, desperate dream of that court might yet come to pass.”

”Thank you for all that you have done for me, Dorian. Thank you for being my friend. For not being like the others.” He paused, turning to face her. She kept her chin high, but her eyes were gleaming.
“I’ll come back,” she said quietly. “I’ll come back for you.”

Dorian & Chaol:

Dorian’s lips were pursed, his face stony as he quietly said, “I’ve been busy, too.” The Crown Prince turned his horse away, heading in another direction, but paused. “Chaol,” he said, looking over his shoulder. Dorian’s eyes were frozen, his jaw clenched. “Treat her well.”

*sigh* Their friendship suffered so much in this book and I really wish this wouldn’t have happened. I loved that they were so close and could talk about everything, but I guess now that Celaena got into their way things between them might never be the same again. >_< It’s sad that Dorian can’t tell Chaol about his powers but I definitely understand why he’s so cautious. I mean Chaol was always so damn loyal to the king and that actually makes it more than just hard to trust him. If I’d be in Dorian’s situation, I wouldn’t tell him as well. =(

”Dorian could have gleefully killed Chaol’s father for disowning him, refusing even to see Chaol when he brought his family to Rifthold for an important meeting with the king. Even though Chaol had never said it, Dorian knew the scars went deep.”

Celaena & Chaol:

”I know you can look after yourself. But I worry because I care. Gods help me, I know I shouldn’t, but I do. So I will always tell you to be careful, because I will always care what happens.”

I can’t believe Sarah used 1 ½ books to build this relationship and then decided to thoroughly sink the ship! Oh wait! I actually CAN believe it! *LOL* After reading ACOTAR nothing should surprise me anymore! Still, I mean I never was the biggest fan of this ship (everyone who read my review of ToG knows that) but I at least would have wanted them to be happy for a while. And the way it happened!!

I can understand that Celaena was angry at Chaol but I really didn’t get why she acted the way she did. I mean at first she’s all in love with Chaol and jumps to his rescue because he’s been kidnapped and all she wants is to save him because she loves him oh so much and then in the next moment she’s at his throat and almost kills him! Hell! She didn’t even give him a chance to explain himself! Yes, I’m aware this would have changed nothing about Nehemia’s death, but I think if she would have let him talk, she’d have realised that he didn’t know about the king’s plans. She wronged poor Chaol so much and even though he made bad decisions I still feel sorry for him. Because let’s face it, he might have never trusted Celaena but he certainly loved her deeply. T_T
What a shipwreck!!! RIP!

”She knew his every move and he knew hers, as though they’d been dancing this waltz together all their lives. Faster, never faltering, never breaking her stare.
The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realized she was home.”

”It had snuck up on him, this pain and terror and rage at the thought of anyone else with her. Every look, every word from her … He didn’t even know when it had started.”

”But he didn’t know how to get her in line. He didn’t know how to fix what had been broken. Both inside her, and between them.”

4

All told I really loved “Crown of Midnight” and I can’t wait to dive into “Heir of Fire.” Since this was another buddy read with my precious Gem I actually enjoyed the experience even more! XD I loved our discussions about the plot and characters and the fact Gem is such a hardcore Chaol fan only added fire to the fuel to the fun. *lol*

Let’s pick up book 3 soon!!! I promise I won’t talk bad about Chaol! Well, I’ll try not to! Scout’s honor! ;-P

A - E, Allgemein, D, Reviews

Review: Defy Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

“Whatever, bro. No judgment. The world’s on fire. Have some fun.”

I think that sentence indicates the overall mood of this book, because wow, the world truly is on fire. *lol* Joking aside I’ve to admit that my feelings about “Defy Me” are pretty mixed. On the one hand this was totally not what I expected it to be, but on the other hand it was still good somehow?! I don’t know how to explain this but I was kind of disappointed by how it all turned out, yet at the same time I was going with the flow and enjoyed many scenes and parts of the book.

“Shatter Me” is one of the first series I binged and loved and there’s always this sort of nostalgia when I read another of Mafi’s books. I just love Warner, I adore Kenji and I like Juliette (or Ella) and therefore I’ll always be happy to read more about them. The longer this series continues the more it gets unrealistic and crazy though. And this is me, one of the series biggest fans, speaking their mind. So while I’m all like: Gimmi more!!! I also feel like this series has been going on for too long and that it probably would have been best to stop after book 3. Urgh! I hate myself for even thinking this, but it is the way it is and you all know you’ll always get unapologetic honesty from me. 😉

So did I enjoy “Defy Me”?  Yes and no! Yes, because as I already said I got a lot of my favourite characters and no, because the plot kind of lacked depth? I mean sure, there were quite a lot of revelations but when it comes to the pace it was really slow and there actually didn’t happen a lot. So whilst I enjoy character driven books I still would have liked for the plot to have a little bit more substance. Urgh, look at me trying to find the right words. *lol* Anyway, I still enjoyed it and even though I’m worried about the last book I’ll still read it, because I really hope that Mafi will be able to tie everything up with a nice bow. XD

This said, let’s talk about the characters! And believe me, there’s a lot to talk about! ;-P

2

And here comes another warning: My characters section is full of spoilers and to read through it might kill some of your enjoyment when you actually read the book. This said: Pirates ye be warned! ;-P Proceed at your own risk!

Ella (aka Juliette):

”I had no idea how much we’d lost, no idea how much of him I’d longed for. I had no idea how desperately we’d been fighting. How many years we’d fought for moments – minutes – to be together.”

