Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: I Wish You All the Best (Mason Deaver)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 27 on My Book List 2020

”If you’re queer, your life has the potential to become one long coming-out moment. If I ever want to be called the right pronouns, I’ll have to correct people and put myself out there first and who knows what could happen.”

When I first heard about “I Wish You All the Best” it was August 2019 and I desperately wanted to get my fingers on a copy. Unfortunately at first the book was only sold as an expensive hardcover on Amazon and considering the fact that I don’t have all too much space in my flat I decided to wait for a paperback or ebook version. It was a long wait but I got my copy. Eventually. XD

So I’m sure the question you’re asking yourself now is: Was it worth the long wait? Yes, yes it definitely was! There are so many reasons why to read this was great and the fact that there is (finally!!) a non-binary MC is just one of them! I don’t know many books that feature non-binary characters and the few that did only featured them as side-characters but never truly gave them the spotlight. Mason Deaver however did and I’ll always be thankful they decided to write this book. =) We need more non-binary reps in this world and the mere fact “I Wish You All the Best” exists is already a great achievement. I genuinely hope this book will help to pave the way for a lot of other books that feature non-binary reps and I trust that more and more of them will have non-binary MCs.

It will be a long way but we’ll get there, I’m sure of it. 😉 This said “I Wish You All the Best” has so much more to offer and aside from a great non-binary rep we also got a very diverse and relatable cast. No matter if it’s Mariam who is Shia and wearing a hijab or Meleika who is Korean-American (just to mention two examples) the diversity in this was great! Plus the portrayal of anxiety and mental health as well as the representation of friendships and relationships in this book were very well done as well. The friendship/family dynamics were pretty interesting and it’s definitely a very character driven book. Well, I guess this is the clue to head to my characters section so this is exactly what I’m going to do!

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I guess by now you all know that this is my spoilery spoiler section but for everyone who’s new to my reviews: This is my spoilery spoiler section, in which I usually gush, rant and talk about all the characters in detail! So if you don’t want to be spoiled: Now is your last chance to opt out. ;-P

Ben De Backer:

”I can do this, it’s going to be fine. Everything is going to be okay and this is most definitely the right thing to do. I know my parents, they know me, they deserve to know this thing about me as well.
And I want to tell them, I really, really do.”

I felt so sorry for Ben because what happened to them was really not okay. Here they were trying to open up to their parents and to tell them the truth about being non-binary and what did those parents do? They kicked their own kid out of the house! Like really kicked them out. In the middle of a cold winter night without any shoes or proper clothes! GRRRR! I was so angry when I read that scene. No wonder Ben had trust issues after receiving such a treatment. I felt so much for them and I just wanted to hug Ben and tell them that everything would be okay. My heart bled so much for Ben and the fact that they were hiding their true self after getting kicked out because they were afraid no one would accept them for who they are. T_T Thankfully they made new friends and had a great sister who tried to help them as good as possible. ❤

”I sort of became the punching bag for all of Dad’s issues. He didn’t actually hit me, but overnight, I essentially became an only child, the focus of anything and everything. If I did something wrong, it was blown way out of proportion.”

Nathan Allan:

”Come here.” He pulls me in. At first, I don’t want to move, but he’s so warm, and I’m desperate for a touch right now. His touch. He rocks us both back and forth a little. “If anyone should be apologizing, it’s me.” He’s sniffling. Is he crying too? “I just spent the last half year misgendering you, and you’re apologizing to me?”

I swear Nathan Allan is one of the most precious cinnamon rolls I ever read about! This boy! <333 Seriously! I loved how supportive he was of Ben and how he always tried to get them to talk about things without prying too much. Nathan was so respectful and yet at the same time he showed that he cared. I think everyone should have a Nathan Allan in their life and I’m sure the world would be a better place if everyone did. XD Also I could totally get why Ben chose the colour yellow for Nathan’s portray because it fit so good to his personality! He’s a bright sunray and needs to be protected at all costs. ❤

Hannah:

”And I’ll be in the waiting room if you need me. If you want to leave early, if you need me to sit in there with you, anything at all.”

Hannah was the best sibling ever and even though she left Ben to fend for themselves (?! please tell me if I used that wrongly) I still think she made it up to them in the end. She was very patient with Ben and gave them room to grow into themselves and to become the person they truly were. Also I loved how supportive Hannah’s hubby was. I mean Ben was basically a stranger yet they both just took them in and provided everything for them. Hannah and Thomas deserve and award for being that kind and gentle with Ben! ❤

”Because even when I finally got out of that goddamn house they still had a hold on me. And it’s breaking my heart to see you going through the same thing, Ben.”

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Ben & Nathan:

”Whatever happens” – his grip tightens a little – “I wish you all the best, Benjamin De Backer.” He says it with a smile. “You deserve it.”

I loved the super slow burn romance between those two. I mean it was pretty obvious that Nathan liked Ben, at least for me it was because you don’t make innuendos like that if you don’t like the other person. *lol* I guess Ben just needed time to realize it though. I mean there was a lot going on in their life and they had to come to terms with everything first and sort things out before they could fall in love and I just loved it. This was such a realistic and healthy approach and I wish everyone would love themselves first before going for a relationship. In YA books this happens way too often. That a character can only love and appreciate herself/himself/themselves if someone else does. And this is the wrong message. I think you should love and accept yourself first. You should know who you are and who you want to be before you go into a relationship because only if you’ve accepted yourself you will be ready to love and accept someone else. So to watch this play out in the book was amazing and to see how those two finally found each other was very sweet! ❤

Me: You’re serious? It’s like two houses away.
Nathan: Alright, but let it never be said that I’m anything short of a gentleman.
Me: Noted. Will you lead the search party if I get lost?
Nathan: Are you kidding? I’ll hang up flyers of that handsome face all over town!”

”Why did you pick yellow?” he asks.
I’m answering before I can stop myself. “Because it’s bright and hopeful.” I wait a beat. “Like you.”

”We’ll have to figure a lot of things out, won’t we?”
“Yeah.” His grip on me tightens. “But at least we can do it together, right?” He leans in and kisses me again, and I never want him to stop.

Ben & Hannah:

”So, what are your pronouns?” she asks.
The question strikes me. Not in the bad way. It’s just weird. Hannah is the first person to ask. The first person who had to ask. “They and them,” I say, trying to sound confident, but even I can tell I’m failing miserably.
“All right. Well, it might take some getting used to, so I want you to correct me when I mess up, okay?”

I just loved Hannah!! She was so great! And she definitely falls into the category of #SiblingGoals! Was it wrong of her to leave Ben like that? Yes, it was and Ben has every right to be angry. Was it the right thing for her to do at the time: Yes, because she needed to do it. We could judge Hanna for leaving her baby sibling in the clutches of their parents but considering what she went through it was best for her to cut the ties. There are moments in life when you have to watch out for yourself and when you’re so emotionally instable that you just can’t take care of others. So when you reach that point you need to accept the help from others and take care of yourself first before you can take care of someone else. Well, and Hannah back then was very young. She was basically a child too and was totally out of her depth. So yes, it was wrong to leave Ben but she felt like she had no other choice than to leave and I can acknowledge that even if it hurt her sibling. Well, even Ben acknowledged it but it didn’t change anything about Ben’s feelings, which is totally legitimate and okay. Still, at the end they managed to overcome their past and began a new part of their lives together and that was really nice and hopeful.

”But that was it. A phone number I couldn’t call, and an address to a place I couldn’t get to. I understand that you had to leave. That you couldn’t take it anymore, I’m not mad at you for that.” I wipe my eyes with my sleeve, and Dr. Taylor slides the box of tissues toward me. “But I was alone. I was alone and scared, and I didn’t really know what’d happened to you. You knew how bad they could get, and you just left me to fight for myself.”