Now the Juliette – or Ella – in this book was exactly my kind of girl! After reading “Restore Me” I wasn’t happy with the direction in which her character developed, but I’ve to say that I really like that new Ella. XD Maybe it were all those memories that made her stronger or the fact that her biological parents are horrible. No matter what it was, it was really good to see her take control of her life again! That’s what I missed in the other book! Our strong and independent girl that makes decisions and acts on them, throwing all caution into the wind! *lol* Okay, she didn’t throw ALL caution into the wind but she certainly acted more like herself in this one. Then again I suppose to have your memories constantly erased and to be filled with new and torturous memories whenever you’re set back will take a toll on anyone. I mean WTF?! I hate her parents for what they did to her, Emmaline and Warner. And I’m really glad Ella ended Evie. Or did she? Maybe she can heal herself too?! I guess we’ll find out in the last book. For now all I say is: Welcome back, Ella! It’s a pleasure to see you again! 😉

”Aaron?” I say again, this time softly. “Are you all right?”
He blinks, startled. “Yes,” he says, drawing in a sharp breath. “Yes. Yes, I’m perfect.”
I manage a small smile. “I’m glad you finally agree with me.”
He frowns, confused, and then, as realization hits – He blushes.

Warner:

”A profound, painful ache has rooted inside of me, carrying with it the weight of years. Being apart from Juliette –Ella – has always been hard, but now it seems unsurvivable.
I’m being slowly decimated by emotion.”

My sweet, sweet boy and awesomeness on two legs!!! Ahhh he already suffered so much and once again my heart broke for him! ❤ I hate and despise his father so damn much! If he’d spent eternity in hell it still wouldn’t be enough! Still, can I say that I FREAKING LOVED Warner in here?!! I saw so many new sides of his character and I adore them all!!! XD I mean he’s still a tortured soul but behind that perfect and ruined facade of his, he’s actually a funny, strong and sassy boy! I mean Warner getting annoyed because his attempt to kill his father was thwarted was priceless!!! An insult to his skill set!? *LOL* Also: Four books in this series!!! FOUR FREAKING BOOKS and I can’t remember ever hearing Warner curse! Haha! And so typical for him he even bothers to explain it with his special brand of sophisticated dignity and poise! *LOL* So yes, my boy might be tortured and broken but he’s mending and I absolutely love the person he’s becoming. I really thought I couldn’t love him any more than I already do but as it seems Mafi is proving me wrong. ❤ I loved the ending so much because Warner was so happy, which is the reason I’m so damn afraid of the next book. I’m sure it will all go to hell and I just can’t take it. >_< Let Warner be happy, please?!

”Enjoy hell,” I whisper, before walking away.

”Shit.”
“Did you just swear?” Nazeera says, stunned.
“I’m in an extraordinary amount of pain.”
“All right, that’s it, we’re out of time.”

“I can’t remember a single time in my life when someone apologized to me for hurting my feelings. No one has ever cared about my feelings long enough to apologize for hurting them. In my experience, I’m usually the monster. I’m the one expected to make amends.”

“No one warned me about the nightmares, the panic attacks, or the dark destructive thoughts that would follow. No one explained to me how darkness works, how it feasts on itself or how it festers. I hardly recognize myself these days. Becoming an instrument of torture destroyed what was left of my mind.“

Kenji:

”I turn, stare at the wall. I can’t be distracted by her anymore. She knows I’m into her – my infatuation is apparently obvious to everyone within a ten-mile radius, according to Castle – and she’s clearly been using my idiocy to her best advantage.
Smart. I respect the tactic.”

I know a lot of people think that Kenji turned into a completely different person because he’s become more serious and has a lot of depressing thoughts, but what those people don’t keep in mind is that this is only due to the fact that we never got his POV. We only saw Kenji from the outside and the way the characters around him perceive him. Yes, on the outside he’s all smiles and fun but on the inside he’s a very deep character and feels so many different emotions that it’s really painful to see them revealed. In short: He’s human! You can’t always be happy and the part he’s showing the people around him is not how he feels inside. I mean I’m pretty sure about 90% of my friends on here would say I’m a funny and cheerful person, but that doesn’t mean that I’m always like that. I do have my dark days too and it’s the same with Kenji. So yes, he’s different but only because we finally get to see his private feelings, thoughts and fears. 😉 I still love Kenji and I think I love him even more now because I can understand him better. XD

”But right now I’m out of gas. I’m out of James’s jokes. I’m fresh out of fake smiles. Right now I’m nothing but pain and exhaustion and raw emotion, and I don’t have the bandwidth for another serious conversation. I really don’t want to do this right now.”

“Today has been a shitstorm of shit. A tornado of shit. I can’t take it anymore. I don’t know whether to sit down and cry or set something on fire.“

Nazeera:

”None of us got to choose this life. None of us enjoyed being taught to torture before we could even drive. And it’s not insane to imagine that sometimes even horrible people are searching for a way out of their own darkness.”

Nazeera is still some sort of wildcard for me. Yes, we got a little bit more info about her motivations and affiliation but the overall picture of her character is still very blurry. I don’t know why she’s helping them and I want a better reason than the one we were given. Am I really supposed to believe that she only helps them because she sees the errors of the supreme commander’s ways? True, they did a lot of bad things, mostly to Emmaline, Ella and Warner, and okay, she apparently was Emmaline’s best friend, but there’s got to be more to her story! Something must have happened that caused her to join Castle’s camp and I really want to know what! I really hope there’ll be an answer in the last book!

Evie & Max:

”Perhaps it’s impossible for you to understand how I’m feeling right now. Perhaps you don’t care to know the depth of my disappointments. But you and Emmaline are my life’s work.”

I think Evie and Max should go and … you know what I’m about to say, right?! *lol* But seriously, those two are such horrible human beings that I’m actually starting to doubt if they are even human. I mean WTF??!! How could they do that to their own daughters?! I hate them so much and I just want them to burn in hell! Poor Emmaline! The way she lives now… it’s no life at all. It’s torture and Evie and Max are to blame! I really hope Evie is truly dead now but after Anderson came back again I kind of doubt that we really saw the last of her. For Emmaline’s sake I hope that she is but I’m sure Mafi still has something in store for us. >_<

Max smiles wider. “Quite a live, yes. Despite your best efforts to murder him.”
“That seems impossible”
“You sound irritated,” Max says.
“I am irritated. That he survived is an insult to my skill set.”

3

Ella & Warner:

I have to step away from her. “I don’t – “I look at her again. “Are you sure I don’t know you?”
And she smiles. Smiles at me and my heart shatters.
“Trust me,” she says. “I’d remember you.”

YESH!!! MY OTP IS BACK IN THE GAME!!!!! <333 GJAHAHHAHAHAHAH! I’m so happy they are together again and managed to talk it out! I mean they sort of didn’t have to talk it out all too much because Ella’s memories put everything into perspective but they still spoke about their breakup which is good! XD I loved the quote above because it connects us right with the first book and this was done really masterfully! 😉 If there is one thing I didn’t like about “Defy Me”, then it was the fact that it took them so damn long to get together again! I mean they basically only reunite at the end of the book and I really would have liked to have more quiet and tender Ella and Warner moments. There can never be enough happy moments for them. XD Also the plot existed only of them finding together and a few revelations which was kind of minimalistic, but then again I got the impression that this was what you’d call “a filler book” before the finale begins so I suppose now that all the chess figures are in place we’ll get quite the action in the last book. Or at least I hope we do. ;-P Anyway, I kinda dig the idea of them marrying even though I think they are too young. After everything they’ve been through it’s no surprise though. Mhmmm let’s see what Mafi will do with this plot device in “Imagine Me”. *lol*

”Her face is pressed against my neck. She’s clinging to me like she might never let go and it does something to me, something heady, to know that she could possibly want me – or need me – like this. It makes me want to protect her even if she doesn’t need protecting. It makes me want to carry her away. Lose track of time.”

”Sweetheart, I really need to know if this means yes or no –“
“Yes,” I cry, slightly hysterical. “Yes. Yes to everything with you. Yes to forever with you. Yes.”

There’s tragedy and beauty in his eyes: something stoic that refuses to be moved, and something childlike that can’t help but feel joy. He looks, in short, like he’s in pain.
“Aaron,” I whisper. “Is this okay?”
He takes a few seconds to respond, but when he finally does, he nods. Just once – but it’s enough.
“Yes,” he says softly. “This is okay.”

Ella & Kenji:

”Can we cry about it later? I’ll tell you everything.”
“Hell yeah we can cry about it later.” Kenji tugs gently on my hand to get us moving again. “I have so much shit to cry about, J. So much. We should make, like, a list.”

Aww their friendship is still everything! <333 I love how open and honest they are with each other. They don’t beat about the bush but address things directly and even though we didn’t get a lot of their friendship in this one it’s still amazing. I hope to see more of their interactions in the next instalment and I swear Kenji definitely needs Ella’s advice! *lol* How else is he supposed to handle Nazeera! That boy is totally out of his depth! Haha! Also Kenji admitting that Ella’s situation is breaking his heart. Ahhhh!! He cares about her so much that it hurts him to see her sad and in pain. That’s #friendshipgoals right there! <333

”And now he’s gone. Warner is gone. Everyone from Omega Point might be dead. Everything we built… everything we worked toward – “I feel myself break, snap open form the inside. “I can’t lose him, Kenji.” My voice is shaking. My hands are shaking. “I can’t – You don’t know – You don’t –“
Kenji looks at me with actual pain in his eyes. “Stop it, J. You’re breaking my heart. I can’t hear this.”

Kenji & Warner:

Kenji flips us both off.
Aaron laughs. And then, leaning in –
“You really think I look good in everything?”
“Shut up, asshole.”
Aaron laughs again.

I still kind of SHIP THEM?! *LOL* I just can’t help but be in awe of Kenji being able to actually make Warner laugh!!! And the fact that Kenji thinks he looks good in everything?! Just too damn precious!! Like it’s really obvious that Kenji sorta digs him. XD Apparently Warner likes him too! Since we all know that Ella & Warner are the endgame and our OTP I’ll just accept their bromance and settle for being happy with it though! ;-P

”Bro, you really need to, like, eat a pizza or something,” he says, slapping me on the shoulder as he leaves. “You have too many abs.”
“What?” My eyebrows pull together.”

Nazeera & Kenji:

”Can’t look at you.”
She hesitates. “Why not?”
“Too pretty.”
She laughs, but angrily, like she might punch me in the face. “Kenji, I’m trying to be serious with you.”

I loved tired Kenji!! *lol* That boy can’t think clearly when he’s tired and the things he admitted and said to Nazeera!? Adorable, just freaking adorable! ❤ I swear if she doesn’t give him a decent chance and toys with him I’ll personally scratch her eyes out! XD Kenji deserves a really nice girl that understands him and takes care of him. That appreciates him for who he is! So you better be that girl Nazeera! Also it was really nice to finally get a sexy scene with Kenji. I always knew that he can be sweet and sexy so I was glad we eventually got to experience that side of him. And yes, Nazeera and my boy DO have chemistry. I just hope she’ll show her true colours in the last book. =)

Anderson & Warner:

”You know what? It’s better this way. Better for you to know,” he says quietly. “Better for you to understand exactly why you’re never going to see her again.”
“That’s not up to you.”