Ben & their parents:

”Please.” I begged them both. “Don’t do this.”
Dad led me to the door, and Mom followed on his heels. I just kept begging and begging, but they never did anything.
“Mom! Please!”
“God doesn’t want this for you, Ben.”
I begged her not to say that, and then I started crying. But that must not have been enough. The door closed, and I wanted it to open back up.

You know, when I read that scene the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Like URGH!!! What does God have to do with this?! Why wouldn’t God love Ben for being non-binary? Like WTH?! I hate it when people justify their narrow-mindedness with religious beliefs! I am part of the LGBTQ+ community and however you call the higher power you believe in, it created us the way we are so it wanted us to be the way we are! Period. Okay, my rant is over. XD This said I really disliked Ben’s parents. A LOT! They treated being non-binary like it was an illness that needed to be cured and you don’t even want to hear what I have to say about people that tell us something must be wrong with us because we are part of the LGBTQ+ community. *lol* Ahh lots of touchy subjects here. No wonder I loathed Ben’s parents so much. What they did was really unforgivable and I can’t even comprehend how someone would throw their own kid out of their house. I’m a parent myself and I would NEVER EVER do such a thing to my kid! I love my child more than anything and I’d do everything for her! <333 So yeah, why parents would do such a thing… I’ll never understand it. *shakes head* No wonder, Ben didn’t want to go back to them and chose to live with Hannah instead.

”You’ll come home after you graduate,” Dad says, and I notice it’s more of a command than a request. „We’ll take you to the therapist we’ve been seeing, maybe he can help you work through some of the things you’ve been dealing with. And help you with this nonbinary business.”

Ben & Mariam:

I don’t know much about Mariam’s parents, but they’ve never had any problem with them being nonbinary or pansexual, so Mariam never really had to worry about hiding their sexuality or their identify from their parents.”

The friendship between Mariam and Ben was so amazing! I loved those two and their conversations and I was very thankful that Mariam was a steady part of Ben’s live. They needed someone like them and I was glad Mariam was able to ground Ben somehow. Also there need to be more Mariam’s in the world as well because people who have some influence and openly advocate for the LGBTQ+ community are still very rare. To be honest, Mariam’s parents sound like #ParentGoals to me and it was really nice to see a positive parent representation too.

”Mariam, how do you get someone to like you?”
They let out a little squeal and I have to put them on mute before Hannah or Thomas think something is wrong. “Sorry, I’ve just been waiting for this day for forever.” They pretend to wipe away a tear.
“Love the vote of confidence,” I add.

The non-binary rep:

”Such a contrast to the other nonbinary people I’ve seen online. Their smooth, hairless, acneless faces, their trimmed hair that always seems perfect. These things I could never be. Because no matter how hard I will it, my body isn’t how I want to see myself. Not that there’s anything wrong with those kinds of enby people, I just … it’s hard to describe. Bodies are fucking weird, especially when it feels like you don’t belong in your own.”

Since this was an own-voices book the non-binary rep was great and I totally understood where Ben was coming from. It’s not easy to make peace with your body, especially if you’re in between somehow. And I should know because being gender-fluid isn’t easy as well. 😉 So yeah, I think the non-binary rep was spot on and accurate. (Take this with a grain of salt though because I’m not non-binary and would never dare to speak for the people who are.) Truth be told, the only thing I had a little trouble with was the fact that Ben got offended whenever someone used the wrong pronouns. I mean it wasn’t like they were out and how were people supposed to know? Sure, it can make you feel sick to be addressed with the wrong pronouns but you can’t hold it against others if you don’t come out to them and correct them. So I kinda would have liked Ben to tell Nathan that it wasn’t his fault for misgendering them. Because honestly, it wasn’t! He couldn’t smell it, right? I personally never hold it against people if they misgender me because I feel like I can’t expect them to know. (Especially because my pronouns constantly change) But oh well, that’s just me so maybe I’m too lenient with others? I dunno. *shrugs*

”Boys aren’t supposed to wear dresses. Even if I’m not a boy, even if clothing shouldn’t be gendered. Whenever anyone looks at me, that’s all they’ll see.”

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All told I really liked “I Wish You All the Best” and I appreciated the non-binary rep. To find a non-binary MC is really rare so I can’t thank Mason Deaver enough for this book. I loved the diversity and the fact that a lot of topics were tackled in here, not to mention that they were always addressed in a very sensitive and genuine way. This said I’m definitely looking forward to read Mason Deaver’s next book. =)

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

ARC Review: If This Gets Out (Sophie Gonzales)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten,5

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the eARC!

How do I even describe how it felt to read this book? When I first read the blurb of “If This Gets Out” I immediately wanted to read it, because it had all the tropes and topics I crave to read about in a book. A successful boy band that is playing the biggest venues, strong friendships, an LGBTQ+ representation, the best-friends-to-lovers trope with a forbidden love spin and a road-trip through Europe in form of the band’s tour. In short: This sounded too good to be true and I desperately wanted to read it!

Needless to say I was over the moon when I actually got an ARC! I was so ready to dive into this book, you have no idea! Of course I had very high expectations as well and I was a little worried the book wouldn’t be able to live up to them. Looking at it in retrospective, I shouldn’t have worried because this was perfect! I got everything I wanted and even more!

I adored how the close friendship between the band members was portrayed. They laughed and joked, they quarrelled and had arguments, but they were always watching out for each other as well. They were like a family and I lived and breathed for their interactions. Another aspect that was brought into the book were the relationships of the band members with their parents and I was more than just happy to read about actual parents that care about their kids and only want the best for them. Of course not all parents are alike and there was a representation of a dysfunctional parent-child relationship as well.

Truth be told, I was surprised about the sheer amount of serious topics that were addressed in “If This Gets Out”. Drug abuse, emotional abuse, power games, band/label dynamics, the pressure of being famous, band life, the dark side of the music industry and the branding of bands and their individual members that has nothing to do with the real person behind the scenes. And I didn’t even talk about Zach and Ruben’s relationship yet. Which was nothing but amazing!

I loved to see how the feelings of the two MCs slowly started to change and how their friendship grew into something more. It was really well done and I found myself smiling so often that it started to hurt. I shipped those two so hard it was almost like they were an actual couple and not just two fictional characters. Also can we talk about their awesome communication?! Sure, they both had troubles to put their feelings into words and sometimes there was some miscommunication but when push came to shove they always tried their best to talk things out. I can only imagine how hard it must be to realize you have feelings for your best friend, let alone to deal with the pressure of being famous and the fear of somebody finding out. To come out should always be up to you, no matter if you’re famous or not. So I could relate to Ruben and Zach’s struggle.

Their character arc was done so well, though, and I couldn’t help but cheer for them when they finally decided that they had enough and wanted to tackle their problems head-on. They were aware of the consequences but they knew they had to do it order to live the way they wanted to and to witness how they took control of their situation wasn’t just a sight to behold but it also had me at the edge of my seat crossing my fingers for all of them.

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All told “If This Gets Out” was an amazing book that didn’t only live up to my high expectations but even managed to exceed them! Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich succeeded to write a great story that addresses a lot of the issues people in the music industry have to face and they did it in a sensitive and respectful manner. The romance between Zach and Ruben was everything I ever wanted and even more and the Zuben ship is definitely one of my favourite ships now. 😉

So if you’re a fan of music, if you ever shipped members of a band, if you’re a part of a fandom, if you like books that tackle serious issues, if you love the found-family trope, if you like character driven stories and enjoy great character arcs. Well, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this immensely.

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: Ignite Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”Words, I think, are such unpredictable creatures.
No gun, no sword, no army or king will ever be more powerful than a sentence. Swords may cut and kill, but words will stab and stay, burying themselves in our bones to become corpses we carry into the future, all the time digging and failing to rip their skeletons from our flesh.”