And I still DESPISE and HATE Anderson! Why isn’t that scumbag of a father dead already? Damn Evie and Max and all their stupid experiments. If they wouldn’t have helped him, Anderson would be where he belongs. Six feet under! And good riddance! Why can’t that man finally die?! My boy needs to be free of him in order to move on and as long as he is around that won’t happen. So can Mafi finally put an end to Anderson’s despicable reign? I think Warner suffered enough and I think he deserves a life, NO A WORLD, without his father in it. Can we get it real soon, please?!

”My mother warned me, years ago, to hide my heart from my father, and every time I slipped – every time I let myself hope he might not be a monster – he punished me, mercilessly.”

”He knew, when he made that deal, what he was asking me to do. I didn’t. I was sixteen, still young enough to believe in hope, and he took advantage of my naiveté. He knew what it would do to me. He knew it would break me. And it was all he’d ever wanted.
My soul.”

4

Just like after reading “Restore Me” I don’t know how to feel about this book. This time around my emotions at the end of “Defy Me” weren’t as intense as they were after reading its predecessor but I think that’s mostly due to the nature of the ending. And even though in here it all tied up nicely for a change I still have quite a lot of mixed feelings about it all. Plus, I can’t help but feel like this ending is just the calm before the storm. I know it! I know that all hell is going to break loose as soon as I open “Imagine Me” and I’m so scared of reading what will happen. >_< Let’s just hope this is going to be an ending I can live with. XD

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Charm of Finches (Suanne Laqueur)

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Rating:5 Pfoten

”Listen and learn it, learn to tell it, and tell it to teach it.”

I think I’m just beginning to realize that no matter what I say about Suanne’s books, it will never be enough. I feel kind of unworthy to talk about her stories because they are just so, so, SO good and believe me when I say that in all the years of my existence I never read anything like them… EVER. There are books that are epic, there are stories that have wisdom, there are tales that take you to another world and narratives that make you think and feel, but there is nothing, I repeat nothing that even gets moderately close to how I feel when I read Suanne’s wonderful books.

I can try to describe them but all the words in the world won’t do them justice. Nothing I say will suffice. They are filled with so much humour, with relationships that are so real you can taste them on your tongue and feel them in your heart, they make you ache and bleed, but they also console you and hold you when you’re breaking down. They are pure joy and your darkest hour! They are all the good and bad things and all the nuances in between. They are life! In all its facets and with all its ups and downs. They feel like a living and breathing thing, like a beating heart you’re holding in your palms while you read it.

Suanne’s books are everything and even more and I can’t believe I just discovered them because quite honestly I can’t even imagine a life without them anymore. (I already dread the day when I’ll run out of them, because sooner or later I will. At least when I continue at this pace. *lol*) I love “An Exaltation of Larks” and I adore “A Charm of Finches” and if all of Suanne’s other books are that good I’ll probably die about a thousand deaths until I’ve read them all. It will be worth it though. XD

This said I decided to make this one of my long reviews because I have so many thoughts and feelings that need to be written down. I know this is going to be a huge mess with lots of emotions that will run all over the pages but it needs to get out. XD So to all of you who don’t want to be spoiled: You better stop reading now! I’ll only say one more thing before I go for the real deal: READ THIS SERIES!!! You won’t regret it, because it’s so damn good!!!! ❤

2

Warning: Don’t cross this border! There’ll be lots of emotions, even more feels and plenty of spoilers. Of course it’s up to you if you continue or not, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉

Javier Landes:

Jav exhaled heavily. “Twenty-three years I had this perfect social life. Perfect date after perfect date. I’m really becoming aware of what an act it was. What a repertory of roles I played and none of them were really me. It’s kind of put me in a mini existential crisis. I have moment s when I don’t know who the fuck I am.”

My review about “An Exaltation of Larks” was an ARC review so I was careful not to spoil anything but since I read this without the aid of NetGalley I can finally gush about Jav!!! I love this man so damn much and I think that’s mostly due to the fact that we’re very similar. Jav experienced so many things, he was hurt, he was lost, he knows loss and pain and even though my experiences might be different than his, the feelings and emotions we share are still the same. I can relate to him and there were countless moments my heart truly ached for him. It was so beautiful to see his journey, to see that he finally accepted himself and was ready to fall in love with Stef. Jav is such a compassionate and wonderful man and it was so good to see that he was finally loved back!!! I just love the way he thinks and feels and when he zoomed out writing things in his head or used his journal I was like: This is me when I write! XD I adore him for always being there when someone needs him, the way he helped Geno out even though they were kind of at odds at the time and how nervous he was! He didn’t want to screw up and this only made me love him even more. ❤ I swear, when he opened up to Stef after meeting his aunt… Oh gods!!! I cried buckets reading that scene!! Jav was hurt so badly by his family’s actions and he suppressed it for so many years. I was so glad Stef was with him and was able to catch him when he fell. >_< This man deserves all the love and I just want him to be happy for eternity!!! <333

”Why do you do it?“
„Why?“
Jav’s shy smile unfolded. “Asking people what they do is boring. Asking why they do it is so much more interesting.”

A beat of silence that felt like a gamble, then Jav said, “I know what it means. I’m on my way.”
“Jav, I’m sorry,” Geno said. “About-“
“It’s all right,” Jav said. “None of that matters tonight. Let’s just get you the hell out of there. You stay with Ed. I’m coming.”

”This is how I was born to love.
The world can call me whatever label they want. I know who I am.
I’m Stef’s.”

”Everyone just leaves,” Jav said. “I don’t get to say goodbye to anyone. I don’t get a say at all. They leave and I just sit around making up stories to explain why.”

Stef Finch:

”I didn’t choose this particular road, it kind of chose me.”

I never thought I’d love another character in “Venery” as much as I love Jav but then Stef came along and I had to revise my opinion. *lol* This man is perfect in every sense of the word! I even told Suanne as much! XD But I don’t mind because ahh he’s so great and I just adore him! I don’t know how he does his job but I’m glad there exist some Stefs in the world because they are needed! I mean he passed out after he saved a girl that wanted to kill herself and even scarred his left eyebrow when he fell. That’s a true hero right there!! Also can we appreciate his love for books?! I mean one of his first thoughts when he met Jav was ”Dude, if you don’t read, we ain’t got no future anyway.” *LOL* Of course he didn’t know that it was Jav’s book he was reading so yeah. XD There are so many things that make Stef special and his compassion, his calm nature, his way to deal with problems, they are just a few of them! =) Plus I loved how self-confident he is. Stef takes everything in stride and knows exactly who he is, which was wonderful and made him a perfect man for Jav! So at the risk of repeating myself: Stef is perfect! Period! <333

”Connect, he thought. I want to connect.
His heart closed around the thought like catching a firefly.
I’m lonely and I want to connect with someone. Mind and body. Something that means… something.”

”He was wearing a grey shirt today. It would fucking have to do. He went straight from work to the bar. No going home to shower, shave, pick a blue shirt and hang out in front of the mirror like a twink.
Dig me, dig my crappy shirt.”

”It’s all right,” Stef said. “You cry as much as you want.”
Max moaned and wept harder.
“I’m right here. I got you.”

”Sometimes,” Stef said slowly. “I come home with part of a case sticking to me, and I don’t want anyone or anything. I don’t want to be touched until I deal with it. But other times, the only way I can deal with it is being touched. Sometimes I can only shake off the echo of a sexual abuse story by making love.”

Geno:

Someone has to be in charge. I am Mos, rhymes with dos, and I’m in command here. I have the strength of two now.”

Geno’s story moved me so much I can’t even put it into words. This boy went through something no one should ever go through and even though it broke him, he came out of it stronger in the end. I don’t know how he did it but I agree with Stef: ”they didn’t get the best of him”.  I’m not going to sugar coat it: The first 10% of this book were so damn hard to read, because we get a good glimpse at Geno’s ordeal and it was tough to read. Rape is horrible and for Geno… it was pure torture. What those men did to him, what he had to endure… I can’t even imagine what this must have done to him. There is this 17 year old innocent boy and they raped him until he almost died. T_T And believe me when I say that I want them all to rot in hell for it! To hurt a young boy like that! It’s unforgivable! Geno suffered so much! This poor boy! His twin died and he had to live with the aftermath, with knowing that his own brother brought him to them. I could understand why Mos came into being, why it was better to let it happen to someone else. >_< Carlito’s death, his own ordeal, the death of his father… gods it was just too much for him to endure. I have no idea how Geno managed to survive but he did it, he fought, he clawed his way back into life and he’s one of those characters that will stay with me forever. Whatever he’s doing now, I hope he’s happy! And that he’s still friends with Micah, because their friendship was everything. Two different generations that survived ordeals no one should ever have to survive and they still made the best of it. When they hugged and Geno cried in his arms I was crying with them. T_T

”All of it still hurt so much.
Lying in the dark, a soft, sleeping girl in his inked arms, he blinked through irritated tears and feared it would always hurt.”

”I’m all alone here.
He stood again, his view free of the bars but still feeling just as caged.
I want to go home.
I want all this to be happening to someone else. Why can’t this be someone else?“

Micah rocked him, a hand stroking Geno’s head. Inked numbers in his dusty skin. Strong arms and a stronger heart.
“Hijo querido,” he said. “You and I know what it’s really about.”

3

Jav & Stef:

„Hey there, handsome.“
Stef looked back.
Hey there, indeed.
A guy was at the top of the gallery’s stairs. Tall and built in jeans and a black blazer. Taking off aviator shades to show his face.
Whoa.“

There is so much I want to say about those two men and I’m really afraid it will become an essay! lol* BUT oh boy!!! They were so great together!!! After everything Jav went through it was so good to see him in such a solid and healthy relationship! It was a great contrast to the heavy parts of Geno’s story and Suanne managed to find a balance which is searching for its match. (Suanne, did I ever tell you that I love you? No? Well, I do! ;-P) I loved to see their first meeting from Stef’s POV and haha his reaction to seeing Jav for the very first time was priceless! ❤ They were so truly and madly in love it was overwhelming and made me giggle like crazy. I loved how they got to know each other, how they accepted each other’s boundaries and talked things out! Yes, they spoke about their problems and fears and it was AMAZING!!! They were so attuned to each other they noticed the smallest gestures of discomfort from a mile away. XD And their conversation about how being bi feels for them! It felt so true and real that I found myself speaking to the pages saying: Yes!! Yes, that’s it! They were each other’s safe haven and whenever the sea got unsteady and tempestuous they could rely on each other. ❤ That moment Jav broke down in Stef’s arms?! Ahh it hurt so much but I was so happy he was with him guiding him through the rough sea! Those two men! I can’t get enough of them and I’ll make sure to read all the accompanying stories I can find. I need more of their happiness! So, so much more! XD

”Crying out loud, Landes, what?” he said.
“What?”
Stef’s smile broke apart laughing. “Stop looking at me.”
“No puedo dejar de mirarte,” Jav said, tackling him. Because he was a fucking hot mess and couldn’t keep his hands off the guy.

”The attraction is tougher?” Jav said. “More tenacious?”
“Yes,” Stef said, his voice rising. “Tenacious. Exactly. It can take my weight. I can push on it hard, be rougher with it. It’s not a connection I overlap or fall into. It’s something I lean on. Hard.”

”I like you so fucking much,” Stef said. He’d never in his life said such a thing to a man.
“I like you, too,” Jav said, as if the words were bubbles on his tongue.”