Do you still remember my review of “Unravel me”?
Yes?!
Okay! Then let me tell you something:

“Ignite me” was so much better than the last book!!!!

I don’t know how Tahereh Mafi did it but she killed me!!!! I died about a thousand deaths while I read this book and I have absolutely no clue how I even survived to read this!!! Gosh, that book left me reeling and laughing and gasping and crying and swooning and drooling and I had absolutely no idea what to do with all those feels!!!
I bit my nails, I was desperate, I was hopeful, I wanted to smash the book against a wall – which would have been pretty bad because I read it on my e-reader and I’m quite certain it wouldn’t have survived this special kind of treatment *lol* – I wanted to shake some of the characters, wanted to yell at them, I wanted to laugh with them, I wanted to punch some sense into their heads. (Yeah, Adam it’s you I’m talking about!!!) And most of all I really, really wanted them to be happy and fine!!!

So yeah, I think you get the idea! 😉
It was an emotional rollercoaster and I actually loved every second of it! *lol*

That said I guess I can finally jump to the actual review! I hope you manage to read until the end. If not: You’ve been brave and I don’t blame you! ;-P

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„My eyes are filling fast with tears and I blink and blink but the world is a mess and I want to laugh because all I can think is how horrible and beautiful it is, that our eyes blur the truth when we can’t bear to see it.“

The book basically starts where “Unravel me” left off. Juliette has been saved by Warner and was brought back to base while she was unconscious. In the first chapter we learn that Omega Point has been destroyed completely and that Warner had no other choice than to smuggle Juliette into his private quarters. Of course our heroine is not happy about the bad new and wants to find out what truly happened and if anyone is still alive. So yeah our golden boy and our lethal girl decide to take a trip to the place where Omega Point used to be and it’s actually there, where the plot thickens and everything gains momentum! 😉 Since I don’t want to spoil you I decided to leave it at that, I’m pretty certain that most of you have already read the entire trilogy though.
So for everyone who’s already read the books and for everyone who doesn’t want to be spoiled:

The character’s section is going to be full, I repeat, full of spoilers!!! So beware my fellow readers! Ye be warned!!! ;-P *lol*

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Juliette:

I loved how self-confident and strong Juliette has become. She’s finally capable of forming her own opinions and she doesn’t take – forgive me my crude choice of words – shit anymore! *lol* The old Juliette would have cowered and accepted the way Adam treated her, the new Juliette kicked ass!!! Quite literally as well! XD I was so proud of her! She finally had the courage to stand up for herself and her beliefs and she didn’t only make her own decisions but also made sure to follow through with them! It was amazing to watch her transformation and I was so glad she finally found herself!!! There was only one thing I didn’t like about her and that was how she let Warner suffer! How dare you Juliette! How dare you to break his wonderful and gentle heart!!!! I mean jeez I know you had to think things through, but seriously!!!! It’s WARNER we’re talking about!!!! That awesome hot guy who’s crazy and madly in love with you!!!! XD Open your freakin eyes!!! *lol* Okay, okay enough of the rant, everything is fine! 😉

”Or,” I say to him, “I leave, find your father, kill him, and deal with the consequences on my own.”
Warner fights a smile and fails.
He glances down and laughs just a little before looking me right in the eye. He shakes his head.
“What’s so funny?”
“My dear girl.”
“What?”
“I have been waiting for this moment for a long time now.”

„I can’t be that girl anymore.
For so many years I lived in constant terror of myself. Doubt had married my fear and moved into my mind, where it built castles and ruled kingdoms and reigned over me, bowing my will to its whispers until I was little more than an acquiescing peon, too terrified to disobey, too terrified to disagree.
I had been shackled, a prisoner in my own mind.”

”I remember it so well.” I hesitate. “Dying. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t scream because my lungs were torn apart or full of blood. I don’t know. I just had to lie there, trying to breathe, hoping to drop dead as quickly as possible. And the whole time,” I say, “the whole time I kept thinking about how I’d spent my entire life being a coward, and how it got me nowhere. And I knew that if I had the chance to do it all again, I’d do it differently. I promised myself I’d finally stop being afraid.”

”This isn’t about Adam or Warner,” I tell him. “This is about me and what I want. This is about me finally understanding where I want to be in ten years. Because I’m going to be alive, Kenji. I will be alive in ten years, and I’m going to be happy. I’m going to be strong. And I don’t need anyone to tell me that anymore. I am enough, and I always will be.”

Adam:

Well, I think I’ve to take that back. Nothing is fine when it comes to Adam. Adam… that name… I just have to think about him and I become aggressive. Oh man, I seriously have issues with that boy!!! I already wanted to slap some sense into him while I read “Unravel me”, reading about his character in “Ignite me” I was actually tempted to punch him in the face! Gosh!! That stupid, stupid, stubborn, selfish, obnoxious and incorrigible jerk!!! And that’s actually me putting it more than just mildly! I hate him, I loathe him, I want to scratch him with my fingernails! How dare he to be so egoistic and mean!? When I read chapter 27 I was so angry I wanted to slap him in his stupid pretty face!!! Saying that he was happier when he thought Juliette was dead?!!?? I mean seriously!!??? WHAT THE FREAKIN HELL!??!!! Don’t you have any decency?! And then he even has the nerve to throw her out and to keep his relation to Warner a secret? *grrrrrr* I could go on and on about how much I despise him now, but I think I’ll just leave it at that. ADAM is dead to me and the fact he decided to get to know Warner in the end still doesn’t change anything about my opinion! What a stupid fool!!!

”It’s not charity,” I snap. “He cares about me – and I care about him!”
Warner nods, unimpressed. “You should get a dog, love. I hear they share much the same qualities.”

What do you know about being alive?” he demands. “You wouldn’t say a word when I first found you. You were afraid of your own shadow. You were so consumed by your grief and guilt that you’d gone almost completely insane – living so far inside your own head that you had no idea what happened to the world while you were gone.”

You don’t even know what you’re saying,” Kenji tells him. “You’re acting crazy – “
“I was happier,” Adam says, “when I thought she was dead.”
“You don’t mean that. Don’t say things like that, man. Once you say that kind of shit you can’t take it back –“
“Oh, I mean it,” Adam says. “I really, really mean it.” He finally looks at me. Fists clenched. “Thinking you were dead,” he says to me, “was so much better. It hurt so much less than this.”

“And right now, I can’t say I know what Adam would do if I were dying in front of him. I’m not sure if he would save my life. And that uncertainty alone makes me certain that something wasn’t right between us. Something wasn’t real.
Maybe we both fell in love with the illusion of something more.”

Warner:

He’s standing at the front door, hands shoved casually in his pockets, no fewer than six different guns pointed at his face.”

Oh Warner… *sighs dreamily* With every book I read I loved that boy more and more! He still is awesomeness on two legs and if possible he got even more awesome throughout the book. Gosh, how much I love him!!! I’m Warner trash, I want to have his babies, he’s the perfect man and he’s easily become my no.1 book boyfriend. (Well, truth be told Will and he seem to share that place now. *LOL*) We finally saw more of his vulnerable side and I loved E.V.E.R.Y single S.E.C.O.N.D of it!!! I loved how he came to Juliette rescue when Adam and her had that argument back at Adam’s house and I was so heartbroken when he tried to hide his scars in chapter 32. And good god, I swear when I read chapter 50 it broke my heart into tiny little pieces. I was crying so hard I was even forced to take a break. That chapter literally killed me! I was so overwhelmed by my emotions I could barely breathe. My heart ached so much… that poor lost boy, to read that chapter was pure torture and just to remember it is actually enough to cause me to weep again. *sniff* Warner suffered and hurt so much throughout the entire book and all I wanted to do was to cradle him and to take his pain away. No one deserves to be so miserable and alone and I really hated Adam for hiding his and James’s true identity. If I’m entirely honest I also kind of hated Juliette for being so indecisive and when they finally hit it off I was so happy I grinned the entire time. =))))))

I’ve said it before, love, and I’m sorry I have to say it again, but you do not understand the choices I have to make. You don’t know what I’ve seen and what I’m forced to witness every single day.” He hesitates. “And I wouldn’t want you to. But do not presume to understand my actions,” he says, finally meeting my eyes. “Because if you do, I can assure you you’ll only be met with disappointment. And if you insist on continuing to make assumptions about my character, I’ll advise you only this: assume you will always be wrong.”

“He wasn’t trying to patronize me.
He was enjoying himself.
Aaron Warner Anderson, chief commander and regent of Sector 45, son of the supreme commander of The Reestablishment.
He has a soft spot for fashion.”

”I have no one to impress,” he says. “No one who cares about what happens to me. I’m not in the business of making friends, love. My job is to lead an army, and it’s the only thing I’m good at. No one,” he says, “would be proud of the things I’ve accomplished. My mother doesn’t even know me anymore. My father thinks I’m weak and pathetic. My soldiers want me dead. The world is going to hell. And the conversations I have with you are the longest I’ve ever had.”

Warner takes a hard, shaky breath. “Then what did you say to him?”
Seven seconds die between us.
“Nothing,” I whisper.
Warner stills.
I don’t breathe.
No one speaks for what feels like forever.
“Of course,” Warner finally says. He looks pale, unsteady. “You said nothing. Of course.”

”The bed is empty.
Warner has collapsed in the corner.
He’s curled into himself, knees pulled up to his chest, arms wrapped around his legs, his head buried in his arms. And he’s shaking.
Tremors are rocking his entire body.
I’ve never, ever seen him look like a child before. Never, not once, not in all the time I’ve known him. But right now, he looks just like a little boy. Scared. Vulnerable. All alone.”

”It’s the only way I know how to exist,” he says. “In a world where there is so much to grieve and so little good to take? I grieve nothing. I take everything.”
I stare into his eyes for what feels like forever.
He leans into my ear. Lowers his voice. “Ignite, my love. Ignite.”

Kenji:

I think that boy is the most complex side character I ever had the pleasure to come across. *lol* He’s funny and serious at the same time and he cares so deeply for his friends that it’s sometimes even kind of painful to watch. I loved how he cared about Juliette and how he tried his best to support her. It was pretty obvious that he didn’t agree with her opinion about Warner, yet he still accepted her decision and tried everything possible in order to understand her motives. I really wish there would be more Kenji’s out in the world and I truly hope that Kenji finds true love in the next book. Do you hear me, Mafi? I want Kenji to have a girlfriend in “Restore me”!!! He deserves it, he sooo does!!! XD If you haven’t written a girlfriend for him already, you still got plenty of time to change this!!! 😉 So yeah, do it!!!!! Oh and by the way: That’s an order and no request!!! *LOL*

“You’re not bothered by all the heavy breathing going on over here?” He makes a haphazard gesture towards us.
I jump away from Adam reflexively.
“No,” James says, crossing his arms. “Are you?”
“Disgust was my general reaction, yeah.”
“I bet you wouldn’t think it was gross if it was you.”
A long pause.
“You make a good point,” Kenji finally says. “Maybe you should find me a lady in this crappy sector. I’m okay with anyone between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five.” He points at James. “So how about you get on that, thanks.”

“Good for you. I’ll buy you a balloon the minute the world stops shitting on itself.”
“Thank you,” I say, pleased. “You’re a good teacher.”
“I’m good at everything,” he points out.
“Humble, too.”
“And really good looking.”
I choke on a laugh.

“It just gets really heavy sometimes.” He looks away. “Too heavy. Even for me. And some days I don’t want to laugh,” he says. “I don’t want to be funny. I don’t want to give a shit about anything. Some days I just want to sit on my ass and cry. All day long.” His hands stop moving against the mats. “Is that crazy?” he asks quietly, still not meeting my gaze.

”Who’s Bruce Lee?”
“Who’s Bruce Lee?” Kenji asks, horrified. “Oh my God. We can’t even be friends anymore.”
“Why? Was he a friend of yours?”
“You know what,” he says, “just stop. Just – I can’t even talk to you right now.”

James:

Oh that little boy was just so adorable and I had to laugh so hard whenever he spoke with Warner! Those two brothers had such an awesome chemistry and I loved how open and unprejudiced James was! Unlike Adam he actually saw the good in Warner and I just loved him for it! XD

Warner studies Jame’s face with rapt fascination. He bends down on one knee, meets James at eye level. “And who are you?” he asks.
Everyone in the room is silent, watching.

”Why do you call her ‘love’?” James asks. “I’ve heard you say that before, too. A lot. Are you in love with her? I think Adam’s in love with her. Kenji’s not in love with her, though. I already asked him.”
Warner blinks at him.
“Well?” James asks.
“Well what?”
“Are you in love with her?”
“Are you in love with her?”
“What?” James blushes. “No. She’s like a million years older than me.”
“Would anyone like to take over this conversation?” Warner asks, looking around in the group.

”So, wait – then you’re not the bad guy,” James says all of a sudden. “You’re on our side, right?”
Warner turns slowly to meet James’s eyes. Says nothing.
“Well?” James asks, impatient. “Aren’t you on our side?”
Warner blinks. Twice. “So it seems,” he says, looking as though he can hardly believe he’s saying it.

Anderson:

Thank god he was finally shot and didn’t even get a proper chance to say anything! I swear everything that man ever said revolted me immensely and I’m just glad that it’s over and that no word is ever going to escape his lips again. XD

”And shoot him in the forehead.
Twice.
Once for Adam.
Once for Warner.”

So yeah, I loved the entire book and if there is one thing I didn’t like than it’s just the fact that the trilogy is over and that the ending was too fast. I would have liked to see more of the aftermath and I kind of hoped for some sort of epilogue, but considering the fact that Tahereh Mafi is going to write three other books I don’t feel the urge to complain! *lol*

All told, I highly recommend the “Shatter me” trilogy and if you haven’t read it already you definitely should!!!! 😉

And last but not least: This was a buddy read with the awesome Megha and I was sooo damn glad I was able to talk about all those feels!!! Thanks a lot! You rock!!! XD

”You know,” he whispers, his lips at my ear, “the whole world will be coming for us now.”
I lean back. Look into his eyes.
“I can’t wait to watch them try.”

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: I Was Born for This (Alice Oseman)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 40 on My Book List 2021

”Most adults see teenagers as confused kids who don’t understand much, while they’re the pillars of knowledge and experience and know exactly what is right at all times.”

It’s kind of funny how much this quote resonates with me even though I’m an adult in every sense of the word. I go to work, I pay my rent, I buy groceries for my family, I have a kid, … So how come this book was such a perfect read for me? Well, the truth is, I am an adult but that doesn’t stop me from doing the things I love (for instance writing poetry and reviews) and maybe this has kept me kind of young? I dunno. XD I think I might not be your typical adult but then again who is?

I guess you can already tell that this book made me think a lot and I have so many thoughts and feelings it’s quite a challenge to put them all into words. There were so many topics and situations that spoke to me and no matter if it was Jimmy’s POV as a musician, Angel’s POV as part of the fandom, the diversity and reps or the relationships between all of those lovely characters, I could relate to all of them! *lol* This book reminded me so much of my own youth and my life in general that it almost felt like Alice Oseman wrote it just for me. Like seriously! Alice how do you do this?

I just loved every second of “I Was Born for This” and I never wanted it to end! If you ask me it could have had a 1.000 pages and it still wouldn’t have been enough. XD I have so many thoughts it feels almost impossible to get them all down on paper screen but as always I’ll try my best. 😉 I think I’ll just go with the flow and see where this review is heading. So if you want to read my personal take on fandoms, the characters, music and relationships feel free to join me on this ride. If not, you better don’t continue to read.