”When Stef locked arms around Jav’s waist at the stove and leaned on him, Jav had to stop cooking and taste the moment. Close his eyes and hold it tight, unable to remember the last time he felt this content. This complete.“

”The last chapter.”
Stef blinked. “You lost me.”
“You’re the last chapter,” Jav said. “I went from the prologue to you. I skipped everything in the middle and now I’m in love with you and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.”
A rush as everything in Stef’s body dilated, returned to normal levels, and then rose up. “Jesus Christ, Jav,” he said, rubbing his face. “I swear, I’m going to kill you or fuck you. Pick one.”

”You didn’t know I’d end up fucking for a living. Making me waste twenty years of my life when I could’ve been something to somebody…”
Then he was crying.
Stef pulled him in tight and stood still against the storm, his hand running in slow circles between Jav’s trembling shoulders. “You’re something to me,” he said. “You’re everything to me.“

”Mm.” Jav fitted his thumbnail into the scar across Stef’s eyebrow. “Man, I don’t know how you do what you do.”
“I don’t know how you write books.”
“I make up bullshit. Your work is so much more important. You know how men make love with each other and you know how men make war on each other.”

Stef, Jav & Geno:

”They got him.”
“It’s over.” Geno slid off the couch, onto the floor and into Stef’s arms. “It’s over.”
Stef caught him up tight, a hand on Geno’s head. “They got him,” he said, rocking their bodies side to side.

Now the three of them certainly had an interesting dynamic. Especially because Stef had a professional relationship with Geno and Jav’s relationship with him was rather a friendship. And once again I’ve to praise the fine nuances of Suanne’s stories. Their relationships to each other were so palpable and they felt real and true. I loved that Stef got all protective of Jav when he discovered that Geno had read his journal and therefore his personal thoughts but I also loved them both for still being there for Geno even though he violated Jav’s privacy. I always knew that Geno finding out about Jav and Stef’s relationship would end badly, but after everything he went through it was no surprise. Still, I’m glad they managed to sort things out in the end and I’m so happy Geno has those two as his friends now. Stef being there for him as his therapist was so important but I think Jav being his friend was at least as vital for his healing process as Stef’s therapy. ❤ You need friends in your life and with Jav and Stef at his side Geno kind of won the friendship lottery. =) True friendships between men! I think the bookish world needs more of them.

”I’m on guard, little brother.
You fought hard and brave. Rest your heart now. Don’t be afraid.
I’m here.
They’ll have to come through me to get to you this time.”

”Geno took a long swig of ice water and asked Jav, “Do you believe everything happens for a reason?”
“I do,” Jav said. “But not everyone gets the privilege of liking the reason. Of feeling the reason was worth the ordeal or the experience.”

Jav & Ari:

”Oh my god, T, are you crying?” Ari said. He called Jav T, for Tio. Spanish for uncle.
“Shut up.”
“Come on, I bet you have an absolute surplus of toilet paper now.”
“This is true. One box of cereal lasts forever and I only have to buy a half-gallon of milk.”
“See? You don’t miss me at all.”
“You’re right. Glad to have you out of my hair. Don’t ever come back.”

I still adore this uncle-nephew duo! =) Jav and Ari’s relationship was one of the best things about “Larks” and it continued to be amazing in “Finches”. They might have found each other under difficult circumstances but they made the best of it and formed a bond that will connect them forever. Also can we acknowledge how supportive Ari is?! That boy is still so young but he already knows what’s important in life! Their conversations were once again some of the best in the book and I had to laugh so hard when Ari told Jav that he shouldn’t have sex in front of his dog. *LOL* Poor Roman! I’m sure he appreciates Ari’s concern. ;-P

”I hope you find someone,” Ari said. “You deserve it. Male or female, it’s about fucking time you had someone you can be yourself with.”
“Thanks.”

Jav & Gloria:

”When Jav lost Flip, he found in Gloria the one person who loved him unconditionally. The woman who had taken him in when his own people cast him out. He went to court and legally changed his surname to Landes. He would never think of her as his mother. He chose her name because it was the thing he respected most in the world.”

As you can see my relationships and ship section is huge this time around and the reason for it is that Suanne writes them like no other! I mean for instance Jav and Gloria!! Gloria was probably the only person that cared about him when he was alone and lost and even though to help him to become an escort might have been kind of harmful for Jav on the long run it was still something he enjoyed to do when he was younger. Gloria guided and comforted him. She provided a safe haven and helped him to help himself so for that alone she deserves respect. Plus she’s his voice of reason and a very wise woman. I love that they still have contact and that she’s the first person he comes to when his heart is troubled. ❤

”You’re right. As usual.”
“Often wrong, never in doubt.”
“Which is why I love you.”

”Love doesn’t always play nice. Love plays games you haven’t had to deal with before. Love is going to serve up a buffet of emotions you neatly avoided for decades.”

Alex, Jav & The Larks:

”And if you met someone, and it feels easy and you’re waiting for the axe or the shoe or the whatever to drop, it’s because you think you don’t deserve easy. What did I tell you about that?”
“Yeah, I know,” Jav said, exhaling.
“Say it.”
“I’m worth more and I deserve it.”
“Damn right you do.”

Ahh the tension between Alex and Jav is still tangible. I can’t help but wonder if they’ll ever get over it or if it will be one of those relationships that will always have that special spark. Sometimes you meet people that draw you in and no matter how much you try to get some distance between you, it’s bound to fail. You’re drawn like a moth to the flame or like a moon that’s pulled into the orbit of a planet. So you either find a way to live with that involuntary attraction or you don’t and put some distance between you. And let me tell you this as someone who’s tried to live with it, it’s tough!!! I managed to do it for a few years but then the contact broke because it was just too much to handle. For both of us. >_< So I can’t help but wonder how the relationship between Jav and Alex is going to develop. Still, despite all the things that are going on between them and Val basically watching them like a hawk they are a family and support each other. Which is truly amazing! Val definitely has all my respect for forgiving Alex and Jav and for trying to give them space. This woman is a saint!!! Period!