2

This is my spoilery spoiler warning and if you haven’t read the book yet, I’d recommend to turn around and to head in the other direction. *lol* Far be it from me to let my fellow readers jump into this unprepared. 😉

Fereshteh “Angel” Rahimi:

”And I know they’re both worried about my future. They don’t ever say it, but I know they know I’m average and average is disappointing for them. Especially compared to my brother. The pinnacle of ambition and success.”

First of all I have to say how much I loved Angel’s true name! Fereshteh is such a beautiful name and if you ask me I’d have preferred her to go with her real name instead of Angel. ❤ This said I really liked Angel and how she always tried to help everyone. She was such a kind and gentle soul and even though she had no idea what she wanted to do in life she was still a very strong character and able to stand up for herself. That argument she had with her parents broke my heart because I was about the same age when I had a similar conflict with my parents and I think they only just realized that I became a person who had its own opinion about things. XD I’m sure one day my kid and I will have such an argument too and I can only hope that she’ll know that I love her no matter what. I’m pretty sure that’s something every child and parent will have to go through. They grow up so fast and they steal your heart the moment you see them. Why am I getting all sappy now? *lol* Never mind! Let’s continue! I kinda liked the scene when Mac confronted Angel about being a “fandom celebrity” because *lol* that’s me whenever some of my GR friends claim that I’m popular on here. (Like what?!) And just for the record: I don’t think I am. I just write my reviews. That’s it. 😉 Or to say it with Angel’s words: “It’s just the internet.” *shrugs* Also I could relate to her feeling average. It’s hard to have an older sibling that is perfect in every sense of the way. Been there, done that, got the freaking t-shirt. *lol* So yeah Angel’s POV really hit home. XD

”Well, I didn’t realise you were some sort of fandom celebrity,” he says with the fakest smile I’ve ever seen.
I laugh at him. “That’s a massive overstatement.”
He raises an eyebrow. “You joking? Literally everyone here knows who you are. People keep coming up to you to take selfies.”
I shrug. “It’s just the internet.”

”Are you still angry with me?”
“I was never angry, my darling. Only scared.”
“Why … were you scared?”
There’s a pause.
“Because I felt that I suddenly didn’t know you,” she says.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci:

”Everything’s sort of changing and happening and I feel excited and scared, and my brain doesn’t know how to deal with it all.”

Jimmy’s struggle is so real! I really liked Jimmy because he felt and thought so much about everything! His anxiety was tough to witness and even though I have no experience with anxiety in the way Jimmy feels it I know exactly how it feels to have a panic attack or a mental breakdown. Jimmy is a truly beautiful person inside and out but I think he had to go through a lot of shit when he came out as transgender and I’m pretty sure that only increased his anxiety. If you’re a public person to come out can be so much worse because everyone and their grandma knows it.  And there will always be haters… no matter if you’re a nobody like me or a public person. Shitstorms can be so much worse when you’re the latter though. So it’s no wonder Jimmy almost broke under the pressure and I’m glad he decided to pull in the reins. The Ark came so far, they are popular enough to do what THEY want to do. 😉 I can’t help but wonder if idols or stars really feel like they’re living a lie. I mean there happens a lot that’s off screen and we never get to see it but if they really feel like they’re a fraud that would make me kind of sad. =S Guess we’ll never know.

”I can’t breathe, shaking, probably going to die, something’s going to kill me, someone’s going to kill me, how am I going to save myself? How am I going to save myself? How am I going to save myself?”

”I don’t know who I am. Everything I do feels like a lie. I wake up every day and I have to be Jimmy Kaga-Ricci, this famous guy, and I have to smile at the camera and say hi to people but … I don’t even know who I am underneath that.”

”No, you don’t fucking know that, Rowan.” I raise my voice. “I’m not going to just sit and wait for things to change any more. I’m changing things. I’m doing what I want for once.“

Lister Bird:

”Why else would anyone want to be around me?” he says. “I’m Lister Bird. Why else would anyone want to be around me other than to get with me?”

Ahh poor Lister! He’s definitely the visual of the group and apparently has many fangirls. It’s no surprise that he’s obviously feeling very lonely though. Jimmy’s and Rowan’s friendship is very strong and he only ended up in the band because he could play drums. So I can totally see why he’d feel left out and not as much a part of the group as the other two. He basically had no one to talk to so it’s no wonder he became a party boy and got drunk. It was his escape from the things he had to deal with but it certainly wasn’t a healthy way to handle the pressure. Many stars seem to go down that road and it makes me really sad whenever I hear that they ended up in rehab. Lister is aware of his problems though so I hope Rowan and Jimmy will help him to find his way back into a life without alcohol.

”Sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to shout at you. I’m just tired.” He puts the near-empty bottle down on the sink next to me, and then pats me gently on the cheek. “Hey. Jimmy. Sorry.” Then he wraps his arms around my shoulders and hugs me tightly. “Sorry for always being shit.”

3

Angel & Jimmy:

”As we’re forcing our way out of the crowd, Jimmy clutches onto my hoodie with one hand, like a scared toddler. Is this weird? Probably. I love him more than my own fucking life.“

When I visualized their first meeting I definitely didn’t imagine them being scared shitless in a public toilet/bathroom. And I certainly didn’t see Jimmy with a knife in his hands, yet this is exactly what happened. *lol* Oh boy! Whenever I think about that scene I imagine myself meeting BTS in a toilet like that and haha to say it would make me super uncomfortable would be putting it mildly. XD What I know for certain is that I would try to speak with them and to ease their tension though. Angel did a great job considering the circumstances and I really loved her for helping Jimmy the way she did. Because quite honestly, if I would have no kid and no adult life I would help BTS like that too. Or well, even with my kid I’d probably invite them over to my flat and give them a safe space to crash and to calm down. (As long as they don’t tidy up my flat… *lol* Come to think of it 7 pairs of helping hands would be welcome though. ;-P) I know Jimmy’s grandfather would think we only do this because we have no life but I assure you: I have a life and I love and respect myself. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be kind to celebrities I never saw in person though. They are only human and if they are scared I will help them. Period. Angel and Jimmy might have a strange kind of friendship but they are there for each other and this is what counts in the end. The conversation they had about being a part of each other’s truth was really well written and I loved this scene so much. Music is a part of me and the people that make the music I adore are ultimately a part of me as well. So in that sense we’re all connected with our idols somehow. =) It’s a beautiful thought.

”You are … the damn light of my life,” I tell him. “When everything is bad, when I wake up and want to go back to sleep and never wake up, you’re there for me.”
“I’m not,” he whispers.
“You are.” I swallow nervously. “If you want it to end … I understand.” I pat my chest. “But … I guess … you’re ending a part of me too.”
“Part of you?”
“Without you … without The Ark … all I have is my dull life. You’re one of the few things I had in my life that was good and true. You’re part of my truth.”
He blinks. “You’re part of mine too.”

Jimmy & Lister:

”No one’s like us, Jimmy,” he says. “I think we’re your only dating options.”
“Rowan’s straight.”
“Oh. Just me, then.”
I whack him on the arm and we both laugh.

I don’t get how the fandom didn’t see that one coming! *lol* I mean Rowan is straight, Jimmy is openly gay and Lister openly bi. So it’s only logical to ship them together, right? *lol* Their ship name could be Jister or Limmy!? XD I know I’m being silly! Still, I really liked those two together and even though there is really nothing happening between them aside from a few hugs and one kiss I think that they might end up being a couple in the future. Also I can’t get over the fact that Lister quite literally accidentally stabbed himself because he was worried Jimmy might hurt himself and therefore stole his knife! I mean AHHHH!!! Those two… *shakes head* I wonder if Alice will ever write another book about those two. Probably not, so we can all enjoy our own imagination. ;-P

”You don’t have to … like me back,” he says, and his voice breaks but I can’t tell whether he’s laughing or trying not to cry. “But please don’t hate me.”

”He finishes drying my face, throws the paper towel into the bin, and then before I know what’s happening, he wraps me into a warm hug. He squeezes his arms around my shoulders and brushes his temple against my head.
“You know I love you, right?” he says, his voice sounding different, low, right next to my ear. “I know you and Rowan have always been a team, but … I love you too … okay?”

For a moment I think he might want to kiss me again, but instead he just presses his head into the crook of my neck, nestling his cheek on my shoulder, and wraps his arms round my shoulders. He smells vaguely smoky, and a little of alcohol, but he feels so warm.
“I want to change too,” he says.

Jimmy & Rowan:

”How you doing, Jimjam?”
“What?” I ask, not understanding the question.
He squeezes my arms, then rubs them soothingly. “Are you calm?”

Now let’s talk about the pic of Rowan and Jimmy sleeping together in their bed. *lol* OR let’s just talk about how close they are as friends! I mean it’s so obvious that they love each other a lot, just not in the way the fandom wants them to. There’s no Jowan, but I really adored their interactions and how much they seemed to care about each other. You can see that they are really close and that they are super comfortable around each other. I’m like that with my besties too and a very cuddly person. (Do whatever you want with that random info. *lol*) So for me to see their strong bond was really nice and even though they argued quite a lot in the ending it was only because they cared so much about each other. =)

”The photo does indeed show Jimmy and Rowan sleeping next to each other on a bed. Rowan is on his front, one arm slung over Jimmy’s chest. Jimmy’s head is tilted ever so slightly towards Rowan.”

”Jesus fucking Christ, I thought you’d been kidnapped. Thank God I still remember your fucking home phone number. God, look at you, sleeping in this tiny bed with a knife on your bedside table. Like, you could hurt yourself. God.”

The fandom rep:

”Neither of us have any friends in real life who like The Ark, but that doesn’t matter, because we have each other. I used to try to get people to talk about The Ark with me – my school friends, my parents, my older brother – but no one really cared.“

I loved the interview they gave when they said “the fans like to overthink everything we do” and I had to agree so much! *lol* I mean JK shows his eye tattoo in an episode of RUN and ARMYs be like: OMG!!! WHAT DOES IT MEAN!!?? I’m ARMY myself so I can laugh about this and say that we’re all clowns. *lol* Anyway, what I want to say with this is that the fandom rep was so damn on spot I can’t even! Haha! Alice Oseman captured it so well and I loved that by inventing Juliet and Angel she also gave room to the fandom side that’s not just screaming and fainting fangirls/boys. You’d be surprised about how many of us are actually normal people that just love our boys and their music. XD If I’d get a chance to spend a day with BTS I’d probably just hang out with them, eat good food, play silly games and talk about God and the world. Maybe I could even persuade them to play guitar or e-bass with me? *lol* So yeah, pretty normal stuff. Also since my kid is so little she’d probably be the star in the room and they’d play and goof around with her. XD Because no matter how famous they are, they are still normal (okay, they are perfect!) people and I totally agree with the sentiment that they feel like they are my friends. In difficult times their music helps me to get through the day and they always make me smile which is pretty amazing. =) So if you ever come to Austria and read this BTS, write me and I’ll invite you over for a schnitzel and potato salad. Considering the dumpling incident I better don’t invite you for roast pork and dumplings though. *lol* ;-P

”They’re not like normal musicians. It feels like they’re our friends and they understand us and care about us.”

”I know he asked you for help,” says Piero, “but the trouble is, while asking for help is always good, it’s impossible to keep relying on others to solve your problems for you. There comes a point where you have to help yourself. Believe in yourself.”

The musician rep:

”A lot of them only like us because we have nice faces. But as long as we are here, the three of us, and we get to make music, and we get to live this life – playing our music in a new city every week, bringing smiles to millions of faces, leaving our mark upon the world – then everything is good, and fine, and okay.”

As a former member of a band to read this rep made me very happy. It was so accurate and I think in the end we all just want to make music and to hang out together. A band is like a family. You spend so much time with your members that you know each other’s habits, hopes and fears. Sometimes you’ll be stuck together for weeks but you don’t care because as long as you’re together and making music everything is alright. You hug, you cry, you comfort each other, you hang out together, you cuddle, you laugh and joke. And you’re very close to each other and have a unique bond which many fans will ship because they think there has to be more to it. *lol* I don’t even know how many people shipped my bestie and me during band times but since even one of our teachers shipped us… well you get the idea. *lol* He was always just my bestie though. Like a brother. We went through thick and thin and even tough our band doesn’t exist anymore (he moved to Germany) and we both have a family and lives that keep us busy, we’re still close and stay in contact. This said the musician rep of “I Was Born for This” was perfect and felt really personal. ❤ So thank you Alice for writing it in this book! =)

”And Jimmy here,” Rowan continues, clapping me on the shoulder in a manly fashion, “Jimmy’s like my brother, you know? The fans know that. The world knows that. I think that’s what’s so special about being in The Ark. We might not be related but the three of us are brothers, yeah?”

”The three of us … we were born to be together,” I say. “And I can’t leave that. I don’t want to leave that.”

4

This book was made for me! I loved it so much and I’m sure it will always be one of my all-time favourites. =) The way Alice Oseman captured fandoms, showed the lives of musicians and represented anxiety was amazing and as always her character cast was super diverse. I’m so glad Alice writes books and I’ll continue to read everything she publishes. She has a rare gift and I’m thankful she shares it with the world. XD

”Everyone’s normal, really, aren’t they?” Bliss says. “I mean, everyone’s normal, everyone’s weird, everyone’s just trying to deal with their own life and keep calm and carry on. And hold on to something that’ll keep them going.”

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: Imagine Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 2 Pfoten, 5

 
Book 28 on My Book List 2020
 
 

„What happened to you, man?“ I whisper. „Where’d you go?“
„Hell,“ he says. „I’ve finally found hell.“

Me too, Ladies and Gentlemen, me too! >_<

Hell was reading this book and you better get yourself some chocolate before you continue to read because I’m so bitter that I could be mistaken for a lemon. I’m not just bitter though, I’m salty as well. So buckle up this is going to be a spicy ride. (Okay, I’m done with the food hints now. *lol* You get the idea! ;-P)

This book was just … URGH!!

I’m so disappointed right now I’ve been fighting to find the proper words for at least two weeks. And I just realized that I’ll probably never find them. >_< I think the most important thing you have to know is that I loved the original trilogy! It was so good and I’m such a huge Tahereh Mafi fan! Moreover I actually enjoyed books 4 and 5! They were different but they were still good! So what went wrong? A LOT!!!  Or basically everything!

Seriously, if it wouldn’t have been for my beloved Jello who had the questionable pleasure to experience my disappointment first hand I most certainly would have never made it through this book! So a huge shout-out to Jello for surviving this buddy read with me! *lol* You’re the best, girl! And I swear I would have never made it through this book without your support! <333 So thank you so much for keeping me company on this hard ride. XD It was tough for both of us but we got through it somehow! *sighs* This said let’s get to the root of the problem:

”My questions are endless.
I kill them.”

Oh, how I wish I would have had the same luxury!!!