”Well, maybe I’ll meet them someday.”
Jav smiled at the safe, gender-neutral pronoun. “Maybe you will,” he said. “If I don’t fuck this up.”
“Oh my God,” Alex said. “You’re still the same idiot.”
“The only one allowed in the room,” Jav said, laughing.

”Let go now,” Alex said, slapping Jav’s back, then his ass. “Or I won’t.”

Jav hugged them both. “Thanks for coming.”
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Alex said.
“We’re your family, dumbass,” Val said. “We’d do anything.”

Stav & Stef:

”Is this the guy you called me about the other day?”
“Yes.”
“Dude, does he have a brother? Named Rav?”
“No.”
“Where did he come from?”
“The fucking sky.”

Haha! I LOVED this sibling relationship!! Stav and Stef were so much fun to read about and they reminded me of my sister and me. I swear, we have conversations like the one above too and I love spending time with her and to be silly. We do that frequently and have been told that we’re like a comedy show when we’re together. (I swear sometimes it’s like people get their popcorn to watch us. Well, my brother-in-law actually did but that’s another story for another day. *lol*) So yes, I adored this sibling rep and could relate to it! Stav and Stef are two amazing people and even though Stav went through a lot of heavy shit she’s still a very optimistic and funny character! Which is remarkable! The world definitely needs more Stavs too! =))

4

“A Charm of Finches” was INCREDIBLE and I just couldn’t get enough of it. The many thoughts, ideas and feelings that went into this, the way Suanne managed to put this on paper! How she writes life the way it is and creates characters that feel like real people! (For me they actually are!) The heavy topics she’s addressing! With so much respect and care. I’m in awe of Suanne Laqueur’s mind and writing style and I’ll never get tired of advertising her books! Seriously, more people need to read her books because they are so, so, so GOOD! All the stars! All the stars, por siempre jamás!

A - E, Allgemein, B, Reviews

ARC Review: Boyfriend Material (Alexis Hall)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

 **I received an advance copy of this book from SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you so much for approving me for this ARC!**

I’m aware I rarely say this about books, but this was fantastic! Once I started to read “Boyfriend Material” I couldn’t stop anymore and with every chapter I read, I was drawn even more into the story. The conversations between the two MCs, Luc and Oliver, were so much fun and I found myself clutching the pages while laughing out loud.

Sure, not everything in this book is hilarious and Alexis Hall tackles plenty of serious topics as well. The author always does it with a little humour though and this made this a really enjoyable and entertaining read. For instance Luc’s boss is a horrible person. I mean I get it, beetles are important for the environment but boy, does she lack the finesse of human interaction. Some of the things she said at the beginning of the book were flat out rude and inappropriate and if Luc wouldn’t have been such a nice person she probably would have lost her company a long time ago.

The good thing about those moments is that they were all either called out or challenged by some of the characters and I really appreciated this approach. Alexis Hall deals with prejudices, bias and a good dose of discrimination but the author does it in a healthy kind of way. For such a funny book this is quite remarkable and before I dwell on those topics even more I’ll just go for the good stuff! Namely the easy banter of the two MCs , the fact that Luc (whose full name is Lucien btw and we all know about my weakness for that name! ;-P) is a disaster gay and the amazing portrayal of friendships which gave this all such a wholesome and healthy vibe!

“What if someone asks? I should know for verisimilitude.”
The corners of his mouth twitched slightly. “You can say I’m a gentleman and we haven’t got that far.”
“You” – I gave a thwarted sigh – “are a terrible fake boyfriend.”
“I’m building fake anticipation.”
“You’d better be fake worth it.”
“I am.”

I swear Luc and Oliver were such a formidable couple! Yes, they might have started fake-dating because at that point of their lives they both needed it to save their reputation; they were always honest and forthright though! And this was so, so, so, so refreshing!!! Most of the conflicts in “Boyfriend Material” didn’t come into being because of some miscommunication between the MCs but because the characters were used to deal with their problems on their own. They were stuck in their habits and problems and had a tough time letting anyone in, which considering both of their backstories was actually pretty relatable.

“Are we really bad at this?” I asked.
“We’ve been fake dating for three days and we’ve already fake broken up once.”
“Yes, but we fake resolved our difficulties and fake got back together, and I’m hoping it’s made us fake stronger.”

As were their friendships! I loved Bridge and the funny dynamic between Luc and his other friends. They were exactly like you’d expect good friends to be and their support for Luc was amazing! Funnily enough I even liked Alex, Luc’s gullible, innocent and totally clueless co-worker who wouldn’t even notice if he would put his foot in his mouth. Let’s just hope the Alex’s of this world will never be confronted with harsh reality. XD

This said, the only thing I didn’t like were the two storylines about Luc’s father and Oliver’s family. Whilst the plot that dealt with Luc’s father might have been dissatisfying but realistic, the part that focused on Oliver’s family fell short for me. I really wish we would have gotten more of his storyline throughout the entire book and not only on the last 30 pages. I get why Alexis Hall did it that way and I appreciate the point the author made, but for me this came out of the blue and kind of spoiled the ending. I guess this might be a typical „it’s not the book, it’s me“ situation though. Well, at least so far no other reviewer seems to have mentioned it. 😉

“I’m conscious this could be rather burdensome to hear, but you remain the thing I have most chosen for myself. The thing that’s most exclusively mine. The one thing that brings me the deepest joy.”