Unlike Juliette I couldn’t just kill my questions though and instead of getting answers all I got was a headache and even more questions than before. There happened so many things that left question marks above my head and NONE, really NONE were answered! You’d think an author who writes the last book in a series that consists of 6!!! (SIX!!!) books in total would try to wrap it up all nicely in the end? Nope! Nah, Nuh-uh. Nopedy nope! I didn’t get my awesome ending wrapped up in a lovely bow and I’m so bitter about it! So, so bitter! And this comes from a fan that loved and read all the former books, mind you! I’m not writing this rant because I dislike Tahereh’s books or because I want to make her feel bad, I’m writing this rant because I LOVE Tahereh and her writing style and I can’t believe that she would write such an ending!!! I just can’t wrap my head around it!

„It is only in the desperate seconds before death that we realize the windows against which we broke our bodies were only mirrors, all along.”

What went wrong Tahereh? Why give us such a sloppy ending even though we know you are a magnificent writer?!  Where did your amazing and beautiful writing style go? I missed it during the entire book. The fact that I only wrote down 4 quotes from a book that consists of 450 pages should already tell us enough! After reading all the other books I couldn’t even pack all those lovely and beautiful quotes into my reviews. I had no problem this time around. In fact I had to go looking for those 4 quotes so that I actually COULD put something into this review. *shakes head*

Still, the writing style wasn’t the only thing that made me sad. I also missed the amazingness of my beloved characters. They used to be complex, they had character arcs and they developed. They grew and changed over time. In this book it was like they all went back to their starting point and couldn’t be more than stereotypes. Which is such a shame! And don’t even get me started on Juliette/Ella!

spoilerWTH, Tahereh?!!! I hated Robo-J so much and whenever I read “Yes, sir!” I felt like I wanted to puke!! What was the point in making her bland like that? That entire thing with Anderson and his sadistic streak, the fact that Juliette was attracted to HIM??!! WHAT DID I EVEN READ HERE?? At times it felt like I jumped right into a twisted and revolting version of “50 Shades of Grey” and the obedient/dull soldier looking up to her dominant master theme was THE WORST and so didn’t work for me!!!

Another thing that riled me big time was that the main topic of those last 3 books was Emmaline and then we barely get anything about her. The first 10% of the book and then… nothing! Like she wasn’t important enough to keep the plot moving. Instead we get… moments that made me want to tear my hair out! >_< And to add insult to injury we get an epilogue that was so unsatisfying that I sat there crying into the book! Not because it was so good, but because it made my heart bleed all over the pages by not being what I wanted it to be. T_T

This book should have been named “Torture Me” instead of “Imagine Me” but if I have to go with the theme, I’ll do it my way (and this is where it gets salty, my friends):

“Imagine Me” borrowing Winston’s whiskey flask and taking a big swig in order to get through this book. *lol* Thank you, Winston! ;-P

“Imagine Me” throwing this book against a wall.

“Imagine Me” setting it on fire and then chucking it out of the window.

And “Imagine Me” letting it being run over by a car only to get drenched in rain! All for good measure, of course! 😉

“Imagine Me” hoping for a great ending and getting THIS and…

spoilerA DOG!!! Not even a wedding but a freaking dog??! I understand why Tahereh wrote that scene but I really would have rather wanted to read their wedding scene! Damn it!

“Imagine Me” and my face falling when I realized this was neither about Emmaline nor about my OTP.

spoilerI mean Juliette and Warner’s relationship was basically non-existent! They spent about 90% of this book apart and then he KISSES her back into her mind??!! Like seriously? Are you kidding me? Juliette doesn’t even recognize, let alone remember Warner but she makes out with him? How could Tahereh reduce their beautiful and deep relationship to nothing but physical attraction? There was so much more than that between them and it was the physical aspect she latched on to?!! WE (the fans) and Warner & Juliette deserved so much better than that!!!

“Imagine Me” being one of Tahereh’s biggest fans but being so damn salty I could turn a lake into the sea. If you ever come across an Austrian lake that’s as salty as the Black Sea: I’m sorry, that was me! XD

“Imagine Me” getting whiplash from shaking my head too much! My neck hurts, no kidding!

“Imagine Me” losing my appetite every single time Juliette said “Yes, sir!” (I need to eat lots of Christmas cookies to compensate for that!!)

“Imagine Me” wanting to erase the memory of this book with bleach! Yes, I’m that desperate! Come to think of it Evie and Max would come in pretty handy right now. XD

“Imagine Me” collapsing under the weight of all those question marks, because let’s face it: This book was all over the place! I feel like Atlas and it’s no fun!

And last but not least: “Imagine Me” renaming this book “Torture Me”!

The only good thing about “Torture Me” was Warner’s and Kenji’s bromance! Well, and this quote:

„To the world, she is formidable.
To me?
She is the world.“

That’s it! My fan heart is so broken right now, I want to “imagine” a world with a better ending than this! T_T

Okay, I’m done with the puns and I’ve vomited all my bitterness into this review. I’m sorry to say it but I can’t give this more than 2,5 paws. 2,5 paws because otherwise it would feel like I’d let Tahereh get away with this disaster of a book and someone has to speak the truth. As a huge fan of this series my heart is bleeding but I stand by my opinion! #SorryNotSorry

Let’s hope Mafi’s next book will be better again!

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 36 on My Book List 2019

”People who cease to believe in God or goodness altogether still believe in the devil. I don’t know why. No, I do indeed know why. Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.”

It’s been ages I first saw the movie but I still remember how much I enjoyed it. How sorry I felt for Louis when he told his story and how much I loved Lestat for being the evil manipulator that he is. *lol* By now I even have “Interview with the Vampire” on DVD and every once in a while I re-watch it and glory in the amazingness of this film! They did a great job with the film adaption, that’s for sure, but to be entirely honest Anne Rice did an even greater job writing the book. XD

”I’d like to meet the devil some night,” he said once with a malignant smile. “I’d chase him from here to the wilds of the Pacific. I am the devil.”

I don’t know why it took me so many years to read this, especially because I already read “Queen of the Damned” and “The Vampire Armand” and loved them both, but sometimes it just takes a little longer until the inevitable happens and as it seems to read “Interview with the Vampire” was one of those special cases. 😉 So what can I say about this book that hasn’t been said already? I loved Louis! He’ll always have a special place in my heart because he’s the embodiment of the fight of good against evil. No matter which vampire you encounter throughout the course of this book, they all lost their humanity, their compassion for their victims and their sense of justice.

”I saw you in the theatre, your suffering, your sympathy with that girl. I saw your sympathy for Denis when I offered him to you; you die when you kill, as if you feel that you deserve to die, and you stint on nothing. But why, with this passion and this sense of justice, do you wish to call yourself the child of Satan!”

Louis? Nope, never! He’d been turned into a vampire decades and centuries ago, but he still managed to preserve his humanity and to some degree even his innocence. He has to drink blood in order to stay alive but he certainly doesn’t enjoy it. In fact he condemns himself for being too weak to go without it, he despises the weakness of his nature and he most definitely loathes the creature that lives within him. In short: I’m pretty certain he’s the worst vampire ever. *lol*

”He loves you. He loves you. He would have you, and he would not have me stand in the way.”

And because of this he attacks Claudia and makes her a vampire in the end (Well, actually Lestat turns her but those are just semantics. ;-P) Maybe it was her innocence that drew him, maybe it was her young blood, her strong will to survive but whatever it was, it caused him to drink from a child and Lestat in his endless cruelty and cunning persuaded him to kill her only to take it from there and to make her a vampire instead.

”Monsters! To give me immortality in this hopeless guise, this helpless form!”

Oh, how I felt with Claudia! Just imagine being imprisoned in a body that is so young and frail! I mean in the book she’s only five(!!!) when she’s turned and her mind grows but her body never changes. A 65 year old woman, living an eternal life in the body of a five year old!? How cruel, how horrible this existence must have been. Alone to feel sexual desire but never to act on it, to be trapped in a body that isn’t made for anything of it. Poor Claudia! >_< It’s no surprise she despised them both for it. Lestat she hated with a passion, but Louis? How could she hate him? She was torn because she loved him but also detested him for what he had done. For how he treated her: As a child even though she was already a grown up woman.

”For you see,” I said to her in that same calm voice, “what died tonight in this room was not that woman. It will take her many nights to die, perhaps years. What has died in this room tonight is the last vestige in me of what was human.”

And so the story unfolds and the repercussions their actions entail eventually catch up on them. *sighs* By the end of the book I actually felt sorry for all of them. Not only Louis and Claudia but also Lestat and Armand. It made me sad to see what happened to them and I’m really sorry that Armand and Louis never got a chance to work out.

”I want you. I want you more than anything in the world.”

They had such a great chemistry, but the price to be together was just too high. To destroy the one thing Louis loved the most sort of destroyed Louis as well. So basically everything Armand loved about him was snuffed out the moment he set things into motion. The irony isn’t lost on me. >_<

4

I really enjoyed reading “Interview with the Vampire”! Sometimes it felt like watching the movie and at other times I appreciated the additional info that always seems to get lost in film adaptions, no matter how decent they are. *lol* Some things you can only glean when you read the book and for me this alone was enough reason to give it a try. XD

P.S: I think I’ll have another movie date with Louis, Lestat and Armand tonight. ;-P

 

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: Illuminae (Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

 

”You picked a hell of a day to dump me, Kades.”

I swear the interviews with those two at the beginning of the book are certainly among the best introductions to a new series I ever read. I mean OMG!!!

THIS BOOK!!!

I’m still not over it!! I swear when I started to read it I really didn’t know a lot about “Illuminae”. There were only three things I knew and I had absolutely no idea how it would work out for me.

1.) It’s a sci-fi series.
2.) The format is kinda weird and apparently the audio book is the shit!
3.) The hype around it is so real that it’s almost a physical thing.

Well, enough reasons to pick up the book and to give it a try, right? If only I would have known what I was signing up to. *lol* Nothing, really NOTHING prepared me for the things that were about to come. I was totally swept away by this book and its events and yet… yet there were many typical tropes I already read about a thousand times.

BUT tell you what?! It worked!!! And damn did it work!!! I dunno how Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufmann did it but this was so, so, SO GOOD!!! The suspense was killing me and whenever I had to stop to read all I wanted to do was to continue. I mean a virus outbreak in one of the ships… My first reaction was “Been there, done that, got the freaking t-shirt”, but WOW once you dive into the story, once you get used to the format it’s almost like you’re actually there, like you’re fighting alongside Ezra and Kady and this was just awesome!

”The victim often seeks physical comfort (hand holding, embraces), ultimately increasing the chances of spreading infection. It’s genius, really. Awful, horrifying genius.”

I think you can already tell that I’m struggling for words. It’s so hard to put this experience into coherent sentences! All I can say is that this book is swallowing you whole and then spits you out at the most crucial point. And there were plot twists!!! JEEZ!! Were there plot twists! The kind of plot twists that turn your entire world upside down and leave you gasping on the ground!

I
WAS
NOT
PREPARED
FOR
THIS!!

The best thing about the entire book were the characters though. They made it all so authentic and realistic and I found myself hoping they would make it while I sent prayers into thin air. Which should give you a good impression about how attached I got to them. Plus I had a crush on all three of them! I love Kady and Ezra and I ADORE, I ABSOLUTELY ADORE AND LOVE AIDAN!!!! <3333
And their conversations! Their humour and easy banter, the bitter truth that was hidden within it so casually. This was nothing but awesome! Let me introduce those three!

The characters:

Beware! You’re entering my characters section now and there might be spoilers ahead of you. Either you rearrange your course or you head straight into unknown non-terrestrial territory. ;-P

Ezra:

”That’s so not your business it almost punches clean past the event horizon of Not Your Business and becomes Your Business again.”

Haha! Oh gosh, I loved him from the very first moment I read about him. This boy was such a precious snowflake and he had a mouth on him! *LOL* I lived and breathed for the moments he appeared. He was really such a sweet guy and behind all the cussing and swearing he was a real romantic! ❤ I can understand why he loved Kady and their relationship was amazing. They were friends and lovers and all I wanted for them was to be happy and to see each other again.

”Okay, well for the benefit of the sight-impaired, I am now raising my … oh, dear… yes, it’s my middle finger at Mr. Postgrad here.”

”All he thinks of amid this loveless dance, all he cares about here on the edge of forever, is HER. He does not want to die. Not because he is afraid. Simply because he cannot bear the thought of leaving her behind. And there, in that tiny moment, I envy him.”

Kady:

”If I lose Ezra too, it’ll be one body blow too many.
If I lose Ezra too, I’ll give up.
I don’t think I have anyone else left.
But while I have him, I’ll fight tooth and nail to keep us safe. Whatever it takes.”

Kady! *sighs deeply* Wow! Just wow! I rarely read about such a fierce heroine and despite being so small she was so brave and A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! I mean she literally took it up with the entire world and nothing, really nothing that happened ever managed to get her down! She got up time and again and she never stopped fighting! That inner strength and iron will! *whistles* I guess I was a goner the moment she appeared in the book. <333 I love my precious girl and she needs to be protected at all costs! (She’d probably kick my behind for that statement though. *lol*)

”She is a tief. A whisper.
Melting through curtains of code and shadow
Like a knife through black water.

”ByteMe: see u soon
ByteMe: or die trying
ByteMe: haha”

AIDAN:

”And now, with no other option,
They have turned to me.
Plucked me back from the black they left me in.
Thinking I will save them.”

And here comes the character I truly loved the most! AIDAN the AI!!! Yes, you read right! I absolutely loved and adored AIDAN!!! GAH! I worship AIDAN! I’m utterly and deeply in love with him/her/it! I carry a torch for AIDAN! I’m so besotted with this AI, it’s not even normal anymore! *lol* AIDAN was such a deep character and so very, very human! This AI had such a beautiful soul! I loved every single word he/she/it thought and said. And I really dunno what this says about me. *lol* My buddy and I even wondered if this makes me AI-phile or robo-phile?! XD Is there even a word for the state of falling in love with an AI? I can’t even tell you what made me fall head-over-heels for AIDAN but I guess it was the amazing mixture of a morally grey character that only wants the best for his people but choses the wrong means to achieve that goal. All I know is that I love AIDAN and that I really, really hope to see more of him in the next book! <333

Funnily enough I read the interview with Amie and Jay at the end of the book and Jay explained his feelings about AIDAN like that: ”I think it’s the deepest character I’ve ever written, which is odd considering it’s a machine. I dunno what it says about me that the mass-murdering artificial intelligence affected me the most. Nothing good, probably.”

Haha! I can relate to that statement so much! SAME, Jay! SAME! XD

”Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.”

”Before this moment, I have never wished
To be something other than what I am.
Never felt so keenly the lack of hands with which to
Touch, the lack of arms with which to hold.”

”How many people have loved only to have lost?
How countless, the hopes that have died?”

Conclusion:

I loved this book with every fibre of my heart. There was never a dull moment; I was constantly on the edge of my seat and I bit my thumbnail about a thousand times. *lol* If there ever was a definition of suspense you’d probably find a picture of “Illuminae” next to the word in the dictionary. Yes, it was that good! 😉 If you’re still hesitating to read this book just because of the strange format: Just pick it up! Read it! Feel it! Get swept away in the tide and enjoy that freaky outer space ride! You won’t regret it! XD

And last but not least I want to thank my witchling for that super amazing buddy read! We’re one of the best buddy read teams ever and I can’t wait to dive into “Gemina” with you! I enjoyed this br so much! It was a lot of fun to guess the outcome of the ending and to wonder about what would happen next and I’m so glad we decided to read this together! To another hundred buddy reads with you. ;-P (Did you really think I’d let you off the hook?! *lol*)