All told I really enjoyed “Boyfriend Material” and had a more than just tough time to put it down. The hilarious humour and easy banter made it really addicting and before I even knew it I found myself rushing through the pages. If you’re looking for a sweet rom-com that isn’t afraid to tackle a few serious topics and will make you laugh out loud, this might be exactly the right book for you! 😉 Happy reading!

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

ARC Review: An Exaltation of Larks (Suanne Laqueur)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

*A forever grateful thank you to NetGalley and “Cathedral Rock Press” for providing a free ARC*

”They shared breath, poised on a shared edge, shaking all their separate pieces into one.”

Do you know the kind of book that swallows you whole? That makes you want to pick it up even though it’s in the middle of the night and you just closed it. The sort of story that takes over your mind, body and soul? The kind that makes you restless and achy with the need to continue? This special sort of book that touches you on such a profound and fundamental level your heart quite literally bursts from hurting, but, boy it hurts so good?!

“An Exaltation of Larks” was everything of the above and so, so, so much more! I had no idea what I was getting myself into until it was already too late. Until I found myself so deeply immersed in this story that it seemed to be impossible to get away from its words. They followed me around, taunted me, teased me, wanted to be read with such a relentless fervour that I couldn’t even think about uttering the word “no”.

”All his movements were clumsy and reluctant. His fingers balked at tying his sneakers. Turned locks the wrong way while opening the door. He stumbled going down the hall and the elevator door banged him on the elbow as it was closing.
He didn’t want to go.”

That’s exactly how this book made me feel and even after finishing it two weeks ago it still didn’t let me go. This story swept me off my feet, dug its claws into my skin and sang me to sleep. And to be entirely honest, this effect is still going on. By now I think “An Exaltation of Larks” was written to bury itself in my soul so that I would never feel alone again. And if that is truly the case, then all I can say is that it can have every inch of my heart it conquered.

”Many people like being alone, but nobody likes to be lonely.”

There are so many things I loved about this book, so many in fact that I don’t even know where to start. I adored Val and Alex, I worshipped Jav, whose character was so similar to mine that it sometimes felt like torture to read on. I connected with him on such a basic level that it killed me to accompany him on his difficult journey. But just like him I longed for more and no matter how much I got, I just couldn’t get enough. Of the strong friendships in this book, of the relationships between the characters, of the family they became. I swear the relationships in this book were everything!!! Just everything!! The humour, the banter, I loved how they joked, how comfortable they were around each other, how effortlessly those two families merged into one.

”Te lo agradezco mucho,” Alex said.
“You don’t have to thank me.”
“No sé cómo agradecértelo.”
“Stop.” Jav kissed his head. “You guys are my family. I’d do anything.”
He kissed Val’s head. Then six arms wove and wrapped and they held each other tight.

There are three people that found each other because they were meant to, because destiny had chosen them before they even knew it themselves and they love each other so deeply, so madly, so unconditionally that it broke my heart. The way Suanne let them deal with their troubles, how they acted around each other, how they were angry and mad but still so very much in love. How they fought for their love, how they realized that they had to accept their feelings with all their consequences, weaknesses and flaws. It just blew me away!! Suanne can write! And it’s so convincing, so realistic that it killed me. The chemistry of those characters, the cozy atmosphere, the strong feeling of belonging, of kinship and above all else the affection and love that connects them all.

”It’s not the Larks that kill you. It’s the exaltation.”

I swear at times I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I felt so fragile you could have shattered me with a soft breeze. Val’s and Alex’s marriage was so wonderful, yet I also loved the idea of Alex and Jav. To be entirely honest, the mere thought of all of them together kind of blew my mind and I suppose in some way or another those three actually kind of were in some sort of relationship. They were so connected, it was hard to even imagine them not being involved with each other and their children Ari and Deane only seemed to add to that intense sensation of all-encompassing love.

”I want you to be all right. I wanted that long before all this other stuff showed up. I wanted you to stay in Guelisten, I wanted my home to be your home. A place where you feel good. A place you can come as yourself and bring along your happiness and your pain. I wanted you around since the beginning.”

Of course none of those characters had it easy, because as we all know life may be described with an abundance of words but “easy” is certainly none of them. This said there are quite a lot of serious topics that are tackled by Suanne and they were woven so gently into the rug of this story that you don’t know where the seam begins or ends. They are as much a part of the book as they are a part of the characters and I’m still in awe of the author’s ability to let those stories speak for themselves. “The Disappeared” of Chile, 9/11 and its effects, the way our family and our personal history shapes us. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried throughout the entire chapter that dealt with 9/11 and that the only thing that made it better was to remind myself of the things that are good in this world. Namely, a short peek at my kid while she was fast asleep in her bed. This chapter wrecked me, big time, as did so many other moments in this book… ¡Vale! I just had to take a deep breath because my emotions are still all over the place and I’m pretty certain this will never change.

”It caught Jav under the ribs and his teeth trembled together. He felt the ground tilt beneath his feet. His heart flailed, making desperate minute adjustments, frantically trying to find center. Find his way home, even as home insisted it was here. Right here in this house. With Alex.”

4

So this was my rather futile attempt to convey how much this book means to me and I can’t help but feel like I failed miserably. There is no way to put all of those emotions into words and if I’d live a million years I still wouldn’t be able to describe this painful contentment that I feel. “Therapy Fiction”, “Contemporary Train Wreck”, “Emotionally Intelligent Romance” those are all terms that are used to describe Suanne’s books. Well, I guess I have a new one for you: “Heart-breaking Realism”.

Make of that what you want, but I can guarantee you one thing: If you read this, you will never be the same again. All the paws! All the paws, por siempre jamás! ❤